Monday, April 29, 2013

Three.

Matt's little elfin daughter, Maya, turned three on Sunday. To celebrate, we took her out for pizza, ice cream, and presents on Saturday night. We had as much fun as she did!

Excuse my bizarre looking eyes.

It's been so wonderful getting to spend more time with Maya lately. She's an amazing little girl, and so different from any other toddler I've known. She's incredibly soft-spoken, doesn't throw fits, and is genuinely adaptable to new situations. I love doing girly things with her that I don't get to do with the boys I babysit, and I love watching Matt be a daddy to a girl. He says it's a totally different ball game than parenting a boy. He has no problem telling Jasper no or putting him in his place, but with Maya? She gets what she wants from her daddy, haha. ;)

Other than celebrating Maya's birthday, we didn't do a whole heck of a lot. We walked 3.5 miles along the bay on Saturday which was nice, and Sunday I spent the afternoon at the pool with the boys I babysit. I finally have a little bit of color on my face!

In other news, we've started watching Revenge. I'm into it! Have any of you watched it? We're only on episode 6.

Hope Monday's kind to you!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Men & Cats

A couple weeks ago, Patrick sent me a link to this French tumblr and let me tell you that I cannot get enough. Whatever genius is behind this pairs pictures of sexy dudes with cats in similar positions and, well, it's the funniest thing I've seen in quite some time. Here are some of my favorite entries:





Pretty amazing, right? To see all the images, visit the original tumblr, Des Hommes et des Chatons

Monday, April 22, 2013

I need a day off after my weekend

We had one of those weekends that was so busy we hardly knew it happened. Granted, it was busy with all good things (friends + wine + good food + sunshine + kids), but nary a moment of rest. ;) It's starting to get gorgeous in California, so I'm gearing up to be outside as much as possible. This weekend was a good start!

On Friday, we had some of Matt's buddies over for dinner, drinks, an an impromptu viewing of the Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Thanksgiving special. I made this delicious vegan "chili"that will definitely become a regular in the rotation:


It was incredibly easy and so good.

On Saturday, I got up and planted veggies with my neighbor Doug (he's letting me take over the vegetable garden, so we've been hard at work buying & planting delicious things!), went on a hike through the Piedmont Cemetery with my friend Anna (you can see Oakland and San Francisco from the top of the cemetery--I wish I'd had my phone to take pics!), and then came home to shower before our dear friends Helen and Matt came over for dinner. It was so good to see them. Helen just signed a contract for a tenure-track position teaching glass blowing at the University of Wisconsin Madison (!!!!) so we had a lot to celebrate. She's a big deal.

We had both Matt's kids all day Sunday and as usually, it was so nice to have them together. We stopped and met the Freitags outside in Marin so that Milo and Jude could meet Maya, and it made me so happy having all of them together. My two California families! :)

Jasper, Milo, Jude

me, Maya, Milo's Spiderman hat

Maya postin' up like a thug in Oakland

Daddy + daughter

She wanted to put on lipstick ;)

Jasper is so sweet with Maya. Sadly, he wasn't feeling good yesterday so he hardly moved from the couch, but even while under the weather, he's incredibly tender with his little sister. 

It was sad dropping the kiddos off yesterday evening, so Matt and I stopped at a Mexican restaurant to ward off the Sunday blues, where I indulged in some incredibly yummy cheese enchiladas. But today, it's back to the healthy-eating grind. Ugh, MONDAY.

Hope all of you had happy weekends! Fill me in on what you were up to.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Lincoln Bell Shepard

For six years, I've been committed to Suri Cruise. She's been my number one celebrity baby all this time, and I haven't even thought about wavering. But now she's six, and Lincoln Bell Shepard has entered the world.

I'm constantly checking to see if any pictures have been released. And while it's disappointing that they haven't, I'm proud of her parents for maintaining a low-profile and savoring these first few months with their new baby girl. She's bound to be adorable . . . I mean just look at her parents:


Can you believe my friend Lindsay got to meet them? SO LUCKY. I hope they are just like Veronica Mars and Crosby Braverman in real life. :) 

If any of you happen upon a pic of baby Lincoln before I do, please alert me immediately! Although I am sure her reveal will be nowhere near as epic as Suri's was. It's just . . . not possible. Maybe I do love Suri 4 Life.

SWOON. from

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Taxes Suck.

In the past, I've never really minded doing my taxes, because I've always had W-2s, and TurboTax makes it pretty easy when taxes have been taken out of your checks each month and you don't have any assets/houses/retirements/etc. In fact, I've always been eager to do mine, because I've always gotten a refund! This year, however, was different.

I taught for the first half of the year (and received a W-2 from my former employer), and then I started full (ish) time at Voice of Witness in September (I also received a W-2 for that). But for five months (the last couple months I taught and then through the summer), I worked part-time/contract for Voice of Witness. Which means no taxes were taken out and I received a 1099. I was terrified that I was going to owe the IRS a shitload of money!


That was my scene yesterday. I broke into the wine halfway through because the process damn near sent me into a full-fledged anxiety attack. I had no idea how involved taxes were when you have 1099 and deductions to file. It took me hours to get through this tedious process . . . hours of scouring my bank records for our monthly PG&E bills, looking for how much interest I paid on my car loan, trying to remember how much my laptop cost when I bought it. Crazy, right? I am amazed that people do this for a living. I wouldn't last a day.


Neil Young was no help. Rather, he spent the afternoon cradling a wine cork snuggled up next to his preferred parent. ;)

In the end, though, it was more than worth it. I didn't owe the IRS anything; in fact, I will get a teeny little refund! Nothing compared to what I've gotten in years past, but frankly, I was just incredibly relieved that I didn't owe.

This process exhausted me so much that I didn't have the energy for anything more than lying on the couch watching the trashiest tv around. Ah, sweet relief. And next year, I will only have W-2s, so the process won't be anywhere near as grueling. 

Happy weekend! I hope you all have fun plans. It's gorgeous in San Francisco today, and therefore I regret to say that I will be spending the afternoon indoors facilitating a training. But here's to hiking weather!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Catching Up

I want a life assistant. Someone who could go to the post office for me, call my student loan companies and beg for forbearances, clean my house, and upload pictures to Blogger so that writing a new blog post seemed less overwhelming. ;)

So much to catch up on! Last weekend was pretty spectacular. On Friday, my college friend Tara and I met up at Zeitgeist for some drinks & grilled food (oh Zeitgeist, how you take me back to being in grad school in my early-to-mid twenties, scouring the Mission for hotties & sleeping on friends' couches), and then went to see one of our favorite New Orleans funk bands, Papa Grows Funk:


It was bittersweet, as last weekend's shows were their last in San Francisco. And while I scoffed at the fact that the venue didn't special order a few kegs of Abita for the event, I got over it quickly since I was so distracted by some long-overdue girly catch up talk and sweet New Orleans music. 

I was busy working on Saturday, but Sunday we had both Matt's kids and it was so nice to all be together. Don't they look like Matt? :)

Maya is really into Spiderman, which is hilarious and adorable. There she is in her Spiderman shirt that she didn't want to take off. :) We even painted her nails red & blue with spider webs!


Having such a blended family requires a lot of scheduling and negotiating, but in the end, it's totally worth it. These two kids are pretty incredible. 

This week has once again escaped me, and I know this coming weekend will be just as busy as the last one. Tonight Matt and I are meeting up with an old college buddy of mine (who's in town) at Bourbon & Branch, SF's original speakeasy. I suspect it's going to get me even more excited about the new Gatsby movie!

On an unrelated note: if any of you have experience selling shoes, clothes, bags, etc. online, let me know! I want to sell some fancy shoes and am not sure if Ebay, Poshmark, or something else is the best way to go. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

When you see your neighbors in the darnedest places . . .

Last weekend, Matt and I made our second annual Easter sojourn to the beautiful Mendocino coast. This time, we had a gift certificate for a night at our favorite little inn, the Greenwood Pier Inn in Elk, California. It's right on the coast and has the most stunning view, and the people who run it couldn't be nicer.

On the way up, of course, I insisted that we stop at some of the little family-owned Mendocino wineries (duh). We stopped at the two we visited last year plus one new one. After that, Matt kindly pointed out to me that we couldn't afford any more wine, so we headed up to our inn. ;)

Greenwood Pier Inn--we love it here! 

Let's be honest: I'm not a very relaxed person by nature. I'm anxious by design and am constantly thinking, and if I have to sit still for too long, I feel like I'm going to jump out of my skin. But something takes over when we go up to Mendocino. It didn't happen immediately--for the first hour or so, I was my usual self--but then, thanks to the ocean and the cliffs and the breeze and the superb wine, I was able to take a deep breath and seriously relax. It was amazing.

There's a big deck behind the inn (which includes a hot tub overlooking the ocean!), and when we got there, all I wanted to do was sit quietly and read while looking at the water. 


Also, the wine pictured above is impeccable. It's out of my usual price range but I'm a member of their wine club and it's a rare treat. You can buy it here

Mendocino is just north of Sonoma County. It's much less populated and not touristy, which is so nice. And the coast is really exquisite:


Saturday afternoon, we relaxed on the back deck, walked around a bit, drank some wine, and read our books. It was such a luxury. That night, we had a late dinner at the restaurant connected to the bed and breakfast. We intended to come back and make a fire in the little lodge, but I fell asleep pretty much immediately.


And then the funniest thing happened on Easter Sunday. We were once again on the big deck out back, when a couple approached us and said, "Hey--we're neighbors!" Turns out, they live directly across the street from us in Oakland; our addresses are one number off. CRAZY, right?! They are the nicest people ever and I'm so excited to have new neighbor friends. He works in education and she works for one of my favorite local-ish coffee shops so . . . we're a double date match made in heaven. Isn't it funny that we had to go two hours north to a small bed & breakfast to meet our neighbors?!

This little trip had me thinking, too, about whether or not I could live in a tiny town. Matt says he'd be happy as a clam there. While I think it would be romantic for a while, I'm pretty sure that ultimately, I'd be consumed with cabin fever/wanderlust. Pretty much everything in Elk shuts down around 8 pm. I kept looking at the houses around and thinking: what do these people do at night?? 

Could you live in a teeny tiny town, far from cities, culture, & people?