(some dis)comfort and (lots of) joy

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, my sweet readers. There has been no baby boy arrival yet but I am happy (and shocked) to say that I've made it to the point in my pregnancy where the websites tell me he is the size of a 7.5 pound, 22-inch watermelon. Nothing says Christmas like a giant, internal, kicking watermelon:)

After 38 weeks of blissful pregnancy, I caught a cold last week. And not a pretty one. For the first time in my life I had a bum eye that wouldn't quit weeping, and my lips were so chapped from my profuse nose-blowing and kleenex-rubbing that I appeared to have a tiny, red mustache. Despite these ailments, we kept an appointment to meet with a prospective pediatrician, where I was forced to incessantly dab at my one eye like a mourning widow. I pointed to it and apologized non-stop like it was happening in spite of myself but I'm sure that that (along with the chapped mustache) just helped me come off like a crazy lady. All this to say: it caused me to slow down a whole lot. Although if it weren't for the sake of the cold, I'm sure I'd be slowing down anyway. This belly is big and I now only have one official week to go until my due date.

Health-wise I'm on the upswing but all my edges feel fuzzy. Like my whole self is going into power-save mode before the Big Event. My clumsiness is epic, my waddle is in slo-mo, my voice is raspy, and my vision blurry (another fun pregnancy symptom). And not surprisingly, when I sit down to meditate these days, I slip into that altered state with practically no effort. I'm being seduced to go within. How lovely that it's coinciding with this Winter Solstice/Holiday/Year End time when everyone is naturally slowing down and becoming more introspective. That makes it easier.

I read a great article about honoring women who are in their last days of pregnancy. That they experience a poignant, sweet, sharp, blurry, unique time of in-between that we have no words for in our culture and language. The writer names this Zwischen (the German word for between). I can SO relate. There's this panicky feeling of My life is going to change forever! I gotta hurry up and do a million things before it does! coupled with exhaustion and discomfort, what with all the waddling and efforting to move around and tie shoes and get out of bed to pee 20 times a night, all while juggling a wiggly watermelon. Pepper in some clumsiness, forgetfulness, and a weeping eye and you're just about there.

Aren't we all in our own Zwischen in some way or other? We're usually in such a hurry to finish up something so we can "relax" or get to the next thing so we can "have a fresh start" but there really is something profound to be said for making peace with that cross-over time. For recognizing that place between two worlds doesn't need to be fixed or changed. That it just needs to be honored and experienced in all its odd and conflicting emotions and physical changes. Especially when the duration of it is unknown. If you're lucky (or you decide to lean on it), some good old-fashioned faith can work wonders.

So as I surrender into this rare, weird, wonderful time in my own life, I wish you happiness in both the chaos and the quiet of the Season. And peace and faith (and maybe even some joy) as you move slowly through your own personal Zwischen:)

Merry Christmas today!
Love Love Love,

classic peanut butter cookies

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The other night I dreamed I was with my friend Jenn as she was giving birth to her daughter. I was on the hospital bed with her, just up there hanging out ON THE BED WITH HER while she was in labor. (Boundaries much?) It was getting toward the end. She was in a sweaty, altered state pushing that baby down, and when the doctor said, "One more!", she pushed HARD and the baby girl came shooting out like a torpedo. All at once she was here and wiggling on the bed between us. The nurse swooped in just then, to wipe off the baby and wrap her in a soft blanket. Smiling, she held out the newborn to Jenn. The new mom barely looked up. Instead she held up a tired finger and said, "Hold on a minute," and then reached over to a side table where, in a pristine spotlight, there sat the most perfect donut you've ever seen: glazed with shiny chocolate frosting. And big. She tenderly picked up the pastry and proceeded to savor it deliberately, bite by bite, with her eyes closed in rapture. When she (finally) finished, she licked her fingers and her lips, opened her eyes with a giant smile, reached her arms out wide to the dumbstruck nurse and said, "Okay, give me my baby!"

I think this might be the most quintessential pregnancy dream ever. Labor is there, and also a newborn, even a hospital with doctors and nurses. But most importantly: The Donut.

If you swap out the donut for a peanut butter cookie, I would appreciate this dream even more than I do already. The baby boy I'm growing inside me is demanding peanut butter these days (and he's been really bossy about it). I've had funny waves of cravings along my pregnancy journey. The first trimester was very cream-cheese-centric, trimester #2 was all about chicken-salad sandwiches and Arnold Palmers, and now? In the home stretch? Peanut butter. On apples, on toast, by the spoonful and via the best delivery system ever: cookies.

(Bonus: Peanut butter cookies can be Christmas Cookies if you make them at Christmastime!)


Classic Peanut Butter Cookies
makes about 3 dozen cookies (depending upon how big you roll them)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter (not the natural kind--Skippy is great for cookies)
1 egg
2 t vanilla
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t kosher salt
granulated sugar for rolling before baking

Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar for several minutes until light and fluffy. Add the peanut butter and mix well. Add the egg and vanilla, scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again. Bit by bit, add the flour mixture until just combined. Roll dough into 1" balls, coat in granulated sugar and place on baking sheet 2" apart. Flatten with a fork in a criss-cross fashion and bake for 10-13 minutes or until edges are golden.

P.S. You aren't required to chill the dough before rolling but you can refrigerate for a day or two or freeze it for a week or two.

Happy Holiday time, lovelies!

The Bouqs

Monday, December 1, 2014

While in High School, I dated a guy for about 5 minutes. On one of our few dates we went to a neighborhood Italian place (where he inhaled a giant meatball sandwich), and then back to his place to make out (classy, eh?). We fell asleep tangled up on his twin bed and a couple hours later when we woke up, he leaned over and open-mouth kissed me with his garlic/meatball/ass breath and that's pretty much all it took for me to want to break up with him. Maybe I mentioned this to a girlfriend and word got back to him because the next day I came home from school, and at my front door was a single, long-stemmed red rose accompanied by a small card that simply read call me written in gold calligraphy. I wondered how many times he practiced writing call me with his calligraphy pen before getting it right. (Remember how hard it was to hold those things so the flat side was at ye olde perfect slanted angle?!) After momentarily being impressed by his calligraphy balls, I steeled myself, dialed his number, and then broke up with him over the phone. Ugh. I'm awful. But that breath was Bad News Bears, you guys. Anyway. That was the most memorable floral delivery I've ever received.

