Justine Ungaro

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Thanks for stopping by, please come visit my new wedding blog, The Unbride or my photography blog. And while you're there, leave a comment, I love comments!

Saturday, December 23, 2006


When we got home from Henry's party, Gary brought out all of the really good presents! :) First, Oliver got a bunch of nice red presents from his best pal, Gary.
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But he wasn't sure what to do with them so I helped him unwrap them.
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Gary said it was "something to kill (a stuffed dog with reindeer antlers), something to chew (a rubber bone) and something to eat (some yummy greenies)". Oliver immediately took to the killing part and tore apart that poor little dog.
Then, I got to open my presents. They are soooo good! The first was an Apple ProCare Card so that I can go get Apple classes whenever I want them. The second was Season 2 of Roseanne on DVD. Gary bought me Season 1 about a year and a half ago and we watch them at night on the new tv before bed. I think he is really tired of seeing season 1. I don't blame him. And the last and BIG gift is Apple Aperture, the new photo management software I've been drooling over. I just couldn't believe it, I started crying!
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Tomorrow morning (early) we head to Long Beach airport to head home for Christmas, he goes to NJ, I go to D.C.


Today was my nephew, Henry's 4th bday party so we all headed over to Michael and Kay's for an intimate bday bash for the little man. He is totally in love with everything star wars these days so he got tons and tons of star wars action figures and lots of really cool lego things too. And then there was a cake.
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Henry was extremely patient considering he was one of the last people to actually get to eat his bday cake.
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Gary and Conroy found their own form of amusement while playing with one of Henry's new action figures.
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One of the best parts of the evening was when Gary and I gave my 7 year-old niece, Zoe her Christmas gift. We decided that since she's a big girl now, she should have a big girl gift. So, we got her the new tiny iPOD shuffle. But, just to be a little bit mean, we bought her a really crappy $6 Carebear and clipped the iPOD onto it. So, here's what happened....
"oh, what a nice bear..."
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...and then...
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...the real smile...
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...and mommy was in on the joke...
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Here it is up close.
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The funny thing about it all was that she's such a great kid that she actually seemed happy to see the Carebear, even though Gary and I took great care to find the most horrible looking thing we could find. :)
Zoe also really liked the new outfit she got for her "All American Girl" doll.
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Friday, December 22, 2006


Yesterday after I gave up on going to the Grove, I decided to swing by Samy's Camera for some supplies. I thought, hey while I'm here I might as well order the out of stock everywhere brand new Epson Stylus 3800 wide format printer.
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I figured if I can't get the printer for 5-7 weeks, I might as well get the tax deduction this year. Anyway, I went up to the pro floor (the elitist 4th floor), much better than the 3rd floor mere mortal consumer floor. I waited my turn and then asked "Chris" if I could order the Epson 3800. He told me, "wait just a minute, right there". So I stayed. He comes back after a couple of minutes and tells me that I am the "lucky one". He has one printer in the stock room. I have no idea how this happened because this printer just came out this month and literally EVERYONE is out of stock. I guess it was just my own little Christmas miracle and a big, fat Christmas present To: me From: me.


Yesterday I tried to do a bit of last minute xmas shopping so I headed over to the Grove in a fit of insanity. I got into the parking garage and drove straight up to the roof where there appeared to be plenty of parking. But of course, the roof was closed and I ended up having to back down the ramp and then battle with hundreds of other cars over the 4 available parking spots. After 15 minutes I threw in the towel and decided to leave. This is an email I got from Gary later in the day.
This is the actual sign in the parking lot of the Grove.
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Thursday, December 21, 2006


