while i was snapping...

I've been given a hard time lately for a dearth of Instagram photos. I used to post at least once a day, but in recent months I've waned. Mostly, my aging phone has been to blame. Every picture I took was blurry and not Instagram-able. But, also, I must admit, Snapchat has been dominating my social media time. I really like Snapchat. It's fun. And quick. However, Snaps do indeed disappear unless manually saved, so I best post some pictures on this here blog lest we forget everything we've been up to lately. Here's a roundup of pictures from the past month or so!

IMG_3352^^spring has been coming and going, but i think the nice weather is finally here to stay!^^

IMG_2775^^biker cam! we've been biking a lot more, but the two kids are pretty heavy in the trailer, so when the whole family bikes, we put one of them on the back of dan's bike.^^

IMG_3405^^one of those bad shots i referenced from a roller-skating birthday party!^^

IMG_2825^^flowers on our cherry tree!^^





IMG_3439^^that montage is called: "eating out with kids is fun..."^^

DSC01173^^so much magna tile fun with grandpa!^^


IMG_2848^^yay for backyard time!^^IMG_2891^^celebrating A&J's birthday!^^

DSC01238-001^^girls' spa day in boulder for our dear friend sara's baby sprinkle!^^

IMG_2896^^mother's day lunch at taste of thailand. SOOOOO GOOD!^^

IMG_2899^^her "celebration of learning" at school. she was so excited to show us what they'd been working on but mostly she was thrilled to "be in charge" all night. ;)^^

IMG_3520^^pizza delivery race at her school's field day!^^

wish list + wise purchases

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

(Actually that was in October when we had friends visiting and went hiking above the snow line. But still. It's currently snowy in Denver. Promise.)

Christmas is about so many things: Making memories with my family. Remembering memories of past holidays. Hugging. Eating. Eggnog. Spinach Balls. Joy. Surprise. LOVE.

But it's a little bit about gifts too. Try as I might (and honestly I'm not able to try that hard) you can't completely eliminate materialism from Christmas. And I'm not sure we should. Exchanging gifts is part of the spirit of Christmas. Reciprocity is an important part of our culture. And desire is human nature, no?

That said, here's my Christmas list. Things I've been lusting over. And after my desires, I'm listing some of my favorite products. Things I've been given or bought in the past couple years that have literally changed my life. If you need gift ideas, they'd make someone very happy. Promise.


A new Patagonia fleece. I had this one in brown for a few years, but I made a mistake and got the wrong size. So I never really enjoyed wearing it. It was always too small. I finally accepted the reality, and passed it along to a friend, but I've been missing it. It's so warm and perfect for those not-super-cold winter days that Denver has a lot of. I'm not loving the options Patagonia has on their site right now, but perhaps REI or another retailer has some other options. Also, investing in a brand like Patagonia that prioritizes repairing products (that are already made to last in the first place) instead of buying new ones, has my vote. Great company that truly values sustainability.

Slip-on sorta-winter boots. Not very specific, I know, but I'm not sure exactly what I want. Maybe someone can suggest some for me? I have a pair of Sorels that I love for real snow boots, but I need want some that I can slip on when it's just a little bit snowy or slippery. I suppose my Uggs from 2002 fit this purpose...but they're Uggs. So 2002.

"Get to Work Book" planner.Here's a very specific one. I want this exact planner to get my life in order in 2016. I've thought a lot about my goals, big and small, and researched books. This one is what I want. If you don't buy it for me, I'm buying it for myself. You might want to buy it for yourself too?

My Mom's gold star necklace. My mom has a beautiful star necklace. It looks a lot like this one. Ever since the first time I trolled through her jewelry box, I've wanted it. Now I'm making it public. Mom, fork over your necklace! Kidding. But think about it? I love you!

Frame Jeans - Flares. Flared jeans are finally back in style. Hallelujah! I like these. Now I just also need sewing lessons so I can hem them myself. Therein lies the problem with non-skinny jeans...

Something from Kit + Ace. Technical cashmere seems like something I should probably have in my life.


Minnetonka Fringe Boots.I got these in black a year or two ago, and there are not words to express how much I love them. They are so comfortable. It's basically like wearing slippers. They also have the effect of making me feel like a youthful teenager and a hip thirtysomething simultaneously. That shouldn't even be possible, but it is and it's a good feeling. Get them.

