Browsing Category


Advice, Baby, Balance, Post-Natal

5 Ways To Re-Find Yourself As A New Mom

September 22, 2016
6G5A3658-2 (1)
Clio Wood is the Founder of &Breathe Postnatal, groundbreaking postnatal wellbeing retreats and events in France and the UK.  Get fit, eat well and feel good with your baby in tow. 
No matter how well prepared you think you are, chances are parenthood hit you like a ton of bricks.  It took me a year or so to come out the other side, my daughter having spent some time in special care, me getting to know tiredness like a BFF, struggling with my husband to keep a relationship on the right side of Argument Central, discovering the joys of colic, and finally finding respite in a baby who LIKES sleeping.  I also started &Breathe Postnatal.  And through all of that, I wondered how on earth I was supposed to make things a little bit better for all involved.  Parenthood is a shock, your identity changes and you learn a lot, bloody fast.  Here are some things that helped me get through it.
Besides trying to keep your baby alive!  And I’m not talking about slimming back down your lovely baby tummy either.  This is about spending time on your relationship with your partner.  Try to have one night a week where you manage to eat together as a couple or you cook rather than turning to the takeaway menu, or you manage to have a 15 minute conversation rather than the passing grunt or squabble.  Longer term, think about putting a date in the diary for a trip away (either as a family or a couple) and work towards it, it’s an achievement and a reward!
To your friends, to the bag-eyed fellow mum in the coffee shop, to online groups, to your other half!  Chances are, they know exactly how you feel, especially if they’re going through it too.  There are so many groups out there now that are more than just singing nursery rhymes in drafty church halls (although, believe me, that has a special place in my heart too!) Not one near you?  Create your own!  Even if it’s only getting some posh tea and cakes round someone’s house – at least you can enjoy them together and not have to worry about baby sicking up just as the waiter’s pouring a cup out.
3) RELAX!  
I know, I know, there is no time for me time.  But believe me, there’s just no substitute for just switching off, even if it’s just for a few hours in between feeds.  Especially tricky at the beginning when you’re breastfeeding, but if you can express or your baby takes a bottle, try to get a bit longer than that too.  The longer you have away, the more you can think about you and your old interests, rather than whether the baby needs another vest on.
I know there’s a bucket load of advice, sites, and ‘wise words’ from family members, but remember that you’re you, and you’re baby is going to thrive whether you dress them in 100% organic cotton or the occasional bit of hand-me-down synthetic fabric.  Be strong.  Know that by having confidence in yourself, you’re building your own identity as a mum as well as your own idea of YOU.
Appreciate the fact that you are a mum now, and embrace all the positives that it brings.  You might not have time for Pushkin any more (if you did before, I salute you) or stomping through quite as many shops/art galleries/wildernesses as your pre-baby self, but maybe that’s ok.  Once you’ve got into the swing of parenting, you’ll carve out the time to fit in some of that again, but maybe it’s alright if you now spend more time doing mum & baby pilates than hot yoga, or waving your hands in the air at baby music classes than in a superclub.  After all, think of all the other great things that little person brings you too.  Remember: Old Self + Mamahood = YOU.
Photos by Rebel&Rose Photography
Advice, Baby, Balance, Blogger, brooklyn

I Work From Home With A 10 Month Old And Here’s How

September 7, 2016
household mag

Maroon Falsa Blanket 


I moved from Phoenix to Brooklyn while I was pregnant with my son, Owen. At the time, I was working from home as a recruiter, and while the position was great through my pregnancy, I had a creative itch that needed to be scratched. I wanted the creative liberty and freedom of a blog, yet I had no idea where to start. At the same time, I grabbed coffee with Amy Frances, an acquaintance that had also moved to Brooklyn. Here, I shared the idea of this new project and she instantly offered her help with photography as she wanted to build her own portfolio. Just like that, Household Mag was born. It has grown to be a site that encompasses everything from recipes to my personal life and all that is left in between. I even opened a little online shop that holds curated items, which are both inexpensive and made locally. I really want to support my community as it has come to support me!

household magKimono


Keeping my blog and social media real and relatable, I share the highs and lows of being a working mama, including my cathartic moments and meltdowns. Perfection doesn’t exist, so why act like it does! A lot of us juggle motherhood, work, our passion projects, marriage, and taking care of ourselves…if we have time, that is. It’s become an integral part of my life and I wouldn’t change it for the world, no matter how much I may be cracking under pressure and on edge. This passion project has also turned into a source of income, which we need in order to survive in this concrete jungle. As most of you know, living in New York costs a pretty penny and, to be totally honest, we need every last dollar we make to make it happen. So with that being said, here are my tips for how to work at home with a 10 month old.

household magSunday Morning Candle

  1. Start your day with a long checklist. When I wake up I feel like my mind is bouncing all over the place. It’s so helpful for me if I just get all the to dos out of my brain and down on paper or organized into a list on my phone.
  2. Be very selective about the work you take on. There isn’t enough time in my schedule to take on projects I’m not wholeheartedly invested in. I’ve always been a bit of a “Yes Man”, and since becoming a mother I’ve learned the importance of kindly saying “No”.
  3. Work around your little one’s sleep schedule. Plan to get up early, stay up late, and work during nap times.
  4. Meal prep for the week over the weekend. This is something I need to be more consistent with and whenever I do it it’s life altering for the week. I find that if I plan ahead, I actually eat healthier rather than settling for whatever feels easiest to throw together in the moment.
  5. I try to do one small thing just for me weekly. A few things that are my go to’s for me time: yoga, a pedicure, running out for a cup of coffee alone, taking a nap (when Owen is also napping), or grabbing a drink with a friend.
  6. Get out and about with other mamas and kiddos. You’d be surprised how wonderful some adult conversation can be in the mix of taking care of Owen and working from home can be!
  7. Mommy Switch. Once a week take your friends kids so they can get work done, and then find a day where they can do the same for you. I recently started doing this with a mama friend of mine and it’s been so helpful for us both!
  8. Be prepared that not everything will go according to your schedule or plan. Forgive yourself, laugh at yourself, and be easy on yourself. Find time to pause and realize how much you’re actually doing (even when it feels like you’re scrambling). I like to think about the things I’ll remember in 5 or 10 years from now to gain a little perspective – and you better believe that it won’t be that the laundry wasn’t put away, or that I didn’t exercise enough, or that my hair wasn’t always perfect. If I look back and see that I was creating something beautiful I was passionate about while simultaneously connecting with my family I know I will be happy with how my time was spent.
  9. If you’re having to work when your kids are around and awake I find it super helpful to jump in and out of work – 30 minutes on, 30 minutes off. It’s really important to me to stay present and active with Owen, and it’s also essential that I get work done. A balance of the two is what’s best for us.
  10. Utilize apps. There are a few apps that make running my business and freelance work so much easier.
    1. Website Management – Squarespace Blog & Squarespace Commerce
    2. Communication – Slack
    3. Notes/Organization – Evernote
    4. Calendar  – Google Cal
    5. Time Management – Harvest
    6. Instagram Scheduling – Planoly

household mag

Cactus Necklace

Photos by Amy Frances

All items can be bought on Household Mag’s new shop.

#FeelGoodMama, Balance, Travel, Wellness

Attention #LADYBOSS, You Need a Vacation and Here’s Where to Go

July 12, 2016

Vacation is something we all claim to want, yet often never take the time to actually plan and unplug from our everyday work lives (cue complaining). There has long been a stigma that being away from the office meant being away from work and being away from work meant you weren’t a “good employee” or a “hard worker.” However, what most people fail to realize is that taking time for yourself and exposure to different people, places, and cultures can make you more productive. After all, what’s the point in sitting in an office for 262 days for 8 hours a day if half of those hours you’re not really working because you’re tired of the same monotonous daily routing and end up bored and distracted by social media and surfing the web.

Not convinced? Check out the reasons below how/why your vacation will make you a better employee and/or boss!

Perspective: Experiences are what makes life memorable and worth living. They are also what influences our view of the world and how we internalize those views creates what we put out into the world. The ability to travel allows people to taste different food, interact with different people, and see how different cultures live. All of these things allow individuals to see the world differently.

Inspiration: Exploring different places and interacting with new people allows for maximum inspiration. Surrounding yourself in a new environment allows your brain to see, hear, feel, taste, and experience things it has yet to experience, so don’t be surprised if you come back from your travels with solutions to that problem you’ve been trying to fix for months, or a new business idea all together.

Opportunity: Travel, especially solo travel, can help you become a natural networker because traveling, especially alone, forces you to interact with other people. You can’t get to where you’re going in a foreign place without asking someone for directions at some point. You can’t order a meal to your liking in abroad without communicating with a waitress or street vendor without asking how the food was prepared. These are both natural ways for you to become comfortable with interacting with other people and different types of people, which boosts your natural capabilities to network.

Productivity: Trading in your office for a beach or somewhere new is great for productivity. Travel allows you to recharge your batter and renew your focus on work. If you’re on vacation because you’re beyond stressed and this is your last resort I need a break kind of trip, really try hard to block out work completely and immerse yourself in your new surroundings. Removing those stress triggers (email, I’m talking to you), are essential to complete re-energize your mindset so that when you do return to your “day job” you’ll be happy to be there.

So here’s the deal, take out those calendars, send the boss (or your team) an email, and dedicate time for that family (or solo) vacation that’s long overdue.

Not sure where to go? We tapped CEO/Co-founder, Henley Vazquez for a list of six destinations that are so special that even the most interesting Instagram feed won’t distract you:  

Where: Kennebunkport, Maine

Why: It’s classic Americana, a place where even the “fancy” parts are mellow, where no make-up is needed and there’s no scene to impress. Build sandcastles on broad beaches, chow on lobster rolls, fall asleep at 9 pm and wake up with an early morning hike or bike ride. It’s the antidote to busy city life.

Stay: Hidden Pond, a Kennebunkport resort with a collection of cute cottages that give guests the privacy of a house but with access to a resort. Local designers decorated each of the two-bedroom cottages, all of which are fun, funky, and perfect for families, or leave the kids with grandma and check into the studios, romantic tree houses tucked away in the forest.


Where: Tuscany

Why: Duh, because Italy is awesome. But seriously, Tuscany has the history, the culture, the food and, of course, the wine that we all adore. Traipse around the streets of Siena, tour a winery, take a cooking class to learn some new recipes that you can incorporate as part of your family dinners at home.

Stay: Castiglion del Bosco or La Bandita, one a Ferragamo-owned resort with a kids’ club, vineyard and multiple restaurants, the other a boutique country home owned by an American music exec and his travel writer wife. Both are badass, and one will fit your budget, whether you’re ready to splurge or need to save your euros.


Where: Nosara, Costa Rica

Why: Summer is Costa Rica’s rainy season, but it’s also when the swells are best, so if you’re a serious surfer, now’s the time to head south. Plus, a twenty-minute tropical downpour is the perfect excuse for an afternoon nap (you’ll be ready for one after hitting the breaks before breakfast), get a massage or kick back with a good book. This is the vacation to take sans kids so you can chill, big time.

Stay: Surf Simply blends surfing and science to create a one-week program that’s like camp for grown-ups. Twice daily sessions filmed by their in-house paparazzi crew gives you videos to bring home as well as an easy way to analyze your form (lookin’ good, girl), plus there’s an awesome chef, comfortable rooms and talks on tides and safety so you learn more than how to hang ten.


Where: Aspen, Colorado

Why: The mountains are good for the soul. Hike, bike and see why plenty of people happily trade beach time for this Rocky Mountain town that blends the right about of chi-chi fun with great restaurants, A+ hotels and, of course, the great outdoors. The summer is also when the Aspen Ideas Festival lures luminaries to town, so you can edify your brain with lectures by some of the brightest minds in the world. Come back smarter and more fit.

Stay: Hotel Jerome, one of the town’s most historic hotels brought back to life by Auberge Resorts. The food rocks, the rooms feel like the inside of a Ralph Lauren dream, and everyone from John Wayne to Hunter S. Thompson has spent time here. It’s a classic.


Where: Santa Monica, California

Why: LA may not sound like the place to unplug, but for ADD travelers who thrive on the action but still need some beach time, this is the place to be. Jog the coast in the morning, shop Abbot Kinney in the afternoon, throw in some culture with a visit to this summer’s Cindy Sherman exhibit at The Broad or a tour of the Getty. And if your kid has been hassling you for the Disney experience, celebrate that you can check it off in a one-day adventure versus dedicating an entire vacation to Florida.

Stay: Shutters on the Beach and its sister Casa del Mar are much beloved for good reason, but if you need a less pricey alternative, the Viceroy is just a block away, or check out the new bungalow suites at the Fairmont.


Where: St. Barth’s, French West Indies

Why: St. Barth’s is the French Riviera for those who need an easier getaway and don’t want to fight the traffic into St. Tropez. Combine off-season prices with perfectly seasonal weather and some of the Caribbean’s best beaches, and you’ve got vacation gold. Pick up morning croissants at La Petite Colombe, float away work stress on Saline, collapse into a plate of the best ceviche at Bonito or dance the night away at Le Yacht Club. Whether you plan to spend your vacay splashing on the beach with the kids or snuggling with the hubby in a chic restaurant (or both!), there’s something here for everyone.

Stay: If traveling with kids, check into the Guanahani, whose kids’ club and spacious suites make it a perfect pick for families. Without kids, Eden Rock, Cheval Blanc and The Christopher are our favs.


Feature image by Courtney Adamo, who is currently traveling the world with her five children. Follow her journey on Instagram @courtneyadamo

#FeelGoodMama, Balance, Beauty, Health

Not Just Juice: Amanda Chantal Bacon, Founder of Moon Juice, Shares Her Secrets To Good Health

June 16, 2016
Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 9.05.52 AM

Los Angeles by way of downtown New York City, Amanda Chantal Bacon is the green juice goddess. No really, she swears by the stuff and after realizing her love for all things green and good-for-you, this healthy hot mama decided to make it her business. In 2012, Amanda opened the first Moon Juice in Venice Beach, CA and the company is now a cult favorite of health conscious celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow and Shailene Woodley. Celebrity followers aside, the real reason heymama loves Amanda Chantal Bacon is that she has taken her passion for a healthy lifestyle and used it to help others feel better through food! Read on to learn more about Amanda, Moon Juice, and why YOU should start rubbing carrot oil on your face.


1.  How did you go from chef to making juice? Was this an easy jump to make or did people think you were crazy?

I started Moon Juice in 2012. I was a chef and had worked with Alice waters and Suzanne Goin and was poised to open a restaurant in LA. Through divine inspiration I took a brief pause to really open myself up to what was truly needed in the world and how to use my voice to change it. I wanted to bridge the gap between the healing world and the foodie world as I had done for myself.

Amanda Chantal Bacon Moon Juice


2. How do you start your day? What is a typical breakfast like for you?

A warm morning chi drink on way to school drop off, I drink it in the car! It contains more than 25 grams of plant protein, thanks to vanilla mushroom protein and stone ground almond butter, and also has the super endocrine, brain, immunity, and libido- boosting powers of Brain Dust, cordyceps, reishi, maca, and Shilajit resin. I throw ho shou wu and pearl in as part of my beauty regime. I chase it with three quinton shots for mineralization and two lipospheric vitamin B-complex packets for energy.

3. What’s your advice on staying healthy when you’re really busy?

I work non-stop and have a three-year-old, I’m on a mission and its go, go, go. My body and brain couldn’t keep up with my life if I were on a low fat diet. I have personally felt the effects of getting enough good fat into my diet and it has radically enhanced my energy, stabilized hormones, and nourished the nervous system. Also, setting your pantry up with a bunch of the staples and eating a lot of live food is easier than cooking meals every day.

 I have personally felt the effects of getting enough good fat into my diet and it has radically enhanced my energy, stabilized hormones, and nourished the nervous system.

Amanda Chantal Bacon Moon Juice

4. I just read an interview where you outline your meal plan for the day and felt instantly jealous and inadequate thinking about my carb and take out filled food day. What are two quick healthy changes a New Yorker on the go can make to her diet?

