It’s my 34th birthday today. Over the weekend our friends Drew and Kelsie wanted to wish me an early happy birthday on a video call. It was fun, and then took a sharp turn towards monumental when they got someone else to say hello. That someone was my longtime hero… Tony Horton.
By the grace a God, and I’m sure a pretty penny, Drew and Kelsie got Tony Horton to wish (and sing) me a happy birthday. I’d have to liken watching the video to having an out of body experience. The moment the words “six foot giraffe” came out of his mouth, I nearly had a complete meltdown. It was awesome.
I’ve been under Tony’s motivational spell for ten years. Since the the first time I tried his exercise program in 2010. I’d never done anything like it before. It pushed me to new heights and I’ve since done the program many times over throughout the years. All along the way, Tony kept me fired up about it. I could literally recite every word the man says in those videos with a smile on my face. Yes, I am a maniac.
If I’m being totally honest, I’ve always felt a little down on my birthday. I don’t like getting older. Plain and simple. This birthday feels particularly conflicted with everything happening in the country and my city right now. I have to say though, this silly little video and just the thought it in the first place, is truly just what I needed.
Kelsie turned 30. Normally a group of us would be descending upon a new city and taking it by storm to celebrate. But then a global pandemic hit.
We’ve always gone all-out to celebrate our 30th birthdays and Kelsie’s the last one to join the club. She deserves a special 30th, pandemic or not. So we put our heads together on how to do that, and this is what we came up with. Judging by reports that she was a sobbing mess when she saw it, I’d say mission accomplished. Happy 30 Kelsie, we love you.
Finally got around to putting an edit together of our Nashville trip from OVER A YEAR AGO. What a time it was to be able to just hop on a plane to meet your friends in a new city for the fun of it.
Our friend Jon turned 30, and a group of us descended upon Nashville to celebrate it. It was a quick two-night trip, but we did a lot with a little.
We pushed our way down Broadway, watching the bands play at one honky tonk after the other. We sang at the top of our lungs in a year-round Christmas themed karaoke bar, packed in shoulder to shoulder. Some of us were even brave enough to do it with a microphone. We learned about craft cocktails, and then drank some. We hit the dance floor at a bar disguised as an unassuming single family home. And in a period of two days we ate more Nashville hot chicken than any respectable physician could recommend.
It was a lot with a little, but most important of all, we raised our glasses and wished our friend a happy thirty.
Jason and Cat got married, and boy did they knock it out of the park. Their vows were funny and moving. The speeches were heartfelt and well delivered. The food was rich, the drinks kept flowing, and the dancing never stopped. There may’ve been actual flames coming off the soles of my shoes.
It was sincerely a beautiful day, and I’m thankful and lucky to have been part of it. I walked away from their day excited for their new chapter, and reminded and inspired to make good on my own vows.
I also walked away a little hungover the next day! Yes, I broke my no-hangover New Year’s resolution, but my Dad put it well when he said, “If there’s ever a time to be hungover, it’s the day after a friend’s wedding.”
Congratulations Jason and Cat. You deserve it all, and you got it all.
In the spring over the span of nearly two weeks, I ventured through Bangkok, Maldives, and Hong Kong with my wife Alexis, and our friends Drew, Kelsie, Tyler, Kara, Andrew, and Kirsten.
Our adventure started in Bangkok and our time there was short. We toured temples, experienced traditions, and after all these years, had Thai food in Thailand. We were lucky enough to witness the Thai New Year too. A celebration where the people flood the streets, literally and figuratively, and drench each other with water from head to toe for three straight days. You’d think dumping a bucket of water on a complete stranger in the street might be a little risky, but there wasn’t a person young or old who wasn’t laughing. We got soaked. Kara has family in Thailand, and they were kind enough to invite us all to their home. We ate new foods, sang karaoke and visited a temple in their community. We had a blast, and in all my travels it stands as one of the more truly authentic experiences I’ve had yet.
