COFFEE | LIGHT | INSTAGRAM

Jordan seems to think that I’m addicted to coffee/caffeine. I choose to believe that I enjoy the ritual of preparing coffee – waiting for it to brew, pouring it in my favorite cup*, walking around my house looking at the early morning light and then enjoying it and the power it has to keep me awake for an entire day!

I once completely detoxed from caffeine during grad school – as I write that now, I wonder what the hell I was thinking – but it was part of a food/fuel experiment I was conducting for a Functional Anatomy class. I had horrific headaches and then was exhausted for two-weeks.

I’ve also tried to switch to English breakfast tea with various combinations of half + half, almond milk, soy milk, etc. It’s delicious, but coffee is always inevitable.

This morning, as I was making my coffee, the light was doing a pretty beautiful thing in my kitchen. As it turns out, the light does a pretty beautiful thing in my apartment pretty regularly… here’s a round-up from this morning and the past few months (via my instagram feed) for your Saturday morning:

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*My favorite coffee cup came from a souvenir shop in Sedona, Arizona in 2010. I had just graduated from Sarah Lawrence and was driving back to California with my Mom. We both fell in love with Sedona and the vortexes (vorteses? / vorti?). As silly as it may sound, that mug was a reminder of the journey – my graduate degree and the long drive home. Also, I just really liked it. Of course, when we got back to Long Beach, I dropped the mug in the street and broke the handle. I glued it back together and kept using it.

Last December, Jordan and I stopped in Sedona on the way back from the Grand Canyon – they still had my mug! I still use both…

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Happy weekend!

DIY: FANCY MANI

I’ve been experimenting with DIY manicures lately – saves money but takes me a ton of time… not that I need an additional excuse to sit around and binge watch Burn Notice and White Collar.

The manicures are pretty self-explanatory, though there are hundreds of tutorials on Pinterest. Because I know that it’ll take me some time, I attack it one coat at a time. I also always finish with a coat of clear gel. (I have a UV curing lamp) You can put clear gel polish on as a final coat as long as the regular polish is completely dry! You’re welcome.

First I tried this glitter gradient look:

glitter-gradient-manicureI used essie Ballet Slippers for the first two coats, Sonia Kashuk Golden Ticket for a crescent-ish shaped layer near the nail bed (see below for the idea) and Mineral Fusion Glimmer to cover three-quarters of the nail for the final gradient effect.

This gradient (not quite as successful) was inspired by Anna’s amazing taste in varnish (also everything in her house and apartment). I applied many coats of OPI Lincoln Park After Dark (which is more of a very very dark purple-black). After working on the crescent part with the gold polish, I decided I needed to try a different technique with a darker base color – more on that once I’ve perfected it – but you get the idea:

photo (3)This is what I’m sporting at the moment:

photo Scotch tape and Pixie Vivid Coral on top of Mineral Fusion Precious Pink (which is my favorite natural/nude base).

Also, yes – that is a Mars Investigations sticker. I got it because I backed the Veronica Mars Movie project on Kickstarter. During the dark time, when I ignored this blog, I saw the movie with my mom and Percy Daggs III was at our theatre! (That’s Wallace Fennel for you Marshmallow philistines)…

afterlightBLURY BUT DON’T CARE!

And how about this handprinted scarf from Artsy Modern? I’m thinking that since I have saved so much money on my home-grown manicures, I should probably just order this as a reward!

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Printing

Hope you have a really wonderful weekend! Jordan and I are going to my parents’ house for Easter dinner! We’re BBQ-ing a salmon!

 

 

SWEET SUNDAY YOGA + SPOTIFY PLAYLIST

Last Sunday in my Yoga class in Palos Verdes a handful of students asked about my playlist. Spotify has become such a gift! (I know there is a compensation issue between Spotify and musicians – I hope there is a way to figure it out fairly)

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So here’s my playlist from Sunday’s practice. We worked on movement patterns, pathways and ranges of motion for our hips with some deep core-work as well: supta baddha konasana, variations on vasisthasana and vrksasana with twists and Warriors to keep us moving. Enjoy!

