Chris & I have always joked that our kitchen isn’t technically finished.  There was one final touch that we just never got around to finishing up, and therefore, the kitchen wasn’t done.  As the years went by, it didn’t really bother me, and no one really noticed.  And Chris decided that we couldn’t move on to another project, because technically, we were still working on the kitchen.  It’s saved him a lot of work over the years icon smile A Little Kitchen Update

But now it’s kind of done done done!

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Can you spot the big difference?

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It’s kind of silly, because I barely notice myself.

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We finished the cabinets with crown molding!

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I guess this is why it’s so crazy, I didn’t mind the simple wood straight up to the ceiling.  I really didn’t!   It felt a bit more modern and I kind of liked it.  But, because it was never the plan to leave it that way, it wasn’t right in some places.  There were gaps at the ceiling where it wasn’t quite straight and it didn’t finish into the walls like it should, because it was never meant to be seen.  So, we had to finish it and I can’t believe it took us so long to do it.  But it’s done and it’s gorgeous icon smile A Little Kitchen Update

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We’ve also made these two additions for the little one.  The play kitchen is an IKEA hack and just makes me so happy.  McCarty mostly likes taking the sink out, putting things in the cabinets that don’t really belong there and turning on the stove lights.   The table was a Craig’s List find and the chairs are Amazon.  There’s also a super pretty antique rug that I’m obsessed with.  The reds really pull out the colors in the hardwood floor and it brings so much more life to that hole between the cabinets.

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But the most exciting part of this little project was that we FINALLY had to figure out what color the cabinets are.  It is, hands down, the question I get asked more than anything else.  And until now, I just didn’t know.  We’d had the paint custom mixed and the cans were buried far back in the garage.  But, we were able to have the cabinets color matched at Mark’s Paint and it’s as close to perfect as you can get!  So, here’s the formula for all you inquiring minds!

Benjamin Moore 793 – 2x (Gallon)

Y3 0X 28.0000

S1 1X 6.0000

R3 0X 2.0000



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Affogato Easy Dessert 0003 684x1024 Super Easy Desserts: Affogatos


I’m all about food/drinks that look like you worked pretty hard, but in actuality you put two things in a glass.   Like when you walk in to the dining room and people gasp at how fancy you are, but really, your toddler could put this together.  Enter Affogatos.  Maybe it’s the name?  Or that they’re Italian?  But you guys, it’s ice cream and espresso.  And then you’re done.  Throw it in a fancy glass, pop a cookie on top and the end.

I typically drink my coffee black, but is this what cream & sugar coffee people taste every day!?  It tastes like heaven.   I might convert.

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1 scoop Vanilla Ice Cream per cup

1/2 shot of espresso per cup


Put 1 scoop of ice cream in a glass.  Pour over 1/2 shot of espresso.  (

Extra Note: You could put nothing on top, or whatever you want.  I added some warm chocolate chip cookies and, drenched in espresso, they were even better!  You could literally put anything on top of this and it would be fantastic.

Extra Note, 2: I prepped these in the kitchen and brought them out at my last lunch, but you could pour the espresso over the ice cream at the table for a nice little entertaining flourish.

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Whiskey Apple 1 The Simplest Whiskey Apple Cocktail




Just the other night, I wanted a cocktail.  I wanted something that was tasty and kind of interesting.  My pre-baby self would have made something intricate and kind of a pain in the ass.  But I like doing that and I find it relaxing.  I still do.  For the most part.  But the other night, I was tired and just wanted to curl up on the couch with a cocktail in hand.  Simple.  And since it was evening and the baby was already sleeping, I had to use ingredients I just happened to have in the house.    Oh, and I had nothing in the house.

So.  Whiskey, apple juice, orange juice and a hit of cinnamon.  You guys, it was delicious.  And interesting.  And easy.  And you probably have it sitting in your house right now.  You could definitely make it more complicated and I’m guessing it would be so delicious with this Spiced Simple Syrup I made a few years ago.  But you don’t even have to go there.  This one here is one step above just pouring whiskey over ice.  Which is nice if you’re in to that kind of thing, but try this little concoction if you want something a little lighter, and a tad bit wintery.   Enjoy!
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The Simplest Whiskey Cocktail


2 oz Whiskey

1.5 oz apple juice (I used the unfiltered from Trader Joes)

.5 oz orange juice (I squeezed a Cara Cara Orange, but you could use juice too, even easier!)

