The Birthday Girl is Almost Speechless (Or Thank You Thank You Thank You!)

My birthday was nearly a month ago, but the gratitude I feel for the love and generosity displayed by everyone in my life lingers still.

I have so many people to thank and so much to say about all of it that I almost don’t know where to start.

My friends actually humored my ridiculous need to celebrate for an entire week, so I should probably start there.

My first party involved food trucks and an outdoor screening of Blazing Saddles in Griffith Park. (A portion of the event’s proceeds went toward animal rescue, which was an added bonus.)

People were really into the food.


(Especially the kind that was impaled with skewers.)

And the beer…



Later in the week, I hit up Bludso’s Barbecue with my friend Katy who happens to have been born on August 3rd as well.


All I have to say about this situation is #texasforever

I finally finished the alphabet book I started at her son’s Elephant-Themed Baby Shower, and I gave it to her as a birthday gift.


It only took like 18 months. (Sorry, Finnie!)

After stuffing my face with meat for days, I jumped in a kayak with Elena.


We didn’t even capsize.

For my final party, I planned a picnic for the polo matches in the Pacific Palisades. I painted a whole bunch of horses and glued them on top of miniature mason jars because it seemed like the proper thing to do for polo.


Ziggy totally tried to get some of our pony-topped carnitas action.

I also made ginger mint juleps and poured them in jars.


Adult sippy cups! #duh

Not only did a lot of friends tell me they were pregnant (yay, more baby showers!), but they even brought their cute kids to the party.


Including My August 3rd Birthday Buddy, Connor!

You may remember Connor from the Owl Baby Shower That Never Happened Story. His mom is so adorable that she also brought horseshoe cookies.


I mean…

Between matches we got to stomp the divots Pretty Woman-style and play with the ponies up close.


Ryan was way into it.

In between making new friends, some people even watched polo.


Well, maybe only Mike did.

Kidding. I watched too. (Only I don’t have any photos of that.)

I’m so grateful to everyone who spent time with me in various ways over the week. My favorite thing about parties is bringing everyone I adore together, and birthdays are the perfect excuse!

On my actual birthday, I kept things kind of low-key. I hung around after church to talk to an artist who was making a piece to promote the Labor Day creative retreat I registered to attend.


Awesome, right?

Hearing the story behind his art was a great way to celebrate a new year of my life that will be focused on my own projects…

and this brings me to my final thank you.

Monday morning I received an e-mail informing me that someone at church anonymously paid for half of my registration fee to attend the creative retreat. When I read the message, my eyes filled with tears of astonishment and gratitude. As I pack my bags for the mountains today, I’m still in awe that someone believes in me enough to support my creativity.

I cannot properly express how much it means to me. I’m inspired, grateful, and absolutely filled with love. Since that amazing person prefers to remain anonymous, I felt the best way to recognize his or her generosity would be by writing about it here. So thank you, thank you, thank you. I won’t let you down. I promise.

Thank you thank you thank you to everyone amazing in my life. I’m so lucky to know you. You make my life better. All of you.


A Sorta Blog Break Up (Or I Say a Whole Lot and Conclude Nothing)

You know how some relationships end through attrition? Both parties just seem to fade away without explanation and you find yourself wondering years later where it all went? Wondering who stopped calling whom? I’ve had those endings.

I’ve also had other relationships erupt in an explosive end — with a fight that uncovers all the anger both parties have bottled up over years. I’ve had still others end with one fight over one small thing that illuminates the myriad ways you’ve been growing apart for years.

Endings can be sad. They can also be a relief. Some are permanent. Some aren’t. We might even think we know which category an ending is and then life surprises us. People surprise us.

I need to be honest with you. I’m not doing my part here by writing so you’re probably not doing yours by reading. We’ve probably drifted apart through mutual attrition, and it probably started when my tone shifted and my schedule became erratic — or when your life changed. I don’t really know.

I’ve been so conflicted about whether to definitively retire Dogs, Dishes, and Decor that I have done nothing. I’ve started a bunch of posts I haven’t published. I’ve also written countless others in my head on hikes that I never committed to paper because I didn’t see the point. I’ve made a million art projects and I haven’t wanted to write about any of them.

In all, I think maybe my heart has wandered away.

I’m so grateful to my readers for all of the support and love over the years since I started this blog. It was the place my soul came to reawaken. The place where my creativity came back to life. It was also the place I came to express my pain when life knocked me down.

