One Month Down


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Holy cow we’ve made it a whole month.

Time really does fly by with your 2nd kid – I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because every waking moment is filled with “something to do” when you have two kids. When Owen is napping I try and make sure I’m bonding with Olive….or cleaning the house, or doing the laundry, or pumping, or cooking….there really isn’t a moment awake that I have for myself. (Other than this rare, rare moment I’ve found to write this post, which is a complete surprise today, yay.) There also really isn’t as much time to think about how mind numbingly exhausted you really are when you’re awake. There is just too much stuff to do.

The transition between 1 to 2 kids has been kinder to me than the transition between 0 to 1 kid. I think it’s because of a few things: Firstly, you aren’t so shellshocked at the your complete loss of independence. You’re already knee deep into the Mom Thing, so you know what you have to do, so you just bite down and do it. You aren’t lamenting about that party you’re missing, or that monthly spa day you’ve had to give up. You already went through that psychological stuff the first time around, so you’re set on that front. Secondly, when you’re in that tough newborn period where the baby nurses every 2 hours, your nipples are raw from use, the gassiness starts….you know that this is a short, temporary phase that will soon be replaced by smiles and giggles. All this lethargy and discomfort will pass, and it’s really such a short blip of time in the grand scheme of things.

If you’re a first time mom in the throes of Newborn-Anxiety-and-Disillusion….. and you’re sad, and frustrated, I promise you that it will get better, and very soon.

By the way, this doesn’t mean that I haven’t completely lost my shit yet; because I have. When Owen was about 2-3 weeks old, Olive caught this nasty cold from school. (OF COURSE SHE DID. #Life) She was pouring snot, and coughing everywhere, and had a fever. I was petrified of Owen getting sick as well, so I spent about 5 days intensely stressed out, disinfecting everything and breastfeeding Owen non stop to give him antibodies. Everything came to a head one night at about 10pm when Olive threw up in her bed because of all the coughing. She was screaming and crying, and Owen had gas at the same time and was also screaming his lungs off. In that moment, the combination of the two screaming kids, the illness, the stress and the lack of sleep just took over and I broke down crying. If Patrick wasn’t there to help me divide and conquer (he took care of Olive, and I took care of Owen), I’m not sure what I would have done. In that moment, I was truly lost. It sucked.

Hopefully, this juggle-two-sick-kids-while-dealing-with-vomit thing will be a rare occurrence – and the days (and my hands) will be filled with healthy kids instead.

By the way, it’s taken me a full THREE DAYS to write this one post. I’ve written it in bursts of rare spare time and energy, so if it seems scattered and disorganized, well – it’s because that’s the state of my brain these days, so you’re going to have to excuse me.

I hope to check in again soon, when I get a better sense of my bearings. I hope everyone is well!

GOODNIGHT!

With Love,

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Introducing Owen Che


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Meet our son, Owen Che – born on August 27th, 2016 at 11.27am in the morning, at 39 weeks.

So far, being a mom of two has been pretty awesome – yeah sure, there are the rough nights of no sleep; my breasts are getting used to breastfeeding again, and the recovery from this pregnancy isn’t the prettiest. But, I am so happy to report that 2nd Time Motherhood (is that a phrase that’s used?) does come around much easier than First Time Motherhood…. I’m more relaxed, my heart is more open and ready to love, and I know my own limits now, and know when I need to ask for help. Thankfully, my mom is also here to be with us for a month, so that has been a big help to ease us into life as a family of four.

Olive has been an amazing older sister already. She hasn’t acted out one bit, and has been super excited to involve her baby brother in everything she does. I have to be really honest when I tell you that I really miss her, and have (ugly) cried several times about the fact that she isn’t my only child anymore. I feel immense guilt, but it’s also coupled with intense joy because of the new addition to our family. She might not have any trouble sharing me at this point, but I am having a lot of feelings about having to split my time between two kids. I wish I could be everything, to everyone, all at once.

I hope to be able to update soon, and to share a little bit about my birth story this time around. Thank you everyone for your sweet well wishes, and for following my family on this journey.

With Love,
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Thinking of Getting that Instant Pot? Read This…


INSTANTPOT

If you’re a mom, and you’re on Facebook, and you haven’t been living under a rock, or you talk to PEOPLE…then you might have heard of the Instant Pot. It’s this new pressure cooker that is taking every person and their moms by storm.

I really tried to hold out and not buy this thing, I really did. My counters are already more cluttered than I like, and to be honest, we really didn’t need another appliance to jam up our already limited storage space. I already have a slow cooker, a Chinese soup maker; just to name a few things… and these already aren’t the best utilized. But, as I started to see these incredible testimonials from people I knew personally, and these meals that they were churning out in minutes… I knew I had to get in on this new trend. (By the way, pressure cooking is by no way new – but the ones back in the day weren’t as safe as the new ones of today. Like people back in the day were scared of their pots exploding. This one however is electric and not put on the stove, and it has safety features up the wazoo. So calm yo’self)

So you’ve thought about it real long and hard and you’re right on the precipice of making this huge life changing decision to purchase this pressure cooker. I’ve outlined a few thinking points below about the Instant Pot that I only discovered after using it for a while – I hope this helps you make your decision.

Here are a few expectations that you need to set before you purchase an Instant Pot:

  1. Contrary to the name, it doesn’t actually produce food in an instant. It just cooks food quicker than if you were to do it on the stove, and intensifies those flavors in a jiffy, too. You also have to remember that you still need that food-prep time (chopping, washing, measuring ingredients) so if you have a super complex recipe that calls for a million things, you’re still going to need to put the effort in to put everything together.
  2. You’re probably NOT going to need your Instant Pot for everything. There are a few things that are probably in your weekly dinner repertoire that don’t need to be pressure cooked. But what this pressure cooker does REALLY WELL is making things that usually take forever – take a fraction of the time, or minutes. Things like bone broth, or stews, or tough cuts of meat. This is what the Instant Pot excels in. So what’s probably going to happen is that you’re going to realize at 2pm that you have a craving for pulled pork, but you don’t have 12 hours to slow cook it. But you’re going to bust out your Instant Pot, and honestly have a really great, soft and flavorful Pulled Pork dish on your table by 6pm.
  3. The cook time on the recipes you find online are cooking times for when the pot has come up to pressure. You have to take into account that the pot needs a little bit of time to come up to the right pressure for your dish, and also to come back down to regular pressure. Depending on the dish, this can take anywhere between 5-15 minutes.

In terms how the Instant Pot fits in my life, these are a few reasons why I love it, and why it works for my family:

  1. I hate washing extra pots and dishes, and the Instant Pot allows you to do a lot of the sautéing that is needed in the pot itself, before adding the fluids and meats in for pressure cooking. One of the most annoying thing about slow cookers for me are that recipes keep asking me to “brown the meat” before I put it in the slow cooker. I DON’T WANT TO DO THAT. I DON’T WANT TO DO THAT AT ALL! I don’t want to bust out 2 more pots to have to clean two more pots. You’re not going to have this problem with the Instant Pot, since everything can be done in this one device. I have even cooked Pasta Bolognese in the Instant Pot so I didn’t have to use another pot to cook the macaroni in. And it came out perfectly. What? Yeah. Insane.
  2. I tend to make a lot of Chinese Soups, and these take a notorious amount of time to cook. Not only that, but you need to stay home and tend to the stove, and the smell of said soup also permeates through your entire home, and for hours. The other day, I was able to make a chinese chicken soup from a frozen chicken, from scratch, in a cook time of 1 hour. Last night, my husband made Taiwanese beef noodle soup from scratch in 1 hour. These are all things that would have typically taken us 6-8 hours of stove tending (and home venting, to be honest, since the soups have a strong smell) but we didn’t have to do either with the Instant Pot. And dinner was on the table quickly.
  3. One of my favorite things about the Instant Pot is that I get to walk away from the stove. Even for the most basic recipes that I probably could make in a pan (and it would take the same time); when I do it in the Instant Pot I get to close the lid and walk away, and it cooks it perfectly for me. And in that time, I could take a shower. Or drink a glass of wine. Or play with my kid. Or just sit down for the first time that day. I’m not standing there having to watch it simmer, or stir it so it doesn’t stick. I actually get some time to actively do something else at home, which as an almost-mom-of-two, I think I could really use more of.

So there you have it. My real, honest opinion of the Instant Pot. Has it been a game changer in my house? Pretty much – I don’t think I’ve used the stove at all since I got it a couple of weeks ago.

I hope this helps you make your own Instant Pot decision!

 

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Home Reno: A Recap and The Reveal


I know it’s been SUCH a long time since I’ve written about our Home Reno project – an undertaking that we went through about a year ago. We actually have been moved back in for about 7 months now, and have been taking our time to settle in and getting to know the place again, and slowing experiencing what else needed to be tweaked, and changed.

