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So last Father’s Day I got Corey an amazing present. Well, I think it’s pretty amazing. But when I really think about it, it’s a gift I would have loved to receive myself. I put together a 700+ page photo book of special photos of mostly him and the kids throughout the prior year. Mostly sweet, candid shots of him playing with the kids, cooking breakfast with the kids, snuggling the kids, reading to the kids… You know, the everyday stuff. Not the perfectly-posed-in-front-of-whatever pictures, but the photos that really evoke emotion and take you back to a specific, mundane yet magical moment in time. The kids LOVE looking through its pages and no matter how many times I thumb through the pages I never get sick of it.

But here’s the sad truth: Corey wouldn’t be able to make me the same kind of photo book, not one that has nearly the same number of pages… And that’s because he just never thinks to take photos of me during those ordinary moments that make up motherhood. If I want a photo with the kids I have to specifically ask. And usually that turns into the kids running away from me or giving a fake smile to the camera for half a second then running off. Wah wah. (Let it be known that Corey is way above average in pretty much every other way as a husband and father and I love him like crazy, this is just not his thing! haha)

Photos are my love language, they hold a lot of value to me, so even though this seems kind of silly it really does break my heart that I don’t have these candid moments with the kids captured. I want to remember the way we look when we snuggle up, read books together, laugh and play. I don’t need a million pictures of me smiling at the camera holding on to them with a death grip hoping they’re making a semi-happy face ….

So you can imagine the flood of emotion I felt when Brittany sent me the photos from our mommy + me session a few months back. CUE THE HAPPY TEARS. She captured everything I dreamed of between the kids and me. Those small in-between moments of love and magic between a mother and her children. The photos that despite my constant nagging never really come to fruition from Corey. If you find yourself in the same situation I did, PLEASE do yourself a favor and schedule a mommy + me session with Brittany. She is so calm, sweet and great with kids. She is patient and kind and just knows how to get children to come out of their shell and be themselves. These photos are such a gift to me. More of a gift than any physical thing anyone could ever buy me.

Ask for the session for Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day or just because. Because you deserve to have these fleeting moments captured. You will never regret spending the money to have this special connection between you and your kids captured forever.

It was soooo hard for me to narrow these down to my favorites, but here are some of my photos from my Mommy + Me session with Brittany Rossman Photography. Seriously cannot sing her praises enough! She is hosting a special Mommy + Me event on February 9th and 16th — you can sign up for a time slot here!

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Somehow, in all the years of Thanksgiving feasts, I’ve never been tasked with bringing a salad for the holiday! So naturally, when this was our assignment for our upcoming Friendsgiving next weekend, I turned to my trusty Instagram followers to find a winning recipe to bring with us. And they did not disappoint! I was overwhelmed with responses and also many requests to share the love, so here they are! 15 mouth-watering options for Thanksgiving salads.

Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad with Hazelnut Crunch by Martha Stewart

Thanksgiving Lentil Salad by The Kitchn

Butternut Squash Salad with Pomegranates and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds by Pamela Salzman

Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad by What’s Gaby Cooking

The Fall Salad You Won’t Be Able To Quit by Simple Real Health

Winter Burrata Salad by Camille Styles

Roquefort Pear Salad by The Girl Who Ate Everything

Fresh Citrus and Cranberry Salad by Better Homes and Gardens

Lemon-Garlic Kale Salad by The New York Times

Roasted Squash Salad with Crispy Shallot and Balsamic Reduction by Minimalist Baker

Autumn Chopped Salad by Espresso and Cream

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We’ve all hit those meal planning lulls where you just feel like you can’t think of ANYTHING to make for dinner that week and if you have to look at one more Pinterest food board your eyes might start bleeding. I love hearing what other people are cooking up for dinner and this post has been one of my most popular, so I thought I’d do another installment with the dinners we’ve been loving lately. These are all recipes we’ve made at least twice and are a hit with the whole family. Hope you love them as much as we do!

Brown Butter Brussels Sprout Pasta with Hazelnuts: Admittedly this isn’t the healthiest dish on the list, but let me assure you it is worth every single calorie. YUM. My kids happen to LOVE Brussels sprouts, so this recipe really works in our house! You could easily add some grilled chicken to it to get some protein in there!

Creamy Chicken and Buttermilk Dumplings: This recipe is so comforting and if you get the Mirepoix from Trader Joe’s already chopped up it is crazyyyy easy and quick to make! This is definitely a fan favorite for the kiddos and perfect for the fall weather upon us.

Creamy Polenta Bowl with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Zucchini: My kids happen to be obsessed with polenta so this dish is a hit in our house! I either half the butter/Parmesan or omit completely and just sprinkle Parmesan on top at the end. The addition of the pesto really takes this recipe to the next level. It’s a winner!

Stuffed Cypriot Chicken from Jamie Oliver’s 30-Minute Meals: Our French friends in Amsterdam made this dish for us when they had us over for dinner one night and it made such an impression on us we looked up the recipe and have been making it ever since. It’s actually a pretty simple dish that seems impressive, so a great one to do when you have guests … But we make it all the time! I highly recommend watching the video if you’re a visual learner. The use of wet wax paper to help the chicken get crisp on the outside but stay soft and juicy on the inside is so easy and was new-to-me!

Perfect Herb-Grilled Chicken: This recipe is out of Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook (which I highly recommend!) and I love making the seasoning blend in bulk then freezing in individual baggies so we can whip it up easily anytime (and none of the herbs go to waste this way!). Everyone who has tried this when we make it is totally impressed and asks for the recipe. It’s not only easy and incredibly flavorful but also super healthy! 

