Fluff piece about Palin's visit to Peoria, IL:
Sarah Palin spent several hours at Pamper Me Please in East Peoria last Saturday before her speaking appearance in Washington, as well as appreciation for some Alaskan coffee provide by Embassy Suites during her recent visit to the area.
Stylist Tonya Jones of Metamora jokes about her brush with fame, cutting the hair of Sarah Palin, who spent several hours at Pamper Me Please in East Peoria last Saturday before her speaking appearance in Washington. "Palin wanted her hair to be done like mine, but I told her we got the style from her."
Nail technician/salon manager Rachelle Stokes, right, works on Sarah Palin's nails as she visits Pamper Me Please in East Peoria last Saturday before her speaking appearance in Washington.
Embassy Suites gained the gratitude and personalized thank you note from Sarah Palin during her recent stay through the efforts of outlet operations director Ben Mitzefelt and general manager Joe LoMonaco. The East Peoria hotel order six pounds of coffee from Palin's favorite coffee shop in Wasilla, Alaska.
Owner Gina White holds up a thank you card signed by Sarah Palin:
UPDATE: More on the visit found here:
For two days in East Peoria, at least, the 2008 Republican vice president candidate relaxed, with an afternoon at an East Peoria hair and nail salon far removed from blinding TV cameras and the swarm of reporters and security.
Husband Todd dined alone and undisturbed at a Subway.
And the couple was surprised at the Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center with six pounds of Mocha Moose coffee, a move which led Palin to write a note to the hotel's general manager Joe LoMonaco: "Joe, Thank you so much, Sarah Palin. * this was the most special thing ever in a hotel for us!"
"We did everything we could to really make her feel as comfortable as possible," said Gina White, owner of Pamper Me Please, the tucked away hair and nail salon located off Main Street that the Palins visited Saturday afternoon. "She made us feel comfortable as well."
The Palins arrived at Embassy Suites about 9:15 p.m. Friday, ordered room service (two orders of hamburgers and fries) and were greeted by a surprise sent direct from Wasilla, Alaska: Mocha Moose Coffee Company and Roastery coffee.
"Todd came to our staff and said, 'Wow, you really blew her away,'" LoMonaco said.
The coffee was discovered by Ben Mitzelfelt, the hotel's director of outlets who searched on the Internet to have something from Wasilla shipped to the hotel to present to Palin. He called the coffee shop and asked for several packages of coffee to surprise the Palins upon their arrival.
"He wanted to pay for it, but we just shipped it off to them. We really appreciate what Sarah is doing," said Ben Harrell, owner of Mocha Moose in Wasilla, where Sarah Palin served as mayor from 1996 to 2002.
LoMonaco still has a package of the coffee in his office, along with the written Palin message. The Palins, meanwhile, took four packages of the coffee with them when they left Sunday.
Diana Anderson, director of sales at the hotel and a Pamper Me Please customer, called White telling her that Palin wanted to get her hair and nails done and that she was sending the former governor to them.
White called her daughter, Rachelle Stokes of Germantown Hills, the salon's nail technician. While the two had the day off, they decided to rush to the salon and get to work. Tonya Jones, a Metamora resident and stylist for the past 15 years, already was at the salon when the Palins arrived about 12:15 p.m.
"I happened to have a cancellation," Jones said, and she was immediately thrust into doing Palin's hair.
Palin spotted Jones and said she liked her hair. The former governor said she wanted a simple hairdo, sat in Jones' chair and turned on her laptop to do some work while chatting about families and 80's hair styles.
It took about a half hour to do Palin's hair, Jones said. The ladies also chatted about daughter Willow's prom in Alaska and son Trig's second birthday on Sunday. No politics were discussed.
Next, Palin sat down and got her nails done by Stokes, who talked about Metamora High School football and families.
"Her daughter was getting her nails done at the same time," Stokes said. "(Sarah Palin) was like, 'I don't know how I feel about my daughter going to prom.'"
Palin spent time signing autographs for employees and visitors. She also took pictures with the staff. The photos likely will be framed and commemorated inside the salon.
"She said she hadn't had a chance like that to relax in a long while," Stokes said.
While Sarah Palin was getting her hair and nails done, Todd Palin went for a walk to Subway for lunch by himself.
Upon his return, his wife asked if he had been noticed by anyone. Todd Palin replied, "no."
An employee at the restaurant on Tuesday said he did not know if Todd Palin had stopped in.
The couple returned to the hotel after their salon stop to dine on room service again and meet with some local guests.
This time, the couple shared a rib-eye steak. The two also had their favorite wine while at Embassy Suites, a bottle of Shafer Merlot for $92 a bottle and $132 bottle of Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon.
The couple left early Sunday.
"She and her husband were normal, nice people," LoMonaco said. "You never know with what you see in the news and everything. But she was really nice and down to earth."