Monday, June 2, 2014

MOMMY/DADDY NIGHT OUT: PART II

I was so happy for Scott and me to be going out on the heels of the NFL Hall of Fame Dinner, that as we drove down the I-94 freeway, I swear, the thought crossed my mind to lower the passenger car window and scream, “We’re the parents of two under three…and WE’VE ESCAPED! We’re GOING OUT!!!! And the kids are AT HOME!!!!! And don’t ask me for goldfish crackers, anti-bacterial wipes, or a clean bib, because I have no such thing in this clutch!! ”

Scott and I were en route to Ford Field (again); this time to attend the annual Taste of the Lions, where gourmet food from the finest local restaurants, professional football players, and die-hard fans all collide amid the backdrop of an NFL stadium.

And the night was, in a word, nothing short of awesome. I didn’t have time to do a video diary of my preparations beforehand (like I did for the NFL Hall of Fame Dinner here), but I’ll tell you that my ensemble was pretty vanilla: No Spanx, no girdle. My shoes were a pair of Jessica Simpson 2 ½-inch mules I purchased from TJ Maxx back in 2007 during my career days, and my dress was a little A-line shift dress from Isaac Mizrahi’s Target line that I bought off eBay for less than $20 (with the tags attached; score!)

So let’s get down to the good stuff! I present to you the photographs from this wonderful evening – in precisely the order they were taken:

Carted away
The night starts with a bang, or shall I say Vrrrooooom: As soon as Scott and I turn the corner onto Brush, the street on which Ford Field resides, and drop our car off at valet, we are whisked onto one of several golf carts reserved for both current and former Lions players. We are driven down the tunnel that leads onto the football field, but then re-routed to a special elevator that leads to a VIP lounge designated solely for current Lions players, staff, and alumni. This “selfie” of Scott and me was taken right before we jumped into the elevator. (I briefly thought about puckering my lips and flashing the peace sign, but my voice of reason kicked in and told me that it would not have been cute for a 37 year-old mother-of-two to pose like a 13 year-old, so I ultimately decided against it.)


Just like old times
Scott and I quickly ditch the VIP lounge in favor of mingling among the ever-growing throng of guests. The first familiar face we see is former Detroit Lions defensive tackle Luther Elliss, whom Scott played with for several years of his career.


Bon appetit
Next, we run into Joe Nader, the Executive Chef of the Detroit Lions. Very important is this man, as he oversees every aspect of food in Ford Field, including the suites, the restaurants, the concessions, and catering. Chef Nader always takes care of Scott and me when we see him and is the absolute best as far as hospitality goes.

Cheers!
We then make our way to the locker room – as in the official locker room where the Detroit Lions suit up on Sunday – but today it’s the site of another private VIP hideaway. And guess who’s holding court outside the entrance? Mixologists from Sugar House, Detroit’s premier cocktail lounge. They’re whipping up a one-of-a-kind drink just for tonight called The Brush Street Cooler: El Jimador Blanco tequila, blue caracoa, house made ginger syrup, cinnamon syrup, and fresh lime juice, all of which is shaken to perfection and poured over ice. I had every intention of taking a picture of my glass so you could see how pretty this drink was, but, alas, my thirst got the best of me and before I knew it, it was gone.



Suited up
This is what an actual locker of a Detroit Lions player looks like. With its recessed lighting, sleek woodwork, and plush carpeting, it resembles a state-of-the-art conference room and is nothing like a conventional locker room where one might find metal benches and the stench of athlete’s foot.


Lights, camera…
As soon as Scott and I exit the locker room (where we devoured the most delectable grilled prawn – YUM!), we run into this gentleman, Bill Keenist, Senior Vice President of Communications for the Lions. His title sounds Big Time because it is: Bill is the team’s chief spokesman on organizational matters and also leads the team’s football communications initiatives. He was a member of Lions personnel back when Scott played, too, so he and Scott go way back.

On the air
Bill asks Scott and me if we want to meet Jim Caldwell, the brand new head coach of the Detroit Lions. Of course, we do! So Scott and I hang tight while Coach Caldwell wraps up his interview with 97.1 FM The Ticket, which is airing live as we watch.

Put me in coach
Then, our photo op arrives: Coach Caldwell, Scott, and me.

Cool cat
In search of more food – we here that that a vendor, somewhere, is offering the best macaroni and cheese this side of the Mississippi, Scott and I head back out and endure the crush of equally hungry party-goers. And that’s when we see this guy, Rory, the official mascot of the Detroit Lions. Man, his teeth are white.

Sweet branding
Those outside of Detroit may not know this, but the Detroit Lions are owned by the Ford family, who also owns Ford Motor Company, hence the name of the stadium, Ford Field. (What I wouldn’t give for one of those cupcakes right now…)

Here’s the beef
Mmmmmmmm. Filet sliders from Prime 29.


It’s the cheesiest
Mac ‘n cheese from Slows Bar B Q. I may never want to eat the boxed variety again.


Michigan royalty
Tired from having trekked the length of Ford Field, Scott and I come full circle and head back to where we started: the VIP lounge for current Lions players, staff, and alumni. As soon as we collapse in the nearest pair of brown buttery leather couch chairs for a much-needed breather, Bill calls us over to a table where a quiet petite woman is holding court with security detail nearby. “Come over here and say hi to Mrs. Ford.” Mrs. Ford? I repeat to myself. Yes, Mrs. Ford. As in Martha Firestone Ford, the owner of the Detroit Lions, and, of course, the owner of the company that made the car we drove here in tonight. When we arrived at her table and Bill introduced Scott as a former player and me as his wife, Mrs. Ford actually rose from her chair to shake our hands. She was kind, down-to-earth, and the farthest thing from pretentious. (Some backstory: Mrs. Ford only recently became the owner and chairwoman of the Lions after the passing of her husband, William Clay Ford Senior, the last surviving grandchild of Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company. Mr. Ford purchased the Lions in 1963 and was the owner for Scott’s entire career.)


