The Street Where I Live

British by birth, New Yorker by nature.

Kira Hesser

Wedding Advice From The TSWYL Girls

Love and MarriageAlexandra kingComment

This weekend, Isaac and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary, and over the last few weeks I've been reminiscing about just how busy this time last year was. Wedding planning is, in turn, so thrilling and so agonising- I remember both sensations very well, and can now laugh about the time I had to go to the bathroom to primal scream because I ordered the wrong sized table cloths (WHO WAS I in that moment?). Anyway, as summer wedding season slowly draws to a close for this year, I thought I'd quiz five of The Street Where You Live girls, who all had wonderfully inspiring, beautiful and individual weddings, on how to have a beautiful day and not lose your goddam mind in the process. Scroll down for very many wise words and some seriously stunning brides.

Kira Cook

Kira and Tyler Cook

Who? Tyler Cook, one of Hollywood's most in-demand editors

Where? The Holding Co. in Silverlake, Los Angeles for both ceremony and reception. It was a 1920s auto body shop that's recently been converted to a courtyard/loft/warehouse space. 

What did you wear? I bought a 1960s vintage lace dress from Gossamer vintage, then I bought a seafoam bridesmaids dress from BHLDN and had my friend Tashina, who custom-designs wedding gowns, whip the two into an entirely new dress o' my dreams. Trying on dresses, I fell in love with many but all were insanely-priced, and the vintage ones I found weren't quite perfect, but I knew I wanted an element of antiquity and I knew I wanted some color, as well. I lived and breathed ideas about the perfect dress (I am BONKERS FOR DRESSES in my daily sartorial-scape), even woke up in sweats one night because I told Tashina the wrong idea for a dress. Luckily, in my panicked 6am email, she said not to worry, she never made changes until 3 days after appointments with brides because of this very reason. It ended up being, just, the most beautiful dress I could imagine, honestly. The peter-pan collar and the button-up back lace top combined with a cascade of lace applique down the seafoam tulle was romantic and whimsical, two things I look for most in a dress. And, the top came off so it became a strapless dress to dance in all night! 

What was your favourite part of the day?

There is no feeling like holding onto both parents' arms and walking into a sea of people who you love most in the world to a song that's made you cry for months in anticipation of the wedding and ending up in front of a person whose crystal-blue eyes are shining and weeping and waiting for you to make life-long promises to him. It was really stunning, I was utterly overcome with emotion - so much so that all photos of me walking up the aisle are utterly UNUSABLE because my face is contorted into RIDICULOUS-looking sobs.  

That moment, as well as climbing aboard a turquoise schoolbus we rented at 3:30 in the morning with 30 of our loved ones who managed to stay awake the whole night and driving to Pomona's campus to see the sunrise light show at the James Turrell skyspace "Dividing the Light." That was a truly epic, unforgettable way to usher in our first sunrise as a married couple. 

What's your number one piece of advice for someone else planning their wedding? Don't spend an insane amount on flowers!!!!!!! I read that it can be three to ten thousand dollars to spend on flowers and we definitely didn't have that. My aunt, mom, and I went downtown to the LA Flower District and bought car-loads of flowers for a grand sum of $360, and arranged all the bouquets and vases ourselves, with the help of our family. It was a beautiful way to spend time with everyone the day before the wedding. 

ALSO: this is probably obvious to every sane, sophisticated, adult woman out there but DO NOT CUT YOUR OWN BANGS THREE DAYS BEFORE THE WEDDING because you don't "have enough time" to get them professionally done. I wince at the desperate bang-job I gave myself and can see how uneven it is in all the photos. What a dope!!! 

ALSO: buy comfortable shoes to dance in! I rolled my eyes at every blog's suggestion to buy two pairs of shoes for the wedding (absurd and excessive!) and insisted on finding a comfortable pair I could wear all night that went with my dress. By god did I look high and LOW for that perfect pair, to no avail. I ended up buying a beautiful and moderately comfortable pair for the ceremony and fun flat (FANCY for Chrissakes, not FLIP-FLOPS) sandals to dance in, which meant that I actually danced for hours.
 

Decca Lang

Who? Alex Head, a dashing scientist and motor bike rider.

Where? The Home Farm, Somerset, England. My childhood home


What did you wear? A handmade silk tulle dress made by my friend and drama teacher from school Meryl Smart. A true piece of craftsmanship. Concealed corsets and silk skirts and lots of champagne tulle which is like sewing sand! 


