Thursday, April 5, 2012

My Day in Los Angeles

Please forgive my blog for it will be out of whack for a while. I have LOTS to post about China but I forgot to post about my 12 hours in Los Angeles!!!  It too was a highlight of my trip.

I landed in LA on Sunday (a day before I left to China) close to noon and my dear friends Diana and Adriana picked me up and I was on an instant tour of the city.  I had been to LA before back in 2008 and had seen lots of the "main" places but there was no way to see everything in 3 days.  So off I went in the Dodge Magnum with my camera ready!

I've always wanted to see Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills so they took me!  I've only seen these signs on TV and I was in the middle of these multi-million dollar homes. I'm sure famous people lived in some of them. The thought was exciting and I loved every second of it.

I didn't want to shop here, just see the sign!
So as we were driving down one of these streets near Rodeo Drive, I saw 3 guys with cameras taking pictures from the outside in to a hair salon.  WELL HELLO!! This is Los Angeles and can only mean ONE thing, they were the paparazzi and someone famous was in there! So we literally did a u-turn in the middle of the street and went back!  We asked who was in there and this guy with an Australian accent says "oh, just some porn star". I though "oh..gross".  Then he said "yeah, it's Jenna Jameson".  WTF?? That's not JUST some porn star, that's Jenna Jameson!!! So I jumped out and was about to take MY picture when the guys said "she just went in the back.." UGH!!! I was so close to get a picture of her.  Now I know why the paparazzi do what they's so exciting!!!!!!  But sorry there is no picture to share.

After that exciting moment, we went on and they took me past THE Playboy Mansion, Michael Jackson's house and by the hotel where Whitney Houston died.  I know the last two are pretty morbid but HELLO!!!!!!!!!!!!!  You have to go see them!

Playboy Mansion

Michael Jackson's House - he died here!

This is where Whitney Houston died. :(
So again, that was pretty morbid but still neat to see.  Don't worry, I said a little prayer for both Michael and Whitney ...I didn't feel so bad after.  So the last place to see was a secret.  The girls were talking to each other in code and I was beginning to get REALLY excited. I didn't know how the day could get better.  But these girls did their homework and it was WORTH the wait. :)

So we are driving and we turn in to the Hollywood Cemetery.  YES, MORE DEAD PEOPLE!!!!!!!  But I was intrigued and I couldn't wait to see who we were visiting.  We drive in circles around the cemetery and there are lots of Jewish people laid to rest here.  That still was not any help to me because I could not think of any Jewish person I LOVED!  So as we are driving in circles, I am enjoying the day and anxiously awaiting to arrive.  The girls are lost and ask for help.  I even closed my ears and everything.  The gentlemen knew who we were looking for and directed us in the right direction. Funny thing is, we had passed this person at least twice. LOL!

So the girls drive around and we pull up and I'm speechless.  I literally can NOT speak - which as you know is hard to do.  We arrive to the grave site of Ms. Estelle Getty.  I was floored by the thoughtfulness of this and I begin to cry.  If you know me, you know that I am obsessed with the Golden Girls and every single one of those characters.  "Sophia Petrillo" has a special place in my heart because she resembles my deceased grandmother AND yes, I did name my own daughter after her...although their names are spelled differently.
So as I get out of the car and walk towards the headstone, I cannot believe that I am actually visiting "Sophia"!!!!  It was definitely the high light of the trip and it was so very special to my heart.  I know Diana and Adriana took a lot of time planning this and it was amazing to know they took the time to actually think of what I wanted to see.  I felt so loved and I will never forget that day.  Now it's their turn to come to see my hometown... :) Although I don't know how Houston can top all of the great things of LA!! But I'm sure I could figure something out.

I thought it was weird to take a picture but my friends assured me it wasn't.

People have left rocks as a sign that they were there. I didn't have a rock so I left her $1 bill. :)
Here are some more pictures from my day in Los Angeles.

Lake Hollywood

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

China Trip

I have been back from China exactly two weeks and it feels like I was there 2 months ago! I can't believe how quickly it came and went.  The trip itself was absolutely amazing.  Never in a million years did I ever think I would be in CHINA but the stars aligned and I was.

