Happy Friday + Weekend Reading

Some photos from this week from around these parts currently taking over populating my comp desktop: 

She has the thrifting gene, and it sure as heck isn’t from me….

Hearts! I wanna know the person who decided to put hearts all over their building….

W & G are taking in their last beach days before the big move (s). I on the other hand still loathing the sand and will be a happy camper to never see another grain anytime soon. The things we do for the ones we love…(like hiding from all the sand on a sheet for beach days) 

Best Dad Ever. Seriously even though he’s technically a “new” dad he kicks my butt some most days in the patient, awesome, parenting stuff. 

What are you up to this weekend? We’re headed to a party tonight with friends being put on by the clever local business Kale Cart looking forward to a glass of wine and some yummy homemade food! We’re also looking forward to (dare I say) meeting another tumblr family with an IRL playdate. This blog never stops bringing amazing people into our life.  

Here’s some stuff from around the web that caught my attention this week if you’re in need for some weekend reads over that leisurely Sunday coffee. ;) 

 -While it was work related finding THESE GUYS I’m kinda loving their platform for listening to music both on desk top and on my phone, plus it’s FREE currently to use the app! It’s more intuitive than say pandora since you can use the fun sliders to set up your musical preferences. 

-I always thought risotto was full of butter, cream, and everything naughty. Little did I know it doesn’t need to be and that creamy texture is actually from 30+ mins of stirring. Since discovering this risotto has become my go-to when hosting guests. There’s something magical about investing the time to carefully make something for people you love and welcomed into your home. I feel so intentioned in the prep and have made it twice in the past month for guests! This week we had a friend in the building and his daughter over for dinner and a playdate I specifically made THIS recipe with some added yellow and red peppers. Ended up SO yummy. 

-Man, this writer I tell ya…she always seems to write her experiences out in a way that challenge my own believes in minimalism and growth (in a good way). THIS post has been on my mind all week….

-Seems like my life has just been one big ball of change in the past well….forever haha. I appreciated THIS (longer) read and being a techie I loved the brain/computer comparison it’s so clever and will stick with me for sometime I think.

Hope you have a great weekend friends! Soak in the last of those summer rays and warm air when you can! 

 

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Thursday Thanks

It’s been a while since we’ve posted a Thursday Thanks post which is weird considering there’s just SO much to be thankful for lately! Join me on Thursdays in taking in a deep breath and a few moments out of your day to think about what you’re currently thankful for. Helps me focus in before the end of the week. 

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I’m thankful for Health

This is obviously a big one in our life right now. I’m thankful to have a healthy family and I’m thankful to be on the path I am. I feel good and that’s the important part. I’ve hit a big of a plateau in my weight loss this week and a bit, thanks to ah hem “being a woman” but knowing there’s so many sides of health I’ve taken to working on my stretching and resting more in lieu of loosing. I’m thankful there’s so many pieces and layers to this getting healthy thing and I’m learning to love my “in-between body” as I’ve started to call it even though it sometimes feels a little weird. 

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I’m thankful for Homemade goodness

Even though I’ve always leaned a bit towards the “crunchy” side of the spectrum besides knitting I’ve never really taken being the homemade type since I was always so focused on work. Slowing down this last six months has given me the time and drive to experiment with the DYI world. Cooking obviously has been one area I’ve explored but most recently I’ve been playing with the homemade probiotics to help with healing our tummies. This week I’ve started to make homemade sauerkraut after discovering it (and crazy price) at a local farmers market a few weeks ago. Who knew it was SO easy or SO cheap to DIY?! Simple supplies and a little time is all it really takes. Plus one serving of this yumminess has more live probiotics than an entire bottle of the probiotics found in stores. Who knew?! 