Eat more live food – even if that means sprinkling some fresh herbs on your pasta. Also, adaptogenic herbs are the most important group of herbs to take in the now age; they’ve been treasured in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries, to boost energy and resilience. Adaptogens not only increase the resistance to the negative effects of long-term stress, but can relax you and energize you at the same time, while also being tonic, meaning they are immune-stimulating and increase your peace. I am always snacking on adaptogenic herb mixes. You start your day with something that’s so heavy with these herbs that have so many minerals, aminos and adaptogens that really get into your system. Something like my morning drink which is loaded with good, raw, healthy fat, so you’re feeling great. You’re not feeling like you need to have that bagel and cream cheese or the crash after coffee. So it’s snacking but it’s a purposely potent snacking. All you need in most cases in ½-1 tsp so a jar can last you months!

Adaptogens not only increase the resistance to the negative effects of long-term stress, but can relax you and energize you at the same time, while also being tonic, meaning they are immune-stimulating and increase your peace. I am always snacking on adaptogenic herb mixes.

 Amanda Chantal Bacon Moon Juice

5. What are some things we can keep in our pantry to create healthy simple meals?

Fresh herbs and organic vegetables, fermented veggies, good quality olive oil and sea salt.

6. What’s been your biggest pinch me moment?

Every day on this ride of my life called Moon Juice!

7. You opened you first store while you were pregnant? What was that experience like? How did you juggle everything with no sleep?

I found out I was pregnant with my son Rohan a week after I signed the lease on the first Moon Juice Shop, on Rose Avenue in Venice. It was the size of a shoebox, but as a New Yorker, I knew that small and cramped could work. What I didn’t know was how I could possibly nurture and give birth to both a human and a business at the same time. Once Rohan was born, I barely slept, I would get up in the middle of the night to feast on juices, avocados, and coconut yogurt to feed my own body as I was providing sustenance to my ravenous baby boy. I was completely energized by the bliss of birth and meeting Rohan and of seeing my dream become a reality, I will never be able to separate the birth of my child from the birth of Moon Juice, but it was a time that really pushed me to put these foods and herbs that I believed in really on the line.

Once Rohan was born, I barely slept, I would get up in the middle of the night to feast on juices, avocados, and coconut yogurt to feed my own body as I was providing sustenance to my ravenous baby boy.

Clair de Lune – it’s a collaboration I did with Odacite. It’s a box set that comes with a little spray made of Bulgarian organic rose and fresh aloe that you spray on your face. And then I take two to three drops of the pressed wild carrot seed oil and I spread it with my fingertips on my face. It’s like juice for your face. It’s not cut with anything. It smells like a perfume-y dirt. I put this on three times a day and it just sinks in and is on par with my advocating for us to be eating good raw fat internally, we should also be putting pure essential oil onto our face. I think that we were all taught in the ’90s if you eat fat you get fat and if you put fat on your face, you get pimples. Both of those things are incorrect. Part of doing this collaboration was to get the re-education of anointing ourselves with oil.

I think that we were all taught in the ’90s if you eat fat you get fat and if you put fat on your face, you get pimples. Both of those things are incorrect.

The other thing I drink all day long is Beauty Dust, which has schizandra, pearl and goji mixed with water. I just tap it into a water bottle, though you can do it hot or cold. Skin and hair love it. I don’t brush my hair or put anything in it. I feed my hair from the inside and the Beauty Dust keeps it shiny and lustrous throughout the seasons. It’s like drinking the new-age version of Snapple iced tea all day.

I feed my hair from the inside and the Beauty Dust keeps it shiny and lustrous throughout the seasons. It’s like drinking the new-age version of Snapple iced tea all day.

To learn more about Moon Juice visit their site here.

Balance, Events, Lifestyle, The Great Jane

Here’s What You Missed At The Great Jane, Ojai Edition

June 15, 2016

We’re still tingling from the magical weekend spent surrounded by an incredible tribe of women; mothers, doers, thinkers and women with heart at The Great Jane. Heymama, Bash Please and Modern Nomad came together to bring together two key areas of a mother’s life that enabled her to pursue her dreams – wellness & entrepreneurship. Aptly called The Great Jane, it was truly an unheralded retreat for aspiring mamas looking to hit pause on their life for a moment, allowing them to connect with themselves and other like-minded women, ultimately inspiring their next chapter both professionally and creatively. 

We all left feeling lighter, stronger freer. It’s hard to put your finger on just one piece of the weekend that sparked a fire in our hearts and allowed us to be real and open, and to connect to one another. We learned so quickly how some really successful women are doing it each their own way. Everyone at The Great Jane, from the speakers to the attendees, to the mentors, and panelist gave something special to the collective spirit and came away with something just as precious. It was the women that made the weekend, every Jane. A little peak into the magic, below….


Mama makers Fat & Moon, Rachel Craven and Juniper + Fir led creative workshops with the gorgeous backdrop of Ojai behind us.
TGJ Day 1 Fat MoonFAT & MOON: DIY Plant Based Beauty Product
TGJ Day 1- blockprintRACHEL CRAVEN: Block Printing Workshop
TGJ Day-Juniper + FirJUNIPER + FIR : Indigo Dying Shibori Workshop
The Great Jane

Natalie Kuhn lead the mamas in mini chill session inspired by The Class, to get everyone to let go and really be present. Mamas mingled while enjoying a lovely dinner and cocktails as the sun set behind the hills.The Great Jane



The Great JaneTo fuel up for a body opening and mind-stimulating rolling session with Carbon38 and Lauren Roxburgh, fitness expert and Goop contributor, mamas enjoyed a healthy and delicious spread from  Renew JuicesSmari YogurtFountain of Youth Water Tori AwakeCoco BakesMoon Juice, and Mylk.

The Great Jane

The Great Jane

The Great JaneMamas nourish their mind, body, and spirit with workshops from our much-loved group of healers, artists, and mind-body practitioners; Shiva Rose, Tamara Iglesias, Jules Blaine Davis, Michelle Kambolis, and Andrea Scher.


The Great JaneCo-founder of Spring, Ara Katz spoke about the stories we tell ourselves that may not be true and how we can reframe these stories to create a new more positive reality. The Second Shift Founders, Jenny Galluzzo and Gina Hadley created their platform to help women stay in the game and work on their own terms.  Sharing their personal stories of entrepreneurship and motherhood they asked guests to identify a realistic bandwidth for work, creative projects, self-care and motherhood.
The Great JaneGuests were shuttled in style from from their hotels to the Thacher House, by Audi, through out the weekend. Mamas sipped delicious wine from David Family Wines all weekend and during an intimate candlelit dinner with our new friends. (Gorgeous florals by Moon Canyon)



The Great Jane Gift Bag We kicked day three off with a refreshing and invigorating yoga class from Jodi Guber Brufsky, the founder of Beyond Yoga.

The Great Jane Gift BagAlli Webb in her super comfy Monrow sweats. Healthy lunch wraps from Kye’s Montana, provided a burt of energy  before Above The Glass spoke on the how and whys of a business plan. Refreshments provided from Fountain of Truth WaterTorii AwakeDavid Family Wines and Solstice Canyon.The Great Jane Gift Bag

The Great Jane Gift BagOur afternoon wrapped up with  The Great Jane Panel, Drybar founder Alli Webb, artist and designer Beatrice Valenzuela, Co-Founder of State Bags, Jacq Tatleman, and Beyond Yoga Co-Founder Jodi Guber Brufsky candidly shared their challenges and successes as mothers and entrepreneurs.

The Great Jane Gift Bag
The Great Jane Gift BagsGift bags from State Bags were stocked with goodies from: ParachuteThrive MarketMunchkinNavitas NaturalsSimone Le BlancIliaGuess, Mini MavenCarbon38Beyond Yoga, Snowe HomeMonica + AndyElemental Bars, LunchBOX SeedlingJosie MaranDrybar , Native ShoesMonrow, TenovertenBeyond YogaSimply Framed, and Snowe Home. Lessons were learned and recorded in sweet notebooks made just for us by Minted.
The Great Jane


To close out the beautiful weekend Ashley Neese leads us in a few breathes at the closing circle.

Thanks for joining us!

You can see more of the The Great Jane on Instagram here and stay tuned to hear where our fall retreat will be located!




