A Few Quick Things

Happy Friday! Today marks day one of our four day weekend. Because nothing says acclimating to a new schedule like a four day weekend followed by a two-day week and then another vacation day and then back to school for one day and then, like, ten more vacation days before the month is over.

Anyway, here are a few quick things:

1. Tomorrow, the 31st of August, is the last day to donate vaccines via comments a la A Shot at Life. One comment = one vaccine. One share = one vaccine. One like = one vaccine, etc, etc, infinity. There are some AMAZING posts, here, all of which are open and ready for comments vaccines, shares vaccines, and likes vaccines. You can comment multiple times on one post if you want, hey! And as of now we're about 15k away from our goal of 50k vaccines so LET'S DO THIS READY GO! (And thank you!)


2. Tomorrow night, Morgan of The 818 and I invite you to join us for a screening of Jill Soloway's new film Afternoon Delight. (Afternoon Delight was written and directed by Soloway and won the Best Directing Award at Sundance.)

I got the chance to attend the premiere last week, at which point the film punched me in the throat (in a good way) and I would like to punch you in the throat (in a good way) now, too. Afternoon Delight is a wonderful albeit painful-to-watch film about the paralysis that occurs in a seemingly aspirational life. It's about the power of sex and the monotony of marriage, motherhood, forced friendship... It's about sisterhood and one woman's quest to save someone who doesn't really need to be saved actually, but thanks...  Afternoon Delight is beautifully acted (Kathryn Hahn is unbelievable), hysterical and heartbreaking, bleak and hopeful. It's also an uncomfortably accurate portrayal of (many!) Los Angeles parents. No offense to (many!) Los Angeles parents.

So what do you say, LA friends? Meet us at The Landmark theatre on Pico/Westwood for a screening tomorrow night? Writer/director Jill Solloway will be there to do a Q&A with Kathryn Hahn and it's going to be awesome. Please join us. We can all get in a circle and hug.
(Click to enlarge. Bomp chicka bow-wow.)

Let's celebrate independent film! And storytelling! And women in Hollywood! And women who make independent film in Hollywood! Thank you and hope to see some of you tomorrow night.


To RSVP, please do so here via our eventbrite page. 

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 


Places to See: The Huntington

Last Saturday, both Fable and Archer spent the day at friends' houses, leaving Hal and me alone with the twins for the first time... ever? I mean, maybe it's happened before but I am scratching my head trying to remember the when and the where. SO! We decided to do an outing that the big kids would likely roll their eyes at because DO WE REALLY HAVE TO WALK ALL THAT WAY A MILLION MILES OF WALKING ARE YOU SERIOUS RIGHT NOW? WALKING WITH OUR LEGS!? Bo and Revi, meanwhile, kick and scream the moment I put them into a stroller these days because DO WE REALLY HAVE TO SIT IN A STROLLER A MILLION MILES OF STROLLING DON'T YOU SEE WE WANT TO WALK WITH THE LEGS WE JUST RECENTLY LEARNED HOW TO UTILIZE!?

(I made the mistake of taking the babes out of their stroller the first week of school, because they were writhing and begging for freedom, at which point Bo went running through the halls looking for a new family to adopt and go home with. And then I had to send a search party of parents up the stairs while Revi screamed because THE CROWD AHHHH! PEOPLE ARE LOOKING AT ME NOOOO! and Fable pressed her face against the TK window, like, "Mommmmmm! I'M WAITING FOR YOU WHAT ARE YOU DOING OUT THERE" and Archer was, like, "Hey mom! Let me tell you about how much homework I have right this very second...." and then it was over and everyone was fine and accounted for and my bangs were stuck to my forehead with sweat as the six of us (carpool) emerged from the school with everyone yelling at each other and a poopy diaper happening with someone and somebody left something back in class so "we have to turn around!" Except.  We were already almost at the car which was parked four blocks away at the bottom of a very steep hill and it was 100 degrees out and Fable was going to die, she said, because her skin was BURNING off of her body and everyone needed water at the same time but all of the water bottles were empty except for one sippy cup that Revi wouldn't let go of.)

Anyway. Every other day that's basically what goes down.

Meanwhile, this is a post about The Huntington so now I will focus.