Until now.

The delightfully nice people at The Bouqs sent Joeycake (me) some gorgeous flowers! Have you heard of The Bouqs? You know when you have to send flowers to someone and you kinda freak out? Because let's say they live far away and you have no idea where to order them from? You could choose somewhere local that you're just pulling out of thin air via a quick google search, but are they gonna be good? Or do you go with some FTD situation that feels homogenized, somewhat impersonal and usually downright cheesy? There is another, much more kick-ass option: The Bouqs offer sustainably-grown, super-fresh flowers (grown in rich volcanic soil) at really cheap prices ($40 out the door). Bonus: they last longer than most high-school relationships. The roses they sent me lasted a full 12 days. They were so great looking for so long that we started to become suspicious of them. The Bouqs have a beautiful, chic selection, they ship directly via FedEx, have flat-rate shipping and zero hidden fees. I can't rave about them enough. They just might be good enough to make someone forget your sour meatball breath.

You can check out their website here. They're always having deals but today there are some special Cyber Monday ones too.

Happy Monday!
Hope you had a delicious Thanksgiving weekend:)

P.S. FYI: All opinions posted by me on Joeycake are my very own and I would never rave about anything here that I don't stand behind.

pumpkin cranberry bread

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It's almost Thanksgiving! (My very most favorite:)) Don't you just love Thanksgiving for all that it is (food, family, gratitude) and all that it's not (shopping, wrapping, hustling about)? I have so much to appreciate this year. So many blessings.

I can't believe I'm already in the home stretch of this pregnancy. At 35 weeks along, I'm seriously slowing down. And for someone who is usually on the go (and who kind of loves to be on the go), it's been strange and also surprisingly nice. It's not the kind of slowing down where you try and talk yourself into taking it easy. Physically my body is requiring it. I'll be standing there talking to someone and this one-track-mind urge hits me and I can't even focus on what they're saying because my whole body is screaming for a place to sit down. Take a load off, it says, put your feet up.

I imagine, too, it's awesome to surrender to this deceleration. Because once the baby arrives (I hear) you enter this dreamy, hazy, sleepy, sweet, intimate time where you just slow slow slow down to the baby's rhythms and take it all moment by moment. I can feel myself being lulled there. Mind if we finish this conversation lying down? My eyes are closed but I'm totally listening.

I had to run waddle to the grocery store early this morning to get a couple last items for my Thanksgiving dinner contribution and as I was enjoying slowly moving about and gathering this and that in the quiet store, I came upon one of my least favorite of the store's employees: a super swarthy and oily fellow who looks like he actually might tie someone to a railroad track while twisting his pointy mustache. This guy always seeks me out, too, despite my best efforts to avoid him. He's always switching checkout lines to bag my groceries and make awkward conversation. Let me put it this way: there is another employee there who has a hook for a hand and he's not nearly as scary as this dude. Here's how it went down today:



ME: "Hi."

SWARTHY VILLAINOUS GROCERY FELLOW: "I can't wait to see your baby."

I smile uncomfortably.


ME: "Um. Well, not now. He's still cooking. But I imagine someday you might see him."

Much to my chagrin.

SWARTHY VILLAINOUS GROCERY FELLOW: "What's wrong with your eyes?"

ME: "Uh…sorry?"

SWARTHY VILLAINOUS GROCERY FELLOW: "They look very sad today."

ME: "Oh."


ME: "Um. I don't know. Maybe because I don't have any makeup on."

He looks closer.


Awkward beat.


ME: "Well, I was. Before this conversation."

He laughs maniacally. And for the first time in a long time I wished I could make a quick getaway.


Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
yields one loaf
adapted from Bobby Flay's Pumpkin Bread

Promise me you'll make this before you put all the pumpkin away this season. It's super moist and crazy delicious with those sweet-tart cranberries cutting through all the spicy spices.

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour (you can sub up to half of this for whole wheat flour if you like)
1/2 t kosher salt
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 t ground allspice
1/4 t ground cloves
4 T butter, softened, plus more for buttering the pan
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (unflavored)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup water
1-1/2 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed, sorted and roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9" loaf pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, add the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Whisk well to combine. Set aside.

In an electric mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar and oil together on high speed until creamy and fluffy, scraping down the sides when necessary. Add the pumpkin puree and mix well. Add the eggs one-at-a-time, mixing in between. Mixing on low, add the flour mixture a bit at a time, alternating with the water, until everything is just mixed in. Stir in the chopped cranberries. Pour into your prepared pan, bake for 75 minutes or until a toothpick/skewer tester comes out clean and let cool completely.

I'm thankful for YOU!
Hope you have the most Happy Thanksgiving:)

P.S. Still need recipes for your TG feast? Joeycake has a "Thanksgiving" section in the recipe index!

pineapple coconut protein shake with greens

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

34 weeks pregnant over here and counting. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you people have now begun to literally point at me and shout, "You're HUGE!"

So there's that.

At the hardware store several weeks ago, an employee bustled past me and as he did, he pointed at my belly and shouted his guess at my due date. Like I was a walking how-many-jellybeans-are-in-the-jar contest. It would've (maybe?) been funny had his guess not been TWO MONTHS EARLY.

You know how you're not supposed to EVER ask a woman if she's pregnant? How that is like an Unwritten Rule of Being a Good Person? Well, once one has confirmed she is pregnant, that shouldn't give one carte blanche to say/ask her anything without using one's noodle. These juicy items come to mind:

"You must be ready to POP!"
"Any day now, huh?"
"What are you, nine months?"
"You sure there's only one in there?!"
"You still have six more weeks to go? WOW!"
"How much weight have you gained so far?"**

(**My father poses this question whenever we talk now (which is often). It's like he's my Overeaters Anonymous sponsor. It never fails to make me flinch. And every time, I consider trying to make a joke and dodge the topic. But he's my dad and I know he means well, so inevitably I just tell him my weight. Which I'm realizing now is why he probably keeps asking me.)

