Last Saturday, I launched the Hey Eleanor Mystery Bus Ride.
The gist: I book a bus and three activities (awesome dinner included!). Cool people sign up for said bus ride, not knowing what they'll be doing. I simply give you a packing list... and maybe a few hints leading up to it.
This first event was ladies only, and 24 awesome ones signed up. I was thrilled! Here's what I asked them to bring:
- Their prettiest bra
- Yoga clothes
- A water bottle
- A zip-up hoodie, rain coat, men's blazer or jean jacket
- A plain t-shirt
Not a whole lot of info, but just enough to get people excited/scared/curious.
While my 24 attendees were figuring out how a pretty bra and raincoat somehow go together, I was busy stressing out about everything. What if the bus no-showed? What if we got to our first location and no one was there? What if the whole damn thing was just lame?
I lost sleep in the days (okay, weeks) leading up to the event. I broke out. I got all crabby toward my husband (sorry, Josh). But then I just had to remind myself that if there is ONE thing I've learned by facing my fears time and time again, it's that the anticipation of an event is always more scary than the real-deal. Always. Even with bungy jumping.
You know what? The bus ride went off without a hitch. Again, the anticipation was the worst part.
I know a lot of people have been wondering what I had up my sleeve. Here's what we did.
First, we toured around on an awesome vintage bus.
When Richfield Bus Company told me this beauty was available on my mystery bus date, I pretty much threw a wad of cash at them. If nothing else, at least riding around in a cool old bus would be fun.
Then, we shimmied Like Whoa in a Burlesque Class.
First stop: ExperTease in North Minneapolis.
These guys teach aerial skills (you know, with silks and stuff), pole dancing and belly dancing. That sounded great and all, but I thought taking a burlesque class would push most of us (myself definitely included) out of our comfort zone, without being too physical. I didn't have a handle on everyone's fitness level, plus I didn't want to end up dripping with sweat-- we had two more events after this!
Well... as it turned out, last Saturday ended up being hot and humid, and we were all sweating the second we walked in the door. Oopsies!
Aside from the fact that we were glistening with perspiration, I thought this portion of the day went really well, and for three reasons.
1) Sweetpea, our instructor, was so funny and confident and made everyone feel at ease.
2) Doing a physical activity with strangers = immediate bonding.
3) The whole challenge here was to let go of your inhibitions. There was no actual nudity and nobody had to do anything alone, and yet allowing yourself to just let go of that idea that everyone is watching you is so challenging. But truthfully, no one is paying as much attention to you are you are.
Next, we had a professional bra fitting.
Okay, I had a lot of ideas for this first outing. I'd tell you, but many of them I plan on doing for a future bus ride. Long story short, taking a burlesque class and doing a bra fitting just so happened to perfectly fall into place, time-wise. I had a decision to make: go for it, even though it might feel like a bachelorette party, or find other things that didn't line up so well just so that it didn't feel like a bachelorette party.
Ultimately, I decided to just go for it.
This was a hard decision. If I were buying a ticket to this event and I knew we were taking a burlesque class AND doing a professional bra fitting, I probably wouldn't have signed up. That being said, the reason I wouldn't have signed up is because of my perception of those activities, not based on what they would actually be like. And that is kind of the whole point of Hey Eleanor: challenging yourself to try something you normally wouldn't do.
We headed to Allure Intimate Apparel in St. Paul for snacks, champagne and bra fitting. Honestly, it felt like mingling and eating with just a little bit of bra fitting.
So, why bra fitting? It's not exactly outside of most women's comfort zones, HOWEVER, I do think a lot of women are uncomfortable with making themselves a priority. How many ladies out there have a long list of things they want to do for themselves that they simply never get around to? You know, get a haircut, eyebrow wax, finally sign up for that yoga class or buy a bra that actually fits.
I had four women tell me that they specifically have had this item on their to-do list for years, but never got around to it. Crazy, right?
Fun fact: of all the women I spoke to, it turns out only ONE was wearing the right bra size. Many people went up two or three (!) cup sizes. Why does that matter? I dunno, maybe because the right bra makes your clothes look nicer on your bod and keeps the ladies where they're supposed to be. Plus, putting on a quality, pretty bra makes you feel good every day.
I didn't anticipate just how important this stop would be for group morale. I know the bra fitting wasn't exactly scary, but it provided an venue for people to get to know each other a little better in a quiet, chill atmosphere. New friendships were forged! It was awesome.
To wrap up, we Sampled the New Menu at Chino Latino.
I was thrilled Allure was low-key, because Chino Latino was so loud, you could barely hear yourself think. Something I will definitely consider for next time, but oh well! At least the food was good (chefs Tim McKee and Tyge Nelson recently revamped the entire menu and guys, it is great!) and the company even better. Plus, there were tons of kids heading to prom, which was fun to watch, but also like remember going to prom?!
Overall, it was a success.
Sure, there are things I'd change in retrospect. But in general, I felt I accomplished what I set out to do: create a fun event with a variety of different women. For me, the entire event's success hinged up the group's willingness to be open minded and arrive with a great attitude. And thankfully, they did. I'm incredibly appreciative.
We had a career coach, a farmer, a brand manager, a graphic designer, engineer, blogger, speech pathologist, botanist... I could go on and on. People who probably wouldn't have met under normal circumstances have already become Facebook friends. I know 'cause I've been spying on them.
Huge thanks to all the bus riders, Sweetpea (go see her shows or take one of her classes. You will not be disappointed!), Allure Intimate Apparel, Chino Latino and our driver Scott from Richfield Bus Company for making this event extra awesome.
Lastly, I am not a details person, but a big picture person. Therefore, thinking of all the nitty-gritty things really overwhelmed me, which is why I enlisted my friend Diana to help day-of. She was awesome, keeping things on track and sending feedback my way throughout the event. THANKS DIANA!
P.S. Apologies to anyone whose significant other has already asked them to show off their burlesque moves.
P.P.S. I hope you did it.
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The day after the bus ride, I basically collapsed at home and slept for three days. How do for-real event planners do this? I'm exhausted, but excited to do it all over again. When? I'm not sure, but you can sign up for my newsletter to be the first to know.