Archive | January, 2014

So Much Love

31 Jan

photo 2-2 photo 1

These pictures are blurry and pixelated and scream, “selfie with a flipped iPhone camera,” but I can’t help it, they deserved their own post.

So much love in two photos.

I want to remember this night, standing in line for UCB amongst the smoking hipsters with their ironic Stanford sweatshirts.  I want to remember the celebrity Scientology building across the street and the oddly pulsating light from the top room.  (How alarmed, exactly, should we have been?)

I want to remember Caitlin’s “you can’t sit with us” shirt and my floral mini dress and Caitlin saying, “Of course they’ll hire you, they’ll take one look at you and DONE” and how I laughed and sashayed my dress .

I want to remember The Yeti.

I always remember The Yeti, never mind.

Caitlin and I were a set up friendship, as weird as that sounds.  I’ve never had another one, and kind of hope I never do.  Kit Kat was enough, thank you very much.

(Just as I am Mary in About Time, Caitlin is so very Kit Kat, in all the best, barefoot partying ways.)

My friend Mindy knew Cait from college and when I announced I was going to Pepperdine Mindy did the, “Hey I have a friend going there” thing and then a FB friendship was started that turned to a texting friendship that turned to a roommate BFFship.   From the get-go I realized that this girl was interesting, and I adore interesting.

Friendship stories, why don’t we tell them more often?

Why do we only tell romantic relationship stories?

In the past two years, Cait has been so many things to me.  She’s been my Sunday drive companion, an equal in Adele duets.  She’s been the Cosette to my Eponine.  The Javert to my Valjean.  The Kanye to my Jay-Z.

She’s hugged me while I sobbed and told me, “Listen, I can’t do this anymore.  If you want to continue this relationship with him, you will have to stop telling me about it.  I can’t watch you do this to yourself.”

I am grateful for that.

And then she’s listened to me anyway when I made the same mistake again and again.

I am even more grateful for that.

I’ve learned a great many things from Caitlin, as you do with those so different from yourself. Sometimes people who spend time with both of us comment on how similar we are, and I kind of look at them funny.  We have a rhythm as friends that Cait likes to call “double dutch jump roping,” but we are so very, very different.

In one, very odd, very sleep-medicine fueled Google Hangout, I ended up post midnight chatting with Caitlin and a boy she had once dated.  We talked about the things we liked best in each other and this boy, whom I still don’t know very well said, “You have Caitlin’s back.  Just talking to you, I can tell you are in her corner.”

He was right.

She has mine, too.

There is something so very valuable about a true friendship.  I know my family loves me and I love them dearly, but it’s different.  I was born and therefore they love.  Friends who choose to love me when they most certainly do not have to?  What a privilege.

What a beautiful privilege.

Caitlin has taught me that the best remedy for life is to dance more.  She’s taught me that pants are never necessary, and compression hugs heal most wounds.  She’s woken me up singing “I’m going to find another you” and left class to get In-N-Out with me in emotional emergency, and offered me her pillow when my anxiety was so great I wasn’t sleeping.  When I text her “I’m moody as hell” she just says, “Good, you’re back to normal.”

I don’t know if these things can be conveyed in a single picture, or in two pictures, or in a lifetime of photos, but these blurry, pixelated selfies with a flipped iPhone camera come about as close as I’ve seen.

So much love in two photos.

So much love.


Goodreads And Such

30 Jan


This little statue sits outside the best Malibu Starbucks (not to be confused with Malibu Starbucks numbers 2 and 3) and that’s a real book and those are real clothes and I’ve been saving this picture for the right opportunity because it really needs to be appreciated, you know?

This is that opportunity.


So in 2009, my Aunt joined Goodreads and I received an auto-email inviting me to check it out.  In a blur of who-knows-what I signed up, accidentally alerted everyone on my contact list, and friended the two individuals I knew who were already using Goodreads (people I was not, and am not close to).

I then let it sit for four years.

Who uses Goodreads anyway?

