Lingerie on the Brain.

August 31, 2008



Wednesday is our four year anniversary, so I have had lingerie on the brain. I came across these lovely items from the Stella McCartney collection via the La Boudoir site. Isn't her stuff great?

Parenting Lesson #873: Travelling With Kids Is Hard.

August 29, 2008

Really hard. I should also clarify: with 2 kids 3 years and under. I think (hope?) it gets easier once they are school age.

First. There is The Issue of All of the Stuff. Seriously...kids need so much stuff when you go on vacation. And it doesn't matter whether it is for one night or two weeks. Stroller, sling, diaper bag essentials, car seats, portable crib, toys, snacks, blankies.....all must come with.

Second. There is The Issue of Lack of Sleep. No matter how great your routine is at home, travelling shakes it up. Nap times are interrupted, sleeping arrangements are different. For the trip we just got back from, sleep was particularly hard for C-Man because he is still sleeping in a crib at home, but had to sleep on a makeshift futon thing-y in a loft above a bright, noisy living room.

Third. There is The Issue of Cranky Parents. This stems from two things: lack of sleep (see above) and the Memory of How It Used to Be. You know what I am talking about, parents. The neatly, expertly packed carry-on, arriving at the airport within an hour of take-off. Thumbing through a magazine on the plane, listening to music or better yet (gasp) snoozing on the plane. Drinking cocktails or delicious wine once arriving at destination, having lots or great conversation with friends you never get to see. Sleeping in. Restaurants. Art, movies, shopping. Remember those days? What? You say you don't have kids and still have those kinds of vacations? Go away. Just kidding. Come back. Just have pity on us parentals.

My attitude is already getting better about our trip (I know you can't tell from this post). It is still nice to get away and be together in a different environment. And we still had time and the energy for a little of this:

You Simply Must Make This This Summer.

There are several tomato dishes I plan to share here over the next couple of weeks. We are in prime season. Go buy (or pick) some heirlooms STAT if you haven't already and start enjoying. This is the best that summer has to offer.

You might look at this recipe and think it's not much, but boy is it ever. There's something about grating part of the tomatoes to make more of a sauce, and the lemon juice and bit of sugar really make the flavors pop. (I hate when people say that, but I couldn't help myself.) Also, don't skip the whole letting the tomatoes sit awhile thing. It really makes a difference. I usually let them go for at least an hour.

Angel Hair Pasta With Fresh Tomato Sauce
Gourmet, July 2006

1 small garlic clove
3 lb tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb dried capellini (angel-hair pasta)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
Accompaniments: finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano; extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Mince garlic and mash to a paste with a pinch of salt using a large heavy knife. Core and coarsely chop two thirds of tomatoes. Halve remaining tomatoes crosswise, then rub cut sides of tomatoes against large holes of a box grater set in a large bowl, reserving pulp and discarding skin. Toss pulp with chopped tomatoes, garlic paste, lemon juice, salt, sugar, and pepper. Let stand until ready to use, at least 10 minutes. While tomatoes stand, cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until al dente, about 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately add to tomato mixture, tossing to combine. Sprinkle with basil. {Tomato mixture can stand at room temperature up to 2 hours.} Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle the cheese.

Photo by John Kernick, for Gourmet

Cutest One Piece. Ever.

August 28, 2008

I'm not usually a one piece type of gal, but I love, love, love this. I can't imagine a more stylish and flattering bathing suit. Bonus: good for post-partum tummies. :)

It Works! It Works!

August 27, 2008

Hey there - this is Alice from Alice Q. Foodie, doing a little guest post over here today about some favorite new skin care discoveries!

A few weeks ago, my friend Susan and I spent the weekend at the W Hotel in LA for a little R&R. While we had a lot of eating and shopping on the agenda, we chose the hotel specifically because of the Bliss Spa there. (We've done this before,truth be told.) Susan is a skin care/treatment junkie - and I figured my face could use a good scrubbing, so we both booked the Over the Top facial, which combines all of the cleansing and anti aging benefits that they also offer in separate packages - along with a warm oil hair treatment and scalp massage. (Say it with me - "aaahhhh...") Yes, it was indeed "bliss" and it really did seem to make a difference. I loved my technician, Kathryn - she seemed to relish the challenge of plumping up my dehydrated skin, and left no pore unsqueezed - to my chagrin at the time, but delight the next day when I looked in the mirror and saw the results.

