Monthly Archives

July 2013

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A Week in the Life: 30/52

Here is what the past week looked like (better late than never):

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» Just kickin’ it in the park.

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» Rare summer rain.

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» Is it just me, or is the Quaker Oats guy really fucking smug?

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» She is plotting how to reach the middle of the table, where I “hid” her binkie. I am plotting how to get rid of these chairs and replace them with something more to my liking, like a few of these.

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» Push-up partners.

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» When one plum isn’t enough.

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» This tastes like heaven. Pasta, spinach, chicken, marinara, green beans. Go.

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» I cannot see a dandelion without thinking of the Stones song.

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» Cacti.

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» She was an impulse buy.

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» Storms a-brewin’.

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» Condensation.

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» She absolutely needs to touch every plant on the way to the car in the morning. Tree hugger in training?

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» I met a friend for drinks in Long Beach. I drank a lambic and inhaled guac while she regaled me with tales from her European trip. Fun evening. I love hanging out with her.

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» Trader Joe’s fans, do yourselves a favor and try the Raisin Rosemary Crisps.

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

Listen & Look: Tame Impala

Listen & Look: Tame Impala • Tame Impala fashion • Little Gold Pixel

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The summer between my junior and senior years in high school, I worked at Goodwill. There was a lot of stocking, curating and vacuuming. Oh my god, the vacuuming. Thrift stores and their dust. My favorite part of the job was finding cute outfits to hang up at the ends of the aisles. A close second was shopping for myself.

I was going through my Sixties and Seventies counterculture phase. I dressed in a lot of polyester. I collected vintage candles and assorted knickknacks. The mid-’90s was a good time to work in a thrift store, especially if you were in search of bell bottoms and patchouli candles, and I was.

One day I dragged myself out of bed at 7 a.m. for a team-building meeting. I wasn’t even working that day, so I was super agitated about it because I had been out late the night before.

At one point we played a trivia game about the history of the company, and the prize for each correct answer was a few dollars in store credit, to be used at any area Goodwill. I monopolized the game and won a small fortune in credit (or $20, which is huge considering most thrift store items cost less than a dollar back then).

My manager (she was 19, soooo much older and cooler than me) wasn’t working that day, either, and suggested we drive around the city to spend our hard-earned store bucks. It turned out to be one of my favorite memories of that summer, completely sealing my love of thrifting for the future.

On my way back home during the noon hour, sun blinding me from every angle, I smiled about the vintage gems I had found that morning (including a dogeared copy of “Last Exit to Brooklyn” that would later traumatize me). I listened to “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” on cassette and sang along loudly.

Anyway, Tame Impala feels like this day to me.

The entire album reminds me of being 17, completely free if not a little hungover, and so smart that I didn’t even have to spend my own money on bell bottoms. Oh, and the lead singer’s voice = dead ringer for John Lennon. It’s fantastic.

Watch this video; you will not be sorry.

A Week in the Life: 29/52

The past week has been pretty hectic around here. There are a lot of things happening, and I want to write about them. The problem is that I’m torn. On one hand, I’d like to process my thoughts on certain events. On the other hand, which stories are really mine to tell? That’s the delicate balance that comes with writing a public blog, though.

Sorry to be vague. Boundaries are important, especially when it comes to respecting my loved ones.

It’s the reason I won’t post photos of H that he doesn’t like, no matter how awesome I think he looks. It’s why you never will see a potentially embarrassing photo of Alexa.

The vague events I’m alluding to are being worked out internally, and maybe via a physical, private diary. There is catharsis to putting pen to paper (despite the disintegration of my handwriting).

And, as always, my photo project sheds light on even the weeks that prove the most challenging. There are always good moments, friends, let’s not forget that.

This is what the past week looked like:

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» Alex and I had a mama-daughter date. We started with pizza.

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» Then splashed in the fountain for a long time.

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» Afterward, we enjoyed a froyo run. Can you tell whose is whose?

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» Then off to the playground, where she tackled the ladder for the first time.

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» I love the way the sun hit the metallic fringe.

