seven self-care trends we'll allow into 2018
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Whenever someone says “prioritize self-care” I start feeling the same kind of anxiety I do when someone tells me to meal prep. I totally see what they’re saying. I get it. But at the same time, the amount of scheduling magic and babysitting fairy dust I would need to make chopping up celery on a Sunday for five hours a reality is not super reasonable. Same for cleaning out our bath and then having enough time in it to get to a place of zen. But who doesn't at least like to daydream about cozying up with some tea and reading a book by candlelight after the kids are asleep? Just make sure to dim the lights on the three day old dishes in the kitchen. So in case we're ever able to figure it out, here’s a list of self-care trends we are willing to contemplate/dabble in come 2018.

Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah)
Denmark has been on trend for a while now, especially for their culture of hygge. Basically, hygge is the idea that you don’t need much to transform yourself into a Yankee candle incarnate. Make your favorite drink, light a few candles, and snuggle up with a cozy blanket and a good book on the couch and voila! You’re Danish. Replace the book with Netflix for the American version.

Golden lattes
Golden lattes are “health” lattes in that they are have turmeric in them instead of coffee. I don’t know how but turmeric is supposed to be very good for you, and you “activate” it’s power in by putting a tiny bit of pepper in the drink. I know it sounds bizarre but they’re actually really delicious. But for the love of all things holy, please start with dividing the suggested amount of turmeric by at least two unless you have been doing bikram yoga and drinking wheat-grass shots for the past five years.


Watch videos of Oprah and Brene Brown schmoozing
Oh my goodness if you haven’t heard of Brene Brown yet, it’s time! Put her together with Oprah and your soul may burst. Brene Brown talks about vulnerability, shame, and creativity. She explains why these things matter, as well as the hard stuff you need to go through in order to truly experience joy. Her famous TedTalk will make you hardcore laugh/cry. Do it to it. 

Become a Parisian Woman
Take everybody’s advice and become French as an investment in your health and happiness.


Arianna Huffingtonify your sleep
Last year I read Huffington’s book on sleep and I loved it (…theoretically). She basically calls for a Sleep Revolution (also the name of the book) in our society. She wants workplaces, educational institutions, and families to finally value and highly prioritize good sleep. According to Huffington, “The irony is that a lot of people forego sleep in the name of productivity, but in fact our productivity is reduced substantially when we’re sleep deprived.” She also talks about sleep hygiene and things like turning your phone off at least a half hour before going to bed. Beware, however, that if you have small children waking up at night you may wish to defenestrate this book.


Public library and free reading
There is a really cute public library about 20 minutes from my house and when my oldest was a baby I loved going there while she napped in her stroller. I think they may also have books on tape at public libraries which I really should try. I once left there with Martha Stewart’s huge Entertaining book without paying for it of course and I felt like Martha had given it to me herself. I did not use a single recipe but for a few weeks I felt like we had dined and laughed and made marshmallows in her Bedford home together.  


Headspace app
If you want a great introduction into meditation this app is amazing. You only need to invest a few minutes a day (or night) to feel like you’re actually looking forward to meditation. The man who guides you on the app has a British accent and sounds very “normal”, and it makes it all feel a bit more down to earth. This is definitely a good one for meditation skeptics who are secretly curious.  


What would you add to the list? Is there anything you've been doing that you love? We want to know!

P.S. tips for pretending to seem more awake
P.P.S  ideas for self-care during postpartum depression

Nurit SiegalComment
Rachel Siegal, prosthetist resident in downtown Chicago, on work and motherhood
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Rachel Siegal

prosthesis resident at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

One thing is for sure - before this interview I did not know how to spell prosthetics and orthotics. But thanks to my interviewee's patience and grace, I am finally feeling pretty sophisticated. I'm very excited to introduce you all today to Rachel Siegal - a Prosthesis Resident at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago. She also happens to be my sister-in-law, and mom to my gorgeous little niece. Before Rachel started her residency, she would often walk over to my apartment in the afternoons with her baby to hang out with me and my two toddlers. Rachel is the kind of friend you don't have to clean up for and doesn't judge, which is the only kind of friend you should have past age 25 at the latest. I know you'll love reading what Rachel has to say as much as I have! 

It’s finally happening Rach! The interview has arrived, and I'm excited for readers to learn about your amazing career path. First things first – how did you choose to work in prosthetics? What was your first introduction to the field?

