Nutella Brownie Balls.

If you follow my blog, you know I have made cake balls before. But I was wanting some super chocolaty Nutella ones when it dawned on me to make them with brownies instead of cake and Nutella in lieu of frosting. I improvised the recipe and they turned out amazing, much better than cake balls if you ask me. The sea salt is the key - it just brings out the sweetness so much more. 

-Brownies (either from scratch or a box - I used Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownies)
-Molding Dark Chocolate
-Coco Powder
-Sea Salt

It took me a few hours to make and yields around 24 Brownie Balls.

Step 1: 
Bake the brownies and let them cool completely. I cut mine into pieces so it would cool faster.

Step 2: 
Crumble brownies into the smallest pieces you can. They don't crumble as easy as cake does, so do your best to break it up.

Step 3: 
Mix in Nutella. I ended up adding around 4-5 Tablespoons. My brownies were really moist and didn't need a ton of Nutella mixed in. 

Step 4: 
Mix Nutella into crumbled Brownie with your hands until it is well combined.

Step 5: 
Roll into 1" balls. 

Step 6: 
Melt molding chocolate in a double boiler or two pots like I did. Make sure you stir the chocolate periodically. This helps it the chocolate on the bottom from burning and keeps the chocolate smooth.

Step 7: 
Once the chocolate is smooth and creamy, dip each ball in with a spoon and roll it to get an even coating. Place on cookie sheet/plate to cool.

Step 8: 
While the chocolate coating is still hot on each ball, sprinkle coco powder and sea salt on top. I did this one by one after I dipped each ball before the chocolate cooled. That way the coco and salt stay on and dry into the chocolate.

Step 9: 
Refrigerate for at least an hour. Make sure you take them out about at least an hour before you want to eat them, so the chocolate coating softens just a little. 

Step 10: 
Eat, Enjoy and Be Merry! 


Fourth of July.

 Happy 4th of July America! It's good to be free! I am also 29 weeks today, only 11 more to go! My chest and belly are getting so big, I barely squeezed into this non-maternity dress. It fit so much better a week ago. But I wanted to feel festive and this sheer tomato red dress is so easy and breezy. 
The 4th of July is one of my favorite celebrations. It's good to be thankful for our freedom and the BBQs and fireworks are pretty great too.  I usually spend this time at the beach - swimming in the ocean and enjoying the sunshine.  I am a little bummed I can't enjoy myself more, but there's always next year. I'm going to keep it pretty low key today, I've been feeling light headed really easy lately. I just want to eat some yummy burgers or tacos and watch some beautiful fireworks this evening.


// Dress - (old)Silence + Noise from U/O - similar here // Hat - Panama Jack // 
// Necklace - Free People //// Cuff - Vanessa Mooney // 
// Boots - (old)Free People X Jeffrey Campbell // Sunnies - Warby Parker //


My Truth About Pregnancy.

I'm now in the third trimester so I still have a little ways to go. But so far I can't get past how strange and totally normal it feels to be pregnant. A woman's body literally goes though about a hundred changes. 

Most of the physical ones are obvious. Your abdomen bulges more and more - your breasts get fuller(and even start producing colostrum) - your ligaments loosen - your hips widen - you retain a lot of water at times - you gain weight. Luckily for me I never really had any morning sickness. I felt queasy for two days but that was it. I did suffer from sciatic pain a lot near the end of the first trimester. I definitely waddle around these days. Sleeping has become harder due to the fact that I can't seem to ever get comfortable. The lack of sleep is making my energy level drop, and making it harder for me to keep up with my exercise. I put a lot of pressure on myself to stay physical and when I have a string of days in a row where I just feel too tired, I beat myself up and feel guilty for not pushing myself harder to get out there. I try to go for my usual 2.5 mile walk even when I'm tired because I know the physical activity will help me be tired enough to sleep regardless of how uncomfortable I feel. It's a tough cycle I am currently in. 

The mental and emotional changes are harder to pin point and verbalize, and I'm sure vary widely from woman to woman. For me, I wasn't expecting to be pregnant so quickly, so there was a period of denial and ultimately acceptance at the beginning. The thought of giving birth seemed impossible and it really took some time for me to deal with the fact it was something I was going to face, and soon. I, now, feel pretty confident about giving birth - even entertaining the idea of having a natural childbirth. But, you have no control of how it will happen, so I am staying open to all of the ways it could ultimately go down. 

