One Healthy Mama: An Interview With Registered Dietitian Dalina Soto

Dalina Soto is a bilingual registered dietitian and the founder of Nutritiously Yours, LLC. Because Spanish is her first language and because she is a mama herself, Dalina offers a unique perspective on nutrition, focusing on what is both realistic and healthiest for each of her clients. Check out our interview with Dalina below!

 Photo courtesy of @nutritiouslyyours on Instagram

 Photo courtesy of @nutritiouslyyours on Instagram

E: Why did you decide to become a registered dietitian?

D: I actually started off at Penn State as pre-med and because I am lazy I decided that I didn’t want to really do a gym class, so another way to get that credit for an elective is to take nutrition. So, I took the class and I fell in love and I was like, this is want to do. I figured, going into medicine, I’m going to be on the other spectrum, I’m going to be working with people when they are already too sick. With nutrition, I can actually help prevent the sickness and help them to get healthier without having to go into a doctor’s office all the time. So I decided to switch my career because I wanted to be on more of the preventative side.

E: When your typical client comes in, what are they looking for from you, what kind of help?

D: When a client comes in, they are usually, for the most part looking for either weight loss help, or if they get a referral from a doctor it is usually because they are diabetic or have high blood pressure or there’s some sort of chronic disease going on that can be helped with nutrition[…] Because we are on the preventative care side, we can definitely help you deal with anything and everything. Almost every disease state has nutrition implications, so we can definitely help you fight a disease and help you get better. I have a lot of clients that have lupus or have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) or other diseases that you would never think are [connected to] nutrition, but they are. Nutrition can definitely help you get on a better track, get healthier, it can help you get off some of your medications. We can help a lot.

A balanced breakfast that Dalina shared with Mama Said at Bluestone Lane Coffee! Photo courtesy of @nutritiouslyyours on Instagram

A balanced breakfast that Dalina shared with Mama Said at Bluestone Lane Coffee! Photo courtesy of @nutritiouslyyours on Instagram

E: Sounds like it! I see on your website that you accept insurance for up to six free visits with a registered dietitian, can you tell me a little bit about that, how you learned that option and if many of your clients take advantage of this?

D: So I became a provider due to the new Affordable Care Act. Because the health care industry spent so much money on E.R. visits and doctors visits, they decided, why don’t we start focusing on preventative care, and they realized that registered dietitians would be the best way to help their patients and clients. […] The problem is, I don’t think it’s very well advertised. [… ] We can help with picky eating if you’re a mom, we can help with breast feeding, we can help with meal planning, food shopping, anything. We can help a lot.

E: I also see on your website that you are a Spanish speaking dietitian. Do you see a lot of Spanish speaking clients?

D: Right now, no, because I’m trying to get the word out that I do speak Spanish […] Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of Spanish-speaking dietitians so I want to get the word out there, I really want people knowing that I’m here and that they’re able to come and utilize the fact that I speak their language, that I eat the same foods that they eat, that I can help them get on a healthier path.

Photo courtesy of @Nutritiouslyyours

Photo courtesy of @Nutritiouslyyours

I think it’s really starting early and having them eat with you and having them see you eat and letting them know that what you’re putting in front of them is basically what they’re going to get.

E: I can imagine that if you’re seeing both English and Spanish-speaking clients they come from a variety of cultural background, so how does a client’s background influence what kind of advice you give them for nutrition?

D: I always want to focus on being culturally competent, so if someone comes in here and one of the things that I ask is, what do you like eating, and we’ll go through their food journal and go through what they’re eating on a daily basis. I ask them, “what are you not willing to give up?” because I want to make sure that they’re able to keep the foods that they love and still be healthy. One of my main things is that I want people to love food again, I want people to eat foods that they grew up eating and I want them to love their culture and eat its food, it’s just, how can we make it healthier for you and how can we get you on a better path while still enjoying those foods?

E: Given that Philadelphia is such a diverse city, I also imagine that you see clients with a lot of different economic backgrounds. How does a client’s financial standing influence the advice that you give them?

