Proceed at your own risk (of eye fatigue and extreme boredom).
Ok, here goes! You should know right away that I’m going to write a lot in this recap about smiling and laughing, and about people’s smiles and laughs. There was SO MUCH of both happening! I haven’t done those two things that much in one weekend in … I don’t even know. Maybe never. I’ve definitely never had an experience quite like it, that’s for sure. I shared a smile with each person, and laughed along with each person, at one point or another over the weekend, even if I never had the chance to talk with that person one on one.
I’m going to take the risk of writing, further down in the next post, about each attendee individually. I want to remember the moments I had with each of them, and I recall that last year when the recaps went up, I was dying to know what everyone was like in person. I hope that calling out someone’s lovely smile or warm demeanor or awesome sense of humor doesn’t give the impression that I didn’t feel that same way about everyone else. To a person, the ladies of PJs at TJ’s were welcoming and friendly and smiley and just all-around aces. It was inevitable, though, that I spent more time with some people, like my roommate Brooke (love you, Brooke!), than with others, so I have more memories to share of some people than of others.
Speaking of spending time with people, I’m really glad I decided to 1) stay in the party house; 2) fly in Thursday night. Because of those two decisions, I got to hang out with almost everyone at one point or another. I think I would have missed a lot of interactions if I’d been in a hotel, so for my first time meeting ANYONE from the Internet, it worked out really well. Staying in the house was a bold move on my part, as I think I was the only person staying there who hadn’t met at least one housemate. Make way for the Internet Rando! There’s a wildcard in the mix! But I’m glad it worked out so well … for me, anyway!
I definitely had a case of nerves immediately before the trip, though. What if I got there and no one liked me and I wanted to go hoooooome? What if I got there and I didn’t like anyone and I wanted to go hoooooome? What if I got sick? What if I snored and kept my roommate awake?** I started missing M and Tank before I’d even left, and when we pulled up to the airport dropoff and Tank started to whine, I burst into tears. I started to question whether or not I really wanted to go. While I was tweeting about it, a hilarious autocorrect moment saved me from myself, and I laughed off my nerves and started to get really excited again. I may or may not have had a couple of drinks on the plane, also, for nerve-easing purposes.
Megan and I had similar flight schedules, and Kelly was nice enough to pick us up on Thursday night, with Nicole along as co-pilot. Sky Harbor airport had some construction going on and was downright confusing to get around, but we got sorted and headed out to the Party House. Elise was still up when we got home, and we all talked in the kitchen for a while before turning in. (That was all of us that first night, right? My memories are already starting to get a touch hazy.) The house was really gorgeous, and if the gentleman who rented it to us ever randomly happens upon this post (after all, we’re all only 19 clicks away, right?), I’d like to thank him for allowing us to take over his home for the weekend. It was very comfortable, and it was really nice to be able to go up to my room for a few minutes if I got overwhelmed, or to sit by the pool in the sunshine while I tamped down a feeling of awkwardness, or to hang out on the patio with some other ladies when the combined body heat in the house on Saturday night got to me. The water was too cold for swimming, but I thought the weather was gorgeous, and it was nice to get a break from 30 degree temperatures for a few days.
I slept in a bit on Friday morning (god bless vacations!), and when I got up, I met Lara, Rachael, Diane, and Noemi. We sat around talking for a while in the living room, and Lara let us raid her stash of beauty samples (I chose Lash Cards and to-go packets of brush cleaner). A few people ran some errands, and returned with Sonic ice (the very best!), and Mexican food for lunch. After that, we started to get snacks and drinks and stuff ready for the afternoon mixer. Linnea and Kammah were the next to arrive at the house. After that, it seemed like I blinked and just about everyone was there! The volume rose exponentially, and we could see how the party would flow from that point on: eat snacks, join a conversation, get up to get more snacks, join another conversation, go to the bathroom, plop down somewhere else and talk to some more people. It worked out really well, I thought. On Friday night, we ate cold cut sandwiches and chips, and cookies and candy and crackers and dip, and Pub Cheese Tub #1 made its appearance (and, rapid disappearance). Holy wow is that stuff delicious. You practically had to throw ‘bows to get at it. Puuuuuuub cheeeeeeeese!
At some point on Friday night, I was lying on my back on the rug on the living room floor, and I don’t remember who or what it was, but I found something deeply hilarious. DEEPLY being the key word, because suddenly the laugh moved low into my chest. (Has that ever happened to you? When I’ve experienced it, I’ve usually been lying on my back.) Once second I was laughing like a (somewhat) normal person, and the next second, I was cackling like an 80-year-old who’d had a two-pack-a-day habit since the age of 10. The sound coming out of me barely sounded human, which made me laugh harder, which only made The Laugh worse. Then I got out of breath from laughing so hard, and that added a hideous wheeze to the combination. The other ladies present said I sounded like a duck, or in Lynette’s opinion, like Herbie in Herbie Fully Loaded. Quaaaaaackwheeeeeeezehooooonk. Quaaaaeeeeeezehooonnk!! QUEEEZONK!!! QUEEEEEEZOOOOONKKKK!!!