Can we add these types of things to the Unwritten Person Rules? None of these things help us Preggos. Here are some handy replacements:

"Can I get you a chair?"
"You're glowing!"
"You don't even look pregnant from the back!"
"I have an extra half-sandwich here with your name on it."
"Another Arnold Palmer?"
"Want me to tie your shoes for you?"
"You have never looked so sexy!"

Consider this a public service announcement on behalf of Preggos everywhere. Bonus: I will be genuinely excited if you say any of the above to me especially if you also forget to ask me how much weight I've gained.


Pineapple Coconut Protein Shake with Greens
yields 1 large or 2 smaller shakes

Some of my baby websites are telling me that this week, the child inside me is the size of a large pineapple, so let's toast to that with some pineapple protein shakes! These are so good, pregnant or no.

6 oz. unsweetened coconut milk
4 oz. water
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1/2 frozen banana
2 heaping cups fresh spinach
1 T flax meal (ground flax seeds)
1 T coconut oil
1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend! Add ice if your fruit is not frozen.


pumpkin spiced rice krispie treats with brown butter

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween, Joeycakers!! What fun and spooky things are you up to? One of my acting students asked me what I was gonna be for Halloween and I told them: A Pregnant Lady Laying on Her Couch Eating. So it's gonna be a pretty amazing night over here at our house. And I say that with zero irony.

Speaking of Halloween-amazing, I heard the scariest thing on NPR this week: There is a sub-genre of erotic romance novels that involves heroines traveling back to prehistoric times and having good times* with dinosaurs.

(*super raunchy sexy sex)

I'll just let that sit a second while your brain implodes.

Ok, ready? Here is a synopsis of "Taken by the T-Rex", written by Christie Sims (who seems to have cornered the Dinosaur Erotica market):

Drin is her tribe's chief huntress; she lives for the thill of the hunt. Men and sex hold no allure for her, as Drin has never found a partner to satisfy her. When a T-Rex descends upon her village, Drin taunts the beast, giving her tribe mates time to flee. As she runs, leading it through a gauntlet of traps, the thrill of the hunt soars through her blood, leaving her wet with desire. When the angry T-Rex corners the huntress in a box canyon, it seems more interested in her wet womanhood than in her flesh.

Other titillating titles by Sims include "Ravished by the Raptor", "Taken by the Pterodactyl", "In The Velociraptor's Nest", and maybe my favorite, "Dino Park After Dark". Here's the cover of "Ravished By The Triceratops" (somebody's learning photoshop!):

I suppose all ladies should feel free to explore their deep, dark fantasies, whether they include extinct predators or couch-laying. So more power to Christie Sims and her loyal readers. (And to me.)

For a different kind of titillating fantasy, check out these autumnal Rice Krispie Treats. They are so good they'll make you forget you can't be caressed by a sexy Brontosaurus in real life.

Pumpkin Spiced Rice Krispie Treats with Brown Butter
recipe adapted from The Kitchn
makes one batch (about 12)

There are two methods here. One uses actual pumpkin and is a bit more high-maintenance, one just uses the spices and is easy-peasy. Read the whole deal and follow your heart.

4T unsalted butter
1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree**
1-10oz bag mini marshmallows
1/4 t vanilla extract
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
pinch kosher salt
6 cups rice krispies

Butter a 9x13 (or 8x11 or 9x9) baking pan and set aside. Over medium-low heat in a heavy saucepan or dutch oven, melt the butter until it begins to brown, shaking the pan every so often. Add the pumpkin puree and warm it through (it will sputter at first from all the water content). Fold in the marshmallows and stir until melted. Add the vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and salt, then remove from heat. Allow this mixture to cool to room temperature, about 25 minutes (otherwise, you'll have sad, soggy treats). Add the cereal and stir until combined. Silicone spatulas work really well for this. Press the mixture into your buttered pan and then pop it into the refrigerator until set. This helps to further avoid sogginess. Cut and enjoy.

**Note: if you're not into the whole waiting-until-room-temperature thing (I get it), omit the pumpkin puree all together and just use the vanilla/pumpkin pie spice/salt. You can stir the cereal into the melty marshmallow mixture immediately and not bother with the fridge.


{book title photo from Buzzfeed}

An Open Letter To My Pregnancy Body Pillow

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dear Pregnancy Body Pillow,

We had a rocky start. You were a hand-me-down, a second-class-citizen, cast aside by a good friend with a newborn. She was eager to return to belly-sleeping so you got the swift boot. I was a skeptic, set in my pre-pregnancy sleep ways but I had heard promising claims. I experimented with you in the glow of my first pre-natal weeks, before I truly needed you, and during our inaugural evening together I had the highest hopes. Unfortunately, we wound up wrestling until the wee morning hours when I kicked you out of my bed, and there you remained, coiled on the floor gathering dust until I reached the beginning of my third trimester.

It was then I got word about the dangers of back-sleeping (turns out the vena cava is not a wine bar), and my belly was becoming increasingly unwieldy. So I picked you up (that was no picnic with said belly), dusted you off (literally), and begrudgingly decided to give you a second chance. Annoyingly, you come not only with a C-curve, but a learning curve. It took me a full fortnight to get acquainted with your squirrely disposition. While you claim you'll bend to my will, I now see it's your way or the highway. You leave me merely two nighttime options: clutch you like a needy child latches onto the leg of his apologetic mother, or lean into you backwards the way a mangy dog demands back scratches. I simultaneously desire you and feel betrayed by your limitations, like a vibrator whose batteries are dying.

But here's the thing: I need you now. I can't do it without you. And I admit that I'm weak. My mother-friends have said,"Don't bother with the body pillow, just use a regular one between your legs," but it's no use. I want you between my legs, PBP. I hate myself for loving you.

