I am overjoyed and thrilled to introduce Hermione Adison Mercer born Saturday April 27th at 1:41 pm.
Doug and I are over the moon in love with our perfect little girl. I cannot wait to share the story of her birth with you!
I am notorious for my packing anxiety. I like to pack for trips well ahead of time so that I can edit, re-pack and re-pack again. For our wedding I started packing almost a month beforehand to make sure I did not forget anything! With my penchant for planning ahead it should be no surprise that my bag(s) for the hospital have been packed for weeks. It’s so much harder to pack for one of the biggest trips of your life when you have no idea when you will be leaving on it!
There are many check lists floating around the internet of what to pack for the hospital. Some of these lists were very helpful to me, while others seemed way outdated. Who needs a calling card when everyone has cell phones??? After many attempts, below are the items I decided I just had to have when we welcome baby girl into the world! There are a few un-pictured items such as the car seat and my birth ball that are already waiting for us in the car. Like I said, I like to plan ahead!
No way am I going to put on a standard issue hospital gown to bring my daughter into the world. Luckily, thanks to this hot pink number from Pretty Pushers I don’t have to. This disposable delivery gown is super soft and has openings in all the right places for exams and monitors, and even an epidural ( if I end up needing one).
Although my doctor, doula and Doug all have copies of our birth plan, I tucked an extra one in my bag just in case. I fully realize that my hopes and dreams for my birth may have to go out the window, but it is still comforting to have a “wish list” in writing.
In order to personalize my birth experience even more I am bringing my own sheets, pillows and blankets with me. I have two sets of brightly printed sheets (one for labor and delivery, one for the overnight stay) packed, some nice firm pillows, and a blanket as hospitals are notoriously chilly and their blankets thin and scratchy. I opted for printed sheets so they would not get confused with the hospital’s own.
I have no idea what I am going to find helpful and comfortable while laboring so I packed a variety of calming, comforting items:
I have been told that women tend to get cold feet ( literally) during birth, so I packed a comfy pair of slippers to walk around in. I also threw in a pair of flip flops just in case the opposite is true for me!
I have a variety of attire options for my overnight stay in the hospital. From loose sweats, to nursing tanks, to night gowns I think I have my bases covered!
After giving birth I am sure nothing will feel better than washing my face and hopefully ( depending on how the birth went) my hair and body. My toiletry kit is packed with all of my favorites from CV Skinlabs, Nine Naturals, Kahina, Acure, and Soapwalla!
Doug and I are very excited to use Honest Company products on our little girl. Their diapers are adorable and as earth friendly and clean as you can get. Same goes for their wipes, baby shampoo and lotion. I packed a small supply of their products to bring to the hospital so we can get her started using them right away and avoid her coming into contact with any less than ideal, standard issue hospital products.
Not pictured is the outfit she will be coming home from the hospital in, she asked me very nicely to keep it a surprise until she arrives!
I am a sort of, kind of, semi superstitious person. I will not panic over a broken mirror or a black cat. I do refuse to call my unborn daughter by the name we have chosen for her. Doug calls my belly by her name all the time and it freaks me out a little bit. This may seem strange since I have fully finished her nursery, stocked closet and all but to each her own right?
One superstition I have grown more attached to recently is that full moons can bring about labor. I have heard stories from friends, nurses, and my own doctors about babies being born on full moons. Some say it has to do with a change in air pressure, tide and gravitational pull. Some say it is more primal than that. Either way tonight is a full moon so we shall see if baby girl decides to make a slightly early arrival!
As my pregnancy draws to a close I have been trying to really focus on preparing myself for labor and delivery. I have been resting as much as I possibly can and eating for strength and energy. Recently I have become very dependent on healthy snacks. The bigger my baby gets, the less room I have to fit big meals. Eating for two? Forget about it! My stomach and the rest of my digestive system is so squished that eating a full meal is nearly impossible.
These protein bites or Pronut Holes (protein doughnut- get it?) as Doug named them are the perfect pregnancy nibble. I keep a batch of them in the fridge and grab one or two whenever I need a little pick me up or protein infusion. I definitely plan on having some on hand to eat during early labor, whenever that may be!
Baby showers can evoke lots of cutesy images. Diaper cakes, onesie painting stations, and a very pregnant mother-to-be to be at the center of it all. While this might be a dream for some expectant women it was not what I had in mind for my own shower. Even at eight months pregnant I am still a girl that loves putting on a sexy dress and heels and going to a cocktail party. So, when my mom and sister offered to throw me a shower I had a few requests: it had to be a Saturday night, there had to be cocktails for my guests, the food had to be light and healthful, and it needed to be somewhere I could feel appropriate in a cocktail dress, big statement earring and heels.
