Pregnancy & Parenting | Newborn Must-Haves

Now that Rose is (almost!) 6 months (where did the time go?) I wanted to share my product experiences with you!

There is nothing more exciting than getting ready for your first baby (OK, spending time with your baby is more exciting). But with all the information out there on what you need for bringing baby home, it can be overwhelming. There is no better way to figure out what works for you and your baby than trial and error, but that can be both timely and costly. Every baby, mommy, and home situation is different so it would make sense that your list of baby items would be unique. So, I wanted to throw my two cents in there on what worked for me for the first 3 months (and what didn’t work) and give some “must-haves” an honest review. The items on my list are the ones that I couldn’t have survived without!

Be sure to read carefully for some coupons and discounts, too!

Let me know what you think in the comments section – have you tried any of these? Which was your favorite? Share your experiences with all the mommies out there.

I have personally tried all of these items and give them my endorsement – but remember, what works for my Rose might not work for your little one.  Some items in this post were given to The Miami Rose free for testing purposes, but all opinions are my own.


For Feeding

Boppy Pillow

This is a classic, tried and true. As tiny and delicate as your baby might be, your arm WILL get tired while feeding them. Or, in the very least, you will be so tired at your 3 am feeding that you just want to rest a bit. This item is also great for when your partner or family members would like to feed the baby – it helps with the proper placement.

Baby Brezza Formula Pro

I was unable to breastfeed, so I knew that I would need something that made formula mixing easy at 3 am. This is like a coffee maker for formula! It was a life-saver, and it continues to be one of my favorite products. It warms, measures, and mixes formula for you in 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10 oz increments. It is easy to clean and maintain, and so easy to use. My husband’s job is to make the bottles, so it gets him involved in the entire process.

Baby Brezza One-Step Bottle Sterilizer And Dryer

Although new research states that it is unnecessary to sterilize your bottles after each use like they used to, the idea of hand washing each bottle (and feeling comfortable that they were actually clean) had me uneasy. Plus, I didn’t have the time! This tool makes it easy to clean and dry your bottles and pacifiers with the comfort of knowing that they are perfectly sterile, with the touch of a button. All you need is distilled water, and you are ready to go.

Comotomo Baby Slow Flow Bottles

As I said before, I was unable to breastfeed, so I did my research on the most realistic bottle nipples out there. These are perfectly shaped, and have functional vents to prevent baby from swallowing air. Rose latched on right away and she has even started to try and grip the soft silicone sides. These are perfect for preventing nipple confusion as well. Tip: don’t screw on the tops too tight (my husband has a habit of doing that). When I attempt to take the top off to heat up the formula, it creates a suction and it becomes hard for me to take off because the ring itself is a smooth, slick material. The only part of the bottle with a gripping texture is the bottle base, which is a squishy silicone.

Twistshake Anti-Colic Bottles

Use code jessievbu20 for 20% OFF your order at Twistshake, plus FREE shipping over $25! Twistshake provided products to The Miami Rose free for testing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

These are perfect for when you are on the go, or not at home, and for preventing gas and fussiness. There is a small compartment inside for powdered formula (or a snack) so you can mix with water anytime. Their anti-colic nipples are also amazing – they have a design which prevents any bubbles from getting in the main chamber, which means baby won’t be swallowing air. Their slow flow nipple is slightly “faster” than the Comotomo, so if you baby is used to something slower, be prepared for a little dribble. Once they get used to the different flow, it makes nighttime feeding a breeze. Less burping, less time to eat, which means getting baby (and you) back to sleep as quickly as possible. Additionally, their colors are adorable, and it is fun to mix and match their pieces!

The Honest Company Sensitive Organic Infant Formula

After lots of research, I decided that this would be the formula for us to try. When we were in the hospital, they gave us the pre-mixed Enfamil, which worked out well also. But I knew from the start that I wanted to try this formula with Rose. It is perfect for sensitive tummies, and the organic infant formula is carefully balanced and modeled after breast milk, and meticulously blended using non-GMO, naturally derived ingredients, sourced from trusted organic farms to help ensure quality goodness. Plus, I can bundle my purchase and it is delivered to my door as frequently as I need it.


