London + Copenhagen

IMG_6019Breaking the looong radio silence over here today to share some photos from our February family trip to London and Copenhagen! My photography was a little sporadic — a mix of iPhone and SLR, so I’m just sharing the SLR here. Click on over to my Instagram to see more! A few things made this trip come together. 1. My parents ultimately went to Sweden to pick up their new Volvo! Yes, you can go to Sweden and buy a Volvo and they will ship it back for you and it’s pretty cool. 2. Our family friend, Laura, was getting married in London and invited us all. 3. We love London. So why Copenhagen? Because none of us have been! In London we stayed in Marylebone and rented a house through OneFineStay. I loved our little “Mew” and that all of us could stay together in such a nice, big space. The house also came with a garage, which was necessary because my Dad’s greatest joy is driving on the other side of the road (!!). One of our favorite meals in London was lunch at Lyle’s. This is where we truly had then best mussels EVER. I know you don’t believe me from this photo. How could you? But they were grilled and the balance of smoke with the broth was so delicious. Not to mention the perfect, tender texture. Dan looked at me and said, “So this is how mussels are supposed to taste.” We’re ruined! IMG_6023IMG_6026IMG_6027IMG_6033IMG_6036IMG_6038After Lyle’s we walked around Shoreditch, the neighborhood we stayed in on our honeymoon. We snuck into some shops to warm up until the cocktail bar Happiness Forgets opened.IMG_6042IMG_6047IMG_6049 The morning after the wedding, we drove up to Muswell Hill for brunch, and then around Highgate to visit our hold stomping grounds; the homes we lived in and my nursery school! IMG_6051IMG_6054IMG_6058IMG_6061IMG_6064IMG_6066IMG_6073IMG_6079IMG_6082These next two photos still make me laugh! As we were walking back to our car, this van driver asked Dan, Willy, and my Dad to help him push his car because the engine was dead. At one point it started rolling forward, which I think freaked them all out and they momentarily forgot the brakes still worked. So they all grabbed the car in a moment of panic as if they could stop it from rolling away! IMG_6080IMG_6081The day we left I stopped by Fitzroy Square to visit the flat I lived in during my semester abroad. I felt so nostalgic walking around there! That semester was some of the best months of my life. How lucky was I to live in such a beautiful and posh square as a college student!?IMG_6091IMG_6093IMG_6096IMG_6098IMG_6099Copenhagen was such a beautiful city. It has the perfect dichotomy of history while being very cool, and relevant. There are castles, classic historic architecture, modern nordic cuisine restaurants, wood fire pizza, great coffee, and artisan food markets — all within walking distance of each other. Everyone rides bikes (even if it’s freezing), and they always have the right of way. We stayed in this spacious flat which was in a great location for walking to various sites and restaurants. We definitely had some of the most memorable meals of my life while in Copenhagen, especially at Relae and Pony. Baest was recommended as the “Copenhagen version of Roberta’s in Brooklyn.” Which was totally accurate and that is a very good thing! We also really enjoyed the vibe and cocktails at Ruby. Below are a few photos walking around Nyhavn, Rosenborg Castle, and the National Gallery of Denmark.IMG_6116IMG_6117IMG_6118IMG_6125IMG_6127IMG_6133IMG_6136 Europe, you are the best. Such a wonderful trip!

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honeymoon (part 4)

