Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Bump Watch: Celeb Moms-to-Be Social Media Updates

Some celebrity moms use social media to share updates and pics of their belly and bump progression to their fans and followers. Here is a roundup of some recent social shares:

Kimora Lee Simmons and her hubby looked suave as they headed to the Goldman Sachs' Partner Ball last week (Twitter)

Hilaria Baldwin was chilling poolside with her baby (Instagram)

Tamera Mowry-Housley did "pregnant lady fierce" in a recent outfit she wore on her hit FOX panel talk show, The Real (Instagram)

Eudoxiee Bridges showed off her "one ab refusing to let the bump win." Funny. (Instagram)

Leah Jenner showed off her pregnant silhouette (Instagram)
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10 Best of Bellyitch 'Bump Day' PHOTOS

From 2009 to 2011, Wednesdays on Bellyitch Blog was dedicated to the "Bump Day" feature where we highlight the pregnant form, as celebrated, epitomized or showcased in different formats and forms. We also had readers turn in their fave professional images of themselves and featured them as well. 

Our new social media coordinator, Chelsea F, reminded me that we should consider relaunching it! Great idea! In case you weren't an active reader back then, here are my favorite images from those posts.

The Mystery 3D


Black and White







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Bellyitch Blog is GOING OUT OF BUSINESS and CLOSING shop

After nearly 10 years bringing you creative articles on neat new parent inventions, parenting tips and advice, fashion and celebrity pregnancy coverage, we're calling it quits and closing up shop! We thank you for your loyalty in readership and hope you enjoyed this daily, multiple-times updated blog. 

We invite you to continue to read past posts you've missed and to share all of the old posts that have inspired you or guided your parenting or pregnancy decisions.  And if you are sad to see us go, don't worry because....

We're not going anywhere!! IN fact, we hope to grow bigger in coming months and to expand our reach for years to come and look forward to bringing you more inventive and innovative stories and services! 

Stay tuned!!! 
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Explaining Holy Week to Children

This week is Holy Week for Catholics and Christians that are preparing for Easter.

EHow assembled an excellent summary of the week that can be used for helping parents explain the holiday to their children. It is instructional also for non-Catholics as well who may want to understand or explain the holiday for themselves or their children too.

Palm Sunday

When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on his donkey, there were many followers who wanted to see him. People crowded around him and called his name. Many called out “King” or “Savior.” Worshipers knelt down and waved palm fronds as Jesus passed by. Children and grownups wanted to hear him speak to them. They wanted to touch him. Sick people wanted their Savior to make them well. Another name for this day is Fig Sunday.

Holy Monday and Tuesday
Some people believe that on the Monday of Holy Week, Jesus freed the animals being sold and killed. The freeing of the many sheep and oxen has been compared to the slaves being set free. Tuesday is the day that the Pharisees got together and made a plan to gang up on Jesus and kill him. Holy Monday and Tuesday are not major days for celebration, but the events did lead up to Jesus' death.

Spy Wednesday
Judas had been Jesus’ good friend, but he got jealous that so many people loved Jesus. Judas got together with the Pharisees and said he would play a trick on Jesus and kill him. Today, many people go to church on Ash Wednesday to remember this day. A priest will put ashes from burned palm fronds on a person's forehead in the shape of a cross and say a prayer.

Holy Thursday
The Last Supper was on this day. Jesus sat down to eat with 12 other people. Those people were the disciples. His friend Judas was there that night. Jesus shared his bread and wine with everyone. He told the disciples that it was more important to serve someone else than to be served. He lovingly washed the feet of his disciples. After the meal was over, Jesus wanted to be alone to pray. Guards appeared a short time later and he was arrested.

Good Friday
Jesus was forced to make a huge cross and drag it up a hill all by himself. He had a crown on his head made of a branch of thorns. He was nailed to the cross by his hands and feet. One of the ways Good Friday is celebrated is by fasting, which means not eating at all. It is a day to mourn the death of Jesus, but also to celebrate that he gave his life for everyone.

