Tuesday, April 30, 2013

crayola craziness

i keep forgetting to share this with you guys - i recently got an e-mail about a cool looking new attraction, the crayola experience.  it's totally kid-centric and full of color and crayons and imagination and all that fun kiddie stuff.  it's located in easton, pennsylvania - which is obviously not local for me, but they're doing a fun contest for a 3-night, all-expenses stay.

click here to enter - but you have to do it today!


can you imagine how much fun the bean would have with this?  she'd lose her damn mind.  and probably make faces like this:


note:  i received this information from crayola, and i'll be receiving a fun box of crayons for my time, but i shared with you because i'm cool like that.

stop what you're doin', 'cause i'm about to ruin...

we have discussed my propensity for new things to do with my hair (and makeup and clothes and nails and and and...), yes?  i'm such a sucker for trying out cool stuff, and god knows i bore really easily.  for a long time, i had the super cute bob 'do a la posh (and swiped from my friend FGD).  but i got tired of the constant trips to the salon to maintain the cut, and finally threw in the towel and started growing out the mane again.  it's actually gotten pretty long - past my shoulders, a length i haven't sported since the hub and i got married 7.5 years ago.  and of course, i was getting the itch to do something new to it.

but because i've become rather attached to the length, i didn't really want to chop it all off again.  i considered maybe doing it this summer, but i knew i'd miss it.  and i'm finally figuring out how to do fun braids and buns and things with it, so that's out.  highlights were very briefly considered and then also disregarded - it just doesn't look great on me.  and then a couple of weeks ago, for the general hospital panel at paley center, i took a curling iron to it and really liked how it looked with some waves in it.

and then one of the girls on the style & beauty message board i frequent mentioned getting a digital perm.  my friend winnie got one of these awhile back, too, and seems to be pretty happy with it.  what exactly is a digital perm, you ask?  well, it's still a perm with the same chemicals and no washing for two days afterwards, just like in the 80s.  but those crafty koreans found a way to make it work so that the word "perm" doesn't automatically = poodle 'do.  no, they figured out that rolling the bottom half of one's hair in medium to large curlers that have been heated creates a much looser, flattering curl.  and it's a "digital" perm because the heat in the rods comes from a machine with a digital display that warms them to the optimal temperature.  a lot of the research i did online showed me some really bizarre looking contraptions that looked like an octopus - check this out (photo swiped from google images):


after consulting with my friend grace, who lives in an area saturated with asian salons that offer digital perms, i wasted no time in making myself an appointment for one of these newfangled perms.  after dropping the bean off at school and running a few errands, i made my way here:


don't ask me what that name is all about.  i'm sure it makes sense to someone.

the stylist greeted me with a smile and then showed me into a dressing room to change into a gown.  cute, right?  heh.


after she washed my hair and squirted some totally 80s smelling stuff into it, i showed her a couple of pictures i'd saved on my pinterest boards.  she nodded knowingly and got right to work.  while she didn't have one of those octopus-looking machines, the one she used did have a digital display:


and then she clamped the cone of shame around my neck.


she used some pretty big perm rods, rolling them halfway up the length of my hair and then squirting more crap on.


there i sat for who knows how long, while the curlers cooled down and she worked on a couple of other clients who walked in.  the cone of shame finally came off, replaced by a smaller version that she used to catch the excess perm solution.


one more trip to the shampooing station, and then i got my first look at the results.


before...and after.


she told me that air drying was the best way to care for the curls, although because she was a "professional," she took a blow dryer to it so i wasn't walking out with wet head.  she smoothed some product through it before grabbing chunks of hair, twisting them up, and blasting the twists with the dryer.  a little shine serum mixed with styling wax on the twists came next, and i was left looking like this:


i LOVED it.  despite the lingering smell that wafted up every time i turned my head, i was really pleased with the way this perm had turned out.  most definitely not the same thing i used to get two decades ago.

the next two days of not washing my hair was pure torture.  i'm not really one of those girls who can skip a day, especially since i either run or do some sort of workout on most days.  so i felt really gross for a good 48 hours until i was able to scrub my scalp again.

and of course, as with most trips to a salon, i've not been able to recreate that finished look just yet.  it's been a week now, and i'm still getting the hang of this permed hair thing.  i've tried new products, busted out some stuff i already had, air dried it loose, air dried it in twists (which takes for-freaking-EVER), put it up in little buns.  i bought a diffuser attachment for my hair dryer that was supposed to fit, but when i tried it the damn thing popped right off and smacked me in the face.  FAIL.

for the most part, i've liked how it's turned out with each technique i've tested out, but nothing has made me as happy as how it looked that first day.  i'm going to keep trying and i swear, i'm gonna get it if it's the last thing i do.

or more likely, i'll finally get the hang of it when it's all grown out and it's time to chop it off.  hmph.

