Monday, October 20, 2014

Behind the Scenes: Ford Field VIP Tour

Detroit Lions | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]

You guys. Guess who got a tour of Ford Field?

*Looks around*

Oh . . . that's me!

It all came about through a work-sponsored event . . . and while I expected some free food and a walk-through of some secret rooms (nice, but not the biggest "wow," right?), this tour was a lot cooler.

You ready? Let's take a little tour . . . right here, right now.
Detroit Lions | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]
Hanging out with Roary the Lion during lunch (in a private suite!)
The tour begin in some part of the building that I normally would never be allowed in, on some floor I wouldn't normally step out of the elevator onto. Our group was escorted to the press area, where we saw the same view of the field that's usually reserved for journalists ("more important" writers/reporters get to sit near the 50 yard line, while other--we'll call them "less experienced"--observers tend to find their tables on the far ends, closer to the 10-yard lines). At each station was a chair, personal phone (for calling editors, etc.), and placard holder for easy seat identification on game day.

Detroit Lions | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]

Down the hall, we passed by locked rooms where instant replay review, local radio, and other top-secret stuff happens on game day. We weren't allowed in these areas, but that didn't stop us from peeking inside the windows. Then, it was on to the Press Room, which we learned was much smaller in person than it appears to be on TV. My favorite part, though (other than posing for a quick photo on the platform) was discovering the prop Gatorade bottle that was velcroed to the podium. Sponsorships--gotta love 'em!

Detroit Lions | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]Detroit Lions | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]
Detroit Lions | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]Detroit Lions | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]
Top: Outside and inside look at the Lions Radio Network room.
Bottom: Press Room podium and secret product placement discovery.

Lowe Campbell Ewald | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]

Fun Fact: Ad Agency Lowe Campbell Ewald (formerly headquartered in Warren) now calls Ford Field its home. Housed inside the indoor venue, LCE is encompassed in its own separate structure in a part of Ford Field that used to be the warehouse for Hudson's Department Store.

Detroit Lions Locker Room | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]

On to the main attraction! Traveling to the basement (at least, I think it was the basement), we got to snoop around both the visitors' and the Lions' locker rooms! Surprisingly, "locker room" is synonymous with "giant play room surrounded by grownup-sized cubby-holes for storing chairs" when you visit Ford Field. Each "cubby" features a player's name on game day, with players like Matt Stafford scooping up prime spots near the front of the room.

Detroit Lions Locker Room | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]
Detroit Lions Locker Room | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]
*Note: Because it wasn't game day, the name placards above the chairs feature visitors' names, not players' names.
 photo ford-field-tour-20_zpsa02ae56c.jpg

Then, we walked through a tunnel. A long, creepy, dimly-lit tunnel that's wide enough for limos, SUV's, and whatever else top-name athletes and celebrities feel like showing up in when they arrive for games/concerts/etc. Which leads me to what was at the end of the tunnel:

Detroit Lions | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]

Ta. Da.

Ford Field is cool to look at from the stadium seats, but it's even cooler when you're standing on the freshly-painted, artificial turf. Pics or it didn't happen.

Detroit Lions | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]

I quickly learned how amazing it must be for every Lions player that gets to run out on that field on game day. I think it's pretty safe to say I'll never be an NFL quarterback, but a field of this magnitude speaks a universal language: it's all a stage. And if you've got a stage of your own, never forget to stand back and soak it all in.

Detroit Lions | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]

Want to see Ford Field the way the Lions do? Click here to schedule your own VIP tour and experience this Detroit landmark up close and personal!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Work In Progress

The other day, I pulled out a yellow notepad and drafted two handwritten pages about my life as a new homeowner. The move made for a lot of adjustments, but I was determined to conquer organization battles, clean the kitchen three times a day . . . anything I could do to stay on top of it all. I was busy, but felt good because finally, I saw how this whole "taking care of a house thing" could actually turn out all right.

Later on in the week, random distractions popped up and suddenly, my new, productive persona was gone. Dishes in the sink, junk on the table, and not a thing to show for it all. To top it off, everyone I knew was starting to ask how the house was going, what changes I had made so far, could I send pictures . . .

Whoa. Okay, hold on a sec.

I started to wonder how far behind I actually was on the house. I mean, how long is too long to leave unpacked boxes in the spare bedroom? Or go without installing the toilet paper holder onto the bathroom wall? Or, wait--am I supposed to have all of my paint colors picked out? Or . . . one paint color?

I am not a pro at decorating . . . I'm not even good at hanging my clothes after doing a load of laundry. But I am starting to see that my delay in creating the "perfect" (or semi-functional) home is made okay by a few things.

I love how the afternoon sun streams into my kitchen windows, turning everything golden.

I love walking barefoot on soft carpet.

I love sitting on the front porch during thunderstorms and watching the rain pour down.

I love how my husband put on his work clothes earlier this evening and announced that he was going outside to mow the lawn.

I love our house.

I love our home.

Forget perfect. Somehow, this is better.

Friday, September 12, 2014

West Michigan Weekend Part V: Eldean Shipyard

Eldean Shipyard & Marina - Lake Macatawa, Michigan
Read parts 1-4 of my West Michigan series here: (Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, Post 4)

I believe that the Eldean Shipyard in Macatawa was created specifically for people who love to daydream and watch sunsets. Okay--it's actually a lovely marina and resort designed to accommodate yacht owners, but for people like me (who can only dream what it would be like to hang out on a yacht), it's a great representation of how beautiful (and nautical!) Michigan is during the summer.

Eldean Shipyard & Marina - Lake Macatawa, Michigan

Just a few miles from Holland, the Eldean Shipyard is nestled where Lake Michigan meets Lake Macatawa. The marina boasts an exclusive location, grandiose homes, and breathtaking skies--all of which Brad and I enjoyed photographing while strolling the docks.

Eldean Shipyard & Marina - Lake Macatawa, Michigan
Eldean Shipyard & Marina - Lake Macatawa, Michigan

We may not be "yacht people" ourselves, but I think playing dress-up and letting our imaginations run wild is almost just as fun. What do you think?
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