Posts Tagged ‘ interview ’

James Marsden on Raising Three Kids: “They’re Wonderfully Underwhelmed With What I Do”

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Actor James Marsden has starred in a variety of movies and television, from superhero epics (X-Men) to drama (Lee Daniels’ The Butler) and comedies (30 Rock, the upcoming Anchorman 2). But chances are your family probably recognizes him from one of his many kids’ movies, including Hop, Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore and my personal favorite, Enchanted.

We recently caught up with the 40-year-old star when he was hosting “SWAPtoberfest,” the launch party for Skylanders SWAP Force in Times Square. He told us all about making family movies, raising his three kids, and even showed off some of his video game skills.

How did you get involved with Skylanders?
My kids have always loved the games. My 12-year-old boy and my 8-year-old daughter will play together, so it’s good to find a game we can enjoy as a family.

Are you a big video game fan?
I have been off and on through my whole life. I have to watch myself because if I get into a game, I’m not very productive with other parts of my life. But I played a lot back in the ’80s, and now I usually will play with my kids.

You’ve been in several kids’ movies. Is that because of your own children?
Completely. I’m not that interested in staying in one type of genre, so I do like to diversify the work a bit. But I like that with kids’ films, I’m making something that my own can enjoy. I get to experience the movie with my kids.

Do your kids like watching your movies?
Films are very real to young kids, so they didn’t get the concept of seeing Dad on TV or on the movie screen. It was a little uncomfortable for them. Kids don’t want their parents to be anything but their parents. So I never introduced them to my films until they were old enough to grasp the concept of “Daddy’s playing pretend.” But they’re wonderfully underwhelmed with what I do. They think it’s cool, but they’re interested in movies I’m not in. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Would you encourage your children if any of them were interested in acting?
If their heart was into it, then I would encourage it no matter what. But I would probably make them wait until they were 18 to professionally get involved. Kids should be kids. You’re a kid for such a short period of your life, and you’re an adult for a large period. A lot of kids start in this business too soon, and they grow up too soon, in my opinion. So while they were young, I would encourage my kids to take acting classes, and to be in school drama, musicals and plays.

What’s your best parenting advice?
Consistency and boundaries. I know that sounds very discipline-oriented, but I think that kids need to know what to expect. Set very specific boundaries for them, and within those boundaries, they can do whatever they want and embrace their individuality and their spirit. They need very clear ideas of what’s right and wrong and when they bump against that boundary, it’s not a hard moment. You want them to know what to expect and try to create a consistent environment for them.

We’re not far from where you filmed the infamous bus stabbing scene in Enchanted.
They couldn’t close off Times Square, so we were doing it in front of tourists. It was the first time I thought, ‘This movie is either going to kill my career or it’s going to be really great.’ Luckily, it turned out to be really great. But it was an exceptional experience. Who else can say they’ve stabbed a bus in the middle of Times Square while wearing tights?

Image: James Marsden plays Skylanders with young fans, courtesy of Activision. 

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Parents Goody Giveaway: Win The Croods on Blu-ray!

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

It’s a sad truth that animated movies rarely focus on an entire family, but The Croods is working to fix that. If you missed it in theaters back in March, the film is about a family of cavemen (and women), who face change and search for a new home in prehistoric times. The fun feature—which is now available on DVD—stars the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds.

We caught up with co-director (and father of two infant twins) Kirk DeMicco to get his take on kids’ movies:

Is there a particular message you want children to take away from the movie?
The characters are very pure of heart, especially the father, Grug. I felt like he was just afraid of anything happening to his family. It came from a very good place, even if to his children, it seems like he was wrong. The idea is that parents and children need to keep the lines of communication open.

How have families received The Croods?
It’s been really cool to watch our movie around the world. This is a story about a family and it transcends different cultures. There’s nothing outwardly American about it, so everyone could relate. In Italy, they’d say, “This must be an Italian family because the grandma is there.” And then the Spanish people would say, “This must be a Spanish family because the mother-in-law is there.” And so it was really interesting to see how many cultures took it on as their own, saying “Oh, that’s us.”

Your movie focuses on a whole family, but most animated kids’ movies only have one parent, if any. Why do you think this is the case?
We have a theory that there are often no moms because these movies are always about characters making giant mistakes, so they can learn a lesson in the end. The problem is, a mom would be like “Yeah, don’t run away.” And then the character would realize it was really stupid and then there would be no movie.

