THIS IS NOT A PERSONAL ATTACK ON ANYONE... THIS IS AN EVENT REVIEW.
As you all know, I have been SO SO excited about Creative Estates. It was the first blogging event I was going to attend, the first time I was going to meet my bloggy friends, and the first time I was going to leave 5ohBaby. I had already decided to attend a blog event this year and did my research. I
2.) We had to supply our own crafts for "free craft time". There would be a few classes taught at the retreat but there would be hours and hours of free craft time where we were responsible for bringing our own crafts and supplies.
3.) There were not enough people to offer rides to the event. We were told to fly into Phoenix airport even though it is 2 hours away from the event because we would be receiving rides to the retreat. However, there were not enough people to offer rides so we were told after purchasing those plane tickets, that we would have to find our own way.
At this point, I started to question whether or not I should go to the event. This was a big sacrifice from my family: financially, time commitment, time away before a move, etc. But I love love love the women going (still do!) so I decided to suck it up and meet my friends at the airport in Phoenix.
|Erika, Andi, Lisa, Abby, Jenna, Me|
After the bedrooms were taken we made nametags out of index cards, tissue paper, and glittered tape. People had been drinking already and would continue to be. As the night continued people became more and more intoxicated, including the event organizer. There was yelling, flashing, and other lewd behavior late into the night. The girls in my room, including my pregnant friend Heather and I had a difficult time sleeping as the girls were all outside our window, yelling and drinking goldschlager.
The next morning we woke up and went downstairs for breakfast. There was no toilet paper in the house. Breakfast was bagels & cream cheese or donuts. There was coffee grounds, but no creamer or filters to fit the machine. There was no milk or orange juice or anything to drink except tap water out of mason jars. The first class taught was pushed back late. After the class we had free time and were told people were leaving and did we mind if lunch was cancelled and we could all have free time. Some friends of mine and I decided to make the best of things and head to lunch and make the drive to the grand canyon (more on this later!)
|Me, Heather, Jenna|
When we got home we were just in time for our next craft: sugar scrubs. A very simple craft that was completed in 5 minutes. Around 6:30 we were asked as a group if we were hungry and if we liked spaghetti for "Italian Night". Someone then left the house to pick up walmart brand pasta sauce, cheese, bread and noodles. Dinner was not served until 7:20pm which was very late for the two pregnant women and the multiple women who were nursing (myself included). There was no announcement of dinner and there was no variety. Another tray of carrots and celery, etc (not enough to feed more than 10 people, noodles, sauce, bread and hard left over cookies from the night before.
We were all shocked but everyone
We went to bed hoping that as Saturday was day 3 we would finally be served some protein or fruit or vegetables besides the snack trays. We woke to find that there was no more coffee, very little milk, and a variety of sugary cereals for breakfast.
We considered leaving for breakfast but didn't want to miss the next amazing teacher who had to start late again, by no fault of her own. We did our crafts having to share supplies and do things in stations because there were not enough outlets for our glue guns. At this point, we were all very shaky and hungry. Lunch was prepared and served (late again). Everything served was again walmart brand. There were three sandwiches: Bread and peanut butter, bread and nutella, or bread and cucumber and mayonnaise (i think.. it could be another condiment). There was walmart brand Turkey wrapped around cucumbers. There were also plain potato chips and scones. This was the 5th option for food in 3 days.
My pregnant friend had to have a real meal, so again we left the house to eat. While we were gone, a giveaway was done. The person doing the giveaway was told a group of us were not there and she didn't care and continued the giveaway anyway.
If you know me, you know I have no problem coming to someone with issues. I talked with at least 25 of the 35-40 women and was told that, although they were very unhappy, very hungry, and upset they hadn't had any real time to craft, they preferred no one say anything as there had already been a big fight between a paying attendant ant the event coordinator. We decided that it would just be best if we left when we got home from lunch. That night 9 of us left the house and went back to Phoenix. Immediately after we left two tweets came out saying "Some people are just cowards, & freaking RUDE!!!" and one from the event organizer saying "WOW". We were never called or asked why we left or contacted in any way. Later the even organizer would go on to tweet "A coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit. -Thomas Jefferson" and ""I love it when someone insults me. That means that I don't have to be nice anymore." -Billy Idol" Dinner that night at Creative Estates was dominoes pizza and breakfast the next morning was not served.
Now, I am not a nitpicky person. I would've been fine with walmart brand food and sleeping on the floor, and maybe even bringing my own crafts. But there were no drinks for those of us who chose not to drink alcohol, there were no snacks, there was hardly any vegetables served and absolutely no fruit or protein. There was never an introduction of the event. None of the classes or meals started on schedule. Supplies were scarce or completely forgotten. The wifi was too slow for any of us bloggers to be able to blog while there. I expected to pay the $250 plus the $400 for a plane ticket. I did not also expect to pay $40 for my crafts, $120 for my portion of the rental car and gas, $80 for meals and another $60 for leaving and staying at a hotel bringing my grand total spent to around $300 more than the promised price. For that price, I could have attended BlogHer in New York which I gave up for this seemingly more affordable retreat. I left the retreat with a friendship bracelet, a felt flower, a paper nametag, a modgepodged jar, and a sugar scrub. The only craft I missed was the pointed party hat.
We were told on Friday (day 2) that the creative estates account was over drafted. When you consider that each of us payed $250 for that, it is a little upsetting. When you consider around 37 tickets were sold that brings the total profit of the ticket sales to $9250. The total cost for renting the mansion, if paid full price as listed on their website is $499 per night when you consider tax and a cleaning fee takes you to around $1800 leaving $7448 in the Creative Estates account. If you (generously) alot $2000 for decorations, craft supplies and food that leaves around $5448. I have no problem with the event coordinator making a profit for her time and work putting together an event AT ALL. But when you consider lack of food, lack of toilet paper, lack of crafting supplies, and a $5000 profit... something just doesn't sit right with any of us.
When you consider our portion of the rental, crafts, and food served I feel like at least $100 is owed to all attendants. That would still leave the event coordinator with a $1300 profit. I contacted the event site a purchased my ticket through and was told that a partial refund can only be awarded from the event coordinator. I was not sure that this would be worth the interaction when you consider the mean spirited and passive aggressive tweets occurring as such. I sent the coordinator a long and detailed email voicing my concern and asking for a partial or full refund. The full response was "Tickets are non-refundable. Thank you for coming to the retreat."
|Nicole, Me, Jenna|