Please forgive me I have NO grammar skills at all :)
What happens when you enter a Polyvore contest. After all your hard work, research about what Polyvore and The brand that is hosting the contest is looking for. What then. You SIT and you WAIT. but what are you waiting for. and HOW LONG is this going to take. and Oh wow. that entry is way better than mine. .. . and oh no! that person is on top sets today. and How am I suppose to compete with that person. They are so good at making sets and have soooo many followers. I am sure all these thoughts and emotions pop into your head also while waiting for the unknown to happen.
I wanted to share my Polyvore Contest winning experience and process with all my friends mainly ... Because all of us can not win. I don't win all the time. even though I try In vain (which may be part of my problem) to win that hand bag or trip. Not all of us have THAT kind of luck. So what happens? What is it like when you win? When You FINALLY win something.
I guess I will start with shortly after the contest. I don't remember exactly when BUT let me just tell you I started to get nervous ... it was taking a lot longer that I thought it would. JUST to even find out IF I was a finalist.
Yes I said Finalist. Every Polyvore contest is different. They would be no way for them to be all the same. Some contests are just to win products .. some are for trips ... different brands and Companies host and handle such matters differently.
The Bellow message is a screen capture of my Polyvore Inbox.
The first yellow highlighted message gets me excited. pretty darn excited. BUT not over the top excited. BECAUSE it just states that I am a POSSIBLE finalist. Getting this message DOES NOT mean that you are a finalist. IT means they like what you have done. They may or MAY NOT pick your set to go to the final judging process.
You may ask. How do you know that? I just assume this is how it is, mainly due to the fact that I got a message last year that I was a possible finalist in the "Mark, Ashley Green contest" .... and I didn't even place. Which is just fine. I loved all the winning entries. They were all different and fun. So IF you get the below type of message. DON'T start packing your bags.
IT does not mean your going to win. BUT DO celebrate the fact that they LOVED your set!
Insert happy dance here. " they like my set yea yea, they liked my set yea yea " I sing and dance around the house.
Be sure to follow the instructions ... they may ask you for information. This is very important that you provide all the information they are asking for. and then remember to PRESS reply : )
A few days Later, to many grueling minutes and torturous moments later. YOU might get
yes that moment is finally here. I WON! I am a finalist. NOW ug. I have to ask people to vote for me. boo. No one likes having to ask people to vote for them. and some of us who have hearts have their own ethical issues with this. Everyone handles this situation differently. For me ... I guess I was 1) to excited 2) a pinch of shameless 3) just didn't care. sorry.
Of course I wanted to win. BUT being a finalist is exciting enough honestly. I mean my set will be on Heidi Klum's FB page. this is BIG for me ... I am a graphic designer and a photographer. Maybe I will FINALLY be discovered ???? or not. lol
So at that point I make a few sets announcing what I imagine everyone was soon to find out. Also imaging ... I might be seen as that girl. Oh no. not one of those. Look at me Look at me Look at what I can do.
So after several days of being shameless, thankful and nervous. ... . The contest concludes. I don't want to count the votes. I don't know how they are counting those votes. some of my people didn't like my set and only commented. and OH NO> did they comment in the right spot ... at this moment. It is out of my hands ... it will be what it will be.
Then THEN THEN ... I get the Next message.
Congratulations! Your entry .. blah blah blah ... has won 1st Place!
OH MY GOSH!!! NO WAY!!! ahh! dancing dancing. the kids come in .. did you win something mommy?? yes I did .. I won. :D then I call my mom and sister. RIGHT AWAY. I don't know the details. WHAT I DO KNOW is I have to get someone to watch the kids while I am gone. I am a single parent. So arranging such things is no bother but not easy.
About a day later I get an email from someone from Polyvore asking for more personal information for traveling.
and after that I was forwarded to Grace. I finally got a chance to get to talk to Grace about my travel plans. this was not a Polyvore issue. this was .... I have three dinosaurs running around my house thanksgiving week and have to talk to someone on the phone. MY ISSUE>
we make final plans ... she sends me all the info.
"this is really happening" I say to myself. "oh gosh. what am I going to wear?"
