Sunday, January 31, 2010

I love the smell of sunscreen in the winter...

Today Gina and I hiked Runyon Canyon. It is a 160-acre park in LA, located at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains. It is a rare example of wild nature, with it's evergreen trees and shrubs only a yard or two from the hustle and bustle of the Hollywood community. The highest point in the park is at an elevation of 1,320 ft and is known as Indian Rock. Because of its proximity to residential areas of Hollywood and the Hollywood Hills, celebrity sightings are not uncommon. However, we don't think we saw any today. We did see lots and lots of beautiful people and highly enjoyed all the man candy! In fact, before we even had been hiking long, I pointed out to Gina that the view was already nice.. haha! : )

The park is also noted for having a fairly liberal dog policy, with dogs allowed off-leash in 90 of the park's 160 acres. And boy were they! We saw some adorable dogs and pretty much any and all breeds were out there. The upper canyon trail is home to a variety of wildlife including birds, owls and hawks; snakes and lizards; and deer and coyote. Additionally, there are several hundred plant species throughout Runyon Canyon including black sage, elderberry, California sagebrush, wild buckwheat, golden yarrow, laurel sumac, scrub oak, sugar bush and toyon. I even saw some cactus but it didn't look quite the same as the cactus back in AZ. I was especially excited to see the "Hollywood" sign so close up and definitely got some good pictures of it. There definitely were a lot of people on the trail, yet the views of the LA /Beverly Hills skyline were so breathtaking that I didn't mind all the people. The hike was not too difficult, but the change in elevation made it a great workout.
Don’t worry – if a tiny little Chiwawa can do it, so can you.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I ❤ Saturdays!












This Saturday can only be summed up with three simple words: shoes, food and beauty. That's all a girl really needs, right?

Today, my roommate, Gina and I spent the afternoon together. We took a very long scenic drive down Sunset Strip, which I really enjoyed. I love it. There is just so much to see on this mile and a half stretch. There is really something for everyone; bars, clubs, restaurants, cafes, fancy hotels, boutiques, comedy clubs and Hollywood nightspots. All are definitely on the cutting edge of the entertainment business. I will have to let you know what the places are really like inside when I start going to them. Here's something interesting that I just learned, the Las Vegas Strip was named after the Sunset Strip.

Anyway, after this mini tour, we began our shopping extravaganza. Gina introduced me to the wonderful store called DSW, it stands for Designer Shoe Warehouse. It is row after row of amazing shoes at great deals. In other words, my heaven! I purchased three pairs! They are fabulous and I do not regret buying any of them at all! While my partner in crime bought, shall we say, a few more than me. ; ) In the picture above are two pairs that we bought today. Mine are the black ankle boots which I absolutely adore! I've been wanting a pair forever and now thanks to DSW, I finally have a pair. Yay!

After an exhausting (NOT!) hour or so of hunting for shoes, we ventured back out into the daylight for lunch. Gina recommended we eat at Aroma Bakery Cafe. It was in a word, delightful. We ordered a deliciously flavorful Greek plate that had everything from hummus to grape leaves on it which I now know that I really like! We also split the House Sandwich which was equally as tasty with avocado, baked mushrooms and egg in it. My appetite was certainly satisfied! Fortunately, we have lots of leftovers for tomorrow's lunch! Is it wrong that I am already excited about it?!

Later on in the day, I made my way to my first beauty salon experience here in LA and let me tell you, it was phenomenal! All week I've been telling myself that I desperately need to get my hair trimmed, my eyebrows waxed and my nails done so finally on Thursday, I went to one of my new favorite websites www.yelp.com and quickly found a nearby salon. The reviews for Julie's Beauty Secrets were by far the best that I read so I figured that I would give it a shot and I am so happy that I did. Not only is it super close to my house but they also have their very own private parking lot which is a HUGE deal here in LA. The service was amazing and something that I love is that they continued to call me by my name the entire time I was there. I really appreciate that. I was very happy pleased with my manicure and the fairly painless eyebrow wax. I had an amazing neck and head massage while they were washing my hair which then continued before they started trimming it too. Bonus! And I am very happy to announce that I love the final product. My hair feels and looks so much healthier. I think it's so funny that despite getting a little cut off, hair seems to always feel longer after getting a trim. Why is that? Well, whatever the reason is, I like it cause I am trying to grow my hair out. Certainly not as long as the girl in the picture above but you get the idea.

