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Filtering by Tag: Life

Healthy Hippity-Hoppity Easter Ideas

Rachel O'Reilly

By Rachel O'Reilly

Easter is an especially whimsical holiday… I’m sure we can all remember the enchantment we felt as children waking up Easter morning and finding bunny paw prints leading us to our Easter basket, or the exhilaration of an Easter egg hunt, or the simple joy of gathering with family and community. Holidays are a sweet opportunity to relive that magic with your own kids and remember how special all those little traditions were to you!

Infusing more meaning and fun into family life with rituals and traditions is something we love to do at Cherish, so we’ve put together a few simple ideas, some borrowed from generations of Easter Bunnies, and some new hippity-hop ones that we hope you enjoy sharing with your little honey buns!

Dyeing Easter Eggs, Naturally

The hues that natural egg dyeing produces are so rich and beautiful, and most importantly are non-toxic and safe for children. This visual ingredient guide shows how simple natural dying really is. Most of these ingredients are things you probably already have in your kitchen. Thanks to Kristen Rickert for these instructions for natural egg dyeing. Eggcellent!

Healthy Bunny Treats

  • We’re big fans of Annies Organic Foods, and so are our kids. Luckily you can find these bunny fruit snacks and bunny crackers, (available gluten-free) at any Whole Foods or natural foods store, and they are a fun treat to incorporate in Easter baskets or to stuff Easter eggs with for a hunt.

  • Sometimes, if the Easter Bunny leaves baby carrots behind, kids will happily munch them down… Another way to sneak in healthy foods as festive fun is by cutting fruit, these homemade nutritious bars, cheese or other wholesome options with these Easter-themed cookie cutters.

Holidays often mean processed candy and unhealthy levels of sugar for kids, but rather than avoiding sweets entirely, these less sugary options will make any bunny happy!

  • Jelly beans made with organic fruit juice.

  • Sunflower seeds covered in chocolate or yogurt-covered raisins.

  • Gut-healthy gummies (which can be made in any festive shape you desire).

  • We were surprised by how easy these vegan, gluten-free, and overall healthy homemade chocolate bunnies are to make. Check out the Hippy Homemaker for the recipe.

Eggcellent Egg Hunt

  • Put a crystal inside an egg like rose quartz with an explanation of it's magical power (this is great for children 3 years+ so there's no risk of choking). 

  • Stuff eggs with special “coupon” notes for gifts and family activities. For example, “An afternoon at the Discovery Museum!” or, “A new soccer ball!” or, “Let’s go fly your new kite!” or, “A picnic at the park with grandma and grandpa!"

  • You can create an egg hunt anywhere, like in your house or backyard, but it can also be fun to use the hunt as an excuse explore somewhere new! Check out a different park or adventure on a new trail (where Dad or Mom can run ahead or go beforehand to place eggs before the kids reach the mysterious egg hunt spot), or even visit a local farm or petting zoo, and give kids the chance to see baby chicks, bunnies, or other farm animals up close. These kinds of outings can create thrilling and lasting memories as a family. Spring is such a great time to cherish nature and blooming life all around!

Happy Easter EveryBunny!

Getting your sexy back after baby: Light kink & bondage

Rachel O'Reilly

Getting your sexy back after baby can be a challenge. Hormonally, physically and emotionally your body needs time to heal and adjust. Without rushing the process, at some point both you and your partner will want to reconnect and feel the sweet heat of sensual intimacy again.

Of course, things are different than they were pre-baby when you both were getting a full night’s sleep! It may also feel vulnerable for women to share their postpartum body again with their partner. In any case, infusing your sexy time with a fresh twist can be an inviting way to create new energy in the relationship…and makes you temporarily forget about the lack of zzz’s or other barriers you might have.

One of the options for a provocative twist is kink and bondage. For most, the words “kink” and “bondage” probably evoke a taboo “50 Shades” vision of whips and chains, leather shiny things strapped all over, and a punishing-like environment. However, that doesn’t have to be the case and indeed isn’t for most couples who enjoy a little “kinky” time! There are many sensual and simple ways to incorporate kink and bondage into your sex life that will enable you to go to another place together while feeling safe...and very turned on.  

Typically this kind of sexual play involves what’s known as a “Dominant” and a “submissive.” In male/female relationships there’s usually a desire by partners to be one or the other. You might think that being a female submissive would make you an “object” for your Dominant to use in whatever way pleases him. In fact, in loving kink and bondage experiences, (what we’re talking about here), this is not the intention. What IS is an opportunity for the man to be in “control” while feeling into his manhood, a sensation he may lack post-baby and something you may be craving more of. A Dominant can follow his intuitive desires to do things to please, surprise and satisfy the female submissive. This can be an experience of total worship of a woman’s body, or the submissive, without any form of degradation.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a few tips and resources to explore what might become your new desired way to be intimate and feel sexy after baby.

Prepping for a night of light kink & bondage

Items to consider starting with: A quick google search will pull up many sites to purchase these items below, (and more). If you have a good intimacy store nearby, like Good Vibrations or another boutique, drum up some courage, stop by and check out the options. Sometimes it’s nice to touch and see what you want and the people working there are very welcoming and helpful. 

  • Silk or satin sashes: Silky, soft and perfect for tying ankles or wrists together or to blindfold. Consider buying 2-4 sashes that are each at least three-feet in length.

  • Soft body rope: In addition to sashes, there’s also rope made specifically for being soft on your body. You or your partner may want to consider reading about some of the basic sexy rope tying techniques before using these.

  • Bondage cuffs: If you prefer to not tie using sashes or rope, bondage cuffs are available for wrists and ankles. You can even find ones that are lined with soft materials.

  • Blindfold: Try silk or some other soft material with an elastic strap or ties. Or, use a sash.

  • Flogger, whip, or paddle: These come in all shapes and sizes. Whatever you choose, light and playful pressure still can feel surprisingly intense without leaving a mark.

  • Feather tickler

  • Nipple clamps: If you decide to give this a try, go for nipple clamps that are completely adjustable, meaning you can set them for a light squeeze or something more intense if you choose.

  • Massage oil candle: We love this one from Oskia, London. You can pour the oil directly from the lit candle onto the skin without worry of burning your loved one.

  • Things you have at home: Ice, oils, lube, or whatever else you want to add to your experience.

