Friday, September 30, 2011

breakfast of champions

every morning since we returned from europe i've had a green smoothie for breakfast. there are all sorts of studies that suggest that having a liquid meal for breakfast is just so much easier for your body to digest and helps deliver energy quicker. my smoothie usually has pineapple/coconut juice, half a banana or avocado, some frozen mango and then always, always hemp protein powder, a green powder (or handful of spinach), chia seeds, mangosteen juice and some dr. udo's dha oil.

but today i needed something a little more decadent so i made l.a. in bloom's banana-date shake for elodie and i. heavenly! i have been reading heather's blog for a while now and appreciate her take on life in los angeles. it can be such a wonderful place to be and she really keeps me in love with the place -- even during a string of smoggy mornings such as we've been having lately! 

i should probably include a picture of aforementioned smoothie. instead, here are some pictures from yesterday's adventure which included the aquarium, the beach and an evening at bash please studio for heather heron's pop up shop. driving down the hill into santa monica and glimpsing the first view of the sparkling ocean with sailboats bobbing on it had me singing jimi hendrix 'castles made of sand' and 'one rainy wish' for the rest of the day. such a genius day in california!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

growing (33 months)

i always post a letter to you on your 'birthday' date but on september 14th we were flying back halfway across the world to you after our first big trip away. i really, really missed you during our time away even though i know you were having fun with all of your grandparents. sure i enjoyed sleeping in and spending a lot of nights walking aimlessly with your papa (and taking naps and reading books) but i saw you in everything i did. wouldn't elodie like this little horse painted on the wall? i bet she would eat all of this spaghetti (skip-ghetti). i imagined riding on the bus through the winding streets of positano with you and walking down all thousand of the stone steps to the ocean. i stared at the italian mama rocking her toddler to sleep on the boat ride from capri and daydreamed of rocking you. it made me realize that i would give up a thousand days of leisure to nurse you through a sleepless night. i am so glad i don't have to make that choice but if i did, yep, that would be the one i would make. 

this last month has been pretty amazing (they all are) but you are really wowing us with your language development. hearing you say 'mama, i love you' without prompting makes my heart so warm inside. you watched intently as a girl went upside down on the monkey bars and said, 'mmm wish i could do that when i was a big girl.' your concepts of today, tomorrow, the weekend are taking shape and now we can reason with you a little bit more. you know your days of the week and have memorized mama's phone number. all your papa and i can do is sit and stare in awe of who you are becoming. 

some sayings i really love:

it's froggy out (it's foggy out)
it's hot papa, can you turn on the windy? (air conditioning in car or roll down the windows)
who gave you that bracelet mama? it's so shiny. (my wedding ring)

you really love 'good night, gorilla' -- i read it to you in the past and it didn't really make sense to you but now you narrate every page with delight at how naughty the gorilla is for sneaking in the zookeeper's bed. 

you love singing all the time and we always have marathon dance parties in your room. every night we sing silent night, stay awake and i will. after bath you say 'wrap me up like a little baby' and make us throw you on the bed. you hide under the covers and go to 'the coco' - we still haven't figured out what that means. you make us smile in a million different ways. we love you darling.

pictures of you this time last year (21 months with lots and lots of hair)

and this time two years ago (9 months with lots of hair)

Monday, September 26, 2011

fall fruits

i went to a really fun potluck on sunday and had high hopes to make a pomegranate-persimmon salad. so i carefully deseeded five pomegranates from our backyard tree during elodie's naptime and then made a quick stop to the farmer's market. alas, no persimmons yet although it is the end of september and sometimes we can find them around here. i brought the bowl anyway thinking we could make a cocktail or replicate my afternoon snack of pomegranate seeds with lemon and a dash of sea salt. seriously, the most decadent dessert you can imagine no baking required. how amazing that they grow on trees!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

there is a light that shines

even if it is still 80+ degrees here, i can feel the arrival of autumn! having grown up in southern california i am accustomed to the subtle shifts between each season and try and remember to be patient with myself during these transitions from winter to spring, spring to summer and now summer to autumn. transitions have a tendency to make me feel restless - there is a palpable desire to leap to the next thing and not just be in the space in between. but transitions are a part of life, a huge part of life, and to rush past them is missing the point.

