Monday, June 27, 2016

Some Distractions: Game of Thrones, Summer Sandals, Etc.

San Francisco City Hall during Pride Week 2013, photograph by Joe Parks

Did everyone have a good weekend? Mine was a little bit somber, as me and a group of my friends gathered around a dear girlfriend of ours who tragically lost her mother. So devastating, but it was nice to be able to huddle around her and shower her with love and snacks and distractions for a day.

Gay Pride Weekend was in full swing in San Francisco, and though I would have loved to go and take part in all the fun festivities, I was happy to be able to spend some time with my friends, and also just get some rest. This baby belly is getting big and heavy.

If you're interested, a handful of distractions for the start of your week...

First and foremost: How AMAZING was that Game of Thrones season finale? It almost makes up for all the sadness and death us fans have experienced these past six seasons. (Warning: all the spoilers!)

Inside the complicated and heartbreaking decision to have an abortion at 32 weeks.

I can't stop quoting this.

The political nerd in me is on pins and needles waiting to find out who Clinton's final VP pick will be.

Thanks to Kim for reminding me how much I need a pick me up sometimes, this song from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has been on repeat while I hunker down to focus at work. It may be for little kids, but it's impossible not to smile, no matter your age.

Is your body shaped like a fruit? (I literally LOL'd at my desk.)


Fell into the deep and beautiful hole that is this editorial blog by freelance photographer Brian Ferry. (I would like to live here please.)

A delicious way to up my veggie intake.

Been needing some new sandals that stay secure on my feet. Finally found and ordered these leather ones and excited to get them this week!

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Psst... You may have noticed the blog got a bit of a face lift since this time last week. Just an attempt to bring in a bit more visual minimalism to my life. I hope you like it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Thoughts On Baby Naming

Nicole Gonzalez and baby Lillie Sol, via her blog Lillies & León | photograph by Mary Grace

This week marks the start of my 3rd trimester of pregnancy. 28 weeks. I can't believe it's come this fast. Despite being more than ready to meet this little girl and embrace the challenges of new motherhood, I am still woefully unprepared to bring her home and step away from my job for 3+ months. Still so much to buy and prep and do!

Preparing for baby in all the big and little ways that one prepares for such things has been both fun and stressful. Jonathan is hyper-involved in everything, but most of the research on baby gear and essentials has fallen to me—mostly because I've embraced it like it's a full time job. But one area where we've both been particularly attentive is to the issue of baby names.

I don't know how most couples approach this kind of thing in the early stages of their relationship, but Jonathan and I—once we were each aware of the other's interest in having kids someday—talked openly about baby name preferences before nearly anything else, including marriage. It was probably because talking about baby names is one of my favorite topics of conversation period, full stop, and I forced him to talk to me about it. Six years ago, it was very important that he know how I felt about his preferred boy's name, Doc ("Hell no."), and it was necessary that I knew his feelings about my favorite girl's name at the time, Laila ("Not feeling it...").

He was such a good sport.

And so it went, the "What about...?" discussion happening a hundred times over the years, thus we were able to narrow down our top choices to a short list of possibilities that sat in stasis for upwards of three years. When we found out we were having a baby—and especially when we found out it was a girl—Jonathan's baby naming seriousness kicked into high gear. Something about the reality of picking a name for a real live person to have for their entire life makes you look at all your name choices differently. At least, it did for us.

A big discussion of late has been whether (and how) to honor family members in the naming of our baby. So many individual names and name combos we love, and that made our list, have little or nothing to do with family legacy. We liked the idea of family names, but neither of us thought it really mattered all that much when we were just ruminating over ideas. Now though... with an actual baby brewing... we are weighing all the pros and cons.

There are lots of pros and cons, it turns out.

So at 28 weeks, we're honing in on a much shorter short list of names, with one that's peaking out as the favorite. It's mind-boggling to have thought so much about baby names for so many years (long before Jonathan was even a blip on my romantic radar), and now... we get to name one. A girl who will hopefully live a long life with that name, carrying it into adulthood, hearing it through the voices of friends and lovers, putting it on job resumes!

The weight of such a life long decision is not lost on us. We're so honored to get the opportunity to name a human being—bestowing upon her the first little piece of her identity.

We've made the decision not to announce or discuss the baby's name until she's born, primarily because I would like to reserve the right to change my mind after seeing her little face! It's tough though, since I love talking about them so much...

