sonnet james spring 2015 + a big giveaway!

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exciting news! the sonnet james spring 2015 collection is about to launch for preorders next week! we are celebrating the amazing new line with a massive giveaway of the entire collection (all 12 dresses!!!)

last year, i was lucky enough to meet whitney, the creative force behind sonnet james, when she flew to new york city last fall so eleanor, samson and i could help put together her lookbook from last spring! i loved the dresses before the shoot, but loved them even more after meeting whitney, who is such a genuine and hard working mama, full of  life and energy! she’s a good one. i have lived in those dresses since our shoot last fall. they are the perfect amount of comfortable, flattering, wearable and feminine and a dream for a mama.

whitney has created 41 beautiful dresses for the new spring line and is having YOU help choose which dresses should make it into the top 12 for the spring collection by voting on your favorites. the 12 dresses with the most votes by next monday, october 27th at midnight EST, will be the final 12 dresses in the new spring 2015 line!

to enter to win the entire spring collection, simply vote HERE on which dresses are your favorite, then come back here and comment below to enter.

*please be sure the email you use when voting is the same as the email used when commenting below.  the giveaway is open to all readers, both US and international.  giveaway closes next monday, october 27th at midnight EST. winner will be chosen at random and the collection will be shipped in your choice of size, spring 2015. preorders for the new line open next tuesday, october 28th. this post is in partnership with sonnet james.

GOOD LUCK! and congrats to sonnet james on a gorgeous spring 2015 line!!

baby bump #3 / 32 weeks

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i’ve entered that stage of pregnancy where i’ll be at a store and a stranger will exclaim, “that baby is COMING! WOW! THAT BABY  IS COMING!” as though i just leaned over in the middle of the aisle and my water broke and now i’m delivering a baby. i’d like to think i look pleasant and normal when passing by but i don’t know, maybe i do look really uncomfortable and like i’m going into labor.  :/

we were able to make it out to chicago over the weekend for the wedding of some of our dear friends, juuuussst in the nick of time too before my “no fly date” which the doctor gave me in the spring.  i am so grateful i was able to go and be there and celebrate with them. i was getting nervous the last couple of weeks with my usual paranoia and worry that always accompany my pregnancies that somehow i wouldn’t be able to make it. but i made it! and it was such an honor to get to be there with my family and good friends and celebrate with them.

these final few weeks of pregnancy are always a little up and down for me. after 30-something weeks, you forget you’re not going to be pregnant forever and that this is almost over.  it’s kind of a bittersweet.  it’s like, i’m ready to be able to lean down and pick something up off the floor with ease, or tie my shoe, or just roll onto my stomach at night when i’m sleeping.  i’m ready to not feel heartburn anymore, because that sucks. i’m anxious to just hold my baby, and know for certain that he or she is healthy and alright. and i’m crazy anxious to find out if baby is a boy or girl! because i still haven’t a clue at this point and the anticipation is killing me this round. but mostly, i’m ecstatic to meet my little one and to feel all the good and peace and love a new baby brings.

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here’s to the last few weeks!

taza’s new york city guide: chelsea

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i’m excited to share a new NYC guide and video with you today covering an afternoon spent in chelsea. josh and i have always loved heading down to chelsea on little dates over the years (i recall one of our very best dates taking place at cafeteria down in chelsea during our first year of marriage. whenever i walk by that place i swear i still get the craziest butterflies like i’m 21 again sitting across the table from josh. good times!)

video by jenner brown.  music is by gio galanti.

things to do, eat and see in chelsea:

cedar lake contemporary dance (check their schedule before coming to town. they are my favorite! so worth seeing!)
547 west 26th street 212-244-0015
the high line
gansevoort street to west 34th street, between 10th and 12th avenues 212-500-6035
people’s pops
425 west 15th street 347-850-2388
chelsea market
75 9th avenue 212-652-2110
a few of our favorites inside the market:
>>artists and fleas 917-488-0044
>>the lobster place 212-255-5672
>>mok bar 646-964-5963
>>l’arte del gelato 212-366-0570
>>num pang 212-390-8851
>>the filling station 212-989-3868
pippin vintage jewelry
112 west 17th street 212-505-5159
the rubin museum of art
150 west 17th street 212-620-5000
art galleries along 24th street, between 10th & 11th avenue
cafeteria
119 7th avenue 212-414-1717
westville
246 west 18th street 212-924-2223
cookshop
156 10th avenue 212-924-4440
doughnut plant  (get the creme brûlée donut!)
220 west 23rd street 212-505-3700
192 books
190 10th avenue 212-255-4022
buffalo exchange
114 west 26th street 212-675-3535
txikito
240 9th avenue 212-242-4730
artichoke basille’s pizza
114 10th avenue 212-792-9200
tipsy parson
156 9th avenue 212-620-4545
see more NYC neighborhood guides and videos HERE.

