Monday, September 2, 2013

Later, Lamb Swing

The day we brought my daughter home from the hospital, our living room turned into a version of a car lot for baby seats. Everywhere you turned, there was some kind of contraption that promised to keep babies happy or get them to sleep. And as a new parent, you'll try anything. We had the Rock 'N Play, the Rainforest Bouncer seat, and of course the My Little Lamb Cradle Swing.

As my baby grew, we had to retire those seats ... but the lamb swing continued to be a permanent fixture next to the couch. She hadn't used it in months, but for some reason, it took us a little too long to take it down and pack it up. Although it's enormous, and gets in the way of everything, taking it down was a reminder that she is growing up way too fast. Everyone always says the days are long, but the years are short. And I'm starting to believe it.

What was hard for you to part with? (Those tiny newborn onesies are a close 2nd.)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How to Eat for Two

Muffins, gelato, pineapple, olives, pineapple AND olives, French fries, french toast, jelly beans …

Cravings are one of the wackiest parts of pregnancy. Suddenly, you’re obsessed with foods you normally don’t even like. Or you might wake up in the middle of the night, desperate for a double bacon cheese burger.  One day, just the thought of vegetables disgusts you. And the next, you can’t eat a salad fast enough.

I recently wrote an article for sharing tips for eating right during pregnancy. For the record, I ate way too many bagels and scoops of gelato when I was pregnant. You live and learn, clearly.) Check out the tips here:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Summer Hats, Headbands and Scrunchies

Yep, you read the title right ... scrunchies are back. Maybe they're supposed to be ironic, worn only by liberal arts college freshman, paired with high waisted jean shorts and unitards. All I know is, scrunchies are risky business. Remember, a scrunchie led to the demise of Carrie and Berger's relationship in Sex & The City? Regardless: wear with caution.

If scrunchies bring back bad memories of awkward middle school dances and food getting caught in your braces, take a look at a few of my favorite other finds for this season:

The Fedora: Still going strong. Why the pout, girlfriend?

Crystal & Pearl Headband: So pretty, it makes failed attempts at a bun look like you did it that way on purpose.

 The Wide Brim Straw Hat: Love this for the beach. Perfect for hiding hangover-face and bad hair days.

 Printed Wire Tie: This one takes a little more courage, but I say why not rock it?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Easy Mexican Feasts

I live across the street from a very popular Mexican restaurant that serves very strong margaritas. When the rest of you are sleeping, I'm being woken up by crazy, belligerent, drunk conversations outside of my bedroom window. One time someone was dressed as a Smurf. (?) So, it's basically always cinco de mayo around these parts. In honor of this celebratory day, I thought I'd share some of my favorite, easy Mexican dinners.

For entertaining: 
We're huge fans of the taco tray for hosting a big group. We make two kinds of meat, and create a huge tray filled with awesome taco fix-ins - cheese, sour cream, roasted veggies ... anything you like. Note the "we" mentioned here... that's because my husband does 85% of the work while I just eat a lot of guacamole.  

If you have a crock pot, this Martha Stewart recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Chili Tacos is so easy and delish. You can put it together early in the day, and shred the chicken right before you're ready to eat.

You can also whip up ground beef tacos and sliced grilled chorizo to add more variety to your tray. Make spanish rice, refried beans, and be sure to warm up fresh corn tortillas and taco shells in the oven before serving. 

Guacamole is also a must, obviously. This Mango Pomegranate Guacamole recipe featured on A Cup of Jo looks ah-mahzing.  

And for drinks... you must try a Paloma. They're so easy and so good. Just mix tequila, sparkling grapefruit juice and fresh squeezed lime. Rim the glass with salt. I use stemless wine glasses to serve these bad boys. If you have something important to do the next day, don't have six of them. Ok?

For a weeknight:
Have you guys had Frontera taco sauces? They're so much better than the powder packets from our childhood. I buy them at Whole Foods, but I'm sure they're sold in other places. And if you're feeling extra lazy, get a small pre-made seven layer dip and use that to top your tacos, rather than buying everything individually. I have a five month old. Give me a break.

What are your favorite festive recipes?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

New Mom, New Normal

This post was originally written for weeSpring-- a great new website for advice on baby products and gear.

During the first few weeks after I had my baby girl, I kept wondering when life would ever feel “normal” again. Like all new parents, my world got turned upside down. Gone were lazy Sunday TV marathons, dinners out, nights of uninterrupted sleep, and feeling like I had some control of my life. Instead, I was shushing and swaddling, constantly checking to make sure she was breathing, and breastfeeding around the clock. My husband and I were smitten with this tiny person, but we were exhausted and overwhelmed.

