With all the civilized discussion (shit show) that occurred over the Time Magazine cover recently, I wonder if we’ve now gone to the other extreme of being overly modest about breatfeeding. I popped onto Buy Buy Baby’s website yesterday to look into booster seats and saw this on the homepage:

So that’s cool, they’re using Breastfeeding Awareness Month to sell stuff, I get that. Contrary to what some people say, breastfeeding does cost money. You need a pump; a pillow helps; a blanket or nursing cover is handy, etc. The thing is, though, that lady isn’t breastfeeding. I’m all for modesty and consider myself a master of the public breastfeed while offending as few people as possible, but that’s not what’s happening there. It’s just a lame picture of a woman, fully clothed, holding a baby on a pillow.

Considering the amount of cleavage that’s EVERYWHERE, would it really have been so offensive to show actual breastfeeding while promoting Breastfeeding Awareness Month? Especially considering that it’s a website most often frequented by mothers.  I don’t know what it is about that picture that bothers me so much, but I would have much rather had no mother/baby image at all than the pseudo-breastfeeding that’s going on.

Sticky Steamy Summer Sad Face


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As you may have deduced from my blog’s name, I live on Long Island. I used to believe that Long Island had an appealing climate. Wintery winters, springy springs, summery summers, you get the picture. After this summer, I’ve changed my mind. Heat wave after heat wave – and the humidity! Ugh. It’s like this evil weather-killer. I take a peek at the week’s temperatures and see low and mid-80s and think, Ok, that’s not so bad. And then I step outside and it easily feels ten degrees hotter and so much stickier.

Remember when summers had cool nights and breezy mornings? When you needed a cardigan or denim jacket if you were headed out to dinner? Not this year. Here are some ways to keep cool.

1. Go to the mall – Not only will you cool off, but you will also forget that it’s even summer. Stores are pumping up the A/C to encourage you to buy fall clothes. We stopped at Roosevelt Field the other day and the stores were easily 60 degrees, with the employees warmly bundled in the latest collections.

PS I want this:

And these:

I also wouldn’t say no these:

Ok, so maybe spending too much time at the mall would be a bad thing.

2. Go to the beach – If you are fortunate enough to have a child who doesn’t enjoy eating sand, the beach is always an option. Nolan enjoys eating sand by the handful. He maintains direct eye contact while he does this because he knows he isn’t supposed to. If you try to give him real food to eat, he will cover it with his favorite condiment, sand.

3. Drink cold drinks – Like these

Or my favorite tasty drink that I wrote about here

Just say yes to a vodka gimlet. If you’re feeling adventurous, try these basil infused ones.

Stay cool, people!

Best Breakfast Spots


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Breakfast is, without a doubt, my favorite meal. I love a spontaneous pancakes-for-dinner night and when I’m on vacation I’m most certainly NOT an, “Oh, let’s just grab a bagel,” kind of girl. No. Breakfast should be delicious and fattening and be served with tasty coffee beverages. Here are some of my favorite spots for this very special meal:

1. Toast in Port Jefferson – it’s a hike to get there (for me) and I haven’t been there in ages, but I dreamily think about this place at least once a week. Everything is delicious and they make the best cappuccino I’ve ever had. Seriously, the best. It’s very small and they don’t take reservations (that I know of), but if there’s a wait you can put your name down and stroll around Port Jeff.

2. Thomas’s Ham and Eggery in Carle Place – Thomas’s looks like a diner but the breakfast is definitely not typical diner fare: Croissant French Toast, delicious egg skillet things, etc. There is often a wait but sometimes even when there is a line you can score a seat at the counter.

3. Brownstone’s in Amityville – After many glowing reviews from a foodie friend, we tried Brownstone’s this week and were not disappointed. Friendly service, good coffee, and the Pecan Stuffed French Toast was well worth the drive to Amityville.

4. Love Lane Kitchen in Mattituck – Very charming decor, quality coffee and they always have good breakfast specials. The outdoor area is pretty but the seats are ridiculously uncomfortable so opt for inside if it’s available.

I’m certain that I’m missing tons of good breakfast places. Where should I head to next?

Image: Flickr

Baby Gear Part II – Nursing and Feeding


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In case you missed Part I in the series, here are my recommendations for nursery furniture.

