Thursday night, met up with my family... celebrated my dad's birthday (Friday) all weekend with dinner at Ruth Chris' Steakhouse. So delicious!
We stayed in Newport Beach.... the Villas gave us a seaside chocolate plate!
Boomer's on Saturday to go kart, rock climb (I learned I have ABSOLUTELY no upper bod strength anymore, it's sad), and miniture golf. Parent's old coworker and her family came over to have a BBQ at our villa. Mmm... I can still taste the Korean BBQ. Rounded the night off with some good beer, Moscato, tennis (instantaneous soreness... but at least I still have my backhand!), and jacuzzi. Wish every night could be like that!
Met up on Sunday with my college roomie Shawna at Disneyland who also works there. Celebrating Mardi Gras happenings. Rode the Lilly Belle (the caboose on the trains) because we can and we're awesome. lol.
Beautiful tulips at the park this time of the year... possibly for Easter?
Mardi Gras performance... so festive! Loved 'Princess and The Frog'.
Snagged a picture of my friend Ace, who's Prince Naveen for the show. He 'plays' a mean ukulele.
Nothing like (3) nice mint juleps to take in the atmosphere. Definitely sloshy after lunch. To balance out the soreness, I worked my left arm in canoeing.
Met up with another college friend Christine to ride a few rides, including taking pictures with Mardi Gras Mickey and Minnie (we missed Tiana and Prince Naveen by a few minutes) and tea time!
Onto leg 3 of meeting parties; family and I rode Soarin' and enjoyed World of Color with a turkey leg and beer dinner. Also got my dad a birthday pin and while waiting in the Toy Story Mania ride, a cast member proceeded to lead everyone to singing Happy Birthday to him. A random teenager gave him a Chinese New Year Duffy pin. So oddly appropriate. haha. Rode Shawna's jungle boat with the family, they enjoyed it. Also got my parent's their very first Dole Whip. So delicious. Slowly winning back their Disney love. :D
Monday, drove to Santa Monica and checked in a bit early into my hotel, Hotel Shangri-La. It's a cute Art Deco boutique hotel, which sits right on Ocean Ave. They put me in a tight room overlooking the back alleyway, which was a little depressing. After lunch and saying goodbye to my parents, who would make the long trek home (the grapevine was closed due to snow), I decided to give the front desk another call about my reservations (it noted I would have one king, one queen bed... not just one queen) and I was received with apologies for the miscommunication. They moved me to a 5th floor, more spacious room with a partial view of the ocean. I liked it much better. :) I really liked the room- lots of subtle details that made me super relaxed. The view was gorgeous and the sunset was breathtaking. I still couldn't believe I was staying at this hotel! I don't know when I'll ever experience something like this again. Meanwhile, I played Siri to my parents, who needed information for gas and restaurants while I waited for Michele to get into LAX.
A bit nervous because I'd never been to LAX and EVERYONE that has always has their own horror stories. Luckily, I had a glimpse at a terminal map beforehand, so I didn't have to do terrible traffic-ridden loops around the airport. I was happy that I chose Michele to accompany me- we rarely see each other, save for the occasional Christmas dinner. It was a nice cousin reunion and I thought it was nice to treat her to something that she rarely gets to experience.
The next day, we explored Santa Monica a bit, even had Turkish coffee for the first time (tasted like dirt and it didn't really give me the jolt I needed). Had a frittata for breakfast for the first time too, it was yum. Waited at the hotel deck soaking up the sun for Jenny to get here with our schwag/ gear for the shoot/lesson. I'm kicking myself because DWTS' Derek and Tristan had been at that very pool deck for an E! segment on Sunday night.... oh well. :( And no, that is not my cigar. I don't smoke. lol!
Finally she got here with our stuff and I snapped a quick photo:
-Latest Nike 'dancing' shoes. They feel like nothing when worn. :)
-6 pairs of colorful socks.
-Really, really tight yoga capris. Felt awkward walking around. lol!
-We each got a graphic Adidas shirt. I was given the running/non-Asian shirt, which I was relieved for.
