Day 1: On May 17th, I woke up at 5:30am to get ready, and begin my trek alone to Tulsa, Oklahoma for a few days! I don't know if it was pure excitement or nervous energy or what, but I was done and ready to go by 5:45am. I'd originally planned to leave at 6am, but left the 15 minutes earlier, and ended up somehow magically shaving almost two hours off my trip by missing the majority of the rush hour Dallas traffic.
It was still dark out, but I started the trip listening to my "In Color" EP. About 45 minutes into the drive, something caught my eye, and I looked over to see a giant spider? daddy longlegs? on my rearview mirror and lowering. I panicked and chucked my notebook that was sitting beside me. Thankfully it took the spider with it and hit my passenger door and fell. As soon as it was safe, I pulled off the 80 mph highway to open to passenger door to see if it was still there. No sign of it. This should be comforting, but wasn't. Needless to say, I haven't seen said spider again, so who knows. Back on the road I went, making excellent time.
Our hotel check-in wasn't until 2pm, and the GPS put me there at 12:45pm, so I changed the address to swing by 3CG (3 Car Garage, Hanson's own record label) to finally get to see it! Amazingly, I found a parking spot one shop over, got out, and walked past. I felt awkward and uncomfortable because I was there by myself, and everyone around me were in groups with all of their friends. So I continued past 3CG to Prairie Brewpub to grab a quick lunch. Shortly after my food came, I got a text from my new (hadn't met in person yet) friend, Judith, saying that her plane had landed and that it'd be about 30 minutes before her shuttle would get there. I'd pretty much finished eating, and was 10 minutes away with my van, so I told her I could swing by if she wanted. So I paid the bill and headed to the Tulsa International Airport to pick up my new roomie for the week. :) (Judith is also a member of the Fanson14.)
Amazingly, we hit it off pretty much immediately, and very quickly learned that we had a lot in common, even down to our childhood dreams, and similar life adventures that happened along the way. Rather than head to the hotel to check-in, we decided to go finding parking and line up at Guthrie Green for registration. We happened to recognize our new friend (who we also hadn't met in real life yet), Barbara, (the brain behind The Hanson Project) and her husband, Jason. We ended up texting them, and they invited us to join in their spot much further up the line.
I felt awful doing it, because I hate upsetting others who had waited much longer, but Barbara said she'd asked the people around them first, and that everyone was okay with it. Turns out, we'd also make friends with those people too! We joined in line, and waited a good bit in the blistering hot sun. Finally we made our way to the SINGLE registration table that they had, and was given our new membership EP, Animal Instincts, out wristbands for the weekend, and tickets for the additional events that we were attending.
From there we headed back over to the 3CG for a few photos,
and then on to Ida Red, where I got my special Hanson float and my Road to Albertane Tour glass! :)
Next a group of us headed to Mexicali to grab and early dinner. :) It was decent, but for me, Austin's Mexican was way better. :)
I wasn't sure if I'd have enough time to still make it to the I 💜 Hanson store or not before it closed, but I rushed over to try anyway, since I knew the rest of the weekend would be pretty jam packed! Thankfully we got there in plenty of time and the line moved fairly fast.
I ended up just buying a shirt that said Hanson on it in the classic orange writing, but was given an additional free shirt by dumb luck. It's a blue "I Was Born" shirt! In kind of coolness, Zoe, their youngest sister was my cashier. :) Pretty neat!
After the store, we decided to part ways from Barbara, Jason & our new friend Marisol, and headed to check into our hotel at the Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Tulsa.
Once we were all checked in, and got all our crap in our room, we got ourselves ready, and decided to walk the 10-15 minutes down to the Vanguard to meet up for Karaoke!
