Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Outdoor Inspiration

If you're playing along at home an follow me elsewhere, you already know that we moved recently and have been slowly but surely turning this new space into a home of our own. After all the boxes are unpacked my next project will be the outdoor space.
It's different than any space we've ever had. While it's about the same size as our last location, it's laid out differently and has way more grass and space for a plant bed / herb garden so that's really cool. I've been saying for years I want to grow an herb garden w/ Sweet Pea and Baby Ninja but we just barely got the grass growing at the last place so it's been a slooooow, process getting me to the garden stage. I have delusions of grandeur but I'm hoping this new space will take me beyond inspiration and straight into action. 

At some point in the last two years we bought a blow up pool but never had enough grass (or time) to get it set up and utilize it. This summer though, it's going down. I'm pretty excited. I get to set up my outdoor " bar" and have some fun ideas for decor and toys.  We're pretty laid back people and want the overall vibe of our house to be welcoming and chill. That extends to the backyard as well. 

Outdoor Inspiration

Outdoor yard decor / Wood patio umbrella / LA SIESTA outdoor hammock / Pedestal side table / Sunnylife battery operated fairy light / Outdoor garden decor / IKEA ARHOLMA Sofa combination, brown, beige / IKEA ÄPPLARÖ Gateleg table, brown / show more, Marimekko, brand shop : Target / SOMMAR 2016 / SOLVINDEN / SOLVINDEN / SOLVINDEN / SOLVINDEN / SOLVINDEN

I'm a beach girl so I love the cool blue hues and it looks like IKEA is feeling my vibe as well because their summer collection is just screaming for me to play around with it. I'd love to do some sort of sofa type seating, whether that's a pallet type thing or an actual all weather patio set. Add in a rug to make it more of a living space as well as curtains for privacy and sun protection, some fun string lights (the flamingos, I die) for atmosphere and you have a kick-ass lounge space. Obviously a fire pit is in order because S'MORES post swim in a So Cal summer is like a right of passage. I don't want my kids to miss out on that. We'd also love to add in an outdoor dining table and bold umbrella. Paired with maybe some brightly colored mis-matched thrifted chairs and other random accessories and I think our backyard will be the place to be. 

If you've been following this blog for some time you know this isn't my first trip into the world of "OMG I WANT/NEED THAT FOR MY YARD" and then never doing anything. However - this time, THIS TIME, I am vowing no clothes or frivolous buys until my yard is set. I have a feeling it's going to be a LONG hot summer out here and as much time as we can spend outdoors the better. Also,  

I have visions of enjoying my coffee out on the patio while the kids play, laptop in front of me on an ottoman, cup of coffee and a magazine next to me, the breeze blowing the curtains ever so gently, and perhaps a candle in a hurricane vase and just yeah.....can you see it? Cuz I can, come on summer!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

7 Uncommon Gifts I'd Love to Get & Gift

It's no secret I'm low-key obsessed with online shopping and as a self-proclaimed shopping ninja I am perpetually looking for new places to score unique goods. I love the idea of artisan style pieces that are unique and have a story behind them while also being extremely cool. At least in my opinion.
And while shoes and books are what I love, it's not always what I want to get. Those are more things I want to buy for myself. But a dope gift from a friend? That's kind of my jam. So when I stumbled across UnCommon Goods, a Brooklyn based business, and I was both pissed and pleased. Pissed because how the hell have I been missing out on this site for so long? 
I mean, they have a mixtape pillow and a taco kit for cryin' out loud!  A taco kit + storage. Y'all. Again, HOW HAVE I MISSED THIS???


Shop the set below:

Bar tool / Drinkware / Indoor outdoor throw pillow / One11 Imports DIY Cinema Lightbox / Taco Serving Kit and Storage Box | taco holders, serving kit |... / Milkshake Diagram Glasses - Set of 4 | milkshake recipe |... / Smoothie Dice | Handmade kitchen decor, wooden smoothie dice, smoothie...

So after getting lost in the site for several hours I decided to make a quick list of things I might like to have or gift for housewarmings, birthdays, heck, mother's day is right around the corner and it seems there's always a reason to gift someone with something right? Naturally I made a list cuz I'm visual and hella organized like that. Really, I just don't want to forget what I saw and where so it's best to do it this way don't ya think? I will Pin the crap out of everything (and I have) but rather than dig through all of those......I digress.

And then I did some further digging and found out a little more about the UnCommon Goods brand and how they operate by pairing with designers, artists and creators by giving them a platform to showcase their wares. About one-third of which are made of recycled material and now turned into quality goods. I can get down with that cause.  They've even made it super easy to find stuff for EVERYONE at any price point. Add to that I can order it from my living room? 

