Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lace experiments

This skirt was conceived when I made a similar skirt for a friend of mine out of just a soft pink fabric from a simple pattern. I wanted to make a skirt just like the one I made for her but unfortunately did not have the pattern to go off of so I made it up and it turned out quite similar but not exactly copy and once again I though that the addition of black lace paired with the soft lavender would make a vivid contrast similar to what is done with lingerie. I had this scrap piece of lace that I decided to use with it. What I did not take into account was that the lavender was stretchy while the lace was not... Fortunately I was sewing for myself and the fact that it just barely could slide up over my hips was just fine, otherwise I or anybody else may have had a hard time putting it on, the purpose of stretch was kind of defeated. Also, since I was into dancing at that time I decided a slit would be just the thing and added the lace at the bottom to balance the top! This skirt isnt as flowy as I prefer but it definitely works for practices and dance parties. I am really a fan of the contrast of black lace in contrast with a more softer lighter fabric.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lets Scrap...skirt?

So Im not quite sure if its a good or bad habit but every time I go to a fabric store I always go through the remnant pile and find some piece I really like but I have no clue what I will be using it for a the time, but Ill get it anyway. There are several pieces in my fabric collection waiting for their time. That was the story with this silky grey sheer print material. Then one day after another skirt I made with the lavender material I accidentally saw them next to each other and since the grey draped and flowed so nicely I really wanted alot of it kind of bunched together...actually I have no clue how I came up with this design except that I had two pieces of fabric and I just combined them. This was quite a while ago too, one of my first non pattern followed pieces. The two fabrics complement each other quite well, I think, despite the different colors and feels. Turned out quite fun...but again, hard to match. I like to wear it to dance parties or socials as it can pass for both latin and standard skirt, although I consider it more latin. Scrap materials can be the most fun sometimes!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Victorian elegance

This is the skirt piece to the 2-piece prom "dress" set I made myself Senior year of high school. At this point Im still learning and this was the "biggest" project that I had made at that point in time. The top, a corset, broke and was not ever perfect to begin with so it was taken apart and I began to put it back together and now it has been in my "Unfinished business" box for over 4 years, I still plan on bringing it to completion, when is a different story. I really wanted to make my prom dress that year and really liked the mixture of 17th century nobility and victorian so I picked a red fabric and black lace trim, but unfortunately I could have chosen a different better fabric, something rich and smooth for the occasion. Instead, I chose a stretch dance fabric that is better suited for latin dresses or skating costumes than a prom dress (probably part of the reason the corset didn't turn out as I planned, as it was my first corset attempt basically as well.) Anyway, I still love the skirt style and the red with black lace combo, but unfortunately don't have many occasions to wear it to, as you cannot really dance in it, or find tops to match it. Besides prom, I think I wore it one other time to a new years party. All is a learning experience.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

An autumn day in Spring

This dress was also one of my beginning projects that started with me buying fabric that I really liked and not knowing what to do with it. It is one of those learning projects. Its a mock brocade, and this was the result: very simple, not really fitted but giving a light summery feel without the weight of real brocade (I absolutely love real brocades as much of a pain they are to work with. Such a rich feel!) Ive worn this dress several times, to a wedding, to open dances, to semi-formal parties, on a nice summer date. My favorite is to pair it with red heels and some small red jewelry. Gold goes great too though.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A step in the right direction

Im not starting a design business just yet and or in the immediate future but I did decide to make a portfolio of sorts of most of the more presentable wardrobe pieces that I have made in the past 5 or more years as it would be a good start and push in the direction of my desired career of designer. Although most of my past pieces have been day wear it has slowly transformed into a specified direction of ballroom and latin dance wear.

I wont put them all in one post but Ill keep it to one article per post to get feedback and keep it organized... But well start with a fall theme... This skirt was one of the first things I ever made. One of my mom's friends helped me with the pattern and the fabric was very unique. Back when I was first starting to sew I didnt really know much about what fabrics go well with what designs but I would say this was a success even though its quite a challenge to match this skirt with tops.