Holy Saturday or Black Sabbath
After Jesus died, he was put in a tomb. The tomb was like a cave. The guards rolled a big rock in front of the opening to make sure that no one could get in or out. They knew that Jesus was dead, but they still wanted to close off the opening just to make sure he didn't get out. Some of the ways to commemorate this day are meditating, praying, and lighting candles in church.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

7 ways to prepare children for Passover

Passover can be a difficult holiday for children to understand. The Seder (traditional Passover meal) can be long, and children don’t often understand why certain foods (leavened foods) are prohibited during the holiday. Here are a few activities to keep your children as involved as possible during Passover and the Seder.
  1.     Create a Haggadah – Have your child draw pictures of the different aspects of Passover. They can draw themselves reading the 4 Questions, create a picture of the Seder plate and illustrate looking for the Afikomen. Put them in order together and bind with rings or string. Kids can use their own Haggadah at the Seder to help them be involved on a level that they understand.
  2.     Create a Seder plate together – Have your children help arrange the Seder plate with you, explaining what each item represents. You can also print off a child-friendly Seder plate here. Kids can color in the Seder plate while the family is sitting around the table.
  3.     Talk about the Seder – Talk with your kids about the Seder, which is typically held on the first night of Passover. Discuss how the Israelites were redeemed from slavery and given the gift of the Torah and explain why the symbolic foods are out on the Seder plate.
  4.     Read the 4 Questions together – It’s tradition that the youngest child reads the 4 Questions at the Seder, starting with the first, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” Reading them together, in English and in Hebrew, will familiarize your children with the questions and the answers that will be asked at the Seder. Helping your child understand before the Seder will prepare them to be active in the Seder.
  5.     Read or tell the Passover story to your children – Reading or telling the story will help familiarize your children with the reasons that Passover is celebrated. The Israelites left Egypt quickly and there was no time for bread to rise, which is why eating matzah (unleavened bread) represents the time when people were forced quickly out of their homes. Passover also reflects a time for cleaning to rid houses of hametz (anything leavened).
  6.     Discuss the plagues – The 10 plagues are an important part of the Passover story and you should discuss them with your children, taking time to explain their importance. You can have your children act out the story or draw pictures of the plagues to add to their Haggadah.
  7.     Afikomen – The afikomen (or half of a piece of matzah) is hidden by the head of the household, and when it’s time for dessert it’s tradition that the children hunt for the afikomen and return it in exchange for money or a small prize. The afikomen helps children stay involved (and awake!) during the meal, knowing that their part in finding the afikomen is coming soon and that there is a reward for it once found – a prize and dessert!
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8 Questions with BravoTV's TTC 'NewlyWeds' Kirk and Laura Knight

Trying to conceive your first child as a newlywed can be exciting and anxious-filled, but imagine doing that under the ever-present eye of reality TV cameras?

That's exactly what newly married business owners Kirk and Laura Knight are going through right now as one of the couples in BravoTV's reality experiment show, Newyleds: The First Year.  The show follows and chronicles the entire first year of marriage four couples. This is the second time the show has aired and like last time, in 2013, we also have a couple that is preparing to conceive a baby within that first year. 

We sat down with Laura, a stylish and very fit Pilates instructor, business savvy insurance brokerage company owner  and her very witty and snarky hubby, Kirk, a StartUp founder, top investment and commercial real estate owner and a former ultimate bachelor (he collects expensive exotic fish for goodness sake!) --to check in on their trying to conceive (TTC) efforts and the ups and downs of doing it all on TV!

1.       How has it been trying to get pregnant under the watchful eye of reality TV cameras and now audiences watching the show?
LK: It is exciting to share our journey with the audience. Our hope is that other couples will be able to relate to our new TTC (trying to conceive) status.
KK – I really don’t mind the cameras and feel very excited to share this part of our story with the public.  It is a very exciting time.

