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Big Huge Monster Changes

29 Jun

MIA is an understatement.

Ally and I have been taking the last month to do two things; get our heads around the Big Huge Monster Changes in our lives, and get a tangible, visable jump start on First Shot Gift Shop.

1. Big Huge Monster Changes
As Ally has mentioned before, she and I must live our lives on these parallel tightropes that have knots in the same places. This month, she packed up her adorable New York City apartment, where she has been living with James for the last year, sold as much as she could on Craigslist, and has been sleeping on a blow up mattress in the living room, eating out and drinking a lot of cocktails. Next week, she and James move to the home where she grew up to save a month’s rent before heading out to Los Angeles to hang out with me ALL THE TIME (and so James can go get his MBA, whatever). She’ll write more later, but I can tell you from this side of those g-chats, it’s a scary, exciting time for them, full of lots of “Crap! I’m poor!” but also full of lots of “!!!!!!!!!!” because in a month and a half she is going to LIVE HERE. Like. Not a plane ride. Just a quick jump up the 10.

As for me, I moved into a little bitty bungalow in eastern Santa Monica with my BOYFRIEND. Here is what people don’t tell you until right before you move in with your lover.. Moving sucks. Big time. I would work all day, meet him at one of our many estates (my apartment, his house, Our House) where he would force me to eat so that I didn’t turn evil-cranky on him, and then we’d do about two hours of moving and collapse in bed. You know who wasn’t very sweet and patient the whole time? This girl. You want to know who felt like she was doing it all by herself even though her boyfriend was right there, doing it with her, THE WHOLE TIME? This girl. You know who did this for like twenty days straight and cried about so many things including public storage? Me, right here. I’ll say this, and he knows it; this whole experience was not fun. But sitting here on the other side (with now just one house full of boxes and crap and not three?), I’m SO happy it happened. Because now we get to live together for reals. In a little house.

I’ve also made an insane decision to leave my job. I’m currently working two jobs single mama style; my regular day job and then cocktail waitressing at night, but I’m saving up this month to transition over to just cocktailing. Because you know what? I’m not happy, not doing what I do. And my boss deserves better than that. So I’m going to take some time to rest, regroup, and pay better attention to myself. I have one pretty rad opportunity that I meet about tomorrow, and otherwise, we will see! But I’m ready to listen to my gut and move on.

I’m really excited.

2. First Shot Gift Shop
Ok so it’s been in the works for about two months now, and we officially have the MOST PATIENT graphic design group in the world (The Message Studios in Toronto are fab), but here it is. Our first First Shot Gift Shop logo. Holy crap!!

So thanks for being patient, bearing with us. We’re going to make a slow comeback and be back in full force in August, with a plan to launch our first line in November.

Lots of love xo

how to go vegan without really trying

26 Apr

chocolate dipped macaroons, recipe courtsey of The Blissful Chef

About a month and a half ago, my dad made a startling announcement: Steve Ryan, complete and utter carnivore, was going vegan. After reading a handful of books, like Skinny Bastard and Tom Robbins (of the Baskin-Robbins family)’s Reclaiming Our Health, then driving the point home with Slaughterhouse and the like, he was slowly phasing out caffiene, sugars and fish, and had dropped meat, poultry and dairy completely. His reasons were many, most glaringly to finally take control of his body, get back into shape but also eliminate many things from his diet that have been linked to cancer and heart disease. He used to be able to put away a plate of steak. Now he’s trying to eat as true to the earth as he can. It’s been inspiring.

When he came to visit in March, he challenged me to “go vegan” for 30 days. I started what I like to call “vegan-adjacent” on April 6th. My cheats? I’m not worrying about what restaurant bread is made out of. I still eat chocolate. And if it’s an enormous pain at a dinner that I’m not paying for (for instance, a friend’s parents took us to Street, a kind of family style restaurant in Los Angeles which is almost completely meat-centric), I enjoy what appears on my plate. But otherwise, I’ve been really sticking to the challenge.

Amazingly enough, right around the time I was beginning, Christy (aka The Blissful Chef) was looking for recipe testers for her upcoming vegan cookbook. Perfect timing – my guess is it’s easier to stick to a dietary choice like veganism if you are armed with weapons of deliciousness.

Last night, I made the chocolate covered macaroons above, and this tasty Indian Curry Chickpeas side dish. I added califlower for a little extra weight, but the curry sauce (made with coconut milk instead of dairy!) was delicious, a little sweet and a little spicy. Perfect comfort food.

If you’re a vegan, or interested in trying a few vegan and vegitarian recipes, keep an eye out for The Blissful Chef’s new book. And if you’re in LA, sign up for one of her cooking classes!

on blog lovin’

12 Apr

found via accordionsandlace

We’re really loving this whole blog community, which is endless and full of love and appreciation and encouragement. I just signed up for Accordions and Lace’s mix swap* – I’m so excited to make mine for a chick named Meghan, who has a badass cat, and to see what ends up on everyone else’s playlist.

