Way back in November when I was on a break between jobs, my friend Brandi and I made the decision to attend a speaking engagement by our favorite author – – Elizabeth Gilbert. The idea of hearing the author of Eat Pray Love (my very favorite book of all time) speak… it seemed so far away. And, finally after months and months and much anticipation… the night arrived.
To top things off Brandi and I decided to purchase the VIP meet-and-greet tickets. Aside from the Rockstar bands, I’ve never met someone famous. And, while I knew that she wasn’t going to want to talk about Colorado and weed like Pat Monahan from Train did (ugh!), I had no idea what we were going to discuss… or what a meet and greet like this might entail.
Brandi and I arrived at Baur’s Restaurant and were immediately greeted by the 5280 team, telling us that our hostess would arrive shortly, passing out drink tickets, and inviting us to pick up a goodie bag on the way out. Of course, Brandi and I seized this opportunity to catch up and visit over a glass of wine.
Photo Credit: Amanda Tipton Photography
The VIP event was set up with a lovely cheese and charcuterie spread, plenty of time to mingle with like-minded men and women, and with Eat Pray Love (the movie) playing in the background. Of course, I captured this moment… one of the most comical of the film where Julia/Liz admits she is having a relationship with her pizza.
As soon as Elizabeth arrived, a lengthy line formed. Of course, we jumped at the opportunity to stand in queue. When our turn came to meet her, thank goodness… Brandi went first. She makes everything look easy and flawless. Then, it was my turn. Oh my…
That moment where Elizabeth Gilbert hugged me – – Like a long real hug, like we were long lost friends, which at times (in my head), I’m sure to be true. Just like Oprah, me and Liz are like “peas and carrots.”
Here, I’d guess I’m telling Liz what a tremendous fan I am… and nervous, I do what’s gracious and thank her for coming to Denver to make this moment happen for so many. And then…
You guys, and then… it’s gets crazy. You can see a little bit of a smirk on my face here. It’s that disbelieving look I get when someone pays me a compliment. Yes, in this moment, Elizabeth Gilbert said that she loved my dress and named me “Best Dressed of the Night“… you guys, I died. I mean, I love this dress… but she did too?? O-M-G
Photo Credit: Amanda Tipton Photography
After this moment, Brandi and I totally geeked out, blabbering about how awesome this night was and about how we couldn’t wait for her speaking engagement later at the Paramount Theater. And, of course… there was time for a few silly selfies before heading to the theater.
Arriving at Denver’s historic Paramount Theater, we had time to peruse the lobby, grab a bottled water, and, of course, reminisce over Liz’s greatest hits on display.
And, we met a new cake brand at the show as well: Ticklebelly was giving away samples of their incredibly tasty cake bars. These are available in Kroger family stores throughout the country and in King Soopers in Colorado! The lemon bar, you guys…
The crowd at this show was JUST what I expected them to be… mostly female, most with book in hand, and longing to hear the words of the keynote speaker. I loved hearing everyone’s favorite book. While I suspected everyone was an EPL fan, there were people onsite that had never read it! Instead, they gushed about Big Magic or Committed and other novel written by Liz. Speaking of which, there was LOTS of love for The Signature of All Things. I’ve purchased this book, and clearly it’s now time to read it! We visited with the other attendees until finally, the queen was to take the stage.
Oh, and I absolutely LOVED our seats. No filter, no zooming… this is where we were and it was incredible!!!
From the moment she took the stage, I was hanging on every word. Ms. Gilbert was funny, endearing, and very generous in what she shared. There were moments where I literally felt like I was having a conversation with her. You know, just friends visiting. And, then I would hear another event-goer laugh… and realized that I was not alone.
Know that the fact that there were 500 other people there with me, didn’t make it any less intimate. One of the most touching moments of her engagement was one where she talked about people she’d met over the years.
Much like the sincere hug she gave me an hour earlier, Elizabeth made it a goal to ask everyone she met for a period of time: “What are you most excited about right now?” From drivers to makeup artists to dinner companions… she asked everyone she met as part of a social experience. The responses were just beautiful.
I’m someone who truly loves people… I love knowing what makes them tick, understanding what they’re passionate about, seeing them succeed… and to hear my author idol discuss how touched she was by all that was shared with her, I related immensely. And, I sat at the Paramount Theater in Denver listening to her recall the stories, with tears pouring from my eyes. It was a completely beautiful moment, one of which I’m grateful to have been a part.
The lessons in the show were plentiful… how to deal with the beautiful sadness that comes with getting everything you want…. how to welcome fear to be a part of the family… how to create something that people may not love…. and more. I could go one for days, and took notes accordingly to reference later.
Elizabeth ended the night with a group song. She mentioned she is an avid fan of karaoke and encouraged all of us to get out there and sing. To get us started, she led us in an acappella version of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Not my favorite song (nor one I’d really heard before), but the sentiment was beautiful… everyone singing together, voices blending together.
In many ways, the singing reminded me of days with my grandparents at church. Singing along to songs that were familiar, but nothing I knew the words to by heart. How very appropriate that this evening ended on a reminiscently “religious” note… as Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love has become my spiritual guidebook over the years.
What a beautiful, beautiful night with a lovely friend and such an inspirational woman. So grateful for this wonderful evening and to share a glimpse of it with you all. xoxo