Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hump Day

I'm pretty stoked for my first 3-day weekend as a working girl. Time to sleep in like the professional I am. Well, except for that little mishap where I decided to graciously agree to drive back home to Missouri this weekend to help my parents move in to their new abode. Perhaps Monday's schedule will provide for extra sleep time. I wish the same for you, as well, fellow Earth dwellers.

I'm sure you ladies will understand when I say this, but I am mighty proud of my "business" attire for today. And may I say, I am rockin' it. I don't think any girl can go wrong with a nicely fitted pencil skirt, a flow-y blouse, a cardigan, and some killer heels. So, fellow office gals, embrace your business fashion and rock out with those two-piece suits and blazers! Time to show the boys how it's done!

School has started up once again. What a lovely time of year. Must say though, it is very strange for me. I have friends who are still working on their undergrads, or who decided to pursue a Masters, and it is eye-opening to receive texts and phone calls about textbooks, lectures, and homework. I feel so left-out! I never thought I would say this, but, I miss school! GASP. Let's try to keep that between you and me, okay? Even my own mother is back in school. Such a surreal experience to be graduated and moving on from the education process. 16 years of my life spent in school preparing for this moment, and now it's finally here! The real world has welcomed me with open arms, however. And thank goodness, I'm so grateful for that.

...there is a cricket under my desk...

Is everyone pumped for the first Razorback game? I was just given the 411 on how season tickets, tail gating, and parking works. My reaction? "WOW." As a student, you pay $1 per game, and just have to move your car from campus the night before any home game. Attending just ONE game as a non-student cost upwards of $150! That's dedication right there, people. Considering most games are sold out. Razorback nation, y'all!

Want to read a funny, travel related, story? This made me crack up. Carnival Cruises is being sued...wait for it...over a hairy chest contest! Check this out. Pretty far out there, right? Poor Carnival. I lament for hairy chests everywhere. Such travesty.

Our wonderful clients, Slade and Holly, have returned from a wonderful get-away in Punta Cana. They have also just become the new cover photo for Destinations facebook! Go and take a look at the lovely couple, and their beach romance. I'm a big enough person to admit that I'm a little jealous.

Okay...a lot jealous.

Also, this cricket is still creeping me out.  He's like a little cricket ninja.

Keep calm, travel on. 


Monday, August 27, 2012

Wish It Were Sunday...

Well kids, looks like that rain dance really worked! See? Team effort really does win in the end.

However, the rain is now interfering with my riding schedule. I have a pretty little Oldenburg that needs to be ridden, and this rain is not coinciding well with those plans. Even my lesson is rescheduled to Wednesday due to rain, and a drenched arena. We get your point, Isaac.

The phone has been ringing off the hook this morning at Destinations. I have been kept pretty busy. In my spare time I'm reading the latest travel magazines for this month. Learnin' learnin' learnin'.

I feel pretty bad for the boyfriend. He flies out Thursday night to spend a 5 day vacation with his college buddies in Panama City, FL. Too bad his fun times are probably going to spent indoors watching T.V. Poor kids. David is leaving me alone with the attack dogs, and a full house to clean. Have I mentioned that the garbage disposal is broken and our landlord (who is also our neighbor) is out of town? Life is swell.

Speaking of flights:

If any of you are being affected, flight wise, by Hurricane Isaac, and are a traveling with Delta, and happen to need a change in flight time, make sure to call us here at 479-582-1900, to see if your flight qualifies for a flight change. Delta is being very understanding and generous in trying to alleviate the ailments of Hurricane Isaac on flyers this week. Yay, Delta!

My father, a Norwegian decedent, and lengthy man of 6'8,"  might not be too happy about the recent trends of airlines these days. "Luxury" airlines such as JetBlue and WestJEt are taking on the every-growing trend of reducing the already snug leg room among the coach class members of their flights, all in the name of profits. Check out this article from CNN to learn more about these reductions. I know my father will have to start considering business and first class from now about you?

