My Little Piggy Patient & Our Vet Emergency

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you may have heard about our vet emergency yesterday.  Molly woke up yesterday morning seeming perfectly normal.  She ate her blueberry-and-pellet breakfast and fought with Gia over their favorite pieces of hay.  She drank some water then went back into her little igloo for her morning nap.  All totally normal.  Shortly after noon, I went into the kitchen to make some lunch when I heard Gia squeaking very loudly, but it wasn't her normal just-trying-to-get-attention squeak, it was much more distressed.  The last time she made those kinds of squeals was when we first brought her home and introduced her to her new environment for the first time.

I went to check on them, thinking something was wrong with Gia.  As I approached the cage, Molly came over to me like she normally would, except she was only moving her front paws and dragging her back end.  I realized then Gia was sounding the alarm for Molly, not for herself.  I picked up Molly to check out her legs and saw a large mass roughly the size of a large cherry sticking out from her bum.  There was blood in her cage, and now on my hands, and she had a very confused/freaked out look in her eyes.  Something was very wrong.

I had a few seconds of "ohmygod ohmygod" panic, then put her back in the cage and immediately went to look up animal hospitals.  Most of the ones in my area only treat cats and dogs but referred me to other vets on the opposite side of town, which would mean at least half an hour in the car for Molly.  I looked on Yelp, found All Pets (a 10-minute drive from our apartment), and called them up.  After I described what was happening, they said I should I bring her in immediately for emergency care.

At first, the vet suspected it was either a prolapsed rectum or prolapsed uterus.  After sedating my poor scared little baby, the vet discovered it was actually a tumor.  A 1-inch mass in her vulva that somehow pushed its way outside of her little body.  The vet surgically removed it, kept Molly for observation for a few hours, then sent her home with meds and special food.  The tumor was sent to the lab for a biopsy.  The vet said she'd never actually seen anything like that in a guinea pig, especially with it being in her lady bits, so I'm a little anxious about what the biopsy results might say.

When the vet was examining her, poor Molly was so scared and confused, she started shaking.  As soon as the vet finished, she ran into my arms for me to hold her and buried her little head in the crook of my arm.  I couldn't stand seeing her so distressed and I started crying there in the office.  I felt so helpless and so guilty.  This tumor, this massive thing that did not belong in her body had been there for god knows how long and we never noticed.  Molly never showed any signs that something might be wrong so how were we to know?  And yet, I couldn't help feeling guilty at the thought of my poor little piggy, who relies on me for her safety and well-being, dealing with this thing growing inside of her and I never caught on.

I cried in the doctor's office.  I cried in the car on the way home after leaving her all alone with a bunch of strangers.  I knew the strangers were good people there to help her, but she didn't know that.  She just knew they were not me, this was not home, and her body was not feeling normal.  When I hadn't heard back from the vet for a few hours, I cried again, thinking something went wrong.  There was a possibility that removal would be too complicated and she could potentially die from the shock/pain.  Just the thought of that made me cry some more, and say a few prayers.  I'm still saying those prayers, hoping the test results come back showing the tumor was benign and she doesn't need further treatment, but we won't know for sure until Friday.  Until then, I'm taking advantage of Molly's good moods, petting her and cuddling her whenever I can (not much different from our usual routine, actually), and reassuring her as much as possible.  I know she's a tough little cookie but she doesn't deserve to have her toughness challenged in this way.

I know some might think she's "just a guinea pig," but she's so much more than that to me.  For over a year, Molly was my roommate.  We lived in our little apartment in Sacramento together, just the two of us, and playing with her was the highlight of my miserable days at the law firm.  She keeps me company now that I work from home, and for the last year and a half, before Gia came along, she was my lone companion on many long and stressful days.  Petting her is the best stress reliever I know and watching her run around and play, enjoying the leisurely life of a guinea pig, brightens my day like none other.  The Fiance refers to her as our guinea pig baby for two reasons 1) she's our "experiment" in caring for another living being before having human babies and 2) she really is like my own little baby, who just happens to be a guinea pig.  I can't imagine not having her around and hopefully, after these results come back, that's something we won't have to worry about for a long while.

