Friday, February 17, 2017

weeknight westside adventure

we finally got to have our first date night of the year!  we secured our sitter for the evening (the old lady) and then totally forgot about actually planning out what to do.  the hub isn't much of a concertgoer, nor does he like comedy shows, and so we thought maybe we'd try out one of those fancy movie theaters with plush reclining chairs where they serve you dinner and drinks.  except that they were completely sold out for the night, not to mention that there wasn't a single flick we were particularly interested in seeing.  and so we hopped in the car and started heading out to the west side.

after deciding that steak wasn't really an option since we'd already feasted on that for valentine's day the night before, we looked up other ideas.  then he suggested somewhere we've been to just once, a bazillion years ago for my birthday two weeks before the bean was born.  and so we found ourselves in beverly hills.  we even managed a quick drive down rodeo drive.


i don't know what's here now, but it's always going to be the reg/bev/wil from "pretty woman" to me.


here's where we ended up:



 there were even dranks involved!


just like the last time, we were seated at a table that was so close to the other tables next to us that it required the host to pull it out so that i could have a seat.  it was almost exactly where we'd been seated the last time, when my belly was so huge that the other diners looked at me in horror as i squeezed past.


we perused the menu and decided to go for the "mr. chow" level of the semi prix-fixe options.


we chose the spare ribs and salt & pepper prawns for our first course.  both were disappointingly dry and bland.



we did giggle a little at these little water bowls that appeared next to our plates, as the hub picked it up and pretended to take a sip from it.  the waiter looked at me in alarm and pantomimed cleaning his fingertips in it, and then we cracked up as he walked away.


this was the crab and steamed sea bass.  also a bit on the bland side, but not terrible.


on the side we had mushrooms and shrimp fried rice.


a chef came out at some point behind us and did a really cool noodles demonstration.  it was pretty fun to watch and kind of reminded me of pulling taffy.  heh.


we opted out of dessert as it was super loud in there and we just wanted to get out for some quiet.  a quick look at yelp brought us to westwood, where we grabbed some treats here:



where else can you get delicious ice cream sandwiched between two freshly baked cookies plus four more cookies for $4.50?  so great.


because the old lady had teased us about how we got home at 9:00 the last time we went out on date night, we were pretty proud of ourselves when we rolled in at 11 and she was already fast asleep.  ha!

now i need to start looking around for ideas so we can plan the next date night.  we live in southern california, you wouldn't think it'd be so tricky to figure this shit out...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

hearts, spoons and asparagus

valentine's day was, as it usually is, a pretty low-key holiday around here.  i mean sure, in years past i've done decorations or heart-shaped treats and little gifts and things.  and while i still love a day to celebrate love, the enthusiasm has waned a bit as the years go by.  geez, i sound about a thousand years old, don't i?

the bean got to have free dress day at school, which was good considering i'd bought her a cute cat & jack outfit from target weeks ago.  the dress is pretty long so you can't see, but her leggings say "LO" and "VE" across the knees.


i even busted out my old braiding skillz (with a refresher tutorial courtesy of youtube) and did her hair like this:


i think i've worn this same shirt on valentine's day for the last few years.  it's comfy and appropriate.  and because i felt like it, i actually did my hair and threw on a flower crown just to take a picture to send to the old lady.  she was at work and i knew it would make her laugh (it did).


i took it off two seconds after i sent it to her, by the way.  no need to embarrass myself in public.  wait, i guess i just did.  whatever.

this was the card i picked out for the hub.  i thought it was super cute and yes, i sure am trying to figure out if there's a way to pluck those off so we can use them because they're cute and seem to be real, functioning spoons.  for what?  i don't know.  maybe for spooning honey onto a cheese plate?  it would work!


while the only beef approved for the clean eating diet the old lady and i are on don't include ribeye steak (only filet mignon, lean ground beef and top round steak), i figured it was okay to splurge on valentine's day.  i didn't have any carbs with it, though - instead, i roasted a full pound of delicious, tender asparagus.


the old lady was off with her special friend for the evening (as she should be, right?) and so it was the three of us for our heart-shaped steak dinner.


and that's a wrap for valentine's day 2017.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

starstruck over the jonas...again

so on saturday after that girl scout sleepover, we dropped the old lady off at work for an abbreviated shift and then headed home to get showered and cleaned up.  a couple of hours later, we drove back over to pick her up and head out to the west side for an adventure.

i should backtrack a bit first.  so the old lady had seen nick jonas post something interesting on his instagram account a few days earlier.  he'd been working on a collaboration with a line of unisex shoes, and the official release was going to be at nordstrom at the grove out in l.a. she called the store to find out the details and learned that those who pre-bought a pair would be given a wristband and a spot in line to meet nick and have him sign the shoes.  and the stars just happened to align in such a way that had her available that evening to head out there with her special friend.  they could grab the shoes, have a nice dinner, enjoy a rare weeknight out together.  done and done.

before we got on the road, we decided to indulge in a little treat:


the molten chocolate latte was really good, by the way.  gotta love those special limited edition starbucks flavors.

it was a pretty easy drive to the grove, but the moment we pulled into the parking structure we knew we were in for it.  a quick glance at the sign at the entrance told us that there were a shitton of people in there, with just a few spots showing available on each floor.  the top floor seemed to be our best bet, with over a hundred spaces open, so we made our way up there only to find that the top level is for employees only.  WOMP WOMP.  and so we circled back around and down to one of the lower levels and found ourselves sitting here for longer than we'd ever imagined possible.


