Sorry for all the silence this past week, darlin’s! I’ve been up against a lot of deadlines, and apparently am nowhere near as good at budgeting my time as I like to think I am. After working rather long days, I’ve been unwinding by watching an episode of City Ballet every night before bed. Have you seen it? It is narrated by Sarah Jessica Parker and is really quite charming. Ever since watching the documentary “First Position” by Bess Kargman, I’ve felt a strong kinship with ballerinas and the level of dedication they pour into their craft. There was something about that documentary that quite simply touched me and made me feel inspired to try and emulate the work ethic/practice-makes-perfect mentality of a ballerina in my life as a writer. And so, as I burn the candle on both ends, I love being comforted and kept company by the aspiring dancers of New York City Ballet. These tutu-and-tights-clad companions are no substitute for you, however, dear readers… I so very much look forward to chatting with you on the flip side of all these due dates! Leave a comment.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I find myself thinking about the different kinds of thankfulness I’ve experienced throughout my life, and, as it turns out, it has really gone in phases. When I was a teenager, I engaged in a whole lot of “why me?” thinking, and as a result I had to look to my accomplishments and my hard work whenever I wanted to feel a sense of true gratitude. This is to say, my life felt like way too much of a mess for me to count my blessings, so I counted my persistence, lofty goals, and other traits within me as things I was thankful for instead of counting things in my external world.
That angst-riddled teenager grew up to be quite the self-critical adult, however, and I now realize it has been ages since I’ve listed one of my personal accomplishments as something I’m grateful for. Merely talking or thinking about something I’ve accomplished opens a jumbo can of worms and gets me dwelling on things I should have done differently, dreams I wish I’d achieved yesterday, etc., so counting my blessings is definitely the surest route to gratitude for the adult version of me. Lately, I find myself feeling grateful for things like: the roof over my head, my husband’s unparallelled ability to listen, the smell of currant-spice candles on cold nights, being able to afford fresh groceries and special meals out, our pup and all his antics, my good health, my loving family around the world, wool socks, and the lemons falling daily from our backyard trees. And, the list goes on.
While my current gratitude list sounds like something you’d more traditionally hear rattled off when counting one’s blessings at the Thanksgiving table (and it admittedly feels a bit less self-absorbed than my old way of giving thanks), I think finding things to be grateful for within ourselves is equally important. In fact, I’m pretty sure there will be points in the future when the world around me feels a little bleak and I’ll need to look inwards in order to find things to be thankful for. And, the more I think about it, I realize that these phasing forms of gratitude are actually quite healthy. The ability to feel grateful is so important to our appreciation of life and our sense of hope that I think we should all count our blessings wherever we can find them. When we’re going through phases of loving our world, they’re probably outside of us; when we’re not so hot on our world, these sources of gratitude are probably within us. Whatever other phases we’re going through, I hope you — dear reader — and I are always able to to seek out and celebrate the best parts of our lives, because finding the good in life keeps us going and makes the journey extra sweet…Has the way you experience thankfulness changed as you’ve grown and evolved? I would love to hear your take! Leave a comment.
Psst: In case you’re wondering, I made the above image using a lovely hand-drawn border I found on We Lived Happily Ever After.
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I am so eternally grateful to everyone who has become a loyal reader and discovered CONSUMED over the past week! When it comes to promoting our little nibble of a film, however, I must admit that this really is just the beginning. “What starts now?” you ask. Well, right now is all about the grassroots magic of people like you getting the word out there little by little. I know it sounds like I’m exaggerating, but every time you share CONSUMED on Facebook, Twitter, or even via email it really does make a remarkable difference. It doesn’t matter whether your networks are giant or tiny — every time anyone shares this video, it moves higher in Google searches and Facebook feeds, creates buzz on YouTube, and pretty much you name it. I think Oompa Loompas might even pop out of the woodwork and start dancing…
Without further ado or Oompa Loompa dances, a few of the people who have spread the word about CONSUMED over the past week are Cavan Kelly and Kevin Fletcher. I’m pleased to announce that they are the winners of the bacon-wrapped squirrel t-shirt giveaway. (Cavan and Kevin, I will email you shortly!)
If you didn’t win, don’t be blue; you’ve been a part of something fun and meaningful. Thanks so much for your support and growing interest in CONSUMED! I will try to scheme up some more exciting giveaways soon. Until then, it really would mean the world to me if you continued sharing the video and getting the word out. Each and every time you share CONSUMED, you support truly independent art, the power of heartfelt storytelling, and quirky, bacon-wrapped cuisine. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the depths of the Consumed kitchen! Leave a comment.
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When I traveled back home to Massachusetts this summer, my mom revealed to me that my grandparents ate dinner by candlelight every night of their marriage. In fact, she said she didn’t think there was a single night in her entire childhood or adulthood where her mother forgot to light candles at the dinner table. This got me wondering whether the ritual of striking matches and sharing glances through flickering flames was one of the secrets to my grandparents’ successful marriage.
