So, sometime last week after a purchase from 2sistersreviews, she pointed me to the Philly MnS that was happening this weekend. On a wild whim, I decided to go (it's funny how much more likely I am to go do stuff like this in the winter, than in the summer. Yes, the migraines really DO rule my life). Fortunately for me, the Troll was interested in going too (otherwise I may have punked out at the last minute, and not gone).
At first I had determined not to bring any of my BPALery, because at least 2 of the people slated to go were bringing pretty much all of the LE and rarer stuff - what could I possibly offer? In a fit of indecision and social anxiety, though, I pulled together a bunch of my favorites at the last minute, with the theory that just because all the rare stuff would be there, didn't mean my favorite GCs or not-so-rare stuff would be. I needn't have bothered, really - but I did feel better to be toting a box along.
The meet was at the Continental Midtown. The Troll and I were the first ones there by a few minutes, and waited outside the restaurant until some likely-looking folks came along. tarotbydiana and Sarada from the BPAL.org forum were just what I was expecting from "one of us", and we recognized each other as co-addicts immediately (also of help in the recognition department, both Sarada and the Troll were wearing BPAL t-shirts). We introduced ourselves, and tarotbydiana went in to the restaurant to make sure of our arrangements, then the 4 of us trooped off to the upstairs and sat. People started arriving fairly quickly (and I don't know in what order), but some of the names I remember (I am so bad at names) were visionshadows, 2sistersreviews, thehennafairy and shelldoo. There were definitely other nifty people there, but I either didn't catch or just can't remember their names (despite the fact that we had nametags!). Next time I'll remember to make notes about that.
We started sniffing before ordering, but it was just a sort of appetizer. I have to say, too, that the Continental was remarkably cool about the gluten issue. I asked the waiter (who was FABULOUS with our whole group) about it, and he brought out the chef - who asked me to choose what I wanted from the menu and he'd let me know if it was possible for them to make it gluten-free. My first choice, the Thai Chicken Skewers, weren't an option, since the meat was pre-marinated, so I got the Chinese Chicken Salad instead. The chef brought out a selection of safe dressings before the food came. It really was lovely. For dessert, I had their Fruit Loops, which they describe as "coconut-lemongrass soup with coconut sorbet". The "soup" is a sort of tapioca pudding with large tapioca beads. It's also garnished with what I think was raspberry sauce and a sprig of fresh mint. It was lovely, if a little sweet. Fortunately, the sweetness was tempered by the fact that the desserts are delightfully tiny (their premise is that folks order lots of them, and share bites around).
So back to the sniffage. It was amazing. I smelled stuff I'd never even heard of: Intergalactic, Sweet Frankincense from before the lab was actually the lab, a variety of other, lab-branded single-notes. The full range of Salon offerings. Pumpkin King. All (I think) of the Spades, Diamonds & Clubs. A slew of Arcana single-notes (where I discovered just how much I adore coconut - after sniffing the fresh coconut, carmelized coconut and black coconut). The fabulous visionshadows decanted an imp of each of them for me on-the-spot. Other stuff that I'm not remembering right now, but that I wrote down on the sheet thoughtfully provided by tarotbydiana. I'll say it again: it was amazing.
Also, a note for next time: bring a bag or box of swaps! It didn't occur to me to do so, but several folks had, and I would have loved to have participated in that.
A few folks left the restaurant, but some of the rest of us had plans to hit the Lush store (which I'd never visited before) afterwards, and so off we went. Along the walk from here to there, the Troll and I stopped into a couple of handbag stores in the hopes of finding a leather or other dressy waist bag, for me to use for the Troll's parents 40th wedding anniversary party (I detest handbags & shoulder bags - I prefer to make do with pockets and/or a waist pouch...but the one I have is fairly utilitarian and nylon). There was no real luck there, though I did spot a possibility or two, if nothing better presents itself.
On to Lush. OMG, LUSH!! I can easily say that I'm hooked, already. I bought a bunch of stuff to try - and spent a healthy chunk of my evening sorting it and trying to determine (via catalog pictures and my receipt) what was what, and labeling my bags. We spent maybe 45 minutes there, all total, and then started walking to various folks' parking stops. The Troll and I had intended to take the trolley back home (we had taken it down to avoid the whole parking hassle/expense), but visionshadows very graciously offered us a ride, and we happily accepted.
As for my social anxiety and general introvertedness...well, I babbled a bit. A few times I started talking and completely lost what I was trying to say and just sort of faded out. Several times I said stuff that was blindingly obvious and completely irrelevant. Everyone was very nice, though...and I'm pretty sure no one hated me. ;) Once home, I did spend the next several hours in the loft (as I may have mentioned before, my bed is my special safe place), with comfort food & comfort tv and the cats all asnugglin'. All typical recovery techniques for my particular insanity.
By the time the Troll got back home from the Drac Ball, I had decided that I must try some of the Lush RIGHT AWAY (having spent all that time with products & catalog). So I took a bath starting with a Twinkle bath bomb, then washed with Bohemian soap (which I got for free), then used You Snap That Whip and Lemonslip body butters. My skin felt amazing when I got out. Predictably, when we finally went to bed at around 5, I conked right out.
All in all, a fabulous day (despite the fact that my new boots gave me a blister, damn! They'd better break in nicely.)!