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Mum's the Word

MOMSPIRATION: CAITLIN CRONENBERG

WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING THING ABOUT BEING A MOTHER? BIGGEST JOYS? BIGGEST CHALLENGES? BIGGEST SUPRISES?

I think the most rewarding thing is seeing Wolfy learn new things and grow, both physically and emotionally. Like now he can crawl into any room and close the door in my face and say “BYE”. It’s so satisfying. Every day there are so many joys. He hugs and kisses and snuggles me so much that I forget how tired I am.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT BALANCING MOTHERHOOD WITH YOUR CAREER?

I have learned nothing about balance, but I have somehow managed to do both at the same time. I take Wolfy to work with me, so it is less of a balance and more of a sticky mash-up of motherhood and career. I love having him at work with me because I’m not distracted wondering how he’s doing. It’s the best. Plus, he is having lots of interesting experiences and meeting lots of people. He loves being on set. He charms everyone in the room and keeps the mood light. It’s almost better than having a puppy on set. Almost.

 

 HOW HAS MOTHERHOOD INFLUENCED YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY?

I haven’t really noticed a difference to be honest.

WHO HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE PERSON TO PHOTOGRAPHY (OTHER THAN YOUR SON, OF COURSE) 

My favourite person to photograph is Sarah Gadon, who, coincidentally, was the first person to tell me about Ani + Wren!

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR SONS' NAME? 

We started calling him Wolfy when I was still pregnant with him. There’s no real story, just that we talked about thousands of names and both thought Wolfgang was a very cool one. It’s classic but not very common, so it was cool without being a made-up name or a name hybrid of some kind. His first name is Charles, so Wolfy is really a nickname. We use both at home, but with his crazy hair he is a pretty serious Wolfy to me.

QUOTE THE WORST/FUNNIEST THING YOUR CHILD HAS EVER SAID. 

He doesn’t really talk yet because he is only 15 months, but once when he was up in the night and calling out he said, “Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama! Elmo! Dada!” That was pretty memorable.

SUNDAY NIGHT TRADITION? IF NOT, ANY FUN FAMILY TRADITIONS? 

Every weekend we have pancake breakfast. Wolfy likes to dip his in a combo of Greek yogurt and maple syrup, and then our cat Mickey stations herself close by and licks his fingers. He giggles. It’s the best.

HOW DO YOU FIND TIME FOR YOURSELF? WHAT'S YOUR IDEAL GIRLS' NIGHT? 

I have had exactly ONE epic “girls’ night” since Wolfy was born and it involved a (possibly illegal) firepit in my backyard and a make your own sundae bar, while Wolfy was upstairs sleeping. That was great. It has been sustaining me since last summer. If I can pee alone once in a day I consider that my “time for myself”.

WITH THE POWER AND INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA SUCH AS INSTAGRAM, HOW DO YOU DRAW THE LINE ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK IS APPROPRIATE TO POST OF YOUR CHILD? AS A MOTHER, DO YOU ENJOY AND/OR FIND IT BENEFICIAL TO SHARE PHOTOS AND VIDEOS OF YOUR FAMILY ON SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS? 

I really don’t know where this line is. I do post some photos and videos online if I feel comfortable with it in my gut. I think this moment in our lives is unlike any other, because obviously sharing about our lives is at an all-time high. I try not to go too crazy with it, but it’s hard to hold back. The world needs to know about this zany little character.

ANY LAST WORDS OF WISDOM FOR OUR FELLOW NEW MOMS? 

Do whatever it takes to keep you both alive.

Images sourced from @caitcronenberg

FAMILY DAY RECIPE: DEVIN CONNELL - MEXICAN STYLE BAKED RISOTTO & CHICKEN + HOUDINI BANANA BREAD

Family Day is today and we are so excited to be partnering up with our good friend, chef and mom of 2, Devin Connell to bring you two easy kid-friendly and healthy recipes to make with your family.

Mexican-Style One-Pot Chicken & Rice, with ‘Burrito’ Garnishes

Serves 4 (2 adults and 2 big kids) OR 6 (2 adults and 3-4 little kids)
 Active cooking time: 25 minutes
Total cooking time: 50 minutes 

INGREDIENTS:

6 bone-less skin-on chicken thighs (drumsticks also work well)

1 Tbs kosher salt

1 ½ tsp cumin (used separately)

2 Tbs olive oil

1 cup onion, diced (about 1 large Spanish onion)

2 Tbs garlic, minced (about 2 medium cloves)

¼ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp cocoa

2 Tbs tomato paste (or ¼ cup basic tomato sauce)

1 ½ cups Arborio (risotto) rice

4 cups chicken stock

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375F.