Despite your ability to make side-sleeping slightly less horrible, you have copious liabilities. Yet I keep coming back to you like an aloof boyfriend or straight-across bangs. You're hot. Like polyester-blend hot. I wake up clammy and not without the type of skin irritations caused by synthetic fabrics. And getting out of you is a nightmare. Your looped ends trip up my already-compromised ability to move gracefully. Do you enjoy making me feel foolish twelve times a night when I'm forced to get up and pee? Do you?

And pray tell, where am I supposed to stash you in the daytime? If you stay inside the bed, I get small heart attacks every time I enter the bedroom, as my peripheral vision assumes you're a dead body. On top of the bed, you're a pathetic eyesore, a giant, curly pillow-turd that tarnishes my bedroom's minimalistic, non-turd design scheme. I have to hide you like a Real Housewives addiction or a penchant for high-caloric coffee drinks with extra whipped cream and caramel drizzle.

My husband calls you The Interloper. You literally come between us. And that night when he came back from the bathroom half-asleep and rubbed your spine for a full minute before realizing it wasn't his wife's? That didn't help your case. I had to stick up for you, PBP. And it made me feel sad and small. What have I become?

Hating that I can't quit you,

{This letter was also published in the Huffington Post}

roasted butternut squash soup

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I downloaded an app on my phone that gives me daily pregnancy updates and this was yesterday's:

"Do your legs look like tree trunks? Swollen feet and ankles may not be sexy, but it's what most pregnant women are wearing in any given season. To reduce that puffy look, try to take a five-minute walk around your house or office at least once an hour. A quick dance works, too, and may take your mind off your fat feet, so crank up the tunes, Mama!"

Real nice, huh? Hey fatty! Never mind that yesterday I told you to put your feet up and get some rest. Quit being such a lazy ass. Get up and stretch those tree trunks!

As a pregnant woman you unwittingly enter the symptom lottery. I've been lucky enough to avoid cankles (*crosses fingers*) but have come upon my own fun set of pregnancy surprises. Among other unsavory things, bending over is officially over. At 29 weeks, this belly seriously gets in the way. I've developed a new soundtrack of moans and groans and umphs and arrrggghhs for getting out of bed or off the couch or to reach something low in the fridge. Forget about putting on socks or shaving any nether regions.

The hunger is also COLOSSAL. Like bottomless-pit yearnings that physically hurt, and a deep, fierce reverence for food and stuffing my face like a homeless dog. The other day while eating in a Panera, I dropped a potato chip on the floor and was faced with a dilemma of epic proportions. Until pregnancy, never would I consider eating something off the floor (in a Panera, no less). All my life I've been able and not willing and here I was completely game and yet incapacitated. Even had I attempted, and could've actually reached it, my pregnancy-onset clumsiness gave me no guarantees that I would be able to grasp it in the first eighteen tries.

Alas, I let the chip go. It was a real milestone in embracing my limitations. On the flip side, I could've asked my dining companion to reach it for me and that might have proven a great lesson in asking for help. And also choosing not to be affected by the sharp judgement of others for eating food off the questionable floor of a sub-par franchised sandwich restaurant.


This same mildly insulting and contradictory app gives me weekly updates on which fruit or vegetable matches the size of my baby's growth (a fig! a pear! as long as an ear of corn!) and had the balls to tell me my baby was the size of an eggplant for 3 weeks straight. I looked online to cross-reference and found mention of a butternut squash. So, in honor of his size at 29 weeks, I cooked something the size of my baby! (Let's pretend this is not awkward in the least.)

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
adapted from
serves 6-8

There's a bit of time involved here with the roasting but it makes for such a sweet richness in the final mix. Plus, there's no awkward peeling and dicing an unwieldy squash. Also: THIS SMELLS SO FREAKING GOOD WHILE IT'S COOKING THAT IT WILL TAUNT YOU WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE GROWING A HUMAN.

2 medium butternut squash (buy about 4.5 pounds altogether)
4 T butter, divided
2 large granny smith apples, cored, peeled and diced
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 fresh sage leaves
4 cups (1 quart) chicken broth
1-1/2 cups water
kosher salt
black pepper
freshly grated nutmeg to taste
cinnamon to taste
greek yogurt or extra virgin olive oil for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 425F. Place each squash in the microwave (one at a time) for 2 minutes to soften, then cut in half longways and remove the seeds. Put all 4 halves on a rimmed baking sheet. Melt 1-1/2 T butter and brush it all over the flesh, then salt and pepper generously. Roast until knife tender, about 50 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the remaining 2-1/2 T butter and sauté the apples, onion, garlic and sage until soft, 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh (discard the skins) and add it to the apple mixture. Add the chicken stock, water and a good big pinch of salt and pepper. Bring the pot to a boil, partially cover it, and turn it down to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes, breaking up the squash with a spoon if there are any chunks. Blend with an immersion blender or in a regular blender in batches, taking care not to burn yourself! Return to the pot. Taste for salt. Start with 1/2 t nutmeg and 1 t cinnamon and add more to your liking. The salt and the spices at the end really bring everything together so make sure you add enough. Serve with a dollop of yogurt or a drizzle of olive oil.

Happy Autumn!

blueberry oatmeal muffins and a gripping story about curtain shopping

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Part of my pregnancy-induced nesting mayhem this past week involved scouring Los Angeles for the perfect new bedroom curtains (natch). After doing loads of reconnaissance online and finally making a curtain decision, I called a Pottery Barn store near me to see what they had in stock. I got a busy signal around 19 times, so my giant belly and I decided to go and see for ourselves. When I got there I fought the urge to ask them if their phone was off the hook. Or if they had a teenaged employee hogging the line.

