Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Starstruck: Meeting The Pioneer Woman

You guys!! Last Friday evening was so exciting. My friends Sandy and Bridget and I drove to Memphis to a huge and very nice Davis-Kidd bookstore with one goal in mind. To see Ree Drummond, also known as The Pioneer Woman, IN PERSON. To be able to giddily say things like, "This is so surreal!" while we watched her sign other people's books, like, 20 feet away. To chat with other fans, the nice people that we all are, while we tried to catch a glimpse of what Marlboro Man really looks like without seeming too stalkerish. (He was there, y'all! And we didn't even know he was going to be. It was Very Exciting.)

I've been a faithful reader of The Pioneer Woman's blog since a little over a year ago. Since then, I've tried many recipes that she's told me to (strawberry shortcake cake and BBQ chicken pizza now being made OFTEN at our house), we built a container garden to her specifications last spring, I've gotten into photography (especially of food and flowers) and often use her "actions" in Photoshop Elements to jazz things up a bit, and really...she has definitely been a blogging inspiration. I love her way with words and it made me remember how much I enjoy writing, too.

So when I found out that she'd be in Memphis during her current book tour for Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, I jumped at the chance to see this lady live and in person. Our friend Becky was supposed to go with us, but due to a bout of the flu...on top of a sinus infection...on top of viral bronchitis...she was, sadly, unable to go. We missed you, Becky! =(

We got there to the bookstore around 5:30, not knowing what kind of madness would ensue. Actually, there wasn't any madness. No chaos. No long lines. (Yet still plenty of people - towards the end of the evening, an employee guesstimated that there were 500-600 people there for this particular booksigning.)  Davis-Kidd had this brilliant idea of assigning a letter (we were Group "O") to groups of 25. And so, we didn't have to stand in line for three hours.

As we were waiting for Ree to appear, we ran into my friend Whitney, who lives in Memphis. She was very excited that her husband had singlehandedly arranged for The Pioneer Woman to travel to our area just two days before Whitney's birthday. What a good man, huh? ;)

Whitney = cute pregnant lady

Ree came out at 6:00pm, said a few words, answered a few questions, and then while Group A quickly lined up to meet her, we hightailed it over to the cafe inside the bookstore...Bronte: A Novel Bistro. Because of the clever name, I loved it already. We leisurely ate dinner (the chicken avocado wrap was spicy and marvelous) and chatted and didn't even leave the cafe' for an hour and a half. At least. But that was really because Bridget's peach cobbler didn't arrive in a timely manner. Her peach cobbler that wasn't really worth the wait, she lamented. Oh, well. We were in no hurry. (Did I mention we were in Group O?)

All we had concrete plans to do were to track down Marlboro Man...and snap a few discreet pictures...and then do a little bookstore browsing while we waited patiently for our group to be called. It didn't take long to find the one lone white cowboy hat perched atop a somewhat familiar face. Somewhat familiar because, really, I'm not sure any of us had seen his whole face before. On Ree's blog, his hat is always pulled down, casting a shadow. So, I'm here to show you What the Marlboro Man Really Looks Like.

Oh, wait, now I know why there's no clear pictures of him on her blog. ;) Luckily, we were all both amused and delighted to find that MM had drummed (drummond?) up his own unofficial autograph/picture line. We jumped in and within just a little while, we were able to photograph him in all of his cowboy-hat-and-starched-shirt glory. We enjoyed hearing him tease the little blond-headed girl in front of us. "Do you paint fences? Do you like to ride horses?" He was offering to put her to work right away. =)

We got autographs and a few fun shots with him. I asked him if he'd ever seen his life turning out this way, say, ten years ago. He grinned and shook his head. "No," he said, congenially.

Signing Sandy's books

There's his face! Don't their boys look just like him??

MM with Bridget; I tried to get Bridget to ask about Cowboy Josh!

Me, getting him to sign on his silhouette...Sandy's idea

After our meeting with the Marlboro Man, whose real name is Ladd, incidentally, we looked around the store for a bit and then finally settled onto some empty benches near Ree's booksigning location. We were able to watch and listen and just hang out for awhile. It was everything a booksigning should be -and Davis-Kidd, I'm very impressed with you. =)

The time was drawing near for our group to be summoned and I think we were all feeling a bit nervous. I really wished we could just sit and talk with her for awhile, to not be rushed, because I say stupid things when I'm rushed and nervous and starstruck. Ugh. The funny thing is that I know that Ree Drummond is the same way - I've felt a kind of kinship with her about that. But Friday night she was all dressed up and fancy and beautiful and seemingly at ease. And I was nervous.

