Baby's 1st year with Tina Flippo

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Baby's 1st year with Tina Flippo

As we all wind down our Mother's Day celebrations, I wanted to continue with the theme. Last week I talked very personally about the birth of my 1st born. Today I want to talk about life year 1 with a baby. I am so excited to feature one my clients, Rachel Pomerance Berl, as our guest blogger.  A longtime journalist, she has written for The Washington Post, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and U.S. News & World Report.  She is currently working on a book about motherhood.

Rachel.jpg

Here's Rachel

It’s been nearly a year since I became a mom and had my world rocked and renewed by my precious Benjamin.  In discussing some of those trials with Dana, we thought it would be wonderful to share some of the unvarnished lessons mothers have learned as they look back on year one. For my first guest post, Dana connected me with another one of her clients, Tina Flippo of Georgetown, who, coincidentally, just celebrated her Benjamin’s first birthday.

What are your words of wisdom about motherhood? 

I'm definitely not an expert on anything – just happened to barely survive the first year.  But I feel like we can all learn something from other fellow moms because when it comes to babies, there clearly are no rules.  The only rule is that BABIES RULE, AND THEY SET THE RULES.  We are just along for the ride...

Is it anything like what you imagined? Did you have a mental picture of motherhood?

Oh yes, I always envisioned motherhood to be this ethereal, beautiful picture of a mother rocking and singing lullabies to her sweet cooing baby.  Or the other picture I had in mind was a young, cool, hip mom doing fun and engaging activities with her kids.  Clearly, I must have been perusing too many Instagram posts or Pinterest photos.  Because motherhood is certainly not like this. 

It can be; don't get me wrong. But it is hard work, and motherhood is honestly the hardest thing I've ever been through.  Many times it is a test of patience and sacrifice and a constant questioning of whether I am being a good enough mother. It’s certainly not anything I ever imagined, and everyday still poses new challenges, but mostly it's so rewarding to see my little boy growing up. I really couldn’t be more proud of how smart, handsome, talented and sweet he is.  

I thought nursing would be easy, peasy from the beginning, and my milk would be readily available, and he would latch on perfectly.  He would sleep well and love to be swaddled.  He would maybe learn to take a bottle from daddy at night before bedtime.  I would completely lose all my baby weight in a matter of weeks.  And definitely, never did it cross my mind that I would be so sad during these first few months after his birth. 

I clearly was so misinformed, or maybe my head was just in the clouds when it came to babies.  Real motherhood?  It is so the opposite of everything I envisioned.  Nursing was so, so, so hard for me.  I wanted to quit EVERYDAY!  He started to love the bottle more than my boob, which made the whole breastfeeding journey even more difficult, so we quickly had to nip that in the bud and stopped the bottle. But he never took to the bottle again!  So here we are, almost 14 months later, and he is still nursing straight from me! 

So what were the other things you didn't expect?

Losing weight?  Yeah, that didn't happen for a LONG time!  I don't think I started to look like myself until month eight or nine, and everything still isn't like how it was.  And it will never be, but I've accepted that, and I'm ok with it.  

And postpartum depression … it's a real thing.  Luckily, I only had a minor case of it and just after some time, it got better. But I remember feeling so, so sad and just crying so much the first few months.  I felt so bad.  I was supposed to be happy, and I had this beautiful child in front of me, but I just remember being in a cloud and fog and constantly having tears in my eyes.  But I got through it.  My mom really helped me through this period. She was honestly my saving grace during these first couple of months. 

WHAT ARE THE TOP Three THINGS YOU'VE LEARNED ABOUT NAVIGATING THE First YEAR WITH YOUR BABY?

First, you can only prepare so much.  You can attend baby birthing classes and do hundreds of hours of research online, but really, you just won't know what you're dealing with until your baby comes. 

Second, GO WITH THE FLOW!  This is something I still struggle with. It's OK if your baby needs to sleep an extra hour, and you miss a play date.  It's OK if you planned to go to music time at your local library, but your baby had a massive leaky No. 2 session. It's OK if you envisioned a picture-perfect session with the Easter bunny, and he had a complete meltdown, and the pictures were all of him screaming (Easter bunnies are scary anyway...). Just learn to go with the flow...

Third, even though this whole motherhood journey is so hard, it's also so, so, so rewarding. So stay positive, stay in the moment and enjoy it! As soon as we blink our eyes, our little ones are going to be crawling, or walking, or running, and it's all going to go by too fast.

What do you wish you had known about pregnancy and new motherhood?

I wish more mothers would share the raw truth of real motherhood.  I would have liked more information on nursing, and postpartum depression, and the whole recovery period as well as the whole process of weaning. 

