Our Honeymoon

(I've been meaning to write this for a couple of weeks now)
Directly from Florida- Amy and I flew to Hawaii for a 2 week honeymoon. Some things to note before I get started on some of the details:
1) This was probably the only wedding related task that I, personally, owned on my own.
2) It was a lot harder than I imagined - and caused some anxiety in planning
3) Everything worked out perfectly

Amy and I have always wanted to go to Australia - and have spoken about it many, many times. So, before we even had a wedding date - we were telling everyone we were leaning towards going to Australia for our Honeymoon. Well - then reality set in.... First, Australia is a place we want to explore. I was passionate (and Amy agreed), that our Honeymoon probably wasn't a typical exploration-type vacation. And secondly, getting to the land down under via Frequent Flier miles (first class, of course) was not possible. Paying for tickets would have run us $20K PER TICKET. So... yea.... we decided on Hawaii.

Hawaii is to Honeymoons as Vegas is to bachelor parties -- Sure, a lot of people have done it before you -- but there's a reason for it. Both places are perfect for each occasion.

We ended up seeing 4 islands in Hawaii:
  • Honolulu
  • Kauai
  • Maui
  • Kona
I enjoyed our trip tremendously. In hind-sight, I may have only gone to 2 places. I totally underestimated how unbelievably exhausted we would be from the wedding weekend - and we probably would have been better off with less airport experiences rather than more.

Again - though - all was great. We relaxed, hung by the beach, went swimming, ate well, drank well, saw plenty of sunsets..... All the things we enjoy to do on vacations.

Here is a brief run-down on the places - trying to be brief.

Honolulu -- We only stayed here for one night, as a lay-over to the other islands. We stayed at the Halekulani, which was very nice - and only 20 minutes from the airport. It was interesting to see the capitalism in full effect, as it resembled a major city with tons of high-end brand-name stores and restaurants. It was the only time while in Hawaii that Amy and I noticed a true Japanese influx. We also heard a lot about how good the coffee in Hawaii was. Here is where we had the best coffee of our trip.

Kauai -- Pretty much the opposite of a major city. There was one major road that took us from the airport 30 miles (an hour) to our hotel, The Princeville resort. This is located at the north part of the island and unfortunately - we had dinner reservations at the south part. Being committed to our plans, we rented a car - explored the island -- and enjoyed the ride. The following day, we had massage appointments outside - which was very needed by both of us. We spent the day chillin and had a romantic Valentines Day dinner that night.

Maui - We then went to what we envisioned as our "beach" portion of the trip. We stayed at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea. The rooms were big -- but we were a little disappointed when we first got there. A lot of kids and a somewhat crowded beach scene. We powered through, though, and looking back definitely had a great beach experience there. In Maui, we did the only true touristy thing of our honeymoon by going Whale watching. Amy was like a little kid - getting so excited when the whales would jump up or splash. I loved seeing that. The 2 hours we were out there - we saw very close-up views of these whales activity and the crew on the boat said it was the best they've seen in a while. We also adventured out to Mama's Fish House, which was recommended by everyone - and probably the best food we had all trip in my opinion. We also made our own little driving beach tour on the west part of Maui. Was nice to have a convertible and do that with my wife...

Kona - Hands down the icing on the cake of the entire honeymoon for us. We stayed at the Four Seasons, which was amazing. The rooms were modern, spacious and comfy - including a cool outdoor shower in our room. I don't mind getting my ass kissed while I'm on vacation - and this place definitely knows how to do some ass-kissing.... The pool area's were all very serene (Amy's comment multiple times) and the overall atmosphere was very chill. While sitting by the pool, they brought goodies to us every 15 minutes (cold towel, Evian spray, fruit, ice pops, etc). The spa was very nice as well - where we enjoyed a couple of massages a piece. Our meals were great, too, especially, the private beach dinner I planned for us (picture on the right). We had our own waiter who served us food on the beach where only the two of us were. The resort was so great - that we literally didn't even think about leaving once and have no regrets about that.

When the time came to leave, we were certainly bummed. Not often do we get to go away for two weeks without any questions....but after this trip... I am going to really try and do it more often. Two week vacations may not be easy on the wallet -- but they are definitely worth it.

Amy and my honeymoon was great. Anytime we go on vacation together, we have a great time - and this time was no different. I'd recommend Hawaii for anyone's honeymoon.


