Thursday, March 24, 2011

Adventures At The Natural Products Expo and More Updates

The Fun Never Ends

Well I am finally able to sit down and get this weeks blog out after a great few days at the tradeshow and getting caught up with my office duties. The Natural Products Expo was a fantastic experience, meeting so many great people. The energy in the place was incredible, in fact so much so, that on our first day we were completely overwhelmed. We sort of had that "deer caught in the headlights" day....but I am getting ahead of myself.

You'll find links throughout the article so you can visit their pages for the full experience.

Once we arrived in Anaheim, we took our shuttle to our hotel, the Park Vue Inn. After settling in, we then had to go to a clothing store immediately before dinner, since the temps exceeded the predictions and I was roasting with no other lightweight pants packed. But all was not lost since I stumbled on the cutest shop called "Fresh Produce" within the Garden Walk. There I found the most comfortable, cute pants, which I proceeded to change into and wear for the remainder of the evening. They were like wearing a feather and were perfect for the next day which would also promise to be hot. We then proceeded to dinner in the Garden Walk Mall and ate at the California Pizza Kitchen. Fantastic food and we enjoyed a balmy evening of dining on their patio. We then enjoyed a leisurely stroll back to our hotel.....glorious evening it was, relishing every moment.

As for our hotel, it just so happened to be right across the street from Disney's main gate. This place was perfect, clean, close to everything, including many restaurants, and they took good care of us the entire time we were there. In fact they had a gift basket waiting for us in our room when we arrived with fruits, snacks and a bottle of wine. We were staying in their King suite with Jacuzzi which included a safe for valuables. Very quiet place and they provided bottled water to the guests at no charge. The maids were in fact so honest, don't know if a safe was even necessary by our experience, because when we left a $10.00 tip on the nightstand for them the second day, it was still sitting there when we returned at days end. The next morning we left them a note that said "housekeeping," and happily it was taken this time. I would highly recommend this hotel for anyone visiting the Anaheim area.

We spent our first day in Disneyland having a superb time, relaxing, eating, soaking up the warmth (80's), watching all the little kids and getting on as many of the rides as we could....wait time for most of the day was a walk right on or 15 minutes. I mean, do you see any people in that picture to the right? .....and this is center court. (Perfection if you have a limited stay) Sadly to say, my favorite ride just happened to be closed for refurbishment....yep, my Splash Mountain was shut down. There were also many other attractions that were being updated on Mainstreet and New Orleans, so no access, and this carried on throughout the park. So unfortunately, the park was muddied a bit with construction fences and scaffolding, not the park I remembered. They are in the process of building a new park in Disneyland, and from what we could see of the construction, it was going to be huge.

We tried to last until closing time which was 8 pm but we tuckered out by 6 pm, so off to the hotel we went. Also on Friday and Saturday nights, they do the Fireworks display and I kid you not, we felt like we were in Beirut. These things are so loud, they literally set off car alarms around the area. It was comical, but clearly conveyed to me, I would not want to live near the happiest place on earth....I had no idea. One of the hotel staff told me she lives over a mile away and they can still hear the thunderous booms....not so happy place I guess if you are a resident. Timing of this trip couldn't have been better also since they have been having nothing but colder weather since we got back we got our dose of sunshine....ahhh!

Stunning Display

The next day we walked to the Convention Center to get registered and donned our badges, which we wore around our necks, and proceeded into the huge building that sported over 3000 vendors on the main level and downstairs. We ambled about, staring in wide eyed amazement at the displays, the booths and the vast diversity of products in every category of cosmetics, skincare, grocery, raw materials, packaging, natural foods, restaurants, bakeries, the list was endless. If it was natural or eco friendly, it was there in full display. We also had the enjoyment of dodging through over 55,000 people on the first day alone...exceeding there total numbers in just the first day from last years entire show....can you imagine?

In the Health and Beauty section, there were plenty of cosmetics, skincare and personal care products at the show, but I only located a handful of mineral makeup companies, several of which I had never heard of before.

By the time we walked this building the first day, our dogs were barkin' and we felt as though we did not execute our game plan of making contacts. We just kind of stared, awestruck and anxious of missing out on anything..... a whole lot of walking and staring with little accomplished. Others in my industry warned us this would happen when experiencing our first tradeshow of this magnitude. After all it is the world's largest.

New Game Plan

That night we rested and regrouped and sat down to make a game plan for the following day...our last day before jetting home again. The stakes were high and we had to have a new plan of attack....I hear the "Rocky" movie theme in my head right now.

