Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Welcome 2009!

Wow, I can't believe 2009 is just a matter of hours away. I can honestly say that 2008 was a great year for me despite having had a stroke of bad luck with employment. The highlight of '08--besides the New Kids Reunion and having been fortunate to attend four NKOTB concerts--was the fact that I got my first article published, which was then followed by two more! Fortunately, I thank God for my health and the fact that I have a family that loves me, and new friends, who care to know how I'm doing. :)

I will be spending New Years Eve with my best friend, LM, and her family, who live about 10 minutes away.  Every year, I tend to make a few resolutions, but then sometimes end up breaking them. However, this year I hope to accomplish the following goals: 

1) To get a new job, which will enable me to have some flexibility with school
2) To be more persistent in the matter of getting the interviews I want and getting more of my work published
3) Sticking with an exercise routine, especially during the winter
4) To have strength to deal with any and all obstacles that may come along my way  
5) And to continue to have faith that I will be able to see these goals through  

I hope that 2009 brings good health, happiness and prosperity to all. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Would You Date This Guy?!

Who is this mystery nerd/guy?! I would definitely consider dating him! Here are two clues: He played one HOT teacher and spy in his previous past! :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Season's Greetings

Well, Christmas is in two weeks and I haven't done anything to prepare for it. At the moment, I'm scrambling to study for my final, which is this Thursday. Unfortunately, since I took a job at my school, I've had to cut back on making purchases. Ok, so I treated myself to two mini vacations and a few concerts this year, so of course I've already given myself several presents this year! The only person I've bought a gift for is my mother because she's always been there for me. My family and I say every year that we're going to pick names, so this year I pick my mother!

I love this time of year and Christmas is one of my favorite holidays, but now that I'm older, it just doesn't have the same meaning as it used to. I know many people tend to get depressed around this time of year and I'm trying so hard not to be one of those people. I think being in the company of other people, you tend not to think about it as much. This weekend, I went to lunch with a group of women, who I shared one thing in common with: we attended the same high school. In fact, the organizer of the luncheon is one of my brother's good friends. She and the other five women were two grades ahead of me, though they're just one year older than me (there's a story behind this that maybe I'll blog about one day). Even though I knew only two or three of these women, I was happy to be included in their group because you can never have enough new friends!

A few days ago, something prompted me to read one of my local newspapers. As I read one of the articles, it mentioned the name of a high school football coach, who had recently lost his older brother. I immediately recognized the coach's name and as I read on further, I was shocked to find out that his older brother took his own life the day before Thanksgiving. You see, back in the summer of 1989, I had a crush on the older brother, "D". I met him at a popular store I used to shop at and would purposely go in every time I was in the area just so I could see him. I actually got the nerve to talk to him a few times and he seemed like a really nice guy. I'll never forget that he had hazel eyes! {What is it with my love for hazel eyes?!} "D" attended a rival high school in the neighboring city and had just graduated. We got to talking about school and he told me that he was attending college in the next county. I think this crush of mine went on for close to two years and of course I never admitted my feelings to him. One time when my brother & I were leaving the mall, which is where "D" worked, he was approaching us and I said something to the affect of, "Hey, how's it going?" and he responded back. Well, my brother would NOT let me live that line down because (1) I stole it from him and (2) he thought I was using it as a pick-up line towards "D"! My curiosity is bothering me because I want to find out what happened. What's ironic is that I have two close relatives that worked in the same organization as "D", so I'm sure they know something. What's really sad is that he had just celebrated his 37th birthday a few weeks prior and he left behind his wife and two young daughters.

Lastly, last week I found out from my Journalism instructor that the profile I recently wrote about on my guidance counselor will be published in the school newspaper after we return from winter break, in January. Also, the short piece I wrote for the publication I just completed an internship with will be published in their January issue. Well, at least now I'll have more clippings to add to my writing portfolio.

Please enjoy this Christmas flashback from 1994. It's one of my favorite Xmas songs and this video is actually one of two versions, which I recently got to see for the 1st time!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

TV's 50 Hottest Hunks--Ever

Well, the word is out. It seems I'm not the only one who thinks Michael Vartan is HOT! Check out's TV's 50 Hottest Hunks--Ever list! It looks like Mr. Vartan made it to the Top 10! Other actors, such as David Hasselhoff, made the list, but I just can't figure out how they ended up on it, especially "The Hoff"!

