Christmas 2014

IMG_46392014 will always go down in history in my life story because it’s the year I married Dan. So many of my favorite memories are wrapped up in 2014: wedding (and all the festivities that go with it), honeymoon, launching The Whaling Club catering, new “Margot & Marie” episodes and two original live shows, exciting photography clients and collaborations, shooting a small pilot role, and lots of travel to see family and friends. One of my favorite parts of the new year is taking a moment to reflect. Dan and I spent a relaxing week celebrating Christmas in Lake Bluff, IL, and I returned to LA feeling recharged for January 2015. This year I aim to continue to be actively creative and my motto is “if you can dream it, you can do it.” Dan and I also had these black-eyed peas for the New Year’s good fortune and prosperity, and if that’s not a sure thing then I don’t know what is.IMG_4642^^Annual Christmas dinner (before Christmas) at The University Club of Chicago. One of my favorite traditions!IMG_4644 IMG_4645 IMG_4646 IMG_4647 IMG_4648IMG_4656^^Christmas dinner at home.IMG_4658 IMG_4660^^Dan made his Grandma Prior’s famous cream pie with a graham cracker crust and meringue on top.IMG_4662^^And my Dad made a Yuletide Log. These two are such pastry chefs! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday. Cheers to 2015!

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bridal shower

IMG_2028In March, my best friend and bridesmaid, Caitlin, and her mom, who I love so much, threw the most wonderful bridal shower for me! Dan and I are headed to Paris and London for our honeymoon this summer, so Mrs. Leutwiler and Caitlin pulled out all the themed stops. Seriously, it was like they had been collecting for this theme their whole life with the details they pulled off! Everything from the food to the table settings to the goodie bags with Scottie dog cookies (For Dan “Scott”) — and, of course, a life size cut-out of THE QUEEN was epic. This really felt like the kick off to the countdown of my wedding. I was very touched to be surrounded by my girlfriends, some of who flew in just for the shower, as well my future mother-in-law who also flew out. The Leutwilers live directly across the street from my home. Their house is basically an extension of my own. I took photos in their driveway every year through the end of high school on the first and last days of school, camped in their backyard, and would look to see if Caitlin’s bedroom light was on to see if it was too late to call. So you can imagine how special it was to me to have my shower there.

IMG_2035IMG_2023IMG_2029^^My friend Kristi, who is currently living in London and couldn’t be there, sent gorgeous gold crackers with wedding cake shaped bubbles inside!map-food^^Did you notice the tube map??WP_20140315_10_52_53_ProafterlightWP_20140315_11_07_12_PromomsdaughterstablegroupsWP_20140315_12_23_12_ProWP_20140315_12_21_59_Promoms-cake^^It was my birthday a few days later, so Mrs. Leutwiler also made me a Chocolate Biscuit Cake — the same cake Prince William had for his groom’s cake! And it was topped with the most amazing candle I’ve ever seen!Untitled-1

delights of 2013

For me, the end of a year and the beginning of a new one always brings a bit of mixed emotions. A little bit exciting, a little bit daunting. 2013 was such a special year for me. Reflecting on some of the highlights the other day as I browsed my photos from the past year helped me realize that you never know exactly what’s coming, and that’s part of the fun. And that sometimes what feels like a failure or scary in the moment, actually turns out to be a positive or lead you down a path you might never have tried otherwise. So, in no particular order, here some of my highlights from 2013. photoboothengagement-EditDan and I got engaged. It makes me tear up a little (trying to hold it together, I’m currently on a plane) to think about. Our engagement was so sweet and special, and I don’t know if you’re supposed to say this, but I just love my ring so much! And the engagement, of course, led to the beginning of wedding planning, dress shopping with my mom and girlfriends, an engagement shoot, and asking our loved ones to be a part of the wedding. For this reason alone, 2013 will always be a favorite. IMG_0149Photography. Being a freelancer and starting my own business is challenging, but I’m finding my way and am so grateful to have a job doing something I love. I’ve had some really cool opportunities come my way this year, and I’ve worked with so many lovely and creative clients. My photos were published in the LA Times, Bon Appetit, Los Angeles Magazine, and Angeleno Magazine. And many of my headshot clients signed with new representation and received countless auditions based on their new shots. As with any creative field, it’s a journey not a race, and I’m excited to continue to learn and expand my technical skills, as well as stay creative and see things in a new way.  IMG_6524-EditThe Whaling Club celebrated one year. When Dan and I started The Whaling Club we didn’t know what would happen. Would people like it? We quickly learned the answer was yes, and we’re so happy for that! I can’t wait to see where The Whaling Club takes us this year, but we have a few ideas in mind. Thank you to all of our 2013 guests, the writers who have featured us in their publications, Chef Frank Anderson for joining us over the year, and Sarah Mullin for her ongoing illustrations.

