Thursday, April 29, 2010


Today is a happy day- for me, because I had a special day at home cuddling baby Tate (after he slept for a whole 5.5 hours straight last night!), and for you, because I am not only going to be sharing one of my favorite Portland shops, but I am simultaneously going to be giving you the best new baby gift idea ever. Courtesy of my best friends.
Let's start with the shop. So there is this amazing nursery and gallery in Portland called Artemisia Garden Nursery and Gallery. Not only are the owners some of the nicest people, they have stocked their store and nursery with an ecclectic mix of plants, geodes, mobiles, art, glassware, ceramics, and so much more. Not to mention the fact that since they are also a full-fledged nursery, you can explore the plants in the adjoining outdoor nursery. Artemisia is officially one of my go-to stores for gifts (and, when I finally save the money to professionally landscape my backyard, I have a secret dream of hiring Amy and Michael, Artemisia's owners, to do it. I feel like they would understand my dreams of an entry gate featuring E.E. Cummings poetry and my Alice-in-Wonderland inspired idea of insetting mirrors on the fence to reflect the flowers as they bloom.) Anyway, I digress.
So the first time I walked in, I must have spent at least an hour and half walking through the tiny indoor shop. It is literally jam-packed with beautiful treasure items. The more you look, the more you see. For one friend, I purchased a teeny-tiny handmade salt dish, complete with tiny spoon. For another, I purchased (and carried on a plane all the way to Washington D.C.) one of Artemisia's amazing "moss balls":
For Melissa's wedding shower, I found some beautiful champagne flutes. And hanging from the window in my kitchen is one of their seashell plant holder container things (not a great description, I admit, so here is a picture of one):
The seashell is suspended from a 2 foot long wire, so it literally floats in your window (or wherever you might choose to put it). The terrarium on my bookcase is also from Artemisia.
Needless to say, I have spent a lot of time (and money) at Artemisia.
So now that you know about the shop, let's move on to the gift idea. I call it Tate's Tree.
As you might have gathered, I have a group of five girlfriends who are pretty much the best girlfriends you could ask for. They are the kind of girlfriends you watch in movies and think "yeah right, friends like that don't really exist in real life". And then you learn about my friends, and you realize that, in fact, they do. The kind of friends that send you gifts for no reason and don't even need to include a card. Or send you audio cassette tape letters from Italy. Or make you t-shirts that say "I am Awesome" when your self-esteem has taken a hit. Or sleep outside, on the sidewalk, in order to go to the Rose Parade in Pasadena. Truly, they are really remarkable, smart, fun women whom I love.
So you can imagine that among all the gifts Zach and I have received as congratulations for Tate, the one that these girls thought up and had delivered was one of the best.
Friends, have you ever heard of an espaliered fruit tree? It is a fruit tree that grow flat vertically, like flat against a wall. And sometimes, there are ones that feature a variety of fruit on one tree. These trees are typically very expensive, especially if they are established, because in order to have one tree with three, four, five or six different types of fruit on it, you have to successfully graft each fruit variety. And as Zach can tell you, successful grafting is not easy.
So you can imagine my shock, my surprise, my wonder, when Michael from Artemisia hand-delivered this to our family: Yes, its true. It is an espaliered apple tree, with five different branches that each grow a different type of apple. The lovely note that came with it said "For Tate, with a branch from each of us", and was signed by my five best friends. The five types of apples include gravenstein, granny smith, fuji, red delicious, and yellow delicious (and the variety will ensure that Tate makes the most delicious apple pies). Isn't this an amazing gift, friends? First, just the idea of a tree as a gift for a new baby is such a thoughtful sentiment. Something that grows and changes as your baby grows and changes, that marks the passing of time with its height and its fruit and the seasons. But to then take that beautiful idea even one step further- to think of such a meaningful way to represent these wonderful women in my life, and in Tate's life, with such a special tree... well, I was so touched (and not at all surprised that the girls would think this up).
So there it is. The best gift idea ever. A tree. And not just any tree, but a tree that carries some meaning. Here is Tate by his tree...
And one last sweet memory to share. Last night, I came home from Target and walked in to this picture, Dad and Tate: When I got pregnant, I had imagined the moment when the baby would fall asleep on Zach's chest. It was just as sweet as I had hoped. Such peace and happiness in our home.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Timi & Leslie and WilloToons, oh my!

