A couple weeks ago we rented a car and headed out to the country for a much needed escape. We hiked and because of a wrong turn also climbed the mountains of Malibu. For the first time in a long time we were nowhere near anyone else only listening to the sounds of the forest. 

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Culture Shocks.

G’s new school is awesome. Not only does she come back every day exhausted and covered in dirt head to toe but she’s also getting a first hand cultural experience like non other since most of her fellow students are Japanese.

This kid is going to be SO worldly. It’s one thing I’m really proud of when it comes to how we’re parenting. Between her family in Canada, US, and now Portugal and India she’ll grow to see the world beyond her immediate environment. She’s already had influences of English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Japanese language in her normal day to day life. 

Our goal is for her to grow up with an open mind and heart to all new and foreign experiences as small as trying new food as big as adventuring the world fearlessly.

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Last weekend we had the pleasure of attending one of G’s classmate’s birthday parties. The host and most of the other guests were Japanese. The language barriers were a bit eye opening, helping us get a clearer prospective on G’s everyday challenges at school. It was like a peak into this little girls world we don’t get to be part of often.

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The traditional home/garden where the party was held were breathtaking. The front of the building was very modest but when you came through the back gate you found a magical garden including a traditional Japanese fish pond. 

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A New Adventure covered in Coconut Oil.

No “new life” is complete without a new path and direction. And we have left no stone unturned in this quest for better living and simpler life. I left my music career behind me after almost 10 years making a name for myself. It was scary. Naturally I’m a stubborn person. This creates a wonderful work ethic and a (sometimes unhealthy) drive to be the best of the best no matter what it takes.

I’ve wanted to leave the industry in the past but before I had always felt a sense of failure in doing so. The biggest turning point for me was when I recently started working with someone in the top of my field. He was famous for his business over the past 40 years in the industry. Being associated with this man alone helped my career but as I got to know this person better one thing became clear: when I’m 50+ I don’t want to be him or really anyone at my age in my industry I have the pleasure of knowing. So I changed. It was a messy jump leaving the business I loved and sacrificed so much for. But, I’m excited and hopeful for this new beginning. 

When I stopped to really think what I wanted it was to “live in love”. And really what did that mean to me? To my new family? Well that meant doing something authentic, truthful to myself and others around me, something I can truly feel happy doing while not killing myself to do it. So the idea for ilubeu was born….

ilubeu is a 100% coconut oil packaged in fun time friendly single serving “Little Cuties”. The concept is straight up out of my life and my relationship, and family. We love coconut oil in our house and use it for so many things; love making, cooking, hair/skin treatments to name a few. Not a single day goes by where we don’t use coconut oil in one form or another. Hating the traditional packaging of coconut oil and not being able to ever bring it along on the many flights I had to take for work because the amount in the jars is more than you are allowed to fly with these days I dove in to creating something I love, ilubeu. 

I sourced the oil, found the factory, tested the packaging, created the website, and launched the presale all leading to hitting the ground running last week. Sounds so simple typing this all out! But really it took almost two months to turn the vision for ilubeu into a reality. 

Now I’m in a learning phase. I’ve spent so many years in the music industry selling other people’s creative work….I need to learn how to sell my own! It’s a crash course in everything all over again from social media (wanna help us follow us on instram: ilubeu or twitter loveilubeu) to learning how to place product in stores. Everything is taking that much longer because I’m learning everything as I go.

The major difference between this company and my others from the past (besides it actually being product based) is that I’m taking it a bit slower. It’s less about the race to the end and more of a joy ride as I learn what possibly the new normal could look like. 

I’m hoping as I learn how to do this I could act as an inspiration to my children when they are grown and learn my story here and from my words. We all face points in our life where we need to grow, change and reinvent. No matter how big or small the need for change is it’s scary and this is all still scary for me only a week in! But if I can float this and any other inevitably coming life changes the universe will toss at me with a little more grace, gratitude, and experience each time I’ll be satisfied and that much closer to the dream life we’re creating.

Also a lot more of this:

And this:

Because silly faces feel good.

If you haven’t yet check out our presale yet head over to www.ilubeu.com. If you want to support purchase something! Each presale order comes with a couple fun freebies including a love and good vibe filled thank you card from yours truly.  

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The new minimal in daily doses.