All of my friends with older babies seemed so calm, knowing, and well rested. My sheer panic was a distant memory to them. So how did they get there? Would I ever be on the other side?

The good news is, YES. My baby is three months old and I’ve emerged from the fog. All the gadgets and gear I had no clue how to use are a no-brainer. I can change a diaper while cleaning spit up out of my hair with a wipe. And most importantly, I know my baby. I know the sounds she makes when she’s tired, her feeding patterns, and that she’s not nearly as excited about her jeggings as I am. But this is what I had to learn to get here…

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pregnancy Pampering

Pregnancy can be full of wonderful moments, but that doesn’t mean you always feel wonderful. Your back hurts, your feet ache, and you spend all day just waiting to hop into bed. When I was pregnant, I always felt like a deserved something for carrying around what felt like a watermelon that didn't let me sleep, ever. Whether it was treating myself to a little too much gelato or new makeup (because eye shadow never makes you feel fat), here are ways to ease those pesky pregnancy rites of passage and feel pampered in the process:

Indulge in a Massage: Massage is great for soothing pregnancy discomfort and boosting a mom-to-be’s mental well-being. Sip refreshing cucumber water, lounge in a fluffy robe, and then let the expert relieve sore muscles while you find your inner Zen. So take a load off and treat yourself to a prenatal massage. You deserve it, Mama!

Practice Yoga: Achieve ultimate relaxation (or let's be honest, just take a nap) in a prenatal yoga class. Especially designed for pregnant women, yoga will support your body as it grows and changes throughout your pregnancy. Aside from the physical benefits, meditation can work wonders on the wandering mind of an expectant mother. Although I was less than thrilled when I had to give a a total stranger a massage in class once, I always loved going.

Shop (But Not Till You Drop!)
So what if you feel like a beached whale? Find something to flatter your baby bump. If you’re not in the market for new maternity clothes, buy a pretty scarf or cool necklace you can enjoy now and after delivery. Treat yourself to something new that makes you feel good.

Go on a Date
When your baby arrives on the scene, you can say good-bye to dinner and a movie for awhile. Take advantage of this time now (even if you'd rather park it on the couch and watch an entire season of Downton Abbey) and have your hubby take you out on the town. Enjoy the low-key quality time together before life gets hectic.

Make Mocktails
Having to skip out on your favorite cocktails can be a real buzzkill during pregnancy. But you can still sip on something festive and delicious, sans booze. Get creative and experiment with sparkling water, fresh fruit and juices, flavored soda, even herbs and spices. Check out Preggatinis: Mixology for the Mom-to-be. Bring out the “good glasses” and toast to your little one on the way. Cheers!

Get Away
Take a “babymoon” to enjoy some quality time with your husband before baby makes three. Whether you stay local or venture out for some island time, a little pre-baby R&R outside of your normal routine is the ultimate way to pamper yourself.

Get a Makeover
Makeup doesn’t care how much weight you’ve gained during your pregnancy. From eye shadows to scented lotions, hit up your favorite cosmetics counter for a new stash of products and free makeover from a pro. You’ll need them to look camera-ready on the big day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Attention: Chocoholics

When a recipe starts with melting a stick of butter and 2 huge bars of chocolate, you know you're in trouble. Toss in some* sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, cocoa powder and you have yourself a decadent batch of brownies. (*a shit ton)

This recipe from Real Simple is my new go-to for a chocolate fix. It's really throwing off my post-baby diet, but a girl's gotta have a brownie every now and then. Plus, I ate some kale with my dinner tonight, which has canceled it out. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Baby and Me Yoga: No Way or Namaste?

Sometimes being on maternity leave feels like life on another planet. So I don't go completely bonkers having 1-sided conversations with my two month old, I make sure to get us out of the house for an "activity." Sometimes that activity is as thrilling as buying fabric softener. Sometimes it's lunch with a friend. Today it was Baby & Me Yoga.

Yoga is is supposed to help you de-stress, yet I was petrified. What if my baby cries? What if she poops? What if she's hungry? (Most of those things happened, minus the poop. HURRAH!! Small victory.) Anyways...

The minute we got set up in class, my little gal pal started to cry. Did she not get the memo that the place is called Tranquil Space? I broke into a sweat and seriously considered rolling my mat up and booking it out of there. But then I looked around. There were other babies crying, fussing, spitting up, breastfeeding... it was a hot mess. I breathed a sigh of relief. The room was full of people like me -- who had high hopes of appearing to know what they were doing with their kid and maybe sneaking in a few downward dogs. 

