Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My Birthday Weekend!

As most of you know, Memorial Day is my birthday weekend – which means I get to claim the entire weekend for my birthday.  This year, I decided to choose 1 thing that I wanted to do each day and invite people to come along.  It was such a fantastic weekend and I was able to fit so much in, I could probably write an entire post for each day . . . but I won’t.  Instead, I will give truncated descriptions of my activities over the past weekend.

On Friday, I went to Burke Williams and got a massage.  No, I did not invite anyone to join me for this birthday event.  It was pure “me” time.  I had a coupon for their Burke Williams massage, which is usually slightly more expensive than the “Pure Relaxation” massage that I have had before.  The Burke Williams massage started with the masseuse sprinkling Chinese herbs on my back and legs and then using a polish glove to scrub them in.  Then she placed a heat pad over my back to loosen up the muscles while the masseuse works on your legs.  Once she was finished with my legs, she moved the heat pad to cover them and started massaging my back.  The massage was good, but felt very short.  All that Chinese herb stuff really ate into the time for the actual massage.  If I ever were to get that massage again, I think I would need to do a longer session.  But, honestly, I think I’d rather just save my money, get the regular massage and have them focus the entire time on getting the tension out of my back.  After the massage, I used the steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi and quiet room.  OMG.  The quiet room alone was almost worth the price of admission  (not really, but it was the biggest perk to me).  I’m not sure what makes that room so appealing to me, but it is.  It’s a long room with several comfy chairs, each divided by a soft wall/cubicle thing.  Each chair has a reading light, pillow and blanket.  I brought a book with me and sat and read for a bit.  Then took a quick catnap.  Maybe I just liked that room so much because I hardly ever get peace and quiet and time to myself to read.

Saturday, Aaron and Guinevere and I went for a hike at Malibu Creek State Park, along with several of our other friends who have kids.  We had a nice array of ages with us – 20 months, 14 months, 10 months, and 3 ½ months! I hadn’t been to this State Park since I was a kid. It was so beautiful!  If you hike in far enough, you can find the location where they used to film MASH, the tv show.  They left some of the set pieces there, so you know you’re in the right place.  We didn’t actually make it that far because we had a couple strollers with us.  But, if you ever want to take that hike, you should know that there definitely are trails that are ok for strollers.  I would highly recommend a jogging type stroller (such as the Bob) and not an umbrella stroller, though.  Otherwise you might wear out your wheels too quickly.

Aaron and Guinevere.

The girls and their girls. 

Me and G

Sunday, Aaron was on baby duty while I went to a ballet class.  Ever since Guinevere was born, I’ve been trying to find an adult ballet class on Sundays and having a really hard time doing it.  Most studios, it seems, are closed on Sundays.  Plus, I’ve been having a hard time finding a class that’s at my level near home.  I love Westside Ballet, but it’s all the way in Santa Monica.  Going to class on a weeknight is hard, and I really don’t want to drive over the hill on the weekend if I don’t have to.  I’ve taken a couple beginner classes at other studios, trying to get myself back into shape to even show my face at Westside.  It’s good to go back and take a beginner class every now and then to focus on technique – especially after a long break.  But I was definitely feeling that it was time to find a class that was at my level . . . even if I wasn’t at my level yet.  I think I finally found my class! I took the intermediate/advanced class at the Los Angeles Ballet Academy.  It was a pretty full class - we even needed to pull out the portable bars.  Class was a full hour and a half and I was so sweaty and winded by the end, but also very happy. The best part was that because it was my first class, it was only $5!  I am definitely going to try to take that class on a semi-regular basis.


On Monday, we went to Disneyland!  As of now, we have officially gotten our money’s worth out of our annual passes!  We got kind of a late start, so I was a little worried about Memorial Day crowds, but we were pleasantly surprised when we got there.  It was not too crowded at all.  In fact, the crowds didn’t start to appear until around 3 or 4pm.  The best part about this Disneyland trip is that all of the friends who joined us a) also have passes and b) also have kids.  It was really nice not to feel like we were holding any individual back because of the babies and they were trying to get their money’s worth out of the day.  It’s also fun to go with other friends and their kids because every time we discover something else new.  This time, we were joined by my friend, Tania, and her 3 year old daughter.  Her daughter really wanted to go on the “pirate ship” (the Columbia), which goes around Tom Sawyer’s Island (which is now a pirate island, but I can’t remember the new name – to me, it will always be Tom Sawyer’s Island).  It never in a million years would have occurred to me to go on the Columbia.  But there was no line, and it was a great thing to do with the little ones.  So now I think maybe I’ll make a new rule for myself: always try to find 1 new (or new to the adult me) thing to do at Disneyland each time we go.  Guinevere seemed to love almost every minute of Disneyland!  We took her on Pirates, Ariel’s Adventure, and Snow White.  She did really well and seemed to enjoy all the rides.  I don’t remember Snow White being that scary!  G did fine, but Aaron and I were scared for her!

At Disney California Adventure, just after riding Ariel's ride

Monday, May 27, 2013

30x30 Week 4

Omg – it’s week four of this thing already.  Are you getting sick of seeing what I wear?  I know that I am tired of taking pictures of myself every day.  This week was insanely busy, and I sincerely apologize for the quality of my selfie iphone pics.  Aaron was working late almost every day this week, so I had no one else to take pictures.

Also, be sure to read to the end of this post for a fun giveaway. 

Day 19

Today I wore my blue shirt and khaki pants, along with a long, gray, drapey sweater.  This sweater is actually a maternity sweater, but I loved it so much that I kept it in my closet after putting away all the maternity clothes.

Day 20

Here’s a new item – a black & white striped dress.  I bought this at the same time that I bought my white dress I wore last week.  I figured it was the perfect replacement for the pink dress that I figured out does not work for nursing/pumping.  This striped dress works perfectly for nursing/pumping!  I love this dress so much – expect to see it again next week!

Day 21

Black slacks, floral print blouse & black sweater.  This is a pairing that I probably never would have thought of were it not for this challenge, but I think it came off well enough that I will repeat even after this challenge is over.

Day 22

I was definitely feeling “over” the challenge today, hence the half-assed attempt at an outfit and picture.  This is a white t-shirt blouse and my banana republic jeans.  My hair was still wet in the picture, hence the “drowned mouse” look.

Day 23

I am actually really sad that I don’t have a better picture of this outfit.  I loved it!  This is my pink Old Navy blouse and my gray/pink plaid pants. 

Day 24

Ok, I cheated today.  But it was my birthday!  We went hiking to celebrate my birthday, and I fully intended to change into something cute after the hike . . . but I didn’t.  I’m entitled to cheat on my birthday, right?  In any case here’s a picture of my little family out in the wilderness (I’ll post more about my bday weekend in my next post)

And now the piece de resistance – the other girls participating in this challenge and I have gotten together to offer a little giveaway.  We’re offering a $60 gift card to one of our lucky readers!  Special thanks to Jacqueline for organizing giveaway and Kim for designing the graphic . . . and of course, to Kelly for hosting the challenge.

Just enter using the rafflecopter below.

This giveaway is open from 5/27/2013 - 6/2/2013 and the winner will be announced on 6/3/2013.  Entries will be validated.  Winner will be emailed and has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected.

As always, be sure to check out all the other lovely ladies participating in this challenge.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Weeknight Dinner: Crockpot Chicken

It’s about time for another recipe post.  I think I’ve mentioned before how much I love my crockpot.  The crockpot is seriously the parent’s best friend.  I almost said “working parent’s best friend,” but then I realized we use our crockpot just as much on the weekend as we do during the week.  It’s just so nice to throw a bunch of stuff in the crockpot and then, magically, have dinner ready at night!

Today’s recipe is the easiest recipe you will ever find (other than maybe pouring milk on cereal).  You ready?  Ok, here’s what you need: chicken breasts, 1 cup of liquid, and whatever other vegetables you want, if you want them.  That’s it!

Here is how I did it tonight:
6 chicken breasts
1 cup chicken broth
½ bag of frozen stew vegetables from Ralphs
Kale as a side vegetable

Place the chicken breasts in the crockpot, add the vegetables, and then pour the liquid over all of it.  Set it on low for about 8 hours (though honestly, I’m usually out of the house for about 11 hours on weekdays, and it’s been fine).

Here’s the cost breakdown of tonight’s dinner:
Crockpot Chicken
6 chicken breasts
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 bag frozen stew vegetables
1 bunch organic kale
6 servings:
$1.12 per serving

The best thing about this dish is that there are about a million variations you can do with it.  One time I added ½ a cup of white wine and some lemons (which was super yummy).  I think my favorite variation was to use a container of salsa instead of the chicken broth.  Then I sprinkled some grated cheese on top just before serving.  So yummy!

Monday, May 20, 2013

30x30 Week 3

Is this really the third week of this challenge?  It seems like it is flying by!  I’m amazed that there are actually some pieces that I haven’t worn yet. 

Day 13

I am actually really proud of my outfit today.  I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone on this one – and as a result, I got a lot compliments.  I paired my gray wrap dress with a short-sleeved jacket and some boots.  I will definitely be adding this combination to my repertoire.   

Day 14
Remember how I mentioned in my first blog about this challenge that I would have to wear a suit one day?  This was that day.  I never ever wear suits, so this ensemble did not count in my 30 items.  I actually packed clothes for myself that were from the 30 items to change into, but the deposition ran long and I ended up just going straight home and changing into comfy clothes and working from home for the remaining hour or so of the workday.  Fortunately, I had the foresight to take some pictures of my suit and hair. 
Making my best lawyer face.

Day 15
Today I paired my khaki pants with the Donna Karan blouse and a pink blazer.  I’ve worn the blouse with the khakis before, and worn the blouse with the blazer before, but never all three combined.  It definitely worked for the AIMP (Association of Independent Music Producers) luncheon that a co-worker and I attended.  I never quite know how to dress for those things because I want to look professional, yet not too “professional.”  Jeans are almost the “uniform” in the music industry, but there are always a bunch of “real” lawyers that attend, and I want to try to network and be taken seriously.  So I usually try to go more business casual – especially at the functions that take place in Beverly Hills (which is where this one was).

Day 16
Ahhh, back to jeans again!  Today I wore my Felicia Day jeans paired with a pink t-shirt, purple cardigan and flats.  Honestly, I never thought to pair a pink t-shirt with a purple cardigan – it always felt a bit too Easter-y, but I think it turned out ok.  I also took pictures of my hair.  I love all the braids that are popular on Pinterest, and this hairdo is a good one (for me) to cover for waking up too late to wash my hair.  It’s just a simple half-French braid on one side, a regular braid on the other and then they meet up in the back for a half ponytail.  I timed myself while doing it: 4 ½ minutes from the time I pulled out my brush.

Day 17
Saturdays must be my weak point.  Ok, I’ll admit, I definitely cheated on Saturday and did not wear an outfit from my list of 30.  But, I have a valid reason.  Aaron has a friend who is a professional photographer (and amazing!).  She happened to be in town and the timing worked out perfectly for us to do a family photo shoot.  So I went shopping on Friday (some of the other girls participating in this challenge have sworn off for all of May, but I never made any such commitment – mostly because I hardly ever shop for myself!) and bought an amazing long white dress that I wore for the shoot.  When we got home, I changed into shorts and a nursing tank and didn’t take any pictures at all.  I did however get a self-portrait of me and Guinevere while I was wearing my denim jacket (on my list of 30) over my white dress (not on the list).

Day 18
Today’s picture was taken at Disneyland!  This is definitely more dressed up than I usually get for Disneyland, but it was kind of fun feeling “cute” amongst all the mouse ears and t-shirts.  I wore my navy blue Bermuda shorts and paisley blue blouse.  Remember how I’ve been saying I need to get a belt?  Well, I found one hiding deep within the recesses of my dresser!  It’s a bright turquoise blue, and I thought it would go really well with this shirt.

There you have it, my week’s worth of pictures.  Hope you liked them.  Oh, and someone last week mentioned maybe wanting a hair tutorial.  I may be fashion-challenged, but I like to think of myself as being reasonably good with hair, so if there is enough demand, I’ll do an entire post on hair.  Just let me know if you are interested.  I will definitely keep taking pics of my hair whenever I have some hair fun throughout this challenge.

Also, the other ladies and I are teaming up to offer a giveaway to all our awesome readers. I'm mostly participating because I want to give you guys something back for putting up with all of my wannabe fashion blogging for the past month . . . just kidding . . . sort of.  :)

Please check out Kelly and all the other lovely ladies participating in this challenge: