Countertops, Sewer Lines, and Spoiled Dogs (Or I’m Remodeling a Bathroom)

I’m baaaack.

Since being unceremoniously awakened by a swift kick from the dog at 5:30 this morning, I’ve sent 42 emails, made 94 phone calls, and now I’m feeling creative…

So here I am.

What I SHOULD be doing is taking down my Christmas decorations, but who wants to do that on a Friday morning?

I realize it is presently the 21st of FEBRUARY (details), but I don’t like taking down twinkly lights. It makes me sad.

At least I unpacked from my last trip to Michigan immediately instead of living out of a suitcase on my bedroom floor for a week.

I deserve a medal… or a present. If I didn’t have to write so many large checks for doggie daycare every time I board a plane, I’d have a closet full of Louis Vuitton luggage by now, but then I wouldn’t have dogs, and dogs are better than monogrammed bags.

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Handbags don’t cuddle.

They also don’t fart excessively, but whatever.

I’ve been knee-deep in details for my dad’s bathroom remodel lately. I promise I’ll give you the full before and after pics in March when it’s done.

For now, I’ll show you the countertop I selected. It was actually my THIRD choice, but you don’t want to know what happened with the first two I picked.

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This is the floor sample.

I didn’t opt for the roughly hewn edge, and I’m going with different fixtures and cabinets, but you get the idea.

I’ve also written so many checks for plumbing updates in the last six months that I almost want to cry. There is absolutely nothing fun about spending somewhere around $17,000 for THINGS YOU CANNOT SEE like new pipes and sewer lines, but toilets need to flush and whatnot.

Plumbing rant aside, the bathroom remodel has been satisfying.

I should probably get back to my script outline… or I should walk the dog who is currently howling pathetically because I’m pecking at my keyboard instead of petting him.

He’s spoiled.

 

Derby Hats, Dark Books, and Easter Desserts (Or Things that Make Me Smile)

Here are some things that make me smile:

#1 I got my dog’s biopsy results back, and his cancer didn’t spread to his lymph nodes. Sure, the tumors were level 2, which means they COULD return, but they didn’t spread, so there’s that. We are consulting with a veterinary oncologist, but it’s mostly good news for now.

#2 I’m going to Vegas for the Kentucky Derby with two of my besties from college. We’ve been scheming about hats in a group text all morning.

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This little nugget from Nordstrom is my front runner.

Part of me is tempted to have a flower crown made for the Derby, like this fabulous one I’m wearing here:

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I don’t actually know who this guy is.

He just liked my cakeandpunch crown, so we posed for a pic at Malibu Wines. (I think ranunculus are everything. Apparently he agreed.)

#3 In addition to conspiring about hats, we’ve been discussing poolside reading. Kelley and I shared book suggestions all morning and have basically started our own long distance, two-person book club. Most of my friends would recommend me for a padded room if I told them to read these books, so I’m grateful for a kindred spirit in the land of the macabre. (Pretty Girls, The Missing, The Murder Room, and I’m Thinking of Ending Things are our first orders of business for discussion.)

#4 It’s almost time for Easter at 816, an annual tradition that brings the best people on the planet together for food, wine, and fun at our favorite Santa Monica beach house.

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Here are a few of my beautiful bunnies from last year’s festivities.

I’m trying to decide if I want to make the same fennel scalloped potatoes I made last year or if I want to branch out.

This gorgeous geode cake from Buttercream Bakeshop in DC gives me ideas.

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Couldn’t you just DIE from the pretty?

I think I’d put ice cream in the inside instead of cake if I made it. I’ve been scouring this link for ice cream inspiration.

Cake bores me as much as a bad book.

True story.

Thoughts on 2016 (Or Whatever)

I’m prepping for my tax appointment today. Going to see my accountant is always a lot like confession. It usually goes something like this:

Alyce: You spent $1,600 on sushi?

I nod, dying a little inside.

Alyce takes a sip of her pina colada and tries to hide her disappointment in me.

(She knows how much money I make.)

So yeah… I’m bracing myself for the shame of it all.

This is what my tax prep looks like:

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Screw you, 2016, for taking all of my money.

My sushi expenditures may be bad, but let’s not go into my beer budget, K?

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The Baby Jesus can barely hold down my bar receipts.

Poor little nugget.

