A Letter to 2017

Dear 2017,

Oh, how exciting you have been!

I got to learn about how the biggest blessings sometimes come after long periods of frustration (emphasis on blessings, click here to check out my full post on fertility and our long journey to getting pregnant with twins). Though our road to grow our family wasn’t as quick or simple as we hoped, twins were well worth the wait!! Since finding out the news earlier this year, our family has gone through some major changes in preparation for our two new additions!

We moved! I LOVE our new home!! Though it’s still a work in progress and decorating a new home has been an interesting feat midway through a pregnancy, it’s been a joy to to fill it up with the help of Willow now that she’s a little bit older to have an opinion. Though we’re still working on a few rooms, our new home is certainly being filled with new memories! We’ve already hosted a few parties! Christmas Day, the twins gender reveal, and countless girls days with my sister, niece, and friends!

With the family expanding, thank you for giving me the time to discover a newfound love for trying new recipes. Since we will soon have more mouths to feed, it was especially fun to get a famous chef in the kitchen (major thanks to Cat Cora for enlightening me on how to make the best cookies!! Recipe here). I’ve also found some other new healthy favorites, and started to get Willow in the kitchen to help! Check out all of these here.

Speaking of food, time for a snack (pregnancy food cravings have been hitting me every two hours)!

So I’ll leave you with this 2017 – thanks to you, I am ready and looking forward to the new year! I can’t wait for EVERYTHING that’s to come!

I wish you and your families a 2018 filled with love, laughter and light. Thanks for following along.






Christmas Morning Recipe

Every one has their favorite Christmas memories while growing up. I still remember mine as a little girl waking up early to peek down at the tree lined with presents and smelling breakfast waiting for me. I now try to instill some of those same traditions and memories with my family. One of my favorite things on Christmas day that has become a family favorite are my breakfast cinnamon rolls. It may be a simple recipe but with a few extra ingredients these rolls take on a holiday twist that will sure become a winner in the household.

Ingredients: (makes about 4 dozen rolls)

11 to 12 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

3 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast

3 teaspoons salt

3-1/2 cups water

1 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs


1/4 cup butter, melted

1 cup sugar

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup raisins


1/4 cup butter, softened

3-3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon lemon extract

3 to 4 tablespoons water


  1. In a large mixing bowl combine 8 cups of flour, sugar, yeast and salt.
  2. In a saucepan, heat water and oil to 120°-130° and add to the dry ingredients. Mix until it is all incorporated and moistened. Then add the eggs and mix until smooth. Stir in the remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  3. On a hard surface knead the dough until smooth and elastic for about 5-10 minutes. Then cover and let the dough rest for 15 minutes. After turn the dough onto a hard surface again and divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a 24 in. x 15 in. rectangle. Brush it with butter and combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle it over the dough. Roll it up jelly-roll style and pinch seams to seal.
  4. Cut dough each into 24 rolls. Place the rolls cut side up in a 13×9 in baking pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.
  5. Bake at 425° for 18-22 minutes until golden brown.In a small mixing bowl, combine frosting ingredients. Spread over warm rolls. Cool on a tray.

The aroma of the rolls will fill up the entire house and make you want to bake another batch!

How To Manage Large Crowds During The Holiday

Many of us are able to handle and prep for the holidays very well but one thing that will always be unavoidable are the large crowds during this busy season. Large crowds freak me out and I try to avoid them as much as possible but that’s not so easy when I have holiday shopping or other family outings to do with a little one in tow. When I do need to go out I try to bring Willow with me, which can become another challenge in itself. I’ve picked up some tips along the way on how to make managing crowds more merry!
Here’s some tips for staying safe in large crowds with kids:
1. Keep Sight Close: I try to make sure to not let Willow out of my sight and I (or AJ) will try to physically hold her hand as much as possible! Shoulder rides count too 😉
2. Bright Colors: My friends have suggested putting bright colored clothes on Willow so she’s easy to spot, definitely something to keep in mind though #1 and not losing sight in the first place is key!
3. Stroller: If you child is still small enough I suggest taking a stroller with you for a sense of containment. I still bring mine with me sometimes even though Willow is starting to grow out of it already.
4. Talk to Your Kids: Willow and I had the stranger talk not too long ago so she is aware not to talk to anyone she doesn’t know. It’s important to stress the importance of stranger danger and what to do if they were to get lost (tell an official in uniform, remember mom/dad’s phone number, meeting spot, etc.)
5. Time Your Trip Well: Before I go out I make sure to have a list of things I need so I manage my time well and don’t spend too much time out which may lead to a cranky child that makes the whole outing more difficult than necessary.
 What other tips do you have for managing crowds with kids? I’d love to know them!