What are your favorite animated movies or TV shows?
As a kid, I loved the Charlie Brown episodes. I love how those stories never talked down to kids. They were just kids going through pretty profound situations and having big thoughts about life. Plus, the fact that the animation is not perfect makes it really charming. You see mistakes and it feels handmade, like you could see people working on it. Now, movies are so polished. It’s the little imperfections that bring charm sometimes.

We are excited to announce that Twentieth Century Fox is letting us give away a two-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack of The Croods to five of our readers! To enter, just leave a comment on this post. You can comment once a day between now and the end of the day on Wednesday, October 16, 2013. You can also read the official rules. Goody luck!

Update: The contest is now closed. Congratulations to our winners: Nicole Amorosi Rollins, Bonnie Leigh, Carmen Van Deursen, Mary Singer and Dana Amorosi.

Image courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

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The Little Mermaid’s Jodi Benson: “We Work Better as a Team”

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Growing up, The Little Mermaid was one of my first favorite movies. I had all of the coolest Ariel clothes and merchandise, including a bathing suit, a beach towel, bed sheets, and an umbrella. Now that I’m an adult, I’ve sadly had to retire almost all of those items (although I still use the beach towel!). But my love for the classic Disney film is still going strong.

It’s hard to believe, but soon the movie will be turning 25. And despite its age, The Little Mermaid is still immensely popular with young children. In fact, it is a favorite with my 4-year-old niece, who gave me a colored picture of Ariel’s grotto for my birthday a few months ago. To celebrate the anniversary, Disney is releasing a special Diamond Edition Blu-ray, which includes bonus features like behind-the-scenes animation footage and a “Crab-E-OKE” sing-along.

Naturally, I was thrilled to interview Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel and a mother of two kids (a 14-year-old son and a 12-year old daughter). She told me all about her reactions to the beloved movie, her best parenting advice, and her experiences with homeschooling.

Why do you think the movie has such a lasting appeal with both kids and adults?
At the time, I think everyone was ready for a fairy tale. There hadn’t really been one since Sleeping Beauty [released in 1959]. We also had the incredible Howard Ashman and Alan Menken writing the score, plus the hand-painted and hand-drawn animations. It was just the perfect mix at the right time.

Between sequels, soundtracks and promotional events, it seems like being Ariel has become a full-time job for you. Did you realize in the beginning that it would be such a big part of your career?
It’s been a really great ride. But no, absolutely not. It was all a huge, wonderful surprise. I just expected to do the job and disappear, so we were completely blown away.

Do you have a favorite song or favorite scene?
I have to say “Part of Your World” and that whole underwater grotto scene. I think it is just beautifully animated. And getting to record that song with Howard Ashman at my side, just directing me every step of the way, was really such a great memory for me.

Did your children watch The Little Mermaid growing up?
I revealed it to both of them when they were about 2 or 3. I tried to make the connection by standing next to the TV screen and singing and speaking along with it, just to help them make the realization, “Mommy is Ariel!” They reacted very positively. But once my son made the connection, he would start crying when I sang in public at concerts if he was there. It was like, then I wasn’t his mom anymore. He liked it when Ariel and Mommy were just for him in private.

You’ve homeschooled your children for 11 years. What is that experience like?
It’s been an incredible journey. We had put our son into a little preschool in Los Angeles and it was just not going well, so we brought him back home. We had every intention of putting him back into a traditional school setting but we just really couldn’t find the right match for him. And then we moved to Georgia and again couldn’t find the right match. So year by year, it just kept going and going. And then our daughter was here, and it just became part of our life. We realized the flexibility it gave our family; the kids can travel with us, so it just seemed to work best. So 11 years into it, we’re still going strong.

Do you plan to continue all the way through their education?
We take it pretty much one year at a time. It’s a huge calling and a huge responsibility, and it’s very challenging.  But we feel like this is what God has called us to do for now. And it might not work for next year, so we’re very open to whatever is going to be best for the kids.

It is tough to balance homeschooling with your work schedule?
Yes, it can be a challenge with work and travel. Both of the kids are in club soccer so they have some intense travel seasons as well. But homeschooling has given us some wonderful flexibility and some great life experiences, especially with our son. He is a sophomore in high school at this point, and he would be missing some of these once-in-a-lifetime trips with us because of needing to stay home. So he made the decision to stay in homeschooling. It needs to be the kids’ decision.

