I first ventured into clean makeup by accident; I stopped into a local beauty shop and saw a convenient all-in-one palette. We were about to travel to France and I recognized this as the perfect opportunity to streamline my makeup bag for the trip. It was icing on the cake that the products were non-toxic.
But when I became pregnant a few months later I actively began seeking safer, healthier options for both skincare and makeup. I wanted to reduce the amount of toxic ingredients I exposed my daughter to while I was pregnant with her. But since she was born, I began noticing how many times a day I snuggle my face against hers or kiss the top of her head. The risk of exposing your child to harmful ingredients doesn’t end when you give birth. I’m not too strict about it – I still use products that aren’t 100% clean. But each product I’ve switched out makes a difference.
I apply the cream products with my fingers, except for the foundation which I apply with a BeautyBlender sponge dampened with organic rose water. The rose water helps reduce redness and irritation while boosting hydration. Have you tried any great clean makeup products?
It’s hard to believe it’s been four weeks since I gave birth to my daughter. Looking back, there are so many things that helped me toward the end of my pregnancy and I knew I wanted to share them with women going through the same thing. As with anything regarding pregnancy, please check with your own midwife and/or doctor before you begin taking any supplements or using anything topically.
I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to switch to a completely nontoxic skincare routine during pregnancy, but each product you can switch out during your pregnancy will be a positive change for both you and your baby. I’ve often read that our skin absorbs about 60-65% of whatever is put onto it. You can always switch as your products run out or set aside your old products until after you give birth. I felt more comfortable going nontoxic (with a couple pregnancy-safe options) and I wrote all about my pregnancy skincare routine in this blog post.
I used a variety of supplements throughout my pregnancy – some specifically recommended by my doctor and some I found through doing a little research online. I believe this combination of supplements made a difference in my overall health during pregnancy and some even had an effect on preventing any stretch marks. I would also add that a large amount of water was crucial as well; I’ve never drank so much water in my life! During pregnancy, I drank around 90 oz. each day. It’s important to continue using any vitamins and supplements during your postpartum months; your body has gone through so much and needs the nutrients to replenish those lost during the previous nine months.
Stretch Mark Prevention
When I became pregnant I knew I wanted to begin preventing stretch marks as early as possible. Through a little research and experimenting with different products, I came up with a routine that prevented any stretch marks from forming throughout my pregnancy and after. I know I’m predisposed to stretch marks because I noticed tiny silver lines showing up on my hips during middle school when my body began to change; this routine has even faded those lines and I can no longer see them. I just shared my routine with a newly pregnant friend and I wanted to share it with you as well. I can’t guarantee it will prevent any stretch marks (because I do think a large part of that tendency is genetic) but it can only help and hopefully will fade existing stretch marks or prevent new ones from forming during pregnancy.
First Trimester… Begin drinking lots of water and taking fish oil vitamins each day. Then use a creamy, moisturizing body butter like Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter at least once a day. The Shea Butter and Vitamin E begin to hydrate and prep your skin for all the stretching to come. I used this each night as part of my nighttime routine (on chest, belly, and hips) and used it until the container was gone, then I moved on to the below routine.
Second and Third Trimesters… I kept taking my fish oil vitamins, but began using a scoop of this Marine Collagen Powder each day in my morning coffee or smoothie to give me a daily boost of collagen. After my morning shower, I would rub this Mustela Stretch Mark Prevention Cream into my chest, belly, and hips. (I tried to only shower once each day to help preserve the natural oils our skin makes.) And at night I would rub oils into my chest, belly, and hips before I went to bed. Sometimes it would take fifteen or twenty minutes, but I rarely skipped this. I think any oil would work; the important part is massaging more and more into your skin until it doesn’t absorb any more. Some of my favorite oils I used were Biossance 100% Squalane, Osea Anti-Aging Body Balm, Nuxe Dry Oil, and a honey oil by My Sweet Honeybee I picked up at a local market. To keep these oils from staining your clothes or pajamas, try wearing one of these stretchy camisoles or stretchy slips.
I also began adding La Mer The Body Crème on top of the oil at night toward the end of my pregnancy. I’ve sworn by La Mer to heal my skin for years now.
Postpartum… Continue using the rest of your creams and oils on a daily basis until they’re gone – or even after. Your skin is shrinking back and needs to retain its moisture and elasticity. I’m a month postpartum and still use my fish oil pills, collagen powder, and daily oil. I’ve had friends who developed stretch marks after delivery as their skin began to quickly shrink so I think giving your skin some extra TLC postpartum can only help.
Without a doubt, my most worn item during pregnancy was this support belt. I have had a lot of pregnant readers message me on Instagram asking about how to prevent back and pelvic pain and this is it. This wrap helps lift and support the baby and even comes with a removable pack at the back that can be heated or cooled depending on your preference. I wore it all the time during my second and third trimesters.
In the last month or two of pregnancy and postpartum, I really appreciated these soft maternity bra and panties. While not necessary, there was something so comforting about having extra soft undergarments with plenty of stretch.
It’s nice to have soft, cozy pajamas when you’re feeling your least glamorous in the hospital! Depending on your delivery and if you’re planning on breastfeeding, you may prefer a nightgown or pajamas. I treated myself to new pajamas for the hospital and for that first week or two at home when I just wanted to snuggle my new baby. I tried to order pajamas I wouldn’t mind my family seeing me in – the Barefoot Dreams cardigans made them seem a bit more presentable and my baby loved snuggling me when I wore them too.
And for beautiful dresses that feel just as comfortable as loungewear, try Rachel Pally. I have been living in her silky soft pieces!
I read so many “hospital essentials” posts before I gave birth to my daughter. I have to say, I didn’t use half of the things those posts and articles suggested. Every hospital is different, but our hospital provided everything we needed for both myself and the baby. I brought the comfy pjs I talked about earlier, a pair of slippers, and the things I needed to get ready. For Georgie, I simply brought a few newborn outfits and the swaddle and knit blanket I wanted her photographed with since the hospital has a photographer who comes by the day after you give birth.