I knew The Huntington Library & Gardens (with emphasis on the gardens part) was a place for walking and running down hills and not hearing children complain about walking and hills, which is why it seemed like the perfect outing for our Saturday as a foursome. And it was. It was magical.
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The Huntington Library and Gardens is essentially a museum and library surrounded by paradise. Truly. (You can read more about it here and here.)
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The estate boasts a children's garden as well, which is where we were en route to when Bo and Revi decided they wanted to climb inside a golf cart and pretend to be security guards. Which Hal and I forbade and then it was like, OH NO YOU DIDN'T, MELTDOWN COMMENCE!

Hell hath no fury like a tandem tantrum in the middle of a rose garden while people with parasols are trying to meditate.

Oh, hi. Sorry about the -- yeah, we were just going...

So we left.

The girls fell asleep in the car within three seconds and we decided that we'd take the entire cast and crew next time -- get there SUPER early and hit up the children's garden first. (With several changes of clothes.)

One of the perks in becoming a member, (which is really the only way to do anything as a family of six since family memberships are usually the same price as a single trip for everyone) is that the gardens will let you in early, before the crowd arrives. Ideal for families with small children who still nap. And have meltdowns in rose gardens in front of people who did not sign up for meltdowns in rose gardens.
One of these days I'm going to put together a new GGC list of must-sees for LA families. (This list is from 2006 and things have... uh... changed.) In the meantime, I would like to add The Huntington to the list. It's kind of a haul from our neck of the woods but 1000% worth it.
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This song is my HELL YES, SING IT SISTERS, to Amelia's post yesterday and the amazing stories shared. Courage indeed. 

176. Courage by: Hounds of the Wild Hunt


Brave Things by: Amelia Walton

The following post was written by the amazing, Amelia Walton. You can read more of Amelia's wisdom on her blog, Flux Capacitating
A popular magazine that many of you probably read posed an essay question over the summer that was simple in its terms, but daunting in its scope: what’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

This question kept rattling around with me for a couple of weeks, in part I think because I’m about to give birth again and nothing makes a woman (or at least this one) think about being brave like the prospect of bringing life into the world. But I also found that I was being a little hard on myself for not stumbling across more kittens that needed to be rescued from burning buildings or saving a small country which lead to being a little defiant that I was limiting myself to thinking that there’s such thing as a small act of courage. And finally, when I thought that I just might take a stab at writing that essay, I realized that I was too shy to say, LOOK WORLD! I DID SOMETHING GREAT! I wasn’t brave enough to talk about my own leaps of faith, and that’s where my most recent battle with courage is now beginning.

It’s these last two things, trying to put courage on a scale, and being too cowardly to talk about personal triumph, that I want to build a bridge and get on over. Because I don’t get it. As women (and fellas too! Hello fellas that might be reading this!) we know that we are the hardest on each other. We talk big talk about squashing the bullies and exalting each other and recognizing that we’re not living our lives AT each other, but rather WITH one another. As Rebecca posted about this summer, there’s room here for everyone. We know this, but we struggle with living it which is totally understandable. Our egos are noisy little motherlovers, you know?

I was (am?) afraid to tell a story of bravery because all I could hear were the Internet clickty clackty finger tips out there that would read my words and pass judgment. I’m afraid to write about the choices that I’ve made in my life that caused my heart to race or that made me feel ridiculously proud of myself or might just be different from the choices that you’ve made because I’m afraid that someone might read all of that and assume that I’m saying that my choice was better than yours. And THAT. That is the thing that’s holding us all back. It’s making us little, because I might be wrong about this, but I’m pretty sure that bravery begets bravery. You show me yours and I’ll show you mine. And instead of looking for the differences between us, we could just say, thank you for sharing that with me. Thank you. Thank you for being scared to death and then doing that thing. Saying those words. Standing in that fire. Telling that story. Thank you for inspiring me.

As it turns out, sharing our acts of bravery with each other is actually the generous gift of spirit.

