Monday, November 30, 2009

Pinewood Box Derby

This came in the mail yesterday. I'm kind of excited. Know what's inside? Nipper Knapp's very own 1st Annual 12 South Pinewood Derby t-shirt. I called  Imogene + Willie, to ask if I could buy one even though we couldn't make it, you know, to Nashville, for the race. I'm a freak, but they were very nice, and didn't get a restraining order or anything. I heard through the grapevine that a boy scout won. 

I couldn't wait until Christmas to give it to him. Lookie Lookie!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

NY NY a wonderful town, the Bronx up and the battery's down...

I used to love Gene Kelly. When I graduated from college, my mom asked me what I wanted to do. Go to Europe? No thanks. Get a job? uh-uh. Dance like Gene Kelly and then perhaps time travel and marry him? Yes please. Seemed like a good use for my Latin American history degree. I took tap lessons in some weird industrial building south of market in SF. Still can't dance. But that has nothing to do with anything at all. 

When Nipper Knapp and I were engaged, we went on an audition together for SBC yellow pages. It was two days after the academy awards, a Tuesday. You'll see in a minute, why I remember that little detail over 5 years later. We were sitting in the casting waiting room, and who walks through the lobby, but Errol Morris. Uhm, 48 hours earlier he had won the academy award for the documentary The Fog of War. What was he doing there? Was he directing the commercial? I hit Nipper in the arm and started whispering like crazy. 

I'm not usually star struck. I mean sometimes it's impossible to not be tongue tied around a famous person. But living in LA, you learn to not look directly at them, or better yet, pretend like they're not there at all. But this was too much. We have seen all of his movies. We love him! We even owned a dvd box set of his short lived tv series First Person. Yeah, I know, we really know how to live. This is how we wound up together, me and Nipper Knapp. On our first date, he took me to the oldest blues bar on the west coast and pretended to smoke cigarettes. He mentioned something about reading Thomas Friedman's last column, and I knew in that instant that he was going to be my husband. After dating through the intellectual wasteland and vanity of LA, I was smitten. Nipper Knapp at last! 

Ok, so Nipper and I walk into the room, and I can't help myself. I say "Congratulations on your Oscar, oh and we're you're biggest fan...blather, blather, something about The Thin Blue Line, grovel, bootlick, brown nose..." Needless to say we got the job. 

In the years to follow we've done several spots with him. Some together, and some just Nipper. I'm pretty sure that Errol thinks Nipper is the bees knees, and I'm just along for the ride. Happy to on this particular ride. 

Two weekends ago, Nipper got a message from a casting director who casts commercials for Errol. He says that Errol is directing a Hallmark spot in NYC and they want Nipper and I and Jack for it. Uhm, this does not happen. I've been doing this for years and years, and no matter how many times I've worked with a director or an agency, they want you to get in line just like everyone else. It's not like you work your way up to getting offered commercials like a celebrity, no matter how many you've done. 

They are casting the spot in NY, so we go to the casting office here, and they put us on tape. They send the audition to NY, and then we wait... and wait... and wait. It's the most suspenseful week ever. We're going, we're not going, they want all of us, they just want me and Nipper. To make matters worse, Nipper is supposed to leave Friday for Michigan to watch the Michigan/Ohio State game. Great. Whatever. I can deal with chaos. Sure. Fine...

Errol, his producer Julie, Nipper, Me, Jack, and Karen on set

SO you know by now, if you've been reading that we got the job. All three of us! Hello college fund. Hello Jack going to Berkeley. Not that I care, I mean, whatever, he can go wherever he wants... So long as it's Berkeley. 

This is how tired the cootie queen mom was. That's the floor at JFK where I'm sure he contracted EVERYTHING

We get up at 4am Sunday and fly to NY. We meet Nipper and his sister Karen, who flew out to help us with Jack while we're working. We drive into the city and check into our hotel, which I can't say enough good things about. It's the Thompson LES, and I like it so much more than the Soho Grand where we stayed in September. Plus it's half the price, and right next to a subway stop. Choo Choo!

The hotel left these little kissing dolphin soaps for Jack

Jack's still ready to rumble. Nipper is near death. 

Jack in the glass rain shower, where he took 2 showers a day.