I am going to pick up on my way to long story ... the morning I left my local airport.
IT is RAINING> it seems like has been raining for weeks. I am not going to let that spoil my amazing experience. I board a small hopper plan and fly to NYC JFK. I have never flown into JFK before, but I navigate slowly and surely to the baggage claim, collect my big red bag. I then roll out to the taxi area, tell the cab attendant my destination and hop into an available cab. I am lucky to just arrive when the traffic seems relentless. My cab driver smells like cigarettes but I become charmed with his talk about New York City turning into a fascist city. And He KNOWS. He knows because he came from the USSR during the Cuban missile crisis. He lectures me on Communism and Socialism. Shares me parts of his life story as well as sprinkling a local tour of what can be seen from our foggy rainy window. He has been married to his wife for 47 years. They have three children together, they live in Brooklyn. His wife makes him workout on a treadmill every morning before she will feed him. It is an un agreement of theirs he explains. He has a bad heart and she will happily make him breakfast before the sunrises ... that is ... AFTER he at least walks on the treadmill for a half hour.
At this point you may wonder ... WHY is she telling me about a Cabbie from Brooklyn. My answer is this. I love that in those moments. Those moments when you meet someone, that you would never have meet before. there is some sort of connection and again fascination that these people along side the million of other people in the world live their lives day after day. and I don't know them. People like this make up the interesting fabric of daily life. what may seem to be mundane moments I surely treasure. I love people with personality.
We finally enter the city, my cabbie navigates New York's back streets with ease. The rain begins to fall even harder and the evening darkness begins to drape over the city. I am getting nervous, I had recently lost my glasses and I am nearly blind without them. I can not see for the life of me. OH no. this isn't going to go like I imagined in my mind at all.
The cab quickly comes to a halt, My new friend hops out and retrieves my bag from the trunk of his car. I am welcomed by a giant black umbrella from the door man. I pay my cabbie and wish him a well new year.
The Paramount hotel must be naturally dark but seems even more mysteriously dark due to the inclement weather and the recent nightfall. Rolling my big red bag and huge black purse to the check in I wait and TRY to get acclimated with my surroundings. Large plush velvet couches and chairs litter the lobby, I can see what they are trying to achieve with the low lighting and interiors. I sadly am not won over by look, can someone please turn on the lights. Doesn't anyone know reading in this low light is bad for the eyes. Well now thinking back on it, maybe they are trying to save some energy. HIGHLY DOUBTFUL.
The number 16 lights up, a foreign couple snuggle in the opposite corner of the elevator, thankfully the cab comes to a stop, and I jump out. The hallways are dark gray, the trim is painted in a red velvet color and again the light is low. Following the numbers on the outside of the rooms I finally locate my room. NOW ... My sister warned me the room would likely be ... um what is the word. SMALL> I really want to use the word quaint, but in this situation the room description does NOT merit the word QUAINT in any which way.
MODERN, modern and snug. Snug is how I will describe this room. A twin size bed outfitted with a huge down comforter sits in the middle of warm room, a large flat screen TV hangs to my right, a huge window view of an alley in the front and the bathroom to my left. Dropping all of my belonging to the floor I then remove my soaked shoes and retrieve my phone. After making my quick check ins with the family I proceed to inspect my SNUG room. Shortly after I plop down on the bed and rip open a cereal box size fed ex package that was left for me at the concierge desk. "These must be Heidi's Favorite things ???" I think to myself ... oh well I would have guess one of Heidi's favorite things being one of her many nannies for her children. Jokingly imagining to myself how it would be nice to have one of those for a week :). Slipping my newly manicured fingertips into the package I slide out the contents. Two mascaras, three lip glosses, one lip stick, two blush compacts, three eyeshadow duos, a pair of Heidi Klum Earings and Heidi Klum necklace lay on the bed in front of me. Pretty excited about my newly acquired haul I muse over the thought ... "what if a guy had won this contest?" small giggle and smirk.
Glancing over to the digital clock that sits on a small round metal side table, I become more aware of how starving I am at that very moment. Slipping on my military inspired heeled boots, I grab my umbrella and head out to explore the flooded sidewalks of the city in search for something to satisfy my hunger.
One thing becomes apparent to me. There is an unspoken language or is it an art form... HOW TO HOLD YOUR UMBRELLA ON NEW YORK CITY SIDEWALKS. Some people are braving it, a group of ladies no doubtingly walking home from a long days work in their tall black stylish rain boots and trenches. Some with the My umbrella is bigger than yours complex thrash through the crowed sidewalks without a glance to who is in their path. Then there the experienced small umbrella holders that have learned to tip their shields at angles when approaching oncoming foot traffic. AND THEN THERE IS ME> the out of town-ner who is clueless to this unwritten etiquette outfitted with a small humble umbrella making the mistake apologizing to everyone she bumps into while trying to observe and learn this new Art form. NOTE TO SELF (in the future now matter how the good shines in you. do not and I repeat DO NOT apologize to the crackhead homeless man ... he will follow and heckle you for three blocks. and this will only stress you out. )
There ... somehow I seem to have my NY "ah ha" moment when I decided to make a LEFT instead of going straight. One block later I find daylight at 8 pm. Daylight, thank goodness I can finally see, the rain has finally let up enough I can tuck my umbrella into the plastic bag I carry in my HUGE purse. Wandering around the main area of times square I find a familiar eatery and settle for a cob salad. I LOVE salad, but don't get to indulge in one that often. THEY take to much time to eat. With KIDS on a go, I simply have no time to fuss with things like ... salad dressing.
Looking absolutely fabulous in my dark jeans and military boots I relish in the rare moments of NY city police officers checking me out! yup ... such a nice moment. I think it has been 7 years since someone has actually checked me out. Come on I am 32, and usually have kids hanging off of me ... not that hot.
Exploring a few shops, searching for that Broadway show ticket place (WHICH I NEVER FOUND) I fail in defeat and walk over to the Walgreens and buy myself a chocolate milk and go back to my hotel. Staring at the shower for about 10 minutes ... I slap my hand on my forehead and FINALLY figure out how to turn the darn thing on. I step in and turn the temperate up to 100 and stood there for 20 minutes. SOO WASTEFUL I KNOW!!! what is my problem. IT was so awesome. I got to take a shower and not be bothered. heaven!
Throwing a white t shirt and a pair of peach flowery flannels on I pop the top off of my chocolate milk and settle into the kindle I borrowed from my sister. Daughter of Smoke and Bones is what is on the screen, and it's pretty good, I can very much relate to some of the main characters mannerisms. The clock reads 10pm and I am done. I turn off the lights and fall asleep to the city sounds outside my window. Around 2am something seems have happened. sounds like the world is coming to an end. There are horns beeping and sirens roaring for about 3 hours. 5am some sort of peace falls and I manage to get a few more hours of rest.
Waking up I grab the remote and click on the local morning show. They proceed to tell their viewers that it's going to be a big day in New York City. THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY are expected into mid town later today and MIDTOWN will be in shutdown mode. This will be starting at 3pm. So expect all traffic through mid town come to a halt. In other NEWS. JUSTIN BEIBER has arrived and will be singing at Rockefeller Center for the tree lighting tonight. So expect some major delays today. GIVE yourself plenty of time for traveling. YAY> THIS should be interesting. : )
Finally ready and primped I go down to the Paramount Hotel's Lobby to wait for Grace from Polyvore. We are to have some sort of breakfast and a chance to chat about the contest or Polyvore. I can not express how excited I was to meet Grace. Being such a HUGE fan of the Polyvore site. Polyvore employees are like super stars in my eyes. Quietly awaiting our meeting I sit on an over-sized chair fiddling with my phone. Grace approaches me, I introduce myself and gush about how I love Polyvore and how excited I am. blah blah blah. :P I am such a nerd. sorry.
We grab something to drink and a morning snack at Dean and Doluca (which is the cafe in the Paramount Hotel). We sit in the lobby and chat about Polyvore, How they judge their contests, about favorite members, the art community on Polyvore, my sister's book, and I also expressed my hopes in being able to make some profit through the Polyvore site. Shortly after Grace had to go and meet up with other winners from contests they had hosted. I believe she was off to VOGUE. for the fashion night out contest.
