Blogger Nicole Gonzalez gives us a taste of her part of town on the Upper East Side.
New York City breeds authenticity. It nurtures the creative spirit and fuels it over and over again with inspiration. Combine that with monumental life changes like parenthood and it's no wonder our city is home to some of the most fascinating parenting bloggers. One of our very favorites? The sweet-as-pie and obviously gorgeous Nicole Gonzalez of Lillies and León. She launched her blog when her first son Lucas (3 ½ years old) was just over a year old as an outlet to share their NYC adventures and special moments with her family, and life as a mama. “It's also been an awesome creative outlet for me where I get to share brands and shops we love as well as awesome projects and opportunities that I have been so fortunate to be a part of," says Gonzalez who is also the community manager for Kid & Coe and a contributor/ambassador for various kid companies. Find out all about Nicole's second pregnancy and favorite spots 'round town here. What was your pregnancy experience like this time around? Much different than with Lucas! The first time was a breeze - seriously! With the exception of fatigue in my first trimester I had very few complaints. This time around pregnancy hit me like a ton of bricks from the moment I saw that plus sign on the test. I was nauseated morning, noon, and night - right up until I was exactly 16 weeks. To top it off, after chasing a toddler all day my energy levels are at an all time low. Don't get me wrong - I am over the moon excited to meet my little girl but it's been a completely different experience this time around. We hear you're a born and raised New Yorker. What is your experience now raising your own kids here? I can't imagine raising my children anywhere else (unless of course an unnamed hubby wants to buy us a beach house ;)). Everything is at our fingertips and every day my son (and soon my daughter!) gets to be immersed in so much diversity and a beautiful cultural richness that in my opinion can't be found anywhere else. How important is it for you to live near family? It's crucial for me. I'm an only child and my mom is my very best friend. We talk at least four times a day on the phone and see each other several times a week. I can't even imagine being apart from her and not having her be such an immense part of mine or my children's lives. This goes for Ivan's family as well. My side of the family is so tiny that it is such a joy having gained a large, loving clan that both my kids and I can be a part of it. Family time is everything for us - the support they have given us a young growing family is invaluable. How do you guys make living in a NYC apartment work for you? We lived in a studio until Lucas was about two. We've since upgraded to a bigger space but during that time we learned a lot about the art of compromising, organization, and not filling our apartment with things that weren't useful or that we didn't love. Now that we are in a bigger apartment we still live by the same rules. A good tip: take 15 minutes a day to tidy up and put away everything you can helps to keep the messes under control. Lucas is also old enough to help clean now (or at least throw all his toys into the baskets and bins we have tucked everywhere) which is a plus! How have you been preparing yourself and your family for the arrival of the new babe? We've honestly been taking it slow. I'm more aware of just how little newborns actually need - with the exception of milk and diapers. We also decided not to disrupt Lucas's routine and space so far ahead of time. A few weeks before my due date we will start to put together her crib, wash those little clothes, and get my hospital bag ready. Nicole's favorite spots 'round town: Coffee: Corner bakery Baby/Kids shops: H&M for quick and easy basics Beauty: Sephora Playdate: Art farm in the city Books: Kitchen arts & letters Clothes shopping: Urban Outfitters during their 50% off sales! Nosh: Bagel and scallion cream cheese from our local bagel shop, Bagel Express Secret Spot: A handful of quirky, beautiful gardens scattered around East Harlem A Dose of Fresh Air: Carl Schurz Park Nicole is wearing: Dress: Storq Bag: Little BoogaweezinPhotography by Lindsey Belle