I’m Kristina - freelance graphic designer, backyard farmer, cookbook reader, project starter, and new mom to a gorgeous little boy.

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Archive for the ‘musings’ Category

April 24, 2014

Spring Cleaning

I have been enjoying spring more this year than any other year in recent memory. I usually think of spring as being fairly annoying in it’s tease between summer and winter. It’s usually sunny and windy, except when it’s grey and blah, and generally neither here nor there. But this year for loads of reasons it’s just been really calm and lovely.

The fava beans are blooming, the peas are curling up the trellis, the trees are flowering, the boys are eating dinner in the backyard, and one way or another I feel like we are going to have more living space this year, at some point. And it’s been timed perfectly with finally finally finally finishing Simplicity Parenting, after many months of coming and going from it’s pages. I’ve loved it so much that it’s been nice to spread it out and digest it slowly. To me it feels like the eternal spring of parenting. Less a parenting book and more a sort of manual on family life. I suppose it’s not for everyone but it is certainly for me and I’m so glad I finally moved it to the top of the stack on my nightstand, after many years waiting in the wings.

Now that we’re out of the trenches (how I refer to the first year as a family of 4), it’s been nice to start to focus some energy on something other than surviving and juggling and adjusting. And truly I think that’s what this book is about. It validates so many of my natural tendencies as a parent, it’s like ahhhhhh. There, see? I was right after all. Not unlike binging on NPR as a liberal. So satisfying and affirming.

I’ve been gleefully purging over the last few months, which is actually a near and dear hobby of mine on the regular. But now I have validation that it’s okay to put things directly from the wrapping paper into the Goodwill pile! Maybe it sounds extreme, but in my mind it’s the perfectly sane thing to do. (Side note, it also makes you feel just the slightest bit crazy; like when you ask friends to only bring one book as a gift for your 4 year old’s birthday, and then freak out because there are TOO MANY BOOKS. Koo-koo.) Which is just the tip of proverbial iceberg that this book discusses. There’s so much goodness to take away for both your children and for you. And even if you feel that you have a fairly rhythmic household, which I feel we do, I’ve found so many great lessons within it’s pages and so many interesting ideas that I can see being helpful for all of us now and for the years ahead.

I’m rambling. But really, it’s so worth a read. So perfect for spring, when one’s inclination is to refresh what you already have in one way or another. If you’ve read it, do tell what you think. If you haven’t, I couldn’t recommend it more.

Simplicity Parenting.

November 1, 2013

Welcome, fall.

I love fall. I mean, I know *everybody* loves fall. But seriously, I think it’s my spirit season. We certainly have plenty of warm days ahead of us here in Southern California, yet I can’t help feeling slightly desperate to put away the sunscreen and popsicles (okay, probably not the popsicles) to enjoy sweaters, chilly bright mornings, tea in the afternoon, soups, holidays, whiskey cocktails, and the like.

Though full disclosure, I’m always excited about the next season, no matter which is coming up.

I love the opening line of Peter Rabbit and the Pumpkin Patch, a book we’ve been reading very often over the last few weeks:

“After suffering through the stifling heat of summertime, the cool, crisp air of autumn always makes one feel more lively.”

Doesn’t that sum things up so nicely? Fall is so much about being inspired for me. I’ve been feeling that so much lately, but also a bit disappointed with how little time I really have to cook and grow and create like I used to do. Then I remind myself of how I’m growing little boys now, which is a project that is so mind-blowingly rewarding (also incredibly challenging) that I am mostly okay with not being able to do it all.

Doing it all… hmm. There’s been a lot of talk about that recently, hasn’t there? I know I find myself assuming that everyone else IS while I am not. This brilliant opinion piece in the New York Times that my dear friend Laura passed on to me is a pretty perfect analysis of how I feel about this issue. Frankly I’m just bored hearing about it. We have what we have. I like to try to remember that it’s more than enough.

In the same vein, this even more brilliant article on Instagram and self esteem is a poignant reminder to me of how best to approach your relationship with social media. If you haven’t read it, you really should. Thanks to the always insightful Lily for sharing it on her blog.

(Clearly these things have been on my mind a lot of late.)

Brock and I have been married for 5 years this month. FIVE YEARS! Wow. When I look back at our wedding, no matter how much fun I know we were having then, I would never not for one second want to trade those days for what we have now. But that sure was a good night.

