Being full with just a handful of friends

With Nikki

With Nikki

This evening, I talked to my dear friend Nikki for more than two hours, which is a huge chunk of time for busy folks like us. I’m juggling multiple gigs and an internship and she’s getting married exactly two months from today, so chatting on the phone for that long might seem crazy given everything on our plate. But it was really nice to catch up, and as Nikki always does when we touch base, she made me realize how good I really have it.

After I explained that I’ve been doing a ton of freelance work and research on upcoming TV writing fellowships, she inquired about my social life.

“I know all about your guy, but you haven’t mentioned much about your friends in LA. Who do you hang out with these days?”

“I’m really close with this girl named Kelly from my internship,” I said, “There’s also my roommate Dawn, fellow HelloGiggles columnist Angie, and our mutual buddy Lidia. I’m not attached at the hip with anyone else but it’s going super well with those ladies.”

“Laura, that’s plenty. Most people would agree that’s a lot of friends!”

“Well, quality is what matters.”

Having 3-4 trustworthy pals is more than enough, and they’ve all been there for me during trying times here in SoCal. As my parents told me in junior high, a handful of loyal friends is all you really need, I just got so stuck on the idea that I constantly had to be out and about during my 20s. NYC and D.C. made me feel pressured to do something fun, adventurous, and crazy every weekend, even when I was tired, being blown off, miserable, or too intimidated by the volatile weather to leave my overpriced walkup. On top of work and the insanity of surviving in a giant city, I had FOMO and YOLO on my back, and it was all weighing me down.

LA is different for me. I’m much happier having a dependable group of friends and not simply an exciting one, but to be fair, my closest friends in NYC were gems as well. The need to seek chaos and trouble, however, just isn’t what I want anymore. I’ve got a manageable, rich (in quality, not money. I told you this isn’t Gossip Girl!) social circle here, and we’re all finding our own way in this town.

Speaking of which, Nikki added that I’m writing about LA a lot more and NYC significantly less these days. There’s a reason for that: I don’t want to live in the past anymore, even though I thought I knew who I was back then.

Sometimes I feel like Charlize Theron in YOUNG ADULT.

Sometimes I feel like Charlize Theron in YOUNG ADULT.

When I first moved here, all I could talk about was my former East Coast life, and Ian listened because he cared and recognized it was important for me to vent. I defined myself by previous jobs, an egregious mistake if there ever was one. I wanted to show my LA pals and boyfriend that I’d been successful on paper and respected once upon a time, not simply a 25-year-old intern, part-time babysitter, Chipotle addict, and budding slacker. But I am more than my place of employment, and for the first time in my life, I believe I’m more than my writing.

I’m a 25-year-old who strolls past Mickey Mouse stuff every week, finds children hilarious, loves residing in protein-heavy and delicious burrito land, and values the work, heart, and soul put into a good TV show. I lack rhythm and grace but love Zumba and yoga class, as I’ve been obsessed with stretching, circulation, and feeling centered since middle school. Print may be dying, but nothing soothes me like a book, newspaper, or magazine.

Roxy with all the diaries I kept as a child. I've always been an "oversharer"!

Roxy with all the diaries I kept as a child. I’ve always been an “oversharer”!

Receiving mail has always been a highlight of my life, and I don’t know what I’m going to do when my 14-year-old dog Roxy eventually passes away, as she’s one of the sweetest living beings I’ve ever known, not to mention a direct portal to a charmed upbringing that abruptly ended with the death of my father. Froyo is all right, but thanks to my dad, I’ll forever be an ice cream girl. I’m a natural redhead but blonde at heart, so I get my hair done every two months, much to the chagrin of outsiders who think I should embrace my greasy, clownish locks. Yeah right.

Friends are a close second, but family is the most important part of my life. As long as I have those things, I’ll consider myself a winner, TV writer or not.

With mom

With mom

At Chipotle in 2008 --- wearing sweatpants!

At Chipotle in 2008 — wearing sweatpants!

In Hawaii

sbb

My car got towed and a sympathetic stranger helped me get it back

Unfortunate events happen in threes, so given my recent parking ticket and towing, I’m due for another disaster soon. Two weeks ago, I got coffee with a friend in Studio City and abused the 1-hour meter limit, earning myself a ticket. Winston from New Girl showed up to the same venue a few minutes later, slightly making up for the fact that I would soon have to piss away $63 of freelancing and babysitting money (yes, I’m too old for a babysitting job, but we’ll get to that later). There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel for me, and my Monday morning towing confirmed this in a very unusual way.

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Via Zagat

The previous night, I had dinner and drinks with my boyfriend in downtown LA. We wanted to celebrate our anniversary at Bar Ama, where he took me on our first date, and I brought my silver Coach ringlet and regular purse over to his apartment in case I wanted to sport something fancy and light on the town. I ended up taking both to dinner,  and prior to that, I left my car in my favorite parking lot, which has a 12-hour limit for each car. No one ever seems to monitor the area, so even though my pass was supposed to expire at 6:03 a.m. the next day, I didn’t return to the lot until 8:30. I’d broken the rules before and thought I could get away with it again, but I was wrong.

When I finally arrived at the lot the next day, my Honda Civic was nowhere to be found. You can knock me all you want if you hate the comparison, but I felt a little like Hannah in the season one finale of Girls. After an abrupt breakup with Adam, she hops on the subway and dozes off, only to wake up in Coney Island without a purse or way of getting back home. Rather than panic, she heads to the water and munches on the cupcake she managed not to get stolen on the journey to Brooklyn. I didn’t feel like flipping out either, but I knew I was screwed, at least until I had my car back.

girls10g.jpg.CROP.article250-medium

Just like that, the thing I needed most in LA had been taken to some sketchy location thanks to my own bad judgment. Why had I believed I could get away with parking violations forever, especially since I’d had multiple nightmares about towing during my first few months in California? Well, this is the kind of thing that happens when you get too comfortable. You start to believe you — and your belongings — are expendable, untouchable.

When I decided it was time to quit hobbling around in circles, I called up the towing company to confirm my vehicle had been picked up that day. It had.

“I’m so sorry about that. How do I get it back?”

“I’ll give you the address. Do you have a piece of paper?”

I scrambled to pull a pen out of my purse and write down the location on my hand, transporting myself back to elementary school when that was such a common thing to do. I would have to show up to the lot before 5 p.m., when my vehicle would be impounded for inconveniencing the oh-so-considerate towing company.

Waiting in line at the ATM, I asked the guy behind me if he knew how to catch a cab. Downtown LA is fun, but it’s not NYC. Would I have to resort to Uber or Lyft even though I suck at apps? I hoped not. A few people gave me advice on services to call and wished me luck on my journey to the impound lot. Though I considered calling a cab company, I figured the fastest solution would be to hail down the next taxi in sight. There wasn’t much time to spare, as I had a babysitting commitment at noon. I had to move quickly.

la-downtown-01As I was about to cross Spring Street, I noticed a blue and yellow car driving my way, so I inched closer to the road and swung my arms around like a flailing P.E. student. Like my car, any semblance of taxi etiquette I may have acquired in NYC was gone. I was just a wanderer in a city where nobody walks or interacts with each other. As the cabbie pulled over, I felt an instant sense of relief.

“Where do you need to go?”

“Verdugo Avenue. I’ve been towed,” I said, breathless. “Can you help?”

“I’m not a real taxi driver, but get in.”

This should have alarmed me, especially since I’m as paranoid as they come, but my car had just been hauled away by complete strangers and it wasn’t even 9:00 a.m. I didn’t have the luxury of being suspicious or lacking faith in others.

After fastening my seat belt, I checked my phone for directions and told the driver to go down Temple. We were only six miles away from the impound lot, but getting there would be tough given heavy morning traffic.

“Shit, I’m late for my court appearance,” he said.

“I can find another cab. I don’t want to burden you if you have somewhere to be.”

