Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bump Day: Fabulous Fall

Who doesn't love those cool Autumn morning trips to the coffee shop for a cup of decaf? As the colder temperatures ease their way in, so do new opportunities to style that beautiful bump...

Get the look...

Rock & Republic Maternity Ritchie Jeans, $228

Pelle Moda Lilu in black glitter, $72.50 on sale (from $114)

Banana Republic Jeweled Button Earrings, $26

Steven by Steve Madden Hot Studded Shopper in black, $258

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dwell Giveaway Winner!

OK, mommas! Drumroll, please... A big congrats to Nichol over at KiddiesCorner Deals for winning the Dwell Baby bib and burp cloth set! Nichol, email me with your mailing address and I'll get this sweet prize on its way. Enjoy! And a big thanks to all of you who entered. Stay tuned for more fabulous giveaways!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bump Day: Glamorous Glow

If your fall calendar looks like mine, you've got a wedding or three on tap. Whether you're off to toast the new bride and groom or celebrate your own anniversary, let's look the part, mommas! Nothing says glam like a sleek black silhouette with some gorgeous, eye catching baubles.

Get the look...

Isabella Oliver Satin Bow Dress, $210

Caparros Hendrix, $69

J. Crew Satin Derby Clutch in Warm Wisteria, $59.50

Banana Republic Cubic Zirconia Vintage Earrings, $26

Banana Republic Cocktail Ring, $39.50

Banana Republic Jeweled Dome Ring, $49.50

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Are you in?!

Just a few days left to enter my fab Dwell Baby giveaway, mommas. All you have to do is hop over to this post and leave a comment. You may not have a need for a sweet bib and burpee set right now, but I always keep a few baby gifts stowed away - I'm always needing them! Get those entries in by Friday!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bump Day: Corporate Class

Meetings and phone calls and deadlines, oh my! Well, mommas, at least you can keep that growing bump looking fab while you're attacking that inbox. Find a great versatile pair of simple slacks that you feel good in and you can conquer the corporate world...

Get the look...

Isabella Oliver Wrap Around Top in Sea, $115

Japanese Weekend Black Boot Flare Bengaline Pant, $80

B-low the Belt Rosa Leather Hobo in black, $398

Banana Republic Malaya Patent Pump in black, $99.99 on sale (from $120)

Banana Republic Silver Rings Earring, $32

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dwell Baby Giveaway!

Who doesn't like free goodies, mommas? I do love a good giveaway. Up for grabs is this adorably sweet bib and burp cloth set by Dwell Studio. The set includes one burpee and two bibs. Although the pics don't show it, all three pieces have this incredibly soft fabric on the back that makes you want to curl up in a fetal position and take a nap. (Is it weird that I wanted to keep these for myself? Don't answer that.)

This modern print is even sweeter in person and makes a perfect baby gift. The set is already beautifully assembled with ribbon and gift tags, ready for giving. Or toss the wrap and keep it for you own messy tot!

I'll be giving away this fab set, valued at $32, to one lucky winner. Mommas, leave a comment on this post by Friday, September 25th and you're in. Become a follower of this blog and you'll score a second entry. Post about or link to this giveaway on your own blog and that's another two entries. Be sure to let me know in your comment if you're a follower and/or if you've posted about the giveaway (but only one comment is necessary - don't worry about leaving multiple comments for each "entry"). Also be sure to leave some kind of contact information in your comment if it's not included in your blogger profile.

I will announce the winner by Monday, September 28th. Who's excited?! Get those entries in and spread the word, or I may just keep this goodie for myself.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bump Day: Shower Me Pretty

Your baby bump takes centerstage at your baby shower, so let's do it justice, mommas. A simple dress with a fun print makes it easy. Top it off with some fabulously subtle accessories and you're ready to get spoiled...

Get the look...

