Moment #1: Um, Winning!
Let’s see the most memorable moment of the show would probably be…oh geez…let me think…maybe..WHEN I WON MY OWN TELEVISION SHOW!!!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! BREATHE…breathe…breathe…. I remember looking over to the right and seeing my TV screen still on while Michael’s screen had turned to black. My mouth dropped and shock set in, but the good kind of shock, the-I-just-won-something-so-much-better-than-the-lottery kind of shock. BOOM, I get the career of my dreams. Just like that. I knew all those HGTV hours I was logging in the last 7 years were going to pay off. Who knew that my reality show addiction could lead to my dream job? I’m a lucky, lucky little blonde duck.
Moment #2: Meeting the Other Designers
We all met each other the day before we filmed the first episode, at the big photo shoots for marketing. But we weren’t able to talk to each other until the cameras were on us that first morning in the studio! We were going through something so foreign and surreal and not being able to talk about it was tortuous, especially since we are all HUGE talkers. I mean they didn’t cast us because we were shy. So the second that we found out names and what everybody did was a huge and total burst of excitement and adrenaline. I think we all thought that we would just fall in love with each other and live like the Von Trapps in The Sound of Music, except Real World style.
Moment #3: The White Box Challenge
You know how in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind they could pay someone to erase a memory? The day of the first challenge could be it for me, but I’m pretty sure it will be burned into my brain forever. Here’s an FYI, future Design Star competitors DON’T PANIC ON NATIONAL TV. I got so nervous and was so worried about not doing something cliched and cheesy, that well, you remember what I did – very little. But the memorable part was when I didn’t get sent packing. I knew that in my hosting video I had weaseled my way into the minds of the judges and they couldn’t send this little bundle of self-deprecating snark home.
Moment #4: The Firehouse Challenge
I mean, my job can be very dangerous, too. What with threading of really pointy needles or arranging flowers that if eaten could make you sick. But their job? Oh yeah, they fight fire. And fire can be mean. Getting a peek into their jobs and lives was absolutely one of the best things I have ever done in my life. My signature element was a tribute to them, full of flirtatious snark and utter gratitude. I love you, FDNY. You and your big muscles.
Moment #5: Switching Up the Teams for the Firehouse Challenge
I sighed a sigh of relief the size of Texas, no, wait… Antarctica. Some people just aren’t meant to work and live together. So when they split the girls’ team up, I felt such weight removed, like the biggest itch in the world had finally being scratched. Or, like I had been breathing thick smoggy hot humid air for weeks, and all of a sudden I was back in Oregon, next to the ocean and I got to take the biggest, cleanest inhalation of my life…. Ahem. Apparently, that was memorable….
Moment #6: Mimosas at Brunch
The double elimination happened the night before, and all of a sudden there were just four of us. Wham! FINAL FOUR!! Of course when Vern invited us to brunch we knew something was up, but for a couple hours we fooled ourselves into thinking that we were having a couple mimosas and a delicious four course meal with 3 of our closest friends, 10 of our closest producers and 4 of our favorite cameramen. You know, like real life.
Moment #7: Hanging Out in the Penthouse
It didn’t happen often because this wasn’t “Socializing Star,” so we tried to get as much sleep as possible and not get too distracted by partying. But if you were a lucky, lucky soul and didn’t have to go to elimination then you got to relax with your team, make dinner and have some drinks. And even though we were in the middle of competing for our dream job and surrounded by cameras, it kinda felt normal for a couple hours. Like a different version of home. One that I miss sometimes, a lot.
Moment #8: The Glass House Challenge
As much as I loved hanging out with Casey and Michael, I was a little over working with other people. We all were. I was ready to show the judges what I could do. The challenge was to show them our style and give them a peek into what our show would be like. It was the challenge I had been waiting for, and I loved every hoarse second of it.
Moment #9: The Designers Return
I was so excited to see Casey, Court, Dan, Stacey and Tom. Truly. We had grown really close and seeing them again made me very, very happy. I immediately scooped them onto my team (Michael stole Court) and I added Alex (who I got to know better in the final challenge than I had all season, and guess what? Me likes Alex, a lot). They all worked sooooo hard, and now I know what the word “heartwarming” really means. I felt so grateful. I mean, think about it. They came into the competition to win, but instead they were sent home only to return to help a competitor win. I’m pretty sure that is the definition of grace.
Moment #10: The Last Day of the Challenge
This day was tricky because while there was a lot to do: edit the video, attend the photo shoot, pick the logo, etc. The hardest part of the competition was over, and you can’t imagine how that felt. It was the last day after 6 weeks of competing. It felt like someone had injected me with the largest dose of adrenaline and I was high as a kite, unbelievably excited and undeniably exhausted. I’ve never run a marathon, and frankly don’t plan on it, but I would imagine that while you are exhausted you are also totally exhilarated because you accomplished something beyond what you thought you were capable of. When Casey and Stacey helped me with the photo shoot it felt like girl time with real friends, which we had become, and hanging out in the editing booth with the guys felt like a mini-family.
Moment #11: My Friend Scott Surprising Me
We were so far away from reality I had kinda forgotten all my New York friends were just blocks away. So seeing him was strange and for a second, I was like, wait….I know that guy, I think we used to be friends. And then WHAM, it hit me, SCOTTY!!! Having somebody appear from my real life was bizarre and so out of context. Hugging him made me want to sob. At this point we were worn out and exhausted and wanted to win so bad, and these are all feelings you would normally share with loved ones, but instead you keep it to yourself. So having him there was incredible in every way.
Moment #12: Waking up the Morning After the Finale
I woke up in a hotel room. It was silent; no cameras, no producers, no twin beds. On the night stand was my iPhone and wallet. Neither of which I had seen in six weeks. I was all alone. I started getting memory flashes, likee on a stage in a studio celebrating and Vern saying something about my own TV show. But that morning, it seriously all felt like a really long dream, and I wasn’t sure it actually happened. I checked my suitcase, and yep, all my clothes had paint on them. I slowly started to realize that it did happen, I had won HGTV Design Star and along with it came the career of my dreams. I haven’t had a baby yet, but I would imagine having children would be the only thing that could trump the feeling of sureallness, fear and sheer ecstasy I felt when I won and that I still feel now. I won’t let you down. I promise.