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When we caught up with Jordana Brewster, fresh on the heels of filming season three of Dallas and getting ready to shoot The Fast & The Furious 7, she was as grounded as we’d heard (no makeup! in public!). Not that she doesn’t work for it, “I’m very passionate about constantly working on myself, whether it be through therapy, meditation or self help books.” The mother of eight-month-old Julian – who grew up in Panama City, Brazil and NYC and now lives in Santa Monica – has an adorable practice with her two best friends: “We email each other a gratitude list at the end of the day. Every day. Shifting your perspective is so important!”

Toys Schmoys

Take things you already have around the house — a rock, pine cone, paper towel tube — and put them in a bowl or basket for your baby to play with. They love the different textures and once they tire of one, they move on to the next. You don’t even need traditional toys. Next up is edible paint, but he’s not old enough yet. I love The Imagination Tree website for this kind of thing!

Clothes Make The Baby

I’m obsessed with Petit Bateau and Nununu baby clothes, especially Nununu’s pants. Some days Julian’s style is very hipster/skater, and others I dress him like Prince George: a little gentleman.

Be Present

There’s no such thing as multitasking as a mom – if you’re answering emails, you aren’t giving the baby the attention he needs. I’m trying to be more mindful and setting aside time to devote myself to work so I can give him my full attention when I am with him. It’s a work in progress. I meditate twice a day to resist the urge!

Lifesaving Baby Products

For the first 6 months, the Nuna Leaf saved me. I loved that it’s not motorized, Julian found it so soothing and I had my hands free for a short while. Now he wants to be held at all times, but it was great while it lasted. Also the Baby Shusher is a genius invention. At first it felt really lazy, but all that shushing is exhausting! There’s also an app, which I used after I dropped and broke the actual shusher. Oh, and buy the NoseFrida. It’s so convenient and surprisingly addictive.

Skip It

Diaper bags are overrated. I just throw a Bambo diaper, Naty wipes, one toy and a sippy cup in my purse.

Insider Tricks

Find a pediatrician that answers emails or texts. It gives me so much peace of mind to be able to get timely answers without having to take the baby to the doctor. Also, I constantly start email chains with my mom friends about any question I have and they always ease my worries and have good advice.

Truth

I thought I would be this zen earth mama, but I am more paranoid about things than I used to be. People say that once you become a mom you’ll know exactly what to do, but that isn’t necessarily true. I find myself more anxious than before.

A Bag of Tricks

I was shooting Dallas in Texas and traveled back and forth 10 times with Julian. The trick is to give a bottle on the way up and down and to have a bag of tricks. You’re basically an entertainer for the whole plane ride, so pull one toy out at a time and let him play with it until he gets bored. You have to switch up what’s in the bag every trip too.

Hey, Jules

My husband and I had differing opinions on names but out of the blue one day, he said I love the name Jules. And I loved it too. And there we had it.

#Momfail

One day, Julian ate a leaf and then puked it up shortly thereafter. That’s when I realized I have to have my eyes on him at all times.

On Our Radar, September 3, 2015

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Morgan Lane x Alison Lou
WHO: Moms in need of something that makes them feel witty and sexy – both around the house or under their regular clothes.
WHAT: Two cool-girl brands teamed up for a capsule collection of loungewear that pairs jewelry designer Alison Lou’s emoji-mania with Morgan Lane’s luxe-with-a-wink lingerie.
WHEN: Before you pull on those old, sad pjs one more time.
WHERE: morgan-lane.com

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Aromatherabee Books
WHO: Anyone who wants their little’s bedtime to go more smoothly (hi, everyone).
WHAT: The essential oils craze comes to story time with a scratch-and-sniff book that promotes rest and calm with naturally sedative aromatherapy.
WHEN: When you can’t take one more “But I’m not tiiired”
WHERE: aromatherabee.com

Lulu DK x The Land Of Nod
WHO: Parents who want nursery accessories stylish and elevated enough that they can work in any room of the house.
WHAT: Artist and interiors guru Lulu DK brings her magic to the playroom, with her signature color blocking and watercolor-inspired designs on crib sheets, baskets, rugs, and more.
WHEN: In time for hosting that next playdate.
WHERE: landofnod.com