In total, the whole renovation took about 9 months from start to finish – a couple of months for planning and design and about 6 months of construction (and us being moved out of the house). After we moved back in, it took us a good 3-4 months of living in it to see if there were any imperfections or alterations we needed to make. While we’ve been back in this home for a while, it’s only been recently where I’ve felt like we’ve really been DONE done with this project once and for all.

We also took a very minimalistic and slow approach to decorating this time around. While I usually dive head first into buying new things to outfit the house, I wanted to live in a space that was decluttered. (Also, lets be honest, after a renovation I also wanted our wallet to take a good fat rest, too.)

While we did a full house rehaul, our main focuses were the kitchen areas and the bathrooms, with those needing the most work. We also added a back studio office off our garage, since Patrick and I both work from home. We removed walls, we rewired, we re-piped – all of these things adding a lot of work and time to our “simple” home renovation. Since our house was originally built in the 1940s, not only were building codes different then, but sometimes you weren’t really sure what was behind the wall until we got back there. It took some guts, and a lot of patience to do this, but I’m sure glad we did.

The Kitchen

The main thing I wanted to change in this kitchen was the layout and the cabinetry. It drove me absolutely nuts that everything was a shade of yellow – the floors, the cupboards….it was just overwhelming. We also removed the L shaped kitchen bar counter to open up the room a little bit more, which we have really enjoyed. We also re-floored the entire house with white oak instead of that yellow wood that was there before, and that really helped to brighten up the space immensely. We also wanted more of a statement island – and since we removed the L shape island, we were able to do so. We doubled the size of the original island and we are loving having the extra space.

BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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THE MASTER BATHROOM

Patrick and I needed more space in the Master Bathroom. The way it was initially laid out had a jacuzzi tub that took up a lot of room –  it was a feature that we never ever used. It meant that the dual sink and vanity space was squashed, and if I have to be honest, I’m kind of a product hoarder so I kind of get on Patricks nerves with my stuff spilling over everywhere. We needed more room, and we also wanted a larger shower. Our original shower felt really, really cave like and was also inadequately ventilated, which lead to mold. Not cool. The one problem we faced here was adding a bathtub into the space (we needed one, just as a re-sale feature in the Master Bath) without it taking too much room. The solution was to have a “wet area” enclosure, with the bath and shower together. Having it enclosed in glass from top to bottom also helped our bathroom feel larger, since it didn’t cut into any lines of sight.

Taking out the jacuzzi also meant having to repipe and open up walls again, so that was also a timely and costly endeavor. But we are pretty happy with the end results.

BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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THE KIDS BATHROOM

We starting renovations with the plans of adding to our family – so we wanted to update the vintage 1940s bathroom into something more modern, but that both kids could use. The one problem with the original layout was that no one ever used the shower stall, so it was taking up valuable real estate in an already small bathroom. Also, it only had one small sink, and we wanted to expand that into two. This meant completely switching the orientation of the fixtures and relocating the toilets, the sinks, the bath/shower….which meant re-piping. Which meant opening walls. Which meant so. much. frustration and additional cost.

BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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We couldn’t fit the two sinks into the whole picture, but there are two sinks where the old bathtub used to be; and instead of having a separate shower and bath area, it has been combined into one.

THE GUEST BATHROOM

This is the bathroom that our guests use the most when they come over to our house, but it’s the smallest bathroom ever, and there wasn’t much room to update anything – the space was what it was going to be. We just wanted to give it a little update with better fixtures to better match the new house.

BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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THE BACK OFFICE:

The last piece (but a huge piece) of the reno was the addition of our back office space. Though the years, Patrick and I have both transitioned into working from home, and we needed a separate (quiet) space to work, to take meetings and to hop on conference calls. The solution was to add on a few hundred square feet at the back or our garage for our studio. We turned an empty spot of land and built it from ground up.

DURING:

BACK OFFICE BEFORE

AFTER:

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I hope you enjoyed our little home tour – ill be sure to post a follow up post about things to consider when undergoing your own renovation. (And maybe some cost cutting measures….that would have been helpful for us, hah!) This has surely been a learning process, and I can’t even begin to tell you what a headache it was; how happy we are that it’s over, but also; how we finally live in a space that truly reflects our own style.

If you’re interested in the posts about our Renovation Progress Reports, you can see them all here.

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A few shout outs: Thank you to my friend and our architect Melissa Hon Tsai – without her we’d have no drawings, no layouts, no back office addition, and probably wouldn’t have done the renovation at all. Thank you to my husband, who so patiently went through this process together with me and we’re still together in the end, and STRONGER. (It was STRESSFULL, y’all). Thank you  Dusty Lu Photography for the After Photos of my home. They are perfect.

