Tuesday, November 25, 2008


We're a week away from finding out if the muffin is a boy or a girl. So, I should really start working on some cribs. I'm going to get around to posting pictures of the bedroom/nursery, but the thing I'm most interested in is the crib.

There are so many different options out there. Different finishes, different shapes, and different styles. Some evolve from a bassinette to a crib to a toddler bed, some are just cribs. And the range in prices is astonishing. So far, here are some that I like - posted above because I can't figure out how to post photos within the post!


I was waiting in line at the pharmacy to pick up a prescription...where I could not avoid overhearing a conversation a few people ahead. A man proceeded to have a detailed discussion with two women regarding his deviated septum surgery, procedures, recovery, and difficulty in blowing his nose.

When he finally reached the counter (the line was MAMMOTH) he proceeded to monopolize the pharmacist for about 10 minutes while discussing his sensitivity to Tylenol and whether taking two pills every 8 hours was really different than taking 1 pill every 4 hours. I did my best to remind myself that could be me a year from now trying to decipher how to administer meds to a sick baby. However, I feel like he really could have dealt with the matter more efficiently, or if he had to take so long, to at least use his inside voice so we all didn't have to hear him.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Two More Days

I have to be up and out of the house for an 8:00 a.m. meeting tomorrow. That is so disgustingly early. Not to mention, it's supposed to rain tonight (and since people in LA can't drive in the rain, it's slow going).

So, I think I'm going to be naughty and run a couple errands between the meeting and heading into the office. I'm going to get my maternity jeans hemmed to wear with flats, and possibly stop at the good bagel store.

And, before children's services catches me, I'm going to visit the wine store once more and pick up wines for Thanksgiving dinner. (Edited to say that I WILL not be drinking it, but we will be bringing it with us:)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wishful Thinking - Holiday Edition

If it were my perfect holiday, the muffin would have arrived already, so we could all snuggle by the fire and drink hot chocolate. (And, mummy could enjoy a few adult beverages). As it is, adult beverages all smell vinegary and totally unappetizing, and we have a few months to go before the muffin arrives (safely, God willing). So, for the first time in a while, selecting a winter party dress is more of a strategic than whimsical choice.
I own the bottom choice - it's Milly and I think it's a great choice for people in the beginning to middle of pregnancy. It's empire waist, you can wear a bra with it, and the underskirt could be easily switched out to a looser/stretchier fabric by a tailor as you grow. Plus, I think the shape is pretty flattering for new mums...I have a few events coming up in early summer (hello 5 year law school reunion!) and I think it can see me through quite a few. Except for day events, because I think black at summer outside events in LA is a little gloomy.
The other two are pretty and colorful - wishful thinking for next holiday season. Or, if I had a reader who isn't pregnant, maybe they could wear one and write to me? I think the blue of the Catherine Malandrino is to die for - and it looks snuggly and warm - it's cashmere!

Those tricky in-between outfits

I know it is scientifically impossible to BE a little bit pregnant. But, you sure can LOOK it. Example - weeks 13-18 for me. I have a small tummy, but with the Bella Band, I can wear my regular pants, but my snugger shirts and sweaters are not fitting as well. Unfortunately, maternity stuff isn't quite fitting yet...I just look fatter. So, what's a girl to do? Tunic tops have been working for me. I posted about my Tibi top on Friday, and I've posted another beauty from Nanette Lepore with enough drape to go over the belly. I also have my standby Mint top from last year, which looks pretty and festive enough for the holidays with plenty of room for baby underneath!

And, a big thank you to Diane Von Furstenberg. The wrap dresses still fit, and I bought a plain black one a size up that I think I can wear for a few more weeks at least. Because really, I'm kind of angry at maternity stores. I about died when I was in A Pea in the Pod a month ago. I couldn't believe how expensive everything was - for stuff you wear for less than a year at a time. And, their sales are not impressing me one bit. I know I need a maternity suit and SOON, but right now, I'm working on some super cute options from GAP thanks to Mrs. Preppy and will post reviews on arrival.

