Well, it’s official.  We love Texas!  We’ve been traveling around the country this year, speaking with a wonderful women’s organization and each stop just keeps getting better and better.  We get so many questions from readers about what it’s like being a part of Time Out for Women, so I thought I’d give you a little behind-the-scenes peek at a typical travel weekend.

Kate and I travel to cities all over the US.  Besides getting to meet amazing women and reconnect with our TOFW friends, the best part is actually getting to hang out with each other.  Many people don’t realize that we live on opposite sides of the country, and speaking events and book tours are the only times we actually get to hang out in person, so that’s one of the highlights for us!  Our husbands are amazing and completely take over at home, holding down our respective forts while we’re gone.  I headed off at the crack of dawn Friday morning.  Actually, who am I kidding, it was well before the crack of dawn.  Want to know my favorite part about plane rides?

Some people have to make sure they have their laptop and neck pillow.  For me, it’s all about magazines and M&M’s.  Every flight, every time. By the way, in one of my magazines, I found the perfect workout for Kate.  Not that she needs a workout, pregnant women really shouldn’t be exercising, they should be eating ice cream.  But if she were to want to work out, she should try this:

Yes, my friends.  That is a Hunger Games Workout.  Perfect for those of you who ate one too many District 11 rolls.  Sure it must be performed in a forest, while wearing lace-up leather boots.  But just think of all of the wonderful things it will prepare you for, like shooting long distance bow and arrow targets and being able to scale trees to cut down hacker-jacker nests.  That’s why it’s important to have magazines on plane rides.

I arrived in Dallas late afternoon and was happy to be greeted with warm, spring weather.  Thank you Dallas!  I’ll skip the part about how I took the wrong shuttle, which took me to the wrong hotel, in the wrong part of town and pretend I didn’t have to waste 3 hours and a $50 cab ride to end up in the right spot.  Apparently I need a babysitter.  I finally did find the right hotel, in which my room had a view of Six Flags out one window and Cowboy and Ranger’s Stadiums out the other.  Not gonna lie, I was a little tempted to skip out on the day’s events and head to Six Flags; I’m a sucker for roller coasters!


By this point, Kate and I were starving so I used the Local Scout feature on my Nokia Lumia 900 to find a place to eat.  I use this feature a lot when I’m at home around town and need to find something quick (a craft store, a grocery store, an I-need-a-cupcake-NOW-or-I-might-die store) but it’s seriously my favorite feature when traveling.  It immediately picks up everything around you from restaurants to things to see and do, and gives you reviews, ratings, directions, and more.  We picked a place to eat judging entirely on distance from where we were standing at that very moment.  For the love of GPS.  If you could see Kate’s poor swollen, puffy, preggo feet, you would know exactly why!  Lucky for us, we were practically right in front of a great restaurant, and the fact that the maître d’ spoke with a thick French accent made me think that everything in the place was instantly delicious.  And it was.

Time out for Women is a weekend event, which starts with a Friday night program and then goes on for most of the day on Saturday.  We don’t speak until Saturday, so we get to just to watch on Friday night.  There are both musical guests and speakers on both days.  So after our dinner, we headed over to the event center.  I was so happy to get to run into one of my dear friends, Amber from Her Notebook {aka Be Sassy Classy}.  Amber and I met in college and I can’t believe it’s been over ten years since we’ve seen each other in person!  Honestly, with Facebook and blogging, it’s like we haven’t missed a day!

The Friday night program was great, and afterwards, Kate and I headed back to our rooms.

Saturday morning starts early.  We have to be dressed and ready, and in the event center at 7:30 am for sound checks.  It takes a massive audio-visual team to pull off an event like this.  There are anywhere from 2000-3000 people attending each event.  Here’s just a portion of the seating in this venue (before doors were open!)  Once those doors open, it’s like Target on Black Friday.  We actually saw women scaling over chairs like ninjas trying to get as close to the front as possible.  That’s when we hide.

There’s a stage up front with two huge jumbo-tron screens on each side.  This is Tyler, working all the details from backstage.

And this is Rod, who got us all hooked up to our microphones.  This man works wonders, because I broke a cardinal rule and attempted to wear giant dangly earrings (they’re peacocks!  And they match my owl!) and instead of promptly telling me to take them off, he worked magic and made the over-the-ear microphone work while letting  me stay fashionable.  I love you, Rod.

Kate told me I wasn’t allowed to post any photos of her, but how CUTE is that tummy?!Our presentation is about 35 minutes long.  We laugh, we joke, we cry, we tell funny stories about how ridiculous we are.  It’s a blast.  (Look, see the owl ring?  I told you
it was awesome.)

(above photo by Macy Robison Photograpy)

And the moment we get off stage, my heels come off.  Oh, the things we do for fashion.

Each event has a different line-up of speakers and musical guests and this was our first event with this little lady.  Doesn’t she look so unassuming?  Just a sweet southern belle?

Her name is Mary Ellen Edmunds; she’s an author and public speaker, and I am not exaggerating or being overly dramatic when I say she is quite literally one of the funniest people I’ve ever met in my life.  She could win a stand-up showdown with any famous female (or male!) comedian.

We’ve also done several events now with these gorgeous girls, recording artists Mercy River.  Words cannot describe how much we love these ladies.  If you haven’t heard their inspiring music, check it out.  They sing like angels!
(photo credit: mercyrivermusic.com)

At intermissions, our favorite part is meeting all of the great women who have attended the event that day, and signing cookbooks, too!  It’s so fun for us to meet the people who are reading this blog and cooking our recipes; honestly it’s the highlight of our weekend.

Check out this gift- she had a great idea that I should start collecting potholders from every city we visit.  I love it!

It was such an amazing event full of inspiring messages.  As a parting gift to our beloved Texas, we joined with some of the other presenters to leave you with this masterpiece of musical composition.

I know.  Don’t say it.  I should definitely record a CD.

After all was said and done, the flip-flops went back on and we headed out for some authentic Texas BBQ (Holy YUM!)  To top it off, we stopped at the store so we could all try the famed southern Blue Bell Ice Cream.  Kate has been talking non-stop for years about Blue Bell so I was excited to finally see for myself what all of the fuss was about.  We bought just a few.  Ya know, to sample.

I’m not that big of a pig.  Okay, I kind of am.  But I shared.  We made a ridiculous mess and people stared.  And the ice cream was just as amazing as everyone says it is.

After one more good-night phone call to my kiddos and an ice-cream induced sleep, I woke up once more well before any normal human should wake up, to catch my flight home.  More magazines and M&M’s  got me through layovers and hard airplane seats.

It always takes a few days to get back into the groove and schedule back at home, but that’s all we have, because we do this all over again starting this Friday, when we head to see a sold-out crowd in Harrisburg, PA!  We’ll also be making stops this year in Denver CO, Phoenix AZ, and Logan UT.  Hope to see some of you there!


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