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 on 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. 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

Things (Or I’m Writing Again)

I took down my Airbnb listing recently and cancelled my last reservation today. Long story… but it was time.

I’m not sad about it. Airbnb was a zany experience to say the least, and I had a longer run than I had expected when I set out on the adventure.

I’m incredibly glad to be home and within arm’s reach of all my shoes, so there’s that. (The things we take for granted….)

In other news, I’m still having fun waiting tables at the Saloon, I started writing a new pilot, and I’m looking forward to an incredible Michigan football season.

The Wolverines destroyed Hawaii 63-3 last Saturday, and our preseason #7 ranking rose to #5 as a result. I’m going back to Ann Arbor for the Wisconsin game on October 1, and the crew making the pilgrimage to the Holy Land is growing daily.

Plus?

My entire family will be home for my Nana’s birthday that week, so I’m going to party at the cabin with the rest of the Russell Clan while I’m in Michigan. #winning

So this was an inane non-post post, but my head has gone other places.

I could tell you about the (working) actor who comes into the Saloon and tells me, “You have comedy in you. You should do stand up,” but I suspect he’s hitting on me, so I take THAT with a grain of salt. I’m just going to keep writing my new pilot instead of planning to participate in an open mic night with people who are actually funny…..

This is me writing at the moment. I’m sweaty from a rather ill-advised walk to Trader Joe’s with a laundry cart. (Don’t ask.)

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It’s probably better I’m a bit out of focus.

Back to the pilot.

More later.

XOXO

On the Couch (Or Confessions)

Remember LAST spring when I rented my place on Airbnb for the first time? Remember when I thought it was going to be a short-lived experiment?

Well, 15 months later I’m still renting it to travelers from Egypt to Australia and everywhere in between.

It takes a toll on me. I’m not going to lie.

Even though my friends are awesome for letting my big beast and me stay with them, it’s hard not to be home. Sure, I have streamlined my packing process and my after-hours check in procedures so I don’t have to wait for international travelers at all hours of the night, but if I’m being honest, I’m ready to stop for a while.

I’m ready to finish the repairs and upgrades my place desperately needs, to have a proper dinner party on my yet-to-be-christened mahogany table, and I’m ready to know all of my shoes are in my closet instead of a bag on the floor.

So, I finally rejected a couple of requests from Parisians and blocked a week off my calendar. Now I can stay home to deal with my place… and the mail that gets neglected when I’m living like a nomad.

I tackled the refrigerator upgrade last weekend with middling success (see injuries here), and now I’m ready to replace my couch.

My parents bought my current one for me when I graduated from USC, and it had two removable slipcovers back then. Four rescue dogs, 45 international travelers, and 13 years later, I’m down to one slipcover that is absolutely in tatters.

It’s time for an upgrade.

See?

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Horrifying furniture AND photography.

The challenge is finding a sleeper sofa I don’t hate for under $1,000. I found one that wasn’t bad at Cost Plus, but it didn’t have removable (read: washable) cushions, and it only pulled out into a twin, which won’t really work for a lot of reasons.

It was CLOSE to being right, but…

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Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

I found another option I don’t despise online, but it’s hard for me to commit without seeing it up close.

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OBVIOUSLY not with those atrocious throw pillows. Source

Also? It only comes in pebble which wouldn’t be catastrophic, but I think I want dark gray.

I’ve been scouring Craigslist for over a month, but that has been a bit of a bust thus far.

So… I confess I’m not quite sure what to do about the couch, I’m a bit sick of renters, I’m tired of living like a refugee… and my other confession?

I have writers block.

I know that sounds crazy considering I wrote two blog posts this week, but it’s really just procrastination because I don’t know what to do with my pilot, my second feature, or the first feature I’m converting into a novel.

I’m just not feeling that inspired.

Now that I’m home and rejecting rental requests for a while, I’m going to make myself write.

Hold me to it, K?

Thanks, internet.

Forehead and Forearms vs. Fridge (Or I Lose)

Eight years ago I bought a used fridge when I moved into my place. A few years into our relationship, I painted it with stainless steel paint to hide its glaring whiteness.

In the process of pulling off the handles for painting, one hit me in the face.

Hard.