SO TELL ME: If you've got some favorite baby names, or your children are already named and you love talking about the why and how you came up with that name, let me know in the comments. Are there names you used to love, but your partner nixed them? What about names you are sad you couldn't use because you are done having children? I would absolutely love to read all about it!

Baby names. I seriously can't get enough.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Some Distractions: Kim Kardashian, Rosé Cocktails, Etc.

day dreaming about spending an amenity-free weekend at Steep Ravine next summer

Perhaps I'm inspired by the bajillion bloggers who have come before me, but I've decided to start putting together little lists of things that are really tickling my fancy at any given moment. Partly for my future reference, but also because I think you all may get something out of it too. So much greatness being shared and created on the Internet these days; also loads of silliness and cool shit to buy. So, in no reliable time frame and only when I feel like it, I will plop what I find here on TSP for your general consumption.

A few distractions...

It may be summer, but I am still coveting this ultra-chunky wool blanket for the foot of my bed.

The whip-smart Caity Weaver offers an insightful and funny profile (with ultra-sexy photos to boot) on Reality Queen, Kim Kardashian West.

Some of the great ways women are engaging with one another and owning their feminism online and in the media, via Cup of Jo. (I immediately went and purchased this book.)

My Star Wars-obsessed, tiki drink-loving husband desperately needs all of these.

This minimalist design renovation has re-ignited my dream of owning a rustic white farmhouse.

Could not stop thinking about this recipe all last week, then finally, on Friday night, in a cravings-induced stupor, I sent Jonathan to the store for ingredients, which means I ate my weight in chips and dip this weekend.

Does the company you work for make the list of 40 best businesses for attracting employees?

My lip color game has been lacking since I found out I was pregnant (I blame my hormone-induced DGAF attitude), but I've been debating whether to splurge on this gorgeous lipstick in "Coachella Coral."

I'm obviously not drinking right now, but if I were, I would be toe-up with all things rosé.

And finally, a winners and losers recap of last night's EPIC (in both proportion and satisfaction) Game of Thrones penultimate episode.

Happy Monday, friends!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Our Wedding: Whiskey Tasting + Stocking the Open Bar

In the early stages of planning our wedding (back in 2013), my father was adamant about hosting a whiskey bar during the reception. We all thought it would be a wonderful idea, but I don’t think any of us truly realized how much of a hit it would be…

First, though, some details on our open bar. (Of which I have no photos, sadly.)

The venue has a designated bar area and bartender on staff, so the Bride and Groom need only worry about stocking the bar with whatever beers, wines, and/or liquors, liqueurs, garnishes, and mixers they wish.

We only had about 85 guests in total, and I had the hardest time figuring out how much alcohol we would need to ensure we wouldn't run out… and also so we wouldn’t overbuy. Everything I found online was unhelpful. We just had no way of knowing how much people would end up drinking.

An open bar with a variety of choices was an absolute essential for us, and the beauty of our venue was that we had the freedom to do whatever we wanted—and take the leftovers home.

Making decisions on what we wanted and making booze purchases was a seven month process. After a brilliantly curated California beer tasting that Jonathan put together for us to try, and what felt like endless wine tastings, here are the final choices (and quantity) for the bar…

our wonderful bartender

  • Cielo Viola, Ruby Hill,  Livermore Valley – 1 case
  • Crimson & Clover, Concannon, Livermore Valley – 1 case
  • Pinot Grigio, Fel (previously Breggo), Anderson Valley – 1 case
  • Chardonnay, Concannon, Livermore Valley – 1 case
  • Mourvèdre Rosé, Cline, Sonoma County – 1 case
  • Nina’s Cuvee, Cline, Sonoma County – 1 case
(That’s 72 bottles of wine… and we only had 85 guests.)

  • 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon Wheat, San Francisco  – 2 kegs
  • Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA – 1 case
  • Trumer Pils, Berkeley – 1 case
  • Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout, Boonville – 1 case
  • Anchor Steam Beer, San Francisco – 1 case

This doesn't even touch on the liquor, of which we bought Costco-sized containers of gin, vodka, bourbon, and rum—along with appropriate mixers, bitters, and garnishes for each. (You know: tonic, Coke, ginger beer, limes, oranges, cherries, etc...) It was all so extensive, I can't even remember everything, hence why it isn't listed here.

In the end, we bought way too much alcohol, but happily milked the remaining bottles of booze and wine for a year and a half afterwards. We only used one keg of the Watermelon Wheat, and my overly generous father took the keg back to the bar we rented it from and offered it to the patrons there for free.

