As a trained chef, Special Projects Director of Food & Wine Magazine, a judge on Top Chef (and Top Chef Masters and Top Chef Duels), host of the new show The Feed, overseer of the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, board member of City Harvest and Hot Bread Kitchen, published author (if you haven’t read Talking With My Mouth Full you should) – Gail Simmons has a lot on her plate.

Add to the roster: mom to five month-old Dahlia Rae. But don’t tell her that “it’s going to get better” because she already loves every minute of it: “It’s such a special, cozy, crazy, amazing time. Of course I am exhausted, but I don’t feel like I am trying to just get through to the next stage.”

The new mom leaves her Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, neighborhood – where they moved a week before she gave birth – for Boston soon to shoot season 12 of Top Chef with Dahlia Rae in tow.

We caught up with her (in between pumping and meetings) about the challenges of nursing and one of her most embarrassing moments (yes, it involves breastmilk).

What’s In A Name?

Dahlia is my favorite flower – it symbolizes sunshine and comes in so many amazing colors. It was our wedding flower and it was on our invitation. Rae is to honor my husband’s Aunt Rena, who passed away two years ago. She was so encouraging and supportive in our lives, and we love and miss her so much.

 Lifesaving Products

We opened the Fisher-Price bouncy chair when she was a month old, and we couldn’t believe we hadn’t opened it sooner. It allowed us to eat dinner, for me to pump and go to the bathroom when I was home alone with her. Once she hit three months, she graduated to the Mamaroo, which we call the hovercraft. She’s really into it now.

 Part Of The Club

On Top Chef, I was the only one who didn’t have kids, so they’ve been a wealth of knowledge and help. Michelle Bernstein made me realize it’s okay to be back at work and to lose the guilt associated with it because it’s the quality of the time you spend with your kids, not the quantity.

 Deep Thoughts From Gail

How will she sleep comfortably unswaddled? How can I leave the house without 14 bags? How do I pump when I’m running around all day? These are questions I don’t know the answers to.


I was taping in front of a live studio audience and forgot to put nipple pads in my bra. They leaked right there. It was horrifying. You think you’re at least keeping it together on the outside. Of course I was wearing a beautiful silk dress. And in case you didn’t know, yes, milk stains. It was a low point.

Get In My Belly

After giving birth, you feel like you don’t know anything, including how to keep yourself fed. I have mastered the efficient grocery shop. Fresh Direct is tough for me because I like to physically walk the aisles and see my options. I went to Union Market and created a basic order with them. Sometimes I go and pick everything out and have them deliver it, others I just call and ask for my basics. I embrace anyone who delivers these days.

Flower Child

I love Honest diapers. Dahlia wears dahlias on her bottom – how cute is that?! Angela and Ethan Stowell [chef] gave me this amazing RoSK blanket that’s waterproof on one side, soft and fluffy on the other and it ties onto the stroller. It’s great for the park because you can put the waterproof side on the ground.

Neighborhood Nosh

We moved to Cobble Hill a week before I gave birth, so we’ve been getting to know the restaurants with baby in tow. We love Buttermilk Channel, Court Street Grocers, Nightingale 9, Red Gravy, Iris Cafe – they’re all so accommodating and kid-friendly. I spent a month in LA shooting and we frequented Cafe Gratitude, Alfred Coffee & Kitchen and lunch at Fred Segal.

Just Stop, Already

Everyone keeps saying, oh it’s going to get better, but we are actually loving the early days. She’s only four and a half months, and we are already reminiscing about things she “used to do”. It’s such a special, cozy, crazy, amazing time. Of course I am exhausted, but I don’t feel like I am trying to just get through to the next stage.

Give Yourself A Break

I think new moms feel out of control so they obsess about routine and schedules, but the truth is they are babies, and you have to give yourself a break. They are going to be fine if you can’t feed them every three hours to the minute. Babies are adaptable and every child is different – you can’t prescribe one schedule for all. It’s all going to be okay as long as they are fed, dry and loved.

