Monday, February 18, 2013

Reese and Walt - Together Again

As the final activity of my Grown Up Spring Break, I got to spend the whole day with my main MunkaMan. Walt's school was closed for President's Day, and luckily, so was the new job. So, Munks and I tooled around all day and in the afternoon hooked up with Walt's future wife first friend since before birth, Reese.

It's disappointing that I can't get these kids together more often. There's pretty much never a chance during the week since I'm working and weekends are jam packed.  But, no matter the length of time, these kids pick up right where they left off. Walt chatted the whole time with Reese. He was fascinated by the kitty cats. And, the two played so great together (lots of sharing and giggling). Here are the two cuties playing nice
Reese showing Walt how to color on the chalkboard

A look at the future? Reese and Walt in their little house.

Watching movies in the media room. Walt was in awe!

Reese barging in looking for Walt :)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Grown Up Spring Break

It's nearing the end of what I'm calling my Grown Up Spring Break.  This whole thing came about because around Christmastime I found out the company I work for was acquired and my job was redundant.  I was given two weeks transition (which was extended to a month) and then my time was up. It was all really fast. But, possibly even faster was landing my next job (to be blogged about). 

Between Chris and I, we've had a rollercoaster year of job ups and down. So, we needed a little celebration. I decided to take a full two weeks between my two jobs. An amount of time I haven't taken off work since my wedding/honeymoon (and I don't even think that was a full two weeks!).

I spent the first week plowing through projects. We bought Walt a big boy bed, I cleaned out closets, organized my office, picked out paint colors, etc. Not just that, but I got to visit friends I don't always get a chance to see b/c weekends are short and kids take up a lot of time. It was a fabulous week!

I now feel refreshed and ready to tackle my new job...and I kind of want two more weeks off :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Viva Las Vegas!

Chris and I kicked off week 2 of my Grown Up Spring Break with a trip to Las Vegas, which was the world's most needed vacation.  Chris and I potentially hold a record for most vacations cancelled.  We were supposed to go to San Fran when I was pregnant with Walt, and I up and broke my foot. Then we even tried a simple staycation this summer, and it got rescheduled twice before we threw the towel in. 

We stayed at the Aria in CityCenter and really enjoyed it. I would highly recommend the hotel, however a neighboring hotel, The Cosmopolitan, was uber cool and worth a look for next time. We ate like kings, saw Cirque de Solei's Ka, gambled a bit (Chris may have won a smidge), and enjoyed some spa treatments.  The low light of the trip? Possibly the Terry Fator show. Good news was we got the tickets at a discount and we both thought it was equally terrible... to the point of comedy, so it actually ended up being enjoyable.

First night, drinks at the Cosmopolitan (we had a very early flight, and I think it was catching up to me...I look sleepy!)

View from our room. This manufactured landscape is actually quite stunning.

Ready to start the day. Lots of walking to be had around the Strip!

Dinner at Tao with some fancy lighting

I was able to enjoy several mocktails. All the bartenders took great care of me!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Flashback to Grammys 2008

Today is Grammy Day.  I know that's just another award show for many of you. It's has all the elements of glitz and glamour -- fabulous red carpet, amazing performances, "holy sh**" moments.  But the Grammy's are extra special to me and my girls... because we've been... seven times.  No, not hanging outside the Staples Center just catching glimpses of artists. Not even in a nosebleed seat courtesy of some free radio giveaway. Nope, we've comfortably sat in the first 10 rows of the floor of the Grammys... seven times.  As an ode to this amazing tradition, I'm flashing back today's blog with a recap from one of our latter years. It's a little glimpse into the magic. And it definitely was magical.


Drum roll please!  Our infamous Grammy Trip (#7) has come to a close, and we have the usual (and some unusual) fabulous stories to tell!  Somehow this recap has evolved to be more requested than Britney asking for a Red Bull and cigarettes. We aim to please.

We’ll start with the Grammy’s but be sure to read past just this day, because we had lots of other celeb moments throughout our annual weekend.

Grammy Day

As always, the primping for the show was hysterical.  I envision Charlie Chaplin-like music playing as we scurried around swapping jewelry, makeup, hair products – until we ended up with six beautiful girls!  We got SO many compliments on our dresses this year. I’m sure because we were colorful and coordinated as ever (blue, gold, red, black, purple…)

We arrived exactly on time (12:30pm) to our “meeting” spot at the Shrine Auditorium. We were roughly the 20th people in line.  After about a 20-30 minute wait, the seat fillers in charge (“SFIC”) herded us like cattle in shuttles to the Staples Center where we waited outside for an hour or so. Luckily, it was very warm. So warm, actually, that we needed to stand in the shade!  Not much to complain about for a February day! Also, we somehow made it to the FRONT of the line once we were stationed at our waiting post outside the Staples Center.

