Monday, April 27, 2015

come on, big money, NO WHAMMIES!

back when we did the cinderella outing with the girl scouts, my co-leader and i had some time to sit and chat while on the train to union station.  we got onto the topic of game shows, and both said that we had tried out for various shows in the past.  when i was little, my parents took me to audition for a kids' version of an old show called "joker's wild."  later, i went to a tryout for "wheel of fortune" when they were casting for soap opera week.  and then my third strikeout was with the teen's dad, for a show i know we would have kicked ass at - "supermarket sweep."  she'd tried out for a few others, but had actually made it onto "let's make a deal" and won a washer and dryer.  luuuuuucky.

and so a couple of weeks later, when she texted me to ask if i was interested in teaming up with her to try out for a game show...well, duh.  she signed us both up and forwarded the email confirmation to me that very day.  we decided to go in our matching blinged-out troop leader t-shirts and headed out to burbank to see if we could go and impress some producers.

the audition was right across the street from the nickelodeon studios.

and we parked right in front of an elementary school bearing a very familiar name:

upon check-in, the staffer took some basic contact information from us and then snapped a quick headshot with her iPad.  we joined a growing line of excited pairs of hopeful game show contestants and then listened to another staffer as she explained what would be happening over the next hour or so.  the first hurdle was going into the building, meeting briefly with a show producer, introducing ourselves and telling the producer something super duper interesting about ourselves.  that would be the first cut, and i realized i had nothing to share.  i didn't have any idea what i was going to say, but i knew i could at least bring in a ton of energy and enthusiasm.  my co-leader and i are both ex-cheerleaders, so we knew we had that going for us at the very least.  heh.

my worries were unfounded when the producer took one look at our t-shirts and grinned.  "girl scout troop leaders, huh?  that sounds like fun."  and it just flowed easily from there.  phew.  we were stoked when we were instructed to go into the next room - which meant we'd cleared the first hurdle.  yay!

next, we sat down in a room lined with chairs and several tv monitors.  this is the only picture i snapped in there, because 1. i was nervous as hell, 2. i wasn't sure if i was allowed to take any at all, and 3. i was silently freaking out, wondering what was going to happen next.

the staffer who'd explained what to expect came back and started rearranging everyone.  we ended up sitting in the very last row, which was okay with me.  this meant we'd get to watch the others do whatever it was that we were going to be doing (and maybe learning what NOT to do).

but first, we were instructed to reach underneath our chairs and pull out clipboards to fill out a quick information form.  when we were done with that, we were given a quick pop culture quiz.  this was fun for me, and i was fairly confident that i'd gotten most of them right.  i can't remember the questions now, but i do know i wrote down answers such as joseph gordon-levitt, jack nicklaus, carmen electra, and j.d. salinger.  my confidence level went up a couple of notches after that part.

next, she started calling teams up to do a mock version of the show.  one person would be the clue giver and stand in front of a monitor that displayed the answers, and their partner would face them and try to guess what they were describing.  pretty standard game show fare, i'd say.

after each row was done, they would hear their fate - be released to go home or make an appointment for a callback.  this group casts for several different game and reality shows, so we were assured that even if we were sent home, our information would be reviewed for possible opportunities on other shows.  well, okay then.

by the time our turn came, the room was almost empty.  this made it a little easier for me, although in the back of my mind i was thinking about how i was going to handle it if we actually made it to a taping.  yikes.  and i thought we did well, jumping up and down, screaming, cheering, generally making a spectacle of ourselves while managing to guess each other's clues fairly easily.  and so we sat down and waited for the rest of the teams in our row to be done.

i'll give you one clue to guess what happened next:

that was a fairly lengthly questionnaire packet that asked all sorts of questions and contained a similarly long confidentiality agreement for us to complete and sign.  i, of course, waited until the morning of our callback to sit down and get through it all.

we had no idea what to expect for the callback.  when we arrived, the room was empty save for one team and two show staffers.  this time, we took a headshot together and then were instructed to "practice" the game using an app called "heads up."  neither of us had the app, so i sat down to download it.  except that by the time it was installed on my phone, we were being called in, and so we didn't get to practice even for a minute.  oh well.

the staffer led us into a small room with a purple backdrop, lots of lights and a camera.  we put on little clip-on microphones, stood in front of the camera, and got right to it.  she asked us to introduce ourselves and then explain how we knew each other.  she asked us a few questions about being girl scout troop leaders, what kinds of things we did with the girls, what we ourselves got out of the experience.  she'd instructed us to show a ton of energy and excitement, and so we were jumping up and down and flailing arms all around, pretty much like the crazies you see on shows like "the price is right."  then she had us play the game again, taking turns giving clues and guessing, and then she had us work as a team to guess from clues she gave to us both - kind of like a lightning round.