Thank you for all the well wishes and positive energy yesterday.  Molly needed it, I needed it, and I know we both felt it.  Please continue to keep our little guinea pig baby in your thoughts this week, and keep your fingers crossed for good news on Friday.





11 Things + 11 More Things

Not too long ago (okay, a crazy long time ago), Heather tagged me in her Liebster love post.  It was shortly after the Blog Everyday in May challenge and I didn't quite have the brain energy for much besides photo posts at the time.  Now, I'm ready for it!  And I thought it'd be a nice opportunity for us to get to know each other better so, here it is - 11 facts about me and answers to Heather's 11 questions.  I hope you'll share a little about you, too, in the comments below.  Think of it as an early Christmas present . . . or a late 4th of July present.  (PS - Why don't we get presents on the 4th of July?  Uncle Sam should totes give us something . . .)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

11 Facts About Moi

1. It feels a bit egotistical to even write that subject heading.

2. My porn star name would be Lucky Monterrey.  (Name of 1st pet + name of street you grew up on)

3. I have a scar on my forehead to this day because, when I was little, I tipped over in my walker and cracked my head on the sidewalk.

4. Once, I threatened to run away to New York City.  My mom packed my suitcase for me, made me a pb & j sandwich, and shut the front door, leaving me alone on the porch.  So I did what any 6-year old would do - I sat down and ate my sandwich.

5. I still have my pink and white baby blanket my aunt made for me when my mom was pregnant.  Maybe I'll pass it on to my daughter.  If she's lucky.

6. When I was in college, one of my many jobs was a brief stint dressing up as a giant crawdad on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.  I wore the whole get-up, claws and all, and handed out coupons to the cajun restaurant where I worked as a hostess when I wasn't a crustacean.  I guarantee someone has a picture of this and hopefully I will never see it.

7. I also had a cat named George in college.  Technically, he was my roommate's cat but I'm convinced we had a special connection.

8. I go through crazy food phases where I'll crave something and want to eat it 24/7 and then all of a sudden just the very thought of it makes me nauseous and I want nothing to do with it.  Then, after a few weeks or months, I want to eat it nonstop again.  Most common foods this happens with: Flaming Hot Cheetos, cheese puffs from Trader Joe's, pomegranates, pickles, and peanuts/peanut butter.

9. I hate flan.

10. I still have lead in my wrist from being stabbed with a pencil in 4th grade, but it wasn't because of bullying or some mean kids.  I accidentally stabbed myself.

11. I wear sunblock everyday, even when I have no intention of going outdoors.  Old habits die hard, I guess.

Me, with my old friend sunblock, at a year old


11 More Random Things (Heather's Q's)

1. If you were a wine, which would you be?
I know nothing about wine but malbec was the first thing that came to mind.  I really like that wine.  In fact, I like it so much I'm pushing for Argentina as our honeymoon destination. 

2. Which social media site are you most addicted to?
Instagram.  I'm a visual gal so I love scrolling through all the pretty photos.  (That sounds creepier than I intended.) 

3. If you could change one thing about blogging, what would it be?
The guilt.  Sometimes I just don't have anything interesting to say so then I don't post, but when I don't post I feel guilty and blame myself for being a bad blogger.  So then I just come up with any ol' thing because I gotta get something up on the interwebs and then I feel guilty for just phoning it in.  (I realize this guilt thing is entirely self-imposed so technically I could change it but it's easy to forget that in the moment.)

4. What's your idea of a perfect Friday night?
On the couch with the Fancy Fiance, eating Amici's pizza and a watching the latest Netflix dvd (currently, it's Newsroom).  It'd be even more perfect if that pizza's calories mysteriously disappeared. 

