Disclaimer – This post is sponsored by Southeast Toyota. All opinions are 100% my own.
Guys not to get all weepy on you…but seriously you guys are amazing. I say that because you are the reason I keep doing what I do. I love you. Seriously.
And anytime I get a cool new opportunity, it is truly the most humbling thing….because it doesn’t reflect on me but really on the fact that I have this amazing community online that feels more like friendship than most real life stuff. Okay…so cue tears. Why so much emotion? Well…let me share for a second. Jeremy got an email and he came to me with this look of pure shock on his face and was like “Umm….Katie?” and I literally thought he was gonna tell me that we won the lottery (which we don’t play) when he said “You aren’t gonna believe this.”
Of course, I was dying in anticipation. DYING. And then he said “Toyota contacted us and wants to send us on a date”.
MY MOUTH ON FLOOR. That was the situation.
My first words were “YES. I don’t need details.”
I mean….seriously who does that? People who read this blog and are the biggest hearted, generous and understanding friends….that’s who. So a very sweet reader (who we have never met) works with Toyota and wanted to send us on a date. You may think…that’s not a big deal….it’s a date. But to us, to us, that is a HUGE deal. We haven’t been on a date…. alone….since the day we had Will. We have gone to work conferences, had dates with babies in tow, and lots of mommy-son outings but not a fun night out just for us. This special occasion was just that….a date night turned video turned a whole lot more.
So after we had a little more communication, we got the low down on how everything would happen. I really wanted to give you guys a recap so that you could understand what a special experience this was and also…because I am so dang lucky and this will never happen again!
The whole idea was to create a docu-style video with the new Toyota Camry and center it around the idea that not only is it a great family car, but it’s a great date night car too. I can vouch for the fact that Toyotas are great date night cars….our first date was in one 🙂 Jeremy actually owned a 4Runner when we met so it’s a full circle moment for us to be back in a Toyota for dates!
Of course, we could have just gone to dinner and been done. But because we Bowers do nothing normal, the filming of the whole dang thing was actually REALLY exciting. We had a whole crew coming to document our normal day-to-day activities and then film the actual date too.
We have to admit that our outfits for our ‘normal life’ were a bit nicer than average. Jeremy wore a watch and I had my nails done 🙂
But other than that, everything they filmed was completely US. The boys played on their bikes. We yelled to get helmets on. They dug in the yard. We had mud to clean up. The kids played baseball. We did tickle-tag-outs.
We had snacks of apples and goldfish and LJ had his cape. The only difference was that there were guys following us around with a camera and a microphone. But in general, we just lived the normal everyday Bower life.
Jeremy worked on his laptop. I cut some wood in the garage. It was surprisingly average. And the boys LOVED it. It was so much attention and admiration for their bike tricks and dirt holes and silly little stories….I think that if they had the option, they would want a film crew around all the time 🙂
Will understood the process a little better (he’s made a few videos himself in the garage) so he was really interested in all the gear and also loved directing. #firstborn
For an entire afternoon, the crew filmed the family. Then the following day they came back to film the ‘getting ready’ and ‘going on a date’ segments. My mom was our babysitter and of course, she was such a great sport. I can’t thank you enough Mom. Seriously. You are the best. Thanks for putting up with our antics 🙂
The funniest part was the getting ready….mostly because there is like a team of five guys who are watching you blowdry your hair and put on your makeup. I usually do have a crowd of boys watching me but they are all six and under 🙂 So this was definitely out of the norm.
The crew took lots of footage of the real star of the show….the fiery red Camry parked in our driveway.
It was so interesting from a video standpoint how details of a car really matter. I think sometimes we pass over the lines of a trunk because it’s just a trunk….but to a video camera, it’s those lines that make a car sexy. And when you look at the details of the Camry through a lens, it brings things out….makes you take notice. Maybe you should take a camera the next time you go car shopping 🙂
We had lots of little shots showing off all the features…the navigation system and the back up camera and details of the steering wheel.
It’s a little intimidating to have this big rig in your face when you may have a little lunch still in your teeth 🙂
I got some pics of the creative team….they are the ones that helped anywhere and everywhere. They literally bent over backwards, scooped up children and did coffee runs! A huge shoutout to them!