Most of our trip was spent in the Maldives on a tiny island in the Indian Ocean. Our days were spent both swimming and drinking like fish. We lounged, laughed, and lounged some more. We chartered a boat and jetted across the water searching for whale sharks and mantas. Diving off in a moments notice to catch a glimpse. We were like a poorly trained, clumsy group of Navy Seals. We swam ashore a deserted island and brought our vodka along. We found a turtle who didn’t seem to mind company. And by our last day it was hard to confidently say what day or time it was anymore. To go out with a bang, a looming storm forced us to meet our seaplane a ways away from our island on a floating dock no bigger than a modest area rug.
Our time In Hong Kong was short, but we marveled at the countless skyscrapers in every peak and valley of the lush and rugged land. A skyline that seemed impossible to have been built. We visited shrines and practiced traditions. Easter was celebrated sipping cocktails in the worlds highest bar and we wandered the city streets with little direction, but still found drinks, dumplings, and a tiki bar along the way.
It was a whirlwind two weeks of adventure, and just might’ve been too much if we hadn’t spent most of it floating mindlessly in the bluest waters I’d ever seen.
With my wife Alexis and our good friends Drew and Kelsie, we ventured to the island of Japan for the better part of two weeks around Christmas and New Years. We spent our days taking in both the man-made and natural wonders. From the shrines of Kyoto, to the endless urban sprawl of Tokyo.
We sipped beers traveling 200 miles an hour on rail, watching the country crawl across our window. Amazed and terrified that just a few feet away, trains traveling in the opposite direction blinked by at the same breakneck speed. We took part in traditions. Ate strange foods. Walked through shrines and structures that’ve stood hundreds of years. We watched snow fall to the ground while we floated in a heated pool. We celebrated Christmas in the most bizarre way any of us ever will. It involved animatronic dinosaurs. We wandered and drank and wandered some more. We brought in a new year, in a new place. And we saw Mickey Mouse in a seemingly alternate universe.
It’s a place of a very different culture than my own, and I was only able to experience and capture just a fraction of it, but it’s made for one of the more humbling and memorable experiences I’ve had yet.
A month ago George and I had our show. I’d been holding off sharing the experience until I had the time to cut together an edit from the footage Alexis shot. To just get right to it, the night went as good as it possibly could’ve.
Family, friends, friends of friends, and strangers poured in all night. Some traveled a few blocks to be there, some a few thousand miles. The rest coming from everywhere in between. Everywhere you looked there was laughing, drinking, donuts, and of course the art. It was one of the most fun and memorable nights of my life. George would tell you the same. Couldn’t have asked for a thing more, but even more is what we got.
We were honestly shocked at the amount of enthusiasm we received for everything we’d done. The look on George’s face up top really says it all. He showed 9 pieces and sold 7. I showed 36 and sold 31. We raised several thousand dollars for a charity we decided on together, called P.S. Arts. They’re a nonprofit that works to keep art programs alive and thriving in underserved public schools and communities across California. Growing up, art was obviously always my favorite subject. Can’t imagine having gone through all those years without it. Who knows where or who I’d be, if that fire was never stoked. Guess I’m just trying to say it was an easy cause to stand behind.
In the end, It was all a lot of work, but was all entirely worth it. Sure, the months and weeks leading up had their stresses and snags along the way. Some literally up until the hour before the doors opened. The thing is, you can make short work of just about anything with the kind of friends we’ve got. From day one, they just wanted to know how to help. And each in their own way, they did exactly that. Truly grateful to call these people friends.
Thank you to everyone who shared their support, regardless if you made it out or not. Really, truly, means the world to us.
Happy 40 George, we did it.
Drew turned 35, so we hit the Vegas strip for Halloween weekend. The bravest, or maybe the dumbest among us, were up till 7am draining glasses, spinning wheels and shooting dice. I love that town, but hell, anything more than 48 hours just might kill me. Not in our 20’s anymore, but we can still pretend.
