Monday, June 29, 2009


Promptly upon our return home from Palm Springs, I took a nap. And then went to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl! There were a few ladies playing, but the only one I was really dying to see was the headliner, ADELE. And she did not disappoint. Chaka Khan was cool as well, but Adele was fabulous. She's funny and cute and has an incredible voice. She forgot the words a couple of times to her own songs, but you couldn't even be mad at her. It was kind of endearing. For a 21 year old, she has emotional songs with such clever lyrics. Plus she's Welsch and you know how I love a good British accent. :) I was a fan of her album, and now that I've seen her live, I can say I'm a huge fan of HER! Two thumbs up!!

If you don't have her album 19, get it!

Tour de Los Angeles (This is a Long One...)

WOW! What a week. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had some family visiting from Finland and I was one heck of a tour guide. In fact, I was so good, that I wore myself out!! Haha. I slept really well last night, but it may take me a few days to get over how exhausted I am from all of the activities of the last few days.

On Tuesday, the Finns' flight was supposed to come in at 12:40pm. I knew we didn't need to be there exactly on time because they'd have to get their bags and go through customs and all that. So after going to the wrong terminal and circling around LAX a couple times, we finally showed up around 2pm. But with their flight being delayed, we were still early. It was exciting to see them coming down the walkway so I'm glad we didn't miss it! Once we left the airport, we got them checked into the hotel, let them unwind a little bit and took them to Bob's Big Boy for dinner. By the time they went to bed, they had been awake for about 28 hours!! They were anxious to get some sleep.

The Finns at Bob's

Wednesday was reserved for Disneyland and CA Adventure. After a light breakfast and a little traffic, we arrived about 11am and immediately hit the rides. They had been to Disneyland before, but not CA Adventure. And not with ME! So this time I took them to as many of the necessary thrills as we could fit in. It was pretty crowded and most of the rides took about 45-60 minutes, but mixed with some fast passes and some patience, we did pretty well. We made a point to see the new fireworks show and do some shopping at the end of the night as well.

At Disneyland

Thursday was probably the most successful day of all. The Finns were starting to get used to the time difference and feeling a little more like themselves. Plus we saw a lot of great things in the area. We started out at the Griffith Park Observatory. I wasn't sure how well this would go over because of the fact that the whole place is about stars and space. I mean, its not the most exciting thing in the world. But they all loved it. The building and the way they have it set up is really nice and I think it was their favorite thing to see during the trip. You can get a view of the city, the Hollywood sign, and learn about the planets all in one stop.

View from the Observatory

After the observatory, we headed down the hill into Hollywood. We walked around Hollywood & Highland for a bit and saw the Walk of Stars and the Mann's Chinese Theater. We couldn't completely see the area because the Bruno premiere had the street closed down. But it was kind of cool that they got to see the red carpet. Now they know how and where movie premieres take place. It was also right around that time that we found out Michael Jackson had passed away. Of course, with him being an international star, they all knew who he was and we found it pretty sad. We also thought how crazy it was that we were practically standing on his star when they broke the news. The rest of the weekend was filled with Michael Jackson songs and videos on TV. I know I had fun reminiscing about his good days as the King of Pop.

The MJ I loved...

For lunch, I took them to my favorite BossaNova and that was a big hit too. The food is just so darn good. We filled our tummies and then drove down to the beach. The original plan was to roast marshmallows and cook hot dogs over a fire at Huntington, but as the day wore on we realized we probably wouldn't have time for all that and they wanted to see the ocean before sunset. So we went straight to Santa Monica Pier. It was so windy and cold, but they put their feet in the water anyway so they could say they had touched the Pacific Ocean. We walked down to the end of the pier and watched some of the crazies, then headed back. We stopped by Hubby's work on the way out, so they could see what a Supervising Editor does. Then for dinner we ate those hot dogs and s'mores that had been neglected at the beach.

Loving the ocean

Friday was another full day that had mostly been reserved for shopping. But I wanted to take them to Olvera Street and taste some authentic Mexican food before they left California. We took the subway there and walked around for a little while. I made them taste taquitos and stuffed churros and both of those were a hit. We walked from Olvera St. to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Such a cool building and by walking, it allowed them to see a small chunk of downtown L.A. The shopping extravaganzaa was to take place at the Camarillo outlets. I had a few other shopping areas in mind, but as usual we were running short on time. So we drove straight to the outlets, but unforunately hit a lot of traffic. At this point, I was so tired it was hard to stay awake in the car - and I was driving!! But we made it in one piece and the shopping began. We only had a few hours but I think everyone found some things that they liked. (Me included.) We went to BJ's for dinner - more delicious food - and they absolutely loved the dessert. You can never go wrong with a pizooke!

Disney Concert Hall

Now by this time, you can imagine we were all pretty tired from the sightseeing and running around. But I really wanted them to have a good experience in California and see as much as they could. And I think the Tour de LA was a success. I also figured they'd have plenty of time to rest and relax while they were in Utah (zzzz). But one thing we hadn't done was just chillax and enjoy the California sunshine. So Saturday and Sunday was reserved for Palm Springs. Hubby and I were probably more excited for the weekend getaway than the Finns were! We drove there on Saturday and stopped at the Aerial Tram on the way to our hotel. I figured they shouldn't go all the way there and not experience that. We only stayed up at the top of the mountain for about 45 minutes and then anxiously checked in, ate a quick bite and just sat by the pool. It was way too hot for my liking - around 110 degrees - so I stayed close the water until the sun started going down. We had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and all thought we would sleep so well that night. The resort we stayed at was BEAUTIFUL. The rooms were modern and the beds seemed comfy. Unfortunately, the air conditioning was a little wacky. My mom was sleeping on the sofabed and froze her buns off the entire night because the A/C was blowing right on her. Meanwhile, those of us in the bedrooms couldn't stop sweating!! We took turns all night going into the hallway and turning the air up so it would be cooler. It was a restless, uncomfortable night for everyone. Not a great way to end the trip, but like I said - they'll have plenty of time to rest and relax in Utah.

Mom, Cousin Antti & his fiancee Miia, Aunt Leena, Uncle Ossi, Hubs & Me

We parted ways on Sunday and I was truly sad to see them go. It was so much fun getting to know them a little better. And I was so impressed with their English. Not as much of a language barrier as I thought there would be. Luckily, there are some exciting plans in the works and Hubs and I should be able to go to Finland next summer!! I can't wait.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Start of Summer

Besides the gloomy weather, Summer has so far been everything it's supposed to be - a little bit of busy, mixed with days of boredom, mixed with some fun times. June started off slow enough. During the week, I have been fairly bored. To keep things moving, I've mostly worked on editing videos and photos for the jobs that HomeView has brought in. Those keep me busy an average of 2-3 days a week. When I'm not doing that, I try and work on my own photography projects. I've had a couple shoots this month, so that's been exciting. Just trying to get my name out there in the most competitive market in the world! Finding a photographer in LA is like finding a grain of sand at the beach. There are a million of us, and lots of really talented people out there. So I'll be quite pleased if I can continue shooting just a few jobs a month! To see some of the latest, please don't forget to check out my photo blog and website.

The husband has been wrapping things up at his show. Just a few more weeks on Gene Simmons Family Jewels and then he'll be moving on to a new project. At least for a little while - no confirmation on whether they're doing a Season 5 or not. The premiere party a few weeks back was fun. Free food and drinks at the Spanish Kitchen in West Hollywood. The family was there and its always fun to see Hubby's co-workers too. We all watched the premiere of the show and then had some laughs with blooper reels and funny stories that the producers shared. And I finally got my close-up with the Demon himself.

Gene (and Sophie in the background), Nick & Shannon

Disneyland has also played a HUGE part in my Summer fun. I went at the end of May with a bunch of Hubby's cousins and their kids. The kids were so great! They loved the roller coasters and just had so much fun. I couldn't believe the 3 YEAR OLD put his hands up on Big Thunder Mountain and shouted "I want it to go faster!" Haha. They loved Space Mountain too and just had the best day together. I've also gone a couple times with a few girls from the old Institute days in Ventura. It's always a blast with them too, because they are huge fans of Disney like I am. This last time, the park was "filled to capacity" and it's on days like that where you just try to hit a couple rides, enjoy the scenery, people-watch, and eat lots! We did all of the above.

Next week I'm going to Disneyland twice. I know its crazy, but I have a good reason. The cousins want to use the other half of their Twofer so I'm going with them on Monday. Then MY cousins are coming in from FINLAND, so of course they want to go. I'm sooo glad I got an Annual Pass this year! I've never had one before, but this year I've definitely gotten enough use out of it that it was a worthwhile purchase!

And speaking of the cousins from Finland (I just refer to them as the Finns) - they will be here for almost a whole week. I'm so excited to see them and be their tour guide through LA. We have a lot planned and it will be great. Plus, totally fun to finally spend some time with them. I've only met them maybe twice, and one of those times was my wedding, so I was a bit preoccupied. Mom will be here too and she'll try and help gap the language barrier. I can't wait!!

A few other things we got to do this month included a trip to Olvera Street, playing games with friends, going to plenty of movies, watching the Lakers win the championship... So June starts slow and goes out with a bang. Looks like July will be pretty busy too! We'll see what the rest of Summer has to offer!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


It's not every weekend that I get to see TWO movies, but this was one of them. A bunch of us went to see Up in Digital 3-D. When I hear about so many movies coming out in 3-D, I always think it's getting a little silly. Like wasn't 3-D sooo 20 years ago? But I must say, the new technology behind it is pretty darn cool. There's no stuff flying at your face or trying to scare you. It's just more like you're seeing everything three-dimensionally - like real life.

And the movie itself didn't disappoint either. I went in knowing there were some sad parts (thanks everybody on Facebook) but there were some really funny parts too. Of course the storyline is totally unrealistic, but as a whole it was really sweet with a great moral. I wouldn't expect anything less from Disney.

Oh, and the characters were just adorable. I enjoyed it tremendously.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Away We Go

This was another movie where I didn't really know what to expect. John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph seemed like a strange pair to me. So I knew going in that I was either going to love it or hate it - and I absolutely loved it. They were funny, they were sweet, they were believable. They made me want to take a journey. And it had a sensitive side too. I've always liked John Krasinski in The Office (what girl doesn't love a goofy, sweet kind of guy) but this movie took him to a whole other level.

And then just from an artisitic point of view, my senses were on overload. Everything was a fantastic camera angle and pretty colors. Made me want to go out and take pictures immediately! Kind of dark at times, but always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Overall - probably my favorite movie of the year so far.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

OK, seriously?

June Gloom is one thing. But this is just getting ridiculous.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Hangover

Oh my goodness - this movie had me laughing my face off. Like seriously, so funny. It was a lot different than I thought, because I was expecting it to be more of a stupid-frat-boy-American-Pie-Harold-and-Kumar type of movie. Which I absolutely despise. But this movie - aaah. Raunchy jokes meets the ridiculous extreme situations meets a perfect cast. They couldn't go wrong. The way Michael Cera stole the scenes in Superbad is the way Zach Galifianakis stole the scenes in The Hangover. There were a couple of lame characters (I really hated the storyline with Ed Helms and Rachel Harris) but it wasn't enough to take away the funny. Loved it!

Um, if you have a sensitive gag reflex, don't watch the ending credits.


This has been a good week, if not only for TV. a) Conan O'Brien is back! Welcome to L.A. ConeBone. I have, indeed, requested tickets to a live taping, but nothing yet. The show feels the same for the most part, so that's a good thing. Even the theme music! Love that. It's just nice that its on earlier for old people like me who need sleep.
My version of his fabulous high hair
b) The DMB has had TV appearances almost every day of the week. They've been on Late Nite with Jimmy Fallon, the Today Show, and the Fuse network has been showing a 4-part documentary on the band plus tons of their live shows. Their new album came out Tuesday and its getting rave reviews - by critics and myself. My favorite song so far is "Why I Am". It's catchy, and a clear tribute to LeRoi, who passed away last summer. Aaah, its good to be a fan right now.
The closest I've ever been...
Now if only 30 Rock was on all summer, I'd be complete.