Monday, October 31, 2011

Vegan for a Day: Marinated Soyaki Tofu on a Bed of Sesame Slaw

Hello friends!!! I'm back.  Don't worry:  I'm still vegan.  I just keep forgetting to photograph my meals and honestly, sometimes the photography takes the joy out of the preparation and eating!

I have been getting really good at preparing quick and simple meals for the late nights Q works (or the weekend when we're running around and don't have a lot of groceries in the house).  This was a clean-out-the-fridge meal that turned out fabulous! I'll definitely be making it again.

Note: I shop pretty exclusively at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, but you should be able to find similar products at your grocery!

Marinated Soyaki Tofu on a Bed of Sesame Slaw

For the tofu:
1 block extra firm tofu, pressed* to remove liquid and sliced into rectangles (approximately 12)
1 bottle Trader Joe's Island Soyaki or Soyaki marinades (or any Teriyaki-style marinade)

1. Cut tofu and place in a large bowl.  Cover in bottle of marinade and let set in refrigerator for at least one hour.
2.  When marinating is done, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3.  Place tofu on large baking sheet, shaking off any extra liquid.
4.  Bake for 15 minutes; flip tofu and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

For the dressing: (adapted from this Sesame-Ginger recipe)

1 t. minced garlic
2 T. sesame oil
2 T. rice vinegar
1/4 c. tamari (GF) or soy sauce
1 T. agave (or maple) syrup
1/8 c. water

1. Place all ingredients in a small Mason jar and shake it up!  A regular bowl and a whisk would work well too.

For the salad:
1 bag Trader Joe's Broccoli Slaw (you could substitute cabbage slaw too, but I love the broccoli for a change!)
1/2 c. sliced almonds

1.  Toss both in a bowl and mix well!
2.  Cover in dressing (as much as you'd like--we like things saucy over here so we used it all!) and mix again.

Place a heaping stack of sesame slaw on the plate and top with 3 slices of tofu (recipe serves 4).  YUM!

More recipes to come--I'm back in a cooking groove with this new fall season!  Any recipes you're looking for? I'm happy to try it out on the blog!

Bon Appetit,

Friday, October 28, 2011

Playing Dress Up

Some photos of Lyla (and one of moi) playing dress up.  She looks like a little doll, huh?  This could almost pass for a Halloween costume of sorts (a new take on Raggedy Ann?).  But this little stinker was passed down a super adorable costume that she will be rocking on Halloween (there was hint in that sentence as to what she will be dressed as!).

Have a lovely weekend!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A 24 Hour Visit

Last week I had the opportunity to go on a mid-week girls night out, to see one of my all-time favorite bands.  What band, you ask?  Get ready for it....Hanson.  Please spare me the "they're still around??" and other cliche jokes about high voices and long girly hair.  I get really defensive about my boys!  They've actually been touring and putting out new records since the Mmmbop days and I always make it a point to go see a show if they're in my close vicinity.  Actually, this time around (did you catch that Hanson inuendo?!) they were in Amanda's neighborhood.  So Andrew, Lyla and me traveled to Falls Church, VA for a 24 hour mini vacation.  I met up with two of my good friends (one who I hadn't seen in 7 years!) for the show.  It was a lovely evening.  I still don't like leaving Lyla when I don't have to, but I knew she'd have fun with Aunt Amanda, Uncle Quentin, Aurora (and her Daddy).

My evening started with this heartbreaking text from Andrew:

Lyla was fine when I left, but apparently Aurora was crying hysterically.  Breaks my heart!!

Here is my one and only photo from the show:

And Andrew continued to document the evening while I was away, via Instagram:
Lyla with her Aunt Amanda

Aurora and Lyla, playing in the mirror (yep, Lyla is licking it).

The next day, we stayed for the afternoon to get some more time in with Amanda and Aurora.  Here are a few of my favorite shots from the day:

They think I'm hilarious (at least someone does!).

Amanda, with the new blonde hair (she looks gorgeous...I'm so jealous!).

So, there you have it!  A 24 hour trip filled with good friends, good music, and cute babies.
(Click HERE to see me and Amanda's full outfits, posted on the Miskabelle blog!)


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Baby Sign Language (a video!)

I never really planned on teaching Lyla baby sign language.  While I always thought it was super cute to see babies signing, I thought it would be too difficult to teach my baby.  But one day out of the blue, I decided to look up some signs to try and teach Lyla (awesome website with video tutorials HERE).  After the first day I was quite baffled and SURE that it would never work (sorry little Lyla, mama should've had more faith in your smarts!).  But persistence paid off and after repeating repeating repeating, Lyla picked up on all the signs that Andrew and I taught her.  It is pretty much the funniest and cutest thing ever to watch.  SO, without further ado, here is a little video of Lyla doing her signs...ENJOY!

