lily_aldridge

She might be a Victoria’s Secret Angel, but she defies all model stereotypes: She’s totally down-to-earth and says being a mom is the greatest joy she’s ever experienced. We chatted with the gorgeous Lily Aldridge while she was sitting in the hair chair prepping for a Victoria’s Secret shoot at Milk Studios. The supermodel is married to Kings Of Leon frontman Caleb Followill (yes, “Sex on Fire” was written about her), and they have a two-year-old daughter Dixie Pearl. Lily is extremely hands-on, and unless it’s a quick overnight trip, Dixie comes with her wherever she goes.

The family splits their time between Nashville and New York and just returned from England where they celebrated Dixie’s second birthday at the London Zoo, complete with a cowgirl theme, of course.

Lily got real with us about how she stayed fit during pregnancy, her secret to getting back in shape, her must-have beauty products (she’s obsessed!), her genius tips for traveling with a toddler, and much much more.

Stellar Advice

I was pregnant at same time as Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio and they gave me such good advice for how to stay in shape. I did a lot of prenatal yoga and got lots of massages. I relaxed and had the most beautiful pregnancy – I loved every second of it.

Back To Work

I saw all my friends bounce back with exercise and just being healthy. It was so inspiring to me, so I never worried about that. It was hard work getting back in shape, but I did it, and I was really proud.

After I gave birth, I started doing Ballet Beautiful with Mary Helen Bowers, and she got me ready for the VS fashion show four months post-baby. Getting back in shape with her was an amazing experience. She just had a baby too, so she has a prenatal workout video.

Model Moms

Being a working mom is such a good example for your child. All my friends I work with – Adriana, Miranda [Kerr] and Alessandra – are all amazing working moms, and it’s so great to have such a support system with your friends.

On The Go, Go, Go

Dixie already has so many frequent flyer miles – she comes with me everywhere unless it’s a quick overnight trip.

I pack tons of snacks (raisins and seaweed crisps are favorites) and download a bunch of educational apps on the iPad and let her go to town. It keeps her happy and the people around us, too, since she isn’t crying. Right now, she’s loving ABC Storybots, where robots sing songs about each letter. She can count and sing the ABCs – if you find the right educational apps, the iPad is a great learning tool.

I also have this amazing thing called the CARES Harness – it’s FAA-approved and you don’t need to carry on a car seat. It’s so incredible and makes traveling so much easier.

The Perfect Pregnancy

I did not model while pregnant. I checked out and really relaxed, enjoyed myself and had a healthy, happy pregnancy. I didn’t have tons of cravings, but one night at 4am, I was really wanting dried pineapple and I contemplated waking my husband to go and get it. I waited until the morning, but when I finally got it, it was glorious. Looking back, I should have woken him up!

Pregnancy Wardrobe

I loved my J. Brand maternity jeans. I also loved Hatch – they make such beautiful dresses. I had this one dress from them, and I swear every time I wore it, I got more compliments on it than any other outfit I have ever worn. They were so cute and comfortable. I would love to do a collaboration with them the next time I’m pregnant.

Beauty Junkie

I am a beauty freak. I went to Sephora yesterday and bought like the whole store. I love Creme de la Mer moisturizer, Proactiv Plus cleanser, Pure Fiji starfruit body scrub, Fresh lemon bath cubes, Tom Ford’s Jasmin Rouge and anything Kora [Miranda Kerr’s line].

When I was pregnant, I didn’t put anything on my body that wasn’t all natural. I went a bit wild. I have a whole new respect for ingredients and products. I used a lot of Mama Mio and Kora. To prevent stretch marks, I used a lot of oils – I put as many on as I could, and it worked! Loved the one by Mother’s Special Blend.

#Momfail

I swore I was going to feed her only healthy, organic stuff, but I totally give her juice and ice cream – you have to let them be kids! Also, trying to go down those swirly slides at the park always leads to an embarrassing moment.

The Name Game

I love classic names. I loved the name Pearl and my husband is Southern and he loved the name Dixie. We had two names picked out, and when she was born, I looked at her and just said, she’s a Dixie Pearl! She is such a firecracker and has so much personality – her name suits her perfectly.

Downtime

If you granted me three hours alone on a Saturday afternoon, you’d find me in bed watching House of Cards or Orange Is The New Black being so happy.

Lifesaving Baby Products

Water Wipes are so gentle and amazing, I now use them on my face! Other wipes were irritating her. I’m obsessed with Waxolene as a cure-all because it’s all natural and works. The Fisher-Price swing was a life saver, but next go around I’m getting the mamaRoo that sits on the floor.

The Challenge

Right now, Dixie is so social, and I’m really trying to teach her manners and to share, but it’s really hard to teach a two-year-old. I throw a full-on party in the street when she shares something with anyone, even me!