I have a really hard time with new social media in my life. (Maybe everyone does?) I was absolutely convinced Twitter was a flash in the pan and kept waiting for people to stop talking about it already.  (Coincidentally, if you’d like to follow me on Twitter you can here.) (See what I did there?)

Instagram I didn’t understand for the first year and completely missed the golden opportunity to Insta my way through London.

Regrets, you know?

Don’t even get my started on my complicated feelings on Pinterest.  I still don’t think I fully know what’s going on there, or maybe I do and the truth is what’s going on there isn’t very me, I’m not sure.  I do know that I found a chicken tortilla soup recipe on Pinterest once.

That’s all I can say for certain.

Sometimes I wonder what on earth I’m doing blogging when everything about it is contrary to my nature.  Do you know what the very sexiest thing a guy can tell me is?

That he wants nothing to do with social media.

Seriously, if you want my knees to go wobbly say that you don’t have a Facebook and have never heard of a subtweet.  I once started a list of what I’m looking for in a potential mate and it began and ended with his social media presence and so I decided to shelve it.

(Another time, another time.)

But Goodreads!  That’s the story here, not my weird lists about future hypothetical mates.

Goodreads, as with all my social media ventures, sat unused for years and years until it didn’t. And now, I’m all in and for the first time in my life I have a real way to keep track of all the books I’d like to read.

At least once a day I get a book recommendation or read a review, or remember a famous novel I should have already devoured, and so I log on to Goodreads and add to my ever growing (and never shortening) list.

The OCD in me loves this.  The order.  The checking off.  The changing my status from “to read” to “currently reading.”  It’s like a playground for the overly obsessive reader aka me.

Why haven’t I been using this for years?

Why haven’t we been Goodreads friends for years?

Why don’t we all marvel for a second about how I am Goodreads friends with my favorite British YA author?

Why did I make a goal to read every Shakespeare play in 2014?

Why do my blog posts always go off the deep end?

Why don’t I go get nachos?

Why can’t I just watch Parenthood all day?

Why is the CW not recruiting me?




The end.

Itching For Adventure

28 Jan

I’m ashamed to say we ate from the supermarket or Quick (the local equivalent of McDonald’s) because we were to chicken to try out more French.  We ate far too many baguettes because that’s all I could ask for.  We also ate yogurt in our hotel room by sticking our noses in the pots and slurping it out because we didn’t have any spoons.  But it was our first proper Europen jaunt, so I’m sure we’ll be better tourists next time!

Shauna Reid, The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl

The first time I went abroad, I was 20 years old.  Breanne was finishing up a semester in the Middle East and I decided I wanted to join her in Europe on her way back.  And then Ashley said she’d like to come as well.  And Mandee kind of, sort of invited herself, too.  And soon, the Fab Four was born.

Every once in a while when I tell my Mandee friendship story I say, “We met in Europe” and giggle a little.

Mandee is my European friend.  How lovely is that?

My first Europe adventure was much like Shauna’s.  We packed the majority of our food in carry-on bags and every day at lunch we divvied up our trail mix portions—Ashley took my raisins and I took her peanuts and complained loudly that I hated trail mix and hated raisins and hated peanuts.

I believe I have an old photo of the tradition.  Yep, here we go.


RIP neon sunglasses.

At night my friends and I would heat up the teakettle and make ourselves cups of Lipton soup.  If we were feeling bold, we would buy a baguette at the local shop and call it a meal. One sorry hotel had no teakettle and so we turned on the lukewarm tap water, scrunched our noses and gagged down our cold soup.

How wonderful it all was, simply to be there soaking it up.  How quickly I forgot that excitement when I moved to Europe permanently and life caught up to me.

It feels like it’s been so long since I’ve stretched those traveling wings of mine in a real way, and all of the sudden the bug is back and I’m thinking, “Hmm, Australia could be a nice place to look for jobs” and “Perhaps it’s time to really think about the English countryside” and my heart is swelling with every beat.

I want to live abroad again.

I want to fix the mistakes I made the first time.  I want to have the experience I was meant to have.  I want to fall in love with another city and do what I always should have done in that city–write.

