Sitting here writing this post in a sweatshirt, hat, and jean jacket, freezing my butt off is making me long for the warm temperatures and picture-perfect sunshine that I left behind when I departed fabulous Ft.Lauderdale after spending three days there thanks to Rachael Ray Nutrish. The objective of the trip was to attend the one day Miami-Ft.Lauderdale Pet Expo that took place Saturday, November 15th, but since I have family in both Plantation and Miami, I added a couple of days on to enable me to spend at least a little bit of time with them. To those (which includes MOST everyone), who are sitting and freezing as I am, sit back, relax, grab a beverage and enjoy some photos that just might warm you up a bit!
I arrived Thursday, November 13th at 5pm and was greeted at the airport by my sister-in-law, Nancy, who resides in Plantation. Nancy brought me to the Sheraton Ft.Lauderdale Beach Hotel where I would be enjoying the next few days.
The hotel has everything you could ever want, a bar, restaurant, coffee shop, gift shop, pool, a Zen garden and more. It was a high energy, bustling venue full of folks who were either leaving for cruises or just enjoying the Florida sunshine.
My brother and sister-in-law, (Glenn and Wanda), who reside in Miami, were scheduled to arrive Friday morning to spend the day with me. I only get to see them every couple of years, so I was excited beyond belief to see them again.
When I arrived the day before, it was dark and I never realized that the beach was right outside of the hotel. When I met Glenn and Wanda on Friday, this is what greeted me!
The day was a day that would make the Florida Chamber of Commerce proud. Low humidity, a gentle breeze, the temperature stayed at a steady 80 degrees (warming up yet?) the entire day.
We spent our time together, talking, laughing, walking the beach, and taking selfies!
|My brother, Glenn, my sister-in-law, Wanda and me!|
|Glenn and I|
All too soon they had to head back to Miami, I missed them the second they pulled out of the parking lot and vowed that it would NOT take me another two years to visit them again!
Friday morning I took a cab to the Ft.Lauderdale Convention Center where the Expo was held. The center is HUGE and the grounds are just beautiful.
The inside hallway was beautiful as well, MUCH prettier than the venue that I will visit this Friday when I attend the Novi Pet Expo here in Michigan.
No sooner did I enter the Expo (which had less vendors than I had anticipated, but it in NO WAY took away from the incredible time that I had there meeting and speaking with vendors and rescues. A number of the vendors you will see featured on our blog over the next few months), than I literally shrieked and jumped up and down like a little kid when my eyes spotted the GORGEOUS and sweet Deb Barnes and Christine Michaels at their booth promoting their rescue Pawsitively Humane, Inc.
I laughed my head off when Deb spotted me and yelled "Caren Gittleman what in the HELL are YOU doing here??!!" It was such a hoot and a complete delight to be able to connect with two of my most favorite and greatly loved cat women!!
The Expo (as is the case with many other pet events), was quite "dog-centric", (hence the few photos that were taken of the actual event, you can see more photos on Dakota's blog on Thursday), but there were of course, MANY rescue groups there with some precious cats available for adoption.
I wanted to take each and every one of the cats that I saw there home with me. It broke my heart to have to leave them.
My sister-in-law, Nancy, was looking forward to meeting me at the Expo, but unfortunately, what should have been a 15 minute drive, turned into a TWO HOUR AND FIFTEEN MINUTE FIASCO where she was stuck in traffic due to an accident. Nancy had never attended an Expo and was heart broken when she FINALLY arrived and couldn't find a place to park. She picked me up outside the venue, and she was finally able to calm her frazzled nerves, that through a comedy of errors found us at Bahia Cabana Waterfront Restaurant and Patio Bar yet again!
|Cody and Dakota were there too in Flat Pet form!|
After lunch, we headed to Nancy's home in Plantation, where after I bestowed an assortment of cat toys on Cody's look-alike cousin "Oscar" and Nancy's English Springer Spaniels, (Molly and Max), Oscar adopted ME as his new BEST friend! (I think Oscar thought I was one GIANT cat toy as well! Nancy and her husband Allan also have two other cats, Jennifer and Rosie, who aren't as social as Oscar, and chose to not make themselves available for photos).
|Me, Cody's look-alike cousin "Oscar"|
and Max the English Springer Spaniel
|Oscar's resemblance to Cody|
They both have loving
personalities as well!
Just for the record, Cody would be Patty, and Oscar would be Cathy since he is more refined than Cody!
After a nice visit, Nancy, her husband, Allan and I headed off to a gourmet dinner that they treated me to at Casablanca Cafe in Ft.Lauderdale.
|My salmon and spinach|
from Casablanca Cafe
|My sister-in-law Nancy and my brother-in-law Allan|
The blissful time spent with family and fur, all too soon came to an end. Early Sunday morning I jetted off to the frozen tundra that is Michigan. Dakota greeted me with his usual exuberance and Cody's eyes gazed at me as if he couldn't believe I was FINALLY home. I missed my boys and smothered them in kisses and both of them have barely left my side since I have returned.
One of my favorite purchases from the Expo were two ties from Fancy Pants Pet Accessories, (one each for Dakota and Cody), Dakota loved his:
Cody, was a totally different story.
Finally, he had ENOUGH...
Speaking of "having had enough", if you hung in through this unusually LONG post, I THANK YOU.........I hope you enjoyed seeing the photos and sharing my experience as much as I enjoyed sharing them with you.
While the sun and warm temperatures in Florida were the best, and seeing my Florida family, and spending time at the Expo were a complete blast, whenever I am traveling, there is a void in my heart that can only be filled when I see my precious boys again. Observing their happiness in having me home, is the best feeling ever. When I stop and give thanks this year on Thanksgiving, I will be thanking Rachael Ray Nutrish for affording me the opportunity of attending the Expo, and for my patient husband who unselfishly stayed home to take care of the boys, and my Cody and Dakota who make our home complete. Yes, there is MUCH to give thanks for!
This was taken about an hour after I returned home, having me home and Cody having his Nutrish For Cats, is all he needs to make him happy!