Ottem No. 5

Five years ago things were very different. I lived in Hollywood and identified myself as a career centered, single gal. On occasion, I had ice cream for dinner, my best friend was my cat and my social life was, at most times, “lacking.” There was little to no thought of changing my arrangement.
Five years ago things for Ryan were very different. He too was single and career centered. He lived in a bachelor pad with two of his best friends where beer pong was an olympic sport and the social life could be, at times, “overwhelming.” It was common for nights to end well into the morning, burritos were a dietary staple and the last thing on his mind was climbing into a long distance relationship.
Life for both parties was good. Then one night, after a series of unfortunate events and poor assumptions that lead to two former acquaintances to become Facebook friends, Ryan boldly commented on LA’s status. Quite a few email exchanges, hundreds of thousands of text messages, hours and hours of phone calls, thousands of dollars in air fare, a moving van, cat carrier and Jetta full of shoes later, we were a year and a half in and the distance portion was over. The following year we were engaged, seven months later married and now here we are side by side, laying in our bed, watching Jimmy Fallon on our TV, separated by what he now affectionately calls our cat.
Life five years ago is barely recognizable, it’s so much better.

Annually celebrating the day that we instantly became involved in each others life for what would turn into eternity is extremely crucial to me. It marks the most positive, pivotal shift in my personal life that I had ever and will ever experience. It was a move so minute, Ryan innocently engaging in online sports banter, no clue what door he was about to open. You just never know what tiny move you are making that could grow into something enormous. In Noodle’s case, his small gesture of jaunt landed him squarely in the path of his future wife. A moment that will forever call for celebration. Our most important anniversary.

After kicking off our fifth with champagne and butternut squash soup, followed with a shared bottle of wine and bed before midnight on a Friday, we started Saturday off fresh and bright, almost too bright. Taking our sweet time through our morning routine, we found ourselves in search of brunch. Flow, a recently renewed upstairs Mendocino eatery, offers patio seating with a view of Main St. meeting the uneven coastline of Northern California, a view people travel from far and wide to witness. Taking our chance against the windless coastal sun beating down, with shades adorned, we took an outdoor table and toasted over Huckleberry Blintzes to ourselves and our accomplishment of completing five years of togetherness. I with my beet crepe full of smoked salmon, spinach and mushrooms and Babe with his Hazelnut Butter French Toast and bacon, ignored the blistering sun and enjoyed every bite of our meal.


We frequent Mendocino’s shops faster than they can refresh their merchandise so we opted on window shopping some of the breakfast potatoes off and headed out.mendowalk

Our destination was a location that until now had been a mythical land of good and plenty. Todd Farmhouse Antiques is over 10 rooms of purchasable treasures complete with library and museum.  The 1898 farmhouse is wall to wall of incredible finds, more than I could absorb in a single trip. Just visiting the museum room so the inner child in me could spaz out over the completed three story dollhouse with every miniature detail in place would have been enough. Unfortunately, the dollhouse, like the rest of the museum items, was not for sale. Luckily, pretty much everything else in the entire house was. We immediately took major advantage of the $1 book bins that were sprinkled throughout the rooms. Anything that looked overly loved and fell into our gold, black and sometimes red color pallet went in the bag. A pair of brass and crystal candle holders caught our eyes within seconds of walking through the front door and now sit proudly on our dining table. The true find of the day, and what became our anniversary gift to each other, was a pair of hobnail glass and brass table lamps, randomly sitting up in a closet full of vintage Hawaiian shirts. We locked eyes, fell in love and rushed them to the counter. Then rushed ourselves out before we did serious damage.

Noodle Note: The part that makes my new happiest place on earth so elusive is that it is only open Thursday-Saturday noon-4:00. They close for the winter around end of November and reopen sometime in April.  



The weekend away was short and sweet. We spent a lot of time around the house and for once ate all but one meal in. Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt, Pepperidge Farms Apple Pie Cookies, a lot of Jaegermeister, hours of Hozier and chorizo and eggs for breakfast all made my favorite moments list for the weekend.


We spent some serious time experimenting with our camera gear. We attempted to chase the sun through Saturday’s sunset but the sky was drastically uncooperative. So, we decided to stage our own lighting on the patio. After repurposing a pair of desk lamps, propping up our white back drop on stacked patio furniture and hours of editing, we collectively created our vintage school portraits. I’ve always been envious of the era that lived in sepia tone. Who knew imitating the classic look of a floating head shot done in greyscale would be so challengingly rewarding.


I know that in the grand timeline of life a mere five years is but a spec, but when the spec currently marks the longest time you have had your number one companion in your life, the spec is monumental. Cheers, to us and to what is really still just the beginning.