I’ll Be Back!

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It’s shaping up to be a pretty busy summer. With that being said, I’ll be taking a blogging break. There’s just so much on my plate right now that I just want to leave my blog on the back burner for a little bit. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that my foodie portion of the blog will be coming to an end. It’s been a great run. I started this blog as a place to put my personal reviews of restaurants in my area. I never imagined that I’d be invited to dinner with fellow bloggers to preview a new menu multiple times. It feels so weird saying goodbye to the foodie part of this blog. It’s just gotten more & more difficult to write restaurant reviews as of late. Plus, we’re moving & honestly, I don’t know if & when I would start food blogging again. I guess my passion isn’t there anymore.

I will continue participating in blog hops once I return. I definitely have fun with those & I love to see what everyone else comes up with.

This blog may be on a little break, but you can still find me on Twitter & Instagram. I thank all my readers, whether you’ve followed me right from the start in 2009 or you just followed me last week. I appreciate your readership & support.

Until next time….

Go Figure….Skate!

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If you’ve been following my blog or Twitter for a while, it should come as no surprise that my favorite exercise is ice skating.

I took lessons back when I was 8 years old. I just loved being out there on the ice on a frosty winter morning. I took lessons for 2 winters but my dad switched me from skating to swimming the following year. I missed skating so much. I would jump at any chance to skate but I would never take another lesson growing up.

Fast forward to 2010. The winter Olympics were about to start, I had quit my job, and I needed a hobby. I kept telling my husband I wanted to skate again. Lo & behold, we found an ice rink close to the house and I signed up for lessons. I was pretty excited considering how we live in southern California and ice skating isn’t the first thing that comes to mind for most.

I still remember my face lighting up the first time I set foot on the ice. There was something about the cool air in my face and the sounds of my blades meeting the ice that just made me so happy. I hadn’t skated in years, so I was surprised when my coach came up to me and asked if I had done this before. I told him it was a long time ago but he told me I still had my balance & form.

It took a long time for me to actually feel calm on the ice. I fell a whole bunch but I would always tell myself to get up.

I’ve always been a shy person, but I made myself skate in a program. Waiting for the music was the most nerve wracking thing, but I’m so glad I did it. I felt so accomplished once it was all over.

Of course I was off the ice while I was pregnant. I can’t express to you how excited I was when I was cleared to skate again. I was nervous that I’d forget everything after being out of practice for 9 months but surprisingly it all came back to me. During my pregnancy, I would ask my coach if I’d remember everything & he assured me I would be able to do everything I did before I left and come back even stronger. He was right. I don’t know what it is but I’ve been less timid since I returned 2 years ago. Maybe somewhere deep down I convinced myself that I went through childbirth so anything else is a walk in the park. No, I still can’t barrel down the ice like an Olympian without freaking out, but I’ve come a long way. It meant a lot to me when my coach told me that I’ve become a great skater.

 

I’ve always called the rink my gym. I tend to get distracted during group exercises at the gym while my mind is clear when I skate. There’s just so much involved in skating, plus you have to pay attention to your surroundings, so there’s not much time for your thoughts to get in the way. Call it my way of meditating. It’s always been a huge stress relief for me. No matter what I’m going through, and I’ve gone through a lot over the last year, skating always manages to make me feel better. Not to mention, it’s a great cardio workout. I’m glad I found an activity I truly enjoy. I’m very thankful for my husband who has supported me these last 4 years. I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

This post is part of Finish the Sentence Friday. What’s your favorite exercise?

Finish the Sentence Friday

Small Steps, Amazing Achievements: Itsy Bitsy

I’ve been singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” to Andrew as long as I can remember. It wasn’t until our return flight from Seattle that he started doing the hand gestures every time Mat & I would finish singing, hinting that he wanted us to sing again. He also puts his hand on his head for “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” and moves my hand to his foot for “This Little Piggy.”

All of these gestures happened in a matter of weeks, with “Itsy Bitsy” and “This Little Piggy” being the most recent.

He’s still not very vocal at all, but I am loving these new gestures. They help me understand what he wants. Now, if he would whine less, we’d be golden.

