Sunday, November 20, 2011

NYC 2011 Part 2

Mom and I knew we couldn't stay away from NYC for very long so we decided to treat ourselves to a little birthday present.  Mom and I both have our birthdays in November so we split the difference between our big days and headed to the Big Apple for a fabulous weekend.
Our plane to Newark was delayed 40 minutes from departing.  Then our plane circled above Newark for a little while.  Needless to say, our plane was late in landing in Newark, but that is too be expected.  My aunt Caren picked us up from the airport and drove us in to New York City.  We traveled at a snail’s pace into the city with all of the other vehicles going the same direction.  We quickly dropped off our luggage at the hotel and then Caren dropped us off near TKTS at Times Square.  Mom and I bought tickets from TKTS to the musical Bonnie and Clyde.  We bought a slice of pizza from my favorite pizza place, Patzeria’s Perfect Pizza which we shared and quickly ate in the Marriott Marquis alley on our way to the theatre.  Bonnie and Clyde was a very good musical.  I liked the songs and actors.  I was sad it closed about a month after we saw it.  
After the show, we walked to the stage door of Anything Goes because Stephanie J. Block was filling in for Sutton Foster as Reno Sweeney.  We got to the stage door before Anything Goes got out so I got a front row spot.  Since I didn’t see the show, I didn’t have a playbill for the actors to sign as they came out the stage door, but I told them they did a great job anyway.  Stephanie J. Block took a little while to come out.  When she came out, she immediately saw me.  She ran over to me and gave me a big hug.  She told me it was so good to see me and asked how I was doing.  I asked if we could take some pictures and she said sure.  She asked if Mom and I could stay until she signed everyone elses playbills.  I said sure.  While we waited for her to sign other playbills, we talked with her husband Sebastian Arcelus.  I told him we saw him in Elf the previous Christmas.  He told us they wanted to do it again this Christmas but they couldn’t find a theatre to do it.  Sebastian also told us about the play he was currently in.  After Stephanie got done signing, she came over to us.  I was so grateful for the time she took with me.  She acted like we were old friends.  I love how Stephanie treats everyone like they are old friends.

