5 years of Emma

This Labor Day weekend, we celebrate our little Labor Day arrival, Emma! My on-time twin (came on her due date, Labor Day) which was both ironic and wonderful all at once. I cannot believe you, my love, are already 5!

Emma is a loving, charming, adorable little lady with big puppy dog eyes when she decides to use them 🙂 She has always made life easier and sweeter, the most easy going girl. She loves fun, friends, little figurines, using her imagination, and is the best conversationalist. She really sees people, no matter age or walk of life, and can connect with them. I admire that about her so much.

She loves to play puppy dog, unicorn, baby cicada (truly, and yuck lol), and horsies. Emma adores her family, will literally weep with you or laugh with you, whatever emotion you might have. And she feels it. As a baby, her eyes were so captivating, she felt so wise, even though she was probably just making a BM. Regardless, she is like that now! Wise beyond her five little years.

We are so blessed to enjoy Emma each day, she is a true highlight and brings us all so much love, comfort, laughter, and joy. I hope her next year is filled with wonder, growth, and all the giggles 🤭 we love you Emma!

Celebrating my James

This year, James birthday was a sweet regular Thursday surrounded with some of his favorite fans (his students), notes and trinkets from family friends near and far, a homemade cake with the kids at home (we didn’t even cut it, hehe), and the perfect gift (imho) for someone entering their older 30’s – a massage gun đź’Ą

James is one of the most magnetic people I know, and I like to think he can crack literally any nut. He brings so much thoughtfulness and care to those around him and inspires me to be a better friend everyday. I used to gush about him in my early blogging days (this one is ten years ago!) quite a bit, but for good reason. But also lol.

He brings so much masculine Italian energy to the world. From talking with his hands, to cooking, to familia love and literally taking the shirt off his back for someone, to passion, to exquisite taste. I mean.. I can picture it now – are we already sipping limoncello at Villa San Michele? Either way, he embodies so much of love, compassion, and generosity.

He has accomplished so much in our life together, it blows me away. Pursuing higher education later in life and to now being at the finish line for his Master’s! So many long nights of juggling and dedication to show up for himself and for something he always desired. And then giving his life and knowledge and love away to teach and care for his students every day.

His faith bolsters us all, and he helps us to keep looking to our North Star with every ounce of himself, a great reminder that we have a greater purpose in life. I just can’t say enough about what he continues to become. I cannot be more grateful to celebrate the love of my life, and best friend. Happy 3-7!

Luke’s 8th birthday

As I sit here listening to Toto and thinking about my 8-year-old big kid (you, Luke!), I can’t help but smile. Luke has been our buddy through all of life’s experiences for the last 8 years. Luke has so much spunk, kindness, thoughtfulness, rampant energy, hunger (proverbially and physically), and true tenacity, all wrapped up in what we can only describe as pure Opie Taylor energy. With freckles and strawberry-blonde hair for days, when the belt is buckled, the shirt is tucked, the hands in the pockets, I simply want to hand him a fishing line and send him off to the creek (I’m sure there’s one around here).

It’s easy to celebrate our Luke, he is an excellent big brother, kind friend, worthy competitor and companion. He tests us at times, but at the height of frustration, busts us up with laughter, which usually is to his advantage (though, sometimes not). I don’t have the words to encapsulate my feelings about having an 8-year-old, this dude was just a baby, our first. But he’s an excellent one. And I couldn’t be more thankful to walk around this world and this life with him. We are truly blessed and adore this boy, happy birthday buddy!

Twenty-five on the day of the 2012 election

one score and five years ago, i was born. and since i shared my birthday with the election this year, there was obviously a presidential spin to everything. you know, like people voting me for president. i even wore blue and red to work. how neutral of me.

it was a wonderful day. james brought me my favorite breakfast in the morning, with a side of banana bread and an even-larger tea than i typically get (i was amped). i had to work (i’m out of blasted vacation days) but it wasn’t terrible terrible, because this panda cupcake was provided with my tofu rolls (yes, a dessert with every meal is mandatory on birthdays in my book).

it was all buttoned up wonderfully with a surprise dinner/dessert/movie with husby (we already had “other” plans) with special little gifts at every turn. he is wonderful, that one.

and yes. i realize husband and i were really. really. really. bad at taking pictures of us, together…so pardon the me photo shoot right now.

focus face..plus new jewelry 🙂

Fifteen plates, five birthdays, one family party

this weekend, we headed up north to redwood city to celebrate
our family’s summer birthdays, there were five of them!
kebabs, quinoa salad, fruit salad, lemon/rosemary/thyme baguette.. mmm.
as if my family was not foodie enough, my cousin jessica began working at bi-rite market
in the city and we had some exceptionally delicious and fresh food!
i loved capturing this moment!
all the boys loved one of the books james received..the history of ballparks.
now if that doesn’t hit the nail on the head—i don’t know what would!
gourmet cheese from bi-rite always a plus!
and james with his awesome hat from cousin penny.

i love celebrating with the fam.

although i know we might not always be

within a car ride’s distance from each other, i love the time we have together.
i particularly love that my fam loves to celebrate my birthday on the thanksgiving holiday! woot!

there’s always a lot of gourmet food, chocolate cake, ice cream, stories, sports,
movies and shanghai (our generations old rummy game)!
now if we could only arrange for our northern and southern california
 (and swiss!) families to be a car ride away—can you say amazing!?
how do you love to celebrate with your famiglia?