In trying to distill down my life into a single “most brave act”, I realized that leaning my head toward my now husband’s face for that first terrifying and exhilarating kiss was a hell of a lot harder for me than strapping myself into a harness while a 12-year-old boy rattled off instructions to me in Spanish (I took French) before pushing me out into the Costa Rican canopy for the supposed ride of my life. As it turns out, it’s very easy for me to stand in front of a huge crowd and chat away but unbelievably difficult for me to tell a friend that my feelings are hurt. I’m great at jumping off of tall things, in fact I love it, but my stomach will be in knots for days if I owe someone an apology. Bravery knows no scale. I started this piece three weeks ago and still haven’t sent it to Rebecca because I’m afraid that it will flop, or be great, or be nothing, or be average or…just. Blaaaagh! Brain! Be quiet mind, be brave. LEAP!
So here it is. I’m not going to send my essay to that magazine because I never wrote it. Maybe I wasn’t brave enough to do it, or maybe the last months that I’ve been thinking about courage have been cathartic enough. Instead I’m rolling over all the courage that I worked up to write about this by asking you—me—a new question, one that I think is even better (sorry magazine editors, no hard feelings, you are awesome and your moms are all really lovely).

When was the last time that you asked someone you love to tell you about one of the bravest things they’ve ever done and then sat patiently while they told you their story? I don’t think I’ve ever done this, but I want to start. If you’re brave enough to tell me your story, I just might start to have more courage to not only tell you mine, but to tackle new things and then you’ll do the same and there we’ll both be, the bravest courageous sisters in the universe. And that courage begets another kind of courage, which is to just applaud one another for telling our stories without fear that one person’s triumph only serves to highlight another person’s perceived failure.

Believe it or not, writing this post and knowing that it’s going out to all of you is big for me; it’s my response to Mrs. Roosevelt challenging us to do one thing that scares us every day and I’m certain that’s a little bit laughable to some people because this wouldn’t be scary for them, and because honestly? What a luxury that my big fear in life gets to be worrying about writing. What a luxury. There’s no mountain involved, no immediate danger, no great story to tell afterward…I’m just a woman who’s 31 and trying to find the courage to write it down. But I also know that we are each truly brave when we think we can’t or won’t do something and then we go on and do it anyway. That’s our story.

Finally, this: when I was in labor with my son, I was about eight hours into it, sitting in a bathtub and with every fiber of my being, I started calling on the women of the world that had done this to join me in that moment. I drew on my imagined well of women who knew that moment and they answered, lending me courage from the four corners of the earth to birth a little boy. Laugh if you will, but I’ve gone back to that moment since then, learning and leaning on the power of reaching out to the global and possibly cosmic narrative of the communal experience, hoping that strength begets strength, passion begets passion, and courage begets courage. When we support each other, we support ourselves. We become brave.


We, the Miley

My fingers have been pacing all morning because I did NOT want to write about Miley Cyrus today because everyone else is writing about Miley Cyrus today and there are FAR more important things to be discussing and I know that. However. As a parent of two of Miley's biggest fans (Party in the USA has been on repeat in our house for the last year) and a woman who was once twenty-years old (and desperate to shock) I have a lot of feelings. I have so many feelings, in fact, that I don't even know where to begin with this post.

When we turned on the VMAs last night to watch as a family, I had a feeling we'd be turning it off soon after. Because, duh, MTV is the worst. And we did. We turned it off moments after Miley walked on stage. Because, duh, MTV is the worst. 

And then later, after the kids went down to bed, we turned it back on.

And sighed.

And squirmed.

And closed our eyes.

Kind of.

"This is embarrassing."


"Poor thing."


This morning I logged into twitter, in search for a voice that could help me tap into my own. Then (as one tends to do with twitter) I got sucked in. One post led to another which led to another, open letters to a confused little girl who doesn't get it from women who do. 

Because.... we feel we carry within us the life experience from which to speak? Surely we must KNOW Miley because we've watched her grow up, right? We feel responsible. And because we're mothers and it comes with the territory, entitled to speak.

So we do.

We come together with our personalized mugs and shame a twenty-year old. Because it makes us feel better to do so. Because we can sleep easy knowing it was her on that stage and not our insecure former-selves. Because she could be so much better! She could be us, you guys. She could be just like us! 

We think we get it and she does not.

We shake our collective heads and slap each other five for feeling the same disappointment. Not over MTV (they get a free pass obvs) but over the little girl lost.

