Sound Advice

NYT, Social Q’s, 24 May 2013:

Our group of close friends has spent the last few years attending one another’s weddings. We all give gifts to the newlyweds, except for one couple who hasn’t given gifts to anyone. Now the nongivers are getting married. Some of us do not want to gift them at all, whereas others think a more modest than normal gift is in order. What do you think? – Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

It sounds to me like these non-givers are completely missing the point of getting married, which is to receive household items and cash. They may be misguided, believing that marriages are about celebrating a couple committing their lives to each other, or they may be malevolent, dooming their friends’ unions to sure destruction by depriving them of tea towels, the literal fabric that holds marriages together.

Or, it may be that the cost of attending several weddings in a short time period makes it financially difficult for this couple to buy a gift on top of funding their attendance, but I don’t see how a little electricity, or dinner or diapers, is more important than the sterling silver Crate & Barrel salt shakers you’ve all earned by falling in love with another human being and declaring it publicly.

Healthy friendships are built on well orchestrated passive aggressive punishments tailored specially for the people you care about most. Whatever you decide to do, make sure that everyone does it in a way that your friends will sort of notice but that you can all sort of deny doing later, that way you can all quietly judge-and-jury each other for the rest of your incredibly fulfilled lives.

Someone made a Tumblr of the best (read: most sarcastic) Dear Abby-type advice column responses. It is just really fantastic. The wedding etiquette ones are my favorites, perhaps because they’re making me feel extra sane and good about myself. Some gems: 1, 2, 3, 4

UPDATE: Turns out this is better than I thought. The creator of said Tumblr actually rewrites ordinary advice column responses to give the moronic submitters the snark they truly deserve. Well done.

via Here’s That Bad Advice You Were Hoping For

The Wheel House

Acrojou, ‘The Wheel House’ from Acrojou on Vimeo.
Wow, and I thought my house was small! Love this sweet little performance piece, entitled The Wheel House, by Acrojou Circus Theatre. I adore the vaguely steampunk aesthetic, which puts me in the mind of the Dust Bowl and Mad Max all at once. This is my favorite kind of theatre–or any type of art, for that matter–where you can kind of fill in your own story. I especially love when the lady cleans the cut on her guy’s forehead: such tenderness in that tiny space! I could do well to remember that right now. The Boy is building a computer that is roughly the size of our entire living room. I can’t walk two steps without tripping over a monitor or a GPU (whatever the hell that is), and I casually suggested the other day that maybe he and the computer should get their own apartment, and just come me visit on weekends.

Speaking of the tiny cottage: I built a box garden complete with four baby tomato plants! I woke up early to take pictures the next day, only to find that construction workers had set up camp on my patio. Pictures forthcoming, once they depart!

And in other news, my wedding band arrived in the mail the other day. It is beautiful with wee little bows all around the edge. 58 days! Gulp.

Video courtesy of Acrojou Circus Theatre. Definitely check out some of their other work, v. cool.

Liquid Happiness

Today The Boy and I ventured out of the cottage to Galco’s Old World Market, and it was pure delight. I could have spent hours wandering around looking at all the different sodas. Eventually we had to stop ourselves from picking out anymore, because we had so many in the cart already. Still, we walked away with a pretty good selection, including coffee soda, chocolate soda, and two different kinds of cream soda. The best part was the owner, featured in the video above, who walked around offering friendly suggestions. When I asked him if he had a favorite cream soda, he said “No!” the same way parents do when asked if they have a favorite kid. He then proceeded to walk me up and down the aisles explaining the differences between all the different creams the same way a sommelier might talk about fine wines. It was totally perfect, and thus far our selections have been superb.

Video courtesy of

The Secret Knots

Loving these illustrations by Yina Kim, from a series entitled “The Secret Knots“. From the artist’s website, “I enjoy studying people in public places and create their lives in my head. Even though most of the people I have created are from my imagination, I have a feeling that I know them unconsciously. I believe that everyone is connected in secret knots.”

I used to do exactly this as a child. I grew up outside of Los Angeles, and I went to school in the city, which meant I had to sit in hours of infamous LA traffic at 5:30 am every morning  on my way to school. While my dad listened to NPR, I spied on the strangers in the cars next to us, and imagined what their lives might be like.

The Boy and I are back home on the east coast this week, visiting our folks, playing with dogs, walking in the woods, and making lots of diagrams of The Yard for the wedding (yikes! less than 100 days away!). It’s basically been summer for awhile now in LA, so it’s nice to be back here where the brief warmth and sunshine are so deeply appreciated.

Images courtesy of Yina Kim.

On Vulnerability

My dear friend Maggie’s mother sent me this TED talk as advice for marriage, and I really felt that I needed to share. It seems I’m a bit late in my discovery, since this is apparently one of the most popular TED talks of all time. Still, even if you’ve seen it, I highly recommend a re-watch.

