29 January 2015

Touchy Subjects

My soon-to-be sister in law Caitlin recently described me as a "passionate advocate for maternal/infant health" which I thought was very interesting (in a wonderful way!). It's fascinating to hear how others view you, am I right? I remember one of the most beautiful births I attended as a doula, my client wrote such a loving review and at the end wrote, "I would recommend her to any woman who wants a steadfast friend for the incredible journey into motherhood." which was so touching. It's refreshing to know that others see you as you see yourself.

Motherhood is a touchy subject. How you birth your baby, how you feed your baby, how you care for your baby...all are unfortunately heated topics, where feelings get hurt more often than not. There is such privacy, shame, bitterness and anger. Yet, yet- there is grace, and respect, community and love. So much love for mamas and babies.

Fully embracing controversy - I read an article today in response to an interview titled "No, your Harvard degree isn't wasted if you decide to stay home"- I loved it (definitely click on the link to read Christy Nielsen's original post) . "It’s a woman’s right to seek happiness and fulfillment in any way that is true to her—and yes, those ways can transform over time" You can substitute "It's a woman's right" with "It's YOUR right" because it applies to many aspects of life, male or female.

 Also one of my most favorite pieces written on  the varying opinions surrounding birth is "You Don't Get to Have an Opinion on How Anyone Gives Birth. Ever." - its a must read, in my opinion.

You matter. What you want, matters. How you feel is important and valid. You deserve to seek happiness and fulfillment in any way that is true to you - and yes, those ways can transform over time.

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PS- Want to read two hilarious posts about heading into childbirth? I could (and have) read these both over and over, still finding them so funny.
1. Jamie and Jeff's Birth Plan
2. My Birth Plan: With lots of questions and side notes sprinkled with pure panic 

28 January 2015

Super Bowl Snacks

As you all know my football team, the Seahawks, won the Super Bowl last year. We are back in the big game again this year (duh, of course) which is insanely exciting. Last year, Nate and I hosted more than 20 people at our house for the game, but this year since we moved to a townhouse, just really don't have the space to host again, unfortunately. All that said, every Super Bowl is jam packed with snacks and food and it has a tendency of being really unhealthy and very "meat centered". I don't digest meat very efficiently so I don't feel great after eating a lot of chicken and I haven't eaten beef for the past 10 years (with the exception of the "Accidental Beef Taco Incident of 2014", which is a story for another time).

Anywho, here are some appetizers I'd bring to a Super Bowl Party:

Caprese Bites. These are my Go-To appetizer when I am going over to someones house for dinner. They are easy to make and insanely delicious. Nate and I have been known to make a giant plate for dinner. So much yum. Oh, but instead of putting them on a toothpick, here is my method: Place sundried tomato and basil triscuits on a platter, place a leaf of basil on the cracker, slice tomato and lay on top of basil. then cut the mozzarella and put on top of the tomato. Finally, drizzle with balsamic and enjoy the crap out of those caprese bites.

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus. I first had these at a Friendsgiving a couple years ago, but made them myself for the first time for my brother in law's engagement party that we hosted. Also very easy (and only two ingredients), but the pan frying does take some time. You can prep the asparagus ahead of time and just keep in the fridge until you're ready to fry. Hint: Wrap prosciutto at an angle to wind up the asparagus and add to an already warm/hot pan. You want the meat to be crispy and the asparagus to be softened.

French Onion Stuffed Mushrooms. I could eat onions every.single.day. When I lived at home with my parents for the 3 weeks before our wedding, my Dad and I (who is also an onion enthusiast) destroyed an entire Costco bag of onions. To us, onions are like Franks Hot Sauce- we put that sh*t on everything!