I have been on a hunt for a stylish diaper bag. This has been harder than it sounds, so to date, I am still using an over-the-shoulder bag borrowed from a friend, who had dropped off some baby clothes in it a few months ago. The many diaper bags out there are really bulky, or too brightly colored, or made out of a stiff material that isn't appealing. I don't want a diaper bag that screams "diaper bag", but at the same time, I do want the convenience of an actual diaper bag- one that comes with the travel wipe carrier, and changing mat, and all the other accessories that accompanies a real, true, honest-to-goodness diaper bag. After months of searching, I think I may have finally found my bag. It is by the company Timi & Leslie. Have you heard of this company? I hadn't, but was recently introduced to it and was pleasantly surprised by the design of the bags, and the reasonable prices. I think this is the one I am going to get:
My only concern is that it is made of faux leather. I know that real leather can be controversial, but I love it- so soft and squishy. My concern is that the faux leather might be plastic-ey. But I may give it a try and will report back.
Here are a few more of the Timi & Leslie designs...
One more adorable thing to share- Brigid, a good friend of mine, just sent us the cutest bib from a new-to-me company called WilloToons. Self-proclaimed as a company "where geek meets rock 'n roll", there are some adorable baby items. The bib we were gifted with featured WilloToons "rock squirrel" (I mean really, how cute is this?!?):
Shopping on this website is much fun, since there are many cute designs. Check these out:
The company is completely organic and eco-conscious, which means you can feel good about buying it. And in addition to baby stuff, you can buy matching gear for Mom and Dad. So much fun! Thanks Brigid, for the WilloToons gear- Tate (and Mom and Dad) love it!

Sunday, April 25, 2010


It has been warm and sunny here lately, and the spring weather has encouraged Mom and I to take Tate out and about. He has had a few adventures, and so far has approached them with what we have come to expect from him, his typical curious-but-calm nature. On one of our outings, Mom and I went baby clothes shopping at a local Portland boutique, Duck Duck Goose and we came across the most adorable French clothing line, Catimini. Have you heard of this clothing line, friends? Apparently, they are one of the most established French children's line. We ended up buying this adorable outfit, among others:
The details on the clothes were extraordinary. Bright linings, little zipper details, french sayings... The boy clothes were so boyish, and the girl clothes were so girly, and all felt so youthful and fun but still stylish and sophisticated.
I mean, truly, how cute are these dresses?
I have a feeling that Tate will be wearing quite a bit of Catimini as he gets older!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cereal Couture?

I am totally intrigued by the concept behind the cereal company [me]&goji. Referred to as cereal couture, three college friends created the concept of personalized cereal. Focusing on high quality, earth-friendly ingredients, you can completely customize your own breakfast. You start with a cereal base, which varies from granola to "healthy hoops" to muesli, and then add in your own favorites. Extra ingredients include goji berries (of course, but they even have chocolate covered ones!), strawberries, macadamia nuts, wheat germ, corn flakes, cherries and many, many more. This seems like such fun, and I can imagine how kids would be more likely to eat healthy cereal if they got to design it themselves (and you can even have the kids picture put on the cereal canister!). I have to admit that it is rather expensive (it is couture, remember?) and some of the add-ins seem not quite breakfastey to me (cocoa almonds, for example), so I think if I try it I will be more likely to pack it in a baggie as a snack for lunch, as opposed to with milk for breakfast. But either way, I love the idea of healthy eating with all natural ingredients, cereal that really fills you up and gets you set for the day. How about you, friends? Would you give [me]&goji a try?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's Earth Day!

