I Still Can’t Believe It

A couple weeks ago during the 12 Day of Christmas, I spent five days in Atlanta. Again, and I hate to always say this, but if you follow me in the social media world, you may already know this. I was invited to Atlanta by my new friends at Ballard Designs and the wonderful folks at Buick. Thankfully, and oddly enough, the invitations were for the same city and the same week. Perfect! 

So I packed my bags, hopped on a plane, and flew to Atlanta. I spent the first few days with the amazing people at Ballards  (I’ll save that story for another post.) and spent the weekend with Buick. You may remember from my post in October that Buick invited me and ten other superstar bloggers to design our version of their new Encore in their Pinboard to Dashboard competition. Amazingly, my design was one of those selected to be in the top five. 

As car companies do, Buick was hosting a media event of sorts in Atlanta to introduce the new Encore to the who’s who of the auto industry. They had the first models available to drive plus lots of wine-and-dine-type activities. They invited the five finalists to Atlanta to test drive the new vehicle and to announce the winner of Pinboard to Dashboard. 

Needless to say, the 24 hours spent with the Buick crew were just as fabulous as the first time around. On Friday, we were able to get behind the wheel of the Encore. I have to admit that driving a brand new vehicle in a strange city at rush hour was pretty intimidating. 

They sent the five of us (plus some other folks from various lifestyle magazines) to an urban farm, Love is Love Farm, to pick up some locally grown produce the chef would be using to create dinner.

We then had a fabulous dinner at Empire State South. 

This is one of the restaurants owned by chef, author, and restauranteur, Hugh Achenson. Hugh was there, did a little cooking presentation, and even autographed a book for us. The food was fantastic and the experience was unforgettable.

The next day we paired up, got back in the Encore, and drove to Toys R Us

Each pair was given a very generous gift card and we were to use it to fill up our carts with toys that lwould be donated to Toys for Tots. How awesome is that? 

I still can’t believe the number of toys we bought. It’s great to see a company use an event like this to give back. Truly amazing and the perfect cause for the season!

This is a picture of all of the folks involved in this awesomeness. 

Here are the Pinboard to Dashboard finalists. I can’t tell you how happy and honored I am to have been in the company of these four amazingly talented woman. From baking to illustration, they are truly experts in their fields. 

From the left: Julie Deily,  Jessica Sturdymyself, Katie RodgersShannon Ables

In the morning, before we went toy shopping, Buick hosted a little presentation about the new Encore. They also announced the winner of Pinboard to Dashboard. To my complete and utter surprise, my design concept was chosen as the winner. Talk about shocked, I still can’t believe it.

Next spring my design will be created (digitally, not physically) and then be showcased at the New York Auto Show. How awesome is that? I will be there all week, too! 

It’s an unbelievable honor that my design was chosen as the winner from more than 20 lifestyle editors from publications like Lucky, Oprah, Woman’s World, Good Housekeeping,and The Huffington Post. Talk about a dream come true. 

Honestly, it still hasn’t sunk in. I’m not sure it ever will. I am just incredibly grateful to Buick, the other bloggers, and everyone else involved in this process. It’s a dream come true. 

If you’d like, feel free to check out GM’s press release about the Pinboard to Dashboard program. While I was there, they also took some photos and did a little video interview. You can see me nervously talk about my experience here. I also embedded the video below.

So that’s my little Buick recap and probably a few of my fifteen minutes of fame. Totally worth it though, right? 

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Buick has treated me like a king, but I was not asked or paid to write this post. 

This one is from the heart. Photos courtesy of Buick.

  1. Congratulations! You are so very talented and I love your blog! I stumbled upon your blog about a year ago and I look forward to it each and every morning with my cup of coffee!

  2. Hi Michael – This just makes me so happy to see. Congratulations! – you deserve it – you are so talented.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family. XO
    My best – Diane

  3. Congratulations, Michael! It’s wonderful to see your talent recognized. And it’s fun to put a voice to a face! Have a very Merry Christmas.

  4. I think this is just awesome. Congratulations. So nice of you to donate the toys. I think they should have given you a new car. We will be looking for a new one next year and I want to look into this car. I love the way it looks. Happy Holidays.

  5. Huge congrats from the bottom of my heart, Michael!! So well-deserved! I had so much fun participating in this campaign and the icing on the cake was I got to meet you! :D Happy holidays to you and your kitties!

  6. How exciting is that, Michael!!! It’s great to see you get recognized for your talent. Maybe a new car is in the works? Have a wonderful Christmas,and thanks for all the great ideas you share with us!

  7. Congratulations Michael! I found you on Pinterest and the rest is history – as they say.

    I love your humbleness and your sincerity. You are so gracious and I love to read everything your write and look at all the pictures you include in your eblasts. Truly a lot of fun! I look forward to your email every day.

    You are having an exciting year of growth and I hope 2013 explodes even more for you! Merry Christmas :)

  8. Of course you won! You have an amazing design style and a real eye when it comes to knowing what works! Congratulations! It could not have happened to a nicer person!

    Merry, Merry Christmas to you!

  9. You are a doll~ so photogenic and TALENTED :) I’ve supported you through thick and thin and can’t wait to see what’s next. It will be amazing~ Congrats Michael. Cynthia :)

  10. Congratulations Michael. I’ve been wanting to make some comments for some time. I think you do a fabulous job on your blog, love your house/bed and breakfast! and you are so creative. Thank you for putting your blog out there for the rest of us to get inspired! Again, congrats again. It’s well deserved! I’ll be waiting to see what other great things you come up with in 2013 and beyond!
    Danielle <3

  11. Michael, I’m absolutely thrilled for you! Of course I’m not surprised. I’ve been following you for ages now and while I haven’t commented, always enjoy your creativity and enthusiasm. Have a wonderful Christmas, and enjoy this success!

  12. This design is spectacular! You most certainly know how to

    keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was
    almost moved to start my own blog (well,

    almost…HaHa!) Excellent job. I really loved what you had to say,
    and more than

    that, how you presented it. Too cool!
    Here is my siteGeo.glud.Org

  13. Michael, that’s so exciting! Congratulations!!! I knew from the moment I saw your pinboard that you’d be the winner. Great job and I can’t wait to see the final design for the auto show :) It was so much fun meeting you and I hope to continue keeping in touch in 2013! xoxo – Julie

  14. Wow. Call me lame. I am just now reading this. I’m in the process of updating the Inspired By Michael FB cover photo. Michael, this is fantastic. Something or someone has a MAJOR plan for you and you are blessed. Congratulations to you, my friend.

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