Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Last week, I had a dream that I was holding our little girl. It was a wonderful dream. I'm glad for these nine months of preparation, but I am officially (emotionally) ready to meet this girl. Less than two months ago, I was still adjusting to the fact that I was even pregnant, and now I'm impatient for the next step. Oh how things change so quickly.

(nyc. i told the husband that if he wears a khaki shirt and khaki pants, i will assume he is a zookeeper and knows everything about animals. guess what he wore nearly every day on our trip?)

On the practical side, I am definitely grateful for a bit more time. There's a lot we need to do, including a much-dreaded trip to Ikea for a crib, armchair, and all the magical little Ikea items we never know we need until we are there. And we almost filed for divorce last night after trying to put together a baby bouncer for an hour. The wonders of parenthood are already upon us.

PS. I found a website that clearly explained how all the state and federal maternity leave laws come together, which is pretty much a miracle. Check it out here: http://www.hellobee.com/2012/11/19/maternity-leave-in-california/ (applies to CA only).

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

quick link: discount tickets to alton brown

Santa Barbarians! Groupon is currently offering discounted tickets to Alton Brown's live show at the Granada on October 23. The Husband loves Alton Brown because he is really into food science as well as general cooking information. I love Alton Brown because he's completely insane. The Princess Bride reference in his show description didn't hurt either.

Alton Brown tour website here. Sign up for a general Groupon subscription here.

Friday, October 11, 2013

thoughts on pregnancy thus far

(took this photo right after we found out we were expecting)

At just over halfway through, I finally have the energy and ability to reflect on the past few months and what is to come. I honestly don't have much to say, besides that I am very content and happy. Before getting pregnant, I was worried that I wouldn't be 'good' at it - that I'd eat the wrong things, or miss wine too much, or not be able to attend to my daily life, or be too emotional / depressed to thrive. Looking back, that was just typical worrywart Stephanie coming out, and I now realize my fears were unfounded and that I am generally stronger than I sometimes think I am. Being pregnant has been a wonderful experience and I've tried to appreciate every moment of it. Even the "hung over on a boat"-feeling of morning sickness, and the worries about if baby girl is doing okay, and the weight gain that has slightly bruised my ego. Especially the little kicks I feel daily (which on a sentimental level are amazing, on a purely physical level are weird), the tenderness and happiness that emanates from The Husband whenever he looks at my belly, and the excitement we both feel at meeting this little girl next year.
(8 week ultrasound)

I think a huge reason why I have been so happy and content is that this pregnancy is planned and wanted (I feel even more strongly pro-choice now than before I got pregnant because this is a lot to go through and should be chosen, not forced upon someone). I am proud of us for making life decisions that had our future family in mind for the past 6 years; these decisions are allowing us to grow our family without significant logistical concerns. The Husband and I have also grown and matured together over the course of our relationship, and I am so grateful to be in such a stable, healthy, and happy relationship that is full of passion and laughter. I mean, no one's ever 100% prepared for a child (I honestly have no idea what to expect next year!), but we have done our best with what is within our control, and have faith that the rest of it will work out. We will do our best to be good parents who raise children with a sense of responsibility, empathy, and positivity. Any failings we will have will not come from lack of trying, at least.

(taken just before rushing out the door for a concert. 22 1/2 weeks.)

As for giving birth, I'm not going to pretend like I'm not nervous about the experience. Childbirth sounds, honestly, kind of scary, though I'm trying to view it as an overall positive experience (and if all else fails, at least I'll get a baby out of it). I don't really have a super strong opinion about how I give birth. I'd prefer to avoid a c-section just because it's major surgery, not because it would be taking away from my overall birth experience or some similar egotistical mindset like that. I'm not exactly looking forward to pain and will do my best to use breathing and relaxation for pain management, but I know I'll probably get an epidural if it gets to the point where I'm willing to sacrifice my mobility during labor to get pain relief. But who knows? Maybe I'll end up eating my words, but at least I accept that this experience may go one of several ways and that as long as our little girl is healthy and okay at the end, I will be okay, too.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

easy + healthy cauliflower soup recipe

It suddenly feels like fall around here, though it probably be 80 degrees again in a couple days. I'm taking advantage of the cooler weather by cooking soup. Soup is my favorite thing to cook - it doesn't have to look pretty or require any sort of finesse in the kitchen to be tasty. I decided to throw together a couple ingredients in the dutch oven after work today and see what happened - and a very tasty soup came out of it. It's also the simplest, easiest soup ever....and quite healthy and vegan-friendly. Just cauliflower, shallots, garlic, turmeric, water/broth, thyme, and a bay leaf! Recipe after the jump.

(i am so, so good at getting hipster picture of the ingredients. and then i fail at taking subsequent cooking photos. sorry.)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

eat your way through brooklyn

My trip to NYC with the husband in mid-September was probably one of my favorite vacations ever. We rented an apartment through Airbnb to save a ton of money on lodging and have a full home base. It was the cutest studio apartment in a great part of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and the girl we rented it from was the sweetest person ever with the best food and shopping recommendations. Shoot me an email if you're interested in staying there and I'll give you the scoop!

We did plenty of the cultural / touristy things one normally does in NYC, so I'll spare you the details on that stuff and go straight to my favorite part of the trip (and life): EATING.

(beautiful picture of beet & apple soup stolen from Brooklyn Soup Club)

Diner is an awesome little restaurant that was right around the corner from our apartment. Their menus change daily, which is fun. The Husband and I went there with our friend (who is a private chef! how cool is that?!) on our first full day in NYC, and all three of us were really impressed by our food. I am also committed to reproducing their beet and apple soup here at home one day soon, it was that tasty. Recipe will be posted here if I ever figure it out.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

the best salad dressing + a really easy salad recipe

My wonderful mother-in-law moved to Santa Barbara a few months ago, and we've all done pretty well at getting together on a weekly basis. Right before we went to NYC, Emma invited us over for an early dinner. She lives in a gorgeous Victorian building with lovely wooden floors and tons of sunlight streaming through the huge bay windows.

At this dinner, Emma introduced us to the best salad dressing ever: Annie's Shiitake Sesame Dressing. It's organic, which is always a plus, though unfortunately there's no low sodium / low fat version. That being said, it's still a lot healthier than most dressings out there. Emma served it with roasted turnips, sesame seeds, avocado, mushrooms, and tofu, which was an amazing combination.

Baby girl seems to like it, too, considering the ninja-like kicks I've been feeling after dinner lately.

After the jump, check out a really simple salad recipe (can I even call it a recipe when it's this easy? Salad idea?) that goes wonderfully with this dressing.