Dash of cinnamon


Throw it all in glass with ice, stir it for a tiny moment and then sit on your couch. Enjoy!



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August 4, 2016 Frosé All Day


One of my favorite things about rosé is that it’s easy.  Uncork, pour, done.  But if you spend a little bit of time with it, going one step further and freezing/blending it is totally worth it.  Frozen rosé is the drink of the summer, I’m telling you!  It’s everywhere I look and I’m real excited about it.  So so so good guys!


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The first recipe I saw was on Bon Appétit, you can find it right here.  It’s pretty simple and really delicious!   I’ve been using this La Granja rosé from Trader Joes.  It’s heavier and darker than I would ever choose for drinking, but works perfectly for frosé.  Since you lose a lot of the flavor when you freeze it, you want to start with something that has a lot of flavor.  Also, it’s like $5.00.

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Bon Appétit’s Frosé


1 750 ml bottle hearty, bold rosé (such as a Pinot Noir or Merlot rosé)

½ cup sugar

8 ounces strawberries, hulled, quartered

 ounces fresh lemon juice


Pour rosé into a 13×9″ pan and freeze until almost solid (it won’t completely solidify due to the alcohol), at least 6 hours.

Meanwhile, bring sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan; cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Add strawberries, remove from heat, and let sit 30 minutes to infuse syrup with strawberry flavor. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl (do not press on solids); cover and chill until cold, about 30 minutes.

Scrape rosé into a blender. Add lemon juice, 3½ ounces strawberry syrup, and 1 cup crushed ice and purée until smooth. Transfer blender jar to freezer and freeze until frosé is thickened (aim for milkshake consistency), 25–35 minutes.

Blend again until frosé is slushy. Divide among glasses.

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So, after making the rosé recipe about a dozen times, I thought I’d start to play around with it a bit.  I’ve got two now that I’m LOVING!  This first one is a bit boozier and a bit richer.  It’s real real good.

Boozy Orange Frosé


750 ml bottle of rosé

2 oz strawberry simple syrup

3 oz Chambord

2 oz Orange Juice


Follow the same directions as above, just using these new ingredients!

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You know how Trader Joe’s is ALL ABOUT THE MANGO this season?  Like, it’s in every single one of their products?  I’ve been inspired to pick up fresh mangoes whenever I’m there and I just happened to spot one when I was making a batch of frosé. It just felt right.  I threw in a whole mango and it was perfection.

Mint & Mango Frosé


750 ml bottle of rosé

1 mango (peeled and de-seeded)

2 oz mint simple syrup (sugar, water, 5 springs of mint)


To make the mint simple syrup, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan and heat until sugar is melted.  Add five sprigs of mint and cool. (same as the strawberry simple syrup above, just swap the strawberries for mint.)

For the frosé, follow the directions above as well!

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So, it’s almost the weekend.  It’s going to be summer time hot.  These three new friends will keep you in excellent company!  Enjoy!

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July 14, 2016 Black Garlic


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A year after McCarty began demanding all of my attention, I’m starting to find some time to get back to the things I love.  The magazine pile is out.of.control.  I have piles of them everywhere, subscriptions have long expired and am now getting around to reading that great issue of Sunset Magazine from April 2015.  It’s crazy talk, but I’m so glad to be getting back in the swing of things!

So, I wish I could tell you which magazine it was that had a lovely little article on Black Garlic.  I’d guess Bon Appetit probably.  Black Garlic is regular old garlic, fermented and aged until it’s black, sticky and almost paste-like.  They sell it at Whole Foods in these little bags, I think it was $5.99.  It’s smokey and a little sweet and has so much flavor!   A beautiful amazing bang of flavor!  I can’t even imagine all of the things that will be so much better with Black Garlic.  Pizza. Pasta. More crostinis.  (I decided to stick to meat, fruits & veggies today… it’s been like 22 hours without a carb and I’m already craving it so hard.)

So, I came home, slathered it on a bit of french bread and died.  Then I put together one of my favorite little salads (which is oh so good on it’s own!) and topped some toasted french bread and the black garlic.  Done.  Done.  Done.  Try it guys!

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Black Garlic & Summer Salad Crostini



Black Garlic (found at Whole Foods)

French Bread

2 Peaches

1 basket of Cherry Tomatoes

1 container of Mozzarella

Olive Oil




Cut the french bread into slices and toast (I use the broiler function on my oven for about 5 minutes.)  Spread the french bread with black garlic (about one clove per crostini, but more if you really like!)

Cut the peaches, tomatoes and mozzarella into tiny pieces and mix with a few tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Sprinkle the salad onto the crostini.  Enjoy!


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July 13, 2016 Summertime

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Oh ya’ll, it’s summertime.  The Valley has hit 108 degree highs so far and I’m sure it’s only going to get worse for us.  When it’s this hot, I want nothing more than a refreshing cocktail!  After a long (ok, longish) “winter” of wine, I’m so excited to get back into the swing of cocktail creating!

This one started with some things I just had hanging out in the fridge…  A whole watermelon & some pineapple juice!  It was so hot and we were hanging out in the “pool” (please see here… I make fun, but it’s been kind of amazing and my husband loves it so much!).  So, pool drinks require rum.  And lots of it.  You guys, it’s real good and so satisfying!   Enjoy!


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2 oz dark rum (I used Whalers)

2 oz coconut rum (Malibu Rum takes me back to the college days!)

2 oz canned pineapple juice

2 oz watermelon juice*

3 sprigs of mint (2 sprigs torn, 1 for garnish)



In a cocktail shaker, mix the rum, the juices and the torn mint.  Shake and pour over ice.  Enjoy!

* Watermelon juice is so simple because watermelon is something like 95% water!  I throw chunks into a blender, blend, and then strain.  There’s not a whole lot left in the strainer, so if you like a little pulp, then skip that last bit!  You could likely do the same with the pineapple if you wanted to make your own juice!

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Bedrooms for babies are kind of the best.  They can be fun and cute and whimsical… all things that I don’t necessarily do in any other room.  I’ve put more color in McCartys room than in the rest of our house combined.  It’s been so much fun playing around here!

This little project was born of necessity… two necessities actually.  We needed to fill some weird empty space between the glider and the closet and start to contain a growing lot of tiny little books.
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It was so simple!  The white ledges are from IKEA, meant for pictures frames.  I could have probably just stopped there.  But I felt like they would just come tumbling off the shelves if I didn’t add something to hold them all in.  I picked up a 10′ length of copper pipe from Lowes, 90 degree joints and little things to attach on the sides (I have no clue what those little guys are called.)

Turns out, cutting the pipe is super simple! I wasn’t sure how to do it, but you just use a pipe cutter (seems like a duh moment, no?) and it’s so easy!  Spin, tighten, spin, tighten, spin, tighten and then you have two pipes.  We cut long lengths for the front and two short pieces for each side. Attach the 90 degree joints, attach the short ends with the u-shaped clips , super glue it all for good measure and nail the wood to the wall above the photo ledge.  We used redwood, oiled with tung oil, mostly just because that’s what we had in the garage.  Also, it’s real pretty!  I was sad when I put the books onto the shelves and realized you couldn’t see it anymore.  But my friends with older kids informed me that one day McC will make sure that all the books are on the floor and I’ll be able to see the wood again icon smile Babys Room Book Ledges

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McCarty is nine months old and I’m still putzing around in here, changing little things and moving it all around.  I’m hoping to get it to a good place soon!  Fingers crossed, a little baby room tour coming up soon!


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The kind of amazing part of having a new baby is that you get little free passes. Because you don’t sleep so much and life is thrown upside down for a bit, you are allowed to slack off on certain things.  This blog, the gym, all the little extras that bring so much joy, but that don’t really fit into the new juggling act of baby, house, work, life.

But, nine months in, we’re really getting this juggling act down (Some days.  Some days, not so much.) and returning to the extras is making me so happy!   Maybe I’ll blog more than two times in 2016!

classpass CLASSPASS, My New Motivation

I love exercise classes.  And if there’s a fancy machine, or sexy lighting, or something weird/unique I’m even more excited to try it out.  ClassPass started to get really popular right around the time I found out I was pregnant, and I didn’t want to try too many new things while I was also trying to grow a human, so I’ve had to wait until now to test the waters.  I just finished up the two week trial and I.Am.Obsessed.  I tried 13 classes in 2 weeks and I loved every single one of them.  Sure, the logistics can be kind of tough… where do you go? where do you park? what do I need to bring? That all gets a little exhausting.  And because you have to sign up in advance, and are charged a fee if you cancel with 12 hours, you are forced to show up.  Some days that is truly terrible, and sometimes after being up more than a few times with a screaming infant, it might be worth $15 to stay snuggled in bed just a little longer.  But the excitement of tackling and conquering something new that’s just for you when you’ve been giving your all to someone else for all those months has been the most amazing feeling for this new mama.  I feel so good about myself and about life, in turn making me a better mother to that darling little girl!

So, thirteen classes in my ‘hood (I guess this is only helpful if you live in the valley!)

Forever Young Pilates – a super tiny studio with 5 reformers, the sweetest teacher and literally blocks from my house. The only class that fit into my schedule that day was a Level 1 class, but it was still a bit of a challenge, while still making me feel so long and stretched!

RPM Fitness Studio, RPM Spin – The first time I tried spin I thought it was spinning around on the floor with ribbon wands.  Seriously.  (I was 16.  So young, so dumb)  Turns out, spin is different!  This class has huge windows overlooking the road, so it was nice to have a little bit of a distraction people watching.  It was a good class, but there were only two others in the class, so I missed a bit of the group mentality in just buckling down and working through it though.

Barrys Bootcamp, Full Body – So badass.  Treadmills and floor exercise that make you want to die.  I walked out and snap chatted “fuuuuuuuck”.  But I’m ready to go back because it was so good.  The lighting is dark and sexy and the music makes you want to work even harder.  I kind of got lost in it all because I was just trying to keep up, but it seemed to be 5-7 minute segments on the treadmill and then switching to floor exercise with weights.  You are a sweaty hot mess when you walk out.  The next day wasn’t super great for walking.  My butt thanks me for it.

Up Flying Yoga, Aerial Yoga – Because you’re suspended three feet above the ground in a giant piece of fabric, you can stretch your body in ways you’d never imagined.  I.Love.This.Class.  I’d originally signed up for Aerial Dance, but got a notice that I needed to take Yoga first (you’ll see why when I talk about Aerial Dance later.).  The savasana, completely suspended in a silk the smells like lavender… heaven.  I literally could have spent the complete hour doing that, it was so good.  But the class itself is so much fun and you feel long and lean and kind of amazing.

The Bar Method – I do love barre classes.  You feel all long and ballerina-y afterwards.  Bar Method is a good one… definitely on the slower end, but on days that I’m all cardioed out, I love the calming feeling of Bar Method.  The holds are killer and the stretch makes me feel so strong!

CrossFit Horsepower, CardioFlex - Oh man.  I’d done CrossFit before and didn’t really care for it.  But my French tutor is a huge fan and encouraged me to come to this cardio class.  Similar to CrossFit, but less lifting enormous weights and more cardio until you die.  People throw up here.  Each class is totally different, but this day we ran through a deck of cards… hearts were burpees, spades were squats, clubs were lunges and diamonds were v sit-ups with a medicine ball.  The number on the card is how many of each exercise you do.  Oh, and aces, 200m run with that medicine ball.  I snagged the only 5 lbs weights in the place, but people around me were killing it with 20 lbs (I literally would have died.)  The heavy exercise part takes about 35 minutes, and that’s about all you can take.  The thing I do love about CrossFit is the camaraderie though… everyone is so friendly and encouraging.  You feel like a part of this badass team, even if you’re the one dragging ass and collapsing on to your mat and praying for it all to be over soon.

