The Perfect Pout: How To Get Kissably Smooth Lips

October 31, 2014


Many women experience dry lips during the cold winter months, and this problem only gets worse during pregnancy! Fortunately, it’s easier than you think to have luscious, kissably smooth lips. We’ve got some great tips to help you hold onto that perfect pout during your nine months and after.

Moisturize At least Twice A day: Apply your favorite lip balm first thing in the morning and right before you go to bed at night. Our tip? Throw an extra lip balm in your purse or keep it at work to keep your lips smooth throughout the day.

Pick The Right Lip Balm: Always use an all-natural lip balm with ingredients such as vitamin E, coconut oil, and cupuacu butter to seal in moisture and nourish your skin. We can’t get enough of the Nine Naturals’ Simply Natural Lip Balm – it has all 3 of the powerhouse ingredients and  the long lasting formula hydrates all day long!

Stop Licking Your Lips: It may seem counter-intuitive, but saliva actually dry out your lips so fight the urge to lick them in general and especially if your lips are already dry.

Use Lip Balm As A Lipstick Base: This creates a protective moisture seal beneath your makeup, not to mention it makes lipstick easier to apply.

Drink Plenty Of Water: Staying hydrated is a great way to keep your lips moist, so drink up!

Exfoliate Your Lips: Exfoliation removes dead cells from your lips and leaves them visibly smoother. DIY your own lip scrub by mixing 1 tablespoon of honey with enough sugar until you get a body-scrub-like texture. Scrub it across your lips with a toothbrush for 1 minute and voila! Instantly smoother lips.

Avoid Eating Salty Foods: Salt is known to draw moisture out of things so avoid foods high in sodium, such as chips.

Superfoods For A Super Pregnancy

October 29, 2014

Super Foods For A Super Pregnancy

Eating well during pregnancy is one of the best ways to ensure both you and your baby stay healthy. A well-balanced diet will help you maintain a healthy weight and stay active, however we all know it can be more than a little difficult to resist when those cravings for chips or ice cream kick in! Luckily, there are other foods that taste just as delicious and pack a nutritional wallop.  These 5 superfoods give you much-needed energy boost while keeping your skin, hair and nails looking top-notch.

  1. Spinach (and other dark, leafy greens): Greens are a superfood because they pack a nutritional punch that includes protein, vitamins A and K, and folate, which can help prevent birth defects. Start with a green smoothie, enjoy a spinach salad for lunch, and munch on some baked kale chips for your afternoon snack.
  2. Avocado: When it comes to healthy fat, avocado is hard to beat. This fruit is chock-full of folate and vitamin K, which is necessary for embryonic growth and the development of the heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs. You don’t have to do much to avocados—a little salt and pepper is enough. Bonus – they keep you full for hours!
  3. Greek Yogurt: Protein is key during pregnancy! Greek yogurt has twice the protein of regular yogurt. It’s also a great source of calcium, which is especially important during months in which the baby’s bones are developing.
  4. Salmon: Filled with Omega-3 fatty acids (which are good for baby’s brain and eyes), salmon also has lots of protein and vitamins. Unlike other fish, this one is safe to eat (up to 12 ounces a week), since it’s lower in mercury.
  5. Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries not only taste delicious but are also full of full of Vitamin C, which is necessary for baby’s production of collagen, potassium and folate. The phytonutrients that occur naturally in berries protect cells from damage, making them the perfect choice for pregnant women.

Nine Naturals Founder & CEO Grace Lee Featured In The #RealWomenRealStyle Campaign!

Nine Naturals Founder & CEO Grace Lee was featuring in 4.collective’s #realwomenrealstyle campaign! 4.collective, the ultimate desk-to-dinner dress collection, takes an inside look at real women and their secrets to personal style and success. Nine Naturals and 4.Collective want you to look your holiday best in the Satin Cap Sleeve Dress in emerald. Enter to win our EXCLUSIVE HOLIDAY STYLE GIVEAWAY.


High Notes

October 27, 2014


Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

Bellybuds founder Curtis Williams explains why baby benefits from music while still in the womb, and gets us started with the perfect playlist.