The last shots at the house were HILARIOUS….we said our goodbyes inside the house, giving lots of kisses and hugs and then we headed to the porch to do the ‘filmed version’ (the ones where we aren’t telling the kids multiple times that they need to listen and obey Nana and to remember to brush their teeth and to not pinch each others booties!)….
The kids gave us kisses, we waved goodbye, hopped in the car and drove around the driveway……to do it a few more times 🙂
By the third take, I think the kids were like OK GO ALREADY.
And here’s another funny thing….the entire time we were in the car, we had a couple crew members crouched down filming little things.
The first stop of the night was to a new restaurant. It was SO charming and beautiful. It is called Bistro Off Broad and it’s in Winder if any locals wanna check it out. The craziest part is that the entire street was closed for us.
The director and the police officer figuring out lighting 🙂
The most interesting part of this entire excursion was that I had NO IDEA what was happening. Jeremy had planned this entire thing with the creative team and I was just along for the ride….literally and figuratively.
The camera crew got a bunch of shots outside the restaurant….Jeremy getting a big basket of food and tasty treats….and me trying to get into the drivers seat.
But the biggest surprise happened when we were doing our shots of the car pulling up. We were sitting there for the sixth time and Jeremy said “Hey just look in the glove box really quick”. I did – thinking that I was gonna pull out a walkie talkie or something….and there he had stashed a little surprise for me. It was a love letter that he had written to me back before we had kids. I UGLY CRIED. It was so sweet and thoughtful and I am sure they got it on camera but honestly – just having the opportunity to be surprised by the man you love is priceless.
Overall….it was sooooo fun. The weather was absolutely perfect and we hung outside doing loads of different shots and angles.
We even taught the restaurant chef how to use Instagram! I love date night!
And of course, in true blogger fashion, I had to take a picture of this adorable bathroom. I loved the mixed tiles and the rustic mirror and the HUGE mirror being held in place with a hand constructed shelf. SO FUN.
After we left the restaurant, we headed to a local park. Again….I had no idea what was happening. And I was asked to cover my eyes so I wouldn’t see anything when we drove up. We headed to a beautiful clearing in the park where the water meets the forest. The team had set up this amazing area for us to sit and enjoy. It was UNREAL.
All the trees had twinkle lights in them and the mason jars were filled with more twinkle lights and there was a giant screen with a movie projector that they set on the trunk of the car. We walked out to the area to eat cheesecake and watched a short and ridiculously sweet video of pictures of our dating years, our engagement, and some of the kids with all the footage from the day before. I cried. Again. And again. And then just a little more.
I have honestly never seen a picture of my kids in our house that wasn’t taken by me….so that was such a special gift.
Then…and you will not believe this….the crew whipped out some guitars and sang us a song. I MEAN! IS THIS EVEN REAL LIFE PEOPLE!? I was so desperately craving some date night romance that made me laugh and cry and feel beautiful and normal and I didn’t even know it. That my friends is what kids can do to you! You forget! Don’t get me wrong – I am obsessed with my children and I would have ten thousand kids if I could. But there are moments when you need to step away….or drive away in this instance….so that you can sit back and really SEE what amazing gifts are in your life. That was this to me.
We wrapped up around 3:30 AM, we drove home with happy grins permanently pasted on our faces….and just so excited to share with you guys. And thank you. Thank you for being there for us. Thank you for your sweet comments and your notes of encouragement. Thank you for sending my kids tshirts and artwork and gifts from afar. Thank you for your Christmas cards and your ‘likes’ on social media. Thank you for making this happen. Seriously….from one mama to another…you guys make things like this happen for us. And thank you to the crew….your serenade and setup and photos – I will NEVER forget that. And thank you also to Southeast Toyota. You have one sweet car and it was such a gift to let us experience it. (and if you guys are considering a car….you should check out the Camry….I got to spend that whole night in it and it was so nice!!!)
And now….the moment I know you guys are all waiting to see….a little peek into our normal….this wasn’t produced by us or filmed by us or anything like that. This is just us being us….in a really sweet ride 🙂