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!

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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.

meatballs

When we lived in New York City, The Meatball Shop was one of our favorite restaurants. Dan and I ate there together for the first time at Stanton Street, and I have a very fond memory of dinner there with my friends and brother before the Astoria Boulevard (Dan’s band) album release party. Dan met friends (including my brother) at the Williamsburg location the night before he moved to Los Angeles almost a year ago. So, needless to say, it’s a special place. The Meatball Shop serves all different kinds of meatballs, in all different ways. They give you a laminated menu and dry erase marker, and you fill out what kind of meatball you want and how you want them served. My favorite is “Everything But the Kitchen Sink” – three balls served over veggies and your choice of sauce. They don’t take reservations and there is usually wait, but aren’t those usually the places worth waiting for? And if you’re waiting at the Brooklyn location, scoot down the street to Maison Premiere for pre-dinner oysters and cocktails.7e5f4cc88f9101f2986aaf3b67609f4b For Christmas, we received The Meatball Shop Cookbook, and meatballs have become a staple in our kitchen (thanks to chef Dan). The book looks good. The photography by John Kernick reflects how yummy this food tastes, and the overall design and writing is comforting and cool. Dan picked me up from the airport in Los Angeles after I’d been home to Chicago for Christmas. When we got back to our apartment, there was a meatball feast waiting for me! Recently, Dan was inspired to make taco meatballs by adding taco seasoning and cheddar cheese. Soooo good!IMG_0210IMG_4151IMG_3210(Second photo from Pinterest and third photo from The Meatball Shop)