Okay I hope you're not tired of hearing about my Hollywood adventures because I've got to share with somebody! Talk about your fun! In fact let's tack on another exclamation point for good measure: fun!
So for this week's list I'll do a short recap of some of what we did this week and tomorrow I'll be covering the breakfast I had with Bill Wackerman, Senior Vice President of Glamour Magazine; Leslie Russo, Associate Publisher for Glamour; Kirsten Smith, screenwriter and director; and Francesca Silvestri of Freestyle Productions.
But for now here's the juicy stuff, the things you REALLY want to know. Here's my list of firsts I got to experience the past four days.
1. First ride with a chauffeur. Suave arranged our trip (and can I say they treated us good? For four glorious days we were queens) and when they sent me my itinerary I did a double take because they had scheduled for a driver to pick me up at my home and take me to the airport. Another took me from the airport to the hotel and the whole time we were in L.A. we had a car and driver at our disposal for any outings we might desire.
That, my friends, is cool. To have someone open the door to a sleek black luxury vehicle then to slide onto a cool leather seat and say "Please take me to Santa Monica Pier" or wherever your heart desires. No one demanded that I listen to their music, no one was screaming in the back seat or smashing goldfish crackers into the upholstery. It was wonderful.
2. First time I've had a gift basket waiting for me. We checked into the Hotel Sofitel in Hollywood and when I got to my room there was an enormous gift basket waiting to welcome me. Hair and beauty products from Suave (I’m hooked on the exfoliating beauty wash and lotion), slippers, snacks, DVDs, and fun stuff including a Flip video camera for my shooting pleasure. Yes, that’s right—a cute little pink Flip video camera so I’d be able to properly document my fun. We soon discovered that there were plenty of “Flip Worthy” events including our afternoon at Santa Monica pier where we grabbed drinks at Bubba Gump’s and our waiter quizzed us with Forest Gump trivia. Not having seen the movie I didn’t do too badly--Beth at Role Mommy Flipped the whole thing so maybe she'll post it and you can play too.
3. First time I’ve had a king sized bed to myself. Really, it was huge and I can honestly say that it was the most comfortable sleeping experience in my life. There was a yard o’ bed in every direction with me in the middle and a pile of the softest, comfiest pillows on the planet. After getting home last night at nearly 1 am I fell into the softness thereof and wondered if I could get Suave to send me one of those beds too—that would be good.
And then there was the shower—this enormous glass cube that’s bigger than my whole bathroom back home with one of those huge rain-like heads coming from the ceiling that showers water gently down upon you in this waterfall of luxury.
You know you’re traveling with bloggers when they take pictures of their beds and shower.
4. First manicure and pedicure. I’ve never actually had a professional manicure or pedicure—sure I’ve done my own nails plenty of times but paying someone else to do it has just never happened. I’ve already detailed my morning at Lukaro Salon but after the hair cut and consultation with Luke O’Connor I was whisked off to the manicurist and got all my digits done. I was chastised for not filing my nails properly by a short Korean woman whose opening line was (I kid you not) “How’s the weather up there?” Haven’t heard that one since fourth grade. Nonetheless the experience was divine. After I was finished I sat in the sunny courtyard, my feet wrapped in protective bubble wrap to dry, sipping freshly squeezed orange juice and listening to the fountain splashing in the background. It was good.
5. First time tasting sushi. For dinner Monday night we were whisked off to Nobu, considered the finest Japanese restaurant in L.A. and oh so exclusive. Apparently their specialty is sushi and I figured if you’re going to try something for the first time why not try it with the masters?
The décor was amazing and the interior intimate as we sat at the two main tables in the middle of the room. There was a family-style menu that had been pre-arranged for us but they said that if anyone was chicken-livered enough to not eat sushi they’d provide their regular menu which had plenty of cooked items. I decided to be daring and the meal started out with warm edammame sprinkled with sea salt which was yummy. I’m definitely buying some of that once I get back to reality—even the kids would eat that and think it was great.
Then there were two courses of sashimi which stumped me. Something about seeing those raw little pieces of fish on the platter, jiggling in all their rawness, made me shudder in horror. I watched Liz and Beth and Amy slurping it down but I couldn’t bring myself to try any. Of course by this time it was about 8:30 and I can tell you right now that the edammame was good but it certainly wasn’t any plate of pasta and I was hungry. So I finally got brave and slurped down a piece. The sauce was very good but it kind of covered up the taste of the fish itself which begs the question: “If a dish requires sauces to mask the true flavor isn’t there something wrong with the whole set up?” And all the sauce in the world can’t cover the feeling of that little fishy slipping down your throat like a wriggling slice of Jello.
Two more courses of tempura shrimp and crab (delicious), raw tuna salad (good if you avoid the tuna parts) and seared black cod (really tasty) and I was feeling pretty brave so when the sushi rolls came I grabbed one and popped it in my mouth just like a big girl.
