I Dream of Running Away (Or Ambivalent About LA Again)

I frequently feel the urge to flee LA — at least once a year — to be specific. When I’m gripped with the strong desire to go somewhere else it’s usually because I’m fantasizing about a “normal” life.

(My definition of normal involves a garden, proximity to men who own more power tools than I do, and a standing tailgate every Saturday in the fall.)

I was having one of those days on Thursday. I wanted to be anywhere but here. Then I got a message from my friend, Murph. He had an extra ticket to the Snoop, Cypress Hill, and Wiz Khalifa show at the Greek for 4/20, complete with backstage passes.

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Normal life, what? Who needs THAT when you can go backstage?!?

Murph is developing a pilot with Bobo, the drummer from Cypress Hill, because this is LA, and everyone is working on a pilot. Bobo hooked us up for the show.

Obviously, our seats were sick.

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Not a bad shot of Wiz and Snoop right?

But maybe not as sick as the backstage situation.

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Like duh.

Sure, I now have to dry-clean my entire ensemble so I don’t smell like a walking bong, but it was worth it.

So worth it, in fact, that I got over my need to flee for 24 full hours.

That is until I was in an uber with Dan on the way to his friends’ Purple Rain screening party the following evening. It was an ordeal to get someone to walk the dog at the last minute, and we had a LONG ride to the party. Those old feelings were coming up again. I swear it would be easier to invade a small country than to plan how to go out on a Friday night with friends in LA where no one gets arrested.

Since we had what felt like 42 hours in the backseat of someone else’s Hyundai, I shared my fantasy about moving to Austin to eat proper barbecue and grow my own herbs in a large garden.

“And I’d have room to throw pots,” he observed wistfully.

Apparently, my wanderlust was contagious.

It was news to me that he made pottery, but I guess we all have sides of ourselves we can’t (or don’t) express in LA — interests we’ve put on hold. Sure, you can find anything here if you search for it, but the pace and the cost of everything can sometimes cause you to shelve some of your interests while you’re stuck in traffic or working to feed your enormous dog the venison he deserves.

I sometimes wonder if I’m putting too much of myself on hold to be here, however.

Would I have more to write about if I went somewhere new and immersed myself in a different place?

The thought will plague me until someone else invites me to do something cool and I’ll probably be fine again.

 

 

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Broken Hearts, Crushed Mint, and Other Things (Or Cowboy Hoof Cocktails)

I had a mini breakthrough on my recent heartbreak. I was able to put some of the experience — and my buried feelings about it — into words. Granted, they’re words forever hidden in a journal, but they represent progress for me nonetheless.

(I’m super remedial when it comes to my heart.)

There’s a chance I’ll mine those words at some point for more inspiration, but for now I’m grateful I was able to do something, however small, with my feelings.

In other news, I came across an intriguing cocktail recipe today and thought I’d give it a try.

It’s called the Cowboy Hoof.

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I channel my inner cowboy at times.

#whenintexas

That’s why the name caught my eye.

As if the name weren’t enough, the ingredients sent me over the edge: mint AND gin?

Yes, please.

I’ve been known to sip Sapphire like it’s the sweet nectar of life, and I eat fresh mint garnish instead of the desserts it adorns, so this cocktail spoke to my soul and stuff.

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The drink is MUCH prettier than my pic.

(I’m probably more remedial about photography than I am about my feelings.)

ANYWAY, ignore the basic pic, and just make yourself one.

Cowboy Hoof
12 mint leaves, plus one to garnish
2 tsp simple syrup
3 ounces of gin

Muddle the mint and simple syrup. Add ice and gin. Shake in a cocktail shaker. Pour cocktail through a strainer. Add mint to garnish.

Sip.

Smile.

Repeat.

Oh, and just in case you want to hear the song that ultimately unlocked my feelings, it’s a Bearson remix of James Bay’s Let it Go. The juxtaposition of the chipper, yet haunting beats with the painful lyrics perfectly summarize my feelings. I’m trying to shake it off and move on while simultaneously attempting to acknowledge that it hurt.

 

Beauty in Unity and Resistance (Or My Fight)

Yesterday I didn’t march. I regret it a little….

OK, maybe I regret it a lot.

Seeing the inspiring photos of my friends making history all across the country made me slightly ashamed I was only experiencing a powerful movement via my Facebook newsfeed.

I’m working a TON right now, and Saturday was my only chance to get groceries, make food for the week, and take down my twinkle lights… so I stayed home.

I realize how hollow those excuses sound.

