My oldest niece comes to visit me at least once each year, and she usually stays for a couple of weeks during the summer. My horrific work schedule during the summer of 2012, however, didn't permit that to happen so I promised her we would find a way for her to stay with me in 2013. She just turned 13, and has become so much fun!
My niece has had a really tough life, but you'd never know it. She's smart, capable, and extremely talented. And she LOVES California - possibly even more than I do! Before moving to CA, I took her and my mom out to Los Angeles for my niece's birthday, and she's vowed ever since to live here one day. Knowing her, I'm sure she will! That kid has a ton of determination. My dog loved having her here, and the two of them enjoyed our daily walks around the neighborhood (pictured above).
When asked what she wanted to do while she was here, my niece didn't skip a beat and immediately asked to go to Hollywood! Despite coming out many times before, she had never seen the Griffith Observatory or the Hollywood sign up close. My colleague joined us and we went off on an adventure to Lala Land.
Our first stop on the tour was breakfast at my favorite place - Bea Bea's in Burbank, CA. They have the BEST French Toast I have ever had in my life. Seriously. And my niece had heard that it was the favorite of some of her favorite Disney stars, so we figured it wouldn't hurt to try it again. SO GOOD. And they have a Gluten Free menu, so I can come here with some of my celiac friends! Yay!
Our next stop was the famous Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park. Constructed in 1933 on top of Mount Hollywood, the Griffith Observatory is arguably the most famous observatory in the United States. It has been featured in over 30 televisions shows and more than 20 movies - the most famous of these being Rebel Without a Cause, starring James Dean. The observatory hosts various science and space exhibits, and is the home of an antique Tesla coil! I love going to the observatory, and enjoyed watching my niece visit it for the first time.
Our next stop that day was at the famous Hollywood sign. The Hollywood Sign is the most famous landmark in Hollywood, and one of the most famous in the entire world. It has a long, storied history that includes drama, scandal, and even death! It is also a huge symbol of hope, fame, and dreams, and is the first place many wannabe and soon-to-be stars visit when they visit the City of Angels. Niece was SO excited to see this up close - we took about a dozen pictures here alone. : ) (Disclaimer: The official Hollywood Sign website will not give you the best/closest view location on their "where to see the sign" page. I put the address for the true "best view" on an earlier blog post that you can see here.)
While winding our way over Mount Lee (where the Hollywood Sign actually sits), we made our way to Burbank to visit this blogger's other favorite view - the Universal Studios backlot. Knowing that I planned to take my niece there the very next weekend, I thought it would be fun to give her a preview here before telling her we were going. She thought it was really neat. This is another spot I've already blogged about (see here), and I'm sure I'll take many other friends as they make their way out to CA for a visit. It's just so cool. (Another big shout-out to Lindsay Blake for cluing me in to this little gem!)
Our last stop of the day wasn't really for my niece - it was more for my colleague and me. We became huge fans of The Client List after meeting Ms. Jennifer Love Hewitt herself while waiting get our nails done at a salon in Burbank, and we were super excited to find that my new friend Lindsay had blogged about some of the filming locations on her blog. Although set in Sugar Land, TX (a suburb of my former city, Houston), the filming for most of the show takes place all the way in California. For those of you had seen the finale, you may already know the fate of The Rub... so imagine our surprise to see it not only still standing, but still set up like the actual store! Although it is actually the offices of Calvert Studios, a lot of the interior and exterior appeared exactly as it does on the show. It - was - so - cool!
Well, I have more picture to share, but this post is getting long. Another blog to immediately follow!
Until next time ---