Fun story: When Prue and Charles were first introduced, they were mortal enemies. Well...I suppose I should say that it was a love/hate relationship. In the sense that Prue hated Charles, while Charles vied for daily attention. However, about 6 months into their relationship, they finally began to get along. This moment was captured around that time, and is forever proof that they can indeed get along. Take a peek at this adorable case of "puppy love!"

I know, right? Too much cute for one household to bare.

In case you all were wondering, Snooki had her baby yesterday (err, this morning). Let's all give a big welcome to little Lorenzo! (I'm just a fountain of valuable information, I know.)

Keep calm, travel on.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Workin for the Weekend

Oh thank goodness it is Friday.

Our Disney Representative just stopped by the office to get us up to date on all the latest deals, brochures, a goodies. So if you've been dreaming about a Disney vacation, now is the time to give us a call!

Everyone, start doing your rain dance.

Tropical storm Isaac is causing such a ruckus. And there is another one coming in to take his place when he's finished! Kind of ironic really. All of this rain and bad weather in the Gulf, and the Mid West is slowly forming into a desert. I wouldn't mind a tropical storm here in Fayetteville. Can I get an "Amen?!" Haha. But for real, let's get some rain up this way, Mother Nature!

Alex, our favorite resident IT guy, has been very occupied with us this week. We had a printer mishap on Wednesday when trying to print out some post cards. And today, Tracee's computer has decided not to work momentarily, during very inconvenient times. And of course, works again by the time Alex shows up to fix it. Currently, we are talking the pros and cons of Windows phones versus iPhones. Very intellectual, indeed.

Our computer skills are laughable, and I think that Alex has a good time poking fun at us. 

Have you stopped by to see our beautiful Pig yet?
She seems to be getting lonely out there.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Enjoy the nice weather, and the sun!

Oh, before you go:

Prudence would like to wish you farewell. :)

Travel on.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Brain Food

Ran across this article today. Truer words could not have been written:

How to disconnect from work and enjoy your vacation

By Joel Garfinkle on August 20th, 2012
     "Last month, I did something I’ve never done before. I spent two weeks 100% disconnected from my work. No cell phone, computer, e-mail or iPhone.
      This was a difficult decision to make. I might miss a potential executive coaching client, speaking opportunity or interview with the media. I was hesitant to completely unplug, disconnect and disengage from work. At the end of the two weeks, I was rested, relaxed and rejuvenated because I was able to slow down and decompress.
      Vacations give you a chance to unwind, to enjoy life, and to keep your work-life balance from swinging too far toward work. They allow you to take a step back from your normal, stressful routine and enjoy a bit of rest and relaxation — that is, if you actually take them.
      Unfortunately, too many Americans skip their vacations. Some are afraid of falling behind and having to work extra hard to get caught up when they return. Others worry that company leaders will decide they can do without them. Whatever the reason for skipping your vacation, you are depriving yourself of more than a trip to the beach or the mountains.
      Skipping vacations can lead to a loss of productivity and creativity, negatively impact the quality of your work, and eventually cause burnout. On top of that, it is bad for your health. Both men and women who take infrequent vacations have a higher mortality rate, especially from coronary heart disease (Framington Heart Study, 1992, Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, 2000).
When you do take your vacation, make sure you disconnect completely. Forget working smarter while you’re away, as suggested in a recent Fast Company article. You won’t get the full benefits of taking a vacation if you’re still working. Instead, take the following steps to ensure that you are able to fully enjoy your time off and come back to work refreshed, recharged, and ready to put your heart into your work again:
  1. Train your replacement well in advance. Take a cue from McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner, who requires each executive to train two potential replacements. For many, the idea of having someone ready to take over their job at a moment’s notice can be scary — after all, the company wouldn’t be faced with a long hiring process if they decided to fire you. But the benefits far outweigh the risks. If there is someone else who can do your job, you can take your vacation without worrying about whether your work is getting done. In addition, you are prepared for unexpected time off. If you need to take a few sick days or some time off for bereavement, you’ll know you are covered.
  2. Don’t spend the whole time traveling. Too often, vacations are a harried, nonstop flurry of activity. You have your bags packed ahead of time, leave right after work on Friday or first thing Saturday morning, and go, go, go the whole time, arriving home the day before you’re due back to work. Leave a two-day cushion at the beginning and end of your vacation, and spend some time at home resting, reading and allowing yourself to truly recharge.
  3. Don’t answer your phone. If work calls, resist the urge to pick up the phone. You’re on vacation. True emergencies are rare. You’re unlikely to be missing anything that can’t wait, and chances are, if you’ve properly trained your replacement, he or she can handle whatever crises arise in your absence.
     After taking a real vacation — without bringing my work along — I am returning with renewed enthusiasm, ready to tackle new projects and challenges. Next time you take time off work, consider turning your cell phone off and resist the urge to check your e-mail several times per day. You’ll enjoy your vacation a lot more, and you’ll enjoy your work more when you return."
 - The original source of this article can be found here.

