A CLEAN START // 3 Simple PATHS to a Healthier YOU

Happy New Year! Hooray, it’s January, we get a fresh start, and we all want to make the best of it. We want to be our best, feel our best, look our best and EAT OUR BEST.

There are a whole lot of programs set up to help you adhere to a healthier lifestyle—most are thoughtful and well planned out (I love Bon Ap’s FEEL GOOD FOOD PLAN) but most are also too much work for me. My approach is more subtle, understated. To Wit: Last year, I vowed to myself to never drive somewhere I could walk to—including either of my kids’ schools—no matter the weather. And with a few exceptions, I stuck to it. It was a simple attainable goal. This year, my manifesto is: MOVE EVERY DAY. I’m not committing to 40 minutes or 20 minutes of running, I haven’t joined a new gym or promised I will make it to yoga three times a week. If I did, I might not keep up. But MOVE EVERY DAY? I can do that—it’s a simple as walk my son to school, and keep walking after he’s all settled in. All I have to do is walk, say, until my head is clear or my legs ache or my lungs feel deeply full of air. Emails can wait 30 more minutes....

I take the same approach to HEALTHIER EATING. It has to be SIMPLE, ATTAINABLE, and SUSTAINABLE (something I can keep up with WAY beyond January!) I’ve boiled my past successes down to the THREE EASY avenues that I suspect could work for any of you.

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I was planning on continuing with GIFT GUIDE here (more coming) but I did an ask me anything on Instagram this week and several of you asked about my new book, which is all the nudge I needed to get this up here, today! This beautiful work, above, which has my heart and soul in it—this work that took 18 months of writing and developing, two months of shooting and way too many weeks of editing to count—has a name, and a face—or a cover to be exact. And I love it: EVERY DAY IS SATURDAY!

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I wasn’t raised to toot my own horn, so sometimes I’m shy about sharing my new work, especially when it’s in the New York Times, which still makes me giddy. It was always my dream to be published there and even after years of publishing my recipes in magazines like Saveur, Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Living and Real Simple, this still feels big to me because I love the way they approach food—it’s smart, fresh, super universal (no culture left behind) and perhaps most importantly, massively vetted, with tried and true recipes you can absolutely trust.

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Every year for Christmas during my childhood, my dad would receive hundreds of holidays gifts from his patients—almost always food— tins of handmade peanut brittle, lush boxes with freshly baked pastry and pies, and cello-wrapped baskets brimming with crackers, cookies, sparkling wine and cheeses galore. It was one of the perks of being a family doctor. For my siblings and I, it was one of the perks of being his kid—those sweet December days when the atrium (where we ate breakfast and dinner every day) ran over with an endless parade of sweets.

I tend to still love food gifts for the holidays—handmade or carefully curated purchased ones—boxes of perfectly ripe pears and tins of caramel popcorn still harken Christmas to me. They speak of love and —even if not perfectly matched to individual taste, thoughtfulness. Maybe you don’t have time to bake this season—I hear you. That’s where this guide comes in. These Eight Practically Handmade goodies can make their way to the houses of your dear ones in just one click. They’re worth every penny.

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I think we all know by now that a cheeseboard (or meat board, or fruit and veg board) is the easiest, fastest way to serve a crowd. It’s the best trick I learned from my own mom back in the 80s, and though the boards have gotten more beautiful (she used carved wooden boards shaped like leaves, with grooves and curves for dips), the concept is the same: fast, easy, filling, beautiful, abundant snacking for all. With the right board, even the simplest spread can ready fancy. Here are my favorite ten (+ accessories) under $100.

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The blush theme continues—then I’m done, promise—because pink and all things feminine are still having its moment, and I’m still totally on board. If you’re rolling your eyes right now, then go straight to GOOP’s brilliantly-titled NOT PINK SHOP, where everything is, actually, pink!

Today we’re applying rose-colored-lenses to your favorite morning ritual—coffee, or tea.

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Sorry for the crazy food porn. It’s for your own good. We’re taking a break from gift guide for a minute because pumpkin pie withdrawal is a real thing. Especially if, like me, you sort of skipped Thanksgiving this year and have had nary a sliver of whip-cream-topped pumpkin custard all season. It’s not good.

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* GIFT GUIDE || MORE BLUSHY + BEAUTIFUL Ceramics (+ Kitchen tools)

I can’t imagine a better way to start the day than with something beautiful in your hand, making a meal for people you love, or even just yourself. I’m a stickler for practical, usable items in the kitchen—and durable, but if it’s something I’m going to use every day and leave on my counter and look at regularly, I also want it to be lovely to look at. Call me crazy (or frivolous) but I believe the way we start our day matters, and surrounding myself with beauty helps me rise above the fray of urgent-feeling emails, milk spills and a thousand tiny dried rice crumbs on the floor from last night’s dinner.

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I’m all about blushes, cotton and mustard-colored ceramics this year, and my gift guide, admittedly, steers feminine. Consider this your go-to guide for the ladies in your life—your best friend the consummate hostess, your business partner or desk-mate, your mother or mother-in-law, your babysitter, that neighbor you especially adore.

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Sobremesa Supper with Hops Petunia and Sunday Suppers

Often, I write about my children. Not because I don't have other interests (i do), but because being a mother is the thing I always knew I wanted. Between childhood ambitions as a pediatrician, a missionary (yes, really!), a UNICEF ambassador, or later, the creator of a chic Indie mag (still working on that one), mothering is the thing I always knew I would do—where my whole heart would go before and after and between all the rest. This is still true.

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