Milkman Tees and Onesies.

September 30, 2008

I told you the other day how much I love glass milk bottles. Well, here is a little newborn or toddler gift you can keep on hand that combines that whole cool vintage bottle thing with a unique graphic tee or onesie (the tee or onesie comes cleverly packaged in the milk bottle). I've been looking for a gift I can keep on hand in bulk, and I think this is it. C-Man and Baby J both have a few and I just love them. They are unique and a little retro, made of soft cotton. Check out a few of the images:

By the way, the tees and onesies are designed and screen-printed by a husband and wife team in Nashville, Tennessee. All the better.

Buy them here.

Meal Planning Monday.

September 29, 2008

I got lots of inspiration and ideas this week from a few Everyday Food magazines I had (some old, some recent). If you've never checked out Everyday Food, you should....the recipes are simple, healthy, family-friendly and very tasty!


Tamale Pie
Sauteed zucchini


Tomato Tart
Mixed Greens


Herb Crusted Salmon
Spinach Salad


{Book Club: dinner out}


Bucatini with Pancetta, Tomatoes and Onion
Beet, Pear and Goat Cheese Salad

AliceQ's Backyard Is So Pretty.

AliceQ and James had their annual end of summer BBQ featuring local products (produce, meats, breads, etc.) yesterday afternoon and, per usual, everything was so lovely an delicious! I'm sure she's going to do a post about it, so I don't want to steal her thunder, but I did want to show you a couple of photos of her beautiful backyard.

Everything is so tastefully and thoughtfully designed. Lots of nice sitting areas...all of them comfortable and perfect for socializing or relaxing. And I just love the yellow, black and white details.And if you haven't heard, AliceQ is an insanely good cook...there were a bunch of housemade pickles (carrots, purple onions, cauliflower and grapes), homemade ketchup and mustard, a French fingerling potato salad, those New York Times chocolate chip cookies and get this....homemade Nutter Butter cookies. I'll let her tell you all the food and drink details, however.

I thought this was a cute photo of some of the ladies and babies.

Even Baby J enjoyed herself!

The Loveliest of Pantries.

September 28, 2008

My heart went all pitter patter when I spied this pantry over at Frenchy Finds. Just for the record, my pantry looks NOTHING like this.

from The Inspired Room.

A Perfect Kitchen Space for the Kiddies.

September 27, 2008

Soule mama set up the play kitchen area that I want for my kids too. I love that it's functional, tidy and pretty too.

via Cookie

Check Out Our Babyproofing in Apartment Therapy!

September 26, 2008

The nice folks at Apartment Therapy: ohdeedoh did a little post on our babyproofing strategy. Check it out here.

Girls' Night In.

I had such a lovely evening last night with a couple of girlfriends. We stayed in rather than going out because B was supposed to be out of town (he came back early, but we were still happy we decided to eat at home). I made the Alice Q/Zuni Cafe roasted chicken with some roasted fingerling potatoes and let me tell you. This technique is my new go-to for chicken. Perfectly moist and flavorful with that irresistable crisp, golden skin.

Krista made a great salad of mixed greens, chopped apples (from a friend's organic farm in Julian), goat cheese and toasted pecans (so, so, so good). But. The best part of the meal in my opinion was the over the top gorgeous cheese platter that Heidi brought. I think there were 4 (maybe 5?) cheeses with several dried and fresh fruits, plus a darling mini wood cheese crate filled with baguette slices and crackers. Of course we had lots left over and Heidi insisted we keep everything, so needless to say, I've been snacking on cheese and grapes this morning.

Oh yeah. And that Paula Deen Chocolate Bread Pudding? Sinful. Especially when you top it with fresh whipped cream.

I can't wait for next month's dinner, ladies!

photo via Formaggio Kitchen

Just More of the Same.

You already know that I love glass bottles. And this store. It should come as no surprise then that I really, really, really love this milk bottle. How much better would milk taste being poured out of this pretty little bottle, icy cold, straight from the fridge? It even has a porcelain lid.

Cocktail Hour With C-Man.

September 25, 2008

Don't ask me why, but C-Man really wanted to drink some water out of this martini glass this morning. He was very particular about where he wanted to sit and how everything was arranged. After I got him all set up, he said to me....and I kid you not..."So, mama, tell me all your day." And he said it leaning on his elbow like that as if he had had a really long day (er...morning). And, yes, those are pistachios next to his drink. He asked me to put them in a little bowl like that. I am in trouble with this kid.

p.s. for those of you wondering, he is apparently naked too.