IMG_2331We’re headed to one of my best friend’s wedding this weekend, the last wedding we’re attending in 2014, and it feels like it’s probably about time to share the last of my photos from our honeymoon. From Paris we took the Eurostar to London (with a baguette and cheese in hand, naturally) and sat across from two super giggly and chatty teenage drama students. Dan fell asleep for most of the ride, but I was impressed by how they switched back and forth from French to English so fluidly and fluently. We stayed at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, not far from Spitalfields Market which I frequented very often during my semester abroad. Dan proposed to me at the Ace in Palm Springs, so staying at the newly opened London location felt romantic and very luxurious after our small Parisian quarters. London is SO COOL! I adore this city. The Shoreditch neighborhood is very hip, and we spent a lot of time roaming around and discovering shops, cafes, and bars. We visited our friends, Kristi and Henry, at their adorable flat in Notting Hill the first night we arrived. They welcomed us with an incredible spread and we dined in their lush garden.IMG_2345We took the tube to Buckingham Palace and luckily happened to arrive just in time for the changing of the guards. We then strolled through St. James Park, over to the National Gallery, and continued along through Neal’s Yard and Soho.IMG_2352 IMG_2358IMG_2338There was a bus that took us straight from our hotel to Borough Market, which is full of so many treats including these Scotch eggs. We have a black and white photo I took during my semester abroad of the Borough Market egg man up in our apartment in Los Angeles. We looked for him, but unfortunately he didn’t seem to be there.

IMG_2418 IMG_2420 IMG_2423IMG_2361^^A beautiful and delicious Indian restaurant around the corner from the Ace in Shoreditch. London, and particularly this neighborhood/Brick Lane are famous for Indian food. IMG_2360IMG_2365^^We saw a matinee of Julius Caesar at The Globe (where I studied during my semester abroad). Above you can see a few of the actors putting on a puppet show of what has just happened prior to the start of the play. They were hilarious and it was very helpful and informative! We then walked along the South Bank and took it all in. IMG_2369 IMG_2391 IMG_2386 IMG_2382 IMG_2374 IMG_2373 IMG_2370 IMG_2428IMG_2393^^We met up with my childhood friend, Laura, from when my family lived in London. I was so lucky to have seen her mum, Tricia, at our wedding the week before, and it was such a treat to be reunited with Laura! Our parents have remained very close over the years, and both Laura and Tricia will always be very special to me. IMG_2399 IMG_2416 IMG_2415 IMG_2413 IMG_2412 IMG_2408 IMG_2404 IMG_2401 IMG_2400There are a few things I don’t have photos of that must be mentioned. First, possibly the best dinner of the whole trip was at The Clove Club, which turned out to be walking distance from our hotel. It’s located in the old Shoreditch Town Hall and absolutely worth the splurge (thank you honeyfund!). We also had a fun dinner, complete with freshly baked Madeleine cookies, at St. John. And on our last evening we had cocktails at The Artesian Bar in the Langham Hotel and saw The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (incredible direction, movement, and set) and took a double decker bus ride home to the Ace. It goes without saying that I miss this trip. Full of so many happy and romantic memories that we’ll talk about forever. On the plane ride home (business class, deserves its own blog post!!) Dan and I made a pact to try and go back to Paris or London every five years. I really hope that’s possible! Dan, I love you. xoxo

honeymoon (part 3)

IMG_2275On our last day in Paris we walked to the Jardin du Luxembourg with a baguette and soft cheese. Why is the cheese so good?? It was hot out, so we snagged some grass in the shade among and ate our (now VERY) soft cheese. While Dan relaxed and cooled off a bit I strolled through the gardens and took a few photos.IMG_2269 IMG_2277^^Reminds me of the lions outside the Art Institute of Chicago!

IMG_2279 IMG_2281 IMG_2284 IMG_2285 IMG_2287 IMG_2288 IMG_2289From there we walked to the Musee Rodin, a museum dedicated to the works of French sculptor Auguste Rodin. The museum used to be a hotel, and looks like a beautiful old mansion surrounded by beautiful gardens. I loved it here.IMG_2293 IMG_2325 IMG_2324 IMG_2322 IMG_2318 IMG_2313 IMG_2309 IMG_2308^^Dan’s holding a bottle of Amer Picon that he picked up on our walk from Jardin du Luxembourg to the Musee Rodin. He traveled with it all the way back to Los Angeles for a very special upcoming Whaling Club.