#AskAbby: What cookie recipe did you make with Cat Cora?

I’m so happy chef Cat Cora gave me her recipe to share with all of you! We had so much fun making it on Facebook live! Make sure to keep your eye out for more cooking videos!

Lemonade Sugar Cookies 

Makes 4 dozen cookies

1 6-ounce Can of Frozen Lemonade Concentrate
½ Pound Unsalted Butter (2 sticks) (Softened)
1 Cup Sugar (Plus extra red and green colored to sprinkle over the cookies)
2 Teaspoon Lemon Zest (Finely Grated)
2 Large Eggs
2½ Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/8 Teaspoon Salt

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Fill a large bowl with warm water and plop in the unopened can of lemonade to thaw while you mix the cookie dough.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with a hand mixer. Add the lemon zest, if desired. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until the mixture is light and creamy, 4-5 minutes, then set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

Measure out 1/2 cup of the thawed lemonade and set the rest aside. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Stir, then add about one third of the 1/2 cup lemonade. Continue adding the flour and lemonade alternately, stirring after each addition, until the mixture shows no streaks of flour. Beat on low speed with the mixer just until all the ingredients are combined.

Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of the dough 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake the cookies, checking them after 8 minutes. When the edges are just starting to brown, remove the cookies from the oven. (The centers will still look soft.) Using a pastry brush, immediately brush the top of each cookie very lightly with a little of the remaining lemonade concentrate, then lightly sprinkle with the colored sugar. Transfer the cookies to a rack and allow them to cool completely.

Holiday Gift Guide For Him

I always think shopping for Aj is the hardest out of all of the family members! So I thought I would share some gift inspirations when shopping for that special man in your life!! There are some great sales and deals still going on. One of my favorite places to shop is Nordstroms, they usually have a great variety of options to choose from, FREE shipping and returns.  See my gift guide below, and let me know if you find something you like!

Shop Each Item Below:

Winter Fashion Trends

Can you believe it’s already December?! I can’t, especially with the weather still being so warm in LA! Even though it’s not as cool as other parts of the country I still try to adjust my wardrobe to fit the winter season as much as I can. I love the winter trends that come out every year and I try to incorporate them as much as possible.

Here are some of my favorite winter fashion trends to try yourself:

Statement Jacket

The easiest transitional piece going into winter is a jacket. When it’s cool enough at night I throw on a leather jacket over a tank top and instantly feel chic. Leather jackets will never go out of style to me so I love wearing them as much as I can!

Seasonal Patterns and Colors

Another trend for me I try to incorporate in the winter is the patterns and colors that I tend to see a lot of during the holidays, like deep reds and gingham. I love the combination together! If you feel intimidated by patterns try wearing them in small doses, whether it be a scarf or in an accessory.


If I’m not wearing sandals in California I’m definitely grabbing some boots! Winter makes it acceptable to wear boots of any length. I love thigh high boots for a night out or dressing up a cute daytime look.

Chunky Textures

I can’t leave the winter season without wearing some chunky sweaters or anything that has a cool texture to it. I love knitted sweaters or anything with wool. There are a couple of days in LA where I can get away with wearing something warmer so when I can I love mixing it up with these.

What winter trends are you loving right now or think I should try?

#AskAbby: How do you get things done with a toddler?

For those of you with a small child, you know how much attention they require! Though we love giving our kids all the attention in the world… sometimes we still need to get things done without them. These are my 5 survival tips for when productivity is needed around the little ones:


