Monthly Archives

November 2013

ps_menu_class_0
ps_menu_class_1
ps_menu_class_2
ps_menu_class_3

$15 Holiday Gift Guide

$15 Holiday Gift Guide / 2013 / littlegoldpixel.com

This is the second of three holiday gift guides for 2013. See: the $10 gift guide and the $20 gift guide. These are things I’ve bookmarked throughout the year as items that seem like great gifts for people I know and love. They are from a combination of retailers and Etsy sellers, and I am not being paid to link to anyone.

I have a bone to pick about gender branding. Why is “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” merchandise hanging out in the boys’ section? What? Girls can’t like pirates? For that matter, we can get into why there are boys/girls sections in the first place and whether it’s brainwashing our children. You could even point fingers at this very gift guide and say, “But you broke this down into guys/girls/children, you hypocrite.”

It’s true, I did. But I would be the first to admit that I’d like anything on ANY of these lists. (My favorite item is actually the Lebowski magnets I put in the Guys section.)

Maybe it’s better to say that there are masculine/feminine/childlike qualities inside us all, and it’s up to us to interpret and feed those qualities.

So I’m gonna go ahead and buy my daughter a pirate ship for Christmas. And maybe a beer glass for myself. And an elephant-print scarf for my husband. Er …

Back to your regularly scheduled gift guide…

$15 Holiday Gift Guide

FOR GUYS & GIRLS

$15 Holiday Gift Guide / 2013 / littlegoldpixel.com
GUYS // 1 // Beer glass // 2 // Bottle opener // 3 // Tablet stand // 4 // Liquor candle 
// 5 // Coffee mug // 6 // Dry rub set // 7 // Soap set // 8 // Lebowski magnets

GIRLS // 1 // Wooden tea set // 2 // Paul Rudd coloring book // 3 // Octopus statue // 4 // Skeleton key necklace 
// 5 // Mercury glass candle // 6 // Pencil socks // 7 // Knit tablet case // 8 // Elephant scarf

 

FOR KIDS

$15 Holiday Gift Guide / 2013 / littlegoldpixel.com

KIDS // 1 // Train puzzle // 2 // Elephant puzzle // 3 // Fox plush // 4 // Along a Long Road // 5 // Don’t Grow Up print

$10 Holiday Gift Guide

Untitled

This is the first of three holiday gift guides for 2013. See: the $15 gift guide and the $20 gift guide. These are things I’ve bookmarked throughout the year as items that seem like great gifts for people I know and love. They are from a combination of retailers and Etsy sellers, and I am not being paid to link to anyone.

For many Christmases, my dad had a running gag of buying everyone cake mixes in the hopes that maybe, possibly, someday one of us would feel inspired to bake him a cake. At first he started by wrapping them in their normal boxes, but we got wise to the shape and called him out on it before we opened them. Then he started to get sneaky, putting them in huge boxes filled with newspaper and styrofoam peanuts, just to throw us off the scent.

My grandpa also did the Giant Small Gift trick. I grew up watching my grandma and my parents unpack a box within a box within a box. It always got huge laughs. Of course, as a kid, I was like, “What’s so great about a pair of gloves in a huge box?” But as an adult, yeah, I totally get it.

The thought that goes into a gift is way more important than the price tag, so here are a few ideas for men that should please someone you know, and on a budget.

Maybe you have a tech savvy friend, your boyfriend loves the “Home Alone” movies, your brother needs a survival tool for the zombie apocalypse. Or perhaps your guy needs a little manly pampering, or your dad likes bacon everything or your husband loves to put pen to paper. I’ve got you covered.

Untitled

And here are a few ideas for the women in your life, such as the pal who can’t get enough polka dots, the whimsical roommate who needs a better place to stow her rings, the foodie sister-in-law, the mom who has a helluva green thumb, the teen niece who loves jewelry and the grandma who can appreciate a homemade jam.

