Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

And the excellent movie season continues with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, a brilliant take on John LeCarre’s novel of the same name.  With it’s slow-burning, almost methodical storytelling, it brings a new edge and a new depth to the spy movie genre.  Bourne Identity, this is not. 

And the cast?  The incomparable Gary Oldman, along with Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt and Benedict Cumberbatch (among others) give their characters a humanity and desperation that is amazing to see.  I adore all of them, and have for a very long time.  But Tom Hardy in particular – the man is on fire. He’s one of those actors you could watch read the phone book and somehow have a new appreciation for the A-Z of the telephone world.  LOVE him. 

Fantastic film all around… Highly recommend it.

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Happy Christmas (War is Over)

Christmas decorations are up!

I heart Christmas.  A lot. 

And in honor of Christmas and the fact that I’m an LA-girl with absolutely ZERO chance of any real snow, it has snowed on my blog!  🙂  Call me sentimental, but now I can sing “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” and actually mean every word! 

Pandora’s Indie Holidays station (check it out here) is rocking my Christmas music world.  I am discovering so many new artists and so many lovely versions of some of my favorite Christmas music. And any station that plays She & Him, followed by Sufjan Stevens and Copeland is a winner in my book.  

I don’t know if this song is just particularly affecting this year or if I’m just hearing it over and over, covered by every artist from A to Z, but John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas (War is Over)” has been a mainstay this year. A very merry Christmas, and a happy New Year.  Let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear.  And so this is Christmas, for weak and for strong, for rich and the poor ones, the world is so wrong. And so happy Christmas…    Maybe that’s part of why I love Christmas so much – it really is for everyone.

No matter how wealthy, no matter how strong or weak or broken or brilliant … Christmas comes every year just for you.  I spent some time earlier in the week going back through my old journals (a new blog post on that journey is coming soon…) and I was amazed at all the Christmas memories that were brought up.  The year I first realized that I loved having my birthday so close to Christmas.  The year I got my Titanic soundtrack for Christmas.  My first Christmas with Luke.  The year Grandpa and I fell asleep on the couch watching It’s a Wonderful Life for the millionth time. The first Christmas after Grandpa was gone.  The first Christmas I missed with my family.  The first time I put my own Christmas tree up. My first Christmas season in Los Angeles, where you can sing “White Christmas” and “Frosty the Snowman” with only a tiny bit of irony, as it’s currently 80 degrees outside. Driving around to look at lights.  Fancy Christmas dinner parties and waking up early on Christmas morning with crazy hair and Christmas pj’s, laughing with my sister as we unwrap gifts.  

But one of my favorite Christmas memories is still perfectly etched into my memory.  I have no idea why it’s one of my strongest memories of childhood, but it really was perfect.  I was six or seven, in the basement of our old house, with its orange carpet and brown walls (still stylish at that point, don’t worry).  The Christmas tree was up and glittering away, and I was watching Rudolph, eating one of these fabulous cookies my mom always used to make.  The furnace kicked on, with this beautifully warm woooosh of air, and I felt content and safe and peaceful. I wouldn’t trade that memory for anything.  It’s been one I’ve revisited over and over the last few days… So beautiful. 

What are some of your favorite Christmas memories?  Or favorite Christmas traditions?  Are your lights up yet? Or your tree?  

And so – dear friends and readers, at the beginning of this lovely Christmas season, may you have many perfect and peaceful moments with friends and family alike.  May all your baking be stunning, may your parties come together exactly as you’d imagined them, and more than anything, may hope and joy inform every moment with their breathtaking freedom.  

Thanks so much for being a part of my life. 

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Vulnerability and All Its Friends

Dear Vulnerability, 

I hate you.  Some of the time.  Most of the time.  Or never.  I’m not sure which.  

With regards, 



Such a difficult and beautiful concept.  

Capable of being hurt.  Open to attack.  Able to be wounded.  

Cheery bunch, aren’t they?  But what about these – 

Authentic.  Honest. A safe space. Truthful.  Hopeful. 

I like those so much more. I know I write about these concepts a lot, but they’re so much a part of my life right now.  When I’m vulnerable with the people I love most, with the people who have so graciously invited me into their lives and given me a safe space to just be, to just share and process and enjoy time with everyone, I am so grateful.  

It’s never easy.  But it is so worth it.  And so lovely… 

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Becoming Real

It’s a Thursday morning.  A writing day.  A beautiful writing day, actually.  My inbox is full of questions and recipes and catch-up emails from friends.  And with each one, I respond the same way.  I’m doing great!  Thanks so much for asking!  How are you these days?   And the conversations continue. 

And the truth is – I am doing great.  This point I’m at in my life right now is the happiest I’ve ever been.  Personally. Creatively. Everything-ly.  I have amazing projects coming up.  New stories and songs and a really amazing pumpkin pudding with sweet sour cream topping recipe that is calling my name.  I’m drinking an eggnog misto.  EGGNOG! Bing Crosby is singing Christmas carols. (Grrr…. Pre-Thanksgiving Christmas carols are a whole other post… but for right now I’m just going to enjoy it.) I’m going to see Melancholia in the morning. I am happy! 

But I realized that my standard response – I’m doing sooo great! – has always been my standard.  Positivity is my middle name.  (And one of my top 5 on StrengthsFinder, oddly enough.) But it’s also kept me from completely engaging a lot of the time…  Difficult times pop up along the way, and instead of saying, “Hey, this actually really sucks,” I don’t verbalize it very often at all.  I keep it inside or pour it into my writing.  Anything so I can look at everyone around me and say, “Oh yeah – things are awesome.” Even when they’re not.  

Honesty and authenticity are also my middle names. (I have a lot of them, apparently.)  While I don’t want to ever just emotionally vomit on anybody, I also want to be more intentional about sharing the hard moments in life.  I’m frustrated by this.  I was disappointed when that happened.  There’s still a way to have hope and find joy, even in the worst moments.  And I think I need to trust that hope and joy will actually be there after I admit that there are difficulties.  

I’m reading C.S. Lewis’ short novel The Great Divorce, and I can’t get over the image of these ghost people finally being in this place called heaven, this place that is so powerfully real and alive that the only way you can interact with it is to be real yourself.  At the beginning, the ghost people are too insubstantial to even bend a blade of grass.  They just end up in a world that is too much for them to handle, with cuts across the bottom of their feet. Sometimes I feel like I edit myself into a ghost-like state, and the real world is calling me. I need the other half of life in order to become real. 

And so, today – onward and upward with hope and joy and dreams that even in the worst of times, that tomorrow will be better than today.  It will be real. 

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The Artist

I can’t fully express how stunningly beautiful this film is.

The Artist premiered at Cannes in May (with Jean Dujardin taking home Best Actor there). I had the joy of seeing it last night, followed up by a Q&A with writer/director Michel Hazanavicius. Easily one of the best films of the year, this has bounded into my top 10 films ever

A beautiful love letter to the end of Hollywood’s silent era and the beginning of talkies between 1927 and 1932, the film manages to pay homage to the sensibilities and emotions of movies that have become well-loved classics throughout the years.  And yet, it feels completely and utterly original all at the same time. I think there’s going to be a lot of Oscar love come time for nominations to be announced. 

If it sounds like I’m gushing, that’s because I am. Seriously. 

It hits theaters November 23rd. Go. 

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