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Tastemakers: Jeff Carvalho and Leemor Rhodes

Find out how Highsnobiety's partner and editor and his beautiful baby mama are welcoming home their Brooklyn baby in style.

Tastemakers: Jeff Carvalho and Leemor Rhodes

Good taste cannot be learned. But that doesn’t mean you can’t try. Which is why there are sites like Highsnobiety and Selectism, curated by the experts and always a step ahead of the rest of us when it comes to fashion, style and design. This week--just in time for Father’s Day--Highsnobiety and Selectism editor and partner Jeff Carvalho got a brand new project to curate alongside his partner, publicist Leemor Rhodes: a new baby boy.

The cool couple, who met in 2012 through a mutual friend and "have never looked back," recently invited us into their Brooklyn home to show us how they were prepping for their babe. Find out what inspired their nursery design, what they think of “Dad Style,” and just how many pairs of sneakers are already in this tiny tastemaker’s closet.

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Leemor, how did you break the pregnancy news?

I kind of knew I was pregnant even before missing my period and shared my hunch with Jeff. So, we were counting down the days until the test could read the pregnancy. We were both at home at the time.

Jeff, what was your first reaction when you found out?

I was incredibly excited. Having a child was something we both wanted very much. Being on the same page about it, having the same spirit for bringing a new life to the world bonded our love even more.

Leemor, tell us about your pregnancy style.

My pregnancy style doesn’t really differ from my pre. I’m actually still wearing most of my regular clothes through the 9th month! I guess the only difference is that I have been repeating the same outfits, whereas before getting pregnant, going into my closet was always an adventure. These days, my focus is on sheer comfort, which was definitely not a priority before. I have been wearing everything from flowing dresses, tunics, button downs, skinny jeans and tons of accessories--scarves, piles of necklaces, hats, bracelets--you name it. My go-to brands are COS pieces, Topshop and Topshop Maternity, Eairth by Vivian Ramsey, BCBG, and Nicholas K.

Jeff, what does “dad style” mean to you? Is there such a thing?

“Dad style” is like “normcore”--a label for a specific sense of style or an indifference to it. I think of ill-fitting denim on guys as being “dad style,” but who am I to judge? I will say that being a dad does not mean giving up on your personal style. I don’t plan on jumping into wide leg denim anytime soon.

How would you describe your home design style?

Jeff: I like to describe it as “found.” So much of what makes our living room are the things we have acquired, much of which is showcased on our leaning shelf wall. Our carpet, for instance, was a remnant from a friend’s moving sale.

How have you adapted your apartment for the impending baby?

Leemor: Our son’s nursery is now what used to be our guest room. We sold all the furniture in that room (including my dream wrought iron bed frame!) to make space for Baby C’s new stuff. Initially I felt a bit restricted by what's "functional" because it's all so new and intimidating. But instead of following what most outlets and resources were preaching as appropriate for the nursery, we let our own taste and intuition guide us. Once we figured out what was truly essential for the nursery (crib, changing table, glider) creating a visually pleasing space was rather easy.

What was your nursery inspiration?

Leemor: The thing I was most excited about was creating this special space for our son. I wanted a room that felt appropriate for a baby but also something he could grow into that felt cohesive with the rest of our home. We have this Woolrich blanket in shades of teal and gray that gave me really good vibes, and I decided that would be my starting point for the color palette.

Do you have a favorite item in baby’s room?

Jeff: His room has great posters that I’ve kept in storage over the years and we custom framed for his space. They are great fits for a boy’s room: a colorful KAWS exhibition poster, a Johnny Cupcakes Boston shop opening poster--they just look like they belong.

What are some of your best nursery finds?