Thankfully, Barbara and Jason had gotten there early, and managed to snag us a guaranteed spot in the karaoke lineup! We were going be the 2nd performers, and would be singing live in front of Isaac Hanson! Holy crap! Suddenly, Judith and I needed a drink to loosen us up a bit to shake the nerves. We were in for a great surprise! Not only was Isaac hosting, but he brought along his brother Mac to co-host! Mac is their youngest brother, who also is a musician, and is a hilarious and adorable mix between Jack Black and Zac Hanson. He has an amazingly fun energy, and helped kick off the night with this little number.
Next thing we know, we are being called up. Isaac joked about our name, thinking it was someone's Hnet username, and was surprised to find three women pop up. We introduced ourselves and Barbara explained who the Fanson14 are, and invited everyone to the after party we had planned for Saturday to see the released of our cover video. Isaac gave us a little bit of a hard time about how we better know the lyrics to the song. I'll be honest, I think it started off pretty rough, but jesus, it was scary! We finally picked up though, which is good. Then next thing I know, Isaac is next to my with his hand on my back and we are sharing a microphone. Childhood dreams? ✔ I can't even begin to describe what that felt like. Meanwhile, Taylor comes in the back, and I see him, but the other girls hadn't noticed yet. We finished our song, and Isaac gave out these badges that say "A Song to Sing" on them, with us as an artist. Mac high fived and bowed to us as we came off the stage. What a rush! I told the girls about Taylor, so we headed to the back to see if we could snag a picture. We waited patiently, and had a not so great encounter with a woman that we now know works for him, but he kindly took a shot with us. :)
Finally we called it a night, and Judith and I had our hotel shuttle come pick us up. :)
Day 2: We woke up in the morning and headed down for a free breakfast in the lobby.
After breakfast we decided to try and get in line for the Art Gallery to see what it was all about. The line was a decent length, but thankfully this time in was in an alleyway and shaded. We met up with our new friends, Marysol (from Mexico City), Andi (from Orlando) and Lucy (from Portugal).
We learned that at one point, the boys were in the gallery "mingling" but were gone by the time we made it in. I didn't end up purchasing any of the paintings (my husband would have murdered me) but I did spend $14 and got a little booklet with little prints of most of the paintings that Zac did, and got to participate in the String Theory ball art installation that Zac created as an interactive piece for fans that he'd display in his office or the studio. :)
From there, I picked up a quick lunch from Antoinette's Bakery (a DELICIOUS dill egg salad sandwich and some fruit).
Then off we went to get into yet another line (common theme?) for our Group Photo with the guys. Barbara was awesome, and made us all shirts, and also made each of the boys a shirt as well as a copy of the DVD of our cover video. We each took a set, and broke off to one of the guys. I ended up with Taylor, who shook my hand and said hello, and then I remembered I was holding things for him. Haha. So I told him we had this shirt and video made, and briefly mentioned us as the Fanson14 and the Hanson Project. He at first seemed to just be giving the generic "mmmhm, yeah" until he looked down at the disc, and suddenly was like OH!! No I actually have heard about this on social media! Thank you so much! This is really awesome! :) That made my day to learn that he'd at least heard of us, and to actually get to have a genuine moment. My last encounter with him in Houston didn't leave me with a great one, so it was nice to have it be a much happier experience. We took our group photo, and were rushed out quickly for the next group.
Afterwards, we ended up heading back to 3CG for a few photos in front of the wall with our Fanson14 shirts. :) Seriously though, how cute are we!? Haha!
At some point, we split up briefly and I hopped on the hotel shuttle to hunt down Modern Spirits to bring home the hubs some of Hanson's beer. :)
In cool news, HopJam ended up reposting my photo which was kind of neat.
Next up was the Storytellers Concert. I was so happy! They played a few songs from 3CG which I've never heard live, and I literally had just turned to Judith and told her that it would be so incredible if they played "With You In Your Dreams," which is a song that really got me through a rough time with the death of my Uncle Billy, but told her it'd never happen. That I've waited 20+ years to hear it played and never have. Then what song do they play NEXT!? WITH YOU IN YOUR DREAMS! I lost it. I tried so hard not to cry and ended up just breaking down in tears. I really felt like Uncle Billy was there with me. It was an experience I'll never forget and I'm so grateful they gave me that moment with my uncle.
