wan-na find something?

Friday, January 29, 2010

just workin' on my fitness

last weekend, we'd gone out to dinner with the ILs at (i'm kind of embarrassed to admit this) the seafood restaurant attached to bass pro shop out in BFE. even more embarrassing? we waited for over an hour for a table. heh. but the store is ginormous and filled with all sorts of stuff ranging from north face clothing to shotguns to fly fishing gear. during my first visit to this store, i found that they also had quite a selection of moon pies in every flavor imaginable, as well as a fresh supply of valomilk candy. yup, i love me some marshmallows.

anyway, it was a decent meal with my favorite part being these cute little loaves of soft bread with a sugary crust. when i spied a whole loaf sitting on the table, untouched, at the end of dinner, i scooped that shit up and put it in my purse. ha! the hub rolled his eyes so hard, but MIL just smiled at me conspiratorially. she knew i'd do something delish with it.

and i did indeed! the next morning, i decided to slice it up, coat it in cinnamon-y, eggy batter, and make mini french toast for breakfast.

see how cute they were? this is my 8" omelet pan, and four slices fit perfectly in it.

and despite his exasperation at my impersonation of a grandma with a ziploc bag in her purse at the ready for any leftovers to take home, the hub sure didn't protest when i presented him with this lovely little platter of sweet, chewy goodness.

a little while later, i took off to meet up with lilcee and check out the warehouse sale at the pasadena convention center. i'd been to a similar sale once before, with amber, and been quite disappointed at the shitty stuff they were trying to pawn off on us. but hope springs eternal - my optimism led me to give it a shot again and see if there might be better stuff in there this time.

there wasn't. wah waaaah. oh, well. i dropped lilcee off at her house and then headed back to old town pasadena to meet up with my junior leaguers and torture my body for a free session at bar method:

i scampered up the stairs:

pulled off my shoes and stuck them and my purse in a cubby (which kind of reminded me of preschool):

glanced at the flyers and brochures as i filled out a quick information sheet:

tiptoed in quietly, grabbed my weights from the bins just inside the door, and found a spot in the back of the class. i was about five minutes late, but it didn't look like i'd missed much. the room was bright and airy, but whew - was it warm in there. i started sweating as soon as i began the warm-up exercises.

our instructor, jessica (of course, she was a super toned, skinny, gorgeous broad) called out instructions and encouragement, and as i followed suit, i could feel my thigh and ass muscles crying out for mercy. there wasn't a whole lot of movement involved in this class, with the exercises isolating each muscle group. i couldn't stop smirking - i could see myself in the giant mirrors struggling to keep up with the rest of the class, which was comprised mostly of jessica look-alikes. oy vey. and if i'd had the energy, i'd have been cracking up as i thought of how i thought i'd prepped myself somewhat with those wii fit/ea active workouts. oh, man.

"did we actually sign up voluntarily for this?" i muttered to the girl in front of me, and she just grinned as she damn near touched her nose to her knee with her foot propped up on the bar. blech.

and as i continued to sweat like a freaking pig, legs shaking and thisclose to crying from the pain of it all, i looked out the window and saw this:


when the agony finally came to an end, we staggered out of the classroom, gathered our stuff from the cubbies, and grabbed bottles of water. the girl behind the counter handed out flyers with the class schedules and current pricing, and i was amused to see this:

oh, i'll tell you what i think of bar method, alright. heh.

okay, but in all fairness, after going through the class, i knew that with regular attendance, it would definitely deliver what it promised: flatter abs, sculpted arms and legs, overall toning. but at that precise moment, i couldn't even imagine doing it again anytime soon. that shit was intense - but, i had to admit, in a good way. it kicked my ass, but if i could stick to it, the results would be pretty fantastic. and they were offering a great introductory special: $100 for 30 days of unlimited classes. i wished it was closer to home, but i'm not about to drive out to pasadena two or three times a week. oh, well.

i hobbled my sore muscles back down the stairs and felt the pain immediately.

immediately, people! the class hadn't even been over for five minutes and my ass was already staggering around in immense pain.

that being said, i highly recommend bar method. i'm being serious here. go to the site right now and see if there's one nearby and you, too, can sweat and strain and weep like a little girl from the abuse.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

nick jonas smells good (apparently)

so last week, i mentioned that we'd lucked out and won a golden ticket - a pass to the pre-concert meet & greet with nick jonas. there's always a drawing for members of the fan club who are attending shows - you just send an e-mail with the date of your show and names of attendees to enter, and then they typically contact you about a week prior. as with every other concert we've attended, as soon as i bought the tickets, i sent the e-mail in and promptly forgot all about it.

finding out in itself was totally awesome, because the notification popped up just as i was picking up a call from the teen. the conversation went kind of like this:

teen: huh? what are you talking about?
me: i just now got an e-mail and we're going to the meet & greet before the concert.
teen: OHMYGODAREYOUSERIOUS?? (panting and heaving) i'm totally crying right now.

