How to Make Yogurt in an Instant Pot

How to Make Yogurt in an Instant Pot - Yes, you can make yogurt at home! It's cheaper and 100x creamier! You'll never want to buy store-bought yogurt again!

Yes, you can make yogurt at home! It’s cheaper and 100x creamier! You’ll never want to buy store-bought yogurt again!

How to Make Yogurt in an Instant Pot - Yes, you can make yogurt at home! It's cheaper and 100x creamier! You'll never want to buy store-bought yogurt again!

What? Yogurt in an Instant Pot?! Um, yes, 10000 times yes!

The process sounds like it’ll take for-ever, but really, this recipe is so stinking easy with like 4 minutes of hands-on time (legit, 4-5 minutes) – it’s basically effortless. And fool-proof.

Now why bother making homemade yogurt? Well, for starters, it’s 100000x better than store-bought. Seriously. It’s creamier and substantially less tangy. With zero-sweetener.

Plus, you know once you go homemade, you can NEVER go back to the store-bought version. NEVER EVER EVER.

And for that, I’m truly sorry.

Well, not really.

How to Make Yogurt in an Instant Pot - Yes, you can make yogurt at home! It's cheaper and 100x creamier! You'll never want to buy store-bought yogurt again!

How to Make Yogurt in an Instant Pot

Yes, you can make yogurt at home! It’s cheaper and 100x creamier! You’ll never want to buy store-bought yogurt again!


  • 8 cups whole milk*
  • 1/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt


  1. Add milk to a 6-qt Instant Pot®; close and lock the lid. Select yogurt setting; adjust pressure to boil. This can take up to 1 hour.
  2. Working carefully, cool the Instant Pot® insert in a bowl of ice water, stirring occasionally, until the milk reaches 100 to 110 degrees F, about 15- 20 minutes; set aside 1 cup milk.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt and reserved 1 cup milk. Stir into remaining milk, being careful not to scrape the bottom of the insert.
  4. Return insert into the Instant Pot®. Select yogurt setting, set automatically at 8 hours.
  5.  Transfer to storage containers; cover and chill until cold, about 6-8 hours, or up to 10 days.


*2% milk can be substituted.

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From 34DD to 32DDD, Sexy to Sports, Dana Finds New Bras for her New Breasts

Dana Tosk, 37, has always been busty. “But even when I was younger, they were very saggy. After nursing three kids for a year each, they were the breasts of an 80-year-old woman. I’m pretty fit and happy with my body at this stage in my life, and I wanted my breasts to match the rest of me,” she told Bare Necessities.

That’s when she scheduled an appointment with a plastic surgeon.

About to start training to become a yoga instructor, Dana has gotten deep into health and fitness the past few years; she works out six days a week. Now totally recovered from having an augmentation, Dana suddenly needed every kind of bra.

“My biggest gripe is that when I bend over, my boobs fall out. I feel like I’m always tucking the girls back in. I want to be held up and not have to worry about them. Specifically, I need a good sports bra to support my chest while I’m exercising without straining my neck. And would it be asking too much for a bra to not pinch my back fat? Smooth and seamless all around would be great.”

Dana had been in 34DDs from Target and Victoria’s Secret: “I admit that I’m part of the problem. I buy cheap bras, and they suck. I also haven’t been measured since my augmentation, so I really don’t know my size. I would love for an expert to tell me what I’m doing wrong and help me feel more comfortable.”

Like, say, amBRAssador Kristyn.

A mother of three young kids herself, Kristyn empathized with Dana’s figure changes. She measured Dana over the phone and found her to be a 32DDD.

“Though technically that’s the sister size of the 34DDs you’re already in, the tighter band will give you the lift you need,” explained Kristyn, who prioritized finding a more supportive sports bra (bye-bye, stretchy XLs) and stepped-up bras for the rest of the day. “Dana is still wearing T-shirt bras because that was all she could wear before implants. She hasn’t made the mental leap yet. I want to show her how to fit her new figure. Her breasts are slightly wide-set, so I’d like to try bringing them closer together. And I’d love to see her in something a little sexier since she has these great new boobs!”

Dana was all about it: “I paid a lot for them, so I want them to look good!”

After shipping out the first round of try-ons, Dana and Kristyn were vibing.

For the weekday grind, the femme, on-trend new Camio Mio Lace Balcony Bra—exclusive to Bare Necessities—fit as though it were custom-made for Dana. Stabilizing straps and lightweight foam cups trimmed in a very contemporary lace solved her spillage, smoothness and comfort concerns and brought her breasts in and up like Kristyn hoped a bra would.

When it came to sexy, it was all about Freya. The sheer yet intricately constructed Freya Pulse Plunge and Freya Fancies Plunge Balcony bras that Kristyn gravitated toward first looked superhot (too hot to show here, in fact) while lifting and supporting at the same time.

On the sports bra front, “I don’t think Dana even realized they come in bra sizes,” said Kristyn. “She’d been wearing a much-too-big pullover style to accommodate her chest, but what she gained in capacity she lost in support.” Instead, she found Dana’s just-right fit in the Anita Air Control Wire-Free Sports Bra. “While all about function, it also happens to looks gorgeous on her.”

“Everything you sent me is cute and comfortable. I wear cotton T-shirt bras and sports bras every day…I’m not used to such attractive bras! It’s nice to feel pretty,” Dana emailed.

“They’re all wonderful!” Dana said of her bras the day of her photoshoot. “The sports bra is super supportive and very comfortable. The black lace one shapes me just right and is so sexy. The pink pushup makes the girls perky without having them fall out when I bend over.”

But putting herself in an expert’s hands was Dana’s biggest aha! moment of all: “Kristyn was so nice and made me feel so comfortable. The bras she picked right away were the ones that fit best. Speaking with her was an education. She explained what was wrong with my old bra size, then sent me exactly what I wanted and checked to be sure it fit right. It was a lot more enjoyable trying on bras in the comfort of my bedroom than in a poorly lit mall dressing room. Returning what I didn’t like was a breeze, and I found four bras that work for my life.”

Kristyn couldn’t have been happier with the outcome of this bra makeover: “Hopefully she’ll ditch the T-shirt bras for good and stick with sexy support!”

Camio Mio Lace Balcony Bra
Freya Pulse Plunge
Freya Fancies Plunge Balcony
Anita Air Control Wire-Free Sports Bra

Let us handle your bra gripes for you, too. Call an amBRAssador at 877-728-9272 x4 or chat via

The post From 34DD to 32DDD, Sexy to Sports, Dana Finds New Bras for her New Breasts appeared first on Bare it All.

Inama: Old Vine Garganega and Unique Carmenere of the Veneto

The Inama winery, a known name in the Soave wine region of the Veneto, was started back in the 60’s by Giuseppe Inama.  His vision was to produce all high quality wines from old vine garganega, the primary grape used in the wines of Soave.  Today the winery is run by 3rd generation, Stefano Inama, Giuseppe’s son.  

The vineyards of Inama are located in the Veneto region in the northeastern part of Italy between the major towns of Verona and Vicenza.  It’s a wonderful region with so many beautiful towns explore including the former two mentioned as well as Padua,Venice and more.  Inama’s white wines hail from the historical Soave Classico wine region and the reds coming from the Colli Berici, just south of Vicenza. 