  1. Shenandoah – Goldmund. All Will Prosper
  2. Pretend to Forget – Message to Bears. Departures
  3. Nectar Drop – DJ Drez. Jahta Beat: The Lotus
  4. Don’t Be Afraid, You Have Just Got Your Eyes Closed – Múm. Finally We Are No One
  5. Staralfur – String Quartet Tribute to Sigur Rós. VSQ Performs Music from the Films of Wes Anderson
  6. Two Across the Mouth – Boduf Songs. Lion Devours the Sun
  7. Shed Your Love – The Helio Sequence. Keep Your Eyes Ahead
  8. Tabla Toy – Beats Antique. Tribal Derivations
  9. Magic – Coldplay. Magic
  10. At The River – Groove Armada. Vertigo
  11. Give Me Your Light – Lal Meri. Lal Meri
  12. Our Love – Seryn. This is Where We Are
  13. Perfection – Oh Land. Oh Land
  14. Let Him Fly – Patty Griffin. Living with Ghosts
  15. When the Night Comes – Dan Auerbach. Keep it Hid
  16. Bright Morning Stars – The Waillin’ Jennys. Bright Morning Stars
  17. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley. So Real: Songs from Jeff Buckley
  18. Shore – Balmorhea. Stranger

 

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OUR LOVE STORY – PART DEUX

Blog,

How I love thee and have neglected thee – oh how I have neglected thee.

Let’s just agree to start over and and forget this ever happened, ok? Great!

+ TAKEN THE DAY BEFORE I MET JORDAN +

Remember this - Our Love Story - Part 1, and how I promised to write the next part of the story, but clearly didn’t. Here we go!

Part Deux:

After receiving Jordan’s Facebook message: Hey there+ Thanks for the add. It was very cool to meet you yesterday.

I responded: Ya! Good to meet you and talk Long Beach! Maybe next time IN Long Beach. Hope you enjoy the rest of your SF visit!

You see. Jake and I had hung out quite a few times since I met Jordan in the park and passed along some incredibly valuable information. When Jordan left the park with Jarrett that day, he couldn’t stop talking/asking questions about me. He saw some sort of tangible charm in my unbrushed hair, scratchy (profanity-ridden) mouth and early 80′s dance moves. And if he thought that was good… just wait until he met me in all my polished, sparkly, purposeful glory. But truly, there is something to be said for being caught off guard – in moments of total and complete honesty.

I’d heard for years that I’d find the right guy when I wasn’t looking, when I was at peace with myself. I hated when people told me that. But, when I met Jordan, it was just that. I wasn’t trying to be pretty. Or trying to be funny. Or trying to get picked up. I was, in fact, just being myself. So, when both Jake and Jarrett mentioned that this Jordan man had taken a liking to me and was “super bummed” about living so far away, something in my brain just sort of switched. I jumped from a two-hour conversation in the park to thinking about the probability of a long-distance relationship. I know, I make no sense.

Two days after I sent my response, he sent this: Thanks it was hectic, but really interesting. Yeah, let me know if you are down my way at some point, I’d love to catch up.

Layla: Interesting is good… for me, at least. And yes, next time I touch my toes into LGB, I’ll shout over to you. Conversely, next time you’re in the Bay, count me as another folk to be in touch with!

Jordan: Well in this case interesting was great actually. We filmed a Hippie walking tour in the Haight, winery lunch in Sonoma, tasting tour in the Ferry Building, City Hall, Twin Peaks, Pier 39, the Cable Car Museum, Golden Gate Bridge, and the Redwood Park next to the Transamerica Pyramid. Have you been to this park? You work pretty close I think. It’s very peaceful, and has cool places to sit and people watch. Typically cool SF: bums next to suits next to tourists.

Actually, a couple of my good friends from the east coast are coming out at the end of July, so I might be back the last weekend. We should catch up then. By the way, your profile pics are awesome. Did we miss any other fun (crazy) people in the park after we left on Sunday?

Swoon. Done. Where do I sign up?