These things always sound trivial on the surface, but I think tradition really does count for something. I’m not saying taper candles are a substitute for strong communication, but I do think that holding true to simple rituals or romantic gestures just may have the power to act as an anchor, keeping our relationships steady whenever we face choppy seas. And, isn’t that one of the greatest goals of being in a relationship for the long haul — to be each other ‘s constant in this crazy, modern world? What do you think? Do you have any romantic rituals, like lighting candles or scheduling weekly date nights? I’d love to hear your take! Leave a comment.
Image via Pinterest.
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It’s t-shirt giveaway time! In celebration of the online debut of my short film CONSUMED, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be giving away some commemorative bacon-wrapped-squirrel t-shirts to a few lucky readers. The tees feature the above design and are printed on comfy American Apparel cotton. I can personally vouch that these super-cool duds always prove a great conversation starter, and they could also make a fabulous holiday gift for the quirky chef in your life.
For a chance to win, please take these three simple steps:
- Share CONSUMED on your Facebook wall.
- Follow Coté Writes on Facebook.
- Leave a comment below. (Please let me know your Facebook user name in your comment. Keep in mind: I monitor all comments, so it might take a teensy while for yours to show up.)
Contest ends at 11:59 p.m. (PST) on November 21, 2013. Winners will be chosen at random and announced the following day. There will be two winners. Good luck, and thanks for reading, loving, and cheering on my movie!
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I’m so excited to announce that you can now watch my short film CONSUMED online. (Yaaaay!!!) I wrote the script back in 2011, and a couple of my dearest friends and I proceeded to shoot the movie on a shoestring budget in a very greasy,
hot sweltering kitchen in Austin, TX. The film premiered to great reviews at a few small screenings in 2012, and it is now time to leave those intimate screening rooms behind and share this story with the world…
In this psychological thriller, two chefs in love fight a battle over food, insanity, and the age-old question, “Is my husband going to kill me?”
Since CONSUMED is a film that celebrates cuisine, love, and fatal miscommunications, what better time could there be for a deliciously scary movie than as we all plan our Turkey Day feasts and prepare ourselves for family drama? I invite you to indulge in this 13-minute nibble of entertainment as you clip recipes from magazines and scour the interwebs for the perfect Thanksgiving meal ideas. I promise, you will never think about kitchen appliances the same way again.
Psst: I will be eternally grateful if you share this movie via social media and maybe even e-mail a few of your film-and-food-loving friends about it. Bringing my stories to audiences around the world is a lifelong dream of mine, and your help in spreading the word really would mean so much to me. Also, you can check out more work from the director on L. M. Harter’s production site, and be sure to keep an eye out for a t-shirt giveaway I’ll be posting soon. Leave a comment.
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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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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…
Psst: Do you have any similar puppy parent or baby parent compulsions? Please, say yes. Leave a comment.
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The Halloween to Thanksgiving stretch always feels extra special to me, because it marks when my sweet and I first met and began courtin’ (as some of the old-fashioned Southerners I was friendly with at the time called it). Right about now marks the fifth anniversary of that super-nostalgic feeling for me, and whenever I breathe in the crisp air of fall I can’t help thinking about my husband’s and my first date in a Mexican cantina, where we sat on the patio for hours, had a Diet Coke drinking contest, debated the merits of Soderbergh films, and I proceeded to question him relentlessly about every last piece of minutia of his work and personal dreams. It’s crazy to think that since then we’ve both quit drinking Diet Coke and moved halfway across the country from that cozy patio. But, funnily enough, our new home is right up the street from a Mexican restaurant by the same name as that Austin-based cantina, and each year since we’ve been in Los Angeles my husband has brought home takeout carnitas on the anniversary of our first date.
Over the next few weeks, I plan to bask in all the memories that Mexican takeout and chai-spice lattes conjure up, while I soak in fleeting sunsets and experience what little glimpses of fall Southern California has to offer. Now that I think of it, enjoying the nostalgic powers of seasonal smells and cinnamon-filled drinks is yet another great way to beat the Daylight-Savings blues. What do you think?
Psst: After chowing down on carnitas takeout, we took a three-day vacation in Laguna Beach to celebrate the anniversary of our “meet cute” last weekend. It was so nice to take a little time off from work and stroll by the seashore whenever we pleased, especially since our wedding anniversary this year was so low-key (and very work-filled). Is there a special way you like to celebrate anniversaries? Do you like alternating between keeping it laid-back and doing full-blown celebrations, or do you like to stick to routines and very specific traditions each year? Leave a comment.
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On a recent trip to visit family in Toronto, I had the opportunity to see Niagara Falls for the very first time. I was quite literally left breathless at the sight of these giant waterfalls, which were engulfed in a thick mist that created a new rainbow to marvel at every few minutes. I also couldn’t help being struck by the majestic beauty of Niagara Falls juxtaposed with the kitsch of the tourist traps surrounding the area. Here are a few of my favorite tourist trappings…
Psst: Have you ever been to Niagara Falls or another big waterfall? Were you similarly awestruck? Or, perhaps have you seen the Marilyn Monroe/Joseph Cotten movie “Niagara” (1953)? The film just so happens to be in Technicolor. Leave a comment.