5. I have a private jet and you can use it to go anywhere you want, where are you going?
Paris! Tahiti! India! Argentina! Tanzania! Can I just borrow it for a quick around-the-world tour? 

6. Who do you have a girl crush on (celebrity, character, blogger, you name it!)?
Geez, who do I not have a girl crush on?  Many of you already know of my love for Zooey Deschanel and Kate Middleton.  There's also Mindy Kaling, Daenerys Targaryan (aka Khaleesi, aka the Mother of Dragons, aka my dream self), Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lawrence (despite the bandwagon-ness of that choice) and many more.  My girl crushes are basically just women I admire for one reason or another. 

7. If I tell you a poop story, are you a. cracking up, b. disinterested but humoring me, or c. grossed out?
A and C - grossed out but still cracking up. 

8. We have a dinner date next week - are you cooking or taking me out?  What's on the menu?
Sure, I'll cook.  Why not?  Except we'll have to eat on the couch because our kitchen table is currently serving desk duty.  How about some mushroom risotto and a yummy salad?  And chocolate, obvi.

9. Name a celebrity that drives you completely insane.
Tom Cruise.  That little man drives me nuts.  He used to be fine until that crazy couch-jumping business.  Now I refuse to watch a movie if that kooky creepster is in it, that's how much he annoys me. 

10. Are you a night or morning person?
Definitely a night person.  Mornings are not pretty around here. 

11. If you couldn't live where you live today, what city would you move to instead?
New York City, baby!

 Now I want to hear from you!  Tell me some random fact about yourself in the comments, or answer one of the questions above so we can all get to know each other a little better. :)





Tips For An Awesome First Birthday Party

1 // Invite lots of cute kids that know how to have a good time.

kids celebrating at one year old birthday partykids celebrating at one year old birthday party
summer family photo

2 // Dance to Lady Gaga.  (This is a great tip for making any birthday party awesome, not just your first.)

one year old dancing to lady gaga

3 // Shamelessly chow down on the birthday cupcakes.

chocolate cupcakes at one year old birthday party
chocolate cupcakes at one year old birthday party

4 // But share the chocolate love with your party guests.

chocolate cupcakes at one year old birthday party

5 // Booze for the grown ups is always a good idea.

First birthday party tips

6 // Sneak a baby photo bomb whenever possible.

baby photo bomb at birthday party

7 // Let your family members fawn all over you.  I promise it'll pay off when you rack up the gifts.

First birthday party tips
First birthday party tips

8 // Make a big announcement.  For example, this little birthday girl announced she's going to be a big sister this winter, which means somebody else (*cough* me *cough*) is going to be an auntie again!

cute pink big sister headband

Happy Monday!





The Royal Baby

 Listen, I'm just as excited as anyone about the royal baby.  And I can't wait to hear my future son-in-law's name when they announce it any day now.  But the 24-hour media coverage and ensuing hooplah is getting to be a bit over the top.  I'm sure there are other things happening in the world that are worthy of making the news but you wouldn't know it by turning on the TV.  Nope, all you'd see on the TV is a brief clip of the royal family out in front of the hospital in constant rotation with stories about where the royal family will live and what their next move will be.

Oh my god, Prince William stayed in the room with Kate during labor & delivery.

Oh my god, Prince William stayed at the hospital overnight when the baby was born.

Oh my god, they're putting the "future king" in a car seat by themselves.

"That'll be an incredible sight to see." <-- Direct quote from a journalist.  A father putting his son in his car seat is "an incredible sight to see."

Oh my god, Prince William is driving the family home by himself.

They've tried so hard to have as normal a life as possible, how about we stop making such a huge deal out of all the "normal" things they do?  Except for when they release the first official a photo of the royal baby.  I need to know what my future grandchildren will look like.