I bee-lined for the drapes, immediately found what I wanted, and was promptly greeted by a saleslady whose cheer was surprisingly impressive.
"Hi, hon! How can I help you?" She asked.
"Yeah, hi. I need two panels of the 96" white sheer linen drapes," I said, pointing to the drape display in case she didn't understand words.
Her face twisted like she smelled rotten garbage.
"Oooh. I think we're out of those. Want me to check for you?"
"Yes, please." 
Using a metal cane, she hobbled out from behind the counter wearing a giant foot cast.
"I'll just go check in the back, hon. Give me a sec," she said.
"Step on it," I said.
She froze. The garbage face was back again, but this time much stinkier.
"Excuse me?" 
"Oh, God, no. I am so sorry. I was just kidding," I backpedaled. And then for good measure: "I hope your foot's okay."
She didn't crack a smile. This is when I became sure her cheer was false.
"I'll be right back," she grumbled.
At least 47 minutes elapsed. Then she slowly hobbled out from the storeroom and back to her counter.
"Just as I thought: we're out," she said.
"Shoot. How about another store close by?" I asked.
She stared and sighed. And then reluctantly clickety-clacked on her computer with her acrylics.
"Looks like the whole district's out," she said.
"That sounds serious," I said.
She didn't reply.
 "Well, can't I just order them online?" I asked.
More hostile clickety-clacking. If she got sick of Pottery Barn she'd make a great ticket agent at the airport.
"Nope. Says here the whole country's out," she said. 
"What? The entire country is out of white sheer linen drapes?" I asked.
"'Fraid so," she said, the tiniest smile forming on her thin lips.   
Just then, another customer sauntered up to counter to purchase some Halloween plates. She eyed Stink Face's bulky cast.
"Oof. Ouch! What'd you do? Break your ankle?" She asked, pointing to it.
Stinky was done. She sighed deeply and didn't attempt to hide her irritation.
"No," she snapped. "Just above the ankle."
Halloween Plates didn't take the hint. She pressed on.
"How the heck didja do that?"
"I slipped on my porch," said Stinky, stone faced.
Halloween Plates shook her head and whistled slowly.
"Been there, done that," she said, looking to me like haven't we all?
I didn't answer. There was a long pause while Stinky rang up Halloween Plates's Halloween plates.
"Well. Thanks anyway," I said as I backed toward the door. "Good luck with your foot."
Stinky gave me one more small stink eye. Then I nodded to Halloween Plates.
"And Happy Halloween."

No one will give you a stink face if you bake them these muffins. Warm baked goods pretty much guarantee zero stink faces. You can quote me on that.

Blueberry Oatmeal Yogurt Muffins
yields 12

Using yogurt helps keep these deliciously moist and adds a little tangy zip. Sprinkling turbinado sugar and a few oats on top before baking gives these babies some nice sweetness and texture. And feel free to use a mixture of berries instead--raspberries are particularly great. This is the perfect use for frozen fruit and you can just mix it in without thawing.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t kosher salt
1 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1 egg
6 T butter, melted
8 oz. plain yogurt (you can sub buttermilk here if you like)
1 cup fresh or frozen (don't thaw) blueberries or mixed berries
turbinado sugar and extra oats for sprinkling on top before baking (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper liners. In a medium/large bowl, combine the first nine ingredients. Whisk together and set aside. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add the yogurt and melted butter and mix well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring just until everything is incorporated. Scoop the batter  into the tins, divvying it up for 12 muffins. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the pan cool on a rack for 5-10 minutes and then remove the muffins, cooling another 20 minutes. Serve warm.

You can also bake muffins now and freeze them for later. Here's how.

Happy Weekend, loves!

P.S. I'm not even a mother yet and I find this tumblr site to be amazingly funny:)

a handful of thoughts from the mind of a preggo

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Guys, this pregnancy is ON. Tomorrow I'll be six months along and there's no turning back. My auditions have tapered off to a slow drip of obscure roles for women who are either perpetually seated or attending baby showers.

It's a bit of a relief. I was going to these castings wearing one of the two super drape-y tops I own, sidestepping into the room and then holding my script in front of my belly. This worked surprisingly well for several weeks until I started noticing people's eyes flicker down almost imperceptibly to my bump, and I was convinced they believed me to have a rare disease whose horrible side effects include a giant torso goiter. Over time, all this goiter suspicion pushed me to come out to my agents. Now the cat is officially out of the bag, the drape-y tops have gone the way of the Dodo, and I'm currently designing a (tight) T-shirt that says "It's a baby, not a goiter!"

Perhaps because I have a bit more time on my hands now, the nesting effect has set in BIG TIME. I've been in this gotta-fix-the-house haze, trying to complete any possible task that I've been putting off for years (painting the baseboards! Changing the filter for the ice cube water!) or might need to happen in the next 9 months (eye exam! Teeth cleaning!). I realize it's the futile desire to control circumstances I can, so that when all hell breaks loose (aka newborn arrival), I'll be better equipped to handle it. Like if I have the most organized spice drawer and/or freshly painted and put-together linen closet, it'll somehow be easier to sleep only ten minutes a night and be drenched in spit-up. Even as I write this I see the ridiculousness of it and yet I still kinda believe it to be true. Anyway, it feels good to have a focus for all of my crazy life-will-soon-never-be-the-same energy, even if it's deciding on paint colors or learning about pile height in different types of rugs. I mean, there's only so many books on pregnancy, labor and swaddling a lady can absorb. Someone asked me recently if I'd thought about which parenting style I subscribed to and I realized I spend more time these days legitimately pondering the best chicken salad sandwich in Los Angeles (BTW, Food Lab FTW).

All this to say: one thing at a time, people. Whether it's paint colors, co-sleeping or chicken salad. One thing at a time.

Another thing that's been on my mind lately is that while I poke fun at all of this stuff and truly enjoy the humor in all of our (my) human experiences, pregnancy included, I've been in such appreciation and awe and joy at the miracle of all that is going on in my body and heart. It's heavenly. And I've been a little reluctant to effusively write about it because I'm so sensitive to the fertility-focused. I don't want to hurt the feelings of those who are yearning for this experience (as I was for SO long). I suppose it's impossible not to push buttons or have our buttons pushed by others around topics that we're super focused on. But we need to put our joy out there into the world and not stifle it, right? So: Here's to compassion. And to joy. And to expressing it with the best of intentions.

