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.

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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.

Two Weeks A Mommy

Hello Everyone,

On July 27th, I gave birth to the love of my life, Halley Rose. Nothing I have learned over the past 25 years could ever prepare me for how much I love and adore her. All I know is that every day I count my blessings that she is happy and healthy – and I pray that I will be able to keep her that way from here on out.

As the first of my core group of friends to have a baby, I had a lot to learn on my own. The last time I really dealt with a baby was when my sister was born 20 years ago and I was 5. So here is some advice from someone just starting out as a mom.

  1. As a pre-labor prep option, it definitely helps to have pre-made meals in the house. Baked ziti, any kind of casserole, etc. I really didn’t have the energy to do this but if you do or know someone who will make some stuff for you – that’s great and it will make your life easier pp. I personally barely had any energy to even think about food so we ended up ordering in a lot.
  2. Labor is scary and painful. Hopefully this is not true for you but it definitely was for me. I had planned not to get the epidural and let’s just say – anyone who chooses not to get the epidural should be immediately wheeled to the psych ward. JK! More power to you but it did not work for me. Be open to changing your birth plan if you need to. At the end of the day, your babies health matters more than anything.
  3. There is a recovery period after labor. I assumed that I would be up and running the next day because I gave birth vaginally – not true. I felt like I was hit by a truck and I learned that for some things, it is worth it to get hit by a truck. Not to mention that you can have some postpartum infections, so if you have a fever/chills go in to your doctor and get that taken care of stat. Unfortunately, I fell into this category. Taking care of you is very important during this time. Your baby needs you so make sure you try to take care of yourself as well. BTW: You can’t have sex or go swimming for 6 weeks – I literally had no clue about this so I was disappointed about no swimming for the rest of the summer, I had an idea about the no sex thing but I didn’t think it was for a whole 6 weeks. #lame. 
  4. You decide when it’s best to bring your baby out. When you get home, half of the people in your lives will expect you to stay in your house for 4 weeks and not come out, the other half will be trying to come over / call / talk to you all the time. Find your balance and don’t worry about everyone else. Everyone will eventually get to see your bundle of joy and if you wanna take the baby out 2 days post delivery – go ahead. I wouldn’t bring them anywhere there would be a lot of children (germs/colds) but do you.
  5. YOU WILL BE JUDGED. Everyone will try to give you their 2 cents. Take it and then decide later what you want to do with it. Don’t let other people’s remarks bother you because you are doing what you think is best for your child. Everyone has an opinion on parenting and there is no perfect, right course. As long as you are thinking about your babies best interest, you will be fine. Haters gonna hate.
  6. Breastfeeding is almost impossible for the first five days. If you want to breastfeed (from the breast – not pumping) you are going to have to diligently work at it. The baby will be crying and starving and you will be crying with breast milk leaking all over the place but I swear that in a few days everything will come together. It’s very trying to get through that initial period and postpartum emotions are not helpful but it’s a dance. They are learning and you are learning. The more you work at it, the better you both will get.
  7. Postpartum emotions are insane. As a husband/wife/fiance/boy or girlfriend/sig. other if  you think PMSing is bad, postpartum emotions are 1000x more intense. I do not easily give into my emotions in general but I was hysterically crying just looking at the beautiful/perfect/amazing baby we made. Just let things flow and you will be fine. These should start to get less and less intense over the next couple of weeks and supposedly by 3 weeks pp you are back to normal hormonally. If you are feeling depressed, definitely let someone know as pp depression is not something to make light of.
  8. It’s important to have your partner around or a significant person who will be in the babies life. We were lucky that B was able to take off for two weeks to be around to help. I honestly don’t think I would have survived without him around. It really made things better and I think it’s great that they are already off to starting a wonderful father/daughter relationship.
  9. Be prepared to do laundry. Something that is always suggested when attending a baby shower or buying baby gifts is “don’t buy newborn clothing, parents always get too much and they barely wear them before they are the next size”. Expecting an 8 lb baby myself, I was happy that we only received a few outfits in NB. Halley was born about 6 lbs so we really ended up needing some of those outfits and everything I put her in for one reason or another managed to get poo, pee, or spit up on. Don’t buy more clothes, just do the laundry. Save the $$$ for something you really need.
  10. Enjoy these moments. Don’t stress to much, your baby can feel it. Your baby will never be this tiny again. Take a million pictures, have a million snuggles and really cherish every moment you have with him/her. It will go by so fast. Just like these past two weeks did.

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Leave below.

Baby Steps: Switching to an All Organic and Non-GMO Lifestyle

How I plan on going 100% organic and non-GMO: Baby Steps.

Yes, there are plenty of not organic and even processed foods and beauty products in my household but I plan on finishing what I have and replacing them with their organic and non-GMO counterparts as they have been used.

Starting this week, I placed an order with Udder Milk, a creamery co-op for some farm fresh milk, eggs, yogurt, custard and berries. Was it super cheap? No. But I can tell you now that it was completely worth it. Everything we ordered was amazing and delicious and I can’t wait to order from them again. Not only were the products great, but if you aren’t close to a pick up zone or are too preggo/lazy to pick up (like me), they will deliver the goods straight to your house (no delivery fee!). Plus, I totally messed up my first order by accidentally saying I would pick up in Brooklyn (something must have went wrong on my computer that day) and they were able to deliver to me next day after I called them about my issue. It’s nice to deal with people who care about their business and want to make sure the customers needs/wants are met.