Saturday night GK and I ventured up into the hills for Kara's annual holiday party.
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I'm telling you, every time I go up there I fall more in love with the idea of living up there someday. It's so incredibly peaceful and the views are incredible! This party was particularly fun because I actually knew people yay! Michael, Kay, Michelle & Dan were all there and I met several other new fabulous people. Pretty much everyone was from the music industry in one way or another.
Christine & Kara
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Tiki, Kara's baby
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At one point there were a bunch of us up in Kara's bedroom, Gary had the camera on and I had mine around my neck. There were these two random girls up there chatting with Kara and playing with Tiki.
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It turned out that one of them was the inventor of Hard Candy...yes, the incredibly cool line of nailpolish. Anyway, I never knew this but the story behind it was that when she was in college one day she decided to mix aqua and white nail polish and created this new color. Then word spread around campus about this girl who mixed really cool colors of nailpolish. All of a sudden she has celebrities coming to her dorm room to mix custom nailpolish colors for them. The next thing you know, a cosmetics company has bought her out for millions. It's just amazing to hear stories like that but they seem to be everywhere out here.

When GK and I finally decided it was time to leave, we headed down the hill to find the "valet". I use the terms loosely because the valet Kara had booked canceled at the last minute so she ended up having to use a friend of her handyman or gardener or something. Anyway, they were so nice and professional and developed a really good system. The only thing that gave them away as not real valets was the fact that they pulled Gary's car up into the intersection of two streets and then locked the keys in the car, with the car running. I had to run back up to the house to get a wire hanger so that they could break into the car for us. Of course Kara and an entourage of others came marching down with me to help. Gary caught it all on camera too.


I know I'm still playing catch up but here I go...last week Gary and I attended an event for the Association of Independent Music Publishers. Gary has been trailing around this amazing songwriter named Kara with cameras for the past month or so for a new tv show he's working on. Kara is this beautiful, totally laid-back, incredible songwriter. She has written a ton of hits for Gwen Stefani ("Rich Girl"), Christina Aguilera ("Ain't No Other Man"), Hilary Duff ("Let the Rain Fall Down"), Enrique Iglesias, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, etc. etc. You get the picture. Anyway, she manages to lead this totally glamorous yet also really normal life at the same time. So we went with her to watch her speak at this event for other songwriters. And guess who else was on the panel? Billy Bob Thornton! He did look a bit sickly but was also incredibly friendly, charming and funny!
Here are a few pictures...
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Sunday, December 17, 2006


Wednesday night Gary and I headed over to Stephanie's house in the hills for her annual Santa Lucia party...sort of like Swedish Christmas. There were various Swedish food and drinks, some of which you had to be a little brave in order to try. Stephanie herself said her throat was burning from the libations she was serving. :)
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Gary and I only knew a couple of people who were there, so eventually we retreated to "the screening room", the most amazing, cozy, loungy, Moroccan-style tv room you've ever seen. The walls and ceiling are lined with fabric and I swear I could live there very happily.
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We were just sitting around chatting and then an amazing thing happened. Random people just started wandering back, so one by one we asked them to join us. Eventually we had like 8 people sitting with us...and what an eclectic group it was. It consisted of: a photographer, a tv producer, a spiritual healer, a couple of musicians, a Moroccan, and some other randoms. Maria, the spiritual healer was the first to join us. She was fascinating and such a calming presence, I really liked having her around. She told us that she lived near Studio City which brought us to a conversation about how Michael & Kay live there. Well Maria mentioned something about the monstrosity that is going up on the corner of Mound View & Viewcrest. We couldn't believe she knew that spot because that is the lot of Michael and Kay's old house which they just sold. Someone bought it and leveled it to build what looks like a hotel amidst all sorts of cute houses and fruit trees. It really is just awful. Well Maria told us that one of her friends used to live there and was married to the manager of "The Doors". We thought this was amazing and couldn't wait to tell Michael and Kay....who of course was not news to them. Maria also told us that Stephanie's house was once owned by Bob Dylan, which was also very cool. During this I somehow figured out that "Momo" the guy sitting next to me was from Morocco. I told him that my mother had grown up in Tangier and that I had spent time there several years ago. Turns out he is from Casablanca but his friend who was with him that night grew up in Tangier. He brought her in to meet me. It only took us about a minute to figure out that we knew the same people, and soon we were laughing and telling stories about the place. It really is a small world!



