berkeley walks.

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Berkeley has these stairs that cut up and down the hills, and in between the beautiful homes and gardens. These "secret staircases" could go unnoticed if you weren't looking close enough. They are sometimes marked with signs, sometimes large urns- but mostly you just have to keep an eye out for the wonky stone steps that cut through the greenery. You can pick up a path pretty much anywhere! The homes in Berkeley are gorgeous, and we always daydream of having our own house perched on the hill with a view of the Bay. 

There is something about pathways that seems so intriguing. I love that the paths have an intimate feel, as you really are cutting right through someone's yard. They remind me of the paths that I took while hiking across the English countryside during my study abroad. Our group hiked along many of the National Trails- footpaths that cut through people's crops, across fields dotted with sheep, or winding through the moors. Oh, I miss England.

Eliza gave Sam the book,  Secret Stairs: East Bay, and they have been marking off each path one by one. He takes her on a walk every Saturday morning, it's the sweetest thing. Sometimes I join along, and sometimes I take the opportunity to sleep in or watch a couple of episodes of Pretty Little Liars (yep). 

I love that they have a little tradition! Eliza always loves a good adventure.

market shower.

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My friend Melanie is expecting a baby boy on the 4th of July! To celebrate, I pulled together a little brunch with a "farmer's market" theme. Sometimes it's nice to have a gathering where you can actually sit down and chat, especially if it involves food.

Sam helped me paint the menu sign on brown paper- glazed peaches, cinnamon bread, and baked eggs. I got all of the food from local groceries, and the bread from Acme Bakery down the street.  I wanted the meal to be served in small courses, so that everyone could enjoy it. I loved that it slowed everything down and gave everyone a chance to just sit back and relax. I chose food that could be baking in small ramekins or bowls, that way I could throw each course in the oven while we were eating the previous. It was surprisingly easy, but I'm glad I had Amanda to give me a hand with the prep!

I set up a market box filled with fresh flowers from the grocery, and fresh meyer lemons and rosemary from our yard. When the guests left they had a chance to pick what they wanted and we packaged it up in brown paper to go!

Melanie is going to be a great mama. She is a nanny to a cute girl that is just a couple of months older than Eliza, and she is such a pro. And, she's one of the most optimistic and kind people that I know. I'm glad that I got to celebrate with her, and we can't wait to meet Mr. Barlow Jr. I'm crossing my fingers for 4th of July fireworks!




I never had to guess whether or not you would be a good father. 

I could see it in the way you care for your brothers, your mom and dad, and everyone around you. You are such a happy people-pleaser. I saw it when you cared for me- your new wife. You took my hand and twirled me around the dance floor while my skirt swished around my legs, and I thought I might burst. I saw it when you cared for my growing belly, running halfway across Brooklyn to buy me a Little Caesar's Hot N Ready, because "That's what the baby wants!" 

And, I saw it when you held Eliza in the hospital. She slept on your chest that first night when she was so, so small. You knew how to put a diaper on better than me, and you were so good at baby bench presses when she needed her "up-downs" to fall asleep. 

Thank you. Thank you for being my husband and my daughter's father. Thank you for working so hard to support us and for making her laugh the way you do. Thank you for making my job that much easier. This year we have grown and changed beyond all recognition and I am so proud of us. 

I knew you would be great at it, but you really are something special. And, I feel pretty special knowing that you're ours. Eliza loves her Papa.

Happy Father's Day, love.

R + E

daddy's visit.

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A couple of weeks ago my dad came to visit us! It took me awhile to sort through the bazillion photos that we took in that week long visit. I inherited my dad's love of photographing his family. So, between the two of us, we always have the best shots of the best days. Times a million.

And, this was just the best visit! My dad is one of my favorite visitors. He is so easy to please because he never makes me feel stressed about being a hostess. Also, because he genuinely loves everything you show him! You know how you talk something up so much that you just really hope your visitor likes it? Well, everything we ate, did, or saw was just "Fantastic! or "So Cooool!" I love making him smile!

We went to a Giants game, explored the Mission, toured Berkeley, went down memory lane in the South Bay, and hit up the Ferry Building Farmer's Market and Golden Gate Park. We went on a daddy-daughter date to Off the Grid in Oakland, a touring food truck rally and ate Korean sandwiches, Indian fries, and lemon-ricotta donuts while watching a flash dance mob. We went to 4th St in Berkeley (twice) and did our favorite drive through Muir Woods up to Stinson Beach.

Eliza loves Grandad. She, of course, waited until the last few days to really warm up, but when she did it was just heart-melting. She would giggle and roll all over his lap, and cuddle up to him. She had such a fun time.

Happy Father's Day to the best Dad a girl could ask for. He knows me better than I know myself. He is always one step ahead of my thoughts, but let's me find my own way. And, he is always there to catch me if I fall. I love you, Daddy!