Once we're checked in we go to our favorite pizza place Arturo's. Considering the fact that Jack's life has essentially been the same every day for 2.5 years, never out after dark, never without his warm milk, never without his normal routine, the kid kicks ass. He just rolls with it. We get back to the hotel around 10pm, and we have a 5:30am call time... in Long Island. Eep! Nipper and I are both assuming that the next day's shoot will be a disaster with Jack melting in a sobbing, exhausted puddle on set. But no, he rocks. The kid somehow manages to make it until 1pm, when he's wrapped. Auntie Karen takes him back to the city, and Nipper and I work until about 8pm. When we get back to the hotel Jack is still going strong so we went to Ruby's in Nolita for some dinner.

Errol and the camera

A still from the shoot

The next day Auntie Karen goes back to Michigan early, and we set out on the subway for the Natural History Museum to see the dinosaurs, and meet the big whale. Jack introduced himself "Hi whale, I'm Jack Knapp, and this is my mommy, and my daddy." Then he melted down. Ok, not really, but he was pretty much done with the museum, and after those two stops. We walked over to Shake Shack, which is pretty frickin yummy. After that we figured we walk through central park, and he'd crash. Wrong. As soon as Jack saw the lake, and the ducks, and the leaves, he was out of the stroller and running. He played in the park for two hours straight. When he finally crashed after we bribed him back into the stroller, we were exhausted. We took a leisurely stroll, and got some coffee.


The bubble man in the park blows BIG bubbles!

Jack woke up and we walked over to FAO Schwarz. I know, it's awful, and god knows he doesn't need more toys. But the guilt of putting the kid to work, and how well behaved he'd been, we couldn't resist. Plus it was right there. He picked out a little yellow garbage truck, played with Ziggy Marley's daughter and rode the elevator with Mike Wallace. Good times. 

So that's it. We flew home Wednesday after a big breakfast at Bubby's in Tribeca, where we spotted Debra Messing, who we didn't look directly at. Appropriate. Jack was awesome on the plane, and I would like to thank the movie Monsters VS Aliens and my iphone for smoothing out some rough spots on the trip. Go ahead and judge, but that thing is a miracle worker. 

The tv in the hotel elevator had La Dolce Vita running on continuous loop.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


It's been a rough couple of months food wise. I spent a good portion of October and parts of November having a little pity party, which inevitably led me to various forms of dark chocolate goodness, and vast quantities of fat laden feel good food.

I realize that I have entered the "foundation garment" portion of my life, no more sundress and flip flops. It's all mod girdle and push up bra from here on out. I was on the Spanx website today, and I think I'm getting a pair, as soon as I can parse exactly what kind of bump smoothing tummy sucking garment I need. I feel like a man in the pantyliner aisle. SO many choices, and none of the jargon is familiar. I'm leaning towards the high waited panty ones, but who knows, maybe I'll go for some kind of full body dealie.

I'm convinced that good underwear can make anyone look good. Look at Oprah. She's not a small woman, and she looks AMAZING in her clothes. Not a lump, bump, or rivet. She probably has her underwear made by NASA, or some French lacey version of NASA. On our job last week, the stylist adjusted the back of my bra in between EVERY take. At first I didn't think much of it, but then I realized she was trying to smooth my back fat. You know that pinchy sharpei roll that comes out the top, and bottom, and rolls under the bra. Not pretty. I'm telling you all this so I don't just stuff that memory down under some other bad thoughts and then eat my weight in fettucini alfredo tomorrow. Thanks for listening.

Wish me luck, and a tummy tuck.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Share the wealth episode 2

I told you I'd be late. As soon as I wrote I'd try to feature a great charitable organization once a week, my reptile brain shouted "DON'T FENCE ME IN!!!". Things have been too cuckoo around here. But here is my second installation in my share the wealth series.

Today I'm all about a local organization here in Los Angeles called Beyond Shelter. Here are some very sad statistics from their website:

Third World conditions exist in Los Angeles today.
  • In June, 2008, Los Angeles Unified School District reported that 12,087 children were homeless - a 50% increase in 3 years.
  • L.A. County Department of Public Social Services reports a 12% increase in family homelessness between September 2007 and September 2008; and a 24% increase between June 2008 and September 2008.
  • 85% of emergency shelters and transitional housing regularly turn families away due to lack of beds.