On the way out, I was presented with a "Blisscription" where Kathryn had written down a couple of product recommendations. Normally I'd probably ignore something like this, but I'd been looking for some skin care product recommendations, and she certainly seemed to know what she was talking about - so I went ahead and purchased the products she suggested - the Skinceuticals Vitamin B5 Hydrating Gel, and the Bliss Youth as We Know It toner. Actually, I bought the trial size set of all the Youth as We Know it Products, which includes a cleanser, toner, "concentrate", facial moisturizer and eye cream - and wasn't much more than one individual product.

BLISS-SET256

I've been using them for about a week now, and believe it or not, I am noticing some definite improvement. The surface of my skin is smoother and just a little more "glowing" - and especially around my eyes it seems a little tighter.

hydrating b5 gel

The B5 gel goes on under makeup, and I've noticed that my makeup goes on better and stays put longer since I started using it. The idea is that it binds moisture to the skin, which is the second best way to moisturize (according to Kathryn) behind internal hydration. I also like the Youth as we Know It Eye Cream and Concentrate - the face cream is a bit heavy for me, and the toner and cleanser I don't really use. (I already have a moisturizing toner that I like from Pevonia.) Still, I am glad I bought the assortment so I could try them all out, and I would definitely recommend it as the way to go. Overall I love the line - it smells good, it feels good, and I haven't had so much as a single breakout since I started using it - which is amazing for my sensitive skin.

I just wanted to share this little victory because I have tried so many treatments and innumerable products that did absolutely nothing - or made the situation worse - and I am sure I'm not alone in that plight! Your mileage may vary - but I think Kathryn is really onto something here. She also gives a fantastic facial - if you happen to be in LA!

How about you, do you have any skin care secrets or products you'd like to share, or any "little black book" phone numbers to divulge for your favorite beauty specialist? Do tell!

Loving the Baby Food.

So, I have a confession. With C-Man, I almost NEVER made baby food. I guess it was a combination of him not really being into food (that didn't come from a breast, anyway), all those scary food restrictions and timetables, and the total ease and relative value of buying little jars of 100% organic Earth's Best. But, if you haven't noticed, I love to cook, can be on the finicky side, and am pretty interested in all things health-oriented. I would have thought I would be whipping up baby food all the time for my first born, wouldn't you? Sadly, no. Poor C-Man had to eat those icky strained peas and carrots and god forbid, turkey dinners.

But I guess I like Baby J more (kidding) because I have REALLY gotten into it this time. I have a couple of books for ideas, but most of it is pretty easy to improvise. Once Baby J was past the initial phase of only being able to eat bananas, rice cereal and orange veggies, things got interesting. I must admit, I don't strictly follow all of those allergy rules. My kids seem to have pretty hearty digestive systems and I do generally avoid all the bad stuff (and of course, things like peanuts are an absolute no-no). Here are my tips:

1. Once she reached 7 months or so, I realized Baby J could eat almost every (organic, but of course) vegetable available. Even if the rest of us weren't going to be eating something, I would get her a single parsnip, some beets, kholrabi, different colors of carrots, squash, kale, you name it. Just about anything except for tomatoes which I thought would be too acidic (now she eats them and yes, I realize the food police says she should wait until she is a year or something like that). I bought me some of these :


They are made of the "good" plastic, plus I didn't have any extra ice cube trays laying around. They are available at Whole Foods, ladies, if you don't want to mail order.

Away I went steaming all sort of vegetables, pureeing them in the food processor (or using the immersion blender), pouring them into the trays... into the freezer and voila! Healthy, fresh, delicious baby food 30 seconds away (that's how long my microwave takes). Boy, did I feel like Jessica Seinfeld. After about 30 minutes of prepping and cooking, I had made probably 50 meals for Baby J (she does have a tiny tummy, which helps).