I really, really want to live abroad again.

As a writer.

I want to live abroad again as a writer.

There, I said it.


27 Jan


In this, my last semester at Pepperdine, I made a bucket list of all the things I need to do before I leave the City of Broken Dreams.

(I looked up LA nicknames and decided City of Broken Dreams was the most dramatic and therefore most appropriate for this blog post/my life.)

My LA bucket list is exactly what you would imagine it to be.  I would like to sit on the bench Zooey and JGL sat on in 500 Days of Summer.  I want to go on The Price Is Right (but really hope I’m not called up.  Wait, how does that even work?  Is that a possibility?  I’m going Wednesday!)  I have all sorts of equally important odds and ends I want to do and so Saturday, armed with three fabulous female companions—I checked off three.

First was the DVF Journey of a Dress exhibit at LACMA.


afterlight-22 afterlight-21

I have to say, this might be the best museum exhibit I’ve ever seen.  So much pink!  So many movie stars! So many blue sequined dresses to wear to future Academy Awards ceremonies!  Also, Oprah went recently so it was like her special Oprah fairy dust had been left behind and everything was heightened and empowering.

As Oprah does.

Here I am with Tresa, trying to work it for the camera, but failing.  It was a bit embarrassing, because moments before two older women stood in front of the same backdrop and absolutely slayed their photos.  We aspire to be them.


And here we are in the picture that confirms what I’ve known all along: I not only talk with my hands, I talk with my full body.  I’m a body contortionist.  Rob says he’s convinced somewhere in my ancestry is some Italian.


We then went to DASH, because you knew that had to happen at some point in my LA time.


DASH was not my vibe, clothing-wise, but I did get to smell all the Kardashian perfumes and I did find out they sell their own WATER.

Here is Tresa, long-last Kardashian sister modeling with said water.


Oh and here is the reason DASH exists.  (For the huge K-Dash fans, I did take a picture of the Arthur George socks but there were some, er, inappropriate words on some of them so I decided against posting.)


I really wanted to get a paparazzi style shot of Tresa outside Dash so I could post with the caption, “Khloe or Tresa?” but the store set up just is not conducive to those types of shots.

I also wanted to enter the store and say loudly, “She would like to be left alone while she shops privately with her non-famous friends,” but alas, I didn’t get the opportunity to do that either.

So DASH was not a fail, but not quite a success either.

And then it was on to InvenTORI!

I need to just say this and then move forward with my life:

I am Tori Spelling’s #2 fan.

I can’t claim the #1 slot, because there is this man who arrives to all her events wearing his Tori Spelling #1 fan gear and Tori knows him by name and refers to him as her #1 fan, but I think #2 seems like a safe bet.  I own all 10 seasons of 90210 and I have seen every episode of her reality show and I almost skipped class last semester to go to her crafting event at a local Jo-Ann Fabric.

Also I have a Donna Martin Graduates shirt, which is just plain dedication.

I’ve been looking forward to my InvenTORI adventure for quite some time. (Would I see Tori?  Dean?  What antique item would I buy and display prominently in my home under a sign, “Donna Martin likes this!”)  So much excitement!

You can imagine my devastation when I saw this:



Unfortunately Tori’s reality show is off the air (what the what?) so I don’t know specifics about the store, but I am hugely disappointed and also sending positive vibes to her and her family.

And now I’ve reached the end of this blog post here, and realized that I almost never do the “hey here’s a recap of my day” posts and have no idea how to end this thing so…

Tori Spelling’s #2 fan, signing off and returning to the City of Broken Dreams.

That should do it.

The Most Beautiful Place I Have Ever Been

23 Jan

afterlight-14 afterlight-13 afterlight-12photo-202afterlight-10 photo-201

It was the sort of night I had dreamt about when I imagined living in London.  The pub was dim and warm, the waiter was accented and straight out of a rom com, and I was riding the high of a Broadway musical.  I sat in the middle of a group of giggly girls and shared nachos sand swapped travel stories.

