This January feels a little different than past ones, and not just because I didn’t cajole Rob into a dry month. (Not possible or advisable when in the throes of two-kid parenting.) In addition to the new year, I’m heading into a new phase: transitioning out of maternity and back to work—for myself! I’m going to be consulting full-time on brand strategy with early stage consumer companies. I’m excited and nervous in equal parts and feel very lucky to have brilliant friends and former colleagues supporting me with introductions, advice, pep talks, and coffee dates.
Instead of resolutions, I’ve been focused on the idea of dialing up and dialing down: What are the things I want more/less of in this next phase? In my career, it’s more confidence and less imposter syndrome. In our home life, it’s more food choices that are good for us and the planet, less thoughtless purchases and waste. None of this is revolutionary but to me that’s the point—small shifts that are sustainable in the long run. More below, plus other fun things I’m excited about right now:
Getting more comfortable with time passing: Even before having kids, I was very aware and scared by how quickly time passes; now I’m constantly lamenting how the days are long but the years are short. I know I’m not the only one, and I really enjoyed this Call Your Girlfriend episode about different ways of thinking about both time and the new year. Among other things, I like the idea of coming up with your own way of visualizing time and thinking in terms of phases, rather than years.
Swapping out plastic: My parents are trying to get rid of single-use plastic as much as possible so I bought them these Food52 Silicone Lids for Christmas and now I’m planning to buy a set for us; in addition to being better than the environment, now I don’t have to deal with the frustration of cling-wrap. I also got myself a set of their Silicone Straws and am a little obsessed with them—the set includes cleaning brushes and little cases so you can always have one handy.
Combating toddler germs: Ever since Lilly started school, we’ve been in an endless cycle of minor colds and illnesses. I’m hoping it’ll ease up soon but in the meantime I’m making giant batches of Julia Turshen’s cold elixir (also in her excellent cookbook Small Victories) for Rob and myself (too spicy for kiddos). If the germs don’t let up soon I’m going to start adding bourbon to it.
Making more thoughtful food choices: Like many people, Rob and I are terrified about climate change and thinking about the ways in which we can help. I loved this New York Times special about food and climate change because it really got at the complexity of the issue. We already eat a plant-forward diet but we also consume our fair share of meat, cheese, and other high-impact items (take this quiz if you’re curious where you fall) and our goal is to be more thoughtful about things going forward. That means treating beef and lamb (which have the biggest climate footprint) like treats and plant-based proteins as our default. We kicked the year off with a week of pescetarian eating and it was a good reminder how much we love lentils, beans, tofu, and seafood (especially the tinned varieties). If you’re looking to dial down your meat intake, definitely check out Melissa Clark’s excellent “Meat-Lover’s Guide to Eating Less Meat,” which has a ton of tips and recipe suggestions. And here are some of our current plant-centric faves:
- Red Curry Lentils with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach: I love red lentils because they cook in no time (great for weeknight meals) and this combo is both comforting (coconut milk, sweet potatoes) and bright (chile, lime).
- Roasted Tofu and Broccoli with Creamy Miso Dressing: There are a lot of things in this recipe but the point is: tofu doesn’t have to be boring, and you should be near-burning your vegetables. The dressing is pretty addictive so make extra and add to soba noodles, rice, whatever.
- Pan-Fried Beans and Kale: I cannot express to you how much I love this combination. I’ve probably made it two dozen times and it never fails. I skip the walnuts and cheese sometimes but never, ever the lemon–it’s crucial. You could add pasta or rice to bulk it out but we also sometimes have it with olive-oil toasted bread.
Upgrading rental house coffee: I’m not sure when it happened but we’ve become coffee snobs. We don’t buy the most expensive or rare stuff; we just really, really like coffee and want it to taste good. So when we go away for the weekend to rental houses with uncertain coffee potential, we often come toting a jar of our own cold brew, or whole beans and our own grinder. But over the holidays, we got two big upgrades: first, we discovered that our favorite Portland, ME roaster, Tandem (also home to the world’s greatest biscuits) makes a truly tasty Instant Coffee; second, we were gifted an AeroPress that makes it easy to make delicious coffee in even the saddest rental kitchen.
Making my RTR love official: I joined Rent the Runway Unlimited a couple years ago after getting tired of complimenting Rachel and Hayley on outfits only to hear, “Thanks, it’s RTR.” It’s been amazing for me, especially through pregnancy and post-pregnancy, and I think it’s such a brilliant business. I recently joined their ambassador program and am excited to share my code here: Use RTRMOLLIEC for $200 off your first two months. I’ll also share my favorite rentals on IG, as well as tips on making the most of the service (streamline your dropoffs, heart things in advance of renting, look at user reviews to assess fit and style before renting!)
Psychoanalyzing my toddler: I refuse to use the phrase “terrible twos” but we’re definitely in the thick of a high emotion, high intensity stage with Lilly. This New Yorker piece about a dad’s struggles with his three-year-old really rang true to me and triggered a flurry of toddler behavior book sample downloads (so far I haven’t found one that I love so please send suggestions!).
Brightening up our cookbook shelf: One of the gifts I was most excited to receive was Adeena Sussman’sSababa. It’s loaded with colorful, exciting recipes that are going to add some much-needed freshness to our winter repertoire—though one of the first things we made was her melted cabbage which is decidedly khaki but 100% incredible.
Feeling the feels: When Of a Kind shut down earlier this year, I was beyond impressed by how founders Erica and Claire handled the announcement and wind down. As a long-time fan of them and the brand, I’m excited to see what they do next—after they take a well-deserved breather. I just listened to their podcast episode about the experience and it was beautifully candid and thoughtful. It also gave me flashbacks to my own Type A approach to time off and reminded me that transitions are both painful and informative…a good reminder at this moment.
And that’s it for now! Hope your year is off to a wonderful start.