Another Birth!

I might get to be a Doula at another birth this weekend- eeeeee!

I was asked to be a back up for another Doula this week, and didn’t think it would actually work out to where I’d be there, but it is quickly changing!  Send some love toward Hollywood, if you have some to spare, because this new mama is young and aiming for a birth free of intervention.  I haven’t met her or even spoken to her on the phone, so this is going to be an interesting experience for all.

I am feeling full of love and gratitude, and also scared and nervous.  I hope I can be the kind of support she needs.

This will be my second birth, if I am lucky enough to attend, and one step closer to getting my certification.

If you or anyone you know lives in the LA area and are going to have a baby sometime soon, let me know!


July 29, 2011. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

I Can’t Think of a Title for This Post

When I was living in Chicago I took Meisner classes at The Artistic Home.  I studied with Kathy Scambiatterra and Monica Payne- two very brave and smart and wonderful women who I respect a great deal.  You may not know a lot about this technique, so I’ll tell you as much about it as I can without making it sound too crazy.

Basically, it’s a class to teach actors how to follow their instincts so that they may react truthfully moment to moment on stage.  That may seem like a simple task, but it is not my friend…it is not.

So, for instance, if I had to play a character who had drowned her baby in the bathtub, it would be a difficult thing to relate to because I LOVE babies and I have never and don’t ever plan to drown any babies in a tub, or any other body of water.  BUT, if I get cast as that character, I have to be able to relate to that woman, embody that emotion, and carry out her actions, deplorable as they may be.  To tap into that, we turn to Meisner who suggests that we examine what emotions that character is going through- desperation, fear, love, guilt- and use our own life experiences to relate to them.

In a typical Meisner class we would start out with tag: one person enters the space and just lives in it.  When a classmate feels compelled to join them, they can do so by entering the space with an observation, and they begin an exchange. There were many classes where an entire minute would go by with one person on stage…waiting…wondering…waiting…getting more self conscious by the minute…”why isn’t anyone joining me?” they are thinking…fearing.  Meanwhile, as a classmate in my seat, I am sitting there feeling fear, frustration, fear, stubbornness, fear, anger, fear.  Monica would always say, “When your head tells you, “I don’t want to go in” THAT is the time you MUST go in.  When you feel fear, break through it and it will dissolve.”

And I think about that all the time.  I used that guidance in class because it was easy.  Well, it was an easy cue to follow, but it wasn’t always easy to carry out.  But in life, when I feel fear or frustration or anger it’s not as easy to barge right through it and bust it up.  I tend to sit and stare at it and hope it doesn’t notice me and goes away soon.  I try to befriend it hoping that if I sit on the couch and give it tea that maybe it will move on.  But it doesn’t.  It just gets more comfortable and suggests OTHER things to be afraid of/frustrated by/angry over.

I’ve been afraid of writing lately.  Well, I’ve been afraid that I don’t have anything to write ABOUT.  This blog isn’t focused on any one thing so I don’t always know if what I have to say is worth putting down.  So, instead of walking away from the computer today, I sat down and wrote this post, and I am glad I did.  I can’t be the only one feeling this way, right?

I’ve been swimming in a pool of self doubt lately and it’s time to get out and dry off and jump into the pool of self love….but not the kind of self love pool that you find in Cancun on spring break.  That’s just yucky.

This is what came up when I searched "Self Love Pool" in Google Images. Yeah, I could find self love in that pool...

July 27, 2011. Uncategorized. 3 comments.

List #8

For this week’s list, I was asked to be a guest blogger over at Get the Words Out!  Click here to see the post and enjoy Kellie’s fun blog!

July 25, 2011. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Cabbage in your CSA?

When I lived in Chicago I belonged to a CSA through Growing Home.  I loved the experience so much and when we moved out to California, I figured these would be even more popular.  The CSA I belong to here is called Farm Fresh to You and I really like it.  They do use a little more packaging than I would like, but the produce is always fantastic.  Plus, it’s delivered to my door!

My BFF Kate just joined a CSA back in our hometown of Mundelein and I am thrilled about it, even if she isn’t  =)  I think a CSA forces you to get creative with your meals and try food you normally would not.  Plus, she has young kids that, whether they realize it or not, are expanding their repertoire just by SEEING a head of cabbage.  Seeing mom and dad eat it up?  Even BETTER!

So, in honor of Kate and her commitment to giving her family healthy, clean food, here is a recipe I like a lot that using cabbage and tastes DELICIOUS!  It’s even better as left overs the next day.

Fried Udon Noodles from The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone

Serves 2


1 eight oz package of udon noodles (I like to buy fresh, buckwheat noodles from Whole Foods Market, but dried noodles work fine.  if you use fresh noodles, skip the first cooking step).

