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Prodigal Blogger Returns (Part 2 Do I still heart L.A.?)

Posted Jan 22 2009 6:47pm
It's been several weeks since my shoot from hell ended. Twenty-five days is sufficient time to take a deep breath and look back without cringing too much...

So to continue where I left off sometime ago, armed with my newfound reiki healing energy techniques, I was packed and ready to get on the plane. Alas, nothing is that simple, a few hours before I was supposed to leave for airport, I was on the phone with the airline scrambling to change my ticket. My client had texted me that I should be flying business class- well yes, it would have been easier to just go to the airport and sit in coach, but I was not passing up a business class flight! So after spending however long it was being passed from operator to operator in Bangladesh or wherever my call was outsourced to- I finally got my ticket. Lots of kisses to Booboo and treats strewn about, I was off to the airport. Before running out, I grabbed my absentee ballot envelope and put it in the mail- couldn't forget that!

Now, in all my years, I have never been in business or first class. I have been on private jets & planes a few times, but those things are not at all within my realm of existence, so it's not something I even think about...business class on the other hand, is expensive but closer to my reach. Comfy chairs that you can stretch out & fully recline in, a civilized dining setup, mini dvd players with a library of movies...How will I ever fly coach again? It's so funny that they even have a little red carpet.

Planes are a hotbed of germs. Halfway through the flight, I started sneezing- oh no, there was no way that I could get sick right before the shoot...I searched my bag for vitamin c and realized it was packed in my luggage. Being the resourceful, panicked girl that I was, I immediately started doing reiki and whether it was a coincidence or not, I did not get sick though the photographer who was on the same flight came down with the worst cold ever during the shoot.

First day was lots of meetings and lots of people hovering about me with a million requests which of course was nonstop the entire trip...what to do when everyone constantly needs something from you on top of all the minutiae that you must make sure is in place for a smooth shoot? Eat something yummy of course! We were staying at The Viceroy and there happened to be a 2 hr break where clients went shopping and I had some details to wrap still. I decided to order from Real Food Daily for lunch- and yes, they do deliver. I did not love RFD the first time I went (really not good), but am always willing to try anything one more time and I had heard that the nachos were amazing. So I ordered the nachos with jalapeno cashew cheese and the works...also nori tempeh rolls and an energizing beet juice. Having some real time to breathe, I decided to do a full reiki session while I waited forever for the food to be delivered. Oh, but when it did finally arrive- it was really really good.

The Viceroy has my one of favorite lamps ever- a little pupster lamp. Some years ago, I experienced a strange condition, comparable to a kind of reverse seasickness- I had been on a fancy boat for sometime and when I returned home, on land, everything swayed. I was ill for days. Well, that wallpaper in my hotel room was starting to move but I realized that I was just simply exhausted.

After running around with the clients & doing a quick run-thru at the location, I was able to get back to my room in time to catch a gorgeous sunset. I've said it before- I could definitely live in Santa Monica...

There was so much drama during the shoot in Los Angeles, I don't even feel like rehashing it. So let's just look at some pics from the shoot instead- my amazing pa (production assistant) set up a small pharmacy because everyone felt like they were coming down with something.
We made a nasty garage into an elegant little dining setup. For the amount of money that we were paying to rent this house in Venice, one would think that the owner would have moved his crap out of the garage so we could setup dining (since we were also not allowed to bring food in the house, nor would he move his ridiculously expensive sportscar out of the 2 car garage- but then wanted to make sure that we didn't get too close to it?!?). So we made due by setting up the black cloth covers which worked beautifully!

Yes, the house was amazing, but the attitude of the owner was a whole other matter. Okay, oh and ahh over the pictures because it is a cool house, but the guy was such a jerk that I can no longer see the house objectively.





See, I can't even bear to put more pics up. Our pre-light day went fine and the shoot day with Maria Sharapova went really smoothly which I definitely did not expect. She was an absolute professional & super nice. It was the third day in the house where all hell broke loose, well, more like the toilet plumbing system. There was literally dirty, nasty toilet water seeping from the walls because of a clogged toilet- that was the most horrifying thing ever, germs everywhere- AAHHH! See, my photo shoots are never that glamorous- there is almost always some kind of incident involving solid waste. Roto-rooter to the rescue but let's just say that owner totally knew that he needed to have his pipes unclogged every once in awhile but was just waiting for some clients to pay for it. And then he accused my crew of throwing stuff down the toilet- because we really had time to stand around and throw stuff down his precious toilet....don't get me started. I pride myself on making sure my crew & clients are extra considerate when we are renting a house. Whatever, moving on. After shooting a full day, we wrapped , packed up & cleaned up and still had to drive that evening to Palm Springs and I am leaving out all the drama that came with that, but let me tell you- I was pooped (hehehe).