Driving to the dance studio reminded me why I hate LA driving. took a 1/2 hour to drive 8 miles. Drove through Bevereley Hills... it was surreal to drive by the very street I had seen on tv a week prior for Whitney Houston's coverage at the Beverely Hills Hilton. Anyways, we got there on time, luckily found parking right around the corner from the studio.
It was surreal going to the studio (3rd Street Dance Studio), I've been watching rehearsals being done at this facility ever since I had watched So You Think You Can Dance Season 2. It's definitely a working dance studio, I'm assuming lots of dance groups rent it out whenever need be. Found the little studio that was holding our lesson... Lacey, her friends (?), Max the cameraman, and her bf (who's also a choreographer/contemp dancer) DJ were already there early. Greeted everyone and I can surely say I fangirled inside. I was surprised she was shorter than me and almost shorter than my cousin, which is surprising, because my cousin is tiny. Lacey seemed really nice and excited to immediately show her dogs to us. we told her what we do, she was interested in what I did, because I'm an architectural designer and she had just bought a house & is working on designing the interiors. We told her that our background is in ballet and maybe that tipped her off that she could conduct the lesson like a typical dance class. She told us about what her background and DJ chimed in about how he had a big ballet background (apprentice at a young age), but wanted something more, so he went into commercial and contemporary dance on the westcoast. She was originally going to teach us a pop combination, but I had requested her to teach us some Samba, since she's amazing at it. (just youtube 'Hip hip Chin Chin Lacey'... hah, even the rehearsal for that dance was at the same studio)
Jenny was running late, so Max had me and Michele record an intro for the dance lesson piece, which is going to be on the Lady Footlocker website. FYI, I'm absolutely horrible on film/acting, much more comfortable either behind the scenes or just dancing, so you'll have to excuse me when the footage is released. Hoping Max is an EXTREMELY good editor. LOL.
When Jenny did arrive, Lacey switched into her given gear and we recorded a 'meeting' shot with Lacey. It was SO sytycd, 'meet your choreographer'... it was again, surreal. haha. We then launched into the actual lesson, complete with crunches and a warm-up (my body obviously not used to this). She taught us the combination quite quickly and we were set to perform it ourselves just like that. The hips and arms were lost a little, but I think we held up to our own. Thank goodness for those cheesy Zumba classes last year. :P She asked if we knew what a 'batucada' was... totally put me on the spot and I made a fool of myself by attempting to do it. :P It was also pretty intimidating to learn a new combo and new type of dance in front of 6 complete strangers; two people in the room professional dancers, a camera rolling, and pictures taken. We also filmed an outro of 'leaving the studio'... it was awkward. haha.
The photog made us do a dance-like pose & I felt dumb doing the Samba pose we had just learned.
We got to talk to DJ about dance companies around the country and their demographics, as well as crummy airlines. haha. He was really down to earth, honest, and super nice. Said goodbye to Lacey and everyone left, save for us, Max, and Jenny. Overall, Lacey is nice & caring ( a tinge of superficial, maybe), but I can see why she needs to have that persona that plays to the camera. Compared to her, I have zero energy on the camera. Once they left, Max had us do a quick outro and then we were done. Kept my eyes open the entire time if there were any DWTS rehearsals being held, but unluckily, I didn't see any. I think if there were paps in the parking lot, that would've been a definite sign. :(
After an hour and driving around LA for a bit, my body was completely physically exhausted. I was still sore from walking the park a few days previous for 10 hrs, so it was all adding up. Decided to head back to Santa Monica, where ALL the freeways were gridlock, save for our direction. Did a bit of perusing the shops, Michele loves her Crossroads store. We had Michele's friend Michael meet up with us (a real LAPD! I almost fangirled... I'm a big fan of the tv show Southland) and had an amazing Italian dinner.
The front of the hotel.
3rd Street Promenade after dinner.
Next day, we said goodbye to our pretty hotel room and I dropped Michele off at LAX and I headed back to Palm Springs to work the rest of the day at the office. Let's just say I am still recovering from the week. :)
There you have it... my best winter week ever. Congrats if you made it through the entire entry. ;)
More pictures are in my facebook album: