100% Pure Cub

The sky fell on us about a month ago and it seems like it has just continued to crash down. I have been absent from the blog (and a lot of my own life if I am being honest). I’m not ready to write about it, but maybe I will at some point. Thank you City Mama for keeping the blog going and for all of your support behind the scenes. In the interest of easing back in I just had to share something light: a recent score.

We are at the beach this week with Adam’s family. It is 10 adults and 5 kids. It is a cousin fest and a good time.

One of the traditions we have developed over the years is a mom’s afternoon where all the “aunt-mamas”* get to sneak away for some kid-free thrift shopping.

I am not sure what it is about this beach, but I always find some great wild animal art and this year was no exception. In fact, I think it will be hard to beat this year’s score.

Behold… Forlorn Regal Cheetah Cub


I found this guy on a junk shop floor and I don’t know if his piercing expression translates on screen but in person he is stop-in-your-tracks amazing. I didn’t think twice about purchasing him, which is the way I acquire all of my favorite art. Pure gut reactions.


Don’t worry if this looks crazy. Some people can pull off great shoes. Others have a flare for wild style. I can pull off wacky art. He will go in Ellis’ room, but he is temporarily hanging on the living room wall of the beach house for all to admire.

*Aunt-mama is the nickname that is best suited to parenting a pack of cousins for the week. It is not quite “sister-wife” but we each are part of this family by way of a brother.

P.S. City Mama did you watch Lemonade? Amazing. Count me obsessed.

Virtual Book Club

For more than three years, I’ve been in a virtual book club with another college friend Alexis.

Alexis is one of the few people I know that reads as fast as I do and she crushes me in the amount of books she reads each year. She’s introduced me to dozens of books I probably wouldn’t have found myself and I am all the better because of it.

As long as I can remember, our conversations have always included an element of books even if it’s just to ask what the other person’s reading. On a weekend trip with another dear friend, Meg, the idea for virtual book club was born.

I had the first selection  and (don’t ask me why)I chose Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. Which is among the top 10 worst books I’ve ever read.

Sadly, Meg passed away suddenly before we could read any more books together but I’m pretty sure she would have simultaneously elevated our reading level with some heavy weight biographies and plummeted it with some trashy romance novels because that was the amazing type of person she was.

Partly in honor of Meg and partly as a way to ensure we’re keeping in touch, Alexis and I have continued Virtual Book club.

Our virtual book club “meetings” have been via Skype, in person, via email but are most often tacked on to a marathon phone call during which we catch one another up about our lives.

Virtual book club means Alexis and I stay in touch. We don’t set deadlines to finish the book and we both rely heavily on the public library system which often means waiting out hold queues. But even if our notes to each other are “I’m halfway done, give me two more weeks. How are you” The communication is frequent and familiar.

Here are some of the titles we’ve read in the last three years…I’m definitely forgetting some:

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
Ready Player One
The Luminarees (I’ll be honest I never finished this)
The All Girls Pumping and Filling Station
The Rosie Project
Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Book Shop
The Cuckoo’s Calling
The Lowland

In a time of our lives when it’s easy to lose touch with people that have so greatly shaped who we are, virtual book club is one of my favorite things. The Happier Podcast that I listen to actually recommends something like this as a happiness tactic. Sharing an interest with someone you want to keep in touch with more frequently is a great way to sustain relationships over the miles. (Like our blog!) Even if these two things weren’t already going on when I heard their tip, I would have agreed wholeheartedly.


Because I think we could all use a laugh right about now, I’m going to share this story with the internet about how I talked to one of the hottest men on the planet about poo.

A few Saturday’s ago we were hanging out at a local park near our current apartment. It’s small and not a lot of people even know it’s there. We like it because it has two play areas for kids, one geared toward the 2 and under crowd. So Luke can really do his own thing with us giving him a long lead.

