Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas Day

Although its still November, today felt like a Christmas Day. Michael and I had lunch at Sweet Tomatoes then drove over to Bass Pro Shop to get our free picture with Santa!! I like it much better than last year's, haha. We weren't planning on getting a Christmas tree this year, mainly because we will be gone for Christmas, plus it seemed like it would be a hassle with the move. But they had Douglas Firs for only $20 at Home Depot and since we met in 2009, Michael has gotten me to enjoy picking out our own tree each time instead of buying a fake one. So when Christopher got home, we picked out this one. I think it was a Fraser Fir for $30?
I put on the Glee holiday music while they decorated with lights and colored orbs. We should have seen a Christmas movie to make the day really complete, but Michael had been wanting to see "Flight" so Christopher and I went with him.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanks & Giving

Yesterday morning, I felt better than I had the previous two days. I believe it had to do with all the traveling, jet lag and not taking enough vitamins, etc? So I was Michael's "model" for this demonstration as a guest speaker at Joe Blasco's Make Up School. You can see his post about it here. He surprised me after by saying he was coming with me to Gainesvile for Thanksgiving. (Originally he planned to only be there for a few hours today.) We got there around 3:30pm and later had dinner at Schlotsky's with my brother -Zach- and cousins - Greg and Abby. It was a fun time. That night we stayed in a Best Western, which was very nice and I loved the free wi-fi and free continental breakfast included. However, I learned that Sasha does not do well in hotels. I'll have to figure something else out before we drive for 5 days across the country!
When we drove back to my parent's house, Michael helped with the turkey by lifting it in to the sink. We played Ping-Pong for a while then watched some TV. Michael took a nap, so my dad helped me tie Sasha to a tree with a rope so she could wander around the yard without running off. My mom and Aunt Sue Ann all of the cooking, although the rest of us helped dry the dishes after. We took family photos before the sun went down and discussed having next Thanksgiving in LA in March!
It was a good Thanksgiving and did not involve any negative vibes or arguments, like all the TV shows are choosing to display this year.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Torn Apart

Last week my friend, Sarah, texted me saying she would be in Gainesville for a few days before Thanksgiving and since I hadn't seen her since the wedding in May 2011, she suggested they drive an extra two hours to see Michael and I! So this afternoon we got some fun visitors: my cousin Abby, her mom, my mom and Sarah. We took them to Bob's Potatoes for lunch then I wanted Abby and Sarah to experience what it was like having Michael do an effect then take some pictures after.
They had fun feeling the 3D transfers on their face/ neck and my mom and Abby's mom had fun watching the process. Abby and Sarah were texting the pictures to their friends, then reading all the responses. Some people kept asking what happened and if they were okay. We took some "nice" photos for fun as well. Sarah has to fly back on Tuesday for work, but I will see Abby again for Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

LA Trip, Pt. 5

We are back in Orlando now (but only for the next month and a half!) and I have more time to show off photos from when we went to Universal Hollywood on Thursday. The weather was cool all day and very overcast, but the day was still a lot of fun. We met our actor friend, Jason DeWitt, for breakfast at The Coffee Bean at City Walk. Then zoomed off to the Behind the Scenes set tour. It was very cool, but because we were on the left side of the tram, it was hard to see/get pictures of anything on the right side.
(Set from Back to the Future, above)
Here they showed us the pipes that shoot water into the air so it falls like rain, then simulated a flash flood. We also went through a King Kong 3D area and Earthquake simulator, same as the one in Orlando, which was were a subway scene from Bones was shot a couple years ago.
Re-enacting a scene from Jaws. Can you see the blood in the water?! As well as this creepy Norman Bates man from Psycho. He actually chased after the tram. People in the back screamed, ha.
 Michael suggested we go to the Water World show twice. It was the second and last thing we did in the park. The first time the plane didn't come out- we assumed because of the weather or just technical difficulties. I was glad we went the second time to see the plane stunt. Plus the cast members (at the beginning, before the show started) were very funny and made sure people sitting in the green "soak zones" got wet- by literally pouring water on them.
If I am simply comparing Universal in LA to Universal Orlando, I choose LA. That park inspired me to watch so many classic movies that I have not already seen yet. There was more that I wanted to do, extra exercise because the park is divided into two levels (you have to go up/down about eight stories via stairs or escalator to get from one half to the other) and the view of the city was more outstanding than any we had seen earlier in the week!
 Michael absolutely loved the ParaNorman mini-figures in the NBC Experience walk-thru. I found them very interesting and amazing as well, having no problem when Michael asked me to take extra photos. (I may need to post a separate blog just for those!) I definitely would not have minded if they had a bigger section including more stop motion movie characters. They had an incredible family kitchen set up from Coraline. We need to rent both of those movies.
The Transformers 3D ride was more fun than I was expecting (although did not have any Shia LaBeouf scenes) and liked that we got to get our pictures with Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. I look forward to going back again once Michael gets hired there next year and possibly going on the Mummy roller coaster with him later on. He was such a sport, letting me sit out/explore gift shops this time while he rode it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