As I find myself approaching another birthday, I look back on where I’ve been, where I am at the moment, and where I’m going. I’m filled with a sense of hope, wonder, and awe.

I don’t know if this post is goodbye forever, and I don’t want to simply walk away with so many things unsaid — with so many pictures unposted.

Goodbye forever feels so absolute. It feels so permanent and irreversible — like death. But “I might post again” is so non committal that it seems almost unfair. That feels like every relationship I had in my 20’s and early 30’s — every relationship where I only gave my heart halfway and wondered why love hurt so much. I’ve spent a lot of time wrestling with myself over the reasons why.

Did I hold back my heart because I knew in my soul it wasn’t safe to give it away? Or did I hold back because I was too afraid to find out? The answer is different in each case — and it’s not always completely clear even in the rearview mirror of so much self reflection.

Whether I never really gave my heart because I wasn’t ready or because my soul held me back for a reason is a question whose answer eludes me somewhat. I think maybe it’s possible I’m looking at it all wrong and there really is no difference between the two. I’m not entirely sure, and maybe I never have to be. Maybe it’s because it’s just what is and that’s enough.

While the answer is a blurry mess when it comes to love, I’m not sure it’s any clearer when it comes to my blog. Am I holding back my heart from these posts because my heart has moved on? Or because I know this is not what my soul wants to say?

I don’t care about the illusion of perfection anymore. I don’t really want to write a single “how-to” post ever again. I don’t want to feel my creativity fettered by the obligation to post pretty pictures of my projects with cute captions — yet sometimes I want to share the joy I feel when I make something for someone I love.

Like these things:




So, today I can’t really say where I am with this blog. I’m not quite ready to let it go, but I’m not quite ready to commit to it either.

Since I can’t give you certainty, I’ll just leave you with this. It’s the mess of a quilt I’m making without any pattern — without any plan — without any absolutes. I’m just throwing it together as I go with some vague idea that in the end it will be something people I care about can sit on at a picnic.

If that isn’t some sort of metaphor for life I don’t know what is.




Machiavelli’s Reign Ends Here (Or I Break Up With Fear)

When I was 15, my European History teacher asked the class, “If you were king, would you rather lead your subjects with fear or love?” (We were studying Machiavelli. Or something.)

He picked students at random. The first guy he asked quickly responded, “Fear.” So did the second, and the third.

The first girl he asked?

Said love. The answers went along gender lines for some time. It was as if we were lining up at a middle school dance: guys on one side, girls on the other. The Sweet Girly Love Camp on one side, the Powerful Scary Man Camp on the other.

And then he called on me.

“Fear,” I answered without hesitation.

I was the only one in the class who bucked the gender trend. I’ve often wondered since then if the answers truly would have fallen so clearly along male/female lines had the question been asked anonymously. I’ll never know, and ultimately it doesn’t really matter anyway.

What the exercise did was illuminate the way my classmates wanted to be seen — and the way I wanted to be seen.

I was a vicious competitor in those days, and I was fueled by fear.

Fear of failure. Fear of being imperfect. Fear of being unlovable if I fell short of expectations.

Later, when I began to fall short of my narrow definition of perfection, my fear of failure somehow shifted to a fear of my own voice, my own power, and maybe more importantly, my own success. Many people who know me may be surprised to hear this. Others? Not at all.

Many of us are afraid to do what we truly love — not only for fear that we might fail at it but also for fear that it actually might be amazing.

So today I’m here to tell you that I’m no longer afraid of failure. I’m no longer afraid of what I truly love.

And what is that, you ask? What does this dog-owning, cupcake-baking, home-redecorator really love?


I love writing movies.

That other stuff is pretty awesome too, but its relationship to my calling is merely tangential. So, this is me saying thank you for coming along with me on this ride. Thank you for reading about all of those things while I found my voice again — while I explored everything that inspires me — and everything that doesn’t. Thank you for bearing with me while I sank into the abyss of despair again and again.

Thank you for being the place where I grew, fell, and picked myself the fuck back up again.

There’s so much more I could say about all I’ve shed this year, but this is not the time, the place, or the post for that.

Instead, I’ll leave you with this. I made it. And I’m not afraid to post it even though it has a typo in it. It’s not perfect, and I don’t care. I like it a little better for its imperfection anyway.

rocky and drago

I’m off to write a movie, people.


