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Fashion Find: Kali Liakou

This NYC maternity line is making pregnancy look easy breezy.

Fashion Find: Kali Liakou

While we truly believe there’s few things more beautiful than a woman’s pregnant body, we also believe that not everything maternity should be body-con, and that a little drape can go a long way. Which is why we’re enamored by Kali Liakou, the latest addition to the maternity landscape—designed to “dance” on a woman’s changing figure.

The brand’s founder, and NYC mom, Kali Liakos stayed away from elasticized fabrics and stretchy spandex when designing. Instead, she says, Kali Liakou is “meant to follow your body instead of your body following the clothes.” Judging from her debut collection, though, we’re guessing women--pregnant or not--are going to be following these clothes everywhere.

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Below, Liakos fills us in on her drapy jumpsuits, flowy dresses and effortlessly chic tops you’ll want to wear through pregnancy and well beyond.

What was your own experience with maternity clothes?

I actually looked into maternity clothing before I was even pregnant. I knew one day I wanted to be pregnant and wondered what I would be wearing. I wasn’t thrilled with the collections, and when I actually got pregnant the first time and had to wear some maternity clothes, I was shocked at the prices and styles of simple things--things like staple black pants and jeans with a high waistband or ruched tops and empire-waisted dresses that I knew I could and would never wear again after pregnancy. But, in the name of fashion, I spent…. And I spent…. And I spent, until I thought my husband might leave me! I tried for as long as possible to wear my “normal” clothes or just bought larger sizes in things, or opted for the very obvious, easy spandex tops and bottoms. I thought, why--after all we go through as women--can’t we just look good without all the extra trouble at this really special and sensitive time in our lives.

When did you start working on Kali Liakou?

It wasn’t until a year after I had my baby boy that I got to work sketching with a friend. Every piece of my current line was sketched and draped on my pregnant body throughout the 9 months of my 2nd pregnancy. I’m just a regular woman, with a regular body going through the crazy changes of carrying a baby...the ups and downs of hormones, weight gain and loss, and wanting to look good while dealing with a then 1-year-old.

Tell me about the aesthetic.

Every piece of my line is made to be simple, classic and timeless. Just chic. I have avoided using fabrics with only elastic as I think, although it's beautiful to show off your body, I want each piece to “dance” with a woman’s changing figure. I find this to be more interesting and flattering as a woman and especially while carrying. Women have a certain glow that is indescribable and unique while pregnant, and the clothes that they wear can definitely enhance that. All pieces are also easy to wash and don’t need dry cleaning. They’re easy to throw on or off, and can be worn morning to night, casual or dressy. Easy.

Who is the Kali Liakou woman? What's her style and ethos?

The woman I admire is one who is effortlessly chic and beautiful but most importantly confident in her own skin. I want there to be as little effort as possible into walking out of the house and looking amazing during this time, no matter where she’s off to. School, work, shopping, entertaining, having dinner etc. Sometimes, clothes do make you feel good even when you don’t. And I believe when you look good, you feel better.

Tell us a little more about the pieces in the line.

The fabrics in the line are all flowy and drapey. Easy to wash and easy to wear. They are meant to follow your body instead of your body following the clothes. Your body is changing and the clothes are changing with you. All pieces are meant to be worn before, during and after pregnancy. Prices range from about $150- $300.

What current pieces best embody the line, and what we can expect in future seasons?

The image of my line would be in a piece like Ismene. It is a beautiful flowy jumpsuit that could look like a dress. It’s strapless and sexy and so flattering. From my personal experience, I think the best (and sexiest) parts of your body that you should accentuate at all times (and that never gain weight!) are your shoulders. How sexy is a woman with exposed shoulders?

So much of the maternity market is stretchy and body-con. What made you head in a looser, flowier direction?

I had a vision when I discovered that women could look so beautiful without feeling the need to wear something tight. While I do love tight clothes and I think they can very well be sexy, I don’t think it's for everyone. The sexiest, most attractive is the woman that is confident and embraces her changing figure. I love the fact that the clothes drape your changing body. I think that is really sexy.

Many women think they can get away with contemporary wear or simply buy bigger during pregnancy. What's the value in wearing maternity while pregnant?

That’s how I felt too! What I ended up with was a ton of oversized tops or dresses, which while they may work during pregnancy, are not useful when you’re not. They are cut differently and are not especially made for embracing a belly. While I bought clothes that “fit” me at that period of time, if I got bigger or smaller, those pieces were completely useless to me. They were not meant to be transient pieces. They were of the moment. Looking back, I wasted a lot of money on clothes like that that I will never wear again.

How does being a NYC mom impact your design aesthetic?

Being a NYC mom can be super exciting and rewarding, and at the same time super stressful. Sometimes something as simple as getting to a playdate on time can be really intense. Personally, getting two kids fed, dressed and out the door is really trying. I’ve held high stress positions in the past and motherhood, in general, is so much more challenging.

Why is it important to you to produce the pieces in NYC?

Being a native New Yorker, it was extremely important to me to produce locally and to feel a sense of giving back to the city that has offered me so much. It is definitely a dying industry here, and it’s sad that’s the case, here in a city like NY, which is a mecca of fashion. I love the fact that I can produce more work for locals, and also that I can pop into my manufacturers with either one or both of my kids after school, and have a chat with the owner of the factory about my line and production.

Pregnancy is having a bit of a moment. How does that impact the maternity marketplace?

I think its great that so many chic renowned women are expecting. But while celebrities are iconic in many ways, I feel each woman should idolize herself. Life is tough, and I think we should think and feel more highly of ourselves in every aspect of our lives. We are so strong and do so much. While its human nature to be voyeuristic, I hate comparing myself to someone else just because they are famous. It’s just not very realistic for me. I think as women, we don’t give ourselves enough credit as to how beautiful and strong we are and how much we do and endure through life and at the end of the day, we should be our own icons.

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.

$30

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!

$75

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.

$40

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.

$120

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.

$30

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.

$100

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.

$40

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.

$121

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.

$100

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.

$45

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.

$179

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.

$100

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.

$33

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.

$88

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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