It was quite a weekend. I am still recovering.
My mom and I left at 6 am Friday. On the way up, my mom revealed her surprise: for my birthday present, she had booked us into the Marriott Marquis (where the conference was being held) so we didn't have to trek up and down mid-town Manhattan when we were exhausted. This turned out to be a wonderful gift. We were able to check into our room at 8 am, and use it as a home base all day as we cycled in and out of our classes. It made life so much easier, so THANKS, Mom!
This was the view outside our window:
My mom and I both packed maximum classes into our two days. We had three different classes on Friday, and one all-day class and one lecture on Saturday. This turned out to be a bit of a mistake. There was a LOT to see and do (fashion shows, free talks, demonstrations, marketplace, etc.) but we were unable to make most of it due to our overly-ambitious class schedule.
As for the classes I took—and mind you, this is only my experience—my reviews are only tepidly positive for most. Perhaps because the classes were so very expensive, that heightened the expectations? But for the classes I took, there didn't seem to be enough material prepared or presented to fill the time allotted.
However, I must stress: I did learn something in every class, so I definitely do not consider them a waste of time. Even when what I learned was not what I expected!
If we go next year, I will plan to spend more time at the free events, which were quite tempting, and only splurge on one or perhaps two classes. The lecture I paid for was such a disaster that I would have to think long and hard about taking that plunge again.
But that is not to say that the weekend was bad! It was actually really great. We got to visit this place at lunchtime on Friday, which my parents had scoped out for me during their trip to NYC last week (yes, I have awesome parents):
It is a bead-a-holic's nirvana.
I got to talk to Franklin Habit about upcoming projects, which (for me) was like talking to a rock star. I am usually too shy to approach more well-known people, but he and I had a small e-mail correspondence last year so I felt justified shoving myself into his personal space. He is an incredibly gracious person, and it took me about three hours to come down off that particular high.
Best of all, I got to spend time with my mother doing something we both love. Both of us came away with a lot of new ideas and inspiration and techniques, and we haven't stopped talking about them since. That's enough to rate the weekend as a success.