The Simpsons Take The Bowl

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What: The Simpsons 25th Anniversary Bash
Where: The Hollywood Bowl
Location: 2301 North Highland Avenue, Hollywood

Hollywood Bowl Sign ATG FINAL


Admittedly, it’s been a long while since I’ve actually snuggled up on the couch to watch an episode of The Simpsons, and yet, it still feels so deeply embedded as apart of my life. Perhaps it’s because the show is almost as old as I am. I have plenty of fond memories closing out the weekend as a kid on Sunday nights, laughing hysterically at the antics of the residents of Springfield over a bowl of ice cream with my family. I even recall coming home after school catching re-runs as I finished up my homework most evenings of the week.

I remember the big “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” cliff-hanger. I loved catching the cleverly-produced Halloween specials every fall. And I can still hear Krusty the Clown’s crazy laugh in my head at any given moment…20 years later.

It’s no surprise then that watching Nancy Cartwright perform “Do the Bartman” would instantly feel so reminiscent, which Yeardley Smith shared on-stage that night was in fact, written by Michael Jackson. And speaking of Michael Jackson – I teared up with child-like awe when they showed the clip of the iconic episode, “Stark Raving Dad,” featuring Leon Kompowsky, a patient Homer meets during a stint in a mental institution who believes he’s Michael Jackson. Fun fact I learned that night:  MJ did Leon’s voice talent, but hired an impersonator, Kipp Lennon to sing “Happy Birthday, Lisa.” Kipp Lennon came out moments later and performed it live. It was pretty incredible. His resemblance to the late King of Pop’s voice undeniable.

The Simpsons ATG FINAL{The line was too long to take a picture on the famous Simpsons couch, so I snapped a quick photo in between set-ups for the next person. Insert me on the left.}

It’s only fitting then that to salute the longest running American sitcom ever, that The Simpsons would do it big.

And big they did.

For three consecutive nights under the stars (and during the worst heat wave ever!) at the equally iconic Hollywood Bowl, The Simpsons took reign to celebrate 25 years of laughter. The entire venue became a salute to Springfield. Donuts hung above you, Homer and Marge were available for photos, Simpsons-themed treats made for sale at the concession stands, and some of the most memorable residents of Springfield made an appearance as you made your way through the amphitheater.

Simpsons Characters ATG FINAL{The cast made appearances at every turn.}

Themed Snacks ATG FINAL{Simpsons-themed pink donuts, Flaming Moe’s and Duff Energy Drinks for sale throughout the venue.}

Donuts to greet you ATG FINAL{Donuts hung above you. Photo ops abound.}

Marge Bathrooms ATG FINAL{Even the women’s restrooms signs became “Simpson-ized.”}

Hollywood Bowl_Wide View ATG FINAL{Getting to our seats…yes, we were waaaay in the back! The good news: there isn’t a bad seat at the Hollywood Bowl.}

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We attended the last night of the show, the Bowl’s final performance for the summer 2014 season and unarguably the warmest night of the year.

What a treat to see the residents of Springfield come to life accompanied by the world class Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Co-hosts Hank Azaria, Nancy Cartwright, and Yeardley Smith did a seamless job slipping in and out of character, easily being themselves during their hosting duties, but seemingly even more comfortable voicing their iconic characters throughout the night.

Bart, Lisa, the vampy Lurleen Lumpkin, Chief and Ralph Wiggum, Apu, and Moe among others all made appearances during the performance. (I’m always amazed at how many different voices one actor alone does on the show!)

Special guests graced the stage throughout the evening to sing in-character, or share thoughts about their time working with The Simpsons: Beverly D’Angelo, John Lovitz, ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic, Conan O’Brien (who I didn’t know was a writer on the show! How did I miss that!?!), Kipp Lennon; and a hysterically sweet monologue opening the show by creator, Matt Groening.

If had to pick my three favorite moments of the night, I’ve already mentioned two. It would be Nancy Cartwright rapping straight 90’s style as Bart in “Do the Bartman,” and Kipp Lennon singing “Happy Birthday, Lisa.” My third would be the fireworks extravaganza that closed the show.

Noticeably absent from the festivities (and much to my disappointment) was Homer and Marge themselves, Dan Castellaneta and Julie Kavner. Admittedly, they weren’t in the billing when we bought the tickets, but I thought perhaps they might pop-up for a moment as a “special surprise” to dupe us all. They didn’t. How can you have a tribute to The Simpsons without the patriarch and first lady of Springfield?

Despite this and the nearly 100° temperatures, it was a memorable evening and the perfect way to say goodbye to summer, but hello to a renewed relationship with The Simpsons.