First Foods

I hope to make Dahlia Rae’s food myself in the beginning. I can’t wait for her to try avocado, banana, mango, sweet potato, peaches, corn. There would be great irony if I spawned a very picky eater.

Three Hours Alone On A Saturday

Will that ever happen again? I’m getting a mani, pedi and a massage anywhere that will take me at a moment’s notice.

Mom Brain

Now I know why my mom sometimes can’t remember my name. Because she had three children. I barely know my own name some days, and I only have one. Sleep deprivation is rough.


Photo Credit: Melanie Dunea

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1. Dress: Topshop, Shoes: Tibi
2. Dress: Issa
3. Dress: Rebecca Minkoff, Sunglasses: Anthropologie, Bag: Kenzo, Shoes: Tory Burch
4. Fringe Top: DKNY, Tee: Uniqlo, Bag: Edie Parker
5. Dress: Altuzurra, Shoes: Loeffler Randall

For Eva Chen, shopping is a full-time job. Sounds amazing, right? Don’t be fooled – when Anna Wintour hand-picks you to turn a flailing magazine into a smashing success, there’s an immense amount of pressure, but Eva’s not shaking in her Dr. Marten combat boots.


Quite the opposite in fact. The truly modern editor-in-chief of Lucky (the youngest at the helm of any Conde Nast title) and Chief Creative Officer of The Lucky Group (the new company established to bring the e-commerce part of the business to fruition) is in her element. After 7 years as Beauty Director at Teen Vogue, it’s no surprise Eva was chosen to make everyone’s favorite magazine about shopping actually, well, shoppable.

She understands how young women want to shop because she is one of them. And she’ll never tell you that piece you splurged on last season is “out” – instead, she’ll show you how to style it differently.

Eva gets social media and has the following to prove it – 280K followers on Insta, 88K on Twitter. Her daily morning post of the shoes and handbag she’s wearing (accompanied by a piece of fruit!) is just the kind of whimsy and personality her followers can’t get enough of – so obviously they (we!) all flipped when she announced her pregnancy with an extra special take on her ritual posts.

The mom-to-be describes her personal style as high-street meets high-end, but we prefer to call it what it really is: badass. We caught up with Eva about her pregnancy wardrobe, the baby products she’s obsessing over, and the design of her nursery. Without further ado, the very real, super-cool Eva Chen ….

Pregnancy Style

I feel exceptionally lucky that sweatshirt dressing and oversized sweaters are on-trend this fall-winter. They’re comfortable, they’re forgiving, and they look great with flat combat boots.

Giving In to Maternity Clothes

Despite swearing up and down I wouldn’t buy maternity clothing, I invested in a pair of Isabella Oliver leather leggings and a pair of maternity jeans from Topshop and I honestly don’t know how I’ll go back to regular, non-elasticized waists come next spring.

Just Don’t

If something is uncomfortable in the beginning of the day, don’t even bother. By the end of the day, you’ll be erupting out of your clothes and really just cross with yourself for not knowing any better (as was my case yesterday).

Pretty in Pink

I am super obsessed with Kalon’s Caravan Crib. My friend Samantha sent me a link to it and it was the first thing that made me feel like ‘this is actually happening’ and also ’this will be fun.’

If These Walls Could Talk

For my nursery, I had custom wallpaper designed by my decorators McGrath II and Caitlin McGauley. I can’t give away too much about it because it gives away the name of our daughter. Everything else in the nursery is revolving around this one print.

Mini Me

Baby Dr Marten combat boots and baby New Balances: mommy and me shoes? Yes, please.

Product Junkie

I already used a lot of organic skincare, but have been extra into Weleda, Jurlique, Ren, Nude, and Indie Lee lately for facial and body skincare. On my tummy, I’ve been using a mix of Darphin facial oils (YOLO!) and Aden + Anais stretch mark cream. Here’s hoping the combination works!