Last year we participated in their Adopt A Family holiday program. Beyond Shelter helps homeless families, many of them single moms and children, get back into a home of their own. They provide assistance with childcare, work training, and job placement. Through donations they are able to provide these families with many of the essential items they could not afford once in their homes, such as pots and pans, towels, silverware, plates, cups, sheets. The adopt a family program, allows you to buy some things the parents need, as well as christmas presents for the children who would otherwise get nothing. For our family we also bought winter coats, new shoes, socks and underwear for the children.

When we adopted the family last year we got a little family history about our family and a list of things that each of them wanted or needed. The circumstances of this young mother, and how she and her two young sons ended up on the street were beyond anything I can imagine. The fear a mother must experience finding herself on the street with her children. While shopping for them, I tried to think of what my mother would have sent to me, if I were setting up house for the first time. (besides more tea towels than a human being could use in one lifetime. What is it with moms and tea towels?) All those little things that we take for granted, and she had nothing. Ok, ok, I'll stop, but I think all the time, about how fortunate we are compared to so many families. And this year, more families than ever are finding themselves out of their homes for the first time. 

I sent in my form this year for the adopt a family program, and was informed that it was so successful that they couldn't guarantee us a family this year. HOORAY! This is great news. But once Christmas is over, many families will still be in need. The program director instead directed me to their registry at Kmart. Basically what they've done is set up a registry for all the everyday items that are needed to set up a family in a new home. It allows the person shopping to spend as little as $1.79 or as much as you want. Nothing on the registry is over $50. Type "Beyond" into the first name, and "Shelter" into the last name, and Bob's your uncle. I think this is pretty frickin awesome. Even if you've only got a few bucks to spare, you can help out someone in need. 

Beyond Shelter provides such an important service to families who have no one else to turn to. As someone who loves her home, who gets so much strength from having a safe place to be with my family, I can't imagine the agony of wondering every night where my children will sleep, or where their next meal will come from. 

If you're one of those people that likes to think global, act local, blah, blah, blah, you can looks up a local food bank in your area on the Feeding America site. While they don't provide the same kind of home placement services, their help is needed in so many communities. Many food banks this year are running low, or completely out of food altogether. Many middle class families are relying on the groceries they get from the local food bank to get them through some very scary times.

Ok, that's my spiel for this week. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Now let's go out and do something good to help someone else in need. And again, if there are other charities or organizations that you'd like me to talk about, let me know! 

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I think you'd better sit down for this

I was sitting at home, minding my own business, letting my turkey rest, when I stumbled into this shop on etsy. It's called KnockKnocking. Ok, I didn't stumble on it. Etsy featured them on their front page. Have you ever seen anything cuter than these? No. No you haven't. I want one on every door in my house, but I know that would come off as sort of mental, so I'm going to have to narrow it down. One for the front door, and maybe one for somewhere else in the house, but where? The stinky bathroom? Maybe if I put something really pretty on that door, no one will notice that they are suffocating.

Here is this super talented girl's blog, and here is her flickr page. I'm smitten!

Now, I need to figure out why it is that Austin has so many mad crazy talented crafty girls. Is it something in the water?

Happy Thanksgivingzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

I have to post pics and the rest of the story from NY. But I thought I'd show you my pretty pretty Thanksgiving table. When Nipper and I got married, he asked me if I was planning on opening a restaurant. I have lots of dishes. Lots of them. I have full sets, plus serving pieces of vintage Fiestaware, Jadite, Murano glass, Laura Ashley and Franciscan Desert Rose. The dishes I used today are just something I picked up at the Crate and Barrel outlet on the way to Palm Springs a few years ago. I think they were $4 a piece. They're the dishes I use everyday. We didn't register for china when we got married. Mostly because I have enough dishes to serve legions. I also thought having something so precious that we'd only eat on once a year, was just dumb. That reminds me to tell you guys someday about how I was engaged once when I was in my mid-twenties, to a man who was not Nipper Knapp, BIG MISTAKE, and we registered for $1200 a piece Meissen tea cups. LOL. Writing that sentence actually made me laugh out loud. Did my 25 year old brain think that the cup was going to make the tea, and pay my taxes?

We got back from NY at 9pm last night. My mother was kind enough to get up with Jack this morning so we could sleep until 7:30. Also because she gets up at 5:30a.m. anyway, you know, just because...

