... will be pretty much blogged about.
I'm sure everyone has their own Vegas story. I realize mines is not the stereotypical story that most people encounter. After all, I'm not big on drinking, I don't even know what partying or night life is, and I've never gambled in my life! So if your expecting a story of where I'm partying all night, bar hopping, dancing on poles, and puking the next day... You clearly have not been reading my blog :) This tale is told through a small time "country" girl, I think I can officially refer to myself as country now, after I reached the 5 year mark of living in Alaska, don't-cha think?
(FYI I realize this is a LONG post. Not to bore people to death.. but all this writing that I have been feverishly working on during layovers will make it's way in a shutterfly scrapbook album.. so feel free to scroll down, way down)
YOU DOWN WITH W.P.P.I , YEAH YOU KNOW ME
Well, it's not the OPP version.
So last year... my good friend Michelle of Suitcase Studio emailed me an idea...
She invited me to attend the 2011 WPPI in Vegas. Upon first hearing it.. I was like, "sure!" as in "yea, a-ha, yup.. like I, could ever get there.. Laugh out loud!" But I didn't want to shut a door that was graciously opened for me. When it all boiled down.. I knew in my heart that I would LOVE to attend.. but it was easier to shut myself down because that seemed like one of those, "unattainable dreams". First of all, me in Vegas? Unheard of? What about the kids? And airfare? Where would I stay? Registration? all I could hear was (cha-ching.. impossible). But as the months passed... the doors began to swing open, one after another. Suddenly the path to Vegas was closer than I thought. Soon I was boarding a plane to Vegas, for a quick 4 days/3 nights and this much closer to seeing J.Star. And none of this would not have happened without my good friend, Michelle. Many thanks.. to an amazing and talented woman!
The tradeshow itself was like sensory overload! If you've never experienced a trade show.. I suggest you do. I'm glad Anna took me to a few scrapbooking trade shows to get my feet wet and I knew to expect.. chaos! There's so many info at these things. If you were overwhelmed with 2 print companies try 10 of them! Everyone wants YOUR business! And if you stop at everyone, you'll end up with a 20lb bag full of stuff :)
Within my first 2 1/2 minutes there, I felt completely lost in the sea of smoke, sound of slot machines "chinging", and the plethora of half naked ladies, and all the Pauly D & Vinny- look alikes (had to add a little Jersey Shore lingo in there because I can). I literally felt like digging a hole and crawling into it. Life in the "City That Never Sleeps" was such a change in pace compared to my home life in good ol' Alaska. And if I had to vote at the very moment where I could raise my family, I'd go back to the "woods" for sure! Nice and quiet, the way I like it. But I could do Vegas, in small doses at a time.
WE ARE THE WORLD PHOTOGRAPHERS...
Everyone: we are the world.. we are the children, we are the ones to make a brighter day (with our increased ISO, shallow apeture, and external flashes)... But in all seriousness, can you just imagine, thousands of photographers from around the world in one place? What do you see?
Yup, all of us with our honking cameras :)
The next day we woke up bright and early (6am) to walk 500 miles (felt like it) to register, attend class, and walk the tradeshow. I saw a massive swarm of people moving in one direction... Kinda lke the streets of New York.. Everyone's has someplace to be. No time to say hello or excuse me for that matter... just a bunch of people with their WPPI badge wrapped around their neck . Walking the walk and not a whole lot of talking. We all had something in common, besides our honking cameras, we were all here to learn something, to grow with this business, in hopes to leave with a new sense of direction (hopefully). There were people of all ages, some old timers to some that are still in highschool! But what I did notice is there was quite an abundance of young women (like me) doing and wanting the same thing. Tons!
CLASSES = KNOWLEDGE.
In the course of two days I took 4 classes, each about 2-3 hours long. So my day pretty much looked like this:
(love this photo.. 7am, water bottle, watered down mojito, and motrin... Life in Vegas)
6am wake up
7am leave to stand in line
8-10 am class
2-3 wait in line for next class
I enjoyed all my classes and left with a wealth of knowledge, my creativity turned up 10 notches, inspired beyond belief, and looking forward to adapting all that I’ve learned to our business. I’ve learned that in order to succeed in anything… you have to equip yourself with knowledge. I also learned that in this line of business, the creativity is not enough. Sad but true. It is a business, you must learn to possess business skills or else this is just an expensive hobby. Your time is money and time spent away from your family. Now is editing that last minute family who wanted holiday photos during your child’s winter break worth your time? It can be, if it is profitable. Otherwise, you just sacrificed time will spent with your own children. The most important thing I learned on this trip.. is to take classes, learn more, knowledge is really power.
