Welp! We did it again! Another unforgettable Addiction Meetup is in the books! And is it just us or is it getting better every year? We mean the party and the people!
It’s hard to put into words just how much goes into this week each summer and just how much we get out of it every time. Our team works the better part of an entire year to plan and execute this event and we mean it when we say it requires all hands on deck – we’re talking spouses, siblings, children, we even enlisted little Lincoln to emcee the introductions at the dance. In the days leading up to it, it’s like a fire drill; we’re all a little bit frenzied and panicked and just sure something is going to go wrong. And then it’s here, and we are flooded with so much love and surrounded by so much beauty; we get to make new friends and see familiar faces, really get to know the women on the other side of these orders, and perhaps the very best part – we get to see all the amazing and innovative ways you ladies take what we create and really make it your own. We won’t lie, we are EXHAUSTED by Saturday evening, but as much as our bodies are drained, our cups are filled – with gratitude, with appreciation, and with oh so much love.
Day One always has an air of magic to it. There’s a buzz of excitement and anticipation, and we get to see our vision and the fruits of our labor come to life. And then all you lovely ladies start trickling in, and we’re off to the races! Wednesday is always kind of fun for us, because it’s a little bit less traffic (most folks come in Thursday or Friday) and we really get to spend some one-on-one time with y’all. We played dress up, tried on ALL the Oscars, and just soaked up the loveliness that is our Wolf Pack and our wonderful team at the Mothership all afternoon.
And THEN things took a turn! Don’t worry, not a turn for the worse – a turn toward, let’s just say, a night none of us will soon forget. We rolled our gussied up Wolf Pack on over to Vallarta Mexican Food for dinner and a little cowgirl karaoke, and boy, y’all did not disappoint. Some performers were a pleasure to listen to (if y’all were here last year, y’all already know Ashley May is sure easy on the ears and we learned Renee Davis can flat out sing!) and some were more on the, shall we say, “amusing” side (*cough* Mitchell *cough*), but from start to finish, it was a really entertaining and engaging evening where we really got to let loose and see everyone’s sillier side. We had several darling duets, like a ditty from DDR leading ladies Audrey and Hedy as well as a rendition of Delta Dawn from our own Kristen Schley joined by Ashley May, and more two-steppin’ and twirlin’ than that little joint had probably ever seen. Oh – and we can’t forget the guest of honor! The legendary, the renowned, the one and only… OSCAR BETZ joined us at dinner. He had the most beautiful specimen stone statement cuff that he had created – y’all this thing is enormous and absolutely breathtaking – and before the night was over, literally every single person in the room had asked him to try it on. Such a cool memory.
Oh my word, you girls showed up and showed out for carnival day! We thought Cheryl was going to take the cake in her tutu and pink wig – her own momma didn’t even recognize her! – but y’all really brought your A-game. There were ladies who did multiple costume changes, there were belly dancers covered top to bottom in temporary tattoos they’re probably STILL scrubbing off, and there were those who showed out for the shock factor. But our props – and the gift card – had to go to the creative and crafty Sherri Glasscock, who created an entire thunderbird costume using DDR hangtags. Y’all, it was unbelievable. Our hats are off to all of you!
We rolled this colorful bunch through Downtown Yoakum over to the Grand Theater where we hosted a private showing of the film Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken, which is a loose adaptation of the life story of legendary diving girl Sonora Carver. We’ll admit, it’s no Academy Award-winner and we know Sonora herself wasn’t exactly pleased with her portrayal, but the whole pomp and circumstance of the group movie date is such a treat every year – and it was even better looking like this motley crew of carnival acts! Man, three days a year, this town really doesn’t know what hit’em.
After the movie, we meandered on back to our very own “big top tent” outfitted with everything from ring toss to bean bag boards and everyone’s favorite – the roulette wheel, where every spin scored a lucky lady some BIG Double D prizes, like boots and jackets and rare vintage pieces. You want to talk about some hootin’ and hollerin’, you’ve never seen such happy gals at a homemade carnival! Oh, and let us not forget our own costumed crew – our sequin-clad gamerunner, design intern Elle; our future Ft Worth boot boy, Hagen, who was convinced to don a 1920s clown costume, pink cap and all; and of course, the very amusing and eye-catching teller of your fashion fortune, design team’s Claire Johanson (our Claire-voyant, if you will). Even Audrey got in on the fun, dressing up as a darling red coat-clad ringleader – although it isn’t much of a costume since she pretty much has to orchestrate our circus of monkeys on a daily basis.
Huge shoutout to Vero Wood Fired Pizza out of San Antonio who rolled their food truck over to the Mothership and whipped us up some absolutely delicious woodfired pizzas. And get this, they even catered to all of us OptaVia-ers (there were a bunch, and you’re all looking/doing great!) by firing up some with cauliflower crusts so we could partake in the pizza party without derailing our diets. So, so good!
Well, if Yoakum didn’t know what hit it, we’re sure Sweet Home didn’t. We probably doubled the population of that town when we piled into their community center Friday evening. And man, did we have a ball! Not only were we surrounded by throngs of beautiful gals dressed to the nines in their favorite DDR and dripping in jewelry, but we got to meet so many of their husbands or sisters or mothers or babies or other pieces of their family. And we were really blessed this year to have so much of our family there, too. In addition to the usual cast of characters you’ve come to expect – the sisters and Nana, the Franz twins, Mitchell – Walker and his fiancée McKenzie were there, Jack brought his lovely girlfriend Nicole, Hedy’s daughter Presley came down and so did (Cheryl’s son) Sam, and we got Bryson and Bracken (Audrey’s son and grandson) to the shindig this year, and of course, our Master of Ceremony, Audrey’s other grandson, Lincoln, who was there for free hugs and cuttin’ rugs!
Our crew did an amazing job decking the place out, as always it looked awesome in there. The food looked, smelled, and tasted amazing – Andy’s BBQ catering is a crowd pleaser every year. (P.S. We hear you, bamboo silverware isn’t exactly BBQ-grade in sturdiness or sharpness. And it just gives some of you the willies. We’re looking into earth-friendly alternatives.) And our oh-so-precious band, Southpaw, kept folks on their feet until they kicked us out! Such a talented and sweet family; as Audrey says, “We love these guys so much that if they won’t agree to do it, we won’t have it. No pressure.” And the photobooth was next-level this year – the backdrop, the hay, having it tucked in that little area out of the way – so many memories and moments and gorgeous faces were captured. (Word to the wise: Never trust Vicki from purchasing when she says she wants you to do the photobooth with her. Don’t ask me how I know.)
This is the day that always puts a little lump in our throat. We’re all a bit tired, so we’re already a little emotional, and then *the moment* happens. The moment when we get everyone together for the group photo and it literally takes our breath away for a second, to stand there and look at the team we built and the community YOU built, in awe of how this group grows and gets more beautiful every year. It doesn’t matter how many decades we’re in this business or how many years we have this meetup, that moment will always tickle the tear ducts. Like someone said to Audrey, “They’re just like a beautiful bouquet of flowers.” And it’s so true; each of you brings something beautiful and unique to this Wolf Pack. And as Hedy said in her toast, “Our clothes are pretty, but YOU make them pretty. Thirty-something years of doing this and we’re still tickled to death that you love it the way you do.”
Y’all. From the bottom of our very full and grateful hearts, THANK YOU.