That said, I did have a wonderful day embracing beauty and diversity in my community.

See, I decided to walk to Trader Joe’s to get groceries and on my way I came across an absolutely incredible acapella quartet outside of the Pantages Theater.

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Tremendous soul is a serious understatement.

They made my day.

They were like Boyz II Men x 10.

I stopped to watch them a second time on my way back because I loved them so much. (I donated twice. #duh)

I also took a video of their performance and shared it with my family. On a day when we were divided by politics, I felt blessed I could share something that unites us like good music. Everyone loved it — Republican and Democrat alike.

You just can’t deny soul, after all.

While I’m never going to back down when it comes to my beliefs, I’m never going to turn my back on good people who disagree with me either, so I was happy to find something that could unite us. I love my family, and finding our common ground is crucial to me.

As if a surprise serenade weren’t enough, I also met a talented homeless man making art out of palm trees.

He was only asking for donations for his work.

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I totally bought the cross.

I shared the photo — and the story — with my family. While politics and faith divide us, art unites us, so I was happy I could share this as well.

After I returned home, I made tomato soup, jammed to songs of resistance, and then I went to work at the Saloon.

If you want a taste of yesterday’s playlist here are a few highlights, in no particular order:

Fred Hammond, No Weapon

Dixie Chicks, Not Ready to Make Nice

Yolanda Adams, Never Give Up

Friday I’m in Love (Or Three Things I’m Into)

It’s FRIDAY!!!!

And I’m in LOVE. ❤ ❤ ❤

But not in the way you think I mean. I’m in love with my life, and I want to tell you about a few things that are making me happy right now because I’m all about spreading love and happiness. ❤

MY FAVORITE GLUTEN FREE CRACKERS:

They’re the Sea Salt Brown Rice Crackers by Food Should Taste Good, but a better name might be Crack in a Box.

The government should require a warning label for these things.

I mean…

Monica loves them so much, I think she might fight me for them.

Monica loves them so much, she snuggles with the box. 

They used to carry them at Costco, and I got ADDICTED. They stopped stocking them last year, and I nearly had to go to therapy.

I recently found them at the high end market on my street for 6x the price I paid at Costco. I only let myself buy them as a special treat because I’m not trying to be homeless because I’m addicted to amaranth and rice crackers.

Today felt like the right day to splurge, so I bought a box.

You probably should too, but please don’t blame me if you end up living in your car because of your addiction.

WALKING THE DOG WHILE LISTENING TO SCREENWRITING PODCASTS: 

I’m ALL about maximizing efficiency, so I get excited when I can do two things at once. Yesterday, I found a way to do THREE things at once, which was so fabulous it was almost like having an orgasm.

See, I figured out how to work out, tire out my enormous dog, AND solve some script problems all at once.

The solution?

Walking the dog while listening to screenwriting podcasts.

Genius, right?

I decided to make it an extra relaxing time for us, so we even lay in the park for a while as I listened to smart and famey writers talk about writing.

See?

Aren't you glad I showed you my armpit?

Aren’t you glad I showed you my armpit?

Nature + Learning = ❤

Plus a humming bird joined us for a while.

It was awesome.

That's not dirt. It's a bird.

That’s not dirt. It’s a bad photo of a little bird. I promise.

Time with my dog + birds + learning = ❤ ❤ ❤

If you’re into this sort of movie madness, you can check out Scriptnotes here.

And last but not least….

WRITING TO YOUTUBE MIX TAPES:

I started doing it this week, and it’s uh-mazing. Most of the mix tapes run about an hour, so you get uninterrupted beats without having to deal with ads.

True story.

I put one of my favorites below. This one happens to be all Kygo tracks, but I’m not mad about it. It includes remixes of Ed Sheeran’s “I See Fire,” Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” and Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing.”

Plus Owly, the genius who created it, even lists the tracks on the playlist so you don’t have to interrupt your writing flow to shazaam a song when you like it.

OK, I’m off to implement some of the screenwriting tips from yesterday before going to dinner with my adorable aunt and cousin.

We’re going to listen to country music while eating our favorite burritos.

It’s going to be beyond.

XOXO

❤ ❤ ❤

All Roads Lead to Bacon (Or Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Onions)

You know that scene in Dirty Dancing when Dr. Houseman tells Johnny he knows he’s not the one who got Penny pregnant?

He’s all, “When I’m wrong, I say I’m wrong.”

(The moment is at 4:28, in case you’re interested — or in case you just wanna watch pretty people dirty dance.)