2.       What has been the response from family? Co-Workers? Clients? Etc.
LK - I don’t know who is more excited – our families or us?! Having a baby would finally make my parents grandparents for the first time. They are already planning Disney vacations with their imaginary grandchildren. Kirk’s family has been very encouraging & supportive – they would like to see Kirk enter fatherhood again. As far as work is concerned, we don’t really talk in great detail about our personal lives with clients - I guess they will have to watch the show if they want to know more.

3.       How have the cameras made the TTC (trying to conceive) road easier or harder, if at all?
LK: It can be a bit stressful when you share your vulnerabilities with the world. We made the decision to have the baby and we want it to all happen right away, seamlessly. We are planners and are forced to let go of that control when TTC. I have to remind myself that this isn’t a race to the finish line. Luckily, our relationship is filled with a lot of love, intimacy & playfulness – this peels away the pressure and allows us to enjoy our time together.

4. Are you prepared for fertility challenges and Kirk, do you realize how the pressures will be different for you, who already have children (he has two teenage sons from a previous relationship), compared to Laura who is looking to have her first?
LK – Most people don’t try to have a baby immediately after marriage, but Kirk and I have been together over 4.5 years and we are not spring chickens. I feel there is no better time than the present. When planning for a baby @ 34 years old (Kirk being 40), I try to be realistic. It may take some time, there may be complications – we are pushing into the “higher risk” category.  Above all, we should enjoy the process – we are making a baby!
KK - I do not anticipate any fertility issues as I have super-sperm (top shelf).

5.       Are you open to other alternative means for getting pregnant if you cannot the natural way? If so, will you consider IVF, surrogate pregnancy or adoption?
LK – I am certainly open to IVF, surrogacy & adoption. Kirk has more of the “we will cross that bridge when we get there” mentality.
KK - I understand there may be problems but I believe things have a strange way of working out.

6.       If not, will you be cool to just be a stepmom, Laura or do you think you will always ache for kids of your own and will continue to strive to have them?
LK – I know that I was meant to be a mother, it is very important to me.
KK - We will do what is necessary to have a child.

7.       How has family planning impacted your career, Laura and/or your startup Kirk?
LK: Family planning hasn’t really impacted our careers. Of course, as business owners, there are no “maternity leave” perks. Scheduling will be paramount.
KK - Planning for a family hasn’t had any impact on my career.  The challenges will come when you have to balance your time between the family, baby, career, start-up, teenage sons… I need a drink.

8.       What advice would you give any couple who is thinking of putting their first year of marriage or their TTC moments on TV?
LK: Think before you speak – JK. You have to be able to go into the realty tv world with open eyes – there are always going to be ups and downs, but what matters most is that you and your partner are there for one another through it all.

KK: You open up your entire life and expose the good, bad, and ugly.  Making the decision to share the first year & TTC moments on TV is not for everyone.  You really need to have a strong relationship and confidence in each other to show it all to the world.

Very fun interview and from watching these two each week, we're thinking they'll be married for a very very long time! They did not confirm whether their efforts have been successful or not so for now, we all just have to keep up by watching them each week on Bravo Tuesdays at 10pm ET.

If you're reading this on the east coast, it's time to watch! Check your local listings!
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REVIEW: Celeb favorite SoftBaby is Organic softness for baby

About 5 years ago, we featured organic onesies in our weekly Eco Friday posts for the edification of our Eco-conscious parents who are interested in earth-friendly products. The benefit of organic clothing for babies is that they are gentler to the sensitive skin of newborns and infants that are prone to allergic reactions from clothing.  Outfitting them in clothes made of organic material such as organic cotton may lessen the chances of their skin becoming irritated from harmful pesticides and other irritants found in non-organic materials. 

We got a chance to check out a relatively new organic baby clothing company called SoftBaby, which, according to the designer line, is loved by celeb moms Hayden Panettiere, Drew Barrymore and Ciara.