Via Spiga Eva Slingblack Wedge, $81 on sale (from $184.95)

Nordstrom Plisse Clutch in grey, $69.90 on sale (from $98)

Banana Republic Bow Teardrop Earrings, $36

Banana Republic Locket Bracelet, $42

Spotlight on: Mod Spa

For the lovers of all things mod, Javis Davis has rolled out another fabulous fabric collection just for you. The new Mod Spa collection bring together a sweet selection of subtle browns and cool blues with a more modern spin. This great Spa Swirl fabric leads the collection with a delicious blue that makes me want to run and jump in a pool. This is a really fun group of prints and solids to play with because you can go in so many directions...

Accessories from left to right, top to bottom: Stagecoach Valance in Spa Swirl, Barcode, and Sateen Old Ivory; Square Corded Pillow in Spa Swirl, Barcode, and Primatex Khaki; Round Button Pillow in Splendor Robins Egg, Barcode, and Primatex Khaki

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bump Day: Game Day Gorgeous

Football season is finally upon us, so let's get that bump game-ready. Though some NFL maternity wear is available (and Elizabeth Hasselbeck is set to launch her own NFL inspired collection through Reebok next year), great collegiate maternity duds are harder to come by... So let's make our own!

Get the look...

Old Navy Maternity Layering Tank in bright white, $8.50

University of Georgia Iron-on Patch (1.25" x 1.5"), $2.50

Take any simple tee or tank and slap on your school's logo. My best friend and I used to do this in college with polo dresses and tanks - an easy and cheap way to look fabulous on football Saturdays.

Pickles & Ice Cream Bengaline Crops in black, $80

Clarks Spa in red patent, $40

Banana Republic Elayne Sunglasses, $78

Banana Republic Nylon Pleated Tote in black, $50

For me, big bags are essential on game day - I'm always toting around an extra layer or two, extra shoes, bottles of water, you name it...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Baby Registry 101

Perhaps nothing's more intimidating as a first time expectant mom than walking into Babies 'R Us amid all that... STUFF. (What is all that stuff anyway?) Creating your baby registry can be completely overwhelming. Whether you're recruiting the help of an experienced mom or doing the research yourself, there's a lot to sort through before discovering what you and baby really need.

In an effort to help you new mommas out, I sent out a survey earlier this year asking moms about their registry experiences. The "must-haves" checklist at Babies 'R Us is incredibly long. Surely, I thought, not ALL of these items are "must-haves." Our mothers didn't have all this stuff 30 years ago and somehow we came out OK. So what items are really necessary for baby and what items can you pass on? Where do you go and how the heck do you go about it?!

As with any registry - baby or wedding - take your time. There's no real need to knock it all out in one trip. It may take several trips to the store and a few rounds online before you get your registry exactly where you want it. So don't feel like you have to rush through it!

The Real Must-Haves

I asked moms to take a look at the monstrous Babies 'R Us list and name five items that were truly MUST haves. Keep in mind everyone has different experiences and certainly every baby is different, but there were a lot of commonalities in the answers. The three items that were named over and over as must-haves were LOTS of burp cloths, a white noise machine, and the Bumbo seat.

Bumbo Seat

I gotta say, babies look so stinkin' cute propped up in a Bumbo. A lot of moms I know are in love with these and use them a lot. You can plop a tot as young as 3 months old in one of these seats. A couple of other items moms mentioned as must-haves were extra crib sheets and a Boppy pillow.


Like anything else, the Boppy doesn't always work for everyone. One of my good friends who's a new momma sang her praises for "My Breast Friend" - another breast feeding pillow product. She said it worked SO much better for her over the Boppy. It actually straps on to your waist and is a lot sturdier than a Boppy.

My Breast Friend

Lots of options, huh? It certainly helps to have friends to bounce ideas around with... I also asked moms about one item they didn't register for initially but wished they had. The overwhelming answer was a white noise / sound machine. I guarantee you we'll be getting one of these - we've got three crazy dogs that make a bunch of noise. So anything that'll help block them out in baby's room will be a definite must-have on my list.