The First Born, Fred Elwell 1913

Buying gear for nursing and feeding ahead of time is tricky because it’s hard to know, especially for a first time mom, what you and your baby will like. For that reason, I would avoid buying a lot of anything beforehand, or if you do buy it, don’t open it all in case you need to return it. Here are some of the items that worked for our family. Again, I’ve labelled the items as Buy It, Borrow It, or Believe Me, You Don’t Need It.

Bottles – BUY IT 

Bottles are a prime example of a time when babies prefer different types. I registered for Thinkbaby bottles because that’s what the lady in Giggle recommended, but Nolan couldn’t suck from them. There is nothing wrong with that brand, my friend’s baby loves them. The lesson is don’t go crazy opening and sterilizing a bunch of bottles (like I did) until you see what your baby likes.  A quick search on Amazon revealed that Dr. Brown’s seem to be the crowd favorite and they worked for us as well. I used the plastic ones with Nolan, next time around I may try the glass.

Solid Food Supplies – BUY IT sparingly

At around six months, your baby will probably be ready to try solid food. Your pediatrician might say four months and he or she is wrong, but that’s just my (and the American Academy of Pediatrics’) opinion. If you plan on making your child’s baby food, just remember that eating nothing but purees is a pretty brief period so it’s not worth spending a ton of money or kitchen space on babyfood making products. A blender or food processor and cheap vegetable steamer get the job done.

Breastfeeding Supplies

Nursing Pillow – BUY IT and BORROW IT

The two nursing pillow favorites seem to be the Boppy and My Brest Friend. For newborns, the My Brest Friend is great. It is very firm and creates a stable shelf-like surface for your baby to nurse. After a few months however, it becomes unnecessary and it’s kind of a pain to get on and off. It’s also an even bigger pain to remove and replace the cover, which you’ll do fairly often when your baby is spitting up/peeing/poop-sploding on it on a regular basis. The Boppy is great for after the newborn phase and makes a lovely pillow for you. It’s soft and squishy and I still love snuggling with it. My recommendation is buy the Boppy and borrow the My Brest Friend.

My Brest Friend


Breast Pump – BUY IT

If you’re breastfeeding and plan on leaving your house without your baby, you will need a breast pump. A good one is expensive but it’s absolutely necessary. Go with a Medela.

Nursing bras and tanks – BUY IT

Depending on how boobalicious you are, you might be able to get away with comfy camisoles most of the time. Before having a baby I thought I’d be worried about exposing a boob in public. Ha! The boob is easy to cover up, it’s your stomach you’ll really want to cover. Camisoles solve that problem because the front comes down to nurse and no belly is exposed. Win-win. Go with one that’s mostly cotton. I had one that was a bunch of synthetic fabrics and it made me want to claw my eyes out. I bought many of my favorite bras and tanks at Target.

Nursing Cover – BELIEVE ME, YOU DON’T NEED IT (sort of)

Use an Aden and Anais blanket instead (tie two ends to make a neckhole). It’s thin and breathable and offers more coverage than a nursing cover.

Other Breast Feeding Stuff – Send your husband and/or mom out to BUY IT when you figure out what you need

You may need nipple shields if your baby has trouble latching, nursing pads for leaking (heads up: that doesn’t last forever!) and other fun (sarcasm) stuff.

The most important thing you’ll need for breastfeeding is SUPPORT!!!

Even though I read a lot ahead of time and spoke with a lactation consultant, once the baby was actually here I felt completely clueless. There was one lactation consultant for all of Winthrop Hospital and she could barely squeeze me in for ten minutes. Nolan wasn’t latching on one side and because her time was so limited, she pretty much just shrugged her shoulders and said, “Ok, well good luck.”

If you have people in your family or close friends who breastfed, they can be invaluable help. Don’t be shy. Boobs are boobs. Prior to giving birth, make contact with a lactation consultant so that you can quickly make an appointment at home if you need it. There are tons of breastfeeding support groups and again, try to gather the information on them before you give birth.

My dear friend Liz gave me this book and it was extremely helpful in the first few months.

Ok, so what am I missing? What feeding items did you find most or least helpful?

Tex-Mex Snacks


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My friend June and her sweet babbly baby Devin came over for “brunch” this week. I say “brunch” because there was nothing brunch-y about the meal, but it occurred before noon. I made an easy black bean salad, guacamole and kick-your-ass margaritas. Although wholly inappropriate for 11am, this little menu is perfect for happy hour or pre-dinner snacking.