Sunday Dinner

The temperature has finally dropped around here, and the forecast is rain for the holiday. To heat up the condo, and to have something delicious to freeze and defrost for the busy month to come, you can't beat bolognese sauce. I know it takes a long time to make. I know there is a lot of chopping(or using your food processer). But, you will love it, your husband will love it, and if you spend Sundays lazing about the house like I do, there's really only about an hour of initial effort, followed by periodic stirring and tasting. Totally manageable while you pay bills, chat on the phone, do laundry or whatever. Plus, it really warms up your house!

So, from O Magazine's February 2007 edition (and I love how they always include a story with the recipe) here is Celia Barbour's recipe with a couple twists and notes:

Bolognese Sauce
1 medium onion, minced
1 large or two small carrots, minced
2-3 sticks of celery, minced
1 oz. bacon/pancetta (I'm too lazy to find pancetta and I think bacon works well here)
1 pound ground beef (the recipe says "not lean" and I've been using 20% fat)
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper (I am way generous on this and think it's closer to a tsp. in my version)
pinch allspice (I am also generous on this as well)
1 c. whole milk
1 c. dry white wine (California Chardonnay of varying prices is what I use)
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice1 lb. pasta of your preference (I like penne rigate or other short, ridged pasta)
1. Chop the carrots, celery and onion very fine (I use the cuisinart and pulse about 20 seconds). In a heavy sauce pan, add minced bacon and over very low heat, let it cook until the fat is rendered and the bacon is just turning brown. Then, add chopped vegetables and raise heat to medium, stirring until onion is translucent (about 10 minutes).
2. Add ground beef, allspice, about 1/2 tsp. salt and the pepper. Chop up the beef with a spoon and cook until brown.
3. Add milk. The mixture will start to simmer. When it does that, reduce the heat to low, and let it cook until the milk has evaporated (about 40 minutes). Stir occasionally. Then, add the white wine and cook over low heat until wine has evaporated (another 40 minutes). Then, add the tomatoes and their juice, and cover. Cook over low heat for 2-3 hours (I have eaten it after 1.5 hours of cooking and it is still delicious).
4. Enjoy with vast amounts of pasta and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
5. It makes about 4 cups, and I highly recommend freezing a couple of small portions for those nights during the week when you need a special dinner but don't have five hours to spare.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Life in LA - Some Good Things

I've lived here for 7 years. That's law school plus four years! While I will remain fundamentally Bostonian (down to picking out some cute Red Sox gear for the muffin), there are some truly awesome things about LA that I wanted to share - and here's what my thoughts are for this week:

1. Real Food Daily. I'm not a vegan or a vegetarian. But, I had the most delicious veggie burger there last night...I could not get over how delicious it was. It didn't taste like a tofu burger, it was totally delicious without trying to be meat. Sadly, their vegan chocolate coconut cream cake let me down, but as a chocolate purist, I think my standards are higher than others.

2. The Junior League of Los Angeles. LA sprawls on and on forever. People are in their cars so much of the time, and after college/grad school, you can feel like it's impossible to meet people. Plus, it's such a big city, and you feel like you don't know which volunteer organizations make the most impact. After I left my crazy law firm job last year, I joined up. It's amazing how good volunteering makes you feel, and the people are fantastic! So, it's worth getting up early tomorrow, cause I'm going to work at the food pantry to get ready for Thanksgiving!

3. The weather - it was in the mid 60's today.

I need to remind myself periodically how awesome it really is here! (The traffic can really get to me somedays!).


Today was an absolute whirlwind! I had an appearance in court in the morning, which is kind of different, because I'm generally just an advice-giver who sits in an office. Then, I had to race back to finish a very important memo, and finally off to a meeting with a firm that I'm supervising on a large case. (I used to work at the firm, which makes it extra fun).