Work at your own schedule

I heard of this concept about a year ago when I went to visit Best Buy at their headquarters in Minneapolis. Basically, employees can make up their own hours. If you're a dad who wants to pick up your kids from school at 3:00 everyday - you can do it. If you prefer to work from home - you can do it. If you prefer to work at night - and sleep in the day - you can do that too.

At Best Buy - they have true "flexible hours" As long as managers and employees have realistic conversations about what's needed in terms of productivity - hours or place of actually working don't matter. Check out the CNN article about it.

Workers at the company had mixed feelings about it when I chatted with them a while back. In essence, it makes it very difficult to manage people. Managers actually get in trouble for making employees feel like they should be in the office - so it puts a lot of pressure on a manager to set very straight-forward expectations and goals of actual tasks. It also makes it near impossible to have "team conference calls" or mandatory meetings. (not to mention if you're a sales person calling into a marketing department. Having a large meeting is unrealistic)

On the employee side - I think it's great in theory - but only good in practice. Sure, making up my own hours is ideal -- but I think there is long-term value from going into the office and learning from others. I think over time it would feel a lot like school where you have an assignment and you wait till the last minute to get it done. I hated that feeling (personally)....


The Goffins - Media Power Movers

Knowing that Amy sells ads for Telemundo and I sell ads for Google - does anyone find an interesting correlation to the news below?
TNS Media Intelligence's latest numbers show that total advertising spending in the U.S. last year(2006) reached $149.6 billion, a 4.1% jump from 2005. The growth was mainly attributed to Spanish-language TV and Internet with the former experiencing a 13.9% increase to $4.3 billion. Internet ads went up by 17.3% to $9.8 billion while TV ad spending grew by 5.3% to $65.4 billion. Network and cable television experienced slower growth than the others with 2.5% gain to $22.9 billion and a 3.4% to $16.7 billion, respectively. Spot TV increase by 10.4% to $17.2 billion. As for actual share of the advertising market, TV led the pack, of course, with a 43.7% share while Internet ads crept up from 5.8% to 6.5% .
* I do find it a little strange that Google (a company that generates 99% of it's revenue through Internet advertising) publicly reported revenue of $10.6 Billion - yet the entire Internet advertising market is quoted as less than that alone at $9.8 Billion....

4/26/07 Update -- In a recent study on Brand value ... Google was ranked #1 and GE was #2. I mean - seriously - I don't think these things are a coincidence...


Trick to getting into NYT Wedding Announcement?

Over the last few weeks -- there have been a lot of questions around how Amy and I got into the New York Times Style section....

First and foremost - NO - we didn't pay anything. Not for the Print version and not for the online video section. When they called us to fact check our application (yes they have to do that to ensure that you're not making up a dream-job or saying you graduate cume laude from Harvard (when in fact you graduated from Palm Beach Community College) Wnen they called us 2 days later to ask if they could send someone over with video and lighting equipment to shot us for about an hour total - we figured we were in the paper - but weren't 100% sure...

I don't think there is one "trick." Does it help that Amy and I are really, really good-looking - of course it does. (Just kidding!! In all seriousnous - I certainly think it's a lot of luck - but here is how it went down with us:
1) Most importantly (I think), Amy wrote out the wedding announcement, using a prior weeks copy as a template. So rather than merely giving information, Amy pretty much did the job of the editor for him...So when he looked at our "entry," he hopefully was relieved - because the hard part was done for him. (Props to Adelle for giving Amy the tip on this)
2) Amy hand delivered the announcement application to the New York Times building. She only did this because the email on the site kept getting bounced back...
3) Everyone asks if we "knew anybody".. and we didn't. But.. when the email kept getting bounced back, Amy's first reaction was to email it to one of our friends who buys print media, who in turn was to email her NYT rep. Turns out - that the rep was out-of-the-office. Which them prompted Amy to drop it off in person. When the rep did get back into the office, she emailed our friend to let her know that the proper folks did receive the application already... (Thanks Alison K!)
Turns out - that the NYT rep was pretty crafty - (in my opinion) as a salesperson... She sent 20 copies of the Sunday Styles to Alison, complete with the stats/reach of how many people would be seeing her newly married friends in the paper

That was it ... We definitely were suprised that we got in the newspaper - and were definitely suprised when a picture of us (linking to the video) was on the homepage of the NYTimes.com site. It's something that is cool and that we'll have for ever -- but other than the story above, there was really nothing more to it.


