My favorite Maternity clothing brands: Part 1- Ingrid & Isabel

Note: I am breaking this post into two parts. This post Part 1, will focus on my favorite maternity pieces from Ingrid & Isabel. Tomorrow, I will post Part 2 which will focus on my favorite maternity pieces from STORQ.

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Fashion…

One of my favorite things, but also one of the things I find hardest to deal with during pregnancy.

I have always been a very petite, athletic, woman, who never had to worry much about fitting into clothes. I could wear whatever I wanted, whatever I thought was fashionable, with out worrying if the clothing was flattering. (Bring on the crop tops.)

But now as a pregnant woman, every day, I wake up bigger.¬†Because of my constant changing body, a dress that fit just last week, may not fit today.35529c5dd9a53feca99930f8959eebe3In the early stages of pregnancy, I would always ask myself, “Does this outfit make me look fat, or pregnant?” Now in the later stages, there is no mistaking, doubting, or questioning it… I am pregnant, and this is my baby bump, not a food baby.

So what have I been wearing?

Honestly, I have avoided buying to much maternity clothing because it is expensive, and pregnancy is only for a short time. I have been wearing tons of Free People, my favorite.  Most of the clothing from Free People is loose, flowy, and bohemian.  Even for my maternity photo shoot I wore nothing maternity. The majority of my outfits were from Free People.

I also feel pretty lucky, being my biggest during the summer. It is much easier to wear a maxi dress, then to try to zip up a winter coat over a huge baby bump. Plus winter clothing is always more expensive then summer clothes. Also around 35 weeks, my feet started to swell, and there is no way I can squeeze into winter boots, instead I am barefoot most of the time, but when I wear shoes they are all open… flip flops and birkenstocks.

When it comes to maternity fashion, I will admit, maternity clothes have come a long way since our moms were pregnant, but today something¬†is still¬†missing or lacking. I find myself on a constant search for fashionable maternity clothing that isn’t difficult to wear.

Finally, during this epic search for the perfect maternity clothes, I found two brands that I love, Ingrid & Isabel and STORQ. I have invested in some of their core pieces. This post is part 1 of 2 and will focus on Ingrid & Isabel.

Ingrid & Isabel

I absolutely love the maternity clothing brand Ingrid & Isabel.

1) The first thing I purchased from them was the bellaband in white.home_hero_bellabandThe bellaband allows you to wear any of your regular pants, shorts, or any pieces of clothing that you no longer can zip. This small piece of clothing saved me from having to invest in maternity jeans. What do you do? Simple, leave your pants unzipped and slide the bellaband over the unzipped area. No one will ever know your pants are unzipped, and you can fold the bellaband down (still hiding your zipper), or wear it high above your bump for extra support.

2) Another item by Ingrid & Isabel, that I pretty much live in, is the Active Capri Pant with Crossover Panel in jet black. 1257_00016_2_4I am an athlete, who has a closet full of lululemon. Although, I still wear some of my lululemon comfortably, most of it is too tight. Along with the bellaband, these pants were one of the maternity items I purchased early on (around 3 months.) Now, that I am 9 months pregnant they still fit, and I am still wearing them all the time. They are not only great for when I am active, (wearing them to prenatal yoga), but they are great to just wear whenever. Again, the cross over panel is key, because you can fold it down, or wear it high above your bump for extra support. They also have a long pant option, I went for the capri, because during the winter I wore boots with them, and now during the summer time I am able to wear them as capri with out getting overly hot.

3) This ruffle bikini bottom has saved me at the pool and beach.¬†1131_01_1_4Most of my bikinis are brazilian cut, but the brazilian bikini was NOT going to cut it during pregnancy. Now, I have too many bumps (boobs, booty, baby bump) and if I am going to let the baby bump hang out, all of the other bumps need full coverage. This ruffle bottom gave me the coverage I needed, and it is still cute and flirty. ¬†There I am below wearing the ruffle bottom on the beach, when I was only 22 weeks pregnant. Now that I am 37 weeks pregnant, these bottoms still fit and give me the coverage I need.¬†bump selfie 24) My latest purchase was the Seamless Drop Cup Nursing Bras in black, picture shows white option. 1270_00_1_4Now that I am in the last stages of my pregnancy, the search for maternity clothes has ended, and the search for nursing clothes, including nursing bras and tanks, has started. One thing that is important when purchasing nursing bras is to have a couple different kinds. It is very important to have al least one that does not have underwire. So far this bra is very comfortable. I’ll do a more detailed post on it once I use it when baby arrives. ¬†

So there you have it…

If you are looking for maternity clothes, you will not be disappointed with these items from Ingrid & Isabel.