I Like This Gift Idea.

I sort of have a lot of foodies in my world and I'm always looking for hostess gifts for them. Sure, an exotic ingredient or homemade goodie or even something unusual for the kitchen is nice, but I am all about personalized gifts.

This seems to fit the bill perfectly. A personalized "From the Kitchen of...." custom rubber stamp. From Sweet Paperie on etsy. Your friend can package those homemade treats with a little personal flair, mark those cookbooks that get lent out, or make up some recipe cards of her very own. And the stamps are less than $20. What kind of personalized gift can you get at that price? All while supporting an etsy seller!

Totally Curious.

I'm not exactly sure what it is about Gwyneth Paltrow that intrigues me, but she always has. I always like to see what she's up to. We have everything set up to record Spain....on the Road Again tonight at 10 p.m. (embarrassingly, we will no doubt be asleep by then). But I'm really looking forward to checking out her new website/blog, GOOP. I can't remember where or when I first heard about this, but I tagged it awhile ago with a little electronic "follow-up," as the site is still under construction. I can't wait until it's up and running. I have a feeling you're going to want to check it out too.

"Nourish the Inner Aspect" is the tagline. Not exactly sure what that's all about, but it hooked me. Here are the other clues on the site:

"Make your life good. Invest in what's real. Cook a meal for someone you love. Pause before reacting. Clean out your space. Read something beautiful. Treat yourself to something. Go to a city you've never been to. Learn something new. Don't be lazy. Workout and stick to it. GOOP. Make it great." That sounds like what all of us gals are after, no?

I told you you you'd be intrigued.

Baby J on the Move.

September 24, 2008

Well, Baby J has finally rid herself of the (slower-going) army-jungle-belly-crawl, as we liked to call it around here. Now she motors around on all fours at close to C-Man's pace. My life just got waaaaay harder.

The upside is she is so darn proud of herself that she giggles the whole time she's cruising around. Here, listen (and watch):

Baby J on the Move from domestic reflections on Vimeo.

**Sorry, I can't embed this...I am having problems with Blogger (again). You have to click on the link to watch it. But it is worth it! ;) **

For the Love of Basics.

We don't get much time to read the Sunday paper anymore. It used to be a huge ritual for B and me: The NYT, pajamas, coffee, lounging around.....that's all we ever really wanted from a Sunday morning. Brunch out? Nah, we'd have to get dressed and drink mediocre coffee. An invigorating workout at the gym? Too lazy. Homemade waffles and warm maple syrup? B, sadly, doesn't do the sweet thing for breakfast.

Now, with the kids and all, we are lucky to skim an article or two and glance at the travel section. We both have our "must skims," I guess you could call it. For me, the NYT Sunday Styles section makes that cut.

Last Sunday, while skimming through said section, I honed in on a little blurb about Martin Clothes. Anyone else see it? Anyone? The gist was "All the basics you'd ever really want to wear." I was totally intrigued, of course.

So, here's the scoop: Anne Johnston Albert decided to start the line because she saw a need for "wearable, yet understatedly sexy clothes for herself and her friends." The line is a "destination for cool clothes hunters searching for simple pieces with a twist." Everything is made in New York. Take a all looks perfect, basic, has just a bit of an edge, and is, indeed, understatedly sexy. A military jacket like this will go with everything and never go out of style.

We all know the importance of a great pair of trouser jeans. These look just about perfect.

I just love this pocket blouse made out of sheer, soft cotton. The site says "all the time, for all occasions." OK, will do.

Well, hello there, perfect black dress. I could wear you with flip-flops or stilettos.

I am always, always searching for that perfect tank. It needs to be thin, soft and LONG. I can't stand the ones that slide up on my tummy. This one claims to be all of the above.

This cashmere "whisper-weight" poncho looks just right for the barely chilly fall days in Southern California.

These look like the long-sleeved version of those perfect tanks.

This blouse has just enough frill for me. Perfect under a little button-up sweater, no?
I have a rule of never buying jeans without trying them on, but if there ever were a pair that I would take a chance on, it would be these.

This here is a cotton canvas weekend tote. Love it.

Now is it just me, or would all of the above make up the ultimate travel wardrobe? Everything goes together, it all looks fairly low-maintenance and you could wear these pieces on a trip to a fabulous city (think: Portland) or to the "country" (think: Napa). Throw in a pair of those boots and some ballet flats and you are good to go.

Speaking of Denim.

