Nov 20, 2014

how the food network saved my marriage

Okay, maybe that post title is a little dramatic. My marriage was never in a state of needing to be saved, but my cooking skills were. Actually they were non-existent for a long time. I come from a long line of amazing Italian cooks, but my mother never really taught me the ins and outs of it all. I just showed up at the table and ate. But then I was a 19 year old who ran off and got married on a whim. Never did I think I would have to cook for myself, let alone someone else. When Chris got home from deployment we were in our first apartment what do we do for dinner? Chris loves to tell stories of the first time I cooked him eggs, he didn't eat them. Or the fact that I couldn't make a decent turkey sandwich. Or the many many dinners ruined by over seasoning, or just burning all together. It was awful! We ate out for almost every meal for about three years!! 
thanksgiving 2012

Then I got pregnant with Ace and quit my job just before he was born. I was still a full time student, but my days were primarily spent at home. Alone. I found this thing called the Food Network. I would sit for hours upon hours watching shows, writing down recipes, making grocery lists. I would go to the store armed with the things I would need for an amazing meal. I was putting ingredients in my cart I had never heard of. I was learning words like, deglaze, skewer, score, whip, zest! I mean it was this whole new world. And anyone that knows me can tell you once I get going with something, there is no stopping me. I just immerse myself in that one thing. There were so many dinners that were not edible. Chris was a good sport about at least trying everything. Even if we ended up ordering a late night pizza. But I was determined to be able to have family dinners that I grew up with. I wanted my kids to crave mamas cooking. That is how I was. I loved going home from college to a huge bowl of pasta and sausage my mom spent all day cooking. Once I got a feel for it I had my mom send me my grandmothers recipes. Sunday sauce, cookies, breads, pastas. I was obsessed. 

Thanksgiving was always my fear though. My mom had always done Thanksgiving every year, every single part of it. All one million dishes that she put out. Wellll....except for that one year, you know that one mom, the one you had catered! But I was so intimidated by the thought of it all. When we moved to Alaska I was up, it was my turn. Chris put the added pressure on me by saying "do you really think you can make it taste as good as your moms?" and then he invited his Dad. To my FIRST attempt. His dad is pretty much a professional food critic, no really. I had sleepless nights. A thousand lists going. I even made a damn excel time chart to make sure everything was being cooked at the right time. I wanted it to be perfect. And it came out pretty good, actually really good. I was impressed, Chris and my father in law even admitted to having their doubts. And now it is that time of year again. My third year pulling out all the stops. Making more food than we really need. But it is all about the memories, and creating our own traditions. 

So thank you Food Network for teaching me how to cook. My family thanks you more. 

How does your story in the kitchen go? Who taught you to cook? Or do you cook? 

Happy Happy Birthday!

How the hell are you 28 Christopher!!!!! I feel like we blinked and it is ten years later. How did we ever go from out of control 18 year olds to married with children? Not sure how it all happened, but I am so happy it did. I hope you have an amazing birthday filled with staring at your new skis since there is no snow on the ground. But I have every ounce of confidence that when it snows you will put that birthday gift to good use and we will not see you until the snow melts. And that's okay, your sense of adventure is an amazing gift to this whole family. And you work so hard, why not play harder right? Except in the whole ice climbing and mountain summiting thing, because that all kind of scares me. I live vicariously through your adrenaline filled eyes! We love you more than any blog post could ever do justice, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY you little cutie! 

Nov 18, 2014

my pregnancy must haves

I think it is safe to say I am far enough into this pregnancy to know what I like, what I want, and what I must have! Some of these are tried and true products that have carried me through my other pregnancies. Some are new to this specific little incubation period. But, I love reading other women's favorites products, or methods that have worked for them along the way. So I thought I would share some of mine. 

one: zella leggings. These are my very very favorite brand for leggings. They are thick but breathable. They almost remind me more of a pixie pant in the way that they fit. And the color never seems to fade no matter how many times I wash them. The black is still a true black color. Chris actually bought me my first pair randomly when I was pregnant with Avalon, and now I am extremely loyal to them. Serious life saver while pregnant. 