For Sleeping

HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper

It is recommended that baby sleeps in the same room with an adult for about 6 months after birth. So, I hardly use her crib yet! I have loved this bassinet over the past 3 months. It keeps her close to me at night, and swings away when I need to sneak away quietly to the bathroom. It is so sturdy (and heavy!) that I don’t have any fears about it tipping over or breaking when I lean on it to take her out. One of my favorite and most-used baby products.

DockAtot Deluxe Stage 1 Docking Sleeper Station (also here)

Get $10 off all Docks at DockATot™ by clicking here!

I recently bought this after Rose was about 2 months. Max and I wanted to try a little co-sleeping, but wanted to be sure to keep her safe and secure. It is working out really well so far, and if we need to move her she is easily transferred to her bassinet (it fits inside the HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper) or wherever we want without waking her up. However, this is not something I would recommend if you are a heavy sleeper, or if you toss and turn a lot in bed – baby will definitely wake up!

Nested Bean Zen Swaddle

Nested Bean provided products to The Miami Rose free for testing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

After the first month or so, baby becomes a little less sleepy and much more active. This also means that it may become a bit harder to put baby to sleep. Rocking, swinging, singing, and swaddling are all great techniques – nothing beats a parent’s loving touch and attention. However, I was having an easy enough time getting Rose to sleep with these techniques, but a harder time KEEPING her asleep. That’s when I tried this unique swaddle. The Zen Swaddle simulates the pressure from your touch with lightly weighted pads on their chest and sides. Rose definitely slept longer and is currently sleeping 6-8 hours at night wearing this swaddle (2-4 months old)!

For Health

Owlet Baby Monitor

This – although it is not listed first – is my number one recommended product for new parents, hands down. Read all about the benefits and science here, and then go buy one here. Thank me later when you are relieved at the fact that you know with absolute certainty your baby is alive, breathing, and safe.

Nosefrida The Snotsucker Nasal Aspirator

This should be the gold standard for nasal suckers – why would they bother making them any other way? Throw away the one they give you at the hospital and get one of these handy tools. Easy to clean, great to use, and you can see exactly what you are getting!

The Honest Company Baby DHA

If you haven’t gotten the hint that I really like The Honest Company products, their mission, and what they have to offer, then you probably haven’t been reading. Check out the page for this product and read the science behind it.

Fridababy FeverFrida Thermonitor Baby Thermometer

This, like the Owlet, is amazing. Forget checking your baby’s temperature after they get their shots every hour. Stick this monitor under baby’s arm and watch from your phone how their temperature rises and falls. Even set alerts for when the temp gets too high and it’s time for Tylenol, and track their dosage for medications. This is perfect for kids of any age, and OK for sensitive baby skin.

For Diapering

The Honest Company Diapers and Wipes

The Honest Company Soothing Baby Bottom Wash

The Honest Company Diaper Rash Cream

Diaper Genie Essentials Diaper Disposal Pail

The Honest Company Hand Sanitizer Spray

For Bathing

The Honest Company Honest Healing Balm

4moms Infant Tub

Otteroo

Clothing Brands I LOVE

Carter’s

Rosie Pope

Victoria Kids

Little Poppy Co.

Baby Gear

Philips AVENT Pacifier

WubbaNub™ Pacifier Toy (also here)

I wish you could buy these in bulk – I keep 3 on constant rotation, and throw them in the washing machine when they need it. Rose loves gripping these and reaching for her pacifier whenever she needs it, which helps with her independence, self soothing techniques, and dexterity.

NüRoo Pocket

NuRoo provided products to The Miami Rose free for testing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

My favorite baby wearing product. It promotes skin-to-skin bonding so, yes, it is a shirt that you wear, so probably not convenient for moms on the go. It is perfect for around the house, snuggling, and those early newborn days when you want some freedom of movement but want that close contact with baby. The fabric is oh-so-soft and wicks moisture, too.

4moms mamaRoo

My husband calls this the ultimate parenting hack. Baby crying? Baby won’t sleep? Need a moment to yourself? Enter the mamaRoo. Easy to clean, too.

UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat (also here)

UPPAbaby Vista Stroller with Bassinet (also here)

The fact that I chose this stroller/car seat combo is my proudest mommy product brag: it is totally awesome. Not only does it fit multiple children, it is easy to use (and install), and has enough space on the bottom to do an entire grocery shopping trip. As soon as baby #2 is expected, I’m going to buy another rumble seat to match! This is my definite stroller of choice.

