I suppose I can laugh at it all now. But let me tell you – 48 hours ago, I was highly stressed out.
It all started with my recent press trip to Visit Orlando. In exchange for a family vacation, my obligation was twofold: upon my return, I would be expected to provide (1) blog coverage on my site, and (2) media appearances for a specified time period.
Now you’re probably familiar with my blog coverage, as I’ve been churning out reviews of the places we visited and the wonderful things we did. But, you may not be familiar with some of my media appearances. I’ve chatted about Orlando and family travel on outlets such as Daytime Live, CH Morning Live, and this past Friday – CP24 Live at Noon.
And while all media appearances give me the opportunity to go LIVE in front of the camera (which I actually adore! Yes, I’m an attention-you-know-what) I was particularly excited for my CP24 appearance on Friday afternoon. After all, if you live in the Greater Toronto Area, who hasn’t tuned in to the all-news station? It’s like media royalty, if you will.
So, Friday arrived and I was super pumped. Because not only was I appearing on Live at Noon, but then I’d literally be walking over to the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms PR Agency Boot Camp, where I was a speaker on the Social Media Blogger Panel. And so, I gushed accordingly -
I checked over the instructions once more. Chatting with Stephen Ledrew, segment to air live at 12:45pm. Check. Arrive at 12:00pm, as one of CP24′s professional makeup artists will get me camera-ready. Check. Need to get to the infamous 299 Queen Street West, where there is ample parking within a few blocks. Check.
Okay, I was ready.
Now I must admit I’m always a tad nervous when somebody else does my makeup. I even consider myself a bit of a makeup snob; I know what looks good on me, and I know how to apply it well. And don’t get me started on eyebrows! Without a word of lie, NOBODY touches my eyebrows. In fact, the last time I allowed a “professional makeup artist” to touch my face, it was quite the disastre.
Don’t believe me? Okay, judge for yourself. On the left, that’s me walking out the door last fall, with everyday hair and makeup. Picture taken with an iPhone, no filter, no photoshop. Just good genes, baby.
On the right, a “retouched” photo of my “professional” hair and makeup from the Fisher-Price Moms campaign. If you’ve ever wondered what I look like in the morning… well, the truth is, I look much BETTER than this. When I told the makeup artist I liked a smoky eye, he must have thought I said “punched in the eyes”… and while I appreciate a nude lip, my lips are so nude they’re non-existent. Concealer? Nada. Blush? Non-existent. Did I mention this campaign went national, with pictures in magazines, on baby and trade show signage, in websites, etc?? I wish I knew the makeup artist’s name, cause I would totally out him here. (Reid’s so cute at 8 months old, though, isn’t he?)
Okay, I’m ranting. And I’m straying from the topic at hand.
So I jumped in my car, giving myself an extra 30 minutes in case I ran into traffic. Driving along with the tunes blaring, I was blissfully unaware of the here-comes-the-heart-attack moment I was about to encounter.
Driving into the city was smooth sailing; it was late morning, and all of the rush-hour traffic had long since dissipated. However, as I always make it a habit to listen to the traffic report, I tuned into 680 News. Then, I heard this:
“If you’re travelling on the Gardiner Expressway Eastbound it’s a dog’s breakfast. The ramp to Spadina is closed for weekend construction, and there’s a two-car accident just west of Yonge blocking the two right lanes. To add insult to injury, Lakeshore is also down to one lane at Spadina for construction, and the two left-turn lanes are also closed for weekend repair. Your best bet is to take Strachan to King West and slowly make your way into the city.”
F*ck. F*ckity F*ck F*ck.
The time was now 11:30am, and I was just exiting at Lakeshore. Okay, calm down Lena. Surely it wouldn’t take me more than half an hour to drive just 5.3 km… would it?
At 12:00pm, I still hadn’t turned on to Strachan. It had taken more than 30 minutes to drive 2.4 km on Lakeshore, inching forward one car at a time.
At 12:05pm I called the PR company, to let them know that although I was running late, I was sure I would make it in time for my 12:45pm time slot. I had just turned on to Strachan, where there was (surprise) more construction, but I was certain the worst was behind me.
And then I realized… I didn’t have a lick of makeup on my face.
I was about to go on a popular, live afternoon show – media royalty, as I called it – without any make up, except beautifully sculpted eyebrows. Oh. My. God.
I considered cancelling the appearance, because honestly, I really don’t believe in fresh-faced beauty and rely on my eyeliner and bronzer the way a child tugs on a security blanket. Second, I had already told the world to “tune in!” – and was mortified at the possibility of looking like I rolled out of bed and yet somehow decided that it was appropriate for high-definition television.
But, I carried on. “I only need 5 minutes to look presentable,” I said like a mantra, over and over. I only need 5 minutes in the makeup chair and I could pass for pretty. I only need 5 minutes…
At exactly 12:34pm, I rushed through the doors at 299 Queen Street West, huffing and puffing from the 3 blocks I ran in -12°C weather in not-intended-for-running designer boots.
“Take me to makeup!” I announced like a madwoman. “I’m on in 10 minutes!”
The crew swept me to the makeup room, where after falling unceremoniously into the makeup chair, the producer told the artist: “This is an urgent one – we’ve got less than 10 minutes.”
“Oh honey, I’ve worked with less than that!” she replied jokingly, smiling from ear to ear.
Turns out, she had to. Because no sooner than she had applied two quick lines of eyeliner, we were informed that my slot had been pushed forward to 12:41pm. Grabbing a fuchsia lip stick and stabbing it in the general direction of my lips as the producer yanked me out of the chair, I wanted to cry. I thought about the beautiful array of MAC blushes laid out in front of me. Of the mascara that was not applied to my eyelashes; of the contouring and brightening techniques I was sure would make me look like a flawless specimen who spewed words of Family Travel wisdom.
But the urge to cry was suddenly overtaken by the overwhelming reality that I was still out of breath from my stressful commute, afternoon winter jog and rush-rush-rush to get mic’ed and ready. I was about to go on live TV and I didn’t have my sh*t together AT ALL.
Turns out, the appearance was fine – just chatting with Stephen Ledrew helped to calm me down immeasurably. That’s a still picture that I took from my TV – I don’t have a copy of the video clip yet, but I’ll be sure to share when I do. As you can see, I look quite presentable. And my husband assured me that I came across as composed and professional, regardless of the shenanigans beforehand. Sigh.
And so there’s the tale of my brush with fame… without a makeup brush. Moving on.