Friday, May 10, 2013

MVP in Miami

To borrow a line from a pretty famous basketball player, this past weekend I took my talents to South Beach. In other words, I went to Miami for a work trip. This was a work trip unlike any other, and it wasn't all sunshine and beaches as you'd imagine (but I did manage to squeeze some in!).
I spent Cinco de Mayo 2013 at South Beach.
Let's start at the beginning... This 5-day trip began in the small town of Akron, Ohio. Random, right? Most people have only heard of Akron because it is the hometown of LeBron James. I headed there to surprise some very unsuspecting students from the LeBron James Family Foundation. Little did they know, LeBron was about to be named the NBA's regular season MVP, and even more, that they would be on stage with him when he accepted the award in Miami. Most of these kids had never been outside of Ohio, let alone on an airplane, on the beach, at a 5-star hotel, and in fancy restaurants. This was the trip of a lifetime for these kids, and I was so happy to be a part of it!

Late Saturday night we landed in Miami and were picked up by a party bus to transport us to the Mandarin Oriental. The hotel was amazing to me, so I can only imagine what it was like for these kids. They were so excited about the hotel, many of the kids kept their parents up all night taking baths in the Jacuzzi tub, sitting on the balcony, and watching the plasma TV's. Their excitement gave me a whole new appreciation for the places I've gotten to see. Not everyone gets to travel, and very few people travel like we did on this trip!

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Miami.
Sunday started with an early morning workout on the shore of the hotel's private beach before heading to South Beach. It was pretty fitting to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Miami where the salsa music was blaring and the you could smell the food for miles. 
Photo courtesy of Erika Mayer, The LeBron James Family Foundation
After the beach, it was time to head to American Airlines arena where LeBron's MVP announcement was about to be made. Watching the kids take their seats on stage was a proud moment, and I'll never forget the looks of astonishment on their faces when LeBron walked up there. In his speech, LeBron personally thanked the kids for all their hard work in school and promised them he wouldn't let them down. Many of the kids told me that was the highlight of their lives (so far!). How cool is that?

Photo courtesy of Erika Mayer, The LeBron James Family Foundation
After I completed my media duties (the kids were on ESPN's SportsCenter!), we had an ice cream sundae celebration before dropping the kids and their parents off at a private airport for their chartered flight home. After a long 48 hours, I headed back to the fancy hotel to get some rest.

On Monday, for the first time in what felt like forever, I had some downtime. I had this private beach all to myself, and it was the most relaxed I'd been in ages.

I spent most of the day in this hammock. Heaven!
After a few hours of work, I got ready to attend my very first Miami Heat game. I could actually walk to the arena from my hotel. While the Heat lost and played pretty sluggishly, I did get my row 17 ticket upgraded to a courtside seat at halftime (it pays to know people!)

My walk to American Airlines Arena.
Not a bad view of LeBron's MVP trophy presentation...
But my view dramatically improved when I moved courtside. I could hear Derrick Rose talking the whole game.
LeBron's Nike "Witness" billboard is literally the size of the building.
I've spent most of my week since returning from Miami catching up on a lot of other work. Thank goodness it's Friday! Hope everyone has a happy mother's day weekend!


  1. Wow, girl.... I want your job! You have it made!

  2. Why are you so darn adorable and awesome?! FYI- it's killing me that you were all the way in Ohio and we still didn't get to meet haha. We were in the same state for a quick minute!!!

  3. Um do you have job openings?!?! I'm serious about this though I'd love to get into your type of job.. Sales is HARD..

  4. So fun. Love all the pictures! You have to let me know if you ever get to Cincinnati. We would have to meet up!

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