Monday, June 21, 2010

uncharted terriTORI

Mahina had heard through the grapevine that Tori Spelling was going to be having a book signing at the Barnes and Nobles at the Grove. Being the Tori and Dean fan that she is, this obviously meant that we would be attending said book signing. Being our first ever book signing, we were clueless as to how these things worked. Knowing that the book signing was at we cleverly decided that would be an appropriate time to arrive; best to get there early right? Wrong.

These book signings are a production. People had gone to the Grove earlier that morning specifically to get a wristband to avoid the afternoon line; this smells like trouble. Needless to say, despite our early arrival at we were in the standby group. Book signings have set number of meet and greets and it wasn't guaranteed that being in the standby group would get you a "John Hancock." But the word on the street was that Tori was a "great book signer" and would stay until the last fan got an autograph. Good news for us.

Being the adventurer that I am, I thought it wise to bring the dogs with us so that they could walk around the Grove while Mahina waited in line for a little bit to get her book signed; ya, that idea was out the window. So the dogs and I walked around for a little bit and then they went to hang out in the car (Don't worry people, parking structure + cool night = safe dogs).

Mahina quickly made friends with the people in front of us in line and was having a grand 'ole time chatting it up while I was left to fend for myself in a line that wasn't going anywhere fast. When Tori, Dean, the kids and the entourage arrived there was a lot of excitement and flash bulbs going off as the paparazzi and fans alike tried to snap a picture of the celebrity family. At they were on Letter J, by they were still on Letter J. Combine "celebrity-time" with kids and you've got a recipe for a late running show. We'd reached the point though where we had been in line for so long already that what was a little longer to get the book signed; turns out a little longer turned into another 2 hours. By the time Mahina had made it to the front of the line Dean and the kids had departed (a spectacle in and of itself), but Tori and her entourage including Mehran trudged on through the night. Mahina and Tori chatted about how Tori's nick name for Mehran is Mahina or Meenah. Sadly just a few minutes before both of our phones died so the picture of Mahina and Tori was taken by Mahina's new found friend in line and even more unfortunately we never got a copy of it.

But rest assured my feet and disdain for waiting in line at Barnes and Noble can attest to the fact that we spent a solid 5 hours in line at Tori's book signing. Lucky for me Mahina already had her eye on the next big book signing... Kendra Wilkinson.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Run for the Trees for the Amazon Foundation

Along with our quest to really "experience" Los Angeles, we have also decided to participate in Runs/Walk in the area to support good causes and to get back in shape.  Our first event that we signed up for was the 5K Run for the Trees for the Amazon Foundation.

The Amazon Foundation was established in 2009 to acquire and to preserve large tracts of the Amazon rain forest in their natural state in order to maintain its ecological function, biodiversity, and climatologic function and to protect the region's long-term ecological viability and to create global awareness for the cause via marketing campaigns and charitable events.  No, I did not come up with that sentence, it is their mission statement and on their website.

Overall, it was a great experience, and I say "great" loosely because I spent the rest of the day tired, sore, and napping in bed while Lucas was laying on the couch in his own pain.  Hahaha.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

One Year Anniversary - Cruise to Mexico!!!

The way we saw it, 365 days of marriage entitled us to a quick vacation. True to our recent vacation history we opted for a quick skip and a hop down to Mexico on a 3-day cruise stopping in Ensenada.

The Carnival Paradise departed LA on Friday the 11th and would ultimatly bring us back to reality early Monday the 14th. We got to Long Beach mid-afternoon and luckily beat the rush of people behind us to get onboard. Unlike on our honeymoon the embarkation process was a breeze with no technology issues to hold us up. The Paradise was essentially the same as the Victory that we sailed on last year just a bit smaller. Our cabin was the very front room on the port side, instead of a window our room came with 2 portholes lookng out onto the water. The portholes actually ended up being one of our favorite features of the room (the other being that the bed was two twin size mattresses pushed together - an ocean of room compared to our full sze bed).

We spent the first afternoon walking around the ship and just unwinding from a busy work week until it was time for dinner and for the ship to set sail. The trip wound up being our first experience eating with fellow passengers (last year they gave us a table for 2) and we wound up meeting some great people at our table: Nils and Katrina, from Utah, and Brooke and John from Fresno.

The only thing on our schedule for the weekend was a tour of the Bufadora (one of 3 blow holes in the world) and a tour of one of Mexico's oldest wineries, Santo Tomas. On the walk to see the Bufadora we came across a kiosk for an animal reserve in Mexico. As a gimmick for donations, they would allow you to take a photo with a baby lion or tiger ($20) or both ($35). Mahina and Brooke were in heaven at the idea of holding a tiger and a lion. Before they knew it they each had a baby lion or tiger in their arms, as John and I stood by with camera in hand.

We spent the rest of the morning checking out the winery and tasting an assortment of their wines. The winery has been producing award winning wine since the late 1800s and the winery is one of the only wineries to be run by a woman. We were able to not only try, but also buy some great wine.

Back on the ship, we all took advantage of the opportunity to just relax and unwind. The weather, while overcast for the entire trip, was still pleasant enough for us to enjoy the outside decks of the ship. That night we went to the ship's first show of the weekend which was loosely based on a western. Mahina also found and quickly became addicted to each evening's Bingo game. Although we never ended up winning any of the Bingo games we came pretty darn close.

Sunday, Mahina had found out about a backstage tour of the ship as our "at sea excursion." The tour took us through the kitchen, the laundry facilities, the engine control room, the bridge and also behind the scenes of the ship's performance stage. It was a great chance to see the behind-the-scenes of this huge cruise ship and get an insight into the day-to-day lives of the staff and crew on board.

Our weekend was a huge success for us - we got the chance to relax and enjoy ourselves for the weekend while celebrating our 1 year anniversary - and we got to meet some great new friends. Hopefully we'll be on our next cruise sooner rather than later.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Tim McGraw and Lady Antebellum Concert

Yes, we know what you are all thinking.  Another concert?  2010 has been the year of concerts for us on our quest to immerse ourselves in festivals, concerts and everything mainland/Los Angeles.  We know that at some point we will be moving back to Hawaii and won't get to do this stuff there.  Let's be honest, why would a country music artist come to the islands of Hawaii?

As for the concert, it was once again a great time! Like our Sugarland concert, we travel a ways to see them, all the way to the San Manuel Amphitheater.  A small band called Love and Theft opened the show with a surprisingly great set list to kick off the night.  Once Lady Antebellum hit the stage, the crowd went wild.  From start to finish, they were not stop energy and talent.  When they sang "Need You Now," everyone was on their feet screaming and singing all the words; I think even the band was surprised how "country" Southern California could be.

As for the main act, Tim McGraw did not disappoint.  He rocked the house all night to about 25 songs.  Lucas and I were surprised that he still had a voice after belting song after song like it was his first. My favorite part of the concert had to be when he slowed down the house and talked to the audience about buy his first guitar.  He was 18 when he pawned his class ring for a guitar so that he could not become famous, but to "get laid."  How Funny!  Lucas' favorite part of the show by far was when Tim McGraw sang "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John and brought on a little girl in the front section to dance with him.  It was a great night!