It was time! Mandy, Sylvia and I left Maurice’s event post-haste. We were so excited to make our way to the ballroom. But, first we needed to find it. We asked a gentleman who pointed us in the right direction and we were on our way!
We walked through some gorgeous garden like areas with a pond and found the building we needed to be in. I think as we walked in the doors and down that semi-long hallway, we all were a little bit nervous!
As we entered the Empire Ballroom, there was a long check in table that we needed to stop at first. As we checked in and found out which table we were sitting at, we were given a great 8×10 glossy picture of Sonny and Brenda! Of course, Mandy and I were so excited to have this picture. It’s one of the ones from the first promo last August that we all just loved.
From what we learned about this picture was, at the time, this was not set up, it was completely candid. Both Vanessa and Maurice were having a good time together laughing and the photographer just snapped the picture. It makes the image even more darling, in my opinion.
So, anyway, we go in to go find our table. The room was set up like a wedding, if you will. Round tables, I think 6 to a table. There was a cash bar, hot buffet, auction items on both sides of the room and a candy/dessert table which was so cute.
We located our table and put our things down. We had our bags and a gift for Vanessa. One of the first people we met was Suzanne Whang. Suzanne was so nice, funny and a beautiful person inside and out. We let her know who I was and how generous Vanessa was with me for flying me out for the event. With that, she said “Let’s go introduce you to Vanessa!” and she marched me right over to the table where she was sitting and chatting with a fan.
Once Suzanne introduced us, Vanessa jumped up out of her seat and gave me a huge hug and told me how excited she was for me to be there with everyone. Kathy had come over and I finally met TKF. 😉 Kathy was so sweet to me, too. Vanessa still wasn’t feeling well and asked me if I had nausea with either of my pregnancies and unfortunately, yes, I did. We spoke a little about that for a moment. With Noah it was awful and I felt horrible most of that pregnancy. I went and gathered the pictures Nicholas drew for her (I wish I took pics of them!).. The one was full of hearts, rainbows, a pic of Vanessa and polka dots: “because she’s a girl and girls like dots.” On the other side he wrote her name, his name and his little brother’s name. She loved them and I was happy to tell Nicholas that she liked them very much.
Shortly after, she and Suzanne started the question and answer portion of the night. The proceeds of Vanessa’s event all went to her favorite charity, Sojourn. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sojourn-Services-For-Battered-Women-And-Their-Children/64494949967 Then they spoke to us about a benefit for Suzanne Whang and her battle with cancer. I believe it is August 20. As they told us about Sojourn and the benefit, Nancy Lee Grahn came in.
Nancy joined the ladies on stage and they began to banter about her breasts, Maurice and just plain had a great time up there. You could tell through their body language and chemistry that they are good friends off set. They joked around and answered fan questions. All three ladies were classy, fun and very open.
What stood out most about the whole event was how it was geared toward women. Sure, the whole weekend was really a “girls” weekend but, mostly at Vanessa’s event there was an empowering undertone and a huge sense of love in the room. It was calm, peaceful, fun and exciting.
Next up we were waiting for Maurice to come in for a little bit after his PA. Nancy saw him in the hallway and Vanessa asked us to be quiet. We all giggled and Nancy said there was no way we could all be quiet. Vanessa then said she bet we could. Sure enough, Maurice and his entourage walked in and not a sound, barely a glance his way and he took the stage & a mic. “I usually get cheers from across the street!” Everyone laughed and clapped. It was really funny because usually people go crazy for him and here, not so much at that moment.. hehehe, it was amusing to see him a little out of sorts!
People asked more questions, mostly about Sonny and Brenda. They asked about when Vanessa would be back and she said that she would come back when they ask her to and if it works with the story. She also said that if Sonny was in another relationship she would “fight the bitch” and get her man back. Maurice laughed.
Seeing both Vanessa and Maurice together in that completely unscripted, organic setting was priceless for this S&Ber. They were so natural, funny, at ease and genuinely fond of one another and it really showed.
