THE LA STORY
My legs began to go in opposite directions as it took my entire might to not do a split while getting on the escalator. It was the first time I felt warmth in a month. I was sleep-deprived in that twilight-zone-delirium that happens when your body is in an actual sleep deprived state, reminding myself to avoid morning flights. I can feel eyes on me when my accidental acrobatic at LAX began so when I finally got all of my luggage on board, recovering, I began to laugh out loud. Because sometimes, that’s all you can do and I really believe that one should seek to laugh as much as possible in this lifetime. While sleep deprivation had been an extracurricular activity during most of my twenties, I’m a few months away from turning 29 and don’t really have the option to cultivate that habit anymore without losing my sanity and/or preservation of well-being. So while this feeling was nostalgic, it was also new as I’d been getting my nearly-daily 9-hour winter sleep during the latter part of 2018. But this trip was different. This was the 14th trip I would take to LA over my lifetime so far - a dream land, a home away from home, a place that I had only fantasized of living in, oceanside, at a time in my life where I had the financial abundance or moxie to do so. Over the years, I would go to festivals, getaway’s and even an epic cross-country road trip after my father died where meeting the Pacific Ocean - the genesis of his diagnosis two years earlier - felt so nourishing. I even have a dream house in Venice that I pass by every trip, envisioning how happy the family that lives there has to be.
But yes, this trip would be different - this time I would be painting the town red, or in this case multi-colored confetti. This trip would become the starting point for my current New York reality to merge with my future Los Angeles dream. It would bring me a big step closer to LA being a place that is home every time I descend into the city of angels. But let’s rewind. Six month earlier, I had a Skype call that would change everything and make this all possible. Enter: Megan - an excitable, vibrant, nearly six foot tall Mid-Westerner that carries a spirit that could be dipped in sparkle. With an affinity for color and statement earrings, her aura precedes her and is one of the many reasons we have become partners and co-founders of The Confetti Project. Like most things in life, it began as an organic, unexpected surprise as our visions melded together as we were both aware that we were beginning a calling that would entail creating something bigger than ourselves. We had officially met the year prior during my first summer pop-up in Los Angeles. Much later, Megan reached out and, after a few failed attempts at meeting while she was in town, we finally got on a Skype call that lasted a few hours - like most of them still do. Since then, we have established and forged an accidental, bi-coastal work-wife, let’s-douse-the-entire-world-with-sparkle situation. So when I came to LA to finally see her in person, we both knew it would be a 14-day whirlwind of an adventure and we weren’t wrong.
From the moment I landed, we hit the ground running. We spoke with Olay. Went to Forever Cemetery. Did our first activation to kick off the holiday season at Union Station. Experienced Unique Market. Went to the Oh Joy studio and got the opportunity to douse the team with confetti during a girl-power Monday afternoon. It rained twice while I was there which gave me refugee in laughter looking at all of the native Los Angeleno’s decked in winter coats, rain boots and a diffused confusion as to why it was so “cold.” I was exhausted to the point of running on caffeine as my skin - my ultimate stress responder - began to break out across my face. But I have to be up in six hours. For a 6:30am segment on KTLA. It was the first time I would be on broadcast TV and I began to question everything: is this outfit flattering? Will my blemishes show? Can I even wear a fedora on air? We drove on the freeway before the crack of dawn as I reviewed my talking points. And, in an instant, everything was over. It was 90 seconds of news anchors that couldn’t resist playing with the confetti pre-maturely. I was relieved but plowed right into the rest of the day, extra worn out. I would later come to realize that I max’d out my credit card and didn’t even have access to get a Lyft across town. I walked back from the bank crying (yes, in public) feeling so powerless, ashamed and wrong. I would have to wait a full 24 hours for processing and within that time woke up to the news that a family friend who had been paralyzed most of the year had died. So I began to walk and the semi-wet, coolness that is atypical for this city was the perfect backdrop for my angst unraveling.
We all get to a point where everything comes spilling to the surface - a thousand different moments, emotions, thoughts come rushing out and all you can do is be, bracing yourself for the ride and maybe even letting out a little laugh of relief because what else can you do? In this moment, I was overworked and underplayed and without my own real personal space for over a week. My walk became therapy where each step brought more inner space of calm, release and perspective. I texted Megan at the exact perfect moment and she picked me up for us to get our makeup done because we would be debuting the first LA Open Studios later that day because why not? Oh, and the LA Times would be there too. The makeup artist began to paint my eyes with a silver shimmer, giving me an alien vibe that I kind of loved. Megan had on the boldest fake eyelashes and pops of color on her eyelids. Yes, we kind of looked like drag queens but it was fierce and perfect for the next few hours where we would douse humans with 4 pounds of multi-colored, multi-shaped confetti. There was a three year old girl. Two best friends in high school. An entire family. A diehard fan. Someone celebrating their 50th birthday. A mother and daughter. And even though I was working the entire time, I felt so alive. That everything I had been working toward had lead to this exact moment.
The next day, we made a house call to Amy Tangerine’s craft-heaven studio where she opened her home to us and was so kind, generous and an inspiration. But the finale was the second Union Station activation in DTLA where we created a set-up outside alongside a live band. A family came all the way from Orange County to celebrate their daughter’s birthday. An octogenarian celebrated living as long as he has. A young girl celebrated coming out to LA to pursue her dreams in Hollywood. Gratitudes and losses were shared. Families of all shapes and sizes came. And children completely took over the scene making it their own confetti playground by the end. As we packed up our things, I began to walk through the confetti and children, where a father made the announcement that the “confetti lady” is leaving. The kids began to wave goodbye to me in between throwing confetti at each other and with each tired step, I knew this was the beginning of something bigger than I ever imagined.