Night ATG FINAL{The Bowl lights up at night like no other.}

To say that The Simpsons is television royalty is an understatement. As I wrap up my thoughts about the evening and what the show itself has done culturally, I can’t help but be awed at how the brains behind The Simpsons created an entire world that’s all to familiar to me, living through even another generation as I type this. The depth of character development in nearly every re-occurring resident of Springfield boggles my mind. The concept that we have memories associated with everyone from the Qwickie Mart owner to the bartender, to the richest man in town speaks volumes of the world that Matt Groening created. Add in the cultural idioms and phrases coined by the show (“Eat my shorts” and “Doh!” readily come to mind) and you have pure genius at play if you ask me.

Spending an evening celebrating 25 years of entertainment brought back so many happy memories from my childhood. In fact, it makes me want to spend more time with America’s never-aging family, to see what everyone in Springfield has been up to.

The Simpson’s 26th season starts this Sunday, September 28th. I plan on snuggling up on the couch and closing my weekend like I did all those years ago, by catching up with The Simpsons once again.

Bowl Fireworks ATG FINAL{Fireworks to close the show.}

 

{A behind the scenes look at prepping for a night at The Bowl.}

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{And in the midst of all things The Simpsons….you gotta love their sense of humor.}

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5 Reasons This Week Will Rock!

5 Reasons LogoHappy (almost) fall! As we gear up for another Monday, the first day of fall tomorrow, and a very busy week ahead, I’m particularly excited about a few things coming down the pipeline. Here are 5 reasons this week will rock…


1. Pumpkin spice everything.

1-New folder (2){Last year’s celebratory salute to all things pumpkin.}

You may have seen the article floating around about how Starbucks’ ever popular Pumpkin Spice Latte apparently has everything in it but actual pumpkin! It certainly is causing a pretty polarizing discussion around its supposed ingredients and its relationship to your health. Some are arguing that the original article is simply shedding light on what’s in our favorite fall beverage with the aim to help you make a more educated decision about what you put in your body, while others are touting that the article that caused a stir (no pun intended) is not “scientifically validated.” Look, I’m not going to get into whether one should or shouldn’t here. To each his own. What I will share is that seeing as how it’s Monday, that I’m going to need a pick me up (and hello, it’s fall!), I’m likely standing in line to grab my very first celebratory Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season as you read this. My motto: everything in moderation. (But yes, nothing probably beats real pumpkin.)

2. More radiant skin arrives in the mail.

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When I learned Birchbox sold the highly-acclaimed and universally loved Clarasonic Mia, I immediately started saving my Birchbox points to join the legion of worshipers. Nine long months of reviewing products (oh, the agony of playing with make-up!) to save up points, along with a sexy $10 off coupon and I finally placed my order over the weekend! I can’t wait to join the Clarasonic family to see what all the fuss is about. It arrives in a few short days. I’ll keep you posted on if this thing is worth the hype, but I already suspect it is. More radiant skin is on the way!

3. Date night with a twist.

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What would typically be another uneventful Wednesday night probably settling in for a solo evening of homemade pasta and my Kindle, has me excited to see the usually more prim and proper Dan Stevens (of Downton Abbey fame) in the well-received new thriller/mystery film, The Guest. Fans of Adam Wingard’s You’re Next, are apparently in for a treat. The Guest is at an uber impressive 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Sometimes a gal just needs her guy, a good thriller, and some sort of sugary candy fix to look forward to. Uneventful Wednesday night plans, cancelled.

4. One more dose of David.

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I’ve spoken much love toward my yoga instructor, David. Needless to say that when he announced he was leaving for Nepal for one month I was selfishly not a happy camper. It’s like discovering national treasure itself when you find an instructor that equally challenges and pushes you, but always makes you feel okay with listening to your body and doing what’s best for you. The good news is that I get one more dose of David in class tonight before he leaves. I plan to take it all in, be present, and get my yoga on with my favorite instructor. Once I’ve had my last dose and roll up my mat tonight in a more calm, focused space, I’ll do the “yogic” thing and wish him well on his travels…but not a minute before. Nepal is very lucky to have him.

5. “It’s handled.”1-Fullscreen capture 9302013 122013 PM

Don’t bother me this Thursday night. I’m unavailable. Scandal is back! Who-hoo! And now that my beloved Kerry Washington has popped, we get more Olivia Pope and less awkward framing and camera work to hide the baby bump. The icing on the cake? I’m super excited to see Viola Davis in the equally anticipated new drama How to Get Away with MurderLet me re-iterate: no phone calls, texts, Facebook comments, Instagram likes, or unexpected visits at my front door this Thursday night… and every other Thursday night until further notice. I’m busy. 🙂

I hope this Monday finds you looking forward to a rockin’ week, too!

