In which we unplug..

I said goodbye to work on Friday. Four years of working with some of the best people I could have hoped for, going out feeling more loved than I could have imagined. And still, ready to unplug. 

Good bye laptop, nowhere to be Monday morning, just the glorious ambiguity of the unformed week. A time for reading books waiting in dust-traced stacks, a time to binge watch Game of Thrones. To loosely anchor my days around bakeries & pastries to be eaten. To wait in line for & also learn how to bake the Tartine country loaf. To wake up sans alarm clock every morning (or afternoon). To hunt for jazz on vinyl. To catch up with friends & be one of those people I always wondered about, sitting in a cafe on a weekday afternoon. To explore Pescadero, random towns in Marin. To allow myself one truly lazy week, then KonMari the shit out of my home. To hop on a plane to Portland, Hawaii. And just in time for the new Harry Potter too.

Funemployment begins now.

Roadtrip, Travel

In which we return to the real world..

There’s something dreadful about coming back from vacation knowing you won’t be going anywhere for the rest of the year. This from a person who loves her job and company, and even so, can’t seem to sit still. Though I’m coming off the most memorable of roadtrips, it’s never enough.

Is travel ever enough? It just fuels the wanderlust, the need to get out from behind the computer. Even if it means delayed flights or mosquito bites gone horribly horribly wrong, something stirs within.

I want to hop on a plane without a semblance of a plan and stumble my way through a city, inefficiently, but enchantedly. Get drawn into a vinyl jazz recording lingering through the air on a snowy eve. Wander down streets and discover cobblestone pathways, hidden archways to walk through. Run my toes through sands of varying granularity, trace my fingers along and find fragments of shells, weathered by the ocean. Eat disgustingly unhealthy foods, made with the creamiest of butters, to consume the entire dessert landscape of a new city. Climb stairs to places unknown, just to see what lies ahead. Retrace the literary or cinematic steps of a character, see the perspective of a favorite Arles-based painting first hand. Sprawl out with a book and a blanket in a park somewhere. Sit on and wrestle a suitcase into submission. 

It doesn’t ever go away.

How do you make it go away?

Friendship, Roadtrip, Travel

In which we roadtrip through the South.. (y’all)

We start in Charleston and part ways in New Orleans. It’s been eight years since our last roadtrip, four since we last lived together. Years of laughter in the absurdist way possible, of heartbreak and relationships drifting or crashing on by, of figuring out what the hell we wanted out of life. And here we are again, older and perhaps wiser. It feels good to be on the road again. 

She’s affectionate; I’m not. She’s shameless; I’ve got a heightened sense of propriety. She befriends people while standing in random queues; I’m an introvert through and through. We’re both impulsive and reckless in different ways. I wax poetic about songs and artists and books. She plays the same three songs on repeat, maddeningly, interminably. We would both move across the country in a heartbeat.

We haven’t planned a thing.

But it doesn’t matter, we’ll wing it. I have visions of stately homes and sweet tea. And so, our trip is a string of towns we’ve harbored certain notions of. Charleston. Beaufort. Savannah. Nashville. We’re in the South, y’all! Y’all is our equivalent of putting a bird on it. 

We’re determined to find peaches, but consume bbq instead. Beef and brisket and ribs of once living animals. Pulled pork stuffed inside of things. We drive and drive. Where are the damn peaches? Finally, a peach stand off the interstate. We stuff our face with peaches, as juice drips onto our fingers and our semi-matching ‘Deep South’ and ‘Low Country’ t-shirts we picked up the other day. Palate cleansers, we say.

We consume buckets of grease masquerading as buttermilk chicken and cornbread. And I’m covered in mosquito bites. We blast our version of country music – the Shania Twain Pandora station – and scream along while driving through Chattanooga. I’m certain Nashville’s country legends and songwriters of yore are rolling in their graves.

We spot a minor celebrity that I love at a music joint in Nashville. Or I do, rather. (Her pop culture knowledge ends at 90’s slow jams.) I’m hesitant to bother them. She has no idea who they are, but she grabs my arm, introduces herself, and steamrolls charms her way to a picture after the show. I’m completely mortified but simultaneously love her for it. We go back to our hotel and watch YouTube videos of said singer-songwriter crush.

We drive on to Cajun country, via Birmingham and Mississippi (M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I!), where we’ll head our separate ways – she to Austin, I to Costa Rica. How far we’ve come. And yet, how much hasn’t changed.

Food, Relationships

In which we consciously uncouple..