I booked a co-star in my first pilot. The best part was being invited to attend the network table read. I felt like skipping the whole time! And I worked with some of my female comedy idols. grush ss-2Margot and I created “Margot & Marie”! You can watch all the episodes of Season 1 here. Working with Margot on this show has been so rewarding, and there’s more to come. IMG_2046Mexico. Dan’s parents took the whole family to the Riviera Maya to celebrate their wedding anniversary and vow renewal. We swam with sea turtles, lay on the beach, snorkeled, and spent a very memorable day in Tulum. facebookSpank Show. One of my goals this year was to write a sketch show with my hilarious and talented friend, Tim, and put it up at Upright Citizens Brigade. We put a lot into it and it felt AMAZING to perform. Tim is a gem of a person and performer, and the brilliant Drew Droege directed. Our friends came out to pack the house and laugh when my wig flew off!IMG_9658Weddings. We went to a lot of weddings this year, and I’m not just saying this, but each one was really special and unique to the couple. I know it’s partially because we’re planning our own wedding, but I really loved seeing all the details each couple and their families chose and focused on. The majority of these weddings brought me back to Chicago to reunite with my girlfriends and get a little extra time with my family. IMG_5163And of course, everything in between… Caitlin and Emilie coming to visit me in LA. Seeing my brother’s beautiful musical. “Matilda” on Broadway with my parents. Quality time with my Grandmom both at her house in Connecticut and at Thanksgiving in Chicago. Dinners at Bucato, Longman & Eagle, The Publican, The University Club of Chicago, Hartwood, Baco Mercat, Bar Ama, Water Grill… Quiet nights at home in our apartment. Our first Christmas Tree. Bootcamp getting me out of bed in the mornings. Weekly improv practice with my team. Auditions. Watching Downton Abbey with my family. A day trip to Santa Barbara. Camping in Ojai. Ivan & Alyosha at the Troubadour. Support of friends near and far. The love and encouragement of my family.

Happy New Year to my little group of readers out there! I appreciate you stopping by!

mr. & mrs. cicero

IMG_1877You guys! My gfs are getting married left and right. And as my friend, Emilie, pointed out, it’s going to be so sad when this period of our life ends and we don’t have an excuse to fly to one another every other month. Amy and Matt got married in Chicago last month. Such a beautiful wedding! Amy was in her element, their families were clearly so happy, and there was gold everywhere which is my FAVORITE. At one point, Dan told me he looked around and couldn’t find me or any of my girlfriends anywhere. Suddenly it dawned on him there was only one place we could all possibly be: THE PHOTO BOOTH. Jump cut to him pulling open the curtain to find thirteen girls smashed into a photo booth with the bride and props. Doyle. Congratulations Amy and Matt! (I love how Matt is smiling at Amy shimmying her way into the reception in the photo above.)IMG_1850joemjesszIMG_1863IMG_1864IMG_1899IMG_1884IMG_1890Earlier that morning I got to go wedding dress shopping at BHLDN with my best friend, Caitlin. She lives in NYC and I live in LA, so it was a treat that we were able to sneak this in while both in Chicago for the wedding. She has since chosen a dress not pictured here, so I’m not revealing anything! Don’t worry! IMG_1807IMG_1809IMG_1820IMG_1835She looked gorgeous in everything she tried on (yes, everything), and I may have tried on a pair of statement earrings myself. My favorite part of BHDLN in Chicago are the huge and super private dressing rooms–very luxurious!
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^^Three engaged girlfriends!^^

