We're Having A....

Last weekend Ray and I did a gender reveal ourselves and Felicia, my photographer, of course ;). At first we considered waiting a few more weeks when we're going to be in Montreal, but not all of the family would be home. So we decided to do it ourselves. We got one of the huge balloons with confetti and headed downtown to Felicia's studio (scared shitless that the balloon would pop in the car, since it was a million degrees out!). I couldn't be happier with how the afternoon turned out. It was kind of nice to just be us two, and soak in the moment. After all, we were both shocked that IT'S A GIRL!!!! I still can't believe it. Since Ray's two brothers are having/had boys, I just assumed we would too. I can't believe there is going to be a baby girl joining our family in 6 months..how did I get so lucky?? xoxo

We're Having a Baby!

Surprise!! We are expecting a baby! It feels so good to finally share the news with you guys. I will be 13 weeks tomorrow and baby is due mid-December!

Let's back up a bit. I found out I was pregnant on April 8th, the morning after we got home from London. I woke up at 4:00 am because of the jet lag and decided to take a test. I took a test in London (well actually, at the Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire) but it was negative. I felt disappointed but not entirely shocked since I thought it would be difficult for us to get pregnant (I'll share more about this in another post). I figured I might as well try again on Monday and if that test was negative, I would start focusing on my next cycle. Sure enough, it was positive!

I spent two hours pacing the apartment with Luca until I felt like it was late enough to wake up Ray. At 6:00 am I woke him up and asked him if we should keep the outfit we bought for Issie (our nephew) in London for us. He was like "what do you mean?" And I told him we're having a baby! It was a really special moment that I managed to get on camera.

Two days later I went to the doctor to confirm the pregnancy with a blood test and my levels looked good. And then, I waited. I found that waiting period to be really difficult. Most doctors won't see you until around 8 weeks since there isn't much for them to see beforehand. So for weeks, you're unsure if you have a healthy embryo. I swear there were times when I thought to myself, "did I make this up? Am I actually pregnant?" (even though I felt so sick).  Every day in those first few weeks felt like an eternity. I mean, you go to the doctor for a cold! And yet when you find out you're pregnant, you're alone for a month if not more. Plus, most people don't generally tell others about their pregnancy during that time. So you really are all alone with your partner. I found that really difficult.

Our first scan was on May 8th, when I was 8 weeks pregnant. We heard the baby's heartbeat and it was truly incredible. I will never forget that moment. Our next scan was on May 23rd, where I got to hear the baby's heartbeat again and I did all my bloods (and by all, I mean like 12 vials...). On May 29th my doctor called to tell me that the NIPT blood test results came back and everything looked perfect. I didn't cry when I found out I was pregnant, but I cried after that call. I'm not sure why, since I wasn't very nervous about the results. But I guess there is nothing better in the world than a call from your doctor saying your baby looks perfectly healthy. It's an incredible relief. My doctor pairs the blood test with an ultrasound with a specialist. He told me that he didn't expect the ultrasound to show anything different. On June 4th I went for my ultrasound with the specialist for the nuchal translucency screening and everything looked perfect. It was an incredible experience. You get to see them measuring every body part of the baby, from its little feet, to its skull and beating heart. I filmed the whole thing and got to leave with some pictures (including the 3d ones).

And so, here we are! Nearly 13 weeks and feeling really good. The first trimester was rough (I'll be writing about it in a separate post), so I'm looking forward to the second trimester. In the next few posts on Instagram and on the blog I'll be sharing our journey to pregnancy, how we told our family and friends and the baby's gender (which we found out on Sunday)! Can't wait to share this journey with you guys xoxo

What It's Really Like To Move Away- Part 3 (Los Angeles)

Our weekends usually consist of the following: an exercise class (like spinning, pilates or boot camp), followed by brunch (something like Toast if we want casual or the Fountain Room in the Beverly Hills Hotel if we are feeling fancy), followed by a walk around Melrose Place and Beverly Hills (the residential part) with Luca, and finally followed by dinner at one of our favorite local places (like Sugarfish, Cafe Gratitude or Il Pastaio). Sundays include a visit to the Brentwood Farmer's Market and grocery shopping at our three favorites: Bristol Farms, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. Our weekdays generally consist of an exercise class, full day of work, long evening walk with Luca for an hour or two and then a bath for me. I won't lie, it sounds pretty perfect to me. And it is. So why do I get days when I think I'm certain I want to move home? Again, they are far and few between, but they do exist.

The truth is, as glamorous as the above sounds (and don't get me wrong, we worked damn hard to get to the above), there are things missing. There are no Friday night dinners with the family. There are no Saturday night girls nights (with my bfs from back home). There's no meeting up with my mom or sister-in-laws for coffee. There's no morning runs or shopping excursions with my dad. And worse, there's missing the big things. Missing birthdays, special occasions, births etc. We simply can't be home for everything.

