Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Saturdays in Santa Monica

Easy and breezy. It's on a warm Saturday mid-winter, when crowds die down and the sun is still out that I really stop and realize how much I love this town. Ocean air in the hair, don't care! I feel like LA can get a bad rap, with it's traffic and entertainment scene, but really this place is pretty great. 

While cruising around Ocean ave, we popped into the newly renovated, incredibly designed lounge  'The Bungalow", at the Fairmont Hotel. Oh my! How did it take me this long to check that place out? California low-key, relaxed charm. I need a reason to throw a work event there, just too cool of a space.

And as you can see baby boy is growing, and this belly is popping! These last couple weeks I have had some renewed energy, and after being sick the last 22 weeks, I welcomed the energy with open arms.  Hello world! Now at 24 weeks, ready to get on the (much needed) babymoon so soon.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Baby BOY

First things first when it comes to updates, let's start with the most important.... We're having a BOY!

It's a funny thing the games your emotions (hormones?) play on you. I initially loved the idea of having a boy first. Although, once I announced our pregnancy so many friends and family had so positively predicted the baby was going to be a girl, that they began to convince me. I did a flip-flop, that when we cut our gender reveal cake and learned it was a boy... I was a little caught guard. (Maybe there was some insecurity in there as well.  I mostly grew up with sisters, and I know girl things, what kinds of things do you do with boys? Will I know how to raise a boy?)

My friend once said, that no matter what the sex is, you sometimes mourn the loss realizing it's not the other sex. The unsure thoughts/insecurities lasted a good 5 minutes and then I quickly became obsessed with the fact that I am having a boy and now couldn't think of it any other way.  Say hello trucks/cars, adventure, surf trips and mama's boys! It doesn't hurt to think about how much boy's love their moms and for the sickness and uncomfortability this pregnancy has brought so far...I could use the sweet love from my boy ;)  Of course, no matter the gender, I feel so much gratitude and honor to be carrying a healthy baby inside me. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Cooking for the Holidays

Farro Salad w/ Roasted Vegetables (my favorite of the night)

Lemon Blueberry Pudding Cakes
Roasted Peruvian Chicken

Butternut Squash Soup and Honey Whole Wheat Loaf (right out of the oven) 

Last week, I was able to attend an intimate cooking class from the talented, Jenny Evans. It was perfect timing for the holidays for me to brush up on my (much needed) cooking skills. The menu was perfection, and everything turned out beautifully. I loved attending the class, because I got to know the ins and outs from the expert, and secrets of the trade along the way.  All the tips and tricks to cut/manage time and enhance flavor. My personal favorite; getting Jenny's stamp of approval for buying Trade Joe's pre-cut veggies. As Jenny put, "Save the hassle. A great way to save time and money" Well, count me in. I also loved hearing that she buys most of her gourmet recipe list from Trader Joe's (including the whole chicken). TJ in my opinion, is the easiest (and most affordable). Done and Done!

Along with a top notch menu that you can check out here and get the dessert recipe here, It was so nice to catch up with so many old and new faces at the holiday dinner party. Can't complain when being surrounded by a dinner table full of talented and inspiring ladies, feasting on a gourmet dinner, and topping it off with the perfect holiday setting.  

A big thank you to Jenny, for being the hostess with the mostess! Can't wait to take another class, and build on these skills (cooking + entertaining). Thinking next time, I might take my mom - and make it a mother-daughter event!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


We're Pregnant! 

Baby Smith coming early June. We couldn't be more excited to be growing our family in the New Year. We feel so lucky to be this babe's parents.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tis' the season of Green

Minimalism is the Motto for this Scandinavian-Inspired Wreath Display


 Oversized Wreath

Different Textured Wreaths Bunched Together 

 Initial Wreath (Love any excuse to monogram)

Fern Leaf Wreath

I love a beautiful wreath in or out of the home and especially during the holidays. Tis' the season! I also love some of these simple, yet non-traditional spins on the Christmas wreath; using fern, citrus succulent or olive branch to give the look a new, fresh texture.

Oh Happy Day has paved the way, to make your own Holiday wreath and I have gathered some more inspiration on braving the task, here!

Monday, November 25, 2013

When in Turkey...

 Galata Tower 
Inside Hagia Sophia


Blue Mosque

Spice Market

Pistachio apricot were my fave.

A lot of charm with a little grit, cobblestone streets everywhere
In realizing the Grand Bazaar needs a post of its own, helped motivate me and feel less overwhelmed to jump into this post on sharing turkey and my love for Instanbul.

Although I always love a good low-key vacay, who doesn’t? Can’t go wrong in Hawaii. I really thrive off of trips. A trip to me, is very different than a vacation. A trip is where you push yourself out of that comfort zone and grow.  At times eye opening and possibly challenging, not necessarily relaxing, but always more rewarding. It’s when you really get out of your world to see someone else’s. This is what I loved so much about Instanbul - the ultimate trip. Not just because it was my first experience in an Islamic country (besides Malaysia for 24 hours), it was everything from the art, architecture, food, shopping, traditions, language and the people, were a rich and exotic melting pot that rocked my senses (in the best way).

Despite a new world, to me Turkey feels very comfortable, very liveable, and very safe. (Also the men were very respectful of women. No cat-calls, grabs or stare downs - important when traveling with girlfriends). The first two nights we stayed with friends living on the Asia side, and the last two nights we stayed at this Hotel on the Europe side, (think The Standard Hotel of Instanbul). The hotel was cheeky, modern, clean and right in the heart of new instanbul, aka Beyo─člu. Old town and the Sultanahmet was walking distance from our hotel (over a bridge about a 20 min walk). We did a ton of walking and after 3-4 days in the city, I was feeling pretty confident with our map, and really felt like I had my bearings down.

 Our last day there, time was ticking so my friend Jenna and I actually split up to do our own things in the Sultanamet. She headed to the Topkapi palace, and I headed to the Turkish Bath - a must for me, so glad I didn't miss it. My one regret (besides not buying more at the Grand Bazaar), was not getting photos inside the gorgeous sultan's tomb where they have the Turkish bath experience. It was like nothing I had seen before, but since women are not fully dressed you obviously can't take photos inside. They split the men and woman up into different tombs. Then to get to the baths, I walked into a narrow arched pathway and behind a door was a pristine, white, granite-filled room. Every corner sparkling white stone - from the ceiling, to the flooring, the walls and the stairway. All gleaming white with ornate gold fixtures. The Turkish bath sink in the middle covered in luxe gold. Women lounging around the hot-air filled room, rubbing muds, oils, and Turkish bath salts on themselves. Then you head to another gorgeously ornate room for your Turkish massage in your Turkish bath towel - was I in heaven? I thought so. The whole experience was not as cheap as Thailand, but not as expensive as the states. I paid 80 Euro for a 90 min experience, although I was told you can find them around the city for a third of the price. This one was just recommended to me as the best and the cleanest and also location wise the most convenient - so I went for it and so glad I did.

*Can't thank all you guys enough for your incredible recommendations on Istanbul!I soaked up all your advice and it really helped me filter in on the must-see's and must-do's with such limited time. Thank you, thank you!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Back in America

Back from my time abroad - a little mix of business (Amsterdam) and pleasure (Istanbul). It was two weeks in Europe, my longest time away from Joel since being married. I warned him it was going to feel really long and might drag on for him ;) He acted so sure he would be fine on his own. Yet, I got an email a week in titled "I think 4 days is my max..." What do you know the boy missed me! 

I'm currently feeling the full effects of jet lag, and this time I'm trying not to take my usual niquil to help me sleep. So here I am, 5am style catching up on the blog! I'm excited to do a full deep dive into sharing each country, especially Turkey being a new country and culture for me. I was blown away. The city of Istanbul beyond exceeded my expectations. And so surprised at how safe I felt the entire time (some warned me otherwise). I'm already regretting not buying more (surprise surprise), but I told Joel this just means we have to go back! I mean we really have to!
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