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Sweet Nothings

Sweet Nothings

Happy Holidays, Yo

Requisite holiday snapshot of the husband and me

Requisite holiday snapshot of the husband and me

It’s that time of year again. Time to pose in goofy photo booths at holiday parties, drink too much eggnog, cry about all the weight that will inevitably be gained from said eggnog, and then eat an entire gingerbread house to cheer one’s self up. Yup, that’s pretty much where I’m at right now. Except, when I’m not stifling my cries with gingerbread, I’m actually feeling damn grateful for this past year, and — to top that off — I don’t think I’ve ever felt so excited to embark on a new one.

I had the tremendous privilege of working on two straight-to-series television shows in 2015, and have learned from/idolized some amazing writers and producers along the way — the kinds of people who push me to be better and whose talent makes me aspire to things I never knew possible. 2015 has been a year chock-full-o’ humbling challenges and just enough accomplishments to make it all feel worthwhile, and I know 2016 will keep up a similar pace. In fact, I go to Canada in the beginning of the year to start shooting an exciting new show for USA. I can’t wait to tell you a little bit about it, but before that I can’t wait to hear about your holiday plans… Mine will include catching up with family, soaking in time with the hubby and pup, and weaning off eggnog. How about you? xoxo

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Whirlwinds

The husband and me silly-ing it up at a holiday party

The husband and me silly-ing it up at a holiday party this year

Why, hello there. Since last we spoke I’ve become a redhead, discovered an awesome recipe for flourless chocolate-chip cookies, and, oh yeah, been working on a damn cool TV show at NBC. It’s all been nothing short of a whirlwind, but, when I look back on the blurry big events of the last year, what stands out to me most is this: somewhere in between all the milestones, Los Angeles has started to feel more like home. LA is such a big, daunting city with no real center to speak of, but Jeremy and I have been taking it on day-by-day — renovating our house every chance we get and finding new pockets of this ocean-side desert that we love, while forever fine-tuning the way we balance our professional and personal lives. I just wanted to pop by to share these updates and say hello. Write at ya soon, darlings! -Coté

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Twenty Fourteen

Wishing everyone a fruitful new year!

Wishing everyone a fruitful new year!

I hope your new year is off to a smashing start, dears! Have you already begun making resolutions for all the grand things you want to do, be, and see in 2014? I sure have. Big surprise, I know. Seeing as I love, love, love setting goals, I’ve tried to rein myself in this year and just stick to a few simple, very achievable things that I genuinely think will make for a happier me in the year ahead. I’ve made one professional goal, one health goal, and two personal goals. Apparently, I just couldn’t help myself on that last one. In case it inspires you, here’s what I’m striving to do over the next 365 days and beyond…

  • Professionally speaking… This year, I really want to push myself to get my work out there more. Although this task often feels daunting due to my intense work schedule, I’m determined not to let anything deter me in 2014. Whether it’s posting photos to Instagram, composing silly little blog entries, or submitting short stories and essays to magazines, I’m keen to send at least one tiny creation of mine into the universe every day.
  • Healthfully speaking… Pure and simple, my goal is to eat leafy greens at least twice a day. Yup, every day. Bring on the noise, bring on the kale.
  • Personally speaking… Firstly, I plan to make time at least once a month for my hubby and I to go out for dinner with friends in LA. {Once monthly sounds so piddly, I know, but — trust me — it is a vast improvement on our current lifestyle as workaholic hermits.} Secondly, I really want to streamline my morning and evening routines this year. This is to say, I have long suspected that most normal, highly functioning adults belong to a secret society that lets them in on precious insights about the business of life, like the best times to shower, grocery shop, or vacuum without scaring their dogs half to death. Although I don’t expect an invite from this society anytime soon, I’m determined to revamp my closet, hang clocks above my bathtub, and follow every other life hack possible until I feel like an honorary member.

As I work toward my goals, I will be sure to let you know if I learn any secrets that I think you would like. But, enough about me. How are your goals and resolutions shaping up? If you want more inspiration, here’s some food for thought about the golden rules of making goals, setting simple goals, mid-year goals, and laid-back resolutions. What’s up with you and your scheming? Leave a comment.

Image via Justina Blakeney.

