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My Complete Derby Experience

May 9, 2014


Erin Schrader

The time has arrived to break down the greatest day in history…the day I keep begging to come back again [and again and again], it’s time to recap the Kentucky Derby. Oh where to begin… 
After being picked up at our hotel via our own personal driver for the day [I know] Sarah, Whitley, Lindsay, and I found ourselves in the land of giant hats, bow ties, and more seersucker than I ever knew existed. Immediately we were met by a representative for Cottonelle and had the pleasure of touring all of the areas that Cottonelle had made fresher, prettier, and cleaner. This included the bathrooms on the terrace level which were beautified with fresh flowers, baskets of goodies for anybody to take, flushable wipes, and catchy fun little sayings all over the mirrors. If there is one thing that I have learned about Cottonelle over the past few weeks is that they are funny. Lucky for me, I like funny. 
After touring the bathrooms [who knew such a thing would be considered exciting] we headed off to where the real action was–the Cottonelle Clean Room. It was here that celebrities and other VIP guests would make their way before hitting the red carpet. Inside the Clean Room was comfortable couches, free mint juleps [ummm…yes please], food, a refresh station to have hair and make-up touched up, and of course..lots of lights and cameras. Naturally, this was the best room I had ever found myself in. 

Unfortunately we had arrived at the Clean Room a little late in the day so we missed several of the celebs who had walked the red carpet already [next year people, next year] but we did see a few fun ones. Cherry Healey, the Cottonelle Representative, is freaking hilarious and did an outstanding job interviewing people about their bums. If there is one job in this world that I want, it’s hers. Not to mention she has this killer English accent that I tried not to act like I was obsessing over. When we arrived Cherry was interviewing Mary Wilson from the Supremes. I’m not going to act like I actually knew who that was. Fortunately now I know who her and her two ladies if you know what I mean.

After that a few cute men walked through who I am guessing were athletes, but for now all I know them as is a few cute men. Naturally I photographed their existence. 

Then at one mint julep in, things got real. Carson Kressley came over and chatted for a minute or two and briefly after that Jamie Foxx flew threw with his daughter in hand and seersucker all over his everything. I tried not to scream JAMIE! but I make no promises that I succeeded in staying quiet. Something about me having no tact, I don’t know.

Obviously we were there to work so while I know it seems as though this was just a time to drink mint juleps, take pictures of celebrities, and eat red peppers dipped in ranch–we were taking our jobs as social media correspondents VERY seriously 😉 Insert 15,000 blogger jokes below.

After all of the fun with Cottonelle, we ventured off to do three things 1) walk the red carpet [because obviously..] 2) buy $24 bottles of mini champagne because when in Rome Kentucky.. and 3) accidentally find ourselves up in the horse owners suites. Fortunately we succeeded in all three.

Oh wait real quick–we also met the designer Kiel James Patrick and his fancy little fiance Sarah which was a lot of fun. I’m kinda convinced I need to own every one of his pieces now. That’s what happens when you become BFFs with famous peeps. 

Back to the story of the owners suites though—so it turns out we had these passes that somehow got us on a special elevator. It also turns out we had no idea where to get off so once it reached the top floor, we had no option but to step off. Security was there to made sure we had passes [which we did, however they weren’t passes for where we were now standing] however, security’s eyes weren’t that good so they let us continue. Low and behold there were tables and tables of fancy schmancy buffets, suites, and other shiny things that I knew I probably shouldn’t touch. While up there we noticed there were no lines to bet so we thought we may as well take advantage. That’s when we realized we had no idea what the horses numbers were to bet. Being the problem solver that I am, I told the girls I would find somebody to help us. Naturally I wandered into one of the suites and asked a gentleman if he had a program we could use to bet. As he was talking I noticed he had a button on that said Danza with a picture of the horse. Being the idiot that I am, I ask “So Danza huh? Why are you betting on him?” to which he replied “Because we own him…”

Oh right. We were standing in the horse owner’s suites. NBD.

Long story short we spent sometime outside on the upper terrace soaking up our moments of rebellion stardom before making our way down to normal people land again. After purchasing two baskets of chicken strips and fries [the first basket may have been dropped on a woman on the escalator..I didn’t mean to, promise] we found our way to the seats that Cottonelle had provided us. Two minutes later, the race was over and my horse won. Note to all future betters: bet strictly on the name of the horse that you like best. California Chrome was my obvious horse of choice because I love California and I love my Chromebook. After collecting my winnings, we ventured back to our driver and spent the remainder of the car ride reliving our best day ever.

Until next time…it’s been real derby.

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