I have been really bad about blogging lately and I apologize to anyone who actually reads this regularly. I'm sorry but I'm back now and I feel as though I have some major catching up to do. So first thing is first. Last Saturday it actually rained in L.A. Not just rain but torrential downpour. Of course this was the one night we really had somewhere to go. It was Shannon's 29th bday and so GK and I decided to join her birthday bash at the Townhouse in Venice. Shannon was my big sister in my sorority in college and we had not seen each other in about 6 years so it was a great reunion and so wonderful to see her again.
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Don't we look like we're still in college? ;) Do you think we could pass for 19 or 20? Ahem!
So it turns out that Shannon works for Nickelodeon and she is responsible for hiring photographers for promo shoots etc. How funny is that? So it looks like sooner or later we might actually get to work together and what a blast that will be!
She also invited me to join her group called "Five Chicks & A Fag" or "Five Chicks" (abbreviated). It's basically just a chance for a bunch of cool chicks to get together with their gay boys and to drink lots of martinis and gossip etc. I just love it, I know it will be a blast. I couldn't believe how organized they are with their cute logo and minute-taking at meetings.
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Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Yesterday Gary and I went over to Dan and Michelle's house to shoot them working with Lisa on her new album.
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Michelle & Dan
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GK with camera
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"Bea" really wanted in on the action
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It's a collection of "campfire" songs, things you remember singing when you were a kid. I remember most of the songs from going to sleep-away camp...something I did most summers. When I was 9, I went away to a Jewish summer camp for a month. My mother was a budding photographer at that point and had been hired to shoot the camp's brochure. Instead of taking payment for the job, she sent me to camp for the summer. I came back singing tons of songs and prayers in Hebrew. My family thought it was the funniest thing ever considering that we're not jewish. The last summer camp I went to was at age 14. It was called Camp Netimus. Sara Rue (she was Sara Schlackman back then) of Less than Perfect, Phenom, Roseanne etc. etc. was one of my cabin-mates.
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I remember she was always practicing her singing and was very much into the acting thing even back then. At Camp Netimus my friends and I always played tricks on eachother. One night we turned off all of the power in all of the cabins. Another night we kidnapped a bunch of 6 year-olds and moved them into other cabins while they were sleeping. Then there was the old saran wrap over the toilet seat tricks and others. I was a victim one time when I woke up and went out to the flagpole where everyone met each morning, I looked up and saw a HUGE sign that said "Justine's Undies" and dangling from the poster board were 10 or 20 bras and panties. I didn't think it was very funny at the time. :)

Saturday, December 09, 2006


I have to say that I really love this neighborhood. Last night while taking a walk, Gary and I found this little fax/ copy shop. We went in to check it out and it turns out that this little building was the home of Walt Disney's first studio ever. How cool is that?

This evening we walked down to Vermont to have dinner at Niko Niko, our favorite nearby sushi joint. We brought Oliver for his first visit to an actual restaurant and he was very well behaved. They even brought him a nice little bowl of water so that he wouldn't feel left out. While we were waiting for the check, Kiefer Sutherland walked by to pick up his dry cleaning next door. I wonder when the next season of 24 starts?


