Friday, July 8, 2011

a carol convention recap

A few years ago, I ripped an article out of a magazine and it made things happen. The kind of things that you normally agree might be fun and then you just talk about for years and years.

I'm always ripping things out of magazines: from posters of male celebrities in middle school to wedding dress inspiration and recipes. I take great care to make sure each item is organized the way I want it, then I put it in a corresponding binder: recipes, home decor, entertaining inspiration... teen idols.

It's a huge waste of time. I've never looked at those things.

Until Real Simple's executive editor wrote about her and her friends' Great Escape-- their yearly vacation planned by one and kept a secret until the very last minute. My friends and I had just returned from a weekend full of marathon sessions of laughing until we couldn't breathe. I felt like we needed to do that yearly.

Although I e-mailed my friends pretty regularly, I made actual paper copies of the Real Simple article and snail-mailed them with a sticky note. Let's do this.

Who knows, maybe the actual paper made it feel more like something real and less like just another article.

A few weeks ago, I returned from the second episode of our very own Great Escape: a summer weekend in central Texas.

Where I experienced a short and sweet taste of Austin and its live music for the first time. (I'm excited to go back in September!)

Where we had to forgo fashion to avoid foot fungus at a water park.

Where we floated a river; a giant party on tubes. My favorite part was when we floated underneath the water park and the entire river cheered as the next victim was lifted to the top of a sky coaster. My least favorite part was cramming two giant tubes the size of my Prius into... my Prius.

One night we visited a teeny town called Gruene which, while undeniably charming, is running the risk of turning into the next great city turned tourist trap, a la Gatlinburg. The first sign: a ye olde timey photo studio. I predict a tacky t-shirt store and a few pancake houses within 5 years. I'm glad we visited while it was still charming.

We were in Gruene to visit the oldest dance hall in Texas.

One of us wore cowboy boots. One of us had really sweaty ankles.

(It was me.)


After a night of Texas beer and dancing (mainly with each other), we found a real live cowboy to draw the name of next year's planner.

While in Gruene, we found air conditioning in an antique store where one of us bought a phrenology head. Looking back, I'm not sure why we didn't return from our night out and read the bumps on each others' heads.

Probably because we were too busy laughing until we couldn't breathe.

Other Carol Convention posts: 1, 2, 3


  1. I admire you and your friends so much for actually making things like this happen every year! Vacations with friends are one of my favorite things ever (I'm actually drafting a blog entry right now about a European excursion we took with our couple-besties), and this definitely makes me want to make it happen more frequently. What a fun post :)

  2. this looks like so much fun! hooray for great friends...and Real Simple Magazine!

  3. aww how fun!!!

    What an awesome idea - and even more amazing that you girls stick to it!

    You'll be cherishing these memories for years to come!

  4. I absolutely love this idea! We went on a group trip to Costa Rica last summer and it was the best! I want to do this again the Carol Convention way!

  5. one of us also bought a sweet ass mahjong set... just saying

  6. umm. as an avid blog stalker and admirer of the Carol Convention I am dying to know who is planning next year!?