Dad’s Visit to LA

I dropped my dad off at the airport this morning after a most successful long weekend with him. My mom told me to show him a good time so he’d want to get a job near LA and move the rest of the family here from NH. I think I did an okay job because he seemed pretty impressed that there were so many places to get bottomless mimosas and nobody seems to care if you walk your dog through Nordstrom. Things you just don’t see in New Hampshire.

Some fun activities I had planned included going to Ikea on a Saturday afternoon and then bringing him to my improv 101 show.

photo 1Just kidding, that was just a description of two separate layers of Hell. However, I am not kidding that that is actually how we spent his California vacation. But wait! We also spent some time putting together the Ikea furniture and then he took me grocery shopping!  Soooooo, if you’re thinking about visiting LA and need a tour guide, I’m definitely a great candidate as long as you’re cool with spending $200 on me at Trader Joe’s and then just hanging a couple pictures, and if you have time, can you help me install some curtain rods in my room?

photo-3On Monday, I took my Dad to The Grove. We went to Planet Dailies and got a bunch of appetizers because he knows that my favorite kind of meal is comprised only of hors d’oeuvres (and I believe it is customary to do only what you want when hosting a guest in your home). Over sliders and lettuce wraps, he imparted this bit of fatherly wisdom: Bombay Sapphire Gin is smoooooooth.

photo 2After, we took a look around Dylan’s Candy Bar where I relived a recurring childhood disappointment of mine. All I ever wanted as a kid was something, anything, with my name on it, but there was always a “Dana,” never a “Dara.” I would have even settled for a keychain or mint tin that said “Jake’s Sister” since I was probably called that more often than my actual name.

photo 3

Anyway, the show Extra is filmed at The Grove, and we saw Maria Menounos, Mario Lopez, Eric McCormick from Will and Grace, and most exciting, the woman playing Anna Nicole Smith in the Lifetime biopic. They filmed a bunch of stuff in different outfits, so I’m pretty sure you can watch my dad on Extra through the rest of the week because he was a natural at finding the camera.

Oh, I almost forgot, Mario Lopez has no ass at all. There’s just literally nothing there but a surplus of denim fabric.

With that, Mario’s butt brought our weekend to a close. Pops and I had a great time since we get along so well and because our requisite for a fun vacation is only that we get to eat and drink purely for sport, and that’s mostly what we did. I haven’t eaten bite for bite with a 6’1″ man since I moved away, and it was a great change of pace from my usual diet of brown rice cakes and red wine.

Road Trip to LA: Days 5, 6, & 7

At 6 am, my mother and I left our Amarillo hotel room in the same clothes we wore (and slept in) the day before. You can judge us, but we decided not to bother with bringing in our suitcase because the longer we stayed outside, the more opportunity some backwoods hillbilly had to murder us. Sorry, if you’re from Amarillo, and maybe it’s actually a lovely place to grow up, but all I’ve seen is one of your hookers, 3 of your Marriots, a Japanese steak house that looked suspiciously like a strip club, and the worst Whataburger I’ve ever been to.

photo-3One of my top three favorite foods is Whataburger’s honey butter chicken biscuit with extra honey butter. It’s been a few years since I’ve had one, and I looked forward to getting to Amarillo, solely for this treat (because what else is there to look forward to in Amarillo besides the relief of sweet death?) and it was such a disappointment. My chicken was dry and I’ll be DAMNED if that was extra honey butter. I give a rating of C- for the Whataburger on I 40 East, in case you were thinking of making a trip.

Then there was driving. Then there was Vegas. Thanks to a $20 bill slipped to the front desk lady at Caesar’s Palace, we were upgraded to a suite, which helped me develop my new definition of success: having a TV in the bathroom.
photo 1-2Then, I experienced my ideal Friday night, which is watching true crime shows on HLN, snuggled in high thread count sheets.
photo 2-2

On Day 6:

Happy hour hopping with my mom.

photo 4-1

We made a stop at the Palm’s Steakhouse. For a classy joint with some bomb-ass sliders, they have a pretty tacky decor situation. This covers their walls:

photo 4-3I imagine that people must pay to get their picture done and put on the wall, and I had to take a picture of this corner because it’s the saddest little corner in the universe. They must be some of the loneliest people in the world. Sure, Steve and Heather Kaplan have each other, but I bet they feel alone even when they share a bed, but I’d bet they haven’t slept in the same room in years. Have any of these people met their fathers? Has Sammy Wong ever felt the touch of a woman he didn’t pay for? Is Flash Man still alive or did he succumb to his opiate addiction years ago? I guess I’ll never know, but may God bless and keep these beautiful, lost souls.

