Behind The Scenes At The Pioneer Woman's Ranch

Last week, I took a whirlwind 36-hour trip to Oklahoma to film a video for BlogHer at the Pioneer Woman's ranch. I wasn't sure what to expect: of Oklahoma, of the Pioneer Woman, of her ranch, or even of Karen, with whom I was going to be shooting the video and---way more awkwardly---sharing a two-hour car journey from the airport. But guess what? I was totally worrying for nothing! No surprise there: ninety percent of the time I usually am.

Let's start with Karen. I kind of want to move in with Karen, if her husband and daughter don't mind. She was so funny that within three minutes of us being on the road together---we were given an SUV into which I could have fit my entire San Francisco apartment and probably two or three of my neighbor's rooms as well---we were cackling with laughter and I was silently plotting how I could secretly get us to wear those BFF necklaces where each person takes half of the heart (she could have BE FRIE and I would have ST NDS. Could I sneak it into her cereal in the morning?)

Arriving at the ranch after a couple of hours on the road, we met up with Jenny, who welcomed us to Oklahoma. "Oooh," I said, looking around. "Ree's house is lovely!"

"This isn't Ree's house," said Jenny. "This is the guest house. Welcome to The Lodge."

Well, then I kind of wanted to give The Lodge a BE FRIE / ST ENDS necklace too.

Look at this place! Don't you want to give it all up and run away and live there?

Man, best idea ever: I should totally just have posted these pictures last week after we closed and been all  "Surprise! This is our new house!"

Anyway, this was the porch at The Lodge:

And this was the view:

And this---be still my heart!---was the pantry:

Ladder! Ladder in the pantry! IS THIS HEAVEN?

The next day, we started shooting our video:

As you can see, I talked with my hands a lot. Who knew I talked so much with my hands?

Or maybe I was just throwing gang signs? West side!

My favorite part of the whole shoot---which started about 8am with hair and makeup and ended around noon after we'd chatted ourselves silly---was how you'd just be sitting there on the couch, upholding your end of a serious discussion and trying not to talk too much with your hands, and someone would come over quickly and smooth your hair or touch up your face with powder or give you a quick spritz of hairspray. It was the most surreal thing ever. I had a brief and fleeting insight into how it must feel to be Oprah.

Observe how I gaze adoringly at Karen while trying to plot how to move in with her. Note how Ree is having her hair brushed between takes by Beth, one half of our fantastic hair and makeup team. (The other half was Donna, who flashed her boob at Karen while doing her makeup. I never got the complete story why, but I went afterwards and she didn't flash it at me.)

Our video goes live next week and I can't wait to show it to you. We had so much fun making it and Ree was a wonderful hostess with a really dry sense of humor that I really hadn't expected. She also fed us this salad that totally changed my life. I mean, I came home and spent eight bucks on sesame oil so I could make it myself that weekend, and I'm pretty sure there's not another grocery store item on which I've ever spent eight whole bucks. And no, whatever, wine doesn't count.

More photos from Oklahoma and the ranch right here. I promise to stop talking so much with my hands.

1
amber, theAmberShow
Jun 17, 2010

You worried about getting in a car with Karen?! She's so lovely, isn't she?

Also, I never thought I had a "dream pantry". Dream porch, sure. Dream master bedroom, dream kitchen. But now I have a dream pantry.

2

You had promised us BIG HAIR!

Also, I'm pretty sure I'm moving to Oklahoma! after watching the musical and reading this post.

After all, the farmer and the cowman should be friends.

3
Locusts and Wild Honey
Jun 17, 2010

Why does it keep calling me Honeya?

I think your blog is hitting on me. I'm taken, NBB!

4
jennifer in sf
Jun 17, 2010

Good lord. If you'd bought that house and it was in San Francisco I would have to start assuming you were secretly the British J. Lo or something.

(Also, you can buy sesame oil at an asian market for like $3.)

5
April
Jun 17, 2010

Aren't the plains states amazing? We will be driving through Western KS this weekend to visit family in the KC area. I love seeing the vast expanse of sky and the green, rolling hills. People always think I'm joking when I say there are hills in Western KS but there are! It isn't flat. It's this gorgeous, green, rolling sea of hills. Sounds like you had a blast. And I would kill for a kitchen that size!

6
Lauren Johnson
Jun 17, 2010

Holly! It's been awhile since we've chatted. I just love your blog AND have a major obsession with the Pioneer Woman's blog and cookbook. Although my mid-section can't agree. So jealous of your trip to their ranch! Hope all is well and looking forward to seeing the video.

Lauren

7
Starlene
Jun 17, 2010

ok, i made that salad last week after seeing the recipe on her site. a-freakin-mazing. seriously. i added some shrimp. omg. so good.

8
Caitie
Jun 17, 2010

Can't wait to see the video!

9
Alex
Jun 17, 2010

What a fun experience! I love P-dub, I'm totally envious.

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10
chirky
Jun 17, 2010

You're gorgeous, all three of you. This photo tour - especially for someone in the middle of a two-year-long remodel project - is eye candy.

Also, thanks for passing along the recipe. Drooling.

11
Karen/Chookooloonks
Jun 17, 2010

Move in with us! MOVE! IN! WITH! US!

12
suzrocks
Jun 17, 2010

Wow- I've driven through Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas a lot- and probably because I've bad luck, I've never once seen a view that pretty.

Or a pantry that large. And of course, I usually do look at random strangers pantries as I'm passing through town. what?!

13
kat
Jun 17, 2010

ha! i love that you added an exclamation point to "west side."

sounds amazing - can't wait to see the video!

14
Katelin
Jun 17, 2010

i would totally live at the lodge, my goodness it looks awesome.

and glad it was such an awesome trip, everyone else's experiences have sounded great as well, i love it. can't wait to see the video.

15
Kate
Jun 17, 2010

I just knew Karen had to be fabulous in person. I've loved her for years. I imagine you're pretty great in person too. Very cool to see two of my favorite bloggers at PW's ranch.

Glad you enjoyed your whirlwind visit to my fair state!

16
Fawkesy (Rachel)
Jun 17, 2010

Love your necklace!

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agirlandaboy
Jun 18, 2010

Last week I spent $12 on sesame oil, although, granted, it was TOASTED sesame oil. But three more whole bucks for toasted instead of regular! Can't I just do it myself with the toaster? (This is why I'm not allowed to cook.)

p.s. I once had a dream about staying at The Lodge. It was awesome. You're living the dream, baby. Only it's MY dream.

19
eileen
Jun 19, 2010

I found Ree's blog a few months ago, have no idea how. but i have tried a couple of her recipes and Oh Em Gee! my new favorite, fattening artery clogging cheeseburger recipe is her Chicken Fried Cheeseburgers, or something like that. my mouth is watering just thinking about it. can't wait for winter again just so i can try some more yummy things! oh, almost forgot her braised short rib recipe is amazing too! wow, think of food much eileen? sheesh!

20
Laurie
Jun 22, 2010

Karen's been talking about this salad in such a way that I'm kind of afraid I'd start eating it and feel like I couldn't stop. :)

21
Laurie
Jun 22, 2010

Karen's been talking about this salad in such a way that I'm kind of afraid I'd start eating it and feel like I couldn't stop. :)

22
Nothing But Bonfires
Jun 22, 2010

Laurie, that is exactly what would happen.

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Robyn Beazley
Jun 24, 2010

Congrats on the video! LOVED seeing the pictures of Ree's ranch. Thank you SO much for sharing Holly!

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