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Memoir

Sweet Nothings

Happy Holidays, Yo

Requisite holiday snapshot of the husband and me

Requisite holiday snapshot of the husband and me

It’s that time of year again. Time to pose in goofy photo booths at holiday parties, drink too much eggnog, cry about all the weight that will inevitably be gained from said eggnog, and then eat an entire gingerbread house to cheer one’s self up. Yup, that’s pretty much where I’m at right now. Except, when I’m not stifling my cries with gingerbread, I’m actually feeling damn grateful for this past year, and — to top that off — I don’t think I’ve ever felt so excited to embark on a new one…

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Love

Cinnamon and Soderbergh

Two goofballs in Laguna Beach, feeling just as giddy as the day they met

Two goofballs in Laguna Beach, feeling just as giddy as the day we {err, “they”} met

The Halloween to Thanksgiving stretch always feels extra special to me, because it marks when my sweet and I first met and began courtin’ (as some of the old-fashioned Southerners I was friendly with at the time called it). Right about now marks the fifth anniversary of that super-nostalgic feeling for me, and whenever I breathe in the crisp air of fall I can’t help thinking about my husband’s and my first date in a Mexican cantina, where we sat on the patio for hours, had a Diet Coke drinking contest, debated the merits of Soderbergh films, and I proceeded to question him relentlessly about every last piece of minutia of his work and personal dreams. It’s crazy to think that since then we’ve both quit drinking Diet Coke and moved halfway across the country from that cozy patio. But, funnily enough, our new home is right up the street from a Mexican restaurant by the same name as that Austin-based cantina, and each year since we’ve been in Los Angeles my husband has brought home takeout carnitas on the anniversary of our first date.

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Inspiring Tidbits

Coffee Black, Paperwhite

Paperwhites in full bloom, which now fill our kitchen

Paperwhites in full bloom, which now fill our kitchen

Whenever I set goals or try to gain a fresh perspective on life, I find myself torn between comfortable routines and an itching desire to push myself outside this safe zone of “knowns.” I guess the key is simply finding a balance between the familiar and the foreign — establishing just enough creature comforts and stability in our lives to give us the strength we need to try new things and challenge ourselves. It is so hard to remember this, though, since I am someone who admittedly lives for extremes and absolutes, but it’s funny how much I notice the validity of this whole balance thang as my husband and I turn our house into a home. The more sweat-producing chores we tackle and the more I get into routines in my personal life, the better equipped I feel to face unpredictable work weeks or venture into horrifying traffic in unfamiliar parts of our new city. Perhaps our homes, routines and creature comforts are merely a foundation for the bold adventures we’re all destined for as humans, but one thing is certain: both the familiar and the foreign are very necessary parts of a fulfilled life…

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Sweet Nothings

Sisters

Although we no longer team up to dig my mom’s car out of the snow every winter and pelt each other with snowballs, my sisters are an ever-present part of me

I’m taking a quick trip back to Massachusetts to attend my cousin’s wedding this summer, and I’m already giddy with excitement about the time I’ll get to spend with my sisters… Sisterhood is such a precious and funny thing. You go through childhood both hating and loving each other fiercely, and if you’re lucky you escape into your adult years as friends. You get your sense of loyalty and morality from each other, and you first learn from one another the oh-so-painful lesson of what it means to hurt the feelings of someone you truly love. For this reason, there is absolutely no point in pretending around sisters – they know exactly who you are in your ugliest moments, and you have no choice but to be hopelessly honest and flawed around each other. Maybe that’s why I feel so serene in the few days I get to spend with my sisters each year – they know I’m ridiculous and far from perfect, yet they love me anyway. There’s such a strange peace in that, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than sitting on a porch playing cards with these two gals while making fun of anything and everything on the planet…

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Sweet Nothings

Nostalgic For Yesterday

My sweet and I celebrating one of 2012’s milestones (outside Michael Mina in Las Vegas)

I’ve been thinking about the passing of time a lot lately, and it has dawned on me that just about every month it feels like my husband and I are celebrating an old or new milestone. At first this thought makes me laugh and joke about how self-important we are for treating each tiny life event like a national holiday, but when I ponder this a little harder I realize how vital it is to approach our own lives and loves with a sense of reverence. This is because little celebrations and anniversaries have the power to make us really conscious of how we’re living in the here and now, not to mention the power to make us appreciative of what we have. For example, it suddenly struck me that this time last year my sweet and I were driving across the country to move into corporate housing in Burbank, CA. There were so many uncertainties back then – would we like Los Angeles, or would we go crawling back to Texas with our tails between our legs, or would one of us just commit a murder/suicide and be done with all the stress for good? These questions eventually answered themselves (bonus: there were no murder/suicides in our household), and when I think about everything that transpired at this time last year I feel empowered about the days of summer ahead of me now…