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5 Reasons This Week Will Rock!

5 Reasons ATG FINAL Sept 8 2014


Another week boys and girls!

It was insanely hot here in LA this past weekend, with temperatures just over 100°. I was surprised my car didn’t melt before me in protest.  As such, it was quite the surprise to wake to the sounds of a light rain this morning. Not to worry though, today’s high find us at a healthy 87° – looks like we’ll be back on track for another warm summer week ahead. I suppose that the wet morning welcome was a sign that the weather gods know our plight (and our drought situation) and that relief is on the way…someday.

As we make our way through the second week of September, it occurred to me while sitting in traffic (more on that below) that I could use a little perspective boost. I have much to look forward to over the next week and it’s keeping me excited and in a more zen place until the weekend finds us again. (This is essentially how I trick myself into dealing with Mondays.)

Here are 5 reasons this week will rock…


1. I’ll make peace with traffic.

LA and traffic go together like peanut butter and jelly. It’s just apart of living here. You learn at a young age (if you’re native like myself) or new in town very quickly to plan ahead, leave early, and make the Google Maps app your friend. I thought I made peace with LA traffic…then September comes. Since I no longer personally deal with a school schedule, nor do I have children of my own to remind me, I always forget that just after Labor Day through mid-November (when I guess the dropout rate peaks and traffic thins out again) that school is in session. It seems the first few months of a new school year completely screw with the balance of “normal” LA traffic (which I have made peace with) and gives you the “I just want to charter a private jet to get to work unbearable traffic” in the mornings (which I have to make peace with again every September). Last week, I’m ashamed to admit that I got to the office more than once already totally annoyed because what takes 25 minutes in “normal” terrible LA traffic, took me an hour in “private jet unbearable traffic!” Not a good way to start a new day. This week, I’ll leave earlier, mentally preparing myself better. I’ll make sure I have a cup of coffee in drink holder and music as loud as I can stand to get me through each morning with a smile on my face. This week will rock because I’m determined to make peace with traffic…again. And pray that November gets here…like now.

2. Yoga works if you work it. It’s worth it.

What is sure to help keep my zen in check is going to my favorite yoga class tonight. Though I’ve been attending this  Hatha Yoga class for about 6 weeks now, I think I’m finally getting back into my yoga groove. I can feel myself improving, growing stronger, and I absolutely love the feeling and the space I’m in when I leave. I adore the instructor, David, a true yogi through and through. He challenges us and pushes us, but has the most gentle way of encouraging us to listen to our body and modifies any pose as-needed without making you feel shameful about it. The ironic thing is that I have to get back into my car and drive some more to get home, but at 9:00pm traffic is never a problem.

3. My lips love me.

I don’t know about you, but this time of year is when my skin starts to rebel against me. Every part of me starts to dry out: my hands, my lips, essentially, any part of me involving skin. I was stoked when I stumbled across Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Tinted Color Lip Balm over the weekend. This stuff is incredible. It’s moisturizing, has a slight shine, and a hint of color. My lips love me right now for thinking of them and not waiting until they’re totally chapped to address the seasonal elephant in the room.

4. The Good Girl.

I started a new read on my Kindle and I can’t put it down. Every minute of free time I have this week will be to see what happens to “The Good Girl” by Mary Kubica. It’s a thriller/mystery novel that has a delicious set-up. I’m only about 30% through – so I can’t say much about its merits. I oftentimes love the build-up when it comes to a good thriller narrative, then become disappointed at the climax (insert: Gone Girl here). I’ll keep you posted.

5. Fireworks / The Hollywood Bowl.

I’m SO looking forward to finally making it to the Hollywood Bowl this weekend just in time to catch a concert before the end of summer. The icing on the cake is that this is the last of the Bowl’s summer series featuring the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra along with a fun tribute this year to The Simpsons 25th Anniversary. A large fireworks spectacular, the whole cast, one of the best orchestras in the world, and a picnic under the stars couldn’t sound more appealing. Look for a full post on that special night to come.

Have an amazing week ahead guys! And if you’re in the LA area, just make peace with the traffic. We’re all in hell right now. 🙂

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 Image Sources: Fireworks: By Thomas Hawk from San Francisco via Wikimedia Commons // Traffic: By Saad Akhtar, both used under CC BY (all others are mine.)

