Can We Help?

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“Don’t come in with me, okay, Mama?”

I’m standing outside my local fire station in West Los Angeles, while my 5-year-old runs in, a bag of warm homemade cookies in her small hand.

Twenty-four hours earlier we were at the beach in Playa Del Rey, having one of those obnoxiously California moments — a gathering of families lounging near the ocean with coffee, watching our kids dig in the sand and run from the waves. It was unseasonably warm (what else is new?), and we could see the smoke from the fires all around us, but it all felt rather far off.

I wrote about what my daughter and I do when the world is falling apart and we are desperate to help. Thanks to the Washington Post for publishing this one. Read on here.  (And here are some other ways to help.)

xx

 

I Have (Expat) Mom Rage

 

2014-06-06 17.20.57What now feels like a gazillion and a a half years ago, I gave birth to a baby girl in Vienna, Austria. (That’s her about to fall out of the sandpit.)

A few weeks ago, the lovely and brilliant writers/podcasters Edan Lepucki and Amelia Morris interviewed me about the joys and travails of having a baby abroad for their fantastic podcast, Mom Rage. We talked about everything from figuring out how to find a doctor in a foreign country, to the fantastic maternity leave policies, to the Austrians’ very entrenched ideas about motherhood. It was a total joy to chat with them. You can listen here. (Interview starts around 29:00, but do listen to it all; their banter at the beginning is always one of my favorite parts.)

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The Baby Villa, where I gave birth.

If you listen along and think, I must move to Vienna and have a baby! (I do recommend it), here are a few essays I’ve written on the subject (not sure whether they will convince or dissuade you, but anyway, you decide):

I Had a Baby in Europe; Here’s What It Did to Me

This Was Us: An Expat’s Search for Home

When a Child Speaks a Language You Don’t

Finding the American Dream in Europe

xoxox

 

I Love Lipstick. And I’m Trying to Love L.A.

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Here’s something no one tells you before you move to Los Angeles: you will no longer need clothing.

Let me rephrase: you will no longer need real clothing. When I moved to L.A. two years ago I was shocked to discover that grown women wore leggings everywhere — not just to and from yoga or the gym, or even just to walk their dogs, but IRL, as they say: to preschool drop off and pick-up; to the grocery store; to casual weekend gatherings; to coffee shops and restaurants. And I’m not talking about leggings with long blouses and knee-high leather boots. I’m talking about leggings as pants. With, like, a T-shirt and flip-flops.

I wrote about lipstick for a series in The Cut called “Sealed with a Kiss.” So delightful in these dark times! Read on here.

xox

Emma Portner FTW

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Clad in her signature loose black T-shirt and baggy gym shorts, Emma Portner is standing in a cavernous industrial space in downtown Los Angeles. A glass box—big enough to fit five dancers with only a little room to maneuver inside—sits in the middle. The five performers, Portner included, are standing inside it, side by side, palms on the glass.

“Question,” Portner asks. “Are we looking at our hands?”

She steps out to watch the others try the phrase, and adds a few more steps. Quick, staccato movement, legs kicking out, torsos swiveling around, fists hitting glass. “This is a puzzle,” she says, almost to herself. “I’m not sure I’ll like it.” The statement, like so many, is punctured with a sweet, nervous laugh.

Portner, 23, may be soft-spoken, but she’s a powerhouse mover. Anyone who has seen her Instagram videos can recognize the ferocity with which she throws her body—and seemingly her soul—into each moment.

That said, the energy in the rehearsal space is anything but frenetic. A calm, collaborative feel permeates. “What do we need to do next?” she asks the dancers. “Is everyone okay?”

+++

It was a total joy to write about the incredible choreographer/dancer/revolutionary, Emma Portner, for Dance Magazine. Read the full cover story here.

[Photo by Quinn Wharton]

xx

 

Dance, Dance, Dance

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For months my daughter has been taking ballet and tap at the local recreation center, and she recently came to the requisite end-of-year performance. My kid is only four, so her part was minimal—a few short, absurd appearances, flanked by all the other little giggling girls in her class. The real show started and ended with the older girls. I knew I wasn’t in store for something professional, but I still didn’t expect what was coming.

Read more at Motherwell!