My plan in college was to be pre-med.  But like most freshman in college, I had no idea what I was talking about.  Once I fully understood how much schooling would go into being a doctor, I decided it wasn’t for me and looked into careers in allied health: nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech pathology, etc.  I did a lot of informational interviewing during my first two years in college, and at a certain point found prosthetics and orthotics.  I was given the opportunity to work as an intern in several practices over summers and during school and decided that this was the field for me.

Can you tell us a bit about what a prosthetist does? 

A prosthetist fits artificial limbs for patients who have suffered some kind of amputation: traumatic, due to disease, illness, etc.  I work directly with the patient, doctors, physical/occupational therapists to create a prosthetic limb that will work for the patient's life and activities.  Our first focus is to get people to be independent in Activities of Daily Living (ADL's), but we also want to create something that gets a person back to the activity level they were at prior to the amputation, whether that means an activity specific device or a device with customized components.

What was your education up until this point? When do you complete your residency?

I have a B.S. from the University of Michigan in Biological Anthropology (which allowed me to do all my pre-med pre-requisites except for Calculus!).  I then completed my Master’s in Prosthetics and Orthotics at Northwestern University.  I’m currently doing an 18-month long residency in Prosthetics at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago which I will complete in June 2018.

When you’re working in the clinic with your patients, what’s a typical day like for you? What are your responsibilities?

There’s no typical day, but each day consists of working with patients on fitting/designing their prostheses. Each prosthesis is custom-made because every person’s body and needs are so different.  I also have documentation (like doctor’s and other health professionals) to write after each appointment for medical records.  Between patients, I’m typically in our fabrication lab working on fabricating, modifying, and adjusting devices for patients.

I imagine that your work can be very difficult and emotional at times, especially when working with children or with patients who have experienced trauma very recently. Do you find that patients and/or their families lean on you and your colleagues for both medical and emotional support?

I try to see the positive side in difficult situations, especially in pediatrics or when a patient has had some kind of trauma.  We are working towards a goal of getting the patient to be functional or independent again.  I try to empathize with the patient and their family as best I can and reassure them that I’m here to help and to move them forward in the rehabilitation process.  We have lots of discussions about the patient’s goals and home life which helps us create a device which will be most beneficial for the patient.  That’s a long way of saying, yes, part of our job is to provide emotional support and reassurance to the families.  As for colleagues, long-time clinicians have seen all sorts of difficult situations.  I lean on them for support if I am unsure of how to handle a situation.

What has been your most challenging case so far? Your most rewarding?

My most challenging case involved a patient with bilateral (both sides) transhumeral (above elbow) amputations secondary to trauma.  He was learning to use his prostheses and I was able to attend most of his occupational therapy sessions with him over the course of about 6 months.  He didn’t have the best attitude, which made helping him difficult.  However, in the end, he made tremendous progress.  Because of all the effort I put in to working with him, his case was probably my most rewarding as well.


What advice do you have for those who are thinking about prosthetics and orthotics? Is there something you wish someone had told you?

Clinical experience prior to entering school is a must.  Be assertive, ask questions, and get technical experience as well.


What kind of projects would you love to be working on in the future? Is there a specific aspect of prosthetics that you’re drawn to the most?  

I love working with kids.  My residency has taught me that in my heart, I’m a pediatric clinician.  I love working with children and their families more than anything.  They do so well with their devices and I love seeing them jump up and run around after we’ve fit them.  I don’t see the sadness in their situations, just their hope and excitement for the future.

That's incredible, I love your perspective. I know you're applying for an orthotics residency right now. What would you most like to get out of your next residency program?

I'm just excited to get back into orthotics.  I've been doing only prosthetics for the last year, and I originally got into the field because of orthotics, so I really miss it.  Also, while you work with all types of patients in orthotic practice, you generally get to see a lot of kids, which I'm really looking forward to.  I'd like to have a well-rounded experience and see as much as I can in the next year: different patient populations, pathologies, different devices, etc.

Now for the "working mom" questions, of course... As a mother of a (delicious) toddler with a demanding job… what’s a part of the balancing act that you find particularly challenging?