“Fiji” I said. I scooped up another chip.  “Fiji is 100% the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.  Did you know that there are no waves in Fiji?  There’s this coral reef barrier and so the water is just like a huge, turquoise swimming pool.  Fiji, Fiji, Fiji.”

Elisa piped up, “Venice is the most stunning place on earth, my lovelies, also stop eating all the chips.”

And the conversation continued.  Round and round we debated the most beautiful location in the world.  The English countryside.  The south of France.  Tropical islands.

Our waiter hovered, as waiters tend to do with groups of 20-something giggly girls, and soon he was part of the conversation.  “Where are you ladies from?” he asked.  “Utah” Elisa and I chimed.  “Ah, Utah” he said in that glorious accent.  “Well, you know, the most beautiful place I’ve ever been is Zion National Park.”

Elisa and I exchanged looks.  “Yeah, Zion is great,” I said, “But come on.  You live in Europe!”  Rom Com Waiter laughed and despite my impassioned nacho-fueled arguments, he maintained that Utah was the prettiest place he had ever been.

I asked Elisa this week if she remembered this story from nearly three years ago and she said, “Of course I remember! Memories with you in them are hard to forget.”

Oh Elisa, my lovely.

This conversation with Rom Com Waiter always kind of stuck with me.  I found it so odd that a man who lived in one of the grandest places on earth thought UTAH was the most beautiful place he had ever seen.

Boring old Utah.

There’s something about living in a place that takes away its magic.  It’s why Caitlin and I reserve Newport for especially bad days.  Newport is bottled lightning.  It’s like the sun shines a little brighter and the water sparkles a bit more and the pizza is just that much gooier than any pizza you can get near home.

But sustained Newport is out of the question.  Sustained Newport is average Newport and we want Newport to always be charmed and yellow and exciting.

I find that I take the beauty of LA for granted.  Malibu knocks me off my feet again and again, but LA and I have a complicated relationship.  I hate paying $40 to sit my car in a lot for an hour, I just do.  Traffic gives me anxiety and shreds my hair.  Parallel parking is the bane of my existence.

But then some days I am privileged with an hour to kill and I rollerblade along the pier right by my house and it’s foggy and grey and all I can think is, “This is the most beautiful place I have ever been.”

And for that moment, it is.

Let’s Talk About Jared Leto’s Ombre Hair

22 Jan


Let’s play a little game.  Jared Leto or Jill Denning.  Ready, go!

Jared or Jill?



Jared or Jill?



Jared or meeee?




Ladies and ladies (do gentlemen read this blog?) it is with happy/heavy heart that I approach you with my happy/heavy feelings about my new celebrity doppleganger, Jared Leto.

Jared was an unknown doppelgänger until, of course, his new ombre hairstyle, and then he was an IN YOUR FACE doppelgänger.  I venture to say I’ve never seen a human being, in person or in picture to have such similar hair to my own.

My mother even confirms this.

I have a lot of feelings about this new development.

On the one hand, Jared is an attractive man.  Yay for being compared to attractive people!

On the other hand, Jared is also Jordan Catalano.  No for being compared to boys you are in love with!

I don’t know how far I should go here, but what does it mean if I’m in love with/attracted to Jordan/Jared/myself?

You’re right.  I shouldn’t have gone there.

We’ll end with one more.

Jared Leto or Jillian Denning?



It’s all very confusing.

Nostalgia For The Now

21 Jan


This weekend I decided I needed to see August: Osage County and so it was off to the movie theater where I enjoyed two hours of Erin Brockovich-ish Julia Roberts and drank a monster diet coke.

I have a real thing for Erin Brockovich, as anyone who knows me can tell you.  Last semester I wrote a paper on the feminism of Erin Brockovich creatively entitled Erin Brockovich: Feminist Icon, my phone auto-corrects Brockovich, and even typing Erin’s name over and over my heart swells with happiness and push-up bras.   It’s the type of film I pop in to watch as a comfort movie, right up there with You’ve Got Mail and Notting Hill, which is kind of odd, really, when you consider the subject matter, but for whatever reason, Erin Brockovich is a boiling pot of cheesy soup for my soul.