Hope you're having a wonderful week so far.


P.S. Thank you again for all the well wishes and congratulations!

P.P.S. Do yourself a favor and do not ever google 'goiter'.

quinoa muffins with chocolate, banana and coconut

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


AMALGAM: CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ME: Thank you so much! I'm truly thrilled. David and I are so excited.

AMALGAM: How are you feeling?!

ME: Great!

AMALGAM: You're so chubby already!

ME: Excuse me?

AMALGAM: Wow--I didn't pop that much until 25 weeks AT LEAST. Here, let me show you a picture.

ME: …Oh. Yeah, you looked great.

AMALGAM: How are you feeling?

ME: A-Ok!

AMALGAM: Did you get sick at all?

ME: Nope. I was really lucky that way.

AMALGAM: Do you know what you're having?

ME: A human!

AMALGAM: No, silly.  I mean a boy? Or a girl?

ME: A boy.

AMALGAM: Oh! How fun! Boys are AMAZING. *Whispers* SOOOOO much easier than girls.

ME: Bonus!

AMALGAM: How are you feeling?

ME: Super!

AMALGAM: When was the first day of your last period?

ME: What now?

AMALGAM: Do you know the day you conceived? Like the exact day you guys did it?

ME: Um. Well, there was a range of days in there.

AMALGAM: How are you feeling?

ME: Awesome!

AMALGAM: Was your pregnancy planned?

ME: I don't even know your last name and I just met you.

AMALGAM: I just thought maybe you've been trying forEVER and so you're really relieved you're FINALLY pregnant.

ME: Again, I've never seen you before five minutes ago.

AMALGAM: Turn around.

ME: Hmm?

AMALGAM: Do a 360, Lady! Nice! I'll bet your husband likes that extra back there. More to grab onto. Ha ha ha!

ME: I hope you're right?

AMALGAM: How are you feeling?

ME: Tip-top!

AMALGAM: Wait: how far along are you?

ME: 21 weeks.

AMALGAM: Wow, you still look amazing.

ME: Still?

AMALGAM: Any names picked out?

ME: Believe it or not, I think we've got him named already.


ME: We're not really telling anyone the name.

AMALGAM: What? Why the hell not?

ME: We've decided to keep it under wraps until he's born.

AMALGAM: You can tell ME though, right? I won't tell anyone.

ME: We're gonna keep it a secret for now.

AMALGAM: Boo! Tell me the name!!!

ME: Sorry.

AMALGAM: *Pouts awkwardly*

ME: …

AMALGAM: You feel good?

ME: Yep!

AMALGAM: You pooping?

ME: …That's…wow…

AMALGAM: Are you guys gonna have another one?

ME: …I think we'll start with the one.

AMALGAM: It'd be great if you could have a girl next.

ME: I'll see what I can do.

AMALGAM: You might wanna get on that though, if you know what I mean.

ME: …

AMALGAM: Tick tock…*repeatedly pokes at wrist*

ME: I actually knew what you meant.

AMALGAM: Are you planning on natural childbirth? You HAVE to have a natural childbirth.

ME: It'd be awesome if it unfolded that way.

AMALGAM: Oh, just get the epidural, honey.

ME: …Ok...

AMALGAM: You HAVE to meet my doula! She's amazing.

ME: …Ok…

AMALGAM: And make sure you have your birth plan in order.

ME: …Ok...

AMALGAM: Did you know baby doctors secretly hate birth plans? They totally judge you for them. Just show up and roll with the punches.

ME: …Ok…

AMALGAM: How are you feeling?

ME: Like making muffins alone with my baby.

Quinoa Muffins with Chocolate, Banana, and Coconut
makes about 12

These took some trial and error to get right but were so worth the tinkering. They take a bit of planning (black bananas, leftover quinoa) but man, they are crazy delicious. I'm certain the quinoa and chocolate cancel each other out.

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 super ripe (read: black) bananas, mashed with a fork
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup cooked quinoa (this is about 1/3 dry)
1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate (or chocolate chips)
turbinado sugar (Sugar-In-The-Raw) for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F and paper or grease a muffin tin. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Whisk well and set aside. In an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the bananas and the eggs, mixing and scraping down the sides after each addition. Add the dry ingredient mixture a bit at a time, mixing until just combined. Stir in the coconut, quinoa and chocolate. Use an ice cream scoop to drop the batter into your muffin tins. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar and bake for 20ish minutes or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm for optimal deliciousness.

(Did you know you can also make a batch of these and freeze them? Bake muffins and cool completely. Then place them in a plastic freezer bag, squeezing as much of the air out as possible. When you're ready for a muffin, preheat oven to 350F, pop a muffin or two into a muffin tin and bake/warm until heated through.)


P.S. THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the kind words and congratulations! I am so blown away by all the support and love and I feel it ALL. You guys are the best ever. Giant hugs and love to you……………xo

a little bit of gigantic news

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Well, what do you know? In the best turn of events ever, I am pregnant. Miracle-style, after four years of trying and all we've been through, we were days (moments?) away from beginning an overwhelming, invasive, extensive, expensive hormone protocol for IVF and I got knocked up naturally the cycle before.

It really took me some time to wrap my head around it. For a while, I was in this surreal limbo. I had to keep reminding myself that I was Pregnant(!!) and also not Not Pregnant. There was a ton of momentum in that Not Pregnant story. And then poof! That story was finished. It shifted my perspective on all the other areas in my life where I've felt stuck. It ignited my faith in a visceral way that I've never experienced. Things can feel for so long like they're never gonna change and then one day, before your very eyes, they do. And then you gotta go get yourself a new story. 

It was two days after I found out about my pregnancy that we learned about Lena's cancer and within two more weeks she was gone. The timing was not lost on me. It was like she waited until we had this imminent new love before she chose to make her transition. My tag-team beloveds: one coming, one going. And as tumultuous as it was during that time, having new life inside me and this upcoming adventure to anticipate was a blessing of a diversion from my pain over losing our sweet Lena girl.

