beer-steamed-mussels-6

This is last night’s dinner, and the truth is I didn’t want to share the recipe with you. It’s so good I wanted to hoard it for the hypothetical cookbook I’m not writing but rather have been procrastinating for 3 years. Despite having every opportunity to do so, I simply don’t. I rationalized not doing it by saying I wanted to travel; that I didn’t want to rush into it like many bloggers do and end up writing something mediocre or gimmicky that I wasn’t proud of; that I needed time to know myself as a cook, photographer, and writer. And that was all true. Was. I think it’s time I let good enough be good enough and just go for it. If I’m not ready by now, I never will be. Still, I just couldn’t keep these beer steamed mussels to myself. And the photos here are an exercise in simply good enough as I learn to navigate blogging, working, retreats, and full time mothering all at the same time.

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ginger kombucha, rose, hibiscus herbal infusion-10

Earthy nettle, tart hibiscus, effervescent spice from ginger kombucha, and a feminine note of rose: meet the “moon mother elixir”, a pregnancy mocktail recipe from Lauren Haynes of Wooden Spoon Herbs, the author of this guest post on herbs for pregnancy, the first in a series of two posts, the second being on postpartum herbs for the new mom. She’s an Appalachian folk herbalist & medicine maker, and she sells homegrown & hand-gathered botanical remedies in her shop, including a both a new mom kit, a new mom sitz bath, and a pregnancy kit among many others including a traveler kit. She’s certainly got all of my bases covered. We’ve known each other since college poetry class days, and I’ve so loved watching her herbalism repertoire bloom (pun intended…sorry, guess the class did me no good.) She is a fellow Chattanoogan, and I couldn’t think of a better person to write this series. While this recipe is written with mama’s to be in mind…if you’re not expecting and/or never intend to be (for whatever reason, including being a dude), I’d still recommend this drink for deliciousness alone. Click read more to find the recipe as well as her insight & advice about herbs during pregnancy…

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spicy soba miso soup-2

This is the last of my Expecting Eats series written while I was expecting as we had the baby! But considering the postpartum nutritional needs of recovering & breastfeeding women, this is still on my menu (and has been for years). At the beginning of my pregnancy, I developed a recurring craving for this soba miso soup with plenty of spicy kick, shiitakes, and seasonal greens. My roots may be Southern American, but my pantry has a strong Japanese influence: kombu for dashi sits next to my sorghum and sticky rice keeps company with the grits.

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eulalie willa-20

…And ah! less bright
The stars of the night
Than the eyes of the radiant girl,
And never a flake
Their lustre can make
Of the vapor and gold and pearl
Can vie with the sweet young Eulalie’s most unregarded curl —
Can compare with the bright-eyed Eulalie’s most humble and careless curl.

Now Doubt — now Pain
Come never again,
For her soul gives me sigh for sigh,
And all day long
Shines bright and strong
Astarté within the sky,
And ever to it dear Eulalie upturns her matron eye —
And ever to it young Eulalie upturns her violet eye.

- Edgar Allan Poe

Meet Eulalie. Lula, Lalie, Lou. Eulalie Willa Ludwikowski. Simply, our Eula. A lilting French rendition of a Greek name, Eulalie means eloquent. Sweetly spoken. It’s also the name of a Spanish saint and the title of the E. A. Poe poem the above excerpt is from. She was born a healthy 7.2 pounds at home after 12 hours of active labor on August, 15 2016 at 2:52 PM—on the day of the Feast of Assumption, the day in Catholicism on which the Queen of Heaven ascended. But in our case, a little girl descended. She entered the world the extraordinary ordinary way: in blood and sweat and tears to the rhythm of banging fists and the pitch of writhing screams. As I write this, she is a week old, an ancient being as far as I’m concerned. Our time, these precious liminal days, are slipping like so many cliché grains of sand right through my fingers, fingers which look more like my own mother’s now than ever.

A long home birth story & too many baby photos (thanks to Eric Peterson for the ones of her in my lap!) after the jump…

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marrakech morocco beth kirby-36

If you didn’t see it on instagram, we recently announced our first ever L | M Escape, a luxurious & intimate 8-day, 7-night creative + slow living retreat, in Marrakech, Morocco, and it’s now open for registration! Edit: Sold out! We have a just a couple of spots left unreserved! Our good friend & Marrakech expert Emma Rice has partnered with us as our guide, and you can find detailed (very detailed!) information & reserve your spot over at L | M Retreats. As such, I kicked myself into gear (despite being brain dead & poised to give birth any day now…two days ago was technically my due date!) to finally share my photos of our time in Morocco as well as a few of our favorite spots + recommendations—sure to be updated as we discover more. Click through for photos of our trip, what to expect on the escape, and our guide to the city!

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