Grilled Eggplant + Goat Cheese Salad

Still on my salad kick...I have another good one for you!  We bought some eggplant at the local Farmer's Market because they looked so good.  Then I realized...I have NO idea what to do with eggplant.  Enter this salad.  The eggplant substitutes the meat but it super hearty and tasty.  And really, if you add goat cheese, all tastes good in my book.

Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis


3 tablespoons olive oil
7 Japanese eggplant, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch wide slices
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup basil, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Handful lettuce of your choice


Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Drizzle the olive oil over the slices of eggplant and toss to coat. Grill the eggplants until tender and grill marks appear, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Place the eggplants over a bed of lettuce. Sprinkle with the pine nuts, goat cheese, tomatoes and basil. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Have you cooked with eggplant before?  What's your favorite recipe?

xo natasha

Baby's First Hike

This weekend was the first one in a long time where we got to stay in Tahoe and actually enjoy the place we call home.  We decided to hike Lake Winnemucca yesterday since the flowers are supposed to be in full bloom around this time and it's a fairly easy hike.  

 I was shocked I never had been on this hike before...the trail head is about 20 minutes from our house and the scenery was just stunning.

Our friends were kind enough to let us borrow their hiking backpack for baby.  Ryan felt like it really distributed the baby's weight well and it comes with a little sun shade for the bambino.  Even I hiked with it on the way down and thought it was the way to go for hiking.  Needless to say, we loved it and will be investing in one soon!  

Wilson loved checking out all the wild flowers.

We made it!  See the lake in the background?

Tired guy...I think he might have been a little weary of the whole process.

But Wilson loved it...of course!

We brought along sandwiches and took in the scenery. 

Ready to head back!

All in all, it was a great hike...perfect for families.  If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend it.

Hope your week is off to a great start...Happy Monday!

xo natasha

Ethan is 13 Months!

Today, Ethan turns 13 months!

I've decided I will track his monthly progress from here on out.  Things don't seem to change as rapidly as they did his first year, but of course, every day is a new adventure!  Here's what our little man has been up to this past month:

What's New? 
Well, something that is not new is that E is still not walking.  I'm not too concerned but I did envision him walking this summer.  Now I'm not so sure!  In many ways, it's been a blessing in disguise.  Between his Aunt Lauren's wedding on June 29th and all the traveling we've been doing, it's been nice that he's not running around like a wild child.  While he may not be walking, he's basically doing everything else from cruising to climbing to crawling like crazy.  So getting around is definitely not a problem!

We've also officially transitioned to a toddler carseat.  Oh what a difference it makes!

I was surprised to learn that he weighed just a little over 20 pounds at his one year appointment, which is right on track with his weight gain, but still!  He is 30 inches tall though...lean and mean!

Ethan wears 12-18 month clothes...and some 9 month shorts.  But he's almost starting to outgrow his 12 month jammies!  He wears size 3 diapers.

 Ethan still eats a lot of purees, purely because it's convenient.  He likes the meat blends which is good and also loves finger foods.  He eats everything from cheese-it crackers, cheerios, rice cakes, chips, any and all types of berries, hummus, shredded chicken, guacamole, cheese, animal crackers...the list goes on.  We need to start getting more creative with his meals, but of course, we're away from him during the day five days a week, so 'easy' usually wins out. 

As for his bottle...welp, we have started to add cow's milk to his formula, but his diaper rash has been flairing up.  Who knows if it's related or not, but we're being cautious right now.  I also know that we need to transition to a sippy cup sooner than later.  Any advice on making the transition is welcome!

This past week, Ethan also got his first bite of ice cream and let's just say he was very concerned as to why this was the first time he was getting a taste.  He loved it...naturally!

We've got four of them and the two tops ones are coming in large and in charge!

Lots of babble and he finally said "Dada"!  Yay!  Now of course, he's lost the ability to say "Mama".  Wah wahhhh!  But he's a little chatterbox, even if most of it doesn't make sense!  

Ethan loves animal...both real and in books.  He loves giving "loves" to animals that he sees in books by butting his head into the book.  So cute!  He loves getting into everything...the drawers, the cabinets, the list goes on.  He opens and shuts all doors.  He loves cords and wires...naturally, the things he's not allowed to be around.  He also loves cars and trucks...all boy this one.  Last, he loves giving kisses, which I love of course!  Oh and water...he loves water!

He hates getting his diaper changed or being put in his carseat.  He also HATES having anything taken away from him and being told no.  We are in so much trouble.

We traveled down south for my girlfriend's bridal shower and I have to say that traveling has definitely become more of a challenge.  But he did great overall.  We've been on the go a lot this past month, so we're all looking forward to having some down time in August.  That is, until we travel to Chicago and Michigan at the end of next month.  We'll need lots of good thoughts for that plane ride!

Until next month!

xo natasha

I'm an Everygirl!

Photo Credit: Artyard Photography

I'm so thrilled and honored to be featured on The Everygirl today!  

...Seriously...pinch me now...

The Everygirl is a fabulous website that celebrates women and their successes both professionally and creatively.  Danielle and Alaina are the creative masterminds behind the site and they've certainly proved that if you have an idea, nothing should hold you back from making it a reality.  They're living proof and they've made it their livelihood to seek out other like-minded women.  How awesome is that?

Their alluring interviews, design features {I mean, have you seen their apartment tours?!} and fun fashion have been a huge source of inspiration for me, and so, to be a part of their 'Lessons in Motherhood' feature is a thrill, to say the least.  

Be sure to check it out here!

xo natasha

Girls Night Out: ARIA Las Vegas

In the next two weeks, I'll be attending my best friend's bachelorette party down in Beverly Hills.  I feel, as I've gotten a little older, I'm not as drawn to the crazy bachelorette weekends that my younger married-off friends once had.  I'm much more inclined to a great dinner and even better company...don't you agree?

{invitations via hen & co}

I know a popular option is always Vegas.  I mean, what's not to love...right?  The glitz and glam practically cater to a girls night out.  But I feel like Vegas can be a bit overwhelming...

Most people don't think of Las Vegas as a particularly calm or classy vacation destination.  However, while certain aspects of Vegas can definitely be crazy at times, there is another side to Sin City that offers a classier, more relaxed, girls night out {as displayed by my girl Andee here}. In fact, some of the newer resorts are catering directly to this more toned down, but equally glamorous Vegas experience. One example I've heard a lot about is the ARIA resort.

At the ARIA, guests can enjoy an incredible high-class experience. The party atmosphere most associate with Vegas is certainly available, but there are a number of classy alternatives that can offer you just as much fun. Here are a few specific things you might enjoy on your girls night out.

Fine Dining
Vegas in general is known for its fine dining options, and at the ARIA you'll find an incredible selection and range of restaurants. Whether you're interested in Spanish tapas at the Julian Serrano restaurant, late night desserts and pastries at Jean Phillipe Patisserie, or popular savory restaurants like Sage and Sirio Ristorante, there are plenty of delicious choices. Most are on the pricey side, but that's to be expected in Vegas, and at these venues the exquisite food and beautiful atmospheres are worth the money.

Cirque du Soleil
Las Vegas is known as one of the most popular locations for Cirque du Soleil events, and there are often spectacular shows at major resorts. Zarkana at ARIA, however, is one exhibition of Cirque du Soleil that's made a permanent home at a single resort. This is an incredibly enjoyable show, featuring all of the usual acrobatics with a dark, otherworldly, and almost eerie show atmosphere.

High-end shopping is one of the things that most differentiates the ARIA resort from her sister hotels in Las Vegas. The Shops At Crystals make up an incredible, sparkling complex in which visitors can find many of the world's top brands for clothing, jewelry and accessories. Even if you're not looking to break the bank with these products, you and your friends will surely have a fun night window-shopping!

