Tag Archives: Mychael Shannon

#27 Buy a Condo/House

19 Jan

Yeah, that’s right…I think this officially makes me a grown-up. On March 23, 2017, we bought a house!

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Now, when I first put this on the list I figured I’d be buying a house in LA on my own, hence the “condo/” addition. But, like I said, I’ve been working on #39, so now I have a partner in all these important life moments.

When we made the big move from Santa Monica to San Francisco in March 2015, we looked to rent an apartment/condo similarly sized to our place in LA. We had an amazing thing going in Santa Monica – 3 bedroom, 2 bath, walking distance to the beach – so we knew it wouldn’t be quite the same, but we had no idea what we were in for up in the Bay Area. We ended up finding a 2 bedroom, 1 bath in the outskirts of the city for 150% what we were paying in LA.

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We were optimistic and we were still walking/riding distance to the beach, but we had to trade in our bathing suits for sweatshirts. We quickly came to learn though that the city wasn’t the place for us. The weather was just such a downer.

In spring 2016, we came to the realization that for the amount we were paying to rent a condo in the city, we could buy a house in the East Bay. So in July we started casually looking. We weren’t really ready to buy, but we wanted to see what was out there and what we could realistically afford.

We looked at houses in “up-and-coming” areas of Oakland, but it didn’t exactly feel safe and some of the spaces were…creative.

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We looked at a “fixer-upper” in Piedmont and after that decided to add walls and floors to our checklist.

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We worked our way further and further from San Francisco and finally stumbled on a cute city called Concord. Concord is up-and-coming in a much less scary way than Oakland. It’s older and some houses could use some work, but you don’t need to get a concealed carry permit to walk alone at night. 😉

We kept casually looking for a couple of months and then had one lucky weekend where we found not one, but two houses we loved! That was a Saturday. By Tuesday we had a real estate agent, a mortgage broker, we were pre-approved for a loan and we put in an offer. Everything happened SO fast!

After a little bit of negotiation (while I was in NY for work) and beating out 11 other offers, we got the place! It was the most exhilarating and, at the same time, scary experience of my life. But now we’re proud homeowners and, added bonus, turns out Mychael is quite the handy-man. 😃

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We’re almost ready to have people over, so get ready for the housewarming/1-year anniversary party, coming soon!

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#19 Go to the Magic Castle

31 Dec

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Ever since I heard of the Magic Castle I wanted to go check it out. Yes, I’m intrigued by magic, but I also just hate that there’s an exclusive place I’m not allowed to go.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Magic Castle, it is the private clubhouse for the Academy of Magical Arts. Beginning with a charter membership of 150, it now boasts approximately 5,000 members. And not just anyone can go. You have to be specifically invited by one of the members to be allowed in.

Built as a private home in 1909, when the owner moved out, the mansion was divided into a multi-family home, then became a home for the elderly, and was finally transformed into a maze of small apartments. In September of 1961, Milt Larsen began renovations to turn the building into an elegant private club for magicians and on January 2, 1963, the Magic Castle opened its doors.

Back to the story…Somehow I got subscribed to the email list for a club called Things to Do LA and one day when going through the clutter in my inbox I came across an email from them that had “Magic Castle” in the subject line. I opened it up to find that the group was planning a trip to the illustrious club that would include a private show followed by the opportunity to roam the halls of the castle and take in other shows. I immediately bought two tickets (for me and new boyfriend Mychael).

As the day drew closer and the anticipation was building, I started to get really excited for what this evening of magic and mystery might hold. And when the night finally came, I could hardly wait. The dress code was fancy, including a dress or nice pants suit for ladies (sexy!) and a coat/tie for men (Mychael, being a t-shirt and shorts kind of guy, wasn’t too excited about that part). After changing in the office bathroom, Mychael picked me up and we were on our way to Hollywood.

After navigating through the craziness of rush hour Hollywood traffic and quickly grabbing a bite to eat, we pulled up to the Castle. Interestingly, it is located right behind the Hollywood & Highland complex. Who would have thought that right behind the cheesiness of Hollywood Blvd. there would be this cool building?

We turned over our car to the valet, were inspected by the doorman and let into the building. (They really weren’t joking about the dress code. A guy in front of us didn’t have a coat and they made him rent one for the evening.)

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Upon checking in with the hostess we were told to whisper “open sesame” to a little owl statue on the bookcase next to us and in a scene straight out of a Sherlock Holmes movie, the bookcase opened and a waiting area/bar was revealed!

We grabbed a drink and went to the private show. It was a pretty small group so it was cool to see all the tricks up close. From there we set out on our own to check out the other shows. At any given time, there are at least four different performances going on. We saw a few on smaller stages and the big show on the main stage. Personally, I really liked the smaller ones. They were a little less cheesy and I liked seeing everything up close. For some reason in nearly every show we went to they used Mychael to pick a card or somehow be involved. Must be that adorable smile. 🙂

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We took in three performances and were just looking around on our way out the door when a random guy asked if we wanted to watch one more. He told us to sit at a table and we were joined by about 10 other people. This was by far the coolest part of the night. This magician practiced his tricks in an intimate performance just for us. And somehow I STILL couldn’t figure out any of his tricks!

I guess that’s part of the appeal of the club…world-famous magicians are walking the hallways taking in shows and looking for opportunities to practice their craft.

It was the perfect ending to a really cool night. And the most exciting news of all…since we purchased a photo, we got a pass to return with 8 of our friends! We’ll definitely be going back. And I’ll figure out some of their tricks!

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