The Future Has Arrived….

Back to the Future

So, 17 year old Marty McFly is out there… somewhere… TODAY! 

I was probably 10 the first time I saw Back to the Future, some summer day in the late 90’s, and I was hooked.  

My day has been completely filled with all things Back to the Future. Several channels (including Amazon Prime) are running all three movies on a loop all day. And why is that? Why am I watching and re-watching a movie I’ve seen so many times I could quote the entire thing?  Why has the world been counting down to today — simply because it’s fun? 

We crave stories. We crave connection. We crave hope and a promise that the future will indeed be there for us. (Preferably with a real hoverboard, thankyouverymuch.)  And brilliant movies well-told connect us with those stories and connect us with our fellow humans.

The girl at Starbucks – who knows nothing about me other than my name and the fact that I drink tall hazelnut americanos – wished me a Happy Back to the Future Day.  No explanation, no backstory. Because of course I’d seen the movie. Why wouldn’t I?

There’s something beautiful about the lifelong power of a good story, don’t you think?

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Who Are Your People?

best friends

It’s all about COMMUNITY.

No, not that one. (Although — while we’re here: #sixseasonsandamovie!!!!!  Netflix, seriously — it’s your move.)

Who Are Your People? 

It was after midnight here, which means it was just after 3am where my BFF lives.  It had been a really brutal day, and I’d been meaning to call her all.day.long.  And I picked up the phone and started dialing before realizing 3AM.   I decided to call her in the morning because I really just wanted to chat about random life stuff, not anything crazy and worth a 3AM phone call.

But the thing is I know I could call at 3 in the morning and she wouldn’t miss a beat.

I go on girls trips with my two best friends — and they are some of my favorite moments in the entire year.  Lots of laughter and awesome ridiculousness and “Oh my… Do NOT put that on Instagram. Or Facebook. Or Twitter.” This is what happens when you’ve all been dear friends for 10+ years.  But I also know that at some point, the real conversations are going to begin.  The ones that start with them calling me out on the lies I’ve believed, the fears I’ve let myself live with, the risks I’ve totally shied away from.

It’s never easy to have your soul exposed like that. 

But it’s always good.

So — go. Be brave. Take risks. Be willing to let yourself be known. Because I promise, you’ll never be the same.

 

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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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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…

——————

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

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Small Moments That Become The World

– I stood on the terrace, looking out over rolling mountain hills of Colorado.  A waterfall nearby sang happily.  Birds chirped, and someone turned on the twinkle lights. This was a day we’d all been waiting for our entire lives.

small moments

I took a breath.  (Or twelve… the air up here is so thin. Haha.)  It was beautiful.

For as much as Los Angeles has become my heart and life, I love Colorado.  I love the mountains and the trees and the wide open spaces that just go and go and go.  I love the deep quiet that just goes all the way to your soul.  I love the small town feel and I love the fact that it takes me 45 minutes to go the grocery store and Starbucks because I run into everyone I’ve known since I was three years old.

But it’s so much more than that.  

My amazing and dear friends Alli and Valentine tied the knot last night – and it was breathtaking.  No words do it justice, seriously.  Best. Wedding. Ever. Alli and V are perfect for each other.  We were surrounded by so many who had grown up with us, who had lived all of the tiny, mundane moments of life right alongside us.  All of my childhood memories involve Alli somehow – endless music and mix tapes, our 5th grade love of hockey (seriously), making gingerbread houses, talking about boys we liked, dreaming of our futures… Alli, one of the boldest and loudest people I’ve ever met, and me, the much quieter one.  But it totally worked.

LA - the twinkling city of my heart

Alli and I couldn’t have ended up on more different life paths.  I moved to LA – this twinkling city – to be a writer, because (in the grand words of Chariots of Fire), when I write, I feel God’s pleasure. It’s who I was made to be, down to my deepest core. Alli moved to Africa – a place of completely different beauty – to follow the heart of God to be a voice for the voiceless – abandoned babies and others who cannot fight for themselves.  Alli is exactly who she was made to be at her very deepest level.  I am ridiculously excited for all the adventures we’re going to keep having in our crazy friendship.

She is my hero.

But when we were eight years old and jumping on the trampoline in her backyard, we had no idea of any of that.  Our concerns were more along the lines of homework and where our little sisters had run off to, and whether or not they had Capri Suns they’d share.

We were living in the small moments that gathered up into this great and beautiful tempest that unleashed freedom and life.

I’m usually the most impatient person on the planet when it comes to making it through the moments I think are small or ordinary or quiet.  I crave adventure and big moments and never having to slow down for a second.   But those small moments became our world – filling it in, shading it in, giving it color and shape.  Those moments filled our lives with beauty, pain, lessons, surprises, hopes, dreams, failures and everything in between. They were not small or ordinary moments after all.  Instead, they became the moments we hold to as though they were precious jewels.

Because that’s exactly what they were.  What they are.  

I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

*If you’re interested in seeing what Alli’s up to, check out The Baby Safe. They are a.maz.ing!   

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The Best Surprise

3 coffees

I just drove across the country with my best friend Laurie. Along the way, we surprised one of our other best friends, Cheryl, who knew that Laurie was coming, but not me.  The look on her face when I walked through her door was priceless.  I so wish my phone had not been dead at that moment, otherwise I absolutely would have had video.

It’s such a credit to my friends that I can really just show up on their doorstep at any point and be welcomed in without missing a beat.  These are the people I’ve somehow been lucky enough to know.  It was so much fun to see friends spread out across the country – Jeff & Danielle, Jeremy & Cheryl, and Chris & Laurie – to walk into their living rooms as if this was an everyday occurrence rather than a once a year thing.  It felt normal.  It felt like home, all across the country.  It was the best surprise, mostly because it didn’t feel out of the ordinary.  It’s that ordinary love that somehow goes the deepest.  It becomes, for lack of a better word, extraordinary.

I hope that my home is always like that – a place where everyone feels safe.  A place where the coffee is endless, where I always have time to sit down and just be present for the ones I love, for my friends I’m making along the way…

It’s a process.  And I’m getting there more and more every day.

Even though life has taken us all in different directions – and if we all were to live in a single city, maybe we would never be the people we were created to be – they’re still such an integral part of my life. At least for this moment, our adventures scatter us to the four corners… but maybe, just maybe not for always.

A girl can dream, right?

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