Well, May 7, 2012 was quite a day, my friends. Quite a day. My girl, Jessica, and I made the drive from Westchester, NY to Farmingdale, LI to the Divamoms Book Club Luncheon with E.L. James, at Carlyle on the Green. The event was organized by Lyss Stern, founder of Divalysscious Moms (www.divamoms.com).
As Jess and I were walking toward the waiting line, an older gentleman (around 70 years of age), who just got off the golf course, said to us, “I’ve never seen so many women in one place. If I had known what was going on, I would have bought a ticket.”
We chuckled. And, as we walked past him, I offered, “You should have. We want you guys to learn a thing or two.”
He bantered back, “You know, you’re never too old to learn.” I turned around and gave him a friendly wave. Jess shook her head and muttered, “You’re crazy.” That seems to be the general consensus lately.
Some of you may be shocked by this, but we were actually 30 minutes early. It was a good thing too, because there were 400 women at this event.
Here we are waiting:
So, you know how it is…you’re waiting on a long line for a while, people are standing a little too close, they listen to your conversation, and all of a sudden you’re “sharing” with some stranger. Well, that’s how it was for Jess and I that morning. A group of nosy ladies behind us got wind that we came from Westchester, and the comments started flying. We didn’t know who to answer first:
“No, it didn’t take that long to get here. Something like 54 minutes.”
“Yes, we know there’s another luncheon on 5/11 in Westchester, but I can’t go to that one.”
“Yes, we know it’s still far.”
“Well, I also wanted to meet Logan Levkoff, Ph.D., and hear her speak.”
But, one thing the line did provide was entertainment. Jess leaned into me and whispered, “It’s like The Rocky Horror Picture Show out here.” A lady in front of us held on tightly to her box of English Breakfast Tea. Ana’s preferred brand. Toward the front of the line, a bunch of ladies donned silver “Fifty Shades Darker” eye masks along with silver neck-ties. And, we noticed a group of women clutching white t-shirts with “Laters Baby” emblazoned on the front.
Damn! I should have brought a lighter to hold up during E.L.’s podium time. Totally kidding.
All in all, the line was a good time. Take a look:
We finally made it through the doors, and look at who hovered over the doorway:
We moved further inside, and were treated to fun and flirty “Fifty” sayings covering the two opposing mirrored walls in the entryway.
I’m always inspired by amazing women, and Lyss Stern happens to be one of them. Not only is she an author and the founder of Divalysscious Moms, but she happens to have mad party-throwing skills. Lyss is also so fun, vivacious and warm that you can’t help but have a good time. She was great at getting the crowd going, both while waiting outside, and sitting inside. I absolutely love her!
There were two speakers before E.L. James came out. First up, Kristen James, Fitness and Wellness expert, and creator of The 50 Shapes Workout. The workout is designed to enhance sex lives and targets those key areas responsible. Kristen was inspired by Anastasia’s “workouts” in the “Fifty” books.
Next up, Logan Levkoff, Ph.D., renowned sexologist, and one kick-ass woman. She is smart, articulate and on-it. And, she did a wonderful job of connecting the widespread phenomenon that is Fifty Shades of Grey with the fast-moving undercurrent of female empowerment, sexual identity, and plain old sexual enjoyment (whether real or fantasy.) In Logan’s words, “We are all sex Goddesses.” And, doesn’t that just about sum it all up?!
And, then it was time for E.L. James, herself, to step up to the podium. She was humble, kind and a little “cheeky” (pun totally intended). We had a short Q&A session with the author, and here’s a little taste (the answers sound a lot better with E.L.’s charming British accent, so try to imagine it when reading below):
Q: Mountain Hideaway or Beach House?
A: Beach House. Every time. Preferably, with a cabana boy, and a cabinet full of booze.
Q: Handcuffs or Silk Tie?
A: Silk Tie. Handcuffs are really, really painful. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
Q: What are your favorite types of books to read?
A: Well, I like love stories, which is why I decided to write one. But, I like mysteries and suspense. But, really love stories.
Here’s Lyss bringing the microphone to E.L. James so she can give her above answers:
Now, of course, we were all there for E.L. James, but let me tell you, there was a lot going on at this thing. Jess and I walked down the hall before we got on line for the book signing, and were amazed by all the product available for purchase. Darling Designs New York, created the “Laters Baby” collection, and featured this adorable diamond neck-tie necklace. I was told by their rep that they also gifted one to E.L. James.
What do you think?
The next table over, was filled with the ultimate of intimate accessories, the vibrator. Lots of vibrators. Rechargeable, and touch screen vibrators, all named after beloved flowers. There’s the Rose, Lilac, Lotus, Daisy…well, you get the idea. Joy of Moi (cute name) is a family run business that started three years ago, and they launched online (www.joyofmoi.com) about a year ago.
Here’s a member of the J-O-M family, showcasing the Lotus, which costs $100 (there was a 10% discount offered at the event). Don’t get sticker-shock. For that price, you also get your own travel size companion. Cool.
They also had the ever popular photo take-away. And, who who was I to say no to that? So, here we are posing:
Then, the real fun began. We got on line (yes, another one), to await E.L.’s signature. However, before I got on the book-signing line, I had to get on the book-buying line. Yes. I had to BUY the books. I originally downloaded Fifty on my IPad, so I had to purchase the trilogy in paperback. And, I wasn’t the only one making “double” purchases. There was a lovely girl standing behind me, Gabby, who forgot her books at home and decided to buy another set so E.L. could sign them. Mania, I tell you. Pure mania.
Once, back on the book-signing line, I made a new friend. Fellow blogger Cynthia Litman, www.mommaspearls.com. We talked. We bonded. She gave me her card. Jess yelled at me for not having my own cards made, so I could reciprocate. And, then we took more pictures.
And, then I was up. The moment I’ve been waiting for. Jess and I had been discussing whether or not I should show E.L. my casting picks (you guys know how crazy I’ve been about the movie casting), and Jess decided I shouldn’t leave with any regrets. So what do you think I did? Do you think I behaved in a calm, cool and reserved manner? Do you think I just gave some gratuitous compliments got my books signed and went happily on my way?
Not a chance in hell.
I’ll just let the picture speak for itself:
Everyone can relax now. It’s over. She was actually really great. We chatted a little. I told her how I’ve been spreading the Fifty gospel since November. She had great eye-contact. I don’t want you to think I just shoved my IPad in her face with a big pic of Chris Evans. I casually approached the subject, with, “So, how much control do you have over the movie casting?”
E.L. answered, “Well, it’s going to be collaborative.”
“Really? Well, I actually did a whole blog post about the movie’s casting, which I sent to you, but I have to show you who needs to be Christian,” I offered with controlled excitement. (Okay, it was barely controlled excitement, but whatever.)
I showed her my man. And, she gave a little, “Oh my.” Uh huh. That’s right. Then she said she can’t comment any further. Damn. At least, I got Chris in front of her.
What a high. I had a blast with my girl Jess, made some new friends, got to show E.L. my pick for Christian Grey, now I own personally signed copies of the Fifty trilogy, and, most importantly, have memories to last a lifetime. How will I ever top this?
Oh, who are we kidding…there’s always something waiting in the wings!
What do you think of my day and have you ever gone to a book signing?