To say my shower was perfect would be an understatement. I got to spend an evening with my closest friends and family eating great food, laughing, and celebrating the little girl we can’t wait to meet. Plus, it was probably the last time I will be wearing 4″ heels for awhile!
The evenings menu was focused on light, delicious plant based dishes (with some fish) that would satiate without stuffing the guests. My sister let me work with the kitchen at Soho House to fully customize a menu that fit my tastes. The chefs were incredibly accommodating to my ideas and suggestions for creating a very SJM menu!
There were large crudité platters with fresh guacamole and salsa for dipping.
Many of the typical passed hors d’oeuvres on the catering menu were not items I would eat. So, I got creative and made some suggestions to the chefs about what to pass during cocktails. These chilled shots of gazpacho, corn soup and avocado soup were refreshing and delicious!
Using cucumber rounds instead of crackers or chips as a “vessel” these bites of ratatouille and sun dried tomato tapenade were the perfect crunchy, savory morsel.
The buffet style dinner featured many vegetables including these two fresh salads, an assortment of roasted vegetables, and grilled corn (which got me so excited for summer).
Dessert was a very special treat. Miniature bites of heaven from Pure Food and Wine! There were brownies, lemon bars, tiramisu and cookies. I think many of my guests didn’t even realize their dessert was raw and vegan!
While my shower may not have been typical I did stick to one tradition- opening baby gifts! My friends and family were all so incredibly generous. My little girl is now fully stocked with clothes, gear and everything else a tiny person could need. I especially loved this “I Love Veggies” bib we were given!!!
This past week has been truly tragic and shocking. I have spent the past five days watching the events in Boston unfold with sadness, shock and horror. Every picture and video on the news is of a street or neighborhood I know well and have memories of. Boston holds a special place in my heart and is the only place other than NYC that I have ever called home. I hope that all of this tragedy serves as a reminder that life is short and precious and that we should all focus on love and kindness towards each other.
As I count down the days of my pregnancy I realize I have not shared many “bump” photos. Now that my bump is a full-grown baby hotel, I thought I would share just how pregnant I am. These photos were taken by my dear friend Mia McDonald (who also takes the majority of the photos on my site), the afternoon of my baby shower. Enjoy!
My apologies for the light posting lately. These last few weeks/days of pregnancy have been kicking my butt! What had been an easy, breezy eight plus months has turned into a daily struggle with swelling, exhaustion, and a general feeling of “get this baby out of me!” At this point I can safely say we are ready for baby girl’s arrival. Her nursery is all done, her clothes washed and put away. We have a car seat, crib, diapers, and all the other gear such a tiny person seems to require. While I (not so) patiently wait for her to make her debut I have been doing everything I can to keep my aching, tired body comfortable and ready for birth.
At the request of a few friends both pregnant and not below is my “Little Black Book” of miracle workers in NYC that have helped me out these past few weeks. Pregnant or not, these body workers are the best I have found. If you are in the NYC area I highly encourage you to book an appointment with one of them for some serious self care!
A facial with Jennifer is a real treat. Throughout my entire pregnancy she has made sure that my skin glowed. Also, early on when I suffered from pregnancy hormone induced “bacne” ( so gross) Jennifer performed back facials on me that helped to clear up the problem. A new mom herself I adore lying on Jennifer’s table and talking about all things pregnancy, birth and baby raising. I always walk away with radiant skin and a list of new pregnancy and baby related ideas to google!
As someone who exercises a lot my body requires frequent deep tissue massage to help repair and restore my muscles. Doug and I have been seeing Amanda for a few years for her out of this world massages. A session with her is true bliss. When I hit the safety zone of my second trimester I began seeing Amanda for pre-natal massage sessions. Knowing my body as well as she does, Amanda is able to give my muscles the deep pressure they need while keeping the safety of my growing baby in mind. I truly do not think I would have been able to exercise the way I have during my pregnancy without my sessions with Amanda.
My dear friend and acupuncturist Shari is one of the most gifted healers I know. A session with her is a blissful combination of acupuncture, massage and therapy. No matter how I am feeling physically or emotionally I always get off Shari’s table feeling a million times better. Shari always knows exactly what my body and soul need that day. Her gentle guidance and healing touch have truly helped me manage this pregnancy with balance and grace. Another new mom, Shari is also always good for wonderful pregnancy and baby tips.
I have been told our children tend to hit us where is hurts the most. If that is true then it is no surprise my daughter has caused me swelling in my feet that has kept me in flats and sneakers the past few weeks. My foot, ankle and leg swelling gets to the point where if I walk, sit or stand for more than twenty minutes my feet begin to resemble loaves of bread. For someone who loves her heels and boney ankles this has been a painful reality of late pregnancy. Enter Angel Feet. This adorable reflexology spot in the West Village is the perfect cure for pregnant feet. A session there leaves me feeling totally relaxed, blissed out and greatly reduces the swelling in my feet.
