Wednesday, April 16, 2014

California!

Oh my word, it's finally the California post a mere 3 months late! 

Once we won the SEC Championship game, all we wanted was to go to Pasadena! Mom pulled through with 2 tickets with her season ticket standings. Since Binky is a student, she put her name in for the lottery Auburn had. In this lottery, a set number of students got tickets for face value. The catch was you had to pick your ticket up at will call at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena with your ID. Kinda nice, so people couldn't buy and turn around and sell for hundreds of dollars. The lottery came and went, so Bink thought she didn't win. Well, students started turning their tickets back in since some couldn't get out to California, and low and behold, Binky won one! WOOWOO!

We left Friday January the 3rd pretty early in the morning. It was freezing in Birmingham. Naturally, we pulled a Home Alone (yet again) with the "WE SLEPT IN!" running around montage before leaving for the airport. Mom was stuffing things in her suitcase while Bink and I were waiting in the cab (that we had to call twice, because the first time "we weren't there". Maybe they just drive by if you're not standing outside??). Per usual, we were some of the last ones on the plane. We had a short layover in DC, then a longer one in Chicago. 

One thing I noted was the difference in flight-attitude this trip as compared with the National Championship trip in 2011 to Phoenix. Maybe it was because in 2011, AU hadn't been to a NC in 50+ years, or maybe it was because more people travel to Los Angeles for random reasons, but there was not a "bodda getta" nor a "warrrrrr eagle, hey" cheer done on the plane like there was on the way to Phoenix. On that flight, everyone was in orange and blue, and there seemed to be only a handful on our flights out to LA. 

Erroneous! That wouldn't keep us down! When we got to Chicago, we found our gate and decided to eat near it since it was around lunchtime. Only we discovered it wasn't our gate, no where close to it.. then mom discovered she lost her sweater. And Binky's ankle was killing her from walking from one end of the airport to the other (she shattered her ankle a couple years ago and it still gives her trouble). Mom went looking for her sweater, while frustrated Binky went towards the gate. I needed a drink. I finally got mom (sweater-less) and we found Binky and got near our gate. We sat down at a restaurant and ordered drinks and food. 


#thrilled

After checking out our boarding passes, we realized our flight left in 30 minutes. OF COURSE. We scarfed down our food and ran to our flight boarding at last call. Would you expect anything different? 

I was separated from mom and Bink on this flight, so my good friend Jack kept me company. I needed him after the morning we had had.. 


I really wish the captain would've been more tour guide-ish and announced what we were flying over. "Grand Canyon on the left, folks! Rocky Mountains coming up!" 


We finally made it to good ol' LA. Binky was in a mood (not a good one), and mom was in a wheelchair due to the fact that she had had knee surgery a few weeks prior to our trip and was having trouble walking. Happy happy, joy joy. 

We were in good hands on the way to the rental car place with Jesus. 


We got the rental car, and it took an hour or so to get to our hotel in Hollywood. I drove us and got to experience the lovely LA traffic. Binky conveniently wasn't 25 yet, so she got chauffeured around the whole trip. 

We checked into the hotel, then met up with some friends, Rivers (who moved to LA from Auburn) and Caroline (Binky's roommate, not to be confused with my bff with the same name). We went to a place called Big Wangs to eat, drink some beer, and watch the remaining football bowl games. My phone had died at this point, so I found an outlet to charge it, and didn't take any pics. Oops. 

Saturday, we woke up and we to the restaurant that was attached to our hotel.  It was like a fancier Waffle House. I loved the bar chairs. 


Ma and I stuck to a strict orange and blue wardrobe rule the whole trip. 


Bink was a little less touristy.


YUMMY! We ended up going here several times since it was right next to the hotel. 


It was called the 101 Coffee Shop. 


I loved our hotel! It was called the Hollywood Hills Hotel and was right across the street from the famous Hollywood Tower Hotel. 


Typical sister pic.


I loved the painting and fonts on the building. So retro.



I think it had been recently renovated. I loved the colors outside of the rooms.  They faced into the pool area.




Terrible iPhone night pic. It's the only one I have with the pool. 



The lobby was full of pictures of famous actors and actresses. I liked this funny door (and all their font choices).