Anyhow, we were the only parents there when we arrived and Luke and Eric started playing so I was sunning myself for a minute and trying to unwind. A young bearded dude in a full flannel comes in with a beautiful little girl. And they quickly start talking to us because she is interested in some sand toys that were left there. They wanted to make sure they weren’t ours (probably because Luke was screaming “mine” at her).

Play continues and dad, who is wearing a hat and glasses sits down near me while we watch the kids play. Honestly, I was so enjoying the quiet that I didn’t really want to strike up too much of a conversation but when the little girl was coming up to me I said, hi.

We exchanged the usual pleasantries how old is your kid, what’s his/her name, etc. etc.

The little girl says something to me and, because she had a pacifier in her mouth and she was 1, I have zero clue what she said. (Isn’t it magic that you can understand your own child but never someone else’s?) Her dad laughs and looking embarrassed tells me that she just told me about their dog going poo.

To which I say, don’t worry, we’re always talking about poo in our house. I think it’s the age.

As we’re talking, I’m realizing that I know this voice. This happens a lot in LA that someone will look totally different in person but their voice is unmistakeable. I wouldn’t have put money on it right then, but I was pretty sure it was Ryan Gosling. My inner monologue was racing…holy shit is this Ryan Gosling? Did I seriously just talk to him about poo? Classy Lauren, really classy. Does he even have a daughter?

Thankfully at that moment, his daughter toddles off. And I quickly hop on my phone to check if he has a daughter (Spoiler: yes with Eva Mendez sometime in the last two years when I’ve had zero time to pay attention to any of this).

But, I’m still not sure. When we first moved to LA I was forever claiming to see celebrities in really random places. And, maybe I did, but likely Mark Paul Goselaar wasn’t working at the local Wells Fargo. Anyway, now I don’t claim a celeb. citing unless I know for sure.

Turns out, park dad had some visible tats that exactly matched up to an RG image search. So, I’m calling it 100%. I officially spoke to one of the hottest men of our generation about poo.

It seems a fitting end to our residence in Hollywood where we’ve run into all manner of celebrity. I’ll miss the wild randomness of this part of town but I’m hoping to make a classier impression on my new neighbors in the ‘burbs in just a few weeks.

Green Thumb

IMG_5610This post is part current apartment reveal/part what are we up to right now.

One of the reasons I swooned over our current apartment was the view and the outside space. Our prior two apartments faced courtyards and had tiny balconies so there really wasn’t a place to sit outside. This location was all about the view.

Over the years we’ve really maximized this space with a grill, custom-built bar, custom built plant stand and ever growing container garden. We’re tucked in under another apartment and the space feels cozy. We added twinkle lights and spent many a night pre-Luke having a drink outside and watching the city lights. (Kat, take note, I still have the sea shell hanging for our first trip together out there and will find the perfect place for it in our new home as well.)


One of my favorite memories in this apartment is coming home from a business trip just before I got pregnant with Luke. I was still sad from losing our angel baby and had asked Eric to make sure he watched the plants while I was gone. The morning after I got home he said, hey have you checked your plants, how’d I do. I walked out to see the plant stand he had built and painted just for me.

For all the reasons I’ll miss this space, we gain it 10-fold in the house. Our kitchen has a deck on the back that is nearly double the balcony size. We have a balcony off our room plus the front and back yard. It’s such a huge jump that it feels like an embarrassment of riches.

And, the use of the outside space is truthfully one of the only things I can wrap my pea-brain around right now. Luke and I sat down last weekend to plant seeds for tomatoes, peppers and basil that we’ll take to the new house for planting. I suspect I’ll do container gardening this season, build some raised beds and hopefully plant them for fall.

Luke did much better with the planting than I expected but playing in dirt is fun for a little boy of any age. He was incredibly careful to take one seed from my hand and gently put it in the holes we poked with our fingers. He even helped clean up afterwards.

I never really expected gardening to become something I loved so much. But, there’s something to be said for watching things grow. Having something new to check on and tend to. Watching my lime trees new buds, the succulents flowers or waiting on my tomatoes first fruit is the best part of summer.