Taking a Breather


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It’s crazy to think we’re heading into the last weeks of summer. Where did the time go? Our summers have been filled with family gatherings, lots of celebrations, vacations, quiet moments at home, watching amazing theatre, reading, movies, great TV shows, checking things off our bucket lists, new beginnings and creating many new memories.

As life continues to move all around us, we are each learning to be present and happy in the moment. Which is why us S&S girls have decided to take a mini blog-cation to recharge our batteries and focus on the here and now.

We hope you enjoy the rest of your summers creating memories that will last a lifetime!


Jennifer’s Flashback: Jennifer (Um, Me!)


With all the crazy news lately, I’m seeking a little hope for humanity wherever I can find it. This post of mine from January serves as a good reminder of the big and small things in my life that give me hope on a daily basis.. May it help you find some too!

5 Things That Give Me Hope
Originally Posted January 2017

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Trump becomes President Friday.
The Dallas Cowboys lost.
And Kim Kardashian’s still famous.

Yet, I still have hope.

Here are 5 things that keep me eternally hopeful:

Our son, Jack
At just 4 years old, Jack is caring, kind and empathetic to others way, way beyond his years. The way he’ll find the one kid playing on the playground by themselves and happily joins she/he so they no longer have to play alone. The way he requests trips to Petco to pick out a toy for our pup, Mr. Pants, because he knows it’ll bring him joy. The way he checks on Mr. Pants, loves on him and brings him his favorite treats, toys and blanket just to make sure he’s doing okay. The way he talks about his friends – how much he loves them, how he sticks up for them at school if anyone is being mean, the way he comforts them if they are sad. Jack gives me more hope than anything else for a future and world that chooses goodness first – always.

Friends Who Volunteer
We are so blessed to have so many giving and loving friends who feel like family in our lives. Friends who give their time and hearts to causes and organizations they believe in. Whether they serve on neighborhood improvement boards, volunteer at animal shelters, help out at the Ronald McDonald house, raise money for Alzheimers and cancer – most of these friends are working full time, some have families, kids and relationships, but they still make time to do good in our community. I am constantly in awe of all that you do, and hope each of you knows how much you inspire me every day. You guys give me hope.

Jack’s Preschool Teachers
Even as adults, we know how much it means to have people who truly support and believe in us. I would chance to guess that each one of us remembers a particular teacher or two who changed our lives because they knew just how far we could go. Now that I have a child of my own, I appreciate teachers on a whole other level. These wonderful souls who push your child to be their best, most kind self because of the hope they have for their future. Our son has been lucky enough to attend the most loving and nurturing preschool the last three years. His teachers have taken the time to get to know Jack inside and out, and every…single…day work tirelessly to help him realize his full potential. They never ever lose hope in what these kids can do and for that, I’ll be forever grateful.

My Marriage
Marriage ain’t always easy, child. You have moments where you disagree (sometimes strongly), hurt one another, or just feel like you’re trying to get through the day and simply survive. The lifelong commitment you make is constantly a work in progress filled with ups and downs as you grow both as two individuals and as a unit. But I never lose hope in the person I married. I never lose hope in the gigantic heart he has, his insatiable curiosity to always learn more about the world or about himself, his willingness to help others, his kindness and humor and the way he is helping to raise our son. Casey gives me hope. The love and true admiration we have for each other and for our family gives me hope. And that hope gets us through the rough patches. That hope makes the good times even better. And that hope, I “hope” will last forever – or at least till one of us kicks the bucket.

The Values My Parents Gave Me
Growing up, my parents instilled in me the importance of always having hope, especially during the hardest of times. And to their testament, I remain a very hopeful person to this day. Even though that hope has been tested time and time (and time) again, I never lose faith in the goodness of others, the potential of our world to be better, the hope that people will stand up and fight for what’s right, stick up for others and that at the end of the day, we will see we’re all much more alike than we are different. Now, more than ever. This week, more than ever. I WILL NOT GIVE UP HOPE.

What brings you guys hope? Let us know in the comments below!

Jennifer Flashback: Gaby

Gaby is one of the most special people I know. I feel so blessed to have her as one of my very best friends and she never stops inspiring me. One of the things I appreciate most about Gaby is how much she loves and cares about her friends and family with her whole heart and how she always looks for the positive in the people she meets and in life in general. This is one of my favorite posts she’s written on the blog and I hope it reminds you (as it did me) to nurture your spirit every day.