sometime today or tomorrow this shift happens that marks the mid-way point between summer and winter. the days become shorter and we embrace fall rituals to comfort us in the sun's absence*. for me it is a time to remember how lucky i am to have my loved ones and to try and treat my body better. i am starting a kitchari cleanse next week and i'll be sure to post the recipe. oh, and i also like these little practices for the equinox. very sweet.

image here

* hopefully we soaked up enough sun this summer to last us through to the very end of the winter!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

a good shag

i've been obsessed with these vintage moroccan ben ourain rugs ever since we stayed at the parker in palm springs for my sweet friend sarah's bachelorette party. i just sent the link to my husband. we really do need a new rug. maybe for christmas?

photos: parker palm springs, my marrakesh

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

down by the seaside

i can't wait to put up pictures from our trip but for now a sweet memory (two weeks ago today!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

hooray for milk + bookies!

i'm finally back from our epic trip and still trying to play catch up with all of my responsibilities but melisa from the lil bee sent me an email about milk + bookies and i could not resist sharing. milk + bookies is a nonprofit organization that promotes literacy and service learning through the donation of books to children who don't have access to them.

i grew up a middle child and since my mom was busy running after the little ones or dealing with the my older siblings' drama, reading was the single biggest pastime of mine. my grandfather always likes to tell the story of how i was reading 'gone with the wind' when i was seven on a cross-country trip. reading has completely shaped who i am as an adult and i love nothing more then to get lost in the pages of a book. in addition to all of my favorite childhood books, i have been introduced to quit a few new ones since having elodie. here are a few that are in heavy rotation around our house.

i can fly illustrated by the inimitable mary blair has been a colorful, rhythmic book that we've read since elodie was wee.

this book is a bit dog eared from wear showing how often elodie has read it. a nice change from good night moon, this story takes a little bunny through his bedtime routine.

sometimes i get sick and tired of reading so we sing baby beluga while we turn the pages. we love love love the illustrations!

it is refreshing to come up with a narrative for a story. one that is different every time you read it. elodie loves this series by gerda muller. we have winter, spring and summer (but we need to order autumn!)

we serendipitously found this book at a garage sale a few weeks before we started her 'baby animals & me' class and we always use the phrase 'baby animals like to be snuggled and petted gently' when a certain someone is being a little rough!

it truly is one of my favorite things to see elodie sitting quietly looking through a book. i snapped this just yesterday. she was being extra quiet while i was cleaning the house and i walked into my bedroom to see her reading a book wearing her little hula skirt. my idea of happiness!

for more info, watch this lovely video or visit milk + bookies

i love this...

'don't be amazed if you see my eyes always wandering. in fact, this is my way of reading, and it is only in this way that reading proves fruitful for me. if a book truly interests me, i cannot follow it for more than a few lines before my mind, having seized on a thought that the text suggests to it, or a feeling, or a question, or an image, goes off on a tangent and springs from thought to thought, from image to image, in an itinerary of reasonings and fantasies that I feel the need to pursue to the end, moving away from the book until I have lost sight of it. the stimulus of reading is indispensable to me, and of meaty reading, even if, of every book, I manage to read no more than a few pages. but those few pages already enclose for me whole universes, which I can never exhaust.'

italo calvino

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Memories from the Amalfi Coast

Ciao tutti!  This is Jora from Domestic Reflections and I am so happy to be here at The Littlest.  It's one of my very favorite spots on the Internet.

I don’t know about you all, but I have been quite happy living vicariously through Elizabeth’s Italian vacation photos over the past week or two.  I follow her on Instagram and get extra excited when her photos pop up: café lunches, beautiful architecture, views of the Mediterranean.  I, for one, never tire of these things.  Her photos also have me wistfully thinking of trips I’ve taken and experiences I’ve had, especially those in Italy.  Especially those before kids.  Especially those when I was young and fun.  Ahhh, those were the days.