Pretty great, right?  I think "milk" is the most hilarious one...and the one she picked up first, of course.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Aurora Style: Boot Season

I have a MAJOR thing for boots. I have many, many pairs (mostly vintage). So of course, I'm attracted to boots for Aurora too. And when our thrift is having a 50% off sale how can I resist purchasing a few pairs?

These little black boots also do double duty because they work with her Halloween costume (it's a surprise!). They aren't exactly what I had in mind, but they are pretty darn close. And how cute do they look with leggings?

spotted top-thrifted, leggings-gfit from Aunt Jayme, boots-Children's Place (thrifted)

Aurora is busy all the time. She will rarely settle down and stand to pose for a photo. Here, she is drinking her milk and holding her teddy, post-nap...speaking of naps, she has transitioned to one longer nap in the late morning/early afternoon, but she has also started sleeping in ('til 8am!). It may just be a growth spurt, but we are certainly appreciating a little more time under the covers on cold mornings!

More cute boots and babes coming soon!

Amanda & Aurora

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lyla Georgette {10 months}

Okay. This one's a little tougher than the last nine months. 10 months? Really little Lyla? How are you two months away from your first birthday?? I wake up every morning excited to see Lyla practice all her "tricks" and learn new things. She's a little sponge, this one. She will pretty much try anything you show her to do or tell her to say. Last week when Andrew left for work he blew her a kiss and she responded immediately by putting her hand to her mouth and then facing out, wave-style. Her words include: mama, dada, papa (my dad's version of 'grandpa'), baby. Her sort-of words (which she attempts but are questionable...):
 Lyla --"Yai, Ya"
Aurora----if we say "Aurora?" She repeats back three syllables.
Fie--for our dog, Sophie
Hi--she repeats back the same tone we say, but the H-sound isn't quite there.

Still not standing on her own. Still no teeth. LOVES Yo Gabba Gabba. As I type this she is laying on the floor watching it. This is unheard of! Normally this baby does NOT stop moving. Great mom, right? Well, considering I don't have her "nap time" for me-time (yep, still holding her for naps...) I am giving myself this leeway.

All summer Lyla and I would walk through this park on our morning stroll. We would see little kids playing and swinging and I would whisper to her "Someday you'll be big enough to play here. Pretty soon you'll be able to swing too." Well, last week we took her to play on the swings. Gosh, time moves so fast these days.


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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Back to Work

So, this week I started my part-time job. I haven't mentioned it much because I think part of me felt like maybe if I didn't talk about that it wouldn't happen. Or that I wasn't going to actually do it so I didn't want to mention it and then have to be like "oh nevermind. I'm not really going to start working again." Even as I type this I feel like maybe somehow this part-time gig isn't going to last. Like something will fall into place. That my husband will get an extravagant raise or our etsy shops will suddenly start bringing in twice as much money each month. I guess it's kind of my survival mechanism. Take it day by day, pretend things are going to change soon. I know, I'm sounding a bit dramatic. It's only 18 hours per week (and a seasonal position so it's only till February or I really do have an end in sight). What's funny is that I thought I was thankful for my stay-at-home-mom life before. When we finally decided I needed to find some part time work, In my head I would think "God, if you're trying to teach me to be thankful for what I have, it isn't necessary...I KNOW I'm lucky or blessed or whatever you want to call it. I know I have it damn good" (it's ok to say swear words to God). But you know what? After the past 3 days of working 5-11 each evening, I am even more grateful for tonight, when I will be home when my husband gets home from work. When I get to cook a nice meal and sit at the table and eat with my family. When I get to clean up dishes afterwards and listen to Andrew play with Lyla in the living room. Spending time away makes my good life seem even better. Admittedly I was annoyed when everyone was trying to console me with 'it'll get better' and 'it'll be ok.' I didn't want it to get better. I didn't want it to be ok. I wanted to fail. I wanted to refuse to go. But I got my good cry out that first day when I left Lyla. The next day I got a bit teary when she hugged my neck as I was leaving (ahhh....I know, right?!) and the third day there were no tears. I survived. Andrew got Lyla to sleep on his own all three days (no boob necessary!). I'm hoping this is the start of some sort of sleep training. Though I must admit, I will not give up curling up beside Lyla in bed when I get home from a six hour shift (it's hard enough not squeeze her and smother her in kisses). xo Jayme

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Picking

It's time for the token baby blog pumpkin patch photos....
We had a lovely weekend:  Amanda and her family came to visit, the weather was gorgeous and our babies  got to pick their Halloween pumpkins.

I think it's safe to say they LOVE each other.

The baby who NEVER sleeps decided it would be best to take a nap once we got to the pumpkin patch.

Aurora was super excited about riding on the "WAGON!" to get to the pumpkin patch.

Lyla's new "thing" is pointing at everything and everyone. (I need to teach her some manners!)

