Tuesday, March 31, 2015

REVIEW: Celeb favorite SoftBaby is Organic softness for baby

About 5 years ago, we featured organic onesies in our Eco Friday feature 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 clothes. 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.
post signature

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.

continue reading at our blog partner
post signature

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! 

post signature

I See Me Personalized Book WINNER ANNOUNCED!





Thanks to all who entered!

Stay tuned for some more amazing giveaways coming up! We're getting some amazing offers from various products!

To get daily postings delivered to your Facebook stream and qualify for EXCLUSIVE FACEBOOK FAN CONTESTS



on Facebook!

Follow us on INSTAGRAM.

For insider tips on the places that celebs go and love, follow Bellyitch on Foursquare 

and to keep track on the stylings and comings and goings of  your favorite Bellyitch Bumpwatch Babe, follow our Pinterest Board dedicated to the babes!

post signature

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 Beyoncé 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

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Sunday: How to Create a Cross out of your fronds (VIDEO)

Today is Palm Sunday for Catholics and Christians world wide. The palms are representative of those crowds in Jerusalem waved when they saw Jesus and his disciples walking towards the temple on his donkey. The day is the start of Holy Week which includes Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Glorious Saturday and Easter Sunday next week. It's the end of the Lenten season and the beginning of ordinary time in the church.

During services palm fronds are handed out. Later the fronds are burned and their ashes are used for the next year's Ash Wednesday.

A neat thing that people like to do with their fronds is contort them into crosses that they keep at their work stations at work, in their kitchens and some use as bookmarks. 

Here is a video sharing how to turn your fronds into a cross.

post signature

Celeb moms at 2015 Nick Teen Choice Awards

The 28th annual Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards went down yesterday, March 28th at The Forum in Inglewood California. 

Several of our past Bellyitch Bumpwatch alums attended with their families including Oscar-winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson with her son David Daniel Otunga, Jr.

She and Iggy Azalea performed their song together, "Trouble."

Angela Jolie was there in a long black Verscae dress with Zahara and Shiloh and won for her role as Maleficent. 

During her award speech, the Academy-Award-winning actress who recently removed he ovaries and Fallopian tubes as a cancer-preventive move told the audience:

"When I was little, like Maleficent, I was told that I was different. And I felt out of place -- too loud, too full of fire, never good at sitting still, never good at fitting in," the humanitarian said. "And, then one day I realized something, something that I hope you all realize: Different is good."  

And Jennifer Lopez showed serious leg in a white Robert Cavalli minidress and Jimmy Choo heels. Garcelle Beauvais was also in the house.

post signature

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Tax Season: 5 Family Tax-filing strategies to know

Guest Post

Millions of Americans face a challenge in meeting their budgets every month – not just financially, but also in their time budgets, says investment advisor Reid Abedeen.

“Knowledge is power and time is often money, but what if you don’t have the time to empower yourself with knowledge? For many households, that often means losing out on thousands of dollars through tax deductions,” says Abedeen, a partner at Safeguard Investment Advisory Group, LLC (www.safeguardinvestment.com).

“As a family man myself, I understand what it means to work hard to provide the best possible for my wife and children. Had I not worked in the financial sector for almost two decades, I might not have understood how to best troubleshoot my tax return, I sympathize.”

Abedeen offers the following strategies that may be relevant for your family this tax season.

•  Take tax deductions for capital loss. If your capital losses exceed your capital gains, the excess can be deducted on your tax return and used to reduce other income, such as wages, up to an annual limit of $3,000, or $1,500 if you are married filing separately. However, you may deduct capital losses only on investment property, not on property held for personal use.

•  Fund your retirement to the max. You can contribute up to $5,500 to an IRA in tax-year 2014, or $6,500 if you are age 50 or older. Workers in the 25 percent tax bracket who contributed $5,500 to an IRA would save $1,375 on their 2014 tax bills. You’ll want to check your eligibility and understand the deadline for the 2014 deduction. If you make a deposit between Jan. 1 and April 15, you need to tell the financial institution which year the contribution is for.

•  Advisory fees are tax-deductible.  Don’t feel like spending money to save and make money? There’s a workaround. Before closing the door on the possibility, inquire with a financial expert. Most are happy to give a free initial consultation, and you don’t have to be a millionaire to make it worth your while.

