Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Excitement Continues... GE 2012!

One day down... already? I swear, with a competition looming off in the distance, the days seem to fly by even faster. A Cocker Spaniel was the subject of my dreams last night. Black dogs seem to be an ongoing theme here... foreshadowing?

Anyway, the trip to Chocolate World was very enjoyable. Even though the Create Your Own Candy Bar attraction was closed for the day, the rest of Hershey's best didn't disappoint. You'd never know that they got flooded out horribly last year; it was the same chocolately experience from 2010! Plus I came back to my room with sweet treats in tow, and had the experience of dark chocolate BBQ chicken pizza - psychotically delicious!

Groom Expo officially kicked off with the Groom Fusion class. hosted by Chris Christensen. Everyone in attendance got a free mister. I can't wait to try mine out, especially with the new product techniques Carlos and Coleen shared with us!

After a quick dinner at Bear's Den (and meeting a new friend), there was a meeting for contestants hosted by judges Joey Villani, Dawn Omboy, Vivian Nash, and others. I still have absolutely no nervous feelings, but as I told Joey, I am now riding the high like never before! I've never been so amped for anything!  :D

Of course, what Thursday evening would be complete without Dawn Omboy's Internet Social? Turnout was fairly low this year, and they ran out of seats, but everyone had a good time, with Espree sample bags for all. I won a box of doggie Halloween bowties for Xavier. Tosha won a B3 gift pack - her first ever win at the Social! We sat by the "cool corner" and their luck rubbed off on us, haha!

One day down, three to go. Let's rock and roll!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Comin' Atcha from Hershey!

The time has finally come! Chilling out in my hotel room after another smooth travel through Pennsylvania, my anticipation levels are at an all-time high. Last night I dreamt that I was already competing with a black Pom. The little guy stood there with love and appreciation in his eyes as I carefully handscissored a lion trim onto him. The crowd began to cheer... then I realized it was my alarm clock, hehe  ;)

Xavier is secure on a vacation of his own with his friends at the kennel and I am sure to lose sleep tonight. The weekend is going to be jam-packed with seminars, parties, food, chocolate stouts, some possible misadventures... all of it beginning with a trip to Chocolate World tomorrow before everything kicks off. Until later, peace out from the sweetest place on Earth!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Post Overdue: My Weekend Fling at PetQuest 2012!

Wait, what's this? There was a show last month, I was there, and I DIDN'T do a little write-up for it? Really? Hey, gimmie a break, these last few months have been nutty!  ;)

I was toying with the idea of checking out Ohio's own PetQuest show over the last weekend of June, and I'm very glad I did. It's got an environment of its own--not electric like the larger shows, but rather laid back and comparatively mellow. About 50 vendors showcased their grooming goodies and competitors went head to head on stage. As with most shows, an ever-energetic Frankie Brown was there to greet us all!

Here come the Westies!
The weekend featured some fascinating breed demos, which included Koko Tamaka and Janice Fehn grooming two Westies side by side--a show trim and a pet trim at the same time! I hope that the speakers will continue to do this with other breeds; not only does this style seminar outline the similarities, but also clear-cuts (so to speak!) the differences between the two trims! It's not just "Here's the show style, now let's do the pet trim on the same dog." Watching the two in this fashion is extremely helpful for those of us that are highly reliant on visuals to really let the information soak in.

Panda Power!
Other seminars of note included an in-depth look at shampoo ingredients and an informative session on handling and caring for senior dogs.

Although a smaller show, PetQuest offered a fierce creative grooming competition. Amazing concepts came together from groomers ranging from novice to seasoned. In the end, Angela Kumpe took the win with her "Gone Fishin'" Poodle. Pictures did this design no justice; there were six shades of blue incorporated into the dyeing to create a gorgeous watery feel behind the vibrant fish. As for my personal favorite, I've got a soft spot for Poodle pandas, and Lori Craig rocked it out!

PetQuest, although not as crazy as the other shows I've attended so far, was the perfect little pick-me-up--a great opportunity to learn, watch, and meet some new friends and catch up with old ones. But it's time to strap in, next up is Hershey, baby! On top of "MY show" approaching fast, I'm also happy to announce that I will be competing in the Rescue Roundup, a new event there!

