My Kind of Baby Shower

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 decor could not have been more me, tons of gorgeous cherry blossoms everywhere!

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!!!

 

04/19
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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!

04/18
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Little Black Book

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!

Jennifer Efstathiou at Euphoria Spa

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!

Amanda Brand at Euphoria Spa

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.

Shari Auth

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.

Angel Feet

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.

tenoverten

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!

Kula Natal Yoga with Lara Thompson

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 Electronic Cigarette 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:

  • The average woman wears over 500 chemicals on her face every day?
  • Even teenage girls have makeup chemicals in their blood and urine?
  • We all have measurable levels of the hormone-disrupting phthalates in our bodies, but women have more of them, most likely because of personal care products?
  • People with sensitive skin are much more likely to experience painful and irritating reactions to harsh chemicals in personal care products?

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!

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Instant Detox Tips for Mind, Body and Beauty

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!

Household

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!

FOOD

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.

BEAUTY

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.

BONUS TIP

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.

Beauty Food Supper Club- Spring Renewal

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!

For dessert Aimee served a heavenly Strawberry Cheesecake with Almond Crust and a Chocolate Dipped Strawberry. This type of raw, gluten free, vegan dessert is wonderful proof that decadence does not have to involve toxic, beauty stealing ingredients such as sugar and dairy.
Before the evening came to a close Rebecca, Jolene and I each raffled off one of our services. I cannot wait to treat my winner to a Smoothie Party! On top of a belly full of beauty foods guests each went home with a deluxe gift bag from Me and the Girls, Risa’s Naturals, Blissoma, Dr. Alkaitis and Christopher Drummond Beauty to  help them furter beautify for spring!
We are already working on the date and details of our next Beauty Food Supper Club! Details to come soon!
Weekend Brunch Idea- Granola Bar

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.

Granola Bar

  • One or two types of natural, sugar free, gluten free granola. Besides my own homemade variety I like Hail Merry Grawnola and Purely Elizabeth 
  • A few non-dairy milk options such as OMilk Almond and Cashew Milk 
  • A variety of fresh fruits such as blueberries and raspberries
  • A variety of dried fruit
  • Some “fun” topping such as dried coconut or dark chocolate chips
  1. Set out all of the supplies in various bowls and let your guests go to town! Much better than booze, pancakes and eggs if you ask me!

Have a great weekend! Mine includes my evening, cocktail party baby shower (as I said- not a brunch fan) and finishing up our nursery!

04/03
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Exercising For Two

It is no secret that exercise is a big part of my life. Doug and I consider Soul-Cycle our home away from home, and my body would be a whole lot worse for wear without some serious yoga a few times a week. Throughout the course of my pregnancy I have been able to pretty much keep up my normal workout routine with a few modifications for my changing body and the little person inside of it. Recently, a few friends and workout buddies have asked me for tips on working out for two so I thought I would share what I have discovered these past few months. I am by no means a fitness professional so if you are pregnant and have any serious questions make sure to ask your doctor or teacher!

Don’t Keep Secrets

It is very, very important to tell your teacher as soon as you know that you are expecting. Don’t worry, they won’t share the news with anyone. It is important that they know so that they do not push you too hard and can help you make any necessary modifications. I did not do this at first and at 10 weeks pregnant the incredibly tuned in Laurie Cole came up to me in the middle of a Soul-Cycle class and asked me if I was preggers. She just knew from looking at my body and the slightly different way I was riding! It was such a relief to have her know! It made her class a completely safe space for me, and she did not tell a soul until I was ready for others to know (which wasn’t until about 20 weeks!).

Keep Cool

When exercising with a baby on board you have to pay extra special attention to make sure you do not get overheated. As soon as you overheat so does your baby and that is not good! As soon as you feel flush, or just too hot, slow it down a bit so your heart rate can lower and recover. A great trick for quickly cooling down your whole system is to pour water on the nape of your neck. It will instantly cool you down!

Don’t Be A Hero

Pregnancy is not the time to push yourself to the limits. As a competitive adrenaline junkie who loves being front and center in any class this one was hard for me to handle. There were a few weeks where not being in the front row at spinning or yoga made me feel a little down. However, I quickly realized that not being upfront allowed me to take it a bit easy and not push myself beyond what was good for my little passenger and me. In yoga, I quickly learned the modifications I would have to make while pregnant. I can no longer lay on my stomach, twist deeply, invert (except with my legs up the wall), or back bend. If you have any questions about modifying your workout ask your teacher. You can also always switch to pre-natal yoga if your regular class stops feeling good.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Day Off

If you wake up not feeling great do not be afraid to skip your workout for the day. Pregnancy is not a time to push yourself to your limits or to up your workout routine. Give my doula’s excellent “couch test” a try. If you sit down on the couch for five minutes and your body just does not want to get up, stay there. If you listen to your body you will find it is very smart and will tell you exactly what you need when you need it!