So I got up, and wandered on over to Bristol Farms around 11am, and bought a pre-stuffed, tied up 6lb turkey breast. Thank you very much. I've made 6 turkeys in my life. The first year I did it, I called my father crying with big orange rubber gloves on, convinced that they had not butchered it properly and the neck or SOMETHING was still in there. I kept shouting tearfully into the phone "THERE'S SOMETHING IN THERE!!!" As he laughed and shouted back "Just DO IT!" After that he made a point of sending me lots of pictures of deers he'd slaughtered and was in the process of bleeding out, or some other kind of post kill ritual in an effort to toughen me up. Too late dad, I am made of cotton candy and Wes Anderson movies.

After that I was not so squeamish about the whole cleaning it up business. But I was not going to do the whole cheese cloth and butter baste deal for hours and hours. So I cooked the other 6 turkeys in a bag. Don't tell Martha. But seriously, 2.5 hours, and I can walk away from it and cook all the sides, which are all anyone is interested in anyway.

Well this year, I didn't even want to do that. And I didn't want to clean the damn meat off the bones, or wrestle it in and out of the oven, or have guilt about throwing away ALL the turkey that my mother so carefully cut off the turkey after we each eat 4oz of it. I don't DO sandwiches. Not that kind anyway. Sue me. Potato salad? Never had it. Chicken salad? Are you kidding me? If it involves mayonnaise I'm not interested. Unless it's a b.l.t., in which case, I say, ok just a little, but only because the bible says I must.

This picture was taken during the 6.4 seconds Jack spent at the table

I got in late last night so I wouldn't have been able to thaw it anyway. My mom offered to make reservations somewhere, since everything has been so crazy, but I thought it would be easier and more relaxing to be home. Jack has been too good all week, and I didn't want to tempt fate, and have him set The Palm on fire on Thanksgiving day.

For sides, we had my friend Allie's sweet potato souffle with pecan crumble on top, my stepmother Kary's corn pudding, mashed potatoes, gravy, biscuits, baby romaine salad, wine, and a whole box of sweets from Babycakes in NY, that I carried home on the plane, because I'm a martyr.

So thankful for all of our good fortune, good health, good food. I'm a lucky duck.

I promise a new charitable organization post and the NY stuff before the end of the weekend. Now go back to your tryptophan coma, and wait for your in-laws to leave.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date, no time to say hello goodbye, I'm late, I'm late, I'm late

Workadoodle saga part deux:

I would like to apologize in advance for grammar, spelling, and poor use of tenses. I'm tired.

Friday morning at 6am, I leave the house, saying goodbye to Nipper who was flying back to Michigan to see the Michigan/Ohio State game with his dad and nephew. We had a whole week of ups and downs, and scheduling craziness leading up to that morning, so I was happy to be going to work, where for a few hours, all I had to do was my job. No driving, no answering phones, no fighting with Jack about nap time, or tv time, or how many cheddar bunnies is a reasonable amount to put in one's mouth at one time.

I get to the Paramount lot a little before 7am, and get right into hair and makeup. Everyone on this job is so nice, and I know right away it's going to be a good day. You can sort of tell based on the temperament of the 2nd a.d. and the hair and makeup people what kind of day you're going to have. If they are stressed out or bitchy at 7am, chances are so will everyone else be on the job. Chances are, something is wrong from the top down.

Ok, so the day is starting out great. The two actresses I'm working with are nice, and no one seems crazy, and I'm excited to work with the director. Around 10am, we have a little break, and I go to check my phone. Uhm, insert extreme happiness followed by extreme panic. I have 184,278 text messages and phone calls. Turns out Nipper Knapp and Jack and I booked a Hallmark commercial that was going to shoot in NYC on Monday. YAY!!!! Followed by "HOLY SHIT, I NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW!!!"

When we started shooting the 2nd, had mentioned that we were on the schedule as being done by noon. Which of course meant that we would probably be there until Midnight. As the minutes ticked by, and the text messages from the stylist, the travel coordinator, our agent, Nipper Knapp, and my mother rolled in, I started wondering if my heart might beat right out of my chest.

"Can you call me when you get a chance?"
"What size is Jack"
"Can you call the travel coordinator?"
"What day are you coming back?"
"Can you call this number when you get a chance?"
"What's Jack's shoe size?"
"When did Jack's work permit expire? Can you get him one today?"
"What is your home address?"
" Can you call _________ when you get a chance?"