I'm a total convert. 

What's your favorite uncommon gift to give? 

*I was compensated for this post but all opinions and ideas wherein are my own. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Strawberry Fields Forever Ever

You might recall last month I was over the moon about my visit to a strawberry farm. We got to learn about the process of growing them, pick them and of course, eat them.  Then there was lunch. While devouring a well cooked sirloin we talked food and recipes as they related to all things strawberry.
Our hosts were gracious enough to send us all home with a flat (read 8 clam shells) of my favorite fruit and I was beyond excited about it. The whole ride home was filled with thoughts of all the delicious strawberry treats I was going to make. 

I hoped I could get to use them all or freeze them before they went bad ( Mr. Hernandez suggested no more than 5 days in the fridge). However, the sheer amount was enough to intimidate even this strawberry lover so I happily made a few deliveries to other berry loving friends.

 Then while perusing my cookbooks searching for things to include in the weeks meal plan, I came across a recipe for tacos that happily included a strawberry salsa. What luck! And I had shrimp in the fridge too? Double win. 

So that became the plan for our meatless Monday dinner.

While I enjoyed the strawberry salsa at lunch the week prior, I wasn't sure how D or our dinner guests would feel about it. 
Turned out amazing and the flavor profile was spot on. 

Something about the combination of the seafood, cilantro, the jalapeno, queso fresco and fresh fruit made it a party in my mouth. It was the perfect marriage of sweet and savory all at once. 


We took full advantage of our abundance of fruit and made a strawberry pizza for the kids.  Which is basically sugar cookie dough, cool whip + whipped cream cheese , topped with strawberries. (or any other fruit) They loved it and so did the mamas. Because strawberries only have 7g of sugar per cup 
it wasn't too sweet or sugary for them (or us) so there was no worry about the toddler tornadoes being up all night on a sugar high. 

And it kept well until the next day for an after school treat. Double win! My girlfriend was impressed with how easy both dinner and dessert were to prepare (thanks in part to having the berries already cut-up and stored in the fridge) and we both agreed we might try to do a grilled version of the pizza for our next cook out. 

Getting a shot of the strawberry pizza was trickier than I had anticipated. I had 3 tiny people vying for a space at the table so they could get a slice and one in particular was bound and determined to stick his finger in the "icing". He was successful. Needless to say that piece was his. 


I love it when I take a risk on a recipe and it turns out well for all parties. 

What are some of your favorite ways to eat strawberries? How do you feel about the combination of shrimp + strawberry salsa? 

Monday, April 18, 2016

What I Want From Target Right Now

Y'all know I'm low-key obsessed with Target. I don't what it is but they have gone from an errand that I don't mind going to a weekly trip whether I "need" something or not. Don't get me wrong, there times when I go weeks without setting foot inside the establishment. 
But the way my life is set, I end up in the vicinity of one at least once a week (usually on #TargetTuesday) and find myself wandering the aisles; a perk of Baby Ninja being in pre-school full time. Hallelujah, praise the Lord and begin the errand running.  

And I always find something that's not on my list that I wouldn't mind adding to my cart. I may not always be able to BUY ALL THE THINGS I can absolutely daydream and make a list of things I'd like to have. And then, if I play my cards just right, I might end up with said item when I have a little "fun money" and it goes on sale.  So I thought I'd share what I've got my eye on RIGHT NOW.
Target Crush

Black bedding / Threshold serveware / Room Essentials throw pillow / Threshold gold home decor / Slide sandals / Clog shoes / Ballerina shoes / Handbags purse / Hey Hey Hey Framed Wall Art 13x10\"- Oh Joy!, Multi-Colored / Threshold Crane String Light - Copper / show more, Marimekko, brand shop : Target / S'ip by S'well Watermelon Cooler Green Stainless Steel Water Bottle...

The Marimekko x Target collection went live yesterday and while I've had it in the back of my mind for awhile (thaaanks mom) I'd sort of forgotten and now I can't  get that pouf out of my mind. I feel like pillows are thing I can never get enough of and I'm always looking for new ones. You don't want to know how many we have "hidden" around the house. 

In an effort to keep the water I consume safe a cute water bottle is a must. Knick-knacks of all kinds are my weakness, a geometric shape here, a fun print there, twinkle lights over yonder, you get the idea.  And don't forget the shoes!! It's not a Target run if I don't at least consider buying one pair of shoes. I've got my eye on a couple but until I purge and sell the ones in boxes in the garage I can't justify it. Also, how fun is this fringe bag? I mean! It's kind of a statement piece on it's on and I'm crushing super hard. 