I made these outstanding slow roasted, oil poached tomatoes from the most perfect late season San Marzanos. We still have some in the fridge and I’ve been nibbling on them for treats. They are like candy.

Also made some essential toy investments recently. After sorting through our current collection, of course. I do love purging toys. Play food, where have you been all my life? And because my boys are obsessed with our broom and mop, I got them one of each in their size. Of course I really need two of each because they will forever want what the other has, it seems.

This cuff is pretty perfect.

I heart this family newborn shoot we featured on 100 Layer Cakelet. Baby. Want. WAIT! Have. Hormones are crazy things, aren’t they?

Also some of my favorite books for parents and favorite books for fall are over on the 100 Layer Cake family blog too.

Which as you might have guessed is generally where I spend my blogging time right now. But the thing is? I really miss it here. Sharing parties and costumes and family photography is fun and all, but I miss my teeny tiny corner of the internet. I think, with the arrival of fall, I will make a more more earnest effort to be here more often. At Crafting Community I met two sweet ladies (Hey Melissa, hey Adrienne!) who stopped and said hi because they’d been reading this blog since BEFORE I WAS MARRIED. (Did I mention it’s been five years?) I was 1) shocked and 2) completely flattered and humbled that anyone still knew that my blog existed. I hope I can pick up where I left off soon. I hope some of you will still be out there.

If you are,


(Photos from our annual trip to the best pumpkin patch ever on the way out to Palm Springs.)

November 12, 2012

A list of things for fall

Some things that have been inspiring, helpful, or lust-worthy recently…

This NY Times article on aging. I want to move to Ikaria and grow a garden, drink wine with friends, and possibly live to be 100. (Thanks, Dad!)

Jamie is offering holiday mini-sessions next weekend! Get on it, SD peeps. We’re having our photos taken by her over Thanksgiving weekend and I’m so excited! (PS. I totally ordered a few of those white tees she posted about. Hoping they look as cute on me as they do on her!)

This sweet kitchen shop.

Babble included my blog in a list of the Top 50 Design blogs for moms! Whoa. I am in very very good company over there. Thanks Babble!

These pumpkin donuts… made them last weekend and I wanted them to be delicious. But I think having the kitchen smell like frying oil turned me off. And made me want a giant kale salad for breakfast instead. Donuts are apparently meant to be purchased on a whim from a donut shop.

This new-to-me food blog… has such a nice moodiness to it, doesn’t it?

Forrest needs his first Christmas ornament. I think I might get this one.

This kids party and decor site is adorbs!

Heath is trying to get me to buy more things. They are soooooo sneaky. Perhaps just the new ramekin colors? Maybe a gnome?

This Small Trades dress also makes a perfect nursing top over leggings, for those who are in the same boat as moi.

These date truffles are my new favorite dessert. Tasted them last week when Sara prepared the pretty food for our holiday shoot.

I found this little article on whining to be helpful, other mommies.

Dashiell and I both got big haircuts. Yep. He looks adorable, I look… well… I’m getting used to it. BUT I’m happy to be donating 11 inches of hair to Locks of Love this week! Teeny bit of an identity crisis, but I’m sure I’ll get over it. Hair grows, after all.

Trying to remember this post on losing postpartum weight that I wrote around Dashiell’s first birthday. UGH. I’m not approaching the fatness with as much grace this time.

In the meantime, I’d love to be wearing this Lauren Moffat shirt with riding pants. Or maybe this Rachel Pally maxi skirt with any old tank. I’m going through a maxi skirt phase. My new fave is this Ace & Jig number I snagged from Shop Pretty Mommy. I kind of love the blue option too.

What else am I missing out on? Do tell!

(Photo of Dashie just before I cut his hair. To be fair, I just don’t have any relevant photos for this post.)

January 6, 2012

This year…

I’d like to…

Start knitting. Again. If you can count my stint in elementary school and junior high. I love sewing, but they’re not the kind of projects you can start and stop and start and stop. Knitting, however, seems like you could just pick it up after dinner for a long time and eventually have something pretty that you’ve made. I can’t help it. I have the crafting gene and I feel so much better when I’m making something. In a perfect world I’d have a stocking or two made by the time next Christmas is here. I think that’s a reasonable goal, don’t you?

