Monday, October 20, 2014

swiss in san francisco

Stefan's mom is in town this week and next visiting us and meeting little Samantha.  We've got lots of fun stuff planned - stay tuned for details! 

Whenever she comes to visit, she always asks what she can bring us from the Motherland and we always have two very special Swiss items we just can't live without:

Spr√ľngli - seriously the world's best chocolate, bar none.

And Aromat - the world's best spice, bar none.

perfect for dolling up your eggs, salads, fish or veggies

These very coveted, only-found-in-Switzerland items are two of my most favorite things.  While I'd tell you all to go sample them immediately, you'd be unable because these exclusive Swiss delicacies are only available to the elite Swiss (and those fortunate enough to have inside ties).  

But as we enjoyed some salad sprinkled with this special spice and savored a piece of the Spr√ľngli (we have a strict only-one-a-night policy around here to make them last as loooooong as possible), I began thinking: maybe it's not the actual substance of the items that allures me; rather, could it be that the exclusivity is what drives my deep and intense affection?  After all, my absolute favorite fruit (persimmons!) also has a limited quality about it, being only available in a few precious fall months.

Our fruit basket these days:

Just a thought.


Friday, October 17, 2014

the macs on film

Speaking of the Macs: as you know, we headed to Charlotte and Scott's killer wedding back in June.  We had the absolute best time celebrating the newly minted, marvelous MacKenzies and toasting their new life together.    

In addition to having a great time, I had the very, very great honor of being the celebrant for their nuptials.  I was so beyond touched to play this special role in their wedding not only because I adore them both, but also because this is a marriage I couldn't believe more in!  I know it's sooo cliche but these two are literally PERFECT for each other.  It makes me so, so happy to help them seal the deal.

Their wedding video is ready and I couldn't help but share.  I was waterworks galore each of the 20 times I've watched it.  Be prepared.    

Check out the video here.  Password is "ayc".  
I promise it won't disappoint.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

last week

Apologies for the slow blogging start to this week.  It has been busy with some big updates and changes for the Fischer Family!  Stay tuned for more details soon. :)

My mom was in town last week and - per usual - we ended up with a jammed-packed schedule of lunches out with friends, dinners with family, baby yoga classes, and - most exciting (and exhausting!) - a mad hunt to find my brother Sam an apartment because (if you didn't hear the awesome news already) he is moving here!  We could not be more pumped to have Uncle Sam making a big west coast move!  

In our extreme busyness, I didn't have time to snap a single photo, but luckily, my mom's uber efficiency landed Sam a stellar spot in a brand new building in SOMA, not too far away from his office.  We're already hard at work thinking how to decorate it. :)

On Friday, we had the fabulous Charlotte and Scott MacKenzie and Scott's awesome mother Randy paying us a visit!  They were headed to a wedding in wine country but made a pit-stop here on their way up to say hello and meet little Samantha Charlotte, who gets her middle name from - you guessed it - said Charlotte.  We can only hope our little girl will have Char's sharp intellect, incredible athleticism, and big heart.

Charlotte and Scott were total naturals - holding and calming Samantha as though they'd known for decades.

While Samantha is getting a bit too big to lay nestled on my thighs, Scott's long legs served as a perfect perch for her that morning:

Equally comfortable was Charlotte's cozy shoulder:

While we were sad to see them go so quickly, luckily we get to see these two in just two weeks for my sister's wedding in Florida!  Lots of excitement to come these next few weeks.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

home-sharpied frames

I've been on the hunt for frames for Samantha's room since way before she was born.  In keeping with our grey-and-white-with-touches-of-pink motif, I wanted something punchy, but not super expensive.  I'd find fun frames for a fortune or boring frames for cheap, but not much in that middle territory.  

One day at Target, however, I was hit with a stroke of genius: I'd simply make a boring, cheap frame fun.

I started with some super cheap, plain white frames:

$4.99 and $6.99 - that's what I'm talking about

Then with a bright pink sharpie ($1.99), I went to work on my masterpieces:

All done in five minutes flat:

Absolutely no artistic ability required.  Even if you can't draw a proper circle (clearly I can't), it still turns out fairly decent.

I'd say they fit into the nursery pretty well:

What do you think?


Tuesday, October 7, 2014


When Stefan's family was in town a few weeks ago, they asked what strange thing we did with Samantha each night when she slept:

Why swaddle her of course!  
I just assumed everyone swaddled their babies.  Everyone here talks about it as though it were a given.  Before we left the hospital, they made sure we knew several essential swaddling techniques.  And it's even one of the five Ss of The Happiest Baby on the Block.  (A soon-to-be parent must-read!)

