Tips for Wearing Non-Maternity Pieces During Pregnancy

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Relying on non-maternity-wear during pregnancy, a season when your body changes drastically, seems a bit crazy. Depending on your existing closet, dressing your bump can either be a nightmare or a dream. This is my third baby (and baby bump) and naturally, I’ve learned a few things about what pieces work for my body while pregnant and which ones don’t.

One of the questions I’ve been ask most often throughout this pregnancy, especially as I approach the third trimester, is how I manage to keep my actual maternity pieces to the bare minimum and rely heavily on my pre-existing wardrobe. (Check back with me in a few weeks, when this bump gets huge, but for now, I’m trying to make do with what I have). Dressing with a baby-bump feels completely foreign, especially during your first pregnancy, and even though Pinterest makes pregnancy style seem effortless, it can oftentimes feel uncomfortable, bulky, and unflattering.

Everyone’s body is different and everyone carries their baby in a unique way, so naturally, there’s no one-size-fits all approach to pregnancy fashion, but I’m hoping that through sharing a bit of what I’m focusing on this time around you might be inspired to make do with your current closet and style your pieces in ways you haven’t before.

I’ll share a few of my “rules of thumb” for myself and then share a few brands I’ve found to be versatile and comfy enough for maternity wear:

Stretching your wardrobe:

  1. Rely on longer, over-sized silhouettes

    Obviously, as your stomach grows, your shirts won’t fit the way they used to. I’m in the phase of pregnancy where most of my normal t-shirts have made their way into crop top territory. However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that several of the tees and tops I already owned will still work for my bump simply because they’re cut longer and have more room in them. Look for “tunic” style tees or any tee that falls below your hips naturally, because it will fit you much longer than your other tees.

  2. Two words: Elastic. Waist

    Pants are where things get trickier. If you have pants with low, elastic waistbands, they will fit you throughout your pregnancy, most likely. Joggers, jeggings, low leggings, and even low-cut boyfriend jeans have worked well for me.

  3. Get creative with layers

    Layering, at least in the colder months of the year, will be your best friend. Don’t be afraid to experiment with layering a tunic under a shorter sweater, or tying a tee that’s too short to wear normally over a dress. Getting creative will extend your wardrobe in amazing ways.

  4. Don’t fear the “rubber band trick”

    I know, I know, it’s not glamorous. And at a certain point, it can become impossible or too uncomfortable (and never feel guilty about needing to buy a few pairs of cozy maternity pants at that point…) but thus far, I’ve been able to get away with “rubber banding” my jeans. It makes them easier to get on and off and is hard to see as long as your shirts are long enough to cover the rubber band.

  5. When you buy new pieces…

    1. Think about longevity

      If you do buy new pieces during your pregnancy, try to find ones that don’t necessarily look overly “maternity-y” so that you can get away with keeping them after baby arrives too.

    2. Shop secondhand for maternity-specific items

      There’s no need to spend money on a brand new pair of maternity pants that you’ll only wear for 6 months or less, when you can find the same options for a lower price when you buy secondhand. Poshmark and ThredUP have been amazing resources for me so far. Also consider borrowing from a fellow mama friend who may have kept her maternity pieces.

    3. Size up

      I’ve gotten several new pieces (non-maternity) from collaborations and as a general rule of thumb, I’ve been sizing up from my normal size to give myself a little extra length and room for growth. This will help me feel less pressure to “fit” into my old clothes right away after baby comes too.

6. Create a new natural waistline

Your natural waistline during pregnancy goes from your mid-torso to right under your breasts and above your belly. You’ll probably notice that most maternity tops and dresses have built-in definition around this area to help pieces become more flattering and comfortable. You can create these same definitions with pieces you already have too. Use a belt to create definition over a dress or top. Tie up a button up or tee shirt over a tighter dress to create a new waistline and flatter that baby bump. It’s not an exact science, but it’s fun to experiment with what works for your body.

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Brands to Love (pregnant or not):

The Natural Edition

This newly launched brand creates dreamy and soft basics that have worked like a charm for me. Their pieces are made with organic and natural textiles like tencel (my favorite) and organic cotton. Their Organic Cotton Breton Dress and Tencel Long Sleeve Pocket Top are both comfortable and stretchy enough to accommodate my bump without worrying that I’ll stretch it out too much.

