family

A WEEKEND IN CHICAGO

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this past weekend my sister and i went to chicago to see our two friends tie the knot. there is something magical about that city in the winter, maybe it’s because i’m not from there and i’m born and raised a cali girl so i’ve never really experienced “seasons” but i fell hard for this place and it’s crazy weather. i mean the weather wasn’t ideal for exploring and on the day of the wedding, i experienced rain like i’ve never seen before but since it was my first time to chicago, i wanted to make the most of our quick trip… so i made an eatinerary – see what i did there?? this basically determined where our time was being spent based on which restaurants we were eating at. saturday we pretty much dedicated that day to catching up on sleep, crying and dancing. i’m a great wedding date by the way.

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the next day, the weather decided to chill and stop raining sideways, so we were able to spend some time outdoors. first stop on the eatinerary- goddess and the baker. this place was PACKED… so we ordered quickly, snagged a spot and devoured our breakfast. we didn’t get any pastries for the road because we had many more stops to go on our eatinerary and didn’t want to get full before we got to the rest. it’s all about pacing yourself right?? i am kicking myself for not getting at least one pastry to try… my biggest regret of 2018. HANDS DOWN.

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to try and walk off our meal before the next stop on the eatinerary, we headed over to millennium park. as we approached the park, we could see an ice rink peaking through the trees,  we smelt the christmas tree and felt the crisp air on our cheeks. it felt like we were stepping into a hallmark movie and i never wanted to leave.

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next up on the eatinerary was some schnitzel, pretzels and cheese from the christkindlmarket. we underestimated how crowded this place would be (on the 1st weekend of december…who were we kidding??) we looked at as many vendors as the mob would let us and squeezed our way to the front of some store to purchase some christmas trinkets. to emphasize just how crowded it was- this was an outdoor market and i was sweating from all the body heat. unfortunately, because of the crowds and the fact that we had to catch a flight later that night, we had to cut our time at the market short and weren’t able to try the schnitzel, pretzels or cheese but we made sure to grab a hot chocolate in the cutest little souveneir mugs on our way out!lrg_dsc04438-1

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going from one hot chocolate to the next! this was a must for our trip as we’ve read here, here and here . mindy’s hot chocolate… god this place is good and it’s got all the awards to prove it. courtney had the old fashioned and i the dark oat milk… i have never tasted something so diviinnneeee. to top it off, there were homemade marshmallows in our drinks. yep! HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS. i’m ending this post on a deliciously positive note. until next time chicago! xx

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SEDONA: A WEEKEND GETAWAY

Sedona 6sedona is one of my favorite places to visit, as i’ve mentioned here, here and here. it’s just close enough for a quick weekend trip, yet far enough to escape the city life in los angeles.

{i originally wrote this post a year ago and never got around to actually putting it up on the blog…why? because sometimes life happens and you move on to different things BUT since it’s now a year later, on memorial day weekend, i decided why not post it?? it’s like a weird full circle moment. a lot has changed since the last time we were in sedona, more on that in another post.}

this memorial day weekend i spent most of my time reading and soaking up some vitamin d in santa monica. as i’m typing this, courtney and leo are flying back from england…i’m waiting to pick them up from the airport and trying to distract myself from the excitement that i will soon be reunited with my two favorite people…it’s been a long two weeks. aaannywaaayy, last time we were all in sedona was to visit the newest member of our family; squirt the mini horse. for a long time, leo was the newest member of the family- taking in all the love, attention and glory… not sure how he’s been coping with the fact that squirt has stolen his thunder, but i mean look at this horse! he’s stolen all of our hearts!Sedona 7Sedona 5on our way back to the house, we stopped by the mcguireville annual tractor and engine show. each year the town hosts this show over memorial day weekend putting all their tractors on display. we didn’t stay long, not that there wasn’t much to see but if we stayed any longer, we would’ve melted into the asphalt… so we went to the creek to cool off.Biker

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before our long weekend came to and end, we had to make one last visit to see squirt. we just couldn’t get enough of him! after saying goodbye to the little guy, we headed back to the house for a bonfire, cake and some tunes. god, i love sedona.

