Ok, not really, I'm definitely not cut out for that.
But I could seriously enjoy this as a hobby.
See? Here I am, enjoying it.
Florida was amazing. It was gorgeous.
It was a whirlwind trip, SO fast, but it was great.
I headed out early Monday morning, and after flying all day to Fort Lauderdale (through Phoenix), we still had a two hour drive to our hotel after arriving.
It was dark by the time we got down there so I was anxious for Tuesday and the chance to see everything!
Makay (one of the Hapari owners) went down with me, and since we arrived so late we went to dinner by ourselves as the rest of the group had already gone.
I think our waiter thought I was nuts because for dinner I ordered three side dishes. Steamed Veggies, Pina Fried Rice (SO good! And not heavy like fried rice usually is thank goodness!), and sweet potatoes. It was so good, I found myself wishing I could have eaten more, but afraid to take another bite because I certainly didn't want big dinner bloat the next day!
The other Hapari owners-Jill and John (and their spouses), the photographer and director all dropped by the restaurant as we were eating so I could meet them all. It was so great to meet them!!
After dinner and our little meet up we headed back to the hotel to crash for the night. We had both been up since 3 something in the morning and were feeling it. And with needing to be at the shoot before 6am, we wanted a little sleep!
I left this sunrise as I was flying out on Monday
and was met with this sunrise on Tuesday morning.
It was a windy day so it wasn't optimal, but hey, you take what you can get!
Also, I forgot my sandals (what was I thinking?!), so I brought a little of the Wild West to the beach.
We started the day with hair and makeup.
And then started going through the lineup of suits to shoot for the day.
Did I mention Nathan Lane was there?
This is Lou-he was there to direct the shoot. He was fabulous! And he brought me coloring books and crayons so I still felt at home without my herd of kids! Totally cracked me up. That and he called me Octomom. ha! He was such a nice guy and a ton of fun! It was really nice to work with him because he wasn't afraid to be candid and tell me what was working, what wasn't, and to really give me feedback through the day. It was also fun to hear some of his stories of people he has worked with-a lot of big names, and it was funny to hear his thoughts on some of them.
The photographer was just amazing. When I first stepped up to shoot I was so nervous. Stiff as can be, awkward...oh goodness, I'm sure he was back there thinking "oh man, what am I going to do with her?!", but he talked me through those first shots, really helped me relax and was very clear about what he wanted to see, how he wanted me to move, all of that. By the time my second round came up I felt so much more at ease, and apparently that was obvious to everyone! It went much better. He was great!
I was so worried that I was just going to be an annoyance to these people who are used to working with professionals who know exactly what they are doing, but they were all so good to me! Very kind, very patient, very helpful and encouraging.
The day I shot was the day that the "plus size" models were also shooting.
I am short.
They were both fabulous. Sweet as can be, and it was so great to watch them work because they were so natural! It was like a switch flipped the second they stepped in front of the camera. It was really fun to watch.
We had a break for a bit in the afternoon so I went roaming through the grounds of the hotel where we were shooting and where we were staying.
This was the view:
And a few minutes just soaking it all in....
The room was awesome too!
We wrapped up the day catching the last rays of sun with some shots on the dock.
This is one set I cannot wait to see-once the hat picture comes up I will for sure let you know. It was awesome!
While I completely understand that whole photography thing of not letting anyone see pics till they are done and edited, I REALLY wish I could have had a peek at even just one shot from the day. Since I was rooming with Makay I got to chat with her that night and she *did* get to see them-she said they were great. Oh, I hope some of them really were great!
The owners, director and photographer had a dinner meeting to go over the day and peek through what they shot. Since they were all occupied I was on my own to do whatever I wanted for dinner and a few hours of the evening. I debated heading out to find some little food place on the island, but opted instead to go with room service. I took a long hot uninterrupted bath, ate a LOT of food, and just chilled on my cushy bed.
It turned into another late night as Makay and I chatted about this that and the other thing. She was such a great roommate!
Wednesday was an early start too-she needed to be back to the shoot site early and I wanted to meet the models that were coming in that day before I headed to Miami to catch a flight home.
This is a stellar picture of me (note the sarcasm please) with Ashley, the other contest winner.
Girl is TINY! I put my arm around her waist to take this pic and thought I was going to snap her in half. She was very pretty and seemed like a very sweet girl. But man, she is just a kid!! I felt old.
And then there was Carla. If you've been to Hapari's site you've seen her all over. She has worked with them for years and she is gorgeous. And her pictures don't even come close to doing her justice. She is seriously the most beautiful person I have ever seen. The woman is STUNNING.
I am going to share this picture only because it just shows even more how gorgeous she is in real life. It is like the worst picture ever of me (little sleep, no shower, just a quick get up and get ready morning, and was I in the middle of a blink? an awkward laugh? who knows!), totally Magoo, but does this not look like I'm standing next to a cardboard cut out?
Totally makes me laugh looking at it! ha!
And she was a nice as can be. I would have loved to watch her work, I caught a glimpse for a few minutes and it was amazing.
Anyway-I had to jet out early to make it to the airport. I was glad I gave myself some extra time because I hit nasty traffic. And what is with the low speed limits in Florida?! I am so used to big freeways with big speed limits, that the highways with stoplights everywhere and the 45mph speed limit just drove me crazy.
Also, since the shoot was over I had Chips Ahoy for breakfast.
I spent the rest of my day on planes and in airports, and had lunch all by my lonesome in LA. This is across from me where Aaron is supposed to sit.
I was so hungry that I ordered my favorite Chili's salad and totally forgot to ask for it without dressing. So frustrating. But then I was so hungry I scraped as much off as I could and ate it anyway. I don't understand how people can put dressing all over things-you totally lose the taste of the food! Oh well. After sufficiently stuffing myself I killed the last little bit of time before hoping on my last flight. I missed my family and was anxious to see them.
It was a fabulous trip, a completely amazing experience. I have loved Hapari's suits since I first found them, but love them so much more knowing the people behind it all. If it's possible-I love them all more than the suits! They are such wonderful wonderful people!
I am so excited for the new suits that are coming out soon-there are some super cute new designs and some patterns that I love! It was so fun to see the behind the scenes of how all this goes down and just how much work goes into it all! Such an incredible experience all the way around. Truly priceless!
Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me and supported me through this whole thing! I am so grateful to have had this experience, and it was thanks to many of you who rallied support in my behalf. Thank you!