Update: Organic Lifestyle

Eight months ago, after doing a lot of research I decided to become an informed food consumer. I made a conscious decision to only buy organic produce as well as grass fed meats/dairy, etc. I am happy to say that I still purchase 95% organic or non-gmo foods for my family. It really makes me feel great when I prepare a meal that I know has no antibiotics, no pesticides, and no gmos – especially now that Halley is starting to eat solids.

I’ve had to change the way I shop because the farmer’s market isn’t open during the winter here in NY. So I do most of my shopping at Mrs. Greens. The prices are reasonable and the all the produce is organic. It is also a small store so it’s easy to get what you need and not be distracted a la Fairway or Trader Joe’s.

Do I always eat organic? Unfortunately even in NY, most restaurants don’t serve organic food – so if I’m out or ordering in – it’s most likely not organic. Most of my family/friends don’t eat organic either so if we’re together unless I cooked – it’s most likely not. Does this bother me? A little. I would like to convert my family and friends to organic eating but I have to give it time.

I think the main thing that I have learned from this experience is that we should be eating real food. I definitely wasn’t eating enough vegetables before this. I also think that it opened my eyes to alternative sources of protein (other than meat and eggs) which is more cost effective. I think to a certain degree we all feel better when we do stick to our organic diet.

Have you made any diet or lifestyle changes? What were the results?  Thoughts, comments, share below.

There’s a special place in hell…

I have yet to find the origins of the quote “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women” but it has been repeated by celebrities and persons of authority/influence. Do I think women should help other women? Yes. In the same way I think people should help people. Women shouldn’t only help other women and not men and vice versa.

The first time I heard the quote used, Taylor Swift used it to refer to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler after they made fun of her love life at the Golden Globes in 2013. To me, Taylor Swift was upset because she couldn’t laugh at herself. All celebrities get made fun of by comedians and most laugh it off – but she couldn’t. I personally think of Fey and Poehler as women who do bring a voice to the feminist movement and especially as women who help other women. After Swift made that statement, the quote has left a bad taste in my mouth.

Very recently, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright used the quote to describe women who are not supporting Hillary Clinton in her bid for President. Everyone is entitled to their political opinions and to vote how they want to, but it is completely off base to say that women who don’t support Hillary Clinton don’t help other women or belong in hell. It is very disappointing that an educated, respected and professional woman like Ms. Albright would make such a statement.

Maybe women who use that quote are the ones with a special place in hell? I don’t know. All I know is that it’s not very feminist to “shame” other women in to doing or not doing things you don’t agree with…

 

12 Weeks Post Partum

If I was returning to work, yesterday would have been my first day (technically at 11 weeks and change but you get the drill). In my head, I can’t even imagine going to work right now. My life is still upside down and there are new adjustments every day. Halley doesn’t nap anymore during the day so I’m on with her all the time. Our living quarters are a mess and I’m lucky that I can get dinner on the table every night. That’s my accomplishment. Let’s change maternity leave, let’s give moms a chance to spend precious moments with their children and learn to deal with motherhood on their own terms. It is the most rewarding experience of my life and I’d have to think it’s the same for others.

Do I miss going to work? Hmm. To be honest with you, doing my job was 1000x easier than being home with my daughter every day. Sitting at my desk, making phone calls, writing thank yous, etc. No problem. Would I like to work? Perhaps if it was very flexible, from home or part time and local. But going back to a full time job right now just doesn’t even begin to make sense in my mind. More power to those who can and/or want to. I’m not cut out for that stuff. I could barely leave my baby for a few hours to go to wedding (and I was leaving her with my sister).

How did you feel about going back at 12 weeks? Did you?

Thoughts, Questions, Comments …  Leave below.

Empowered Purchasing

It is crazy to think about the amount of money we spend every day. I spent a lot of time not thinking about it until I realized that was a big mistake because having a savings, an emergency fund, etc is important. So I started to save money but now that I am in a position where I haven’t been earning money (maternity leave) I have had to think extra carefully about money and where it is going. Furthermore, who is it supporting?

As someone who is trying to eat healthy and clean, I can’t rightly say that it makes sense for me to spend my grocery money at a big chain like Walmart or Target or even a small chain like Key Food because they don’t have a lot of organic, non-GMO and chemical free options and the options they do have are extra expensive. Although it would certainly be convenient (as these types of stores are everywhere) – if I start shopping with them I will pay more for organic produce and I will be supporting an organization who doesn’t have the same goals as me.