Gimme that couch! 



Again, digging the fonts. I'm a nerd. 



During the day on Saturday, we met up with Rivers and Caroline, and Rivers gave us a quick tour of the city! 


He knew a lot! Here we are headed down Hollywood Blvd. 


Cross Roads


Hollywood High School! How awesome would it've been to go here? 


Beverly Hills! That's where I want to beeee! 


Rivers told us that palm trees are not original to California. Apparently some were placed in Beverly Hills, then postcard pictures were taken, and once people came to visit, they wondered where all the palm trees were. After that, they planted thousands of them.


After driving through Beverly Hills, we went down Rodeo Drive. 


We were quite the rednecks, yelling "WAR EAGLE" at everyone dressed in Auburn gear (there were a lot!). I was also hanging out the window with my camera, but I'll spare you the picture of fancy stores. We did see a lot of vehicles with Auburn flags hanging off the windows. Apparently, some tickets packages included window flags. Kudos to Auburn for AMAZEBALLS advertising strategies! I saw zero FSU flags :D 

Saturday afternoon, we booked a Warner Brothers Studio Tour! 
This might sound weird, but those TREES! They're gorgeous! Were we in Ferngully?!?! 


The infamous WB water tower.


When we parked, I saw this AUsome fan that drove all the way from Alabama!!! WDE, whoever you are!! I gave em the thumbs up. You can see our little rental to the left of Binky and mom back there. I should've brought some car magnets.. 


Again with the entrance and trees! 


We all have nicknames from our parents.. mine is Bugs. So of course I had to take this pic to send to Dad. 


Then we got a family shot! 


Binky loves picture taking!



Pretty soon, we were on the tour. We watched a small video, then got on a golf cart to tour the studio.


Scenes from Friends were filmed here! So exciting! 


The insides of the sets are just framing. Our tour guide told us that the sets were shells until they were needed for a scene. Everything from the light fixtures to the door handles were non existent until filming was going on because the time period can be determined by those things.


Therefore, none of the door had handles and the lights outside entrances were there since certain scenes needed different looks. 


Anyone recognize this? 


This is Luke's restaurant from Gilmore Girls!


Pretty Little Liars is now filmed here.


The gazebo is what I remember most from Gilmore Girls. It's removable, so they can take it away if other shows are filming. 


These bush things are for hiding certain structures during scenes.


There are "big" buildings that are used in tons of shows, and this is the theater in some of them. Do you see what it says on the marque?! 


THANKYOUVERYMUCHWBSTUDIOS!


Inside this building was a museum of Warner Brothers memorabilia. I asked our guide what the marque was about, and she didn't know.. in fact she didn't seem to know who/what Auburn University was. Another guy in the building said sometimes private parties are hosted in there. Why wasn't I invited?!? 

Another Bugs pic! This time it's an awesome illustration.


There was a wall of them. I loved Looney Tunes when I was little. 


Oscar! 


The Hangover costumes with a tiger. This automatically makes them Auburn fans


Friends wardrobe! They had the note Rachel wrote Ross that was 17 pages when they were about to get back together, along with tons of other hilarious, memorable props! 


Gossip Girl! 


There was an entire floor dedicated to Harry Potter! MY FAVORITE! 


If you want a good picture with the sorting hat, don't let your little sister (who could give two shits about Harry Potter) take your pic.

I made her take this pic because Dolores Umbridge had cat plates, much like Binky would if she found them. 


I LOVE the book illustrations from the books, and they had a whole wall of them.


DOBBY!


I think his ears look like Possum's ears.. 

We did find another Possum example: 


A model for "Fluffy", the three headed dog. I've really got to get Binky into these books.. 

A shot of the whole floor:


The tour continued on after the museum stop, and we passed by the big WB logo. It was dark, and we were moving in the cart, so sorry for the blur! 


We got to see warehouses of where they built sets.


There's an actual gas station for the studio. Crazy! 


They used it for filming a scene for the Mentalist the day before we were there, which is why these signs and snacks were placed outside. 


We stopped to look in a car warehouse, and across the way, I spied this:


You might not can tell, but it's a big ass furniture storage building. It looks like they had tons of pieces from every decade/style. I wish I could've gone in there!!!!!! 