We loaded up with business cards neatly packed away in our bags and headed again to the show, this time taking a cab to save on our feet, plus I got out of my wedges and put on my Tevas for this plan of attack.

This day was not as congested with people, but plenty of visitors still arriving. But the best part was, the booths weren't so crowded as the day prior, so it allowed us to visit and chat up with some of the vendors and actually meet some reps in the process.

We sucked it up, got focused, approached many people and remained true to our goals, which allowed us to learn more about tradeshows, their benefits and to meet others in the industry of redistribution. We learned a ton and met some great peeps.

Hey who's that guy and why is he hitting on me?

Surprisingly enough we met Fabio, and we found him to be extremely personable and looking fantastic at 52. Still packing nothing but muscle, the man was a powerhouse. He was promoting nutritional supplements he created.

Must remain focused.....we continued on and ran into reps on the floor wandering about, and they happily approached us by reading the badges around our necks. We exchanged business cards, took some pictures, and relaxed more with the process. Our excitement and energy now matched that of those at the show.

Get 'Er Done!

After we did a lot of networking, we then proceeded to enjoy the many other offerings, such as food and drink at the tradeshow. So much food and so little time. They gave us samples to put in our bags and haul home for later enjoyment.

My favorite products I sampled and purchased after we returned home were: All products are hyperlinked to their respective pages with some coupon offers as well.
  • Sunbutter ~ a natural non peanut butter, made from sunflower seeds. Smooth and creamy and tastes unbelievably fantastic.

  • Nutorious ~ a dehydrated confection snack made from dried fruits and nuts. Watch the calories though, they sneak up on you.

  • Alexia Potatoes ~ Delicious sweet potato fries with different seasonings available. They also make other great products, including standard fries. Love these.

  • PopChips ~ a type of potato chip with half the calories, and they have them in favorite flavors like traditional potato chips...mmmm barbecue is my weakness.

  • Chobani Yogurt ~ Yum can only describe this thick and rich Greek style yogurt with fruit on the bottom. Simply to die for. Great dessert substitute and the calories are not too bad.

  • Food For Lovers Vegan Queso ~ A non cheese Queso dip or sauce that, I am telling you, tastes exactly like the real deal without cheese or the calories. Smooth and creamy and a bit of kick.
The list goes on, such as products from bakeries, sauces and dips, vegan meats dishes, drinks to quench your thirst and provide vitamins or antioxidants. And yes there were even things I sampled that were hard to swallow or curled your toes, and if that is healthy then I'd rather be "blech." I had to strain not to make a face in front of the rep presenting their sample so as not to offend. So not everything tasted the best.

All in all, the second day went far better for us and felt we had accomplished our mission. Although the tradeshow continued on through Sunday, we would be headed home, plus we were told the show pretty much winds down after Saturday.

After the show at days end, hubby and I took a breather by the gorgeous main fountain at the entrance before trekking back to the hotel for the day, since our feet were still feeling much better than the day before. Thank you Teva' was a great and fun experience overall.

Back To Reality

Well we were up at 4 am getting ready to catch our shuttle back to the airport, oh and btw, we also were blessed with the one hour time change that weekend, so this was like getting up at 3 am.

Headed to the airport, got our tickets and proceeded through security to only be stopped on our return of being told my drivers license had expired. How come I traveled to L. A. with no problems, but when leaving I get busted?....So one more task I needed to take care of once I got I don't have enough to do....and hey security lady, don't bring me down. My hubby whipped out another form of I.D. with my name on it, so she graciously let us through.

All Caught Up

So after our return on Sunday, we headed straight to bed and stayed there until the next morning where we got busy getting caught up with paperwork, getting orders finished up and out, and got back on schedule of keeping things moving in a timely rest for the weary. It was a great experience and we are continuing to be busy bees, getting our sales manual done for the reps and other great things projected in the works for this let's only hope we can get 'er done.

Update On My Last Article

I also wanted to make a correction in my article Skin Penetration Enhancers: Friend Or Foe.

A friend of mine, and scientist/chemist located in the U.K. contacted me while I was gone, to correct me on the statement of the EU banning Olive Oil. Apparently it is not the EU per se but a group of dermatologists in the U.K. that are researching this and proposing the possibility this could become a factor. I have since corrected this error in the article and can be reviewed for clarification at the link above.

Thanks everyone, now I am looking forward to longer days and warmer weather as we head into Spring.


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