IMG_2306 IMG_2305 IMG_2300 IMG_2297 IMG_2296 IMG_2295 IMG_2294That night we had a delicious dinner and cocktails at Le Mary Celeste. We strolled back through Le Marais toward our flat, ate a nutella crepe, and stopped to have a few glasses of red wine and peanuts at a sidewalk cafe. Such a picturesque last night in Paris! In the morning we left our sweet Parisian flat and took the Eurostar to London. Last honeymoon post and London pictures up next!

honeymoon (part 2)

IMG_2167webEveryone told us that Paris is a very walkable city–and it’s true! We walked almost everywhere with a few trips on the metro. (The metro, however, is amazing. So clean and we never waited more than two minutes for a train.) Walking also took us through neighborhoods we were interested in exploring, but didn’t have a specific destination for. We walked from our flat down to Sainte-Chapelle, and on the way Dan stopped for a jambon and cornichon baguette he had spotted the day before. Cornichons are one of his favorite foods, and we’d never seen them IN a sandwich before!IMG_2148 IMG_2152IMG_2158IMG_2159^^The line to get in to the Sainte-Chapelle was intimidatingly long, and we weren’t sure we’d get in in time to make our lunch reservation at Septime. But luckily it moved quickly. I read that each column was a different biblical story, and each window frame was a moment of that story. It’s kind of like the original comic strip, you know?IMG_2163 IMG_2164^^The winding stairs leading to the stained glass.IMG_2178IMG_2168We walked from the Sainte-Chapelle to Septime, which is in the Bastille neighborhood. Septime was one of the most highly anticipated meals of our trip, and it did not disappoint. Our friends Carly and JB had gifted us this meal through our Honeyfund, and scoring a reservation had been a challenge. So we were thrilled to get in. We arrived just in time for our reservation to a completely full restaurant, and we waited briefly at the bar for our table. The restaurant was simple and beautiful, with gorgeous light. The patrons all seemed to be speaking French, and we got the sense that it was mostly locals. The staff was very welcoming, and almost all spoke English. They brought us this bowl of thinly sliced ham and fresh bread while we waited (the bread and wine were consistently great everywhere we went). One of the waitresses came over and explained the menu to us, and we decided to go for it and have the tasting menu. She asked us if there was anything we wouldn’t eat, and we said no…IMG_2173IMG_2174IMG_2176One of the courses was pigeon, and there was an item on our plates that we couldn’t quite identify. We asked our server what it was, and she put her hand to her heart and said “it makes you strong.” It was the heart of the pigeon! Dan couldn’t quite bring himself to eat that, so I went for it and ate mine AND his! I’m extra strong now. As we were walking back to our flat, Dan commented that he felt like it was one of the most current meals we’d had, meaning we had experienced what the modern Paris cuisine scene was like right at this moment, and potentially where it would continue to go.IMG_2171^^Dessert was peaches, raspberries, and lily ice cream.IMG_2211^^That evening (after a little post-Septime nap) we went to the Arc de Triomphe. The light was beautiful, and we walked to the top for a 360 degree view of Paris. If you look closely, you can see all the people on the top of the Arc in the photo above. IMG_2200^^View of the Champs-Elysees.IMG_2210IMG_2209IMG_2214From there we walked down the Champs-Elysees to Laduree, a luxury French bakery, famous for their macarons. IMG_2215^^I ordered rose ice cream (it really tasted like roses, in a good way!) with four mini macarons on top. And then, because we couldn’t be stopped, we headed back to the Bastille neighborhood and went to Septime’s casual sister spot, Clamato, for a romantic dinner at the bar, where we continued the culinary adventure with snails, shrimp, and the highly recommended razor clams, all served on Falconware. The place was packed! IMG_2218