As if my heart wasn't open before, now it's a wide-receiver. The littlest things touch me and bring me to instant tears. It's like the nail salon post times a million. I have so much to say about all of my experience so far but for now, I think I'll just leave it here. Except to say thank you so much for all of your support and love that were part of getting me to this now moment. Now: pass the kleenex, would you?


"Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty." -Brené Brown

P.S. Keeping in line with new beginnings, our baby BOY is due to arrive New Year's Day, 2015:)


Monday, August 11, 2014

Being a huge Jason Mraz fan, I entered to win free tickets to a secret concert he was giving that was being taped for The Artists Den, a PBS live-concert television show, to promote his new album, YES! I never do stuff like that, so when I won two tickets, I was gobsmacked. We arrived early to stand in a gigantic, snaking will-call line (the top-secret location turned out to be the beautiful Royce Hall on the UCLA campus) and I was so thrilled to be there that I wasn't even bothered by the girl behind us lecturing her companion on the perils of dairy for a solid hour. When we finally got to the front, a guy checked a list, handed us two tickets, and by the grace of the Jason Mraz gods, we were seated IN THE FOURTH ROW!

Needless to say, I was in heaven.

And we had the most fun, special night:)

The concert is airing on PBS stations this week so we just caught the televised version and saw our happy mugs on TV!

Hope you have a wonderful week...

P.S. You are loved:)

P.P.S. My other fave, Sara Bareilles, is writing a musical version of the film Waitress(!) and this is her singing a new song from the show…….*swoon*

baked zucchini fries

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hello darling people:)

We just returned from a decadent week-long Colorado mountain vacation. It felt so nourishing to be in that crisp mountain air and see such blue blues and green greens. And the trees! And the meadows! And the clouds! (Oh, how I wish Los Angeles could get itself some dreamy, cottony clouds. Can someone get on that?)

So now we're back to reality and business-as-usual. Case in point: DP and I said a teary goodbye to the gargantuan king size hotel bed and are back to slumming it in our queen. Last night I woke up in a panic when my foot ventured out .0001 millimeters from my side and hit a husband.

We're also (sniff, sob) back to not eating french fries every day. Which is a travesty.

I was Lutheran for a few childhood years (long story) and when I was 7 or 8, our church sponsored a Cambodian family of refugees who had escaped horrible conditions in their country. Somehow they wound up in Boulder, Colorado to attend our little church and I remember our family having a handful of social interactions with them. Once, we introduced them to McDonald's to show them how Americans eat (have you ever?). I will never forget the pained looks on their faces while they inspected and gingerly tried the food, trying to be polite. It was SO foreign to them and so small-minded of us to not only let fast food represent an entire country's cuisine, but assume they would be delighted by it. As a little girl, I remember showing the kids how to dip a french fry into a pile of delicious ketchup while they looked at me like I had three heads. Politely, they followed my lead and proceeded to hate it. One of them had to spit it out in a napkin. And as a 7 year old I could not wrap my head around the notion that a.) someone had never tried a fry with ketchup before and b.) they didn't like it.

That experience is so burned into my memory that I pretty much think of it every time I dip a french fry into ketchup. And seeing how many fries I ate last week, it's like that Cambodian family was right there on vacation with me.

So, okay. These baked zucchini fries aren't truffle-laden or even potato-laden but trust me when I say: they are seriously good. I think even new-to-the-USA Cambodians would like them.

Bonus: they smell SO good while baking--Like a pizza scratch-n-sniff sticker. Another thing that would be really odd to explain to Cambodian refugees. But you guys get it. I know you do.

Baked Zucchini Fries
serves 2-3

2 medium zucchini
2 eggs
juice of half a lemon
black pepper
1/4 t kosher salt
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs (FYI: here is a great gluten-free version)
1 T flax meal (ground flax seeds)
heaping 1/3 cup grated parmesan
1 T salt-free Italian seasoning (like Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute)

Preheat your oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with foil, drizzle with olive oil and smear it around evenly. Trim the zukes, cut them into fry-size wedges and salt them generously. Set aside. In one shallow bowl, beat the eggs and add the lemon juice, a heavy dose of black pepper and 1/4 t salt. In a different shallow bowl, mix the bread crumbs, flax, parmesan and seasoning. In assembly-line fashion, dip the zucchini wedges first into the egg mixture, next into the bread crumbs, then onto the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes (no need to turn them) until golden brown. Taste for salt and then serve immediately with ranch dressing or warm marinara. (OR KETCHUP!:))


P.S. Shout out to the Cambodian readers of Joeycake!

chocolate coconut granola

Friday, June 20, 2014

I had a lovely, sunny hour to kill between auditions yesterday and decided to treat myself to lunch outside since it was such a glorious day. The restaurant I chose had a lively and full patio and my sandwich and I parked at the only open spot: smack next to a table of two women having the most LA of LA conversations. Look, I am an LA woman and I cop to having LA conversations about gluten and psychics, but I do it with a full-on awareness of how LA I'm being (here's hoping).

The one who held court was brunette. She was tall and willowy and wore a straw cowboy hat. A bandana was tied around her neck and she had lots of beads on her person. Her blonde companion was petite. She leaned forward on her miniature elbows and her small frame was engulfed in a billowy, puffy shirt. Between them sat a cheese plate that they picked at. Which surprised me because dairy.
"I find myself barefoot a lot in my house and around my garden," Bandana said. "I find it really helps me connect to the earth."
Puffy Shirt folded her legs underneath her on the chair. She squinted thoughtfully at her companion and gave a slow nod.
"I'm sure it's because of my heritage," said Bandana.
"What's your heritage?" asked Puffy.
"'What isn't my heritage?' is a better question."
Bandana launched into a several-minute soliloquy about the copious Indian tribes she had a percentage in. Choctaw Nation was dropped multiple times. She then moved on to pontificate about her Great Great Grandfather's connection to other native peoples. Puffy never interjected, she just let Bandana go on and on. I actually half-expected Puffy to have nodded off, but when I snuck a glance, she seemed as riveted as me. Although possibly for different reasons.

