Blogging, Friends, Humor

New York City, Baby! (Bethenny Doesn’t Know Who The Hell I Am)

So the topic of last week’s reblog dealt with my social anxiety and making excuses for not attending a Bethenny Frankel meet and greet in Chicago (how I ever got on that invite list is still a mystery), then finding out that my friend Jennifer won an all-expenses-paid trip for two to New York City, which she kindly invited me along. This was such an honor and I was very excited but the driving emotion, at the time, which I felt shameful about, was that I was horribly anxious about going. I feel comfortable sharing this now but back then, I would have felt ungracious saying that.  

First published November 18, 2013

I flew to New York City with my friend Jen last week and boy are my arms tired, as my dad would say.
A few months ago, I wrote about how my friend won a trip to see the Bethenny show and invited me to go along with her.


Kari and Jen
 I am definitely the Rhoda in this friendship.


I was quite honored that she chose me to go and since I had never been to New York City before, I was very excited at the prospect.
That is until the week of the trip.
Then I started getting nervous.
REALLY nervous.

2020 note- shit got real, real quick. The week of the trip I had so many anxiety attacks that I am shocked I even got on the airplane. 

I have many neuroses that if I told all of them to you here, you would probably stop reading my blog.
One of the said neuroses is that I am terrified of flying without my children, should the plane go down in flames and leave my daughters orphans.
I have only flown twice without both children.
Once when Anna was three to go to a wedding with Mike in South Carolina and once with Annie but without Ellie when she and I went to Florida to meet my parents in June.

I told my friend while on the plane, in essence, that it took almost everything I could muster to physically get out of my car that morning at the airport (with a sobbing five-year-old in the back seat, mind you) and get on this aircraft.
So this trip was kind of a big deal.
For many reasons but definitely because of the above.
And it will most likely never happen again.
Or my entire family is just going with me.

I am just not a “girls trip” kind of person. I like having all of my persons with me because of that scenario up there.


Planning and organizing
It takes a lot of note-taking and organizing when mommy goes away. This is just for one day. And I was gone for two and a half days.


My suitcase died

Then my suitcase got sick and died, but my friend Rebecca came to my rescue by lending me one of her suitcases.

2020 note- I was almost hoping that my suitcase dying was an excuse not to go. That is anxiety for you. 


Our plane waiting to take us to NYC


Side story: While waiting at O’Hare for our plane, I politely asked the person at the American Airlines desk if our plane was on time. She (visibly annoyed by my question) replied, “should be” without looking up at me.
I came back relayed the reply to Jen and said something sarcastically about how I was so glad we are flying with confidence here at American Airlines.
It wasn’t until we landed in New York City that we noticed Miss Personality was our co-pilot.
Lesson: don’t ask your pilots about flight schedules. ISN’T IT ENOUGH THAT THEY GET YOU FROM POINT A TO POINT B?

Jen and I on the plane after landing in NYC
Also, why are we all dressed up for a plane ride?
Our nice driver in NYC

The Bethenny show sent a driver for Jen (and me by default).
I was so excited that “we” had a driver, that I wanted to somehow work that “we” had a driver into any and all conversations the entire time we were there.
Something like,  “I don’t know how to navigate midtown traffic, you know since “we” have a driver.”
Meet Walter. Our driver.


Sign for Brooklyn

While Walter (our driver) (never gets old) was driving us from the airport to our hotel somewhere in Manhattan, I tried to take out the window pictures.
See that green sign under the rearview mirror?
It said “Brooklyn” on it and I got so excited because we were close enough to Brooklyn to see a sign for “Brooklyn”.
So that sign says “Brooklyn”.

You’re just going to have to trust me.


Driving over the bridge into Manhattan NYC

Hello, New York City.

2020 note- I remember us driving over this bridge and thinking about the show Friends, oddly enough. I think because I associated a lot of my memories of this shot with the television show for some reason. But I had so many out of body experiences when I was here. I couldn’t believe I got myself here, that my anxiety let me go. In fact, when we flew in, we saw the Statue of Liberty from the plane and I began to cry because I was so overwhelmed. I didn’t think I would ever see that for myself for many different reasons. 



Interior of Hudson Hotel NYC


This, my friends, was the hotel lobby.
I never saw anything like it in my life.
And I can guarantee, had this been on my dime, I would be at the Super 8 in Queens.


