california

everywhere and nowhere.

Ronni

Well, it’s been a busy 12 days. I’ve had two acting classes since I last wrote, had a cold and gotten over it, and traveled to Los Angeles.

Acting is going well. My scene partner and I were really in the flow and we got some really nice compliments on our last two performances. And then, last Tuesday, the teacher said he’d want to do a One Act of the play and use me and Gabe. That, my friends, is super high praise, and almost brought me to tears. The best part is that I had so much fun working on the scene. I loved my character, I loved the situation, I loved working with Gabe. I am finally learning, slowly but surely, to let go. To take big risks. To go BALLS OUT. It’s paying off and reminding me why I went back into acting.

I’ve been assigned a new scene and a new partner. This one is super challenging and I’m really going to have to dig to figure out what the heck. But you know what? Bring it. Bring it all the way on. I’m learning how to work and research and analyze. This can’t do anything but help me. So… God help me.

Untitled

Earlier this week, I did something crazy! I flew all the way to Los Angeles to attend a special screening of the movie Divergent. The screening was through All It Takes, a charity started by Shailene Woodley and her mom that helps train children to become leaders. I wish I’d have had camps like that when I was younger!

I figured if I was going all the way out there, I was going big, so I sprung for the VIP package so I could meet some of the actors from the movie! I was so excited I could barely sleep! I got a new outfit and everything.

I was absolutely heartbroken that the main actor I wanted to see–Theo James–did NOT attend the after party, and I’m still not over it. I really, really, really wanted to meet him. You guys have no idea. Maybe you do. Whatever. But honestly, the number of near misses I have with him is getting out of hand. I’d like to just MEET HIM ALREADY OK Universe???

I did see him introduce the movie which… meh. I wanted to actually talk to him. Maybe someday. *sigh* I mean seriously, Universe. Get on that please and thank you.

Anyway, I did get to meet many other actors from the movie, including Shailene Woodley, who is the star. She is a total sweetheart. She seemed so excited that I’d traveled from Chicago for the event. Gave me tons of hugs. It was so cute when she introduced herself to me, as if I didn’t know who she was.

Me and Shailene Woodley
me and shailene woodley
she’s a sister on that priestess path

I met Christian Madsen, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Amy Newbold, and the author of the series, Veronica Roth. I had the most fun talking to Christian, Amy, and Shai. I also met Shai’s mom, Lori, who is just as huggy and sweet as her daughter is.

(I apologize in advance for the picture quality. The lighting was dim and I was using my phone. Sometimes the iPhone 5 takes lovely photos. Unfortunately, this was not one of those times.)

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me and christian madsen, who plays al in the movie
really awesome guy, fun and super easy to talk to

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me and ben lloyd-hughes, who plays will in the movie
we are fuzzy

Me and Amy Newbold
me and amy newbold, who plays molly in the movie
absolute doll
(and jai courtney, who plays eric, in the background!)

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me and veronica roth, author of the divergent series

While I was in Los Angeles, I spent time with some friends and family. I got to see Amy, who I hadn’t seen since 2009. I always have such a good time hanging out with Amy. We’ve known each other for nearly 14 years, a fact which blows my mind.

Me and Amy
me and amy

I also got to see my brother- and sister-in-law, and we ate lunch at a really yummy place called Stacked. Basically, you order everything custom, you do it in an iPad from your table. It’s amazing. I could get exactly what I wanted. I got pulled pork with pickles and fries, and IT WAS DELICIOUS. I didn’t take a picture of my food, but I did get a picture with Eli and Melissa. I look like I’m in pain. It’s just me not being used to all that lovely sunshine.

Melissa, Eli, and Me

Let me tell you something. The second I stepped out of the airport into that mild, sunny weather, I felt like myself again. I felt like and free and happy. I knew the winter was hard on me, but I had no idea how hard. The weather was a lovely 87F and I soaked it all up like a dry plant needing water. The hot sun felt so good on my skin, and the light breeze was perfect. The sky was a deep blue, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It was absolutely beautiful. I even spent some time by the pool at my hotel, just letting the sun warm me all over. I loved it.

Ronni

I miss the heat.

Shine

And the views.

Malibu

And the overall beauty out there. Mountains, beaches, the sky. I kept telling Amy how lucky she is to have all those pretty mountains to look at, although driving on them would be scary as hell! All the twists and turns and cliffs? DUDE. I also miss the cool people I met out there. It was a great night of connecting… I hope we all meet again someday.

la agrees with me!!

LA obviously agrees with me. I wish I could afford to live out there. Not even necessarily to pursue acting or anything. Just to be in all that lovely sunshine, to have that beach, the Pacific ocean, the bright blue sky all the time. Not to mention, being so close to Disneyland. La la la, maybe someday.

