Entertaining

Come On Over

I’ve been writing recently about how my attitude towards entertaining has chilled out in the extreme these past few months. I’m sure I still have a fancy hors d’oeuvre recipe or two in me, but what I’ve discovered since removing virtually all of the fuss from my get-togethers with friends and neighbors is that that’s all it is: fuss. The point is to be with each other, and - especially when lots and lots of young children are involved - the easier we can make it to do that, the more we…do it. 

Take the other night, for example: My neighbor Margo spontaneously invited us over to swim. I hesitated for a moment, because it was 4:30 PM, so not quite dinnertime, but also right in that sweet spot where I’d have to start making dinner soon or risk the kids being awake into the hour when Mom really needs to commence the bath-taking and watching of Handmaid’s Tale, which is - let’s be honest - unacceptable.

ENTREES

Sherry’s Most Perfectest Lasagna Ever (With A Secret Ingredient)

I've never been a huge fan of lasagna. I think that this dates back to a mild trauma when I was thirteen and announced that henceforth I would be a vegetarian, or at least until I changed my mind and wanted a hamburger one day (which did actually end up happening). My mother's reaction to this news was to completely ignore me and continue sneaking meat into meals anyway. She made her "special lasagna" frequently during this period, and it was a solid two years before she admitted that the "mushrooms" had, in fact, been...well, not mushrooms. (I was apparently not the most observant teenager.)

But apart from my mother's egregious conduct, I feel like lasagna should be more amazing than it usually is. I mean, it's layered pasta, cheese, and sauce. How could that not be absolutely perfect, every time? Except far too often I find lasagna has too much of one thing, and not enough of another. I want my lasagna to be red sauce-y, and cheesy, and otherwise uncomplicated by unnecessary additions like, say, peppers (BLECH).

For our girls' weekend in Tahoe, each of us was assigned a meal to prepare. This was Alisa's mom's friend Sherry's dish, and it was the best lasagna I have ever, ever, ever tasted (sorry, mom). The secret ingredient? A touch of cheddar cheese. I'm aware that that doesn't sound like a good idea, but this lasagna was transcendent. So you're going to have to trust me.

Style

Branded

A shot of my lovely friend from our off-the-cuff collaboration yesterday

You may have noticed that when Francesca and I get together, we frequently do little photo shoots. Not for any especially good reason; just because we enjoy them - putting together a concept, finding a location, picking the right time of day for the lighting effect we're after. I enjoy the whole process; unlike creating photos for this site, our shoots in no way feel like "work." You may also have noticed that over the years, I have appeared in these shoots - or any shoots, for that matter - less, and less, and less.

I wonder sometimes whether it's from insecurity - and of course it is, I suppose, more than I'd like to admit - but it's also that my interests with regards to photography, and "aesthetics" more generally, have undergone a fairly dramatic shift these past few years.

DIARY

The Shame

I’ve been writing and talking a lot these past few weeks about vulnerability. Authenticity. And the realizations I’ve had about myself as a result of all this writing and talking have been pretty fucking humbling.

So. Because I cannot write or talk about anything else, I'm going to tell you what happened.

I have realized, as I said in that post a couple of weeks ago, that while it is extremely easy for me to be open, it is not easy for me to be authentic - to show the people in my life the *real* me, in all its complicated unprettiness. I know how people want me to act, and so that's what I do. And if I deviate from this performance - if I'm in a bad mood, or depressed - I apologize, and then I fix it. 

Shop My Favorites

DIARY

A Few Old-Ish Posts That Feel New To Me Today

Sometimes I read older posts of mine, and I can't remember having written them; it's the oddest thing. I remember the feelings, of course, but then I read the words, and it's like they were typed out by someone else. Someone who understood me intensely, yes, but certainly not me.

That's been happening a lot these past few days: I'm looking for a recipe, or a reference, and I happen across one of these older posts...and it feels less like a memory than like a letter from a friend, telling me everything will be okay.

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Before & After Renovations

A Full Bathroom Renovation…For Less Than $700

One of the major things I miss about living close to my friend Erin is our little (and big) projects. We were just constantly deciding that we wanted to try things, and then doing them. All by ourselves. And they usually worked out! (I'd venture that our success rate has far more to do with Erin than with me, but I'm happy to bask in the residual glory.)

Like remember that time we just went ahead and transformed the exterior brick on my house?

Recipes

Alisa’s Best Friend’s Mom’s Neighbor’s Friend’s “Top Secret” Dip (Oops)

Oh my god I LOVE THIS STORY. I'm in San Jose right now, plopped down at Alisa's dining room table, and I was all "ugh what should I write about today that involves NO FEELINGS WHATSOEVER."

"Food!" Alisa said. "You haven't written about food in forever!"

...This is true. So - and this is how I know Alisa is a true friend for the ages - she and I immediately set about figuring out what kind of brilliant recipe we could make right here and now, using ingredients that she already had. We dragged out her (perfectly organized, laminated, ughhhh) recipe binder, and started flipping through...and then we arrived at the Shasta Dip.

My Looks

Styled (And A Thank You)

For those of you who've been following on my IG, you may be aware that I've been going through it a bit (ok, a lot) these past few days. I'm currently in San Jose because K has the kids for the next couple of days, and being with my girls seemed like a better idea than being alone. I know I'm being opaque, but it's simply because I'm not ready to write about what's been going on. I will when I can, though.

Decor

Living Room Rehab, Again

Couch rehab in progress

A few important points, before we begin:

  1. I have always wanted a caramel-leather couch.
  2. I cannot afford a caramel-leather couch.
  3. I enjoy having a white couch, in theory.
  4. I do not enjoy having a white couch in practice.

Now. Recall the Ikea couch I bought shortly after I moved to LA? The one I was so excited about for a minute, before I realized that the words "white" and "couch" should never, ever go together when a house is inhabited by a) children, b) animals, and c) me?

Crafts for the Uncrafty

Ideas For Your Fourth Of July Everythings

Baby Me, baby Lucy

Going to be a bit Grinchy over here for a minute - shocker, I know! - so hold onto your hats. I care about the Fourth of July approximately as much as I care about New Year's Eve, which is also approximately as much as I care about Ivanka Trump's thoughts on the 'male-dominant' defense industry (which is to say: very close to zero, apart from the potential for mild entertainment via trainwreck).

Related: How I Feel About The Fourth Of July, Given The (Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad) State Of The Nation

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