Peace for Paris

paris peace

Just the other day, I turned to Brad and said, “Why are some people so bad?”

He obviously didn’t have an answer. I think I was talking about someone’s bike getting stolen or someone robbing a store in town.

I was exhausted with all of the hurt in my world. I was weary with finding forgiveness and searching for the good behind the ugly in people. Why couldn’t people just think of how their actions effect others? Why couldn’t they take a moment to consider the trials they’d never faced in their lives that someone else is struggling through? Or imagine that the way they live their life is unique to them and their happiness, but that it doesn’t necessarily suit every other person out there? Lend a hand to make things a little less turbulent rather than throwing another bump in the path. Life is hard enough on its own without people hurting each other.

Writing it out, it feels like a question a child would ask. I know hurt. I know people who are hurting. Terrible things happen to people, and they don’t always choose to react in positive ways. I suppose that a negative reaction might come with some kind of rush that blocks out all the terrible that is happening in their lives – if only for a moment. It happens on all scales. From tiny to massive. The stolen bike or the store held at gunpoint fell somewhere in between.

I’m not naive. Human beings don’t always make great choices.

But I am a person who loves people. I stand for love. I stand for acceptance. I stand for everyone being able to have their own opinion and make their own choices. I stand for people reaching for their goals and dreams. I stand for everyone’s story being different, and there being a place for everyone to live out their stories in peace.

No matter how hard I try to understand what horrible things must have happened to the people who committed these heinous crimes in Paris yesterday, no matter how dark the spaces my heart searches to in order to feel some compassion, I cannot come up with one logical reason for a human being to point their weapon at a crowd full of innocent human beings enjoying something I love – music – and murder them. I cannot come up with one reason why their lives showed them this particular path and they chose to follow it and act in that way. I cannot imagine anything so black and terrible that it could justify this. Nothing justifies this. Nothing.

My heart is broken. For Paris, for the world. And while I leave the larger fight up to the people in charge, I will push through the darkness by continuing to open my heart to people in need. I will live and love without fear. I will go to concerts and dance to the music to remember those who lost their lives. I will keep doing good to try and balance out those people who choose the bad.

Peace for Paris. Peace for the World.


Feeling Loved


I actually felt the need to text my mom yesterday to tell her I was ok.

I figured she already knew, since we had just gotten off FaceTime hours before I posted Wander. None of what I wrote on Thursday was a surprise to her. She’s been along every step of the way, hearing my disappointments and coaching me on how to approach helping all of the many others in need in my life without losing my mind. But I got a response from my post that made me realize what I was talking about was much more serious than I intended it to be.

I had just sat down to write because I felt I needed to write. Because this blog is something I am proud of and something I love to do, and I just freaking missed doing it. And I thought I’d get the biggest story off my chest first. I thought I’d address the monkey in the room before moving on to anything else. This year has been a struggle for myself and for so many other people I know. But I thought I’d written about it in a way that everyone understood that I am ok and I am healing and I am still heading in the right direction.

I was completely floored by the outpouring of love and support I woke up to Friday morning. Even some of those people who I talked about respecting and not feeling up to their standards – even some of those people reached out to me yesterday. I heard from old friends, people I haven’t seen since middle school, high school mentors, people I didn’t even know. It was overwhelming in the warmest way possible.

Everyone’s message was clear. Everybody goes through hard times. Everybody wonders if what they are doing is enough. If what they’re making is enough. If they’re living up to the expectations of the people who they admire and respect and want to make proud. If they’re living up to what they’re worth. If they’re proud themselves, of where they are and of where they are going.

I heard support from all angles for talking about mental health. Even more of my friends came out and told me they had suffered from anxiety, and assured me that I would find my own way to deal with and conquer it. I was once again reassured that I was not crazy, I was not alone, and I have met some of the greatest people the planet has to offer.

All the love, concern, and support made me feel like I needed to show the other side of my story. The awesome things I have done in 2015. Because there has been a lot of that, too. A hell of a lot of that. Through tears and anxiety and breathing into dirty paper pastry bags, there has been a lot of gold.

For instance – I celebrated my 31st birthday with a Brad & Kels staycation at the Ace Hotel in downtown LA. We felt very fancy. We had a terrace and I drank room service champagne. It was a grand, grand time.


I got a tomato tattoo!! It still catches me off guard from time to time and I am still so in love with it. (even though everyone thinks it’s a pumpkin)


Of course, I made lots and lots of blueberry muffins. Because blueberries going bad make me sad and muffins make me happy.


I guested on my girl Sydney’s podcast – and subsequently got hooked on podcasts of all kinds. I’m actually thinking of starting one… Any suggestions? Would you listen?


I attempted to curl my hair a few times. These baby curls were gone before my selfie photoshoot was over. Ugh.


I made a couple of amazing Key Lime Pies for a dear friend’s wedding. And I have to say, I’m pretty damn proud of THAT little curl. (it lasted much longer than it’s photoshoot. apparently I’m better at meringue than hair.)


I suppose I’m on to the sweets in my life… I participated in farmers’ markets all over Los Angeles with Pop Up Pastries. I checked that off the list of goals for the year in a huge way! Currently, you will find me with pop tarts and pies every Saturday at the Marina Del Rey Market, and some Sundays at Mar Vista.