So I have revolutionized the way I shop. Once a week, we stop at a Farmer’s Market for fresh produce and occasionally meat, fish and dairy products. My money supports local farmers who work hard for their money. The produce is less expensive than it would be at any store and it so much better. Seriously, the difference in an onion is absolutely insane – and it’s just an onion – forget about other fruits and veggies. If I can’t make it to the Farmer’s Market or need some stuff that is prepared, I’ll head to Trader Joe’s or Fairway. I won’t buy anything without looking at the ingredients. Here is a reference I use: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/09/27/10-of-the-worst-food-ingredients-to-never-eat-again/ but in general if you don’t know what it is, can’t pronounce it, it is probably not good for you. I know it can be a bit more expensive to shop in the organic aisle but if we keep voting with our dollars, organic goods (no pesticides, not genetically modified, etc.) will become the main stream and the prices will go down.

Next time you make a purchase, think about who and what you are supporting and maybe it will change your mind. I know it has saved me plenty of money just by considering it.

9/11

First, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge this day. As an American and a New Yorker, I cannot begin to explain the feelings we experienced that day. For me it was mostly confusion.. Why did this happen? Why did this have to happen? It definitely played a large part in the way I began to perceive the world. It chipped away at my 11 year old innocence. It made me question my safety. I vividly remember looking up at the sky and knowing that it would never be the same again. I cannot imagine being in the shoes of those who lost someone during this horrible tragedy. My heart goes out to all of you, always.

the problem with maternity leave as it stands

I don’t know about any of you, but I was naive enough to think that after child-birth everything would go back to normal. I could go to beach and swim, exercise, in general would be able to do anything I could do before.

Low and behold, that was not the case. The first two days I felt like I got hit by a truck and when I started to feel better physically, I came down with a child-birth related infection. I am now 4 weeks postpartum and still being reminded of things I can’t or shouldn’t do. I am not complaining – my body created life – in short, a miracle, a beautiful and amazing child that I can’t imagine life without. Recovery time is understandable and necessary. But I am reminded now that in 8 more weeks, I am supposed to return to work. For another 2 weeks, I am still 100% limited on certain activities. At my next doctor’s appointment, they can determine that I still need more time to heal, etc. The gist that I have gotten from mothers – in about 2-3 months things start to feel back to normal but it can continue for as long as a couple of years depending on your unique situation.

The guaranteed maternity leave of employers with 50 employees within a 75 mile radius, the Family Medical Leave Act is 12 weeks. That is, in 12 weeks from your last day at work, you can return and expect to receive the same salary and an equivalent job. During those 12 weeks however, you are not paid and if you are on the company health insurance you have to pay for that out-of-pocket.

We as a nation, as a community, are telling mothers that 1. you can take 12 weeks off, if you are able to forgo your expenses for that time and 2. just when you are starting to feel like you again and starting to get the routine of parenting your child, we are saying, stop all that and go back to work. Now this is only if you are lucky enough to be at a job that is mandated to give you the FMLA. Forget about if you work for a small shop with a few employees. You probably will either lose your job or be forced to deny your child the parenting they should receive.

12 weeks is not enough. A guarantee of your job/salary is not enough. We can and should do better than this.

The Basics of Event Planning

At some point in our lives, event planning becomes a necessary skill and unless you are planning to outsource it – you will need to throw one for something! A child’s birthday party, dad’s retirement party, fundraiser for your local school, New Years Eve party… The list goes on. Here are some key steps to start planning your event:

What do you want to accomplish with your event? Are you throwing a fundraiser? Are you celebrating something/someone? i.e. Wedding, Baby Shower, Retirement. Is this event just for fun? Perhaps a holiday party or theme party.

Who is your ideal guest? The importance of knowing your audience. I can’t imagine a situation where this advice isn’t applicable. If you want someone to attend, what would that person appreciate?  This will effect 90% of your decisions. If your attendees all prefer to drive, does your venue have parking? If they are the kind of people who go to bed at 10 on the weekdays, maybe a weekend event is more preferable. Can they afford to attend your event (if you are planning to charge)? Is it a family event? Weekends during the day may get you more attendees. The more your event can accommodate your ideal guest, the higher your attendance rate will be. Are your guests the type of people who go away on holiday weekends? Maybe a Labor Day Weekend event isn’t in the cards for you.

What can you spend? Establishing a budget. At the end of the day, what you can afford gives you the final say on everything. It determines how many invitations you can send, the venue, any activities you have, food and beverage, and decor. What can you realistically spend to pull this off. Based on your audience you can determine things you can skimp on and things that should definitely be included.

After you have these three questions answered you can worry about the details. How do you want the invitations to look? What kind of centerpieces are you interested in? What favors you give out? Theme, decor, dress code, etc.

Suggestions? Questions? Comments? Leave Below