Cool chandelier in our NYC hotel room

See that chandelier?
It was above only one side of the registration desk.
And I would never have noticed it until the lady ahead of us said something like, “so do only the fancy people go under the chandelier to check-in?
By the way, we didn’t get to check-in under the chandelier.


Our cool NYC hotel room

Isn’t this room amazing?
It looked like a Ralph Lauren store in here, without all of all the polo shirts.


That's NYC outside my window


NYC at night


I am in New York City.
Pinch me.
Tiny hotel bathroom NYC

New York City is famous for many things.
One of such things?
Miniscule bathrooms.
Which is a logistical nightmare when you have two females trying to get ready for their television debut.
Actually, it was MY television debut since my friend has been on TV several times.

Wait a second! I HAVE been on TV before!

Outside Channel 7 News in Chicago

At the end of the Channel 7 newscast here in Chicago, while waiting outside on the street.

At the end of the newscast, they move the cameras to the street to show the hooligans common folk the people of the city of Chicago outside the studio.


Bethenny show exterior


See that long line of guests waiting to get in?
Line waiting to get in to the Bethenny Show


We didn’t have to wait in it since my friend had won the trip, which was quite nice of Miss Frankel.

VIP room at the Bethenny Show

Above is what the “VIP room” looks like.
This is nothing like the “green room” because we aren’t THAT important.

We didn’t get snacks or bottled water and I am pretty sure my rider said I like the WHITE M and M’s to be removed, hmph.
We DID, however, get to watch a video about Bethenny Frankel’s life over and over.
And over.

Forms at the Bethenny show

They gave everyone one of these forms to fill out and that was their first mistake.
Giving me ANYTHING with spaces to write something on, that is.
I turned this in, as is.
I have no filter.


I ruined my nail before my Bethenny show debut


 I mentioned my fingernails in the original post.
I have a reputation to keep up.
Cool papers at the Bethenny Show

Backstage, there were “important” papers just laying around, like schedules and rundowns and scripts.
I don’t know why I didn’t take a couple of these because that is something I would normally do.
But then I didn’t want to be the “bad seed” who “ruins it for everyone”, according to my friend.


Waiting backstage at Bethenny to get to our seats

We had to wait in line and I really do hate waiting in line for celebrities. Especially talk shows. I mean we are doing her a solid by being here. Shouldn’t she be waiting on US? We aren’t even getting paid! Oh wait, we are here on her dime.

I really should have eaten breakfast, I’m getting cranky. I guess I thought there would be M&M’s or Chex Mix in the VIP room.


Backstage at the Bethenny Show

Ooh, I do love behind the scenes. I wonder what this button does…

Bethenny show

I am not going to lie, when I got out here, I was a little giddy.
Or maybe that was the caffeine on an empty stomach.


Bethenny Show set

See all of those monitors?
We weren’t allowed to look at them.
Now imagine being told you cannot look at these or the camera, only Bethenny wherever she is in the studio for an entire hour plus. Now imagine being smart-ass me.

Hungry, smart ass, ADHD me.


Because if you put me in front of a TV screen of any kind, chances are, I am gonna look at it.

Bethenny Show Set


I want that dresser.
Or whatever it is for.
I bet the staff has cookies shoved in there.
I am going to look. Be right back.
Jen and I doing duck face at the Bethenny show,


I made a duck face because I was so hungry, my face just started puckering.

This was actually the last picture we took until the show was over because taking pictures is frowned upon while taping even during commercials, as my friend found out. Don’t ask me how I know SHE GOT YELLED AT.

So here is what happened:

– the “audience coordinator” or as I called her ” the funny lady with curly hair” told jokes, held dance contests on stage, had us dance to Beyoncé ..etc 

– they work you into a frenzy. Case in point, when I would watch the show at home and hear/see the audience dancing and going crazy while the theme song Calling All My Girls was playing? I was shaking my head and thinking LOOK HOW STUPID THEY LOOK. NO WAY WILL THAT BE ME. 


You get so much adrenaline pumped into you from the curly-haired girl who yells, WHO IS COMIN’ OUT THAT DOOR? WHO IS COMIN’ OUT THAT DOOR?? That by the time Bethenny is comin’ out that door, I was ready to buy any and all of the Amway products she was selling. YES, YES I NEED THE FLOOR WAX BETHENNY!! CALLIN ALL MY GIRLSSSSS!! PASS THE FLOOR CLEANER!