Summer Bucket List

Summer Bucket List

It’s beginning to look a lot like summer! And I’m just giddy about it. Ever since summer joined us not so long ago, I’ve been thinking about my bucket list – things I’m looking forward to doing and accomplishing to celebrate my favorite time of year. Outside of plenty of time on the beach, nursing iced lattes, and keeping sandal-ready toes – there are few personal goals, activities, and random to-do’s I have in mind. In honor of the start to summer, I thought I’d share my list – just in time for what I consider to be the epitome of summer fun in the sun, the 4th of July.

Summer 2014 Bucket List:

  1. Find a new yoga studio.
  2. Reorganize my closet.
  3. Spend a lazy Saturday at Paradise Cove.
  4. Buy a new iPod and load it with tons of new tunes. (Mine officially died in May and it’s been torture not having it.)
  5. Hit the Hollywood Bowl for a night of music under the stars. (You can read about past Hollywood Bowl awesome-ness here and here.)
  6. Dust off my tools/supplies and get back into jewelry making.
  7. Take one of the L.A. Conservancy’s Walking Tours of Downtown L.A.
  8. Attend a baseball game.
  9. Spend more time with girlfriends.
  10. Go for a picnic in Griffith Park.

With that, I’ll be out the rest of the week enjoying the long holiday weekend ahead. Have a happy and safe 4th of July!

See you next week!

Highlights. In a New York State of Mind.

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Like every other gal aged 20 to 30-something in modern society with a fetish for adventures in the city (though mine happen to be in L.A.) and a lover of all things high fashion (of which I cannot possibly afford…yet) – I’ve always had this secret fantasy of having my version of a Carrie Bradshaw lifestyle. I realize that what I am about to say could not be more of a fantastical cliché, but allow me to indulge a bit – it is my blog and the only place where I can go off on a tangent. 🙂

I’ve said it time and time again – I’m a California girl at heart and will always be – mainly due to my total affection for warm sunshine nearly 360 days a year and the “illusioned” freedom of my car. I’m not at all a fan of sitting in traffic on the 405 every morning, but like every native Angeleno I do adore my transportation bubble complete with an iced latte and a fully updated iPod to help me get there…eventually.

However, I have a confession. It’s crossed my mind more than once what life might be like if I had this great rent-controlled apartment in New York City and met my 3 best gal pals channeling the likes of Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda for weekend brunches and cocktail hours to catch-up on girl talk. My closet would be full of more shoes than days in a year, and designer labels are all that would grace my perfectly sculpted back. My kitchen would be practically empty because I’d be eating out at all the hottest restaurants in the city every single night (hey, it’s my fantasy!). And I’d be a published writer with magical connections to get in anywhere, at any time; where you’d likely catch me cashing-in on said connections while getting a huge discount at Manolo Blahnik. Ah, the good life.

Where things would differ in my fantasy are that while I wouldn’t mind being an accomplished writer on the side (perhaps of the fictional variety), my main focus would be on producing independent and documentary films (I wouldn’t want to spend my time writing about relationships and sex for a living…sorry Carrie!). You can’t take the L.A. out of me completely.

So where did this sudden fantasy come from and why did I choose to share it as a Highlight from my week?

Enter New York Fashion Week.

I can’t say that I usually follow the shows all that closely, but I’ve been spending some time this week watching the live streaming feed of the runways – falling into the glitz, the buzz, and the excitement that seems to be vibrating around New York City right now. And though much of it is not necessarily something I or most people could wear from a practical standpoint (referring to when random components pop-off the material in such a way that you couldn’t possibly even sit down), I have been enjoying the artistic expression on the runways for the Spring 2014 collections.

I’m far from the fashionista that wears anything more high-end than from say, Free People or Macy’s at this time; but I do look forward to the day where fantasy and reality collide and I’d find myself in New York, in the audience right next to S.J.P. herself, rockin’ designer label everything…and not because I need to…but just because I can.

Fantasy complete.

Here are a few more Highlights from this week:

1-2013-09-04 20.34.00{Another confession: My yoga class was canceled at the last minute this week so I used the money that I was going to use to pay for that class to buy a large pizza for myself instead. Don’t judge. If it helps, I made a side salad too. :)}

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{Started a new read that I’m having trouble putting down: Falling Into You by Jasinda Wilder. #steamy}

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{Still buzzing from The Hollywood Bowl.}

Happy weekend!

The Big Picture: A Night at the Oscars

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{A super excited selfie on the way to the Bowl!}

It doesn’t feel like an authentic L.A. summer until there’s a trip to the Hollywood Bowl. Not only is it a quintessential experience when living in the City of Angels, it also happens to be my favorite place in L.A. if I had to pick one.