Encircled

I’ve shared about Encircled lots of times (and don’t plan to stop anytime soon) because their pieces are the definition of versatility — especially as your body fluctuates through cycles or even pregnancy. Their Essential Long Sleeve Top is longer than most tops, and it is perfect for a baby bump. Similarly, their Chrysalis Cardi and Evolve Top (pieces I own and love) are adjustable and able to be worn multiples ways.

THOM KELLY

I partnered with THOM KELLY last year for the launch of their first collection and am so excited to share that their second collection (which includes the Sawyer Shirt from last year!) has just launched and is in the preorder phase. Their shirts are made from organic cotton and tencel and I’ve found that mine (ordered true to pre-pregnancy size) has more than enough room for my bump with length to spare, at least for now.

ABLE

Another brand that creates easy, versatile pieces is ABLE. I own several of their pieces and, even though I’ve had to put my jeans from them on “hold” until I can wear high-waisted pants again, I’m excited to wear my maxi dress from them once the weather warms up. Most of their pieces are stretchy and versatile enough to accommodate a bump.

Sotela

If you’ve followed me for almost any length of time, you know about Sotela. I’ve had the honor of following along with Hanna’s brand from the beginning, partnering with her several times, and this Fall, designing a dress with her and my friend Emily for Dressember. Her pieces are designed with the fluctuation of womanhood in mind, including pregnancy and breastfeeding. The Avery Dress and the Stella Jumpsuit are two of my favorite pregnancy friendly pieces.


How have you experimented with wearing non-maternity pieces during pregnancy? Have any other tips? Leave them in the comments!


*This post is partially sponsored by several of the brands mentioned above as part of a long term collaboration. Of course, all opinions, tips, and photos are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible!*

Where to Find Ethically Made Maternity/Nursing Bras

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Nursing bras and I have a love/hate relationship.

After breastfeeding two kids for a nearly combined 4 years of my life and, of course, adding a third baby soon to my boob journey, I’ve tried just about everything. There was the phase with my first when I stubbornly refused to buy nursing bras, because ew and because I was 20 and barely had time to discover normal lingerie before being thrust into a world of ultra supportive, ultra covering, ultra “mom-ish” undergarments. There was the phase with my second where just I gave up and bought cheap nursing bras at Target that wore out from literal days and days (and nights and nights) of wear at a time.

I’m not sure what “phase” I’ll go through with baby #3 yet, but I’m hoping it’s the “finds a few really high quality, ethically made nursing bras that also work post-nursing and never looks back” phase.

If you’ve breastfed a baby before, you’ll know that breastfeeding in typical underwire bras just doesn’t work (sorry, 20-year-old me). And most bralettes and sports bras are, simply put, unprepared for the amount of leaking, spraying, spiting up, and mess making that takes place in their vicinity. So, buying at least a few nursing bras will really, really, really make your life a lot easier.

But.

Finding ethically made ones is like finding a mythical creature that most people assume doesn’t exist.

I’m hoping this post will convince you otherwise.


What to look for:

A few notes before we dive into the bras I’ve found thus far about nursing bras in general:

  • In my opinion, maternity bras that are incompatible with breastfeeding (if you plan to breastfeed, of course) are pointless. When you shop, look for ones that will fit you during pregnancy (much easier to swing) that are also breastfeeding friendly.

  • You’re going to spend A LOT of time in these bras, so don’t be afraid to shop around, spend a little more, and keep looking/exchanging till you find the perfect fit.

  • I recommend getting mostly “comfy bras” and maybe 1 or 2 “big girl bras” with underwire for when you want to feel more like a human and less like a farm animal. I love breastfeeding, but I never said it was glamorous.


The Ethics of Lingerie:

Like with all ethical shopping, there are certain things people will prioritize when shopping. Aside from fit and compatibility with breastfeeding, the qualifications I’m hoping to meet for my nursing bras are:

  • Made from a sustainable (ideally organic) material

  • Made in responsible, traceable, ethical conditions

  • Fits a wide ranges of body types (so I can more honestly recommend them to you all!)

  • Is a practical bra that transitions well from pregnancy to postpartum and beyond.


My picks, this time around:


First up: Aside from the obvious conclusion that it’s really hard for me to take a photo without touching my hair, my next conclusion is about this sexy (yes, take heart, 20 year old me, I finally found a sexy nursing bra) bra from Azura Bay.