Tell me I'm not the only one who has a Target crush? 
What's on your radar right now? 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Local Tourist: Strawberry Farm Shenanigans


Fruit is one of the few things that I've always been a fan of. As a picky eater growing up, I always knew that I could turn to fruit as my option if they were serving things that I wasn't a fan of. Strawberries have always been one of my favorites. I have memories of being a little girl, riding in the back seat of my dad's car and him pulling off into some dusty side stand to pick the best and juiciest strawberries from the baskets presented. There were always samples to be had and my fingers were for sure red and mouth sticky by the time we got back in the car. I loved it. 

To this day I can't help but wonder what the berries are looking like at every stand we pass and being in southern California a 12 month growing season, California strawberries aren't hard to find but can be hard to pass up. My dad is one of those people that can't pass them up and lucky for me if he sees some when he's on his way to my house he'll waste no time scooping them up. Fresh berries are my love language

Last summer our family drove up to San Francisco and we passed through the heart of California farming and many a strawberry field and had so many questions about what went on there.  

 So when I was invited to visit one of the many farms up in Oxnard, CA I was down for the ride. I say "up" because from where I live, it's a nice scenic ride up several freeways.  It was a magnificent California day and I was thrilled to be out of the house and excited for the days adventure. 

We were taken to a local farm owned by the ridiculously guapo Juan Hernandez and he led us on a tour of his land and shared his story about how he came to not only work, but own that farm. 

Did you know that there about 400 family farmers, many like, Mr. Hernandez, are on multi-generational farms and that strawberry farming has given Latinos more ownership opportunities than any other major crop. Crazy right? 

These family strawberry farms help sustain their communities by creating over 70,000 jobs, investing in scholarships for children of field workers and investing 97 cents of every farm dollar back into their communities which is kind of impressive considering what a huge industry strawberry farming is. 

He was wonderfully patient answering all our questions about sustainable farming, water conservation (strawberries require less water less water per acre than an acre of homes in L.A.)  and whether or not pesticides/insecticides were used (they invest millions in non-chemical farming methods which is more than any other commodity group in the world. )

AND he stood totally still while we all zoomed in to get that key photo with both our DSLR and camera phones as well as live video. Cuz that's how we do.

And then, and then, they told us it was okay to pick them. Say what? I can walk over to this GINORMOUS juicy red berry and just plop it off the vine and eat it? Don't mind if I do! 
And I did. At least 12 servings worth. BTW, a serving size is about 8 medium strawberries and has more vitamin C than an orange as well as myriad of other nutrients. So all those times I've stuffed my face with strawberries I was really just doing myself a favor. Good to know. 

750 berries later ( I kid, but not really) we headed over to Hertzog Winery for a lavish strawberry themed lunch where we talked more about the different ways to use the fruit and how strawberries get kind of a bad rap because they're sweet. 

I mentioned how some mom's (myself included) have been shamed for "too sweet/sugary" lunches that contain strawberries and another "sweet" not realizing that although they're naturally sweet, they're low in sugar (only 7 g and 45 calories per cup)! Our resident dietitian hipped me to that fact that I will now use at will. Take that, lunch lady haters! Ha! 

I had no idea that strawberries were grown the way they are and how hard the farmers work towards sustainability and truly being farm to table.

 The growers up in Oxnard take great pride that their crops service strawberry lovers the world over and to see how some of them started from the bottom and now they're here? 
That's my kind of success story.

not quite ready
I seriously had the best time and could have stayed out there for hours. I have mad respect for those that work in the field and those that manage the farms.  Juan was telling us how they handle extreme temps and let's just say it involves being out in the elements in the freezing cold. I'm cool. Thankfully these farmers aren't above getting down and dirty for their crop. 

Another cool thing about CA Strawberries? Their packaging is plastered with photos of actual farmers, growers and their families. Truly making strawberry farming a community effort. 

Our hosts were kind enough to send us home with a flat of berries each! A flat is eight clamshells FULL of my favorite fruit. They doubly blessed me with TWO FLATS. Because I love they spoke my love language and understood how happy they make me. Holy cannoli y'all. That's sixteen ; 1-6; shells of strawberries. My car smelled AMAZING the whole way home and my mind was whirling with all the yummy ways we could make use of all these succulent berries. 

Baby Ninja made quick work of one clamshell as soon as I got home!

Baby Ninja made quick work of one shell as soon as I hit the door and I realized that while I wanted to hoard them, I couldn't in good conscience so I paid it forward and shared them with a few families. Everyone agreed they were/ are the best berries we've ever eaten. I'm just happy I was smart enough to freeze some. Because margaritas y'all. Summer is coming.

What's your favorite way to eat strawberries?

To find out more about CA Strawberries visit and to find out more about the farmers you might be buying from check out their blog Heart of Farmers - they've even got recipes to try! 


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