Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Crap, I'm Pregnant

{photo caption - "Crap, I'm pregnant!"}
This is how you'll find me most nights nowadays.  I am pregnant guys.  And my body is reminding me of it every single second of every day.  I'm in my 14th week and I kept looking for the magical 2nd trimester turnaround to hit as it did with both previous pregnancies, but so fare no dice.  I'm not throwing up or anything, I just feel completely rundown and achy all over.  A lot of flu-like symptoms.  I worked full time and had a full travel schedule with both Taylor and Syd, yet with this one I can't manage to get off the couch.  And now after flying four flights (yes, I did actually fly four times), my feet have swelled up, as they did every time I flew with Taylor, so I'm convinced I'm having a girl.   

I remember going to an event at one of our boutiques when 7 months pregnant with Taylor and a sales associate said to me "Oh honey, you must be having a girl.  Girls take all the beauty away from their mommas and take it for themselves."  To her credit, I was swelled up like a balloon; feet, hands and face, and had a bade case of pregnancy acne.  I will never forget it.  What was the craziest thing someone ever told you when you were pregnant, especially when predicting the gender you were carrying?

In related news, I have been craving navel oranges something fierce, eating 3-4 a day, and Jack N the Box tacos.  I'm not too proud to admit that I've even driven thru to pick some up as early as 10:30 am.  I'm trying to supplement with as much healthy stuff as possible, but this baby has just got me craving grease and more grease.  I ate about 40 tater tots last night.  Poor thing is going to come out looking like a little grease ball.  What were some of your cravings during pregnancy?  That stuff always fascinates me!   

Monday, February 27, 2012

Kimbra - Settle Down

Kimbra - Settle Down from Forum5 Recordings on Vimeo.

One of the funnest things I got to take with me to Blissdom was my shiny new iPhone.  I've waited a long time to give in, but finally my contract was up and we were hit with a killer deal for the 4S, so I succumbed.  Art added a playlist for me at the last second and I loved it so.  Made the four flights that much more bearable.  I love my husband's taste in music and he's always finding cool new artists to introduce me to (311 was the first way back in college).  He found Kimbra through the Gotye song Somebody That I Used to Know.  While I'm a little confused by the video, (maybe I'm just getting old?) I still think it is way cool and the music is right up my alley.  Enjoy!

Blissdom 2012

{l-r: new business cards from Alexandra received lots of compliments; the baby bump is growing everyday; 
Diane Cu doing her thing during her amazing session; touchdown at John Wayne airport}

Blissdom started out with tears for me, big surprise I know.  After a 6 am flight, lack of food and overwhelming emotions, I lugged my things to my room at the Opryland Hotel and I thought to myself, "Why on earth am I here, why did I come half way across the country?  For what?"  Actually, first though I thought "Why on Earth did they make this hotel so friggin big?"  I still don't get it.  But after a quick pep talk from a friend and a bit of freshening up, I went downstairs determined to have a better attitude.  I'm so thankful I did. 

Blissdom was amazing, much better than I thought it was going to be.  I went to 6 sessions and half of them were informative and I got something out of them.  The other half were just okay, but I had kind of expected it.  Jon Acuff was the keynote speaker and was awesome, really and truly.  So inspiring and funny and smart and real.  Lots of adjectives contained in this post by the way...be warned.

My favorite sessions were hosted by the White On Rice team Diane Cu and Todd Porter.  You guys, they made me cry, and it's not because I'm hormonal.  I have been a fan of their work for a while and to be honest, once I saw that they (and Erin Loechner) were going to be speaking at Blissdom, I bought my ticket.  Their session was about embracing the imperfections in your photography and your story, and going beyond the obvious when taking your photos.  They showed an example of work they did for Whole Foods where they sold a farmer's avocados by never even showing avocados.  Email me if you have questions about this, but their message was brilliant and inspiring.  Lots of good online resources were shared too for finding free music to use with videos and editing.  And I always thought they were based in LA but they are actually just a few minutes away from me in Orange County and they invited me to their studio!  The love that these two have for photography is just contagious and really I can't express just how touching and inspiring their session was for me.  If this session was the only good one I attended while at Blissdom I would have been thrilled.