Meanwhile…

photo 1-3Barbra Jo Batterman, my inspiration and role model, is having the time of her life! She is single and thriving!

photo 2-4In the casino, we stumbled upon Shania Twain’s costume for her “That Don’t Impress Me Much” video, and at that moment, life could only be more perfect if a living, breathing Connie Britton was in that outfit.

We saw “Peepshow” with Coco T, which marks the second time I’ve seen “Peepshow” (with Holly Madison), so my self esteem should be a lot lower than it is. All I’ll say about Coco is boobs, and also she is a national treasure and a delightful dancer/entertainer.

FINALLY, FINALLY:

Day 7:

We drove the last 4 hour leg to LA to my apartment…. excuse me, TOWNHOUSE, yes, TOWNHOUSE, which idk if you know, means that our bedrooms are UPSTAIRS, and we have a lemon tree next to our front door so we are living The California Dream. Basically, I’m living the California Dreams theme song music. *Surf dudes with attitudes.*

PS Big thanks to the best mom in the world, SUGALYN, for going on this trip and spending 16 hours a day in a car with me, and footing the bill. And dad for also footing the bill, and fitting all my stuff into a corolla.

Road Trip to LA: Day 4

We left Nashville, and made our way through Oklahoma… I can’t tell you much about the place except I went to the bathroom at a Starbucks without buying anything and a male barista said a very passive aggressive “thank you” to me as I walked out. So, screw you, Oklahoma!

 photo-2

This day of driving to our next stop in Amarillo was by far the worst, and I have no pictures for you. When we finally made it to the hotel in downtown at 10pm, a hooker jumped out of the car in front of us at a red light. To be fair, someone could have just been dropping her off in front of a bar, but I don’t like being unsure of whether or not human trafficking is taking place outside my Courtyard Marriott.

We parked in a garage and ran to the side door of the hotel as I braced myself for an untimely death at the hands of a rogue cowboy. The door was locked, and when the guard let us in he said they “just lock it at night because there’s a lot of homeless people who wander in.” Guys, that’s all! They’re only locking the door because of their trespassing vagrant problem! Oh, and I could trust that my car would be safe because of the fool proof security system consisting of a camera in the garage and my constant, obsessive prayers.

Just as I was getting comfortable in my new digs at Hotel Hobo, the front desk ladies told us that we didn’t have a reservation at their hotel, but at the OTHER downtown Amarillo Marriott. What do we know at this point? That, evidently, there are two gates to hell, and that my mother and I now have to run through the garage like the Beetlejuice sandworm was chasing us.

The other hotel wasn’t as bad, and the Japanese steakhouse next door only looked like a strip club!

The Compulsive Bike Stealer

Our tale begins on a staycation with my friend, Caroline. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “staycation” it’s when people who are too poor or busy to go on a real vacation spend the night at a hotel nearby because there’s something special about sleeping on a mattress that thousands of other people left their dead skin cells on. STAY-CAY-SHUN!

{Just to be clear, this was a staycation, not a lovers’ gettaway, but I can see how this picture may have confused you}

After some flatbread pizza in the hotel restaurant –excuse me– BRASSERIE, Caroline and  I went out on the town with buckets–simply buckets–of red paint.

We ended up in line at Mija Cantina, where a gaggle of greasy men behind us started trying to engage us in conversation. I maybe talked to them for a second, but they were rude, and I wasn’t sure if that was a vile of GHB in their pocket or if they were just happy to see me.

One of the guys invaded my treasured personal space and whispered, “you’re giving off this whole bitchy vibe and I think it’s so sexy.” To which I replied,

and turned around before I spewed feminist vitriol all over historic Fanueil Hall, Boston.

Then the group of men in front of us commandeered our attention merely by looking less like sex offenders. They were nice, and we talked for a good 20 minutes, but when we got inside and they offered us a drink we pulled the trusty “bathroom escape” because 1. I just wasn’t feeling the guy who was talking to me and 2. I’m not saying he was as small as me, but in a pinch we could have probably shared pants.

I really did have to go to the bathroom, and on our way back into the bar on our quest for greener pastures, Caroline’s friend from college intercepted us. He was with a friend, who was cute, but it was no Wayne’s World “Dreamweaver” moment.