The only extra things I can recommend bringing are a facial sheet mask to combat dryness post-birth and to make you feel a bit more human. And a soft, warm blanket since the ones the hospital provides aren’t very cozy. I brought this one and my baby still loves snuggling in it with me; I think she remembers feeling that as we snuggled those first two days together.
Without going into too much detail, one of you gave me the tip to purchase disposable underwear for the hospital and postpartum. These are great because they’re more comfortable and functional than the traditional pads the hospital provides.
Lastly, I cannot recommend stomach binding enough. I know everyone is different and you should ask your doctor before using a binder, but it made my stomach shrink faster and helped me feel more secure. I asked my nurse for a binder and to help me put it on in the hospital then as my stomach shrunk I switched to progressively tighter versions. (I wore a similar binder months before our wedding to give me a small waist.) Now there are so many options for postpartum binders and corsets – some even attached to underwear. If you don’t want a full binder or corset, try one of the supportive postpartum tanks or undies to give you a bit of compression.
I knew I wanted to bring some type of gift for the labor + delivery and postpartum nurses in the hospital when I had my daughter. I had seen other people do this type of thing for their delivery and I thought it was such a nice way to thank the professionals taking care of my baby and I. After you have a baby, these are the people that make you feel human again and even show you the proper way to care for your newborn. After having a baby I can tell you thatno one deserves being thanked like these people do! The staff at the hospital did so much for my baby and I.
My mom and I prepared a bin of goodie bags the week before I gave birth. Below I’ve listed what we put in each bag. We tried to think of what nurses who work long hours and are constantly washing their hands might use or like, but you could ask for specific ideas when you do your hospital tour.
Coffee Gift Card
We also prepared a bin of snacks. These snacks can be used by you, your visiting family, and nurses that stop in to check on you. I just chose what I was craving at the time – and had the energy to chase down while 38 weeks pregnant. It’s nice to bring something like this for the nurse’s station as well to share with the other nurses on the floor.
Both of these bins were supposed to be kept in my room but my husband didn’t know and in the hustle and bustle of our arrival he ended up bringing everything to the nurse’s station. I would recommend keeping them in your room because otherwise (depending on the size of your hospital) you might not have enough gifts. We had 2-3 nurses for each 12 hour shift and I stayed in the hospital 2 nights. If you have any complications you may end up staying longer, so keep this in mind. Err on the safe side and you can leave the extras at the nurse’s station when you leave.
We wanted my baby shower to be a celebration of femininity and the bond between mothers and daughters. I asked my friends with daughters to bring them and two of my best friends even flew in to help organize and celebrate. My mom and I said over and over again that we would not have been able to pull this off without their help in the days leading up to my baby shower. My local bestie even ended up going straight from the doctor for an eye injury to my shower that morning. I have been blessed to have women like this in my life and I am so grateful. From my grandmothers to my mother, aunt, friends and sorority sisters… I have truly been lucky to witness the powerful link between women who love and support one another and I am so looking forward to bringing another little woman into the world. This baby shower was a celebration of that little woman and her induction into our little tribe!
I also have to thank Table 6 Productions for planning the shower of my dreams; they planned my wedding as well and each time they organize an event for me it is exactly what I envisioned – only better. This time, we wanted to create the feel of an English garden. My little Bunny first came to be during a vacation in England and Wales and we thought it was only appropriate to surround her with things inspired by that place as well asmy love of gardening. You’ll also see a few nods to Beatrix Potter at this baby shower – because who better to represent an English garden than Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck?
“Bunny”. I have received so many questions about this nickname I’ve given my daughter. It will not be her real name and is no different than people calling their baby bump “Peanut” or “Grape”. My placenta was in front of the baby, making a bit harder for me to feel her movements, and her first kicks felt more like bunny hops to me. Soon I began referring to her as “Bunny” and the name just stuck! We do have a list of favorite names I’ve been working on since before we were even married… But John has been insistent that we wait to see the baby before choosing her name. This does make me a bit nervous, but I am trusting him and hoping that our decision is an easy one once she arrives. Nonetheless, the “Bunny” nickname worked well for the English garden themed baby shower and my sweet friends have embraced it by gifting my little girl bunny-embellished outfits and precious bunny dolls.
As people walked up to the conservatory where the baby shower was held, they were given a Wishes For Baby card and invited to sign the baby’s Peter Rabbit book. If you organize an activity like this at the beginning of an event, you won’t forget later on and it can be a bit of an ice breaker as guests mingle with people they may not have met yet. Looking back through these handwritten cards was so sentimental for me; I’ve saved them and will make a little scrapbook out of them for the baby.
Instead of a long or more involved baby shower game, I knew I wanted a floral arranging class at my baby shower. I thought it went well with our theme, but the reason behind it was also a bit selfish… I had been going to events promising “flower arrangement classes” for years and they were usually simply a florist handing out arrangements they had already made. I wanted a real class that would teach my guests and I something in the process. And the guests’ floral arrangements could be brought home as a gift to them from us. Newberry Brothers gave an incredible floral arranging class filled with so many tips and tricks I never knew before. They were patient and gentle with those of us who were beginners and it made for a really pleasant experience. I can’t recommend them highly enough!
My mom is fantastic at events; she loves hosting parties and she somehow thinks of every detail. For the little girls at my shower, she planned a beaded necklace + bracelet making activity while the adults took the floral arranging class. She also put together the sweetest party favors for our guests, including pearl mommy-and-me bracelets she made for the mothers and daughters. It kept the littles busy and was such a nice touch to the baby shower. Although I was exhausted and my feet were so swollen, I didn’t want the day to end!
I’d say about 75% of my pregnancy wardrobe consisted of non-maternity pieces. (I’ve shared my favorites in this post: Best Non-Maternity Clothing for Pregnancy.) But there were some times when non-maternity clothing just didn’t work – tops were too short and jeans were too tight around the stomach. I wanted to write a post to share my favorite maternity clothing, so my pregnant readers could combine both posts to help them curate their perfect maternity wardrobe.
While I was able to find a few non-maternity undergarments that worked well during pregnancy, I think it’s worth the investment to have a few maternity options especially during the last few months and for postpartum. I’ve linked my personal favorites in the slide down below, but if you focus on soft and stretchy options, you can’t go wrong.
I would also recommend getting a maternity slip to prevent stretch mark creams and oils from getting onto your clothes during the day. And for the same reason, I invested in some comfy nightgowns to wear at night. As my pregnancy went on, I began to use more oil to prevent stretch marks and it was difficult to prevent these products from staining my pajamas. It’s worth it to have a couple of maternity nightgowns you can wear throughout your pregnancy and toss after you give birth or stop nursing.
I had a lot of pelvic pain starting about halfway through my pregnancy and it became more difficult to do the things I loved like gardening and going on walks with the dogs. I started taking pool classes and just going for walks back and forth across the pool or kicking with a kick board and it was a lifesaver for me. I recommend investing in a nice maternity swimsuit – it will make you feel comfortable and you won’t be tugging at it while you swim.
Maternity Tanks + Tops
As I mentioned in my Non-Maternity Clothing post, the main problem I had with non-maternity tanks and tops during pregnancy wasn’t the width, it was the length. I recommend investing in a selection of basic maternity tanks and tees for this reason. You can wear them alone or layer them under shorter non-maternity tops if you need.
I started showing early – at about three months. I could wear my more stretchy and looser-fitting jeans in the first few months, but soon they became too tight on my bump to feel comfortable and I needed to invest in some great maternity jeans. If I were to rank the maternity pieces I think everyone should have, jeans would come in at number one. I wore mine all the time. I’ve linked my favorites in the slide below. I recommend ordering true to size, but if you’re in between sizes go with the larger because by the end of the pregnancy you’ll be a bit more swollen and usually end up carrying some weight other places than just your bump. I’m planning on wearing mine after I give birth while my bump is going down.
It’s strange, but while pregnant I’ve loved wearing more fitted dresses. I thought I would want to hide my larger shape, but I’ve felt really feminine during this pregnancy and I think showcasing the new bump can be so beautiful on women. If you’re pregnant, I urge you to try just one body-con dress and see how you feel. I think you’ll be surprised! I always received the most compliments when I was wearing a fitted dress during my pregnancy. Body-con dresses are not only beautiful during pregnancy, they are really comfortable as well. This is another item I’m planning on wearing post-pregnancy as my bump goes down; maybe with a cardigan on top as the weather cools down.
Once I found out I was going to have a little girl, my mom and I couldn’t resist starting on her little closet. I think, for any lover of fashion, there is just something special about seeing a tiny human in little dresses and miniature shoes. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t been hoping to dress a daughter of my own for most of my life. So between my mom and some of the sweetest friends, Bunny’s closet took shape and suddenly I was swimming in tiny smocked dresses and mini mary janes. But as I’ve learned with my own closet, organization is important and often has to be adjusted as you figure out what you actually use and what you don’t. So this is my little Bunny’s closet after a bit of tweaking, but before we actually discover what works best to keep her things in order. Excuse the rough lighting in here – I think was this was the most difficult area of our house I’ve ever photographed.
Two of the large Rutherford Storage Baskets in ‘Whitewashed Natural’ with White Ruffled Cotton Storage Liners. One empty to slowly add clothing my baby grows out of before boxing it away in our storage room. And one with her 6 months and up shoe collection. (We’ve been out of control, I know. First baby… Give me a pass this time.) One thing I will say about these baskets is they’re not what I would call ‘whitewashed’ at all; my mom’s decorator was in town installing the nursery recently and mentioned that she considers them grey with a soft sage green tint. This happened to work well for us since I’ve incorporated a lot of green in the nursery, but take note if you’re expecting them to arrive white or cream.
I’ve found that the top shelf of a closet works especially well for decor items. I’ve tucked a little embroidered sun hat and a wooden bunny rabbit in a corner. And on the opposite side I’ve placed a photo box from a sweet friend with a teddy bear my husband gave me while we were dating and a pink hat from Rachel Riley on a hat stand.
I decided to keep the baby’s more casual onesies, pajamas, and socks we will be using often in her changing table/dresser. But I’ve hung everything else in her closet, organized from Newborn to 6 with these pretty closet dividers. (Nice that they come in a variety of sizing options too.) I used a mix of pink velvet hangers and puffy floral print hangers for knit or delicate items but I did keep in a few rogue Bunnies by the Bay hangers because they are too darling to throw out!
And I added this Bunny Print Canvas Hamper to hold the stuffed animals I am passing down to her. We’ve decided to make an extra bedroom into a playroom to help contain all the larger toys and plastic things little ones seem to accumulate, so I’m thinking of moving this hamper to that room as she gets a bit older.
I became interested in clean beauty about a year ago when I invested in my first non-toxic makeup products. Before that, I sort of imagined “clean beauty” as lackluster hippie-embraced products that couldn’t visibly improve skin and probably didn’t work well in makeup application. But after my first foray into all-natural products, I was pleasantly surprised and open to diving deeper into the world of clean beauty.
When I became pregnant, my mom encouraged me to switch up my skincare and begin using non-toxic products. This wasn’t easy for me – if you’ve followed me for long, you know that I’ve struggled with allergies and sensitive skin in the past few years and have only recently sorted out my skin issues. I was concerned my skin would take a step backward, but I was committed to making safe changes for my baby’s health. And I began wondering… If a product isn’t great for her, why would I want to use it? I once read that our skin absorbs about 65% of whatever we apply to it; that’s a lot of product we absorb each and every day. I was excited about making the switch for both my daughter and myself.
When making the switch to clean skincare I suggest doing a little at a time – it’s less wasteful and your skin will be able to slowly adjust. As you run out of products, replace them with non-toxic alternatives. And give each new product at least two months of consistent use to see a difference. My skin was fairly broken out at the beginning of my pregnancy due to hormones, a lack of allergy medicine I was no longer allowed to take, and all my new skincare products. But within a couple of months it had evened out and I began getting compliments on my “glowy” skin. I’ve been using the products below throughout my entire pregnancy and have been pleasantly surprised. Just like with food or anything else – there is a balance to this, but each switch to a healthier alternative you can make is worth it.
Hairsprays often contain toxic polymers and solvents, release volatile organic compounds when heated, and clog pores. My dermatologist suggested I use this clear plastic facial shield when spraying hairspray. I knew that I wanted to use a clean hairspray alternative as much as possible during my pregnancy and I chose this medium-hold non-aerosol spray derived from sugar cane extract.
Review: While it took a bit of time to get used to the spray vs aerosol application (spray this from at least a 6″ distance to avoid making hair damp) I did end up enjoying the light to medium hold this hair spray provided and the overall lack of fumes. For date night or days when I need my hair to last all day I will probably use my old toxic can of hairspray. But I plan on keeping this clean hairspray on hand for everyday use.
Pregnancy-Safe vs Clean Skincare
There is a difference between pregnancy-safe skincare and clean skincare and in this article I will be focusing on the latter because the two don’t always overlap, as I mention when discussing the daytime moisturizer down below. My doctor did okay three skincare products from iS Clinical which are pregnancy-safe and I continued to use these throughout my pregnancy, although about half as often as I was using them prior to my pregnancy. If you are pregnant, be sure to bring these products in for your OB to okay.
This cleanser is 100% natural, comes in recyclable packaging, and smells like a beautiful green blend of healthy botanicals when I apply it. It contains Broccoli Extract to purge impurities and fight free radicals, a Purple Clay Complex to absorb dirt and oil, and Papaya Enzymes to gently exfoliate skin.
I use this cleanser at least once a day, but always at night. I run my hands lightly under the water before applying two pumps of cleanser to my dry skin; it melts off makeup and sunscreen as it transforms from a creamy gel to an oil.
Review: This cleanser makes my skin feel like I’m doing a mini spa treatment at home each night. It removes makeup and cleanses my skin while somehow making my skin feel hydrated. Some nights I wouldn’t even apply anything else after. I will definitely continue to use this product!
I switched to this gentle, alcohol-free witch hazel facial toner after I became pregnant. I prefer the rose petal formula because rose water helps soothe redness and irritation in sensitive skin, but there are a variety of formulas like lavender and cucumber. I apply this to a cotton pad and gently swipe over my skin after cleansing and before applying any serum or cream.
Review: I was pleasantly surprised by the gentle, soothing feeling this toner gives my skin while still managing to remove leftover traces of dirt or makeup. I am a convert and I’ll happily be continuing to use this as my toner going forward.
This is the product I’ve been using as my daytime eye cream. Just a little of this diamond-infused illuminating cream helps conceal my dark circles and keeps my skin moisturized all day. This product is particularly great for creating a dewy, glowing makeup look.
It contains Jave Fruit Extract to minimize puffiness and dark circles and Marsh Samphire to maintain hydration.
Review: Dark circles are always a struggle for me and having a product that helps me disguise these has allowed me to cut down on my makeup application time. I will continue to use this as my daytime eye cream.
Alpyn Beauty was created to combat the harsh alpine climate and its products incorporate the strong botanicals that thrive there, making it a great option for those who live here in Colorado. I chose this as my nighttime eye cream because it contains Hyaluronic Acid for moisture and Vitamin C and Licorice Root to brighten. It has a little illuminating shimmer, but not as much as the daytime eye cream I’ve been using.
Review: When I use this at night, I wake up with really hydrated and brightened undereyes. I find that it really helps with moisture and hydration specifically, so I will be continuing to use this even after my pregnancy is over and baby girl is testing my tired eyes!
This was one of the first products recommended to us when my mother and I went into the Aillea clean beauty shop here in Denver specifically for pregnancy-safe skincare. The product is 100% natural and is a fantastic daytime moisturizer. But while researching it for this article, I discovered that one of the ingredients may be controversial for use during pregnancy.
I noticed one website refers to an ingredient in this moisturizer, Willow Bark Extract, as a natural BHA (salicylate) which breaks down into salicylic acid if digested by the body. Salicylic acid is generally a no-no during pregnancy, but some doctors are okay with applying Willow Bark topically during pregnancy and some are even okay with daily applications of salicylic acid at strengths of 2% or less. Since we aren’t digesting Willow Bark and are simply applying it to the skin, this article explains that it won’t be broken down into salicylic acid. I think this is one of those pregnancy issues only you and your doctor can decide; weigh your pros and cons and go from there.
If I had realized this connection sooner I would not have used this product during pregnancy just to be on the safe side. That being said, this moisturizer is non-toxic, vegan, and 100% natural. It contains Saw Palmetto to gently mattify skin and control oil, the aforementioned BHA Botanical Blend to gently exfoliate skin and minimize pores, and Tazman Pepper Berry to calm redness and irritation.
Review: When I’m not pregnant, I will definitely continue using this product. It’s a light, silky moisturizer that keeps skin hydrated and balanced (no shiny t-zone with this one) all day and provides a dewy base under makeup.
Tata Harper Crème Riche Anti-Aging Peptide Night Cream
I’ve been a dedicated fan of the La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream at night, but when I became pregnant I left this product in my drawer just to be safe. I switched to the beautifully hydrating Tata Harper Crème Riche and found it to be the perfect night cream. It’s creamy, luxe, and each time I use it I wake up with dewy, plump, hydrated skin.
Crème Riche contains Hyaluronic Acid and Red Maple Bark to hydrate and plump skin and a Sugar Complex to encourage skin’s natural moisture production.
Review: I found the luxe, creamy texture and incredible hydration power to be on par with that of my favorite La Mer cream. However, I found that the La Mer cream softened and improved my skin texture with continued use, which I didn’t notice as much with this product. For a difference of almost $140 between the 1.7 oz Tata Harper cream and the 2.0 oz La Mer cream, I think it could be worth it to switch back and forth between the two each time one runs out.
The most hydrating, nourishing body balm I’ve ever tried. I would liken it more to a balm that melts into a deliciously thick oil on your skin. Acai, Babassu, Passion Fruit, and Raw Virgin Coconut Oils deeply hydrate skin while mineral-rich Patagonian Seaweed promotes skin elasticity.
My skin drinks this up! I apply it every night before I go to bed. Be sure to let product sink in or wear older pajamas when you use this; the oils can leave grease marks if you apply as much as I do.
Review: This product has been a godsend. I’ve loved using this during my pregnancy all over my belly and hips to prevent stretch marks. So many people I know have complained about an itchy belly during pregnancy but even at 38 weeks pregnant, I haven’t experienced that at all (even with an 8.5 lb baby in my belly!) and I think it’s due to this hydrating gem of a body oil. I will most definitely continue using this through my pregnancy and beyond.
I’ve always been an over-packer and my tote bag is no exception. I generally have one large tote bag for everyday use to carry on errands or while traveling, then I move a few essentials to various smaller bags if I want a different look throughout the week or during my trip. My family loves to tease me about my “luggage” I pack around with me, but the truth is there have been so many times someone needs something I carry with me and I can imagine this will continue once our little one joins our family. I’m just one of those people that doesn’t like to be walking around with a stain on my top after lunch or messy hands after a coffee spill or I touch a dirty door handle. It drives me crazy and I can’t think about anything else until I take care of it.
In this post I’m sharing the diaper bag I chose, the diaper bag essentials I’ve packed inside, the tote organization tools I’ve discovered and used over the years, and all the extra essentials I carry in my bag (and I have packed in my car!) and find myself reaching for all the time. What’s wrong with a little excess when it makes life a bit more comfortable?!
My Diaper Bag
I fell in love with the Louis Vuitton brand in high school when Newlyweds was on TV and Jessica Simpson was carrying around her Murakami white Speedy bag. I usually treated these bags very delicately and brought them out only on special occasions, but it wasn’t until law school I realized what workhorses LV bags actually are. I had about 50 lbs of books I needed for all my law classes which I packed into a large utilitarian backpack along with my laptop, but I found myself needing easy access to pens/highlighters, a bottle of water, a few snacks for the day, and a sweater for cool classrooms. The Louis Vuitton Odeon GM (you can see me wearing it in an IG photo here) became my new everyday bag and trust me when I say I put it through its paces! Exploding ink pens, spilled Crystal Light water bottles, and even an extra 2-3 books tucked into it throughout the day… It held it all in a convenient crossbody style without looking worse for wear.
My mom offered to treat me to a new diaper bag as a birthday gift this year. John and I had already purchased a personalized Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM in Classic Monogram the previous year and I had been carrying it nearly every day and stuffed to the top on all our trips, so it was an easy choice for me. I would have the Neverfull GM in Damier Azur for spring and summer (Rose Ballerine interior – I am having a girl, after all) and the Neverfull GM in Classic Monogram for fall and winter. This is a tote that I can use as both my purse and diaper bag. I feel confident in the durability because of my experiences with Louis Vuitton over the years and I feel sure of its ability to function as both a diaper bag and purse because I’ve been using my older Neverfull to function as both a carryon and purse on our international trips, packed full with souvenirs, my laptop, DSLR camera, and plenty of travel books. I’m nearly 5’8″ and I think the GM size looks appropriate on me (wearing it in IG photos here, here, here, and here) but I do occasionally pull in the sides when I have less in it for a smaller look.
Note: If you don’t like the way the untreated pale leather straps patina on the Monogram and Damier Azur color options, I would suggest the Damier Ebene version which has pre-treated leather trim that won’t show water spots or oil from your hands over time. I think the red interior of this version is a super cute touch as well.
The downside I hear about the Neverfull is that “everyone has one”, which is completely true. I see at least three of these bags every time I head to the grocery store or shopping mall. But… People do not buy these bags as fashion statements or to be unique anyway. They are gorgeous bags, but I would never tell someone to buy a Neverfull if they want to be extra edgy or push the fashion envelope. That’s not the point. Women buy them because they can accommodate anything they need to carry and consistently stand the tests of time and use as I’ve mentioned above. The straps and Neverfull bags themselves are actually tested by LV, filled with heavy weight, and slammed to the ground over and over again; you can rest assured this is a bag that will hold up to the strains of every day use.
One of the best parts about a Neverfull tote is how easily it can be dressed up. I added a Louis Vuitton Key Pouch to mine to keep dirty coins from staining or weighing down my wallet. (It also makes paying parking meters fast and easy if you live in a city.) And I tied on the Louis Silk Monogram Confidential Bandeau in Pink to the front for an extra girly touch.
Pre-Loved Louis Vuitton Odeon GM (Retired Style)
Pre-Loved Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM
Best Tote Organization Tools
So we know totes are great at being workhorses and holding everything we need, but they have a tendency to become black holes for all our things if there’s no system of organization involved. Yes, an organizer will add to the weight of your bag. But if you’re like me and carry a lot of things you’ll appreciate having everything in its place. I have several of these options and keep them on a shelf in my closet. I switch them out depending on my needs, the bag, and where I’m going.
If you’re looking for an organizer specifically designed to make your tote into a diaper bag, check out the ToteSavvy insert. I have the ToteSavvy Original Organizer in Blush for my Neverfull GMs; the organizer has eleven total pockets including an insulated pocket, key clasp, and washable changing mat. I like the handles that allow me to easily move the insert from bag to bag and the fact that my baby’s diaper essentials will only take up about half of the pockets, leaving room for my own things as well. I would personally use this whether I was using it in a diaper bag or not and would simply take out the changing mat.
If you want to go another route you can try a felt organizer that will help keep the shape of your bag and organize your things, but doesn’t include extras you don’t need like an insulated pocket or changing mat. I like the lightweight material of these organizers and the variety of sizes in case you need to free up a bit of room in your bag for larger items like a cosmetic bag or a camera or laptop. I have this felt organizer as well as this version with a zippered middle compartment but I can’t say that one is better than the other; I think you should pick based on the pockets and compartments you like. I’ve also heard so much about the Samorga bag organizers and just ordered one for my Birkin 35, but haven’t received it yet to compare. If you want the best of all bag organizers? Take a peek at the handmade-in-France, Alcantara beauties by 7 Rue Paradis; they take the cake for the ultimate in luxury bag inserts!
Already organized with lots of little pouches for your things? You might only need a flat bag shaper insert to keep the bottom of your tote bag firm and flat so things don’t tumble to the bottom and middle of the bag. I find I use this often with my Speedy 30.
Diaper Bag Essentials
Since I haven’t started using my diaper bag for baby purposes yet, I don’t feel I can share too many opinions about what one needs and what one doesn’t in a diaper bag. Instead, I’m going to include what’s already packed in my diaper bag ready to go and I can give a more in-depth review later. One thing I did focus on was having plenty of these little disposable diaper sacks, doggy-bag-like “baby bags”, and sealed wet-dry bags. I may not be changing my girl’s diapers yet, but I have seen enough to know that if I want my bag’s interior to stay ‘Rose Ballerine’, I need to protect it from disasters that will happen along the way!
I did include a shot of my portable changing pad we are planning on keeping in the trunk of my car. A friend suggested doing this in case my husband doesn’t want to carry the diaper bag with him constantly; he can either dash out to the car or toss this portable changing pad (stocked with diapers and wipes) into the bottom of the stroller. I thought it sounded like a great idea – we’ll see how it works.
Excessive Things You Probably “Need”
My husband is always amazed by the things I pull out of my “Mary Poppins Bag”. Need a wet cloth for your hands? Lens wipe for smudgy glasses or a smeared camera lens? Headache medicine? A hook to hang your purse? I have you covered! He’s learned to depend on my bag of tricks so much, he turns to me when he needs something and looks so disappointed if I’m carrying a small bag without all my usual essentials in it. Whether I’m just out for a day of errands or we’re traveling in another country, I rely on these items being at arm’s length.
The key to these items not weighing down your bag too much is to buy them in individually wrapped packages and stash them together in a small pouch or pocket until you need them. I’ve included all my must-have bag essentials in the slide below. Is it excessive? Sure, but you know what feels really great? Being able to pull out whatever you need whenever you need it. It’s the little comforts like this that make a difference… And make carrying a big tote bag 100% worth it.
I’m 35 weeks pregnant this week. In a way, I can’t believe it; I vividly remember being around 6 or 8 weeks and thinking this pregnancy would take an eternity! But it hasn’t and somehow I’m sitting here, wondering how soon I’ll get to meet this little girl of mine.
One topic I knew I wanted to share was how to wear non-maternity pieces throughout your pregnancy. When my mom and I went looking for maternity pieces the first time, I was horrified by the selection… Pajama-like materials that were sheer and flimsy. (Can you imagine a worse time in life for people to view your entire backside through your dress than while pregnant?!) While I have found some great maternity brands and pieces I’ll share in another post, I knew I didn’t want to splurge on a full wardrobe of items I’d never wear again or at least not for another few years.
Keep in mind as you read this post, I’m not a tiny person – I’m nearly 5’8″ and was at my heavier weight fluctuation when I became pregnant – so I’m proof that you can wear non-maternity pieces through eight or nine months pregnant without being a size 0. You just need to know what to look for.
When I first began showing, dressing my new body was tough. I had been an hourglass shape for so long, all my clothes had been chosen to accentuate my waist. Once our baby girl was growing and I was quickly losing my waist, I had nothing from my wardrobe to wear! So I set to work experimenting with different styles and brands to curate a new selection of clothing which I keep on a rolling rack to make getting ready easy each morning. Keep in mind, I’ll be giving birth this summer so these pieces are mostly for warm weather. But focus on the basic essentials and the overall silhouettes I mention and you’ll be able to translate some of these looks for winter as well. These are the tried-and-true pieces I’ve found… Follow my maternity hashtags #tcgbump and #tcgbaby for more.
Something I didn’t think about before pregnancy were which undergarments would fit me! Of course, there are maternity undergarments which I’ll cover in another blog post, but I wanted to share three non-maternity styles that I’ve been able to wear throughout my pregnancy so far.
Soft, Stretchy Bra
The Spanx Bra-llelujah Bralette was a favorite of mine even before pregnancy. I was checking out at Nordstrom one day and the woman ahead of me was buying four of these, telling the salesclerk she was getting rid of all her other bras. I had to try. And was immediately hooked! I was growing so quickly during my first trimester I did have to go up a size, but luckily the larger size still fits at 35 weeks. Note: This bra is currently on sale for $31.90 from $48 during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. If you’re looking for more sale favorites, take a peek at my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale blog post.
Low, Stretchy Undies
The Low-Rise Hanky Panky Undies were another pre-pregnancy favorite of mine. They’re soft and stretchy – perfect for wearing under loungewear or while sleeping. And I’ve found that during pregnancy, they just stretch with your body and are low enough to sit right under your bump. Note: This underwear style is currently on sale for $16.90 from $22 during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. If you’re looking for more sale favorites, take a peek at my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale blog post.
Soft, Stretchy Leggings
I have to credit my husband for this discovery. Apparently I was one of ten people on Earth who hadn’t tried the Lululemon Align Pants yet and he read an article by a woman who said these leggings were her most-worn pregnancy item. They’re super soft without excessive compression and somehow continue to stretch with my growing bump (our baby girl is now over 6 pounds!) without making me feel restricted or uncomfortable. I went up a size from my usual and they fit perfectly. If you’re taller like me and it bothers you to have anything resting on your bump, you can just push the Align Pants below your bump or go for a pair of maternity leggings in your last couple of months. My favorite maternity version are the Zella Mamasana Leggings, which go up over the bump and have slightly more compression than the non-maternity Lululemon version. I ordered a pair a size larger for my last month of pregnancy and then my regular size for wearing postpartum. Note: The Zella leggings are currently on sale for $42.90 from $65 during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. If you’re looking for more sale favorites, take a peek at my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale blog post.
Nude Stretchy Slip
I’ve had this Free People Tea Length Seamless Slip for years now. I like wearing it with fabrics that are a bit sheer or with dresses that are cut a bit low. But I’ve found myself wearing it all the time while pregnant. It prevents that dreaded Princess Diana silhouette-in-the-sun moment and it smooths everything while wearing clingy fabrics. Another bonus? It protects your clothing from all the creams and oils we slather our bellies in to prevent stretch marks!
Styles To Look For…
Long, Flowy Tunics
Little did I know one of the most challenging parts of finding non-maternity tops that work during pregnancy would be the length! A top can’t just be billowy and flowy… It has to have enough length to cover your bump. I find that loose tunic styles work best, especially if you’re taller. Plus, they look great with leggings and skinny maternity jeans. I’m planning on wearing lots of these loose tunics for postpartum and beyond as well. I’ve usually only gone up one size (or at least the larger of the two sizes I usually order) in tops during pregnancy.
For lack of a better term, ‘tent dresses’ have been my favorite during pregnancy. They’re roomy and comfortable and fit the bump the full nine months. And after your bump is gone, you can continue to wear these dresses (they look amazing with straw hats and chic leather sandals) or belt them for a more figure-flattering look. I typically go up one to two sizes in these dresses.
On the higher end, I have become obsessed with The Row. Their loose, billowy dresses are perfect for pregnancy and beyond. One day, I was feeling really pregnant and uncomfortable having been up for a few nights in a row with heartburn… And I splurged on a dress from The Row. It’s ended up being the dress I wear the very most and it looks great paired with silk scarves and linen jackets. I plan on belting it after my bump goes down and continuing to wear it.
I was surprised by how much I love fitted dresses while pregnant. I would typically shy away from fitted dresses like this pre-pregnancy even when I was feeling skinny or fit, but for some reason I love seeing the curves of my bump in body-con tops and dresses. Body-con pieces make me feel really feminine and I think they can be quite flattering on pregnant mamas! The ones I’m wearing are mostly old ones I’ve had in my closet for years, but I took a peek online and have found some I think would be perfect.
Favorite Brands and Pieces…
Lastly, I wanted to point out a couple of brands I have ordered from again and again during my pregnancy. The first being Gal Meets Glam whose large selection of empire waisted, flowy dresses are accommodating to bumps of every size! I even chose a Gal Meets Glam dress for my baby shower. I usually went up two sizes in Gal Meets Glam to give me a bit of extra room. Another favorite brand of mine is Boden whose British styles are equally classic and quirky.
The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (fondly known as the #NSale) is probably my favorite sale of the year. I’m a fall + winter girl, so when the July sun is searing down here in Denver there’s nothing that makes me happier than seeing the new fall sweaters, cozy coats, and chic boots. I use this sale both to stock up on essentials and basics like tees, underwear, and beauty products and to have a little fun with some new pieces for fall.
It’s obvious everyone else loves this sale just as much as I do. To reward its most loyal customers, Nordstrom opens up the sale a bit early to Icon and Ambassador status customers. Then it opens the sale up to any Nordstrom cardholder (if you’re a Nordstrom debit card holder like me, you still get access even though they only do the credit card now) and next week anyone will be able to shop the sale online. Items will sell out during the Early Access portion – I tried on the last pair of boots in the store yesterday. So if you have your eye on something, sign up for a card and shop when you can.
Early Access Icons + Ambassadors: Can shop in store July 9th and 10th and online starting Thursday, July 11th at 12:30 PM ET.
Early Access Nordstrom Cardholders: Can shop in store or online starting Friday, July 12th at 12:30 PM ET.
Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: Can shop in store or online starting Friday, July 19th through Sunday, August 4th. Prices go back up Monday, August 5th.
Home + Gifts
When I first heard about the Barefoot Dreams blankets, I wasn’t sure what everyone was raving about – how could it be so great? One blanket later and I’m a forever fan. These blankets (they now make loungewear too) are buttery-soft and come out of the wash looking like new. Since being pregnant, I never sleep without mine tucked underneath my bump or between my knees. This Barefoot Dreams Blanket in Stone was my first purchase during this year’s #NSale; I’m planning on bringing it to the hospital with me for a little extra comfort post delivery.
I’m not sure exactly what’s been going on with the silver picture frames in our bedroom turning an odd shade of pink, but even my best silver polish won’t improve it. I saw these gorgeous Mother of Pearl Picture Frames at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and I snapped them up right away. They’re the perfect blend of sleek and feminine and will go perfectly with the soft, serene colors in our bedroom. And they’ll replace the frames that have gone a strange tint!
I like to keep home fragrances like candles and oil diffuser reeds on hand for last-minute gifts. I stock up on these goodies and then stash them in my “gift cabinet”. Any time I need a birthday or hostess gift I can choose something from the cabinet and be on my way. A few of my favorites I came across during the sale? Antica Farmacista, Voluspa, and Anthropologie.
I couldn’t help but take note of the beautiful blue and white pottery pieces and Missoni Towels in this year’s sale. We have been trying to make room in our house for the little lady’s arrival, but if we had the space I would snap up that beautiful blue and white pottery in a heartbeat! And I think the Missoni towels would look so gorgeous in a sleek, modern or minimal home.
My favoritesection to browse during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is definitely the beauty section. This year I spotted a lot of my favorite beauty products and skincare gadgets; if you haven’t tried these items, I suggest you do. And if you’re looking to gift the beauty lover in your life, stock up now!
Dermaflash Set: Takes the place of dermaplaning with a facialist. Removes peach fuzz and the top layer of dead skin to help skincare products absorb better and makeup lay smoothly on skin!
BeautyBio GloPRO Microneedling Set: Brings professional microneedling to your home. I love this set because it includes the GloPRO, body attachment, and skincare products. It’s a great value and you’ll love the way your skin looks once you start using this and helping your skin build collagen naturally! Skincare products also reach deeper layers of your skin.
La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream: If you’ve been following me for a bit, you’ve probably heard me mention the skin allergies I’ve struggled with the past few years. This nourishing cream has truly healed my skin and keeps it hydrated even through harsh, dry Colorado weather. It’s pricey, but this jar will last you well over a year. And the changes I’ve seen in my skin are definitely worth it.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Duo: This is the brow pencil I use every day. I love the tiny little tip and the realistic brushstrokes it creates. After I fill my brows in I use the spoolie on the other end to blend the color. This set also comes with a clear brow gel.
Supergoop! SPF 45 Setting Powder: My favorite SPF powder is on sale during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale! I love dusting this over makeup or a cc cream and knowing my skin is protected; I even carry it in my bag to touch up throughout the day. The brush portion is magnetic, so you can pop it off to wash it and keep it clean.