Nurturing My Spirit
Originally Posted April 2017


It’s hard to explain the intensity of the workload we face at the office between January and April. It’s almost four solid months of go-go-go with frequent thoughts of “How are we going to get all this done?” and dealing with sometimes oftentimes demanding clients. The silver lining is that there is an end in sight–it just seems so far away at times.

I know we can all face crazy busy times in our life with work, family and the constant demands on ourselves and our time. But we all have to learn to manage them in one way or another or we’ll go insane.

In other years at work, I’ve taken on the stress, worry and frustrations that often take place during this time, and they have wiped me out. It’s hard for me to not take things personally, to accept that I can’t make everyone happy, and to realize that I have limitations in what I can do and what my capacity is.

But something changed this year. It was a very conscious decision to let go of those things were out of my capabilities and beyond my control. Crazy, I know! But I also made sure to incorporate what truly makes me happy and nurtures my spirit. And that became key to surviving this crazy time at work.

Here are just a few things that helped me during this time and things I absolutely want to to continue to incorporate:


I can’t tell you how many silent prayers of, “God, please let me get through this conversation with this difficult client without yelling at them” I said during this time! But in all seriousness, consistently turning to my faith in big ways and small gave me peace. There truly is peace in knowing I’m not alone. My faith has always been an anchor in my life and it particularly holds true during a stressful and demanding time at work.


My life doesn’t stop between January and April. This season, I made a very conscious decision to give myself time to rest but also plan some fun things to do with Jessie, my family and my friends. We saw plays, went out to dinner, did some wine tasting, celebrated birthdays and enjoyed life as much as I could. It was usually after a weekend away from the office spending time with loved ones that I was reminded what life is truly about. I work so hard so that I can enjoy the many blessings in life.



It’s not always easy. Especially when facing some tough times. But feeling grateful for big things and small, helped me get through some very stressful moments. In the end, I was always immensely thankful to have a job. There was a time when I would give anything to find a good, stable place to work and I have that. It has allowed us to do so many wonderful things in life, have a beautiful home we love, and simply provided the bare necessities. I will always be grateful for that. And those pesky clients? Well, their business keeps our office open and running. And now, I’m grateful for the time off I’ll have to recover.


Again, not easy, but I became more confident in saying it: to clients, to invitations, to other demands in life. I’ve always said, “A ‘no’ to someone else is a ‘yes’ for yourself.” It’s very interesting how positively people respond when you give them boundaries. And it’s important for people to know that there are limits to your time and capacity. I’m still learning to be more confident in my “no” but it’s becoming easier and easier for me.


My morning walks were more than just a way to get in some extra steps. They became a conscious effort to start my doing something positive for myself and clearing my mind to get ready for the day. I have been craving a strong connection to nature lately: trees, the ocean, flowers, etc. It gives me peace and truly nurtures my mind and spirit. I’ve also been blessed enough to get a few massages (gifts from work) and I was quickly reminded how important it is to take care of ourselves and get pampered once in a while. It was key in managing the stress and it’s something I absolutely want to incorporate more and more.

Anything you’re doing to nurture your spirit? Let us know in the comments below.

Jennifer Flashback: Gioconda



Gioconda is truly one of loveliest people I’ve ever had the honor of knowing. As I’m sure her many friends and family would attest, she is a calm, comforting presence who oozes caring from every single pore. So it seemed fitting and “so her” that she would write this previous post below which reads almost like a guided meditation. She wrote this last January as our country entered a very uncertain time. And all these months later, with how many of us are feeling about the current state of the world, it seems like the absolute perfect post to revisit. I hope it brings you some comfort as it does me. Thank you, Gioconda!

Let’s Imagine
Originally posted January 2017


Art from mbartstudios Etsy Shop.

Let’s close our eyes.
Take a deep breath.
Forget all of the emails, news, social media posts, talk radio talk that is filling up space around you.
Let your mind be blank.

Now imagine a world where we listen to each other. We listen not to answer. Not to one up. Not to insult or harm. We listen just to listen. To hear someone else’s opinion and thoughts. To understand someone better. To get another perspective. If you do it right, listening is a hard thing to do.