This might seem like a long time to stand and wait in a fabulous dress and shoes (i.e., must arrive by 12:30pm for a 5:00pm show start). No worries, through our years of experience, we have learned that our feet pay the price for a fun day at the Grammy’s. Therefore, we waited for hours in the cheapest flip-flops we could find and carried our shoes, as well as some much-needed snacks, for a long day of waiting in line. Once we got the word to go inside, we chunked our flip-flops in the trash and made the switch to our heels (unless you’re Jessica, then you actually wore them inside the auditorium, stuffed them under your seat when it was time to start seat filling and then went back to the same seat after the show to find they were still there).  We told you we are professionals J.

We had a minor freak out when they shuffled us in to the Staples Center, and we were pushed from the front to the BACK of the line.  Of course, it wouldn’t be a normal Grammy day without some seat filler drama.   Naturally, J. Green and Jessica went to find the “powers that be” to try to explain what had happened and to ensure our well-deserved place as the first inside “the house,” (as they call it). The “powers that be” tried to assure us that “it doesn’t matter” and “everyone will get inside.” However, being the veteran seat fillers that we are, we knew this not to be totally true and insisted on our timely entrance inside. Fortunately, we had a few SFIC who recognized and liked us (and our shoes – we love Dabrina!), and they quickly identified us to enter the show floor FIRST. PHEW.

The Show

Around 4:50 p.m. (show starts at 5:00 p.m.), they whisked us into some seats. As we walked towards the front, we saw the show floor was CRAZY empty. Stori/Jessica plopped on the 6th row, and I sat right behind them.  There were entire rows directly behind us that were completely open. INSANE!

The moments from getting seated until the show starts are always TORTURE.  Until the house lights go down and the show is live, there is a chance of getting booted from the seat by a ticket holder.  We literally count down the seconds to showtime hoping we can stay in our seas.  During this time, we were able to see Chris Brown find his seat – solo.  Tim McGraw and Faith Hill waltzed straight up to the first row. Faith really couldn’t be any more stunning--always an amazing sighting. Jennifer Rabara spotted Nelly Furtado taking her seat (with her blonde locks) and got a close up of her not-so-perfect complexion (nice to know they aren’t 100% perfect!).  Of course, there’s the yearly sightings of Grammy veterans that actually get there on time such as Ludacris and Bonnie Raitt. 

FINALLY, they dimmed the lights and started the show! Of course, Alicia Keys was just amazing (even better from a 6th row seat!). TV didn’t do her green dress justice at all.  Stunning!  Right after the show started, we caught a head of blonde hair sneaking to her seat… It was Fergie! Just as we start to pout realizing Josh Duhamel (her hottie fiancé) isn’t with her for yet another year, he and his perfectly coiffed hair sneaks in the seat next to her. He was even spotted nuzzling her neck, which was almost enough to cause Jessica to hurl her clutch at Fergie’s head in a rage of jealousy. Seriously, it was TOO CUTE.

At this point, it’s hard to remember who came and went during particular points during the show,, but here’s the run down:

Snoop Dogg took a seat right in front of Stori (Jessica had already moved to row 3 next to a Grammy attorney).  Snoop had possibly the largest man in America as his body guard – which is not necessary since Snoop is skinnier than any of us girls! Snoop really enjoyed the gospel set.

Speaking of enjoying performances, Chris Brown was totally diggin’ Carrie Underwood’s man hatin’ song. He was the only one standing!

Directly across the aisle from Stori was Delilah, the real-life inspiration for the song, “Hey There Deliliah” by the Plain White T’s (they were there too).  She had her strappy Christian Louboutin’s kicked off the entire time.

Corinne Bailey Rae was also just across the aisle from us and right behind Jessica. She stayed for the entire show and was especially enthralled by the Jerry Lewis performance. When she didn’t get the win for Song of the Year, she turned to her friend, shrugged her shoulders, and said “Oh, Well.”

Also waltzing in sometime in the middle of the show was none other than Kid Rock, greasy hair and all. He walked straight to the front and said “hi” to Tim/Faith and Chris Brown (so random).

Another group right across the aisle was Best New Artist nominees, Paramore. The lead singer definitely had bright pink hair and socks with her shoes.

For part of the show, Miranda Lambert was directly behind Nicole (with Blake Shelton).  Miranda is from the east Texas town, Lindale, and Nicole couldn’t muster up the nerve to tell her that her bf is from Gilmer. DANG!


