Friday Favorites: Books, Beach & Bloggers

Happy Friday friends! I’m linking up with the ladies at A Little Bit of Everything BlogGrace and Love Blog, and Momfessionals as usual! 🙂 Head on over to all their sites if you wanna join in the link ups!


I’m also linking up with other blogging women at A.Liz AdventuresCarolina CharmHello! Happiness, and The Good Life Blog.p-txt

 And last but not least The Farmer’s Wife, September Farm, Fitting It All in Blog, Life in Leggings and Meet at the Barre!


the-new-youThis week I finished My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock and I loved it! If you’re looking for a light, uplifting, summer read I’d totally recommend this one. She chronicles facing her fears for an entire year from cage diving with sharks to doing stand up comedy.

It got me thinking about my fears and how we build up things in our minds and they usually aren’t so bad!

9780061875038If you’re looking for other ideas for good summer reads, check out my book club page. I’ve put asterisks next to my favorite books. I’d also love to hear your book recommendations, please feel free to leave them in the comments!
the-new-you1I had so much fun last Saturday at the Summer Shape Up event in Hermosa Beach. I got to work out with P90x creator Tony Horton and Autumn Calabrese.



the-new-you2In the last week or two I’ve made some new blogging friends, who have been super sweet and supportive. I wanted to take a second to highlight them and their blogs and say thank you girls!

headerabout+meLauren at Post Grad in Progress is a Charlotte based girl navigating her way through life in her post college years.


Molly is a sweet, full time college girl sharing her life in Texas on her blog  Colors of Life.

cropped-img_05442Kylie McGraw is a grad student in the DC area who is also big into fitness and running. The runner in me relates to a lot of her posts. She blogs at Kylie McGraw.


CaptureJulia and Amelia are two best friends (like Vi and I!) since 6th grade, who blog together in the Seattle and Bellevue area. And since I’m moving up to Seattle in the fall, it’s fun to follow their adventures and see what they’re up to up there!


I saw this quote this week on Pinterest and just loved it. Life is too short to be surrounded by negative people. The people you invite into your life should be positive, inspirational, loyal, and supportive, to name a few traits. I’ve moved a lot in last few years from Chicago, to DC, Santa Monica, Orange County, and next up Seattle.

Each time I move I focus on making meaningful, lasting friendships. You get what you give. You have to be a good friend in order to have good friends. Friendships and relationships are what make a place home for me. I will continue to seek out positive vibes, real people, honesty, and humor in my search for new friends.

0001-66688368And lastly I wanted to feature again, for those of you who may have missed it yesterday. Continuing my interview series I interviewed Hanne who has visited more than 50 countries in the world, with the hopes of visiting every country! She speaks 5 languages and blogs over at Places, People, Stories. Be sure to check out her interview here.


Have a good weekend friends, see you back here Monday!!


Interview Series Featuring Morinda Mother of 4

It’s been a while since I did an interview (I have a few on deck that I need to finish up!) and I’m very happy today to introduce you all to my friend, Morinda. You will love her! 0001-66815547
I am in awe of all moms and am so impressed and interested at how women can juggle all their priorities in their lives. Having one child is hard and can flip your world upside down, and Morinda and Brigham have 4! So I had to hear more about their lives and learn how she does it all and is so positive and inspirational.


Morinda’s husband Brigham and my boyfriend Dave both work in the film world and met about 3 or 4 years ago. Ever since then we heard about his amazing wife Morinda and their 4 awesome kids (between the ages of 5 and 13.)


I wanted to meet her immediately but it wasn’t until last fall that we finally got to meet her at a mutual friend’s wedding. And I instantly fell in love with Morinda and her warm energy and friendliness. Oh and did I mention she is gorgeous?
Being with Brigham and Morinda is intoxicating. They are so full of life and energy! They are so much fun, down to earth, and can dance like it’s nobody’s business.

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This question has layers. Where to begin? Motherhood is sacred. And not in the way that most people think, like having a family or giving birth, and certainly that is true but I mean, there is a transcendent quality about it. Women who have never had families of their own have it. Mother Theresa might be the prime example of what I’m talking about. It’s about the verb: to mother. When I look at my life I can see all the many mothers that have shaped who I am. Women that have inspired me, motivated me, challenged me. I think that is one of the amazing things about women is this quality.