Potsticker Stir-Fry: This is an amazing, simple weeknight meal to make! It comes together really quickly and our favorite potstickers to use are the cilantro chicken wontons from Trader Joe’s! Corey is especially a fan of this ones and the kids gobble it up. 

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This is going to sound dramatic, but it’s 100% honest: Podcasts have changed my life. They inspire me, motivate me, give me hope, enlighten me, teach me … They’re truly incredible. If you’re a friend of mine in real life you have probably heard me quote a podcast or reference a podcast at least once. I am sure it gets annoying, but they are really that great! 

I often get asked how I find the time to listen to all the podcasts I listen to … It’s easy! I listen to a podcast when I get ready in the morning, while I clean the kitchen during nap time, while I prep dinner, while I cook dinner, while I fold laundry, while I edit photos, while I’m driving alone … Pretty much any time I am doing something that doesn’t require my mental attention (and when the kids aren’t around), I’m listening to a podcast. 

The thing about podcasts is that there are SO many out there, it can feel overwhelming to figure out where to begin. That’s where I come in. Below I’ve outlined my absolute favorite podcasts, why I love them and pointed you to a few of my favorite episodes of those podcasts. If you’re a podcaster, I hope you find at least one new one to listen to! And if you’ve never dabbled in podcasts… Get ready for your life to be changed!

I’m also always in the market for new podcasts, so if you have one to recommend please leave it in the comments! I’d be forever grateful! 

Goop Podcast: This is a must listen, especially if you are a 30-something woman! 90% of the episodes completely blow my mind and make me think about life in a totally different way — whether that be how I eat, exercise, mother, work, etc. Pretty much every episode is my favorite episode, but if I had to pick my top three for you to start with it would be:

Postpartum Anxiety & The Motherhood Shift

Lessons From The Other Side

What Turns You On

Dear Sugars: This was one of the first podcasts I ever started listening to. It’s sort of like Dear Abbie. Listeners write letters to the hosts, Cheryl Strayed (author of the book Wild) and Steve Almond, and ask for their advice. I find Cheryl and Steve to be so open-minded, thoughtful and smart with their responses. One series that has stuck with me since I first listened to it over a year ago was their infidelity series (a topic I am really intrigued by because my dad cheated on my mom and left our family and I grew up to experience several romantic betrayals myself). The series gave me perspective on infidelity I would have never had and gave me a lot to think about. The Dear Sugars podcast also introduced me to Esther Perel who I now have a total girl-crush on. Literally every sentence that comes out of her mouth is crazy profound — I could listen to her forever!

A few other favorite Dear Sugar episodes:

Emotional Labor: The Invisible Work (Most) Women Do

The Power of No With Oprah Winfrey Part 1 and Part 2

Sibling Rivalry

The Inevitable Guilt of Motherhood

Coffee + Crumbs: This is a really easy listen each week on the topic of motherhood. It feels like you’re sitting with a group of friends chatting about the good and hard times that come with becoming a mother. The girls make me laugh, cry and nod my head in constant agreement. A few of my favorite episodes:

The One With All The Birth Stories

When Love Feels Heavy

The (Working) Girl Next Door Parts 1 and 2

Motherhood and Loneliness

The Lively Show: This is a relatively new-to-me podcast that I found through Sydney Poulton. I have really admired how she has grown and changed over the years and consider her very centered and wise. She recently recommended this podcast covering the basics on the Law of Attraction and I have been hooked ever since. This podcast is so inspiring and enlightening. After I listen to it I feel empowered to chase my dreams and goals and truly feel like I have the capability to achieve anything I put my soul and mind to. I highly recommend you start with this episode then go from there. I also found this episode on the science behind crystals SUPER fascinating — and of course ran out and bought my first five not long after!

Oprah’s Supersoul Conversations: Do I even need to provide a description here? It’s Oprah for crying out loud! In this podcast she sits down with notable authors, celebrities, artists and more and each time she speaks to someone she really pulls out some profound life lessons, as Oprah does. You can’t go wrong with any of the episodes but some of the most life-changing for me have been:

Dr. Shefali Tsabary: Conscious Parenting Can Change The World

Sheryl Sandberg How to Build Resilience and Find Joy After Loss

Maya Angelou: Part 1 and Part 2

The Longest Shortest Time: This is another parenthood podcast that I really enjoy. I would say it’s less touchy-feely-mushy than Coffee and Crumbs. There’s a huge range of topics and I love the host Hillary Frank. They say it’s the “parenting show for everyone” and I would totally agree — no matter your parenting style/beliefs/preferences there is an episode you will love and relate to. A few of my favorites: 

The Accidental Gay Parents series 

The Fun & the Chaos Part 1 and Part 2

Terry Gross on Not Having Kids

How I Built This: Not being an entrepreneur myself it might be surprising just how much I LOVE this podcast. It tells the stories of how companies like Warby Parker, Spanx, WeWork, Barre3, Lululemon, Starbucks and so many others were started. It is so fascinated to hear the twists and turns that eventually lead to these incredibly successful businesses. Listening to this podcast makes me feel like with enough hard work and persevere, passion and commitment, you can achieve the things you set out to. A few of my favorite episodes are:

Spanx: Sara Blakely

Barre3: Sadie Lincoln

Patagonia: Yvon Choinard

Warby Parker Dave Gilboa & Neil Blumenthal

Zumba: Beto Perez & Alberto Perlman

Airbnb: Joe Gebbia

Instagram: Kevin Systrom &. Mike Krieger

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