I'm standing on a sound stage in my "girls night out" get up, jumping up and down, giggling, and doing, as our adorable director said after one take, "more acting", and it's hot as balls under the lights, and my mind is racing...

"What are the chances of us getting out of here in time for me to go home, get Jack's birth certificate, and get to that office in the valley to get his work permit done today? Why is Nipper leaving today of all days? What time does the nanny have to leave to get to her other job? Why don't we have more money to pay her, so she doesn't have to work with other families? Why am I complaining, this is all good? How am I going to get everything that needs to be done, done in the next 3 hours, all the while smiling, and pretending... er, uhm, excuse me, ACTING like I'm totally professional and not about to run screaming from the building?"

Did I mention my mother is about to board a plane to Nevada to attend a wedding. From there she is flying to LA on Sunday to spend Thanksgiving week with us. That's right, SUNDAY, the day we leave for NY. Hello Stress, yes, I would like to mainline you, so nice of you to offer.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What just happened?

I sort of wish that I could just vulcan mind meld with you guys to explain the last week of my life. After what has been one of the slowest years ever for work. Nipper and I have been much busier lately. We spent so many months laying around the house looking at each other, and trying to figure out how to occupy the daylight hours (see entire blog, and disastrous home improvement projects below), that it's been really refreshing to be racing around again, late for everything, and wishing we could get a moment to breathe. But in the best case of be careful what you wish for, I give you the last 168 hours hours. Brought to you by Hallmark!

Last week, I booked an Expedia commercial with the French director and artist Sophie Gateau. Besides the fact that she's French, and cool, and has better hair than almost anyone I know, she's also super nice. I don't want to say it's rare to work with a nice director, but, uh, well, she's rare, and it was awesome working with her. We shot the spot on Friday on the Paramount Pictures lot. I thought I'd take some pictures for the blog. A lot of commercials are shot in real locations (houses, restaurants, etc...) so it's sometimes fun, when you get one on a lot. You get to see what always feels to me like backstage on this whole business.

The Melrose gate at Paramount and the water tower in the distance

the view from outside our stage

This is where we get breakfast and lunch on a shoot. Kind of like a taco truck, but more delicious

Me and Torsten getting my hair and make-up done in the mirror

Hair and Make-up, wardrobe, and lunch were set up in an empty stage nextdoor

We shot the whole thing on a green screen so they can add cool visual effects later

uhm, stage 4, the stage we shot on...duh.

First of all don't look directly at my arms, they are larger than the adorable French woman standing next to me. Also it was hot as hell in there, and this was the end of the day, so I had taken my wool jacket off. It was the stylist's jacket, and it was Commes Des Garcons, and I'm afraid she's going to have to burn it now, because it will forever have my funk in it. Secondly, all three of us girls in the spot are from Michigan, how random is that? Thirdly, this is a really bad picture, and I'm not sure if it's because the iphone had a hard time focusing with the green screen and the lights or the 2nd a.d. is a dumb dumb.

Ok, so that's all I've got. I wanted to get a shot of the workers putting up the stories high Christmas tree at the front entrance, and some of the sets, like the giant side of the building painted with sky and clouds that they used for the Truman show, but by the time we wrapped, I had to run like Hussein Bolt to get to my car to get home in time for our hard working nanny to get to another job (hello guilt). Oh and because I had to get home to arrange to get my entire family to NYC by Sunday night because we all booked a Hallmark commercial with ERROL MORRIS directing!

What the what? Ok, I'm going to split this up into a few posts because now I'm exhausted and afraid my brain might explode.

Monday, November 23, 2009


seriously the last 5 days have been off the charts crazy.
I've wanted to write.
I really have.
But it's been physically impossible for me to even get close to my computer.

The moment I get one teensy tiny moment I'm going to tell you all about it.

I'll just tease you by saying that I started Friday on a soundstage in Los Angeles in 5 inch heels and too much make-up, and I'm writing this post from a luxury hotel in lower Manhattan.

I found this card at a restaurant in LA a few weeks ago, and I think it sums up how I feel right now.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

smitten kitten

In case you need something frivolous and cheap to make yourself happy today, I have just the thing. Many of you probably already know about this magic, but I thought I'd spread the word for those of you who don't.

