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Made in New York: Honor NYC

Daring designer Giovanna Randall talks fashion and motherhood on the eve of Baby #2.

Made in New York: Honor NYC

Known for its fearless and feminine style, Honor NYC was already a fashion favorite when president and head designer Giovanna Randall had her first baby girl Nova three years ago. And then it got better.

“My work became more directed. I didn’t have as much time to edit or criticize what I was doing,” she says. “I’ve gotten better at knowing when something is good and recognizing when something is meaningful.”

Since then, designer has worked hard to balance motherhood with her critically lauded fashion label, striving to be fully present in both roles. “My company was my first baby, and it’s very demanding. It taught me about commitment and how it feels to really put your heart into something.”

But her mornings and evenings with her family--including nightly pajama party sing-alongs (she’s a former opera singer!)--are equally sacrosanct. The work/mom balance, she says, “is a constant holding on and then letting go. You have to show your children that you’re not just a mom, but that you can find real happiness in other areas of your life as well. Having other things that make me happy makes me a good mom.”

On the eve of welcoming her second baby girl into the world (she arrived last week!), Giovanna sat down with us in her enchanting NYC showroom to talk about fashion, hypnobirthing and baby registry must-haves.

Tell us about your daily routine.

I spend mornings at home. Nova wakes me around 8:30 or 9--she’s my alarm clock. It’s the most joyful thing. I try to spend time with her in the mornings before I come to the office. I work till around 7, then come home and have dinner. Every night at bedtime, we sing songs. My husband gets Nova into pajamas (because he’s the best), then he plays the ukulele and I sing. Some we just make up, but we also love the classics.

How has having a child changed your work?

I draw inspiration from deep-rooted things, which are all connected to family. I don’t think it’s ever been a direct “mother” thing, but more something that’s just present throughout.

How about your process?

I used to design in a bubble, but now I don’t have my own time. I remember when I was younger, my mom always used to paint in the kitchen and I didn’t understand why she’d do her work there. Now I get it: it’s a necessity of life [when you’re a mother]. You just sit down wherever you are, and you get it done.

What’s it like working in the fashion industry as a mom? Is there a sense of comaraderie between the moms out there?

It’s so great. So many of the people I work with are either now having children or already have them. It shows that you really can make it work.

How has this pregnancy treated you?

I love being pregnant! It’s such a gift. It’s different this time, but it’s easier and I’m having more fun. It has gone by so fast.

How are you preparing for birth?

I had a holistic health coach that helped me prepare for the first baby. I hypnobirthed and it was a great tool to help keep me centered. I’m not really afraid of the birth…I’m so excited about meeting this person. I just wonder who this new person is going to be and how I’m going to help this person become who they are.

What do you love most about being a mom in the city?

It’s all about the right here. You don’t have to get in the car--there’s so many great resources and things to do.

Best registry advice?

Try to keep it as simple as possible!

Now that you’ve been through it once, what are you must-haves for Baby #2?

Photography by Jonica Moore Studio.

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

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

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

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

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

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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5 brilliant products that encourage toddler independence

Help your little one help themselves.

One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.

$25

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

$29

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

$18

Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

$29

BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

$20

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have kids—so here’s what I did

We asked our three most pessimistic friends who have kids whether it's worth it or not

As told to Liz Tenety.

Around the time my husband and I were turning 30, we had a genuine conversation about whether or not we wanted kids. I was the hesitant one because I was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's just hold on. Okay, let's talk about this. Because we love our life. We like traveling. Is this what we want?"

My husband said, "Let's ask our three most pessimistic, crabby friends who have kids whether or not it's worth it."

And every single one of them was like, "Oh, it's unmissable on planet earth."

So when I got pregnant, I was—and I'm not ashamed to say this and I don't think you should be—I was as connected with the baby in my belly as if it were a water bottle. I was like, I don't know you. I don't know what you are, but you can be some gas pain sometimes, but other than that, we're going to have to meet each other and suss this relationship out.

But all the cliches are true that you just know what to do when the baby comes out. Some of the times are hard, some of them are easier, but you just gotta use your gut.

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