The 2013 Scentsy Incentive was an all-expense paid trip for top performing consultants. Trip earners had a choice of six different destinations: Washington DC, Charleston SC, New York City, Hawaii, Whistler BC or Costa Rica. I chose to attend a week in early April 2013 in Washington DC.
I’ve been DC many times before and knew it was a place I wanted to return to over and over. I also knew I was planning to attend alone and it was a perfect spot to hang out solo and be totally fine with it (Who goes to Hawaii for a week, alone, y’know?)
Below should answer the oft asked question, “How was your trip?”
In a word, it was AMAZING! Scentsy is a top notch company that cares about its independent consultants. Scentsy is owned by Orville and Heidi Thompson and they are surrounded by a group of phenomenal staff and executives who also recognize that the independent consultants are the backbone of the company and they treat us as such.
This was a very small, intimate group of approximately 40 consultants, and some guests. Funny, when the destinations were announced and subsequently selected, DC was one of the least popular locations to attend. The elite group of us who wanted to go there knew what a gem this trip would be – and it delivered – and then some. What a fantastic opportunity to spend some one on one time with such quality corporate members and fellow independent consultants.
Monday I arrived midday to be greeted by a driver who would take me back to the Marriott Wardman Park. There was one other trip earner on my flight, so the two of us rode in style in a black limo to the hotel. That afternoon one of my fellow Superstar Directors from Virginia drove in to visit with me. We had dinner together and spent hours catching up. Relaxing was definitely well on its way.
Tuesday meet Rip Van Winkle. I slept the entire day. And I mean the entire day as in did not get out of my pjams and did not leave the room once. I went to sleep Monday night and woke up Wednesday morning. Those room-darkening shades are magic! I did not feel the least big guilty; clearly I was long overdue on some rest. Tuesday night there were goodies left for us in the room (or in my case, hotel staff woke me up rapping on the door to give it to me). We each received a comprehensive Fodor’s Guide to Washington DC, along with an American Flag and some candy and an invitation to join them for dinner on Wednesday night.
Wednesday was an incredible day – one of the top highlights of my trip. After breakfast I took the Metro (DC subway system) to the Pentagon. I had my times screwed up and arrived over 2 hours early for my appointment. I killed some time walking around the area of the Pentagon 9/11 outdoor memorial and then found a Starbucks. The weather was gorgeous all week – well in the upper 80s/90s most of the time, that may be too warm for some but for this Michigander it was heavenly. I spent as much time as possible outside this week. The Pentagon is impressive, and that’s an understatement. I had opportunity to see and learn so much. I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you, and I don’t want to do that. My escort was incredibly knowledgeable. Just a couple of little tidbits – did you know that 120 White Houses would fit inside the Pentagon? There are 23,000 employees who work there. The structure contains three separate Starbucks and one Dunkin’ Donuts and serves 4,500 cups of coffee each day. I also entered the indoor 9/11 memorial and as I approached the point of impact from that horrific day, the hair on the back of my neck stood up, I got goose bumps and my eyes welled with tears. It was the most poignant moment of the entire trip.
After I left the Pentagon I hopped the Metro again and wandered around Capitol Hill for the afternoon. That evening our small group had dinner together at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. Our catered event was delightful and included a 3 piece orchestra and a live armadillo presentation. I think we ate camel and sloth for dinner, not sure – it looked a little bit like beef and tasted like chicken. It was lovely. But then the day continued to get even better.
One of Orville’s former employees (from his days before Scentsy in the pitch business) learned that he was here for the week. Daryl Willard, the friend/former employee, is now with the Honor Guard. He joined us at the zoo to tell us great old stories about Orville but also shared what it means to be a member of the Honor Guard and to be privileged to guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Do you remember that photo that circulated around the internet during Hurricane Sandy of the Honor Guard guarding the Tomb during the storm? Daryl is shown here on the left. He said it was brutal standing out there during that time (obviously).
We were so riveted by listening to him, when it came time that the zoo kicked us out, Daryl returned to the hotel with us to continue sharing stories and answering questions until late into the evening. After listening to him, you’d have to be a complete dolt to not have an increased appreciation and indebtedness for all the military personnel – present, past and fallen who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.
When we returned to the room, there was a Washington DC baseball cap waiting along with some more candy and a note to enjoy ourselves on Thursday.
“Awed” is the word that comes to mind when I think about my experiences on Wednesday.
Thursday was another great day. By this point I was a pro at maneuvering the Metro and going anywhere within the DC area that I wanted to. Wednesday was a lot to absorb so I decided for a more laid back day on Thursday. It’s Cherry Blossom Festival in DC this week and the Cherry Blossoms are absolutely breathtaking. If you’ve never been to DC during this time, add it to your bucket list – it’s a must do. I took the Metro to the Smithsonian exit and wandered around the National Mall (no, not shopping mall), memorials, White House and Tidal Basin where I took in the most magnificent display of Cherry Blossoms. This trip was so beautiful and so relaxing. Because I’ve been here before I didn’t feel the need to fill my days and feel like I needed to go visit all the hot tourist spots, as I’ve seen many of those. Instead it was a week of exploring, wandering and enjoying. I had some pretty incredible grub everyday too. Seems like I spent a lot of time eating – fortunately I spent far more time walking, so that’s the right ratio.
