Pregnant in Nolita

PiccoliNY’s owner shares 10 must-hit spots for a mama-to-be.

Pregnant in Nolita

Many thought Alex Zagami would have pregnancy in the bag. After all, she owns a children and baby gift store. Alex, on the other hand -- she wasn’t so sure.

“As many swaddles as I’ve sold over the last six years at PiccoliNY,” Alex said, “I’ve never swaddled one baby...not ONE!” And so far, even pregnancy wasn’t what she expected.“ It feels like an alien has taken over my body,” she joked. “Everyone says this is the most wonderful time in your life… I say, that’s BS. Being pregnant is the pits.”

Alex is incredibly excited to be pregnant, especially after experiencing a miscarriage a while back. And while this pregnancy hasn't exactly been smooth sailing, she she finds comfort in being honest about what is happening to her body and in taking care of herself. “When you don’t feel like yourself,” she says, “you need to do something foryourself.” For Alex, this involves treating herself to delicious foods, goodies and pampering in her neighborhood, Nolita (or, as some call it, Chitaly).

In Alex’s mind, Nolita is the best place to be pregnant. You can literally satisfy any craving you have - from sweets to fried eggplant sandwiches to bagels - and Chinatown is only a few blocks away! For those who are close to her beloved neighborhood and who need a little “cheer-me-up” as they’re experiencing the uglier side of pregnancy, Alex is taking us on a tour and showing us her favorite spots.

Here are 10 places to treat yourself and your baby bump when you’re expecting in Nolita.

1. When you need to feel beautiful: Space NK Apothecary London.

This makeup store and studio is perfect when you need to feel beautiful and are way too exhausted to do your own makeup. They sell products -- a lot of which are natural and pregnancy friendly -- and will also be happy to show you exactly how to use them. A full face of professional makeup can make all the difference in your level of confidence during pregnancy.

2. When you need a fresh ‘do: Pembley Hair Salon.

This salon is trendy and chic, complete with a cafe and couches to relax before and after your appointment. They even have a friendly dog for you to cuddle with and curl up with a good magazine!

3. When you want to be around kids: Elizabeth Street Park.

Elizabeth Street Park is a hot spot in both summer and winter. It’s a great place to go and people watch, and observe parenting techniques as you anticipate bringing your own little one here in just a few short months!

4. When you’re craving Dim Sum: Nom Wah Tea Parlor.

Nom Wah has the best, most authentic Dim Sum in Nolita. Though it’s always crowded, which may be how you know the food is good! Marrying into an Asian family, good Chinese food is very important to Alex and her husband, Tyler.

5. When you need a sweet treat: Little Cupcake Bake Shop.

Little Cupcake Bake Shop is special to Alex because before she met her husband, she lived in the apartment above the bakery. Alex loved having cakes for dinner, and now during pregnancy she enjoys indulging herself here even more. As a family business owned by two brothers, Little Cupcake Bake Shop is the perfect hometown bakery.

6. When you need to unwind: Sky Ting Yoga.

Treat yourself to private prenatal sessions that not only provide the most zen experience, but do more than just relax you. Get everything moving.

7. When you need CHOCOLATE, of course: Stick With Me Sweets.

Tastiest and prettiest chocolates NYC has to offer. Need we say more? Try the NY NY - you won’t be sorry!

8. When you need a new outfit: Otte, the Outlet Shop.

When shopping at Otte, Alex never walks out empty handed. The sales are incredible, she says! HATCH Collection's showroom isn't too far either -- a maternity must!

9. When you crave that savory pizza: Prince Street Pizza.

Prince Street has the best and most authentic Italian pizza in Nolita. Alex usually likes to get an extra slice for the morning too. Cold pizza for breakfast is her go to!

10. When you just gotta have a sandwich: Parisi Bakery.

Get the Dennis on a semolina roll and make sure to thank Alex for the suggestion.

Alex is wearing HATCH Collection Claude Jacket and HATCH Collection Slouch Dress.

Photography by Mandalyn Rael Photography for Well Rounded.

My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

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

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on 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 supporting Motherly and mamas.

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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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