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Storm!

I went through quite a few adventures to get a photo of this weekend's storm clouds.

I'll tell you all about my (many) mishaps, but for now ….

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Isn't it beautiful?

I absolutely love the sun rays …!

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Catalina Island at Sunset

I took this photo of Catalina Island a few weeks ago.  We were having night after night of spectacular sunsets.  I love looking out from "my" Orange County beaches knowing Catalina is right there.

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Catalina Island is a special place.  It holds a lot of wonderful memories for me.

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Why American Women Should Boycott American Men

There is *someone* who keeps leaving spam comments on Twenty Four At Heart.  He's made his rounds through the blogosphere, leaving the identical comment on blog, after blog, after blog.  I'm not sure if he's skipped a single author of a blog anywhere in the universe.  He doesn't care if the blog author is male or female.

Mr. Troll has made at least three stops here, each time leaving his signature comment touting the reasons why American men should boycott American women.  

Oh, and there was also the time he came by "screaming" (all caps!) obscenities at everyone who was making fun of him in my comments section.

(By the way, you – my wonderful readers, wrote some hilarious responses to him!)

The best thing to do when a "troll" seeks attention is to ignore him.  I've deleted his comments as soon as I've seem them.  I've also blocked his IP address, but he keeps coming back with new ones.

However ….

He got me really thinking with his comment.  I very quickly realized American women should actually be the ones to boycott American men.

By just changing a few words in Mr. Troll's comment I arrived at the following:

•  I am an American woman, and I have decided to boycott American men. In a nutshell, American men are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, they don’t know how to cook or clean, and want you to have their children.  (Oftentimes, ruining your vagina in the process!)  Therefore, what intelligent woman would want to get involved with American men? American men are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American men is utterly disgusting, to say the least. American men are inferior to foreign men (especially in bed), and American women should boycott American men, and date/marry only foreign men. BOYCOTT AMERICAN MEN!  •

In addition, I'd like to add the following …

•  Despite scientific evidence to the contrary, there can be no doubt American men DO have periods.  The moodiness, the irritability, the anxiety, the overeating, the angry outbursts, the beer-belly-bloating … shit, who needs that?

•  American men go through manopause.  In America, it's called a mid-life crisis and it's frequently accompanied by the purchase of a sports car and a much younger woman.  (And yes, the younger women are "purchased" through gifts, etc.  You don't really think a young'un is interested in Mr. Middle Aged Man for himself, do you?)

•  American men work too much and their entire identity is wrapped up in their jobs.

•  American men sit on couches watching ESPN for most of their lives.

•  American men want their wife to be their maid, mother, nurse, chef, laundress, and sex tigress all on a moment's notice.  Don't, however, expect them to reciprocate unless you want to be accused of nagging or (gasp!) being a bitch.

•  American men consider their belches, and particularly their farts, to be an art form.  

I'm sure you have some thoughts of your own to add.

Ready?

Set?

Go …!

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Just Call Me Barbie

Yesterday, I let my friend, Suzanne, at Pacific Center for Plastic Surgery (PCPS) do whatever she wanted to me.

Wait a minute, that sounds all sorts of inappropriate, doesn't it?

If you've been reading here for the last year you might remember I wrote a post about my hands last March.  My hands are my pet peeve about my body.  Those of you who have met me are probably wondering why I'm not more concerned about the wrinkles under my eyes, or the weight I've gained since my car accident, or the scars I've accumulated due to the eight resulting surgeries.

All of that stuff is bad too.

And yet?

I expect a few wrinkles as I get older and as much as I don't like them … I've given birth to three kids, led a less-than-easy life, and I've earned them.  I know, better than anyone, what I've had to go through the last four and a half years since my accident and I refuse to beat myself up about not being the same physically as I was pre-accident.  Do I want to lose weight?  Yes.  Am I losing weight?  Yes – slowly, but surely.  I know how I got this less than perfect, very scarred up, body though and I'm willing to cut myself some slack.

