Thursday, July 30, 2015

Frank Sinatra's 100th Birthday @ the Hollywood Bowl...

A trip to the Hollywood Bowl is always a special one. To be honest the Hollywood Bowl is a fairly new experience for me. Believe it or not, the first time I went to to the Hollywood Bowl was just 2 years ago for a Juanes concert and it was amazing. I couldn't believe I hadn't experienced it before, but I swore I'd go again and I have.

I've learned quickly that a night at the Hollywood Bowl includes anything from dining al fresco before the concert or choosing to take your own picnic basket full of whatever your heart desires...wine, food, dessert and dining at your seats during the concert. You can totally get comfortable as you wine and dine while you get entertained by your favorite artist. A perfect night every time.



For the last 2 years I've been able to post and share with all of you the Hollywood Bowl's Summer Concert Schedule (Thanks to #AlliedHispanic) and I hope its been a reminder and incentive for all of you to go out and see a summer show.  Last year I was given the opportunity to see the Grease Sing Along. That was amazing fun. To see all kinds of people dressed up as the movie characters and to sing along to one of my favorite movies was a night to remember.





This year we picked the Frank Sinatra 100th Birthday celebration to go to last Wednesday evening. We had been to a Frank Sinatra themed party earlier last month and it was so much fun. His music is just so wonderfully classic that what a better place to listen to his music once again but live.


Concerts are usually a thing we share with Christian who is our music guy, but this time we wanted to share and expose Danny and Mikey to some amazing music and invited them to be our dates and they accepted. It was a night to broaden their musical horizons and their cultural experiences as well. It was their first time at the Bowl and I know it won't be there last, but they had a really good time.


Frank's tribute was a series of songs that came from all areas of his classical catalog and were sung by some amazing singers and accompanied by The Count Basie Orchestra who have all had some kind of playing history back in the day with Frank Sinatra. Special guests included Kurt Elling (below), Carmen Brandford (the Girl of Impenima), Seu Jorge, and even Seth MacFarlane who was just wonderful! I think the boys were secretly hoping to hear "Stewie" sing a Sinatra song or two, but that didn't quite happen this time ;) What they did get to hear though, were many more songs they recognized than they expected. Songs they've heard in modern form in some of their favorite movies, never realizing they actually belonged to Frank Sinatra. A cool way for them to connect the old with a lot of their new.





All in all, it was a wonderful tribute to "Old Blue Eyes" and we were so happy to have been there and be able to share it with our boys. I hope they'll remember that it was a special night for us with them and we know there are more to come for us at the Hollywood Bowl.

What will you be seeing at the Bowl next?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

This summer has been...

Different. Just like everything else this year...just a little different. We didn't have anything major set for summer, no special vacation plans, no big budgets for anything with college tuition starting to roll out, and yet I feel it has been one of the best summers we've had for many different reasons. A lot of what we've done has happened on a whim, on short notice invitations, or because timing just happened to work out nicely. It honestly just seems like stars have aligned this summer to put even the smallest situations together to make them into very special moments for all of us and I'm just grateful for all of them.

 Ever since school got out, this summer has been about...




Special get togethers- Our first special get together was Christians graduation party. It was a special night with family and friends who came to celebrate his wonderful accomplishment. As always, I tried to make it special with as many homemade grad decorations possible, as well as making his cake which I always enjoy doing. It was a special night.  We went to a 60th b-day Sinatra themed party for a special friend that included a Sinatra like performer and some great food. And along with our other Colombian friends we gave a very special going away party for our dear friend Lina who moved to Miami with her family. We had a great 4th of July together, we have an upcoming family reunion in San Diego, and we've had a few memorable dinners in honor of Christian's going away thanks to some special family friends.  ;) 

Family visits- Since the beginning of June we've had different family members from Miami, North Carolina and even Colombia, come visit us in LA. Some of their visits overlapped so that made it that much more interesting and busy. My aunt and uncle from NC were here the longest and it was soo nice to have them around to spend time with us and the boys (which they really haven't seen since they were little), and the fact that they are HUGE soccer fans made watching the Americas Cup soccer finals with them so much more fun. I haven't seen my cousin Melba since I was 16 years old in Colombia and it was great to see her again and see how well she's done for herself.  My brother had a bbq at his house and we had a great time catching up. Then my cousin Juan came into LA for a friend's wedding, but had one day to be able to spend with us and we totally made the most of the time we had.