The next morning we tried to get to the Louvre early to beat the long lines. We entered from the underground entrance, since it was so hot out, which I think saved us some entry time. IMG_2230 IMG_2231^^Napoleon III ApartmentsIMG_2233 IMG_2238IMG_2246The Louvre is so huge! We spent hours taking it all in, then retreated to the Jardin des Tuileries to find a little shady spot after being surrounded by people in the museum. I was leaning back in one of the green park chairs, when I felt something wet drop onto my chest. A bird pooped on me!! That’s the first time that’s ever happened to me, and I know they say it’s good luck, but I’m pretty sure that’s just what they say to make you feel better (like rain on your wedding day). Luckily it didn’t land on my clothes, just skin, and Dan ran to an ice cream stand for some napkins and wiped it off because I was freaking a little. What a guy! From there we walked back to Le Marais, stopping at Berthillon for ice cream and sorbet.IMG_2247IMG_2249IMG_2251IMG_2252IMG_2254^^As you can see in many of these photos, Dan sweetly carried my beloved Ona camera bag whenever it started to feel heavy.

IMG_2255IMG_2259^^Cool street art.

IMG_2260We had a croque madame and charcuterie plate at a cute cafe around the corner from our flat, then cocktails at Candelaria, a taqueria with a speakeasy in the back. This took us a little bit north of our flat into part of Le Marais neighborhood we hadn’t explored yet. We loved seeing all the different cafes with outdoor seating. Dan pointed out that all the chairs were positioned to face out, so you ate sitting side by side and could look out to the street. This seemed to be the set up everywhere in Paris. It makes me smile to think about that evening, walking through “our” neighborhood, and taking it all in together. I have a bit more to share from Paris, then we’re off to London! Thanks for indulging me!

 

honeymoon (part 1)

paris-honeymoonParis and London lived up to everything we hoped and expected. Our honeymoon was nothing short of spectacular! We registered with the Honeyfund, and knowing that so many of our family and friends gifted us parts of our honeymoon really made the whole trip extra special and truly connected to our marriage. We talked about and toasted so many of you during our trip! Oh, and you get to say husband a lot when you travel, so that’s fun! In Paris we decided to rent an apartment through Airbnb. After lots of searching we finally decided on this one for the amazing location and AC (a rare find!). Our host greeted us with flowers and a bottle of red wine to welcome us to Paris!paris-flowers-viewIMG_2055We arrived late the evening before, but jet lag had me up at 4am. I tried not to squirm as long as I could, but around 5:30am Dan woke up too and we watched the sun come up from our flat window. Our apartment was cozy (small) but completely renovated in an old Parisian building. We were on the top floor, and if you leaned out you could see the Eiffel Tower to the right! Below were the cobblestone streets of Le Marais with a mix of boutiques and falafel shops. IMG_2044IMG_2046Since we couldn’t sleep, we decided to roam the streets early that morning. Almost everything was closed at that hour, but it was such a calm and beautiful time to take in the city. IMG_2059^^The courtyard of our building.IMG_2062^^A bunch of people had recommended L’As du Fallafel. We knew it was in our neighborhood, but it turned out to be almost directly below our flat! We may have stopped in for second dinners a few times…it was too good and convenient to pass up! I don’t have a photo of it, but it’s directly across the street from this bright red store (also a falafel shop).IMG_2063IMG_2064^^Paris really knows how to embrace flower boxes! I felt inspired to add some greenery to our little balcony back in LA.IMG_2065IMG_2066IMG_2268^^Shortly after 8am we stumbled upon Cafe Loustic for coffee. I diligently did my best to order us two cappuccinos in French, although we found out later the barista was Australian. It became one of our favorite spots because it was one of the few spots we “discovered” rather than seeking it out as a destination.IMG_2071 IMG_2076From there we walked down to the Hotel de Ville (City Hall) and across the river to Notre Dame. The cathedral had just opened, and while there were plenty of people gathering, it was still relatively sparse. When we walked by a few days later in the afternoon, we were a bit shocked by the crowds in comparison.IMG_2144^^Totally unrelated but we passed this shop with the most massive meringues I’d ever seen!IMG_2081 IMG_2094IMG_2091IMG_2092IMG_2098IMG_2096IMG_2100IMG_2104IMG_2107^^The famous love locks!IMG_2109We had lunch reservations at Derriere (thank you, Gillian!), a large, eclectic restaurant that’s designed to look like a family apartment. The idea being that you entertain friends at home each night. Each corner of the restaurant is styled like a different room, and if you go upstairs, there are even bedrooms and boudoirs to dine in. We ate in what I think was the living room, right next to a ping pong table. The atmosphere was really fun, and the food here was simple and delicious. We had a string bean appetizer that was one of our favorite dishes from the trip, and I ate some of the only mushrooms I’ve ever liked in my life. Everything was really fresh and full of flavor. I’ve been told they also have an amazing brunch. I highly recommend checking it out. I made the reservation online and could only get lunch, but I think if you are able to call it would be easier to score a dinner reservation.IMG_2110IMG_2112IMG_2115IMG_2116IMG_2118IMG_2119IMG_2121After lunch we went to the modern art museum, Centre Pompidou, just down the street, and then headed back to our flat for a jet lag induced nap. Most of our days in Paris had us up early, with a nap in the afternoon. But the days were so long during this time of year (the sun didn’t set until 10pm!) that when we woke up it still felt like there were plenty of hours of daylight to take in the city. So we took the metro over to the Eiffel Tower, grabbed a bottle of rose just before the stores closed, and sat in the grass to watch the sunset. IMG_2122IMG_2123IMG_2129IMG_2132^^The other direction. We weren’t the only people with this idea!IMG_2143^^Right after sunset the tower starts sparkling with hundreds of glittering lights for about ten minutes. It was so romantic! (Apologies for the blur, I had to shoot this handheld on a really low shutter speed to get any of the crazy fast sparkling lights.) Then we hightailed it to Le Relais de l’Entrecote for double portions of the yummiest steak frites! Can I please end every day like this??