Now, I'm spent. I'm also pretty darn pleased with my outfit, which managed to be super comfy and flattering all at the same time. The elements are above (I'm a little too shy to post pictures of me showing my face just yet, but maybe after the baby is born, I'll go private and feel more confident?) That Bella Band is amazing. The top is Tibi that I got on super sale at Bluefly. It is a tunic that manages to conceal the belly without adding too much volume. I can't button my suit jacket without looking like an overstuffed sausage, but I think it worked Ok unbuttoned. (Honestly, what people think is appropriate to wear to court these days is disturbing!)

So, it's a little after 5:00 - after that last meeting, I was NOT going back to the office. I"m gearing up to watch "What Not to Wear" with a cup of tea...please try the Celestial Seasonings Sugar Plum...it's divine with a little honey. I should go exercise...but since I'm volunteering at the LA Food Bank for Junior League tomorrow morning, I think I'm going to take it easy and go for a walk tomorrow. Good thing I have my first pregnancy massage tomorrow afternoon!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More Things Pregnant People Like

This looks so snuggly and warm. It also has the potential to make me look spectacularly lumpy, but honestly, I'm 18 weeks already, so I'm only going to get lumpier...I may as well embrace it. Certainly, there's nothing restricting me from tucking into Thanksgiving dinner! (Granted, if I wear it this spring, I'll look like a grape that ate a water buffalo, but by that point, I probably won't care!)
And, this pregnant person really likes Nutella. Would it be bad to make DH stop on his way home from the gym to buy Nutella, so I can eat it with a spoon?

Musings On Christmas Cookies

Yummy! I'm going to make THREE different types of cookies this season. And I'm documenting it here so I can be accountable:

The raspberry swirl cookies from Real Simple
Cinnamon pecan shortbreads from Bon Appetit
My mum's sugar cookies.

Watch this space for details. I think I can make some of the raspberry swirls this weekend, because the recipe lets you freeze the dough!

My mum always makes sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies...I guess I should add a gingerbread to the rotation too? They are so good with tea and eggnog!

Do you all have any favorite Christmas cookies?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Things Pregnant People Like

While I firmly believe that pregnant people are just like everyone else, some things take a special shine as you work on baking the bun in the oven.

1. Yoga pants. Ahhhh, stretchy and comfy waistbands. My favorites are the Lululemon ones. As I see the few other preggos in my Bar Method classes who are a little farther along, you can just pull down the waistband as your tummy grows.

2. Friends who have had babies. My friend A, who is the mother of a sparkling new baby, just forwarded me the most wonderful excel spreadsheet containing a complete and detailed list of all purchases for my own little muffin.

3. My mum. She was the first one to put my mind at ease when I found that pregnancy has certain "physical indignities" that I only discovered after the fact. As she says, pregnancy is something to be "endured" because BABIES, not pregnancy are the wonderful part.

4. A husband who is willing to buy you whatever sort of takeout your heart desires...because sometimes even opening a can of soup seems like a lot of work. Also, being the sort of husband who takes everything in stride and is very practical is a nice counterbalance to the hormonal thing.
5. Face cream. Pregnancy is weird and has really dried out my skin. This cream is super light, but provides enough moisture to fight the dry weather of So Cal.
6. The Bar Method (http://www.barmethod.com/) is gentle, non-impact stretching and toning that has my doctor's seal of approval, but still gets my heart rate going and really works.
7. Stretch mark cream. I don't know if it does any good, but it certainly works on the dry skin problem (though it does smell distractingly like chocolate). I like the Mustela brand one.

8. Bella Band. I'm still wearing my pre-pregnancy work pants with this handy-dandy invention. It is like a thin tube of stretchy material that holds up your pants if you can't button them anymore. I think it really helps in the sort of awkward not really pregnant enough stage that I've been in since week 12. It's week 18 now, so I think I'm going to be ready for some maternity pants pretty soon.