At that time I had about 2 hours at best to run around NY city before I had to get back to The Paramount to meet up with Rose from Polyvore.
Quickly changing into flats I dash out into the streets of NY flashing my camera at everything in my way. Running up to Rockefeller center to see if I could catch someone else famous . During my race for time in the city I stopped to salsa dance with a Salvation Army Donation Collector.
Back at The Paramount I await for Rose. This is the moment. I am about to walk over to Times Square and Meet Heidi Klum. Rose entrees the lobby phone in hand. Rose is very sweet but is all business, I imagine her up for the Multi tasker Of the Year Award. We chat a bit on our walk over to Walgreens. When we arrive we wait in the main lobby area .. Everyone there is in a bit of a frenzy making the final preparations for the meet and greet with Heidi.
Finally one of Heidi's assistants arrive and we are taken to another floor within the building. I listen quietly to the assistants chat up about the morning, Anderson Cooper, how well things went for Heidi, how it so much fun. AND also How they were running late, there were two magazines waiting in the VIP area to have interviews with her. They Really did a great job transforming what seem to be storage or a stock room into a VIP worthy area. When you first walk into the area there was lighting and photography equipment set up across from a HUGE Marketing Banner for Heidi's Shine perfume. In this area. Heidi posed with higher ups from Walgreens and The perfume company. In that moment I was unable to capture Heidi with my camera. She was like a little humming bird flying from her dressing area to the photo op area. Then she hurried down outside to do a photo op with the Paparazzi outside and then start her meet and greet in the lobby downstairs.
Meanwhile UPSTAIRS Rose and I relax on huge white modern style couches. Deciding to make the most of the situation I stood up and introduced myself to whoever was in my area. Assistants, Walgreen Executives, Perfume reps, and another contest winner which had won through a Walgreens sweepstakes. The VIP area was adorned white drapes, tall glass vases with lemons, limes and sunflowers. Seem to be the theme. They were so kind to set up a little refreshments area for everyone.
The time was ticking away and I began to get a little nervous. There was an understanding that NY midtown was going to be on this so called lock down approximately starting at 3pm. By this time is was around 2pm and I still had not had my chance to be Heidi's new Best friend. Listening to Heidi's pint size assistant (who reminded me of Rachel Berry from the Fox show Glee) explain to OK magazine and another fashion magazine that they might not get to have a sit down interview with Heidi that day. That a phone interview would have to what they settled for unless they wanted to wait around till after the event. Knowing this was the information that was about to come my way I turned to Rose and asked her what we should do. Minutes later The Rachel Berry Lookalike walked over to us giving us the same story. Explaining that I had to make it to the airport by a certain time I opted to just go downstairs and have a quick meet and greet. Rose and I grabbed our belongings and made our way downstairs. Things seem to be hectic down in that area, a huge line had formed of Heidi's fans. They were all given a sunflower to hold on to while they waited for there chance to have a photo taken with the Lady of the Hour. Feeling guilty I jumped into the front of the line, introduced myself, told Heidi that everyone from Polyvore all my friends said hello and they just love her. Handing over three print outs of the contest finalists sets. I asked Heidi if she would be so kind and sign them for us. Explaining to her that we all worked so hard on our sets for the contest. That one finalist adored her and wanted to go into the fashion industry and the other finalist was a huge fan of Project Runway and would be going off to boot came in January. THANKFULLY she signed them.
In those moments strange things went through my mind. OMGOSH> she isn't as tall as I thought she would be. Thank goodness I wore tall heels. Oh geez I should have worn my hair up. Oh man. I should have bought that IPOD before the trip. omgosh ... suck in and stand up straight they are about to take your photo! ahhh!!! a photo!! with Heidi Klum. OMGOSH! this is what it all comes down to.
Oh I didn't know she had a huge tattoo on her inner arm. hum. wow. okay focus... don' t forget to suck in. and smile. chin up! CHEEESE!!!! okay thanks Heidi. Have a great day.