Mar 30, 2014

the wisdom of simple pleasures

When I was eight years old, my grandmother taught me how to knit. After repeated attempts at teaching me to sew, we decided to try something new. I have always loved the idea of sewing--to be able to make my own clothes, and to be one of those crafty mamas is something I often fantasize about. (And no, I haven't given up on this idea yet.) But it was such exacting work, that the perfectionist in me could not handle it at the time. Not to mention that I have a tendency toward extreme impatience. Knitting was a completely different story, as I loved it immediately.

A year later, there was a knitting class in my girl scouts group, and I began to knit a scarf for my grandmother. The yarn was a rich and regal purple--perfectly matched in color and temperament for her. I eagerly awaited the day that I could give it to her, imagining the look of pride and joy on her face. Unfortunately, this never came to be, as she passed away before I could finish the scarf.

I gave a couple of half hearted attempts at knitting other projects throughout the years, but was never quite able to bring myself to finish them. I think that perhaps I had never been able to forgive myself for that unfinished gift. That sadness had lingered somewhere deep within my heart, and as a result, I could never fully open myself back up to this art that I loved.

Recently, I have tentatively began to knit again. At the parent-child class that Julie and I attend, our wonderful teacher has taught us how important it is that our children see us do meaningful work. This can mean cleaning, setting a beautiful table, making a meal with love, or creating something beautiful with our hands. While the children play, we have, over the weeks, sanded and shaped knitting needles, polished and adorned them, and began to knit. We are immersed in the meditative rhythm of pulling needle and yarn, while keeping a quietly observant eye on what is transpiring around us. It is calming, and so good for the soul.

Today I picked up some gorgeous blue yarn and knitting needles at a local store. I have decided to knit again, because I love it with all my heart, and because there are loved ones that I so want to knit for. I want Julie to have a scarf that is infused with tenderness, and James to have gloves that he will wear on cold nights and know how much he is cherished. As I write this, I know that it is never too late to finish what has been started, and I am healed--one row at a time.

Mar 29, 2014


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014."

I found her like this--stuffed animal friends all in a pile, and the sweetest snuggle session I ever did see.

the no-poo adventure part 2

It's been about three weeks since I gave up shampoo. It was a transition with surprisingly little fanfare--just a matter-of-fact switch over night. I'd scoured the internet for tips on this new way of cleaning/non-cleaning, and there is just so much information out there, with many different approaches to choose from. As I have naturally dry, thick, curly (unruly) hair, I opted for the conditioner cleansing method (co-washing), with a tune up with apple cider vinegar rinse from time to time.

The timeline goes something like this:

Every 4-7 days, wash hair thoroughly with a silicone-free conditioner. I massage it well into the scalp and brush it into the rest of my hair, slap a shower cap on while I finish the rest of my shower routine, to get as much moisturizing in as possible. After that, I rinse it out, condition the ends of my hair once again, rinse, and call it a day.

Every 2 weeks (I might do this more frequently if it's really needed) I do an apple cider vinegar rinse from roots to ends with a 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water ratio. This clarifies any residue, and also seals the cuticle, leaving hair super shiny.

I've heard horror stories about how hair can go through an uncomfortably oily transition while the scalp re-balances itself. Although I had head scarves on standby, I haven't needed them yet. In fact, I've been pleasantly surprised by how tame my hair has become. I used to have to pile on jojoba oil or coconut oil to keep my hair from looking puffy and frizzy. Now, it's a lot smoother and contained. I'd say I'm converted.

Mar 24, 2014

10 things i'm grateful for

1. My mom-in-laws potato tacos with rice and beans--for breakfast!

2. Just when I begin to lose my way in a spiral of negativity, the universe finds a way to remind me that all is truly well.

3. Sweet kisses and hugs from my little one.

4. An unexpected gift from my father.

5. Stuffed shells. I could eat them almost every day. Our family loves the recipe from this book. (There is also a fantastic vegan mac and cheese recipe!)

6. A cup of tea and the latest issue of Sunset magazine. It always makes me want to start a garden right this very moment, or to go glamping up the west coast.

7. Hanna Andersson pajamas for little ones. They're organic, super soft, and come in the cutest prints.

8. Marriage can be a real challenge sometimes, especially since adding a baby to the mix, but it has also helped us to grow so much as individuals and as a couple. I'm grateful for the chance for growth, and thankful for the love that I share with him always.

9. The infinite uses of coconut oil--food, moisturizer, shaving cream, smoothie enhancer--love that stuff.

10. The wisdom of Mayim Bialik. She's such a role model of mine. Read her fabulous articles here.

Mar 22, 2014


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014"."