This weekend was particularly special. The weather was cool, so it felt more like early autumn in NY than early spring in LA, and there was dodgeball, the farmer’s market, and an old-timey downtown loft party where I saw the dough rollers (the two on the right) hold it down. There were chicks in petticoats and a serious dance party, the likes of which I’d never seen before. It was amazing.

This morning, the handsome man and I woke up at 6:30am and went hiking at the beautiful runyon canyon. It rained last night, so the air was clear (there was a rainbow!), everything was extra green and extra quiet, and we saw little birds and cool dogs. I don’t think I’ve ever loved Los Angeles as much as I do today.

*Here’s a little secret for the Canadians in the bunch – I was features on much music’s mixed-tape masterpiece as a young teen. Awkward!

foster the people

9 Apr

(c) Debi Del Grande, for http://www.TheMusic.FM

Like I said, April has been pretty kick ass, and it’s only 9 days in. Earlier this week Mr. Mike Lewis, lord of TheMusic.FM, a NY-based music site, contacted me about writing reviews from the left coast. He asked me to check out Foster The People, a new local band I’ve been hearing a lot about lately. So on Wednesday, I headed east to Spaceland (in Silver Lake) with my trusty flip cam and my good friend Matt to check out their live show. Read more about it here!

feeling blessed

8 Apr

(c) NASA, of course

Eight days in, April has already been kind to us. We have some tentatively exciting news to share – Ally’s brilliant boyfriend James has been accepted to UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. That means, disaster or alternate life decision pending, Ally will be moving out to my humble Los Angeles this summer.

!!! Holy crap!

Ally and James were out here this weekend and we celebrated his acceptance (and Ally’s birthday) with delicious food, massages at Bliss Spa, a smoky bbq and a dozen cupcakes. It was amazing.

Appropriately enough, the talented Risti (whose impeccable taste we so admire) was sweet enough to interview us for Just A Dollop on Tuesday! Read more about us and First Shot Gift Shop here.

I’m sleepy (I went to a great show last night at Spaceland – if you’re ready for summer’s next big thing, check out Foster the People and listen to “Pumped Up Kicks”), which I think explains the groggy post, but I really just wanted to say Thank You. To Risti, to the kind admissions department at UCLA, to the world, for helping us feel so kick ass lately.

I have a monster crush on..

6 Apr

Ouma.

(c) http://galaxieandrews.wordpress.com

Monique’s dresses and hand-dyed tulle skirts are playful, a little bit naughty, and a little bit french (that can’t be a coincidence). Makes me want to put this one on and prance around in a field all day.

And seriously, how hot is this little number? Dear boyfriend (or hell, dear stranger if you want to put up the cash) – pretty please? The perfect mix of naughty and nice. Ideal for sweet sinnin’.

*

Ally and I have been a bit MIA lately – but for incredibly good reason. More on the news later – because I’m about to meet her for dinner in Los Angeles! Whaaa?

on being outstanding

19 Mar

Hiking Runyon last weekend, a friend and I had a long talk about what it takes to make it in the workplace these days. It seems for our generation (and the entertainment industry, especially), the only sure bet for job stability and growth is to be a true innovator. It’s about establishing worth to your company; finding a niche and becoming that niche’s expert. Constantly thinking ahead – not just as a problem solver but as a ground breaker.

Which is hard, terrifying, especially at this entry-level adjacent point we’re at right now. I’m two years into my career, which comes with this true sink or swim moment – move too slowly and you’ll fall behind your peers. But the only way to really break ahead and be meaningful is to create, create, create. Don’t get me wrong – this is an exciting new perspective and it’s opened my mind even just in this past week. It’s also sent me on a search for innovators and tastemakers in other industries, in an effort to learn more about focus and change. And that’s how I happened upon Jim Denevan, a slow artist and founder of Outstanding in the Field. My mind? Blown.

Outstanding in the Field “sets the long table” at farms, in gardens, on mountaintops or in sea caves; on islands and on ranches. Sometimes indoors (a barn, a greenhouse, even a museum), but mostly outside, Outstanding in the Field’s mission is to re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it.

Founder Jim Denevan started in 1999 with the vision of putting the spotlight on the organic food in his hometown of Santa Cruz. Word quickly spread throughout Northern California, and by 2004 his tour was reaching coast to coast.

In 2009, Jim, his crew (led by field manager Katy Oursler) and an army of servers, farmers/producers and chefs – each team different from place to place – held 54 dinner parties throughout the US and Canada. The 2010 tour schedule goes live tomorrow (March 20) and will likely sell out within the day.

To support Outstanding in the Field and your local chefs and producers, check for your area’s dates here: http://outstandinginthefield.com/