Sunday was my one year anniversary of moving to California! I can’t believe how fast time has flown and how many friends and memories I have made while I’m here. I know that I have been MIA for quite some time.. but maybe I will make it a goal to at least keep everyone up to date now and then.
To recap my one year anniversary here in LA, me and Matt hung out by his pool and had a relaxing day laying on the water. We made friends in his complex that were hanging out by the pool too and it definitely solidified why I’m here and why I love living here. We met a group of dancers, some struggling, some distinguished in the industry. We also got to talking with an actress and her friend. I knew she looked familiar, her name was Giovannie and she’s acted in Bring It On: All or Nothing, and Suite Life on Disney. We were all sharing our stories from our industries and talking about the struggles it takes to make it in entertainment: whether it be acting, dancing, or producing a television show. I realized how much it took to move out here and how I’ve had the opportunity to work for a great company this past year and it will help me further my career. I think it was a great day to remember why I had moved here in the first place, and it was to pursue my career.
I’ve shown myself that I can acclimate to a new place, meet new friends, and start from scratch. It was a big leap moving from Gainesville, where I had resided for my whole life. This is the longest I have lived anywhere else than my hometown, and it has been the longest I’ve been away from my closest friends back home and my family. I’ve proven that I can flee the nest and not fall flat on my face. I’m so grateful for all the amazing people I have met in the past year that have become close to me and have made California feel like home.
Anyway, thought I’d share! I haven’t touched this thing in forever and thought this was an appropriate time!
Lots of love,
Well time certainly has passed quickly between August and now. I can’t believe it’s already November. It’s taking me quite some time to update because I’ve wanted to include pictures. But since it’s been so long I will just bullet point my most fun/spontaneous/interesting moments in the past two months.
Well we’re all caught up! No pictures… but maybe I’ll put some in on a separate post!
P.S. Promise I’ll be better at updating Mom.
Hence the title, “Ex-AUG-sted”, it is a play on words on the activity filled month I had. Sorry for the delay. I have created a long-winded entry on August’s happenings. Hopefully you all can bear with this entry. Also, the lack of photos right now might make it painful. Hopefully my imagery is vivid enough.
Alicia won tickets a while back to see Demi Lovato perform at the VH1 Do Something Awards. We had to wait in line, under the sun might I add, for quite some time until we could actually make it inside the building. We were batched with a group of people with black bands, which gave us priority over the other seat fillers. Instead of getting jumbled around throughout the show, we got permanent seats. Jane Lynch was the host. I love her on Glee and she was just as hysterical being the host as she is being on a sitcom. It was my first time seeing some of the bigger names in person: Justin Bieber, Will Farrell, and Kim Kardashian. I think I might have made eye contact with The Biebs, or I might have made that up. The award ceremony was awesome. They celebrated celebrities and their philanthropic deeds along with recognizing 5 regular people in the nation that established outstanding charities/organizations. I got to see B.O.B and One Republic, Foster the People, and Demi Lovato perform musical numbers.
I even showed up in a picture of one of the performances. Well, my hand and watch made a cameo at least. I was also on television for a millisecond, caught flipping my hair as Jane Lynch passed me. Due to my obnoxious laugh, I could also distinctly hear my laughter echoing in the background because I was sitting close to the stage. Alicia and I were sure to watch it on T.V. later and take screen shots of our appearances on the broadcast.
That Wednesday we got to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. It was “ABC Gives Back” day where the studio and network went out for different causes. There was an opportunity to attend the Boys and Girls Club, plants trees, pack boxes at the food bank, and even sending out packages to troops. A group of us helped to build a house in the area. It was a lot of hard work involving a whole lot of sweat, but it was worth it. At first I was assigned to a project that involved heights and a nail gun. I don’t do either of those things. If you know me then you will know I am prone to accidents. So I switched to help stucco a wall and at the end of the day I got to paint.
My mentor is in the casting department, so the next day I was fortunate enough to sit in on a callback session.They had a showcase of actors come in and audition. From there they narrowed that group down to the call-back group. I got to see a portion of them audition with my mentor. I had the most important job: holding head shots. The acting world is an interesting one. While it is quite hard to break into, it is also such a talent to have. To act in a way that you are convincing and genuine is hard to come across. I’m not much of a critic, but some of the people who came in were extremely good. There are just so many subtle movements and expressions that make acting seem so effortless. Then later that day we got to listen in on a seminar where they discussed the casting process after a pilot has been chosen. I think it is an interesting field, and I would like to learn more about it.