On the tour, they have a special room for the Friends Central Perk set that is preserved for all to see! 


What you might can tell from these pics: it's so SMALL! Apparently the camera lengthens the perception when it's on screen. It only seemed like 15-20 ft or so back. crazy! 


Another! 


The tour guide took a couple of pics of every "group" of our tour real quick like. 



I wish I could take this couch! 


Since our guide only took a couple of pics, I had to get a shot to post on instagram (I'm obsessed!), so I took this selfie.


You're welcome! 

Awesome shows like Ellen and Conan are filmed at Warner Brothers Studios. 


This pic is hard to see, but it tells the past shows and movies that have filmed on this stage. Each stage had a sign. 


We got to see The Mentalist studio set and The Big Bang Theory set, but we weren't allowed to take pics inside the studios. 


Before we went out, I took some pics of our room. My and mom's bed had Marilyn overhead, and hilariously, Bink's bed had Vivien Leigh over it. (Binky's real name is Scarlett and Vivien Leigh played Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind)


We met up with Rivers and Caroline and some other friends for dinner. Afterwards, we went back to Hollywood and got some dessert at a place called Birds. 


Ma went back to the hotel afterwards, but Bink and I went to a bar up the street (I can't recall the name). 

It was very dim, and later Binky and I were told some famous people hung out there. We didn't see any, but we did school some Cali people on SEC football and the big Toomer's Tree poisoning debacle. They were very sympathetic to our great tradition's loss, and I think a little surprised at how crazy we were about college football.


After we returned to the hotel...


Hilarious!


Even more so!


We went back to the 101 Coffee Shop since it was connected to our hotel and served beer. You might've noticed the to go container in the last pics.. it had Binky's drink in it from the last bar haha! 


I proceeded to make us take a picture in the overhead mirror.


The next day (Sunday) we went to Venice Beach. It was BEAUTIFUL! I've been before, but the weather wasn't this great! 


Hills in the background! Green grass in the front! So pretty!

They had this giant concrete traffic cone that people paint on (with permit only).


When I walked up to snap a pic, this girl practically yelled at me that they "TAKE DONATIONS AND TIPS", so I guess some high roller got this little gem done: 


We met up with our cousins on the beach, then went to get some grub. 

Terrell, Shelley, Binky


Ma, Ashley, Me, Aunt Dale


All of us together! 


Nifty sculpture at the beach


Down the boardwalk. I'm not sure if that's what they call it, but that's what it reminded me of. It seemed to be a "all AU fans in Cali come to Venice Beach" kind of day. Tons of orange and blue around! 


Venice beach mural, play on the famous Birth of Venus painting.


After Venice Beach, we drove down to the infamous Santa Monica pier. There was a line to get onto the actual pier!


All the lovely Auburn cousins, minus Andrea, who was leaving to study abroad and couldn't come to Cali (sad face!)

pic via Shelley

All the beachgoers. Love the hills in the back! 


The rides on the pier! 


Ugh, bad sun angle, but good of the sisters!


Another Auburn invasion.. 


So colorful! 


Cousins on the pier!

pic via Shelley

BEST COUSIES! Shelley stalks out Auburn football players just like I did. I'm couldn't be prouder! 

pic via Shelley

I love the Cali lifeguard stations. 


AND THE TREES! Ahh, I need that one on the right. 



Funny violent-vomiting dino fountain. 


Pretty sunset! 



Christmas card?? I clearly over-edited this so our faces would show up (professional photo editor, I am not)


We ran into some Auburn fans, so we took their pics first, then they took ours. There were certain travel packages (the ones that came with the car flags I imagine) that came with Flat Aubie, and you took him around and tagged him in photos with #flataubie. I loved it, so they let me borrow him to take a pic. 


Ma arrived to get in a pic with us! Naturally, I had run ahead to get some sunset pics before it was too late. 


The sign at night! We ate an early dinner at The Lobster which was right off the pier. 


We were suppose to go to the Auburn Kick Off Party, but ended up taking naps/falling asleep. Wahh wahhhh. 

Finally Monday arrived! GAME DAY! 

We met the Brannons at The Ivy to eat before heading to the Rose Bowl.