  • Of course lingerie, or adorning your body however you like can add to the experience.

Getting in the zone: Before you start, establish two levels of safe words. For example, “yellow” could mean it’s getting a bit too intense, signaling the Dominant to pull back a bit. “Red” could mean stop, immediately. These words lay the groundwork to freely enjoy the experience with both partners knowing they can adjust or end it at anytime.

Whoever is planning to be the Dominant should spend a few minutes alone getting familiar with whatever additions you’ve decided to include for your time together. For example, adjust the nipple clamps to see what that requires. Just put your hands on the items and get comfortable with it all.

A good opening line that can establish who’s in control could be the Dominant telling the submissive, “You have 10 mins. to get ready and be on the bed.” It creates anticipation and gives the submissive a direction to follow. This time can be used to put on lingerie, shower, brush teeth, etc. During this time the Dominant should be thinking about creating the most sensual space possible. Cell phone ringers off, lights low, candles lit, (body massage oil candle too!), the right playlist on if you want music, and a bed that’s ready.

The next steps are up to you! A simple and erotic way to begin is by covering the eyes of the submissive and tying wrists and/or ankles. The Dominant could even then leave the submissive on the bed in the dark to tune into his/her senses, further building anticipation while the Dominant gets him/herself ready, (shower, brush teeth, etc.). The first several minutes should be about easing into the full sensory experience, acknowledging the whole body of the submissive with calculated touch, using whatever additions you like. The Dominant might assertively whisper his/her demands such as, “roll over” or “don’t move” as part of the sexy build up as you explore deeper into each other’s desires and senses.

Submissives: Your role is to be in touch with your body, let go, and receive. Often much harder than it sounds ;)

Don’t rush it! Relish in the process. Take your time. Go there together.

If you want further reading or resources, here are some goodies:

Naughty knots

Sexy stories: The big book of kink

Or, many more here.

Any naughty tips, resources, or ways you’ve found to bring your sexy back after baby? We’re all ears…

Pause for a parenting reflection

Rachel O'Reilly

By Courtney Ward

Last fall, I visited the historic Moss Beach Distillery with my husband and daughter after a day of festivities at the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival, in Half Moon Bay, California. The restaurant is as equally known for its breathtaking cliffside views of the pacific as it is for “The Blue Lady,” the resident ghost who has haunted the restaurant for over seventy years.

The day was cold and overcast. The fog was thick and rolled onto the shore in silent disappearing waves. Combined with our family's overflowing Halloween spirit, we decided that this would be a perfect lunch spot, and maybe even become a Halloween tradition.

The last time we had been there was shortly after our daughter was born. We wanted to enjoy a coastal drive and check out somewhere we hadn’t been. The restaurant has an outdoor patio which - bonus! - allows dogs, has a fire pit, and a never ending view of the ocean.

We were so proud to have her out that day to sit outside and enjoy a cold beer and some snacks.

This time, our daughter was four. It’s unbelievable how quickly time has passed since that last visit.

As we were having our lunch and trying to model manners, such as “French fries go in your mouth and aren’t drumsticks”, “The table is not to dance around” and “Please stop staring at the people behind to us,” a couple sat down right next to us with their newborn baby girl. Now we were the ones staring, smiling, remembering our baby that size.

Suddenly everything seemed to come full circle, and the Moss Beach Distillery had magically turned into a time machine.

Often times as parents, you don’t realize how far you have come. We don’t take the time to reflect on the milestones that we’ve passed and how much more equipped we are to be parents now then we were four years ago.

My husband and I smiled at each other in a way we hadn’t in a long time. We had made it this far, together, and now have this little girl, who feels closer to being a teenager than she does to being a newborn.

That’s not to say that parenting suddenly becomes easier at four. As I am writing this I have a sneaking suspicion that my french bulldog has secretly been given half of my daughter’s dinner. I do a double take when I realize that her declaration of “I’m full” now, will become cries of “I’m STAAAARRRVVVING!” in about twenty minutes. Parenting however is a journey, not a race, so next time you feel like you aren’t being all the parent you can, take a moment and reflect on the little victories you have had along the way.

What is a victory that you have had recently? Tell us in the comments below!

Our Top Picks for Healthy Meal & Grocery Delivery Services

Rachel O'Reilly

One of the biggest day-to-day stresses can be how to fill the bellies in your family with nourishing food while having limited time to prepare “3 square meals” a day. Luckily, it’s never been more convenient to get healthy meals and groceries straight to your door. One of my new year's intentions is to spend less time in the kitchen while still nourishing my body with quality food. This list will help you do just that!

Grocery

  • Good Eggs: This group is on a mission to grow and sustain local food systems = Local brands and most produce that is on average 9 days fresher than what you’d find in most stores with next day delivery - That’s appetizing!

  • InstaCart: Instead of running around to multiple stores, with a few clicks you can have your items delivered within hours in many major cities and suburbs. Order your faves from Costco, Whole Foods, PetSmart, and more... One and done.

  • Google Express: With overnight delivery from pretty much any store you can think of from Target to REI to Walgreens, this service is a super time saver!

Meal Delivery

  • Urban Remedy: We love this company that offers organic-everything options that are rainbow bright beautiful! Nearly all of us ladies at Cherish have enjoyed the juices and nourishing meals that Urban Remedy offers. They ship all their goodies nationally and have some sweet stores in CA. These nutrient dense foods are especially great for getting your body ready for baby, pregnancy, and postpartum healing.

  • Thistle: Want ready to eat nutritionist-designed meals at your door? Thistle is your answer. Chock full of nutrient rich ingredients, these meals will help you get your glow on.

  • Sakara: Plant based, organic, ultra nourishing superfood meals is what Sakara is all about and they do it beautifully and tastefully. Meals are delivered ready to eat, so save yourself that time in the kitchen and dig in!

  • Methodology: You choose your portion size and they deliver fully cooked nutritious meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner options), that are organic, locally sourced when possible and do not include any dairy, sugar, canola oil, gluten, chemicals, or preservatives. Eat your clean heart out!

  • Green Chef: This all-organic meal delivery provides you everything you need to make a delicious and healthy family meal in 30 mins. or less.

  • Sun Basket: Whether you’re gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, or paleo Sun Basket has you covered with all-organic, non-GMO ingredients and high-quality meats/ poultry/ fish sourced sustainably. Everything is pre-measured too, which means less waste.

