Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Friendship Courting

When I was younger I never realized how much energy goes into creating a friendship. Early in life the opportunities to create new friendships are abundant. School, sports and other activities constantly push kids and young adults into new relationships and opportunities to create a friendship. College is like a friend frenzy with dorm life, fraternity parties and class study groups. 

Later in life, finding new friendships is hard. Kids open the door sometimes but finding a connection with a mom takes time. Between sippy cups, screaming toddlers and endless interruptions finding real common ground is basically impossible. It takes spark. I swear it is like dating.

One of my most successful adult life friends is Stacie. We met in the street. She was walking with her baby boy and I was chasing Hadley around. I'm not even sure where Harrison was. Maybe in my belly? Maybe napping? Regardless, we had a fleeting exchange in the street and exchanged phone numbers. I gave her my number and took hers. Secretly I thought it would be like any other park phone number exchange, a dead end. Sure, they were all nice moms before and I would have loved to see them and their kids again but the reality is none of those park phone number exchanges turned into anything.

With Stacie it was different. That night she did something bold. She asked me to be her friend on Facebook. Whoa! Now this is a woman who is serious about becoming friends. I accepted because I was serious too. I loved the idea of raising kids together with a like minded friend who had kids the same age. I really yearned for that relationship. But a Facebook friend request from a basic stranger was a pretty bold move. Go Stacie!

Years later we have managed wine nights to actually talk with one another. Our husbands clicked right away and the kids are all within a year of one another. Sometimes we happen to see each other at the donut shop and other times we plan a vacation together. The families just work together and it is awesome!

So the challenge for today... if you are interested in meeting a new adult life friend, be BOLD. Take the extra step like Stacie did: Facebook, avocado delivery, cul-de-sac wine invitation.... make the effort and maybe it will be just the spark a friendship needs! Lesson learned: Life=long friendships don't start with dead-end phone number exchanges.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fall - Scarfs are BACK!

Okay, so let me just be clear I have no idea what the runways say are back for Fall. I just know I LOVE scarfs. A friend shared this awesome video with a million ways to wear a scarf. Just had to pass on.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Rain Lover

Apparently there is a word for people like me. 

Pluviophile: (n) a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days 

Found on We Heart It
Rain drops are like magic and serenity all wrapped together. Sunshine and snow are lovely too but rain is what I crave. When I was little, my mom used to encourage me to dance in the rain and talk about how it was kisses being showered down from the heavens. We used to watch it drip on the windows in the car. She would share how she was waiting to use the windsheild wipers as long as possible. She cultivated a love of rain in me. At my core. 

I am begging the rain gods for a rainy day. A rainy day, a rainy night are my favorite. Snuggles. Warm fire and cozy jammies. Probably my all time favorite. Thanks Mom. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Part 1: Mentoring - Purpose

The industry I work in is dominated by men. This isn't a bad thing, it is just the reality. The industry and the major firms in the market have all tried to evolve this fact but it is going to take more time. 

Super cool definition and image by United Purpose

So throughout my career I have actively sought out mentoring relationships. Some have happened very naturally with senior partners who took the time to show interest in my professional growth and development. Others, I have had to seek, stalk and continually build. Those ones take a lot more energy but are still fruitful. In my 10+ years at my firm, I have had a few really solid mentors and two of them are women. Considering 93% of my peers in San Diego are men, I am very lucky to have any female mentors. 

As I progress in my career, I still need coaching and guidance. Recently I enrolled in an online mentorship program. With hesitation but also with hope. The program is more general about key milestones in any solid career and typical challenges women have in pursuing a corporate career. It isn't specific to what I do, but I think that actually might be a positive thing. So for the next few weeks I am going to be doing this online program and sharing my major takeaways from the experience. 

The first week's lesson is all about Purpose. There were some specific videos and exercises to cover including values, self awareness and support system. 

Defining personal values and seeing how they align or don't align with the corporate values. This exercise has been really positive. We all know we have values and beliefs at our core but taking the time to write them down, reflect and apply those values to how I spend my time was very beneficial. 

The program also talks about this concept of self awareness and being honest with yourself and others about if we are living the life we want to. Hmmm. Now that one slowed me down a bit. We all have a myriad of inspirations, motivations and selfish ways we want to live our life. The key is to identify those very personal motivations and incorporate them in an authentic way into our career. Fascinating. After some time, I see I have naturally done some of this, but there is a lot more I can do to achieve purpose professionally while still satisfying my personal purpose. 

