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Spring Cleaning Registry Picks

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There are these moments during pregnancy that feel somewhat...normal. Moments when the idea that you’re doing the magical job of growing a human inside of you becomes oddly ordinary and you continue on your days. That is until you feel a kick or get a glance of your growing belly in the mirror. Quickly, you’re reminded of the beautiful babe inside, and of course, the million things you need to do before he or she arrives. Not to mention all that spring cleaning you said you’d get done like two weeks ago. And not to freak you out or anything, but now with baby on the way, your Spring Cleaning is going to look a little different. Obvi, you know we -- along with our friends at Gugu Guru -- have your back. We asked 3 “Spring Cleaning” experts (think: cleaning out your closet...or your beauty bag...or your nursery!) to share their top registry picks to help you simplify your new parenting life. Here’s what they said. Jenny Greenstein of Your Soul Style, personal stylist, style coach and mom “When entering motherhood during pregnancy or beyond, personal style typically evolves as your body and day-to-day life changes. While it’s critical to keep style in check throughout this transition so you feel good, organizing your wardrobe is a key strategy to make things easier. I recommend creating a capsule collection of styles worn on rotation (think nursing-friendly clothes, oversized jeans, dresses with undefined waists and comfortable shoes!) and keeping them in the focal part of your closet. It’s worth the investment to purchase a few pieces during these motherhood transitions that fit your current size too. Set aside the pieces that don’t fit and are not practical in a separate area (or if you have the luxury, in a separate closet altogether). Keep what works in arms reach and you can revisit the pieces you set aside next season. Getting dressed should be simple, quick and empowering when you’re balancing this ‘new normal’ life as a mama, and if getting dressed is complicated, it becomes neglected.” Jenny's Closet Cleaning Registry Picks: 1. Loyal Hana Marni Jumpsuit: This style works both during pregnancy and beyond with both enough room to flex with your changing shape and with hidden zippers that accommodate breastfeeding. This jumpsuit can also be dressed up with heels or down with sneakers and can be worn as-is in warmer temperatures and with a chunky sweater or blazer during colder months. 2. B&Me Booker Coat: If you’re into baby-wearing, the booker coat is a must, allowing you to be out and about while keeping baby cozy and warm. The coat can be worn as-is or underneath a heavier style. 3. MZ Wallace Bag: Both the Sutton Oxford tote and Metro Backpack are key “diaper” bags for new mamas. Super lightweight, functional, durable, water-resistant, these carry-alls will hold all of your baby essentials while keeping style on point. Gunnar Larson, NYC Interior Designer and dad “My spring cleaning motto is always, ‘when in doubt, throw it out.’ It is always good to purge of things not needed, but at the end of the day, having effective storage is a great feeling. And an even better feeling when it looks good. When it comes to designing and decorating the nursery you, the parent, should always be kept in mind. Let the nursery be an extension of you and your home because soon enough the line between living room and nursery will be blurred. Keeping things streamlined and simple is a great base to build upon and allows cute toys and small bits of color pop. Don't hold back from selecting items you love that may seem more mature -- a cute stuffed animal or adorable blanket makes a mid century chair fit right in with the kids room.” Gunnar's Simple Nursery Registry Picks: 1. A coat rack might seem like a good fit in the hallway but this CB2 Hidden-channel-wall-mounted-coat-rack works great in the kids room. Display cute books on hidden track and use the hooks for their bath towel, diaper bag and for displaying the cute outfit on a hanger that you can't wait for them to wear. This allows for display and organization. 2. We all know that a perfectly clean Pinterest nursery can be hard to maintain. Sometimes we just need a place to throw all the excess. This is when 3 Sprouts - Wall-Organizer comes in handy. Whether it is for toys, wipes, books or socks; this wall organizer can be the perfect hiding place mounted on the wall behind the door or get a couple of them and hang them on the inside of the closet door. This helps keep all the small clutter off the floor or any other flat space in the room and keeps it hidden out of sight, but when you do see it, it’s cute. 3. When it comes to toy storage, I love baskets. They can easily be moved around from room to room and be gathered in a corner out of the way while looking good together in a grouping. I love Eliza Gran's baskets as they add a pop of color and look good anywhere in the house, especially the nursery. These Eliza Gran Venice-pom-pom-baskets can be easily paired with cb2 Parkay Hamper for more toy storage. Spirit Demerson, founder of Spirit Beauty Lounge and mom “The last thing you need when you're pregnant is even more things to be afraid of, but the fact is, skin absorption of potentially harmful ingredients is a reality often overlooked. You've already changed your diet and lifestyle to avoid anything unhealthy reaching your baby, so it's important that we don't forget our beauty products need to be non-toxic too -- especially the ones with maximum skin exposure, like body lotions and deodorant.” Spirit's Non-toxic Beauty Bag Registry Picks: 1. The only thing proven effective in preventing or reducing stretch marks is not cocoa butter but Vitamin E. I used this Pai Pomegranate & Pumpkin Seed Stretch Mark System on my belly and tush every morning and night and even though I have always been stretch mark-prone, I didn't get a single one. 2. I used this Lina Hanson Global Baby serum for my hair, nails, face and everything before baby arrived. Now I use it for his everything. 3. A lot of women are afraid they have to stop using anything effective when they switch to pregnancy-safe beauty. On the contrary! I would never give up my anti-aging skin care or my signature lipstick color by Ilia Beauty! These non-toxic beauty heroes are even better than conventional because they're high-performance and nourishing at the same time. *We are so grateful when brands support our content and community. This post was sponsored by Gugu Guru.


