And Then There Were 3….

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Why is Rob jumping for joy? A few months ago, Rob and I found out that we would finally be able to make a contribution to the ever expanding Van-Santos family.

At six months, Lentil (Name TBD) Santos has been such a blessing and comfort. This year was especially hard for the both of our families since I lost my grandfather and Rob lost his aunt and uncle within a week of each other. When we were able to share the news of Lentil’s arrival with our families it was amazing to see everyone light up with excitement even in times of extreme sadness.

Alina and Kassie have especially been excited about their new little cousin. Alina is afraid of hugging me because she thinks she will squish the baby. Kassie reads story books out loud so Lentil can hear and has told him/her (we are waiting to find out the sex) that the most exciting thing about being out of the womb is “mini corn dogs.”

Most exciting is seeing Rob slowly fall in love with our baby. From feeling his first kick to realizing the baby has his nose in our 4D ultrasound, it’s amazing to see their connection grow already.

I don’t know if it’s the hormones or the fact that I’m no longer vitamin deficient (thank you prenatals!) but I have never, ever been happier.

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Sleep Tips for When Your Brain Just Won’t Quit

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I have a brain that just won’t quit. If you tell me you had a cupcake for breakfast my train of thought is the following: Cupcake – That time I baked carrot cupcakes for Rob in college – Carrots are good for your eyesight – I need to make an eye doctor appointment – I missed my dentist appointment last week –  I wonder if my dentist secretly hates me – I wonder if all my friends hate me – That’s stupid Kimberly, you should think about puppies to feel better about yourself – Remember that time you saw that internet meme about a chihuahua that looked like a muffin. – Muffins are like cupcakes only healthier. – Oh yeah, we were talking about cupcakes…you should probably respond now.

This business only intensifies the moment my head hits the pillow. While my husband is zonked out, I am planning escape plans for a zombie apocalypse for not only myself but my family members and friends as well (don’t worry guys, I got your back!).  In the likelihood of this ever happening, I’m pretty sure I have a well thought out plan. But  in the meantime, I’d like to sleep!

After trying EVERYTHING (acupuncture, saging my house, sleeping crystals, counting sheep, melatonin, exercise, fans, noise machines, new bedsheets, etc) I think I’ve finally got into a great nighttime routine. Here are some of my favorite tips!

  • Headspace – For days when I am really, really overwhelmed and I can’t shut my mind off this ten minute guided meditation is the only thing that can calm me down. According to Fitbit, it lowers my heart rate but more importantly by the time I am done with the recording it makes whatever big freak out I was having seem more manageable.
  • Golden Milk Latte – Also known as Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s Calming Creamy Turmeric Tea. There are tons of recipes out there but my favorite one includes making a paste out of water, turmeric, black pepper (it helps boost the health benefits of tumeric by 200%) and coconut oil. I store it in the fridge and whenever I go to bed, I heat up some almond milk, add the paste and some honey and have a little nigh cap. The act of creating the latte is calming in itself but this drink is jam-packed with antioxidants and other good for you stuff. It’s an anxiety tonic in itself!
  • Cold Air and Warm Blankets – I prefer to sleep in a cool room but lots of warm blankets. Having bed sheets that breathe are super important as well. I purchased mine from Brooklinen and have never looked back.
  • The Five Minute Journal – If you asked me about this two years ago…or even a few months ago I would have told you that gratitude journals are for lame people who have way too much time on their hands. Boy was I wrong! My journal literally takes five minutes or less to write in and it helps me end my day with positive thoughts and feelings. Some people say its like a toothbrush for your mind and I totally agree with that!
  • Airplane Mode – Ever since I started turning my phone on airplane mode about an hour or two before I go to sleep, my life has improved exponentially. The light the phone emits actually signals your brain to stay awake and scrolling through social media is a guaranteed way to keep the wheels in your brain turning for all hours of the night. Instead, I try to take the time to talk to my husband instead. This is both the easiest and hardest thing for me to do.
  • Army Crawl Sleep Position – This position basically immobilizes your body so you can’t thrash around wildly.
  • Sleep Mask- When used in conjunction with the army crawl sleep position, this is magic! It’s so simple and so effective because it blocks out any light from your vision and forces you to stay asleep. I currently use a Qatar Airways mask, but this one from Modcloth is so lovely!