We hit up Glacier Confections and bought all sorts of yummies! They even had Hanson themed chocolates!
Then onward we rolled to the Center of the Universe!
We ended up at a place called Albert G's BBQ for dinner and it was exactly how BBQ should be. Pulled pork sandwiches and okra with ranch! Hells yes! Mmmm!
After dinner, we all split up. Barbara & Jason headed back to their AirBnB, and Judith headed off to game night with Zac! Since I had a few hours to kill before we were going to meet up at the dance party, so I decided to explore Tulsa, and came across the annual Mayfest (where Hanson got their start)! Most of the vendors were already closing up, so instead I found a nice little plot of grass and sat on the lawn with a beautiful breeze and watched some of the local performers! It was so cool to see the kind of response and support they all got from the onlookers! It was beautiful!
Meanwhile, I got several texts from Judith, who was at Game night, and she is the BEST! She got the chance to chat with Zac, and knowing something that had been on my bucket list, she got him to write down "I Was Born" for me so I can eventually get a small tattoo of it on the back of my neck! That's amazing! She's the best!
Since I had nothing going on anyway, I headed down to meet her so we could meet up to hit Cain's Ballroom for the Dance Party that Taylor was DJing at. I honestly had had ZERO interest in this dance party. I haven't been clubbing since I was like 22, and it's not really my scene anymore. I'd seen pictures from years prior, and it was pretty much just a bunch of sweaty woman standing slammed against the DJ booth oogling Taylor. Super awkward. But it ended up being the BEST night! We had a drink or two to loosen up, and danced the whole damn night away and took photos in the cute little photobooths that they had set up!
Day 3: The next morning we got up early (how, I have no idea!) and hopped in my car. It was the only time I ended up needing to drive, since we didn't want to walk 45 minutes to get there, and headed to Pinot's Palette for a Painting class, where we'd get to remake one of the paintings that Zac made for the HDay Gallery.
The class was so much fun! We had mimosas, and they played an awesome array of Hanson throughout the whole class. The staff was really fun and sweet!
We'd skipped breakfast that morning because the one downstairs wasn't doing it for us, so we decided to find somewhere after class, and found a cute little brunch place down the street called Smoke Woodfire Grill. It was delicious! The bathroom was kind of funky with frosted glass doors. It was pretty and a little fancy. Pinkies up! :)
I decided that since we still had a little time, I'd check off another thing off my wishlist of places to see, and we found Dwelling Spaces, who had a special Hanson themed drink as well! A Hanson iced chai? Yes please! In cool news, they also reposted my photo!
Upon walking back towards the hotel, we ran into the Blue Dome festival, and decided to take a quick peek before we were going to meet up with Barbara and Jason to practice two songs Barbara had written. The festival was great (albeit HOT!). In the center was a cute little house that was covered in chalkboard paint, so we stopped to add our mark! We decided on the Hday "H" and I wrote The Hanson Project. While we were checking it, a man from the radio station booth came over and started interviewing us a little and asking us questions about Hanson and Hday. After talking a bit, he asked if he could take some photos of us writing on the house. We obliged. :) We continued on and found this cute little wire jewelry artist, and Judith asked if she could make the Hanson symbol. That one was a bit harder, but she said she could make the Hday "H" so for $5, Judith and I both got some custom earrings made! They turned out super cute!
We headed back to the hotel, and got a little distracted by Mayfest along the way. There was a dance troupe that was performing on the same stage I'd been watching the night before. Their performance was beautiful and moving. The music from it was epic. I loved it!
