Glimpses of Motherhood | Ashley Covelli on Running a Food Blog, Working from Home, and Being Mom
Glimpses of Motherhood is a series that offers a small peek into the lives of moms from all different places and walks of life. Part momma profile, part chatting with a new friend, it’s designed to let you see how other moms live.
I’m kind of a voyeur. I don’t mean it in the creepy peeping Tom kind of way. I mean it more in the if you post the contents of your purse on Instagram, I will stop mid-bite to get a closer look kind of way. It’s probably the reason I love Instagram so much: it provides tiny little glimpses into the parts of people’s lives you don’t often see.
Today I want to introduce you to a brand new series that I’m super excited about: Glimpses of Motherhood.
These posts will be like a little coffee date with a new friend. Moms will share a peek into their lives while also serving up recommendations and getting a little vulnerable. My hope is that these posts make you feel connected and understood, while also seeing the ways other women live their lives differently than yours.
First up is my friend, the hilarious mistress of deliciousness behind Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen, Ashley Covelli.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi there! I’m Ashley Covelli and I’m the Creator, Writer, and Developer of Deliciousness behind the food website Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen. I’m originally from the Midwest (Indiana and Wisconsin) but packed up and moved to New York after graduating from art school in 2004. I currently live in Ossining, New York with my musician/tech nerd husband Dino, my happy-go-lucky gamer and list-maker of a 6-year-old son Ian, and our 14-year-old black cat, Jinx.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I am not a morning person at all, but my kiddo sure is (can you see my eyes rolling from here?). I wake up and try to get him to stop playing so he can get dressed while I fire up the coffee pot and make a quick breakfast for the 2 of us. We drive my husband to the train station around 8 am, I pack lunch for my son, and walk him over to the bus stop, coffee mug in hand.
Fun fact: a coffee mug is the perfect hand warmer for cold winter mornings waiting for the bus!
Once I walk back home, I go into work mode. Every day is different for me, but I usually ease in by catching up on social media, responding to comments on my posts, and checking email while I finish up my 2nd (or 3rd) cup of coffee. I check out my schedule for the week and try to make a plan for what I’m going to cook and when and try to streamline it as much as possible.
Lately, I’ve been trying to pick one or 2 days per week to cook the recipes that I plan to shoot photos of for Big Flavors. That way, I can get my photo setup in place and use it for a few different things, changing the styling in between dishes, rather than setting it up and tearing it down every.single.time.
On days when I’m not shooting, I’m editing photos in Adobe Lightroom, writing up my recipes, and putting posts together. It takes a lot of work to put a solid post together, and I want to set my readers up for success in the kitchen.
I also enjoy having meetings with other local online business owners (ahem, Jen!) over coffee or lunch and bouncing ideas off of each other, planning upcoming topics and themes, and just getting some face time with actual people IRL. I try to do this every other week or so, and a lot of great post ideas (like this one on White Elephant Funny Holiday Gift Ideas for Foodies) have come from meetings like that.
I have a “don’t forget to pick up your kid!” alarm to remind me to get back over to the bus stop late each afternoon. Then it’s a whirlwind of homework, cooking dinner, picking my husband up from the train station, shooting photos of dinner if it’s a new dish (or an old one that I want to revamp), and sitting down to a meal as a family while the food is still hot.
I’m usually pretty quick with shooting photos of our meals since I’ve been doing this for over 11 years now, but occasionally I need to spend more time with it so I’ll give my guys a “less pretty” plate to eat while I finish up. But having meals as a family is really important to me, and something that I look forward to each day.
After the kiddo is in bed and the dishes are done, my husband and I usually veg out on the couch and watch some Netflix or Hulu. We’re both night owls, but parenting is exhauuuuusting, so we tend to do a few episodes before heading to bed, rinsing and repeating.
What are the last three books you’ve read? Were they any good?
Order of the Wicked by Danielle Paige – This is part of a YA series called Dorothy Must Die. It’s a dark reimagination of the story of the Wizard of Oz. There are a few books in the series plus about 8 gazillion novellas. This was one of the novellas. I’m trying to finish all of those up before I dive back into the main story. Each of the novellas are from a different character’s perspective and they’re super quick reads. I liked this one but am anxious to finish all of the novellas and get back to the main storyline.
Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos – you probably know her as the writer and star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. This book is her own personal, heartwarming, at times raw story of her journey to motherhood and the real deal behind the adoption process. It has lots of solid, real-life information on what goes into fertility treatments and going through all of the different options for adopting a child. She’s an excellent storyteller, and she balances humor with seriousness beautifully throughout the story. I laughed, I cried, and thoroughly enjoyed this book.
The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince by Mayte Garcia – the audiobook version of this caught my eye at my local library. I love a good (or bad!) celebrity memoir, but I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with this book the way I did. But hey, I guess that’s kind of how Prince was, right? This book is written and narrated by his ex-wife, and it tells the tale of how she got to be the world’s youngest professional belly dancer, how she met Prince, the life they lived together, and the aftermath that came post-divorce and after his passing in 2016. I was shocked at how moving this story was, and Mayte is a great narrator. It had a great balance of fun stories, serious bits, and celebrity gossip. I very much liked this book.
If you had to listen to one album on repeat forever, what would it be?