I work long hours during the week, so it’s difficult to be “on” as a mom when I come home each day.  I try my best to be fully present and engage with her by playing or reading, but sometimes the best I can do is cuddle up in the rocking chair and watch Moana with my little girl.  The other thing that definitely falls through the cracks is housework.  Dishes, laundry and clean up take a back seat as a working mom.

In what way could society be more accommodating of and sensitive to the lives working moms? Is there something you would like to see change?

It would be amazing to have more affordable daycare options for parents who work full-time.  It was a real struggle to work out daycare for our daughter when having a nanny was not an affordable option for us.

And lastly… what do you like to do during your commute? And what are your favorite ways to unwind and recharge?

During my commute, I usually like to read. Or I might even take a quick nap...
To recharge: Sleep, hot bath, Netflix, and that caramel cheese popcorn mix from our grocery store :)

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Rachel Siegal
Prosthetist Resident at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
MA in Prosthetics and Orthotics, Northwestern University

P.S. Check out more amazing women here:

Erin Zaikis................founder of the non profit Sundara
Fawn Julsaint...........our house and home contributor
Rivki Silver...............Writer in Cleveland, Ohio
Melissa Josephs........Director of Equal Opportunity at Women Employed

Nurit SiegalComment
holiday potluck dessert with fruit, nuts, and chocolate
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The holidays are coming up and we know that you are all very excited and super prepared! a.k.a. panicking and looking into Buddhism. For one thing, the expenses can get expensive, the gift list can get long, and there's a lot of food around to eat our feelings.  And if someone talked you into throwing a party (your mother? does she want you to try to be more "social"?) then the anxiety may have already begun to settle in deeply. Good thing is we have a great idea - a potluck dessert. If you're throwing a Hannukah party this week and need as much help as possible, this one's for you. 

Ask anyone you invite to either bring their favorite chocolate, nuts, and/or dried fruit, or anything else you'd like to have (i.e. jelly donuts, caramel popcorn).  If you're worried everyone's going to bring donuts then tell each person a different thing to bring. Honestly, if you have everyone responsible for two items, then maybe you don't need to serve anything else... 

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Here's what you can find on the top picture:

chocolate squares
Hanukkah gelt
dried apricots
coconut shavings
mixed nuts:
- cashews, pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds
raspberry jam
almond butter

and here are some other ideas...
jelly donuts
caramel popcorn
array of cookies
potato chips
cut up fresh fruit
chocolate sauce/fondue


What are your go-to, budget-friendly ideas for holiday winging-it? 

P.S. Setting up a breakfast board
P.P.S A fruit and cheese board too


Nurit SiegalComment
postpartum depression - and what helps women cope - in six words or less

postpartum depression

in six words or less

What do women find more difficult? The experience of postpartum depression itself or the feeling that you're the only one going through it? For this article, we asked moms on social media to tell us what postpartum depression feels like in six words or less and we received so many responses from those who went through it in the past or are currently struggling.   The list below is what some of the women wrote. The second list is a response to the question, what helps you cope with the depression, in six words or less? We used the guideline "six words or less", since asking people to write out their whole stories can feel daunting. This way it's a bit easier to contribute, but still in a meaningful way. 


you don't recognize yourself.

don't remember normal

feel like a bad mom.

needs help without judgement

utter hell, hopelessness, sense of worthlessness

meds are amazing.

can't get anything done

moving through molasses

i cried for six months straight


i'll have to pretend I'm happy

dangerous, heartbreaking, self-loathing, confusion

what did i get myself into?


why can't I get my act together?!

want to get back into bed

"must breastfeed baby. At any cost" was my thought

colic, unemployed, exhausted, lonely, and colic

unbearable heartache, overwhelming fears, absence of joy

extreme fears, my head in a dark bucket, isolated

loneliness. Anxiety. Fear. Crying. Failure. Overwhelmed

feels like bricks on my chest



hot tea, relaxing music, good book

talking to other moms going through it/had it

antidepressant, massages, good food

rest, prayer, yoga, support of loved one's, downtime

talking to people

talking to my doctor. finding a good psychiatrist

candles, tea, big blanket, soft music, book/magazine

therapy, meds, supportive people, keeping busy

alone time with spouse and baby. no guests.

meditation, hot bubble bath, deep breathing

"you had it too???"

listening to music

finding out its not uncommon

switching to formula exclusively

having my husband turn guests away (politely...)

asking for help. Talking to someone

cognitive Behavioral Therapy

therapy, meds and exercise

sun, alone time, schedule, whole foods

therapy, meds, slow breathing

me time

lots of boundaries with negative, judgmental people

babysitting help. cleaning help.

