Freixenet Presents, Night of the Living Dead!

It’s no secret that I ADORE movie screenings at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Especially the Halloween screenings. I mean, horror movies in a cemetery? It’s perfect!! The only thing that makes it better? Free alcohol.

This year’s final showing of the season was sponsored by Freixenet, and all of the guests were given free bottles of bubbly!

“Night of the Living Dead” + a McDonald’s picnic + free bottles of cava (Spanish champagne) + a night with my awesome girl gang = pure happiness.

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Woooo free Freixenet!

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My picnic feast. So fancy.

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My awesome girl gang. Love these gals!!

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Freixenet photo booth!

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Awesome photo of the event that I stole from the Cinespia website, cause it’s waaaaaay better than any of the photos I took lol.

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ZOMBIEEEEEEEEESSS. Love the Cinespia photo booths!!

Though the screenings are over for this year, they will be back next summer with more great movies and fun events! Check out their website and sign up for their mailing list to stay posted about upcoming showings!


 

 

This Is Halloween! Hiking to Pumpkin Rock

High in the hills of Norco overlooking the Jurupa Valley and the 15-freeway lives the iconic Pumpkin Rock. This hike is a seasonal favorite for locals, and it’s the perfect way to get into the Halloween spirit!

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The trailhead in George Engalls Equestrian Park

I recently went on this hike and wrote a piece on it for Weekend Sherpa, so I won’t get into too many details about it on here.

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I just wanted to share my photographs with all of you because I like how they turned out and only a few of them made it into the published story.

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This hike was super fun, and very easy. Only around 2 miles or so. And it’s really easy to get to, being only a few minutes from the freeway. But for full details and directions to the trailhead, check out my story on Weekend Sherpa!


 

 

40th Anniversary Screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”!!

Since its release in 1975, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” has become a cult classic. With a strange and bizarre plot, iconic characters, flashy costumes and oddly catchy songs, this movie has gathered a devoted following over the years.

In honor of its 40th anniversary, Hollywood Forever Cemetery did a screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” on Halloween. And my goodness… what a party!! This amazing night featured circus performers, shadow dancers, a glam dance party and a themed photo booth. Costumes were required for entry and movie-viewing props were encouraged (anyone who’s been to a midnight showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” knows what I’m talking about!).

Always costume enthusiasts, my sister, my best friend and I dressed up as the singers from the “Lady Marmalade” music video featuring Pink, Lil’ Kim, Christina Aguilera and Mya (but our group Mya wasn’t able to join us that evening).

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Here is the music video for reference:

And like usual, picnics were allowed, so we packed a fabulous one!

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There is something so delightful about eating in costume…

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And then it was show time! Tim Curry gave a very touching introduction to the movie, and then it began…

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It was a sold out show!

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It was really dark and hard to capture on film, but it looked so beautiful when everyone held up lights during “There’s A Light”.

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Also hard to capture on film- how incredibly awesome it was to see an entire audience of a few hundred people all doing the “Time Warp” together. Seriously…it was so cool I could cry.

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You have to use your imagination to picture people dancing in the bottom half of this photo…

Let’s do the Time Warp agaaaaaaaaain!!!!!!!!

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“The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” good friends and wine…what an amazing way to spend Halloween!

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Yes, these heels were very treacherous to wear in grass. But necessary for the costumes.

Our photo even made it on to the Cinespia website. Yes!!

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I have loved this movie since I was 10 years old, so getting to be part of such a cool 40th anniversary celebration was truly an amazing experience.

This showing wrapped up the 2015 Hollywood Forever movie season, but be sure to check out their website for other cool cinema events!

Mickey’s Halloween Party!

All the parts of Halloween I love the most have absolutely nothing to do with scary stuff. Which is why of all the local Halloween events out there, Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland is my favorite! Happening on select dates throughout the month of October, Mickey’s Halloween Party is a special event that occurs after the park closes to the public. In the early evening (around 5 or 6 p.m., depending on the day), Disneyland closes to the general public and remains open for only guests of the party. And then the Halloween fun begins!!

