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Mother Essentials: Sri Bodanapu

Written by Erin Feher

Next up sharing her Mother Essentials is none other than Sri Bodanapu, founder and host of Big Little Choices. The podcast features deep dives with fellow parents on the sometimes hard and unconventional choices they make for themselves and their families, from homeschooling to adoption to divorce and everything in between. Sri grew up in India in the eighties in a “progressive yet traditional” family, and adhered to the social and cultural expectations she was raised with (a.k.a. higher education, a stable job, marriage in your early 20s, and children before 30). But when she found herself wading through the dozens of daily decisions around how to raise her son, she was inspired to learn and ultimately share stories of motherhood that were different from hers and her community’s. “I literally woke up one morning and decided to take a podcasting class. I had no background in media, had never recorded my voice, and didn’t think I had the courage to put myself out there,” says Sri. Spoiler: She did. You can check out all the engrossing episodes here, and peep her full list of Mother Essentials for her and her 4-year-old son (plus her baby on the way!) below. Bonus: Sri is also a certified nutritionist and working on a forthcoming cookbook, so her list is packed with healthy family hacks, too!

How I Built This Podcast. “I’m obsessed with podcasts—as evidenced by deciding to make my own!—and this is by far my favorite. I think hearing stories about how founders create great brands is not only inspiring but also shows how much hard work goes into building successful companies.” How I Built This, NPR.

Notebooks. “Be it for my cookbook or when I’m interviewing guests for the podcasts, I always like to keep a notebook handy to make notes. I love these because not only are they are light and compact—perfect for my small workbag—but are also so pretty to look at.” Rifle Paper Co. Lively Floral Stitched Lined Notebooks, $15.99 (set of 3), Amazon.

Good Olive Oil. “I’m a believer that a high-quality olive oil is not only essential for salad dressings, but also for any low-or-medium heat cooking. This is one of my favorites—it’s so clean and fresh.” Bariani Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $19.99, Amazon.

Elderberry Syrup. “This is my go-to immunity booster for my son. All he needs is a quick squirt before he’s off to school everyday.” Elderberry Syrup, $12, Wise Goat Organics.

Buttered Toast Chocolate. “We all love a good chocolate in our house and this has been a recent favorite. We enjoy it as an after-dinner treat for the adults and a once-a-week surprise in my son’s snack box.” Buttered Toast and Sea Salt Chocolate Bar, $9.99, Hogarth Chocolate.

Cast-Iron Griddle. “Ever since I became a nutritionist, I try and limit my family’s exposure to toxic materials in our home. This pan has been vital in making sure that I can make everything from quesadillas to grilled broccoli without using a nonstick pan.” Lodge Cast Iron Griddle, $14.50, Amazon.

Ballet Flats. “These flats have carried me through city walking, trips to the playground, and my swollen pregnancy feet. Definitely a splurge, but so comfy and stylish!” Chloé Lauren Leather Ballet Flats, $495, Saks Fifth Avenue.

Top-Shelf Spices. “I mostly cook Indian food, and as you’d expect, it’s packed with a lot of spices and flavors. When I can’t source my spices directly from my mom’s kitchen in India, Burlap and Barrel is my trusted brand.” Fundamentals Spice Collection, $49.95, Burlap and Barrel.

Sweater Coat. “I always run cold and I love these sweater coats from Anthropologie. They come out with new prints every year, and not only are they super comfy, but they add a great layer of color and print to my outfits.” Camo Wool Sweater Coat, $119.95, Anthropologie.

Classic Vitamix. “I cook a ton and this is my favorite kitchen gadget. From making soups, chutneys, and smoothies, it not only saves time, but is so easy to clean!” Vitamix 5200 Blender, $378.44, Amazon.

A Better Balm. “This is hands-down my favorite face moisturizer for the drier months. I had a lot of dry patches all over my face at the start of my pregnancy and this is the only product that helps keep my skin nourished.” Laurel Skin Recovery Balm, $68, Beauty Heroes.

East Cookbook. “I’ve always loved cookbooks, and I do even more so now that I’m working on my own cookbook—a collection of family recipes. Meera Sodha always inspires me with her stories of family and food. Her dishes are in my weekly rotation as well as any time I entertain.” East: 120 Vegetarian and Vegan recipes from Bangalore to Beijing, by Meera Sodha, $22.44, Amazon.

USB Microphone. “This has been an essential for my podcast life. It’s so portable, easy to use, and delivers pretty good sound quality for an amateur recording!” Blue Yeti USB Mic for Recording & Streaming, $129, Amazon.

Cleansing Oil. “I typically have dry skin and it was only amplified during my pregnancy. This is my go-to cleanser to keep my skin in balance.” Botanical B Enzyme Cleansing Oil, $49, Credo.

Seed Probiotics. “I’ve always been an avid user of probiotics but this one is my current favorite. I love that it has pre- and probiotic strains.” Seed Probiotics, $49.99 per month, Seed.

Harmless Coconut Water. “Of all the coconut waters out there, this is a favorite of my son and I. I also love that the company is fair trade certified and ethically sources its product.” Harmless Harvest Coconut Water, $4.99, Target.

Super Soft T-Shirts. “With this pregnancy, I’m trying to only buy clothes that will take me into the postpartum phase as well, and these t-shirts from Everlane have delivered. They are soft, versatile, and super comfy.” The Long-Sleeve Box-Cut Pocket Tee, $30, Everlane.

Gluten Free Crisps. “My son and I are gluten free and this has by far been one of our favorite crackers. They go great with a soft cheese or a fig jam.” Lesley Stowe Raincoast Crisps, $10.89, Amazon.

Magnesium Oil. “Both my pregnancies have come with their share of back and body pains. This spray has been so helpful—not just with the aches, but also for sleep.” Ancient Minerals Magnesium Oil Spray, $18.97, Amazon.

Octonauts. “My 4-year-old son is in a deep phase of adventure and learning, and this has been our favorite show lately. Not only is it full of adorable characters, but it teaches kids about a new sea creature every episode.” Octonauts, Netflix.

Succession. “I’m not much of a TV person, but lately have been binge-watching this show. It’s such a fantastic portrayal of a dysfunctional family steeped in greed and power. A must watch!” Succession, HBO.

Local Wine. “Sophie James Wine makes my favorite rosé right now! The company’s co-founder also has a great story on what led her to start her vineyard (listen on my podcast).” Sophie James Wine.

For more Mother Essentials, peep our past columns with designers Anna WallackCynthia RowleyRebecca AtwoodDana HaimRachel Zoe, and Taylor Jay, Olympian Alysia Montano, Wiley Body founder Vanessa Wade, Partake founder Denise Woodard, model and muse Slick Woods, children’s author Serena Minott, clean living expert Kristian Henderson, June & January founder Amy Richardson-Golia, Bubbsi founder Sweta DoshiOakland retail queen Sherri McMullenShahidah Zareef of Bossmom NationJoanne EncarnacionLaTonya YvetteMorgan Walker of Make.doIguehi James, and more!

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