Thursday, November 21, 2013

Big Day #2, It's a Wrap!

Big Day #2 is coming to a close. And while this was a big day just like yesterday, they were very different. Yesterday was more about fun, confidence, and celebrating who I am today. Today felt more about sharing the message of hope for successful weight loss and maintenance, and involved a ton of nerves!

Fortunately we had a late call this morning. Roni checked with me about breakfast and after sleeping in (me, not her, she did a CrossFit workout this morning) I was ready to do something. So I packed up my clothes and met her at the hotel restaurant. Our hosts gave us dining money and neither of us were even close on spending it so we went crazy with breakfast, trying a bit of everything. Really it was more like brunch, which maybe will make this sound better.

I ordered oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins, a veggie/avocado/cheese scramble with hash browns and we shared a side of jalapeno bacon (bacon marinated in jalapenos - now there's an idea!). She had a scramble, hash browns and a side of fruit. The food was all delicious. The scrambles had more choices of cheese than I've ever seen on a menu. I love gruyere cheese so I went with that, yum!

The waiter even commented on our order, "that's a lot of food." Yep, but we got it covered. Kind of. I ate most of my oatmeal, most of my scramble, skimmed the yummy/crunchy part off the hash browns and left the rest, and had a slice of bacon. I'd meant to take pics of my food when it arrived but didn't remember until I was almost done. Oh well, better late than never.

Julie, one of our hosts, arrived and I was able to share our bacon and my avocado with her. I joked with her that in the past that bacon would've been gone before she arrived. There's always going to be more food. It's not that I had a past fear of not having enough food, but I think subconsciously I viewed eating as an opportunity that I shouldn't pass up. Now I know, food is everywhere, very rarely is food a special opportunity. And when it is, I indulge, so I'm not missing out on a thing.

Anyway, back to my day. After breakfast our driver took us to the studio. More hair and makeup and more feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the changes that have taken place in my life over the past 6.5 years. There's the obvious change, the weight loss, but there's also becoming a mother to my two little loves, discovering the me I am today, and being willing wanting to boldly follow my path, where ever it leads and whatever fears I encounter along the way.

Ok, Michelle, pull it in, focus.

On the lot, heading into the stage area
Here I am getting makeup done by Jan Ping, a cancer survivor, Emmy award winning makeup artist. And an absolutely gorgeous woman!! Jan made me super glamorous and I'll admit, I felt a bit funny with all that eye makeup on but everyone assured me it will look good on TV.

Then it was on to hair, where Mimi Love - yes, that's her real name - made me look like a pro.

The final product!
Next up were microphones.

Me getting mic'd.

Roni and Erika's turn.
And then it was heading to the stage. My nerves are starting to climb!

I watched them prepping on the stage monitors and almost burst into tears. I felt like I was about to get a major award, like this was my Oscars or something. It's obviously not that big of an event but for me, on this journey, it felt that big. You know this isn't my normal life. All this attention, the recognition of my journey, it was a bit overwhelming.

Final pep talk from the stage manager and then 3, 2, 1...Go!

I wish I could tell you more but the rest will have to wait for a while. I will tell you I got to spend more time with two amazing fellow bloggers, Erika and Roni, and with our gracious, giving, kind, thoughtful, encouraging, supportive hosts. Can I say more nice things about these women? They treated us like the big-timers we obviously are (ha!) and reinforced our stories and our blogs as important, inspiring and motivating.

Here's a pic of me with Julie and Susan. Can't you tell just from the picture how awesome they are?!

Susan, Moi and Julie.
And even more photo love.

Erika, Julie, Me and Roni.
I'm at the airport waiting for my delayed flight to take me home. For dinner I had a McDonald's hamburger, a small bag of corn nuts and a McDonald's cone. And I have a bag of peanut M&Ms for the flight. I know, I know. It's all the nervous energy I think. To make matters worse I was hoping to get home in time to see my babies but with the flight delay they will be sleeping before I get there. I miss those little buggers. See you soon little loves!

I may never have another experience like this one again. But the memories - the people, the pictures, the feelings and the lessons - those will stay with me. And with that, Big Day #2 is a wrap!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Big Day #1

Whew, I'm exhausted. That is EXHAUSTED! Life has been crazier than ever. I can't possibly catch up since my last post so I'll mostly be sharing pictures. A highlight was this past Sunday when I went wine tasting with some friends. We stopped for a bit of shopping and though I didn't actually buy it, I loved this look.

Actually, the boots are mine. I loved the outfit but had to pass on the jeans and top for budgetary reasons.

Don't ask me about Monday, it's no fun. Let's move on to yesterday.

