Tag Archives: Laughter

weekend in carmel

11 Feb

A few weekends ago Brian and I road tripped up to Carmel for a few days to celebrate a friend’s wedding. I haven’t been to that area since I was a kid so I loved exploring it for what felt like the first time. We rented a house with some friends through airbnb which was so much better than staying in a hotel. It was in a great neighborhood and walking distance from the main drag of town. I knew Carmel was going to be visually beautiful with the sea as its backdrop but I was surprised to learn it also has some great restaurants and shops. Granted the whole place shuts down around 9pm- definitely not a place to go if you’re looking for a night on the town. But at 6 1/2 months pregnant I’m usually in bed by 9pm so it worked for me! We had such a fun three days. I’ll let the pics speak for themselves.

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five months

7 Jan

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Monthly pregnancy update – January / five months

Moving right along over here- five months in and feeling pretty good. Baby Glodney is getting bigger by the day! If you ask the pregnancy app on my iPhone he’s currently the size of a banana. The fruit and vegetable comparison cracks me up. At week seven I made the mistake of scrolling to the final week, week 40, to see what fruit he would be by then…my eyes widened when I saw a picture of a watermelon. It scared the shit out of me. I scrolled back to the picture of a blueberry as fast as I could. This growing a human in your stomach thing is wild. It’s so sci-fi! When I see him on the ultrasound screen I still feel like I am watching television. My brain has a hard time comprehending that the television image is happening inside me. You’d think the bump at my midsection would help it feel real. Maybe there’s still a bit of a disconnect because I can’t feel him move yet? I got the news a few weeks ago that my placenta has grown in a really unhelpful place- it’s low and anterior. The anterior part means it’s on the belly side of my uterus. So when he kicks he’s kicking the placenta instead of my stomach. I can’t feel a thing. My OB said I might not feel him move until after week 30. Major bummer… I was so looking forward to the joys of feeling him move. The placenta situation got even more annoying when I learned that it was also low and partially covering my cervix. For those of you who don’t know much about the female anatomy, the cervix is his exit out into the world once he’s fully cooked. So the fact that it’s being partially covered is clearly a problem. If the placenta does not move off the cervix as I progress then I will have to have a scheduled c-section. There’s not even another option. This news really upset me. I had an image of how our son was going to enter the world and that image did not include a c-section. I know that a healthy baby is all that really matters though so I will make peace with it if needed.

Other than my placenta situation it’s been an easy pregnancy so far. He’s been good to his mama. We’ve been working on cleaning out our office to make room for him. It was a much bigger project than I intended it to be. How can two people possibly hoard so much crap in a few short years?? I put Brian to work during the holiday break. I can safely say he’s had more  exciting and restful breaks from work. The room still looks crazy- papers and boxes everywhere but we are making progress. My goal is to have it totally cleaned out before the painter comes January 16th to paint the room.

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I’m feeling…so tired. I kept hearing that the second trimester would bring with it a surge of energy but I have yet to experience that. Maybe it’s because I’ve been sick with either a cold or food poisoning for the last month but I am totally wiped.

food loves…fruit. It’s not a worthwhile day unless there is fruit involved. I can’t seem to get enough vanilla yogurt with bananas on top. It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up. I would also be happy if I could eat a chopped salad from Coral Tree Cafe for lunch everyday.

food hates…ummm there’s not much this pregnant lady won’t eat.

daydreaming about…a big family trip we might take (if we are brave enough) with the little guy in September. They say it’s easy to travel with babies when they are young so we are toying with the idea of taking him to a foreign (don’t worry we aren’t thinking third world this time) destination.

can’t wait to…paint his room.

least favorite parts of pregnancy this month…my weakened immune system and the fact that you can’t take cold meds when you are pregnant. Such a cruel joke.

favorite parts of pregnancy this month…ahhh so much. I love when Brian puts his hand on my growing belly to say hi to the babe. I feel so connected to my husband right now and it’s such a sweet time in our marriage. I also love putting my own hand on my belly and talking to him. Playing the name game with Brian has also been fun. I of course already have the perfect name picked out for our son but to be fair I’m going through the motions of looking through books and putting a larger list together so we can discuss. Compromise at it’s finest.

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celebrating my momma’s bday…

28 Sep

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My momma’s birthday always feels like the kick-off for the upcoming celebratory season. Her birthday, September 24th falls the day after the first day of fall- my absolute favorite time of year. Even though it’s usually still unbearably hot in Los Angeles on her birthday I am in full fall mode.