In hindsight, we could have nixed all of the liquor and mixers and stuck with wine and beer, plus whiskey at the whiskey bar (see below), and we probably still would have had plenty for a guest list of 85 people. You live and learn.

So, the bar was open for guests the moment the reception started at 5 PM until the party ended at midnight. The plan for the whiskey bar—located up the walkway from the bar, next to the fire pit and photo booth—was to open it after the first dance (around 7 or 7:15 PM), where my dad and Uncle Tom would host and pour for one hour. Then the remaining bottles would be moved to the bar, where guests could continue to taste and drink, but without my dad and uncle’s time being eaten up.

Cut to nearly three hours later when not only were my dad and uncle still hosting what was clearly the most popular attraction of the night, Jonathan had also started pouring and refused to shut the thing down. One of the event planners came and told me that she “tried to get him to stop and come spend time with other guests, but he wouldn’t listen.”

Finally they wrapped things up, around the time our late night sandwiches (BLTs, grilled cheese, and tri-tip—personal highlight of the night for me since I barely ate dinner) were ready for guest consumption.

A full list of the whiskies we featured, in order of their line-up in the top photo:

  • Eagle Rare 10-year-old Bourbon Whiskey
  • Blanton Single Barrel Bourbon
  • Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • High West Rendezvous Rye Whiskey
  • Bulleit Rye Mash Whiskey
  • Johnnie Walker Black Label Blended Scotch Whisky
  • Bowmore 12-year-old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  • The Balvenie 12-year-old Double Wood Single Malt Scotch
  • Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • Bernheim Kentucky Straight Small Batch Wheat Whiskey

Did you host a fun activity at your wedding? Was it a hit with guests? Would you do it again?

Special thanks to my Aunt Lynn and Uncle Peter for introducing us to the most delicious white wine I've ever had (Fel), and my Aunt Julie and Uncle Tom for graciously utilizing their Cline wine membership to help us cut costs on several of our favorite featured wines.

Psst… in case you missed it: my wedding day lookour wedding venue, and our wedding soundtrack.

** All photos by Joe Gunn Photography, courtesy of The Sleep Peach

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Our Wedding: The Soundtrack

first dance, and my most treasured wedding photo

In the year before our wedding, I spent hours doing research and listening to songs I'd previously never heard, re-listening to songs I'd always adored, enlisted the help of my music-loving friends, and then vetted my choices endlessly for months and months on end.

Jonathan was ready to pull his hair out and I didn't blame him.

Truthfully, looking back, I have no earthly idea why I gave it so much thought, especially as I listen back on it all now. But I remember thinking it was super important to get the music—and timing—of the event totally right. And even if I would make different choices in hindsight, listening to it even two years later takes me right back to that year I spent planning our wedding.

Don't worry; I won't go through the annoying Type A breakdown of every thought that went into every song and their lyrical significance or atmospheric purpose, etc. But I will provide you with the playlists (key songs noted), with links to the individual songs on YouTube, if you are so inclined to take a listen.


1. If It Kills Me (Casa Nova Sessions) — Jason Mraz
2. I've Got This Friend — The Civil Wars
3. I'd Rather Be With You — Joshua Radin
4. Speak Easy — Maria Taylor
5. Simple Life — The Weepies
6. Tatooine — Jeremy Messersmith
7. Holocene — Bon Iver
8. Bloom — The Paper Kites (seating of parents & groom's processional)
9. We Bought a Zoo — Jónsi (bridal processional)
10. How the Day Sounds — Greg Laswell (recessional)


1. King and Lionheart — Of Monsters and Men
2. Peculiar People — Mutemath
3. I Choose You — Sara Bareilles
4. Lego House — Ed Sheeran
5. Shot Me in the Heart — Christina Perri
6. Movie Loves a Screen — April Smith and the Great Picture Show
7. Do You Love Me? — Guster
8. Uncharted — Sara Bareilles
9. Come Back Down — Greg Laswell feat. Sara Bareilles
10. Mountain Sound — Of Monsters and Men
11. Go Do — Jónsi
12. Drove Me Wild — Tegan and Sara
13. Colors — April Smith and the Great Picture Show
14. Armistice — Mutemath
15. Be My Forever — Christina Perri feat. Ed Sheeran
16. Dragging You Around — Greg Laswell feat. Sia
17. Lost! — Coldplay
18. Dirty Paws — Of Monsters and Men
19. Can't Find the Time to Tell You — Hootie and the Blowfish