Today is Earth Day and to celebrate I wanted to post some of my favorite pieces by artist Andy Goldsworthy. Goldsworthy is an amazing artist. He goes out into nature and creates sculpture using only natural materials. When I look at the photographs of his work, I almost find it hard to believe that they are real. But they are. Painstakingly done, he completes the piece and immediately takes a photograph. Some of his installations take weeks to complete and only last a short time. Isn't this amazing? These are goose feathers:
Aren't his creations beautiful? Isn't is inspiring to see the elements that Mother Nature can provide to him, and how he reinterprets them into art? It's such a nice way to celebrate planet Earth.
In other Earth-Day-appropriate news, a friend recently brought the website Cosa Verde to my attention. Much like Etsy, it is an online community and store of handmade goods from independent artists. But here's the twist: all the goods on the site are sustainably produced; the site focuses on organic, cruelty-free goods. Recycled materials are featured heavily, like these banners made from receycled hymn book pages:
Products that we can all feel good about buying on Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I am not Heidi Klum

Friends, do you ever feel frustrated at not being Heidi Klum? Not only does she look great pregnant, but she somehow manages to look just as great within days of delivering her latest baby. This has not been the case throughout my pregnancy, and the last two weeks with Tate. I have more of the harried new mom look (although I have managed to shower and blow dry my hair every day since I've been home, a feat that, according to my other mom friends, deserves to be recognized). However, throughout this pregnancy and the first few weeks with the new baby, there have been a few amazing products that have made me feel beautiful. I wanted to share some of these favorite beauty products that make me feel, if not exactly like Heidi, at least more Klum-like. First is this blush. It is creamy and easy to apply (I just rub a little on with my ring finger) and it instantly makes me feel refreshed and natural.
The hair product I can't live without. I literally keep multiple bottles throughout the house in order to make sure I never run out. I have straight hair that is in desperate need of some volume, and this is the only product I have ever tried that really makes my hair thicker without looking coarse. I love it.
Delicious-smelling and super moisturizing stretch mark cream. I used this all throughout my pregnancy and still use it (in fact, it smells so good and is so moisturizing that I might end up using it forever). Now Zach, the rational scientist in the family, will assure you that stretch marks are completely genetic, and that no cream is going to prevent them. However, I still felt better about at least doing something to try to prevent them. And it was so moisturizing and soaked into my skin so quickly- I could put it on after I showered and not feel sticky or greasy when I got ready for work. It is a little expensive, but will certainly be a gift for all my future pregnant friends.
My good friend Melissa introduced me to this complexion highlighter a few years ago. I have used it religiously ever since. Like the blush, it is easy to apply with your finger, and I find that a dab on my cheekbones and brow bones and the inner corners of my eyes brightens up my entire face. Not sparkly or shimmery, it is perfectly age appropriate (don't you hate seeing women past the age of 21 wearing glitter?)
And last but not least- my favorite lipstick, that I swear looks good on everyone. It flatters your natural lip color, gives a tiny bit of shine, and never makes me feel overdone.
So that's it. A few of my go-to favorites that have helped me feel like myself during all these body changes in the last few months. Happy shopping!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Welcome to the world, Tate!

