Maternity Rut

Yikes. When I was picturing what pregnancy would be like, aside from the side effects and gain-weight, I also pictured myself glowing and looking amazing every day. Like the happiness of having a child grow in my body would show.

Totally wrong. My first trimester I felt like s*** and when I didn’t, I was too tired to care. Luckily my mood and energy is coming back in this 4th month and I have realized that I don’t remember when the last time I actually did my hair was. I’ve been wearing the same shirts day in and day out and haven’t even bothered to switch up my make-up on weekends. Not that I’m usually high-maintenance, but definitely not this lazy.

Anyway, I have to get out of this. Some maternity inspiration, please!

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Summer of 2007

I was working and starting my second year of college in 2006. During the summer, I had traveled to Nicaragua on my own to stay with my mother’s cousin and visit the many beaches and clubs in the tropical city of Managua. This had not been my first trip and I had really gotten to know this country, at least the Western side. Around November, I was itching to travel again, but this time, I wanted to visit my father’s country, Argentina.

The last time I had gone to Argentina, I was 11 years old. My memories of that visit and even a few visits that I had made younger were actually quite vivid, perhaps mostly because of the many photos and videos. My father’s family is huge and concentrated mostly in a small neighborhood in the middle of the country’s capital, Buenos Aires. Despite what most may think about how my father would react to me wanting to visit all of his family and hometown, he actually hated the idea. His exact words were: “If I let you go to Buenos Aires, you will not want to come back.” I laughed…

I stayed at my grandmother’s house from mid-December to mid-January. Amir is actually a distant relative of my father’s and so we knew each other from my childhood trips and now ran into him quite a bit. On the 2nd day of having arrived, his older sister called me to invite me to the house. I’ll never forget this day. In the patio of their home I sat in a chair with her and all of the other siblings surrounding me. We talked about the United States and myself. What was I into? What music did I listen to? How were my cousins who lived in the U.S.? Did we visit often? Amir and I had chatted a few times before I traveled but now he was quiet. I wasn’t sure what to think about him, but I knew that I liked him and hoped he would break out of his shell.

That month in Buenos Aires felt like it had been a year, but not because time dragged on, but rather because each day held so many things. So many memories, so much walking and ice cream and visiting. Amir and his sisters took me everywhere and he and I became inseparable until eventually we confessed our attraction to each other and though at first we kept it a secret, it was impossible what with all eyes on us of even older relatives hoping there would be a connection. I recall one day we had walked over to the corner of his house talking, we were about to kiss until Amir looked up. His uncle was peeking out the window and the uncle’s son, his cousin was peeking out the window one floor up. It seemed like though Buenos Aires was a bustling city, it held the attitude of a small town. I have so many memories of that trip, I remember when Amir and I finally broke the ice, when we went to the Japanese Garden where he proposed to me years later. There were nights where we would stay up until the sun came up comparing life stories and dreams. Once, we were going to the riverside the next day with family and were expected to leave pretty early. We ended up not sleeping at all and well, we didn’t enjoy the river so much. We would sit and doze off for a bit every opportunity we had. I remember one day dropping by to say hi when he was napping and leaving him a note with his brother so that he would know I’d visited and also when he gave me the first peck behind a curtain thinking no one was watching, only to discover later that his brother was on the other side and had seen everything. Also, I remember when I left, his family offered to take me to the airport. All of them were aware of our relationship at that point, except for his father apparently. He became aware of this when he noticed that our farewell was no ordinary farewell.

A week before I had to return, my father called to see how I was. “What’s wrong?” I sniffled. “You don’t want to come back, do you?” and then I let it all out. Crying as though I was being forced to leave my own hometown. The 6 months that followed when I was back in the U.S. were a blur. All I remember is my determination to return and my many emails and phone calls with Amir. He was skeptical (as he always is) about my returning but continued to wait. Meanwhile, I checked out universities, prepared presentations of what my future plans were for my parents, and stocked up on shoes and clothing that I thought I wouldn’t find in Argentina. By June I was hoping on a plane back to Grandma’s house, received by the open arms of Amir, tears included.

I think I fell in love with Amir and also the city during that one month. When I think about that time now, I almost don’t recognize myself. I mean, I recognize the determination. When I want something, I’m sure about it and seek it incessantly, but I’m not impulsive. Not with love or anything else for that matter. That month, everything went so fast but it didn’t feel crazy, it felt right. I didn’t feel out of control, I felt totally in control and sure about what I was doing, not even worrying about the what if’s or making pros and cons lists like I  usually would.