And of course, we ended the day with a photo shoot.  (This pic is an outtake and it kills me!)

Hope you all had a great weekend too!



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Shop Preview: Whimsical Kiddo

I love cutesy clothes for women (novelty prints, frilly things, etc.), but could never really pull them off. That's why it's so much fun to shop for and dress my gal in vintage! There are so many fun prints and designs for the babes.

 Here are a few of my favorites, coming to the shop this week!

Clockwise from top left:  Puppy Cardigan, Pin Buster Brown Overalls, Ice Cream Sweater Vest, Mickey and Minnie tee, Teddy Bear Flying a Kite Playsuit 

If you have any questions about these items or see something you like, don't hesitate to let us know. Readers get first dibs! ;)


Monday, October 10, 2011

A New Kind of Beautiful.

Motherhood doesn’t have to mean the end of looking or feeling great. If you’re reasonably healthy and fit before a baby, odds are good you’ll be reasonably healthy and fit afterward. But every time a magazine that’s been slavering for months over a celebrity’s “bump” turns around and blares about her POST BABY BIKINI BOD, it sends the message that the normal, natural process of recovering from birth, from nursing and nourishing a child, and from the very real and often permanent changes of pregnancy are but temporary obstacles, to be eradicated with extreme haste. It’s unfortunate, because it doesn’t consider the possibility of a new kind of beautiful. You’re not the same after you have a child. You’re not supposed to be. And that’s a good thing.

-Mary Elizabeth Williams in an article for Salon
I have struggled with my weight as early as fourth grade. The curve of my belly is where it all started. I remember it vividly; pictures of me on our family vacation wearing a purple two piece still haunt me (I was 11.) When puberty started to hit, I looked a lot different than my other classmates (and my tiny, younger-by-a-year sister), though I started to notice before anyone else did. I stayed relatively "fit" through high school with a healthy regimen of cheerleading and teenage metabolism, but by the age of 18, I felt the pressure to be thinner than I was. (If I could have the body I had then, I would be ecstatic.) I did Weight Watchers, and then a low carb diet, and then Weight Watchers again, and then another low carb diet. I would lose the weight, but would always end up in the same place, get bored, gain it all back, and be depressed again.

Part of my depression has always come from this, even at my thinnest (about 40 pounds below where I am now):  I love fashion. I love clothes and I love fashion blogs and I love glossy magazines and pretty things.  But in that world, very few people look like me (and very few clothes fit me). In the plus-sized fashion world, I occasionally feel represented physically, but being labeled plus-sized is just another small offense against a body that I try my best to take care of.  Becoming a mom has added another level to that desire to achieve: I am comparing myself to women who have never gained 35 pounds in three months or pushed out a baby that changed their entire life (and body).

I know I will never be skinny or small or even thin.  At best, I will be curvy or athletic.  Currently, I am: squishy and husky. I feel my own heaviness.  Some days, I come to terms with it, and think that it's okay. Other days I hate it passionately, eschewing all the pretty clothes in my closet for a pair of stretchy jeans and an oversized tee shirt, covered by a scarf to hide any rolls.

I went vegan because I felt tired and blah. I wanted to eat healthier, and I wanted to make better choices for myself (and the world).  But also, I had read so many stories about veganism leading to incredible (almost effortless) weight loss and clear skin: two things that have alluded me for so long.  Since having Aurora, I just haven't felt like myself. I don't recognize my own body. It seems that no matter what I do--eat high raw, eat a lot of cooked foods, bike 5 days a week, walk 2 days a week--nothing changes.  I am stuck.

I see baby bloggers (ew, I hate that term) who have newborns writing about fitting into their old jeans or answering reader questions about how they're losing the baby weight so quickly.  I wish they would be honest and answer that it's genes.  If you were naturally thin (or "reasonably healthy and fit" as in the quote above), you aren't going to come out of pregnancy as obese.  Your body is good to you. Don't try to tell me that doing that yoga DVD once a week is really helping tone you back up (or blame it all on the breastfeeding, which is wonderful, but is different for everyone, and not a magic weight loss cure for mamas).

I am alive. I have no diseases. I can run, jump, bike, play with my daughter.  And yet I often feel like my body hates me, and in return, I hate it back. It's a vicious cycle.

I wanted so much out of veganism, and I am not giving up on it. I think I wanted the wrong things.  But I don't know how to want the right things. I don't know how to avoid wanting what I'm told I should want:  jeans in a single digit size, the scale to read what it did 2 years ago, waking up to a face that doesn't need a single ounce of makeup.

 I try, daily, to give myself grace, but there are so many messages being sent my way that I just want to go into my bedroom and shut the door sometimes. Every time I am feeling better or more positive, something (or someone) else knocks me down.

I am so used to dealing with these issues that I don't know who I am without them.  But now that I have Aurora, my beautiful girl, I am more concerned than ever about becoming healthy: physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy. I want more for her. I want to protect her from this kind of thinking as much as I can.

