Day Tripper

My friend Katie and I had a date…a date with Pasadena.  On Friday we travelled 20 minutes to old town Pasadena and made a day of it, strolling through shops and art galleries and lunching on sushi.  It was delightful, and much-needed.  This is something I love about LA.  If you want to go on a day trip and get a change of scenery, its only a 20-30 minute drive in any direction.  Just close your eyes, point at the map, and you are bound to end up somewhere exciting and historic.

This is the Town Hall and its gardens…

At Goldbug, one of my most favorite hidden treasures in Pasadena, we tried on these amazing, handmade, leather masks.

At The Soap Kitchen, the owner showed us how she makes all her soaps by hand in the kitchen in the back of the store, using lye, olive oil, and various fresh spices and essential oils for color and scent.  I found this beautiful and nostalgic.

There is always time for cupcakes, and Dot’s did not disappoint!  Here are a few of the flavors we tried:  Strawberry lemonade, red velvet, carrot, hazelnut creme, fleur de sel, and chocolate mint.  I am a total, self-confessed cupcake snob, and I have to say, there was not a bad one in the bunch!  Bravo ladies 🙂

Then the craziest thing happened…we asked for some advice on which art galleries were good and the owner of Goldbug suggested we go down the street and check out the Monfils exhibit entitled This Is It.  Katie’s face lit up like a pin ball machine.  She loves MJ, so we promptly walked down the street toward the gallery.  There was a big closed sign out front, but the door was cracked so I encouraged her to pop her head in and just see if they would let us take a look.  It turned out that the exhibit was being taken down, but the guys who were doing it were so happy that Katie was so enthusiastic, they proceeded to unwrap pieces for us and show us some of the pieces that were still hanging.  This piece was made from the artist’s actual record collection.  They told us basically, he had one shot at it, without destroying the records, and he pulled it off.  It was amazing in person, the picture doesn’t do it alot of justice.  Anyone got 75,000?  You can have it in your living room…contact  SanMarinoGallery.

Overall, a fantastic day with a great friend.  Today, I feel blessed.

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Grateful Grappling

I have been wandering lately. 

I apologize for this.

You know the phrase “not all who wander are lost”?  Well that is not me.  I am lost.  Lost in memories of the South, of family, of friends, of fireflies and warm, dewy summer nights.  Of stars in the sky, and barbeques on the lake, and drives to the gulf which may no longer exist.  Did I ever think those words would come out of my mouth?  Maybe.  Probably.  Did I ever think I would admit them in a public arena such as this?  Not a chance.  But I am feeling vulnerable, and for me, that is an entirely freeing experience.  It always has been.  I am open and honest, sometimes to my detriment, but always unapologetically so.  So right now, I want to be honest with you. 

I am torn.  I miss home.  I love what I do and I will do it till I die, but lately I’ve been feeling like I need a change of plans.  A new battle plan so to speak.  There is work all over this country, and less and less in LA for someone at my experience level.  I am struggling with the decline of my grandparents’ health, and facing the possibility of deep regret, later in my life, for missing crucial years of theirs.  (And mine for that matter)  Everyday I meet amazing, interesting people and new possibilities arise here in LA, and I convince myself that this is the right place.  But when I get home at night, and go to sleep alone in my bed with my dog, in a house that I share with 4 people who I barely know, the loneliness sets in, and I dream.  I dream of living somewhere else.  Spending time with my best friends and family, cooking with my grandma, fishing with my dad, travelling with my sister, and simply talking to my mom.  Rooted somewhere in there is some amazing theatre, somewhere (don’t ask me where) maybe even some writing.  Meeting the man of my dreams, and maybe getting married.  I am sure that others, even in this lonely city, have these same dreams (maybe even experience them as a reality), but are afraid to admit it.  I have big dreams.  I don’t want to give them up.  Not for anything or anyone.  But I believe I can have all of these things, and that admitting that I want them doesn’t mean I have to give up my dreams.  This is what I have been grappling with over the last two months.  I know I havent been around.  I have been around.  I have experienced some fun things, but my thoughts return home, or to an idea of it.  I am in limbo.  On this constant rollercoaster.  I don’t really have a home.  My parents live in a house in a town I didn’t grow up in, and in which I have spent about 3 days of my life.  I live in a house with somewhat complete strangers, and a dog who I love so much, but reminds me daily of a person I’d rather forget.  I don’t have a home.  In LA, to have your own place, you need about $1300 a month, give or take a couple hundred.  To have that much money a month I would have to work about 12 hours a day, 5 days a week.  So then, I’d have no time to live in this amazing city.  And it IS amazing, don’t get me wrong.  I’d have my own place but not much time to spend in it, and a bank account full of money that I’d have no time to spend.  (Which could actually be a good thing considering my saving account balance is $0) Not to mention time for workshops, class, auditions, or anything else it takes to build your resume and stock your “tool belt” in this town.  But I am grateful.  Grateful for these feelings.  Grateful for this struggle.  Grateful for my grappling.  To me, it means I am an artist.  I feel things.  I care about my life and what goes into it.  I care about the mark that I make on this world.

