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It's crazy for me to think back to being thirteen sometimes. Most thirteen year old girls are getting excited to begin their last year of middle school, where you have waited years to be the oldest, and coolest in school. Maybe thinking about all the boys they would like this year, or "go out with". But twenty years ago, all I could think about was the massive spinal surgery I had scheduled at the end of the summer. This August marks my 20th Anniversary (capitalized because we should celebrate) of my scoliosis surgery, and it's incredible to think it has been that long. When I was eleven years old I started wearing a back brace that was molded to my body and would only fit me. Yes, I was THAT girl in school with a back brace on. Luckily I was able to wear mine underneath my clothes but at the time, I had to buy everything two sizes larger because the brace was about an inch thick in some areas. So here I was, this poor little girl in junior high with this embarrassing brace buckled on to my tiny little frame and flattening my butt too since it went down past my behind. Some of the kids would sit behind me in class and find the holes in the plaster that would perfectly fit their pencil, leaving me with pencils sticking out of my shirt. My "friends" would sing the Ninja Turtle theme song and finish with, "Chloé in a half shell, turtle power!" Yes, this happened, but I didn't really mind. Some days I enjoyed the attention, other days I would go home crying and throw my stinky white plaster brace at the wall in my room and refuse to wear it the rest of the day. All in all, I didn't have a choice, it was what it was, my life. And I had to get rid of this huge curve in my back and surgery was not an option for me. The thought of having an IV put in me absolutely terrified me (if I only knew that was the easy part). I'll never forget the day my orthopedic doctor told me I had to have surgery and the brace wasn't working. I remember thinking I can't believe I wore this stupid thing for a year and a half, and how the heck am I going to stay still long enough for them to put an IV in my arm at the hospital?
similar brace replica
But I did it. I won't bore you with the sad hospital stories (I could barely breath and had a black eye), or the ones that would make you laugh (I threw up on the priest), because I could go on forever about these. The thing was, was that I did it. This terrified little chicken kid, who was afraid of everything, overcame one of the scariest things I could ever possibly imagine. Now, here I am pregnant. I'll never forget asking my surgeon if it would be hard to have a child when that time came in my life. He said it may be complicated, but I would be just fine. My OBGYN told Ryan and me that I most likely cannot have an epidural due to my entire spine being fused, but that she would do everything in her power to help me still have our baby naturally. If there happen to be complications (ugh) I have to go completely under anesthesia and be out during our daughters' entire birth... so that is not an option. So here I am, now months away from doing the second scariest thing I've ever done in my life.. have a baby. With no drugs. I've been doing my research and practicing all the best breathing and meditation techniques to help me when it comes down to it. I am working on finding the perfect Doula and learning about hypnobirthing, which is a childbirth technique whose basic premise is to remove fear. I know there aren't too many out there who have had the same intense back surgery that I have had (I still cannot bend, nor do a sit up, which I know will make birth that much more difficult). So, I ask any of you that know anyone who has gone through a similar situation to tell me, educate me. I absolutely love hearing all of your stories. They make me feel at ease knowing I'm not alone in this scoliosis-surgery-titanium-rods-natural-birth(YIKES)-situation. I just know when I look back on how strong I was at the age of thirteen, undergoing this intense surgery I never thought possible, that if that girl can do it, this thirty three year old woman can do ANYTHING, right?