James birthday! (part two)

on saturday, we gathered with a few friends to celebrate james on the day of his birthday! we swam, ate cake (a lot of it!), devoured an amazing rigatoni (with buffalo meat sauce) and laughed quite a bit..
stories about james usually involve a lot of laughs!
it was an absolutely beautiful day to boot! one of my favorite parts of the day was we made acronyms of james full name (it’s pretty long people!) and went around and shared (we’re really into acronyms right now for some reason).
here were some of my favorites:
J: joyful, jovial, joy-bringer
A: always laughing, amiable
M: mustache lover, master of sports trivia, married (woot!)
E: exuberant, expressive (he’s italian after all), excited constantly
S: selfless, strong, story-filled, sports enthusiast, super duper
and from me..super hot stuff!
thanks friends for coming to celebrate and making this day so fun!

James birthday

my husband is a quarter of a century plus two on saturday!
lovah, you are an honorable,
kind, courageous,
intelligent and hilarious man!
HAPPY 27TH birthday JAMES!
if it could make this text larger..i would!
and now.. some fun things about this handsome man!
1. he was voted best smile in high school
2. he has a lot of pictures of him fake nose-picking.
3. his favorite color is red because of
teenage mutant ninja turtles
which we watched this week (factoid!)
4. he really likes queso
5. sorry, just a random glamour shot (hunky!)
6. he’s a whiz in the kitchen! for this, i rejoice.
7. he looks good painting with a grizzly beard.
8. and he looks good with helmet hair
(there, i said it! he loved his helmet head,
i did not. but he still looks good!)
9. he loves his family with all his heart
(that’s niece kendall!)
10. and jr highers like him so much that they
write mud messages on themselves to him
11. he wears doo-rags.
he also..
12. currently is the golden paddle champion of our church (ping-pong)
13. loves gladiator, russel crowe, tom hardy and leo.
14. could be a sports announcer
james.. i love you to the moon and back and infinity after that!
happy birthday lover!

For my mama


that’s my mom on the left, circa when she was about five years old 🙂
Happy Birthday to my lovely mama, Bette. 
Oh motha, you inspire me. I just want to say thank you to you…
For always laughing at my jokes (always).
For answering my phone calls (ALL of them no matter what time), teaching me the importance of integrity, pursuing education, and being brave.
For taking me along with your on your love for adventures, traveling the world, good cheese and art.
For giving me a chance to discover all the things I love in life, and for always encouraging people to follow what they love and what makes them happy.
For being so generous to me with your love, time, encouragement and thoughts.
You are an incredibly strong, smart, thoughtful, giving, creative, artistic woman.
You are an inspiration to me, and an incredible mother and friend.
We love you soo much and can’t wait to celebrate you this eve!

Dinner along the silk road

This weekend, my family celebrated my Birthday with me at Laili’s for a swanky, downtown dinner (featured in the NY Times no less)! We nibbled on Naan, gnawshed on our kebabs, and drooled over our to-die-for desserts- it was a super hit.
I had Anar chicken with pomegranate marinade (and seeds!) and heirloom tomato salad, and a birthday mousse to seal the deal. Love my family and loved the food! Never fear rest-of-family, we’ll celebrate soon (over-the-top winking happening right now)!
Hubby with his garlic/lime beef kebab (ka-bob or ke-bob?)
Mama (this was sort of her thank you party…you know for my birth and everything, yay mamas!) and Sunny with their chicken dishes (kinda cut the dishes out…they’re more lovely anyway!)
Aunt Mary and Hayden- Aunt Mary’s spinach was super drool worthy!!
Focused Haydee with his garlic/lime dish…
Present time! Love these earrings from Sunny!!
Aunt Mary and Hayden’s lovely fleurs for moi!
My chocolate birthday mousse with baklava (already gone by this point)…AMAZING.
Creme brulee and French press, happy dessert time!
James and Sunny couldn’t decide who’s bite came next…understandable.
Thank you for all the love my wonderful fam, you make birthdays so much better!!
xoxo, CM

The big TWO-FOUR

Thank you mama for yesterday, because yesterday is the anniversary of the day that you were basically wonder woman and introduced me to the world. So I raise a toast to my mama, cause yesterday was my birthday (I’m the big two-four, but sometimes act like the little two-plus-four…but only sometimes)!
I was greeted in the morning with a beautiful rose (the suave and saucy kind) and a sweet card (the cry kind) along with two whole wheat waffles…yum! A wonderful morning at church was to be had with a delicious surprise cake from the youth (you guysss…), i just love them…not to mention the balloon that was thereafter attached to my jacket.
After church we were off on a great adventure on highway one!
I took my red lips cause it’s was my birthday and I could…
James took his…silly lips…cause he could.


Our favorite berry farm in Davenport- the taste test section: where we always begin. Those jars were new when we got there…okay not really, but close!


The display. The drama of deliciousness is, at times, overwhelming and, at times, entirely conquerable.
My love with his happy strawberry cheesecake face.
The challenge.


Meet one blackberry cobbler and one, organic cauliflower soup a la yum.
The aftermath. Obvies, I won. And yes, this was all for me. Yum!


Then, we scurried back down to a little outdoor gallery in Santa Cruz. My favorite was the lamp store- look at these awesome pieces!…The lampbrellas took the cake for me with their sidewaysness and cute colors.
And then we went to our most favoritest restaurant Cafe Cruz, drool times a lot (I obviously drooled continuously throughout my day). I ordered the portabello mushroom polenta with grilled chicken. James ordered the skirt steak fettucine. It made our tummies, faces and hearts happy…see??
Thankful for another happy, full and wonderful year of life, oh happy day!
xoxo CM