Friday, January 31, 2014


My love of bubble baths has been documented on my blog (here), and it's finally gotten chilly enough to indulge these last couple of nights. How gorgeous are these bath time photos? It's a rainy lunch hour here and I'm dreaming of my nightly bubble bath with lavender epsom salts. Bring it.

You know how when you're swamped you gets tons done, but when you have more free time, you slack? That's been me lately. Not as busy as last semester, but with stuff to do, to grade, to prepare, to clean, but instead I've spent the week soaking up this (amazing!) read, watching this (stupid) show, and trying out a couple new recipes including Scallops with Apple Pan Sauce (so good) and Slow Cooker Korean Short Ribs (easy and delicious).

I'm hoping the rain sticks around for the weekend. xo

{Photos via}

Monday, January 27, 2014

Happy National Chocolate Cake Day!

It was just another manic Monday until my colleague informed me today is National Chocolate Cake Day. Oh my gateaux! Who knew?! I'm so unprepared. I don't even have my party hats ready. So I alerted Flavio and I'll be stopping at Twiggs on the way home for a heavenly slab of chocolate cake and two forks to-go. I like to keep a bottle of bubbly in the fridge for impromptu celebrations, so that'll make for a perfect pairing.

Just so I'm not caught off guard again, here are some other National Food Days of note:

February 20 - National Margarita Day
March 3rd - National Mulled Wine Day (mulled wine should not be in March..?)
April - National Grilled Cheese MONTH
May 14 - National Buttermilk Biscuit Day
June 14 - National Strawberry Shortcake Day
July 29 - National Lasagna Day
August 20 - National Bacon Lovers' Day
September 12 - National Chocolate Milkshake Day
October 21 - National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day
November 18 (my birthday) - National Apple Cider Day
December - National Egg Nog MONTH

more food holidays listed here


{Photo via Pinterest}

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Note to self: Ask good questions.

A friend sent me this article on The Questions That Will Save Your Relationships and I don't want to forget the message: Ask the right questions, get the right answers. As the author writes, "Love is specific, I think. It's an art. The more attention and time you give your questions, the more beautiful the answers become." Love.

{Banner photo via}

Friday, January 24, 2014

Guiri Sleeps Upside Down

It's been a great week. The first few days of classes are always so exciting, I enjoyed a teacher-friends' happy hour at Polite Provisions (my fave), and we had a fun dinner last night with our lively friend visiting from Norway. And it's Friday. Woot!

What are you up to this weekend? We're taking a cue from Guiri and chilling out. We'll be hanging with our Norwegian visitor this evening and hitting up a party at our gym tomorrow night, but other than that I'm hoping to relax with some baking, snuggles under a blanket with this book, and time outside in the sun.

Wishing you a weekend so relaxing it's upside down. x

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Weekending, briefly

I'm back to a very busy first week of school, all is going well and I'm feeling some good energy from my classes. Some quick notes on the weekend before I forget (is it already Wednesday?!)...

Friday night our friend treated us to "Ballroom With A Twist" at the Symphony (pays to know people in high places:). Lots of salsa, samba, fun music and a crazy amount of talent. We even got to go to an after party with the stars. Super fun night!

Other weekend highlights included delicious breakfast at Snooze with our friend visiting from out of town, multiple evenings at the dog park - which has sort of become the center of our social world, some cooking and relaxing, and a trip to the movies to see Her. Have you seen it? The story is beautiful and sad and haunting and has the most gorgeous cinematography I think I've ever seen. I was worried it might be too sci-fi for me but I loved it and think this NYTimes review is spot on.

No pics from me, so I'll leave you with the dusty, dreamy beauty of Her.

Monday, January 20, 2014


Today is my one year blogiversary. Yay!

Let's celebrate with a coconut cupcake.

I started this blog with an open mind and no real agenda and it's turned out to be more fun than I imagined. Every week, my blog inspires me to take more photos, reminds me to pay attention to the little things, and nudges me to think, explore, and appreciate. It's been a fun year and honestly, I think I'm better for it.

