The Whaling Club Aviation Gin Cocktail + Oyster Shucking Workshop

IMG_6841At the end of April, The Whaling Club hosted a gin cocktail and oyster shucking workshop at The Jefferson in Culver City. Gin and oysters are one of our favorite pairings, and we loved sharing some knowledge on both from the professionals: Chef Noah Rosen and House Spirits Distillery’s Director of On Premise Outreach and Education, Brooke Arthur. IMG_6846Noah kicked it off with the oyster shucking lesson. He brought three kinds of oysters to shuck and taste: Kumiai, Beausoleil, and Shigoku. I was so proud of everyone! Bunch of pros right off the bat (and no one cut themselves!). IMG_6916IMG_6886IMG_6901IMG_6904IMG_6957IMG_6910Once everyone had shucked and enjoyed a few oysters, Dan taught everyone how to make their first cocktail: The Blind Date. The Blind date is a refreshing and delicious shaken gin cocktail with lemon, Lillet rose, and St. Germain. IMG_6933IMG_6862IMG_6943IMG_6947Dan then discussed the history and evolution of the classic martini, and lead everyone in stirring their own. IMG_6974Brooke taught us all about Aviation Gin; the flavor profile and how it’s distilled in Portland. At the end, she offered tastings of the other House Spirits products, and I think I caught a few people tasting out of their oyster shells! Love it!IMG_6883 IMG_6955IMG_6984Thank you to all who attended! We had a wonderful time meeting each of you!IMG_6998

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venice shoot with chelsea briggs

IMG_7483Today I’m excited to share this lifestyle session with Chelsea Briggs in Venice. Chelsea is a host and executive producer for the entertainment site Hollywire and has a huge online and social media following–spend a little time with Chelsea and it’s easy to see why! Her energy and smile is infectious, and she’s the kind of client who instantly feels like a long time girlfriend. Capturing Chelsea’s goofy and adorable personality is a breeze–she doesn’t hold back and is willing to try anything (like ask a skater if he will let her hope on his skateboard)! And her sense of style certainly doesn’t hurt. We chatted about a few potential locations for the shoot, and Chelsea settled on Venice for its rad colorful walls and beachy vibes.IMG_7428 IMG_7431 IMG_7443laughingIMG_7522IMG_7523IMG_7565IMG_7573IMG_7591IMG_7599sidewalkIMG_7622IMG_7678IMG_7681IMG_7756IMG_7765skaterwallIMG_7913

the whaling club X

IMG_5251-Editdrinkmenudandoublefood-menu-doubleSeptember may technically be the end of summer in other parts of the country, but it kinda feels like we’re still right in the middle of it here in Los Angeles! Dan’s cocktail menu featured seasonal ingredients, starting off with a simple and refreshing gin cocktail called the Pipe Dream with watermelon and mint. Next was the Sinker, which always tends to convert people who think they don’t like Scotch into loving Scotch. And lastly, the Grand Canal, a stirred drink with rye, cardamaro, cucumber, and an absinthe rinse. Cardamaro is an amaro flavored with cardoon, a thistle like plant in the same family as an artichoke. Chef Frank Anderson (and Rebecca Ambrosi!) joined us again and really pulled out all the stops. The beef tartare with quail egg was my favorite. Hello. Also, how pretty are those little quail egg shells? IMG_8628IMG_8622IMG_8620IMG_8631IMG_8637IMG_8638IMG_8641IMG_8644IMG_8645Next month will be our one year anniversary of The Whaling Club! We love hosting and sharing cocktails–it always feels celebratory! Dan and I were just talking about when we sent out the first invite–we were so worried no one would come! Thank you to all who have supported this adventure over the last year and attended TWC.

Logo and artwork by Sarah Mullin.

bon appetit

Screen shot 2013-08-12 at 10.41.40 PMI was thrilled (like really really pumped!!) to have my photo on Bon Appetit last week! You may remember this shoot I did for Allumette a while back? Special thanks to my friend, Hannah, for referring me. And congrats to all the nominees!

p.s. You may remember another restaurant near and dear to my heart who made the top ten list a few years ago.

happy holidays

happyholidaysI’m on the plane headed home to Chicago for Christmas where Mom, Dad, Willyman, Grandmom, and girlfriends await. I’ll be missing my best friend Caitlin who will be in CO for the holiday (we grew up across the street from each other), and of course, Dan, who’s headed back to the east coast to see him family. Last night Dan surprised me with a Pendleton blanket, and I’m currently obsessed. That guy knows me so well. With my new blanket, the tent Dan gave me for my birthday this year, and a January calendar that may actually allow for two days off in a row together (!), I think a camping trip is in order. I’d love any suggestions! I’ve heard good things about Ojai.