Ocean Love

I’m ready to go somewhere else now. I don’t think Adam understands the extent of my wanderlust. He’s like “We’re going to Jekyll this summer,” and I’m all like “I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL THIS SUMMER TO GO SOMEWHERE ELSE I WANT TO TRAVEL NOW!” I’ve been looking at the Living Social Escapes and being so tempted to book one of those packages that includes flights and everything. I really want to travel out of the country.

Someday, I will.

Till next time…..

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California Here We Come (Pictures)

I have to admit, visiting Los Angeles in the winter is the way to go. Well actually, it’s sort of bittersweet. Adam and I were there during an unseasonably warm weekend, and that made coming back to Chicago and its VERY COLD TEMPERATURES that much harder. But getting away from the cold was very nice.

We got into town Thursday night and apparently, while we were on the FlyAway Shuttle to Van Nuys, a 5.0 earthquake hit. Because we were on the bus, we didn’t feel it one bit. There were a lot of accidents, so the 30 minute trip from LAX to the drop off actually took 90. I was pretty hungry, but Melissa and Eli, who met us at the shuttle drop off, took us to In N Out Burger which made everything worth it. After dinner, we went to Amy’s place and stayed up pretty late talking. She’s awesome, just so you know. :)

Amy and Me!
Amy and me!

Friday morning, Amy went off to work, and Adam and I got ready to spend the day with Melissa. She took us sight seeing on Mulholland (there was smog, so the pics are just OK), and then we walked near the WB Studio lots. We had to get a picture of the Animaniacs water tower for Aidan, who LOVES that cartoon!

Where the Animaniacs Live!

The highlight, though, was touring the Disney Studios lot.

Disney Water Tower
Disney Lot Water Tower

Me & The PartnersWalt Shows Us Something! Roy, Minnie, Adam & MeDisney Archives SignStreet Sign

Besides the obvious photo ops, there is so much to see and do on the lot. So much Disney history.

We ate lunch in the commissary and then toured the lot a bit more. I bought some stuff in the store that was only available at the theme parks which made me happy. I had a blast on the Disney Studios lot and would LOVE to work in such a place. Immersed in Disney culture, how wonderful, right?

After that, we went to the Griffith Observatory which was out of this world. It was free, which was amazing to me. They had so much cool stuff to look at. All sorts of neat instruments and exhibits (I found out that on Jupiter, I’d weigh 300 pounds), models and a giant telescope. It was extremely impressive.

Griffith Observatory
The entrance is not an entrance, huh? Adam is confused.

Griffith Observatory
Infrared Me.

Griffith Observatory
Einstein checks out my sunglasses.

We ate dessert at a place called Porto’s, which was inexpensive and delicious. Check out these pastries:

Food at Porto's

I had the strawberry shortcake. :) OK, I had THREE over the course of the weekend, but seriously, look at it. How could I resist?

Friday night, we had dinner with some friends of Melissa and Eli, and they were cool people. After dinner, we headed back to Amy’s, where Amy and I were hyper and stayed up talking forever. Adam kept telling me to go to sleep so I wouldn’t be tired the next day because we were going to DISNEYLAND!!!

Well, seeing as I’m a Disney nut, the adrenaline kept me going pretty well all day. I only had one crash in the afternoon, but once I got some food in me, I was good to go again. We got there before the park opened (the first time I’ve ever gone to a Disney park at opening), and it was good times from then on.

Brothers & Sisters
Adam, me, Melissa, and Eli

YAY!Adam, Me, and Goofy!Dare Me To Do It?Watch This!!Meeting Conductor Mickey!Princess Fantasy FaireTwo Thumbs Up!

Disneyland kicked butt. In a nutshell, we rode tons of rides, the weather was beautiful, the crowd level was low, and even though the character count was nothing like at Disney World, I GOT TO MEET PRINCESS MINNIE who I didn’t even know existed in the US parks! Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean WIN at Disneyland, and Indiana Jones is unlike anything I’ve ever ridden. Tower of Terror is just as nerve wracking and fun, but it IS different from the one at Disney World. I got to ride California Screamin’ this time around, and even though I enjoyed it, I would have liked it more if I hadn’t been getting a sick headache. (Fortunately, a cookie and some bread took care of that later). We watched the Pixar Play Parade, and later, Melissa and Eli treated Adam and me to dinner at the Blue Bayou which was yummy. We stayed until closing. I’d never stayed at a park from open until close before, but I will do it more often (because OH YES, I do plan to go back someday!). It was a great time.

Sunday, Melissa and I hopped on the Metro and went to Roscoe’s to meet Tasha for lunch. Tasha is sooo awesome. I’ve known her through the online world for nearly a decade now, and we finally got to meet in person. She’s fun to talk to and very, very cute. I had a great time with her–the time we spent was not long enough at all! I can’t wait to see her again soon!