At my school we teach kids to have attentive listening. That means listening with your eyes, your ears and your heart. Don’t just act like you hear what they say, really take it in and process it.  It’s complicated and takes patience but if we can do that we are moving in the right direction.

Now imagine a world where we see what is there not what we imagine to be there. We see facts not opinions. We  witness goodness. We look at both sides.  We acknowledge the good in people not just the bad. We see truth. That’s another step.

Now imagine that we care about others. Truly care about what is best for those around us. We are considerate. We put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. We understand that everyone has a story. Everyone has hardship and struggle.  We practice compassion and treat others with kindness. Now we’re getting somewhere.

Now imagine that we work together for the common good. Forgetting agendas or taking sides.  We could have different opinions of what the common good is but for the sake of argument let’s agree that it’s about being kind, tolerant, and not hurting others.  I think we could work towards that.

I’ve listened to criticism, I’ve seen cruelty and hate, I’ve been selfish and narrow minded. So I will now take what I imagine, and put it into action.  I am no longer going to put my effort into worrying about my future and my kids’ future. I am no longer going to hope that someone else fixes the problem.  Instead I am going to do my part to make an impact in my tiny space in the world hoping it has a ripple effect. I will continue to teach my kids to be compassionate and to believe in the goodness of the world.

I am not making judgements or taking sides here – and I am not making a political statement. I am writing about what I feel is the most important thing about humanity – decency. Let’s care about each other and see the impact that makes.

Ok, now open your eyes and go change the world.

Flashback Favorite: The Write Stuff


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Gaby, Gioconda and I started this blog as a creative outlet that we could pursue together,  but most of all, we founded Sense & Serendipity because we are deeply and passionately in love with the craft of writing. I learn so much from these two incredible women all the time. They are not only two of the best friends you could ever be lucky enough to have, but are amazing writers who inspire me to be better as well. And with that, here is one of my favorite flashbacks about finding your inspiration. Hope it “re-inspires” you too!


This week we are exploring our journey in writing. Writing is one of our favorite topics to talk about and write about. It’s what brought us together to start this blog.  We wanted to share our writing, practice this craft and tell our stories.

Today we are talking about inspiration.


What’s my inspiration for writing? Wow, that’s a tough one since so many things not only inspire me to write, but inspire me to really up my game/skills as a writer overall. Really thought-provoking, moving, hilarious, unusual movies and TV series with incredibly well-drawn, flawed characters inspire me to write. To me, it’s all about character. Some of my favorites: The Imitation Game, Trainwreck, Up in the Air, Bridesmaids, Breaking Bad, 30 Rock, Veep, Arrested Development, and even the new FX series – People v OJ Simpson: American Crime Story. These are the bombdiggity when it comes to intensely good writing. Every time I watch them, it makes me want to grab my laptop and crank something genius out. Okay, I’ll settle for cranking something, anything out. That’s half the battle most of the time – just getting beyond the blank page.

What else? Hmmm… People inspire me to write! Yep, just ordinary everyday people. Observing their body language, emotions, relationships (or lack there of) with others, eavesdropping on conversations – people are SO interesting if you just pay attention. Everyone has a story. Everyone. Even me! Even you! Even the creeper next to you at Starbucks right now!

And then there are a couple of really fabulous screenwriting blogs, I try to read on the regular: John August , Jen Grisanti  and Scott Myers’s blog, Go Into the Story.

I also love Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic podcast because it focuses a lot on working past the fear of writing and moving beyond the notion of making things perfect which I’m 300% guilty of doing.

Finally, I dig the book, 642 Things to Write About by the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto. It’s a fabulous thought starter when you’re feeling completely stuck for ideas.


“I always tell people that I became a writer not because I went to school but because my mother took me to the library. I wanted to become a writer so I could see my name in the card catalog.”  – Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street

There are so many people and things that inspire me to write: the story, the characters, the idea that there are perfectly unique stories living inside me that will only come out when I allow them to, the absolute joy of sitting and letting the words flow out of me…I could go on an on. But every time I step inside a bookstore or a library, I am reminded of my love of books and writing and my inspiration to create is renewed. The quote above from Sandra Cisneros rings so true with me. I want to see my name one day, among those authors and those books. It’s the goal that encourages me to push past my fears and just write.


