Category Archives: Life

30 Years, 30 Days

On September 29, 2012, just 30 days ago, I turned 30!  It was a lovely celebration and one I will never forget.

30 is kind of a big deal.  It is a major milestone and therefore the perfect time to reflect on the past, present and future.  It’s an opportunity to recharge, refocus and reorganize.  It’s the ideal moment to count your blessings and thank God for bringing me this far.

To commemorate this special occasion, my husband planned an amazing little getaway which included lots of surprises.  Not only did we get the chance to spend time as a family (which is a gift in itself) but it was also a nice to reconnect and relax.

Here’s a look at what we were up to for the long birthday weekend…

It’s a long standing tradition in our family to have breakfast in bed.  And to be honest, it’s probably one of my favorite traditions.  But this year we changed it up a bit.  This adorable little restaurant tucked away in the middle of the beautiful Crystal Cove was only minutes away from our hotel.  It was hard to deny the gorgeous views so we decided to enjoy a breakfast on the beach instead of breakfast in bed.  Eggs Benedict is always a favorite of mine and this one definitely lived up to my expectations.  Washed down with a tropical iced tea and my birthday breakfast was nothing short of perfect!

Once our tummies were full, Freddie and Harper dropped me off for a day at the spa.  It started with an Olivio Pedicure which was quite possibly the best pedicure I have ever had.  After my piggy toes were dry I had the chance to sit in the relaxation room and sip on some spa water before it was time for my 90-minute Aroma Intentions Massage (which by the way was PURE HEAVEN!).  The Aroma Intention that I chose was “rest full” and for the remainder of the weekend, that is exactly what I did.

While I was waiting for Freddie to pick me up after my luxurious afternoon at the spa, I was surprised by my mom who had traveled all the way from Portugal to help me celebrate my 30th birthday (my Uncle Joe and his girlfriend Brittani were also there to greet me).  I don’t think I have ever been so shocked in my life.  I was expecting to see my mom, but not until the weekend was over.  So you can imagine my reaction when I turned around and they were all standing at the front door.

Nothing says celebration quite like a yummy steak and mango margarita.  For my birthday dinner, Freddie made reservations at one of our favorite restaurants, Javier’s.  And if you can’t tell, I love the decor just as much as the food.  My Great Aunt and Uncle joined us for a delicious meal and fun filled reunion.

And just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better…My mom surprised me with the best birthday cake ever!

ps: it was a marble cake too….yum!

Since we were all in the Orange County area, we decided to take a trip to Disneyland the next morning.  Our first stop?  To get Harper her own set of ears (which never looked cuter!).  Then we were off to the Merry-Go-Round.  Unfortunately the experience wasn’t what we had hoped.  Harper was not a fan of the moving plastic horses.  However, she did like dancing to the music.  For our next ride, we thought Harper would get a kick out of “It’s a Small World” but she fell asleep while we were waiting in line.  Luckily, the third time was a charm, because Harper thoroughly enjoyed her ride on the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.  Our last stop was a ride on board the Disneyland Railroad.  Harper had a great time practicing her “Choo-Choos” and making friends with the conductor.

And of course, what is a trip to Disneyland without a souvenir?  Harper had her eye on one thing.  A balloon.  So $7 later we had ourselves a very happy little girl complete with Mickey balloon in hand (which lasted quite a long time…so I guess the $7 was worth it!).

If you ask me, 30 is looking pretty darn good so far.  My husband sure knows how to throw a party!  I am blown away by the time and effort he put into my birthday weekend and am forever thankful for his love and support.  Gonna be hard to top this one…

A birthday with my lovely family, yummy food and a waterfront view?  Can’t think of any better way to welcome in this new decade :)

Here’s to my thirties…Happy Birthday to me!

PS: Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! You have until the end of the week to get your entries in. Remember to leave a comment on the original post letting me know that you have completed the tasks. Your comments act as your entry into the giveaway. Good luck!

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Weekend Getaway

When your weekend starts with a view like this, you have no choice but to be grateful.

Hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing, joy filled weekend.

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Happy 1st Birthday Harper!

