Hello! I apologize for the silence on the blog this week but it’s been a challenging one on this end. Between some early teething, adverse reaction to her four month shots, and my computer getting a virus it has been a challenging few days. But, the good news is that, as everyone says, this is all a phase and this morning all three of us woke up feeling much better. It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep can do especially when sunshine and cooler weather greets you when you wake up! While I am still trying to access the Nursery Tour blog post I put together yesterday before my computer went crazy due to a virus, I though today would be the perfect opportunity to check in with you guys and share some thoughts during a virtual coffee date. I have a lot on my mind and while I’ve shared some of it via Instagram Stories, I know that not everyone uses that platform.
So, refill your coffee mug and join me for a virtual coffee date.
- If we were sipping coffee together today, I would tell you how thankful I am that my company allowed me to enjoy 4.5 months of maternity leave. This time with Katie, our first child, has been so special and I can’t imagine going back a day sooner. My maternity leave was 4 months paid followed by vacation and some unpaid leave. We have created so many memories together during this time and really found a great groove. Whether it’s enjoying fresh air during a park workout or reading books together on the nursery rug, it is a time that I know I will always treasure.
- If we were sipping coffee together today, I would tell you how thankful I am that we found a child care option that works for us. Katie will be joining a nanny share next week and we think it is the best of both worlds. The family where the share is hosted lives just a few minutes away from us and their two boys, ages 1 and 3, will be such wonderful influences on Katie both emotionally and developmentally. A nanny share will help her learn socialization and things like sharing, while the small number will allow the nanny to also give her the attention that we want at this young age. Our nanny is originally from Germany but has been working in New York for 12 years as a nanny. I know it will be a transition and adjustment for all three of us but we are hopeful that it works well. I will keep you guys posted as we learn our way through the transition.
- If we were sipping coffee together today, I would tell you that as nervous as I am to transition into a working mom, I am excited for the challenge. I grew up in a family with a working mom and always thought she handled life’s challenges with such grace especially the way she managed her schedule to be a mom for us and also a full-time nurse. Bo and I had a long conversation about our hopes and expectations which helped during my initial conversation with my manager. Personally, we are going to do our best to be 100% focused on Katie during our morning and evening time with her versus trying to multitask. I have also asked to minimize work travel, when possible, to no more than two nights away at a time. While this won’t always be realistic, I’m thankful that my manager is supportive. I know that my role will stretch and challenge me, especially these first few months and I hope that the challenge will help me keep my mind off of Katie and the hours fly by. But, I have asked that our nanny send me at least a few pictures each day so I get my daily dose of Katie smiles.
- If we were sipping coffee together today, I would tell you that I am very thankful for the book The Fifth Trimester. When I opened up on Instagram stories last week about my anxiety around returning to work many of you recommended that I get this book and I can’t thank you enough! It has been so helpful in framing the realities of this period of transition while also giving me the confidence to know that I can do it! Each chapter I find myself nodding my ahead in agreement and taking notes, whether the author is discussing ways to get ready faster or tips for sharing your goals and expectations with your manager post-baby. If you are a working parent or manage parents, I highly recommend you read this book as it is such helpful perspective.
- If we were sipping coffee together today, I would tell you that I now understand why mom mom always said that she doesn’t know much of the music from the 80’s. These days Bo and I know the words to almost every classic Disney song and nursery rhyme but rarely listen to new, hit music. In fact, the only time I listen to recent hits is during my runs. What songs are you loving right now that I should add to my Spotify playlist? Or, do you have a favorite Spotify playlist?
- If we were sipping coffee together today, I would tell you that Bo and I are going on our first date this weekend since having Katie! Luckily, a good friend of ours offered to babysit Katie a few times a month. Since this will be our first time leaving her we are going to go out somewhere in the neighborhood after she goes sleep. I’m thankful for good friends and plenty of neighborhood spots for a dinner and drink date night within a few blocks.