Spa Treatment
A spa night won't keep you out on the town late, but at the ARIA you'll find that spas are open until 8pm. This allows you and your friends to spend the evening relaxing completely. Once the spas close, you can spend the rest of the night eating wonderful food, taking in a show, or even simply relaxing in your comfortable room or suite. It's a bit low-key for Vegas, but it makes for a wonderfully relaxing evening.

Now, while I've never stayed at ARIA {the last time I visited it was at a less than classy establishment!}, it's definitely been on the top of my list.  Have you ever stayed there?  I know I'm dying to get back to Vegas.

{that's me and Reynolds to my left at my bachelorette party!}

Where did you go for your bachelorette party?  I went to Scottsdale!  See more details here.

xo natasha

A special thanks to Paige Carpenter for contributing to this post.

Chinese Chicken Salad

I'm really enjoying Asian inspired dishes lately...they're usually gluten and cheese-free which is a win-win during the summer months {when I'm often indulging in other things!}.  This salad came together pretty easily...we didn't follow an exact recipe.  I imagine you can mix it up as you time we'll add edamame or sweet potato!


Chicken Breast Strips
Romaine Lettuce
Won Ton Strips
Sesame Seeds
Soy Sauce
Sesame Oil
Garlic Powder
Asian Dressing of Choice


Again, we kind of winged this, so it's guesstimates, but we marinated the chicken in about a quarter cup soy sauce, quarter cup sesame oil, and teaspoon garlic powder.  We grilled the chicken and set aside.  Toast the sesame seeds to bring out the flavor.  Combine lettuce, won ton strips, chicken and sesame seeds and drizzle with dressing.

Easy enough!

Do you have a favorite Asian recipe?

xo natasha

Eleven + Twelve Month Favorites

Green Toys: We absolutely love Green Toys.  We were fortunate to add some new ones to our collection from Ethan's birthday.  Julie got us this adorable recycling truck.  Erinn got us the firetruck and Jane got us the flatbed truck.  Ethan is one lucky guy!  He loves crawling along with them...great entertainment and cute too!
Munchkin Silicon Spoons: I really really love these spoons...better than any others we've tries.  They're soft and flexible and easy to use.
OXO Tot Snack Cup: I mentioned this last week, but this is the best of the snack bowl options.  The lid screws on and the flats make it easy for him to grab his snacks. 
Big Red Barn Book: Ethan LOVES animals, and this is an adorable book to read to him before bedtime.  He loves pointing at the animals, especially the dogs and kitties.
Elefun Busy Ball Popper: Natalie got us this gem and Ethan loves it!  He will play with this for a good amount of time...never tiring of it.  
Radio Flyer Ultimate Comfort Wagon: I mentioned this a couple months back, but Ethan really loves being towed around in this version of the Radio Flyer.  Endless entertaiment!
Baby Einstein Touch and Feel Baby Animals: Ethan also loves petting and touching textures so this book (along with many others!) is a great option for learning more about animals.

Ethan definitely gets more fun as we he gets older and interacts with his toys more.  We are really getting into books right now, which is fun. 

What are your little ones into around this age?

xo natasha

Wedding Weekend

Tonight we have our good friends wedding and I am planning to wear this dress!  It's super flattering on...and would you believe it's Jessica Simpson?!  Way to go J!  I am also loving these heels and always like to spray a little Narcisco on before heading out the door.  It's my favorite nighttime scent!

What are your plans this weekend?

xo natasha

Linked to: Friday Fancies

Ethan's Nursery Update: Light it Up!

We got to make a fun little addition to Ethan's nursery lately...

How awesome is the Adesso lamp?  It's the perfect industrial fixture for our little man's room, don't you think?

We only have one little table lamp in Ethan's nursery, so when got in touch about adding a fixture to Ethan's room, I jumped all over it.  I love this lamp in the corner to read a book by.  Or...

In the corner to balance out the room...and add a little more light to the changing table area.

I think it definitely helps to brighten up his space!  Where do you prefer it?

For a full nursery tour, go here!

xo natasha

Traveling with Toddler + OXO Tot Review

Ethan is no stranger to traveling, especially on an airplane.  