Speaking of roses.. (har har)


It was very French countryside themed. 


We were all hoping to see someone famous (we didn't), but the food was delicious!

The whole fam in game day gear. I'd like to note that several other diners were also in their orange and blue, so we weren't the only touristy people there. 

pic via Shelley


It was apparent in several places we went that they didn't mind having their Christmas lights up after the New Year. 


We took the semi-long drive out to Pasadena. Ashley and Terrell watched the game at a bar while me, mom, Binky, Aunt Dale, and Shelley went to the game. Fail #1: Binky and I forgot face tats. Shelley said she had some, but then realized they were the sticker kind, not the apply-with-water-and-won't-come-off-without-a-chisel kind. 

Again with the great advertising! This plane banner was present again at the last NC game, and like that game, we were the only team with one flying!


When we pulled up to the stadium, Binky really had to use the restroom (tmi?), so we dropped her off by the portapotties while the rest of us parked. We told her we would meet her back there. Famous last words. 

Aunt Dale and Shelley ran into some friends, so mom and I went up to the portapotties to find Binky. Of course, no phones worked during this time. We couldn't find her, but we did make friends with some AU guys who had a big bucket of beer. They so nicely shared some with us! We assumed she went to pick up her ticket at will call, and thought she would meet us back here.


Typical. This is a good time to note this "lucky" dress will be retired (from big games at least). I guess 4 years is a good run, eh? 


We stood there for FOREVER, so we finally decided to go check out the ultimate tailgate. What it should've been called is the "watch out, beer cost $10 in here and you can't take it out" tailgate. 


Merch was also quite pricey. 


I felt like up until game day, I hadn't seen many FSU fans. They kept to themselves. No fighting or trash talking from what I saw. 


We ran into some people we knew who had seen Binky. Magically as we were walking in, all the texts from her came through. Oops. 

Doing Bodda Getta as we waited to get into the stadium.


Rose Bowl! 


Wish we had ol' Binky in the pic! 


Finally saw someone famous! David Arquette! Pulling for the wrong team.. tsk tsk.


I also saw Grayson from Cougartown (yes, I've watched it), and I know he was pulling for Auburn because that's where he graduated from! I saw that on wareaglereader.com a while ago.

I think I've mentioned this before: my lucky number is 23. Naturally when I saw that we were in tunnel 23, I just knew it was a sign. 
(wrong)


This stadium is setup weird. There aren't sections, just tunnels. Super confusing once you try to squeeze through said tunnel and there are no signs to show you where to sit. 


Finally made it to our seats! 


So pretty!



I loved that you could see the hills in the back. (What is it with me and the hills?)


FSU's sections started directly on our left. How lovely. 


The band! 


It was cool to see the seminole in action.




John Legend was the National Anthem singer. Clearly unlucky, I won't be listening to him again.


Pretty soon it was game time! PEWWW PEWWWW! 



We pretty much kicked ass the first half.


Celebrating after we scored!


Aubie made an appearance in his angel costume.


At one point, it was Auburn 21 FSU 3. How could we let that go? I saw Shelley at halftime, and I told her where we were going to meet after the game, or after the trophy presentation if we won, fingers crossed. We didn't want to jinx ourselves. 

At one point, Auburn missed a FG, and I thought "ohhh no". That could be it.. 

Pretty soon it was 4th quarter. We had high hopes.


FOUR! 


21 - 13. We just had to hold them 15 more minutes!


All the orange. I had brought my lucky orange and blue shaker, since it had worked for me all season. 


Tre Mason trying to get it done.


They scored with 13 seconds left on the clock. We ran a couple of plays after that, and honestly with the season we had, I thought maybe there was room for one more miracle. 


So frustrating. I was sad. This wasn't supposed to happen. We weren't expecting this at all. Binky was MAD. It was pretty funny.

We got out of there as fast as we could.


We went back to the hotel and met up with Ashley and Terrell. Then we all went down to the 101 Coffee Shop for some grub and booze. 

We saw BJ Novak from The Office! I pretended that was our consolation prize. 


I also pretended that I was a bacon face seminole for just a second (bacon doesn't last too long around these parts).


As in "ahhh, get this hot bacon off my face!"