The component about creating a support system seems so obvious yet absolutely 
necessary. That support system can't just be a list of people who help you, it has to all tie back into your purpose. That link is what makes it all click. 

I am looking forward to week 2. 

Happy Monday!!! 

Friday, September 19, 2014

When the day chases me...

Why do some days just chase me?

No viable credit found via Insta.

Is it because of that old saying: Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed? Well, maybe. Maybe because it has been freak'n HOT. Hot, hot and hotter.

But it's true, sometimes I just can't catch a break regardless of the weather. Instead of the morning being filled with cuddles and reading books in bed it starts with kids fighting over who is laying next to me. I'm sure I should be thankful they want to be that close...

The day becomes a full sprint dash trying to escape/catch up/survive when it starts with that negative energy. I try to slow down, pause and reflect and redirect the energy forward. To let that morning go. To move on and embrace what is now and ahead. Sometimes that works, but sometimes it just doesn't and I struggle.

I guess some days you just have to keep running.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

One-on-One with Hadley

Mike took Harrison and Hannah up to San Francisco last week for a couple days so I had the opportunity to be one-on-one with Hadley. What a joy. 

It was in those moments just the two of us, doing ordinary things, I could see the amazing little girl she has transformed into. Most the time life is flying by so quickly I get caught up. Too busy to see it. Sad really. But this unique opportunity to enjoy her came and I did just that, I enjoyed her. 

I asked her what she wanted to do and she rattled off about 35 little things she wanted to do with me. I kind of expected her to say something like Sea World, the Zoo or Disneyland. Instead, she said she wanted to draw, shop for food, roller skate, read books, play, decorate for the baby (meaning a baby shower I was hosting), go to the library and the list went on and on. How sweet. 

So we did just that. A million little things. On our own time with no one else interrupting or setting our agenda. We just floated along. She kept track of our list at the grocery store and loved it. She helped me pick out pretty flowers and arrange them. We played. We read. We cuddled. 

Total joy. 

I am so grateful for this mini glimpse into this amazing little girl who is my daughter. I am so grateful I had the chance to enjoy her. To slow down and BE with her. I am proud of the person she is. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Inspiration: Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn is a woman I have always adored but recently I have come to admire her. Not only was she a classic and timeless beauty, she quietly lived a life behind the camera devoted to others. Ms. Hepburn was a fearless advocate against childhood hunger and a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. She was recognized with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her advocacy work. 

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from this amazing woman.  

"The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, 
because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides."

“People, even more than things, 
have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; 
never throw out anyone.” 

“I don’t take my life seriously, but I do take what I do – in my life – seriously.” 

“It’s that wonderful old-fashioned idea that others come first and you come second. 
This was the whole ethics by which I was brought up. 
Others matter more than you do, so ‘don’t fuss, dear, get on with it.’” 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What would you do if you weren't afraid?

Isn't that question great? It always makes me think. 

Found this at

Here are some of my ideas:

PS - Why am I afraid of running. That is just silly talk. As Nike says... Just Do It! So... I just signed up for a 5K. Kaboom. I am a runner! Anyone want to run with me? 

Here are the details... 

  • Where: Golden Gate Park 
  • How Long: 5K, or 3 mile walk or kiddo gobbler chase 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Time Contamination

For a long while, I have been slowly reading this book Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time

One concept that really rings true to me is this concept of “time contamination.” So true in my world. No matter what I am doing, even the spa with girlfriends, I am still actively engaged with my head on all the stuff I need to do. Work deals and intricacies that take time to think through, grocery lists, errands for the upcoming baby shower, must do items before the board meeting, etc. All mixed in.

During my normal work day, my focus is very compartmentalized.  My task lists are in the same place but separated. This is how I can actually function in so many roles. I must have specific time dedicated to specific types of tasks. This context helps me be the most productive. It takes organization and dedication but it works for me.

