THE SEASON OF THE SWEATER – WHEN I DIP, YOU DIP, WE DIP

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This season has so many names: the holiday season, cuffing season, steal your boyfriend’s [or significant other’s] sweatshirt season. It may be a little harder this year for some, ahem, because of the bump. Fear not mamas, there is no need to steal anyone’s anything. Throughout the month I will be highlighting the best-selling side-ruched maternity sweater, accompanied with a unique recipe to take with you to all your meetings and greetings.

The sweater is a throw on and go piece, because it’s perfect enough on its own with jeans, or easy enough to dress up with some sparkle or a skirt. The stretch and softness are a bonus, finished with the side-ruching so it keeps you styled month one through nine, and then some. The style shown is in our new colorway Ivy Green. It’s a deep, earthy sage tone, which is why we paired it with the vibrant budding artichoke, which is considered a flower, but accepted as a vegetable. We accept it too. I am going to start giving people a bouquet of artichokes from here on out.

You have your look and your dish; you’re a real fashion plate, haha! Who doesn’t love a dip? When I dip, you dip, we dip. [Sorry, I was a kid of the 90s.] As always, this recipe was provided by our chef turned copywriter, Ray Ray.

Cheddar Artichoke Dip with Spinach & Sage 

Ingredients:  

·         kosher salt 

·         freshly ground black pepper 

·         10-12 fresh sage leaves, finely shopped  

·         2 6oz cans of artichoke hearts in water, drained, sliced & patted dry 

·         1 10oz package of frozen spinach, thawed, chopped and wrung dry in a clean kitchen towel or pressed between paper towels to remove excess moisture 

·         3/4 cup grated fresh parmesan 

·         1 8oz block of cream cheese (left at room temp for an hour to soften)  

·         3/4 cup sour cream 

·         1/2 cup lightly toasted and chopped walnuts 

·         1 cup aged sharp cheddar cheese  

·         zest of 1 lemon 

·         1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 

·         1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed 

Directions: 

1.       Pre-heat the oven to 425 fahrenheit 

2.       In a mixing bowl, stir together the artichoke hearts, spinach, cream cheese, sour cream, lemon zest and juice, the pine nuts, black pepper, salt, and 1/2 cup of the parmigiana cheese. 

3.       Butter or lightly spray the inside of a baking dish. Pour the mixture into the dish and spread top to an even thickness, sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/4 cup of parmigiana then top with the sharp cheddar. 

4.       Place baking dish on top of a sheet pan lined with foil to avoid any bubbling over and bake until the top browns and the dip heats through, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving with thick pita chips.  

Happy dipping. ❤ Dai & Ray

COUNTING OUR BLESSINGS

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I read a meme that said, “November is the Thursday of the year”, and it really somehow makes sense. But, then again, I like Thursday. Sure, Friday is flashier, as is December, but Thursday has always been fun. Remember in college, thirsty Thursdays? Sorry mamas keep them in your memories for now. But the thing about November that keeps it a top month for most is of course today, Thanksgiving Day.

There is not as much pressure on it as Christmas gets, unless you’re hosting, but even then, once the bird is in… it’s all gravy. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist). This year I asked my co-workers to tell me what they’re grateful for. I feel like between the anxiety of adulting, the emerging holidays, and every other day-to-day stressors, it is heartening to stop and think about the really important things in life – the things that keep everything else in perspective.

I am forever thankful for the rocks in my life, the ones that won’t budge, who stick around and keep me grounded all the same. I am thankful to my husband who has the tireless task of putting up with me since we were EIGHTEEN, my daughters who have made a new and improved form of me, my dog Diesel because he is the hairiest living angel, my family, my friends, my house and my health – may that last one continue to keep its status quo.

So, go ahead and digest these praises of thanks while you digest everything else. Happy Thanksgiving!

