Archive | May, 2012

Bestie Friendiversary!

31 May

That’s a hide, signifying our friendship that utilizes all parts of the animal.

I like to celebrate things. Anything, basically. “It’s your birthday!” “That’s a baby you got there!” “It’s Taco Tuesday!” And I have friends who will do that with me. There’s a non-traditional traditional celebration of Thanksgiving (at Huber’s in Portland) with one of my girlfriends – never ON actual Thanksgiving, but usually with turkey. There’s the champagne cocktail happy hour my other girlfriend and I would religiously hit up at 3:59 in the afternoon (they opened at 4p). Sometimes there are coffee dates just because we like each other. Celebrate!

Just over a year ago, I met Crystal from Blend. We had both moved to LA from Portland, but only met in LA. Whatever sordid Oregonian history we had, was unbeknownst to each other. We were fresh meat! I loved her lipstick, her style, her sense of humor. She loved my lipstick, my style, and my sense of humor. (Hey, I own this blog. I can write whatever I want! But you’re right – I only wear Chapstick and I have unstyle-y-style.)I’ve never celebrated a one-year “I’ve known you this much!” with friends. Have you? Crystal and I agreed it had to be done! Our plans were specifically: “Beach picnic and something- whatever! It’s FRIENDIVERSARY!”

We decided on Malibu (we randomly knew two beaches which may or may not be the same beach, but we took it as a sign) and stopped by Trader Joe’s to pick up a few picnic treats.

There was cheese, champagne, fresh berries, a bona fide cracker assortment, a little meat, an edamame salad. It was a feast. We were in the wine aisle at TJ’s, trying to find a Malbec (like we’re just a regular ole pair of sommelialeighayerz), and a dog came up and sniffed our basket, then our lady bits. Like dogs do. My first reaction was all “Who’s allowed to bring dogs in here to have their way with me?” Then Miley Cyrus goes “Oh. Sorry…” and pulls her dog toward the register. And everyone in that aisle did the mouth agape / “was that Miley Cyrus” eyes to each other. We may live in LA, but we don’t always have to be jaded about it.

First stop in Malibu – the Country Mart. Which is not, as I originally had thought, an awesome New York Jewish deli. It’s an expensive strip mall. (No way! In Malibu??) But there’s a M.A.C. store! If you find yourself shopping with a makeup artist, go in. She will find the best stuff, while you act like creepy paparazzi.

Confession. I Photoshopped a unicorn horn-like zit that was growing out from between my eyes, in the following photo. I’m not ashamed to use Photoshop to correct a blemish. Or to put my head on Giselle’s body if I’m having a bloat-y day. I went to art school for this! Just using my education (wink!).

Outside the store, I found a French Bulldog tied to some rich people. I asked if I could pet their dog. I knelt down and they warned me she gets excited. I joked “I’ll take her off your hands if you need me to!” The lady owner smiled (I think — none of her face was making a smile shape) and she said to her husband “That’s Malibu… everybody wants each other’s dogs…[involuntary lip pucker and sneer].”

Ah. That’s Malibu! No one can move their face so that you know they’re joking and not being an a-hole.

Next stop was K Chocolatier. Their truffles are billed as “The Rolls Royce of chocolate” and they needed to get in my belly.
The shop is tiny and there are free samples of everything you like. The truffles are deadly and delicious (and spendy at $40 for a small collection). There is drinking chocolate, mint chocolate, coffee chocolate, chocolate covered rice… all packaged up in neat little flower boxes and minimalist cardboard “houses” stamped with the red signature K.

I think the lovely woman working there is on to me though. I’ve “sampled” the chocolates on two separate occasions without purchasing them. I can’t afford “the Rolls Royce” of anything! I’m more familiar with the “beat up Fiat, propped up on cinder blocks” version of the retail world.

We cracked open our Trader Joe’s lime and chili flake cashews and hit the Pacific Coastal Highway.This pink umbrella caught my eye, so we pulled over at this particular flea market. For the fanciest fleas.This sign, which I totally wanted so I could point it straight down into my apartment shower, was on sale from $210 to $65. It’s flimsy wood with paint on it!! $65? Crystal and I schemed a way to make my own…

As the sun was beginning to tuck in, we made it to Zuma Beach. Where we talked for hours about everything. Snacking, people watching, ocean watching. Crystal even spotted a bevy of porpoises. A pod? A MURDER??? All I know is that at one point I thought I had “sand in my champers” and we thought that was hilarious.