Margaritas – Barefoot Contessa’s recipe is my favorite (no surprise there). They are not too sweet, frosty cold, and very refreshing. Combine three cups of ice (about one tray’s worth) with 1/2 cup of fresh lime juice, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and 1 cup of triple sec in a blender and blend until smooth. Add 1 cup of white tequila and blend for another few seconds. Serve over ice and enjoy. Don’t go crazy with a super expensive tequila but don’t totally cheap out. I use Jose Cuervo Silver for these.

Black Bean Salad – I found this recipe doing a quick search on Food Network’s site. Heads up: contrary to what the website says, it takes longer than 10 minutes to prep. It’s probably closer to 30 minutes to do all the chopping.  Because I wasn’t in the mood for a ton of spice, I used a half of one jalapeno without the ribs and seeds. I used champagne vinegar instead of sherry vinegar, and I also omitted the pinch of cumin because I wasn’t feeling taco-ish.

Guacamole – If you’ve ever eaten at Besito, you’ve probably had their tableside guacamole. Besito generously shared the recipe on its Facebook page a while back and it’s very easy to make. I don’t have a molecajete so I use the back of a wooden spoon to grind the ingredients together. If you’re making this for more than one or two people, you’ll want to double (triple?) this recipe.

Enough about food, here are the kiddies.

They’re on the move! And yeah, I know my kid is dressed like an old man. We didn’t leave the house that day.

Baby Gear Part I – Nursery Furniture


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With babies popping up (out?) all over the place, and Nolan officially a toddler, I thought now was a good time to collect my thoughts and put together a list of what has been most useful to me in this first year of motherhood. I labelled each item as, Buy It, Borrow It, or Believe Me, You Don’t Need It. Just to clarify, when I say Borrow It, I literally mean borrow because you are giving it back. Being given something, such as a crib, because the owner really never wants it back, falls under Buy It.

Crib – BUY IT

The most important piece of furniture in your nursery, the crib can also be the hardest to choose. Although you may not even have one baby yet, it’s smart to look a few years down the road to help you decide what kind of crib you’ll want. Many become toddler beds with a removable side rail, some become a double-bed headboard (not so useful if you’re working with a small space and will wind up putting your child in a twin-sized bed), and some are not convertible at all. Consider how many children you want, and how many years they’ll be spaced apart (assuming things go as planned), to make the most practical choice for you. We chose the Sparrow Crib from Oeuf for our house and my parents generously purchased a Jenny Lind-style crib from Amazon (under $200) for their house. Jenny Lind cribs look like the one below and come in a variety of finishes and colors.

This is our crib (in Nolan’s room!)

Our crib converts to a toddler bed like this:


A changing table is nice for having open storage, but if your kid is anything like mine, the table loses its diaper-changing function when the baby is seven or eight months old. Nolan squirmed, rolled, sat up and climbed so much that we had to start doing all diaper changes on the floor. Instead, buy the changing pad and three (yes, three) inexpensive covers and attach the pad to the top of a sizeable dresser.

Dresser – BUY IT (used)

Dressers are expensive! Like, whoa, what the what, expensive. Go to a thrift store or garage sale and buy a high-quality wooden dresser that has seen better days and paint it. Or if you’re me, balk at exposing your fetus to paint fumes and ask your mom to paint it. Look for drawers that are made of solid wood and not fiberboard since it tends to sag and break over time like everything in my bedroom from Ikea. Painted furniture looks so lovely in a baby’s room. This is Nolan’s dresser that my mom painted. I bought new hardware online.  It’s cute but too small:

Here are some additional ideas for painted dressers:

Bookshelves/Bookcase – BUY IT

Like the dresser, you can buy used shelves and paint them, but there are more affordable options out there if you want new ones. Even though I have sworn off buying furniture from Ikea since my bedroom looks like an Ikea graveyard, I would make an exception for the Expedit shelves for a kid’s room. They kind of look like crap in the store just sitting there empty, but they can be dressed up with baskets and other niceties.