I find inspiration in the everyday.  Those are the types of stories I like to read and the type of stories I like to write. I feel connected to moments that seem ordinary but there is a story to uncover.  That’s why I love to document our life.

Watching a good movie makes me want to write a script. Reading a good book makes me want to write a book. Listening to a good song makes me want to write lyrics. I am not tied to a format but will follow wherever the inspiration leads.

There are a few books that help me practice this skill.  I read The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp a few years ago and still reference it when I need a creative push. It’s not just for writing but a guidebook for any creative habit you want to pursue.

Another favorite is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. It talks about following your curiosity and not letting fear get in your way. Fear is what keeps me from taking that first step, writing that first word. It’s something I am always working against.

Just this past week I was gifted the book Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and I’m devouring every page. I’m finding little nuggets and underlining, highlighting and saying hmmm out loud. There are some great exercises for finding stories that I can’t wait to try.  “Writing motivates you to look closely at life, at life as it lurches by and tramps around.”

What inspires you? We are always looking for fresh new ways to jumpstart our writing! Spill!

Something to Think About


I had so much fun sharing some flashback moments this week.  It’s great to look back and reread some of the posts we wrote. I love sharing on this blog and hope you do too.

This has been a rough week. It was good and busy at work, school started for one of our kids, and the world. I wanted to share a thought to take out into this crazy, mixed up, beautiful world and a reminder of our human nature.


I’ll add one more, because it’s Friday, because this made me smile and cry, and because life.

Wishing you a weekend filled with joy!


Gioconda’s Flashback: Me


I am not flashing too far back with my post but this was one I loved writing (and reading.) Especially now as the kids are heading back to school. I love my kiddos!

Time Stands Still
Originally posted May 2017

IMG_9532.JPGOver the last few weeks we have been watching old movies of the kids.  We always enjoyed filming and capturing those moments in our lives; birthday parties, holidays and everyday life. We laugh (through tears) watching the kids as babies and toddlers and the funny little things that they do. And the kids get a kick out of seeing themselves.

I remember when I was little my parents set up the projector and click through the carousel of slides. It was magical to be able to time travel to specific moments in your life.

Now I view the passage of time through the prism of my kids. One of the biggest feelings I have when I watch these pieces of our lives is that no matter how hard I try, time passes quickly.

I think back to when Jordan was 5 with his sweet little giggle and his curiosity for life. I can see Andrew’s humor and light heartedness in his baby face and it still makes me laugh. There is a sweetness in Sofia’s confidence and sassiness even as a toddler. Those things remain (except for that giggle), but the time has passed quickly.

I work hard at being present at every phase of our lives.  The mother’s advice to enjoy every moment because it goes by fast was not lost on me.  I have seen it flash before my eyes. I’ve stayed present and made an effort to document our lives and capture those moments, so that I can relive them over and over.

The passage of time is even more evident this year as we prepare to have our oldest graduate and move away to college.  I feel like every other conversation I am having starts with I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. We attended Jordan’s last band concert on Saturday with mixed feelings;  sad that’s it’s over, but happy that we were a part of it for 4 years. Has it really been 4 years for Jordan? He managed to pack those years with lots of accomplishment and fun.

You can see the person that Andrew has become in the little things he used to do as a kid. Andrew has always been an old soul in a little person’s body. He has a mature sense of humor and a keen sense of  timing. Some of those moments are captured on film. You can see in his eyes the recognition that, hmm this will get a laugh. And of course we were there to encourage it.

Every day Sofia looks older and acts more mature. Bobby and I are constantly in awe at the young lady she is becoming. She is a reminder that we are not parents to little kids anymore. It’s a mix of relief and sadness. As she grew, we got rid of all the baby stuff in the house. The strollers and high chairs and car seats were no more. And time moved on.

I often wish that time would move faster. On Monday, I can’t wait til Friday. I look forward to summer or christmas or my birthday. I concentrate on the moment after a presentation or getting through a tough time. But in doing so it means that time will have passed. So I learn to be ok with every second. To value every moment – good or bad. To take care to live in every crappy, lovely, sweet, frustrating moment in time because soon it will be gone.