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CHRISTMAS IN LOS ANGELES

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i remember as kids, my brother and i were always the first ones awake in the house, we would sneak down stairs before everyone woke up to see what “santa” had left in our stockings. one year we got caught because cody broke one of our mom’s decorations in the excitement of seeing his stocking filled with giant reese’s peanut butter cups…rookie mistake…huge. it’s interesting to see how christmas mornings change as you get older. this year we took a pretty mellow approach to christmas, with everyone waking up in different places on christmas morning, we didn’t really have an agenda. i remember someone saying, “let everyone wake up and we’ll go from there” so we did just that; woke up, had breakfast for lunch and opened presents in the late afternoon. hope everyone had a lovely holiday season.

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IT’S A BOY!

ITS A BOY 31yesterday, one of my best friends and her fiance found out the sex of their baby. everyone met up at the ” soon to be grandparents’ ” house, all dressed in pink or blue and headed down to the park for the big reveal. surrounded by friends and family, we all jumped with joy at the news of a BABY BOY! couldn’t be happier for this growing family and their newest member…auntie kenzie loves you so much already! xxITS A BOY 43

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EASTER TRADITION

FullSizeRender 2it’s just not easter without pancakes and the lewis family. every year since i can remember, our families have gotten together for easter breakfast at the original house of pancakes. each year is the same; swedish pancakes, dutch babies, potato pancakes (we’re creatures of habit). after breakfast we power through the oncoming food coma and head home for some egg decorating, but this year we swapped out the eggs for a bunny cake and cupcakes (still nameless). i think traditions are something special and i cherish the fact that we still get together year after year. here’s to many more years of our easter tradition!

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THE PEOPLE. EMILY NG LITTLE

85930014emily ng little is a freelance artist living in los angeles with her husband nicholas, their pup cooter and their cute baby girl lucy. after graduating from college in texas, emily made the move to california and started her career as a production designer, stylist and art director. we met about two years ago working for the same production company. we spent a lot of time together on set and quickly our relationship blossomed into such a sweet friendship. not too long ago emily and her little fam started making these adorable stop motion videos that she shared with her friends and family. i asked emily if i could come by to take some  photos and see where the “magic” happens. i got to spend a full day with the littles and it was such a treat! you can find all the fun babe&bunn creations here.

theblog: it’s sweet that these videos are like a family affair. how does everyone contribute to the task?

emily: “if we had titles mine would probably be the creative director and nicholas would be the technical director. once we decide on what video we want to do, i’ll usually come up with the general idea and story. after we come up with a cohesive idea, i’ll storyboard it and break it down into a props list and start sourcing materials and making everything. when we’re ready to shoot we set up everything in our living room. the camera is actually just my iphone attached to a light fixture in the ceiling- we’re super low budget. {laughs] animating with the baby can be a huge challenge because she doesn’t take direction very well. when we’re done shooting i’ll do most of the editing in photoshop and aftereffects. then we add the music, which is just me playing a really simple tune on the ukulele. when it’s finally all put together, we’ll watch it a couple times then high five and drink a beer and that’s pretty much our entire process.

theblog: what made you want to start doing these stop motion videos?

emily: “well as you know, you actually have an indirect role in the conception of what we’re calling the babe&bunn videos. after moving to la a few years ago i decided to take a step back from contemporary art and began working in the art department for film. after doing a gig at a stop motion studio i realized that’s what i really wanted to start doing, but at the time i was really beginning to flourish as a production designer and stylist. after i got pregnant and had to stop working for a while i decided to use it as an opportunity to make a career shift. it was hard to get back into any sort of studio practice and working on my own stuff, especially trying to find time with a newborn, but then your sister’s wedding video came along. you asked all of us to make a video of ourselves toasting the new couple. the criteria was that we had to be in it, we had to be holding a drink and we had to say “cheers to the conroys”. i suppose it was one of those things where limitations breed creativity. it was so much fun to make and came together so quickly and organically that we wanted to ride the adrenaline and make another. it felt good to work on something again, creatively and in the general sense. it’s all kind of silly, really, but really fun too. we have a youtube channel and everything!”