Got to see Blink-182 play while we were there, and oddly enough, Ludacris too. Some fun ones from those coming of age years.
Damn It by Blink-182. Used to play this one on loop as a kid.
Kim and Will got married and it was about as Kim and Will as it could’ve been. Every color of the rainbow, dungeons and dragons lore, all accounted for. They did it their way, and that made it perfect.
So thankful to share their day with them, and for all our days past, and all the ones still ahead.
We’d already come halfway across the country for a family trip, and figured we may as well just keep on going. We knew we’d be heading to New York City to see Alexis’ brother Tony and Olivia, and of course our unofficial godson Gnarly. We wanted to see somewhere new first though. Alexis had never been to Philadelphia. It’d been a long time for me, and our friends Drew and Kelsie said they were in, so that settled it. It was a trip of exploration, late nights, loud music and drained glasses. I was run ragged by the end of it, but it’s always worth it. Tough to beat the company.
Jenn and Duncan have been inviting us up to Sacramento to float down the American River with them pretty much every year they’ve been up there. We’ve missed a few, but this was the third time for Alexis and I. We love it. It’s brings close friends who live far apart, together again. There were 16 of us this year. 17 counting a baby girl on the way from Jenn and Duncan.
Have this feeling that this time might be one of the last of this scale. Things are changing. Priorities are changing. Life isn’t slowing down. So I brought the camera.
Even though these memories are just a few days old, and their pictures are still perfectly sharp and clear in my mind, can’t help but smile watching the footage. Have to imagine that feeling only amplifies with time. It’s not the most fun being the guy carrying the camera around everywhere, and I’m sure it’s not fun having it pointed in your face the whole time either. Seems important though.
If there’s anything we’ve all learned this time around, it’s when you’re on the river, bring a damn knife. Life jackets couldn’t hurt either. For all the worried mothers out there, we’ll just leave it at that.
By leaps and bounds, the closest to stage I’ve ever been at the Hollywood Bowl. For perspective, there were over 17,000 people behind us. Daughter, Local Natives, and The National. Three bands I’d easily see play on their own, shared the stage to make one of the most memorable nights of my life, and I got to share with some of my best people. All thanks to this guy
Past Lives by Local Natives
One day my friend Drew told me he wanted to move into a new place with his girlfriend Kelsie. They really hadn’t been dating very long at all, and the new place was a pricey two year lease. There was never a thing not to like about Kelsie, but I still owed it to one of my best friends to warn him he might be rushing into something here. He agreed he was rushing in, but rushing into the right thing, so why wait. I remember thinking it to be pretty bold.
Turns out, they just signed a lifetime lease, and tied the knot. They married near Palm Springs on April Fools, because well, it’s Drew and Kelsie we’re talking about here. It was a beautiful Saturday.
The ceremony and reception took place at the Lautner Compound near Palm Springs. There are only four rooms on the property, and Alexis and I were offered one. Had to be the most stunning room I’ve ever stayed in. It felt so open but at the same time totally private. Couldn’t help but feel pretty cool even just standing in it, and the entire grounds followed suit. Was really a sight.
The bride and groom have a lot of gravity in my life, and it meant a lot to me to stand up with them on their day. It’s the only wedding I’ve ever been in. Another first they’ve given me. They do that a lot. During the ceremony, I remember watching them, and watching Alexis, and wondering to myself, just how in the hell I got here. How did I get so lucky to have this family. It was a weird feeling. Like a wealth of time and memories, all converging to a single point. I don’t know that I’m explaining it right, but I do know I couldn’t stop smiling. Really, my face was starting to hurt a little.
We set their union in stone the best way we know how. By partying. We danced, we drank, and we laughed the night away. I can’t imagine they could’ve wanted anything more. It was a great day and they’re gonna do great things together. I’d wish them all the good things there are to wish on their journey, but they don’t need anything besides each other, and they’ve already got that.
