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Youth entity benefit

So I didn’t get into Food & Wine again this year.

I tried. I even filled out a volunteer form just like the rest of the public, and I did it back in March. But I guess you have to stay up all night and be online at the crack of ass on March 1 or you’re out, and I’m just not that desperate, not to mention organized. Who remembers that?

I’m just wondering how all of you get in year after year. Is it like a ski pass you make sure you have a job that gets you in? I don’t get it. How is the Princess not on “the list”? Kelly Hayes, help me out here! How do you do it? You have a lifelong membership. I want one of those.

I figured I’d just go to some of the parties. The private parties are the cool part, right? Wrong. Everyone knows it’s all about the seminars, especially the ones that have you pleasantly buzzed by 10 a.m. so you end up wasting the day feeling nostalgic, calling old friends, lying around the pool at the Sky or eating a huge meal in the middle of the day to sober up. I so love those.

I only got one invite to a party that looked any good, so Ryan and I rallied. We got all dolled up and drove all the way to Aspen (just so you know, it’s the same distance when we come to you).

As soon as we got there, I immediately realized my outfit was all wrong. The well-heeled were donning fine summer dresses and the newest, expensive-looking summer sandals and/or high-waist maxi skirts with slinky tops tucked in, which is so not my look. If you have a thick waist and big hips, accentuating your midsection is about as good as throwing a potato sack over your head and asking someone, “Do I look fat in this?”

I thought it would be fun to wear my party shoes — the leopard print pumps with the giant pink flowers on the toe — a black top and skinny jeans with this new pleather motorcycle jacket Alex picked out for me at the Basalt Thrift Shop. I felt like Sandra Dee in the movie “Grease.” I even had the wingtip sunglasses — all that was missing was a beehive hairdo. I looked like I was going to a ‘50s theme party and didn’t get the memo that no, it was actually modern-day.

The party was fine, but it wasn’t a tasting or under a white tent or on grass, and I felt naked without a lanyard around my neck. It reminded me of when I was young and my neighbor Chrissy Ober had a swimming pool. When it was hot, we would put on our bathing suits and ride our bikes in circles outside her house with beach towels around our necks like scarves, waiting for her to invite us in. It was a total power trip for her, and she was a mean girl in eighth grade. She had more than enough power already.

The good news is that on Saturday we went to a benefit for Youth Entity, the non-profit I’m going to be working with this fall, teaching a new-media writing course to high school kids from Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood. I can’t wait to get back to teaching again and I love working with teenagers.

Plus, this nonprofit is the one I’ve been looking for. It’s small, so the money raised goes straight to the kids, not to running some big organization, paying its executive director an obscene salary or spending millions of dollars on some hideous building in the middle of town that totally destroys the vibe. Youth Entity has a tiny office and a tiny staff in downtown Carbondale. But its program kicks ass. It provides “real life” education in culinary arts, technology and finance that gives these kids a clue about potential future careers.

My career was inspired when an editor from Snowboarder magazine came to speak to my journalism class at University of Colorado. And then, just like that, I found the answers and eventually became an editor at a snowboarding magazine, too. I want to pay it forward and spark that kind of “aha” moment for other kids.

So. The benefit was at Aspen Glen. Have you ever been to Aspen Glen? Oh my God, how did I miss that place? And that pool! I could live at that pool.

They had raw oysters and shrimp cocktail (my favorite) and watermelon mojitos. We sat at round tables with white-linen tablecloths outside on the putting green that overlooks Mount Sopris. Everyone at our table was a huge fan of my column, which was the ego boost I so desperately needed after getting shut out of Food & Wine once again.

There was a live auction that made me wish I actually had money to give. I could just picture myself, making such an outlandish bid that everyone in the crowd would gasp and cheer and I would just sit with my frozen expression, acting like it was no big deal. “It’s for the kids,” I would say, my gaze fixed, a frozen smile on my microdermabrasioned face. I’d get a manicure beforehand so my hand looked pretty and delicate while I was holding my paddle.

All in all, it was a beautiful night with really cool people. We met a lot of fun ex-Aspenites who sold all their property so they could live large downvalley and still have enough money leftover to buy a place in Mexico. I want to be like they are when I grow up.

So, in the end I got my food and I got my wine, but instead of indulging, I actually celebrated something entirely new: the idea of giving back.

The Princess wants to thank everyone for the tremendous response to last week’s column. Email your love to alisonmargo@gmail.com.


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