The best birthday = O-P-R-A-H

I rolled out of bed at 2:55, having set my alarm for 3:00. I felt like I slept 10 hours because I was ready to go! (I had only slept 2.) Guess what time I arrived at Harpo Studios? 4:30 a.m. Not kidding. I really don't think I have ever purposely woken up at that time to do anything quite like this.

Long story short, the doors opened for us at 7-ish and we went through coat check and security check (mega security check, too) and then ate breakfast (given to us by Harpo Studios themselves). Even though we waited and waited, it wasn't a boring wait. It was the kind of wait where you just sit there looking at all the other people, seeing what they wore to the show, watching their enthusiasm, just really taking every bit of it in. And then about 8:30 they actually let us into the studio itself. Talk about amazing to set foot onto the Oprah set. It's just not explainable. Maybe I'm crazy, but it was just a dream come true for me.

So, being that I was literally the FIRST PERSON IN LINE, I thought I would get a front row seat. And while my name was called really early, we didn't get as grand of a seat as I had hoped, but really, anywhere in the studio is a good seat. It only sits 300 people and it's really not that big at all. (I did beg and plead saying it was my birthday and that just didn't get my anywhere. Boo.)

About 10 minutes before the start of the LIVE show, Oprah comes out. It was, as silly as this sounds, a surreal experience. I have loved and watched this woman on TV since I was 10. Like many of us, I just love and respect her so much. I hardly ever miss a show. Those who are closest to me know how much I adore this woman, so seeing her walk out made me light on my feet. It was actually Oprah that I was seeing with my own eyes and who was standing (at times) just a few inches away from me. It just didn't seem real!

She was beautiful. She wore a beautiful black and white striped skirt, which after seeing it on tv, it made her look larger than she was. And her shoes were gorgeous which were about 4 inch heels and she later told us that when Jessica Seinfeld was on her show, as a "thank you" she sent Oprah 21 pairs of heels. (Oh my goodness!!)

And then there was her hair and makeup. Her hair was just amazing. I am sure almost all it is a weave, but it's the most gorgeous weave ever. I just couldn't believe how beautiful that woman was and how magnificently she carried herself and how kind she was to everyone. She really really loved us and in between segments she would talk to the audience and at the end she took more time to talk to us and she whole-heartedly told us how thankful she was for us coming to Chicago to see her and how she wouldn't have been here for so many years without us (I mean, me . . . Val, hehe. You know, she was speaking directly to me that whole time). It was so incredibly fun and surreal.

Simon Cowell
was the main guest and if you don't know who that is, watch American Idol, and you won't miss him. He comes across as a total arrogant jerk but he is really a man with a huge huge heart. I have always liked him and now I like him even more. One thing I really noticed about him was that during commercial breaks crew members would come up to him and pour him a new glass of water or powder buff his face and each time he genuinely thanked them by looking them in the eyes and saying "thank you very much". He doesn't have to do that, but he does. And it's a small gesture, but it's admirable, and one that I think says a lot about him.

If you saw the show, you saw that Simon was on to debut his newest prodigy, Leona Lewis. She is an absolute beauty from Great Britain whose voice sounds like a mix of Mariah Carey and Celine Dion. She is phenomenal. And she is the sweetest. I think she and I would make really great friends :c) It was neat being one of the first to see her sing live on TV. And we got a copy of her CD, which was to be released today. Kinda cool. (At least we got something!) You can hear her beautiful song "Bleeding Love" ----> here. You must hear it. I have played it about 10 times already today. It's beautiful and it's even better in person.

Jamie Oliver was also on the show as well (what a CUTIE!) as well as the latest one kicked off of Oprah's new show, Carlana, from the Big Give. Simon also stuck around for the whole show, writing a check to a family in need for over $160,000 to pay off their mortgage so they can concentrate on the bills for their daughter's cancer treatments. We were all in tears.

Simon talked about how he never use to "give" anything and now that he is doing it, it's changing his life. It's molding him and changing him. Which warms my heart. I know how experiences, no matter how tough they are or easy they are, can change your life forever. Like for me, my 3 years of infertility and losing 3 babies . . . that changed my life forever and really has made me see life differently. Each of us are woken up in different ways, and learning to give (some of his 44 million dollars) has been Simon's wake-up and change.

Oh and I can't forget to mention the ventriloquist from America's Got Talent, Terry Fator. He and his band were on and it was just fantastic. Oprah loved him so much she asked them to come back later and perform again for her! (Which we got to see!)

What an amazing show it was. I loved seeing all the crew working behind the scenes and what Oprah and the guests did during commercials or while a clip was playing. I loved seeing how the show itself was decorated. I loved watching the 9 cameramen do their jobs. I loved watching the one photographer who shot all the still pictures and kept thinking to myself how I would absolutely love to have that job wondering how you go about getting that job. I'd move to Chicago in a heart beat to be The Oprah Show's photographer if she was looking for someone cool like myself. My favorite teacher from 3rd grade, Mrs. Sleeth, would be super proud of me is I were to get that job! :c)

We were surprised later with the opportunity to stay for a taping of an upcoming show with Kirstie Alley and Jamie Oliver (again) with a lunch given to us by the show, but we had to leave because Neil had to fly out of Indy at 8 that night. But at least I got to be a part of one show, and that one show was truly amazing and probably the best birthday gift I have ever ever had.