2. This next idea comes from my mom. It's probably the only thing she insisted I have when C-Man was born (remember, she was/is an anti-consumerism recovering hippie).
(Don't worry, it's BPA/Phthalate free.) This little food mill is perfect for spontaneous meals (if you haven't yet filled those big trays or if you're just bored with what's in them). Throw in and grind up what you are having for dinner (within reason), or maybe some fresh mangoes, peaches, figs, plums, pears, or any of the above steamed veggies...the possibilities are endless. Plus, it's easy to clean and even dummies (like me) can figure out how to use it. It's available at Babies R Us and it costs like $10. It's not in a sexy package and they usually hide it in the corner because it doesn't have Elmo, flashing lights and a little theme song, but that is a good thing in my mind.

3. Here are some specifics. I like to always keep some sort of healthy starchy filler to make sure her tummy is full and increase the chances that she will sleep through the night. Like: steamed peeled potatoes, mixed whole grain cereal, cooked brown rice, steamed lentils, etc. If I have those things on hand, I can mix in any fruit or vegetable. Easy peasy. Plus I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW MUCH BETTER THIS TASTES THAN THE JARRED FOOD. Again, poor C-Man.

Other good things to have on hand: the bags of organic baby carrots (prepped already and easy to steam), the frozen mangoes from Trader Joe's (not organic, but oh well), other bags of organic veggies from Trader Joe's in the refrigerated section.

4. Get this book: Super Baby Food. It has a strange format, but the content is very inspiring. The author's toddler son eats a daily meal of whole grains, beans, brewer's yeast, kale (or some other "super" veggie) and avocado. Impressive.


Also, this book . It's not so much of a health food book, but more one of fun and pretty recipes using mostly healthy ingredients. Love the photos.

Things I want Baby J to try very soon: yogurt, cheese, tahini, cottage cheese and beans. In other words, protein time. Plus I'm going to start doing mean things like add brewer's yeast and powdered kelp to her food. Why not? She's eaten everything else she's tried.

Now, here's a request of you: does anyone have a recipe for homemade teething biscuits that don't have sugar? I'm not impressed with Earth's Best -- they crumble right away.

Old School Underwear (For Kids.)

August 26, 2008

I realize I've already lost 90% of you, but this is important. Have you taken a look at the underwear aisle for little boys at Target (or anywhere else for that matter)? Everything is covered with Thomas and superheros and Nemo and Lightening McQueen and all those little creatures we moms love to hate. I couldn't find one pair of solids or stripes or even plaid. (I would have bought plaid, for crying out loud!) But if you go back to the baby section next to the onesies, you can find old school Gerber "training underwear." They're just a little thicker in case of, you know, an accident. But they aren't bulky at all, and most importantly, I don't have to squint when I'm putting them on C-Man. Here are some in blue:
blue undies

I've never seen these in any stores, but they are nice and old-school, no?
Hanna Andersson has nice organic ones for your little precious. My friend Paula tells me they don't have any elastic so they are extra comfy on that soft skin.


C-Man has a few pairs of white boxer briefs too. To be like the big boys.


There's also this option that I posted about way back when. I know C-Man will want all those *other* undies as soon as he finds out they exist, but until then, the underwear aisle is yet another aisle I can't walk down with him in the cart. Ignorance is bliss, people.

Rosie, the Very Loved Dog.

August 25, 2008

My parents had to put our family dog down on Friday. She was at least 20 years old and she had been suffering for awhile now. It was just time. We were all very sad to see her leave our lives. I'm glad I was able to get a couple of nice pictures of C-Man with Rosie on her last day. She was the first pet C-Man really loved.

Another Supper Club Success.

August 23, 2008

We had Supper Club on Thursday night, and again, somehow, all the dishes went together perfectly! (We have a potluck-style dinner, so there's always the risk the dishes may not balance each other out.) The theme was "South Asian" or something like that. We had grilled chicken marinated in mint, mirin, spices and some other ingredients I can't remember, basmati rice with ginger and toasted mustard seeds, and (my favorite) a thai style cabbage slaw. This salad was to die for. I could have eaten the whole thing straight out of the bowl.