My hands, however, look decades older than I really am.  At least, to me they do.  I may have fat to spare on the rest of my body, but I have bony hands.  They remind me of chicken bones with a layer of thin skin pulled over them.  I'm okay if my hands look my age, but I'm not okay with them looking like I'm a ninety year old woman when I'm really only twenty four.

Last March, I tried Sculptra injections for my hands.  You can read about my experience here.  I've heard and read, wonderful things about Sculptra – particularly when it's used on people's faces.  For my hands, however, it didn't work.  I was disappointed.  (By the way, the makers of Sculptra don't market it for hands, and now I know why.)

Every time I walk into PCPS it's pretty much an instant party.  I love the people there and I end up spending a lot of time hugging everyone and chatting and roaming the halls being nosy.  It's so fun!

Yesterday I told Suzanne (who is a nurse) I wanted her to do "something" to make my hands look better.

Guess what?

My hands look better!

Suzanne injected my hands with a product called Radiesse.  I had never heard of it before.  It's a "filler" which means it added volume to my bony hands so they look more normal.  I think my hands look 10-15 years younger now.  (By the way, I didn't have any age spots on my hands to start with, just very skeleton-like hands.)  Radiesse is also supposed to help your body create it's own collagen.  In other words, it gives you fake "volume" while your body begins creating its own, real, volume. 

My hands are sore, and bruised, from the injections.  So far, I'm thrilled though.  Instead of looking at my hands and thinking "chicken bones," I now look at them and think "hands."

It's amazing how such a little thing can make me feel so much better about myself.

In the interest of full disclosure, the Radiesse injections normally cost $600 each.  Suzanne used one and a half injections on each of my hands for a total of three.  Normally, three injections would cost $1,800.  I didn't have to pay $600 for each injection though, I only paid for the cost of the product.  I didn't promise to write about the product, or Suzanne, or Pacific Center for Plastic Surgery either.  But I am, because I know a lot of my readers are interested in topics like this.

Also?

I really do love the staff there.  They're my friends.

I could have left happy after the Radiesse injections, but Suzanne took a long look at me and said she wanted to do a few other things to me too, if I was interested.  She asked if I needed to be somewhere or if I had time to wait for her.  She went off to take care of a REAL patient, and I sat around chatting with everyone I encountered.  I was, admittedly, a little excited.

What would she do?

Would it hurt?

When Suzanne returned, I told her she could do whatever she wanted to me as long as she didn't give me "fish lips."  A lot of women here get fillers injected into their lips and I think it looks terrible.  

Suzanne ended up doing two other cosmetic procedures to me before I left.  

I'm going to tell you all about both of them, but not today.

Soon! 

© Twenty Four At Heart

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(Little) Corona

I feel like a tour guide on my blog lately.

I apologize.  I'll stop with the virtual tours soon.

(But not today.)

Last Sunday, I spent the morning at Little Corona.  Little Corona is a beach in Corona del Mar, in Newport Beach, and should not be confused with Big Corona.  The two beaches are vastly different.

If you don't live in Orange County, Little Corona is a great beach to see as a visitor.  It's very scenic and people "ooh!" and "aahh!" a lot when they visit for the first time.

On Sunday, there was a very loud seal sunning itself on the rocks.  It would not stop aarfing.  Aaarf!  Aaarf!  I would have brought you a picture of him, but he blended in so well with the rock he was on, I don't think it would have turned out very well.

Aarf!  Aarf!

(I used to pretend to be a seal when I swam in the ocean as a kid.  Don't tell anyone, okay?)

I'll have to re-visit Little Corona for better photographs.  When I visited on Sunday it was hot.  The sun was brutal from a photography standpoint.  Of course, I was more concerned with walking off the previous night's dinner than I was with photography on this particular visit.

Nonetheless, I couldn't resist snapping a few sun-drenched photos anyway.  Here's what the beach looks like from the street before you make your descent:

LCDMw
Did I mention sun-drenched, washed out photos?  