I asked the girl I’ve been crazy about (and driven crazy by) since the day I met her, to marry me. How we got from there to here is a long story. One that I’ll save for another time. But today, I want to tell you about the best day of my life.
A few days earlier we started to plot our weekend, and talked about spending the day together. No friends, no family, just us. The weather was shaping up to be nice, so I suggested we go downtown to layout at Grand Park. I knew this is where I wanted to propose.
There’s been plenty of opportunities to propose in more exotic, adventurous or even stereotypically romantic places, but Los Angeles is where it was meant to be. It’s always been the backdrop to our story. It’s where we found each other. It’s where we fell in love. I also knew how much this city means to her as an individual. She moved around a lot growing up, and Los Angeles is the first place she’s ever called home and truly meant it. I figured what better place to propose than in the heart of LA, in a sprawling park overlooked by one of the city’s most iconic buildings.
I usually have a hard time getting out of bed, but on this particular day you’d have thought I spent a lifetime in the military. I left Alexis in bed and got breakfast started for us straight away. I had some time sensitive plans in place, and I wanted to get ahead of the day. Thank God she still wanted to go to the park.
We got ready, packed a bag and headed over. When we got there, we found a blaring children’s dance festival of some sort taking place. It was loud and it was weird. Not exactly what I expected. Thankfully, it’s a big park and where we were headed was on the opposite end. It was a hot day, really hot, but we found some shade under a tree to lay our blanket across. We sat down and talked a bit while I doodled the iconic LA City Hall building across the park. I gave up after a few minutes and told her I was going to just draw her instead.
I repositioned myself so she couldn’t see what I was drawing. I lifted my eyes from the page every few minutes to examine her features, all the while she was doodling too. After a few minutes, I said I was done. My heart was racing and was hoping she couldn’t hear it in my voice. With a worried face, I warned her not to be mad, since the portrait didn’t really turn out that great, and didn’t quite look like her. When I spun my sketchbook around, she found the words “Will you Marry me?”
Her eyes lit up and moved from the page to me, back to the page and back to me again. As she stared at me with wide watery eyes, I took the ring from my pocket and offered it to her. I told her I loved her, that I always had, and that I wanted to spend the rest of my days with her. We kissed and held each other. After a few beats… I had to remind her she still had to give me an answer. It was a strong yes, and I finally put the ring where it’s always belonged.
Once our nerves settled, I pointed to a man that was hiding out behind some bushes. His name is Archi, and I hired him to photograph the moment. He’d been there the whole time. We all finally made eye contact and laughed. Honestly, I didn’t even know where he was for a while. True mark of a pro. We spent the next half hour or so taking some photos with him. Some in the park, and some across the street in front of the LA City Hall building. It’s was just too beautiful a building to pass up with a professional photographer on hand. As we were walking up to City Hall, I joked to Alexis that I was really just trying to fast track this thing, and get the papers today.
We wrapped up with Archi, and I suggested we go sit down somewhere nearby to grab a drink and call our families to break the news. I think both our nerves and minds were still buzzing, so a drink sounded like a great idea. And let’s not forget, it was still REALLY hot out. There’s a little dive bar called La Cita that our whole group of friends has been making memories at for as long as I’ve known them. Seemed fitting to make it a part of the day.
We got there and headed straight to the back patio to find some margaritas, but instead we found 24 of some of our closest friends, waiting to surprise Alexis and celebrate with us.
This was all part of the plan, and I knew it was coming, but man, even I was stunned when we stepped out on the patio and heard everyone’s roar. She was completely surprised, even more so than when I proposed I’d say! Good job guys. To top it off, we were immediately each handed a margarita and a beer, because that’s what true friends do.
People hopped on planes, some spun their odometers, and some took off work just so they could be there for us. We even had a friend there by complete happenstance. We thought he was still living out of state, but he moved back to LA two weeks prior and just happened to be at the bar. What are the odds?