Casio Watch.This is the ultimate parenting watch. The top right button sets an alarm for 1, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, or 30 minutes (one press is 1 minute, press twice for 3 minutes, etc.). I use it about 75 times per day. "Willa, we're leaving in 3 minutes." Or, I set it for myself: "When the alarm goes off I better be putting on my shoes or we're f-ed." It's good for cooking too. It has a stopwatch and alarm function too. It does not, however, have Indiglo, so it's not so good for night wakings with babes. Thankfully, that is very recently no longer an issue for me.

Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine. We saved and saved for this and finally splurged right before my birthday last year. That was also right after Cameron was born. It perhaps sounds ridiculous, but this machine has seriously improved the quality of my life. It's easier to wake up in the morning knowing I have a coffee shop quality latte in my near future. The built-in grinder feature is key.

Cuppow drinking lids. Make any Mason jar a travel cup. Ditch plastic and single-use cups.

Car phone mount.I'm all kinds of against using your phone while driving. But let's face it, no one's buying a new Garmin when their iPhone has the capability of providing directions. This mount makes your phone easy to view while driving and it's nice and small for travel too. Just set up an app to block messages, and you're good to go!

Alex and Ani earrings. I wear these almost every day. Love their bangles too!

auntie al. cupcakes. noodles.

happenings from life lately:

^^my sister visited last week! we were all so happy to spend time with her! and i got to help with some fun wedding prep since she's getting married in september. that's cam asleep after the excitement of bridesmaid dress shopping. plus, the future-weds share the same birthday (how cute is that!?), so we celebrated a bit early with nutella cheesecake!^^

^^while al was in town, we made a trip to the source for tacos and other fun. willa recieved flowers from her future uncle and was over the moon. she also learned where carnitas come from.^^

^^it's birthday party season! all willa's friends are turning 3, and she's enjoying lots of cupcakes. cam has been wearing his party pants.^^

^^last week i got to go to both uncle and bones. denver's asian noodle hotspots! yum. uncle reigns supreme for me...soft shell crab bun!? and that's a lamb noodle dish that basically made me feel like i was in china. but, bones is great too. a bit more happenin' i'd say, which is fun.^^

^^C is 6 months! i've been inspired by Baby-Led Weaning, so we're offering up food in the form of carrots and such...but all he really wants to do is watch his sister. the other night he ate some pizza sauce off the counter and tonight i think he had some broccoli. adventures in child rearing!^^

32nd ave farmers' market

Thankfully, my annoying sickness only lasted about 24 hours, so by Saturday I was back in action and my parents came down for a re-do last hurrah. There was no baseball game, but we made our own fun. We enjoyed sushi takeout for dinner on Saturday (before they return to the land of no sushi) and on Sunday morning we decided to hit up the 32nd Avenue farmers' market. We've been super excited that a farmers' market opened in our 'hood this year, but hadn't yet had a chance to really check it out. I went down there with Willa and the dog a few weeks ago, but despite their omnipresence at every farmers' market in the nation, navigating a market with a dog and a toddler is NOT easy. Also, when I was there I'd just had a big breakfast, so I didn't need anything to eat. And I didn't have any cash, which doesn't really fly at a farmers' market.

So this time we left the dog at home, had plenty of adults to wrangle the toddler, and purposefully went hungry. There were so many good things to try! Lots of samples from people making their own jams and pierogis and whatnot (all "handmade" with "local ingredients" of course!) and several food trucks. There were also a few cool coffee carts/vans/wagons that I'll try next time. (Reminder to self: must go to the market both hungry and uncaffeinated.)

^^willa's in the middle of saying, "let's go get some food!" and that's indeed what we were about to do. we hit up the japanese hawaiian truck, pacific bonsai, and it was superb!^^

^^top: blackened mahi mahi lettuce wrap / BBQ pork slider. bottom: beer battered fish taco / chicken katsu and egg breakfast taco. my favorite was the lettuce wrap. it was all the right kinds of flavorful: spicy, sweet, and grilled.^^

^^a rare family shot!^^

^^aiko pops for dessert. willa and my mom loved the coconut nutella, but dan and i were partial to the coconut anise. only problem was they melted even faster than the average pop on a hot day. willa didn't seem to mind though!^^

Overall it was an awesome place to spend a couple hours; lots going on but at the same time not overwhelmingly crowded. And we had a lovely time with my parents.