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» “Daddy, up?” He will always carry her.

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» A different day, a different froyo. Watermelon sorbet.

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» We parked on the ocean.

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» The Redondo Pier. The color of the sea that day was perfection.

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» We waited for a window table for a long time. The beer was necessary!

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» A case of the giggles.

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» No trip to the pier is complete without a few minutes of beach time.

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» Cherries and grilled chicken sandwich.

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» Diving into a good book.

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» Clip circle.

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» Maple cereal and banana.

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» Red.

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» She put a unicorn sticker on her eye and waited coyly for me to laugh. Haha.

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» Morning light casting pretty shadows.

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

A Week in the Life: 28/52

Here’s what our past week looked like:

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» Napping on the beach.

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» We are beach bums, so we are used to sand. But, as all of our house guests for the past decade have noted in some way: It gets everywhere. (Even on my sunglasses.)

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» A milestone: She likes to run in and out of the surf now!

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» Sinking our toes in.

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» She gets so excited about the water that she prances, squeals and flaps her arms in delight.

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» A quick break.

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» This was simultaneously the best and most exhausting beach day ever. The adults took turns actually swimming (the water was great!). Alexa had a blast playing in the surf. We wore ourselves out!

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» This bubble wand is a piece of crap.

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» These wands are where it’s at.

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» She is obsessed with “boy Wobin” (Christopher Robin) and the blue “bawoon” (balloon) he brings for Pooh.

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» Not even a few days after I wrote this post, and I stand corrected. Target sometimes is empty … if you go at 9 a.m.

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» This is the outfit I should have worn on July 4.

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» Our neighbors have a plastic bird in their garden. It is fascinating to no end.

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» Patterns.

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» Wilshire Boulevard, 5 p.m. on Friday afternoon.

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

Things Toddlers Love: Summer 2013 Edition

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Alexa is very attached to these things at this very moment in her life. She still likes the same stuff she did in January, too. I would venture that most toddler girls would like these toys, books and clothes. Who doesn’t like butterflies, unicorns, bunnies and sea animals?

Sometimes I get discouraged when I see other bloggers’ lists of toys for their toddlers, and it’s all super cutesy, impeccably designed and not cartoonish in the slightest. I confess that I find these kinds of toys attractive, but I am shopping for a toddler here, not me!

The truth is that my kid loves the cartoonish fish puzzles. She likes a cup shaped like a dog’s head. And she likes this really tacky, awfully ridiculous nightlight in the form of a rainbow unicorn!

Your toddler might, too.

  • Goodnight, Thumper (aka “Bunnies!”) is a must at night-night time. It’s the story about how Thumper isn’t ready for bed, even though all the other animals in the forest are snuggling up to sleep.
  • The Richard Scarry book is good for learning words and pointing out lots of idiots who accidentally dump tomatoes in the road.
  • The Ikea cups are good. And affordable.
  • The unicorn is fun for kids who say they’re scared of the dark. It shines stars all over the ceiling in three different colors.
  • Harajuki Mini clothes are even more adorable on a toddler than on the rack.
  • Tiny Toms are perfect for active little ones.
  • For puzzles, you can’t go wrong with Melissa & Doug.

Driving With Myself in the Dark

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Stars! Live vicariously through this 3D panorama.

When I was in high school, we moved to the country. I thought my parents were trying to ruin my life, and I’m sure I told them as much in a tear-streaked fury that ended with me blasting Bush or Alanis in my room and sobbing on my bed. It was a definite inconvenience.

I used a friend’s address in order to stay enrolled in the same school, but that also meant driving a lot farther, a lot more often. In the evenings, I drove until the traffic thinned out, till the last streetlights of the suburbs ebbed behind me. Until I was in complete darkness, with the exception of my high beams.

The idea of complete darkness is so abstract to me now, living in such urban sprawl. Every now and then we will drive over to the beach after dark and stare off over the pitch-black ocean, and even then it’s not the same. There’s always a marine layer or fog or something else to obstruct the stars. Because that’s what I think about the most when I think about the darkness of the Kansas countryside: the clarity of the heavens.