Lucky for me though I also got to attend another great session hosted by Alli Worhtington and Erin Loechner.  Both of these ladies are ridiculously kind and sweet, especially Erin.  At one point I almost asked her if she was really so nice, because seriously guys, she was really nice.  I told you lots of nice adjectives were to be contained in this post.  Anyhow, their session was Stop Monetizing Your Joy, and the main takeaway was that as bloggers and entrepreneurs we tend to try and take everything we love and figure out a way to make money out of it.  Find something (if you don't already have something) and do it just for you.  Don't let it become your next blog subject or series, and just do it for the pure joy of it.  This will leave you the space and creativity you need to be more successful and free with the projects that you do monetize.  For me, Hayley and Laura, we all agreed reading was our one thing we do only for ourselves.  Overall a great session.

The other good session for me was hosted by Christine Koh whom I had met at Camp Mighty and she talked about Doing Less As a Life Strategy.  I liked her session so much because she didn't advise dropping everything you love like writing projects, hobbies and blogging, just to do less, but make priorities, say no to things that aren't on that priority list, stay focused on your specific content, be selective about projects and just be patient before you make decisions and jump into things.

But aside from the great sessions and inspiring keynote address, the best part of Blissdom was the chance to meet so many amazing and nice women.  Everyone was nice guys, not just Erin.  Barbara Jones told me they had a strict "no assholes" policy, which I completely appreciated.  It was so refreshing to see over 700 women come together in such a supportive and loving way.  I'm sure there was some cattiness here and there, but I personally didn't have to deal with any.  My roommates Allison, Virginia and Anne were fun and kind and I feel very blessed to have met them and spent 3 amazing days with them.  There were so many other wonderful women I met over the 3 days, too many to list.  But I'll just end this by saying that I will be back next year, and I'm taking Jules with me.

I'm working on posts for the new blog so I can get it up this week, so my posts may be a little spotty but all the content I'm creating over there will hopefully make up for it.  I hope to launch by the end of the week so stay tuned.  If I met you at Blissdom and I maybe didn't grab your card, please say hi so I can follow you along and keep in touch.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

DIY Seed Bead Necklace Tutorial - UPDATED at Design Mom

A few months ago Design Mom put a call out on Twitter that she was looking for DIY contributors.  I immediately sent her a note "applying" if you will.  A couple of months went by and I didn't hear anything so I figured she was looking for more home type DIY contributors, not so much the jewelry type which is what I tend to lean towards.  Well lo and behold she contacted me a few weeks ago and asked if I was still interested to which I quickly replied "YES!"  We traded some emails back and forth and we decided to create an updated seed bead tutorial for Spring with fresh colors.  I really love how it came out, and I love even more that this necklace has a much cleaner finished look than the original because I've learned so much in the last 6 months.

So here is a little sneak peek of what I created.  I would be thrilled if you all popped on over to see the full tutorial.  And I am not above begging for comments either, so please please please say hi ;)  Thanks guys! 

Playgrounds & Lollipops - 8-30-12

 {Top - Nordstrom (old); Skirt - ASOS Maternity; Shoes - Calvin Klein (old); Belt - St. John}
I wanted to let you all in on what's been going on the past couple of months, especially why my posts have been so spotty.  It seems I've gone and got myself pregnant again ha!  We are very excited and a little bit nervous.  The kids will be 5 and 7 when this baby is born, and quite honestly the thought of starting all over again with sleepless nights and diapers and baby food is a bit terrifying, but at the end of the day our family just didn't feel complete.  I had my triple screen ultrasound yesterday and got my blood results back and so far we seem to have been blessed with a healthy little baby that will come at the end of August.  The kids and Art are especially excited.  Like I said, I'm terrified ;)   