It has taken me years to perfect my sleeping routine and I still have trouble with it sometimes! Let me know if you have any additional tips and tricks for me in the comments! Sweet dreams!

Love Is In The Air

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Rob and I’s first Valentine’s Day went like this. He cut his long flowing locks, gave me a flower after class and asked me out to dinner. I didn’t want him to think I was serious about him so I told him that I could do lunch and when I arrived I wore my grungiest jeans possible to make sure he did not get the wrong idea. He wore a suit. We went to PF Changs and I ordered the Dan Dan Noodles. I accidentally put too much noodles in my mouth and then we parted our separate ways.

So imagine my surprise that eleven years later, he is still my Valentine. And we’re married now too!

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It was a long weekend so I gave Rob his gift early — a LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon complete with a detachable cockpit, spring-loaded shooter, holochess board and more! We worked on it together for pretty much all of Saturday and Sunday until it was completed while binging on Netflix in between. It was the most Rob and Kimi day ever.

Rob took me to a pretty bomb dinner at Momofuku but I have to say the highlight meals of the weekend were our annual Valentine’s Day Stouffer’s lasagna and a surprise snow day trip to Popeye’s (we have a new rule where we can only eat it on holidays so President’s Day it is!). I’m so happy to have found a life partner who loves terrible food just as much as I do.

What are your Valentine’s Day traditions?

Cheese Boards and Vision Boards

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I am the type of person who will look for any excuse to bring people together so this past Friday, I decided to host my very first Galentine’s Day get together.What’s Galentine’s Day you say? It’s only the best day of the year! It’s ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus…cheese!

On the agenda? Cheese boards and vision boards. Why? Because cheese is a delicious way to up my calcium intake and vision boards because they are all the rage in helping one clarify and focus on a specific life goal.

Based on these photos, it looks like I should have added taking down my Christmas tree to my vision board but in reality, it actually was a fun activity. It was a bit corny, but it helped open up the conversation to our hopes and dreams and allowed us to make plans for the future (even if it was as simple as a shooting date since it turns out we were all interested in learning more about photography).

For those interested in seeing what I’m interested in doing this new (Chinese) New Year….
+ Learning how to swim properly (Or if you take my vision board literally..become a mermaid)
+ Photography
+ Learning how to make Matcha Green Tea Lattes
+ Walking More
+ Saving up for a home
+ Meditatition and learning how to relax (I’ve been super uptight lately)
+ Finding a new hobby that Rob and I can do together
+ Cooking more at home and eating healthier
There were also lots of puppy pictures on my board but right now that looks like a long term goal.

If you’re looking for something a little different to do with your friends rather than going out to dinner or out drinking, I highly recommend grabbing some scissors and glue and get to vision board making!

 

Everyday I’m Hustlin’

I know I have used this space as a personal blog, but I recently realized that a lot of people are curious about my job at Yelp. While my Instagram may look like it, I promise I don’t eat out every single day. Here’s a few quick facts about what I do for a living so we can get back to what’s really important — Jake or Fitz (And the answer is Jake. Duh!).

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  • As a Community Manager, my job is to be the online and offline face of Yelp here in the DC area.
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  • Yelp’s Headquarters are in San Francisco but we have Community Managers around the world including places like Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris, São Paulo, and Rotterdam. #WhoRunstheWorld
  • I am not paid to write reviews. The reason I write reviews (and have been doing so for the past seven years) is because I love sharing insider knowledge on my favorite haunts and getting the dish from other locals like myself. Life without reviews would be life without Meat in a Box and that is a very sad life indeed.

