Friday, April 11, 2014

Life Lessons I Learned from "Beverly Hills, 90210"

First of all, if you've never watched "Beverly Hills, 90210", you have missed out big time and you need to fix that right away. For the record though, and to quote my silly dad who once said to me when trying to get me to try food, "I didn't say it was good, I said you should try it."

There is no better way to describe "Beverly Hills, 90210". Frankly, the show sucks. There is absolutely nothing redeemable about it and I understand why people laugh at the idea of watching it. And yet, it's one of my favorite guilty pleasures. Why? Because it's absolutely that ludicrous. It's an experience you won't get from any other show (as far as I know) and you're likely to laugh for years over the ridiculous moments of it.

We are all used to shows from back in the day trying to teach us life lessons. Don't have unprotected sex, don't go out with abusive people, don't do drugs, etc. However, no show did it better than 90210. Sorry, did I say better? I meant worse.

The point is, there is no show that can teach you Valuable Life Lessons more than BH, 90210!

Click through the slide show to learn some things that your parents never told you.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Restaurant Floor Plans...and wait, We're Taking a Vacation?

This past week, we were constantly discussing with our contractor the floor plan and the use of soffits. Therefore, I took it upon myself to make a 3D design of his floor plan.

This was the first time we got a look at what our restaurant would actually look like! It was exciting to finally see our vision come to life. Of course, certain things may be subject to slight alterations, but we expect the final product to look fairly similar to these images. Our restaurant will seat around 80 customers, between our indoor and spacious outdoor seating.

Yesterday, we took a drive over to the restaurant to see what had happened so far. The metal walls were all stacked inside, ready to go, and the floor was chalked up with lines for each wall and the soffits. I'd be lying if I said we didn't pretend to sit in the seats and hand invisible plates over the pass. We also couldn't resist the chance to write on the bare walls - "Gwith and Justine Were Here - 2014".

There's not a lot more restaurant news to report at this point. Everything is progressing well and I can't wait to share more photos once the walls are built up!

In the meantime, Gwith and I are planning our first trip to Europe as a couple. We were originally planning to go for our anniversary this year, however, since we're opening the restaurant, we decided to go before. Next month, we'll be going to Italy, Switzerland, France, and Belgium! I'm excited for everything but Gwith is most excited to eat chocolate in Belgium and Switzerland, bologna in Bologna, and a croissant in Paris. He's a chef, so what else can you expect! We'll be doing a cheese and wine tour in Florence, which should satisfy his craving to try the wines and my craving to eat as much cheese as physically possible. I'll also be enjoying the many gluten free options that Italy has to offer. Apparently, they're very GF friendly! I can't wait to have a GF pizza in Italy!

Our other trip highlight includes a dinner cruise along the Siene River. After taking a dinner cruise on the bay in San Francisco, I decided that we now have to take dinner cruises in every beautiful city that offers one. Words cannot describe how excited I am to ride along the river, looking at Paris lit up at night. It seems magical, just dreaming about it.

By the time we've arrived back, I'm assuming the restaurant will have progressed quite a bit. As much as I love seeing it day by day, it will be incredibly cool to see it jump from one look to another in a matter of weeks!

Reserve Now

30990 Russell Ranch Rd Unit C, Westlake Village, CA 91362
© 2014 Aroha Restaurant.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dear HIMYM, I Almost Broke My TV Last Night

Before I go on a long, long, LONG, rampage about last nights "How I Met Your Mother" series finale, there will be plenty of SPOILERS so stop reading now (and probably get off the internet while you're at it) if you don't want to hear all about it.

As a fan, I've been an interesting one. I started watching the show in 2005 at 14 years old. In the first two seasons, I loved Robin and Ted and wished that Robin would be the mother. I remember bouncing around the upstairs hallway jabbering on and on about if the show played their cards right, they could be the next "Friends". Fast forward to season 5 - oh wait. Actually. I have a much better way to write this whole thing. I'll write it like that awful, awful, finale, jumping from year to year, going through the highs and mostly the lows, and then the earth shattering finish.

September 2005 (Future self narrating to my pet rabbit...I'm 14 years old in the flashback)

Narrator says: "Willow, I'm going to tell you the story of how I started watching How I Met Your Mother. My father had turned the TV on to this new show and I came downstairs and decided to watch it with him. It was a charming story about a young man on the journey to meet his wife and this girl he met along the way, later known as Aunt Robin."

May 2006 (15 years old)
15 year old self bouncing around the upstairs hallway says: "Robin and Ted ended up together!!! Awwwww!!! I wish that she's the mother!! But oh my god this show is soooo good. I think it could become the next Friends if they do a good enough job!"

May 2007 (16 years old)
16 year old self: "Aww man! They broke up Robin and Ted. I loved them together. Maybe they'll get back together? Or maybe we'll finally meet the mother soon?"

Narrator says: "Ha! Yeah right. Willow, this story is sure to start making you thump soon. You know how Robin and Ted broke up because she wanted her own adventures in life and that wouldn't work for him? Yeah. Just wait until you hear how the show ends!"

