Fly to New York to attend the CFDA Awards with a handsome stranger? Yes, please! This was just what I needed! No one despises red eye flights more than me unless the flight is over 8 hours and I have a comfy first class seat- then they are tolerable at best. Sadly, this flight was not one of those times but it was an adventure, and an exit row seat, plus I needed something to be excited about it.
I had been in Las Vegas for a week and had no idea my trip would end this way, but luckily when you are at a national beauty pageant and you are a stylist you have a plethora of resources at your fingertips! Those resources coupled with every designer store under the sun filling the casino retail space and a girl has everything she needs for a spontaneous trip to the biggest fashion awards of the year! The gown designer Sherri Hill was onsite with a huge selection of dresses and was happy to loan me a gown. I quickly called our California jewelry sponsor, INTA Gems, they would be coming to Vegas for the final show and were happy to bring me some bling. After a boozy dinner on my second to last night, I found myself at the Christian Louboutin store buying the most perfect pair of nude heels I had ever seen- it is just evil that the stores in Vegas stay open till 1 am, intoxicated shopping is very dangerous. The last step was to call our NYC publicist and secure hair and makeup for the event. All of this happened in less than 48 hours, I was all set.
I was attending my dream event, the CFDA Awards, with a man I had never met 3000 miles away! I realize some people think this is a bit crazy, but I saw it as an adventure, mysterious fun and I was excited. I attended the final telecast for Miss USA and went straight to the airport to catch my flight and as I stood there I realized I was getting on a flight and had no idea how long I would even be gone. I had the fleeting thought that maybe I would never come back, maybe I could just start my life over in New York. Maybe Sam, the man I was attending the award show with, would be the man of my dreams and I would not only move to New York but I would have a great new relationship and everything would work out just like a Disney movie or episode of Sex and The City (one of the good ones)!!! HAHAHAHA. Clearly, I was low on sleep and thinking like an insane person- it wasn’t the first time and it wouldn’t be the last.
I arrived into JFK and the driver Sam booked to pick me up was waiting. I grabbed a maxi dress out of the top of my suitcase and changed in the back of the car on the way into the city. I was going to meet Sam for breakfast at the Gramercy Park Hotel and my Lululemon look was not first meeting/ date appropriate! Sam and I had talked on the phone and I, of course, googled him right away but we had never met in person. The bellman took my bags and I headed straight to the restaurant. Sam looked like his photos, handsome (whew!), well mannered, funny and easy to talk to. He had work to do at his office in NY that day and I was really excited to take a nap, I had barely slept on the flight! I had a hard time falling asleep thinking about the last 24 hours, but soon I drifted off and slept like a baby. I woke just in time to order lunch and jump in the shower before my hair and makeup artist arrived at the hotel to work his magic- after being in Las Vegas for a week and then a red eye flight I was hoping he had a magic wand!
I must stop and say here, Sam and I were set up by a mutual friend, he needed a date to the awards. Our friend knew how much I loved fashion, was single, and always up for an adventure so he set us up.
I was finally ready and looked damn good if I do say so myself. I think even Sam was a bit taken back with the transformation. Rolls Royce had a partnership with Sam’s company so they would be our ride for the evening- not too bad. The night was amazing. The CFDA Awards are equivalent to the Oscars of fashion and every industry heavyweight was in the room; Trina Turk, Rachel Zoe, The Olsen Twins, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Reed Krakoff and the ice queen of fashion herself the one the only….Anna Wintour. Celebrities and supermodels were sprinkled about and the champagne was flowing. I was in heaven the night was like a dream for a fashion girl from Kansas State. I literally kept pinching myself to make sure it was real. After all the awards had been given out and all of the cheeks had been air kissed we decided to grab some food at Cipriani.
The most romantic moments of my life had taken place in New York City and this evening was quickly added to my list; running around New York on a summer night, all dressed up, just getting to know each other and suddenly I realized how free I felt. Generally speaking no one in NYC knew me, or what had happened, for once I wasn’t worried that I would run into someone I knew and that was lovely. Sam and I talked and talked and I tried to not geek out too much over all the amazing people I had met that night but Sam found it “cute” that I was having so much fun.
After dinner, we both didn’t want the night to end and decided to grab a nightcap at the Rose Bar. The Rose Bar is a dim lit space with a large fireplace, red velvet and leather covered furniture… needless to say, it is sexy! Sam and I ordered cocktails and then sat closely on the couch. I could tell he wanted to kiss me, and I wanted to let him, but my knee-jerk reaction is to look around and make sure I don’t know anyone in the room. I honestly don’t know how people cheat, I had “permission” to date and I was a nervous wreck that someone would see me! Finally, my inner voice said, “fuck it” and we kissed. Then we kissed again and again. Then we realized we were in a bar and not alone. I might be newly dating, but I was a lady and not going to make an idiot of myself in public. We finished our cocktails and suddenly I realized it was after 1 am and I was exhausted!
The next day Sam had to work and I was going to have lunch with a girlfriend. She had a thousand questions and I had answers for almost none of them. I didn’t know how long I would be in the city, I didn’t know how I felt about Sam or where that would go, I didn’t know what I was going to do about my husband. Realizing how few answers I had I decide to walk around the city and clear my head, I also needed to call my mother. She didn’t even know I was in New York and I had no idea what I was going to say to explain why without sounding crazy.
That evening Sam had said he would be done around 8 and we would go to dinner, perfect! At 8 o’clock sharp I heard a knock on my door, I opened the door to find Sam standing there ready to go. I was honestly shocked it was him and he was shocked I was shocked. I hadn’t even started getting ready because I had no real expectation that he would actually show up on time, how sad is that. I quickly got ready and told Sam I had just lost track of time. Of course, this had nothing to do with Sam, I had known him for only 24 hours, but it did have everything to do with me being trained to not expect men to do what they said they would. It dawned on me that my husband had disappointed me so often that I didn’t even expect men to tell me the truth. This realization was sad and made me seriously angry. The only man in my life that I could think of at that moment that had always done what he said was my father, the one person I should measure all men to.
The next day after my meeting I was walking around the city again and I realized that I liked the way I felt while I was in New York, actually I felt like I was coming back to myself ever since I had told my husband I was going to date, other men. It is amazing what honesty does for the soul. After lunch I headed to the rooftop in Bryant Park for a glass of rose, it was a beautiful summer day and I decided to celebrate my moment of happiness. As I sat there people watching I started to daydream about how different my life was going to be- no matter which way I moved everything was going to change. All of a sudden it hit me, I knew what I wanted to do with my life and my marriage. I suddenly wanted to throw up, so naturally, I ordered another glass of wine.