So fast-forward to Palm Springs- the hotel, The Colony Palms. It was cute and I picked it because I didn't think that we would want to also stay at The Viceroy in Palm Springs too- thought it would have been too much Viceroy trendiness for one trip. Well, I was wrong because despite the trendiness, the service at The Viceroy is great. The Colony Palms, not that they were not super nice, just not the quickest...

But, I did have an upgraded room with a hot tub & seating area - which we didn't even check out, though hot tubs freak me out a bit- big yuck factor.
The room was cute.
Here we are off to shoot- our first day in Palm Springs!

Now, this house- the owners were a dream. They were such a fun, fab gay couple- they just loved having people in the house and the crew felt the difference. They were great hosts (yes, we paid a lot for the house, but still they had a warm, welcoming vibe).

We were even allowed to breakfast setup in the pretty kitchen!

And then I lucked out with the best caterers ever, Love At First Bite. They came and cooked breakfast right there- such a treat! Lunch was also nicely setup, it's all about aesthetics and I did not have to explain that to these caterers...
Our super fun hosts sure know how to party with this outdoor shower...
Here's Fcat working hard shooting some product on the Mercedes that one of the models drove around in for another shot.
Here's one of our handsome models by the gorgeous fireplace.
Um, the pool was fab....
The view was amazing...
And that brings us to our wrap dinner for 18 people at the hottest restaurant in Palm Springs which happened to be at our hotel. Yes, we waited forever even with reservations at The Purple Palms- but it was worth it for the amuse bouche alone...I had called ahead to let them know that I was vegan and the chef himself came out with my vegan amuse bouche. And let me tell you it certainly amused my mouth, it was the most delectable, delicate crispy taro chip with crunchy pickled oshinko- just delightful.

The salad that I ordered did not thrill me, but perhaps, I was expecting too much after the tasty little bite beforehand.

My entree was interesting Vietnamese black grainy stickyrice with tempura avocado & pineapple. I have never had tempura'ed fruit and it was tasty. The owner came over just to tell me that the tempura was eggless. I think they love to have a vegan- it gives them a challenge to come up with something innovative and different. My meal was delicious, but truthfully it was quite late and I was really tired.

This is what a full crew dinner looks like, right before the drama broke out. Let's just say that people were airing out some grievances from the shoot and there was alcohol involved. I snuck out and went to bed...
Breakfast the next morning was the most perfect fruit salad with some whole wheat toast & peanut butter. Then it was off to repack the cars because the clients wanted to check out the premium outlet mall before the drive back to LA...

The only way I got through the most insane shoot week, was through the grace of God, reiki, Fcat's loving support, a nice hotel, good food, my amazing assistant and my amazing assistant's husband making a sticker of her cat and affixing it to our car. That was the absolute best- made me smile for days. She hadn't even spotted it and of course, I see all things kitty.
This post is way too long already, so let me wrap it up. Once I was free of clients and back in LA, Fcat and I had a dinner to ourselves at Chaya Venice. The food is absolutely stupendous.
The wakame salad was tasty and delectable.

My entree was the yummiest thing ever- seitan in a delicious curried lentil. The flavors were simply amazing. And yes, I also had a martini which of course I can never finish...
See said martini alongside dessert? Sorbet was served with mixed fruit. A perfect ending to a fabulous meal. I love love Chaya Venice! Makes sense because I love M Cafe so much and they are the same owner...no time for M Cafe this visit though.
But no trip to LA is complete without my favorite breakfast at Swingers- the tofu chilequiles.
After my yummy breakfast, it was back to the hotel to pack up and time to go home. Boy, was I ready. I still heart Los Angeles even though it was the most drama filled trip ever. Look forward to my next LA trip and leisurely having more yummy meals and one day meeting up with some of those LA vegan bloggers...

Yes, this super long post is finally finished. Have a great weekend!

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