Peach Blueberry Crumble


So I didn't have jury duty yesterday.  But I was on call, and still am for the rest of the week, which means I have to check in after 4:30pm each day to see if I need to go in the next morning.  Which means I can't really make plans more than 24 hours in advance.  What's a gal to do?

Well, besides the editing, emails, marketing stuff, and wedding DIY'ing, I guess a gal can do a little baking, too.  I know what you might be thinking - it's summer, it's too hot to bake.  Au contraire, mon frère.  Not when you live in San Francisco and the high is 64 degrees even though it's July, for Pete's sake!  Or not when you have a giant bowl full of peaches from your CSA delivery and there's absolutely no way you'll be able to eat them all before they go bad so why not bake them into a dessert?  Juicy peaches.  Tart blueberries.  Crispy, crumbly oat topping.  And the oven warms the kitchen up nicely, it almost feels like real summer! 

Even if it's crazy hot and in the triple digits where you are, this baby only bakes for half an hour.  And really truly tastes bests with cold vanilla ice cream melting into the crumbly cracks, so if that's not incentive to go bake it up right now, I don't know what is.  Oh, wait.  Yes I do.  How about some yummy pictures and super easy instructions?


What You Need
- 6 or 7 ripe peaches
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 brown sugar
- 3/4 cup old fashioned oats (guessing here, I just grab a handful and toss it into the mix)
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1 stick (half a cup) butter, cubed (straight-from-the-fridge cold is best)

What You Do
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 8x8 baking pan with non-stick baking spray (or grease it up with butter).

2. Slice the peaches and line them up in the pan.  You can just toss them in if you want, as long as they're evenly distributed.  Toss the blueberries on top.

3. Mix together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, and salt.  Once that's combined, add in all the butter cubes.  At this point, I mix everything up by hand, breaking the butter up into the dry ingredients until the butter is the roughly the size of peas.

4. Add a handful of the mixture to the fruit and toss it to coat.  Tossing a little in with all the fruit helps absorb the juices as the crumble bakes so it doesn't end up watery.

5.  Add the rest of the crumble mixture and spread evenly across the fruit.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.  Remove from the oven and let cool, if you have any patience left at this point, then serve on its own or with a scoop of ice cream.  Vanilla always works but cinnamon would be pretty good too!






Jury Duty and Peaches


I have jury duty next week starting on Monday so posts might be a bit sporadic.  Even so, I promise there will definitely be a peach blueberry crumble recipe.

Happy weekend. xo




One Frame | Dancing Down the Aisle

I can't help but smile every time I see this shot.  So much joy!





Wise Words | Don't Spoil What You Have

Sometimes we all need a little reminder.




Livia & Mark | Engaged

Livia, originally from Brazil, first met Mark online, through match.com.  The two started chatting online then decided to meet up in person for coffee at Starbucks.  Livia, being ever so prudent and cautious, talked her friend into coming along.  The two agreed to a two-step process.  First, see if Mark looks like his profile photo.  If not, just leave.  If he does, then the friend can leave while Livia stays to chat with him & make sure he's not psycho.  The two agreed that if Livia didn't check in within two hours, her friend would call the police.  Pronto.

Turns out, Livia thought Mark was even more handsome than his profile photo.  She stayed to chat and discovered he was actually quite sweet.  Livia was charmed right from the start.  They hit it off so well, they decided to turn the coffee date into a movie date and catch a show together.  Of course, Livia turned off her cell phone while in the theater only to be greeted three hours later with countless missed calls and worried texts from her friend!  Luckily, the police were never called.

Livia & Mark dated for nine months before the long distance commute from the north bay to the peninsula got the best of them.  They decided to end the relationship but still keep in touch.  Throughout those long & lonely months, Livia & Mark never stopped missing each other, sweetly teasing each other, or loving each other.  After nine months apart, they couldn't stand it any longer.  They were meant to be together and it just couldn't be denied anymore.