Stefano Inama
Stefano Inama

I actually learned something interesting from Inama’s site that the name garganega was transformed in local dialect from the Grecian wine grape, Graecanicum, that was initially planted there.  The wines of soave are either primarily made from the garganega grape or some may be blends. 

Copyright of Inama Wines

Giuseppe bought plots of land in the Soave Classico area, the historical part of the wine region where the soils are made from volcanic soils stated on the Inama site to be over 30 million years old.  Their single vineyard Soave wine, Monte Foscarino, contains a blend of soils including red clay, basaltic lava and volcanic tuffs.  These types of soils tend to lend complexity and minerality to the wines.Below are the wines I tried from Inama with my standouts being the 2016 Inama Vigneti di Foscarino Soave Classico and the 2015 Inama Carmenere Piu Veneto Rosso.

Wines of Inama

2017 Inama “Vin Soave” Soave Classico DOC (SRP $15)
Inama’s entry level soave wine.  Made from 100% garganega on 30 year old vines the wine is vinified in stainless steel.  This wine makes up about half of Inama’s production.  An easy drinking wine with medium body, fresh acidity combined with apple and tropical notes and a bit of creaminess to the texture. 
Food pairings: Inama recommends risotto, white fish, sushi, local fresh ricotta and stewed peas.

2016 Inama Vigneti di Foscarino Soave Classico DOC (SRP $25)
The single vineyard, old-vine soave wine from Inama.  A wine with much complexity made of 100% garganega and fermented in used barriques.  The wine is aged on the lees stirred every 6 weeks for 6 months and fining takes place for 6 months in stainless steel.  A creamy texture with more notes of pears and hone. 
Food pairings: Inama suggests risotto with fish, sushi, veal with tuna sauce.  Local dishes include baccala and soups including pea and pumpkin soup

Vines of Inama Foscarino
Inama Foscarino vines

2015 Inama “Bradisismo” Veneto Rosso IGT (SRP $30)
A blend of 70% cabernet sauvignon and 30% carmenere.  This wine spends 15 months in a mix of 50%/50% used & new barriques.  A full-bodied wine rich in blackberries, cherries with some pepper.  A rather smooth wine with low to moderate tannins and good acidity.  The label signifies the house where he Inama family lives that was built back in the 1700’s.
Food pairings:  Inama suggests bbq, filet, stews.  Local specialties include bigoli with sausage and asiago cheese, grilled bone-in rib eye and bean soups.

2015 Inama “Carmenere Piu” Veneto Rosso IGT ($20)
A blend of 70% carmenere and 30% merlot.  Another wine rich in dark berries with chocolate notes, pepper and spice (and everything nice).  The wine spends 12 months in used barriques.  A unique wine, especially to see this grape dominate the blend.
Food pairings:  Inama suggests pancetta & salami, grilled pork, polenta.  Local dishes include sorpresa Veneta DOP, pasta and beans and Val Liona DOP ham

garganega grapes of Soave with Inama


* Most pictures copyright of Inama winery and these wines were provided as samples, but opinions are my own.

Meet the amBRAssadors

Sure, Bare Necessities carries 163 different bra sizes from more than 80 of the world’s best brands. But perhaps our greatest advantage: the ladies on our customer service team.

Meet the amBRAssadors™.

These trained, talented bra fit experts are real women with real lives and body concerns of their own. They’re here to assess your bra situation, find you the best size through an at-home bra fitting over phone or chat, then help you choose the perfect style for your body type, budget, style and more. Call them at 877-728-9272, x4 (Monday through Saturday, 8:30 AM to 6 PM), or chat via Bare Necessities to get yours. All you’ll need is a tape measure, your best-fitting bra and ten idle minutes.

Meanwhile, get to know the team so that when you do yourself the favor of reaching out, you’ll already know who’s on the other end of the connection.

Best brand:
Favorite bra: Chantelle Modern Invisible Plunge
Most memorable fitting: My own! I walked in wearing a 38D and walked out in a 32G.
Best lingerie advice: The best fit is what makes you look and feel beautiful.
If I weren’t an amBRAssador: I wouldn’t have measuring tapes all over my house and purse!
Fun fact: I love to watch my daughters play softball.
All-time favorite movie: Steel Magnolias.
Favorite way to relax: Going to an amusement park with my daughters.
Guilty pleasure: Wine and dark chocolate.
Hobby: I crochet baby blankets and donate them.
Proudest moment: When I put my life back together after my marriage ended.
Personal mantra: If you’re going through hell, keep going.


Best brand/bra: Curvy Kate Tropics Balcony Bra
Most memorable fitting: My own, with amBRAssador Marissa. She helped me determine what size I truly was. I had been wearing a bra that was four cup sizes too small! It was life-changing trying on a bra that actually fit. I felt the weight literally lift off my shoulders.
Best lingerie advice: Graduate beyond Victoria’s Secret!
If I weren’t an amBRAssador: I would be sitting at a job I didn’t love in an ill-fitting bra!
Comfort food: Buffalo mac and cheese. I could eat it every day.
Favorite way to relax: Surround myself with a bunch of dogs. It does not matter what kind of mood I’m in, pups always cheer me up.
Guilty pleasure: The Golden Girls.
Hobby: I love to sing.
Proudest moment: I’m the youngest of four girls, and it was my parents dream to see all four of their daughters graduate from college, so it felt amazing to reach my own goal as well as to make my parents’ dreams come true.
Personal mantra: “Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control of what you don’t.”


Best brand/bra: Freya Idol Balcony Bra
Most memorable fitting: Probably my own! I was wearing a 32DD before my fitting. It was completely wrong.
Best lingerie advice: When buying shapewear, size up! It will prevent rolls.
If I weren’t an amBRAssador: I wouldn’t know my correct bra size!
Fun fact: I’m a super nerd. I love comic books, manga and anime.
Favorite way to relax: Beach days.
Guilty pleasure: Vegan brownies.
Hobby: Painting and reading.
Personal mantra: Be yourself because those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.


Bra size: You’ll need to buy me a Martini first.
Best brand: Prima Donna
Best lingerie advice: A comfortable person is hella sexy.
When I’m not an amBRAssador: I’m acting, writing and producing Carbon, my feature film.
Fun fact: I have an Emmy award.
All-time favorite book: Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines and Habits of Billionaires, Icons and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferris.
Go-to movie: Requiem for a Dream.
Favorite way to relax: Bingewatching a good show with cheese, crackers, a Manhattan and, let’s be honest, a Lactaid.
Happy place: Santa Fe, Costa Rica or my bed.
Craziest thing you’ve ever done: Not fit for print.
Proudest moment: Seeing my kid go against the grain.
Personal mantra: It’s all okay—no one’s open on the table.
In a word: Multi-tasker. A hyphen makes that one word, right?


Best brand/bra: Freya Fancies Plunge Balcony Bra
Most memorable fitting: I had a customer call in who was having all sorts of difficulties finding a bra that fit her breast shape. She was measuring a 32L. We talked for a very long time, went over her measurements, tweaked her size and found different styles to try. She called a few days later to tell me the Elomi Tia Side Support I suggested was the best bra she’s ever owned. She said it almost made it look like she had gotten a lift—that’s a pretty impressive endorsement!
Best lingerie advice: Confidence is key.
If I weren’t an amBRAssador: I would probably be wearing the wrong bra size.
Fun fact: I’m a huge sports fan. I may have missed my calling to be a sport analyst and get paid to argue about it.
All-time favorite book: The Outsiders.
Guilty pleasure: Reality TV.
Hobby: Shopping.
Personal mantra: Every experience teaches you something. Learn the lesson.