What was your favourite part of the day?  Towards the end of the church ceremony, as we stepped up to the alter for the final blessing, the skies cleared and the October sun streamed through the main stain glasses window in the beautiful ancient church where we got married.  It was pretty amazing. We then turned around to walk out and saw everyone we cared about in the world beaming back at us. Loved the whole thing and just the fact we had the best party with everyone we loved. 


What's your number one piece of advice for someone else planning their wedding?  Elope! Joking....ish?! Try not to let 'wedmin' become all consuming - if you have a long engagement then you'll feel like you never talk/think about anything else for months on end. Have a couple of days a month when you bosh out some stuff and don't worry about it the rest of the time.  Details are all important but don't lose perspective. Will anyone really notice if your tablecloth isn't the same length as the runner? Or if the cutlery doesn't all match because the caterers got it wrong? Whilst your wedding is obviously about you and your new husband - try to remember why your doing it the way you're doing it: To have your favourite people share your day and make it as fun and joyful as possible. Weddings that ask a lot from their guests become a drag. If your guests are happy then so will you be and your day will be a genuine love in.

Lucy Kenyon-Jones

Lucy Kenyon-Jones and Adam Hoefel

Who? Adam Hoefel, a dapper Canadian and hot-shot immigration lawyer

Where?  Camden Town Hall, a beautiful Victorian registry office opposite St. Pancras station. It's a hidden gem filled with sweeping marble staircases and wood panelled chambers. Our wedding reception was held at Brunswick House in Vauxhall, an old Georgian mansion house transformed into Lassco's rambling antiques salvage yard. 


What did you wear? I wore a one-shoulder draped Grecian gown made of claret velvet. I found it online (cheap as chips) and had it posted to the UK from Nordstrom. My mum, a glorious seamstress, sewed layers of frayed claret chiffon into the hem of the dress to create a bit of a bohemian train. She also made me a pair of rough cut garnet and gold earrings - one of my most special possessions. My belt and shoes were from & Other Stories


What was your favourite part of the day? There were so many! Glimpsing Adam outside the registry office as my taxi drew up (my girls had to bundle me down into the car so that I wasn't seen) - I swear my heart skipped a beat. When one of my sisters broke down crying whilst reading our favourite John Cooper Clarke poem and my other sister (her twin) valiantly stepped in and finished it. Our first married kiss. The speeches!! But if I'm totally honest, it was having almost 100 people throw the handmade confetti I'd spent HOURS making over my head. That was a totally joyous moment. 


What's your number one piece of advice for someone else planning their wedding? Don't give a shit what others think. If you don't want to wear white, then don't! Celebrate your mismatched bridesmaids (two of mine wore black, and damn they looked chic!). Walk out of your wedding to the Rolling Stones if you want to, and don't spend money on stuff you can't eat or take home. Also, let your friends help you. From my invites, to my hair, make-up, cake, lighting and venue, my friends joined in and helped build the day with me. 

Thank you wonderful girls. Your words, as ever, inspire. Do you have any top wedding tips? Advice on how to deal with the stress of the big day? I'd love to hear! 

 


The Street Where You Live: Kira Hesser, Los Feliz, LA

The Street Where You LiveAlexandra king4 Comments
Kira Hesser The Street Where I Live

I'm over the moon to introduce a new series to TSWIL- it's called The Street Where You Live. Yes, YOU. Now, once a week, we'll be meeting a remarkable woman from a different part of the world, walking down the street where they live. We'll get to know all the beautiful minutiae - the houses, coffee shops, local hoodlums and neighborhood tips guaranteed to make your heart sing.

In the next few weeks we'll travel to streets in places like London, Berlin, Paris and Mexico City, and enjoy a unique glimpse into a cast of inspirational and creative women's lives and loves.

So let's get started shall we? First up, I'm awfully proud to introduce Kira Hesser, actress, writer, comedienne, my sweet friend, who lives in Los Angeles, California. More specifically, as she points out, in the neighbourhood called Los Feliz: literally, The Happy. 

Kira Hesser, The Street Where I Live

On settling in hip LA neighbourhood, Los Feliz:

I live on a very quiet, residential street nestled in between Hollywood and Los Feliz village. Technically, I live in what's known as "Little Armenia", and 75% of the residents on my street are almost comically unfriendly Armenian octogenarians. There are only three businesses on my street, all clustered together at the Hollywood Boulevard end: a baklava bakery, and a hookah bar that for sure doubles as a mafia hangout (think Satriale's if my life were The Sopranos (and why isn't it?). A cool independent German clothing/jewelry boutique just opened up too, and I look forward to being able to afford something there in the next year or two.