I had a massive contusion on my forehead for a few weeks. (I had to buy a ridiculous hat from H&M to hide it.)

That fridge served me well for years (minus the forehead assault), but it has been on its way out for the last year or so. I refused to buy a new fridge for a place I’m renting on principle so I started scouring Craigslist for a replacement.

After a month, I found a candidate… in Compton.

Yes, Dr. Dre’s City of Compton.

Apparently, the guy had been trying to sell it for a while but everyone bailed on him when he told him where he lived.

People are idiots.

I mean, maybe I’M an idiot for driving 21 miles south to the hood to go to a stranger’s garage with him, but considering the deal I got on a stainless steel situation I’d say I won.

The only catch?

I didn’t have anyone to help me haul it.

I didn’t think that was going to be a big deal because I moved my last fridge by myself with a dolly. I figured I’d just rent a truck with a ramp and a dolly and I’d be fine.

Yeah, not so much…

I didn’t realize how heavy the fridge was because the guy who sold it to me put it in the truck for me. Maybe the grimacing and the sweat on his brow should have tipped me off, but he was kind of small, so I didn’t really think too much about it until it was my turn to haul that thing solo.

I struggled to tip it on its end to roll it, but I finally managed. As I held it at the edge of the ramp, I grimaced in pain as the weight of the enormous appliance rested on my forearms.

OMIGOD, it hurt.

Once I was sure I had the wheels aligned properly on the edges of the ramp, I started the slow descent to the street. By this point, my arms were aching, and I was grateful my thighs had the strength to keep the fridge (and me) from flying uncontrollably into the street.

I survived that ordeal and made it across the sidewalk, but I was absolutely out of breath. It turns out stainless steel weighs A LOT more than whatever my last fridge was made out of (clouds and cotton candy?!?).

Totally spent and in pain, I looked at the two small steps standing between me and my building. They weren’t that big. They should not have been daunting, but my forearms were already aching from the ramp. I couldn’t face steps alone.

So I started my SOS texts.

I generally try to avoid damsel in distressing it, but this situation was out of my hands.

My friend Lauren, who is an absolute angel, called me back and offered to come over. While I waiting for her to arrive, my neighbor Mel came upon me sitting on the steps, looking a bit bruised and pathetic.

It turns out his grandfather had owned a moving company back east and he offered to help.

Long story short (too late), Lauren and Mel are absolute angels and they bailed me out of a situation wisdom probably could have prevented in the first place, but now I have a fabulous fridge.

(I bought them gift cards to the bougie pet store up the street because I know when I’m indebted to incredible people, and they both have rescue dogs who deserve pampering.)

So, anyway, here’s the appliance that almost killed me and my arms:

Welcome home, fridge. Thank you for hosting my bacon and my beer.

Welcome home, fridge. Thank you for hosting my bacon and my beer. You’re worth it.

Now I’m adoring it while icing my arms because moving it all but kind of killed me.

Repurposing an already indispensable item = winning.

Winning with wine pacs.

If you can handle gore, this is why I need the ice:

Fridge > forearms

Fridge > forearms

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I swear the only abusive relationship I’m in is with a large appliance.

It’s actually a little worse today than it was when I took these pics last night, but I’ll spare you those pics

Instead, I’ll conclude with this: both fridges did damage to my forehead and my forearms, but I’m grateful for cold wine… and the angels who helped me haul the pretty new one into my place.

My crew rules.

Productive Procrastination (Or Life Goals)

I should be writing today. I mean this kinda counts, but not really. I should be working on my second pilot, but I did that yesterday. Or maybe two days ago. Either way, I’m not feeling that script today… or my second feature.

Today I’m feeling sausage, bacon, and truffle popcorn, but that’s not really news. I’m always in the mood for those things.

Do you know what is news?

U of M and Notre Dame will be rekindling their rivalry in 2018. That announcement made my day. I’m already planning a pilgrimage to Ann Arbor for the 2019 match up in the Big House. I put the entire crew on notice as soon as I woke up.

Know what else I’m planning?

A trip to Michigan for the Wisconsin game in October.

We haven’t played Wisco in absolutely forever, and it’s always a good time. Plus that game coincides with my Grandma’s birthday, so the trip is sort of like multitasking. #winningatlife

The other thing putting me in a good mood?