September 23, 2008

I just found this via a new blog I've been scoping out, Lovely Morning. {That name just makes you want to stay, huh?}

Anyway, the company is Current/Elliott. Check out the styling. Almost as great as the clothes! And yes, I believe that is an Airstream.

Meal Planning Monday....on Tuesday.

Since I was computer-less for most of the day yesterday (lap-top is now back in my hands *kiss kiss*), MPM was overlooked. Better get planning for the week.


Leftover Borlotti Bean and Chard Soup -- if you haven't checked out the beans from Rancho Gordo, do yourself a favor and try them...they are truly great and unlike any you've had


Falai's Baked Eggs with Tomato Sauce, Spinach and Mascarpone (recipe torn from Met Home this month, of all places -- Falai is a great little spot in the Lower East Side that B and I went to last time we were in NYC)
Little Soldiers (a.k.a. toast)
*I am crossing my fingers C-Man likes this.*


{Having girlfriends over for dinner -- hi K and H!}
Roast Chicken a la AliceQ / Zuni Cafe
Roasted Lemon Potatoes
Paula Deen's Chocolate Bread Pudding (my friend Adriana made this awhile back and I fell in love...I've been meaning to make it ever since)

*the girls are bringing an appetizer and salad*


Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce
photo via Food Network

Long and Lean.

A few days ago I was rummaging through the bottom drawer of my dresser and came across my Gap Long and Lean Jeans, circa 2000. Remember those? Everyone had a pair, right? Even Oprah said they were her favorites. And you know what? They still look great. Low waisted (but not too), slim through the thighs, pretty good back pockets, slight flare, the signature wide bottom hemline. I'm pretty sure Stacy would approve.

I checked and Gap still offers them at a very reasonable $59.50. This is extra great news considering the state of the economy. Which leads me to wonder, have we lost our way, ladies, during all these years of pricey designer pairs?

A Little Home Tour by Joslyn.

September 22, 2008

Way back when, the super stylish and talented Joslyn from Simple Lovely (one of my daily absolute-must-reads) emailed me that I should do a home tour. Considering our house has occupied so much of our time and energy over the past year and a half (finding it, buying it, remodeling it, moving in, finding out about all those fun "hidden" problems... now, finally, really enjoying it!), it seemed like a fun idea. I was more excited when Joslyn said she would feature it on her blog! And now she has. Go check it out here.

Thanks again, Joslyn! And for the kind comments too.... :)

Boot Roundup.

Now that fall is officially in the air and the daylight has dropped off (how did that happen so fast?), it's time to talk about the very best part of our new season: boots! I am not going to even attempt a survey of the best out there....bliss has done it for us! Go over and check it out. I can just about guarantee you'll find something you'll love! Here are my faves:

From Sundance.

And Anthropologie.

A Visit to a Real Farm.

September 21, 2008

Late yesterday afternoon, we went up to La Milpa Farm for a potluck dinner under a huge oak tree. This is one of my very favorite events in San Diego, and luckily, one that happens every third Saturday of the month. We usually get up there just 3 or 4 times per year, but always promise ourselves we're going to make it a monthly tradition. Everyone brings a dish to share and Barry makes pizzas in the two outdoor wood-burning ovens. Later, when it starts to get dark, they show an outdoor movie (we are usually gone by then, hoping to get the kids down at a decent time). There is always a lovely group of people...hippies, foodies, farmers, families. Last night, a band even showed up to play. It also happened to be the fall equinox and the last day of summer, so there was an especially nice mood about the evening. Some of Barry's beautiful and unbelievably delicious vegetables. Most of the finest restaurants in San Diego use his produce. {All these shots are from my friend Donna, via flickr. I always forget to take my own photos when I'm up there.}

Another shot of the gardens and the idyllic setting under the oak tree.
I found a shot Donna took last summer of C-Man listening to the band. Look how little he was!

Soup For a Sister.

September 19, 2008

I'm making soup today. No, it's not cold out, not even really cool at all, but that's what my sister with morning (!) sickness (!) has requested. {Squeeee! She's almost 10 weeks preggers!} Anyway, nothing sounds good, she's gotta eat something, something healthy, with protein, yadda, yadda. So, she wants chicken soup, and she's going to get chicken soup. The pregnant lady has spoken.

