July 17, 2013

Interrupted Bliss

I usually hate summertime (much more of a fall and winter girl), but that has changed since Miles has become more independent and outdoor-loving. On those hot days that verge on almost unbearable, we throw our swimsuits on and head to Pismo. Usually my sisters come with us, and we spend the afternoon following Miles around the beach while he chases birds, collects shells, and maintains a calculated distance from the water. We've been going quite a bit, and he's even added "beach" to his vocabulary, which I love. It makes me so happy to see him running around in his little wetsuit and digging holes to climb into. He's definitely a California kid.

Between those moments of playing at the beach or running in the sprinklers, we have spent a lot of time just the two of us- going to the park, reading, making up silly new games. He is constantly growing and changing into this little boy who can articulate his needs and wants and, to my delight, speak his affection. Does it really get any better than when your baby says, "Luh loo!" and gives you a kiss? No. No it does not.

This summer is a very crazy schedule school-wise because I'm taking twelve units in eight weeks. I love the craziness, though. It tests my time management way more than I'm used to, but it's great. I just keep reminding myself, "Only four more weeks!" and then it's on to the next semester, which is going to be huge and daunting but I'm excited and ready (two words I don't usually use when it comes to statistics and pre-calculus, but I'm trying to be optimistic!).

As you can see, I've been a very busy bee. I will try and post more- trust me, I have lots to talk about...it's just finding the time to write it all out!

June 12, 2013

Oh So Plush

It's been nearly a month since my last post and that is due entirely to the end of the semester (which means having no requirement to look at, let alone use, a laptop). This was the first semester I've been back at school full-time and I feel relief and a sense of accomplishment that neither my relationships with Parker and Miles nor my grades suffered with the amount of schoolwork I signed up for. Summer term starts on Monday and I am looking forward to it.

With my three weeks of freedom between school terms, I've been making myself luxuriate in the lack of things to do. Sometimes I feel like I almost need the pressure and to-do lists and timelines and deadlines because that is when I feel at my best. However, everyone needs a break and I've been soaking in the calm so I can be recharged for the next six months. My grandparents are visiting from Nashville right now so we've all been loving these days of just hanging out at home and watching Miles with all his adorable antics. He is such a goober- he totally hams it up in front of the camera when my grandma takes his picture (I wonder where he gets that from) and I love it.
This last weekend I took the opportunity to drive down to LA for Plush- a trade show that was open to consumers on its final day to showcase some of the best new maternity and baby-related products and services available. I was so excited when Parker said he would watch Miles so I could go uninterrupted (best husband ever!) and fully drool over all the cool things I knew would be there. I bookmarked a few brands I knew I wanted to visit- Sakura Bloom, Rosie Pope, and Clek to start- and then planned to just sort of wander around and see if anything caught my eye.

The show was on Sunday, so I decided to spend the night at my grandparents' house in Santa Clarita on Saturday night and enjoy some time with my family there. I stopped in at Shine Blow Dry Bar in Montecito on my way out of town for a quick blowout (is it the mom in me or am I the only one who immediately thinks of poop whenever someone mentions the word "blowout" now?) and I loved it. For some reason I always get the male stylist who wants to backcomb my hair into Toddlers & Tiaras-sized proportions so I mentioned something about not wanting to look like Honey Boo Boo and the stylist looked up at me in the mirror and said (I kid you not), "No promises." I think it was a joke. Off to shampoo we went, where I had the best scalp massage ever. I was a little sad when it was time to go back to the chair for the blow dry but I suppose it had to end sometime (sniff). When my hair was dry and it was time for the dreaded backcombing, he smiled and said, "Honey Boo Boo coming your way!" and I mildly panicked but thankfully he was joking after all and my hair looked great.
Sunday morning I woke up, got ready, and headed down to Beverly Hills for breakfast and coffee before the show started. I decided to try The Farm because it looked decidedly country (well, as country as it gets that close to Rodeo Drive) in the middle of a whole lotta bling. I was seated and finished ordering before I realized that David Spade was sitting immediately to my right! I can't help but be starstruck sometimes and when that happens I have to remind myself to get a grip (and sometimes that doesn't really work out either- like the time I met Sigourney Weaver in Williams Sonoma and I started gushing about how Dave is one of my favorite movies. Embarassing!) Anywho, it was fun.

