tuesday treats, in photos.

It's a mom + babe convention over at the Manhattan Beach Farmer's Market every Tuesday. Mari and I try to make a quick visit each week, and we feel very at home amongst kids, strollers, Ergos and the like. Our regular stops include browsing sweets, flowers, bread, produce and a good dose of people watching.
On next week's list: avocados and basil, just so I can dive into this pasta again.


best-ever croissants.

One of the really, really nice things about having the newest baby on the block is that people bring food. And, even now, more than six weeks in, we're still getting showered with kindness from family and friends.
Just before Mari was born, our neighbor casually asked, out of the blue, "Do you like almond croissants?" Do I like almond croissants? Um, yes please.  And so, not once, but twice, he's brought us these delicious, most perfect almond croissants from a little place called The French Gourmet in San Diego.

Croissants are my guiltiest pleasure. When I was young, my mom and I would strategically plan our mall trips around a stop-in at Vie de France, usually for an apple or cherry croissant. Now that my tastes have grown up, I am loving anything almond-filled.

My neighbor told us that these croissants are actually twice-baked, and let me tell you: they are by far the best croissants - chocolate, apple, raspberry with cream cheese - or otherwise - that I have ever tasted. In my life. So much for attempting to not eat like I'm still pregnant. 

San Dieg'ites: do tell if you know what I'm talking about. For the rest of us: must plan visit soon. 


hindsight is always 20/20.

Have you all seen this? It's pretty great. A video by real moms with messages they'd like to send to their former pre-mom selves. What would I have told myself before July 13, 2011?
Looks like it's been around since last summer, so, as usual, I'm late to the party, but it struck a chord with me, and even if you aren't a mom, I'm betting you'll connect with it, too. And, depending on your hormone level, you might even tear.

You can read more about the project's genesis here.

Have a lovely weekend, all!


bahamian style.

We honeymooned in the Bahamas, and two years ago, I fell in love with the easy breezy and cheerful Bahamian style that decorates the way of life on the islands.
So, when September's Coastal Living arrived, featuring a Harbour Island retreat, I was smitten. I was immediately transported back to soft, pink sand beneath the toes, eclectic vintage rattan furniture, brightly painted plantation-style homes and the most incredible crystal clear water you ever did see.

Cue Jimmy Buffet's Tin Cup Chalice.
I'd like to go back, and this time, visit the newly redesigned Dunmore. The spread is major eye candy, and the informative interview with designer Amanda Lindroth provides background into the design process.
Loving... turquoise, coral, seagrass, driftwood, rattan, stripes, shells, bamboo and more. Pick up the mag and take notes!

PS: A few of our favorite stops on Harbour Island: the restaurant at The Landing; the pool lounge at The Rock House Hotel; and the marina bar at Valentine's. And, just a five minute water taxi from Harbour Island is our most favorite vacation destination: Eleuthera.


dear poached eggs: I missed you.

When I was pregnant, I never really missed much as far as food and drink that were prohibidado. My body kindly rejected so much good stuff that I'm now slowly reintroducing to my diet, like poached eggs. And I realize: boy, did miss them.
Mari has a sensitive tummy and I'm temporarily cutting back on cow's milk products, so gone are the mornings of my favorite cereal and/or granola treat. But, I'm so okay with that now that runny yolks are back in my life. Especially when paired with some ripe tomato slices and freshly toasted whole wheat bread from the Manhattan Beach Farmer's Market.

If you've never tried poaching eggs, this step-by-step guide (with photos!) will be your best friend. Forever.


mom milestone: dinner for two.

Well, three, if you count Mari. I finally cooked for the first time since she was born, and I even set the table. I didn't get too ambitious, and I took a cue from busy mom Brenna over at Paper & Ink to try this fabulously easy and creamy (but not milk-creamy) pasta.
I got the Cuisinart out, which made me really happy (it's been a while), and felt good about making this creamy sauce that gets it's silkiness from avocados, and not cream. For some protein, I added chicken (cut straight from a Vons ready-to-eat whole roasted chicken) and added a sprinkling of reserved pasta water to thin the sauce just a bit.

This 15-minutes-or-less guiltless recipe gets three cheers. Next time I may make it with whole grain pasta and feel really guiltless.

Creamy Avocado Pasta from Oh She Glows (via Paper & Ink)
Yield: 2 servings

2-3 garlic cloves
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 ripe avocado, pitted
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 oz. dried pasta of choice (I used angel hair)
freshly ground black pepper

Bring water to a boil for the pasta and cook according to directions. Reserve a small amount of pasta water to thin the sauce, if preferred.

In a food processor, add garlic cloves, lemon juice and olive oil and pulse until smooth. Add the avocado, basil and salt. Process until creamy.

When pasta is done cooking, drain and add back to pot or serving bowl. Pour sauce over the pasta and toss to combine. At this point, add pasta water if you'd like to thin the sauce.

Top with lemon zest and black pepper.

(On a slightly related blog note, I did some re-org with the labels. It's my hope, now that I'm on maternity leave, that I'll attempt new recipes at other times than just the weekends, so I've ditched 'new wknd recipes' for simply: recipes. And, in doing more consolidation, I removed 'in the kitchen.' Questions/comments? Let me know what works for you.)


a pretty, pretty wedding.

