A Typical SoCal Weekend

I had to put a hold on my REWIND series to talk about my fabulous weekend.

Saturday, July 26

Before I begin the lowdown, I must give a shoutout to my spectacular mother!  It was her birthday on Saturday!!  Unfortunately I couldn’t spend the day celebrating with her because I’m obviously in LA and she’s back home in Upstate NY.  So my mom decided instead of staying home, to spend her birthday and the days leading up to her birthday in Maine with some dear family friends.  She’s one special gal and deserved all the best for her birthday and from my understanding, she spent her day doing things she loves with people she loves.  What more could you ask for?

In addition to it being my mother’s birthday, it was also National Dance Day!  Every year when Nigel Lythgoe promotes it on So You Think You Can Dance, I imagine how fun it would be to actually be there to celebrate it in LA with Nigel and SYTYCD alum.  So when the time came around and they began mentioning it on the show, I just knew I had to go!  It took place at Grand Park in downtown LA, which was perfect because a group of people from the program I’m in were planning on going to Carroll Avenue, which happens to be only 5 minutes from the park.

Carroll Ave is used in several TV shows and movies as a filming location because of the massively beautiful victorian houses that exist there.  It was the perfect location for Charmed, a TV show I grew up watching.  The street itself has character as well as a subtle charm with a San Francisco feel to it, which is naturally why one of the houses was chosen as the exterior of the sisters’ house in the show.  Upon arriving at the house, a man who lives there was sitting on the 2nd floor porch reading the paper, so it was definitely awkward approaching the house as a group of 5.  As we got closer, without a blink or any facial movement, he crawled back into his house through the window, as a turtle would into his shell.  It seemed incredibly second nature, so I’m assuming he is completely used to outsiders observing his house that is doesn’t even phase him.  I almost felt bad.  I sure as hell would not want unfamiliar people coming to observe my house, but at the same time it’s what you signed up for and agreed to when you bought the house.  The second we were done taking pictures and began walking away, from the corner of my eye I saw him crawl back out from the window and onto the porch.  Next up was the house used in the music video for Michael Jackson’s Thriller.  Pretty neat to say I’ve walked on the same land MJ has walked on.

Charmed House

Thriller House

Back to National Dance Day!  When Dana and I arrived, I could easily feel the warmth, both literally and figuratively.  It was one of the hottest days I’ve ever encountered here and being in a crowd of people is not ideally how I picture spending days such as this one, especially when you’re drenched in sweat and smell like rotten eggs, however I was surprisingly able to deal with all this…anything for National Dance Day!  Figuratively, the energy was warm and inviting.  Everyone was happy and frankly just excited to be there celebrating dance!  Dance is as universal as you can get.  It’s a form of language human beings share across all cultures and societies and my best assumption as to why National Dance Day is so highly regarded.  Cameras were everywhere!  A camera guy approached me and asked if he could see those boots in action!  Unfortunately, I didn’t make it in the footage Wednesday night.  The event consisted of doing the choreographed beginner’s and advanced routines a couple of times and watching actual dance groups perform.  Much to my surprise, the girl who sings the song for the beginner’s routine even came out for a mini performance, which only ingrained that song in my head even more.  Her song is called “Too Cool to Dance,” so when the song ended, she proceeded to prompt us to yell, “we’re not too cool to dance!”  Needless to say, I did not yell that…it crossed the line a little too far for me.  On that note, there was one exercise that involved forming weird shapes with your body with complete strangers and I’m pretty convinced this was the universe’s way of getting back at me for forcing my freshmen orientation groups to do odd ice breaker games.  Back on topic, of course Nigel was there as well as 2 of my all time favorite alum, Ade Chike Torbert and Cyrus!  As always, they were great.  Cyrus even came out and danced for us!  It was the perfect way to spend my Saturday afternoon.  Being there in person was far better than watching the footage on TV; it definitely did not disappoint.