Holy cow earthquakes! This morning I awoke my same 6amish this time getting up to check on G who the previous night was running a fever. No more than 3 mins of getting out of bed the whole loft began to shake. I could feel the walls and the building structure almost like for a moment my body and the building became one (yes I know that sounds odd but it’s how it felt!). Being new to California my mind rushed to “OMG an explosion”, but when the shaking continued I realized we were in for our first full out west coast earthquake. Not really sure what to do I ran over to G’s bed and leaned over her holding the wall as if it would do anything if the quake we’re to get any worse as W ran out to us from our bedroom. I panicked, my breath got the best of me. We’re on one of the higher floors of a really tall building so we felt the effects as the world moved beneath the city intensely.

 While this earthquake was small in comparison to what could potentially hit the west coast it was still one of the larger they have seen in years. I’m actually grateful for it being now we realize we need a family emergency plan just to be safe.

Even though no one in the city was hurt and the quake was relatively harmless it for sure shook me up a bit (no pun intended) in the sense that for those first few moments I felt the same feeling that I felt during the first days of the hurricane in Brooklyn. A sense of being so small, so helpless to mother nature. I’m not sure if the universe keeps tossing this emotion over for a particular reason but I hear you loud and clear lady!!!!! 

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(can someone please tell me why my iphone is suddenly taking horrible photos? Always blurry and dark, and yes I turned the HDR on…so odd)

Besides from mother nature making herself known in our new city we’re settling in very well. We moved into our new loft last week and are in love. I feel spoiled rotten by having a dishwasher and washer dryer in the space, turn them on head out for the day come home and everything is clean!

The funny thing is we currently have exactly: Two mattresses, two shelves, one couch, one table, one bench and two chairs in the entire large space. It’s nearly empty and you know what? We love it. Even if it echoes…..

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(prior to getting the new furniture) 

W and I had an intention of living a minimal life focusing on what we feel really matters outside of material goods with our move to LA but to be in a space and feel this intention come to life is really inspiring. We’re trying to not waste, reuse everything we bring into the house, and just have our home life as simple and natural as possible. Slowing down to do this has felt really lovely.

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G’s really blossoming here in LA. Loving her new Japanese dance class. Her new school is really incredible she comes home everyday filthy from their outdoor playground and is learning writing/reading skills like a pro. She just seems so much more satisfied at the end of her days which is a good feeling for any mama. 

This new life is pretty sweet guys! So much potential on the horizon now that we’re getting settled into our new home. We’re really starting to live up to what we’re calling our family motto: Keep it simple, make it awesome. New home photos to come soon as we break out the real camera! 

Happy Almost Spring Everyone! 

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Our Travel Bug

I’m going to totally be one of those annoying braggy parents for a moment about how awesome this little girl is. Really really awesome at traveling that is. I see so many posts from around the web of “traveling with kids” and how to make flights better etc (I think I even wrote one myself at one point on here) yet sometimes kids just shine in certain areas and we’re realizing travel is totally one of those areas for G. The Baby G 2013 Tour was awesome proof of her skills too that even surprised me at times! 

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My recent streak of bad luck on my own flights makes me oh so thankful for this behaved child. My last flight I had a small baby next to me, while she was behaved most of the flight the sudden shrieks weren’t the most pleasant. Flight before that a little boy enjoyed digging his toes into the back of my seat but mostly would stop with sudden “mom glares” through the little crack between the seats (what is is about the mom glare that transcends all languages?!). But by far the epic of all epic child/flight interactions and the reason I no longer will fly Delta was on my return flight last summer from Paris. I was severally sunburned returning from the french coast. Piece of advice: never nap on the Brittany beach without sun protection when you’re as pale as me, you will regret. Sitting in the tough airline seats hurt enough with the burn that had just started to blister but to make it worse there was a devil child sitting directly behind me not occasionally kicking my seat but having full force tantrums where he would grab my seat and SHAKE it violently. The parents weren’t doing anything to the shock of all the people around them. Did I mention the child was around 7?! This wasn’t a toddler we’re speaking of here. Epic. 

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Anyhow that is not G thank god, girls got mad travel skills and patience. Maybe it’s the fact she has traveled with me since birth? Or maybe it’s that she loves stimulation and traveling offers a change of environment and excitement that actually makes her calm? Whatever it is, I lovelovelove doing everything travel related with this little girl. She’s so good at rolling with the punches for both long long drives (our record is 8 hours with just the two of us) or long flights. She absolutely rocks sleeping and bunking up in all sorts of environments either friends or hotels. And never ever phased by “road food”.  