Also, I heard that Julia Roberts is in a knitting group, and I don’t know if this is fully true or not, but I really like this idea and I really like living in a place where rumors like this reach me.

Also also, I once went out with a boy who told me I looked like Julia, and though I can’t recall many other details about him/our time dating, I do remember that compliment and always will.

Thanks for that, Frank! (His name was not Frank.)

I remember the first time I saw a movie by myself.  It was Mamma Mia! and I was off sick from school or work or whatever I was doing at the time, and got so bored I left the house and ended up at the movie theater.  Probably not the best idea, but this blog is not where you come for best ideas.

Why do you come to this blog, again?

I was super embarrassed to be by myself at the theater, and rashly used years of stored up wishes to hope no one I had ever met would see me in my sick, alone, popcorny state.

It wasn’t until later that I realized going to the movies on my own is one of life’s greatest pleasures.

I once went to a movie with a boy (not not Frank) and he told me he loved to spend days at the theater seeing back-to-back films and eating huge buckets of popcorn.  This was very appealing to me and I felt maybe we had a real connection.  When we got to the popcorn station, we ordered our large popcorn and I smiled thinking this was the beginning of one of our many movie days, a tradition we would look back on fondly.

The worker asked if we wanted butter or no butter on the popcorn, and at the same time Non-Frank said, “no butter” and I said, “butter” and then we looked at each other and right there, I knew our relationship was doomed.

Movie rituals are sacred.

Why are you having popcorn if you’re not having butter?

I won’t accept other opinions on this.

I actually ended up at the movie theater three times last weekend, count them, THREE.  It was all part of my special all-me alone weekend, which unlike Lorelai Gilmore’s special all-me alone space, wasn’t closely attached to heartache and tears.

Well, not as  closely attached.

Lately I’ve been trying to document my life better through pictures. I’m feeling this sense of urgency, this, “You’re leaving here soon, don’t miss anything” anxiety, and so I’ve gone out of my way to try to capture the things that make my life at this particular moment in time so wonderful.

Things like Malibu never packing up Christmas.


Or Reel Inn’s daily puns.


I find myself with a bad case of nostalgia for the now.  It’s like my life is moving too fast for me to take it in, and soon I won’t be able to go to the beach when I please or spend inordinate amounts of time crafting a frothy teen soap and I’m very sad about this.  I feel like I’ve finally got to a place where I know my place, if that makes sense?

I have a routine and friends and a niche and it’s about to be taken away from me, and I’m simultaneously trying to live in the moment and freaking out that it’s all going too quickly.

And so I take pictures.

And eat a lot of nachos.  Always nachos.


And I go to the movies alone.  Three times in one weekend.

And it’s sublime.

Where The Stars Of The Hills Are Now Based On Their Instagram Selfies

20 Jan




Four years ago, The Hills ended and the world of reality TV has never fully recovered. Sure, other, increasingly more alarming shows have risen to take its place and yes, reality TV is still around and thriving, but never again have we had a reality TV starlet with hair quite as perfect as LC’s, never again has the world seen a couple so ruthless in their quest for fame as Speidi (thank heavens), and never again has Justin Bobby been heard of.

So what have the stars of The Hills been up to since MTV bid adieu? Are they still in LA? Are they still as beautiful/crazy/catty/overalled as ever?

Well wonder no more, as we did some incredibly in-depth research of their Instagram selfies to find out.

Read the rest of my article/important life information for Portable here.

PS: SheKnows

Slides, swings and other things we wish were in our homes


Things I Felt In The Presence Of Meryl Streep

16 Jan



At peace


Instantly classier

Instantly less classy

In awe

At home



More accomplished

Less accomplished

Everything might be right in this crazy thing called life

Everything might be wrong in my life

Meryl should run for President

Meryl is already President

Maybe I should try out pantsuits again

Maybe not

My firstborn daughter will be Meryl

My second born daughter will be Meryl

All girls everywhere should be Meryl

Somewhere in my youth or childhood I must have done something good

Things I Felt In The Presence of JGL

16 Jan