For Mom

Guest Post: What to Get the Mom-to-be Who has Everything

Estella NYC Baby Taxi Rattle

She has the baby swing. She’s stocked with newborn basics like onesies and hats. Maybe she’s about to become a second, or third time mom. Or perhaps she’s a new soon-to-be mom with really generous friends and family! No matter the reason, a Boppy won’t do for a baby gift for this super-prepared mama.

Sigh. What can you possibly get for the mom-to-be who has everything? You don’t want to phone it in with another hooded ducky towel. No, you need a unique present, something that prompts her to demand, “Where did you find this?”

Don’t worry. It’s not an impossible mission. We got you covered with these awesomely adorable gift ideas for the mom-to-be who has it all, except…

Hand Knit Baby Rattles. Impress the mom who already has every baby toy on Earth on standby with these cute Estella cotton baby toys. We dare any pregnant mama not to chuckle with surprise and glee when she unwraps a salted pretzel, a purse with a sweet little bow, or a mustache rattle. Don’t forget to check out the coordinating nursery pillows!

The Best Swaddles. Your mom friend owns a stack of receiving blankets, but breathable muslin swaddles by Aden and Anais are where it’s at! The size and weight of the fabric makes wrapping a wee one worry-free and easy. Um, plus they’re cute. Yup, she’ll love cradling her cutie in these soft styles. You’re a whiz at this finding the perfect gift thing!

Handprint Canvas Set. Give the gift of a memory with a create-a-keepsake canvas kit from Red Envelope. Upon baby’s arrival, the new family can capture the moment by stamping their hand or foot prints on a piece of wall art, which can be customized by color, design, and the option to add text.

Superhero Knit Dolls. Your mommy friend may have a nursery full of stuffed animals and dolls, but she hasn’t seen Estella’s superhero inspired knit dollsKat is sporty yet sweet, Trixie has confidence and style to spare, and Red is one capable cookie. Dolls who offer life lessons to little ones? Can you say gift giving genius?

Giant Personalized Tote. An over-sized Lands End tote bag makes the perfect hospital bag, weekend getaway bag, and bedding, clothing, and toy storage bag. It’s a gift that keeps on giving long after baby is born; from the first sleepover, to sleep-away camp, to college! How many other gifts can boast of being useful for life?

Told you we could help!

Estella NYC Flash Doll

Posted by Melissa Willets in Baby & Kids' Toys, Baby Accessories & Toys, Baby Boys, Baby Girls, For Mom, Gifts, Interviews & Guest Posts, Pregnancy, 0 comments

A Conversation with: Hitha of Hitha on the Go

A Conversation with: Hitha on the Go

We are so excited to be chatting with blogger/travel extraordinaire/mom-to-be Hitha Palepu today! In addition to running her popular site, Hitha on the Go (full of fashion posts, travel tips, and lifestyle content), this chic New Yorker is expecting her first baby next year. We asked Hitha a few questions how on her pregnancy is going so far, how to dress the bump, and the best gifts to give mamas-to-be. Enjoy!

1. Congrats on your pregnancy!! What have you loved most/least about being pregnant thus far?

Thank you! I was not a fan of pregnancy during my first trimester, which rendered me to an exhausted, nauseated mess. Feeling the baby move has definitely been the best part of it.

2. Any crazy cravings or major surprises?

We decided not to find out the gender of the baby, which was a HUGE surprise! I’m normally a control freak, so allowing ourselves to be surprised was a surprise itself. I crave spicy food more than I normally do, and have started to consume more milk and yogurt than I did before I was pregnant.

3. You are a travelling pro – any tips for other moms-to-be on how to make traveling as simple and pleasant as possible, especially for the holidays?

While maternity jeans are a godsend, they do stretch out faster than their non-maternity counterparts. Always pack enough bottoms (one for each day) and a Bella Band! I’m all about comfort, so I won’t leave home without lots of lightweight layers (long tanks, collared shirts and cozy sweaters, a luxuriously warm scarf) and my most comfortable lounge clothes – currently a pair of Old Navy yoga pants and a vintage Fleetwood Mac t-shirt. I only pack flats or low heels, and I never leave home without compression socks.