 

Shop Break, and Rest


Jody Che "Good Morning" mug shoot

 

So i’m at 38 weeks of pregnancy. And it’s been, you know – a rough 3rd trimester, to say the least. There has been a little bit of extended family drama lately (of which I’ll probably get into later), and I’m just large and tired. I’m sorry I’ve been MIA around here – but I’m sure i’ll get into why, soon.

On that note, I realize more than ever that I need to learn how to rest. I’ve never been great at it – looking at downtime as slothfulness. I’m not sure why I learned to merge the two into the same thing: because they are not. Rest is necessary. And I hope to be able to get some before this little guy gets here.

My Baby Olive Juice SHOP will be going on a short break while I’m on Maternity Leave. The shop will remain open until Wednesday, and all orders received until then will be filled! But after that, we’ll be on break until the beginning of December to ship your holiday orders!

Until then….I hope everyone gets some much needed Rest.

 

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Maternity Shoot with Sadaf Murad Photography


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I was lucky enough to have one of my closest friends capture some images of me and the belly recently, and we were featured today on 100 Layer Cakelet.

I wanted to share a few of my favorite images here with you – and to tell you that if you’re pregnant, and you’re thinking about doing a maternity shoot, I really think you should go for it. I didn’t with Olive – and the more I think about it, the more I really regret that decision.  Sure, it was because it was my first go around and I was super self conscious. Yes, it was also because I was riddled with acne, PUPPPs, and a general lack of confidence the first time around as well. But I think the biggest factor that prevented me from documenting my first pregnancy was because I was really grappling with the huge change that was before me, and when I looked in the mirror, I felt more nervous than I did proud. I felt more scared than I did beautiful.

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I’ve had a few years to get used to this Motherhood thing now. I’ve found somewhat of a balance and a peace within – of the person I was B.C. (Before Child) that I had to let go of, and the new person I’ve become. And this time around, I feel like I’m in a place in my life where I’m ready to welcome this change without going crazy about what my life spiraling out of control. I’m happy, and I wanted to document that.

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Working with Sadaf was wonderful. I think that because she suggested that we did this shoot in my home, I was able to really feel comfortable and in my element in front of the camera. Thank you so much Sadaf for being there and making me feel so at peace.

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Pregnancy isn’t always comfortable, or only filled with sweet moments. But if you’re able to sit still and enjoy it for even just a second – please do. Because it goes by so fast.

Photos by Sadaf Murad Photography | Leaf Crown by Emblem Flowers 

 

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Baby Number Two: Splurges


BABY NUMBER TWO SPLURGES

Hey, so remember when I was expecting my first child, and I basically bought EVERYTHING off the internet because I believed I needed it all to be a well prepared and good mother? Then realized somewhere along the way that I didn’t need half of that stuff, and tried to sell it online months later?

Well, determined not to make that same mistake again, I spent almost all of this pregnancy purchasing nothing. Absolutely nothing. Instead, I was purging, and purging a lot of old stuff – determined to get rid of the clutter that I didn’t need.

That is, until I looked up recently and took a look around.

Do you know how much new stuff has been invented in the 4 short years since my last pregnancy? SO MUCH NEW STUFF. And I mean, really – logically, I survived without them the first time, so how much do I really need this new stuff now, right? I get it. But some of these new fangled inventions are so good that I really can’t pass them up. So here I am again, at the intersection of “I Probably Don’t Need This” and “I Want This” ……. and here are my splurges for Baby Number Two.

Owlet Baby Care Monitor: Instead of buying a baby video monitor this time around, we are going to purchase this fancy thing instead – it’s a little sock that your babe wears around his/her foot when they are asleep and it monitors their blood flow and oxygen levels while they are sleeping (just like that clip that they put on your finger in the hospital) and it alerts you if anything is wrong. It keeps a watch on your childs vitals (like heart rate and oxygen levels) and sends all that info to your phone. Learn more about Owlet here.

Baby Bum Brush: Okay, full disclaimer here. I feel insane purchasing this, BUT have you read the reviews on this thing? THERE ARE NO BAD REVIEWS. It seems like someone has basically made a rubber spatula for putting diaper cream your kids’ butt, and not only are people loving it, but they are purchasing multiples for their home and diaper bags. You have to check this out here.

