Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Sounds of the INDY 500

Indy 500 with HER Energy Drink

I had one of the most fun experiences I have had in a while. I have briefly been working with the new energy drink geared for women called HER. I love the taste, what the brand embodies and the cute hot pink packaging. I had no idea that this little obsession I had with this drink was going to lead me to the INDY 500. 

 I received a phone call from the head of marketing asking me if I wanted to come meet the company at the Indy 500. HER was sponsoring the "hot pink"  indy car #99 with the driver, Alex Lloyd. Without hesitation, I cancelled my weekend appointments and jumped a overnight flight to Indianapolis. I had no clue what to expect and I knew nothing about racing. I arrived in the airport with a town car waiting and was taken to the Hilton Hotel. HER energy was all over the hotel lobby. Signs, posters, pink ribbons hanging and workers all dialed in marketing gear. It was then I  realized I was in for a real treat. 

After resting for a few hours, I headed back to the lobby where I met Paul Tate, a TV producer as well as a bunch of down to earth celebrities. I thought for sure everyone knew each other. Come to find out we are all on the same page. No one has ever seen a Indy race and it was a first to Indiana for all. These elements allowed our group of collective actors, actresses, producers and friends mesh easily. We all shared our stories as we headed over to the Gnassi racing headquarters.

I have never really thought about racing before. I knew it was a big sport. I knew it was cool to say you are a "race-car driver" and that is about it. I didn't realize the love of the sport and what actually goes on behind the television screen when building a actual Indy car. The Gnassi headquarters opened my eyes to racing. The tour we took allowed us to see the actual making of a vehicle. There are rooms specifically designed for creating nuts and bolts, rooms for gears, airbrush painting, wheels, and so forth. Our tour was about a hour long and ended with introduction to the famous drivers who have one the Indy 500 in the past. I was fascinated with not only the manufacturing of the vehicles, but the size of the Indy drivers. They are tiny. I sat in one of the cars and couldn't even fit my behind in the car. It was hilarious!

The evening started out with a great dinner in our luxury hotel restaurant. Bottles of vino flowed around the table as we all shared our stories. Sometimes I realize how blonde I really am when I don't realize who celebrities are. I honestly don't pay attention half the time so I couldn't even tell you who was with us. I just know they are all very talented people. 
After dinner we proceeded to a few parties in downtown Indianapolis. The Playboy party was hilarious. Sexy little bunnies danced around the dance floor in between the stars of "Dancing with the Stars." I couldn't stop cracking up and before I knew I was right in the mix.

The morning quickly came and I have to admit I was dragging a little bit. We jumped in our limo bus and was police escorted into the racetrack. I thought it was a  joke when we were told we had police escorts but it wasn't. Sirens were blasting as we drove in and out of oncoming traffic while dodging pedestrians. Fans flocked the streets and vender's tents flooded the entire inside of the track. I have never scene anything like this before. It was the biggest racetrack I have ever laid eyes on.  It made the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach look pathetic. Being only 5'4, it was so easily for me to get lost. My eyes were on actor Omar Miller and his 6-5 tall body hoping not to loose our crew. Before I knew it I was in our suite watching the racers gear up and ready to rock. Crowds yelled, screamed and clapped throughout the  National Anthem as the B-25 Bombers flew above. I had chills and tears in my eyes.

 "Racers start your engines..." The sound of the cars are like nothing I have ever heard. Earplugs barely do the trick and the television doesn't do this sporting event justice. Our box was located on the final turn of the race track: Final turn= crashes. Yes, we saw them all. It was shocking and scary, yet disturbingly exciting. My only pre Indy races I had seen before were at the Ventura Fairgrounds. Every summer Saturday night my friends and I gather together to watch the box cars...not quite the same I know. Here we bet dollar bills, drink beer, scream at the cars to go faster while enjoying the dirt in our faces. The Indy was just slightly different. There we bet with $20.00's and $100's, drink fancy cocktails,  and the word "fast" is a understatement. 

I could go on and one about this fantastic event. It was truly a honor to be apart of the HER crew. Everyone must go and watch this event once in their lifetime. It was a blast!!!  I think I should have been Danika Patrick.....  jk

Brett "Owner" Her energy and actor Gilles Marini
slightly crowded

opposite side of far away
Drivers being escorted in

Police Escort

Our limo bus

Gnassi Headquarters

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Channel Islands Press Trip

This weekend I was invited to join a few magazine editors for a fun kayaking trip to the Channel Islands. Editors from Sunset Magazine, Viv, Sky West and Arroyo Seco Journal were here checking out my hometown of Ventura.  I don't think it is because of my surfing background that I get invited on these trips anymore. I honesty love Ventura probably more than any oneI know here in the town. I have been fortunate enough to travel around the world a few times and back, but I still always find myself loving my hometown the best. 
We boarded the Island Packers "cattle" boat around 8am. Fog slowly lifted as we cruised the glassy waters for about an hour n half till we reached Scorpion Bay. Sun reflected off the crystal clear water, the hills were glowing green and several unique birds flew above us. We kayaked with our own personal guide for four fun hours. The swells were out of the south, which almost had me wishing I was surfing, but my mind continued to be intrigued by our guide's humorous stories and the beautiful surroundings. We enter four major caves which was quite exciting. I have never kayaked for this long of a duration in my lifetime. Just as I was getting sick of it, another cave would pop up. We timed our entrance with the swells as they pushed us from side to side on the rock walls. I managed to get the nose of my kayak stuck in a rock which was quite embarrassing and made my heart race with adrenaline. One would think a surfer has some sort of kayaking skills, but honestly I have only used a kayak to get to and from. It was hilarious. Needless to say, it was a blast!

We left the island with huge smiles on our faces. On the way home we gathered our thoughts  and shared stories with one another. Just when we thought the trip was over, Mother Nature blessed us with some beautiful creatures. Dolphins and whales surrounding the ship. It's funny, no matter how many times in my life I have seen these sea creatures, I am still as excited as a kid in a candy store. I, along with the rest of the tourists aboard, pulled out my iphone camera and snapped a few pics. 

Check out the pics below and make sure to pay a visit to the islands sooner than later. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

So cute!

I just couldn't help but post this great picture. Future rippers!!!  What a fun week we had together. I am planning all girls surf weeks again for this summer. Let me know if you or anyone you know would like to join in. (Age varies depending on specific dates)