I made my way over to the hotel where the show was being held and eventually made my way downstairs to start walking around all the different vendors. I wanted to visit Sakura Bloom first, but I had to bust out my map because the vendors were separated into two different rooms- one was like a ball room, and the other was like a really big conference room. Sakura Bloom was in the smaller room, which was a bummer because the energy wasn't as high and there were definitely less people coming through (I'm actually fairly certain there were people who came to the show and never even knew there were more vendors in that room!). Anyway, I finally found their booth and introduced myself to Lynne and her husband Eric. They were so great and I basically wound up sitting and talking with them for the majority of the day. Lynne and I walked around the bigger room a couple of times, too, so we could visit some of the other vendors and talk with them a little bit. I really enjoyed meeting Elle from Solly Baby and the ladies behind NΓΌRoo- they were all incredibly nice and shared their stories about how they noticed a need for a certain kind of product and then went about filling that need. It was amazing to hear their journeys and even more amazing to see the success that has come from all their hard work. 
It was really interesting for me to spend the day with Lynne and talk with her about where Sakura Bloom started, how it has grown, and a lot of the behind-the-scenes details that go into growing a brand from the ground up. I even had some customer service work flashbacks when a really rude woman came up, asked for a demonstration, interrupted midway through with a "This is not gonna work!" and then just walked away! I was shocked! That incident was all but forgotten, though, when a mom came up with her fifteen-week old baby boy who was really wailing and upset in his car seat. Lynne showed her how to put him in the sling and within seconds he was asleep on his mama's chest. I almost cried, that's how sweet it was... it may have also been because that mom's face showed such relief and I remember that feeling when Miles fell asleep in a sling for the first time. Needless to say, Sakura Bloom has two new fans!

Lynne was so fun to get to know. She's a little bit OCD (a good thing when you're running a business!), super easy to talk to, and can pull off the jumpsuit look no problem. Oh! And she was in almost as much disbelief as I was when I won the Sakura Bloom raffle at the show! I won a Luxe sling in Jade and I love love love it. There were other things in my prize (an iPod and a collection of Rockabye Baby CDs) but I had my eye on that sling and I could not believe when Lisa Rinna called out my name as the winner. So exciting...I really treasure being able to wear Miles in something so gorgeous.

So, that's my weekend! I had an amazing time and I am so glad I was able to go (thanks again, babe!). I'm going to do another post soon about my favorite products from the show- stay tuned!

I hope you're all having a great week.

May 19, 2013

Light at the End of the Tunnel

In the next couple of days I'll be finishing this semester- whew! This is the first semester I've taken full-time units since Miles has been born and it has been both challenging and extremely rewarding. The most noticeable challenge has been sleep deprivation, since I most often will do my homework after Miles has gone to bed; however, Parker has been absolutely amazing in waking up with Miles a lot of the time so I can rest a little bit more. I really couldn't imagine a better support than him throughout the whole process of me going back to school.

As I was thinking about the "light at the end of the tunnel" in terms of school and more long-term goals, I realized that Parker and Miles are such sources of happiness and love for me on a daily basis. I get caught up a lot of the time in thinking toward the future, but I have been reminded recently that it's just as important to focus on the present time and soak up moments with my family. Admittedly, I do also look forward to what's coming in terms of school because I've been working really hard and it's nice to see the progress. I'm getting to the point now where it's going to be all "fun" classes and that will be a huge reward in and of itself because I'll get to take classes I really enjoy.

When all is said and done, I'm really enjoying where our path is going as a family- Parker has a great job that he loves, Miles will be heading to preschool in January (!), and I will continue on with school and maybe go back to work. We are really blessed.

I hope you're having a great weekend!

May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is always a day where I do a lot of reflecting on the mothers I've known and my own journey to motherhood. It's a celebration of the joy and inexplicable gratitude of being a mama to Miles; it's also a little bit of sadness for the pregnancies that didn't make it. One thing's for sure: being a mama has changed me. I look at other mothers who do things differently and my first inclination is no longer to judge, but to be open to ways different than my own. When I'm judged, I still freak out a little (after all, who wants to be told that you aren't doing something right, especially when it comes to your own child?) but quickly realize that what I'm doing is what's best for my boy and my family, and I have peace in that. 

Mothers come in all forms. Some of the women I've learned from the most don't have any children of their own. But they've mothered me, influenced me, and I look to them for inspiration. I'm thankful for my own mom, grandmothers, aunts, in-laws, and friends who all mean so much me and who now mean so much to Miles. I don't know what I'd do without you all.

Happy Mother's Day!

May 9, 2013

Park Hoppin'

Miles and I have been loving the park lately. I usually drive to Starbucks, get my drink and a slice of pumpkin bread for Miles, and then head over to the park where we spend lots of time laughing and playing together. I think my favorite part about going to the park is that normally there isn't a time limit to how long we can stay. It's just a time where everything else fades and it's just me and my boy (although lately we've been bringing my sisters along or meeting friends for playdates). He is growing so much- now he climbs the play structure and can go down the slides all by himself! I love him. Here are some pictures of our recent park outings:

May 3, 2013

Biting the Big Apple, Part II

I'm finishing this semester in the next couple of weeks so I've been up to my eyeballs in homework! I've been looking for a chance to finish writing about our New York trip so let's pick up where I left off.