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  • Every week I write and publish a newsletter which goes out to subscribers who live in the District! Looking to get your coffee buzz on?  What about having  a little slice of Havana without ever hopping on a plane? My newsletter has got your back!

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  • I also get to plan my own events for the Yelp community as well! They are free to attend and give Yelpers a chance to get up-close and personal with business owners and learn about their craft. Events can range from six-course wine and steak dinners for thirty people to hotel blow outs with over 1,200 people, 50+ vendors, and entertainment. I throw about three or more events a month. Want to learn more? Visit yelp.com/events and yelp.com/elite for more information.10632793_10152182610051533_2991545479005083337_n
  • I train businesses on how to use  Yelp’s free suite of business tools and give them tips and tricks on how to maintain their online presence. I usually meet with businesses on an individual basis but have also gotten the chance to speak at the DC Tourism Board’s public form as well.
  • I help Yelpers give back to the community! Over the past year we adopted DC Central Kitchen as a charity partner and every month we respond to their direct needs such as creating snack packs for their after-school program, preparing meals, and collecting warm winter weather wear. Since 2014, we have collected thousands of dollars for their program!
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  • For those not involved with the Yelp community there is a misconception that Yelpers are a bunch of people hiding behind their computer. That is not the case at all! A majority of Yelpers are just regular folk from all walks of life who love sharing information with others. Even celebrities have gotten on to the Yelp game! Mila Kunis, Jared Leto and Christina Hendrix have publicly said they were fans and Jerry Seinfeld and Wale are actively contributing their thoughts to the site.

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  • I work from home which means on any given day there is a high probability of me wearing yoga pants. When I’m feeling adventurous or social, I work at coffee shops, fancy hotel lobbies, Union Market (my favorite spot), bagel shops, bars, and even my rooftop pool.
  • I love my job because I get to meet and work with a lot of interesting and passionate people and because I get the chance to make the city that I’ve lived in for over 25 years a wonderful place to be.

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Woman Crush Wednesday: Tina Belcher

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During the month of December when Rob and I’s regularly scheduled shows went on break we became obsessed with Bob’s Burgers, a cartoon about the adventures of a man, his family, and his restaurant in a nondescript seaside town.

Watching the show, I especially felt an affinity to Bob’s oldest daughter Tina who pretty much is my 12-year old doppelganger, minus the barrette. I learned early on that I was more Daria than Quinn, Tai than Cher, and Molly than Samantha. Like most girls, I fretted over this fact and tried to fit in. Tina Belcher is  the exact opposite of my adolescent self, she embraces her weirdness and makes no apologies for who she is. She’s fun, fearless and my pick for my first Woman Crush Wednesday Post.

Don’t believe me? The proof is in the pudding.

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This Post is Completely IrrElephant

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Step aside current dream job, when I grow up I want to be a mahout. In between all of the eating and beaching Rob and I did in Thailand, I made sure to schedule a few days at Elephant Hills, a luxury tented camp set in the middle of Khao Sok National Park, the largest jungle in all of Thailand.

At the camp we were able to help out with the elephant preserve’s daily activities such as scrubbing their thick skin with coconut husks, hosing them down, preparing their daily meals and feeding them.

Did you know….
+ Elephants can be picky eaters? We fed the elephants a mixture of sugar cane, palm leaves, bamboo, and tamarind. The elephants immediately went for the sweet stuff and threw their veggies on the ground.
+ If you come across a white elephant in Thailand you must immediately notify the king. White elephants are considered sacred and often live the remainder of their lives at royal palaces and are often given royal titles.

PS: How funny is it that Rob wore a Swedish Tourist Shirt in Thailand?

Hola Kimi!

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Like Ma$e said: Welcome Back!

