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Friday, June 30, 2017

summer night fun

we've been talking about going to a drive-in movie for ages, and actually had planned to do it the other night with one of the bean's friends when we had her over for a sleepover.  like, i packed the blankets and chairs into the trunk and everything.  but then we all got distracted with chatting and hanging out and the time just kind of flew by and then before we knew it, it was too late to go.

MIL arrived yesterday for a quick 24-hour turnaround trip to scoop up the bean for their annual weak-ish long "grandma camp."  with no real plans for the one evening she'd be here, we finally got to fulfill our drive-in movie dream (but not before a quick pitstop to pick up a costco pizza to munch on).

there aren't a lot of drive-in theaters left around here, but the old lady had been to one in nearby montclair and suggested that we go there.  it's been there for years, got run down and then renovated a few years back and offers four different screens, each with a double feature with sound transmitted through your car radio.

when you pull in, you drive up to these little booths where you pony up $9 per adult and $1 for kids up to age 9.  not a bad deal, especially for two movies.

the attendant hands you a receipt with your screen number and the FM station you'll need to tune into so you can hear your movie, and then you follow the signs to get to the right screen.

we decided to park several rows back and then headed over to the snack bar to check it out and hit the potty before showtime.

they had a bunch of these scattered around to go with the tiki theme they had going on.

the snack bar offered everything from pizza to funnel cake to popcorn to cheeseburgers and burritos, and then there was a small seating area available off to the side.

drive-in selfie!

we left the trunk door open and set up chairs in front of it, with plenty of blankets to keep us warm.  it was actually a little chilly that evening, with a pretty consistent breeze that didn't stop the whole time we were there.

the movie started right on time, after just a few trailers.  we were there to see - what else? - a disney movie.  cars 3, to be exact.

except that the radio in my car shuts off automatically after about 10 minutes, to conserve battery power.  bleh.  good thing everyone else had their radios blaring and we could hear the movie just fine without having to use our own juice for it.  the movie was really cute too, and i actually think it may be my favorite of the three.  i for sure liked it more than the second one, and the bean concurred.

because we hadn't gone back to the snack bar for the funnel cake we'd been eyeing earlier, we decided to look for somewhere to grab some ice cream.  a quick search on yelp told me that there was an afters ice cream shop at the shoppes at chino hills.  that's not too far from where we were, so that's where we went.

the specialty at afters is their milky bun - basically a hot, fresh donut that they stuff their housemade ice cream into.

even better, though, was the fact that they were doing a hello kitty collaboration that had just started that very day.

the old lady tried the "yummy strawberry cake" flavor and said that it was really good, but then she was led astray when she spied the peanut butter s'mores.  PB and chocolate is her biggest weakness, and so she ordered it in the milky bun with some rainbow sprinkles as her topping.

MIL opted for the acai blueberry with mochi on top.

and the bean went for the cookie monster ice cream with mochi.

i got her to pull her face out of her ice cream just long enough to take advantage of the photo op:

and then we hopped into the car and headed home.  super fun summer evening, and today she takes off with her grandma to texas for ten long days.  confession:  with her not being in any sort of day camp this summer, we've kind of been getting on each other's nerves a little.  i'm already missing her (even though she hasn't actually left yet), but i know the break will be good for both of us.  and grandma camp is something she looks forward to every year, so she's going to have a blast.  i'm glad that it's something she gets to do, and i can't wait to hear all of the stories she'll have to tell when she gets back.

so who wants to meet up for lunch?  happy hour?  dinner?  hahahahahahah.  i'm free for dayyyyyys.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

a whole different take on union station

for the first time in a long time, we actually have several weddings to attend in 2017.  the first was brother wan's last month, and this past weekend we got to watch one of my cousins marry her longtime boyfriend in a beautiful ceremony at the mission in san gabriel.

the bean was not in a good mood and refused to participate in my car selfie shenanigans.

we arrived at the mission just in time - the bridal party was already lined up at the entrance, and we had just enough time to make our way inside and find a seat.  in our haste, we somehow ended up sitting in the back of the church on the groom's side.  oh well.

it was a full catholic mass on a super hot day.  i felt bad for the hub and all of the other guys who were wearing jackets with their shirts and ties.  the bean whispered something to her sister, who in turn leaned over and told me "oy, she has to go potty."  she shook her head at me when i looked at her and mouthed "i can hold it!" but we found a quick moment during the ceremony that was just right to jump up and head out the side door in search of a restroom.

i was really excited for the reception, which was being held at los angeles' union station.  i'd never attended nor heard of a wedding hosted there, and i figured that it was probably in the ballroom that was being restored last summer.  we'd seen it during one of our summer gold line expeditions, and i thought it was just the coolest spot possible to celebrate a new marriage.

parking was dreadful that afternoon.  there was a dodger game that evening, and so hordes of folks were arriving and making their way to the shuttle that would take them to the stadium from union station.  after circling a few times and learning that the valet wasn't available to us since it was scheduled to close at 9:00 that night, we finally managed to find a spot off to one side of the building.

since we were early, we made a quick pitstop at the starbucks inside the station.  the old lady and i both needed a pick-me-up and an iced espresso drink hit the spot.  and then we made our way to the reception...which was exactly where i'd thought it would be.

we found our seating assignment and signed the canvas that was serving as the couple's guest book.

oh, did i mention that i'd sewed up the bean's dress and the lace top i was wearing?  i was pretty excited to rock some made-by-me gear for a dress-up occasion.

the bean excitedly reunited with her favorite playmates, my cousin's two daughters.

 she promptly disappeared for the next hour with them as we hit the bar.

although she came back briefly to take a few group photos with us.

i really wanted to get a family photo of the four of us, but the hub was not having it.  i'm chalking it up to the heat being super uncomfortable in his jacket and tie.  i scored a bunch of selfies, though.

because the room was already so pretty on its own, there was no need for a ton of decorations.  the tables were adorned with a handmade table number, a floral centerpiece, place cards and favor boxes.

and inside those boxes?  pieces of delicious see's candy.

the meal was being catered by lawry's prime rib, which is a favorite of the bride's (and ours).  we hadn't been there in forever, although i've used their recipes at christmases past.  dinner started off with a bread basket and their famous spinning salad, which was delicious:

i mowed right through that and then hoovered up my entree with a quickness.  it was so good, and now i want to go back to lawry's and have some more.

it had been a long day and the bean was practically falling asleep at the table, but as soon as the music started and her cousins came over to claim her, she disappeared again.  i found her tearing up the dance floor, and she'd definitely caught a second wind.  i'm a terrible dancer and don't really go out there much anymore, but i got caught up in the fun too and ended up burning a bunch of calories of my own.

we noticed later that the disco lights and shadows of the dancers could be seen from outside, and it looked really cool.  i'm sure there were folks who were coming and going from union station who noticed and probably wondered what the hell was going on in there.  heh.

before we finally wrapped it up and headed home, my cousin r rounded up the rest of us to do our traditional cousins group photo.  i think we do this at every wedding we attend together.

this means we'll get at least one more of these photos this summer, with one more cousin getting married in santa barbara in august.  that'll be super fun too, and i can't wait.

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, ...