Why can’t every day be Derby day?

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You know when you have a big trip coming up and you get so excited and you start dreaming what it will be like? You almost build up this unrealistic expectation of what the trip will actually be like.

Well that’s not at all the case for my trip to the derby. Don’t get me wrong. I loved dreaming about this and preparing for this trip. I mean if I’m being honest, I had wayyyy too much fun picking out the perfect dress, finding the perfect derby hat, making my oaks hat, coordinating outfits with my friends to make sure we all looked good together in photos. There was A LOT of excitement for this trip, but my expectations of what the trip was going to be like was outdone by what I actually experienced.

I knew it was going to be glamorous….I just didn’t expect everyone to be so fabulous. I knew it was going to be fun cheering on horses, but I didn’t anticipate the excitement of the roar of cheers I would hear until I got there. I knew I was going to have a blast with my friends I just couldn’t dream the memories we were about to create.

THE DRIVE

We decided to start this trip off with a road trip instead of flying because some of the best memories are made when you are forced to sit together for 11 hours. Now, Google maps said it was going to take 9 hours, so we prepared our iPhones with the necessary playlists consisting of “Sugar”, “CoCo”, Anything from celine Dion, Johnny Cash, Tori Kelly and Lady Gaga…oh and obviously Drake. I needed Drake.  When we were packing my mini cooper we were a tad nervous that our suitcases and hats wouldn’t fit. Thankfully Mini Designed a hat compartment in my car. (yes my hat box took up almost the whole bottom trunk) I’m currently writing mini cooper a thank you letter for making the bottom trunk the perfect hat box size.

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Favorite parts of THE DRIVE:

– Singing loudly with friends (Justin and Michelle)

– Driving through Cincinnati (GO BENGALS)

– Catching up on stories that had to be told in person.

Lessons Learned from THE DRIVE:

– Never ever eat at White Castle. Seriously just don’t. But if you do decide to go against my advice, be prepared to throw it out the window because it’s soggy. And be patient because there will always be a chic fila ahead. (Unless it’s sunday.. if it’s sunday you’re screwed.)

THE OAKS

“We wear pink at the oaks.”

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We barely made it to the Churchill Downs safely thanks to our, not so talented, driver Moesha. But once we were on safe ground we were immediately overwhelmed by the size of everything. This place is MASSIVE. I packed heels in my purse to change into once inside because I was told I would be walking a lot, but after seeing how much walking we were really going to be doing I changed my mind. I become a brat if my feet hurt, and I love my friends too much to put them through that. SO the flats stayed on as we ventured all around the inside. We quickly found mint juleps in our hands and meandered around until we found our seats, which were apparently, “on the rail.” This is a term I wasn’t familiar with, but it means you’re front row,  the first one to see the action with no obstructions.

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This may shock some of you, but this was actually the first horse race I’ve ever attended so as you could imagine, my excitement level was off the charts. I never heard the horns signaling the horses before, I’ve never heard the roar of people cheering for their horse to win, and I never got to witness how fast those horses actually can run. It was pretty kick ass.

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Favorite parts of The Oaks:

– My Dress. I didn’t want to take it off when we got back to the hotel

– Sitting Rail side. I loved being in the front.

– Hearing the horns for the first time

– Eating Tacos on the grass in front of the gas station waiting for our ride Vernon (VJ) to pick us up.

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Lessons learned at The Oaks:

– You can only win if you play or place a bet

– Don’t even bother with heels. Everyone’s looking at your hat anyway.

The Derby

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The Derby honestly felt a lot like the Oaks except with fancier dresses and more stuff to watch. I felt like everyone was flashing around how much money they had and I LOVED it.

We arrived a little earlier on Derby day because there were so many fun things to walk around and see like the red carpet, the paddock, Josh Groban, and tons more races. But before we took selfies, and toured around we needed a beverage. Thankfully, we found some!! Champagne for $19 a bottle…… a mini bottle. A tiny personal serving bottle. $19. NINETEEN dollars for a splash of champagne. I mean all the drinks were somewhat ridiculously priced, but that champagne was outrageous. I honestly still can’t believe we bought that. But hey….when in Rome.

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Favorite parts of the Derby:

– WINNING on American Pharaoh

– Wearing the perfect hat made by Christine A. Moore

– Eating tacos after the races on the grass in front of the gas station.

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Lessons learned from the Derby:

– My only regret was not taking photos of others peoples hats while walking around. I was too worried about taking my own selfies that I didn’t take other peoples photos. whoops.

– Get there wayyyy earlier than you think you should be there. There honestly is a lot to see.

Overall the whole trip was a blast. I always thought “Yeah I’ll go to the Derby once in my life and that will be perfect.” But now I’m hooked. I am already reserving my calendar for the first weekend in may. You should too. Come with me!! I’ve got the perfect spot in my car for our hat boxes.

– Love Ya’ll,

Lauren.

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