We watched for a few minutes, and then finally finished our way back to the hotel just in time for Barbara and Jason to show up. :) We headed up to the room and practiced for the two Hanson inspired songs that Barbara wrote. We were going to perform them at our after party that night after the concert. It was a lot of fun. I had a little trouble because my voice was getting shot from all the screaming and loud singing I'd been doing, but it finally decided to work with me. Haha. We only had a short bit of time before we needed to head back to Cain's for the State of the Band and Concert, so we grabbed some sandwiches from the shop behind the hotel, then hopped on the hotel shuttle. We still had a few minutes to spare, so we ran across the street to Inner Circle Vodka Bar to make sure everything was ready for the night's festivities. :)
It was so cool to see us plastered all over the place and on the calendars that were posted through the building. It was suddenly getting pretty real.
Finally it was time to head back to Cain's. It started a little late (Hanson Time), but it was really exciting! They played us a little taste of what String Theory will be like, and told us that they will be doing a double CD for it, with old songs, new songs, and member's only songs! I can't wait! I have tickets to see it in Atlanta in October! *Fingers crossed* that they add a Meet n' Greet for those shows!
After the show, we rushed back to Inner Circle, where everything started to fall apart. The food trucks we'd promised would be there, didn't show up. We were under a Tornado warning. The DJ was late getting there, and the Karaoke man never showed up and didn't respond to any calls or texts. All the things we'd built people up on weren't showing up and now we looked like liars. I didn't like that at all. But we decided to make the best of it. We made new friends! We got a big table and sang loudly while Hanson blared in the background! Finally the crowds started to come in, and we released our "If Only" video. It was incredible to hear people cheering for us as we showed up on the screen! Everyone sang along and it was just an amazing moment and a tiny taste of what could be! Shortly after, we grabbed a mic that the manager had, and performed Barbara's two songs, Beer Song and Back to the Island.
We hung out and had a drink or two, then decided we'd take the walk and find out where the Unicorn club was! They had a special Hanson themed night, and made two Hanson themed drinks as well, including the Yellow Walkie Talkie! Super yum! It was like a lemon drop with cotton candy! They blasted 90's music and a fewer new ones too, and it was so much fun! We danced the night away for the second time! By the time we were done, I was starving, but it was late and we had no idea what was open, which was basically nothing. We ended up learning about a hot dog truck that was a few blocks away from some locals who were out celebrating a bachelorette party! We thought we got lost, but thankfully a few cops pointed us in the right direction! That hot dog was amazing in that moment!
I slept amazing that night. I was exhausted every night by the time we made it back. Poor Judith couldn't sleep at all. Just too much in overstimulation I think. :)
Day 4: The next morning, we got up and it was supposed to storm. It was a little overcast, but not too bad at all, and seemed to clear up pretty quickly. We had a few hours before we needed to be at registration for HopJam, so we decided to explore Mayfest during the day! The vendors were just opening up when we got there. There were so many beautiful artists there!
And they had DOLEWHIPS! What!? Oh, and did I mention the umbrella!?
Unfortunately, we didn't get to spend as much time as initially planned because I realized that we'd had the time wrong for registration and that it actually was an hour earlier than we'd realized. So we rushed our way back towards 3CG for registration. We got there a few mins early, so we ran into Chimera so Judith could grab something real quick. We got in line, and shortly after Barbara and Jason and Andi met up with us. The registrars made their way down the line, and I decided to upgrade my ticket so that I could get in an hour earlier with the rest of my group. While waiting for entry, we ran into a delicious little sandwich shop called Lotus. It was so tasty!
We could see that the line to get in outside was nuts, so we took our time. What good would rushing do just to wait in the heat? Finally we were all done eating and decided to take a couple more photos in front of the 3CG wall. We finally decided that after our little performance at Inner Circle that our little threesome could be known as 3CG (3 Crazy Girls). Haha. It was there that we accidentally created what could be the world's coolest album cover ever! LoL.
We also got to stop for a few minutes and got to chat with Trevor! :) He's been so super helpful throughout everything!
Finally we headed in to enter HopJam.
We headed straight to Hanson's booth, and Isaac was there handing out the beers, while Taylor was talking to what we can only assume was a businessman interested in a deal.