Let’s be clear, thinking too much about outer space freaks me out, but I love the Dippers and pointing out the North Star. There were many nights my friends and I would lie atop the trampoline in my backyard late at night, dreaming about the future while looking at the sky.

I still remember the route there. Straight south till the stop sign (there was only one stop sign for MILES). Take a right. Keep going, keep going till you think you’ve gone too far. You’ll see the outline of a water tower on the right and small incline. Slow down. Our house was on the other side of that oh-so-slight hill, on the left.

(I believe those are the instructions I wrote on my graduation party invites. Google Maps didn’t exist yet.)

My long commute in L.A. isn’t nearly as lonely — there are thousands of cars around and lots of signage so no hope of getting lost — but it’s not nearly as magical as this country drive was.

If I close my eyes, I can feel the summer nights, windows down, “Come Together” blaring, me singing along, watching for any sign of the police because I was speeding down that road faster than the posted 55 mph limit. I can remember the clean scent of freshly cut grass, the way my headlights wobbled on the road, the flicker of light in the sky that could only be a UFO or maybe not. I can recall the utter freedom of it all — to be young and innocent and optimistic.

In hindsight, those beautiful drives to the country weren’t inconvenient at all.

10 Things You Get Used to When You Live in Los Angeles

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10 Things You Get Used to When You Live in Los Angeles • littlegoldpixel.com

It occurred to me recently that I’m used to this place. You’re probably thinking, “You’ve lived there 8 years; I’d hope so.” But there’s a difference between simply living somewhere and actually calling that somewhere home.

I’ve come a long way since that first day we walked into our apartment (sight unseen, by the way) and found a huge, empty space where the refrigerator should’ve been. Just one of many quirks I used to view from an outsider’s perspective. Now it’s just a way of life. Along with these 10 things.

10 Things Los Angelenos Understand

1. You accept that it will take you a long time to get anywhere. 
That’s why Sigalert exists. Everyone is pretty accepting of your tardiness. After all, you weren’t the only person dealing with the cluster*$#@s on the 110 or the 405 or the 101.

10 Things You Get Used to When You Live in Los Angeles • littlegoldpixel.com

2. You see a house listed at $400,000 and think it’s a sweet deal.
Until you see the neighborhood and the schools and the photos of the kitchen that haven’t been updated since the Nixon administration. Then you think … hmm, it’s still a sweet deal. We can always get a security system, home-school the kid and renovate. Right!

3. You see people. They’re everywhere.
Remember that one time you went to Ikea/Target/Yogurtland and it was empty? Haha. That’s because it never happened. There are people everywhere, all the time, and you pretty much just ignore them. If you do happen to go somewhere that is only modestly packed, you feel like something must be terribly, terribly wrong.

10 Things You Get Used to When You Live in Los Angeles • littlegoldpixel.com

4. The weather is beautiful.
It’s the main reason for No. 3.

10 Things You Get Used to When You Live in Los Angeles • littlegoldpixel.com

5. You aren’t phased by film crews setting up anywhere/everywhere.
In fact, you’re mildly annoyed by it. Or, in the case of filming that disrupts your workplace and parking situation, you become slightly homicidal. (Which leads me to No. 6 …)

6. Before agreeing to go somewhere new, you ask, “What’s the parking situation?”
Because, obviously.

10 Things You Get Used to When You Live in Los Angeles • littlegoldpixel.com

7. Your winter clothes are the same as your summer clothes.
You just wear a scarf in the winter. And, if you’re hardcore, you wear a coat in the summertime, just because.

10 Things You Get Used to When You Live in Los Angeles • littlegoldpixel.com

8. Almost everyone you meet has written a screenplay.
Yourself included. (Not that any of them have been optioned.)

9. You recognize most location shots in TV and movies.
And you’re not even impressed anymore.

10 Things You Get Used to When You Live in Los Angeles • littlegoldpixel.com

10. You see expensive cars all the time.
H still gets excited about this, but I take it for granted that I’ll see at least one Maserati or Lamborghini or Ferrari on my daily commute.

