liquid gold.


It's safe to say that every Italian family has their own sauce recipe that they keep under lock and key before it's ceremoniously given to someone deemed worthy enough to be let in on the secret. There's something about having a family recipe passed down from one generation to the next. And it's another to actually attempt to execute said family recipe, especially when it came from a highly respected matriarch.

While I love cooking and will fearlessly try out recipes left and right, to say that I was intimidated by this sauce and meatballs recipe was a little bit of an understatement. This is what Jesse's family talks about with such love and admiration! They have an annual Italian Night tradition that has this famed sauce and meatballs at its core! Not to mention how labor intensive the entire eight-hour cooking process is!

Yet, I had to do it. I had to at least try. I never buy jarred sauces anyway, so why not make something from a legit source? So, one weekend last month, I did it. I made sauce and meatballs at Anaïs' birthday dinner request. And how did it turn out? Watch the video above and see for yourself! :-)


 
 

s-town.


We are hitting the road for a much-needed Spring Break getaway this week and I can hardly wait. Being from Florida and now living in Georgia, long drives are not foreign to me. And I like to take these moments as opportunities to listen to something captivating to make the time pass more quickly.

I was a huge fan of Serial when it came out so I was thrilled to find out that the same folks who produced it have a new podcast out: S-Town. Have you heard of it? These kinds of murder mystery stories get me every time. I can't wait to put it on!

 
 

five!


A few weeks ago, we had a little birthday party for Anaïs in our neighborhood park. She invited a few friends from school, we ordered pizzas from the shop down the street, we had cupcakes and juice boxes, sparkling lemonade and Pamplemousse La Croix. We had a piñata! The kids ran around and the parents hung back and chatted. Grandparents came in from out of town to celebrate the wonder that is Anaïs. Once again, my incredibly talented friend Kaleen captured the best moments for us without missing a beat. 


In the blink of an eye, my baby girl turned five. Five! It just seems so big, you know? Gone are the days of having to nurse her when she needed comforting. Gone are the days of having to change her diapers or potty train her. She no longer needs me to help her get dressed. She doesn't need me to feed her. She doesn't even need me to hold her hand going down a flight of stairs. So much happens leading up to five and when it arrives, it's just as heart wrenching as you imagined, if not more.


It's hard to explain sometimes but for me, it feels like the true beginning of slowly letting her go. Five marks the start where she's in school for the next twelve years. It means that she'll be living under my care before she'll literally leave the nest. And sure, maybe I'm looking too far into the future, but it's hard not to. If the first five years flew by this quickly, won't the rest of our time disappear just as fast? The worst part is, that's the whole point: I want her to thrive and grow and flourish. I want her to one day leave and be independent. I want her to start her life and experience her own adventures. But that doesn't make it any less painful. Isn't that terrible? Motherhood is both beautiful and tragic. We are given the privilege and honor to love and protect these tiny beings, to shape them into decent people and show them the world, no matter how sad or ugly it can be. We teach them to respect each other. We show them how to survive. We dole out advice as best we can in the hopes that they learn a thing or two. We do all of this so that they can one day leave us to go off and conquer life themselves. 

 
 

random and good: omg japan


When I was in middle school, I was introduced to the world of music subscription services like Columbia House or BMG Music. Scamming every pre-teen kid with their famous "8 CDs for 1¢!", I quickly made my often terrible but sometimes incredible selections and counted down the days when I would get my music delivered so I could spend hours in my room listening to bands on my AIWA 3-disc stereo until my mom told me to come out and have dinner.

Forever in search of new music to pull me out of a Spotify and/or iTunes rut, I discovered this incredible mix of rare and experimental Japanese pop songs from the 80s. And that same kind of giddiness that came with slicing through that first shrink-wrapped CD went through me. If that isn't enough to pique your interest, I have no idea what is. The best part of this mix is that it's free to download. Have a listen here, won't you?


 
 

the first day of spring.


Spring is here! Spring is here! It's finally starting to warm up during the day but there's still that chill in the air when the sun goes down. Spring always has me looking forward to the rest of the year. It's like a reset button for the year with all the flowering plants and greenery looking more and more lush each day.

And with all this on the brain, I can't help but daydream of all the pretty things.

Wouldn't this vintage inspired bag be perfect for picnics?


A statement making maxi for an al fresco dinner date.


A vibrant spring farmers market salad.


A gorgeous quilt perfect for taking naps in the park.



And lastly, this crisp bottle of rosé. Because, yes way rosé.




Hope everyone has a great beginning of the week and a wonderful start to spring! Happy Monday, everyone!