So, yeah, that was my busy Saturday! Tonight I just watched a movie at home with my roommate, Swati, and her friend. Tomorrow, I'll be going on another fun adventure but I don't want to spoil the surprise so I'll keep my FOUR avid followers in suspense..haha! So, stay tuned. Good night!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sugar Pa






Today my father, Michael Stephen Adams, would have been 63 years old. I know that it's always going to be a difficult day for me to get through. I just hope that eventually I'll learn how to celebrate him on this day better. Today was hard as it was because I didn't feel well at all. So needless to say I didn't honor him in the way that I hope to on this day.

Let's see what would he enjoy doing? Wake up and watch a game on TV, play on the computer, play with his stamp collection, maybe go relax in the jacuzzi, enjoy a yummy meaty dinner preferably with plenty of ketchup on whatever it was and then see a movie. He loved movies-especially the old black and white ones. Then before going to sleep, he would read for an hour or so in bed. He was such a loving man and very affectionate with my mom and sister and I.

Right after he died, I made a list of all the things that reminded me of him:
stamps, collected coins, unusual beer bottles, Cutco knives, carpets, DVDs, Westerns, Film Noir, Tina Turner, Red Sox, Celtics, Redskins, Boston University, Sugar Pa, making lists, any team but Dallas Cowboys, his "Mike Adams" shirts, blue, books, dance mixes, 80's music, smooth jazz music, World War II history, Judaism, oranges, Baileys, crazy ties, peanut butter and cheese sandwiches, dates, organized records, Wonder bread, Big Hunk, Snickers, Butterfingers, Juicy Fruit Gum, Big League Bubble Gum, James Stewart, Carey Grant, The Lake House, Bed of Roses, Molinas, Mexican food, The Beatles, sleeving albums, Buicks, handmade gift wrap, Amazon.com, and sooo many more things...

My dad was born and raised in a very small town in Texas, near the pan-handle. He knew at a very young age that he wanted to get out of that town as soon as he graduated from high school, and that's exactly what he did. He met my mom in college and then they moved out of Texas and never came back. They decided early on in their marriage that there were going to travel the world together teaching at different schools. They continued to move until they died in Tunisia which was the last country they lived in. My dad never did lose that Texan accent and came out especially when he was yelling at me or after a few beers. I would give anything to hear his voice now. His middle and other brother still live in Texas and I have been fortunate enough to have been able to visited them a few times recently. It's important to me that we become closer and remain a family even without my parents around.


My Aunt Gail sent me this very sweet email today that I thought would be perfect to put in this post.

Tonya and Leah,

Today we are reflecting on the too brief but very incredible life your dad lived. We know how much you both must miss him because we know how much we do. Your dad was a true individual, not prone to be persuaded by views that were not his own. He loved learning, life, music, sports, teaching, experiencing new things...but mostly he loved your mother and the two of you. He probably would love Lucas more than anyone or anything else. We cannot look at a picture of Lucas without thinking of your dad and what he didn't live long enough to enjoy. We like believing that he is aware and very proud of his girls and now his little grandson. We send all of you our love and hugs, today and every day...but especially today.

Gail and David


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lucas and the Beach!



My sister sent me these pictures today and I just had to post them in my blog! I love them! Don't you?

Pin Ups for Vets

My roommate Gina has this amazing project called Pin Ups For Vets. She is the sole creator and model. It's a calender fundraiser that raises money for VA hospitals all over the US. She goes into those hospitals to deliver the calendars and at the end of every year, she gives the money raised from the calendars to one VA hospital of her choice. This is a great project and I am really in awe of her and all that she does for veterans everywhere. Please feel free to check out her website and buy a calender. They are awesome! Below is some more information about the project straight from her website.