Photography by Anna Alekseyev.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The power of heels

I love shoes! I was just randomly browsing a site, and found these gorgeous pieces of art for your feet. Men and woman alike often wonder why some women willingly go through that torture of a new 5inch shiny pair of shoes; shoes are the ultimate fashion accessory. Its amazing what a pair of shoes will do for a woman. A gorgeous pair of heels not only enhances the ideal curve for the female body but also gives a woman that extra bit of confidence that few other things can achieve. A pair of heels is a power. A secret weapon of outwardly femininity. And thats besides what they actually do for the body, like "put the booty on a pedestal", arch the back, tuck in the tummy, slim the shiluoette, accentuate the bust, and most importantly of all extend the leg line, curving the foot to produce a most elegant line from head to toe, with an additional sexy swaying of the hips when walking. But, one must remember that although they bring out a confidence and grace, and can help emphasize it, a hunch or stumbling can ruin it if you are not careful. Please please be able to walk in the shoes if you are going to wear them and please don't pigeon toe. It breaks all those amazing lines that heels want to create naturally. Your legs may still look great but the poise of the body diminishes and its all about straight legs and a head held high with a radiant smile. A shoe does not even have to be that fancy, take that simple black pump, simple yet provocative with the red sole. Of course the ultimate pair of heels is not only beautiful but also comfortable, because a comfortable woman is a confident woman, and the confident woman is a beautiful woman, but as the quote goes, "Beauty is pain"; sometimes sacrifices must be made, the intention just must be clear. And for a fun fact, the first stilletto (italian for small dagger) was invented in 1954 by Roger Vivier for the house of Dior.

Being on a tight budget for most of my life I cannot afford the glory of a real italian shoe regularly. But when I was able to get my hands on a good pair of shoes (not chinese made), well made and selling for more than a pretty penny (always bought on sale of course), those are the shoes that last me the longest and give my feet the least amount of suffering. It seems that my feet just feel so at home in them. Take for example my Juicy Couture boots that Ive been wearing for 4 winters now and counting, that have provided me with comfort, waterproofing and unique elegance every time, whether on a casual day in class or a night out (I just have to polish them off once in a while). Nothing compares to trying on a pair of nice italian shoes. Without even looking at the price or the brand you know you are wearing something special. Your feel meld into them. The leather is perfectly supple, strong and soft at the same time and you can feel the magic that the shoes are infused with.

Well, happy shopping! Just be wise. A woman is a beautiful woman without the shoes as well.

Refer to http://www.lifeinitaly.com/fashion/high-heels.asp for more information and history.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Jewelry - My cup of tea

While wandering the Ann Arbor Art Fair with my friend, we came across this booth of jewelry makers:

And they have some of the most exquisitely crafted jewelry...well in my taste, especially the rings. And they custom make stuff too, if you have a stone you want to use! If I ever get married, (well the ring is not that important to me, except it should be gold if anything) I'd like one of theirs, I think. Very unique, not abnormally large or hefty, or pointy, not overpowering, quite delicate instead. And the band comes together with it very artistically, if you want. And they don't cost an arm and a leg.
Simple band is even quite fancy

Their bigger, more fancy rings are stunning in a very aristocratic, delicate style as well.

