The Secret Life of an Oyster

Last month, I had an appointment for a facial at Skin Worship, a lash extension and skincare clinic in Beverly Hills that I'd found none other than scrolling around on Instagram. It had been years since I had had a facial, but I decided that 2017 was going to be the year I'd dedicate more attention to my personal well-being. When I entered the waiting room, instead of a receptionist, I was greeted with a little book titled The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Guidebook, which sat next to a deck of tarot-inspired cards. Always a sucker for things that promise to reveal my personality type, I picked it up and and followed its instructions: Shuffle the deck. Cut the deck in three. Combine back into one deck. Flip over a card to reveal your Animal Spirit. 

When I flipped over the card, I got the Oyster. ("An oyster's not even an 'animal'," my friend Bill later deadpanned when I told him.)

OYSTER
Patient, Secret-Keeper, Hiding the Inner Treasures

The focus and determination of the Oyster is unmatched. Anything an Oyster personality puts their mind to, they achieve with grace and charm. The only problem is, Oyster types often take their inner gifts for granted. They become shy or doubtful, and this can lead to withdrawing or protecting their deepest desires and life’s work. When the Oyster card appears, it’s important to reveal your inner treasures. What is it that you’ve been hesitant to share? The world is waiting to see.

When In Balance: feels blessed, generous, masterful
When Out of Balance: reluctant, gripping, “clams up”
To Bring Into Balance: share something

Out of curiosity, I shuffled the deck and tried again. Again, the Oyster card appeared. For the hell of it, I tried yet again. Oyster. 

I never thought about oysters outside of the context of a plateau de fruits de mer, but there are many valuable lessons to be learnt from such a small creature. It may be soft and delicate but has a strong shell to protect itself. It lives in a turbulent environment of ocean currents yet is peaceful and adaptable. And perhaps the most interesting thing about the oyster is its ability to take the sand and grit and irritants in its life and transform it into a pearl. There's something quite magical about that. 

 

The Cottontail and the Speed Demon

Before we put our helmets on, he said: "I've been doing this since I was eighteen, so don't be scared. And don't hold on too tight."

Don't be scared? I'm a natural-born scaredy cat. Have been as long as I can remember. In fact, my sister made me take an animal personality test and I came up as a cottontail. A cottontail's instinct is to run at the first sign of danger and, here I was, about to zoom up the Pacific Coast Highway on the back of a Ducati with a speed demon. 

Vroom! Vroom!

Off we went, zig-zagging through cars and up the curvy, winding pavement of the mountains. With every vroom, my heart leapt–not with fear, but with a sense of thrill! My arms were loosely wrapped around his body like a backpack, moving along with every sway and turn. Every so often, he'd give my leg a reassuring pat.

I was surprised at myself. Not once did I squeeze him tight or freak out. Boy, when you can trust someone, like, literally trust them with you life, it feels so, so liberating. After a six-hour, death-defying journey, we made it back to Venice Beach in one piece. Taking off my helmet, I asked earnestly: "Can we do it again sometime?"

He Gets Me, He Gets Me Not...

Deep-fried strawberry pies from Town Line BBQ in the Hamptons

Being the young girly-girl I was ten years ago, I thought I had discovered a crafty way to find out how my then-boyfriend perceived me. So, I asked him: "If I were a food, what would I be?" I was hoping that he'd tell me that I was a decadent Viennese chocolate torte. Layers upon layers of cake and hazelnut buttercream... Covered with a glossy coat of dark chocolate... And topped with a gold-leaf garnish! You know, an exquisite creation of that sort.

To my dismay, he replied: "You'd be a chicken pot pie."  

A chicken pot pie? A chicken pot pie??? Excuse me? I couldn't believe that he thought of me as something so ordinary and pedestrian and... Blah. Gee, thanks. I crossed my arms and waited for an explanation. 

"You're a chicken pot pie because you look like any other sweet pie on the outside," he said, "But, on the inside, it gets more complicated. You're not one of those sweet pies. You have chunks of chicken, potatoes, peas, carrots... And gravy."

I was taken aback. He nailed it. I don't think I could've done a better job summing my own self up into a nutshell. (Or, a pie shell, rather.) It was incredibly flattering. The thing about chicken pot pies is this: They have substance.