Grand Park
Grand Park
The film crew is on the left!
The film crew is on the left!
Nigel Lythgoe doing the beginner's routine himself
Nigel Lythgoe doing the beginner’s routine himself
Cyrus and Ade Chike
Cyrus and Ade Chike

Following National Dance Day, we topped it off with a trip to The Grove.  After eating lunch at this fancy pizza place, we did some unnecessary shopping and each got a few things.  I finally found the perfect dress for the Teen Choice Awards!  It’s a beautiful, tight fitting white dress.  Seeing as how my body isn’t going to change much within the next decade, I figured I may as well buy it for the TCA and have it for many other occasions to come.

TCA dress from Top Shop
TCA dress from Top Shop
This made its way onto my dream list of things to have!  Unfortunately the pricing was far too much out of my range.
This made its way onto my dream list of things to have! Unfortunately the pricing was out of my range by far at this stage in life.

Sunday, July 27

With a group of friends from the internship program I’m in, we headed to Huntington Beach for the Vans US Open of Surfing!  To be honest, I had never heard of this event before and had absolutely no idea how massively popular it is.  Apparently it wasn’t as crowded as it typically is, but then again, it was only the first day with about a week more to go.  There were tents everywhere with sweet merch!  There was even a Paul Mitchell tent with legitimate hairdressers there cutting people’s hair and styling.  Another tent was promoting People Water, which happens to be Bachelorette star, Jef Holm’s company.  I was secretly crossing my fingers hoping he’d be there, but unfortunately he was not.  The surfing itself was exciting to watch and all we could do was sit there in awe wondering how you even get to that level.

My friend, Emaleigh, from SUNY Fredonia Enactus just moved to Orange County for a job and doesn’t live far from Huntington, so she met us there!  It was great to see a familiar face, but also strange seeing someone so out of context from the usual surroundings.

Vans Surf Open


Vans Surf Open 2

Enactus reunites!  Em and me posin
Enactus reunites! Em and me posin

My weekend definitely fits the typical SoCal stereotype.  Hey, every bit of it was great though.  I sure hope you all had beautiful weekends and hope you have wonderful things planned for this upcoming weekend!

Until next time,



REWIND Day 3 & 4

Thursday, June 18

Ahhh yes.  It has finally come time to write about Mr. Jimmy Kimmel.

But first, the day began with a pleasant bike ride down to the beach via the Marina del Rey bike trail.  It’s a trail exclusively for bikers, walkers, and runners…no cars allowed!  Despite the fact that the bike I was using was unbalanced due to the loose handle bar, the bike ride was great!

This was pre-bike ride, you should have seen me after because I sure as hell did not look like that!
This was pre-bike ride, you should have seen me after because I sure as hell did not look like that!

After mom and I got cleaned up and pretty, we headed off on our adventure to the La Brea Tarpits!  We had heard from a couple of people that it is a must-go-to spot in LA, so we figured we’d check it out.  Instead of following the tour and hearing their random fun facts, we decided to escort ourselves around, which is quite typical of us.  It honestly did not live up to our expectations and the smell of tar was horrendous.  All in all, it was a cool place to go, but definitely only a one time thing in my book.

Here's a taste of the museum, it was essentially a lot of exhibits of labeled bones.
Here’s a taste of the museum, it was essentially a lot of exhibits of labeled bones.

Finally it was Jimmy time!!  Let me sum it up for you.  You wait, wait some more, wait even more in the hot sun, finally move inside, get to go to the bathroom, wait yet again, then be seated to yes…wait.  Luckily my patience is better than most, but it was a long, long process.  I don’t exactly think my mother was amused, but I at least enjoyed the show once it started.  We were seated in the 3rd row, so we got a spectacular view of everything going on including Cleto’s band and the production aspect of it all.  During Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue I literally could have stood up, reached out my arm, and touched him.  Did I do it?  No.  Why?  Because we were told by the audience coordinator that the security guards are quick on our feet, so if we try jumping up and running, we will get caught.  Needless to say, I didn’t want to end this magnificent day being dragged out of a talk show, not to mention I would have looked like a crazy person.  My main point in all of that jumble, was he was that close to us!  On this particular night, the guests were Eric Bana and Tony Parker.  They were extremely handsome in person!  It’s a shame they’re both 10+ years older than me and already married.

