Hello, World!

I am not your typical diabetic.  When I was 28, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes (or Type 1 1/2, as my doctor referred to it), which was a shock to everyone who knew me as I had always been thin, healthy and active.  Shortly after recieving my prognosis, I enrolled in a four-week educational course to learn more about the disease, during which a former “graduate” was brought in to speak with us newbies about his experiences and to offer advice.  In the middle of his speech, he singled me out by pointing to my shoes – a brand new pair of Michael Kors wedges that my grandmother had purchased for me after finding out that I was diabetic in the hopes of cheering me up, and which have been referred to in my household ever since as my “diabetes shoes” – and announcing that diabetics should most-definitely NOT be wearing heels of any sort.  He suggested that I run right out and purchase myself a pair of Velcro tennis shoes, which could be loosened at any time to provide for better circulation.  Needless to say, I was horrified!  Not only had I just been diagnosed with a debilitating disease, but I was now being told that I had to wear ugly shoes for the rest of my life to boot!  Way to kick a girl when she’s down!  I decided right then and there that I would start doing my own research on all diabetes-related subjects and not to take anyone’s supposed well-meaning “advice”, including that from doctors, at face-value.  Seven years later, I have gathered immeasurable knowledge of diabetes, my blood is in perfect control and, I am very happy to say, do not own a single pair of Velcro shoes.  I started this blog to share what I have learned with other diabetics in the hopes of helping them to live a happier, healthier and more “well-heeled” life.

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The Beekman Tower Hotel

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While there are several restaurants in New York that I LOVE, there is one in particular that stands out far above the rest.  That restaurant is named the Top of the Tower and it is located on the 26th floor of the Beekman Tower Hotel.  Although the Top of the Tower has been one of my favorite places in all of New York for several years now, I had yet to blog about it because up until a few weeks ago, I didn’t realize it was a filming location – in one of my dad’s favorite movies no less!  Two weeks ago, while looking at the Top of the Tower website, I noticed a small section mentioning that it had been used in film and video shoots.  So I asked Mike, from MovieShotsLA, to call up the hotel to ask what exactly it had been featured in.  For some reason making phone calls like that absolutely terrifies me. I love speaking with people face to face, but phone calls – ugh.  Mike, on the other hand, dreads the face to face, but likes making phone calls.  LOL  What can I say – we make the perfect team.  :)  So anyway, Mike called up the Beekman Tower for me and found out that among other things, the exterior of the hotel was featured in the Matt Damon flick The Bourne Supremacy.  And voila, a blog post was born.  :)

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The landmark art deco style Beekman Tower Hotel was built in 1928 by John Mead Howells.  The building’s many ornamental Gothic details were designed by sculptor Rene Chambellan.  The building, which was previously named the Panhellenic Tower, was originally built as an affordable apartment complex for recent female college graduates belonging to the Greek, or Panhellenic, system – hence the name.  According to the book One Thousand New York Buildings, the Panhellenic instantly became a landmark building as it was “a perfect example of vertical force”.  The twenty-six story building housed 400 separate living spaces, a roof solarium with 360 degree sweeping views of Manhattan (that space is now the Top of the Tower restaurant), and a cocktail lounge.  Not bad for affordable housing, huh?  :)  The Greek Alphabet, which was carved just to the left of the building’s entrance, is still visible to this day.  In 1964 the Panhellenic was sold to a private company who turned it into a regular apartment building.  In the early 90s the building was sold once again and was completely renovated and remodeled and turned into the upscale, all suite Beekman Tower Hotel.  You can view some great photographs of the Panhellenic Building here.

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The Beekman Tower has had several brushes with celebrity.  Katharine Hepburn’s sister was a resident of the Panhellenic Tower in its early years and Ms. Hepburn visited the building frequently.   The photo shoot for Jennifer Hudson’s March 2007 cover story for  Essence Magazine took place at the Top of the Tower.  You can see behind the scenes pics of that photo shoot here.  In November of 2008, a party to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Miles Davis “Kind of Blue” album was also held at the Top of the Tower.   And as I mentioned earlier, the exterior of the Beekman was used in the filming of The Bourne Supremacy.

