Archive | July, 2010

Music, Friends, and Food

27 Jul

Yeah, so LA’s the best. I tried to be objective, and not get caught up in the fact that I was hanging out with truly incredible people, eating amazingly wonderful food, and doing seriously spectacular things, but it didn’t work. I just love every moment I spend there.

The trip started out with some time spent with Blake and Bonnie, two very dear friends who both graduated from UT and now go to USC. It was amazing to catch up and see the USC campus – it is really a beautiful place. My friend Kristen, with whom I stayed, had to work on Thursday so I got the whole day to myself. I took Kristen’s car and drove to Santa Monica to shop and just enjoy the weather and the complete lack of responsibility. I sat outside at an adorable Italian café, and drank a Bellini, people-watched, and read. This was the view from my little table:

And this was the Bellini (I just really like this picture):

It was an amazing day – and it made me think that I might actually be able to live in LA. If I have a GPS. And lots and lots of money. That evening, Kristen and I went to Jinpachi, one of the best restaurants I have ever been to, and certainly the best sushi I have ever had. The last time I was in LA, I went there at the suggestion of John Mackey, and I can’t stop going back. (Here is one of his blog posts about the incredible experience.) This is my favorite thing I have ever had there – yellowtail with jalapeño, cilantro, garlic, yuzu, and soy sauce. (And I am fully aware my little point-and-shoot camera doesn’t hold a candle to Mackey’s.) :)

The next day, with Jackie finally in LA, we went to Disneyland. Seriously though – I freakin’ love that place. Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, Soarin’, corn dogs, and extreme pain in the lower extremities – who could ask for anything more? This is the classic picture of the three of us waiting in line for the 3D Toy Story ride (we do it every time…note my killer sunburn.)

We’re significantly hardcore.

Saturday was the reunion. I have next to ZERO pictures from the day, because I was too busy experiencing it to remember to document it. :) There were over 100 people there from all over the place, who had been in the band anytime from it’s inception (in 1971!!) to last year’s band. It was truly magical. We played a set in front of the Castle and a set walking down the parade route on Main Street. The thing I miss most about that unbelievable experience/job/band is making a whole bunch of people smile every single day. It was great to be back out in the park, dancing around like the huge dork that I am, and playing fun music with wonderful people. Life doesn’t get ANY better than that. Ever.

Sunday was wonderful – an Angels game with the Disney folks, and that evening Kristen, Jackie, and I went to “In the Heights” at the Pantages Theater.

Now, I saw “In the Heights” when it was in Austin for the touring show, and it was damn good. It’s one of my favorite musicals and they did a fantastic job. However, Lin-Manuel Miranda rejoined the cast for this stint in LA. Miranda was the original Usnavi, the main character in the musical. And if that’s not enough? Oh yeah – “In the Heights” was completely his concept, and he wrote the music and lyrics. Oh, and did I mention it won the Tony for Best Musical and Best Original Score in 2008? It was an experience I never thought I would get to have because he left the Broadway cast in February of 2009. The rest of the cast was great when I saw it in Austin, but they had very obviously stepped up their game because Miranda was there. I laughed, I cried, I glared at the people sitting beside us opening candy wrappers – it was INCREDIBLE. I wanted to go back on Tuesday, but David talked me out of it. (Sidenote – here is a great video from College Humor involving Lin-Manuel Miranda. Check it.)

So then my incredibly wonderful friend David came back to LA from Nebraska, where he had just been to a wedding of our dear friend Jenna. Oh, and by been to a wedding I mean he officiated the wedding. He got ordained online – which apparently is the easiest thing in the world. Hilarious. David and I have been so very close since the 7th grade, which is a crazy long time, but he’s worth it. He works at the Ellen Show, but they don’t film in the summer so we had all kinds of time together. We shopped a bunch, saw “Inception” (HOLY FREAKIN CRAP THAT MOVIE IS CRAZY AWESOME), and hung out with some of his wonderful friends. One evening, we went to this incredible coffee shop called the Bourgeois Pig (which, in turn, will be the name of the band I form someday). It looks like a normal coffee shop, but there is a back room that is decorated to look like a jungle. There was a big white light, posing as the moon, and vines and stars and craziness. I tried to capture it, but I don’t know that it really worked…

I will most DEFINITELY go back there. We also went back to Jinpachi with a few of David’s friends and ordered way too much food. It was glorious.

On my last day, we went to Amoeba Music, which is the world’s largest independent record store. They have every possible genre of music, plus movies, TV shows, VHS’s, concert DVD’s, you name it. Afterwards, I figured I should probably at least see the beach before I went home. We went out to Santa Monica and walked around for a bit. It was a beautiful ending to a very, VERY wonderful trip. I have incredible friends who are doing wonderful things with their lives, and they inspire me. Life’s pretty darn good. :)

Love for LA

14 Jul

I am off to LA in the morning! I can’t possibly explain how excited I am about this trip. In 2007, I was in the Disneyland All-American College Band and it was by far the best summer of my life. This weekend, they are having a reunion of anyone who has ever been in the College Band so NATURALLY I am going back. There were three girls in the band my year, and we have stayed unbelievably close ever since. Kristen lives in LA and works at USC, and Jackie just moved back to Georgia after going to UCLA and working in LA for a year. (She’s going to be teaching horn at the University of Florida in the fall. How crazy is that??) They are two of the most amazing people I have EVER met, and I can’t wait to see them again! Jackie and I are both staying with Kristen, and it will be like old times. :) The reunion should be fun – we’re playing two sets in the park and there’s a reception and whatnot. I can’t wait to be back in the Happiest Place on Earth!