 
 

la famiglia













I know this is a stupidly late 'Happy New Year' post. I know that I've fallen so far behind in blogging. I know that I don't really have any excuses except that I've been feeling really kind of meh when it came to my blog. But I've been getting the itch to do this again and I really wanted to share these photos of our New Year's Day when our family visited us here in Atlanta, at our new home. The kids (all five of them!) love each other so much and although they only see each other but once or twice a year, it was heartwarming to see them together without missing a beat. And, of course, it's always great to see my brother-in-law James and his wife, my sister-friend and confidante Ebony. My father-in-law stopped by and hung out with all his grandkids, too! Pizzas were made! Dance parties were had! Puddle jumping was done! And all of this was captured through the fantastic lens of my dear friend Kaleen.

Their visit was one that still makes me smile. While the kids all went to bed, the adults stayed up with cocktails and bottles of wine. We told stories, we got a sitter and had a kid-free double date night out in our neighborhood. We caught up on life, we laughed until we cried and it made the world feel more whole again. So, three and a half months into 2017, Happy New Year!

[NOTE: I had great plans, guys, great plans to start blogging more regularly in 2017. I had all these ideas that I just wanted to get down but when I managed to eek out some time to sit quietly with my thoughts, something else came up or needed my attention. Sometimes (most times, quite honestly), I just didn't feel like it. But why?

I felt like my posts were stagnant. I felt like I had nothing new to contribute. I felt like a lot of what I had to say would be going into an echo chamber. I mean, what could I say that would be of interest right now? It seemed frivolous to write about travel daydreams or a new spring trend I was noticing or even to just write about mundane, everyday family life.

Then I thought, you know what? Maybe I should! Maybe I shouldn't think too hard about this because, at the end of the day, this blog's whole purpose was to just put my thoughts some place and if you wanted to know about them, then great! If not, move along. While the internet is a place for incredible sources of information, it is also currently a place where so much negativity is available at the click of a link. So, maybe I should write some more and add to the frivolity, if it means making people smile and forget about the weight of the world.]

 
 

the future is now.


It’s been one week since the election and I can’t really say that my feelings have warmed to our new president-elect. I’ve been struggling with a way to accept, with an open mind, who will guide our great nation for the next four years and I can’t say that the outlook is rosy.

There are those who keep asking me and others who voted against him to “just give him a chance” but that is an incredibly hard pill to swallow given the multiple accounts he was a blatant racist, sexist, xenophobe, homophobe, fraud and liar. He is accused of sexual assault from a dozen women. He has cheated people out of their jobs. He has bragged about not paying federal income taxes. He has ranked women on a scale of one to ten. He has insulted literally every demographic out there. And yet, I am to “give him a chance”? I’m not name-calling him. I’m not passing judgment. I’m describing a man who has proven himself to be all these things. When he calls all Mexicans “rapists”, I’m sorry, but me calling him a racist doesn’t make me wrong. When he degrades women, it’s not wrong for me to call him a misogynist. If I were blindly forming these opinions about him with no evidence to stand on, I would definitely be in the wrong. But the fact remains, he has done these things over and over and over again with little to no consequence and the worst part is, he has tapped into a really dark niche group of people who actually agree with him and his platform to “make America great again.” I just didn’t know that in making America great, that meant that we would undo every single progressive movement we’ve had in the last fifty years. I didn’t realize that validating the violation of human rights was what a step in making us “great again”. And now? He just appointed a white nationalist who has been heavily lauded by the KKK as well as the American Nazi Party. We aren’t moving forward; we are sadly regressing.

Am I screaming into a vacuum? An echo chamber?

Are there those who want to silence me because I am unrelenting when it comes to decency and human rights? Am I being too opinionated? Am I just as bad in calling out homophobia/xenophobia/sexism/racism/misogyny/etc.? What’s the alternative? To be passive? To ride out the next four years with nothing but hope? My seatbelt is already fastened but it’s already as tight as it can be and I still don’t feel safe.

I am a mother. A woman. A person of color. I am the daughter of immigrants. I am raising two mixed-race children. I am educated. I am passionate. And I cannot sit on the sidelines doing nothing while the shitshow happens in front of me. No, I am not overreacting. No, I’m not too sensitive. I’m just trying to digest the poison that’s being shoved down my throat and trying not to gag. I’m choking back tears for my children when the future that lies right in front of them is nothing more than an inexperienced weak businessman who legitimizes bullying and assault. So realistically, what can I do? What can we do?


We can flood the phone lines of our representatives, senators, congressmen and congresswomen. We can email them. We can have our voices heard. We can call out ignorant behavior when we see it. We can stand up for less privileged groups of people. We can say no to silence. In staying silent, we are just enabling it all to crumble. We can teach our children good from bad, right from wrong. We can teach them to stand up for themselves. We can teach them kindness, compassion, empathy and openness. We have to show love and at the same time show strength. We have to teach our boys that they are not better than girls. We have to teach our girls that they can do anything. We have to teach consent. We have to teach them that their voices and their votes and their opinions matter
. We have to. We have to. We have to.