Those flashbacks on FaceBook take you back, don’t they? Even if it was just 5 years ago. It’s another reminder and a look back into your past, how much has changed and how much has stayed the same.

The end of the school year is always a time for reflection and sentiment for me. Looking at yearbooks and seeing all that was done throughout the year. Cleaning out lockers, notebooks and supplies that represent a year’s worth of learning and growth. The kids are excited that the school year is over, but I feel the emotion of another year gone by.

As we move forward we acknowledge that life will be different. I’m sure I will wish for the holidays that will bring Jordan back home to us. But I will be excited for his new adventure. I will relish in what Andrew and Sofia are living and concentrate on being present for them.

And I will ask myself, is time moving quickly or at the exact speed it should be?

Gioconda Flashback: Jen



Jen is someone I truly admire. She is witty and smart and stylish.  Our friendship grew from our connection with Gaby and it’s something I cherish. It’s fun when the three of us get together. We spend hours catching up, laughing, going off on tangents, and then we do a little bit of work.

I can share some of my favorite flashbacks about Jen, one includes a christmas party, a few cocktails and some high kicks. Instead, I will share a post where she wrote about a vulnerable side of herself.

Jennifer’s Word for 2017
Originally published January 2017


free from fear; brave

When I was choosing a word to be my guiding force for 2017, FEARLESS felt perfect. I was so inspired by Carrie Fisher’s quote as I’d always admired her as one of the most fearless females out there – not only as a hilarious and talented writer, but as a beautifully open and honest human being who was never afraid to share her authentic voice. With her passing, I’m more inspired than ever to take on the challenge of living fearlessly.

Generally, I’m pretty brave when it comes to things people might deem “scary” – roller coasters, horror movies, jumping off or out of things you shouldn’t, chatting with strangers, weirdos on the subway, grocery store sushi – no problem. I am afraid of clowns however – I mean hello, they’re clearly here to murder us all. But I digress… There’s actually a very important area of my life where I’ve been holding back out of fear, even becoming a little paralyzed by it. And finally admitting that to myself is not easy.

I left the safety of the advertising world to pursue my dream of becoming a screenwriter. Since taking my very first comedy improv and sketch classes back in the day, it felt like my calling. These comedy nerds were my peeps. I had finally found my home and a place to share my voice. And I had a fantastic trajectory going – I was lucky to have lots of projects recognized at festivals, contests and writing fellowships. I worked my ass off in the UCLA Writer’s Program. I took every comedy writing class I could find, I networked, I attended endless screenings and panels – all to soak up every bit of knowledge I possibly could. Then, I had a baby. And my priorities shifted. Suddenly, I didn’t exactly dig the idea of working in a writer’s room until midnight only to miss tucking Jack into bed, or having to skip a swim show or party at Jack’s preschool because I was needed on set. So I temporarily put my comedy dreams on the back burner to focus on writing for online outlets so I’d have much more flexibility schedule-wise. And even though I thoroughly enjoy the more journalistic writing I’ve been doing, there’s just one problem. It’s not my passion. So I find myself at a major crossroads this year. Do I continue to build up and expand my online writing career to keep the flexibility I have now or do I finally return to the “riskier” screenwriting career I’d worked so hard for and embrace all the sacrifices it will likely entail? I know the answer. I do. And honestly, it’s never been more clear to me.

But fear’s a funny thing. It holds an unbelievable amount of power over you if you let it. My logical self knows it’s the only irrational thing standing in my way. My emotional self tells my logical self to shut up – these fears are for reals, dammit! Fear that I may have lost my comedy mojo and the momentum I built up. Fear that I’m too old to compete with the plucky 22-year-old Harvard prodigies Hollywood loves so much for screenwriting gigs. Fear of failing to sell my scripts. Fear of letting Jack down if I have to miss important moments in his life to shoot a film or be on set with a show. Fear of missing Jack’s day-to-day and figuring out who would look after him, pick him up from school or even make his favorite fish sticks in my absence – Casey works too, we’ve never had a nanny and all our family lives out of state. But my biggest fear of all? Letting myself down by not going after what truly makes my creative soul soar. It’s okay, you can totally roll your eyes at that last part. I think I threw up in my mouth a little too.