The rose I found at Costco for $12.69.

It’s delicious.

Also?

Any wine purchased at Costco is well-deserved and can be opened immediately upon returning home because procuring it generally involves waiting in line behind someone buying 4,000 diapers and 42 bottles of hand sanitizer.

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Costco needs an express line for single people. #truth

So, that’s sort of the latest. Oh, and I did a dialogue rewrite of a movie that starts shooting this week in New Orleans, so that was awesome.

In other news, I want to own a sports bar some day. I spend enough time in them that I may as well get a return on my investment, right?

In the spirit of learning the business from the ground up, I picked up a few shifts at a chill spot on the westside with good burgers and solid crew of regulars. I’m getting writing material up to my eyes, and I’m also learning things about city ordinances for grease lines, the importance of free goldfish crackers, and cutting off drunk people in baseball caps.

Plus? I’m having fun.

You’re not really living if you’re not having fun… or changing things up.

Speaking of changing things up…. I said goodbye to my stick this spring.

That may not seem like a huge thing, but I have driven manuals since I got my license, so it feels like the end of an era, because I’m not exactly 16.

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I’ll miss you, manual.

It was time, though.

I needed more room for the Bubba… and my 92,000 bags.

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Points if you can find the pup in the pic. #sorrybaby

It got the Mercedes GLA, and it may be a lot bigger than my last car, but the turning radius is TO DIE FOR. If you’ve ever had to pull an illegal U-ey in LA you’ll understand why this is key. German engineering is no joke.

So, things are changing.

And in the spirt of all that, here’s a song I’m into right now celebrating changes in the air.

 

I Go Literary for V-Day (Or Bookmarks for Besties)

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and I’m totally basking in the sunshine on my balcony.

See?

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It’s 82 in LA today. Just for the record…

I’m getting ready to spend the entire Valentine’s Day weekend with friends on the westside, and I can’t wait to sip cocktails and dance in our jammies together! It’s going to be beyond.

I’m thinking maybe vanilla vodka with soda for our festivities. My friend Caroline introduced me to the VVS last night, and I’m considering nominating her for sainthood. They’re slightly sweet but not cloyingly so, and they’re not total killers in the calorie department, so basically they are god’s gift to former sorority girls the calorie conscious lush.

Anyway, in honor of the actual saint we celebrate this weekend… and my slumber soiree, I’m making bookmarks to give as Valentine’s Day gifts.

Like this:

Chewy and Spence are like friends forever.

Chewy and Spence are like friends forever.

I think it’s important to tell everyone in your life that you love them this time of year — not just the people you want to make out with — but maybe that’s just me.

Friendship, after all, is the foundation of love.

XOXO

P.S. If you want to see what the dinos were doing on my blog last Valentine’s Day, check that out here.

Tom Brady Gets Another Ring (Or Super Bowl, Bitches!)

OK, I know it has been ages. SO my fault. I’m on the fourth draft of my feature screenplay, and I’m in the weeds on an original pilot, and I needed to concentrate on all that fiction for a minute. Now I’m finally in a place where I can sort of split my headspace, so here it is…

My Super Bowl Post.

My besties and I decided to throw a potluck soiree for the Super Bowl, and our amazing friends totally rose to the occasion. They brought everything from shrimp cocktail to chickpea chili. It was all divine. Plus Tom Brady won another ring, and that was just beyond.

I tried to keep my contribution simple, so I went with sides and desserts.

See?

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If I could shape it like a football… I did.

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Deviled eggs are better with bacon… and when they’re decorated like footballs.

My cousin Madison moved to Santa Monica in January, and it made my heart burst with joy that she joined us for the celebration.

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Isn’t she the cutest?

My friend’s boyfriend totally dominated the carne asada situation on the grill.

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Get those jalapeños, Charlie!

I handed out patron shots like a boss.

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Don’t worry – – the cups weren’t completely full.

And our taco bar was beyond.

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Aren’t my besties the best?

If you want the recipes, and… trust me YOU DO… here they are.

Hail, Brady.

Guacamole

Salsa

Salsa Verde

Peanut Butter Dip

Oreo Truffles

Bacon Deviled Eggs