I know you’re all looking for scoops and what-not but there’s nothing new, we’ve heard it all and so many of my girls have given scoop recaps on Twitter, FB and on other boards. For me, it was about soaking up the experience and enjoying myself. I was interested in getting to know WHO Vanessa was. I love Brenda, but I was there for Vanessa, the experience and to enjoy my first time away from my family in more than 6 years and my first time away from all of my family in 10, almost 11 years. A lot of people are more in to what’s going to happen and I think something gets lost along the way about the now.
I loved how Vanessa, Maurice, Suzanne and everyone around them interacted with each other! To see them with their fans and with their families was amazing because on the east coast, this type of thing is hard to come by. Not to say there aren’t events (because there are) but the tone is different on this coast.
Maurice left us and we got down to business with the auction items. Again, all the proceeds went to Sojourn and some of those auction items went for a pretty penny and to such a worthy cause very close to Vanessa’s heart.
Some of the things raffled were a 15 minute Skype call with Maurice and Vanessa, a set tour with Maurice and Vanessa for 4 people, a CSI-NY set tour with Vanessa and Carmine, tickets to the benefit for Suzanne on August 20, a wedding script of Sonny and Brenda: which included a signed wedding picture, another script, but of Vanessa’s last day: which included a 15 minute phone call from Vanessa to a lucky fan. Also, some various items were auctioned off, Brenda’s wedding shoes (which Vanessa wanted to keep) and Vanessa suggested to dye them black & wear with jeans!, Brenda’s wedding rings (are GORGEOUS in person and the rings are so tiny! I love them! Vanessa wanted to keep them, too), Brenda’s after wedding sweater (which was DARLING and very pretty on the woman who won that auction), a pair of Brenda’s/Vanessa’s personal boots and a picture, a blanket with a Sonny and Brenda wedding picture on it (Carmine wanted it, Vanessa called it creepy, lol), Lila’s hanky was up, too and it really had belonged to Anna Lee. I think somewhere along the way a lunch with Vanessa and Nancy was thrown in.
All I can say with everything that was auctioned, phone calls, lunch, plane flights, picking up at the airport and anything else in between, Vanessa happens to be one of the most generous people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. She is the real deal and so down to earth!
Nancy had to leave as soon as the auction was over and she was so gracious to take pictures with Vanessa and pretty much everyone in the room. I introduced myself to her as @SonnyandBrenda from Twitter and she was like “Oh, I tweet with you sometimes!” So funny! I loved that, too about the weekend because everyone was going around telling each other their Twitter name is… Because that that’s how everyone is known now!
After they finished the auction, we were entertained by Eric the singer. Otherwise known as Eric Schwartz. http://www.ericschwartz.com/ He was so funny because he sang parody songs. You know the song by Whitney Houston called “Saving all my love?” He changed it to “Shaving off my muff…” I’m sure you all catch my drift. Very funny and a catchy song, to boot! Hahaha I wish I had gotten up to take more pictures of everyone. I am normally a photo hog and am everywhere but on that night, I just wanted to do my best and relax. It wasn’t a job that night, it was a special night spent with Vanessa and a whole bunch of my S&Bers and it was awesome!
While Eric sang, Mandy, Nicole and I were sitting behind Vanessa and Carmine and it was so sweet to see them snuggling and sitting close together. I love seeing two people who are truly in love, be affectionate with each other. It warms the heart, give hope for the future (for everyone) and is just a beautiful thing.
Meanwhile, my chest was killing me. My boob was throbbing and all I could think about was taking more Tylenol and trying not to touch it in any way shape or form. Any pressure on it sent pain radiating all through my body. That part was not fun since I think I hugged somewhere around 50 people that day and it hurt each time! But, I lived and no matter what, it was all good.. The milk-momma lived to tell the tale. 😉
After Eric finished up, Kathy moved everyone on to the silent auction. We all bought tickets and put them in the proper, corresponding bag to the grouping of items we were interested in. The table looked like this:
I had 5 tickets and went down the row for my favorite items. Carmine called out the numbers for Vanessa because she wasn’t feeling very hot at this point. The first number drawn was to someone who had to leave and go to the next event. The next number was called for that great pic of Brenda on the white backdrop with the great light umbrellas in the frame of the image, and I won that! Surprise! Yay! The next one was called and my friend, Mandy won that (oh, by the way, Mandy won the auction of the rings.. She is the Keeper of the S&B Wedding rings! eeeeeeee).. They moved on from those and there were other winners. Then they called out one of my numbers again. This time it was kind of a fate thing. I won this:
I think most of you know why I am called Ro, right? Back in the day of Ezboard, Vani (my friend, Vanessa), Lisa and I were 3 peas in a pod. Vani called herself Brenda, Lisa was Lois (Lo) and I was the Robin of the group, thus Ro. And, by chance, my Vani brought this winning lot to me. So cute!