His friend and I talked, and it was fine. Until. UNTIL. We realized we had the same birthday. And then we started talking about astrology. And then he said something about how inappropriate men can be in bars and how he worries about his sisters, and then this, and then that, and then,

This could be it, you guys. This could be The One. The one that I would give my phone number to AND almost surely, probably definitely end up texting back.

As we talked more, it seemed like he had the soul of a hippie in the body of a distant relative to the Kennedy’s, which is kind of the dream because I loves me a hippy, but hemp jewelry is the adornment of Satan. At this point, it was all A-game. My voice was suddenly a full octave higher (and one octave lower than my waitressing voice), hair was being tossed in all directions, everything I said was through a freshly Crest white stripped smile.

I. was. on.

It was all going so well. As the four of us walked outside in search of cabs, DW (Dreamweaver) mentioned something about stealing a bike, which was confusing. Surely, this happened one time, when he was drunk, and he returned the bike with an apology note the next day. We all do crazy things under the influence.

{Not exactly bike stealing}

Then the bike stealing came up again. But this time it was “bicycles.” As in plural.

Wait, wait, wait. HOW many bikes are being stolen?

A: “8… to 10… to 12…”

 {Rubber ducky from our staycation. This was the face I made in regards to the bike stealing}

With that, my voice dropped down 1.5 octaves, or into my Olivia Benson range, which I use to suss out potential murderers.

DW thought I was getting the wrong impression of him, but I don’t know. He sees a bike on someone else’s property, has an overwhelming need to take it, rides it away, and dumps it in a designated patch in the woods. Why was my impression wrong? Is he leaving out that he gives these bikes to orphans in need of reliable transportation and/or fun leisure activities?

These bicycles are chained to wood on someone’s porch, “wood that you could so easily snap, and then the bicycle would be all yours.” He said this with a dreamy look in his eye that somehow made the word “wood” sound like “human bones,” and also suggested that he might have a promising future as a staff writer on Criminal Minds.

We finally got to the hotel. For some reason they had ended up following us there, and as we walked into the lobby, I reassured Caroline in my dedicated detectives of the elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit voice that they weren’t coming upstairs because, “I got this.”

Then it was just three of us. DW was outside talking to the door men, which his friend said he does all the time. Like, he’ll just talk to doormen for an hour. Just out of curiosity I asked his friend if DW was crazy.

“Like, he’s fun and stuff,” he said.

“No, I mean is he unstable.”

“It sounds like you want to marry him or something.”

As if even after an hour of this kid telling me about his bike stealing compulsion, my dainty lady brain would be so awash with baby hormones that I would want to marry him.

How is it possible that after this kid went on and on about how he can’t help but steal bikes- nothing else, just bikes (which he referred to only as “bicycles,” which somehow makes it more insane) that I am still the crazy female?

This needs to be said to any male reading this blog. If you are not a male, please pass this message along to the nearest male: we don’t all want to marry you! In fact, I’m guessing, the vast, incredible majority of females do not want to marry you. Oh, and on a separate but related note, that gay guy isn’t hitting on you, either, so just calm down.

Vegas Part IV: Happy Hour

You might not be surprised that happy hour just happens to be my favorite hour, so Vegas is a perfect destination for me. Unlike the fun hating Boston where happy hour on drinks is illegal, Vegas has some really great happy hours at every hotel. I just think happy hour is the ideal drinking time- you can have your fun and still be in bed by 11 with no hang over. Anything that is conducive to me getting to sleep at a decent hour is something I’m all for.

$4 Margaritas and Taquitos at Yolo in Planet Hollywood- Michelle, Me, Riley, and Caroline.

Vegas Nails at Happy Hour! Sally Hansen's Salon Effects in Frock Star (Picha by Riley)

Happy Hour on the roof at the Paris Hotel (Riley took this)

Also at Paris... Doesn't Michelle look like a little beach angel? (Riley is responsible for this picture, too)

Bar Vdara at our hotel... also known as my bar.

Vegas Part II: Wolfgang Puck’s Bar and Grill

**All the pictures are by Riley (third blonde from the right in the group picture).

I have to say that probably my favorite experience in Vegas was lunch at Wolfgang Puck’s Bar and Grill at The MGM Resort and Casino. It was not because the food was good- it was- it’s because it was FREEEEE. Not just free-free. Like, “get these ladies whatever they want” free. How did my group secure such a free-for-all? Someone who worked in Vegas with a lil’ pull took a liking to a member of my group of fellow travelers. Trust it had nothing to do with me. You’d be surprised how unimpressed men are by me. Let’s just say that if my group consisted of 4 red headed comedians we would have been eating protein plates at Starbucks for lunch.

