Monthly Archives: May 2010

The Sunday in LA Post

On Sunday, we started our day by getting some brunch.  Jaclyn informed me that getting brunch was a very LA thing to do.  🙂  Then, it was off to Universal Studios!  I’ve never even been to the Universal park in Orlando, so I was super excited!  We began w/ the back lot tour, which was super cool!  Below is the view of the Universal back lot from above.  In the VERY far distance, you can see the Warner Brothers sound stage as well.

Another double self-portrait!

One of the first things they showed us on the back lot tour was some of the props they have saved for the occasion, including a collection of cars from various films and tv shows.  Some of my favorites were:

Magnum P.I.'s Car

One of the vehicles from Serenity, plus KITT from Knight Rider

A Delorean from Back to the Future

They also showed us how they do some special effects stunts, including exploding some cars from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and making a small Mexican village flood from some movie I’ve never heard of.  Other highlights included seeing the Bates motel from Psycho, some of Whoville from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and various generic Western towns and European streets.

One of the wildest things was driving down Wisteria Lane, where they film Desperate Housewives.  It’s like a whole suburban neighborhood street!

Some of the houses on Wisteria Lane (they told us which one was which, but I can't remember)

Also at Universal, we went on several of the simulation/3D/interactive shows, including an AWESOME one for Terminator which featured Linda Hamilton, Arnold Swarzenegger, and the kid who played John Connor in T2 (I affectionately termed it Terminator 2.5), and a pretty average one for Shrek.  (Who thinks that it’s fun to watch a character in 3D sneeze on you and then spray you with water?  And the Shrek show did it TWICE.)

After grabbing a quick dinner on our way out, we made our way to Jaclyn’s movie theater of choice to see the documentary Babies. Crazy thing about this movie theater: it has movie memorabilia on display!

Movie memorabilia. I wonder what movie it could be from...

This leads us to my list of Celebrity Sightings of the Day, which ALL happened at the movie theater:

1. Amber Stevens and her boyfriend Andrew West.  We owe Jaclyn for this one, because both of them are on Greek.  They were also seeing Babies with Amber’s parents for Mother’s Day.  (Her father is Shadoe Stevens, who is a famous radio/announcer, who hosted American Top 40 after Casey Kasem retired and before Ryan Seacrest took over.)  Amber recognized Jaclyn from when she used to work as a PA on Greek, and came over and gave her a hug.  She was super sweet.

2. Jeri Ryan!!!!  Obviously, as a Trekkie, this excited me to no end.  For those of you less familiar w/ her work as Seven of Nine on Star Trek: Voyager, she was also on the lawyer show Shark, the high school drama Boston Public, and last season on the hilarious heist show Leverage.  We stood in line for popcorn behind her and her husband Christophe Eme (he’s a chef).  It was amazing.  I dunno what movie they went to see, but it wasn’t Babies.

3. Rich Sommer.  He was also in our theater to see Babies, along w/ his cute pregnant wife.  I knew him from his work on Mad Men, and also as Pam’s art school friend on The Office who tried to convince Pam to stay in New York, but he was also one of the friends in The Devil Wears Prada, which we just saw the night before!

I was pretty excited by our luck at the theater.  Jaclyn was psyched because she’s now convinced that all of these people live close to her.

One final thing about my trip: there are a lot of Prius’s in California.  Like, A. LOT.  Over 4 days (two in L.A., two in Palo Alto) I counted 230.  That’s A LOT.  (Biff and I made a game out of it.  I hate to think what the people sitting close to us on the bus thought about us. “Oh, look, there’s one!  There’s another!  Oooh, a blue one!”)

*** For Jaclyn’s account of Sunday, click here.***

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The Saturday in LA Post

Hello everybodeee! (My favorite Sesame Street book when I was little started out that way.  You gotta love Grover.)  I just got back from 10 lovely days in sunny (if a bit on the chilly side) California!  I spent the first weekend in Los Angeles w/ my wonderful friend Jaclyn from UNC, and the next week w/ Biff in Palo Alto.  Jaclyn and I saw and did SO many fun things that it’s going to take me 2 blog entries to recap it all.  Here we go! (Imagine that said in a Nintendo Mario voice.)

