Thursday, July 21, 2011

Free Sample of AlternaVites

If you have a hard time swallowing pills you'll want to get this sample. alternaVites is offering a free sample of their crystal powder that contains 23 vitamins and minerals. I wonder how it tastes? Thanks to Regular Mom for this freebie.


Ragu Mom's the Word on Dinner Trip and People Magazine Photo Shoot - Part Two

Video Crew
The phone rang promptly at 8:30 am.  It was Julie, the video producer.  "We're in the lobby waiting for you whenever you are ready."  I told her we'd be right down.  This was it.  The big day.  The day that I would be photographed to be in People Magazine. I still couldn't believe it.  John and I prayed a prayer of gratitude, closed the hotel door and headed toward the elevator.  

When the doors opened there was Julie with Colin the Cameraman and Trocan the Sound Technician, who said hello and put a mic on me.  They began filming immediately.  Checking out, leaving the hotel, arriving at the shoot location and then throughout the day, including impromptu interviews.  People outside the hotel gathered to watch us.  I felt very self conscious for a while.

The shoot location was an apartment that had been rented for the day.  Everything in the kitchen was taken down and replaced with props in Ragu colors.  I met several people from Ragu, Adam, Joyce and Sophie, many others from Time Warner and still others from Marek & Associates who oversaw the whole production.

It was 9:30 am and I was due in wardrobe.  Patty, the Stylist had a whole rack of clothes and shoes, all pre-selected in my sizes.  I played dress-up for a little while. We settled on a coral orange top, black pants and black pumps.  The Ragu reps gave it the nod.  The outfit was given to Olga who tailored it to fit me perfectly.  

Colleen making me pretty
Colleen Creighton did my hair and make-up.  She chatted with me about doing hair and make-up for Mickey Rourke, Nelly Fertado and super models, most of which she said are very nice and come from humble beginnings.  I found it all fascinating and the time went very fast. When she was done I looked in the mirror.  I beamed.  I still looked like me, just a more glamorous version of me.  I was getting the red carpet treatment and I was loving it.
Shot #1

It was 12:00 and time for the first shot.  I had been told the day of the shoot was arranged so that Walter Chin could do the photography.  He had just spent a week shooting for Victoria's Secret. Wow.  And now he was going to take MY picture.  He was very nice, giving me direction and compliments as he took pictures.  His digital pictures showed up immediately on a monitor that everyone was watching so they could give their input.  Props, including me would be moved around and then Walter would take more pictures.  They did this several times for about 1/2 an hour until everyone said "That's it.  That's the one."  They asked if I'd like to see it.  Of course I said yes. I was surprised.  There I was, that glamorous version of myself staring back at me.  It was an odd exciting feeling and I felt really good that everyone else was happy with it too. 

Shot #2
We had a quick catered lunch then it was time for my hair and make-up to be touched up before the next shot at 2:00.  The next shot was of me seated at a table. It didn't go quite as smoothly as the first shot. I wasn't sitting high enough.  The pasta bowl was definitely too small for a family of 8.  My hands were in an ackward position and they looked forced.  I tried holding a bowl, holding a serving spoon, holding a fork, hands folded, then unfolded.  I really got a sense of what it is to be a model.  I was just another prop that moved around until they got the right shot.  Finally I rested my head in hand and they loved it. It looked as though I were leaning forward to listen to take part in our dinner conversations.  It was what they were looking for.  Yay!

Video Interview
Finally it was 3:30 and time for the formal video interview and promotional spots for the Ragu Mom's the Word on Dinner facebook community.  The lights were very warm and I was getting a little tired but still wanted to accomplish everything that everyone wanted me to. John was asked to join me for the video interview.  That was a lot of fun.  He hadn't expected to be part of the process and it was funny to see him put on the spot.  He did great.  No worries.  I'm sure we'll both look good through wonders of editing.  It was a nice way to finish up. We were both happy. We were done and had even finished on time.  It was 4:30 pm.

John, Stella and I
Stella, the amazing Stella from Time Warner was the first person I met and took such good care of us that I felt like we'd long been friends by the end, took John and I out for a drink.  We talked and chatted until our car arrived at 5:30 pm to take us to the airport.  She sent us off with a bag full of I love New York t-shirts for the family and a bag of Corned Beef sandwiches for the flight since we hadn't made it to a New York deli during our trip.  Finally she told me that I'd be receiving two boxes of the People issue that I'll be featured in.  A quick picture and hug goodbye and we were heading back to West Virginia.  It had been an amazing trip.  

Look for my dinner story to be featured in the August 26 issue of People Magazine. Many thanks to People Magazine and Ragu. I have memories that will last a lifetime!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ragu Mom's the Word on Dinner Trip and People Magazine Photo Shoot Part One

It all started with a contest entry....

"Table for eight. Joshua is sneaking bites before we all sit down. Caitlyn's using Ragu for fingerpaint. Chelsea wants to know if we have soda. Chris isn’t hungry. Elisse informs me there's too much meat in the sauce while John, my husband asks 'You know what would make this really good?' Two to four conversations occurring at once with escalating volume. Then there’s dropped forks, spilled drinks and fights over breadsticks. John and I sigh, roll our eyes, shrug, look at each other and smile. We wouldn’t change a thing. Table for eight? You bet."

It was just one from among thousands across the nation to be judged. Weeks later when I received an e-mail, it's subject line "YOU ARE A POTENTIAL FINALIST" I deleted it. I said to myself "yeah sure, so is everyone else." I thought it was spam. When I got another one a few days later I thought maybe I should take a look at it. The text was urgent. "If you don't reply within 24 hours we will assume you are not interested in participating." I jumped up and down. I screamed. I tried unsuccessfully to dial the phone. Four tries later my hands had finally stopped shaking enough to dial the number correctly. "Yes!" I said. I want to participate!" One notarized affidavit later I was declared an "official" finalist.

The next phase of the contest was to have nationwide voting on the Ragu Sauce facebook page to select the winner from among the finalists. And so began my campaign. Everyone I've known since high school got an e-mail asking for their votes. I tweeted. I posted in all the mom blogging community sites I'm a member of, this blog as well as my fan page. I went door to door. No I didn't. I did think about it though. I felt like a candidate campaigning for a public office but for me there were bigger stakes. I was competing for a trip (alone) for my husband and I to New York City and a photo shoot for People Magazine. I wanted that prize.  The voting went on for a week then the wait began.

Three long days later I got it. The e-mail with the subject line "YOU ARE THE GRAND PRIZE WINNER." This one I didn't delete. I had done it. I had won. Again screaming and jumping up and down. I couldn't believe it. I had really won it.

Flash forward a couple of weeks later to the trip of a lifetime. A three day trip to New York City, all expenses paid AND a People Magazine photo shoot. My husband, John and I stuffed as much as we could into the two days we had before the shoot.

We visited Times Square, Central Park, went on subway rides and a harbor cruise, saw the Broadway show Wicked, ate Chinese dinner in China Town and dessert in Little Italy, dined at a steak house on Restaurant Row, visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I'd love to know how many miles we walked.  We took it all in.  We had an absolute blast. We survived on very little sleep, adrenaline and 5-hour energy shots. We couldn't have fit anything else in.

It was already 1:00 am.  The day of the photo shoot. It was time (to try) to get some sleep. I wasn't very successful.  I couldn't get it out of my mind.  I, me, a middle-aged mom from West Virginia was going to be in PEOPLE magazine.  Could I really pull this off?

Tomorrow. Part 2 - The photo shoot



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