Stila makes an eyeshadow called "kitten" and it's pretty much the greatest thing to happen to my face since matte lipstick went out of style. They now have a matching lip gloss by the same name, and lucky you, Sephora is selling them both together for the same price as the eyeshadow alone ($18). 

I wore them yesterday to my auditions, and in the span of an hour, two separate actresses said to me that I looked "fresh, and clean faced". Uhm, just so you know, we don't usually sit around at auditions and compliment each others faces. I mean it's not all cat fights and stare downs, but wow. I would like to thank Stila for bringing out the kindness of strangers in a cold cold world. 

The color supposedly works on anyone as it's pretty neutral. I found out about it from my friend Kelly who couldn't look more different than me. SO, get yourself to the Sephora website, and freshen up your face! 

Monday, November 16, 2009

share the wealth

I got to thinking about my post last week, you know the one about Christmas. I do feel more generous this time of year. I also know that a lot of people suffer this time of year. Many people are alone, hungry, or otherwise in need. So I got to thinking that if you are anything like me, you find it hard to figure out how to help. Living in a big city, I see things all the time that I wish I knew how to fix. It can feel even more overwhelming when you turn your attention to the broader world. At some of my lower points, I've tried to think of how I could adopt ALL the kids that need adopting, and make food for EVERYONE who is hungry, and cure all the disease in the world, especially lady diseases that no one talks about, and while I'm at it, teach every person on earth to read, because to me there is no greater pleasure, and nothing more empowering. Alas, most days I smile at the check out person at the grocery store, and don't hurl expletives at the old lady in front of me writing a check, and chalk that up to my good deed.

So as a little holiday warm up, I thought I'd feature a charitable organization once a week. Maybe you've been thinking of how you can help? Or wishing there was something you could do? Looking for a clever gift for someone, or trying to figure out how to not get another ugly reindeer sweater from your aunt Estelle? I know it's been a tough year for a lot of people. But sometimes the smallest acts of kindness can help a lot. You can put the word out that you'd like a donation to be made in your name, or add it to a registry. You can donate in your family's name. You can volunteer, or spread the word yourself. See? So easy! Oh, and I promise not to post pictures of any children with flies on them or play any creepy Sarah Mclachlan music while you read. PROMISE.

Some of the organizations are near and dear to my heart, and some are groups that I've just heard of. I'd love to hear from you about your favorite charities, and maybe I'll include them in future posts.

I'm going to try to feature a new organization each week, hopefully on the same day each week. But you know, sometimes I wear the same socks for four days straight, so we'll see.

I thought I'd start with something that's not too controversial, and I think most of us have fond memories of. Arts in school. You know, finger painting, recorder lessons, Peter Pan. On a side note, totally unrelated to yesterday's post about eating whole tubs of frosting, I played Wilbur in Charlotte's Web in the 5th grade. Many schools no longer have the funding to pay for the teachers to teach these classes, and so kids do without. As an actor and a photographer, and you know, human being in general, I firmly believe that it is through art that we express our humanity best. Wether it be the written word, a song, or a painting, these expressions of the human spirit are how we remember as a people. How we tell about ourselves for future generations. I don't think that every kid will grow up to be an artist, but how sad would it be to think of a child growing up without art.

On top of that kids who have music education score higher on standardized tests. It's true! Oh, and they have less regrets as adults (I just made that up, but how many of us who quit playing piano, or CELLO, or the alto sax, regret not keeping up with our lessons, after our parents stopped making us go? Just me? Ok, fine I'll get some therapy... GEEZ!)

"VH1 Save The Music Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring instrumental music education in American public schools, and raising awareness about the importance of music as part of each child's complete education. Since 1997, the VH1 Save The Music Foundation has provided $45 million worth of new musical instruments to more than 1,700 public schools in more than 100 cities around the country, impacting the lives of more than 1.4 million public school students."

So there you have it. You can check out there website, dust off your band uniform and call your local music school to spend hundreds on adult lessons that you should have taken advantage of when you were nine years old. Oh... just me again? Sorry.

tra la la

I did it! I did it! Why did I do it?

I don't want to leave the impression that I'm just some sort of bungling fool who goes full steam ahead with projects that I
A. have no business undertaking
B. have no interest in undertaking
C. have no ability to finish

I don't want you to think that, even though it's true.