you guys, we rocked that callback.  she said that we'd did an awesome job (although hopefully she doesn't say that to everyone, amirite), told us that if we were chosen we could expect a call in may, and sent us on our merry way.  the whole thing had taken half an hour, and we were excited and on a crazy adrenaline rush the whole way home.  although we did make one stop, because we were there and why not?

i mean, what better way to celebrate a successful game show audition than with cheese rolls, potato balls and a cuban sandwich from porto's?

and so now we wait.  we felt really confident about it, and hopefully we'll get that call.  i may have dropped enough clues throughout this post to tell you which show we were going for, but i'm not 100% sure if i can confirm yet - we'll have to wait until we either hear from them...or not.

cross your fingers for us.  i sure could use ten grand in my life.

Friday, April 24, 2015

oh, for the love of lilly

oh, target.  how i love you with your endless aisles of fantastic merchandise and your $100 minimum cover charge.  i do so much of my shopping at target, from groceries to toiletries to fun tees and everything in between.  and when they announced a collaboration with lilly pulitzer, she of the brightly patterned clothing originally designed to camouflage the stains from the juice stand she was working at, i marked my calendar for the release date.  this stuff is insanely popular on the east coast, but i had no idea if anyone in my sleepy town would have any interest in it.

with the hub off at an event with the lounge, the teen out with her special friend and the bean sound asleep, i sat in front of the computer on saturday night browsing through the online lookbook and creating a favorites list.

reading the tweets hashtagged #lillyfortarget was really entertaining, and it was really amusing to watch people get all bent out of shape over it all.

(as if you could compare a $30 dress at target to a $200 one from the full LP line)

this is one of my pet peeves, though.  instead of typing this crap on twitter, take your ass to google and figure that shit out for yourself.

although as time ticked away and no upload was happening, i started to get a little antsy myself.  predictions based on previous collaboration releases had placed the upload somewhere between midnight and 2am my time.  some folks were doing some serious sleuthing and finding a few items being released early, posting the links on twitter.  i found a couple of the things on my wish list and placed orders as they came available, which is probably cheating, but hey - all's fair in love and lilly, apparently.  target was clearly feeling the heat, based on these tweets:

the most frustrating thing was when the line was supposedly available for shopping, but when i'd place items into my cart and prepare to check out, they'd magically disappear.  this happened several times to me (and countless others, from what i could see), and then i'd get this:

although this looked promising, the item never actually made it into my cart.

oh, and this screen was also a favorite:

before the site completely froze up and gave me this:

i kind of felt bad for whoever was keeping an eye on their social media people, who must've dreaded hitting "send" on this tweet.

the hub was expressing his amusement over my antics that evening via text.  "did you win yet?" he asked.  bah.  it was nearly 2am and no, goshdarnit, i most certainly was NOT winning a damn thing.  after constant refreshing of the website with nothing happening and dozing off in my chair a couple of times, i finally threw in the towel and went to bed.  although the stupid competitive streak in me kept waking up every now and then, which had me pulling out my phone to see if anything had changed.  the website finally became shoppable somewhere around 4am, but i'd missed it and of course, everything i wanted online was completely sold out.  so instead, when my internal alarm clock went off at 6:45 like every other morning, i, up and tiptoed out of the house.  yup, i sure did.

as i pulled up to my local target on that beautiful sunday morning, i found nothing even remotely close to the pictures people were posting online of lines 100+ deep.  nope.  here in soCA, where lilly isn't really a household name, there was this:

first in line, yo!  hahahahahaha.

not long after i sat down, i was joined by a couple of other lilly for target hopefuls.  we started chatting about the craziness that had brought us out to shop at that early hour, compared notes on our online experience, went over our wish lists.  some were there shopping for friends and family on the east coast, and it was kind of fun waiting together for the doors to open.  

finally, at exactly 8:00, they did.

while the selection wasn't as vast as what i'd hoped for, there was a fairly decent number of items to pick from.  i plucked a handful of things (okay, a bunch of stuff) off of the racks in my size and then headed off to find some things for the bean.  the home goods section was way back in the furthest corner of the store, so when i found it there was still a good amount of merchandise available.

