8.28.2020

Date Night | Cold Shoulder Top



This post was saved in my drafts from before my blogging hiatus. So while the photos are over two years old, and cold shoulder tops aren't really in style anymore, I figured I would share anyway because, why not?!



It's funny to look back on these photos and thinking of that time in my life. I still have such heartache when I think of leaving San Francisco, I truly loved living there. Thankfully now, nearly two years after leaving, I am feeling more settled in our life back in the foothills. Of course, San Francisco will forever be a special place for me. And although many people thought I was crazy to move there in 2012, taking a pay cut and having nowhere to live (thanks for letting me crash on your couch for a month, Bea)! it was really the best decision I ever made. Who knows where I would be if I hadn't taken the chance! I think it's a good reminder to always trust your gut. 

Andrew and I will always look back on those years with a smile. Even more so since that is where we brought Graham home, and became a family of three. We really did take advantage of the city life while we were there and I'll always be thankful for that. 

I look forward to when I can plan a date night for Andrew and I again. Since having Graham those were much less frequent, and then Covid-19 put what remained of date nights to an abrupt end. It was one of my goals to start making more time for the two of us this year, but 2020 had other plans! While it's easy to get stuck in our routine with Graham, I do think it is important for us to have some time to ourselves and focus on our marriage. I know we'll never take date nights for granted again! 

What are some of your favorite date night ideas? What about Covid-19 friendly dates? Our last date was in January when we went to dinner then saw Dear Evan Hansen. It was great! I wasn't quite prepared to get so emotional! It was heavier than I expected, but the cast was amazing. Thinking since our last date was more up my ally, I should plan something like a bike ride or outdoor activity that Andrew would enjoy. Whatever it is, I'll be sure to wear a more current outfit lol - also I am embarrassed to admit I'm pretty sure the only time I wore this top was for these photos and it's still hanging in my closet. 


*photo by the talented Stephanie Court!

8.26.2020

Graham is 2!


Somehow, our sweet baby boy has grown into an adorable TWO year old! The cliche is true, time moves so fast it seems impossible. The past two years have been a whirlwind, so much change and growth, and Graham has made all of it so fulfilling. I am so proud of the little boy that he is. He is so happy, always moving a mile a minute, loves people and is so friendly and kind, and keeps us laughing with all the funny things he says and does. Sometimes we can't really believe that we made him, he is just SO cute and we could burst we love him so much!

The past year has been one to remember, that's for sure! Even with a global pandemic and everything else that 2020 has brought, we were able to make some wonderful memories as a family. Thankfully both vacations we had planned for 2020 fell in January and early February, so we were able to squeeze in some fun with family and friends before the world changed. You can get a full recap of our time during quarantine here, but I wanted to document a little about Graham at this age!

You're such a happy little guy and really bring us so much joy! I love hearing you sing and play from my office while you're downstairs with Holly. The morning is such a fun time. Daddy usually wakes up with you and you go down stairs and get started on breakfast. You're always so happy in the morning and ready to start your day! You love Daddy and he's definitely the most fun to play with. You play hide and seek, have tickle fights, and chase each other around the house! Mommy is the one you love to cuddle with and come to when you're sad or have a boo boo. We read stories and play and listen to songs or color. I think our nighttime routine is my favorite. Mommy & Daddy rotate who does bath night and then we all come to your room to read stories together as a family. Depending on the book you choose, you'll decide who reads and we sit together on your chair. They are my most favorite moments! 

Even though we couldn't have a big party to celebrate like last year, we made the most of your special day. Grandma and Auntie Nina were here to visit for the weekend and we celebrated a little bit each day. We made a cake, picked blackberries, went to the park, played with our new toys and you loved having visitors at our house. 