Mom and I walked in the rain to our hotel.  We checked in to a hotel on 40th St. across from the Port Authority Terminal.  (Unfortunately, the Crowne Plaza Times Square wasn't available while we were there.)  Our hotel room was facing the Port Authority.  There were buses coming and going all night long.  We learned how New York City got the nickname as the city that never sleeps!  I was grateful I took my earplugs.  I slept well.
The next morning Mom and I rode the subway and then walked to Rockefeller Center.  We picked up our tickets at the Radio CIty Music Hall box office for the Christmas Spectacular.  We had about an hour until the show started so we walked to Rockefeller Center.  As soon as we got there, we realized the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree had arrived.  There was some sort of ceremony going on concerning the tree’s arrival.  The doorman at Rockefeller Center told us the tree had arrived that morning.  It was still on it’s side on the bed of a truck.  It was HUGE!  The ceremony had some dignitaries in attendance.  Just after we got there, Mayor Bloomberg drove a spike into the bottom of the tree trunk.  (Who knows what that does?)  Then Mayor Bloomberg walked over to the doorman we had just been talking to and shook his hand.  The doorman and the mayor were standing maybe 5 feet away from us.  Mom and I tell people that Mayor Bloomberg came out to greet us when we got to New York!
Mayor Bloomberg-the man in the red tie in motion
Mom and I then got in line to get into the Radio City Music Hall for the Christmas Spectacular.  We saw my friend Brad briefly before we went in the building.  (He was one of the elves in the show.)  Mom and I saw the Christmas Spectacular on 11/11/11 at 11 AM!!  The show was amazing!  I had worked with some of the cast members in the show.  I was sad that the rag dolls were taken out of the show.  I loved the rag dolls!  I wasn’t a huge fan of the 3-D virtual reality robot Rockette number, but many of the young kids loved it.  I loved the new workshop scene with the elves.  The elves got to do a lot more than they did in the previous version of the show.
After the show, I talked with some former cast mates.  I met up with my friend Brad, who took me and Mom on a backstage tour of the Radio City Music Hall.  It was fun to walk on that famous HUGE stage!  We visited with Brad for a little while after the show.
The camels live in the Radio City Music Hall throughout the run of the show.
On stage at the Radio City Music Hall
After the show and tour, Mom and I went to check on the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.  It was standing up!
As Mom and I were walking to the subway, we saw part of the Veteran’s Day Parade on 5th Avenue.  We saw men and women in uniform, tanks, and other military paraphernalia.  We rode the subway to Ground Zero.  We walked to the 9/11 Memorial only to find out we were supposed to get tickets back at a place where we got off the subway.  I was too tired to walk all the way back to the subway and then back to Ground Zero so we didn’t go in.  (Why didn’t they have a sign posted at the subway station that said get your 9/11 Memorial tickets here before you walk all the way there?!)  We did see the tall glass buildings that were built in place of the World Trade Towers.  
By this time, I was cold, hungry, tired, and cranky-not a good combination.  What's the best way to cure this?  Serendipity 3!  To warm up, Mom and I got a cup of soup...and frozen hot chocolate and ice cream!  :)  I got my usual cinnamon ice cream with caramel sauce.  I LOVED their caramel sauce because it was like eating caramels-a whole bunch of them!  It was delicious!
Mom and I went back to the hotel to rest and recover from stuffing ourselves with ice cream, caramel, and chocolate.  We met up with my friend Colby at a Starbuck’s in the Theatre District.  I enjoyed talking with him.  He was performing in the ensemble in Wicked and loving it.  We had a great visit.
That evening, Mom and I saw Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway.  It was a great, entertaining show!  I loved watching Hugh perform!  He cut his thumb on an umbrella during the show and his music director had to put a band-aid on his thumb while he was singing on stage.  We looked through our binoculars (even though we were only sitting on the 10th row from the stage) and we could see the blood coming through the band-aid.  It didn’t take away from his performance at all.  Hugh sang, danced, and told funny stories from his life.  It was similar to the same show we saw him in last May in San Francisco.  After the show, Mom and I went to the stage door.  There were A LOT of people there.  Security was very nice to me and Mom.  They saved us a spot on the first row next to the door Hugh came out.  They also told people not to crowd us.  When Hugh came out, everyone went crazy.  I admit, I body checked a few people that crossed the line and were crowding me.  We walked back to our hotel on cloud nine!
The following morning, Mom and I walked to TKTS.  We wanted to get tickets to Anything Goes because as I mentioned before, my favorite, Stephanie J. Block, was in it.  Anything Goes was not listed on TKTS so we sat in the Marriott Marquis planning our next plan of action.  After searching the web on my iPhone (what did we ever do before this technology?), I found out that Anything Goes had same-day rush tickets when the box office opened.  We hurried to Anything Goes’ box office.  Unfortunately, we were about the 40th people in line.  We didn’t get the rush tickets.  :(  I bought a (full price, gasp) orchestra seat while Mom bought a Standing Room Only ticket to the matinee.  That was my birthday present to me!  (I give myself the best presents!)  My seat for Anything Goes was on the tenth row from the stage in the center of the theatre.  Stephanie J. Block was awesome!  At intermission, Mom was given a seat on the second row from the stage.  Mom gave the seat to me so during the second act, I sat on the second row from the stage center.  Mom sat in my seat.  I absolutely loved Anything Goes (the singing, dancing, etc) and having Stephanie in it was perfection!
Mom and I hurried to the stage door after the show.  I wanted another picture with Stephanie because the one from Thursday was blurry (see above).  Stephanie was already out signing at the stage door when Mom and I got there.  Stephanie was wearing a very unique outfit-sweats, worn-out slippers, plaid coat-and I made the comment to Mom that I wasn’t sure if I wanted a picture with Stephanie looking homeless.  About two minutes later, I heard someone ask Stephanie if they could get a picture with her and her comment to the person was, “Sorry, I look like a hobo!”  I thought that was so funny!  She told me she had to go back in for Physical Therapy between the shows so we quickly took a picture.  I told her she did an amazing job!
Mom and I ate dinner at Patzeria Family and Friends-a restaurant owned by the same people as my favorite pizza place.  The food was delicious, although I learned I didn’t like clams.  Yuck!
Mom and I saw On A Clear Day You Can See Forever with Harry Connick, Jr.  Harry did a great job!  I was in love with his voice!  The story was really weird but I would pay money just to hear Harry sing.  Mom and I waited at the stage door.  The lady standing next to me and Mom at the stage door made the security guard mad because she was being so annoying.  When Harry came out, he totally ignored her because the security guard had warned him about her.  Hee hee!  (Lesson learned: Don’t make the security guards mad.  Make them your best friend!)
Mom and I had such a fun day of theatre!
The next day, Mom and I rode the subway to church at the Manhattan Temple.  A young woman walked in late with her Starbuck’s cup in hand.  After church, Mom and I checked out of the hotel.  My aunt Caren picked us up from the hotel and we all ate lunch at Virgil’s BBQ.  They had some of the best food in the city!  Caren then drove me and Mom to the airport and we flew home.  I had a great time in NYC!  It’s my favorite place on Earth!  Beware NYC:  I will be back sooner than you think!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

