Saying Goodbye – An Ode to Los Angeles

| On Living Well

Saying Goodbye to LA


You know that older woman who wears chunky bracelets and fuchsia lipstick? She seems to wink at you constantly like you share a secret but you have no idea what it is. You want to turn away but you can’t. Something about her draws you in. You know that lady? She’s quick to tell the waiter he has it all wrong and just as quick to call him darling. She’s got the best stories. You want to drift to sleep cradled in her scandal, mystery, and romance. Then, with a swish of the wrist, she tells you none of it matters after all. You know that woman?

That woman is Los Angeles. Bold, brazen, and big-hearted LA. And right there in between her wink and her laugh is where I feel most at home.

In case you haven’t heard, I’m leaving Los Angeles. I’m packing up my small family and moving to Chicago – city of fabulous summers and excruciating winters.

My husband, Jeremy, will be starting grad school at DePaul University. It’s an excellent career move. And it’s an adventure. It’s all romantic and exciting.

And it’s breaking my heart.

Los Angeles is my home. It’s where I learned how to do ‘grown-up’ like a real grown-up. It’s where I became me.

Jeremy applied to various MFA programs in the winter, so I’ve had some time to get used to the idea of leaving. But I’m never one to count my chickens before they’re hatched. I refused to talk about “the move” or plan one single thing until he was accepted to a school.

When he got the news I was stupid happy. I was beside myself. Giddy even. I squealed and gushed over Jeremy with pride. After a week though, the magnitude of what was about to happen sparked a kind of tug-of-war in my heart; I was happy then sad, eager then mournful.

Jeremy wanted to daydream and plan and get excited. Half of me wanted to do that too, but the other half wanted to cry and pout and throw things. Sure, Chicago is a great city, full of awesome people. Not to mention amazing food, music, art, theatre, and that freaking gorgeous lake. But LA is my city, full of my family and my friends and all the things I love most in the world.

I went on like this for a few weeks – celebrating then moping. Being my husband’s personal cheerleader and then being an utter pain in the ass. One night I realized I needed to be all in. Life was just going to hurt too much if I insisted on digging my heels in. What I really needed to do was say goodbye.

So, I did just that.

I sat down on my couch and looked around. I remembered moving into this perfect apartment with a big, pregnant belly. I remembered doing yoga every morning to Van Morrison with the windows open wide. I remembered toddling around in those last weeks before Judah was born bumping into walls and door frames. I remembered bringing our baby home, lying in bed and staring at him for hours. I remembered his first steps on this floor and the sound of him running down the hall. I remembered all the parties and gatherings we hosted, all the dinners we cooked. I remembered all this. And as I did, I said goodbye.

And then I went back to every LA apartment I ever lived in and said goodbye. I said goodbye to Bruin Walk in autumn and the view from the top of Runyon Canyon. I said goodbye to the ocean sounds of the 5 freeway in Frog Town. I said goodbye to the sparkly sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard, overcast mornings at Santa Monica Beach, and the nighttime view from Perch. I said goodbye to driving over the river with the windows down, standing in line at Diddy Riese, gallery openings, movie premiers, and the smell of incense at Venice Beach. I said goodbye to my dream house in the hills, a little Spanish bungalow, overgrown with bougainvillea. I said goodbye to all of it.

I sat there on the couch for a good long time saying goodbye. I even said goodbye to the places I meant to go but never made time for. I mourned and cried. And when I was done with all that, I felt ready.

I’m still sad. And I still have to say goodbye to all the people in Los Angeles I can’t take with me. But my sadness no longer overshadows my excitement for the adventure ahead. I can hold space for both emotions at the same time. And that means I’m ready.

LA, thanks for the stories – the scandal, mystery, and romance. In the end, every bit of it mattered, every bit became me. I love you and all your fuchsia.

I’m going to miss all the fuchsia.


My Secret & Not-That-Strange Stress Survival Technique

| On Living Well, On Yoga

My Secret & Not-That-Strange Stress Survival Technique


“I can’t cry anymore.”

I confessed this to a friend during a hike one morning. We were somewhere in Griffith Park climbing in rhythm with our breaths. She is also a yogi, so she knew the significance of what I had just said. With concern between her brow, she pressed me for more details.

Generally speaking, I’m not really a big crier. Sometimes everyone around me is crying and I’m just standing there trying to figure out what to do with my face.

But I do enjoy a good cry. It’s cathartic. And it’s as necessary as a good sweat or a good laugh. (All yogis know this, hence my yogi friend’s deep concern.) It frees us of all kinds of shit that can fester if we don’t release it.