Kiinde Milk Storage System: This is the purchase I’m most excited about. I am really hoping this system works as well as some people say it does, because it might just be life changing. This entire system eliminates the transfer of pumped breastmilk into storage bags, and it also eliminates the need for bottles to be cleaned. You basically go from pump to bag, and bag to freezer, and freezer to feeding. Anyone who has ever experienced having to clean and sterilize multiple bottles, multiple times a day will tell you what a huge suckage of time it is (and a suckage of fun, I’ll tell you) so I’m really optimistic that this will change my whole life. Get your starter kit here.

So there you have it. I (sort of) caved and bought some new stuff.

But hey, every pregnant mom and new baby deserves to be celebrated…with stuff, right?

Hope you guys have been doing well!

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The Season For Change


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Hello, Third Trimester.

Well, we’re here in the last season of this pregnancy, and as the glow of the 2nd trimester fades and the angst and discomfort of the 3rd rolls on in, I can’t help but to really start thinking about how our lives are going to be changing, and really soon, as well.

Our little family is in a really comfortable place right now – Olive is independent and relatively easy as a child; and as a family we’re in a great groove and really in sync. We have our schedules down to a comfortable science. We have enough sleep, and we have enough fun. However, I know that as soon as this new baby arrives, all that will be up in the air, and we’re going to have to find a new normal. Our time will be more limited, our patience and tempers will be shorter. Hopefully, because this is our 2nd time around at this newborn thing we won’t be as blindsided about the lack of sleep. But who knows? I know we’re in for a rough few months. I am NOT GREAT without sleep.

In terms of my career, I’ve been the busiest I’ve ever been since starting this small lettering business. This year has found me consistently inundated with projects that not only stimulate me, but bring in revenue as well. Being able to contribute financially to my family as well as to my artistic AND business sensibilities has been extremely rewarding for me. I’ve always been a person who doesn’t just need a career, but thrives with one – so watching my work and business grow in the past 2 years has made me very proud of this achievement. And I want more. I want to grow more.

I recently had to sit down and plan out my maternity leave; and have already started to decline projects because I know I won’t be able to manage them pregnant or with a newborn.  As a person who is self employed, having that decision rest fully in my own hands can be a double edged sword. Taking too much time off and I feel like the momentum I’ve worked so hard for will just disappear;  however, taking too little time will leave me stressed out and resentful. What is the perfect amount of time to resume a feeling of balance? Where is the line drawn?

For a little while there, I really thought I had this Motherhood/Wife/Career thing worked out; but I realize how little I do know, and how much I still have to learn.  Everything is constantly evolving, and I just have to do my best to keep up.

Anyone who has advice out there – Moms of two, Working Mothers…anyone. I’d love to hear from you.

And as always, thank you for being here.

Photo Credit: Sadaf Murad Photo

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The Only Pregnancy Outfit You’ll Need


I’m almost done with my 2nd trimester, can you believe it?

Well, my body can. I am feeling pretty large – which I hear it pretty normal for pregnancy 2. Everyday, there is a moment when I happen to accidentally drop something on the floor and I literally spend a full minute debating whether I should pick it up, or just leave it for Patrick to find later. Bending over is hard, people!

As this belly grows (and everything else, too) and the summer heat descends upon LA, I’m finding it harder and harder to dress comfortably, and fashionably. I’m trying to really embrace this bump instead of hiding it, but when it’s a million degrees out I honestly just want to wear a potato sack.

However, I recently purchased 2 dresses from Storq and I’ve been wearing them almost exclusively these past few months. If you’ve seen me around, i’m probably almost definitely wearing one of these outfits. And the best thing is that not only are they SUPER comfortable (they really are, it’s insane) but they are much more flattering than a potato sack, too. Quality wise, I’ve been pretty blasé about the recommended care instructions (so lazy, you guys) and I’ve just been throwing them into the regular wash, and it hold up really well as well.

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I’ve been able to dress them up or down too – I wore them with heels and red lips to date night, and with flats and a topknot to the farmers market. Honestly, having something this versatile for this short time in my life has really been awesome.

If you’re pregnant, and if you’re looking for a chic and comfortable way to get through this time – this is honestly the way to go.

Shop these dresses here:

  1. The Dress
  2. The Tank Dress in Black
  3. The Tank Dress in Grey

 

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Bad Moms – The Movie


Have you guys SEEN this trailer?

It’s the most insane, amazing, true thing I’ve seen and I cannot wait to watch it with a gaggle of my mom friends. Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn star in this movie and it looks absolutely hilarious. This movie goes out to all my mom friends who are so sick of trying to be that “perfect” mom….. Let’s all be bad moms! (Okay, even if it’s just for a minute)

Who is coming to watch this with me?!

 

Xo, Jody

 

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