it was incredibly frustrating, and we started talking each other through it, bracing ourselves for the very strong possibility that we would just return the shoes and completely miss the meet & greet.  it was already 1:45, and the event was supposed to go from 2:00-4:00.  crap.

after circling several times, we finally scored a pretty decent spot that was just a few feet away from the elevators.  and so we grabbed the bag of shoes from the trunk, woke up the napping bean in the back seat, and made our way towards nordstrom.  being a saturday on the weekend before valentine's day, the grove was extra crowded.  and when we finally got to the store, there was a nice long line that snaked from about the middle of the store all the way out to the door.  we checked in with an employee, who checked our receipt to verify that the shoes had been pre-purchased and then handed us tickets and directed us outside.

while that line didn't look too bad when it stopped at the door, it turned out that it was just chopped off to avoid blocking the entrance to the store.  the rest of the line actually snaked around the building, and we found the end of it here:


we'd overheard people saying that he was going to stay for the first two hundred people in line, and a glance at our tickets told me that the parking snafu hadn't hurt us after all.


the bean was pretty excited to get to meet nick again.  we'd told her that she's met him before, but she was only 3 back then and didn't remember it at all.  she spent most of the time we waited in line sitting here:


we sent the bean into the store once to check things out around 2:30, and she took this to show us that he hadn't gotten there yet.


time moves pretty slowly when you're in line, and especially when what you're waiting for doesn't actually arrive until an hour into the scheduled event time.  yup, that nick didn't get there till about 3, which was really rather excruciating.  but once he was there, the line finally started moving...about 10 people at a time.  and when we got near the door, we caught a glimpse of the growing standby line of folks who were hoping to get in on the nick action after the ticketholders got through.


yay, finally inside the store!


these are a few of the shoes designed by nick, as well as other shoes by creative recreation, the line he collaborated with.


behind the dj was a promo video highlighting the entire collection, plus random shots of nick.


look, there he is!


we'd already been told that once we got to the front of the line, we would hand our belongings over to an employee who would hold them while we had our brief shining moment with the man of the hour. the bean was bummed to hear this, because she wanted to show nick the picture we'd taken way back in 2011, when we randomly met him in texas, and the picture was on my phone.  WOMP WOMP.

when it was our turn, she was holding the shoe that he would sign.  she was a little tongue-tied as she smiled nervously at him, and so i said "hi, nick!  she's a little bummed because she wanted to show you a picture she got to take with you when she was about 3."  he smiled back at her, signed the shoe and said "oh really?  how old are you now?"  and my little starstruck child just gazed at him with wide eyes as she finally stammered out "i...i'm nine."  and he said "oh, that's cool!" and then we took our picture.  i thanked him and told him it was nice to see him again, and he said "thanks for coming out!" and then i glanced back to watch the old lady as she floated up to him on a cloud.  heh.  i didn't get to take any pictures of her as my phone was buried in my purse that was handed to me, but it was fun to watch her beam at him as they spoke for a few seconds.

here's the signed shoe!  we had him sign it inside because we figured the ink might wear off of the leather on the outside.


and then we found ourselves in another incredibly long line to get our photo.  rather than emailing us a link to a website to get it, we had to wait to have it printed out for us.  ugh.


at least we got to check out some shoes as we waited.  like these beauties by gucci...spice girls, anyone?


and these super fun, super sparkly boots by j-lo.


the bean decided to go have a seat and made a friend.


not long after that, the clock struck 4 and we caught a glimpse of nick as he was whisked away.  he'd only been there for an hour, and i wondered if everyone in line had gotten their shot at their meet & greet.  that standby line for sure didn't get any nick love.  that kind of sucked...i'm sure people had waited for a long time, so hopefully everyone who had a ticket got through.  since it was grammy weekend, he had to have quite a packed schedule, and all of the people standing around had to be a major disruption for the store.

after we'd been in line for about half an hour without much movement, staffers started coming by with printed photos to try and locate their owners.  the old lady overheard one of them mutter "next time we do this, we need to just do digital photos."  well, duh.  most people don't even want a printed photo anyway...just something they can share on social media!  and a few minutes later, they started handing out little slips of paper with a website to download the photos from.  along with what was probably the entire line of people, we hopped onto our phones to make sure we could find our picture before we left.  all that activity slowed down everyone's connection, and we actually got handed our printed photo before we found them online.  in any case, here's our money shot(s):


and here's the photos from the last time.  everyone looks so different now:



i'm not gonna lie...totally worth the wait.  heh.

this was our next stop (of course, with another line to stand in):


just the sight of the green exterior and gold lettering brought back all sorts of great memories from our trip to europe...almost four years ago.  they have a cafe for afternoon tea and treats - part of it is outside:


there's also a seating area inside, upstairs above the macaron and pastries counter.


it's all so pretty in there, although much smaller than the ones we got to visit in europe.


you want a fun box designed by jimmy choo for laduree?  only $85, and you get 15 whole macarons inside!


we went for the pink box, of course, and each chose two flavors.  the bean went with salted caramel and chocolate, the old lady chose the jimmy choo flavor (champagne with berries) and coffee, and i took a salted caramel for myself and picked a lemon one for the hub.



after all that waiting around, i took the bean to the american girl to pick up something for her doll.


the fountain was doing its thing as we headed back towards the parking structure:


and then we made one last stop before we left.


pretty successful day at the grove, i'd say.  and it'd been a while since we'd gone on an adventure like this.  so thanks, nick jonas.  i'm sure it was great seeing us again too.
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