On Saturday, we got up, hung around Jaclyn’s super cute condo for a while, then headed out to grab some lunch.  We ended up going to a yummy pizza place called Vitello’s Express.

View from the outdoor seating area of the kitchen.

Vitello’s consisted of a teeny tiny indoor area, where the food was cooked and we ordered, and an outdoor seating area.  The outdoor area was covered, w/ heaters and/or fans, and lots of lush potted plants.  It was a cool atmosphere, and the pizza.  Oh the pizza.

First, some backstory:  When I was a little girl, I LOOOVED the pizza they served in my elementary school cafeteria.  I pretty much only bought lunch on days when they were serving pizza.  I just loved those little rectangle slices, with the cheese that wasn’t fully attached to the rest of the pizza and the flour-y crust.  I thought this was a delicacy lost to me until I discovered last summer that it was sold at the snack bar of the pool I take the kids I baby-sit to.  And now it has walked back into my life again.

Because the pizza from Vitello’s Express immediately struck me as a really high-end, gourmet variety of elementary school pizza.  No, it didn’t come in a rectangle shape, and the crust was definitely of a better quality, but something about it just seemed to possess the essence of elementary school pizza.

Vitello's yummy improvement on the elementary school pizza (half-eaten)

Obviously, I loved it.

Jaclyn takes a pic of her pizza too

Self-portrait @ Vitello's

After lunch, we walked RIGHT NEXT DOOR to a delicious little frozen yogurt place called Sweet Harts (it’s owned by Melissa Joan Hart, of Sabrina the Teenage Witch fame, how cool is that??).  It was SOOO delicious.  But the thing that really separated it from the pack was the ADORABLE decorations.  Check out the pics:

Cute table & chairs

Close-up of the table, look at the cute candy wrappers stuck in the epoxy!

Wall of candy, yum!! Plus, cute chandeliers! To the right, there was a whole separate room where a little girl was having her b-day party. Adorable.

After gorging on frozen yogurt, we headed out to Hollywood Boulevard.  (On the way, we ran into Jaclyn’s bank, which was the NICEST one I’ve ever seen.  It’s a Wells Fargo, and was new, shiny, and had an army of cheerful employees ready to tackle out every banking need.  I would’ve taken pictures, but I was afraid they’d think I was casing the place).

Our first stop on Hollywood Boulevard was to get a good view of the Hollywood sign.

Hollywood Sign!

Me, w/ the Hollywood sign WAY in the background

Next, we walked down to Hollywood Blvd in earnest, where we saw the Hollywood Walk of Fame stars and the handprints in cement in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

Walk of Fame stars (there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to where or in what orientation they were placed)

The Chinese Theater was by far my favorite on Hollywood Blvd.  I had sooo much fun looking at all the handprints!  I took about a half million pictures of them all, but I’ll spare you, my dear readers, and just post the one:

All of the original Star Trek cast members were immortalized in cement for one of the anniversary's of the show.

There were a bunch of famous people imitators strolling up and down the street and posing for pictures to advertise for Madame Toussaud’s Wax Museum.  An Elvis look-alike accosted Jaclyn and FORCED her to pose like this.  The look on her face says it all:

Jaclyn's attacked by Crazy Elvis

Next, we headed out to the Santa Monica Pier!  We strolled up and down the pier, and then layed out on the beach for a while (even though it wasn’t the warmest of days).

Self-portrait on the pier

Who knew that the Santa Monica Pier is the last stop on Route 66?

Jaclyn assured me that plenty of tv/movie scenes have been filmed at the Santa Monica Pier.  (I myself am fairly certain that the episode of Chuck where they encounter an escaped genius bad guy at an arcade on a pier was filmed there).  Though the life guard stations reminded me of Baywatch, Jaclyn was pretty sure it was filmed elsewhere.  But this might’ve been the life guard shack Marissa always ran to and cried in during the first season of The O.C.!

As you can tell, I am a master of the double self-portrait.

Our last stop of the day was at this fun outdoor shopping center.  We got dinner at a French restaurant, then I dragged Jaclyn into the American Girl store, where we amused ourselves for hours.

