a calligraphy party!


so, i have been wanting to learn the beautiful art of calligraphy forever. and my talented friend virginia (whose graphic design work and beautiful penmanship you often see on my blog here) is basically the queen of calligraphy. her stuff is so good, and everytime i see it, i’m like, “naomi, you ought to at least step up your block letters!”

and so i’ve been telling her for almost a year now, “i want you to teach me.” trouble is, when it comes to me and doing anything, especially something new, i have to properly carve out a time and put it on my calendar, or it doesn’t happen. (it’s truly the only way i’ve managed to stick to going to the gym 3x a week! carving out the time and putting it on my calendar!)

so last month, i told virginia, “i’m putting this on my calendar, and while we’re at it, let’s make it a party!” and so we did just that! because it’s not often these days i get to throw a party (my tiny city apartment just doesn’t accommodate more than like 3 people at a time, lol.) and everyone is always so busy, it’s hard to see friends outside of a playdate or dinner out.  but it was so much fun learning a new skill together, i definitely wanna do more of this sort of thing, where we learn something together, or experience something outside of just mingling or eating with one another.

a few girlfriends have actually texted me pictures the past few days of letters and envelopes they have addressed since our party on saturday and i am so impressed with how quickly they’ve caught on and are actually doing it!  i am still struggling with my simple “O”‘s but it’s okay, i understand it takes patience and practice.

a few photos from our “class” below!


virginia and i had so much fun putting together this table before everyone arrived!  (we also rented out the party room above sprinkles bakery which also meant our party smelled amazing!)


virginia put together the sweetest most organized packets for everyone! i felt like i was back in school when she was all, “now turn to page 4…” ha! it’s been a while. it was a good feeling. ;)


i won’t tell you how many cupcakes i ate over the weekend, but let’s just say i don’t think i’ll be craving a cupcake for a very very long time.

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loved these tote bags with virginia’s handwriting “new york city girl” which everyone was able to put all their supplies in afterwards to take home.


and a group shot (with most of the group!) a few friends came in from out of the city which made it extra special! these women are so rad. thanks again for coming, friends!

and thanks to our fabulous instructor, virginia, for being willing to share her incredible talent with us all! you can see more of her pretty work on her website and in her etsy shop.

homemade pizza night.

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the other day, eleanor asked if we could make pizza for lunch. we didn’t have fresh mozzarella on hand, (and normally i’d get it from the corner store, but i’m always super picky about wanting the mozzarella di bufala which is harder to get in a pinch. but it makes all the difference, i swear!) so i told her i’d put it on our grocery list and we’d make pizza together over the weekend. she was so excited!

we made pizza dough together (using this recipe) sunday afternoon and the kids did such a good job with each step! when we got to work with adding our mozzarella cheese to our pizzas after the dough had risen, both eleanor and samson ate like half the cheese before it even got onto the pizza. they are mozzarella monsters! we put them in the bath while the pizzas baked in the oven and by the time they finished baths and we had dinner on the table, neither was hungry anymore because they had eaten so much cheese! KIDS. i swear. haha. they eventually were hungry and wanted pizza maybe a half hour after conrad, josh and i finished ours. so round two of pizza it was! are my kids the only ones that go from “i’m so full, so stuffed!” to “i’m HUUUUUUNRGY.” like 5 minutes later?

anyway, a few photos…


the best helpers. i know i’ve talked about this before, but sometimes it’s a struggle to have “helpers” in the kitchen (because the mess is like 20x bigger and i never like realizing just how much i struggle with patience…these situations are always humbling when it comes to that), BUT it’s so worth it to see their faces after they’ve accomplished such a feat! and also, i was rather impressed with how well mister samson rolled out this dough, if i do say so myself.


he’s a pizza lover! and besides throwing the plate onto the ground a handful of times and ripping off his bib because he just can’t handle anything around his neck like that, he did really well. ;)01our favorite neighborhood pizza right now is the crumbled sausage on top of the mozzarella at patsy’s, so josh added sausage to a mini pizza at the end to test it out. i have a feeling more pizza making will be taking place at our home this winter! it’s such a fun process and i like having control over watching it in the oven because i like my crust on the dough-ier side, please and thank you!

a video! and the last of the peru photos!