This past Labor Day weekend found me right where I wanted to be: with my guy, a small picnic dinner, and seat at the Bowl ready for a night of movie music under the stars. The Big Picture: A Night at the Oscars was an enchanting extravaganza celebrating music from Academy Award winning films that magically echoed through the warm September night. Conductor David Newman and the immensely talented Hollywood Bowl Orchestra recreated soundtracks to some of Tinseltown’s most renowned stories masterfully playing the score over live picture projected on their new state of the art LCD screens. As clips from famous films such as To Kill A Mockingbird (1962), The Artist (2011), An American in Paris (1951), and The Wizard of Oz (1939) played on the large screens, I almost forgot that the accompanying live music was even happening! The synchronicity and the crisp, booming sound were so solidly fused with the visuals, you felt like you were just watching a movie as you would any other time.

What was particularly special about this night was the eclectic mix of films and genres the program chose to highlight. Instead of the very obvious choices you might expect on a night like this, films such as Bullitt (1968), Up (2009), and You Only Live Once (1937) were saluted. In fact, I admired that they didn’t focus merely on films that won the coveted Best Picture award, but films that won accolades from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in a variety of areas from film editing, to acting, to screenwriting.

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{Making our way up to the cheap seats…yet again.}

Unlike this time last year with an engaging Jason Alexander as host – there was a weakness in the show with this year’s selection. Mary McDonnell (the President’s wife who dies in Independence Day) was an odd choice. She was ever so gracious, but clearly reading from a teleprompter and just didn’t have that natural relaxed spirit you’d expect in hosting duties on a night like this. I’m not one to be too harsh in this situation, I can only imagine what it’s like getting on stage in front of an 18,000 seat amphitheater, but I was often taken out the evening festivities when she was on stage. She just wasn’t the right person for the gig unfortunately. This would be my biggest criticism of the evening (outside of some obnoxiously loud people behind us.)

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Otherwise, the night was another huge success. This time I went homemade with a ham and cheese sandwich (sometimes a girl just needs one), good conversation, lots of people watching (you couldn’t ask for a better place to do this!), and a night dedicated to two of my greatest loves: movies and music.

If I’m still carrying anything with me as I write this, the evening inspired me to check out films that I haven’t ever seen before or want to watch again. I see a night curled up on the couch with The Wizard of Oz and some popcorn in my near future.

The Hollywood Bowl is located at 2301 North Highland Avenue in Hollywood. Their summer season ends this month.

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Highlights

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{Taking in a moment of beauty during the chaos of this week.}

I know I’ve been an awful blogger this week, but I have a good excuse…at least I think so.

Life has been pretty insane lately on my end and I’m just now catching my breath long enough to be able to sit down, focus, and write. It’s been really busy at work and while dealing with the day-to-day, I’ve also been working on this big project for the last 2 weeks that I wanted to get done right, but that also weighed on me quite heavily because of my rather “perfectionistic tendencies” (that’s a cool new term I just came up with at this exact moment!). Needless to say, it was such a huge relief to complete it and hit the “send” button yesterday to finally get it off my plate!

Now that I’ve fully recovered from my recent bout with the common cold and I’m trying to re-balance and catch-up on life stuff once again, I’ve been able to get to the all important things that I haven’t had (or in certain cases made) the time to get to…(like blogging). Then again it’s been so crazy that you should’ve seen my fridge not too long ago (pictured below), that’s how “off” I’ve been lately. After a much-needed trip to Trader Joe’s to stock up on groceries (yay, fresh produce!); finally deciding on my next book (that I know you’ll laugh at me about if I actually say what it is because it’s pretty trashy novel-esque – so I won’t for now!); along with finishing up that huge project and making a full recovery from my cold, it’s safe to say things are looking up!

I’m SO, SO, SO looking forward to the long holiday weekend! There’s still some more life stuff I need to catch-up on (like cleaning my bathroom, for one…hooray! NOT.) but Sunday evening cannot come any faster…but not too fast – I want to savor the weekend as long as possible. I’ll be at the Hollywood Bowl with my favorite person at my favorite place in all of L.A. I made a visit there this time last year, and had the time of my life. I’m sure this year will be even more magical. We’ll be celebrating a night of movies and music under the stars again with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and conductor, David Newman, but this time for The Big Picture: A Night at the Oscars.

I can’t wait to share how the evening goes with you next week and I promise you’ll hear from me more than once!

Until then, here are a few more highlights from a very busy week. See you soon! 🙂

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{When life gets in the way and you haven’t been to the grocery store in 2 weeks.}

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{A trip to the Arclight to see You’re Next. It’s an intentionally campy horror flick, but a pretty good time.}

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{A wonderful afternoon at The Annenberg Space for Photography to see their most recent exhibition – Helmet Newton: White Women, Sleepless Nights, Big Nudes. It closes September 8th.}