As you can probably imagine, Jimmy Kimmel has an entire team of workers getting paid to maintain the audiences’ energy and enthusiasm throughout the show.  I’ve been on a talk show before, so I understand how it works, but it always amazes me how much they rely on the audience for a solid show.  Before the taping started, they made a point to tell us that when they announce Jimmy Kimmel and he runs out and hits his mark for the monologue, we’re supposed to clap, cheer, scream, and whistle continuously for a good 10 seconds after he has hit his mark.  They really almost manipulate us in order to make Jimmy look popular and well-liked by the audience.  It completely makes sense, I just find it a bit silly and tacky.

The one thing I was left unsatisfied about, along with the waiting, was that Jimmy interacted with the audience at a bare minimum.  During the first break was the only time he even acknowledged our existence.  I understand that he does tapings on a regular basis and I’m sure he gets hounded with people desperately wanting to talk to him every waking second, but my perspective, is you shouldn’t completely ignore the people who first of all, are big fans and are there to see you, second are making you famous by religiously tuning into the show, and third, as a result, are making you filthy rich.

If you can handle all of the waiting, I definitely recommend going to any taping if you get the chance because it is a great experience.  I don’t know if I’d personally ever see Jimmy again because I’m not a diehard fan that watches him daily, however Ellen is for sure on my bucket list of things to do.  In fact, we were planning on seeing Ellen, but couldn’t manage to get tickets because she’s off for a few months on vacation.


Following the show, we grabbed a bite to eat at the Hollywood and Highland Center, then briefly strolled down Hollywood Blvd to the Grauman’s Chinese Theater.  Up until this point, I had only ever driven past it, so it was thrilling being able to see the hand & footprints of people I grew up watching, in person.  My absolute favorites were the Harry Potter & Twilight celeb prints…big shocker there, right?

IMG_3246 IMG_3247


Friday, June 19

Art is one of my mom’s passions, so what better way to spend the day, than to drive to the Pasadena Convention Center and attend the Contemporary Crafts Market!  It’s not something I would have chosen to do on my own, but I was more than happy to go and have fun doing something my mom enjoys so much.  It ended up being a blast and although a lot of the art wasn’t my cup of tea, it was still interesting to see the artists’ work and speak with them about it.  It was inspiring for my mom to see what other people are doing with their art to elevate it to the next level and she was able to gather some ideas for her own art.  She even met a woman who does art extremely similar to hers and found her to be an inspiration.


We choose to eat at a cafe not too far from the Convention Center and as always, our meal was delicious.  Based on what we saw, Pasadena is a lovely area!  Without a question it’s definitely hotter in temperatures because it’s further inland and this became quite apparent while we walked around the outdoor mall.  Driving back, we decided to go through Culver City because we drove through it the day before and thought it’d be a neat place to walk around and explore.  The overall consensus was that it’s a perfect location to pick a restaurant to eat at, but it’s not so much a great place to walk around, only because Culver and Washington Blvd primarily consist of restaurants, therefore there really isn’t much to see or do.  Although there are restaurants at Abbot Kinney as well, Abbot Kinney definitely still wins this one.

Stay tuned for the last of the REWIND series (Day 5).  By now, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Day 5 was filled with a trillion things just like every other day so far.

Until next time,



Wednesday, June 18th

This day was jam packed like no other!  We explored a wide range of places within the Los Angeles area starting with the farmer’s market in Santa Monica.

Santa Monica:  Our two hosts, Michael and Tara, suggested this farmer’s market specifically because of its popularity and wide range of selections.  They also mentioned that this is the market a lot of chefs enjoy going to, so we instantly knew it must be good.  Being a Rochester, NY native, we understand what a good market looks like because ours is one of the best in the state, so it is safe to say our expectations were set high.  We arrived at the location (Arizona & 2nd) and were welcomed by swarms of people.  After being forced into the parking lot because of the lack of spots available on the side of the road, we entered the market and I was immediately drawn into the lively energy and pleasant smells.  There was everything from blossoming artichokes to home grown organic almonds.  My mom couldn’t get enough of those almonds!  I have to admit, they were splendid.  All in all, the market was a hit.  Before heading off on our next adventure, we walked along Ocean Ave and I got my first peek at the famous Santa Monica pier.  I knew I’d be back plenty throughout the summer, so we didn’t walk too far.