My only complaint: they need to get recycle bins! It hurt my heart to see so much paper and plastic being thrown away.

i whine

Here's Willa a week or so ago in a photo my Mom took. She got to go to a cool petting zoo with Nana in Fort Collins. Apparently she drove this tractor "through town."

She's looking a bit more disheveled this week. On Monday, she was sick. It was the very first time (well, since she was a few weeks old) that she snuggled with me and slept the day away. Yep, one whole day of a low-energy toddler. I enjoyed the bonding but, man, was she was cranky too. Although who isn't when they're sick?

A few days later, I was still feeling good and thought I'd managed to escape the bug (despite the intimate moment when she'd spit in my mouth after declaring the juice I gave her was "spicy"). But nope, no such luck. Late yesterday I felt a tickle in my throat and by this morning I was couldn't-get-out-of-bed sick. The worst. I see why Willa had been forced to take a break from her usual antics.

When I get sick, I act about 5 years old. I cry and kick and scream that I can't go to my friend's house. Or in this case, playschool at the Botanic Gardens and a Rockies game with my parents. We'd had it planned for weeks! Willa was going to stay up late! Life's not fair!

Good news is that Dan had a light day at work so he could be home with Willa today. Apparently she wasn't as in to lying on the bed with me all day as I was with her. Geesh. But the bad news is my parents are heading back East in just a few days, and the game was supposed to be one of our last hurrahs. Sad face.

But anyway, enough whining. Instead I want to do one of those fun lists where I chronicle some of the little things in my life of late:

Eating :: Lots of berries. Avocado toast for breakfast most days. Summer salads. Drinking :: A cup of half-caff coffee every morning. And a Q or Dry soda in the evenings. Learning :: How to garden. My plants are either exploding (tomatoes) or all done (cilantro). Wanting :: Filson tote Reading :: Breakfast with Buddha Wearing :: Maxi dresses. Working :: A little bit more. Cleaning :: Not as much as I should. How do people do it? Trying :: To let the little things go.

Here's to being less sick tomorrow. Hope everyone's having a more exciting Friday!

things i've been wondering lately:

Where should one store cherry/grape tomatoes? They need to be left out on the counter, but they're too small to put in a fruit bowl. They'd get smushed. Should I designate a smaller bowl just for tomatoes? Should I put them in the cupboard inside their ugly plastic container? But then I might forget about them.

How long is a manicure supposed to last, honestly? I don't get them often, but when I do, my nails only seems to look nice for 2-3 days, max. That seems absurd. Do ladies with nice-looking nails get them done twice a week? Or are they just really good at doing them themselves? Or do I do something odd that ruins my manicure faster than the average person?

Do most Americans get their Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving? Growing up, I don't think we got our tree on a specific day. We went when it made sense, and timed it out so the tree would be alive and thriving for Christmas and maybe a bit afterwards. In fact, I think we tended to decorate our tree relatively close to the 25th. Once I was in college we definitely did the tree once we were home for break. But judging by social media lately, it seems like many many people already have their tree. I feel like I'm learning about this tradition quite late in my life. Perhaps we'll adopt it someday. But probably not. I need a week or so to digest Thanksgiving before diving into Christmas. I actually always thought the Canadians got Thanksgiving right by having it a bit earlier in the fall. But oh well, what can I do about that now?

How on earth does one get their baby/toddler to sleep on the plane? Try as we might, we've had extraordinarily limited success getting Willa to nap on a flight. When she was really little, Dan got her to sleep once or twice by pinning her arms and legs down so she couldn't move and letting the other passengers hear her cry for a bit before she finally fell asleep. (As I write that out, it sounds pretty awful. But that's how she is. She thrashed about when she's tired, she doesn't snuggle in or just start dozing off.) When I flew alone with her, I nursed her to sleep. But now, she's weaned, and I've got nothing! On our flight home from Thanksgiving, she was exhausted and we did a whole bedtime routine thingy which got her into a calm and snuggly state. But she never fell asleep. Come on parents, what are the tricks? I don't get it! How do you teach a kid to sleep upright in your arms on a plane packed full of people when they're used to their crib? We have some longer flights coming up so really, please, I need any and all tips!