They only sell a limited number of tickets for this event, which is cool because it keeps the crowd fairly small (compared to a normal day at Disneyland). None of the lines for rides are very long, especially later in the evening. But the best part about Mickey’s Halloween Party is that you are allowed to wear costumes! This is the only time adults and older kids are allowed to wear costumes inside the park, so we always take advantage of it. This year, my family and I dressed up as characters from ‘Cinderella.’

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Me as Cinderella and my mom as the Fairy Godmother

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During the Halloween Party, there are several “Treat Trails” throughout the park. These are pretty much just like going trick-or-treating! And the adults can do it too (yes!!).

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These giant ghost Mickey’s are at the entrance to every Treat Trail, so you can spot them from afar

12087276_10153072421861227_5839172888975610689_oAs you walk through the Treat Trail, you stop at stands along the way where Disneyland employees give you massive amounts of candy (this is included in the price of your admission ticket). And you can go through the Treat Trails as many times as you want. Yay for candy!!

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Candy stand!

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Look at all this candy… nom nom nom

If getting boatloads of free candy isn’t your thing, don’t worry- all of the rides, restaurants, and shops remain open during the party.

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It’s A Small World, decorated for the party

 

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Haunted Mansion!

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Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy…a special version of the ride they do during the Halloween season

And yes, it is super fun going on rides dressed like Cinderella.

The whole event is filled with Halloween fun, like this candy corn colored cotton candy:

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And the Cadaver Dans Barbershop Quarter, singing spooky songs in the mists of the Rivers of America:

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And then all the cool Halloween decorations they only put out during Mickey’s Halloween Party:

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The fog crawls over the Rivers of America

 

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Jack’o Lanterns surround Walt Disney

 

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Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, spooky version!

Mainstreet is always one of my favorite places to photograph…

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Rides, costumes, and lots of candy…Mickey’s Halloween Party is the perfect place to go to enjoy Halloween the way you used to when you were a kid! Oh, and the kids will like it too.

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We really love Coke and popcorn ❤

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This event always sells out, so make sure to get your tickets early!! Tickets can be purchased online through the Disneyland website.

Experience Horrifying Thrills at The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor!

The Halloween season is upon us! And Los Angeles is packed with dozens upon dozens of fun festive things to do during the month of October, my absolute most favorite month of the year. From fall festivals, to street parties, to haunted theme parks, there is sure to be something for everyone, whether you are a thrill-seeker or a scaredy-cat. I fall into the latter category. I hate horror movies and can’t stand being scared or startled. But yet this year I decided to be brave and check out the Queen Mary’s ‘Dark Harbor.’

The Queen Mary is considered (by some paranormal experts) to be the most haunted place in the whole world. A brief look into the history of the ship will make it easy to see why. During its years as a passenger cruise ship and as a WWII transport ship, hundreds of people died or were murdered on board. Seriously…if you are interested in history or ghost stories, delving into the things that happened on the Queen Mary will take hours. And while the ship is cool to visit during any time of the year, there is just something so wonderfully fitting about visiting a real (if you believe that kind of stuff) haunted place for Halloween. The ship offers paranormal tours year round, such as the Ghosts and Legends Tour and the Haunted Encounters Tour, but during the month of October they transform a portion of the ship and surrounding grounds into Dark Harbor, a playground of fear and terror.

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I won’t get into too many details about the spooky fun at Dark Harbor cause I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but instead I will offer a few pointers for how to make your visit more enjoyable.

