When you meet your idol

Written by: Keri Fabin & Laura Kelly

Last Monday evening, in the cutest little bookshop, in the sweetest little town outside of Pittsburgh, two great friends met their idol, Ree Drummond- A witty pioneering gal from Oklahoma, with long, flowing red locks, one picturesque cowboy hubby and four adorable, freckle-faced children.
When they first learned that The Pioneer Woman herself was making a pit stop in the Golden Triangle on her latest book tour, they immediately agreed: It was a date. Their love, looovvvee, LOVE for good ol' P-Dub was (and is, now more than ever) undeniable, but for different reasons:

While Keri and her slightly taller, auburn-haired counterpart both fell in love with and married two great country guys, Laura's last date ended with her suitor confessing that he was engaged. Yup, engaged.

So Keri can relate to and admires this successful ranching, cooking, writing, blogging, show hosting, country loving, photo taking goddess of the domestic world. And Laura, well, she finds Ree's unbridled love for doughnuts appealing. In fact, after reading that one single post, she knew the she had found a woman to admire because there are, in fact, many things she would do for a Klondike Bar.

So with hearts full of adoration and excitement, Keri and Laura waited for over an hour and a half to meet their superstar and her family, and learned many things (some the hard way) in the process.
Here's a helpful list of tips if and when you, lucky you, are ever presented with the chance to meet your idol:
DO tweet her a welcome message. She just might tweet you back!

DON'T drink hot coffee beforehand. Your breath will stink. You will get hot. You will begin to perspire in an already nerve-racking situation. And you will develop embarrassing, damp underarm circles. Nobody likes a sweaty Betty.

DO wash your hair. 'Nough said.

DON'T fill up your gas tank before your trip there. Driving with the needle scandalously hovering over 'empty' really adds to the suspense of the experience.

DO be suspicious of your GPS. It won't always point you in the right direction. The 20 miles will turn into 30 and that little extra anticipation and excitement will turn into heartburn.

DON'T lie to your teacher about skipping class if it falls at the same time. Tell him that your overactive Catholic guilt won’t let you sleep at night if you don’t go. He’ll probably say, "The Pioneer Woman? My wife made me her maple cinnamon rolls! Tell her they were fabulous!"

DO touch up your make up in the car. You never know when Ree will decide that you’re the PERFECT match for Cowboy Josh, and snap of picture of you to show him later. This didn’t happen- maybe next time.
DON'T stalk her children. When you see three of her darling, well-mannered kids happily run into Starbucks across the street, don't follow them in. Don't even think about it. No matter how excited you are to see them, and no matter how irresistible you find their freckles, and no matter how much you want to buy them all a Mocha Frappuccino, and gush over how much you love their boots and flannel shirts. Do. Not. Do. It.
DON'T conspicuously gawk at their significant others. Marborlo Man is quite the stud muffin, but all drooling and ogling of this (or any) taken, masculine, chiseled, blue-eyed silver fox should be done from afar.
DON'T be a klutz. This means NEVER knocking off MM’s cowboy hat when taking a picture with him; it’s better to just look less-than desirable in the picture. It would be much like tugging on Super Man’s cape, spitting into the wind, pulling the mask off that old Lone Ranger. Or foolishly dipping a juicy, delicate piece of fillet mignon in ketchup- You just don't do those things.

DO make excuses. Use the tip above to rationalize why you look so 'eh' in all the pictures taken with her husband.
DON'T be socially awkward. SPEAK! Full sentences are your best bet. "Hi. I have two books. Um, for you to sign. Uh. Hi. Please. Will you sign them? Please. OK. Thank you" is not an acceptable conversation. And if you can't find the words, take advantage of the friend you brought along with a love for indulging in chatter with strangers as if they were long-lost bunk mates from summer camp. She'll tell them your life story for you in under five seconds, and you can continue being awkward.

DON'T wear heels. Wear flats. Standing in line for long periods of time is hard.
DON'T complain. When there are no cookies and/or water (as advertised) left by the time you get upstairs to meet your hero, you have no one to blame but yourself. You should have gotten there sooner. And do you even need a cookie? No, not really.
DO laugh at her jokes. When she makes a monkey face at the fare-haired child in line ahead of you, and his eyes begin to well up with tears as he hysterically screams in her face, laugh when she says, "Ree Drummond: Terrifying small children one city at a time". She'll appreciate it.

DO make friends with the people in line in front of and behind you. They’ll kindly capture a few Kodak moments for you.
DO give advice, but not overly helpful and precise advice. Impress Marlboro Man with your knowledge of the best hot sauce application technique to a Primanti’s Bros. sandwich. However, resist when you feel the urge to give overly specific directions from their hotel to sites around the city. She does not know that you used to work for the visitor's bureau right across the street. She'll thank you for the guidance because she's polite, but you risk creeping her out.
DO flatter her. "You're here, and you're real, and you're just adorable!!!" will suffice. She'll return the compliment by declaring to the world (er, the people in your vicinity) that you're 'just precious', and it will make your day.
DO indulge a delicious meal with your partner in crime. Particularly sushi. But not while waiting in the signing line... you should wait until afterward. But keep in mind that hunger can make you extra girly and giddy and delirious. So maybe eat before, too.
DON'T rush yourself. If you hurry to get there, you might accidentally leave your headlights on, killing your car battery. But if you do, call AAA and be sure to get a tow truck driver who calls you Darlin'.

DO wait with your forgetful buddy if her car battery dies. You will laugh. A lot.
Finally and most importantly:
DON'T forget to have an amazing time! And gush and relive and obsess over your once-in-a-lifetime experience for days and days. OK, who are we kidding- for weeks and weeks... or until you meet again.


  1. Keri! I'm sooo jealous!Looks like a fun time. I love that she had her family with her in your area- what a bonus! She didn't tour anywhere near me.. believe me, I checked. I"m glad to hear that she's soo nice. =)

    1. Thanks, Christa! It was a blast and all I hoped it would be. I'm surprised she didn't make it your way though. It's OK, I'm sure she'll write more books!; )

  2. Just amazing!!! Looks like you guys had a such a wonderful time!! LOVE all the photos! :)

  3. so fun! she was in our town too, i went and got number 508 for the book signing. so, i saw her presentation and left. :( glad you met her!!

    1. Oh my gosh, 508! I was number 257, and we were near the end of the line. That's huge! We didn't have a presentation though.


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