@realDonaldTrump… in the flesh

trump

FIRST: I’ll leave out my political commentary since this is simply a story about the time I met the next President of the United States.


Phone rings at 8:30 Tuesday morning.

If you can get to Colorado Springs within the next two hours,
you can have an interview with Donald J. Trump.

I had just walked into work and was sitting at my desk clicking through the emails that had trickled in since 5 o’clock the night before. I heard my boss take the call and was already packing the gear by the time he hung up. We work in the suburbs, two hours north of the rally happening that day in Colorado Springs. We had been in communication with both campaign communicaiton offices for the past year trying to work out a time to do an interview.

In the 350+ interviews with heads of state, Presidents of foreign countries and celebrities I’ve produced in the last 4 years, this one was a shock to even me. Meeting a presidential candidate is really exciting. The pomp and circumstance, the anticpation, the posse of support staff is a spectacle in and of itself.

Whenever you have interactions with someone of notoriety I find that they’ll either be very warm and convesational, or very distracted and anxious to get to their next appointment. Famous people tend to be very busy people whose schedules barely allow time to eat and sleep. I always view guests’ time allottment to be on show as a generous donation of their most precious resource.

I assumed that Mr. Trump would be in the latter, more distracted, category. He’s about to give a speech at the first of three rallys of the day, after he finishes our interview and the two interviews after us.

Leading up to the interview I arrived at the venue, kind of a horse arena in Colorado Springs with my 4 bags of camera gear. Secret service went through all the bags and then released me to the media stands in the mid-back of the arena. The ground had been packed down and covered in faux grass for the event, but was still a little uneven from being trod upon daily by horses. I found the Trump campaign Colorado communications contact and asked to see the interview area.  I was led with my crew to the area behind the black stage curtain.  Instead of a well lit, quiet room I found that the interview area was merely a black curtained off 20’x20′ cube on the same unever dirt directly behind the stage. My disappointment at this was great. Keeping audio clean would be virtually impossible and adequately lighting the interview almost impossible.  We spent the next hour working with the Trump communications team at the arena about the cameras we’d be allowed to use, the time we’d have to set up, and the status of Mr. Trump’s flight. We were to be granted the first interview, meaning we could set up our cameras a few minutes before he arrived. This welcome news to me. I prefer to have hours of time to set up the chairs, adjust the lighting and fine tune the background. Here, for our most important interview of the year, I would have a few minutes to get everything perfect. We were shown the tape line where Mr. Trump would stand and where Aaron would stand. Set our cameras up, focused the shot, got the mics ready and then were given the 15 minute warning.

“Where is your mic?” – staffer
“Here.” I replied and showed my wireless lav.
“No. You have to use a stick.” – staffer

I had less than 15 minutes to run out of the secured area (that hopefully I could re-enter) through the parking lot, rumage though the gear I left in the trunk to find the stick mic and run back in.

I tapped the shoulder of the cop at the back-stage entrance, “Hey, I have to go get some gear. Will you let me back through in a minute?”

“Sure thing! I’ll remember you.” He tapped my back and smiled.

Needless to say, I made it back with the correct mic with a minute to spare.

“Okay, he’s here.” someone said.

All heads turned to the door (gap in the curtains) in anticipation. I made one last double check-glance around the room at the gear making sure everything was ready to go.

He was wearing a bright red and white stripped tie. He looked different in person than I expected. Much more normal skin tone, very normal hair and an absolutely KILLER smile. He was ushered in by his staff to his spot in front of our cameras as he warmly greeted all of our crew members.

I’ll let you judge for yourself how well the interview went…

Once we wrapped I started picking up the cameras. We had to clear the area quickly so that the next crew could get in and set up their shot. One of our crew members asked to get a photo and before I could get out of the room Mr. Trump looked to me  and asked, “Wouldn’t you like to have a picture?” He additionally offered a photo to our intern and then we were out.

I was so surprised! No one else on that level that we’ve interviewed has offered photos to anyone. Usually you have to ask, and then you’re given a sigh, “Okay.” Or told that they have to get to their next appointment and don’t have time. So, as you can see up top, I met the next president (which we didn’t know at the time) and got a picture with him (to prove it!)

I actually found out that he won at 4 am the day after the election by seeing multiple texts on my phone from late the night before saying, “You have a picture with the President!”

 

Mesa Verde – Budget Camping Trip

We took a weekend and drove to Mesa Verde National Park, one of thirteen National Parks in the state of Colorado. Mesa Verde is in the southeastern most corner of the state and from the mesas you can see into three other states — Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. The drive from Denver is about 6-7 hours and you can cut through the mountains and zig-zag your way down or you can go down through interstate 25 and then all the way over. We went one way there and the other on the way back. Make sure that you leave early enough to get all your driving done in the daylight.  There is so much wildlife in that part of the state and driving in the dark with low visibility can be dangerous. The posted speed limits are actually slower at night because of the large number of (mostly) deer in the area that will cross the street.

Here is the cost breakdown of an average weekend (2 night) camping trip to Mesa Verde!

Go and then leave a comment for me letting me know how your trip was!

TOTAL COST (2 people)
$160

GAS — $80
I have a pretty fuel efficient car that gets 30 miles to the gallon on the highway so we filled up a total of 4 times for the entire trip and with the great price of gas right now, was only about $20 a fill up. Remember that Mesa Verde National Park is VERY Large. Once you get to the entrance of the park you still have about 20 miles to go to get back into the depths of the park where the cave dwellings, tours, museum and information centers are. The campsite is much closer to the front of the park and they have full bathroom and shower facilities as well as a convenience store that is open during the summer season. We went pre-season so things were still pretty quiet and not much was open yet.