a new look for LOVE TAZA! and FAQ’s…

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good morning! i’m so excited to share Love Taza’s new layout with you! the entire site got a bit of an update, which has been in the works for several months now. we enlisted the help of breanna rose once again, who originally designed the site for us, along with web developer zoe rooney and thank them for helping bring this new vision to life! i hope you’ll take a look around and check out all of the little changes, as i’d love to hear your feedback as well!newlayout

in addition to the new blog layout, i hope the navigation bar (which will float with you as you scroll) and dedicated tabs under each section will be more useful in finding what you’re looking for.

new TAZA THEMES!

blog posts are labeled and grouped together by theme, for easier navigation. for example, when you click on “travel”, you’ll be able to find thumbnails like these below of all of our travel posts in one spot.

travel-sectionnew SHOP!

while i had dreams to do something with that old “SHOP” page we prepped in our old blog layout, you might have noticed it had remained empty all this time.  there is a time and season for everything and i am learning this time and season just didn’t have enough time for that little dream.  hopefully someday in the future i’ll be able to revisit that idea.  but for now, if you click “shop”, it’ll take you to a small curated collection of little things we love and use, mixed in with a few other beautiful things.  this page will change often, so be sure to check back for updates if you’d like!

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new FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS!

for your reference, i’ve also updated my FAQ page. and since we still get a lot of similar questions, i’ve added several of the newest FAQ’s below in this post so you don’t miss them. but you can see all of them HERE.

why do i blog?

i didn’t think when i originally began blogging in 2007 that i’d still be sharing bits and pieces of life all these years later! to be honest, i go back and forth more often than you’d know about keeping this blog going.  while the online community is wonderful in many ways, it’s also a place for a lot of hate. for now,  i choose to keep blogging because i believe it is a source for good…because i believe there aren’t many channels left in today’s world of media that celebrate motherhood and family and the good things in life.  of course there are days that are hard and difficult and full of terrible things, but i believe life, marriage, motherhood and all those little tasks that fill your day are a gift. and i’m thankful for this little space on the big internet to share those things i love and to be a part of a community of bloggers doing the same.

at the end of my day, if i’m lucky, i’ll have ten or twenty minutes left to browse my favorite blogs or online sites.  i want to be uplifted and edified and encouraged in those ten or twenty minutes of browsing and i hope this space can do something like that for you, too. i hope when you read this blog, over anything else you’ll take away a message of finding the joy in what is around you, in your own family and friends, in good food and good places, in having hope, in learning and growing, and in your own surroundings.

what does your husband do for work? what do you do for work?

after seven years of banking in NYC and DC, my husband josh chose to resign from the corporate world this year to pursue his dream of working on several entrepreneurial projects, one of which you might know as our new lifestyle app, Pippit. my husband was good at his job and was even ranked as one of the very top performers while he was in banking, so i am incredibly proud of him for all of his hard work and for taking the big leap and risk to work for himself. josh is the kind of guy that gives 110% to his work projects and then comes home and gives 110% to his family life. it’s one of his best qualities, his dedication and devotion to the task at hand.

in addition to josh’s past jobs and current entrepreneurial work projects, he also has helped me a great deal with Love Taza and all the work that goes into this blog over the years. i feel his help even more so now as i am usually preoccupied throughout my day with two very darling, yet very attention demanding toddlers. ;)

as for me, i love blogging and am so grateful for the opportunities and creative experiences it has given me.  there are so many things i want to do with my blog, my side projects, and my other creative endeavors. but my family always comes first, and this is such a short season of life, being a mama to my little ones, that i don’t want to miss out on it.  i’ve learned balancing work/life/kids is a big myth. it’s all about juggling everything the best you can, and prioritizing what is most important, which, in my case, is my family.

being a mother is a full time job. it’s one of those 24/7 type gigs, with what some might think is terrible pay and the worst hours on the planet, but i’ve never loved anything more than being a mama. if you ask me, it’s the most rewarding and wonderful job in all the world. i absolutely love it.

being ‘self employed’ is not easy. it’s definitely more risky. and it’s often not valued or respected the way a big corporate job might be, but if we’re learning anything in this life regarding work, josh and i just really want to find work that challenges us, allows us to create, has a positive impact, and is something we enjoy. pursuing our own endeavors is fulfilling that desire for both of us right now.

we love being able to work together on many different projects throughout our day! we are so thankful for the chance to do it and for the flexibility that it brings into our family life.

how do your advertisements and sponsorships work?

while i originally began blogging to document my newlywed life in NYC for just family and friends, i feel fortunate to have gained a readership over the years. because of this, this blog has been able to support my family in a small way as we’ve partnered with different brands and advertisers that both josh and i feel work well with our lifestyle and are a good fit for my readers.

it’s important to us that Love Taza is authentic and transparent, so we are incredibly selective about our partnerships and only partner with or share brands we believe in and use. we are often pitched things, from book deals and inquiries to do tv shows to endless products to test or promote. while the inquiries might be frequent, i hope my readers know we turn down far more than we ever say yes to (probably 99.9%).

and when we do partner with a brand or work with an advertiser, we disclose that relationship. sponsored posts, giveaways, and gifts are always noted as such.