i didn't really see anything that i thought i could make actual use of - i just don't need $25 beach towels and don't really think the hub would let me put up a brightly colored patio umbrella or hammock.  nor did i really want the admittedly super cute plates and bowls, especially not at $30 for a set of 4.  i know that isn't particularly expensive, but i wasn't going to snatch them up simply because they were there.  and that way the folks who really did want them would hopefully still be able to take them home.

since i had time, i headed off to the dressing room to make sure that the things i wanted actually fit me.  i ended up with a couple of things that i wasn't too crazy about, and as i headed back towards the racks i ran into one of the ladies i'd chatted with at the door.  i asked her if she was interested in any of the things i was putting back, and she happily took one of them off my hands as she offered up her unwanted items.  when i got back to the front of the store, the racks looked quite a bit worse for wear:

i had to laugh when i saw this shirt, so appropriate for the occasion:

and when i passed the beauty section, i noticed that there were some things there too:

when i got home, the bean was awake and wondering where i'd been.  well, more accurately, she was surprised that i wasn't dressed in workout clothes and sweating my ass off.  but when i told her where i'd been and started pulling things out of the bags for her to try on, the smile that spread across her face made it all worth it.  

fashion show time!

 look at the cute detail on the zipper.  love it.

my own haul was just as satisfying.

and i managed to pick up a set of mugs for my friend lilcee.

while a lot of people would call the lilly collaboration a giant flop - not enough supply, way too much demand, and a website that leaves a lot to be desired - i'd call it almost genius.  there are a ton of people who had no idea who lilly pulitzer was before this week, and i'm willing to bet that there's been a lot of traffic on her website and in her stores.  

and for the jerks who stampeded into the store, swept entire racks into their cards, and promptly went home to list it all on eBay - well, i just hope that the vow many have taken not to touch your listings will hold up.  you've got about a week left before you can return things back to the store, and i hope those listings go unsold and you end up having to slink your sorry asses back into target to get your money back.  and maybe the folks who really wanted these things will get to snap 'em up at the actual retail price vs. the inflated numbers you hoped to get.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

bookin' it

we've managed to make the l.a. times festival of books a yearly tradition by now.  it's always a fun outing, with lots to see and do.  i actually hadn't planned on attending this year because we originally had planned to hit up the renaissance faire with the girl scouts, but with a lack of interest we ended up canceling the outing altogether.  this was fine by me, because i didn't really want to miss the festival anyway.

it took just one text to my friend lilcee and just like that, we were there.  as it's been for the last few years, it was at her old stomping grounds - the campus of usc.

as luck would have it, the entrance we used dumped us right into the children's area.  the first booth we visited was - of course - sponsored by disney.

here we collected a captain america poster that i don't know what we'll do with, and something that proved to be quite valuable as the afternoon went on - a round baseball-shaped towel advertising last year's "million dollar arm."  because you know me - put me out in the sun and i'm sweaty betty.  it was perfect.

a booth for mrs. nelson's book fair was next.

i always think of my friend jessica whenever this guy is mentioned.  i wonder if she knew he was going to be making an appearance here.

i considered picking this book up for the bean - kind of like a starter version of the diary of anne frank.  i didn't, but only because i wasn't ready to start carrying too much stuff around just yet.

besides, she was distracted by the sight of the ice cream carts that we kept coming up on.

at this booth, she and mini cee got to spin a wheel, complete the activity that they landed on, and earn a prize.

 a booth sponsored by mcdonald's offered up some cool treats - sample cups of their mango pineapple and strawberry banana smoothies.

we all stopped in at this booth to get a free weight/BMI/blood pressure check.

the bean wasn't all too sure about this one, but she sat down and suffered through it anyway.  that face, man.  kills me.

the oc fair is apparently celebrating its 125th year.  i had no idea the fair was that old.

around the corner, they stopped to make a quick craft.

the cooking stage section was really sparse.  the stage was tiny, and there wasn't much to see.  but just a little ways away was the food truck court.

the pantages theater booth didn't have much, but they were promoting the crap out of the upcoming "phantom of the opera."

we each grabbed more freebies here:

and stood in this line for a few minutes before deciding it wasn't worth it and heading back out to the parking lot to get outta there.

only at usc would they have a beach volleyball court.

oh, and across the street we stumbled upon a major spoiler for this season of "hell's kitchen."  don't look if you don't want to know.

while it was fun, it was slightly disappointing this time around.  it seemed smaller, with less to do and not as many vendors and things to visit.  that's okay, though.  we'd still had a good time hanging out and checking things out, and maybe next year it'll be better.  we'll see.
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