Red carpet? Check (well, it was really white, but theoretically, it was the same thing).
Fancy Beverly Hills hotel? Check.
Stylish blowout? Check.
A center seat directly behind Jennifer Garner and at the same table as Ricki Lake? Check.
An interview with Katy Mixon from Mike & Molly, What About Steve, and Eastbound and Down? Check.
A fabulous weekend with some amazing great new friends? Check.
Yes, the Variety Power of Women luncheon trip had it all! After a wonderful welcome dinner, I settled in at the Montage Beverly Hills (nicest hotel EVER), and got a great night sleep despite the time difference (I’m pretty used to it now). Then, bright and early, the rest of the ladies and I headed to drybar, a blowout-only hair salon for my new style. I chose the Cosmo-Tai (a hybrid of the Cosmopolitan and Mai Tai – both which offered soft curls and body).
Then, I went back to the hotel to get dressed and do my makeup. Kari and I were in a big hurry, as we had to be on the red carpet just a short while later.
After arriving at the Beverly Hills Hotel (which looks like an old Hollywood movie set – dozens of pink polo’d valets rushing around parking cars at the exterior), I ran right into Victoria which made me feel much better because I actually knew someone!
Victoria brought us to our spot on the carpet, which was at the very end. Apparently, the carpet was organized with photographers first, then print, then TV, then online. We were the last media.
The first celeb sighting was Brooke Elliott, followed by the rest of the cast of Drop Dead Diva (one of my favorite shows!).
After that, it was a blur. We saw Ricki Lake, Kiefer Sutherland, AnnaLynne McCord, Anne Hathaway, Eva Mendes, Diane Lane, Josh Brolin, and so many more stars!
Oh, and Jennifer Garner…
After a while, Kari and I decided to leave the red carpet to go to the bazaar, where the rest of our group was hanging out in the Honda booth. And look what I saw?
The amazing people of Honda actually decorated their booth with quotes from our essays! I posed near mine (as we all did)! What a nice touch!
Now here’s the point where I figured the celeb sightings was pretty much done. I thought we’d be at a table full of sponsors in the back of the room. But when I found my table… OMG – it was right in the center of the room, and I was directly behind Jennifer Garner, and Ricki Lake was seated across from me. She even introduced herself to me and asked my name.
I was also next to the managing editor of Variety who not only asked for my business card but also emailed me after.
Since I’d come in through the red carpet, I somehow missed the area where I got my table seating card, not a huge deal for the lunch, but it also served as a ticket for the gift bag. So, I went out to get it and when I returned, Katie Holmes had arrived and was standing right near my chair talking to Jennifer Garner. I shimmied into my seat, and played nonchalant as Katie put her hand on my chair and posed for a photo for the photographers.
Don’t believe me? Check out my dress in the left of this photo.
The reception was wonderful – it really was truly inspiring. And when we took a break I was shocked to see that the celebs were all lined up to use the rest room that we all used (of course, in retrospect, it makes sense, but at the time I was surprised).
I had the chance to present Jennifer Garner and Save the Children keys to a one-year Honda Odyssey lease which was wonderful. She was so gracious and even asked about my blog.
Huge, huge, thanks to Honda and to everyone who voted for me. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
More on the Variety Power of Women Luncheon on Mom’s Favorite Stuff soon!
Disclosure: Honda, a sponsor of the Power of Women Luncheon, paid for all of my expenses for this trip!