Thursday, November 10, 2011

Once In A Lifetime

So, we just got back from Hollywood. Yep, Hollywood CA. Why? Because my daughter was one of the lucky winners of  The Children's Place Model Search contest. Yes, really. How awesome is that? :-)  Obviously we are thrilled and so proud of her! You can view all the winners HERE. They are a great bunch of kids.

Part of the prize included a trip to Hollywood for a photo shoot. It was a lot of fun, but quite the whirlwind! I did sign a confidentiality agreement so I can't discuss specifics, like the clothing. But, I can tell you a bit about it all in general terms.

We flew into LAX on Saturday evening. We weren't supposed to be there until Sunday, but we caught an earlier flight and paid for our own hotel that night. We didn't see much that night because by the time we landed it was nearly midnight East Coast time and we were wiped out. Sunday was really our only fully free day so we were hoping for big adventures and lots of exploring. Yeah, not so much. You know how you always hear about sunny California? Well, not on Sunday. We awoke at 3:30 am (Pacific time) to discover cold, wet California weather. It did finally clear up around lunch time so we ventured to the L.A. Zoo. The zoo itself is nice, there's a carousel which thrilled the kids. When the sun was out it was warm enough, but it was pretty darn chilly otherwise so we moved through the zoo rather quickly.

By the time we made it out of the zoo, it was time to check into our hotel. We stayed at The W Hollywood, which sits right on Hollywood Blvd. The hotel is very nice. It's not very kid friendly though. It's very modern with lots of glass, lots of power cords, lots of sharp corners. And if you ever stay here, be sure you're rooming with someone you are very comfortable with because there's a glass panel in the wall between the shower and the bedroom. The hotel staff was very friendly and helpful, especially the valets. The hotel has an area they call the living room which offers sitting areas and a bar. There's a lovely little restaurant in the hotel named Delphine that serves tasty food. The elevators also require a key card to access the floors which is a nice security measure. All in all, it's a very nice place.

The other parents and their kids were all nice. It was interesting to talk to other parents from all over the place. The kids are absolutely adorable. My daughter had her eye on Danny and she and Leah were so cute interacting with each other. Now, I feel like I have to say something about this contest. When the winners were announced on Facebook, some parents, who were disappointed that their children were not chosen, said things like the contest was rigged, we paid for our spots, we submitted photos taken by professionals and therefore had an edge etc. None of that is true. The contest was not rigged in any way, we did not pay for a win. As for the photos, well I'm choosing to take those comments as a compliment because I'm the one who took the picture of Mona. And as I've said before, I do not claim to be a professional photographer.

The photo shoot itself wasn't quite what you expect. There's quite a bit of hurry up and wait. But, the people running the shoot, the hair and makeup lady, the photographer, every last person on the set was so nice. They were all wonderful and patient with the kids, just a great bunch of people. The catered food was yummy too.

The trip was really a whirlwind but we managed to do a few touristy things. We were lucky that our hotel was located right on Hollywood Blvd. We got to explore the street and see the Walk of Fame stars. We spent a few minutes in the courtyard at Grauman's checking out the famous hand and foot prints. We toured the Hollywood Wax Museum as well as Madame Toussaud's. They were so much fun. I swear you truly expect some of those figures to speak to you because they are so lifelike. We also checked out the Guiness Museum (as in Guiness World records, not the beer). We did it because we got free admission for going to the Hollywood Wax Museum. It's a good thing that one was free because the most interesting thing inside was a large statue of Mario. One thing that got old very quickly were the offers for tours to see the stars' homes. Seriously, you couldn't walk 5 feet without someone approaching you about taking a tour.

Everyone has been asking the obvious question. Did we see any stars? Well, yes. Yes we did. Shakira was getting her star on the Walk Of Fame while we were there and I got to see her convoy leaving. That was madness! Crazed fans running in front of the car, clinging to the sides. Crazy! Spike Lee walked about a foot away from me as I walked my daughter around the hotel lobby. And we saw Ton from Auction Hunters at the airport. And that was it. Impressive right? Haha. I had a deal with my aunt that if I happened to run into Robert Pattinson I would share him with her. But, alas, he was nowhere to be found. ;-)  Seriously, what we discovered, and what makes a huge amount of sense, is that stars typically try to avoid tourist laden areas unless they have to be there or they are heavily disguised. I can't blame them. Fans can get insane, as I witnessed with the Shakira incident.

Everyone has this image of Hollywood. When you think 'Hollywood' you think glamour, shiny lights, glitz. The reality is different. Don't get me wrong, it's a great place, but it's not as glamorous as you imagine. You don't see stars and sparkly stuff everywhere you look. If you ever get the chance to go, you should. Just don't expect streets paved with gold or anything lol.

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