Thursday, October 30, 2014

A new sort of Halloween

October 1990.  I'm the pumpkin on the right, my best friend Katie is on the left.

As a little kid, Halloween was my favorite holiday.  I was incredibly blessed to live on a block full of kids all of whom were relatively close in age.  And even better, we were all best friends.  Every year, we would count down the days 'til the leaves left the branches and carved pumpkins found homes on front porch steps.

That day would come, we'd eat a quick dinner, and get ready for the night of some tricks, but mostly treats.  As little ones, we'd run from house to house having to stay relatively close to our dads who were following us equipped with beer and 90s sweatshirts.  We made sure to avoid the one corner house a street over occupied by the crazy, scary witch and made sure to hit all the houses that we noted gave out the ever-coveted king size.

When we got home, we'd dump out our pillowcases full of treats and divvy up the good vs. bad.  We'd trade Mounds for Twix and gave the unwanted to mom and dad.  It was the one day out of the year that we didn't have to "call it a night" on a school night and we went to bed with sugar highs.

As we all got older, some of us made different plans to go with different groups of friends from school or groups, but Halloween for the most part remained a holiday that we celebrated with the kids on the block.  As years passed, our dads would still maybe get together for a beer, their kids off at work parties or friend's houses. The moms were of course always loyal to those pesky trick-or-treaters (the new round of block littles) and handed out candy year after year.

As I got older and went off to college, I forgot about Halloween.  In my experience, college Halloween parties are either 1 of 2 things -- awkward or dirty (or an unfortunate combination of both.)  You're too old to ask for candy but too young to go to one of those swankier, more grown-up Halloween parties.  And because of this, Halloween became a holiday that came and went with little thought.

But not this year.

This year is my first Halloween with my little one.  And I'm flooded with both nostalgia and the excitement I felt as a seven-year-old.

It will be a relaxed evening.  We'll have festive drinks and dessert, maybe some (very late) pumpkin carving.  A bowl will rest by the door full of candy waiting for anyone who yells "trick or treat!"  But the best part will be getting Ella in her costume, taking pictures, remembering Halloweens that once were, and getting so excited for this new phase of Halloweens to begin.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Postpartum skincare

It's no secret your body goes through a million and three changes during pregnancy.  For some reason, though, I wasn't expecting too many postpartum changes.  So I was in for many surprises. My figure changed in a way that even if and when I get down to my pre-pregnancy pant size I don't think I'd fit into my pre-prego pants.  The hair loss thing is very, very real.  And your skin might be out of sorts due to your whacked out hormones.

I read that you'll likely have to change your skincare routine after having a baby.  Recently, I did so. And since it's been working out for the most part (hormones will be hormones), I thought I'd share my new routine.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Seven months ago, I wrote my first post.  I was 6 days shy of having our baby girl, and I had just decided to leave my job.  I wasn't entirely sure what was in store for us here in California, and I wasn't sure what was in store for me on the road ahead.  But I did know one thing, I wanted to keep writing.

So I started to blog.

And I haven't stopped.  Today is my 100th post.

So today I'm writing to remind myself that baby steps are always the key to success in achieving goals, to never procrastinate in taking the first step toward achieving a goal, and the feeling that accompanies an achieved goal is a great one.

Thank you for reading, "liking", encouraging, and supporting.  You're one of a kind.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Busy weekends

We try to keep our weekends balanced.  A little cleaning, a little shopping, a little brunch.  Maybe some cookie baking, maybe some gaming.  This weekend was one of those all-over-the-place weekends.  The kind that results in unwashed laundry and last minute grocery shopping.  (And this was a good thing.)

I spent all of Saturday catching up with one of my dearest friends from college while Ella had a daddy/daughter day.  My sweet friend drove down from LA, we sat at a coffee shop for three hours, and picked up Ella's Halloween costume.  It was the best day.

Sunday was left for all chores and prepping for the week.  But as Sunday is family day, we made some time for a stroll in the park.

Happy Monday.  I hope your week's a walk in the park.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wish list

As the seasonal sales start to pop up this year, I'm going to keep a look out for a few things.  I thought I'd share my list!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

On writing

Missing: Bossypants
There are a few resources I consistently go to for writing inspiration.  Blogs, podcasts, books, etc. Today I'm going to share a few of my favorite get-inspired books.

In one of my college writing classes, we used Stephen King's On Writing as our text book.  I've been wanting to re-read it for a while.  And in attempts to get inspired, I broke out the book and came across highlighted parts and folded pages.

After perusing through the chapters,  I thought I'd share a couple of my favorite quotes.

