Category Archives: Favorite Things

Baby / Favorite Things

Music and Children’s Books: Favorites

October 25, 2016

img_9972We don’t allow Prim to watch TV (aside from on plane flights — because pleeeease just stop screaming) so we do a lot of reading in our house. Prim is obsessed with music and books, and a lot of our day is spent reading on the couch and having Pandora dance parties.

I thought I’d share some of our favorite Pandora stations, as well as some of Prim’s favorite books, since I’m always looking for a new station to groove to (or cook to…) and new kids books to introduce to Prim.

Pandora Favorites:

  • For sing-a-longs: Disney
  • For singing and dancing parties: ABBA
  • For dance parties: Elastic Heart or Electric Love
  • Indie background music: Miike Snow or Hozier
  • Upbeat instrumental: Film Scores radio
  • Good for rainy mornings: Yann Tiersen
  • Best for nostalgia: Rick Astley, Peter Gabriel or En Vogue
  • Best for family gatherings: Dinner Party radio
  • Holiday favorites: Spooky Symphonies, Halloween Party radio, Friendsgiving radio, Christmas radio, Classical Christmas radio, Christmas Choral Classics, Christmas Traditional Radio, Swingin’ Christmas radio

Prim’s Favorite Children’s Books (right now)

*Ahem, please excuse the little potty chair in the picture above. Someone has been quite insistent about “no diapers” lately.

Favorite Things / Life Abroad

Fun Things About Amsterdam So Far

June 13, 2016

Even though I do think it’s important to talk about the hard parts of our move, I prefer to mostly focus on what’s been positive so far. There has been a little less culture shock here than I anticipated, mostly because the locals are so friendly and willing to speak English (I’ve heard that even if you learn Dutch, if they find out you’re an English speaker they will just speak English to you.)

I’ve already mentioned how green everything is here — but seriously, it’s amazing. There are so many parks around here that are full of trees, grass and wildlife.

img_8840Like most other European cities, most of the windows here don’t have screens. The windows in our hotel room are large and open all the way, so you can literally have 5′ x 5′ open space in the room letting air in. Unlike California, you can leave this open all day and all night and no bugs will get it. It’s so weird! We have the windows open all the time and I think we’ve had one fly get in. ONE! It’s bananas. There are no mosquitos eating you alive at dusk, no mosquito eaters creeping along the ceiling — it’s so foreign.

And while some food items are a little tricky to find, most of our favorites are readily available. But more importantly, the dairy products here are sublime. The yogurt is AMAZING. It’s crazy to be so excited about yogurt, but seriously — if you tried it, you’d know.

img_8954Also, one of the grocery stores nearby has an “American Foods” section, which is hilarious. It’s chock-full of off-brand Cheetos and Cheez-balls, more Pop Tart flavors than I think I’ve ever seen in my life, candy and canned frosting. No wonder Europeans think we’re so unhealthy! Haha. At the same store there’s also a frozen meal/TV dinner kind of thing that’s called “The Big American.” KC and I think it’s hilarious.

img_8953And finally, the people here are so friendly with Prim. People in the states were friendly, but with Europeans it’s like a whole other level. People of all ages will routinely stop what they are doing to talk to her and touch her face or hands — one woman on the metro even gave Prim eskimo kisses and was kissing the backs of her hands while they were playing peek-a-boo together between stops. Can you even imagine if someone did that in America??

Yesterday at the grocery store a boy who was probably about eight or nine years old stopped to talk to Prim and ask her for a “high five.” I explained that she didn’t know what that was quite yet, but it was so sweet. Something about the culture here makes all the interaction seem very welcome and lovely (as opposed to in the states, where I feel like you’d be all, “OMG WTF get away from my child you weirdo.”)

(Don’t worry, the weird parts are coming up in tomorrow’s post! Haha)

Favorite Things / Personal

On Nostalgia

January 13, 2016

After I gave birth I quickly became disenchanted with 99% of the clothes I owned, and so opted to do a giant closet purge where I pared down my wardrobe to the bare minimum.

img_5642For the most part, this was actually really easy. I’m not one to get overly attached to things, especially clothes, so getting rid of everything felt sort of freeing in a way. (And frankly, it was nice not having to dig through piles of things that didn’t fit anymore to get to the three shirts I could nurse in that did fit.)

I did have a hard time parting with most of my coats, though. I have an affinity for outerwear (I suppose it’s partly due to my SPF-100 skin that’s always hoping for gray and rainy weather), and I’ve amassed a nice collection of jackets over the years. I also (wrongly) assumed that my coats would still fit me, even though I’d had a baby. (I mean, my shoulders didn’t change during pregnancy, did they? Yes, apparently they did.)

Since I didn’t get rid of most of my coats when I did my big closet purge, I now have a lovely row of coats in my closet… most of which don’t fit. And the fact that some may never fit again is ok, but there is one coat in particular that I can’t really imagine parting with.coat 3I bought this coat at Banana Republic back in the winter of 2009. I had no money at the time because I’d just finished law school and taken the BAR exam.  I was jobless and the economy was in the toilet, but I had just found out that I’d actually passed the BAR, and so decided to treat myself to this coat. At the time, this coat was some ungodly amount of money in my eyes (I think it was $125 on sale). And so even though I was broker than broke, I decided to celebrate my hard work and treat myself to this one “luxury item.”

coat 2And this coat has served me well over the years. It’s not one that I bought one season and didn’t wear much after that. I’ve worn this coat. I’ve worn this coat all across Europe on two separate occasions.

coat 1I wore it on our honeymoon, on our babymoon, and countless places in between.

So even though it’s now over 6 years old and ohsotight at the moment, this coat won’t be going anywhere. Even if it never fits again, I think it’s going to be hanging in my closet for a long while. Because even though it’s just a coat, I love thinking about all the memories I’ve built wearing it, and how it represents my own recognition of how hard I worked during law school and the BAR (something which I tend to struggle with a little — the recognition, not the work.)

But really, with this whole healthy eating kick I’m on right now, that thing will fit in no time, right? Totally. 😉

Baby / Favorite Things

2015 Favorites — Baby

December 22, 2015


I’m only 7 1/2 months into being a mama, so I’m not expert by any means, but these items have been my favorites things to use with Prim so far this year. Or if you’re pregnant and planning a registry, here’s a list of things I use and totally recommend!

Bath and Diapering

I like to keep the products I use on Prim as natural and basic as possible, but now that the weather has gotten colder, she’s developed a bit of eczema (clearly she’s her father’s daughter with that sensitive skin!) so the Dr. Bronner’s soap I normally use on her isn’t cutting it for the winter months. I tried a number of lotions designed for eczema relief, but the Aveeno is by far my favorite and has actually made a real difference with Prim’s skin.

As for bath time, the Summer Infant sponge has been so great (and it’s SO CHEAP). When she was teeny-tiny I used it in the kitchen sink to bathe her, and 7 1/2 months later we’re still using it in the regular tub with her — I can’t recommend it enough! It’s also great if you’re low on storage space (seriously, how do people store those gigantic baby baths?)


I’ve already done multiple posts about Prim starting solids and how I make her baby food, so none of this should really be a surprise. The Lifefactory bottles are a little pricey, but I love that they’re glass rather than plastic, and they can convert into a sippy cup when your baby is a little older, which I think makes the price tag a little more bearable (because glass sippy cups are surprisingly hard to find!)

I ended up going with the Kiinde bottle warmer after doing a bunch of research and finding out that it’s the best bottle warmer for use with breastmilk because it uses water rather than steam to warm the bottle. It takes a little longer than other bottle warmers because of this, but I like knowing that it’s maintaining as much of the nutrients in the breastmilk as possible since it’s not heating too quickly or getting too hot. If you’re going to be heating up formula, I’d recommend a different bottle warmer (one that’s cheaper and faster) because formula isn’t as easily compromised by heat as breastmilk is.


We try to stick to toys that are made from natural materials like wood, natural rubber or food-grade silicone, since we know that most (or all) end up going in Prim’s mouth at one point or another. We ended up buying the IKEA play gym on a whim shortly after Prim was born, as I wasn’t really into the crazy neon play mats/play gyms I saw everywhere else, but also didn’t want to spend $150 on a beautiful wood one. The IKEA one ended up being an awesome purchase (it’s only $30!) — Prim still plays with it, and I love that it’s not a hot-pink eyesore in the middle of the living room.