Monday, April 29, 2013

who IS that caped crusader?

you already know that i'm a big fan of superhero events, the folks who created and organized the hollywood half.  ken and sabrina are really friendly, super accessible to those who participate in the races that they run, and also make it a point to support other local running organizations.  if they're not actually running in races, they're often spotted on the sidelines cheering and supporting the runners.

so when they put out a call last week for superhero "ambassadors" - people who love to run and share their enthusiasm for the sport with others - i filled out the application after just a moment's hesitation.  because running is kind of a solo activity for me, i wasn't so sure that i would be a good candidate for a duty that requires being social and stuff.  i'm not really the "running buddy" type, know what i mean?  but then i decided, what the hell - it could be fun, and part of the job is to represent "team superhero" at races and expos and things.  so i filled out the application and hit "send" before i could change my mind.

i'm pretty sure you know where this is going.

just a couple of days later, when i opened facebook, i'd gotten a notification that i'd been added to a private group called "team superhero."  i was sitting in my parked car, having just dropped off the bean, and i kid you not:  i literally yelped and fist-pumped (before glancing around to make sure no one had seen me).


the rest of the group is pretty diverse - all different ages, shapes, sizes, ethnicities - but all love to run.  or, like in my case, run/walk.  everyone commits to at least ten races per year and a willingness to represent the team at as many running events as possible.  i still have yet to learn more about what's in store for me as an ambassador with team superhero, but there's one thing i can count on:  it's gonna be a blast.

and now i'm on the hunt for a cute, maybe slightly obscure female superhero that i can create a running costume for.  got any ideas?

Friday, April 26, 2013

sunday funday

last weekend, the bean and i got up early and headed out to meet up with lilcee & co. for a trip to the annual l.a. times festival of books.  the kids were super excited to hang out, since it'd been awhile since they'd seen each other.  and i was excited to check out the festival again - i hadn't been since they moved it from the UCLA campus to its rival - USC (which also happens to be lilcee's alma mater).

as i was brushing her hair out to put it up, i marveled at how long it's gotten.  i really don't get to see her with her hair down like this very often, because it tangles so easily.  that's why we're always doing braids or twists of some sort - because then it stays knot-free for the most part.


i sat in the back with the kids and was treated to a story read to me by the bean.  she read almost the whole thing all by herself, and i thought it was awesomely appropriate considering our destination.


the USC campus is very pretty.  too bad it's not in the greatest of areas.



we'd somehow managed to park just across the street from campus, and even better?  as we entered the festival area, we were exactly where we wanted to be - the target children's area.  the first act of the day was disney junior's "choo choo soul," and they were already onstage doing their thing.


there were lots of target employees roaming the crowds with giant bags full of goodies - freeze-dried cinnamon apple slices, stickers, paper crowns, granola bars.  we happily accepted one of each, and then a photographer asked to take a picture of the girls.  the bean instantly stopped what she was doing to pose and smile, while mini cee ran in the other direction.


because lilcee is the most prepared person i know, she pulled all sorts of awesomeness out of her bag - a blanket to spread out onto the grass, water bottles, extra snacks.  i sat there like a dunce with my everyday handbag that held my wallet, a pack of fruit snacks, the freebies i'd just gotten from target, and chapstick.  supermom i am not.

while mr. lilcee hoisted mini cee up onto his shoulders for a better view, the bean was happy to stay on ground level and get her groove on.


when she caught sight of other kids who were up closer to the stage, she looked at me with *those* eyes.  you know, the ones i can't deny anything.  and so i got up from my comfy spot in the shade where i was chatting with lilcee and our friend amber, who'd brought her adorable baby boy, and watched as she shimmied and did the point-in-the-air and jumped up and down.


we hit up the children's bookstore tent, sponsored by target (of course) - which was awesome, because i was able to use my red card and save 5% on the books the bean decided she had to have.  reading is good, and i love that she enjoys it too.  a new book is something i'll rarely deny her, especially now that she's getting to be such a good little reader.

there was a second tent set up for the littles, full of activities and books to share and read, with lots of fun cushy things to sit on.



by then, it was lunch time.  we decided to walk across the street to hit up chick-fil-A (my current guilty pleasure).  except that we'd forgotten that it was sunday.  CFA is always closed on sundays, dang it.  when we walked up to the front door, there was a family standing there whose kid was completely melting down on the doormat.  "she's upset because she really wanted their nuggets and they're closed," the parents explained.  well hell, so did i.  i kind of wanted to toss myself down on the ground next to her and throw a tantrum.

