entertaining
2018

COCOCOZY Fall Mood

October 16, 2018
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I am officially picking my favorite season of the year: Fall. I just love this weather!

The idea that we are getting closer to the end of the year and cooler days are creeping up always makes me so happy and energized. For me, fall is usually full of excitement and activities like seeing friends and family, and its the time of year I most look forward to.

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How To

My End of Summer Party

August 30, 2018
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Summer officially ends late in September but when August ends, for me, summer feels like it is over.  Last year, two weeks after moving into this house, I threw an end of summer taco party for about 40 people. This year, I decided to hit repeat and threw another August taco party.  Maybe a tradition is in the making.  Anyhooooo, like last year, I officially decided to throw this party about a week before.  Before I knew it almost 30 of us were gathered in my courtyard for an end of summer taco party under the stars.  Want to know how I pulled it off?  Read on…

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I am dreaming of a good weekend.  Are you?  This is my courtyard just before dusk…the perfect late afternoon light. Weekend in sight.  Also, in sight, is the hot pink metallic painted exterior of my neighbor’s house. Never could I have imagined I would move in next to a nice neighbor with a bright pink house.  So very Los Angeles. Now that I have lived here for over a year, I can’t imagine not having a pink house right next door. You can’t write the script of your life because you can never imagine what is in store for you.  You just have to live it.  What’s your view this Friday?

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It is here. Finally.  An amazing new coffee shop and restaurant in the View Park – Windsor Hills area of Los Angeles.  I no longer have to show up caffeine deprived for early morning meetings at the COCOCOZY Design House.  Woohooo.  A super cool coffee shop has landed in View Park minutes away from the home renovation project I am working on.  Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen just opened a few weeks ago but has become my easy go to stop with its well thought out industrial hip design, friendly vibe and skilled baristas.  Most importantly, at Hilltop Coffee, they immediately made my morning tea fix just perfectly.  Must love anyone who immediately figures out exactly the right proportions for my morning Earl Grey tea with two inches of steamed almond milk…no foam.  I am going back this morning for another round!  Here’s a look at my new fave spot to stop…

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I was so thrilled when some early preview photos of the COCOCOZY Design House in progress came into my inbox the other day.  I was particularly excited about this shot featuring the front door painted in Benjamin Moore’s Newburg Green. My dear friend and fab realtor Samantha Nugent, who will be the listing agent when we put the COCOCOZY Design House on the market, decided to have some professional photos taken of the house while it is still under construction.  A professional photographed preview.  I was reticent to show any part of the house in progress  There are still.lots of rough edges as we are still several weeks away from finishing things up. This photo of the front door brought me out my don’t-show-too-much attitude.  We took the fabulous old existing door from this 1930 Spanish Colonial and brought it back to life with some sand paper, elbow grease, a fantastic paint color and a lot of love.  You won’t believe what it looked like before. Today I am all about this front door makeover!

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interiors

Bringing you an almost 360 view of my dining room this Tuesday morning. I have not shared photos of this room because I have no really good photos of my dining room or house for that matter. Over the last few months, in a world where everyone has beautifully curated and edited images of their lives, I have recently realized I am not a great photographer or photo editor. I have thousands of photos on my phone that you may never see. I take the photos and then I think “oh…these photos aren’t good enough and I do not really know how to use photoshop to make them look good…oh well now my phone is running super slow and I can’t use half of my apps because my memory is clogged with photos that I will never share. Darn it.” Anyhoooo, needless to say, today I am not letting photo self consciousness hold me back. I am in the mood to share, so here are some angles on my dining room…an eclectic design really with a mix of things I love. My dining room style is a mix of things that probably only I like…a combination that no one else in the world would probably pull together. Maybe this room decor and these photos are a visual allegory of sorts…a metaphor for celebrating unique points of view. While my photos may not be pro quality social media ready, they are my photos and they are in a way me. Imperfectly perfect…

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interiors

I love the color green.  It might be my favorite color. I use the word might.  Is it strange that I am not definitive on my favorite color?  I know I love the use of green in home decor or room design.  I know that if I had to pick between green and blue…I think my dear green would win.  But not sure.  Does that make me color fickle?  My bestie AM went through a pink period (her entire NYC apartment was white and pink and she has a husband) and now she is in her blue period (like Picasso but not like Picasso).  My sis DS seems to lean towards autumnal tones in her home decor.  My grandmother loved yellow so she had an entirely yellow kitchen.  I LOVE green.  Why am I not able to commit to it in home decor…go all in?  Well, this adorable fresh green apartment made me start to think about making some bold green moves in home decor.  I have the whole COCOCOZY Design House to decorate…should I just do it in shades of green (kidding but not kidding but kidding)?

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I need to brag about my dear friend Linda Grasso for a second.

Linda is the editor of Los Angeles magazine Ventura Blvd and the host of the SheSez with Linda Grasso podcast. She is a veteran journalist who interviews fascinating women about their bold, innovative, and sometimes badass moves. She and her husband Charlie recently remodeled the kitchen in their fantastic Encino home. They’ve lived in the house for years and have raised their sons there.

A little background, Linda and I go way back. We both worked at E! Entertainment Television, where we became friends after working on a project together. She has since been a fabulous confidant and consistent sounding board over the years! You may remember when she interviewed me on her podcast — which you can catch up on by clicking here.

