Two weeks ago my work colleagues and I left London behind on a Virgin Atlantic flight en route for Detroit where we had to clear US immigration and collect our luggage, only to put it back into the system and catch our connecting Delta flight to Minnesota.
On our descent into Minneapolis, the first thing I noticed from the window of the aircraft is how densely populated with trees and lakes the State of Minnesota is. It is known as the "land of 10,000 lakes". In my highly imaginative mind it conjured up images of the Wild West, Native American habitation, pioneers, isolated cabins with raging log fires, boats on the lakes .. every idealised notion sprung to mind. I can see why the Northern Europeans settled there. It reminded them of home. The reality now as then is four distinct seasons with hard winters; hunting and trapping - deer, bears, rabbits, squirrels, fox, badgers, otters, beavers and mink - we passed a firearms superstore on the way to the course every day - it's a normal part of life here. Huge trucks are the norm here too - some immaculately maintained - clean and shiny - and I must admit to being a little bit in awe of them!
We arrived early evening at the Hilton Hotel, Bloomington 10 miles south of Minneapolis where it was a turning a little overcast. Weary from the long day of travel, we all trundled off to our respective rooms to unpack and settle in. I ordered room service from the Chop House and had the most delicious crab cakes I've ever tasted. I would have liked to have time to explore the city, the birthplace and home of the superstar Prince, but as with most work trips it's not always possible. C'est la vie.
The next day was grey and raining and we all hoped it wasn't going to stay that way as we were there to cover the Ryder Cup for a UK television broadcaster transmission the following weekend. One of my colleagues and I needed to get some supplies so headed off to the Mall of America about a 10 minute cab ride away from our hotel. There are around 500 stores in the complex so fortunately we knew exactly what we wanted and went straight there. By all accounts it is a destination stop for many people - there are a number of hotels located right there and family attractions like the Minnesota Aquarium, Nickelodeon Universe etcetera etcetera.
I of course made a beeline to Sephora for yet more make up and discovered the Sigma Beauty shop nearby. Although their products are available in the UK it was lovely to see everything they had on offer in the shop. Despite the unfavorable exchange rate at the moment, everything was still slightly cheaper so I purchased a 3-in-1 brush cleaning spa. As a pro make up artist, I'm always looking for more efficient ways to improve the maintenance of my kit and equipment and on the look out for new products and ideas. I love this one!
Work day 1 (for reports and previews) at Hazeltine Golf Course was a beautiful, crisp, cold, sunny day although there was a biting breeze adding a sharp wind chill factor. We did not realise that one of the two studios (and the one we were to use first) was not complete before we got there (no glass back) so we had to deal with cold, damp conditions coupled with intermittent chilly gusts of wind. We went with it anyway and by day 2 thankfully the glass window was installed and a heater provided! We did learn on day 2 however, not to have the heater blowing directly at my talent as it caused her carefully done hair-do to drop!
By Thursday my workload had increased quite a bit as we had the main studio up and running for the preview show. When the Ryder Cup tournament itself started on the Friday, we were up bright and early for a 3.30 am pick up to take us to the course, which was approximately a twenty five minute drive from our hotel.
We were very lucky that the weather was fantastic – sunny and mild for all three days (although the early mornings were a little fresh). Watching the beautiful sun rise every morning was an added bonus! The downside being the journey home – a traffic jam in the car park delaying our exit by at least half an hour!
At the end of the final day, we de-rigged and packed up happy that it had all been a huge success on our part, although Europe lost to the USA. The early mornings and long hours almost forgotten we went back to the hotel and wrap party celebrations in the sports bar across the road.
The journey home the next day took us via Chicago. I got a glimpse of the Windy City from the window of the plane but that's as close as I have ever been. A few hours later we were on the overnight flight back home, exhausted and so ready for a couple of days R & R before going back to the work treadmill again ... but not for long ...
HQ is off on her holidays again in a couple of weeks - back to the USA and New York, New York!! Can't wait!!