How to Rock Maternity Style Without Wearing Maternity Clothes in 3 Easy steps

Tuesday

Maternity clothes are expensive.  You shouldn't have to pay $80 for a poly blend top that you only wear for a few months.  When I was pregnant, I felt the same way and was lucky enough to not have to wear any maternity clothes at all thanks to a few styling tricks I figured out along the way.  

Pregnancy is different for all women.  Some women have to wear maternity clothes as early as 8 weeks while others don't have to wear them until 30 weeks, it's just how it is.  Either way, there's a way around dressing the bump without dipping into your savings.



Wear a Belt

At some point during your pregnancy, you're going to have to "create a waist".  Finding a dress or top  that either comes with a belt or using your own is key.  Also, you'll be happy that you have a shape again (even if it's an illusion).

  South of France Blue and Ivory Print Maxi Dress
Lulu's
$60


Tunics and Leggings

Let's be clear about this one, leggings are never pants even when you're pregnant.  It's important to be comfortable as long as you're covered, literally.  Tunics are a great way to look put together even if you feel extra bloated or extra pregnant that day.


High-Low Knot Tunic
Macy's
$30


Belly Bands for Days

Do you ever see those photos of super pregnant women still wearing their obvious pre pregnant jeans?  That's right, their pants are completely unzipped and unbuttoned but it's ok because they have a belly band.  Don't expect to do this all throughout your pregnancy but at least you can rock your favorite jeans for a little while.


Blanqi Belly Band
Nordstrom
$40


It's not a secret that dressing your bump will be more of a challenge the further along that you go, but that doesn't mean that you can't have fun while doing it.  Enjoy the miracle that pregnancy truly is as long as you can and don't forget to show off your beautiful bump!

7 Things That I Wished I Got At My Baby Shower (and Didn't Know It)

Saturday

We received so much at our baby shower for our little girl (which we were more than thankful for) but there are some things that you just can't put on your registry and totally need to.  Unfortunately, you don't find these things out until you're knee-deep in motherhood.  Here are a few things from one mama to another that could've made my first few weeks more manageable.
Marley Rocking Chair
$1,000

Whether you're breastfeeding or formula feeding, a comfortable chair is everything.  For our nursery, we used a vintage wooden rocking chair that has been in the family for years.  Bad idea.  No matter how many pillows and blankets I threw on it, my hips on down would painfully become numb at each nightly feeding.  I often found myself wondering how my ancestors enjoyed using this chair to relax, when there was definitely nothing remotely relaxing about it.

The search for the perfect nursing chair can go on forever.  Are you looking for a rocker, or do you just want to go with a club style chair?  It's never ending.  In my opinion, if the chair is comfortable for your back and arms is what you need to go with in the end.  The modern design of the Marley is a great look, no matter the style of the room this chair will always look great (also grows with baby and child). 



Fourth Trimester
$114

Prepared meals are key for new mamas.  Subscription boxes are a great option to feed yourself when you just don't have time time or a clone.  Mouth is a indie food subscription service that sends you premade dishes, snacks, etc. for a price (non subscription boxes available as well).  This particular box was curated by the geniuses at Cool Mom Picks for those mamas who can now finally indulge in everything that they couldn't have during pregnancy.  

Win.


Ultimate Direction Fastdraw Water Bottle
$18

Please tell me why water bottles aren't on registries (if you're breastfeeding you know what I mean).  Well here you go, the ultimate water bottle for the breastfeeding and pumping mama.  Just because you still look like you're six months pregnant and breastfeeding doesn't mean that you aren't working out.  Your body is literally running a marathon make milk for your little babe and not all of us can hold our wiggly child, try to breastfeed him or her and hydrate all at the same time.  This water hands free water bottle is for you.  Also it comes with a pouch, bonus points.



Teething & Nursing Necklace
The Vintage Honey Shop
$25

First of all, teething necklaces are great.  They come in many different shapes, sizes, colors, you name it and there they are.  You can usually find them in silicone but there are some really awesome shops like The Vintage Honey Shop that have your back and make many different styles for mamas to wear but they are more than just pretty necklaces because they double as a baby teether (and they're really affordable too, ranging between $25-$30).  I was so addicted to these things when I was pregnant that I wore them as jewelry too! They are complete life savers once your little one starts teething (my little girl started at two months, just so you know). The counter presser helps to soothe sore gums plus these necklaces provide a distraction during feeding time. That's right no more fidgeting fingers pulling my hair or pinching my skin. There are so many cute patterns and colors you will want them all!