Then the taste hit me. The seaweed was bitter and vile and suddenly I found myself with a sushi roll in my mouth that tasted so nasty I felt my stomach rising. The thought of chewing it up and having to deal with all that flavor was terrifying but it was so big I couldn’t actually swallow it whole so I sat there like some five year-old in this horrific conundrum, not being able to swallow my bite whole but without the courage to chew it up. My kind dinner partners swore that if I spit it out in my napkin they’d never tell but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to pull that stunt in one of the most exclusive night spots in L.A. so I chewed. Fast. Really fast and got that hideous beast down with a shudder. No wonder the Japanese are so thin. I would be too if that’s what was on the menu every day.
That’s it. Now I know about sushi and I’ll never make that mistake again.
6. First dinner with a supermodel. While I was busy gagging over my sushi roll someone looked over at the table next to us and there, about eight feet away, was May Anderson, the Danish supermodel. It was an odd experience and I tried hard not to be obvious about staring but she looked like a million people you’d see at any old place and quite unremarkable except for a set of killer cheekbones.
She had no makeup and her hair was sporting that unkept-chic look and I swear if someone hadn’t have pointed her out to me I’d have never known who she was or thought anything about her—I mean she was tall and thin and blond but we’re talking L.A. here people, every other person is tall and thin and blond. She and her guests were acting rather strangely (there were speculations around the table about their odd behavior) but they kept at their meal for some time and I actually did see her take one bona fide bite of food, but that’s about all I could swear to. Finally Cindy from Hello Dollface decided to be brave and go over to talk with her.
They chatted for quite some time and when they had finished their meal Cindy was gutsy enough to ask May if she could have a picture taken with her. Amy Clark from Momadvice.com who was sitting next to me popped up too to get her picture taken and after the shot May gave Cindy this goodbye hug which Cindy later described as being hugged by a praying mantis—her fingers, limbs and body were so long and spindly and skinny—but when I saw the pictures it was absolutely amazing. This plain woman without any noticeable makeup or attractiveness was stunning, completely stunning. I’ve never seen someone so comfortable with a camera—she struck this instant pose and knew exactly how to work it and the results were jaw dropping.
So that’s what a supermodel looks like. Amazing.
And it doesn’t surprise me that she’s dining on sushi. That would keep you from gaining weight, blech!
But despite the sushi disaster the rest of the meal was delicious, the four-hours spent at Nobu were lovely and fun and we had a great time. Cross “try sushi” off of my list of things to do before I die. Check.
7. First Elvis sighting. As for other celebrity sightings, Monday afternoon after our salon excursion Liz, Amy and I grabbed our driver and had him take us around the town a bit. We went to Grauman’s Chinese theater and saw the Walk of Fame but the theater was roped off for the premier of Mark Wahlberg’s new movie Max Payne (that name just kills me—what a hoot!). As we drove down Beverly Boulevard there was a crowd gathered in front of some music store or theater or something and wouldn’t you know it, there was Slash doing his celebrity thing. He tried to get me to stop for a little Guitar Hero challenge but parking was difficult and we couldn’t stop—some other time.
Even though I couldn’t stop fo Slash I did get my chance with Elvis when we walked by the theater once again. He’s a lot tanner and shorter than I’d imagined. Elmo, Captain America, Batman, Jack Sparrow, it was like Halloween with all these characters milling around in the crowd in front of the theater and it wasn’t until we saw them again on our way back that it dawned on me what they were doing—they were working the crowd for money and photo ops. Crazy. The whole thing was going fine until a rather ragged and used-up Marilyn Monroe got into it with a couple of tight-shirted cops that were holding things back. It was really sad actually, kind of a Norma-Desmond-meets-Norma-Jean moment where you shook your head and wondered what set of circumstances would lead a person to earn a living that way.
But I got my picture with Elvis. He was kind of in my personal space so it wasn’t the most comfortable experience as you can see but I was with some wild women who forced me into it, what can I say?
8. First time seeing the Hollywood sign. I’ve been to Los Angeles before but it’s been years since I ventured any where near Beverly Hills or Hollywood and Tuesday afternoon after our breakfast with Glamour and Suave Beth, Liz, Amy, Dawn and I grabbed our faithful driver and set out to see the sites again. He took us as far up the mountain as we could go then we hiked the rest of the way to see the famous Hollywood sign and to scare Liz by standing too near the edge. Not a bad view.
9. First celebrity encounter. Here’s what you really want to know right? Who did we see? Well Tuesday night started out with a cocktail hour at the hotel before being whisked off to the Glamour Reel Moments premier.
We stepped out of the car and there was the crowd on the side, held back by barriers and straining to see who was getting out—was it anyone famous? No it was just some mombloggers but we walked straight up the red carpet and in the door of the Director’s Guild where there was a set of risers with thirty or so photographers waiting for stars to arrive who started snapping off pictures as we walked in. Then they had us stand in front of the backdrop and the photographers took our pictures just like some Oscar moment. “Foot forward, arm on the hip, don’t blink” was all I was thinking in the glare of the lights. Wow.