The Cocoon Co. Anywhere Swaddle

The Cocoon Co. provided products to The Miami Rose free for testing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

Rose loved to be swaddles when she was a newborn, and it continued on as she got older, so I jumped at the opportunity to use this swaddle. It fits inside any car seat so you don’t have to worry about baby getting too cold, or wiggling out of a tucked blanket.

 

Soon, I will be reviewing more products and must-haves for Rose at 3-6 months, so check back on The Miami Rose.

Fashion | Palm Print Pretty

Hello everyone! I took a couple of months away from the blog to readjust to working again after maternity leave, and boy do I have a debut #ootd for you! I am more than obsessed with this dress and can’t get enough of the palm print trend. All I need now are more opportunities to wear it…

Our spring break vacation down to the Keys was a wonderful opportunity for a trial run – in other words, what would it be like to take a trip with baby Rose? I am happy to report that it was a success! Aside from the fact that our car was packed to the brim with all of her necessities (i.e. travel crib, stroller, bottle sterilizer, formula maker, etc.) it went off without a hitch. I largely have my amazing husband to thank for the success and ease of this trip; not only did he do all of the heavy lifting, he was a great sport overall. He sat with us by the pool, got us drinks, sterilized bottles, made formula, took pictures (!), and drove us everywhere we wanted to go. The resort was also a great adventure with tons of family-friendly and adult-only activities – that will be coming later in another blog post. Overall, we had an amazing time as a little family and appreciated the perfectly mild weather, too!

I’m glad to be back on the blog and I promise I have even more exciting looks, posts, and announcements coming for you very soon.

Pregnancy & Parenting | Hospital Bag Beauty

When I set out to pack my hospital bag for Rose’s delivery, I knew keeping it simple was critical. I pride myself in being prepared and packing smart (check out my fashion itinerary tool, a printable for packing) so there was a lot of pressure to pack the perfect assortment of essential items. My clothes would consist of soft, comfortable nightgowns and robes with fuzzy slippers and uggs, so that was easy. But what to pack to make sure I looked better than I felt? With the abundance of visitors stopping by to see baby Rose and the many pictures I knew they would take, I couldn’t help that a part of me wanted to make sure I looked healthy and glowing. Here are a few of the things in my beauty bag that I loved when I was in the hospital.

Shampoo samples – on the offchance you have the ability to shower during your stay in the hospital, shampoo samples are the perfect way to go. You aren’t packing an entire bottle from home and adding to the bulk to your bag, and you are also getting to try something new, perhaps, which is a little luxury in itself. I packed two kinds, because I knew I would be there for three days, Tresemme and Hair Food.

Face masque – there’s nothing that refreshes your skin quite like a mask, and my favorite kind is a rose one. The scent is divine and the cool mask is gentle on the skin. I love the affordable Sephora brand Rose Face Mask and have used it several times since. It leaves my skin soft and rejuvenated.

Lip balm – no one likes dry lips, and in an environment like a cold, dry hospital, it’s bound to happen. During labor, or surgery, and through recovery, a good sturdy lip balm is a must. I prefer Burt’s Bees (any of their flavors) because of the fact that it lasts so long and provides great protection. You can even get one with a little tint to it!

Perfumed wipes – during the first day, I knew there would be a slim-to-none chance of me showering (maybe on day 2) so I had the luck of stumbling across Lancôme perfumed wipes. They were great for freshening up my skin without overdoing it with perfume. I definitely didn’t want to smell badly when people came by to visit our new family! In the situation of you probably not getting out of bed for a little while (and feeling pretty sweaty, sticky, and gross) these were lifesavers.

Breath strips – nothing annoyed me more than the feeling that I needed to brush my teeth or swish with mouthwash. But let’s be honest, this is way easier in a situation like this! Have a pack of Listerine strips handy instead of mints or gum.

Rollerball perfume – you may need some (or a lot) of refreshing while in the hospital, but trust me when I say don’t bring a spray. Try and find your fave scent in rollerball version. It’s perfect for travel and will prevent you from over-spraying. And, not to mention, you don’t want your newborn baby breathing in any of that excess. I chose Gold because of how warm and subtle it is.