The challenge is my leisure time. That time that is supposed to be for me, to decompress, to actually relax gets crowded. Contaminated. I have tried lists, brain dumps, quiet breathing, etc. No luck. My mind still swims on. Loaded with sh*t from the week or the upcoming week.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rad Bag Organizer

This Life in Play bag organizer looks like the jackpot. It fits into all sorts of bags including my most recent wish list purchase. So cool. I love how they show you how to use it for a diaper bag, a work bag (aka a Dad Bag) and a pool bag. Multi-purpose and can fit in multiple bag styles depending on the occasion. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kindergarten: Day 1 Down; Day 2 Reality

Yesterday was Hadley's first day of Kindergarten and it went great. Mike and I walked her down to school, spent some time in her classroom and said our good byes. She was so happy and excited to be there. I also had the opportunity to pick her up which was AWESOME! I swear, those smiles at the end of the day are better than any other. 

Today was Day 2. Mike and I carpooled to work so we both got to drop her off. This was the strangest thing. Day 1 had so much excitement, preparation and special time. Today was very strange. Our sweet little girl hopped out of the car, put on her backpack and approached the gate. Mike got out to give her a hug which was adorable. I stayed in the car and observed. Wow. This is happening. This is real. She is a big girl. Now. Not tomorrow. Now. 

Mike got back in the car and we both watched Hadley. She looked back at me and asked if I would pick her up again. I reminded her Yara would be there this afternoon with baby Hannah and Harrison. She slowly replied "Okay." Then she went on to ask "What about tomorrow? Can you drop me off and pick me up?" Hmmm. I looked at her for a moment, took it in and replied, "We'll talk about it tonight. Have a great day at school." It took all I had in me to hold back the tears. I wish I could. I wish I could pick her up from school every day. I love that end of day smile. 

As we pulled away from the curb, Hadley walked down the stairs and Mike asked me "Should we circle the block?" and I grinned. He was having his Daddy moment too. He was reflecting on this Day 2 milestone in his own way. He wanted to make sure she did okay. So we did just that, we circled the block and when we got back to the gate, our sweet baby girl had hung her backpack on the hook and was approaching a group of little girls. 

There it is. She is off. She is a Kindergartner. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Botox or no Botox?

Vanity is everywhere. 

Go Be Lovely Candle can be found at Anthropologie.
My scent pick is the Coconut Milk Mango. 

Southern California is particularly vain. I grew up here so in a way I am used to it. An ordinary morning at the grocery store you are bound to see a woman with all of the following enhancements:
  • Beautiful perfectly shaped and sized breasts
  • Long eyelash extensions
  • Smooth forehead
  • Plump lips
  • Manicured nails
  • Tan skin
  • Shaped brows 
  • Highlighted hair
  • Hairless bikini area
  • The list goes on…

Physical appearance is valued very highly. Not only do people spend a lot of money improving their appearance they also work-out a lot and eat healthy. Single ladies have some serious competition when it comes to finding a man! I think I was really lucky to meet Mike when I was 23. Looking good then was much easier (and cheaper!) than it is today.

Years later I try to keep my vanity in check. Looking 23 again sounds really great in theory but in practice it isn't what I want to spend time or money on. So far, I have avoided most of the beauty enhancements available. My hair is turning grey and I am letting it be. I shared more about that here.  I do get my nails done pretty often and really enjoy the time relaxing and the pretty results. 

One beauty enhancement I really do want to do is Botox. My forehead lines and brow lines are already deep and I am young. In college, my roommates would post Botox ads on my bulletin board. Rude! My face lines in that area started early from the way I use my facial muscles. The way I express myself. It is something that just happens. Botox seems like such an easy thing to do with limited risk. The results are instant and the effect lasts long enough, but not forever.

I am very tempted. Then I think why would I risk putting any sort of foreign substance into my head? Into my face? Into the area where my brain is? Scary! For vanity. Botox doesn't appear to be a smart choice.

Yet, even with that logical evaluation of the situation, I still want Botox. I would love a smooth forehead.  Maybe if I do it now, I won’t need to do it later? Maybe I can prevent these lines from getting worse? I shared this with Mike recently and he just sort of rolled his eyes at me and was like “Really?”

Many women I know do this and don’t tell their husbands. I’m not sure if the husbands see the change and just ignore it and don’t say anything or if they don’t even see it. I wonder. This is something I couldn't do without talking to Mike about. Mike isn't adamantly against it but I think he sees it as a waste of money and silly vanity.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Sick Men

Why are men such babies when they are sick? Is it because they yearn to be taken care of. Is this the real opportunity for them to show vulnerability in a safe way? I have always wondered why men generally really are babies when they are sick.

Jonathan Alder Lacquer Tissue Box - Simple is so good! 

