Tuesday, July 26, 2011

food & friendship

Something I've learned about myself a little late in life is that I like entertaining. I like making friends feel special and surrounding them with thoughtfulness and love whether it be a lil bouquet of flowers next to the bed, a customized drink made by hand, nice linen napkins instead of paper and twinkly lights & candles. Last night was one of those nights with a handful of close girlie's coming over for a little Greek fiesta on the porch.

It's something that I think even surprises my husband a little. Mostly because he doesn't really see how it can be "fun" for me. I guess it looks like work to him and in some ways he's right but it's a work I have passion for. I've been really inspired by my friends who have welcomed me into their homes in recent years, showing me the way and passing me the torch. One of the things I love most about ladies is that they really know how to celebrate one another and create special moments together. With a good sized group of friends there is always a birthday, house warming or a just because it's been too long dinner or brunch that can always be anticipated. I know a lot of the ladies out there will agree that it's fun to have your friends over too!
For me, it starts with by sending (text/facebook/evite) the invitation. For me, I usually just have a concept at this point. A theme, mood, flavor profiles... Once I see who is coming the details start to come together. For some reason I just keep thinking GREEK! So I made the menu Greek salad with homemade dressing, Moussaka & pita. Luckily I think I can fit everyone around my outside table which means candles, a little tiny vase of flowers and a few throw blankets placed on chairs just in case! Since collecting glassware is a hobby of mine and basically my sole purpose for flea marketing, I'll put out different glasses on a tray near the wine so there is no confusion over who's is who's or need for a wine charm. I love giving something quick to pick at while friends arrive and inevitably wait around for the last guest (usually my sister who is rushing over after a long day of styling). Last night it was an herbed brie, crackers, figs and some nuts.

I live in my mind a lot and having friends over for a meal is like a mental math problem that I get to solve in the days leading up to it. Mental lists (and scribbled post its), looking up recipes to tweak as well as timing & prepping it is all part of the fun. Working a 9-5 requires thinking ahead so the night before I prepped all the layers for the moussaka and then all I had to do before the dinner was assemble and throw them in the oven. Next, make the Greek dressing & Salad. A quick freshening up and then set the table & light some candles eh voila! So easy, hopefully so yummy and no stress by the time friends arrive, that way I too get to enjoy the party!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

We've got your....

Coyotes, rabbits, horses, peacocks, owls, squirrels, lizards, spiders...what else? Oh, I think that's enough.
One of the treats to living in the canyon is all the beautiful wildlife we see. Just the other night we parked our car and were walking to our door when we heard 2 owls hooting back and forth to each other over head. Owls are one of our favorite animals. They are such a respected and mysterious creature, not only for their stealthiness but they just seem wise, don't they? It sounded like they were discussing a take down and we kept hearing the sounds of a squirrel in our big tree. I believe at one point the owl flew above and got the squirrel but you don't really hear them fly so it's hard to say for sure but an owl feather floated down and landed in my hand eluding to the fact that it had just flown over head. Then there wasn't another peep out of the squirrel.

A moment later, a pack of coyotes were seen in the abandoned house across the street. It was a little startling and brought out a second of fear in me just to see them turffin around, obviously looking for their next meal. When they turned and made their way onto the ridge above, leaving one separated from the pack that we kept seeing for the next 15 minutes roaming around our 'hood' trying to find his way back to his crew.

Then yesterday, we went for an evening stroll to the Hollywood sign trail and came across 3 peacocks. One was your typical gorgeous looking 'cock, then there was a white one with black spots and a mostly grey one. They too were out on an evening stroll.

Spiders are a daily annoyance at this point both in the house and just outside our door waiting for my tall husband to walk through them.

Lizards out sunning can be found on every walk and frogs are heard but not seen much, YET. Chadd the frog hunter will be sure to sniff them out soon.

It's like our own little zoo experience and as avid nature & animal lovers we couldn't be pleased to have such neighbors.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Happiness breeds happiness...

....is it considered a 'rant' if it's a happy one?

I love my life. There, I said it. We all have a choice everyday. We can wake up and run through the lists of what we need, must and should do, letting those tasks form our day. We do our best to accessorize with the wants but too often those are the items we move down to the bottom of our list or erase all together. I get it and I've done it. I've lived a life of wants in pencil and needs in permanent ink but it's wrong and whoever says balance is bullshit has probably already fallen over because if you must anything, it's this, you MUST enjoy your life. It is the only one you were given and it's your choice to live it in a way that brings you the most joy possible while causing the least amount of harm to others and the planet.
If you would like to be happy then be happy. Start now with a smile. Look into the closest mirror you can find and give yourself a flirty wink. c'mon, do it. You are great and the people in your life are amazing or else you wouldn't have put them in there. Let them know how great they are and how happy you are to have them in your life.
I'll start: Mom, you moved all the way to LA to be with us and when we can just meet up for lunch, flea marketing or to watch TV (which we don't do enough) I really love it and I love that I always have a theater buddy.
Sister, you are the zip lock to my tranwich; you keep me fresh. I love watching you grow and make choices that make you happy. I am your cheerleader fo' life. I adore the dude you picked and I see so many happy times ahead with him in our crazy family and thank god that you picked someone who can keep up with you because it's a lot of work.
Then add to that the best dad, step-mom, bros and step sis a girl could have. Such outside of the box thinkers and I just feel GOOD being around them. Good to the core of me. And they offer so much support and positivity which they learned from the leader of the tribe who always has our backs.
You don't really get In Laws like mine too often. Not only are they amazing individuals but they've merged nearly seamlessly with my own family to create this super fam that's unreal. In 7 years we've had more holidays, themed parties and limbo contest than you can imagine. We've camped, redecorated and crafted until our fingers were glued together and we don't ever argue, honestly we should be studied. Then there's the LA posse which is full of good people who take you as you are and are always, ALWAYS ready to party, play games and make the fun happen. I LOVE having a crew.
I've become friends with some pretty amazing women who have become confidants to me ~ honorable mention to my Jamie who's off exploring the world and making me miss her desperately. I've never had a kinder or more thoughtful and understanding friend that you.
The dance crew my man hangs with is the most inspiring lot and the things his career has allowed me to witness is unreal. Which brings me to him, the most stunning part of my life. He is so kind, honest and supportive. I've learned so much from him and am honored to be the lady of his life. No matter where life takes us the time we have together has been the best of my entire life and I look forward to our forever together. If you let it, marriage can be a place that you grow, learn, laugh and gather countless amounts of strength from.