Later that weekend the current associates and the old associates met
at the Hollywood Cemetery. I know it sounds a bit morbid, but trust me
it was a good experience. During the summer they play movies in the
graveyard. They play a lot of classics. We watched “The Jerk” with
Steve Martin. The scene was cool. Everyone was sitting in lawn chairs
or on blankets. Some people had little coffee tables with candle
light. Picnics were sprawled out on blankets, and a massive amount of
clinking from all the wine glasses being toasted together.
Last week we had a SoCal Gator Club event. It was the first social of
the year! We met at ESPN Zone in L.A. Live and got to mingle and mix
with fellow Gators. I got to meet a lot of people that weren’t at the
picnic last month. They rented out the whole restaurant/bar, so there
were Gator football clips playing on the televisions. We even got a
shout out by an ESPN commentator on television! We sang “We are the
Boys” and got hyped up for the upcoming football season. The first
game is playing at Tony P’s at Marina Del Ray and supposedly there is
a big showing at that spot.
Then that weekend was the glorious VMA weekend. Perez Hilton had a
party called, “One Night in LA”, where he invited special musical
guests to come perform. I got to see Michelle Branch, Demi Lovato
(again), Jojo, Gavin Degraw, Far East Movement, and Busta Rhymes. What
an amazing line up. It was well suited for my taste in music, seeing
that I have an eclectic liking for different genres.
The next day Alicia and I got to be a part of the Pre-show for the VMA’s. Their
setup was inside this year. Thank goodness we didn’t have to wait or
stand in the sun. They held us in a room at the JW Marriot for awhile
and then we headed to the Nokia Center. The venue was quite a
spectacle. There were long chandeliers and a lot of strobing lights.
There were a lot of attendees, so it was hard to catch a glimpse of
the celebrities without getting claustrophobic. I did get to see the
ones I wanted! Justin Bieber, Taylor Laughtner, Lil Mama, Joe Jonas,
Adele, and others. There was a point I couldn’t stand being sandwiched
in between people that I went to go sit down near a cleared spot. The
bodyguards all the sudden forced me to get up and move out of the way
and it wasn’t until I looked up in a panic that I realized I was
sitting in Selena Gomez’s path. She stopped and smiled as me and my
friend hastily stood up and then she passed us. We didn’t have tickets
to the actual show, but after a long weekend all Alicia and I wanted
to do was watch the show from the comfort of her couch.
Well, that concludes August!
Cam-tu and Johann just came to visit for Labor Day weekend, so I will make sure to fill you in on those details when I get the chance.
These past few weeks have flown by so fast. I wanted to make sure I could a) think of a good title for my blog entry. And b) fit in a ton of juicy stories! I have to say, these past two weeks have been a true Hollywood experience. I feel like I have seen too many famous people to handle. I was having lunch with Alicia yesterday when I stopped, looked at her, and asked, “Who are we?” with such amazement. I don’t think a year ago I would have imagined talking about seeing Will.I.Am in an interview and she discussed sitting in on a Ferrell interaction she had with such a nonchalant attitude.
Two Fridays ago we got to tour the Golden Oaks Ranch. They showed us around to the new back lots they built. We all picked out a house in the residential areas, and walked down the streets of the fake city.
There is also a lot of history on that ranch. Disney used to retreat there with his family. There’s even a bomb shelter on the side of the vacation house, to date how old it is. They also filmed movies and T.V. shows such as The Country Bears and Little House on the Prairie. They use that land also as a helicopter water refill station for wildfires. It’s fun to be able to take a field trip during a workday!
Let me start with two weekends ago. A group of girls and I went to see Hairspray at the Hollywood Bowl. We are all on a tight budget so we splurged for the $16 dollar seats. When we got there we found out why they were so cheap. We were sectioned all the way to the top at “X” which took 4 escalators to get to the top of. The whole balcony below was empty so we were able to get a better view. The venue was really big and you are able to bring snacks and wine. We had ourselves a little picnic and snuggled up together (because it was quite chilly up there) while we were serenaded by popular names: John Stamos, Nick Jonas, Diana Degarmo, and Corbin Bleu. It was an abridged version so there was dialogue skipped and some songs cut out. Nick Jonas was phenomenal in it. I wish I had caught his performance in Les Miserables when he was in London.
Bryce had his housewarming party last Saturday night. All the associates got together and we got to meet his roommate and all their friends. John Shneider, from Dukes of Hazzard, happened to be Bryce’s roommate’s dad. I found myself at the food table a lot that night, as usual, but still a fun-filled night of laughs and good conversation.