- If we were sipping coffee together today, I would tell you that getting dressed is hilarious these days. I’m totally in between sizes and at this point I think I’m going to wait a few more weeks before buying anything else. I have some great, new Fall accessories like booties and necklaces that will help me put together a few different looks with the basics I’ve purchased. Unfortunately, as many people predicted, one of the blouses I bought three weeks ago is already too big since my 36C boobs have reverted back to 36A. I’m so ready for cooler weather so I can wear leggings, tall boots and sweaters since that is so much easier to wear when I’m at a transitional size. Getting dressed these days presents many of the same challenges I experienced a year ago when I was still trying to hide my pregnancy; I feel a little bit bloated in the mid-section.
- If we were sipping coffee together today, I would tell you that I’m not sure what the future holds for this blog. Blogging has brought me so much joy over the past eight years and I can’t imagine giving it up altogether. However, creating content takes time and right now I want to spend every spare moment with Katie. Sure, I could blog late at night or early in the morning but those are times that I’d like to reserve for workouts and relaxing with Bo. Don’t interpret this as a farewell, more like a request for some grace and understanding as I navigate the next few months. Since Friday Favorites tend to be the most popular posts of the week, my initial goal is to blog at least two times per week, Monday and Friday, while still sharing content daily on Instagram.
Okay friends, it’s time for cuddles and playtime with Katie so I’ll talk with you guys more later! Have a wonderful rest of your day and thanks for joining me for this coffee date today!
Happy Friday! I hope you all are ready for a wonderful weekend. This afternoon we have Katie’s four month pediatrician appointment which includes another round of shots. It’s been two months since we’ve been to the doctor so I’m looking forward to getting her updated weight and height! How the heck is she already four months old! This month she came alive with SO much personality, energy and laughter. Spending each day with her has been such a joy, even during the few days when sleep didn’t go well. The rest of this weekend should be pretty relaxed as we do not have any plans. Between Halloween, Katie’s Baptism and returning to work the next few weekends are going to be packed so I’m looking forward to soaking up some rest and relaxation before the chaos begins.
Now, let’s dive into this week’s edition of Friday Favorites, including recipes, articles, posts and other things that caught my eye this week.
- After ordering 12 (!!?) different pair of booties over the past month, I finally found a pair that I loved so much that I already ordered them in a second color! These Treasure & Bond Winsor booties are under $100, feature a block heel which makes them more comfortable for walking, are the perfect height bootie to go with skinny jeans or stockings when paired with a skirt or dress. I am now the proud owner of the black suede and the sand suede colors! As an FYI, I found that they run pretty true to size!
- I mentioned last week that I finally ordered my first pair of Zella leggings after hearing rave reviews from friends. The Zella Live In High Waist leggings are my new favorite pair of pants that can easily go from park workout to weekend errands thanks to their moisture wicking and flattering high rise. No wonder they have over 2,900 positive reviews on Nordstrom! I also love that they are $54 which is half the price of the other high-rise leggings I was considering.
- Earlier this week I asked for your tips as I transition to a working mom in just two weeks. More than 20 people recommended the book The Fifth Trimester which is an honest and helpful guide to the challenges women face as they transition back to work after staying home with their child during the first few months. I’m so appreciative of Lauren Smith Brody’s poignant book that I reached out to her on Instagram which resulted in a two day conversation! Even though I’m only a quarter of the way through the book she has helped me change my anxiety and fear into excitement and also put a few things in place to hopefully make the transition smoother.
- For years, we always had a WoodWick candle burning in our home but when we lived abroad, it was difficult to find them and after having two break when trying to bring them back in checked luggage, we gave up our love and found local, European candle replacements. During last week’s shopping trip I saw a display of WoodWick candles and quickly bought my two favorite scents – Fireside and Pumpkin Butter. I am a sucker for the crackling sound that comes from the wood wick and love that the fragrant candle is able to spread the warm scent throughout our downstairs.
- I have met some incredibly talented moms during my maternity leave including Siobahn O’Connor, one of the editorial directors at Time Magazine. The piece she wrote, When You’re Pregnant, Everyone is Suddenly an Expert on Your Health resonated with me and so many other women. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end when you have the baby as pregnancy is when the judgement and opinions just begin. I am so intrigued by their cover article this week, The Goddess Myth – How a Vision of Perfect Motherhood Hurts Moms, that I bought the print copy yesterday!