With the years, it’s easy to forget how I ended up living with this man in day to day life. When we’re having dinner or just in a taxi together heading out. It’s easy to forget the difficulties of me leaving and also the magic there has always been. One gets used to the flames until you eventually forget it’s even there. Like being so used to light that when the electricity goes out you realize how much light was actually on. It’s normal and proof of how comfortable we are, but it is nice to look back on these moments every now and then.

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So young! I think this was around Feb. 2008.
Engagement picture. 2013
Engagement picture. 2013
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Pregnant and Moving

I’m 14 weeks today and in the process of moving from a tiny 1 bedroom apartment to a spacious 3 bedroom house. It seemed easy thinking about it, how hard can it be? We don’t have so many things….

False. It does not matter if the space we were living in is small, we still accumulated many things in these almost 2 years of marriage and also we should factor in the changes we made to the house so that it’d be move-in ready. I, of course, couldn’t participate in the painting, although I wish I could have. I served more as a cheerleader and later, a cleaner. The house is finally ready for us and all we have to do now is pack everything in boxes in the next 2 nights. Saturday is the big M day.

Being pregnant and moving has been difficult, mostly because I haven’t been much help. Not only have I not been much help, I’ve probably been the exact opposite of useful. Hormonal and anxious and impatient (well, to be fair, I’m always impatient). Luckily I’m now entering my 2º trimester and should be regaining all the energy I felt I didn’t have before. I do feel more like myself, minus the strange body changes where I feel pudgy instead of pregnant and a bowl of chocolate cereal wins over any other food (especially Nesquik cereal!).

A couple of things I have found exciting during these past couple of weeks besides the move and family visiting from out of town: finding out other people are pregnant almost the same time as I am and nursery decor. My pinterest account is more active than ever.  I had my NT scan last week and was told that the baby is almost certainly a boy! My decor ideas were pretty neutral anyway, going for the gray tones mostly and then adding accents in more gender-oriented patterns and colors. Our nursery is still a blank canvas, and probably will be until next month when we’re finally settled in. But still, I take notes as I browse every site and pin board out there.

Some inspiration.

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Expecting

A baby. Yes, I am pregnant. It’s setting in a little bit more in my brain that there is a life growing inside of me and I feel so much love for what must look like an alien/raisin so far. Of course, my crazy anxious self has downloaded 3 apps, one of which I update every morning, using their checklist and reading about updates on the development of the baby.

I think the best part, but also the most nerve-racking one for me, was when we announced it face to face to our families. His mom suspected it and so did my siblings but all were still very much surprised. The mothers cried and the fathers looked at us in shock. The siblings celebrated, it was a very good day.

After that we went to a few houses to give the news and then we posted a little video on our social media channels.

Coming soon…

A video posted by rachael (@diabrachael) on

So now that I’m beginning my 3º month, I’m feeling tired and not hungry. I gravitate towards chips and definitely run away from meats so far. Did I mention I’m feeling tired? I can sleep anywhere at any time and this past weekend I did just that and opted to not go anywhere at all, not even grocery shopping. Thank God my husband takes care of the errand so well. He takes care of me so much!

Dexter, my now 6-month old beagle, is incredibly attached to me and follows me absolutely everywhere! I truly think dogs can sense pregnant women and act differently.

Boy or girl? I honestly have no preference, I think I would if I already had one, but since this is my first, any of the two would be equally welcomed. One pro of it being a baby boy is that it’d be the first on my husband’s side. Also, we keep picturing the baby as a boy, like in our dreams and thoughts…premonition or just hopeful? Not sure, but a baby girl sounds just as fun (and probably is just as much of a handful).

My due date is in November so I have a ways to go but I’m already so anxious about everything that’s to come and to at least find out what gender it is so we can start shopping away! (Like I needed an excuse…)

This is sure to be a big year, with lots of changes but I’m hopeful for all that’s to come. Now time for my nap….

P.s. The apps I use are “What to Expect when you’re expecting” (good videos), “Baby Center” (good articles), and my fave, “Nuture” which is a continuation from their period tracker “Glow” which I used to well, um, track my cycle.

P.s.s. You know who else is preggo?? Emily Henderson, my favorite interior designer. That made me soooo happy! We’re only a couple weeks apart, too. Here’s here cutesy blog post announcement.

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Cursive is in.

At least that’s what Valentino and Dolce and Gabbana are saying.

I loved Keira Knightly’s Valentino Spring 2015 Couture dress with romantic rose buds and embroidered cursive in bold.

