And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.

Hello Lovelies!!!! So glad to see you again!

The last week of August, I spent with my family at the beach. It was as serene as it sounds. We saw dolphins and sea lions daily and went into the surf sometimes multiple times a day.

My sister and I would go the roof of the house and watch the sunrise every morning.

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And we would sit on the beach to check out the sunsets at night.

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We promised ourselves this year, we would eat healthier than past years. Maybe we did. But probably not. Shaka and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary with many friends and family coming to join us for a beach day.

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The whole trip was special and time moved slower. I even sat on the beach for probably an hour after everyone had gone back to the house just to watch the waves. It was so healing and personal that even when I wanted to walk back to join everyone, my body just wouldn’t. So I sat. And I let my mind wander.

I did a photo shoot with my niece and sister by these really cool murals at the end of the beach.

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Then on our last day, it was like Benny Hill music as we all scrambled to get everything cleared out and packed. My sister and family headed to LAX for their international flight, my dad and his wife headed back to AZ and Shaka and I headed back to Los Angeles.

It’s not the heat…it’s the humidity…and the fricking heat! GAH!

So many activities happened the next week. Summer heat was still there, but the vacation was over.

So much hot. So much sweat. So much laundry.

But you do what you gotta do. And if I am reapplying makeup and deodorant and bringing day to night outfits, then that’s what’s gotta happen.

Christia invited me to an Emmy’s rooftop party in Hollywood. She and I are working on a project that tbh is taking a little nap at the moment. We decided that this was going to be the night, the project gets reignited. We would socialize and make connections and see where the night takes us.

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It was…and I hope I am not overstating this…a BRILLIANT night!

We met so many incredible people. Publicists, managers, actors, creators, agents, writers…the list goes on. As the sun set on sunset and the market lights turned on, the drinks were flowing and the laughter continued.

One of the people we met mentioned this building used to be CBS Radio where they recorded Art Linkletter’s “Kids Say the Darndest Things.”

My dad had just told the story while were at the beach that when he was 7 years old, he got to be on the radio show. For years, there was a vinyl recording of my dad talking to the host about how his parents (my grandparents) met. Years later, a jilted lover of my dad’s broke the vinyl record in half. (she really was a BISH). But the story when he was on the show was that before the recording, the kids were given a tour of the studios. My dad was anxious because he thought the tour would make them miss the show (THEY WERE THE SHOW – lol) so he was not really paying attention.

The lobby of where the Emmy’s party was held was the same lobby that my dad had gone through to go to the recording.

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It was like a weird time warp.

A couple days later, I was invited to DreamWorks Animation’s wrap party for their new, upcoming release, “Abominable” and I LOVED IT!

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It was a great film and a fantastic party!

Saturday, I wanted to sleep in, but I had scheduled a long overdue facial (a Christmas gift from Shaka) for 9am, so off I went to European Secret Skin.

Usually, I look like I have measles after I have been for a facial (extractions + sensitive skin = no good look for me) but this facialist was great. I added on an oxygen treatment and voila…no measles look!

I get back home and Shaka says he is craving Pink’s hot dogs. I was like, “ugh…do you know how hot it is out there?”

And he replies, “I called and they have vegan hot dogs.”

I sat for a moment and thought…this heat indicates that summer ain’t over, so let’s have an adventure!

It had been awhile since I had been to Pink’s, and once I had agreed to go, I got a little tourist thrill.

We met some Kiwis in line behind us and our wait to order wasn’t too long.

The vegan dog was pretty good too!

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Here we were, two crazy kids with nowhere to be…the afternoon was ours. We were going to grab an afternoon margarita at either El Coyote or El Compadre, but found ourselves at Guitar Center. I checked out the mics and podcast setups, while Shaka played drums, electric guitar and acoustic guitar. We had tentative plans with Mads and ST8, so we headed back home.

Those plans fell through.

But the next day, I called Mads to see if she wanted to grab lunch, and she instead (in Mads magic fashion) invited me to join her to go to Universal Studios.

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It was late in the afternoon when we headed there. It was the perfect amount of time to wait in line for amusement (ha!).

We hit a couple of fun rides and ate linner (dunch?) in Simpson’s Land.

I got my steps in, for sure.

ST8 hates theme parks but was a good sport. Mads, MamaMads and I got our picture taken with Beetlejuice. He was just as creepy as Michael Keaton.

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As I left Mads’ to head back home and prepare for the week ahead, it hit me that summer wasn’t over at all. I was still enjoying events, friends, activities and the warm summer days (sure, we can call it warm, rather than satan’s breath) like anyone still experiencing vacation.

I know people are starting to go crazy for pumpkin-spiced items and for Halloween decorations and technically, the calendar would say it’s true that fall is upon us.

But maybe summer is a state of mind.