Azura Bay is a Canada-based lingerie shop collecting the best of sustainable and ethically made bras and undies from around the world in one convenient place. I’m wearing their Nikki Black Lace Nursing Bralette from Mayana Geneviere. The bra is great for pregnancy (soft, elastic waistband) but is actually designed for breastfeeding with pull-away nursing access.

The shop also has another beautiful and similar nursing bra, the Alexander Black Lace Nursing Bralette, that’s essentially the same bra without the longer lace trim.

I haven’t gotten any other nursing bras yet, but the following list are a few on my radar that I’m planning to add to my repertoire in the coming months:

  • 24/7 Bra by Boob Design: ($55)

    • This bra is made to be worn all day and night and has medium support, which is ideal for comfort. Really, I can’t recommend Boob more highly - I’ll be sharing more about them in the coming months, but if you’re pregnant or nursing, it’s a great resource.

  • Padded Daily Bra by Majamas ($39)

    • I’ve worked with Majamas before and, although they don’t have many bra styles to choose from, their mission is admirable and they’re empowering moms all over the world through their products.

  • None So Pretty Lace Nursing Bra by Mothers En Vogue ($36)

    • This is a Singapore-based brand that I learned about via Eco Warrior Princess. They’re transparent about their production and strive to use natural fibers but what most excited me was that their bras look like NORMAL bras.

  • Marvella Classic Nursing Bra by Kindred Bravely ($49.99)

    • Although not marketed as an ethical brand, I did some digging and spoke to their Customer Care team who informed me that KB only works with supplier and factories who meet strict ethical requirements (they visit their factories often and even told me their largest factories comet to visit their team headquarters as well). There is obviously room for improvement, but I would prefer to shop from a brand who knows where their clothes are made instead of a bigger “box store”. They utilize organic cotton in several of their products as well.

  • Jane’s Bra Top by Blue Canoe ($49)

    • Similar to the 24/7 Bra from Boob, this bra is meant to be comfortable and is made with organic cotton.

Shopping for sustainable lingerie in general is difficult, but finding options that are nursing friendly AND ethically made is almost impossible. I've rounded up a few of the best sustainably made nursing bras on the market - save for later or buy your favorite now!

Have you found any other places selling sustainably made nursing bra? Let me know and I’ll add them to this little list!


*This post was sponsored by Azura Bay as part of a long term partnership - all opinions and photos are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this world a better place*

My Babymoon Heroes || Azura Bay + A Few Other Brands to Love

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A “babymoon” might seem like the cheesiest thing a pregnant couple can do but, after two non-baby-moon pregnancies, taking a vacation during this one was one of my top priorities. The transition from two kids to three is daunting (less than one to two, but, any change is nervewracking) and I knew that AJ and I likely wouldn’t have the time to get away together for a long while after this pregnancy.

So, I saved up my money from this little job here and booked us a trip to Cancun.

And let me tell you right now, all of the cheesiness is gone from the term “babymoon” now. It’s necessary. It’s healthy. It’s smart to get away.

This was by far my favorite vacation we’ve taken together — we had no agenda, nowhere to be, no one to see or please. Just each other and the beach and lots (and lots) of food and virgin drinks. We didn’t take nearly as many photos as I planned; the sign of a trip well-taken, I assume, but it was a beautiful escape that I’d 100% recommend to any mom-to-be, whether this is your first or fifth babe.

I packed fairly light for our four day excursion, but one area I went a bit overboard on (intentionally) was with swimwear. I rarely get to wear my swimsuits, so when given the chance, I decided to bring three along, even though one was really all that was necessary.

Of all the pieces (all from ethical brands either new or secondhand), my Azura Bay pieces proved to be some of the best for the occasion.

What I wore:

Black & Gold Maria Bikini Set

Lemona Romper

Neither of these pieces are “maternity” but I love the extra room in the romper for a bump and, of course, all you need to wear a bikini is a body to put it on ;)

Azura Bay stocks ethical brands from all over the world, simplifying one of the most tricky aspects of ethical shopping: finding ethically made, affordable, and beautiful undergarments.

Other Trip Heroes:

Encircled Chrysalis Cardi: although I didn’t get any photos in this piece, I wore it on both plane rides as a scarf/pillow, and wore it as a wrap dress at the resort.

Sotela Stella Jumpsuit: this piece is a forever favorite for so many reasons. You all know my love for Sotela, and this jumpsuit is a true staple in my wardrobe. It’s bump and breastfeeding-friendly too!

Bikyni Set: One of my other favorite swimwear brands, I purchased the top a few years ago and they so sweetly sent me over a pair of bottoms for our babymoon.

QuiQuattro Turkish Towel: I’ll be sharing a full post on this brand in the coming months, but when I decided we were going to Mexico, this towel was the first thing I packed. I love using it at home too — so beautiful and functional.

Sseko Crossover Slides: The only pair of shoes I brought for the trip, other than the sneakers I wore on the plane were my trusty Sseko slides. I love this brand and everything they stand for.

We had such a relaxing, beautiful time and decided that we want to make it a yearly thing — likely with all three kiddos in tow next time ;)

Have you ever taken a babymoon? Tell me where you went!


*This post wasn’t sponsored by anyone, but some of the items mentioned were gifted as part of a long term ambassador partnership with the brands. Thank you for supporting the brands that make SL&Co. possible!*

Beating the Winter Blues || “The Jar” Method + 21 Ideas to Stay Busy

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I purposefully live in a place where it’s winter for the better part of the year. I also purposefully live in a 37 foot RV. These two “purposely’s” can lead to some wonderful adventures, but, in our four months in this tiny home, I’ve also come to expect the stir-crazies as well.

Regardless of where you live, winter can be long and depressing and, especially when there are children involved, leave you counting the days till the sun shines again. Whether you struggle with seasonal anxiety or depression or are just looking for a few ways to keep your family busy this winter, I thought I’d share a few of the ways I’m proactively staying busy with my girls to ward off excessive winter blues.

The Jar

After seeing this post from Erin Lochner, I decided to do my own take on “the Jar” for winter (and likely each season afterwards). I simply wrote down every activity I could think of on a strip of paper, folded it up and placed it inside an empty jar. Each day, or whenever the winter blues hits especially hard, I have my girls draw one piece of paper. Regardless of what the activity is, we have to do it that day.

The Jar forces me to get beyond my home-body nature and ensures that my five and three year old children are getting the activity they need to stay healthy and engaged in a small space.

It seems rigid, or maybe overly simplified, but when given the choice to go out or do nothing, I usually choose doing nothing. This option forces me to do things that my girls will love and not default to letting them play on their own or, honestly, just throwing a movie on when I get overwhelmed.

My list isn’t exhaustive, but so far, it’s been so helpful for getting us out (or at least doing something new inside) each day.

  1. Build a snowman

  2. Make a fort inside and watch a movie together or read books

  3. Write a letter to grandma (or a friend)

  4. Pick 2-3 toys/clothes/items to donate and go thrifting for a new treasure

  5. Get bundled up and go for an adventure walk outside

  6. Go swimming at the local rec center

  7. Schedule a play date

  8. Bake cookies

  9. Have a picnic on the kitchen floor

  10. Have an at-home spa day (complete with manicures from Handmade Beauty, of course).

  11. Make hot cocoa and watch a movie together

  12. Go to the park and play in the snow

  13. Take the pup on a walk

  14. Play Eye Spy

  15. Draw a picture of…

  16. Play a board game

  17. Make homemade play-dough

  18. Play restaurant

  19. Go to the library

  20. Do 15 jumping jacks

  21. Go sledding

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WInter can drag on, espeically when you've got kiddos to entertain. Here are 21 of our favorite things to do when the winter "stir-crazies" hit.

What would you add to your own Jar? How are you warding off the Winter Blues?



A Simplified Look at 2019 || My Plan for the New Year

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I don’t usually share my “behind the scenes” plans for this space. However polished or unpolished as it may seem, I usually feel like I’m winging it and, even three or four years later, struggle to stick to a consistent plan or schedule. So sharing that plan feels scary.

Although this blog has slowly become my job, I try really hard to keep it as relaxed and fun for me as possible because I know the second it gets too structured and full of “have to’s” I’ll resent it. That said, since it is a job, I’ve been treating it as such for the past few years and know that it will flop and I’ll end up compromising on quality and turn into a puddle of stress if I don’t have goals and structure.

So I’m sharing my 2019 goals to both give you sweet readers a heads up for what to expect AND to keep myself accountable.

