Day 2 Part 1
Last year we had gotten acquainted with a local photographer, Dave, and DonnaKelli as well as myself kept in contact with him. He agreed to take some time out of his busy schedule to take some photos of us during out visit so we met him in the lobby the morning of the second day to take some "costume" photos.
Dave was beside himself when DonnaKelli and I met him in the hotel lobby dressed as Supergirl and Batgirl. Gina joined us wearing a wedding gown and we all drove to a nearby church for an approprate background for Gina's pictures.
We all had a giddy time taking silly photos and entertaining the people driving by as we tried to take creative photos. Some of them rounded the block multiple times. With plenty of time still available we went back to the hotel to change costumes.
On the spur of the moment we got an idea to shoot a video of the Super Heroes running out of the elevator, down the hallway and around the corner. It took a few tries to get it right and each time we ran around the corner the looks on the faces of the people we encountered was priceless!
Gina changed into a cocktail dress and DonnaKelli changed into a Playboy Bunny outfit for some pictures at the lobby bar. Then Dave, Marilyn and I went back to the church so that I could get pictures in the wedding dress. This was the same dress I had gotten stuck in (the zipper wouldn't go back down) while trying it on at a thrift store a week earlier.
Day 3 Part 2
The Friday night before the big final evening it has become a tradition to meet down in the bar/club district for dinner and then a few cocktails. I chose to wear my red cocktail dress and ankle-strap check heeled sandals. As expected, dinner involved meeting new and old friends and lots of pictures of everyone in their favorite cocktail attire.
Instead of going to the quiet dive bar we instead decided to try the more modern dance bar even though it was a little early for it's crowd to start showing up. We found a corner of the bar that was quiet enough to have conversations. At one point news spread that one of the "girls" had just arrived at the hotel, several hours late due to a fire closing the interstate, and her room had been given away. Extremely frustrated and with no place to stay she was intending to drive several hours home and skip the whole affair. Within 20 minutes 5 or 6 people had offered a couch, a spare bed, etc for her just based on a few people who knew her vouching for her character.
Our photographer friend texted and said he was wrapping up a job nearby and wanted to know if we wanted to get some pictures in front of the capital building. We agreed and he took some incredible pictures and video that I will share soon.
Tips & Tricks
Day 3 Part 1
This was the 3rd year I'd been to Sacramento and I hadn't seen much of the city so when we were discussing possible things to do I was very interested in going to Old Town which I had heard a lot about. DonnaKelli, Gina and I along with Nora this time braved the traffic and met our photographer friend Dave there.
I was immediately impressed with the Old Town are of Sacramento. Many of the restored districts of downtown areas are a handful of buildings but this one was quite extensive. We didnt know much about what to expect so we popped into a saloon and a couple of shops before deciding to check out the train museum.
The museum was fairly interesting and proved good for some photos but with limited time we headed over to the riverfront to see the historic paddleboat. We took some post-card perfect photos next to and on the boat before needing to rush off and meet a friend, Carollyn, in another town.
I'd love to go back there and see much more of what the Old Town had to offer but was glad that we made the effort to see Carollyn. We visited her briefly since she was on break from work (she was in guy mode). Due to circumstances she's not been able to dress as much as she would like and has been feeling down so I was glad to have gotten to see this person that has been a big influence on me. She as had a huge part in introducing me to the Vanity Club girls and also my Utah friend Lisa.
Day 2 Part 2
As the weekend nears more and more ladies arrive to take part in the get-togethers so we met several at a Mexican restaurant for dinner before trying to go country dancing again. This time we made a vow to each other to not linger so long that we miss out on the dancing.
I decided to be a little daring and wore a very short but stylish and, I think, tasteful floral jumper. I felt very pretty and proud of my presentation as I walked across the parking lot and through the restaurant doing my best to not let the slippery raised tile flooring trip me up.
As with any group of people there are some you connect with and others that you don't really feel a lot in common with and even though the dinner was pleasant I was glad when the four of us decided to leave ahead of the rest of the group.