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I’m thankful for The Future

In the past two weeks I’ve had a handful of great skype interviews for jobs in the UK. Depending on if I find a good fit and have the right offer I’ll be moving out of working for myself and joining a team. So far I’ve been really enjoying the process of getting to know these different people and companies. I find it so exciting that each one of these Skype chats has a whole world of potential behind it. Depending on what position I end up in will be my future! the people I’m meeting online at the moment I maybe working side by side with everyday at some point. It’s incredible hopeful and fascinating to me. I’m happy to not be rushing the process with no real deadlines but easing into this new life. 

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The Life Span of a Mommy Blogger.

Some of you may have noticed in this little corner of the internet I’ve be slowly making some changes on my blog. New banner, final jump to my new URL, somewhat consistent posting (yay me!), new “about page” and little things like that. I’m slowly re-building this blog to what I feel represents the current “me” with my extra time these days. There’s been so many incarnations of this site over the years and just as finding my own footing in the world has been an interesting path so has finding my voice and true personality online. Most likely as ever ending path it will be. Kudos to those of you that have been along for the ride for over four years now! Don’t think I don’t notice you still liking and interacting on social media cause I do, and I love you like the old friends you have become.

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As I’ve been tinkering with my writing I’ve been thinking often (distance running helps with time to think) about mommy blogging and the life expectancy of such content. When browsing through a fellow friend’s blog a couple weeks back she posted on a photo below writing: “when did the 2009/2010 babies become grown children?”. This thought lingered with me. Firstly yes, the 2009-2010 kids, I get it. I can list off something like 17 children by name and age alone I’ve followed along with their parent’s blogs over the years but feel so close with they could live right next door. It’s a close group of people. Yet, I’ve observed a trend among almost all the mothers (and few fathers) myself included a trend in the shifting of content lately. 

I’ve concluded this is only normal with the younger of the babes there’s just SO much variety to choose from and so many things to have opinions about. From cloth diapering to how you feed your baby, ear piercing babies (still think this is evil BTW) to sleeping arrangements. Most importantly though there’s SO much passion that goes behind these topics it’s easy to get fired up to read, write, and weigh in on the subjects. As our children grow things just kind of mellow out I think. As arguments over circumcision become a far memory we become less concerned or if not concerned at least less actively involved in the debates. Our babies become children and assume living not as adults but functioning little humans. The milestones become less and less massive and we as parents kinda sorta get a bit of our old “before children selves” and freedoms back. And it feels good right? 

Yet, content for my blog like so many others started with that little line across a pregnancy test can be challenging to navigate as our kiddos grow. In turn most blogs going through this I see migrating to the “lifestyle” side of things and I would be kidding myself as I’ve worked on this most recent re-vamp if I said I hadn’t considered clicking the “lifestyle” category on bloglovin. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it again registering the new domain under family. I don’t feel I deserve to call myself a lifestyle blogger after all I’m just figuring out my own lifestyle haha! So I question you this, do parenting blogs that started just as that a parenting blog reincarnate into life style blogs as the children grow up or do they essentially come with an expiration date? 

Don’t misunderstand me here, I still feel there’s a lot more “parenting” content to come from this little soul. Both with my big girl and my hope-to- have- in - near future (here’s looking at you W) babes. But it’s something that’s been on my mind as I change my own site and observe my ever changing community. I would love to hear your thoughts on it also. Am I the only person out there thinking about this? 

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Love.

To the moon and back. 

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Food.

Last week I posted the below progress photo on instagram and it got a lot of love. (Are we instagram friends yet?! Find me Kirbyamour). Looking at this photo now it feels good to see some major progress on the external side of my hard work. 

Last Friday marked my completion of the one month long Nike trainer program. I’m so happy it’s over, it was kicking my butt. Yet, I know even with this great progress I only consider myself “1/3” the way through. In my mind my steps to ultimate health (for myself) are as follows: 

1)Surgery, Recovery, and and “get in shape ass kicking” (aka month long HIIT training program). 

2)Long term diet changes & hit my ultimate weight goal. 

3)Maintain. 

