Baby | 5 Month Photo Shoot

He’s 5 months old already! Let me stop and let that sink in – 5 months! That is almost half a year, which is almost a year which means it’s almost his first birthday?! Okay, I guess not quite but it sure feels like it.  Seriously, you hear ‘they grow up so fast’ and boy is it true! I want him to stay this cute, little, squishy guy forever. Since he just had his 5th month birthday it was time for his photo shoot. 6MonthPhotoshoot_1 6MonthPhotoshoot_26MonthPhotoshoot_5 6MonthPhotoshoot_3 6MonthPhotoshoot_4

I am cherishing these moments when I get to dress him up in anything I want and he is still happy as can be – even if that means naked and a cap like Grandpa!

Baby | Travel Nursery

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Since it is always fun to take a peek into other people’s homes, I thought it was time to share what little man’s nursery looks like these days. We did not find out the gender prior to the birth, so we had to stick to a neutral color palette and plus, it gave me a reason to put white in the nursery despite everyone’s recommendations. Sometimes, ya just have to do what the heart wants to do! I love walking in there and seeing his smiling face lit up by the morning sunlight. It warms my heart even on the chillest of mornings!TravelNursery1TravelNursery7

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TravelNursery8 TravelNursery6 If anyone wants to know where anything is from please put it in the comments and I will do me best to answer :)

 

 

White | Baptism Cake

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Over the holidays, we scheduled to have Broderick baptized but life had other plans and for various reasons we had to re-schedule it. I couldn’t let this pretty cake from Waldi at Cake and Candy Specialties in Sacramento go without photographing a few pictures of it first! After all, having an extra cake around the house is never a bad problem to have!
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Broderick | 4 Month

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As I told you yesterday, this little guy has stolen our hearts (especially in the picture above which might be my all time favorite so far). He is more fun than I ever could have imagined. Every month, I do a mini photo shoot with him and this time Daddy was able to participate! For his four-month photo shoot, I wanted to capture his rolly-polly legs before that cute chub is gone and his playful personality that is beginning to develop. He talks to us all day long and somehow we communicate even though neither of us are speaking anything other than baby gibberish of oooohs, coos, and ahhhhs.

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Broderick, I hope you know just how loved you are because Mommy and Daddy just can’t get enough of you! I am fully aware that I have turned into “one of those Moms” that shares way to many pictures of her kids but I can’t help it. I prooooomise to post about something other than this little guy next time!!!!

 

Christmas {a little late}

While most of you have already seen these pictures from our Christmas card this year, I thought I would share these pictures anyway because I just love them so much! This little man melts my heart every day. We laugh because even when he is sleeping, we sit and scroll through pictures of him on the computer….to say we are obsessed would be an understatement!  babychristmascard1

babychristmascard2 babychristmascard3Happy 2013!!!!

 

Recipe | Almond Cookies

I have had this recipe in the back of my recipe book for well over two years and decided it was finally time to give it a try. With the holidays coming up, I am always in need of new cookie recipes. This one reminds me of my favorite almond cookies from my days working at the local coffee shop, Bella Bru, while in high school. These little cookies are filled with tons of almond flavor and are perfect to enjoy with your morning coffee or as an after dinner treat!

Italian Almond Cookie

Ingredients:
3 egg whites
1 (16-oz) package Bob’s Red Mill Finely Ground Almond Meal
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp pure almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sliced almonds
Powered sugar

Directions:
1. Beat egg whites until foamy in a large bowl. Stir in almond meal, sugar, almond extract and salt; cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to chill.

2. Preheat oven to 300F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Press almonds with your fingers to break into smaller pieces. Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch crescents and roll in almonds; place on baking sheets.

3. Bake for 20 minutes for softer or 30 minutes for firmer cookies. Dust with powdered sugar.


Hear Me Roar

I have anxiously been awaiting Halloween because this will be baby B’s first holiday and yes, we are all about firsts around here! Even though Broderick fell asleep two blocks into our outing, this was by far my favorite Halloween in a long while! I had a whole new appreciation for all the adorable kids walking around dressed in costumes.  Those kids used to annoy me on Halloween because I had to stop for an extra long time at each crosswalk so everyone could cross and had to be re-routed because certain streets were closed. I know, I was a scrooge! That former annoyance now brought me so much joy.

While trying to put Broderick to sleep, I took a late afternoon walk around town and saw the beginning of the Halloween festivities beginning. Instead of being annoyed by the kids, I was excited.  They filled my heart filled with happiness.  I wondered how many times they each changed their mind before walking out the door for their big night. I saw parents holding hands with pride. I saw big smiles from the kids and even bigger smiles from parents.  I wanted Ryan to come home right away so he could share this new joy the children brought to the holiday.  Joy in the most unexpected ways.

Even though Broderick slept for almost the whole night he was the cutest little lion I ever saw and couldn’t help but smile every time I saw him and all the other kids on the street. Tonight, I gladly wait through two waves of people at the crosswalk and just smiled.

Happy Halloween!

Sleepy & White

I have tried my very best to enjoy each moment with little B because I know these are moments we can never get back. This first six weeks have already flown by and I can’t believe he will be 2 months old in just a few weeks.

Since little B’s announcements went out, I thought it was time to share these pictures which I took when he was seven days old (belly button shot was 14 days :)).  I look at them and marvel at how little he was. This little guy loves to put his right hand next to his face which is funny because we have a sonogram picture of him doing this exact thing.


This is was my favorite picture from the session and melts my heart. This represents little B just how he is, no hats, no crowns, just his little face sleeping away with his hands.

We love you little guy!

It’s a Boy!

This post is quite over due, but what can I say, things have been quite busy around here with the arrival of our baby boy! Being the ever punctual man, our little Broderick Cole arrived on September 7, his due date! Throughout my pregnancy I took weekly pictures which were inspired by a Pinterest idea I saw from Christine of Simply Bloom. As a shock to me, I only missed one week, week 12, because I wasn’t feeling well that week. We are feeling beyond blessed (and tired) and just enjoying this time with the little guy!  

I Thought I Loved You Then

Photo by Lyndsay Undseth

Three years ago I married my best friend and have spent everyday falling more in love with him. I still love to listen to the lyrics from our first dance because Mr. Paisley put into words what I cannot.

“And now you’re my whole life
now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you
Like a river meets the sea, 
stronger than it’s ever been.
We’ve come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then”

All my love!

DIY | Dessert Table Treat Box

Earlier this week, I featured pictures from my baby shower which you may have seen these adorable treat boxes my sister made for the dessert table.  Apparently, these are a bit more challenging than one would anticipate so here is a brief tutorial on how she made them. Note: white boxes were purchased from Michaels.

xoxo

A Sweet Baby Shower

With only a few more days to go until our little one arrives, I thought it was time to share pictures from my baby shower which was held a few weeks ago. I was honored with the pure joy of family and friends gathered to celebrate our little baby on the way. I am seriously the luckiest girl and have such great family and friends who traveled from Northern California just to attend and my sister who flew from Florida so that she wouldn’t miss the day – seriously blessed! All of the decorations in the world can’t compared to the love that filled the room as the shower wouldn’t be the same without these people there.

The invitations were one of the my favorite elements of the shower. I wanted them to be simple and classy with just a touch of baby. Because we are not finding out the gender of the baby, this made it difficult to incorporate gender neutral colors. While we could have gone with something more neutral such as green or yellow, I ultimately love pink and wanted to incorporate that color into the shower, so we settled on baby blue and blush pink.

As I mentioned before, my family is a 7 hour drive away but they were still just as invovled as if they lived right around the corner.  We made the invitations ourselves, while my Mom printed the envelopes and glued the envelope liners.  I love the classic look of envelope seals and thought this would be the perfect touch of baby. At our wedding 3 years ago, we created a candy buffet which I loved so much, so I wanted to create a station where guests could pick dessert items as they wished. For the baby blocks, my Mom and I found unpainted wooden ABC blocks at Hobby Lobby. I had Ryan scrape off one of the “C”‘s and glued a “Y” on instead. We used white hyngragea’s in decorated glass vases.

The wonderful ladies at Sweet & Saucy made the adorable carrot cake which I loved so much I didn’t want to cut into it.

Above the gift table, I displayed my weekly pictures which I have been taking since week 8. Because my family does not live close by and cannot see the baby’s progress I began taking these so they could see the growth throughout my pregnancy. I decided it might be a fun way for guests to also track the progress.

As I mentioned before, I love decorating with pink, so my Mom had to continuously remind me to use blue as well. She found these plates at Kirkland and because she is the best mom ever, she picked up 25 plates for us to use. I made salted carmel macrons for each guest to enjoy and placed them in the mini dessert cups.   

I am not a huge fan of traditional baby shower games, but the celebrity game never gets old. I took 15 celebrity baby bumps and using Photoshop put my head over their face. Guests had to guess who the celebrity bump was!


I loved the idea of a onesie decorating station which I had seen on many other blogs, but when it came down to it my Mom had a good point which was, “Shan, you are going to have so many cute baby clothes, I can’t really see you putting your kid in one of these homemade onesies.” Which, well, is true. She brainstormed different ideas and came up with a onesie cookie decorating station. “Perfect”, I said!

I made a double batch of sugar cookies using this recipe (which made about 40 onesie cookies total) the weekend before and froze them. I was nervous that they weren’t going to be fresh, as I had never froze the cookies before, but thankfully, I couldn’t even tell a difference and they tasted as if they were just baked. I made 6 different colors of royal icing which was more than enough and filled them in 12oz bottles.

Each guest decorated a sugar cookie which was placed on the voting paper for everyone to cast their vote for the favorite cookie.




My sister ended up with the winning cookie!!!!!!! Seriously, some of the cookies turned out awesome. Once the cookies were dried, we packaged them up for each guest to take home. 


I was so blessed to have so much love at the baby shower and to have so many family and friends in the same room all together to celebrate our little one with us.  So many people came together to help pull off such an amazing event. It seriously could not have been done without the help of everyone involved.

xoxo

Film | France

Since, it doesn’t look like I will ever get around to doing a full trip re-cap, here are a few more film photographs to share. 

Detailed lamp-post in Monaco at Prince Rainier’s Palace

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One of the many flower markets in Aix-En-Provence

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A quick cappuccino on a rainy day in Paris

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The beautiful gold Dome des Invalides after an afternoon rain on our walk from the Metro stop.

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Yummy bakery treats waiting to be eaten

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The charming Aux Terres Rouges bed and breakfast we stayed at while in Aix-en-Provence

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A flower shop on Rue Cler in Paris

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Just two guys stopping for some friendly chatter in Paris

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Everything is cuter in Paris including the Metro signs

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The market square in Nice

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Spring time peonies waiting to be purchased in the Aix-En-Provence flower market

Summer Lovin’

Dress: Only Hearts ; Hat: H&M

Dressing with a bump can be one of the most challenging fun parts of being pregnant. At 35 weeks, I have only bought 2 straight up “maternity” clothing items – these pants and these bands which are on loan from a friend. I have tried on many items, but I can’t bring myself to actually purchase ill-fitting pants and make-me-look-bigger-than-i-am tops at the maternity store (oh dear stores, you know who you are that sell such items).

Now, don’t get me wrong, the growing belly does require some new clothing, but I find buying a few sizes larger at H&M and Zara works wonders for shirts and sticking with my regular pants + a belly band will go a long way. And when you are in the mood for something a little more fun, this long dress will do the trick which is made even better with swiss-dot lace! (And, it’s on sale right now!)

xoxo

Baby Sunshine

I am not into posting weekly bump reports, but I have to say, I am too excited to keep these to myself.  After a long weekend of baby shower festivities, my Dad was still up for the task of taking some pictures to capture this beautiful time in our lives.  We headed down to the beach just as the fog was burning off leaving the sky filled with a mix of clouds and warm sunshine.