Best brand:
Favorite bra:
Chantelle Courcelles T-Shirt Bra
Most memorable fitting: A bride looking for a wedding day bra had lost a lot of weight but was still wearing her old 40DD. We measured her at a 34G. She was so excited to find bras in her new size that would fit and support her better. I was so happy for her.
Best lingerie advice: Stack your contour bras one behind the other in a drawer.
If I weren’t an amBRAssador: I’d be a museum curator.
Hidden talent: I can moonwalk.
Superpower: I wish I could read minds.
Happy place: The beach.
Best vacation: Spain.
Proudest moment: Buying a home.
Favorite movie: The Goonies.
Personal mantra: Progress, not perfection.


Best brand/bra:
Chantelle Révèle Moi
Most memorable fitting: I worked with a customer for over a month. She would call me every Saturday, and we would talk about the latest bras she had tried. Though she measured consistently, depending on the brand and style, her size varied as much as three cup and band sizes. We went through a ton of options. By the time we were done, she had a massive bra wardrobe and we were practically best friends.
Best lingerie advice: Don’t get hung up on the size of your bra. If it fits well and makes you happy, that’s all that matters.
If I weren’t an amBRAssador: I’d be running my own pet business. I make my own dog collars and accessories.
Happy place: Horseback riding in the great outdoors.
Hidden talent: Sewing.
Guilty pleasure: Fast food.
Personal mantra: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
In a word: Creative.


Best brand/bra: Curvy Couture Tulip Lace Push-Up Bra
Most memorable fitting: I had a customer who, because of an illness and many surgeries, didn’t have a clue what size she was. She was coming to us to be fitted for swimwear and though she lived in California, she hadn’t actually been to the beach in years. After her first try-on, she contacted me in tears. She finally felt confident enough to enjoy the beach again.
Best lingerie advice: If you feel comfortable and confident, it will show.
If I weren’t an amBRAssador: I would be a chef.
All-time favorite movie: Since childhood, I’ve loved The Wizard of Oz.
Comfort food: Pasta.
Favorite way to relax: 
Sitting by my pool with my husband and puppy, listening to music.
Personal mantra:
Walk by faith, not by sight.


Best brand/bra: B’Tempt’d Ciao Bella Balconette
Most memorable fitting: My mom! She went from a 36B to her correct size, a 30D.
If I wasn’t an amBRAssador: I’d be a therapist.
Hobby: Collecting vinyl records.
Superpower: A woman’s intuition.
Fun fact: I’m a single mom of three crazy little boys.
Favorite way to relax: Yoga.
Personal mantra: If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
Craziest thing I’ve ever done: Skydiving. It was awesome!


Best brand/bra:
OnGossamer Mesh Bump It Up Bra
Most memorable fitting: My mom thought she was a 36DD her entire life, but I took her measurements and she ended up being a 36H. She still can’t get over it!
Best lingerie advice: Trying on bras is like trying on jeans—every style will fit a bit different than the next.
If I weren’t an amBRAssador: I would love to be traveling the world.
All-time favorite show: Game of Thrones.
Comfort food: Pizza and wings.
Favorite way to relax: A bubble bath.
Guilty pleasure: Watching sappy romance movies.
Hobby: Playing video games.
Proudest moment: Becoming an aunt.
Personal mantra: The best is yet to come.


Best brand/bra: 
Simone Perele Andora Demi T-Shirt Bra
Best lingerie advice: Have more fun with color!
If I weren’t an amBRAssador: I’d travel the world taking photographs.
All-time favorite show: Friends.
Favorite way to relax: Curling up in bed with a book, a cup of coffee and my cat.
Guilty pleasure: Shoes and makeup. I’m a hoarder of both.
Craziest thing I’ve ever done: Snowboarded a Double Black Diamond slope by accident. I got lost and had to make it down somehow!
Personal mantra: Figure it out.


Best brand: I love Freya for the size and style selection, and they have AH-mazing swimwear.
Favorite bra: I really dig the Natori Feathers bra because it’s fun and sexy, in great sizes and colors and is perfect for me—it’s the T-shirt bra I love without super-stiff foam cups that gape on my shallow breasts.
Most memorable fitting: I recently did a swim fitting with a customer who had gone through some tough personal things that were affecting her body. We laughed, we cried.
Best lingerie advice: You actually DO get what you pay for! Some bras may seem priced too highly, but they’re much better quality and will last you longer, so they won’t need to be replaced as often.
Fun fact: I’ve recently lost almost 140 pounds with the help of a weight loss surgery. I’ve been a whole range of bra sizes, so I love helping customers whose sizes have changed.
All-time favorite book: The Harry Potter series.
Comfort food: Potatoes in any form.
Guilty pleasure: The TV show Jersey Shore… except I don’t feel so guilty about it.
Personal mantra: “I am Beyoncé, always,” —Michael Scott, The Office.


Best brand:
Dita Von Teese
Favorite bra: Freya Fancies Plunge Balcony Bra
Most memorable fitting: My own! Thinking I was a 34C when really I’m a 28F…what a difference!
Best lingerie advice: If you like it, rock it!
If I weren’t an amBRAssador: I’d be an art teacher.
Comfort food: Movie theater popcorn.
Guilty pleasure: Makeup shopping.
Hobby: Going to the craft store and learning to sew with amBRAssador Jennie.
Proudest moment: Adopting my first rescue rabbit. I’m obsessed with bunnies.
Personal mantra: Never settle.


Best bra/brand: Simone Perele Caresse 3D Plunge
Fun fact: I can count the number of letters in any word instantaneously. (That’s 15 letters! See?) ?
If I weren’t an amBRAssador: I would be traveling around the world.
All-time favorite show: I’ve seen Wicked on Broadway ten times.
Favorite way to relax: Picnics at the park, riding our bikes and going to the movies as a family.
Guilty pleasure: Sneaking away to the spa for a massage.
Hobby: Fitness. I’m a certified instructor!
Happy place: Disney World.
Craziest thing you’ve ever done: Agreeing to run a half marathon even though I had never run more than a few feet. I finished, and in decent time, too!
Proudest moment: Bringing each of my three children into the world.
Personal mantra: Everything happens for a reason.
In a word: Happy.


Best bra: Calvin Klein Perfectly Fit Modern T-Shirt Bra
Best lingerie advice: Wear something that makes you feel like the best version of you—happy, pretty, comfortable.
Fun fact: I would spend millions on makeup if I had the means.
All-time favorite show: It’s a tie between Friends and Gilmore Girls.
Favorite way to relax: Watching Netflix while wrapped in a fluffy blanket.
Guilty pleasure: The Kardashian family.
Craziest thing you’ve ever done: Switching careers, from preschool teacher to amBRAssador.
Proudest moment: Watching my pre-K class graduate and seeing how far they’d come.
Personal mantra: Don’t worry, be happy.
In a word: Loving.

The post Meet the amBRAssadors appeared first on Bare it All.