33 on 11.1.11

I turned 33 on 11.1.11.  That's pretty impressive!  Too bad the day was kind of a bust.  But the week of my birthday more than made up for it.  I was in Hawaii a week before my birthday.  My parents took me out to dinner the night before my birthday since they had to work on my big day.  On my birthday, I ended up working about ten hours but Mom took me to lunch.. I had great friends who sent me well wishes on my day and for about a week after.  I finally opened my cards the weekend after my birthday.  My birthday motto is The older you get, the longer you get to celebrate!  Here's some pictures taken on (the night before) my birthday.  In case you're wondering, I did wear the tiara all day at work.  Good thing the day before my birthday is Halloween.
I love tres leches!
When you get as old as me, one candle will do the trick!
Me and my birthday booty!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Aloha Kauai

The long awaited travel log from Kauai is finally here!  My family went to Kauai last October for a family vacation.  I had so many pictures that I wanted to share that it has taken me awhile to get it ready.  Grab a nice warm drink, hurry and go to the restroom, and then sit and enjoy!
My parents and I flew to Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii.  We had an hour and a half layover in Los Angeles, CA.  We spent the layover in Delta’s Sky Room.   While we were there, Joan and Melissa Rivers came in.  She gave me the stare down, and, being the professional celebrity I am, I just ignored her.  Just before we left the Sky Room, Mom and I went to the restroom.  We ended up in the restroom with Joan and her assistant.  When we were leaving, Mom was holding the door open for me but Joan thought she was holding it for her and told Mom, “You go on. I’m not ready to leave yet.”  After we left the restroom, Mom said, “I wasn’t holding the door open for her!  I was holding it for you!”
My brother Chris and Allen picked us up at the airport.  (They flew in a few hours before us.)  We drove to the Banyon Harbor Resort where we had a two bedroom condo.  I highly recommend this place if you are planning a vacation to Kauai.  It is close to the beach, inexpensive, and has a full kitchen.  Dad went to the Marriott across the street from our condo so he could attend a work convention.  (The work convention was the reason we chose Kauai.)  Chris, Allen, and I went grocery shopping for breakfast, lunch, and snack items.  We stopped at Taco Bell for dinner.  We knew how to eat right on vacation!  We picked up Dad from his convention.  We all went to bed early since we were exhausted from traveling.  Who knew that sitting on a plane could take so much out of a person?!  I was the lucky one who got the couch in the living room.  Oh the joys of the single life never end!  Don't be jealous!  Our condo had a missionary map on one wall.  Chris and I thought we were back in the MTC!
The next day, Dad went to his convention during the morning.  Mom, Chris, Allen, and I took the opportunity to take in some sights.  Our first stop was Spouting Horn.  It was a place where lava had grown out in the bay so when the waves would come in, it would spray through the holes in the lava.  It was fun to watch.   
Then we went to Poipu Beach.  Mom, Chris, and Allen snorkeled.  (I don’t like snorkeling.)  I sat in the sun while I watched and read.  I watched some sea turtles as they lazily swam close to shore.  As Chris was standing in the shallow water, one of the sea turtles brushed by him.
On our way back to the condo, we stopped at the Menehunes Ponds and passed a lot of sugar cane fields.
Dad got done with his classes early so he hung out with us the rest of the day.  We drove to Wailua River.  We rode the boat to the Fern Grotto.  Once we got off the boat, we had to walk a short distance to the Fern Grotto.  The Fern Grotto didn’t have a lot of ferns on it because of a recent hurricane.  We listened to a short program of stories and songs.  On our boat ride back to where we started, we learned a hula.
We went to the Smith Family Luau that evening.  We rode a tram that took us through a botanical garden to the site of the luau.  We watched the imu ceremony which is where they unearthed the pig that had been roasting for our eating pleasure.  We ate from the buffet.  My favorite was the sweet pulled pork!  (I ate more pork on this trip than I had in my whole life prior to it!)  We watched the luau.  They had great performers.  My favorites were the fire dancers!
The next day, Dad went off to his meetings while Mom, Chris, Allen, and I did some more sightseeing.  We drove to Wailua Falls.  They were amazing!  
Then we drove to Opaekaa Falls.  They were amazing but were a little further away from us so they looked smaller but they probably weren't.  It was an optical illusion. 
When Dad got done with his meetings, we drove to the airport because we were going on a 70 minute chartered airplane ride around the island of Kauai.  (It was my Christmas present to my family.  Don't you wish you were part of my family?!)  The company we flew on was called Wings Over Kauai.  They gave us a great aerial tour of the island.  I highly recommend them if you plan to do an aerial tour of Kauai.  The office staff and pilot were very friendly.  The pilot was very knowledgeable about the island.  Mom got the co-pilot seat in the front, Chris sat directly behind her, Allen was behind him, I was behind Allen, and Dad sat next to me.
From the air, we saw the condo we were staying at, Poipu Beach, the Cathedrals, Waimea Canyon, Hanalei, the highest point on the island which was the wettest place on the Earth, and then back to the airport in Lihue.  

