I had the pleasure of hanging out with the SVG Cuts' Leo and Mary, Tamara and Fleurette for 2 days after the show. I'm sure you all know how customer service oriented Leo and Mary is - but to experience this in person was another amazing experience.
First of all, Mary worked so hard in the days prior to us arriving and finished making the new collection for the week, so she had all the time to spend with us. I was touched - that was super thoughtful :)
Second - Leo and Mary just moved into their beautiful new home a few months ago, and parts of the house were not finished yet. However, they made sure that our bedroom/bathroom was set up nicely so we would feel welcomed. Tamara and I shared a room together, and whoa - when we walked in - the bed was made just like what I'd see at a nice hotel, and there were stacks of towels for us, and even a TV in the room with lots of DVDs in case we wanted to watch a movie!
Anyway, going back to after the CHA conference - Leo and Mary took us to Whole Foods. We don't have this store in Canada, so I was curious. Wow, after my visit there - I totally wished that we had something like it here. They took us there for dinner, and they had aisles and aisles of delicious looking food that you can fill up on your plate.
Here's Mary trying to decide what she feels like for dinner :)
Oh, and I had a chance to try Leo's favorite drink - Kombucha Gingerade. I've never had anything like it before, but it was so refreshing! I can understand why he loves it so much!
After that, we came home and hang out and finally had a chance to relax and get to know each other in 'real' life. We also had a chance to try out one of their favorite snacks, Beanitos. Sounds different, I guess not appetizing sounding... but it was also so good. It was so good that I'm trying to find this in Calgary where I live. It's light and crunchy, and has really good flavor :)
Oh, Leo wanted to make a video of one of the interviews from CHA, so Tamara and I had the opportunity to do a voice over for the video intro! So cool! Not a good picture, but this is where we did the recording - it's Leo's studio!
They next day - we had the pleasure of meeting Leo's mom - Elizabeth. She is one of the nicest lady you can ever meet. She is young at heart - loves crafting - and have travelled lots, so she's got lots of fun stories to tell. She's the one that got Mary the Cricut for Christmas, way back, and that was the turning point in Mary's life :)
So, for lunch, we all decided that what we had last night was great, so we went back for more!
We also went out to Downtown Downer's Grove and had refreshing tea :) I'm a paparazzi - took a shot of Leo and Mary holding hands :) Awww...
This is one of the apartments there, and this particular corner suite was where Mary and Leo used to live when they first started living together... and this is where SVG Cuts was born! Neat, huh?
After that, we did CRAFT shopping! SO FUN! We had a chance to check out Memories & Beyond (their local scrapbook store - this is where Punkin' Patch Stamps were sold!) and Archivers.
The fun day with Elizabeth came to an end, and had to say goodbye... thanks for coming to join us - you are an amazing mom!
That night, we played bean bags! I've never done anything like this before, and had so much fun! It was hard - of course, Leo and Mary rocked the game, but I think that we were starting to get better by the end.
Here's some goofy pics of us playing the game:
Oh, luckily, my funny shot was not in my camera, so you don't get to see it here! :)
Leo made us his ever famous Chili - just totally hit the spot! (We ate it with Beanitos - and that was yummy!) I forgot to take a picture of the chili!!!
The next morning, we took some pics in Mary's craft room!
I'd die to have a table space like this... SO ENVIOUS! Mary has her computer working/designing station, then she moves over to the cutting station, then the embossing/assembling section onto the final embellishing station! So organized!
Silly me in Mary's studio!
Here's Gucci! Loving all the attention and relaxing away in the sun! She's beautiful and very well behaved!
Mary took us into Downtown Chicago! Hooray! Being brought up in Tokyo, I love big cities! I was excited!
We took the train in (it was about an hour ride) and the train was an experience on its own!
So cool! It's a double-decker train!
Our tickets :)
The moment we got off, I totally felt the difference. We're in BIG CITY!!! It was SO exciting!
Lots and LOTS of tall buildings all around! This tower that you see below has a beautiful restaurant at the top, and I guess this is where Leo took Mary on their first date! :) Leo sure did impress Mary!
We headed out for lunch first - we were starving after an hour train ride! We headed down to Giordano's for a REAL Chicago Deep Dish Pizza!
This pizza was AH-MAZING. So much goodness all in this one slice.
To burn off all those calories that we just took in - we went out shopping!
We saw a Lego Woody! Just had to take a picture with him!
After we spent money and everyone was content - we decided to go on a boat ride! I have never ever seen a boat ride in a city that goes through so many buildings. That was really neat and what a great experience! Definitely one of the highlights of this trip!
Just look at this amazing view. Just breathtaking, isn't it?
This building down below is the biggest in the world! (taking up the most space on the ground - it was HUGE!)
This boat actually took us out of downtown and into Lake Michigan, too! Really cool!
I saw a lighthouse! (I've never seen a lighthouse before!)
Isn't this SO BEAUTIFUL?
After the ride, we were hungry again! So we headed down to the famous Ed Debevic's. For those who don't know what this place is like, it's a diner style restaurant, but you go to get 'abused'. The waiters are rude, and they are sarcastic. It's all part of the fun. It was different, and was definitely an experience.
By the time we got home... it was pretty late. This trip was coming to an end. The next morning, we'd be heading to the airport early, so we had our last little bonding :)
So my trip went by super fast. It was really sad to leave, but every moment was well worth it. I cannot believe how I still managed to get a trip without hubby nor my kids!
Mary and Leo were super generous and very accommodating hosts! They tried to make sure we were enjoying our trip, they made sure we saw what we possibly could in the short time that we were there, and I actually came down with an infection in my finger, and everyone was genuinely worried for me. I felt loved, and felt like another family away from home.
I love SVG Cuts - Leo, Mary and the team, and feeling so blessed to be on the team :)
Oh, and at the airport, I was able to meet Laurel Seabrook from Seabrook Designs with her husband! She was the sweetest girl - and so welcoming! (she invited me to join her and hubby's dinner!) I'm feeling so happy that I've gotten to know her!