Mad Machinery – “Reconnecting” (shameless plug for one of my husband’s bands!). Though lately, I’ve been super into Mazzy Star’s “So Tonight That I Might See.” I had heard a song or two from Mazzy Star in the past, but somehow missed listening to them more thoroughly until lately and I.Am.Obsessed. Thanks, Spotify!
What’s your favorite children’s book?
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. No contest.
Tell me three things not many people know about you.
- By the time I was 10 years old, I had been to 48 of the 50 states here in the U.S. My dad is a truck driver, so I used to spend a few weeks each summer going on road trips with him. I brought my Nintendo Entertainment System and several VHS tapes to watch in the bunk while he drove (Sister Act, Wayne’s World and Billy Madison were all on heavy repeat!).
- My very first job was as a cashier at Dunkin’ Donuts. I was 15 and allowed to eat all the free donuts I wanted. Thank god for that teenage metabolism! After I quit, I couldn’t eat donuts for a full year because the smell would make me nauseous.
- After having my son in 2011, I suffered from a pretty extreme, rare form of PPD called Postpartum Psychosis. I was hospitalized for almost 3 weeks and it took an entire year to fully recover and wean off of the heavy dose of medications that I was on. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through, but it brought my family closer together in the end. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and people should know that things aren’t always peachy after childbirth. Things get easier, but it can be pure chaos at times. Don’t be afraid to get out there and talk to someone if you aren’t feeling right, mamas!
What’s the most surprising thing about motherhood for you?
How tiring it is to be constantly talked AT. My son is awesome and I love him to pieces but oh my GOODNESS sometimes Mommy needs 2 minutes alone with her own thoughts, kid!
What’s your parenting style like?
I can best sum this up in an example of a conversation I have often with my son:
Me: “What’s my most important job?”
Ian: “To take care of me and love me!”
Me: “…and what else?”
Ian: “To make sure I don’t grow up to be a jerk.”
I’m training him well.
Celebrating the last day of #springbreak by eating some #icecream #sandwiches outside w my kiddo. Thanks to @lunaandlarrys for sending over these tasty new #dairyfree treats made w sprouted flours, #fairtrade #chocolate chip #cookies. All #organic, #gf, #vegan, @nongmoproject verified ingredients, too! My dairy sensitive 5yo sure loved them! How are you cooling off today? #ShareYourBliss
What do you do to unwind?
Yoga, video games, being outside with nature, and having a good cocktail or glass of wine and cheese platter are the first things that come to mind.
What’s your favorite podcast?
Blog Fuel (which is being rebranded to be called Wit+Wisdom), Food Blogger Pro, My Favorite Murder, and most recently, Majestically Awkward (obviously).
Tell us about a hilariously awkward moment.
My husband and I started our relationship long distance many, many moons ago. The first time I came to New York from the Midwest to stay with him, he was still living in his parents’ basement. I slept in one of his T-shirts one night (it was a white Tenacious D band t-shirt, for those interested) and the next morning he told me he was going to make his famous eggs benedict for breakfast. AWESOME. A guy who cooks?! I. Am. In.
So I go upstairs and am sipping coffee, chatting it up with his parents, and having a really lovely time. It’s worth noting that I was 17 at the time (my now husband was 24), and this was my first time meeting his parents. I was super nervous but glad we were all hitting it off so well!
He served up the aforementioned eggs benedict, and it looked amazing! Upon cutting my very first bite, the hollandaise-sauce covered poached egg slipped off my plate and flew smack-dab into the center of my chest, getting bright yellow sauce all over this pristine white t-shirt.
A moment of panic set in, but I figured I’d just take it downstairs to the laundry room to clean it up before the stain set in. So I went downstairs and put some stain stick on it and got it right into the washing machine, changed my clothes, and headed back upstairs to finish my (delicious!) home-cooked breakfast.
After breakfast, I headed downstairs to check on the t-shirt so I could pop it into the dryer, and there were several inches of water all over the basement. I’m talking water several inches deep all over the entire room—I legit flooded their basement! I was absolutely mortified. After my deer in the headlights moment passed, I went upstairs to try to quietly let my then boyfriend know that something had gone terribly, terribly wrong.
Long story short, their washing machine drained into a big sink instead of into pipes underneath the house, which is what I was used to. The water knocked the sink plug into the drain, the sink filled with water, then overflowed all over the basement.
Apparently, when they do laundry, they make sure to move the drain plug out of the sink so the water can actually go down the drain. I had never had a basement or a washing machine situation like this, so I had no idea that it was something to look out for.
Luckily, his dad had a wet vac, so I spent a whole lot of time sucking up all that water hoping they didn’t hate me for completely drenching half of an entire floor of their house. Thank goodness nothing got ruined and that the sink was really deep or it would have been MUCH worse! The carpet eventually dried, we all had a good laugh, and I now know to look out for that setup if I’m ever in a basement laundry situation again.
If you’d like to continue the conversation with Ashley, please feel free to ask her questions in the comments. I also highly encourage you to check out her website, Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen and to also check her out on social media (I especially like to stalk her stories on Instagram).
If you or someone you know would make a great fit for this new series, please let me know! You can always email me at email@example.com or leave me a comment on social media. I’m really looking forward to continuing this series and getting to know moms from all different walks of life!
featured photo was taken by Elena Wolfe
Thanks so much for having me kick off this series, Jen! I hope there are some good nuggets (mmm… nuggets!) in here that people find useful and/or entertaining. Looking forward to seeing who’s up next!