Balance, Contributors, Pregnancy

5 Ways To Support A Friend After A Miscarriage

February 25, 2016



Knowing what to do (or even what not to do) after a loved one experiences a miscarriage can be a tempting reason not to do much of anything. We can all relate to going silent when something is too uncomfortable to confront. However, when we gently urge ourselves to face difficult topics, we feel much more connected to others and ourselves. Miscarriage is one of these topics people often flee from. Friends and even family find it challenging to know the “right” thing to say or do, and yet it is such a common occurrence. Approximately, 10-25% of clinically recognized pregnancies result in loss.

In an effort to shower friends with support, here are 5 ways to express your care after a miscarriage:


1. Show empathy, but don’t try to “fix” things. 

When a friend shares that she’s lost a pregnancy, it can stir all sorts of feelings: sadness, bewilderment and fear. It might be tempting to try to comfort her through platitudes such as, “At least you know you can get pregnant;” “It wasn’t meant to be;” “Everything happens for a reason;” or “Things will be different next time.” Thoughtful in nature, these sentiments aren’t necessarily true and may hurt more than heal. Upon reflection, we might notice we are saying these things to relieve our own discomfort. Empathy can sometimes be best expressed through simple utterances: “How are you feeling?” and “I’m here for you,” or “I may not say the right thing, but I’m going to try.” These questions shy away from trying to “fix” the situation, and instead aim to acknowledge her pain.


2. Send a card.

Maybe you called your friend on the phone? Well, you can also send her a handwritten note. In a digital age, where we constantly receive calls and texts, cards can be opened when she’s ready to engage. Connecting in a variety of ways extends the expression of support. Additionally, writing a note helps you find the words you struggled to voice.


3. Talk about your loss, only if it feels right. 

When a friend loses a pregnancy, it is beneficial for her to hear that she is not alone. Though the statistics are glaring, experiencing a miscarriage can feel incredibly isolating. If you’ve had a pregnancy loss and feel inclined, this might be an opportune time to share your experience. However, it is vital to tread lightly as you open up. Notice how she is responding emotionally. It could be helpful to hear details, or perhaps she’s too vulnerable. It’s important to check in, making sure your own experience doesn’t overshadow or overwhelm.


4. Let her know she’s not alone. 

Research has found that a majority of women feel ashamed, isolated, and guilty after a pregnancy loss. A profound way to make an impact on these feelings is to be consistent with your communication. Constantly check in. For some, grief shows up later than expected; it could make a world of difference if you reach out a month or two after her loss.


5. Give her a call, but let her do the talking. 

Some women are bereft after a miscarriage, whereas others are not. Loss means different things to different people; it is informed by histories, relationships, and other familial factors. Emotional landscape informs how much (or how little) individuals want to talk about the loss, the experience, and resulting feelings. Take the time to find out your friend’s desires. No need to assume. Engaging her and learning how she’s fairing leaves room for intimacy, conversation, and reiterates that you are a friend.


Jessica Zucker, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist based in Los Angeles. She is the creator of a line of pregnancy loss cards and the #IHadAMiscarriage campaign. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, anthologies, and elsewhere. She has been featured on Good Morning America, CNN, and NPR. Find her online and on Instagram @ihadamiscarriage., and her hey mama profile here.

#FeelGood, Balance, Lifestyle

#OFFICEMAMAS: Workouts Over Manicures? The Mamas At Self Magazine Keep It Tight And You Can Too

February 10, 2016
Mariel Osborn
The mamas of SELF Magazine having a meeting

The mamas of SELF Magazine having a meeting


Liz Plosser at SELF Magazine

Liz Plosser, Deputy Editor

Working at a fitness oriented magazine like Self you must have access to every new trend and class, what classes are you currently obsessed with? Yes, I literally try everything. Major job perk!
My go-to for the past couple of years has been The Class with Taryn Toomey. It’s a full-body strength-and-cardio workout that weaves in spiritual elements like meditation and deep breathing and mindfulness. I leave feeling completely energized and peaceful and calm…it’s amazing.
I’ve always aspired to do more yoga and Y7 Yoga—candlelight, excellent playlists, challenging flow—is the one studio that’s finally gotten me hooked. I can’t wait to check out their new studio the next time I’m in L.A.
Recently, I’ve really gotten into Exceed Physical Culture for HIIT workouts. The classes are always full and the activities at each station change up, so 45 minutes flies by. Plus, I love using kettle bells and every one of their classes utilizes them!
Finally, SoulCycle is my happy place to break a big sweat. I never ever tire of their “you do you” vibe and the energy in the room.

What kind of workout can you do if you only have 20 minutes?
I interviewed Bob Harper, the celebrity trainer who’s on the Biggest Loser, for last year. He gave me a 10-minute turbo workout that he swears by, and it’s savior on days I cannot squeeze in a full-fledged workout. Essentially, you alternate push-ups for a minute then and jump squats for a minute with little to no rest. It’s ridiculously hard—which is good! You definitely feel happy, strong and clear-headed after getting through it.

What would you will sacrifice to squeeze in your favorite work out? Sleep? Night out?
Sleep…I’m forever sacrificing sleep for fitness. I try to meet a friend at 6am SoulCycle once a week, and run at 6am twice a week. With a baby and toddler twins who are often up in the night, that 5 a.m. alarm is pretty brutal, but I never regret getting it done. The rest of my weekly workouts are at more sane hours.

How are you able to fit fitness in your schedule? Do you have any tricks or rules that help you to manage your time? I feel like I’m a better person—mom, wife, friend, editor—when I’ve gotten my endorphin fix. So it’s not a question of whether I’m going to work out, it’s how and when. Every Sunday, I canvas my upcoming week and figure out what workouts I’ll do on what days and at what time. I try to do three super-early workouts on weekdays so I’m home before my family wakes up in the morning, one lunch-time workout, and then I puzzle in one or two others. I have dumbbells and a yoga mat at home so I can always build myself a workout if it’s too crazy trying to get to a class or the gym.

Is community a part of your fitness lifestyle with Self? Do you work our with your co-workers? One of the most amazing things about working at SELF is that we’re all living and breathing the wellness ethos you see in the magazine. So we’re constantly supporting each other in our fitness goals—whether that means finally trying dance cardio or signing up for a half-marathon. When we moved from Times Square to One World Trade Center last winter, we organized a “fitness crawl” with a weekly SELF class at various nearby studios to get the staff familiar with all of the awesome nearby fitness options.
Over the summer, we launched SELF Run Club, where we brought in coaches from different brands like New Balance and Brooks to lead evening jogs once a week along the West Side Highway.
Instead of a breakfast or drinks meeting, I love to set up a sweat date and then talk over a juice afterward. There is nothing like endorphins to prime you for a productive meeting.
And staffers will often do impromptu or scheduled workouts together. Editor-in-chief Joyce Chang and I have done sessions with various personal trainers, and Entertainment & Special Projects Director Rebecca Sinn and I often meet at The Class or SoulCycle. It’s amazing how much easier—and more fun—fitness is with friends by your side.

Favorite healthy snack on the go?I love the Gladiator Cookies at JuicePress. They are often sold out, so it’s a score when I can find them.

Morning or evening workouts? Morning! Life almost always gets in the way of a late-day workout, so I don’t even give myself the option of scheduling one. Plus, when I get it done early I get to enjoy the positive vibes all day long.

Mariel Osborn

Mariel Osborn, Photo Director

What’s your motivation to be and stay healthy? My kids of course! I want to be limber and able to run around for them for years to come. Also we just bought a house with 3 floors so I need to be able to get up and down the stairs for at least 30 more years.  Plus, when I work out I am happier, and being happy makes everything better.

Has working at Self influenced this? Working at Self with so many likeminded, inspirational moms and women has definitely influenced a healthy life style. I was drawn to working at Self because of the positive, overall voice of being well in your whole life, not just physically, but well-being in your overall health, mental health, etc.

How do you incorporate a healthy and active lifestyle to your home? I have two kids and two dogs so I am constantly running around. We are outside being active as much as we can. We can often be found outside playing with the dogs, but on rainy days we have been known to work up a sweat with a good dance party.

What tips do you have for any mamas that are trying to start exercising, while still spending time with their kids? Liz Plosser, our amazing deputy editor and mom of three, has ALLLLLL the answers. Whenever I feel like a slug I can go to her Instagram and learn how to use my baby as a weight. Strap your kid in a baby carrier and do some lunges, you get cuddle time and a leg work out at the same time. Sneak in a squat or a baby overhead shoulder press whenever you can. Every little bit helps.