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Love, Sweet Nothings

Fruit and Labor

Coveted fruit picker and Sunday’s crop of oranges from our backyard

For the past month and a half, the cruelest joke of my husband’s existence has been a giant orange tree in our backyard that is so tall its fruit is virtually impossible to pick. None of the branches hang low enough for even his long arms to reach them from atop a ladder, and when the fruit finally drops it falls such a long distance that its skin splits open upon impact and becomes instant ant bait. We have been so preoccupied with other house tasks since our move-in day, which has meant putting my love’s quest for fresh oranges on hold for a while. However, I have not forgotten about this quest (if for no other reason than that he hasn’t let me), and each day I’ve caught my husband staring longingly out the window and sighing with the complete non-sequitur of “Such a shame, isn’t it?” This weekend he finally decided enough was enough, declared a holiday from home improvements, and returned from the hardware store with a giant fruit picker in place of the paint can he went there for. I then proceeded to watch him roam our yard with this wonky, clawed contraption, and couldn’t help marveling at the giant, devious grin that remained plastered across his face throughout his mission.

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Love

Three Zero

My love and me captured by the lens of Clayton Austin

Just three years ago today (on October 30, 2008), my husband and I had our first date on the patio of a sleepy cantina in Austin, Texas. We talked about Soderbergh movies, had a Diet-Coke-drinking contest, and I decided then and there that I wanted to know this handsome guy forever. By some crazy stroke of good fortune, he made the very same decision about me on that creaky wood patio, and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world because I get to know him a little bit more every day for the rest of our lives. It won’t always be as easy to know each other as it is now, and I would be lying if I said this didn’t scare the shit out of me. But, a wise person once told me no dream is worth having unless it scares you a little. I guess this scariness (of the mysterious future, the hard work, and the backaches it will likely take to support one another in the years when our batting averages aren’t so stellar) is really just a small price to pay in order to live out the dream of knowing my dearest friend for all eternity.

Psst: The above photo is part of a love story that was shot by the infinitely talented Clayton Austin back in May of 2011. Would you like to see more snippets from this photographic love story? Leave a comment.

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Sweet Nothings

Complementary Colors

Paint-streaked brick building

My best friend from childhood once decorated her college dorm room in vibrant blues and oranges. From the moment this sea of complementary colors enveloped her room, she wondered aloud whether the oil-pastel drawings covering the walls and swaths of patterned, Indian fabrics draping the bed and windows would make her dizzy with the way the hues buzzed off each others’ surfaces. But, I loved everything about them and came to associate orange and blue with my home away from home. I would take Amtrak to visit her for long weekends on her campus, which was just outside New York City, and we would stay up far too late listening to piano-driven pop music and talking about art, what little we knew of love, and our dreams. Everything about our futures seemed so limitless back then, and – the funny thing is – merely thinking about this friend’s pastel drawings and our endless conversations makes my future feel similarly boundless even now…

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Love

Sleeping Together

Ah, the romantic notion of hearts that sleep in tandem

The act of sleeping beside our beloveds is almost always more romantic in our minds than in reality. This is because what begins so elegantly with heads resting on chests, heartbeats echoing in ears, and arms draping over stomachs, so often ends with wriggle-kicking, sweaty limbs, blanket stealing, and someone getting punched in the eye or stabbed in the derriere with a toenail. My ideas of what it would be like to share a bed with my husband after our move to California were similarly over-romanticized not only in that I had the faulty impression that blanket hogging would not exist in the golden state that introduced the world to California king mattresses, but in that I made the crazy assumption that my love and I would actually go to bed and wake up beside one another at the same time. You see, we’d spent much of our relationship commuting long distances for work and cherishing the few nights out of every week that we were able to fall asleep in the same state (let alone beneath the same covers), so I couldn’t imagine any scenario in which we’d take a single night at home together for granted. This is to say, I kinda didn’t think about the fact that my hubby is perpetually flying out the door at the crack of dawn so he can take European conference calls and I’m almost religiously staying up until 4 a.m. writing.

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