Joseph Joseph’s M-Cuisine Line
WHO: Parents trying to get dinner on the table with as little kitchen time as possible.
WHAT: Joseph Joseph’s brand-new line of cookware… specifically for the microwave. Minimalist, elegant design that lets you poach an egg, cook (& drain!) pasta with the press of a button. Bonus points for the stackable piece that makes a 3-course meal in one shot.
WHEN: Before you eat hummus for dinner (again).
WHERE: josephjoseph.com

Cricket’s Circle IRL: Rachel’s Sip & See

Last month we gathered for what can best be summed up as Cricket’s Circle come to life: a Sip & See celebrating our founder Rachel and her second baby, Gemma. Not only did it channel the warmth, fun, and beauty we strive for on the site, but many of the guests – awesome moms with serious accomplishments – are CC profile alumnus (including the event’s gracious and charming hostess, One Kings Lane co-founder Ali Pincus). We had to share a few of the photos with you because it seemed fitting that it’s not a true CC moment without our readers. Plus, you’re going to want to steal a few of these high-impact, minimal-effort moves that made it so memorable. And speaking of wanting to steal…

Like mother, like daughter: Gemma is already killing it in the footwear department.

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THE SCENE

The Rooftop at the NoMad Hotel, a warmly elegant space with layered antique rugs and stunning city views – made all the more lush with plenty of flowers.

Copy this: Instead of dealing with floral arrangements, go to the flower market (or: Whole Foods EARLY) and choose the most enormous, stunning blooms, and put single stems in clusters of glass vases. How crazy-beautiful are these dinnerplate dahlias?

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The Guest List

Lto R: One Kings Lane co-founder Ali Pincus, Ivanka Trump Creative Director and blogger Marisa Kraxberger, Ivanka Trump, Compas’ Amanda Tarter, FEED Projects SVP Kim Nemser, co-founder Mini Mode Colleen Crivello, Instagram’s Director of Fashion Partnerships Eva Chen.

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The Meal

LOTS of coffee (hi, this is a working moms’ brunch), a tower of flaky, melt-in-your-mouth croissants (let’s split one! OK wait, no, let’s each have our own), savory quiche, and the biggest hit: A creamy avocado toast our team is still dreaming about.

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Copy This: The NoMad’s Chef Daniel Humm kindly shared his recipe that we’ve already recreated at home twice:

I took 3 avocados with about a ¼ cup of lime juice, added salt to taste, and pureed them in the blender until really smooth. You will need to cut the avocados up pretty small to get the puree started in the blender.

For the bread, I used Miche which is a rye bread. I took a good amount of olive oil and brushed both sides of the bread. The toast is at its best in a really hot oven – about 500 degrees with a high fan, if you have convection. After the bread is toasted, I smeared the Avocado puree on the bread and topped with fresh slices of avocado, fleur de sel, and cracked black pepper.

The Warm Fuzzies

Host Ali welcomed us all to the brunch and then revealed the day’s “activity”: We were all to answer one of three questions for baby Gemma on pale pink paper to be bound into a book.

Copy This: Grab some thick cardstock in your favorite color and a selection of pens so guests can create their own messages – it’s a perfect keepsake for mom and an easy and sweet way for guests to pass on well wishes and advice. PLUS: Prep each plate with an automatic thank-you (slash table decor) with a color-coordinated bag of sweets. Whether guests polish them off on the way home or ration them out as potty training treats for their own littles, it’s a perfect way to wrap up the event on a memorable and sweet (see what we did there?) note.

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All images by Belathée Photography

karen mordechai

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You know when you stumble upon a magazine spread or Instagram rabbit hole of a picturesque dinner party of perfectly dressed people having (what looks like) riveting conversation over farm-fresh food at a beautifully set table, and you start to feel really bad about your Saturday night of Chinese food and bad TV?