I could go on and make this a 20-item list, but instead I’ll leave you with this video, which hits on a few points I’ve made and a few others I agree with (froyo!). What would you Angelenos out there add to the list?

A Week in the Life: 27/52

This project runs Saturday-Friday every week. Sometimes it feels strange to compile my images from the week because often I get busy and do not have time to do it until Sunday, at which point I’ve lived an entire weekend that ends up in the NEXT week’s post. It hurts my brain a little to think back to June, but that’s where Week 27 started. Are you ready to time travel? Yes?

Good, because here’s what our past week looked like:

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» Saturday morning breakfast at Whole Foods.

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» H’s iPhone died. R.I.P., iPhone 5, a wee six months old.

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» Happily, though, he made an early appointment at the Apple Store and walked out with a new, functional phone.

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» Alexa made one wish, then another! Lucky girl.

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» It’s strange to walk around the mall before most of the stores are open.

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» There is a stillness that almost makes me like the mall.

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» Grapes on the beach.

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» Sand + sunscreen = sticky mess.

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» She drank most of my smoothie.

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» Exploring yet another beach in our backyard. This one seems like a lot of work to get to, especially while carrying a toddler (for H) and/or wearing flip-flops (me).

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» Now that it’s summertime, I’m leaving work before the sun sets. If I’m lucky I catch a pretty cotton candy sky like this.

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» Allons-y.

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» Patriotic arrangement in the parking lot lobby.

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» She’s getting very good at drawing waves. She’ll then ask for an adult to draw a boat for her water.

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» I finally went to Roscoe’s. The menu gave me flashbacks of post-bar runs to all-night pancake houses in South Carolina.

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» Best Target run ever. I was waiting to check out when Sara showed up with a surplus of enchiladas (thanks, Sara!). Everyone in line with me was so jealous.

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» OK, so you chop up some bananas. Sandwich two slices with peanut butter. Melt some chocolate, pour over the bananas, set in freezer. Thank me later.

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» So does every business in L.A. have a normal flag for everyday use and a GINORMOUS flag that only gets used on the Fourth of July?

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» So excited to be on the big-girl swing for a few minutes.

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» We wanted to dig our toes in the sand on the Fourth, but all the beaches were pretty crowded. We settled for a bird’s-eye view instead. Cannot complain.

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» Star and stripes.

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» Check out the reflection in my glasses.

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» Eleven.

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» Marine layer rolls in as we have a picnic dinner overlooking the ocean.

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» The next day, barbecue!

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» I predict tin foil will be the next fad in dinner party plating. Or not. Honestly, we were too hungry to care about presentation. As long as the food stays hot!

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» Two firsts this week: Eating corn on the cob and biting into a whole apple.

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

The Terrible Twos Are For Real

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The Terrible Twos. What can I say? I never thought we’d get through them tantrum-free. We’ve seen our fair share of tantrums, or so I thought.

Wrong. Those weren’t real tantrums. Alexa was saving the real tantrums, the juicy stuff, for the past week. That other stuff? Just practice, child’s play. She was merely working on her technique so she could destroy us at a later date. It wouldn’t be a real tantrum unless everyone in the five-mile vicinity thought she was being tortured (never mind that she was only flailing around on the ground because she wanted another turn on the slide at the park).

The silver lining is that with the terrible tantrums comes overwhelming sweetness. Just when I’m pulling my hair out, she puckers up and kisses me on the mouth. Or she’ll shower us with hugs, over and over again until she has chipped away at the trauma from the last tantrum.

The Turbulent Twos.

It’s a vicious cycle these toddlers are toying with. A survival mechanism passed down in our genes, maybe. Sour. Sweet. Sour. Sweet. Sour.

Last weekend Alexa worked up an epic fit over running errands. Later, she fell asleep in my arms for the first time since she was a newborn. We napped like that for an hour, me not moving an inch so I could memorize the sight of her peaceful little face. When she woke up, she petted my cheek with her fingers and said, “Hiya Mama.”

Totally numbed the horror of the errands tantrum. She’s a smart cookie.