Cooking- Aside from getting him ready to do his own laundry and many other solo things, he is getting himself ready for college by learning how to cook. Not just "noodles," but good food, homemade food he's been used to. I've been teaching him some of my recipes, and he has discovered his own and he's even been cooking with his friend, Luke, a future chef himself, so he's going to school pretty prepared to defend himself in the kitchen. He has a passion for it, sets up his own cooking environment (including salsa music to put him in the mood) and he is actually pretty good. I have even been able to entrust him to cook a full dinner for Jer and the boys when I haven't been able to. I will miss that when he's at school, but it makes me proud to know that we have a second cook in the house.


(Re)Discovering LA-  I feel like this summer we have been able to (re)discover Los Angeles in a way we've never ventured to do so before, considering that we have lived here all our lives.  Having my cousin in town asking to see some trending breweries as opposed to doing something touristy, I realized how much we really don't go out and panicked at the thought of us being boring hosts on the one day we had with him. With the help of my brother, we ended up at hitting up 2 different types of craft beer restaurants in two different parts of town including the hipster town of Silverlake. It was an incredible day for me as I felt like the tourist myself.  I felt like my eyes were opened to all the amazing things our city has to offer. We've visited more new places/restaurants in just a few weeks than I ever have including LACMA, Bar 20 lounge on Sunset, a friends house in Malibu Canyon, the top of Point Dume, and Santa Monica pier and even Huntington Beach which I haven't been to in years and all new for the boys.

Universal Studios- The boys and I along with one of their friends got passes last year and they were going to expire at the end of June so I made it my goal to make sure we take advantage of them and that we did.  I saw the advantage of getting passes especially to an amusement park that is so close to home. It was also so nice just to be able to go for a few hours, get on all the rides and then be able to go home. We did something different each time we went and actually got to see the Fast and the Furious Ride on our last visit. We seemed to be able to get the most out of our time there. We are hoping to get passes next year when the Harry Potter world opens up!!



(Speaking of...) the Metro system. Mikey and I took the metro one day to Universal to avoid parking and traffic and Mikey and I loved the adventure. It was such an easy way to get to any place...so convenient and fun. Not only have Mikey and I taken the metro, but Christian has also been preparing himself (and us) to be able to handle taking the Metro system in Europe when he's at school. He has taken the metro on a few day excursions with his friends all the way to Olvera Street, the Music Center in downtown LA for dance lessons, and Hollywood Blvd.  The metro might be commonplace for many, but its new for us and we need to know that he can figure out this form of transportation, efficiently and safely here so he can figure it out there without us.

Bonding time for Jerry and the boys- Jerry doesn't always get the chance to spend as much time with the boys as he'd like to due to his work and long hours, let alone individually. But this summer has given Jerry the well deserved time and opportunity to go on individual weekend trips with 2 of the boys so far, Mikey and Chris, and get some amazing quality time with each of them.  Mikey's best friend invited him and Jerry to his guys birthday weekend up in a cabin by Kern river doing some really fun things- riding bikes, scavenger hunts, bonfires, smores, swimming and even some "BINGO!" They had a blast together and as a group, but Jerry said the part that made it all worth it for him was the 3.5 hour ride up to the ranch that opened up some wonderful conversations with his youngest son that he's never had before. Love, love, love!  With Christian, he went along with him out to Florida State University for Chris' college orientation and Jerry couldn't have been more excited. Most people know that FSU is Jerry's favorite college football team/school! So his love for this school came to a complete circle the day that Chris had accepted to attend here, and then to actually get to visit the school together for the first time...forget it! Both shared that feeling of awe for the campus, that student pride for Chris, and the pride of being an FSU dad for Jerry. A wonderful trip for both of them. And don't worry...Jerry is planning a weekend for him and Danny as we speak. Its coming soon and they too will have a blast together.

So the truth is, this summer has been special and different just by sheer virtue that its the last full summer we all have with Chris before he goes off to school in Spain and begins his own life, his own new adventure as an adult. Uggh...that hurt to say. Anyway, it is what it is, so we are taking advantage of every moment we have with him alone and together as a family, and he is taking advantage to enjoy time with as many of his own good friends too. Its a special time and memories are being made all around and once again, I couldn't me more grateful. And to be able to have it all documented for us to look back on...priceless.

I hope you're all having an amazing summer too and from my little corner to yours...Thanks for stopping by!