i wanted to share the remainder of our photos (and a video!) from our trip to peru!

most of these photos are from our time in lima. you can see the images and stories from our time in machu picchu HERE and cuzco HERE, and a visit to a great little shop that sells handmade goods to support local artisans HERE.

lima was especially incredible for me because i was able to share my love of dance with the sweetest children during the week. it really was a highlight for our entire family.

we’re so glad our friend jenner was able to come down for a few days to help capture some of our trip! because he was only there with us for a few days, we snagged some video here and there by ourselves during the rest of our trip, and he was able to compile everything for us in the video above! the music in the video is by handsome and gretyl.

and a few more photos!


getting to share my love of dance by teaching a couple of dance classes at a school in lima was seriously amazing.  so many of them were such naturals! i hope a few of them were inspired by our time together and want to make dance a part of their lives in some way. a classmate of mine from juilliard was actually from peru, and she’s such a beautiful performer.  we had the best time. (and just a footnote, we made sure to ask before taking photos and video and were given complete permission to do so and also to share it on my blog and social channels!)


it wasn’t this blanket, but there was a similar one i debated getting for maybe twenty minutes. i’m still regretting not getting it, but i didn’t have room in my carry-on to bring it back with me! i should have found a way to ship it. it was gorgeous.

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such a beautiful shop in lima called cajamarca 219.


and our friend rob said we had to make sure we tried this sandwich shop called sangucheria la lucha. it was delicious! josh says they made some of the very best french fries he has ever eaten!

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i posted a video on my instagram of conrad trying to play a quena flute! we got one for eleanor and samson and he’s still obsessed with taking theirs and trying to play, even a few weeks later. had i known, i would have gotten him one too! it just didn’t really feel like a baby thing at the time when we got them. haha!

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besides josh and me getting super sick (i think it was something we ate) during our last few days there, we loved you peru! we really hope to visit you again someday.

5 tips! surviving a healthy winter with little ones!

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i love getting out of the apartment this time of year with the kids and really exploring the city. despite the winter cold and wind, there is just so much to do and see and eat during the holiday season, and being surrounded by the hustle and bustle of holiday cheer is always good for the soul, regardless of the temperature outside.

we try our very hardest to keep germs and sickness away during the winter months when it seems to be more present everywhere.  while everyone including us can occasionally get sick, i’ve teamed up with Doctor On Demand to share my 5 tips for keeping you and your little ones healthy this winter season.


it seems so obvious, but sometimes it can be easy to forget just how many times we should be washing everyone’s hands during the day. in addition to before and after meals, using the bathroom or coming in from being away, we try to get a few extra hand washing sessions in there every day.  something that helps make it fun and keep the little ones scrubbing a bit longer, is singing a song together while we do it. sometimes if it’s a short song, we sing it twice, the second time making it silly and super fast, which makes the experience more fun for them. choosing specific times to wash hands will make it a routine before you know it. after many many many times, when we get home, eleanor and samson take off their shoes and head straight to the bathroom to wash their hands now! it’s amazing!

i also buy those hand sanitizer bottles and put them all over our apartment, so we have little stations set up in each room. i also stock the mini hand sanitizer bottles in every bag and coat pocket.  the minute we get off the subway train or are leaving a playground, we scrub our hands with hand sanitizer until we can get to a proper sink with soap.  it’s become a big habit for us and the kids even remind us sometimes as we’re leaving the park or the train station for their hand sanitizer. ;)

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we first tried the 
Doctor On Demand app a few months ago, when we were upstate for a few days on a work project and had to deal with a crazy bug bite while away from our home. if you aren’t familiar, Doctor On Demand is a healthcare service that provides video visits with board certified physicians as well as lactation consultants and doctorate-level psychologists, all from your smartphone or computer.  the average wait time is just 90 seconds. because their physicians are available 24/7, you have access right away to their advice no matter when it is or where you are. so with the bug bite, we were able to video chat with a doctor late at night, and they were able to send a prescription to a nearby pharmacy, even though we weren’t anywhere near our regular pharmacy or home. it was amazing!  we have used the service 3 more times since our first call two months ago, and each time has been a great experience.

