I'm posting at a new blog site that you can get to by clicking here.
I'm posting at a new blog site that you can get to by clicking here.
Love. Perfect timing to come across this in my saved ideas/inspirations cutouts as I'm packing for our month in Paris that begins next week.
...Almost as perfect as it was watching Midnight in Paris in the theater with Jeffrey a couple weeks ago. He doesn't really care for going to the movies, but loves Woody Allen, and there couldn't have been a better movie for us to see!
We live in an old factory - which has amazing advantages like the sound of the rain on the roof, and lots of space with high ceilings and exposed beams, and the openess of not too many walls, and that vintage industrial feeling I love - but the one drawback for life with a little one is not having a yard to go out and explore in.
We do our best to get outside as much as possible (even in the heat) - to explore local gardens, go for early morning walks, and ride the light rail. Buy by far, Gabrielle's favorite outdoor activity is going to the local park!
It's her little sanctuary of freedom where she can run, and explore, and scream, and observe others.
And it's been an incredible joy for Jeffrey and I to witness her growth in confidence to tackle all there is to accomplish at the park. Way to go, twirly slide!
Jeffrey has been an amazing papa to take time out of his crazy daily schedule to go with Gabrielle to the park and be present in the moment, helping Gabrielle to feel great about herself and encouraging her to take (make) strides.
The park has a super fun sprayground. (Love the i play shore shoes that really helped Gabrielle feel secure to be a bit more independent in the fountains!)
And Gabrielle loves the shower!
I just love the discoverer in her. And I'm grateful she loves being outside!
The overripe bananas on the kitchen counter and a-bit-too-tart-to-eat-straight-up blueberries in the fridge were calling my name today, so I found a recipe online for blueberry banana muffins to give them some justice. (Thanks for the inspiration, Jess!)
Gabrielle was playing quietly and reading books just off our kitchen area, so I began to retrieve the necessary ingredients to get started. Out of the corner of my eye, I looked over and saw this sweet little "hello my mama" face. She's a pretty irresisitable (and persistent) "play with me, mama" kind of kid, so her moments of peaceful, solo play always make me proud. "Who wants to make muffins with mama?" I excitedly asked. "I do!" she said in her exclamatory tone.
So I put her right to work preparing the bananas for mashing. I loved all the little lessons I got to teach her in the experience of cooking together.
She overcame her fear of the mixer.
We worked on measuring and counting and pouring...
I taught her how to sample the recipe as we went along. She was pretty happy about that step in the process!
She filled the muffin pan with paper liners.
And was overjoyed at the sound of the minute timer when she could see what the final product looked like.
Here's the simple recipe we used:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cup (3 large) mashed very ripe bananas
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all purpose or uncleached flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease bottoms of 18 muffin cups or line with paper baking cups. (These are my favorite baking cups.) In large bowl beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add bananas, milk, vanilla and eggs; blend well. Lightly spoon flour into measuiring cup; level off. Add floor, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Gently stir in the berries. Fill greased muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 375 degrees for 18-23 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
But the best moment of all was when she got to hold a warm muffin in her hands and take a bite into its goodness! She was pretty proud of the outcome and couldn't wait to give one to papa! I loved having her as my little muffin helper.
Speaking of goodness, I'm loving all this blue and white! (Featured in Harper's Bazaar.)
Charlotte has a great regional farmer's market. Jeffrey, Gabrielle, and I took an outing there last weekend in search of fresh produce.
We came home with spinach. (Which I've been loving in breakfast egg white scrambles with cherry tomatoes and red bell peppers.)
I was so happy to get home with all the fresh goodness and make a chop salad.
We found corn that Jeffrey approved of. (He's got a high corn standard after having thousands of ears of what he believes to the best corn: Jersey Silver Queen.)
And this sweet little handmade doll high chair.
I could sit and watch the flower arrangements be made at the market for hours. Such delight to see the combinations of colors they create. I picked out this white bouquet with a couple purple pops.
Big radishes. Looking for a tasty recipe to add these to.
And my favorite find of the day was this Yah's Best salsa. I've been in search of a really good salsa for some time, but just haven't found one that I really like. This is my new favorite.
I'm a little bummed to be leaving summer camp (Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizon) today.
It has been such an amazing, inspiring, spiritually re-energizing visit.
A chance to learn and reflect.
I drank a TON of water.
And ate healthy, simple, well proportioned food. It's incredible how wonderful your body can feel just based on a few food choice changes for the better! My three favorite things were the salmon burger, the chicken quesadilla with avocado salad, and the chocolate covered bananas!