Get In My Belly

Pizza: There was a week where I ordered 4 pies in 4 days from Ribalta. Listen, the baby wants what it wants. Sparkling water with extra ice: I get a shipment of Poland Spring sparkling water once a week and by mid-week I’m through. Cantaloupe: specifically the Sugar Kiss melons from FreshDirect.

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5 fabulous family trips

Family Trip (n.): the act of packing up a week or weekend’s worth of your and baby’s stuff and staying in a hotel or Airbnb in a desired destination, such as beach or mountain town, where PB&J and milk in plastic cups is on the menu and pool toys plentiful.
Antonym: Vacation
Used in a sentence: After a family trip, you will need a vacation.

While lovely, a “family trip” is not a “vacation.” There will be no sleeping in, no candle-lit baths, and no novels read. But what there will be is the look on baby’s face when his toes touch sand for the first time and his mind being blown when he hears cows moo IRL – which is awesome in a totally different way.

For this type of getaway, we went to the experts Pavia Rosati and Jeralyn Gerba of Fathom, our go-to resource for all things travel. They know about secret, cool, off-the-beaten path gems like, say – a restored castle on a mini pony farm/vineyard in Bariloche.

These 5 family-friendly destinations get their stamp of approval (and ours too!).



Destination: Tuscany, Italy

Where To Stay: La Bandita Townhouse (from $380 per night), where two ex-New Yorkers (and their five-year-old) created a stylish 12-room retreat in the most adorable, pedestrians-only town of Pienza. Besides their own spot-on recommendations, there’s a sweet kitchen restaurant and backyard where little tykes eat for free and play while they wait.
Where To Eat: Nearby Sette di Vino offers the best lunch in town.
What To Do: Take a stroll in the Tuscan hillside, then stop for gelato. Repeat.
The best part: The town is pedestrians-only, so littles can run around safely. If it’s seclusion you want, book the La Bandita Country House.


Destination: Antigua

Where to stay: Jumby Bay (from $1,575 per night – includes all meals, cocktails, and wine). A multi-generational family vacation in the Caribbean during spring break sounds like a recipe for disaster, unless you find a private island. This one is bright blue, secluded, and free of cars.
Where to eat: It’s the rare all-inclusive that’s not cheesy and won’t make you feel trapped.
What to do: Water sports, tennis, putting green, and kids’ club activities are all complimentary. The bird sanctuary, rainforest zipline, and cricket games are just a bike ride away.
The best part: You reach the retreat via seven-minute ride on the resort catamaran – huge hit with kids.


Destination: Costa Rica

Where To Stay: Andaz Peninsula Papagayo (from $236 per night), a new, beautifully designed compound with stylish amenities, attentive staff, and picturesque pools overlooking the beach.
Where to eat: Four actually cool dining options exist on site. Food is fresh and tropical (ceviches, salads), the coffee bar menu is extensive, and the cocktails (for mommy) are the real deal. The kids will love pizza night.
What to do: The resort overlooks Culebra Bay in a protected cove with crystal clear water. Little kids can snorkel or stand knee-deep and still see coral below. It’s a no-brainer for a four-day stay.
The best part: JetBlue flies direct from JFK to Liberia in less time than it takes to get to LA.


Destination: West Virginia

Where to stay: The Greenbriar (from $264 per night), where old-fashioned Southern hospitality is hard at work. The Dorothy Draper interiors make amazing backdrops for family portraits and jealousy-inducing Instagrams.
Where to eat: Hit up the Livery Tavern in the early bird hour for farm-to-table dining.
What to do: There are tons of activities for little guys (movies, laser tag, bowling, fishing, falconry) and VIP status for kids under 12. Gambling, shopping, and other vices are available for parents.
The best part: There are direct flights from NYC, and a luxury steam train from Washington, DC, so it’s really pretty accessible for being the middle of nowhere.