Place the chicken thighs on a large platter and season with salt and 1 tsp of the cumin (keep the other ½ tsp for later).

In a large heavy-bottom skillet, heat the olive oil on high until just smoking. (Don’t be afraid of heat here! We have to brown the chicken skin and we need a searing hot pan to do it!).

Carefully place the chicken thighs skin-side down. Allow to brown without moving for 5 minutes. Flip the thighs over and cook for another 2 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pan and place in a dish on the side. Turn off the heat and ladle or spoon out the remaining oil, leaving roughly 2 Tbs in the pan.

Turn the heat back on to medium. Add the diced onion and saute until translucent- about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, cinnamon, remaining ½ tsp cumin, cocoa and tomato paste.

Add the rice and coat evenly with the onion and spice mixture for 1 minute.

Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Place the chicken thighs skin-side up back into the pot. Do not overlap the chicken.

Place a lid on the pot and bake for 35 minutes.

When finished, the rice should have soaked up all of the cooking liquid and be cooked through. Test it to make sure it’s not undercooked. If it is, place in back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

Garnish with any of the following:

You can easily prep all of these while your chicken and rice are in the oven.  

  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Sliced avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Green onion
  • Sour cream
  • Hot sauce

Houdini Banana Bread

PLUS a fun way to dress it up for dessert.

Gluten-Free and Sugar-Free

Serving: Makes 1 large loaf (8 ½” x 4 ½ “ loaf pan) or 12 muffins.
Active cooking time: 15 minutes
Total cooking time: 1 hour for loaf, 35 minutes for muffins

 

INGREDIENTS:

4 very ripe bananas -these need to be very ripe (like really ugly and brown or you won’t get the sweetness you need)

½ cup melted butter (or coconut oil) plus more for greasing the tin

2 extra large eggs

1 Tbs vanilla extract

1 ½ cups gluten-free flour (I prefer Bob’s Redmill)

1 Tbs baking soda

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp kosher salt

DIRECTIONS: 

Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease your loaf pan or muffin tins with melted butter or coconut oil.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas very well with a fork until very soft and almost liquidy. Whisk in the butter (or coconut oil) and eggs until well incorporated.

In a separate bowl, sift together the gluten-free flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Push any remaining kosher salt through the sieve.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir with a large spoon until just mixed together. Use a spatula to scrape any dry ingredients down from the side of the bowl. Do not over mix.

Spoon the batter into the loaf pan or muffin tins until ¾ full.

Bake for 45 minutes for the loaf or 20 minutes for muffins*. Allow to cool 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Dressing It Up!

 For Dessert...

Grilled Banana Bread with Coconut Whipped Cream, Honey & Cocoa

Refrigerate a can of coconut milk (not light) for a minimum of 4 hours.

Remove the hard fat solids from the top of the can and discard the liquid that will have settled. Place the solid coconut cream in a medium size bowl. Beat with an electric mixer for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy and stiff peaks have formed. Set aside.

Heat a grill pan on high heat for 5 minutes. It should be screaming hot. Slice 1-inch pieces of the banana bread and place in the dry pan. After about one minute, use tongs to lift a piece up to check for grill marks. If you have acheived nice golden grill marks, rotate the slices 45 degrees and toast for 1 more minute. Repeat on the other side.

Remove and set aside to cool slightly.

Spread a good 2-3 Tbs of coconut whipped cream on each slice. Drizzle with raw honey and a dusting of cocoa powder.

MOMSPIRATION: LANI WEISINGER

 

WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING THING ABOUT BEING A MOTHER? BIGGEST JOYS? BIGGEST CHALLENGES?

The most rewarding feeling in the world is knowing that my presence makes my baby happy. Seeing that big smile light up when I walk into the room melts my heart. Maybe he's just hungry for my milk, but whatever, I’ll take it.  

I would have to say time management is one of  my biggest challenges. I’ve always been that person who thinks I can get anywhere in 15 min.  This coupled with getting a baby dressed, in his bucket and out the door... might as well skip the music class all together. But in all seriousness, budgeting my time has been difficult given that I am a working mom while trying to be as active and involved as possible in Xander’s day to day life. Being a mom has taught me that time is precious, and you need to be extra vigilant about organizing your daily routine to ensure that everything is taken care of. I am still trying to figure it out, but isn’t that what this entire mom thing is about?!

DO YOU FIND YOUR PERSONAL STYLE HAS CHANGED SINCE YOU'VE BECOME A MOM?