We say and we talk and we tweet and we shame and we talk and talk shit and laugh because we're so much better than she is. Our daughters WOULD NEVER do that, we say, fingers crossed. We are the audience. We are safe in the audience where fools are not made. Except, of course they are.

Because the Miley hate isn't about Miley at all. It's about what we see in the mirror she reflects back at us. Bent over, tongue wagging, sexual selfie times a million. Miley Cyrus is every parent's cautionary tale. What is now sweet and innocent will someday define herself in part by her sexuality.  She is the skeleton we all keep bound and gagged in our closet, with our stash of US weekly magazines, and the journals we kept locked with keys when we were her age.

Hers was the dance performed by many of us. In our bedrooms with doors locked. Back in the good ol' days when privacy was a thing and we did our sexy dances with our friends, instead of an audience of strangers.

Our audience was a mirror stained with lipstick.

Perhaps hers is, too.

Miley got up on that stage last night and personified the very product of two decades of hyper-sexualized, self-exploitative, entitlement. Hyperbolic, frenzied, self-serving, practically naked.

Let she who has not twerked in a public forum throw the first stone. Emotionally. Physically. It is all rooted in the same place. We are the exhibitors pointing at the exhibitionist on the other side of the mirrored glass.

"This is embarrassing."


"Poor thing."


Perhaps this is why, in the same way we all squirmed in our seats, mouth agape, we also couldn't look away.

We knew what we were getting into when we sat down to watch MTV's VMAs last night. And collectively, we are very much aware of why we kept watching.


Gone Style + Substance: Dani, Week 13

So a very exciting thing is happening. My friend, Danielle is pregnant. Danielle who will make such an incredible mother I have been jumping out of my skin with excitement for the last two months because I love when amazing people breed. It is very good news for humanity.

I've known Danielle since 7th grade and she has always rocked her own "Dani-y" style. Here's a girl who wears sequined pants with tee-shirts and makes it look like an obvious choice for throwing something on NBD. Dani is a designer, art director, and all around creative dynamo. She's also one of the most wonderful friends a girl could ask for. She's Auntie "Daniel" to my kids and when I was in labor with the twins, came over at 2am to be with Archer and Fable while I gave birth. She has held my hand through every major life event, supported my every choice, and played an integral role in the lives of my children. I am so grateful for our friendship and so excited to share her with you because SHE IS AMAZING.

Anyway. Here is Danielle, thirteen weeks pregnant and ROCKING the style (and substance) as per usual.

Danielle: Week Thirteen
So! Thirteen weeks! You are officially in second-trimester mode. Knuckles, sister. How are you feeling? What's the haps? 

Dani: I feel fantastic! Man, it feels so great to have reached that first milestone. Now I feel like I can be totally open and excited about this pregnancy. I feel huge relief. This week I also started connecting - I guess you could say - with the tiny babe in my bod. Just some light one-sided conversation, like, "what are you up to in there?" Feels nice though. 

What was your first trimester like? Do you notice a change in energy and well-being now that you've crossed into the second act?

It began with some serious fatigue in the afternoon. I work in an open office and was wishing I had a place to hide and nap. But that seems to have passed by now and I feel I have most of my energy back. Change for me has been more emotional, I guess. It's been very helpful leaning on a few key people for support along the way. (Especially those times when you feel hyper sensitive and alone.) It's just so nice to have friends who get it. That's been really helpful.

I was fortunate enough to become pregnant when I wanted to become pregnant and I don't take that for granted. I'm at a good stable place in my life with a great husband, endless possibilities, love all around. I feel very lucky and am extremely pumped. 

Any particular cravings? 

BLTs and red vines. I actually had a dream about red vines the other night. 

Biggest surprise so far? 

I get to partake in the miracle of life! There's a little body inside my body! It's pretty wild and I'm fully embracing this adventure. 

Tell me about your dress/two piece situation? 

It's from the California Select line at American Apparel and can be found in a few other amazing vintage patterns, only in local stores, I'm afraid. Such a great summer outfit on hot days like today.