So what am I saying?  Do I want to move?  I don’t know. Do I want to stay?  I don’t know.  Do I want a new career?  I don’t know.  Do I love acting?  Yes.  Do I want to quit?  No.  Do I need a new plan of action?  Yes. 

Any suggestions???  Words of advice?  I know some of you may be having these same feelings.  You don’t have to be an actor.  But I’d love some insight or words of wisdom from you, whether you are a friend or a stranger.  Keep it positive people, I have no tolerance for negativity at this time.   Thank you.

Also, this made me happy the other day…

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ch, ch, ch, changes

there have been many changes in my life lately, and I apologize for not bringing them to you.  I am still working out a couple of things and just took pictures of the new house today so I promise I’ll have that for you all by the end of the weekend.  Until then, chew….or swig, rather, on this interview.  I met Mark the other day, purely by fate.  I recognized his “I love raw milk” button and t-shirt, and we became instant friends 🙂  Only later in our conversation did I realize he is the owner of the dairy where I get my raw milk, Organic Patures.  So freakin cool!  I was way more excited than if I’d been meeting Lady Gaga, whom I love by the way.  Have a great weekend and I promise a real update soon…

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Cold Snap

It is abnormally chilly today and my plans to babysit fell through, so I have a little time on my hands.   And what do I want to do?  Cook.  Since its chilly and I have two large containers of chicken stock that I made over the weekend, I am going to make soup.  Nothing new, just my usual ground beef stew.  Except I used chicken stock today because I don’t have any homemade beef stock and I prefer to use homemade.  We will see how it goes.  It’s super easy, here is what I do:

Brown 3/4lb of grass-fed beef.  Add it to a large pot full of 3 1/2 c. of beef stock (beef is best but chicken will work too), 2 c. of water, and veggies.  I use 1 medium potato cubed, 2 medium onions, 3 celery stalks, 2 large carrots, 1 c. of green beans, 1 c. of frozen peas, 1 c. of frozen butterbeans (lima beans), 1 can of diced tomatoes (undrained), and corn cut from two corn cobs; but again, whatever veggies sound good to you.  Season with 2 tsp. of dried tarragon, 1 tbsp. fresh, minced parsley, 1 tbsp. of garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. of salt, and 1/8 tsp. of pepper.  Bring it all to boil, lower heat, and cover and simmer for 30 mins or until veggies are tender. 

If I am serving this for friends I like to make Paula Dean’s sweet potato cornbread or a traditional sweet cornbread.  It’s especially good if you grease the pan with bacon grease or butter so that it browns and crisps on the edges 🙂

How is everyone feeling?  I have been a little down lately.  Not really sure why.  I hear there is something going on with the planets and that everyone is going through “stuff” right now.  More on that later.  Just curious if anyone else is feeling like they are navigating dark waters?

I am going to King King in Hollywood tonight for a show called “Mortified.”  It’s a live reading and performance of childhood and teenage journals, backed by live music.  At least, this is how I understand it.  I have never seen it, so ill have to get back to you on the exact structure.  Maybe, for the evening, it will help me focus on something besides my own “stuff.”

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Technically…

this would be my first, official, for real, could get paid, audition…Swiffer.  It went well.  I smiled and mopped the way I would never mop in real life…but I trusted that it looked good 🙂  Now I’ll wait and see.  To be honest, I want to book the job, but a call back would be amazing.  Just to be called personally by the casting director, and told I was going to be brought in, meant a lot because it meant that he trusted me to be professional and make him look good.  But for now,  I will visualize the shoot date, just for good measure.

Afterwards, I rewarded myself  for staying positive and believing in myself, with my most favorite cupcakes in all of L.A…

Relax people…i didn’t eat them all. 

 Toodle Loo!!

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Aprons for Beda

My best friend is adopting a baby from Ethiopia!  I’m not sure how much any of you know about adoption, but it can get quite expensive, so Rebekka is making these beautiful aprons for children and adults to raise half of the funds to pay for the adoption.  If you cook, or if you are teaching your children to cook, you gotta have one of these!  They are so beautiful and classic and made from light, fun prints and patterns that you and your kids will just adore.  And if you don’t cook, they are just fun to throw over clothes for anything from at-home art projects to everyday wear. We buy so many things on a daily basis not knowing where our money is going.  Make the next $25 you spend count, and feel comfortable knowing that your hard earned money is going to help put a beautiful child into a loving home.  Thanks for your help!!