Layla: hi! that sounds pretty incredible actually… and also like you got more accomplished in one day than i have in the two years i’ve lived here. i think the park is going on my list of things to accomplish next week! the park started to get mellow after you left. i think the gay pride hangover started to sink in… city-wide. nick and i went back to my apartment, ate chinese food and watched really bad (and by bad i mean best) 80′s movies! perfect, really.

i hope you do come back to san francisco soon!

i was recently named the photo-monitor of the family. so, i’ve got all of the original family photos! going through them inspired many-a-profile pic changes and many-a-blog posts!

don’t think this is weird, ok? but… a handful of inches down your facebook page is some status update about something or other and one of your friends, J (edited), commented on it. and, i know him! sort of. he is the boyfriend of one of my dearest dancing friends of all time! how do you know him?! do you actually know, know him? or just facebook know him? ok, i think my 7th grade language means it’s time for me to step away from the computer and get started on this weekend! hope you’re having a wonderful weekend! LG 

(Editor’s note – I’m super glad I’m out of the no capitalization and INSANE overuse of exclamation marks phase – it’s taking SO much willpower to not edit these! (exclamation mark used with purpose))

Jordan: Hi Layla, Not weird at all, in fact I would worry that there is too much weird stuff on my page! So are we talking about B? I know J as he used to work for my company before he started (law?) school. I’ve been around him maybe, a dozen times? So I don’t know him intimately, but enough to have a conversation. Small world: that’s such a random find!

I had an amazing weekend, so thanks for that. I’m currently sitting in JFK waiting for a flight back to CA. I had a big barbecue back in northern NY with my friends from high school, their families, and parents. It was insanely fun, and my parents were cool enough to help host it. The other nice part is that my friends’ wives are cool and the guys got to come out the night before for some mischief.

Did you have a nice weekend as well? So speaking of family, I particularly enjoyed the pic and your comment about the jean jacket. Made me chuckle. When were those photos taken? I can’t recall, but do you have immediate family in long beach, or extended too? Oh, and what do you define as bad (best) 80′s movies? That leaves a lot to the imagination. Talk soon+ Jordan

Layla: whoa! such a small world. and yes, b and i met the same month that she and j started dating. i’ve probably been around him a dozen times as well. but i do love that b… she’s pretty special.

your east coast weekend sounds so good! (and made me a tiny bit jealous) summertime mischief really is unlike any other and never seems to translate to those who haven’t spent time in that part of the world… just magic! and it looks like there was a lake involved? swoon.

i had a really good weekend as well. spent some time at work and then had a nice dinner with jake last night… he’s such an awesome pal to have… he and i can have crazy conversations every time we hang out and still learn something new about each other. probably, i will feel like a newbie in sf for a couple more years, so it’s nice to have this kind of pal… you know?

oh my. my folks… tony and louise… seriously, aren’t they something?!?!? that acid wash jean jacket photo is from the night they went to the huey lewis and the news concert… circa 1986… i was the photographer of that photo too, which is why most of my dad’s forehead is cut off. my four-year old photography skills weren’t quite what they are now. whoops.

are you the only ny transplant in your family? that was the hardest part about being in ny, when i was there. even though it’s just my mom and dad in long beach, most of our family is sprinkled along the coast of southern california. perhaps it’s because i’m the only child, but being close enough to fly home on a whim is something i cherish and love to take advantage of!

ok, probably the best worst-80′s film (that i own) is girls just wanna have fun… sarah jessica parker and helen hunt. oy. so good. though, i do love some kind of wonderful! (we also watched drop dead gorgeous, though it’s not an 80′s film… it does get funnier every time i watch it) hope jfk is treating you well and that you have a calm, safe flight home. give that long beach a big old hug for me, ok? have a great week! layla.

You still there? Let’s take a break. Looking back is sweet and I’ll take the liberty of taking my time (clearly).

TWO

When my mom called to tell me that my grandfather had died, I was multi-tasking. Sitting in my bed in the bay window of my San Francisco apartment with a cat and a computer in my lap. It took me a few seconds too long to realize what she was telling me. I will forever wish that I had been in a clearer and distraction-free headspace to hear her with accuracy. Then again, would it have done any good?

He was almost 94 and he’s been gone exactly two-years. I remember now because he was just two-months shy of his birthday. Not that it would have mattered all that much. He was in an assisted-living facility that took care of him so kindly – but I doubt that birthdays for old guys with Dementia/Alzheimers is on the top of their priority list.

I do remember that I tried not to cry… for my mom. Which is not my norm. Grief has a way of changing your senses. Turning them upside-down and inside-out all under the guise of “getting through it.” She had been with him just a few hours before he left. She held his hand, he told her he was tired… so tired. She gave him permission to go. And so he went.