Karen Mordechai is responsible for those photos. But her aim isn’t to make you feel guilty: It’s to inspire you to get in the kitchen to cook and share meals. Her company, Sunday Suppers, started out as a series of beautiful, low-key dinner parties… and 5 years later has transformed into one of NYT’s top cookbooks and a second burgeoning business. Along the way, Karen has become a tastemaker endorsed by the likes of The Today Show, Martha Stewart, and Food & Wine.

Her aesthetic strips away the unnecessary – leaving simple beauty. One look at her Instagram handle, and you’ll understand why she has 233K followers and is considered as much a lifestyle expert as a cook and photographer.

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, her presence is as calming as her images. Talking to her is soothing – there is no chaos in her voice. But instead of being envious of how seamlessly she manages her businesses and home life, you think wait a minute, maybe I can make a beautiful dinner tonight too!

Meet the inspiring Karen Mordechai.

#Obsessed

Because of our new line ILĀ , I’m obsessed with ingredients — their quality, how they are sourced, and how to use them beautifully in the kitchen. I’m equally obsessed with my little girl and have been every step of the way. She is starting kindergarten this fall and I’m not sure how that’s possible. The time has flown by and I just want to keep her 4 3/4 and right by my side forever.

Stressing Over…

Launching a new business! We’re about a week or so into our Kickstarter for a product line that has been my dream for many years. And seeing it come to life is both amazing and intense. I think I had forgotten how much care and attention goes into a young business.

Dream Meal

We just got back from Italy, so I would say a Tuscan steak, burrata, tomatoes and fresh truffle pasta.

Go-To Family Dinner

Hands down fish tacos. They’re super easy and also great for when you have friends over.

In Her Fridge

My refrigerator, as expected, is always full. Think greens, broccoli, kale, a cooked pot of quinoa, roasted beets, and staples like avocados, mushrooms, goat cheese and olives for Sophia (they are her favorite).

Chef Dreams

I would love to cook a meal with Julia Child or Alice Waters.

Wakey, Wakey

In the morning, I go to Instagram and my email— usually in that order.

On The Old Balance Topic…

Like most moms, I really struggle with balance. I’m hard on myself about finding time for Sophia, my husband, work, and myself without having any category feel under-nourished. I over-do things as a general rule and should let some of that go, but you know, easier said than done.

Life Hack

I try to streamline food making, so I’ll make a big pot of grains on Sunday for the week, or roast beets, or a whole chicken. And then lunches and dinners are easier. I spend less time cooking and more time on assembly. I’m also a huge fan of lists. I make a grid in my notebook and separate all the categories – home, work, studio, personal, Sophia. It’s kind of like a reflection of all the things bouncing around my brain, but I can see them visually on paper— in distinct boxes— and somehow that makes it easier to manage.

Raising Kids In NYC

The best thing is that there is culture at every turn. And the early exposure to the realities of life – both good and bad. We recently had to explain homelessness to Sophia because a man on the subway got up and told his story and asked for help. I saw an empathy in her eyes and I thought that’s actually very cool – what an interesting perspective she must have at the age of 4.

Parenting Is HARD

The care and the nurturing part comes easy. The rest becomes a challenge – becoming the parent that you would admire, setting boundaries and being structured, but also creating an ease and fluidity. These things challenge me all the time.

Her Comfy Clothes

l like linen, loose, comfortable, and hopefully a little chic with a pair of cool kicks. My go-to brands are Madewell, Black Crane, Elizabeth Suzann, and Steven Alan.

How She Unwinds

I need some form of quiet time. I’m actually a very introverted person and the time alone recharges me: Having coffee outside at Marlow and Sons. Stealing time for a yoga class at Abhaya. Or getting a massage at Great Jones Spa. A weekend away with a girlfriend is also a must at least once a year.

#Momfail

I actually forgot to pick up Sophia from school! It was the early days, when she first started nursery school, and somehow I thought I was supposed to pick her up at 4 p.m. So I sat gingerly sipping a tea at a coffee shop and at 3:15 pm the phone rang. It was her teacher asking where we were, so of course I rushed over frantically.