GAMBLERS ANONYMOUS, YOU CAN'T HELP ME.
I get it. I totally understand why people can sit there for hours at time in a smoke filled room with booze passed around constantly. Well not the smoking and booze. But the whole gambling thing. I totally get it.
It's the machines.. you guys!
We're in Vegas.. and you have to try a slot machine, right? Seriously, come on!
So I put in $1 and I lost it in a matter of seconds.
I walk away.
Then I'm on my way back to the room. But detoured over to a sparkly slot machine.
I put in $1, I won $25!
I cashed that sucker and ran.
But that feeling.. of winning. Oh.. it's a good feeling... makes you want MORE!
That night I passed by the same machine.
It was almost like it was sparkling even brighter.. for me.
Almost calling my name. "Play with me... Psst.. I got money.. YOUR money."
Like a fool.. I went. I lost a buck or two.
But with only 2 coins left, I spin the numbers.. and I won $60 bucks!
You may be saying no big deal.. but it was for me!
So what do I do?
I sat and debated.. do I cash it in? Or go for MORE?
Long story short.. Goodbye $60 bucks.. that was never mine to begin with..
I sulked back to my room, swung opened the doors:
"Hi I'm Ronalyn, and I'm addicted to gambling."
STAR LIGHT, STAR BRIGHT, I WISH I MAY, I WISH I MIGHT…
Well I'm talking about thee, Jasmine Star & Mr. Jasmine Star, I mean JD…
If you only knew the “stalking” issues I have with these powerful duo. I mean seriously, if there was a J.Star Anonymous for an obsessed, crazed, photographers like me… I’d still be in rehab.. and after this week, I’d need more than a restraining order to stop me.
T’was a Monday afternoon.. I’m sportin my new beige, over your shoulder top.. (chic, very chic) I’m trying not to run to my next class while I’m waving around my pre-boarded pass to see the great J.Star. Then as I stop to ask directions.. who should show up behind me?
J (dot) Star & her man (yummy-licious) JD
I just about died (and dropped my folder, then my bag)
She casually waved hello to the big line already forming outside the Garden arena.
She passed me by and headed down the escalator.
The same escalator the usher said I needed to go down
So who was behind her? ME!
So here I am.. snapping photos with my dinky iPhone3G (so need to upgrade) of her, JD, and their body guard (?) Well I would assume they need him for the sole purpose of people like me. Little did I know that I just missed the main entrance to the grand arena and was now following stalking Ms. Star through the back entrance of the arena.
Her story.. her motivational speech.. was just simply amazing. And I don’t use simply, mildly. If you follow J. Star, not only is she a talented photographer.. you’ll know that she’s real, an honest to goodness, real person. I admit.. there are some other photographers out there who can blow the socks off her latest wedding shoot.. but the main reason I’ve followed her through the years is simply because.. she .. is.. real..
She relates to everyone. Sure she’s got great photos… but I love her little antics more.In a business where we all want the same thing… she keeps things into prospective.
Move… get out of my way.. (said best by Ludacris)
I sat next to two young girls, no really they were young.. I googled them after we exchanged info.
When the class was over, we walked down the bleachers.. I kinda followed these two girls.. and we didn’t realize there was a line forming (or completely ignored it) and wrapped around to the front of the meet and greet line. So as we saw the line forming.. we realized we were behind her. I could see the evil looks in people’s faces.. but just like Dory says “Just keep swimming..”
Those 2 girls, got the chance to take a photo and chit chat with her.
And I timidly asked one of those girls to take my camera and I’m gonna trry and get in.
And being me.. shy me.
I just couldn’t get myself to jump in and say Hi.
I kept missing my turn.
So one of those girls said.. when that girl is done, I’m gonna push you. And she did.. I could tell she was a go-getter.
Okay.. so remember that scene in The Proposal where Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds were sitting in that room with that deportation guy?
And Sandra says.. “In fact where going to gammy’s 90th birthday”
And the guy says, oh yeah where?