I thought I might share one little tidbit of a story from a trip long ago to one of the areas Elizabeth visited just a few days ago: the Amalfi Coast. (I was going to post a gorgeous photo from the area, but I have a feeling we will be seeing lots of those from Elizabeth in the next week....fingers crossed anyway!)  The time I was there was just after finishing up a study abroad program in Florence.  I had the great fortune of meeting one of my (now) best friends in the entire world during that experience.  We were done, we had finished finals, we were ready to lay on the beach and drink wine and eat ridiculous amounts of pasta.  We picked up another friend of mine at the airport in Rome (another BFF…hi Nichole!), hopped the train, transferred to another train (or 2?), waited for a bus, took the bus around those crazy hairpin turns on cliffs high above the sea, got dropped off in front of a post office and then began searching for our pensione, our Let’s Go Italy guidebook gripped firmly in hand (remember those? before you could research everything for a trip online? am I dating myself here?)  After many failed attempts, we finally came upon our most lovely apartment and terrace and garden perched on a terraced hillside above the Mediterranean.  It really was a backpacker’s dream come true.  The stuff Rick Steves wishes would happen to him. Ha.

Anyway, we congratulated ourselves on having had the luck (and discernment!) to make a reservation at this place based on a 10 word description in the guidebook and decided to celebrate by going next door to the equally amazing restaurant….friends, the views were postcard material.  The owner Enzo came out to greet us.  Think gorgeous 30ish Italian man.  Salt and pepper hair.  Soulful dark brown eyes.  We sat on the terrace, looked out at the sea.  He poured us icy cold white wine and then plopped a couple of peach slices in our glasses.  I was in heaven.   We drank, we talked, we ate, we heard the story of Enzo’s life (we told him our stories too), we drank, we closed the restaurant down, we were invited to join the staff meal at a long table in the middle of the empty restaurant, we obliged (naturally), we listened to Enzo’s Michael Jackson CDs late into the night as I recall.  And then, Enzo asked if I wanted to come back to the kitchen so he could show me how to cook a favorite dish of his.  Um, yes?  (I think that's what I really said.)  I am crazy about cooking, food, eating, all of it really.  And this is what he taught me to make.
Enzo’s Penne with Shrimp, Tomatoes and Arugula

(you can omit the shrimp and the dish is equally delicious and satisfying, fyi)

2 T. (or so) olive oil

2 T. (or so) butter

1 lb. large shrimp

3 c. cherry tomatoes, halved

2 cloves garlic, sliced

Splash of white wine

2 c. heavy cream

A couple handfuls of arugula

1 lb. penne pasta

Begin by cooking the pasta al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, melt butter and oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat.  Add shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and cook until not quite cooked through (this should just take about 2 minutes or so).  Using tongs, remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.  Add more butter and oil to the pan if needed.  Add the tomatoes and cook over high-ish heat, smashing with the side of a wooden spoon to release the juices and to concentrate the flavor.  After most of the liquid is evaporated (timing will depend on how juicy your tomatoes are), add the garlic and cook just until it starts to get fragrant.  Add a splash of white wine and reduce.  Add the cream and simmer until it reduced to a creamy, slightly thick sauce (it should coat the back of the wooden spoon)….maybe 7 minutes?  Season the sauce with salt and pepper.  Add the arugula and the shrimp back to the pan and cook for a minute more (until the shrimp are barely cooked through….they will continue to cook off the heat!)  The arugula will be barely wilted.  Check for seasoning again.  Toss the penne with the sauce.  (No cheese!  The Italians freak out if you put cheese on anything with seafood!)  And then serve with a nice Italian white wine, preferably with peaches floating in it.

Buon Appetito!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Here comes fall

Hello Littlest readers!

I'm Kristina from Lovely Morning and 100 Layer Cake, and I'm psyched to be here today, while Elizabeth and Michael are enjoying the end of summer in Italy.

As a devout worshipper of fall, this sort of post is inevitable every year, even when it's 91 degrees at the beach in LA. But you guys, fall is coming. I can feel it in the morning and see it just the slightest bit in the light. It's the best feeling, knowing that squash and barhi dates and red wine are coming my way.

And I can't help but think ahead to what else fall will mean in a few years. I'm desperate for my baby to stay small forever, but as we all know that's probably not a realistic preoccupation. Instead I like to think about all the things I have to look forward to when he's just a little bit older.