So remember to really enjoy your next vacation, I know we all have problems leaving home behind when we travel. Also, here's another interesting article: Way to go, Holland America!

I hope you all have a great "Hump Day." ;) Enjoy the rest of your lovely work week!
Check back in on Friday if you get a chance.

Thanks, Travelers!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Okies Never Say Die

Lori got great news today. The very happy Mr. and Mrs. Steiner emailed her today about how satisfied and over-joyed they were with their Alaska cruise last month. They sent in some pictures of their wonderful trip, and highly recommend the Rhapsody of the Seas by Royal Caribbean to anyone who is wanting to cruise in the future.

Say "Hello" to the Steiners:

This weekend, the boyfriend and I were in Tulsa for a weekend getaway to visit some friends. While I have to say that Tulsa was more fun than I anticipated, the Oklahoma roads lived up to their disappointing expectations. I mean, really OK? Lets give those "roads" a tune-up! The poor suspension on David's Camry must have been struggling really hard to get us home safely.

I started working on a Mexico trip today. Very exciting! Research, research, research. So many different ways to book a trip! It can get very lengthy, let me tell ya. I'll let you all know how it turns out. I'm sure Tracee and Lori will soon be annoyed with all my questions before the day's end. Haha!

Also, Charles and Prudence have been very well. They stayed with "Aunt" Becca over the weekend while David and I were away. They had a very good time socializing with all the new people, and Becca's lively Husky, Bandit.

Want to see something funny?

Ta da! Charles somehow manages to sleep like this for hours at a time, on a regular basis.

I hope that brightens the rest of your day. 

Until next time, travelers!

Friday, August 17, 2012

You Would Think It Was A Monday

This morning I was so proud of myself for leaving the house earlier than usual.

Apparently, though, I left my brain at home when I left this morning.

If you are not aware of the construction going on between the lanes of 540, then you might not get this post. However, I was paying a silly amount of attention to the rods and pins that are being set up in the middle lane, and did not notice that I had passed my exit to get to work. In quick reaction, I took the next upcoming exit, which happened to be the Cado Springs. If you are familiar with Cado Springs, which I am not, you will know that it does NOT allow you to simply get back onto 540 North. I spent the next 8 minutes in a panic trying to U-turn my way back to 540. Needles to say, I took a lot of U-turns.

Anyway, I made it to work safe and sound with my morning sweet tea in tow, thank goodness.

I also have some good news today, in case you were wondering. The photo shoot on Wednesday was fabulous.

Here's a little sneak peak:

So glamorous.

Lori is out of the office today. So Tracee and I are lonely little travel agents. Please feel free to stop by, or just call to chit-chat. :)

I believe that all of the Mexico pictures are uploaded to Facebook, if not, I apologize. Feel free to request more if you wish. 

On a side note, I despise election year. Just fyi. I think my Political Science minor will ruin me forever.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Big Break

Today is my big break.