Leemor: The idea of furniture, other than the crib, that doesn't grow with the child is super old school and an unnecessary expense. We only bought pieces that we absolutely loved and actually wanted to live in our house, period. I believe that was the key to finding such a harmonious balance. Some great finds include: a mid-century modern inspired West Elm dresser that we absolutely loved, and are utilizing it as a not so traditional "changing table"--I basically secured a changing pad on top of the dresser. I also found a ton of really great pieces on the Urban Outfitters’ site--the leaning bookcase with lacquered shelves in gradient hues of blue, Double-Arrow curtains, and map-covered fabric letters that spell out his name. I bought a flokati rug from ABC Carpet that I’ve always wanted and a super-comfy glider from Babies R Us and a fun yellow ottoman from IKEA that complements and really pops in the room.

Favorite fashion finds for baby so far?

Leemor: I am smitten with Cotton Citizen t-shirts, which are the softest I’ve ever felt, Etiquette socks, Petit Bateau, Nununu everything and Makié clothing.

How many pairs of shoes does baby boy have? How many more till he matches daddy’s collection?

Jeff: 14 pairs already! Haha! Baby boy still has quite a long ways to go till he matches daddy’s, but his shoe game is starting incredibly strong. I never expected to become the dad who would lace up his kid with Jordans, but it was quite difficult for me not to buy a few different sizes in Jordan 4s when I saw them in Portland; I became that dad.

How have the dads you’ve met through Selectism and Highsnobiety impacted your perception of fatherhood?

Jeff: There is a fatherhood bond that becomes apparent once you realize how many folks in your circles are dads. You understand one another better.

Photography by Jonica Moore Studio.

After 4 kids, this is still the best baby gear item I’ve ever purchased

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work.

I have four kids 8 and under, so you might expect that my house is teeming with baby gear and kid toys.

But it turns out that for me, the more kids I have, the more I simplify our stuff. At this point, I'm down to the absolute essentials, the gear that I can't live without and the toys my kids actually play with. And so when a mama-to-be asks me what things are worth registering for, there are only a few must-haves on my list.

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer seat is on the top of my list—totally worth it and an absolute must-have for any new mama.

In fact, since I first splurged on my first BABYBJÖRN bouncer eight years ago (it definitely felt like a splurge at the time, but the five star reviews were really compelling), the bouncer seat has become the most-used product in our house for baby's first year.

We've actually invested in a second one so that we didn't have to keep moving ours from the bedroom to the living room when we change locations.

BABYBJÖRN bouncer bliss

baby bjorn bouncer

The utility of the seat might seem counterintuitive—it has no mechanical parts, so your baby is instead gently bounced by her own movements. In a world where many baby products are touted for their ability to mechanically rock baby to sleep, I get that many moms might not find the "no-motion" bouncer that compelling. But it turns out that the seat is quite reactive to baby's little kicks, and it has helped my kids to learn how to self-soothe.

$200

Lightweight + compact:

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer is super lightweight, and it also folds flat in a second. Because of those features, we've frequently stored it under the couch, in a suitcase or in the back of the car. It folds completely flat, which I love.

Entertainment zone:

Is the toy bar worth it? The toy bar is totally worth it. Not only is the toy bar adorable, but it's one of the first toys that my babies actually play with once they discover the world beyond my boobs. The toys spin and are close to eye level so they have frequently kept my baby entertained while I cook or take a quick shower.

Great style:

This is not a small detail to me–the BABYBJÖRN bouncer is seriously stylish. I am done with baby gear and toys that make my house look like a theme park. The elegant European design honestly just looks good in my living room and I appreciate that parents can enjoy it as much as baby.

It's adjustable:

With three height settings that let you prop baby up to be entertained, or lay back to rest, we get years of use. And the bouncer can actually be adjusted for bigger kids and used from newborn to toddler age. It's that good.

It just works:

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work. But I have used the seat as a safe space to put baby while I've worked (I once rocked my baby in it with my foot while I reported on a breaking news story for the Washington Post), and as a cozy spot for my second child to lay while his big brother played nearby. It's held up for almost a decade with almost-constant use.

So for me, looking back on what I thought was a splurge eight years ago, was actually one of the best investments in baby gear I ever made.

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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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Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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