Although I frequently go to Farmer’s Markets when I am in the Catskills, I usually don’t go when I am home – which for now is most weekends. I know that the farmer’s market in Union Square can be pricey so I am never inclined to go too often and it’s not very close to where I live. This weekend, I made up my mind that we would go to the Bronxville Farmer’s Market. We were able to get some fresh caught Sea Bass from Montauk and several types of vegetables and fruits- all for very reasonable prices, yes cheaper than buying Organic/Non-GMO in the grocery store!

All in all, I was very happy about my first foray into official organic and non-GMO eating and I am recommending all of you to try it. Obviously, it can be expensive but if you play your cards right you will save money by ordering meats in bulk, buying produce (as much as you can) from a farmer’s market you can really cut down your food budget and still eat clean. Plus the health benefits are tremendous. There’s no need to put excess chemicals into your body when you don’t have to. It’s not the way we were intended to eat.

Now I just need to work on my meal planning and this process will really be taking off!

Happy Mother’s Day

On Saturday, we hosted a Mother’s Day Brunch for our moms and my grandma. I decided to do a French-themed menu so this is what I put together:

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French Sandwich (puff pastry sandwich with grey poupon, pepper jack cheese and salami)

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

Bacon

Quiche Lorraine 

French Toast with Strawberry Butter (fruit butter was so easy to make – I will definitely be making it again!)

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2 Baked Bries (blueberry-lemon and peach)

Fruit Salad

Homemade Lemon Jello with Homemade Whipped Cream (I didn’t use basil – very tart and lemony, perfect with the whipped cream)

along with Iced Coffee, Tea, Mimosas, Juice, etc.

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All of the recipes are available under my Mother’s Day Brunch board on Pinterest!

It wasn’t too fancy but it got the job done for less than $30 a person, which would be unheard of in NYC. It was a nice way to show everyone our apartment and have everyone in the same place inexpensively. We are still getting settled and collecting some necessary home wares but I think we did a pretty good job.  How did you celebrate your Mother’s on Mother’s Day?

moving on up

Hello Everyone,

I must apologize for my hiatus. Being pregnant and dealing with moving and decorating a new apartment plus a new promotion, really put this on the back burner for me. Since I recently moved, I would like to share some tips about NYC apartments, moving, and re-decorating!!

My fiance and I had to break our lease because we are having a baby and wanted to be closer to help (aka our moms!). Unfortunately this meant breaking a lease with a property management company.

When I posed a question to my facebook friends about “tips for breaking a lease with a property management company” I received many answers along the lines of “good luck”. I was not happy about the idea that this could seriously be an expensive situation, if they decided to charge us a fee. Luckily a friend brought up the point that if we live in a rent stabilized building (which we were) the building benefits from our breaking of the lease because they can charge the next person more money and take a loss on our taxes. So during the month of April, we let them keep our security deposit as last months rent and we were able to get away without paying any extra fees!!!! win win win 😀

Some advice for other pregnant ladies out there: if you are planning to move during your pregnancy. I was moving at 6 months pregnant and in retrospect it would have been better to either move or earlier or have more time on both sides – make sure you leave yourself enough time to move between the two places, even more time if you want to paint your new apartment or have to do any work on it. (We took about 4 days) We certainly did not leave enough time and it definitely made me more stressed and tired than it could have been.

As we are going to share a home with our first child, it was really important to me that our new apartment had a relaxed and home-y feeling. Part of this was deciding which colors I would like to paint the rooms of the apartment. This is also a daunting process if you are painting yourself/with friends and not with professionals.

  • take your time choosing paint colors – painting can get expensive and you do not want to plan on painting again and again
  • use neutrals or color schemes that are flexible – the best aid in this is pinterest. You can check my decor board to see what I was looking at. But it is nice to have a good idea of the look and feel you want your home to give off
  • BUY SAMPLES!!! – I cannot recommend this enough – the samples are worth whatever they cost! If you use Behr from HomeDepot – they are only about $3 each but I know especially Sherwin Williams runs a bit more expensive around $9 a sample. I was so set on getting a color from the living room but the second I saw it dried on the wall I knew that it was just NOT what I was looking for. You do not want a paint the walls of your house a color that you don’t like because it will just bother you until you repaint it & spending the money on a sample is much better than spending it on a gallon or 5 of paint!

In terms of decorating, it is so easy to just look at any catalog and decide I want this, this and this and pay for whatever ridiculous price they are asking. Since I have been living out of my mom’s house for over a year I have realized something – if you are able to do so – going to estate sales/craiglist, etc. for your furniture is so much better. I bought a beautiful bedroom set last year for the cost of $100 and making my fiance drive me in his pick up truck to get it! Also, do not buy too much stuff for your apartment in the beginning because you will find things over time that you like and before you know it you will have no room for anything anywhere.

 Any suggestions on moving? painting? or decorating?