I'm actually pretty shy about telling others about my blog, so my goal for this year is to get over that insecurity and start sharing this space more, mainly by reaching out to other blogs I love.

Thank you so much for following along. I'm not sure how many people are currently reading and I want to encourage reader comments (sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself), so to get to know you better and as a token of my appreciation, I'd love to send out a couple of small packages. If you leave a comment below*, I might send you a little surprise in the mail. I can't tell you what I'll send (because I don't know yet), but I promise you'll like it. :)

PS: *You'd have to be okay with giving me your first name and address. I promise I won't share it, and I swear I'm not a creeper.

[Please note: iPhone and iPad users have never been able to comment on my blog. If you are trying to comment from an iPhone or iPad, there are scripting issues and the comment will not be posted. Please try commenting from another browser or device. Thank you!]

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Podcast Love

Every so often, I get temporarily obsessed with one thing or another, and then move on. A couple years ago I was really into all-things Paris, decorating our guest room as a Parisian boudoir. Then I was majorly into soccer - not playing, but watching, and specifically Cristiano Ronaldo. For a while, I was totally fixated on Russian matroyshka nesting dolls and accumulated a large collection that included a Bill Clinton (random!).

But over this long break from work I've gotten a new craze: podcasts. How did I not know about podcasts before?! I don't have a smart phone and I guess I figured you needed one to listen to them, but Flavio showed me how to tune in on our TV and a slow burning flame has emerged. Being home for the last month, podcasts have become my companions - since Guiri doesn't talk. They're heartwarming, inspiring, and informative. Yep, obsessed.

My favorite podcasts are This American Life, RadioLab, Fresh Air, and Elevate Your Energy. Obviously, I'm an NPR geek.

Do you have any podcast suggestions? I'd love to hear. :)

PS: Did you know NPR has Valentines? So nerdy. Love.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sleep Easy

For the most part, I think getting off caffeine has helped me sleep better, and feel less anxious overall. But last night, I fell asleep immediately and then woke up around 2:00 AM, obsessing over random things (my specialty).

Flavio, a champion sleeper, woke up and reminded me to do my visualization - which he knows helps me. When I first started going to acupuncture, I went because I wasn't sleeping well. I tend toward insomnia and don't believe in taking sleeping pills, so I needed some natural help. Heidi, my acupuncturist, taught me the best trick. When you lay down, first count your inhales (3 seconds?), then try to match your inhale counts with your exhales, breathing longer and deeper each time. After some deep breathing, visualize every muscle relaxing, melting into the bed, from your forehead, eyes and mouth, all the way down to the tips of your toes, letting each part sink and relax, one by one.  Finally, set an intention to sleep for the rest of the night, knowing it will heal and repair your body. It worked for me early this morning, thank god. Sweet dreams!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Weekending, Hibernation

I have had a looong winter break and I am itching to get back to work, which is a good thing, right? I feel like I've been in hibernation since the New Year and I am realizing something about myself: I need hibernation, a complete disconnect every now and again. I think we all work differently, and I find that I like to operate at 110% capacity for about 85% of the time, surrounded by people, and then spend the remainder doing absolutely nothing by myself. Flavio seems to operate at a slightly lower intensity all of the time, and thus doesn't need to completely shut down every now and again. I think we get about the same amount of stuff done, so it all evens out.

I've spent most of the last week in hibernation mode. Some people might call it lazy but I'm rebranding it as hibernation. After a crazy semester and busy holiday season and generally being super-efficient for the last four months, I realized I was barely pushing through at the end - there was no more powering through - I was exhausted. And basically, I don't want to be just barely pushing through my life.

So, I am going to pay attention and give myself more permission to take breaks, including on the blog. When I started this blog last year, I had a self-imposed posting schedule and would try to get on here 5 days a week (which let's face it, barely ever happened).  I love writing here, but sometimes I am so tired that I cannot be asked to make decisions, about anything, including blog posts, so I need to allow myself to take sporadic breaks from blogging and from everything. I might lay in bed and read books and watch 3 rom-coms in a row and take a one hour hot bath if that's what's needed. And I refuse to feel guilty about it (see this post on the importance of calm and this one on the busy trap.) And always, after some time in hibernation, I suddenly find myself wanting to blog, cook, hang out with friends, and generally rejoin the living world, ramping back up to my 110% self. That's where I am right now - ramping up and recharged.