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27 January 2015

Juice and other things

I got a juicer for Christmas and have been seriously loving it. It's so far been such an easy way to increase my fruit and vegetable vitamin intake. So far, I have been juicing at night and then storing the juice in a large mason jar, making it super easy to grab on my way to work in the morning. I was somewhat hesitant to add greens- even though I logically knew I wanted to/needed to work towards adding them in. I like spinach and broccoli (don't love kale so much) but for some reason, the idea of drinking spinach/broccoli/kale juice sounded....not appetizing. After reading a lot, I knew I really needed to take the plunge and start adding those leafy greens. The verdict is in- the greens don't produce a ton of juice, so the flavor is easily masked by yummy carrots, oranges, apples, and/or pineapple (those are my 4 juice staples that are always in the fridge). This mornings juice featured a big handful of spinach (the fresh organic leaves, not prepacked), a big handful of organic kale, an apple, 4 large carrots, and 1/2 a pineapple. YUM! Another random thought: I cut the juice with water at work, as to not overload my body with sugar. I'll pour half the mason jar into a glass and top it off with water. Definitely add ice cubes-  really cold juice tastes way better than room temp. My favorite juice so far (that includes zero leafy greens, haha) is orange, carrot, and pineapple. The one I want to try this week is a kale, cucumber, apple mix (maybe with a lemon or orange added).

In other news, I feel like I am already getting much better at menu planning this week. I put the verde beer chicken in the crock pot before I left for work this morning, which will make meat for fajitas for tonight's dinner and will also be used for enchiladas on Thursday. Seriously, the verde chicken is a real jackpot- it takes 5 minutes to throw it all together in the morning in the crock pot and will be used for two different meals, saving me a ton of time from having to cook chicken two different evenings. Two thumbs up, for sure.

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21 January 2015

Cardigan for the win

My favorite fleece wrap cardigan is out with fun new colors (!)- I know this because one of our patients came in wearing one in a bright spring time yellow yesterday, and I may have asked her if I could have it. This wrap is crazy popular with over 2,500 positive reviews on the Nordstrom website. It's normally $58, but on sale right now for $39.90. I have a blue/grey color, but want to track down the grey stripe and/or this new shade of pink. I could live in this wrap cardigan, seriously. You definitely need one (or two).

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20 January 2015

A Decade

Today, Nate and I are celebrating 10 years together. An entire decade (1/3 of my life!) has been spent with him in it, and I thank God every day for that. I also promised him that after this one, I'd stop insisting we celebrate our dating anniversary. :-)

I met Nate when I was 18 years old and he had just turned 20. We were both college freshman living in the same dorm at SPU. It seems like a life time ago that we met and looking back, I hardly recognize Freshman Nate and Kales. How much changes in those 10 years! Countless apartments, numerous schools, living apart for a year when I moved to Austria, fun vacations and numerous trips together. Life's ups and downs for the past 10 years have all included Nate, my steadfast best friend and partner.

He has taught me about unconditional love and respect, especially when we don't deserve it. Nate is the most tender hearted, loving man and he takes such good care of me (the couch beds he makes are out of this world). Nate makes me laugh every day and no one pushes me harder than he does. He pushes me to achieve my best and supports me at every turn. I don't deserve him- his love and unwavering support, but am so thankful for it. My life would look so different if I hadn't ended up living in the same dorm as him our freshman year. Nate is the smartest, funniest, most attractive, and most hard working guy I know, and I am so lucky he chose me to walk through life with him. I am so proud of him and proud to be his best friend and wife. Marrying Nate was one of the better decisions I've made in the last 10 years and I am really looking forward to spending the rest of my life holding his hand.

Thank you for choosing me, Naniel. Thank you for the last 10 years. I promise to love you even more in our next decade together and for every one after that.

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19 January 2015

Make, Eat, Wear

I have a stack of black and white old family photos from my Mom that are just waiting for me to get around to framing them and making a gallery wall. My idea is that I will create an expansive photo gallery wall in our upstairs hallway, using black and white photos from different generations and from both sides of our families. I have decided on (but haven't purchased) the white Ikea Ribba frames in various sizes. Hopefully I can at least start this project on one of our upcoming screen off evenings. I'll definitely need Nate's help hanging and creating the gallery wall. Here is what I am thinking:

Menu planning went really well this week! I tried a new recipe that actually ended up being awesome. Its a 4 ingredient slow cooker salsa verde beer chicken that we made into really yummy tacos. And there was a ton of left over chicken so I used it two days later in crock pot chicken taco chili! Win!

 I have been lusting after this fold over leopard clutch and love how Hello Fashion incorporated one into a date night outfit. I also have a fab pair of nude heels similar to hers, I clearly need to start rocking them with skinny jeans and a loose sweater. 

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16 January 2015

Burp Cloth Tutorial

A couple of things before I dive into this tutorial: We all know handmade gifts are better than store bough..am I right?! But the reason they are more special is because they take a crud ton of time and effort, which we sometimes have none of (and I am very thankful for Amazon prime for that very reason). Anyways, all that to say: this handmade gift is super easy and super quick, I promise. I am a novice when it comes to sewing. I have a machine that I inherited from my Grandma and have very, very basic skills under my belt. So let that reassure you that this is an entry level sewing project. ...Moving right along!

I have sewed burp clothes for a couple different baby showers, including when my sister had Wesleigh. My sister says these burp cloths are her favorite because the back is made of terry cloth, therefore making them really absorbent for spit up and various other messes. They wash well and are super cute since you can pick out any cotton fabric to use for the front. Cute and functional!

- fabric (I used cotton quilting fabric. The amount depends on how many you want to make, but for this tutorial I bought half a yard of two different patterned fabrics, which made 8 total burp cloths.)
- terry cloth (get a bright color or ivory, white is a bad choice for spit up stains. I got 1 yard which made 8)
- tape measure
- fabric scissors
- pins
- thread & sewing machine (obviously?)

Step One:
Cut your terry cloth and your fabric. I cut mine to be 10x16 but really any size rectangle works. You just don't want it too short. Hint: I usually only measure the cotton fabric. After I cut all that fabric, I lay each piece right side down on the terry cloth, then just cut the terry cloth around the cotton. 

Step Two:
Pin the right sides together (terry cloth to fabric).

Step Three:
Sew together, but make sure to leave a couple inch opening on one side. Trim any edges.

Step Four:
Turn inside out (use a pencil to poke out the corners, if needed). Then fold the opening under and pin together.
Step Five:
Top stitch around the perimeter, which will close off the opening.

Step Six:
Add a second line of top stitching. This is totally optional, but I think it looks better and gives it a fun finishing detail.



See, I told you that was going to be easy. Now you'll impress those baby shower guests and the soon to be parents with your creativity and craftiness...its our little secret just how easy the project is!

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PS- Another random thought: I usually pick fabrics that coordinate with the new baby's nursery. Ask the mom ahead of time what her design inspiration is for the baby's room- that's an easy way to insure that the new mom will love what the burp cloths look like and love how well they work for spit up.

15 January 2015

What I'm Reading

I'm a bookaholic. Notice I said bookaholic, not readaholic. The difference is that I buy books all the time, getting very excited about them but rarely carve out enough time to sit and read. So the books stack higher and higher on my nightstand, taunting me nightly. I really love reading, I just don't make it enough of a priority. (Thank goodness for screen off days this year! Helloooooo books!)

Here is what's on my night stand currently ("cook book", non fiction, hilarious fiction):
The Juicing Bible , Yes Please by Amy Poehler, Labor Day: True Birth Stories by Today's Best Women Writers.

 Next on my list? I want to read Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

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14 January 2015

With the new year...a new couch

Our living room has slowly been getting a make over, but one piece that took us a while to replace was our sofa. Since getting married, we have been using a great Restoration Hardware brown leather couch that I bought second hand, but it is very hard to move (big and heavy!) and doesn't seem to fit the space in the townhouse very well. We went back and forth about wanting to buy a pull-out type sofa or not, but in the end just went for comfort and style.