The other week I worked the TCA press conference. It coincidentally was the same time as the Teen Choice Awards, so when I was abbreviating online that I was attending the TCA’s, I think my friends got excited over the wrong thing. It still was a pretty cool event. I got to man my own room and keep time of each of the interviews. I saw a lot of television stars that day, seeing that it was the Television Critics Association conference. I felt pretty important talking on my personal headset. It was a long day, but well worth it. I got to see the two girls who play Alex and Haley on Modern Family, Raven Simone, Christina Ricci, Joey Lawrence, Tim Allen, Will.I.Am, Joey Fatone, Carla from Top Chef, Benjamin Bratt, and a ton of other people. It was a lot to take in at once. Working in this industry you just have to get used to being around talent and keeping it professional. But everyone I saw was very nice and down to earth. We got to attend the reception after. The room we had breakfast in earlier that day was transformed into this lavish lounge. They dimmed the lighting and had colorful accent lights. There was a booth where you could self impose yourself into different television shows. There were all sorts of food from sushi to pasta. It was a good way to end the first day of the conference. The week went on quickly.
The other Tuesday I got to see the screening of The Help. I wanted to try and finish the book before seeing the movie, but I just didn’t have enough time. The movie, however, was very moving. I think the whole theater got emotional a few times. I recommend seeing it, especially with Emma Stone having a more serious role. It is something worth watching.
Anyway, I still have more to write so this is only part one of a very LONG blog entry.
So it is official. I have been in California for a whole month now. I am feeling settled in and things are becoming familiar. I find that driving around has become easier and that I don’t have to use my GPS as much.
Where to begin? Last week there was a lot of events going on. I recently bought a Groupon to Yoga Hop in Pasadena. Carine and I have been going regularly. One of our teachers was a huge Gator fan and said he likes to go every other year to a Gator game. He is a Florida native and struck up conversation with us because I was wearing my Gator Country t-shirt. It is always nice to find a fan and not someone who scoffs at my orange and blue gear.
Tuesday Bryce and I went to Smokehouse to see if we could find any celebrities hanging out in the restaurant. Apparently it is quite the hangout for some well-knowns working on the Warner Bros. lot nearby. Unfortunately, we were not graced by the presence of anyone familiar. We still had a great time. Bryce is fabulous company to have. Afterwards, I met up with some friends to Dimples, a famous karaoke bar. It is right across the street from NBC, and this is also a celebrity hangout apparently. They had videos streaming of celebs that have come by to sing karaoke there. I also heard a rumor that Mr. Belding from Saved By The Bell was a co-owner to the bar. Since we were first timers singing there we got free DVDs of our performances. Carine and I sang a BBMak song and showed off our vocals with our rendition of Lady Marmalade.
Wednesday, Alicia and I went to Universal City to see The Voice in concert. Walking in we both happened to see Jay Leno interviewing people for sketches to air on The Tonight Show. Anyway, I bought tickets to the concert on Groupon. I have been a very good customer to them lately. They had the top 8 finalists from The Voice perform. Finalist, Dia Frampton, performed a surprise number with Blake Shelton (her coach on the show). This was a nice surprise!
Friday night we lassoed up the troops from work to gather at El Toritos. It was nice to get everyone together to relax and chit chat. They eventually had people start participating in karaoke. I guess this was my week to perform. Matt and I performed Bananas by Gwen Stefani. A real crowd pleaser, I might add. Since we performed, we got to judge the karaoke competition that followed after our act. I claimed myself to be a “Paula Abdul” type judge. I think I was being very generous with the points.
That night Harrison came into town to visit. We went to see Cowboys and ALiens that night, and I have to say, please don’t waste your money. I fell asleep early into the show, if that tells you anything.
Saturday I brought Harry to see the Hollywood sign, Chinese Theater, and Hollywood Walk of Fame. We had to do the touristy sites first. I also drove down to Santa Monica and the 3rd Street Promenade to shop and eat. We got to sit on the beach for awhile. The weather was amazing and it was a bit chilly by the water.
Sunday we drove to Los Feliz and had breakfast at a cute organic cafe. It reminded me of The Jones restaurant in Gainesville. I think I have been missing the local restaurant atmosphere that I had back home. We then headed to a Dodgers game. It was sweltering outside, but I stuck it out. We got free duffle bags too! After the game, we drove to Malibu. We ate at Malibu Seafood. The line was out the door onto the driveway. It is a popular spot! I got fish and chips and Harry ordered an ahi tuna burger. I would go back there again when I visit Malibu again. The houses around the area are top notch, of course. Makes you think about what the people who own those houses do for a living. The beach was gorgeous. Nothing like seeing a beach in the foreground and mountains in the background.