“No it’s cool, I’m already late. May as well reschedule.”

A part of me wanted to know what he’d done to warrant a court visit, but I decided it’d be rude to ask. Then I remembered he’d revealed he wasn’t even a real cab driver, so what was his deal?

“You’re not really a cab driver?”

“My dad is. He loaned this car to me, and you’re the second person I’ve driven so far.”

“What do you charge?” I asked, suddenly aware of the fact that I’d only withdrawn enough cash for towing fees.

“Don’t worry about it,” he said. “Whatever you have is fine.”

This seemed oddly considerate of a random guy, and though NYC groomed me to assume all friendly gestures are manipulative and discreetly self-serving, I had a feeling this person wasn’t trying to work me, even as I continuously gave him faulty directions thanks to my flawed, outdated directions app. I expected him to grow angry, but all he asked was that I keep my eyes on the stoplights while he glanced down at the map on my phone.

“I feel awful making you drive in circles,” I said.

“It’s chill. I’m skipping court so I’ve got nowhere to be.”

“I hope you get that sorted out.”

“It’s complicated,” he went on. “I was towed too, you know. Three weeks ago.”

I thought back to my call from earlier in the morning. If I didn’t retrieve my car by 5 p.m., it would be impounded. There was no way his car hadn’t been taken into custody, but I didn’t want to be even more of a Debbie Downer than I already was, so I kept that thought to myself.

“Why were you towed?” I said.

“I had a bunch of stolen merch inside the car.”

“Merc?” I said, initially thinking he’d made a reference to mercury, a.k.a. poison, a.ka. drugs. I don’t know, people, I’m not into the drug scene and wouldn’t know what things are called.

Merch, merchandise,” he corrected. “Stolen shit. Designer purses. Louis Vuitton, Dolce and Gabanna and shit.”

It occurred to me that I had not one but two Coach bags on my lap. Up until that point, I’d been pretty relaxed around this young man, whose life seemed messy but personality compassionate. He was still a stranger, and I’d gone against the first rule my parents had ever given to me, which was to never get in the car with someone I didn’t know. We do this as taxi passengers, but this fellow wasn’t even a real taxi driver. But I’d already made the choice to get into his car, and I had to pretend his back story didn’t perplex or bother me.

“Oh, where did you get all that stuff?”

“Hollywood. All stolen.”

“Well, it happens.”

At the next stoplight, I asked how close we were to Verdugo Avenue. Three miles, he replied.

“You can smoke in here if you want,” he said. “You’re pretty strung out.”

“I am. This just wasn’t the way to start my week, you know?”

“You’re telling me. I really didn’t want to be in court this morning. I’m hungover as fuck too.”

“The worst,” I said.

“The other guy I picked up was really fucked up. I was fucked up too, so we laughed about it while I was driving him home. Then I passed the fuck out.”

My nerves kicked in again, and suddenly Lorde’s “Team” started playing on the radio. Up until that morning, I found her music boring, whiny, and pretentious, but all I wanted to do right then was sing along with her. It was the only thing I could do to appear somewhat calm and composed. There’s something soothing about Lorde’s voice, and for keeping me contained for the duration of the ride, I’ll forever respect what she does.

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“I like this song too,” he said, turning up the volume.

“She’s really making a name for herself,” I replied, a wave of ease overcoming me as we turned on Verdugo. We were only .4 miles away from the destination, so I told the guy he could drop me off “wherever.” And that was it. There wouldn’t be any drama with this fake cab driver, who really did want nothing from me after all, not even a cab fare (I gave him cash anyway, but it was amazing that he didn’t expect it after all that).

“The next time you’re having a bad day, help someone out,” he said. “It’ll make you feel better.”

Almost as soon as I got out of the car, my boyfriend called, distraught and worried as he’d just gotten my texts about being towed.

“My phone was on silent, I’m so sorry I missed your call. Are you OK? Do you need me to come get you?”