1. Go — Plumb (father/daughter dance)
2. Heavenly Day — Patti Griffin (mother/son dance)
3. The Winemaker's Love Song — Tyler Lyle (our first dance)
4. Safe and Sound — Capital Cities (dance party begins)
Happy — Pharrell
Land of 1000 Dances — William Pickett
#Selfie — The Chainsmokers
SexyBack — Justin Timberlake
Still Into You — Paramore

The dance songs that aren't numbered didn't play in any order; they were just a few random songs we knew we wanted to dance to, so we sent them to the DJ to be sure he had them available. Other than those, everything else played in order. The DJ did interject some classic jazz, per our request, played quietly over dinner (between the Cocktail Hour and Dance Party), and he filled the evening with loads of dance favorites. (Shout out to my best friend Ken, who spent a solid portion of his twenties as a wedding DJ and was instrumental in getting people on the dance floor at our wedding, and requesting songs that he knew were crowd pleasers.)

grainy, blurry selfie of the bridal party dancing to #Selfie, as you do

It all worked out really well and, yeah, even though all that hard work most certainly went completely unnoticed by our guests, it was worth it to know that we had hand-picked nearly every song to be a reflection of the year we got married.

So what are your thoughts? Do you think music can make or break the vibe of a wedding, or do you find you hardly ever notice it? What were some of the songs that were really important for you to play at your wedding? Any regrets? I distinctly remember it being really difficult to find an appropriate, not-wildly-out-of-place Mother/Son Dance song... did you find that to be true for your wedding, too? I'd love to know!

Psst... in case you missed it: my bridal look and our wedding venue.

** Top photo by Joe Gunn Photography, courtesy of The Sleep Peach

Thursday, June 2, 2016

25 Weeks, 3 Days

We’re just shy of 11 months since I updated last, and I’ve been fairly comfortable with this. Another long, sustained break from writing, which has made me somewhat sad but also grateful that my life has been filled with other things, good and not so good, to whittle away the hours of my days.

I currently have six mostly-written posts pending about Jonathan’s and my wedding, which occurred nearly two years ago, and I have debated whether to ever bother finishing them. For myself, I would love to have the memories extensively documented -- the way only I can ramble on about details that no one but me really care about -- but there is also this tugging forward that makes me eager to look ahead and not back. Maybe just one post of my favorite photos from the day will do, and we can leave it at that. Perhaps inspiration will strike and I’ll finally pull out the hard drive that houses these memories and get the photographs added to the posts (basically the only thing keeping me from clicking "publish" on several of them.) We’ll see; I feel no pressure to do one or the other at this moment.

I did, however, feel inspired to stop by and talk a little about the newest development in our ever-changing lives...

I’m pregnant, finally, after 12 long months of trying. Currently 25 weeks and 3 days, due September 12th. At 20 weeks, we found out baby is a girl (!!!)—though, if I’m being honest, given the intensity of my food cravings, she may also be part burrito.

20-week burrito baby

Back in January and February, in the throes of incomprehensible fatigue and awful (but relatively minor) bouts of nausea, September felt so far away. 9 months. 8 months. That’s such a long time; countless hours left to plan, read, study, prepare, every little thing that feels important prior to welcoming a tiny human being into your home for forever. No reason to rush or stress. Plenty of time. Now though? I’m on the cusp of the 3rd trimester, baby spends inconvenient hours movin’ and groovin’ all over my bladder and colon, Jonathan has taken to speaking with her about his day, playing Nirvana and jazz so she comes out knowing what’s what. This weekend, we are preparing to move nearly all of our furniture around and purge more junk to make way for baby essentials. Summer will come and go. By September 26th (at the latest), Baby Hyatt will be here, coming home to our little one-bedroom apartment and menagerie of fur-balls. It feels as though she could be here any moment.

We’re thrilled/nervous/anxious/every emotion at once. I would be lying if I didn't admit that the enormity of this impending change has also, sometimes, left me feeling sad, cocooned in uncertainty; that sneaky yet all-too-familiar "What have we done?" sub-thought that appears spontaneously, only to upend my joy. The gravity is not lost on me, the reality of a new human of which we will be entirely responsible. One I will love more than I thought possible. I truly am full of all the feelings and I am doing my damnedest to embrace and own every bit of it.

So that's it. First time parents with zero minutes of infant care experience and exactly one diaper change between us. We have no idea what we’re doing but we are so, so, so excited/scared/etc. to learn.