of course, this inadvertently created another dilemma: what to wear? what to say when faced with the boy of her dreams for the first time? i was actually pretty glad that there wasn't too much time to contemplate the myriad of possible answers to those questions. i might have gone out of my damn mind if that had gone on for weeks.

the guidelines detailed in the e-mail were simple: envelopes would be ready for pick-up 1.5 hours before the show started, bring I.D. and a camera, no autographs, only one photo with nick per person, any gifts for nick would be collected at the door and put in his dressing room "for him to enjoy later." okay, fine.

the teen is just like her mama - a total procrastinator. the night before the show, i found this in the bathroom:

ha! and, because i'm such a sucker for my kid, i stayed up till past midnight searching for and uploading pictures from the past, oh, ten concerts/appearances. i uploaded them to my online album and then ordered prints - 50 of 'em. heh. she was quite appreciative when i presented her with the packet of prints and an album that i'd carefully chosen that afternoon, and spent the entire drive down to the wiltern theater cutting, gluing, and captioning the photos.

we hit just a little traffic once we arrived downtown, but still managed to make it there with lots of time to spare.

the teen put the finishing touches on her art project, added a ribbon around it, and voila! i just hope he actually looks at it and doesn't just toss it to the side. from pictures he's tweeted, though, it seems that he does spend some time checking out every fan gift he receives.

we joined the blessedly short line for meet & greet passes (the line to get into the theater/pick up will call tickets was wrapped around the freaking block out in the rain) and killed time smirking over the chatter that surrounded us.

these guys came out quietly, but once the video camera they carried was spotted by a fan, there was much screaming and cheering and "i love nick!" chanting. as they panned over the line, i, of course, totally mugged for the camera while the teen shrank into a little pile of embarrassment at my side.

but the joke was on me, because when the dude finally showed up to hand out the envelopes containing the passes, the teen opened hers to find only one wristband. wah waaaaah. i couldn't believe that i was going to miss what would likely be the most fantastic 30 seconds of my daughter's life (so far) - i desperately wanted to see her face, feel the excitement radiating from her core, hear her stammer out a greeting to this boy she's loved for so long. okay, that's kind of dramatic, but it's true. and i wanted to cry, but i plastered a smile on my face, helped her put on the wristband, and continued to chatter cheerfully as i waited in the line with her at the rear of the building.

and yes, i asked them to check and re-check the stack of envelopes. i tried to sweet-talk the dude into going back to see if they'd misread my e-mail entry that had listed both of our names. and as a last-ditch effort, i smiled sweetly at the guy who was ushering everyone into the building and chirped "i'm her mom!" as i tried to sashay through. none of it worked, and i found myself blowing her a goodbye kiss as i handed her the camera and watched her walk on clouds into the theater.

i must've looked like such a loser, kicking rocks and pouting as i waited out in front of the theater. i'd made sure to get my ticket out of her bag, since she was going to go to her seat after she'd met her man.

the line was still freakishly long, even though they'd finally started letting people into the theater.

my phone rang about half an hour later, and it was the teen - breathless and ecstatic from her long-awaited encounter with the man of the evening.

me: so, was it wonnnnnnnnnderful? was he just beautiful and fantastic?
the teen: OMG, yes. i was totally shaking the whole time and now i'm crying. i love him.
me: i want to hear everything! do you like your picture?
the teen: okay, so they didn't let us take in our cameras. we had to leave our bags on a table inside the door. they took the pictures and they'll put it on the website on that paper in the envelope.
me: awww, really? boo! did you get to give him your present?
the teen: yeah, i gave it to the guy and he put it in the pile on another table. there weren't that many gifts. and oh! i got to high-five big rob (the jonas brothers' bodyguard)! and then when it was my turn, i was shaking so hard and i had to calm myself down, so i walked kinda slowly to him. mom, he totally opened his arms to give me a hug before i even got there! [swooning audibly]
me: did he smell good (i know, i know, so wrong of me)?
the teen: YES. he smelled really good. he said "hi, how are you?" and i said "good, you?" then he said "great, hey, thanks for coming out to the show tonight!" and i said "oh, sure!" and then we stopped and posed for our picture, and he said "well, have a great time tonight." i said "i will, thanks. i love you!" and he said "i love you, too." [more swooning] huh, i wonder if i can smell him on my shirt.

oy vey.

after i realized that the line wasn't getting any shorter (and i was kind of freezing my ass off), i gave in, walked down the street and around the corner, and got in. i totally rolled my eyes and muttered "are you freaking kidding me?" as i got a gander at the chick in front of me:

i was inside the theater in less than ten minutes and checked out the merchandise for sale.

after deciding against spending the cash on a tee for myself (shut up, i like concert tees too), i trudged up the stairs and made my way to the mezzanine, where the teen was waiting for me.

later on, as i glanced through my pictures, this one caught my eye as i finally saw what everyone always comments on - we really do look a lot alike, don't we? wow. color me lucky!

the stage was set for the opening act (and i already forgot her name, oops). i sat there and caught up on e-mails and twitter while we waited.