ANYWAY, when I’M wrong, I say I’m wrong too.

So, here’s one of the ways I’ve been wrong lately: I think I may have been too hard on the Spicy Calabrian Pork Ribs.

They’ve been sitting in my fridge since I made them on Monday and I’ve been snacking on them all week. I’m liking them more now than I did initially. I think maybe the marinade needs to be made a few days in advance so the flavors have time to marry. I might try this experiment another time. (If I do, I’ll totally get back to you.)

The other experiment I want to try?

Involves the maple chile glaze from this pork chop recipe. I think I want to put THAT on pork ribs as well. This brings me to another thought….

It’s possible my pig obsession is getting out of control.

I keep telling myself at least it’s not as bad as this guy’s:

I mean I haven't declared my love on my car yet….

I mean I haven’t declared my love on my car yet….

But I probably would wear one of these to work out.

If you're as nuts as I am about bacon, you can buy these shirts here.

If you suffer from the same affliction, you can buy these shirts here.

An intervention may be necessary.

Even if things ARE a little out of control, I’m not ready to stop the obsession yet, so let’s just keep oinking, K?

Yesterday I promised you the recipe for Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Onions, so here it is.

Spence the Spinosaurus is trying to control himself around this goodness.

They were a huge hit with Spence the Spinosaurus.

I had some bacon leftover after I made the dish, so I decided to candy it with spices and maple syrup. (Recipe here.) Then I cranked up the Kygo, and danced in my kitchen while I waited for my candied bacon to cook because that’s what lunatics people do.

Just try to listen to this track and not do a little dirty dancing of your own.

I dare you.

I double bacon candy dare you.

2013 and I Are Almost Through (Or Life is an Amazing Accident)

Don’t hate me for saying this, but it’s almost 85 in LA today. It’s just a little gift from God to make up for the gridlock, the hoards of hipsters littering Hollywood, and the astronomical rent we pay to sip in all kinds of smog every day.

So, anyway, I’m blogging from Peet’s Coffee Shop this afternoon like some sort of college student, and it makes me feel more alive than I’ve felt in months. I miss periodically staring out a window, surrounded by a never-ending bustle of strangers coming and going while I write. It’s sort of an accident I’m here, really, but it’s a happy accident. I was rushing out the door for yoga earlier and I accidentally went to the wrong studio. I didn’t have time to drive to the right studio before class started so I’m in the valley with my computer killing time until the next class. Today is about lovely accidents, but isn’t life?

I mean, I  just had a brief and amusing conversation about Latin with the stranger who rescued the contents of my purse from under his chair. I felt the need to explain why baby wipes, coconut chips, and fingernail clippers had ended up under his feet by quoting the Coast Guard motto, “Semper Paratus.” It means “always prepared,” and wouldn’t you know? He knew Latin too. Four years of declining nouns and conjugating verbs reached its maximum utility in a coffee shop in LA, folks. (Actually, it really may have had its greatest moment when I impressed a pack of drunk frat boys by translating the motto carved into the Psi Upsilon fireplace when I was 19, but whatever. Either way, Latin crops up in lovely and strange moments for me.) We ended up smiling before he went back to his book, and I went back to writing this post.

This is all terribly random, but I’m wrapping up quite a year of unexpected stuff, so the lack of focus in this post seems appropriate somehow. This year was truly an epic curveball  in so many ways, and I’m OK with it. (I kinda have to be since I can’t really change any of it anyway.)

This year my mentor died suddenly as did my stepbrother, and I fell in love for the first time in like forever, so 2013 certainly was one for the books. I went a little Paleo, a little crazy, and I gained about 7 pounds partying like a college kid last spring. I finally lost the weight, shed the regret, and along the way I learned it’s OK to cry in someone else’s arms. I got baptized in the wrong baptism pool by a boy who was so rattled he could hardly dunk me. I danced on the patio of The Bungalow on Easter with one of my best friends even though there’s no dance floor there, and I held some of the most amazing people I know while they cried in my arms. All in all, 2013 was just a whole lotta holy s#*!, but I’m still standing, so there’s that.

I’m wrapping up 2013 by consulting with an Ayurvedic doctor, and her analysis of my constitution has yielded tremendous insight into my ailments — both mental and physical. I will write more about it later, but essentially I learned I’m the rarest constitution on earth because I’m equally influenced by all of the natural forces that manifest physically. I’m something called tri-doshic, and my type only makes up 3% of the population. Tri-doshic individuals are more affected by the seasons and the people around them than any of the other types. We’re almost like human lightening rods for others’ emotions, and it may explain why friends, strangers, and family members have been telling me their deepest, darkest and most painful secrets most of my life. I guess it’s because  I seem like I can relate? Or something?