Thursday afternoon six others from our group, which included one of our Scentsy executives and his wife, Chuck and Shannon Thompson, toured the State Department building. We spent most of our visit on the eighth floor. As you can imagine much of this building this highly secured and not open to the public. No, I didn’t see Secretary of State, John Kerry – he was en route to South Korea that day. It was an amazing opportunity to walk the very halls where such dignitaries have been in those same footsteps. That tour concluded in the Diplomatic lobby area with all the flags of each country that we have relations with. It’s where the Diplomats enter the building when they arrive and it’s also where the memorial is of all the fallen members of the State Department’s names are etched in marble. What was yet another poignant moment was the most recent and newly added tribute to Anne Smedinghoff, complete with freshly lain flowers at the foot of the display. For those unfamiliar with that name, Anne was a 25 year old U.S. diplomat who was killed last weekend during a car bombing in Afghanistan. Read about her here.
After this relaxing day I returned to the hotel then walked across the street to a restaurant called Hot N Juicy Crawfish. I wasn’t sure what to expect but heard it was very good seafood and I was up for an adventure.
When I arrived it was pretty busy so I assumed a seat at the bar. What an experience it was. Willy the bartender explained how to order. First you select your entree – crawfish, lobster, shrimp, crab, etc. Then you select the type of seasoning and last decide on the degree of heat/spiciness. I opted for shrimp. Next a large slab of butcher paper was placed in front of me (no, no crayons, but I could have made a beautiful mural), along with a metal bucket to discard my shells. Willy informed me that everyone must wear a bib because their food was hot and juicy and they didn’t want us to get upset with them if our clothes were ruined. A short while later I received a plastic bag tied off that contained my boiled, spicy shrimp. The bag wasn’t in a plate or basket, just plopped on the paper in front of me, no silverware but I did get a roll of paper towel. That’s about it. Rip open the bag, put your fingers inside and enjoy. It was aptly named. At first the shrimp was so hot I could barely peel it and then when I popped off the head, it did squirt at me, so I was ever grateful for my bib. I left there absolutely stuffed.
I returned to my room to find a white chocolate White House and inside it contained three dark and milk chocolate candies. It was the perfect ending after a tasty dinner.
Friday – the last day. It was somewhat bitter/sweet. After being gone from the princesses and puppy for a week I was getting ready to head home, but the weather was so amazing and it was such a relaxing week, it’s always difficult to return back to reality. They were calling for rain that day; the only day of the week with less than perfect weather. Fortunately I was a Girl Scout so I remembered to pack an umbrella. Again I boarded the Metro, en route to the Capitol Building to visit the office of my Congressman, Bill Huizenga. It was a torrential downpour the moment I exited the subway at the Capitol South stop. I hung back a bit, hoping it’d dissipate a bit and finally just decided to put on my big girl panties and walk a few blocks to the entrance. I heard if you were made of sugar or shi..stuff, you can melt if you get wet. Apparently I am comprised of neither. I was shown around the building for a personal tour and toward the end of my visit, the House was about to take a vote – as evidenced by all the “˜red circle lapel pin, suit wearing gentlemen’ rapidly moving through the halls. It was at that moment that I literally ran into a young politician who was walking and texting. That young politician I brushed shoulders with was none other than Paul Ryan. Ya, that was kinda cool. He looks even younger in person. Must be all that P90X that gives him his youthful appearance because I’m sure the stress in there could certainly age one rather quickly.
I headed back toward the hotel but not before stopping again to refuel. I told you I ate a lot. I have a hearty appetite and make no apologies. I ate at a restaurant called Mediterra. Great hummus and gyro, by the way. Then I returned to the hotel to do a little bit of work. All play and no work makes for one busy week to catch up upon return.
Our final event for the week was a farewell dinner on the Spirit of Washington. Take a look at this puppy, it’s no boat, it’s a yacht. Capacity is approximately 400 and there were approximately 40-50 of us on the entire vessel. We had the ship to ourselves. It was absolutely gorgeous, inside and out. The view down the Potomac was incredible and the food was to die for. We were spoiled with chicken, tilapia with lobster sauce, salmon, pork and sirloin, plus all the trimmings. There was a DJ and some of the consultants entertained us by cutting a rug – lots of laughs and giggles. Dessert was of course as superb as you would expect with an array of sinful decadents. It was an experience like no other. We were treated first class the entire week and the grand finale was no exception. As we disembarked off the vessel we were each handed a souvenir photo that they took of the individuals or couples when we first boarded before we started the cruise.
After thanks yous and good byes I returned to the room to find yet another parting gift. This was a beautiful note from Orville and Heidi expressing gratitude for working hard to earn the trip and it was a code so that I could go onto mixbook.com and create my own memory book of the week.
Orville and Heidi Thompson and the entire staff went all out to let us know how much they appreciated us. We appreciate them more than we could ever express.
If you’re interested in seeing more of my DC photos click here.
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