GUYS // 1 // Cable organizers // 2 // Merry Christmas shirt // 3 // Survival tool 
// 4 // Rescue kit // 5 // Maple bacon almond butter // 6 // Mini notebook

GIRLS // 1 // Polka dot scarf // 2 // Umbrella ring dish // 3 // Produce bag 
// 4 // Air plants // 5 // Hexagon stacking rings // 6 // Ginger pear butter

Last but not least, I gathered a few items for the kiddos. Granted, I modeled these based on my own childhood tastes and what I think my toddler would like, but I think they’re pretty versatile (if not a little girly). I would even go as far as to say that many an adult (the young at heart) would like these items, as well. Tip: Check out the link for the giraffe plush; there are a range of these little guys, and they are all super lovable. Alexa went crazy for them at an airport kiosk, and she never lets Coconut the monkey out of her sight.

Untitled
KIDS // 1 // Pippi Longstocking book // 2 //  Giraffe toy  // 3 // Yo Gabba Gabba CD 
// 4 // The Last Unicorn // 5 // The Day the Crayons Quit // 6 // Guitar plush 

A Week in the Life: 46/52

Looking at these photos brought back bad memories of the terrible November heat wave we went through last week. I had almost forgotten, until I scrolled down to the screen grab I took of the weather on my phone, the day it got up to 92 degrees (no lie).

Currently the front door is open, a cool breeze wafting in, and rain trickling down. That’s more like it.

But back to the heat wave:

Untitled
» Beet chips. Miserable fail. I suppose I need to invest in real kitchenware.

Untitled
» Looking for Daddy. (Look at those high-waters! She’s getting tall.)

Untitled
» Pretty, pretty carrots.

Untitled
» Apparently some people get Veterans Day off work. Government workers. My babysitter. OK, so it’s an unplanned mama-daughter day. First stop: the park.

Untitled
Untitled
Untitled
» Next up: bubbles.

Untitled
» Guys, this was even better than it looks. Red quinoa with garlic and onions, baked chicken, asparagus and carrots.

Untitled
» Ponies and kitties and underpants, oh my.

Untitled
» This huge rose in front of our neighbor’s house smells wonderful.

Untitled
» I do love the year-round flora.

Untitled
» Just in case she wants to fry some eggs in the car.

Untitled
» She picked out these Lakers sunglasses for herself. H was pleased.

Untitled
» I drive by this bear every day on my way to work. Sometimes there are benefits to being stuck in crappy traffic, not moving at all, such as being able to finally snap a shot of the bear.

Untitled
» See the letters on the ground? They removed our sign from the top of the building. We are moving to another location soon.

Untitled
» A typical grocery snapshot, sent to H directly for his input: Vanilla or hazelnut? (He chose hazelnut.)

Untitled
» Alexa’s doll takes a ride in her shoe.

Untitled
» She says so many cute things it’s hard to keep up. The other day I split an ice cream sandwich with her, and she said, “Thanks, mama. I think I’m starting to like you.”

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

Do You Overshare? Exactly How Much Is Too Much in the Blogosphere

Untitled

I wanted to share more Hawaii photos with you, but I couldn’t shake off the feeling that I was oversharing.

Change is under way. In the past few months, we have said goodbye to a lot of things. The binkie. Now diapers. Tomorrow, with a lump in my throat, we are going on a preschool tour. Alexa is almost 3 years old. As I have been telling her for months, she’s no longer a little baby. She’s a big girl, with her own stories and funny musings.

More and more I feel like there are things I shouldn’t talk about here. A host of events have happened this year that, as I was going through them, I wanted to share. I felt the URGE to share. But I knew there was an invisible boundary (common sense, maybe, to people who are more private than me), a little line I couldn’t cross. And why? Because the stories I wanted to tell weren’t mine to tell.

And yet, I know there are people out there telling stories that aren’t theirs. Bloggers who are more successful than me. Memoir writers.