  • Sprig: If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sprig offers ready-made meals to your door in 20 mins. Or less. Each meal is geared to be wholesome using mostly organic and seasonal ingredients prepared by some of SF’s top chefs. Check out what they’re offering each day, and push that button to have it arrive at your door.

Any we missed?! What time saving and stress reducing tips do you find work best for mealtime planning?

 

A conversation with Emma Casagrande - Mom and Shark Diver

Rachel O'Reilly

By: Courtney Ward

 

I’m fascinated by women who have really cool jobs and are Moms too. Being a working Mom myself, I know the juggle is real. Today we are featuring an interview with my friend, Emma Cassagrande; wife, mother, shark conservationist and world traveler. Let’s dive right in!

 

When we met several years ago on a whale shark diving trip in Mexico, you were hesitant to even get in the water. Now you frequently dive and photograph sharks with your husband for work! What changed?

 

That time 9 years ago when I met you in Holbox, Mexico was my very first time diving with such a big shark, a whale shark, and it truly was an incredible experience and feeling. I had been diving with reef sharks before but I had very little experience diving with sharks at that time.

Entering that big open water outside of Mexico with very little knowledge about these animals definitely made my heart rate go up, but it was also a mixed feeling of being super excited at the same time. I was able to get up close to one of  the sharks and seeing them underwater in that big open ocean made me fall in love with them.

 

After that experience, whale sharks are still one of my favorite sharks. They are the biggest shark in size but maybe the nicest shark in mind. They only eat plankton and small fish.They are safe to be around and a good shark to get to know and hang out with.

 

Your husband is an award winning cinematographer for Discovery Channel’s Shark Week and sometimes you get in the water and assist him too. How has becoming a Mother changed your perspective on the presumed dangers of that line of work?

 

Yes, my husband Andy Casagrande films sharks and other predators for a living. I'm originally from Sweden and 10 years ago I was travelling in Africa and very randomly I met Andy in the middle of the Serengeti where he was filming the lions for National Geographic during the whole summer.

 

We both fell for each other immediately and that’s where our journey started.

I ended up coming along on many shoots and learned on location.

 

Having 2 small children 1.5 and 3.5 years old, Nova Fina and Ace has definitely changed our life in every way. All to the better of course!

 

Safety wise I think that each and everyone one of us have a different perception about what safety is, and  it all depends on what you are use to doing and what your profession is. Statistically, driving in the car has a higher risks of accident than diving with sharks. But I definitely have higher awareness of danger now and embrace safety in every way possible!

 

How have you managed to continue doing what you love while raising two adorable toddlers?

 

Doing what we are doing with kids definitely needs more planning. We have brought my Mom along to the locations for help, so  we have been able to dive during day and be with kids/family in the evenings. My mom still lives in Sweden so we have been needing to plan more for sure.

 

Speaking of Sweden, you were born and raised there. Is the Swedish style of parenting different than the American? If so, what tips can you share with us?

 

I think Swedish and American parenting is similar in many ways. There’s a billion ways of doing something right. Even within the same country, there’s different beliefs on what’s right and what’s best. This is great because you can always find one study that supports your beliefs! Kids communicate with their parents the best, so listen to your child, go with your gut and do everything with love.

 

What’s scarier...the first time in the water with tiger sharks or your first night home with your baby?

 

(Laughs…) I don't know! It depends on if you are scared of sharks or not?

But going home with your newborn definitely tops every piece of emotion out there in every way!

Nothing can beat that!

 

How can we get involved and help you save the sharks?

 

Don't eat Shark Fin soup

Less plastic in the ocean

Create awareness through education

Inspire people to care for Sharks

You can become an shark angel at sharkangels.org

Also check out https://theperfectworldfoundation.org

 

Any last words you want to share?

Love your little ones more than life and the rest will be just fine. Each and every one of them are born as perfect as they can be! And don't forget to love yourself equally as much! See the beauty in imperfection and see the world with love! Love sharks and have a happy, amazing 2017!

 

Thank you so much Emma, it was a thrill to speak with you. Click here <Link: sharkangels.org> for more information about shark angels.

 

If you are a Mom who also has an exciting career, tell us about it in the comments section below.

 

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Things we should do more of: Ditch the Mom Guilt + Take time for ourselves

Rachel O'Reilly

By Courtney Ward

Taking time for yourself as a new mom is extremely difficult, and something many of us think is out of the question at first. But in reality, it’s what we need most. If you give yourself a little love, you will be able to do that much more for your family.

Admittedly, I wasn’t very great at this when my baby was born. It was extremely difficult to ask for help from anyone -- even my husband, who was for sure doing his part already. I also started working, soon after she was born so it felt like anytime I wasn’t working, I should be with my baby. Mom guilt sets in early as hell.

I quickly burned out, found myself under a lot of stress and started developing anxiety. I knew I needed to change it up. I had to create a little space to fill up my own damn cup. I also wanted to set the example early on for my daughter that I was a mom who found her own joy. It’s important to me that she sees me as a happy person who is well rounded in interests and things besides simply being her mother.

I started doing yoga and exercising more - two things that were healthy and gave me energy. I realized I could also multitask this into spending time with friends, no matter how short those meet-ups were. That little change was such a difference. It is so fulfilling to see a girlfriend and hear what they are up to, when we are in the midst of changing diapers and cleaning baby barf off our gap maternity breastfeeding tops. If they had dating gossip, it was like a breath of fresh air!

After making these small changes, I found myself much more rested and patient, and I wanted to keep it up. I plotted out times when my baby would be napping and made an effort to plan time for myself - no, not including errands - which eliminated most guilt of being away from her.

I would leave the pile of baby food making dishes and started going out a bit more often, to dinner with girlfriends and even to a movie sometimes. It was so glorious to have a chunk of time with no responsibility. Since I was breastfeeding, it was extra liberating to have my body to myself. I did often wonder why I made certain commitments, because it was a LOT of effort getting organized to leave the house (especially in the moment I was swapping out the sweats for skinny jeans). But once I was officially out of the house, it was almost always worth it. A quick mani/pedi with a cocktail concealed in a travel cup and a magazine was like a trip to the spa back in the day. I found that even a long walk chatting on the phone with my mom sans the background noise of a baby was incredibly energizing.

It’s easy to not push yourself when you are as tired as you undoubtedly will be after you have a baby. It’s equally difficult to leave our old selves in the dust when we become mothers. It takes a lot of energy to be a good wife and a good mom. When something seems like an extra effort on top of that - it is easy to say no to that. But the person we should be saying no to least is ourselves.

My advice is to treat yourself once in awhile, and make a habit of it early so it’s easier down the road. Trust me. Not only will you thank yourself, but your whole family will benefit when you are happy. You will be a better mom because of it.

To Co-Sleep or Not to Co-Sleep

Rachel O'Reilly

Ali Olives

Ali Olives

By Courtney Ward

There is much debate about co-sleeping with your newborn, and I recently came across this article that I thought was interesting. I like that it supports the idea of co-sleeping and shows how common it is in other countries.

I haven’t thought about this subject in a while, as my babe is four now, although we still encounter sleep issues more often than I would like to admit. But we feel this subject is a hot topic for new parents and something we want to delve into a bit deeper.

Personally, when my daughter was born, I did not plan to co-sleep at all. At first, we simply used the moses basket right next to our bed. I was nursing and getting up to move the baby in and out of it many times a night, which got old pretty fast (AKA, I got pretty lazy). When she was close to three months old I decided to bring her into bed after that first nighttime feeding.

I would not have done this if my husband wasn’t an extremely light sleeper and woke up several times to check on her. Poor guy! Our pediatrician also gave us several facts that helped support our decision to co-sleep that helped eliminate many of the common fears.

We discovered pretty quickly that our babe slept longer and better while in our bed, which is no real surprise. Especially since, as this article states, mother and baby’s sleep cycles sync during early motherhood. We also realize that for some families, a crib in another room or in the same room works best. The most important thing is that you (as in the parents) are able to sleep, and to choose the system that works best for you.

We are curious -- what has worked best for you in regards to newborn sleeping in your family? Please share in the comments below!

3 Simple DIY Gifts - That they'll love

Rachel O'Reilly

By: Rachel O'Reilly

It’s easy to get swept up into the buzz of holiday consumerism: The pretty stores! The sparkling presentations of things (that you don’t really need)! The festive music! The food, drinks and merriment! It’s enough to put you in a haze of autopilot consumption. But ultimately, does that really satisfy you or the receiver of the gift? Some of the best and most treasured gifts I’ve received have been homemade creations. So, rather than getting swept into buy-buy-buy overdrive, try some of these more meaningful gift ideas you can easily at make at home:


1. Festive Cocktail Kits - Who doesn’t love a ready made craft cocktail? One of my favorite gifts ever was when one of my dearest friends left a surprise at my door after a long day of work… I opened a cute bag to find delicious cocktail fixins inside. “Hallelujah!” was all I could feel. These cocktail kits will make everyone light up! You can dress these up, or keep it simple. The first step is to find bottles you like that are 12 ounces or more (preferably, glass like mason jars or these bottles).

You can arrange your infused alcohol with accompaniments in a simple bag with a bow, or get a little more fancy by putting your goods in a basket and maybe even add cocktail glasses, cider mugs, or a shaker. Just be sure to include a festive recipe card, too. There are many combinations to play with, but here are a few of our faves:

  • Easy - Bourbon spiced cider: Add a couple of cinnamon sticks, and orange peel if you want to get real fancy to the bourbon. Let it infuse for at least 2 days before gift-giving. Include a tasty bottle of apple or pear cider to go along with it… And voila! 

Recipe: Combine 1 ½ ounces of infused bourbon to apple/ pear cider. Can be shaken with ice and served cold, or warm by heating cider first. 

  • Simple - Asian pear & ginger vodka martini: Simply peel and chop an asian pear and peel and slice a stalk of ginger into ¼ inch thick slices. To the vodka, add ½- 1 pear and 2-4 slices of ginger, depending on the size of your bottle. Accompany the vodka with 1 lime, a small bottle of ginger liqueur, and a small bottle of sour mix. You can buy large bottles of the liqueur and sour mix and divvy up into small bottles or mason jars, too.

Recipe: Combine 1 ½ ounces of infused vodka, ½ ounce of ginger liqueur, ½ ounce of sour mix, and ½  juiced lime, into shaker over ice. Shake, shake… Do a little dance and strain into a martini glass.

  • Next level (but still simple) - Rosemary & lavender gin gimlet: To your gin, add 2-4 sprigs of rosemary. Next, make the lavender simple syrup by simply pouring equal parts water and sugar into a saucepan along with 4-10 lavender blossoms, depending on how much you’re making, and bring to a simmering boil over medium heat. Keep stirring until all sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow it to steep for 30 mins, then remove lavender blossoms (it’s ok if a few particles remain), and let it cool before adding it to your small bottle or mason jar. Put the rosemary infused gin, lavender simple syrup, 1 lemon, and a small bottle of club soda together to gift - Herbaceous heaven!

Recipe: 2 ounces of rosemary gin, ½ ounce of lavender simple syrup and ¼ juiced lemon into shaker over ice. Shake what your mama gave ya… Pour into an ice-filled glass and top with club soda.

2. Hydrating Rose Spray - Rose water helps maintain the skin’s pH balance, controls excess oil, and has anti-inflammatory properties that can help calm skin and reduce redness. This rose spray is so simple to make and a real treat for the senses and skin. I made this spray for each of my girlfriends a couple years ago and for months they kept telling me how much they were enjoying it on the daily... I use mine throughout the day, before bed and even over makeup. It’s especially a treat when traveling and reduces puffiness on long flights. Kids love it too! If you have a little lady who is requesting beauty products or makeup, this is a great way to make her feel special.

Recipe: In a small to medium size glass spray bottle (such as these ones). Combine ¼ part vegetable glycerin and ¾ parts rose water. Replace lid, shake thoroughly, and spray to ensure it’s misting. Stick a cute label on the bottle or tie a tag with instructions to mist face with rose spray freely for a boost of hydration anytime (great over make-up and for travel)! 

3. Artisanal Salt - Salt tingles the taste buds and is used in nearly every dish we make, so this is a gift that everyone will enjoy. These salts can be used with recipes, or as a delightful finishing touch at the table. You can choose between using white, gray, pink, or even black sea salt!

