Thursday, October 1, 2009

"Hooray for Hollywood!" (subtitled: a great visit with my aunts)

So yesterday I told you about my visit with my dear friend Laura. Laura was with me as I celebrated my one-year anniversary of living in LA. But the celebrations and the fun of summer did not end with her visit! A couple days after she left, I was back at the Hollywood Bowl, with some friends from church, enjoying box seats at a production of the Berliotz Reqium - amazing. And then just a couple days after that, two of my aunts arrived for a week-long visit.

My dad, as some of you know, has six sisters. Well, the youngest 2 are about 10 years younger than the next oldest. Which means that they are only just over 10 years old than me. Gloria and Donna have often been more like big sisters (especially in my adulthood) than aunts, and we always have a good time when we're together.

This trip, they had booked a week at a resort in Anaheim (near Disneyland), so we split our time - about 1/2 in Orange County, and 1/2 up here. Glo and Don arrived on Saturday and came up to Westwood for just a little bit before heading down to their place. We had In-n-Out then I took them on a surprise field trip. I confidently put in a certain address into my aunt's GPS on her phone and we started off. I was a little surprised at where the GPS was taking us, but I had not been to the surprise destination before, so I wasn't 100% sure where we were going. I felt like maybe we were headed in the wrong direction, but I'm not an LA native, so we followed the GPS. And ended up at 1100 Venice Blvd. The wrong one. This is what it looked like:

This is what it was supposed to look like:Yes! I was taking them to "Rydell High" from Grease - which is actually Venice High School (about 4 miles from my apt - meanwhile we drove about 15 miles into East LA before realizing our mistake and driving alllll the way back). A funny start to the beginning of the trip!

On Sunday we had our first (of many) days at Disneyland! It was pretty busy and VERY hot, but we had a great time going on all the rides we could get to before we were just too blooming tired. I stayed overnight at their resort and we headed for round 2 the next day. Glo wasn't feeling well, so just Donna and I took in the park on Monday. Mondays and Fridays are great days at the park - hardly busy once school starts, so it was nice to have shorter lines. We finished the day by riding the rafting ride at California Adventure 3x in a row and then heading to the California Screamin' roller coaster for our last ride.
(Here we are with Sulley from Monster, Inc. at California Adventure)

Tuesday began the "Hollywood" portion of our visit! The gals drove up early to my apartment and we headed into Burbank for a tour of the Warner Bros. studio. We had a good time learning about how they make television and movies. We saw some famous sets (like the El train from ER, and Central Perk from Friends) and a great display of costumes (including a bunch of them from the Harry Potter movies). We also saw Zachary Levi (from Chuck) as we were driving on the lot.( at Central Perk from Friends!)

After the tour, we had tickets to see a taping of the Ellen Degeneres show. It was a really fun experience! The guests that day were Jennifer Aniston and the Dave Matthews Band!! We saw a short outdoor concert with the DMB and the whole audience recieved "Shake-It Weights" - which are a silly weight lifting system - you can check it out on the ellen website.

Later that night, we went back to Westwood for some good Chinese food (Mr. Noodle!) and were able to see Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart on the red carpet at the premiere of "Love Happens" - that was a fun finish to the night, even though we didn't get to get into the movie.

Wednesday and Thursday, Gloria and Donna hung out in Orange County and I spent the two days working. But Thursday afternoon, they came back up to LA and we drove to the Bonnie Hunt show in Culver City. I think this was even better than Ellen! Bonnie is so personable and after the show she actually came up and talked to the audience, shaking their hand and saying "Thanks for coming!" The main guest for the show was Queen Latifah and we all received copies of her new CD!! I was really excited that the week included getting to see Jennifer Aniston, Queen Latifah, Bonnie Hunt, Ellen, AND the Dave Matthews Band in person. What a week!

I drove down to Anaheim on Friday and the three of us took Disneyland by storm one last time. It was a really fun day - we did all the rides we really liked one more time. Very fun!

Saturday was "beach day" so we met up at Scotty's in Hermosa Beach for a fish - and -chips lunch and then walked on the beach a little bit. Afterward, we drove along beach blvd and ended up hanging out at a beach watching people practice hang gliding. It was a beautiful view, the people were nice, and it was really cool to watch them fly over the dunes. Later we drove into Redondo to see "Love Happens" - then headed home to rest up for our big Sunday plans.

Sunday was the last day of the visit, and we had saved our "coolest" thing for last. Gloria and Donna had gotten us tickets to sit on the bleachers at the red carpet for the Emmy awards. We got there after breakfast and were hoping for a cool day, but it was right in the middle of our heat wave - so it was hot as the sun out there! Once we got onto the bleachers, we got gift bags - including a little backpack from People magazine and an Emmy t-shirt! They also provided us with free water and coke. It was a long wait until things started happening, but soon celebrities had filled the red carpet and we could barely keep track of the people going by! Highlights for us: julia louis-dreyfuss, the cast of 30 Rock and the Office, bob newhart, jeff probst, among others. We were totally exhausted by the end, but it was totally worth it! We came back to the apartment, ordered some pizza and watched a little bit of the broadcast before the gals headed back to their hotel to get ready to fly out the next day.

(Our "Emmy's 61st" bleacher wristbands!)

(we were in the bleachers right near a giant Emmy statuette, and across from Nancy O'Dell and the Extra stage)

(Why yes, LL and Chris, I would love to accompany you into the theater. Oh, what was that, you already have families and were just looking at me in my beautifulness and saying "hello"? Well, then "Hello to you, good sirs")

It was a terrific visit full of great memories!! More pictures available on facebook, and I'll try to get an album posted here or on Flickr, too.