Category Archives: photography

The Talbot shower by mail tradition

The terrific tradition of a Talbot family baby shower, by mail, was started when my mom was pregnant with me, 35 years ago! With seven brothers and sisters, my dad’s side of the family is spread across Washington, California, Utah, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Ontario, Canada! My Auntie Kitchie initially coordinated with her sisters and sisters in law to mail baby presents, three decades ago, so they could all celebrate from afar! Earlier this summer, my thoughtful cousin, Jeri, organized an e-invite for the Talbot women to coordinate presents arriving on July 29th from across North America! Jeri had her little boy over a year ago and was the previous Talbot mama to have the shower by mail!

This morning, our baby girl and I were the lucky recipients. The tradition is that the many family members send baby gifts from the comfort of their homes to the mama to be, who opens them all on the same day, in her home, with her feet up and a cup of tea. A few days ago, Jeri sent me a box brimming with tea options and some fun chocolate, too!

My amazing aunties sent me a Mallard dress for baby Mallary, a cute raincoat with butterflies and eco-friendly compostable diapers! My Granny Kay hand knit an adorable hat and “soakers”, too! My cousin, Jeri, also sent matching Goumikids mittens and booties with a great fish print! I really enjoyed all the sweet notes that accompanied the gifts too. I was so inspired that I immediately sent out thank you notes while I was still drinking tea!

As if that wasn’t generous enough, my cousins, Kiki, Jessie, and their moms sent us a super cute plush rocking horse too!! 

We are so set for our little girl, due in 3 weeks!!!!! We go in on Monday for our 37 week check up and to see if she’s still in breech position. Mr F and I are very curious to see if our talking to her, has encouraged her to move her head down, or if I’ll need to get a “version” to move her. I’m just happy that she’s healthy and that we’ll meet her soon!

My favorite organic and eco-conscious baby finds…so far!

 Since getting pregnant, I’ve become obsessed with baby clothes. It doesn’t help that I’m having a little girl and there are so many cute clothes out there. I’ve really succumbed to sales for Burt’s Bees Baby,  Kate Quinn Organics, andWinter Water Factory, especially since the latter is usually quite pricey, but I’ve been able to find 40-50% off sales!

I’ve also been really lucky to receive a lot of sweet hand me downs and find gently used clothes on an online consignment shop called, Les Petites PDX I scored this awesome Hanna Andersson fleece elf suit for this winter!

We picked out the Bumbleride Indie stroller based on a friend’s recommendation and love that it is made of recycled plastic bottles. We should be able to use it for several years too. We also found a Maclaren easy traveler stroller frame on the Nextdoor app for free! It fits our Chicco KeyFit30 carseat too.

I also have a few months supply of Honest diapers and took advantage of the 40% Earth Day and 50% birthday sales!

I belong to the Gugu Guru baby registry advisory board and will be reviewing the Graco Lauren crib soon, along with the Sealy Soybean Foam-Core Infant/Toddler Crib Mattress – Hypoallergenic Soy Foam, which is still on our registry!

Any other organic, eco-friendly suggestions?

A year ago…the start of our greatest adventure

A year ago, my husband surprised me and agreed he was finally ready to have kids. A little backstory, when we got married, almost 9 years ago, we agreed that we didn’t want to have kids and would travel more, with at least one international vacation a year. We disappointed our parents that our siblings would have to produce grandchildren, not us. Fast forward to my 33rd birthday when my biological clock started ticking and I changed my mind. Mr F may have taken some convincing but now that I’m 35 weeks pregnant, we both couldn’t be happier. Mr F is already looking forward to teaching our little girl to swim in the Puget Sound!

A year ago, when Mr F said he was finally ready, I immediately stopped taking birth control on July 15th, starting taking the most highly recommended natural prenatal vitamins and asked my doctor for all the updates in vaccines, what medications/supplements were okay or not okay to take, and told my family. They were very surprised! Shockingly, when we started looking at houses, we immediately found the perfect house in a great neighborhood, down the street from a great elementary school, so we were able to close at the end of August!

While it took a few months of trying, we were very lucky. The first month after stopping birth control, my cycle was 35 days long and I got way too excited that I was pregnant. Two friends suggested reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility to have a better understanding of what was going on. I started timing my work trips around day 20 when I noticed a temperature rise. We went to Italy on a romantic vacation in September, hoping for an Italian surprise. In December, Mr F even joined me in San Diego for a conference and monitoring visit, since it made sense to stay there for the weekend. I’m so glad he did because by December 15th, I knew I was late. When my sisters and I went to the 5th Avenue production of Little Mermaid on December 15th, I didn’t eat the sushi, to be on the safe side. On Sunday, December 19th, 2016 I had my first positive pregnancy test! My sister, Janie texted me later that day, to ask if I had taken a pregnancy test yet. Of course, I told her the exciting news, then I called Katie, Mom, and Dad. I even double checked and got a second positive pregnancy test on the 21st at my primary care doctor’s office too!  It was the best Christmas so far!

In January, we started to nickname the baby “cabbage” after watching the OA. My grandmother, Tootie, started thinking of names in Tagalog and wanted us to call the baby “Ligaya” which means happy. She didn’t even both coming up with boy names. It’s like she already knew that we were having a girl even though we wouldn’t find out for another month. I started asking several work friends for advice with pregnancy and traveling up to 80%. Most people told me to wait until after year-end reviews in March, after my first trimester. At 9 weeks, we had our first ultrasound on January 16th and heard a strong heartbeat!  On February 6th, (when I was 13 weeks pregnant,) we went in for the nuchal translucency ultrasound and additional prenatal testing.  While everything looked great and no signs of Down’s Syndrome, I waited until 20 weeks to say anything on Facebook.  I announced my pregnancy with a picture of some of my first baby purchases, a Pickles n’ Roses jumper and “Are You Kitten Me?” Freshly Picked moccasins.

When we went to Paris March 4th-13th, and with all the croissants and delicious food, I started to show! (Can you tell in this photo? I’m about 16 weeks along, too.)   On March 20th, we finally got the results of the cell free DNA test and they were negative! It also told us that we’re having a girl!!! Mr F and I immediately agreed upon a name too.    At week 21, April 13th, we got a 3D ultrasound and it was amazing to see our baby’s face!  She was kicking and wiggling for the tech because I had a doughnut beforehand and the tech said the sugar made her dance! The tech kept saying, “thank you, baby”, when she did hold still for measurements and confirmation of all her organs, length of femur, nasal bone, and looking at the 4 chambers of her heart.  This was also the week that I really felt kicking on a daily basis, and Mr. F felt it, too. I wonder if the cats notice when they sleep next to my belly at night.  At this point, I started having some issues sleeping so I really enjoyed getting a Snoogle pregnancy pillow to help me sleep on my left side.

Around 28 weeks pregnant, the first weekend in June, we took a mini babymoon to Langley, Whidbey Island  and stayed in a relaxing AirBnB across the street from the Inn at Langley.  We had amazing food including the tasting menu at the Inn.  The service was phenomenal and almost every staff member told me about their favorite pregnancy memory, or their toddler! After the babymoon, I got my results back from the glucose test and it was elevated so I had to go back for 3 hour glucose tolerance test, which fortunately came back negative! In June, we also had maternity photos  with Erin Schedler, our wedding photographer,   with pictures on the roof of our house,  by the BUMP sign down the street, my family,  and on the beach, too! My first baby shower was in mid June hosted by my matron of honor, Mandy, and it was so sweet.  I especially loved the pink champagne cake and the chocolate party favors. Mandy gave us the changing pad and cover at the baby shower. We got the SNOO bassinet in early May, the changing table from Tirto in mid June, and the nursing chair mid July. I cashed in points through work for the Chicco KeyFit30 car seat, which arrived early April, and I have a month’s supply of Honest diapers in sizes 1-3, so we are ready!

This month, I’m weeks 32-35 along, and I’m really noticing my pelvis and it’s getting harder to sit for long periods of time. Since I travel so much for work, up and down the West Coast, I got a doctor’s note at 33 weeks to stop flying. I’m grateful that my work has found more administrative tasks for me to do at home.

We also recently met the neighbors behind our house and they have a three month old baby boy. Our babies will be so close in age and will be able to go to kindergarten together at the elementary school, half a block away! Mr F’s parents also came to visit from St. Louis, this month!  We spent nearly every day for a week swimming! This last weekend, my family threw me a baby shower at the family farm in Stanwood,  and the decorations were so adorable.  I really loved all the food,  especially the 6 different kinds of Gothberg Farms goat cheese with olives, dried cherries and mango! (My sister’s mother-in-law makes the most amazing cheese!)  I also wore my mom’s maternity dress that I remember her wearing with my youngest sister! My mother in law made our baby a lovely horse print, which we nicknamed the “Momtisse”,  for the baby’s nursery too! Everyone was so generous. I’m so thankful our baby will be so well loved.

 

 

 

Top 10 favorite sights in Paris

My top 10 favorite sights and must sees in Paris, include:

10. The Repetto boutique!    The displays were every little girl’s ballerina dream.

9. Louvre for the Mona Lisa.  She is worth the hype. Since we went on a Friday afternoon in early March, the crowds were not bad and we enjoyed seeing one of the most talked about pieces of art, in person. We even got a selfie with her.

8. Sacre Couer.  The view of the city was expansive and it was fun to walk through Montmartre.

7. The Eiffel Tower.  My favorite time of day was at dusk when it lights up. 

6. The Seine. Walking along the Seine, especially at sunset was magical. Each bridge had it’s own personality and while the water was brown, there was life on each bank, and so many things happening along the path.  It was great people watching, too.

5. Arc du Triomphe.  Due to the proximity to our hotel, we got to visit the Arc several times, but I’m so glad that we got to climb to the top and soak in the view before we left.  This was one of my favorite views of the Eiffel Tower too.

4. Notre Dame. Hearing the church choir and walking around the Notre Dame  is something I could do hundreds of times. I noticed new things everytime and enjoyed seeing the grounds at different times of the day, too.

3. Pony rides in the Jardins de Luxembourg  were one of my biggest highlights of the trip. This experience was so fun and charming, along with seeing the toy sailboats! 

2. Musee d’Orsay.  We found the layout much more friendly and easy to navigate then the Louvre and we loved the Impressionist curation,   as well as the building and the sculptures, especially Pompon.

  1. Sainte Chappelle     We saved the best site-seeing for our last day in Paris and I’m so glad we made time to see this jewel before leaving Paris. The department of Justice obscures the church from the street so I think this can be easily misleading and not seen, unless you go inside. We were amazed by the walls of stained glass and so impressed. This is easily the number one thing I will continue to recommend to everyone visiting Paris!

Top 10 favorite eats in Paris

Mr. F and I really maximized time in Paris by prioritizing our meals and getting personal recommendations that we cross referenced with Eater, Trip Advisor, and Yelp. Here are my top 10 favorite dishes from our 9 days in Paris.

10. Fresh crepes and croissants for breakfast every day at our spectacular Hotel du Collectionneur Arc de Triomphe Paris. I adored eating all the decadent pastries and having all the sweet breakfast options possible.  I’m so very thankful to have been my company’s North American representative and participate in such a dynamic discussion based conference.

9. Macarons at Pierre Hermé A good college friend recommended going to Pierre Herme over Ladurée and turns out, this is a popular French opinion too. I appreciated that Pierre Herme was slightly less expensive and I didn’t have to wait in a 10 + person line. There was also a store within a 10 minute walk from our hotel on the Champs-Élysées.  I got one of each flavor and my favorites were the Mogador (milk chocolate and passion fruit, on the top row, second from the far right), Huile d’Olive a la Mandrine (olive oil with mandarin orange, top row, furthest right), and Arabesque (apricot and crunchy pistachios, top row, second from the far left).

8. Escargot at L’Huîtrier.   I had to have snails in France and these were delicious! They were swimming in butter and a small amount of pesto. I was surprised that escargot were not on more menus so I’m glad I had, at least one chance to have them, in Paris.  However, we were super intimidated by the palm sized oysters (I guess we’re spoiled by the half dollar sized WA and BC ones?)

7. Beef bourguignon at Restaurant Joséphine Chez Dumonet.     We asked the concierge for a traditional French restaurant for beef bourguignon and they readily recommend this restaurant. The portions were huge and the service was excellent and we had the best time. Each dish was perfection and the beef bourguignon was the best we had ever had, by a significant margin! (I also tried mille feuille, just for the experience, and I was a little turned off by the pigeon served rare. However, when in Paris, one must try the local specialties!)

6. Soufflé at L’Atelier Etoile de Joël Robuchon This passion fruit soufflé was elegant and delicious especially since it was paired with passion fruit sorbet! It was sweet and refined, and was a treat to the eyes and palate. It melted on your tongue with the perfect amount of tartness.

5. Grand Marnier Soufflé at Restaurant Joséphine Chez Dumonet. This almost tied with the previous soufflé  but was slightly better because it was massive, even more fluffy, but not overwhelming. To me, this is what a soufflé should look and taste like, and it was the perfect size to split with my husband.

4. Steak frites at Les Oreilles et la Queue was the phenomenal start to our Paris week, especially since  I was starving after traveling and it was hard to find a lunch place open on sunday. The french fries were perfect and the lemon mousse was magnifique!  

3. Macon-Bussieres Les Clos (white burgundy) at L’Avant Comptoir. This tapas bar with a French flair had the best wine and eats of our whole trip. It was so fun to pick what you wanted from the hanging signs. We had other favorite dishes but this place had the most concentrated quality, by far.  (Not to mention, they served whole artichokes, which is one of my most favorite vegetables!) Mr. F loved the caramelized fennel too. 

2. Blood sausage macaron from L’Avant Comptoir. This may sound really weird but it tasted amazing. The sausage was fully cooked and not runny and the macron was a slightly sweet crispness that made the combination sing.   This was such a different and fun experience that it deserves a separate rating than the other dishes at this tapas bar.

1. The Foie gras amuse bouche at L’Atelier Etoile de Joël Robuchon. (French translation of amuse bouche, is a single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre.) It was perfectly foamy and well balanced. It was approximately two bites and in a shot glass. To me, this is a classic French appetizer  and one of the best things about French cuisine. This was wonderfully executed and a delight to eat. We also really enjoyed watching the kitchen during our meal and it definitely contributed our fantastic food experience.

As you can tell, it was hard to chose only 10 favorite foods from Paris, so I had to include a few extra favorites. I’m so happy that Mr. F was able to join me for my work conference and that we were able to make the best of the trip by having romantic dinners every night.

Our last morning in Paris

On Monday, we had a last lovely breakfast at our amazing five star hotel,  with one last cappuccino and helping of crepes, before climbing to the top of the Arc de Triomphe for a view of Paris. The 284 stairs were windy and since we were under a time crunch to get to the airport before noon,  we nearly ran up the stairs. Fortunately, we went when it opened so there were not too many tourists on the stairs, yet! While catching our breath, we enjoyed taking a few last photos with the Eiffel Tower.   I’m so glad it was a sunny morning! Plus, it was much easier going down the 284 steps!  Spring has definitely arrived in Paris and as our taxi pulled away from the hotel, we saw cherry blossoms on nearly every street.

 While waiting in security, Mr F and I noticed that the Charles de Gaulle airport ceiling looks like a wine barrel, or that it’s made with reclaimed wood. We didn’t spend much time in the airport and went straight to our gate. We were fortunate to have a direct flight from Paris to Seattle. It was 10 hours of movie time along with a little napping, reading and eating!

I can’t believe we’re already home. Customs was a breeze since we have Global Entry so it was like any other US flight with maybe a little extra walking. We also haven’t had to deal with any jet lag after our trip since we got in at 5pm and basically went to sleep early after checking on the kitties.

Lily and Lyra are also so happy we’re home.

 

Sunday in Paris

We had the most fun day ever in Paris starting with a tour of the Catacombs, walking through the Jardin de Luxembourg, playing with French ponies, eating fabulous French tapas, crepes, seeing sensational stained glass at Sainte Chappelle, and having a cute traditional French dinner.

 My college friend’s little daughter made the underground tunnels, filled with bones, less scary by looking for a bear around each corner. She kept saying, ‘come on’, ‘let’s go”! After the Catacombs, we took the bus to Jardin de Luxembourg. This stunning park has the imitation of the Pitti Palace from Florence, a huge pool with little sailboats floating, a big playground and pony rides! I couldn’t believe they let people take the ponies around the park for more than 15 minutes. Little Maeve was very serious and held on tight the whole time!  The ponies were so sweet and well trained. They were not startled by the children running around them and even stood still when they were not tied up!

For lunch, Mr F took me to a place he had been earlier in the week, called Les Avant Comptoirs par Yves CamdebordeIt’s a tapas bar with a French twist. We loved the blood sausage macaron. We also had delicious croquettes,  caramelized fennel, artichokes, pate, fresh bread and white Burgundy. After lunch, we remet up with Megan and her family for crepes! To walk off our wonderful lunch, we walked through the Latin Quarter to Ile Sainte-Louis.

We walked around the Notre Dame   and to Ile Saint-Louis for ice cream!  Berthillon is one of the best places in Paris to get ice cream! We avoided the long line by getting a table inside. I enjoyed both Megan’s sundae and my passionfruit sorbet!I’m so glad we got to go on a sunny day. The top floor of the small church was breathtaking with the most stained glass I’ve ever seen and sparkling rainbows on the ceiling. As a friend said, it was like standing in a jewelry box.  Megan and I also enjoyed all the fleur dis lis since we were Kappa sisters together! After Sainte Chapelle closed, Mr F and I walked along the Seine to the Au Petit Tonneau, near the Eiffel Tower for dinner.

Our dinner was in a small, charming little restaurant where we had French onion soup,    veal and lamb chops with amazing salted chocolate mousse for dessert! 

It was a wonderful end to our last full day in Paris!