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Weekend Bucket List

What's on your weekend bucket list?

What’s on your weekend bucket list?

Since my husband and I both tend to put in a lot of work hours on the weekends, lately we’ve found ourselves wondering where the “fun” days of the week have gone. As a result, I’ve decided to give our Saturdays and Sundays a kick in the pants. It’s never easy to break out of a routine — especially when you find yourself not only in a weekend rut, but in a weekend-nights-are-becoming-like-every-other-just-barely-scraping-by-night-of-the-week rut — so, I’ve made a list to help expedite this departure from the norm. I’m calling it a weekend bucket list, and I’m filling it with all sorts of activities that we keep meaning to try around Los Angeles. Some of them are quick and very simple (perfect for a night of unwinding after the office), and others are bigger, day-long adventures. The idea is merely to keep this list handy on my phone and to pick one new activity whenever we’re lacking inspiration on a weekend. Here’s a peek at my weekend bucket list thus far:

  • See live comedy at Laugh Factory or The Comedy Store
  • Tour “the vault” at the Peterson Automotive Museum
  • Eat dinner at Beso (we have a gift card, so there are no excuses)
  • Grab lunch at Ink Sack on Melrose Ave.
  • Hike through nature in Malibu
  • See the James Turrell exhibit at LACMA
  • Watch a movie in a graveyard (yes, this really is a thing in Hollywood)
  • Eat a sunset dinner on the 24th floor of the Ritz-Carlton downtown
  • Go houseplant shopping at a mom-and-pop nursery
  • Browse Melrose Trading Post and Rose Bowl Flea Market on Sunday afternoons
  • Catch a concert at The House of Blues and The Troubador
  • Horseback ride through Griffith Park
  • Ice skate outdoors in Beverly Hills
  • Hear the LA Philharmonic play at the Hollywood Bowl
  • Take a day trip to Palm Springs for museums and thrift shopping
  • Watch Annie Hall at an old movie theater
  • Take a star-maps tour bus ride

Psst: I plan to continue adding to my list — would you consider making a weekend bucket list of your own? Are there new treasures in your city that you keep meaning to discover? Or maybe are there pastimes from years ago (or even childhood) that you would like to fall in love with all over again? Leave a comment.

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Claude Lately

Claude on the way home from a good romp at Laurel Canyon Dog Park

Claude on the way home from a good romp at Laurel Canyon Dog Park

My husband recently made fun of me mercilessly for the fact that one of the only folders visible on my computer desktop is titled, “Claude Lately.” The name speaks for itself — it’s a folder devoted to the ongoing adventures and misadventures of the most dashing black Puggle on the planet. So, yeah, maybe I have a little slice of random-access-memory where I catalog my favorite photos of our pup on a monthly basis. What of it? Other dog lovers do that, too, right? Just for giggles, I figured I would share some of my compulsive additions to Claude Lately with you…

Perfect ;oght one morning provided just the excuse I needed for a doggie portrait session...

Perfect light one morning provided just the excuse I needed for a doggie portrait session…As if anyone ever really needs an excuse…

The paws kill me every time

The paws kill me every time

He couldn't resist popping into the frame when I was trying to photograph our latest Ikea-hack credenza

He couldn’t resist popping into the frame when I was trying to photograph our latest Ikea-hack credenza — such a photo-bombing diva

I don't know when this started, but Claude now always lounges with his paws crossed

I don’t know when this started, but Claude now always lounges with his paws crossed — uncannily like a human

Serpentine on the sofa

Serpentine on the sofa

Soaking up sunshine on our back patio

Soaking up sunshine on our back patio

Psst: Do you have any similar puppy parent or baby parent compulsions? Please, say yes. Leave a comment.

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Daylight Elevations

A photo from Laurent Chehere;s Flying Houses series, currently on display at the Muriel Guepin Gallery in New York City

A photo from Laurent Chehere’s Flying Houses series, currently on display at the Muriel Guepin Gallery in NYC

That time of year is upon us again, when the mornings come far too soon and the nights end before they’ve begun. I often respond to Daylight Savings’ fall-back-an-hour-and-make-the-world-horrendously-dark time shift by staying indoors, eating cookies, and bundling up in every piece of wool I can find. Shortbread-chocolate-thumbprint pastries, pumpkin-spiced anything, socks, snickerdoodles, blankets — check, check, check, check, and check. This year I’m trying to stay a bit healthier, though, and I’m desperately scouring the internet and my friend’s noggins to figure out every possible secret of staying productive and upbeat while the world around us turns so dark.

