I Love L.A., Part 1: “We was born to ride”

Rollin’ down Imperial Highway
With a big nasty redhead at my side
Santa Ana winds blowin’ hot from the north
And we was born to ride…

I was considering going to LA a few weeks back. Then some shit happened. Like the job I thought I was going to have, I did not have. And so, I thought, perhaps a trip to LA was not the most prudent thing I could be doing. I figured maybe I would pass. But, the ticket was going to be pretty cheap. And when I had mentioned it to D she said, “Oh! That is the week of the ESPYs!” And when I told my aunt N, she said, “Oh! That is the week of Char’s 21st!” And when I told A, she said, “Oh! That is the weekend we are going to be there!”

I was a bit conflicted. Then I got a job and bought an airline ticket and ceased the conflict.

The thing with this trip was, I was going to try to a tremendous amount in a very short time, without getting a rental car, and under the impending doom of carmageddon. It meant that I was going to have to ask some people for some favors. Also, I was going to have to be very sneaky about one part of it as I was trying to surprise my cousin at her 21st birthday bash. In a nutshell, I would land at LAX at which point I would have to get transformed on the fly into evening attire and be downtown by 4 p.m., find a way to get to Santa Monica where I would be staying that night, make my way to Hollywood where I would be meeting people the next day, back to Santa Monica to rendezvous with my super-sneaky Malibu connection for the next day, be back to Hollywood for brunch the next day, and then get back to LAX to catch a morning flight on Sunday, kind of early. Kind of like this:

Oh, and I was going to have luggage.

It was one of those sets of circumstances where people were going to be on board or not, and while there was clearly a larger plan in action, the more specific elements were being left up to – well, I was just going to sort of see how things went. And frankly, some people are down for this kind of thing, and some are not.

The biggest variable I believed I was working with was the issue of The 405. It was less that I was going to need to be on The 405, but that lost of other people would be really cramping my style as they renegotiated their commutes. There had been so much publicity about the whole thing that there were really only two ways it could go. Either it was going to be like the 1984 Olympics when the public officials scared people off the roads (and a la Hong Kong/China, inadvertently cleaned up the smog problem – #winning) and there was absolutely no traffic… Or Everyone would count on Everyone Else being off the roads and it would be totally fucked. Of course, a lot of my driving was taking place right at commute hours as well.. so, you see why I could not get too caught up in things (figuratively.)

I rolled the dice, made some phone calls and hit the road. I would land at LAX at midday and have to figure out an outfit as well as general Red Carpet prep in order to meet D on time for the ESPY Awards that night at the LA Live Nokia Center. What to do?

Enter TCH.

From the moment my 25-minute delayed plane hit the ground, our timing could not have been more synchronized. It was really a bit freaky. I’ve known TCH for a little while. A slightly longer while via the internets. We have a sort of charmed camaraderie. It’s pretty rad (like our hair, which that lady wanted to get her salon hands on. No.) With equally untroubled states of mind, we considered our options. I needed a Nordstrom’s because I was going to have them do my make-up at M.A.C. For those of you who don’t know, they do this for free and it s great fun. But, the thing is, all the Nordie’s I know of are on the West Side and I had to be right downtown right at the peak of rush hour. And, I was not even sure what I was wearing. We decided (with a significant assist from Google maps) to just go to the Glendale Galleria. At least it was on the correct side of the city and we thought we might miss the traffic.

We did.

Pulling into the mall, we were immediately transported back to 1987. It was a little scary, but we got out. In an effort to find the Nordstrom (how can you miss a department store, I am not sure) we ended up getting swallowed by J.C. Penney’s (ouch!) and making a quick – incorrect – exit leading us past an H&M. I thought I might just run in, maybe they would have something amazing. I found three things that did not seem amazing. I tried them all on and one of them was amazing.

And it was $15.


Still, we had to get to that M.A.C. counter. And I now had a navy dress which meant I needed shoes. We walked into 9 West. I found a pair of ridiculous gold shoes. They were $70, but I figured the dress was so stupidly cheap, it would hardly matter. The girl rang them up and the total was $18.90.


Finally we made it to M.A.C. As we walked in one of the girls was coming back from lunch and sat me right down. I realized I was going to need a handbag now. But the make-up. Shit. TCH was on it. Back within 20 minutes with a perfect clutch from Forever 21. It cost $7.

This was starting to seem like some sort of joke. I listened to the M.A.C. girl as she started putting on my make-up. I was nervous about how much she looked like a cast member from Jersey Shore, but tried to be cool. I explained what I was doing and she saw what I was wearing. When she finished my eyes, I looked like Maleficent. Seriously. We were going to have to have a do-over. She was amazingly amenable to this. She kept telling me how she was going to do my face make up like hers, “Really natural.”

Yes. I associate “natural” with M.A.C.

After the second go around, while I was still fairly certain I looked like I’d fit right in on Sunset Boulevard that night, I was assured that was not the case. Either way, she was very sweet, and in the end, I think it worked out alright.

I changed in the Nordstrom Cafe bathroom and TCH and I had a quick lunch and hopped back on the freeway to head to stop #2: THE ESPYs. We met D in the exact right place and simply marveled at the perfection of our moderately planned and freakishly fortuitous afternoon. I owe all of this first phase to TCH and it was a really great way to blaze through an afternoon.

Here is to Google maps, NO traffic, silly music, Nordstrom bathrooms and the cheapest red-carpet get up EVER.

TCH – you rule.

I knew right from the beginning
That you would end up winnin’
I knew right from the start
You’d put an arrow through my heart

See you soooooon!




About Amanda

I am repatriating expatriate trying to work it all out. Well, to work some of it out anyhow. I am writing here for sanity, focus and general over-sharing.
This entry was posted in California, Friends, Geography, Silliness, Travel, true stories and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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