What are some of your children’s amazing achievements this week?

 

Ethans Escapades

Summer Bucket List

0001-12Can you believe half of the year has gone by? Summer is just around the corner and with that comes a list of things I’d like to accomplish by September.

Manhattan Beach

1) Go to the beach every week- I’m happy to say that I’ve come pretty close to crossing this one off already. Since I found out we’d be moving away from CA, I vowed to go to the beach & soak it up as much as I could. I’ve held that promise pretty well. The only time I haven’t gone to the beach since I made that vow in March was during inclement weather.

2) Go to Seattle- I accomplished this one over the weekend. I’ve always wanted to go and I figured we may as well go while we’re in CA since the flight is much shorter. I enjoyed my trip. Our hotel was within walking distance to Pike’s Place Market, the original Starbucks, a lot of restaurants, the waterfront, and the monorail to the Space Needle & Children’s Museum. I was tweeting all weekend that I had so much blog material but didn’t know how to put it together, so I may make a post entirely out of one liners.

3) Get the house ready for our move- this one is mandatory, but I’d like to get things done sooner than later.

4) Have a date night monthly until we move- We don’t know how long it will take us to find a sitter after we move, so I do plan to take advantage of the ones we have now.

5) Skate more often- my sitters are off from school, which means their availability has opened up, and hopefully mama can skate more frequently.

6) Gelato at Paciugo- there’s a little gelato place in Hermosa Beach that has been around since shortly after we moved here. Sadly, since we moved away from Hermosa, we haven’t gone as much, but I want to make sure we pay them a visit before we go.

7) Go to the park more often- My house doesn’t have air conditioning. With that being said, I want to spend most of my days outside. I tend to get stir crazy at home, just letting Andrew play in the backyard, so I want to see how long we’ll last at the park.

8) Go to the Children’s Museum in Irvine- ok, so it costs twice as much as the one in Seattle, but hopefully Andrew will enjoy it nonetheless.

9) Have a BBQ- because let’s face it, there’s not much better than a BBQ with friends.

10) Spend as much time with friends before we move- that’s a given.

So those are my plans this summer. How about you? Join us at the Tuesday Ten!

The Golden Spoons

Saving the Dance

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I can recall many nice things people have done for me throughout my life. What happened at my senior prom sticks out 15 years later.

I never had a boyfriend at that point in my life. I was always best friends with guys, but was always given that “I don’t want to ruin our friendship” line. I recall asking my best guy friend to prom with me, since I was older. I figured I had nothing to lose since we went to homecoming together & had a lot of fun so I thought prom would be just as much fun if not more. I was so devastated when I got rejected. It happened at the end of the lunch period to boot, and I bawled all the way to my next class. I felt like I had been punched in the gut. Like the rug was pulled from under me. This was my best friend. How could he say no? I’d asked myself for days, weeks, and never got an answer. I felt like everyone was staring at me. I felt so small.

Fast forward a few weeks later. A friend of mine set me up with one of her guy friends to be my prom date. The evening was off to a good start. I got my hair & nails done with my friends. I remember how excited we were. Prom itself was great. Everything seemed to be going well with my date. However, towards the end of the evening, he kept telling me he was tired. I continued to dance with my friends, but then I noticed he was dancing with other girls. That in of itself didn’t bother me. What stung was being lied to. Again, I felt that my world was getting crushed again. First by my friend, then by this date. This was prom. Our last hurrah with all our friends before we went into the big bad world.

My friends all saw what happened & proceeded to talk to my date. A slow song started. Feeling defeated, I started to leave the dance floor, but I felt someone gently grab my hand. I turned around and it was one of my guy friends. He danced with me for that slow song, and for every song the rest of the evening. It was such a sweet gesture.

I sadly lost touch with that friend, but I’ll never forget what he did. A lot of my memories from high school have faded with time, but I’ll always remember the kindness shown to me that night.

This post was part of Finish the Sentence Friday. What is the nicest thing someone has done for you?