Dry shampoo – maybe you can’t shower, or worked up a good sweat, and need some dry shampoo. A little sample size is perfect if you can find it, like this one from drybar.

Facial mist – a spritz on your face during labor or while you are waiting for the green light to take a shower may be just the thing that saves you. It can help to cool you down, serve as a light face wash, or moisturizer your pores in a dry, sterile environment. A great house is Honest Company’s beauty line, which is purely organic and simple for all skin.

Creme blush – going without full makeup is probably a good idea, since your skin will already be going through a lot. Worrying about your makeup is the last thing you will want once your baby arrives – all your attention will be on them. Give yourself a little color by utilizing a creme or gel blush on your cheeks, lips, and eyelids, too. Another great organic brand is Au Naturale. Their stick is great and has a bit of shimmer to pick up on your motherly glow.

Skin repair – hospitals aren’t known for having the spa-like environment, and your hormones will be going crazy as well. Starting some skin repair early on may help shorten the time period between bad skin and back-to-normal. If you tend to break out, be sure you cleanse. If you have dry, flaky skin like I do that needs moisture, try Perricone MD products for skin care.

Pregnancy & Parenting | Bedtime Routine with Nested Bean

I am learning very quickly that not only do babies constantly change in weight, size, and development, their sleep patterns are in a constant state of evolution in the first few months. At first, Rose was an easy newborn that slept most of the time. This was great since it allowed us to get used to her for the first month or so. But now as she is becoming a more interactive baby, her sleep patterns have varied. She began to stay awake longer, and seemed to not want to sleep – she might miss something important! At one point, she would only go to sleep in her car seat when driving somewhere or walking around in the stroller. I certainly couldn’t do that every time it was time for her to sleep, and I knew it wasn’t a healthy habit. I started to struggle with how to figure out a great way to put her to sleep. With her schedule always changing I wasn’t sure what to do. So, I did what a lot of new moms do, and I went to the Internet.

I’ve been constantly reading valuable articles that support the idea of a nighttime routine. Whether it be a bath, storytime, song, or rocking her, routines like these can help babies signal that it’s bed time, which allows them to begin to learn how to put themselves to sleep. Apparently, this is an important skill as they become more independent and grow. Nested Bean has great weighted products that you can use with baby – the weight on the chest and sides give the baby a feeling of touch. The small weight on the chest feels like your hands placed on them, and the two weights on the sides give them the feeling that they’re being held. You can read more about the science behind their amazing products on their site.

I started using the Zen swaddle for my nighttime routine just 4 nights ago and already I can see a difference. She’s starting to recognize now that this is going to be part of her bedtime routine. The weight helps her feel secure, and simultaneously gives her the signal that it’s time for sleep. By continuing to use this every night I hope that it helps her become a more independent sleeper as she grows into a big girl. I will keep you all updated, but for now, I’m in love with this product!


Nested Bean provided complementary products for this post.

Pregnancy & Parenting | NüRoo Pocket

This weekend I found that my life was completely saved by the NuRoo Pocket. Our A/C was broken for three days, and even though for the rest of the U.S. it is winter and that wouldn’t be much of a problem, it’s still hot here in Miami! It was a stagnant 78 degrees in our house, so I knew I had to get out of there with the dog and the baby until the air got fixed. Thankfully, my in-laws were so hospitable and allowed us to crash at their place during the day and at night. They had a travel crib and changing table, but during the day I used the NuRoo Packet, which allows you to spend more time skin-to-skin with baby.

The NuRoo Pocket is designed to go on like a shirt and eliminates wrapping, tying and knotting to make babywearing a breeze. I have seen other moms use wraps and it just looked so complicated to me, not to mention time consuming to go on and take off. It is also incredibly soft with the use of flat lock, seamless stitching. The fabric is designed to create a compression fit that hugs baby to your skin, recreating that womb-like, “held” feeling that soothes + supports your baby, making them feel safe + secure. Another plus to the fabric (and the hot hot weather down here) is that it is breatheable and moisture wicking, and never feels sweaty or wet. Lastly, it allows mommy (or daddy) to be completely hands free and completely comfortable. I almost felt as if I was pregnant again because of how close I was able to be with Rose! It was a great experience that we both loved.