Comfort is key baby!!! If pants don’t have at least 80% spandex I am not putting them on.  Since Xander is the king of spitting up -  his bib game is strong but unfortunately my silk blouses have started to collect dust in my closet.  On my working days, I’ll throw on a great cashmere sweater and a pair of heels on my way out the door. Otherwise I am in a stretchy pair of Mother Jeans (no pun intended) , a clean tee and pair of sneakers. Having a great scarf, a cool  leather jacket, and a nice handbag goes a long way, and tends to distract ppl from the mess that is underneath it all.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT BALANCING MOTHERHOOD WITH YOUR CAREER? 

It’s an ongoing balancing act, with a whole lot of guilt being dished at me in every direction. It's definitely a learning process coping with the internal guilt that you’re always going to be missing something. It’s like the worst case of FOMOs that never goes away.  What's worked best for me is delegating time to focus on work and time to focus on being a mom. It’s always going to be challenging, but I just remind myself, that showing Xander that his mom is a hard working female entrepreneur is something he will hopefully respect and admire one day. 

 Also I have an amazing support team around me which really helps.  My husband Marc is an unbelievable father, he's an extremely involved hands on dad who helps out with any task that needs to get done. 

Not to mention my wonderful superstar parents who are always making the constant effort to call, visit, babysit and provide words of wisdom, which is especially necessary when Marc and I have our bi-weekly parental melt down.


HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR KIDS' NAMES? 

Marc came up with it early on in my pregnancy and it just stuck. Figured if we like it 9 months later then it was our "boys name". Also was convinced I was having a girl, so never in a thousand yrs did I think we would use it.  Total side bar, the only other time I've ever heard of the name was on my favourite childhood show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer,  Xander Harris  #coolname #notsocoolcharacter

QUOTE THE WORST/FUNNIEST THING YOUR KID HAS EVER DONE.

Xander once sharted all over me in an airport lounge before boarding a plane to Portugal, so there's that..... 

FAVE FAMILY VACATION?

As long as there is sun, a body of water, and some cocktails - we’re good :) I am sure once Xander starts walking our priorities may change slightly. But until then...

 SUNDAY NIGHT TRADITION? IF NOT, ANY FUN FAMILY TRADITIONS?

Saturday is our family day together, it's the only day of the week that both Marc and myself are off work. It's kind of our "free hall pass" day. The rest of the week Xander is on a tight schedule, so we try to give ourselves 1 day a week to slightly break the rules, and enjoy the day together. Whether it's going out for brunch with friends, or hanging out with his cousins and grandparents, we try to switch it up and do the fun things we've always liked doing.

 HOW DO YOU FIND TIME FOR YOURSELF? WHAT'S YOUR IDEAL GIRLS' NIGHT?

I make sure to stay grounded by hanging out with girlfriends. It’s so easy to get caught up in this mommy life, and quite frankly over analyzing every minute detail about your baby can be exhausting and quite boring. I like to turn that part of my brain off a few hours a week and go out and catch up with friends over several 9oz glasses of wine. 

WITH THE POWER AND INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA SUCH AS INSTAGRAM, WHERE DO YOU DRAW THE LINE ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK IS APPROPRIATE TO POST OF YOUR CHILDREN? AS A MOTHER DO YOU ENJOY AND/OR FIND IT BENEFICIAL TO SHARE PHOTOS AND VIDEOS OF YOUR FAMILY ON SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS?

I think the key is to share, but not over share. This is definitely tricky, bc when do you draw the line?  I always had an open profile on instagram until I had Xander, then I locked that shit up. I also never thought I would be a mom who only posted pics of their baby, but I am guilty as charged. What can I say, he is cuter than me and gets way more likes! #whoiscounting 

ANY LAST WORDS OF WISDOM FOR OUR FELLOW NEW MOMS AND/OR MOMS TRYING TO JUGGLE IT ALL?

Zero judgment, sleep when you can, and treat yourself to the small things.

 

Also, I think the most important life lesson that I’ve taken away so far from this motherhood gig, is that it’s so important to stay true to who you are. Your life gets flipped upside down when you enter this crazy journey of raising a human. Somehow you need to figure out how the old you meshes with this new super responsible, selfless, version of yourself.  I try to do the small things that still make me feel normal, while trying to balance my new busier lifestyle. 

BONUS QUESTION - BIGGEST MOM FAIL?

Overfeeding Xander. I swear he is a bottomless pit and will eat whatever we give him. That being said 2.5 hrs to digest 16oz of milk and a jar of peas before bed time was just not a good idea. Projectile barfing, exorcist style, all over his beautiful neutral nursery :( Needless to say, I fear he will never get to enjoy a cup of pea soup from United Bakers thanks to me, sorry Xan!!