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.  There's no way around these two things that I'm aware of, no shortcut.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Six months

Sometimes I wish I was one of those super fab, organized parents who scrapbooks, does month-to-month update photo shoots (inspired by Pinterest), and makes baby blankets, but I'm not.  At least not yet.  It's been a chaotic last couple years, but today we took a moment and celebrated this little one who turned 6 months old today.  It wasn't over cake and we didn't take pictures with a chalkboard or a tutu. (Saving that for the 1 year mark.)  It was over a couple lattes and a blueberry muffin at our favorite little coffee shop in Fallbrook.  It just so happened that Ella's six month check up fell on the day she turned 6 months old. And since it's a good 40 minute drive to Ella's doctor, we took some extra time after her appointment to celebrate a clean bill of health and the last six months.

And said "cheers" to the next six.

Happy half-year, Ms. Ella James.

You're an absolute joy.

Friday, October 17, 2014

End of the week

This week was a good week.  I bought some vitamins, made some pumpkin bread, and put on a face mask.

(Don't let these mundane tasks deceive you.)  This week was full of great moments.  Here are a few:

I snapped this photo of Ella in her sunnies.  So far, she loves sunglasses.  Since she's barely 6 months old, I find this hilarious.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Best friends and long distance

My best friends (who are more like sisters) live 3,000 miles away.  We grew up next door to each other and rarely spent more than a week a part.  Since graduating college, getting married, and temporarily settling in California we're lucky if we see each other twice a year.

Over the months spent a part, we've sent each other little surprises in the mail to the let the other know they haven't been forgotten.

Yesterday I got this in the mail.  It was a simple card with a little message.  But it came among a slew of medical bills and test results, so the timing couldn't have been better.

Relationships of any kind take work, kindness, and thoughtfulness.  If you have a good friend miles away, send them a little something to let them know you're thinking of them.  It will undoubtedly make their day.

And all it takes is a stamp.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A few mom must-have's

I've been using the following products for a good while now.  They've treated me so well I wanted to share them with you.

Timi & Leslie Diaper Bag

I looked long and hard for a diaper bag while I was pregnant.  I wanted it to be practical, worth the money, and fit for everyday use.  The ones I found at Target were a little too pricey for what you were getting, and the ones I found on Pinterest were way out of my price range.  So I decided to buy a beach type tote from TJ Maxx until I found the perfect diaper bag.  Four months later, I found this Timi & Leslie bag at Nordstrom Rack.  And it was perfect.  I got it for $79.00, and it was originally $179.00.

It includes:

Changing pad with diapers/wipes pocket
Pouch for mom's things
Stroller straps
Detachable/adjustable straps
Insulated bottle holder
Dirty clothes sack

It's made well, easy to carry, and fits everything I need to run a quick errand or for a day trip.  I couldn't recommend it more!

Eddie Bauer Changing Pad

Depending on your diaper bag situation, you may need to purchase a changing pad.  I've been using this one since our little one was born, and I love it.  It has a diaper/wipes pocket, is durable, and stores well.  I picked this one up from Target for $12.

Coconut Oil

While I was pregnant, I read coconut oil is multi-purpose baby product.  I've put coconut oil on any redness that Ella's had, and it's cleared her skin right up.  I also put some on her feet after baths. Since a little goes a long way, it lasts a while and you get your money's worth.

Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap (Unscented Baby Mild)

This is another product I came across when looking for cost effective products.  I bought this soap for $15, and I've had it since Ella was born.  It's been gentle on Ella's skin, and a little goes a long way!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Enjoy where your feet are planted

I recently heard this on a YouTube video.

Enjoy where your feet are planted.

And it got me thinking.

As someone in my 20s, I sometimes find this difficult.  We're always working toward something. And sometimes we can get so caught up in working toward said something that we forget to enjoy wherever we are at that time.

I heard this right around the time we were actively trying to relocate to Michigan.  I was doing all the work it takes to pick up your family and move to another state - applying for jobs, pricing U-Hauls, etc. But with this work came a distaste for our current situation.  I became anxious and always felt unsettled as it seemed we were in a temporary situation.  We decided to hold off on buying anything like picture frames or a new lamp because "we're going to move anyway."  And quickly, we noticed as a couple and as a family we started to feel quite worn.

In realizing that moving across the country can be a long, arduous process, we made a decision as a couple that we were going to embrace our current situation, count our blessings, and branch out. Trying new places to eat, exploring different parts of the city, and reaching out to friends that we maybe don't see as often as we'd like became a priority and pricing U-Hauls was set on the back burner.  