Thai Style Cabbage Slaw
Sunset magazine, March 2004

3 T. lime juice
2 T. Asian fish sauce (nuoc mam or nam pla)
1 T. sugar
1/2 to 3/4 t. hot chili flakes
6 c. finely shredded green cabbage
1/2 c. slivered red onion, rinsed and drained
2 carrots, grated
1/2 c. chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 c. chopped roasted, salted peanuts
Salt

In a large bowl, mix lime juice, fish sauce, 2 tablespoons water, the sugar, and the chili flakes to taste. Stir in cabbage, carrots and onion. Just before serving, stir in mint, cilantro, peanuts, and salt to taste.

{I'm pretty sure Wendi said she doubled the amount of dressing. You will love it, so I recommend doing the same.}

Cocktail Friday: Cachaca.

August 22, 2008


Have you tried cachaca? It's that Brazilian alcohol made from sugarcane. I have been trying for some time to get into it, but have yet to find a cocktail I like. I'm sure it would help if I actually went to Brazil to try it there. Must. Go. To. Source.

Anyway. The most popular way to drink it in the States (and maybe Brazil too?) is in a caipirhina. Say it out loud and don't forget next time you order it in some hipster place lest you feel like a fool: KIE-PUR-REEN-YAH. There you go. But I don't really like those drinks all that much myself. I'd always pick a mojito instead. However, the last couple of times I was over at Alice Q's hanging out, we were drinking cachaca and mango lemonade (cuz we're cool like that). These two were made for each other! I don't know what it is....but the cachaca mellows the sweet tart of the lemonade and the lemonade brings some interest to the cachaca (which I find rather plain tasting). Go get yourself some of both, and mix it up together. You'll really like it.

And oh yeah, Alice Q always gets the mango lemonade from Fresh and Easy (she always finds the good stuff!)... so go there, if you have one in your neighborhood.

Into the Working World.


So, my littlest sister just graduated from college (can't believe it) and we are so proud of her -- she just landed her first "real" job! Emily was kind enough to help her out with a little wardrobe planning. After all, that's the best part of getting your first job, right?

If you don't already, check out Emily's archive of "What to Wear" posts. They are a lot of fun!

Baskets to Contain the Toys.

August 21, 2008

We try to not buy too many toys around here. Really, we do. Still, it seems like there are too many. And how does one organize them without losing her mind? Of course, there are the art supplies that go together and the stuffed animals that all live as one, but all those random ones? What to do? I like these baskets. They would work in the kids' rooms or in the family room.

Overheard.

August 20, 2008

I do not mean to brag....really, I don't.....but this is what this mother overheard this morning:

C-Man: Ooooohhhh, little missy, I love you sooooooooo much. Ti amo, ti amo, ti amo! {That's what he and I say to each other...sort of our little top secret "I love you" code.}

Baby J: dah-dah-dah-dah-dah!

Pretty freaking sweet.

I Need a New Look.

I don't know if it's being a mom per se (and being focused on people other than myself) or if it's not having to go to an office everyday (not complaining) or maybe sheer laziness, but I am in a fashion RUT. I don't even know if I'm allowed to use the words "fashion" and "I" in the same sentence at this point. Seriously. I need to up the ante. Quick.

Turning to the style mavens behind Anthropologie always helps (and maybe makes me feel a little inadequate, but hey, that's OK). Do you ever check out their"outfits" section? This is what caught my eye. I'm so ready for fall to get here.


This is one of those outfits that looks very thought-out, but I could totally pull it off with a baby on my hip, no? While chasing C-Man into a timeout? Dark colors are a big plus.

I am loving the belt and the shoes. The shoes!

This jacket is one of those that could be a favorite for many, many years. So flattering. And the bag? Well, it could hold all of my stuff plus diapers, toys, and snacks.

Love that sweater. And the necklace. By the way....bangs are back I guess?

When I'm Feeling Like a Nice Mom, I Make Cupcakes.