Does this seem crazy? I know this might sound like a dysfunctional cycle, but I'm realizing this is how I've always worked, I'm forever on a semester system, so I'm embracing it. Now that I'm all recharged, I'm ready to share my weekend with you, but alas, hibernation does not make for great posting. Here are the bits that I do have...

We've been mostly Paleo eating since the New Year but took a break Friday night to gorge on El Comal's heavenly Mexican food.

Saturday we did chores, went out to lunch, hit up the dog park, and came home for wine and cheese paired with the movie The Guilt Trip. People, Barbara Streisand in that movie IS my mother in law. It was so hilarious to us, only because we can relate so closely. Haha!
{Saturday night movie}
Sunday morning we cooked up a storm, went for a long family walk, and then Flavio went to a bar with his friend to watch the Charger's game, while Guiri and I snuggled on the couch to read books. I've been a gluttonous reader over this holiday break. In case you're looking for a few good reads, I loved The Dinner, The Tender Bar and A Spot of Bother. All three about families, but all three very different from the others and each very good.

It's a sunny Monday morning, I made us a paleo pancake breakfast, and now I'm off to walk Guiri in this unseasonably warm weather. No polar vortex for The Whale's Vagina. I hope you have a great day. xo
{sunny Monday morning}

Friday, January 10, 2014

Happy Friday!

I've started this post three different times, on three different days. Turns out, the third time is not a charm as I still haven't figured out what to write about, or how to start. Sometimes I am a fount of blogging ideas, but not this week (I blame my lack of caffeine), so I'm going take a little more time away from the blog (back Monday?) and hope some ideas come to me.

In the meantime, I hope your weekend involves some wintry frolicking! xo

[Photo: Vintage National Geographic spotted on Pinterest]

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


I'm not back in the classroom yet but since my hard drive got wiped out, I've been sifting through all my documents in an effort to re-create soft copies (backed up!), slowly piecing my classes back together. This afternoon I stumbled upon a worksheet that highlights this video, an animated short I showed my classes when we were talking about the difference between empathy and sympathy. It's an important lesson about not getting stuck in the sympathy trap, not trying to "silver line" everything for someone who is hurting, but instead being vulnerable enough to connect with something in yourself that knows their feeling. It's just 3 minutes and is funny, moving, and totally worth watching.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Morning Snuggles

Warning: this photo of me is hideous!

Haha! But Guiri doesn't seem to mind me all red and sweaty when we come home from the gym to snuggle her. One of my favorite parts of each day is our morning (and evening) snuggles. The three of us pile in bed, Guiri rolls over on her back and gets her tummy rubbed, and Flavio and I give her kisses and pets while we chat about plans for the day ahead or at night, about life in general. It's quiet, sweet time with my husband and our first-born. ;)

 PS: 23 Signs Your Pet Is Actually Your First-Born Child (guilty, guilty, guilty.)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Cold Turkey

I gave up coffee on New Year's Eve - not intentionally, I just couldn't keep anything down - and decided to be true to my resolution to drink less caffeine and go ahead with an experiment in giving it up longterm. Flavio sweetly went cold turkey with me and while we've now passed the headaches and fatigue (thank god), I am really mourning the loss of my morning cups of joe. The smell, the taste, the sound as it brews and percolates... sigh. Sunday morning is just not the same.

{decaf vanilla tea, Chris' heavenly pumpkin roll}

Those who've been reading over the last year might know I have trouble with anxiety. According to my acupuncturist, my caffeine intake exacerbates it and also messes with my adrenals (whatever that means). So in an effort to see if less caffeine equals less worry, I've switched over to this decaf tea in the mornings which is a nice coffee substitute since it can handle milk.