I am jealous of the person who writes about whatever is on their mind with wild abandon. I just can’t do it. I care too much about the people around me. I have become that writer who worries about offending people (the nerve!).

Pretty much every day something hilarious happens and I want to write about it. But I do not live in a vacuum. Funny things happen with my friends. H has some crazy epiphanies. Alexa’s follies are hilarious. If I tell these stories, will I embarrass someone? Will my words be misconstrued?

It’s leading to a crazy case of blogger’s block, friends. I am having a hard time with self-censorship.

I’m curious. Where do you draw the line on sharing? How much is too much?

A Week in the Life: 45/52

The magic of the Week in the Life project was completely gone during Week 45. Picture me as a steam engine, if you will, and I’m all out of steam. The fire is out, the wheels are turning, barely, slowly, I’m about to grind to a halt. I have five photos for you this week. That is all.

Why?

Well, life feels busier since we got back from Kansas City. Far too hectic, far too much time spent driving. I see a lot of the same scenery day in and day out. L.A. isn’t inspiring me right now. It was 91 degrees today. Unnaturally hot.

As one of my friends wrote on Facebook: “I just want to rock my sweaters.”

Untitled
» Hello, ocean. It has been awhile.

Untitled
» Spending some quality girl time with Sara and Miss Lexa. We ran errands, then we went to the park. Alexa slid down the twisty slide by herself (!!) while Sara and I channeled our inner child on the swings.

Untitled
» The sun sets at 4:45 now. At least it’s pretty, I guess? I would like to stay on Daylight Saving Time year-round if that’s OK with you.

Untitled
» On a lunch quest, and this truck had a huge following. We stopped to read the menu. Filet mignon grilled cheese, among other delights. We moved on. I got a salad instead.

Untitled
» Beer and pizza with Annie. It’s always fun to catch up with her. We usually meet in Long Beach, so I feel like I’m on an adventure. (Not really, but I do have to program my GPS.)

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

A Week in the Life: 44/52

Let’s mark Week 44 as the week this project officially lost its luster. I cannot blog about anything else until I catch up with my weekly photos. Granted, this is a self-imposed blogging block, but it’s real in my mind. Every time I open up my dashboard to talk about something else, I freeze in my tracks. BUT I’M TWO WEEKS BEHIND on A WEEK IN THE LIFE!

I vow to catch up this week if it’s the last thing I do, if only because I want to bore you with details of how I’m behind on my NaNoWriMo novel, as well.

Running late! Story of my life.

Ahem. Here’s what we were up to the week of Halloween:

Untitled
» Short-lived stormy skies. I wish they’d come back for a day or a week or a month. Rain!

Untitled
» Doodles.

Untitled
» We locked the keys inside the house, so we had to kill some time waiting for Daddy to drive home and let us back in. It gave Alexa a chance to break in her new boots.

Untitled
» The last Juan’s Tacos lunch of the year, maybe ever. My company is moving to a new building soon, so no more Miracle Mile food trucks for us.

Untitled
» I have been having to remind her to hang on a lot lately. She is testing her boundaries everywhere.

Untitled
» Cheesin’.

Untitled
» Fresh flowers.

Untitled
» Alexa was not a fan of my pirate eye makeup. “No, Mama, no,” she said, shaking her head.

Untitled
» Meanwhile, I had to coax her into her pirate ensemble slowly. She doesn’t like to wear costumes, so I’m glad I kept it simple with real clothes. It’s all about the accessories.

Exhibit A:

Untitled
» Now with added eye patch and tassel scarf.

Untitled
Untitled
» We are off to pillage the mall!

Untitled
» Ahoy! What have we here? A treasure fit for a pirate!

Untitled
» Yo, ho! Scallywags of the ice rink, do you have any candy?

Untitled
» Alexa’s plunder. The first casualty: Smarties.

