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Existence

Hilton DFW Lakes Hotel

My stay in Dallas was a beautiful one… The Hilton DFW Lakes was a great hotel with lots of delicious food, and a beautiful atmosphere.

There was another conference there, a Computer Science Educator conference…I scored some resources to take back to school with me since this year we are a lighthouse school for laptops! All of our 6th graders will have devices of their own.

The hotel provided snacks for in between our session, and delicious lunch every day!

Before I left the hotel I decided to take a walk around the grounds! Nature is by far my favorite place to be…and boy was it worth it. The heat was a little intense, but the scenery was perfect.

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Existence

Everythings Bigger in Texas

After high school I went to college in Texas, from 2000-2002, where I met Amber. Her and I were roommates and became best friends right away. The last time I saw her she came up to Maryland to attend my Starry Night painting party, but it was about 13 years ago that I was in Dallas…so when I found out I would be in Texas, we made it a point to hang out and she came to see me!

The first night I was there she came to the hotel and picked me up for dinner. I love eating in Texas, there are so many awesome restaurants. We decided on BJ’s Brewhouse…I ordered the new Hickory Brisket and Bacon. Sweet and tangy BBQ sauce, smoked brisket, Applewood smoked bacon, jack and cheddar cheese, red onions and mayonnaise…. OMG, it was DELICIOUS! I also tried their beer sampler….the Harvest Hefeweizen was my favorite. For dessert we had the Pizookie trio, wow talk about a sweet treat.

On Sunday Amber and I went to Fort Worth, one of our favorite places to visit while we were in college.  When we got there I noticed all the changes that had taken place in the 13 years it had been since I was there last. The central square had drastically changed, and there was a beautiful angel wing installation that we took pictures with.  We went to dinner at Razoos, my favorite restaurant… they have fried alligator. Let me tell you, I wish we had fried alligator in Maryland!  I got the purple haze margarita with my meal which was very refreshing.

After dinner, we walked around the Fort Worth for a little sightseeing.

I have to say, Amber is one of my very best friends, and I cherish every moment I get to spend with her. Im always looking forward to the next time we get to spend time together. Thanks Amber!!

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Existence

Representing…

Last weekend I was fortunate to represent Maryland and our school district in Dallas Texas at Balfour Advisor Academy. I am the yearbook club advisor for my school, and we currently work with the company Balfour to produce our yearbooks.

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Representing Maryland at the Balfour Advisor Academy in Dallas Texas

Previously we worked with Herff Jones, however, the yearbook representative that I had when I started advising left Herff Jones after my second year working with her.  I stayed with the company for 2 more years through multiple representatives and issues with the quality of personal relations from them. None of them could even begin to measure up to her ability and willingness to always “make it work” (as Tim Gunn would say).  She was by far the best representative I have ever had the chance to work with. So when I found out she was working with Balfour I just had to change companies! I needed to have her back!  The representative really makes or breaks the experience of creating a yearbook, as it does with any business relationship.

Last year was our first year working with Balfour,  but I knew it would be a non issue since I had my dear Jeanne back. I picked up the technical aspects of the new yearbook creating software fairly quickly, its pretty much like photoshop.  Jeanne helped me through it by coming to our club meetings every Friday, bringing me my favorite drink from starbucks, and working with the students to help them become more proficient with the software.  Her willingness to be there whenever I needed her reminded me why I missed her so much and why I was so grateful to have her back!

We completed the yearbook and awaited its arrival. The day it was due to arrive at school, we found out that there was an issue with the delivery which caused it to arrive the second to last day of school. Jeanne came to school and helped me organize and deliver all the yearbooks in order to get them out as smoothly as possible. Without her I wouldn’t have made it out alive. Thank you Jeanne!

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Jeanne and I at my 4th of July Firework painting party!

Not only was she always there, she provided me opportunity to attend the Balfour Advisor Academy in Dallas Texas, as well as the Ignite Journalism University, Balfour’s summer yearbook workshop, July 27-July 31, at Pepperdine University in Malibu California!

The Advisor Academy was an amazing experience! I learned so much about developing a yearbook, and was able to network with so many amazing people.  I am looking forward to using my new knowledge to step up our yearbook this coming year.  Being that the yearbook is created in a club, it’s a lot different from an actually yearbook class. I met with a few other middle school yearbook club advisors and discussed ways to make the yearbook development more student centered and still keep the same level of greatness we’ve had in the past few years.