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

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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!

bachelorettes

IMG_3242Three of my best gfs are getting married over the next three months, and June was the month of bachelorette celebrations! We kicked if off in Vegas for Sally and Amy‘s joint party at the Cosmopolitan, and finished it off at the Trump Soho for Kristi in NYC. What can I say? We fancy. I grew up with these girls, and it was such a treat to have our big group of friends from across the country all together TWICE in one month. I didn’t bring my camera to Vegas, but I did snap this amazing view of the strip from our balcony on my iphone. Then I fly to NYC a week later, and this is the view from our room at the Trump Soho! I couldn’t get over it. I was obsessed with spotting all the secret rooftop gardens. IMG_3240IMG_3239Staying in Soho felt like such a luxury–obviously a favorite neighborhood, and so wonderful to be able to walk everywhere from our hotel. IMG_3244IMG_3249^The bachelorette, Kristi, her sister-in-law, and sister. IMG_3248IMG_3254^Fun to see citi bikes all over! IMG_3260IMG_3257IMG_3258IMG_3261IMG_3265IMG_3262IMG_3263^Brunch on the roof of Hotel Chantelle was so festive. They had 92 cent cocktails and half way through our meal an amazing jazz band started up! I loved the vibe (and the food) there. IMG_3267^They had bocce ball by the pool. Why are things on rooftops more fun than on the ground? IMG_3269Congrats to all my brides-to-be! I love you girls.

bridesmaids

IMG_7773IMG_7787During my trip to New York, I did a little preliminary wedding dress shopping with my mom and three best gals. Dan and I are having a small wedding party, and my bridesmaids happen to all live in New York at the moment. I knew this trip was my chance to ask them all in person, but I also wanted to create a little something that reflected how long we’ve known each other. Getting married is definitely in the adulthood category, and these girls have been there for me since I was a kid (college included). Before we tried on dresses at Gabriella, I gave them each a double photos frame. On one side was a photo of us from childhood or college, and on the other side was a card I designed that said “Will you be my bridesmaid?” My dear and talented friend, Sarah Mullin (who does all the drawings and logo work for The Whaling Club), created the strung lights and flower clusters. The girls opened them all at the same time, and their reaction to the photos was were PRICELESS. I almost pulled out my camera right before, but I was too excited and didn’t want to miss their faces. We all laughed, and there were a few happy tears.
Coconuts^^Caitlin and I sharing a coconut on her back step.
Schoolgirls^^Emilie and I on the first day of fourth grade. I am rocking those Tevas, and Emilie is super cool with the one shoulder backpack!
will you be my bridesmaid197042_511270387936_9745_nHaha! Sara’s photo is slightly different than adorable childhood photos, but it sums us up so much. She always bring out the wild and fun side of myself. This is on Halloween our sophomore year of college.

And THAT pretty much sums up my east coast week. I think. Can’t promise 🙂

These are a cute idea!

east coast, part 2

IMG_7816After a a few days in NYC, my parents and I drove out to New Canaan, CT to spend time with my Grandmom and see my aunt and uncle. I’ve always loved my Grandmom’s house. I remember swinging in the yellow plastic swing that used to be in the backyard, and feeling a little crushed when I returned and it had been taken down. I traveled and flew by myself on a plane for the first time going to visit my Grandmom. It was around Easter, and she left candy under my pillow every night before I went to bed–like the chocolate coconut nests with candy eggs in the middle? And we took the train to NYC and went on a tour of Radio City Hall, and I was soooo excited to meet a real Rockette! I got my first and only lava lamp for Christmas in that house, and broke a ceramic duck by accident and sobbed in that house, and got ready with my Aunt Amy in that house before her wedding. Basically, it’s a really special place. And so is the lady who lives there 🙂IMG_7826IMG_7829IMG_7843IMG_7842IMG_7846 I love all the ’60s style–like that green carpet! After a few days of relaxing and shopping at the New Canaan J.Crew (major sale and way better selection than most), I went back to the city for a night out with friends. Dinner at The Meatball Shop was followed by dive drinks with some of the most special people EVER, and the night ended with a giant slice of Artichoke pizza in the East Village. It was perfect. Literally my heart swells for all my friends who came out that night. Reunited and it FELT SO GOOD. Really just the most delightful and loving people. Also, fake eyelashes happened (thank you, Danny). The next morning, Dan’s parents, my parents, and Willyman all met us at Walter Foods for a big family brunch to celebrate our engagement! instagram-blockI was exhausted when I got back to LA, but so so happy. AND I was upgraded to business class on the flight home. So, yeah, that didn’t suck. See you soon, New York!