two: the lotion trifecta. Barr Co- Udderly Smooth- Egyptian Magic. I know I have talked about two of these products before. And I know I am constantly talking about my obsession with soft skin, it's a problem really. But, it gets even more crazy while pregnant. I happen to section off my body with different lotions. Ha! I know...nuts. I stick to Egyptian Magic on my stomach mostly. Udderly Smooth for my boobs. Yes so weird, but it's the only lotion I use around that area while nursing, so I use it during pregnancy too. It really does help to soften everything up...which is great in the long run when my milk comes in. And finally Barr Co. on the rest of my body. I know, it's A LOT. But it is a system I have perfected over the past four years. 

three: pearl eye mask. I have horrible insomnia with the pregnancy. I am not a great sleeper anyway, but this is on a whole other level. So the bags under my eyes are no joke. I picked up this pearl mask and absolutely love it. It is only $10. I use it in the mornings to get rid of the puffiness and really wake me up for the day. 

four: body pillow. I know there are all these fancy shmancy pregnancy body pillows out there, but to be honest I never wanted to spend the money on such a huge oddly shaped pillow. I mean where and what do you do with that when not pregnant? I bought this body pillow from Target when I was pregnant with Ace and I still use it. It is machine washable, and absolutely wonderful. 

five: decaf coffee. I still like to trick myself into thinking I drink real coffee while pregnant, but I don't. I will have a cup of decaf almost everyday, and I do treat myself to one too many decaf white mochas, or decaf caramel brulees after preschool drop off. 

six: lavender sleep spray. Remember...insooomniaaaa! I know there are things that are safe during pregnancy to take to help in this area, but I try to stick to natural remedies as much as possible. Pregnant or non-pregnant. This sleep spray is great. I use it on my pillows, and it does seem to help me get to sleep faster initially and relax me at the end of the day. But after a few hours I just wake up and there is no getting back to sleep. The kids like it and so does Chris, so winner winner. 

seven: cake nursing bra. Obviously I am not nursing yet, but my boobs are gearing up. All the bras I bought from this post no longer fit, so I am back in most of my pre-offspring bras. But when around the house or sleeping I like to throw on one of these seamless bras. They are so incredibly comfortable, and they provide enough support so I feel a little more held in. I have used these through all my pregnancies and beyond. 

eight: rosewater. Rosewater is good for so many things, you can pretty much use it head to toe. I am still sensitive to strong smells, so perfume is out of the question. Instead I use rosewater as a hair rinse, and a rinse on my face after my cleanser. It provides just a hint of fragrance, but enough to make me feel good. I love it. 

nine: ginger berry sparkling water. In my first trimester the thought of drinking anything made me sick. Even sips of water were just torturing. But I knew that ginger was supposed to provide relief in that regard so I looked for ways to incorporate it into my daily eating....or lack of eating. I started making a huge pitcher of sparkling water every few days. It seemed to help with the nausea just a tad (which in that moment felt like a ton) but it was also keeping me hydrated which was the overall bonus. I have been sipping on it ever since. It is so refreshing and gives that added fizz. Here is the recipe I use:

2 cups water
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 cup honey
1/2 lemon squeezed
1-2 cups frozen berries
Sparkling water 

Add water, ginger, and honey to a small saucepan and bring to a boil stir to combine. Then let cool and discard ginger pieces. Throw remaining ingredients into a pitcher, then stir in the ginger simple syrup. Voila! 

So let me have it, what are some of yours? If you did a post on them, leave it in the comments, I would love to read it!!

Nov 17, 2014

sneaker freak

coat: forever 21// tee: target// leggings: nordstrom// shoes: nike blazers
beanie: zara// sunglasses: ray-ban

Welcome to what my mom uniform usually looks like. Sneakers! There was a time in my life...not too long ago, where I was a real sneaker head. I am talking would set an alarm to wake up and order online the second a shoe was released. Or drive to LA for a limited release on a sneaker. Or pay an insane amount of shipping to get a shoe from Japan. This was all pre-children, and when my parents were still footing the bill for my life, or when there were two working adults in this familia. But my sneaker collection is still strong, in all the boxes, in my closet. There are some I won't wear. There are some I wear all the time. Don't get me wrong, I love a good pair of heels to throw on, but sneakers will always be my first love. 

And this coat??? A welcomed departure from my faux fur. Forever 21 has so many great coats right now, my wish list is piled high with more coats than I could actually ever wear. But the prices are too good to look away. Here are some of the other ones I am loving: