Monthly Archives: February 2013

Maternity Chic: 4 Tips to Dressing the Belly

Header - Bubbles & Ink - Dressing the Belly Post

Week 32 is here and with it the slow waddle befitting one whose rotund nature is weighing heavily on their self esteem. In need of motivation, I started looking back through old pictures on my phone and came across a few shots of me dressing a belly that’s clearly got a plan of its own.

If you’re busy growing a small person of your own, I’m sure you can relate. It’s difficult to feel good about yourself when you barely recognize that person in the mirror. But take comfort in the fact that everyone else will tell you you’re glowing even if you’re sure that’s just a thin sheen of sweat breaking across your forehead from going up what used to be a short flight of stairs. Take heart. It’s only temporary. And your handbags will still fit, no matter what kinds of shenanigans your belly gets into.

Below, I give you four easy tips to dressing that belly that I discovered over the past months after making a serious effort to avoid the maternity shops. So far, mission accomplished. How’d I do? Any tips of your own you can share with us first-timers?

1) BELT THAT BUMP

Going through the first few months was tricky because all my regular clothes still fit but just made me look overweight, not pregnant. I quickly discovered that belting the baby bump would bring attention to my growing belly and clear up for everyone the fact that I was creating a person in there and not just really enjoying those Buffalo wings at Sports Grill (though I really DID enjoy all those Buffalo wings at Sports Grill…). To clear up any confusion and proudly show off your new curves, grab a skinny belt and wear it just above the belly. Something with embellishments adds a really nice touch and makes you look pulled together. Belted dresses or wrap dresses also grow with you.

Belted Shirt Dress from Kirna Zabete for TargetBelted Sweater & Layers

2) LOOK FOR LARGER SIZES

I was hesitant to dive into the maternity shops when I knew this would only be temporary. The truth is, you can easily fit into larger sizes and avoid the pregnancy tent phenomenon for quite a long while if you shop for larger sizes. Knowing I could find inexpensive pieces and still be on trend, I hit up shops like Forever 21 for loose-fitting items. I also shopped my own closet for comfortable stretch fabrics (maxi skirts, soft tees) that have worked for me even until today, at week 32. Maxi dresses with empire waists have also been an essential wardrobe stable that need not come from a maternity store.

Large Graphic Sweater - Forever 21

Outfit - Budding-Bump

3) THE POWER OF BLACK TIGHTS

When my jeans and pants stopped fitting against all better efforts, I discovered my new wardrobe staple: black tights. Sure, there are belly bands and such to make your existing pieces work. But the truth is that I didn’t want to bother with any of it. I wanted to pull something on and be done with it. So came the black tight uniform I’ve been shamelessly reinventing for several months now. Dress up or down by adding a basic tee or sweater, or even your husband’s favorite shirt. The very best part is that they’re fairly cheap and easy to replace if you outgrow them (I shopped Old Navy and Target).

Outfit - Sweater & Tights

4) ACCESSORIES ALWAYS FIT

When all else fails, the great thing is that no matter how big your baby bump gets, accessories will ALWAYS fit. Pile on your favorites or wear one standout piece. The choice is yours. But a little glitz always makes me feel much better when my clothing options begin to look like glorified tents. Remember it’s just temporary and you’ll be looking like yourself in a short while. I hear running after a little one just makes the pounds melt off.

Brighthouse Baubles BraceletEnvelope Clutch from ASOS

POST DETAILS: 

Pink ASOS Clutch, Pave Link Bracelet from Brighthouse Baubles, Lucite Bangles from H&M, Studded Black Clutch from Rebi’s Closet, Gold & Wood Bead Bracelet from Stephanie Lian’s Closet, Gold Link & Pave Link Bracelet from Gigglosophy, Graphic Print Sweater from Forever 21, Belted Shirt Dress from Target

The Preggo Burger Tour of South Florida

Burger Tour of South Florida

I won’t pretend I didn’t have an overwhelming love affair with food prior to my expectant status. But I will say that what champagne used to do for me pre-baby, cuisine has temporarily filled in for quite nicely. And without any of the guilt, which is essentially priceless. Hence, the Great Pregnancy Craving Tour of Miami.

I have shamelessly paraded this bump around town and (mostly unknowingly) dripped all sorts of toppings upon it to put together a list of my favorite (and not-so-favorite) crave-inducing establishments. I’m starting with my longest-running obsession, burgers. Check out my picks. Did I miss any? What should I try next? Let me know your favorites.

Definition of Lokal

THE FAVORITES:

Elevation Burger – Simple, sustainable, organic, grass-fed, and free-range. If you’re a carnivore with a conscience (and a budget), there’s nothing better. Add a healthy list of toppings and a soda machine to blend any concoction to your whim and you’ve got the kind of place that’s made me go through a slew of frequent visitor cards. Slew!

Blue Collar – There isn’t enough I can tell you about this burger. I was newly pregnant at the time and discovering I’d developed the kind of appetite that would impress a wrestler. Enter the Real Juicy Cheeseburger Prime dry-aged New York strip on a Portuguese muffin with your choice of lettuce, tomato, and onions. I don’t think I spoke two words during that meal.

Crave – This is the kind of refined establishment where most (non-pregnant) people would enjoy a nice sushi lunch or a delicately balanced salad. But I had absolutely no shame in devouring their Crave Burger and licking my fingers while doing so. I’m happy to do it again, even in the finest company. With smoked cheddar, onion, and house-made pickles, this is definitely a winner.

Lokal – I’ve never strayed from the 50/50 (Fidy Fidy) burger. And I don’t think I’ll ever want to. Equal parts Florida ground beef and Florida ground bacon combine to make super amazing burger babies in your mouth. Served with mayo, Monterrey jack cheese, and a sweet onion marmalade, you also get a side of 50% sweet potato fries, 50% french fries with honey mustard dipping sauce that gives you quite possibly the most beautiful combination of ingredients a belly could want.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Latin House Grill – This little gem on Sunset has a menu full of crave-able items (Sneaky Nachos!). But if you’re having one of those days when you can’t really figure out what flavor you’re after, I recommend the Intl Muffin Tops. Two of those little guys have a big fill factor.

Red Robin – I had no idea what to expect from Red Robin. And then I learned about their Bottomless Steak Fries (that I, of course, dipped in ranch dressing). It was absolute kismet. I paired that with the Whiskey River BBQ Burger and happily groaned my full belly out the door.

Shake Shack – While I genuinely enjoyed their Angus burger (I had the SmokeShack), my heart was really much more set on their Flat-Top Dogs. I made a mess of that Shack-cago Dog and enjoyed every last bit of relish. Bring your pooch along to dine on the terrace and buy him his own treats for a small price.

NOT WORTH THE WADDLE:

Le Tub Saloon – This waterfront joint has a serious following thanks to being voted best hamburger by GQ Magazine as well as being placed on Oprah’s radar as one of her favorites. The burger itself was simple, tasty, and juicy but the downside for any preggo is that there will likely be a minimum wait time of 1.5 hours before you see any meat on your plate. My vote? Try it when you’re not as likely to dig into the person next to you with a fork & knife. Or sit at a safe distance from others and bring a snack for the wait.

CG Burgers – You only get one shot at dinner. You can deal with “ok” food for lunch because you still have a chance to make it up throughout the rest of the day. But when you have the kind of dinner that leaves you wondering what was missing, you just end up with a grouchy preggo that’s likely suffering from heartburn and an unfulfilled appetite. In this case, what was missing was a decent brioche and some basic seasoning. I wanted so much to like this place but two strikes is enough for me to know not to go for the third.

SmashBurger – This place just made me angry. I first take issue with their logo, a blatant rip-off of GameStop’s font and coloring. But bad branding aside, with a name like SmashBurger, you should really be making a sensational impression. Rather, the result of quite literally smashing your burger patties into submission before squeezing all the juice out of the poor things is what my Cuban grandmother often refers to as “suela de zapato”, or the leathery bottom of one’s shoe, for those not fluent in Cuban slang. But I retain that it’s more accurately articulated in Spanish. No need to stop here.

Note: Rok Brgr didn’t make the list because I only visited once and wasn’t too impressed but felt that maybe it was an off night. I think it deserves another shot before I pass judgement.

The Bottle Themed Baby Shower

Lucy Banner

Attending my own baby shower was probably one of the most surreal experiences I’ve had in a while. Picking out a crib and registering for baby essentials really only hit me as shopping. Watching my belly grow and become heavy enough to make me shun my heels hardly phased me. But I caught myself staring a little too long at that pink banner hung over our place settings and it smacked me in the face: I’m having a baby. Soon.

Luckily, this was probably a little on the milder side in terms of actual baby-type stuff when it comes to the admittedly foreign realm of baby showers. Having a husband who can illustrate helped string our bottle-themed shower together into a low key, friendly affair for both guys and girls. Not to mention making it feel much more us. I think the fact that we were able to weave beer and champagne into our central theme made us feel much more comfortable with the event.

I’m excited to share some of our details, including: special home brew favors for the guys (crafted with care by the dad-to-be and home brew master & uncle-to-be MP), milk bottle mimosas for the ladies, a Polaroid sign-in book, story books in place of cards to build our baby’s library, and guava cupcakes (for the Cuban mom-to-be, yours truly). I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Check out specific event details after the jump.

Bottle Themed Baby Shower Poster

L Cupcake TowerAngelique Euro Cafe Personalized Menu

Milk Bottle Mimosas & Bell Jars

Polaroid Sign-In Book

Books in Place of Cards

Sweet Child of Mine Espinoza Brew

Mom & Dad-to-BeBrighthouse Baubles Bracelet & Heart Manicure

LME Cupcake Tower

Not Just Cakes by Patty Guava Cupcakes

Event details: 

Event Setup Assistance: Events by Francesca, Location & Catering: Angelique Euro Cafe, Cupcakes: Not Just Cakes by Patty, Milk Jar Favors: Beau-Coup.com, Centerpieces: Hydrangeas & Spider Mums from Berkeley Florist Supply in Miami set in Ball jars, Heart Manicure by Miya at Portfolio Salon, Chunky Pave Link Bracelet from Brighthouse Baubles, Flowy Top by ASOS Petite.

All photos and graphic design details courtesy of dad-to-be Tony Espinoza

 

Big City Moms Miami Recap

Sweet Dough

As if my recent waddling or growing belly weren’t already driving the point home, attending the Big City Moms Biggest Baby Shower: Miami event made it overwhelmingly clear that I am, indeed, incredibly pregnant. I’m no longer in that in-between maybe-she’s-just-packed-on-a-few-extra-pounds stage. I am fully, recognizably preggo with the hormone surges to prove it. But so were all the other attendees at this event and it made me feel slightly normal for a short while.

But attending this event as a first-time mom-to-be was also incredibly educational. I thought I knew what my baby needed until I took a stroll through the seemingly endless rows of vendors and discovered there’s a whole world of new essentials our parents didn’t need but certainly could have used to make their initial parenting years a whole lot easier (Zippyz and Bibbitec, anyone?). Below, I give you some of my standout products (and maybe some gifting ideas for yours truly!). Have you tried any of these products? I’d love to hear what you think.

SOME FAVORITES:

1) Tutti Bambini: A one-stop shop for all things baby, including classes, baby planning, and maternity concierge services.

2) Sweet Dough: Custom cookies, pastries and sweets.

3) “O” Pops by Angie: Custom (and really delicious) cake pops.

4) Project Nursery: Inspiring style for baby’s first room and beyond.

5) Daddy Scrubs: Scrubs and gifts for the expectant dad.

6) Zippyz: Onesies that zip (instead of snap) from foot to belly, keeping your baby warm and comfy through diaper changes.

7) H.O.L.D. Couture: Maternity and post-maternity shapewear. (Not pictured)

8) Give Wink: Baby needs and customizable gifts.

Big City Moms Baby Shower Miami

Sweet Dough & Pops by AngieMaxi Cosi

Project Nursery

A Peek in the Pod

Daddy Scrubs

Daddy Diaper Changing Toolbox

ZippyzTutti Bambini

Tutti Bambini

Give Wink

Mad-Men-Aly-Blog

P.S. I had to include my preggo Mad Men alter-ego image, created by none other than my baby-daddy. Totally irrelevant but still kinda cute; especially the way she’s still wearing full pumps when I clearly slid across the room last night in nothing more than a glorified kitten heel. Ah, the joys of pregnancy.