You bet I just can't wait!  XD
Peace out for now...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Blowing Off the Dust for Intergroom 2012

It happened late last Thursday night. That realization was suddenly slapped into my face like a sack full of batteries. No, it wasn't the fact that I haven't written anything here since September; but rather the realization that in less than 24 hours, I'd be on the road for New Jersey! Yes, the show season was upon me again, and even though I registered in March, that familiar yet electric feeling never hit me until the last minute!

Unlike departure weather from last year's Groom Expo, Pennsylvania's clear blue sky spanned out over the mountains, the sun beating down on Puppy Waggin' II. The drive always goes fast under those perfect April conditions. Shortly after checking in and collecting my registration info on Thursday, I ran into two familiar faces: Joey and Jen (aka Dirty Hairy from PetGroomer)! After saying hi, we all retired for the night; travel seemed to get to the best of all of us and the big excitement wasn't until tomorrow!

Saturday, the doors of the trade show revealed a groomer's candy store. Nearly 150 vendors were present to sell us new toys, and among them were Chuck (who gave a powerful presentation using my chewed Groomer's Helper), Gilly (who changed the name of his company), Jorge, my friends from Aesculap... y'know, it just might be easier to say who wasn't there!  :)

Handstripped Brussels, Frodo
Classes were offered by ISCC groomers Pam Lauritzen and Vero DaSylva, Rev. Sonny D., Melissa Verplank, and others. The Reverend spent time talking about how important nonverbal communication is in the salon, and taught us a breathing exercise to help clear our minds - exactly what I need, but I haven't gotten very good at it yet! ISCC's handstrip class gave me further insight into one of my grooming obsessions; it really IS an art form when done correctly! Now if only I can find someone with a dog that they want kept in show rotation! Melissa Verplank's class on time management also contained useful business tips - a few extra gems hidden in an already dynamic presentation. And what better way to close out the day than joining Jen and Melissa (Mylady of PG) for a hibachi dinner?  ;D

In the competition ring, Novi was standing out among the Rising Stars. While I was in ISCC product and Spaniel classes on Sunday, he snagged Best in Show of the Rising Star division with a Kerry Blue terrier. Congrats again Novi, your dog was absolutely stunning!

Groomer Party!!
Sunday night meant it was time for Chuck's big party. Before entering the big bash, another groomer introduced me to the liquor concoction known as the Black Russian. I grabbed a few more and shot the breeze with several groomers from Rome, Italy, until Chuck shooed us all into the room: "Can I ask you a question? What the hell are you doing out here? Go in and dance!" Haha!

Lights, disco balls, and glow sticks that were handed out by Chuck himself transformed the second floor of the Holiday Inn into a dance club for pet professionals. The cover band Phenomenon kept the energy alive with everything from Disco Inferno to Footloose. Sasha Riess jumped into the middle of dancing groomers and really got things going - he sure can shake it! As for me, I left the party a little early; after being introduced to one too many Black Russians, I just knew when enough was enough! o.O

Monday came and went way too fast. That last day of the trade show are always lightning-quick. They kind of sneak up on you... much like a couple of Black Russians... :)
Christine DeFilippo's Poodle

Anyway, after attending another insightful class by Melissa Verplank (all about economics) and a quirky but fun Poodle class from Pam and Vero, I decided to play hooky on the last session... and finally got a while to talk to none other than Judge Joey! He took a look at my 2012 portfolio and said I do "nice clean work". Talk about feeling accomplished! Then, my years-old question was finally answered: yes, the seventeen coat types are worth knowing; and for the same reasons I like them: thoroughness, style, technique, tool knowledge, professionalism. That means I need to get busy on making a giant poster displaying all the breeds and their coats. Whee, another great project coming up!! :)

After picking up a few more odds and ends, it was time to make my rounds and say goodbye to all my friends, many of whom will be in Hershey. Oddly enough, my GPS once again tried to take me to the sweetest place on earth; it was reading my mind because I can't wait! One of my favorite sayings really holds true: "It's never really goodbye, because there will always be another dog show!"  ;)

See y'all in September!