Also, pack plenty of snacks for your trip! You’ll never know when hunger strikes.

4. What are you top style “dos” for getting dressed while pregnant?

Embrace maternity pants early on – how I’ll go back to regular pants is unfathomable right now. I opt for comfort, but will opt for accessories that pack a style punch – over-the-knee boots to upgrade a jeans and a sweater combination, a giant blanket scarf in a cheery plaid print, sparkly jewelry with just about everything. Accessories are the best – they’ll always fit, they’re easy to care for, and they really make an outfit.

5. Have you started shopping for baby yet? Any favorite baby clothing or accessory brands?

I haven’t purchased any baby clothes yet, but I’ve definitely bookmarked a TON. We’ve decided to let the gender be a surprise, so I’m looking for a neutral-but-fun layette. I love some of the space-themed pieces from Winter Water Factory, separates from Imps & Elfs, and basically everything from crewcuts.

6. Let’s talk about the holidays – do you have any gift ideas or recommendations for fellow expectant moms?

Nothing beats a gift certificate to prenatal massage! A wool cape from Cuyana is on my list, and something that any mother-to-be would enjoy. The Anya Hindmarch baby essentials pouch is a splurge, but an ideal gift for the mother who’s opting out of a traditional diaper bag. Chances are your expectant friends have already read plenty of motherhood books, so get her a read that will inspire and entertain her. Amy Poehler’s Yes Please and Diane von Furstenberg’s The Woman I Wanted To Be are two books that I plan to give all the women in my life.

7. What’s at the top of your list?

The aforementioned Cuyana cape, for sure. I’m an avid reader, and would love the new Kindle Voyage (even though my Paperwhite is still in great condition). Other things I’d love are a monthly membership to DreamDry, a cashmere blanket, and for the Philadelphia Eagles to win the Super Bowl.

8. Favorite things to do in NYC this time of year?

I love having friends and family come visit and experience the city with them – the tree at Rockefeller Center, holiday decorations on Madison Avenue, delicious meals in cozy restaurants. I love bundling up, getting hot cocoa, and walking through one of the city’s many parks (Riverside Park and the High Line are two favorites). We’ve missed out on ice-skating for the past three years, but hopefully it’ll happen this year!

9. Finally, what’s been the best piece of advice you’ve received since you’ve become pregnant?

Pamper yourself regularly. I’ve been getting monthly prenatal massages and facials, twice-monthly pedicures and blowouts, and it’s gone a long way in making me feel my best. I didn’t read too many pregnancy books or join any forums, and it worked or me. I’m of the “I’ll figure it out when it happens” mentality, and I know reading too much about pregnancy and newborn care would freak me out. Spill the news to one family member or friend who’s a new mother – having someone who has been through it all recently and can pass on advice or just listen is really important, especially in the early days when you’re unsure of EVERYTHING. It sounds cliché, but enjoy every moment – even the ones when you’re feeling awful. It does go by way too fast.

Also, size down on maternity pants if you want to get more than one wear per wash. It’s the one piece of advice I WISH I had received!

Thank you, Hitha! Check out Hitha’s blog for more styling posts, pregnancy updates, & travel tips.
(Image via Hitha on the Go)

Posted by Estella Editor in For Mom, Interviews & Guest Posts, Pregnancy, 0 comments

Tips + Tricks: Newborn Baby Essentials

Baby Clothes - Estella Knit Layette

Expecting a new addition to your family sometime soon and ready to start planning? Here are some of the baby essentials you’ll want to shop for at Estella and add to your baby registry. From must-have baby clothes that your newborn will be living in, to blankets and toys, be sure to stock up on the following:

1. One-Piece Rompers & Receiving Gowns: These are some of the most practical and versatile baby clothes for new parents. Snaps between the legs simplify diaper changes and a lap-neck or buttons down the front/back ensure that dressing your little one will be quick and seamless. Plus, the cozy silhouette and soft fabrics will keep baby comfortable and happy while lounging at home or as a first layer during winter. You’ll want to stock up on our Bamboo Layette or Nature Baby Collection for kimono-style one-pieces and long-sleeve rompers in classic colors and 100% organic fabrics. If you’re looking for something with more personality, check out Beau LOves and Bobo Choses. And for ultra-luxurious and sophisticated styles: Album di Famiglia or our Baby Knits Collection. Make sure to order a variety of different sizes!