After noticing the people around us, we invented a game called “Are They Having Sex?”

1. Are they having sex?(We decided no. She’s sitting on his back and he’s face down in the sand. Still no word on why this was happening.)

2. Are they having sex?(The clothes seem to be “on”, but yo, their junk is all close. Viewer’s choice.)

3. Are they having sex?(—with the sand, maybe….But they won’t be having sex with each other. Ever.)

Thank you Crystal for an awesome Friendiversary! I’m totally crushed out on the tiny photo books she is putting together: the kitchiest, most fabulous photos from her stay at famously eclectic Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, CA. She has the best aesthetic for a place that sassy. If we all say we want them, I’m hoping she’ll post these little booksies on her Etsy too!

XX,

L

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Puerto Rico: Day 11 (Adios, Mi Otra Patria! *and a really small chihuahua.)

29 May

Last day of Puerto Rico! Ugh, bummer. Now I’ll have to get back to living in the Continental US…

This is really like a bonus 1/4 day, because our flight left at noon. So, we woke up early to explore San Juan by foot, for a few hours. I wore shorts to celebrate.

One thing no one mentions, is the number of cats lazing about pre-9am in Old San Juan. They are. Everywhere. One on every car, under every bush, in the middle of every street.
Memoryyyyy… All alooone in the moonliiiiight…I can smiiile at the ooooold daaaays… I was beautiful thennnnn…” ( – from Cats! Weirdest musical of all time.)

We walked the walls of the old fort, overlooking the ocean. Old cemeteries. The smelly pee sentry box…
We wove our way back through the neighborhoods, wishing the stores were open early (me), trying to find a decent postcard (me), and hunting for our last bit of pan fresca caliente (I want that to mean “hot fresh bread”), before the flight.

I snapped some pics. The city is truly picturesque.And then we found a house for sale! Limeade dream house on a cute block with the perfect “cosmopolitan island” cafes, bars and boutiques. This place could be ours!! — For only a few bazillion Puerto Rican quarters.
We stopped for coffee in a small restaurant. The bread was “ok” (That’s a quote from Ervin. Me – I just like bread all the time, whatever it is – rye, Wonder, zucchini…)
I read an interesting article in the morning paper.
“Look at this tiny dog!” Mi no understando the rest of the article.

These were the last remaining hours of vacation. And what to do after coffee and a sandwich…

Yes. And thank you.
 Then it was time to go. Time to pack up my 70-pound bag and my illegal sea creatures and head to the aeropuerto. We shared a taxi from the hotel, with two women who were actually on that cruise we visited. Then at the airport, I had to remove a few things from my obese bag so it would be under 50 lbs. Namely, my wooden platforms. And I carried some and wore the others. Like Charo, just gettin’ on a plane.

This was the most loveliest trip to an island I’ve ever taken! The only one… but, all future travels: beware. You will be strictly compared to Puerto Rico in three divisions: Meat, Bread and Most Deadliest Cocktails.
Thanks for traveling with me, you guys! It’s back to the grind here in LA…. I’m working some freelance this week, as well as my food delivery job. So it’s a busy one. But I like money, so I’m on board.

I’m hoping this week to show you some behind the scenes of my commercial shoot (including one smoky Torani Bacon cocktail), and how to celebrate a one-year-FRIENDIVERSARY with an awesome girl and Miley Cyrus’ dog! Yeah, you heard me.

XX,

L

Puerto Rico: Day 10 (Ye Olde San Juan)

23 May

This was the day I found the litter of dead puppies.

I’m kidding. They’re just sleeping. I tried to take a picture to show how cute they were, but this just makes them look…not…good.

So, I totally thought I had 10 days of photos. But I have 11. I have done the math forwards and backwards and sideways and I still come up with one more day than I thought. Whaaa? Anywho. I’m going with it.