Organic Cotton Baby Wrap

$60


Babywearing is so important for your own health and baby's health as well.  No one tells you these things.  Something else no one tells you is that your child will choose how he or she wants to be carried.  Also, no one told us this.  We were given a very nice Baby Bjorn carrier before our child arrived and thought that we were set.  Wrong.  Very early on I tried to regain my independence as a new mama and come to find out my child hated it.  The carrier wasn't right for her, she didn't feel comfortable (until she could hold her head up and I could face her away from me in it) and at that point she just dealt with it.  I couldn't wait around so I tried other carriers.  Slings were better but she still wasn't satisfied.  Finally, I broke down and got a generic baby wrap.  I felt bad initially because I had promised my fiance that I wouldn't wrap her because it didn't look safe and I didn't trust myself.  Also, very wrong.  She ended up loving it and I learned that babies choose the carriers, not the parents.

I did alot of research on wrap before I ended up getting one.  The Moby wrap was great for my child because she is large for her age and I had read that this particular wrap held up well and didn't get all stretched out after several uses.  It's a great beginner's wrap and is very forgiving if you're not very confident with wrapping.  Something to keep in mind though is that the fabric is very stretchy and thick to hold baby but also can get hot if you live in a warmer climate (babies hate being hot).  Also, when baby is more than 10 pounds, you may want to consider wrapping her the "real" way because I found the manufacturer's way just wasn't cutting it anymore.  Either way, I was able to do things around the house and bond with my little girl all at the same time.


Fitbit Alta
$130

Your health is so very important.  After you have a child your body goes through so many changes, and it's just never the same again.  From stretch marks to saggy skin, it's new and overwhelming and all you want to do is get healthy again.  It's important to take it one step at a time and when you get your doctor's ok to start exercising again using a fitness tracker can help you reach your goals (and have fun doing it).  And for those times when you're not there yet, you can track your sleep and maybe laugh a little.  Either way, you'll enjoy yourself.

  

Netflix Gift Card
$30

One of the things that truly saved my sanity in the early weeks of mamahood was Netflix.  During those long, late night feedings you need something to stimulate your mind (or help baby sleep) and Netflix is the way to go.  If you don't pay for it now, you will in the future.  You're welcome.


Although there is nothing that can prepare you for having a child, hopefully these things can at least help you get through it.  I honestly didn't know how I would get past the first four weeks of colic and endless nightly feedings that I thought would last forever but it happened.  And now we have a happy, healthy little girl that makes us grateful to be alive every single day.

Note: This post was originally written for The Vintage Honey Shop

Babywearing 101: One Rail at a Time

Wednesday



When I was in my third trimester I specifically remember telling my fiancé that I would never wrap our baby because I didn't trust myself tying our child to my body.  Well, when you come home from the hospital and your newborn is crying at 5 o'clock in the morning, and you've had 2 hours of sleep in the past couple of days you'll be up for anything.  

At our baby shower, we were given a baby carrier.  It's what I call a baby backpack.  Although it's a Baby Bjorn, and apparently the holy grail of baby backpacks, our child hated it.  She still hates it, and for longer babies somehow it just doesn't fit her body quite right (and that's ok).  There's absolutely nothing wrong with baby backpacks, our child just didn't ever take to it and honestly I believe it was fate.  So needless to say, wrapping my child was in our future.

Before I go on, please note that this is completely from my experience.  I am not a professional.  I am an artist and a new mom, so although I have alot to say on this subject, it's from alot of research and the love of trying new things.  With that being said, babywearing was a necessity for me.  I didn't start wearing my child until she was about 3 months old.  For her first couple of months of life, I would "wear her" on our boppy pillow.  Never again.  If I could do it again, I would wear her from day one.  Had I known the benefits from wearing her that early, I would have done it much earlier.  I am very independent and as a new mom I had waves of post partum depression all the way up until our baby girl was 7 months old.  Once I started to wear her though, it was way more manageable and I felt like I could get things done again, go for walks.  I felt like I had a little bit of freedom, time for myself all while bonding with my child (even when she was asleep on me).  Babywearing was and is, magic.  It's one of those things that I feel like all women should know more about.  Wearing your child is such an amazing experience, and I feel like all new moms (or moms that are new to babywearing) should know about it and the importance in your life as a mother to your child.






Stretchy Wrap in Grey


Wraps can be overwhelming to any parent who is new to wrapping.  Don't worry I was there too, but I was willing to learn.  Since our little girl hated baby backpacks I started off really slow and easy, I bought a stretchy wrap.  Stretchy wraps are really cheap, they run under $100 usually and if you get one second hand even cheaper.  These wraps are very forgiving to just about everyone who is new to wrapping.  They are stretchy which means they can be adjusted easily and can help you build confidence at wrapping.  In my opinion, all stretching wraps are just about the same so you literally can't go wrong and it will all come down to visual preference.  Reviews online said that some wraps break in easier, some stretch out after use.  It really doesn't matter, just wear your child stretchy fabric is stretchy fabric.

