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Well Rounded in Little Rock

Style blogger Julie Wax of I Heart Heels proves there’s maternity style down south and prepares for baby #2.

Well Rounded in Little Rock

It never comes as a shock when we hear that a style blogger is from NYC. I mean, come on, even the least fashionable NYers you know have their own sense of style. But that doesn’t mean every city doesn’t have its gem. Especially when it comes to Well Rounded mamas.

Today we’re taking a trip down south to Little Rock, Arkansas to visit the very lovely and stylish Julie Wax of I Heart Heels, who is currently pregnant with her second. We’d like to say we discovered her, but truth be told, she’s been catching people’s eyes since she launched her blog in 2008. A self-proclaimed celebrity junkie, Julie scours the country -- anywhere from her local grocery store to Barney’s -- to find the cutest ways to wear all her favorite shoes. But her style extends well above her feet -- she’s even got her pulse on the best green beauty finds and, of course, baby products.

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Here she tells us what it’s like being Well Rounded in Little Rock.

What’s your maternity style been like this time around?

My maternity style is very much like my pre-maternity style! I love to wear oversized tops with a skinny bottom (sometimes jeans, but usually black leggings for comfort). Then, I slip on my sneaker wedges and oversized black handbag from Rebecca Minkoff (that's actually my future diaper bag...shhhhh). If I do wear a fitted top, I love to pair it with an unbuttoned button-down shirt, or I'll wear a button-down (buttoned!) with a vest and ankle booties.

How has this pregnancy treated you?

I've been lucky enough to have pretty smooth pregnancies, so I can't complain. This one has breezed by quite a bit more since I have a 4-year-old son running around me!

How have you been prepping for your baby’s arrival?

I'm such a planner, so I've got the nursery to a tee and all of my gear waiting and ready (it also helps this is my second, so prep is much easier). I've also been taking a natural childbirth class, continuing my Pilates classes and seeing a chiropractor once a week so that maybe the delivery goes slightly quicker/smoother this time around. You can never prep too much!

What has been your nursery inspiration?

The nursery is light pink and gray with a modern aesthetic (lots of clean lines, chevron and polka dots). It's really my favorite room in the whole house right now. I found the color inspiration from baby catalogs like Restoration Hardware Baby & Child and Pottery Barn, and once I had the colors, everything else started to fall into place. I referred to lots of photos of nurseries online (Rosenberry Rooms, for example). The furniture from NurseryWorks was also one of the first things we bought and put in the room, so after that, the other pieces were sort of easy.

What are some of your favorite belly-friendly brands?

For maternity, I love Isabella Oliver and ASOS for dresses (with my Mama Spanx, of course) and Gap for workout wear. Seraphine Maternity, Babes with Babies and Fourth Love are all great everyday maternity brands. For non-maternity, I'm completely in love with Michael Stars. The one-size-fits-all styles lasted me up until very recently! Oh, and for nighties, Belabumbum is excellent.

What are some fears/excitements you have about a second baby entering into your world?

Well, I don't have the same first-time baby fears this time around (body after baby, nursing, etc.), so my fears the second time around are more about balance and how I will achieve time for both little ones, my husband and myself. I also don't want to neglect my firstborn, so I think it will be a challenge, but one I'm totally ready to conquer!

How is being pregnant in Little Rock unlike being pregnant in other cities?

Being pregnant in Little Rock is nice versus a really big city because I don't have too many logistics to worry about (like subway stairs and walking). You still get the feel of a city without it being too rural. The temperature is also pretty nice -- I don't have to brave a terribly harsh winter (although if I were pregnant in the summer, I would be singing a different tune!).

What is the maternity shopping like near you?

It's actually terrible! When I went to have my maternity photos, there were literally two shops to choose from, so I had most of my clothing loaned to me from brands. I personally did all of my maternity shopping online.

What outfit are you dying to get back into post pregnancy?

My endless amount of skinny jeans. I just look at them and dream right now! I'm quite obsessed with them. Oh, and don't forget the heels ;).

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

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

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

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

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

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$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

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

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

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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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