well, and i took a few more pictures too.

this show was refreshingly low-key and somewhat mellower than all the other jonas brothers concerts we've been to before. no huge multi-million dollar sets, no crazy grand entrance, no pyrotechnics. when it was time, nick and his band simply strolled out onto the stage, the lights came up, and they started playing.

since his CD doesn't come out until next week, the majority of the audience didn't really know the songs that they were playing. anticipating this (and realizing that his fans love to sing along), he threw in covers of some of his favorite songs by other artists as well as a few jonas brothers songs with different arrangements and changes in tempo. i know you guys are going to give me shit for it, but i gotta say it: this boy is really talented. he plays several instruments (tonight he stuck to guitars and piano), writes most of the songs, and has a great vocal range. he's got a pretty fantastic falsetto that's fun to listen to. the teen and i discussed it at length and decided that his sound is nothing like the pop-y jonas brothers style. it's more mature, kind of like john mayer-ish with a little bit of jazz and a twist of rock thrown in. i wonder if his current fans will support it.

he did a great job carrying the entire show without benefit of his two brothers to share in the adoration and attention from the squealing audience. not to mention, he'd been sick last week and had had to cancel a show under doctor's orders. roughly an hour and a half later, it was all over.

the teen and i squeezed through the crowds and headed across the street to the coffee bean, which i'd been eyeing since the moment we got there. i was happy to see that they were still open - and why not? the place was packed. they probably make a killing on show nights. before we left, i thought i'd pose with my stupid face - rather a tradition by now.

with no word of a new CD in the works and only a halfhearted reference to a possible tour later this year, i don't really know if or when we'll get to another jonas-related concert. the teen is super bummed. and because their shows have been a great bonding experience for us (okay, and their music has totally grown on me, i admit it), i'm kind of sad, too.

i'm sure you are, too.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2 years + 11 concerts

and finally, finally, the teen's biggest wish came true:

yup - that arm around that beaming, ecstatic pile of mush belongs to none other than nick jonas.

i'm just going to end it right here - an occasion as significant as this deserves a moment of silence.

full recap tomorrow!

two of my favorite things

in this case, i'm talking about food and photography. all rolled into one!

a friend of mine sent me a link to an upcoming workshop that sounds super fun and fabulous - you get to check out a cool hotel in downtown l.a., sharpen your food photography skillz, and you get to sample some delectable morsels!

you, too, could learn how to snap beautiful shots of your fabulous fare, like these:

you know you want to. if you're local, you should totally go! it's on saturday, february 6th at the hilton checkers downtown.
i really, really want to go to this - i just have to figure out if i can juggle a couple of things i already have going on that day. can you imagine how much better my posts would be if i could actually take a decent picture??
you might even start leaving comments again. *sigh*

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

rainbows and sunshine

last week, even though it was raining cats and dogs, the bean and i ventured down to the south bay area to meet up with nanette, baby em, and alyssa, who's very pregnant and was looking for some mommy advice. we'd been trying to get together for ages, and finally managed to pick a date and stick with it.

the plan was to cruise around babies r'us, pointing out "must-have" items and "don't waste your money" ones. and of course, we managed to squeeze in time for lunch first - at johnny rockets.

the bean, who fell asleep in the car, glared grumpily at me as i transferred her from car seat to stroller. she hadn't had a nap all day and had only been asleep for about an hour, which is only half of what she usually gets in.

on the other hand, sweet em was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, grinning happily and earning the nickname i'd given her - "droolia child."

when the food came, though, the bean perked up a bit, especially when she caught sight of the ketchup art smiling at her from her plate. i'd gone with an order of the sliders, adding bacon (of course!) and cheese. so yummy!

she was quite pleased with her mini hot dog plate and sat up to dig in. she doesn't like sauces and dressings (yet?), so she was content with simply smiling back at the ketchup as she munched.

we had a great time chatting and catching up - i'd only actually met alyssa once before, two years ago at a blogger brunch organized by the monkey. but we chat a lot via facebook and read each other's blogs, so we're pretty much up on what's happening. she's a sweetheart, and so excited to meet her baby girl. nanette and i walked her up and down the aisles of the store, giving her as much insight as possible on a ton of different things ranging from bottles to breast pump accessories to swaddling blankets. hopefully our feedback will serve to be more helpful than overwhelming.

when it finally stopped pouring, the bean and i decided to brave the freeways and head home. it was right around 4, and i was dreading the thought of sitting in traffic for the next hour or so. ugh. friday afternoon + rain + rush hour = usually a really bad time to be driving.

but i was pleasantly surprised to find that once we finally managed to get on the road, it was wide open. pretty bizarre-o, but hey, i wasn't gonna complain. and the bean was pretty excited to look out the window as we trucked along to find this:

we were home in less than an hour. sah-weet!

squeezing in all the sightseeing

this was our NYC home for a whole week: it was one of only a few hotels that i could find that offered two beds in a room rather than, say, ...