The country bar we had gone to the past two years had been kind of slow on Thursday nights and so we kind of had had the run of the place so I expected the same and packed a very girly, but not mainstream, country girl dress to wear. However since we hadn't really gotten to go out the previous night I just wore the jeans, boots and cold-shoulder top that I had worn the night before.
My choice paid off because the bar had a lot more people than we expected and I was dressed more appropriately. It was a little disappointing, though, because the larger crowd was from a swing-dance club that had control of the music and the floor meaning once again we probably wouldn't be doing any line dancing. At one point a man stood near our group and looked very intently at me. He was probably checking me out but the way he was doing it was a little uncomfortable.
Trying to make the best of the situation Gina and I took turns leading each other as swing dance partners among the others who were very good. Gina and I know some of the basic so we were able to not look too awkward among the graceful moves of the club members.
On one of our breaks a man came over and asked me to dance so I agreed and did my best to follow his lead. I know a lot of people think that this is going into dangerous areas...is he hitting on you? Will he get violent if/when he realizes you are not a cis-female? Does he already know? Will this lead to more intimate interactions?
Really none of those things were a concern to me. As Gina once told me, what's between my legs is not really relevant to anyone unless we are about to have sex and since I am happily married then that is no issue. There was one swing dance couple there that was composed of two men so I knew the crowd was fairly open-minded. Dancing to me is a fun and technical challenge whether line dancing or partner dancing.
Gina and I got the other girls involved trying to teach them how to swing dance and we had a pretty fun night. Before we left I was once again asked to dance. This time it was by an older gentleman who seemed to really enjoy trying to lead me through different dance patterns and getting exited when I would get a move right.
I've never done two Heidi get-aways within a month before so this was really weird for me. Usually I revel in the planning outfits and the anticipation of he trips for the weeks and months leading up to a trip. This time I had barely unpacked from the DC trip and had to pack for Sacramento. I picked out a few key outfits and then just kind of threw lot of favorite tops, bottoms and shoes into my suitcases. With 13 pairs of shoes for a 4 day tip I barely made the weight limit for the flight. I had actually considered driving 9 hours instead so that I could just pack anything and everything.
I arrived at the hotel well before my roommate Donnakelli and took the time to walk around the area and get some lunch. I was quite disappointed that it was wedged between highways and a business park since I like to walk out in the morning for coffee or snacks or something but there was very little nearby.
Once my roommmate Donnakelli arrived we got a room adjacent to our friends Gina and Marilyn and got settled in unpacking and transforming into our female personas.
As now seems to be a tradition we met a few other girls for dinner at the Spaghetti Factory. As also seems to be tradition plans were running very late. We had planned to go to dinner and the try a new spot for country dancing.
Dinner was fun even though it seemed we were received less enthusiastically by the staff an patrons as last year.
After dinner the four of us drove to the country bar to dance. However when we got there the staff was just locking up! It was only 10:30 and it seemed odd but I guess on mid-week days they dont stay open late. A man and woman were just leaving and tried to talk us into hanging out with them but since it had been a long day of travelling we were all happy to just go back to the hotel and share a couple of bottles of wine.
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As usual, the final day was kind of low key. In the morning DonnaKelli, Marilyn and I went for a 5 mile jog and walk along the river. I decided to wear the LA Chargers t-shirt that DonnaKelli had given me. We only did a minimum of makeup since we'd likely be sweating and this outing was more for actual workout than looking good. The path along the river provided a beautiful natural landscape and a break from the city environs we had been immersed in so far. There were also quite a few bicyclers and joggers that we passed. The only comment that I got was a biker who exclaimed "Chargers?" in reference to my shirt.
After getting cleaned up and dressed we met a couple of other ladies at the mall. We went there for a quick lunch but wound up taking advantage of the wonderful lighting for some nice pictures as well.
The final formal dinner was held in our hotel and it seemed to be quite entertaining to people in the lobby staying there for other conventions when all of us walked through the lobby in our finest dresses and gowns.
Once again the event was really well run with fun contests, photo backdrops, good food and, my favorite, a lively DJ and dancing.