Monday was Harrison’s birthday. I took him to Castaway restaurant in Burbank. It sits at the top of the hills and overlooks all of Burbank. You can even see into Los Angeles from the outside deck. We got to see the view sunset to dusk. It was a tremendous view to have while eating dinner. That night we went to City Walk to peruse stores and entertain ourselves.
Yesterday was pretty laid back. We ate at a sushi restaurant in Pasadena called A’Float Sushi. It literally was a’float. They had small portions of sushi laying out on boats that were floating around the bar. You could grab whatever you wanted to eat as the boats came around. That night we headed to Gindi Thai. It has amazing pad thai. A great contrast of sweet and spicy.
I just came from Crazy, Stupid, Love with Alicia. It was a funny movie with quite a few twists at the end. Usually comedies are predictable, but I didn’t see a few moments coming.
Anyway, I waited too long to update. Sorry about the long post. This week is halfway done. Hopefully I’ll get into some fun activities this weekend!
Not really sure where this week went! I considered this week my first full week. I had to take the training I had the week before and do it on my own.
Monday I was asked to cover a desk. One of the coordinator’s was out. I got to try my hand in answering phones and it went well! That day I caught up on a lot of tasks I had from the week before so it kicked my week off to a good start.
To update on mundane activities that I found exciting, I got a library card! The whole “being on a budget and not having cable” thing has forced me to find other outlets of entertainment. I know I’m a nerd, but I have to admit I love the library. I picked out a bunch of DVDs and borrowed Confessions of a Shopaholic to read.
Thursday, I decided I would organize the supply closet and I ended up slicing my finger on the inside of the metal cabinet! Who knew that organizing could be so dangerous. My finger was spewing blood. I didn’t even realize I had cut it until I looked over and saw a red blot on the door and realized it was me bleeding. I was sent to the nurse’s office on the lot and they wrapped it up pretty good. I don’t think I should be trusted with the supply closet duties anymore.
Friday the associates took a field trip to Panavision. It is a company that is most famous for making cameras. We got to meet some of the engineers and checking out some of the oldest film cameras.
They showed us one of the cameras that was used to film West Side Story. (One of my favorite musicals) We even got to each take home a t-shirt for a souvenir!
Saturday Alicia, Bianka, and I went to Pasadena to see the X-Factor taping at the civic center. We scored tickets in the fourth row. We were off to the side so we could get clear views of Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell. The show was very entertaining and I can’t wait to try and spot myself in the audience! (If I even get any air time) We went to Louise’s Trattoria. Their complimentary focaccia bread was delicious. Perfectly soft and seasoned. I highly recommend this place.
Today Adriana, Alicia, and I went to The Grove Farmer’s Market. We expected it to be a little bit bigger. We walked around the whole place and then grabbed breakfast. We then headed to Rancho Park to join the SoCal Gators at the “all Florida alum schools” picnic.
We got to meet fellow Gators and alum from schools like UCF, FSU, UNF, and USF. 9 out of 11 state schools were able to make it! Me and Dayana did the three-legged race and came in second. The whole event was amazing and made me feel like I was at home.
After the picnic I walked the Runyon Canyon trail with Adriana and her dad.
Apparently this trail is a good place to spot some celebs. I was immediately on the hunt. There was this pinscher creeping up on me. I went back to pet the dog and the owners behind me giggled a little at the interaction. The couple then passed me and I recognized one of the women. It was Jackie Warner, a famous fitness trainer. She had her own show for a little on Bravo. So I got a good workout and the celeb sighting I wanted!
I’m really starting to get settled in. I feel like after today I felt more at home here. I still miss my family and friends back in Gainesville, but I know that this whole experience is going to have many more great memories and give me opportunities to meet new people.
Hopefully this week goes by fast. The weekends are way too short-lived.
I was trying to be clever with the title of my entry. Essentially the first week at work was a win, and additionally it was really the first week. To describe what my first week was like would be a summation of new faces and new responsibilities.
I am still awed at the fact I get to work with a company that has been such an integral part of my life. From my childhood up until this point, I am excited to be part of a process that I had seen just the other side of. Now instead of being a part of the audience, I get to see behind the scenes.
Everyone in the associates group is awesome. We were joking that we are like The Real World. We all bring such different backgrounds and come from different upbringings. I am learning more about them as the days go on and I can’t wait to plan group events together.
I really enjoy the company culture as well. Everyone is very inviting. I don’t feel intimidated, but comfortable asking questions and letting them know that I need clarification on responsibilities and directions. I really enjoy working in an environment that everyone is excited to meet you.