I guess 2016 wasn’t ALL bad. It did take Prince, Princess Leia, and the Goblin King, but I did get on the slopes a lot, so there’s that.

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Skiing is everything.

I also finished a few scripts, did some interesting research for a TV pilot, and I did a lot of fun things with people I love.

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Kygo at the Bowl with Lola

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Vegas with my family.

And, I crossed a big goal off my to-do list.

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I ran a 5K in a winery with Megan… 

hills and all.

2016 may not have been THE WORST, but I’m counting on 2017 to step up and kick its ass.

I’m due for a great year.

No pressure, 2017.

Nana’s 90th (And Other Things)

After some epic tailgate action in Ann Arbor, I headed up to my family cottage to celebrate my Nana’s 90th.

My entire family flew in for the occasion. There was excessive beer, wine, and dancing as well as some fabulous catfish in daikon ginger soy sauce.

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Canadian beer goes best with docks in Michigan.

My Uncle Marc did the catfish honors. I did the dancing.

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I even got my cousin up on her feet.

We took a break to pose for a pic with the birthday girl, though.

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The Three Louises: Madison Louise, Gladys Louise, and Anika Louise. 

If you’re wondering what my dog was doing during my trip to the mitten, I can assure you he was not missing me.

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He was too busy sleeping on his Auntie Lauren’s bed in LA to notice I was gone.

On my way back to LA I hit up Longhorns in the Detroit Airport for a little steak salad.

It was delicious.

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Dear Cow, Thank you for dying for my meal. Love, Anika

And after all of that, I went running today.

Now I’m getting ready for a conference call to help the Santa Barbara Wolverines plan an event.

But before I go, I need to share this Tiesto track with you because I’m obsessed with it. It’s my anthem.

XOXO

Resurrection Wednesday (Or I’m Back to Blogging)

So, it has been almost a year since my last post. In that time I have finished a feature script, an original television pilot, a sample episode of Jane the Virgin, and at the moment I’m halfway through a second feature, a second pilot, and a bottle of Kim Crawford.

I’ve gained and lost the same five pounds 14 different times by accident, I’ve driven across the country with my enormous dog twice, and I’ve had stitches in my head along with the requisite drugs associated with slightly massive skull contusions.

Oh, and I went to Vegas… with my mother.

I’m not even sure I know where to start with the pictures or the stories, so I’ll start here.

With this:

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Lion sex

Awkward, right?

One of my best friends just got back from Africa and sent me that pic.

(She took it. Obviously.)

I’ve been dying to go on safari for like ever, so I was super jealous — but also happy for her — because her pics were awesome… and my time will come when it’s right.

Right now, my time involves planning a blood drive at my church in July and finishing the feature, the pilot, and the bottle of Kim Crawford.

I’m off to have a planning call now to figure out the blood drive logistics, but before I go, here’s a pic of my bubba on the road.

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What he lacks in navigation skills, he makes up for in handsome.

Later!

LoveYouBye!

Albus and I Hit the Road Again (Or Big Dogs and the Salmon Cooler Taco Adventure)

OK, I’ve been gone for a while because WHOA, there’s been a lot happening.

Last week I was cleaning up after Thursday’s Beef Brisket dinner party and prepping for Friday’s Salmon Taco dinner party when I received a last-minute rental request for my place. The money was too good to turn down, so I accepted the request even though the timing wasn’t amazing considering I had a fridge full of leftovers and whatnot.

I mean, I wasn’t about to leave this salmon situation behind.

I'm selfish like that.

I’m selfish like that.

In addition to the logistical challenge presented by copious leftovers, accepting the request also meant that my dog and I would have to be out of our home within 24 hours and would have to find a place to stay for TWO WHOLE WEEKS.

Um… not exactly easy.

See, if you’ve been following along for a while, you know my dog looks like this:

He doesn't exactly fit in my purse.

He doesn’t really fit in my purse.

I can’t sneak him into places where he’s technically not allowed because he’s enormous, enthusiastic, and just generally about as subtle as a hurricane, so I have to be legit about our arrangements. (Also, being legit is less stressful for my soul and stuff.)

That place? Also needs to be cheaper than my nightly rental rate or our adventure ends up being purely for the sake of anecdotes because it’s a wash financially.

Albus has been a trooper this year while I’ve been on a writing adventure that has virtually upended every aspect of our lives, but I think he may have been starting to lose his shit a little when I was packing us up to hit the road yet again, ‘cuz this happened.