Albarino: Summer in a Glass in the Land of Rias Baixas

A little behind on the game I am as I just completed our family move to New Hampshire and this virtual tasting I attended with Snooth was back in May, but the wines (and my notes) are fresh in my mind highlighting the white wines, specifically albarino, of Rias Baixas in Spain.  The tasting was led by Mark, co-founder of Snooth, and James Beard award winning wine and food writer, Lyn Farmer.   
The wine region of Rias Baixas is located in Galicia in the northwestern part of Spain and it’s wine production is 90% dominated by the refreshing grape, albarino.  A rather cool region with the summer only averaging about 60 degrees.  Within Rias Baixas are 5 sub-regions and in the tasting of 11 albarino wines we covered 3 of them including Val do Salnés,  Condado do Tea and O Rosal.  The other 2 not covered here today are Soutomaior and Ribeira do Ulla.  Interesting fact of the region is that more than half of the winemakers are women.  Women power!   

1.) Condes dei Albarai (Val do Salnés) – SRP $15 

A winery founded only 20 years ago located in a very wet province.  A crisp wine with citrus qualities and good body and acidity combined with nice minerality.  The minerality and saltiness seemed to be a consistent characteristic in the tasting.     
2.) Bodegas As Laxas (O Rosal) – SRP $18 
One of the 1st wineries in Rias BaixasLocated right on the river with vinho verde being grown on the other side.  There are lots of terraced vineyards.  A fresh wine showing notes of stone fruit and citrus and is rather well balanced.   
3.) Don Pedro de Soutomaior (Condado do Tea) – SRP $19 
Soutomaior is the smallest of the 5 subzones, but this wine actually hails from the Condado do Tea subregion.  Named after a hero of the 16th century, Don Pedro.  Good citrus, acidity (looking like a trend here) with plenty of salinity.  Nice and clean.  
4.) Pazo Señorans  (Val do Salnés) – $25 
For those that are lovers of ratings this wine was rated as #35 on the Top 100 Wine Entusiast list in 2017.  A wine aged on the lees for 5 months creating a rather soft, creamy wine with tropical notes. 
5.) Valmiñor (O Rosal) – SRP $19 
A wine with good acidity and grassy notes combined with herbs.   
6.) Señorío de Rubiós Robaliño. (Condado do Tea) – SRP $18 
This wine is produced from a collective of 105 partners combining traditional and modern values in winemaking.  A bright wine with with notes of melon.     
7.) Altos de Torona (O Rosal) – SRP $20 
This winery is located along the coast and produces a clearn wine with bright acidty that is like biting into a crisp, green apple.   
8.) Nai e Señora (Val do Salnés) – SRP $16 
A wine with is a tribute to women.   An aromatic nose with zesty acidity, salinity and lots of citrus.   
9.) Fillaboa (Condado do Tea) – SRP $20 
This wine hails from one of the oldest farms in Galicia.  A wine produced on the lees creating a richer, silky texture.  Notes of tropical fruits with a little spice.  
10.) Paco & Lola (Val do Salnés) – SRP $22 
This wine is produced from a cooperative made up of 400 members.  A fresh, easy drinking wine with notes of lemon and citrus.  Quoted as a wine good for those that like sauvignon blanc, but looking for something different.   
11.) Terras Gauda (O Rosal) – SRP $24 
Made up of some pretty unique grapes including 70% albarino, 15% loureiro and 15% caino.  A wine with depth, creaminess and some stone fruit. 
If you haven’t tried albarino hopefully this is driving your motivation to grab a bottle this weekend.  If you have already tried albarino what did you think and have you tried any of these wines yet? 

*All wines provided as samples, but opinions are my own.


Happiness Advice to Take You Through the Rest of the Year

Summertime, and the living is arguably easier. What is it about a little sunshine that makes this the happiest time of year and, more importantly, how to bottle that feeling for the other nine months?

Bare Necessities looked into the science behind summer’s golden touch. We’re here to share ideas you can draw on when fall and winter start getting you down. Bookmark this for when you need it in the back half of the year!

Embrace JOMO

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is old news. Despite what some blogger’s perfect Instagram feed suggests, there’s no way to do, be or have it all. This summer, it’s all about embracing the joy of missing out (JOMO). That means taking a digital detox. The more we disconnect from the tiny slot machines in our pockets, the better our state of mind. Sure, that can feel a lot easier to do in the summer, when engaging alternatives abound, but you can consciously bring the idea with you into fall. When you’re focused on doing you, regardless of what others are doing, you’re closer to true happiness.

Schedule more fun

Fun comes obscenely freely in the summer…there’s always something to do! The rest of the year, the daily grind can get the best of you. But not every day can be an amusement park or a vacation. To keep life’s annoyances from crowding out the delightful stuff, prioritize things that make you feel good by putting time on your calendar—daily, weekly or monthly—to do something you enjoy. Then, no matter what comes up, do not cancel on yourself! Make it a point to catch a movie while it’s in the theater, go out on a Tuesday night to see a friend’s band play or haul your tired self to hot yoga. Committing to relishing the little moments is as important as anything you do for your health.

Say yes before saying no

Just as summer gives you permission to live a little—jump off the side of the boat! start a bonfire! eat the ice cream!—any time’s a good excuse to break with the script and do things that you ordinarily wouldn’t. Novelty is the spice of life, as our sexy lingerie certainly proves.

Spend a little less

Simple pleasures go a long way. Right now, maybe that means catching a sunset, watching fireflies or going to the farmer’s market. Year-round, it can mean keeping a gratitude journal, practicing hygge or sensory meditation to help you slow down, relax and appreciate what’s going right without wrestling your mind into blank submission. Close your eyes and sit or lie comfortably, then run through your senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell to situate yourself in the moment. Or, you know, buy yourself the $5 latte. Whatever works.

Get into nature

Spending time outdoors is critical, from improving short-term memory to staving off anxiety and depression. And the cold sure doesn’t stop the people of Finland, Norway or Denmark, the happiest nations in the world, from communing with nature. Find what works for you—hiking, snowshoeing, skiing or a quick walk in the brisk air—suit up in the optimal activewear and do it as much as you can.

Go to sleep

Not unlike getting outside, a good night’s sleep pays so many dividends, it’s hardly worth the column inches defending the premise. To replicate that languid summer sleep, take baby steps: Go to bed a few minutes earlier. Sleep in by a few (early morning sleep is key to REM). Keep to a pretty consistent schedule. Take a little nap. Upgrade your pajamas. It’s not being lazy; it’s recharging the battery otherwise known as your brain.

Read a book

Reading is the jam, but other than on summer vacation, who has the time? Well, it’s time to make time. It lowers stress. It transports you somewhere else, on the cheap, without leaving the house. Book lovers are less depressed. You’ll be part of the cultural conversation. Add in a social component by starting a book club with your friends. Listening to audiobooks on the daily also counts.

Take an 8-day vacation

Yes, summer is prime time for getting away, but unless you’re a teacher or an accountant, you can pretty much go whenever. So do that. Use up your days! Grab your greatest swimsuits and go lie on a beach someplace tropical when the temperature dips at home. The ideal length for a trip is scientifically proven to be just north of a week. Eight days equals peak happiness: long enough to experience something new, short enough not to miss home and feel like you’re falling behind on life.