We continued along the red carpet and they had a place for us to wait as the stars arrived. Let’s see—I had to write all the names down for fear of forgetting someone—first came Kirsten Dunst who sneaked around the back and walked right behind us (later at the party she sat about four feet away, chain smoking up a cloud—I scored her empty pack of cigarettes after she left and gave it to Liz for a souvenir who will probably put it up on ebay for millions of dollars). My assessment? Great legs, a little too “blond” and VERY skinny.
Then came David Spade—quite short, that goes without saying—and his oddly-clad girlfriend wearing what could only be described as a large, striped cookie-monster though I think it was supposed to be a sweater.
About that time Liz whispered “There’s Ted Danson! I see Ted Danson!” and over behind the backdrop was a tall man with white hair talking to someone but I couldn’t quite make him out without my glasses. We debated back and forth about whether or not it was Ted and as the two men walked past us Liz whispered, “Is it Ted?”
At which point my psycho reflexes took over as I whacked her hip with my clutch. “That’s not Ted Danson but the guy he’s with is Matthew Perry!” A big collective gasp of “CHANDLER!” went up after he went by. I think Dawn pretty much went to pieces at that point and the rest of the night we pretty much ran into him all over the place—I actually accidentally stepped on his foot as the crowd at the after-premier party smashed us together. But as interesting as it was I have to say he didn’t look too good—puffy eyes and a general haggard look to him. He kind of hung around the edges of the party most of the night with his Ted Danson-look alike buddy but didn’t seem too interested in things.
Who else showed up? Sheryl Crow who looked remarkably blond and rockerish in her jeans and knee-length black leather coat. She gave Rosanna Arquette a big ol’ hug like they were long lost sisters as we stood there trying not to look like we were staring.
Anna Faris, the star of one of the movies worked the red carpet for quite some time while Lisa Kudrow sneaked in the back way behind the backdrop. Then Courteney Cox and her husband David Arquette arrived—Cindy ran into her in the bathroom and she reported that Courteney confessed to being very nervous. David looked much thinner than I expected, Courteney looked fabulous and seemed very nervous but happy. Lucy Liu sat at the end of our row, looking very beautiful in a black dress and boots—she’s really stunning—and there were dozens of other actors and actresses that I recognized but couldn’t put a name to their face until later. Sarah Wright, Madeline Zima, Larry Smith, plus lots of others.
Gabrielle Reese hung out next to us for a bit, then Brittney Snow and Laura Dern arrived about the time they asked us all to take our seats in the theater. Twenty minutes later Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher arrived to sit two rows ahead of us and looking very dashing together, followed by Jennifer Aniston who was stunningly beautiful (petite and gorgeous in her flowing knee-length dress). While we all waited for the movies to start the stars milled around, congratulating each other and shaking hands and enjoying the pre-movie excitement.
10. First time attending a movie premier. The movies themselves were quite good—Courteney Cox’s debut The Monday Before Thanksgiving starred Laura Dern as a woman who’d lost her mother the Monday before Thanksgiving and has an experience a year later that shows her how happy she can be even if living by herself. It was nice, not amazing, but quite nice.
The next was The Spleenectomy and was the debut of screen writer Kristen “Kiwi” Smith who wrote Ella Enchanted, She’s the Man, Ten Things I Hate About You, Legally Blond and more. It was cute, quite funny and Anna Faris did a great job as the main character, a single mom who wants to be an actress in her local community theater but who is sadly lacking the skills—it had some funny lines.
Finally Demi Moore’s film Streak starred her daughter Rumor Willis and Brittney Snow and was about how a college woman changes her ideas of body image and was probably the best of the three. It too had some funny parts and was well-directed—Demi has some talent behind the camera.
11. First celebrity mix up. After the premiere we were shuttled to the party at Chateau Marmont—one of the biggest celebrity “it” places in Hollywood and has had everyone from Greta Garbo to Johnny Depp hanging out there. It was rather smashed and as I worked my way through the crowd you could see people checking other people out to figure out if they were anybody special. You could almost hear them thinking “Who is that? Are they anybody?”
Funny thing is with all those dimmed lights I got mistaken for Laura Dern. At first someone came up to me and said “Oh my gosh! You’re . . . !” But the music was so loud I couldn’t hear the name the woman said—all I knew is that I’m pretty certain she wasn’t saying “Scribbit.” I shook my head and said “No, I’m not” and then she realized when she looked more closely that obviously she was mistaken. But this went on pretty much most of the night, I had two other people tell me they thought I was Laura Dern and then—the kicker—I was waking by Rita Wilson and as I went by she did a double take and reached her hand out and said “Oh my gosh you were fabulous! I loved what you did . . . “ then stopped the second she got a better look and realized that I wasn’t Laura.
Funny. It was rather the running joke of the evening that I kept getting mistook for Laura Dern but I guess it could be worse. They could have mistaken me for Jack Black, right? I just hated to disappoint them so much when they realized that it was just me. By the end of the evening I figured out that the trick was simply to look rather grumpy and bothered and to not make eye contact with anyone and then people are fairly certain to think you're famous.
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