Look Lady, I gave up my venison food so you could save a lousy $7 a month serving me lamb, but you had better bring it with us because lamb is the last straw.

Look, lady, I gave up my venison so you could save a lousy $7 a month serving me lamb, so you had better bring it with us because this tin of lamb is the last straw.

The poor beast. I kissed his head and told him my salmon might have been farm-raised instead of wild-caught. I mean, we’re ALL making sacrifices here.

ANYWAY…

Our first night out of our place, we stayed at the Motel 6 in Thousand Oaks because all Motel 6 locations are dog-friendly and because my first friend’s home would not be available until the following day.

Motel 6 also does not require pet deposits, and they don’t have size, breed, or weight restrictions. (If you’ve ever been on a road trip with a big man-dog, you will know this policy is a rare and wonderful combination.) I picked the Thousand Oaks location because it was close to my next destination in the valley, was still less expensive than my nightly rate to rent my place, and because it was cheaper than the LA locations. Besides, I like getting out of the city for a minute whenever I can.

Also?

It was kind of cute for a Motel 6.

(Like the Santa Barbara locations, it has recently been upgraded.)

How long are we staying here? But more importantly, when do I get some of the leftover salmon tacos you stashed in here?

How long are we staying here? But more importantly, when do I get some of the leftover salmon tacos you stashed in our cooler?

A few nights later, I finally got into the leftover salmon. Somewhere between my first and second salmon cooler taco, I started to question the wisdom of eating fish that had been on the road with me for days. I happened to be texting with my friend and shared my concerns.

His response?

“When in doubt, eat it.”

Since I was pretty much past the point of no return on the tacos, I was glad he helped me rationalize my questionable decision. I figured if I was vomiting the next day at least we’d BOTH be wrong. (I’ll spare you the suspense: I was fine.)

I’ve had many other moments when I’ve questioned myself on more than the tacos this week, but so many amazing people have come through for me in so many ways that I am not sure I will ever be able to properly put that into words.

So anyway…

I might write more about the who, what, when and where of our unfolding adventure or I may just need to hug all of the fabulous people in my life, throw them a massive thank you dinner when this is all over, and never speak of this again. We’ll see.

But for now?

I leave you with this: salmon cooler tacos are awesome, Motel 6 is the cheapest, easiest place to stay with a big ass dog, and I think you should listen to this song because I love it.

Goodbye.

I’m off to finish the script that I had to put on hold during the where-the-eff-are-we-staying-for-two-whole-weeks?!? fire drill that has been the last five days.

Don’t Give Up (Or Sometimes It’s OK to Vandalize the Kinkos Bathroom)

So I really want to wallow in self-pity today, but I’m not going to do it. I’m back in LA after a trip to Michigan, and now I’m experiencing some sort of post travel hangover.

You know, the kind that makes you want to get in the car again?

To go somewhere. Anywhere. Just so you don’t have to be in your own home facing your life again.

Because I kind of resemble a responsible adult, I’m not allowing myself to do that any more than I’m going to be all gloomy today.

See, my mother’s siblings and I went back to Michigan to celebrate my grandmother’s 86th birthday last week. While it was wonderful to be with my family, my grandfather passed away the day before her birthday two years ago, so the annual trip is always a bit bittersweet. I’ve allowed myself some time to be sad — and to celebrate with my family — and now it’s time to get back to business. This means blogging, setting calls, dusting around the TV, and other sorts of tedious activities. Well, not that blogging is totally tedious. I quite like it, actually.

I just find it hard to be all perky and witty when I’m not feeling it, but I guess life is about doing things even when you’re not feeling it sometimes. It’s about swinging at another pitch when your arms are aching. Getting out of bed when your heart is breaking. Walking another mile when your blisters burst two miles back. It’s about not giving up.

And sometimes, when you aren’t sure you can stand it another moment, someone else gives you the motivation.

I came across this graffiti in the Kinkos bathroom when I was having a bad day, and I was sort of glad someone had defaced the place with a Sharpie because I needed motivation. I also needed the reminder today when I wanted to crawl back in bed with the third Hunger Games book and avoid my life.

So, I’m going to be an adult today.

This means I’m going to turn off sad songs by The xx and blast the Billy Ocean so I can write my long overdue Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Post. I’m going to be an adult today.

Hell, I might even dust.