29 August 2009

I Still Really Like Cake

30 years ago today, I discovered my love for cake.

26 August 2009

A Little Rock N' Roll With Your Move?

So after the whole break-in incident at my apartment, I got outta my lease. Mind you, I've just condensed a bunch of days and calls and angst into one sentence. My former landlord gave me just over a week to completely move out of the crime scene--just in time for some poor unsuspecting university student to move in.

In that short amount of time, I hustled to find places to store my things. Boxes of pots and pans went to my friend Meghan's apartment along with my KitchenAid stand mixer (shout out for the best appliance EVAH!). Clothes and such went to my friend Karen's. This left a mattress, desk, bookshelf, a couple of lamps, and boxes of books without a home. I stressed. I worried. I called Public Storage.

When the time (2 weeks to be exact) came for me to move into my new apartment (complete with a roommate I don't know), I decided I'd had enough of lifting and sweating. So, at the suggestion of the aforementioned Karen, I called a company called The Real Rock N Roll Movers. I kid you not. I was promised two rock n rollers, a truck, and a trailer for my tiny move.

The day of the move I met the rock n rollers at the storage unit. They were a few minutes late, but that's to be expected I guess because we are moving on rock n roll time here. The two gentleman (let's call them The Blonde and The Brunette) were both outfitted in skinny jeans and black T-Shirts emblazoned with the company name. The Blonde hopped out of the truck to greet me while The Brunette pulled the truck/trailer combo around back. I noticed that The Blonde's toes were sticking out of his black high-top canvas shoes.

The conversation went something like this:

"Hi, I'm Elisabeth."

"Hey, I'm The Blonde. How's it goin'?"

"So far so good."

"Yeah, yeah. You ever have one of those days when you wake up in a good mood? Well, I woke up in a good mood today and, like, I'm just hoping it lasts the whole day because it's the best feeling, man. You know what I mean?"

Conversation like this continued during the move. We talked about bands (duh), how downtown Los Angeles was becoming super trendy, some loft that was available for rent downtown, a music festival that had just taken place the day before. Oh, and I asked a TON of questions. My questions resulted in the following information:

1. The Brunette and The Blonde are indeed in a band together
2. Apparently moving is a good hangover cure
3. The guy who started the business is very organized. And he plays music
4. My move was one of the smallest they'd ever seen (score!)
5. People are rude--especially when they hire movers and haven't packed a bloomin' thing

My entire move lasted less than an hour, and I didn't even break a sweat. And at the end, The Blonde and The Brunette invited me to a gig. How many times have you moved and gotten an invite to a show?

Ah L.A., you are bizarre.

20 August 2009

Photo Diary

Here are a few photos I've saved up on my phone over the past few weeks.

The Coastline in Ventura County

Stopped here with my parents on our way to dinner in Santa Barbara. Yup, we drove to Santa Barbara just for dinner. And why not? It always seems exotic to say you drove to another town for a meal. Like, back in South Carolina I might say: "Last night I drove to Pickens for dinner."

Miles and Miles to go

You drive a lot in LA. Sigh.

Guys and Dolls at the Bowl

My friend Karen was kind enough to invite me to sit in box seats at the Hollywood Bowl. To repay her kindness, I literally tossed my salad at the woman sitting in front of us. In the same box.

Common Ground

Sometimes friendships are built on childhood memories or shared work experiences. Not so for Meghan and me! Our friendship is built on a mutual love of food, Gilmore Girls, and coffee. Here we are in search of the perfect iced coffee (I think we found it!) and a replacement for a beloved red velvet cake that was served at a now-defunct restaurant called Doughboys. Sadly, the cake in the picture didn't quite match up to Doughboys'. (but it was still pretty good!)

17 August 2009

The Girl With Pineapple Juice In Her Purse

There are many good things about LA. For example, people seem awfully fond of this perpetual sunshine. There are also many bad things about LA. That perpetual sunshine can be redundant, and people can be a little on the superficial side.

So it isn't surprising when an Angeleno permanently latches onto the arm of a person who is true to their word. Especially if that person is wearing super cute red peep-toe pumps and strolls up to your bar two nights in a row.

Dear Internet, allow me to acquaint you with Carolyn. She is unlike any other person you've ever met. Sure, she has all of the obvious traits you want in a friend: funny (check); smart (check); cute shoes (see above). But in addition to all of that, Carolyn kicks butt and takes names in the kitchen. She needs only a tiny taste of your grandma's famous lasagna before she can divulge grandma's top secret ingredient (it's probably nutmeg, btw).