Finish the Sentence Friday

“Bye Bye Mama”

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My son has babbled as long as I can remember. He’s a Gemini like mama, so he takes after me. He’s never said that many words. His peers have started to verbalize while he still speaks in babble with a few words sprinkled in. I’ve brought this up to the pediatrician at his 12 & 18 month appointments. I also mentioned it to a speech therapist when he was around 16 months. Both professionals told me “he’s fine, he’s just being a boy” and “one day he will have a word explosion. He’s taking it all in. He probably understands you a lot more.” They were right to an extent. Although my son didn’t speak much, he understood simple commands such as “put your toys away” “let’s go out” “put on your shoes.” He picked up more words along the way, but still wasn’t as verbal as the rest of his peers.

I wasn’t too worried. I admit that I like hearing the baby babble. I think it’s pretty cute. I’ve always been a worrier, yet I’ve told myself that if the doctor isn’t worried, then I won’t be either. I do admit, as much as I like the baby babble, I don’t care for the whining. I know once he gets more verbal, the whining will lessen. Yes, I know he’ll still speak to me in whiny tones like kids do, but at least I’ll be able to understand him.

Two days ago, I was leaving for the gym. My husband asked our son to say “bye bye mama” and he did. Twice. Later that evening, my husband said our son said “love you” when he went down for sleep.

Putting two words together is a pretty big step. I was so glad my son hit this milestone. I’m eager to hear some more little sentences he’ll come up with in these next few months.

Share some milestones with us at the Small Steps, Amazing Achievements link up!

Ethans Escapades

 

Capicola’s Gourmet Sandwich Co. Torrance, CA

I’ve been in a sandwich kind of mood lately & Capicola’s has been on my radar for some time now. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting so much when I walked in, since it’s a sandwich shop.

Capi's Special at Capicola's

Capi’s Special at Capicola’s

I was surprised and impressed on how friendly the staff was when I walked in. I ate right before the lunch rush. The dining area was very clean, bright, and spacious. I’ve been a fan of spacious lately. Especially with a toddler and stroller in tow.  I ordered the Capi’s Special which was ready pretty quickly. Capicola, salami, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes on a fresh, chewy roll. A pretty tasty sandwich.

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The truffle fries I ordered with my meal were ready shortly after I finished half of my sandwich. I liked the presentation, and there were enough to share. Warm, fresh, and crispy. A nice touch to my lunch.

All in all, I enjoyed my meal at Capicola’s. I just wish the fries were ready sooner, especially since the restaurant was pretty slow.

I’d like to go back and try out the rest of their sandwiches. They also serve pizzas, soups, and desserts, including the famous croinut.

Have you been to Capicola’s?

 

 

Capicola's Gourmet Sandwich Co. on Urbanspoon

Dear Mama

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I can’t believe my little one will be two pretty soon. I’ve learned so much in my short time as a mama and I would like to share some of those thoughts with new moms.

Dear New Mama,

You’re doing great. I know the newborn stage is tough and the little one wakes up at all hours of the day and night but I promise you will get a full night’s sleep soon. Your house may be a mess, but it’s ok. The baby won’t remember how messy the living room was, or that you forgot to do the dishes. You’ve heard it before but please don’t hesitate to ask for help. You know the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”? Well, it’s absolutely true. Enjoy the squeals and coos of your little one. All of your hormones are all over the place after giving birth. You’ve heard this a million times during your pregnancy, but it’s normal to become emotional for a few weeks after giving birth. However, if you notice the baby blues lasting longer than a few weeks, please see your doctor. Postpartum depression isn’t anything to be ashamed about.
You may meet other moms that may not agree with your parenting style. Don’t let that bother you. Motherhood is not a competition. You just keep on keeping on and don’t let anyone get to you.

Dear Mama of a One Year Old,

Well, the baby is running around now and probably draining your energy. I know it’s been said a million times but don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t feel guilty if you take a few minutes to yourself. Yes, they say to enjoy every moment & they grow up so fast but believe me, taking 10 minutes to yourself every few hours while you take care of your toddler is perfectly fine. Yes, this is coming from someone that literally spent every moment with her son since he was born. It wasn’t until he was 22 months that I thought maybe it’s time for him to learn how to play independently. Be sure to rotate your child’s toys. They can get bored pretty easily. Check out Pinterest for toy & game ideas but don’t let it overwhelm you too much.  By this point, mama brain may have taken over. Make lists, write things down. I can’t tell you how scatterbrained I became after having my son. Just like everything else, believe it or not, this is normal too. Take your child on walks around the block, to the aquarium or park. Let them run around and burn off that energy. It may make nap time a lot easier for you both.