Those emails from Purl srsly kill me. And we have a great knitting shop in Santa Monica where I’m sure I can spend all sorts of money on beautiful yarns.

Not work when I’m not supposed to be working. Part of this will be facilitated by moving my office out of the living room and into our freshly remodeled garage, which is like more exciting than I can express. Having your email up on a giant computer in the main room of the house does not make for focused playtime with your darling son in the evenings. And part of this will just be letting go of things that aren’t finished for a few hours before he goes to bed. It’s FINE for things and people to wait. Fine.

Plant fava beans. This needs to happen stat. I think I’m going to clear the beds this weekend and go for it.

Make real meals and eat at the table. We are in a nasty pattern of eating on the sofa whilst watching movies and other more embarrassing things on TV. I can’t believe I’m actually admitting this on the internet. Maybe it will help me actually motivate to change? We’re lax because Dashiell is in bed by the time we eat (except on the weekends) so I don’t feel guilty about setting bad examples for him. But I DO feel guilty about perpetuating bad habits for us.

Clean out my wardrobe, for reals. I have sooo many things that I haven’t worn since I was pregnant with Dashiell. It’s been over two years (counting the pregnancy), I’ve made it back down to my normal size, and I still haven’t worn so many things. Time for a major purge. Those mini dresses… they might not ever see the light of day again, sadly.

Digitize our music library. As much as I resist complete takeover by technology at times, it’s time to convert. We don’t listen to most of our music because it’s on CD and who wants to go rifling through CDs when you could just play what you have on your iPhone? My parents gave us a new fancy receiver for Christmas that lets you connect wirelessly to any computer in the house and play music from iTunes. Plus it means that we won’t have to keep a place for all those CDs in the house. I love less stuff.

MAKE DASHIELL’S BABY BOOK. This should really be number one. The poor child is going to think we didn’t care about his arrival on this planet. I have like 300 photos ready to print and another 8 months of his life that I still need to go through in my iPhoto. I swear I will never forgive myself if I let this slide.

Plus the normal feel good intentions that so many of you have been posting about. I love all of those too, but this list is practical. And do-able? I need tangible things to accomplish sometimes. We’ll see.

Hat image from The Purl Bee, fava image from What Katie Ate.

December 19, 2011

That time of year

Oh, hello! Major apologies for lack of posting. It’s a crazy time of year, as you all know, and I’ve been trying to make it as un-crazy as possible. Which means some things have to be put on hold, one of which happens to be the internet. I’m at my computer all day doing work and after dinner I just DON’T want to be there anymore. At least right now.

I think I’m in the middle of internet fatigue. There are sooooo many cute ideas and photos and blogs and shops and things that it’s becoming overwhelming and instead of trying to manage all of that in my brain, I’ve sort of just checked out. BUT Christmas is nearly here! It’s usually such an ideal time to be showing fun projects and recipes and things! Alas this year I’m bowing out. But I did want to check in and say HI I MISS YOU ALL AND THIS BLOG, and share a few things going on around these parts before the big weekend is here.

Persimmon pudding and English Toffee have already been made and eaten and made and eaten again. The tree is up, ornaments have been broken more times than I care to admit. Presents are being wrapped. Chickens and gardens and being neglected. Parties have been attended (thankfully we’re done with those. OMG. 5 last weekend alone). Cards still need to be addressed, more presents need to be wrapped… and purchased. Bags need to be packed. Tamales need to be ordered. Salsa needs to be made. Photos need to be printed. I have so many lists going, I’m not even sure where to start.

Here are some nice things I’ve come across so far this year in my shopping:

Hay neon tea towels, from A+R in Venice.
Muji silicone ice ball maker (for perfect Manhattans)
Lovi birch cards that turn into ornaments.
Organic farro in bulk from Bluebird Grain Farms.
Foodzie marketplace and artisan food monthly subscription baskets.
A shiny reversible clutch.

And some non-gifty things that I’ve loved over the last few months:

These birth photos from Brooke Schwab. I think I might need them for myself.
Cooking from Heidi’s new-ish cookbook.
Making pizzas from Blake’s dough once a week. (I love storing it in the freezer!)
Farm Made. Looks intriguing, right?