I then looked over to our friend, Nicole who did not win anything and I gave her my awesome Brenda picture. I loved it but I wanted my friend to have a piece of the evening to go home with, too. I tell ya, you hang with me & good things happen, I help it happen for you, too. I want everyone to be happy. It’s how I roll in these situations. 🙂
It was the end of the night and everyone was tired but totally on a high. It was a huge whirlwind of excitement and fun but now winding down. We really did have a ball at this event and we were all very happy.
Vanessa started to make her way around to each table to take pictures with us, sign our pictures and maybe even have a very small and fast chat with the fans. She was so graceful, and giving as she made her way through her crowd. She smiled the whole time and was amazing with everyone. All the while, she was not feeling well. I tell ya, that nausea is a bitch and I don’t wish that feeling on anyone. You never feel good when you have that feeling!
Finally, she made it to our table. We brought her a gift a beautiful snow globe which said “Live, Laugh, Love” inside with gorgeous iridescent glitter floating around, a card and a Voodoo doll. Vanessa loved the Voodoo doll the most. She signed our pictures and took some pictures with us. She was so cute!
Vanessa thanked us and told us that she enjoyed meeting us at that point and had to move on to the remaining tables. I noticed she was signing 3 ducks for Project Cuddle and I wanted to photograph it for the woman who brought them in for Vanessa to sign.
I met some FABULOUS S&Bers through the course of my 36? hours in L.A.
Team Sonny and Brenda
Team Vanessa 🙂
Kathy, Gina, Melissa and Vani went out of their way to make me feel comfortable, to make my trip happen and I am so grateful to them. They are all amazing women who did a good job with the event that night. They worked so hard and made it all happen for Vanessa.
Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo is a beautiful person inside and out. She made a dream come true for this fan. She never met me before and she was so kind and generous to make it happen forsomeone she doesn’t know. Never could I have afforded that trip and she financed a huge part of it. I am so happy to have met her, happy for the time I spent with her and I hope that maybe one day, I will see her again… I know Nicholas would like to be a part of it next time!
Thank you to Mandy and Nicole for giving me a great place to stay and kind of hijacking their lives for 2 days. I am so grateful for the place to stay, awesome company and for 2 new, very good friends!
Vani and I traveled back together to NJ/NY the next day. I was happy to spend some time with someone whom I love, but never met in person before.
My family was happy to see me and I was happy to see them… Especially Noah.. Relief came for me around 1 am that night. No more milk-momma-breast for me! Weeeeeeeee! At least for now. 🙂 Maybe I’ll have another adventure someday.. If I do, I’ll be glad to be the milk-momma again for a few days. I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything!
This is what I went home with:
This is what was in our goodie bags and you should all check out Sherry & Vanessa’s site:
http://gagoosapp.com/ I absolutely LOVE the body cream! It smells fantastic (coconut) and is light weight on the skin and feels lovely. It’s all organic and is safe to use on everyone. Of course, Nicholas likes it a lot. He likes to put it on at bedtime. 🙂
I love all my signed pitcures and my magazine. This has been a whirlwind of fantastic energy and inspiration.
I’m gonna go eat some dinner & try to relax. I’ll probably remember little tidbits over the course of a few days and either update here or maybe in another blog post.
Thank you all for reading it and following my journey. You all are such inspiration to me and I enjoy all my interactions with you. You all make my day fly by, make me laugh and I look forward to sharing more on our S&B Bus… ‘Til Da Wheels Fall Off!!!