Two and a half years later, Livia & Mark elebrated their renewed commitment to one another with a lovely engagement session at Baker Beach.  After a week of full sunshine, we were greeted that evening with fog, wind, and chilly temperatures but you'd never guess it by the warmth shared between Livia & Mark.


Livia & Mark were married over the weekend in a beachfront ceremony in Half Moon Bay, followed by a clambake reception.  Can't wait to share those photos with you soon!





My Unborn Hipster Child

I have no idea how it happened.  It was late and the Fiance had gone to bed, leaving me up past my bedtime, bleary-eyed and yawning while editing away at the computer.  Somehow, my mind wandered all the way to Pinterest.  And then, somehow, I was pinning photos of adorable hipster/blogger-chic children.  And then I realized the absurdity of what I was doing.  I'm definitely not pregnant and probably won't be for quite some time.  And yet, I really want a hipster child.  Things like top knots, over-sized glasses, and Hammer/harem pants are less annoying way cuter when they're worn by a 4-year old.

The way I see it, I pin photos of interiors I love and we're not even thinking about buying a house.  I pin photos of the most delicious looking meals when we all know I'm just going to turn to my old staples anyway.  I pin photos of outfits I couldn't pull off or can't afford.  So why not pin photos of cute kids that may or may not come in the future?  They're so freakin' adorable with their plaid and chunky scarves, you know you want an Unborn Hipster Child too.




Web Love | I'm Not Wearing Any Pants

1. We all know Jay-Z got 99 problems but have you ever wondered exactly what they are?  Well, thanks to this Tumblr blog, now you know.

2. Today is my half-birthday, which means my real birthday is just a measly six months away, so naturally I've started to think about what I want to do to celebrate.  I'm thinking a weekend at this lovely retreat/spa might be just what the doctor ordered.

3. And speaking of birthdays, I've never quite felt like a true "Millennial" even though being born in 1982 (don't do the math...) places me within the limits of that generation.  But I'm definitely too young to be Generation X, even though I have very clear memories of grunge and over-sized plaid being a staple of my pre-teen wardrobe, so . . . what does that leave for us early-30s folks?  Generation Catalano.

4. The Asiana plane crash here in SF last weekend is definitely no laughing matter.  But this news station's lack of research certainly is.  How the reporter could honestly believe one of the pilots was named Ho Lee Fuk is beyond me.

5. Even though our local Bay Area news station my be disappointing, here are a few awesome things the Bay Area does right.  My personal faves:

- Knowing your produce is coming from a farm that's only a couple of miles away
- The Hyphy Movement.  (Love me some E-40.  Does that surprise you?)

6. And, finally, the always entertaining Convos With My 2-Yr Old.  I think this latest episode ("Pants") is one of my faves.

Happy Saturday :)




Happy Weekend

Wouldn't it be nice to sit on that pier, feet dangling in the warm water below, a cool summer breeze blowing across your cheeks, while the sun sets over the mountains? 

I won't be doing that this weekend but I will be doing lots of fun stuff with wedding planning and wedding photographing instead.  And I have a feeling we'll be getting quite a few peaches in this week's CSA delivery, so I'm thinking a pie might be in order, too.  I'm sure I'll be thinking of that lovely sunset over the lake while I eat it, though . . .

What's in store for your weekend?




Good Reads | Proof of Heaven

Over the course of about 6 days, both the Fiance and I finished the book Proof of Heaven.  In fact, he started reading it before I even finished so, at one point, we had two separate bookmarks holding two separate places in the book.  Never before have I simultaneously read the same book as someone else but both of us were so intrigued by the premise, we simply couldn't wait for the other to finish.

Proof of Heaven is neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander's account of what he considers to be his journey into the afterlife.  A few years ago, Dr. Alexander suddenly became ill with a rare case of e. coli bacterial meningitis.  Though not uncommon in infants, the illness is incredibly rare in adults - according to the book, only 1 in 10 million people will contract the disease in their lifetime.  And of those rare cases, they are fatal roughly 90% of the time.

