Thursday, March 2, 2017

Oscars 2017

We went to the Oscars.  It was really fun and really fancy, but in so many ways I didn't expect. We went with our friends, most of whom I knew before but spend very little time on a weekly basis, as all of us have small kids (and many distractions). I tell you though, the presence of these people made the whole experience like a movie about summer camp. Every time there was someone having a "we're at the Oscars" moment, there was someone else embarrassing themselves in new and hilarious ways. There were so many toasts to the whole experience, so many vows to have a time we won't forget. We really did it as a group. We really did it right.

Here are some photos before we left, in our fancy hotel. The night before, the production company had a cocktail party for us at Chateau Marmont. It was great to see such a Hollywood landmark. The girls and I started hair and make-up at 9:30 in the morning. It took three of them for four of us (chalk that up as taking a village). I couldn't have loved wearing my dress by Elizabeth Dye more. Within 10 minutes of contacting her, she was on board to make a dress for me. She was a true collaborator, a master craftsperson, and such a talented, sweet person. A few people have asked me why I didn't make my own dress, and I'll tell you why: because this is not my area of expertise, and when you leave it to the experts, you get something so special.

We drove to the Oscars and it felt really…presidential. We were in a cavalcade of black SUVs, the roads were blocked off for miles, and security would come and look into your car intermittently. There were people screaming by the side of the road, and when I rolled down my window to take a photo of them, they screamed even louder as if they might see someone important. Sorry, people :).

We got out of the SUV onto a small patch of red carpet. We had tickets, and they were instructing us to get them out. Somehow, we thought we were going into the show right away, so we frantically tried to get some photos until someone told us there would be "a lot more red carpet to come". Oh, right! Thanks.

We went through curtains that revealed a wide and long red carpet in three parts. We were put on "track" closest to the most press, and our "handler" guided the boys to different press outlets that wanted to talk to them: talk shows, newspapers, etc. There were so many random people around: a pacific islander dance crew (from a movie called Tana), ladies carrying their violins which I presume they had played on a soundtrack to something. I saw a few famous people on another red carpet "track": Karlie Kloss getting her dress photographed, Lin-Manuel Miranda racing through the whole red carpet process. Our crew was getting text messages from friends at home that we were on TV. It was all pretty surreal. 

Finally, we reached the end of the long red carpet, and the door of the Dolby Theater. We had ideas that we might get rushed through the whole red carpet process, but it actually took quite a while. We had a look in the theater from the top level, but we had tickets to seats on the floor. From monitors in the lobby, we watched most of the celebs arrive while we sipped drinks, then headed to our seats when the announcements were made that the ceremony was about to begin. As we were walking, I heard a woman apologize over and over and Ollie say, "I'll get it!". She had lost her phone in my dress!

The show was really good, wasn't it? I didn't know much of Jimmy Kimmel before this, but I thought he was excellent, and the whole show seemed to move right along. During commercial breaks they would give you a countdown, and if you didn't make it back to the theater in time you had to wait until the next commercial break, out in the lobby (with a drink in your hand and a seat filler in your seat). Our category was in the middle portion, so at a certain point we all decided no one was leaving. Production Assistants would come over and talk to us about how long it was until our category. At one point, they told a woman and her daughter to move to new seats, and then that woman WON AN OSCAR for Costume Design. So we were waiting to see if they moved any of us, too. All of the Visual Effects nominees were together and as the announcement got closer, I saw the (eventual winners) in front of us, texting their friends as we were texting ours: "I'm nervous." "I don't think this is going to happen for us". In that moment, we were all going through the same thing. It was kind of sweet. Our whole row held hands as the envelope was opened. 

Alas, the win was not ours (ours, meaning our boys', of course). Robert Legato and his crew from "The Jungle Book" won. They sat right in front of us so we got to congratulate them, and in return, we got to play with their statue afterwards. By the way, Oliver made me watch Legato's great TED talk (right HERE). It's worth a glance, even if you have very little interest in Visual Effects. 

After the ceremony, we went to The Governer's Ball, which is on site at the Dolby Theater. It felt like a Carnival Cruise, with a band two stories higher, playing pop muzak. The wait staff came around with fancy gelato, followed by mac and cheese, followed by sushi rolls and pot pies and cake pops. I was sure this was not going to end well. Then we "Elton John's Oscar Party", which was ending by the time we got there. Andrew Rannells seemed to be enjoying the company of about 100 "fans" on the dance floor blaring with techno music. We knew it was time to go back to the hotel; we had been on this "journey" for more than 12 hours now.

The next morning, we all flew home together, to our babies and our babysitters and our houses. It was all really good fun, and within hours we were emailing photos and telling each other how much we missed each other. It was certainly a memory for the archives, a whole lot of fancy and a whole lot of fun. If you get the chance, I highly recommend it ;).

PS. Image of our row is by TiffSchiff, below that is a screen shot from TV!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Oscars Luncheon 2017

January left us with a bang. Mr. Jones found out that he was nominated for an Oscar for his Visual Effects work on Kubo and the Two Strings along with three of his colleagues at Laika. It's been quite exciting. Last Monday, I joined him LA to attend the Oscars Nominees Luncheon. It was definitely a "moment" in life, and it made me so excited for all of them, and of course for the ceremony itself. 

