My heart has been breaking this past month for my almost three year old daughter. Our nanny left abruptly and completely unexpectedly and it has sent our life into more of a tizzy than I want to admit. And that includes her little life. 

V had been with us since HPD was 14 weeks old. She was with us when my husband transitioned jobs, when our baby crawled, walked, got a fever with a side of teeth. She defrosted breast milk and made freshly smashed sweet potatoes in the Baby Brezza. She has been so flexible and takes HPD on outings. She introduced us to HPD’s favorite place in all the land–the pony farm. 

It’s been stressful to patch together child care when I haven’t had to worry about it since we hired V. It’s been stressful to interview nannies off of, people that I don’t know and no one I know knows. And my heart breaks more knowing these are her last chaotic days at home before she starts preschool. 

I was reminded today by author Shauna Niequist that we don’t know what God’s plan is in the middle of the chaos, and it’s frustrating to try and figure it out and make sense of it when things truly don’t make sense yet. 

Will our next nanny work out? What will our life look like as our girl starts preschool? What other changes might be ahead. 
I look forward to the chaotic resolve. I look forward to telling the tale of what God provided that was better than I could have imagined. 


This week I’m missing my baby like crazy. I’m on my annual work trip, and this year’s it’s in neighboring Anaheim, Calif. Just close enough that I want to go home and tuck her in at night, but just busy enough that I really can’t. And she’s just old enough to not quite know why mom is gone, and doesn’t understand she really will be back soon.

In  the midst of missing Harper Paige, it was such an honor to meet Barbara. She is the parking garage attendant at the Anaheim Marriott. She asked if I was here with the group and said the “old ladies” keep trying to feed her every time they come through, let me know her days off, that she had to work Memorial Day but didn’t mind, and finally let me through when the car behind me had to be on the brim of honking.

Thanks, Barbara, for reminding me how to serve well, how to love and care for people no matter where we are stationed in life. You are a true gem.


Baby’s First Disneyland Trip

castle girlsMy friend Jamaica and I decided to take our kids to Disneyland before they turned three. Why? Two-year-olds are still free. ha!

Our kids have been “BFF’s since birth,” almost literally since they are about 8 weeks apart. Jamaica and I have known of each other since we were about 18, and have recently become better friends as we figure out how to navigate raising kids that are the same age.

It was super fun to spend the day together, and see Disney magic through the eyes of our kiddos. They are both Frozen fanatics, as all two-year-olds are I suppose, and were so beyond excited to meet Elsa and Anna. They talked about it for days before (and after). I was so grateful to the actors that played Elsa and Anna, they spent time with the girls and were so kind and didn’t just rush people through.

Both girls were on their best behavior, much to our relief. It’s wonderful having Disney bribery around you on all sides. “Do you want to go on a boat ride? Yes! Well then lets get in the stroller and eat your snack so we can go on a boat ride!” Positive reinforcement at its best.

Since Harper doesn’t turn three until September, I hope Geoff and I can take her next time!

castle hug elsa and anna group photo horses

Meeting Melissa and Dallas

It was sucdallas melissah an honor for my friend Collette and I to meet The Whole30 authors Melissa and Dallas Hartwig in Santa Monica at a book signing. Double bonus, one of my favorite bloggers, Stephanie Gaudreau from Stupid Easy Paleo, was also there.

After a bit of a bugaboo with the Barnes + Noble staff who were a bit resentful that we had bought our Whole30 books the day it came out, we were on our way to hearing how Melisa and Dallas use the Whole30 in their lives, and even took some interesting questions from the audience.

And by “interesting,” I mean one lady asked she could put her own breastmilk in her coffee. So that happened. In case you are wondering, she can since it’s native to her body, but her husband (much to his relief, I’m sure), cannot.