All that said, I’m making a choice. And this year, I choose to FEAR LESS. Not just in my career, but in all aspects of life – getting back in shape, finding a new house, finding a new school for my son, seeking adventures out of my comfort zone, making new friends and even standing up for what’s good and right in our country. I’m slowly making peace with the fact that I don’t have to have it all perfectly figured out, I just have to try. I just have to make the first move. And the one after that. And the one after that. And do it, bravely.

Who’s with me?


Gioconda Flashback: Gaby



My sister is my best friend in life. She and I have leaned on each other, supported each other and teamed up for some of our best life moments.  Gaby is the logical one when my ideas are all over the place. In so many ways we balance each other out and make a great team.

She’s definitely way more organized and clean than I am.  This post gets into her mind about the how and why of organization.  I’m practicing some of these things too. Thanks Gaby!

A Clean and Decluttered Life
Originally published March 2017


I’ll admit it: I’m a bit of a neat freak. I like cleanliness and order in my life. But, contrary to what others might think, I’m not obsessive about it. And it took me a long time of soul-searching and reflection to (a) figure out why order and tidiness is so important to me (b) be accepting of the balance of having the time to keep things clean and when you just have to let it go and embrace the clutter (c) be okay and accepting of who I am in that sense.

I think the underlying mentality I have is that life can be so crazy and chaotic sometimes that keeping things clean, decluttered and in order gives me some peace of mind and control when I feel like things are a bit bonkers. Cleaning, organizing, decluttering and getting/having things in order truly gives me peace of mind. It relaxes me and lets me breathe a little easier knowing that things are in order.

And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve also learned to declutter my life of those things that bring more chaos into my life than calm. I’ve learned to value myself and my time more and more that now I choose to spend it doing the things and with the people that lift me up and bring me joy and are truly nurturing to my life vs those things that are more harmful than good.

Cleanliness to me isn’t just about clean dishes, a vacuumed floor or washed clothes. It’s about the peace of mind it brings me by knowing that because of those things, I’m living a more comfortable life. I’m not stepping over piles of things to get somewhere. I’m not clearing items off a chair to sit down. But that’s me. That’s what I like. Everyone has their way of living and for some, spending time doing other things is more important and that’s okay for them. Our house is not impeccable. We need to clean. There are dirty dishes in the sink. And when we have family over, we encourage you to put up your feet, grab a drink (coasters are optional) and we focus on enjoying our time together. I’ve learned to embrace my inner Monica Gellar proudly, but she has some laid-back Phoebe in her, too.

So here are just a few clean/organizing habits I like to do for myself to declutter my life and make things a little easier:

Make my bed in the morning. Not because Oprah is coming over for tea (although, how awesome would that be?!), but because right off the bat, it makes me feel productive.

Do the dishes after dinner. I know I don’t want to do them in the morning, but it also allows us to wake up to a clean kitchen to start the day. (And believe me, there are plenty of times when those dirty dishes are there in the morning.)

Put my work clothes away when I get home. It makes it feel like the work day is officially over and I can now relax at home. I used to leave my clothes on a chair overnight (shocker), but putting them away as soon as I get home avoids the build-up and gives the work day closure.

Keep my car clean. Now, I don’t take my car to get washed nearly as often as I should, but I do like to empty it out of anything I’ve brought with me for the day. It gives me another fresh start to the day.

Keep my handbag organized. I hate rummaging through my purse to find something. Why not make it easier on myself and keep those things I use often in an easy-to-find place? Case in point, keys and chapsticks. Those little pockets in purses are my BFFs. Knowing exactly where they are when I need them has made my life so much easier.

Declutter my desk at work. Man, oh man, work has been so crazy busy. At any given point in the day, I have piles on piles at my desk. But at the end, I try and put things in order so I can come back to a clean desk ready to tackle the day’s work. Again, it gives me the peace of mind to start my day at the office.

Organized refrigerator and pantry. I love to cook. And I also love to be able to find what I need very quickly. By keeping our fridge and pantry clean and organized, I’m not fighting my way through leftovers and salad dressing just to get to that one ingredient I need. It actually really helps when putting together a grocery list as well. We know right away what we have on hand and what we need.

Clean email. I try to go through my personal email every day and delete any and all unnecessary items. (And yes, put them in folders.). I try to do the same at work. My inbox is a to-do box for me and I like to weed out items I no longer need.