We arrived at our hotel a little after 2 a.m. on Friday and woke up a few hours later to find it pouring rain. Our breakfast reservation was at Balthazar so we hailed our first taxi and enjoyed a delicious first meal in New York- Parker had their doughnuts and I enjoyed eggs (they were the best eggs I've ever had) and a chocolate croissant. (There's a couple things I should probably mention at this point. Firstly, hailing taxis was probably my favorite "New York" thing to do in the city- enjoying all the amazing food was a very close second.)
photo credit
After breakfast we still were feeling a little tired from all our travels, so we headed back to the hotel. After a little snooze I got a text from my best blogger friend, Chrystal, and we decided to try out DreamDry, Rachel Zoe's blow dry bar. I took a peek out of the window as I was putting on my coat and it didn't look like it was raining so I didn't grab my umbrella. Mistake. As soon as I stepped out onto Madison Avenue, the sky opened and it started absolutely pouring! Of course, all the taxis were taken so I had the craziest time running around trying to find a car but eventually I found one and was soon on my way. I was pretty excited to meet Chrystal (yes, we've been friends since before Miles was born but had never met) and get our hair done! Our experience at the salon was mixed. I had a great stylist, Ian, who gave my hair volume that initially felt more like Toddlers and Tiaras volume than fab volume but it did settle into a great look by the evening. Chrystal's stylist, on the other hand, looked like she was completely over it and was irritable from the get-go. Chrystal wound up finishing up her own hair! As we were leaving I realized that I was about to walk out into the rain with freshly styled hair, so Chrystal and I huddled under her umbrella and rushed over to Mario Batali's Eataly where we enjoyed some fantastic lunch and wine in the upstairs restaurant. It was so nice to finally chat together not just online but in person over some great food. 
The Crosby Hotel (photo credit)
I could go on and on in detail about all the wonderful restaurants we enjoyed so I'll list them all and spend a moment on the places that truly stood out.

Prime BLT Bistro- Chrystal was so right when she suggested the potato au gratin as a side. It was life-changing.
Serafina- besides the bumping club music at 11 a.m., not bad but not great.
Poco- no...just no. We wondered what took so long for our food to arrive, and it wasn't worth the wait.
L'Artusi- a must-visit; try the potato gnocchi with lamb shank ragu. We loved it so much we ordered a second serving!
Rubirosa- I had their vodka sauce pizza- beyond delicious.
photo credit
Drinks and Snacks:

Pegu- nice atmosphere for drinks with friends; tasty drinks.
The Crosby- delicious small plates to pair with an afternoon drink; Chrystal and I spent all afternoon here chatting and snacking. If you visit, try the goat cheese and pumpkin croquettes or the lamb kebabs. Note: beware of the $25 cocktail!
Soho Grand- after snacks at The Crosby, Chrystal and I snagged a comfortable sofa and enjoyed some chocolate lava cake while we people watched and rested from all our retail therapy.
Russ & Daughters- Best. Bagel (and Lox). Ever! It was delicious and we even met the owner, who stopped to talk with us and asked us if we had any Santa Barbara golfing connections (we don't). 

Parker and I visited the Met and the Museum of Natural History and loved both. We could have walked around for days just absorbing all the beautiful pieces of art and looking up at the dinosaur fossils in amazement. Sadly, we didn't get to visit any other art museums but that's just something to look forward to on our next trip.
photo credit
Leaving New York was bittersweet, but the memories of our trip will be a happy reminder of all the fun that was had. Many, many thanks to Chrystal for showing me off the touristy path. If you've visited New York, leave a comment with your favorite spot so I can keep a little list for next time!

April 27, 2013


credit: Demetri Martin
While I'm finishing up my second post on our New York weekend, I thought I'd post a brief interlude on my thoughts lately. Demetri Martin's "success chart" at right sums it up; Joanna from A Cup of Jo wrote such a well-timed post about the many paths to success. Truthfully, though, it wasn't the post that brought a sense of relief- it was the comments! So many different readers contributed with their own stories of jumbled beginnings, years spent doing other things because they were afraid to really go for it (love, turning their passion into a career, etc), and an eventual "Aha!" moment. I felt such a metaphorical cloud lift when I read all these journeys! In a world of people looking to stand out from the crowd, sometimes the biggest relief is to know you're not exempt from a human condition- of not being able to see the road ahead with sparkling clarity. Because while there are people who've got it all figured out, there are just as many people who haven't. Thank goodness.

I hope you're all having a great weekend.