mr. & mrs. boots

IMG_9645Earlier this month we spent a weekend in Chicago for the wedding of our friends, Sally and Andrew. Andrew’s last name is Boots, and it’s pretty much what everyone calls him. I love that Sally’s full name will now be Sally Boots! Adorable! On the Friday before the wedding we went straight from the airport to an early dinner at the Publican. Definitely one of the best meals and service that I’ve had in a while. The menu is super meat focused, and the booths have doors on them like cattle corrals–which made the meal feel private and cozy even in such a busy restaurant. Both the Publican and the wedding reception were in the Fulton Market/West Loop neighborhood, which is apparently where lots of awesome restaurants are popping up. Here are some photos from the wedding! Sally is one of my oldest friends, and weddings with all my childhood and high school girlfriends always proves to be a little silly…especially when someone discovered there were fake mustaches…IMG_9640IMG_9658IMG_9669couplesIMG_9696IMG_9714IMG_9716escortcardsIMG_9742IMG_9745IMG_9758^^Yep, even our bride, Sally, put on a mustache! She’s the best.

Congratulations, Sally and Boots! You two are the sweetest couple and we had the most amazing night celebrating with you!

lately

IMG_6150^^A few of my best girlfriends and their boys celebrating at the wedding of our dear friends, Kristi and Henry!IMG_6153^^Glamorous centerpieces in Cathedral Hall at The University Club of Chicago.IMG_6151^^The table numbers were a nod to London, where Kristi and Henry are moving at the end of the summer.IMG_6161^^While in Chicago for the wedding, I got to spend a day with this amazing girl. She’s studying at The School at Steppenwolf this summer and I’m so proud and excited for her!IMG_6764^^And someone (hint: fiance) got a very special birthday present followed by a delicious celebration dinner at Sotto. We’ve been craving the Diavolina pizza every day since!

engagement

IMG_0186While I was in Chicago over the holidays, I was lucky to celebrate my friend Amy’s engagement! Her fiance, Matt, organized a surprise birthday/engagement celebration. Amy texted our group of girlfriend’s to tell us she was engaged (!!) — little did she know we were all on our way to her apartment building to surprise her. The look on her face and getting to witness their parents seeing the couple for the first time post-engagement was a moment I’ll never forget. There were tears and hugs and toasts (uh, yeah I cried, obviously)! Big cheers to Matt for planning the surprise. High five to my girlfriends for not spilling the beans! And congratulations to Amy and Matt and their families!!
IMG_0187IMG_0199candlesAnd congratulations to my dear friends Kristi and Henry who also got engaged this holiday season! He proposed in Central Park at the reservoir. I love that! I’ve got some fun weddings coming up this year!

merry merry!

merrymerryI’m on the plane headed back to Los Angeles after a luxurious trip back to Chicago. I’m always emotional saying goodbye to my family, but I am really excited to see Dan, and my Grandmom is sitting next to me! She’s coming out to stay with my Aunt Amy and Uncle Peter who live in LA too. The week home was very relaxing. I slept in every day, wore my pajamas until the afternoon, and ate my parent’s amazing cooking. I meant to take even more pictures, but I was having so much fun I just wanted to be there enjoying the moment. You can see more on my Instagram.IMG_0151^traditional English trifle with homemade custard and sherryIMG_0157IMG_0164IMG_0162IMG_0161IMG_0169^we managed to use this twice this season!IMG_0172^I got this cheese slate for my parents last ChristmasIMG_0175^Bouche de Noel (Yule Log)

Hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

girlfriends!

girlfriendsAren’t they beauties? Here we are near the end of another classic three hour girlfriend’s brunch. We celebrated Jo Jo’s birthday (top right) at GT Fish & Oyster in Chicago the other day. No matter how far apart we all live or how long we go without catching up, put us all together, and we really are quite the Chatty Cathy’s!