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I really can’t recommend stalking the Top of the Tower enough!  The food is amazing – the mashed potatoes and mushroom risotto are some of the best I’ve ever had! – the art deco ambiance is beautiful, and the service is perfection.  But more than anything else, it is the breathtaking views that set this restaurant apart.  The Top of the Tower has some of the most amazing views I have ever experienced in my life – especially at night when the city lights make New York extraodinarily spectacular and romantic.  If you only have one night to spend in Manhattan, the Top of the Tower is the place you should spend it.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  :)

Stalk It:The Beekman Tower Hotel is located at 3 Mitchell Place, at the corner of 1st Avenue and 49th Street, in New York City.  You can visit their website here.

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I Am Just So That Into It!

On Friday night, literally the second my boyfriend got off work, I dragged him right out to see new movie He’s Just Not That Into You. He said afterwards that if he had known it was a two-hour-and-nine-minute-long-movie, he never would have agreed to see it. LOL Needless to say, he just wasn’t that into the movie. But I, on the other hand, was! I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! LOVE LOVE LOVED IT! I was practically skipping out of the theatre afterwards, with a huge grin on my face, thinking to myself that movies like HJNTIY are the reason I moved to Hollywood. Movies like that make me want to act. :) I’m not aiming to be the next Meryl Streep and I have no desire to be the darling of the independent film circuit – I just want to make people laugh and walk out of that movie theatre with a big ol’ smile on their face. :) That’s the kind of acting I want to do – and HJNTIY is EXACTLY the kind of movie I hope to someday be a part of. So, in case you didn’t get it the first few times – I LOVED THIS MOVIE! :)

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So, yesterday, after I found one of the movie’s filming locations, I, of course, ran right out to stalk it. :) Although the movie is set in the East Coast city of Baltimore, most of the filming took place – of course – in Los Angeles. Only two weeks of filming actually occured in Baltimore and only four of the HJNTIY actors (Bradley Cooper, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Connelly, and Kevin Connolly) made the trip out to the East Coast. The film’s writers, Marc Silverstein and Abby Kohn, decided to set their story in Baltimore because they had never seen it done before. Most romantic comedies are set in either New York or Los Angeles and Marc and Abby were hoping to shake things up a bit. Since Marc had lived in Baltimore for ten years before moving to L.A. to pursue a screenwriting career, he knew the coastal city well and thought it was the perfect choice to set their story.

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But since I couldn’t very well run right out to Baltimore to stalk HJNTIY, I decided to try to find some of the movie’s West Coast locations. I really wanted to stalk the coffee shop where Drew Barrymore met Kevin Connolly towards the end of the movie, but I struck out on that one. Instead, after a bit of Googling, I happened to find these paparazzi photos of Scarlett Johansson and Bradley Cooper filming a scene at a grocery store in Burbank. From there it was just a matter of finding the right grocery store. And sure enough, I did! :)

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In real life the grocery store is called Handy Market and it is a very cute and very tiny little shop. According to one of the Handy Market checkers, back in October of 2007 the store was shut down for a full day and a half for the filming of the two short scenes that took place there. Scenes were filmed both inside the store – at the first check-out stand and in a few of the aisles – and outside on the market’s exterior West facing wall.

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It’s not hard to see why producers chose to use Handy Market. According to this article about the filming of HJNTIY, director Ken Kwapis said “One of the things that I love about Baltimore is that the texture of the city can be summed-up in one word: brick. The brick textures of the interiors and the exteriors are, to me, so expressive, so distinctive. Being a resident of Baltimore, you may not realize it, but boy, it’s not easy to find a lot of brick in L.A.” LOL Handy’s all-brick exterior must have made it a shoe-in for being used in the movie.

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So, for all of you out there who weren’t like me and didn’t catch HJNTIY on opening night, drop what you’re doing and go see it now! I guarantee you so will be that into it! :)

Until next time, Happy Stalking! :)

Stalk It: Burbank’s Handy Market is located at 2514 W. Magnolia Boulevard in – you guessed it! – Burbank. The Home Depot store located at 16800 Roscoe Boulevard in Van Nuys was also used in He’s Just Not That Into You, although I most likely won’t stalk that location. :) My boyfriend would probably be really excited if I did, though. LOL

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Only in L.A.!

