January 6, 2013

Birthday Challenge Day #1

Awhile back, I had seen this idea on Lacey Chabert's blog about doing 30 things before her 30th birthday last year, and I thought it sounded like such a cool idea! It could be doing something you've never done before, trying a new item at your favorite restaurant, challenging yourself in some unexpected way, or just having a fun day with friends, etc...Just making a prolonged celebration with your birthday by being a little more daring and living life to the fullest. At the end of those 21 (or 30) days, it's fun to look back on what you've accomplished and what you learned from it. I love those challenges.
Because 21 is such a big year and birthday, I thought I'd try it out for that. I haven't really stuck to it yet, and I don't know how often I'll be able to, but I'd like to still try out this 21 days in January, at least.

I'm going to start with yesterday, which was getting to visit a few of the locations from The Office. It has quickly become one of my favorite shows! I think if you've been reading at all lately, you've noticed probably noticed that. Especially since it's the last season, I knew how crucial it is in seeing these places before they change too much after filming. Anyway, we were thinking of going to the snow, but got a bit of a late start, and long story short--ended up going to LA, because my dad knew how much I wanted to see The Office locations, and didn't know when we'd get another chance. After much delay, we made it out of town, grabbing In-N-Out on the way and making our way into the Van Nuys area. Some of the streets were a little tricky, just because of the addresses and our GPS not putting in the address like it should have, so it took us a little off course, but it didn't take too long to find. Our first stop was the Dunder Mifflin office building, which is also known as the Scranton Business Park. I was really excited! And I also loved the fact that it looks just like it does on TV. I think it helps with the way they shoot; only using one camera, documentary style. It makes everything feel more realistic, than if they were to shoot from several different cameras and angles, it can give a different perspective of how things should look.
We drove around to the side area, since you couldn't actually make it inside the quad, which is unfortunate. But, we were able to see where the cast and crew's trailers are, some of the Universal Pictures trucks that hold equipment, and a couple of the basketball hoops that I'm sure they used for their challenges in the basement over the years.

The next stop on the agenda was Jim and Pam's house! They are my favorites on the show, so I had to see their house. Well, we ended up missing one of the streets to turn down, which was a blessing in disguise, because on the way, I spotted one of the restaurants that was also on my list; where Michael's Last Dundies were held. We ran over to Jim and Pam's then came back around to stop at Barone's. I've also heard that Steve Carell has eaten there on occasion, but don't know whether it's true or not, so don't quote me on that. 
I love this house! I think it's like something out of a little fairytale! It's so cute and charming; perfect for a couple just starting out.  It looked like it was empty and the blinds on the other window didn't have shades or shutters, so I'm not sure if they'll be using this again or if someone actually lives here? 

The next stop was the church where Jim and Pam got married! It's a cute traditional style church, just like it looks on the episode of Niagara Part Two. I didn't really explore this area, like I wish I would've, but it was still the church, so that was cool enough.

After that, I didn't really have many other places I wanted to see. One location (where Cece Halpert was christened) was in Pasadena, which was about twenty minutes away, and I wasn't sure if it was worth it or not. We had started heading in that direction, when my mom saw Urban Outfitter's, so we ended up canceling the other plans and stopping there. I'm glad we did, too! We hung around there for awhile and ended up making reservations for The Smokehouse in Toluca Lake, which is somewhere I've been wanting to eat and we've heard it's good from going on the Warner Brothers tour.
After we were done shopping, we drove over in that direction, making sure we didn't hit traffic or anything, and then had plenty of time to kill. We drove around the Toluca Lake area, and I'm pretty sure we found Steve Carell's new house, but I could be wrong. Either way, this house is GORGEOUS! It looks like something out of Cape Cod or the Maryland area.

By that time, it was closer to six, so we headed over to the restaurant. It's right across the street from Warner Brothers Studio, so the cast of Friends and George Clooney used to walk across the street during their lunch breaks while filming sometimes. George still eats there quite a bit and even has his own booth and several pictures of him are displayed in a case as you enter the restaurant and by "his" booth. I ordered the Monte Cristo sandwich, and so did my mom. Before we had even started eating, we immediately knew we should have split. It was HUGE! We'd already had breadsticks and salad too...I'm full just thinking about it. It was pretty tasty, but I don't think I really got to enjoy it as much as I would have, had I not ordered the other stuff beforehand.
I also really loved the decor inside; classy and elegant like an old pub from back in the day. And from the looks of it, they seemed to have a lot of regulars, which was cool! We had a great view of part of the WB backlot from our table, which was awesome, because that is one of my favorite places to visit.
After we finished eating, I was eager to see the room where Jim and Pam's actual rehearsal dinner took place. Well, because I picture things happening a little differently in my mind than usually happens in reality, I was disappointed at the fact of how many people were there. Imagine that, in a restaurant...HA! Gotta love having an imagination, right? Anyway, it was hard to peek in a lot, because there were people waiting to be seated and there were so many people around the fireplaces, which were the angles I was wanting. Plus, I tend to get a little more anxious when there's a crowded room like that. So, we tried to glance around as much as we could, without being awkward, I snapped a picture and that was that! It's a really cool place, though! I'd recommend it and I'd still like to go back again and try something different and sit in the other room, if at all possible! LOL.

The room Jim and Pam's dinner took place in.  

We headed home after that, and it was still pretty early. It's always weird taking the ride home when it's before ten or so, because we're so used to leaving after Dodger games when it's over a little later on. This particular car ride conversation was definitely one of the best we've ever had...All because my dad asked: "Would you rather get a picture with George Clooney or Keith Urban?" From there, we started asking one another random questions of who we'd rather get pictures with. My mom asked me if I'd rather get a picture with Josh Duhamel or John Krasinski...I said John Krasinski. He's just awesome!  We find a lot of random things entertaining, what can I say? I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'm so thankful for my parents who are willing to give up their time and what they'd rather be doing, so that I can explore LA, just trying to find locations or meet celebrities wherever they might happen to be, especially when it isn't necessarily something they're into. I'm really trying not to take these moments for granted or expect that they have to do these things, because they certainly don't, especially now that I'm at the age when I could be doing all of these things on my own, with my own money (that I don't even have). I realize that not everyone gets these opportunities, and I really want to stop expecting these things so much and to just cherish them as much as possible.

That's all for now,

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