Our Wedding -- February 10, 2007

As many of you know, Amy and I got married on 2/10/07.

I have so many thoughts that I want to share, but it truly would be impossible to share them all. I am not going to go into specific event details (we will hopefully get this via our Video-ographer), so instead, I thought I could list some thoughts on the topic in bullet-point format.
  • Amy - stress, sinus infection, and all - is and was AMAZING. She looked amazing. Her attention to detail and planning for the entire weekend was amazing. And it's amazing that she is now my wife. (I love you Amy)
  • Although they drove us close to crazy for the 8 months leading up to the wedding, I truly appreciate the support and love from our collective parental units. I want to thank them graciously on behalf of Amy and I. as we had what we will always remember as the perfect wedding. THANK YOU!
  • The list of attendees was hard for us. In our robust experience, Amy and I have been to weddings that we quite frankly didn't belong at. We've also been to intimate weddings where everyone genuinely wanted to be there. We were aggressive in trying to make sure that we had the latter of the two. In hindsight, I think we did pretty well. As expected, there are a few people who we wish were there that didn't get the invite - but all-in-all Amy and I both felt that everyone who was there genuinely wanted to be there and that's what we were hoping for. For all of our friends and family who traveled to be with us in Florida-- Thank you - as it clearly wouldn't have been the same without you.
  • Part of the "perfect wedding" was the phenomenal cooperation of Mother Nature. The weather was flawless. With rain the entire week before and after our weekend - it is just remarkable how lucky we feel. 75 degrees and sunny - with a nice smooth breeze, pretty much the entire weekend. For those that traveled from up north especially - you got an upfront view of the heart of the sales prowess that the entire "move to Florida" campaign endures.
  • A quick rundown of some of the wedding elements:
    • Band - Great! I think it's fair to say that 90% of the room was on the dance floor 90% of the time.
    • Decor/Flowers - Great! Amy and I definitely didn't want to go over the top. We wanted elegant and romantic - and we were told by many that we succeeded in doing so.
    • Food - Very good. It's hard for me to judge because I wasn't really hungry - but I think it was good. Any time meals are mass-produced, it's hard to expect exquisite, but in walking by many of the tables...I did see empty plates - which I'll take as a good sign.
    • Rabbi - eh. It's probably sac-religious to say anything bad about a Rabbi... but Amy and I were both hoping that we'd have a Rabbi who knew us, was intuitive about our relationship, and who wouldn't drag stories on too long. Unfortunately - none of the above with our Rabbi. This being said, he was well spoken and is a very smart man. Definitely could have been worse.
    • Rehearsal Dinner - Perfect! We had a small rehearsal dinner for immediate family and bridal party. It was exactly what we were hoping for. Laid back atmosphere - with great food and good friends giving very funny and insightful speeches about us. It was very heartfelt - and Amy and I were so happy with it.
    • Cocktail Hour - Great! Although we only got a few of the prized pigs-in-a-blankets, it was a homerun. A great outdoor location and atmosphere with perfect weather was what we were hoping for and got.
    • After Party - Perfect (again)! Beyond the extremely creative little touches Amy put on (Late night-type grub and "Club Goffin" matches to name a few) - the scene of all our friends and "younger generation family" dancing like we were in a 1995 music video will never be forgotten. It was something that we felt was "very BG and Amy."
    • Brunch - I mean, is there anything better than an all-you-can eat breakfast buffet? I thought not...
All in all - the wedding of Amy and Brett Goffin was as close to perfect as possible. Amy and I had very high expectations of the day - and they were almost all exceeded. All of the time Amy spent planning, All of the money that went into it (Arie - you're amazing!), all of the stress that partially consumed our life for a few months.... WAS ALL VERY MUCH WORTH IT. I never thought I'd say that - but it was.

Amy and I felt very loved that weekend - and we hope the family and friends there felt out reciprocal love. As I mentioned towards the end of the ceremony, it is very important to Amy and I to continuously celebrate life with everyone. We truly look forward to it.

I'm appreciative of our perfect wedding weekend and I'm appreciative of my wife! (yes - that's weird to write)

P.S. For those that haven't peeped our "media coverage" - check out the NYTimes Video hype.