Amethyst and Garnet with pearls

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The man in black

I think I have discovered the source of my fixation with masked men. I have this strange fascination for mysterious men wearing masks for as long as Ive been able to recognize what is attractive in a man, ie. zorro, the Opera ghost, V, etc. (my friends can vouch for me). I recently rewatched this movie that I havent seen since my childhood, it's called "The Princess Bride", many may have heard about it, or even seen it. As I was watching it I definitely understood a lot more of than when I was younger and a lot of the plot made more sense. I was half expecting it to be a cheesy story with cheesy acting, as many movies are when you watch them later on in life, as great as you remember them to be and as fond of memories they stir in you. But, on the contrary, it was still an amazing love-adventure story and believe it or not I fell in love with Wesley all over again. Mysterious masked man in black, great with a sword, trying to save the princess through sword fights, giants, poison, fire swamps, ROUSs, torture machines...all for true love... All the while keeping his cool and slightly sarcastic exterior, and all the while believing true love will conquer all. I really like this movie! This was probably one of my first favorite movies too and I remember when we were kids, me, my brother and our friends would act it out, and I was always the princess :).
The princess however I may have some qualms with. I guess there is some deep desire to be a pure princess and be rescued...Ah! to be rescued in the name of love! But, I always saw myself being more of a Xena warrior princess than a completely helpless damsel in distress. I mean there are moments where Princess Buttercup stands up for herself, but there are moments where I think to myself, how can you seriously be sooo helpless! Like when she just stands there and watches Wesley wrestle the Giant Rat unable to pick up a stick and at least try to help him somehow. I suppose I cannot be to quick to judge though, as you cant really say what you would have done in the situation unless you were really there. Still... she is however necessary in exactly this state for the story to be as good as it is though. A romantic adventure.
I suppose true love is true love and if they love each other through thick and thin, that is an amazing accomplishment, and to think that they both started as peasants.

The man in black shall forever be my ideal rescuer however. He is handsome, smart, agile, a master swordsman, can ride a horse, keeps his cool, has extraordinary will power and courage, rescues his beloved through anything and everything and on top of that...he's a pirate...in a mask!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Lovely One...

Lovely one,
just as on the cool stone
of the spring, the water
opens a wide flash of foam,
so is the smile of your face,
lovely one.

Lovely one,
with delicate hands and slender feet
like a silver pony,
walking, flower of the world,
thus I see you,
lovely one.

Lovely one,
with a nest of copper entangled
on your head, a nest
the color of dark honey
where my heart burns and rests,
lovely one.

Lovely one,
your eyes are too big for your face,
your eyes are too big for the earth.

There are countries, there are rivers,
in your eyes,
my country is your eyes,
I walk through them,
they light the world
through which I walk,
lovely one.

Lovely one,
your breasts are like two loaves made
of grainy earth and golden moon,
lovely one.

Lovely one,
your waist,
my arm shaped it like a river when
it flowed a thousand years through your sweet body,
lovely one.

Lovely one,
there is nothing like your hips,
perhaps earth has
in some hidden place
the curve and the fragrance of your body,
perhaps in some place,
lovely one.

Lovely one, my lovely one,
your voice, your skin, your nails,
lovely one, my lovely one,
your being, your light, your shadow,
lovely one,
all that is mine, lovely one,
all that is mine, my dear,
when you walk or rest,
when you sing or sleep,
when you suffer or dream,
when you are near or far,
you are mine, my lovely one,

"Call the number on your screen toll free if you need some romance in your life..." lol

Pablo Neruda is one of my favorite poets. He was a Chilean Communist and political figure but also a poet and has some of the most beautiful poetry I've ever read. The metaphors are really what make it so vivid and romantic and *sigh. Even though all of his poems are originally in Spanish I think, the English translations are still phenomenol.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sunday - Day 5 of Nationals 2010

This was the busiest and hardest most tiring day of all! Started with prechamp Smooth... which we won, woohooo!!! Then it was Prechamp Standard and Prechamp Latin, a couple hour break for lunch and rest, and then the night event, Champ Smooth.
After winning Prechamp smooth, thanks only to my new heel protectors that helped me stay balanced, 4th in Prechamp standard was the most unexpected success. I remember thinking, "Let's just make it to the second round!" After seeing our number on the screen I was ecstatic. Next I thought we'd be lucky to make it to the next round but didnt hope for much, and then we did! My hope, but not expectation, was only to make semi's and we were now in quarters. By the end of that round my feet were in almost unbearable pain and I thought we were done. Then again, our number on that screen and the next round. I thought thats it, my goal complete, I dont think I even want to be in the finals anymore... I dont think my feet will survive the finals, but then Alex comes up and says, "Well I hope you have one more in you... because were in the finals!" Being very tired, the key to dancing is revealed...stay relaxed! It helps. But if you want to know the real reason why we danced to so well?...Because Andrei Gavriline was watching that entire Standard section and I danced and smiled my heart out for him, well and for ourselves as well, but you know. Anyway, it was fun, we did great! I was happy and the pain was worth it.