Here is a review from Bellyitch Reader Reviewer Chelsea who sampled a romper on her gorgeous 8-month old son Michael. Here is her review:
  • Fit - The first question when buying baby clothes is does it fit? Great fit is key. Depending on the manufacturer, new parents often finding themselves upsizing or downsizing based on the clothing's label to find the right fit for their baby. SoftBaby's romper was a great fit with no age guessing game. My 8 month old fit the 6-9 romper perfectly. There was even some room for him to continue to grow.
  • Design and Texture - I loved SoftBaby's design. The unbleached organic cotton with yellow orange deer prints was adorable. The romper would be a great baby shower unisex gift to give. Additionally, the organic cotton was truly as soft as if it was picked directly from the field. The thickness was a summer cotton and it made me wonder if SoftBaby was considering having a winter cotton line of clothing as well.
  • Function -  Call it the "Great Soft Baby Crawling Suit."  The cotton moved freely with the baby as he speed crawled around the house. Definitely no creasing, stretching or cotton stiffness. The down side came when it was time to change Michael's diaper. The romper only had front snaps and no diaper snaps. The front snaps were a bit stiff which made me worry that I may tear the fabric. And with no diaper snaps, changing Michael required aerobatics on his part and for me to take the romper almost off of him.
  • Overall: I would buy the romper for myself or as a baby shower gift.
Good thing! Check out Softbaby which sells blankets, bloomers, rompers and bodysuits, starting at $40.
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Celeb-inspired Easter Dress Style Ideas

If you are currently preggers and planning what to wear to church this Easter, here are some Throwback  pics of celebrities who looked fashionable and delightful in dresses that would be suitable for Easter Service, an Easter Egg Roll or an Easter Brunch

Go casual in a flowy maxi dress under a denim jacket like Kristin Cavallari did during her first pregnancy with son Camden jack two years ago or a billowy-sleeved Bohemian top under cropped pants like what  Korean actress Kim Hee-sun wore during a GAP maternity campaign in 2009. Halle Berry and Angelina Jolie also dressed up and down the maxi dress and you can too.

If you're looking to look more formal, go with bold and pastel colors or cream mid-length dresses like how Kate Hudson, Christina Applegate,  Jolie, Gwen Stefani and Reese Witherspoon during their respective last pregnancy.

Happy Easter!

Picking your baby's nursery color guide

Preparing a nursery for your upcoming bundle of joy is one of the major milestones you reach along the way to welcoming a new baby into the family, and is one of the most exciting tasks for many parents-to-be. Choosing the perfect furniture and bedding that reflects your style while still ensuring that you’re adhering to the stringent safety guidelines put in place to protect babies means there are lots of things you’ll have to take into consideration during the planning process. One of the first things on many parents’ to-do list, however, is to paint the nursery walls the perfect shade that creates a sanctuary for their little one.

Gender and Color Theory
Traditionally, pinks and purples are used to denote a feminine space, while bright primary hues are favored for more masculine ones. If you’re not planning to find out your new baby’s gender before birth or simply want to create a more gender-neutral palette to avoid those traditional gender roles, then grays and muted yellows are a great choice. Part of the color-choosing process will depend upon your attitudes about such things and the way that you want to parent your child.

Unless you don’t mind periodic repainting, you’ll want to consider the longevity of a color scheme before you start decorating. Powder pink walls with fluffy bunny borders might be adorable and charming for a newborn’s room, but may not be so well received when she’s starting kindergarten. While you won’t be able to predict your child’s unique and personal preferences before she arrives, you can think about how well certain decorating schemes will carry over as your child gets older. Completely repainting a room isn’t cheap and can be quite disruptive, so you may want to make an attempt to choose something that will age along with your child, at least for a while.