I didn’t even want to talk about the car. I just wanted to tell Ian about the weird thing that had just happened to me, but I was still too flustered and blindsided by everything to coherently share the story. I don’t feel very articulate or clear right now either — all I know is a perfect stranger, albeit troubled and reckless — did me a favor and sought nothing in return.

The towing company, of course, was another story. When I got to the customer service counter, I asked the employee whether they’d be reporting the towing to my insurance provider. No, just the LAPD, as they’re required to check in with authorities before towing cars so people don’t believe they’ve just been carjacked. I was off the hook insurance-wise but still feeling pretty down.

“I got a ticket last week. I really don’t want to tell my mom about this.”

“Let me tell you, it doesn’t get any better,” he said. “I’m 55 years old and still have to deal with my mom worrying about me. I wish I could say it stops with age.”

“Well, I’d rather have her here than not.”

“Me too,” he said, handing me my keys. “Don’t worry, Ms. Donovan. We’re not going to call your mom.”

I turn 26 in July, and here I was begging some random towing company attendant not to rat me out to my mother. I’m too old to be getting into these avoidable catastrophes, and quite frankly, I’m too old to be babysitting. As much as I adore children, particularly the boys I watch now, it’s about time I get on the right career track, and I can start by seeking out grown-up jobs of any kind. I may have to put in tons of hours and cut down on my TV-watching habits, but I’ll be on the path to becoming a fully formed adult. For some, it takes a series of mishaps, and though I’d rather not experience disaster upon disaster before getting where I need to be, I’m grateful for what each has taught me, as well as the interesting and dynamic characters that came along for the ride.

The toll of trolls

Taylor Swift knows a LOT about trolls

Taylor Swift knows a LOT about trolls

I love writing for HelloGiggles because co-founders Zooey Deschanel, Molly McAleer, and Sophia Rossi forbid users from demeaning or attacking anyone. Sure we write critical (and fair) pieces on occasion, but commenters aren’t allowed to put down authors or other users, and if these folks choose to say something controversial, their names and Facebook pages will be attached to the comments. It’s an incentive not to be a total jerk. I think it’s part of the reason why I never get picked on or torn apart in the HG comments section. The site’s Facebook page is another story.

I follow HG and Refinery 29, which republishes some HG content and has republished my work as such. As much as I love seeing my articles pop up on my Facebook feed thanks to Refinery 29 and HG’s fan pages, it’s troubling to be met with so many nasty Facebook comments on those threads. A lot of people have called my pieces the “worst” they’ve ever seen on Refinery 29 and HG, their points leveraged by “likes” from other users. I learned a long time ago not to read Internet comments or take this kind of bullying to heart, but it does hurt at times, especially when I’m feeling bad in other areas of life.

The beginning of every year is always a challenge for me. January is like a No Man’s Land, February feels long even though it’s the shortest month of the year, there’s little to look forward to in March, and as the awful phrase goes, “April showers bring May flowers.” In LA, we have “June Gloom,” but I guess that’s better than the Polar Vortex assaulting the rest of the country with no remorse. I’m more of a summer soul, so it’s not surprising that the early months get me a little bummed out. Needless online spats and frivolous insults sting more than usual right now.

I’m certainly guilty of criticizing writers, journalists, actors, etc. What I won’t do, however, is say they’ve created the worst thing imaginable, and if I feel the need to resort to hyperbole like that, I’ll make an effort to make something of higher quality. Bottom line, you really shouldn’t call something an abomination if you’re not willing to do a better job yourself. It’s lazy and nonconstructive, and you’re just being mean to be mean. What do commenters get from crapping all over another person’s labored efforts and aspirations? I’ll never understand it, but in the mean time, I’ll try to develop a thicker skin. I’m going to need it in this industry.

It’s absolutely fine to disagree with my work. I encourage debate and really do love when people challenge my views and claims. But the approach has to be respectful, and the other party shouldn’t just be out to fight and throw stones. I’m not interested in a duel. I would like to have a dialogue, but I’m starting to feel like that’s too much to ask of the Internet.

The latest ‘True Detective’ episode felt kind of sexist

Matthew-McConaughey-in-True-Detective-WallpaperI think HBO’s True Detective is currently the best show on TV, and I’m not saying that just because I love Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan, and Matthew McConaughey. The pacing is solid, storyline compelling, vibe creepier than anything else out right now, music chilling, and dialogue natural. The latest episode, however, contains sexist themes that turned me off to the show, at least in the moment.

You must know there are SPOILERS in this post, so don’t continue reading if you’re behind on the series and don’t want to know how the sixth installment, “Haunted Houses,” plays out. 

The season is almost over, and we left off with Rust’s character being suspected of committing the murders he and his partner Marty supposedly solved in the 90s. We’re once again acquainted with Beth, the young woman Marty saved from a life of prostitution during the big case. She comes forward and thanks him for turning her life around … and then seduces him. He gives in and who could blame him? He has to pick up store brand tampons and pads for his wife. This appears to emasculate Marty so much that he hits the bar, where Beth approaches him and mocks the purchases. This is the second time (we know of) that Marty has been unfaithful to his wife Maggie, and by now, she’s done with it.

From the beginning of season one, I felt a connection between Maggie and Rust, both of whom are lonely people in different ways. His marriage ended following the accidental death of his little girl and her husband is out drinking and sleeping around when he’s not putting in tons of hours at work. Years go by and nothing happens with Rust and Maggie, but after Maggie discovers sexts from Beth on Marty’s phone, she marches over to Rust’s home and throws herself at him. He hasn’t been with anyone in far too long, so the intimacy engulfs him … until he realizes Maggie is solely out for revenge and using him. It’s not about Rust, it’s about devastating the man who has ruined her life. In turn, she messes with another person’s life.

To hurt her cheating spouse who has been awful to her for what seems like decades, Maggie confesses to sleeping with Rust, and this of course causes a brawl at work. The men beat each other senselessly and Rust resigns. We flashforward and see they’re on good enough terms to “go for a drive” much later on down the road, but nothing changes the fact that the show ultimately chose to have a vengeful woman ruin their complicated bromance and working relationship. Rust and Marty butt heads all season, but it’s Maggie that drives them apart and changes the game. It’s similar to the way Beth destroys Marty and Maggie’s marriage, which has already been tested and tarnished by a previous affair.

This isn’t to say I dislike the series. I remain a huge fan and look forward to it every Sunday night, even though it gives me more sleeping problems than American Horror Story ever did. I just have to wonder if I’m the only person who didn’t like the events that played out on last night’s episode. If you disagree with me, do share in the comments. It’s a wonderful program and I don’t mean to tear it down here — just a little puzzled.

My new morning inspiration routine sets me up for the best day ever

I may reside in a beautiful part of the country, but the sun cannot do all my work for me. To be full,happy, and balanced, I have to maintain a healthy, clean living space, both in my house and in my mind.

Sometimes I have moments of discouragement and doubt, but to keep that negative energy from bringing me down, I meditate, perform sun salutations, and do sit-ups every morning. They remind me I’m in control of my own destiny and reactions to things, but I just decided to include a little something extra in my daily routine: inspirational chalkboard messages.

When I moved into my quaint Los Feliz area cottage a couple months ago, I was in awe of its size. Coming from a tiny Harry Potter apartment that could fit my bed and nothing else in NYC, it floored me to have space for my bed, desk, dressers, TV stand, coffee table, and multiple lamps in my new room. There is also a chalkboard, as one of the previous occupants was a teacher and apparently couldn’t live without it at home. At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of all the room I had. I felt guilty in a way. If Bloomberg got his hands on a room like mine, he’d probably divide it into four and sell it to a group of poor, perpetually broke souls in Manhattan. How could I make use of so much space? I just didn’t know.