Music is ever present in our day-to-day lives, and with today’s technology, we can listen to it anywhere. Many of our babies start taking music classes at just a few months old, so it makes perfect sense that we would want to start playing music to our little ones as early as possible. Especially considering the benefits.
As most moms can attest, there’s a pretty short list of things you can do to interact with the baby before birth. But playing music to baby in the womb is a great way to facilitate bonding. Listening to music is something that you can do together, and it’s really fun to feel baby respond to a song that she likes (especially if it’s a favorite of yours). This is also a terrific way for dad to bond with baby and to feel involved with the pregnancy, especially if he’s the one creating the playlist.

Now I’ve never been pregnant, but my wife has twice, and I know it’s definitely not the most relaxing experience. There’s so much to do to get ready for the baby, on top of your regular life, plus you’re probably tired, nauseous and more. Playing music to baby in utero gives mom a chance to relax and reduces stress. Just plug in, put on some easy listening or classical tunes, take a few deep breaths and have a couple minutes of “me” time.

There’s reason to believe your baby is benefitting too. A 2008 study suggests that the fetus responds with increasing speeds of habituation, leading them to believe that the baby is learning in utero. Why not help stimulate early development by playing baby some music?

While many parents-to-be are interested in how baby responds to music while in the womb, a 2013 study suggests that babies can learn a melody they hear while still in the womb, and recognize it after they are born. This means that if you start a routine early, playing certain songs to baby on a regular basis, you can play those same songs to baby once born to soothe and calm him. I think most parents will agree that anything that has the ability to stop a baby from crying is worth trying!

Finally, playing music to a breech baby might even help her to turn. Being told that your baby is breeched can be pretty overwhelming, especially if you have a specific birth plan. Playing music to baby in an attempt to get him to turn is something that you can proactively do. This very process worked for my wife, and we got the whole thing on video at the OB-GYN.

Now hit play.

“Rainbow Connection” by Willie Nelson
“You and I” by Dolly Parton
“All You Need is Love” by The Beatles
“Count on Me” by Bruno Mars
“Dream Baby Dream” by Bruce Springstein
Serenade in G major, K. 525, “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”: II. Romanze: Andante, from Bellybuds’ “Mozart Mother and Child”
“Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder
“Long Time Sun” by Snatam Kaur
“So What” by Miles Davis

This article is by Curtis Williams, founder of Bellybuds, courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.

Things We’ve Read – Week Of October 20, 2014

October 26, 2014


Pollution in pregnancy linked to lung damage in child (Yahoo News): A study finds that air pollutants can affect the lung development of a growing fetus.

Many Young Pregnant Women Need Better Dental Care (HuffPost): Hormonal changes while pregnant position you to becoming more susceptible to oral health problems, making visits to the dentist an important priority.

Facebook is the secret to heart-to-heart parenting (The Boston Globe): How one father attributes Facebook with opening the lines of communication with his daughter, ultimately bringing them closer.

10 pregnancy symptoms you should never ignore (Fox News): Though big changes in your body are perfectly normal during pregnancy, there are certain symptoms that could stem from a more serious source or circumstance, and should always be looked into.

Why Now Is the Right Time to Discuss Paid Maternity Leave (Vogue): A look into the lacking support of working women on maternity leave, and how some companies are making moves and giving hope that the issue will soon reach a legislative level.

This 30-Something Is Ending The Duel Between Work And Motherhood (Forbes): Producer and mother, Kate McMahon, gives in-depth insight on finding the balance between a career and motherhood.

The Beauty Of The Baby Bump (Daily Mail): A series of photographs are taken in celebration of pregnancy in all its natural beauty and strength.

NYC Life Coach Debuts Conscious Parenting Advice by the Hour (Good Morning America – Yahoo): New York-based life coach, Melanie Rudnick, shares advice on how not being so hard on yourself can help you become a better parent.

Preparing a Child to Own a Mobile Phone — But Not Always Use It (The New York Times): One mom writes on transitioning her daughter into having her first cell phone, and the ways technology influences the communication style of your children.

Yes, Parenting IS the Hardest Job (HuffPost): Why parenting should be considered a full-time and demanding job, but still incredibly rewarding.

