Best of 2016

So this year's 2016 Best Nine on Instagram consisted of a mix of family, our home, me, food, and a of course Lucas and Theo. For this year's holiday card (family photos by Sarah Hebenstreit) I decided to highlight our best six.

This year was a crazy mix of highs and lows, sideways and zig zags, especially toward the end of the year with the insane political climate and sudden celebrity deaths. I'm so grateful for all the love and support this year from family and friends. Happy new year!

1. Lucas turned 6 and had a magic themed party.

2. Theo turned 4 and had a "waffle" themed party.

3. Lisa and Nick celebrated their 11th anniversary (photo by Sarah Hebenstreit).

4. Lucas started first grade and LOVES it.

5. Theo is in his last year of preschool and wants to stay.

6. Lisa quit her day job after nearly 20 years.

Yep, so this one was probably the biggest thing that happened for our family this year. Many people didn't realize I had another job aside from Good on Paper. I was a senior designer for a large engineering/environmental/architecture firm in Oakland. And many people at that job had no idea I had my own company. The decision to leave was not easy, but it was the right move for me. Earlier this year, I got shingles and it was bad. LIke, really bad. My body was telling me I was spreading myself too thin with two jobs, two kids, a house, a husband and all the crazy schedules and things to think about in between.

In late October, I was asked by Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge (one of the most inspiring, influential women I know) to speak on a panel on her book tour for In the Company of Women. I was incredibly honored yet scared shitless to talk in front of so many people all wanting to know about my life and business. The whole night was a huge success--so much so that I was inspired by my own words and took to the big leap to go freelance full time and spend more time with my family. So far so good and I'm feeling way less stressed out about having to rush to work and leave work on time to pick up the kids, etc. It's a huge adjustment but things will fall into place soon enough. Feeling grateful for the most awesome boss and co-workers/friends.

Despite all the bad that happened this year, so many good things also happened:
A trip to Yosemite with friends
Lucas survived summer camp and getting dirty at Trackers
Lucas loved playing soccer on a team with all his friends
Theo started swim lessons
One of Lisa's photos was selected to be in the Tiny Atlas Quarterly Solas Photo Show
Lucas and Theo modeled kids clothing for brands like Tea Collection, Ziraffe and Keen Kids
Nick played an awesome CD release show with Your Song My Song
Lisa went to LA for an awesome baby shower
Lucas was a ring bearer for my cousin's wedding
Went to another amazing wedding for Eric and Jaime
Lucas lost his first tooth!
Lisa hosted an awesome East Bay Holiday Pop Up (maybe I'll do a spring one too?)
Took the kids to their first peaceful protest at Hands Around Lake Merritt
Helped with a logo design for Women Watching Washington

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Recipe: Easy Butternut Squash Soup + Clover Giveaway

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year and for the past seven years (since I was pregnant with Lucas) I have hosted it at my house. Today, I've partnered with local family farm Clover to bring you this Easy Butternut Squash Soup recipe that has been on my holiday menu every year. When it comes to dairy, I always buy organic--local is even better, and Clover is in the north coast (where Nick is from!).

Clover is also giving away $100 in Clover Cash. Details below after the recipe.

Clover giveaway details:

  • Follow me on Instagram and share your favorite holiday meals with hashtag #CloverCooks for a chance to win $100 in coupons for Clover dairy products
  • This giveaway is only open to people who live in California.
  • Winner will be chosen at random on Monday, November 14th. Good luck!

This giveaway is now closed. The winner is @jessamynit.

+ Full recipe for Easy Butternut Squash Soup
+ Make these DIY Dessert Toppers for Thanksgiving!
+ Find me on Instagram (@good_on_paper), Twitter (@good_on_paper),
Pinterest (@goodonpaperdes) and Tumblr (hellogoodonpaper)
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Instagram Giveaway!

I'm so excited to announce an Instagram GIVEAWAY today for three of my current favorites: (1) a signed copy of the new book Alternative Baker by blogger/photographer/pastry chef/author Alanna Taylor-Tobin of The Bojon Gourmet (check out the amazing pie I made!), (2) a beautiful and sustainably designed culinary tote from Aplat (I use these all the time for transporting food for potlucks and picnics), and (3) a brown midi bonded leather playmat from Gathre (so awesome for picnics at the park or movie nights in our backyard).