What’s the best parenting advice you would give?
I can only speak for my husband and myself, but we don’t feel like we could do any of this parenting without our faith. We are in uncharted territory when it comes to two teenage kids but we do rely a lot on a whole ton of prayer. We also work hard to keep great bonds of communication open with our children. Ever since the kids were babies, we have treated them with respect. We are the mom and dad for sure, but we look for opportunities for us to sit down and say, “How are things going for you? Is there anything that we can do as parents to help you? Let’s all come up with a solution together.” We work better as a team.

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Best Baby and Toddler Feeding Tips

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Both in the U.S. and the U.K., Annabel Karmel is the number-one name for moms who want to make their own baby food. The mother of three has written more than a dozen books about feeding babies and toddlers; her iPhone app is also a hit. Now she’s offering advice and delicious recipes for pregnant moms with her new book Eating for Two.

What inspired you to dive into nutrition, meal planning, and baby food?

About three months after my first child was born, I felt very uneasy—she didn’t look right to me. We took her to the hospital and were there for five days and nights. They believed something was wrong with her brain. On the last night, she died. I can’t even explain what that feels like. She was my first child.

I knew that having another child was the only thing that could bring me back to life, and so my son Nicholas is the reason I wrote my first book. I was quite adamant that he should eat well. I tried books on baby purees and they were all very bland. I tried commercial products and he wouldn’t eat them. I only got him to eat well with my own with herbs, garlic, and fresh food.

I was giving my recipes to all the mums around and they told me I should write a book.

So you did!

I spoke with many, many allergy specialists, nutritionists, and research bodies. It took me two and half years before my first book came out in 1991, The Healthy Baby Meal Planner. I thought that would be the only book I wrote, but so far I’ve written about one book each year on a range of topics: weekly meal planning, feeding fussy eaters, creating family meals, transitioning from puree to solid food, and cooking with your child.

What are good first foods?

I don’t believe in baby cereal. I like vegetables and fruit, preferably sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash. Simply steam it to preserve the nutrients, or bake it, which will caramelize it. Then mix it with your baby’s usual milk. Apple and pear are also great choices because they are slightly sweet, similar to breast milk. Then start branching out and introduce mashed papaya, peaches, banana, and avocado.

When making purees, stick to a single ingredient and keep it as close to liquid as possible. Babies are used to breast milk, and you need to mimic that consistency to start. Then work up to mixing a fruit and a vegetable together and creating thicker purees. Try introducing your little one to broccoli and spinach by mixing them with root vegetables.

What if my child is picky and won’t eat a lumpy sweet potato puree?

Stick with it! In the first year, you must introduce to as many foods as possible. Withholding certain foods has nothing to do with developing an allergy or not, but rather it can make children quite fussy. It’s really about trying to train kids to like good food. It’s hard to transition from commercial, processed food to homemade family food. Start them on fresh family food and you shouldn’t have much of a problem.

What are the best first finger foods?

Steamed veggies and soft fruits like peaches, broccoli, pears. I also love serving fingers of toast with real cheese, mini meatballs, and sautéed grated onion and apple.

How can moms be sure their babies and toddlers are getting the nutrition they need?

Follow my books and meal planner—it takes all the worry out of it. Once you’re past the simple foods, bring in eggs, fish, chicken, and other meat. I like putting things like dried apricot into beef casserole or fresh fruit into a savory puree to get babies to like it.

Other key points to remember: variety and food groups. Serve fish or meat twice each week or add cheese to a veggie puree. Do not stick to smooth purees for too long. To avoid this, blend half and chop the other half or keep it lumpier.

Don’t be discouraged or frustrated when you’re baby becomes independent, experiments with food, and then makes a mess. Mums need to accept that and take a deep breath.

Sometimes introducing the same food over and over doesn’t work for me. So I make something else. Is this the right thing to do?

It’s actually important for the child to feel hungry. Otherwise he will carry on and on and get fussy with food whenever he doesn’t feel like eating something. Give him no attention for not eating. It’s a hard thing to do, but focus on the good and not the bad. We’re all guilty of going to the cupboard and trying to appease our children, afraid they will be hungry. But when they’re hungry, that’s the time they will eat something different. Otherwise their diet won’t be varied and that’s the worst thing.

What is the best way to store baby food?

I loved cooking for my children on the weekend and freezing purees in ice cube trays. You’re better off making it in bulk.

Can parents just blend up what they’re eating for dinner?