Tasha and Me!
Tasha and me!

The food was good, too. Mmm, chicken and waffles.

After lunch, Melissa and I walked around Hollywood Blvd., and we popped into the Disney Soda Fountain and Studio Store. That store was cool because it had some exclusive merchandise and the VAULT. Disney freaks surely know all about that blasted vault where our beloved animated features go after a certain amount of time.

The Vault!

It might not be the ACTUAL vault, but still.

Melissa got a picture of me in front of the Kodak Theatre where the Oscars are held. I’m trying to look “fierce.” I don’t think I pulled it off, though.

A-List Ronni

That evening, Dave and Angie came over to Melissa and Eli’s and we had pizza and hung out. That was fun. It’s always good to see Dave and Angie. :)

Angie & Dave

It was a great, great trip. If I ever got rich, I’d like to have a 2nd home in L.A. A place to escape during the winter, a place where I have plenty of friends and family. A place where I can get In N Out Burger all the time. And of course… Disneyland!

Want to see more pictures? You know you do! Just click here.

‘Til next time….

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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Loving California

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Take Me or Leave Me (Pictures)

I haven’t written in just over a week, so here’s a recap of what I’ve been up to.

I finally got my hands on Leven Thumps and the Eyes of the Want, and OMG. It’s the best one in the series!!! I am so going to renew it when it comes time for it to be due—I can’t wait to reread it!

Seriously, I recommend these books to everyone because they’re so good. You have to be able to make that leap into the imaginary. It’s a huge leap. It’s like the deal with reading Madeleine L’Engle. You have be able to visualize—and the author does a great job of describing things in a unique but clear way—but it can be challenging because things in Foo are VERY different from Reality.

Go to Amazon, and you’ll see solid 5-star ratings for this one, and high ratings for the others. This one is Book 3, and there will be a total of five in the series. I’m already freaking out that I have to wait at least six months for the next one! I wonder if the publisher will put out a boxed set when they’re all done?

– I read Fast Food Nation. Um… Wow. That’s about all I can say about it. As hard as it will be, I am going to try not to support the fast food industry anymore, unless I am near an In-An-Out Burger or Carl’s Jr. The other places… sigh. Knowing that people work so hard in those meat packing plants with almost nothing to show for it. Those dangerous jobs. Those scary jobs. No benefits. Little pay. It’s like a sweatshop or something. :( And the stuff in the meat. The things they feed to the cattle. Cattle is supposed to eat grass, not the remnants of other animals, or poop, or whatever the hell they feed them. The two restaurants I mentioned don’t use those awful meat-packing places. Unfortunately, those places are not in the midwest (not that I know of). That’s okay though, because fast food is not that good for me. And it’ll be great for me to stop eating it.

– I also read The Golden Compass. I started on the new A-List book, and I also have Kite Runner. Oh, and I’m in the middle of the second Daughters of Isis book. The 3rd one is in my queue.

– I apparently won one of the many book contests I enter, because I randomly got a copy of Stephanie Hale’s Revenge of the Homecoming Queen in the mail one day. Awesome, right? When I met Stephanie, it was at the Chicago Spring Fling conference in April of 2006. She hadn’t even had an agent yet. And now she’s all published and stuff.

– I became addicted to Earl Grey tea. Mmmmm. I take it with four sugars. Rosa and Richard tell me that I drink syrup, not tea. At any rate, I’m becoming a tea drinker. Digging out all the boxes of tea I’ve had in my cupboard, and they supply free tea at work. This is a good thing!

– I watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and watched my favorite line over and over:
He don’t eat no meat? What do you mean he DON’T EAT NO MEAT????

– I made it through 2/3rds of Rent without getting interrupted. One of these days, I’m going to get to watch the whole thing in one sitting.

– I got the original Broadway recording of Rent out of the library and have been listening to it like crazy for the past several days. I love Light My Candle, One Song Glory, Contact (my favorite!), Will I?, and Life Support. Every time I listen (which is a LOT!), I hear more and more that I really like. Someday I’d LOVE to see the actual show. Yes, I do realize that I’m ten years behind everyone in loving this musical, but hey, better late than never, right? :)

five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes….

But the big thing is that thanks to my rad friend (and bridesmaid) Rosa (meimeigui), and her cool hubby Richard, I got to spend the weekend in San Francisco!! Lots and lots and lots of sightseeing went down, as well as picture taking. I had a blast.

!!!^-^!!!