A state of mind, I will keep as long as my weird burn/tan lasts on my shoulders.

 

Fairy Tale of Hollywood

My expectation and excitement for “Once Upon A Time…in Hollywood” was off the charts! The trailer! The cast! The iconic filming locations! And Quentin!

A facebook friend, (I have met in person more than a few times) a curmudgeon journalist (CJ), was RAVING about the film. And he rarely raves about anything unless it’s about obscure musicians.

So Friday night, I bounced my energy into a request to Shaka that we go see the film.

“I don’t know how long it’s been that I have seen a movie on opening night,” he says.

“YES!!!!!”

But CJ had mentioned seeing the film in 35mm. So Shaka, taking CJ’s recommendation seriously says his only request is that we see it in 35 mm.

Well, the Arclight was showing a LOT of screenings but the next 35mm version was at 11pm on Friday. It’s a 2 hour 40 min flick. Um…

So we buy tickets for Saturday, happy with our decision.

Saturday morning, we wake up to find out that Mads and ST8 had gone to the opening night 7pm show in 70mm! Shaka was like, “Aw man! We should have seen it in 70mm!”

I had no retort because I would have seen the film projected on a sheet at this point. Then we see photos of Zappy and Roni who went to the screening AFTER Mads and St8!!!!! We really should have rallied.

But regrets aside, we went to the Saturday matinee to see it in 35mm. And it that kind of timing was fine by me.

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I will not spoil anything, but I will say, my expectations were not exactly met.

BUT BUT BUT I loved it!!!!

AND, it stayed with me for the next week.

A friend of mine’s daughter is in it and is fantastic!

Another friend’s brother is in it! So many cameos.

So many layers.

Mads, Zappy and Jazzy and I are regulars (well not as much lately) at El Coyote. In the film, Sharon Tate and her friends are seen in El Coyote (where Sharon had her last meal). I was under the assumption I knew where the booth they sat was. In the film, Sharon and her friends are ushered to a different table.

With Quentin’s attention to detail, I was wondering if he was wrong…or I was.

I was a little uneasy typing Sharon Tate El Coyote last meal booth

But I did. And every result said that it was the correct booth in the film.

Mads and Zappy and I were texting how much we all loved the film and wanted to meet up to go over our thoughts on it.

Musso and Frank’s or El Coyote. I voted for El Coyote cuz…chips.

So we gathered in a booth and caught up on our weeks. I mentioned something about someone I met being good good looking and Zappy sighed, “Talk about good looking…BRAD PITT!”

And just like that, we were on the topic that brought us together to drink margaritas.

Two of my co-workers did not like the film. Like, at all. When I told Shaka, he thought it was because they are too young to understand the tapestry of the culture at that time. I mean, we are too, but we are still closer to that time than my co-workers. Zappy thought it was because younger people are used to the idea of crazy groups rather than just crazy individuals. And back in 1969, the stakes were pretty high for letting go of your innocence to understand that dark group-think was present. Mads added that it’s quite a polarizing film for these various reasons.

I asked Mads if she knew where the actual booth was. She thought it was where I had thought it was. She tried to nudge me into asking the waiter. If I felt weird typing that shit, I sure as bubs wasn’t going to say it out loud to someone. Plus, I kind of liked knowing I may be wrong. I never wanted to sit in the booth I thought it was. I don’t need any ghost encounters or weird vibes with my guacamole. But if I didn’t know, then all booths were safe. A sort of bastardized Schrödinger’s cat experiment.

The CJ was deleting people on social media who were trashing the film before they had seen it. Shaka supported that. I get that it’s not just a movie for some. It’s more about what the movie represents.

I found it intriguing how the Manson story was always in the background, weaving its way through the film, building tension when you see the world of the past, intersecting with the world of the future.

Mads, Zappy and I decided we definitely wanted to see it again.

One of my favorite visuals in the film was watching a dusk shot of neon signs all over LA turning on to welcome evening. Its significance felt like the end of the line for some of the characters, the end of the literal day, the end of a summer of innocence and the end of an era. Also it felt like it was signalling the end of the film (which was fine since I needed to pee).

As we left El Coyote and headed to the parking lot to get our cars (under one of those flickering neon signs), we waited in a longer line than I had EVER seen. We surmised it was due to the film’s release.

How meta.

I drove back home with warm summer evening air, barely breezing my skin as I drove past the Hollywood Blvd, and then passing the crowds at the Hollywood Bowl.

I love this town.

I love its history – both the roses and thorns.

I love the industry.

I love films ABOUT this town.

I love good storytelling.

I love fairy tales, even this  Tarantino-esque form of one.

And although my expectations were not met in some ways, I loved this film for things I never expected! That a movie like this can spur on conversations that lead me to a night like this.

A weird happily ever after.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow the Martini

How do you know if someone is Vegan?

