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my heart will go on

we recently went to the ronald reagan library to see the titanic exhibit. never having been before, i was stunned by the beauty and serenity you feel immediately upon entering the grounds along with a bit of weight the place deserves whatever your political leanings. you really can’t help but have your breath taken away when you lay eyes on the centerpiece of the garden, a large graffiti ridden piece of the berlin wall. one of the most profound things i’ve ever seen. like i said, takes your breath away.
with a view that goes on forever the library is a place you just want to bring a good book, sit on a bench outside and breath in the fresh air and silence. going there to really only see the titanic exhibit, i was taken aback by the solemn respect shown by maybe 99% of the diverse crowd.
the titanic exhibit at the reagan library was just a fun little spur of the moment field trip. having not seen the movie, can’t do long ones even at home, i knew next to nothing about the titanic, the passengers or the sinking. the docents are incredibly eager to help show you about while they spice the walk with some flavor they’ve surely added. authentic artifacts such as pocket watches, a deck chair and in my eyes one of the most heroic vestiges, sheet music found clutched in bandleader wallace hartley”s hands. impressive, he refused to stop playing as the ship sank. married with some props (one of the life boats), costumes and sets from cameron’s blockbuster helps make the exhibit come to life. what i did know, the ship was labeled “unsinkable and it was her maiden voyage” was only made more interesting.
the titanic exhibit runs through the beginning of the year if you happen to find yourself this way!



with love from shanghai

this kitty’s name should be lucky!

funny things always happen the way they’re supposed to and when they’re supposed to. our new intern has quite the soft spot for our four legged friends, me too. she took it to another level and i thought this true story was so incredibly heartwarming that i had to share it.

enjoy and thank god for people like marcy!


this is story of rags to riches – quite literally. from a dumpster in shanghai, china to a sunny windowsill in malibu, california, this little alley cat has come a long way. looking back on it all, i still can’t believe that every detail in this story is true, but it is, and little "meow" is definitely living her best life.
in september 2015, i moved to shanghai to study abroad with my university. everyday i’d walk the same route to the city and back to my house in the alley of old yu yuan lu. for a little context, an alleyway in china is a mixture of stray cats on the ground, dirty laundry above, and cramped apartments inbetween. but amid it all, a little cat persistently followed me home nearly every time i'd pass through.
i’ve always been a sucker for cute cats, but in the beginning meow was a little rough around the edges if i'm being honest. without fail, she followed me home everyday for months, sometimes waiting hours on the porch while i was in class. even when she was nowhere to be seen, meow was always nearby and would appear instantly when i called her name. i bathed meow, combed her, rode two hours in an uber to take her to the vet, and set out a cardboard box where she slept every night.
meow and i were fast friends and it was setting in that i'd have to leave her in a matter of weeks. my options were few and none were easy. i could leave her as a street cat, find her a real home in shanghai, or take her back with me to the states. (i'll admit i never really considered the first option for long!).
come december i was in a real scramble to figure out the fate of my furry friend. in hindsight, i think meow's destiny was truly written in the stars because in the final few days i had left in the city, everything fell into place. i tried and failed to adopt meow to a family -- even putting up flyers asking for willing fosters. i had also explored the option of shipping her to america, but it penciled out too expensive. it wasn't until the day before i flew out that i met the woman that would save the day.

i met fan (aka meow's savior) in a group chat for stray animals on an app called wechat. that same day, we met in person and i handed her meow and told her everything i knew about her, leaving out the part that she had never lived inside before...i instructed her to take care of meow until she either found someone to adopt her or i came back for her.
four months later in april 2016 i returned to shanghai and picked up meow. she rode under the passengers seat in the cabin like a seasoned jet-setter. once in america, meow's new life of feline glamour really took off.
today, meow’s favorite hobbies include watching sports, napping in the sun, eating treats, and observing her owner. it's funny how meow never wants to go outside anymore -- it's as if she had enough of the outdoors for a lifetime and knows how lucky she is today. whatever the case, i’m sure glad this cat is in my life and followed me home...all the way back to the u.s.a.!


what are you waiting for?

honestly, we gather, we save, we wait. for what? the right time, the perfect event, a black tie dinner? but think about it, we have no idea what tomorrow might bring so use the good stuff!
i remember when i first moved to malibu forever ago i went to a new friend’s house, in our swimsuits, for a quick break from the beach sun and a bite to eat. we had simple sandwiches and chips. yum. but the most surprising bit was that we ate on her grandmother’s fine china wiping our mugs with linen napkins. for lunch. i was more than a little impressed as it was completely unexpected, decadent and lovely. i felt special that she put out the effort just for me but then quickly realized she did that for every meal. doesn’t matter, it gave me a take away i doubt i’ll ever forget. use the china, linens, the nice bottle of wine you got as a gift and your dressed down “saving that” dress, shoes and bag. i know, you might chip the china, stain your dress but you will have used something that otherwise may never see the light of day.
we put our hard earned money into these precious things then rarely use them but that’s why we bought them in the first place! to be enjoyed and appreciated….used, worn, eaten and drank.

your family and guests will love it. the effort is small but the effect is tremendous!