The Arkansas Gazette is coming to Airways Freight and Destinations today to take picture of us Destination girls, and our PIGShibition contender. (Google PIGShibition). Of course, my straightener promptly broke upon my return from Mexico, so I was left to my own devices this morning in terms of hair. Last night I decided, while at Walmart Market, that a head band might help tame these locks. Luckily, my mane was blessed by the hair Gods this morning, and my hair is not too frizzy. So, it looks mildly decent (Kristin, 1; Hair, 0). I wish you could see the massive "fist pump" I'm putting up right now.

I present you, "Pigtopia."  She sure is a beaut!

I'll try to post some pictures of us super models on here, but, if not, please get a copy of the Arkansas Gazette every day this week and keep a look out for these knock-out ladies, oh, and our pig, of course.

My current dilemma: Red lipstick or pink?! Oh no...the trials and tribulations of the rich and famous.

Monday, August 13, 2012

World Traveler

Good Samaritan advice: never ever eat the blueberry muffins at the XNA cafe. My trip to Mexico was almost ruined by a very dry, very pasty, very awful blueberry muffin at the airport. And that's a shame, cause I'm an avid muffin supporter.

Luckily, my trip to Cancun was "first class." So the special treatment, free TV, and roomy seats made up for my original misfortune.

Also, I advise that you carry a hefty supply of "OFF" with you at all times while traveling to the tropics. I made the rookie mistake of napping outside on the beach bed, and I am now being kept company by a colony of mosquito bites. The worst one is the mountain of a bite located on my middle finger, left hand. Horrible, horrible, horrible.

Send anti-itch vibes my way.

Anyway, on to important issues. I have returned from Mexico with a brain full of new information. Site inspection after site inspection: it's hard to keep it all straight sometimes! Training was intense, and the inspections were very jam-packed, thankfully my college days are not too far behind me, and paying attention wasn't too much of a challenge. The alcohol, however, did prove to be an interesting twist. The resorts kept our hand busy with frequent drinks of all varieties. And I can gladly say that there were all muy delicioso! By the way, you can check out the Destinations facebook page all this week to see all 743,458,462 pictures I took. :)

I arrived at the El Dorado Royale at 2 in the afternoon, after checking in and handing over my luggage, I took the extra half hour I had till my room was ready (check in is at 3) to grab a small tasty lunch at the Asian restaurant on site (Kampai).  Now, since this is an adults only resort, most people travel in pairs, or in larger groups. Due to this, I was the only person eating as a single. This happened on my first meal, and my last. The embarassing part about this were the "Only one?" and "Are you waiting for someone to join you?" questions that ended in the second plate setting being removed from my table. Talk about awkward. I suggest taking a companion on your next vacation. Company is always a nice touch.

The grounds and the staff were amazing. Everyone greeted me with a smile and an "Hola!" I felt a little discouraged when I tried my rusty Spanish with the employees. Most responses were in English, however, I was rewarded my last night with a wonderful server at the Itialian restaurant. His name was Jamie (Hay-mae), and he was verty delighted with my efforts to use his native tounge. Now, it's been a while since I've been quizzed over my Spanish in class, but Jamie did a great job in playing the professor. He quizzed me pretty good during my meal, and I really enjoyed it. If you're visiting the Royale anytime soon, make sure to ask for his services. :)

After all the site inspections, I would have to say that I definitely have a top three list of Karisma resorts that I would recommend (Outside of the Royale). The El Dorado Seaside, the Azul Beach, and the El Dorado Maroma are on my vacation list for the future. Wonderful honeymoon and destination wedding locations, and not filled with screaming children. ;) Plus, the nicely kept beaches are always a plus!

Have I mentioned yet that I missed my babies terribly while I was gone? The boyfriend sent me a pic of the cuties while I was gone. 

They are just to die for.

Back to Mexico...the house keeping was excellent. These people are like little ninjas. Every day when I came back for lunch, and again after dinner, the room was freshly cleaned. The bed was turned down at night, and a new towel animal greeted me at every entrance. I even had a "romantic" set up one night with rose petals and slow "love" music playing in the background.  The complimentary champagne was a nice touch, and the outdoor shower is super romantic. Too bad I was all by my self, buuuut I still indulged in a little jacuzzi time with some good Gotye and Florence & the Machine blaring from the iHome. Thank goodness for Skype, right? At least I had a webcam human to keep me company before I went to bed every night.