We decided to spend our last nite in PR in San Juan, so that we could easily catch our flight the following morning. So we packed up our treats and trinkets in Peñuelas, said our goodbyes, and drove north to the big city. I was eager to get my eyes on some of the old architecture. I was going to get my money’s worth, in less than 12 hours of a visit.
Oh yeah. Ohhhhhh yeah. Gimme some of that colonial Puerto Ricooooo! A short, inacurate (but who’s checking) history lesson: PR was first to be discovered (and landed on many times and also attacked) on the eastern shore of the US States and islands just south of it. So things in PR are crazy old.

I come from Lancaster, PA, also crazy old. But this was even older. People died in the 1500’s here. And then made markers to prove it. Mine would have said “In 500 years, you’re gonna think I’m so friggin OLD, silver space people.”

Old San Juan is colorful, vibrant, energetic, (touristy) and foodie. We dropped our bags off at the hotel overlooking the cruise ships and walked around town.
Oldest street in America! (New England cries a frustrated tear). Look at them cobbles.  Oh! And look at that hot pink pedicure — still good after 10 days of flip flops and sandy beaches. Thank you, Sun Nails, Silverlake!

OK, eyes up here:
We walked by the very home of the piña colada! Which I thought would have been invented by someone with either part of that in their name. Ricki Colada! Something! Our dear friend Coco Lopez is in on it, though.

We emerged from the quaint winding streets, to the sunset over the ocean. Vast lawns of people. Flying kites!
Ahhhh, the splendor.

Hold up. What is this…As night fell, things became way more meat-y. Tourists flocked to fancy restaurants for local seafood and signature cocktails. We kept it budge-y (budgety?) by hitting up some food carts. Meat on sticks, meat in sandwiches, meat on other meat. That’s how you know you’re in Puerto Rico.We waited in long lines, philosophizing about life. This is the part where Ervin spotted a Royal Caribbean ship leaving the harbor and said “Transformers!” and we couldn’t stop laughing. You have to admit – the logos (Royal / Transformers) are really similar. And how awesome would it be to be on a Transformers cruise line!

I nearly snorted meat through my nose.

You know it’s been a long day when you have  to get a picture of the three-headed mayo bottle.

We sat on a bench, people-watching, and stuffing our faces with one of the sandwiches we ordered (we never ate the other one), while Transformers set sail into the great unknown. OK — it’s the Atlantic Ocean, but it’s not as romantic to name names.

Last day of Puerto Rico coming up next! What the heck am I gonna post about after this!?

XX,

L

Puerto Rico: Day 8 + 9 (Mini Chickens and Voodoo Coconuts)

22 May

I’m combining these two days because our adventures were mainly home-based (until our second beach trip where I almost picked up a curse-ed coconut!)

But first things first. Tiny, tiny chickens.

These are the gallitos that run around between the houses. They used to belong to Ervin’s family. But then they migrated to the neighbors’ yard. So they live there now. The roosters are a third the size of a regular ole rooster. So are the chickens. They tottled around the yard, followed by a small stream of fuzzy babies.

I tried to capture their size and their adorableness, but my wildlife photography remains lackluster. Also my ability to Snow White them toward me, needs a little work.I got a good shot of one. In its cage.

We were at the hardware store yet again, looking for parts for things that needed repair in the house. This little girl was outside, waiting patiently for her Dad.We waved and giggled at each other, but then when I took the picture she got all Children’s International on me. So, if you wanna send her some college-fund money, she’s by the green wall near the thing with the thing on it.

Back at the house, Ervin was like a contractor, fixing the filter on the fridge, rewiring electrical outlets. I stood by, like an inept foreman, snacking on gingerbread and café con leche. And trying as hard as I could to read the newspaper.Stupid delicious.The 9th day, we found the beach again! Playa Ballena. This time, much closer to Ervin’s house. We made our way down a rocky hillside, and I immediately locked eyes with a hilarious coconut, sitting in the sand, its stringy hairs blowing in the breeze like an old chimpanzee’s head. I went to pick it up for a photo or just to hold it –

“Don’t touch that.”

Me “What? Why.”

Ervin “It probably has a curse on it. The people who are into that Spiritus stuff around here put curses on coconuts and throw them into the ocean.”

Me (Staring longingly at chimpanzee head coconut) “But if I don’t believe in it, it can’t… like, do anything to me, right?”