Yes! But be mindful that no salt or strong seasonings are added.

Do you have a favorite go-to recipe when you’re in a pinch?

My mini-meatballs. I bake them in the oven and then freeze the extra. I also love chicken balls and salmon balls—all are made with breadcrumbs, tomato, and spring onion.

Any tips for mom’s diet?

While pregnant, try not to gain too much weight. You don’t need any extra calories, not until the last three months anyway, because your body is great at using all of the calories and nutrients you already provide. Eating many small meals is best, and good snacks are sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

After your child is born, you must continue to eat well, especially when breast-feeding. You don’t think about storing up food in the freezer but it is such a help to plan ahead for when you’re back from the hospital. If you eat well and rest, you will feel so much better. And it will be nutritious for baby.

Interview has been condensed and edited.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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Chris O’Donnell: “Peace and Quiet Doesn’t Begin Until The Last One Goes To Sleep”

Friday, June 14th, 2013

NCIS: Los Angeles star Chris O’Donnell has joined with The ConAgra Foods Foundation’s Hunger-Free Summer program to raise awareness for kids who depend on free or reduced lunch meals during the school year. Now in its fourth year, the initiative has delivered over 2.5 million meals and snacks to children struggling with hunger over the summer. The goal is to reach at least 25 percent more children in need during the summer than before, over the course of five years.

We spoke with O’Donnell about the program, his career, and what it’s like to raise five children.

How do you manage raising so many kids? Do you ever have peace and quiet?
On a normal day, peace and quiet doesn’t begin until the last one goes to sleep, which gets later and later as they get older. My wife Caroline and I do try to find time for just the two of us, run out for a glass of wine or a quick dinner. The noise feels like the new normal at this point. If it gets too quiet, that usually means trouble.

What’s the best part of having a big family?
In terms of our children, we try to encourage each of them to explore their individual interests since they are each so unique. It is fun watching them as they dabble in all types of sports and extracurricular activities.

You took time off from your acting career to focus on your family. Was that a scary decision to make?
I had a couple moments early in my career where it was more about re-examining my life. I started young and had a lot of success out of the gate. I would go movie, to movie, to movie, and would never see the people I worked with again. I was really getting burnt out on a personal, emotional level. And that’s just not who I am. The road I wanted to go down was to be married and have a family.

Did raising kids ever get easier for you? By the time you were on the fifth baby, did you feel like you had a handle on things?
I think going from two to three kids was the most difficult, but it does get easier. The older kids start to behave and help out, and we are more experienced as well. We don’t stress out over small things that may have freaked us out in our first couple years as parents.

What’s your best advice for busy parents out there?
From my perspective, it’s important for parents to set a good example for their kids, and impart on them that they should think about and help others.

Why is the Hunger-Free Summer Program particularly important to you?
I was shocked to learn that one in five children in the U.S. faces food insecurity—and that the situation only becomes more worrisome during the summer months. It can be an invisible issue, so as a father of five, I want to do something to help.

Want to help O’Donnell and the Hunger-Free Summer initiative? Check out www.ChildHungerEndsHere.com and watch O’Donnell’s message below. For every video viewed and shared, ConAgra will donate one meal to Feeding America, the country’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization.

 

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Raising Adventurous Eaters (And Cooks!)

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Want your kid to eat broccoli and brussels sprouts? Paul Lindley, a British father of two, created Ella’s Kitchen in 2006 to do just that. His goal was to encourage his daughter to explore new foods and, hopefully, banish picky-ness. The organic baby food creator just released The Cookbook: The Red One, which just might get your kids to like their veggies, too.

Q: Why did you write this cookbook?

A: Involving children with cooking and food at an early age can help shape their future relationships with food. The Cook Book: The Red One features fun ideas and creative activities that allow little ones to experience healthy foods outside of mealtimes, from getting creative with vegetable prints to playing at a “Cool Kiddie Café.” We offer ways for children to learn more about fruit and vegetables using all their senses, to help them develop healthy eating habits that last a lifetime.

Q: What is Ella’s Kitchen? What products do you offer and how did you get started?

A: I launched Ella’s Kitchen in 2006 to help babies and toddlers enjoy eating healthy food. I had an understanding of what makes children tick from being a parent myself, as well as from my experience working at Nickelodeon.

I was inspired to set up Ella’s Kitchen by my own experiences in weaning Ella. I passionately believe that all kids should have the opportunity to discover that healthy food can be fun, tasty, and cool.