What a pretty treat I have to share today. Some recently married and wonderful, seriously stylish friends of ours, were featured in a bridal blog. Wine barrels? Peaches? Garland? Chalkboards? Stripey Straws? And a tire swing.

You had me at hello.
{photos by One Love Photography, courtesy of Forget Me Not}
Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Cruse! We're so happy for you. And we heart everything about your wedding.

Go see much, much more from the central California coast celebration here. So worth it.

BTW: must check out the photographer. Majorly crushing on her work.


out + about and a new restaurant.

Mari's officially one month old! How four weeks have passed is a mystery. It's been the most amazing experience, full of so much love... and many growing pains, but in all the good ways.

Parenting is a day-to-day experiment, isn't it? Just as much as we're trying to figure Mari out and what she needs and likes, I know she's doing the same. Like my brother-in-law said over the weekend, there is no blueprint. But, we're getting used to each other, and we're slowly finding a rhythm to our days. It's a remarkable exploratory process that is so rewarding and so unnerving. And so, with a lot of help from my husband and our family and close friends, I'm learning how to be a mom.

We're starting to spread our wings and on our daily walks, we've made a few stops to introduce Mari to Manhattan Beach. She's visited the Post Office, not one but two of our favorite baby shops and a couple of neighborhood restaurants (this was one of the first, obv.).
We recently made our first visit - ever (embarrassing, I know) - to Four Daughters Kitchen in North Manhattan Beach. We didn't make it in time for their infamous breakfast menu, but we had a de-lish lunch (with mimosas!) while Mari caught some zzz's.

We loved it. It's full of good people and fresh dishes, like warm quinoa and spinach salad (that can be made into a wrap in a spinach tortilla!) and ceviche with crispy tortilla chips. We're looking forward to returning for breakfast. Soon.


hot off the press.

Mari's birth announcements arrived! It's my first Minted purchase, and well, I heart Minted. Check them out.
Our hospital provided a fab photography service, and shot us the morning after Mari was born - in our hospital room - and we were able to purchase a whole batch of professional family photos the same day. Amazing! Having these images so quickly helped me get the birth announcements signed, sealed and delivered swiftly. And pretty painlessly, in between feedings, of course. 

Shopping birth announcements? Here are seven other designs that I love. 


sources: mari's nursette.

Mari's special space was so fun to create, and it was a slow, thoughtful process. Thanks to Pinterest and a few of my favorite blogs, I gathered inspiration from all sorts of beautiful images and great ideas all over the world wide web.

In fact, after seeing this picture perfect nursery, I took the plunge and messaged the fabulous Jayna at Rocky Top Design and put in an order for the orange trellis crib bumper. She also created a custom pillow for my grandma's recovered club chair, and curtain tie backs that I'm saving when we move up and onto a bigger space someday (BTW: Etsy genius' like Jayna = good people to know. You must visit her shop).

With orange as the anchor, I found bits and pieces here and there, and right up until my 40th week, I was working on bringing it all together. Boxes of cabinets, baskets and crib furniture waited patiently in our garage until just a few days before Mari was born.

Building her space was a team effort that required lots of hands, especially towards the end, as I spent hours with my feet up, watching Eddie and my parents put the finishing touches on Miss Mari's room.

Here's where I found most everything. If I missed anything, or if you have specific questions on any items, please drop me a line!

+ Crib: DaVinci Jenny Lind.
+ Orange trellis crib bumper and matching pillow: Rocky Top Design.
+ Crib skirt: Tadpoles triple layer white tulle skirt.
+ Knitted crib blanket: handmade gift.
+ Under-the-crib storage tubs: Target.
+ Club Chair: custom slipcover.
+ Changing table and baskets: IKEA.
+ Changing table accessories - white lacquer bath tray, tissue box and gray-and-white striped tumbler.
+ Rug: Bello Shag Rug.
+ Wall knob/hangers: Anthropologie (recognize them?)
+ Capiz shell wind chime: Amazon.
+ Lamp: Target shade added to an old base.
+ Picture frames: Aaron Bros. (watch for the next Penny Sale!)
+ Wall paint: Olympic's Breakwater

For the complete reveal of Mari's nursette, follow this link.


reveal: mari's nursette.

Mari's nursette is my new favorite space in our house. It's like a little zen den of sherbet that is light, airy and perfect for a little person. And... also, for grown ups.
The room itself is a combo; the other half of the space is Eddie's office, which is nearly done, and our goal was to create one cohesive room, versus: to the right is nursery; to the left, office. Soon, I'll have photos of the entire room so you can see how it all works together.

For now, this is Mari's special corner of the world.
I'll be back with another brief post on sources, and promise to get pictures of Eddie's office space soon. Just as soon as we find some spare time to put all the finishing touches in place. We're learning to live life in two/three hour-ish increments, one day at a time. It's new, different and challenging. And fabulous.


sneak peak: mari's nursette.

It's been a whole three weeks since Mari's birth day, and I finally snapped some photos of her nursette. While she's not sleeping there full time yet, she loves her little corner of the world and I'm convinced it's because she gets to share her room with her daddy.
I hope to get images downloaded and posted tomorrow, and hope you'll come back to check out her sherbet space.