instead, we came here:


it's a quick-serve version of the counter, where you get to make your own burger, selecting every element and creating your very own masterpiece.


everything here is customized to your preferences - even the sodas.  this machine had so many choices, i was a little stressed out by the time i sat down.  you want coke?  regular, diet, or zero?  vanilla, cherry,  cherry vanilla, lime, orange, raspberry, lemon?  oh, you decided on lemonade?  well, do you want light or regular?  lemon, orange, raspberry, strawberry, fruit punch?  still not floating your boat?  there are a hundred other choices available.  like, literally 100+ different flavors free-flowing out of this thing.  i was so discombobulated i ended up with plain old coke after all that.


at least my burger was delicious.  i added bacon, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese to my basic patty and it was deeee-licious.


to wrap things up, here's a random silly bean photo.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

they put the "grrrrr" in grilled cheese

did you know that national grilled cheese day was last week?  well, now you do.  pretty important, huh?

well, it is to some.  actually, it seems that it's rather important to a fairly big group of folks, judging from the number of participants and attendees of the annual grilled cheese invitational.  whether you're an amateur or a pro chef, if you love grilled cheese and aren't afraid to show it, you're eligible to compete for the title of "grilled cheese champion."  i'm not even kidding here.  this shit is serious - there's a long list of rules for both competitors and judges.  and this year, it was on 4/20.  heh.

i'd seen via twitter that they were looking for volunteers to come out and help at this event, both on the day of and in the days leading to it.  well, hey - i love cheese.  and i love helping out.  so i showed it to the teen, who decided that it sounded like something fun to do, and we signed up to help assemble competitor's kits and whatnot on the thursday before the big competition.

we'd never heard of the los angeles center studios in downtown l.a., but it looks pretty cool.  it's a full-service studio spread out over 20 acres, with several large sound stages, enclosed city streets, a ton of rooms set up for shooting all sorts of different scenes.  we were curious as to what we'd see when we arrived.


now, i like to think of myself as a relatively intelligent individual.  but i was totally questioning myself as we stood in front of the elevator, trying to figure out how in the hell to get the damn thing to work for us.


after a few minutes, one of the doors finally opened and we got in.  and then i got confused all over again because there were no buttons to push inside.


not to worry.  the doors closed and whisked us up to the main lobby.  no chance of getting off at the wrong floor here.


after checking in with the front desk, it wasn't hard to find where we needed to be.


that arrow pointed us to this:


and then we snickered at this.


it looked like any old courtroom in there.  kind of amusing.



there were already a handful of people there, working away.  it took us a little while to figure out who we were supposed to report to, and then we kind of just stood around waiting for instructions.  it seemed really unorganized and no one really took notice of us, which was pretty frustrating.  a few more people arrived and were greeted warmly by the others, and it looked like there were too many people and not enough tasks to complete.  i felt like we were basically begging to be put to work, and finally we were asked to move some boxes from one room to the next.  when that was done - maybe five minutes later - they had us open and unpack them, which turned out to be the winners' trophies for the event.



all the while, there were a couple of guys who were sitting on their asses in the "jury box" right next to us.  they sipped on sodas and shot the shit while they watched us work.  i ignored them while we just kept doing what we were doing, and later the teen told me that she'd overheard part of their conversation.  one of them had said (while gesturing in my direction) something like "oh, i like her, she doesn't talk much."  and then later, a discussion about how asians have small hands, thus managing to complete a lot of work in a short amount of time.  what in the actual fuck.  they're lucky i hadn't actually heard them say that shit myself.

there were a few busy bees who were putting together about 150 competitor's kits, which included all the goods needed to assemble grilled cheese perfection.



after all of the trophies had been unpacked, we kind of stood around doing nothing again for awhile.  the teen got tired of it and took a seat.


you know, i have a lot of patience.  and i'm really willing to lend a hand whenever help is needed.  but this?  this was ridiculous.  after a few more minutes of standing around and being ignored, i had had it.  i picked up my purse and we sashayed right out of there without bothering to say a word to anyone.  we were so annoyed at having driven all the way downtown and wasting a perfectly good evening, and so we decided to reward ourselves here:


the hell with grilled cheese.  this is WAY more full of win.


this experience won't put a damper on my willingness to volunteer for things, but i can tell you this:  there's no way we'll ever have anything to do with this grilled cheese invitational business ever again.  that's for damn sure.
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