Ervin “Just don’t touch them.”Suddenly, I became really aware of each and every coconut on the beach. A hex for every one. I decided to play it safe and only touch this thing:I also cleaned it, dried it off, and brought it back on the plane with me. It’s living in my LA apartment right now. Even though no seashells of any kind are allowed to leave the island.

Hmm. Well. Way better to bring a sea thing on the plane than the pocket knife, silverware, and pepper spray I’ve “carried on” by accident. How much harm could I really do with dried out seaweed.

I’m just saying, I could have brought that coconut.

That nite, we stopped at the local gas station for a beer (you do that in Peñuelas at the gas stations! There’s a legitimate bar that even has Corona promotional girls with hideous spandex blue and gold outfits, trying to seduce you). The end of the night brought us to a bar on the main street… where we ordered cocktails and listened to some amazing retro salsa music. *With the videos.
After a day of swimming, drinking, and successful avoidance of coconut-flavored demise, we gladly kicked back in front of the TV at 2am… Watched some Spanish Orange County Choppers, destroyed some chicken and fries, and passed out by the flickering light of the moon. I mean, Tube.

XX,

L

I Booked A Commercial!

21 May

I’m going to be the new Mom-face of Torani Flavored Syrups. Y’know… that stuff they put in your pumpkin hazelnut mochaccino to make it taste all yummersons.

We are shooting this week in The Bay Area (My favorite place to eat ice cream at Bi-Rite, croque monsieurs and lemon bars at Tartine, and to see Piper at her apartment. (*I already know Piper will be out of town, so I’m looking at you, salted caramel ice cream.)

For the audition, I had to mix up some Shirley Temples for my “kids” – who were imaginary on all accounts, then add a lil vodka to my own. I guess I’m a natural with the vodka… nailed iiiiiit.

My sister thinks the ad should be like this (“We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns…and syrup.”):

My roommate thinks the ad could be like this (“Psshhhht — Trust me, I’m a professional.”):

I’m super excited for the work, the paycheck, and the traveling! This comes at a time when I’m down to the spare change in my checking account (- thanks to my spindly savings account which filled in on an overdraft).

Sigh.

Thankfully, I have friends and a boyfriend who have gifted me a few meals here and there when things are tight. Hopefully I can do the same for them in return, very soon.

At least we can all get hopped up on syrup.

XX,

L

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Puerto Rico: Day 7 (The Beach Is Back.)

17 May

How could anyone possibly be hungry after everything we’d already eaten?! This is seafood by the sea. And smashy plantains and rice. Notice we left the beans. You can’t be filling up on legumes in an eating competition with yourself! (I win!)

Day 7 was bright and sunny! We woke up early to drive to the west coast and hit the BEACH. (Yessssss gimme summa that SPF 70!) First a pit stop for the local daily special (see above). Then we passed by some huge factories. Puerto Rico’s number one industry is pharmaceuticals. And also rum. One heals your heart, one heals your soul. Both kinda go to town on your livers, but who’s counting.

“Someone” had to stop for a pee break. (It’s like a daytime Sasquatch sighting).

We drive through some salt mines. Or fields. Salt deposits. And then… do I dare believe my eyes?!
What is that, blue-green-turquoise-seafoam-teal-aquamarine-pthalo (ugh, art school ruined me with colors) water and a powdery beach?! We hiked up to this lighthouse and to the edge of the Earth.
Someone must have been using these rocks as a paint palette. Or the seagulls are getting into some weird garbage.
We finally get to test out our swimsuits on some bona fide ocean. It’s like a salty, swimmy bath with soft sand, gentle waves and a few random seaweeds and shells that clumsily pass by your legs, to remind you that you’re in the wild. This is La Playa Sucia. “Dirty Beach”. Whoever named this must have seen some damn fine beaches in his day, to call this one dirty. 

I ran out of the water to get my phone to take some pics.

