baby / life

nursery reveal

June 8, 2017

This post has been long overdue, but for good reason I promise! While I had the weeks leading up to my due date all “planned” out with lots of last minute prepping and blogging, baby J decided to make his own plans and arrive 2.5 weeks early. But here it is—the baby nursery! As finished as it could be, at 3 weeks postpartum. This California-inspired nursery has been a labor of love and I owe so much of the handiwork (and insane amount of trips to Ikea) to my patient husband.

The idea all started with the most amazing cacti wallpaper from Rocky Mountain Decals. After obsessing over the pattern on Pinterest for months, I knew I had to have it. Being renters, it was a no-brainer that a removable decal would be perfect for us. It was a bit of a learning curve to learn how to apply it, but after the first sheet, it was easy to get the hang of it. We had a few hiccups along the way, but luckily with a pattern like this, it’s kind of hard to see the mistakes. 😉 RMD has so many fun designs for the nursery/home and I can’t recommend them enough.

With the wallpaper being such a big focal feature, I knew I wanted the rest of the furniture to be as neutral as possible. It was also very important to us to keep it to a few key pieces of furniture instead of cluttering up the nursery with too many things. For the crib, I knew immediately I wanted Babyletto’s Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib when I first saw it. It has the simple white crib design that I love, and the mid-century legs make it perfect. An added bonus is that it converts to be a toddler bed, so we’ll be able to keep it for years to come.

The 4moms‘ mamaRoo came very highly recommended to us by friends and family, so we knew it would be the perfect addition to the nursery. It doesn’t take up much room at all and has such a sleek, minimal design we both love. John’s also a huge fan that he can control it on his phone and it can connect to any mp3 device. It’s crazy how high tech baby products are these days.

The rest of the pieces include Baxton Studio’s rocking chair from Amazon, Ikea’s Tarva dresser that we painted ourselves and doubles as the changing area, leather pouf from Amazon, our record collection (with baby’s own record player), and random Target pieces for all of the decor touches. We’ve still got a few fun elements to add to the walls, including the art gallery that will go above the dresser, so I will have to do an update to the reveal and share those at a later time. But first, time to feed the little one.

baby / life

the johnstons’ baby shower

April 8, 2017

Without a doubt, we are the luckiest couple in the world with friends and family that care for us (and baby J) the way they do. A few months ago, my sister asked me what kind of a baby shower I wanted to have and I knew immediately that I wanted something coed, unique and much like our wedding, insanely fun.

We knew we wanted to have the party in LA/OC, but planning 350 miles proved to be a bit difficult. Luckily, Peerspace came in a pinch and helped us out with finding a venue J and I both loved. After a few emails a Peerspace rep, the one space that stuck out the most was Greenbar Distillery located in the downtown LA Arts District. It’s the untraditional choice for a coed baby shower, which fit the unique and fun criteria for us, and that was what we loved most about it. Another item on our wishlist was to have a space for catering or a food truck, and our host Bennett at Greenbar was so accommodating to work with.

In a blink of an eye, we had a venue space and it quickly helped pave the way to plan the rest of the shower details. The next step was to figure out the invitation/paper details, which would help us figure out the general “theme” of the shower. Working at Minted, it was an easy process for me to find the design that we both loved and fit “us” perfectly. We decided on Marabou Design’s “Agave Bebe” which was a great throwback to our Palm Springs wedding.

From there, my sister took over planning out every single detail of our beautiful baby shower and I could cry thinking about how perfect everything was. She got in touch with our friends who helped create the look and plan out the nitty gritty details. The cake, cupcakes and favors were all done by Tania, the mastermind behind Soap.ish and Cake4Six. This (super) woman has been a part of our lives for just about 7 years and has helped us plan my bridal shower, our wedding, and now our greatest adventure yet with baby J.

Without further ado, the photos from our beautiful Sunday shower, all shot by a talented photographer friend, Summer Shea Photography.

Vendors:

eats

airbnb experiences: baia pasta

March 17, 2017

My 31st birthday came so quickly this year and with us in full-on baby mode, we just sort of neglected planning anything in advance. I was perfectly content with just laying low and grabbing a nice dinner somewhere over the weekend. Lucky for us, Airbnb launched something new called Airbnb Experiences and reached out to me a week prior about joining them on one of their experiences. I admittedly knew nothing about this launch, so I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of fun things there were to do in and around the city through Airbnb. The one that stuck out to me immediately was a full day spent learning about (and eating) pasta called “Perfect Pasta” with host Dario from Baia Pasta. Yes, please!

The day started off by meeting our intimate group of 8 by the info booth at the CUESA Ferry Building Farmers’ Market. Our host Dario, the owner and mastermind behind Baia Pasta, is insanely passionate about what he does and it’s inspiring to hear him talk about pasta. We all introduced ourselves and walked over to get coffee at Highwire Coffee while we watched the complimentary cooking demo. I must’ve walked by these demos a dozen times before, but it was great to sit down and enjoy it for the first time with an amazing cup of latte.