It’s been a long time since I blogged regularly but after a long afternoon reading old Live Journal entries from my 15 -year old self, I decided that sharing my life online is an integral part of who I am. Without my decade and some years long digital footprint there is no way I would remember such gems such as:

+ The time I got my first speeding ticket and then invited the police officer to try the new shrimp promotion at Ruby Tuesdays after his shift. He declined, but I got out of a reckless.
+ When my catchphrase was “Super” and “High Five!” or sometimes both together (it kind of still is)
+ The time I met my future husband because I was having a cough attack at Mason Pond

As time passes through an hour glass….I no longer feel that Suburbanette fits who I am anymore. And let’s be real, pink has not been my favorite color in at least five years (it’s sunshine yellow, coral, turquoise, and green in case you want to know). So I present to you, Hola Kimi!

Stay tuned for future loves, rants, and general ramblings from a slightly manic, 30-year-old girl-not-yet-a-woman. Cheers!

A Lesson In Preparing Seafood

Last year, I was invited to participate in the Taste of Georgetown’s Iron Chef Competition with Yelp. I was paired up with a local chef to create a meal using our secret ingredient, red snapper. While we did not win, I was proud of myself for creating a delicious entree and was excited about the possibility of using red snapper in my recipes down the road.

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Fast forward a year later. It was a long summer afternoon and for the first time ever, Rob and I had not committed ourselves to anything. It was time to resurrect my red snapper dreams…and this time I was not going to get some high falootin’ filet at Whole Foods, I was going to do a whole fish bake, Laura Ingalls Wilder style.

I headed out to Grand Mart, a local Asian grocery paradise and found exactly what I was looking for…and for a steal I might add! The eyes were not exactly the clearest, but it was about 9:00 pm (I get most of my weird ideas in the night time) and I didn’t really have any other options. Plus it was already gutted so that was already a plus. I put it in a plastic bag and off we went!

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The recipe was amazingly simple: I stuffed the insides with fresh rosemary and lemons and seasoned the outside with a variety of spices, slammed it in an oven and fifteen minutes later I was rewarded with white flaky, buttery fish perfection.

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Doesn’t this look so freaking rustic? I mean, not to toot my own horn or anything but it is totally Kinfolk worthy. That being said, I neglected one big step in preparing fish. Apparently… you have to scale it first.

What?!!

As a child, I prided myself in being able to gut and scale a whole fish in less than 15 minutes (I was definitely a card carrying member of Club Swanson) but as an adult I have gotten used to the conveniences of frozen, skinless, and deboned fish from Giant. It was a sad day indeed.

The fish was still pretty awesome (scales aside) and the meat was moist and flaky but you bet your bottom dollar that I will be recreating this recipe soon, fish scaler in hand.

Everybody Vamanos!

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Last week I went to Mexico and fell hopelessly, deeply in love with a little brown boy named Ronin. You may remember that I mentioned Ronin a few weeks ago and that although he was cute, he was still a baby blob. Well, now at two months old he is a baby blob that can smile and coo and keep eye contact with you. He also loves belly rubs.

We were in Mexico to celebrate our friend Erica’s wedding (Erica also happens to be the sister of Rob’s brother’s wife which is why Ronin was on this trip). This trip was vastly different than my Cancun vacay of years past, but in a good way. Playa Del Carmen is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen….miles and miles of powder soft white sand and gentle turquoise water. You could see straight through the bottom of the ocean and it was not uncommon to see schools of fish swim by.

We stayed at an eco resort so there were tons of animals that roamed around the grounds. Everything from lizards, iguanas, donkeys, cats, trained birds, and even monkeys were in plain sight at all times. How cool is that?

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While most of our time was spent lounging on the beach (or dancing at la discoteca) we went EXTREME for one of our excursions through Edventure Tours. Our full day tour included an ATV ride and zip line through the jungle, snorkeling in an underground cave (Holy Xanax Batman! I’m not going to lie, I barely saw any fish in here because I was too busy having a panic attack in the dark), swimming in a cenote (beautiful, serene and refreshing) rock climbing, repelling and snorkeling with the sea turtles and a carol reef in Akumal (Rob got nervous because I swam over a sting ray, but luckily I survived).

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The trip was amazing and was a great reminder that I need to go on more vacations.

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