Nextdoor

Tuesday, August 26, 2014



I recently stumbled upon a great free app called Nextdoor.  It's a private social media app for the neighborhood in which you live.  It has been such an awesome way for me to get to know the people in my neighborhood and stay informed about all the goings-on; from lost animals to suspicious activity to block parties.  It's also been an excellent resource for referrals for things like plumbers and contractors.  I'm a big fan of being an active part of my community so this has been such a neat addition to my home screen!  If you're interested you can sign up HERE.

What are some ways that you stay plugged in to your community?

Caramelized Leek & Heirloom Tomato Tart

Monday, August 25, 2014


One of my favorite things about Summer is the increased appearance of heirloom tomatoes.  There is something so fun about picking through the different varieties and picking the perfect one (for me it's typically the one with the funkiest shape- don't ask me why).



 On Saturday night Tyler and I made a long evening date of cooking a seasonal, multi-course meal which included this fantastic tart.  The combination of flavors is so comforting and it's the perfect dish to eat on the porch on a warm Summer night while sipping some wine.  Mmm... Fall, hold off a little longer please?


Caramelized Leek & Heirloom Tomato Tart
Adapted from Small Gatherings

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 leeks, white & tender green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp minced fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 medium heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 Cup pitted Kalmata olives, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to top


Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Roll out a sheet of frozen puff pastry and allow to come to room temperature.  Press into a greased pie pan or cast-iron skillet.  Set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium heat.  Add the leeks and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for another 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in basil & oregano.
  4. Spread the leek mixture evenly over the puff pastry.  Arrange the tomato slices over the entire crust, then sprinkle with the Kalmata olives and grated Parmesan cheese.  Drizzle with olive oil and bake 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and tomatoes are bubbling.  

Planning Ahead

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Even though I am not a particularly organized person I have always LOVED planners.  In fact, I think it's precisely because I am not a particularly organized person that I love planners.  I tend to forget about things ten seconds after they are told to me so it is essential that I write everything down (I was definitely that girl in college who would show up to class having completely forgotten there was a test that day...) As the Fall quarter approaches I am on the hunt for a new, grown-up academic planner.  Here are a few that I'm currently eyeing... 


Sarah Pinto 2014-2015 Stripe Weekly Planner

Straightforward, streamlined, and classic.  This one has both monthly and weekly views, which is a must-have for me.  Plus, it's totally affordable!



I have to admit, the cover of this planner is totally what drew me in.  I'm a sucker for good design! It also has tabs so you can easily flip to the current month.  This one's a top contender.





I've heard a TON about the day designer and I'm really intrigued by it.  It's much more than a planner; it's a goal-setter, priority-maker, and dream-organizer.  While at this point in my life I can't really justify shelling out $60 for a planner it's a good one to keep in mind for the future. 





Again- simple, streamlined, and cute design.  This one is smaller than the others and could easily fit inside a purse.




This one is currently my top contender.  I was totally sold on that cover!  There are added sections for keeping track of assignments and exams, which I obviously need.  All of her designs also come in "personal" and "family" editions for those of you who are lucky enough to no longer be in school.


Do you have a planner you love?  Tell me about it in the comments, I'm always up for suggestions!

#MindBodyMat

Monday, August 11, 2014



Today I'm starting a wonderful new pilates series from The Balanced Life called #MindBodyMat.  MindBodyMat was created by Robin Long- a pilates instructor who is passionate about helping women find balance as well as look and feel their best.  I first started following her blog during the Pilates Summer Series and was amazed at what a difference 8-10 minutes of pilates every day could make!  I felt stronger, healthier, and more confident.  Robin's new series is all about taking time each day to care for your body and your mind; something that I often fail to do during the hectic summer season.  I am so excited to get back into a pilates routine everyday and I'd love for you to join, too!  You can find more about the series here and sign up here.  (Oh, and did I mention it's totally FREE!?  Can't beat that!)