“I just can’t cry,” I told her. “Something will happen and I’ll feel like crying – like I’m sentimental or sad or frustrated – and I can feel it grow in my chest and just when it gets to here,” I pointed to the base of my throat, “it gets stuck and nothing comes out.”

This was the summer of 2013. I was planning my wedding – one of the most stressful experiences my then fiancé and I had ever dealt with together. Each time I felt like crying it was as if my body was literally stuffing sobs back down into my chest. I felt constricted and short of breath.

All the “not crying” was concerning me too. I was afraid that all the tears I hadn’t cried all summer would come thrashing their way out on my wedding day in the most hideous and public ugly-cry. I had this reoccurring vision of smeared mascara, donkey heaves, and lots and lots of snot. In a wedding dress.

No good.

So, my friend helped me devise a plan: the next time Jeremy was away for the evening I would snuggle up with a glass of wine and a good tear-jerker. I didn’t want some sappy, slow, oh-but-they-were-made-for-each-other kind of movie. I wanted tragic. I wanted fury. I wanted the ugliest cry of all.

I chose Terms of Endearment, knowing exactly what scene would do the trick. (If you have no idea what scene I’m talking about, you can see it here.) I stayed with the story and leisurely sipped my wine. When the scene came, I was more than ready. It was as if a door to my chest had flung open and claps of thunder and a steam engine and a slew of monkeys all came barreling out. It was a beautiful mess of tissue and tears that felt so, so good.

So good, that when Jeremy had a night out a few days later, I indulged in another movie-induced tear-fest. I watched In America, one of my favorite films of all time. I was on a roll. And damn, it felt amazing.

With all those tears out of the way, I could think and communicate more clearly. In yoga, I could expand wider and my breath was deeper. All that stuffing of tears was not helping me get through the tough spots. Tears are too heavy to store up inside. We have to shed them so we can keep moving forward with grace.

Research tells us that emotional tears actually contain higher amounts of stress hormones and toxins than say, the kind of tears you have when a bug flies in your eye. Tears activate your parasympathetic nervous system the same way a deep sigh or a deep stretch would. In fact, crying clubs where people gather to watch tear-jerkers and have a good cry are becoming popular in Japan. They call it rui-katsu or “tear-seeking” – inducing tears as a kind of therapy.

Three years later, I’m getting ready to pack up my tiny family and move across many states. I’m also moving away from those I love most in the world. So, yeah. I’ve got some stress. But I’m making time for all the things that keep me sane: yoga, writing, walks alone, and hikes with girlfriends.

And crying.

I’m still not a big crier. I didn’t cry when my son was born. But when that feeling growing in my chest gets to the base of my throat, I don’t stuff it down anymore. I go with it. That way I can get on with life a little more focused and a little less stressed.

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The Magic of Life Outside of the Box

| On Living Well

Living Outside of the Box


When I was a little girl, my mother told me I was ugly.

Before you get the wrong idea, let me say for the record that my mom is amazing; she is compassionate, creative, silly, and I think she did a phenomenal job raising me and my sister. She was in no way abusive.

She saw a little girl who was about to be handed her worth in the form of compliments. She knew the world would tell this little girl they loved her dress, her hair, and her shoes. So she did the only thing she could think to do – she did the opposite in hopes her little girl would learn not to measure her worth in such limited confines.

According to my mom, every time she told me I was ugly, (more…)

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The Monumental Gift of Doing Nothing

| On Living Well

The Powerful Gift of Doing Nothing

Make it happen!

Stop waiting!

She who dares, wins!

These are just a few of the posts I’ve scrolled across on Instagram. I love me a good, positive vibes account. And if that account is also turning out some quality photography… well, swoon. They got me. I’ll double tap the crap out of it.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about (more…)


Hey Artist, Your Day Job is Fantastic – Here’s Why You Need It

| On Creativity

Hey Artist, Your Day Job is Fantastic – Here's Why


Most people don’t know this about me, but a very, very long time ago, I was an actress aspiring actress. I performed in plays during high school and while in college. Then I graduated and decided to just keep auditioning and acting until I “made it.” Whatever that means.

I didn’t have a job lined up for me as I traipsed across the stage with a diploma in my hand. But that was okay because I had a plan: get a job waitressing in a really cool place about 3-4 nights a week where people throw money at you, spend days auditioning, land agent, nab break-through role, make lots of money, live happily ever after leaping from compelling role to compelling role.

Good plan. Here’s what actually happened: (more…)


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