Simplehuman Round Sensor Mirror: If you don’t have one of these, you need to invest in this right now. This item is a game changer. The first time I charged it and turned it on I spent an hour tweezing and picking at my skin because I realized I had missed so much using a regular mirror! It’s a lifesaver when applying makeup too. If you have the counter space, I would splurge for the Pro Wide View Version. It makes a great gift – I gave my mom one for Christmas last year.
NuFace Facial Toning Device: This product lifts and tones skin with frequency. I haven’t been using it while pregnant and I miss it so much! It really does tone and tighten skin, especially around the neck and jawline.
My beauty shelves are well-stocked at the moment, but I did pick up this giant Kiehl’s Body Fuel pump for my husband’s bathroom. And I’ve been eyeing this Clé de Peau Beauté Eye Set. If you’re prone to clogged pores like me, this Dr. Dennis Gross Facial Steamer I’ve been contemplating would be a great investment. Trying to hold myself back, but indulging in #treatyourself while pregnant is just too easy to do!
While I love putting together fun looks and getting dressed up, I managed to stay quite realistic during the #NSale and invested in items I really need and use currently, as well as pieces I see myself wearing in the next few months as a first-time mom to a newborn baby! First on my list was my favorite bra during pregnancy – the Spanx Bra-llelujah Bra – which has been a complete lifesaver! And to go along with it, a few new pairs of Hanky Panky Low-Rise Undies which have managed to stretch right along with my bump and are still the most comfortable option for me to wear at 8 months pregnant.
I mentioned these Nordstrom Lingerie Moonlight Pajamas when I listed a few of my first trimester favorites in my Pregnancy Journey blog post. They were my favorite pajamas before pregnancy and some of my favorite pajamas to gift to good friends. Putting them on at the end of the day is like giving yourself a hug! I grabbed two new sets in Purple Shake and Grey Pearl to bring to the hospital with me. You can go with your smaller size because these run roomy, but I love wearing oversized pajamas so I go with my usual size and have been able to wear them throughout my pregnancy!
Speaking of Barefoot Dreams, I decided to treat myself (see? I told you – blaming it on pregnancy) to two new cardigans. These are the coziest cardigans you’ll ever own and look equally great with a tank and leggings, over a pair of pajamas, or paired with a simple tee and jeans. I plan on wearing these often once the little lady arrives because they’re equal parts versatile, soft, and washable. I chose the Barefoot Dreams Circle Cardigan in Pewter Pearl and the Barefoot Dreams Long Cardigan in Black.
If you need a fresh pair of leggings, I suggest the Zella High Waist Live-In Leggings. They are my favorites for their flattering fit, easy-to-wash fabric, and all-day comfort. I have even given these to good friends as a gift!
To help with my allergies and keep our house clean, we don’t allow shoes in the house. Instead, I have a pair of slippers I wear inside the house and it seems I’m always needing a new pair! I love gifting cozy new slippers to my mom and aunt at Christmas as well. These Ugg Scuff Slippers are cozy and hold up well to every day wear. Definitely worth snapping a pair up while they’re on sale!
Most years, I find myself stocking up on lots of clothing during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I replace basics that were stained or damaged during the last year and often invest in the staple pieces of my fall wardrobe. Basic tees and knits (like this ribbed long-sleeve), cozy fall sweaters, and denim jeans are some of my favorite things to purchase during this sale.
This year I focused on sweaters and, to my surprise, coats. They were some really gorgeous coats in this sale and I ended up choosing three of them.
Halogen Wool and Cashmere Long Cardigan: I bought this in the Heather Tan Cobblestone color, which is a really flattering warm beige. These are the kinds of cardigans I pair with everything come fall and winter. They are great for everyday. I took my usual size.
Vince Cable Wool and Cashmere Sweater: I cannot resist a chunky fishermen’s style sweater and this gorgeous Heather Forest version is no exception. If you don’t have a cable knit sweater like this, I would choose the cream Marzipan color because it will go with everything. But if you’re always building your sweater collection like me, go for the gorgeous green! I took my usual size.
Nordstrom Funnel Neck Cashmere Sweater: I love these beautiful cashmere sweaters and pair them with leggings in the fall and winter. When we went on our trip to the U.K. last fall, I even wore this over a silk cami and shorts pj set. So chic! This one is gorgeous too. These run roomy, but I take my usual size since I’m a bit taller and love the oversized fit with leggings and skinny jeans.
Ted Baker Wide Collar Brushed Wrap Coat: I saw this coat in the beautiful Dusty Pink color and my heart melted! I love this color and I could imagine toting my baby girl around this winter in our matching pink. The fabric is so soft and the wrap fit is flattering. Ted Baker has different sizing (1-5) but if you look at the size guide it runs true to size!
Vince Camuto Lightweight Long Coat: Oh my gosh, this color. It’s the most perfect sky blue and I couldn’t resist. This coat is unlined, which makes it nice for fall days and layering. I noticed the website suggests going down a size, but I found the smaller size a bit narrow through my shoulders so I took my usual size.
This colorful tweed Halogen Shawl Collar Blazeralso made the cut. I plan on styling it with a Chanel brooch, skinny jeans, and a great pair of boots.
If you don’t currently own a Barbour jacket, I would take a peek at the Barbour Quilted Jacket in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I’ve owned one of my Barbour coats since I was eight years old – they really do last forever! My favorite color option is the Navy.
Ohhh how the shoe department gets me into trouble! During the #NSale there are so many great options, it’s tough to know where to start.
This year, I really tried to focus on shoe styles I’ve purchased before during the sale and ended up wearing constantly. There are always a couple of pairs of booties I buy during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale that I end up wearing all the time – for years! This year, I bought these Vince Booties in Cognac Suede and these Vince Camuto Booties in Black Leather. The Vince Camuto booties are a tad higher and the line is a bit slimmer through the foot. They both run true to size.
Update: Just ordered the Vince Camuto Booties in the Tortilla Suede color. These booties go with everything and it’s what I end up wearing the most throughout the fall and winter. I typically pair booties like this with a sweater or cardigan and jeans!
So many cute baby things! I’ll let you browse for your baby and gender, but I just wanted to share what I have my eye on for baby girl in case you’re having one too! If you’re in Denver, a lot of these items are not in store, so its best to shop online for the littles in my opinion.