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Most flights start like above and end like below with her passed out on me in some awkward position. Add W to the mix and it will be me on him with her on me, full family pile. 

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I hope she grows to keep this skill since we have some exciting ideas for family travel soon. If as an adult she ends up being anything like or taking anything from mine and W’s influences she’ll be off world traveling as soon as she’s old enough to wander alone. 

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(Curious blow fish from our recent Kansas City Aquarium visit.)

As for tips and hints to help a kid gain these skills I have absolutely. no. idea. We’ve never worked on these skills in the past and for sure don’t have any “go to tricks”, just pure dumb parenting luck I guess. 

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On one of our recent flights G got to go into the cockpit and push what ever buttons she wanted. Who knew they still let kids do this?! Leave it to her to find the ONE single button tucked under the chair’s arm to make the pilot jump up in panic yelling “any button but THAT one” haha. 

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Hello DTLA.

And we have arrived. Well we arrived about three weeks ago but we’re just getting on a grip on our new home and lifestyle. So many changes being made from to how we’re living daily to how we’re making a true effort to be more healthy and curate a fabulous life. More about that later now I would like to rant a bit about our amazing new city, Downtown Los Angeles. 

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I absolutely adore DTLA! Honestly I haven’t missed NYC once yet. The energy is so simular to what I caught ten years ago in in the NYC LES (for the short time it still lasted as you long term NYers can understand). The area is still growing (so quick google maps can’t even keep up) but it’s infused with quirky little new businesses, a younger environment, and lots and lots of colorful art. There are downsides for sure to the area, the noise and pollution are much worse than NYC ever was and OMG the amount of homeless is unbearable but if you look beyond that you find a really beautiful city which is full of such a hopeful energy.

On our first full California day we headed to the coast to celebrate the move. Both G and W adore the ocean (myself not so much). Seeing them bond over their shared love of the sea is so special to me. It was a sunny but cool day and we told G she could dip her toes in the water. We turned around for two mins from her to steal a kiss and when we turned back she was fully clothed and diving into a wave. Oh my little free spirited child. 

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These two. Just these two. 

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We’ve spent a lot of time walking the streets checking out the new neighborhood. The old architecture makes it feel like each building has a book of a story to tell, it’s just incredible. I’m looking forward to diving into the community more, meeting other parents (there’s a family in our loft building with 5 kids!) and  getting out in this sunshine as much as humanly possible in the coming weeks. 

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We found our new apartment our first week here. While we don’t move into the new space for a couple weeks yet we’re very happy with it. It’s a typical industrial downtown loft but unlike our dusty old NYC space (oh how we miss that home) this space has a modern renovation with things like a dishwasher and HUGE tub. The roof top gym and pool don’t hurt either! First time in our life we’ll be living in modern construction, my inner house wife is a little excited. 

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G’s learning how to swim! 

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Biggest news, actually shocking news, two weeks ago I quit my job! It was time, it was past time actually I’ve just become brave enough to make the leap. I have a few projects I’m currently working on including a new company (not anything at all music related) I’ll be writing about that soon. It’s been an adjustment finally having the mental space and time to really be the person, mother, and partner I want to be. There’s still growing pains, as there should be, but the freedom is incredible. 

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 We’re settling into our new life as a family of three. Personally I go back and forth between complete and utter bliss and panic since everything is: so. damn. new. G’s as happy as can be…. “family hugs” all around all the time! The move has been a sweet start to something incredible that’s for sure. Now if G would let us get an actual family photo…..haha! She’s such a happy ham. 

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Sunshine Series - Pittsburgh

The most exciting thing about the Baby G! tour 2013 this summer I have to say was seeing SO many people we hadn’t seen in ages. An incredible amount of family and friends we had the opportunity to visit along the road trip. It was very heart warming to reconnect with people we love. I hope down the road as G gets older (and we’re living in god knows which country) we can do a tour like this again. Each age would be such a different experience! From the childhood years to the teenage years I look forward to inspiring this little soul to enjoy the gypsy lifestyle her mother has always thrived in before she became a home body. 

One really special stop over we made this summer was to see a very special special person I hadn’t seen in YEARS! “Uncle Josh” in his new home in Pittsburgh. When we grew up he fled to southern florida for almost seven years and I started my life in NYC. There were always fleeting phone calls about visits either way that we just never were able to make happen. So finally after years him and G met and bonded for the first time. He even did a back flip for her. Heart warming. 