Bassinet – BORROW IT

I loved having a bassinet in our bedroom for Nolan’s first few months. Newborns are heavy sleepers but wake up often for feedings and having a bassinet bedside made for a much easier night. We borrowed one from my sister-in-law and kept the one that came with our stroller in the living room. Depending on your baby’s size, you’ll likely use a bassinet for no longer than four or five months. Since it will be stowed away in your room, don’t get hung up on what it looks like or if it’s your style, etc. Definitely buy a few bassinet sheets for the inevitable middle of the night, “He peed through the diaper!” moments. Those are great.

Glider/Rocker – BUY IT if you want a few kids or think you’ll keep it in your bedroom when your kids are older, otherwise, BORROW IT.

I’m probably not the person to speak to about gliders because I chose the Luca Glider, which is the same one as Rachel Zoe. To be fair, I had it first.  It was (another) generous gift from my parents and I love it and I’m not going to apologize for it. So there. Oh, and I got the matching ottoman. You can certainly find less expensive options at the major baby places. This is the chair in Nolan’s room, next to the changing table I wish I never bought:

Moms and moms-to-be, what nursery furniture do you love/recommend? Where did you find inspiration when creating your nurseries?

Stay tuned for Baby Gear Part II – Nursing/Feeding

Roaming Red Hook


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With the Fourth of July landing on a Wednesday this year, Matt and I found ourselves looking at each other that morning asking, “So…what do you want to do for the fourth?” On a whim (and with Google Maps’ assurance of a traffic-free BQE) we headed to Red Hook, Brooklyn for lobster rolls.

I read about the Red Hook Lobster Pound last year and made a mental note to visit. More recently, I read about two-hour wait times but I made sure not to mention that to Matt when we headed out. Thankfully there wasn’t an ounce of traffic on the way there and we made it to Red Hook in a half hour. Although it’s definitely not as “developed” as Park Slope or even Williamsburg, Red Hook isn’t the shady crack den it once was. There are some pretty tree-lined residential streets just blocks from industrial and shipping warehouses. The Red Hook Lobster Pound is a walk-up-to-the-counter type of place, with an informal dining room next door. I got a lobster roll and it was one of the best I’ve had. The lobster meat was incredibly tender and not at all chewy. The only downside is the size. It’s so small that I could have easily eaten two without even having that, “Ew. I’m disgusting. Why did I do that to myself?” feeling. Thankfully, I stopped after one and had room for the one, I mean two, nope it was actually three desserts I had soon after.

Matt and I split a decadent whoopie pie at the Red Hook Lobster Pound. Instead of a whipped cream filling, it had butter cream frosting and wow, it was good.

After strolling around (in the 90 degree heat), I thought I was seeing a mirage when I spotted the sign for Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pie. We followed the painted wooden signs and boy, I am glad we did. All the place sells is Key Lime Pies and they are damn good. We got an individual sized one to split, along with a Swingle, which is a mini pie dipped in chocolate and served on a stick. To give you an idea of how good everything was, I don’t even like Key Lime Pie and I can’t stop thinking about going back.

Image: Flickr

Just down the block from the Red Hook Lobster Pound is Baked, a popular, new-ish bakery featured on The Food Network and Martha Stewart. Unfortunately, I had already eaten lunch and dessert (x3) by the time we passed it, so for this trip we had to skip it. Next time, I’ll definitely stop in.


What’s Been Cookin’ in our Kitchen


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As I wrote recently, I’ve been getting a ton of recipes from Pinterest. Most come from people’s blogs, so before I give one a try I always look through the comments carefully. You usually have to skip the first bunch because they are always, “This looks great!” “Mmmmm! Can’t wait to make it!” Instead, keep scrolling and look for ones that say it was good or indicate what tweaks were necessary to make it better.

Here are a few I’ve been happy with recently (with my adjustments, of course):

Prosciutto, Asparagus, and Parmesan Spaghetti – I’ve made this twice and I love that it can be put together in under a half hour. My suggestions: I like crisper prosciutto and I HATE cutting it raw (slimy, clingy, yuck). Lay out the pieces on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 3-5 minutes (depending on the meat’s thickness), then you can just break it up when it’s nice and crispy over the finished dish. I also found that the cream sauce thickened much faster than the recipe indicated so watch for that. If it gets too thick it’s very difficult to mix with the pasta. Last one, I omitted the mushrooms because we’re not big fans over here.