INSTAGRAM CONTEST ALERT! Win Our Essential Bump Basics Kit

Bump Kit Prize pack includes 4 essential pieces:




One winner will be chosen plus the tagged friend on Instagram post to receive their own Bump Kit. Contest runs from Wednesday January 18, 2017 10 AM, EST to Tuesday January 31, 2017 10 AM EST. Winners will be chosen randomly and contacted on Instagram. Prize cannot be claimed as cash.

ANI + WREN'S HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2016

Bottom Left: Rebecca Minkoff Luca Pouch - Bottom Left: SAM Fur Beanie

*Online gift cards can only be used for online purchases. They cannot be redeemed in store. 

ANI'S NEW MOM STYLE - SHOP HER TOP PICKS TO WEAR POST-BABY

As some of you know, I recently had a  baby boy, Xander James Weisinger, he's such a cutie!! What's not cute is this postpartum body I've been left with. Unfortunately, those wedding day abs I once had are no more, and I am learning how to dress during this transitional time. See below for a list of my fave pieces that I've been living in these past few months. While comfort is a new key factor, it's still important for me to look cute and put together, a girls gotta try at least.

10 Things I am Loving:

1. MOTHER HIGH WAISTED JEANS - Looker Ankle Fray Blackbird (available in store only)

I've been living in these super stretch mid rise Mother Jeans. They come up high enough to suck me in without being uncomfortable. They're the perfect ankle crop, with the on trend raw hem, and a washed out black rinse to flatter the thighs. I find them easy to dress up or wear with sneaks when I am strolling with the babes.

2. VINCE PIERCE POINTED SNEAKER - Black (available in store only)

Obsessed with Vince's take on the pointed sneaker. Black leather, easy to wear with everything.

Cool, chic, comfy #momlife.


3. COSABELLA TALCO MATERNITY NURSING BRA  - SHOP ONLINE HERE.

Now that I am nursing 24/7 comfort and support is very important to me. The Cosabella Talco bra I couldn't live without. It's a breathable comfy cotton, with no underwire but still gives the ladies great shape. 



4. RAILS HUNTER BUTTON DOWN PLAID SHIRT - SHOP ONLINE HERE.




Having this soft slouchy plaid in my wardrobe has been a saviour these past 3 months. Long enough to cover my tush, and nursing friendly. I throw one on, with leggings or jeans and my moto leather jacket and it instantly makes me feel effortlessly put together.

5. REBECCA MINKOFF LUCA POUCH  - SHOP ONLINE HERE.


This black nylon pouch comes everywhere with me. It's the perfect size: small enough to fit in my diaper bag, but big enough to carry all my diaper bag essentials - diapers, bottles, change pad...When I don't want to lug around the diaper bag, I literally just grab this pouch and throw it in whatever tote I am carrying. The black nylon is a breeze to clean and the gold hardware zip is a nice finishing touch.


6. Hatch The Perfect Vee - SHOP ONLINE HERE.

This Tee by Hatch is the perfect cut! I lived it in during my pregnancy and afterwards. Neckline is low enough you can nurse in it, and the fabric just drapes beautifully on the body, concealing any lumps or bumps without adding too much volume.


7. DONNI CHARM KNIT DIAGONAL SCARF - SHOP ONLINE HERE.

 This 3 in 1 blanket scarf has been a clutch piece that I couldn't live without. My go to for walking the dog and the babes, and the fact that it doubles as a blanket is perfect. I can throw it on Xander in the stroller if it gets chilly out. Oh and if I need to feed on the go, I just throw it over my shoulder for some coverage, always good to avoid a nip slip if you can!

8.  LINE SVEN COAT - SHOP ONLINE HERE.

 

This wrap coat is the best layering piece, to throw on over any sweater for those chilly days. Easy to undo when you need to access the tatas for feeding. Also the adjustable waste allows you to loosen and tighten as your body changes. Perfect for all stages and beyond, and a classic that will never look stale in your wardrobe.

9.  Hat Attack Fedora, Heather Grey - SHOP ONLINE HERE.

 

Those mornings I just don't have time to blow dry, I resort to this fedora.

Instant style, and hides the my hair and my bags #doublewamy 


10. VELVET JESSERAY COZY CARDI - SHOP ONLINE HERE.


This velvet number I've been living in!! This cozy cardi is nursing friendly and machine washable #spitupsexy. Such a staple in my rotation, would sleep in it if I could ;)

FOR MORE STYLE INSPO POST PREGNANCY, VIEW OUR SHOP BY STAGES COLLECTION: BUMP & BEYOND. CLICK HERE!