"Besides raising these amazing funds to support Veterans’ health care programs, Gina has made countless personal visits to ill and injured patients in VA and military hospitals across the U.S., where she delivers her nostalgic pin-up calendars and posters that are donated by the public. She has also sent hundreds of donated calendar gifts to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gina Elise has been dubbed “the calendar angel” by America’s deployed troops, who have flown seven American flags in her honor over military bases in Iraq. The California Jaycees Foundation and the California Junior Chamber of Commerce selected Gina Elise as 2007 “Outstanding Young Californian”. The "Points of Light" Foundation in Washington, DC has honored this project for exceptional community service. Gina Elise’s nostalgic pin-up calendar is drawing lots of attention to Veterans’ health care, while at the same time honoring the four-year military service of her late grandfather. Gina Elise inscribes personalized messages of appreciation on the calendars and posters to thank the Veterans and troops for their service to our country.

In 2009, The "Los Angeles Business Journal" publication and its members honored Gina Elise as "VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR" at their annual "Women Making A Difference" awards ceremony. This annual event recognizes the work of influential women in the community. Gina Elise has raised substantial funds for Veterans' and military hospital programs that care for our Vets and active duty military.

Gina was inspired by the beautiful pin-up photos and paintings that boosted the morale of the troops in the 1940's . She took that idea and created a modern-day nostalgic pin-up calendar that would once again bring smiles to hospitalized Vets and deployed troops. On her website, people around the world can order calendars and other gift items for themselves, for hospitalized Vets, or for deployed troops. Her hospital visits and calendar gifts have been received with much gratitude by our Veterans and Wounded Warriors, and the calendars and posters have cheered up the troops who have had to deal with long deployments. The "In the Field" pages on Gina Elise's website album show the troops and the Veterans holding the "Pin-Ups for Vets" calendars and posters. Gina Elise also has posted numerous letters of appreciation from Veterans and active duty military who support the work of the calendar fundraiser project.
Gina Elise's project, that supports hospitalized Veterans and deployed troops, has touched people around the world. A military unit in Iraq painted Gina Elise's pin-up pose, in camouflage uniform, on a wall at the military base to help boost morale for the troops. An army medic, who recently returned home from Iraq, painted Gina Elise’s pin-up pose on his newly purchased motorcycle, to honor her work for Veterans. A traumatic brain injury patient in a Veterans hospital who had not spoken for a month, saw Gina Elise at his bedside and slowly began to answer her questions. Gina Elise hopes that the public will honor our brave ill Vets and injured troops by making a visit to a VA or military hospital to express appreciation to these men and women who have sacrificed so much in their service to the United States."
www.pinupsforvets.com

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cardio-Kickboxing Class!




I am happy to announce that I joined the gym, LA Fitness today and even set up a one on one session with a trainer tomorrow afternoon. She politely told me today that she was going kick my ass and that I probably wouldn't like her very much after it... Hmm..I'm a little nervous now but I know that it will be good for me. Wish me luck!

Then tonight my roommate Gina convinced me to go to a Cardio-Kickboxing class tonight with her. And I am so happy that I did because it was awesome! I am totally out of shape at the moment and I struggled quite a bit but the music was pumping and I could totally feel the energy in the room. So I will most definitely be returning to the class soon. When we got home from class, we had a fun little photo shoot in her room. I know we are dorks but I wouldn't want to live with anyone else! : )

"The resistance that you fight physically in the gym and the resistance that you fight in life can only build a strong character." -Arnold Schwarzenegger

Monday, January 25, 2010

LA Observation #1-Valet Parking


Ok, wow.. I just got home from mailing a box at Kinkos and there was valet parking there!!!!! Ridiculous, right?! And the line for it was actually long! So dumb! Of course I did not get in it, instead I drove like maybe 10 feet past the Kinkos and found plenty of street parking that didn't even have meters. I didn't even have to pay to park. Why oh why do those people think they can't handle parking their own cars?
I totally get it if there are no parking spaces around the area or if it's too tight of a space to park yourself. But this was not one of those cases. I also understand that this is LA and valet parking will become a part of my life for most places but if I can help it I will park my own car, thank you very much.

