Friday, March 16, 2018

thanks a lot, simon cowell

our sunday funday continued after stopping off at home to change and hop back into the car.  this time we had the old lady's special friend with us for the drive to the pasadena civic center.  i'd snagged us some priority guaranteed seating tickets to a taping of one of "america's got talent" audition shows, and since we'd actually watched it last season we were excited to check it out.  the bean particularly enjoyed the show and the special friend had never been to a tv show taping before, so it promised to be a super fun afternoon.

there was a pretty good sized line to check in and pick up tickets, but it moved pretty quickly.

that was followed up with another super long line, but with assigned seating tickets in hand it was no biggie.

in case you didn't know, there's a chance you might end up on tv when you attend these things.

i knew they taped AGT here, but whenever i see this building i always think of "american idol."

we snapped these just before we got barked at by one of the security guys.  "no pictures on the stairs!"  sheesh.

it was warm and stuffy in there as we made our way upstairs to the balcony.

while we were up pretty high (and out of camera range, boo), we were right in the middle and had a great view of the stage and the judges' table.

and then we sat there.  and sat there.  and sat there.  the warm-up guy kept trying to perk everyone up with games and giveaways and stuff, but the crowd started getting belligerent as time ticked away and the show still wasn't starting.  we'd checked in at 3:00 with the show supposedly starting at 4:00, and then an announcement that it was pushed back to 4:45.  that came and went, and we got to watch a few acts rehearse and then they had us shoot some audience reactions - "okay, start with some soft clapping...louder!...more!...loudest you got!"  the bean had some fun with those parts and joined in the dance party even though there was zero chance she'd get on camera.

finally, the show started at 6:15. and as i'd predicted, the delay was due to simon cowell running super late.  he apologized to the audience, but i'm pretty sure his extreme tardiness resulted in us getting a shortened show.  i think we really only got to see 5 or 6 acts before the judges got up again, waved to the audience and exited the arena.  turns out there was another show scheduled for that evening, and they promised us all guaranteed seating again if we wanted to return for that taping.  alas, it was a school night and it was already too late for us by then anyway.

they're still taping, with tickets still available, but i think we've had our fill of AGT...for now.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

afternoon tea on a sunday morning

so you know how much the girls and i love to go to tea, right?  well, one of my favorite websites for pretty, girly clothing opened a brick & mortar store down in orange county in the last year or so, which i'd been wanting to visit to check out the merchandise.  and not too long ago, they also added on a cafe to the shop and announced an afternoon tea service.  as soon as they started taking reservations i hopped right on and snagged one for a sunday morning.

of course, i happened to choose the very same day as the tustin hanger 5K and half marathon.  they were reopening the streets up just as we drove in, but most of the street parking was still posted as unavailable.  and with the parking lot next to the shop marked specifically for the business across from it, we ended up having to park a couple of blocks away.  boo.

the shop looked super cute, and i was excited to browse through it after we'd enjoyed our tea service.

the cafe is pretty small, with a walk-up counter for coffee and pastries.

a good majority of the tables were marked as reserved, but it wasn't clear where we were supposed to go to check in.  we decided to wait in line at the counter, only to be directed to a girl in the corner who then directed us to another staffer who was carrying an iPad.  that was kind of annoying, but we were finally seated at a small table that was really made for two, but squeezed a third person on the side.  the place settings were very pretty and super girly, with a small vase of fresh lavender and this lovely chandelier overhead.

we glanced around and found that like dots cafe, this place is made for instagram...which lots of folks were taking advantage of.  that included a lady who carried her small dog in and snapped photo after photo of it sitting on a chair in front of the flower wall, and a couple who was doing a full-on photo shoot against the other floral wall by the door.

here's the menu for tea:

the bean opted for chai, and she said it smelled really good.

the old lady predictably went with the earl gray lavender.  she really is an old lady.

our tier arrived, with desserts at the top, scones in the middle and tea sandwiches at the bottom.

and after our initial frustration over the lack of organization at check-in, we were pretty happy with the level of service we received at the table and with the quality of the food.  everything was really tasty and the portions were perfect.  by the time we got to dessert, we were all feeling satisfied - not hungry anymore (which is how i often feel after these things), nor were we stuffed silly.  it was just right.

look how cute the little spoons were for the passionfruit panna cotta (not my favorite, which is shocking to you i'm sure):

and the earl gray macaron topped with the shop initials in edible gold leaf were about as perfect as a macaron gets - the shells were slightly crunchy outside but wonderfully chewy inside, and the filling was light and delicious.

you didn't think we were going to pass up the photo ops, did you?  come on now.

and while i loved a good handful of items in the retail shop, i don't have any upcoming occasions to wear any of it to.  so we just shopped and ooh'd and aah'd, and left with no shopping bags in hand.

later that day, my friend delovely details texted me to say she'd spotted us on the shop's instagram stories.  such a flattering photo of me.

would we go back?  well, we probably wouldn't make a special trip down there again just for it.  and when i order clothing from them online it comes pretty quickly, so i don't see myself heading down there again just to pick up something to wear.  but if we happened to be in the area or if i needed one of their pretty outfits in a hurry or something - well, you never know.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

learning all about book arts

we had a somewhat random outing with our girl scout troop last weekend, but other troop leaders on facebook really raved about it and so we booked it for our girls way back in october.  and like our last outing, it was a little far - out in carson, which was about a 45 minute drive for us.

the international printing museum is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the history of all things printed - books, posters, letterpress, etc. and houses a pretty extensive collection of antique printing and pressing equipment.  they do a "book arts day" a few times a year, where they set up stations for the girls to rotate around and learn about all kinds of things like making paper, screen printing, bookbinding.

after getting all of the girls checked in, we had them find seats together, picked one girl to be in charge of the lunch tickets and snack money, and then we bounced outta there to let them do their thing.

i took pictures of all the stuff we walked past as we headed back out of there.

it was a full day program - from 9-3 - which left us with all sorts of time to kill.  first on the agenda? breakfast, of course!  and i'd figured out that we were really close to somewhere super fun:

of course, being a saturday morning it was quite the hotspot between folks picking up baked goods for parties and others who were there for some grub, like us.  with a 25 minute wait for a table we wandered around the bakery section and checked out all the goodies.  i was super sad that there was not a single loaf of rainbow bread to be found:

but there were lots of other treats to buy.


we were seated in a nice booth towards the rear of the restaurant, and it didn't take too long for me to decide on what i wanted to eat.

my big island breakfast included two eggs, a serving of grilled spam and some super delicious french toast made with their famous hawaiian bread.  i gobbled it all up quite happily.

we spent the next few hours wandering around the local fashion plaza, where we walked off that breakfast and browsed through all of the fun stores.  and then when we got back to the museum we found that the girls were finishing up with their very last station and wrapping up their day.  they'd gotten to make several little books and notebooks, learned how to use a letterpress, created their very own personalized die that they even got to take home to use as a stamp, and screen printed a design on a t-shirt.

we were happy to see that the other leaders hadn't overhyped this outing at all - it seemed really well organized and kept the girls interested and engaged.  they were full of stories about their day on the way home, and showed us all of the stuff they got to work on.  the bean was happy that it was a day that wasn't run by older girl scouts - we've taken them to a couple of workshops that they were really bored at, and so i think this one made up for the suckiness of those.

it's hard to believe that our first year of being juniors is already winding down, what with cookie season over and just a handful of meetings left for the year.  there are going to be some changes for next year, ones that we still need to discuss with the parents, and it'll be interesting to see how it all goes down.  either way, we're going to continue scouting even with the shitty politics we have to deal with.  but we're going to figure out a way to make it bearable for everyone, and hopefully the girls will be none the wiser about it all.

gotta love being a grownup.
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