My peripheral vision was killing me so I turned my attention back to my sandwich and took a few bites. Just then, Puffy leaned down to pet her service dog, a little weasel with brown eye gunk who didn't seem to be servicing much more than the restaurant's floor. Bandana clocked this.
"You have to meet Mr. Adzuki Bean," said Bandana.
"Who's that?" Puffy asked.
I was hoping it was one of her ancestors.
"My dog," said Bandana as she swiped her phone, finding the right photo to share. 
"Aw, he is adorable."
Puffy leaned in to get a better look.
"He's just a tiny little chihuahua but he has a giant spirit," said Bandana, fingering her beads.
"I can see that." 
"He's been here before," said Bandana, evenly.
"Oh, to [super delicious gourmet LA lunch spot]?" Puffy asked.
Bandana chucked ever so slightly.
"No. He's been on this planet before. He's an old soul."
Puffy looked genuinely interested. She stood corrected.
"His eyes are the color of topaz."
"They sure are."
Obviously, I could've sat there all day but my sandwich was gone and I had to go pretend to need psoriasis medicine at my next audition. But I will say this:

You're welcome.

How about a super-LA snack, coated in a superfood? It's like, so LA. Bonus: legend has it, granola was a staple of the Choctaw Nation.*

Chocolate Coconut Granola
yields about 7 cups

This is great on plain yogurt, ice cream, or just eaten by the fistfuls. Feel free to tinker with the amount of maple syrup if you like it more or less sweet. And you really can use any nuts you like, these are just my faves.

4 cups rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut
2/3 cup sliced or chopped almonds
2/3 cup walnut pieces (these can be halved or chopped)
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t kosher salt
1/3 cup coconut oil
2/3 cup maple syrup (or honey)
1 t vanilla
1/2 cup raw cacao powder

Preheat oven to 300F. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, coconut, nuts, cinnamon and salt. Mix well and set aside. In a small saucepan over low heat, add the oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Melt together and stir well. Add the cacao and whisk until incorporated. Pour this wet mixture over the dry ingredients and stir stir stir until well mixed. Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 60-70 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until toasty and golden. Cool on the baking sheet.


*I lied. But here are some actual traditional Choctaw recipes  if you're feeling inspired.

strawberry yogurt pancakes

Friday, June 6, 2014

Guys! It's National Donut Day! And I just heard that Krispy Kreme is giving away FREE DONUTS! Here's how I look at this awesome opportunity: if you opt for pancakes today instead, you're taking the high, healthy road. (No matter that pancakes are also basically fried pieces of dough.) These puppies even have real strawberries and yogurt so you get extra healthy points!

If anyone needs more healthy points it's me. I've been doing some serious carb/sugar loading lately. I even had a dream last night that I was in a fancy bakery. I was in my sweaty workout clothes, perusing the store, when the owner came up to me. She had a bag in her hand.
"I'd love to give you this bag of fresh cookies," she said, "but on one condition." 
"Okay," I said, intrigued. She ushered me over to an unmarked door and opened it to reveal a full spa bathroom. In the bakery.
"You need to take a shower," she said, "And if you do, I'll give you the cookies." She set them down next to the sink.
"Sounds like a deal!" I said. Then I waited for her to beat it before grabbing the cookies and leaving without holding up my end of the bargain. 


That I need to shower more frequently? That I'm a liar? That I can have my (pan)cake and eat it (a donut) too?

You guys ponder this while I head over to Krispy Kreme.

Strawberry Yogurt Pancakes
makes about 12 3" cakes
inspired by Smitten Kitchen

These super fluffy little cakes are super delicious. And the yogurt is a perfect substitute for buttermilk. Who has buttermilk lying around anyway? I prefer non-Greek yogurt for this recipe but you can absolutely use it. It'll just give your cakes a bit more zippy tang.

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 T sugar
1 T plus 1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 eggs
1 cup plain yogurt
2 T milk, maybe 1-2 T more--see note below
4 T butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 t lemon zest
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 heaping cup sliced strawberries
extra butter or coconut oil for the pan
maple syrup for serving

In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients: flours, sugar, baking powder, salt. Whisk well to combine. In a separate, medium bowl, whisk the eggs and then add the yogurt, mixing well. Whisk in 2T milk, butter, lemon zest, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir until just combined, taking care not to over mix. (If you used Greek yogurt, the batter may feel a little thick. Add 1-2T more milk to loosen it up a bit.)

Preheat a cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add 1-2 teaspoons oil or butter to the hot pan and ladle about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake, spacing them out slightly. Press a few sliced berries into each pancake, flattening the cakes out a little as you do this. Cook a few minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary and flip when golden brown on the bottom. Cook 3-4 minutes more on the other side. Serve immediately with maple syrup or keep warm on a rack in a 200F oven.


P.S. Orange Is The New Black season two is released today!! Celebrate with some orange food:)

baby cormac's quilt

Thursday, May 29, 2014

One of my dearest lady friends, Susan, had her first baby last week (!!) and good thing she did since I made her this little quilt specifically for that reason. It's another one of my friend Alicia's from her Olallieberry pattern and I highly recommend it for beginners. I originally tied it a different way and after washing it, most of the ties untied:/ (Dreadful horrors!) So I texted Alicia a picture of the debacle and said WTF did I do wrong? And she wrote me back this longest text asking me if I buried the tail and hid the knot and a bunch of other stuff that sounded like Japanese. So I asked her if she spoke English. And then (because she's amazing), she made me an instructional video of her sewing these cutest embroidery-floss stars. Not only did they work, they look so so so much cuter than my original plan. I have the nicest, most generous crafty friend. You gotta check out her site if you haven't. I love her. (Thanks, Alicia!!!)

I hope you find a way to be creative today, even just a tiny bit.

P.S. My favorite part is picking out the fabric:

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