Let me rephrase that: Ethan as an infant is no stranger to travel.  Ethan as a TODDLER is a whole new story!  Keeping our little guy contained, restrained and entertained while on an airplane is a challenge, to say the least.  

This past weekend, we traveled down to southern California for my best friend's bridal shower and we came prepared as best as possible, but of course, babies are totally unpredictable.  Especially, when we're running late to our return flight, only to find out that our flight is actually 15 minutes earlier and then we get held up at security because of all of our baby food.  I was literally running to the gate {straight out of a movie scene} and then Ryan and I had to sit separately {cue my freak out!}...the flight was full.  Oy.  But we survived and I'm here to give you some tips and tricks to traveling with a toddler!

 Here are my best tips:

+ Bring brand new toys that your child has never seen before.  Keep in mind that the plane is super loud, so toys that make sound are useless {learned that the hard way}.

+ Bring a snack cup, we love the OXO Tot Flippy Snack Cup, and fill it with tons of puffs, cheese puffs, cheerios and any other snacks that distract your toddler.  This was seriously a life saver for me on the flight home.  Ethan was content for about 20 minutes, shoving his hand in the snack cup and digging around for treats.  This particular cup is great because the flaps keep the food in, but don't hurt his little hands going in.  

+ Bring a stroller and gate check it.  This has been a tried and true practice for us since Ethan was an infant.  He loves hanging out in his stroller at the airport and it's much easier for us to tote him around in a stroller both before and after the flight.  I would also advise on brining a Handy Stroller Hook to hang your purse our diaper bag from.  It definitely helps to have some free hands when running around the airport!

+ Bring sanitary wipes {I love these wipes} and keep them handy at all times.  I can't tell you how much Ethan was grabbing at everything...the chairs, the foldable tray, the windows...the list goes on.  Oh and of course, he was throwing his pacifier too.  I would keep them handy in this On the Go Wipes case.  

+ Make eating on the go as easy as possible.  I highly recommend the food pouches as opposed to the jars.  It would also be super handy to transfer baby formula to a formula dispenser as you don't have to lug around the entire canister.  And how wonderful would it be to have a On the Go Drying Rack and Feeding Spoon as well as a Roll Up Bib?  All great things to have while traveling or on the go!

+ One last thing...dress comfortably!  Don't wear your favorite silk may as well kiss it goodbye after the slobber and food gets all over it!  A maxi dress or workout clothes are my go-to travel outfits.  I am loving Target's line of workout clothing right now...they look very similar to lululemon but are a fraction of the price!

Clearly, Ethan agrees!

Trust me, a well entertained and fed baby makes for a happy baby while traveling!

Excited by the sneak peek of some of the newest tot products and items that will soon be on sale? Go to the OXO tot Facebook page, and ‘like’ OXO for the latest product information and helpful tot tricks. Enter your email on the giveaway page and you will be entered to win the tots travel prize pack of items featured in this campaign (valued over $70). By entering the giveaway, you are signing up to receive helpful parenting tips and the latest product information.

xo natasha

A special thanks to OXO Tot for sponsoring this post.  All thoughts and opinions expressed above are my own, but I do really love OXO Tot.  We have the highchair and wipes dispenser that we bought on our own and LOVE both products!

Grilled Peach and Proscuitto Salad

I'm really into making salads right's light, refreshing and nice to eat outside on the back deck.  I saw this recipe for grilled peach and proscuitto salad and knew I had to make it stat!

We used white peaches instead of yellow, but they were just as delicious.  And the arugula was the perfect spicy base to pull the salad together.


2 ripe yellow peaches, pitted and cut into 12 slices
12 thin slices of prosciutto
6 cups baby arugula
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper


Preheat a grill to medium heat.
Wrap each peach slice with a thin slice of prosciutto.
Grill the peaches over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, until the prosciutto is crisp and peaches are slightly tender.
Toss the arugula with the almonds, olive oil, vinegar, and a pinch of sea salt and cracked pepper.
Serve the grilled peaches over the dressed arugula.