Mom Bares Her Soul For ‘What’s Underneath Project’ About Pregnancy, Body Image, And Loss (HuffPost): In a very personal interview, stylist Karyn Starr delves into her emotional experiences, both past and present, and how being a mom has changed her.

Preparing to Lose My Mind After Giving Birth (The New York Times): This mom explains how she has managed her battle with postpartum anxiety and depression, and gives advice on how other parents can make it through.

Our 9 Favorite Halloween Treats

October 24, 2014

Halloween is always an exciting time of year. There are costumes, spooky decorations, and of course, lots of sweets in scary shapes! However, Halloween treats can be scary for other reasons. Most over the counter candies include ingredients such as partially hydrogenated oils, corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors, chemical preservatives, GMO and loads of sugar. These ingredients aren’t necessarily there to improve taste, but increase the shelf life and make the candies cheaper to produce. Luckily, we have nine options for your candy bowl that use organic ingredients and natural sweetners, so trick-or-treaters can indulge and parents can rest easy.  

YumEarth Organics Assorted Pops ($8) are organic and packed with Vitamin C, making this treat both tasty and good for you!
Surf Sweets Gummy Worms ($2) fit perfectly into the Halloween theme! These gummy worms are made with organic fruit juice and kids will love them, making these a win-win.
A healthier version of a widely-loved treat, Justin's Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups ($23) come two per pack and 12 per case, so trick-or-treaters can indulge without parents worrying about anything artificial.
Endangered Species Bug Bites ($12) are individually wrapped organic milk chocolates that also support species conservation, habitat preservation and humanitarian efforts. Delicious and environmentally conscious, these treats deserve two thumbs up.
GoOrganic Hard Candies ($24) are a treat for the older kids that even moms and dads can enjoy! These candies are certified organic and come in a variety of natural flavors to mix up your candy bowl.
If you're a fan of Twizzlers, but not a fan of artificial ingredients, Candy Tree Organic Cherry Twists ($2) are another healthy version of an original favorite. Made with organic ingredients, these candy twists come in cherry, licorice, and raspberry flavors. We can't wait to try these!
Indie Candy Jackie Lanterns ($2) are so cute and yummy, you almost wouldn't guess that they're made with all-natural and organic ingredients. These sweet pumpkins will surely be a hit with trick-or-treaters, as well as moms and dads!
Both inexpensive and organic, Simply Balanced Organic Fruit Strips ($6) are delicious, individually wrapped fruit leathers that come in a variety of fruity options. They're the all-natural fruit roll-up you don't need to worry over!
For anyone wanting to take a healthy Halloween even further, individually packaged dry fruit is another option. Bare Snacks ($23) offers apple, coconut, and mango chips in a variety of delicious flavors - as well as organic options. What a delicious and natural alternative!

BPA—What it is, How to Avoid it

October 22, 2014


Google “BPA news” and the laundry list of articles that pops up is enough to take any pregnant woman’s breath away. Just last week, the presence of BPA (or bisphenol A) has been linked to breathing problems in kids with prenatal exposure to the chemical. So – what exactly is it, and why does it pose such a danger?

BPA is an industrial chemical found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. This means the chemical is often found in water bottles, food can linings, bottle tops, baby bottles – even water supply lines and dental sealants. If a bottle or food container has a #7 stamped on the bottom, it is likely to contain BPA.

Since a small amount of packaging materials can migrate into the food and drink it contains, especially if the container is heated, there has been an increased public awareness about the safety of ingesting the chemical. According to the FDA, there have been many exploratory studies on the dangers that BPA present. These studies link BPA exposure to a variety of health problems such as reproductive disorders, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

During pregnancy, it’s especially important to avoid exposure to BPA as it can impact your health and your baby’s health. Minimize BPA exposure by:

  1. Avoid eating canned Fruits and Veggies, And Instead Opt For Fresh: Because BPA lines the cans in which these foods are packaged, you’re better off avoiding them. Fresh fruits and vegetables are so much healthier and tastier anyway, so opt for heading to your local farmer’s market and grabbing what’s in season!
  2. Skip Drinking Water That’s Bottled In Plastic: Instead, go for glass, stainless steel or BPA-free plastic bottles.
  3. Don’t Microwave Your Food In hard Plastic Containers: Much has been made in the news lately about polycarbonate plastics seeping into food when heated. To be safe, store your food in glass, stainless steel or BPA-free containers and never put plastic in the microwave. If non-plastic substitutes are unavailable, follow this rhyme to help you remember which plastics are safer: 4, 5, & 2 – all the rest are bad for you!
  4. Avoid Smoking And Secondhand Smoke: Yes, this is a no-brainer, but it bears repeating. Women who were exposed to secondhand smoke had higher BPA concentrations than those who weren’t.