Of course you were spoiled with gifts. Auntie got you the coolest floor piano like in the movie BIG and you love it! We all had fun playing with it. Grandma got you an easel and all the art supplies you could need! You love to draw and use it almost every day. You also got some books, trucks, cool socks and a matching game! Mommy and Daddy got you a cool scooter which we haven't got to practice with much with the heat and smoke, but I'm sure you'll get a lot of use out of it. You do love the little construction Duplo Lego set we got you. Mimi and Papa got you a red wagon like the one that you play with at their house. And Auntie Christine sent you a really cool camping set. She actually gave it to you really early and it's been a huge hit throughout quarantine! Auntie Joy, Ivy & Reed got you a cool camper van fort and Jeremy built you an AMAZING picnic table just your size! So thoughtful and something we'll love and use for years!


On your actual birthday we went to Sugar Pine Reservoir with Grandma. It was a bit of a drive but once we got there we had a great time relaxing and swimming. It wasn't too crowded on a Monday so we found a great spot. It was so relaxing and nice to be up in the fresh air and out of the heat. 












We love you so much Graham! 

8.24.2020

Starting My Non-Toxic Journey with Young Living Essential Oils


A little over a year ago I purchased my essential oil starter kit from Young Living. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love and truly see all the benefits. I was a little skeptical at first, and was mostly interested in diffusing oils as a non-toxic candle replacement. Since having Graham, I have become more aware of the ingredients in products inside our home, and it didn’t take long for me to realize all the amazing benefits of Young Living products beyond oils that were safe for my family and having a little one around.

Since joining I’ve learned more and more about oils as well as the Thieves cleaning, kids and wellness products offered by Young Living. And just like when you find a cute dress or pair of shoes on sale, I want to tell all my friends about oils so they can enjoy them too! And I was surprised to learn how many friends I have that already used them... Hello! Why didn't you all told me?!

So far one of the best parts of buying this kit (besides the oils) is the community. There are so many amazing resources for free as part of signing up. I’ve learned so much about the products I had been using previously and how so many ingredients in them can be harmful. My goal has been to slowly replace all of the products in our home with plant-based, totally safe alternatives. Of course there are many other clean brands I love and have added to my collection as well, but Young Living has so many great options too!

I absolutely love the oils of course, as well as the Thieves line, Kidscents line, and the CBD roller and muscle rub. I’m just getting started with the skincare and makeup products YL offers, and so far I’ve been really pleased. I will keep you posted as I learn more. I’m a little embarrassed to admit I haven’t tried Ningxia yet, but my friend Kelly loves it and I have it in my order for next month. It’s our antioxidant supplement drink that has sooo many amazing health benefits, I don’t know what I’ve been waiting for. 


When I started, I signed up for the Essential Rewards program (and if you plan to order from YL regularly, you totally should too) so I place a small order each month. The minimum is $50 per month which has been easy to do as I “ditch and switch” my old toxic products to clean and natural ones offered by YL.

It was also important to me to do this slowly, and not just throw away everything I already had. I can’t remember where, but I had watched a documentary about how the waste that causes can be just as bad for the environment as using the toxic products themselves. So what I have been doing is waiting until I run out of something, then switching over to the clean version. It’s more affordable this way too, little by little!

Another great tool is the Think Dirty app my friend Erica recommended to me when she was switching out all of her skincare and makeup. This was eye opening! I couldn’t believe all the products that we are led to believe are “clean” that aren’t at all. Through the community on my YL team I’ve learned even more about “green washing” and how it’s such a big industry. Looking at you Mrs. Meyers! 

The other reason I was really drawn to Young Living is their Seed to Seal Promise. Their oils are far superior to other oil companies or what's sold at health food/grocery stores! From the moment they plant the seed to when the bottle is sealed, the oils aren't compromised or manipulated. They literally weed the lavender fields by hand too. What you're buying elsewhere could be marketing 100% pure when in fact companies are only required to put 5% of the actual essential oil to be labeled that way. Nope. Nope. And nope.

I started my oily journey with the Premium Starter Kit that Young Living offers. It’s an amazing deal, over $400 in oils for only $165 including a diffuser and a few extra goodies as well!