I was invited to judge a pie contest in August. Just a FYI, I am free for pie contest-judging every Sunday if anyone ever needs a last minute pie-judge. There’s another life goal to check off the list. This is the best job ever.


Speaking of pie – I felt creative and made a sweet corn pie with salted whip. It was divine. I bought corn to make another one… Maybe this weekend?


I helped open a new wine bar and shop, Esters, here in Santa Monica. It is amazing and fun and I am so proud to be part of this wonderful family of restaurants! Come in to see me and drink lots of vino!!


And of course, we had friends over for dinner every chance we got. Brad is learning how to make arepas. I am learning all the different ways I like to eat arepas. We have a new patio with a new patio table that we sometimes have to use when we have invited over too many people for our tiny kitchen table. It’s pretty much the best back up plan ever.


So there. Things aren’t that bad. I just remember to breathe. I remember that a year from now, a month from now, maybe just a week from now, I’m going to look back and think – hell yea. I made it through all of that. But the photos I take, the memories I’ll keep, those are from the times where I was smiling.

Those other, harder, stress-ball times? I’ll be happy to kiss those times goodbye.



Brad Turns 30!!


I’ll tell you what.  The crazy kids wearing brown in that picture never ever thought they’d be living the life we live today.

They never thought they’d be living in Los Angeles.  They never thought they would be making a career in the food industry.  They never thought they’d have the plans and dreams in mind that we have today.  They never thought they’d be wearing such skinny jeans or such fancy sunglasses.  They never thought they’d live in such a fancy apartment.  They never thought that they would think 85 degrees at the beach was way too hot.

And they never never thought they’d be married.  They actually discussed how neither believed in marriage or ever wanted to get married.

Um…things change?


Those two probably also thought 30 was insanely far away.  Or old.  Yea, they probably thought 30 was old.

But here we are.  Brad joins me at 30 today, and as he drives off to go into work to do inventory I’m about to embark on a crazy baking afternoon so he gets home to as many baked goods as a newly 30 year old can possibly handle.

And then we will celebrate all day tomorrow.  Because we have so much to celebrate.

I was reminded yesterday in a conversation with my mom how truly lucky I am to be in such a balanced, healthy, strong and loving relationship.  Brad is my rock.  He is my best friend.  I see how much love he deals out into the world, through his interactions with people and through the passion he puts into his food and his work, and I just feel lucky that I get such a big part of that love.

Happy, happy, happy birthday to my wonderful Brad.  Can’t wait until you’ve counted all the things and we can really start partying like a couple of 30 somethings.


(these photos were taken in 2008 by a regular i thought was a little nuts at the restaurant where brad and i first met and worked together.  larry gave me these prints the day before we left orlando for new york, and i just loved them so i held onto them… i found them last spring at my parents’ house, and brought them home with me because they still make me so very happy to look at.  our journey has taken us all over the country and to so many different restaurants, but we were so young and so carefree in orlando.  the crew at citrus was a really special group of people, and that restaurant brought some of our favorite people into the world.  plus, it brought my very favorite person into my world 🙂 )

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Love You, Mom!

I was fishing around for some photos for a post recently and I came across a few gems that I had somehow skipped over.

My favorite of the bunch was a group of pictures that I had taken when my parents were in town back in February.  I was lucky enough to get off from work most of the week they were here and we spent some good quality time together.  This is a rarity, as when we are together it is usually non-stop planning and visiting and eating and everything else…

Not this time.  We actually got to relax and take our time and sleep in and just sit around and cook a casual dinner together.  You might even remember, we cooked some pizzas and tasted some wine.

And although I found enough photos from the day to put together a post, doesn’t this picture just speak volumes?

mom making cheeseI know the exact feeling!  Your first mozzarella ball!  There’s nothing like it!

My mom stayed at home with us three kids for most of our childhoods, and made us a home cooked meal most every single night.  She is a wonderful cook and I owe my love of cooking and being in the kitchen mostly to her.  (The cookie making part is all my dad…)

She can usually be seen dancing to Motown or Bruce Springsteen while she’s stirring pots or checking on meats in the oven.  And the things she makes in her slow cookers – although she always says they are the easiest recipes ever – are the best comfort food a girl could ever ask for.  They make the whole house smell like roast-y heaven all. day. long.  So by the time dinner comes around you are literally ravenous for whatever is in that pot.


As I’ve become an adult, it’s been so exciting to share kitchen tips and dig up old recipes that she made for us when we were kids.  Her meatloaf recipe is still my number one (seriously, this recipe will make you love meatloaf), and she always puts out an amazing spread when entertaining people at the house.DSC_0174Love you to bits, Mom.  I am so very thankful to have you as an inspiration, a shoulder to lean on and – most importantly – one of my best friends.

Happy Mothers Day to all of the moms out there today, especially the ones who have loved and raised me. I wish you all a relaxing day full of love!



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Leftover Love: Strawberry Ricotta Crostini

Just so you know, you still have about 364 days to go until the next giant explosion of love and chocolate and roses.  So I hope you didn’t use up all of your love yesterday. (and by love I mean strawberries) This … Continue reading