Shop Something Similar: 


Black/White Aztec Dress, $69
I heart travel dress, $75
Smock Dress in Pastel, $32 
tuscon adventures
Tucson Adventures Dress, $40
California Select Cut-Out School Girl Dress, $70


Antoinette Tuff and the Power of Words

Instead of treating him like a "bad guy" she treated him like a human being in pain, a boy lost... Because that is what he was. If you haven't already watched the below video, please do. Antoinette Tuff did an extraordinary thing Tuesday afternoon. She empathized. She listened. She shared her story.

I went looking for a quote to end this post in a way that would do Antoinette's words and actions justice and found several so I'm just going to post them all because one cannot draw straws when it comes to Mother Teresa and Gandhi.


“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” 
- Mother Teresa 

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” 
- Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” 
- Dalai Lama XIV

“It is easy enough to be friendly to one's friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.” 
- Mahatma Gandhi 


Eat Well: Let's Spoon... Bread

The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks, mom! 
We just got back from a road trip across the South…from Brevard, North Carolina to Denton, Texas where my daughter, Rachel will be spending the next three years.  I’m embarrassed to admit that until a few years ago, I had never even been to the South, and until this summer, my experience there was limited to a long weekend in New Orleans and another in Brevard last summer.  And that is really sad because the South is filled with abundant beauty, rich traditions, incredible food, and…the best antique malls I’ve ever seen.  Not to mention it being the birthplace of American music. We spent most of our time in North Carolina and Tennessee, enjoying small towns, big cities (we LOVED Memphis) and meandering along country roads.  

We marveled at the gorgeous waterfalls and reveled in history as we drove down the Natchez Trace Parkway. Unfortunately, we only had a few days until we had to get to Texas so we only got a taste of each place we stayed.
My favorite part of the trip was getting off of the freeways and finding the scenic roads through the Cumberland Plateau and the Tennessee walking horse country, and it made me realize that I want to see more—to explore our magnificent country one state at a time. Slowly. To find the treasures in the unexpected places—the best fish taco (Memphis Flying Fish, by far!) or the creamiest homemade ice cream (Denton’s Beth Marie’s).  Or the best toy store (Brevard’s O. P. Taylor’s) or antique mall (we loved Brevard’s). 

You can’t be in a rush when you go to an antique mall, and we spent a good hour in Brevard’s.  Larry and I split up and we both went trolling for treasure—he ended up with a 1949 issue of The Atlantic (inside joke for Hal) and I found hand-embroidered handkerchiefs for my mom (she LOVES them.)  I also found a cookbook from the ‘60’s, The Southern Cookbook of Fine Old Recipes, “Appetite whetting competent, delicious recipes that have made Southern Cooking famous the world over.”  It was bound in a wooden cover and it screamed at me to buy it, a deal at $6.00.  The desserts all look amazing and although most of the entrees contain meat, there are recipes here and there that I can make and modify.  Mostly, it is a fun memento of our fabulous trip.
Last night I made Southern spoon bread from my new old cookbook, which I had never made or even eaten before.  It is kind of a cross between a soufflé, Yorkshire pudding, and cornbread, and we loved it.  You can eat it sweet (with maple syrup) or savory.  I added fresh corn to it, but you could add herbs, peppers or even cheese.  It is a meal on its own, but would make a great side dish to any meal.  It would be delicious with roasted vegetables, such as my roasted okra and tomato recipe.  Like a soufflé or Yorkshire pudding, it needs to be eaten straight from the oven so plan your meal accordingly.  Spoon it out of the casserole and enjoy!

Southern Spoon Bread
2 cups milk, scalded
1 cup white cornmeal
4 eggs, separated
¼ cup butter
1 tablespoon sugar (optional if you are making the spoon bread savory)
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh corn from 2 ears of corn

Other addition ideas: canned or fresh skinned chili peppers, rosemary, cheddar cheese


Gradually add the cornmeal to scalded milk in a heavy saucepan.  
Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture thickens and becomes smooth.  
Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. 
Blend cornmeal mixture into egg yolks with the butter, sugar, corn and salt (if adding other ingredients, add them now).  Mix thoroughly.
Using clean beater, beat the egg whites until stiff, but not dry, peaks are formed.  Spread egg yolk mixture over egg whites and gently fold together.
Turn into a greased 2-qt. casserole.  Bake at 375 for 35 to 40 min., or until a wooden pick or cake tester comes out clean when inserted in center.  
Serves 4-6.