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 cups sliced green cabbage

1 cup half-moon onion slices (I use a white or yellow onion)

2 tsp finely chopped garlic

3/4 tsp sea salt

3/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 Tablespoon sweet paprika (I just use regular paprika because I already have too many varieties of paprika and just can’t buy another…)

Chopped parsley for garnish (I am not a fan of parsley, so I skip this)

**I also add some tofu to this dish so that there is a protein element, so feel free to do the same, or add any other kind of protein you like. **

***Got some bok choy you aren’t sure what to do with?  This dish is a great one to throw it into!***


1.  Prepare you udon noodles as directed on the package.  If you buy fresh noodles, you get to skip onto the next step!

2.  Heat 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Add the cabbage and cook for about 15 minutes, until it is tender.  If the cabbage begins to stick, add a tablespoon of water.  I like when it gets a little stuck and “burnt.”

3.  In a separate pan, heat the remaining oil over medium heat and ad the onions, garlic, salt, pepper and paprika.  Once the onions are translucent, add mixture to the cabbage and stir to combine.  If the onions start to stick while you are cooking them, add a touch of water.

4.  Once your noodles are cooked and drained, toss noodles into skillet with the onion mixture and cabbage.

5.  Add any protein you have prepared.  Toss together. Serve!

This dish is Asian inspired, but doesn’t have a lot of strong Asian flavor.  The cabbage releases a lot of flavor without making your home smell like stinky socks.


July 19, 2011. Uncategorized. 3 comments.

Beauty CULTure Exhibit

If you are in the LA area, or coming to visit me before November, please check out the Beauty CULTure exhibit going on at the Annenberg Space for Photography.   It’s free and you can park at the Century City mall for free too.

When Angela was in town last week, visiting this space was on her list of things to do.  I love going to museums with Angela because she is super art smart and I learn so much from her.

The space is small enough for you to get through and see everything in thirty minutes or less, but you should stay for the short film they show.

Here’s a little ditty about the exhibit:

Like most, I have struggled with body image issues and disordered eating, and while it’s no longer something that haunts me, I found that this exhibit really brought some STUFF up for me.  I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we went to the exhibit with baby Ilyse.

There is a room off of the exhibit where you can take a photo of your face and do silly photoshop type stuff to it (add crazy hair, change your eyes, etc), and while Angela played around with it, I held Ilyse.  Looking at her perfect skin, her beautiful eyes, her gummy, wonderful smile made me melt, and I just burst into tears wondering how anyone- even her super smart and amazing parents- can protect her from a world that wants girls to believe that they are not beautiful until xyz products are purchased and their waist is xyz small?  I don’t have kids yet, but I can tell you that for a long time I have feared having girls in particular.  Maybe poor body image is contagious…maybe disordered eating is genetic…maybe there isn’t a way to protect them…I just don’t know that I have the ability to do it, and that scares me.

Spending time talking all of this out with Clayton and Angela, I feel certain that Ilyse is going to grow up to be smart and beautiful and funny- just like her folks.  Will she face pressure from society to look a certain way?  Yes.  Will she be able to come home and talk it out with her family?  Yes.  Will that make a difference?  The biggest.

This exhibit shines a light on the issues, but none of it is new information.  What I did like about it is that it gives us an opportunity to see the progression, the repetition, and the sham of the beauty culture in America, and hopefully the conversation continues.

July 19, 2011. Tags: , , , . LA. Leave a comment.

List #7

This weeks list is “Things To Do On A Rainy Day.”

Being in SoCal means that rain storms rarely happen and become a treat when they do.  People from home think I am crazy, and I thought the same of SoCal friends before I moved here, but I truly do miss them.  We don’t get big lightening or thunder here, and that is sad.  Some of my favorite days in Chicago were waking up, realizing it’s raining, cracking the window, and grabbing my book.  Buck and I would read, doze, get up for food, bring it back to bed and continue reading and dozing through the day.  When we were in college and a good storm would come our way, we’d jump in the car and drive out to the cornfields to watch it roll in.  The lightening scared me, but it was so beautiful to watch.

So, this list topic is a fun one for me, although I kept it short because there really are limited things I do when it’s rainy- mostly because I cherish it so much and try not to fill up my day DOING things.  It’s an excuse to NOT do, and I love that.

Read in bed.  A novel is great, but anything will do.

Catch up on podcasts.  My favorites are: This American Life, The Story, Radio Lab, and The Moth.

Sew.   Sew Mama Sew usually has fun, easy patterns in a pinch!

Take Multiple Mid Day Naps.  There is nothing as nice as being under a down comforter with the windows cracked, a slight chill coming through, and the sound and smell of rain taking over your sense.  Bliss.

Snuggle.  A loved one is great to snuggle with, but I also hear babies and dogs are fun.  I’ve even snuggled a pillow and been pretty happy.

Storm Chase. Only really fun if you are in a rural area and are safe.  Getting picked up by a tornado is not something I am endorsing.

Bake.  Here are some of my faves:  Vegan Chocolate Fudge Muffins, Vegan Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache, Peanut Butter Cups.  I bake and cook vegan and these recipes are awesome!  The PB cupcakes are best if you keep them in the freezer!

