Neurotic Girl Seeks A Mimosa

scones!

Entertaining isn’t a sport or a competition. It’s an act of love, if you let it be. You can twist it and turn it into anything you want – a way to show off your house, a way to compete with your friends, a way to earn love and approval. Or you can decide that every time you open your door, it’s an act of love, not performance or competition or striving. You can decide that every time people gather around your table, your goal is nourishment, not neurotic proving. You can decide…

Shauna Niequist speaks my language.  I love that quote.

(Sidenote: I promise I will not turn my whole blog into repeated statements of “Go read Shauna Niequist’s books. Now!”  But seriously – I make no guarantees about this specific blog post.  Go do it. Now.)

I love this quote, not because I am incredibly good at chilling out when people come over, but because I need to be reminded to Chill. The. Crap. Out. most of the time.  All of the time.

For the past several years – pretty much since I moved to LA and wanted to meet tons of fabulous people – I’ve hosted girls’ breakfasts off and on.

Saturday mornings, 9:30 to whenever.  

I always make the coffee first.  Sometimes I have two friends there.  One time I had 30.  Usually most everyone knows at least some of the people there, and so I do a round of introductions and make another pot of coffee and scurry off to the kitchen to make crepes while listening to my sweet friends, laughing and drinking coffee and mimosas.

Without fail – I panic at least once.  What if someone’s bored?  What if I burn the crepes?  What if I didn’t buy enough eggs for the frittata?  What if my house isn’t clean enough?  What if I didn’t buy enough food in general and someone gets stuck with a bowl of cereal?  What if people think I’m a terrible hostess?  

And the truth is – no one really remembers exactly what I made.  No one comes in, staring at their watch and chastising me for being 10 minutes late because – oh yeah, I should probably turn the broiler on to toast the bread.  I’ve burned stuff and spilled coffee and had to stretch the berries across 12 plates instead of 9 because unexpected guests joined in for the morning.   I’ve also pulled off nutella crepes and apple cinnamon muffins and tiny Elvis brownies (chocolate, peanut butter, honey, bananas) and fresh whipped cream stuffed into cored strawberries dipped in chocolate and frittatas with a beautiful toasted parmesan crust.  But all of that is beside the point.

The point is the beautiful friends all sitting around my kitchen table.

And so I give out hugs and mismatched coffee cups.  People offer to brew a round of coffee or cut the fritatta or wipe the kitchen counter down because it looks like a powdered sugar monster descended and ran amok – and I say yes.  And thank you.

Despite all my neuroses screaming otherwise – I don’t need people to think I’m perfect.

I want people to come into breakfast and feel like there’s a safe space to share and fun food to eat and excellent company all around. I want you to meet her because she’s an excellent photographer and you’re searching for one. I want the two of you to meet because you have an equally passionate love for Justin Timberlake, and I want them to meet up because they’re both about to be moms for the first time.

I hope that friendships are renewed and restored and started over a couple cups of coffee and some mimosas.  I hope everyone laughs.

And in the meantime – I’ll be calming down over here.

 

 

 

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Still TBD…

Twitter bio

Let’s just talk for a second about how much I love that Hillary Clinton has a sense of humor about herself, her accomplishments and her life.

I know the internet exploded and everyone started talking about her bio when her Twitter went live.  And with good reason… her bio is awesome on every level.

My very favorite piece of her entire bio comes from this:

TBD…

Because seriously – if there’s anyone in the world who might possibly be able to look at her life and say: Okay, I’ve accomplished some pretty amazing things… I could probably take it easy for a bit, it would be her.  

Instead, she’s publicly announcing that she’s not perfect. (Perfect by it’s very definition seems to include finished.)

She’s publicly announcing that she’s incomplete – and it’s a moment of strength for her. 

Politics aside – there’s something really awesome about the idea of living life with a TBD at the end of your bio.

There’s always something more coming, just around the corner.

You’re not done learning yet.  You’re not done growing.

Your very worst mistakes don’t have to live as the final word on your life. You get tomorrow to start fresh.

You’re still to be determined…

What are you going to do with that? 

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Salads and Dream Jobs

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I am reading the most fabulous book right now.

Shauna Niequist’s book Bread and Wine is a collection of essays about life and making beautiful food for amazing friends.  And honestly – that doesn’t even cover it.  My girl Brandi (whose music you should totally listen to, by the way) recommended the book for me, and I can’t say enough good things about it.

Some of my deepest, most viscerally beautiful moments have come when I’m sitting around a table with friends, eating through big bowls of herby pasta and arugula salad, when the wine bottles are just starting to dip below half full, when we’ve gotten past the important but still surface questions of How has your week been?  What did you do last weekend?  and gotten to the deeper questions of – How are you?  Really?  

Hearts are on display. 

I love cooking.  I love feeding people who walk through my door.  If you’ve known me for any length of time, I’m probably going to rope you into a dinner at some point so I can try out new recipes.  Bonus points for those of you who have survived my cooking disasters.  Most of the time, I think I pull it together all right, though.

But it’s so not about the food.  

Food is just what gets everyone to the table. It gives you something to do with your hands – especially on those first few times of hanging out, when it’s sort of awkward but sort of awesome.  No one wants to just sit across a table and stare.  And so you start eating.  You talk about the salad, and the salad you had at lunch for work today.  So tell me about your job.  And then you talk about your job and your career and your ultimate dream job. And that’s when you start getting into the real heart of people.

My dream job would be to run my own company, because I am so passionate about creating this type of world. 

My dream job would be a neonatal specialist in the hospital, because I watched my best friends in the hospital for six weeks with their baby.

My dream job is to travel to Africa and provide clean water for villages in Namibia.

My dream job is to be a comic book writer. 

My dream job is the one I’m going to get next year.  My dream job is the one I have now.  

And suddenly, a conversation about arugula, kale, shallots and almonds has just become a conversation about people’s core values and deepest wishes for their lives and for the world.  

Somebody pass the chocolate cake.  This conversation’s going to go late tonight…

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This is Part 1 of an ongoing series – Living Life Together … stay tuned later this week and next for more!

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