Office SOS (Or I’m Redecorating)

I ran out of rooms to redecorate in my apartment long ago. Luckily, I have an office in desperate need of a makeover. Up until this point I have mostly been tossing things on walls and shelves haphazardly just to get them out of the back of my walk-in at home, but the madness needs to stop.

I need a plan.

I spend most of my waking hours at work, so it’s time to take charge of the situation.

This is what it looks like now… overexposed photo and all.

Office on Dogs Dishes and Decor

This window is in DIRE need of drapes.

I’m thinking maybe some crisp black and white stripes.

Something like this perhaps?

Or does that make it feel too prison-y?

I can’t decide….

Here’s another angle of the work in progress.

Office on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Obviously, I need to put a cushion on that awkward ledge. The Legos? Are not cutting it.

The ledge probably needs some of these pillows too.

Pillows on Dogs Dishes and Decor

These pillows are everything. The neutrals are Anthropologie and the delicious pops of gold are Caitlin Wilson.

I’m also tempted to hide the hideous carpet that looks like a filthy slice of red velvet cake with this Caitlin Wilson rug.

British Bouquet Rug from Caitlin Wilson on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Caitlin knows what she’s doing with color. Just saying.

I mean the carpet is so bad it drove my dog to violence.


Albus of Dogs Dishes and Decor

He killed his birthday Storm Trooper.

I also want to DIY something like this for wall.

String Art on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Find more madness with string inspiration here.

What do you think?

Anika of Dogs Dishes and Decor

Am I crazy?


Please don’t answer that. I think the answer lies somewhere in the Office Pinterest Board I created this morning.

And just because I love YOU almost as much as I love Pinterest, I’ll leave you with this Kill Them With Colour Remix.

I’m off to work.



It’s All Love (Or Every Day Should be Valentine’s Day)

I know you’re thinking Valentine’s Day is so two weeks ago… but guys? It’s not. I’m all about love right now, and it started with this cake. 

Ombre frosting and gilded dino Valentine's Day Cake from Dogs Dishes and Decor

This is how dinosaurs show love. (They told me.)

I think Valentine’s Day gets a bad wrap, but it’s probably because we let the whole thing get so out of control with candy and cards that we forget it’s actually about LOVE. When we shift the focus from love to the trappings of love, we make it a day filled with pressure and expectations for couples that also magnetizes the loneliness of the single people.

This year I wanted  everyone to feel included regardless of their relationship status, so I decided to make a Valentine’s Day cake for my coworkers. I wanted everyone to feel love — especially the people who were really feeling down about being single.

I believe there is more to love than sex, romance, and wedding bells. The Greeks had four words for it, and only one referred to the romantic kind. They recognized love comes in many forms, and I wanted to celebrate that.

Because I have a totally wacked sensibility, I thought the best way to celebrate my all-encompassing version of love was with a little ambiguous humor… hence the gilded fighting dinos. They’re so me. I mean, I love gold paint. Plus I can’t take ANYTHING too seriously. (Even cake.)

I used the Sprinkles Strawberry Cupcake recipe for the cake. Then I slathered homemade whipping cream and fresh strawberries between the layers.

Strawberry layer cake on Dogs Dishes and Decor

This is what strawberries look like on a cake. In case you didn’t know.

Then I did some ombre magic with the frosting.

Ombre frosting on Dogs Dishes and Decor

The magic involved my freezer… for a few minutes on each layer.

Then I threw it all together and topped it off with toys I covered in gold paint. The dinos are such a secret metaphor with so many layers of meaning for me that I smile when I look at them, but you can interpret them anyway you wish. They can serve your story too, and that’s maybe why I like them so much. They’re not just my story; they can be yours too.

Valentine's Day Cake By Dogs Dishes and Decor

Making all this stuff? Made ME happy too.

Oh, and I almost forgot! I made this card with my Martha paints.

Valentine's Day Card on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Cake? Is for everyone. Have some.

And now I leave you with this. It’s the Supremes. They started the love train.

It’s time to get on board.

Pinterest Made Me Do It (Or I Covered Everything in Sprinkles and Glitter)

I threw a baby shower today and I feel like I should probably tell you about it. Well, actually I didn’t throw it so much as I showed up with bags of baked goods and a whole lotta glitter… but that kinda counts, right?