Those wild, red curls get me every time... 
Nature brings out her pensive side. She's focused intently on the call of birds, the buzzing of minute insects, and the sound of water rushing through a small stream. She loves it best out here among the trees and flowers, where she can take in all their beauty and wonder at once.

what julie ate

Breakfast: Cream of buckwheat with coconut oil, cardamom, cinnamon, pears
Snack: Green Smoothie with kale, blueberries, bananas, goji berries, rice milk
Lunch: Baked squash and millet balls, steamed broccoli with flax seeds
Snack: Coconut yogurt, raspberries
Dinner: Brown rice noodles with tahini, wheat-free tamari, cabbage, carrots, sprouted tofu, avocado

backpack wishlist

backpack wishlist

A friend of mine had this brilliant idea to use a backpack instead of a diaper bag or regular bag. To have both hands free while toting a growing baby or toddler makes so much sense, and it was an aha moment for me. Backpacks can bring to mind those grubby incarnations we dragged around in middle school and high school, but as it turns out, there are so many adorable options for adults... 

1. Herschel  All of the backpacks from this company are so classic, and come in adorable prints and colors.
2. ASOS  I love the extra pockets on this backpack.
3. BAGGU  All of the bags in this line are beautifully simple, with a ton of bright colors to choose from.
4. Etsy This is the backpack I would have liked to have in high school. It would be cute as a diaper bag, as well.
5. Herschel Another Herschel bag. This reminds me a little of the Japanese backpack that all elementary school kids carry.
6. Gola Just adorable. I'm a sucker for all things floral.

Mar 20, 2014


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014."

A mere month ago, she had no interest in swings. Now, she can't get enough of them. And I can't get enough of the way her little face is filled with such joy and wonder, as she flies through the sky.

Mar 12, 2014

the no-poo adventure

Once they get beyond the name of this movement of sorts, I see some of my friends laughing and saying that this solidifies my hippiedom. But really, it wasn't my idea. It was James' idea, shockingly--he who swore by daily hair washing. For me, it seems like a convenient way to go about what I am already doing by default. The exhaustion of sleep-deprived motherhood has long been my excuse for less frequent showers, and I have always left at least a couple of days between hair washes, as my hair is a curly, dry mop. But I am intrigued by the idea that forgoing shampoo altogether re-balances the scalp, and after a possible less than pretty adjustment phase, creates a beautiful head of hair. As I am meticulous about what goes in and on my body, it's also an exciting idea that I can skip scowling at  shampoo ingredient lists while muttering to James about the travesty of the unregulated beauty industry. No doubt, this is exciting to him, as well.

There are many schools of thought when it comes to "no-poo", as it's (unfortunately?) called. Some swear by washing with a baking soda dilution, and rinsing with apple cider vinegar. Some advocate water only. And there are those with especially curly, dry hair who go the conditioner only route. I'm leaning towards the latter, with occasional baking soda and apple cider vinegar cleansing. I intend to document this little adventure, so here we are at week 1. It's been two days since my last wash, and so far, no change. We'll see how I've fared one week from now. Wish me luck!

what julie ate

Breakfast: Oatmeal with apples, cinnamon, and flax seeds
Snack: Bananas with almond butter
Lunch: Pinto bean burgers, strawberries
Snack: Brown rice cake with tahini
Dinner: Soba stir fry with broccoli, nappa cabbage, carrots, wakame seaweed, miso

Mar 11, 2014


It's hard to believe that three years have gone by since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. My thoughts and prayers are with those who lost so much, and with those who continue to struggle within the aftermath. I'm grateful anew today for my friends and family, and am reminded that I must never take this beautiful life for granted.

10 things i'm grateful for

1. Roasted brown rice tea (genmaicha). It's light, nutty, and the perfect accompaniment to those vanilla cupcakes you impulsively made at 11:00 pm.

2. Home cooked beans. They are a huge pain in the butt to make, but the results are so worth it.

3. A beautiful day at the park with my baby

4. Blue ball mason jars. So pretty as water glasses or vases.

5. A moment to play the piano. It's always been the best kind of meditation for me.

6. My new sling! Love, love, love...

7. Oatmeal with apples and cinnamon.

8. Cloudy days. It's nice to shake up this California weather every once in a while.

9. My collection of cookbooks. Especially the ones that have glorious pictures in them. I flip through them and have an imaginary feast in my head. Does anyone else do this?!

10. A new book series to throw myself into. Who needs sleep? :-)

Mar 8, 2014


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Pensively nibbling on raspberries amidst a sea of bright, happy colors...

Mar 2, 2014


 "A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Loving the rainy weather, loving the flowers. She's a living reminder that it's the little things that often carry the most potential for beauty and joy.

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