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The other day while I was on my way to acting class I experienced one of those “Only in L.A.” moments that I love so much.  :)   While walking past Lucky Strike Lanes Bowling Alley on Highland Avenue in Hollywood I noticed a vending machine selling Movie Star Maps and I just about died laughing.  LOL  You gotta love it!  I mean in every other city in America there are plenty of street-side vending machines selling newspapers, local publications, and maybe even the occasional apartment locator magazine.  But L.A. is unique. L.A. is special.  Here, right on the street smack dab in the middle of Hollywood, we have a vending machine which sells maps with the addresses of all of your favorite movie stars for the bargain price of $5.  God, I love L.A.!   :)

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Even though the Movie Star Maps vending machine is not a filming location – that I know of! – I still just HAD to blog about it.  :)

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Until next time, Happy Stalking!  :)

Stalk It: The Movie Star Maps vending machine is located on North Highland Avenue, in between Hollywood Boulevard and Yucca Street, just a few feet north of Lucky Strike Lanes Bowling Alley.

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Grow Your Own Paparazzi!

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As a “just because” present my good friend Nat recently gave me a Sigg water bottle with a paparazzi on it (pictured above).  LOL!  I love it.  Now I can have a paparazzi following me every time I take a sip of water.  :)  And the best part is, it’s pink!   Best present ever!  Anyway, while not a filming location, I thought the Sigg bottle was hilarious and definitely blog-worthy.   If you want your very own paparazzi Sigg bottle – or need a present for the celeb-obsessed struggling actress in your life – you can order one here.  :)

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This same friend also bought me a “Grow Your Own Paparazzi” toy (pictured above) for Christmas last year.  She has quite the sense of humor.  LOL   I plan on using it on those down days when I feel like my acting career is taking off far too slowly.  :)  LOL

Stalk It: You can purchase the paparazzi Sigg water bottle here.  And you can get your own “Grow Your Own Paparazzi” toy here.

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The 90210 Pilot Church

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A few days ago I sent Mike, from MovieShotsLA, a screen capture of the church featured in the pilot episode of Beverly Hills, 90210.  I had a hunch he might know where it was located – and, sure enough, he did!  He immediately called me and said “That’s the Spiderman  church!” as it was also used in the filming of Spiderman 3.  :)  God, he’s good!  St. Brendan Church – or as Mike and I like to call it, the “pilot church” – was built in 1927 by Los Angeles area architect Emmett Martin. 

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In the pilot episode of 90210, Brenda, not wanting her new twenty-something boyfriend Jason to know that she is only sixteen years old and still living at home with her parents, lies and says that she is attending UCLA and living in a sorority house named Sigma Rho Tau.  After their first date, Jason drops Brenda off in front of her fake sorority house, which just happens to be located next door to a church.  That church is St. Brendan and that sorority house is not really a sorority house at all, but the church rectory.   As you can see in the above screen captures, all the producers had to do was add a sign with the sorority’s name to the outside of the rectory and cover up the stained glass window with a bulletin board – and voila, they had themselves a sorority house!

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While researching St. Brendan Church earlier today I remembered something very ironic from my past.  I can’t even believe I’m admitting to this – in a public forum no less – but you only live once, so here goes!  When I was in high school I receieved the Sacrament of Confirmation.  At the time I was fifteen years old and deep in the throws of my 90210  obsession.  So much so in fact, that I chose Brendan, after St. Brendan, as my confirmation name.  In the Catholic faith, when ones receives the Sacrament of Confirmation, they are to adopt the name of a patron saint who is said to then guide and protect them.  Confirmation candidates are supposed to study the history of the saints and find one that represents the type of Christian they want to become.  But for me the choice was easy.  Once I found out there was a saint named Brendan, that was it for me!  Of course, the female version of the name Brendan is Brenda.  :)  Yes, I was THAT obsessed.  LOL  Being that my mother wanted to kill me when she found out the saint name I chose, this little episode of my life has been a long running joke in my family.  LOL  So earlier today when I found out that St. Brendan was the name of the 90210 church, I just about fell out of my chair.    