Dear Nanny

October 20, 2014

dear nanny

Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

Sometimes you actually do get to pick your family. Jessica reflects on one of the most meaningful relationships in her life.

Dear Nanny,

I met you just a few days before my baby came. I’d never interviewed a nanny before, and I had no idea what to ask you. I read every article, and printed three pages of questions I’d found on the internet. But I didn’t ask a single one. Instead, I rubbed my belly and tried to imagine the baby that would soon be on the outside — what life would look like in a week, in three weeks, and in three months when it was time for me to go back to work. It just looked murky and abstract.

I interviewed two other nannies, mostly because I thought I was supposed to. And I couldn’t picture leaving my baby with any of you. But I knew I was going back to work, and although I didn’t know much about motherhood, I had heard that leaving a three-month baby home alone wasn’t an option. So I trusted the moms whose children you had already raised, and I hired you.

A week before I was due back at the office, you arrived at my door. I handed over detailed notes about everything the universe had so far revealed about my baby. I showed you how bouncing on the exercise ball calmed her, and how she’d only finish the bottle if you tilted it just so. I lectured you on her likes and dislikes, I quizzed you on her daily routine, and I made you swear up and down and back and forth that you would do everything JUST like I did it. Because after all, I was the expert. Then I cried when I left for work, just 12 weeks after my baby was born.

Those first few weeks, and even months, were incredibly difficult. Each day, I second-guessed my decision to go back to work. I wondered if I’d made a huge mistake, if I was outsourcing motherhood to you. You were a relative stranger, and you were raising my baby! Would she grow up feeling abandoned by me? Or unloved? Would she forever blame me for leaving her in someone else’s care for the better part of her days?

But as the weeks and months wore on, I watched her melt into your warm embrace each morning. I heard the sweet giggles you shared while I got ready for work, and witnessed the knowing glances you exchanged at the end of the day. It turned out that hiring a nanny didn’t mean she was losing me. It meant she was gaining you.

Thank you for letting me have the milestones — I know she first rolled over under your watchful eyes. But you didn’t tell me, and you shared my excitement on that Monday morning when I regaled you with stories of baby’s incredible feats.

Thank you for letting me take the credit — while I’m at work all day, you patiently teach all those “please” and “thank-you”s that impress all the mommies at the playground.

Thank you for letting me keep my role — she’s never once acted confused about who her mama is, a fear that anyone with a nanny knows well.

You’ve quietly become the glue that holds us all together. You remind us to buy milk, you surprise us with a home-cooked dinner on those extra-long days, and every so often, you trade in your warm bed for my pull-out couch, so mommy and daddy can have a much-needed date night. Thank you.

When I was home again on maternity leave with #2, we became a caregiving team. And this time, instead of imparting my alleged baby wisdom upon you, I asked for yours. I willingly handed her over when I couldn’t get her to stop crying, and begged for your advice when something — anything! — seemed wrong. Never once did I tell you how to take care of her. You already knew. You knew it all along.

You suddenly got sick this past summer, and I was distraught. You, who I once couldn’t imagine in my life, now I couldn’t imagine life without. Suddenly, it was my turn — our turn — to take care of you. And as we nursed you back to health, we realized that aren’t just our nanny, you are our family.

On your birthday this year, we threw you a surprise party. We invited the children who called you their nanny, the families who you watched over for so many years. All the girls (yes, they were all girls) used familiar sayings (your sayings) and told warm stories about your life before you walked into ours.

And they were all so amazing, those generations of girls…the kind of girls I hope my girls grow up to be. The kind of girls I know they will be. Because you’re raising them, dear nanny. You’re raising us all.