Prechamp Latin took us to our goal: semifinals. I cannot believe that my favorite Rumba songs came on for one of the rounds. It was an amazing experience. Also they played this fun reggaeton Samba and for some reason, similarly as in the Arnold dance comp during the samba I had this feeling come over me halfway through, a feeling rejoicing, "This is so much fun! This is why I dance!" To feel the music overtake your body, the rhythm pumping through you, your body responds to it with joy and movement.

After the complete exhaustion, nourishing and abundant food and a nap are in due order. We went to this classic LA breakfast joint called the Pantry. I think I got one of the omelettes, and then we split a peach cobbler... let me just mention how enormous all the portions are to match the prices.

Although we didn't get past the first round (Semi's) of Champ Smooth, it was exhilarating to be under those night event lights.

Then of course we watched the Youth Champ Standard and Adult Champ Latin. And we took pictures. Im not one too much into photography but when I get the chance its a lot of fun and I do enjoy it. And that was it. Competition over.

Pasha and Daniella won latin! How cute are they!? Sooo good!

And yes... these are magical baller shades... to match my baller 1st place medal...hehehe, jk.

Time for sleep.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

LA Day 4 - Novice Standard

Novice Standard at 8.30am! That means wake up at 6am. For some reason two hours is hardly ever enough time to finish hair and make-up preparation, especially with the fancier doo for standard. Made it in just in time to get our costumes on and fortunately our event was not until 10.30 am. So we had some time for food and warming up
. I guess there is not much to tell about dancing the waltz, foxtrot, quickstep for 4 rounds. There are some beautiful dresses out there I have to say though. And as proud of my yellow dress as I have been, I realize it is quite unsparkly and rough compared to most other
dresses. But the more I look at others' costumes and the more I go through vendors' wardrobes the more conscious I become of what I like and don't like, what lines look good on people and what color do not. Its always fascinating.

We placed 4th in Standard. Better than we expected and definitely very pleasing.

After Standard, being very hungry I really wanted to try this German Bratwurst place that Henry mentioned on our first day but that we had not been able to go to yet. We were going to have lunch with some of Alex's relatives later who live not too far from LA. Still, they were not going to make it for a while and we called Henry up to see if we could all get together for lunch at Wurstkuche, it was his Birthday as well anyways! You wouldn't guess it... it was extraordinary! They had sausages from mozarella/tomato to alligator/pork and rabbit/rattlesnake and delicious cucumber drinks. Satisfied those meaty urges for sure!


After we got back to the hotel we were supposed to go for a second lunch with family but still not for a while. Bottega Louis. (Again per Henry's suggestion ;) But, before we went, we had to wait for his relatives to get there during which time we had a little photo shoot session as the conditions were prime. We got to wait in this really pretty and empty bar/restaurant lounge a really with soft colored decor and floor to ceiling windows providing beautiful natural light.
The pictures that turned out were all absolutely gorgeous with some weirdness involved...because apparently I cannot model for more than 2 minutes without screwing up my face.