  1. “I’m so thankful for a family that believes in and nurtures togetherness. I’m also grateful that I have the privilege to be a Mom to an amazing girl. Our family is thankful for our community of friends & family too.” – Kara Stickley, Visual Communications Manager
  2. “I am thankful for my daughter & that she gets to experience so many firsts this year. We are so excited to head into her first holiday season!” – Brandy Leinhauser, Paid Search Manager
  3. I’m thankful to work with so many wonderful people, who are great at what they do. – Oksana Yarychkivska, CRM Manager
  4. “I am thankful for my friends & family & working with such wonderful people.” – Anita Aub, Email Marketing Coordinator
  5. “I am thankful for the health & well-being of my family this year after going through some tough times.” – Dave Vanyo, Senior Manager of Visual Merchandising
  6. “I’m thankful for my little V who is my pot of gold, my husband who is always by my side, my family who are there for me through thick & thin, my friends who are like family, my 2 pups & all the pups I’m fortunate to foster, that show such unconditional love. This is what makes my life pure magic & I couldn’t be more thankful for that.” – Klaudia Vitale, Senior Art Director
  7. I’m most thankful that my 7-year-old dog, Gray, kicked cancer’s butt this year! – Jacqueline Hamel, Visual Merchandise Manager
  8. “Every year my daughter gets more into the spirit of the holidays.  This year she’s four & a half and I’m so thankful to get caught up in her excitement.” – Stacy Lyons, Manager of In-store Experience
  9. “I am grateful for small moments shared with friends & loved ones; for belly laughs & elbow taps; for acoustic guitars & firepits on late fall evenings; for that feeling of knowing that everyone around you is having a good time & it’s only the beginning of the festivities.” – Kathryn Breish. E-Comm Retoucher
  10. “I’m thankful to have friends in my life who have stood by me when times were bad, who have walked in when others have walked out & whose conversations, counsel & company continue to enrich my life.” – Ray Peraino, Copywriter
  11. “I am thankful for my family and friends and being able to spend the Holiday season together creating new memories.” – Kim Sharrah, Senior eCommerce Merchandiser
  12. “I am thankful for being knocked up for the third time.” – Jackie Daniele, Creative Services Project Manager

With that, I ask you… what are you thankful for? Tell us @motherhoodmaternity.com

 

THANKFUL – EMPHASIS ON FULL

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Last Thanksgiving was a magical time in my life. I was pregnant, and knew I was having another daughter. I was hosting. The air was crisp, cool and I was allowing myself to eat turkey, even though I was primarily vegetarian prior to getting pregnant again. And above all else, I had no food guilt. You know the way you feel around the holidays, when everywhere you look someone made a baked item that smells like heaven and sugar? I like to think because we are animals we need to bulk up in the winter. There has to be something innately inside of us that still feels like hibernation is needed and filling up is preservation. Or… I just like to eat.

This year, I may have to be a hypocrite. I have not had meat since giving birth in February, however, once again, I am hosting, and a chef needs to taste the food. How else does she know if its good enough to serve? When commiserating loudly for my coworkers to hear, Ray stepped in with some facts. You remember Ray? He likes food. He gives us Mocktail Mondays. He also likes the hard, cold facts.

So, let’s talk turkey. Mamas out there who may be nervous about eating turkey, it is not the same as lunchmeat, which always seems to top the no-go list of pregnancy foods. The Thanksgiving turkey is actually pretty healthy for you, because it’s lean and full of protein – what I wish my nickname was.

Then we got to talking about other Thanksgiving foods and Ray told me to, “couch the potatoes”. He laughed.  I laughed. Then I got mad because nobody puts Baby in the corner and nobody tells Baby to not eat potatoes on Thanksgiving!  He said that starch should be eaten in moderation, but I really don’t need that kind of negativity in my life, so I have chosen to say that we women, especially those currently creating a life, need the extra carbs.

On the upside, Ray did say that sweet potatoes are amazing and healthy, referring to them a, “silence of the yams.”  In true Ray nature, he gave a little tip to sweetening these babies up without the extra granulated sugar. “My most coveted secret for mashed sweet potatoes is the addition of a single, small, butter roasted banana before the mashing begins.” Duly noted Ray.

Vegetables are good for you. Eat your veggies. But… there is always room for dessert. Ray did not mention dessert, because he has never been pregnant! What do you expect from a guy who warned me about potatoes? Those cravings kick in and all of sudden, you’ll die without pie. I did a little digging and discovered that apple pie, pumpkin pie and pecan pie are good for you. I use the term good loosely. Please note that I am not a doctor, but I play one in my own head.

Pumpkins are filled with beta carotene, which is what carrots have, and what claims them to be good for your eyesight. They are filled with fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. So, go ahead and grab a slice. Add whipped cream if you want; that one is on you! Apples are fruits. Need I say more? Their natural sweetness is only heightened with help from the brown ooey-gooey sugar and buttery double crust. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life people.

And now for the pecan pie – the most decadent of the bunch. You can literally heart pecans, because they are known for lowering the risk of heart disease. Nuts are also amazing for digestion, so it seems only right you end your meal with this pie.

Now, because we are a clothing company, I do feel compelled to help you out. Most people at your Thanksgiving table will unbutton their pants; they will be popping out. But not you. The Secret Fit Belly® pants will stretch, comfort and grow, no matter how hard you have at that turkey and pie.

Remember when Joey wore his Thanksgiving pants on Friends? Think those pants but made for you. You’re welcome. This is the time of giving, after all.

Happy eats & sweets mamas.   – Daina (or, as you probably prefer to call me by now) LAFOP

FA LA LA LA LA LA FA FA FA FAIR ISLE

 

I like festive fashion. The holidays are about getting cozy. Maybe it’s my northern east coastiness, but winter holidays are cold and there needs be snuggly style to outfit the season. It’s not just me actually; watch any Hallmark movie.

Autumn gets plaid, but winter gets fair isle. This very specific print gets updated every year, but yet it is still distinct enough to be holiday. This year’s version features touches of red, blue and pink, but also reindeer – YAY!

What is Fair Isle? It’s a specific knitting/pattern technique that gets its name from – wait for it – an island! The Fair Isle is a really small, remote island just north of Scotland. Scottish people love their patterns and so do we, apparently! Move over tartan; you had your season. Anyway, back to the history and geography lesson.

This type of pattern making is specific on the person who is creating the original design. Of course, we borrow the original artwork and make it our own, so you can enjoy it here. Usually you will see stars in the design, but for us, we prefer hearts. Hearts and reindeer on your pajamas? Prepare to sleep like a baby, because it’s an actual dream.

Want to shop the shoot?

You will see Abby, her husband and her daughter all snug in bed and Andrea and her son making memories. Both of our ladies are wearing the nursing nightgown. Abby is actually pregnant and the smooth, soft, stretchy material is made to be worn and loved with bump and then baby. Andrea was able to nurse her son on set with help from the clip-down straps.

You will also see Andrea in the pajama pants, which is part of a full set. They are below-bump bottoms and part of our wear now/ love later capsule. The top features a button-down front, so it can be worn for nursing and pumping. This look comes in plus size too!

What’s underneath counts and Abby is modeling our pregnancy panties, which help when the heat kicks on and the pants come off, am I right?

You feeling fair isle? You should be. Show us your fine print @motherhoodmaternity – can’t wait!

– Daina

WHAT’S IN STORE? 11.11 MAKE A WISH LIST

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Eleven is my favorite number because it’s ten and one for good luck! So, when eleven/eleven rolls around, I damn near lose it! This year I thought it would be cute to head over to our local store and snap some shots of wish-worthy gifts for the holiday season. No matter what you celebrate, making a list of the gifts you want is fun, so go ahead and get to typing or texting.

Let’s start from the first layer and work our way out. The seamless bra is the perfect gift; it will lift more than just your spirits, haha! Our newest colorways are a rich burgundy and a maroon, as well as a deep forest green. We love this bra so much we did a whole campaign about it!  It’s award-winning, best-selling, and five-star rated because every single pregnant and nursing woman I know owns one. Fun fact, I wore mine to yoga the other day as a top now that I am postpartum. Soft and stretchy as I get my vinyasa on.

Sleepwear is really the perfect gift you get yourself or someone who you know that is expecting. It’s a personal gift, without being too personal. Like it isn’t easy to get someone a pair of jeans, but a pair of pajama pants is totally acceptable. We took some shots of our fluffy robe too. You can almost feel how soft it is through the screen! The robe is also a forever gift, because it doesn’t judge how big your belly gets and there is nothing about it that reads pregnancy. I still have mine. It’s more my daughter’s now when she thinks she’s Elsa and that is her snow gown…

The graphic tees are always momma-musts because they play well on social media. We love to see your #GraphicTeeTuesday posts. For the cooler months we have long sleeve tees and sweatshirts. [That’s me creeping behind the mannequin. And I hate mannequins ever since one fell on my head when I was two in the mall and my head split open and I had to be taken to the hospital because they thought I was dead. Fun times.]

Need a stocking stuffer? Safe skin for the win. Need a little gift for your little gift? We have milestone markers, baby toys, pacis and pop drops. We have a wubbanub in every room of the house. My baby and every baby doll are decked out with one, so they’re a purchase that’s worth it. I also thought it would be a cute idea to get a shot of our pregnancy stockings. I remember I only wanted to be a dresses girl last pregnancy, but I was due in the winter. I also didn’t feel like shaving my legs. OKAY I couldn’t reach them; leave me alone! So, stockings that fit over a belly were needed.  Or don’t be a dresses girl and just throw on the leggings. Choices are endless. This is your wish list.

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Speaking of dresses, we tried to create a little Pietro Brunelli story, as well as a green with envy color story in our sister store, A Pea in the Pod®. Red screams Christmas, but green is my favorite color and it’s my blog post so Erin, our social media specialist, just let me be weird. To finish off our trip, we snapped some socks. That’s me gold toed and stocked with socks.

In honor of the best sounding day of the year – go ahead and make a wish list. Send it to us @motherhoodmaternity or whoever is taking on the role of Santa this year!

Here’s to the one for good luck! -Daina

SWEATER TEXTURES – I’M FEELING IT!

What’s the difference between summer style and winter style? Besides there being more of it in winter? Texture baby! Summer clothes are all about breeziness – keeping it light. But when late fall comes, the door opens to so many types of must-need knit.

Chunky knit is my favorite kind of chunky – well, aside from my baby girl’s still very cottage-cheese like chunky butt, or as we New Jersey Italians say – coolie. Then there’s waffle knit and ribbed knit and cable knit and hacci and cotton and terry and wool!

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Let me break down the stitching a little. The baby blue sweater has a shaker stitch, which is known for its extra soft ribbing and natural stretch. It’s perfect for snuggling. It’s made to grow with your belly… all winter long!

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We’ve got a honeycomb sweater selection that is sweet! (I truly cannot resist a pun.) The honeycomb is known for its dimension, which makes it super textured, and a standout. We’ve got this one in the grey shown, as well as a coral and cream – a sweet cream. Haha!

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I am a sweater – as in I sweat a lot. Whatever, but I run hot. For me, I don’t always want to do a daytime sweater, so when I think about getting cozy, I think over-the-top luxury. I think spa. I think a perfectly plush robe. That’s the texture I like: fluffy, cotton-candy-dream-inducing soft. Nighttime is when I get tactile.

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Moving on to our nursing mamas. After having given birth, skin is still super sensitive, so tread softly when picking out clothing for a postpartum winter. The striped knit top is a best-seller because it isn’t too thick. It’s breathable, but still warm – and of course, it has a hidden-zipper design element that lets you get back to you.

Feeding your baby or pumping is not something we take for granted here. I have personally done it twice and there is nothing like the hot sweat panic that comes over you when you’re forced to lift your shirt up in public to breastfeed. Society is not always on board – yet – but in the meantime we are here to help.

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And for the mamas-to-be and the mamas-that-just-became, there’s a new hacci knit sleep top with button down nursing function, so it can be worn during pregnancy and well into parenthood.

Hacci is made from large loop knitting, so the end result is really soft, but also airy, so that there is no overheating at night! This is important for women experiencing all those pre-to-post baby hormones! Get the sleep top and sleep bottom for a complete set.

You feeling these winter wonders? Send us your sweater weather snaps @motherhoodmaternity – Can’t wait to see you there!

-Daina

MOCKTAIL MONDAY – AN APPLE A DAY

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I can use a drink and today calls for our favorite bombastic writer, Ray! Without further ado I bring you November’s Mocktail Monday via Mr. Peraino.

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, we’ll all soon be attending parties with friends and family. I don’t know about your family and friends, but with mine, this time of year calls for a drink … or three.

We’re going to mix up some incredible mocktails, real ones, good ones – mocktails that are rewarding and enjoyable. The best part, all of these will rely heavily on that seasonally available sparkling apple cider — you know the one I’m talking about, with its italicized scripted label over an emerald green bottle, ubiquitously available at every supermarket this time of year.

Got it? Great, let’s jazz that up into something so Gatsbyesque that it’ll feel like you’re gulping down the gilded age by the glass. It is almost the 20s again.

Here are three recipes that I think are perfect for this time of year. They’re familiar enough flavors to complement your holiday meals, but unique enough to be enjoyed on their own or with friends.

 

Apple & Sage Fizz

 

Ingredients

(4 servings)

1 tbsp honey

2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

16 oz sparkling apple cider

6 leaves sage

freshly grated nutmeg to taste

ice

 

Directions

  • In a cocktail shaker muddle the sage leaves. Next grate in some fresh nutmeg (note: fresh nutmeg is potent stuff) add the honey and lemon juice.
  • Add a few ice cubes and add a little bit of the sparkling apple cider (approx. 2oz) and stir it all together very well with a cocktail spoon.
  • Fill highball glasses with ice and strain your delightful mixture over the ice cubes distributing evenly among glasses
  • Top off with the remaining chilled apple cider

 

 

 

The Sweet Apple Sparkle

(Sparkling Cider w/ Rosemary & Thyme Mocktail)

Makes: about 2 quarts

 

Ingredients

4 cups apple cider

2 cups Sparkling cider

1 cup club soda

4 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

4 oz raw sugar

4 oz filtered water

12-16 Fresh thyme sprigs

1-2 Fresh rosemary springs

Apple slices for garnish

 

Instructions

  • First, make a simple syrup: combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat stirring until all sugar had dissolved.
  • Remove from heat and add sprigs of thyme & rosemary. Let cool. You can transfer this to a container
  • In a large pitcher or punch bowl, combine remaining ingredients and stir well. Add simple syrup to taste. Pour over ice and garnish with apple slices and thyme sprigs.

 

The Honey Lemon Sparkler

Makes 2 servings

 

Ingredients

2 teaspoons honey

2 teaspoons filtered water

1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 cups Sparkling Cider

2 lemon wheel (garnish)

 

Instructions

  • Combine the honey and water in a small bowl or ramekin and heat it in microwave for 20 -30 seconds to make a quick simple syrup. remove from microwave and let cool in the refrigerator.
  • While syrup is cooling, split lemon juice evenly between two champagne flutes.
  • Pour equal amounts of honey simple syrup into each champagne flute atop lemon juice.
  • Top off each glass with sparkling cider, garnish with lemon wheel & serve.

 

 

This guy and his lemon wheels, am I right?  No alcohol, no problem.

Mix it. Post it. Tag it. Drink it. Like it. Share it. @motherhoodmaternity #mocktailmonday

 

Bottoms up!

–          Dai & Ray

 

WELCOME A PEA IN THE POD!

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You have a sister? I do. We are six years apart and I would call her the A Pea in the Pod to my Motherhood. She is older, taller – all the things that make her enviable to a little sister. We used to have epic fights. We shared a room and she would write times on the door when I was able to enter. It usually was just sleeping hours. One time she threw a hot pocket at my face after it was microwaved. [We’re nineties kids.]

We were not compatible, related, but not in sync. But then something happens as sisters age. That rivalry makes way for a new relationship, one where prior enemies become lifelong besties. We have the same DNA after all. This is the case for our sister brand. For years A Pea in the Pod® has been dressing bumps in the most crave-worthy couture and we have been admiring their style from afar. But now, we open our homes to our sister – welcome Pea! We can’t wait to shop you on Motherhood.com

A little about our sister site: Not only do they have their exclusive designs chosen and selected here in our corporate headquarters, they house the most maternity name brands in one place including designer denim like AG, DL1961, 7 For All Mankind, Citizens of Humanity and Articles of Society to name a few. The coolest part is that for most of these jeans, they are the EXACT pairs from the label and then our designers customize each pair with our signature Secret Fit Belly®, ensuring the fit is the same, but the belly will continue to provide growth and comfort for pregnancy.   