Herb salt - Goes great with all kinds of savory poultry and meat to veggie meals. Trying adding a pinch in place of regular salt to give dishes that little extra depth.

Recipe: In a food processor, pulse ½ cup of coarse sea salt, ¼ cup of fresh rosemary leaves, and ¼ cup of fresh lemon thyme. Pulse until rosemary and thyme have salt like consistency. Add 1 cup of coarse sea salt and pulse to combine. Transfer salt to shallow baking dish and let air dry for 2 hours. Pour salt into your favorite little jars and add a tag!

Curry Rose Salt - Excellent with Indian-inspired dishes, rice bowls, or even yummy (and beautiful) to sprinkle on top of with good bread and unsalted butter. 

Recipe: In a food processor, pulse ½ cup of coarse sea salt with ¼ cup of dried organic rose petals. Add ¼ cup of curry powder and 1 cup of coarse sea salt to food processor and pulse again until desired consistency is reached. We like ours chunky on this one so you can notice the rose petals.

Lime Ginger Salt - Great with seafood, tequila cocktails, even atop salads and soups. 

Recipe: Spread the zest of 6 limes (about ½ cup) over a piece of wax paper and let dry overnight. In a bowl, combine lime zest, 3 tsp. ground ginger and 1 cup of fine or coarse sea salt. Ole! Delish.

We hope these DIY gift ideas take the stress out of traditional holiday shopping and bring you as much joy making them as the recipient will feel from such a thoughtful present. If florals and fauna are more your thing, we have an exquisite guide to creating wildly beautiful winter wreaths.

What are your go-to DIY gifts? We’d love to hear.

Cherish Annual Feel-Good Gift Guide

Rachel O'Reilly

At Cherish, it’s important to us to represent ideas, values, and products that align with living a holistically healthy lifestyle. That’s why we’re so excited to share our first Cherish Annual Feel-Good Gift Guide for everyone on your Nice List! These gift recommendations come from brands who stand for something more than just selling products.

Below you’ll find a mix of goodies for all ages that are sustainably produced with community and planet in mind. Let the merriment of gift giving begin!

For Pregnancy

  • Chilote Slippers are hand made by women in Patagonia, supporting their livelihoods and families. The slippers are soft, warm, and perfect for cozy lounging. 

  • Every Mom & Dad needs a rockin’ diaper bag!

  • If you really want to go all out for a friend or sister, you could put together a beautiful hospital/birth bag with all the little luxuries and necessities she might need on hand during labor. Here are some ideas to get started with to make it your own.

For Newborns

For Toddlers & Kids

  • Give the gift of organization and style with our absolute favorite must-have toddler bag.

  • Storybook box subscription will keep kids entertained throughout the year. You simply select the child’s age and they deliver 2 books a month. The best part of this is that it comes with a card, which shows you tips for what to talk about with your child as you read the stories!

  • Goldie Blox is a welcome fresh of breath air that offers intriguing and fun toys to get girls building! Their goal is to nurture girls’ “left brain” through fun and games with an aim to ultimately have more girls stepping into STEM, (science, technology, engineering, and math) industries. Goldie Blox has all sorts of options for age 3 to pre-teen.

  • As far as toys go, this heart puzzle handmade in Germany using sustainable non-toxic materials for ages 3+ is pretty sweet!

  • Kiwi Crate is a subscription service that delivers a crate of learning tools for kids of all ages to create fun, hands-on projects!

  • We love everything from this shop but especially this gorgeous rainbow - what you add to the end is up to you!

  • These eco-kits give kids a chance to get hands on with creating everything from a model solar powered house, to generating wind power, to growing their own indoor mushroom “farm”. We love toys that keep a kids interest for more than a day and make them think bigger about what’s possible!

  • These games will keep kids having fun while learning about the planet they call home and love.

For Family & Friends

  • The Patchwork Bear: This company is takes baby clothes and turns them into keepsake bears, quilts and more. Who doesn’t want a reason to hold onto those onesies long after your little one has grown out of them?!

  • High Camp Gardenias: For a touch of unexpected decadence, send someone you love a box of these beautiful gardenias.

  • Little Box of Rocks: Offers “crystal bouquets” with selected gems that have a particular meaning depending on the occasion, or wishes you’re sending. We adore this gift with more depth and longevity than your typical flower delivery.

  • Moon Body Soul: 100% natural and vegan bath products handmade in Los Angeles. We especially love their “Moon Dust” bath soak and because it’s so gentle, the little one can hop in the tub with you too!

  • Marin Trees Bath Salts: What’s a gift guide without something near and dear to our heart? Check out these bath salts that smells like Marin Trees... Heaven.

  • We love gifts that are subscriptions so your generosity can be felt throughout the year. Some of our favorites:

    • Darling Magazine: Incredible articles. Photos that are never retouched. A very beautiful and empowering magazine for women.

    • Cause Box: Giving back and getting gifts is a feel-good combination and with Cause Box you can do just that. Send one box for the holidays, or sign up for a subscription to feel positive impact into the new year.

    • Equality Wines: Cheers to delicious wine that supports causes focused on social justice and equality. We especially enjoy their 'Love Wins' cuvée.

For Him

  • Marine Layer: We're confident this will be your man's new favorite t-shirt. They're incredibly soft and made with sustainable, quality materials in San Francisco and Los Angeles. 

  • Abbot Fjord: For the man who loves the kitchen and/or the grill, this is a real deal (sexy) chef's apron, designed in Seattle and made to last.

  • UE Boom: These waterproof and shock proof speakers have incredible sound and can be paired with a buddy to create robust, surround sound. We use these as our sound system at home and just the two fill the house with music! Powerful little buggers.  

These gifts are meant to bring comfort and joy through the holidays, and well after! Your spending holds much power, so we hope you’ll consider how to create a ripple effect for good each time you take part in the the loving act of gift-giving. Because after all, that’s what the holidays are about: Sharing our love with one another.

The festive Bump: Our Favorite Holiday Dress Picks

Rachel O'Reilly

It’s not always easy finding maternity wear that is a) both comfortable and functional, b) is made of quality materials you actually want on your ever-changing sensitive body, and c) LOOKS STYLISH! It can be challenging enough to find everyday attire (on that note, if you want a great hack for maternity jeans, we love what MotherLucker suggests), but special occasion dressing can be extra tricky… So, we’ve put together some of our top picks for chic holiday dresses. Sparkle on sugar plums!

Earth-Friendly Chic

Reformation: We love everything about this company that makes “killer clothes that don’t kill the environment.” Although not a maternity clothing company, they have many timeless styles that will adorn belly and after-baby bod beautifully. 

The Winslow is a timeless flowing long wrap dress offered in multiple colors that will work for the holidays and beyond. One hack we love to do with wrap dresses that may start to expose too much with your growing belly is to embrace the slip trend and put a pretty slip under the dress for an extra silky tre chic layer:

The Blakely dress could work for many growing bellies (and will be stunning after pregnancy)! Its long silhouette with lace cut-outs make it the perfect elegant yet edgy black dress:

Amour Vert: The company’s name means “green love” in French, and it also means sustainable non-toxic materials and practices made ethically right here in the U.S. This company isn’t a maternity fashion label, but we’ve picked a few pieces that will be perfect for your bump and a great addition to your wardrobe after baby.

Dresses that are “ruched” are always a good idea when you’re pregnant. This comfortable and flattering dress can be worn fancy, or dressed down:

A classic tie midi flowing dress like this 100% silk beauty is a wardrobe staple and easy to add holiday pizazz:

Classic Beauty

Rachel Pally: Rachel gets it with her chic maternity line that flatters women's curves during pregnancy.

The long caftan dress is one of her all time best-sellers and you can clearly see why, plus it gives an understated nod to the 70s trend that’s in right now:

If you’re wanting something off the shoulder, we j’adore the elegant pascal dress:

Hatch: Modern moms don’t have to sacrifice a bit of their pre-belly style with Hatch.

The Daniella dress is made of comfortable merino wool and cotton blend and has a sweet swing shape to bring a little extra whimsy to the party:

If you want a dressy look without the dress, we love the Yves tunic that you can pair with leggings, tights, or comfortable jeans… Even try it with thigh-high boots! This polished piece can be taken day-to-night with no fuss:

Isabella Oliver: Aims to make women feel effortlessly stylish during pregnancy, and clearly they do a beautiful job of it.

Exposing shoulders can be a sexy way to flaunt your beautiful body when pregnant without feeling like you’re revealing too much… This one-shoulder is so right for that! Mama Mia:

If you’ve been pregnant for a little while, you probably know that ruching is your best fashion friend. This classic long-sleeved ruched dress is given a sexy edge with the slant neckline… Add some sparkle for the holidays, and wear it many times after your mistletoe kisses:

 

ASOS: That’s right, a fun fashion brand with an equally cute maternity line! See adorable floral dress at the top of this post... Also:

We’re loving the trend of smartly placed pleats in women’s wear right now… The micro pleating adds an extra edge to the traditional little black dress:

Top Shop: Another trendy label that designs for the bump, and the results are trendy fashion fun pieces.

Give a little wink to 70s glam with this gorgeous olive tie-front dress:

‘Tis the season to let your inner glow shine, regardless of what you wear! We wish you a very joyful mocktail-filled party season, beauties.

Any of your favorite bump styles we missed?

5 Earth-Friendly Festive Alternatives to Traditional Xmas Trees

Rachel O'Reilly

Image Source Unknown

Image Source Unknown

By: Rachel O'Reilly

Christmas tree, o Christmas tree, why are you not eco-friendly?

Yes, it’s true, each year millions of trees are cut down so we can have our sparkling holiday mascots proudly displayed in our homes to enjoy during the most wonderful time of the year. But, if we really think about it, does it make sense to have that tree grow for years, release emissions when it’s cut, degrade the land, and fill our overflowing landfills all for a precious few weeks of glory?!

We don’t want to bash all traditional Christmas trees though. For instance, according to the Wilderness Society, some Christmas tree farms can help “mitigate climate change, especially as the soil absorbs around 10 times as much carbon as the actual wood.” These tree farms can also provide habitat for wildlife during their “eight-to-ten-year growth span.”

While traditional trees are a less sustainable option of all the choices out there, artificial trees are REALLY unsustainable and can be hazardous to your health... According to The Epoch Times, they’re made from “petrochemicals, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), metals, and sometimes even lead” AND they can’t be recycled — now that doesn’t bring joy to the world, or the health of your family and home.

You can buy more “eco” varieties by opting for organically-grown trees or selecting one from a local harvester, but these trees still find their way to the ends of countless driveways and into our landfills. So, while better than picking your tree up from the supermarket down the street, there are still better options out there.

I absolutely LOVE the holidays and the smell of a fresh tree in the house (and despise January because it means the holidays are over), so it’s been hard for me to think about doing it any other way! Thankfully, I found that you don’t have to sacrifice the tradition of the tree - Rejoice! Each of the five options is “eco” in some fashion, in that they all help to reduce, reuse and recycle. So, go ahead and explore — your earth-friendly Christmas tree awaits!

1. Purchase a potted Christmas tree

This is a great option for those of us who still want a traditional tree in the house, pine needle scents and all. The easiest way to find one is usually by contacting your local garden center or nursery (ideally, 4-6 weeks before you want to pick-up your tree) to see what they have. This way, once the Christmas season comes to a close, you can have a new post-holiday tradition planting your precious tree outdoors, allowing it to reestablish its roots, and grow once more. Nowhere to plant it? No worries! Often your local school, community center, or park would be stoked over a tree donation. If that’s not an option, the nursery where you bought it from will, in most cases, take it off your hands and find someone who would love to plant it. Bonus: Planting trees helps remove excess carbon dioxide from the air, so the more, the merrier!

2. Adopt a Christmas tree

Yes, you can indeed “adopt” or rent a Christmas tree. This option also allows you to have the live tree-feel and fresh, tree scent in your home. Check with your local tree providers to see if they offer this option, and if not, here are some “adopt-a-Christmas-tree” programs available:

3. Decorate a tree outdoors

This is probably the simplest way to “get” a tree. All you need to do is step outside of your house, pick a tree on your property or in your neighborhood and go all-out with decorations. You’ll definitely have one of the most unique trees on your block, and you’ll get to bond with your family, friends, and maybe even neighbors over your new, fun tradition. However, be sure to check that your ornaments and other Christmas tree décor are environment and animal-safe. One way to ensure this is to purchase (or make - we love this pinecone example and this citrus and cinnamon one) biodegradable décor, or craft homemade “treat” ornaments for wild backyard critters — that way everyone is happy during the holiday season.