When I started on this journey 6 months ago I completely avoided the scale. I knew there was SO much else going on with my body that I needed to address, weight was the last of my worries. But, upon my recovery and starting to work on getting fit I started tracking. When I arrived in LA I was a whopping 140lbs, that’s a lot for my little 5”2’ frame to carry and the photos OY, the photos I was seeing it. After my surgery and working this month long workout routine. I’m down a total of 15lbs now ringing in at 125lbs. I know the scale can lie, I know weight should not be used to monitor progress. I also know I have put on an incredible amount of muscle in the past three months and we all know it weighs more than fat sooooo…..I do pay attention to the clothes fitting better falling off and how much more energy I have. 

The biggest piece of this puzzle though is what I’m eating, my diet. I never really had a healthy relationship with food in the past. My bio family did not eat well when I was a child (they prob still don’t for all I know). I was fed over processed, sugar filled, not-a- fresh-veg-in-sight: crap. So it was no wonder I ended up over weight as a child. I fought with low self esteem and from a very young age yoyo dieted. I would stop eating for long periods of time and binge after the fact. Far far far from healthy. The worst came when I was 13 though. I set out on a mission to be skinny and pretty much stopped eating. I had to have lost somewhere between 20 and 30 pounds in a single summer. Rather than my family noticing “hey maybe there’s something going on here” I was complimented on the new look. Again SOOOOooooo not healthy for a growing girls body or mind. Even though my unhealthy diet continued I eventually did keep the weight off thanks to participating in various school sports. But, as you could imagine as a young girl/woman my relationship with and knowledge of food was just messed up. 

Over the years I’ve learned. I’ve learned the difference between healthy and crap food. I’ve learned that to love yourself you need to nourish not deprive your body. I’ve learned caring for ones self not only leads to health but also happiness. I’ve slowly repaired my relationship with food. I still have a lot to learn but the process is an enjoyable one. And you bet your butt my children will learn to love their bodies and care for it like I learned almost too late. 

SO, out of the past and back to the present. After my surgery my wonderful allergist (and secondly backed up by my rhum) agreed the Low Fodmap Diet would be a good idea for me to follow since I had such a close call with auto immune issues. If you know nothing about this diet before it can be a bit over whelming (still is for me) because of the limitations. It’s gluten free (no surprise there being everyone and their mom are gluten free these days) and free of everything that could basically piss off my intestines. Including Onion and Garlic (tear). Even though I’ve had to completely change how I cook I really feel the diet working. My body is becoming very clear with what it does and doesn’t like in terms of swelling up when I have something off the cheat list. If I’m not careful I’ll actually be up 5am with pain and have a “baby swell belly” for two days. I’m realizing cheats just aren’t worth it. Clean eating is where it’s at.

I’ve decided now that I’ve shed the swelling from my prior illness and this first round of weight while building a bunch of muscle it’s time to take a step back on the hard core working out and focus in on the healthy eating. It’s time to really nourish the past body out of myself. I’m still hitting the gym 5 days a week but no more high intensity training, just running with weights tossed in here and there. I’m already a week into training for a 5K. With the extra time in my day not being spent in the gym any longer I plan to spend it in the kitchen. It’s been an adjustment learning to live on such a limited diet but with some experimenting and practice I hope to create a list of healthy meals and treats for myself and my family we love. 

With 10 more pounds to shed to hit my goal I’ll still be tracking those calories and steps via Jawbone Up and My Fitness Pal. I know this part of the journey, shedding those last pesky pounds will be the hardest part yet but I’m ready for the challenge. If you have any resources or Fodmap recipes please send them over! Everything I’m finding online right now is kinda “eh”.

Here’s to happy and healthy eating! 

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COLD BREW! + Child Free Adventures

I’m such a sucker for cold brewed coffee. Back in NYC I use to make my own over night in the fridge and have some plans for when we can to London to add a tool to do it again to our soon to be new kitchen. 