Here's some interesting info on the origination of the term "valet":

Valets were established in the Middle Ages. A valet is a gentleman's male servant. The valet performs personal services such as cleaning and preparing his employer's clothes, running his bath and perhaps shaving his employer. The master of any great house had his own valet, and in the very grandest great houses, other adult members of the employing family would also have their own valets.

Valets learned the skills for their role in various ways. Some began as footmen, learning some relevant skills as part of that job or by performing valeting tasks for his sons before they had a valet of their own, or for male guests who did not travel with a valet.

Traditionally, a valet did much more than merely lay out clothes and take care of personal items. He was also responsible for making travel arrangements, dealing with any bills and handling all money matters concerning his master or his master's household.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Getting to Know you...

Last night after my roomies and I got home from our different nights out, we spent about 4 hours in our living room catching up on each other lives and then we decided to play this game, TableTopics. It is very simple; each card has a question on it and you just take turns answering them. They are so much fun and I encourage everyone to get them. Thanks to my sister for getting them for me a few years ago. There is still so much that my roommates and I don't know about each other and these sometimes insightful questions are a perfect way to learn more.

Some of the highlights we had last night were:
- What do you miss about childhood? Gina and I miss the freedom and innocence and Swati doesn't really miss childhood! Haha
- If you had the means how would you address the problem of homelessness? Swati talked about a genius method that I guess they are working on in Santa Monica, to actually give these people homes to look after and then jobs that will pay for them.
- What language would you like to speak fluently? Gina said Hebrew, Swati said Hindi and Arabic and I said an Asian language like Japanese or Chinese.
- Would you be likely to survive in the wilderness? We all answered "Hell No!"
- What is your favorite book and movie? Swati loves "Lolita" and "Apatow Oeuvre", Gina loves "The Giver" and "My Fair Lady" and my answers were "Lovely Bones" and "Moulin Rouge"
- What do you most enjoy about being single? We all love the freedom to do whatever we want whenever we want to do it.

"It’s the things in common that make relationships enjoyable, but it’s the little differences that make them interesting."

-Todd Ruthman


Friday, January 22, 2010

Mini Break in San Diego


So I've been in San Diego with my sister and nephew all week and it's been absolutely amazing just to relax and be with them. You are probably thinking, what does she need to relax for? She just went to Jamaica for about a week?! Yes, while that is true and all, I still don't feel like I ever get enough time with my family and that is one of the main reasons why I moved to LA in the first place. I love hanging out in their living room watching TV, playing with Lucas and chatting with my sister. We love playing scrabble against each other on our computers. There really are no words to describe the unconditional love that I feel whenever I am with them. I mean, who could resist spending time with those two over there in the picture?! : )

I suppose there is also a part of me that is putting off starting my life in LA too. I'm not sure why I'm so nervous about it but I am... the crazy driving, all the new people, not knowing exactly what grocery store to go to, what the best Target is, where to park for every place, where to get my hair cut, what are the best restaurants and bars to go to, where are all the people my age hanging out.....the list goes on and on.. I don't even want to start discussing parallel parking!!! Aaaahhh! Ugh, all of this is kind of frustrating and exciting all in the same way.

Well, this mini break has to end and I am headed back up to LA tomorrow. It will be very hard to say goodbye to my sister and nephew but I know that I'll be seeing them soon. I actually feel like this is becoming my home here. Shoot, I might be back next week..haha.. Sound good Tonya? : )

For someone who doesn't know a lot of people I already have a few weekend plans. Tomorrow night I am meeting other University of Arizona alumnae at a bar to watch the UofA vs. ASU basketball game. GO CATS! We better beat those Sun Devils! Then on Sunday, I am going to a goodbye party for a friend who I went to college with that is sadly leaving LA. Not bad for a newbie, huh? I am excited to meet lots of new fun people this weekend!

Anyway, stay tuned for lots more of my LA adventures now that I'll finally actually be living there full time!