 

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!

tulum, mexico

IMG_1737Dan and I spent a week of July in the Riviera Maya (south of Cancun) celebrating his parents’ 30th wedding anniversary! We all stayed at a massive resort with multiple pools, beach access, and a ton of restaurants. His parents renewed their vows on the beach on their actual anniversary in a very intimate and touching ceremony. Dan wrote and played a song about his parents’ last 30 years, including memories of when he and his brothers were little. Needless to say I think we all shed a tear! IMG_1777IMG_1775One of my favorite days of the trip was spent in Tulum. We visited the Tulum Ruins, and then walked down to the most gorgeous beach–such rich blue water and soft white sand.IMG_2005 IMG_1997 IMG_2013 IMG_2029 IMG_2031 IMG_2036 IMG_2041 IMG_2046Dan and I stayed the rest of the day, and made our way down to Hartwood for dinner, which had been highly recommended by friends. It’s located on a beach road on what they call the “jungle side” (meaning not the beach side). Tulum definitely has an eclectic bohemian vibe going on, and we stopped for a cocktail at Casa Jaguar while we waited for Hartwood to open. IMG_2049 IMG_2050We were blown away by the food and atmosphere at Hartwood! If you ever find yourself in Tulum, it’s a must. Their only source of cooking is a wood burning oven and open grill, and the dining is completely open air. We had a whole roasted snapper and pork ribs to die for.  After dinner we sat in a couple of chairs on the perimeter and enjoyed a few more daiquiris while watching the restaurant fill up with people and the sun go down. IMG_2053 IMG_2079 IMG_2073 IMG_2068 IMG_2067 IMG_2061 IMG_2060I know I’ll always remember that evening with Dan, and it’s fun that we can look back and know it was during our engagement, which is its own special time in life. We were sweaty and salty from the day (we stealthily had changed out of our bathing suits on the side of the road just a few hours earlier), but we were full and very happy.