happy first birthday, baby bear!

April 20th, 2015

BDay

Dear Baby Bear,

This weekend, we celebrated your first birthday.

I know. I can’t believe it either.

How is it possible that you’re a year old already? It feels like moments ago when I was was nine months pregnant and couldn’t wait for you to arrive, so nervous and scared and naive about the year we were about to be thrown into.

And now you’re a year old. You’re not an infant anymore, and you’re hardly a baby. You’re just on the border of toddlerhood, the same person you’ve always been, and different every day. It’s been a year of watching you grow and change in so many ways, with me just trying to just hold on and keep up.

The night of your birthday party, we sat in your rocking chair before bed, like we always do. And for a moment, I thought about those early days, when you were too tiny to even hold your head up and all you wanted was to snuggle and feel safe and warm in my arms. And I hugged you closer, because you’re so much bigger now but you’re still that same baby to me. You always will be.

This year has been so incredibly wonderful And it’s also been so incredibly hard. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering if having a baby was hard or wonderful, like it had to be one or the other. But it’s always been both. Every single day, it’s been both at the exact same time. It was the toughest year I’ve ever had. And it was also the best year of my life.

There were nights holding you in my arms when I wanted to just stop time forever, to pause that moment and spend eternity there. The joy of watching you grow up is impossible to even describe, and even now, after a year, it all felt like it went by too fast. Some days felt like they’d never end, but this year passed in the blink of an eye.

More than anything, though, I’m so grateful that you’re part of our family. Your entry in our lives was like nothing I’ve ever experienced, and the best way I can explain it is this: The love that I have for you is so immense that it’s made me love everything in the world a little bit more. You opened up my heart in a completely new way, and I will forever be grateful for it.

At your party, some of my friends with older kids told me that a baby’s first birthday is for the parents to celebrate making it through the first year. And we did. We made it, and we celebrated.

It was the toughest year.

It was the best year.

Happy birthday, Baby Bear. We love you so much.

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→ CommentsTags: baby · life




spotlight on: max’s first birthday party

April 13th, 2015

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We’ve been spending the last few weeks getting ready for Bear’s first birthday (can you believe it’s been a year already?) and I found myself going through some photos of my friend Ellie’s birthday party for her son, Max. 

Ellie did such a beautiful job with everything for this party, from the decorations to the food to the amazing smash cake for her little birthday boy.  Obviously, I loved the Bear theme she chose! 

So as I was looking back through these photos, I wanted to share a few shots I took at the party with you guys. 

Aren’t they just darling?  I love all the beautiful little details she thought of, from little chalkboards displaying every detail to the teddy bear cake!  It was such a perfect afternoon, and I hope that our party in a few weeks is half as pretty as hers was.

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→ CommentsTags: baby · parties




workweek chic: my confidence-boosting red dress

April 6th, 2015

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For the first few years of my career, I worked at a huge law firm in New York, and it was a pretty incredible experience.  I’d never had a full time job before (I went straight from college to law school), and for the first few weeks, I was so nervous and excited that I pretty much held my breath all day long.  I was constantly working at a breakneck pace — it was ordinary for me to eat dinner at my desk almost every night, and pretty common for me to collapse into a car home at 2 or 3 a.m., only to get a few hours of sleep and head back to the office. 

If that sounds awful… well, it sort of was, and it also sort of wasn’t.  I was twenty five and didn’t have much in my life besides work, and Chad’s a lawyer too, so we were pretty much on the same insane schedule.  I was excited about the work I was doing (many of those late nights were spent on an incredibly rewarding case, which I wrote about in January) and I really liked the people I worked with.  The hours were tough, but those early pedal-to-the-metal years were also kind of fun.  Everyone was as intense about their careers as I was, and we all committed to the work that had to get done. 

And I also learned a lot

A lot of what I learned is specific to being a lawyer: how to write a brief and pick a jury, how to prepare a client to be deposed and how to be courteous and professional even when the other side is being completely outrageous.  They’re lessons I remember to this day. 

But I also learned something else: how to appear confident and professional, even when I was twenty-five and completely terrified that I had no idea what I was doing.