I'm starting to feel semi back to normal so I hope to get back to regular posting soon, hopefully when I return from Blissdom.  Until then, thanks for sticking with me!  I'm actually quite excited to share with you guys a bit more about my pregnancy and how different it's been than the last 2, but I have lots of packing to do.  I leave on a 6 am flight tomorrow out of LAX...I really don't know what I was thinking booking such an early flight.  Until then my friends, take care!  Linking up with Lindsey for WIWW

Friday, February 17, 2012

Grandma Tita's Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

It occurred to me the other day that it's been a while since I've "bared my soul" if you will.  It got to be a somewhat regular occurrence here on the blog for a while.  I was wondering why for the past few months I haven't felt the need to emotionally vomit on here, and I guess simply put, life is good.  Oh sure, I'm still neurotic and worry about many of the same things I used to, but many of the things that were weighing on me have either been resolved or I just don't feel the need to write about them anymore.  I turn to my husband, or my friends and talk about things.  Ask for advice, discuss things that I have questions about.  This blog and all of you guys will always be a great source of encouragement to me, but in this season of my life I, for the most part, feel content, and if I'm not feeling content, I've been praying or talking it through instead of writing I guess.  There are so many wonderful narrative, personal blogs out there that do a much more beautiful job of penning out the everyday that we all struggle with, you don't really need to hear me wax on about the stresses of parenting, or how I still after almost a year, feel torn about my decision to quit my job.

I don't really know why I'm saying all this, and I realize that this is most likely the most random and longest introduction to a recipe post ever.  But I guess I just wanted to let you all know, especially those that have been reading for a long time and have always inspired and encouraged me, that I'm still here, and I'm still me, just a little better adjusted than I was a year ago.  But have no doubt, I'm still a bit crazy, still emotional, still cry at the drop of a hat.  In fact as I write this I'm crying, and as I look at the pictures of me and my mom making enchiladas, the ones my dear beloved Grandma used to make, huge crocodile tears are streaming down my face.

Ah, enough!  Here's the recipe for my Grandma Tita's Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas.  They are quite honestly amazing.  Let me give you all some advice.  If there is someone in your life, a mother or grandma, that has special recipes that she makes on a routine basis, learn to make those recipes.  When they are gone, it will save you, and encourage you.  I promise you that.  Here in Southern California, green chile chicken enchiladas are a dime a dozen.  I can think of at least 6 restaurants within a 5 mile radius that serves them.  But NONE of them taste like these, these taste like home to me.  They taste like Grandma and Mom and my sister and my aunt and all the women on my mom's side of the family that I love.  That's what homemade food can do to you, for you.  So no matter how simple or ordinary or common a loved one's recipe may seem, LEARN IT!  You will never, ever regret it.

Grandma Tita's Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
1 whole 3-4 lb chicken
1 whole onion
1 3 dozen package of corn tortillas
vegetable oil (several tablespoons to fry tortillas in)
2 lbs of shredded cheese
2 32 oz cans of Las Palmas green chile sauce