Have you tried anything from Ingrid & Isabel? What are your favorite Maternity brands?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

All images (except the one of myself) on this page are from the Ingrid & Isabel website.

Tips for Perfecting your Maternity Photo Shoot

Last monday, I published a blog post on my Maternity photo shoot. Thank you so much for all the kind words regarding the beauty of the photos. I’m glad all of you enjoyed them. Because I highly recommend all mothers to be, to have a maternity photo session of their very own, I thought I would share with you a couple tips.

1.¬†Research your photographer. (I am not a photographer, but have worked closely with some. This is what I know.) Although, most photographers use digital, I have heard of some in the DC area who specialize in film. Some photographers may use a flash, while others use natural light. This is important because it will effect the time of day you will do your photo shoot.¬†While most may¬†edit their photos, there are still some photographers who do not. Most photographers have a specialty. Some may be fashion photographers, who shoot mainly in a studio or on set, while others may actually specialize in maternity and birthing photography. Whatever it may be, prioritize what is important to you in a photographer. ¬†At the end of the day, all photographers are artists, who have a unique artistic style. The best way to discover their unique artistic style is by simply examining their portfolio. So look at their website and social media accounts such as instagram… Do you like what you see? Do you like their work? Also on their social media pages you may have the opportunity to read comments and reviews. ¬†If you do not know a photographer, get recommendations from friends. I highly suggest meeting up with your photographer prior to the shoot. That way you two can get to know each other. ¬†This also gives you an opportunity to seek professional advice, ask any questions, and talk about ideas you may have. The closer you know your photographer, the more comfortable your will be.¬†In my eyes, the most important thing is to find a photographer, you feel very comfortable around. Being pregnant can be uncomfortable at times, but you do not want to look uncomfortable in you maternity photos. I was lucky enough to work with Raiza, from Raiza Vega Photography. I not only fell in love with her portfolio on her website, but she is also a good friend. Because of this, I felt totally comfortable during my photo shoot, and it shows in the photos.

2. Determine what vibe you want your photos to have? This was one of the first questions my photographer asked me. 

Below are ideas of some of my favorite vibes. 

Do you want a fashion editorial vibe?

The photos below of Liv Tyler and Gisele Bundchen are examples of maternity photos that have a fashion vibe. These photos were both taken inside and have simple green backgrounds.

Do you want a nature vibe?

The photos below are examples of a nature vibe. All of these photos were taken outside, using natural light. A nature vibe, can also have a bohemian earthy feel. Dresses that flow, flower crowns, and crop tops are all great prop accessories you can wear during your shoot. The background will be the nature found at the location you choose. The timing of your shoot will depend on what kind of sunlight your photographer feels is best to work with.

D0 you want an urban vibe?

Below is an example of an urban vibe photo. While capturing an urban vibe, most photos will be taken outside, with the busy city in the background. Another option is to capture, urban details, such as cobble stone roads or graffiti art. In my photo shoot, we definitely took advantage of the cobble stone road in Old Town.

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Do you want a sexy vibe?

Kourtney Kardashian defines sexy. Below are examples of her sexy maternity photo shoot. Because of the nudity all of these photos were taken inside, with a simple background, most likely done by a fashion photographer.

Tips for choosing a vibe.

Keep in mind, that the vibe you choose for your photos, will influence the clothing you will wear, and the location you will choose. So once you and your photographer determine the vibe of your photo shoot, you can choose clothing, location, and time. For my maternity photo shoot, a location that could capture both a nature vibe and urban vibe was important to me. I chose bohemian style clothing. I wore a flower crown in some photos and a hat in others.

3. Determine what your wardrobe will be, and decide on time and location?

I touched on wardrobe, time and location above. However, I have some additional clothing tips. Keep in mind you don’t have to wear only one outfit. Choose a couple different options, and make sure your location has a bathroom or area you can make a wardrobe change. Decide on whether you will expose your baby bump in some photos. Crop tops and robes with a front opening are great options, to expose your bump. Whatever clothing you choose, make sure you are comfortable and feel beautiful. Your clothing does not have to be maternity. I didn’t wear any maternity clothing in my shoot.