I could kick myself for not being able to spend more time in LA last week! I was really hoping for a chance encounter with MV! ;) Oh how I love those hazel-eyed guys!

Monday, December 1, 2008

My Vacation with New Kids on the Block

I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving! I actually got home from my vacation that morning & all I'll say is that I don't want to see another long line of people at the airport for a long time!

My friend M and I just spent 5 days vacationing in semi-sunny So Cal. We left San Francisco the day after my birthday (November 22nd) and our flight was a bit delayed, so we didn't arrive in LA until 4:00 p.m. After we picked up our rental car, we drove right to our hotel, which was near LAX. We didn't do much on our first day, except drive to downtown LA to check-out where the Nokia Theatre was located. We then drove to the Beverly Center in Beverly Hills, which supposedly is this 8-level mall, though we only saw 4! Many celebs have been known to be spotted at the Beverly Center. We were there for about an hour and on our way out, I noticed this familiar looking guy having drinks with some friends: Dr. Travis Stork, formerly of ABC's "The Bachelor" fame and who now appears on the Fox TV show "The Doctors." That was the highlight of the night...well, that and ordering room service!

November 23rd:
The one major highlight of our LA trip was that we had tickets to the American Music Awards. This was our first time attending the AMA's & all I kept thinking was it was so surreal that we were there! As we were waiting in line to get into the Nokia Theatre, I saw another former "Bachelor", Charlie O'Connell (younger brother of Jerry, also an actor) crossing the street with his off-again, now on-again girlfriend, who was also on the show. I also saw Ken Baker, a celebrity journalist, who now works for E! News. Ken walked right past me & I saw him once again when we were inside Nokia. I wish I would've gone up to him & asked him for some advice about the Journalism world. I'd love to do what he does for a living! Anyway, as we walked to our seats, my friend M said, "You did very well," which she was referring to the good aisle seats we had, which were in the Orchestra section, HH. As we waited, I receive 2 texts from two friends. As I'm trying to text one of them back, my friend (M) sitting next to me tells me to look up at the large TV screen or JumboTron: it's NKOTB being interviewed on the Red Carpet! I wish we would've had time to stand near the Red Carpet, but unfortunately we were stuck inside waiting for the show to start. I surely didn't want them closing the doors on us! And because they didn't allow cameras inside, I didn't bring mine. I wish I would've just taken the risk of bringing it with me because we saw a few other people with theirs.

By now it's 5:00 pm and the AMA's are starting. Christina Aguilera performs first and does an outstanding job, belting out a melody of her top hits. The second act to perform was none other than the New Kids! They performed a melody of 5 songs (which was similar to what they do in concert) and at one point, Donnie tells everyone to stand up and dance, so my friend and I, as well as many others, did just that! Once the show broke for a commercial or another artist and/or group would perform, I was checking to see if I could spot the guys in their seats. I believe they were seated towards the right-hand side, towards the front, which was on the other side of where we were seated. It was way too dark inside the theatre to see where they were. After the awards were over, we walked back about three blocks to our car and all we wanted to do now was to go back to our hotel and rest our feet because they were killing us! I also don't want to see a pair of short heels unless they come in the form of sandals!

November 24th:
We leave LA around 12:00 pm and begin our drive to San Diego. Suprisingly, we ended up taking the scenic route by accident and arrived in 1 1/2 hours, thanks to M's driving. I texted my cousin, who I was going to meet up with for dinner. I hadn't seen her in over 18 years, so I was looking forward to the reunion! M called her cousin, who now lives in SD, and we met up with him at his job, which is at the Hard Rock Cafe. We decided to kill some time before we picked up my niece at the airport (she was flying in to attend the concert with her sister & I), so we went to Horton Plaza, which is the 6-level mall across the street.

After picking up my niece at the aiport, M dropped us off at my other niece's apartment. I hadn't seen my oldest niece (my sister's daughter) in a few months, so it was good to see her again. M & I agreed that we'd meet at the restaurant where her cousin worked at to have dinner. At the last minute, my cousin texted me telling me that she wasn't going to make it. We proceeded to having dinner and I ended up ordering a Pomegranate Martini, which I had never tasted before. Let me just say that it was very good, but after a little while, I could tell it was finally kicking in!