Untitled
» The next day, at work, we received a bizarre box of truffles paired with random objects, such as feathers and coal. I claimed the feathers, natch.

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

A Week in the Life: 43/52 (Part 2)

In the middle of our trip, we woke up bright and early to drive to the middle of Kansas to visit my grandma. Oof, it was eight hours of driving total, but it was worth it to see her.

Here’s what we did the rest of our trip:

Untitled
» Hey, guy in the camouflage car: We can see you.

Untitled
» She finally worked off her shoes so she could get comfortable in the backseat.

Untitled
» The happiest barn there ever was.

Untitled
» Alexa gravitated toward Grandma’s puzzle board. Seriously, guys, my grandma is smart and sharp as a tack. She puts together 5,000-piece puzzles in her sleep.

Untitled
» I love her stories. She told us about her favorite vacation ever: Going to the coast in the Pacific Northwest.

Untitled
» After saying goodbye, we drove around the tiny town of Mankato, Kan., where I spent many a childhood holiday. This park was just down the road from Grandma and Grandpa’s house, a place where my cousins and I would spend hours playing.

Untitled
» It still has a lot of the original equipment, the nuclear-era metal monkey bars and super high, twisty slide. LOVE.

Untitled
» The wind rustled the yellow cottonwood leaves from their branches. (I brought a few home with me in my suitcase!)

Untitled
» This crazy teeter totter has four seats, and it bounces at just the perfect height for Alexa, so I, my dad and H all sat in the other three seats. We had a blast bouncing around.

Untitled
» Swings with wooden seats.

Untitled
» And the merry-go-rounds of my youth! (I would really like to play on one of these again, too.)

Untitled
» It’s ridiculous how much fun I had pushing myself around the rusty swinging gate. They just don’t make ’em like this anymore.

Untitled
» We stopped for ice cream at a creamery on the outskirts of town, and headed back to Kansas City. On our drive we saw clouds like this.

Untitled
» And tree lines like this.

Untitled
» The next morning we realized that we needed to ditch Starbucks for some local brew. After this one last cup, of course.

Untitled
» We decided to play tourists for a bit, and went to check out the fountain scene at the Plaza. Did you know that Kansas City is the city of fountains?

Untitled
» Afterward we went to Gates BBQ, where for some reason H ordered enough brisket and ribs to feed a small army.

Untitled
» We didn’t come close to finishing it.

Untitled
» Alexa came across a free balloon during an Old Navy stop. Distraction so Mama can take a nap? I don’t mind if I do …

Untitled
» I love watching kids play by themselves. They find beauty in the most mundane things.

Untitled
» I enjoyed the way the light spilled into our hotel room every morning.

Untitled
» Aquarium! Fish! Water! Alexa was in heaven.

Untitled
» They had a count-the-pumpkins contest. I gave up about 25 in.

Untitled
» The kid-sized tunnel …

Untitled
» … And the adult-sized tunnel

Untitled
» It’s not a trip to the aquarium without a photo of a jellyfish.

Untitled
» The last part of our trip was spent in pursuit of good coffee, and we found it.

(Although there was one place that shall remain nameless that was a little too pretentious for its own good. Only serving espresso in 3-ounce shots and only prepared one of a handful of ways, no customizations. The inability to adapt always reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine can’t get the Big Salad:

Elaine: How about a Big Salad?

Hilde: A big salad?

Elaine: (to George) You see?

George: Just tell her what’cha want, they’ll make it for ya.

Elaine: It’s a salad, only bigger, with lots of stuff in it.

Hilde: I can bring you 2 small salads.

Elaine: Could you put it in a big bowl?

Hilde: We don’t have any big bowls.

Elaine: All right. Just give me a cup of decaf.

Hilde: We have Sanka.

I shook my head at H and said, “I’m going to need a bigger cup of coffee.”)

And we went to Latteland …

Untitled
» Some good local brew.

