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  • Baby Shower Don’t: Opening Gifts

    Let’s say so long to this old-fashioned tradition once and for all.

    Article courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    Let me start off by saying, “I love a party.” I do. Weddings? You bet I’ll be on your dance floor. A holiday soiree? Count me in. For goodness sake, I even love kids birthdays parties (that start after 11am and involve booze). So you better believe if you’re sending me an invite to your baby shower I am totally in. I want to celebrate you AND that beautiful creature you are about to bring into this world. But here is what I don’t want to do. I love you, I really do, but I do not, unfortunately, want to watch you open one more gift in front of me.

    I’m not sure where this whole shower tradition began but, the truth is… it’s got to end...Here are 5 ways to Just Say No to traditional gift opening at your baby shower.

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  • Great Reads for Mom & Baby

    It’s never too early to start reading with your baby. Reading aloud to your infant is an important way to teach communication, introduce beginning concepts, and lay the foundation for learning vocabulary. Reading together builds the bond between you and baby and sets the stage for a lifetime of sharing stories. When you cuddle with your little one and read together, over time your baby will associate books with love and closeness. Here are 7 great reads for you and your baby to share.

    Ten Tiny Toes by Caroline Jayne Church is a playful rhyming story that begs you to cuddle your baby closer. A play on the song “Heads Shoulders Knees and Toes,” the book can be sung to the familiar tune or melodically read. Each page mentions a different part, like ears that wiggle and bellies that giggle, which can be pointed out on your baby as you read along. Build body awareness concepts as you hold your baby close and point out her own tiny toes.

    Hello Ocean Friends by Violet Lemay is a stunning high-contrast book to share with your baby. The simple language leaves plenty of room for your own storytelling, if you’re up for improvising, or simply a pause for baby to absorb the black-and-white contrast of the pictures. Let your baby linger over the shapes, designs, and animal illustrations as you hug him close.

    If Animals Kissed Goodnight by Ann Whitford Paul is a new bedtime classic. It’s gentle rhyming prose is certain to lull your baby while also telling a sweet story about animals saying goodnight to their family. Point to the illustrations as you say the animal names to develop her vocabulary, and give your baby a kiss every time the animals say goodnight in the book.

    My World My Words: A Toddler’s First Words Board Book by Marie Fordacq introduces babies to beginner vocabulary words without forfeiting a cute story. While this book reinforces the language you use all day with your baby, its story will keep you both engaged. The book follows Bobby through his entire day, from waking to nighttime kisses and the retro illustrations are lovely to linger over while your baby nestles in your lap.

    How Does Baby Feel? by Karen Katz is a lift-the-flap book that introduces your baby to emotions. Discussing emotions is beneficial for your baby, even when they’re at their tiniest. As your infant grows, conversations around feelings can expand and you’ll have the building blocks in place with a book like this. The bright illustrations are simple enough for small babies to examine and playful enough for older babies to enjoy, as well.

    Peek a Who? by Nina Laden is the perfect book to read to share a giggle with your baby. It’s rhyming text will keep an infant engrossed, but the book holds a surprise ending that will still delight your baby after repeat readings. Each page holds a die-cut window which gives a peek at the next beautifully illustrated rhyme, building anticipation to see what comes next.

    The Opposite Zoo by Il Sung Na is a gorgeous book to share when your baby is alert and absorbed in the world. The delightful story follows a monkey whose cage is open when the zoo is closed and explores the opposites of the zoo: big and small, noisy and quiet, fast and slow. Point out the different animals and colors in the lovely illustrations as a way to “converse” with your baby and stay snuggled together a bit longer.

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  • How to Throw a Baby Shower

    You've gotten the news that someone you know and love is expecting a baby and now you’re in charge of throwing a baby shower. Traditionally, baby showers are not hosted by the mother-to-be, but by a friend or family member. There is some etiquette involved, as well as tried-and-true conventions, but the most important thing to remember is that the celebration is all about the new mom and her little bundle of joy.


    A baby shower should be fun and congratulatory, which is usually best accomplished with some proper planning. Here is our guide on how to throw the best baby shower:


    Assembling the guests. As for the guest list, close family members and friends are a given, but a sure bet is to consult with the guest of honor before sending out invitations. Traditionally, baby showers attendees are solely female, but that norm is shifting. It's up to you and the mom-to-be if the guest list should be mixed. Keep in mind, though, that an all-female party usually has a different dynamic than a party with both men and women, so decide on the kind of party chemistry you're trying to attain.


    Sending out the invitations: Baby showers are typically held 4-6 weeks before the baby's due date, so get invitations out with enough time for guests to RSVP. Two weeks before the party date should be fine.