I look to women like Abigail Adams or Rosa Parks or Mary Oliver as my mothers. It is the ability to nurture growth within your sphere of influence. For some this is a huge scope. For me, right now in my life, it is this micro-sphere in my home with these children.


The hardest thing about it is knowing that while they came from Brig and I, in the end they are not ours. They are their own. And I have to teach them how to be their own and how to be independent and confident and curious. That’s the trick. Helping them to find what they love and the courage to go after it.


On a practical level, one of the things I love most about motherhood is watching my kids conquer a fear or master something they’ve worked at. I love children’s love notes. They are precious. I love that my 13 year old still wants to be “tucked in” although the nature of the process has changed from reading stories or singing songs to just a 10 minute “sit on the bed and chat” session. It’s amazing.


The hardest parts are watching them struggle. My son struggles with everything. Nothing has come easy for him. Every new skill comes with hours of therapy and practice, sometimes years of it. And when I see him struggle, I want so badly to take that away for him. But those struggles are also an important part of the growth process.
The most surprising thing about parenthood is that after 13 years of being a parent, I am still surprised by it. There are days when these kids blindside me with a new phase or a new question. Just when I think I have this thing nailed, they throw me for a loop. It is ever changing and evolving (like those dang flu viruses). But most of the surprises are great. Like my teenager. Everything is sort of new and exciting. She is just starting to have a social life and listen to music and wanting to borrow my shoes. It’s both fabulous and irritating. 😉
This question is funny because we have some pretty random sources for their names. Tatum came from two places: Because Paper Moon is one of Brig and my favorite movies and I’ve always loved young Tatum O’Neal, and Brig is a fan of Jazz and a favorite pianist of his is Art Tatum. So that one was easy.


Cleo is a family name. It is my great aunts name and I just really liked it. Although people call her Chloe a lot, she is really good about correcting them graciously.


We liked the name Elias after the actor Elias Koteas (specifically his role in Some Kind of Wonderful) and of course, its also biblical, so I guess thats nice, too.


Ivy Maude was given two names that we always intended to use together, like two first names. Unfortunately we cut it down to Maudie and her teacher calls her Ivy and I’m always a little sad that we don’t stick to the plan! We love the name and character Maude in Harold and Maude but we liked the ring to Ivy Maude. It just feels complete. So there it is.


Um, YES we found out. Every time. I like surprises, but it’s nice to find out ahead of time and process it and be prepared. Bringing home a new baby is a lot of surprises and adjustments anyway. Its nice to have a few ducks in a row before hand.
The biggest rules have to do with being kind, no hitting and kicking, being respectful. Of course everyone is in charge of their rooms and they have to tidy them up everyday and then help with housecleaning and yard work on Saturdays. No one in this family is perfect, least of all myself so we try to remember to have patience with each other and take the good with the bad.


We do have a list of family “values” that the kids help us write, things like “Cottams are kind” or “Cottams help take care of the earth” or “Cottams work hard and play hard” and once a month or so we sit and read them together. We add things when they need to be added or rewrite some that we think need rewriting. Its part of being a work in progress: open to the changes that come with growing.
Hahaha! I’ll let you know when I discover the answer to this one. 😉 The trick is always priority. My house does not resemble a page out of a magazine. That’s not a priority for me. This semester I am in school 3 days a week and I am a hairdresser and do hair once a week so I only really have one weekday to get things done. I try to maximize that day not only to get as much done as I can but also to get the much needed mental break.


It is easy to get caught up in the endless tasks (laundry alone could be a full time job) and forget to make my time with my kids meaningful. There are definitely the days where we are just trying to get through the day, but generally I try to make sure that we are interacting and that makes all the tasks worth it. I love dinner-time because not only do I really enjoy cooking for my family, but I also love our table time where we get to each share things about our day.
Haha! Again, I’ll keep you posted on that. I don’t mind the noise. I grew up with it. In fact, it always takes me by surprise the days when I am home alone how strange it is to hear myself think. But it’s fabulous too. I honestly don’t really mind the chaos…most of the time.


We have a system. The kids are really good about pitching in and taking care of their responsibilities. I keep a bar of chocolate in the cupboard for sanity. I don’t really believe that anyone has a charmed life. Everyone has different kinds of struggles and challenges. Brig’s work is hard for us right now but we are happy because there are so many things to be grateful for. We try to focus on that when things are tough.


Since Morinda has so much wisdom and so many wonderful things to say, I thought I’d break it up into two posts, so please come back tomorrow for her thoughts on marriage and blogging.