Head over to my Instagram feed to find the original post and simply follow me, comment and tag 2 friends. That's it! I'll announce the winner chosen by random number generator on Monday, October 17th.

This giveaway is now CLOSED. Congrats to @makingitwithmeleyna!

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Back to School Morning Hacks with Red Tricycle and Keen Kids

Can I just tell you the morning hustle around here is crazy! Lucas and Theo are professional dilly-dalliers and after a lot of trial and error, there are a few morning hacks that seem to work most days. I partnered with Red Tricycle and Keen Kids to let you in on one of our Back to School Morning Hacks. I generally like to give my kids choices (typically two options that I'm also happy with and that I stick to). To keep things running as smoothly as possible in the morning, I would give them a choice of what to get done. i.e. get dressed or eat breakfast first? (Lucas usually chooses getting dressed first and Theo always eats in his jammies) or brush teeth or put sunscreen on? There are really only 5 things they have to do before we head out the door and if I give them a choice of the order they're completed in, they're more likely to quickly choose and get it done. Win Win!

Lucas has been wanting high tops and his favorite color is red! How cute are these high tops from Keen Kids' new Encanto Collection? I love durable Keen shoes are and this urban style fits Lucas' active lifestyle. :)

Check out these Red Tricycle articles with tips from me and other mamas:
The Secret to Stress-Free Mornings From the Country's Most Savvy Moms

School Lunch Survival Hacks and and Tips to Live By
10 of the Internet's Most Stylish Moms Dish on Keen's New Encanto Shoes

 

Back to School Morning Hacks with Red Tricycle and Keen Kids  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog/2016/8/3/back-to-school-morning-hacks  /  @good_on_paper

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Special thanks to Red Tricycle and Keen Kids for sponsoring this post. All content, ideas, and words are my own.

Favorites: Ziraffe Store + Instagram Takeover

Last week I partnered with the super cute modern kids online shop Ziraffe, to take over their Instagram feed. Owner and mama Yunyi Zhang sent over a couple of outfits for Lucas and Theo and she was spot on in choosing for their personalities. We discovered some cool new European brands including Macarons, Munster Kids and arsene et les pipelettes.

I shot Lucas and Theo in their cool outfits just doing everyday things like playing Pokemon with daddy, eating a giant bowl of noodles, drawing, wrestling and visiting Nana and Grandad in Santa Rosa. We also went on a mama and Lucas day date to visit Tartine Bakery in San Francisco where we had croissants, hot chocolate and an almond latte. Lucas would always say how much he loves croissants and that the ones he's had from Costco are so yummy. It only took one bite of Tartine's croissant to declare them the best he's ever had.

Check out my takeover on Ziraffe's Instagram feed. And here are all the outtakes!

Sign up on Ziraffe to get 25% off your first order and free shipping on all US orders.

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My Real Life 2015 Best Nine and Happy 2016

According to 2015bestnine.com, my best nine Instagrams were the ones shown above. My real life best nines are the ones shown here on our holiday card (photos by Sarah Hebenstreit) and below.

Thanks for all the love and support this year. I'm so grateful to my family/friends and to all the friends I've made both online and offline this year. Happy new year!

1. Lucas turned 5 and had an epic Wild Kratts party

2. Theo turned 3 and jammed with his buddies

3. Lisa turned 40 and holy shit she's 40 (I went to Tulum, Mexico with my girlfriends from college on our annual trip)

4. Lucas started kindergarten and LOVES it

5. Family trip to Maui and Theo's first plane ride

6. Lisa and Nick celebrated their 10-year anniversary (photo by Sarah Hebenstreit)

7. Lucas had his first surgery (1/2" piece of wood in his foot)--also, not really a "best" nine but he did so well throughout the whole ordeal.

8. Nick ran a full marathon (3.49) and hasn't run since (but plans to get back into it in 2016), photo by Sarah Hebenstreit

9. Lisa went to Tulum and got a tan--Nick hiked the Trinity Alps and got pneumonia / I also conquered a very big fear of mine!