So it was no surprise when I popped my head into the Levis down town LA commuter co-working popup I was over joyed to hear the words “free cold brew” uttered. Yet not just the coffee but everything about the space is pretty cool. W and I headed over last week twice (when G was at school) to use the space. The large open space is thoughtfully and cleanly designed. White on white? Yes please! A marketing tool for Levi’s I learned after talking to one of their managers they recently had a similar space in Brooklyn and currently have one in London also (stinks we’ll miss the opportunity to check that one out!). Pretty much it’s like a large coffee shop with free wifi, cozy places to work and free cold brew. Outside of the free “co-working” perks they have brought to downtown they also have a handful of cruiser bikes one can take out for a couple hours, free bike tune ups, and a tailor on call that can fix up your jeans. Nice right? 

The day we stopped by there was a weird music video being shot outside hence the smoke and hats. 

Our first visit we brought our computers down and worked out of the space but later in the week we actually borrowed a couple of the cruisers and hit the road. It was a pleasure to get on a bike again!

W was an avid biker in London before coming to the US and I myself use to get around BK via my street wheels. We both miss it but weren’t ready to shell out the cash to buy temporary bikes especially when we spent a large part of our LA experience in our loft through my recovery. But with the wind in our hair and the sunshine on our skin we adventured through DTLA first stop being Warbly Parker to try on and order myself some majorly needed new specs.

After that we hit the BIG hills west of DTLA and ventured for a bit around Korea town eventually finding a great hole in the wall Mexican restaurant that W is still talking about almost daily since because it was SO yummy (and SO cheap!). 

If you’re in LA the Levis Co-Working popup is around all August and we highly recommend it. Thanks Levis for the cold brew and bike adventures!  

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What is Failure?

When I was a child and young adult I carried around an incredible amount of “guilt”. Looking back now as a rounded adult I realize it was less about me and more to do with not having a solid support system behind my fragile developing self. But man, that guilt tore me apart for years! I felt like I wasn’t enough, I felt like I had made so many mistakes growing up. I had a weight that I carried for so many years. It wasn’t until I was somewhere around maybe 23 it hit me, “I was a child”. I realized it was actually the adults in my childhood life that needed to take responsibility for this weight not me. It took a bit of reminding on my part but telling myself “I was a child” over and over eventually helped me let go. Now, years later, I hardly even remember what the actual events and what I felt were failures that caused a young me so much stress were. 

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I guess this growing is a product of age also being able to re-evaluate exactly what “failure” is. Spending a decade in the music and now startup industries has me thinking of this often. There’s so many articles on the “success of failure” in the silicon valley even a conference on failing now! It’s true these businesses you fail more than you succeed. Fact is 90% of the startups I work with won’t be around 5 years from now like many of the bands and musicians I started my career with so many years ago. Does it make me sad? Sure, but I’m starting to challenge the idea of what a “failure” actually is. 

Because you never became famous as a musician but created some amazing art and lasting relationships over that years does that mean you failed in the music industry? Because your startup folded after giving everything you had into it for a long time but in turn gave you the experience to make your next startup succeed or the knowledge to rock your next position, did you fail? Does all success have to be measured financially? 

Like so many things in this world I’m learning it’s prospective. 

I recently had to take step back and evaluate a part of my life in this way. If you’ve been on this adventure with us since arriving in LA you know Wilson and I attempted to launch a coconut oil company “ilubeu”. We were excited to dive head first into a product that we not only adored but was personal to us and we believed in. For five months we pushed the idea. We designed and set up a store, we visited factories and tested samples, we even began selling. We did everything short of ordering our first wholesale batch. 

To get that first batch in the door was a huge financial investment. One we couldn’t personally make after me being sick and out of work for so long. We launched a pre-sale where some wonderful friends supported us. When that fell short we started talking to a couple investors. Yet, all the leads went dry. 