Start by boiling the chicken in a large pot filled with water, 1 cut up onion, 1 bay leaf and salt and pepper.  Depending on the size of your chicken, boil from 35-45 minutes.  Once cooked, remove from pot and let cool before shredding.  I usually put it in a large bowl in the fridge for an hour to get it nice and cool.  Once cool, shred the chicken into small bite size pieces.  Set shredded chicken aside.
 Heat up 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil on medium heat, and begin to fry your tortillas.  Working with one at a time, set tortilla in oil and let fry for about 15-20 seconds, just enough time to soften the tortillas up, but you do not want them to get hard at all.  Watch out for this.  You want them to just soak up the flavor yet still be pliable enough to fold up.  I usually do 3-4 tortillas, then lay them out in the pan to start rolling, turn off the heat, and go back when done rolling.  A tedious process, but well worth it.  You want the tortillas to still be nice and warm when working with them, which is why you don't fry all the tortillas all at once.  Of course you could always work in an assembly line with another person and make your life a whole hell of a lot easier ;)
Place a small handful of shredded cheese into a tortilla, then some chicken, then a bit more cheese.  Roll up nice and tight, and repeat the process.  Depending on how generous you are with your cheese and chicken, you will get anywhere from 24-32 enchiladas out of one chicken (enough to fill 2 baking pans).
Once you've finished rolling your enchiladas, get your Las Palmas ready.  Now I know what you may be thinking here; canned enchilada sauce, really?  I know, I know, but hear me out.  Have you ever made your own chile sauce?  It's a pain, and this stuff just has the best flavor.  My grandma made most everything from scratch including her tamales and beans, but sauce was just something she didn't mess with.  I don't begrudge her for it one bit ;)
So pour on your sauce.  Between your two pans of enchiladas you will use at least 1.5 cans, and I always like to reserve about 1/2 a can to pour on after they're done cooking if you wish.  Sometimes they get a little dry when baking, so the extra sauce helps to moisten them back up.
Once your sauce is poured on top, smoother them with a bit more shredded cheese and bake them up!  25-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven should be just enough to get them nice and hot and the cheese melted.
Now here's the thing that I've discovered about Mexican food, it never really looks that good in pictures.  Yes, I admit, I am not the best at styling and photographing food, but even in Mexican restaurants the pictures in the menu always just sort of look like a big blob of stuff with cheese smothered on it.  Don't you think?  I'm sure Adam and his partner Matt could make these enchiladas look freaking amazing, like you hear angels sing  when you look at the photo, convincing you that heaven must look, or taste something like a gooey cheesy enchilada.  But me?  Not so much.  All this to say, don't hold this very sad picture against the enchiladas.  Even though they look sort of meh, believe me they are anything but.  As I always suggest, serve alongside Grandma Tita's Spanish Rice, some good ol' frijoles, and of course a margarita or Dos Equis, and you'll be having yourself a rip roaring good time.   

It's the weekend friends, so have a good one.  Make something fattening and gooey and enjoy.  You only live once after all, make it count.  

Monday, February 13, 2012

Playgrounds & Lollipops - Red

{top - vintage from flea market; boyfriend jeans - Gap; flats - Prada; flower shoe clips - ban.do}
Happy Valentine's Day everyone.  My house never got decorated and I bought my husband a box of chocolates from CVS.  It is officially the most unromantic I've ever been for the day of love, but I think everyone in the house will be just fine ;)   The good news though is that I am wearing red; red flowers on my shoes no less!  Have a fun day and no tears, even if you do just get a box of chocolates from CVS. 

Linking up to Mom Trends & Pretty Shiny Sparkly's Bloggers Do It Better Challenge: Red

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pretty Pretty Roundup

I'm working with Sara Jensen on the design and programming of my style blog.  It's been a bit of a learning curve for me moving from Blogger to Wordpress because the layouts and functions are so different.  In my emails of edits I'm sure I sound like a bit of a loon, which of course I am, but designing for a new platform has sort of set my head spinning.  In between emails back and forth, I've been searching the web high and low trying to get a good footing of exactly what I want this new blog to look like.  One thing leads to another and before I know it I'm looking through archives of style blogs, browsing Valentine's Crafts, none of which I will have time to do, and even doing a little shopping - shame on me.  Here's what I've loved in the last few days...
Bri has started a new series titled Make It and this is their second post, a sweet Valentine mini cake that can be made in 20 minutes.  I love her design aesthetic, her talented Photoshop skills and especially her style.  She is 10 years younger than me and her style is completely different than my own, but her style column is a dream to look at nonetheless - it's fun, unpretentious and beautifully shot.  She makes me want to add more vintage to my mix.  
I had the pleasure of meeting Leslie in LA last year at Decor 8's book signing tour.  We sat next to each other at dinner and she is as kind and genuine as they come.  Her photography and styling is impeccable and I pretty much love anything she creates.  Here is a pretty sweet way to wrap a package for your special Valentine.   