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This and That Lately

This and That Lately  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

Things have been pretty busy over here--the kids' school schedules and extracurricular activities as well as work have all bee keeping me on my toes. Here are just a few recent photos. More can be found on my Instagram feed.

This and That Lately  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
This and That Lately  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
This and That Lately  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
This and That Lately  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
This and That Lately  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
This and That Lately  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
This and That Lately  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
This and That Lately  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
This and That Lately  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
This and That Lately  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
This and That Lately  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
This and That Lately  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
This and That Lately  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
This and That Lately  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

1. Cactus centerpiece from Banchan Workshop #4 I shot this weekend (more pics to come).
2. Soccer Saturdays.
3. More Soccer Saturdays. Go Coyotes!
4. What little brothers do while big brothers play soccer on Saturdays.
5. Enjoying my short one on one time with Lucas at school pick ups before getting Theo.
6. And then this happens when we pick up Theo.
7. Frozen yogurt date with Lucas.
8. I love that Theo is my little helper in the kitchen. He's my little foodie in his mini apron!
9. A really good sushi restaurant close to our home. Lucas' favorite food is salmon sashimi.
10. Play date at the Rose Garden. Love that Lucas has made so many new friends in just a month.
11. Theo's hat is back! Fall must be here!
12. I styled a Halloween photo shoot for 100 Layer Cakelet and Whole Foods. Photo by the talented Michelle Drewes.
13. Made this granola again. So good.
14. My baby Pixel would have been 14 this month. I miss him so much and think about him every day.
15. Podcast interview for Jennifer Snyder's Creating Your Own Path series. Photo by Jennifer Snyder.

+ Photos taken with my iPhone 5
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My Cheese Platter and a Giveaway with 34 Degrees Crisps

My Cheese Platter and a Giveaway with 34 Degrees Crisps / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper

Is it weird that putting together a really nice cheese platter was on my list of things to do in life? Yes, I know. Well, I had the perfect opportunity to make that happen when I had my good friend Lisa and her lovely family over for dinner. They are a foodie family so I wanted to make something a little extra special -- I didn't want to just whip up my weekly tofu-dipped-in-egg-and-pan-fried-over-rice entree (though I know they would love that too!).

My Cheese Platter and a Giveaway with 34 Degrees Crisps / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper

Anyway, I went to the new Whole Foods on Gilman Street and headed straight to the cheese counter. When I went on the preview tour of the store, one of the highlights was the cut-to-order cheese section. Mental note! Luckily, the cheese lady Julia was there to help me answer questions and provide samples of all kinds of tasty cheeses and olives. After making my final cheese selections, she also recommended 34 Degrees Crisps. Oh man, I thought the fancy cheeses would be the stars on the platter, but turns out I also fell in love with these thin and delicate crisps. They each had their own flavors that really complemented the different cheeses. I'm pretty proud at how my platter turned out.

My Cheese Platter and a Giveaway with 34 Degrees Crisps / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper
My Cheese Platter and a Giveaway with 34 Degrees Crisps / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper

In case you're wondering what was on my platter, here's a list:

  • Cheeses: Brillat Savarin Delin (soft cheese, 6-year old Zoya's fave), Abbaye de Bel'loc (hard sheep's milk), Bay Blue Point Reyes (the perfect blue cheese) and Murcia Curado - Naked Goat (mild tasting, firm goat cheese)
  • 34 Degrees Crisps: Toasted Onion, Rosemary, Cracked Pepper, Poppy Seed and Natural
  • Olives: Whole Foods mixed olives with Parmesan rind that I baked in the oven, as well as Castleveltrano, my favorite olives ever
  • Nuts: Rosemary Marcona Almonds from Trader Joe's
  • Fruit: Organic D'Anjou Pears
  • Next time I think I'll include these Spanish Olive Oil Tortas and maybe a fig spread
  • Gold cheese knives from West Elm, Rustic oak pie slab from Food 52
My Cheese Platter and a Giveaway with 34 Degrees Crisps / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper

I even dotted some creme fraiche on the cracked pepper crisps and topped it with smoked salmon and capers. Delicious! Look, I'm all fancy now!

