Derby Hats, Dark Books, and Easter Desserts (Or Things that Make Me Smile)

Here are some things that make me smile:

#1 I got my dog’s biopsy results back, and his cancer didn’t spread to his lymph nodes. Sure, the tumors were level 2, which means they COULD return, but they didn’t spread, so there’s that. We are consulting with a veterinary oncologist, but it’s mostly good news for now.

#2 I’m going to Vegas for the Kentucky Derby with two of my besties from college. We’ve been scheming about hats in a group text all morning.

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This little nugget from Nordstrom is my front runner.

Part of me is tempted to have a flower crown made for the Derby, like this fabulous one I’m wearing here:

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I don’t actually know who this guy is.

He just liked my cakeandpunch crown, so we posed for a pic at Malibu Wines. (I think ranunculus are everything. Apparently he agreed.)

#3 In addition to conspiring about hats, we’ve been discussing poolside reading. Kelley and I shared book suggestions all morning and have basically started our own long distance, two-person book club. Most of my friends would recommend me for a padded room if I told them to read these books, so I’m grateful for a kindred spirit in the land of the macabre. (Pretty Girls, The Missing, The Murder Room, and I’m Thinking of Ending Things are our first orders of business for discussion.)

#4 It’s almost time for Easter at 816, an annual tradition that brings the best people on the planet together for food, wine, and fun at our favorite Santa Monica beach house.

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Here are a few of my beautiful bunnies from last year’s festivities.

I’m trying to decide if I want to make the same fennel scalloped potatoes I made last year or if I want to branch out.

This gorgeous geode cake from Buttercream Bakeshop in DC gives me ideas.

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Couldn’t you just DIE from the pretty?

I think I’d put ice cream in the inside instead of cake if I made it. I’ve been scouring this link for ice cream inspiration.

Cake bores me as much as a bad book.

True story.

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.

 

My Macabre Musings (Or I Return to My Roots)

Maybe it started with the Raymond Chandler novel my aunt encouraged me to purchase at The Last Bookstore, or maybe it’s my mood about my dog’s cancer, but I recently abandoned my usual girlie reading material for more macabre fare.

(Translation: no more Emily Giffin for a minute.)

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I read the entire Chandler classic in the Mexico City Airport.

Now I’m reading two rather grim books, and I’m LOVING both of them.

(If you must know: The Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo, and Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter are riveting. The former is non-fiction, the latter, fiction.)

Also?

The Last Bookstore is AMAZING, and you ABSOLUTELY have to go if you’re in LA. It’s like the only real culture we have here.

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Aptly named, it’s also basically THE Last Bookstore in LA.

Inspired by my dark books, I tweeted last weekend, “Given the state of my love life, I think it’s time to shelve my rom com ideas and write stories about serial killers instead.”

I gained a few new followers after the tweet, so maybe I’m on the right track.

I have been utterly unable to write ANY of the soapy/rom commy ideas I’ve outlined in the last six months. Every time I sit down to write, I feel hollow, empty, and devoid of inspiration.

Sure, I actually had feelings for the first person in FOUR YEARS this year, but that was a raging dumpster fire of a disaster, and while the fallout SHOULD have sent me into a writing frenzy, it has utterly failed to do so. I spent hours journaling, trying to mine my heart and brain for reasons, but I came up empty.

Why was I crazy about him and unable to put the experience into words?

What was different this time?

Other heartbreaks have inspired my best work.

I mean, I should have known better than to fall for him in the first place, but feelings aren’t logical and that’s why I find them so maddening.

I had a date last week, but I couldn’t bring myself to go on a second with the poor guy. My feelings on the practice of dating remain unchanged. (#ihateit) I’d rather just hang out casually and slowly decide if someone annoys me or not.

Sure, I can be sentimental, and I am a bit of a princess (or so my friend Tim says when he hands me my Sauvignon Blanc after work), but I’m not sure I’m suited for the traditional trappings of romance. It all feels forced, contrived, conventional, and more disgusting to me than a rotting corpse covered in maggots.

I spent my adolescence devouring Stephen King, Thomas Harris, Christopher Pike, and Peter Benchley. (I read Jaws in the fifth grade for crying out loud.)

My friend Mike was recently shocked to learn that I have never seen The Notebook. He’s known me HOW long, and he’s surprised by this?!? (In his defense, I guess I was equally surprised to learn he HAD seen it.)

I think maybe my perky, let’s-put-a-bow-on-it, party planing side throws even my closest friends, but COME ON…

Have you seen the art on my walls?!?

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My living room is a shrine to David Lynch.

(I am QUITE aware the prints are not hung symmetrically and it KILLS me.)

The stills are limited edition Richard Beymer originals from the set of Twin Peaks.

Also?