Go to more concerts

You don’t have to wait for Beyoncé or Taylor Swift to come back around on an amphitheater tour; amazing shows happen all year long. Regularly listening to live music is, happily, associated with living longer. That’s why we asked some of our favorite performers from this year’s Newport Folk Festival, which we checked out last month, what happiness advice they live by:

Courtney Marie Andrews (Photo: Laura E. Partain)

What boosts your mood when you need it most?
Writing is key to uplifting my mood. It’s cathartic and allows me to process how or why I’m feeling a certain way. Playing new songs uplifts me because they’re the rawest form of what I’ve been thinking or feeling. They help me stay in tune with my identity and what’s going on internally. It feels triumphant when you finish a song and play it for the first time. It allows me to be proud of myself. I’m also an aimless walker. When I’m feeling depressed, a long walk is great for gaining clarity.

What song of yours would give us a lift?
I suggest the title track to my new record, “May Your Kindness Remain.”

How did you know you’d found your calling? How’d you find the courage to go your own way?
I’ve known since I could talk that I wanted to write and perform. I’m lucky that I’ve had my whole life to work on and for something that I love. Honestly, I think I had dumb courage before I had talent. Courage led me here, and let me improve my craft. I grew up with a single mother working two jobs, so it was important that I take care of myself and be brave.

Lucius (Photo: Petecia Le Fawnhawk)

What boosts your mood when you need it most?
The smell of jasmine, David Bowie’s “The Laughing Gnome,” the Eagles’ “Take it Easy,” lili_hayes on Instagram, or a big glass boot full of Hefeweizen.

What song of yours would give us a lift?
Part of falling in love with an artist is discovering them and taking part in that relationship. Try a couple from each record (Wildewoman, Good Grief and Nudes) and, if you like what you hear, keep digging.

How did you know you’d found your calling? How’d you find the courage to go your own way?
There were moments: deciding to play piano, to pursue singing, then songwriting, then making a band. I felt I didn’t have a choice. The only movement available to me was forward. It was a given for us both, and we never thought twice. In that way, it had to work.

Nicole Atkins (Photo: Anna Webber)

What boosts your mood when you need it most?
Getting outside and walking with music in my headphones. My three favorite mood-boosters are “Rocksteady” from Aretha Franklin, “Goin’ Down” from Allen Toussaint and “Cherry” from Neil Diamond. They can make walking through a blizzard feel sunny. When I’m stressed, I walk it out until I feel better. It always helps. Even if I’ve done nothing for the day or had a really stressful brain day, I can take a walk on the boardwalk down by the ocean and feel full.

What song of yours would give us a lift?
If you like sad songs, play “A Little Crazy,” and if you wanna shake your butt, put on “Darkness Falls So Quiet.”

How did you know you’d found your calling? How’d you find the courage to go your own way?
When I was 19, the restaurant I was working at on the Jersey Shore heard me singing in the stockroom. They ended up letting me play there every Thursday. From there on out, I knew I wanted to do this forever. Be kind with yourself. Nothing’s more fun than weird! There is no graduation from your work and passion. It’s the arch of your life; don’t rush it.

The post Happiness Advice to Take You Through the Rest of the Year appeared first on Bare it All.

Italian Grapes in Lodi with Harney Lane’s Primitivo

I’m obviously a huge fan of Italian wines, but I love finding Italian grapes grown outside Italy to experience the difference of the grapes being grown on non-Italian soil. This month our Italian Food, Wine & Travel group is doing just that in sharing wineries around the world producing wines from Italian grapes.  

We’ve talked about primitivo here in the past and it’s a grape that you’ll typically find in Puglia, but today I found one out in Lodi, CA from the Harney Lane Winery.  I was introduced to the Harney Lane Winery awhile back when I tried their 2012 Lizzy James Old Vine Zinfandel.  Harney Lane and the family have been harvesting grapes for 5 generations.  The winemaking there is carefully tended to with everything done by hand.

Harney Lane Winery Lodi, CA

I connected with owner, Jorja Lerner, to get a better understanding regarding their Primitivo Lot wines. Jorja actually held a career as a physical therapist for 15 years, but growing up having respect for farming she got her calling back to the family winery and today runs the tasting room and operations. 

Can you give me your history in the wine industry and what got you started with Harney Lane?
For 5 generations my family has grown wine grapes on the Harney Lane property.  In the early 2000’s my husband and I started discussing the thought of a winery as well as other options as a way to add value to the family farm to ensure it was financially viable for generations to come.  Our region has long been the backbone of the California wine industry, but at that point few families had developed their own label.  In 2006, we made our first vintage of wine, jumping to the vintner side of the busienss and we never regretted the decision.  It is more work than we ever imagined but also more rewarding. While it has added value to our business it has also been a beneficial learning tool for our farming practices and gratifying to share our final estate product directly with the consumer.

What attracted Harney Lane to producing primitivo in particular out of all the Italian native grapes?  Were other Italian grapes considered?
Primitivo really comes also as a circumstance of our farming history.  We had already been growing this variety for another large winery.  As a grower, it is more elongated and slightly earlier ripening than many zinfandel clones.  As a grower it made sense to reduce some of the struggles growing zinfandel.  Early in our winemaking, we quickly discovered that primitivo produces beautiful, elegant dark cherry notes that are distinct.  It completely made sense to share this with our consumers as another offering in our lineup.

Harney Lane Primitivo LotThe Harney Lane Primitivo Lot is a club exclusive wine so I was lucky to receive a sample.  They blend 3 vintages producing a wine that full bodied, robust and in jammy berries and vanilla with a hint of spice.  ABV 15.5% SRP $40.

Food pairing
Harney Lane recommends the following to pair with this wine: spicy food, thair curry, chicken marsala, sweet baby back ribs, autumn beef stew and cioppino.

Join us this Saturday August 4th at 11am EST on Twitter at #ItalianFWT and chat about Italian grapes from around the world.  Next month on Saturday September 1st we will be featuring Fall Reds.


*Wine provided as a sample and pictures copyright of Harney Lane Winery

Jolloff Etcetera….

A great conversation starter is the restaurant “jollof Ecetera.” This tiny but large shack is located in Annapolis Maryland. You know the saying “good things come in small packages?” Jolloff Ecetera is one of those good things.

The fact that I have nothing plenty to say about this place is because they “killed” everything with their awesome food. Have you ever tasted a meal so good, you constantly replay how you ate it and it’s taste in your mouth?

I walked into Jollof Ecetera not knowing what to expect. It looks like a “to go” kind of restaurant. What that means is that, you simply make an order and pick up your food or have it delivered once it’s prepared.

Even as small as the space for the restaurant is, there are a few chairs and tables for patrons who wish to dine in. I dined in.

Ambiance: There is really none but for the soft gospel music playing from the tv set. The place was crowded with people and it just seemed so little to navigate through.

Make over: Jolloff Ecetera needs a total make over. a least some new chairs with tables that fit the space. Nothing more or less.

Apart from the ambiance and the need for a make over, I liked the little notes that sat on the table. The notes had scriptures on them. Oh, I forgot to tell you that the restaurant is owned by a Christian who doesn’t ever settle. He doesn’t even serve alcohol in his restaurant. Drink your Schweppes or water and enjoy your meal or nothing.

One thing I liked about Jolloff ecetera, was the sink they had in the restaurant for patrons to wash their hands; and beside the sink was a motion censored trash bin. A great feature if you’re a germaphobe.