Now I use the floor for meditation, yoga stretches, and simple workouts. The chalkboard used to bother me because it darkens the room at night, but I’ve decided to write inspirational messages on it at the beginning of each day. Here’s what I threw together this morning:

morning inspiration

So I need to work on my chalkboard-writing skills (I was terrible at this in school as well — old habits die hard!), but all that matters is starting my days off on an upbeat note. Maybe it would be better to write them in the evening so I can wake up to nice notes, but there’s something energizing about jotting down my thoughts and hopes before setting out into the world for another day. I’ll let you know how it all works out for me. :) 

HBO’s ‘Enlightened’ was the TV show that got away

article-2392313-1B47F130000005DC-996_634x478As I’ve written many, many times before, I became a huge fan of New Girl just a few weeks before losing my job in NYC. I watched the first season during Fourth of July weekend, and the series was enough to make me want to move to LA and pursue TV writing two months later.

New Girl brightened my spirits during the depressing dog days of summer in Manhattan. It gave me the courage to return to my home state and have a more peaceful, balanced existence. I don’t yell, talk, or walk in my sleep anymore. I am always in bed before midnight. I do sun salutations every single morning. I’ve vowed to never be drunk again, as I hate what inebriation does to my body and how it makes me feel. Things aren’t perfect, but six months after feeling like my whole life had been flipped over, I’m in a healthy place mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

That’s why I’m glad I didn’t watch HBO’s Enlightened until last week. The show, which received glowing writeups and reviews, was canceled after two seasons. There weren’t enough viewers, and some ventured to say the buzz surrounding Girls negatively impacted Enlightened, which is miles above Dunham’s program. I’m a huge Girls fan, but there truly wasn’t anything on TV like Mike White’s Enlightened. The writing is amazing, performances hilarious and weird, and subjects tragic yet relatable. Laura Dern’s character Amy is extremely hard to like much of the time, especially as she continuously goofs off at work and takes advantage of nice people like White’s character Tyler, but she has so much light, verve, talent, and spirit that you just can’t help rooting for her.

Enlightened follows Amy, a corporate buyer who has a nervous breakdown at the office after her boss demotes her following their affair. She partakes in a spiritual rehab program in Hawaii and returns to southern California a changed woman, or so she thinks. The company takes her back due to a legal obligation but sends her to work with the data entry team in the basement. She can’t believe how mindless and unrewarding the new job is, and she feels sorry for her “sad” new co-workers who don’t know any better. Meanwhile, she doesn’t understand why her former colleagues — those who witnessed her public meltdown — don’t want to make nice on her terms. Her former assistant Krista is a fairweather friend and the people who once looked at her as a respected equal view her as a nutjob liability the corporation was forced to rehire. She doesn’t get any love from her mother, with whom she’s temporarily living. The two have never been close, and when Amy needs someone to talk to, she visits her drug addicted ex-husband Levy, who is decent company but far from stable or capable of helping her grow.

The best influence in her life is Tyler, her meek new co-worker, at least in the first season. She’s energetic and bubbly whereas he keeps to himself and does his work. She wants more out of life and will break the rules to get what she wants, and he lets this slide until he realizes she’s mostly out for herself. This changes though, and I still think it’s a really good thing that the unlikable female lead is becoming more accepted in pop culture.

I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy Enlightened six months ago. Though amazing, it’s incredibly sad and hits close to home in a lot of ways. I have an easier time watching it now that I have my own house in LA, am no longer living in my grandmother’s Long Beach condo, have a couple writing gigs and two entertainment internships under my belt, love with the best person I’ve ever met, and have cut off all toxic relationships. That wasn’t the case in July, when I was confused, directionless, low, and crippled by failure. Things will never be perfect for me, but I’m feeling great right now, and that’s why I can appreciate Enlightened. As Amy says in the pilot episode, you can walk out of hell into the light, and it’s much easier to look at from the light than in the darkness.

It’s not that hard to say ‘good job’

sample-6It’s not an original story, but for the majority of my youth, I was told I wasn’t “enough”: not smart enough, not pretty enough, not assertive enough, not edgy enough, not outgoing enough, not articulate enough, all around not enough to move mountains or accomplish anything out of the ordinary. I’m certainly not the first to have been brought down by criticism from all sorts of people. But all the negativity of the past has made me the person I am today, and when the folks who doubted me can’t even bother to admit I’m actually doing something right, it proves no amount of accolades would ever change their views on me. They made up their mind years ago, long before I was in a position to shine.