After some chicken salad sandwiches we ordered some appetizers. Above is the spicy tuna tar tar, and we also got some blue cheese truffle chips which were top 5 best things I’ve ever eaten.

Next we ordered everything on the dessert menu. This is the Banofee (banana toffee) pie. My favorite dessert of them all.

Creme brulee, banoffee, chocolate beignets, lemon meringue pie, chocolate souffle, (cookies to go: not pictured).

My first chocolate souffle.

I’m not much of  beignet girl, to be honest, but my friends who are beignet girls enjoyed them.

Chocolate cake shots.

Passion fruit mojitos…is what I’m drinking. We’ll just pretend the reason why this picture is here is because of the mojito and not pure narcissism.

Our cool waitress who encouraged our excessive day drinking, two ladies from Texas that we bought shots and dessert for (because it suddenly became very important that we help some fellow ladies out), myself, Riley, Michelle, and Caroline (aka WOLFPACK).

The final product. Our waitress gave us each a copy of our receipt to “scrapbook.” So, basically she was on my level.

 

Vegas Part 1: Packing

I planned on posting this before I left for Vegas, but I didn’t finish packing in time to do so. I do this cute little thing where I tell myself I’ve finished packing in advance, but don’t actually put anything in my suitcase until midnight the morning of.

Gap jeans, Target Shirt, Sofft sandals, Rayban Wayfarers, Betsey Johnson Rose necklace, My mom's vintage cuff

This was actually the most prepared I have ever been for a trip since I put out a traveling outfit the night before. I wanted to wear something like this, but what I wore did its intended job (making me un-naked in an airport) just fine.

For the record, I packed all this jewelry and wore the same necklace and earrings every day. This is still a step up considering I usually wear the same yoga pants every day instead. I don’t like variety.

Sparkly dress from Arden B

Sparkle clutch from J. Crew, Flower ring from Baubles and Lace in Boston (a knock off of the Sex and the City ring). I did not actually pack an empty bottle of Dom.

The plane ride in was great, mostly because at my Chicago layover there was a Garrett’s popcorn and you know how much Oprah and I love our cheese and caramel Chicago Mix. I almost missed the plane, but everyone thought my tardiness for popcorn was charming. Then everyone couldn’t help but smile when I started getting cheesy finger prints every where.

 

VEGAS

Oh hey you guuuuys…. this is where I’ll be tomorrow.

LAS VEGAS! Basically, I’m only interested in eating and finding Holly (if you don’t know which Holly I’m referring to, there’s no use explaining, just move along). I will also be happy to meet and obviously befriend Angel or Josh, though if I see Laura I’ll ask for a picture and move along.

I’ll have some posts pre-made for you this week, so check in and keep the bloggy-boo company while I’m away. Blech, that sentence was stupid, I hate myself.

Anyway, I’m all freshly spray tanned and tucked into bed. Goodnight.

Vegas Travel Outfit

Every time I’m about to go on a trip, I dream about what kind of outfit I’ll wear on the plane ride in. The kind of outfit that says, I’m stylish! I’m well traveled! I’m a bon vivant- and I know what that word means! I want to wear an outfit that makes people wonder where I’m wheeling my luggage off to. Also, in this dream I look like a cast member on The Hills with skinny Olsen twin arms wearing over-sized watches and bangles until my frail little hands drag on the floor under the weight. I am also wearing a straw fedora and heels while walking through the terminal in this scenario. Okay, I’m Vanessa Hudgens in this scenario.

When it comes to the actual day of travel, I’m usually too tired to wear anything besides yoga pants and I don’t have a straw fedora that comfortably fits my big head. Wearing heels to the airport is an impossible dream- I’ve worn pharmacy brand slippers out to a bar before, so wearing heels when it’s not expected of me isn’t very realistic.

With that said, I’m going to Vegas in a month and a half, and this time I swear I’m going to wear a cute airport outfit!

I love the outfit Kristen Wiig wears in Bridesmaids when they go to Vegas.

This is the inspiration for my plane outfit, but I want some sequins because it’s Vegas, and I want to look as gaudy as possible (to match my Betsey Johnson gold lame suitcase).

 Something sort of like that.

This is perfect, but it’s out of stock (and listed in English currency so I wouldn’t have been able to figure out how much it cost, anyway):

I’m thinking about buying a plain black and white shirt and then buying strings of sequins and sewing them on one row on and then get bored.