Anyway, I went over to Linda’s house right before the remodel to have lunch with her and to brainstorm with her about fixtures, counters, the works. I loved her old kitchen… it had a Tuscan or French country feel to it. Linda and Charlie were ready for a change, though. This whole project started as an interior paint refresh, but it turned into a whole new kitchen. Like me, she is an avid cook and entertainer — so I understand her desire to create an inviting place that she’s proud of.

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Summertime means outdoor dinners out on my patio!

I recently decided last minute (per usual) to cook Sunday night dinner for my family making my famous summer grilled chicken with a lime cilantro garlic marinade. I invited two people and then naturally that number grew to five after giving everyone a heads up only three hours beforehand.

As it goes… I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare, but my first step was to set up a simple summer table! I couldn’t wait to put my new AERIN Ardsley collection (by Aerin Lauder) from Williams Sonoma to use.

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I am extremely excited to introduce you to another fabulous partner for the COCOCOZY Design House, Monogram! This is GE’s elite line of professional kitchen appliances.

As a major anchor partner for our renovation of the 1860 square foot Spanish style home in View Park LA, Monogram has offered to provide EVERYTHING… EVERYTHING appliance related for the kitchen. This mean Refrigeration, Stove, Dishwasher, Microwave and even the Washer/Dryer. Woo!

I was at my day job one day and I was telling a colleague, who is a major home chef, about the COCOCOZY Design House concept and he suggested I reach out to Monogram, the best in the business. I immediately hopped on Google and learned about this amazing line of professional quality kitchen appliances. The minute I saw this great collection, I was in love! That weekend, I popped over to the local showroom where I spent a good amount of time oogling over all of the appliances on display!

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interiors

Work on the COCOCOZY Design House continues.  

Next step — lighting! This has been THE single most difficult design decision for this house by far. Lucky for me, Lamps Plus came on board to help me solve the dilemma. As one of our fabulous anchor partners in the COCOCOZY Design House project, Lamps Plus offered to give me lighting for all areas. Wait, what? All rooms and outdoor! Again, what?! All lighting! Yes.  

Lamps Plus does have some brands they make themselves like Possini, Franklin Ironworks, 360 Lighting, John Timberland, and a few more… but in addition to those, they carry tens and tens of thousands of lights from other brands. I whittled down my selection after several visits to two different Lamps Plus stores here in Los Angeles. This was a real exercise in decision making!

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home

As far as exterior color goes, the house in this first picture is my inspiration for the color scheme on the exterior of the  COCOCOZY Design House! The inspiration house was designed by my COCOCOZY Design House partner, amazing real estate developer, Steve Jones of BetterShelter

I am in the process of picking all the exterior colors for the renovation of the stunning 1860-square-foot Spanish style home built in 1930 in the heart of View Park, LA. I have never had to make so many decisions in such a short amount of time other than right now. We started actual construction the first ever COCOCOZY Design House in the middle of April — and since then, I have been running around like crazy!!! Arghhhhh.

One of the decisions that was easiest for me was picking Benjamin Moore as the exclusive paint partner for the project. The Benjamin Moore team was nice enough to give me all of the paint for both interior and exterior of the home. I felt honored that this brand was open to the idea of working with me and my team on this inaugural COCOCOZY Design House.

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Decisions, decisions! As you know, we have been hard at work on the COCOCOZY Design House. Today, it’s all about two main exterior hardscape surfaces — the front walkway and back balcony.

Curb appeal is everything when designing a house… especially one that is going on sale! Sometimes a book is judged by its cover. Lucky for me, the facade of this house is already so amazing — my main goal is not to mess it up!  The Cement Tile Shop has come on as a partner to help me in that effort.

The photo (above) is what I’m using as my main inspiration for this part of the project. Now, before I go any further, I just want to note that this house is a work in progress. Please read using your imagination for what the space will look like. And don’t worry, I will show you all the final result as soon as I can!

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Time for some kitchen planning!

The cabinets have been ordered, appliances have been selected, and now I am thinking about counters. I am super duper lucky to have another wonderful company on board to provide product for the COCOCOZY Design House. Caesarstone has generously agreed to supply all of the countertop material for the kitchen and the baths.

I had Caesarstone counters in my first house — you all may remember that tiny little cottage in the Hollywood Hills. Now for my first COCOCOZY Design House, I went to Caesarstone as my first choice for counters!

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Taking a quick break from the COCOCOZY Design House craziness for a Laurel Canyon home tour!

I lived just east of Laurel Canyon for such a long time, so this one hits home for me. I love the rustic nature of living in the hills above Los Angeles. One of my favorite things is finding a really refined spaced in the midst of the windy roads. This grand 1925 Mediterranean-style mansion belonging to interior designer Brigette Romanek and her husband Mark is quite fantastic. It is a 2800-square-metre untraditional family home (previously owned by legendary music producer Rick Rubin) that has true California refinement and obvious musical history.  

Let’s take a peek (below)!

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The planning and renovation phase of the COCOCOZY Design House is in full swing!

As you know, I’m currently in the midst of transforming a beautiful 1860-square-foot Spanish style home in View Park LA (my first ever design house!) — and we’ve meticulously selected a few partners to work with us by providing product.

I was so thrilled when TOTO came on board to supply all bath and plumbing fixtures for the 4 new bathrooms we are creating in the Design House. You heard me… EVERYTHING! That means sinks, faucets, shower heads, toilets, gorgeous tubs, accessories, and all of the fittings and valves. WOW!!

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