After lunch, all of us took a ride to Beverly Hills, down Rodeo Dr, past UCLA, and up Sunset Blvd, etc. I thought it unwise to even get out of the car to walk around, I felt too much of a tourist as it was gawking and exclaiming at every car and store we passed, and its not as if I was really going to buy anything anyway. But, just passing all of those stores, like Juicy Couture, Ferragamo, Bagdley Mischka, etc was quite exhilarating. After the drive and a stop by a cafe we came back to the hotel and started to get ready for the Saturday night show: the adult champ standard finals and youth latin finals.
Funny story: as we got to the front desk to buy tickets for the evening show the tickets were all sold out so we stood and waited until the situation was sorted out. People were running around looking for Daphna, trying to find way to get in. We got on the list for standing room and had to wait our turned to be let in. Next to us was a man also waiting. Alex was small talking as he usually does and this man was trying to not let anyone take his spot ahead of him. Finally his name is called - Tudor. The UMBDT team president of many years past. And we didnt even know. We all laughed about it and continued with some memories of past and how much the team had changed and grown. It was quite pleasant to meet older team members in a ballroom setting, to know that it still goes on, long after you have left the team. Everyone treasures the dancing and the friends and relationships developed while part of the ballroom dance team at University of Michigan.
Ah! Pasha Pashkov and Daniella Karagach are something special. Its strange how not very many couples smile on the dance floor, but these two are just so serene and happy and you just get happy watching them!

And these kids are also simply phenomenol! I love couples who are naturally happy, charismatic and not very forceful on the dance floor and yet still stand out as the best. And who complement each other so well.
The show included showcases by Eugene Katsevman and Maria Manusova as well as Victor Fung and Anastasia.
You know who else makes me happy? Andrei Gavriline. Im not a stalker or anything but that is one beautiful man with some beautiful hair. I think he caught me using Alex's mega zoom lens to take pictures of him but I hope he wasn't freaked out. I just really admire him. Alex wanted me to go up and take a picture with him as several years ago they did a showcase at UofM for us and I met them and did their music, but I was too scared/shy to even say hi to him and Elena. Yea, I know.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Day 3 LA - Novice Latin

Novice Latin at 1pm.

Lets see...If we have to be there by 12 that means we should leave the apartment at 11.30 or so that means I have to get up at 9.30 and start getting ready. Ok not too bad. Hair, makeup - done - with difficulty as always. Time for breakfast - no. Called the cab twice because the first time they never picked us up but registered it as if they did. While waiting we grabbed a quick bite at the food court, I think it was some kind of shawarma or something, very difficult to eat let just put it that way, and besides a few bites we didn't really get to eat it until after dancing. Alex's mom actually came into to LA the night before and was staying for the weekend with her friend to watch us dance. She is quite the mother, very funny, very cute, very adoring.
Novice Latin went great! Made it to the finals! 5th place! The only thing that really bothered me (which turned out to be ok) was that while standing in line for the Latin, I spot two older men staring at me and whispering to each other. Alex asks if there is a problem and I ask if its about the feathers I have attached to my costume. They don't give us an answer and instead turn to each other and start talking, then they call over an on-deck lady (who is really nice actually) and started discussing with her. They wouldn't even tell me what was wrong which was really frustrating because its my costume after all and I would know best how to fix it. I was borrowing my friend Alice's latin dress and she let me pin it up and alter it a bit for a bit more flamboyant look and attach the pink boa. It worked out great. The lady finally turns to me and starts readjusting my dress, she starts to explain that I have to much skin showing on my hip and that area cannot be shown. Well thanks for telling me! I fixed it by tucking a piece of my dress over it and it was easy and didn't cause too much stress but it was a bit annoying when people don't tell you directly what is wrong and start to figure it out without your input especially when it concerns you. But in the end all went well.
The restaurant we went to was called the Farm, I believe. My caramelized pear sandwich and fries was quite delicious. After lunch we lounged around the hotel room, watched a few rounds of adult latin and then decided to head home since Henry invited us to a Bingo night that the apartment complex we were staying at was having. And we decided get a few groceries along the way. The mistake however was the walk with the heavy grocery bags. It was quite torturous but we made it.
The bingo night is arranged by the owner of the apartment complex in the little food court area with free food and drinks from the little shops. There were quesadillas, tacos and margaritas, chinese food, various mac-and-cheese trays, beer and BINGO, with real prizes, quite good ones too. We hung out with Henry and met some of his friends but retired to bed early as Standard will be at 8:30 in the morning the next day.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Day 2 in Los Angeles