What You Can Do Without

Like I said, everyone's must-have list is going to look a little different. But when I asked moms what items were absolutely NOT a must, the one product that came up over and over (and over and over) was... the wipe warmer.

Prince Lionheart Premium Wipes Warmer

And apparently my mommas were not alone. Still need convincing? Check out this article with 10 reasons not to buy a wipe warmer. Hmm.... so you tell me, does anyone have one of these and actually like it? Do tell because there were certainly some passionate answers about the wipe warmer! Very interesting.

Items moms registered for but did NOT end up using included (in addition to the wipe warmer) a Diaper Genie (or other brand) and certain gear their particular babies didn't take to, like slings, swings or bouncy seats. That's a big point to keep in mind, mommas. You don't know what your baby is going to be into... some love swings, some don't. Some do well in bouncy seats and others will wail till the cows come home. Your own kids may even like different things - so don't think your second child will love all the same things your first one did. Same goes for types of bottles and pacifiers... those little suckers can be picky. So for goodness sake don't register for 40 of one type of bottle and wash them all before baby arrives only to find out he prefers a different brand altogether. Register for them if you want, but hold off on opening ALL of them till you're sure Junior is pleased.

Ways to Save

Registries can be great - especially when you're blessed with lots of friends and family that'll load you up with everything you need (and more) before baby arrives. But a lot of us will still need to get some things on our own and will certainly need more and more as baby grows. So where can we save?

Well, not sure if you know... but there are a LOT of babies out there and they don't stay babies for long. Translation: There's a ridiculous amount of second-hand baby gear and whatnot out there looking for a new home. Now I am all about doing a posh nursery and getting fun new things for the baby's room, but when it comes to all those obnoxiously bright bouncers and swings and other toys that end up taking over your house... second hand sounds good to me. Garage sales are great for baby and kids' items. You can also find ridiculous deals on CraigsList and other sites where people are just trying to get rid of stuff. And of course, another great source - friends! Take those hand-me-downs with a smile so you can spend your hard-earned money on more fun things.

Again, your baby may be pretty particular when it comes to bottles and bouncers. If you're looking to cut some corners early on, wait till baby arrives before investing a lot of money into any particular brand or type of toy. Borrow some different types of swings and bouncers from friends to see what baby prefers. And certainly, wherever you register or buy baby products, pay attention to return policies. Most of the mommas I surveyed had nothing but love for Babies 'R Us. And as much as I love Target, the consensus was that registering for baby here was a "royal pain." True, Target's return policy in general is pretty strict - so do keep that in mind if you plan to register there. I've heard the same complaint on wedding registries at Target. The merchandise is great, but the return policies are very difficult to get around.

And you do want to be able to return things you don't end up needing. You're sure to get a ton of baby clothes (so don't even register for these - no one in my survey did). And the majority of clothes you'll get will be sized 0-3 months. Before you go ripping off those tags and running everything through the wash, make sure baby will even be able to wear them! You might have a 9 pounder that'll skip right over the 0-3 month sizes.

So wow... where are we in all of this? Did I just overwhelm you even more? The key is to have a plan and not to rush. Do some research on your own before hitting the stores. Babies 'R Us and Amazon have a lot of online reviews on products, and there are a ton of great books out there, like Baby Bargains, that will give you the run-down on what's hot and what's not. And certainly seek the help of your friends who have been-there-done-that. The truth is, your registry's not going to be perfect. You're going to put things on there you'll never end up using and you'll miss things that you'll have to go back for later. But don't worry about getting it just right... do a little homework first and do the best you can. Pick stores that are easy to work with - especially on returns - and keep up with your receipts.

One other site I want you to check out for some great tell-it-like-it-is advice on baby registries is Alpha Mom. This is a fab site to bookmark for any mom, but I especially love the registry tips - a must read! So mommas, do your research and get out there with that registry gun and have some fun! (Actually, let Dad have the gun... that keeps him in the game.)