Favorite fitness class? I love a sweaty yoga class or SoulCycle for an efficient sweat.

Favorite healthy snack on the go? I’m not above eating one of my son’s fruit/veggie squeezy pouches.

Morning or evening workouts? Morning for sure. whenever I work out in the morning I find my head is clearer and, let’s be honest, as the mom of a four month old, I’m asleep by 9pm most nights…9:30 is pushing it. As we say at Self, get #upnout!


Rebecca Sinn Rebecca Sinn

Rebecca Sinn, Entertainment and Special Projects Director

Working at a fitness oriented magazine like Self you must have access to every new trend and class, what classes are you currently obsessed with? The Class from Taryn Toomey. Besides being like visiting a therapist and the gym in one, I love the sense of community and people it brings together, too. I’ve learned so much from these strong, entrepreneurial spirits on life, acceptance and forgiveness.

What kind of workout can you do if you only have 20 minutes? I’ll do a circuit from my friend who you can find on Instagram FitKitty74. Her workouts are efficient and very challenging, perfect for a limited amount of time.

What would you sacrifice to squeeze in your favorite work out? Sleep? Night out? Definitely a night out, but more recently a manicure. With a toddler, sleep can be unpredictable, so I learn to give up more personal time in order to fit in a workout and its not that hard to do your own nails in front of Dowton Abbey!

How are you able to fit fitness in your schedule? Do you have any tricks or rules that help you to manage your time? When I think about setting a schedule for myself, I often get bogged down in the rigidity of that, so I just try and think about how much better workouts makes me feel and make more time for them- start from a positive, so its not about what you can and can’t fit in. If I have plans with someone, I’ll try to get them to come with me to a workout instead and grab a juice after. Yes, its less time to chat, but you feel so much better, it makes it worth it. We’re also really lucky, the city offers so many options, it’s a wonderful thing to have at your fingertips; I find that if I have a meeting in a different part of town, I’ll look to see if there’s a class near there I could do to make it feel like I’m not traveling all over the place to jam everything in.

Is community a part of your fitness lifestyle with Self? Do you work out with your co-workers? My favorite person to work out with is my coworker Liz- as a mother of 3, and one of the most hardworking women I know she motivates me constantly. But, I love hearing about what other colleagues are into or are trying out – everyone has their own spin on fitness and what makes them feel good.

Favorite fitness class?Eve’s Soul Survivor at Soul Cycle and Taryn Toomey’s The Class

Favorite healthy snack on the go?A banana, or Clean Green Protein at Juice Press

Morning or evening workouts?Morning


Erin Hobday

Erin Hobday, Managing Editor

What tips can you give us to stay fit and healthy while also having a jam-packed schedule?
Get up really early. My day starts at 5:15 AM. I find that fitting my workout in before the crack of dawn guarantees I’ll get it done, and it gives me energy for my day. I workout mostly at home now —I have weights, bands, a mat and few workouts and DVDs that I use, and that helps me save a ton of time and it means I have no excuse not to workout.
Make a fitness date. Making workout plans with friends helps keep me accountable, and it’s a way to multitask. On the weekdays, I workout with my husband —which is good for both of us. We encourage each other and keep each other motivated. I also have a good friend who I go to SoulCycle with on Saturday mornings. I look forward to spending that time with her, and it feels like a real treat at the end of a long week. After class we go get a juice or a coffee and talk —it feels indulgent (girlfriend time!) but it’s also a super healthy habit.
Prep healthy basics on Sunday. I plan a week of healthy dinners over the weekend and post the menu in our kitchen. And I totally rely on Fresh Direct —it’s such a time-saver and prevents impulse spending on junk food. I also make a few healthy lunches for the week on Sunday, so it’s easy to grab in the morning on my way out the door. And we use the slow-cooker at least once a week to make healthy dinners.

Do you have a go-to exercise that you do everyday? If so, what is it? I  do a combination of cardio and resistance training using BeachBody DVDs at home. I like T25, the 21 Day Fix, and lately I’ve gotten into Insanity Max 30. I used to go to the gym every day, but since becoming a mom, I find working out at home to be so much more convenient. I also love to run outside when the weather is nice.

What was you routine like to get in shape post baby? I decided to run a half marathon when my son was 6 months old. I was also working out with a trainer —doing strength moves, etc —but the race really pushed me to be consistent and make time for running. I started training right around when I went back to work (my son was 3-months old or so) and I would do my long runs early on Saturday mornings. It was helpful to use that time to let the stress of the workweek go, and take a little time for myself. I’ve run the race each year since with my sisters, who are also both moms. I love that we have this fun fitness tradition!

What do you love about working out? How does it influence the rest of your day? I love how working out makes me feel both in the moment and throughout the day. It reduces my stress levels, and gives me tons of energy. I would be a very grumpy person without exercise. It’s so important to take care of yourself first so you can take care of everyone and everything else. Exercise is how I take care of me.

Favorite fitness class? SoulCycle!!!

Favorite healthy snack on the go? Hmmmm…. Fresh fruit and Trail mix. I have a few I like from Nature Box, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s that I keep at my desk so I have something to grab on busy days.

Morning or evening workouts? Morning!!!


Kari Molver
Kari Molvar, Deputy Editor

What do you love about running? My approach to running has really changed over the years. I don’t run to change the way my body looks anymore (although that’s a nice bonus!) but how I think and feel. It gives me such a mental boost—during those long runs, I can think clearly through whatever is on my mind (what should I cook for dinner? What are my goals for the month?). I rarely get time completely for myself, so I savor my runs as a chance to recharge my mind and body.

How has fitness changed in your life when you became a mom? Yes! I used to view it as a chore or something I “had” to do. Now it’s a treat to have that time for myself. I also think it’s important for my girls to see how being fit and active is a priority in my life. They know it’s workout time when mom has on her windbreaker and sneakers. And I can’t wait for the day when we can go on runs together! #SquadGoals!

What do you do when you’re feeling totally overwhelmed with everything? I try to break down any problem or situation into steps, and then move 1 step at a time. I make tons of lists, so I know exactly what I need to attack first and stay on track. This helps when I have multiple stories I’m editing and writing on my plate at once.

What helps you relax and release? Talking to friends, and other moms who can relate to the pressures we all face! This helps put everything perspective and reminds me that I have a lot to be grateful for, and very happy about!

What’s your beauty regime like? Any tips to help keep a well-rested complexion even when we’re always on overdrive? My beauty routine is VERY simple. I’m all about the basics. I find that washing my face every night during the week is the single best tip for clear skin, although not that interesting! I also think that finding creams that do more than one thing—like exfoliating and hydrating at the same time—helps cut down on time.

Do you incorporate fitness into your family and social life? If so, how? When the girls were young, my husband and I used to pile them in the stroller and take long walks to the park. Now being “social” about fitness means following other friends on Instagram who inspire me to live healthy. Everyone should follow @LizPlosser!

Favorite fitness class? I’m a SoulCycle rookie, but plan to do more Spinning this year.

Favorite healthy snack on the go? That’s It dried fruit bars. I have a sweet tooth so this is my healthy fix. There are no less than 3 bars in my bag at any time!

Morning or evening workouts? Morning, but I’ll take whatever I can get!


Melissa Martin SELF Magazine

Melissa Martin, Fashion Director

How does keeping active influence the other aspects of your life? Do you feel like succeeding in your workouts and fitness goals reflect on your career and home life? Working out for me definitely comes from a desire to improve my overall heath and strength, but even more so it’s mental – I do it more for the soul than the body. My daily workouts enable me to operate at peak performance in other aspects of my life.  They improve my energy level and confidence, and I’m more patient and positive throughout the day. I also look at my workouts as much needed quality time for myself – more a luxury than a chore. All of these qualities make my work and home life more valuable, and an added bonus is I have more swimsuit options come summer.

What’s your favorite place to shop for fitness gear? Net a Porter sport. Current favorite brands are The Upside (most comfortable sports bra), Laain, Outdoor Voices, Tory Sport and Ballet Beautiful.

What kind of music do you listen to when you work out? I listen to a large range of music and it really depends on the type of workout or the season. In the summer, I tend to run outside more and I like to listen to more mellow music or Seventies rock – I think the hippie vibe makes me more reflective (I mean, if I have to push myself an extra mile or up a hill, I’ll switch to Miley Cirus or old Wu Tang Clan). For dance cardio, it’s hip hop all the way and if I’m doing ballet, I’ll listen to piano concertos. So the mood really dictates the music for me.

Fitness wear has been infiltrating fashion for a while now are there any fitness/fashion pieces you wear on the street and vice versa? Yes, I have a Tory Burch Sport track jacket and track pant that I mix into my wardrobe. I also love ballet leotards equally in the studio or with a boyfriend jean.

Favorite fitness class? Tracy Anderson Method

Favorite healthy snack on the go? Raw almonds

Morning or evening workouts? Both, but I definitely prefer the morning. I love starting the day with a feeling of accomplishment and getting it out of the way







#FeelGood, Balance, Health

Barley + Oats Delivers Delicious Postpartum Meals For Breastfeeding Mamas

November 20, 2015
Ashly Aesop1

We met Ashly for the first time at the Smyth Hotel, and I couldn’t even believe the timing when she started tell us about her postpartum delivery service for new moms, Barley + Oats.  I was about to have my second baby any day, and it was like discovering an oasis right before getting thrown out of an airplane and into the desert. As my due date gets closer and closer, my anxiety about breastfeeding and milk production is already starting to grow! I’m thinking back in horror to my first baby and all the Thai delivery I ate, which definitely didn’t help with my milk production. Breastfeeding was really stressfull for me, and I tried all kind of things like drinking Guinness to up my production, so I was beyond excited to try Ashly’s service.

Everthing arrived via messenger in a cooler bag,  all the containers were individually packed and labeled with ingredients and directions.  Although the meals are made for lactation, everyone on our team ended up loving it and digging in. The Probiotic Cherry Almond Oat Smoothie, the Bone Broth Barley Risotto (recipe is below!!), and Chana Masala with Spinach & Brown Rice are our favorites!

Where did you get the idea for Barley + Oats?

I got the idea for Barley + Oats when my son, Aesop, was still in my belly. At the time, I was obtaining my health-supportive chef’s degree at the Natural Gourmet Institute. I have always been very passionate about food and health; with the pregnancy, I began to research and study pregnancy and postpartum nutrition. Because of some past history of mine, I was concerned I might have trouble with milk production. I started researching the basic processes behind lactation and the effects that food could have on it. One of several great resources I came upon was Mother Food written by lactation consultant, Hilary Jacobson. The book is well researched and explores postpartum diet and lifestyle from around the world as well as the effects of each on the postpartum healing process and especially, lactation. Turns out, there is a wealth of ancient knowledge and practices outside of the States surrounding the immediate months post birth. Different cultures utilize different herbs and foods for everything from boosting lactation, helping to prevent postpartum depression or allergy, aiding digestion or easing let-down. All of these are centered around traditional, whole foods (very in line with the NGI principals) with traditional (read: time consuming) preparations. I thought, “how great would it be to eat in a way that nourished my body the way that it needed to be nourished at this time of my life?” I wanted to eat to provide the best nutritional support both to my healing body and to my developing child. However, I  knew there was no way in the first few weeks and months postpartum that I was going to be soaking nuts + grains, boiling barley for 2 hours or making bone broths and sitting down (yes, sitting down!) to at least one nice warm meal per day. Without even having the baby yet, I knew I was going to be lucky if I could slap together some almond butter on whole-grain toast. And so the idea for Barley + Oats was born. Research showed there was nothing like it on the market and market surveys I sent out showed that moms wanted this or wished they had had it when they gave birth. I founded the company just a few weeks before Aesop was born and the official launch came late September.


I wanted to eat to provide the best nutritional support both to my healing body and to my developing child. However, I  knew there was no way in the first few weeks and months postpartum that I was going to be soaking nuts + grains, boiling barley for 2 hours or making bone broths


How does the Barley + Oats program work? 

All of the Barley + Oats meals and snacks are wheat, dairy, soy, caffeine + refined sugar free for optimal health and digestion. They are prepared in the most digestive friendly ways and incorporate a lot of foods with specific micronutrient profiles meant to aid in postpartum healing, mood stabilization, allergy prevention or infant development. Each menu item highlights a key ingredient and explains why it is beneficial. We offer different meal plan options (offered for purchase in 5-day packages) to suit every need as well as a la carte lactation snacks and gift baskets. We are plant based, with a heavy focus on whole grains, nuts, seeds and veggies but do use high quality animal products as components in our dishes (like organic bone broth, free-range eggs and fish oil).


Ashly and Aesop Barley & Oats

What’s your background?

I grew up in the rural farmlands of New Jersey (yes, they exist lol!) on a standard American diet of “semi-homemade” and processed foods. Despite this, I was extremely passionate about cooking and would read cookbooks for fun, watch the food network, and pick out recipes to make with my grandmother during our weekly visits. My mother moved to Arizona when I was 7 and became very involved in the health and wellness community (working for a vitamin company).  I used to visit her several times per year and spent many days going around to different health food stores with her. By the time I was a teenager, I became very interested in how food could affect our overall health and well-being. I wasn’t quite sure yet how to interpret this though, and unfortunately ended up with a relatively serious eating disorder when I was 15. I had a nutritionist for the four years that followed and continued to be passionate about food but with a new focus on nurturing my womanly body for health, not aesthetics. It’s amazing how many women I meet in the health and wellness space who have very similar stories. After highschool, I studied buying and merchandising at the Fashion Institute of Technology and worked in ecommerce for Macy’s and a large women’s fashion lifestyle brand afterwards. I would take culinary trips, work up new recipes and watch food documentaries in my free time until, after five years, I decided it was time to really go for it. I wanted to do something that I loved to be my best self for my son and to create something with flexibility so that I could spend more time with him. I also wanted to create a business that supported a local, sustainable food movement and helped to educate people about the impacts of food on health and happiness. I am so happy to be able to channel that passion into a concept that can help other moms and women nurture their bodies and babies in a truly healthful way at one of the most vulnerable and beautiful times of their life.


I wanted to create a business that supported a local, sustainable food movement and helped to educate people about the impacts of food on health and happiness. I am so happy to be able to channel that passion into a concept that can help other moms and women nurture their bodies and babies in a truly healthful way at one of the most vulnerable and beautiful times of their life.


What is the significance of the name?

Barley + Oats are two of the most known and effective galactagogues, or lactation promoting foods. These two grains contain the highest amounts of beta-glucans: long chain sugars that are utilized in the production of prolactin, the hormone responsible for milk.

One of my favorite anecdotes that inspired the name is that Demeter, the greek goddess of grain, was believed to have been in charge of barley. Some scholars believe that barley (and other lactogenic foods) was cultivated often in the early agricultural societies because of its profound ability to increase milk production. People of that time relied on breastfeeding to further human survival and growth. They treated milk promoting herbs and foods as products of the gods and goddesses.

What is a lactogenic diet?

A lactogenic diet at its basic sense is one that promotes milk production. At Barley + Oats, our lactogenic diet encompasses a little more. In addition to promoting lactation, our lactogenic diet is easily digestible, it is micronutrient dense with a focus on developmental nutrients, it aids in a mom’s convalescence post birth and helps restore hormonal balance, it is high in Essential Fatty Acids, it promotes warming foods, it focuses on health, not weight loss, it promotes food that is delicious and should be enjoyed, savored and stress-free.

What do you see missing in the diets of new moms that they can benefit from adding? 

Definitely Omega-3 essential fatty acids, specifically the derivatives EPA and DHA (which not everyone can breakdown from food so easily). These derivatives are responsible for so much healthy development including everything from allergy prevention to mood stabilization, mental health and neural connections. Traditional diets of our ancestors were much heavier in Omega-3s than the more commonly found Omega-6 (in plant based oils and processed foods). That has since been flipped and we’ve seen a huge rise in diet related diseases and allergy. Most of us don’t eat the things that are highest in Omega-3 (like animal organs or a lot of fatty fish) or we don’t eat them enough. Because these fatty acids are essential, we need to eat them to replenish them, our bodies don’t make them on their own. When we breastfeed, our bodies direct a lot of our stores to the baby because essential fatty acids are so crucial to their development. I highly recommend supplementing with a high quality DHA/EPA supplement (I use Nordic Naturals) or increasing foods with natural Omega-3.