Second day in LA started with an amazing breakfast at Nickel diner which is a local breakfast place down the street from the loft. I had an amazing baked dutch pancake which is a pancake baked not fried with cinnamon and apples. By Henry's recommendation I also got a maple bacon donut which was an experience definitely worth having: its a super soft donut toped with bacon bits and covered in delicious maple glaze. It was savory sweetness in the mouth...I mean come on, bacon on a donut!
Then we headed a couple blocks down to the metro station. On our way through a square, I suddenly spot... a cow. Go figure. But it was standing atop several stairs with its front legs tied together so it couldn't walk anywhere and a guy was holding it by the halter. The poor animal was sooo stressed I felt so bad for it! People would stop and stare and the guy said it was for a commercial or something when I asked. So that was basically my first impression of LA. (Besides the amazing food!)

The subway pass was $5 for the entire day and was applicable for the metro and the bus system (whoever said LA doesn't have public transport was wrong: its actually quick and convenient). Our first stop was to be Hollywood. We mistakenly got off on the wrong stop, because there are about 5 stops with the word Hollywood in them, but the mistake was easily corrected and next we got off at hollywood highland stop to come out right at the star walk or walk of fame. It was pretty exciting to be at a place you always see on tv. And there were so many “fake stars” or people dressed in costumes of famous people, ie. MJ, Marilyn Monroe, Yoda, Zorro, etc. They were all very pushy in a friendly way for pictures but definitely asked for money afterwards which is expected but when you refused to take pictures they would get upset. After walking around here for a few minutes I realized I needed a hat because my head was getting really hot and I didn't want to risk heat stroke or anything and Alex realized he needed sunglasses if we were to survive outdoors in Cali. We went into an H&M store right across the street and Alex was inroduced to the awesomeness of that store. (well I at least really like it). He got glasses for $5 and I got a hat for $6. Pretty good deal I think. Next we walked around the mall for a bit, the main purpose of which was to find a bridge from which we could take a picture of the Hollywood sign on the mountain. Mission accomplished we went back down to the Metro to try and get to Santa Monica beach. After a very long and cramped bus ride for about an hour, we finally got off at the beach! Did I mention yet how happy I get when I see palm trees? We were getting hungry by now and stopped by a tiny little grocery/cafe and got 2 ice cream cones and a cannolli for $4.50 total! Is that awesome or what?! The plan now was to do nothing but relax on the beach. It was actually surprisingly chilly and windy at the water front and a bit later in the day than we had planned to be there by and I was reluctant to lay out in nothing but a bathing suit. It was a glorious time nonetheless. Napping in the sun listening to Bob Marley... Ah! Cant really ask for more. After it started getting pretty late we decided to start looking for some place to eat. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. was way to crowded and while watching the sun set we came across a small bar on the beach where we had some fish and chips to warm us up and prepare for an hour bus ride home. There sure are some strange people in Los Angeles. We were a bit anxious to get back as we didnt want to be walking around very late at night but fortunately our neighborhood was having an Art Walk where all the local artists open their studios and artsy people swarm the streets. We got home, and I still had to do my nails and fix my dress and sew some buttons, but all was completed as it should be by about 2am and sleep was very welcome.

Next day is first day of competition: Novice Latin at 1pm.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Nationals in LA!!