Tom Hanks presented a lifetime achievement award to The Band, then quickly took a front row seat with his wife, Rita Wilson. They stayed the whole time. Rita especially jammed to the Sgt. Pepper performance at the end.  Also, Hanks wore these crazy cool glasses (black rimmed…) when people were performing. We ended up directly behind them at the end of the show (natch), and we all rocked out to the Cirque De’ Soleil finale.

J. Rabara snagged an aisle seat directly in front of Berry Gordy, founder of MoTown Records, right before the “Rhapsody in Blue” performance. Berry smiled at her and made eye contact while they were presenting him with a Lifetime Achievement award. He was quiet the flirt! And real random, he was seated next to Gayle King, Oprah’s BFF, and her date. Jennifer got to listen to them talk about what Grammy after parties they planned on attending that night. Even more random, Gayle wore sunglasses the entire show.

After Rihanna’s performance, she glided up an aisle right by us in her electric blue dress. She was just stunning in person!
 
For  the sake of time and space (and sanity), here are some quick bites on the rest of the folks we saw (in no particular order):

  • Jimmy Jam/wife and kids – all sat right behind Stori and right next to Nicole. His wife was freakin’ gorgeous.  She kept asking her kids if they saw “Daddy talking to Barry Bonds,” who was apparently on the other side of the auditorium.  Rough life.
  • Jill Scott was three seats away from Stori and MEGA rude to the seat filler in her seat. She said “Pardon me” once and when he didn’t move it came out like, “PAR-DON ME.”  Diva.
  • Busta Rhymes – Stori kept his seat warm for a commercial break
  • Usher and new wife Tameka Foster had a front row aisle seat, directly diagonal from Jessica’s third row aisle seat. She was very pretty, but looked old in person. Her ring was CRAZY big, talk about some bling!
  • The Rock-a-fella crew (Beyonce, Jay Z, Rhianna, Ne-Yo) were all at the show as well. Beyonce and Rhianna were so beautiful in person. Chris Brown did come over to give Rhianna a hug and a kiss and congratulate her for her win for “Umbrella.” Hmmm, wonder if those rumors about them dating are true?
  • During Brad Paisley’s performance, Carrie Underwood was standing up and really getting into it. So much so that she was yelling at the audience to get up, but nobody did L
  • Grammy Lawyer – Jess sat next to this guy for much of the show and he proceeded to tell her who won all the categories before it happened!
  • Keyshia Cole sat right across the aisle from us.
  • T-Pain we couldn’t miss because he had the most ridiculous colorful top-hat on!
  • Record mogul Clive Davis sat right across the aisle from J.Rabara. He stayed the whole show, yet seemed to sleep through over half the performances. When he was awake, he did talk to EVERYONE within close proximity to him.It’s weird seeing an 80-some-odd-year-old white guy walk up and have a conversation with Snoop Dogg.
  • Will.i.am walked right up the aisle from us. When he performed, Nicole, Stori & Jess were in the second row, so they turned around to watch him rap. J.Rabara was about 2 rows from the stage where he performed. He made eyes/gestures at a hot girl sitting right next to Gayle King so she laughed it up with Gayle & the girl during the performance. We could all see the lyrics on the teleprompter, so we sang along J.
  • Kanye West was sitting right next to Tom Hanks/Rita Wilson. We got an up-close shot of him when they were giving out the Album of the Year award (which he lost to Herbie Hancock). He went into major prayer mode, though I think it was (like most of his actions) an act.
  • Nicole, Stori, and Jessica ended up in The Beatles seats at the end of the show (next to Yoko Ono). By the end of the show, you’ve seen so many amazing people it doesn’t seem weird to ask, “Hey, have the Beatles left yet? Cool” and take their seat.  The Staples Center staff/random assistants were waiting on Yoko hand and foot and kept bringing her coffee/cream in a Styrofoam cup. When the show ended, J.Rabara joined us on the aisle and totally helped Yoko out into the center aisle (“she touched Yoko Ono!”).
  • Speaking of being anxious for the final award, in the row behind us, Foo Fighters waited anxiously for their name to be called. The drummer even had his feet in his chair with his knees to his chest.
  • Other sightings: Tia Carrere, Akon, Daughtry, Jamie Foxx’s brother (remember last year, Jess steared clear this time),  Ringo Starr, L.A. Reid, and Quincy Jones.  
 