It isn’t just my hubby. I have noticed this with my dad, coworkers, clients and the average man you bump into. When a man is sick, they just sort of seek dotting. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Kinder Orientation

Today was Hadley's kindergarten orientation and it was awesome! She is beaming with excitement. She doesn't have any best buddies in her class but that's okay. In fact, I think that is best. She is social, creative and ready to learn. Learning to make new friendships will be good for her. 

Mike and I both got to attend the orientation to meet her teacher, Mrs. B. She is a joy. I have a feeling this year will really propel Hadley in new wonderful directions. 

xoxo my sweet baby girl is growing up. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Someday Wish List

For years I have kept a note on my phone with a "Someday Wish List." The list is reserved for special things I would love to have some day. The list isn't too long, but the items are completely unnecessary or hard to find. When Mike and I were in Portland (no sales tax in Portland, big plus!), I bought the first item off the list. A Louis Vuitton bag. Not, just any bag, the specific bag I have coveted for years. 

It sounds simple, right? Wish list. Save up. Go to store and purchase item. 

Well, if you are like me, when you walk in to Louis Vuitton with enough money and permission to purchase a fancy handbag, it is impossible to just buy the one you came for. You must explore! 

The first bag I saw when I walked in was this lovely cream and navy monogram bag with a gorgeous clasp. The clasp is what caught my eye. I love this bag. It is beautiful, a great size without being too big and a simple shape. The lining feels good too. Love it. 

Apparently difficult to find, because is it impossible to find on the LV website. 
Next stop was a costumer service person who pulled out the specific bag on my wish list. I explored it in detail. Mike watched me with curiosity. Then he asked all sorts of questions I hadn't anticipated. Pretty cute. He was shocked at the price of course. Then we he found it wasn't leather he had a moment. 
Neverfull GM Monogram

While we were talking about the new bag I spotted this one. Nice. Love the substantial handle. It is big but not as wide as the Neverfull which is actually a plus. Definitely a great option. 
Artsy MM Monogram
After about an hour of exploring, I bought the bag I came for. The Neverfull is just classic. I love the iconic monogram. I chose the fuchsia lining for a bit of color. If the first bag would have come in the classic monogram, I would have been even more tempted to stray from the wish list. But in the end, I would have still wanted this bad boy. I used it for the first time on Friday and loved it! 

My LV. 
If anything ever had dual purpose, it is this bag. Just this weekend I used it for a lunch and spa day with women who work in my industry and a pool party with my family. Score! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A New Pursuit: Optimism

I really respect optimistic people. I have never been one of them. Since I can remember, I have always been looking multiple steps ahead to prepare for the worst. 


Awesome card from an awesome card shop remarkdesigns on Etsy. 

Generally, life has treated me pretty well. In fact, life has always turned out pretty great. I'm not trying to brag here. I am just sharing about a recent self exploration. And it kind of starts out this way. So if you read on, know this is an exercise for me. Not a brag session. 

In the past, I have always gotten what I wanted. Well, maybe not every single thing... but anything important. I got into a great college. Graduated in four years while working. A great job. A wonderful husband. Nice car. Traveled the world. Beautiful home. One, then two, now three amazing kids. All angel babies. All slept through the night before three months old. Sunshine more than gloomy days. All in all, life is pretty rad. 

So why am I always anticipating the worst? Always stressed out? Always ahead instead of present in the now? If it has all worked out in the past, it will work out in the future, right? Or maybe not? 

I think it might be catching up with me. It is time to change. I need to enjoy. If I don't start to enjoy now, when will I? When I am 85? Nope. I want to enjoy life now. 

Perfect example, just yesterday I posted about my stress on Hadley's first day of kindergarten. This big debate in my head: pick up or not to pick up? What??!! Am I crazy? I might just be. Either way, it will still be Hadley's first day of kindergarten. Either way, I will get to be apart of it. Why am I stressed out about it a week in advance. That is the silliest thing. 

The thing is, that is just how my mind has been wired. To project into the future. 

In many ways, I think this foresight and extremely detailed thoughts about the possibilities ahead of me have allowed me to seize opportunities. I have used this pessimistic and cautious outlook on life to help me get what I want. In a way, to manipulate the future. It has worked. But it is exhausting. I am so tired of feeling stressed.

Recently my best friend and I were chatting about this realization. She made a comment that really stuck with me, "You are always a 12." And I replied, "You mean on a scale of 10??!! I am a 12. Always?" and she confirmed. Hmmm. 