Well friends, it has been awhile, and this is the utterly adorable reason: Born on April 6, please meet Michael Tate Holmboe, who will be known to all the world as Tate. Named after his Grampa Michael Herrick, we chose Tate because it means "cheerful" and honors his Scandinavian heritage. Overall, we have a new love of our life. Labor was a long and intense affair, as those things are wont to be. But it was greatly helped by my comfy, adorable hospital gown. I loved my hospital gown by Hot Mama Gowns: It was everything that the company promised. Thick, organic cotton that you couldn't see through (unlike the paper thin hospital gowns), it snaps up the back to allow access to any doctors or nurses that need it, but also allows you to walk the halls without exposing your bare behind to the entire hospital. And the innovative panels that make nursing a dignified affair- you can untie the ribbon to nurse on one side while keeping your other side covered. I wore the hospital issued gown during labor, and put my Hot Mama gown on after he was born, when I was up and about and after I took my first shower. It was so nice to put on something clean and substantial and attractive. And it looked equally nice before and after I had the baby. I have also been wearing it at home. It is perfect for the middle of the night feedings and makes me feel less schleppy. All in all, I can fully endorse the Hot Mama gown as worth every penny (and if you don't love the black and white one I chose, there are lots of other fabric designs). Also, another update- Zach's mom recently gifted him with the Petunia Picklebottom Scout diaper bag I talked about here, and we are happy to report it is just as awesome in person as we had hoped. Substantial, manly, great design... Z is going to be the most stylish dad on the playground. So now on to more adorable baby pics to gush over, with more regular updates to come!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, friends! Any special plans? We will be having a traditional Easter dinner, with ham and rolls and green beans and potatoes. It will be a low-key (and sadly for me, still very horizontal) celebration around here. My sister and brother-in-law are being much more ambitious, making their traditional lamb Easter dinner. Lamb! I have not had much success with lamb, but their recipe is tried-and-true, so perhaps next year we will give it a try. Mom and I are also planning on baking some traditional hot cross buns later today. Or I should say that Mom will be making them and I will be on a stool watching and overseeing. There has been a lot of vicarious baking in our house lately. I am not sure if its because the baking itself makes the time pass by, or because the eating makes the time go by. Either way, I think we probably need to cut back, since all the sitting combined with all the eating of baked goods can't be good for me. Here are a few of the baked goods that have paraded through our house the last week or two. Yesterday, Zach made double blueberry muffins- a delicious recipe by my favorite chef, Gale Gand. What I love about Gale Gand is that she is a true American pastry chef. When I was in pastry school, there was such an emphasis on traditional French pastries. Don't get me wrong, I love a croissant as much as the next girl, but when I stumbled across Gale Gand, it felt like meeting a kindred spirit. Here was a pastry chef who had taken french training and french techniques and utilized them to elevate American classics, like German's chocolate cake and ice cream cones and red velvet cupcakes. As someone who went to pastry school because I loved true American desserts (chocolate chip cookies, cherry pie, peanut butter cookies, oatmeal cookies, homemade hamburger buns, oh my!), Chef Gand was like a breath of fresh air. Finally a pastry chef who loved American classics as much as I did! And her recipes have never failed me.

Another American classic that has recently graced the Holmboe table was this chocolate cake:

I loved this cake. It was rich and chocolatey. But best of all was the frosting. I have spent a lot of my life looking for a go-to, standby chocolate frosting. The closest I have come is a chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream. I love Swiss meringue buttercream frosting, but I use it often when I am baking wedding cakes for loved ones, so sometimes (because I make it in such high volume), the thought of using it on cupcakes or something I am baking for myself is just not appealing. So this frosting was a discovery. It is a chocolate mascarpone frosting. It is incredibly creamy and light (the best part of a meringue buttercream frosting, I think) but has a deep chocolate flavor. I think that this may well become my go-to chocolate frosting. More updates to come on the hot cross bun experiment later today. Here's to hoping that your Sunday is filled with a little laziness, good food, family and friends...

Friday, April 2, 2010


Two utterly different but very adorable dollhouses. I absolutely love both of these. This first one feels very Parisian, doesn't it? Couldn't you just imagine little tiny baguettes on the dining room table? It comes in three colors, and when they are all together they also remind me of the row houses in San Francisco. Even the colors are sort of San Francisco-ey, aren't they? The designer did a great job of integrating the flat sides of the dollhouse and 3-d furniture. I think if I was still a little girl, I could play forever with this house. This next dollhouse is a horse (house?) of an entirely different color. Completely modern. The difference between these two reminds me of me and my sister. Her aesthetic and mine are totally different (but equally fabulous, if I do say so myself). I can imagine us growing up with our individual dollhouses that perfectly fit our design personalities, side-by-side. Maybe we should each get one as grown ups.

This one would be hers. Even the furniture is clean-lined and modern, with punches of color. And I think her husband Brian would totally support the entertainment system. I think my mind has been on dollhouses lately because I myself have been so housebound. I have been trying to keep a good attitude about this whole bedrest business, but it is becoming increasingly difficult. I find myself living vicariously through my mom and Zach, and looking forward to little outings like going to the doctor's office (which I get to do almost every other day).

I keep telling Zach that this whole motherhood business better be worth it. He reassures me it will be.

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