Pilates Plus, Megaburn55 – I did this class twice, once in Studio City and once in Encino.  They’re similar, although the Studio City location has fewer machines.  It was sooooo intense!  Hands down, the hardest reformer class I’ve ever taken.  There are lots of moves and accoutrement, so the learning curve is pretty steep.  I’m sure when I get it all down and can focus on the actual moves, it would be even more amazing.  I was sweating and my body felt it for days.

Shift – I actually attended the very first Shift class there ever was and I loved it!  They’ve moved to Sherman Oaks in the last year or so and the new location is incredible!  I forgot how hard this class is, but so good!   It’s a great mix of cardio and strength training on a boxing-style floor with weighted balls, small hand weights and resistance bands.  It’s all very encouraging with a focus on shifting your body into a new and amazing place.  A great class!

Sandbox Fitness, Surfiest Strength – It’s a giant sandbox and you workout with surfboards balanced on balls.  Sure you can do squats, but can you do them on a wiggly surfboard with a heavy barbell?  This class was so much fun, even though I don’t really care for sand and it gets everywhere.  I believe it’s only 45 minutes, which is kind of nice for quick mornings! And if you want to be crazy, it’s next door to Pure Barre, so you could park once and workout two times!

Up Flying Yoga, Aerial Dance – If on a scale of 1-10 Aerial Yoga was a 4, Aerial Dance would be a 372.  This class is so hard and requires so much body strength… upper, lower, core, all the strengths.  My friend Heidi and I took it together and were laughing out of sheer awkwardness… graceful we are not.  At one point I fell out of my silk and onto the floor like a sack of potatoes.  At another point, I wrapped myself into an awkward cocoon while the teacher spun into an incredible aerial split.  BUT, I kind of can’t wait to go back.  Pulling yourself up into this crazy acrobatic display is one of the most gratifying moments.  If you can pull it off, you look AMAZING! I didn’t expect to feel like I worked out at this class, but I was sweaty and I definitely felt it the next day!

Pulse, 30/20/10 – This class is like Barry’s Bootcamp little sister… sweeter and less intimidating, but still pretty badass.  The treadmill portion is pretty similar to Barrys but the floor exercise are much less intense.  The music is great, the lighting is sexy… I do really enjoy sexy lighting when I workout.  This is also in the same shopping center as Shift, so if you want to work super hard one day, it’s a one stop shop!

Yoga NoHo, Yoga Sculpt – This studio is so close to my house and they had perfect afternoon classes.  After a grueling two weeks, I thought this could be a nice stretchy and calming class to end my trial.  I was wrong.  I was sweaty.  I did handstands (what!?).  It was amazing and just what I didn’t realize I needed.  The savasana was so amazing… dark room, the teacher covered us with blankets and spritzed a citrusy spray and I could have slept there all night.

Whew… two weeks of such good workout!  I wanted to make sure that I got my $19 worth and I’m so happy to say that I did!  I love finding new places to workout and pushing my body to try new things.  I dropped a few pounds, am seeing so much more definition in my body and just generally have so much more energy and excitement for the day. I’ve loved it so much that I’m going to stay on for another month at least!  There are some classes that I can bring McCarty along, so when Chris goes back to work and the Daddy-Daughter dates get cut back, I can still use ClassPass if I don’t make it out before he goes to work!  It’s pricey, but if I use it 3-4 times a week, definitely worth it!

I have a few studios that I still want to try, but if you have any favorites, throw them at me!

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It kind of all started with gestational diabetes. Before week 28, pregnancy was a breeze for me. After a miscarriage in July, we spent the first twelve weeks of this pregnancy kind of pretending that it wasn’t happening.  We were cautiously optimistic, but I was fairly sure that this pregnancy would end the same way the previous one had.  Eight and a half weeks came and went and at twelve weeks, we started to consider the fact that this could be a real thing.  From 12 to 28 weeks, I felt amazing!  I had no morning sickness, no aches, no pains.  It was pretty lovely!