The good stuff: Now to the good stuff. The food! With all the delicious photos on their Instagram’s page @jolloffetcetera, it was even better in person. I ordered a plate of rice and fish stew to make up for all the meat from the previous day. Along with the rice, I ordered a side of spinach and plantains. My hosts ordered Eba, onugbu and vegetable soups respectively.

Before our food was brought to the table, the restaurant owner gave my hosts and I a complimentary bowl of Chinchin. A little stale it was but it was really good. Our food came without a waste of time and the portions were huge. Mere looking at my bowl and that of my hosts, I was full. I didn’t even know how to start spooning the stew into the rice. And the fish, it filled the bowl and eating it was orgasmic to experience. The side of spinach, it was melt in your mouth good. I am here writing and trying to describe how delicious my food was, but I can’t even begin to find the words. My hosts ate theirs so quickly, you could tell they enjoyed their food with the way they cleaned their bowls. There were no traces of eba or soup in sight ? And with a cool bottle of Schweppes, everything hit the spot.

food for thought: Sometimes, it’s not always about having nice restaurant furniture, it’s about having mind blowing meals, meals that would make you not want to eat anything else. Now, if one restaurant can fix their furnishing, have working and clean bathrooms and cook really good food like Jolloff Etcetera.

5 Sisters And None Extra….

In the beautiful DMV area is the restaurant 5 sisters that caters to the gastronomical needs of the African people who live around the area. When you hear the word “5 sisters,” the first question that comes to mind is “is it a music group of some sort?” Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but it’s an African restaurant owned by a Cameroonian lady with 5 daughters. I didn’t get the full history but I know they are 5 and they even own a boutique too.

Walking into the restaurant, it was like walking into a club in broad day light. Not that people don’t club during the day, but na those day time clubbers sabi. I have been to restaurants that double as event halls or clubs but this one was lit from the afternoon when my host and I got there until we left at almost midnight. I actually thought there was a party going on because of the loud music but I guess the DJ was just too excited to be at work that day. While this restaurant seems like a great place to sit and have “life changing” conversations, I don’t want to listen to very loud music in the early evening, shouting on the top of my lungs while trying to eat and have a “meaningful” conversation with my friends.

The Ambiance at the 5 sisters restaurant was a little mixed and confusing. They had ‘bluish’ disco lights on in the night time and close to the bar with the restaurant part on both ends of the hall; the Dj and his loud jockey set was right by the door. I can’t explain the whole restaurant’s set up, but the entire character of the place screamed “make me over!”

Now to the good stuff! The drinks! My favorite drink in the world is “sex on the beach.” If you don’t have that, give me some Tequila silver with salt and lime and I’m good to go. My host ordered a glass of sex on the beach for me and when I received my drink from Riley the bar tender, it didn’t quite look the part as he pointed that they were out of an ingredient, but for some reason he made it work and I couldn’t even tell the difference. If Riley hadn’t told me of the missing ingredient, I wouldn’t have been able to distinguish what was missing. He worked with what he had and created something so tastily beautiful that I couldn’t even tell the difference.

Don’t mess up a good meal: If there’s one thing you shouldn’t mess up as a restaurant that caters to Africans; especially West Africans, it is Suya. Mba, you can make your Ogbono soup a little watery and add a little too much oil in your Egusi soup, but the small chop that is suya must NEVER be tampered with. I have two rules to follow when making suya regardless of the cut of meat you use.

Rule1. Always cut out the fat before/after grilling. I understand that cooking with a little fat gives food/meat a little flavor, but I don’t want my food drowned in it. And no, I’m not on the Keto diet.

Rule2. If you catch yourself making Suya, always have some suya pepper or Yaji! That’s what makes it suya. I don’t want to eat chopped steak with onions and peppered sauce as Suya. Don’t play with my Suya. If your Mai Suya is a little confused or doesn’t know how to make suya, Google is your friend. There are hundreds of Nigerian/West African food blogs with Suya recipes and basic Yaji recipes which you can tweak to fit your customers.

Basically, we ordered for some Suya and what came to the table was chopped steak with sweet onions, fried plantains and peppered sauce. If I wanted Asun, I for tell you na. I’m not someone who eats a lot of meat, so when I order anything that looks like meat, it better be good like that goat meat from Kings way. Now that’s another story to tell ? The plantain was an added plus but the Suya kind of spoilt it for me.

Asun: My host’s friends ordered peppered goat meat(Asun) and Nkwobi and what came to our table were two bowls full of bones; not literally, but that bowl of Asun had more bones than the goat that was killed for it’s purpose. When the waitress came to the table with the bowl of Asun, I looked at the bowl and I had nothing to say. I don’t want to go into any restaurant to wrestle with bones. While I understand that you have to make your money, you don’t have to serve your patrons a bowl full of bones. Peel out as much of the bones as you can and just price the dish a little more. Let the Asun be worth traveling for. When you pay attention to detail in your kitchen and you make good food, people will come by the droves and they will eat to their fill and even recommend your restaurant to their friends. Ask the owners of Fo go De Chao how they have survived the restaurant business with no bones ?

Nkwobi….Two meals I take personal when not done right is Isi ewu and Nkwobi. Nkwobi is pretty much a casserole made with cow foot. Yes, the cow foot is boney, but there’s plenty of flesh in it too and it takes just a minute to debone the meat after cooking until soft. I don’t know how my hosts friends ate those bones. Just like the Asun, the Nkwobi was bony and I guess the Guinness they were drinking kind of helped them adjust to the bony situation.

While I’m not sure how African restaurants prepare their oil for Abacha, Nkwobi and Isi ewu, there are healthier options used these days instead of potash. You could thicken your oil with palm nut ash, baking soda and cold water. With my favorite being the palm nut ash and baking soda, the cold water option comes in very handy. Some people say the oil breaks down when they use the healthier options. I’d advice that when using the options I have listed, it would help to let your meat cool down before mixing with the oil. this way, your oil stays thick and your belly thanks you.

Food for thought: I love African food, especially when it is done right. There is really nothing to it when it is your passion; knowing that you want your customers to ultimately enjoy their African food experience. These days people would rather pay for good service and comfort. Some days, I like to shop at Walmart, other days, I prefer Publix because you get great service at Publix. If I cannot find something, there is always someone to help. When my bags are too heavy to carry out side, there’s always someone to help. Running a business is not always about the money. It is sometimes about the length you go to please your patrons; which keeps them coming back and adds money to your pocket.


World Breastfeeding Awareness Week: Advice from Staffers Who Have Been There

Though it seems like it should be the most natural thing in the world, nursing a baby can feel like anything but. These days, when something as benign as feeding your infant is so fraught (politicized, even), it’s reassuring to hear a few wise words from women who have been there, lived that.

In honor of World Breastfeeding Awareness Week and National Breastfeeding Month, we present the good, the bad and the in-between about what it’s really like to sustain a tiny human with your own two boobs. Eight Bare Necessities staffers looked back—some many years, some to this morning—to bring you their best, most honest breastfeeding real talk. File all this knowledge under “things nobody ever tells you….”

Heather and Emma

Heather, premium brands buyer and mom of Vivian, 4, and Emma, 5 months
How long did you nurse?  Four months. I would have continued if working from home was possible. Now I’m just nursing before and after work.