Right now fall means that he probably won't get to eat watermelon every day, that he probably won't get to run around naked in the backyard all afternoon while I squirt him with the hose, it means the sun will go down way before his bedtime (which I imagine will be a teeny bit confusing at the start), it means he'll have to start wearing socks, and pants and even a sweatshirt (hopefully a little striped hat too). But other than that he'll be sadly unaware of how exciting fall can be.

I'm excited for when fall means pumpkin patches, costumes, school starting, early morning soccer games, making turkeys out of pine cones, art projects to give to grandparents for Christmas, baking, picking apples, apple cider... am I forgetting things? I'm sure I'm forgetting so many things.

I want to celebrate the seasons in one hundred different ways with my kiddos. It's such a special way to mark the rhythms of the year and I can't wait for all sorts of little projects to be part of our family festivities. And I think no season embodies the creative busy-ness that I thrive on like fall. Clearly my kids will be just as into it as I am.

But for now, I'm doing my best to love every minute I have with my 18 month old, even if he's not quite as excited as I am about this time of year. Luckily he's adorable so I can easily forgive him.

I'm sure some of you have favorite fall rituals in your family? Do share! We all love a little inspiration from other creative women around the internets.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

what it feels like for a boy

a sweet post on boy's vintage (and really how hard it is to dress a boy) from jamie of a desert fete and hank + lucy!

hello littlest readers!

i am so very pleased that the lovely elizabeth asked me here today. when she gave me a wide open option for what to write about, i thought i would go into something dear to us both, vintage baby clothes.
i am going to go ahead and say it out loud, when our sonogram read that we were going to have a boy, i felt a small twang of disappointment. (also a lack of surprise, i always new i was destined for a boy.) don't get me wrong, i have nothing against boys. i do love them. but less face it, the sartorial options with a little girl are so much more vast. even to me - a life long tom boy. but that is just it, isn't it? as a girl, i pretty regularly wear jeans and tees, or my husband's old worn in flannel button ups. but i also can't do without the occasional 70's sundress. you might catch my husband stealing one of my vintage tees, but you are never going to find him sporting a sundress. and so girls, we have more options. we can (within societal norms) swing both ways in our wears.

well, nothing to do but chin up and embrace the boyness, and begin the hunt. i thought i would share some of my favorite boy vintage finds. since i don't go in for the more frilly stuff, it can be a little harder. i've found it's best to stick to later decades like 70's & 80's and look especially for tees and tops.

this plaid button up might be my favorite. it looks exactly like something has papa would wear, but mini! i am so glad i pulled it down from the clothes in the 1 year plus bin, because while labeled as 18 months, it is fitting him here on his 4 month birthday! yikes!

one can never go wrong with babies + stripes. (vintage or no.)

we tend to shy away from images or characters, but this is too cute!

to ben and i's mutual surprise, our boy can rock the heck out of a tank top!

mocs. need i say more?

base ball tee. just classic, right?

this vest (handed down from our pals) was a lifesaver on our chilly morning camping trip

another classic

and the best baby outfit of all. 

we are still on the hunt for a nice western. we had one, but it was lost in the great mold tragedy of 2010

and so, we are making our fun. and i know this should go without saying. but. i would never trade my boy for a girl for all the well stocked closets in the world. to be sure, henry a man's man. look at that face, he is all boy! and i LOVE it. the second that little one is in your arms nothing else could possibly matter!

Monday, September 5, 2011

today is my birthday!

every year the thing i reflect on the most is that i am a sister, an auntie, a daughter, a wife, a mother, a cousin, a niece, a friend to some seriously wonderful people! i could not hope for more.

a couple of little things i have liked about this last decade:
- i married an awesome person and became a mother
- i had the chance to live in europe and brooklyn, new york (on the top of my list)
- i learned to speak french (e un poco italiano y español)
- and sang on an album (with juliette lewis no less) - this song was on delta airlines and chanel boutiques, so fun!
- i've traveled a load and met some really wonderful people that constantly inspire and humble me

getting old is your choice. don't let anyone else make it for you. hellllloooo mid-thirties!