•  Gift assets to children. You don’t even have to file a gift tax return on an asset that’s valued less than $12,000, which is not taxable. If the fair market value of the gifted asset is more than $12,000 per person per year, but less than $1 million, there is the requirement of filing a gift tax return, but you won’t be taxed. The gift still is not income taxable to the recipient.  

•  Deduct a home-based office when used for your employer. If space in your home is used exclusively and regularly for a trade, you can count that as a deductible. Calculate the square footage of your home office and divide the area of your office by the area of your house. If the percentage is 14 percent, for example, that represents the percentage of your total home expenses that can be allocated toward the home office deduction. For further questions, consult a professional.

“You’ll want to be very vigilant regarding these details of these deductions,” Abedeen says. “For any questions, I seriously recommend consulting a professional.”

Reid Abedeen is a partner at Safeguard Investment Advisory Group, LLC (www.safeguardinvestment.com). As an investment advisor, Abedeen has helped retirees for nearly two decades with issues such as insurance, long-term care planning, financial services, asset protection and many other areas.
post signature

Photographer captures Swedish dads on paternity leave

When Swedish photographer Johan Bävman took time off of work in product development at Sandvick to care for his children, he didn't to search for resources and information for dads in his situation, but couldn't find much.  It was a shock considering that families in there are required to be given 480 days of parental leave and 60 days of that leave must be used by dads or forfeited. 

To fill that void, he decided to then that he decided to chronicle the stories of other dads in his shoes through imagery. It would benefit the 12% of those eligible for the leave in Sweden actually take it. 

The result of his photography project is a very heartwarming collection of powerful images of dads being nurturing, thorough and hands-on in their upbringing. It's great to see that the children in the photographs are not overly coiffed or cleaned up and their homes are messy and what a typical lived in abode would look like. 

It's perfectly imperfect and doesn't look staged at all.

Check out the photos at BuzzFeed.
post signature

Bump Watch: Jaime, Leah, Jessica and Naya

In this installment of our bumpwatch roundup, we've got a wide variety of recent and a little bit dated celebrity-related pregnancy news:

Jaime King bared a topless bump photo before it got deleted (Entertainment Tonight)

Leah Jenner and hubby, Kim Kardashian's step brother, are expecting (Instagram)

Jessica Biel is so preggers her baby belly was peeking under her shirt (Popsugar)

Naya Rivera was bumpilicious in bump-hugging mini dress at the airport. (Perez Hilton)
post signature

20 Things Successful Parents Do Differently

We sometimes see those smart, precocious, child prodigies in media stories and marvel at how articulate, astute, expressive and confident they are. We wonder if they were naturally like that or if if their parents and support network made them that way. Is it nature or nurture? Most likely it is a combination of both. Character traits are inane and it is a fact that some children just have more drive and will than others and they want to succeed and do their best. It's not to say that less-motivated kids cannot excel, it just takes a lot more to get them there. Here is where active parenting comes into play. 

In recent years, we've seen a movement against the "helicopter parent" who hovers over their child or children and has his or her hands in all aspects of their children's lives to make sure their kids are successful. The criticism is that such parents are hurting their children by not allowing them to fail or to learn things like work ethic on their own. There is value in trying and failing or just not getting the first place prize. All of this is true, however, it is a mistake to tell parents they should not be active, involved and engaged in their children's lives.

A recent study said parents create narcissistic children by telling their child they are special too much. I find that hard to believe because, if anything, there are too many children who do not have high self-esteem or self-love. I cannot agree we should be showing our children less love. 

It's all about balance. 

My husband's aunt worked as a housekeeper for wealthy families for over a decade. Before then, she was a successful and award-winning early education teacher in her native Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies. Below is a combination of things she informed us the parents she's worked with do, and things that I and other successful parents of smart, athletic, talented kids do. This list is not presented to make other parents feel inferior if they have not or are not doing these things but merely to edify and instruct.

Successful parents....

1. They get prenatal treatment when they discover they are pregnant and read everything they can get their hands on about fetal development and pregnancy so they are informed. They put their baby's needs ahead of their own, including foregoing hours spent on social media and doing other mindless activities, to instead learn about what's going on inside their body so they are best prepared when their child is born.