While weekly mani pedis have been a part of my routine since I was a pre-teen, tenoverten really takes it to the next level. The pedicure chairs are incredibly comfortable, there is an iPad at every manicure station and the selection of colors cannot be beat! The best part about tenoverten? As soon as they noticed my growing belly they offered to let me get my mani pedi at the same time knowing how uncomfortable sitting can be later in pregnancy!
I was very late to get on the pre natal yoga train. I didn’t take my first prenatal class until about month eight. I have a strong yoga practice and was convinced I would be bored in a pre natal yoga class. I was so wrong. Classes with Lara are wonderful, especially late in pregnancy when you are riddled with aches and pains that need attention. No matter what my ailment that day be it swollen feet, painful ribs, or sore wrists Lara always has ideas on how to ease the pain. Also, what I have learned in Lara’s class has made it possible for me to still safely take my regular yoga classes by modifying for my growing body.
Up until now I have been lucky to get through this pregnancy with few if any uncomfortable symptoms. I am not saying the past 37 weeks have been easy, but they have been relatively drama free. However, sometime last week I got hit hard by the pregnant truck. My feet and ankles have started to swell, a true crime for the shoe obsessed like me. I have been wearing sneakers which is something I would normally NEVER do outside of an exercise class. To be fair they are super cute gold sneakers but still! I made the mistake of wearing heels to my baby shower last week and my feet are still paying the price.
I have a horrible pain in my rib cage where my daughter has decided to wedge her rear end. No matter how many ice packs I put on her fanny to try and freeze her out she just won’t budge. I liken the sensation to being stabbed in the ribs by a very strong little elf. All day. And night. No fun.
Finally, the skin on my belly has started to itch. And itch. All throughout my pregnancy I have been diligent about lathering up with belly oil to prevent stretch marks. I am still stretch mark free but my dry, stretched, sensitive belly skin has become quite scratchy. When just applying my belly oil stopped soothing the itch I reached for a gift from my friend Britta Aragon of CV Skinlabs. Sure enough, a few sprays of CV Skinlab’s Rescue and Relief Spray did the trick. The extremely cooling, soothing spray instantly made my belly feel much better. I now give my belly a good spritz several times a day and have not suffered from the itchies since!
With CV Skinlabs, Britta has created an extremely effective line of soothing and healing products that are also 100% toxin free.
Why are toxin free products important? Well, did you know:
Pretty scary huh? With the creation of CV Skinlabs, Britta has taken a stand against toxins in skin care. Britta is now starting a major skincare revolution with two main goals:
1) To deliver a sampling CV Skinlabs, into every hospital in the nation.
2) To start a marketing campaign to get CV Skinlabs into cancer centers nationwide.
To accomplish these goals, Britta is trying to raise $65,000, and needs your help! You can contribute to her crowdfunding campaign at www.igg.me/at/cvskinlabs, All contributions are rewarded, and no donation is too small.
The campaign ends on May 8th, 2013 so if you are as serious about toxin free skincare as I am don’t wait! Join me and Britta in the Natural Skincare Revolution!
Spring cleaning can take many different forms. From cleaning up your eating routine to sorting through what is lurking in your cabinets there are many ways to spring clean for the season ahead. At last week’s Beauty Food Supper Club Rebecca, Jolene, and I treated guests to a mini workshop focused on spring detox tips for mind, body and beauty. Here are the ten tips we shared with the group!
Detox Your Pantry
Spring is a great time to give your pantry a through once over. Throw out anything that is expired,
and weed out all of those gross processed foods. Your body will thank you!
Clean Up Your Cleaning Products
What you clean your house with is just as important as what you put in your body. Get ride of any toxic products hiding under your sink and replace them with natural, toxin free alternatives. Some of my favorite cleaning brands include Mrs. Meyers Clean Day, Method and The Honest Company.
De-‐Clutter Your Closet
Take an afternoon and go through your closet. Be ruthless. Anything you have not worn in a year or two should be given away or donated. An organized, streamlined closet filled with only items you love will make getting dressed each day much faster and easier!
Boost Glutathione, a Mega-‐Detoxifier
Glutathione is one of the most powerful antioxidants in the body, and it’s a critical detox aid. While you can’t get it in supplement form, you can eat more foods that increase its production, like garlic, asparagus, avocado, broccoli, turmeric, and cinnamon.
Support Internal Detox Processes
When your digestive system and liver are functioning well, you detox naturally! Nourish healthy digestion with fermented foods (like kimchi and miso) and fresh greens, and support liver health with warm lemon water, dandelion root tea, and artichokes.