Hey everyone.  I apologize for being out of touch.  I have been so busy with Harper’s first birthday party I haven’t had a second to sit down and write.  And meanwhile there is so much to share.

My little girl officially turned one today and we couldn’t be more happy.  This last year has been the best year of our lives and we are more than blessed to have Harper as our daughter.  I am looking forward to writing a post reflecting on what this last 12 months has been like.

We had a blast at her birthday party celebrating with our friends and family.  More details including recipes and pictures to come.  Hope to get back into the swing of things tomorrow :)

In the meantime, here is a small peak at her rainbow star cake from her rainbow star party…


For My Love…

Seven years ago, today, I went on my first date with a fine young gentleman.  We had only just met but a feeling inside of me told me this was something special.

On our way to meet our friends for dinner and a show, I had a vision.  I could see the future, as if it were playing out right in front of me.  We were married, with a family, enjoying a partnership, a union.

Three years ago, today, my vision materialized, and I married that fine young gentleman.  We embarked on a new journey together for the rest of our lives.  Two becoming one.

And now, as we celebrate our first anniversary as a family, with our daughter, I am blown away by how far we have come.

To be honest, it can be hard to notice progress in the midst of our daily lives.  But when you take a moment to step back and reflect, you appreciate the hard work that has gotten you here.

On our wedding day, I promised my husband a priceless love.  Not a discount love, not a 2 for 1 love, not a bought it on sale love.  But an all I have love, a bankrupt love…every last drop love.

And so today, three years later, I re-pledge my love to him.  My love for him as my husband, my love for him as a father, my love for him as a man.

Freddie, in the last seven years together, you have taught me so much.  You have opened my eyes to new sights, my ears to new sounds.  I am grateful for your friendship, your partnership and your love.

Thank you for being patient with me.  Thank you for being honest with me.  Thank you for being real.

This has been one heck of a journey.  And it ain’t over yet.  Three years down, a lifetime to go.

Happy Valentines Day!  Happy Anniversary!

I love you.


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Words of Wisdom

Today was a lovely little Saturday.

It began at around 9 am when I awoke to a snuggly baby who was enjoying sleeping in late with me.  I wish I could have stayed there all day but I had to get up and get ready for my 10am photography class.

Freddie had signed me up for this class as part of my Christmas gift.  I had a great time learning how to use all the bells and whistles on my camera.  I was grateful that the class was held outside because then I could enjoy the amazing weather (70 degrees in February ain’t too bad!).

I got out of class a little early and was able to make it home before Harper left for her swim lesson.  I was happy I didn’t miss it as it is a fun family activity that I look forward to weekly.

When we got home, I ran to the market to pick up a few ingredients to make dinner.  While I was gone, Harper stayed home with her daddy and enjoyed a play date with our friends and neighbors.

At around 5pm, our friends came over for dinner.  Freddie and I love having company over.  It’s always fun to hang out, eat some good food and share stories.

Soon after they left, it was time for Harper to go to bed.  Once she was off in dream land, Freddie and I worked on planning Harper’s party.  We are so excited to celebrate her 1st birthday in a few weeks :)  By the time we finished, it was pretty late, and I was pretty tired.  But of course I still have so much that has to be done!  And then some words of wisdom popped into my head.

My dad loves to share lessons with me that were passed down from his dad.  He has a ton of them and he always offers them at just the right moment.  I can remember one time, while I was in the midst feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the things I had on my plate, he said, “You can do anything you want, you can’t do everything you want”.  So as much as the perfectionist in me doesn’t want to admit that this statement is true, I will surrender and accept that there is always tomorrow.  And as much as mommy hood has taught me the art of multitasking, I have yet to master sleeping while doing my chores.

So as I retire to my comfy bed with my loved ones who are already catching their Zs, I am grateful for a day of family, fun and friends.  And grateful for gentle words of wisdom.

Sweet dreams :)

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles

After a wonderful vacation filled with fun, food and family, we are finally home.  I couldn’t be more proud of my little girl.  She was a trooper through it all.  I am not a bit surprised by how well she did, but it feels good to have a successful maiden voyage under our belts.