Little Corona is a rocky beach and the tide was out for most of my recent visit, exposing even more rockiness than usual.  Tidepooling is fantastic at Little Corona just as long as you remember to look and not touch.  (And yes, I AM protective of our beaches.)

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Can you see the pelicans perched on the farthest rock?  

There are sandy areas of beach too at Little Corona, even when the tide is out.  

I love the beach, have I ever mentioned that?

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Splash!

Oh wait, I need to show you one more photo.

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Rocks can be pretty!

Lots of little critters live in the holes of the ocean rocks.

Can you believe how many pelicans are hanging out on top of the rocks?

They just stared at me and then went right on about their pelican business.  (Swallowing fish whole, ruffling their big pelican feathers and occasionally talking to their friends.)

I think I interrupted a pelican party.

© Twenty Four At Heart 

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Hollywood, Take Two

I wanted to share a few more glimpses of my day in Hollywood with you.  I know many of you live too far away to ever have the opportunity to visit.  (I also want to apologize ahead of time for the quality of today's photos … the sun was really harsh making decent photos impossible extremely difficult.)

When I arrived in Hollywood, I parked near the Kodak Theatre.

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If you've watched the Academy Awards in the last ten years, you probably know the event is held in the Kodak Theatre.  (American Idol finals have also been held at the Kodak Theatre too, along with many other famous events.)

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After traipsing around the Kodak Theatre for awhile, I walked down Hollywood Blvd.  

If you pull out your magnifying glass, you will see the following in the above photo:  both the good and bad Spiderman, the sidewalk stars of Nicole Kidman, Steven Spielberg, Halle Berry, Jamie Foxx, and Susan Sarandon.  

Good Spiderman was quite chatty with me, by the way.  I always seem to attract men who are a little "different."

My next stop was Grauman's Chinese Theatre which opened in 1927.  (Do I sound like a tour guide yet?)

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I'm pretty immune to the celebrity-thing, having grown up here.  Nonetheless, it's still a lot of fun to wander around the Forecourt to the Stars and look at the hand/footprints of the famous.

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From the city, the Hollywood sign looks like this:

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As I mentioned last weekend, there's a "secret" hiking trail to reach the sign.  The view on the trail, looking back towards Los Angeles is pretty on a clear day.

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Hollywood Blvd. is pure craziness.  The people watching could not be better.  Then you get up on the trail, and you feel like you've stepped back in time.  It's quiet and serene.  You run into other people hiking now and again, but (at least on a weekday) it isn't crowded at all.  It really was nice.

Also?

When you get close to it, you realize how HUGE the Hollywood sign really is.

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It's gigantic!

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Valentine’s 2011

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you!

I have to admit, Valentine's isn't my favorite holiday.  It isn't, however, my least favorite holiday either.  (My least favorite holiday is New Year's Eve.)

Briefcase is out of town on business today, so we celebrated over the weekend.

First, on Saturday afternoon we checked into the Fairmont hotel in Newport Beach.  I had bought a Groupon for a discounted rate at the Fairmont and given it to Briefcase as a gift at Christmas time.  In turn, he saved it and booked the room for Valentine's weekend. 

Fairmont_Newport_Beach-view

We enjoyed dinner at my favorite restaurant, Mastros.  Mastros is very (!!) expensive, so we usually only visit once in a great while for special occasions.  (And no, we don't normally consider Valentine's Day Mastros-worthy.)  By expensive, I mean it is easy to drop $300 on dinner for two … without even purchasing a bottle of wine.  

In fact, Mastros has a $7,400 bottle of wine on their menu if you feel like splurging.

Many locals consider Mastros the best restaurant in Orange County.  In fact, there are actually two Mastros here (one is a steakhouse and the other is an "ocean club").  And oh, how I love to people-watch every time we make a visit to either one of them!