At Ella’s Kitchen we believe that little ones eat using all of their senses, and therefore it was important for us to produce foods that not only taste great, but are bright, tactile and fun. We always approach healthy eating from a child’s perspective and take simple, natural ingredients to create foods and packaging that really connect with kids and their parents – helping them through the entire weaning process.

Q: There is a large element for children in this book. The illustrations are playful and fun and there are drawings to color. Why was this important to include?

A: We always approach everything we do from a child’s perspective and our cookbook is no different. The book is for the whole family and the easy instructions, clever shortcuts and fun activities allow little ones to engage with healthy foods outside of mealtimes. It’s all about getting children hands-on and messy in the kitchen from a young age.

Q: Why is organic, fresh, and homemade so important to you?

A: Organic food is better because it comes from carefully monitored sources with high standards in quality but habits—both good and bad—are formed in the earliest years of a child’s life. It’s crucial to start a healthy diet from a young age. Develop healthy eating habits by getting your little one involved in food; let her help during the cooking process and make yummy homemade dishes together.

Q: How and why did you get into food and cooking?

A: I’ve always loved cooking. Even as a child of 6 years-old, I used to help my mum make surprise birthday cakes! Then when Ella was born, I—like any parent—struggled at times to get her to eat certain foods. So I designed games to make mealtime fun. In our home, meals have always been messy, noisy, interactive events. The whole family enjoys the experience of creating dishes together. Sitting down to enjoy them always makes me smile.

Q: Your personal inspiration came from your children, Ella and Paddy. Did they help in the creation of the book? Did they create any recipes?

A: Two of the recipes in the new cookbook are my family’s own, including Ella’s Dad’s Sweet + Sour Prawns and Ella’s Mum’s Easy Chicken Curry. We first made the chicken curry when Ella was just three years old and she’s loved it ever since, as it’s mild, sweet and creamy. Ella and Paddy were involved in tasting lots of recipes when we were experimenting with ideas!

Q: Ella, now 13, wrote the book’s Foreword and has been in the kitchen since age 4. Does she have goals to pursue cooking professionally in the future?

A: Ella’s favorite school subject is Food Technology, so you never know! At this stage in her life she’s busy having fun with her friends. All we wish is that when she grows up, she does something that she’s passionate about and believes in.

Q: Your recipes are family-friendly, but some have unexpected flavor combos—do you have certain chefs or books that you look to? Where do you find culinary inspiration?

A: The inspiration for our recipes came in lots of different forms; from real mums and dads, friends and family, and our ever-so-clever recipe developer Emma Jane Frost. Our team of nutritionists selected and approved every recipe to ensure that kids have balanced meals to help them grow.

Q: You have tips on preventing picky-ness, but what advice do you give parents who already have picky eaters?

A: Help your kids use all of their senses when exploring new foods—this will teach them to love healthy food from the start! The key is to be patient and persistent. Little ones have three times as many taste buds as adults, which leads to a taste intensity of up to 10 times that of an adult. As a result, both sweet and bitter tastes are exaggerated, often leading to immediate rejection of brussel sprouts and broccoli. It can take 10 separate experiences of a new taste before it’s accepted, so don’t give up after the first couple of times! Keep going and your little one will eat up their vegetables in no time.

Q: Growing up, who did most of the cooking in your family? What was a typical weeknight meal like?

A: I grew up in Sheffield, England and it was my mum who did most of the cooking. Her crispy Yorkshire puddings were a big favourite in our house – whether filled with sausages and gravy during the week or as part of a family roast with meat and loads of veg at the weekend. I can still hear the crunch they made when I close my eyes now!

Q: If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be and why?

A: It’d have to be my mum’s Yorkshire puddings now that it’s in my mind – Mmmm! There are so many different things to fill them with that I’d never get bored. Ella and Paddy love them too and I’m sure we’d have fun experimenting with new things to put in them!

Q: What other important things should our readers know about you or the book?

A: At Ella’s we always try to look at life from a child’s point of view: with an open mind and with all our senses. My strong belief is that the more a young child is involved with his or her food, whether that’s choosing it, preparing it, playing with it or eating it independently—the more likely he or she is to give it a try and go on to enjoy it!

Interview has been condensed and edited.

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Nick Lachey Is “Having A Blast” With Fatherhood

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Already bought your tickets for this summer’s 98 Degrees and New Kids on the Block tour? Now you can share the experience with your little one! Nick Lachey of 98 Degrees just released an adorable children’s album called A Father’s Lullaby, and the mix of original and classic songs is sure to relax you and your baby.