Unfortunately for me, living in the same place as my whole family won't ever be an option. My mom lives in Montreal, my dad lives in Miami and my brother lives in London. Yup, we couldn't choose places further apart.

So where am I getting at with this? I guess it's to be as honest as possible. As we all know, Instagram is a highlight reel of people's lives. While we all know this, I think we (or at least me), subconsciously forget and fall into the trap of comparison and dare I say jealousy. I know that 10 years ago, if I saw my Instagram I'd think that this is my dream life. Period. But living in it, I know that nothing is ever 100% perfect. Overall, LA is home. I love the life we have built here and I'm truly grateful for it. I do think we are happier here then we would be living in Montreal. But on the days I'm homesick or whatnot, Montreal doesn't seem that bad to me.

I'm also trying to work through the "grass is greener" mentality. After all, I know if we moved back to Montreal it wouldn't be long before I'm scrolling through Instagram, feeling jealous of people's lives in LA. The key is trying to appreciate the now, without worrying about what will happen in the future. Will we move back to Montreal? Maybe, one day. And we may not. But until we are forced to make that decision, I need to be grateful for my time in LA. I never want to look back at this chapter and think I took it for granted.

What It's Really Like To Move Away- Part 2 (Los Angeles)

When we got off the plane in LA, I had a similar sinking feeling in my stomach that I did the night my dad left NY my first day of NYU. This time, however, I wasn't alone. We got a rental car, got a map (we didn't have phones in the US yet and had stupidly canceled our phones in Montreal), and made our way to a small hotel/motel down the street from our apartment. Did I mention we found an apartment on Craiglist, the building next to the Four Seasons we had stayed at 3 years earlier? Yup, we literally manifested the life we wanted in LA and it came true. We couldn't move in yet since it wasn't the 1st of the month, but we were able to go visit it that afternoon. It was a bit shabby, with rugs from the 70s and mirrored walls everywhere (I kid you not). But it was our new LA home.

I remember taking a taxi (Ubers weren't really a popular thing yet) to Target, buying toilet paper and shampoo (we had nothing) and then trying to figure out where we were to head back. We then made our way to T-Mobile to try and get cellphones, not realizing it would be incredibly difficult since we didn't have social security numbers yet. That was just a little sign of what was to come. I really think it was the biggest blessing that we didn't know how challenging the move would be, otherwise, I'm not sure we would have done it.

That summer I spent the majority of my time studying for the California bar and spinning at Cycle House. Did I mention I was also planning a wedding that was to take place two weeks after the Bar? Oy. We were learning our favorite restaurants, favorite walks with Luca, favorite coffee shops, exercise classes and the like. It was becoming home.

While LA is farther from Montreal than NY is, moving this time around was much easier because I had Ray. I also got really lucky with my job. A few months after passing the bar I found my dream law job. Ray had a bit harder time, primarily because our visas required that he stay with the same employer. While I'm not going to get into details about our jobs and financial situations in the first few years living in LA, I will say it wasn't easy. I started off making $300/week as a secretary (after passing two bars) in order to get my foot in the door in a field I was dying to practice in. Ray wasn't happy in his job. And together we didn't make nearly enough money to live comfortably in LA. Let's just say the stress of it all wasn't easy on our new marriage. Honeymoon stage? Ha! And yet, every time we talked about the possibility of moving back, we both agreed LA was worth fighting for (cliche but true). We were willing to work hard to make it work. And we did.

Fast forward 5 years and several visas later, I'm still in the same law job but now have my own office and making a bit more than $300/week ;). She Went West is in its third year and a great outlet for me and a nice source of extra money. Ray is doing well. And we live in a beautiful condo we rent in Beverly Hills. Let's just say we no longer face the same struggles we did when we first moved here. From the outside, it seems pretty perfect and glamorous. Most of the time I count my blessings because it really is pretty amazing. And yet, there are days I'm sure I want to move home. That's the truth. Those days are few and far between, but they do happen.

To be continued in Part 3

What It's Really Like To Move Away- Part 1 (New York)

When I was 18 I moved to New York alone to go to NYU. I distinctly remember the feeling of sitting at a deli with my dad after a day of moving in and furnishing my dorm room, getting up to say goodbye before his flight back to Montreal, and getting this incredible sinking feeling in my stomach: what did I just do? I barely knew anyone in New York. Most of my friends were still in Montreal or not far away and most of my family was still home. Somehow I decided to leave everything I knew to live in a place alone, entirely on my own accord. Did I just make a big mistake?