So much going on with work and family and new, ahem, projects for next year. I’m hoping to be back to posting soon. Maybe I just need a break from EVERYTHING over Christmas for a while. Or maybe I just needed to post once so I can get back in the swing of things.

Hope you’re all doing well and being festive and merry and all of that.

October 6, 2011

Farewell to a visionary

I know there will be many many people posting about this today, but I felt like I had to pay tribute to Steve Jobs myself.

My family has owned every iteration of Apple computer since the birth of Apple computers. The Apple IIE, the first Macintosh, (that looked like a little robot), the first powerbook, the first iMac… I don’t need to go on and on. It’s just to say that Apples have been part of our lives since I can remember computers. I’m the daughter of one of the original die-hard Apple enthusiasts.

Part of that loyalty we feel towards Apple is their amazing, innovative, beautiful products. As one spoof from the Onion says, “I’ll buy anything if it’s shiny and made by Apple.” Which isn’t really too far from the truth. But it’s not just the products. It’s the soul of the company built by Steve Jobs that really makes us feel so connected to the brand. His presence on the earth was inspiring, and not just because of his pretty products. Because he was a brilliant, passionate, creative member of society that took a major innovation of our time and made it infinitely better.

If you haven’t read the commencement speech he gave at Stanford in 2005, I strongly recommend it. It’s one of the most inspiring orations one could possibly give to a new crop of young people heading off into the world to make their way. I cried a little the first time I read it. And I’ve since referred back to it many times in my mind. See, his genius extended beyond computers. He was thoughtful and soulful and enthusiastic and truly appeared to live an inspired life.

The tragedy is that he didn’t end up living those decades he mentioned in his speech. And for that I’m so sorry for him, for his family, and for all of us who have been motivated and inspired by his achievements for the last 30 years. It’s a sad day knowing that one of the greatest innovators of our time is gone.

May 4, 2011

Hank + Lucy guest post

Hi hi! Totally forgot to post a link to my guest post on Hank + Lucy last Thursday. I was traveling that day so wasn’t able to do it then, and am just remembering this morning. It’s a little ramble on one of the many unexpected and very delicious surprises that come with being a mother for the first time. Enjoy!

Photograph by Deb Schwedhelm

April 13, 2011

something helpful

Last night, whilst scanning the internet for pretty things and good ideas and recipes and other people’s lives and blablablablah, I came across the blog Small Notebook. Do any of you read it? Somehow I’ve missed it in all these years of interneting. I’m not exactly sure what it was, but it sort of stopped me in my tracks.

It’s so, I don’t know, helpful.

It’s the opposite of most other blogs I read (as my brother calls them, the “I’m so awesome” blogs… of which mine is not an exception). You know, where people post all the nice, pretty things going on in their perfectly styled, always delicious, very fashionable lives. I love those blogs, I do. But sometimes they just seem so unfairly aspirational. I find myself thinking that everyone else’s life is clearly more together than my own, that they have nicer houses, newer shoes, better taste, etc etc etc. Which is pretty obviously my issue, not theirs. But it was so refreshing to find a blog that just talked about little parts of life that everyone goes through that are not pretty and styled and decorated. And that might in some way help people who read it to similarly simplify their lives. To maybe give people permission to, like, clean out their closet and only wear the few things they love over and over again. How to focus your hobbies and let go of the ones you don’t need (probably not going to happen for me, being the compulsive projecter and hobbiest that I am, but I love the idea), and gulp, how to quit caffeine. Plus lots lots more.

Have you noticed a recurring theme of late? Maybe it’s just in my mind and not on my blog. I’m desperate to simplify our life. I really am. I have a constant nagging feeling that I just want less stuff! But the next moment I’ll find myself madly adding things to my cart on JCrew’s final sale because I get an EXTRA 20% OFF my purchase and I desperately need new clothes that are in style. Gaaahhhhd.

So see when I found Small Notebook, it was like… oh. See, there. Maybe it is possible. Maybe there is life beyond Pintrest and spring fashion. I actually got a little teary thinking about it. And I haven’t even begun to really read through her archives, but I do love the ideas I’ve come upon so far.