Her lovely friends Mary & Francesca hosted a casual dinner for fourteen of us to celebrate her birthday. I am a fan of celebrating my mom because she is hands down one of my favorite people to walk the earth. She’s full of so much joy, love and laughter. She’s the kind of person you want to be stuck in a room with for hours. She’s just fun.

We feasted on a Moroccan chicken dish, roasted veggies, an arugula salad & a fruit salad while sitting outside in the garden. After dinner we moved into the living room to eat dessert (the most delectable bread pudding I have ever tasted) while watching her open gifts.

It was the kind of evening that left me heart feeling full.

Happy Birthday to my beautiful Momma.

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the four rooms

21 Jul

 

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There is an Indian proverb that says “everyone is a house with four rooms, a mental, a physical, an emotional, and a spiritual. It is said that most of us live in one room most of the time but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not complete person.” Interesting thought, don’t you agree? The idea is based on the principle that when our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual selves are in alignment – we can more fully manifest the life we desire. This idea resonates with me. I find that when one of my rooms is out of sorts it affects everything in my life. I feel unbalanced. Off kilter. Anxious. Reactive.

So how does one balance their four rooms?

I pulled some excerpts from the beautiful site The Intentional Workplace that explain how to tend to your four rooms. Again, not my words. Enjoy!

Room one- the mental room 

The power of thought is one of the most creative forces in the Universe. Some would say – the most powerful. We don’t usually give a second thought to thinking, but our thoughts are constantly creating our experiences.

The language we use – to think and speak – is the narrative of our inner and outer world . Look around the room you are sitting in now; in the purest sense, everything in it is the product of someone’s thought. Our thoughts are the domain in which we can exercise our greatest control. Not rigid or authoritarian control, but choice. In the moment to moment choices we make, we demonstrate the power of our thought.

The scope of our control over thought continues to be understood through neuroscience. According to a recent study discussed in Nature, researchers stated,“Individuals can rapidly, consciously and voluntarily control neurons deep inside their head.” While it is important not to underestimate the challenge of controlling our thinking (especially where there is history of emotional or physical trauma) the news from science is very encouraging.

We’re entering an era where we understand that our thoughts need not be victims to external influence, but are the epicenter of our own life force and behavioral direction.

Room two- the emotional room 

This is the room where our feelings reside. Neuroscience has shown that our feelings do not simply emanate from one part of our brain (the limbic system), so we can imagine that this room is vast. It encompasses our entire body. You have more neural networks for feeling in your stomach and heart than anywhere else in your body.

Some of us ignore this room. It’s like the extra back room, filled with clutter, that seems like just too much work to organize. Others spend way too much time in the emotional room, reacting on auto-pilot to life’s events, rather than using the knowledge of the mental room for balance.

The tools of emotional intelligence can give us a whole new level of freedom in which to explore this room. We tend to think of this room as a messy place filled with anger, anxiety, resentment, impatience and frustration. While there should be a welcome sign on this room’s door for all of our feelings, remember that this is also the room where calmness, confidence, contentment, satisfaction, love, joy, empathy and compassion live. There is room for all.

The way we breathe is an important clue to how we relate to our emotions. Feelings of anger, fear, jealousy, resentment and frustration are all emotions that contracts us physically (and mentally). These feelings pull us in, forcing our breathing to become very shallow, even halting. Yet, when we experience feelings of contentment, calmness, elation and gratitude, we feel a sense of breathing out – of expansion. Even emotions that some might think of as sad, such as empathy and compassion – provide us with a feeling of release.

I have long contended that every emotion has the potential to be a resource in our lives. Feelings are an exquisite source of information about our experience. They do not lie. They are a blueprint of the truth of our experience. They reliably chart whether we are living our values or not. They brilliantly point to how we are meeting our needs or not.

The emotional room is a powerful place to reflect on your truth. Visit it with curiosity (one of the “neutral” emotions) and leave your judgment by the door. You are there to listen, learn and be humbled by your humanness.

Room three- the physical room 

Being awake and alive requires many of us to basically shift our relationship to our bodies. Most of us are spending too much time “in our heads,” cut off from our senses and the messages from our bodies. Most of the time, we’re not listening – we’re pushing. Our miraculous bodies often take a beating from us and deserve more TLC.