D: It influences a lot. […] There are people that live in communities where there aren’t any super markets what they have is corner stores and fast food places. I’m going to help them make a healthy choice with what they’ve got. I’m not going to sit there and say, “you need to go to the super market and you need to buy fresh fruits and they need to be organic,” I would never say something like that. I try to find out where they live, find out what resources they have around them and teach them how to make the healthier choice with the resources they have. If McDonald’s is the only thing that they have available to them and they have to feed their kids, then what can we get on that menu that’s going to help them get on a healthier path? There’s plenty of things that you can get on that menu that are going to be better than others.

E: As a mom that works outside of the home yourself, what are some of the things that you do to make sure you and your family stay healthy when you don’t have a lot of time to plan and prepare healthy meals?

D: I try at least once a week to get to a super market and buy a ton of fruits and vegetables and try to think ahead, if I can, to what I can buy to cook fast and easy when I get home. So fruits and vegetables, my fridge is always full of them and then I try to buy lean meat, so I have a lot of chicken cutlets, I‘ll have a lot of lean pork chops […] You don’t have to make an elaborate meal, you don’t have to go in the kitchen and cook for two, three hours.

Dalina and her daughter rocking one of Mama Said's favorite trends: Mama-daughter matching!

Dalina and her daughter rocking one of Mama Said's favorite trends: Mama-daughter matching!


E: Also as a mom, what do you think are the main things to focus on when it comes to nutrition for kids?

D: I think picky eating is one of the biggest things moms face, and so a lot of the time we think that we have to cater to our children and give them exactly what they are asking for or else they are not going to eat. I think it’s really starting early and having them eat with you and having them see you eat and letting them know that what you’re putting in front of them is basically what they’re going to get [...] I think we also have a portion distortion when it comes to children, which is that they should be eating a lot more than what they actually physically can eat, so a lot of the time it’s explaining to moms what a correct portion size is for a child that’s one or two so that they understand that [their] child is actually eating enough, you don’t have to worry.

E: What are your thoughts on eating locally grown food, organic food, and things like that?

D: I prefer locally grown just because they’re fresher, they’re traveling less and you can always wash them very well and eat them. There’s a fine line to walk when it comes to organic and non-organic and I think that you have to do what’s best for you and your family. I don’t think that everybody can afford organic, so if they can’t, I don’t want them to feel like they’re any less than anyone else because they can’t afford it, so I try not to focus on organic or non-organic. I try to focus more on locally grown because you’re going to get more nutrition out of it because they’re fresher and they’re traveling less, so you’re going to be able to get them at more peak ripeness.

E: What is the main takeaway that you think moms should know about nutrition for themselves and for their families?

D: So I think the main thing is, we shouldn’t be afraid of feeding our children. There’s sort of a stigma out there when it comes to our kids like, I can’t give them frozen chicken nuggets or I can’t go get them McDonald’s one day. I think it’s more about educating the parents to not have that guilt if they aren’t able to cook and they have to go to a fast food place. It’s more of, let’s just take the stress out of eating and just enjoy eating. Let’s learn to love food again and have your child have a healthy relationship with food. I think that’s the biggest thing for moms to learn. I think there’s a lot of info in the media and there’s a lot of expectations of these picture perfect families that you see and you want to be them, but let’s be honest, we’re not going to be them. I’m not going to be them and I have the knowledge. So let’s just learn to love food again and try to do our best with what we have.

E: Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

D: I just think we need to learn how to relax and not be so hard on ourselves as moms, whether we’re working or staying at home, I think we have these expectations of what we should be and where we should be but it’s so hard to meet those expectations and we’re usually so hard on ourselves. We just need to learn to do what’s best for our families because no two families are the same, and we need to learn how to be a little bit less judgmental on ourselves.

photo courtesy of @nutritiouslyyours

photo courtesy of @nutritiouslyyours

There’s a lot of expectations of these picture perfect families that you see and you want to be them, but let’s be honest, we’re not going to be them. I’m not going to be them and I have the knowledge. So let’s just learn to love food again and try to do our best with what we have.