Kira Hesser Tyler Cook

On finding the perfect room mate-online. Spoiler alert, also her future husband

I live with my fiance, Tyler. He is an editor on the television series The Originals (sexy CW vampire show). We met on OKCupid (!) - we were each-others first dates on the site, and we are fully aware of how insane and fortuitous that is. Tyler is my easiest and sexiest roommate to date (sorry past roommates Megan, Jennifer, Tiffiny, Miranda, Meg, Ryan, Olivia, Alienor, Louise, Melanie, and Julien! 'Twas a delight to live with you all, too).

Kira Hesser The Street Where I Live

On loving her home:

I love my apartment so much. Tyler and I have created a beautiful little oasis in our home, which is pretty spacious by Los Angeles standards and positively palatial by New York standards. When we got engaged, we started looking at moving to a brand-new place to enter married life in, but we've found the cost of apartments to have gone up exponentially and prohibitively since we've been living here (I've lived in this apartment for nearly 5 years, Tyler for 3). So, we stayed, and redecorated. We invested in a real couch that we're quite proud of: a cheery red modernist structure whose fabric hides dog hair quite well. We have lovely old French windows, a ton of natural sunlight, a parking spot, a lovely green front yard for our dogs to pee in, and we're far enough away from the bars to never hear any street-noise and close-enough that we can walk to and from our favorite happy hour spots. 

On having a "job" in LA:

Hahahhahah. Job. Singular! Can you even imagine? Not in LA, that's for sure. I barely know anyone that has one job here. Most everyone is cobbling together a living with several part-time jobs until they can make a living out of their passion. I moved to Los Angeles to act and to write and to be paid for both, but in the meantime, in the in-between-time of paid writing, acting, and voiceover gigs and hosting a PBS travel series Islands Without Cars (which unfortunately only shoots once a year, in the summertime). I also  1) assist a voice director 2) write trendy pieces for a style blog 3) cater-waiter for the glamorous private dinners and parties of the rich 1%.

Kira Hesser The Street Where I Live

On not being afraid to follow your dreams:

I grew up acting in Chicago as a child, and acted my way through grade school. I quit in high school but years later, when I was getting my MA in Modern Literature in London (where I met sweet Alex!!), I also began hosting the PBS travel series Islands Without Cars and realized that I missed being on-camera, and I missed acting. I had to decide whether or not to stay in London and acquire a visa and pursue a career in editing or publishing, or move to Los Angeles and re-pursue acting before I was too old for the career (NB: I was 26 when I moved here, so technically I was already too old for Hollywood). 

Kira Hesser The Street Where I Live

On having a recording booth in her closet:

We have two bedrooms, no dishwasher, but mercifully, a washer & dryer that was Tyler's moving-in present to the apartment/us. We live underneath an elderly Armenian lady who is mostly, happily, silent other than her VERY loud phone ringing several times throughout the day. Though it's actually quite beautifully anachronistic to hear a real house phone ring! Except when I'm trying to record a voiceover audition in my closet that doubles as a recording booth, that is.
 

Kira Hesser The Street Where I Live

On dealing with terrible neighbors:

My upstairs neighbors are the worst thing about my street, and if we didn't have such an insanely affordable, beautiful, spacious, and rent-controlled apartment, we would leave because of them. They are senselessly terrified of our two 15-pound dogs and make a big theatrical show of it anytime we happen to be surrounding the apartment at the same time. The old lady above us doesn't speak any English but shook her crooked finger yelling "NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!" at my face once when I was leaving my apartment to walk our dogs and she happened to be nearby. On the other side upstairs is a middle-aged family of 3, and their too-old-for-this-behavior daughter screamed in terror at one of our dogs once which made him bark harmlessly which led to the father coming to our door and threatening to have our dogs "taken care of." See? Mafia. Guess I DO live in The Sopranos and it's actually not as cinematically romantic as I had hoped. Also this guy is NO Gandolfini, I'll tell you that much (read: not sexy). 

Before Tyler moved in with me, I lived int his apartment with my best friend Miranda, and my other best friends lived in the other bottom unit, luck of all luck! We decided to have a joint Christmas party, and did the courteous thing by knocking on our upstairs neighbor's door to inform them that we would be having a party Saturday night. 

The four of us crowded around their door. "Hi! We just wanted to let you know we're having a Christmas party this Saturday night. Shouldn't be too loud, but we just wanted to inform you. People should be gone by around 1."

The mean-looking father stared at us, his face unflinching. "No." he stated, simply. "No."

"We're...not asking you. We're telling you we're having a party. It's on a weekend."

"No. You girls are always making so much noise, with your music, and your...your....effing."