Shut Out Toxins
A big part of detoxing is getting rid of toxins—and keeping them away. Support your health by cutting back on the foods that stress out your beauty, like refined sugar, alcohol, processed foods, caffeine and produce sprayed with pesticides.
Get to Know What’s in Your Products
Educate yourself about the ingredients in your makeup and personal care products by visiting The Environmental Working Group’s Database, Skin Deep , where you’ll find out how safe your products rate on a scale of 0-‐10 (low-‐high).
Swap the Products You Use Most
First find greener options for the products you use most often and over the largest areas of skin, like shower gel, shampoo and skin care. The good news is, these are usually easy to replace, as natural options can be found in chains like Target, Duane Reade and many health food stores.
Clean Out and Refresh Your Makeup Kit
Let go of any products that you’ve had for longer than you remember (products that contain water-‐ 9 months, those that don’t-‐ 12 months) and anything that’s broken or smells funny. Spring is the perfect time to update your look with new colors or textures.
Add Green Juice to Your Day
Green juices are an amazing way to add nutrition to your diet while also detoxifying the body. The chlorophyll in greens oxygenates the body, which enables us to release stored toxins. Green juice also cleanses your digestive system, lungs, and liver.
Last week I co-hosted another Beauty Food Supper Club with the lovely Rebecca Casciano and Jolene Hart. This was our second event and we are having so much fun with them! Last week’s theme was Spring Renewal featuring a delicious spring detox inspired menu, a mini workshop on spring detox tips, and an exclusive gift bag featuring some of our favorite natural beauty brands! Everyone who attended had a wonderful time. As with the previous dinner I was so thrilled that guests were comfortable coming alone and that everyone made new friends and connections!
Once again our dinner was at Sun In Bloom in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Sun In Bloom is one of my favorite spots, chef/owner Aimee Follette could not be more sweet or talented!
To start off the evening guests were given a choice of either a Sweet Lady Green (Collard, Romaine, Cucumber, Celery, Parsley) or Green Lady Dream (Collard, Romaine, Cucumber, Celery, Parsley, Green Apple, Lime) juice.
After the green juice came a Kimchi Avocado Salad with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds Served on a Bed of Fresh Romaine with a Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing. This was the perfect salad to greet spring with. Packed with beauty ingredients such as avocado, pumpkin seeds and probiotic rich kimchi I could feel my skin glowing from the first bite!
While the guests enjoyed their salads, Rebecca, Jolene and I talked about easy ways to detox for spring. From household, to beauty, to internal cleaning tips we offered guests many ideas on how to greet the new season feeling fresh! I will be sharing our tips later this week so stay tuned!
Next up was a Carrot Ginger Jalapeno Lime Soup. I cannot wait to recreate this subtly spicy raw soup at home!
The final savory course was the Stimulating Sweet N’ Spicy Spring Role featuring Sunflower Seed Chipotle Pate wrapped in Rice Paper with Avocado, Mango, Zucchini, Cabbage and a Cilantro Lime Creme. This generously portioned role was so satisfying and filling that many of the guests took half of it home to enjoy the next day!
In most respects I am as much of a New Yorker as they come. I was born and raised on the island of Manhattan and do not plan to leave anytime soon. We might move someday if we decide to give baby girl a sibling and need more space but that would not be for several years. Even then, the farthest we would go is Brooklyn. As a NYC “lifer” I have been taking taxis practically since birth. I always know which route I want to take depending on the time of day and never, ever let the driver decide. I still catch myself calling Manhattan “The City,” which I realize is a little closed-minded but old habits die hard!
Despite all of my native New Yorky-ness there is one quality I possess that in very un New York. I hate brunch! While most of my fellow New Yorkers look forward to long heavy meals on a saturday or sunday afternoon I have never been able to get into it. I don’t like eating allot during the day as I find it slows me down and makes me feel sluggish. I am not a fan of eggs, pancakes and other typical brunch fair. Nothing sounds worse to me than drinking Mimosas and Bloody Marys at noon and being hung over by 2pm!
My dislike of brunch aside, friends are family are always asking me for some healthy ideas to serve at their own brunches. While my first instinct would be to suggest a variety of green juice, I realize this is not what most people are looking for!
A healthy granola bar is a great idea for any breakfast or brunch gathering. Your guests can create their own bowls based on their personal tastes and desires. Similar to a Chia Pudding Bar it guarantees everyone gets what they want.
Have a great weekend! Mine includes my evening, cocktail party baby shower (as I said- not a brunch fan) and finishing up our nursery!
Copyright 2011 - Sara Jane Mercer