– Bethenny is good at what she does. She didn’t have to do any takes or whatever they call it when celebrities mess their lines up. She was professional and seemed pretty down to earth, for a celebrity anyway. She even offered a guest in the audience a breath mint. Don’t worry, we all probably needed it since they didn’t give us snacks.

– Bethenny recognized Jen when she raised her hand to talk about the topic at hand. She said to Jen, “don’t I know you” or something like that. My friend mentioned how she won the contest and something to the effect of “here is Kari, you talked to her on the phone”.

And this is when Bethenny looked at me like she had no idea what the hell Jen was talking about. The camera probably won’t capture that but I saw it. It’s all good though. I got on camera. But I can’t wait to see the goofy CALLIN ALL MY GIRLS I LOVE YOU BETHENNY look I gave to millions of viewers. Which is part of the reason I might not tell you when the show airs?

2020 note- they cut that part out. 

So since my friend is essentially best friends with Bethenny at this point, during a commercial break as Bethenny walks by, Jen says to Bethenny “can we get a picture together?”
Bethenny gets down off of the stage after filming, looks up at us, and waves us down which was really nice. That did seem quite genuine because she was really busy and for her to remember that we wanted a picture, was a nice gesture.
The only other people down there were security guards (lots of them) and producers, etc.


Jen Evers, Bethenny Frankel and Kari Wagner Hoban

Remember the time I stood next to Bethenny Frankel?
Neither do I.
It was a blur and I was numb from the neck down.
And see those girls above our heads?
Don’t they look a little upset?
Because here is the thing, we were the only people in the audience that day to get a picture with Bethenny.
The more I look at it, I realize it is quite possibly the best photobomb ever.

Listen, I would have made that face that day too if I didn’t get a picture with her. I feel your pain, ladies.


Look at me! I'm on the Bethenny show! Word.
This was taken after the show. It’s okay, everyone got the chance to do this.

I look bloated because Mother Nature has a sense of humor.
She gave me my period in full blast on the plane ride home.
2020 note- ahh periods. Don’t miss those. 

Hudson Hotel Exterior NYC


An outside shot of the cool hotel they put us up in, The Hudson.
Hudson Hotel NYC

The restaurant right behind the registration desk is called Tequila Park and leads to an outdoor area.
This had so many dope colors and textures that I put the picture in black and white so you could just enjoy how cool this is.
It looks like Pinterest hurled in here, doesn’t it?



NYC skyline from hotel

One last look at the city from our room.

I am sure it wasn’t easy to put up with me and my nervous energy the entire time but I am so glad I pushed myself to go and I am so glad she chose to share this gift with me. Such an amazing experience that I won’t ever forget.

The episode of Bethenny will air today, November 18th, so check your local listings.
Stay tuned for part two where I tell you how not to be a tourist in New York City.
No, I don’t actually know how to do that.


19 thoughts on “New York City, Baby! (Bethenny Doesn’t Know Who The Hell I Am)”

  1. You are going to be famous!!! I have set my recording device (it's not a DVR, so who knows what they call it nowadays) and am ready to watch you two (three if your count Bethenny). Those girls behind you in the photo sure had their attitude showing. Didn't they know you were VIP's!


  2. I am so freaking jealous of you guys… because you look like you had a BLAST! And you both look AH-MA-ZING in your pictures. Even the homies one… can you please teach me how to NOT look like a dork in pictures?!Anyways, I'm jealous and I need friends who are famous so I can go to stuff like this. Know anyone at Nate Burkus because I love him and want to make out with his face. Just saying.


    1. I look like a dork. I love me some Nate AND he used to live in Chitown but then he went and got famous and junk…..


  3. I am crying from laughing so hard. I can't decide which picture is my favorite but the one from your ABC-7 debut is up there.Also, I LOVE experiencing NYC with newbies. It's so magical. Glad you two had so much fun! Off to share this. xo


  4. I could read your blog posts over and over again — and sometimes do 😀 When are you going to write a book, not kidding! You just Crack. Me. Up!!Now for the important stuff:Did you have the same DRIVER on the way back? Did you see how I worked that in there so you could use "your driver" in a sentence again? Glad you had so much fun!


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