2. Booties, Hats & Mittens: Accessories to keep little hands, heads, and feet warm. Cotton hats can be worn all year long, even in the summer, and these bamboo baby mittens prevent babies from unintentionally scratching themselves.

3. Baby BlanketsLotus Springs blankets are some of our most popular, and for good reasons: they are soft, eco-friendly, and machine-washable. These plush blankets will be a go-to for babies and parents alike, making them a practical and versatile choice. For a special, keepsake, check out our hand-knit alpaca blankets. These blankets are made in Bolivia by a Fair Trade manufacturer and sure to be treasured from infancy through adulthood.

4. Swaddles: The Aden and Anais Swaddles have a multitude of uses beyond simply keeping baby safe while sleeping, thanks to their generous size: they can double as a stroller or nursing cover, burp cloth, play blanket, and even a portable crib sheet. Plus, these pre-washed blankets are made from muslin, a breathable cotton fabric that allows baby’s body temperature to regulate itself naturally. Versatile and all-natural, these swaddles are the perfect multi-taskers for new parents.

5. For the nursery: The crib sheetsbumpers, and changing pad covers from Flink Living are made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and available of classic prints and elegant colors that can be mixed and matched for a complete look. Sleep sacks from Aden and Anais keep baby comfortable, safe, and snug.

6. Baby Rattles: Engage all of baby’s senses with one of these designer newborn toys. Bold colors, soft cotton, and a charming sound will both entertain and delight your baby. Unlike other mass-produced plastic or wooden baby toys on the market, these rattles are safe and feel wonderful in little hands. Plus, the humorous shapes will amuse parents.

7. Keepsakes: Don’t we all have those special toys or accessories that have stayed with us since we were a newborn? Baby keepsakes will be treasured from day one all the way through adulthood. Whether it’s an engraved sterling silver rattle or accessory from Salisbury or Areaware, a hand-made Jess Brown doll, or piece of nursery decor from Boramiri, these toys and accessories are one-of-a-kind items that will remain with baby and become even more special as he or she grows up.

Estella Knit Layette - Baby HatsBaby Clothes - Estella Knits

Posted by Estella Editor in Baby & Kids' Toys, Baby Accessories & Toys, Baby Boys, Baby Clothes, Baby Girls, For Mom, Tips + Tricks, 0 comments

A Conversation with: Natalie of The Senses Five

Interview with Natalie of The Senses Five

Natalie Adams, of the blog The Senses Five, was kind enough to answer some of our questions on motherhood, her favorite newborn essentials, and raising her baby boy, Oskar, in Michigan. Be sure to check out Natalie’s Dear Oskar & Made series, too, for lovely letters to her son and interviews with creative types and business owners. Enjoy!

1. Oskar just turned 1 year old! How did you celebrate?

For Oskar’s birthday we spent the weekend at Wheatland, it is a folk festival in the middle of Michigan that has been going on for 41 years. We camped in a pinewood forest, stayed up past bedtime, took tent naps, made instruments, and got really dirty feet. It was a great time. Next weekend we’ll be having a birthday party with friends and family, so he can do the traditional cake thing.