Love you Joshy! 

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We’re Moving!

 In …uhhhh… a week we’re moving. Yes it was a last min decision and yes we’re a little nuts. We’re moving to downtown LA and I couldn’t be more excited. There’s various reasons we’re moving some health stuff, a cheaper cost of living (on everything but rent) but mostly it’s the change of scenery and sunshine calling our names. There is a LOT to get done in the two weeks before we need to get on that plane leavening NYC behind but it seems like almost everything is falling into place. I’ve been doing this steady cleaning/packing hybrid everyday slowly placing things in suitcases and moving others to storage.

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 I did yet another cleanse of all our belongings, feels good to get simple and let go of material belongings. The band who’s currently on their way to west coast for gigs took a couple boxes for us already. The loft feels well… empty!

This move and recent life events really have me thinking often about how this is a fresh start. It’s a new beginning for our family and new beginnings are a huge opportunity. My mind keeps going to intentions. Like anyone else in the world I have the vision of certain things in my life I would like to change. Old habits and routines make lifestyle changes a challenge sometimes making goals seem harder than they are to attain. But now I have an opportunity. How can I be a better mother? Partner? How about new habits to better take care of myself? How can I help bring more health and balance into my family? I don’t want this move to be just a fresh start but also a “better” start to a more positive and healthy life and intentions seem like the first step in that direction. Sunshine here we come! 

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Date a Boy Who Travels

W sent this to me today. What great advice! Just gonna leave this here for years to come for G. 

Written by Lena Desmond

Date a boy who treasures experience over toys, a hand-woven bracelet over a Rolex. Date the boy who scoffs when he hears the words, “vacation”, “all-inclusive”, or “resort”. Date a boy who travels because he’s not blinded by a single goal but enlivened by many.

You might find him in an airport or at a book store browsing the travel guides – although he “only uses them for reference.”

You’ll know it’s him because when you peek at his computer screen, his background will be a scenic splendor of rolling hills, mountains, or prayer flags. His Facebook friend count will be over-the-roof, and his wall will be plastered with the broken English ‘miss-you’ of friends he met along the way. When he travels, he makes lifelong friends in an hour. And although contact with these friends is sporadic and may be far-between, his bonds are unmessable and if he wanted, he could couch surf the world… again.

Buy him a beer. Once a traveller gets home, people rarely listen to their stories. So listen to him. Allow him to paint a picture that brings you into his world. He might talk fast and miss small details because he’s so excited to be heard. Bask in his enthusiasm. Want it for yourself.

He’ll squeak like an excited toddler when his latest issue of National Geographic arrives in the mail. Then he’ll grow quiet, engrossed, until he finishes his analysis of every photo, every adventure. In his mind, he’ll insert himself in these pictures. He’ll pass the issue on to you and grill you about your dreams and competitively ask about the craziest thing you’ve ever done. Tell him. And know that he’ll probably win. And if by chance you win, know that his next lot in life will be to out do you. But then he’ll say, “Maybe we can do it together.”

Date the boy who talks of distant places and whose hands have explored the stone relics of ancient civilizations and whose mind has imagined those hands carving, chiseling, painting the wonders of the world. And when he talks, it’s as if he’s reliving it with you. You can almost hear his heart racing. You can almost feel the adrenaline ramped up by the moment. You feel it passing through his synapses, a feast to his eyes entering through those tiny oracles of experience that we call pupils, digesting rapidly through his veins, manifesting into his nervous system, transforming and altering his worldview like a reverse trauma and finally passing, but forever changing the colors of his sight. (Unless he’s Karl Pilkington.) You will want this too.

Date a boy who’s lived out of a backpack because he lives happily with less. A boy who’s travelled has seen poverty and dined with those who live in small shanty’s with no running water, and yet welcome strangers with greater hospitality than the rich. And because he’s seen this, he’s seen how a life without luxury can mean a life fueled by relationships and family, rather than a life that fuels fancy cars and ego. He’s experienced different ways of being, respects alternative religions and he looks at the world with the eyes of a five-year-old, curious and hungry. Your dad will be happy too because he’s good with money and knows how to budget.