I also think fermented foods and probiotics are super important to cultivating a healthy gut microbiome for the baby as well as easing digestive distress (helpful to both mom and baby in the postpartum). Studies have shown that the baby does get the mom’s bacteria through the milk. If you had to have a c-section, it’s even more important that some good bacteria containing foods are ingested.

Of course there are other big ones like vitamin-D and magnesium (which I touch on a little bit below).

I highly recommend supplementing with a high quality DHA/EPA supplement (I use Nordic Naturals) or increasing foods with natural Omega-3.

How is the hormonal balance of a new mom affected by her diet?

Well the hormonal balance of all women is greatly affected by diet, with each bodily function and hormone being affected by different foods and circumstances. When we are breastfeeding, we have higher levels of prolactin (responsible for milk production) and oxytocin (responsible for let down), the two work back and forth to create and release milk. When our other hormones (like estrogen, cortisol or testosterone) get too high, it can throw the balance off and inhibit the functions of our other hormones. Certain things, like refined-sugar (this includes refined carbs too!), affect us by messing with our insulin levels. In addition to just making us tired (through sugar spikes and crashes) high levels of insulin correlate with higher levels of testosterone and estrogen in the blood, which can lead to irritability, cravings and hormonal imbalance. Other things like caffeine, stress or just not eating enough, cause rises in our cortisol levels (the stress hormone). High levels of cortisol lead to weakened immunity, weight gain, depression and anxiety among other things. Cortisol also inhibits oxytocin, the hormone responsible for the let-down of breast milk. On the flip side of this, certain foods help with lactation. Many of our key breastfeeding superfoods (like sesame seeds and oats) are high in tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin which promotes prolactin production as well as a stable, elevated mood that can help prevent postpartum blues. Also along the lines of mood, we use a lot of foods rich in the mineral magnesium. Magnesium helps keep our hormones in check by regulating cortisol, activating vitamin D and keeping blood sugar stable. Magnesium is also responsible for the release and metabolism of many neurotransmitters and the depletion of it is often correlated with depression. Many studies have shown that mothers with PPD have lower levels of magnesium (which is often depleted in pregnancy) than those without.


Certain things, like refined-sugar (this includes refined carbs too!), affect us by messing with our insulin levels. In addition to just making us tired (through sugar spikes and crashes) high levels of insulin correlate with higher levels of testosterone and estrogen in the blood, which can lead to irritability, cravings and hormonal imbalance.


Any quick snacks you would suggest to aid in milk production?

Definitely! Instant oatmeal is one of the best and easiest. However, most instant oatmeals out there contain lots of refined sugar and other artificial ingredients. The first few months postpartum I craved a lot of oatmeal. I was craving flavors from my childhood like raisins + spice, bananas + cream, and maple brown sugar but didn’t want all the nasties that were in some of the big names. I started working on recipes for wholesome, healthier, organic versions of these classics with added nutritional benefits but all the same comforting flavor. We sell some of these awesome creations by the packet (like our organic “Sugar + Spice” made with coconut sugar, raisins, dates, chia seeds, and spices or our “Brewer’s Brown Sugar” made with maple crystals, brewer’s yeast, coconut sugar and oats). It’s great to have them on hand to prepare instantly with some hot water or to throw in a jar with some almond milk before bed for some yummy overnight oats.

Another great lactogenic snack to have on hand is hummus with flax crackers. Among many of their other benefits, chickpeas are rich in the micronutrient, choline, a precursor to acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter for memory and learning. Studies have shown that the amount of this beneficial developmental nutrient in a mother’s milk varies based on her personal consumption. At Barley + Oats we make a delicious roasted beet hummus for some extra beta-carotene and iron, served = with some homemade chia flax crackers, rich with Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.

Ashly Yashchin Barley + Oats

Who makes the menus and prepares all the food?

The menus are designed by myself and I also partake in most of the preparation with a little help from kitchen assistants when needed.

Does Barley + Oats make meals for the whole family or just for the mama?

While the program is designed for mama, the food is delicious and full of nutritional benefits for the whole family. We offer family plans containing a starter, dinner, side(s) and dessert for the week for up to 4 family members (or more on request). The lactation snacks and granolas also make healthy, wholesome options for kids in delicious and fun flavors. We seriously can’t keep the Buckwheat Honey Grahams in stock when we bring them to family friendly parties with mini attendees.

What is your dream for Barley and Oats?

I would love to expand Barley + Oats nationally to help more moms and families (and transitively, their babies) during a time when they really need to feel nurtured and supported. I would love to see our wholesome, healthy lactation snacks on the shelves of bigger retailers (and etailers) like Whole Body, Amazon or Abe’s Market. And stay tuned, there may be a Barley + Oats postpartum + lactation cookbook in the works!

What’s the best business advice you ever received?

“Share your ideas!” Sometimes we get nervous that if we share our idea someone might take it and use it for their own. When we share our ideas and collaborate with others the outcome is always better than when we’re on our own.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love introducing moms to healthy recipes and reinventions of their favorite comfort foods. Really, I love turning people onto vegetables. Sometimes healthy food can be associated with bland and boring or dairy-free wheat free can make it seem like so many foods are off the table. When we use plant-based foods in creative ways we really can come up with absolutely delicious, nutritious alternatives. I love hearing people say “wow, this is healthy?”


When we use plant-based foods in creative ways we really can come up with absolutely delicious, nutritious alternatives. I love hearing people say “wow, this is healthy?”

Can you share a favorite recipe with us?

Sure! One of our client faves (as well as one of my personal ones) is our Bone Broth Barley Risotto w/Black Truffle. Bone broths are extremely mineral dense and healing in the postpartum (especially when made from organic, grass fed animals) and barley is one of the most lactogenic grains. The addition of black truffle makes the dish feel pampering at a time when we often put ourselves last.

Bone Broth Barley Risotto
Serves 2
1 cup whole grain hull-less barley, soaked overnight
2 cups organic, grass-fed beef bone broth w/collagen*
1 white onion
½ cup cremini or white button mushrooms, sliced
1 ear of fresh yellow corn, shucked or ½ cup frozen
sea salt
fresh black pepper
black truffle oil (garnish)
black truffle salt (garnish)

Drain and rinse barley.
Bring barley and 4 cups of salted water to boil.
Simmer barley for 1 ½ – 2 hours until extremely tender and hulls crack open. The water should turn a cloudy white.
Drain barley (you can reserve this water to make soups or smoothies with, it is extremely lactogenic and taken as a tonic in other cultures).
Cut your onion into small dice.
Skim collagen off the top of your broth and use to sweat your onion, adding a little salt to season.
Once the onions are translucent (about 8-10 minutes), add your mushrooms.
Cook down your mushrooms until they release all their moisture adding more salt and broth as necessary.
Add your corn.
Add your cooked barley 1 cup at a time followed by ½ cup broth letting the liquid come to a simmer each time in between until all of the broth and barley is used.
Season with salt + pepper.
Garnish with truffle oil + truffle salt. If you have fresh black truffle and want to shave it on, it’s even more divine.

Bone Broth Ingredients:
2 pounds organic, grass-fed beef marrow bones
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups carrots, roll cut
2 cups white onion, large dice
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, whole
1 T apple cider vinegar

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Lay bones out on baking sheet and drizzle with half of olive oil.
Roast 10-15 minutes until browned.
Sweat your carrots and onion with remaining olive oil in a slow cooker (or large pot) on low until translucent.
Add bones, peppercorns and enough water to cover (about 2 ½ quarts).
Add vinegar.
Cook on low 8-12 hours (the longer the better).
Strain broth into containers. Feel free to scrape the marrow out of the bones if any is left inside and let it melt into the broth or spread it on toast with some salt, caramelized onions and fig jam.

What’s been your biggest challenge in setting up Barley + Oats so far?
By far the biggest challenge has been creating enough time with my family and son. I began this company to help moms feel better and get more precious, happy time to spend with their newborns. However, starting it when I did, I jeopardized my own time with my baby and family. I’ve been trying to keep my perspective in check and realize that sometimes we just have to do the best we can. And if that means I have to grow a little slower so that I don’t miss out on my little ones firsts, then that’s just what I’ll have to do.