We spent the remainder of our time at the farmers’ market picking out things to snack on before lunch and ingredients for our lunch that Dario was going to prepare for us. He showed us his favorite vendors who were also all friends of his from his time spent selling his pasta at the farmers’ market. We got to snack on plenty of delicious things as well and I immediately regretted not bringing any cash along to pick up things for myself. Once we were done, we packed up everything and headed on the ferry to make our way over to Baia Pasta at Jack London Square in Oakland. It was a gorgeous and warm day for my first ferry trip ever across the Bay—seriously!

At Baia, we really got a in-depth crash course into pasta making and the history (and future) of Baia Pasta. Dario ended up cooking up a pasta dish with sausage and spring garlic purchased from the farmers’ market. It was the simplest dish and insanely delicious. No joke, we made the dish TWICE this week already since meeting Dario. I think we’ve become pasta snobs and that’s actually quite alright with me.

A huge thank you to Airbnb and Dario at Baia Pasta for such an amazing experience!

eats

zola x vitamix

March 6, 2017

If you’ve never tried Zola Coconut, you’re seriously missing out on one of the tastiest drinks out there. On top of the original and pulp flavors, they also carry chocolate and coffee flavors as well. (And yes, they’re as delicious as they sound.) You can imagine my joy when Zola approached me about doing some fun recipes with their açaí and flavored coconut water.

Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel with some crazy recipe, I really wanted to share recipes I use all the time, and incorporate Zola’s tasty drinks.

Chocolate Banana Breakfast Smoothie

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 8oz Zola chocolate coconut water
  • 2oz vanilla almond milk (can use soy/dairy)
  • 1tsp chia seeds
  • 1tbsp peanut butter
  • 1tsp protein powder (as needed)

The first recipe up is a new take on an old favorite of mine and it turned out delicious. It’s perfect for a morning treat because it’s got heavier ingredients and you can even add protein powder to really give you the morning boost. It’s perfect to fill up one 12oz mason jar or just double up if you’re making it for two. Simply blend all of the ingredients above (omit or add as you please) and top with your favorite toppings. I’m a big fan of toppings that show the ingredients used, so in this case I used fresh banana, toasted coconut flakes and Zola’s chocolate covered bananas.

Mango and Chia Açaí Fruit Bowls

  • 12oz Mango/Chia Açaí juice from Zola
  • 4oz fresh coconut water (save the coconuts for bowls)
  • 5oz frozen organic mixed berries (1/2 package; can sub fresh, but will need to add ice)
  • 1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 frozen banana
  • Your favorite toppings

The coconut bowls are clearly just for show, but if you have them available, why the heck not? The Zola brand açaí juice already has amazing flavor and tons of good for you benefits, so they make a great base for your bowls. I like to add frozen berries and banana to help bind everything together and toss in some fresh spinach just to add more greens. You can substitute with any other leafy greens or omit, it’s totally to your liking. For the toppings, I used berries, toasted coconut and granola. Again, feel free to use what you love or have on hand.

Açaí Popsicles

  • Popsicle molds
  • Leftover açaí bowl mix

This one is a super easy one—just use your leftover açaí bowl mix from the previous recipe and add it to popsicle molds. Easy peasy! They’re great as a snack (especially in the Summer) but also to use as the “ice” for future smoothies whenever you need it.

travel

monterey, ca

February 28, 2017

One of our favorite places to go to in California has to be Monterey. There’s a charm about it that’s so enchanting and magical. Lucky for us, it’s a lot closer to the Bay Area (about 2 hours or so) than it was when we lived in Southern California. To celebrate our recent 12 year anniversary of being together, J and I knew it was just the place to spend a long weekend together at, and revisit all of our favorite restaurants.

We found a last minute room at Portola Hotel & Spa, located right in the heart of Monterey, within walking distance from Fisherman’s Wharf and downtown. The best bonus? Fresh cookies at check-in! It’s really the little things. Nearby is also a free trolley that will take you directly to the Aquarium/Cannery Row so you really don’t need to take your car anywhere. I can’t rave about this hotel enough—there’s even a breakfast buffet you don’t want to miss out on at Jacks.

Our favorite restaurant to dine at has to be Monterey Fish House, located 2114 Del Monte Ave. Make sure you make reservations early, or you’ll be stuck waiting in a crazy long line. They always have the freshest seafood dishes and the cioppino is my favorite. Another favorite that’s a bit more casual is Mundo’s Cafe for their tri-tip sandwiches with *extra* chimichurri sauce. There are a few locations now, so just find one that’s closest to you. You also can’t go wrong with the Old Fisherman’s Grotto at the wharf. It’s classic and has the best chowder on the wharf after sampling all of them in front of every restaurant—a really fun treat for this preggo, by the way.

We didn’t get a chance to go to the Aquarium this time, but it’s a must if you’ve never been before. It’s amazing and you can easily spend hours at the jellyfish exhibit alone. There’s really quite a bit to do in Monterey and perfect for all ages—we are excited to be able to take the little munchkin to this delightful little town in the future.