The Brannons went back to their hotel, but the Herring girls weren't ready to throw in the towel on drowning our sorrows. We went back to Birds, the bar down the street. 


It was like a non-karaoke bar. You could request songs, and they would play them on the TVs around the bar. No microphone. That didn't stop us from singing. I requested Bohemian Rhapsody (my go to karaoke song) and they used it to close down the bar. Wah wahhh. We talked to some people about the game, and most seemed unaware there was even a football game that night. Say what? 


Still not ready to throw in the towel, we went back to the 101 Coffee Shop. We ended up sitting with some Auburn fans and talking about how upset we were with the game. I'm sure the people who worked there were like: who are these drunk people dressed in orange and blue, and what are they doing here so late on a Monday night?? 

One of Binky's only requests was that we went to In-n-Out Burger, so we went Tuesday for lunch. It was delicious. 


Typical ma found some people to talk to while we ate.


We went sightseeing down in Hollywood after that.


Binky cheesing it up.


The awards shows started just a week after we were there.  


Grauman's Chinese Theater



All the famous handprints.


There were tons of people, so I didn't get any of the really new ones. 


Finally some blue skies!


Mom snapped this picture of us..


then swung around and got one of ol' Darth Vader here. He was MAD. He told her if she wanted to take pictures, then she could tip. It was hilarious. 


Why, thank you Binky!


We went to see Jimmy Kimmel at the El Capitan theater that afternoon. 


I totally bricked and thought the show started at 4 and ended at 5:30. We made reservations at Sur before our flight left later that night. Turns out, the LINE started at 4, the show started around 5:30 and ended way later than we thought.


We stood next to some FSU fans in line. They were really nice, so I'm guess I'm ok with their fan base. :)  


When we got out, we realized: Holy hell, we have 2 hours until our flight! Mom realized she left one of her souvenirs in the Jimmy Kimmel "lobby". There was an area that held your bags while you went in the studio. It took a few moments to get mom to realize a few dollars worth of souvs weren't worth missing our flight. Needless to say, we didn't make it to Sur (sad face), and we rushed back to the car. The airport was an hour or so away, not to mention the LA traffic.


By the time we got gas, got the rental car back, and jumped in the shuttle, we had about 30 minutes until our flight. Spoiler alert: we missed it. The lady at the counter was a real biotch treat, and snidely told us we wouldn't make it without our boarding pass that she refused to help us with. #rude

We got booked for the flight at the same time the next night, then we carried our bags across the street to the nearest hotel. Of course by the time we did all this, it was 10pm and all the restaurants in the area were closing. All except IHOP, so that's where we ate. 

The next day was glorious! 


We considered going whale watching, but all the excursions weren't running on Wednesday afternoons. We decided to rent another car and drive up the coast. 

We rented it at the airport, which I've failed to mention is John Wayne Airport. Mom really wanted me to get a shot of the Duke. 


We drove up to a smaller coastal town (I can't remember the name off the top of my head). We thought about renting a boat from here, but ultimately decided that with our luck, it would turn into a three hour tour รก la Gilligan's Island. 


A whole store dedicated to toe rings! Ooo lala!



So pretty!


We kept driving up the coast to Laguna Beach. 


Not too shabby for shooting out the window when your little sister won't let you have shotgun..



We stopped in a little shopping area and looked around. There were several neat art shops that I loved looking through. Pretty soon, it was time to go back! 

Such a cute lifeguard station.


Pretty sunset


Again with the hills! Ahhh! 


Tall ass palm trees. 


Again with the AUsome advertising. Woopwoop! 


We stopped at a sushi restaurant for dinner before the 9pm flight. It was happy hour, and Binky and I took full advantage. The food was DELICIOUS! I'll post the name later, because I can't recall it now.. The sushi tasted so fresh, and we even got a molten chocolate cake dessert that was to diiiie foooorrr. So. good. 

Once we got to the airport, this was the scene: 


Mom "lost" her boarding pass about 20 seconds of holding it. It was in her pocket. Hilarious!

We arrived back early Thursday morning. I had such a fun time, minus the loss. With the season Auburn had in 2012, no one believed we would make it even close to the National Championship, so I'll take that as a win. I love our family football vacas! 

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