Love Taza offers paid banner advertisements on the sidebar of this blog, hosts paid giveaways with sponsors we feel are a good match, and collaborates on special projects with select partners. we may use affiliate links when linking to a specific product which means we may make a make a small commission from sales purchased through that link.

to inquire about opportunities to partner or collaborate, please email sponsor@lovetaza.com.

can you share tips on keeping up a successful marriage?

while i’m not seasoned enough to give out much advice on this, i do believe successful marriages take a lot of work, a lot of selflessness, and a lot of great communication. josh and i have our bad days like everyone else, but i believe the emphasis which our faith puts on family and marriage plays a big role in the success of ours. i think celebrating the little things you love about your spouse, rather than focusing on the things that annoy you, can go a long way.  {here is my favorite talk/sermon on marriage.}

is life really that perfect?

i never said my life was perfect. it’s not. no one has a perfect life.  but i choose to look at what i am blessed with rather than what i do not have. i work hard to find the joy in my day-to-day.  regardless, i have terrible days just like anyone. while i try to be honest about the entire picture, i like to keep this blog on the positive side.  please do not ever look at my blog (or anyone’s blog) and compare your life to it. a saying i love, “comparison is the thief of joy,”  has never rung truer than in the blogging world.  i can’t choose what you’ll take away from my blog, but i hope you’ll take away a message of finding the joy in what is around you, in your family and friends, and in your surroundings over anything else.

how do you feel about your family and children being included in Love Taza?

since this is a blog that is mostly about my life and what i love, my family tends to play a big roll in it, especially as i am in the thick of being a mama to two sweet toddlers with another on the way!

our family loves spending time together, and i am one of those mamas who loves to document our experiences through photos and writing, whether they are shared with others or not. (what you see is just a small part of our everyday.) when we do share snippets of our children’s lives, we feel we are respectful and thoughtful. as our children grow older, i know that their presence in this space will shift more and more.

of course, the level of what people are comfortable sharing online will vary from one person to the next. i hope we can all be respectful of one another and our families as we read online sites and social media channels.

i am grateful for the way this blog has provided opportunities for us to spend time together doing and trying new things as a family. it has proven to be a wonderful tool for all of us to remember and memorialize the amazing times we have had together as a family!


anyway, i hope you enjoy the new design! as we transfer everything over and fine tune a few things, there may be a few glitches or bugs that present themselves in the next few days. if you have any trouble browsing or navigating or notice something is off, please let me know! and once again, i just can’t thank you enough for continuing to follow along with this blog of mine and for your support and encouragement over the years.  as i’ve met many of you through emails or comments or even on the street, i really do believe i have the world’s greatest readers, right here.  :)  happy blogging!

time for hummus!

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with a new season upon us, we’ve been enjoying cooking more hearty, slow cooked and warm meals at the apartment and trying new recipes as we go along.  our long time blog partner, sweetgreen, just revamped their entire menu with more seasonal ingredients, and they’re using hummus as a new ingredient this fall (and in their mediterranean inspired salad, the hummus tahina salad). we were really excited to hear they are adding hummus to the menu, because our family can’t get enough of that stuff!  we don’t usually do much with our hummus at home besides using it to dip our vegetables or pita bread into, so we were inspired by sweetgreen’s new menu to try our hand at making some at home this week and incorporating it into other dishes.

we share a hummus recipe below if you’d like to try it out!

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classic hummus

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons water (best to use the leftover chickpea water)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt to taste
  • paprika to sprinkle on top, to taste

let the chickpeas sit overnight, covered in about two inches of water and the baking soda. rinse well the following morning.  boil the chickpeas in a pot, covered slightly with water. once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer under you can crush the chickpeas between your thumb and finger easily.  peel the chickpeas (just pop them out of their loose skins.) puree everything in a food processor or blender adding a bit of the saved chickpea water occasionally to smooth over the paste. (you can continue to add more water if you’d like it thinner, and the hummus will thicken a little over time.)  after you dish the hummus, drizzle olive oil over it and sprinkle paprika on top. enjoy!

serves about 6-8. orginially adapted from this recipe.

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^^^it’s incredibly helpful if you can find a little one to be in charge of making sure the top of your blender does not go anywhere. i’m not sure i’ve ever seen samson take a job so seriously. :) ^^^

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^^^also, get yourself some button pushers. i guess it’s perfect timing since eleanor and samson just sort of figured out how to really push each others buttons and have learned how to get under their siblings skin throughout the day.  only seemed fitting that they both would want to push all the blender’s buttons, too!^^^

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^^^and there you have it! what i think to be some of the smoothest, most delicious homemade hummus around! enjoy!^^^

ps. if you can’t make it into sweetgreen to try their new seasonal menu, you can see a full menu of salads they create HERE if you’d like to try your hand at making them on your own, at home.  this post is in partnership with sweetgreen, a long time partner to this blog and our favorite place to get in our greens.