Destination: The Great American West!

Where to stay: in an AirstreamToGo (from $1,920 for 3 days), an adorable silver-wrapped apartment on wheels that you can rent in a Las Vegas/LA/Bozeman parking lot.
Where to eat: Kitchenettes are included, so stock up on favorite treats.
What to do: Head to the Grand Canyon, the New Mexico Hot Air Balloon Festival, or Palm Springs – you won’t even need a hotel!
The best part: It’s kitschy, comfy, cute, affordable, and you can fit the whole family inside.

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You’ll see! Your marriage will never be the same! It gets easier!

We’ll never understand why fellow parents feel compelled to utter a repetitive batch of unhelpful cliches upon announcing that you’re pregnant. Why not share a tips on keeping your relationship intact – thriving even – while everything else feels new and overwhelming? That’s what we’re here for…

Line Up Help

A baby nurse the first few weeks (or months!) makes life’s biggest transition immensely easier. It’s expensive but an investment that’s worth it if you can swing it.

Say Yes!

If a baby nurse is not in the cards, take family and friends up on their offers to help. An extra set of hands for an hour so you can take a shower will feel like a gift. Even better if you can schedule ahead and make the best use of your “free time”.


Better Together

Don’t be a hero: let your partner help. Accepting help isn’t always about giving you time off (though that’s nice) it’s about letting your other half feel and be useful. And guess what: they usually are!

All Bets Are Off

Ignore anything your partner says between 1am and 5am – it doesn’t count!

Dinner Conversation

Eat dinner without phones or TV so you actually talk to one another.

Couples Who Plan Together…

Use a shared calendar (we love google calendar). 1) Now you’ll know where the other is in case of an emergency. 2) It cuts down on tedious scheduling chats. 3) Date night!

Don’t Go It Alone

Hang out with other moms if only to realize how good you have it. Oh, really, you haven’t had sex in 9 months? (Silently feel awesome that you did it last week.)

In The Trenches

Sleep train as soon as your doctor says your babe is ready. If that fails, call in a sleep consultant. Sleep deprivation makes even small relationship blips feel like huge issues. If you can survive sleep training together (and you will), you can make it through anything.

The remaining tips are doable once your babe
is sleeping through the night.

Take Turns

One person sleeps in Saturday morning, the other Sunday. Pick your day and make it “you time” to sleep, read, exercise, etc. while your partner tends to the baby. And keep your hand off the Message app – they’re doing fine without you.

Baby Bonding

On weekends, each parent has a one-on-one activity with the baby (swimming lessons, grocery shopping, etc), giving the other an hour or two to run errands, work out, or binge on TV.

Me Time

Each of you should claim a night of your own during the week where the other does daycare pick-up (or relieves nanny) and is free to work late, exercise, see a friend for dinner, or – gasp! – all three. Having a specific night lets you plan ahead and have something to look forward to.

Get Outta Town

Plan a weekend away before your baby turns 1. Have someone you trust watch your child, and go remember why you liked each other enough to have a baby in the first place.


Get a hotel room – sleeping in together for one glorious morning can do wonders for your relationship (not to mention the benefits of a little sexytime).

Have A Life

Your “me time” isn’t just for you – it’s for your relationship. Keep yourself sexy and interesting by seeing friends, hitting the gym or a class, and staying engaged with the world (read, girl!). It will give you something to talk about with your partner besides the baby.

Join The Babysitters Club

Have a regular sitter for date night either weekly or bi-weekly. Nothing to talk about with your other half? See a movie & then grab a bite.

Divide & Conquer

Split up household duties, so you’re each responsible for specific chores like food shopping (i.e. ordering from FreshDirect), laundry, necessities (i.e. ordering the essentials regularly from, paying bills, buying diapers, etc. You don’t want to be arguing at 3am about who was supposed to buy more toilet paper.

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