I swear on all that’s holy, Internet, that’s not my normal laugh, though it appears its reputation will live on. I blame the inversion.
As it got later on Friday night, people started to drift off to bed upstairs, or to head back to their hotels. In the kitchen, Kelly gave the rest of us a review of an unintentionally hilarious and ridiculous romance novel, and hot damn do I wish I had recorded her doing it, because it was absolutely a highlight of the trip for me.
There was more chatting and eating on Saturday morning. I think I went downstairs around 10:30 or so, and it wasn’t too long before a group of ladies headed out for pedicures and such, and the group I was in headed out to Chili’s for lunch. As Brooke mentioned in her recap, we spent some extra time on the road, trying to navigate to the restaurant with another carful of ladies. Brooke and I were chatting along, getting to know each other better, so the time went by quickly, but it really did take us quite a while. I was surprised to see that the rest of the group had waited for us! Anyway, it was a fun lunch with multiple margaritas present. I sat near Lynnette (and sweet Louis), Amanda, Kammah, Noemi, Brooke, and Linnea. Raise your hand if you were also there, because I couldn’t see you from my side of the table. After lunch, Brooke, Linnea, and I went on a quick Target jaunt, then back to the house, where I think all the housemates helped decorate, except for me. Not that I didn’t want to help, it’s just that everywhere I looked, someone was already working on whatever needed to be done. It turned out so cute! Kelly did a great job choosing the decorations (and everything else!), and I was SUPER happy I snagged one of the fans to take to the airport with me. (I felt like I was melting in the security line.) Once the decorations were pretty much done, Brooke and I headed to our room for a nice pre-party snooze.
(Intermission: This is really taking me a while. I don’t know why I’ve RAMBLED ON for 1300 words so for, holy HELL. I guess it’s partly that I’m writing this as much for my own recollection as for anyone [no, really: anyone? Bueller?] else to read. It’s also partly that I need the bloody practice if I’m going to really do this blogging thing. Maybe it’s also because it was my first time meeting Internet friends, so I have a lot of feeeeeelings to process. [”Do you even go to this school?”]. By the time this gets posted, everything will have already been covered in a far more entertaining fashion by the other attendees.)
And we’re back.
So! The Party! Everyone was there in their cute pajamas, and it’s amazing what a dress code (even if it’s elastic waistbands!), some fun decorations, and a Tom Hanks cake will do to set the mood, because while it was very similar to the mixer the night before, it definitely felt much more festive. Plus, people were probably loosened up and felt more comfortable because of the mixer, so, well played, Kelly! There was pizza, and more chips and crackers and dip, and a pudding tower! The snack wall was there, of course, and Pub Cheese Tub #2 was quickly devoured and replaced with Pub Cheese Tub #3. There were little hubs of conversation everywhere you looked, and it was easy to find a place to sit and a group to chat with. There were pockets of nail painting and mud masks and makeup application demos going on. There was even a grab bag of fun beauty stuff! I got an angled brush, which I totally needed! People stayed later than they had on Friday night, and I couldn’t believe how quickly the time passed. It was 10:30 before I knew it, then I blinked and it was 1 am. Even though it was way past my bedtime, I just didn’t want it to end. After yet another truly hilarious conversation, we finally dragged ourselves off to bed.
Brooke and I stayed up giggling for a bit, and I picked up where I’d left off in Rachel Dratch’s book, expecting to drop right off, because did I mention it was THREE EFFING AY-EM? I’m usually asleep by 9:30 or 10! But I did NOT drop right off. For whatever reason, I couldn’t sleep, and I tossed around in bed until probably five or five-thirty. We got up around eight-thirty on Sunday morning to find the house already bustling as people ate breakfast, cleaned up the living room and kitchen, and divided up leftover snacks. Phil brought Penny over, and my heavens people, she is even cuter in person than she is on the Internet. I didn’t think it was possible, but it’s true! Her little voice just killed me, as did watching her play peek-a-boo with Lara and with Laura, or do trust falls into Rachael’s arms. We were all charmed by her. Phil was put to work for both setup and takedown of the whole shebang, so I wanted to say thanks to him for all his help.
Erica, Megan, Kammah, and I all had flights home around the same time, so we shared a cab to the airport. I don’t mind flying; in fact, I used to really love it before it got to be such a pain in the ass. My thing about flying, though, is that I get really nervous about getting to the airport on time. I don’t go overboard and get there three hours ahead or anything, but I like some buffer time. Anyway, the cabbie was supposed to call me when he got there, but when he was 15 minutes late, I was anxious. Then someone came in the front door and mentioned that a cab was there, and I got super flustered and FORGOT MY KINDLE that was charging on the kitchen counter (because I had worn the battery out when I couldn’t sleep). Derp.
I’m even “cool story, bro”-ing myself over that last paragraph, because wow, boring. I felt dumb about leaving the kindle behind, though.
ANYWAY. I need to cut this off now, or I will possibly never publish it. Next up, another wall of text about how much I loved meeting these women.
* Sorry about the title, Kelly! You know I have a sickness.