Originally uploaded by fadingsunset77.
Last night was the Australia Day Ball at the Park Hyatt here in Chicago. The tickets went on sale just before I left for Australia at Christmas time, and we'd sold out by the time I got back. All 180 tickets got snapped up and while some people then backed out, we had no trouble on-selling their tickets to ensure we had a full house last night.
My date for the evening was my beautiful friend Lisa, who is the Catering Manager at Caffe Baci here in Chicago. Lisa is a Chicago native and has been a good friend to me since I moved here. We got a sleek black town car to transport us to the Park Hyatt and, as the photos that Lexie took of us clearly show, we were dressed to impress - from head to toe!
More photos from Lexie can be found here. Youtube video of my fashion parade with Lisa will come - and so too will official photos taken by our Consulate friend, Big Bad Bob.
I was so excited and nervous about the Ball, all at the same time. My only official role last night was 'door bitch', so I posted myself in the lobby of the Park Hyatt and greeted everyone upon arrival. I was so happy to see friends of the Consulate as well as my own personal friends, showing up looking absolutely beautiful in their formal gear. My black dress and bright red shoes looked really nice and I felt very comfortable, despite teetering rather perilously on my 4" heels - fortunately I remained vertical all night - woohoo.
We had a floral arrangement resplendent with Aussie flowers including golden wattle, proteas, and kangaroo paw - my talented florist buddy Nathan just busted out all the good stuff for us and people were bowled over.
And the Director of Cultural Affairs from the Embassy spun me around the dancefloor for two songs and actually made me look like a competent dancer, which was great. I am not a good dance partner when it's one-on-one. I can bust a move in a group but I get very nervous when I have to couple up. But Ron spun me around and looked after me, and told me I wasn't as rubbish as I thought I was.
Dr G and I sold raffle tickets too and I reckon between the two of us, we easily sold over $1000 worth ourselves. I walked away empty handed, but I did sell the winning raffle ticket to the PR Director of the Shedd Aquarium - the grand prize of the return trip to Australia with QANTAS. Now that's the 2nd time in two weeks that I have been in such close proximity with a grand prize winner. Surely my time will come! In any case, Rog was supremely grateful that I had badgered him to buy that last ticket but I doubt that will translate to him taking me to Australia with him. Too bad, so sad.
The night ended way too soon and before we all knew it, it was midnight and we trying to work out where to go next. I went to a cute pub walking distance from the Hyatt. Mind you, I had to trudge through the snow to get there and I was FREEZING. So me, Dr G, and our new friend from Macquarie Bank headed back to NoMi at the Park Hyatt for a cocktail. We then took it down a million notches and went to the only places we knew would be open at 2.30am - Duffys and Yakzees. Ugh. Needless to say I left rather abruptly after we got there and took myself home in a cab, walking through my front door around 3am.
This Aussie Cinderella has nothing but great memories of her first Australia Day Ball. The Consulate staff all looked beautiful - even Biggsy busted out the tux which was something he'd been really resistant to for weeks - and I was so proud of all of us. Everyone I spoke to was full of praise for our efforts and they already want to buy tickets for next year. With such great feedback, and my own great memories, I can now sit down today and enjoy the TimTams that we got in our goodie bags...blissful.