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theblog: did you grow up in a creative/artistic household?

emily: “you know i didn’t. not really. i would say that i grew up watching my parents work with their hands a lot and through that may have acquired traits like dexterity from my mom and meticulousness and high standards from my dad, but creativity was sort of this innate thing in me. my parents said i was very curious as a kid – i couldn’t sit still and had to be fiddling with stuff, figuring objects out. it was the same in school. i pretty much went overboard on any sort of creative project and would spend way too much time and energy -i would even get teased for being such a nerd about it. i was always interested in art and creative writing but i never considered it any sort of career until college. although i knew i wanted to work in the creative field, i was undecided for a while and thought about going into fashion or advertising or interior design. ultimately, i found out that the art school required the least amount of academic courses and at the time, i was really over the traditional structured idea of school, so i decided to apply and got in. it was a bit impulsive, but discovering the contemporary art world was really new and different than my previous academic life- it felt very freeing and full of possibility, like i was finally good at something.”85930012theblog: how’s life as a new mama?

emily:“it’s wonderful. i still find myself completely overwhelmed with the idea that there is now this tiny human being living in our house. everything she does is basically the most impressive thing my husband and i have ever seen. seeing her discover the world and how she takes everything in is really kind of this constantly miraculous thing. time, priorities-everything is different, more urgent. but at the same time there is this casualness to it all, this naturalness to motherhood. i guess i would say that being a new mom is a life full of dualities. it is without a doubt the most challenging and rewarding experience i’ve ever had in my life. i can tell you all the things that makes having a baby difficult-never getting enough sleep, never having personal time to do anything, testing your patience to the limit-but i can’t quite articulate what makes being a parent so particularly amazing. there’s just something about having this little thing who relies on you and loves you so much, who is full of potential, who you made and is made of you. it’s indescribable.”

“i really want her to grow up knowing my creative spirit.”

theblog: do you find creating more fun with a baby?

emily: “ha! well, i will say that it is difficult to do much of anything with a new baby. but my creative self has definitely felt a sense of renewal and the mindset that i’m in now is much more productive and spontaneous. life is less dramatized and nowadays, whenever i have a tiny window of time i’m using it to it’s fullest potential because that time is so rare. lucy has definitely been a great source of inspiration-not just for the videos but as a reason for making. i really want her to grow up knowing my creative spirit. i think all parents must find themselves being more creative. you spend a lot of time just playing. she’s still a bit small, but i’m looking forward to the really fun stuff like making castles out of cardboard boxes and putting some sort of band together with the dog.”85930008

theblog: do you think you’ll keep doing these videos when lucy gets older? 

emily: “you know, i’m really not sure. right now we’re having a lot of fun with them and are planning to continue making them but i feel like they may evolve. once she’s older we’ll have to consider how she’ll want to be involved and if she wants to be involved at all. but i’m also interested in exploring other avenues within this format. i’m just really looking forward to seeing where this all goes.”85930015

A SEDONA CHRISTMAS

dsc_0841i’m finally getting around to posting some bits and pieces of our christmas in sedona. we had a packed house of 9 people and 5 dogs and i wouldn’t have it any other way! our first order of business-grocery shopping. every year my sister cooks christmas eve dinner, christmas day breakfast and christmas day dinner, not to mention the goodies and desserts in between! she’s far too humble to say that she is good at cooking but she is and i’ll shout it from the rooftops if i have to-her cooking is my favorite part about the holidays. dsc_0350courtney needed all hands on deck in the kitchen but because of my notoriously bad cooking skills, i sat this one out and got a head start on the wine. my aunt and uncle live near the local winery so we picked up a bottle… or four.

dsc_0773christmas morning we woke up to a winter wonderland which made for an extra special holiday.

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dsc_0693homemade muffins, cinnamon rolls and chocolate chip bread thanks to chef courtney! dsc_0071dsc_0069

APARTMENT THERAPY: HOUSE TOUR

JanJuc-16apartment therapy is a great online space for you to gather inspiration, learn from tutorials and get tips and tricks for all things home savvy. i love looking at all the different tours they do from all over the world. this specific house tour  has me day dreaming of my future home life with all its style, quirks and trinkets. check out the full story on kirsty and simon’s coastal cottage here.

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