This boy relishes home; the comfort of a duvet, the safety stirred in a mom-cooked meal, the easy conversation of childhood friends, and the immaculate glory of the flush-toilet. Although fiercely independent, he has had time to reflect on himself and his relationships. Despite his wanderlust, he knows and appreciates his ties to home. He has had a chance to miss and be missed. Because of this, he also knows a thing or two about goodbyes. He knows the overwhelming uncertainty of leaving the comforts of home, the indefinite see-you-laters at the departure gates, and yet he fearlessly goes into the unknown because he knows the feeling of return. And that the I’ve-missed-you-hug is the best type of hug in the whole world. He also knows that goodbyes are just prolonged see-you-laters and that ‘hello’ is only as far away as the nearest internet cafe.

Don’t hold onto this boy. Let this boy go and go with him. If you haven’t travelled, he will open your eyes to a world beyond the news and popular perception. He will open your dreams to possibility and reality. He will calm your nerves when you’re about to miss a flight or when your rental blows a flat, because he knows the journey is the adventure. He will make light of the unsavory noises you make when you – and you will – get food poisoning. He will make you laugh through the discomfort all while dabbing your forehead with a cold cloth and nursing you with bottled water. He will make you feel like you’re home.

When you see something beautiful, he will hold your hand in silence, in awe the history of where his feet stand, and the fact that you’re with him.

He will live in every moment with you, because this is how he lives his life.

He understands that happiness is no more than a string of moments that displace neutrality, and he is determined to tie as many of these strings together as he can. He also understands your need to live for yourself and that you have a bucketlist of your own. Understand his. Understand that your goals may at some points differ, but that independence is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship when it’s mutually respected. You may lose him for a bit, but he will always come home bearing a new story and a souvenir he picked up because it reminded him of you, like it was made for you, and because he missed you. You might be compelled to do the same. Make sure that independence is on your bucketlist, and make sure it’s checked. Independence will keep your relationship fresh and exciting, and when you’re together again it will forge a bond of unbreakable trust.

He’ll propose when you’ve breached your comfort-zone, whether it be a fear like skydiving or swimming with sharks, or sitting next to the smelly person on an overcrowded bus. It won’t be with a diamond ring, but with a token from a native culture or inspired by nature, like the penguin and the pebble.

You will get married somewhere unassumed, surrounded by a select few, in a moment constructed to celebrate venturing into the unknown together again. Marry the boy who’s travelled and together you will make the whole world your home. Your honeymoon will not be forgotten to a buffet dinner and all-you-can-drink beach bars, but will be remembered in the triumphant photographs at the top of Kilimanjaroand memorialized in the rewarding ache of muscles at the end of a long days hike.

When you’re ready, you will have children that have the names of the characters you met on your journeys, the foreign names of people who dug a special place in your heart if only for a few days. Perhaps you will live in another country, and your children will learn of language and customs that open their minds from the very start, leaving no room for prejudice. He will introduce them to the life of Hemingway, the journey of Santiago, and empower them to live even bigger than both of you.

Marry a boy who travels and he’ll teach your children the beauty of a single stone, the history of the Incas and he will instill in them the bravery of possibility. He will explain to them that masking opportunity, there is fear. He will teach them to conquer it.

And when you’re old, you’ll sit with your grandchildren pouring over your photo albums and chest of worldly treasures, while they too insert themselves into your photographs, sparked by the beauty of the world and inspired by your life in it.

Find a boy who travels because you deserve a life of adventure and possibility. You deserve to live light and embrace simplicity. You deserve to look at life through the eyes of youth and with your arms wide open. Because this is where you will find joy. And better, you will find joy together.

And if you can’t find him, travel. Go. Embrace it. Explore the world for yourself because dreams are the stuff reality is made from.

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Sunshine Series - G meets the Horse

This summer along the Baby G Tour we stopped over in PA to visit my aunt and uncle. It was a great little stop over after a week of camping. More about that trip here

One of the things we all did as a family with G was went to the small town local county fair. It was fun to see all the quilts, farm animals and eat some fair food (oh fair food!). G has on occasion for about a year prior has asked for me to take her horse back riding. This is no surprise being her mama was obsessed with horses for most of her young life. 

While it wasn’t a true horse back riding experience I was stoked to see the pony ride at the fair. After all with G still being so tiny the small ponies were kind of “horse sized’ for her. I’ll never forget her face of pride and focus as she learned how to ride keeping her balance while containing the excitement she was actually on a horse!  

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