This article is by Jessica Pallay courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.

Things We’ve Read: Week of October 13th

October 19, 2014


Endocrine-disrupting Chemicals Alter Thyroid Hormone Activity During Pregnancy (Science Times): A new study shows that endocrine-disrupting chemicals interfere with the thyroid hormone in infants’ brain development.

DWI: My Parenting Philosophy (HuffPost): A mother of five gives insight on her choice parenting method: Deal With It.

Companies Offering Coverage To Female Employees Wanting To Freeze Their Eggs (CBS New York): Many women are choosing to start families later in life and some companies are supporting that effort in a big way.

Whole Foods Launches Revolutionary Program To Rate Health And Environmental Impact Of Produce (Environmental Working Group): Whole Foods is raising the bar in grocery retail by upping the standards of quality and environmental impact of their produce.

Cancer Causing Ingredients – What You Need To Know (Feel Good Style): A break down of seven of the most dangerous ingredients commonly found in cosmetics which are putting you at serious health risk.

Pregnancy Is Not An Invitation To Comment On My Body (HuffPost): Be sensitive about comments to any pregnant woman!

Babies Beware: Your Parents Don’t Know How To Use A Car Seat (Yahoo): According to a study, more than 9 out of 10 parents unknowingly use car seats incorrectly on the first trip home from the hospital.

Preeclampsia, Gestational Diabetes and Excess Weight Gain – 3 Pregnancy Problems To Take Seriously

October 17, 2014

3 Pregnancy Problems To Take Seriously

It’s inevitable that every pregnant woman will, at one point or another, get nervous about her health or the health of her baby. Common fears can range from some that appear simple (why does my baby always have the hiccups?) to others that could require a call to your OB-GYN (my morning sickness is terrible. Is the baby getting enough to eat?). Most of the time, doctors will assuage most fears, allowing you to breathe a sigh of relief. However, there are some situations which should be taken very seriously. These include:


What it is: A disorder that occurs during pregnancy and the post-partum period and affects both mother and baby. Symptoms include swelling and sudden weight gain, as well as vision changes and headaches. Preeclampsia is characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine, and can have serious, and sometimes fatal complications for both mother and baby since blood flow through the placenta is reduced. This affects organs such as the kidney, liver and brain. Preeclampsia affects about 5% of pregnant women, and is more common if a woman has experienced the condition in a previous pregnancy. As far as who is affected still remains a bit of a mystery, and as of now scientists don’t have an answer as to why some women are afflicted while others are not.

How it’s Treated: Unfortunately, delivery of your baby is the only cure for preeclampsia. This can be difficult if you are diagnosed with the condition too early in your pregnancy to deliver. If you have any symptoms of preeclampsia, contact your doctor right away.

Gestational Diabetes

What it is: High glucose (sugar) levels in your pregnancy, despite not having been diabetic beforehand. Most women do not have symptoms of Gestational Diabetes, so the condition is usually discovered during a routine glucose challenge test. If your blood sugar level is high, you return for a second test to determine if you have Gestational Diabetes. The condition, which affects 4% of pregnancies, is more likely to develop in those who are overweight prior to pregnancy, are Hispanic, Black, Native American or Asian in ethnicity, and have previously given birth to a baby that weighs over nine pounds.

How it’s treated: You’ll likely need to monitor your own blood sugar, and possibly take insulin. Gestational Diabetes can result in babies with a higher birth weight and predisposition to diabetes, so a management plan is essential.

Excess Weight Gain

What it is: Although many pregnant women give in to the temptation of an occasional order of French fries or a cookie, unchecked cravings can lead to excess weight gain. Doctors recommend gaining between 25-35 lbs. with pregnancy, but only he or she can determine if you’re experiencing excessive weight gain. This condition can lead to a larger-than-normal baby and challenging delivery, as well as difficulty shedding the pounds post-birth.

How it’s treated: A doctor can help you work out a diet and exercise regimen that includes cutting calories that “don’t count” (such as those fore-mentioned fries and cookies) and focusing on the ones that will help you get and stay healthy. A doctor can also help you find a fitness program that will help you look and feel better.

If you have concerns about these or any other pregnancy condition, consult your doctor immediately.