I appreciated that Dallas and Melissa were both so honest, that tStephhe Whole30 was meant for 30 days (or longer if you need it) and it isn’t meant to be an ongoing lifestyle. Dallas doesn’t eat Whole30 anymore, while Melissa goes back to it when she needs a reset, or to prepare herself for stressful situations. They both look super fit and healthy, I would love to pick their brain sometime about how they eat normally, especially while on the road!

Admittedly, I don’t normally stay out on school nights, but I’m so glad I did!


Recipe: Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

This is my first-ever recipe to share! So no pictures because I want you to use your imagination.

Nods of thanks to Paleo OMG and the Deen Bros. for the inspiration.

This version is Paleo and Whole30 approved. And also, it’s delicious, and makes a nice big batch to feed your family for a couple three days. We love leftovers in our house!

Be sure to use adobo chili powder — I finally splurged and bought some at Vons / Safeway, so it is pretty readily available. Smoked Paprika is available at Trader Joe’s and at Vons / Safeway. Both make this dish go from yawn to YUM!

2 lbs sweet potatoes, cooked
2 tbsp chicken broth
1/2 tsp adobo chili powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp Ghee (or butter if not doing Whole30)

Combine all ingredients and mash. Add a little more chicken broth if needed. Can be chunky. Set aside.

The Filling.
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic (or 1 tsp mashed or minced garlic)
1.5 lbs ground turkey or beef
2 or 3 zucchini or yellow squash, cut or spiraled
1 can tomatoes drained VERY well.
1/2 tsp adobo chili powder, or more for spicier
1/2 tsp smoked paprkia
1/4 tsp salt or more to taste
1/8 tsp pepper

First prepare the Zucchini.

Use a spiralizer, or chop it into small itty bitty pieces.
Put the zucchini in a strainer and sprinkle with enough salt to coat it well.
Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
Then blot the zucchini dry with a paper towel (You can blot it or ring it out. This ensures your filling isn’t a soppy mess.)

On to the Filling.

Cook chopped onion until translucent.

Add garlic and saute until heated through.

Add ground turkey and cook until no longer pink.

Drain meat, get as much moisture out of it as you can (see soppy mess note above).

Okay it’s about to start smelling super yummy. Add the veggies and spices and cook until just soft.

Making Magic.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Dump the meat-veggie goodness into a 4 Quart Pyrex rectangle dish.

Carefully top it off with the Sweet Potato goodness. I plopped a few spoon-fulls and then smoothed it out with a spatula. A Christmas spatula to be exact.

Cook for about 20 minutes, until bubbly.


Whole 30 Day 1.5

Well this Whole30 is a lot less fun to put into action then to dream about. And I’ve literally been dreaming about food and chopping and cheating by eating fries accidentally and having to start over. And today, my arm literally hurts from chop-chop-chopping and prepping meals all afternoon yesterday–to the tune of 4+ Gilmore Girls episodes.

Last night’s dinner, an Italian hot plate of ground turkey and veggies over spaghetti squash, was just okay. Cheese was calling to me. “Put me in your mouth” it said. I refused.

This morning, putting canned coconut milk in my milk almost made me throw up. I like, nay love, coconut. Or so I thought. Perhaps I like processed, sugar-laced coconut.


Breakfast was okay. Sweet potatoes, apples and onions with cinnamon, with an egg on top. I was more excited about eating it yesterday while making it than actually putting it into practice today.

But at the same time, I know I need this. I know I need to break my sugar addiction and cleanse my body of soy (which I am allergic to). I know I don’t eat nearly enough vegetables and consume way too much dairy.

I’m hoping I have better luck with Pad Thai and other Asian cuisines that are sprinkled with soy sauce-esque coconut aminos. If that works and tastes good — OMG I can eat Chinese food again!

And so I press ahead. My mantra is that I eat to live, not live to eat. That I need to find comfort and excitement in things that aren’t in foil-wrapped packages.

Why I am Starting the Whole 30

When my husband sent me a link about the Whole 30 plan I was interested at first. Let’s be honest, the copywriting is amazing. It makes you feel empowered to change your life.