Now, not just ANY chicken soup, mind you. This is the soup my friend Jennifer brought me right after Baby J was born late last fall. I should clarify: after Baby J arrived three weeks early amid a house being packed up for a move. Yes, I was moving a couple of weeks before my due date. With a two-year-old. Crazy, I know. I get that nesting instinct, but ON STEROIDS. Anyway, there I was packing away compulsively when my water broke. This was a huge shock since C-Man had been almost 2 weeks late (and he only came because the acupuncturist basically induced my labor). So, anyway, I was sort of *foolishly* counting on being late again. Certainly, not early!

Panic of the highest form set it. My life was in boxes, I had no diapers, the infant seat was packed away in the attic still, there was no bassinet to speak of, I hadn't been practicing deep breathing (procrastinator, I am.). We didn't know if she was going to be a boy or girl, so only very few unisex clothes had been pulled from C-Man's boxes. The horror, people. I am not one to come unprepared to anything, most of all the birth of my daughter!

But, like most stories, everything went fine (actually, wonderfully), and there we were just a day or two later back at the house with our beautiful baby girl (dad and brother-in-law were kind enough to move all the boxes out of the house, mom cleaned, shopped and set up a temporary living space for us, sisters spoiled and doted over C-Man). Friends got to work on the most important task at hand: making us meals.

Now, in my world, there simply is no greater show of love than a home-cooked meal when you are home bonding with your new baby and the hunger from breastfeeding has taken over your entire being. Plus, there are the factors of a sleep-deprived husband and displaced toddler who need food and love too. Your true friends appear with pasta and bread and salads and cookies and casseroles and cake and (my personal favorite) soup.

One particular soup was brought to me by the lovely Jennifer. Chicken Noodle, but oh, so much more than your average chicken noodle. Something about it made me (and the rest of the family) go crazy. In a good way. We ate it up, we made more, and more, and more. It just hit the spot like nothing else. I have made chicken soup my whole life and never felt that anything was missing, until I had Jennifer's. Now, it is the only version I make. And it is the version friends and family always request. Jennifer is a very thoughtful person...she even included a copy of the recipe with that big pot of soup on that cool November evening. And here it is for you all.

I admit, I'm not quite sure what makes this soup different and better than the rest, but just trust me. Follow the recipe, and it's perfect.

Jennifer's Make a Mama Happy Chicken Noodle Soup

16 c. chicken broth (4 cartons)

1 3 1/2 lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces

1 large onion, chopped

2-3 carrots, peeled, thinly sliced (or just buy a bag of organic baby carrots and chop those up)

2-3 celery stalks (with leaves), chopped

2 T. butter

1 T. fresh lemon juice (this is critical -- don't forget to add it)

12 oz. dried wide egg noodles (use the pappardelle from Trader Joe's)

1/2 c. finely chopped fresh parsley (I used dill today as the squirrels ate my parsley plant!)

Combine broth and chicken in a large heavy pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 mins. (I like to cook it a lot longer so the chicken is almost falling off the bone, but I know some people don't like it that way). Using tongs, transfer chicken to a large bowl. After chicken has cooled slightly, pull off the skin and bones (discard) and shred the meat.

Return broth to a simmer. Add carrots and celery. Simmer until vegetables soften, about 8 mins.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until beginning to wilt, about 5 mins. Add onions to broth and vegetables. Stir in lemon juice. Add noodles and chicken and simmer until noodles are done (about 5 mins.). Stir in parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Soothe your soul. And your little sister with morning sickness.

Living the Dream.

September 18, 2008

Did you catch Lindsay Larick's interview over at Design*Sponge? I felt completely inspired when I read it...someone who followed her dream, lives a creative life and does it all with such style! Here are the basics: Lindsay bought a 1956 trailer, remodeled it, and now sells "gourmet snowcones" out of it. The idea may not have flown with all the left brain people in her life, but after seeing these pictures, I know I would stop and order one of those Espresso Mexican Cane Sugar cones.... {Her other flavors are: Lemon Prickly Pear, Blackberry Lavender, Watermelon-Basil, Lime Mint, Ginger Rose and Agave Hibiscus (no sugar!).} Take a look!

The adorable little trailer!

How cute is this interior?

These are bottles of the syrups made from fresh fruit and herbs from Lindsay's garden.

A Little Kitchen for the Babes.

I have had my eye out for a nice little kitchen for C-Man and Baby J, but have never found the right one. This seems a little too good to be true at $84.95. Plus it comes with all the accessories. Check it out here.

Must. Share. Link.

September 17, 2008

OK, one more thing before I go....the sweet life with olives just posted the coolest link! Upload a photo and turn it into a pencil sketch. I love this!
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