Let's back up a bit. When I was 14 my brother moved to London to attend LSE. We would go visit him a few times a year and he would come home for summers. Every time he left to go back, I'd get this feeling like "wow, he's experiencing something so different and so magical- living abroad, meeting new friends, experiencing a new culture." I felt jealous and I knew I had to do the same. When the time came to apply to university, I applied to 50 (no joke) all around the world. Eventually, it came down to the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, USC, and NYU. I visited Scotland and immediately decided it wasn't for me: it rained the entire time, I couldn't understand a word the teacher was speaking as his accent was so thick it no longer resembled English and the food was...not for me. I loved the idea of USC but it seemed too far for me. While New York is an hour flight from Montreal, Los Angeles is a 5-6 hour flight. So NYU it was.

The night my dad left New York after helping me settle into my dorm, I felt an incredible mix of emotions. On the one hand, I was living a life I saw my brother live: moving somewhere new alone. On the other hand, I hadn't really thought through what it would be like to live somewhere new alone at 18. I kind of just did it. Fast forward a few months, I really got into it. While I spent the majority of my weeks studying like crazy, my friends, boyfriend at the time, and parents would visit frequently. Plus, to go home was just a short one hour flight away. I was okay. I was happy.  There were still times I felt a bit lonely, and so in my third year I decided to get a dog, and in came Luca. By the end of my time in New York, I truly felt like a younger Carrie Bradshaw, living my best early 20s life in NYC. I loved the city and my time there but I did feel a sense of relief knowing that it was limited and I'd be returning home soon.

When I moved back, I got an upper duplex apartment that was amazing in my favorite part of Montreal. I was back with my friends, family, and my normal Montreal routine. And a few months later I met Ray. One day we were standing in Starbucks waiting for our drinks when he said he couldn't wait to move away one day. Uh oh...When I moved back from New York, I really thought it was for good (or at least a while). Should we just end our fling right there? After all, it had only been a few weeks. He definitely wasn't thinking long-term and moving away with me. But I was definitely thinking do I want to get serious with someone who wants to move away. He had never moved away but I just had.

We continued to date and didn't talk about it again. By the end of my first year in law school, and the end of my first year back in Montreal, I was kind of over it again. While I cherished the things I had missed (like regular girls nights and family dinners), I couldn't really ignore the things I didn't like about living in the city. I had recently experienced three years of incredible growth: the excitement of living in a new city, independence of learning to live alone, new routines, new restaurants, a new way of living. Montreal just didn't provide that. Moreover, it didn't help that I hated law school and desperately wanted to escape that environment. That May, Ray and I took a trip to LA. We stayed at the Four Seasons on Doheny and would spend our afternoons wandering the streets of Beverly Hills (the residential parts, not even the shops). We would talk about what we wanted our life to look like and how much we loved this city. I remember saying we should come back for longer next time.

Somehow over the years, the idea of coming back for a week turned into finding a way to move here full-time. People always ask who wanted to move here and the truth is we both did, at the exact same time. And so, we made it happen. After four years of dating, on March 31, 2014, we moved to LA.

To be continued in Part 2. 

Jacket: Forever 21, Jeans: Rag & Bone, Boots: Marc Fisher, Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

Weekend Getaway: The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe

A few weeks ago Ray and I decided we needed a little weekend getaway. We started researching hotels and came across several perfect ones. However, when it came to logistics, most didn't work. Ideally, we needed somewhere driving distance from LA. Our other criteria (particularly mine, lol), was cozy and quaint with a beautiful spa. We came across the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe and it was exactly that: a charming inn with a famous day spa. Booked!

We packed up Saturday morning and left the city around 10:00 am. We arrived just in time for lunch. Even though it wasn't time for check-in yet, the women at the front desk were so sweet and accommodating and found us a room that was available for early check-in. We dropped off our bags and Luca (sorry Luca!) and headed for lunch.

The room was bigger than our condo, I kid you not. There was a living room with a fireplace, a kitchen, two bathrooms and a huge master bedroom with sitting area. The space is pretty ideal if you have kids. In the room was a dog bed and bowls for Luca. Any hotel that is so accommodating towards pets is a winner in my books. There is nothing worse than fighting with a hotel that he's a service dog and they don't have a choice (thank you, next).

We had dinner at Morada, the restaurant in the Inn. The decor is rustic and cozy. It kind of reminds me of a Ralph Lauren store. The menu had so many options for me, which is rare (I'm a pescetarian, fyi). Chef House came over and offered a tasting menu. It was the first tasting menu I could actually enjoy, since normally I can't eat half of what is brought out. My favorite dish was the bass.