At 28 weeks, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.  I was really down about.  I felt that I’d failed my body and that my body was failing me.  My hands & feet were so swollen even my watch wouldn’t fit onto my wrist and I was gaining weight super rapidly.  By week 31 I couldn’t feel the first three fingers on my right hand.  Figuring out what foods would work for me and which ones wouldn’t was a five week process full of experimentation… at one point I stood in front of our fridge at 3 am eating a chicken breast.  I felt like a crazy person.  Eventually, I ended up on nightly insulin injections to control my fasting blood sugars.  It was a long and frustrating process, and I mostly just wanted to eat doughnuts.  So.Many.Doughnuts.  (The day after she was born, I did.  So.Many.Doughnuts.)

McCarty Birth 1 McCarty Rhone: The Birth Story

Since I was taking nightly insulin injections, I had to start bi-weekly Non-Stress Tests at my doctors office.  I’d go in twice a week to be hooked up to monitors for about 45 minutes.  I’d listen to her heartbeat, count her movements and read a book.  It was a nice way to force some sitting and relaxing time!  Once a week, after the NST, I’d have an ultrasound to make sure she was growing well and that the amniotic fluid levels were good.  At our Week 34 appointment, we discovered that this little girl, once in a nice head down position, had flipped over and was breech.  I spent three weeks doing everything I could think of to flip her back around… inversions, chiropractors, acupuncture, moxibustion, diving into swimming pools, handstands, ice packs and heating pads.  All of it.  If anyone anywhere credited anything with flipping a breech baby, I tried it.

The last ditch effort was an External Cephalic Version.  I was admitted to the hospital and my doctor attempted to push her into position through my abdomen.  I was so disappointed that it didn’t work.  Even when I was on the fence about having children, I knew I wanted to be pregnant and give birth.  It felt like a rite of passage, something that I should do as a woman.  I was so sad to get through so much of pregnancy to have it all end by passively lying on a table while someone else did the work to bring her in to this world.  I spent a day in bed feeling sorry for myself, then remembered that all that mattered was a healthy me and a healthy her.  So I bought some C-Section clothes that would be comfortable on the incision, went back to work editing the wedding I’d shot on Friday and decided to double my efforts to turn this stubborn baby. I had time to do it and this stubborn baby was no match for me.  I have 32 years of digging my heels in on her.

McCarty Birth 5 McCarty Rhone: The Birth StoryOn Thursday morning I went in for my biweekly Non-Stress Test and thought about how ridiculous I was for even going because I was leaving at 11 am to attend a wedding in Santa Ynez.  I did my hair & makeup for the wedding and ate a small breakfast because I was running late.  I almost called in to reschedule because they usually take so long and I didn’t want to be late meeting my girlfriends.  It was all pretty standard and my doctor came in to check the readings.  The conversations went like this…“Are you not feeling these contractions?”

“What are you talking about?”

“You’re having contractions every five minutes.”


“If you’re dilating, you’re going to have this baby today.”

“No.  I’m going to Santa Ynez today.”

“I’m going to give you twenty more minutes, then we’ll check you.  If you’re progressing, you need to go to the hospital.”

“Um, we’ll talk about it”

I called Chris, told him he definitely needed to meet me before heading in to the office. Turns out, I was progressing and my doctor wanted me to go directly to the hospital.  There was a solid round of blank stares from Chris & I.  We hadn’t installed a carseat.  We didn’t have hospital bags.  I didn’t have an out of office reply.  We were totally unprepared.  I negotiated with our doctor… I needed to go home for a few hours at the very least and she gave in. If a foot started to dangle, we’d drop everything and get to the hospital.

McCarty Birth 3 McCarty Rhone: The Birth Story

So, we went home.  I called the girls to tell them I couldn’t drive to Santa Ynez.  I called my mom to let her know what was going on.  I emailed out the gallery for the wedding I shot on Friday and set out of office replies for email. I cancelled massage appointments, waxing appointments and family shoots for the following week. I shot the last image for my maternity series.  The girls stopped by on their way to the wedding for hugs and good lucks!  Chris & I wandered around the house with blank looks on our faces and complete shock that this was actually happening.  This couldn’t be real.