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Pea provides you with posh from across the pond with brands like Isabella Oliver and Seraphine – you know those royal styles, if you catch my drift. Our sister brand also houses a curated closet from down under, with Ripe Maternity pieces, something super fancy from France like the looks from Envie de Fraise. And of course, there are the fashions for all the bella bellies out there, made in Milan, sent to us from Pietro Brunelli.

Our Italian designer is super sweet and I actually had the chance to do an interview with the Pietro Brunelli for Pea’s 40weeksofchic.com – click here to read more. [Going forward, I will be covering Pea’s topics on this blog, because what are sisters for?] Our conversation started to sway toward talking about his best-selling Salisburgo dress, which continues to be our Pea mamas’ favorite fashion from the overseas brand. He says about his dress, “This dress does have something special – it’s a combination of elegance, romantic details and the fact that when I dress a woman, I do not only want her to look beautiful, but I also want her to feel comfortable.” We totally hear you Pietro, which is why we offer this amazing piece with short and long sleeves, as well as in an array of colors.

Don’t get your sleeves all in a ruffle, you can shop this look on Motherhood’s site right now!

We want to see you in it – show us how & where you wear the Salisburgo style @motherhoodmaternity or @peainthepodmaternity #40weeksofchic

BELLY LAUGHS

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Going “on set” sounds very serious, and sometimes it is. However, we have been working with real pregnant women and their real families, so silly is going to supersede serious at times. Companies like to show their prettiest shot, the ones where the light is just right, and the clothes drape to perfection… which we like to do too, because it makes sense. But again, sometimes it’s what the camera captures that doesn’t always make the final cut that matters most. It’s hard to tell the difference between candid and staged, but that is not the case for these moments. I take you with us to Wisconsin…

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Apparently Cedar, the little one, refused to take off these boots. This was her own pair, and she was hellbent to make them work with everything. They are her ruby red slippers boots. She made it work!

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That’s the face of a mom who is done for the day. I like to call this face, “I don’t want to mom anymore tonight.” I have a toddler and an infant – I get it girl!

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You know when you’re pregnant and pose on a large hay barrel it may be difficult and scary to come down? No worries… Abby’s actual husband was there to give her and his unborn child a helping hand!

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Day 2 on set was Cedar’s actual 4th birthday!

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That’s my boss giving her a birthday gift!

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And there’s the cake to prove it!

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Everybody on set is really professional – really, really professional!

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You see what I mean? No time to joke. Time is money.

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Abby is serving up the same “I am done momming” face as the day before! Models give good face.

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I leave you with this picture. The dog days of summer October are coming to an end.

See ya in November!

          Daina

DIY FYI – HALLOWEEN EDITION

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Two years ago, in a little studio in Florence, NJ, the social media team got crafty. All of these costumes were made by our social media specialist, Erin, who you can see here in a pink wig. Oh, and hey look Ma, I made it! That first picture is your girl rocking a homemade disco ball bump, and the blonde in the glasses is our art director extraordinaire, Klaudia, who I referenced in the wicked good reveal post!

All of these last-minute DIY pregnancy costumes can be done on our side-ruched tee, because it allows stretch and growth for you, but also for the additional glued on pieces. In other words, it gives… give! [There’s a long sleeve version too!]

We took a trip to our local craft store to purchase all the pieces, as well as the fabric glue. The disco ball was made by taking the mirrored squares and creating a spherical shape. I am not sure how Erin did this so perfectly, but she did! She created the circle on a piece of paper first, then one by one glued them on to her canvas, our black maternity shirt.

Utilizing that same technique, Erin glued on colorful pompoms onto a white maternity shirt. This one she did on the tee, then lifted each one to glue, so that she didn’t lose the shape!

The heart eyes emoji costume is notably the easiest and quickest of the looks. All you need is felt, some fabric or craft glue, and a scissor. Know what’s even quicker? One of our Halloween graphic tees – head to your store NOW to get it mama, because you’re cutting it close to the big day!

Happy Halloween
🧡  Daina

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