"I've got a cell phone, answer machine, TV set, computer, hand grenade - everything you need to run a business in Los Angeles." -Ice T

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Friends

Adiba, Madhavi, Emily and I in high school!
Aubrei, Mark, Drea, Mike, Dave and me in Vegas
Meagan, Leslie and I in Miami.
Most of the Phoenix crew: Kiley, Daniel, Monique, Stacy, Pat, Dave, Aubrei, Mark and I.
Atalaya, Dave, Stacy, Aubrei, Mark and I on New Years Eve.
Lindsey, Tracy and I on another New Years Eve! I heart them so much!
Courtney, Alyson, Katen, Meagan and I at this years Homecoming.

So, I've been thinking a lot lately about my friends and what they all mean to me. I have many close friends in Phoenix and it's definitely going to be hard being away from them but I am sure that they'll be visiting me in LA soon. I'm really sad and nervous about being in LA and not having these amazing people around me. They get me through the rough days and they make the good times even more memorable. I mean, it takes awhile before those solid friendships can be formed so I'm not expecting anything to happen instantly in LA. I am grateful to have two awesome roommates and I have no doubt that we'll become fast friends.

My friends are very important to me, they are my world and I always strive to be a good friend. I don't think it takes a whole lot to do that. All you need to do is listen and just be there when it matters. I love that all my friends are so different and each of them are good for different things. I know that I can count on one friend to cry with, another to go shopping with, another to go to the movies with and another to party with. I am sad that all my best friends are so spread out and none are currently living in Southern California; check out all these states they live in: New York, Minnesota, Wyoming, Connecticut, Boston, Idaho, Colorado, North Carolina and finally Arizona.

Well, here's to making new friends in LA and keeping in better touch with all my old friends. Love ya guys!


"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born" -Anais Nin

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

John Mayer





From time to time I'll blog about my favorite musicians, here we go with my first one: the oh so talented and gorgeous, John Mayer.

Guitar Magazine described him perfectly, "John Mayer is mother fucking famous. He's also a rarity-a modern pop
idol that aspires to musical greatness."

I absolutely love John Mayer. There's gotta be something wrong with you if you can't find something to appreciate about him. At only 32, he is a true guitar genius. His song lyrics are thoughtful and witty and his melodies are catchy and flawless. He has won several Grammeys, recorded 7 studio albums, including 2009's "Battle Studies", and he has composed countless catchy soulful hits. Not to mention he is H-O-T. Just check out these pictures! Whew! I cannot get enough of his tousled hair and soft features.

I wish I could pick a favorite song but that is nearly impossible-I love them all. Right now these are a few of my faves: Assassin, I Don't Trust Myself with Loving You, Stop this Train, Wheel, Hummingbird, Back to You, etc..... His lyrics really speak to me unlike many other musicians today and I can usually find at least one or two lines in every song that I love.

Check out these lyrics from War of my Life:

I'm in the war of my life
At the door of my life
Out of Time and there's no where to run away
I've got a hammer
And a heart of glass
I got to know right now
Which walls to smash
I got a pocket
Got no pill
If fear hasn't killed me yet
Than nothing will
All the suffering
And all the pain
Never liked to label

Unfortunately for John Mayer, his personal life has been quite the roller coaster and he's been in a series of high-
profile relationships that never lasted very long- Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Aniston.
I'd like to think that he just waiting for me. : ) Well, John I just moved to LA so come and find me! In his latest
interview in Rolling Stone Magazine, he says, "I’ll be happy when I close out this life-partner thing. Think of how much mental capacity I’m using to meet the right person so I can stop giving a fuck about it."

"My greatest honor is to look through people's Myspace pages under influences to see Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray,
Eric Clapton and John Mayer. It's like... it's unbelievable to me. Those kinds of connections are
very meaningful to me." -John Mayer

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Walk to Remember


This evening I took my 7 month old nephew, Lucas, on a little hour-long walk around his neighborhood. It has been raining here in San Diego pretty much all day yesterday and today but it finally cleared up enough this evening for us to go outside. He loves being outside and I could tell he needed a change of scenery. It was super windy so I was a little nervous about being out with him. Once we got near the ocean, it was even windier but he seemed to really get a kick out of my crazy windy hair and watching all the trees blowing. He was laughing up a storm! Ha ha, no pun intended!