Since we were having technical difficulties with the internet (guess that is what you get when you vacation on a horse ranch in the boondocks) and have been out of touch, I thought I would give you a quick run down of all the wonderful and exciting things that have happened over the last week.

Sunday December 18:  After staying over at our aunt and uncles for the night, we enjoyed a yummy breakfast at Mimi’s Cafe before heading off to the airport.  We lucked out by getting our own row on the plane and were grateful for the extra room.  I was told to nurse Harper during take off to help with her ears but she was too busy looking out the window at all the exciting new sights.  After a while she decided it was time for a nap and went to sleep on her daddy’s shoulder, her favorite spot.  Harper woke up just in time for us to get off the plane.  My sister and nephew were waiting for us at the airport to give us a ride back to her house.  Harper was so pooped from the busy day that she slept a whole 12 hours without a peep!

Monday December 19:  Vacation is all about rest and relaxation and so we weren’t shy about sleeping in.  But once we were up and adam we were excited to spend time with our niece and nephews.  The kids had a blast playing with their baby cousin.  It was so fun to watch Harper interact with them.  It brought out a whole new side of her.  She looked like such a big girl playing with the big kids.

Tuesday December 20:

Harper turned 10 months!  After working on my usual monthly post for hours on end only to have it delete multiple times because of the internet issues, I decided to give it a rest.  Sharing my thoughts and feelings with you all on this blog is supposed to be enjoyable.  Fighting with the internet made my blogging experience while being away not very enjoyable.  So I decided to let go of the things I can not control and spent my free time with my family.  So Harper’s 10 month review may be a few days late, but it will be posted soon :)

Wednesday December 21:

All dressed in our jammies (well the kids anyways) and heavy in the Christmas spirit, we enjoyed an evening ride on the Polar Express.  My nephews are huge train buffs so it was the perfect family activity.  We snacked on snickerdoodle cookies and sipped on hot chocolate as we rode on a steam engine train to the “North Pole”.  We were lucky enough to see Santa and receive a small gift of a bell from his sleigh (Harper’s favorite part!).  On our way back from the North Pole the entire train sang along to Christmas carols.  This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.

Thursday December 22:  With Christmas just around the corner, there was much shopping to be done.  Since we were traveling for the holidays, we decided to do our shopping once we arrived instead of hauling all of our stuff on the plane.  So we were ripping and running with the rest of the last minute shoppers.  But luckily everything got done and no one go hurt :)

Friday December 23:  One of my favorite things to do when I visit my sister is to shop at Central Market.  So I couldn’t wait to get all of the ingredients for our big Christmas feast.  If you are ever in Texas, you have to check it out.  It is by far the coolest market I have ever seen.  And the quality of their food is unmatched.  It is a good thing they don’t have a Central Market in my neck of the woods.  With as much as I love fresh produce and gourmet ingredients, it might be dangerous.

Saturday December 24:

“All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth”…even if it is one on the top and one on the bottom :)  Almost two months after getting her first tooth, Harper finally got her second tooth.  Only, instead of getting her other bottom tooth, one of her top teeth popped through.  It was a perfect way to start the holiday festivities.

Sunday December 25:

Harper’s first christmas.  What a special day.  After opening up the presents from Santa, we all munched on a family breakfast of scrambled eggs, crispy bacon and a fresh batch of Hootenannies (recipe will be posted soon).  We lounged around in our PJs all day and had fun playing with the new toys Santa had brought for us.  Leftovers from our Christmas feast were enjoyed for lunch and dinner.  Our plates were full of roasted turkey, grilled tri-tip, corn pudding, stuffing, green beans, ambrosia salad, mashed potatoes and more.  Needless to say, we were well fed!

Monday December 26:

After a wonderful time spent with our family, it was time to say goodbye.  The week went by so quickly, it felt like it was just yesterday that we arrived.  Harper did another wonderful job on the plane ride back.  Once we grabbed our bags and loaded up the car it was time for a another 2 hour drive home.  As good of a time as we had on our vacation, there is nothing like being home and sleeping in your own bed.  Harper always gives a big sigh when we walk in the front door.  And I have to say I echo her sentiments.  After a long day of traveling, it was nice to finally get comfortable.  It was a big trip for such a little girl, but she was aces the entire way.