Untitled
» And the Roasterie is my fave in K.C. Next time we visit, I hear there are a few other local spots we need to check out, including One More Cup.

Untitled
» We stopped by Union Station but we ran out of time to go the pirate exhibit, even though it was tempting because we were planning to be pirates for Halloween.

Untitled
» Housekeeping found Alexa’s toys and lined them up on the bed like so. It’s the little things, you know.

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

A Week in the Life: 43/52 (Part 1)

Brace yourselves, friends. I have a lot of photos to share from our Kansas City trip. So many, as a matter of fact, that I broke up my Week in the Life post into two (still very large) posts.

Actually, I take back that entire warning because if you’re still reading this blog, chances are you are used to this sort of thing and/or you really, really like me. (I like you, too.)

Here’s what we did the first half of our vacation:

Untitled
» Lemonade at the terminal in LAX. I have heard so many good things about this restaurant, but overall I was underwhelmed. Note to self: Cafeteria-style restaurants, in which every little thing is priced a la carte and in a super inflated way = not a fan.

Untitled
» Our sleepy girl made a new friend at the airport bookstore, so he had to come on the trip with us. His name is Monkey. Mr. Monkey if you’re fancy.

Untitled
» Turbulence over the Rockies.

Untitled
» Hello, Kansas City. Where the roads are smooth and the traffic flow is a breeze.

Untitled
» How you know a pumpkin patch is legit: You drive half an hour into the country, turn down at least two long dirt roads and there’s farmland as far as the eye can see. Seriously, L.A. pumpkin patches, why do you even try?

Untitled
» PUMPKIN DOUGHNUTS AT THE PUMPKIN PATCH.

Untitled
» Gourds are weird.

Untitled
» Cousins. It was so fun to watch these two play. My niece is so sweet. I never want to forget the way her lilting voice says, “OK!” to questions and how much fun we had at our tea party.

Untitled
» Scarecrow, you aren’t scary.

Untitled
» Kids for sale.

Untitled
» Midwest pumpkin patch isn’t messing around. It was so huge, with so many stations and snack shacks and playgrounds. We didn’t even see everything!

Untitled
» H standing in an early scene to a horror movie, maybe “Children of the Corn 10.”

Untitled
» When I see one of these, I know I’m back home.

Untitled
» Foliage! My new favorite shoes!

Untitled
» Snuggling on my new nephew, brand spankin’ new at 1 month old. This guy gave me baby fever like woah.

Untitled
» I know Alexa loved exploring all the nooks and crannies of her Uncle Chad and Aunt Kelly’s house and backyard.

Untitled
» Their home was impeccably decorated, as usual.

Untitled
» Backyard caravan.

Untitled
» Alexa’s first s’mores experience.

Untitled
» To catch the marshmallows on fire or not. What do you like to do?

Untitled
» We sat around the fire pit and talked with my aunt and uncle for hours while the kids played around us. Perfect fall weather.

Untitled
» Early mornings lounging in our hotel room. We had access to an amazing breakfast buffet every morning. I would scurry over in my PJs in 40-degree temps, load up several plates and bring them back to the room to share with everyone. Yes, I looked crazy. Yes, it was worth it. Also, this is the episode in which Carlton admits he’s a virgin and couldn’t in fact be the father of the girl’s baby.

Untitled
» We bore witness to the leaves changing color. Growing up in the Midwest, this used to be my favorite time of the year for the huge piles of leaves alone.

Untitled

Untitled
» Exploring a new playground with Daddy.

Untitled
» Waiting for a seat at a busy Thai restaurant where we met my brother for lunch. We were the only customers not wearing suits. Yay, vacation!

Untitled
» Exploring downtown.

Untitled
» Remembering my mom’s birthday with a steak dinner. Easily, hands-down, the best meal of our entire trip. I learned a few new tricks watching my sister-in-law prepare asparagus, which was pure yum.

Stay tuned for Part 2 later …

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.