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Baby Shower Basics

5 High notes to hit at every baby shower.

Baby Shower Basics

Planning a baby shower is no easy feat. And while you may not be the one actually planning, be kind to those who are... AKA pass these helpful tips along. The first step in planning a baby shower is finding your inspiration, keeping in mind the future mother to be – her style and personality, and the things and colors she likes. Then go on and be bold in choosing the creative direction, theme and colors to tie it all together. For my friend, whose shower is pictured here, I designed the overall theme after being inspired by old-fashioned wooden toys that I stumbled upon while street shopping in Washington D.C. To complement the old toys and depart from the traditional light pink and baby blue palettes, I went with a pale yellow and grey color combination, with giraffes and elephants as the theme for the tablescape and atmosphere. For those of you who like to get crafty, it can be quite fun to make a baby shower your very own DIY project. However, if DIY is not for you, you can still give your friend a personalized and beautifully decorated shower by ordering printables online. There are a lot of options available, so you can get creative with different fonts, colors, shapes and patterns to highlight the theme you chose. It is always a nice touch to include your friend’s name, date of the shower and the gender of the baby in decorations too. Here are 5 high notes that are sure to make any baby shower a hit. Flowers and Sculptures These make a terrific centerpiece for the table. They also bring an elegant sense of festivity to the event. To stay consistent with the theme, my friend from Blooming Bears, a company that specializes in floral sculptures, designed the adorable giraffe and floral alphabet cubes that spelled BOY. The guests couldn’t stop gushing about these arrangements! Add fun and festive pom poms for some multiplicity of dimensions. The Menu Make sure the menu is simple and relaxed. This helps create a no-fuss-required atmosphere. Prepare options that can be eaten without forks and knives. I sliced up some bright bell peppers and blanched asparagus spears and served them crudité-style with spicy ranch sauce in individual shot glasses. This worked out wonderfully because it was light and refreshing, and looked beautiful at the same time. Make sure to also offer variety so that there is something for everyone. Think vegetarian, vegan, seafood and meat options. Sliders are an excellent way to feed the crowd. Mine were seafood burgers made from a combination of shrimp, scallops and squid, all mixed in the food processor for some seriously delectable treats. Serve them with a slice of tomato, lettuce and some spicy condiments on a tiny challah bun, and even the most mannered, sophisticated guest will lick their fingers with delight! Glassware Flutes of fuzzy champagne or sweet cocktails are totally appropriate at baby showers these days; however, I decided to serve freshly squeezed lemonade instead. Make it extra special by serving your beverage in individual glass jars with a personalized sticker (mommy’s baby shower, date of the occasion and who is expected). Tie a rustic twine around the bottle’s neck with “best wishes” tag and color-coordinated straws for added impact. Keep bottled and sparking water on hand as well. Centerpiece The cake is always a centerpiece of any event, and for the expectant mom that will want to have dessert for two, it has to be a showstopper. In this delicious masterpiece, you can incorporate your theme and all of the fun décor elements, such as the giraffe, elephant, wooden toys and the alphabet cubes. With the cake I selected, I wanted to emphasize the pale yellow, grey and white color scheme. The two-tiered wonder was really fresh and equally as enjoyable to eat as it was to gaze upon. Party Favors Finally, the party favors are the ideal way to thank your guests for joining you and the mommy-to-be in celebrating the joyous beginning of a new life. The personalized body lotion at our baby shower was adorned with a bird on a birch and the date of the occasion. Story and Images by Svitlana Flom of Art de Fete.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

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

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

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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