Santa Monica   Farmer's Market

This is the blooming artichoke!
This is the blooming artichoke!

Panorama of Santa Monica

Behind me to the left is the Santa Monica pier
Behind me to the left is the Santa Monica pier

Venice:  Back to Venice we went for yoga in the park, which is an all-time favorite Californian pastime!  It takes place daily in the small park adjacent to the Whole Foods in Venice.  Hands down, it still makes the top of my list as one of the best things I’ve done in California so far.  Tawney is the spectacular instructor!  Throughout the session, she would periodically make comments, like most instructors do, but hers were pearls of wisdom.  One thing in particular struck a chord with my mom and me, she stated, “the only thing preventing us from doing what we want to do is our own ego.”  A few words to sum up this experience:  freeing, moving, spiritual.

Tawney is one of the founders for a foundation that promotes a lifestyle where you always have the opportunity to be on vacation.  It’s called Live like You’re on Vacation, check it out!

Beverly Hills/UCLA:  Our next stop was to check out the place I’d be interning at for the summer.  It’s a small company with large clients.  However, because they’ve chosen to have a small office, they ultimately decided to work from home.  When we entered the neighborhood, we knew from our surroundings that I’d be working at a beautiful house this summer.  Sure enough, it is!  It’s absolutely fabulous and a great work environment.  Following this, we took a short drive up to UCLA to see the apartments I’d be living in for 8 weeks.  The doors were locked and all we could really see was the lobby, so instead we decided to venture into Westwood and discover the cute village I’d be spending lots of time in this summer.  I had my first experience with the oh so popular Coffee Bean and it was good, but it didn’t blow me away.  It quickly dawned on me that the walk from my apartment into Westwood was no short walk in the park or, in other words, nothing at all what I’m familiar with living in a small college town.

Malibu:  The day does not end yet!  I convinced my mom into a spontaneous drive up to Malibu!  The drive was unimaginably breathtaking, but not at all like we expected.  Malibu is spread out across a long stretch of windy roads; there’s no actual centralized part of town, which I found odd, but it sure did have that elegant, exclusive feel to it.  The beach was exceptionally clean and well-kept.  Probably one of my favorite beaches that I’ve been to thus far.  Dinner was great, I had one of my favorites (fish tacos) at The Sunset Restaurant.  My mom had this flatbread dish, which she found out of this world and adamantly said, “I’m going to replicate this at home!”

Malibu Beach Malibu Beach 2

After the drive back to Marina del Rey, I’m pretty sure we collapsed in bed and watched House of Food until we passed out from exhaustion.  My friend from college, Harrison, was one of the cast members and after I saw his Facebook post revealing that he won, I decided I had to catch up on the season.  Watch him dominate the show here!

Check back for Day 3, which I’ll be posting shortly!  You’ll get to hear about our Jimmy Kimmel Live experience and more.

All my best,


What We Know About the MH17 Crash

First there was a missing plane, now it’s a plane shot down by demonic people consumed with hate.  Absolutely heartbreaking, but if there is any light to this situation, it would be the fact that we know the truth for all 295 families, as opposed to the missing plane that has disappeared into the abyss.


Here’s what TIME knows about Malaysian Airlines MH17 and how it crashed:

  • Malaysia Airlines tweeted that the flight’s last known position was over Ukrainian airspace.
  • The flight crashed near the town of Torez in the Ukrainian region of Donetsk.
  • The Boeing 777 was carrying 295 passengers and crew when it crashed. There have been no reports of survivors.
  • Ukraine officials say that the plane may have been shot down by Russian-made weapons.
  • A leader of the pro-separatist group in Ukraine told TIME that rebels did not shoot the plane down, although they have the capability.
  • Both President Obama and Ukrainian President Poroshenko have called for investigations of the crash.