On Saturday night Carolyn, our mutual friend Karen, and I had plans to meet up for dinner, which would be followed by the movie "Julie and Julia." After the movie we'd go for a drink at the somewhat swanky bar and restaurant located below the theater.

By coincidence, Carolyn had been to this bar the night before with a few other friends and had sparked a debate so big the bar staff were STILL talking about it the next day. Basically it went down like this--a barman I shall call Duke insisted a Mai Tai was tastiest when made one particular way that omitted pineapple juice; Carolyn cried foul. Mai Tai without pineapple juice?!?! How could it be? Since the bar was sans pineapple juice, Carolyn vowed she would bring in her own juice so that she could introduce Duke to a most delish Mai Tai.

And that's how I ended up with two (or was it three?) cans of pineapple juice in my purse on Saturday night.

After the movie, which I thought was very good, we made our way to the bar. There on the bar, I set the tiny cans of pineapple juice I'd been hiding alongside the can or two Carolyn had smuggled in. We got some sly glances and odd looks from the people around us, but it was Duke's reaction that was funniest. He wasn't shocked that there were 4 tiny cans of pineapple juice on the bar. No, he was surprised that the girl from last night came back. What?! She actually did what she promised she'd do!

Carolyn made her special Mai Tai for Duke from the CUSTOMER'S side of the bar. Duke tasted and declared Carolyn's Mai Tai to be sweet.

Enter another barman I shall call Dick. As if working from stage directions, Duke went who-knows-where, and Dick planted himself firmly in front of the pineapple girls while loudly making drinks for other patrons. We girls sipped Mai Tais (made by Duke, not sweet at all) and tried to ignore Dick's constant racket as we talked about what girls usually talk about: what we're looking for in a guy, Christian Louboutin shoes, sexing up the wardrobe a la Color Me Badd, and what we're looking for in a guy.

I don't know how, but Dick ended up in conversation with us. Well, mainly Carolyn. The scene was so hilarious I couldn't do anything but watch and laugh. Dick is a fan of putting loads of bitters in drinks. He also likes to show off. He tried to flip a few bar items in the spirit of Tom Cruise in Cocktail, but ended up throwing things on the floor. Um Dick, we noticed. He debated drinks with Carolyn, and conceded that she knew her stuff.

He also hurled the most debilitating insult Carolyn's way. While discussing LA restaurants and chefs and other LA-isms, Dick suggested that Carolyn was from a town way east of LA called Rancho Cucamonga. She gasped and hid her face in her hands. A bar staffer restocking glasses laughed so hard I thought he'd drop those glasses. "WHAT!" Carolyn shrieked. "You think I am from Rancho Cucamonga?"

Seeing as Dick is from Minnesota, he recognized that by keeping her word Carolyn didn't exactly act like a LA native.

But for a girl from the 310, Rancho Cucamonga is akin to saying you are from East Deliverance, California.

11 August 2009


The past few weeks have been chaotic, exhausting, and incredibly challenging. It feels as though I am on a treadmill in which the slow-down button has been removed. I've avoided writing at all for fear that the negativity constantly racing through my mind would seep out through my fingertips to reveal my true Debbie Downer self.

So here I am--rising from the funk I've been in, reminding myself to get over myself, and trying to keep things in perspective. And nothing puts things into perspective quite like a life and death situation.

I was probably running through all of the reasons I should be mad at the world when I received an email from my friend Karen last week. The email contained a link to a news story NBC News aired about a woman named Linda Russell, a very dear friend and mentor to both Karen and me.

You see, Linda decided to donate a kidney to a complete stranger just because she could. A great-grandmother (yes, that's right), Linda is the picture of health thanks to years of exercise and proper diet. Not only is Linda disciplined in matters of health and fitness, she is a woman of remarkable faith. I can count on my hands the number of times I've gotten up before the sun rises; Linda is up everyday before the sun even has a chance to think about rising. She uses this time of quiet to pray for others--as in, not praying for herself like I probably would.

When Linda decided to donate her kidney, she pictured a surgery to be followed by a time of recovery and then a trip back home. Maybe the recipient would send her a card down the road. Maybe not. Linda wasn't looking for a pat on the back or accolades. She was giving a part of herself that could save someone else's life simply because she could afford to. Turns out Linda decided to donate a kidney at the very time a doctor at a hospital in Georgetown decided to do something historical. At first, Linda wasn't so keen on the idea of having a microphone pinned to her shirt while she talked about her kidney giveaway. But then she thought about the people who would watch that interview and the opportunity to raise awareness about all of the people struggling with a life full of needles and dialysis machines.

So, she got over her tendency to avoid cameras and did this: Donor chains give hope to transplant candidates

You can also read the article here.

And you can see Linda's inspiring interview here.