Out and About

I think there are plenty of strollers out there that are awesome, and what works for you is really personal. You should research strollers based on what you like to do and your family’s living situation. Someone who hikes frequently or runs outdoors is obviously going to have different needs from someone who needs a stroller for a tight, urban environment. We wanted a general, all-purpose stroller that was both compact and easy to maneuver. We ended up choosing ours because I have severe restrictions on how much weight I can lift due to my bad back, and our stroller was the lightest all-terrain, urban stroller we could find.

I’ve already posted about baby wraps, but haven’t talked about structured carriers before. We initially got the Ergo 360 carrier, but I couldn’t put the freaking thing on by myself (which, uh, is kind of a deal-breaker), so we returned it and tried on a bunch of other carriers. I liked the Baby Bjorn, but we ultimately chose the Beco because it fit KC better (and he likes carrying Prim in the carrier, whereas I use the wrap more). The Beco is really comfy and easy to use, and it’s awesome that it allows us to wear Prim in four different positions (front facing in, front facing out, side carry, and back carry).


The Halo sleep sack with wings is awesome for when you’re transitioning your baby out of the swaddle for sleeping. Also, if you have a baby with eczema (or even if you don’t), the humidifier is a must. It’s actually so awesome I’m considering getting one for mine and KC’s room!

If you’d like to know what I use for anything else baby-related that’s not on the list, leave a comment and I’ll respond! 🙂

Favorite Things

2015 Favorites – Media

December 21, 2015

CIMG2263.JPG^^babies celebrating new years 2007^^

Since we’re rapidly approaching the end of the year, now is the time to reflect on the past 12 months and take stock of what was good this year. Websites and blogs are all coming out with their”best of” and “most popular” lists — most popular songs, baby names, memes, you name it. I thought I’d take a minute to look back over the past 12 months a jot down my favorite books, TV shows, movies, etc. from the past year:


I was able to watch a lot of TV earlier in the year, up until P wised up and was like, “WHAT IS THIS MAGICAL BOX OF LIGHT? I MUST STARE AT IT!” Now that TV is a serious magnet for Prim, we don’t keep it on during the day, so the only time we really watch it is for an hour or so after she’s in bed. Out of what we did manage to watch this year, I liked Daredevil and Master of None on Netflix. And the whole “releasing a whole season at once” is kind of awesome for our life right now, since it’s hard for me to remember to catch up on a new show week by week.


We didn’t go to many movies this year, as earlier in the year I couldn’t make it through a screening without having to pee at least once (ah, pregnancy. It’s so glamorous.) and we’ve only made it out to one movie since Prim was born. But, out of what we did watch this year, I loved Inside Out (the one movie we’ve seen in the theaters since May) and Trainwreck, which we rented on demand. I’m dying to see Sisters, but whether can get to the movies before it’s out of theaters is still TBD.


A lot of what I read this year was baby related, so my novel consumption was limited. Fiction-wise, I really liked The Girl on the Train and Why Not Me? Both were the kind of books that you can’t wait to get back to and keep reading (which I looove in a book). Non-fiction (and baby-related) I enjoyed reading French Kids Eat Everything, which has a great approach to getting kids to eat a wide variety of foods; and Taking Charge of Your Fertility, as your body is totally strange after you have a baby, but I think this book is super interesting even if you’re not postpartum or planning a pregnancy.


I can’t remember if Serial happened this year or last (my pregnancy kind of blurs the end of 2014 into the beginning of 2015), but I loved it, (y’know, along with the rest of the world). We recently listened to The Message, which was a little cheesy at times, but still kept my interest. Mortified and Stuff You Missed in History Class are great for short car trips, and I was totally obsessed with Mystery Show over the summer when we drove to the Russian River. Highly recommend!

What were your favorite entertainment items from 2015? I’d love to know, as I’m always looking for new stuff to read or listen to.

PS: Would you be interested in another favorites from 2015 post? I might do one on pregnancy and baby items if you guys would care to read it. (Hey, I might even do it if you’re not interested. It’s my blog, I do what I want!) 😉