The luncheon was held at the Beverly Hilton, and began with some milling around (and cocktails) among the nominees and their guests. We knew we would sit at a "mixed table" for the lunch, meaning we could be with Producers, Actors, etc. We anxiously awaited who we might sit with, as we struggled to introduce ourselves to new people in the room. We saw some celebrities and I just couldn't resist asking a few for photos (but I'll save that for my Instagram account). Finally, they asked us to find our table. It was like a really fancy wedding, with gorgeous bunches of roses on the tables and waiters ready to pour your wine as soon as you sat down.

We took our seats, and met the people at our table. There was a producing team, four sound designers, and an Academy Ambassador, a member of the Academy who is there to facilitate conversation at the table and make the event really welcoming. Our Ambassador had the most adorable wife who had one agenda - to take photos with the most famous people in the room, to the bemusement of her husband. It was hilarious, and got me hyped to talk to the actors and musicians I wouldn't have otherwise (again, I refer to the Instagram). 

They played a comedy video about how to give a good speech should you win, and there were words from the Academy President. Then they read the names of every nominee individually, and invited them to stand at the front for the "class photo" (Oliver is in the second row, second in from the oscar, to the left). This goes on for the better part of an hour and when everyone is there, the music crescendos and they announce, "Ladies and Gentleman, the Oscar Nominees of 2017". They know how to give you an emotional moment, in Hollywood, that's for sure.

When the photo ended, I was still snapping photos of them all when a man next to me said, "This is really special for them, isn't it?" I looked at him and said, "It's really special". He was an Academy Embassador, as well. Then I found Oliver, spoke to another actor I loved, and got in a cab to LAX.

When I had saw Oliver a few days later, he showed me a photo on his phone of his colleague Brian and said, "Look who Brian spoke to!" and I saw who it was. It was the same person who spoke to me when the class photo was being taken. It was Steven Spielberg, the most famous Director of all time, and I did not recognize him. I guess I thought all the most important people were standing at the front? Classic.

That aside, it was still a truly special afternoon, one we'll never forget. Now I'm in the process of sorting out my dress, and childcare, and all the other things that will come with attending an event fancier than anything I've ever been to. If this was a precursor to the excitement, I can't imagine what the events surrounding the ceremony will be like. What a wild ride.

Monday, January 23, 2017

January's Inside Out

January is almost over, and I don't quite know what to make of it. We had an epic snowstorm and we were inside for almost two weeks straight. For someone who doesn't like to stay home (with kids, that is, alone I can stay home for hours and hours) it was a struggle. Somehow with sleds and shovels and tons of art supplies and dress-up clothes, we got through it. I started a new job, we got a new President, and who knows what lies in store for all of us. One thing I know is that if life continues to be as sweet as it has been with these two ladies, we're going to be okay.

I've also been working on a New Year's Resolution to print and archive family photos. I'm not much of a scrapbooker, but it's important to me to have printed photos the girls can look through them without a device being turned on. So in January I've lived in 2017, and 2012 and 2013 simultaneously. I'm working my way to present day, and it's truly been a walk down memory lane. To look at the photos above, and think everyone is talking now, everyone is drinking from cups, and there are no diapers in this house anymore! It's truly mind blowing. We are growing UP around here, ya'll!

PS. Lulu's dress pattern is McCalls 8635 (from 1966) in vintage polyester bought at an estate sale. Penny's hat is Big Top Animal Hats by me! Details of Penny's sweater are HERE and Lulu's coat are HERE.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Alice in OMSI-land

I made Penny an Alice in Wonderland dress.  A friend gifted us the pattern (Simplicity 2330, already cut to a size 5) and Penny begged me for it as soon as she saw it, telling Lulu that the last homemade dress I made was for Lulu's birthday so it was her turn for one. Penny likes the book of Alice, and loves the dress. She's been asking me about my sewing progress for a month, and finally, this past weekend, it was finished. I made it from a cheap calico and white muslin from Jo-ann Fabric. She wore it to OMSI, the Portland science museum, and told everyone that gave her a second glance that her mom made her dress.  This girl is the best thing a crafty mom could ask for.

Meanwhile, there are a few things, including the spinning trick above, that Lulu has mastered at the museum. She goes right over to this whirring machine and starts balancing these wheels on a turntable, attracting 8 and 10 year-old kids, in amazement. Lulu, uninterested in their compliments, is continually fascinated by the machine.  We have a science Prodigy, don't you know? ;)

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Hitting the Slopes

When you ask Santa for a sled for Christmas, and he delivers, it's only a matter of time before you are looking for snow on which to use your brand new toy. So, on a sunny winter morning, we headed up to Mt. Hood, or as it's known in our family, "Snowy Mountain". The sledding was fast, the sky was blue, and the people were out in force. It became a day of snow play: and snowball fights snow angels, and trekking in snow as high as our legs. We headed out after lunchtime, back to the wet streets of Portland. We'll remember this day and talk about it, when see the mountain from these very streets.