2012 has been an incredible year. Dan interviewed for a job on my birthday in March, got the job, moved to LA a month later, and in August we moved into our first apartment together. I took Blogshop and launched my photography business, and have been thrilled by the support and response from friends and clients. I spent a luxurious week in the Outerbanks with my family (and the weather was perfection!). I spent two incredible months writing and creating characters that culminated in a show at The Groundlings–some of the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. Dan and I created The Whaling Club, which continues to grow and challenge my creative side. The first of my group of girlfriends married her high school sweetheart, and their wedding was beautiful and so special (we also got to eat at Next on that trip!). I pumped myself up and found courage while dancing to Beyonce. And we re-elected Obama!

2013 you have a lot to live up to! Yet there’s already so much to look forward to. I’m excited to have a strong team supporting and working with me on my acting career. My best friends, Caitlin and Emilie, are coming to visit LA in February! Dan and I are planning a getaway up to San Francisco. I hope to visit New York, see my brother’s talent in action, and visit friends and family. And there will be a lot more dancing to Beyonce, duh.

Happy Holidays! Cheers!

thanksgiving

IMG_9437IMG_9449My parents and brother came to LA this year for Thanksgiving. My mom did an amazing job of trying to recreate our traditional Thanksgiving at home in Lake Bluff at our apartment in Los Angeles. And I think we were pretty successful! Some things were perfectly the same; my dad’s homemade pies, my mom’s cooking, the “kids” watching the parade on TV. And some things were new; Dan’s awesome Thanksgiving cocktail menu, Dan and I doing the dishes, Willy falling asleep before pie (that jet lag will get ya). I did all the shopping before they arrived, including some cookware we didn’t have, and my parents brought a few key things like pie weights and a turkey thermometer. The day was so fun and cozy. IMG_9463IMG_9479IMG_9443IMG_9480dancocktailIMG_9471IMG_9487IMG_9497How cute are those turkey tea lights?? I loved having everyone in our apartment and eating on our new dining room table. On Friday we went to LACMA and saw the Stanley Kubrick exhibit among others, and they came to see my play. That weekend flew by! Thank goodness Christmas is right around the corner, and I’ll get to see everyone again. I’m also happy Dan and I spent Thanksgiving together, since we’re each going home for Christmas.IMG_9503IMG_9506IMG_9520IMG_9522family

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food? Mine is a perfect bite of stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. We still have an extra bag of stuffing in the cabinet…I’m afraid to make it because I know I’ll eat it all in one day!

wood & vine

I had the pleasure of shooting some delicious photos for Wood & Vine a few weeks ago. I had never been there before, and was so surprised to find a big, open air patio in the back! From the street it looks like a smaller, dimly lit space. Once you step inside there’s a long bar, a second level of seating that looks out over the restaurant, and that lovely patio. The patio is incased by tall buildings (feels very NYC) so it feels both cozy and spacious. I can’t wait to go back asap and feast! That gnocchi doesn’t stand a chance!Right across the street is the Pantages Theatre, where Book of Mormon is currently running for a couple more weeks. Our friend Doug is in the show, and we scored lottery tickets. I definitely recommend trying for the lottery (the run is sold out). Even if you don’t win, you can have dinner at Wood & Vine! And if you DO win–both!

mailbox


I officially launched my photography business in October! It’s been both exciting and a bit overwhelming at times, and I’m still working on finding the balance between my multiple duties and careers. One of my goals is to launch a shop on Etsy or Big Cartel with some of my fine art prints, and I’ve been going through my files to see what I may want in my shop. I took these mailbox photos up in Laurel Canyon. I was on my way to another shoot, and pulled over when I saw this awesome row of mailboxes. I guess the houses tucked up in the hills have their mailboxes below where it’s easier to drive. You almost forget you’re still in LA up there in that gorgeous neighborhood!

p.s. How awesome is the new Blogshop website? You can see my post about my weekend here.

And congrats to Actor Salon on their awesome new website! I shot the opening background photo.

And finally, if you’re in LA, I’m in a play that opens November 9th at The Open Fist Theatre. Hope you cam make it! (I shot the photo of the swinging girl pre-graphic design!)

the whaling club


This weekend, Dan and I hosted a cocktail event at our apartment that we named The Whaling Club. We had the best time! Thank you to all who came out for the first run. We hope it was the beginning of many social evenings, enjoying fine cocktails with old and new friends. How cool is that ice? Dan hand cut it all himself out of twenty-five pound blocks! He’s a dedicated gentleman, that’s for sure.

Perhaps you’ll join us for the next one? Leave a comment if you’d like to be added to our mailing list. Cheers!

*special thanks to our friends Sarah + Noah for helping us plan and fine tune everything.

*whaling club logo and menu artwork by Sarah Mullin

birthday + girlfriends

I recently celebrated my friend Jackie’s birthday with a girlfriend’s lunch at Sage in Echo Park. I loved the adorable succulents on every table, and the bright, airy atmosphere. I don’t always love vegan products (cashew cheese…no, thank you), but they serve these delicious bowls filled with a variety of veggies, grains, and spices. Plus, are you seeing this vegan cake masterpiece? Yes, please! Isn’t Jackie the cutest? I love these girls!