with cold and flu season here, i imagine Doctor On Demand can also be a really helpful tool since a doctor can hear and see you or your child’s cough straight away, which helps with figuring out what is wrong.  i don’t know about you, but sometimes it can be difficult to get an appointment the same day the cough appears and i often worry myself silly with possible outcomes until i’m able to see my doctor.  with a tool like this, it’s comforting to know i can get a second opinion through a video chat right away so i can help take the best care of my child. whether it’s being advised to take them in or get a prescription, or to just sit tight and wait it out a few days.  Doctor On Demand is a great option that can be a fraction of the cost of an urgent care visit, and a helpful tool for this winter with little ones.doctorsondemand-4doctorsondemand1

sometimes dressing appropriately in the winter can be tricky with kids, because they won’t keep their hat or mittens on, or they’re running around the playground and feel hot and sweaty in their coat. we’ve found that dressing everyone in several layers works really well for a day out. this way, if they do ask to take their coat off at the park because they are running around and sweating from all the bundles, we know they are still dressed warmly. base layers are really great for this, particularly merino wool. we’ll put those kinds of layers underneath their jeans and t-shirt, and since it’s breathable and light weight, it doesn’t get sweaty. and don’t forget to take an extra bag to carry all the layers as they come off!001layers4. NOT SHARING THE SAME DRINKING CUP OR UTENSILS WITH FRIENDS
we live in such a small shared space, that once one of us gets sick, it’s not long before another one of us catches it. but we try our best to make sure we’re doing our part to keep germs contained.  because germs are often shared so well amongst little friends, we try to not share drinking cups, straws, the same fork or spoon with our friends. no matter how much we love them, sometimes such a simple step makes all the difference in passing things around.

because conrad was born in the middle of december last winter, i tried my hardest during the weeks leading up to his birth to really go through our apartment and deep scrub and sanitize our most touched surfaces as well as our toys and books. as i began to scrub toys and book covers, it was amazing to literally see the amount of noticeable dirt i was wiping away! embarrassing, actually. i’ve made it more of a habit to frequently go through our apartment and wipe and sanitize everything, including door handles and other surfaces in our apartment that we touch on a daily basis. i think it makes a big difference.


what are a few of your healthy survival tips that have proven to keep everyone a bit more healthy in the winter months? share in the comments below!

and thank you to Doctor On Demand for partnering with us on this post! if you’d like to give them a try for free, use the code LOVETAZA. click here to download the app or visit their website.


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i shared a few photos on my instagram back on halloween, but i wanted to share a few more over here today because getting to spend halloween with 3 of nasa’s latest recruits was kind of amazing. we’re in good hands, people. these little astronauts make a great team, and they definitely are here to save the day. ;)

it all started with eleanor several months ago and her growing fascination with all things outer-space.  we started reading several space books, and learning the planets names and “space food” became a very big thing during play time. (lol. i love her.)  samson was on the fence for most of october about being a very scary pumpkin or a fire fighter like last year (i was on board for either).  about a week before halloween, he started telling people he was going to be an astronaut too.  i made sure to order conrad a space costume as well, because i don’t want anyone to feel left out. ;) and then, homemade jet packs because if you’re going to outer space, you sometimes do not need a rocket ship, you can just go all on your own, even just for lunch. or so my kids tell me. and i just nod and listen. because i’m not about to be the one to burst anyone’s space bubble. especially when they are 3 or 4 years old. i’ve learned to just roll with it.


me and my astronaut team! also, that face sweet samson is making on the right. cannot get enough of this kid. can he please be 3 1/2 year old samson forever?!


sorry, but the lashes and freckles sometimes stop me dead in my tracks.

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when eleanor saw this green dude, the balloon she got from a party became a bow and she tried to shoot it with a pretend arrow. lol. good work, astronaut! hallo-9 hallo-11hallo3 hallo-12hallo-15

baby astronaut coming in for a landing!!!!

hallo-17 until next year, halloween.

PS. josh and i were ROLLING at this clip from jimmy kimmel having parents telling their kids they ate their halloween candy. some of it’s hilarious, some parts are definitely sad (even while being funny). i’m actually guilty of going through eleanor and samson’s stashes and picking out a few of my favorite pieces and eating them after they went to bed. but i didn’t eat it all! i don’t think they’d forgive me if i did. but there were maybe no fun size snickers or baby ruth’s left the following morning. ;)