LA Day 1 and Other Highlights

posted December 13, 2011 by Holly Hayes
part of trip: California + Vegas Road Trip

I'm never going to catch up completely at the rate I'm going, so I think I'll save Monterey and the Hearst Castle for after we get home. But here are a couple of quick highlights from recent days:

Spotted on Highway 101 - I always wondered where it was!

A new friend I made in the old mission church in Monterey:


Our nice hotel and a lovely walk by the beach in Cambria yesterday morning:

Pelicans, I believe

Our hotel room in L.A.

The rain stopped this morning and it has been wonderfully warm and sunny today - hooray! The high was in the upper 60s, I believe. We will soak up as much sun as we can to bring back to rainy Oregon with us.

So, one of our main goals for Los Angeles was to spot at least one celebrity, and we exceeded that goal in the first day! And we had lots of other fun and productive photo-taking today as well.

This morning David drove to Heliworld, a mecca for remote-control helicopter stuff (he got one on his birthday and has been really into it ever since), while I slept in and then walked to The Grove, a shiny new outdoor shopping center by the old Farmer's Market.

CBS Television City, which I passed on my way.

View from above (from parking garage on way out)

The central fountain, where "White Christmas" was incongruously playing on the speakers.

Lobby of huge cinema - wouldn't mind seeing a movie here!

On my way in, I walked past a guy that I know is an actor, I think on a TV sitcom, but I can't place him and it's driving me nuts! He's maybe upper 30s, tall, blond, Scandinavian. He was with his family, headed for the parking lot.

Then I turned a corner and came upon Mario Lopez filming the show Extra. Marios is hardly a major celebrity (although I did enjoy him on Saved By the Bell), but it was fun to watch them filming since I watch the show semi-regularly. I could have even gotten in the little crowd they show behind Mario and gotten my mug on national TV, but no thanks! I stood on the sidelines and watched for a bit, so I also saw Maria Minounos do her parts for Extra. Both Mario and Maria looked better in person than on TV, which is impressive. Shorter, though, as always!

Extra filming area


Behind-the-scenes video

Meanwhile, someone next to me pointed out Lee Majors walking by in a blue sweatshirt and visor. I took a picture of him too, but I had on my wide-angle lens (dumb choice) and it was from the side, so it's not much to look at!

David met me at the Grove not long after I arrived (and he drove, so I got a ride home, woo hoo!), so he got to see Mario filming, too. And later we saw another girl who's on Extra, Renee-something from Australia. Then we looked for lunch at the Farmer's Market, which was very fun - so many interesting choices!

We ended up trying out a very authentic-looking Mexican place. David had chicken enchiladas and I had a chicken sope. Both were delish. Then David got some English toffee and we tried a few bites of an apple fritter from Bob's Donuts, which was good.

After a brief stop at our hotel to pick up David's camera, change my lens, and grab my Hollywood: A Movie Lover's Guide book, we drove out to Beverly Hills. We started, of course, with a walk down Rodeo Drive.

Added glitter - so you know the street is fancy.

A Bugatti Veyron (not only expensive but quite rare) getting lots of attention.

Our next minor celebrity: Janice Dickenson, who calls herself "the world's first supermodel" and appears on America's Next Top Model. She was filming something in front of the Chanel store - David spotted her thanks to a sharp eye for the reflector panel being held up next to her. The part I liked best was that the only cameras being used were digital SLR cameras like ours - they do video too, and can do quite well if you know what you're doing.

At one end of Rodeo Drive is the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, a major character in "Pretty Woman":


Contrary to my expectations, they didn't recognize me and give me a free room for promoting them on my upcoming website. Big mistake. Huge!

Then we headed back to the car (parked on the residential part of Rodeo) and David chauffeured me to the nearby Beverly Hills Hotel, where I hopped out to take some pictures. It has a fun midcentury-modern retro vibe.


After skulking around the Bentleys in the parking lot to take some exterior shots, I decided to walk into the lobby like I belonged - this worked nicely as it usually does, and I wasn't bothered as I took a few snaps inside. Bonus: on my way in, I glanced up and automatically smiled at the woman who was heading past me out the door - and it was Maria Shriver! What fun. She was by herself and had kind of a hunted look, which is probably worn by most celebrities who just want to be left alone. I didn't bother her; just continued with my task of photographing chandeliers and pink carpet.


Then I plugged in a few addresses from my guidebook into the GPS, and David took us on a very nice little driving tour of movie stars' homes in Beverly Hills. Most of them were from the Old Hollywood era - we saw the houses of Jack Benny, Lucille Ball, Marlene Dietrich and Lana Turner, as well as the house where Bugsy Siegel was killed by multiple gunshots through the living room window. Good times. (For us, not for him.)

Bugsy's house

Lana Turner's house

And a quick stop at the Beverly Hills City Hall, which is a very cool building and also has appeared in several movies:

Spacey-modern gas station across the street

We ended our long day with a short walk to the California Pizza Kitchen, attached to the Beverly Center. I think it was my first time at a CPK, although I've had their frozen pizzas many times. David's a veteran, and ordered his favorite Thai Chicken Pizza. Both were really good, and I imagine we'll return again during our stay.


Tomorrow we are going on a tour of Warner Brothers Studios and then watching a live studio taping of "Mike and Molly"! I'm quite excited.

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LA Day 1 and Other Highlights
Holly Hayes
Date Published
December 13, 2011
Last Updated
April 22, 2022
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