So I am working on being more optimistic. Seeing all the good around me. Having gratitude. I hope that doesn't lead to a boring blog... yikes... there i go again. Rewrite: I'll have to find a way to make this interesting for the blog. 

Wish me luck, for your own sake! 


Monday, August 18, 2014

Kindergarten: Big decision for me...

So next week is the big week. Hadley starts kindergarten on Tuesday. Deep breath. I am so excited for her. She is pretty nervous which is so sweet. 

Hadley and one of her best friends, Colette. Adorable.

On the first day of school I am going to walk her to class. We live about 7 minutes away down a little dirt path. One of the reasons we bought our house, was so we could use that little path to walk our kids to school. Tuesday we get to use it for that purpose for the first time. Exciting. 

My big dilemma:  do I pick her up from school? I want to pick her up BADLY. Pick up is one of the things I get jealous of stay-at-home-moms about. That's the fun one! The kids are always so excited to see you. They are ready to share all about their adventures. I rarely get to experience pick up. 

School drop off is always hard. Hadley is bound to be excited to finally be at kindergarten, meet new friends, her teacher and to learn new things but she will also be clinging to me. Asking me to stay longer. It kills me. It kills me every time and pulls at my emotions. I usually start off thinking it is cute. Then I get annoyed. Then I get kind of angry and start thinking "enough already... its time for me to go." I'm sure my therapist would tell me it is that way, because I allow it to be that way. Whatever. It's hard. 

So pick up on the first day of kindergarten seems like it would be the golden ticket. One of those special moments. A day that happens once. Selfishly, I really really really want to be there. I want to see her excitement. Hear all the immediate details of the kids, the classroom, the teacher, everything. But when I think about what is best for the long run, I think establishing her new routine from the get go would be better for Hadley. It might also be better for me. The reality is, I can't do pick up very often. So maybe I should let her first week be the week to set the tone for the reality.

A lot of me says F*ck it. Pick her up. Enjoy it. She will love it. You will love it. These are the moments life are about. But then I hesitate... hmmmm. What to do? 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Portland Adventure aka Foodie Journey

This past weekend, Mike and I went up to Portland for an adventure just the two of us. It was wonderful. If you have ever heard anyone say "You'll just eat your way through that city" they must have been talking about Portland. The food is just incredible. 

Over the two nights and three days in Portland we traveled approximately 55,095 steps. Mike did the math and that equates to about 27.5 miles. Needless to say, we packed in a lot. I'll do my best to summarize the highlights. 

Hotel: The Nines in Downtown 

Perfect location. It is directly across the street from the MAX light rail stop which runs to the airport and many of the main attractions of the city. The hotel is modern, hip and the rooms are nicely decorated. Typical of any city hotel, not totally spacious, but plenty of room for two adults. 

After checking in, our first stop was a well known food cart. They only serve one thing... poached chicken and rice with a spicy ginger dipping sauce. The line tells the story. The food is simple yet crave worthy. a little more about Nong's Khao Man Gai and other great food cards in Portland here

After lunch, we headed straight over the Powell's City of Books. It feels just like that, its own city. The place is an entire city block and they have approximately 1 million books available to purchase. Plus another million books in the process of being evaluated for sale. They have every book you can imagine. Some new and some used. Really cool place to explore, slow down a bit and find something new to tickle your fancy. In my case, I picked up something old, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. The book seller accurately fulfilled my request for a lighthearted easy summer read that is written well. 

Next stop, the bike shop. We went to Pedal Bike Tours and rented bikes to really get out and see Portland the way the locals do, on a bike. 

They gave us a great tip to ride the Sweetwater Trail through the Oaks Bottom Wild Refuge. It was beautiful. We happened to see this fawn on the side of the trail with her mamma just a few feet away. They were happily grazing as we admired. Then we passed by a small lake surrounded by beautiful purple flowers. 

After our bike ride... which ended up being about 5 or 6 miles, we went over to a small little neighborhood on the South East side of the city. There we had a great meal at Ava Gene's. This place is another notable Portland foodie haven. It is called "Italian" but the combinations of flavors used are usual and surprisingly delicious. For example, the waitress suggested a celery salad and said it was her favorite. Really, celery? We came all the way here for celery? Well, let me tell you, that was the best celery I have ever tasted! It was paired with dates, almonds and Parmesan cheese. The dressing must have been some magic maker, because I have no idea what was in it... but it rocked my world. That was just the salad. I would definitely go back if I was a local. Great food. 