2. What has surprised you the most this past year as you’ve raised him?

How easy it is. I know that sounds crazy. But I feel like when you are pregnant with your first you often hear about how hard it is. The sleepless nights, the crying, your marriage dies, your social life dies, etc. Don’t get me wrong, parenthood brings on challenges for sure, especially as he is entering the toddler phase. But it has truly been a joy and we haven’t felt like our marriage or social lives have been sacrificed. There were lots of times in the past year we would look at each other in disbelief that it was so easy. Maybe we’re just delusional with love for our baby boy. ;)

The Senses Five - Natalie Adams

3. Is there anything you wish you knew before you became a mother that you know now?

There are a ton of things I know now that I didn’t know before I was a mother, but I don’t think I could have known them before Oskar. I’ve learned so much about myself, my husband, and about family. Part of the fun as been this learning and growing experience.

4. What are your favorite baby brands (clothes, toys, etc.) for boys?

For some reason I thought having a son would be less fun in the clothes department and boy was I wrong. There are so many good brands out there now. I really love Bobo Choses, NUNUNU, KicKee Pants, & Tea. Plus, I frequently comb the thrift store, the girls dept at Target & the clearance rack at Gap.

Our toy collection is pretty minimal; I try to stick to simple toys that are nicely made and stimulate the imagination. HaPe, Green Toys, Plan Toys, & Brio are great brands for that.

The Senses 5 - Interview

5. What activities do you and Oskar enjoy doing together? What’s a typical day like?

Oskar loves being out and about. We love to go on walks around the neighborhood, search through thrift stores and estate sales, visit the farmer’s market or even just a good ole Target run. In addition to The Senses Five, I work from home full-time as a digital marketer – so our days can be a little crazy at times. We always have morning nursing and snuggle in bed after dad leaves for work and fill the day with lots of books and mess making while I cram in as much work as I can during independent play and naps. And then go on an adventure when we get stir crazy, which happens often these days.

6. What are some of your favorite parts of living & raising a family in Ann Arbor?

Ann Arbor is insanely family friendly and laid back. So no one bats an eye when you have your baby out late and strapped to you while drinking a nice stout at the local beer garden. We live on an acre just 3 miles from downtown Ann Arbor, but frequently visit my beloved Detroit and the westside of the state where my husband is from. I’m excited to raise Oskar in an environment where he is equally exposed to city and country.

The Senses Five Interview

7. Do you have any favorite parenting/motherhood blogs/websites that you look to for inspiration?

The Littlest – Elizabeth’s take on motherhood is so beautiful. A Cup of Jo – Joanna has great motherhood posts not only from her personal life, but really makes efforts to show other parent’s perspectives. I’ve been enjoying the newly launched Mother Mag. And a bunch of Instagram mamas, which has been a great space for inspiration and support.

8. You have one of the most comprehensive baby registry guides we’ve seen! What were some of your pregnancy & newborn must-haves that you found yourself reaching for over and over again?

Honestly my pregnancy was pretty easy and we were quickly renovating our house before the birth so I was often distracted. I did love using a nice body oil on my growing belly, I don’t know if it helped with stretch marks, but it did curb the itchiness and just felt good.

Oh newborn must haves, there are quite a few. I think don’t think we would have made it without our solly wrap, good pajamas, and friends and family… oh and nipple cream :)

The Senses Five Blog - Interview(Images via The Senses Five)

 

Posted by Estella Editor in Baby Accessories & Toys, Baby Boys, For Mom, Interviews & Guest Posts, Pregnancy, 0 comments

A Conversation With: Natalie of Thoughts by Natalie

natalie-borton-interview

We’ve been avid reader’s of San Diego-based Natalie’s blog Thoughts by Natalie – “a community for women dedicated to honest talk about beauty, style, wellness and life” – for a while now, so we were excited to chat with the contributing editor to Glitter Guide & soon to be mom to baby Jack about her pregnancy must-haves, favorite maternity clothes, & lovely advice to fellow first time moms-to-be. Enjoy!

1. You only have a few more weeks before Jack arrives! What’s been the best piece of advice you’ve received since you’ve been pregnant?

Rest, rest, rest—and I’ve absolutely taken that advice to heart! Each day I have all kinds of things on my to-do list, but I always schedule down time to sit down and do nothing for a while. Also, I’ve been going to bed early to make sure I get as much sleep as possible. Growing a person can be quite exhausting!