So that’s what I have to say to new mamas. Yes, I’d also say it to myself if I could turn back time. This post is part of Finish the Sentence Friday, “Dear Mom”. Join us & share your thoughts!

 

Finish the Sentence Friday

A Rockstar Moment: Small Steps Amazing Achievements

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Since becoming a mama, I’ve taken “enjoy every minute” literally. I would play with Andrew at all hours of the day until my husband got home. In the very beginning, it wasn’t that bad. I was too exhausted to do much else that I didn’t mind playing with my son all day. That, and he wasn’t very aware of his surroundings. If I went back to the couch to check on emails or blog, it didn’t really matter to him.

Separation anxiety came on with a vengeance from 13 months onward. I’ve always narrated what I was doing from the day he was born. Even when I told him I would be right back, he’d cry. He’d be fine when I’d take him to the park because there were so many new things for him to explore. He was also fine with the sitter. I wondered why he was always so clingy to me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love playing with my son, but I felt like I’d never get any work done because I’d have to entertain him from the time he woke up until my husband got home, nonstop. It’s pretty exhausting.

People would advise me to let him play independently for short bursts of time. I tried every sensory activity I could find on Pinterest, and nothing worked. I felt inadequate since it seemed like all the kids on those blog posts played so happily with their homemade toy, while my son got bored of it after 30 seconds. Even if we lived in a toy store, I would still be his favorite thing to play with.

He’s just shy of 23 months. After a lot of frustration, anxiety, and depression over his refusal to play independently, I tried something new today. I would feed him, read to him, and then tackle some chores. Then I’d go back to playing w/ him, then doing some social media for my blog. Again, back to playing, do another chore. Back to playing, and writing this post. I’ve gotten so much done today that I feel like a rockstar. While I’d tackle my chores or blog stuff, my son would play with his toys. I also think it’s helpful that I’m typing while standing up & having my laptop on a high counter. I found that when I tried to blog while sitting on the couch, he’d climb all over me. He’s been happy all morning and not the least bit clingy. I think it was all about finding a balance between work and play. I’m proud of my accomplishment and I’m proud of my son for being able to play independently while mama is home. It’s not even lunch time & I’ve gotten most of my chores done. It’s a great feeling.

This post is part of the Small Steps Amazing Achievements link up. Share an amazing moment with us!

Abigaile Hermosa Beach

I’ve been to Abigaile three times so it’s safe to say this review is overdue.

This space has been through many incarnations including a rehearsal space for Black Flag back in the 80s. The atmosphere is loud and lively. It’s a great place to relax with friends, enjoy the view, and of course share some small tapas style dishes. The menu changes frequently, so there’s always a reason to come back and try something new. Abigaile supports local growers and has a brewery on site too.

Cheesy poofs at Abigale

Cheesy poofs at Abigaile

First up was the cheesy poofs. Soft and warm biscuits that melted in my mouth and cut like butter accompanied by honey butter.

Pork Belly at Abigale

Next up was three generous pieces of moist pork belly served on a slightly spicy bed of garlic rice with a fried egg on top. Almost everything on the menu looked appetizing and it was hard to narrow it down. I’d say I made a good choice.

 

Strawberry S'mores

Strawberry S’mores

I managed to save room for dessert. Their strawberry s’mores were a perfect way to end the evening. Toasted marshmallow and rich milk chocolate paired well with raspberry gelato. A glass of ice cold milk would’ve gone well with the finale.

If you’re looking for a place with a fun atmosphere & tasty food, look no further than Abigaile.

Have you been to Abigaile before? What are your favorite restaurants in the South Bay?
Abigaile and Ocean Bar on Urbanspoon

 

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