Choosing the Best Shade for the Space
The same paint sample that looks perfect under the fluorescent lights of a home improvement store may be awful when it’s applied to the walls in your child’s room. The best way to determine how both natural and interior lighting will affect your chosen colors is to apply them directly to the wall in a rather sizable swatch. Small sample jars are inexpensive and contain enough paint for you to apply a swatch to each wall so that you can look at the way the light affects the color under varying conditions. The last thing you want to do is invest the time and money in painting the nursery with an untested color, only to be forced to repaint or to live with a shade that you absolutely hate when it’s actually applied.

Coordinating and Pulling a Scheme Together
If you already have a color you’re in love with, you’ll probably choose bedding and window treatments with it in mind. Parents that spring for the bedding first, however, will need to look at the different shades it contains in order to choose one that compliments it well. Decide which route is more suited to your personal decorating style and build around it. You may find that the perfect wall color only reveals itself after you’ve chosen the perfect bedding, and that it contains a color you weren’t even considering before.

Health and Safety
The shade of paint that you choose may depend upon the availability in low- and no-VOC paint lines. Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are part of what gives paint its distinctive smell. Benzene, toluene, naphthalene, methyl chloroform and formaldehyde are among the chemicals that traditional paints can contain, all of which have been shown to have adverse affects on human lungs. When you set out to choose the perfect shade for the room that will serve as a safe, soothing retreat for your child, you’ll want to make sure that the paint you use won’t make him sick.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Justin Timberlake tributes pregnant wife Jessica Biel at IHeartMusic Awards

Justin Timberlake captured some more hearts during last night's broadcast of the IHeartMusic Awards while accepting his Innovator Award. The chart-topper multi-platinum-selling artist started his acceptance speech by quoting one of the greatest innovators in history Steve Jobs and then offered some words about dreaming big and sticking with it from President Theodore Roosevelt,

He ended his inspirational schpiel with a shout out to his wife Jessica Biel, who he called “best friend and favorite collaborator” and is heavily pregnant, about to deliver the couple's first child. 

“Lastly, you can't have innovation without creation, so finally I want to thank my best friend, my favorite collaborator, my wife Jessica at home who's watching,” Timberlake concluded. "Honey, I can't wait to see our greatest creation yet. Don't worry, Daddy's heading home right now to innovate by learning how to change a poopy diaper and get my swaddle on.” 

Awwww! Too sweet! 

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I See Me Personalized Book WINNER ANNOUNCED!





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What celeb moms did this weekend (PHOTOS)

It was a busy weekend for celeb moms we've covered in the past. We've got photos to commemorate the weekend. 

Jennifer Hudson performed her duet with Iggy Azalea outfitted in the sexy cop get-up she usually wears when performing that song. She looked great in the version at the I Heart Music awards (above) and the Kids Choice Awards (below). 

Kelly Clarkson hit the night out at Muhammad Ali's Celebrity Fight Night XXI on Friday, March 27, 2015. Loved her outfit! Very fashion forward and hip. 

Also, Friday, we spotted How to Get Away with Murder star Viola Davis and her 3-year old daughter Genesis at the Nick Kids' Choice awards GBK gifting suite.

The next day across country, Michelle Obama received a standing ovation on Saturday at the taping of BET's 2015 Black Girls Rock! event at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, where she gave a powerful, inspirational speech.

The Smiths were in the house: Jada Pinkett, Willow and Will, looking like the hip ultra chic family we know and love. 

On Sunday, Carrie Underwood shared on her Instagram page new picture of her and NHL player hubby Mike Fisher's newborn son, Isaiah Michael Fisher.

"The Predators are in the playoffs!" Underwood wrote with her son clutching a Nashville Predators hockey stick. "Just waiting to get called up! #PutMeInCoach." 

During the airing of I Heart Radio Awards,  Kelly Clarkson rocked the stage with her latest single, "The Heartbreak Song."

Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams and BeyoncĂ© Knowles Carter reunited Deatiny's Child briefly at the Stella Awards at the Orleans Center in Las Vegas, Nevada to sing Williams' gospel song that features her ex-bandbates: "Say Yes". 

photos: Getty, Instagram, Starcast
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