9. J Brand Jeans. Not only do they make the "mama j" which cracks me up, since my first initial is "J" but I can still fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans and zip them, with comfort. The amount of stretch in their jeans is amazing. I'm definitely splurging on the mama j's when the time comes.
10. Knowing that it is impossible to be pregnant forever! I love the thought that at some time around the middle/end of April, I will somehow (God willing) not be pregnant anymore.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Things I've learned this weekend

1. Fires are beautiful in the fireplace, but they are the scourge of fall in Southern California. The sky is filled with red smoke, and thousands of people may lose their homes before it's all over. All we can do is pray for the winds to die down. This has made me more convinced than ever that I must live in the city - no canyon living for me!

2. The economy is gloomy too. I met a good friend for brunch at Barney Greengrass today, and Barney's below was eerily empty. Saks too. Neither of us was in the mood to purchase anything, but it was scary how desolate the stores were.

3. Century City needs to allow you to reserve seats for the movies. I'm so sick of showing up 30 minutes early just to get semi decent seats. (Also, it seems that pregnant people love movies. Apparently, it's the only social activity for us in LA, at least judging by the population of my theatre last night!)

4. Scheduling my doctor's visit for as late as possible on Friday is much more pleasant than the earlier times. I get a greater selection of parking, and a much less crowded office. Better for all my pesky questions!

5. Installing a ceiling fan in our bedroom has been a lifesaver these last hot and stuffy nights. I think the new hardwood floors are also helping to keep it cool.

6. I am oddly motivated to complete my Christmas shopping early. Instead of going for a walk this afternoon, I've been exploring the gift selection on the web. I have started a couple presents, and hope to chip away at them over the next couple weeks. I wonder if this odd new compulsion is pregnancy related? In a similar vein, I'm gathering potential recipes for Christmas cookies this weekend too. I'm hosting Christmas this year, so I think if the temperature drops back to normal, it's time to start testing some of the recipes.


I think I am in love with this little elephant hamper! I saw it in Domino, and am now seeing it all over the web. Whether the little one is a boy or a girl, I think there is definitely room for this in a nursery.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


There was a very interesting article in the NYT today about people who have babies in their homes. It's definitely not for me, but it seems like all the babies turned out just fine. It makes me nervous even thinking about not making it to the hospital. I just wonder what people do about the noise? I've lived in an NYC appartment, and it was not very quiet!

Sweets to the Sweet

One of my coworkers is well-deserving of a sweet treat. She's the kind of person who always suprises you with treating you to coffee or bringing in little treats from Trader Joe's. She treated me to lunch last week to celebrate making it through the first trimester, so I wanted to do something to thank her. So, I'm baking some delicious brownies to leave on her chair tomorrow morning. She has a husband and son at home, so I know she won't be forced to eat them all herself.

These are some of the easiest and most delicious brownies ever. The recipe is from the yellow Gourmet Magazine cookbook, and they are supposedly Katharine Hepburn's family recipe. They are squat and smushy, but really chocolatey and an absolute cinch to bake:

Katharine Hepburn's Brownies


1 stick unsalted butter

2 oz unsweetened chocolate (I'm generally lazy and use a bittersweet Valrohna bar)

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup walnuts (I omit these because I don't have any in the house).

Preheat oven to 325.

Melt the chocolate and butter either in a double boiler or the microwave in a large bowl.

Mix the sugar, eggs and vanilla into the butter/chocolate mixture.

Add flour and salt. Stir well.

Pour into 8"x8" buttered baking dish and bake for approximately 40 minutes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Good Life

Despite being the proud owner of Juicy sweatsuits in pink and purple (they never see the light of the outside world - they are STRICTLY for sleepware), I am not casual in terms of my china and flatware. When I registered for my wedding (over four years ago), I went with strict tradition. My mother's sterling is Towle Chippendale, so that is what I got too. I love the subtle details and restrained lines. It is also easy to polish.

My china is Raynaud Heloise. It was love at first sight. My mother has Spode Dephli, which is a very restrained gold pattern on white. I wanted something with a little more substance, and a little bit of color, but nothing to interfere with the food. I LOVE it.