In a way, he was the love of my life, and I was his. In his eyes, I was perfect. I lived a life of adventure and always came back to tell him about it. We were pen-pals. He wrote to me on a typewriter and frequently reminded me that my job was to always be a bon vivante.

He was a product of the Great Depression. His family had come West after the Oklahoma Land Rush looking for proverbial gold. They ended up living as migrant workers – traveling California’s Central Valley, picking in Filmore, Visalia, Gilroy and Healdsburg. It served him in a way that only he would ever fully realize and also created the patterns that strained future relationships with his first wife (my beloved Granny Poopsie) and his children.

I recognize his head-strong nature in myself. I also recognize that my love of swing-era music, yoga (he studied it in India in the 1940′s!) and lively conversation comes from him. I learned forgiveness firsthand, watching my mother let go of her childhood to pursue a healthy and evolving adult relationship with her dad. Her forgiveness and willingness to start over spawned a friendship between them that humbles me and constantly encourages me to be the kind of friend, daughter and spirit that they each became.

I am forever grateful to be half of a Dodson, for Jim Dodson was just the right sort. I love you. And I miss you so. I’ve got Glenn Miller on the turntables tonight just for you.

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WATCH

Two weeks ago I developed an infection in my knee. Probably the strangest thing that has happened to me. Happened because no one seems to know how or why or when it happened. I’ll spare you all the details – they weren’t pretty.

I was holed up on the couch, immobile, for several days with a lot of time on my hands. I tore through the Divergent series, caught up on bad TV and seriously considered starting The Goldfinch. While considering, I discovered that I can watch YouTube on my TV – you guys, the BIG screen (Jordan tends to buy the biggest of almost everything – this is by far the most gigantic TV I have ever lived with, 50-something inches? That’s huge to this girl who watched 4-channels on a 13-inch black and white with a rotating dial through college).

After watching almost every Britney Spears music video, I classed it up a bit… Here are my faves:

Sigur Ros (anything in their Mystery Film Experiment series is worth a watch) – Valtari, with choreography by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.

 

Oh Land – White Nights. She’s border line loony bin in the very best way. Plus, I cannot resist a gal who uses Post-modern Dance in a pop video.

 

Janelle Monae, Tightrope. ohmygawd. This girl! I’m as excited about her as I was back when Chris Brown wasn’t a woman-beater and total gross person.

 

It’s been two whole posts since I referenced Pharrell – so… If you have time go HERE. This is Pharrell’s 24-hour music video for his Oscar-nominated song, Happy, from Despicable Me 2. You can click around and watch people grooving all over LA in different light. But, if you don’t have the ability to devote 24-hours to one song, try this condensed video, complete with cameos by the Minions.

LATELY

Jordan and I are in the phase of our relationship now where I’m calling him honey and he doesn’t try to stop me anymore. Jordan’s not a fan of pet names and I cannot help myself. I’ve been back in LA for almost one-year. Which means I’m creeping up on one-year at my LA job, one-year of living with this man and two-years of our adventures together. It’s taken all of this time to get him to not scowl when I call him honey.

And while sugary-sweet names are a glorious place to be, it’s a place in the relationship that is unchartered for both of us. Not length-wise, but emotionally. We’re making changes for the better, changes for the relationship and changes for each other. Always for our own accord and always with a lengthy, sometimes arduous conversation about what, why and how. We think more about notions of We rather than I. And for the record, that’s been hard for both of us. We are both naturally independent, opinionated and sensitive.

Do you know this place in a growing relationship. Where there’s nothing wrong, per se? Where you know you’re in a good place? Where you know you want to be? And for the simple fact that you are two human being with hearts and minds and souls, you know there is always work to be done?

Every morning when I get up, I choose to fall in love with Jordan. I choose to forgive. Him and myself. I choose to allow myself to feel safe and loved and well and alright. Some days are so easy. They are the media-cized version of the relationship, we get up without morning-breath and without wrinkles on our skin from the sheets, gazing into each other’s eyes – swooning. And there are also days when we hit snooze six-too many times and race to the one bathroom in our apartment in short track-speed skating fashion, taking fist pumps if we can knock each other out of first-shower contention.

It’s a daily dance that we have chosen to commit to. That we are always choosing. And it feels good, at the end of the day, to look over at that beardy man, high-five and say nice job team. (The G-rated version).

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