Then I realized the kicker: no sugar, not even the fake kind or the honey/agave kind. No beans. No dairy, not even my daily cheese stick on the way to work. No lattes. Nothing for 30 days.

What caught my attention were the coconut aminos. It’s a soy sauce-tasting thing that is made from coconut and salt. WHAT, I could eat Chinese food without compromising my breathing due to a soy allergy.

I also really desperately need a jump start on weight loss. I’ve tried various things, including, of late, tracking about everything I put in my mouth on MyFitnessPal, even following a long with a couple of friends and monitoring each others’ food diaries. The scale just laughed at me.

Then Halloween candy came out to play at our office. It wasn’t tucked away in a cupboard somewhere. Our innocent, size 00 assistant put buckets of candy everywhere around our office. Everywhere. And fun-sized Twix to boot.

At some point I knew i needed something drastic. I needed something where I ate a crap ton of vegetables and I gave up sugar. For some reason, doing something extreme where I simply can’t eat anything bad, not even a little, seemed appealing. Like it just might work.

So here I am, having trouble sleeping because I’m excited about the possibility, about losing some of the post-baby gut (finally!) and about breathing better with fewer medications. About Costco trips where I used half our grocery budget (ouch) and walked about with simply veggies, fruit and meat–no crap made its way in my basket. #winning

But, I am also nervous about get-togethers, and eating out, and that candy still being strewn across our office. And Thanksgiving.

Interested in the inspiring copywriting that got this sugar-addict on board with new possibilities? Read it here.

Hospital Heroes

Yesterday I got called upon for dinner by a new mama. My dear friend Ashley, who walked with my closely through my pregnancy, gave birth to her beautiful daughter Penolope James this week. She was in the hospital and didn’t want Hospital Surprise for dinner. So Harper and I loaded up with In-N-Out in hand to bring sustenance to the family.

In a nutshell: We were heroes.

As I headed through the parking lot, Harper in the stroller, me balancing food and a collection of beverages, a guy headed towards the hospital asked if he could help. Yes. Please, Help.

As he carried the drinks, we chatted on the way in to the hospital about the weather and how we’ve lived places less desirable. I finally asked — are you here for good reasons or sick reasons?

He was there for sick reasons. His father in law was in the hospital and they weren’t sure what was up. His wife was already at the hospital. He was returning to check in.

It floored me in that moment that someone whose world was probably turned upside down was willing to stop to carry a slew of In-N-Out beverages for a stranger. I don’t think this is exactly the stereotype of Los Angeles County.

The hero becomes the {grateful} damsel.

Ideas in Motion

“Done is Better than Good.
You win already, just by having shown up.”
— Elizabeth Gilbert

I have lots of blog ideas.

Often on my eternal 2 hour round trip commute everyday, or in the shower when I have 15 (20?) minutes to myself. But recently, I just haven’t put pen to paper (or whatever the WordPress equivalent might be). My husband often asks if we should even pay for my domain. It’s a fair question.

I have these great life anecdotes that are fodder for the blog, and then … I get stuck at the resolution. I want my blogs to end with a charge to better humanity, to persevere. In a nutshell, I want to write a sermon. Apparently.

“Motion works.”  –Elizabeth Gilbert

Today on my commute I listed to the Ted Radio Hour and the guest was Elizabeth Gilbert. Yep. The Eat-Pray-Love Lady, a book I’ve never read (though apparently 10 million of you have). Why? I don’t like her conclusion. There is something bigger in my life than my own personal inner peace and current state of happiness.

But she talked about this idea of done is better than good, and letting fear ride alongside you instead of taking over and preventing you from succeeding. So here I am writing something. No conclusion or zippy one liners. I’m just going to try (try!) to get back to the practice of writing.

“Is it rational that anyone should be afraid of the work they were put on this earth to do?” –Elizabeth Gilbert