Anybody else remember the Essential Elements books we used in middle school band class? Apparently they make them in American Girl sizes too!

Bird's eye view of the shopping center and LA skyline at night.

Celebrity Sightings of the Day:

1. I am about 20% sure we possibly, might have seen Kelly Clarkson driving around in her car.  If it wasn’t her, it was certainly someone who LOOKED like her.

2. I DEFINITELY saw Erik Palladino entering a men’s clothing store w/ his gorgeous wife after dinner.  Never heard of him?  I’ve conveniently linked to his IMDb page!  I recognized him from his 2 seasons on ER, his role as a gymnast coach on Make It or Break It, and his recent turn as a bad guy on White Collar. (And I really mean what I said about his wife– she was beautiful.  My eyes were first drawn to them because she was so stunning.  Then I realized I recognized her husband from the small screen.)

And we ended our day by heading back to Jaclyn’s and watching the last half of 27 Dresses and the first 20 minutes of The Devil Wears Prada. (Which helped us identify another celebrity the next day!  Curious?  Stay tuned for the post about Sunday’s activities!)

***If you’re interested in Jaclyn’s take on events, her blog entry can be found here.***

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The Painting Post

My last couple of weeks in the art room at the children’s home (I miss it already!), I got really into painting.  There’s nothing better than just sitting down in front of a blank piece of paper, getting some paint on your brush, and just going at it.  The key is to not worry that your hand won’t be able to recreate what you visualize in your head (which is how I used to define being a good artist).  You’ve just got to go for it and see what happens.  I feel like so many kids (and adults too) can’t get past that first step.  They aren’t able to paint or draw something perfectly, they way they see it in their heads, and they get discouraged and don’t even try.  It’s so energizing when you’re able to get past that and just create!

I’ll post my paintings in chronological order so you can see my progression (and see if you can figure out if I go through a Blue period):

I painted this one to decorate for the Haiti fundraiser the UMCH held back in February:

Jungle Flowers

This one is an early attempt to be spontaneous and abstract.  I was less than successful:

Abstract

I made this one that same night, and think it turned out a lot better:

Line of Light

These are all from the next night at the art room.  Think I did a lot better on some of them (on others, not so much):

Abstract

Geraniums

This one’s my mom’s favorite.  It’s the only one I did on canvas:

Rainbow Road

This one’s my favorite.  I hung it on the wall of my room in Atlanta:

Galaxies

The next time I was there, I was in a sunshiney mood:

Sunshine

Sunspot (or possibly a lion?)

The ones from the last night I was there (I was in the mood for blue):

Little Stormcloud

Waves

Blue Worms

(This last one I made just to use up the rest of the paint I had in my palette.  See, art happens for all kinds of reasons!)

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The Baby Blanket Post

Now that my school year is over & I’m back home, I’m hoping that I’ll have more time to craft, and to blog about it!

This past semester I joined the Candler knitting group, Project W.A.R.M.T.H.  We knit various projects to donate to all of the sites the first year students worked at.  For the children’s home, we knit squares in various colors and we’re going to stitch them together to make lap blankets for the chapel.

All of this got me interested in knitting again.  I’d never knit anything bigger or more complicated than a scarf, so I was excited to try.  My friend Josh from school and his wife Amanda are expecting a little boy this month, so I started a baby blanket for them a little over a month ago.  And I’m soooo proud of myself for finishing it before the baby actually arrived!

I got the pattern from the fun and super informative book Stitch ‘N Bitch.  It’s called the “Big Bad Baby Blanket.”  It’s got a seed stitch border (I’d never done anything in seed stitch before & I love it now!), which is made by alternating one knit and one purl stitch.  The rest is four quarters of stockinette and reverse stockinette stitch.  I think it turned out really well!

Full blanket

Artsy side shot

Another artsy shot-- notice the cool seed stitch border!

Address Tag: Welcome, little Thomas Walker!

Josh & I pose with Thomas's blanket

I had so much fun w/ this one, I might make another!  Anyone else expecting a little baby?  I’d like to move on to a full-grown person blanket, but I’m not sure if I have the patience.  Maybe that’s something I can work on in the wintertime (when I might actually NEED a blanket).

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