As much as I learned from the work itself, I learned more from the people I worked with.  And although I worked with a lot of wonderful male lawyers, truthfully, I paid more attention to the professionalism of the senior-level women I worked with.  Law has traditionally been a very male-dominated field, but that’s changed dramatically in the past decade or so (like many industries, of course, it still has a long way to go).  One of the tremendous upsides to this shift is that my law firm had a number of female lawyers who were five, ten, and twenty years ahead of me on their own career tracks, and often, they made a special effort to look out for female junior associates. 

So I’m going to share one of the tips I got with you guys, one that isn’t specific to law at all.  When I was a first year associate, I was sitting in the office of a junior partner, and she was talking about what it’s like to argue in a courtroom filled with men, when sometimes (if not often), you’re the only woman there.

And she filled us in on a little secret.  “When I want a boost of confidence,” she told us.  “I wear a red suit.  I don’t know why, but there’s something about wearing red that always makes me feel strong.”

Wearing red is a small thing, but the small things really matter.  When that partner told me about putting on her red suit, she wasn’t saying, “sometimes it’s intimidating to be the only woman in the room.”  She was saying: Here’s what I do when I want to feel as good as I can.  Here’s a small thing that, for me, makes a difference. 

And, you know what?  It’s good advice.  When I’m getting ready for anything from a big meeting to an oral argument, I make an extra effort to dress in a way that boosts my confidence.  So in honor of that piece of advice I got years ago, I’m sharing this Workweek Chic outfit today.

My own confidence-boosting red dress.

And, hey, if you’re on the fence about red in your industry, I have an easy workaround.  There’s a reason Louboutins have a red sole!

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→ CommentsTags: style · work




for some dreamy summer night…

April 3rd, 2015

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A few weeks ago, I had some girlfriends over to our house, and of course, I had to give a full tour to one of them who hadn’t been over before.  The tour ended in my closet (obviously!) and one of them zeroed in on a dress that was hanging there

“What’s that for?”  She asked me, obviously anticipating some super-glam event coming up on my calendar.

But… nope!  Aside from a quick vacation coming up in a few weeks, Chad and I have exactly nothing big planned for the next few months.  Chances are, we’ll be spending a lot of Saturday nights ordering takeout and watching the baby monitor. 

On the other hand, I’m almost tempted to plan something extra-special just to wear this dress.  I have some daytime events on the horizon but can’t quite bring myself to break out a ballgown in the middle of the day.  But I keep finding myself scoping out possibilities for a really over-the-top night out, just an excuse to break this dress out of the closet!

I love to buy new dresses for special occasions, but I hate the pressure that comes with needing something right now, which inevitably means that I’ll spend a whole day shopping and not find anything I like.  So now I make an effort to find dresses I love before I need them, so that I have something on hand in a pinch!

What about you guys?  Any swanky black tie galas or chic wedding parties coming up this summer? 

Gifted eDressMe dress, Carolee necklace, BHLDN Luna bracelet.

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→ CommentsTags: uncategorized




shrimp and corn chowder

March 30th, 2015

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Spring hit Texas last week, although I know it’s been slow to arrive on other parts of the country!  But this dish is a pretty good compromise — it has the lightness of a summer chowder, but it’s warm and substantial for those last few chilly days.

These last few weeks have been insanely busy, but in a really good way!  Starting my law practice means that when I’m swamped with work, I’m actually happy about it — which is a pretty cool feeling.  However, it means that I have to be extra organized and motivated to make sure I can accomplish what I need to every day.  (Especially with a baby involved, that’s no small feat!) It’s been a huge challenge, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

But, onto this recipe: I wouldn’t say it’s exactly as “easy” as my usual slow cooker staples, although the effort is definitely worth it.  This is the kind of dish that’s great to make on Friday night, so you can have leftovers all weekend.  Chad really liked it, and it’ll be back in our rotation again soon! 

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Shrimp and Corn Chowder

INGREDIENTS
1 16-ounce package of frozen corn
4 slices turkey bacon, diced
8 scallions, thinly sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups 2% milk
1 teaspoon Old Bay
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
Salt and Pepper

DIRECTIONS

In a large stock pot, saute the turkey bacon until fully cooked, and set aside.  Combine 1 tbsp milk with the flour and heat together to create a roux, then add the rest of the milk, potatoes, scallions, seasoning, shrimp, and corn.  Simmer for about 2 hours.

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→ CommentsTags: food · main dishes