Interested in becoming a partner provider, in Dalina's services or the services of any other partner providers? Fill out a free consultation form here

Babies and Boudoir: An Interview with Photographer Cheyenne Gil

Cheyenne Gil is a Philadelphia-based photographer specializing in boudoir and maternity photography, and is the founder of the Body Love Tribe. Aside from being an incredibly talented photographer, Cheyenne is also a pro at loving her body, and helps her clients to do the same! Check out our interview with Cheyenne below!

                                                                Photo courtesy of cheyenne gil

                                                                Photo courtesy of cheyenne gil

E: How did you get started with photography?

C: I’ve actually had my business since I was 15. I’ve always been a drawer and a painter, and one day my mom got a really fancy digital camera when they first came out, and I took it when I was thirteen and started shooting all the time. I was photographing my little cousins, my parents, my brother, my friends and then I actually shot a wedding when I was fifteen. I got paid 300 bucks, my mom went with me and I shot the wedding. It was horrible and hilarious. I’ve been doing photography for about eleven or twelve years now, and I started specializing just working with women about six years ago.

E: Your specializations in boudoir and maternity photography don’t seem like they would necessarily go together. How did you decide on this combination?

C: I have always been interested in the female figure. Even in all my paintings and all my drawings, I’m always drawing women, and my focus has always been on body image. A lot of my work is about the relationships between mothers and daughters, specifically me and my own mom, and how the way she views herself affected how I view myself, even if it was an unintentional kind of thing. That’s how I got into boudoir, actually, my mom was my first client. I photographed her and she had so much fun and felt so beautiful and that’s when I realized I knew what I wanted to do, I wanted to make everyone feel that way, knowing how she usually feels about her body, which is not good. I knew I wanted to do boudoir, and that moment I decided to just start creating this niche and stop advertising for all of the other stuff that I was doing. With that, I was getting inquiries for maternity, and I took it on because it’s really important to me to show women how strong our bodies are, […] that our bodies are so incredible and we so have to celebrate that and appreciate them. We’re trained to kind of think after we have a baby and while we’re pregnant that our bodies aren’t good enough, or worthy, or we can’t wait to get our bodies back. So to me, [maternity photography and boudoir] kind of go hand in hand.

E: Another focus of your photography is your Body Love Tribe. Can you tell me a little bit about that?

C: Anyone that I’ve ever photographed is part of the Body Love Tribe. I wanted to create some kind of community for women because all of us, no matter what we look like, have felt not good enough or focused on the little things on our bodies. I wanted women to know that we’re all in this together, whether you’re three hundred pounds or a hundred pounds, we all have our own thing, and I wanted to create a sisterhood that could be more open to sharing our concerns. I’m open on my instagram, I have my bad days. Although I love my body, there are days that I want to change it. I think that really kind of makes other women feel like its okay to have bad days and to feel bad sometimes, but it’s also okay to be really content or happy with the way they feel.

Photos by Cheyenne Gil

E: You touched on this earlier with your relationship with your mom, but how do you think a woman’s body image plays into her role as a mother?

C: I think that a lot of times moms don’t even realize how much [their perception of themselves] affects their children, whether they have a son or a daughter. I can only speak from the perspective of a daughter because I don’t have kids, but first of all my mom is a babe. She’s beautiful, she’s 47, she looks like she’s my sister. But when she was pregnant with me, she had gestational diabetes, so she gained 80 pounds with me. She had stretch marks all the way down from her boobs to her knees. […]Never has she called me fat or ugly, but growing up and watching her hate herself, I didn’t understand how she could possibly think that she was fat or gross or ugly, because first of all, our mothers are the most beautiful thing to us in the world, but not only that, my mom is actually the most beautiful thing in the world. I just couldn’t comprehend it. Also, I take after my dad, so I’m thicker, I’m taller, I have hips, I have boobs, my mom is flat chested, she has more of a boyish figure, so I have always weighed more than my mom as a scientific fact. So in my mind, all I kept thinking was, if she thinks she’s fat, then she has to think I’m fat because I weigh more than she does, that’s just the bottom line. So in those ways it affected me so much, and I never brought it up because I was a kid, but I think that body image affects how you parent because it’s a cycle, it’s a vicious cycle.