And Ryan Reyonold says.. “Sitka..” pause “Alaska”
And Sandra slowly says.. “Aaaah-las-ka”
Yeah? Okay… So I said.. Hi Jasmine Star I just wanted to holla at you from Alaska! (and yes I did say Hollla, cause if you know her, she says it a lot!)
And she paused. Looked at me… and said it just like Sandra Bullock.. “Aaah-las-kuh?”
That stopped her dead in her tracks.
She had total focus on me instead of the forgetful, “Hi nice to meet you, blah blah”
No, I had a full on conversation!
She then said..
Oh you were here early?
Sitting up in the front?
(I was even more ecstatic that she remembered me!)
And I replied, “You bet, I came all the way from Alaska to see you
(notice the repetition in Alaska,…I want her to remember me.)
And from there I stuttered like a kid being asked in a 10 seconds or less, what he wanted for Christmas.
“Oh I just wanted to say, My partner Paula and I LOVE YOU… you are our idol.. when we’re shooting weddings we often ask ourselves.. “What would J.Star do shooting a wedding in -10 degrees..”
She looked at me and said “ Oh my goodness.. I’m not sure how you do that.. First of all I’d need real cute boots, she said.. the ones with the fur.. the faux fur of course..” and I giggled (like a little girl)
She gave me hug and took a photo with me.
It is now stored in “The I Will Always Cherish This Moment for as long as I live” section of my life.
Then I turned around and saw JD
He said “Did I hear that right? “Aaahh-las-kuh”
And he had a conversation with me as well!
By this time, I felt like Jasmine and JD were long lost friends. I was talking with my hands swinging from left to right.
I said, “you know we don’t get to be as cute as Jasmine while shooting weddings in heels and a dress.. No, we are bundled up in our hats, gloves, and snowsuits.”
He stood there, focused and astonished.
He said, “I can’t imagine.. you know I only saw snow once!”
And I went on to say “in fact we shot a wedding in December when it was -10 degrees”
“Oh wow, you have to show me your portfolio!”
“Sure thing!” I said as I felt like racing home to update all the old photos the website (that we rarely touch, right) and then sign up for a new blog host and revamp the whole thing.
And I got my JD photo. (sigh)
Literally. No really it was chocolate liquor.
This sweet concoction called, "Berry Nutty Professor"
We had the most amazing waiter, who did not mind sharing his life stories with us at all.. like the fact that he was crushing on this guy the next table over. He shared a story with us, and from what I gather, it was translated into fragments of sentences: (because really that was all I could comprehend after drink #2)
Ganache & Thickness.
So let me just add that I, Ronalyn am not a very big drinker.. so if you fancy a wild night out drinking.. I’m really the wrong person. So naturally you can imagine what 2 drinks of this did to me… Made me feel incredibly warm and giggly for a couple of hours. I mean, we walked in H&M after and I was spinning around in chairs, dancing, and I think being obnoxious but laughed the whole time. I entertained Michelle that night!
DANCING WATER LIGHTS & SNUGGLY.
The title pretty much summed up our night. We did some last minute touring by driving out to the Belagio to see the lights while I had a Michelle's snuggly wrapped around me. (left my coat at the hotel).
MY FOREVER FRIEND.
Not good-bye.. just see you later.
I’m not good on good-byes.
In fact as she got ready for her 8am class, I wondered where she was off too. I've mistaken her class for 10am. So I didn’t have that built up queasy feeling in my stomach leading up to the good-byes.. More like where you going this early?
But I refused to say goodbye.. and opted for see you later.
Much like the “see you later” when we headed to different classes.
Even though I just met her (in person) 4 days ago.. it was like I already knew her.. that somewhere in this parallel lives of ours, our paths already crossed. It was that comfortable, kinda like my worn out uggs if you ask me.
Our conversations moved with ease.
We chatted for hours into the night… sharing our common dreams and aspirations.
We shared our most intimate moments and laughed the night away.
I know it sounds cheesy.. well it some way it was.
The connection was there and 4 days ago, I just met my forever friend.
Cheers (with Chocolate Wasted in my hand) to the woman that made this trip possible for me, I will forever be grateful for this experience.
I've got tons of more photos that will randomly pop up in my blog throughout the week. But I am tired.. not sure why, because I've sat on this sofa all day today. Tomorrow is Monday... and I have to get back in gear, whether I like it or not.