In July, I decided that instead of having an ottoman made for the vast expanse of living room that has become Jack's racetrack, and dance floor, I would make slipcovers for a bunch of oversized flop pillows. Uh-huh. I'm not sure how this seemed like a good alternative, but I do seem to remember that money was involved. So I bought the pillows, and I bought some fabric, and 5 short months later I've finished them. 

Now I want you to say "hooray" in your least enthusiastic voice. That's how I felt yesterday putting in the final stitches. 

They don't really match anything in our house. Also, if they aren't stacked just so, and a Jack flops on them, he gets a face full of floor. Not awesome. If we have a daughter in the next few years,(no we're not pregnant) it will be a relief, because these will be relegated to her room, and I won't have to stare failure in the face every day. If we have another boy, I might have to donate them to a brothel. It is after all their natural habitat.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fat Willy Taft

That's what Nipper is going to start calling me if I don't knock it off. "Good morning Fat Willy Taft! Jack tell Fat Willy Taft good morning!" I'm going to blame the holidays, and the turn of the weather. It's been in the low 70s all week in LA, you know sweater weather. Last weekend I made two giant lasagna dishes filled with comfort food for us to eat all week. I made brownies, bought some mint fudge covered oreos, which are like kryptonite to me, and I would like to tell the good people at nabisco that they are ruining my figure... but also that they have made life worth living. Yesterday I made the salted brown butter crispy treats from smitten kitchen. And then I had the brainstorm to melt some scharffen berger dark chocolate and dip the tops in it. Nipper Knapp and I have eaten half of them already... since yesterday.

I don't know that I've gone on a food bender like this since I was a kid. When I was 9 or 10, I would sneak down to the corner store and buy a bag of mini reese's peanut butter cups, and eat THE WHOLE BAG. I would hide them under my pillow, so my mom wouldn't know. I would buy a tub of chocolate frosting and eat it with a spoon. For the life of me, I can't figure out why I did this, but I would spread butter on saltines and sprinkle them with sugar and eat them. I was a baby closet sugar smack. What's funny, is that as an adult, I am much more of a savory food person. I'd much rather have something salty or cheesy than something sweet. But as a kid, I couldn't get enough. Maybe I'm going through puberty again...

The red holiday cups are back at Starbucks, and along with them the treat I think about a good part of the year. The gingerbread latte. I think about it before I go to bed at night. As in, "fuck I have so much to do tomorrow, and there's no way I'm going to get it all done, but hey, at least there will be a gingerbread latte in there somewhere...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz". Unfortunately this year, I've given up caffeine and so I thought I'd have to go without. But I decided to try it anyway, and of course I'm hooked. Something about a hot beverage that's made for you by someone else, that you can carry around with you, feels like the ultimate in being nice to yourself. The bad part is that I'm a little ashamed of my order, because it's basically just a milky syrup delivery system. This is what it sounds like "I'd like a grande soy gingerbread two pump latte with no foam and no toppings".  Hello douchebag, nice to meet you. I'm filled with self loathing every time I say it.

Today, when I got up, Jack and I went through the drive through Starbucks by our house. They have the little screen up that shows your order as you're telling the person inside what you want. Here's what it looked like:

1 Grande Hot Chocolate
1 Horizon Milk
1 Grande Soy Gingerbread Latte (ask me)

There it is, confirmation. I have become the dressing on the side person. I have become a high maintenance orderer. I used to be happy with butter on a soda cracker and now I need a thesaurus and a manager approval to order coffee.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I'm not crying, I have some popcorn in my eye

Querida Internet,

Number of times I cried during the movie 2012:


Just wanted you to know what kind of girl you're dealing with...

Mrs Nipper Knapp

Cute as a button!

Some of you may have already seen my friend Annie Little in the new Kindle commercial. If not check out her website to see the spot, and download the song for FREE off Amazon. I am so excited for her!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Shameless self promotion

The thing we do for money is pretty silly. We dress up, not in costumes, but in clothes your mother would wear to a bake sale and pretend to be someone else's spouse, or mother, or office mate, and we convince you to buy stuff. Stuff that you need or don't need. Stuff that needs selling. Nipper Knapp and I are actors and we mostly (only) do commercials. If someone had told me at 23 that I would have a great career doing commercials, that I would support my family, and get health insurance, and be able to spend most days laying around the house with my family, I would have thought they were nuts. I also might have gone back to school. Which would have been dumb. Because I have a great life. It's a little unstable, but whose life isn't? 

