Pregnancy

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

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

A Conversation With: Rosie Pope

Rosie Pope Maternity - Interview

Entrepreneur Rosie Pope wears many hats. In addition to her her eponymous line of maternity clothes & three stores in New York City and Los Angeles, British-born Rosie is also the founder of MomPrep, starred in her on reality show, Pregnant in Heels, and just launched a line of baby clothes. Most importantly, though, she’s a wife &  mom of four! We had the opportunity to ask Rosie a few questions about pregnancy & motherhood, maternity fashion, & what’s to come. Thanks, Rosie!

1. Tell us how Rosie Pope Maternity was created. When, why, and how did you put your idea into action?

It was created with the belief that women should be able to feel their best while pregnant. Looking good, helps you to feel good which in turn gives you the confidence you need to enjoy this amazing journey into parenthood. For too long pregnant woman have been ignored in fashion and so I set about to change that and give them a destination for clothes that can make them look and feel good. I wanted to provide more than fashion though, as part of enjoying pregnancy (and then parenthood) is having the confidence in yourself that you are going to be good at it. Knowledge gives you this confidence and so from the very start I wanted to provide expert education as well as fashion to create a well rounded experience for pregnant shoppers.  As my husband and I started trying to have our first baby I was overwhelmed with the need for a one stop shop like this and so decided to launch it for myself and women like me yearning for something different and relevant to them in the maternity fashion and prenatal education space.

2. How would you describe the Rosie Pope aesthetic? What is the spirit of the brand?

Contemporary in color and prints, yet classic in cut, fun, flattering and smart in innovation and education. I strive to help people Love With Confidence – both themselves, their partners and their children.

Rosie Pope Interview - Rosie Pope Maternity

3. Many women struggle with getting dressed and feeling like themselves while pregnant. Others don’t even think purchasing maternity wear is a worthwhile investment. What advice do you have for them?

Firstly when you are putting on a significant amount of weight which you need to during pregnancy, you normal clothes are simply not going to fit and if you do manage to get them on they aren’t going to be very comfortable. People often go out and buy larger sizes in non-maternity but this really isn’t the best option. My maternity clothes are designed to grow where you grow rather than all over. For example your arms don’t get longer but simply buying a larger size in non-maternity the arms of the garment will get longer. Same goes for over all length and shoulder width. The result is very unflattering and I truly believe in feeling as good as you can during pregnancy. It effects your mood and your baby. Added to all of this and contrary to what you may think, you can get a lot of use out of your maternity clothes. Firstly, you wear them far more often and over and over than anything in your non-maternity wardrobe and you need them afterwards before you get back to your pre-baby weight. So buy ones you love and make you feel good in the budget you have.

4. What is your favorite part of designing & producing maternity apparel?

Happy customers! I love it when a design finally hits the floor and makes someone feel so special and comfortable in their new bodies.

5. In addition to your business, you are also a mom of four! How do you balance your career with being a mother?

It’s not easy and I don’t want to lie to you, I struggle everyday with this balance we all seem so obsessed with these days. There isn’t a lot of balance for me right now. It is all work or all kids and not much  in between but I am okay with that. I see life in stages and this stage is all about the kids and building my business. I think this gives me the stamina and the excitement to keep going.

6. What do you wish you knew before you became a mother that you now know?

The things you stress about so much at he beginning are not the things that are going to define the health and happiness of your children – no matter what the very judgemental onlookers can say!! I wish I had had more confidence in my choices early on to enjoy all of those moments instead of worrying so much!

Rosie Pope Interview

7. What are some of your pregnancy & newborn must-haves?

Give me some Aden and Anais swaddle clothes, some Belly Butter by Fairhaven, a BabyBjorn ONE Carrier, some Medela microwave steam sterilizing bags and EVERY item for my Rosie Pope baby layette collection and I am ready to go. I’m pretty low maintenance in the gear department – less is more for me!

8. Favorite toddler & kids’ brands?

Rosie Pope Baby! I also love Rikshaw Design, Hanna Anderson, Mini Boden, Tutu de Monde, Oscar de la Renta kids for very very special occasions, and Mini Melissa.

9. Has your style changed at all since becoming a mom?

My clothes involve less dry cleaning because there is far too much spit up for that and I probably wear less skirts…too much squatting down to play trains!

Rosie Pope Baby Fall 2014

 

10. For moms (or any women, really) starting their own businesses, what advice would give?

It’s not easy and it won’t happen as quick as you think it will. You will make mistakes but the trick is to admit them, identify them and change course. It is also one of the most amazing things you can ever do, when you love what you do. If you have guts, and you need guts, you can be brilliant.

11. You’re also a published author, TV regular, & founder of MomPrep. Are there any upcoming projects in the works?

So many ;) Today though, a big focus of mine is Rosie Pope Baby (layette – 2 years old). I launched the line in February and it has been received with such success that I am expanding the line in depth and price point for January.  I am so excited to make it available to as many beautiful cuddly babies as possible!

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