2. What have you enjoyed most about your pregnancy? Any major surprises?

Admittedly, pregnancy is not my favorite thing in the world—but feeling the little guy move will be one thing I absolutely will miss once he arrives! It’s always reassuring to feel his kicks and know he’s doing well in there—even when he jabs me in the ribs ;)

Natalie Borton - Thoughts by NatalieNatalie Borton Interview

3. What are some of your pregnancy beauty & fashion must-haves?

I’ve stuck to a very minimalist items during this pregnancy, so I rely heavily on accessories to keep my simple wardrobe feeling fresh—my fedora hat, lightweight scarves and pendant necklaces are just a few favorites. As far as makeup goes, I love CoverGirl Lash Blast Fusion in brown for a natural, bright-eyed look, and I always sweep on some bronzer and my Sonia Kashuk Chic Luminosity Highlighter Stick to reinforce that pregnancy glow.

4. Are there any pieces are you relying on to get you through these last few weeks?

It’s all about black for me in these final weeks—specifically I have a black swing dress and a black maternity dress that I wear every single week (if not multiple times!).

5. What’s been your biggest indulgence while pregnant? Any foods/drinks you’re looking forward to having after the baby arrives?

Cheese!! Before getting pregnant, I ate cheese very rarely—mostly as a salad topper or when I went out to eat. But now I can’t remember a day this year when I didn’t eat any cheese! It’s just so appealing. Post-baby, I’m looking forward to finally drinking a glass of champagne as well as indulging in some spicy tuna rolls.

Black Maternity Dress - Thoughts by Natalie

6. Do you have any style tips for other moms-to-be?

Keep it comfortable, and keep it YOU. The comfort part seems obvious, but I found myself trying to wear several things at the beginning that looked good but were really not working comfort-wise. Soft fabrics are a must, as well as LOTS of stretch. Also, so many of the maternity options out there are really unattractive, and I think a lot of women feel stuck in a style rut during pregnancy as a result. But it doesn’t have to be that way—I’ve found that by getting a couple sizes up in non-maternity clothes I can be comfortable and stay true to my pre-pregnancy style.

7. Have you started shopping for baby? Any favorite brands for baby boys?

I honestly haven’t done a ton of shopping for Jack yet, mostly because our friends and family have been so generous with their gifts! As far as brands for good baby boy items go, though, I really love KicKee Pants, Carter’s, H&M and Freshly Picked!

Natalie Borton - Thoughts by Natalie

8. What about the nursery?

The nursery is coming along slowly but surely. I knew right away that I wanted the Babyletto Hudson crib in white, so that’s been in the room for a while. Also, I found a dreamy wingback chair from IKEA and a sleek, modern changing table from Land of Nod that keep the room looking masculine, modern and cozy. Now, we’re just searching for the perfect white dresser and some frames to hang the adorable Sharon Montrose baby animal photos I couldn’t resist buying.

9. Finally, what advice would you give to fellow first time moms-to-be who are in the earlier stages of pregnancy?

Remember: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!! The hardest part of my pregnancy was the emotional side of things—handling weight gain and skin and hair changes that were less than glamorous. I felt insecure about myself for the first half of my pregnancy and wish I could’ve just seen in the mirror what other people see in pregnant women: a beautiful, radiant person who is growing a life inside her! Also, know that it’s okay to not enjoy pregnancy (it doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad mom), and that it’s temporary. It feels like eternity, I know, but soon enough you’ll have a sweet baby in your arms and it’ll make it all worth it.

Maternity Clothes - Black Dress

Thank you, Natalie! Some additional Thoughts by Natalie posts you may enjoy:

What to pack in your hospital bag.
Secondthird trimester essentials.
The entire Bump Style series!

(Images via Joyful Steps Photography)

Posted by Estella Editor in For Mom, Interviews & Guest Posts, Pregnancy, 0 comments