Only a few more weeks until we get to meet this little bundle! Thanks Dad for capturing these for us – we will treasure forever!

xoxo

Nice View

I finally picked up my proofs from the lab yesterday and was reminded of these two pictures with a view.

When roaming the streets of Nice, France, my sister and I turned a corner and wa-bam! There staring at us is a massive Mr. Muscular Statue Man.  How about that for a welcome! Well, I couldn’t help but to snap a picture of the huge statue.  After doing a little research, it turns out this statue (Apollo) was banned for 22 years because it was thought to be too well-endowed and just made its return to the plaza last June. Standing at 21 feet tall, this guy is hard to miss! 

As for this picture, we were walking along the promenade and I found this single umbrella which I wanted to capture so I began adjusting my camera settings. The film camera takes a bit longer because everything has to be manually adjusted. Finally, my aperature is selected, shutter speed set, and focus set at infinity. I hold my camera up and…..oh no!  Two women on a stroll decide to stop right in my picture!  I am working with a fixed lens length (85mm) and standing on a ledge with no ability to move forwards or backwards. So, we wait. My sister so patiently waited with me for about 5 minutes for these two women to move. After no luck, I gave these women a silent count down.  As luck would have it, before I got to 10, the women had decided to continue their stroll which left me just enough time to snap this picture to which I am thankful we waited for.

I love both of these images and as they remind me of all beautiful views France has to offer. So, time for a serious question of the day, which view do you prefer?

Recipe | Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, I will admit that chocolate chip cookies aren’t really my thing which surprises even me because I love just about any sweet you put in front of me, except chocolate that is.  I am not sure if this is a blessing or a curse, but nonetheless, I am not a chocolate lover.  Unfortunately for my husband, this means I often forget about his favorite cookie, the old fashioned chocolate chip cookie (I tell ya, he is a basic guy that is easy to please in the kitchen!).

So when I read about these chocolate chip cookies on Cupcakes and Cashmere’s blog, I knew I had to try them at least for his sake right? While the 24-36 hour wait time may be a bit discouraging, if you are anything like me and must eat one right away, the batter makes plenty to pop a few in immediately and honestly, I didn’t really notice the carmely difference the original recipe talks about. Lastly, if you don’t have the bread flour, cake flour, or patience to wait 24 hours for the batter to rest you can always try these which we made during our trip to Bodega Bay which were almost equally as good – I made Ry decide which he liked better :) (Notes: For the Epicurious recipe, we did not melt the butter as stated in the recipe, only used 1 6oz bag of chocolate chips because they were $5 a bag at the general store, and cooked for 13 minutes at 375 degrees and they turned out excellent as well).

But, if you are up for the challenge of waiting, feel free to try these cookies and maybe you can have one happy husband like mine!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Published: July 9, 2008

Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling

Ingredients

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour

1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (see note)
Sea salt.

Directions
1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.
Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.


Maxi Dress, my new bff?

Maxi dresses – oh how I love you! You are like one big blanket that wraps around and never has to be adjusted for bending or sitting. You give this party of two enough room to keep everyone involved happy. The best part, you don’t give me extra bulge in unwanted places like those evil, dare I say,”maternity” pants do. Any and all maxi dresses are welcome in this house (at least for the next 8 weeks).

xoxo

Beach Celebration

The weekend was spent celebrating another Bob’s championship – yes, these are a big deal around our house as there is nothing that Ry enjoys more. While the guys may get older and the trophies get larger, the players are still little boys at heart who get excited to sport their uniforms, put on their cleats, get dirty, and of course win the game!

The celebration pictures are not exactly my favorite blog material, as I prefer to feature images that do not remind me of college in Isla Vista, therefore, I will leave you with several beach pictures from the day.

Congrats Bob’s!

Paris Snippets | On Film

A French military man waiting as the train rolls by in a Paris Metro station.

An old water well at a wonderful bed and breakfast in Aix-En-Provence.

Another vendor booth filled with beautiful peonies on Rue Cler in Paris.

A little mini patiently waiting for its owner to take it for a spin in the rain.

Hope you enjoyed a few snippets from France captured on film using a Nikon Fm3a and  Fuji Pro 400h.