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First of all, parking for the event was an absolute nightmare. We arrived maybe an hour after opening, and the general parking lot was already full. The parking staff was redirecting cars across the harbor to park at a local gym, and then ride a shuttle back to the Queen Mary. But they still made people pay the same parking rate as parking at the ship ($20). Not cool. Oh, and they only tell you this after you have just sat through about 30 min of traffic trying to enter the parking lot. We opted to pay more money and use the VIP lot. Worth it. The parking at the gym/shuttle option would’ve taken around an hour, and that just wastes time that could be spent in Dark Harbor. Also, metered parking within Long Beach ends at 9, so you can totally just park on the street for free and take Uber to the Queen Mary. Some of my friends did that and it saved them tons of money.

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Security at Dark Harbor is strict. Be prepared for a bag check and a thorough pat-down. They don’t allow anything inside that can even possibly be used as a weapon or cause destruction (pens, pencils, chewing gum, sharp objects…). I recommend bringing as little with you as possible.

Dark Harbor had a creepy carnival theme this year, and it looked awesome! Tons of food vendors, performances, and this swing ride brought in from Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch (for real). And as you stroll through the Halloween festival atmosphere, scary ghosts and zombies walk among you, waiting to scare you when you least expect it.

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Sadly the ride and most of the performances cost an additional fee, so we didn’t do any of them. Spending $5 to ride a carnival ride just seemed a little ridiculous to me.

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The general admission does include entry to the 6 scary mazes though. We decided to try out the “B340” maze, which was located on the actual ship and based on a true Queen Mary horror story. Long story short, this particular stateroom on the Queen Mary is so haunted (as to what caused the haunting, tales differ), they had to shut off the room and stop renting it out, because no guest could ever make it through the night in the room. Creepy.

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The wait time said 50 min, but what that actually meant was an hour and a half. It was hot, stuffy, and by the end of the line, fairly miserable. Needless to say, we ended up only doing this one maze cause by this point we were running out of time. If you are really into scary mazes, I would recommend perhaps buying a VIP ticket or a front-of-the-line pass so you can get to each maze faster. This picture is of only a small portion of the line we had to wait through:

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But at least they were thoughtful enough to provide a snack and beverage cart mid-line!

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I didn’t take any photos of the maze itself. I was too busy trying to survive. Which is why I most definitely deserved this bag of kettle corn post maze.

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The group of brave souls I was able to recruit to protect me during Dark Harbor…I love these people.

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DJs played music throughout the evening, and there were bars, shows, a hookah lounge, and lots of food options to keep you busy if you opt out of the mazes.

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Dark Harbor seemed to attract a rowdy crowd. During our couple hours we spent there we saw 2 fist fights break out (one of which was in line for the maze…stupid people) and like 3 different people get arrested. So be prepared to be among some sketchy riff raff. And definitely leave the young kids at home.

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Overall though, I really enjoyed this event. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be (except for the maze part) and just felt like a fun Halloween festival! I would definitely go back next year. But maybe just be a little better prepared.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Dark Harbor at the Queen Mary website!

Fun at the LA County Fair!

I love the fair. Fried foods, carnival rides, midway games, farm animals, concerts, awesome shopping…and that’s just the standard fair stuff. The LA County Fair also has wine and craft beer tasting, a flower and garden building with beautiful floral arrangements, an art gallery, vintage car show, and fun interactive exhibit halls. This fair is huge- even if you tried, you couldn’t see everything in one day. I usually like to go more than once, but this year time did not permit, and so this post represents only a small fraction of the things you can do at the LA County Fair.

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Our first stop was America’s Kids, the building where the children’s arts and crafts competition entries are displayed, and where there are awesome themed interactive exhibits. This years theme was a library, so the building was full of fun activities based on children’s books. This was the Willy Wonka chocolate factory area where guests could don lab coats and play around in a fake candy factory and play some fun games about chocolate:

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This was a game where you had to guess what candy bar it was based on a cut-out picture showing the insides:

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And then this was a cute photo op with silly little props:

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The building also has free crafts that kids (or adults haha) can do:

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America’s Kids may be geared towards children, but trust me- it is just as much fun for adults too. The exhibit designer always does an amazing job of throwing in lots of clever, funny references that adults will appreciate, and there are tons of hidden, cute surprises throughout the building. Definitely worth spending some time in this building!