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Who hasn’t noticed my creepy bathroom art situation?

My sorority roommate’s mother let me pick out one of her prints at the Ann Arbor Art Fair back in the day, and I selected the most disturbing one she had.

It’s a vintage mannequin head, and it looks simultaneously serene and unsettling to me.

I love it.

So, anyway, I think maybe it’s time to write about murder because I’m just NOT feeling love at the moment.

Of Cancer and Gift Baskets (Or Smiles and Tears)

Friday my monster had surgery.

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His post-op lampshade situation was short-lived, however.

He figured out how to remove it because he is a canine criminal mastermind — even when he’s high on morphine.

I am supposed to find out this week if his cancer spread and if we’re facing the beginning of a battle — or the end. I try to put it out of my head as much as I can because I don’t want to waste time worrying until I know it’s necessary, but prognosis aside, his three big incisions break my heart. I almost cried when I saw them.

Full confession: I love my dog more than I love most people, so this isn’t easy. Maybe that makes me a misanthrope, or maybe he’s just a very special beast. Either way, I have been loathe to leave my house since bringing him home from the vet. I’ve turned down dinner invitations, hiking offers, and I bailed on book club. I just want to be home so I can watch him sleep.

Here he is crushing Cee Cee the Cancer Lion during a recent nap.

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Die Cancer Lion! Die!

I bought Cee Cee for him the day his initial needle biopsies came back positive for cancer. I cried so much that night that I woke up the next morning with my right eye nearly swollen shut. I had to ice my eyelids before I went to work. (It wasn’t awesome.)

I did manage to drag myself away from my patient this weekend to make an appearance at a baby shower, albeit, a brief appearance.

I probably spent more time putting together the gift basket than I spent at the shower, but I did what I could.

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I like presents.

That’s why I get carried away making them look pretty for people.

Like this one.

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Even boys need bows on their birthday. Fact.

Presents help me deal — and they help me express things I sometimes fail to communicate properly.

That’s also why I cook for people. It’s my way of saying I care about them even if I’m lousy at saying it sometimes.

Okay, enough rambling. I’m off to blast some Matoma remixes and make myself a quiche because I need to show myself a little love via my mouth now.

 

 

Wit’s End With Carpet (Or Ripping It Up Again)

Maybe it was touring my friend’s new condo yesterday, or maybe it was general restlessness with my life, OR it could have simply been my new mirror without a wall to call home that made me do it, but today I started ripping out my bedroom carpet.

The carpet is gross, beige-gray, and never worked in my home — or my life… so it’s going away.

See?

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Carpet carnage (hashtag hideous)

I’ll need a rug for the room, but the prospect of purchasing one excites me, so it’s not exactly a downside.

The overall aesthetic of the room has always bothered me, and now I’m doing something about it.

Oh, and the mirror that may or may not have inspired today’s demolition initiative?

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Here it is in all of its antiquey gilded glory.

I’m working on a plan for it.

#designmastermind

 

 

 

Tire Chains and Gift Wrap (Or GJelina for ME

Back in December I was supposed to attend my friend Nicole’s annual Vision Board Party.

Every year we cut pictures from magazines and create collages to inspire ourselves for the upcoming year.

See?

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I’m not saying this is mine from 2016, but… maybe I am.

In addition to making colorful collages, we drink wine, eat snacks, and do a gift exchange. (Major girl things.)

I had my gift wrapped and ready for the party, but I didn’t make it back from the slopes in time to attend the soiree.

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Some nonsense about tire chains delayed my trip up the mountain.

Apparently, they slow your roll.

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Even when you bring your favorite engineer with you.

Now I don’t have any visions for 2017, but I did end up with this smartly wrapped gift.

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And it didn’t have a home.

So I did what any sensible adult would do…

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I unwrapped it.

And I gave it to myself. I mean, I adore GJelina, so why not?

Now I’m browsing the pages for inspiration. I may make meatballs in pomodoro sauce soon.

I’ll let you know if I do.

My Kingdom For Fi$H (Or Postmates Sushi)

Wednesday I was craving sushi — specifically Sugarfish sushi.

I was tired after my 75 minute commute so I decided to order some. Since Sugarfish doesn’t have its own delivery service, I decided to order my fishy magic through Postmates.

(If you don’t have Postmates in your area, my condolences. They will deliver almost anything to you… for a PRICE.)

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Even fancy raw fish in pretty boxes.

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Torro rolls to the rescue.

Let’s not discuss the Postmates delivery fees and “taxes,” K?

#worthit

There’s nothing like albacore, ponzu, and torro rolls after a long day.

OK, now I have to get back to writing my pilot… and figure out what the nice Postmates man should bring me for my next meal.

Katsuya? Or maybe Malo?

Hmm…

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