Apr 6, 2012

Meeting two of my favorite bloggers

It wasn't well publicized locally, but uber-blogger Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, came to Birmingham for a book signing at Books-a-Million on Wednesday.

I considered not going, because logistically it was going to be a little difficult to work it out, but Grayson made it work with his schedule and I was able to go!

The signing was scheduled to start at 6 p.m., and when I arrived just before 5:00, there were already about 100 people there.

The crowd continued to grow, until I was sure the space couldn't hold a single other person. And I was sweating bullets ... it was HOT in there.

Add to the crowd my DSLR around my neck, my purse on my shoulder (including a drink and snack), my phone that was ever-present in my hand and my SEVEN cookbooks I was toting, and I looked like a card-carrying maniac. Like a Grand Canyon vacationer plopped down in the middle of a bookstore. RIDICULOUS.

Ree entered the room right on time to rousing applause, and then she launched into a brief (well, 30-minute) PowerPoint presentation. It was strictly for people who haven't been reading her blog for five years, though ... because I could have prepared it with no help from her by memory. PW fans gleaned no new information from it, although she DID sing a little bit. THAT was funny.

Kevin and Layla Palmer of The Lettered Cottage, one of my favorite design blogs, came to visit with Ree before the signing and stayed to chat with readers as we waited in line. I've been reading TLC just about since it started, and back when Layla was still taking online clients, I was lucky enough to get her to work up a plan for the exterior of our house. One day I'll actually get to put it in action! Kevin shot lots of photos, and Layla hid behind him a lot.

Ree was just as engaging and warm in person as she is on her blog.

She wasn't pretentious, and she was wearing a billowy shirt and sweating buckets, just like she always says she does at these kinds of events. Darlin'.

She shares so many of the little details of her life on her blog that I felt like I could have styled her myself for the signing. Billowy blouse, statement earrings, chunky bracelets ... she's very consistent.

Since I was standing directly across from Kevin and Layla, I had the added benefit of watching them throughout the presentation. Kevin shot and Layla stayed behind him most of the time. They're adorable to the nth degree.

Around the 20-minute mark of the presentation, I started to get worried about how long we'd actually BE there. My line number was 138, and they'd given out 300 line numbers ... but there were EASILY 500 people there, if not more. And I was thinking, if she spends a minute per person, I'm already going to be here at least two hours more.

And I had seven books for her to sign! I knew there had to be more people around who had multiple books, and she was also allowing pictures to be taken with each person. With nowhere to sit, I resigned myself to a long night ... but one I hoped would be worth the wait.

Have I mentioned how CUTE Kevin and Layla are? Adorbs.

She finally came out of hiding to stand arm in arm with him, and I just thought they looked like such a team. Happy. Content.

Ree wrapped up her introduction right at 6:30, and then the signing began.

 I pushed my way through the crowd of blog crazies wandered over to the other side of the room, hoping to get to meet Layla and Kevin while I waited my turn in line. They were exceedingly gracious, meeting with me and many other people who wanted to say hello. (And the lighting in there was TERRIBLE for pictures, by the way! All the bookshelves were blown out with little halogen lights, but the spaces around them were pretty dark.)

We had quite a bit of fun on the sidelines ... I was fortunate enough to meet Mary Kathryn, who reads both Layla's and my blogs, which was a real treat for me. (She's in the turquoise shirt making the ghetto face. Ha!)

I also loved meeting Shaunna of Perfectly Imperfect ... she was so genuine, too, and we had some great laughs.

She and Layla are good friends, and we had fun bonding over both of my hemorrhoid stories. GOSH, it appears I will just talk about my butt with anyone. Klassy.

Later, while still in line, blog reader Abby introduced herself, which was just so much fun. I didn't know I'd meet any of my own blog readers there, so it was a total treat! I've had to work hard to make myself reach out to people and introduce myself when I see bloggers in public, so I know how hard it is to do. You feel a little silly about it, but for me personally, it's so affirming when someone seeks me out and tells me they love what I share here.

Which is a large part of the reason I wanted to show up for Ree. She works really hard at her blog and while yes, she long ago reached the point where she's making a really healthy living off of her blog, I imagine it still means something to her when people "show up." She made me feel special during the 90 seconds or so I was with her, and I think that's a talent, a gift.

After I left the signing, it was fun to catch up on Tweets I missed while I was there, as well as see new ones from those I met. (No one's phones worked reliably while we were there, because reception was AWFUL in the store. If you want to see a bunch of bloggers get all snippy, put them on their feet for five hours with limited cell phone reception. I COULDN'T EVEN TAKE MY TURNS ON WWF OR DRAW SOMETHING, PEOPLE. I felt like Laura freaking Ingalls Wilder.)

It was a fantastic evening, and I'm SO glad I went. Bloggy friends FTW!


Rachel said...

My aunt met her on the last cookbook tour and surprised me and my sisters with signed cookbooks for Christmas. I'm so jealous that you got to meet her.:)

Robin said...

I told you it would be totally worth it! I'm so glad you had a good time despite the heat, wait, and lack of wifi. And THANK YOU SO MUCH for the book! You are so sweet!!!!!

stollison said...

So fun and exciting! Glad Ree measured up to your expectations.

mary kathryn @ mathews family happenings said...

love LOVE your account of the evening and loved meeting you in person. Also love that you came away with a shot of me gettin' my ghetto face on...haha!

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