More on the story as it develops.

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It’s no secret that summer has hit its halfway mark and that I’ve already been in LA for about 4 weeks now.  My intention was to blog consistently throughout my entire journey here, but I just never took the time to set it all up and learn WordPress.  Instead I’ve been doing my best to remain present in the moment, soak up every experience possible, and remember it all so I’m able to accurately recount each moment.  As you can probably imagine, I now have endless amounts of adventures ready to be written here and published.  Recently my two suitemates, Kristen and Tessa, have become active bloggers themselves and have inspired me to actually begin posting and documenting my journey.  Kristen’s blog is A Blonde Movie Critic and Tessa’s is A Brunette With Baggage.  You should definitely check them both out and follow them!

I’ve decided, the days I spent with my mom prior to moving into the program each deserve their own post.  Far too much was condensed into these 5 days where one post briefly summarizing it all, would simply not do it justice and on the other hand, one long post would just be obnoxious and would probably end up being 10 pages!  Each day was beautiful and exhilarating in its own way and I cannot wait to finally relive the adventures we had by writing about it.

Tuesday, June 17th

My wonderful mother and I departed Rochester early in the morning.  We arrived at LAX with no difficulties (aside from spilling oatmeal ALL over my lap in the airport) and it quickly became apparent to me that this adventure was a) getting off to a great start (minus the oatmeal incident) and b) going to be one of the best experiences of my life thus far.

The first thing we did was check into our Airbnb “bed and breakfast” in Marina del Rey.  No question about it, my mom and I usually prefer using Airbnb because for 1) it’s affordable and 2) it’s the best way to immerse yourself in the culture without sticking out like a sore thumb as an obvious tourist.  Not to say I don’t enjoy a high class resort once in a while, but most of the time it’s nice to blend in and do what the locals do.  Upon arrival, we could immediately sense the warmth and friendliness exuding from the house and knew we had scored big.  We have experienced a not-so-great Airbnb before, so it was relieving to know our temporary home for the next couple of days was going to be an experience worth sharing.  In a few posts, I’ll talk more about our interactions with Michael and Tara, the kind, gentle couple who lived there.

Because we left Rochester at the crack of dawn and because of the drastic time difference, we had the entire second half of the day to roam the area.  Venice got our business that night when we ate at this cutesy, Mediterranean restaurant on the boardwalk, called Med Cafe.  Hands down, it was some of the best falafel I have ever eaten!  We spoke with some amiable locals, who could not have been kinder, and they gave us recommendations of places to go in the area.  Abbot Kinney Blvd was high on their list, so following dinner, mom and I ventured a few streets over to check it out.  It literally, was one of the coolest places ever.  I have grown a strong affinity for Abbot Kinney and it has quickly become one of my favorite spots in all of LA.  It’s basically one long street full of boutiques, art, coffee shops, retail, and restaurants with a cool, bohemian vibe.  TOMS was one of my favorite stores at AK, although I am a little biased because TOMS is one of our clients.  But really, who doesn’t like an earthy, organic retail store filled with TOMS products and a place with a positive ambiance?  It was a big score in my book and I discovered it to be a great hang out place to relax and recharge.


The view from the outdoor seating area
The view from the outdoor seating area
I ordered the falafel platter and it couldn't have been more tasty!
I ordered the falafel platter and it couldn’t have been more tasty!

Abbot Kinney Blvd

One of our clients for my internship is TOMS, so of course I had to go check out the store...it was awesome!
One of our clients for my internship is TOMS, so of course I had to go check out the store…it was awesome!

We also walked along the Venice beach, which was pretty neat.  There are a lot of interesting characters in Venice.  It’s a great place to go during the day, but definitely a place to avoid at night.

Well that’s a wrap for Day 1!  It was an incredible way to spend my first day in LA.  The only way I can describe it is absolute bliss.  Time sure is flying by though, I can’t believe all this took place exactly a month ago today.


Stay tuned for Day 2!  It involves a farmer’s market, yoga in the park, UCLA, Malibu, and everything in between.


All my best,