I realized one day I had a decision to made. Keep pushing ahead maybe invest every penny we had (stupid) to get this off the ground or take a step back, listen to the universe and put our dream on hold. Being I’ve been working on patience these days my soul knew what the right decision was. So I took down the site, refunded the pre-sale people, and swallowed my pride. 

Now, this could have turned into another “failure” (you know the kind that gives you a “UGH yuck chill” when you think of it) but I’m choosing to not see it that way. We took a risk and started building a dream. Sure it didn’t turn out how we hoped but is it really failure? We learned a lot along the way about developing a product, we felt an overwhelming love with the people who supported the pre-sale, and you know I also was a bit distracted and felt hopeful for the project during the hardest part of my illness which is a blessing in itself. Rather than choosing to focus on the “failure” and stress that comes with it we are choosing to focus on the pride in “we tried”. 

And I’m so happy we took the path we did because a few weeks ago after we took steps to close the project down we opened one of the last sample pieces we had left over of the oil packets. We were shocked to find the oil had “changed”. It no longer had the light yummy coconut smell and taste but a darker smokey scent now. We thanked our lucky stars we didn’t order the first batch of 25,000 pieces because if we had we would have about 20,000 spoiled packs on our hands and a lot of money down the drain. We let the universe guide us and even if we didn’t understand at the time it paid off preventing us from making a horrible financial mistake! We understand now! 

The idea of ilubeu isn’t being forgotten about all together though. Someday maybe when it’s less of a risk and we have more funds to invest in package testing and lab work we’ll come back to the project. I would love to down the road but right now we’re listening to what the universe is telling us! (UK UK UK!).

I felt such love from the pre-sale purchases I decided these lovely people deserved something special for their support. So last weekend G and I headed out to the fabric district to find some materials to make something love filled. We ended up finding some wonderful bracelet materials, beads, and the cutest hand made tiny cards. We took time to braid and create little gifts for our friends. We celebrated the support they gave us with each knot. Taking the time to fill each piece with love and gratitude before packing them up to be sent out all over the  world. 

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I’m hoping as I figure out this “embracing failure risk with success” to be able to support G in her dreams as she grows. I want her to know mistakes are not negative if you learn and grow from them. Also make sure there’s a solid line between adult worries vs child worries. Parenting is wonderful for us adults isn’t it? Gives us the prospective to not only grow and learn about our own self and childhoods but an opportunity to embrace change and make the world a better place through positive parenting. Magical 2nd chances every single day. 

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One Year.

Once upon a time (one year and a month ago) a girl and a boy met in Paris in the most romantic way possible. A summer scene at a classic Parisian cafe. Almost out of a novel. Within hours of meeting the boy decided to miss his ride back to London and stay another week with the American girl he met. They ran away to the coast the following day taking the train through the charming french country side in a whirlwind of a romance fueled by french wine, food, and charm. 

They spent their days adventuring slowly getting to know each other over the while random but magical week. It still feels like yesterday. 

A year later here we were celebrating our love. And while our paths have taken a different road in the past twelve months from those “without a care” travels and into the real world of immigration, adult responsibilities, and raising a child together the magic is still there. 

Every kiss, cuddle, and sweet whisper is a reminder of the path we’ve chosen, together. 

One year down and many many many many more to go. This story has just begun and we’re so lucky to have found each other. 

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A lesson on finishing what you start…

I’ll be the first to admit I’m SO guilty when it come to hobbies of starting projects and not finishing them. Mostly because I get SO excited and hyped up on new things I’ll often let things fall to the wayside. This year with working on my “patience” I’ve also focused on not doing this any longer. One of my fears is G picking up my “bad” traits so I’m extra sensitive to things like this coming out in her. When we moved to LA and we placed G in her Japanese school we were happy to find out she could take Japanese dance classes. She had taken ballet in NYC and adored it so we signed her up right away. It didn’t take G too long about four weeks to figure out the slightly slower traditional dance wasn’t for her. She was easily distracted and asked us if she could stop. Seeing an opportunity to teach a lesson we told her yes she could stop if she didn’t like it but would have to hold out till after her class performed this summer at the local Buddhist festival. She thought about it and from what I can tell set herself a goal. Eventually July rolled around and before any of us realized G with little complaints had accomplished her goal!