It's such a simple, easy dinner, but it's full of flavor!  We'll make this again before the summer is over!

xo natasha

Bridal Shower Attire

Dress // Earrings // Bracelets // Clutch // Heels // Polish // Gloss

This weekend is my best friend's bridal shower!  I'm so honored to be her co-maid of honor, so it makes the whole weekend that much more special to be able to celebrate with her.

I'm planning to wear a pink Rebecca Taylor dress, but I recently saw this one on Natalie's blog and absolutely adore it {and it's on mega sale now!}.  The shape looks ultra flattering and there are so many ways to style it.  Like with these awesome black and metallic heels or some bracelets from Emily Maynard's new line.  I'm actually totally digging her jewelry...and it's all affordable.  Way to go!

Do you have any bridal showers coming up?

Have a great weekend!

xo natasha

Linked to: Friday Fancies

{DIY} Closet Barn Doors

If you've been following along on our house updates, then you know that we bought our house about four years ago and completely renovated the interior {the exterior is still a work in progress!}.  The one thing that we hadn't done was come up with a closet door solution in the entryway and hallway.  

I didn't want traditional closet doors because then we would only be able to access half of the closet each time, and especially since our washer and dryer are in the hallway, that would make things difficult.  And I'm not a fan of accordion doors.  I considered fabric curtains, but just wasn't sure that was the look I wanted.  

I LOVE barn doors and they would be super functional in the entryway and hallway since they can slide open and then slide shut.  However, in doing some quick research, we realized that barn doors and the hardware can get pricey really fast.  

Enter the handy husband!

He realized that we could take two traditional doors {that match the rest of the doors in our house} and simply bolt them together.  And as a bonus, we found a reasonably priced hanging kit.  I was planning to add some fun hardware on the front, but now I like the look of the clean door front.  What do you think?

I especially love the way they look when they slide open...totally unobtrusive!

I even went ahead and added a mounted coat rack to complete the entryway:

Jean Jacket {similar} | Hat | Scarf {similar}

Now...we still need to do the hallway doors...that's next on the list!  

I'm so happy with how this turned out and grateful that I have a husband who can tackle projects like this.  Thank goodness for handy husbands!!  ;)

xo natasha

Patriotic Recipes

To say that we've been getting festive lately, would be an understatement!  We've infused a little red, white and blue into just about everything.  And even though the 4th of July has officially passed...there's always Labor Day Weekend to look forward to.  And really, the following recipes can be slightly altered to work for any summer BBQ get-together.

Red White & Blue Kabobs

Seriously the easiest thing and the donut holes can easily be switched out for marshmallows, pineapple, or powdered donut holes...yum!  We served these on Ethan's actual birthday and they were a huge hit.

Red White & Blue Protein Pancakes

This is another super simple recipe.  We just added red food coloring to this recipe, add some whip cream {or more Greek yogurt!} and some berries and voila!  Easy as that and so good too!

 Red White & Blue Cake

Last, you all saw the cake I made on Ethan's Birthday Party Post {thanks by the way for all the amazing comments!!  It was a lot of fun!}.  This was my first time making a layered cake and I have to say it was not too bad!  All I did was buy the box mix, buttercream frosting, food coloring and three round cake pans and made it up as I went.  I used a box and a half of the white cake mix and divided up the batter in three parts.  I then added the food coloring to each bowl {leaving one bowl alone for the white layer} and then baked all three at the same time, according to the directions.  Once the cakes were completely cooled, I used a bread knife to lop off the top of each cake and added frosting between each layer.  I then added one layer of frosting to the outside of the cake and let the cake chill in the fridge overnight.  Apparently they call this first layer the "bread crumb layer".  The next morning, I added a second layer of frosting and that was it!  Ready to decorate and super easy to frost since the original layer was slightly chilled from the night before.

Have you been making any fun patriotic or summer treats lately?  I am SO making that berry tart above was beyond delicious!

xo natasha