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If you teleported yourself back to your college years, I’m sure you could pinpoint more than a few fashion blunders. Hey, it’s a time for experimenting, so if fashion is the only mistake you made, well done. But for Brooklyn-based shoe designer Nina Ziefvert what could have been a major fashion faux-pas became a signature moment.

Originally from Stockholm, Sweden--where she lived until she was 18 years old--Nina moved to New York in 1999 to attend the Fashion Institute of technology. “I have always worn clogs in different stages of my life. At a young age, I was really inspired by how my mom and her friends wore their traditional 70’s braided clog sandals all year round with socks, which is something I continued to do once moving to NYC,” says Ziefvert.

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At that time, clogs were not creating the sartorial moments they are nowadays here in NYC. Zieifvert had to leave the city to find them. “I would look for vintage pairs when visiting Sweden, and at some point, around 2008 or so, I realized that my friends in fashion in NYC actually started to catch on and were asking me to get them pairs while in Sweden,” she says. That’s how it all got started. Still working as a curator at Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, Nina Z. the brand was slowly born out of Ziefvert’s Crown Heights living room and at her booth at the Brooklyn Flea.

Six years after founding Nina Z., Zeifvert is gearing up for a new venture as a mom. Here she tells us more about her obsession-worthy brand and what she’s really grateful for this pregnancy.

What inspires your designs?

I found a lot of inspiration from basic, traditional and ethnic design. Also, from traveling and exploring craftsmanship in rural regions, as well as the heavy urban concrete settings and aesthetics one can find in NYC and Brooklyn or any other major city. I love farm life, but, I also love walking on Flatbush, and the two combined pretty much makes up the feel and aesthetics of the brand. I get a lot of inspiration from a variety of female creators who stood before me, and I am hoping to continue to pass that creative force onto my customers through the brand and its products.

How do you think Nina Z clogs stand apart from others?

I think that the handmade quality gives them a “rawer” look and design than other existing clog brands. Our color palette is very natural, so all our models easily work with most wardrobes and seasons. And with our “Made in Brooklyn” studio program, our customers can now order their own individually made pair with leather that we source locally and in small batches, so one pair is never really the same as another. I think that’s a pretty unique experience and program that I am very excited to keep on expanding.

How does NY/Brooklyn influence you as a designer?

Brooklyn is very inspiring in that way that everywhere you turn there are like-minded creative startups, which might not have the typical “business structure,” but that somehow keeps on thriving and pushes through. The immense cultural variety in Brooklyn (and in consequence its fashion) just is such an influence and inspiration for any aesthetically inclined mind, I think. It offers such variety.

Why do you look forward to raising a kid in NYC/Brooklyn?

Growing up in the inner city of Stockholm, Sweden, which is a less culturally diverse environment that NYC/Brooklyn, I look forward to my child growing up here with its immense diversity. We can go for Chinese Food in Chinatown on Monday, Jazz in Harlem on Wednesday, a walk on Flatbush on Saturday and Fort Tilden Beach on Sunday. I also think that NYC offers a tremendous amount of free cultural activities for kids at the museums and libraries, and I am looking forward to exploring all those with my daughter as well.

What has your pregnancy experience been like?

I think I had a pretty easy pregnancy (except for the first 3 months, which was a seriously emotional hormonal rollercoaster). I have, of course, been having the regular symptoms of tiredness etc., but been able to work up until now (8 months), so I feel lots of gratitude for that.

Tell us about your pregnancy style.

I’ve been wearing most of my regular clothes throughout my pregnancy. I just added a few high-waisted American Apparel tights, which have been great. I’ve been wearing lots of oversized shirts with tights, and long dresses, which I would do anyway. My need for natural materials has been intensified during my pregnancy ,and I‘ve been wearing lots of silk, cotton and linen.

What have been some of your go-to pregnancy brands?

I only really shopped at American Apparel, which is not really real pregnancy clothes, but their stretchy materials and high-waisted tights have been the basics and savior of my pregnancy wardrobe.

When you're not wearing clogs, what's on your feet?

Keds or NIKEs.

Photography by Sarina Cass of Red Anchor Photography

Baby's first birthday is right around the corner—how did that happen? It's understandable if you are feeling all the emotions right now. This is a major milestone for both of you, so while you're planning a celebration for your little one, you should also take this moment to applaud your accomplishments during this past year.

One year ago, you were probably daydreaming about these moments… and possibly slightly nervous about how you would manage. Look at you now, mama! But take a deep breath, because life is about to get even more exciting as your sweet little baby enters toddlerhood!

Here are a few of our favorite items for babies and mamas at the 11-month mark:

To cheer on first steps: Bright Starts rolling monkey

Bright Starts

It takes a lot of strength to get those little legs walking for the first time! Keep your baby encouraged as they gain stability with a new toy to chase down.

$12.89

For mess-free snacking: Munchkin snack catcher

Munchkin Snack Catcher

As your baby begins to work on supervised self-feeding, you'll start to find crumbs everywhere. That's why training snack cups are so brilliant: They prevent them from dumping all those snacks at once.

$4.95

For the first cake-cutting: Creative Converting first birthday party hat

birthday hat

Get your camera ready for that first birthday! Sure, the party hat may only stay on your toddler's head for a few minutes, but the pictures will be around to cherish for a lifetime.

$9.79

For those fine motor skills: Lamaze sorting toy

Lamaze toy

The fine motor development your baby is working on today will help with everything from playing instruments to writing with pencils and so much more later in life. Believe it or not, a simple sorting toy will help boost these foundational skills.

$9.99

For breastfeeding support: Honest Mama nip balm

Honest nip balm

If you are on a breastfeeding journey with your growing babe, you two probably are in a pretty good rhythm—but your tatas still deserve some TLC.

$14.99

For simple beauty touch-ups: Honest Beauty magic balm

Honest Beauty

It can still feel hard to find a spare moment for yourself throughout the day, but it also feels good to keep up with a beauty routine that is heavy on the self-care element. Enter: An incredible multi-purpose balm that can hydrate your lips, soothe cracked skin, tame flyaways and more.

$12.99

For whatever life throws at you: All In Motion anorak jacket

All in Motion

Motherhood is all about multitasking, and your clothing should be able to take you from one activity to the next. Thankfully, the amazingly stylish activewear on the market right now means you can feel good about a wardrobe stable that is able to multitask, too.

$40

For baby’s first cake: KitchenAid hand mixer

Kitchen Aid

If you've been pinning ideas for that first birthday cake since you gave birth, make those dreams a reality with an upgraded mixer you can use throughout the years. Not much of a baker? Visit Target Bakery for a free smash cake with the purchase of a specialty cake!

$49.99

For chasing that active baby: C9 Champion women’s knit sneakers

Champion Sneakers

You might be surprised by how quickly your toddling baby turns into a running baby. So lace up those shoes, mama!

$34.99

For your favorite photos: Project 62 wire clip collage

Project 62

How many pictures have you taken in the past year? We're betting it's a pretty high number, and at least a few of those deserve to be displayed in your home. Make it easy to swap them out with a frame that allows you to display multiple pictures at once.

$20

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

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Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


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