This wrap was great in the beginning because I could take it anywhere and my child would fall right asleep.  She loved being wrapped, yay!  Right?  Well, my little girl is really large for her age and started to get really heavy eventually.  The company standard wrap that I was supposed to do in this wrap was not working, she was starting droop.  Not cool.  Also, I live in a hotter climate and the fabric was starting to get really hot.  Also not cool.  Not to say that stretchy wraps are horrible, they are actually great and work really well for normal to cold climates as well as lightweight babies.  I learned to wrap really well with this wrap.  When I stopped wrapping her the "stretchy wrap" way, and started the normal Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC) way, it worked out alot better.



The internet is full of interesting ways to carry your baby, look them up (just keep in mind that woven and stretchy wraps are different and are meant to do different things).  Try new things.  There are so many ways to carry your baby you'd be surprised.  You can even make up your own.  As long as you have a few horizontal and vertical crosses to support your baby it's pretty much bulletproof.  Go wild.



Cotton Wrap in Teal

After the stretchy wrap, it was time to upgrade to a big girl wrap.  I researched for months.   I read just about everything on the internet, visited all of the woven wrap sites and painstakingly decided that none of them were what I truly wanted or needed.  I live in Florida and Summer was right around the corner.  I needed a thinner, lightweight wrap that would be easy to maintain.  Then I got smart.  I found a company that made wraps from Kenya.  You couldn't go wrong with a wrap that was made in Africa, right?  Right!  It's perfect, it's beautiful and we love it.  Also, it was under $100.  Perfection.  



Since I've been using this wrap, I've been able to try different wrap carries that I wasn't able to with the stretchy wrap.  Our little girl loves it.  She's able to explore and learn all while being wrapped to me, it's such an amazing experience for both of us.



Since our little girl is almost a toddler size, she loves exploring with her hands out more often now.  I don't have to worry about her bouncing or drooping.  In fact, the heavier she gets the lighter she feels in this wrap, it's amazing.



Once again, wraps can be very intimidating.  I love trying new things and I'm lucky enough to have a child that loves being wrapped up.  Not all babies are alike.  Some babies may hate being wrapped up.  Babywearing is completely up to your child and their comfort level.  If wrapping isn't for you or your baby, don't worry about it.  There are way more ways to wear your child that are even more convenient and easier than wrapping.  In the end it's all about you and your baby and what you want to try.






Linen Ring Sling in Desert Rose

I love slings.  At first, my child didn't like being in a sling too much but since she was a couple months old she has gotten used to them and loves them now.  Before I started her off with the stretchy wrap, I tried a sling (not pictured).  I got it for free and it was worth every cent.  It wasn't adjustable and she outgrew it fast.  But I could tell she loved the idea of it and so did I.  I did my research and found some beautiful and efficient Ring Slings that would work out perfectly.  Slings are beyond portable (I literally throw it in my bag) and is probably the easiest way to carry your baby.  They come in different forms, so make sure that you do your research before you find the sling.  


Linen Chambray Ring Sling in Caramel


If you like to get lost on Pinterest, you can also find a ton of fun carries you can try with Ring Slings too.  If you like to keep it relatively simple, you can just carry your little babe with the tail down or cover the rings like the photos above, it's completely up to you.




Also, for the open minded male, slings are great too.  My fiancé was a huge baby backpack fan, but since I showed him how to use a Ring Sling, it's been his thing.




Scarf with fringe (that I already owned)
Silk/Cotton Scarf in Rust

Short wrap carries can be really fun.  If you couldn't tell, we love sling carries and the rebozo is great.  You can buy a Mexican Rebozo online (or on Etsy) if you want for around $40 or you can use a scarf like I do.  For a smaller baby, 70 inches is fine but for a larger baby like mine 80 inches or more is key.  Literally all this is, is a slipknot tied around your shoulder.  That's it.

Our baby girl loves it.  She can explore all she wants, be close to mama and enjoy her baby life to the fullest.  Also, the fringe looks cool as hell.  I always dig the fringe.




Well that's it.  I wear our baby girl everyday.  She loves it, I love it, we're all happy.  I only wish I started wearing her earlier, that's my only regret.  We're still trying new carries and once she gets a little bigger I will jump into the back carries more often.  Once I started wearing her more we both felt more connected.  We do so much together, it's such an important and wonderful bonding experience.  Before I wore her, I was more depressed often and felt a huge lack of independence.  Not good.  Wear your baby, if not for your baby's health do it for your own.  No matter how you choose to wear your baby (if you do), have fun and explore ✌ 


Chill Festival Vibes with RocksBox

Tuesday



With festival season in full swing, these pieces came just in time.  It's no secret that everyone looks forward to this season, not just because of the weather and music but for the wearables too.