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Then I came across photos of Dolce & Gabbana’s Fall 2015 collection and saw this trend continue and I’ve got to say, it’s quite beautiful but definitely a trend that will die out soon.

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black & white + gray

No, this isn’t a deep post about how some things are not black and white, but rather somewhere in the middle. I’m not going to post about the decisions I make that may be life-changing nor is this a rant about a concept that someone does not understand where I proceed to introduce the “gray” area that exists.

No, no….this is much simpler. It’s outfits. B & W + G outfits. I want to have these items in my closet and be able to get dressed in the dark, knowing that whatever I grab will be in any of these colors and will look as sleek.

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Easy Fresh Pasta Recipe

I don’t cook. I mean, I do, but I’m not great at it and it’s probably because I don’t like cooking. Anyone who knows me knows that my husband is the cook in my house, he loves it and is great at it. Yes, I know that I’m lucky.

Yesterday it was my turn to cook though because he had to go to tennis practice. As always, I asked him what I should do and how should I do it. He suggested I make this dish that is easy and incredibly fresh, perfect for these summer nights.

Ingredients

3-4 tomatoes

Pasta of your choice

Fresh basil

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper

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Steps

1. With a shredder, cut off the stem of the tomato and begin shredding it into a bowl. Mushed tomatoes.

2. Chop up some basil. Try it out every so often to make sure you the basil isn’t overpowering the tomato.

3. Add a bit of olive oil to the sauce along with any seasoning, I used a mix of black pepper with salt.

Optional: you can add some garlic to the mix. In this case, I was looking to have some leftovers to take to work the next day so I opted out of it. Also, I suggest adding sliced black olives for a mega Mediterranean feel.

4. Cook the pasta, serve and add the sauce.

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Super easy

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2015 Oscars Feedback

Oscar Night!! I made a point to make a night out of it, complete with food that was easy to make and ballots (thanks Glitter Guide).

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Best Dressed:

Margot Robbie: the Van Cleef & Arpels necklace was everything.

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Zoe Saldana in Atelier Versace

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Reese Witherspoon in Tom Ford. Simple and perfect. Also, the hair and makeup!

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Keira Knightly in Valentino Couture. Fresh and lovely and incredibly romantic.

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Also: I wanted to love Naomi Watts in Armani Prive. The colors were perfect and the lines of the dress were sleek and modern but I don’t know what it was, the beading perhaps?

Awkward Moment:

John Travolta. Why do you have to be so weird!! He began by awkwardly trying to kiss Scarlett Johansson. Why would you think that’s okay to do?? And then he made the presentation of an award with Irina Mendel super weird. AND THEN he went on Jimmy Kimmel and explained himself BUT failed because he was still weird. Please be normal again.

Amazing Performances:

Couldn’t decide between the two. The performance of Glory from the movie Selma and Lady Gaga’s tribute to The Sound of Music were perfect and brought me near tears. Very moving and the fact that Julie Andrews graced us with her presence was the cherry on top. Literally, because at that point we were eating banana splits for desserts and we didn’t have cherries.

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Argentine Representation:

Argentina didn’t win best foreign film BUT an Argentine did win an Oscar. Armando Bo Junior won along with Alejandro G. Inarritu for Best Screenplay for Birdman. Of course, his s/o was to Argentina.

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Shameful Moment:

In other words, the Sean Penn moment. I love Sean Penn but his comment when announcing that Alejandro G. Inarritu won was incredibly out of place. It’s the most anticipated award and should be considered an honor to be able to present it. Making a ridiculous comment about his immigration status was insensitive and rude and totally ruined the moment, not to mention that it was practically how the Oscars closed. I believe that Inarritu might have talked about foreigners in his speech because of this comment even which I don’t blame him for but what a shame that he has to hear this when receiving such a special recognition. Bad move.

Red Carpet Footage:

The televising of the Red Carpet was kind of dull this year. This might have been because of the rain, I’m not sure. I began by watching E! but it felt as though all they did was talk to each other and not very many celebrities. Then I switched to TNT. It might have been too late but I didn’t get to see many red carpet looks on that channel. The HD on this channel was totally worth sticking to, though.

BTW, I won 2nd place in guessing Oscar winners. Not too bad.

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Buenos Aires Restaurants: Gran Cafe Dabbang

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As we lounged around the house on Valentine’s Day, evening came around and we began to ask ourselves what the hell we were going to do to celebrate. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t care about this commercial day, that I don’t expect to have to gussy up for dinner. So we decided to try this restaurant that my husband has read raving reviews on.