I really think it is the physical darkness that makes this autumnal time shift so difficult; the sun sets so dang early after all, and very few of us have the kind of job flexibility that lets us come home and spend time in nature before 5 p.m., so life can start to feel downright gloomy. I don’t know about you, but when brisk, late-afternoon strolls with my pup start disappearing from my schedule, my days start feeling very devoid of joy. An ingenious pal recently suggested I nip this downtrodden feeling in the bud by waking up an hour earlier and actually switching some of my outdoor rituals to the morning. Sure, motivating myself to throw off my covers and get moving at the crack of dawn on the chilliest days of the year will be a little challenging at first, but that’s why I’ve already started wearing wool socks 24/7 anyway, right? I think the idea to exercise in nature early in the morning and really capitalize on the hours of daylight is a wonderful way to elevate and brighten the mood of even the darkest days of the year. Are there any other fall/time-change coping mechanisms that you have or you’ve been planning to try out? I would love to hear about ’em! Leave a comment.

Photo by Laurent Chehere via the Holiday Boutique Blog.

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Sick Days

Coffee in bed, or in my case the mug would be full of soup

Coffee in bed, or in my case the mug would have been full of soup this past month

Doesn’t it always seem to happen that just when you get in the swing of things, life sneakily disrupts your plans? In my case, this topsy-turvy life force took the form of a nasty stomach virus that bowled me over back in September. As a result of these germy-germs, I’ve spent the past month and a half either in bed or at work (albeit taking it very easy on myself whenever I’m out of the house), and I’m only now starting to get back on track with my personal writing, film projects, and non-broth-based culinary creations.

Although I admittedly let myself get a tad down while I was sick, I am trying really hard to stay positive and approach my overflowing in-box with a sense of calm instead of chaos. It can be so easy for us to go the route of chaos, though, don’t you think? I mean, in the lonely days when I was laid up in bed with an angry Puggle barking at me to play and an even angrier calender dinging incessantly with all the deadlines I was missing, I couldn’t help feeling a little defeated, and I often found myself oh-so-melodramatically wondering if I would ever feel on top of things or accomplish a single goal ever again. Whenever I forced myself to flip my thinking, however, I realized how awesome clean bed sheets feel, how cool it is that I was still meeting lots of deadlines, and in those other instances how honest e-mails go a long way toward extending deadlines. Oh, and did I mention that I realized how incredibly darn lucky I am to be in good health most of the time?

So what if I’m a month behind on work, or need to start back at square one on my sugar-free-green-smoothie cleanse, or even if I seriously need to rebuild my relationship with a certain persnickety Puggle? The important thing is just to start back up, dive into our goals, stay calm, and breathe. After all, sick days come and go; the thing that truly keeps us healthy is a positive outlook on life. Corny as it sounds, I really believe this is true. How about you? Leave a comment.

Image via Pinterest.

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Crickets

Painted wooden door outside a shop in Ghent, Belgium

Painted wooden door outside a shop in Ghent, Belgium

Crickets. Yup, that’s been pretty much the only sound coming out of this blog lately. Life has been very busy and noisy in the time that this site has been quiet, but I’ve felt a bit remiss about the fact that I haven’t indulged in these shouts, screams, and cackles of laughter right alongside you, dear readers. Perhaps I should have posted one of those vintage TV test patterns months ago and asked you to bear with me through the wee hours that were to be devoid of programming. Do you remember those still frames of static and incessant beeping? {Sometimes they were a cartoonish image of a vertical rainbow, and other times they were a black-and-white bull’s eye with the bust of a Native American man above it.} Oh, how those stagnant images taunted my insomniac childhood…But, that’s neither here nor there. The point is: I’ve missed you.