  1. Teach your toddler to respect when you’re busy. I know, I know, easier said than done!! Repetition is key here… eventually, when they learn that their time will come when Mom or Dad is finished with what they are doing, they’ll begin to learn some patience. This happens over time and is no quick fix but it’s the basis for instilling patience in toddlers early on.
  2. Snacks. Sometimes a little hunger is behind the grab for attention, always having healthy snacks on deck is helpful! Pre-portioned carrots, celery, berries, etc. is a great way to boost your child’s fruit and veggie intake while also giving them a distraction (and hopefully learn to enjoy healthy snacks as well!) Bonus points for snacks they can play with… hand over the celery sticks, a lump of a nut butter, and some raisins with instructions on how to make “ants on a log” and you’ve just bought enough time to pay the bills. 
  3. Vitamin D. We’re lucky enough in California that we pretty much have sunshine all year around which is perfect for the kiddos! Fresh air, space to run around in the yard, and some plants to explore is usually enough for Willow’s imagination to run wild for at least a little while. If you don’t have a backyard, try to bring your own task into the outdoors so you can watch the kids. Doing your own to-do’s in the outdoors might just make them more enjoyable as well!
  4. Inclusion. Since Willow is about to be a big sister, we’re really starting to teach her what responsibility is. I’ve begun to task her with simple tasks… putting toys away, counting things for me, matching socks, bringing in the mail, etc.. She also loves to “help” with some of my tasks… whether it’s working on the blog or decorating rooms in the new house!
  5. Bag of activities. I bring this bag with me everywhere and keep a bunch of little play things in there… coloring books, markers, play dough, figurines, blocks, books, etc.. I like to keep exactly what’s inside a mystery so she’s always guessing what I’m about to pull out!

Get Covered With Oscar Health Coverage


As a nurse working in many different facilities over the last 10 years, I can’t tell you how many times patients came in with worsening conditions due to the fact that they would avoid needed hospitalization because of their health care insurance. At a time where they should have been focused solely on their health and working on getting better, they were worried about how much their care would cost.


How crazy is that? So many of these patients worked out on a regular basis, ate healthy and were proactive about their overall health in so many ways, but stopped short when it came to health insurance coverage. Make sure you have your health covered today! Open enrollment is still going on until December 15th, and is an open period of time in which you can apply for health insurance coverage for 2018. Oscar Health has created resources that help break down complex health terminology to make health plans and getting covered easier to understand. Go visit Oscar Health Coverage for more information.

Healthier Hot Chocolate

Most of the country is being drenched in snow right now while California is still enjoying 80 degree temps! Though the warm weather is always pleasant… sometimes it can be hard to get into the holiday spirit when you still have your beach gear out!


One of our favorite ways to help get ready for the holidays is with some classic holiday treats! Everyone in the family LOVES hot chocolate but the powdered pre-made stuff is never as satisfying as the real deal… and even better… it’s super easy to make your own hot chocolate that is A LOT healthier than traditional recipes. Dairy-free makes this hot chocolate easier on tummies and minimal sugar is useful when Willow wants some at night.



2 cups  Your favorite almond milk – plain/unsweetened vanilla works! (Better yet, you can also make your own! See my post on how to make your own almond milk HERE)

1 tbsp Unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tbsp Semi-sweet/dark chocolate

2 tbsp Raw sugar/stevia/honey/maple syrup  

¼-½ tsp Vanilla extract/peppermint extract (or a candy cane/cinnamon stick if you’re going crazy!)



  1. Warm almond milk in a small saucepan (you want it hot but not boiling)
  2. Melt in the chocolate while whisking
  3. Whisk in cocoa powder, the sweetener, and extract
  4. Optional: place in blender or coffee press and blend or pump (this should be done quickly to mimic a blender) until frothy


Notes: Hot chocolate is super customizable so feel free to add/detract ingredients depending on how you and the family like it!


Using Your Wardrobe To Appear Leaner and Longer

I’ve been embracing this bump so much more than my last pregnancy. With Willow I was so self conscious with my changing body, but with the twins I have been trying to rock it more. With that being said I’m still human and get self conscious about my growing hips, legs and belly. So I use some tips and tricks from my wardrobe to appear a little leaner, and a little longer (rather than a little wider).  Here are some tips I have picked up over the year to help elongate my frame.

    1. Layer a long vest over tailored jeans and fitted shirt. The long vertical lines of the vest make you appear taller.

Photo Credit: Kate Hauschka

2. Nude Shoes, especially pumps with pointed toes and thin heels. Find a pair that matches your skin tone, and it will give the illusion of legs for days.

3. Wear all black, the oldest trick in the book. Wearing all one color helps create one long vertical line. Ensure each piece in your ensemble is well fitting.

Photo Credit: Kate Hauschka