We joined a few exercise classes and relaxed at the spa.
I learned many great tips about how to use a camera in a manual mode (I've been an auto-user for quite some time) on our photo walk.
I took the Spirit Walk this morning and took time to think and reflect on how grateful I am. For my life, my family and friends, and my happiness.
I really got into the Macro photo taking
There are incredible textures in the landscapes of the desert.
Mexican bird of paradise.
And now it's time to return to reality.
And this little love who'll be waiting for us at the airport!
I LOVE when my mom and dad travel to Charlotte to visit us. And their recent visit was an extra special one because there were several must-visit places I wanted to take them. The places were special because they remind me of my parents and they're places I go in Charlotte to find peace, nature, and calm - much of the same feeling I had in the gardens that my parents cultivated when I was a child. Both my mom and my dad are master gardeners. They know how to create beautiful arrangements, care for a garden, and keep the plants growing - they also so enjoy the beauty and love to take pictures of flowers and nature.
One of the special places we visited was Wing Haven Gardens.
In my efforts to refine my getting ready and going to bed routine (after achieving simplification with makeup), I've narrowed my favorite products/necessary prescriptions down to this:
Clindamycin pledgets. Love these medicated wipes as a quick step after washing my face to remove any remaining residue from skin. I've been using these for years. Latisse. Trying out this eyelash treatment that claims thicker, longer lashes are the result. It works! CeraVe AM. Recently made the switch from using Aveeno calming lotion with SPF and LaMer to this lotion with SPF 30. So far, I'm loving it. It goes on smooth, it's hydrating, and it gives me the sun protection I need living in a sunny climate. Synthroid. For thyroid. Kinda don't love that I will likely have to take this for the rest of my life, but I'm remaining in compliance with the doctor's orders! Oracea. I'm testing out a series of this low-dose antibiotic for roseacea. (Recommended by Dr. Patrick McElgunn, Charlotte's best dermatologist who sees patients ON time, has incredible knowledge, and knows exactly what to prescribe. He also sees children and was great with Gabrielle! He prescribed her a green cream called Avar-E Green which immediately helped Gabrielle's not-so-pretty mouth rash (perioral dermatitis) that several other doctors didn't know what to do for. ) Dermalogica Microfoliant. An oatmeal-based, gentle, daily exfoliant. My only complaint with this product is I wish it came in daily packaging to lessen product waste and increase shelf-life. CeraVe PM. This stuff is awesome. I used it both during the night and day when I first got it. The texture, consistency, and hydration is perfect for my skin. Keihl's Creme de Corps. I started using this body lotion 10 years ago. It's a bit greasy (there's a lightweight version), but for my thirsty skin, I've found nothing better. CeraVe. Recently made the switch to this hydrating cleanser from my long-term loyalty to Cetaphil. They are very similar. This one is a bit more hydrating. And for the most part, my skin is happy!
My life has been a tangled web of goodness over the last several months in my sister coming to visit - working on remodeling projects - planning and executing Gabrielle's 2nd birthday party - the launch of Jeffrey's two new books - abruptly ending breastfeeding - my parents visiting for two weeks - getting ready for a long visit to Seattle - planning a month in Paris - a change in household/childcare staff (miss you Belen!) - looking into scoilosis surgery - planning a visit to Canyon Ranch (our first overnight without Gabrielle!) - having a couple mama's night outs - and trying to keep up with all things Jeffrey! Life is busy and happy. And each day I'm in continued amazement of the wonder of being a mama.
"Are you happy, mama?" Oh, YES, my little love. I am happy!
I've been collecting a few links. Some of my favorite posts on the sites I visit are when I'm linked to other little tidbits of delight.
A reminder why I love Ace Hotel.
We are so loving the Small Hands Big Art studio for Gabrielle's creative outlet.
Wish this daily reminder sweater came in my size.
Eight Paris Essentials and Why You Need Them.
How can you not feel happy when a commercial like this comes across the tele? Love Kate Bosworth.
I'm a big fan of all things mint/oreo/cookie - so I was delighted to come across this
mint oreo cupcake from Charlotte's Polka Dot Bake Shop.
I'm loving that I've discovered a great little grouping of simple makeup favorites:
NARS blush in torrid. A great slightly shimmery pinky-peach color.
Blinc Kiss Me Mascara. (Thanks to my sister-in-law for introduction to this!)
Smashbox High Definition concealer in Light. (Thanks Heather for recommendation on this one!)
Chanel #6 Powder Brush. Works great for the blush.