My parents never led me to believe I couldn’t do anything. They just made sure I was aware of the hardships of becoming a writer and moving to another state to pursue my dreams. Going to college in Arizona meant higher tuition, but it also meant attending a university with an incredible student newspaper, which truly shaped the rest of my writing career. By sophomore year, I had my own column, and while I suffered creative dry spells and often published content I didn’t love, I refused to stop writing. I understood the value of pushing through even when the results aren’t all that magical, because you cannot produce something amazing without the patience to churn out passionless stories on deadline. You also have to practice, and you’re not going to walk out of every session feeling like a million bucks. You might leave some of them believing you’ve lost your skill and might never write anything good again. Not everything is going to be a winner, but that doesn’t mean you only write when inspired. You must get to work. There’s a reason Anne Lamott praises “shitty first drafts.”

I have a lot of good days and bad days as a writer, but when I’m feeling strong and everything seems to be going my way, it’s nice to know that people who care about me are proud of what I’m doing. It wouldn’t kill them to just say “good job” every once in a while, or at least swap one of the judgmental, “so you have no job?” digs with a “nice work on that column/interview/blog post.” No, I’m not asking for kisses on the cheek or to exchange warm fuzzies in a circle at the end of every week. I’m asking people who are supposedly on my side to halt the naysaying, hate-reading from afar, and jokes just once a month to voice some encouragement.

How am I supposed to grow as a writer or a person if the only time I hear from people is to tell me I’m screwing up my life? What am I supposed to think when instead of encouragement, all I get are trite lectures about my lack of maturity or understanding about the big bad evil world? I know it’s so easy to look at me and say, “oh, she’s the youngest, no wonder she’s a naive little idiot,” but come on, guys. Give me some credit. Don’t reduce me to birth order, but if you’re not thoughtful enough to consider anything else, at least admit when I’m doing something good.

I can take constructive criticism, but when I only hear from people when they want to shoot me down and dress it up as “character building,” I realize it doesn’t matter what I do. Nothing is ever going to be good enough for those who never rooted for me to begin with. I could eventually win an Academy Award for screenwriting or an Emmy for TV writing and still be called a weirdo who could never do anything practical. I’m done caring, because I am not here to please anyone. I just want to do the work and hopefully create something awesome in the future.

I went on TV last night and it was the best time ever!

We all know my “first” time on TV wasn’t so flattering or awesome, but last night definitely made up for it (three years after the fact, but hey, good things come to those who wait!). Yesterday I had the opportunity to appear on TakePartLive, a show on the up and coming network Pivot, to discuss dating in the digital world.

Last summer, I publicly swore off online dating in a column for PolicyMic, arguing it felt forced and that I’d rather meet someone randomly for a better story to tell. As I figured out immediately after moving to LA and giving dating sites another shot, the “how we met” aspect is irrelevant. The good part comes after you’ve become acquainted, and it doesn’t matter whether you found each other on the internet or during a rainy day on the streets of Manhattan. The end result counts, and mine is a relationship with someone I love and respect wholeheartedly.

Now that I’ve out-cheesed myself, here are some highlights from the night!

I had my own dressing room, which came with Altoids, bottles of water, a Stella, a mug, a card from the show hosts, and other nice goodies:

How did they know lowercase has always been my jam?!

How did they know lowercase has always been my jam?!

Anime eyes after makeup

Anime eyes after makeup

goodies

Everyone was really nice, and we all had a wonderful time with our “heart to hearts”:
Takepart

Overall I think I did a pretty good job! Hopefully I get to go back someday, I loved the whole team and really like what Pivot is doing with its shows. I’ll get the hang of TV and be more confident in future appearances — maybe I’ll dominate the conversation next time! You can watch my segment at this link for today only — I will post a permanent one tomorrow. Go to 22:00 to see me!