Take a gander at that beautiful room! The bathroom was gorgeous as well. Can't beat a walk-in shower, an outdoor shower, and freshly cleaned white towels everyday! I really got an idea on how the other half lives. Watch out, Brad Pitt! I've tasted the life of the rich and famous so you better move on over! Haha!

More for next time, travelers!

Monday, August 6, 2012

The New Girl

Today I was given the account information and password for the Destinations blog. Whether this decision by my superiors will turn out to be a stroke of genius, or a horrible disaster, is yet to be known. My slightly sarcastic, yet refreshingly optimistic attitude, will hopefully make for a good read. I plan on wowing you all with my witty prowess and fun-loving sense of humor.

Not to keep you in the dark any longer of my mystery identity, I shall reveal myself here: My name is Kristin Ray, and I'm the new "agent in training" here at Destinations. I'm 23 years old, a recent graduate of the University of Arkansas (Go Hogs!), with a Bachelors in International Relations. I hail from the wonderful Show-Me State of Missouri, but in absolutely no way have any loyalties to Mizzou or those pesky Tigers. After making Fayetteville my home, I'm glad to say that I might just be an Arkansas girl at heart, and forever. Much to my much dismay, I am embarrassingly obsessed with my dogs, who will more than likely frequent future posts. Introductions are in order, I believe. Charles is my royally obnoxious 3 year old Bloodhound, with what appears to be a mission to destroy all of my most precious valuables. Recent victims have been two TV remotes, multiple computer speakers, two wooden spatulas, and countless new articles of clothing. It's very possible that the sole source of my love for this animal derives from what can only be described as undeniable cuteness. I often try to get away with blaming his behavior on the fact that he was a "pound puppy," although that seems unfair since Prudence, dog number two, is also a rescue. Prudence is the lovable "motherly" type. At 4 years old, she's already had her own litter of cuties, and is a Beagle/Terrier mix whose soul purpose in life is to keep me warm on cold winter nights. I shall warn you now that pictures will most likely appear on a regular basis. If you are adverse to overwhelming cute furriness, I suggest that you shield your eyes now.

            I only hope my future children are as loved as these two rascals.

Now, on to important business (sorry, doggies!). I am pleased to announce that on Wednesday (8/6/12) I embark on my first official FAM Trip! Now, for those of you in the dark, a FAM trip is a "familiarization trip" with resort sponsored inspections which are used exclusively to educate us savvy travel agents on all the latest and greatest.  I'll be arriving to the El Dorado Royal in Riviera Maya on Wednesday afternoon, and will be spending the evening, and the following two days, touring and learning about all the Karisma Resorts in the surrounding area. But, it's not going to be all work and no play. I have the chance to visit the beaches during my lunch breaks and evenings, and even have the opportunity to spend my last day in Mexico taking in a popular excursion that includes snorkeling, cave exploring, and zip lining! Now, this isn't my first attempt to leave the country, but it will be my first success. So, as you can probably predict, I'm quaking with excitement. Upon my return I promise I will update you all on what I hope to be a life changing experience. I have always wanted to travel the world, and Wednesday marks the start of a wonderful journey that will hopefully give me every opportunity to make that dream come true! Even better, my new experiences will end up helping someone else create their own great memories. What else could anyone ask for?

Beach photos will surely be posted next week. And don't worry, I'll make sure to keep those bikini clad shots for my own personal use. ;) I will make it my duty to recount my experiences as clearly and truthfully as possible. I do not want to keep my experiences over seas, or even in the office, a secret. I wish you invite you all to join me on my journey as a young woman beginning her (what I hope will be) blossoming career. Perhaps you can live vicariously through me, or use this blog as a source of nostalgia, or inspiration for future travel! If anything else, photos of Charles and Prudence are a good enough reason drop by, right? =)

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