September 2008 (17 years old)

Narrator says: "It's now been a whole season since Robin and Ted were a couple. As a fan, I had been starting to move on...especially because Barney is now hopelessly in love with Robin."

Willow lies on the rug, happily grinding her teeth.

May 2009 (18 years old)
18 year old self: "YAY! Barney and Robin finally kissed! Cutest couple ever!! I'm so over Robin and Ted."

November 2009 (18 years old)
Narrator says: "In the fall of 2009, the show started to lose its luster. The writing became sloppy and the writers decided to break up Barney and Robin in a horrible, out of the blue, way. It was clear they just wanted Barney to go back to the way he was."

Willow starts to get up from the rug, cleaning herself, incredibly bored with my story. After all, I haven't mentioned James Van Der Beek once (Dawson's Creek is her favorite show).

18 year old self talks to my sister: "That was a horrible episode. They broke up our favorite couple. I'm never watching this show again."

May 2013 (22 years old)
Narrator says: "After the Barney and Robin break up, I had stopped watching the show. I wasn't enjoying the episodes leading up to that moment at all. However, as the final season approached, I decided to watch the final episode of Season 8. The one where the mother was introduced."

22 year old self: "::tears:: They finally are showing the mother! ::squeal:: I can't wait to see them fall in love. I'll have to watch next season."

September 2013 (22 years old)
Narrator says: "September arrived and I decided to watch the final season. After all, I'd been curious since I was 14 years old about who the mother is. I knew she had to be amazing and perfect for Ted. After all, every fan had been waiting years to see this happen."

Willow begins to sprawl out again in a blissful state.

October 2013 (22 years old)
Narrator: "In October, I was sick. Very sick. I had gotten ill from a food poisoning incident that left me unable to eat most food for over the next three months. After watching a few episodes of the current season, I decided to turn on Netflix and watch the seasons I had missed over the years. At 23 years old, I ended up really enjoying it. And, it was clear to me that the writers finally realized that the characters had to grow up and move on. Barney had fallen in love with other women, making him grow into a man that could marry the love of his life, Robin. Ted had been slowly learning about letting go..."

March 24, 2014 (23 years old)
Narrator: "It was March 24th of 2014 and Barney and Robin had gotten married. All was right in the world. Ted finally realized it was time to move on from Robin and that he was in fact, no longer in love with her. As a fan, I was ecstatic. Ted and Robin hadn't been an item since the 2nd season and all of these years, he's been learning to move on from her. The mother had been introduced throughout the season and all I had hoped for was true. She was perfect for Ted."

Willow happily jumps up, and does a binky in the air.

March 31, 2014 (Last night)
Actual me is shown (who's voice is strangely the same as growing up me, but not narrator me): "Willow, you know how I told you this was the story of how I started watching How I Met Your Mother? Well, it's not. It's actually the story of How I Almost Threw My TV Out the Window Last Night. There were so many things wrong with that finale, I can't even describe my anger. First of all, within five minutes, after spending an ENTIRE year focusing on Barney and Robin's wedding, Barney and Robin were divorced. Not only were they divorced, they were divorced because she was too busy working to make time for their relationship."

Willow begins to thump.

"Then, if things couldn't get any worse, Barney starts reverting to his old ways. He's no longer the man he had become because apparently, people can't change."

Willow thumps louder.

"They did try to solve that part by having Barney have a baby; it was a baby, of course, with a mother that we never saw. Still, it was a touching scene."

Willow sits still for a moment, unsure of if there's danger ahead still or not.

"Then, comes the travesty of all travesties. Ted rushes through the part of the story where he meets the mother. Then, she's very ill and we can assume she died."

Willow thumps three times in an angry rage.

"Oh, that's not the worst of it Willow. They then, flash forward to the kids. The kids announce that Ted has been telling this whole story because he wants to get back together with busy as a beaver Aunt Robin who has had no time to see her friends in the past 10 years...The kids are of course ecstatic. They love Aunt Robin! Even though she distanced herself from the group for nearly a decade, they know exactly who she is and call her Aunt Robin. Because yeah, that's realistic."

Willow's thumping gets louder and louder. I begin to wonder if there's a cat outside because she's getting so angry.

"Then, the show ends exactly how I always dreamed it would end... NOT. Ted runs after Aunt Robin with the blue french horn, ready to make another go at their failed relationship. I was so f&?!ing angry I thought I was going to rip the TV off the wall and throw it through the window."

Willow runs under the couch thumping up a storm until I make the story stop.

Present Day
I woke up this morning knowing one thing, this finale was possibly worse than the Dexter finale. Possibly. I said possibly. Not definitely.

For so many reasons, this finale was done wrong. First of all, Ted and Robin hadn't been a couple in so many years that honestly, most fans didn't care about them anymore. The Ross and Rachel saga of the show ended up being Barney and Robin. They had to grow up separately to find their way back to each other, all while knowing they still loved each other.