4. Opt for a tree-free Christmas “tree”

Tree-free Christmas options are great if you want a slightly different look to your holiday tree. These aren’t the PVC-riddled ones you see stuffed inside department stores, but the eco-friendly varieties. Here are some fun and festive “trees”:

5. Get creative with an “un-Christmas tree”

What’s an “un-Christmas tree,” you ask? It’s any living plant or even non-living structure that is tree-like and that you can make festive and merry with decorations to resemble a traditional Christmas tree.

Perhaps this “tree” could be a plant you already have in your home, like a fiddle leaf fig, lemon tree, or dragon palm! Or, you could take a branch of a fir, pine, or spruce tree and add to a large, beautiful glass jar filled with water and watch wild roots take shape. Whatever you choose – have fun with it!

Have any other great eco-alternative Christmas tree ideas? Hark them to us!

Image Source Unknown

Image Source Unknown

5 Fun Ways to Create New Traditions of Gratitude in your Family

Rachel O'Reilly

The holidays offer us a chance to be more deeply reminded of what we’re grateful for… In the midst of the craziness it’s good to pause, go inward, and reflect on the year (which has flown by!), on growing babies, and on the family ties that are woven in our hearts. So let’s all take a breath -- go ahead-- I’ll wait {{ space for breath }} and take a moment with ourselves and our families to think about traditions that bring deep meaning and memories that will outlive this festive time.

The traditions you probably remember from when you were a kid, aside from the thrill of holiday gifts, are most likely not focused on “things” at all, but rather experiences and moments you shared with people who love you. It’s in that spirit of what really matters and stays with us that we humbly offer our ideas to cultivate more gratitude and fuller hearts in your family this time of year, and all year round.

1. A new model for holiday gifting: One family recently shared their holiday gifting tradition with me and I LOVED the idea. It’s simple but so genius! How it works is that each year on Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate), each family member picks a name of another family member out of a hat. They don’t tell anyone whose name they chose. From that moment till next Christmas they have the year to MAKE something for that family member. It doesn’t have to be a Picasso. It can be anything silly, meaningful, or beautiful, but it’s uniquely created with that person in mind. When Christmas gifting comes around the following year, each family member opens a surprise gift that was specially made for them, and learns who created it-- such a fun and meaningful idea, right? I can just imagine the “ooohs” and “aaaahhhs” and hysteric laughter that would erupt in my family! No conventional gifts, only one-of-a-kind marvels. Gratitude for the thoughtful and unusual!

2. See your gratitude: Once a month (or once a week if you’re really on it!) everyone in the family writes down three things: 1. What they love about their family/ home. 2. One thing they want to do better this month (could be as simple as “remember to lock trash can lids”). 3. One thing they’re looking forward to this month. Pick a place in the house -- could be the fridge, a chalk/pin-board, or sticky notes stuck on a door or wall… The point is to have these three things be visible throughout the month. You’ll be amazed by how a little awareness of what you and your family love, are working to do better, and are excited about can transform the energy in your heart and home each time you walk by and read them.

3. Disconnect to reconnect: It may sound rudimentary, but having a digital break is becoming more and more of a novelty with our tech-hooked lives. Try it with your family for a couple hours or maybe even an entire day once a week if you can -- no phones, computers, or screens of any kind. Feel the energy shift and witness the eye contact increase. There’s power in disconnecting to reconnect with each other.

4. Sharing bonds: Whether it’s a nightly or weekly tradition around the dinner table or before bed, say what’s in your heart. The question to pose could be something as simple as, “What are you grateful for today/this week?” or “What made your heart feel full today?” Asking simple questions that give everyone in the family the opportunity to tune in to how their emotions and body feel can instantly create an aligned and uplifted mood for all.  

5. Go outside: Being in nature is one of the quickest ways to be filled with peace and gratitude. It’s easy to forget when we’re not out in it as much as we’d like to be, so make a weekly routine of getting out there, regardless of how crazy the schedule is. Even if it’s just an hour or less to walk or hike on a path near your home every Friday after work or Sunday afternoon. Depending on the age of your kids, ask them what they notice when they’re on their little adventure. You’ll be amazed by what they find and see (and how well they sleep after). Their sense of wonder and appreciation for nature will rub off on you, and vice-versa.

We’d love to know how you and your family cultivate gratitude and connection with each other. Please do tell!

Our Top Picks for Earth Friendly, Baby-Safe Bottles

Rachel O'Reilly

By: Rachel O'Reilly

If you think about it, bottles are one of the most important and intimate tools you use with your baby. For most families, bottles are a part of the routine until at least age one, and usually beyond. Bottles are a part of nearly all babies’ upbringings, whether you’re a mother who’s experienced challenges with breastfeeding, a dad using the bottle to connect with baby during feeding time, or perhaps you’re away from your precious little one for part of the day, are weaning baby off the breast, or simply love the convenience that bottles offer for running errands and traveling… They are a necessity!

Unfortunately, many mainstream bottles are produced with harmful carcinogenic, reproductive toxic, endocrine disrupting, neurotoxic materials! It’s hard to believe regulations aren’t tighter on baby bottles and products in general, given how vulnerable their systems are, but don’t stress!

Our top baby bottle picks adhere to the following requirements we had when researching the best earth-friendly options:

  • Free of BPA and other common toxic chemicals found in plastics and other manufacturing materials/ practices

  • Offer anti-colic air systems  

  • Dishwasher safe (top rack recommended)

These options will ensure your baby is getting maximum nourishment from their feeding, sans the toxic nonsense.  

Think Baby: Offers plastic and stainless steel bottles completely free of hazardous chemicals and made to grow with your baby… The nursing bottle can turn into a sippy cup!

Natursutten: Their glass bottles are produced in France and the natural rubber nipples come from Italy. As far as glass bottles go, these are some of the best. Even though they’re glass, they’re durable too! The bottles are dishwasher safe and can withstand very cold and hot temperatures without breaking.

Life Factory: Also a great glass bottle option and made in France, these bottles offer the grip of silicon sleeves, which can also help protect against the occasional “whoopsies!” drop. The bottles’ thermal shock-resistant glass makes it safe to move bottles from freezer to hot liquids, no problemo.