LA Trip, Pt. 4

I made an extra effort today to take photos of the views of mountains while driving along Interstate 101. It was easiest to see on a big hill. We went to Porto's again for breakfast trying new things. Michael got a yummy grilled chicken sandwich and we ate outside. I tried the fried ham and chicken croquettes as well as the potato ball, but it only had beef inside. It was "everyone's favorite!" but not mine.
We went to a comic store and got a couple magnets then drove around the area that Michael liked. It was in Burbank right behind Porto's. I have noticed that all the little cities are very close together (Studio City, Toluca Lake, North Hollywood, Van Nuys). Michael said it was fine if we drove to Griffith Park before going to Madam Tussaud's. We weren't sure if it was an actual park or just a town center called that. Banks and Lacey told us there is the Los Angeles Zoo and a planetarium there.
There was a lot of construction going on, but the area was beautiful. One side had a golf course (where we saw another movie being filmed- only grip trucks and crafty, not specifically people/ actors) and the other side was dirt trails. I wanted to go but Michael isn't in a hiking mood. He says we can go in January. I didn't notice any park fees, which was great.
Michael pointed out that they had ponies! So I made him stop so I could pet them. Two brown ponies were hitched up to a wagon, but nobody was around. Ten other ponies and some horses were in a gate so kids could ride them. There was a 100-pound weight limit. Guess I'll have to start my celery diet so I can get a turn! They had train rides for only $2.50/person, but the employees were out to lunch. It was a small metal train, about the size of one you would see driving around inside a mall. I'll definitely go back for that though. On our way out of Griffith Park (named after Griffith Jenkins- I saw his statue), they had big trains. The tracks were all over, but Michael thinks they were just for display.
I saw this cute painting on the side of a building. I had to get a picture because we miss Sasha so much. "Baabe!" I can't fall asleep as quickly without her little heater body snuggled up. Michael's brother, Christopher, has been doing a great job of taking care of Sasha for us while we have been gone and he even sent us a couple pictures. We look forward to seeing them both again on Saturday.
After Madam Tussaud's we walked around Hollywood Boulevard and went into some stores. I wanted a gray "I ♥ LA" sweatshirt that they had for $15 (they were $30 on our hotel gift shop!) but he made a good point that he already bought me a jacket. Also I wondered if it would seen too touristy, but maybe it would give me an excuse to always be taking pictures, even after we live there. I wanted to see all the stars on the ground and the cement area with the hand prints. It took us a few minutes to find the one I was especially looking for and we had to ask an employee where Judy Garland's was.
They have lots of people dressed up as characters and selling their music demos outside of the Chinese Theater. I wanted to get my picture with the skinny Spiderman and handsome Captain America guy, but Michael didn't have enough tip cash. (He said the performers get really mad if you get pictures with them, but then don't pay them.) Plus, he really wanted his picture with the silly Don King impersonator. He was really friendly. 
Before we left for the day, we walked up along the outside mall building. Michael got an Auntie Anne's pretzel and I saw a cart of paintings and wallets with a grungy edit effect. I think they were handmade on canvases in New York. I may splurge and get one of the $29 wallets later.

LA Trip, Pt. 3

This is a teensy bit out of order, but I wanted to go ahead and tell you about all of our "celebrity sightings" today! As we were waiting in line for the Madam Tussaud's, I was so sure I saw Johnny Depp heading towards the Starbuck's next door.
Just kidding, I knew he was a wax figure, since we did come in from the opposite direction, but it was a great way to get people to come inside. I think the tickets were about $25 each? There is actually another wax museum a few blocks down, but we heard this one was much more accurate. There were at least 100 figures total, but these were our favorites; mainly because they were the most realistic.
Each figure had related music playing or popular lines from a movie coming from a speaker above them. There were a handful of celebrities who were not featured in this museum, but that makes sense. I would be very interested to visit some of the other locations to see additional figures, plus ones in different outfits from other times of their lives.