I spent my Saturday attending Dining with Bevy: Life with Vision. I’d been excited beyond reason since the moment I applied and Ms. Bevy responded letting me know that she thought my blog was funny, relatable and well-rounded. She said I was exactly the type of person she wanted at Life with Vision. I was floored that she actually read it, but more importantly it gave me a boost of confidence and reassurance that my blog was becoming exactly what I set out for it to be.
A friend from highschool, Andrea, CEO of Honeecakes Bakery, was attending as well. I couldn’t have been more thrilled that I wouldn’t have to travel to NYC and navigate alone. Even better: She had an Amtrak hook-up, costing me all of free-99. Apparently a family friend owed her tickets to NYC for her birthday, and she allowed me to cash in on them with her. (Thanks Drea!). Her connect scheduled us for an 8:10am train out of Union Station and all was well. Kind of.
We get to Union Station as the announcer is making the last call for our train. I still had no idea how we were getting on the train since we had no tickets. Out of nowhere, our connect appears, and I’m being escorted to the train with every door opened and every rope pulled aside. Apparently this connect is “the man” at Amtrak. Cool with me.
We’re walking down the empty platform and an employee enthusiastically motions for us to get on the train. “Get your ass on this train, because I will leave you” is the vibe I got. So we got our asses on the train. I look at my watch, and it reads a smooth 8:09. Had we arrived at Union Station any later we could have kissed Life with Vision goodbye.
Here begins our 3.5 hour ride to NYC. Which would get us to our event exactly at 12 most likely. I would have preferred a little more cushion time than that, but hey, I took what the hook-up-man gave me for free-99. During the long ride, Drea and I caught up, ate hummus and pretzels and played a game called “Heads Up” on her phone to pass the time.
Four hours and 15 minutes later *insert sarcastic smile* we arrive at the Greenwich Project. A cute little restaurant on W. 8th Street (food was amazing, btw). The moment I opened the glass doors, I was met with an eruption of applause coming from upstairs. “Yup, I’m definitely late” I thought to myself. I couldn’t bring myself to feel flustered because that wasn’t going to change anything. So I checked in, poofed my hair, and headed upstairs to take my seat, hoping that no one would notice me.
True to form, as I stepped off of the last landing, I’m standing in the very front on the room, clearly interrupting Ms. Bevy’s introductory spiel. ALL eyes were on me as she sashayed past in all her glory. I nervously scanned the room and immediately met eyes with Miss Lawrence from Fashion Queens, and Necole Bitchie.
“Hello!” said Ms. Bevy to my late self.
“Hi!” I energetically respond. No sense in being late AND shy.
“What’s YOUR name?” She asked.
“Chaunece!” I said with a smile.
“Oh well Chaunece, come on in and find your seat! You know what they say, If you’re going to be late you better look good, so at least you’ve got that down.”
The room explodes in “Yes Ma’am’s” and my embarrassment disappears.
I find my place card at a table full of T.V. Producers, Multimedia Journalists, Writers and Executives. I could tell she spent lots of time creating the guest list and choosing which tables we would sit at. Even still, I wondered what about me made me worthy of a seat at this table. I have to admit that I felt very small as the day unfolded, and I discovered what it was that made them all important.
“So Chaunece, what do YOU do?” I was asked by one of Ms. Bevy’s former VIBE Magazine co-workers.
“I’m a blogger” I replied, after clearing my throat.
That was probably my first time saying it out loud, and this table full of women actually sat and listened to my little old elevator pitch.
We listened to Bevy share her impressive career trajectory with us, and we asked questions of her to try and figure out how we too could dictate how our lives pan out, like she did. Ms. Bevy answered those questions with all the skill, knowledge and wisdom of a life coach, therapist, and clairvoyant all in one. She was quick-witted and could match everyone’s name with their business off the top of her head. I was so impressed by that.
The part of the day I was most anticipating, was hearing from Necole Bitchie, the guest speaker. I’ve followed Necole since 2007–the start of her career, and indirectly the start of mine. Seeing her succeed at becoming a blogger made me start PinkWire–my first (now defuct) blog. I’ve followed her in transition from Necole Bitchie, the entertainment blogger, to Necole–just Necole. Hearing her speak of her struggles and seeing her get in front of us, be vulnerable and cry real tears put a lot of things in perspective for me. It let me know that its okay not to have everything together or to even know which direction you’re going in–and that was important for me to hear. Especially from her. I’m glad I was able to pull Necole to the side, hug her and tell her a bit about myself. She totally made my day with how sweet she was. Couldn’t tell me NOTHIN’ *Kanye’ voice* after that.
As the event came to a close and people were handing out business cards to keep in touch, I was taken aback that people actually asked for mine, and marveled over how cute they were, and asked me questions about my life, and wanted to see pictures of my son. It was definitely a confidence booster. I even got a follow-up email the same night from someone who’s work I’ve read for years, saying that she’d checked out my blog and enjoyed it.
Everything was moving in slow motion as I was soaking all the amazingness of the day, when Andrea called out to me
“Hey Chaunece! 4:05!”
“Is that what time we have to leave here?” I asked?
“No, that’s what time our train is.”
I looked down at my phone for the time. 3:15. Of course. Can’t complain when you’re working with a free-99 connect though. I tried to soak in as much energy as I could before I had to whisk myself away all Cinderella-like. I gave a few hugs, extended a few more well-wishes, and just like that it was over.
We made it on the train by 3-fifty something–by the skin of my teeth again, and by 8pm, I was back in DC with yet another story to tell.