I was grateful because I finally got the opportunity to thank him for them playing With You In Your Dreams and how much it meant to me. He's seriously so darn sweet. Unfortunately, despite how badly I wanted to find a beer that I would like, and especially theirs....I learned that I just really truly hate beer. Thankfully, there were a couple of cider vendors, and I pretty much lived at the Sam Adam's booth for the rest of the day drinking Angry Orchard Rose. Haha.
While out walking around, we ran into Isaac again and he was sweet enough to take this shot with us! :)
After that, we headed back over to the music side of the festival to catch Paul McDonald, who I was familiar with from seeing him on American Idol several years back. I wasn't familiar with any of his music since then, but was really pleasantly surprised. He played this awesome song that had kind of a reggae feel to it. I dug it. He told me what it was called, but for the life of me I can't remember, but I'm determined to find it!
It was also kind of neat too because Andrew and Dimitrius (backups for Hanson) played backups for Paul as well! It was the first time I've ever heard Andrew sing, and it was neat! Later in the day I got to meet Andrew and his beautiful wife and daughter and chat with them for a quick second. They were all very nice.
(I swear I really wasn't trashed in this picture. That was just my face. LoL!)
As some point, we happened to be walking past the merchandise booth and saw Momma Hanson (Diana) sitting down. Judith had really been wanting to thank her, so I convinced her this was her chance. We worked our way over to the tent, and she was so beautiful and gracious. Very classy lady. :) Anyway, I let Judith have her moment that she'd been waiting for, and then we talked about kids and tips, and such, and at one point, I ended up apologizing because I started to cry. I swear this weekend was incredibly emotional for me.
After seeing that Paul had been added to the list of performers, I decided I needed to add him to my bucket list for pictures. I honestly didn't think it was going to happen. We definitely didn't go out stalking for any of them, but we just happened to be heading back over to the music section and low and behold, there's Paul right outside the exit. He was kind enough to chat with us a few minutes, take some pictures and sign my poster. Pretty awesome! :)
Andi decided to head out, and so did Barbara and Jason. Judith and I were getting pretty done as well, and decided we were gonna head back to the hotel, maybe swim in the pool for a little before it closed. We watched another performance or two and then were going to try and hit off the last 1/2 bucket list items I had left. The two left were a picture with Zac (who I've never managed to get one with) and the quintessential 3CG door sign picture. I'd given up on my chance at one with Zac since we hadn't seen him at all during the day. We later learned he'd been standing very close behind us when we were watching Paul perform. Damnit. LoL. Anyways, they'd had 3CG's sign covered all day with a sign for HopJam staff since that was their office. I was talking to a few of the staff members seeing if they knew when would be a good time to come back to snag the shot without it being covered. She said it'd probably be a few hours, but I figured I'd come back anyway since it'd be way too early in the morning that I needed to head home the next day. Next thing I know....the door opens, and out pops Zac right in front of me. I kind of froze and let him walk right past me. Judith thankfully had the mind to stop him. It was weird because I basically had a one sided conversation with him. I talked and he body languaged. Haha. As it turns out, he'd completely lost his voice not long before. He did take a picture with me though, so I'm hella happy! and he high fived me. :) Afterwards, the staff member I was talking to offered to take the sign off the door real quick for me to get my shot! It was so sweet! So I got my shot with Zac and the door! All boxes ✔!
After that, we were good to go! We headed back to the hotel for the night, where we ran into a friend of Judith's, then ran out to grab gas for my van, so that I didn't have to in the morning and picked up some Taco Bell. By the time we were back, the pool was closed, so we hung out and just talked for hours in the room. I couldn't have asked for a greater roommate or a more incredible experience! Literally every single thing that I could have dreamed could happen...DID, and THEN SOME! It is an experience I will remember for the rest of my life, and I'm grateful to have so many beautiful new friendships, and to have a husband who supported me going while watching my babies for me and putting up with their rubbish! It was emotional and amazing!