But how?  Where do I even begin to erase years and years of conditioning and hurt and habit?

The only time I can recall these issues almost "magically" disappearing was when I was pregnant with Aurora. It was amazing, focusing on the little person growing inside of me instead of on all the other growing I was doing. I walked because it felt good and I knew it was good for Aurora, I ate well, but indulged in little things I wanted (I was a slushie and Sour Patch Kid fiend!), and I found ways to dress myself so that I was both comfortable and looked cute.

one of my favorite pregnancy photos.
I truly glowed--it's not just a cliche! And I find myself missing that and wondering if I can only ever feel that way by getting pregnant. Considering the fact that I will most likely only be pregnant one more time in my life, that's a scary prospect.

I feel stupid for voicing these things, just another girl with low self esteem or body issues. As I write all of this, I feel shame. I feel shame about my body, I feel shame that I think this way, I feel shame that there are people who read this to whom I'm a "thin person." I'm writing this because I know I'm not the only mom (or woman) who feels this way. But I am writing this with no answers.

I want to find that "new kind of beautiful." And some days, I think that I do. I have moments, like this week, when the air was crisp and the sun was bright and the sky perfectly blue and Aurora and I were walking up the street and I couldn't help but sigh...every person and every thing was beautiful then.  Even me.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Giveaway Winner is...

We had 33 entries, and chose #2, Shannon and Jeremy!

Jeremy and Shannon said...
Just LIKED Sarah Council Dance Projects on FB as well! :-) Congrats! We'll be getting in touch with you soon to find out where to send your pendant! Thank you to everyone who entered, not just for supporting Sarah Council Dance Projects, but for supporting our blog as well! xo, J&A

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Go-To Cool

I haven't done a "mom style" post on here for a while.  I'm just not convinced that people are interested in seeing my daily shirt and jeans combo.  But now that it's fall I'm finding myself pulling on more layers which gives my outfit a little more interest.  (Amanda and I also post vintage inspiration outfits on our other blog !)
I usually end up having a couple go-to pieces to spruce up my outfits (and keep me warm!).  A chunky knit cardigan, an oversized scarf, a cool pair of boots.  That's it.  A combination of those three pieces go on top of whatever I'm wearing and I instantly feel put together.  Here I'm just wearing the scarf.

black top- super old (hand me down from Amanda), scarf- vintage, skinny belt- H&M,
super flare jeans- J. Brand (via a discount store--not gonna lie--they were $10!
I had to patch a hole, but SUCH  a steal!), blue clogs- Steve Madden

This scarf belonged to my husbands grandma (and is most certainly vintage).  It is super long and super wide and the prettiest shade of peachy pink.

Lyla's toile print outfit is from Gymboree (a gift from her Aunt Jen!) and her hat is from Baby Gap
Lyla is also wearing her go-to cool accessory--her little tam hat.  Cutest. Ever.

What are your go-to cool accessories?


Monday, October 3, 2011

Hello Autumn

Autumn is by far my favorite season to decorate for.  I love switching over to warm colors and burning my various spice-scented candles.  Our home has accents of red and orange already, so I simply add some pumpkins and leaves, a wreath on the door and mums in our hanging baskets out front.  Here are some of the vintage and non-vintage pieces I love.

Dining Room:

1- I found this beaded chandelier in an antique shop.  My guess would be that it's from the 60s.  The hardware was bright and shiny silver when I purchased it and the beads were vibrant orange.  I finally decided to spray it with a coat of copper paint to tone it down a bit... There's no electricity hook up above our dining room table, but this gives the feel of a lighting fixture.

2- This card was recently sent to me by my grandma.  It was so pretty I had to put it on display!  I think I will save it to decorate again with next year as well.  Or perhaps even frame it.

3- I recently re-did this wall.  It used to be home to a print in a thick black frame and black iron sconces on either side.  I think the new mix of various copper and gold frames warms up the wall.

4-  Full view of the bureau.  Lots of orange and yellow candles.  So pretty to light them all at night and see the shadow of the chandelier.

Living Room:

1- This little vintage pumpkin was from my great-grandparents house.  I love how dainty it is.

2- The ceramic pumpkin sits on the TV stand where there usually is a candle.  It's next to a pewter pitcher (vintage, via my husband's grandma).

3- This plush pumpkin was gifted to me by my grandma while I was in college, to decorate my dorm room.  Not sure of it's origin....but I like that it is a baby-friendly decoration!

4- The pumpkin sits on top of the TV next to some (more!) candles and a vintage pitcher.  I have a whole table setting worth of these leaf-y pieces.  Very 70s.

Thanks for taking a peek into my home!   I'm sort of a minimalist when it comes to decor... but I think a few little things can make a space feel special (and festive!) and pretty vintage things certainly do the trick.