And of course it wouldn’t be a county fair without eating some gnarly food. My best friend and I split one of these magnificent turkey legs:

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And then we checked out “Popnology,” which featured displays about pop culture and technology, and also had fun interactive exhibits. Seeing these displays of old rides from Disneyland sure brought back a lot of childhood memories…anyone else remember the Peoplemover??

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And then there were some pretty cool displays and activities based on science fiction movies, such as one of my all-time favs, ‘Jurassic Park.’

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Here you could use the robot to turn the dinosaur eggs, just like in the movie!!

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And then there was an area about technological advances in music. Guests could even try out electric drum sets and electric guitars. Pretty cool. I liked this display about the invention of records:

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This year there was a fun new ice cream stand- Ice Cream Garden!

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They served ice cream with fun toppings in these cute little pots.

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The ice cream was just average ice cream, definitely nothing to write home about. But the novelty of eating a tiny ice cream garden was worth every penny!

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We didn’t go on any rides this year, but it wouldn’t feel right to leave without taking a picture of a ferris wheel. So here it is. It is nearly impossible to time it right to capture the letters all lit up at the same time. Maybe next year I will be more successful?

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Strolling through the flower building is a great way to escape the heat for a few minutes.

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This years theme was ‘Mardi Gras,’ and the floral arrangements were beautiful!

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And while you are in the area, after looking at all the pretty flowers head next door to sample award-winning wine, beer, and spirits! You can try wines from all over the world, and grab a glass to enjoy while you continue your journey through the fair.

Before we went home, we had to get one last piece of fried food:

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Deep fried stuff and cheese: two of my favorite things!

Not pictured: we did tons of shopping and visited the farm animals. There is a clothing booth that comes every year, and carries brands sold at Urban Outfitters and Nordstrom, but you can buy them here at the fair for $10-$15 each. Awesome!!

The fair opens on Labor Day Weekend and runs throughout the month of September. For information on next year’s fair, visit http://www.lacf.com/.

Have a favorite booth or exhibit at the fair? Tell me about it in the comments! I love hearing about cool new things to check out 🙂

Kayaking Alamitos Bay!

When I heard there was a bay near Long Beach where you could kayak to shops and restaurants, I was more than intrigued. I have done plenty of sea kayaking before, but usually it’s to all the normal places: sea caves, private beaches, etc. But this, was something new and different. And so I grabbed my friends and headed for Los Alamitos!

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The bay itself isn’t anything spectacular. From the bay, there are a series of canals which you can take to get to various locations. One canal takes you past expensive yachts and houses, but the kayak rental company advises only going that way if you are confident in your kayaking skills, as it is fairly narrow and you definitely don’t want to hit rich people boats. We are experienced kayakers, but we skipped that canal anyways, because frankly, it didn’t even sound fun.

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Kayaking through the bay and other canals was a lot of fun though. The water was very calm, so it made for easy kayaking. It was kind of crowded, and there were boats everywhere, so definitely stay alert and keep to the right hand side of the canals.

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Down some of the canals, there are designated docks where you can park your kayak and head to the shops and restaurants! The kayak rental company provides a map so you know which docks are ok to use, and which canals to take to get to specific destinations.

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There were tons of options, but we decided upon Starbucks because the opportunity to drink Starbucks while kayaking seemed too good to pass up.

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Case in point: frappuccino on a kayak. Definitely a very Southern CA thing to do. Californians really do love our beaches and Starbucks…

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And back in Alamitos Bay! Our trip took us about 2 or so, which included stopping at Starbucks, and a side trip to Spinnaker Bay, where there are supposedly moon-jellies (jellyfish that are safe to touch due to not being able to sting…we didn’t see any).