Aside from work, I explored outside of Burbank and ventured off into Glendale one night. I went to to the Americana which was a number of stores outdoors. They were playing a movie on a big screen outdoors. There is a track where apparently a trolley travels. It was a cute area with all my favorite stores and different places to dine. We stepped into the LA Creamery where we had organic honey and lavender ice cream. YUMMY.
I am slowly becoming a Californian. I feel a lot more confident driving on the freeways. Surprisingly, I think it may be worse to drive in Florida. Everyone is going 65 mph, whereas people are constantly speeding and weaving in and out of lanes back home. Enough to give my an anxiety attack. I got my new license plate and ID! I was sad to take the DWAGON plate off. May it forever be a part of me.
Friday Bryce, Adriana, and I relaxed at El Torito’s. We gabbed about work and plans for future outings. That night Carine and I went to Tatiana’s gathering at Entourage in Hollywood. The cafe was so chic and the balcony had a nice view of the W Hotel. They had a nice fire pit in the middle with cool decor. It was a nice lounge to be able to converse with friends.
Saturday I went to Equator (recommended by Bryce) with Carine in Pasadena. It was in Old Town which is another cutesy area with a ton of shops. It was a number of brick plazas combined. A lot of eateries and shops. At Equator we shared dim sum, which I had been craving, and had some lychee champagne. We walked around to stores and had some froyo at 21 flavors. Nutella and animal cracker citrus cookies were our mixed flavors. We then passed out at her house and took a long nap.
Today I finally got to see Harry Potter. Yes, tears were shed. I didn’t want the movie to end. I still feel entranced from earlier. I just came from the Observatory in Griffith Park with Aliver. We got there just in time to see the sun set over the city past the Hollywood Hills. We decided to buy tickets to the planetarium show. We sat in chairs that laid back so you could look up to a dome that was comparable to an IMAX screen. It was quite the day to feel entranced. The whole show was amazing. Showed the vastness of the universe and the long history of how astronomy came to be.
Tomorrow starts the second week of work. Must go to bed soon!
So after mommy left I had to take advantage of my free time until my job started. My first day is tomorrow, I am very excited. I feel like I have been waiting ages for this day to come, and it finally has!
So on Thursday I did a lot of errands around town. That night me and Adriana decided we would head out to Santa Monica to enjoy the sunset by the beach. We got there and walked around the 3rd St. Promenade. There were artists posted up with their amps and microphones singing, a ton of restaurants, and shops to dally around in. We then perused the pier and took pictures next to the Route 66 sign and of the pretty shore. We stopped by a tapas place near the beach. Their duck was amazing and tender. We also shared a platter of patatas bravas and a plate of pulled pork empanadillas.
Each day I have no idea what I will venture off to do. Friday I figured I would run more errands, but instead me and Aliver headed to Venice Beach. We took the metro, which was a good way to get to know the city more. We took the subway to Koreatown and took a very long bus down Wilshire toward Venice Beach. After a 2 hour commute we finally made it. The boardwalk was lined with stands selling picture, jewelry, and odds and ends. We lingered into the Venice Freakshow where we watched a guy eat swords and looked at various animals with double heads, tails, extra legs, etc. It was very bizarre. Venice Beach reminded me a little bit of Atlantic City in Jersey, without the medicinal marijuana stores. After gulping down frozen lemonades and walking down to the pier we found a dive bar where they were playing blues songs. That night I made it just in time back to Burbank to catch Horrible Bosses.
I highly recommend Horrible Bosses. It was one of those movies that ended up being funnier than the previews. I met up with Carine and her friends. I swear we were all laughing the whole time. It won’t be a disappointment I promise.
Saturday Carine and I took a spontaneous trip with her friends to San Diego. We decided we would check out the famous zoo. Lions, tigers, and polar bears… oh my! I didn’t realize it would take us 3 whole hours to see all those animals. We took a trek to Temecula Valley afterward to eat dinner at Baily’s winery where I enjoyed a nice glass of Merlot with ravioli. Nothing like wining and dining.
That night me and Carine went to this place called Firefly. It was a lounge/restaurant that was very cozy. One room had a fireplace and another was staged to look like a home library. We then met up with a coworker of mine next door. It literally was called Next Door.
Today I again, planned to do errands. Aliver called and sprung tickets to the Dodgers game on me. We had awesome seats underneath an overhang but then moved into a suite. The view was awesome and we witnessed 2 home runs that game. Dodgers won against the Padres 4-1!
I decided I wanted to invite Adriana and Carine over tonight for dinner. I cooked chicken pot pie. We all had second helpings, so I guess that means they liked it! My cousin and his friend came over and we all watched YouTube videos.
I should now probably head to bed. Big day tomorrow. We have orientation for Disney and it should be a long day. Wish me luck!