Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Midwest Madness

Oh boy, where do I begin?! We made it to the Midwest and back! We had so much fun, of course. We are fairly exhausted, of course. And now I will blog about it, of course.

We flew into Tulsa, Oklahoma last Tuesday and rented a car to drive the rest of our route. First stop: Joplin, Missouri. We met up with quite a few of my family members for a yummy dinner to celebrate my Grandpa's 92nd birthday! I still can't believe he's 92! Especially the way he gets around - and his sense of humor is still in tact. He's a pretty sharp guy. It was great to see everyone else too. I wish we didn't live so far apart.

They following day, my dad and uncle wanted to give us a tour of Branson, Missouri. It reminded me of a really strange Las Vegas. There are no casinos or anything, just a bunch of shows. Singers, violinists, comedians, you name it. We took in some lunch (fried green tomatoes!!) and an IMAX movie and then drove down the strip. I really thought Branson Landing was beautiful. Lots of trees and a big lake and an old train station. Good stuff. We got back pretty late in the evening and then stopped by my brother's place to visit his little family.

The next morning, we were off and running (well, driving) up north. We stopped for a couple hours in St. Louis, Missouri and that was great. A very cool little city. I hear it has the highest crime rate in the nation, but you'd never know from looking at it. Of course we were in the tourist areas to see the Gateway Arch and the Mississippi River. But still a perfect place to stop and stretch our legs.

Then the drive continued to Chicago, Illinois - probably the highlight of the trip for me. I absolutely loved Chicago. Like love-at-first-sight love. We stayed in the Loop at the Hotel Sax. Up until now, the Palms in Las Vegas has been my favorite hotel. But Hotel Sax wins by a mile. I couldn't believe we got such a great price on it! It was awesome. And the bed! Oh, the bed... Might have been because I was so tired of driving, but this bed was comfortable. Aaaah. When we first arrived, it was already pretty late so we had dinner and immediately hit the sack. Believe me, we made up for it the next day. We saw so much in just a short amount of time - Michigan Ave, Navy Pier, Millennium Park, Sears Tower, Art Institute & the John Hancock building. Plus we walked everywhere, so we passed by a lot of landmarks as well. And don't get me started on the food. If you have never had an authentic deep dish Chicago pizza, put it on your list of things to do before you die. If you can get it at Pizzeria Due, even better. Seriously, so good. We had a little thunderstorm before we left and walked a few blocks in the rain. I won't lie, it was kind of romantic.

The next morning, we had a great breakfast and then off to Ashland, Wisconsin. The drive was beautiful, with lots of trees and lakes. And the skies were always so pretty! Everywhere we went, I noticed that. The drive was a little long because there were not a lot of places to stop. We were sort of going to the middle of nowhere. The husband has a cousin who lives out there and they were kind enough to let us stay with them and show us the area. They have a view of Lake Superior and their closest neighbor is 1 mile away. It's really quite amazing. One of my favorite things to do was drive over to a local dairy and eat fresh ice cream sandwiches! I don't know anywhere in L.A. that you can do that. We also checked out a little town called Bayfield. It was so pretty with big houses on the water and had these cool little shops with candy and fudge. Oh, and the famous Wisconsin Cheese is famous for a reason. We tried a cranberry cheddar? Who comes up with this stuff? Genius.

After just a couple days in Wisconsin, it was time to head home. The closest airport was in Minneapolis, Minnesota (about 3 1/2 hrs away) but that drive seemed easy after all the long distance driving we had done the few days before. Besides, we got to cross one more state off the list. The flight home was a little rocky and long, I spilled ginger ale all in my lap, and the shuttle ride from the airport back to the house seemed to take forever. We were just so ready to sleep in our own bed! We finally made it home around 1:30am and concluded the trip with a high five and sleepy time.

Total Miles to Drive: 1,361 Miles

Monday, July 20, 2009

Under the Boardwalk, We'll Be Havin' Some Fun...

The crew headed up north this past weekend to see one of our own get hitched. The wedding was in Santa Cruz, one of my favorite little cities. And this was the first time I've ever been to a wedding on the beach! Mind you, this was no Hawaii, so it was quite cold and windy, but at least we didn't get rained out or washed away by a tidal wave or something. The couple has been together almost 10 years and we were happy to see them take the plunge. *Side note: What is up with Burbank guys waiting a century to marry their girlfriends?

Anyway, we left for SC on Friday night and hit a ton of traffic on the way out, turning our 6 hour drive into an 8 hour one. Bummer. But we made it in one piece and were anxious to settle down into our comfortable hotel beds - except they weren't so comfortable. Double bummer! The hotel we picked was a glorified (and much more expensive) Motel 6. It wasn't until the last day that I figured out how to use the shower without water spraying in every which direction. And the "Large Double Beds" were slightly bigger than a twin. Not exactly a dream getaway. But I guess for being cheapskates, we couldn't be too picky.

Saturday was devoted to the wedding. As I mentioned, it was cold at the beach, but the secluded location on the water fit the couple so perfectly. As soon as the ceremony ended, we rushed outta there to get some warmth back in our bodies and fix our wind-blown hair. Then off to the reception. It was right on the Boardwalk in a room with a retractable glass roof! It was quite breathtaking when you first walked in because the windows looked right out onto the ocean. Awesome place. We ate, drank and be-ed merry - and had a blast on the dance floor. I wore myself out enough that I was able to sleep the whole night in our "Large Double Bed" quite soundly.