I always knew that no matter how I chose to propose, I wanted to involve our friends somehow. Alexis draws her energy from those around her, and shines her brightest surrounded by the people she loves. For most of us out here, our friends are the closest thing we have to family for a few thousand miles. They say you can’t choose your family, but it’s just not true. Friends are the family you do get to pick. After about an hour of hugging, shaking hands, drinking, and laughing, the whole gang migrated over to Hollywood for dinner.
The spot was Delancey, a little Italian place, known mainly for their pizza. Alexis and I have been coming here for as long as we’ve dated, and it’s quite literally one of her favorite restaurants. It’s a small place and we were a group of 26, so when I spoke with the manager ahead of time, I was beyond excited that they’d accommodate us. They even opened up a little bit early for us. We ate, drank, laughed some more, and Alexis’ brother Tony gave an impromptu speech from the heart to top it all off.
We closed out after about two hours, and all started walking down a few blocks to Hollywood Forever Cemetery. In the summer time they project films on the side of a huge building that overlooks an open lawn. It’s one of our favorite LA pastimes.
We setup and sprawled across the lawn, chatting and drinking for about an hour before the movie. Thanks to our army of friends, we had lawn chairs, blankets, desserts, 120 beers on ice, and the equivalent of four bottles of wine in the form of two beautiful boxes. Even had a custom “She Said Yes” banner setup, thanks to Christina. I really leaned pretty heavy on some folks to pull this part of the night together, and I have no doubt it would’ve been a mess without all their help.
That night they were screening Sabrina, an old Hollywood classic starring Hepburn and Bogart. Alexis and I have always shared an affection for the music from that era. Under the stars, surrounded by the towering palms and our LA family, I just knew it’d be magic. And it was.
By the time the movie ended, it was already 11pm and had been a long, full day. I knew some people would wanna call it then and there. What I didn’t know is how Alexis would be feeling. Lo and behold, onward she said. Cue the karaoke.
An added surprise was Michelle and Stuart made it out all the way from NYC just in time to meet us for karaoke. They were originally planning on being part of the surprise at La Cita, but got largely delayed at the airport. Glad they still got to party with us a bit.
Now, I know they say time flies when you’re having fun, but man, time really flew by at karaoke. We sang and danced for a couple hours, but I swear to you, it felt like no longer than fifteen minutes to me. Tops. Might have had something to do with drinking for nearly twelve hours. I was told that amidst the dancing, I lost my footing for a moment there, but luckily my fall was broken by John. Sorry and thank you John. Needless to say it was a blast. Our friends Drew and Kelsie were sneaky and incredibly kind to have picked up the entire tab for everybody too.
It was last call by the time we sung our last tune, and the remainder of our party started to part ways. However, no night in LA after 12 hours of drinking is complete without at 2am trip to Denny’s. Thankfully, there was one a few hundred feet away. Afterward, we said goodbye to our last three standing friends, and called it a night ourselves.
And that was that. My only regret is not having asked sooner. Can’t say thank you enough to everyone involved. It was the best day of my life, and Alexis was shining brighter than the diamond on her hand to say the least. And that diamond is pretty damn bright.
Video compliments of Duncan, thanks bud!
Celebrated my 30th in Palm Springs, poolside with some cold drinks and the best people. They came a long ways and spent a good bit of money and time to make sure I knew damn well that 30 ain’t so bad.
I made Mike a fun little thing for his 30th, and he returned the gesture with his own fun little thing. I love it. There is nothing the man can’t do.
Our good friends Drew and Kelsie spontaneously invited Alexis and I to Hawaii with them. Good company and paradise? Who would say no?
We spent a day and night in the touristy and beautiful Waikiki, enjoying the calm waters and local eats. Seeking the local experience, we drove in our tiny convertible across the island to the North Shore. We stayed the rest of our nights at a small beach house, in a Mai Tai fueled state of rest and relaxation. Day after day, we explored, watched sunsets, and emptied our cups. It was nice to just slow down for a change.
Thanks for having us along.