Man-Pleasing Chicken – I’m a little put off by the title but this took about 60 seconds to assemble. Although the sauce the chicken cooks in is primarily Dijon mustard, it actually doesn’t taste like mustard when it’s done. Seriously, I don’t even like mustard. My suggestions: Don’t worry if you don’t have rice wine vinegar. Most other types are fine (maybe not balsamic!). I used Champagne vinegar.

Caesar Salad – Ok, this one isn’t from Pinterest, it’s Barefoot Contessa, but I served it with the Man-Pleasing Chicken so I figured I would include it. While this recipe isn’t difficult, it is a bit involved. Thankfully, everything can be done ahead of time. My suggestion: I halved the dressing recipe and it still made plenty. I considered halving it again but it’s difficult to do things in small batches in a food processor. Again, I wouldn’t bother with the tedious chopping of the pancetta. I would buy it in slices and roast it for a few minutes until it’s crispy, then break it up over the salad. Finally, don’t even think about omitting the anchovies. I know they look gross (I gagged a little), but they are what make Caesar dressing taste the way it does.

Green Monster Smoothie – This smoothie is healthy and filling and although it looks weird (it’s green and filled with raw spinach), it tastes like delicious peanut butter, banana, tangy goodness.

Imaginary Friends


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Most of us have favorite famous people, actors, writers, athletes, etc.,  whom we would love to meet. But are you like me? Do you have a few people who you really believe could be your friend? When you see them on television or read about them in a magazine, a little part of you thinks, “If she got to know me, I’m sure we would really hit it off!”

Here are mine:

Ina Garten – Although something tells me she might not be that  nice, I admire her so much and want her to take me under her wing and let me stay in her East Hampton home when she’s away. I would also love to double date with her and Jeffrey.

Joanna Goddard – The writer behind A Cup of Jo, Joanna and I have so much in common it scares me (and would probably scare her if I tracked her down and started frantically listing all of our common interests).

Meryl Streep – Don’t you think she would make the loveliest aunt or neighbor? I would make a blueberry crumb cake (Ina Garten’s recipe, obviously) and she would stop at Starbucks on the way over. Sigh.

I sometimes spend too much time thinking on this, planning ways we could meet. Ina often features her favorite spots in East Hampton so don’t think I haven’t kept my eyes peeled for her when I’ve visited. If I stroll down Main Street in the fall every day, I’m bound to run into her, right? Joanna Goddard lives in Manhattan and our sons are about a year apart. Maybe if I hit up the parks in her neighborhood enough times, we’ll cross paths? I have a feeling Meryl would be tougher to connect with, what with her being one of the most famous actresses in America.

Who would you love to befriend? Who are your celebrity kindred spirits?

Want to read this book with me?

Hi moms (and soon-to-be-moms, and future moms, and people in general), I’m going to read this book, are you interested?

From Amazon.com:

Today’s busier, faster society is waging an undeclared war on childhood. With too much stuff, too many choices, and too little time, children can become anxious, have trouble with friends and school, or even be diagnosed with behavioral problems. Now internationally renowned family consultant Kim John Payne helps parents reclaim for their children the space and freedom that all kids need for their attention to deepen and their individuality to flourish. Simplicity Parenting offers inspiration, ideas, and a blueprint for change:
• Streamline your home environment. Reduce the amount of toys, books, and clutter—as well as the lights, sounds, and general sensory overload.
• Establish rhythms and rituals. Discover ways to ease daily tensions, create battle-free mealtimes and bedtimes, and tell if your child is overwhelmed. 
• Schedule a break in the schedule. Establish intervals of calm and connection in your child’s daily torrent of constant doing.
• Scale back on media and parental involvement. Manage your children’s “screen time” to limit the endless deluge of information and stimulation. 

A manifesto for protecting the grace of childhood, Simplicity Parenting is an eloquent guide to bringing new rhythms to bear on the lifelong art of raising children.

Joanna Goddard from A Cup of Jo recommended this book on her blog a few months back, and I saved it on my wishlist for the summer. (Since nothing says a steamy summer read like a parenting book.)

Let’s shoot to finish it by the end of July and meet at a Starbucks (or bar) to talk. For my long-distance friends, maybe a few Skype chats to discuss? Leave a comment below or send me a message/email if you’re interested!


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