But they don't swaddle babies in Switzerland.  And guess what!  Babies there turn out just fine.

So then it got me thinking about how different people raise babies around the world.

Did you know that in Finland, babies sleep in cardboard boxes?

And that in Guatemala, Mayan mothers give their newborns freezing cold baths?

And that in Scandinavia, mothers leave their babies in strollers outside to nap in sub zero temperatures?

But then in the Dominican Republic, babies are kept exclusively indoors?

And while today we're told to only let babies sleep on their backs, when we were newborns, parents were told the stomach was the safest spot to sleep.  And while pediatricians today warn against the dangers of taking a baby in public spots prior to her vaccinations, our parents' generation took us out on day one!

The fascinating documentary Babies is further food for thought when it comes how best to rear a child.  While the baby from Africa plays in the dirt with his brother and the baby from Mongolia is left swaddled on a bed and the baby from San Francisco is fawned over by her parents with constant visual stimulation and an endless narration of life from her mother (totally guilty!), they all end up reaching their developmental milestones right on track.

It's fascinating how different countries and generations and cultures do things oh-so differently, but how - guess what! - most babies turn out just fine.  
Which is a good thing to remember to keep First-Time-Mom Syndrome in check.  


Monday, October 6, 2014

the anatomy of a perfect cheese plate

If you know Stefan and I at all, you know we have a thing for cheese.  It is our go-to cocktail-hour, afternoon-treat, or easy-dinner fare.  We always try to keep a couple of good varieties on hand for an impromptu visit from friends, of which we have had many of these past few weeks. 

A perfect cheese plate requires a few things:

1. A mix of animals
By that I mean a little cow, a little sheep and a little goat's milk cheese.  Also always a real winner is a blend of all three.  My favorite trio cheese is definitely La Tur:

2. A blend of types
I always try to have at least one of each of the following categories:
-Hard, (preferably Swiss) mountain cheese (Try Cave-aged Gruyere or Appenzeller) 
-Super-soft and luxurious brie-style cheese (Try Fromager d'affinois or Saint Andre) 
-Blue! (Try Saint Agur or Point Reyes Blue)

3. Some non-cheese accompaniments
You can't go wrong with classic, sweet grapes, but almost any fruit can be a perfect accompaniment to its cheesy counterparts: juicy melon, succulent stone fruit, or - my personal favorite - crunchy persimmons.

Speaking of grapes, did you know the best way to serve grapes is to cut that big bulk of fruit down into single sized portions?  I had no idea until my fav blog shared this article.  You can pile the small bundles together so it still looks like a big bunch, but people can more easily take a few without leaving the not-so-pretty stems bare on your platter.

4. Really, REALLY good bread
Go hog wild and splurge on the most expensive baguette you can find.  Fortunately, the price premium for the best (v. the mediocre) is a mere buck or two.  SO worth it.

What are your fav cheeses?


Friday, October 3, 2014

behind-the-scenes of our newborn shoot

When Samantha was 8 days old, we opted to do a newborn shoot.  We were hesitant at first because photo shoots with young babes tend to be outrageously expensive ($800-1200! Can you believe it??), but the fabulous Krista Marie (who did this shoot way back when) agreed to do it for a much reasonable rate.  Plus, her photos are much more my style than your typical corny baby-wrapped-in-blanket-and-hanging-from-a-branch type thing...


We ended up using a bunch of the photos in Samantha's birth announcement (which you've already seen!), but I thought I'd share a behind-the-scenes peek at some of the other photos I loved.

One of our little fam hanging out on the bed:

But while Samantha was supposed to be perfectly centered (and of course looking towards the camera!), she kept moving her head towards Stefan.  Despite attempt after attempt, we could not keep her still!

I had also seen a gorgeous photo of a mom holding her little babe up in the air that captured the little one's teeny legs and feet.  We attempted to do the same:

The photo, however, required some impressive acrobatics:

poor Samantha!

We also did a bunch of her in some adorable (but completely impractical) outfits.  We're all about comfy long sleeved onesies with the chilly San Francisco climate.

To keep her happy in between shots, however, we needed to keep her covered by a blanket and sucking on Stefan's little finger.

Getting a really good shot required her going sans diaper in her cute little clothes. While it resulted in prettier pictures, she loved being able to show us how many times she could pee in one hour: five.  You win Samantha!

We had lots of outfit changes:

Some of my other favs:

What do you think?
Is a newborn shoot worth the money and effort?