I know cupcakes are so 2005. But, I don't care. They are the perfectly portioned dessert, and they come in fun flavors. There are so many choices on the west side of LA that I thought I'd highlight my favorite places.
The top photos are the fabulous wares of Susie from Susiecakes on San Vicente in Brentwood. For my 30th birthday party, she graciously made mini cupcakes in delicious flavors (red velvet is fantastic). She also makes wonderful whoopie pies (vanilla buttercream sandwiched between two chocolate cookies). Also, I give her major credit for being a fellow member of the Junior League of Los Angeles!
Crumbs, in Larchmont, is rather a different affair. Their cupcakes are some of the biggest I've encountered...rather more like grapefruits than tangerines, but delicious nonetheless. They are slightly drier and less flavorful than Susiecakes, but their rendition of a Hostess Cupcake was infinitely superior to the original.

The First Babies

Here they are. Dylan and Holly, say hello to the camera! They make my days so much brighter with all their weirdness (their favorite snacks are hummus and yogurt), and how excited they get when I come home from work every day. (Dylan likes his dad best, and comes flying down the stairs when he hears DH's car.) I am a little worried that they will not be wild and crazy about babies, but I'm hoping to be proven wrong!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Musings on a Nursery

God willing, I will become a mum in the late spring. I've started this blog to ultimately share all the baby pictures with friends and family, without clogging their email inboxes. But, I'm not ready to share it until I actually have some decent content up. Since my due date is in late April (and I'm thinking realistically, early May), I have some time to think about nurseries.

I should start by saying that I'm not a terribly decor-oriented person. But, I live in a pretty cool and modern condo with an open, lofty floor plan, and we have just completed a pretty big home renovation project, so I want this nursery to be fun and happy. Since we may want to sell the condo in the next few years, I want the nursery to be clearly a baby room, but also not so "baby" and cutesy that it would be off-putting to potential buyers. I think it's safe to say that most people looking to buy a condo in our neighborhood are not families with lots of children.

Domino Magazine did a really neat short feature on nurseries, and gave me some inspiration. Once I figure out what the little muffin baby is, I think I have some good ideas. More to come on this subject, and definitely images!

Monday, November 10, 2008


All of a sudden, there is a chill in the air. When I stepped out of the office tonight, it smelled like smokey leaves and winter coming. So, here are my favorite things for the cold weather:

1. Mariebelle Dark Aztec Hot Chocolate. This is the closest that I've come to Angelina-style chocolate in the US. Be warned, it is very rich! I just make an espresso cup and it is PERFECT.
2. My new tall boots. A tiny wedge heel keeps them comfy for walking all day, while the caramel color is perfect with my fall clothing.
3. My Lily Mcneal kimono sweater. Perfect for padding around in the morning with my oatmeal, or as a light jacket.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Seeing how nicely everyone else uses blogs, I decided to start one of my own. Cheers!

To introduce myself properly (while maintaining some anonymity), here are ten facts about me:

1. I work for a large government agency, yet I am polite and civil. I am not a surly government employee.

2. I have been married for almost three and a half years to the most wonderful man in the universe. We live in Brentwood in a condo shared with two Himalayan cats.

3. I love using the good china and silver.

4. Chocolate, coffee and alcohol are my favorite food groups.

5. I think Jane Austen and Truman Capote are the most wonderful writers.

6. Thanks to my husband, I now love football. (Going to USC probably helped!)

7. I love shopping. I just spent a very dangerous weekend at South Coast Plaza. I could live there.

8. I think my mother is a candidate for sainthood. (Despite being a lapsed Catholic, I love going to the Cathedral and lighting a candle at the Virgin of Guadeloupe. I guess that means I am superstitious?)

9. My friends are kind and wonderful. They make my day! And, thanks to facebook, I can stay in touch with more of them than before.

10. I love Lilly Pulitzer. I think it's a genetic thing. If you are from New England, you can't help it. Fortunately, I live near the ONLY Lilly store in LA. I vote for a little less Juicy and a little more Lilly.

11. Bonus - Prosecco is my favorite. And, add a little peach puree - pure heaven.