Dinner proceeded and unbenownst to me, my friend M ordered me an ice-cream sundae to celebrate my birthday, which had been 3 days prior. I ended up getting sung Happy Birthday to since there was no way I was going to stand up on top of our table and be humiliated! I must say that I have never tasted a sundae that yummy! After dinner, we walked back to the mall and then went our separate ways until the next morning.

November 25th:
My friend M & I headed for the SD Airport to pick-up our friend T, who was flying in from San Jose. As soon as we picked her up, we went looking for the guys at Cox Arena, which is located on SDSU's campus, which is quite a beautiful campus. I wish I would've had the time to take a tour of it, which is where I'd like to attend school. Maybe next time. We arrived in the back of the venue around 10:00 or 10:30 am and already noticed 8 other women there! I noticed an online friend of mine there from Arizona, who happens to have several NKOTB tattoos all over her legs! We spoke for about 10 minutes and she told me that she'd been there since 6:00 am. She said she didn't have tickets, but she wanted to see if she could get some FACE TIME with Donnie & the other guys. After seeing 3 tour buses parked inside the venue, it didn't look like any of The Kids were on there or were coming out, so we left after 1 1/2 hours. We went back to my niece's apartment and picked up my other niece so we could go have lunch at this Mexican restaurant I had heard about on my hometown guy's Food Network TV show, "Diners, Drive-ins & Dives." By the way, that friend from Arizona got lucky and succeeded with her mission because at around 5:00 pm--which was about 7 hours later from when I saw her--the guys started arriving and she got a photo taken with Donnie, though he was on the other side of the gate!

T, M and I parted ways again because they had to be back at the venue at 4:30 pm since they had 5* VIP. My 2 nieces & I didn't arrive at the venue until about 6:30. We noticed the local news there and watched the cameraman pan his videocamera up and down the line where we all were standing. When we finally made it inside the venue, I went straight to the merchandise table, but unfortunately the track jacket I wanted was all sold-out. My nieces bought me a belated birthday gift, which was a t-shirt with all the tour dates. :) We finally made it into the arena and found our seats. The entire time leading up to this event, I told my nieces I had a surprise for them, which was that our floor seats--which weren't close to the main stage--were right next to the B stage, which is the rotating stage the guys perform 3 - 4 songs on. The show went on as planned, with Lady GaGa as the opening act, then proceeded by Natasha Bedingfield, whose music I absolutely love!

I had warned the girls sitting right to the left of us, who were closest to the B stage, that the guys were going to come back near us during the show. However, I didn't expect a very large group of people to gather & surround the B stage about 4 songs into the show. :( Obviously, these other people had been to other shows or knew what to expect, so there was NO way me & my nieces, who are all height-challenged, were going to get right in front of the stage. Of course, the venue's security laxed, but they certainly had a problem with people videotaping portions of the show. Well, the two women who sat next to us were happy to oblige and let me stand right in front of them, while my nieces stood on top of their chairs and took pics of the guys while they took this stage.

Two of the best highlights from the SD show were when the guys were on the B stage. I raised a small cardboard sign I had made only hours earlier and hoped it would catch Jon's attention. Well, it worked because he actually saw it, acknowledged it, and mouthed the words, "Thank you!" :) The other highlight came during the end of their song "Click, Click, Click". When the song ends, they stand still and pose for the camera, which is then displayed on the JumboTron. Well, usually--as Joey explains--Jonathan doesn't have to do anything except stand there because he's so good-looking, but this night was exceptionally special because NO one expected Jon to do what he did: he placed both hands on his...ummm...package! I guess the Shy One isn't so shy after all! Of course he won the pose-off for that night! As usual, Jon did his booty dance, which is always a favorite of mine! Two hours & fifteen minutes later, the show was over.

This was the first NKOTB show my nieces got to attend (they're 25 & 23 years old). I asked them how they liked it & they told me that they really enjoyed themselves, but they both agreed that it's worth paying the extra $$ for 5* VIP, which enables you to get a seat within the first 10 rows. You see, all 3 of us are height-callenged, so we need to see what's going on at all times! Well, things haven't changed because I got my nieces hooked on attending some future NKOTB concerts with me! Well, I'm looking forward to doing this again tomorrow, with having had only 4 1/2 hours of sleep!