Your PSK will include 12 bottles of oils :: Lavender 5-ml, Peppermint Vitality 5-ml, Lemon Vitality 5-ml, Citrus Fresh Vitality 5-ml, Frankincense 5-ml, Thieves Vitality 5-ml, Valor 5-ml, Raven 5-ml, DiGize Vitality 5-ml, PanAway 5-ml, Peace & Calming 5-ml and Stress Away 5-ml.

It also comes with a diffuser. The Dessert Mist design is great for getting started, but if you want to invest a bit more, the Aria is my favorite. It's so beautiful and if you think you want it, the cheapest way to get it is at sign up. It goes out of stock often since it's so popular, but they always work to bring it back quickly.

You'll also receive 2 roller fitments which I like to use on DiGize or PanAway, Thieves Household Cleaner spray, 2 Ningxia Red 2-oz. samples, Thieves Hand Sanitizer, Young Living Product Guide and Product Price List, Essential Oil Magazine and Member Resources. And like I mentioned above, in addition to what Young Living includes, you'll be joining a community and team of other people on their journey through wellness.


Want your own YL starter kit? Here’s how to get started:
  1. If you're looking to start your journey to wellness, ORDER HERE and ensure 18481748 is showing in both the Enroller and Sponsor ID fields. Make sure you're signing up as a member; this will allow you to enjoy 24% off all purchases on your oils.
  2. I recommend the Premium Starter Kit (what I started with), but the Welcome Home Starter Kit, Thieves Starter Kit or CBD Starter Kit are also great options depending on your needs. I’m happy to share more information with you about any of them if you’d like.
  3. Once you’re signed up, I’ll send you some fun snail mail to help get you started! And I’ll add you to our amazing Facebook community to help you learn how to put your oils to good use!
  4. Follow me on Instagram @foothillessentials for all my oily happenings 

Questions?

I am more than happy to help you along the way answering questions to assure you that making the switch from chemicals to oils is the right choice for you and your family. If ever you have questions, please reach out to me!


Here’s to a less toxic lifestyle + lots of oily goodness!



8.21.2020

Quarantine Life



Back in February I started posting regularly again with high hopes and ambitions for the blog. Little did I know just a few weeks later the world would be faced with the Covid-19 Pandemic. Our economy would shut down in hopes of flattening the curve, and we all stayed home watching and waiting to see what would happen. When I look at the above photo, it feels like a lifetime ago. So much has happened since early March when everything changed. 

I'm so glad we had these photos taken to document this time in our lives. Our neighbor coordinated a shoot with Barbara Brooks Photography, we each had a time slot and she drove around our neighborhood, jumping out of the car for a mini family photo session from a distance. Our old pup Louis was moving pretty slow and not thrilled about being included, but I'm so glad that we had him in this photo. On May 1st we had to say goodbye to him, the sweetest and best pup you could imagine. He had so many quirks and for so many years it was just Andrew, me and Lou so losing him felt especially hard for me. We still often talk about Lou and Graham sometimes asks where he is so we'll look at photos and say how much we miss him. Andrew is ready to talk about adding a dog to our family again, but I'm not ready yet.

Since it's been quite the year, I wanted to document these past few months. Although we've basically been in quarantine this entire time, we've managed to have fun and make memories as a family. If this has taught me anything, it's to focus on what really matters. My family is the most important thing to me. I've done a lot of soul searching for myself these past months as well, and I am trying to be present as the best version of myself for my family.


Andrew was concerned about Coronavirus before it was really even a topic of conversation in the United States. By late February he was saying that it was going to be really bad and we needed to prepare, and I'm a little embarrassed to admit I just rolled my eyes at him. By mid-March we were quarantined and spent the next several months totally isolated. We decided to see my parents a few times outdoors, and a few friends outdoors as well, but it was always so anxiety inducing afterward we rarely saw anyone. Thankfully we were able to get most of our groceries delivered and we already work from home so our lives didn't feel too impacted. We decided to continue having our nanny come after many conversations about the risks and discussing with her protocols about seeing other people and hygiene etc. Thankfully she also has been taking this very seriously and besides us, wasn't seeing other people so it felt like the risk was worth it.