Ree told Sandy that she looked like Marsha Brady. 
And then she asked her if she knew who Marsha Brady was. 
Ha! Of course we do. We're not quite as young as we look. =)

So when it was my turn, I walked up and she asked, "How are you?" and I said something along the lines of, " are you?" A combination of "Just fine" and "Good." That's brilliant, Kristen. Brilliant. I think she glanced at my face to make sure I wasn't in the middle of a stroke or a meltdown or something. When she was satisfied that I wasn't, she started signing my book and I started telling her (with a little bit more ease) about the necklace I was wearing. It was made by a friend's brother and I thought it was something unusual that she'd be interested in. She was. She wondered, nicely, how he made it and how he came up with the idea. We talked for a minute about it and I left her with one of his business cards. We got a group picture made with Ree and then after we walked off, I could finally breathe again. Whew! That was fun!

Ree and me

I enjoy this picture quite a lot. =)

Yes, sure, I said my wedding vows in front of a few hundred people, feeling completely at ease; I can teach kindergarteners in Bible class without breaking a sweat; I emceed our Chamber of Commerce banquet when I was the executive director and I did fine...but put me in front of PW and my words tumble out in a jumbled mess. Ohhh. I just realized what I did wrong. I practice(d) for those other things. Why didn't I do a quick run through before the book signing?? Yeesh. Well, next time I'll know. =)

The thing is, it really was all fun. Despite my last-minute nervousness, the whole evening was nice and casual and low-key. Lots of downtime but still plenty of things to fill it with. And it was great to hang out with Sandy and Bridget, both of whom I got to know a little bit better.

All because of our common interest in what's going on at the ranch. And how it all started. =)


  1. What a fun day! I'd freak out at a book signing of one of my fave authors if i ever got the chance to go- still hoping i'll be able to one day though!

    Thanks for your sweet comment with the link to that cute wedding! i do love me some succulents! It was so thoughtful of you and made my heart swell with gladness. :]


  2. Woo hoo!!! You're almost famous, too!! You got FOUR autographs! That's completely legit! I'm so glad it was everything you hoped it would be and that she was as wonderful as you expected. What a great memory. Loved the recap with the pictures. And at least now you know to practice meeting celebrities. ;)

  3. Your post is awesome....way better than mine....but like I said, I'm just not good with words!! I enjoyed getting to experience my first book signing with you!!

  4. Thanks so much for visiting, Blythe! I'm excited that you are "following" me back. =) Glad you liked the link I left you. I know I don't really know you and all, but you're the first person I thought of when I saw those pictures! ;)

    Mindy - seriously! I'll definitely be practicing next time. Maybe I'll get to talk to her again sometime and I won't sound like such a goof. =)

    Sandy - thanks! I was glad to hang out with you and Bridget. I really, really enjoyed it. =)

  5. so fun! i met her in san francisco - she is so beautiful! don't worry, i was awkward too :)

  6. Mitzi - thanks for stopping by! And I'm always glad to know that other people have awkward moments like that, too! =) Ha!

  7. What an exciting day! I have been wanting to get her new book myself. Also, thanks for visiting my blog today! It's good to "meet" you!


  8. I have heard so much about this pioneer woman. I just need someone to explain her to me. So, she started off writing a blog and now she is book author?? And the guy in the cowboy hat is her husband??

  9. Thanks for coming over, Jenni! I look forward to seeing more of your artsy designs. =)

    Kimberly - girl! You've got to spend some time on PW's blog. Yes, she started off writing a blog to keep in touch with family, I think. She's a city-girl-turned-ranch-wife and she ended up writing this huge, long saga about how she met her husband (yes, the cowboy-hatted "Marlboro Man," as she calls him) and she also blogs about recipes and ranch life and homeschooling and photography and various odds and ends - and along the way, she started getting zillions of readers. Because she's hilarious, no matter what she writes about. She's now written two books - this booksigning was for the new book, which is an expanded story of meeting MM...through their first year of married life. There's supposed to be a movie later. =) She's also got a cookbook.

    Seriously - go look her up. It's always fun times!

  10. Oh wow! What an awesome day! I love the pictures that you were able to get with her...that is so exciting! I love all of her recipes! :)

  11. I love your post, Kristen. You had a lovely day with friends and got Ree's much sought after autograph. Way to go!

  12. Thanks, Christina and Cathy! It was all too fun. =)

  13. Lucky girl!! Looks like you had a great night meeting PW & MM! She is coming to Atlanta Friday, but I don't want to go downtown alone. Darn it! Wish she would come to the 'burbs!! : )

    Aimee @

  14. Aimee, surely you can find another Atlanta friend to go with you! It was all so much fun - you should totally go for it!

  15. WOW this was a fantastic opportunity and you got so many great photos to capture the event! Cherish that cookbook! :)

  16. Kristen,
    What a great post. How fun for you and your friends too. Thank for taking us along!

  17. SO jealous! I'd love to meet her someday.

  18. Thank you soooo much for filling me in on her. I'll def. check her out!

  19. Finally, a clear shot of Marboro Man without a face full of mud :). Looks like you had a great time at the signing.

    Thanks for visiting my blog... hope you like the chocolate chip cookies (I think the dough is addictive!!).



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