April 7-13 I went to Los Angeles for the USA Dance National Ballroom Competition. It takes place in the brand new JW Marriot hotel. This is something that has been looming for a while. When I started dancing with Alex in the beginning of the school year, I did not necessarily wan to go to Nationals since I went with Eric last year and LA is soooo much farther and more expensive than Baltimore. I was pretty against going, in fact I was trying to push for the MIT comp. But after several months of dancing I realized how much going meant to Alex and how much he actually wanted to go and I began to get accustomed to the idea. Then the issue of expense of course. A plane ticket to LA was about 300 each and the registration is about $60 dollars an event, and if we planned on 6 events.....yeah! plus lodging and transportation and other random expenses. This is when we decided, not without controversy, a sort of donation fund to ask our friends, family and fans to help us out. It started out by just a few people donating a few bucks to then parents chipping in and then other people that have come to support and enjoy our dancing donating genuinely out of the goodness of their hearts. It was absolutely amazing and heartwarming to see how many people supported us. Without them this trip could not have happened, and this trip meant very much to us. Kind of the end of our college dancing days as we know them. I do definitely plan on dancing wherever I may end up in my life.

Alex and I left at 7 in the morning on Wednesday to catch our flight at 8.30. Checked two bags, I argued that we don't need to check two bags because 1. its money 2. We only need to check one because I am able to pack very tightly. But, I was persuaded otherwise since the bag would be to heavy, and "what about all those shoes you're taking?", etc. It will be ok. Fine. Two bags it is. It definitely was less stressful to pack that way with the extra room. I hate baggage though. (In all senses). Flight was uneventful. Detroit -> Philadelphia -> Los Angeles. Upon getting to LA however the adventures began. We were to stay right downtown, fashion district (YEAYA!), at a loft of a friend of mine who was at that time in business in Hawaii. The plan was to rent a car for the week to be able to drive around and be free to explore as well as get to the JW Marriot where the competition was to take place. We were to shuttle to the car rental, rent a car and drive into town. Easy right? We waited for the Advantage rental car shuttle from the airport for about 40 mins while all the other shuttles came every 2 mins. Finally we got on the shuttle, sharing it with 2 young married couples visiting LA from Hawaii who loved "Dancing with the Stars" and wished us the best of luck. There was also an older man on business who with his wife also admired the dancing show. Upon arriving at the car rental the $300 dollar car rental for the week turned out, with all the insurance fees, underage fees, fees fees fees, a magical number $719. WHich was definitely out of our means. Then, after much deliberation and calls and decision making, we decided to drop the car idea and figure out the changed game plan when from a safer, homier location. Ijust wanted to get to a place of rest and food. Luckily, the older man waited for us the entire time and offered us a ride to the city. He kept saying how he needs to complete his good Samaritan deed for the day. It was super nice of him, without the help this would have been more difficult and costly. He gave us tips of where to visit and waited for us for like 45 minutes until we figure out what we are doing and if we needed any help. We got to our loft at around 8pm. We met Henry, our neighbor who was to pass over the key to the place. Henry is probably the single best person to know in LA it turns out. He knows all the good places to eat, he knows that you actually do not need a car to get around LA (as people here in MI convinced us is necessary), because LA has a great metro and bus system. His recommendations raised our trip experience several levels. We were very grateful we did not spend any of the money on a car and after unpacking a bit the three of us went out to dinner in the Japanese section of town. The little place we went, Alex assured us was the closest thing to the real Japan experience and food as he has ever experienced in the US since he had been to Japan. We were greeted in japanese when we came in, we sat on cushions on the floor at a low table, and the food was delectable. Like I said, Henry only recommends the best. No, its hard to explain how good it was. And the perfect topper to the meal was some hot sake.

Or maybe it was in combination with the fact that we hadn't eaten all day basically (except for the messiest, not very good, expensive Philly steak sandwich in the Philly airport). Before going back to the apartment henry took us on a quick tour of downtown to see the lights and nightlife. Coming back to the apartment we had a plan of what we were going to do the next day and possibly week, thanking God for Henry and his advice and his amazing personality.
LA, Bih!

Next day -> Holly wood and Santa Monica Beach