- Always a fan of roasting vegetables, I’m not sure why it took me so long to realize you can also roast green beans! These roasted parmesan green beans have become a regular in our kitchen recently as they are so easy and tasty! I especially love adding a dash of Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning mix!
- In case you missed it, this Easy Baked Pasta recipe has already become one of my top posts in just a day! Clearly we all love cheesy goodness that is ready in minutes!
- I’ve been searching for a few new pair of work pants since these hips are definitely wider than they were before baby. Flattering and forgiving were the two qualities I wanted and these Easy Pants from J.Crew fit the bill perfectly. I snagged them during one of their 30% off promotions a few weeks ago and can tell that these will be perfect for work travel and client meetings alike! I love that they come in petite, regular and tall – perfect regardless your height!
- Thanks to your recommendations, I bought two of the GapFit Breathe tie-back tanks and am loving them! The adjustable back easily accomodates my hips and any pooch I want to hide while the top and neck line are more form fitting and flattering. Thanks to their 40% off sale you can snag this top for just $15 which is a STEAL considering the quality, fit and sweat-wicking material! Has anyone worn their long-sleeve version of this top as I’m thinking it could be great now that the weather is getting cooler?
Your turn – What are you loving this week?
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored and instead is a list of the things of my favorite things this week. As normal, it includes lots of beauty and fashion items which means there are a few affiliate links via ShopStyle. It takes time and money to maintain a blog so I thank you for the support and few cents that come from clicking through the links!
Living in Brooklyn, there is no shortage of Italian restaurants. In fact, in our neighborhood, there are five Italian restaurants within a few blocks of our apartment. While most of them are wonderful, each serving a different rendition of their famous sauce and pages of pasta, these days it is easier to dine at home than try to go out to dinner with a four-month-old. While most of these restaurants offer delivery, I firmly believe that there are few cuisines that lend themselves to delivery. Delicious Italian food is not one of them. The pasta gets mushy and soft from all the liquid and moisture and the garlic toast is no longer warm and crunchy. Luckily, for every Italian restaurant we have in the neighborhood, we also have Italian markets. These small, independently owned markets are packed with fresh cheeses, sauces, pasta and meats. When we are craving Italian, we will make a quick stop to pick up ingredients and whip something up at home instead of going out or ordering.
This recipe is fore those evenings where you’re craving a homemade dinner but you just don’t have the time or energy. Whether it is that the day’s demands have left you less than energized to step foot in the kitchen or that your evening routine of bathtime and bottle service for your little one allows you no time to actually prepare dinner, today’s recipe is one that even you can make and enjoy. You will see that I recommend fresh ingredients if you live somewhere that allows you to buy fresh versus packaged. But, regardless whether your ingredients are bought in a large supermarket, Amazon Fresh or in a local Italian market, your dish will be delicious.
This dish comes together in no time due in part that you don’t have to brown meat or dice vegetables. In fact, you could make the dish ahead of time if that works best for your schedule then just put it in the oven or broiler to reheat it for dinner. The gooey bites of cheese and fresh flavors make it a crowd pleaser even though it is so simple. In fact, I think this dish is such a winner due in part to its simplicity. It pairs perfectly with a salad and a large glass of red wine because by Thursday, isn’t that what we all want?
Easy Baked Pasta
- 12 ounces pasta (fresh if possible)
- 1 1/2 cup diced, fresh mozzarella or 1 cup shredded
- 1 cup Marinara sauce, fresh if possible
- 1/4 cup shredded, packed basil
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat.
- Cook pasta until al dente.
- While pasta is cooking, shred basil into thin ribbons and set aside.
- Bring marinara sauce to simmer over low heat.
- When pasta reaches al dente, drain pasta and transfer to cast iron pan or oven-proof casserole dish.
- Combine sauce, mozzarella, salt, and pepper with pasta in the pan and toss gently.
- Place pan in oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until mozzarella begins to bubble.
- Remove pan from oven, lightly toss in shredded basil, top with grated parmesan and let cool for a few minutes before serving.
- Serve warm and enjoy.