How did you make the decision? It’s ingrained that breast is best, so there were no other options. The minute the lactation nurse walks through the door, you’re made to feel guilty if you even want to consider formula.

What’s it like? I pumped and nursed with my first, to no set schedule, and weaned after 2.5 months. This time, I pumped mainly and nursed occasionally. I hated pumping—it’s tedious—but it’s satisfying knowing exactly how much milk your child is getting. It was tough to plan anything because life revolved around that pump. I was doing power pumps every other day the first month, which takes an hour; on top of that, I was eating and drinking lactation foods all day long.

What did nursing do to you physically and emotionally? I would get this terrible feeling of being frightened at night; a wave of anxiety would rush through me. At first I thought, I’m just hearing noises; don’t be a scaredy-cat. But it happened every night and into the morning until I pumped. One night I Googled anxiety for the first few minutes of pumping. Can you believe it’s an actual condition called Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex? It’s a glitch in the mechanism that allows milk to flow that can cause negative emotions at letdown. I wish people talked about this because I felt so alone explaining it. I also have to mention the loss of breast tissue after breastfeeding. I went from a G-cup to an E. They turn into pancakes.

Any memorable stories? The priest came while my cousin was visiting me in the hospital. There I was in a nightgown, pumping and receiving communion.

What was your nursing bra must-have? The Freya Pure Nursing T-Shirt Bra. I love that it’s a spacer bra, so it’s soft but still gives a great shape. I’ve been wearing it almost every day, and no one has noticed.


Caitlin and Raegan

Caitlin, merchandise planner and mom of Raegan, 6 months
How long do you expect to nurse? I’m hoping until she’s one. She was exclusively breastfed until we recently introduced solids. Wouldn’t it be nice never to buy formula?

How did you make the decision? I went in with no expectations. I had heard it all, wonderful experiences to horror stories. Leading up to her birth I said, “We’re going to try. If it works, it works.”

What was the perception of breastfeeding at the time? Everyone had their own opinions and experiences: the lactation consultants, pediatricians, OBs, nurses. Those passionate experts were, at times, in conflict. I tried to take it all in, but it can drive you crazy. Ultimately, you have to go with your gut and do whatever’s best for you and baby—and what you decide works best today can change tomorrow. Let yourself be open and understanding, even with yourself. There’s no rulebook.

What has it been like? A struggle in the beginning, but we got over the hump. No one ever warned me of how excruciating milk coming in would be! Heads up, mamas, that is zero fun but, like everything else, this too shall pass.

Any memorable stories? I once pumped in a popular New York restaurant where there’s a single bathroom and no outlet! The manual pump took forever. When I finally emerged, there was a massive line outside the door. I’m pretty sure the next person to go in held their nose in case.

What’s your best advice? Don’t hesitate to use the lactation consultants. I couldn’t have done it without them. If they leave your room, don’t suffer in silence; call them back! A few days after we got home, I returned to the hospital for more lessons. They’re there to help.

What is your nursing bra must-have? At first, I lived in Cake Lingerie nursing tanks. When I started leaving the house again, I graduated to a real bra. I still love the Panache Eleanor. It’s a spacer so it’s light and perfect for summer. I like that it fits me great before and after feeding.


Tracy and Dylan

Tracy, assistant buyer and mom of Amanda, 22, Brian, 19 and Dylan, 16
How long did you nurse? All three for a year each. Right around that first birthday, they seemed ready to be done.

How did you make the decision? I assumed I would use formula because that’s how my mom fed me. Breastfeeding wasn’t in fashion then, but when I gave birth, there was a movement to encourage it. The nurse asked if I wanted to try, and I said, “I guess so.” I thought I’d nurse for a few days. Before I knew it, it’d been a year. Other than deciding to become a mom, it was the best decision I ever made. My motivation was to provide nutrients and immunity. Little did I know it would also simplify life. How convenient to never wash bottles, prep formula or carry food—I was the food.

What was the perception of breastfeeding at the time? It was seeing a resurgence. Some friends didn’t understand why I was such a proponent, but it can be hard to comprehend something until you experience it. You can’t just convince someone to nurse: The mother has to want to, and the baby has to be able to. It doesn’t always work out, and that’s fine.

What was it like? It was like having a superpower: When the kids were cranky or sick, I could console them. I believe it had lasting positive effects on our relationships. Yes, there were times I struggled. I experienced painful mastitis, and it meant I was restricted—if my friends were going out, my response had to be, “Sorry, I have to be here to feed the baby.” Truth is, even though it may not always have felt like it then, the time flies, and I never took those moments for granted.

What did nursing do to you physically and emotionally? Nursing has positive effects on moms, too. I was more well endowed than ever. It helped my body return to its pre-pregnancy shape more quickly. The sensation of a letdown, when your baby is ready to feed, is indescribably powerful. Like feeling your baby kick during pregnancy, your milk coming in is like magic. It’s a miracle that your body can produce the food that your baby needs to survive—a literal lifeline.

Any memorable stories? Friends and family joke that certain topics are taboo around me. Breastfeeding used to be one of them. That changed quickly! I nursed walking through Disney World. I nursed in the middle of Yankee Stadium. If my babies were hungry, I fed them. No one ever had a negative word to say about it.

Where did you get support? The What to Expect series was my bible. If the baby woke up in the night, my husband would always go get him or her. By the time I had my third, my older kids would help. They loved it because they knew it meant we would get to sit and read. My mom was a huge proponent of my decision. My sister cheered me on and, having seen how great it was for me, went on to nurse my nephews.

What’s your best advice? 1) Stick with it, even if it’s tough in the beginning. It gets better, I promise. 2) Trust your gut. If your baby is hungry, don’t worry if you just fed her. Your body will tell you when it’s time, not the clock. 3) Enjoy the process. Savor each moment of snuggle time.

What was your nursing bra must-have? Even—and maybe especially—nursing moms deserve to feel sexy. I love the Le Mystère Sexy Mama Nursing Bra. It doesn’t look or feel like a typical nursing bra. Thankfully, they’ve come a long way!


Amber and Houston

Amber, controller and mom of Houston, 2
How long did you nurse? Houston went 11 months. Then we started cow’s milk, and he was weaned at 14 months.

How did you make the decision? I knew before giving birth I wanted to try. My mom did it for the first year with her three children while working full-time and having to use a manual pump—still amazed by that—so I knew it was doable.

What was it like? The bond I felt with my son was the biggest pro. They were definitely some of the most content moments I’ve had with him. I didn’t expect to miss nursing as much as I did when it was over. The biggest con was that it could be isolating. I felt comfortable nursing in front of certain people, but pumping was something I never did around anyone and, as a full-time working mom, I had no choice. I would often end up pumping in my car in the parking lot.

What did nursing do to you physically and emotionally? The pounds came off quick. After a year, I was 10 pounds lighter than before I got pregnant. Your boobs aren’t the same, though! Emotionally, it helped keep my hormones in check. It could be that taking those pauses throughout the day was better for my emotional state then I realized at the time.

What was your nursing bra must-have? A lacy nursing bra can make you feel more confident, and a nursing tank is perfect for around the house.


Jessica, photo retoucher and mom of Liam, 4
How long did you nurse? About a month, plus I pumped enough for another month. I stopped due to the pain. Nobody tells you it really hurts for some people. I also didn’t produce a lot of milk, despite trying everything to make it come in more.