More rest. Better nutrition. More movement. Better posture. More hydration. Less criticism. Less stress. More self-love. It all counts. The body serves us over and over even when we deny its basics needs. How often do we “thank you?”

The core of our being is our breath or Prana in Sanskrit, Ha in Hawaiian and Chi in Chinese. In order to regain our natural connection to our body’s life force, we need to change our relationship to how we breathe. It is the key that unlocks the door between the mind and the body.

As we race from one task to the other, we rarely given our bodies a thought. Too many of our bodies are anesthetized by busyness. The reclamation of our relationships to our bodies should be one of our highest priorities.

Enter the physical room often. Bring your appreciation. Bring your respect. Celebrate this glorious temple of your life.

Room four- the spiritual room 

This room isn’t about doing – it’s about being. It’s doesn’t have to be about religion or ideology. It is the room where your spirit comes alive – where it feels free. It is the room that reflects and shares the immensity of YOU. So many wonderful gifts live in this room – too many untouched.

The gifts in this room don’t have to be marketable, branded, explained, justified or perfect. They simply need the space to go where your intuitive sense takes them.

Living in this room requires that we more closely define what inspires and brings us joy. Whatever the experience – being in nature, working with passion, being with those we love, sharing ideas, caring for those in need, painting a picture, creating a wonderful meal, traveling to places we love – bring us into alignment with the spiritual room.

Whenever we visit this room, we integrate all four rooms in harmony. In this room, we find new sources of creativity, energy and peace. Here we discover what truly feeds us – the source of the real needs behind the endless quest for self-expression.

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project 30 – liz

14 Jul

 

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Liz, 30 / Hott Sauce

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

It’s going to turn out even better than you could imagine.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

My finances! I racked up a lot of credit card debt and paid absolutely no attention to things like my 401K, health insurance and savings. And I have no idea where all the money went. I wish I’d made some more responsible long-term financial decisions.

And my writing. I’ve always enjoyed writing but feel like I’m just now beginning to trust and believe that my voice is worth being heard. I sometimes fear I missed my window of opportunity.

But hey! My childhood idol Laura Ingalls Wilder wasn’t published until she was in her sixties so there’s hope for us all!

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

Oh lawd. Basically everything else! I have spent (and, I’ll be real, continue to spend) SO MUCH energy stressing over my career, friendships, boys, family, body image, health, the works. If it’s a thing, I’ve panicked over it at least once. I spent most of my 20’s thinking two steps ahead trying to plan for what might come next. I wish I had slowed down and enjoyed every step of the way for what it was.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

If I had to pick just one, I’d of course pick marrying my husband – snuck that milestone in right under the 3-0 wire just three weeks before my birthday. Nailed it. Brian is the best, full stop. Every day we spend together is the coolest, funnest, grandest adventure, but declaring our vows in front of our nearest and dearest was in its own sphere of amazing.

But really, I think when I look back what I’ll always associate with my 20’s is not one particular memory, but a whole collection of experiences gained living in New York. Working for my terrifying boss and having weird roommates and mice (ew) and drunkenly running around the East Village and never having enough money and figuring out the subway system and being surrounded by so much diversity and culture and general overstimulation. It’s such a singular, wild and intense place and I feel so much of my 20’s decade has been defined against this backdrop. It’s not for everyone but I’m so happy I’ve lived here. I can’t imagine spending these formative years anywhere else.

I do have one image that stands out, I was riding the D train from my job in Manhattan to my apartment in Brooklyn, just a few weeks after moving into the city which means I was 22 or just freshly 23. This train line goes across a bridge over the East River. As we came up from the tunnel it was that perfect time of day, the golden hour, and the sun was low and shimmery on the water, slipping down behind the tall buildings of lower Manhattan and I just sort of drank it all in, the bridges and the river, Brooklyn ahead of me and the famous New York City skyline behind me and it sounds a little cheesy but in that moment I realized this was my life! I was where I wanted to be and I was so happy.

It sounds so cheesy but sometimes I’ll get a moment like that again, I’ll be zipping along in a taxi or rushing to meet a friend somewhere and catch a glimpse of some building or person or smell from a food cart and suddenly be overwhelmed with gratitude and think “This is your life! Your whole, real life. Remember this!!”

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

I thought I’d be in PR or an event planner, living in New York City in an apartment with a lot of chic exposed brick.