I'm sure dessert at Ava Gene's would have been fantastic. But I was told by more than one friend and more than one foodie website a must do is Salt & Straw. Salt & Straw just happens to be right next door to Ava Gene's so we went there. Well, first we waited in line. For a long time. It was worth it. I went back to this ice cream wonderland every day of our trip.  They are known for small batch unique ice cream flavors. They let you try as many as you like before you pick your scoop. Yum. Yum and Yum. 

Day 2 started with food again. Yep. We just kept eating. Mike went to a coffee shop called Heart while I slept in. Then we headed over to Tasty n Alder for brunch. I got a very simple breakfast: eggs, bacon and a biscuit. Let me be clear. That biscuit was the best I have ever tasted. Then they gave me this honey butter that made it even better. If you talk biscuits in Portland, everyone will tell you to go to Pine State Biscuits. I tried those too... good but not like the Tasty n Alder biscuits. The Pine State Biscuits are only really the vehicle to serve their amazing gravy. When we were there, I got the mushroom gravy and it was a good reason to get an okay biscuit. Just my opinion. 

After brunch we rented a car and headed out to see the Columbia Gorge. We went to Multnomah Falls for a hike. The falls have a view deck at the top, about a mile up a lot of switch backs, that is worth the climb. 


After our hike, we rode bikes down to NW 23rd Avenue. This is a charming little street with local and mainstream shopping mixed in. My favorite shop, The Meadows, sold salt, chocolates and bitters. A shop like this could only survive in a city like Portland or on the web. They do remote orders, so if you are a salt lover, check them out.   

My purchases. 

That night we went to Expatriate for cocktails and Beast for dinner. Expatriate was one of Mike's favorites. The passion in this place is alive. The owner is an ex-bartender who now is the DJ. he is also married to the chef at Beast. The bartenders shake cocktails with purpose. The walls are black and the noodle dishes smell delicious. A rainy night in this place would be just right. 

Beast is a culinary prize. Chef Naomi Pomeroy was awarded the James Beard Best Chef Northwest in 2014. She is also a mom of three which is pretty freak'n rad. Beast is a restaurant with a set menu of six courses and wine pairings. You know what you are getting, but you really have no idea what you are getting. Each course heightened my senses. While the food is pretty remarkable, for us, the highlight -- it is all communal dinning. It is so warm to be at a large table with wonderful food, wine and company interested in meeting new people. Definitely a unique and special evening.

Day 3 was intended to be lower key, slower pace. We succeeded. The morning kicked off with a nice long walk to the Portland Farmer's Market at Portland State University.  The market is huge and has a great variety of produce, flowers, people and of course food. We meandered through the market, got light breakfast bites and then we headed to the coffee shop. 

Fresh lavender bundled. 

Mushrooms, all sorts. 

Tomatoes so colorful with a sweet smell.  

The biscuit place with the great gravy. 

The lemon ginger shortbread cookie didn't last until the picture happened. 

After relaxing, reading and stopping at Salt & Straw for the third time, we went to Washington Park. When we got there, everyone was hopping onto a bus to get to the Rose Garden. It was packed to the brim and really was not appealing at all. So we asked, can we walk there? Sure thing. It is a short two mile walk downhill. Perfect. So we walked. We enjoyed the trees. The sunlight sneaking in. Lovely. 

The Rose Garden was lovely too. We both preferred the forest walk but the roses were a nice destination. Many people told us they prefer the Japanese Gardens over the roses, but we just couldn't do it all. Maybe next time. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

New Favorite Blog to Read

I love this blog: What Would Gwyneth Do

I am smitten with the writer Raluca. Her name, just her name intrigues me. Not to mention how she writes. Beautiful. Just beautiful. Lately she has been reflecting on if she should keep going. I think she should. I love reading her words. I admire her. I am interested in learning more. So I just thought I would share my humble adoration for this fellow blogger who has me inspired. A recent piece I enjoyed is called Modern-Day Motherhood, check it out. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Family Fun at the Lake

The lake for our family is easy. We step out onto the sand and play. The kids mingle with other kids.  They wander over to the doc to fish for crawdads, play, dig in the sand and are happy.