Friday, December 08, 2006


Today Gary and I went to visit our new gym (L.A. Fitness on Hollywood Blvd) for the first time since signing up earlier in the week. The place is incredible, it's brand new so it doesn't have that sweaty smell yet, sort of smells like a new car. In addition to all of the usual gym things, it has basketball and racquetball courts, a smoothie/ juice bar, a huge aerobics room and the pool and jacuzzi will be finished soon. So we were excited to go in for our one free session with a personal trainer. I figured that they would probably weigh us, take our measurements and maybe tell us our body fat percentage to make us feel bad and then try to sell us some sessions. Instead, this guy Mike takes us over to the mats and starts us doing jumping jacks, mountain climbers, squats, jogging-in-place, and all sorts of other forms of torture. We were both out of breath and red in the face within the first two minutes. Then he takes us to this pull up machine where we're supposed to do reverse pull ups. Start at the top and then lower yourself down. Gary made it through those okay, okay meaning that he was capable of doing them but then wanted to die. I was not so good at those. I basically just climbed up, jumped up to get to the bar and then plummeted back to the earth 10 times. There was no gentle lowering going on. I actually thought my shoulders might detach from my arms at one point. After that exercise Mike decided that if we threw up on him it might not be good for business so we all sat down for the sales pitch. After some deliberation, Gary and I decided that although having a personal trainer sounds like a great idea, we want to actually start going to the gym first. Start slow, work our way up. So tomorrow we start our own drill instructor-less exercise program. Maybe we'll get the trainer down the road a bit when we can actually hack it without wanting to puke. :)


Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Today I edited a shoot for the first time on my brand new 24" iMAC and it is such a dream to work on.
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The monitor is so incredibly sharp, not to mention huge and everything is so easy. I just love it. I recommend it to anyone (especially photographers) who are in the market for a new computer. Although it's a little frustrating at first to switch over from using a PC, it's definitely built better for people like myself who work in the visual arts. Less steps=less time...which means more valuable time AWAY from your computer. Yay!


Okay, so the weirdness of L.A never ceases to amaze me. Tori Spelling is having a yard (estate) sale in the valley this weekend.
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However, it is complete with security bag check, waiting in line etc. Certainly doesn't sound like any yard sale I've ever:
1. been to before
2. care to go to in the future
But I'm sure she'll have a great turnout and make plenty of money. In case anyone cares to go, here is the info.:

Tori invites you into her house to shop her dazzling valley home, jewelry & closets contents sale. This represents much of her last 15 years of buying & collecting. Included are antique & vintage items from the 19th, 20th, & 21st centuries! French, Italian, Continental, American white wicker, shabby chic, and traditional furniture, crystal chandeliers & sconces, pictures & paintings, lamps, vanity, Tori’s personal jewelry, bric-a-brac, memorabilia, garden & patio, designer & casual clothes, shoes, accessories, photos, etc.

Friday & Saturday, December 8th & 9th — 9AM to 5PM

Monday, December 11th — 9AM to 5PM

Monday is sales & pick-up day

11369 Dona Lisa Dr., Studio City 91604

Off of Laurel Canyon and Dona Pegita Dr.

Thomas Guide: 562-J7

We expect crowds and a long line.

Parking is good but expect to walk.

Check website Wednesday night for pictures.

We have a bag & purse check-in for security.

We will not use numbers for this sale.

Please line up in order going up the hill.


Monday, December 04, 2006


Not 4 days after Oliver arrived in California for the first time, he decided to stop eating. That worried his Mommy (me), so in an attempt to revive him, I bought some swanky Innova (all meat, no filler) dry dogfood along with some "Nutro" wet food that I mix together.
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And voila, he eats again. Who knew a dog could become a snob by osmosis? Oh well, as long as he eats, that's all I care about. No more Purina for Prince Oliver.

Oh yeah, and he drinks bottled water now too...



Over the weekend, Gary and I went to Best Buy and bought this really cool TV/ DVD combo.
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It's a 20" HD flatscreen with a DVD player mounted on the back for side-loading DVD's. Very cool. The picture is great and we both agree that it was a great buy for the price. This one is to watch movies in the bedroom which is why we wanted the wide screen format. After getting it all set up, we both spent hours last night creating our queue on netflix. We're expecting our first movies to arrive tomorrow. Yay!



Yesterday I had my first taste of Pinkberry, the latest frozen yogurt craze out here in L.A.
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These places are popping up all over the place and you have to wait in a long line to get a taste. But I have to say it was totally worth it. I got a medium-sized plain with carob chips, raspberries and pomegranate. So yummy! There's one going up right now right down the street from us in Los Feliz so I have a feeling I will be a regular there...and it's a good thing because I need an alternative to House of Pies. :)


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