But I will not lie to you and say it was an easy trip because it was FAR from it.  Before I left a lot of my friends asked me how I was going to handle being away from Sofia.  My response was always "I'll be FINE, and if I'm not, I'll get over it. I'm going to CHINA!"  And I really and truly thought I would be able to handle being that far from her for that many days.  I was totally wrong.  Extremely wrong.  When we arrived in Beijing after flying for 15 hours in one plane and another 2 1/2 in another, I was spent.  I was tired, dirty, hungry...I did not feel good at all. I think when we got to our hotel it hit me that I was in another country thousands of miles away. And it's not like I was a few hours away, I was ACROSS the Pacific Ocean. Literally.  After all of this hit me, I wanted to go home. Like right away. I'm not even lying.  I knew there was no way in hell I was going to make it.  I really thought I was going to have a mental breakdown and be put in the Chinese crazy people house. LOL!! It's funny now, but it wasn't then.

I tried to go to bed but I couldn't.  I was tossing and turning and I just felt "off".  I knew I had made the wrong decision to come and I wanted to be in my own bed with my family where everything was normal.

Well as you all know, I never went home early and I stayed the entire time in China and I am so glad that I did. I'm glad that I didn't know it was going to be so hard on me because I probably would have stayed home and how LOSER-ISH is that? I would have never gotten to see the Great Wall, The Forbidden City, etc.  And it was nice to know that I could do it.  Even though it was super duper hard, I did it! And I have pictures to prove it.

I was so glad to get home and I was so very happy to see my baby's face. I of course cried like an idiot when I saw her...and then I remembered I hadn't said hi to Boogie. I think I dropped my bags in front of the car and ran to Sofia. LOL! I think I even ran over Jill as I saw my car pulling up.  I couldn't help it. :-)

I will definitely travel again but I think I need some time to gear myself up for it.  I don't think I can leave Sofia for that long of time again anytime soon.  But my saving grace for this trip was Michelle Arnold and Jill Reese.  It was comforting to know that they were there and if I went crazy, they would at least visit me. :)  So to them, I am forever grateful.

My favorite picture of the trip.

Michelle, me and Jill at Summer Palace

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Hunger Games

Ok so first let me start by saying that I am normally not a person that jumps on the bandwagon of popular things.  I never read Harry Potter or wait in line at un-Godly times to watch shiny people in Twilight.  For those of you that do, more power to you.

ANYWAY, a few months ago I started hearing about "The Hunger Games". I had NO idea what they were about but it seemed to be really popular.  As the movie premiered I never really paid attention to any of the news coverage or did I even read about it online.  So one night I was fumbling through the books on on my Kindle Fire and I saw "The Hunger Games".  I was intrigued because this book/movie has been EVERYWHERE!!  So I stopped and opened up the page to read reviews.  I always read the reviews because that's how I normally decide whether or not I'm going to read something. And let me tell you, I have not been disappointed yet. Thank you people who actually leave reviews. :)

I always start by reading the 5 star reviews then I read the 1 star reviews.  The 1 star reviews were stupid and the people that gave it 1 star didn't convince me not to read it.  Even after reading the 5-star reviews (which were great!) I was still undecided on whether or not to spend the *GASP* $5 on it. LOL!  But I did see an option to read a sample for FREE!!!  Well free is always good in my book so I did it.  I began to read it with absolutely no expectations and I figured if I couldn't get through the first chapter, I didn't lose anything but a few minutes of my life.

WELL LET ME TELL YOU! I could NOT put it down.  I was extremely shocked how good it was.  And I was even more shocked that I wanted to read more.  The sample only gives you 5 chapters.  Those Amazon people are smart. It's enough to get you hooked and not nearly enough to give you tons of info.  So at the end of the 5 chapters it  tells you go buy it for $5. AND I STILL was not convinced if I should.  I have issues. I know.

I literally could NOT stop thinking about this book after those first 5 chapters. It's as though it was a REAL life story. The characters were so stuck in my head and the story line was good and I kept asking myself "I wonder what happened in chapter 6?"  I knew I had to buy it and I am so very glad that I did.  After reading chapter after chapter...I was hooked.  When I wasn't reading it, I still was thinking of the story line. I don't remember the last time I liked a book so much.  I bought it on Friday and was done by Sunday.  Any free time I had, I was reading it.

I didn't think I was going to like it because the book is really dark. I don't like dark movies or books but again, it sucked me in completely.  I cannot wait to see the movie now. I am not expecting the movie to be as good (because really which movie is as good as the book?) but I am excited to see the characters in my head on the big screen.  I don't even know which actors are in the movie and this has been on purpose. I want to go in to that movie theater FRESH.

If you are skeptical like me about this book, read the sample.  It will grab you right away.  GO READ IT NOW!