Last year, I used my Pace and Pattern planner religiously and, of course, I’m so excited to use the 2019 version this year. I’ll be using it in conjunction with an Ink & Volt planner which is a bit more streamlined and minimalistic than the P&P. I love Pace and Pattern because they’re AMAZING at forcing you to sit down and create goals that will actually happen. It’s an all encompassing planning that allows you to focus on your life as a whole, with space to plan, schedule, dream, make mistakes, and reevaluate. (Side note* this post isn’t sponsored by either company, but I did receive both planners to share my authentic experience with you throughout the year.)

So, without further ado, here are my goals for 2019, both for SL&Co. and for my personal life. This year will be a big one — I’m having baby #3 in May, we’re hoping for me to work enough hours on my blog and freelance work that I can take over a lot of our income, providing us with freedom to travel and live “tiny”, and both my girls will be in school part-time this Fall, freeing me up to (hopefully) work even more on this space. I’m so excited for what this new year holds.


Goals for the SL&Co.

  • Focus on long term partnerships between fewer brands

    • This is so beneficial for so many reasons. Mostly, it allows me to dedicate my time and energy to promoting fewer brands who I really, really believe in and can develop a relationship with. Furthermore, it helps you all, my readers, to make more informed choices by watching how a brand interacts with my real life over a period of time, instead of in a single blog post. My collabs will run for 3 months or 6 months. I’ll likely still have “one-time” partnerships interspersed throughout each month, but I’m really hoping to focusing mostly on long term relationships.

    • You can always keep track of who my “Ambassador” brands are by looking at the footer of my homepage.

  • Collaborate with brands who aren’t strictly fashion related

    • As my lifestyle becomes more “conscious” I hope to incorporate more posts on living an all around “slow and conscious” lifestyle, from downsizing, to lessening waste, to tackling newborn life as slowly and intentionally as possible. As always, I LOVE suggestions for what would be most helpful for you to read about, so please, email me or message me.

  • Write more “authentically”/real life inspired posts/updates

    • Although sponsored posts take a lot of time, I’m hoping to mix more unsponsored content in this year as well as tailor my sponsored posts to feel less “review-y” and more “here’s how a piece fits into my day to day life”. My latest post with Encircled is an example of one way I can do this.

  • Work only (as far as it’s possible) with brands who prioritize extended sizing and inclusivity in their marketing and production

    • This issue of exclusion and sizeism has been on my heart for months and although I don’t quite know yet where my voice fits in the narrative, I’m hoping to consciously shed light on brands who create clothes for women of all sizes/budgets/backgrounds. It’s hard when I’ll be the one “modeling” them for my site, but I’m hoping textual review will be enough for now. If you have ideas of how I can do more, please let me know!

  • Host raw conversations and listen

    • This will primarily happen via Instagram, because I love the community there and feel it’s a great platform for hosting true discussions, instead of me “preaching” from my blog.

  • Start up a semi-regular (monthly?) newletter to share happenings, discount codes, thoughts from my heart that don’t make it on the blog, and more. (Sign up below!)

    • Bonus points for letting me know what would be most meaningful to you in a newsletter!

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Personal Goals

  • Tackle one zero-waste goal each month

    • Join me! Emily from A Day Pack and a few others have already expressed their interested in joining me each month with a new zero waste challenge. The goal can be personal to your own life, but I’ll be sharing my monthly “schedule” and my progress with the hashtag #InspiringZeroWaste

  • Journal through my pregnancy

    • I’m terrible at regular journaling, but I love to do it. Journaling during pregnancy has been therapeutic while I carried each of my babies.

  • Have regular “vulnerability dates” with my husband

    • I’ve realized that although when I write it seems to come naturally, in personal relationships, especially my marriage, vulnerability is really hard for me. These dates might be weekly or monthly, but I want to force myself to share something raw each time.

  • Practice more self-care that isn’t blog or work related

    • I’m hoping that making this a goal ahead of time will ingrain it in my mind when I’m deep in the haze of the newborn phase. Even now, I usually feel like work is my alone time and self-care (because I love my job!) but to be my healthiest and happiest I need more outlets than just blogging.


There you have it! I’m sure these goals will ebb and flow like they always do, but I hope laying them out here is encouraging and exciting to you too. I’d love to hear a few of your goals for 2019 in the comments and, as always, thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me and this little slice of the internet.