Night, Night

One of the greatest things I’ve done as a mom is put Dixie on a sleep schedule, using The Dream Sleeper book. It helps everyone get through the day – she knows when it’s time for a nap and is a great sleeper, and I can schedule workouts around that.

Yes, She Eats

I am a huge foodie. I appreciate delicious food, whether it’s a $1 taco or dinner at a five-star restaurant. One of my favorite meal is the roasted chicken at Barbuto, and the chef Jonathan Waxman just opened a restaurant in Nashville that I haven’t been to yet. When we land there tomorrow, the whole family is going directly to Adele’s for dinner. We are so excited he came to Nashville!

Fun With Dixie

We are members of The Nashville Zoo, which is incredible – one of the best zoos I’ve ever been to. At the end of my pregnancy, I would walk around there all day trying to get my labor started.

Dixie and I are obsessed with the homemade popsicles at Las Paletas and it’s right next door to the park, so we get popsicles and go to park and that’s my idea of a perfect day.

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.

rachel-blumenthal-shoes

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?

More

rachel-blumenthal-event

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.

rachel-blumenthal-guests1

rachel-blumenthal-guests2

rachel-blumenthal-crew

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.

rachel-blumenthal-beverages

rachel-blumenthal-food

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.

rachel-blumenthal-wishes

All images by Belathée Photography

karen mordechai

karens-photos

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.

More

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.

Eva Amurri Martino

Eva Amurri Martino charmed us in our recent interview, and then once again when she launched her blog Happily Eva After. Turns out the actress (and mom of Marlowe, 1, and daughter of Susan Sarandon) is also a funny, relatable writer when it comes to motherhood, style, and healthy living.

And yet, her recent post, where she opens up about her miscarriage with baby number two, moved us deeply: So much so that we got her permission to share it with you all. We appreciate how openly and honestly she conveys her sentiments, and, in the process, makes it easier for other women to share their stories. Thank you, Eva.

–––

It’s with a lot of heartache that I tell you Kyle, Marlowe, and I have some sad family news to share. I am sharing in the hopes that we can be a light for people going through similar circumstances, and to remind myself and others that there is no shame in voicing our heartbreaks and allowing others to comfort us.

More

A couple of days ago, the baby I was carrying passed away. I was nine weeks pregnant. When we found out we were expecting baby number two, we were scared and joyful all at the same time. Two babies under two! I was filled with nervous excitement– so amazed that Marlowe would have a sibling so close in age. Kyle and I hoped it was another girl. I was feeling great, with only minimal nausea and as much fatigue is to be expected with a toddler and the first trimester of pregnancy. While we were on vacation in Hawaii, we took some “Big Sis” photos with Marlowe, and began to tell her about the baby. Towards the end of our trip, I began to experience some spotting, but once I returned to Los Angeles, I got the all-clear from my doctor. We heard the heartbeat on multiple occasions, and watched our baby growing at a normal rate. When we celebrated Marlowe’s birthday, we shared the news with our families and closest friends.

big

At my next visit for a routine ultrasound, however, the baby’s heart was no longer beating. Just like that, it was all over. I remained in the office and went through the procedure to remove the baby from my uterus. I am so grateful to my wonderful doctor and his amazing staff, who were all so kind, compassionate, and loving with our family throughout the experience. I couldn’t have asked for better care as I went through such a painful day.

My doctor told me that this was most likely a case of there being an underlying major developmental problem with the fetus, and that it had simply stopped growing. That nature had taken its course in the most brutally honest and simple way that nature sometimes works. He also shared with me that this is heartbreakingly common (I won’t tell you the specific statistic because I don’t want to give anyone any unnecessary anxiety, but let’s just say we definitely all know at least one person this has happened to) Of course the fact that it is common doesn’t do anything to help the pain. But what was so shocking to me is how common miscarriages are, versus how little I hear them talked about. I’m not sure if this is because people are ashamed to suffer this loss, or whether the loss is simply too painful to share (I can see how this could be the case also).

To anybody enduring similar heartache, I will tell you what I’m feeling and processing as a result of this loss: A lot of confusion, some anger, deep sadness, and also an immense amount of gratitude. I have realized in the past forty-eight hours how incredibly grateful I am for the magic that I have in my life. I have the most amazingly supportive husband, and two loving families. I have wonderful friends, who have brought me nearly to my knees with their care and compassion during this hard time. And most of all, I have a healthy and happy daughter who I can hold in my arms and whisper in to her ear how much I adore her and how blessed I feel that I was lucky enough to bring her in to the world. I have so much.

Of course what I don’t have, and what I never will have, is this one little angel who has slipped away from me. And while it will take time for me to make peace with that fact, it gives me a lot of solace knowing that I told– that I have shared its existence with you, that it mattered, and that we loved it. And that will have to do.

Thank you for listening to our story.

xoxox

EAM