It is with hearts full of sadness that we have decided to separate. We have been together for well over two decades now, pretty much always together, sporadically separated, knowing the joy that has been possible between us. And I have come to the conclusion that while we love each other very much, we will remain separate. At least for the time being.

You’ve accompanied me on many a journey. I’ve reunited with you on the sidewalks of New York, on that bench just off of 74th & Amsterdam, on walks through the park through myriad seasons. There were chance meetings – always a joyous occasion – we have Anthony, Jacque, and Christina Tosi to thank for that. We’ve traveled the world together, finding each other again and again in such countries as Spain, France, and Japan. And each time you evolved. It’s like I didn’t know you, only to understand the depths of your complexities that much more.

From highs to lows, I’ve seen you baked out of your mind. Burnt. Raw. Fried, even. And each time, I accepted you. I embraced you. Because that’s what one who truly loves another does.

We are, however, and always will be friends, and in many ways we are closer than we have ever been. We were destined first and foremost for the love of a lifetime, and we ask for our privacy to be respected at this difficult time. I can’t say that we have always conducted our relationship privately, but we hope that as we consciously uncouple, we will be able to continue, together, yet separate.

I love you. But I just can no longer eat you.

levain choc chip

(At least not two times a day.)


Music, Relationships

In which I suddenly wish I were getting married..

I’ve only ever once really desired to get married. I’ve quite often felt that I ought.. that I should get hitched one day. And maybe (okay, hopefully) I will. But if I’m completely honest with myself, I have only really ever had one driving desire to get married: that is, to register for a KitchenAid Mixer. More than china or a salad spinner or one of those super cool Dyson vacuums that I once giddily test drove at Costco, I really, really wanted a KitchenAid Artisan Mixer.

Now I recognize I could’ve purchased one myself. That’s not lost on me. And I eventually did. But it was the principle of the matter. Something about the KitchenAid Mixer (in some variation of 1950’s Vespa color) just screamed pick up that scan gun and passive aggressively hint to your besties and now-working brother to buy me already!

It’s not that I don’t want to get married. I do. I just can’t imagine how that could possibly happen to a non-college student who binge watches 3 seasons of Veronica Mars (64 hour long episodes) and subsists off of Toblerone bars for two weeks straight, whose preferred waking hour ends in the letters P and M. Yeah.. not gonna happen anytime soon.

And so, I was content being single.

Until now.



Holy crap. Kindly pretend to ignore me while I hyperventilate for three-and-a-half minutes and lament the fact that I’m nowhere close to getting engaged right now. And not just any song, one of my all time favs, the live version of which you must listen to because Miss B’s unadulterated voice is that much better than the studio version:

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Sara Bareilles fan and have been for over a decade now. As I recently told an amazingly talented aspiring songstress friend of mine (when I asked if I could work her merch table when she starts gigging), I’m really really good at supporting people I freaking adore. And I fracking heart her.

The numbers are a little fuzzy, but let’s do some fuzzy math here: ~10 years, 8 or 9 concerts (+ the 20-30 people I’ve dragged along with me to said concerts), something like 284 replays of the ‘Beautiful Girl’ and Manderley Bar ‘I Choose You’ YouTube videos, roughly 12-17 copies of various albums and EPs purchased over the years = some serious solidarity. Multiple copies of Careful Confessions purchased during the pre-record contract years to hand out to friends. From the UCLA days to the record deal to Grammy nominated album of the year (hell yeah!), it’s been an amazing journey, and I’m just watching proudly from the sidelines.

Luckily, I have a friend who is equally as obsessed. Except she’s all legit and stuff and appreciates the lyricism of songwriting and the composition aspects. (Or whatever it is that singer-songwriters do.) Meanwhile, I just lip sync the words off-key, which despite the inherent contradiction, is indeed possible. Being single too, she understood my pain. Until.. during a car ride to dinner.. epiphany..

“We should get married!”
“We should tooootally get married.”
“We can propose to each other – that’ll be our hook.”
“She has to choose us. How can she not?”

.. as we continued to extrapolate on what exactly our lifelong love letter of a relationship would entail:

“You could move back to the city!”
“I could move into your apartment and live one block from Tartine! And eat Croque Monsieurs and Dandelion chocolates every other morning! Your three roommates wouldn’t mind, right? We could work out shower schedules.”
“Shall we change our statuses on Facebook?”
“And then cite ‘it’s complicated’ a month later, leading up to our annulment?”
“And then you can have Manhattan, I’ll settle for the beach..”

And it just continued to devolve from there. I’ll spare you the rest.

But that is all to say, Sara, pick me! Choose me! (Just a little later down the line if I miraculously end up getting married.)

(P.S. And my friend Jane too.)