I have meditated and thought so much about becoming a mother and what it means. It's an incredible responsibility but also such an honor and blessing. It is my job to take this pure little soul and introduce her to the whole world. To teach her what it is to be human, to be alive and to be a part of this time and place. It's a job I take with enormous weight. In today's day and age I have so many fears for her. Technology alone seems like such an uphill battle. I see so many parents today just shoving iPads at their children rather than talking, interacting and entertaining them. I am sure I will have my moments too, but I hope to instill a love for the outdoors and creativity. I don't want her to spend all of her time inside on a computer. When I was a kid we played outside until the sun was setting on our bikes with the neighbors, and I hope that my kid gets to experience that too. One of my biggest goals is to inspire and facilitate a communion with nature and animals. I worry what the world will be like when she's an adult. Which is why I find it so imperative for her to experience as much of the world as she can while she is young. So she can at least have the memories of clean(ish) oceans, forests, wild and raw nature. 

I hope to do a lot of traveling with her. Traveling all over the world was such an inspiring thing for me. Sometimes the world seems so big, but when you get out there you see how small it really is. How people all over are still just people. Seeing different countries, some people better off and others not so much, made me so deeply grateful for what I have and helped me realize what I think is important in life. Experiencing new places teaches you about life in such deep, profound ways. I really want her to experience that. 

The hardest part of pregnancy so far for me has been that you just have to face every emotion and feeling you have (and trust me there are about a hundred different ones in any given minute) head on. There's no numbing your feelings or running from your emotions. You have to just feel and face it all, everyday, over and over again. It's frustrating and enlightening all at once. All my goals, all my fears, everything rational and irrational alike. I really feel quite triumphant for dealing with it all. Don't get me wrong I really can't wait until I can have that first cocktail again, and feel my head clear away and my muscles relax. Especially since it's my birthday on Tuesday. I may have a little half glass of wine. 

Overall some days are better than others, like anything else. Some days I just feel so great, I'm in the best mood, high energy and ready to take on motherhood and the world. Other days, I feel like how in the world am I going to do this, everything feels so monumental and difficult, I feel scared and suffocated. I really just live one day at a time, one hour at a time. I try to do the best I can. Some days that's doing yoga, building a crib, walking 2.5 miles, eating tons of veggies, and being in the best mood while doing it all. Other days I lock myself in the bathroom and cry for a couple hours. That's just how it goes. If I didn't have the hard days I wouldn't appreciate the good ones so much. Which is so true when it comes to almost anything in life. I've learned to love the struggle because that's what makes you stronger and better overall. Life isn't always sunshine and rainbows, you have to weather the storm to truly understand and appreciate their beauty. But I also see the beauty in the storm too. After all the struggle is what makes us all human. And I want my child to be strong and fierce. I know it will be hard to let her struggle at times, but I do think it's important for her to find her inner strength and her limits. Life is truly a wild ride, we are all on it for better or worse, and we have to just keep moving forward down our own individual path, being the best we can be. 

Pregnancy and impending motherhood is my current path. And I'm just doing my best.


Summer To Do List.

I always have a list of things I can't wait to do when summer rolls around. But this year, it seems even more imperative due to the fact that this is my last summer without children. I've already done a few of these, but I want to do them again. 

 So here are my top ten things to do this summer:
1. Bake a Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie
This is one of my favorite pies ever. I love Rhubarb anything. MMMMM my tastebuds are already salivating, thinking of the last one I made two summers ago...It's definitely time to bake one of these again.

2. Swim in the Ocean (as often a possible)
I love the ocean, I love being near it and in it as much as I can. It makes me feel so alive and free. I love diving under waves and wading in the tide. The ocean is such a massive, gorgeous, natural force - I find it incredibly inspiring to be at her mercy.

3. Tacos and Margarita (virgin of course)
I love me some tacos. I eat them already at least once a week. But I haven't enjoyed a cocktail, let alone a margarita in ages, because I'm pregnant of course. I want to make sure I enjoy a nice virgin margarita so I can feel like I am letting my hair down a bit. 

4. Check Some Books Off My List (...that I have been meaning to read)
I read a lot, but I'd like to make a nice dent in my never ending book list. These are just a handful of books on my list. Nabokov and Vonnegut are two of my all time favorite authors - it's my goal in life to read all of their novels.

5. Sit on the Beach and Watch the Sunset
It's such a calming and beautiful time, when the day and night meet for a brief moment. I love to watch the sun dip into the sea, out on the horizon, and reflect on life and appreciate the beautiful moments. It reminds me of how fleeting our lives are and how I want to make the most of every moment. 