 The DELICIOUS breakfast buffet at Jacks located at the Portola Hotel & Spa.

The DELICIOUS breakfast buffet at Jacks located at the Portola Hotel & Spa.

baby / life

new adventures

January 15, 2017

20 weeks later (and halfway through the first leg of this adventure), John and I are so thrilled to finally share the news. It’s seriously been such a struggle not to tell everyone as soon as we found out, but it’s been such a special time to have it be so intimate. Everything has been going so well, and we are just anxiously waiting for baby J’s arrival—we’re not going to find out the sex until his or her birthday, on or around June 1, 2017.

travel

guerneville, ca

January 12, 2017

Shortly after the election, we desperately needed a trip away to unplug and just reset. Lucky for us, just the place exists right outside of San Francisco called Guerneville. It’s a tiny town nestled right by the Russian River and a quick drive to the ocean in one direction or a redwood forest in another direction. Needless to say, beautiful doesn’t begin to describe it.

We lucked out and booked a cute little cabin at Dawn Ranch last minute, and with the craziest series of events, wound up at their biggest cabin (the bridal suite) by the end of the night. It all worked out in the end and the staff at Dawn Ranch took great care of us. Our cabin also came with a $50 voucher for dinner, so we decided to eat at their restaurant, Agriculture Public House. We weren’t expecting much from a cabin lodge’s restaurant, but we were so, so wrong. It was an amazing meal and we’ve been thinking about it since.

We spent the day exploring the tiny town, which didn’t take too long considering it’s just one street, and quickly learned how fresh and delicious all the food there is. We even wandered to a hip pie shop called Chile Pies that’s located in the converted Guerneville Bank. It doesn’t get any cooler than that.

Before heading home, we explored Jenner, Sonoma Coast State Park, and ate lunch at Gourmet au Bay in Bodega Bay. All in all, it was the perfect weekend getaway if you’re looking to leave the city, get yourself some nature, and unplug because there is literally no connection anywhere.

All photos are shot on iPhone 7S and edited with Priime.

eats

1601 bar and kitchen

September 5, 2016

I had the opportunity to be invited to an intimate chef’s tasting menu at 1601 Bar & Kitchen a while ago, and it’s still a meal I wish I can relive over and over again. It was my first time having Sri Lankan cuisine, so I really had no expectations of it, only pure excitement. After the first dish, I immediately started questioning why it took me so long to try Sri Lankan cuisine.

The exquisite tasting consisted of 15 dishes with wine pairing including the opportunity to watch Chef Brian Fernando make a traditional egg hopper. It was such a treat to be able to see it first-hand and then head to our seat to taste it moments after making it. It’s evident in his dishes how his heritage plays a role and it’s a cool thing when you instantly start thinking of a dish as ‘comfort food’ despite never having it before.

1601 offers both à la carte ‎and the tasting menu, which I certainly recommend going with.

1601 Bar & Kitchen / 1601 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

travel

the broad

September 2, 2016

Being away from OC/LA, I’ve had to miss out on some really cool spots that have opened since moving to the Bay Area. Lucky for me, going home is only a 1-hour flight and I’m still able to catch up with friends, family and squeeze in some quality OC/LA exploring time. This last trip, the exploration lead to a trip to The Broad, the new (to me) contemporary art museum located in Downtown Los Angeles.

The incredible modern facade is home to some of the most unique art pieces and installations in the West Coast. Out of all of them, I was most excited for the Jeff Koons stainless steel pieces and the Infinity Mirrored Room. Both have swept my Instagram feed in recent months and had me lusting over a visit to see them in person for myself. Trust me, they didn’t disappoint. Just check out my favorites below! I didn’t have my camera that day, so I captured everything with my iPhone and edited everything on Priime.

General admission to the Broad are free (crazy, right?) but reservations are necessary and are fully booked up for the month of September. Tickets for October are now available for advanced reservation if you click here

The Broad Museum / 221 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

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grand fare market

August 21, 2016

I love sharing places in San Francisco on my blog, but I’ve also got a lot of love for the East Bay, so I’m committed to sharing more gems from the other side of the Bay. I’m starting off with a tour of one of my new favorite East Bay spots- Grand Fare Market in Oakland, owned by wife and husband duo Freya and Doug.

The market had its second grand opening at the beginning of August and it’s been packed ever since. Through the front doors of the royal blue exterior, the market, complete with a deli and coffee shop, is bright and so inviting to the neighborhood. Tucked in the corner past the coffee shop is Brother and Sisters, the most darling flower shop adorably named after the owners’ son and two daughters. It’s a tiny little thing and flowers are pouring out from every space possible.

There’s so much to love about this place, but my favorite has to be the spacious patio adorned with string lights hanging from every tree top. Every seat cushion is replaced with a faux fur throw and the marble table tops are Instagram gold. During our morning at the market, we saw countless regulars catching up with their friends over a cup of coffee and it’s easy to see this has quickly become a neighborhood favorite.

Grand Fare Market / 3265 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610