Brown’s message speaks powerfully to me. Five years ago, I was a very different person. Some mornings I woke and felt like I’d been flayed alive. I ran frantic through the world, trying my hardest not to bump into anything or anyone, lest I feel the searing agony of my exposed flesh. Other days, I woke leaden. All the sadness and shame weighed me down, and I could not get out of bed. My pupils felt over-dilated, so that the light burned my eyes, and all shapes grew shadowy and distorted. I built a wall of artifice around myself, so that no one could ever get too close, and inside my bunker I found all kinds of ways to numb that feeling of unworthiness, as Brown calls it. Until one day, without really meaning to, I let someone see me. Really and truly see all of me. And he decided to love me anyway.

I wish I could say that that was that, but I still had a long way to go. No one but you can make you better. But his love made it possible. Because allowing someone else to see me finally let me see myself. And to my great surprise, being vulnerable was strangely empowering. Being wholehearted and authentic is extremely satisfying. Even so, I’ve had this post sitting on my computer for over a week. I wasn’t so sure about being this open on the internet, where everyone can see. But being open is kind of addictive, so I’m going for it. I dare you to give it a try, as well.

I apologize for all the touchy-feely crap on the blog lately. Back to shiny baubles soon, I swear!

Brooklyn Cabin

Well isn’t this just delightful. A Brooklyn couple built a tiny, one-room cabin inside their apartment, and now they rent the place out on Airbnb. They call it a “one room bed and breakfast”. There’s also a lofted “treehouse” space, where the couple sleeps, which is also available for rent. How nice would it be to have your own little cabin to go home to after a long day exploring the city? The cabin comes highly-reviewed on Airbnb, by the way, and it’s a helluva lot cheaper than even a mediocre hotel.

In other news, wedding planning has swallowed me whole. Hey guys, turns out it’s pretty crazy to try to get married in under five months… who knew??

Pictures courtesy of Airbnb, first seen here.

Blog Sisters + Party Ducks

My sister only pretends to have a real job. She goes to an office every day and she has a desk with a phone and a stapler, but the only thing I’ve ever actually seen her do at said job is this:

Uhhh, that’s a pretty sweet job. And now she has a blog to chronicle all her masterpieces! My favorites? The international series and, of course, my birthday hippo. Check out the rest at Party Duck!

In other news: I’m all set up in the tiny cottage with internet, and a certain someone has finally made it to California. More posts to come once things settle down…

All images courtesy of Sarah Schachte (with help from Louis).

Be Mine

Love is in the Air from Wriggles & Robins on Vimeo.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Can I just say that I have the most wonderful guy in the world? He bought me a cheese grater for Valentine’s Day, because he knows me better than anyone else in the world, and I love him for it. If he were here today, we would go see the (sure to be terrible) new Die Hard movie and eat some grilled cheese… or mac and cheese… or both… with my new grater. Unfortunately he’s a little too far away for that, but in just two(ish) weeks he’ll be right here next to me in our new tiny home, and our real life together can finally start. I hope you guys have someone to kiss today, and if not you might consider just kissing someone new. Hope you enjoy the sweet video above, and here are some Valentine’s links from around the web:

Vinegar Valentine’s say “I hate you.”

Married couples dance to their wedding songs.

My favorite love story ever.

I bought the first one for my parents, who have been married for nearly thirty years and continually inspire me with their love.

A love poem for girls who read.

Wes Anderson Valentine’s cards are delightful. Also: Arrested Development.

A literary love story map of the United States.

A love story in milk with a tragic ending.



Our Many Homes: The Brownstone

Brownstone 3 Another home, another city. I must be honest (and I know I’m going to catch a lot of flack for this): I hate New York. I know, I know, greatest city in the world, blah blah blah. But I’m skeptical. This Onion article kind of speaks to my heart. I mean, I know that New York is home to all kinds of amazing food, and hidden gems, and bizarre secrets. But somehow, whenever I visit, I get so distracted by the sheer number of people all in such close proximity to me. New York is not an ideal destination for someone with severe crowd anxiety, such as myself.

But maybe if I had my own home, my own respite from the strange smells and the hard pavement and the throngs of people, maybe New York and I could finally start the love affair I’ve always known we deserve. I’m thinking a spacious brownstone in Brooklyn, or perhaps this delightful neighborhood. It place would be all eclectic glamour, but nothing stuffy: a gorgeous but cozy place with a loft for reading and a giant kitchen where everyone could hang out and drink wine and laugh. Because the most alluring part of New York, for me anyway, is the fact that most of my friends live there. Living on the other side of the country, I miss them all terribly, and my imaginary Brownstone would be the perfect place setting for wild dinner parties and games of apples to apples and oh, the cheeseplates we would have.

More homes to come next week, but in the mean time be sure to check out my Pinterest for more dream pads.

Sources: 1, 2, 3