Nurit SiegalComment
letter to myself
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letter to myself

by Rivki Silver 

Dear Me,

Excuse my brevity, but it’s getting late and I just got back from Target and I still need to fold like three baskets of laundry, maybe four, so I’m just going to cut right to the chase:

You’re not going to see it coming. What’s that? All the cliches. All the cliches that are going to come true and you’re just going to have to go with it.

Let me back up.

Right now you have, what, one or two kids? Beautiful. You can take them for walks in the double stroller. You might even still be fitting into a sedan. That’s great. They’re also very small and entirely dependant on you, which is tiring. That does get better, and it’s amazing. Just today one of the kids said at the dinner table, “I’m thirsty!” So I countered with, “So get yourself a drink.” And he did. Incredible, right?

In less than a decade your life has completely shifted from an amorphous kind of schedule, full of walks and library programming and naps and swaths of time in which you could blog and practice music and contemplate your identity as a stay-at-home mom and post pictures, so many pictures online and get into arguments on Facebook to what it is now.

Now is carpools and after-school appointments and therapy and playdates and making the bus and parent-teacher conferences and preschool and kindergarten graduations and even though the kids are, thank God, more independent, the amount of time you have for creative endeavors is shrinking. There is no more time to contemplate your identity as a mother versus as an individual because there are just so many things to do.

But you still contemplate. You still create. It’s just different now.

I know that all the things your baby and toddler are doing seem like they are absolutely the most important thing right now, just all-encompassing and aggravating and wondrous, and that’s true. It’s so true. Your life is becoming something new, and as a new mother you are a bit like a caterpillar in the cocoon. You have the babies, yes, but you are so new at this, and every decision is so heavy with importance and repercussions. And that’s also true, but it’s also not.

As you gain experience, you’ll appreciate the simplicity of babies, and you will become that more experienced mom who is so annoying to the newer moms. Because you’ll gain perspective, you’ll have seen things before, it won’t be as mysterious or as baffling, and you’ll know that most things tend to be phases and when you see new moms so so so serious you’ll smile and remember what that was like, except you won’t exactly remember, there will just be a tinge of a feeling that’s buried under the years of accumulated experience.

You’ll know what you’re doing, but you still will never know what you’re doing when it comes to your oldest. Sorry. It’s always uncharted territory, but you’ll make friends with people who are ahead of your stage of life, and you’ll learn to ask advice and to embrace the not-knowing. No one knows, really, until they do. And then they will start parenting classes which you will take and write books which you will read.

It does go fast, the problems do grow with the kids, and it certainly does take a village, but these are all things that can only be learned through experience, not through someone else telling you (not that that stops people from telling you, but whatever).

I may not really know what I’m doing, but I have learned that expectations and acceptance seem to be the key to managing, and maybe even succeeding at parenting.

There are times when a child is not doing something that I want them to do, or that I anticipated they would be doing at this stage. Like, I thought for sure that the kids would be reading chapter books by now, and I spent months buying and checking out different chapter books in the hopes that something would click.


But after I put aside my expectations and paid attention to what they were actually interested in, instead of what I wished they were interested in, I found that comics and graphic novels held their interest beautifully, and that they would really read them.

I have a feeling that this will be applicable to every area of our children’s lives, so I’m trying to keep that in mind whenever I’m panicking about something they are or are not doing.

It’s scary, and exciting, and frustrating and wonderful. You’re doing just fine. Keep working at it, it’s going to be okay. Whatever it is is what it’s supposed to be.


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Rivki Silver has spent most of her life immersed in the study and instruction of music, but for the past nine years has been learning about marriage and motherhood. She writes about relationships, parenthood, music and religion, as seen through the lens of an Orthodox Jewish woman. Her writing can be found on,,, where she is a regular contributor, as well as her blog, She was a fellow in the 2016 Cleveland Jewish Arts and Culture Lab, where she created both the visual and soundtrack to a stop-motion video starring a chickpea. You can see that, and other work, on her Youtube channel. She is currently the principal clarinet of the Cleveland Women’s Orchestra. She lives in Cleveland with her husband and four children. You can also find her on her various social media accounts.

Nurit SiegalComment