Saturday, August 30, 2014

for the love of books

Ever since I can remember I've been *that* person who reads several books simultaneously.  Sounds strange coming from a type-A, but it's so freeing to know I have more than one option and can choose the book that fits my current literary mood.  I mean let's face it, sometimes you feel like that meaty autobiography, and sometimes you just want mindless fluff!  And since I'm the kind of person who believes in finishing everything I start, whether or not I like it (and yes, to the one person wondering, this does include Great Expectations. I shall conquer it!), there have been a few books that have taken longer than others. (Alexandre Dumas' The Black Tulip comes to mind.  That one was seriously brutal.)  Fortunately for me, the current list much more palatable.  :-)

The Ashford Affair - 1920s/1999 historical fiction crossover and great to read on break!
And Furthermore - Judi Dench's autobiography 2.0
Living History - Hillary Clinton's autobiography

Sunday, August 24, 2014

it's not everyday your best friend turns 30

So, my best friend turned 30 this year!  We have a tradition of treating each other to some kind of birthday fun, and this year was no exception.  Given that this was the BIG 3-0, her mom, husband, and I threw her a surprise birthday party, but I still wanted to do something for just the two of us.  I started researching ideas a few months ago (after all, I wanted it to be the p-e-r-f-e-c-t day) and hatched this little plan...of course, I changed my mind multiple times, but ultimately, decided to pursue my original idea and am so glad I did.

Rodeo Drive!!!!!!!!

We started the afternoon at The Blvd, an art deco style restaurant at the Beverly Hills Wilshire (of Pretty Woman fame)!  We loved the vibe (and music), but unfortunately, the food wasn't as good.  The presentation was striking, but the taste buds were under-impressed.    

Naturally, the day wouldn't be complete without a food pic.  

Via Rodeo!

Front of the hotel

Stop two was supposed to be pedicures at Olive and June, an environmentally friendly nail salon with services like "The Margot" and "The Olive."  It came highly recommended and sounded like tons of fun.  Too bad we were turned away because they were booked solid! :-(  (we won't talk about how I called twice to make sure they could take us without a reservation)  It's a good thing the BFF was so understanding!  Despite our little setback, we pulled out our iPhones and found another salon within walking distance.  It was quite relaxing, and our toes looked be-a-u-tiful.

Finally, no outing would be complete without something sweet.  We found a cute French bakery and enjoyed iced mocha's and split an amazing almond croissant.

                              Fortunately, one of us (and it wasn't me) made sure we took a selfie.

I am beyond blessed by this girls friendship.  We've known each other for more than half our lives and have been friends for sixteen.  She's seen the good, bad, and the ugly and hasn't run away yet!  We've laughed and cried together (okay, I may have done more of the crying part), stayed up 'til 3:00 a.m. watching movies more times I care to admit, and have cooked some seriously elaborate meals.  We've navigated the challenges of a cross-country relationship and come out closer than ever. I don't have to explain myself or my family to her and can just be. How many people can you say that about?!  All-in all, it was wonderful having an afternoon to ourselves to just hang out enjoy each others company.   

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

embracing the single thing

"Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."

I had a breakthrough last week.  Not of the earth shattering variety, but a breakthrough in my world nonetheless.  I went to the movies by myself.  Intentionally.  I know, I know, this sounds ridiculous, but coming from someone who has always made an effort to experience what I consider "shared cultural activities" with others, this was kind of a big deal.  Ironically, I've done the shopping/museum/and even travel thing solo, but somehow I just always thought I was supposed to do movies or theater with someone else because I never had the self confidence to do them on my own.  After all, everyone would immediately notice I was by myself, no significant other or friend at my side, and thereby, clearly, ALONE.

Why?  Well, I'm one of those people who had her life all planned out.  Neat and orderly. Married by 25, first baby by 27, established career, you know, your average run of the mill schedule.  I remember planning my wedding with my cousin when we were about five-years-old.  (I wanted a large wedding party with each bridesmaid wearing a different colored pastel dress.  Me, pastel?!  That's the last thing I'd want today!)  Fast forward about twenty-five years, and there's no significant other (Hello, Hugh Jackman...where are you?!), no kids on the horizon, and considering I work in a college library with about zero prospects on the romantic front and am still on the fence about online dating, I'm at an impasse.  There's no built-in plus one, and most of my friends are married with families and extra responsibilities.  So, when I decided to buy myself a solo ticket to the theatre last June, it was a big step for me. I was going into the unknown without a safety net. No one to go with, sit with, and, obviously, talk with.  I don't know what I expected, but the experience was relatively painless.  Nobody laughed at me or pointed out I was there by myself.  I even had a pleasant conversation with the woman sitting next to me, who - get this - was also flying solo.  (granted, she was about 30 years older than me, but still.)  Then a few weeks later I went to the ballet and now the movies.  I suppose I finally recognized (or perhaps admitted) my relationship status won't be changing tomorrow so maybe I should embrace the single thing and enjoy life as it is...

After all, why do I always need someone to do things with?  Why can't I enjoy and be comfortable with my own company instead of publicly avoiding it at all costs?  Sure, somethings are better enjoyed with others (who doesn't want a travel companion or shopping buddy?), and I certainly won't hesitate to organize future group outings, but I also won't avoid going at things solo.  I've always been on the shy side and missed out on lots of fun opportunities during my high school years because I was too scared to do them.  Then came college when I didn't have much time for anything, and the last half of my 20s was overshadowed by family health/job crises. I know I missed out on chances, but there's no point in wallowing in regret about the past. All I can do is work to change the future, not waste anymore time, and experience life to its

Maybe there is something to this 30s-is-the-best-decade thing.  :-)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

chapel at sunset

On a day that would rival the tropics in the humidity dept, the chapel at Mariners is a beautiful sight to behold.  I'm SO excited to have finally found a new church.