For a while we relaxed a bit as numbers started to decline. I had a few dinners with girlfriends on the patio, saw my parents more often, and Andrews Mom and sister even came for Graham's 2nd birthday. However as things started spiking again in our area, we have stayed pretty much in quarantine even though things have "opened" up again. In our area people were very resistant to masks at first and it makes it even more of a risk to go out and about unless totally necessary. We now feel comfortable doing things outdoors if we can keep a good distance, but even that is hard to plan since there are more people than ever on the trails or spending time outdoors. Overall we're doing our best to make the most of this new normal, and keeping life as fun and positive as we can for Graham (and ourselves). 

Here's a peek at what we've been up to these past few months...

Especially in the beginning, but even now, there have been plenty of neighborhood walks and playing at home. In the beginning when we knew less about the virus, we were worried to be outside with other people around so we wouldn't go on walks in the green space near our house during busy times. We had to get creative! But now we've been utilizing that space often. We also drive around to find parks that have no other kids and let G play, then we just douse him in hand sanitizer! 


Zoom calls became the norm for keeping in touch with friends and family. We had happy hour with the girls, family calls, and even a few "double dates" after Graham went to bed. We tried to get people to use WebEx since we work for Cisco, but it didn't really take off! 


For a while there we were making pizza weekly! Graham had so much fun with it, but it got pretty hot to bake inside with a 500* oven. 


With the rest of the world, I was baking a ton in the beginning. I think it brought me comfort being in the kitchen, following a recipe, using my hands. I made cookies weekly and then did a porch pick up of sourdough starter from my Mom's friend to dive head first into the world of sourdough. I LOVE it! It has become a fun hobby that I have kept up with. It makes me happy baking bread and I am so proud that it's now a skill I have. I'll do a full blog post on my method soon! 


Easter was the first holiday during quarantine and it did feel pretty sad that we couldn't do our usual celebration. But looking back now I smile because we did have a really nice day, and Graham loved it. We managed to have a family Zoom call that my cousin set up. And we did all the traditional activities for Graham with the Easter basket, egg hunt and ham for dinner. His first Easter was spent in Yosemite Valley, so he doesn't know the difference anyway. 


The hardest part of this so far has been the loss of our sweet Louis. I still find myself looking for him in the house, or scrolling through old pictures. He was my first dog and more important to me than I think I even realized. I tear up writing that. We will always love and miss him. Just last weekend Graham asked for the Louis pillow our friend had made so he could give him hugs. As he was hugging the pillow he said, "We miss Louis. He was old. Louis' not coming back." Andrew and I both had to hold back tears.


We also decided to plant a garden this year! Andrew built a little raised bed for us and we planted peppers and tomatoes. I think we crowded the plants a bit, but the cherry tomatoes did really well and the peppers started off well. But once the heat arrived this summer, they were toast. The plants went from a lush jungle to sticks, better luck next year! For a while Graham loved going outside to water every morning, and then picking them was so fun too! 


For Fathers Day Andrew got a cool trailer for Graham to go on family bike rides. Before it got unbearably hot we got some great rides in together as a family. I'm looking forward to starting up again when the heat (and smoke from CA fires) subsides this fall. 


We did some outdoor visits to Mimi and Papa's house. Graham loved exploring their garden, walking along the canal and just playing outside in the yard. And one time had Mimi and Papa down to our house for dinner to cheer us up after we lost Louis. 


Lots of play at home. Thank goodness for Friends Art Lab sensory bins, play dough and our train table! The biggest hit of the summer was our Garage! No idea why but G loves the "graaa-gy" and always wanted to be out there. Now that it's so hot, I think the novelty wore off a bit. 