This year we tried something new with some great friends. We crashed the Hyatt to roast marshmallows. The Hyatt at Incline Village has two fire pits. One that is right in the mix of the whole bar and restaurant and one that is a bit farther removed from the action. With our crew of kids, the further pit was our plan for the evening. We got the kids all excited about roasting marshmallows. I think I was more excited than anyone else. I LOVE s'mores! They are an all-time favorite of mine. I even buy s'mores ice cream. Mike rolls his eyes at me every time, but I LOVE it.

Anyway, it was time to get our s'mores action on. So I wandered over to scope our spot. To my surprise, the ideal pit was reserved for a corporate event. So we were going to have to roast marshmallows at the bar fire pit. I didn't think this was a big deal at all. I reported back to Mike and our friends. Mike shrugged his shoulders and said “You’ll see.” I was like, I did, I already saw. It isn't perfect, but it is fine. We already told the kids, their excited and so am I. We are going to do this. Tonight. Yep. Tonight. He looked at me and said, “Okay.”

So our crew of four adults and seven kids walked around the Hyatt fence and plopped down at the bar fire-pit. I checked in with the cocktail server for the area and explained the other fire-pit is closed. I asked her “Would it be okay if we roast our marshmallows here?”  and she replied, “Sure.” So I took that as full approval. The other mom who was with me, was looking at me like “Are we really going to do this? Right here? With all these people cocktailing at sunset at the Hyatt bar?” She was clearly not comfortable with my plan.

This is one of those moments where my friends love or hate me. I just do things. I just go for it. I have permission. I have all my stuff to do this. I have told my kids we are doing this. So we are going to do it. 

We did. It was delicious. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Anniversary Reflection: 8 years and counting

8 years or 10 years depending on how you look at it.

Anniversary lattes. 

Many of you may know the story of how Mikey and I met. It was pretty much a whirlwind of excitement and childish joy. We both fell fast and hard. Both of us broke other hearts to be together. Seven months later we were engaged. It shocked me. He proposed on next to the cliffs on the beach on a rainy night. Unexpected. Perfect. Romantic. Very romantic by Mikey standards. He did good.

Fast forward and we have been married 8 years as of July 22nd. Dating 10 years. In that time, we have lived in three homes and made three amazing kids. We have also traveled the world, worked hard at the office and with friendships. We may not have it all just right, but we strive to. We strive to be people first. Spouses second. And parents third. I wrote more about this philosophy here. Many disagree with that philosophy but so far it still serves us.

We celebrated our wedding anniversary with a date night out in Tahoe. These date nights aren't rare, but still cherished. On an anniversary night there is this inherent pressure to make it special. I wish that weren't the case. Mike has always hated “dates.” So early in our relationship, I would just say “Let’s go out dinner” or “Wanna grab a bite to eat” or some other very relaxed way of lets go out just the two of us, for food and company aka a date. This small change in the way I requested a “date” made a big difference and the evening much more successful. I have always wondered why this was the case. In the end, it really doesn't matter why, it matters that I figured out a small piece to the puzzle for a good evening, a good life. Keep it relaxed.

By the way, I am the furthest thing from relaxed. I am high strung. I am realizing how high strung I am more and more every day. Apparently, my normal speed is a 12. I think the scale is supposed to be a 10. Ooops.

Back on track here. Mike has learned about me too.  I’m not sure what tricks he has come up with to help us make each and every day better, but I know he must have his too.

The secret to marriage is not so simple. Anyone you ask will give you different answers. It is fascinating to ask this question to all types of people. Divorced people seem to have the strongest opinions on the matter. People married over 50 years tend to answer in a silly joking manor, rarely offering an actual tip. People in between usually rattle off a list or say something contrived like “A happy wife is a happy home.” Well what exactly does that mean? How do you keep a wife happy? For all the women I know, we are all pretty complex creatures. I wish men luck with that one.

I don’t have any wise words on the secret to a successful marriage. My reflection on the topic is more about celebrating the milestones. Enjoying the day together. Having excitement for the future together.

This week, Mikey and I are going to Portland for a mini vacation, just us. Our plan isn’t much. Lots of walking around the city. Good food. Sleeping in. Maybe a bike ride to one of Mike's favorite brewery. Exploring together. The good life.

Further in the future, we are thinking about a trip to Paris. Maybe for our 10 year wedding anniversary. A romantic place to explore. Just us. That sounds pretty wonderful. Definitely a day I would look forward to. Mike seems to be on board… exciting!