I think I should start by NOT ending my day on the computer. There’s only one thing that comes from it and it’s a restless night of sleep. I don’t need to cataloging the internet in my mind when I should be sleeping and I most certainly do not need to miss out on any more sleep. So maybe I will start there and see how it goes. And have a giant garage sale, soon.

And for the record, because I get a fair share of emails and comments asking how I find the time to do it all… here’s a little secret. I don’t. I just only take pictures of the things in my life that are pretty and possibly interesting to other people. But there is plenty that goes undone, plenty of I wishes and if onlys. Maybe I will start to write about that stuff more, just to be fair.

You know what I’m sayin’? Something to think about at least.

March 30, 2011

Yesterday’s internal dialogue

Some days just never seem to get going, you know? And often it’s no one’s fault but mine, as evidenced by this little vignette.

Wake and miraculously remember that Dashiell has a doctor’s appointment as I lay in bed listening to him babble in his crib at 6:15. Close one!

Scrap plans to take him running in the BOB (using the doctor’s appointment as an excuse because I really hate motivating to do that anyway when Brock is out of town, as he was yesterday.)

Get to doctor’s office early (miraculous!) but then we are forced to wait for 30 minutes anyway.

Get home at 10. Nanny is at home, waiting for us. Yay!

Now, I will settle in to work.

It’s going to be a really productive day.

First check email. Maybe a little light internet surfing, etc.

Decide I must shower before I can work. I didn’t go running, but at least a shower will make me feel ready for the day.

Shower, dress, and sit down at computer to work.

Decide I need a latte before I can REALLY get going. More caffeine!

Quickly drive to Peets for latte.

Return home and sit back down at computer.

Computer would be WAY faster if I restarted.

Oop! Forgot to make Dashiell his lunch for the park. Will make lunch quickly.

Oooooh. There are software updates! Computer would run better with updates. Will install and restart computer again.

Argg. I need a new computer soooo bad. Photoshop takes for-ever to start.

In the meantime I will check email. And maybe look up new computers on the Apple Store. I wonder if anyone has posted any good pictures on facebook?

Oooh an email!

Hmmm. I should eat something before I get going otherwise I will start working and then I will have to stop for nourishment, which will totally disrupt my groove.

What should I make? Pirate’s Booty is not considered breakfast. Wait, lunch.

Poached eggs! Yes! I have new english muffins from Traders! They will be perfect with poached eggs.

You know, I should just eat at the kitchen table. I don’t need to eat at my computer.

New Martha Weddings is kind of cute. Forgot I bought that. Maybe we should have registered for china? Would be so pretty for dinner parties. If we ever get a dining room.

Now I am properly prepared to work.

Wait, I should start a podcast. Score! Two new TALs.


And then it actually turned into a surprisingly productive day. But I mean COME ON with how long it takes to get going! These are the days I kind of sort of a teeny bit wish I didn’t work at home. At least I took a photo of my lunch. See? I got a blog post out of my day! Is something.

March 28, 2011

Another baby

Not pregnant. But, you know, pondering… as in when is the right time for a second? It seems like babies and bellies are everywhere right now and I can’t help start to feel like I might want to give it another go. Jamie, Celia, Melanie, Alyson, Alexis, Bridget, a number of you lovely readers, plus a bunch of other ladies I know who *gasp* DON’T HAVE BLOGS. (Imagine!)

But here’s the thing. It’s just so much easier now. We’re all sort of accustomed to our rhythm and getting enough sleep (ish) and I love that we have so much time to focus on Dashiell. It’s scary to think that would all be disrupted and we’d be starting the entire process over again. Plus 100LC is on the cusp of really taking off and I’m finally figuring out how to get work done. Adding another tiny baby into that equation is a little overwhelming too.

Oh and there’s the house situation. If we have another babe, we’ll have to move. Either that or remodel, but remodeling would be a challenge since we don’t actually own our house. Sure we could manage for a few months, but we’re already splitting the seams of our little home so baby #2 will mean something definitely has to change.

But is there ever a right time? Will we ever be like, oh NOW is the time. Now we’re 100% ready to have another baby. Maybe eventually. But I might be 47 by then and me thinks that would be a little on the late side.

Plus if our first baby is this adorable, imagine what it would be like to have two little faces to snuggle every morning.

Any of you pondering number two? Have number two on the way? I know it’s a majorly personal decision, but I’m just curious how those conversations went down.