2. They read to their child in the womb. They are aware of studies and reports that say fetuses that are exposed to the read language have better development in utero and in early infancy. 

3. They read to their children in early infancy because they know that hearing the oral language as spoken and in natural speech is different and babies learn that early.

4. They ask their children to read signs and other things when they are out. Doing this keeps them sharp and aware of learning around them and the constant opportunities to get academic enrichment even while doing boring and mundane tasks or running errands. 

5. They don't snap when a child asks a question or shut them down. They have the patience to answer calmly and encourage follow up. You never want to shut down the natural curiosity of a child or a child who wants to learn and know more. That's a good thing that should be encouraged not discouraged by telling a kid to hush or shut up and be quiet. 

6. They take their children everywhere. It may seem like a burden to some to lug out a car seat, pack a baby back, haul the stroller in the car and go through all the endless steps involved for an outing. However, it is worth it. Kids that are exposed to the world, different people and even in germy places are more astute and develop interpersonal skills with others. If you can grab a carrier and when baby is big enough, have him face the world. Germs are not your enemy. They help build up an immunity and make your kid less sick.

7. They avoid negative words and certainly don't call their kids bad. Here are a few other choice words to use when you're aggravated and want to scream about how "bad" they are: challenging, difficult, disobedient, stubborn, naughty. These descriptors are more specific than just the general word, "bad" which is  the opposite of "good." No child needs to hear that they are "not good" no matter their behavior. 

8. They ask them specific questions. How was your day and how was school will just get "good" as as a response. Instead ask what was the hardest part of the day today or what assignment did you enjoy doing the most today or who did you sit with at lunch. And then listen to the answer. Get your head and mind off of your smart phone and focus on your kid. 

9. They enroll their children in arts, gymnastics, play, music and other enrichment classes so they build a well-rounded child. They know that the benefits of extracurricular activity spill into the classroom and that it's important for kids to enjoy all aspects of life: culture and fun. 

10. They make sure they know what reports, assignments, exams and quizzes their child has coming up. Help them study, if possible, or make sure they are putting in ample prep time. And if they are incapable of helping, they get a tutor and find the free tutor hour that some city libraries offer. 

11. They don't use corporal punishment like spanking as the first way of discipline. They are creative and find other things like taking away a favorite game or past time, TV or video games, put kids in corners, make them do push ups and sit ups, and find other alternatives. 

12. They limit their children's screen times because the mindless playing nonstop takes away from their children going outside to play and explore. All that has been written about the negative impact of excessive video-game playing are out there. 

13. They play board games because that teaches patience, strategy and skill. 

14. They do crafts with their children because it encourages parental bonding and teaches patience and how to complete a project from start to finish.

15. They encourage their child to play house or with action figures because it enhances their imagination and prepares them for logic and composition later in their schooling.

16. They encourage their children to play with Legos because building activities helps grow patience, skill, logic and develops spatial reasoning which will be great for math class later. 

17. They have high expectations and let their children know constantly they will not settle for or accept mediocrity. When a parent has a non-motivated child who is not a self-starter or doesn't have the self-drive to want to excel, their child will never do better unless they are made to know they have to try. If you accept all C's and D's and do not express disappointment, neither take the steps to get a tutor, become engage with the assignments or reach out to your children's teachers, they will continue to bring home C's and D's. 

18. They get their children into team sports or martial arts because not only is the extra movement outside of gym class or recess important for fighting childhood obesity, but these activities also build confidence and keep kids off the streets, and away from drugs and other deviant behavior and circles of influence. 

19. They don't compare their children to other children, especially in front of their kids because they know all children have special talents, circumstances and levels of drive that differ. They focus on drawing out whatever their child is best at and complimenting them on all they love about their child, rather than focus on the negative.

20. They shower their children with affirmation in the form of hugs and kisses and positive advice or words simply letting them know how happy they are to have their children in their lives. Confident children who love themselves and have high self-esteem are fed positive vibes from home so they know they don't need to go elsewhere for approval. To borrow a popular cliche: Home is where the heart is.

There you have it. If you are doing these things, kudos to you,  and if not, consider taking heed to those you like and abandon what you don't. There is more than one way to raise successful, conscientious, civic-minded, and well-rounded children. 

Godpspeed parents!
post signature
Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Follow Bellyitch on G+