August 19, 2008


C-Man needed a little extra attention this morning. B had an early meeting downtown which led to an early morning meltdown, and then there was a setback in the potty training. (We are 99% there, people, but sometimes I guess a 3 y.o. just needs to revert to his diaper-wearing days.) Baby J went down for a nice mid-morning nap (thank you, thank you, heavens above), so C-Man and I made "cupcakes," or really, zucchini muffins. It's a great way to use up those zucchinis we're so bored with and I feel slightly better about letting him eat something with a vegetable mixed in. (Next time I am cutting back the sugar. I need to experiment more with this recipe....) These are super moist and tender because of the oil (versus butter) and the pastry flour. When I am feeling super, duper nice (not today, sorry), I make a cream cheese frosting to spread on top.

Whole Wheat Zucchini Muffins (or "cupcakes")

1 large zucchini
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with liners and set aside. Grate zucchini on the large holes of a box grater (to yield 1 3/4 cups); set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Into a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, and stir to combine well. Stir in grated zucchini.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, room temperature
2-3 c. powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Place butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high until fluffy. Reduce speed; add sugar (start with 2 cups, then add more to reach your desired consistency) and vanilla, beat until well combined.

"Wow, these are really delicious, mama."

Sad News.

We're very sad around here this morning. A friend's baby passed away late last night. He was born about a month ago with lots of complications. From what I understand, he was a very sweet, strong little guy. I hope my friend and her family can have some peace about it.

Meal Planning Monday.

August 18, 2008

This week is going to be busy. Lots of house guests and other activities. Better get organized.

Monday

Oven fried chicken
Tomato Salad

Tuesday

Chard and bean soup (this should do it for the last of the chard)
Ciabbata

Wednesday

Prosciutto with Melon
Cappelini with Our Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil
Grilled Sausages (still have another unopened package of these)

Thursday

Supper Club for me -- still need to decide on a dish to bring (theme is South Asian/Indian)
I think B will pick up pizza for anyone who is at the house that night

Friday

(BBQ at the house for lots of family)

Carne Asada Burritos (I'll marinate the meat and grill it up, but we'll pick up tortillas, rice and beans from Salsa Restaurant)
Homemade Salsa
Watermelon
Molly is making a dessert

Saturday

Going out to Starlite Lounge with Cousin Jevan and his wife Casey

"You Have to Live Life to Its Full Chorizo" -- Huh?

Mario Batali should come up with a better tag line for this. Even so, I am still looking forward to his new show. Looks like it is set to start in September on PBS. When is the last time you saw Mario Batali, Gwyneth, and Mark Bittman together in one place? And the place happens to be Spain? Lovely photo, by the way.

(image by Moises Saman/Food and Wine)

My Little Man is Three.

August 17, 2008


I can't believe I've only known him three years. This little guy has changed my life forever. Besides making me a mother, he has taught me so much and made my life so, so much more fun.

The Summer Is Winding Up.

In some ways, it feels like it just started. Everything has been a busy blur of houseguests, playdates, quick trips and pool parties. But when the kids start heading back to school, I can't help but be reminded that fall is just around the corner and the days are already showing signs of getting shorter.

The feeling of heading back to school is still so strong for me. Those butterflies in the tummy thinking about a new teacher and new classroom. Getting new school clothes and supplies and organizing everything (if you're me). But mostly I remember that slight melancholy feeling that summer is over for another year. The days at the beach and being with friends from morning to night being traded for the structure and responsibility (such as it was) that comes with school. I remember being about 13 and having those summertime crushes. Maybe on some boy my girlfriends and I only knew vaguely from the beach or somewhere else, something so innocent. Something that now seems so insignificant (why did it matter so much?). Back then though, one summer was a huge part of our up-to-that-point very short lives.

One song I've had on replay for the last couple of weeks really captures this feeling for me. I don't even know if you can relate to what I'm talking about (is it just me?), but listen and tell me if it doesn't remind you of your early teen years, maybe on that last weekend before school starts, late in the afternoon, walking the boardwalk one last time before a friend's older sister (or worse yet, mom) comes to pick you up. I like going back to that place.
Cause it's the last day of summer,
And it will hurt you more than most
Cause you're still trying to mine for memories in a ghost.
--Magnet, Last Day of Summer

All Kids Need Something Hand-Embroidered, Don't They?