E: Who are your favorite clients to work with?

C: I can honestly say that I just love working with women. I love the mommy-and-me stuff one hundred percent, and maternity is absolutely incredible. The idea of maternity, a lot of people scoff at and say “oh that’s so tacky,” but every single maternity client that comes in here, after they have the baby, they email me and say “you don’t know what it means to me to have these images of the baby in my belly.” I personally would kill to have those pictures of my mom pregnant with me or my brother, they’re so awesome. I’ve never experienced giving birth, but it’s just such an incredible thing and I am so happy when people decide to document it. Mommy-and-me is awesome for the same reason, because having those pictures is so important. Fifty years from now, your kids are going to have these amazing images of you and them, that’s so cool. I also love boudoir because it’s freakin’ fun as hell. You get to roll around in your underwear! It’s just a good feeling to photograph women and really focus on the woman and womanhood and loving ourselves.

E: What are your general thoughts about working with mothers? Do you think that the best way to support moms is by helping them with their body confidence?

C: I think it’s really important to support mothers through body confidence! We do focus a lot on the body confidence thing, but with that, you’re focusing on bettering yourself. Aside from the image part of everything, you’re working on acceptance, and I think it’s so important for women in general to do this, because once you start accepting yourself, you can very easily start accepting other people. I’m sure there are other great ways we can help support moms, but [that's] my train of thought, because of my experience with my own mom, who is my best friend. That being said, she has also affected me in a lot of ways that she didn’t even know she was doing. I think it’s really important to stress that for moms, whether they have sons or daughters or both, it’s so important to support educating them on how to go about feeling about yourself so your kids can learn the same things.

Interested in becoming a partner provider, in Cheyenne's services or any of our other partner providers? Fill out a free consultation form here.










Woman Crush Wednesday: SERENA WILLIAMS

Following her 2016 Wimbledon win, Serena Williams has entered the spotlight as the latest and greatest advocate for women everywhere! Whether it be her recitation of Maya Angelou's powerful poem, "Still I Rise," or her empowering (and hilarious) video in which she pelts a sexist critic with tennis balls, Serena is showcasing how strong women are, on and off the tennis court.

Serena's Recitation of Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise":

Serena Takes on a Critic:

Have any examples of a time when Serena empowered you?
Share them with us in the comments below!

Monday's Supreme Court Ruling: A Win for All Women, Including Hillary!

Hillary Clinton and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren campaigned together in Ohio this week, Using the slogan "Stronger Together."

Hillary Clinton and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren campaigned together in Ohio this week, Using the slogan "Stronger Together."

On Monday, June 27, the Supreme Court issued a ruling on a restrictive Texas abortion law that has led to a domino effect of wins in the name of women’s health this week, and a platform for Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton to share her women's health ideology.

The Texas Omnibus Abortion Bill mandated that any abortion procedures would have to take place in “ambulatory surgical centers” and that physicians performing the procedures also needed to have “admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic,” as described in an article written for Had it been upheld, this bill would have effectively shut down 32 of the 42 existing abortion clinics in Texas. Thankfully for the women of the Lone Star State, the Supreme Court shot down the bill, and Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the majority, “The surgical-center requirement, like the admitting-privileges requirement, provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions, and constitutes an "undue burden" on their constitutional right to do so."

