Anybody that has been around here for any length of time knows that I love Ree Drummond, also known in the blogosphere as the Pioneer Woman. And if you don't know who she is, you should be prepared to spend a few hours on her site becoming familiar with her.
One of the first things I loved about her blog was her recipes, every one I have tried has been a great success. Her chocolate sheet cake is yummy, her lasagna crazy good. The olive cheese bread is amazing, and her mac and cheese made me swoon. I've blogged about some of her recipes, and got a few friends turned onto her site as well.
She took many of the recipes she features on her blog and wrote a cookbook, a cookbook I was sure I would own. When it became apparent that Ree would be visiting Minnesota's own Mall of America to sign those cookbooks, I was sure I would be there. With friends. All of those friends I mentioned a sentence or two ago were sure to want to meet her with me. I was starting to wonder how I was going to juggle meeting an aunt, a sister-in-law, and a couple of girlfriends from our former church at the mall.
I worried less when my aunt cancelled, I figured I could make plans with 3 people.
And once my sister-in-law decided not to make the couple hour drive, I figured I was fine, just me and the girls.
Then one girlfriend decided she couldn't get to the mall as early as I could. I was still okay, as me and my pal Michelle have tons of catching up to do, and hours in line waiting for P-Dub was as good a place to do that as any.
Friday night Michelle cancelled. (In her defense, she had been gone all week, and family time is family time.) And I curled up in the corner and cried. (Okay, so I didn't. It makes a good story.) I'm the world's biggest introvert! I hide behind a computer screen! How was I going to do this alone!
I gave myself a little talking to, put my big girl pants on and went to the mall alone. I arrived when the stores opened at 10 and found a line forming. I joined the line and figured I'd better settle in seeing as how they were going to start issuing wristbands at 11, herding us into the corral to continue to wait for the 1 pm signing. (Upon hearing this, my husband asked if anyone else thought it was funny that they were putting us into a corral to wait to meet the wife of a cattle rancher. He's clever that husband of mine!)
While I feared hours of silence, I shouldn't have worried. Just a few short minutes after being the end of the line myself, there were plenty of people behind me. It was a pleasure to stand next to these two ladies and talk blogging and babies and crafting and quilting. We laughed as Tracy headed up to the 3rd floor to take a picture from above and Kristi pointed and actually got women to scream because they thought she was Ree.
After 3 hours of waiting, the moment arrived. Ree took some time to answer some questions from the group. She let us know that Cowboy Josh is still single and looking to make lots of babies. She heard lots of screams when she revealed that Black Heels to Tractor Wheels would be published. She again mentioned that she has the best husband in the world and women swooned. That is probably what she is mentioning in the photo below.
Now speaking of that husband of hers, while answering those questions, Ree mentioned that she figured her husband and boys were off riding the roller coaster. It wasn't too long before it was clear that her husband had indeed wandered back to the book signing area, because you should have heard the scream from the nearly all female crowd! Marlboro Man and the boy punks wandered up on the stage to more cheers. The boys promptly began fighting and MM grabbed Ree's camera and began shooting pictures of the crowd while the crowd all had cameras up shooting pictures of him. (And speaking of cameras, Ree doesn't only cook, but also takes amazing photos and blogs about photography. There were also a lot of people in that crowd with amazing cameras. It was like camera porn and I really wanted a DSLR at that moment.)
Despite not having a DSLR, I'll admit that I was one of those people who wanted to a picture of MM. And, at that moment, I looked down at my camera to see a black screen with tiny white words. "Change Batteries." I looked to the woman on my right, expressed my predicament and without a second of hesitation she reached into her camera bag and pulled out four AA batteries, saving my moment. She was so sweet, telling me that she couldn't let me get this close to meeting Ree without having a camera! (If you're reading, thank you!)
Because I had arrived so early, there were probably only 30 people in line in front of me, which was much preferable to the hundreds of people behind me. I slowly moved closer to meeting Ree, and finally, it was my turn!
Now I sat down with Ree, and here is where it became terrifying. I mentioned that MM had Ree's camera focused on the crowd. While, at some point I realized that he had turned the other direction, and he was taking pictures of his wife sign my cookbooks. Ree Drummond's camera was catching me in its viewfinder. I was supposed to be focusing on the blog idol in front of me, but all I could think was that Ree would have pictures of me and I hadn't gotten my brows waxed. I did manage to tear my brain away from certain humiliation and exchange a few sentences with Ree.
I told her I'd won a cookbook in her last giveaway, and she asked me if I was disappointed to not have won the mixer! She was such a sweetheart, and because I'm a big dork, I gave her a coffee sleeve that I'd made for her that morning. I told her since I'd won one of her giveaways, I wanted to give something back. Since she still professes a love of Starbucks coffee, and her book tour is sure to continue to take her to places with that beloved nectar, she can be both green and adorable.
And yes, she is adorable. Actually, adorable isn't the right word. She is stunning. And though she looks like an amazon next to me in this photo, I'm in a much shorter chair, and I'm probably slouching.
It was such a treat to meet one of my favorite bloggers and spend just a minute with her. I think if I'd had just a few more books in my pile, just a little more time, she would have realized we would be BFF's. For sure.
Thank you Ree! For the time, the kindness, the shirt, (yes, we all got a book tour shirt) and for continuing to entertain us with your stories, your knowledge and your photography. Anytime you want to visit Minnesota again, we'll welcome you with open arms. (And our silly accents.)