Sure, we'll continue to move forward in working toward reaching our goals, but we'll do so at a more realistic pace.  In the meantime, we'll pause and simply be thankful and enjoy where we are now.

Monday, October 13, 2014

From the weekend

I look forward to the weekend more than usual during the weeks when my husband teaches.  But this weekend was a little more special than most - we celebrated Tim's 25th birthday.  Tim wanted to have a relaxed day with family and a few friends.  So we kept the beginning of the day relaxed with a family brunch.  Then we bought some beer and pizza and had a few friends over in the evening.

We drank, ate, and caught up over homemade pazookis (Tim's request).

Tim enjoyed his day.  And that was all that mattered.

On Sunday, we drank coffee, shopped a bit, and indulged in some leftover dessert.

I hope you had a great weekend.  Happy Monday.

Friday, October 10, 2014

In a crop top

Jeans: Old Navy/Crop top: Target/Watch:Jewel Mint/ Sweater: TJ Maxx
I'm five and a half months postpartum, and today I put on a crop top.  It was a little scary, but I did it anyway.

Here's to stepping outside of our comfort zones this weekend.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Recent finds

As a mom, my schedule can be all over the place.  Often times, I'm ready to go to bed when Ella goes to bed.  And there are times when I don't particularly feel like being productive when she goes down for a nap.

But recently, I've been trying to include a podcast and a couple good reads in my day-to-day schedule.

This is what I've been loving this past month.

I love a good celebrity memoir.  After reading Rob Lowe's last book, Stories I Only Tell My Friends, I knew I had to pick up his new one.  This guy can write.  He knows how to tell a story.  And his experiences and ability to paint his life in a human, vulnerable way makes this book (and his last) a must read.

I came across Joanna Goddard's blog, A Cup of Jo a while ago, but I didn't start religiously reading it until recently.  I love her story.  I love her voice.  And I love what she decides to feature.  A couple of my favorite reads from her this past month are 24 Surprising Things about Parenthood in the United States and (an oldie) The Hardest Two Months of My Life.

The EntreLeadership Podcast: A podcast on business and leadership from the Dave Ramsey team.  I stumbled upon this podcast, looked at some of the recent interviewees and went on a listening binge.  Some of my favorite recent episodes have been Go Make Something Happen with Seth Godin, How to Fascinate with Sally Hogshead, and Why Leaders Eat Last with Simon Sinek.  

I'm always up for a new read and listen.  If you've come across something that you've been loving, I'd love to hear about it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Morning date Wednesdays


My husband started teaching again this week.  We're both pretty excited and happy he's continuing to teach.

But with this new schedule comes long days, dinners for one, and late nights.  So we decided to implement morning date Wednesdays into our weekly routine.  Since he teaches on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, we thought it best to take a break in the middle of the week and go out to breakfast as a family.

We usually head to our favorite local cafe for a chai, a coffee, and maybe a pastry (or two).  We don't get a lot of time in the evenings, but we can count on Wednesday mornings to bring us a retreat from the chaos and business of the week.

Happy Wednesday.  

Monday, October 6, 2014

Some real life

Pinterest quote, obviously.
There are some topics in life we don't like to talk about.  It's usually for good reason - we deem these struggles or moments private, we don't want to be judged, we want to appear that we've got it all together.  In the days of profile pictures and perfectly edited photos, we easily get a false impression of people.  And more specifically, in the day of baby selfies and mama/baby matching outfits, I think we sometimes have a false sense of what motherhood can really entail.

I'm the type of person who likes to paint the whole picture.  Writing only about the blue skies and rainbows in life gives you a false impression of who I am as a person and the life that I have.

This doesn't mean I have some secretly horrible situation.  I recognize I'm blessed, but I also recognize I'm human.  Next to the joy and strength part of me lies pain and struggle.

So today, in attempts to keep my writing as true to self and real as I can, I'm going to share with you a bluer part of motherhood that I've experienced thus far.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October 1

Picture taken in Anchorage, Alaska
October 1st is my favorite ordinary day of the year.    Even though we're nearing the end of the year, October 1st always brings a sense of newness and freshness.  It's when Fall begins feeling like Fall, when it's socially acceptable to begin prepping for the upcoming string of holidays (beginning with Halloween), it's when I can change out the throw pillows, and break out and dust off the autumn scented candle I bought last season for a whopping .79 cents.

I live in San Diego.  So for me, today is nothing more than a brief hiatus in between heat waves. But it doesn't matter.  Come October, I inevitably feel a little more refreshed than I did on September 30th, and I'm ready to gear up and end the year on a high note.

(The fact that Netflix started streaming all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls today is just an added bonus.)