My Cheese Platter and a Giveaway with 34 Degrees Crisps / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper

The awesome crew over at 34 Degree Crisps is giving away a set of their limited edition flavors, Toasted Onion (my personal fave!) and Poppy Seed, along with their Natural and Rosemary flavors, including pairing and recipe cards.

Here's how to enter:

• Follow @good_on_paper and @34Degrees_ on Instagram, comment with your favorite cheese and cracker pairing, and tag a cheese loving friend

• Please comment by Friday, January 23rd, 12pm PST

• This giveaway is for U.S. residents only

• I will announce a winner selected by random number generator by Monday, January 26th

Best of luck!

 

This and That Lately

This and That Lately / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper

Oh man, it's been super crazy busy around here. Between work at both jobs, room parenting for the kids' preschool, the kids' schedules, and just trying to keep up with everything, I am so not ready for the holidays! I need another month to prepare myself mentally. Anyway, here are some recent photos of what's been going on lately.

This and That Lately / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper
This and That Lately / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper
This and That Lately / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper
This and That Lately / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper

Lots of cozy brother time / Theo totally chooses to wear those glasses and hat

This and That Lately / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper

We got a Christmas tree!

This and That Lately / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper
This and That Lately / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper

I've been so floored by the love and support for the 2015 Calendar I designed in collaboration with Jennifer Young. It's been such an awesome experience and we've nearly sold out of them. The calendar has made it into several gift guides curated by some rad mags like Rue (see here) and Mother. Thank you!

This and That Lately / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper
This and That Lately / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper
This and That Lately / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper

I was lucky enough to make it to the Lovemade (Hi Jeanne and Janette!) DIY Gift Wrapping event with Yellow Owl Workshop (Hi Christine!) at Rare Device with my friend Lisa and her daughter Bijou. How cute are Bijou and Theo together?

This and That Lately / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper

One of my faves -- Lucas said here, "Ahhhhh, this is the life." (stole that from The Pigeon Needs a Bath, and he's right!)

This and That Lately / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper
This and That Lately / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper
This and That Lately / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper

Went with my friend Nancy of Anthology magazine to the West Coast Craft show. Got to see some amazing designers/artists and ooh and ahh at all the things I wish I could make or have in my home. Nancy has been featuring a few stand out designers each day on the Anthology blog with the photos I shot. Can't wait to go back!

This and That Lately / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper
This and That Lately / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper

In the midst of all the craziness, I somehow find time bake Cranberry Orange Morning Buns and Apple Turnovers. I guess baking (and eating the end product) is kind of therapeutic for me in a way.

This and That Lately / www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog / @good_on_paper

I made this countdown to Christmas scratch off treasure hunt calendar for Lucas inspired by one of the projects in my friend Erin's new book Make and and Give. He's been scratching one gold circle off since December 1st. Underneath each circle is a clue to where a small gift is wrapped and hidden around the house -- anything from a pair of new socks, a piece of chocolate, a new book, or a trip to the museum.

Happy weekend friends!

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Long weekend - Happy 4th of July!

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Happy long 4th of July weekend friends! I've had a crazy busy week with work so I'm really looking forward to spending some quality family time -- swimming, play dates, tasty food, and a visit from some dear friends. Here are some of my favorite Instagram pics of my boys from this week.

Tomorrow we will be visiting our friends at Sketch. It's a bittersweet visit as they have decided to close the shop for good to focus on family. We will miss them SO much and wish them the best. I totally respect their decision to put family first -- it's always a juggle, but at the end of the day, it's family and love that come out on top.

We are starting off the long weekend tonight with a yummy Munchery dinner delivered to our door so I don't have to cook after a long day at work. If you haven't tried Munchery yet, I highly recommend them -- high quality, affordable, freshly made food conveniently delivered to your door in eco-friendly/compostable packaging. And amazing graphic design/packaging!

What are you up to this weekend?

+ Images by me via Instagram (@good_on_paper)