A few years ago, my sweet friend was watching the news while hanging out at home. they asked some random trivia question, to which she knew the answer- so she called in and won a WHOLE YEAR'S WORTH OF FREE ICE CREAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That was the coolest contest any of my friends or loved ones had ever won.
UNTIL last week.
So, as you all know, I really did totally and truly win the Wendyslookbook + Marissa Webb + Banana Republic contest. And I really did have a truly exceptionally awesomely wonderful time.
On Wednesday afternoon I flew from Phoenix to New York (ok ok. I flew into New Jersey. That does not sound as glamorous! But Banana Republic did arrange to have a very nice Black SUV pick me up and drive me to my hotel in Greenwich Village. There we go, the glamour is back.) I had 4 and a half hours to myself on an airplane. So I picked up the latest copy of InStyle and devoured it in between taking a nap, and drinking copious amounts of coke and water. Getting to the pages of who is where and leads which fashion brand read like a press release after a trade dead line. It was riveting. Peter Copping at Oscar De La Renta after years at Louis Vuitton and Nina Ricci, Julien Dossena at Paco Rabanne who came from Balenciaga, Nadege Vanhee-Cybulski at Hermes who came from the Row and Celine.
Then on the way home, I read 'The American Way', the free magazine they had in my back seat pocket. And I devoured that as well. It helped that Marshawn Lynch was on the cover, and he's my boy cause he helped me to win 2nd place in my fantasy football pool last year which made me a 12,500 cents richer at the end of the season. In the rare interview with Mr. Beast Mode himself, they described Lynch as "a model for how the game should be played: passionately, fiercely, unrelentingly." (Jan Hubbard) I saw that this week in New York watching Wendy Nguyen and Marissa Webb working their magic at fashion week!
Maybe you already know Wendy and are a part of her massive online following. She has over 400,000 Facebook friends, 700,000 Instagram followers, thousands of YouTube subscribers, and I have no idea what her numbers are on Twitter and SnapChat cause I refuse to join those communities. I have kids who need me to pay attention to them too people. Gotta limit my social media community and screen time. Anyway, if you don't know her- Wendy is in this elusive club of being a legitimately amazing fashion blogger. I follow her on Instagram as she posts pictures of herself in perfectly tailored outfits, toe numbingly high heels, fluttering her thick, gorgeous, albeit fake, lashes. But her lashes are the only thing that are fake about her.
I was SOoOoO excited to meet Wendy, but i wasn't sure what it would be like to actually hang out with her. All Weekend Long. But it was like visiting an old friend. We talked, we laughed, we ate brussel sprouts EVERY time they were on the menu, we shared food, and stories about our lives, and marveled at the points that intersected, as well as the points that were on polar opposite ends of the spectrum.
Wendy gets free clothes and shoes for making them look amazing. Which is not hard to do when you have size four feet because you are four feet and 11 3/4 inches 'tall' and you have the face of a beautifully sculpted doll. I, on the other hand, am going to start getting free formula from WIC for our foster baby. But this was not as isolating a point as one might think. Wendy has been in the foster system and she knows what it's like to live without parents whose main purpose it is to take care of their children and love them and cherish them, as most of the 18,000 kids in Arizona's Foster system can relate to. But that's not a stumbling block for her. It's not an excuse she uses to prevent her from succeeding. It's one of the many forces that has driven her to the success that she is presently enjoying. Yes Wendy has a YouTube channel and is all over social media, but what you may not know about her is that she has a non-profit organization reaching out to girls in the system, and she wants to encourage and empower them. She also has a t-shirt line that she is trying to grow that will be both fiscally and environmentally responsible. And also adorable. Successful, gorgeous, creative, smart, and environmentally friendly?!?!? She even drives a Prius for the love! It would be so easy to hate her, but only if you didn't actually know her.
My preconceived notions that fashion bloggers are narcissists with amazing clothes and a serious knack for taking great selfies was crushed this weekend. Watching Wendy and a few of her close fashion blogging friends brooklynblonde and 9to5chic talk about which cameras and lenses and editing programs they use, was fascinating. I had NO IDEA what they were talking about, but they spoke with such knowledge and enthusiasm, and were sharing ideas instead of hoarding information so they could all improve (community over competition!!!!! I don't know if showit.com started that hashtag, but I know the showiteers use it a lot and it's so great!).
I also got to meet Nina, who works with Wendy as her graphic designer, and photographer, and who knows what else. Nina (who also has a blog: citizensrunway) is from Toronto of all places, and we share a serious love for the same greasy Chinese food restaurants. Less than 6 degrees of separation from Rol San! I watched Nina and Wendy take pictures for their blog, and it was eye opening to see how hard they work to come up with the beautiful images that I (and probably you too) take for granted on my Instagram feed.
I feel so very privileged to have also been able to meet Marissa and shake her hand and hug her and even do spicy tequila shots with her this weekend. She went from having her Spring/Summer '16 runway show on Thursday, to having to get ready for Banana Republic's presentation (like a runway show- only the models stand in place and don't really move for an hour) for Saturday. Needless to say- she was VERY busy. but I loved watching her interact with her team at runway show, as well as at Banana Republic. This woman is a fierce leader who knows how to get things done! And done with style and swagger! I wanted to talk to her more about her having been adopted, and about her time at J Crew, and about bacon cheeseburgers, and her fiancé, and her family. but then she would have been scared by how much I already knew about her from stalking her on Google. so I tried to just smile and not look too crazy...
ALL these women that I met this weekend, much like my Marshawn, are truly passionate, fierce, and unrelenting in their fashion, and blogging businesses!
I'll write more about my trip in the next post, but I just wanted to dedicate this one to Wendy who made #jihaedoesnewyork so very much more than just a quick weekend getaway, but an experience that I will remember (and TALK ABOUT VERY OFTEN) for the rest of my life!