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St. Brendan actually has quite a rich filming history.  Besides the pilot episode of Beverly Hills, 90210, the church was also featured in Armageddon as the location of Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler’s wedding.  You can watch the wedding scene here.

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It was the location of Stephanie Seymor and Axl Rose’s wedding in the Guns N’ Roses music video for the song “November Rain”.    On a side note – I must say that I absolutely LOVE Stephanie Seymour’s wedding dress from the video (pictured above).  I am gonna have to get me one of those for my wedding!  LOL  As if!!  :)  You can watch the “November Rain” music video here.

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In the Season Four episode of  CSI: Miami entitled “From the Grave”, my fave Horatio Caine confessed his sins at Saint Brendan.  The church was also featured in the 1953 version of War of the Worlds (as the location where the residents of L.A. gather during the final scenes of the movie),  Spiderman 3 (the interior is where Topher Grace prayed for God to kill Peter Parker), Fight Club (Edward Norton’s cancer support group was held there), and an episode of Unsolved Mysteries.  You can see interior pics of the church on the Saint Brendan website.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  :)

Stalk It: The Beverly Hills, 90210  pilot church, aka St. Brendan, is located at 310 South Van Ness Avenue in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles.

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The Father of the Bride Apartment

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I must bow down yet again to Mike over at MovieShotsLA for finding a filming location that has eluded me for years!  Ever since seeing Father of the Bride Part II  way back in 1995 – has it honestly been that long??? – I have been obsessed with Kimberly Williams’ Spanish style apartment building from the movie (pictured above).   I can still remember sitting in the theatre thinking that one day I wanted to live in an apartment building just like hers!  So the other day when Mike called me and asked if there were any locations I was currently stumped on, I remembered my obsession with the Father of the Bride  apartment and enlisted his help in locating it.  Sure enough, not even an hour later I got an email from him with a link to the address!  I am telling you, the guy is unbelievable!    So, bright and early the following morning I ran right out to finally stalk Annie’s apartment building.  :)

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The small building, named La Casa Torre, is located in Pasadena and actually consists of eight condominium units situated around a picturesque central courtyard area, complete with a fountain.  The complex was built in 1927 by renowned Pasadena area architect Everett Phillips Babcock, who is famous for designing numerous Spanish style residences in the San Gabriel Valley.  Babcock started off his career working for prominent Los Angeles architect Wallace Neff, who just happens to have designed the famous French Normandy style home Brad and Jen lived during their married years.  In his design of La Casa Torre, Babcock implemented numerous Italian, Spanish, and Moorish details and each apartment boasted a real wood burning fireplace, mahogany floors, and travertine walls.  Adding to the building’s charm is the fact that no two units are alike.  La Casa Torre was featured in the 1996 book Courtyard Housing in Los Angeles  and is currently under evaluation by the City of Pasadena to receive historic landmark status. 

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Although it has been over fourteen years since Father of the Bride Part II  was filmed at this location, the building looks very much the same today as it did in the movie.  The foliage is somewhat overgrown now and the courtyard is not quite as picturesque as it appeared onscreen, but for all intents and purposes La Casa Torre hasn’t changed much since filming took place.  And I can’t tell you how excited I was to be seeing it in person!

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Ironically, it turns out that I used to work just down the street from Annie’s building and must have driven past it about a hundred times, but never recognized it.  In reality, the central courtyard is located behind and off to the side of the main building and therefore the complex doesn’t look like your typical couryard apartment building.  So I never stopped to check it out.  LOL  La Casa Torre is located just down the street from the house that was used as Steve Martin and Diane Keaton’s home in both Father of the Bride  movies.   Looks like when Annie moved out of her parents’ house she didn’t go very far.  :)

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  :)

Stalk It: Annie’s apartment building from Father of the Bride Part II  is located at 611-627 California Boulevard in Pasadena.  Annie lived in Unit 619.  Remember the building and courtyard are private property  – while it is OK to look, it is not OK to trespass.  :)

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