After work I flew to Hollywood, CA. I arrived at my hotel and promptly took in the scene. Cool, hip, fun.

I went down for dinner with one of the folks running this whole operation. Dinner was super yummy, we shared a couple appetizers and for my entree I had yet another appetizer, grilled octopus. It was just the right size and I enjoyed eating something I certainly wouldn't make at home. After dinner I met up with a co-secret-operation chick and went for an evening stroll.

Up bright and early this morning for Big Day #1. First to film some B roll (whatever the heck that is). Here I am with one of the producers and an intern.

Say Hi to Rob Bender and Hannah Henrickson
 At one point Hannah was holding my coffee while I was being interviewed and I had this, "whoa, I'm almost like a superstar" moment. Yeah, I know...almost is an understatement, but a girl can still daydream, right?

As I mentioned, I'm not alone in this whole thing, I have co-secret-operation chicks. Oh heck, I hope it's ok to mention the fellow bloggers with whom I'm having all this fun, Roni Noone from Roni's Weigh and Erika Kendall from A Black Girl's Guide to Weight Loss.

Roni waiting for her time to shoot
After the B roll business it was off to the studio for lots of picture taking, video capturing, interview having fun. The number of people that go into pulling off these types of operations is amazing, and they all work hard to make folks look good and feel good so they can have a great experience, be it personal or professional. I was so impressed by all of them - and since I can't go on and on about what this deal is all about - I want to use this post to share their pics and say a BIG thank you!!

First up is Erika, who did my makeup, working her magic on my face.

Thanks Erika!

Then off to hair, where Kristen continued with the prettying up.

And finally, clothes! Robyn helped us find the right duds for the "look" and Cee kept the clothes looking sharp for us.

How cute is Robyn?!

And there's Cee, prepping shoes while our hair and makeup gurus hang out.

So we're all set, ready to take some pictures!!

That's our super cool photographer Cheyenne Ellis getting things ready for us. Her energy was right up my alley, relaxed but serious. Did I mention she's gorgeous?!

Thank you Cheyenne!
Oh, and then there's Justin. He spent most of the day tracking as part of the whole operation. Which, quite frankly, was painless based only in part on his being so damn cute! The other part was that he was friendly and fun. A couple times during the day he saved us with music when our energy lagged.

Thanks Justin!
Let's see...who else was involved in all of this? There are others, but I think I have to save them for whenever it is I can talk about what this all was. I know, I know, I wish I could tell you all about it but the powers that be want us to keep mum until...until early next year. Then you know I'll go nuts posting pictures and video and the whole story.

But for now, I'll just share what I can...more pictures! Forgive me in advance for all the selfies. But hey, this is a blog, it goes along with the deal right?

Hi Erika!!

Lunch! You know I had cookies.
A photo-bombing photographer.

So I roped him for a selfie.
A total Glamour selfie with Roni. OMG, we are too much! I love it!!
And finally, a somewhat random picture that says so much...I had to have my blouse "pinned" because it was too big. What life is this I'm living? This is so surreal, so exciting and energizing! I can't wait to tell you more, and I can't wait to hopefully inspire someone, any one, just that one person, to get off the couch and start living!!

Tomorrow is Big Day #2. And I'm sure I'll write another equally secretive post to tell you as much as I can. And then it's back to my normal life. Unfortunately I didn't land a co-hosting gig on the Today show and I'm not on Amazing Race so this is a one-shot deal...really a two-in-one shot deal, well, actually, turns out it's a three-in-one but who's counting? Point is, tomorrow evening I'm heading back to my life.

Oh, last thing...after this whole big exciting day I mustered up the energy to exercise. I put on my running clothes and hit the streets of LA, running over the Hollywood Walk of Fame...which reminds me of a picture I forgot to share (gasp!)...I took this while out on that stroll last night with Roni...

I love Bette Midler!
Anyway, back to tonight...I went out for a quick run. I have no idea how far, for how long, or how fast I ran...all I know is I ran, and that's all that matters on a day like today. Then I hit the hotel gym for a quick weight training session. And then the treadmill for a mile (I'll admit the mystery distance bugged me and running the mile on the treadmill somehow made me feel better. I just needed a number! I'm crazy.) After the workout it was a quick trip back to the room to ready for dinner.

Dinner was super yummy, with great company, and included a round of desserts. Now I'm back in the room sharing all the fun here. My next post will probably be this weekend when I hope to tell you I've been exercising consistently and eating, well, let's just focus on the exercise for now. I hope you enjoyed all the pics, night all! And Lindsey, I'll see YOU tomorrow!!