Straw Hat: Nordstrom Rack Off the shoulder shirt: Forever 21 Sunnies: ASOS
Life is crazy sometimes. So, I'm going to be a mom, and when I repeat that sentence out loud I laugh, but then I let it process and think, how is this happening? I'm still a kid, right? I can't have my own kid! But then I throw up, and realize, it's happening, I'm having a kid. Time to wake up already. It's something I've wanted, something I've fantasized about for years and years. Picturing myself and a little girl, buddies, just like my mom and I were, holding hands, giggling, running in the sand, swimming, someone to love with every part of your being. From the day I found out I was pregnant, I knew it was a girl. Not only have I imagined myself my entire life having a daughter first, I also had asked a psychic. Yes, I am THAT person. I don't know why but I just can't get enough of those lovely little fortune tellers. This one happened to be unbelievable... predicting my due date, gender, birth plan, her future, etc, six months before I even had gotten pregnant! I know what you're thinking... that I'm insane. And the answer to that is yes. I am. I also have crystals, oils and Native American fertility sticks that I swear are life. So you can think what you want, but here I am, surprise, with a baby inside me. My little girl who I can only hope loves me the way I loved my mommy as a tiny toddler, and now as a grown up best friend. I hope to continue my blogging journey with you all, I know have been M.I.A due to being incredibly ill the past few months, but I'm back and ready for maternity action! I hope to get help and gain insight from all of you fellow moms out there, and also share some maternity styles with you throughout the next four months of this journey. Cheers to all the 2016 babies out there! I know there are quite a few...
Dress- Anthropologie
little love bug
Rose Quartz Crystal
Carnelian Crystals
The Holidays. Once upon a time, the two weeks we had off for Christmas and New Years were the most joyous two weeks of a child's life. Endless amounts of cookies, candies, cakes and presents piled up in our household. Every family in our South Bay neighborhood of Hermosa Beach, had some sort of beautiful, cozy Christmas party, or Hanukkah get together. I would often have some kind of gift exchange, cookie exchange, or child fantasy extravaganza to attend. Since I was little my parents emphasized how important it was to embrace the reason for the two week break (Jesus' birth), which I definitely had an appreciation for, but not as much as the million of Archie comics I was about to receive that would fill me with months of Betty & Veronica gossip (I couldn't wait!). But now, that I'm thirty......two, did that holidays are crazier than I ever anticipated. I always said I would never be that person who would want to rush through, eager for January 2nd, but every year I feel our social and work calendar gets busier and busier, especially now that I've officially "settled down", whatever that means. The past two years we have traveled from our crisp 70 degree beach town to blustery Chicago, Illinois, which we absolutely love, but I never realize how freezing I'll be until I'm standing there in tights, literally dying. I'm SOOO from LA when I say to my husband two days before we leave, "I'll be fine in this coat from H&M, right?", and he looks at me like I'm an insane person....I bring it anyway because why do I need an ugly giant puffer jacket for three days of the year? Once in Chicago, I am in magical giant city fairy heaven. I love big cities, especially when there is snow. This year, there happened to be no snow? El Niño what? Wait, is that a California thing? It was actually around 50 degrees, which to this Cali girl was freezing, but at least I didn't have to put a hundred layers underneath my cute coat, and I was able to rock the "snow acceptable" tights that I brought along. We enjoyed dining at fabulous restaurants like Bavette's Bar & Beouf and Mercadito, both with a fun bar scene as well as delicious eats. We spent hours walking down Michigan Avenue and popping into little shops and malls along the way so I could visit Santa Claus. Just kidding, kind of...PS now you need to make an appointment online if you want to see legit Santa. And last but not least enjoyed some much needed family time with Ryans' mothers' extended family, and I finally got to see my sweet little nieces (Kylie, Joli and Presley) after 4 long months away. In all the hustle and bustle that is "Married Christmas", I'd say it's still as special to me now as it was when I was little, making new memories and traditions with my ever so adventurous, lovable, handsome and silly husband... maybe he'll surprise me with the newest Betty & Veronica?
