Part of the reason this blog is called Life in Pleasantville, is that I truly believe “Pleasantville” exists wherever you may roam. That is part of the allure of travel for me. I am always looking for the joy of other people in their Pleasantville. And I always find it. Rose-coloured glasses? Maybe. But I think it’s more an awareness that good people exist everywhere. As always, I found them in Jamaica. Warm and welcoming, Jamaicans hold a special place in my heart for always making me feel at home.
What made this trip particularly special though was that I found myself on an unexpected girlfriends trip, with girlfriends I didn’t know I had. The ladies who joined me on this media trip were funny, whip-smart, compassionate and the type of people that I wished lived around the corner from me. I came home positively floating, not just from all the special treatment we received at Beaches Negril and Half Moon, but from the bonds formed on a five-day media trip. These women hold a special place in my heart now, and because they’re friends I wanted to introduce them to you. Get on their sites and follow them on Twitter. They are worth getting to know. Trust me.
Jen Maier (second from left)
You’ll note that I come to Jen’s shoulder in this picture (I’m wearing heels) and boy could we commiserate about height issues. That aside though, I was so glad to have the opportunity to spend time with Jen after being “social media” acquaintances for the last three years. Owner of UrbanMoms and co-owner of SheBlogs, the media company that reps ads on my site, Jen was a wealth of knowledge for me. More than that though, I’m so glad to call her a friend now. Read Jen’s amazing take on our journey here. Follow Jen on Twitter @Jen_Maier
Michelle (third from left)
One of our lovely PR reps out of NYC, Michelle is the epitome of grace under pressure. After all, keeping eight bloggers to a tight schedule is no easy task. Always smiling, always dressed impeccably, and always a class act.
Stacy DeBroff (fourth from left)
I wanted to hide in Stacy’s luggage and go home with her. Really. I could have listened to her talk for another week. Listening to her talk over lunch or dinner, I would whip out my phone and start taking notes. Unusual yes, but it’s not everyday you get to travel with someone like Stacy. CEO and Founder of Mom Central, Stacy also does radio and television, has written parenting books, and is a successful spokesperson. I’ve never really looked for a mentor before, but I believe I’ve found one in Stacy. She is a total inspiration. Also, after listening to Stacy’s review of 50 Shades of Grey, I am now going to read the series. Funniest review I’ve ever heard. Follow Stacy @StacyDeBroff
Katie Dillon (fifth from left)
Katie runs a site called La Jolla Mom. Please don’t massacre the name like I did and say the ‘J’ in Jolla. It’s silent. *hangs head in shame* Katie’s site is beautiful, and loaded with travel information, particularly for those in Southern California. Wait a minute. I just realized I have a girlfriend in California. Oh, yoohoo, Katie……. Follow Katie @lajollamom
Jeana Beena – (sixth from left – blue strapless dress)
Holy cow, I have another friend in sunny Cali! This is good news for a Canadian girl. Jeana runs a website called Surf and Sunshine and one look at her and you know why. Beautiful and tanned you’d never mistake her for a mid-west girl. What most impressed me about Jeana though, was her utter tenacity to make the best of life no matter what is thrown at you. She will motivate me to do better and be better for a long time to come. Follow Jeana @surfnsunshine
Karen Humphrey (seventh from left top row)
Oh Karen. Is there anybody on earth sweeter than Karen? Probably not. A truly kind person, you can can find Karen blogging about food at her site Notes From the Cookie Jar. She is also the Food Editor over at YummyMummyClub. Which begs the question, why is she so flippin’ tiny? Follow Karen @scatteredmom
Janice Croze (eight from left)
Hmmmm, what to tell you about Janice. Force of nature, whirling dervish? The girl never stops. Janice and her sister, Susan, have built a mini-empire over at 5MinutesforMom. Follow her on Twitter @5minutesformom and try to keep up, if you dare.
Ann-Marie Burton (kneeling front)
Ann-Marie owns Momstown.ca and I knew of her, but never really interacted with her on social media. We quickly went from acquaintances to friends when I became her security blanket while swimming with dolphins. Who even knew you could be afraid of dolphins? Ann-Marie kept me laughing the entire time we were on our trip. So much so that I may ask that she be my travel companion on every press trip. Scratch that, I may ask that this entire group be on the next press trip.
Gayle Luciani (second from right blue and white dress)
I loved Gayle. Truly. In fact, I’m pretty sure we all did. Gayle works over at WeeWelcome as the Contest Manager but really needs to start blogging on a regular basis. I know I want to hear more of what she has to say. And she should totally move to California. I don’t even know how she survives in our cruel Canadian climate. Follow Gayle @GayleLuciani.
Michaela (far right)
Michaela was our second PR rep from NYC. Let’s just run down the list shall we: gorgeous, smart, great job, fab wardrobe, young, living in NYC. She’d be so easy to hate, if she wasn’t also really, really nice.