Why is the jicama I bought today coated in thick wax?

Is there a relationship between the number of toys a toddler has and their ability to play independently? Willa doesn't have many toys. She has toys. A few bins full. But not that many. We go to the toy library at least once a month to get some new things, and we've borrowed a few toys from friends. And the thing is, she doesn't play independently very much. Actually, she does play by herself, she just doesn't play independently with toys. She spent at least 20 minutes today putting her hair barrettes in and out of a plastic cup. Sometimes I worry that she doesn't ever play with toys because she doesn't have the "right" toys or "enough" toys, but then I remind myself that that's just silly. Right? I recently came across this blog post which confirms my own beliefs, but I'm still find myself thinking a lot about toys and what kids really "need."


cinnamon raisin goodness

Like many, I was a kid who loved cinnamon raisin toast. Slathered with my mom's prefered I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, I would seriously enjoy some Sunmaid toast. (Note: I had to Google to figure out the brand is Sunmaid. All I remember is the completely red packaging.) Somewhere along the line, I grew up, and started eating more "mature" things for breakfast (cereal?). But whenever I'd find myself in a bagel shop (mmm, Middlebury Bagel Deli) I'd be drawn toward a cinnamon raisin bagel. With cream cheese.

The first night in Seattle, after we'd pushed ourselves to exhaustion unpacking the moving truck in less than two hours and then hauling everything off the lawn and inside our teeny apartment, Dan and I dragged ourselves down to the PCC market for some food. In my half conscious state, I grabbed some whole wheat cinnamon raisin bagels and some cream cheese. (Also grabbed Cafe Ladro Diablo blend - amazing.)

The next morning, I toasted that bagel in our mini oven and slathered it with what ended up being neufchâtel cheese. Accompanied by a mug of Diablo with organic half and half, looking at the view of Mt. Rainier, I was a changed girl. A Seattleite? Perhaps not yet, but definitely a girl in full-on food snob mode ("um, I only eat artisan bagels with organic neufchâtel cheese accompanied by expensive local coffee and organic half and half").

A few years later, I'm still enjoying those delicious Alvarado Street Bakery sprouted wheat cinnamon raisin bagels. Mind you, they can usually only be found at AmazonFresh, PCC, and sometimes Whole Foods. Since I usually shop at Fred Meyer, I've had to look for substitutes. I was thrilled when a few weeks back I spotted Robust Raisin from Dave's Killer Bread. I promptly purchased a few loaves (who knew if I'd find it again!?) and went home happy. But it was a serious let down. Why? It doesn't toast! I've never seen anything like it. It goes from fresh bread to burnt outside and soft inside in one toast cycle. It's no good at all. That, and for some reason my beloved neufchâtel cheese just isn't the same on bread slices. Not sure why. But it's just not.

So Dave's is out. Which is unfortunate, since it's a great brand - love all their other varieties. (Especially their new "light" breads that have less calories simply because they're smaller.)

Moral of the story folks - if you're a food snob like me, and you need a hearty "adult" cinnamon raisin variety, Alvarado Street Bakery sprouted wheat cinnamon raisin bagels are the way to go. Order them from AmazonFresh. Or, on the bakery's website. Only $2.40 for a package - that's a steal!

here starts another blog

I've been thinking about starting this blog for a long time. Like most of us that came of age during the internet’s rise, I've kind of always been thinking about starting some type of online project. Starting with my early Geocities projects over dial-up internet in our semi-furnished basement, the realm to which computers were formerly relegated. So yes, as my family and a few friends can attest, I’ve started a blog or two in my day (or three or four?). But none have had a specific purpose. They’ve been lacking cohesion and have thus usually fallen by the wayside. Here, things will be different. (I hope. I'm going to try. Hard.)

I'm starting this blog out of my penchant for four things: eating, drinking, nitpicking, and documenting. Each post will analyze and record an eating endeavor. Whether it be a grocery store, restaurant, or a home-cooked meal. I like nothing better than a good critical analysis of all nitty-gritty details, and that’s what I plan on overanalyzing here. I hope you’ll join me!