A: Don’t worry, they’ll tell you within the first 2 minutes of meeting them

That is how I used to think too. I have never been a huge meat eater, but I do eat turkey and chicken and until recently, would gobble up cheese and drink milk in my lattes. I still partake of some chicken and turkey (and sometimes eggs), but have really started limiting my dairy intake (HELLO Oat Milk!). So although I am not a vegan, I try and eat a more plant based diet when I can.

My friends are foodies. And not at all vegetarian or vegan. So when they go out to a steak house for dinner, they usually wouldn’t call me.

But recently, Shaka mentioned he had never been to Musso and Frank’s.

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He suggested we go. It had been awhile for me too. We didn’t have reservations but decided to take our chances at the bar. We invited Zappy and her hubs (Roni) and Mads and her hubs (who I think wants to be referred to as “Sweet Tush 45 (ST45)”). To our surprise, all were available and ready to join us. Zappy and Roni were already there. Everyone laughed when I said there was a smell of wealth in the air (starting with Zappy’s awesome fragrance), but I wasn’t trying to be funny. There is just something that happens in certain moments on certain nights with certain people. And this was one of them. Quentin Tarantino’s new film “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood” was starting to preview, but I don’t think that is why this place is hopping. It’s an institution that could have gone the way of the Derby but it didn’t. And it was full. Full of people who were all there for different reasons.

Zappy ordered a shrimp cocktail and martini. I love vodka. But strange as this sounds, I had never had a martini. Not sure why. So when in Rome and all that…I ordered one.

Zappy looked at me and smiled, “You’re about to have an amazing night,” she said in a tone, reminiscent of a hippie turning a square onto LSD. She wasn’t lying.

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Our bartender, Sonny, kept calling me Bella. “He’s calling everyone Bella,” Zappy says in a tone reminiscent of Bea Arthur on the Golden Girls talking to Rose.

I AM Rose. I am drinking my first martini. And I am happy.

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Mads and ST45 show up. They are exhausted and are in hospice care for their dog. This is the first night out for them in awhile and they won’t be out too long so they can rush back to tend to their pooch. I look at ST45 and say, “this is my first martini!” He is used to my nonsense but is not in the mood. “I can’t tell if you’re kidding,” he says eyeing the bar. Cue eye roll when I tell him I am not. I don’t feel the shame he intends and I give him a hug. He needs a drink and a good night. As does Mads.

After trying to get a seat for dinner (and being laughed at by the hosts for such a question this late in the evening), we head down the street to dinner.

A few weeks later, Shaka and I want to take our friend Faye out to Musso and Frank’s. She is newer to LA and is soaking it all up with excitement. We head there for drinks. The parking attendant warns us that there may not be room at the bar either. We take our chance. It works out (as it always does with Faye and me combining our wonder twin powers).

Sonny is our bartender again. He calls us Bella (I guess Zappy wasn’t wrong) and I eat it up.

Or drink it up as I am now excited to order another martini. Shaka and Faye opt for gin and I stick with vodka. We are asking Sonny about people he may have served. He is cryptic but charming and has us laughing. He tells us he’s a poet. He comes back to us a few minutes later reciting some of his work. I ask him where we can get a copy. He comes back a few minutes later with his book.

We buy it. He signs it to all three of us. He is a character and we are here for it!

The martinis are perfect! We hate to leave but we have reservations down the street at Lono. Happy birthday, Faye! See ya soon, Sonny!

A few weeks later, Shaka and are car pooling home and he says he’s craving a martini (what has happened to us???). We head to Valley Inn in Sherman Oaks. Different vibe but delicious food and tasty drink!!!!

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Even though I love wine, I learned awhile ago to have a drink other than vino when you go to a bar. My choice was always vodka and soda.

What have I been doing NOT ordering martinis all these years?

Now in the going out mode with our hard-to-wrangle-schedules friends, we attempt another Hollywood night. We head to Sunset and Vinyl (a little hidden bar upstairs from a pizza joint).  Guess what I order? Guess! Guess!

Yup.

And it’s good.

Mads says, “why do you think I always order them? It is a great drink and you only need one.”  She’s right. Zappy and Roni show up and we head to dinner somewhere nearby.

A few weeks ago, Zappy and Roni invited Shaka and me to Taylor’s

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It had been so long since I had been to any of these places cuz…I don’t eat steak (and contrary to the joke I started this with, I actually applaud vegans, even if I only dabble). But my goal has changed to follow the martini. I don’t eat sushi either but I go for the sake. Same theory here.

A co-worker has told me about Colombo’s in Eagle Rock. She said the drinks are good and strong and the ambiance is dark and red, which I seem to be drawn to these days.

Guess where I will be heading next?

I love a good martini chase!

Long live vermouth! Cheers!