Sunday after lunch, we really tried to do some touristy things before we left. However, the Beach Boardwalk had no parking, and the Mystery Spot was a bust. So home we went. All in all, it was a great weekend. A lot of laughs and unbelievable stories being exchanged. I guess a wedding is as good a time as any to get everyone together for that much fun.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Proposal

Yeah I saw it. What?

It was cute. As with most romantic comedies, it was utterly predictable, but I think that's why I go see those movies. I want something sweet that I don't have to think too hard about. And this one did the trick. I could complain that they didn't develop the romance enough, and they didn't develop the storyline with the ex-girlfriend enough, and they tried to take it too far with a couple silly scenes. But I won't complain. It is what it is. Although, it was a wee bit long (and I mean wee literally, as I had to, really badly, the last 20 minutes of the movie!) Oh, but the scenery - gorgeous!! I think it was filmed in Massachusetts. I want to go to there.

What was even more interesting than this movie was the fact that outside, there were hundreds of people lined up to watch the new Harry Potter premiere 10 hours before it opened!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Summer Vacation

Since I'm not technically employed, I don't get vacations. I don't NEED one, obviously. But when husband is on vacation, I feel like I am too! He finished up his last day of work on Friday and has 3 weeks off before starting the next show. I'm giddy as a schoolgirl to have him home for a little while. When he took 2 months off last summer, we were nervous to spend that much time together. I mean, what couple sits in their office together for two months straight? But we had an awesome time. So now I'm really looking forward to the next few weeks. In fact, the fun has already begun.

Friday night was a cousin's birthday party and the evening outdoor weather was beautiful. In P. Diddy fashion, it was a White Party, and even though I didn't know a lot of people, I took the opportunity to make the rounds and take pictures. On Saturday, we went to Venice. I wanted to do one of my photo walks and hubs agreed to go with. It was a great day. Too much traffic getting out there and back, but we both had fun seeing the area. We also grabbed dinner at the new Don Cuco's with our buddies and finished up the night at a going-away party for one of his co-workers. On Sunday, we attended a pool party at a friend's house and that was a blast. It was 95 degrees and being in the pool was probably the only way I could have tolerated being outside. It was just perfect. We took in a movie (see review below) and had In-N-Out for dinner.

A waterproof camera - gotta get myself one of these!!

I think I'm addicted to summer.


REALLY?! Really. I don't know what to say about this movie. I'll start with "It wasn't good." Let me explain...

I'm totally the type of girl that can handle a raunchy movie. In fact, I love it when it's done right. (And I'm not talking about American Pie.) Even though Borat was extreme, I really liked that movie. And I'm a total fan of the Ali G. Show. That show was so funny because he shined a light on the types of people in America that are less accepting of those around us - by acting like a naive, ignorant fool. It was clever and evoked laughter. I usually think Sacha Baron Cohen is hilarious. And the Brüno character - well he was over the top, and I liked that. But honestly, this movie went to far.

The raunch wasn't for laughs, it was for shock value. It wasn't done in a funny way. It was like they didn't think about it, they just wanted to push the envelope as far as they could. That doesn't work for me. It sounds silly, but I want a little thought put into my dirty jokes! So this one left me really, really disappointed. I think I had a good laugh at 2 or 3 scenes (there were some REALLY FUNNY bits), but for 1/2 of the movie I had my eyes covered (and the shock overshadowed the funny). It made me really uncomfortable, and maybe that's what they were trying to accomplish with this movie? Even my husband (who is the king of dirty jokes) said he felt like a prude after watching it because it made him so uneasy too. So all in all, I'll just say this one is not for the faint of heart. If you plan on watching it, know what you're getting yourself into. I can't believe it was rated R and not NC-17.

And maybe the thing that bothered me the most was that it got resounding applause at the end of the movie. Is that what we've come to? If so, we need to raise our comedy standards quickly.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Year One

OK, so it wasn't the best movie of the year, but it had it's moments. I went in with really low expectations because of what I had heard on the streets. It wasn't that bad! Michael Cera has definitely mastered that awkward teenager thing. And Jack Black has definitely mastered the loud, boisterous comedian thing. This movie was no exception - the two played their usual tricks and it gave me a good chuckle here and there. I am still a fan of both these guys. And as with any good comedy these days, it had a few nice cameos as well.

I wasn't dying over it, but I found it fairly entertaining.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Coo-Coo For Nephew...

It's kind of hilarious the things I find myself doing when my nephew is here. Jumping up and down a lot, talking into fans like Darth Vader, dancing shamelessly in public, chasing cat toys, making a LOT of silly faces, singing Spongebob at the top of my lungs... I'll basically do anything for a laugh. I'm fairly certain I will one day be the most embarrassing mom on the planet.

But for now I am the most fun and crazy Aunt he will ever have. And I love every second of it.

My sister decided to take a spontaneous trip out here for the holiday weekend and we had so much fun! I'm so glad she got the wild hair and drove all the way here to spend a couple days with us. We watched movies and went to Downtown L.A. and had a BBQ with our friends and went to the beach and watched fireworks from the street. Its about as good of a 4th of July as it gets!