Want to win some of the best Spring Cleaning products around? Head on over to Gugu Guru every day this week to get helpful cleaning and organization tips and enter to win great prizes from Casabella, Good Home Co, Baby K’tan, Lorena Canals, BabyBackups, Trend Lab and UviCube!

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As a former beauty editor, I pride myself in housing the best skincare products in my bathroom. Walk in and you're sure to be greeted with purifying masks, micellar water, retinol ceramide capsules and Vitamin C serums. What can I say? Old habits die hard. But when I had my son, I was hesitant to use products on him. I wanted to keep his baby-soft skin for as long as possible, without tainting it with harsh chemicals.

Eventually, I acquiesced and began using leading brands on his sensitive skin. I immediately regretted it. His skin became dry and itchy and regardless of what I used on him, it never seemed to get better. I found myself asking, "Why don't beauty brands care about baby skin as much as they care about adult skin?"

When I had my daughter in May, I knew I had to take a different approach for her skin. Instead of using popular brands that are loaded with petroleum and parabens, I opted for cleaner products. These days I'm all about skincare that contains super-fruits (like pomegranate sterols, which are brimming with antioxidants) and sulfate-free cleansers that contain glycolipids that won't over-dry her skin. And, so far, Pipette gets it right.

What's in it

At first glance, the collection of shampoo, wipes, balm, oil and lotion looks like your typical baby line—I swear cute colors and a clean look gets me everytime—but there's one major difference: All products are environmentally friendly and cruelty-free, with ingredients derived from plants or nontoxic synthetic sources. Also, at the core of Pipette's formula is squalane, which is basically a powerhouse moisturizing ingredient that babies make in utero that helps protect their skin for the first few hours after birth. And, thanks to research, we know that squalane isn't an irritant, and is best for those with sensitive skin. Finally, a brand really considered my baby's dry skin.

Off the bat, I was most interested in the baby balm because let's be honest, can you ever have too much protection down there? After applying, I noticed it quickly absorbed into her delicate skin. No rash. No irritation. No annoyed baby. Mama was happy. It's also worth noting there wasn't any white residue left on her bottom that usually requires several wipes to remove.

Why it's different

I love that Pipette doesn't smell like an artificial baby—you, know that powdery, musky note that never actually smells like a newborn. It's fragrance free, which means I can continue to smell my daughter's natural scent that's seriously out of this world. I also enjoy that the products are lightweight, making her skin (and my fingers) feel super smooth and soft even hours after application.

The bottom line

Caring for a baby's sensitive skin isn't easy. There's so much to think about, but Pipette makes it easier for mamas who don't want to compromise on safety or sustainability. I'm obsessed, and I plan to start using the entire collection on my toddler as well. What can I say, old habits indeed die hard.

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

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Military families give up so much for their country, particularly when they have small children at home. Those of us who have never witnessed this kind of sacrifice first-hand could use a reminder of it once in a while, which is just one of the reasons we're so happy to see the beautiful photoshoot Mary Chevalier arranged for her husband's return home from Afghanistan.

The photoshoot was extra special because while James Chevalier was serving a nine-month deployment, Mary gave birth to their second son, Caspian.

Getting ready to meet Dad

"During the laboring and birthing process of Caspian, I was surrounded by family, but that did not fill the void of not having my husband by my side," Mary told InsideEdition.com. "He was able to video chat during the labor and birth, but for both of us, it was not enough."

While James had yet to meet Caspian, their 3-year-old son, Gage, missed his dad a whole lot, so this homecoming was going to be a big deal for him too. That's why Mary arranged for her wedding photographer, Brittany Watson, to be with them for their reunion in Atlanta.

Gage was so happy to see his Dad 

"[He] had no idea he was going to be getting to see his daddy that day," Watson wrote on Facebook. "The family met at the Southeastern Railway Museum for Gage to go on a special train ride... little did he know, he'd be doing it with daddy!"