Anticipation followed the ruling, as many hoped that “Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers (or TRAP laws) may now be easier to challenge in court,” according to And in the two days since the court’s decision, these anticipations have been realized. In a Tuesday ruling regarding a Louisiana bill that would effectively close the state’s only abortion clinic, the Supreme Court upheld a ruling by Judge E. Grady Jolly, that proclaimed the bill Unconstitutional as “Mississippi may not shift its obligation to respect the established constitutional rights of its citizens to another state.” In Wisconsin (quite similarly to the Texas ruling) Judge Richard A. Posner ruled that “courts must balance the supposed health benefits of abortion restrictions against the burdens they impose on access to abortion.” Finally, the state of Alabama dropped an appeal that blocked the state from restricting abortions. Alabama’s attorney general, Luther Strange, justified the decision by saying, “There is no good faith argument that Alabama’s law remains constitutional in light of the Supreme Court ruling.”

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has been able to use these recent women's health victories as a platform to raise awareness about her own women’s health ideologies. Clinton, who has referred to Monday’s Texas ruling as “a critical victory,” laid out her plan for the women’s health sector, should she be elected this November, in an article that she wrote for the Concord Monitor. Though the article described her beliefs in greater detail, Clintons three main points were: 1) “I will always stand with Planned Parenthood” 2) “I’ll fight to protect access to fair and legal abortion” and 3) “I will support comprehensive, inclusive sex education.” When compared to Trump’s recent proclamation that women who get abortions, no, wait, doctors who perform abortions, should be punished, Clinton clearly presides as the choice candidate when it comes to issues of women’s health. Further evidenced by her "Stronger Together" campaigning with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Clinton has proved herself to be a woman focused on supporting other women, and that's a candidate we can get behind!



Woman Crush Wednesday: ANTHONIA AKITUNDE

                       Photo courtesy of

                       Photo courtesy of

WHO: Anthonia Akitunde is the founder and editor-in-chief of Mater Mea, a website "that tells the stories of women of color at the intersection of motherhood and career." With the help of her team, Anthonia provides readers with articles on topics ranging from parenting to wellness to culture, as well as with interviews from inspiring mamas of color. Anthonia also has her own podcast in which "she talks to guests about the topics that matter most to black professional women and mothers." 

WHY WE LOVE HER: After our last Mama Moments blog post and with the Climb Out of the Darkness walk coming up June 18, here at Mama Said, we have maternal mental illness on our minds. Anthonia and her staff also had mental illness on their collective mind last month as they devoted a week of posts to talking about mental illness, particularly in the community of black mothers. The week’s posts touched on topics including postpartum depression, the practice of self-care and the importance of seeking help for mental illness as members of the black community.

ON POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION: “If you have postpartum depression, you have to know it’s not your fault. I didn’t and still don’t understand why people don’t talk about the challenges so many women face after giving birth, postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis are real illnesses. You can’t just snap out of it. There’s no shame in getting help, don’t suffer through it in silence.”                                                                                                                                                       -Mater Mea contributer Satya Nelms recounting the postpartum experience of Mandisa Lee.

Woman Crush Wednesday: ROBIN WRIGHT

WHO: Robin Wright is an acclaimed movie and television actress most famous for her roles in films including Forest Gump and The Princess Bride. She currently stars in Netflix’s “House of Cards” as the devious and all-powerful Claire Underwood. Wright is also the mama of her two kids, Dylan (25) and Hopper (22). According to an interview in the Huffington Post, Wright cut back her full-time acting career for a part-time one as she raised her kids, and added that she is now “kind of on a comeback at 50 years old.”

WHY WE LOVE HER: Wright recently came forward with her experience of unequal pay with her House of Cards co-star, Kevin Spacey. According to her Huffington Post interview, at the time of her complaint, Spacey was making $500,000 per episode of House of Cards, while Wright was being paid $420,000 per episode, despite Wright’s statistics-backed claim that Claire’s character was more popular with viewers at the time. Wright says she “capitalized on the moment,” as she took her stats to Netflix and demanded her salary be matched with Spacey’s. And so it was.

