5 Qs with Marissa


5 Qs with Marissa

Name: Marissa Zitka Abruzzo

Neighborhood: Bergen County, NJ

Occupation: President - Hip & Healthy Kids, LLC

Baby’s Sex: Girl!

How would you describe your pregnant style?

For me, it’s all about being comfortable and hip. I enjoy versatile pieces that I can mix and match as well as layer. I would rather spend my money on cool bump-friendly tanks and use non-maternity open-front flowy sweaters that I can wear post-pregnancy. Most of my upper body wardrobe is non-maternity, and just regular clothes one size up or in my size if it’s roomy in the belly area.

Have you had any challenges learning to dress your pregnant body this time around?

This is my second pregnancy so I already had some clothes to play with, but they were circa 2010 so I had to make a few time relevant updates. During my first pregnancy, I was off doing presentations in Corporate America, so my wardrobe contained more business pieces. Now I have incorporated more skinny jeans and fun casual shirts.

So far, what has surprised you most during your pregnancy?

I thought, having gone through pregnancy before, that this time would be easier. Well, this time I’ve had symptoms that I never had to contend with during my last pregnancy, all while chasing a toddler. Banking sleep ahead of this birth is not an option, and I have to be more diligent to make sure I’m getting the nutrition I need. As a Certified Health Counselor, it is important for me to have the emotional and physical nutrients I need to set this baby up for its best start in life. If I’m too tired to make it to the grocery store, I listen to my body, rest and have a solid healthy backup plan.

What’s been your favorite pregnancy piece or brand to show off your bump?

I have an assortment of labels in my closet, but some of my go-to items are from Label + thread, BCBG, Free People, Lucky Brand and Threads 4 Thought. Since I try to buy with post-pregnancy also in mind, I know a lot of these pieces won’t be subject to a storage container after the baby arrives, and I can continue to enjoy them.

What NYC experience are you most looking forward to sharing with your baby?

One of the greatest gifts I think we can pass on to our children is an appreciation for nature and the miracles in the world around us. We’ll definitely be touring the ‘burbs exploring nature centers, local farms and hiking trails. But I am also looking forward to taking the two little ones to the Museum of Natural History. I have fond memories learning about astronomy and prehistoric creatures, and gazing at the gorgeous rocks and minerals on display. It will be so fun to see my two children experience the amazement together.

Marissa is wearing:

BoUBoU Shawl (similar style)

Fade to Blue Denim

Enzo Angiolini Riding Boots

Photography by Desiree Walters Photography.

Shot on location at the Arlington Club.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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These kids dishes don’t look like kids dishes

And that's exactly why my toddler loves them. ❤️

My 4.5-year-old is, let's say, spirited in his opinions. He very clearly knows what he wants and doesn't want (oh to have the confidence of a stubborn preschooler!). And what he doesn't want right now is anything that looks too babyish. "That's for babies," he'll say if I give him anything with primary colors or looks too miniature. He doesn't want the baby fork and spoon, he wants what grown-ups use. He doesn't want the baby plastic cups and plates, he wants the glass and ceramic ones.

Well, you can see where this is going.

I had to find something that would satisfy his "not a baby" opinions but still not shatter to pieces if he accidentally drops it on the floor. I had to find him something that's made for kids but doesn't feel made for kids.

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Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

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Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

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