When it comes down to it, large hats and denim are key but accessories that have the capacity to be layered (or not if that's not your thing) are where it's at.  If you think about it, you don't see alot of statement pieces during summer.  That's because it's hot, and you just don't want to deal with it.  

Jenny Bird
$106

But if statement pieces are what you are all about, then go with something lighter like the Halo Pendant.  Not only does it have great minimalistic lines, but it's also lightweight which is key for dealing with those hot, humid months. 

House of Harlow
$53

I love Nichole Richie but I'll be honest, I'm not a huge fan of House of Harlow.  Which is why I was surprised when I saw this piece because I immediately fell in love.  Ii's of course lightweight, adjustable and the vintage angled design is a total dream.  Sold.

Crystal Ear Climbers in Gold
Rebecca Minkoff
$52

For those ladies that still need to sparkle in the heat this is for you.  Rebecca Minkoff does a great job at making beautiful jewelry that doesn't overdo it.  Ear climbers are a simple yet great way to make a statement without having to think to hard about it.  In other words, put them in and you're done.

Although I probably wouldn't usually wear that much sparkle in the heat, I don't mind these.  They're obviously very lightweight and have a simple enough design to do the job (without overdoing it).  




Dressing for the heat and humidity isn't easy.  Adding accessories to your look can just add excess weight so it's really important to pick your accessories carefully.  Unlike in colder months, you can grab yoru favorite statement pieces and a sweater and rock that look at season long.  Summer is a different story.

I was lucky enough to get a little bit of everything with this set.  From statement pieces to sparkle, not matter your style it was all in this set (and all lightweight).  The last thing you want is to be sweating and have to deal with heavy metal or any kind around your neck or on your wrists, believe me.  This set had some really great alternatives, no matter your style.  Personally, I love simple pieces because my clothes are how I express myself.  Not to say that I don't have statement pieces, it's just usually I don't rock them with say a patterned Kenzo top.  For those of you that do, more power to you, do your thing.  This set had pieces that had the option of layering or just wearing them as is.  It works for everyone.

Who Was In Your Top 8?

Friday

Could we seriously take a minute to figure out what we were we doing in the early 00's?  I recently stumbled upon my old MySpace from college and it made me wonder how we spent that much time on a simple, social media website.  Seriously though, what did we even do?  I remember being on there for it seems like hours with my friends sharing our favorite music, bands, artists, literally everything.  Going through my old MySpace it was crazy to see how time has changed, my music choices have evolved (although not that horrible back then apparently), relationships have evolved.  There were people in my Top 8 and friends lists that I didn't even know or remember.  How does this even happen?  All I have to say is that I must've been super social to say the least.  Also, during this time Facebook was still basically beta so MySpace was it.  That's all we had.  That and texting basically (that's right, this is before Blackberry's even came out, so we couldn't even check out emails from our phones yet).  Yes, we actually had to use our phones for talking.

Flash forward almost 10 years and social media has a completely new purpose.  Social Media isn't about gathering information or just talking to friends anymore but also making money.  MySpace is dead,  Facebook is on it's way out, and social media apps like Instagram and SnapChat are the main source of communication.  Let's not even get into how many marriages have fallen apart due to this obsession.  I can't tell you how many of my own personal friends have had to go on a "social media cleanse" or break to remember how to be a human again.  It kind of makes you wonder if they knew that this would be an outcome or such a simplistic idea of communication.  Needless to say, in years past I tried to delete my MySpace account but had no luck so it's here to stay as a reminder of how the social media business started in the first place.  For those of you who remember MySpace, this will most likely be a comical and cringe-worthy reminder and for those who are completely new to MySpace, this is how it was believe it or not.


Photo: MySpace

Here it is, the typical myspace profile picture.  Do you remember these?  If not, this is what a selfie looked like, pre selfie stick.  If you remember these were also usually in black and white.  Ha.



Here's the "I posed for my friend's Ad project" photo.  Art School kids will know what I mean.  I remember I strolled onto campus one morning and before you know it, I had a donut on my face.  Also, most likely last night's or yesterday's clothes.  


Photo: MySpace

Almost every artist has gone through the "I can make creepy art" phase, here was mine.  Luckily for me, it was short lived.  2007 was a good year for my photography in art school.  All of my hard work was finally starting to get noticed and had started to pop up everywhere so it was an obvious choice to show this one off on MySpace.  So good.



Photo: MySpace

Oh yeah, the "I still love this picture but we're not dating anymore" photo.  We all knew someone (even if it was ourselves) who had one.  When I saw this I felt terror followed immediately by laughter because I can't believe this will be on the internet forever.  Definitely cringe-worthy but I love it.  Back then, I modeled for my friends alot and sometimes that meant that whoever I was dating at the time had to model too.  It happens.  But that's the thing that makes it so great, no matter who and where you are in your life now, this is who you were.  It's a little piece of history.    

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