ON HER DECISION TO TAKE A STAND:  "It was a perfect paradigm. There are very few films or TV shows where the male, the patriarch, and the matriarch are equal. And they are in 'House of Cards'... I was like, 'You better pay me or I'm going to go public'...And they did."





Woman Crush Wednesday: DANIELLE SELBER

WHO: Danielle lives in Bala Cynwyd with her husband Misha and sweet baby Avishai, who was born in 2014. She graduated with her Masters in Jewish Studies from Gratz College and now heads up the Tribe 12 Fellowship, an accelerator for entrepreneurs in the Jewish Community whose businesses have value-based missions. Danielle paid her rent in college playing poker, has a writing passion which manifests freelancing mini-kits (the one you see when you're in the checkout line of a bookstore), and is self-appointedly famous for her (very spicy) chili. 


WHY WE LOVE HER: Many of us know how helpful a shared smile can be, but Danielle truly puts this knowledge into practice! She always greets people with a grin and is never too busy to ask how your day is going. Danielle has a relaxed and open approach to life, including parenting, and of course, she has a very smiley baby!


ON MOTHERHOOD: When I was pregnant, I was pretty disturbed by the fighting and judgment I witnessed in Facebook "mommy groups." I began to dread joining the world of parenting! Thankfully, I stumbled upon  a photo series which empowered women to "stop the mommy wars." This idea moved and inspired me, and I became excited to be that kind of mother. I promised myself right then to let any judgement of my motherhood roll right off my back, and to never judge another mom for the choices she made for her family. 

Woman Crush Wednesday: BEVERLY SOCHER-LERNER

WHO: Beverly lives in Graduate Hospital with her spouse, Naomi and their daughter Selah, born spring 2015. When she isn't gardening on Madison Square or hiking in the Wissahickon, she works as the Director of Makom Community, a brand-new Jewish after school enrichment center. Beverly ran a Hebrew school out of the trunk of her car as she worked her way through college and loves working in out-of-the-box ways to build community. 


WHY WE LOVE HER: We can't think of a more perfect person to work with children than Beverly. She is the definition of open-minded and seems to have no need to be in control of the way her students learn and explore--an impressive feat to those of us who are recovering control freaks! Beverly is strong in her convictions, but gentle in her approach and this is especially apparent when we see her with her very chill daughter Selah. 


ON MOTHERHOOD: Teaching kids is what makes me jump out of bed every morning--especially when I get to design their whole experience as the director of Makom Community. The deep connections and growth I've seen in hundreds of students over the years were a huge motivator in my wanting to parent. I'm so excited to see Selah grow and learn alongside her on this journey! 

Woman Crush Wednesday: KIMBERLY W. KLAYMAN

WHO: Kimberly is a business and finance attorney at Ballard Spahr, who specializes in counseling start ups on good governance, financings and exit strategies. As both an avid supporter of Philadelphia start-ups and a woman in the corporate world, Kimberly is very excited about the mission of Mama Said. Supporting and celebrating women, mothers, and expecting mothers in the work place and in everyday life is a fantastic initiative that Mama Said will certainly bring to new heights. 


WHY WE LOVE HER: Well, it begins with introducing us to shakshouka (trust us, this  traditional Middle Eastern dish is a must try). Kim has a little bit of knowledge on just about everything and her generous spirit makes her always willing to share it and lend a hand. Humor and hospitality come easily to Kim and this special woman happily makes space at her dinner table for old friends and new. 


ON MOTHERHOOD: My mom teaches and inspires me every day. I hope that one day I provide as much love and support to my children, as she provides to me to this day. We only get one mom to cherish and love. Being a mom -- especially in today's fast paces and high-pressured environment -- can be overwhelming. It is important to support moms everywhere, so that they can enjoy one of the most beautiful parts of the human experience -- raising a family. 

Woman Crush Wednesday: ANA ROSE GELMAN 

WHO:  Ana has been a social worker for 10 years and resigned her job to be a stay at home mom. She was always raised with the value that family is the most important thing and she was also raised with deep social justice values. Ana's deepest wish is to pass on the values of devotion to family, community, and social justice to her son, Sebastian, 15 months. 