I think it does, so just go with me here.

I may be a total tomboy obsessed with sports, insects, and stirring my compost, but I can’t ignore my inner sorority girl. She secretly rejoices every time someone asks her to tie a ribbon on something.

And baby showers?

Are like the perfect excuse to go all girly. And that makes me happy… because I spend most of my waking hours working with a preponderance of men.

See, I sort of miss the days of staying up until 3 am decorating staircases for rush parties. Steve Jobs once said you can only connect the dots looking back and when I do… I realize I was always tying a ribbon on something. From hours spent locked in my room elaborately wrapping Christmas presents as a kid to serving on the Homecoming float committee like every year in high school, I have always been obsessed with making things pretty. I just didn’t really realize it.

So if I’m being honest with myself, I can’t even blame Pinterest for my recent gold-painted escapades, but I’m gonna try. 

Here’s how it all went down.

Black White and Gold Baby Shower on Dogs Dishes and Decor #baby #blackandgold #star

Pinterest made me do this.

Baby Shower Cake on Dogs Dishes and Decor #babyshower #sprinkles #cake

And this.

Baby Shower Treat on Dogs Dishes and Decor #star #chocolatedipped #ricekrispietreat #baby

I can’t blame Pinterest for this, though. I came up with this idea when my mind was wondering at work. #yesiwasdrinkingandbaking

Baby Shower Favors on Dogs Dishes and Decor #startheme #babyshower

We had 40 guests at the shower, so this was just the tip of the titanic treat iceberg.

Oh, and remember how I had a meltdown before my Peter Pan Party because I didn’t have anyone to do my floral arrangements? Well, I’m getting over my fear of arranging flowers….

I’m not saying it’s my life’s calling or anything, but I’m getting more comfortable.

Black and White Baby Shower Flowers on Dogs Dishes and Decor #babyshower #blackandwhite

I’m making up with flowers one party at a time.

And because that wasn’t enough bows, I went and put one on the baby gift too.

Baby Shower Gift on Dogs Dishes and Decor

I’m broken for bows.

So, anyway, all of that happened. And then I went to GJelina in Venice for dinner with my long lost Melissa who was visiting from New York and absolutely stuffed my face with burrata, Brussels sprouts, and butterscotch pots de creme.

And later this week? I’m gearing up for a Valentine’s day project that just might involve a dinosaur.

More on that later.

Now it’s time for me to lie on the floor listening to the Kaskade remix of Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” and pretend I’m tired.

Here it is, just in case you’re like me and your idea of a lullaby involves a techno remix.

Just Sprinkle Some Truffle Salt On It (Or My Midnight Snack Supper Situation)

So remember when I used to write posts about meals that looked like this?

Easter Dinner on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Color coordinated ombre Easter fanciness for days.

Well, lately my dinners are looking more like this:

Overcooked burger with Brussels sprouts


I did sprinkle the burger and Brussels sprouts with truffle salt in an attempt to salvage the situation, but it was ultimately about as grim as it looks. (Even truffle salt can’t fix ugly.)


That wasn’t nearly enough food to satisfy me, so I hit the bag of sea salt potato chips like a boss mere seconds after snapping that horrendous photo.

If you’re wondering why a former food blogger is making meals that aren’t even fit for a savage, it’s because this food blogger ate dinner at 11freakingpm tonight. That’s my life at the moment, guys. Gourmet goes out the window when you’re working so much that supper is more like a midnight snack.

It’s not all sad veggies and overcooked grass fed ground beef around here, though. I did try out a new cake recipe last weekend for a Super Bowl party.


Triple berry vanilla bean cake with rose water buttercream frosting on Dogs Dishes and Decor #tripleberry #buttercream #babyshower

SO many layers.

Does that count for something?

I’m making some tweaks for the upcoming baby shower, so I’m not quite ready to post the recipe. I’ll hook you up when it’s more… me. This cake involved rose water buttercream frosting, and I found it cloyingly sweet, so I’m going in the whipped cream/cream cheese frosting direction for the shower….

More on that later.

Now, I leave you with my latest musical OBSESSION. It’s an epic mashup of Bon Iver’s “Wolves” with Ini Kamoze’s “Here Comes the Hotstepper.” WHOCOMESUPWITHTHIS?!? #idie

I know what Bo don’t know…