The trifecta
Scott and I were all but ready to leave the VIP lounge and head out to valet, when we run into these guys, who, like us, were just looking to take a break from the crowds and regroup: (From left): Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, aka "Megatron," (#81), Detroit Lions quarterback Matt Stafford (#9), and Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush (#21).

One last thing: This was all for a great cause. Taste of the Lions extends the league’s own Taste of the NFL program which began in 1992. The Taste of the NFL is held the night before the Super Bowl in the hosting city and brings together the country’s top chefs to raise funds for local food banks. Proceeds of Taste of the Lions will benefit Detroit's Eastern Market and the Lions’ community outreach programming, which improves access to fresh food options in underserved areas.

And there you have it. Our evening in pics! Oh! And one more thing: Congratulations to Heather S., the winner of the Smooth as Silk 100% Silk Charmeuse Pillowcase giveaway! Please keep reading! More awesome giveaways are on tap for the coming weeks...


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18 comments:

  1. Your dress is adorable, Courtney! I had no idea Ford owned the Lions. Looks like you two had a fabulous evening! I would have been taking cupcakes home with me to nibble on later!

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    1. Oh, Susie. Those cupcakes!! I cannot get them out of my head. And let me tell you, it is no doubt a good thing that I didn't take any with me because I would have been in a sugar coma by the time we arrived back home! lol

      Thank you, as always, for reading and sharing such kind words through your comments. You truly make me smile!

      xo

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  2. I can't handle how beautiful you are! Radiant! This sounds like such a great time, you are a total celeb! I would like to spend a day with this Joe Nader guy, can you imagine the food? yes, you can imagine because you are a superstar. The cupcakes are so cute too, how creative. However, the only thing more tasty looking than those cupcakes is Megatron #81. Whew! What a cutie.

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    1. Dina, thank you so much, but, really I am so NOT a superstar. I was simply a mom who was in desperate need of a night out sans kids, and The Hubs came through and really delivered. We did have an awesome time...

      Oh, and, yes: Chef Nader can throw down. That's all I have to say about that!

      LOL about Megatron; he is a real gentleman in person.

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a flattering comment, Dina!

      #EgoBooster

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  3. What a great evening you had! And you look so cute in your dress Courtney!

    It's always great to be able to have some alone time without the kids. Mr. M and I are kidless this week and will be enjoying date night as well.

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    1. Thank you, Louida! And enjoy your well-earned, and, therefore, well-deserved night out. We ALL need those! lol

      xo

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  4. OMG you were standing next to Megatron okay let me gather myself lol...looks like such fun + you look lovely and the cupcakes mmmm I'm a sucker for cupcakes....I'm glad you two had a great time.

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    1. So you're a fan of Megatron, I see? lol He is a really nice guy...

      Can you believe that out of all the gourmet food we devoured that night, it always comes back to the cupcakes for me. I swear, if given the choice to have a hearty, fulfilling meal or, say, cake with buttercream icing, I swear, I will take the cake Every. Single. Time.

      Thank you for stopping by, Cookie.

      xo

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  5. Courtney! I love this night. I laughed and cheered at your description of traveling to the party saying that you and Scott were on your own -without wipes and goldfish and bibs! What a fabulous evening out and those cupcakes look amazing (no clue before now that Ford was involved) as does the mac n cheese and prawns. Your dress? PERFECTION!!

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    1. Thank you, Kristi! That dress was so comfortable, too. Now, mind you, in hindsight, it wasn't the smartest choice because of the off-white color...

      I'm still thanking my lucky stars that I didn't drop my plate of baked beans on it. lol

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

      xo

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  6. It looks like it was a blast! Thanks for sharing all the pics with us. I had no idea the locker rooms were that fancy. You really need to get out more. Have a weekly or bi-weekly date night and enjoy yourselves!!

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    1. Thanks, Lexa! I'm a real simple woman, I tell you! Getting out weekly might be a little overly-ambitious for me -- and us. We really are homebodies. But the bi-weekly bit, yeah, I think we can get down with that-- especially as they get older...

      Thank you, as always, for visiting, my friend. <3

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  7. What fun!...although I am pretty sure that you violated some sort of parental suffering code by having 2 nights out in just 2 weeks. That aside, I loved the pictures and descriptions. I also want that slider and mac and cheese! Your thrifty clothing purchases boggle my mind.

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    1. Guilty as charged, Susan. Did you check the by laws, though? In The Book of Motherhood? It states in article 145-67-659 that "She who has suffered for months on end, wiping @sses for more than 30 consecutive months and nursing for 3x a night for months on end shall go out and enjoyeth oneself with reckless abandon...so long as she is back in time to commence with the nightly feedings all over again."

      And about my clothes? #NeverPayFullPrice

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  8. It looks like you guys had a good time. Getting out of the house without being weighed down by kid stuff is always great. Through in some great food and good company and it's really a treat. You look great and I love your dress.

    Sonya
    Saving Everyday With Sonya K

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    1. Thank you SO much, Sonya! Ahhh, it was a great night. But guess what?

      I could already use another one! lol

      I'm on my way over to your blog now...

      xo

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  9. Wow....looks like an amazing event and great night. As parents it is so important for us to step away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy ourselves. I love your blog hun. Thank you for visiting my blog and showing support on SITS Day! Peace, Love & Blessings! #SITGirl

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    1. Thank you, Natasha! I appreciate it. I'll be back by your blog again -- you know of what you speak. ;-) I LOVE your style...

      Peace, Love & Blessings to you as well.

      xo

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