WHY WE LOVE HER: If only we could all be as effortlessly relatable as Ana. She is wonderfully candid about her life and will have you laughing within minutes of meeting her. Ana can discuss a recent injustice in the news and her favorite new lip gloss in one breath and we absolutely love this about her. Her son, Sebi shares his mama's instant charm and is one of our favorite lunch date companions. 


ON MOTHERHOOD: Motherhood is the most sacred and transformative experience of my life. Sebastian keeps me in the present moment, watching him see the world with awe and delight. I've begun to say that he is like a drug and a religion. A physician friend of mine who is also a mother said, "it's like a medication that is both short and long-acting." It's also been incredible to see my husband as a father and watch the same transformation happen to him. I couldn't have envisioned a more loving  and committed father to share this journey with. Not to mention the joy I see experienced by my family and my husband's family, as well as my amazing community of friends and neighbors and how Sebastian radiates that joy back. 

Even with this circle of love that we are blessed to be surrounded by, as a new mother who has few friends with children, I find myself wanting to be a part of a community of mothers and also to create more opportunities for my son to interact with other young children.

Woman Crush Wednesday: ASHLEE MURRAY

WHO: Ashlee is a loving wife and mother to a beautiful 6-month old daughter, named Josephine, by day and a Pediatric Emergency Medicine Physician by night.  Her areas of interest include public health, intimate partner violence, and pediatric ER utilization and access.  She loves trying new restaurants and traveling the world! 


WHY WE LOVE HER: Unsurprisingly, as an emergency medicine pediatrician, Ashlee knows how to roll with the punches! She is a skilled problem solver and acrobatic in her flexibility with all things. Ashlee is the eternal optimist who has a "can do" attitude about everything. She is very humble about all of her professional achievements, but she can't help but gush about her little Josephine and we can't blame her! 


ON MOTHERHOOD: Being a pediatrician I thought I knew everything about children, however, after having my daughter I learned that this was indeed not true. Like many new moms I struggled with breastfeeding, nap-time, and learning to let things go. I am continuing to learn how to balance work while remembering to focus on what really is important in my life, my family!

Woman Crush Wednesday: SYDNEY ROLLE-STERN


WHO: Sydney is a Baltimore Native, a Medical Advocate specializing in family violence, and a student pursuing her Masters in Public Health. She has two children, her son Eric age 7 and her daughter Dylan age 2 going on 17. Sydney loves to read and she is currently pursuing a healthier lifestyle through working out and eating better.  She is very interested in the state of prison healthcare, the use of solitary confinement in our prisons, and engaging men in the fight against family violence.


WHY WE LOVE HER: This mama has the greatest dry sense of humor. She always finds a funny way to say what everyone is thinking. Sydney is immediately easy to feel comfortable around and shares wisdom casually and generously. Luckily, Sydney's kids share her sense of humor--her Instagram feed always keeps us entertained with their pictures and videos!


ON MOTHERHOOD: Motherhood for me has been a pleasant surprise. I was never that young girl dreaming of her wedding. I didn't see those things growing up, so I wasn't too impressed.  And if I am totally honest, I was not too sold on the idea of having children either (I know, I know I'm terrible).  But I am happy to say that I don't know who I would be without them.  Yes, motherhood is hard and frightening these days, but there are also no words to describe the joy children bring to your life.  I want mothers to stop being so hard on themselves. We can't do it all. The house will not collapse if the laundry doesn't get folded right away. Some days I get down on myself because my house isn't as clean, there are dishes in the sink, and my daughter is not potty trained yet. The list could go on and on... Then I realize, "Hey, they are alive and fed (it may have been frozen pizza), but they are fed and most importantly they are happy."  Happy Mom = Happy Child-- sometimes it's just that simple. Moms, we have to take care of ourselves, you cant give from an empty vessel.