Jen hearts Friday - I love her cute round up of love in honor of V Day next week
I've been wanting some ban.do for quite some time and I finally took the plunge when I recevied a 15% off code last week.  I ordered a mini sequin heart that doubles as a brooch and hair clip and a mini pom pom set in blue and pink.  I plan to style it on a plain cream blouse just like the girl above. 
One more little purchase I made were these colorful espadrilles from Mod Cloth.  At $44 I think they'll be the perfect little flat for spring and summer.  I can see wearing them with jean shorts and flowy skirts. 

My love affair with Pugly Pixel continues.  My $5 blog bling membership expired a couple of weeks ago but I think I'll have to sign back up to get these cute vintage label shapes, plus hearts!  Remember, her bling comes with tutorials and helpful tips and is a great way to amp up your Photoshop skills.
Finally, I've been wanting a cute chain link camera strap, but the ones out there range from $60 to over $100.  No can do.  But fieldguided has a great little DIY on her blog using a belt.  Brilliant!

Happy weekend everyone.  We have birthday parties to attend and Valentine's to create.  Taylor wants me to make royal icinig sugar cookies again but I just don't think I have it in me.  We may just be heading to Target for some cheesy princess valentines.  Sue me.  Last year she was the only one in her class to bring handmade cards to her classmates and I sort of felt like a schmuck for spending all that time on them.  I don't even dare to type in "Valentine's for Kids" into Pinterest...

What about you guys?  Are you making your own or are you giving out store bought?  And what about candy.  Do you give it out to classmates? 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Playgrounds & Lollipops - Cut Off

{Tucker for Target blouse, J. Crew Cafe Capris, Michael Kors Watch, Forever 21 Necklace, 
Cents of Style Shoes, Nordstrom Leather Jacket}
Taylor took these photos today.  Head cut off, slightly out of focus, no specific attention to detail, mischievous boys getting in the way of things.  In reviewing them I was about to throw in the towel and call it a lost cause, but as I sat here looking at this I decided that they are rather appropriate considering how this past week has been for me.  Some days I do feel a bit like my head has been cut off and I'm chasing it around.  I'm sure I'm not alone, right my friends? 

Blissdom is two weeks away, I'm in the middle of designing the style blog, I'm working on a big project for another blogger, and somehow my commitments at both kid's schools are at an all time high these next two weeks.  February feels like it's punishing me for being so lazy and carefree in January, indeed.  Happy Wednesday friends. Linking up with Glamamom

Friday, February 3, 2012


Happy Friday friends.  The weekend is here and although we have some house projects we were going to try to squeeze in, realistically I don't think we're going to be doing much else but recovering from a full day at Knott's Berry Farm tomorrow, and being glutinous on Super Bowl Sunday.  It's been a good week, one that I can't really complain about.  Some weeks I feel like being sort of alone, just hunkering down with my brood.  But this week I've been earning for the closeness of friendship and family and have found it when and where I've needed it thank God.

We took a break from the week to visit with our good friends and an impromptu photo shoot took place.  Man I love these kids so much, and I love this age.  So inventive, full of life and happiness and laughter and imagination and creativity.  If we adults could only channel that child-like energy on a constant basis, imagine what we could do?  Of course it's full of drama and fighting and screaming too, but these 15 minute excerpts of pure joy make it all bearable.  The very first photo reminded both Miranda and I of some sort of strange fantasy land Wes Anderson film.  He has a new film coming out.  I didn't know, but Miranda showed me the clip.  Looks brilliant as always.  Speaking of films, we are set to go see the Descendants on Saturday night.  Have you guys seen many of the Oscar contenders?  Sadly we haven't, but at least we're checking this one off.  Happy weekend everyone.  Hoping it's a good one.   


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