"WHAT?!" half of us exclaimed in disgust. Miranda threw her hands up and went back into the apartment at this point. 

"Exactly what do you mean by that?" Megan asked. 

"You know. Your...all your making LOVE." His 7-year old daughter sat at the top of the stairs, watching her father's loathesome appointment with The Complaint Department.

"AUGHHH!" I exclaimed, heading back into the house. Megan stayed to argue with him, and Miranda and I shook the gross out in our apartment, baffled, since all 4 of us were woefully single and had not had ANY recent sex for him to sonically endure and then complain about. We had the Christmas party and he has not spoken a word to me in the 4 years since (unless you count frequent murderous glares a type of conversation, which: I do!)

Kira Hesser The Street Where I Live

On LA misconceptions, and recommendations:
 

People think that you have to drive everywhere in Los Angeles, and while that is absolutely true, the distinct pleasure of living in my neighbourhood is that it's not always so. Los Feliz is incredibly walkable: I have some great bars within walking distance (El Chavo for swarthy $4 margaritas, Le Figaro for wine, Harvard & Stone for Old Fashioneds), in addition to a movie theatre, plenty of restaurants, and perhaps most importantly, House of Pies. Griffith Parks' hundreds of miles of gorgeous hiking trails are within a short jog. My second favorite apple fritter in the city is a block away. My favorite fish taco, sold by a red-nosed alcoholic Irishman (redundant, I know, I know) is a 10-minute walk away. Thai Town is 3 blocks away, which offers an unfettered number of options for superlative pad-see-ew's. And, if we're feeling saucy, Jumbo's Clown Room, a tiny strip club where all the strippers are "alternative" (tattooed, well-(un)-dressed), is also just a 7-minute walk away.

Kira Hesser The Street Where You Live

Any advice for anyone walking your block?

"The dog doodie you see isn't from our dogs, we always pick it up. Avoid that hookah bar at the end, but definitely do indulge in some of the baklava at the bakery next door to it, for it is extra-honeyed and divine. See that old man doing push-ups in his pajamas against his balcony up there? He's my best friend. He doesn't know it yet, but he is." 

Kira Hesser The Street Where I Live

When you walk down your street, what do you feel in your heart?
 

90% of the time when I'm walking down my street, I'm walking my dogs. So, the main thing I usually feel in my heart is the desire for my dogs to doodie quickly. Other than that, I feel rather peaceful, safe, and warm. Also, I'm always hoping to run into the old Mexican man who  is a school crossing guard and named his ancient dachshund, who accompanies him to school every day, "Little Thing."

The Street Where I Live Kira Hesser

On loving, simply loving, LA:

Los Angeles is a slow-unfurling treasure, and I love it more each year that I spend here. It's utterly vast and unknowable at first: you need to take it bit by bit. There are major sections of the city that I still get completely lost in when an audition takes me there. The valley is a 1950s strip wunderland that still baffles me, as does most of LA. I've done a solid job conquering Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Feliz, Echo Park, Silverlake, Downtown, and Pasadena, but there's still so much left. LA isn't one city, it's 9, and as such there's no way I'll ever get bored of it. 

Kira Hesser The Street Where You Live

On the perfect day in Los Feliz:

It begins with going for a morning run with Tyler and the dogs, through Los Feliz and up to our favorite hilltop, overlooking all of Los Angeles, which is incidentally where we got our engagement photos taken, too. It continues with an apple fritter at Sam's Donuts up the street. It's at the point where I walk in and the Vietnamese couple that runs it says "Apple fritter, right?" I am, in fact, a monster. The day continues with a movie at Arclight, tacos for lunch from Guisados in Echo Park (FACT: the best tacos any human has ever tasted in their lives. They are catering our rehearsal dinner picnic, that's how much we love them.), and a wander through Skylight Books. It would finish off with margaritas and nachos at El Chavo, which is the most wildly erratic dish I've ever continued to order, like some kind of Pavlovian dope. Sometimes they're the best nachos I've ever tasted and other times they're horrid and inedible. I told this to the bartender once, my eyes wide with curiosity about these fickle nachos, and he gave me the hottest tip around: "When you order them, ask for them to be made with love. We'll know what you mean, and we'll tell the kitchen. Then they'll be delicious every time." He was right: the tip has withstood the test of nacho time.

 

Thank you so much darling Kira! 

I don't doubt that you're deeply in love with Ms Hesser at this point. But have no fear, you can get regular updates on her latest adorbs vintage frock, apple fritter, and recalcitrant Armenian encounter by following her on Instagram.