Haylie Duff, our July 2015 guest editor, has had an amazing year already: On May 11, she welcomed her first child with fiance Matt Rosenberg. Their baby girl was born the day before her due date, and the couple named her Ryan. The second season of “The Real Girl’s Kitchen,” her show on The Cooking Channel, is currently airing. And, she just finished filming a new movie. Recently, Haylie chatted with us about being a mum, cooking on her show, getting tattoos, and more.
MT: Ryan was born just a few weeks ago, congrats! How was your labour and delivery?
HD: It was hard work — definitely one of the most overwhelming things I’ll probably ever do. But, it seems like a distant memory now. I look at her and think every bit of pain was worth it.
MT: We can totally relate, Haylie! We love the name Ryan for a girl. What inspired your choice?
HD: I had this dream about a little girl with a high ponytail. I was calling her name — ‘Ryan, Ryan!’ — and she wasn’t turning around. I kept calling her and she finally turned around and gave me this really sassy look. I thought, ‘I think we are having a girl and I think her name is Ryan!’ Matt loved the name, and I loved it too, so we went with it. She has two middle names: Ava, because we thought it was just really strong and beautiful and feminine, and Earhard, which is my sister Hilary’s middle name and my grandmother’s maiden name.
MT: Are you getting any sleep at night?
HD: I started dream feeding recently, and it’s been a game changer for me because I don’t have to do a full feeding routine in the middle of night. I don’t even unswaddle her. I just kind of wake her up, breastfeed her, burp her, and then put her back down. She’s responded really well to that, and now I’m only getting up once a night with her.
MT: Wow, that’s great! Are you home with her right now, or have you had to go back to work?
HD: I’m home with her for the next few months. Since we’ve had this bonding time, I feel like I’ve really gotten to know her. I understand all her little signals!
MT: Do you have any help?
HD: Matt and I are doing everything ourselves at this point, but we had help at night from an amazing doula for the first two weeks. She would come over at 10 at night and stay until about 6 in the morning. She was such a bucket of knowledge. I learned so much from her.
MT: OK, let’s switch gears and chat about work. “The Real Girls Kitchen” is in its second season. How are things going?
HD: Great! People are watching it and responding well to it. Fingers crossed we’ll get picked up for a third season. I should find out any day now.
MT: What are some of your favourite episodes from the second season?
HD: There are so many episodes that I really loved this year. In one episode, I took Jessica Szohr and my girlfriend Nikki Erwin camping. Jess is very into outdoorsy stuff, but Nikki is not. We went “glamping,” with a beautiful tent and fur rugs and all kinds of fun stuff. In another episode, I did a baby shower for my girlfriend Beverly Mitchell. Jenna Dewan Tatum did a vegan episode with me, which was really fun.
MT: How involved are you with each show?
HD: I’m very hands-on, from mapping out how the episode will air to testing and developing the recipes. In fact, I filmed the whole second season of “The Real Girl’s Kitchen” while I was pregnant.
MT: The show was inspired by your blog. How did you get into blogging?
HD: About four years ago, I was filming a Lifetime movie in Canada and it was so cold that I couldn’t go out and do anything during my free time. So, I made a little blog and posted a recipe. Within a couple of days people were really responding to it, so whenever I had free time I would put up a picture of something I made for dinner. Then I started posting the mistakes I made. I think people liked how honest I was about my trials and tribulations in the kitchen. At first, blogging was a really great hobby. Now, it’s so fulfilling, the most amazing creative outlet.
MT: Where does your love of cooking and entertaining come from?
HD: My dad gave me my grandmother’s cookbook, and it was filled with family recipes. I discovered a handwritten recipe and note from a café owner dating back to 1934 tucked inside. This whole method of recipe sharing was so inspiring to me. The joy of entertaining was ingrained in me at a young age. My mum threw great dinner parties at our house when I was growing up. She showed us how important it is to entertain in your home and create something beautiful for your friends. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised that there’s something really intimate and nice about providing a meal for someone in your home. That experience has become important to me.
MT: What’s your favourite kind of entertaining to do?
HD: I really love to host brunch, especially now that I have Ryan. Her happiest hours are early in the day.
MT: Do you have a favourite thing to cook?
HD: Now that it’s summer, I’m really into grilling. But, really, it just depends on the time of year and what’s going on in my life.
MT: Is there anything you don’t really enjoy doing in the kitchen?
HD: I don’t bake. I don’t like to do anything that requires intense measuring!
MT: Beyond your work on the show, are you filming any movies this year?
HD: My movie Til Death Do Us Part just aired on Lifetime. And, I just finished filming a thriller called The Secret Life about this woman who finds out that she’s actually the second wife with a child, not the first wife. It’s nice and juicy.
MT: How do you unwind when you’re not on the clock?
HD: I put the baby in the stroller and I leave my phone at home. We just hit the pavement together and that’s been the most relaxing thing for me. I also love to do yoga and meditate, but I haven’t had much time to do those things lately.
MT: What do you like to do to chill out after the baby goes to bed?
HD: Well, being a new mum, I have a very aggressive TV schedule! I really like “Wayward Pines” on Fox. They have an amazing cast, including Terrence Howard and Matt Dillon and Juliette Lewis, and it’s this really trippy alternate universe kind of show. I loved “Game of Thrones,” so I’m really sad it’s over. And I just finished “Orange is the New Black.”
MT: Reading anything good right now?
HD: Yes—I’m about halfway through The Baby Sleep Solution. I really like the author’s point of view.
MT: What are your go-to beauty products now that you’re a time-pressed new mom?
HD: My esthetician, Tina K. of Belle Visage Spa in LA, has a new line of skincare products that are all natural but very effective. I used the line throughout my pregnancy, and didn’t have any breakouts at all!
MT: Where will you and Matt go the next time you can get away for a date night?
HD: We have one secret spot that I can’t tell you about because Matt will get upset. There’s never anyone there, so we can just go and sit at the bar and eat this amazing Italian food. We also like this great French restaurant called Terrine a lot. It’s the last place we went before Ryan was born.
MT: OK, before I let you go, I’m curious to know whether there’s anything about you that would surprise people who don’t know you?
HD: I didn’t get my first tattoo until I was 27 – and now I have 10! I have one with my mum. Hilary and I have a couple together. Matt and I have one together. I don’t know how I’m going to tell Ryan that she’s not allowed to get tattoos. I’ll have to figure that one out!
Photo: Courtesy of Haylie Duff