Do you still cook for your family when you get home from a full day of cooking for Barley + Oats?

Ah, the dreaded question. Not nearly as much as I used to. My husband eats a lot of spare Barley + Oats samples. I can never go more than 1 day without itching to get back in the kitchen though and I still cook just for us at least 2 nights per week.

Have you always been into cooking? Is this something you shared with your family growing up?

100%. I have loved cooking and food for as long as I could remember. Cooking at home was mostly from boxes, but almost every weekend I would pick out a recipe to take to my grandmas that we could cook together. I remember as a little girl, when the family would gather there on the weekends, I would walk around with a little pad and pen asking everyone what they would like in their omelets for brunch. My grandpa would set out all the toppings in little dishes and put the eggs in a pancake pourer for me. Then him and my grandma would watch me as I stood on a chair to flip and fill omelettes.

Do you have any tips for how we can share the experience for cooking healthy foods with our kids?

I think allowing them to make choices (within boundaries) is huge. For example, when you take them to the farmer’s market, allow them to choose what vegetable they want to try to cook versus picking for them. Or if you do pick, perhaps let them choose how to prepare it (i.e. roast, saute, puree, etc.). I believe that they are much more apt to be interested in cooking and eating when they play a role in the decision making process. My son is only 6 months old though so we have yet to test this theory :).

A lot of  kids are really picky eaters, do you think the way you eat when you’re breastfeeding affects their developing palates? Or is it just a natural stage? How can we  help our kids to be more open to trying new foods? 

I think it’s a little bit of both. Several studies (like this one here) have shown that breastfed babies are more apt to try new foods as children (and even enjoy vegetables!) due to their exposure to tastes from a mother’s milk. It is true that the taste profile of a mother’s milk does vary based on her food consumption. You don’t get this kind of flavor variation in formula (although that’s not a bad idea for a new product). That said, as kids get a little bit older and they start interacting with other kids and being exposed to media I think they shape some of their food ideas around what they see and experience. For example, if their friends say “broccoli’s gross” they may say it too just to “fit in.” Or if their friends are eating cookies and soda, they’ll want to do it too. I think we can help our kids be open to new foods by first and foremost, choosing the highest quality ingredients that we can afford and trying to prepare them in the most delicious way. There is a big difference between canned green beans heated in the microwave and farm fresh ones sauteed in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. I also believe in not forcing it. If your child doesn’t like something the first time move on, but try it again later, prepared a different way. Even adults take a few trys to like new tastes in most cases (I was this way with sushi and even my now favorite, truffle).

You can learn more about Ashly on her heymama profile here, and Barley + Oats here.

#FeelGood, Balance, Lifestyle

10 Ways To Stay Calm And Rock On

October 15, 2015
people women in a field looking at the clouds and sky

Lori Bregman is a renowned doula, life coach, healer and author of, The Mindful Mom to Be. She is also the founder of the Rooted for Life Pregnancy Coaching Program,  a complete mind, body and spirit support system that helps women throughout fertility, pregnancy and birth as they transition into new motherhood. Here she shares 10 ways to stay calm and rock on; how to best be present in your pregnancy and role as a new mama.


Whether you are a stay home mom or a working mom as wonderful as it is, being a mom can be stressful. Let’s face it, it’s not easy in today’s world to stay super chill. With the internet, social media, social, work, relationship, family and financial obligations there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to get it all done or to squeeze in much needed downtime to unwind and catch a breath, plus all the pressure , fear and comparison we trip ourselves up with and lets not forget about the projections and judgments from others . The combo of all the above is a recipe to make anyone’s head spin. Here are a few ways to help you stay calm and ROCK on.

1.     Schedule yourself into your life – If mama ain’t happy, nobody is happy. It’s hard to be present and patient when you haven’t taken the time to recharge and fill yourself back up . When you do this your children will be getting the best of you not what is left of you. Also energy is contagious, as a mother you hold a space for and carry an energy that your children will ride off of . The better you feel, the calmer you will be, the more relaxed you are , the more relaxed your kids will be .

2.     Focus on yourself – In all my years of working with pregnant women and new mamas I have never seen a woman, pregnancy, birth, child, relationship or family that are the same. When you compare yourself to others you will loose what is true for you. We all have different strengths, limits and ways on how we operate. Focus on yourself and explore what feels right for you .

3.     Be present – I love this quote, “ 99% of the things you worry about never happen”. I see so many women that are trying to get pregnant, are pregnant, or already are a mom that worry about the what if’s … When you focus on the “what might be” it takes you out of this present moment (The only thing that is real). The “what if’s are just projections and speculations, focusing and spending so much of your time and energy on stuff that might never happen will cause you only stress. If you find your self doing this, take a breath, and call back your energy, say to yourself todays date  and acknowledge what is going on right here and now. Know that this present moment is all there really is.  The past is gone and the future hasn’t happened yet. The choices you make right now are creating the future.

4.     Rock your authentic self – There is no such thing as perfect, striving for it will only make you suffer. Each one of us is special in our own unique way. Be true to yourself and express your own badassness. When you try to live up to a certain standard that might have been projected onto you from your family or society that isn’t really you, its exhausting and not to mention depressing to try and be something you aren’t. Free yourself and live from your truth , when you do this you will have so much more energy, be happier and magnetically draw in your authentic tribe .

5.     Take care of your body – “If you don’t take care of your body where will you live?” The better you take care of your body the better you will feel. Eat a diet full of rich, whole, organic, unprocessed, hormone free foods . Cut back or cut out unhealthy habits such as drinking and smoking. Move your body daily , exercise releases endorphins and if you really want to feel amazing add some yoga to your life .

6.     Practice self-love and self-acceptance – The way you feel about yourself on the inside manifests on the outside. The more accepting of yourself you are, the more accepting you will be of others, including your children. The most judgmental people are usually the hardest on themselves. Take time to do loving things for you, talk nicely about yourself and treat yourself with respect. Give gratitude daily for your life, your health, your body and all your accomplishments. Instead of beating yourself up about something you did that you didn’t like, find self-compassion for yourself. Connect with the lesson that you learned (as there is always one ) and acknowledge that you did your best with what you knew at the time. Now you know more and will apply this lesson down the road .

7.     Create a morning and bedtime ritual for yourself – The way you go to sleep and the way you start your day sets the pace for how well you will sleep through the night as well as how your day will unfold once you wake. As a parent you naturally transition your child to sleep by feeding them a healthy dinner, giving them a soothing bath or reading them a book. In the morning you might want to give them a bit of down time to ease your child into their day. Be mindful about the food you give them and how they react to it. It’s a no brainer and easy to do for your kids so they succeed and thrive. I invite you now to do the same for YOURSELF, carve out some precious transition time for you in the morning and evening.

8.     Find your tribe and love them hard – My friends are one of the biggest blessings in my life . I see so many women that compete , gossip, are jealous and caddie with one another. Life is way to short and precious to spend your time with people that suck the life out of you. When you find those special friends, where you have each others back, who make you feel great and inspired , heard , seen and supported, cherish and appreciate them ! Women supporting women , we need more of that in this world .

9.     Set boundaries – Just do it  – During pregnancy and when you’re a new mom EVERYONE will be projecting their views and ways onto you about the way they did it or think it should be done. Protect yourself from the projections and horror stories that others will love to tell you about. Remember what I said above about no two women are the same. Just because they had that experience or knew of someone who did, doesn’t mean that will be your experience. You have every right to set boundaries and say, “I know you mean well, but I’m trying to stay in a good healthy head space. So unless you have something positive to say that will help inspire me about birth or motherhood, I would prefer not to hear it.” Setting boundaries can be challenging at first, but it gets easier once you start feeling better after setting them.

10.     Get out in nature – There is nothing more relaxing and good for the soul than a nice stroll in nature. Nature helps ground your energy and nurture your spirit . Try this walking meditation for an instant stress reliever. When you are out for your walk, listen to your surroundings, see,  and notice what’s around you , feel the sun and the air on your body, smell, and even taste the atmosphere. When you mind begins to wander bring it back to your walk , use your senses to meditate on here and now.
Lori Bergman