What? NO! Of course I wouldn’t bring my phone into the water. That would be really stupid. What if I dropped it or —
“Cheeeeeese!” What? I didn’t drop it. It’s totally fine! And it’s probably all the sand on it that will do the real damage. {Crunch}

After a few hours of swimming and trying to float (I am the worst), we hiked back to the car to head into a small nearby town.
This is a painting in the bar, OF the bar. I liked it a lot.
And this was a street dog that came up to me and I petted (of course), until I heard Ervin quietly saying to me across the bar “Hey Babe, we don’t usually touch those dogs…” Whatever this little pup could give me couldn’t top what that rabbit already forced upon me.
We took our beers and walked out to the beach to watch the sunset. Some Queen was playing in the bar next door. This is the thing I liked so much about Puerto Rico. The temperature and the vibe of island living. I brought about 5 pairs of heels on this trip. And I only wore them in the airport, just so my luggage would be under 50 lbs. The rest of the time, I was in flip flops and sandals. And SHORTS. I never wear shorts en publica. The windows are always open, fans spinning. The inside and outside are almost the same. Like saloon doors – welcoming you either direction.

We walked on the docks, and watched the sun sink into the ocean.
XX,

L

Puerto Rico: Day 6 (What happened before the Machete)

15 May

On the 6th Day of PuertoRicanness, my true love gave to me: A cup filled with milk and coff-eeeeee. (You better be singing that like The 12 Days of Christmas!)

Day 6 was business time. We woke up early to settle land disputes, hotwire a few chandeliers, drive around town trolling for cheap sofas. But first, a sip of my first café con leche. Which is Spanish for “Evaporated milk with a tiny bit of coffee and a bunch of raw sugar in it, so shut your pie hole, it’s goin’ down smooth.”
I selected my glass from the cupboard. And I served mine over ice because remember: we’re in Puerto Rico. It’s 80 humid degrees by 7am, according to my hair-ometer. There’s also no A/C. Just like in prairie times. Once, my Mom was telling me how she enjoyed life before A/C… how you could feel the elements. I was listening to this as I sat, steaming my innards in my Brooklyn railroad apartment, not a stitch of a breeze, my cat boiling beside me and a tiny oscillating fan squeaking in the window, sweeping over us with trashy hot street air.

But back to PR – where there was shade to be basked in, on the farm. We hopped in the truck and met a friend with some aerial shots of the land.There’s a “neighbor” who’s secretly moving their fences into Ervin’s family’s property. I was hoping we’d settle this the old fashioned way: gun fight. But we opted for modern technology, strategizing, and bitching about them. I warmed up my pistol finger just in case. Trigger finger? Ugh, who am I kidding – I don’t even own a gun.

Oh hey! Check out how close I got to the horses this time! So…… close kinda! As soon as I rounded the fence, even the one with the broken leg was high-tailing it out of there. Injured race horses shouldn’t be put down. They just need me to inspire them to win.
After toiling away on the farm and at the house, it was nearly sunset. I wanted to see something out in the world. So, Ervin took me to this fabulous little hut by the docks. A little bar, famous for these pink drinks called The Machete.
It’s top secret as to what goes in here, but I think we all know it has a cherry in it. They actually go behind a wall to perform their mixology.

SO. Ervin and I each take one and walk over to a bench overlooking boats and peaceful waters and the sunset.
We make intelligent conversation about how I could never be a Navy Seal and what kind of boats are docked here and could you sail a boat in The Perfect Storm and not crap your pants.

We sip our last sips and actually consider going home. Maybe a movie. Something for dinner? But we’re enjoying this moment, so we order another Machete. It’s only like $2 afterall. Coming from LA, that’s peanuts. You could only bum a drink like that from a hobo — who was already passed out.

Mis. Take.
I’m not sure what all happened after this, but there was a lot of my own special language (which Ervin’s brother referred to as “Drunklish”) coming out of my mouth. Suddenly, I was super brave and I knew lots of Spanish vocabulary. I ate about 30 conch fritters (yeah, I didn’t know I liked what comes out of that spirally seashell either), I was dancing all hips-y, I was singing along to people’s crappy karaoke (I hate karaoke), and then there was a video I made for my friend Piper, in which I showcased how weird my teeth looked in the black light at the bar, by chomping them.

We ordered ourselves some huge “tripleta” sandwiches. Which means 3 meats. And which does help with the Drunklish (stuffing a talking mouth is a solution). But not my pants size. But who cared!? Not me. Judging by the last photo of my evening…
Nowhere on Earth does this qualify as a mirror. It’s like a serving tray bolted to the wall!

And I looked so beautiful in it! If only there were a black light in the ladies’ room…

XX,

L

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