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

Living in New York City (check!) working as a publicist for a major national publishing house (this marries PR and events with my other true love, books, so check anddd check), in an apartment with several weird chandeliers but sadly no exposed brick. No washer/dryer, AC or dishwasher, either. Why do I love this city so much again?

I feel like I ought to be paying Kate big bucks for therapy (Kate, do you take Blue Cross Blue Shield?!) because it took me sitting down to answer this blog Q&A to force me to pause, look around and realize…I’m kind of right where I always wanted to be.

Life is not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. There are many experiences I’ve had I wish I could erase or things I’m going through now I wish I could change but overall, I’m like, MAKING IT HAPPEN. And so many things, as I said above, are even better than I could have imagined. I’m married to the most amazing guy and I have great friends and I’m well-respected at my job. I run and cook and have finally figured out how to style my hair (Another thing I’d tell my 20-year-old self: put down the box dye, girl.) and I have this brand new sweet baby niece and feel like I’m closer to my family than ever.

So why am I always think I’m never quite enough?

Hence owing Kate those big bucks. Guys, I am right now having an epiphany. Live on national, um, internet. So if you had to ask me what I would tell my 30-year, 10ish-month-old self it would be stop being so hard on yourself, you’re doing great.

(Fellow worry-warts and self-critics reading this, pause right now, sit down and take stock. I bet you’re doing a lot better than you think you are! I think you’re great.)

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Um, literally all the time. See everything else I’ve already said. Worrying is my #1 hobby.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

An overall confidence and sense of self. No longer feeling the need to listen to “cool” bands because some dude likes them or stay out late drinking because I don’t want to feel left out or pretend to have read all the smartest literature or follow fashion trends. Like, crop tops? Hell no.

I have a better sense of what I like, what I want and who I am. And I think I have a better sense of who and what matters. I don’t want to say I care less what people think about me at 30 than I did at 20 because I do still care how I am perceived, but now I’m getting a little bit better at identifying, you know “is this person’s opinion of value? Will it help me to become a better person or truer version of myself?” and if yes, I’ll try to listen and learn. And if no, well, fuck ’em.

Ok, I’m not always the best at that last one but I think the 30’s are all about learning how to let the unimportant stuff slide.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

You know what, I’m not even going to think about where I might be at 40. As previously revealed I have a bit of, um, a habit (slash problem) of worrying how things will turn out and then freaking out when they don’t go according to my plan. In the past I always knew the broad strokes, at least, of how I wanted my life to look: first college than a year abroad then NYC. Through work or luck or who knows what it has, so far, more or less fallen into place. And I am full of gratitude for all of the good and bad and medium things that have brought me to where I am today.

But I find myself for the first time unsure of exactly what I want my future to look like. I know I hope to have children and take exciting trips and continue to challenge myself creatively, physically and intellectually and still be head over heels for my fella 10, 20, a million years into the future. But there are so many questions without easy answers and factors out of my control. When do we have children? How many? What if I can’t get pregnant or end up with quintuplets? Will I stay in publishing or look to start a new career? Will we live in the city or move to (shudder) the suburbs? How will we afford all the things we hope to see and do and experience?

And on and on.

I’m making a conscious effort to S-L-O-W D-O-W-N and stop trying to plan the future. I want to really be present in the now and take and embrace every new challenge and opportunity as they arise. I’m learning — yes, at an oh so glacial pace, but I AM learning — to live with uncertainty.

So I’ll just say that wherever I land at 40, whatever it looks like, I just hope I’m happy and healthy and at peace with all I’ve done and all that’s yet to come.

Also I would not be mad if this place of zenlike self-realization happened to come with an in-unit washer and dryer. I feel like that’s not too much to ask?

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

“Shake it off.” – Taylor Swift

(I wish that was a joke, ha!)

connect with Liz

 blog / instagram @lizho914 / Facebook 

saturday night dinner party

15 Jun

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On Saturday night Brian and I had my best girlfriend Taline and her 11 month old son Liam over for dinner. The last time we had Liam over he was a teeny tiny little babe. He didn’t do much other than look cute. Cut to now…he’s a super mobile (he gave Frank a run for his money), giggly & fun little guy. Having him at the dinner table like one of the adults cracked me up. When planning the menu for the evening I tried to accommodate everyone. I’m new at cooking for a baby thing- what can they eat at 11 months??? I settled on a pasta dish & a peach crisp for dessert ( I figured both could be modified for Liam to eat). Definitely not the healthiest of dinners (helllllo carbs!) but it’s all fun and games until your jeans don’t fit, right?