November 26th:
I had to get up at 4:15 am because we had to drop off our friend T at the airport at 5:00. We left SD and arrived in LA around 10:00 am and decided to go have breakfast first. I called my friend M2 and checked to see what her plans were for that morning. She wasn't going to be able to meet me until the show that night, which was fine. After breakfast, we drove to Beverly Hills because we wanted to try to find Sprinkles, which is this cool, little cafe that sells delicious cupcakes. It's a fixture in LA & they've now started opening more shops throughout California. My friend, M2, warned me that we should get there early because sometimes there are long lines (she knows from experience since she works near there). Well, we ended up finding the place, but had a hard time finding parking. We kept passing several parking structures, but M never wanted to pull into any of them. We ended up parking in an underground structure with valet service (we should've just gone with a garage off the street that had NO valet). Unfortunately, we got lost in the little shopping center that houses the garage, until I finally noticed the street! We walked for about 3 blocks and somehow lost sight of where we were. We ended up just leaving and decided to drive towards the Nokia Theatre. We didn't see much happening, so we left back to our hotel to rest a little bit so that we'd be ready for the show that night.

I checked the weather forecast before I left for So Cal & it said that there'd be a slight chance of showers. Well, it certainly came down in LA on our last night there. I was inside out hotel room when I noticed it pouring outside. By the time we left the hotel and headed towards downtown for the show, it was just sprinkling.

The one downfall of any big city is the traffic & LA is no exception. Before we headed out that night, I asked the hotel clerk if she knew of a shorter route so we wouldn't have to take the freeway. Thank goodness she found an easier way to get to Nokia and it only took us 20 minutes. As we walked out of the parking garage, I found several people gathered across from where the tour buses were parked. We wanted to get in line, so we headed towards the front of the venue. More people gradually came & started lining up and at 7:00 they let us all in. Yet again, I didn't find my track jacket, so I guess it wasn't meant to be. We found our seats, which I already had an idea as to where we were sitting. Our seats were in the Orchestra section again, only this time we were in the 8th row, which actually felt like 5th row! We were very close to the stage! We certainly lucked out with our seats, but a few of my friends did even better because they had front row (most of them bought 5* VIP)!

So the LA show went on without a hitch! There were a few special highlights, like when Jon took the videocamera and started filming the audience. Well, he spotted me and once again I saw myself on the JumboTron (I have a friend who witnessed seeing me again)! And I didn't even have to wear my lucky t-shirt! The other highlight came during the Click pose off. My friend C, who was in the front row, handed Joey a note and it said that we (the audience) wanted to sing Happy Birthday to Jon! This was planned out for weeks by several fans on the forums and we all finally made it happen! So we all sang to Jon and each one of their back-up dancers gave him a hug, as well as each of the guys. When it was Donnie's turn to give Jon a hug, he gave him a kiss on the lips--which Jon was NOT expecting at all--and a pat on his behind! It was all done in fun {they're like brothers since these two, along with Danny, have known each other since the 1st grade}, but it was such a hilarious moment! Since there was no room for the B stage at Nokia, they had the guys run through one specific aisle on the opposite side of us (I was really hoping they'd come by me) & finished off one of their songs in the Loge section.

I was told just before Lady GaGa performed that 98 Degree singers and brothers Nick and Drew Lachey, along with Nick's girlfriend (entertainment reporter Vanessa Minnillo) & Drew's wife, were also in the audience. I hope they're not thinking about a reunion tour because I think it's too soon for them to be getting back together! There was also a rumor that Batman star Christian Bale was in the audience. This could only happen in LA!

My friends and I had such a great time! We left with some fond memories of all the shows we were able to attend. As the new NKOTB song goes it's "Officially Over." Well, for at least a few months. I've been hearing rumors that the guys will be touring again next summer, which at least two of the guys have actually confirmed. A reliable source told me that they'll be coming back to Cali in the spring, which I hope is true! Unfortunately, that doesn't give me enough time to recuperate financially (ha, ha)!

For those, who weren't able to attend a New Kids shows this year, "Get your mind right," as Donnie Wahlberg would say, and start saving up for next year because I guarantee you'll have a GREAT time!!

I'll leave you with a few special moments from these 2 concerts I was fortunate to attend. :)

Here's a highlight from the San Diego show:

And here's the highlight from the LA show: