Howdy, y’all. I did it. I went to Oklahoma to film a segment of “Putting it all Together” with Susan Wagner and Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman. Being there was inspiring, rejuvenating, surreal. I came back in a happy trance. Or maybe it was a sugar high from the chocolate sheet cake. (Oh my God, people, the cake, I’m moaning in bliss just thinking about the warm, gooey, I-don’t-care-that-it-contains-two-sticks-of-butter cake.) Either way, I had the best time.
Wanna see pictures?
Let’s start with the journey there.
There was grass.
And more grass.
And cows. (And BlogHer producer Erin!)
And more horses.
No, really. This state isn’t kidding around when it comes to its grass. It goes on and on and on and then when you turn a corner and think it’s the end, there’s—surprise!—more grass. Grass in itself doesn’t really excite me but when you see such vast open space, it’s truly exhilarating. As we were driving there, I just wanted to run outside and do cartwheels because look at all that grass! Not that I can actually do a cartwheel, oh please don’t make me actually do a cartwheel—you’ll laugh and I’ll end up in a neck brace. Not cool.
We finally approached Drummond Ranch, which is big. (I heard it’s the size of New Hampshire. I’m not even kidding.) We stayed at The Lodge, which is not actually Ree’s house but a guest house two miles from Ree’s house. People were telling me about the size and distance of everything around me but numbers confuse me so just believe me when I say these Drummonds own a whole lotta land.
A photo of The Lodge via The Pioneer Woman:
My room (and my mess):
The view from my room:
The kitchen, with Susan and BlogHer founder and CEO Lisa Stone assembling Ree’s salad. For our first meal, Ree had prepared food for us beforehand and Lisa put it together.
Dinner: Salad and tenderloin (or, ahem, The Tenderloin), all very yum. Not photographed because I was too busy mouthgasming: chocolate sheet cake. Heaven.
Ree joined us a little later for a glass of wine. She is radiant. Loralee described her as a woman “born to stand in the Oklahoma wind and look beautiful” and I can’t say it any better than that.
At one point, she asked me what my bridesmaid dresses look like and I’m a huuuuuge dork and blurted out “They’re so cute! Fifteen dollars at H&M!” (yeah, I’ll tell y’all that story later). I don’t know why I felt the need to blab this, but I did. She smiled and said it’s great that today’s brides don’t need extravagance. “It’s not like they need Vera Wang,” she said.
I agreed and then asked her what her wedding dress looked like.
“Well,” she said with a snicker. “It was Vera Wang.”
She is funny.
She brought along her two girls, Alex and Paige. Paige, the little one, did a song and dance for us, which was adorable.
After chatting for a while and choosing our outfits for the next day, we went to bed. The night was so calm and still, which was a little eerie. Where are the police sirens? The high school punks loitering outside? What is this crazy thing I hear called quiet? In the morning, we woke up to loud moooooooooooos. It was such a trip.
It was soon time to start filming. Ree, Susan and I got our hair and makeup did and then nestled into our places on the set and talked about ways to give back as a film crew zoomed in on our faces. It was actually much less scary than I had imagined, mostly because Erin and Lisa were wonderful in assuring me that I did not look and sound like a complete doofus. It was over before I knew it. I got a cookbook signed for Jenny and I met Marlboro Man (“Hi honey!” Ree said to her infamous cowboy. “Michelle, this is honey!”). I didn’t get a photo but he is goooooood lookin’.
I just want to say that it was an honor to be part of this project and be in the glorious presence of Ree, Susan, Erin and Lisa. They are all so brilliant and yet so warm, so incredibly kind. Lisa and Erin are true pioneers in the world of online media, and I loved listening to them talk about BlogHer and their passion for connecting women across the globe.
And I loved Oklahoma, or well, the quick glimpse I was able to get. Gazing at the massive sky, I think I had a spiritual moment or two.
I’ve been really into reading The Pioneer Woman lately and it’s just amazing to me how an internet superstar with a bestselling cookbook and a ranch the size of New Hampshire can inspire us to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. She lives in such beauty and has spent the past four years chronicling it all for those of us who could really use some of it.
I was so lucky to be there.
Stay tuned for my “Putting it all Together” segment, which debuts next week. (Eek, I’m scared.)