Get Good Gear

Comfortable workout clothes are essential, especially when pregnant. There is nothing worse than a too tight sports bra, or pants that cut into your growing belly. However, there is no need to buy maternity specific workout wear! I find that Lululemon clothes work best for me pregnant or not. The have incredible stretch without losing their shape. In fact, it was only a month or so ago that I had to go up a tank and legging size to accommodate my belly! My all time favorite outfit for both spinning and yoga is the same pregnant or not. I love the cool racerback tank whose longer length covers a growing belly well. On bottom nothing is better than a pair of wunder under crops. Their wide waistband is very belly friendly. To keep the girls in check I wear an all sports bra, which I had to go up a size in almost immediately.

 

 

Spicy Sweet Express Guacamole

Despite my best efforts my fridge is not always perfectly stocked. Ideally, I try to always have a good supply of greens, raw veggies, fruit and staples such as lemon juice and almond butter on hand. In reality a busy week and no time to get to Whole Foods sometimes leaves my fridge lacking. This has been happening a bit more recently. As I get bigger and more tired a trip to the store sometimes feels like just too much to handle. Putting my feet up and reading is much more appealing! There are many days when I peek inside, ready for a snack, only to find random fruits and vegetables such as one avocado, a red pepper, some pomegranate seeds and a bit of lemon juice. Not quite the perfect lineup for my favorite Pomegranate Guacamole. Well, as they (who they are I don’t know) say necessity is the mother of invention. When an eight month pregnant lady wants a healthy snack, sometimes she just has to invent one!

This Spicy Sweet Express Guacamole is super fast to make and cannot be messed up. If you don’t have pomegranate seeds you could add some other diced fruit such as pineapple or just omit the fruit altogether. If you are not a spice junky like me feel free to leave out the hot sauce. It will still taste just as good! Hey, even just an avocado mashed up with lemon juice and sea salt is a delicious and incredibly good for you snack! Recently I have been enjoying this guacamole inside of red pepper halves but it also works great as a dip for carrots, celery, romaine leaves or any other other raw vegetable you may have on hand. After all this is snacking and should not be taken too seriously!

 

Spicy Sweet Express Guacamole

  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (pineapple or other sweet fruit would also work well)
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sirarcha or other favorite hot sauce ( some brands of sirarcha contain fish sauce, make sure to read the ingredient list before purchasing to get a vegan version)
  • sea salt to taste
  • liquid stevia to taste
  1. In a small bowl mash together the avocado, lemon juice, sirarcha, sea salt and liquid stevia until smooth.
  2. Gently fold in the pomegranate seeds.
  3. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Serve inside red pepper halves or as a dip for raw vegetables.
me & the girls

Pregnancy is an incredible and constantly changing state of being. One day I feel sexy and on top of the world and the next I feel like a manatee that swallowed a basketball. Similar to the end of summer when I can no longer stand to look at my shorts and sun dresses I am getting to a point where I CANNOT WAIT to pack up my maternity clothes and pass them on to an expecting friend or store them in case we decide to have another baby down the road (still very undecided about that).

While growing a baby is indeed a miraculous process it certainly come with its share of surprises. I have been lucky to have had a very easy time these past 34 weeks, but I have certainly not been symptom free. My rib cage aches as if someone is prying me open from the inside out ( I guess they are?!?!). If I do not get at least a 30-minute nap in the afternoon I am useless past 8pm. My ankles and feet are starting to swell if I walk or sit for too long making wearing my beloved heels torture. To get through these last few weeks more comfortably I have been stretching my ribcage as much as possible, grabbing naps when I can, and spending time with my feet elevated (preferably up the wall).

Recently my ankles and feet have also been treated to a new and completely addictive at home spa treatment thanks to the kind folks at me & the girls. Me & the girls is a Beneficial Organic Beauty company that donates a portion of all of it’s proceeds to organizations such as Women for Women International, The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood and GEMS. The entire me & the girls line is vegan, cruelty free and centered around supremely moisturizing Capuaca Seed Butter. All of their products make your skin look and feel amazing but it is the Lavandula Revive Foot Scrub and Creme that have really won my heart

After hoofing it around NYC all day nothing feels better on my swollen and achy feet than this scrub and creme. The Lavandula Revive Scrub has been called a “Pedicure in a Jar” and I have to agree. It helps perk up my tired feet with infusions of lavender, and fine grain sugar cane. The base of the scrub is a spearmint butter creme which leaves my feet feeling tingly and refreshed . The Lavandula Revive Foot Creme is a heavenly combination of capuscu seed butter and avocado oil blended into a mint moisturizer. I have been applying this creme every night before bed and I wake up with feet that are ready to tote ( haul?) my growing body around for another day

Me & the girls products are wonderful for anyone needing a little extra hydration and pampering in their lives, not just those of moisturizing for two! Their Limonum Sugar Body Scrub is a lovely in shower treat that leaves your whole body super soft and amazing smelling. The Bar Beleza Multi-Use Beauty Bar is a true multitasker that can be used as a non-foaming cleanser and moisturizer. It would be perfect for travel!

If you are in the NYC area and want to try some me & the girls products for yourself be sure to join me on April 4th at the next Beauty Food Supper Club.  Everyone who attends will go home with a deluxe gift bag featuring FULL SIZED me & the girls products along with other natural health and beauty goodies!