Watson did a beautiful job capturing the high emotions of every single family member, from Gage's surprise, to the delight on baby Caspian's face. It's no wonder her Facebook post went viral last week.

"Caspian is natural, a very happy baby, but both James and I felt like Caspian knew who his father was almost immediately," Mary told Inside Edition. "He was easily comforted by me husband right off the bat and seemed to have an instant connection. It was very emotional."

The moment this dad had been waiting for 

If we're sobbing just looking at the photos, we can't even imagine what it was like in real life.

"We are all so blessed and take so much for granted," Watson wrote. "I cannot contain the joy I feel in my heart when I look at these images, and I hope you feel it too!"

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During both of my pregnancies, I was under the care of an amazing midwife. Every time I went to her office for check-ups, I was mesmerized by the wall of photos participating in what may be the most painfully magical moment of a woman's life: giving birth. But there was a painting that always drew my attention: a woman dressed in orange, holding her newborn baby with a face that could be described as clueless. The line above the canvas read, "Now what?"

I felt like the woman in the painting as I kissed my mother goodbye when my daughter was born. She came from my native Colombia to stay with us for three months. When she left, I realized that my husband had been working as usual during those first 90 days of our new life. My baby was born on a Friday and on Monday he was back at the office. (No parental leave policy for him.)


Now what? I thought. The quote "It takes a village to raise a child" suddenly started to hit home, literally.

After a few years in Miami, I had some friends, but it truly didn't feel like I had a village. Some were not mothers yet, most of them worked full-time and others didn't live close by. My nomad life left my best friends spread out in different places in the world. I found myself signing up for "mommy and me" classes in search of new mothers, immigrants like me, alone like me.

It seemed like a utopian dream to think about when my grandmothers became mothers. Both of them had 6 and 10 children and they were able to stay sane (or maybe not? I don't know). But at least they had family around—people cooking, offering help. There was a sense of community.

My mother and father grew up in "the village." Big families with so many children that the older siblings ended up taking care of the little ones; aunts were like second mothers and neighbors became family.

When I was about to give birth to my second baby, my sister had just had her baby girl back in Colombia. Once, she called me crying because her maternity leave was almost over. My parents live close to her, so that was a bonus. Hiring a nanny back there is more affordable. But even seeing the positive aspects of it, I wished I could have been there for her, to be each other's village.

The younger me didn't realize that when I took a plane to leave my country in search of new experiences 19 years ago, I was giving up the chance to have my loved ones close by when I became a mother. And when I say close by, I mean as in no planes involved.

It hasn't been easy, but after two kids and plenty of mommy and me classes and random conversations that became true connections, I can say I have a mini-village, a small collection of solitudes coming together to lean on each other. But for some reason, it doesn't truly feel like one of those described in the old books where women gathered to knit while breastfeeding and all the children become like siblings.

Life gets in the way, and everyone gets sucked into their own worlds. In the absence of a true village, we feel the pressure to be and do everything that once was done by a group of people. We often lose perspective of priorities because we are taking care of everything at the same time. Starting to feel sick causes anxiety and even fear because it means so many things need to happen in order for mom—especially if single—to lay down and recover while the children are taken care of. And when the children get sick, that could mean losing money for a working mother or father, because the truth is that most corporations are not designed to nurture families.

In the absence of that model of a village I long for, we tend to rely on social media to have a sense of community and feel supported. We may feel that since we are capable of doing so much—working and stay at home moms equally—perhaps we don't need help. Or quite the opposite: mom guilt kicks in and feelings of not being enough torment our night sleep. Depression and anxiety can enter the picture and just thinking about the amount of energy and time that takes to create true connections, we may often curl up in our little cocoon with our children and partners—if they are present—when they come home.

Now what? was my thought this week while driving back and forth to the pediatrician with my sick son. I can't get the virus, I have to be strong, my daughter can't get ill, my husband needs to be healthy for his work trip next week, we all need to be well for my son's fifth birthday. And so, it goes on. I texted one of my mom friends just to rant. She rants back because her son is also sick. She sent me a heart and an "I'm here if you need to talk."

I am grateful to have talked to her at that random postpartum circle when I first became a mother. She's a Latina immigrant like me and feels exactly like me. I will do it more, get out of my comfort zone and have—sometimes—awkward conversations so I can keep growing my own little village.

It may not look like the one I'd imagined, but still may allow me to be vulnerable even through a text message.

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Halloween is around the corner, but if you are like me you are still trying to figure out what to dress your family (especially the little ones), so here are some cute ideas inspired by famous characters. There's something for everyone—from cartoon lovers to ideas for the entire family!

Here are some adorable character costumes for your family:

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