We checked in at the hospital, and then we sat.  And we waited.  For hours.  Nothing happened.  I never felt a contraction.   I did feel exhausted and so hungry!  A light breakfast and no coffee had been a really poor choice nine hours ago.

McCarty Birth 4 McCarty Rhone: The Birth Story

At 5:00 pm they were ready for us.  I walked, ass out and boobs bared in those terrible maternity hospital gowns, past the nurses station where everyone waved at me, into the  freezing cold OR.  From there, everything gets a little blurry, and I’m so happy Chris had the foresight to video everything.  I remember being so tired and thinking that I should really be awake for the birth of my daughter.  I remember staring at the bright overhead lights thinking that this couldn’t really be happening.  And I remember wishing that everyone would stop asking me if I was OK, because I just wanted to take a nap.  I yawned.  A lot.

McCarty Birth 6 McCarty Rhone: The Birth Story

Chris came in and sat next to me and I saw my doctor walk in.  Some time passed where I mostly tried to fight sleep.  Chris stood up, holding my hand and then looked down at me with tears in his eyes and said “She has so much hair!” and I replied “They started?”

She was 6 lbs 6 oz, 18 inches with a full head of hair.  After some resuscitation to get her breathing, she was placed into my arms and I could only stare at her, trying to convince myself that this was real.  That not only had I grown a person but that she was here, in my arms, and she was perfect.


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I’ve been doing a lot of entertaining lately, and I really enjoy it!   But I want it to be fairly easy, and I want to be able to prep it all ahead of time so that I can spend time with my friends as opposed to working while everyone else is relaxing.  It’s more fun to sip rosé with them than cooking!

That Ina Garten again… she makes it so easy for me.  I pulled two recipes from her How Easy Is That? book, which has a whole separate chapter for lunch options. They’re lighter, simpler and absolutely perfect for a quick lunch.  I sliced up some bread, sprinkled on salt, pepper & olive oil and then broiled it for a few minutes.  Chicken salad on a bit of arugala and served it.  Easy, delicious and because I was able to prep it all in advance, I could enjoy the time with friends.

Healthy Lunch 1 Easy Casual Lunch: Mustard Chicken Salad & French String Bean Salad


This chicken salad was so good, and I was able to make it the day before!   I’d never thought to roast the chicken, but it was so good and so easy… just takes a little bit more time.

Mustard Chicken Salad


2 whole (4 split) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on (3 pounds)

Good Olive Oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

5 cups small broccoli florets

1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

1/4 cup whole-grain mustard

2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar

2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon leaves

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked.  Set aside until cool enough to handle.  Discard the skin and bones and dice the chicken in large bite-size pieces.

Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the broccoli florets to the boiling water and cook fro 1 minute only, until crisp-tender.  Drain, and place the broccoli into the bowl of ice water until cool.  This will stop the cooking and set the bright green color. Drain well.

For the dressing, whisk together the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, whole-grain mustard, vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper.  Add enough dressing to the warm chicken to moisten well.  Add the tarragon, broccoli and cherry tomatoes and mix gently to combine.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to develop.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve at room temperature.


French String Bean Salad


Kosher Salt

1 1/2 pounds French string beans (haricots verts), both ends trimmed

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup good olive oil

2 tablespoons minced fresh dill


Fill a large bowl with ice water.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt.  Add the beans and cook for 1 minute only.  Time it carefully!  You want the beans to be crisp-tender.  Drain the beans and put them in the ice water until completely cool.  Drain the beans again, dry on paper towels, and place them in a large bowl.

IN a small bowl, whack together the mustard, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper.  While whisking, slowly add the olive oil to make an emulsion.

Pour enough dressing over the beans to moisten them well, reserving the rest for another use.  Toss with the dill, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.  (If the beans aren’t served immediately, refrigerate them and add a little extra vinaigrette and a sprinkle of salt before serving.)

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