Yes, people. It's true. I met The Pioneer Woman.
If you don't know who PW is, you need to click over to her site as soon as humanly possible (just make sure to come back here!). After about two minutes of reading her blog, salivating over her recipes, and admiring her gorgeous home, you'll understand why this was such a monumental event.
This is kind of a lengthy story, so for those of you who aren't that interested, here's the short version:
I went to Salt Lake City with Brandi, my good friend for the last 25+ years. We met Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman. It was awesome. The end.
For those of you who want more details, read on!
I have been reading PW's website for years. I think she's amazing. I have her cookbook. She came to Salt Lake in November of 2009, but I didn't go meet her, and I've regretted it ever since. When I saw that she was coming back for a book signing for her new book, I really wanted to go. Luckily, Brandi wanted to go with me! Mr. W was kind enough to drive us the 90-minute distance, even though he had no interest in meeting PW himself.
The book signing was held at the Salt Lake City Main Library. I had never been there before, but it is an amazing building! I was in love. You should check it out if you ever have the chance. We got there just a little after 5 P.M., and the event was due to start at 6. We picked up our free tickets, which guaranteed us a seat for PW's talk and also a chance to have our books signed. Our tickets were part of the letter T group, which meant we would have to watch PW speak from the overflow room. We were okay with that, though, and took our seats on the second row, eyes glued to the screen at the front of the room. Here we are with our books and tickets, excitedly awaiting our first glimpse of The Pioneer Woman.
A little after six, PW actually began speaking. I had wondered if she would be as amazing in real life as I've imagined. The answer? She's even better. She is more funny, warm, and genuinely kind than what I'd pictured. The woman who introduced her said that we all view PW as a friend, which is absolutely true. Even though she has a huge following and has achieved rock star-like status, she was still a little nervous. She spoke very briefly about her newest book, and then the rest of the time was for questions and answers. Here's a little bit of what we learned:
Her name is actually Anne Marie.
Her brother Mike called her "Wee-Wee" when she was born, which later turned into Ree, and she has been Ree ever since.
Marlboro Man's real name is Ladd.
She was also careful to clarify that MM does not smoke or use any sort of tobacco product, and he never has. He does have a bit of an addiction to Dr. Pepper, though.
She will try to post more picture's of Marlboro Man's backside, since that was a popular request.
She said she likes to listen to her readership and give them what they want. :)
When asked how she manages to use so much butter and still look so awesome, she said the truth is that she's put on 16 or 17 pounds since starting The Pioneer Woman Cooks, and she struggles with her weight just like everyone else. Her trick is to wear loose, flowy blouses.
How does MM feel about the popularity of her blog? She said he's very supportive and actually thinks she does a great job of presenting agriculture positively. She said the only time he has a problem is when she writes an incorrect agricultural fact.
PW and MM have been married for almost 15 years, and they are still very much in love. While PW made it clear that she is not a marriage expert, she did mention two things that I thought were great. First, she said they spend a lot of time together, which helps them work as a team; they have a ranch, which means that he is home working all the time and she is out there with him. Even though most people don't have the luxury of being together all the time since they have separate jobs, she said it's important to make sure that you're not constantly busy going your separate directions. She also said that it's just as easy to notice the good things a husband does as it is to focus on the bad; she has chosen over the years to focus on how wonderful he is, rather than dwelling on his faults, and the more she does it, the easier it is to find the good.
She also talked about cooking, blogging, her family, and then she sang a few bars of "There's No Business Like Show Business" in her best Ethel Merman voice. All in all, she probably spoke for about 20 minutes.
After her talk, the actual signing began, starting with the letter A. After 30 minutes, they were finally starting letter C. Brandi and I began to despair of ever getting our books signed, since we were all the way at the end of the alphabet. After a lot of walking and waiting, we managed to trade up to a letter K, and then after more walking, waiting, a trip to Burger King, and a near-collision with PW's two daughters, we traded up to a letter G. By 8:45 P.M., we were finally in line and just a few yards away from her table, and my butterflies were fluttering. I couldn't believe that I was finally going to meet Ree!!
At long-last, we were face-to-face with PW. Again, I couldn't believe how friendly and kind she is! And her hair is gorgeous. She signed our books, posed for pictures, and chatted with us the whole time; she even commented on what a long wait we'd had and asked if we'd gone anywhere for dinner yet. We told her that we've been friends for 25 years, and after Brandi told her how far we'd driven to meet her, she wished us a safe drive back. Sadly, she was so busy trying to sign everyone's books that we weren't able to shake her hand, but we really and truly met her! We hurried out of the auditorium and squealed as we checked out our signed books.
It was such a crazy, fun night! Almost a week later, it's still hard to believe that I met her and have her autograph! If you haven't already, be sure to check out her site and both of her books; you'll want to meet her, too!