Joovy Boob: These bottles come in lightweight, durable glass, or plastic depending on your preference. You can customize the bottle with various nipples based on your baby’s needs, or choose one of their silicon sleeves for the glass version:

Como Tomo: A baby bottle that’s won design challenges? Yes, that’s Como Tomo… Their unique design is made to mimic the natural form of Mom’s breast with a “squeezable” medical grade silicon body and soft, pliable nipples.

Mimijumi: Designed with an innovative nipple intended to replicate a real-deal breast, many moms find this bottle useful for going back and forth between boob and bottle without confusing baby. This purposefully designed nipple is also angled for a more relaxed feeding posture.

Yoomi: So far as we can find, these bottles are the only answer to warming a bottle on-the-go… Yoomi bottles have a built-in, rechargeable heating component that heats the bottle to a safe temperature in 60 seconds. We love when tech + eco-friendly design = a more convenient way to feed your baby.

When it comes to the vital and sometimes frustrating task of feeding your baby, we hope our suggestions make it a little easier and healthier for your family.

What are your favorite products or methods to feed your baby? Did we miss any gems out there? We’d love to hear more about your experience with these bottles or others…

Breathe Easy: Upgrade Your Household Cleaning Products

Rachel O'Reilly

By Courtney Ward

When I found out I was pregnant, I started to modify everything in my life to make sure I was living the healthiest way that I could. Once you know you are responsible for a little human, shit gets real. Good thing I had more than nine months to prepare, because I needed it.

One of the major changes I made instantly was eliminating chemicals in our household cleaning products. It’s incredible how many contain harmful ingredients from brands I thought I could trust.

After I had my baby, I'll admit I may have taken it too far (I’m just going to blame it on the hormones). I made my own baby wipes out of olive oil and paper towels, and bought these fancy little acrylic containers to display them in. Craziness ensued. Thank you to my family and close friends for not calling me out at the time. Unfortunately, these wipes were ineffective, and producing these on the regular was just not sustainable as a new mom. Clearly, I knew nothing about the amount of diaper changes that a newborn requires. It’s all about creating healthy adjustments that are realistic for your lifestyle. I ended up loving these natural wipes and, most importantly, learned to stick to making things I am good at, like chocolate chip cookies!

But, getting back to household cleaners. If you are into DIY and a want a simple, effective, chemical-free household cleaner that will work: Grab a spray bottle and add vinegar, water and lemon oil. It doesn't get much easier than that, and you will feel like Martha Stewart.

This site I found to be useful for researching products, when I had a free five minutes between diaper changes and meal prep, is the Environmental Working Group.

You can search, “laundry detergent” or “baby soap” if you are looking to find a new product and it will display options with ratings. You can also enter the names of your existing cleaners to see how they stack up. I researched my current products, and created a wish list on Amazon, all of which took me less than an hour. This made it easy to make the swap without thinking about it.

Operation: "Upgrade my Family’s household cleaning supplies” started with a slow phase-out of everything as it ran out during my pregnancy, and replacing it with an organic, safe alternative. And you can breathe easy -- oftentimes the alternatives were even cheaper than the name brands I had grown up with.

Here are some of our favorite supplies that are safe and do the trick:

I can’t say that I am perfect when it comes to household products. I still use bleach sometimes when cleaning the bathrooms, and Windex when those sticky hand prints cover our sliding glass doors. But, being a parent isn’t about being perfect, it’s about doing the best you can - and switching out a few products can put you on the path of creating a healthier home and planet.

Most Amazing Toddler Bag

Rachel O'Reilly

By: Courtney Ward

One day while scrolling instagram, I fell into a trap. A beautiful bag came across my feed and I stopped in my tracks. “Back in stock, black.” It was the most gorgeous everyday bag. I googled and realized this bag was was in a shop in San Francisco, and happened to be blocks from the writing class I was taking that night.

Oh yeah, I started taking some writing classes. More on that soon when I will talk about making time for yourself to try something new.

Back to THE bag.

I decided I HAD to stop by just to check this out. A purchase like this needs to be made in person if possible. Having a toddler who I am always chasing, schlepping from gymnastics to the park and preschool and home, and even popping my laptop in so I can work on the go or head into the office for a meeting -- requires not just any bag, as I have quickly discovered. My beautiful Kate Spade that I treated myself to once I graduated from the “Diaper Bag” has been through the ringer, and while perfectly sized, it is not quite equipped for art class with a toddler.

This new bag is not only beautiful, it’s functional, and I knew it would be as soon as saw it in person. I met the sweet owner of the shop, who has had his factory in the Mission of SF for 16 years and recently opened a store front (with the factory still in the back). I am not lying when I said I wanted EVERY BAG I saw in this shop. And it is so cool to actually see where the talented craftsmanship takes place. Every bag is handmade in San Francisco, which is something I can get behind with some serious pride.

Once it was in my hands, I wanted to post about this bag discovery here THAT NIGHT (that’s how excited I was). But I had to test it out, put it in the trenches of toddler-motherhood to see if it would meet my (high) expectations. Not surprisingly, it passed with flying colors.

It is the perfect thing to lug to the park, without having to worry about putting it straight in the sand because I can just dust it off afterwards. The six pockets are perfect for stashing snacks, a small water bottle, keys, and anything else you need right at your fingertips, so when your toddler is screaming at you to open the door because they have to pee, you know exactly where to reach. French bulldog approved too; today I caught mine napping on it in the front seat of my car during a quick errand. And, the greatest thing about this bag is that it’s not *too* girly, so my husband could take it if he had to.

Speaking of men, they have beautiful things for them too. I have bookmarked one of these dopp kits for my brother and I already have my eyes on this one and this gorgeous, stylish back pack for bike rides I probably won’t take and hikes that I will.

Update! Just got this for my birthday as a surprise from my sweet hubby. It is even more gorgeous in person and I’ve used it so many times already, from a bachelorette party in Tahoe, to errands with my toddler, and most recently a spa date to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

Our resident Doula, Aaryn, is eyeing this dreamy one to stash all of her goodies she needs with her when attending births. Read what she typically packs along with her here.

I love how lightweight and sturdy these bags are, with gorgeous leather handles. Knowing they are made locally in the USA and with sustainable resources makes it a no-brainer. I know these will last a lifetime and carry me way past the toddler years!