 

Just Like Diane

"So... We play an ice-breaker game every time we have a first-time visitor," said a friend of mine, pulling out a seat for me when I stopped by her office to say hello, "You have to pose a question to the group and everyone takes their turn to answer it."

I looked around at the smiling faces at the table. What a way to put a girl on the spot! 

"OK!" I said, clasping my hands together, "I've got the question."

I cheated a little because I had already played this game back in college. The question was: "If there was a movie made about your life, who would you pick to play you?" 

The only difference, then, was that, instead of answering it myself, my college roommate answered for me: Parker Posey. (At the time, we were all obsessed with two Parkers: Parker Posey and Sarah Jessica Parker.) I was honored. Parker Posey was an unexpected and non-obvious choice. She has a wicked sense of humor and, despite being supremely talented and cool, she has always flown under the mainstream radar.

Therefore, when it was my turn, I knew exactly what I was going to say: "Parker Posey."

"Really?" asked my friend, "I'm surprised. You know who you remind me of? Diane Keaton."  

"Diane Keaton?!" 

"Yes! Especially in that movie Something's Gotta Give." 

"Really?! Why?" I wasn't sure how I felt that a 50+-year old actress could play me. (And I'm not talking about looks because Ms. Keaton looks damn fine.) Did I act twenty years older than my own age???

"Well, she's a writer... And she always wears sweaters,"  she said, thoughtfully.

I looked down at what I was wearing. Hm. A cashmere sweater in the middle of the summer. Well, what can I say, I am definitely a sweater girl, through and through. She might be be onto something.

When I randomly bumped into an ex-boyfriend from high school, he also brought up the same connection. He mentioned that Something's Gotta Give was one of his favorite movies and Diane Keaton's character always reminded him of me. It was interesting coming from someone whose #1 favorite movie is American Psycho, to say the least.

Diane Keaton plays Erica Barry, an accomplished playwright and divorcée who lives in a gorgeous house in the Hamptons and finds herself caught in a love triangle between a man of her own age who is the ultimate modelizer (Jack Nicholson) and a younger hot doctor who is completely enamored with her (Keanu Reeves). Nancy Meyers, the writer and director of the film, didn't make it difficult to see why these two polar opposites were clamoring for her attention.

Erica Barry possesses a sparkly independent spirit, but is also a creature of comfort. She's complex but not complicated. And she's nurturing but not in a trite way. She also makes things like blueberry pancakes at midnight and eats scrambled eggs straight out of the pan on rainy evenings.

I recently watched Something's Gotta Give again the other night. OK, so there are some similarities. There's the writing thing and the sweater thing, for one. But, geez, her hairstyle and my hairstyle? (I swear, I feel perpetually stuck in this mid-length layered haircut.) Then, there's her easy-going nature that makes her so approachable. And the fact that she has no problem spending time alone. Oh, and how she romances Paris... Although what woman doesn't?

I adore Diane Keaton in general, so I'm very pleased to know that there are at least two people in this world who associate me with her character in this movie. I hope I live up to it. Like Erica Barry, I hope I produce some great piece of writing, find someone who gets me, and own a fabulous home in the Hamptons. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What's In A Bed?

 "If a guy has black satin sheets, run," said Ashley, emphatically.

I'm pretty sure this rule of thumb also applies to leopard print satin sheets. After all, you can tell a lot about a person by their bed. I'm very into my bed. I love my bed. I may even be in love with it.

"What does my bed say about me?" I wondered aloud, "I know it's a little old-fashioned, but I kind of like it." 

I have a total of eight pillows, my sheets are ivory 600-thread count, and my duvet cover is woven with a jacquard print. 

"I like it!" said Ashley, "It says: This is my throne." 

Pretty much. 

Here are things to watch out for:

  1. A bed with one good pillow and one crappy pillow Guess who's getting the crappy pillow? 
  2. A bed with two crappy pillows Really??? 
  3. People who sleep with teddy bears or porcelain dolls
  4. All navy blue sheets or sheets that are printed like graph paper Let me guess–he is between the age of 26 and 29 years old.
  5. People who do not own a down comforter (or an alternative down comforter) 
  6. Random mix-matched sheets

I would say that you should strive for the bed seen above in this picture, at the very least: four good pillows, a matching sheet set in a high thread count, and a(n) [alternative] down comforter.