Back to writing! :D

Why my first LA celebrity sighting was better than yours

The Great Bambino, bitches

The Great Bambino, bitches

I was born in LA, so my parents conditioned me not to go nuts over famous people in restaurants and public places. I haven’t always been good about keeping my cool, but I don’t get starstruck anymore. My new friends regularly go on TV and appear in film, so after a while, you realize onscreen performers are like everyone else. Unless of course that person just so happened to star in THE SANDLOT.

The Sandlot was one of my favorite childhood flicks, so when I saw one of its most memorable characters in Starbucks, I had an inner freak out. As I was waiting for my iced tall vanilla latte (I know, I’m the worst), I thought I recognized the guy to my right. He was the hefty redhead boy who famously said, “THAT WIMPY DEER?!” and “I’m the great Bambino!” with a cigar in his mouth. It was totally that dude. Does this mean we’re neighbors? God I hope so. I don’t like being the only ginger around.

Every time I recognize a famous person, the first thing that comes to mind is usually along the lines of, “he/she looks familiar. Have we met? Oh wait … that’s that person from that movie/show I saw forever ago.”

I did a brief double take and then looked away. Hey, it strikes me as particularly rude to bother famous people, but eyeing someone a couple times isn’t such a crime. Even though I chose not to talk to the guy, I was glad to have seen him. A few seconds after heading to the condiments area, he was approached by someone else, so I know I wasn’t the only one familiar with his work.

This is the first time I’ve spotted a famous person since moving to LA, and while I refuse to bother anyone else I see (unless it happens to be Zooey Deschanel), I was pretty stoked to cross paths with a star from The Sandlot, which was a big part of my younger years. Forget A-listers and Lorde — she can go back to high school and wail her crappy songs at the talent show there — running into childhood favorites is all I really care about.

sandlot-group-photo

How am I just now discovering the amazing Venice, CA?

As many of you know, LA is a big place, so overwhelming that most people don’t do anything outside their own neighborhood. Why bother with the traffic or pollute the environment even more? Getting behind the wheel in this town is nothing short of a nightmare.

This is why I spend most of my time in the Silverlake area and downtown, but this afternoon I ventured out to Venice for the first time ever. Though the 45-minute journey is a killer, the area is worth the aggravation.

I met up with my new  friend Kate, an actress who would like to collaborate on some writing projects. I’m all about teaming up, so the idea sounded great to me. We had coffee at Intelligentsia, which reminded me a lot of NYC’s Think Coffee. Similar vibe, but Intelligentsia is definitely more chill. Isn’t everything Californian more laid back than New York? I guess it’s hard to say now. New York Laura feels like another life to me, and with each day in LA, I feel less and less connected to Manhattan.

Here’s a photo of Intelligentsia, via Haute Living:

3769822916_b77bd96dea

This is what I ordered, and I’m ashamed to say I threw down $10 — $5 for the scone, $5 for the coffee. Just last month, I was floored when Grand Central Market charged me $4.50 for black coffee as well. It’s “all about the experience,” isn’t it? Thankfully mine was nothing short of amazing:

Intelligentsia Venice CA

Afterward, we went to the antique store a few doors down. Inside, I noticed a jar of blue hearts, which complemented my teal scarf and sundress.

“These remind me of you,” she said, and that’s when I knew I had to buy one for my nightstand.

I ended up purchasing two: one for me, one for my boyfriend (because he knows how obsessed I am with shades of blue):

chn

A couple days ago, I was complimented on my pastels, and it made me realize I recycle the same articles of clothing and pieces of jewelry because there’s a shortage of bright colors in a lot of stores. I like warm blue, purple, pink, neon, green, all of which are tough to find on clothing racks. Does this mean I shouldn’t wear these colors as an adult? Nah.

I have better luck online — just got these cuties (on sale!) at OpenSky:

opensky-exclusive-flower-knob
pink-crown-shape-earring

All in all, it was a pretty good day :)