THURSDAY: WELCOME TO PORTLAND
I arrived from a fairly bumpy flight, got shuttled to the rental car place, and had to endure the slooooowest service I've ever had...ever. About an hour after I landed, I finally started driving to my friend's (Rich) house. Only I got lost. Like, 40 minutes lost. When I finally reached Rich's house, we walked over to Hungry Tiger Too where a bunch of conference goers were meeting up. We arrived to find almost everybody gone, but I got to meet Steffers, Louzilla, and Joni! Fun times! I ordered the BLTease and some sweet potato fries. The sandwich was a'ight. Nothing grand. But those fries were incredibly bomb. I loves 'em!
Afterwards, Rich and I went to his neighborhood farmers market. I was wandering around and discovered Missionary Chocolates. They were giving away free samples on just about everything! I ended up buying three truffles: meyer lemon, vanilla salted caramel, and ginger. They were fantastic! So damn good. I also picked up some golden raspberries. Mmm.
Next, we took the short drive to Vendetta for the unofficial meet and greet. First of all, I was totally overwhelmed. That place got packed with so much vegan goodness, I had to down some beer to take it all in. Errbody was talking and having a great time. I couldn't even begin to list everybody I met. Rich and I left a little early.
And that was my first day in Portland. How crazy is that?!
FRIDAY: MEETING KITTEE, AMEY, AND THE LADYBROS
Friday morning I said goodbye to Rich and headed over to Kittee's to work on the game show. Can I just say how much I heart that woman? She is amazing. We spent a little while prepping, then headed out to Native Bowl. Erika and Jordan showed up, and we chatted while waiting for Amey. I also met Luciana, Lisa, and Gabrielle. When Amey finally arrived, five of us piled into Kittee's car and headed back to her house. Amey, Kittee, and I pretty much worked on the game show and got the prizes together before registration.
Things went pretty fast from there. I registered, picked up my swag bag, and got into my dorm. The bags were HUGE. Filled with coupons, books, peppermills, cookies, bars, snacks, and so much more. Plus, the dorms had an extra toiletry gift bag with soaps, toothpaste, condoms, etc. I quickly changed and met up with Ben before heading over to the reception.
The reception was fabulous! I met Chris and Crystal finally. Adorbs. I also drank much champagne and tried my hardest to look elegant while eating a cupcake. Mission: impossible. I also met my Texan peoples. Kristen, Molly, and Stephanie. It was awesome, to say the least. Oh, and I also met my roommate for the weekend, Jen! It was a really great time.
|VVC breakfasts: pancakes, fruit, yogurt, biscuit, potatoes, gravy, scramble|
Afterwards, I took a cab back to the hotel with Luciana, Lisa, and Nicole. The girls refused to let me walk back to the dorms by myself. It was terribly sweet.
SATURDAY: GET YER DANCE ON
Saturday was so damn stressful for me. I headed to breakfast, and then it was non-stop action until the game show. Kittee, Amey, and I were figuring out the logistics and order so that things would run smoothly. I feel like it was a great success. It was so fun to be apart of something so different. Plus, everybody left with some sort of prize. And on top of that, the teams took that ish seriously!
After the battle royale, I ate lunch and chilled out before getting ready for the Galarama. My ultimate goal was to get there early because the lines for everything at VVC had reached legendary status. So, I put on my outfit and got myself to the Gala. There was so much food. SO. MUCH. FOOD. Pizza, burgers, wraps, spring rolls, chikn tenders, sundae bar, and some dranky drank.
My absolute favorite part was hanging with my dance floor bestie, Lauren. The PPK straight owned that dance floor. All I have is this really lame pic that doesn't quite capture the essence of the dance circle. And I'm still mad at myself for not starting a Soul Train line.
|can you spot the PPKers?|
SUNDAY: WINDING DOWN, HEADING HOME
Sunday was much more relaxing. I was a little bummed that everything was coming to an end, though. I did get to catch some really great talks. In the morning, Lidiana and I did our budget talk. We were worried about not having enough material, but we really owned it. We even learned some stuff from the audience. The amazing Joanna told me about freezers being more efficient when packed to capacity. I did not know that!
Afterwards, I caught Terry's talk. She was hilarious and nerdy as ever! I also went to the Publishing Panel. Everybody was lovely there. I found it really refreshing that nobody tried to sugarcoat it. They made writing and publishing very real to people. The last thing I saw before heading back home was the Opinionated Bloggers. For me, PPKers stole the show. Footface was charming and out-of-this-world hilarious. And Jordan was brutally honest and insightful.
I didn't really get to say goodbye because I had to haul ass to the airport. But I did want to say that this was one of the best experiences of my life. I can't wait to go back in 2013. And I will be there whether I'm a speaker or not. There are so many places I didn't get to see and so many people I didn't spend enough time with. Portland, I kinda freaking love you!
Until we meet again...