While I admit that when I first shifted away from the once-daily posting model a year ago it was quite liberating at first, I now find myself really missing the ritual of blogging and sharing stories with you. I do not know how exactly I am going to find enough time to blog on a regular basis while working and writing up a storm on other projects, but I wanted to let you know I’m currently taking a serious look at my schedule, making plans and priorities, and I hope to start posting several times a a week very soon. In the meantime, just know I miss you and send my apologies for all these pesky crickets. Leave a comment.

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Thanks and Quiet

Wishing you a couple quiet, lazy mornings like this amidst the buzzing of holidays

Wishing you a couple quiet, lazy mornings like this amidst the buzzing of holidays

My thoughts have been very noisy of late, and as a result this blog has been exceptionally quiet. Despite this current proclivity for silence, I wanted to drop you dears a line and say how grateful I am for the role that this blog and you have played in the past few years of my life. I hope to be returning to a more regular posting schedule soon, but until then I wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving. I will be spending the holiday with my husband’s family and am over-the-moon with excitement about meeting my baby niece for the first time in just a few hours… Do you have any big plans, or will a reflective silence be more your style on this gratitude-filled day? Leave a comment.

Image via Pinterest.

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Leaps and Bounds

Isn't this gentleman sweet giving a lady a helping hand to leap over a puddle?

Isn’t this gentleman sweet giving a lady a helping hand to leap over a puddle?

Do you ever feel like you put too much time and effort into your career, while letting your personal life perennially occupy the back burner? Or, maybe do you get consumed by big life goals while letting small, day-to-day pleasures slip through your fingers? This is a sentiment widely experienced between me, my husband, and many of our friends – we work toward the big stuff of life at the speed of light, only to slow down months later and realize that personally we’re still standing in the same spots. Recently, I was stuck with a pretty darn good idea of how to fix this, so let’s see what you think…It suddenly hit me that maybe the reason so many of us let our personal lives fall to the wayside is because we don’t treat them with the same seriousness as we would a job. This is to say: I’ve made numerous action plans for meeting career goals or losing big chunks of weight, but I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and drawn up a detailed plan for “relaxing more” or “being more present.” How would I even begin to write up a list of goals for these things anyway? They’re so intangible – or so I’ve thought…

Setting simple goals makes us take our personal fulfillment seriously

Setting simple goals makes us take our personal fulfillment seriously

When I stop and think about it, I realize that the leaps and bounds of life also seem pretty abstract until we break them down into detailed tasks. So, why not break down all the little steps it will take for us to accomplish the personal goals/states of well-being that we crave? I’ve come up with four simple goals that I think will help enrich my daily life, and I invite you to do the same. The baby-steps that I’d like to take before the new year are as follows:

My 4 Simple Goals

  1. Actively love more and stress less. This sounds so lofty, but I’ve got a simple action plan. My goal is to make a habit of taking a breather whenever I feel myself getting stressed out – the idea will be to force myself to think about one thing I love and feel grateful for in my life, and then to approach whatever’s stressing me out with this new perspective.
  2. Take a honeymoon. We’ve been married more than a year, but my husband and I
    have yet to find time for a real honeymoon. At first, we felt pressure to plan a big, extravagant trip (and that’s why we kept putting it off), but now we realize the important thing is just to carve out a week or more that we can simply spend together – just the two of us – free of work and all other distractions.
  3. Print and frame wedding photos. This will require a little elbow grease and money up front, but I know seeing our wedding photos every day will make me smile, and will be a visual reminder of the family and loving husband I am so grateful for. Even as I type this, I’m so psyched for how much this is going to enrich my daily life.
  4. Drink green tea every day. Bye-bye, jitters, sugar highs, and lying awake at night…I’m slowly weaning myself off coffee, cookies, and anything else that gives me extreme spikes in energy. To help ease into this healthier lifestyle, my plan is to basically guzzle green tea non-stop. (I’m one week into this decaffeinated adventure already, and it’s going surprisingly well.)

Psst: When catching up on posts from one of my favorite blogs, I found this apropos guide to setting simple life goals that you may find useful. (You may also want to read my guide to setting goals.) What say you? Wanna join me in this quest to actively live better, more enriched versions of our lives? I would love to hear your personal goals, or I’d be interested to learn about any other tricks you have for carving out time to make investments in yourself and your quality of life. Leave a comment.

Photo from Facie Populi via Pinterest. Second image from A Beautiful Mess.

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