Lament not buying cute rain boots.  In December, SoCal got something like 10 inches of rain and it was BRUTAL.  I was doing work at a theatre at the time and on the 4th day of constant rain, I HAD to leave the house to go to the theatre and thought my tennis shoes would be fine.  No.  Wrong.  BAD choice.  I was SOAKED within 2 minutes of being outside, with no time to turn around to change- not that I had anything to change into because I never think I will need rain boots, so I never buy any!  Having sopping wet feet is a terrible feeling, and I will not turn away from rain boots next time I see them.  But seriously, why are cute ones so expensive?

Get a hot coffee treat.  Coffee treat to me means something with chocolate and whip cream and maybe chocolate sprinkles on top.  Rainy days are the very best time to get those.

Next week I will be a guest blogger over at Get the Words Out for list #8!

List #7

July 17, 2011. 52 lists, 52 weeks, Baking, Crafts, Food, Recipes. Leave a comment.

Friends in Town

July has been pretty awesome so far!

On the 5th Zac got into town to do his thang with the Freedom Writer’s Foundation down in Long Beach, but on the weekends he comes up to stay with us in LA and we do stuff.  He took me to Miceli’s which was awesome and we went back again last night.  If you have one of these near you, go soon.

Last Sunday when Zac went back down to LB, I headed to the airport to pick up Clayton, Angela and Ilyse- their baby girl/our godchild.  This kid is a seriously happy baby and I am in love.  It was super fun to have a baby in the apartment for 6 days because it showed Buck and I that it might be possible for us to have one of those some day…

We did did a lot of fun stuff, which I am going to tell you about in photo form:

The Welcome to LA Poopy!

Almost didn't get back into LA from San Diego

Happy Baby!

Game Day with Daddy and Buck

Angela made me do this...

Beach Beauties

Baldies unite



Brian realizing he is going to lose


Ps: If you are on Instagram, find me so we can share photos!

July 16, 2011. Friendship. Leave a comment.

List #6

Aggh, I had a long post written with explanations for my new list:  10 Things I Want/Need to Let Go Of, but when I went to publish it, everything disappeared!


But maybe the Universe is telling me that I was getting too wordy…I don’t know.

Either way, here is my list:

1.  Responsibility for other people’s happiness.

2.  Five Pairs of Shoes

3.  Unflattering Undies

4.  My Fear of Having a Baby Girl and Messing Her Up

5.  My Nail Biting Habit

6.  Pants That Don’t Fit RIGHT NOW

7.  My Subscription to TIME OUT CHICAGO

8.  Ties to Toxic People

9.  My Aversion to Facebook

10. The Dead Plants In My Window Box


July 14, 2011. 52 lists, 52 weeks. 1 comment.

Doula Name

I picked a name for my budding Doula business!!  And I am going to share it with you so that I don’t change my mind 400 more times =)

So, here it is: Doula By Heart

I went to this really great lunch last week at BINI Birth and spent time sharing stories and listening to other Doulas talk.  One of the women there said something that stuck with me: “There are two kinds of Doulas- the kind that doula by head, and the kind that doula by heart.”  I’d like to be the kind to doula by heart.  I have been trying to listen to my instincts and following my heart down this path, so the name feels like a representation of where I am coming from and where I would like to go.

Thanks for your support during this silly process.  When I get my site up and FB page going I will let you know so you can poke me and friend me and all that jazz.



July 6, 2011. Uncategorized. 3 comments.

List #5

I am super loving my weekly list making for the 52 Lists/52 Weeks project I am participating through the fun blog, Get The Words Out.  Kellie is so creative and fun and I am so glad she put this together for us.

I missed a week along the way (I blame June for being so insane), so ignore the fact that I jumped from #3 to #5 (I’ll get an extra one in there to get to 52).  Also, ignore the fact that I went rogue for the first 3 lists.  I did not read closely enough to realize that Kellie is setting the theme each week, which is actually nice because I was struggling to come up with my own list themes.

Anyway, I really like this week’s list and it actually accomplishes one of lists I planned to do on last weeks “List of Lists I Want to Make.”

List #5- A Waiting List of Books

I decided to make my list into a bookmark (which I plan to laminate*) so that I can always remember the titles I want to get through, even when reading other books that are not on the list.  I would like to get through these in one year.  Giving myself a year to read 7 books may seem like more than enough, but I am in two book clubs, so I am reading 2 books a month anyway, and the odds of any of my book club books being on this book list is slim.  Also, these are books that have been on my shelf for at least 2 years (except the Doula related books) and for some reason I have been putting them off.  Why?  I don’t know- they are all books that have solid reputations.  I just get all “look at the kitty” when picking a book  (aka: distracted) so if something doesn’t grab me in the first 5-10 pages, I’m outtie.  Well, NO MORE!  I am giving these a fair shake and finishing them!

Here is the list:

Lamb: The Gospel According To Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore

The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama

Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger

The Nursing Mother’s Companion by Kathleen Huggins

Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curios People and Dangerous Ideas by Chuck Klosterman

The Doula Book: How a Trained Labor Companion Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier, and Healthier Birth by Klaus, Kennell, and Klaus

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by David Eggers

*I love laminating things

July 4, 2011. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

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