Last October and November, I somehow ended up swimming in a giant deep dish pizza, then at Game 4 of the Cubs World Series, and then on a plane to L.A. Before I knew it, I was sitting on Ellen's stage, interviewing with the queen herself, on her show in front of a live audience. By the end of the show, I was 100% prepared to go BACK into deep dish pizza, but ended up receiving a huge surprise.
All of a sudden, I was hugging David and Kris. Yes, THE David Ross and Kris Bryant! Oh, and then Ellen and Shutterfly gave me 10K. WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?! It was the craziest whirlwind that I have ever been a part of.
Let's back up to before that. I had seen a tweet put out by The Ellen Show on twitter that her show would POSSIBLY be taping at Murphy's bleachers on "Wednesday". I thought to myself, hmmmmm. This sounds interesting. Being the huge Ellen fan that I was, I recruited some friends and family in the area to come with me.
We never could have possibly predicted what was about to come. I ended up competing with another girl, Julie, for a chance to win tickets to see our beloved Cubs play in the WS.
We had to fish through deep dish pizzas, with our faces, in order to find a plastic Cubs pennant. We were given goggles to protect our eyes. I was ALL IN.
In the couple of minutes I had to comprehend what was about to go down, I had two main thoughts. 1) Be sure to take off my bright, white, Cubs jersey that I have had now for several years, and 2) How the heck will my hair hold up during this?!?! As many of you know, I wear a variety of wigs and extensions, so I was not sure how Giselle would hold up during the ordeal. (FYI Giselle is the name given to my hair by the manufacturer, I did not come up with her name!)
My adrenaline was through the roof - as you can see below I 100% forgot to take off my jersey. I was on a mission to find that pennant. I wanted to win so very badly. I had no idea how my competition was doing, so I just forged ahead full throttle.
Many people ask me what it was like in the pizza. It was thick and cold. It was all sauce. I was drowning in sauce - but I didn't care. All of a sudden, I found the pennant. I was told I won. I screamed like a nut and was going crazy!
Ellen was on the camera for us to see and talk to at Murphy's. She was live. She asked me if I would be willing to share my ticket with Julie. Now, I watch a lot of Ellen. I knew she was up to something. I, of course, said yes! How could I not have? That's when Ellen told us that we were both receiving a set of tickets. We went bizzerk!
Deep Dish Dig at Murphy's Bleachers for The Ellen Show
The Ellen team sent us banners for the game that said "Ellen Sent Me 2 the World Series". Everyone around us got a kick out of them. We also both got the on-field MLB experience. It was insane. We were on the field during batting practice, and got to meet a few of the players and Vince Vaughn. Were were in heaven.
The Cubs lost Game 4. It was a somber feeling leaving Wrigley that night. We were now down 1-3. But guess what? Well, you all know what! The Cubs came back and won Game 5, 6, and 7! It was UNBELIEVABLE! The 108 year curse was over. We were champs!
Very surprisingly, I received a call from The Ellen Show the following day. They asked if I'd be willing and able to come to L.A. Hmmmmmmm let me think about that for 1/4 of a second. YES AND YES! My travel was booked, and my nails were did. I had NO idea what was about to happen in L.A. I didn't ask too many questions because I realized that they were not going to give me too many answers. I didn't mind being in suspense.
My parents were both out of town (I only had a day or two notice before the trip), but my aunt was 100% game for coming along with. I am SO happy she could come along - it was so fun to have a travel companion on this trip. There were just too many exciting things that happened to not have someone to share the excitement with.
Like being picked up and driven around the whole time by a few industry experts. I am sure we were the most talkative bunch that the guys that we met have ever driven around!
Being picked up at the airport!
We were in L.A. for two days. One thing that I did know, was that the show producers were trying to get me a ticket to the show taping while I was in town. The only information that I had about why I was being brought to the studio was that....well....I actually had no idea what was going to be happening. It was at breakfast that we got the call from the producers letting us know that they were able to score two tickets for my aunt and I to attend the taping. We were SO excited!