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I think more than anything she was excited to get to wear “real makeup” in public. 

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BFFs G’s actually older than her BFF here haha! She’s such a little shrimp. 

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We weren’t sure if she would freeze or not when she got on stage in front of so many people, I held my breath when they took the stage. The music started and she did awesome! We’re so proud of her and her accomplishment. Really is there anything better than seeing your child succeed (and learn a valuable lesson) as a parent?

It wasn’t more than 10 mins after she preformed that she asked me if she could “not take Japanese dance anymore and go back to ballet”, I was more than happy to say yes. Now to find a dance class in London. Any recommendations would be appreciated! 

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I fail at the consistent posting. I’ll post 5-10 new posts then radio silence for ages. But that’s life a guess a ever ebb and flow of inspiration vs time to have thought clarity to actually write. 

A lot of planning and organizing are happening over in these parts. Lots to be done before we pick up and move again. The immigration process is proving to be more troublesome than we thought being my divorce is again (3rd time!?) held up. Paperwork sucks. Trying to put my faith in the fact that everything is happening for a reason and just doing what we can to keep our family together.

My work load has become incredibly light in the recent weeks so it feels good to have a minimal daily todo list and focus attention on my family and our approaching future. Simplifying once again and planning (what I’m best at). 

I’m sure once we make it to the UK and settle in I’ll appreciate the prep both physical and emotional. I’ve been contemplating how to cut down again on our possessions both out of the need to with this move since we’re letting go of both lofts this time (LA & NYC) but also because of how damn good it has felt to live minimalistic in the past 8 months. 

We came to LA in few suitcases and our over flowing hearts to start our new family together without the burden of physical belongings. Wilson and I (along with the tough financial situation caused by my getting sick) kept our spending and consumption to a minimum. Thing is I have never once felt “lacking” or like we didn’t have what we needed. All of our needs were happily met. Sure things like those new $200 pair of glasses would be awesome but do I N-E-E-D them? Naw, my big old hipster glasses are still rocking it. That good old lesson of patience popping up again, 2014’s theme.  

With our move I’m looking forward to downsizing to a smaller apartment both because London is redic expensive and because I’m craving the cozy these days that comes with a smaller square footage. Having our environment reflect this new and healthier lifestyle both with a clean minimal style and a humble size. I may even go as far as saying our loft days are behind us, bedroom doors ends up are pretty cool.

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In finding such enjoyment within minimalism I’ve found some pretty great blogs I’ve become somewhat obsessed with lately:

Inked in Color: 

Fellow (single) mom and taking an interesting year long “don’t buy anything challenge” this blog has been incredible to follow. So whole heartily and authentically written I’ve become fascinated with this familie’s story and can’t wait to see how their journey turns out. 

Into Mind:

I found this site when I knew it was time to upgrade my wardrobe. I’m not going to (or finically able to) update my closet till I hit my fitness goal in the coming months but it’s been fun to play with and start planning my wardrobe. 

Un-Fancy:

When the time does come for me to update my closet I’m totally going to start rocking the capsule wardrobe concept. Just as how we’ve been living our life this way of creating a closet is less focused on the quantity and more on the quality creating a wardrobe you not only love but with the limited choices inspires creativity. I’ll most likely pick this up over the winter come the new year if things go as planned. 

Private Life of a Girl: 

Little less as in depth as the other blogs and a bit more consumerist based she goes into make-up and products greatly. Not gonna lie the clean design of her website keeps me pretty happy and her jewelry line is to die for. 

Hope you enjoy these reads!

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