When the numbers seemed to be low and we thought we might be on the other side of things, we hung out with our friends outdoors a few times. We had a great day at Folsom Lake all together. The kids loved playing and it was so nice to be in the water and use our SUP. I could tell G really missed playing with other kiddos his age. He loves his besties Ivy and Reed! Plus 'Auntie Bea and Coco' got a new double kayak so Graham went for a ride and it was the highlight of his life, he loved helping to paddle (with a stick) and seeing the buoys. 


When we were really feeling the cabin fever we decided to take a day trip to Dillon Beach. The drive is relatively easy and although it was definitely busy, we had plenty of space around us to feel safe. Plus the wind helped me feel comfortable. Graham had a great time and loved walking along the beach and going in the cave with Daddy. 


Although numbers were bad again, our friends Corrie and Erica have been taking things as seriously as we have, so we felt they were safe to see and be in a quarantine bubble with. Corrie's sister lives in Sebastapool and was out of town so they offered their house to us. It was so wonderful! It was the perfect getaway. They also have kids so the house was set up for G. He loved the sand box that he called his "area" and the garden had strawberries we picked daily, plus a swing, pool, sheep and the neighborhood filled with farm animals we could feed carrots and visit on our walks each day. 


Even though we were nervous, we hadn't seen Andrews Mom or sister since our trip to Maui in January, so they came to stay with us for Graham's birthday. We had a great weekend with lots of celebrations for Graham and good family time. There wasn't much we could do but we did go to the park and pick some blackberries too. And of course we made a big Italian family dinner. 

Graham's 2nd birthday was a Monday, so Auntie Nina had already left. But the rest of us went to Sugar Pine Reservoir for a nice lake day. There was hardly anyone there so it felt very safe. We swam, took turns on the SUP and played a bit in the sand before Graham was ready to go back home. I think Grandma had the best time of everyone! It was a beautiful day and great to spend time together.  


Typically we go camping at least a handful of times a year. It's been slower since Graham was born, but we definitely want to make it a big part of his childhood. We decided to risk it and plan a weekend with Auntie Bea and Coco in Tahoe without a reservation. Andrew and Corrie had stayed in this spot last year on Labor Day weekend so we thought the chances were good. Unfortunately we got there and all the sites were taken! But we were able to find a site (in a much less desirable campground) about 20minutes down the road. This allowed us to still keep our hiking and lake plans for the next day. Even without camping at our desired spot, we had a great weekend. It was so rejuvenating to get a change of scenery and spend time unplugged in the mountains. 


We thought our beloved annual trip to Tuolumne Meadows might not happen this year. We had reservations for August 8th but they decided not to open the campground due to Covid-19. Understandably so, but still so disappointing. Thankfully my parents were able to head down a bit early, and they got a campsite at a small first come, first serve campground outside of the park. We went up to meet them and spent 3 full days together in our favorite place! 


As if there isn't enough going on already, Andrew and I have decided to start the process of looking for a home to buy. It was always to plan to rent for a year or two after we moved from San Francisco, and now of course when we're ready the market has erupted. It seems that with everyone working from home, the entire Bay Area has decided to move here so house prices are skyrocketing and often selling for cash above asking. Part of the reason we left SF in the first place was so we could afford to buy. But I am positive the right thing will come up if we're patient. I'll keep you posted!  

Another part of this quarantine journey I can't go without mentioning has been learning more about racism and doing what I can to support the Black Lives Matter movement. I've been reading a few books (White Fragility and I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness) and added to our collection of children's books as well. George Floyd's murder as well as Breonna Taylor and so many others really sparked something inside me. We have to do better. This year has been heavy in so many ways, and I'm doing my best to really feel it, even the uncomfortable times, and I'm committed to becoming a better ally. I really hope that we can come together and vote this November to bring our amazing country together again. The division and hate I have seen these past few months truly hurts my heart, I know America is better than this. 

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into our Quarantine Life over the past 6 or so months! While I am so grateful for my family and our health, I do look forward to the day life feels a bit more normal and we're able to travel again and spend time with loved ones without fear. 

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