The NuRoo Pocket is great for mommies and babies too – there is so much science to back up the benefits of skin-to-skin interaction. The benefits are so important for your little one’s development, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends daily skin-to-skin sessions throughout the first three months of your baby’s life. To receive all the benefits, mom + baby need to stay skin-to-skin for 60 uninterrupted minutes. Mom life is a busy life, and finding 60 minutes to lay in bed or on the couch, cuddled skin-to-skin is difficult to do!

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Shop the NuRoo Pocket and other great products here!

Home | Rose’s Nursery Reveal

I’m so happy to share Rose’s Nursery today! To say it has been in development for a long time would be an understatement. When we moved into our home two years ago I already had a room picked out to be a nursery, and a color palette in mind. Now, two years later, it has finally come together!

I was able to incorporate new pieces with sentimental old ones from my family (like my grandmother’s antique rose mirror, and my mother’s childhood bed). Merging the old and new was important to me in creating a space for Rose. I had already decided I wanted the main color to be emerald green as an homage to my favorite color as a little girl. I knew it would be gender neutral, so it would (and could still) be great for a boy’s room with a few modifications. That, plus cream, white, and gold, and I knew it would prove to be aversatile yet elegant room. Once we knew we were having a baby girl, I went to work adding in some subtle girly touches and hints of baby pink. Not overtly feminine, but with enough sugar and spice to satisfy any notion that the room is clearly for a baby girl.

I put so much heart (and tears) over the past two years getting this room ready, and at one point I worried that it would never get to house a little boy or girl, but I am so happy to have this room finally filled with my baby Rose! It is absolutely my favorite and most beautiful room in the entire house.

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Crib: Pottery Barn Kids (old, similar) | Dresser: Pottery Barn Kids (old, similar) | Side table: Pottery Barn Kids (old, similar) | Rocker: Pottery Barn Kids | Ottoman: Safavieh | Table: Safavieh | Rose Mirror: antique | Leaning mirror: Wayfair | Curtains: Wayfair | Agate canvas prints: Oliver Gal | Twin Bed: antique | Bedding: Pottery Barn Kids & Land of Nod | Twin bedding: Oliver Gal | Pillows: Joss & Main | Chandelier: IKEA | Mobile: Love Sparkle Pretty | Date print: Outside in Art Studio | Floral monogram print: Inspired Life, Co. | Rug: nuLOOM

Fashion | Powder Blue Day-to-Night

I have teased this post on Instagram for long enough – so, without further adieu, here it is! The easiest way to change a look for day to night is always the accessories. Add a belt, change your shoes, and voila! And these shoes are real stunners. A metallic heel dresses up any look – even jeans – and they are perfect for the holidays. Scroll down for my fave holiday shoe picks (these Pradas are sold out!) in multiple price points. Are you all ready for Thanksgiving this week? I can’t wait for the food, family, and to dress up my home – and myself. Share the love with everyone around you this week.

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Madora | Black Orchid

After some much needed rest after Rose’s arrival, I’m back! Today I teamed up with Madora to introduce you to their new shoppable app, which you can download for FREE here. It has changed the way I shop for trendy shoes and bags – there are so many affordable styles available, which is amazing for both my closet and my bank account. I’m very reluctant to spend top dollar on trendy styles that come and go in fashion; I’m more likely to buy a big ticket item if it’s timeless or classic, so I can get the most wear out of it. But for bold and trendy styles, Madora is the perfect place to shop. Their products are great quality for more than affordable prices, plus FREE shipping and FREE returns! Plus, the app makes it so easy to track your order, make a favorites list, and receive personalized recommendations.

As an added bonus, you can snap a pic of an item you love to find similar styles! So if you are out shopping, or spot some amazing street style, you can shop the look for a fraction of the price. Use code 9LRTLU for $5 OFF your first order with Madora! I have already stocked up on some great styles and will be featuring Madora items this Fall and Winter on The MIAMI Rose.
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DIY | Newborn Photo Shoot

Now that Rose has arrived I know I will want to document her every milestone (and OOTD) – but I don’t want to pay for a photographer all the time, or have the time to set up sessions every week (OK, every day). So today, I have provided some tips and tricks for your own DIY newborn photo shoot! Some of these images were taken with my Nikon, and some were taken just with my iPhone, so it is totally possible to get amazing photos no matter what you are working with.
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iPhone

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Nikon

Lighting

All professionals say that natural light is best, and they are absolutely right. Pick a position near a window with lots of light, and even if it is a bit dim (I shot the pics below when it was overcast and misty outside) you can always edit the lighting in a photo editing app or Photoshop afterward (scroll down for more on that). But whatever you do, don’t use lamps or lights in your house to make the room brighter.

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Timing

Time the pictures for when your little one is in a deep sleep – for Rose, this is after her feeding. I made sure to prep the area ahead of time and set up my “scene” beforehand. I had the room nice and warm, and I worked quickly and quietly to position her. Since she would be laying down, I didn’t need to think ahead about supporting her head for any alternative poses, but if you are considering something that requires neck and head support, be prepared to prop it up with either an object or hold with your hands. You can always Photoshop things later, or crop the photo in certain ways. But always consider safety first.

Angle

To get the overhead shots, I stood on a step stool and took wide shots. You can always crop later! Also, try and get a variety of angles when you are doing close-ups; slightly shift your body to subtly change the way the light falls on their face. Depending on where the shadow falls, you may want to re position yourself – or the babe – so that you get a good angle with no shadows on the face.

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Editing

Even if everything goes perfectly, a little editing is always nice. For me, since it was rainy when I took these photos, I used Photoshop (for my Nikon photos) and Colorstory (for my iPhone snaps) to brighten up the image. You can use filters, add brightness, lower contrast, adjust vibrancy, etc. to make the image have the effect you are looking for. I went with light and bright!

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brightened in Photoshop

Position

If you don’t have the capability to Photoshop your images, steer clear of the riskier poses that require support of the neck or head. Go with poses from above, with the baby swaddled, or cradled on their side. Create the scene by setting up a supportive base with pillows, rolled up blankets, or pads, and then drape it with a sheet or blanket to place your babe on top. This will ensure they have adequate support and remain comfortable for the photo session.

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Content

Take lots of photos! Don’t stop! You never know when you might catch a split-second smile, or a cute frown. The more images you have to choose from, the better off you will be at ensuring you have captured the right angle, lighting, body position, facial expression, and frame size.

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Research

Boy, did I scour Pinterest and Instagram to find amazing baby pics and poses that I absolutely loved! This part is fun – go into your session with a plan. Baby may only sleep for a little while, so it’s important to know exactly what it is you want and are looking for. That way you can get exactly what you want out of the time you spend doing this DIY.

Experiment

This is the opposite of doing research: be in the moment and be inspired by your little one. Have fun, and if you don’t get the pic you want on the first time around, regroup, do more research, and try again another day! Since you aren’t paying for a certain time frame, or on a specific schedule, you have lots of time to get it right and try new things.

Have fun!

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Fashion | Crimson Day-to-Night

Hands down, one of my favorite items to own is a pleated chiffon skirt – any color, multiple lengths, and I could fill my closet with them. Not only are they universally flattering, they are so versatile that you can style them in a multitude of ways. So, that’s what I’m doing today! I wore this look last week, so I was still pregnant then, which just goes to show how incredibly flattering this style can be. This red stunner is great year-round, but I styled it transitionally. Fall is still very warm here, so getting creative is key. For the day look, I paired it with a basic white tee tied at the midriff. Even preggos can sport this look! It’s simple, and the centerpiece is definitely the gorgeous red maxi. I styled the nighttime look with a cozy cold-shoulder turtleneck, grey hat, and darker accessories. 

I had planned on styling two other gorgeous pleated skirts as maternity looks, but I guess now I will have to exchange them for a smaller size and style them regularly now that Rose is here! Can’t wait to share more with you all soon – I’m completely obsessed with her, so you bet you will be seeing her a lot on the blog.

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 skirt: ASOS | shoes: Vince Camuto | purse: Rebecca Minkoff | earrings: Baublebar | sunnies: Ray Ban via DITTO 

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skirt: ASOS | sweater: ASOS Maternity | purse: Rebecca Minkoff | hat: Forever 21 | shoes: Forever 21 | sunnies: Two39 Boutique