6. BBQ Some Burgers
Summer is the time for BBQs, and burgers are my favorite. I have already grilled up some tasty burgers but I want to do it a few more times at least. 

7. Cinespia
I love going to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery for movie screenings. It's such a great time to hangout with friends. I saw Jaws already this year, but I want to get in a couple more films.

8. Mini Road Trip
Daniel and I did a little 48 hour trip from LA to Monterey at the beginning of June for our anniversary and it was so much fun I want to do another little getaway. I'm going to start researching some fun day trips and places to explore. 

9. Attend an Outdoor Concert
I love being outdoors and I love live music. The Greek Theatre is one my favorite venues. I love how trees surround the place and make me forget I am smack dab in the middle of Los Angeles. I definitely hope to make it there at least once this year. 

10. Make S'mores
Roasting marshmallows over a bonfire is what summer is all about. I love burning my marshmallows so the outside in black and the inside is melted and gooey. I tend to leave it on fire - and smother the flames with the graham cracker and chocolate. It makes the chocolate melt a bit too.  I have also been reading some fun s'mores inspired cookie and brownie recipes. 


My Bohemian Soul.

 I am entering my third trimester and that belly is getting BIG. Sleeping has become a little hard to come by and I am retaining water like it's my job (forgive the all around puffiness). But overall still feeling pretty good. My energy level is great - I've been doing 2.5 mile walks 3-4 times a week, yoga, cardio and strength training, and I swim whenever I get the opportunity. My appetite is getting more voracious everyday and I'm just starting to feel very pregnant. 
My 29th birthday is coming up, I can't believe it's my last birthday before I am a mother. I am going to make sure to make my friends have some cocktails in my honor. Life is such a wild, unexpected, amazing ride. You really never know where it's going to take you. I am just strapped in and excited about what's around the corner. You have to go with the flow, ride the waves and take it all with stride. 
I found this Gap Maternity Dress on sale with my Mom last week. It's the softest, stretchiest, comfiest thing around. I am hoping I'll be able to sport it post-pregnancy with a belt. The long, heather grey dress is a little plain for me - so I definitely felt the need to spice it up with some bold accessories. Summer always brings out my inner flower child - bohemian and this red, suede fringe bag has come back into rotation. It's just the accessory to bring my hippie attitude to any summer ensemble. I love how daring and carefree it is. It makes me want to go on long walks through nature, watch the sun set over the ocean, feel the wind blow in my hair, wear a crown of fresh picked flowers, dance to the music in my heart, and just generally embrace that old bohemian soul of mine. 

// Dress - Gap Maternity // Bag - Melrose Outpost Flea Market // Sunglasses - Toms //
// Hat - Panama Jack - Men's Toyo Safari // Jewelry - Vintage // 
// Shoes - (old) Charles David (via Free People) - Similar Here // 


Little Black Maternity Dress.

My apologies, it's been nearly a week since my last post, but I have finally been able to write! It's been hard to get my head in the game the last couple months. I think it's because there's a million and one changes happening to me, physically, mentally and emotionally. I've just been trying to process it all. I feel like I am starting to get a grip on the new me and all the things headed my way.  I just really want to be the best version of myself when I enter motherhood in September. I know I'm about to face a lot of challenges that I can't even fathom right now. Don't worry I am also trying to get in as much fun as a can while it's just Daniel and I. As you can see my second trimester is coming to an end, this is the last week, then it's third trimester time for me and baby girl. 
Both of my sister-in-laws wore this black dress while they were pregnant and they sent it to me and insisted I keep up the tradition. I am so glad that they did, because this dress is amazing. It's really soft, comfortable and flattering. I wish it wasn't about to heat up to summer temperatures so I could keep wearing it. I love basic black, it's the perfect canvas for me to play around with my two obsessions: accessories and lipstick. I love these turquoise and gold earrings with a red lip, I can't get enough. I also love throwing my hair into these messy, milkmaid braids. It's so nice having my hair up when it's warm out and there's something so fun and whimsical about them that I just adore. 
Happy Friday!!! Yay for the weekend!!!

// Dress - Nom // Bag - Holding Horses from Anthropologie // Shoes - Saltwater Sandals //
// Earrings - Anthropologie // Sunglasses - Toms // Necklace - Vintage // 
// Lipstick - MAC Ruby Woo //