After breakfast, we were picked up and we headed over to Warner Brothers Studios. After hanging out behind the scenes for a while, my Aunt and I were then walked over to another studio for something.....but we didn't know what.
Waiting behind the scenes at The Ellen Show
All of a sudden, we realized that we were in the studio where The Ellen Show tapes. The audience was already seated, and Ellen was interviewing Warren Beatty. She broke to a commercial, and then we were suddenly being sat in the audience.
That's when I started to see stars. No, not Ellen, Warren, Kris, and David. I was about to pass out! Things started to go black - I had no idea what was happening. Everyone in the audience was looking at us, and I was the only one in my Cubs jersey. Ellen came back from commercial, and then CALLED MY NAME to come sit on her stage. WHAT?!?!?!!?
I stood up - stars again. I was seriously wondering if this was going to be the first time that I pass out. Somehow, I was able to calm down enough to walk down the stairs without tripping, and then to form sentences while on stage talking with Ellen. Here's how it all looked!
A Cubs Fan Gets a Deep Dish Surprise!
And with that, the show was over! I went back stage and drank water. Everything happened SO fast. I got to meet Kris and David one last time, and we snapped a pic together. I honestly don't know what I said to them. If you know me, you know that surely I was gushing. It wasn't until I saw the whole Ellen episode that I understood why Kris was in the Cubs tux! (Ellen is known for her thoughtful gifts - Kris was gifted a tux for his upcoming wedding, and David (Grandpa) was gifted a walker!)
Meeting Kris Bryant and David Ross
The show was set to air the following day. Even though it doesn't air until 3 pm, clips from the show are put up on The Ellen Show website first thing in the morning. I was actually quite terrified about how it all would come across on the show. Did I stutter? Could you understand my words? Did I look okay or say anything outrageous? And most importantly - how did my hair look?!
When I woke up the following day, it was 7 am. This means it was 9 am in Chicago. I grabbed my phone. It was LIT. I was terrified. The video was already being shared on FB, and I had no fewer than 10,000 texts and notifications. WHAT COULD I HAVE POSSIBLY SAID OR DONE?! Remember, I was seeing stars! The excitement and adrenaline had clouded my memory. My sweet aunt had told me that all went awesome, but I needed to see for myself!
This is an example of a snap that came through from my sis.
A screen shot from ellentv.com
I watched the clip. I was SO relieved once I got through the whole thing! All that had happened the day prior was quickly coming back to me. I loved the clip! This had been one of the coolest most fun things that has ever happened to me!
My aunt and I flew home that night. It was so fun to have traveled with her to L.A. for this once in a lifetime experience. We made it home, and got to tell the fam about our experience. I am so thankful to have received this opportunity from Ellen and her team. Best time ever!
Friends and family often ask what Ellen, David and Kris are like. Ellen is amazing. She is super sweet and was very easy to talk to. We had small talk during a commercial break - she really is THE BEST, it is easy to see how she earned the Medal of Freedom and every other award that she has been presented with. She's a true professional at what she does. She is also so tiny in person!
Her staff had the utmost level of professionalism mixed with that element of fun that you would think The Ellen Team would have. They work in one of the most fun industries that I can think of! I met a few of the most amazing producers - they kick butt at their jobs!
Kris is very tall. And a great hugger. As is David. They were both so nice, and as I was thanking them 1,000,000 times for what they had done for Chicago, then kept thanking me for being a fan. They were wonderful.
People also like to ask what I did with the 10K. Well, we are still (happily!) living in my parents basement, saving up for our new home. Soon after I received the check from Shutterfly (I did NOT carry home $10,000 in a pizza box!), I made a donation to the local humane society and to the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation. It felt wonderful to be able to pay it forward! We put the rest into savings and started our son's college fund. I was so very thankful for this very unexpected gift.
And that's that! Like I mentioned - it all happened so fast! And now, regular season is about to start for our Cubbies - we are ready for another WS win!! GO CUBS GO!