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Learning to Bend

Sorry to be out of touch but the Internet access where we are is a bit shoddy. So I am attempting to write a quick post on my iPhone to do a short check in. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown getting a tad frustrated from spending time on my posts only to have them deleted after losing the wireless signal. But then I chose to reframe my thinking and realize that the time I normally devote to blogging can be spent with my family, get some much needed rest or work on getting all my Christmas errands done.

I hope to get some reliable Internet access soon… But just in case I don’t… I wish you all a wonderful Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas and beautiful holiday season :

Here is a quick pic taken from my iPhone of Harper with her cousins. Holidays are all about family and we are so grateful for ours.


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Reunited and It Feels So Good

I just got home from my 10 year high school reunion.  It was a bit of a whirlwind but overall it was really nice to catch up with everyone.

When I first got the invitation, I had no idea what to expect.  To be honest, the notion of being around people I had not seen/spoken to in 10 years made me a bit anxious.  But at the same time, there was no way I was going to miss it.  I was excited to see where life had taken everyone.

The whole evening was a bit surreal.  The night started out in our school library for cocktails (well water for me!).  It was a strange feeling to be in a familiar physical space, with familiar people who are living completely different lives since that last time you shared that physical space.  Now, instead of helping each other with homework, we were all talking about what people were doing for work, who people were married to and which people had babies.  It is amazing what my classmates have done with their lives.  We have professors, therapists, producers, designers, filmmakers, actresses, lawyers, teachers, nurses…and the list goes on and on!  I was grateful to be in their presence.  And the more we sat and talked, the more it felt like old times.

Reunions are a great way to check in with others and see what people are up to.  But it is also a great way to check up on yourself.  Coming back to home base helped me to see how far I have come.  It helped to put my life in perspective and appreciate all that I have accomplished.

On our graduation night, our families put one item in a time capsule.  The idea was that this item would symbolize the next 10 years of your life until we were to meet again at our reunion.  The craziest part of this exercise is that my mom submitted these…

…Baby Air Max 95.  The story behind the shoes is that in high school I was an avid shoe collector.  I had these shoes in every color.  I think that amounted to something ridiculous like 65 pairs.  So in an attempt to keep the tradition going, my mom thought it would be cute to get a pair for my future baby.  Well her timing was perfect because exactly 10 years later I actually have a baby who can wear them!

Who knows what the next ten years will bring, but I am already looking forward our 20 year reunion.

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Pulling Over

Sometimes, in the journey of life, we get the opportunity to pull over and soak it all in.

Today started out early and a little groggy.  I was up late last night writing my blog, taking care of my personal business, doing my chores, preparing my lesson plan and watching Kim’s Fairytale Wedding (you know you did too…).  So when my alarm went off at 5am for boot camp I wasn’t pleased.  By the time I had pressed the snooze button 4 times, I decided I better get up and get ready.

When I started boot camp over the summer it would already be light out before I left the house.  As we move in to the fall and winter months it stays dark well into the class.  Typical mornings are cold and foggy.  But this morning was different.  The sky was crystal clear.  You could see the stars shine and admire the brightness of the moon.

Halfway through my class, this happened…I couldn’t help but stop what I was doing and snap a shot of this amazing sight with my iPhone.  It was truly remarkable.

Before having my daughter I was never a morning person.  I enjoyed sleeping in well into the afternoon when given the chance.  Since having my daughter I am still not a morning person, but I have learned that you have to take advantage of any moment you get to take some time for yourself.  And for me, that includes the 5 and 6am hour.  Sights like this make me want to experience this time of the day more often.

Not a stranger to speeding tickets, I tend to rush through life in and out of the car.  Taking a moment to pull over and regroup is a good lesson..better without the ticket, but I can appreciate the enforcement of speed limits for the sake of this metaphor.  My goal is to seek balance and use the cruise control button more often.  Appreciate the small things, notice the nuances and be grateful.

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