Over the years, I developed an interest in photography and started shooting actors headshots, which led to shooting models, which led to shooting stuff for designers and magazines. I had lots of luck, and friends who helped, and I started to think that maybe acting in commercials was just my day job, and that photography was what I really wanted to spend my life doing. At last I felt in control of a creative process. 

And then I had a baby. 

I don't know why it's not talked about more, but no one told me that 1/4 of my brain matter would be removed upon delivery of my sweet baby boy. Just right out the door. What's my name? I don't know. Where is the bottle warmer? No idea. What shutter speed should we shoot this at to create shadow on that side of the girls face, but not lose detail completely? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Are you kidding me? I have to do math? I can barely remember what I like to eat. Scratch that, I have no idea what I like to eat. I have momnesia.

Now, I have to admit that much of my ability to reason, and the logic portion of my brain had returned once Jack grew past infancy. Unfortunately the desire to work out complicated problems not involving how to get Jack to sleep through the night did not. Frankly, I didn't care anymore. Didn't care about putting on make-up to go to an audition. Didn't care about learning the lines once I got there. Didn't care that people probably thought I was a mess. Didn't care about taking pictures AT ALL. As a matter of fact, most of the pictures we have of Jack in his first year were taken on our iphones. I didn't even feel guilty about not caring. I was so filled with maternal longing, and crazy hormones, that I didn't really notice anything missing. I also didn't get much of any work that first year. Great for bonding with Jack, not great for our pocketbook. 

When Jack was about to be a year old, one of my dearest and oldest friends from childhood contacted me. She was getting married and she wanted me to shoot her wedding. I said "NO". I told her that I don't really shoot weddings. I told her that she should hire someone who specializes in weddings. She told me that she wouldn't take no for an answer. I didn't tell her I was worried I'd ruin her wedding by taking awful, uninspired terrible, no good pictures. I thought "I haven't touched my camera in a year, and maybe I don't know how anymore." I was having a serious crisis of confidence. She insisted, so I said I would do it , and then I immediately set to spending every night looking at wedding photographers sites. 

OH BOY! I forgot how much I loved this stuff. I forgot how much I love photography, and images, and wedding dresses, and flowers, and happy people's faces! I forgot the thrill of a challenge. As the day approached I hired an assistant for the day of the wedding. They were getting married in Sonoma so I couldn't use any of my old assistants here in LA. I found him on craigslist and he turned out to be completely non crazy, and didn't murder me as the cake was being cut or anything. Which was a big relief. 

Long story short (too late for that I know) it went really well. The location was beautiful, the bride was beautiful (duh), and did I mention the pictures were beautiful. It all came back, just like riding a bike. I made a mental note of all the shots I needed to get. I consulted the bride and groom on anything or anyone special they wanted me to shoot (their shoes, crazy aunt esther, etc...) And the thing I was the most concerned about, the part of being "the wedding photographer", was AWESOME. Turns out, I love to be bossy! And I'm good at it! Who knew? (shut up Nipper)

So in the year that followed, I randomly had a few other couples ask me to shoot their weddings, and I enjoyed each one more than the last. Some of the weddings have been travel jobs, one in Michigan, and another with a wedding in San Francisco, and a reception in Malibu, so I've had to really put on my thinking cap, and be prepared. It's been challenging and so fulfilling. It seems there IS a way to blend that thing I loved pre-baby, with something that is do-able post-baby. I no longer have the heart for putting together lavish shoots with models, and stylists, and clients. I do have a love of family, and friends, and as much as it makes me want to throw up a little in my own mouth to say it, a love of love. Excuse me... lobotomizing myself now.

So I've put together another blog. SHUT UP you say! No, but it's true. It's going to be for the weddings I shoot. So it won't be filled with any clever anecdotes about how I destroyed something, or made Nipper Knapp want to commit sepuku. But it will be filled with stories of love, and happiness and pretty pretty things that clever brides think of to make their day sweet and personal and perfect. Feel free to pass along my photography site, or the wedding blog to anyone you know who's getting hitched. Who knows, maybe someone you know has been dying to have the quilted northern girl shoot their wedding.