Other L.A. Notables

Here are some quick hits about some of our other L.A. sightings:


  • While we were waiting for our table at The Ivy (definitely did NOT get kicked out this time), we saw Whitney Port from The Hills (you know her as LC’s buddy at Teen Vogue – the successful one). She could totally use a sandwich.
  • Driving down Santa Monica Blvd, we spotted a circa 1999 white Honda which was being driven by someone of Asian decent.  It was HIRO NAKAMURA, from the show Heroes!
  • Tried to get into the brand new bar, Villa.  No dice on Friday, but had an open invite the rest of the weekend by the manager. They kindly put our name on the list at Opera, instead.
  • Fake Britney at Opera was classic. Ask for a picture.
  • ZERO celebs on Robertson Ave. or Rodeo Dr. on Saturday… BOO!!!!
  • Ate at Ketchup on Saturday night and saw a look-alike for Vince Neil (Motley Crue). Strangely enough, he was also at the Grammys… Who is he??
  • We had plans on Saturday night to go to Goa.  Plans quickly changed when the owners of Les Deux invited us to go there instead. Seriously, we were totally approached by the CEO and Founder of the Dolce Group at Ketchup and personally invited to Les Deux. It was just like a movie; the velvet rope was lifted for us and we walked straight past a huge line of hopeful club goers trying to get in and got free drinks, as well!
  • At Les Deux, we saw Hillary and Haylee Duff, Beverly Mitchell (7th Heaven), Channing Tatum (Step Up, She’s The Man), Jenna Dewan (Step Up, The Grudge), Paula Abdul (OMG tiny!), Paula’s BF and part-owner of Les Deux, JT Torregiani, Mike Malin (Mike “Boogie” from Big Brother) – another part-owner of Dolce Group (Les Deux, Ketchup, etc)- ask Stori for a pic. We literally chased him through the club.

It was another great year, and we had the pleasure of exposing another newbie to this now infamous girls’ trip we’ve created.  Jessica’s sister, Jayne, saw the glitz, glamour (and not so glamorous) Hollywood experience. She was great!

The on-going joke is “this year is our last year.” However, I think we say that to ensure we have the best trip ever.  Seven years going and we haven’t stopped yet.  Until next time…

Friday, February 1, 2013

A family of boys!

As many of you saw on Tuesday, we found out that we are having another BOY!  I couldn't contain my excitement long enough to compose a blog post, so hastily posted to Facebook.  I do, however, want to capture what my emotions were that day and leading up to it.

When I was pregnant with Walt, I had absolutely zero inclination as to what we were having. To the point that when other moms around me were so sure of what they were having, I started to feel like I was missing some sort of motherly instinct or I was dreadfully out of touch with my body.  This time around, I thought it was a girl from the very beginning. No, not because I wanted or hoped for a girl (which I've now come to realize is half of that intuition I was missing with Walt), but the pregnacy seemed so different. I was noticeably more sick with Baby #2 and a whole slew of other things were happening:

1. I could tell I was carrying different. For a very long time (and maybe still, I don't know.. too afraid to try), I could still button low-lying pants (I would just have an unsightly muffin top spilling over).  With Walt, I stopped being able to button pants well before the first tri was over. This MUST mean I'm carrying higher, right??

2. The ol' necklace trick. You know, the one where you hold a gold necklace in the palm of your hand and depending on if it sways back and forth or side to side predicts the gender of all your kids? I have not done it WHILE pregnant, but did it a lot in college and it was always B, G, B, B. (Don't get excited, four kids freaks me the hell out... Not sure I can get on board with that).

3. Chinese Gender Chart. Again, not a reliable source of info, but it was right with Walt (and with a bunch of my other friends). It told me I was having a girl, and I believed it.

4. Everyone on the planet.  With the exception of a VERY small minority, literally everyone thought we were having a girl. Since I agreed, this just fueled my fire.

I did have a few doubts that started to creep in the last several weeks. First off, my morning sickness shut off like a light at 13 weeks.  I've almost (ALMOST) forgotten what a horrible feeling that is. I feel great and not a bit of that lingers. Now this is starting to feel more like Walt :)  Also, this baby is massive. Not that it's inconceivable to ferment a large baby girl, but I have inclinations that this baby is bigger than Walt (we all know how well my instincts have been)! Since day one the sono tech has been trying to tell me the baby is a week ahead of his EDD.  Trust me, he's not  :)

With all that said, as soon as we heard the word "boy" (or in my case, I saw it before I heard it), we were overjoyed. I just LOVE being the mom of one little boy and to get the chance to do it all over again with a little guy that sure to be different than Walt is so exciting.

Now, off to try and find a male name.... again.... :)