How did you make the decision? I knew the nutrients in breastmilk were key to helping baby develop immunity. I initially looked forward to it, thinking I wanted to give him that opportunity. The benefits for us both seemed like a no-brainer. After my son was born, I got conflicting advice from different lactation nurses and groups. Don’t pump right away; pump as much as you can; eat this; don’t eat that. Despite trying to follow all the advice, I wasn’t producing enough. My son was always hungry and crying no matter what I did. He was also tongue-tied. I had no clue what that was and didn’t find out until later. I ended up using formula, and we were both much happier.

What was it like? It was painful, and I felt horrible that I wasn’t able to produce enough milk.

What’s your best advice? Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do it. It’s a personal choice, and feeding formula is totally fine. If you can nurse without issues, more power to you, but don’t let anyone put you down for choosing not to breastfeed. It was amazing to me how much unsolicited advice I got from strangers telling me how to raise my child. Ignore it.

What was your nursing bra must-have? I preferred a bra like the Bravado Designs Body Silk Wire-Free Nursing Bra. It was comfortable to sleep in and no fuss to deal with.


Justina and Madeleine

Justina, product merchandising coordinator and mom of Matthew, 6, and Madeleine, 3
How long did you nurse? Three months with my son, two months with my daughter.

How did you make the decision? You read up on all this stuff during your pregnancy, and phrases like “liquid gold” stick in your mind. It’s imparted into you to want to breastfeed and provide this little person with the most your body has to offer…for at least as long as you can bear it.

What was the perception of breastfeeding at the time? “Breast is best!” Apparently, it’s every maternity wing slogan.

What was it like? I was elated every time. With my son, it was about those moments he would never remember and I would never forget. With my daughter, it was more difficult. There were latch issues from day one, which I resolved by offering both breast and formula. I pumped more—exhausting! I thought I’d breastfeed for a year, but it wasn’t in me to juggle it with going back to work. That was the saddest part, the end of an era. I’m getting emotional just thinking about it!

What did nursing do to you physically and emotionally? I felt insanely empowered. In a way, I fell in love with my body for the first time. I admired it. This body went on a journey that will forever leave me feeling stronger than I ever felt in my youth. I sustained life. That’s a sobering thought!

Any memorable stories? Matthew started crying one night. When I turned the bottle upside-down to feed him, instead of taking the cap off, I unscrewed the whole top. Needless to say, there more screaming after that. Poor baby was gasping for breath as I soaked him in an entire bottle of milk.

What’s your best advice? Read up on it a little but really, rely on instinct. You’ll know what to do. And get some great pajamas because you’re about to be living in them!

What was your nursing bra must-have? Hands down the Anita Stretch Microfiber Nursing Bra! I know many women want wire-free foam, but I disagree. With a bra that fits properly—meaning the correct size no matter how ludicrous you think it may be—you’ll never feel the underwire. Too much foam makes nursing uncomfortable for you and the baby. Ultra-thin microfiber tucks away nicely, never disrupting your flow or baby’s meal. How would you like all that stuff leaning against your face while you’re eating?!


Brandi, amBRAssador and mom of Elizabeth, 12, and Rebecca, 8
How long did you nurse? My first daughter only nursed for about a month. My younger daughter nursed for a year.

What was it like? My first didn’t take to nursing at all. I was devastated. She ended up formula-fed, which worked out just as well. Anyone could give her a bottle and, when she was old enough, she could hold it by herself. My younger was exclusively breastfed. The only downside was that she refused to take a bottle, so I was the only person who could feed her.

What did nursing do to you physically and emotionally? My breasts are definitely more shallow. It forced me to watch what I ate; certain foods might make her fussy. I dropped the weight a lot faster. Emotionally, I loved that time. Every feeding was a one-on-one experience that couldn’t be rushed. As amazing as it was, nursing was exhausting. I felt like she was always hungry and I was feeding her constantly.

Any memorable stories? A lot of nursing rooms are adjacent to restrooms. At one mall, the nursing area shared a wall with those jet-propelled hand dryers. Every time someone would dry their hands, my daughter would startle and stop eating! It was funny at first but got old fast.

Where did you get support? Unfortunately, I didn’t have a ton of people to turn to for advice. I had to figure a lot out for myself. Talk to family or friends who have breastfed. If you don’t have any, ask your hospital if they know of any breastfeeding groups. Online support groups are good, but find one with a moderator. Tired, hormonal moms can be a bit snippy.

What was your nursing bra must-have? I wish I had known about Bare Necessities! I was in a very ill-fitting nursing bra from a well-known maternity store. It was awful, and I would only wear it if I had to leave the house. I think the most versatile bras have many hook-and-eye closures. Cake Lingerie offers six columns! These should fit snugly on the middle set of hooks early in pregnancy. As your ribcage expands, you’ll be able to let that bra out; as everything moves back into place after the baby is born, you’ll be able to tighten the band again for proper support.


Brooke and Eva

Brooke, editor and mom of Eva, 5 
How long did you nurse? We made it 11 months, when she dropped me like a bad habit. My goal was a year, so I call that a win.

How did you make the decision? I wanted to make a go of breastfeeding, but if it didn’t work out, I wasn’t going to beat myself up over it. (At least, that’s what I told myself.) Luckily, she took to it right away, which is still not to say it was easy. We tried every hold and latch and probably invented a few.

What was the perception of breastfeeding at the time? Eva was born in the organic, Earth Mama era. When my supply dipped around seven months, we started supplementing with formula—that’s what I was raised on, and I arguably turned out okay, so I felt pretty good about the combo. My friend Virginia Sole-Smith is writing a book called The Eating Instinct on this topic, and the philosophy she subscribes to is this: “Fed is best.”

What was it like? Hardest, best thing I’ve done. Nursing was a full-time job in addition to my actual full-time job, and it’s all on you. It felt nonstop, like I was always running a marathon. I was ravenously hungry and thirsty. She was literally draining the energy out of me! At a few months old, she started sleeping through the night but I was still up because my confused, engorged boobs were on fire. I just sat in the bathroom and cried. I had a love-hate relationship with the pump, I had plugged ducts, I bled. Despite how this all sounds, I enjoyed it. We were good at it, it was beautiful, it was a wonder my 30Cs could sustain her. But it was definitely a factor in my being one-and-done. I can’t imagine doing that for another year, and I also couldn’t imagine doing anything differently.

What did it do to you physically and emotionally? My boobs never looked bigger or better. At the end, though, they were smaller and softer. It was all-consuming: Was I doing it right? Was she getting enough? How could I produce more? The last thing I needed to be doing in my precious little free time was baking lactation cookies and trying to source Mother’s Milk Tea, but that’s what I did. It made me ruthlessly goal-oriented.

Any memorable stories? I’ve pumped in the passenger seat of a car driving slowly through Times Square. When weaning, I stuffed cabbage leaves in my bra to soothe the soreness. (It’s a thing.) Warm, wilting cabbage is rarely a good look. Or scent.

Where did you get support? Google at 4 AM, mostly. Skip the childbirth class; take a lactation class!

What was your nursing bra must-have? With so many size fluctuations, the last thing I wanted to deal with was figuring out bra size—this was before I knew the amBRAssadors could do it for me! So stretchy size smalls, like the Bravado Designs Ballet Wire-Free Nursing Bra, did the trick.

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