After dinner, we didn't feel ready to head back to the room. We took a seat at the Huntsman Whiskey Bar and started chatting with Dutch, the mixologist. I complained to him that I never know what to order, and always end up ordering one of the following: Aperol Spritz, glass of champagne, glass of rose, Dirty Martini or port. I've never sat down with a mixologist to find creative drinks that I'd like. He was so patient and asked me tons of questions to figure out what I like and what I don't (which was surprisingly difficult for me, since I'm not quite sure when it comes to hard alcohol). He created a drink for me, and a few for Ray. It was the perfect end to our evening.

Sunday morning we started the day with a couples massage. I don't think I've ever had a massage first thing in the morning. Normally, I book them for the later afternoon before dinner. I have to say, it was SUPER relaxing. The bed was heated (a dream in the morning) and the massage therapists were incredible. We then spent some time having tea in the lounge before heading back to our room to pack up and go back to LA.

People always ask if we travel a lot around LA. The thing is: 1) it's expensive, and 2) we work (duh). But seriously, it's not so easy to find a place that is relatively close by, making a 24-48 hour trip worth it, and that's in our price range. The Inn totally satisfied our criteria, was relatively well priced and close to LA. We can't wait to make this an annual trip and go back next year...or maybe next summer, if I can convince Ray ;).

What I Want for 2019

Starting to write this post, I had a look at my intentions for 2018. For some reason, I completely forgot what I had intended to accomplish over the past year. It actually made me giggle. I had baby fever in 2017? Oy. I wanted to finish decorating my office and then decorate my kitchen nook? At least I got to the office! (lol). Create more youtube content (uh oh...). Slow down? I actually think I wasn't so bad at that. If anything, listing your intentions for the upcoming year is a nice way to chart where you are that year (emotionally or otherwise). So let's get started on my intentions for 2019!

- Redecorate my kitchen nook and dining room.  So this has found it's way on my list again this year. However, I actually think it will happen this time. I've already picked the table and chairs I want and have started to think about how I want to decorate the shelves in the nook. Plus, I moved the big Ikea mirror that was awkwardly in my dining room into my bedroom, so I'm ready to replace that with something more appropriate. To be honest, it's never a lack of motivation to redecorate. It's all about the cost. Somehow, that extra $1,000 I need to redecorate these spaces always ends up going to something I prioritize more. This year, it's going to be a priority.

- Work on managing my anxiety.  This will probably make its way on to every list I write for the rest of my life. It's kind of a reminder for me of how important it is to try and manage my anxiety. Last night I got into bed after a really fun day and evening out, Ray fell right asleep and sure enough, I spent three hours worrying about everything (and I mean everything). Two hours into this anxiety attack (it wasn't a panic attack), I realized that if I could change my thoughts from worry to worry in less than 15 seconds each, it was clearly anxiety and not my rational self. And so, I let the thoughts just come and go, knowing in the morning I'd forget about 98% of these worries (or, at least, they wouldn't seem nearly as big). And that's what happened. Learning to manage anxiety is key. Who wants to waste so much energy worrying about things that may never happen? Some weeks are better than others and that's okay. It's a work in progress, lol.

- Figure out my fertility and when we want kids.  A few months ago I went off the Pill after 15 years to give me body a break. Will this year be the year for kids? I'm not sure. Ray is definitely ready. I have my days. Some days (especially those I spend with close friends and family who are pregnant), I think to myself we're totally ready! We've been married for 4 1/2 years, have stable jobs, are obsessed with spending all of our time with Luca (lol) etc. Other weeks I get a sinking feeling in my stomach. How am I supposed to balance a law career (which is growing so quickly), my blog (which I want to grow more and more), my marriage, my personal well-being (mental and physical health), and children (especially with no family in LA). It's terrifying.

- Unsubscribe to emails.  I am subscribed to so many useless emails that I just delete every morning. Along with my goal to declutter my house (see below), I am going to declutter my inbox. Who's with me?

- Write more blog posts.  I have failed at posting consistently on my blog this year. And the sad part is, I love to write. I love to post. I'm just having a hard time finding the motivation to do so. I work all week in my law job and I'm exhausted when I get home at night. On the weekends I just want to spend time with Ray rather than working.  So finding the time to sit down and write has been difficult. But I am going to prioritize it this year. My goal is to post once a week. If I could post more, great!

- Declutter.  This is key if we want to start a family. In all likelihood, we will stay in our apartment for a while. While I absolutely love it, there isn't a ton of storage space and most cupboards are overflowing with my clothes (clothes that I rarely wear). I gave away and donated a ton of clothes this past year, but it's time to give away even more. I also need to declutter my decor. I have some decor pieces that have followed me for the past 10 years. While I like them, it's definitely time for them to go. The fake plants I bought for $20 fit the bill after college, but now they're kind of over. I want less stuff in the house, including those chachkies.

Anyway, it'll be fun to see next year which intentions I follow through with and which I don't. Wishing you all a Happy New Year!  xoxo