I'm still deciding whether I can do the occasional cup of coffee as a treat, even though I know I am better at abstaining than moderating. But coffee is such a part of my life (!) I'll probably go back to it at some point. For now this is just a break, not a break up.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Margs & Salsa Verde

I am married to a wonderful man. This man can cook. This man is Mexican. This man has taught me to cook some amazing Mexican food. To celebrate all those things, and the fact that it's been 75 degrees here, I decided to bring back Happy Hour at Home with a taste of summer in the winter: strong margaritas and homemade salsa verde. In other words, a fiesta.

Flavio taught me to make salsa and his mom taught him. The legit method is to roast your tomatillos, onions and jalapeno in cast iron, which works great, but is hell on your skillet and horrible to clean up. So, we finally got smart and realized you can roast everything on a foil-lined baking sheet and the whole process is smoke and mess-free. Orale!

Salsa Verde

Measurements here are obviously estimates, but you really can't mess this salsa up. Every time we make it it's slightly different, and that's part of its charm.

About a pound of tomatillos (maybe 7 - 8 total tomatillos, depending on size)
About 1/4 pound pearl onions
1 - 2 spicy jalapeno(s)
1/2 cup packed cilantro
lime juice to taste (about 2 Tbsp.)
Kosher salt
(You can also roast garlic and/or serrano peppers - I just didn't have them on hand)

Preheat broiler.

Pull off and discard tomatillo husks, rinse tomatillos and set aside. (Don't the husks look like little green ghosts? Delightful.) Set one tomatillo aside.

Place tomatillos (except one), jalapeno and onions on baking sheet lined with foil and broil for 5 minutes, or until charred. Flip everything over and broil the other side until charred, about 5 minutes. The tomatillos should be soft. Let everything cool.

Pop the onions out of their skins. Remove jalapeno stem.

In a food processor, combine peeled onions, charred jalapeno, charred tomatillos, any juice on the baking sheet, the reserved uncharred tomatillo, and the cilantro and pulse until it reaches salsa consistency. Stir in lime juice and salt to taste. 

I hope you have a spicy weekend! :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Two Thousand Fourteen

This New Year's Day and the lead up to it was filled with some hilarity, relatively speaking, at least in hindsight...

I came down with a wicked stomach bug! I always pride myself on my iron gut but really, there are no words.. I was completely out of commission - body aches, sweating, headaches, vomiting from early New Year's Eve morning until about now, when I am finally regaining my strength and am able to keep food down. I slept for most of New Year's Eve until Flavio woke me up to feed me chicken soup and to toast the new year with gingerale. It was gnarly.

So today, with some health and clarity, I'm trying to find the meaning in this freakish flu. Here's the lesson I'm taking: The reality is that sometimes you can plan to go to a New Year's party, wear your new dress, drink champagne and feel great, but life may have other plans, and things can get messy, frustrating, painful, and downright disappointing. Regardless, you have to keep rolling through with your chin up and your spirits high, riding life's wave no matter what it brings. That's how I'm moving into 2014. Grateful that this bug is passing, with a reminder of how fragile our health can be, and ready to ride the wave of this new year, no matter what it brings.

{guava centerpiece, from Jan & Gary's tree}

So on to the resolutions, or non-resolutions...

I have mixed feelings on resolutions. While I think goals and self-improvement are a great thing, there's something depressing about ringing in a new year by asking us to change ourselves, when part of me just wants to declare:

Dear self,

You are enough. Keep being you.


So instead of dreading this new year with pledges of more vegetables and pounds lost, I am embracing 2014 with a list that reminds me to live mindfully, celebrate life's little moments, and to rejoice in self-care. Here are some of the small things I want to pay attention to this year:

:: Take day trips

:: Light candles with dinner

:: Enjoy more mystery dates

:: Drink more herbal tea, less coffee

:: Spend more time with my parents

:: Daydream, relax, breathe, play more and worry less

:: Purchase all things mindfully and do another financial fast

:: Stay in the present, noticing and celebrating and being extremely grateful for every day of 2014, even if it includes stomach viruses, and whatnot.

I love the quiet, the organizing, the cleansing of January, with a new year stretched out before us all shiny and hopeful. I can't help but feel abuzz with the promise of 2014. Happy, healthy New Year, friends! xo