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Alamitos Bay is a great choice for first time kayakers because of how protected the bay is. There are no waves at all, and there are boats and docks everywhere so getting help in case of an emergency would be super easy. Plus the staff at the kayak rental booth are very helpful and show everyone (no matter how experienced you are) an instructional video before they let you out on the water.

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For additional information about kayak rentals and directions to Alamitos Bay, visit kayakrentals.net.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at Hollywood Forever Cemetery!

Odd as it may seem, outdoor movie screenings at Hollywood Forever Cemetery have become synonymous with Los Angeles summers. Yes, that’s right – watching movies in a cemetery. People are actually buried in Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and continue to be buried there today. But before you start thinking this is disrespectful, the movie screenings take place on an open lawn where there are no graves, and cemetery guards are on duty to keep visitors from getting too close to any of the tombs. However, the movie is projected onto the side of the mausoleum, so it does still maintain a little of the morbidness you would expect from watching a movie in a cemetery.

This unusual Hollywood tradition has been happening for decades, but has recently seen a huge surge in popularity. Not even 3 years ago you could wait to buy your ticket until the day of the showing.  Nowadays, you have to commit to going at least 3 weeks in advance, otherwise you will never be able to get a ticket. I blame the hipsters.

It is easy to see why going here is so popular amongst Los Angelenos though. Summer nights are beautiful in southern California, and watching a movie outside is much better than being inside a movie theater. In addition, you are allowed to bring picnics, complete with alcohol. And for those you don’t feel like packing their own food, they have started hiring food trucks for most of the showings.

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The movie starts at 9, but you are allowed to head in a couple hours early to set up camp and enjoy your picnic. And they always have fun DJs spinning cool tunes to listen to while you feast and wait for showtime.

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But my personal favorite part is the really awesome photo booths they have set up. The line to take pictures in it is always ridiculously long, but I think it is worth it!! Just look at these props! And posing in the booth is free!

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So while the event may be crazy crowded and filled with 20-somethings who think they are the coolest thing since sliced bread, it is still a super fun way to spend a summer evening in LA. As long as you plan ahead, it is easy enough to navigate the crowd and have an amazing time!

Have any questions or want advice on attending any of their events? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email!

John Fogerty at the Hollywood Bowl

To southern Californians, the arrival of summer is marked by a series of events: longer days, bigger crowds at Disneyland, rooftop pool parties at the Standard, and the release of the summer concert schedule for the Hollywood Bowl. Every summer Californians flock to this beloved outdoor music venue to see everything from modern big name performers, to symphony orchestras, to classic rock legends, such as John Fogerty. When I heard he was playing at the Hollywood Bowl this year, I was beyond myself with excitement. Creedence Clearwater Revival is one of my all time favorite bands, so being able to see CCR frontman John Fogerty play live was a dream come true.

The Hollywood Bowl is a so cal landmark, and watching shows there is a fun and easy experience. My best friend and I purchased “Park and Ride” shuttle passes through the Hollywood Bowl website, which enabled us to park our car in a huge structure in Pasadena, and then take a shuttle to the Bowl. Much easier than fighting through LA and Hollywood traffic and dealing with crazy post concert parking lot problems. And the best part about seeing shows at the Bowl is that you are allowed to bring in your own food and drinks. Information regarding what you can and can’t bring into the Hollywood Bowl can be found on their website.

And so here we are inside the Bowl! I am a poor recent college grad, so we got the cheap seats in the back. But I actually like these seats better anyways… there is always such a fun camaraderie that happens with the other concert goers in these sections!

Blog Pictures

Our beautiful picnic feast. And yes, we did eat the entire chicken.

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Aw, my bestie got me a Coke with my name on it! ❤

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YAY JOHN FOGERTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Seeing John Fogerty live was everything I hoped it would be. He sounded just as amazing now as he did back in the 70s, and being able to hear so many of my favorite songs performed live by the original artist was seriously one of the best experiences ever. The fact that doing stuff like this is even possible is one of the many, many reasons I love living in Los Angeles so much!!