Plans for the trip include, but are not limited to: LA Phil playing Mahler 1, DISNEYLAND, reunion on Saturday, “In the Heights” at the Pantages Theater, Inn N Out, Tower Records, Jinpachi (possibly the best sushi EVER), and THE BEACH. I looked at the weather forecast – we’re looking at sunny, with high’s in the 80’s. Yes. Please.

Something I also plan to do while I’m there is really check out LA. Every time I go, it’s always such a vacation, and I’m always way too excited to be rational about much of anything. :) However, this time is a little different, because LA is on the list of places that I might move to in a year. I know that it is hella expensive and absolutely monstrous, but I’m going to look at it this time with slightly different eyes. Although I’m still going to be ridiculously excited, so we’ll see how that goes.

And lastly, I’m not taking my computer on the trip. Um, what? Liz without her computer?? Unheard of. Well, folks, it’s happening. No blog posts, no facebook updates (……that might be a lie…….), no e-mail (less of a lie, but still might be a lie), nothing. Have a great week!!

(Bach can’t wait, either. He loves Disneyland.)

Urban Rightfitters

8 Jul

*Warning – my intention was to make this less of a rant and more of a thoughtful piece about something interesting. I don’t know that I succeeded.*

So I was sitting at my new job at BuildASign.com today, having a lovely chat with my dear friend Sarah, when the topic of the dress I had just ordered from Anthropologie came up. Sarah said, “Liz, do you know who owns Anthropologie?” and being my seemingly well-informed self, I said, “Um yeah, Urban Outfitters.” Sarah informed that though this was indeed correct, this was not the specific point she was trying to make. She told me to look up the owner of Urban Outfitters online. And here is what I found.

The president and co-founder of Urban Outfitters is an interesting man by the name of Richard Hayne. He and his (now ex) wife, Judy, started the “Free People’s Store”, as it was called in the 70’s, and they were very anti-business, as they believed that big business was the root of the Vietnam War (which they were also very against). Their marriage didn’t last long, and Judy went off to do her thang (and started the very successful White Dog Cafe – check it out). As time progressed, and the war ended, it seems Dick Hayne sort of gave up his political ideas; and he definitely siphoned them out of the growing Urban Outfitters.

So none of this is really all that shocking – there are conservative people behind liberal companies and products all over the place, and people’s views can change over time and that’s that. However, Hayne’s views go slightly beyond being “conservative”. The man, at one point, gave over $13,000 dollars to Rick Santorum. (Wikipedia is the shiz.) I’d never heard of him, but everything that I have read about him since makes me want to gouge his eyes out with spoons. (Sorry if that’s a little graphic, but it’s a very primal urge I have.) I am so very for many things he is so very against, and vice versa. I think I would punch the man if I ever met him. So there’s that.

Plus, I don’t know how many of you have ever actually walked into an Urban Outfitters store, but it is trés hip. When shopping there, I have frequently thought to myself, “I am entirely too square to pull that off.” They also just give off a friggin’ liberal vibe. That’s really all there is to it – during the presidential race, there were Obama t-shirts everywhere. So you spend 28 bucks on an Obama t-shirt because it’s the cool thing to do, and then your money goes to the Republican Party. (OK, that’s not entirely true – but this article sure thinks so, judging by the hilarious title.)

So this brings up some questions. When I started researching this whole thing, I was completely irrational and got terribly depressed and threatened to take the dress back and never shop there again and boycott all clothing stores and protest in the streets and become a vegan (you can ask Sarah – she was there), but I got over it. But it made me think – was it worth really never going back to those stores? Anthropologie is a very recent discovery – we’ve only been dating for a short while and I don’t want to lose her forever. Should it bother me that these hippie/hipster/liberal/kitschy stores are being backed by a man who thinks that being gay is wrong? Does it really matter to the consumer what the president of the company thinks about homosexuality? (Even as I type that, though, I know it does to me.) But he’s free to do whatever he wants with his money, just as we all are (and think what every he wants with his very tiny, close-minded brain), right? But I don’t like it. I just can’t decide how much I don’t like it.

I know this might be old news to some, but it was the first I had ever heard about Dick Hayne. My dress from Anthropologie is still sitting in the office at my apartment right now, just waiting to be part of my political shopping dilemma. Will it survive my liberal scrutiny? Stay tuned.

(On a completely different but equally important note, Anne Marie and I discovered Frutii Frogurt tonight. Possibly the best frozen yogurt I’ve had in Austin.)

Flowers of Love

6 Jul

So I am a total wannabe photographer. As in, this is still the only camera I have. Lame. However, I do love photographing flowers and clouds more than most things in life, so you guys get to read about it! The newest addition to the Liz Love Wannabe World of Photography is (get ready for it…) my FREE TRIAL of Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended!!!! That’s right, ladies and gentleman, yours for the low, low price of FREE for 30 whole days!! I’ve been working with it for the past couple of days, and by working with it I mean doing really the only thing I know how to do, which you will see below. It’s not terribly complicated – but it’s time consuming.

The original pictures I took of my parent’s truly incredible garden back home in Nebraska. Now that they are both retired (yay!), they have been spending some serious time back there. I took a bunch of pictures before I moved to Austin and put a few of them in a frame for their room. But it doesn’t stop there. Then I printed a bunch of them out in sepia and backed them and hung them on my wall in my old apartment. And NOW – I’m working on a project that might end up in a dear friend’s office, if she actually likes them when I’m done. :)

This was the first that I did – one of the many different kinds of lilies in the backyard.

And this is the one I just finished last night. (And my mom is going to have to help me out with what kind it is…)

The coolest thing about that one is that the flower is actually about the size of a quarter in real life.

I’m working on a couple more, so stay tuned. I know they aren’t perfect, but I am having entirely too much fun doing them. To all of my friends that are ACTUALLY photographers – don’t make fun! ;) Here’s one for the road – it’s my favorite of the originals. Ciao!

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