I flew in Friday, on Skybus. Skybus is a very inexpensive carrier, and if you’re lucky, you can get seats for as little as $10! The reason they can charge so little is because they use smaller airports (for example, I flew into Oakland instead of the big San Francisco airport), they charge for things such as beverages, meals (you can get real food!), and checking baggage. They also bring this little cart down the aisle with products one can buy—things such as perfume and jewelry and gourmet chocolate! I thought that was the funniest thing. There were people buying stuff up like crazy. Basically, they don’t want to charge everyone for what only a few people will take. Not everyone gets a beverage or checks a bag on flights. It was nonstop, and that was very nice. I had the His Dark Materials trilogy with me and that’s when I made a decent dent in The Golden Compass. I’m finding it easier to get into The Subtle Knife, now. My problem is that with these big books, I want to hurry and race to the end so I can see what happens. I have to FORCE myself to slow down and actually ingest the words as I am reading them.

Anyway, I got to the city, and Rosa got me and took me to the headquarters of imeem.com. What a SUPER DUPER cool place to work, let me tell you. When the drudgery of the work day gets too much, the office is equipped with a foosball table, a Playstation 2, a Nintendo Wii, guitars, a drum set, a kitchen stocked with snacks like whoa, a fridge stocked with Red Bull, just to name a few. OK. How awesome, right? Yeah, that would NEVER happen at ZB. Never, never. Ever. But can you imagine working in such a cool place? A place where the boss lets one of the workers bring in her puppy on Fridays?

Rosa and a Puppy

Friday was pretty low key. Hanging out with Rosa and Richard, drinking tea, and hanging out with their cool friends, one of whom was out of town as well. Played Scattergories, drank lots of tea, and watched the “wild ass.”

Saturday was super duper busy, and it started with a trip to the Farmer’s Market.

Me & Rosa
Me and Rosa!

Boquet
Gorgeous Organic Flowers

Pumpkins!
Pumpkins! Pretty!

Chicken Feet!
Chicken feet. Eeek!

Then we had tea service at Samovar in Yerba Buena. Yummy.

Tea

We popped into SF SOMA for a bit and drooled and dreamed over the cool stuff in the museum shop, then we hopped on the trolley (streetcar?) to head to all the touristy stuff. You know the things they had in the Rice-A-Roni commercials? Yeah, I got to ride two. Sweet, right? I also got to take this random picture of a steep street in the city, and also one of Coit Tower:

San Francisco is STEEP

Coit Tower

We hit the top of Lombard Street, and Rosa and I ran down with our arms out. When we got to the bottom, a hippie drove by and yelled “THAT IS FUCKING TWISTED!!!” Rosa and I cracked up because well, Lombard is twisted. And steep. And pretty.

Lombard Street & Me!

Lombard Street

From Lombard, we walked to Fisherman’s Wharf, which is TOURIST CENTRAL. OMG so many people. Lots and lots of people. Didn’t help that the Blue Angels were in town, being all cool and loud and stuff.

Blue Angels

One can see lots of cool stuff at Fisherman’s Wharf, like Alcatraz. And sea lions.

Alcatraz
Alcatraz

Sea Lions
Sea Lions

Sunday morning, I got to meet and hang out with Katy (drkangelmommy)!!

Katy and Me

Isn’t she so cute??? :D

Of course, no trip to SF is complete without going to The Golden Gate Bridge. Rosa took me there early Sunday morning. It was a perfect day. Cloudless blue skies, no fog. Beautiful.

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge & Me!

So YAY! Thanks a million to Rosa for making this happen. She’s an awesome gal and I had a blast with her. :)

I was in a cranky mood at the grocery store today because 1) it was crowded, and 2) they jacked the prices WAY up since I’ve been there last. An 8 oz. can of Hunt’s tomato sauce used to cost about 35 cents, now it’s 40 cents. Lord knows that the organic stuff is priced sky high. No wonder people love Aldi and Marc’s! I usually go to Marc’s anyway, because it’s closer to me than Aldi is. And sometimes Marc’s has obscure stuff one can’t find in a regular grocery store.

I’m heading toward crankiness again because there is one of those little flitty bugs flitting around and being annoying, and it’s already after 7pm (naturally the work day crawled by), and I’ll have to go to bed soon.

OH! I was on the Apostrophe Abuse blog today, and click to see what the cat dragged in: http://www.apostropheabuse.com/2007/09/thank-yous-note-cards.html. Yes, the same issue from Target that I emailed them about two years ago.

I got good mail today! A gift card, a letter, and a coupon for a free chicken sandwich and medium Coke from Chick-fil-A. You too, can have one. Just go to http://freechickenandcoke.com. If it’s still up and running, you can have free Chick-fil-A too! :) Ka-CHOW!

mandibaby just got married! Congrats to her! She looked beautiful! :D

All right. I need to get going. Time to make dinner. Tilapia, mashed potatoes, and spinach is on the menu for tonight. Yummy. :)

Cheers!

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