Of course Brian helped me put the meal together. I swear no matter what I do he will always be a better cook than me. It’s ok I guess…I think I might like baking better anyway. I’ll let him be the cook in the family and I’ll handle the desserts. I mean who doesn’t want to be in charge of the desserts, right? I’ve been wanting to make a crisp/crumble type thing for a while now. They always look so damn good to me when I scroll through pinterest. I’ve also been wanting to make something with peaches because nothing says summer to me like a dessert with peaches.

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I couldn’t help but laugh at the last picture. Dinner parties sure do look different in your thirties! In the best possible way too. As I looked around the table my heart-felt incredibly full.

Below you will find the two recipes…

spaghetti all’ amatriciana 

* ingredients

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces pancetta (thick cut), diced
1 small white onion, finely diced
3 large garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes*
1 (28-ounce) can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes
3/4 ounce parmigiano-reggiano cheese, finely grated (plus more for serving)
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 lb dried spaghetti pasta
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

* directions

-Heat the olive oil in a large (straight-sided, preferably) skillet over medium heat. Add the diced pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until most of the fat has rendered into the pan and the pancetta is crispy and caramelized slightly. Using a slotted spoon, remove the crispy pancetta and place in a separate small bowl, leaving any fat behind in the pan.
-Over medium-low heat, add the diced onion and saute in the rendered fat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and lightly caramelized. Add the garlic and continue to saute for an addition 2 to 3 minutes, being careful to avoid burning the garlic or onion. Deglaze the pan with a tablespoon of water, if necessary, to remove any bits of crispy pancetta or bits from the bottom of the pan.
-Add the tomato paste and red pepper flakes, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat for an addition 1 to 2 minutes, or until the paste has thickened slightly.
-Add the pancetta, and any extra rendered fat, back into the skillet, along with the crushed tomatoes. Bring the sauce to a low simmer, and cook, stirring every few minutes, for 15 to 20 minutes. The sauce should be relatively thick. Add the grated cheese to the sauce, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place over low heat while you cook the pasta.
-Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water in a measuring cup, and then drain the pasta. Return the drained pasta back into the pot, toss with a tablespoon of unsalted butter, and add the sauce, thinning with pasta cooking water as necessary until the pasta is evenly coated. Serve pasta with extra grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese on the side.

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peach crisp with gingersnap crumble topping 

* ingredients

Filling
6 cups sliced peaches (peeled and sliced into ½ inch pieces)
¾ cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 teaspoons cornstarch
Topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup brown sugar (packed)
16 gingersnap cookies ((or 4 oz); crushed)
⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup butter (melted)

* directions

-Pre heat oven to 375 F.
-Mix peaches, ¾ cup sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch in a 9 X 9 inch pan.
-In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugars, crushed gingersnaps, ginger, and melted butter. Spread evenly over peach filling.
-Bake for 40-50 minutes, until topping is golden and filling bubbles. You may need to cover with foil at around 30 minutes to prevent topping from overcooking.

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hitting the road…

5 Jun

 

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Brian and I are hitting the road this morning en route for one of my favorite places…Sedona, AZ. We go to Sedona at least twice a year (Brian’s parents have a house there) but this will be a weekend of firsts for us…we are staying there a little longer than we usually do (a weekend always seems to go by too quick), driving instead of flying (we decided that we were both in need of a little adventure) and going alone (we usually bring a group of friends with us but this time around we wanted a mellow trip). I’m looking forward to doing a whole lotta nothing for five days.

Below is my Friday happy list- making a list of the little things that bring me joy each week helps me stay present.

20 things that have been making me happy recently…

pink peonies

watching Bloodline on Netflix

my new laptop- it’s love

planning out our summer calendar (so many weddings!)

wandering the streets of Venice on my morning walks with Frankie

lunches with Crystal

lazy Sundays at home with my family and a stack of magazines

the little dragon pandora station

haagen dazs vanilla ice cream

sipping coffee in bed with a view of our blooming garden

saging our home (more on that next week)

beach weather, pool weather & bikini weather is on the horizon

we’re going to Sedona for five days!

this quote…

ego says: once everything falls into place, I will find peace

spirit says: find peace and everything will fall into place 

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What’s been making you guys happy recently?