Alexis Jacobs said...

Sounds like an amazing experience! Matt rode in an elevator once with Oprah and thought he was cool. Now he will be jealous.

Welcome back!

Our Home Schooler and Jen said...

what a blessed birthday girl you were
and what wonderful guests she had
what an experience!!!

Johanna said...

I am so glad that you loved it! what fun!!!!

Louise said...

WOW that sounds SOOOOOO awesome Val!!! What a great way to spend your birthday, I love that new girl I put her song on my blog yesterday after hearing her on Oprah!! You would be amazing as the photographer on the show,that would be amazing!

My dream is to one day see Live with Regis and Kelly, maybe someday I'll get to live that out like you got to yesterday!!

Erin said...

Oh my goodness, darlin! You are so lucky. I can't wait to watch the Oprah episode (I taped it last night and plan to watch it tonight).

Jamie Oliver was there? How awesome is that? I love him. I've been watching Oprah's big give and I actually only watched the latest one last night, so I'm glad I did or I wouldn't have known Carlana was gone. Hee, hee.

Okay, gotta go finish filling in answers to your questions.

Noel said...

Wow I'm so glad you had a nice trip Val. I dream of one day seeing a taping of Aunty Oprah. Basically I've been watching her every day since I was in grade school too. I even dropped Donahue for her!

If you have the chance I HIGHLY reccomend "Honey I washed the KIds" soap from LUSH. You could practically eat it, it smells sooo good.Or a bath bomb is a great starter too. Enjoy!
Happy happy Birthday

After a cup of coffee said...

How fun! (although I've never been a huge fan, and like her even less now that she's promoting anti-Christian, New Age stuff on her radio channel) But still, it would be such a fun experience! Happy birthday :)

Artsy Momma said...

Thank you so much for this great recap, it is almost as good as being there (still super jealous by the way)

it's me, Val said...

I can't agree more with you on the New age stuff Oprah is promoting. I just do not get it. I thought she was a Christian! It's very disappointing. And at the show she of course mentioned the book again and that part of the show I seriously just blocked out. I haven't read the book (and I won't be reading it either) but I can't believe what people are saying about it. Makes me truly disappointed in her, really :(

Jennifer said...

I'm not a fan of Oprah, never really got into her other then her wedding specials and such when I was planning my own OR she has Rascal Flatts or someone on there that I love to listen to. ;0)
BUT that is still a nice adventure for your birthday!!!

PS>> I tried to play the contest, not sure I managed to get all the correct answers though. ;0)

Kelly said...

OK I was just going to comment on how totally jealous I was that you got to live my dream, but I'm confused by the new-age comment. I watch her pretty regularly and actually am reading some of the "new age" books that she's recommending. She never has come off as anti-Christian to me. Where is that thought coming from. Can't you be new age and Christian? I'm confused.

lil ole' me..... said...

Val, SO glad you had a great time for your birthday!
You know I was at home, scanning for you smiling face in Oprah's audience. :)

I loved Leona Lewis' performance. Man, that woman can sing! Is the whole cd good?

And, I had no idea that you liked Simon Cowell! I do too, even though his personality comes off badly sometimes on AI. I just knew there was a soft heart in there somewhere! :)

Welcome home! Hope you were able to get some R&R!

Deborah said...

wow! sounds awesome. I lurve Jamie Oliver, too (lucky you!!!!).

Stacey said...

Val that would have been soo amazing...wow! You did a fantastic job describing it for us, I don't even feel I need to go now. Okay, it would still be nice, but sitll!

I came over because I just remembered tonight I never played the Val game..only to see that crum bum I missed the whole thing. I think I need more sleep, this isn't the first thing I've forgotten this week. xo

Jen @ One Moms World said...

Happy Happy Birthday Val!

I'm so jealous of you going to Oprah. What an amazing experience and to see Simon. I really really like him as well and think he does indeed have a huge heart.

melody is slurping life said...

A belated Happy Birthday. What a treat! Yeah, I'm a bit jealous, but oh so happy you had this opportunity.

Mel's World said...


How stinkin' cool are YOU!!! That has got to go down as one of the BEST birthday's ever!!!

You Go Girl!

Michelle said...

Oh how fun!! I am so glad to hear that your O experience was so great for you!! :)

Jenni at talking hairdryer said...

Ugh, I hate that I'm just now catching up on all this! I've been out for a few days, and everyone in blogland has been busy, I'm having a hard time reading about it all!

I'm so glad your O experience was all you dreamed it would be. Happy B-day!

Chel said...

Dang! You were on the Oprah show for your birthday!! That's super cool. Go, you!

And by the way, I adore Simon.

MP said...

My best friend went a week before you and she didn't have NEAR as cool of a show as you. I LOVE Simon..and Jamie Oliver!! How lucky. I didn't realize that Lucinda was Simon's find. I heard that song all weekend on our XM Radio..it was played on the 20 on 20 channel. Sounds wonderful, happy belated birthday!!

oh amanda said...

SO JEALOUS while also VERY HAPPY for you!