east coast, part 1

IMG_7754I hadn’t been to NYC in a year and it felt so good! That may not seem like a long time, but I used to visit pretty much every other month when Dan and I were long distance, so I got used to seeing all my east coast friends more regularly. The trip was planned to see my brother’s grad school showcase. He’s a composer in NYU Tisch’s Musical Theatre Writing grad program, and he’s spent the last year working on a musical with his writing partner. I had heard bits and pieces of the process from my brother and via my mom, and I’m so thrilled I was there with my parents to see his gorgeous work. Communicating how people feel and love with humor through music is so mature and wise. AND he’s only 25!! The audience was clearly moved by his show, and I couldn’t have been more proud to be his sister. I’m always in awe.IMG_7770IMG_7760I dragged my family all over downtown for dinner and cocktails. Freemans is a favorite spot that Dan and I fell in love with on an impromptu date years ago in NYC. I love how each room is different, and it always feels comforting and hip. Mission Chinese totally lived up to all the awesome things I had heard! The front looks like a classic, hole in the wall, Chinese joint, but in the back is a full restaurant. Flavor explosion! My friend Aubrey (we worked together at Son of a Gun in LA) is the manager there. It was such a delight to see him, and we tried so many yummy dishes including the thrice cooked bacon with rice cakes, and super spicy chonqing chicken wings. I was so full, but I couldn’t stop eating. Then we all walked down to Painkiller, a tiki bar on the LES. My mom was ready to kill me when we showed up to an unmarked door with only a bouncer. Sorry, Mom!IMG_7788IMG_7790IMG_7792IMG_7795IMG_7798How gorgeous are all those blooming trees? I had the most delightful coffee catch up with my dear friend, Jeremy, in the West Village before heading back up to see a matinee of Matilda. I adored the show! The kids in the show were incredible, so committed and strong. Super funny. mailbox-jeremyIMG_7805IMG_7809Amazing, so far, right? And that’s only half way through! Part 2 coming up.

decadent dinner

IMG_7383As someone who often reminisces about being a kid and the ease of childhood, there are a few great things (besides discovering wine and coffee) about being an adult. One of those things is dinner parties. Especially when it’s a Decadent Dinner hosted by our friends Jay and Hannah in their gorgeous new home, and Hannah is killing it with dishes like scallop and foie gras carpaccio, bone marrow risotto, and crack pie. Yup, CRACK PIE. Did I mention one my favorite desserts of all time is Momofuku’s Crack Pie? Okay, now you know. I always accept payment in the form of crack pie. K, thanks, bye. Also, there are no pictures of the crack pie because I ate mine before I remembered to take a photo. The Whaling Club joined in the fun, and Dan put together a delicious bourbon and rum punch with a hand cut ice block to get the party started as guests arrived and sat down to dinner. menusIMG_7376IMG_7384IMG_7386IMG_7388It’s always a delight to be surrounded by new and old friends who appreciate cooking, food, and cocktails. You know you’ve really hit the jackpot when someone pulls out a bottle of Fernet Branca at the end. Props to Will for that one!IMG_7398IMG_7400Thank you so much to Jay and Hannah for having us! And now that summer has hit LA, I’m looking forward to BBQs, beach lounging, and shaken mint daquiris. What are you most looking forward to this summer?