4. Decide whether you want to include anyone else in your photos. 

I chose to have my photos of just me and my bump, celebrating motherhood. However, including your significant other or even your other child/children can be a really beautiful touch. Below are some examples.

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5. Determine the best time during your pregnancy to have your photo taken.

Every woman’s body is unique. Every pregnancy is different. Some women show right away, while others don’t have an established baby bump until later in their pregnancy. Because I am petite I began to show right away. ¬†I had my maternity photo shoot when I was 29 weeks pregnant, in other words, 7 months. This way I had an established baby bump, but didn’t feel uncomfortably huge. Remember, you want to celebrate your bump, but you also want to feel comfortable.

6. What props will you use?

Above I mentioned wardrobe “prop” accessories, such as, a hat, flower crown, or crop top. These prop accessories really help enhance or define the vibe you choose for your photo shoot. However, there is also another type of prop you may want to include in some of your photos. These props will represent your baby. It could be a picture of your ultrasound. It could be a pair of baby booties or shoes, or maybe even a full outfit. But bring a couple cute baby items, nothing is sweeter.

7. Find inspiration and examples.

Your photographer will use her artistic eye, and make your photos fabulous. However, sometimes it is helpful to have some inspiration and example ideas to show your photographer. It is always helpful to show both, ideas you love, and some you hate. But ultimately, your photographer will use her professional judgement to determine what will work for you and what will not depending on, location, vibe, clothing, lighting, etc. All of the examples on this post I found on instagram and pinterest. I highly recommend searching both instagram and pinterest to find inspiration. For more inspiration, check out your photographer’s website, or find maternity blog posts. And don’t forget to take a look at my maternity blog post for ideas.

I hope that helps. Now get out there and celebrate your baby bump!

Have you done a maternity photo shoot? How did it go?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Maternity Photo Shoot

Growing up with a house full of girls, I grew up always knowing “Girls Rock!”

Maybe it is because I am an American, growing up with the idea of the American Dream. But I have always had the confidence that I can do anything- anything is possible, the sky is the limit.

These ideas have also pushed me to be a better stronger athlete. I always try. Maybe I can… run further and faster. Maybe I can… lift heavier and stretch deeper. Mentally, I always tell myself, I can do that, I can do more.

Physically, I see the results in reaching new PRs. Physically, I see changes in my body, stronger, leaner. I always say, ¬†“Just try. You will be surprised what your body can do.”

Now that I am pregnant these ideas have never been more true. Girls Rock!

As a pregnant woman, I really have no control over my changing body. At first this really annoyed me, but now more than ever this female body of mine, continues to surprise me. Everyday, my bump gets bigger, reminding me of what my body is capable of… It shouts, “Look what I can do!”

The female body is absolutely amazing – creating and housing a new life. Once again, physically, I see my body transform, from a once lean and fit athlete, to a now curvy strong mother to be.

Maternity Photo Shoot

I decided a maternity photo shoot would be the best way to document my changing body, while also celebrating the beauty of my next life chapter – motherhood.

For this shoot, I was very lucky to work with Raiza, owner and photographer of Raiza Vega Photography. She is a very talented photographer in the DC and Norther Virginia area.

I knew, I would be dressed in a very feminine bohemian outfit, but I was unsure of the location. Raiza suggested Old Town, Alexandria, because it has different areas, so we could capture both, a nature and an urban vibe. She also chose a time in which she could use natuaral light perfectly.

As for my wardrobe, I had a couple different outfits. However, my main pieces were from Free People Рnote: I did not wear anything maternity in these photos. To go along with my bohemian wardrobe, I handmade a flower crown.  11163792_10102540758381886_7699681482017457825_nWell here you go. Below are some of my favorite photos captured during the shoot. Enjoy!

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My maternity photo shoot was a really fun experience! I highly recommend every mama to be have a maternity photo session of their own. Now is the time to embrace how beautiful you are and celebrate motherhood. You will always have memories of this special time, but a photo makes these special moments timeless. Memories may fade, but photos last forever.

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

*All of these photos were taken by Raiza Vega from Raiza Vega Photography, and are protected under copyright laws.