Image from The Balanced Life

A {Very Dramatic} Return Post

Saturday, August 9, 2014


 Well, hello there!  It's hard to believe it's been three whole months since I've posted here.  The hiatus wasn't out of forgetfulness or busy-ness; the truth is that I really needed a break from the "blogging world."

This blog started out as a place to document our lives to share with our friends and family; our vacation photos, weekend recaps, and random ramblings.  It soon evolved into a more creative outlet for me; a place to experiment with fun recipes, to share photos of the city that I love, and to talk about struggles with anxiety and depression.  I began to come into contact with other bloggers and learned that there is a whole "world" to blogging that I never knew existed.  There is a whole culture to blogging that I began to feel the need to assimilate into.  People other than my family & close friends started visiting this blog and it felt good.  It felt validating.  Pageviews and numbers started to get more important in my mind and I started offering swaps, tweeting, and commenting on other blogs out of a sense of obligation.  I had heard a lot about the "community" and "genuine friendships" that had been formed through blogging and, to be honest, I craved that.

I don't want to make it sound like these are bad things.  I think it's really incredible that some people can make money through blogging, and I do believe that real, genuine friendships can form over the internet.  I've definitely "met" some wonderful, inspiring women through blogging and for that I am grateful.  But I also started to realize that what I was needing was real, tangible human connection, and an outlet that didn't include sitting at my laptop.  So a break was in order.  I made more coffee dates, took more dance classes, and had more real-life adventures.  And it was good.

I know there's a good chance you are rolling your eyes at this lame revelation and that you honest-to-God could not care less.  Which is fine- I don't blame you!  I'm really not trying to make this seem all melodramatic (though that's how it's coming off...) To be honest I just miss having this blog as a creative outlet and for now that is simply what it will be.  I'm not going to get caught up in trying to write what I feel like I'm supposed to be writing or what will supposedly attract more readers.  I'm not going to stress out over keeping a strict posting schedule or promoting myself.  There are far greater things out there to fret over!

Happy, Happy, Happy!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


This morning I woke up feeling like it was my birthday because, well, it is!  I have always had sort of a love/hate relationship with my birthday.  I love the idea of birthdays; of celebrating someone for a whole day simply because they are alive.  But, I don't know, there's all this pressure to feel special and wise and new.  What if you don't feel special on your birthday?  What if you have to work and take care of the kids and you're exhausted or you're sick or you have a migraine?  What if it just feels like another humdrum day?  Is it a wasted opportunity to feel amazing that only comes around once a year?

My dad loves to tell the story of my 1st birthday party (pictured above.)  He said that I spent the entire day running around with balloons in my mouth yelling "happy, happy, happy!"  I didn't know it was a special day, but I did know that there was family, there were balloons, and there was cake.  What more could a one-year-old want?! So today that is my goal.  Today I have family, balloons, and cake.  I'm not pressuring myself to feel special or older or wiser; I'm simply going to take this day as an opportunity to be happy, happy happy!

Mother's Day X 2

Sunday, May 11, 2014


I am very blessed to have had two women in my life that I called "mom."  I had a beautiful mother for the first thirteen years of life who exuded joy, beauty, and grace.  Then, nine years later, another woman entered my life and filled a long-empty void.  There is a stigma surrounding the term "mother-in-law" but early on in our relationship Tinina and I decided we wanted to drop the "in-law" part.  This woman has been such an incredible example to me, and has truly become one of the closest people in my life.  She is often the first person I call when I'm upset, one of my favorite people to celebrate with, and the person whose qualities I most hope to emulate in my own life.  She is so similar to my own mom that I'm certain they would have been best friends.  Two years ago I not only gained an incredible mother, but I also gained a best friend.  Someone asked me this morning if Mother's Day was a hard day for me, but it's not because it's a day that I get to celebrate two amazing women who have blessed my life immensely.  Happy Mother's Day!!