Coat by Jessica Simpson at Macy's Pearl headpiece: Nordstrom Moon & Star earrings: Forever 21
circle scarf: Nordstrom Rack Purse: Zara Shoes: Urban Outfitters coat: Jessica Simpson Glasses: Marc Jacobs
For a night on the town: hair clip: H & M Earrings: H & M Pants: Zara
Beanie: Nordstrom Rack
Christmas Night in Malibu with the family
When I hear the word "Honeymoon" all sorts of images rush through my head. Being in love, making love, drinking delicious french rosé, driving with the top down through the hills, eating cheese, speaking French, niçoise salads, melted goat cheese, bordeaux, champagne, making love, being in love... wait did I say that already? But all joking aside, I've fantasized of visiting the French Riviera since I watched "To Catch a Thief" as a young girl (thanks mom and dad), and of course when my mom took me when I was twelve to watch "French Kiss" in the theater, falling madly in love with creepy Kevin Kline and faking anxiety on airplanes because Meg Ryan did. Don't you remember them driving through the hills, the ocean behind them, the gorgeous hotels lining the sand, the glamorous women with their giant sunglasses (oh wait, you never saw French Kiss??)... I just knew I had to be there at one point in this lifetime, preferably with a sexy man on my arm. Well, my wish came true, at last, sexy man included. There I was, finally in the most idyllic place I had ever been in this lifetime, Villefranche-sur-Mer. Our first dinner out at La Mere Germaine, we sat on the waterfront, ordered bordeaux, rack of lamb (hello, I'm Greek), and had an accordion player serenading us throughout the entire evening. When we got the bill (ouch) we decided it was worth it just for the location, the accordion man, and the four french men getting drunk in their speed boat twenty feet away from us. Pure French bliss I tell ya. We swam in the dazzling blue ocean, saw quite a few topless ladies, went shopping for divine outfits since I lost my luggage (awesome), and ate another savory meal in a hidden gem of a restaurant, called Les Garçons (everything here was perfection except the surly waiter, but they are all that way there). When it was time to depart and make our way to Provence I promised myself I would one day return to this sweet, picturesque town again, hopefully in the not so distant future. Thank you Villefranche-sur-Mer for being charming, delicious, romantic and dreamy all in one. Romper: Abercrombie & Fitch Swimsuit: VIX Dinner on the waterfront at La Mere Germaine Cappuccinos on the waterfront Town Les Garçons
Anyone who knows me, even just a little, knows my love for a delicious wine. I actually considered blogging about wine for a while before I realized that may be a tad ridiculous. So for my husband and my one year anniversary he surprised me with a trip to Sonoma and Napa Valley to continue our wine obsession! It was last minute and we planned to rent a car and drive up the coast, stopping in a few towns along the way. I've always wanted to visit Hearst Castle with my quiet fascination of the old days, glamour, glitz, movie stars, knowing that some of my favorites wandered those halls and sat at the dining room table, most notably for me: Cary Grant, Harpo Marx, Jean Harlow and Howard Hughes. I imagined them sitting in the living room, playing poker, smoking cigarettes, with the giant fire place, laughing, dancing. Pretty unbelievable actually, and quite a site to see. Then it was time to hop into our exciting, bright red Mustang convertible and drive to Sonoma, one of our favorite destinations. Ryan had been talking about taking the 1 Freeway up the coast for as long as I've known him, so he finally fulfilled that fantasy. It took seven lovely hours, but I had my scarf (sooo Thelma and Louise of me), we had the ocean, nature, an open car and it was truly bliss. The next day we drove to Napa and enjoyed some of our favorite wineries, and new ones as well: Etude which has a lovely Pinot Noir, Chimney Rock known for their exquisite Cabernet Sauvignon (I died for their Merlot too), B Cellars, which is good at everything, especially their Stagecoach Syrah and Stagecoach Cabernet (we joined their wine club because it's too delicious), and they do a fantastic food and wine pairing for guests that's to die for, and last but not least Alpha Omega, which had beautiful views, but only so so wines (in my opinion). That night, back at our hotel The Fairmont Mission Inn & Spa, we dined at the restaurant Santé for our anniversary. Lovely place, but next time I'd rather sit outside next to the pool (sat inside, bleh). There's something magical about Sonoma. The quaint downtown square which reminds me of old western towns out of movies, the looming trees, the small winding roads, vines lining the streets, mustard fields forever, the beautiful town of Glen Ellen, it just can't be beat. It's so romantic and of course the wines help too. I love that Ryan has made Sonoma and Napa Valley a tradition for us and I know we will return year after year making new memories...and falling in love again and again...with wine of course !