Nick and his wife Vanessa became parents back in September, when their son Camden John was born. Now, the proud papa gushes to us about his music and his little boy:

Congratulations on Camden! How is fatherhood treating you so far?
I love being a dad. It’s just a blast. He’s a great kid, so I got lucky there. It’s definitely life changing but it’s been positive in every single possible way.

Do you have any advice for other new parents?
The best advice I got was to not give advice. Every kid is different and every scenario is different. You have to find your own way and figure out what works for you as parents. The only broad stroke advice I would give is enjoy every day. There’s something cool that happens every day with Camden and I’m just glad I’m there to see it.

You’re a huge sports fan. Will Camden be going to games with you?
He will! But I am open to the possibility that he doesn’t like sports. But until he tells me otherwise, we’re going to be all about it. Of course as a father, I look forward to taking him to his first baseball game or playing catch in the front yard. But I also want him to be his own person. Maybe he won’t like sports, and that’s fine.  He’s got to make his own way and discover his own passions.

Making A Father’s Lullaby must have been a different experience for you.
It was a really special project for me. I became interested in doing it once I found out we were pregnant, and I started thinking about all the changes that were going to happen. There were a lot of emotions and feelings that I wanted to express. And I thought what better way to do it than a lullaby record? It wasn’t like writing a typical pop record, because the idea is to be calming and soothing. The producer and I poured ourselves into this project as fathers.

Are there any songs on the album that are particularly meaningful for you?
The two most important men in my life are my dad and my son. “A Father’s Lullaby” is a song about passing on traditions that I got from my father to my son, and one day in turn, he’ll pass them onto his son.  It’s about that bond between generations that’s so important. There’s also the song, “You Are My Sunshine,” which my grandfather used to sing to me all the time. It was special to put that on the record for him as well.

It sounds like the whole CD is pretty special to you.
I’m really excited to share this album with all my fans out there. A lot of them were fans of 98 Degrees many years ago, and now they have families and kids of their own. I think it’s a great way to continue to share the music and the experience of being a parent with them.

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7 Maternity Style Tips from Liz Lange

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Putting together a fashionable wardrobe during pregnancy can be a tricky business, and things only get more complicated as hot summer weather approaches. Luckily, designer Liz Lange is here to help!

Liz started her clothing line during her own pregnancy, when she discovered it was impossible to find flattering and sophisticated maternity clothes. “My idea was to design pieces with more fitted silhouettes that looked chic and complemented the body,” she says. “I built my brand around this idea of celebrating the bump—not hiding it.”

Now, she gives us her top fashion tips for moms-to-be:

1. Embrace the bump. “Trust me, it’s more flattering to flaunt it than hide it,” she says. “I incorporate lots of stretchy fabrics and side-ruching into my Target line to flatter the figure and really highlight the bump.”

2. Stay true to your own style. “Maternity wear has evolved so much over the years. There’s no need to wear oversized, shapeless dresses or your husband’s sweats, because women can now find cute, stylish maternity apparel that suits their unique fashion sense,” she says. Many of Liz’s designs incorporate cut-outs, lace paneling and color-blocking to let women express themselves.

3. Be daring. “I love bright colors and bold prints on a pregnant woman—in the right proportions, they’re surprisingly flattering,” Liz says. But if you’re going for a more subtle look, she recommends sticking with neutrals and incorporating trendy, punchy accessories into your outfit instead.

4. Don’t be afraid to show some skin. “Highlight the thinnest parts of your figure—your arms and toned legs—with tanks, mini-dresses and shorts. If you’re uncomfortable baring your belly at the beach, try a tankini. They provide the security of extra coverage while still drawing attention to the right places. I especially love versions with convertible straps so you can go halter or strapless.” Her favorite summertime item is a simple dress, perfect for the office or a day by the pool.

5. Wear sensible (but cute!) shoes. “No teetering around on high heels! Opt for wedges or a low kitten heel if you need a little lift.”

6. Invest in a few classic essentials. Liz recommends a great-fitting pair of maternity jeans (ideally in a darker wash so they’re easier to dress up) and a versatile black dress. “These two pieces will take you everywhere you need to go, day or night,” she says.

7. Above all, enjoy yourself. “This is an exciting, celebratory time so have fun with maternity fashion!”

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