We began our meal with martinis and a Seafood Tower.  By the way, the martinis at Mastros will set you back about $18 a pop, but they bring a martini shaker to your table for refills and "one" drink ends up generously providing you with, at least, TWO martinis.

Being a total lightweight with alcohol, I was more than a little tipsy.

TowerW
(The above photo was taken with my iPhone.)

I love the presentation of the Seafood Tower.

You pick what you'd like in the tower, and it's served to you on ice and dry ice which creates an amazing, dramatic, effect.  Our tower was small because there were only two of us to share it.  It was made up of a half dozen oysters, two large prawns and two crab claws.  It was a perfect appetizer.  In fact, we enjoyed it so much, we will probably return at some point and make a "dinner" out of cocktails and a slightly larger tower.  Really, it would be plenty of food to make a meal of just that.

Dinner consisted of a salad – which we shared, a bone in filet, and sauteed spinach.  Portions are large at Mastros so we always share sides and salads.  Briefcase ordered a much bigger steak than I did, but we both agreed Mastros serves the most delicious steaks we've ever enjoyed.  Service, as always, was impeccable.  As we were delighting in our dinner, live music was playing.  It made for a very nice evening.

For dessert, we decided to indulge in Mastros famous Butter Cake which is to die for.  We shared the dessert and didn't come close to finishing it.  Yes, I felt guilty for splurging on a carb-laden dessert, but have I mentioned we rarely get a night at Mastros?  If there's ever a time to fall off your diet, it's when you're there.  

After dinner, we watched Burlesque which we both enjoyed.  I had been wanting to see it and was worried it would bore Briefcase to death.  However, the movie is filled with scantily clad women shaking their stuff.  He was anything but bored.  I think riveted might be a better word.

On Sunday morning, we left the hotel and enjoyed a fairly quick breakfast.

At that point, it seemed like a good time to enjoy the beautiful day.  We were close to Little Corona, so we stopped in for some beach time.

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I'll have more pictures of Little Corona in future posts, but suffice it to say it was a spectacular, warm, sunshine-y day.  We walked and hiked for a long time.  What a wonderful way to end the weekend.

© Twenty Four At Heart 

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An Early Valentine’s Celebration

Last night, I spent the night here:

Fairmont-newport-beach

It's the Fairmont Hotel in Newport Beach.

Briefcase booked a night here as an early Valentine's celebration.

I'll have more (but not all) of the details for you soon.

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Did You Know?

Did you know there's a "secret" trail leading up to the famous Hollywood sign?

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Shhhh!!  Don't tell anyone!

I went hiking on it last Thursday.

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Hollywood!

I grew up just north of Los Angeles, not far from Hollywood.

I rarely did tourist-y things, because when you live somewhere you avoid the tourists.

I've been in Hollywood for things I've needed to do over the years, but I hadn't made a trip to the tourist-y spots of Hollywood in years.

Yesterday, that changed.

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Aren't I looking just spectacular with my windblown hair?  We've had warm weather lately, but the heat has been accompanied by Santa Ana winds.  (For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Santa Anas, they often reach hurricane force – particularly in our canyons and foothills.)

Almost as soon as I arrived, I ran into a camera man who was filming in a local mall.  He was losing his patience with the people he was filming.  I couldn't resist taking his photo.  All the tourists were looking at what he was filming, and I was looking at him.

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I don't know what it is about The Camera Man Photo, but I love it.

Here's another very "Hollywood" photo of The Walk of Fame:

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It seemed like everywhere I turned, there were people trying to make a buck.  A lot of times, they were just street people.  Of course, there are a lot of gift and souvenir shops too.  

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I've got more to share with you about my adventures in Hollywood in upcoming days.  It was a loooooooong day (primarily because of the amount of driving time it took to get up there and back).  

I took a lot of photos too, which makes for a very painful bionic arm.  

I'll leave you with one more glimpse of my day before I close.

MarilynW
After all, today's post wouldn't be complete without Marilyn, would it?

© Twenty Four At Heart