Just dreaming about Villa Dubrovnik again.... I can't help it. Sometimes I stare into the distance remembering the ocean, the beautiful fruits at breakfast, the time I discovered the deep purple Plavic Mali wine, the sun setting behind the Old Town of Dubrovnik, and I smile, and then realize I'm back home again. It honestly feels like it was a memory I wish I could live in forever. If you've ever heard of The Villa you know it's one of those hotels you see in magazines. It was the last stop on our Croatian adventure and Ryan had saved the best for last. Dubrovnik in itself was unreal. It's known for it's distinctive Old Town encircled with massive stone walls, filled with beautiful shops, restaurants and historic churches. You could get lost for hours here...however, we wouldn't know too much because we barely could leave our hotel. Villa Dubrovnik was built out of grey stone Brac and perched on a rocky coast overlooking the deep azure blue Adriatic. We spent our days soaking up the sun on the gorgeous lounge chairs, sporadically placed into the cliff, jumping into the ocean with our GoPro (Ryan had to beg me, of course), ordering delicious Caprese Salads and Rosé, reading every last inch of my book The Girl on The Train... And at night, salivating over the perfect sunset views while sipping champagne with our new friends from New York City, and finishing our evening with seafood at the Michelin Star worthy restaurant. We also took advantage of the James Bond style boat that taxis you into the Old Town every hour from the dock of the hotel, where once inside the walls found the famous Buza Bar with locals and daring tourists jumping from extremely high rocks into the deep blue sea below. I'll never forget this stunning slice of heaven, and already have dreams of returning one day, if even just to sip on a juicy Plavic Malî wine on the cliffs once more while watching the sunset. Breakfast Swimming with our new friends Boating into The Old Town I met a beautiful couple from The Netherlands who just happened to meet me two months ago in character at Universal Studios... it really is a small world.... GOODNIGHT DUBROVNIK! Thank you again for the beautiful dreams xoxo Chloé
Driving into Split, Croatia, was not the easiest feat. I know first hand, because I had to do it! Bustling roads, people running across the street, street signs that were impossible to read- I thought there is no way I'm gonna like it here. I stepped out of our rental car (which we were returning), and into the 90 degree sun. My skin was on fire, my bag was 1,000 pounds. I was annoyed. But of course, it was Croatia, which meant a magical man was most likely about to appear to sweep us off our feet and save us. I know I can be a spoiled brat at times, but I'm just trying to be honest. And there he was, our 6'5" friend, that whisked my bag out from under me, and Ryan's too, and happily led us on our little jont to find our hotel. All of the sudden everything was right in the world. We checked into our stunning little abode, "The Piazza Heritage Hotel" beautifully situated in an old building in the main square of the old town. Although we were beat, we couldn't wait to begin exploring. The old town is basically built right into Diocletian's Palace. I can tell you everything about Diocletian's Palace because Ryan made me do a walking tour (which I ended up loving, but don't tell him) right at dusk, which is the only time to do it when it's blistering hot out. The Palace happens to also be where they film a ton of scenes from Game of Thrones, so if you're a fan of the show, you will recognize quite a bit from the city. The restaurants we dined at were perfect. We ate at traditional Croatian restaurants both nights, indulging in fresh fish, octopus, and our favorite- feta and olive oil. Pairing wine was not as simple as it is back home in California. Croatian wines were not my favorite (however, we finally found some amazing ones in Dubrovnik), the acid in them was too much for my liking. My favorite restaurant was Konoba Korta where we were served by the sweetest lady, Karla. Every dish was beautiful and I'm still dreaming of Ryan's fresh turbot and my melt in your mouth John Dory. On the other side of this old town you have what they call The Riva. Restaurants and bars lined up all along the harbor. Yachts and sail boats coming and going, a bustling nightlife with music on every corner. This town was purely magic- the history, the beauty, the food, the people... I can't wait to return again someday, and get over myself the minute I step foot into that warm and beautiful sun.