    Bring it in with a theme. Once you’ve finalized the guest list, decide on a theme (or not). Since the shower is about the mom-to-be, deeply consider her preferences. For a traditional theme, choose the season of the baby’s birth, “frogs, snails, and puppy dog tails” for a baby boy, “sugar and spice” for a baby girl, or baby animals. For a trendier theme ideap, consider “children’s bedtime stories,” “pickles and ice cream (a craving shower),” or  music-centered “rock-a-bye baby.”


    Where to go? Decide where the shower will take place. It can be at your or someone else's home. Throwing the shower at a home is a nice option because it’s comfortable and allows for more control over the flow of the party. Of course, a restaurant, cafe, or other venue with a party room is a good option too, especially if you're going for a formal feel. A new trend is the  “destination” baby shower, such as at a spa day,  garden, or another adventure.


    Showering the mother-to-be Guests will want to know what gifts to present the honoree. It's perfectly acceptable for a mother-to-be to create a baby registry and then have that information passed along to guests via you. Gifts are typically opened at the baby shower so that everyone can  “ooh” and “aah” over the adorable sundries. For a baby shower, people tend to shop for just the baby, which is essential, but don't forget to pamper the mother, too! The Nine Naturals bundles are the perfect baby shower gift for the mom-to-be to enjoy as she enters the final weeks of pregnancy.

    Eat, drink ... If you are hosting the baby shower at a restaurant, food and drink will be covered! Otherwise, you'll want to serve refreshments that are aligned with your theme. But refreshments do not need to be elaborate. Tea sandwiches, fruit and vegetable platters, and cupcakes are fantastic mainstays. Design a custom cocktail, or mocktail for the mom-to-be and other teetotaler. Don't forget to ask for information on dietary restrictions, especially if the mother-to-be has any that need to be considered.

    … and be merry! Like choosing a theme, it's up to you to include games or not. Just remember, the best baby shower games are easy for all ages to play and are not overly embarrassing to the expectant mother. A few cute ideas are: a trivia challenge of animal baby names, a who's who guessing game of guests personal baby photos (supplied by each guest), or an egg race.


    Although a baby shower can feel like your own party, remember that the main focus is the mother-to-be. Run your ideas about theme, food, games, and any ceremonies by her first. Unless, of course, the guest of honor loves surprises! The point is, remember that the event is for her. No matter where the baby shower is held, be sure that there will be comfortable seating for the expectant mother and easy bathroom access. Happy planning!

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  • Top 5 Instagram Dads To Follow This Father's Day

    Father’s day is just around the corner, so here we are bringing you our list of top 5 Dads to follow on Instagram!

    Josh (@tiesandfries)

    Josh, father of three and husband of beloved instamom @taza, will inspire you to pick up your family and travel the world. His feed is constantly updated with high-quality, breathtaking photos of the couple with their children in their hometown of New York City and around the world. We particularly loved vicariously enjoying the Washington DC cherry blossoms with the fam.

     

    Cody Andrew (@codywestonandrew)

    Don’t ever let your hubby catch you scrolling through instadad Cody Andrew’s feed! Conquering the world with his three kids Beckam, Mara, and Wes, Cody makes parenting look fun and easy. His spontaneous life with an must-have style are GQ-worthy. We are so jealous of fellow insta-famous mom, Christine Andrew @hellofashionblog.

     

    Mike Quinones (@lifewithmicah)

    When dad Mike Quinones and wife Amanda Booth discovered that Micah had Down Syndrome, they hoped to inspire others with Micah’s story. "With social media you can connect with people and actually see what these babies are capable of doing. It made everything seem really light instead of really heavy." Today, it has become a platform to educate other families on what life  is like with the condition. How can you not fall in love with those beautiful blue eyes?

     

    Matthew Novak (@mattjnovak)

    Along with his daughter Lola and his wife Zoe, North Face ambassador Matthew pushes us to travel the unknown. We love following the family’s rustic adventures. Get lost in the photo gallery of this insta-explorator-dad while rediscovering the beauty of nature, particularly the woods.

     

    Aubrey McCoy (@aubreymccoy)

    Husband to 1 and father extraordinaire of four, Audrey McCoy is guaranteed to light up your instagram feed. Whether he is having a cozy morning at home or going to the park with the family, this instadad makes day to day activities look like a shoot straight out of Vogue. We love his simple yet beautiful shots of kids + Bijou the cat!

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    Tags: Fathers, Fun

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  • Baby Shower Themes

    3 tasteful baby shower themes for an event that will get everyone talking.

    Articles & Photos courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    The funny thing about baby showers is that they’re not actually for baby. It’s actually about you. So you might as well have fun planning since this just might be the last adult party you throw for a little while. What better way to have that last pre-baby bash than to give it a fun grown-up theme? With just a few little props, you can make a big impact.

    Below, the owners of event-design firm Poppies & Posies and prop shop The Trove give us 3 tasteful themes for the baby shower of your dreams.

    Tea Party Baby Shower1. TEA TIME
    What: We love tea time over here at the Poppies & Posies office, and there’s no better time to put on a proper low tea than to honor a mom-to-be. Antique cake stands, elegant china and yummy tea sandwiches create the perfect lady-like atmosphere to celebrate this exciting occasion.
    Props: An easy way to figure out what you’ll need for your tea party is to make a list of all of the items you plan on serving. Choose a few different cake stands in various heights and sizes, paired with a few serving trays to display your tea sandwiches, scones and sweet treats. Next, set the table for each of your guests. Use luncheon-sized plates paired with a fork, knife for spreading jams, and a spoon for sugar or honey. Each guest will need a water glass along with a tea cup and saucer for their tea. Colorful or patterned napkins are always a great way to punch up the table-scape. The same goes for a table runner or tablecloth. Lastly, you’ll want to find a bevy of fun tea pots. It’s especially nice to have enough on hand that each guest may have their own. This way everyone can enjoy the tea of their choice.
    Flowers: No party or tablescape is complete without a touch of flora. If your table is filling up from all of your fabulous props, add a sprig of something (not too fragrant) to each place setting. If you choose a delicate flower, place it in a petite bud vase beside each place setting to keep it fresh and lively throughout the entire event.
    Photography by Jen Huang Photography; Desserts by Lael Cakes; Props by The Trove.

    Mocktail Baby shower

    2. MOCKTAILS & COCKTAILS 
    What: It’s important to remember that although the mommy-to-be won’t be drinking, most of her guests would appreciate a yummy cocktail. Creating a baby shower focused around fun mocktails and cocktails will make for a fete that everyone will enjoy!
    Props: You’ll want to style a bar to display both the cocktail and mocktail options. Use a collection of decanters in various sizes and shapes to hold your boozy items. To make it easy on yourself, choose two to three fun cocktails for your guests to make themselves. People love to customize their own beverages so the DIY portion of this theme will be much appreciated. Use a large drink dispenser to hold your non-boozy items so that your guests can mix themselves a mocktail or cocktail easily. Along with your ingredients, put out an ice bucket (we love antique silver or glass), ice tongs, trays and unique glassware. Other fun items to spruce up the display are straws, signs to identify what you’re serving, and pretty bowls to display garnishes (think mint, berries, citrus slices).
    Flowers: One of our favorite garnishes for a cocktail bar are edible flowers. They look gorgeous and are fun to add to any drink, boozy or not. Offer your guests a variety to choose from so they can create their perfect combo.
    Photography by Jen Huang PhotographyProps by The Trove.

    Garden party baby shower

    3. GARDEN PARTY
    What: There’s nothing more enjoyable than a garden party. If it is not the season to host one outdoors where you live, then use props to transform your indoor space into a garden-like oasis.
    Props: We love using aged lanterns to set the scene for a garden party whether it’s taking place inside or out. Garden urns in a variety of finishes, sizes and shapes filled with plants from your local nursery will turn your space into the perfect setting. If you want to really go all out, strung cafe lights and a plethora of candlelight provide the perfect finishing touches to a fabulous fete.
    Flowers: No garden party is complete without flowers! If you’re not in the mood for arranging something, pot miniature rose bushes in aged terracotta pots and place them on each table. At the end of the evening, guests can take them as a favor. Everytime the mom-to-be sees her rose growing she’ll remember her wonderful shower.

    This article is by Jessica Pallay, courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.

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  • Pregnancy Emojis

    10 emoji phrases to help get you through your pregnancy and baby journey.

    Article & Photos Courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    I used to call people and talk to them. If they didn’t answer, I left a message. A long and rambling one. And then I got pregnant and everything changed. I was tired. My calls devolved into texts. And then I downloaded emojis. I pretty much stopped using words. Because, really, who needs them?

    It started innocently enough with some messages to non-pregnant friends during my first trimester, but it quickly evolved into my chosen method of communication. I realized I could say everything, and say it more eloquently, with emojis. You can too. Here’s 10 pregnancy emoji phrases you just might find yourself calling on during your own baby journey.










    What emoji phrases do you use to talk about pregnancy and babies?

    This article is by Jessica Pallay, courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.

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