I am super excited about our upgrade! We went with a textured grey sofa with a chaise lounge (that was my "must have"). I really think switching from dark brown leather to grey will do wonders for our living room. The color palate will stay the same somewhat, we are just swapping brown for grey.
This is our color inspiration:
Deep Navy & Fog Grey, with accents in white and light blue (specifically silver sage from RH)
After we went couch shopping a couple times, I came home and searched pinterest for grey sofa inspiration and that really solidified that we needed a grey couch with/and a chaise.
I found these pictures online of our new couch and chaise. I love that the chaise can be on its own or attached to the sofa!
My sister bought me a plush throw in silver sage from RH for Christmas so that will look perfect thrown over the chaise. I am thinking I'll go with navy blue/black/white patterns for the updated couch pillow slipcovers, but I haven't gone fabric shopping quite yet. The couch will be delivered Sunday, I am so excited! 

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12 January 2015

Recap, the new year, and goals

Hello 2015!

I love fresh starts with renewed energy and optimism.

Lets do a little 2014 recap, shall we?
  • Perhaps most importantly, the Seahawks won the super bowl!
  • In February, Nate and I moved out of our house in north Seattle to a brand new townhouse in the fantastic Phinney Ridge neighborhood. Such a wonderful change.
  • Nate got reassigned from his attorney job in Redmond to Microsoft Bellevue campus.
  • In March, I celebrated my 28th birthday in Big White, Canada on a super fun ski trip.
  • Traveled to Austin, Texas and Las Vegas for two different bachelorette parties.
  • Our second car, the Subaru, got stolen so we bought a fun scooter, and then the Subaru was found again!
  • Our niece Wesleigh turned one years old.
  • I got a new, full time position at Midwife Seattle and sadly had to leave my fun part time job at my favorite children's clothing store.
  • My brother in law proposed to his girlfriend and we are all so looking forward to their 2015 wedding!
  • My little sister got married in September.  
  • My other little sister found out she is pregnant with baby #2 and its another girl! Yahoo!
  • Nate turned 30 this holiday season, which I feel much more excited about than he does.
  • Not to mention lots of fun trips to see family in Yakima and attending several great 2014 weddings.
Nate and I sat down after the new year and wrote down some goals/intentions for 2015. I won't bore you with all of them but here are some of mine for the upcoming year:
  1. Be intentional about photography, bring my DSLR camera with me! I am so reliant on my phone's camera that I often leave my nice camera unused. I am making a goal of shooting at least one "keeper" photo per month.
  2. I want to take tennis lessons in the spring/summer this year. And start jogging. And start my yoga practice again. Ha. I do wish I was more active. Anyone have any motivation tips?
  3. Focus on increasing fruits and veggies into every meal. We are good about healthy dinners but I usually eat breakfast and lunch at work so my meals tend to be high protein but minimal fresh fruits and veggies. I have been trying to juice at night and bring a big Bell jar of fresh juice with me to work in the mornings as a quick and easy way to get produce.
  4. Menu planning. I get so irritated at going to the grocery store (what feels like) every evening after work. So I bought a little whiteboard that sticks to our fridge that has days of the week on it and so on Sunday I sit down and plan our 5 weeknight meals and then go grocery shopping right after. This is wonderful because it means I only go grocery store once a week! So far menu planning is awesome.
  5. Nate and I simultaneously love and hate evenings spent watching Netflix or playing on our phones. But we both agree, all the screen time is excessive and totally unnecessary. So, this year we have instituted one night a week that is our "screen off" day. This means, when we get home from work we aren't going to watch any TV or be on our phones or play on the computer. No screens at all! I'm excited to work on projects, sew, read, and just spend time with Nate without distractions.
  6. Volunteer. I am very aware of how blessed we are and I really want to give back. So I made a goal of volunteering at least once a month in 2015. This month I signed us up to volunteer our time at a local food bank on a weeknight evening (great use of a screen off day!).
  7. Blog more! :-)
So those are just a couple of my intentions for the new year. What's on your list?

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