http://www.apronsforbeda.bigcartel.com/

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Farewell Feast

My friend Emily is moving.  She isn’t quite sure where yet, but last night, we had a feast.  Emily and I aren’t best friends, actually we are kind of new friends, but our love of food brings us together for a meal every now and then so I thought it only appropriate she leave LA with a fully satisfied belly and palate.  We began by making a sort of “wish list” of restaurants that we’d like to try in LA and, after narrowing it down, we settled on Tavern in Brentwood.  With a sort of French, rustic, farm fresh menu and a stellar atrium-style atmosphere, it was the perfect place to share our last meal in Los Angeles together.  And who can go to dinner without spending some time at the spa first?  Not me 🙂

We began our day at 3 o’clock at Olympic Spa, a Korean Spa on, you guessed it, Olympic.  Korean Spas are all over LA and they are great because they are relatively cheap.  We only paid $15 to soak and steam to our little hearts’ content.  They have a few hot tubs at various temperatures and this one hot pool that contains mugwort, (I think I’m spelling that correctly) it’s a herb that promotes great circulation, regulates menstrual cycles, improves the look of skin, and has countless other health benefits.  Each time we sat in one of the pools and got really hot, then we would go sit in the cold pool.  This also contributes to better circulation.  Though tough at first, it actually felt amazing.  One of my favorite things.  So I bet you are thinking, “$15 bucks?  Geez!  Whats the catch?”  Well the catch is…everyone is naked.  Not kinda naked, not half-naked, but stark freakin naked!  I thought it would be awkward, but it really wasn’t.  There were women of all shapes, sizes, ages, and ethnicities and as Emily pointed out, it actually makes you sort of appreciate what you have and realize that everyone’s body looks the same in the end.  I even got a scrub and yes, that too, was done naked.  Totally exhilarating if you ask me.  After all this we sipped delicious tea and took a little nap on the heated, jade tile floor.  By 5:30 we were back at Emily’s place getting ready for dinner.

When we arrived at Tavern we were promptly seated in the coveted “corner table.”  The dining room is this beautiful, atrium-style room lined with leather booths and fancy cloth chairs.  It was still light outside so it was really like sitting out doors.

 

 We both ordered cocktails, I ordered a vodka, St. Germain, grapefruit concoction and Emily got a refreshing blend of vodka (I think) cilantro and jalapeno.  It reminded me of a less sweet mojito.  We also ordered the special appetizer they had for the night and now I will make a sad attempt to explain to you how amazing it was.  Creamy polenta, topped with grilled asparagus and freshly shaved parmesan cheese.  On the very top there was an egg.  This egg might have been my favorite egg I’ve ever eaten.  Somehow the managed to cook the egg in the style of a hard-boiled egg, but with a gloriously, runny center.  The waitress said that they roll it in parmesan and bread crumbs and then flash fry it, but I still cannot wrap my head around how the white was cooked without cooking the center.  When you cut into it and all the yolk ran over the asparagus and polenta, the flavors were rich and downright magical. 

For the entrees, I ordered the pork confit, which was the most tender pork shoulder I have ever eaten, submerged in duck fat and slow cooked for hours.  This was served atop red cabbage that had a pickled, slightly sweet flavor, and topped with caramelized apples.  On the side were potatoes, but not just any potatoes.  These golden lovelies were pan-fried in none other than…you guessed it, duck fat!  They were so crispy on the outside with a perfectly soft center that I thought I was going to die right there.  They seriously might have been my favorite part of the entree. 

Emily ordered Boeuf Bourguignon with bacon served with wild mushrooms atop mashed potatoes.  It was cooked “old school” as the waitress described.  The meat was tender, but lacked a lot of flavor.  The mushrooms were definitely the star of this dish. 

After dinner we ordered the Meyer Lemon pie.  I have a habit of deliberately ordering the weirdest dessert on the menu.  I do this for two reasons.  One, when you put two flavors that do not seem to go together in the same dish, and top sed dish with some kind of fresh creme, it is almost always delicious.  Two, chocolate is boring.  Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate.  But for some reason I think super great restaurants get lazy with chocolate and think it will always be great.  It generally disappoints me so I just stopped ordering it. (The exception to this rule would be the chocolate creme brulee at Barbrix, it definitely did not disappoint.  Oh and order it with a port and you’ll really be cookin’)  Back to this lemon pie.  It was more like a pastry than a pie, or maybe a mini, crust on all sides sort of pie.  They served this with a creme fraiche ice cream and blue berries.  The perfect end to a meal on a rather warm, almost summer evening. 

All in all, I would definitely recommend Tavern to you, but skip the Boeuf Bourguignon.   Great idea in theory, but not in practice.  It will be a while before I can afford to go out like this again so until then, I will live on the memory of that asparagus appetizer and those duck fat fried potatoes.  Mmmm Mmmm!

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