For just a brief moment while I was out there alone with Lucas, it was fun to imagine what it would be like to take to take my own son on walks. I absolutely adore making this kid laugh and I think that he really enjoys being around me too. His laugh is just infectious and it's the one of the things these days that can pick me up. I love him more than I ever thought I could love someone. : )

I am excited about having my own children one day. Of course I am in no hurry and I am thankful that I have a nephew to play with for a few years until I am ready for motherhood.

"There is no experience like having children. That’s all. There is no substitute for it. You cannot do it with a friend. You cannot do it with a lover. If you want the experience of having complete responsibility for another human being, and to learn how to love and bond in the deepest way, then you should have children" -Mitch Albom; Tuesdays with Morrie


Monday, January 18, 2010

Remembrance


Today I received a very sweet email from my dear friend Meagan and I felt compelled to post it here in my blog today. May we never forget the importance of Martin Luther King Jr.'s words and what he stood for in this world. I feel blessed to have friends that remind me of just that everyday. Thank you Meagan for this email.


Dear Friends and Family,

Today is for remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr. For some of us, that means a three day weekend. For others, like myself, it is another day at work. As I read the morning paper, I could not help but be overwhelmed by the situation in Haiti. The Pan American Health Organization estimates that between 50,000 to 100,000 people died during the earthquake on January 12th that reached a magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter scale. This number does not include individuals who were injured, or individuals who are still missing. Those who survived are living outside for fear of being in a building that might collapse. Desperation runs rampant as riots continue. In summary, the situation is bad.


As I learn more about what is going on in Haiti, I think back on my years at Carolina Friends School. Each year we celebrated MLK Jr. Day and his vision of creating a powerful social force based on love and compassion for our fellow man. For me, the basic message was to stand up for a cause that you believed in.


Today, we recognize the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.; looking at how far we have come and how far we still have to go in this country. But it is also a time to look at which causes are important to us, and for which we want to make a stand.


I have chosen to make a small donation to the American Red Cross for disaster relief in Haiti. And I want to urge you to consider making a donation (either monetary or volunteering time at your local Red Cross). Part of me hates to be that person who is asking others to give. However, I feel compelled to do something, and the more donations received the bigger the impact. Although we all struggle from time to time, our lives are truly blessed.


I appreciate you taking the time to read this email. And I thank you in advance for considering the situation in Haiti.


With love and compassion,

Meagan

Benefits of Traveling


Elizabeth Gilbert recently released a new book called "Committed", it's the follow up to "Eat, Pray Love." I did enjoy this first novel but not as much as most people did. It really didn't inspire me like I thought it would. I am hoping to enjoy "Committed" a lot more. That's what makes for a good book in my opinion-one that will inspire and teach me in someway. I want to feel smarter/better for having read the book in the first place. Of course not all books I read turn out that way but most of the time, I am still glad that I read them.

"Novels... teach you the secret, that the best of life is conversation." -Unknown

Anyway, I just read an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert and she discussed how traveling can lead to a happier life in the long run. I couldn't agree more with that.

The interview question: Travel clearly plays any important role in your life, especially in times of personal transformation. How does finding yourself in a new place geographically help you find yourself emotionally and spiritually?

Her response: I think travel rearranges your brain chemistry, which, of course, can help to rearrange you emotional and spiritual outlook. When you don't know the language, the currency, the public transportation system, or how the social norms of a new place work, you are forced into the present moment, forced to concentrate, forced to learn and to respond. I think this can jar the brain into new patters and thinking habits. Not to mention the incredible and freshly renewed perspective that can come when you are exposed to the new, the foreign, the different.

This is all so true and I am sure this is why I enjoy traveling somewhere new and different every year. I think its imperative that everyone step out of their comfort zone at home and go experience something completely different. It is by doing this that we can know who we really are and what we are made of deep inside. So if you don't already, get out there and travel as much as you can!

"Every spirit builds itself a house, and beyond its house a world, and beyond its world a heaven. Know then that that world exists for you." -Ralph Waldo Emerson