After handing off my broken luggage to the lovely bellman at the Wynn, Jorge then took me across town to the Mandalay Bay convention center.
I had several hours to kill before I needed to be on the COUTURE show floor for setup, and decided it would be better to work on getting information for the blog I write (and don’t get paid for) than to go to the pool and relax because, well, in the eyes of the medical world I’m what they would technically call, “stupid.”
Walking the tan carpeting for what would be the second to last time that week was surreal for me. JCK is where a lot of my friends are, and they are definitely a huge reason I would miss showing there, but, you know… COUTURE has… well… it has Gannon, so… ‘nuff said, amiright, girls?
I headed straight for the press room (thank you, JCK, for having an actual press room and not a press stage [I’m glaring at you, Joshua] so that the members of the press can adjust their wedgies when needed) and picked up my press badge. Little did I realize, however, that the badge given to me was for the JCK show, and not for LUXURY, which was the invite-only show taking place on the day that I arrived. This little morsel of information will come in handy later on in the post, so back burner that shit, ya dig?
Once badged-up, I scoured the room for familiar faces, and sure as hell, the face I saw first was the exact same one I saw first last year… fellow blogger, Robyn Hawk. I mentioned in my original post from last year’s TFtS series that Robyn was the gal who snapped a great picture of me, clad in badges, and it was so awesome seeing her again. I was less giddy this time around since last year I was a pressroom virgin and practically peed myself when I saw the swag bags. But this year I knew better…
I wore a diaper.
After catching up with Robyn and the TREMENDOUSLY WONDERFUL AND UNDERSTANDING AND DIPLOMATIC AND FREAKING AWESOME AND RAD Rebecca Moskal, it was time to go say hello to some of my homies, so I walked toward Elite Enclave where I knew I’d find LUXE Intelligence.
WOW. Just, wow. What a difference a year makes.
Andrea Hansen and the LUXE team have assembled an incredible amount of talented designers to date. I mean, Payal Shah alone lights up even the darkest of spaces, and yet there was so much brightness and such a multitude of stars coming from each and every direction of their salon. Let’s put it this way… I COVET the designs of Kerri Halpern and her Madstone Jewelry collection, so it was awesome seeing her in person, and I’m a great big fan of Daria DeKoning’s work, as well. (And don’t you get me started on those ROYAL ASSCHERS!) Naturally, though, I had to pay homage to two women I’ve known since my days at LAGOS: Anne King Lagos and Toni Leslie… aka REALM jewelry. Philly is as Philly does, yo, and if we don’t have each other’s backs, ain’t nobody gonna have our backs.
It was fabulous seeing all of the wonderful designers in that salon, as well as Ms. Hansen and Helena Krodel, but it was time to walk the aisles of the LUXURY show itself, so after a brief conversation with my friend and colleague, Jay Mednikow, I scooted toward the Rio Tinto booth to find the one and only Brandee Dallow.
Every time I see her I want to sing her namesake song. I mean, she must get that shit all the time but I’m filled with musicality and GOSH DARNIT, I WANNA LET IT OUT. Before I could start embarrassing myself, however, Brandee said, “Come here… I’ve got to show you this” and took me over to what I assumed could only be their Oculus Rift virtual mine tour. “You want in? Want to try it?” she said, and while every ounce of my being was shouting from inside of me… “Yes, dork, you know you want to try it. You rode the Great American Scream Machine eight times in a row at Six Flags without vomiting, so clearly, you want to try this thing” I looked at my watch and realized it wouldn’t be long before I’d turn back into a cinder-covered servant and my horses would soon become mice. “B, I want to so badly, but I really need to get going.” Which is when Brandee whipped out her IPhone and a pair of what looked like welder’s glasses, and said to me, “Then here… at least try this…”
Technology blows my mind, man. I mean, not in a “how in the hell do people watch the Kardashians?” kind of way, but more in like an “I can’t believe that dude carved Lincoln’s portrait out of a single grain of salt” type of way. Rio Tinto has created an Oculus Rift app that will allow the viewer, using special glasses and their own smartphone, to virtually visit their mine and see what is going on in 3D.
I don’t know about you, but my head just exploded while typing that.
Before I left RT, however, Brandee said to me, “You’re in for tonight, right? I asked Monica to join us, too. Giada’s new place. See you at 8?” To which I replied… “Oh yeah, I’m there.”
With that, I knew I just had one more stop to make before I left; one more very important person to see…
“You’re looking smart in your glasses, Mr. Lucking.”
“BABS! What are you doing here?!?”
You see, even though I made a point (or several) in last year’s posts about just how dreamy and desirable “that kid from Ritani” was, he’s actually a pretty rad dude who I’ve come to know fairly well. We chatted briefly about work and plans before I had to head out, but I knew it would only be a matter of time before Thor would be in my presence again.
While walking toward the exit, though, I suddenly found myself surrounded by three armed security guards, and not in a “let’s replay a scene from my bachelorette party” way, either.
“Miss, you don’t have proper access to this part of the convention” the small one said. I guess they let the small ones do the talking so that the bigger ones can play the “bad cop” roles.
Me: “Really? I think I do. I just picked this badge up. It’s a press badge. That gives me access, yes?”
Small cop: “Only if you’re here for the JCK show. Your badge says ‘JCK.’ This is ‘LUXURY.’ You need a LUXURY badge or else you can’t be here.”
Me: “Oh. Okay, that’s cool. I’ll just head back to the press room and grab a Luxury badge. No biggie.”
Tiny cop: “We can’t let you go unescorted. We’ll have to go with you.”
Me: “(Laughing) Are you serious? You’re giving me an armed escort to the press room?”
Itsy bitsy cop: “We have to if you don’t have the proper access to be here.”
Me: “This is *so* going in my blog.”
Microscopic cop: (((Silence while walking behind me with his AK-47 or whatever the hell he was carrying)))
My escorts (escorts in Vegas… imagine that) accompanied me back to the press lounge in time for me to make out with celebrity stylist Michael O’Connor (you had to be there) and share a moment with my BLOGGERATTI – aka – Monica Stephenson, Katerina Perez, and Danielle Miele. I cannot thank the three of these women enough for the positive feedback and support they gave me leading up to our “Power of Blogging” panel. Not sure I could have done it without them, and I’m dead serious when I say that.
Once I arrived back at the Wynn I picked up my “PROPER ACCESS” badge for the COUTURE show and headed off to meet my Gumuchian crew. After a quick conversation with the Adventurine creators, I walked through the doors of the Lafitte ballroom and nearly ran right into Swoonon… I mean, Gannon… who appeared a little frazzled and not quite as Gannonish as I’m used to seeing him. “Hey. Just to let you know, the panels haven’t arrived yet with the illustrations. Just letting you know.”
Nice to see you too, GB.
But, you know what? This is the GUMUCH crew, man. No panels? NO WORRIES. We don’t sweat it. We’re excited to be here – Chris, Myriam, Jodi, Tat, and I. We got that booth set up in a matter of minutes, panels or not. And when all was said and done, I headed up to my room on the 54th floor, drew back the curtains, took a deep breath, and took in all of it, all while sipping on a glass of Macallan 12 that another not-so-secret admirer had sent to my room.
“This has all been so nice so far” I thought to myself. “But, I’m thinking I need a little girl time. And maybe just a little naughtiness.”
And that’s exactly what I was in for.
To be continued…
(And if my little girlfriend is reading this from her bed, and you know who you are, I’m thinking of you and hope this brought you some laughter… hugs and kisses…)