Doing new things with a baby can be daunting. But everyday, I'm learning that you just have to let go and know that pretty much nothing will go according to plan. Babies are going to spit up all over that cute outfit, cry just as you sit down to dinner, poop at a restaurant that doesn't have a changing table. And we just have to go with it and laugh. Or cry. Depends on your mental state at the time ;) It's liberating to just assume you will be pooped on.

So, today I probably did a total of 6 minutes of yoga. I fed my little one for the first part of the class. Then I laid her down on happily on a blanket and did some of the workout. She proved to be an excellent partner for the squat sequence. Dare I try it again next week...?

What activities do you like to do with your baby?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Back in Shape After Baby

Dear Claire Danes,

How do you look like this one month after having a baby? Too busy chasing Abu Nazir to eat? Seriously. How?


Living in Yoga Pants & Over-sized Cardigans

I knew this day would come.

The gelato, bagels, and pasta I enjoyed a little too much during pregnancy have stuck around to haunt me. And now, it's time to deal with it ... the dreaded post pregnancy weight gain. When everyone's focusing on the cute baby bump, it's easy to overlook the pounds packing on everywhere else. But now it's time to get my act together. So how to shed those post baby pounds? Here are a few tips I plan to try myself:

Walk, Walk, Walk: Being cooped up in the house all day is enough to make anyone on maternity leave go insane. So why not take your baby and that massive stroller out on the town? Explore different neighborhoods, find areas that are uphill, and invite another mom to join for company. Power walking is perfect for easing your way back into exercising. Check out this stroller workout featured on Fit Pregnancy.

Go to Yoga: Most yoga studios offer post-natal classes for moms and babies. Sure, you'll probably have to squeeze in a diaper change or feeding between those downward dogs, but it's a great way to meet potential play-dates and start re-toning your core (yes, it's still there...).

Use Your Weekends: Take advantage of when your hubby is home during weekend days to hit the gym. It's great for spending some time solo and clearing your head. Plus, it's waaaaay better than always going late at night during the week when your energy is zapped from the day.

Workout With Your Baby: Who needs free weights when you could do a set of squats while holding your little one for added resistance? Or wear your baby in a sling or a baby carrier while you do things around the house. There are tons of videos and articles online with ways to workout with baby, like this one from Babble.

Ditch the Diet: When you need every last drop of energy to take care of a newborn and handle sleepy night feedings, the last thing you need is an extreme diet. Especially if you're breastfeeding, it's important to eat right and often. But, it's time to say goodbye to those days of carefree, unaccounted for carb overload. Many new moms swear by Weight Watchers to help them get on track the healthy way.

Claire Danes, you look amazing but you're really pissing the rest of us pudgy post-preggers people off.

What are your new baby slim down secrets?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Baby Essentials

In between getting pooped on and watching morning talk show segments about important things like grandmothers who weight lift, I'm sneaking in a little freelance writing for One of my most recent posts shares 10 New Baby Buys. When I was pregnant, I didn't even know where to begin. So, I asked my friends for their tried and true baby must-haves so I could stock up on the right stuff. Here are some of things that work for us:

Aden and Anais Swaddles
These swaddle blankets are super cute and cozy. I wish they made them for grown ups. Aside from using them to wrap your little one at bedtime, the soft, breathable muslin blanket does double duty as a stroller cover, nursing shield, tummy time blanket, or burp cloth. I take these everywhere!

Cloud b Sound Machine Soother
It's "sheepy" time! This sound machine has 4 different sounds to help soothe your sweet baby to sleep. Not going to lie ... I kinda like it too.


3 Sprouts Hooded Towel
After bath time, babies look SO cute in hooded towels - especially ones that have ears. I love the 3 Sprouts hooded towels. We have the chicken and the elephant.

Ergo Baby Performance Carrier
Hang out with your baby, hands-free. Especially if you live in a city, the Ergo is perfect for running nearby errands and even getting things done around the house with your baby in tow.

Mustela Bathtime Essential Set
This smells AMAZING - different than the Johnson & Johnson we grew up with (which I still love). Perfect for a brand new baby, all Mustela products are free of parabens, phthalates and phenoxyethanol. (This sweet smelling set makes a great gift too.)

Tiny Love Soothe and Groove Mobile 
At around 6 weeks or so, newborns start to become much more interested in their surroundings. This mobile gets us a lot of smiles and cute squeals these days. Plus it's easy to attach to the side of your crib.

I also LOVED the Nap Nanny and the Rock n' Play which sadly both got recalled. Definitely fill out those forms so that companies have your info and can alert you to issues.

What are your newborn essentials?