Doctors were baffled by his illness and completely unable to figure out how he got it in the first place.  But that's not even the most significant part.  His illness completely attacked the outer layer of his brain.  The part of his brain that creates & stores memories, deciphers feelings, controls consciousness - basically the part of his brain that makes him human - was completely within the grips of the attacking bacteria that were determined to consume his life during his 7-day coma.  It reached the point where his mortality rate was almost 100%.  It was almost 100% certain that he would die as a result of this illness.  Needless to say, a recovery of any type was practically out of the question.

And then, on the seventh day of his coma, much like God resting on the seventh day of creation, Dr. Alexander just ... woke up.  Though somewhat delirious and rambling, he was in good spirits and, with lots of hard work, made a full recovery within a few months.  But that medical miracle alone is not enough to make the story a New York Times bestseller.  It's what happened to Dr. Alexander during the coma that is mystifying, bewildering, and awe-inspiring.

Simply put, Dr. Alexander, a neurosurgeon with quite an impressive history of work in the realm of science, experienced heaven.  He traveled to other realms of consciousness, interacted with relatives who died before he ever had the chance to meet them (and who, interestingly enough, he had never even seen a photo of...), and received a message of unconditional love to carry back to his earthly life.  Whether you're a skeptic like Dr. Alexander was or you fully believe in God and an afterlife, this book is absolutely fascinating.

I have to admit, I'm probably the ideal audience for this book.  I know it doesn't make sense for me to believe in an afterlife, especially considering how drawn I am to logic, reason, and solid evidence (I was a lawyer after all), but when it comes to spirituality and our larger place in the world, I'm a believer despite the lack of evidence.  Isn't that the very definition of faith?  Belief and trust in a concept despite a lack of proof to support it?  I just find it very close minded and simple to believe that our life and purpose is limited to the few decades we spend here on Earth.  This physical world has been in existence for a few million years, and will continue on long after we've all left it.  The universe is massive, expansive, and filled with mysteries that science is constantly trying to prove or simply understand.  Yet I'm supposed to believe that our role in all of that is limited to however long our physical lifetime lasts here on Earth?

Well, if you believe Dr. Alexander's account, it's not.  We play a much greater role in the overall flow of the universe than we may realize.  We are all connected, all part of the same world.  And the best part of his message is that we are all surrounded by an unconditional love.  His experience left him with one message that he believes to be a solid truth: You are loved and cherished, you have nothing to fear, and there is nothing you can do wrong.

This book touched me on many levels, not just spiritually but in my personal life as well.  For one, I've lost many loved ones in my 31 years and there's a great comfort in reading about an afterlife experience so pure and beautiful.  Knowing my loved ones are in place so filled with love and joy is a comforting though.  But more than that, I share a lot of similarities with the author and the thought that we are all loved unconditionally by a force greater than ourselves -despite the challenges and difficulties and feelings of inferiority we all struggle with at times, despite the fact that that unconditional love is not always experienced here on Earth- is something I just believe in my core to be true.

This story would be pretty amazing no matter who it happened to, but it happened to a neurosurgeon.  A self-proclaimed skeptic and man of science who had fully given up the thought of a god or an afterlife.  A scientist who believed that death meant darkness and nothingness.  A complete end to our existence.  And now he's so fully convinced of our continued existence after death that he's made it his life's mission to tell this story.  Whether you are also a scientist or a believer, it's a pretty fascinating one, and will make you seriously reconsider all that you previously thought to be true.

Happy reading. :)




Wise Words | Try Something Different Next Time

I just started reading Bethenny Frankel's book, A Place of Yes, this week and so far I'm still undecided.  Of course, I'm only a few pages into the first chapter so there's plenty of time for me to figure out my feelings about it.  The introduction made me think it was going to be a bit too self-helpy for my tastes but she has a few gems in there that make me want to keep reading.  This week's Wise Words are one such gem.



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