In the end, the entire last season was about Ted moving on. It was about him realizing that Robin wasn't the girl for him and that he was going to find love with someone else. After all, how could he ever meet the mother if he was still hung up on Robin?

But wait! He's still hung up on Robin. His wife conveniently died and now he wants his kids permission to date the real love of his life, whose last marriage failed for the same reason their relationship failed all of those years ago. She's too busy for a relationship. Yeah. This will end well.

I don't understand why writers and creators feel the need to make their series finales suck? Wrap things up, make the fans happy. We watched the show for years and we deserve a proper and satisfying ending. Lumberjacks, dying mothers, and the show actually all took place in the afterlife are NOT proper endings. Characters moving on, finding their true loves, and making the fans happy, thats how a show should end.

Before I wrap up, because honestly, I could ramble all day about how much I hated this's my list of My Top 5 Best Series Finales and Worst Series Finales:


#1 Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The Buffy finale was brilliant. The writers took some risks by killing off Anya and definitely risks my killing off Spike. However, they wrote it in a way where everything made sense. Anya died fighting as a human, the people that in the end, she respected because they'll die fighting. Spike died a hero. For so many years, he had struggled between being a vampire and still feeling the ability to love. Now, he had a soul and with his soul, he was able to make the hard choice. He died to save everyone. Buffy, got her perfect ending. The hell mouth was closed. There were hundred of slayers across the world. She was no longer alone.

#2 Friends
This is how every sitcom should end. Ross and Rachel realized they still loved each other, Monica and Chandler had two adorable twin babies and were moving to the suburbs, Phoebe was happily married, and Joey...well, putting his horrible spin off aside, we could all just assume he was living in Monica and Chandler's future guest room. The characters moved on with their lives but we knew they were all happy in the end.

#3 Dawson's Creek
Joey and Pacey found their way back to each other, Dawson met Spielberg, and the writers decided that they did need some drama after all and killed off Jen, whose baby was now being raised by Jack and Doug. In some ways, the finale is always sad to watch. Jen's goodbye video to her daughter is heartbreaking, as well as the moment Grams realizes her granddaughter has died. However, it was done right. The pacing was perfect and Jen's last wish for Joey to finally choose, was honestly the only way Joey would ever choose. And she chose Pacey. So life is good. Of course, if I'm being totally honest, they probably could've killed the entire cast if it meant Joey and Pacey would be together forever.

#4 Psych
Shawn's goodbye to Gus ended up being in true Psych fashion and was hilarious. Gus's reaction, even more so. However, Lassie deciding not to listen to Shawn's confession because he'd rather believe the lie, Gus running off to San Francisco to be with his bestie, and Shawn proposing to Jules and the ring getting stolen - classic Psych. The show ended in the warm and fuzzy way a comedy should.

#5 Chuck
I know, this one is going to cause some controversy. When I first saw the Chuck finale, I was sad. Sarah had lost all of her memories and there wasn't a giant flare going off at the end saying she got it back. However, after re-watching the entire show, I've come to the conclusion that the ending was beautiful. For five years, the show revolved around Sarah helping Chuck find himself. Chuck and Sarah fell in love because she gave him the strength to discover who he was. In the end, he had the same chance to do the same for her. It was his turn to help her rediscover who she was. It was his turn to lead her on the same journey she led him on.


#6 Angel
I liked the Angel finale. I thought it ended well actually. We never knew how the fight ended but Angel went out doing exactly what he had always been doing, fighting for the greater good. Whether he won the battle or lost the battle, it didn't ultimately matter. That being said, we at least deserved to know who the prophecy was about! Was he going to become human finally? Or was Spike going to become human? Wesley's death was sad, but perfect...and Gunn, well, I hope he survived the battle but I guess we'll never know...unless you read the comics of course!

#7 Veronica Mars
Thank god for fan made movies, right? After the original finale, I was depressed for a very long time. It was fine as a season finale. More than adequate. However, as a series finale, it was quite a let down. Veronica and Logan weren't together, her father wasn't going to become sheriff...all around, it was pretty depressing. However, thankfully, the fans got a movie made this year and I think I speak for a large majority when I say, we got the ending we deserved. LoVe is together and Veronica is back to being a PI.


#8 Dexter
The whole show was building up to Dexter finally getting rid of his dark passenger. Sure, he went through is moments where he got worse, but in the end, he was realizing he could love and maybe not be a serial killer. There are multiple endings I would've found satisfying. Him and Hannah running off together with Harrison while Deb lives on with Quinn would've been the happiest ending they could've had. If they didn't want to do happy, Dexter could've been finally caught and this whole story could've been told from death row. Or, Dexter could've just died. Honestly, I don't care. Anything other than him becoming a lumberjack seems better at this point. That should NEVER have happened, and I like to pretend it didn't.

#9 How I Met Your Mother
What the #&?! I'd rant about what made this bad but obviously, you've read this whole post already. Excuse me while I go throw my TV out the window.