After our airplane ride, we drove to the end of the road at Hanalei Beach.  We saw exotic birds, a lighthouse, and explored a cave just off the road.   

The next day, some of us attended church.  At church, they gave all the visitors leis.   Only in Hawaii can you get lei'ed at church.
Allen is rockin' the lei!
All of us went to Waimea Canyon after church.  We drove through Waimea Canyon and stopped and got out at a few look out points.  The weather was a little cloudy and cold in the canyon.  At the last stop, we were totally in the clouds.  Only Mom and I got out there.  We walked to the look out place and just saw white clouds everywhere.  Who knows what was beneath all the clouds?
We heard the restaurant next to the museum in the canyon had excellent cornbread.  We stopped to get a piece on our way down the canyon.  The restaurant had just closed but they were willing to give Mom a piece of cornbread.  It was delicious!
The next day, Dad went to his convention.  Mom, Chris, Allen, and I ate breakfast at Ono Restaurant in Kapa’a.  The strawberry French toast I ordered tasted delicious!  Mom and I took Chris and Allen to the airport and they flew home.  I promptly moved into their bedroom.  No more couch sleeping for me!  I walked the area around our condo.  There were shops, the beach, and the Marriott hotel across the street.  Mom and I laid out at the condo complex’s pool all afternoon.  We were the only people there for a little while.  Mom and Dad ditched me to have dinner at the convention so I had the condo all to myself!  Woo hoo!
The following days were filled with morning trips to the beach so Mom could snorkel and I laid out while Dad was at meetings.  Afternoons were filled with lazy lounging at the pool.  I was invited to the convention’s luau at the Marriott hotel.  The luau was on the beach in a secluded cove.  It was a beautiful, starry night.  I ate delicious food and once again indulged in the Kalua pork!  The luau was great!  Again, my favorite performer was the fire dancer.  (I think you would have to be somewhat crazy to dance with fire!)
Sadly, the time came for us to leave.  We flew the red-eye flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles, CA.  I think I got a little sleep but not nearly enough to function properly.  I had the middle seat which was the worst seat a person can have on the red-eye flight because I had nothing to lean against.  So not fun!  We had a short layover in Los Angeles again.  We got upgraded to first class from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City.  We all laid back our seats and slept the entire flight!  Too bad we weren’t upgraded from Hawaii to LA!  I honestly don't remember the flight from LA to Salt Lake.  When I got home, I went right to bed and slept for five and a half hours.  I felt a little better but went back to sleep a few hours later!  Aloha!  Mahalo, Kauai!  See you soon!