LODGING — $40
Reserving a camping spot is $20 a night and we stayed for two nights. You get a plot, a fire pit, wifi and the use of a bathroom for the money. There are so many spots (over 300) so the rangers told us that they never run out and you don’t need to reserve your plot ahead of time. They’re first come first serve.

FOOD — $30
This greatly depends on what you like to eat of course. We got a 24 pack of hot dogs, marshmallows, some dried soup packets, cereal, instant coffee and candy.

PARK ENTRY — $20
The Park entry fees vary greatly depending on when you are going and what kind of vehicle you have. Here is the link to the National Park Service website will the full details: https://www.nps.gov/meve/planyourvisit/basicinfo.htm

We actually didn’t pay to enter because we went during National Parks week when the entry fee was waived.

GUIDED TOUR — $8
As you can see in the video we did the Balcony House tour. The only way you can go into the Balcony House is by paying $4 a person to go on the guided tour with a Park Ranger. You must climb a 30 foot ladder to get into the dwelling and then once your through you have to crawl through a small 18 inch hole and then climb up two more ladders and a treacherous stone foot path to get out. It isn’t too difficult and tourists young and old seem to get through the tour just fine. https://www.nps.gov/meve/planyourvisit/guided_activities.htm
The tours fill up so make sure you book in advance!

We also did the self-guided tour, which is free. Here is the link to more info about that: https://www.nps.gov/meve/planyourvisit/self_guided_activities.htm

 

Music:

Kacey Musgraves – Die Fun: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61Qiay4EctU
Alina Baraz & Galimatias – Fantasy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiqtgWWL6u8
Hippie Sabatoge – Able To See Me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmfEyJpwVz8
Rain Man – Bring Back the Summer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivLdLtOtOzU

bella vita // Cory & Treslyn

2014-08-30 09.33.48The most wonderful thing about Treslyn and Cory’s wedding was the picturesque Beaver Creek locale. No, it was the Eden-like floral arrangements. Wait, it was the glow on the faces of their guests as they danced the night away…
Thats just the thing. There were so many incredible moments its hard to pick just one! The fairytale like ceremony, glamorous reception and even the months of preparation leading up to the big day all made up the beautiful mosaic of the Jost-Roberts wedding.

Father’s Blessing – Never have I heard a more caring and wise speech. Paul Jost shared some of his precious insight with his daughter and new son-in-law that night. As he talked about raising Treslyn, his sweet love for her was enough to warm every heart in the room. He wrapped everything up by giving the newlyweds three bits of marriage advise, no doubt from his own experience with his sweet bride Jill.
Say ‘I love you’ to each other every morning and every night.
Edify each other.
Finally, keep God as the center of your lives.
And really, what more could possibly be said about marriage?2014-08-30 12.02.00

Sister’s Toast – Treslyn’s little sister brought a tear to all of our eyes with her toast…including her own. You could hear the love in Alisha’s words and see the excitement on her face. As an older sister I know that nothing is as sweet as knowing that your little sister looks up to you and is proud of you. Alisha shared moments from their childhood that reminded of my own relationship with my dear sister. Its a beautiful thing to be able to look back with laughter and to look forward with anticipation with someone who means so much to you.

Renewed friendship – Reconnecting with Treslyn was quite possibly the best part about this wedding for me. She and I skated together throughout high school and then didn’t see or speak to each other for about six years! Seeing her again throughout this spring and summer to talk about the wedding was so much fun. We got to catch up and talk about ‘real life’ after college and laugh about the old ice skating days. Its so special to be able kindle a new friendship with an old friend.

2014-08-30 15.40.10-1The Mother’s Smile – Of course absolutely none of this would have been possible were it not for the hard work of Treslyn’s lovely mother Jill. She poured so much of her time, talents and energy into making this one of the most perfect and beautiful days of her daughter’s life. Seeing Jill glow with pride and love that evening was an unforgettable moment. Her attention to detail in every facet of the wedding was perfect! From organizing all the vendors to making sure the gold monogram “R” (for her daughter’s new last name) was in the perfect position at the reception, Jill did everything to ensure that their family and friends would remember the magic of that day.

 

So here’s to Cory and Treslyn
and the power of their strong love,
devotion to each other and passion for life.
Dance every night away and don’t ever stop smiling.
Ciao!

2014-08-30 20.11.09

 

pink + green fairytale

This sunny Saturday in the mountainous 303 kicked off with a delightful bridal shower for Miss Elisabeth Akers in Fort Collins, Colorado. The decorations were sublime, the food delicious, gifts abundant and the advice imparted, invaluable. photo 5[26] spoonThe morning started with a prayer of blessing for the bride to be and then ensued with a buffet style brunch complete with punch, fruit, potato casseroles and of course cupcakes! Pale pink and green graced the tables, plates, and napkins, all the way down to the creatively tied cutlery sets. No doubt, the highlight of the morning was hearing the testimony and advice of long time friend and mentor to the bride, Mrs. Corwine. She shared her own marriage stories and lessons learned to Liz as she presented her with a symbolic sewing basket. Each item, scissors, thread, pins and patches, had a symbolic meaning for a good marriage. Hearing about her experiences of trial, success, frustration and love were enough to bring a tear to the eye of more than one lady in the room. INSTAGRAM-ED IT!

photo 2[21]
Liz with her lovely flower girl Marleigh Rose
  What better occasion to blow up your Instagram feed than with these special times with friends and family?

 

FOOD

mini cupcakes
mini cupcakes

Having home made baked goodies at your shower takes the event from simply fabulous, to “Martha Stuart extraordinaire”.

DECORATIONS birds

This lovely golden birdcage added a colorful, fairy tale like element to the mouth-watering spread at the buffet table.

    Here’s to Liz and Aaron as they anxiously count down to the day they commit to have and to hold each other for the rest of their lives.

‘And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.’ -Ecclesiastes 4:12