August 15, 2008

Oh me. Oh my. Found the CUTEST site for cotton hand-embroidered clothes for little boys and girls. Check this stuff out:


I can totally see my little C-Man running around in these on a weekend morning playing "tea party."


Is that not the sweetest little girls' nightie? Ever?


Adorable old-fashioned goodness.

And the piece de resistance? A pair of freakin' bloomers with seashells embroidered on them. This would be perfect on a tan little girl running around the beaches of Martha's Vineyard, no?

All available through the lovely http://shop.granamau.com/.

Check It. Yo.

August 14, 2008

Click here to see all about a place I love in Mexico.

All Charley Harper, All the Time.




If you are a fan of the illustrations of Charley Harper and you have little kiddos in your life, you are in luck. Awhile back, a friend got C-Man the newly-released ABCs book . Turns out, several more children's products are due to be release later in the year. The most adorable wooden block set, memory game, coloring book , a 123s book, as well as another ABCs book. In the meantime, I'm putting this and this on my wish list.

Last Minute Dinner.

We had a five o'clock scramble the other day. Hadn't gone to the store. No real leftovers to speak of. Everyone was hungry. I was a bad girl scout and wasn't prepared (I told you that stuff was aspirational!). Anyway, it turns out Martha Stewart was right. If you have a garden and a well-stocked pantry, a fresh, delicious and nutritious dinner can still be yours! I turned some eggs from the chickens (which I had fortuitously boiled earlier in the day), some steamed green beans from the garden, sliced tomatoes picked by B, leftover boiled new potatoes, some Greek olives in the fridge and some Italian canned tuna (in olive oil, of course) into a Salade Nicoise! I whipped up a little vinaigrette and dinner was served. All in about 12 minutes. Isn't it pretty?

I'm Not Worthy.

August 13, 2008


Do you already know one80three60? This blog is full of exquisite (original) photography and very thought-provoking writing. I love that she counts among her "likes" birth noses and Rick Bayless' voice. I have never met her in person, but I guess you can say we became friendternets awhile back...when this blog was just a flicker in my eye. She was the single person who told me she would read my blog if I started one. Well, maybe Alice Q did too. (The main reason it took me so long to start this thing in the first place was because I couldn't imagine anyone would read it. Besides how do you tell your friends you're starting a blog??) So I guess it's fair to say I owe it to her for finally starting this darn time-sucker (not really B -- I'm getting my chores done! promise!).

Anyway, one80three60 has just bestowed on me the high honor of the "Arte y Pico" award. What???? You say you have never heard of this award? That's OK, one80three60 and I are both a little unsure of its origins as well, but that does not detract from the honor in my mind. Thank you, thank you for this.

Continuing in this tradition of love-spreading, I would like to pass this award to fellow blogger, Pittsy (a.k.a. "Mama Bj"). If you have not checked her blog out, do yourself a favor and head over there right now. She always has something helpful, entertaining or thoughtful brewing, and I just love that you never know what you're going to get. Her crafting ideas for kids are especially inspiring to someone like me (and probably you too!), and I always dig her meal-planning posts (that's where I got the idea to do mine). In full disclosure, she is a friend of mine from so-called "real life" but this hasn't influenced my opinion in any significant way. Just see for yourself.

Oh, and one more thing. For you Anthony Bourdain lusters out there, a fellow dear reader has provided a link to that (almost) naked shot. Thought I would share. Because that's the way I roll.

Money in the Bank.

Don't you love those moments with your husband/wife/partner/best friend when you look at each other and say the same thing? That's what B and I did yesterday evening when he brought up the first bucket of heirloom tomatoes from the garden and I decided to line them up on the kitchen windowsill. We looked at each other and said "Money in the bank."




Are You a Mexico Person?

August 12, 2008

The world is divided in to two groups of people: those who like going to Mexico and those who do not. In my experience, I find there is a big correlation between how a person feels about Mexico and whether or not their parents liked it and took them there as a child. I have always loved all things Mexico and yes, my parents took us there regularly as children. Which is precisely why I just loved finding this site, Lama. {Truth be told, it is a Latin American site, but the vibe is the same in my mind.} I first spied it on sfgirlbybay.