Gran Cafe Dabbang is led by a cook that (used to?) assists a famous Argentine chef, Narda Lepes. She had a cooking show that was pretty dynamic and he was her helper. The restaurant is known for its fusion dishes, the fact that the menu changes every 2-3 days and its Indian inspiration. This place is so popular that while dinner is usually around 10-11 here in Buenos Aires, reviewers recommend you go before 9pm so that  you avoid long lines at the door. We arrived at 9 on the dot and lo and behold, half an hour later there was a group of people anxious for us to finish our meal and free the table.

The place itself lacks a sign outside and when the taxi pulled up I was sure that my husband had mistaken the address. Definitely a hole-in-the-wall vibe. Inside there are some indication of it’s inspiration from India. The atmosphere is very relaxed and there were definitely quite a bit of foreigners there. Also, the decor made me think of Grand Budapest Hotel, not sure if that is intentional or not.

The dishes are deliberately small. This is so that you can order multiple dishes and try a little bit of everything. My love for appetizers and finger foods made me immediately go for this modality. Also, my husband has a nack for ordering the best dish so this gave me a chance to try whatever he was getting. Excellent.

We chose 4 dishes:

1. QUESO DE OVEJA, ENSALADA DE HIGOS, BERRO, GRANADA, ACEITUNAS NEGRAS Y ALBAHACA

Translation: goat cheese, fig salad, watercress salad, pomegranate, black olives and basil

2.  FAINA, BURRATA, BERENJENAS CON HARISSA, CEBOLLA ROJA Y HIERBAS

Translation: faina (like a slice of pizza dough but made from chickpea), eggplant, red onion and herbs, plus burrata cheese

3. FALAFEL DE PLATANO, GARBANZO Y MAIZ MORADO, COLESLAW- SATAY, PANKA CHILI JAM

Translation: falafel made from platain, chickpea and corn, coleslaw-satay, chili jam (thankfully not spicy)

4.  PAKORAS DE ACELGA, CHUTNEY DE ZANAHORIA, RAITA Y SRIRACHA

Translation: chard pakoras, carrot chutney sriracha (we asked for this on the side, I know, I’m a terrible Californian)

Oh, and for dessert of course:

CHOCOLATE DABBANG, TE DE JAZMIN, DULCE DE GUAYABA Y HOCKEY POCKEY DE MIEL DE CAÑA

Translation: Dabbang chocolate, Jazmin tea, Guayaba jam, Hockey Pockey of Cane Syrup

All of these dishes were amazing, especially plates 2 and 3 because of my love for cheese and plantains and because of its uniqueness. It kind of felt like I was eating at a really good, gourmet food truck, but with really good table service. Overall this Valentine’s dinner was fun, the food was different and I was completely satisfied with my husband’s choice of restaurant.

This is the restaurant’s facebook and its listing on Yelp. Definitely recommended if you’re in Buenos Aires.

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Spouses

Marriage consists of two people (in most cases) living together every day. Every day you come home from work, or the other comes home from work, and you two have to interact. Each and every day. There are good days and there are bad and sometimes they start good and end bad or the other way around. Sometimes they’re uneventful and sometimes s**t hits the fan. This is why marriage is so hard challenging.

These two people interact so much that they end up knowing everything about each other. The good, the bad, and yes, the ugly. Yeah, best friends might know this about a person, too. However, marriage forces you to really live with the bad and the ugly, look at it in the face, see it at its best and worst and actually deal with it. You can’t not answer your phone in marriage. You can’t stop texting someone. Silent treatments never last long, eventually someone loses their keys and you begin talking again. You can’t lie and say “It’s me, not you.” In marriage, separation reasons are transparent. When there’s a secret, there’s a problem and eventually it will surface.

Of course, this sounds all bad. It almost sounds like what a person who is against marriage might think. But hang on, it could be good. This person knows you. Sometimes, they know you more than you know yourself. They can tell when a situation will make you uncomfortable or when you will get really excited about something. They know when it’s not a good time to talk about the bills or when all you need is a hug.

These two extremes are what make a marriage amazing and at the same time, challenging. Fights are stronger, each knows the other’s weaknesses, tears usually don’t convince the other and the issues tend to be more important.

But laying in bed at night knowing that that person next to you will always be there, having what would normally be a boring day but actually enjoying it because of your spouse’s company, being in a crowded room and looking over understanding exactly what your spouse is thinking without even speaking? Well, the challenge is worth taking.

One of our engagement pictures. 2013.
One of our engagement pictures. 2013.