Whether you buy into this sort of thing or not, I will say this: discovering my type put into words what I’ve always known somewhere in my soul… I’m wired in a super weird way and that’s OK. (Aren’t we all, though?)

It might explain why I’ve always felt like there were two different people fighting for airtime inside the same body or it could just be the story I needed to accept who I am. I’m equal parts Meghan and Anika, and that’s just the way it is. I’m as comfortable on a horse wearing a cowboy hat and singing Luke Bryan at the top of my lungs as I am in pearls hosting a charity event. I’m just as likely to be screaming at football players on TV as I am peacefully doing a down dog in a yoga studio. I’ve never been able to comfortably fit into any mold. I was one of the few sorority girls in film school (there were seriously like six of us — I’m not kidding), and I have always been friends with a diverse array of individuals who have almost zero overlap between one another.

I’ll never make anyone listen to Hank Williams Jr. followed by Busta Rhymes if they don’t want to. I’ll probably always wander off and do my own thing for a while because I can’t be confined in any way, but I’ll always come back home. It’s the way I’m made. Some of my makeup is my Bumpa’s wandering, dancing, making-friends-with-strangers blood in my veins. Some of it is my disciplined, buttoned up, deer-hunting, perfectionist father’s genes. Some of it is my mother’s louder, more extroverted (but also perfectionist), quick-witted, sharp-tongued DNA. It’s also as much my Aunts’ sweetness and softness as it is my Uncle’s outrageousness and artist’s soul. It’s all of it. I’ll write more about the new age-y Ayurveda stuff later. I really need to turn off the Jo Dee Messina blaring in my headphones and head off to yoga.

For now, I will leave you with this. It’s a beautiful song I discovered in yoga this week. May it inspire you to do something bold in 2014. I know I said I was going to keep these philosophical posts on the other blog, but I really was trying to talk about food when I sat down to write. This just came out instead. #oops #happyaccident

Happy New Year, ya’ll!

Party Playlist Post 5 (Or The Final Playlist is For Me)

So officially, Tom Brady, Tony Bennett, and I turned another year older on Saturday. My birthday began with a serenade from Suzie in London and ended with one from Anna just a few blocks away. And in between those sweet renditions of “Happy Birthday,” I felt so loved by all of the other wonderful people who called, texted, sent cards, and took me to a concert.

My actual birthday party isn’t until the 17th of August, so I have a few more weeks to tweak the birthday party playlist (can anyone say perfectionist?!?), but I’m going to wrap up the playlist posts today.

And the final playlist post? Is about the songs just for me.

So here it goes…

It’s for letting myself buy a pair of fat jeans this summer and almost being okay with it. It’s for learning that sometimes it’s better to do 85% than to always give 100%. It’s for finally accepting that even though my career didn’t turn out the way I expected it would, it’s actually turning out a whole lot better. It’s for realizing my dad was right when he made me go to Michigan. It’s for finally embracing USC for the people it brought into my life.

USC Love on Dogs Dishes and Decor

I find cardinal and gold inspiration.

Big Ten Pac Ten conflict on Dogs Dishes and Decor

I even put this ridiculous sticker on my car recently.

It’s for getting back up each time I have gotten knocked down. It’s for realizing that going to Phish shows and joining a country club don’t need to be mutually exclusive. It’s for the understanding that I can be a yuppie with a side of something weird too. It’s for learning that it all starts with loving yourself fat jeans and all….

Jack Penate’s Pull My Heart Away

David Guetta and Sia’s Titanium

Nicky Romero and Nervo’s Feels Like Home

Big Boi and Kelly Rowland’s Momma Told Me

Beyonce’s Dance For You

DJ Sammy’s Heaven

Lady Gaga’s Dance in the Dark

David Allen Coe’s You Never Even Called Me By My Name

Flight Facilities’ Crave You

Hank Williams Jr.’s A Country Boy Can Survive

Milli Vanilli’s Girl You Know It’s True

Mann’s Buzzin’

Another Bad Creation’s Iesha

Shaggy’s Oh Carolina

Tiesto with Tegan and Sara’s Feel It In My Bones

Sub Focus with Alpine’s Tidal Wave

Mariah Carey and Miguel’s #Beautiful

Oh and BTW? I’m totally wearing a Ralph Lauren sweater to the Phish show at the Bowl tonight.

#sothere

#love