Now, I'll admit: there are a lot of tacky Mexican tchotchkes out there. Think "ceramic-sombrero-wearing-bart-simpson-on-a-surf-board" that you saw in your last car line at the Tijuana border crossing. But there is a lot of cool stuff out there too. It just takes a little patience and determination. Let me show you what I have in mind:
I could totally see these pillows in a kids room, can't you?
I just know this would make doing my 53 loads of laundry per week more enjoyable.
This would make a nice bedside tray.

I love this oilcloth table topper. It would be great for "crafting" with the kids (not that I'm very good at that).

How cute for a kids party?

I could definitely waste an afternoon in one of these, as long as I had a good book, and well, a hard-working babysitter.

Adorable handmade dolls and animals.

I like this little bag. Maybe Baby J could carry it in a couple of years, with a couple favorite toys inside and maybe a snack.

Continuing with the whole Mexico vibe, I also love these Papel Picado banners (for a party or maybe to just hang in your patio area on an everyday basis....it would encourage a nap on a hammock or a round of margaritas....or both, come to think of it). Buy them here.

And then, if you're brave enough, get yourself one of these dresses to tie everything together. {Search "mexican embroidered dress" on ebay.} AliceQ rocks this look pretty well...if she can do it, I think I might be able to too.

Hot or Not?

August 11, 2008

The other night we were having dinner with friends at one of our favorite restaurants -- at which the chef and owner is a former partner of Anthony Bourdain's at Les Halles in NYC. The conversation, naturally, turned to Mr. Bourdain . All three of us ladies quickly started gushing about Anthony and how he has that elusive X Factor. (I think we surprised ourselves just a bit.)The men at the table disagreed, but then again, don't they always about these sorts of things?

I really don't know what it is....his cynical masculine afraid-of-nothing approach to life just appeals to me. Plus he isn't afraid to say what he thinks about that little twerp Bobby Flay. And I know, I know, he eats monkey testicles and used to be a heroin addict. But now he's a new dad and he even quit his two pack a day habit for his little baby girl. And come on, the guy can cook.

What say you? Hot or not?

I Promised You Napa.

Sheesh. For having such a great time in Napa, I sure have had a hard time telling you all about it. Now that we've been back almost a week, it's starting to feel like we never went, so I decided it's time to revisit all those photos. It'll put mama in a better mood, you know what I mean? I thought I would start by showing you the hotel, Solage Calistoga .

Solage is located in Calistoga (obviously), which is at the very north end of Napa Valley (for those of you who have not been there). It is a great location, but the hotel is right up next to the road, which doesn't make for a very nice first impression. Luckily, we had stayed here once before so we knew the rooms are beautiful. The style (in their words) is "Napa Farmhouse meets San Francisco Loft." Sounds good to me!

First things first. Here's the spa:

I waited for that guy to move his big heiny, but he just wouldn't. Please avert your eyes and experience the loveliness.

Here's the "Treatment Waiting Area," and maybe also the "Avoid Going Back to Your Room to Take Care of the Baby Area."

Stroll on over to the Bathhouse and have a mud treatment, why don't you?

OK, if you insist.

This is where the nice lady mixes up your mud concoction. Are you catching the farmhouse-loft vibe?

A close-up of the faucet because I liked it so much. I'm such a sucker for that "rustic modernism" thing.

Here's the view down to the "au naturel" mineral pools. I didn't think it was appropriate to take photos once inside.If you're feeling up to it, go take a class in the Yoga and Movement Studio. There's a beautiful view out to an old oak tree.

Here's the way you walk over to the Restaurant and Bar.

Fantastic bar and restaurant. I guess that's what you would expect when you are in this part of the world. We had room service for dinner both nights after putting Baby J down and the food was awesome. Plus, we got to drink champagne and watch movies in bed (something we never get to do at home). Although there were about 25 crappy unheard-of movies "on demand," Castaway, Wedding Crashers and a new episode of Mad Men were all on regular channels.

Here's the area you can use if you want to get married here. It reminds me a lot of where we got married.I love the old-school pool styling. No fake waterfalls and slides here.Here's where you check in. Very modest and discreet.

I'll show you the room in another post. Must get back to mothering. I know you understand.

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