But I must admit that it wasn't until after having my own child, did I really understand the phrase “mother's love."  The amount of love I feel for this little human being is so much more than I can describe or put into words.  It is such a beautiful and powerful feeling.

Also, I wish that moms would not judge each other about how they decide to do things.  I feel like motherhood is an unspoken sisterhood, and we're all in this together. 

Which products were lifesavers, and which were duds?

I know every mom, and every baby is different, but for us, the Ergobaby and the Baby K'tan carriers were duds!  We tried them so many times, but he hated it!  I think he just felt trapped!  

We thought our expensive Stokke Home Cradle bassinet was a dud at First.  He really didn't like it the first month. But when we tried it again, he loved it.  And he slept in that bassinet next to our bed well into his first six months. It definitely brought a peace of mind having him sleep next to me (when he did sleep).

Fisher-Price’s My Little Snugapuppy Cradle ‘n Swing was a LIFESAVER!!!  This big swing took up a quarter of our living room space (we currently live in a condo with one bedroom and a den), and we were hesitant to buy such a big contraption, but this literally saved us from going out of our minds. 

Are you considering (gasp!) Baby #2?

ANSWER-Oh my goodness, yes! I would love to have another baby (or two! Just don't tell Jason!).  But yes, we will plan to try again later this year, so a brother or sister would be close in age to Benjamin.  

Want to keep up with Benjamin & Tina? Follow her great feed on INSTAGRAM. She'd love to meet you. 

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The Story Behind The Name

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The Story Behind The Name

It all started when Ever arrived. I have been helping moms & moms-to-be since 2005, way before I became a mother.  I already loved being a designer with little ones in mind, but I didn’t know what it actually took to bring a new life into the world.

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Baby #2 is Coming....

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Baby #2 is Coming....

How to prepare for the 2nd baby?

When it comes to this baby world there are so many things that make you overwhelmed...... and then there were 2.  As an expert in this baby space, I really try to keep things simple, functional and transitional.  There are a few questions you need to consider when creating your plan for kid # 2.

#1. How far apart will they be?

This question always makes me think of my own experience:

Ever & Winter were 2 years 2 months apart. When Winter was born Ever got a BED!

However, Winter & Ford are only 15 months apart. So we had two Cribs going at the same time!

But the truth of the matter is it all comes down to sleep & not messing with Kid #1. If they are sleeping & in a good routine. DON'T MESS WITH THEM. Try to cause as little interruption to their patterns as you can. 

Will you need 2 cribs? 

You just might If the kids are less than 15 to 22 months apart. Yes, I know this sounds crazy but most kids are in a crib till about 2.5 to 3 years. The longer you can keep them in the crib the better. (Remember the 2nd crib doesn't have to be expensive or borrow one)

Will the Bassinet help?

Yes, the bassinet can be a life saver when baby # 2 arrives. Especially if the big kid is almost ready to go into a bed. If you buy a bassinet, it will last for 6 months. It can give you the extra time you need to help you make that transition. 

#2. But Wait, I bought a Convertible Crib

So these days many cribs convert to full size beds?  This is great, you don't need to come back to Dana for a bed? However, there are still a few things to consider.

Million Dollar Baby Langford Collection

Who's furniture is this anyway?

If you purchased a crib that will grow to a full size bed, you may just want to keep baby #1 right where they are, eventually turning this into their big kid room. All you need to buy is a Duvet & some pillows, exchange the Animal theme for Star Wars and the new baby gets a whole new nursery.

Should we keep it a nursery?

If you plan on having 5 more babies rotating through, it may be easier to just keep a nursery. You will reuse all of the baby stuff.  And now you will design a big kid room for baby #1. Twin, Queen or Bunkbeds here you come.

#3. Doesn't Baby # 2 only need a Drawer!

Well, we all know there is nothing like that 1st baby. And sometimes we spend the kids college fund on their nursery. So you say, "Well Dana, we are not doing that again. This new kid is getting IKEA." Okay let's start saving for therapy before they are even born:) 

But, truthfully, you may not want to spend what you did for baby #1 on baby # 2. Especially if you will need 2 cribs?  Then don't spend a lot. Perhaps you choose a less expensive option this go around. It's all about assessing your needs. And there is no shame!

#4. Do I really need a 2nd Glider?

Now I seriously, love to glide.  I can rock all night long, as I have.  But this is entirely up to you. We all love a comfy cozy chair. Many clients just leave them in the big kid space as a great place to sit & read as they grow. 

#5. Can a Baby & a Toddler share?

YES!  But you do need to be very strategic. It's really important that the new baby is sleeping through the night before you put them together. So  spend the 1st 6 months or so  getting #2 in a nice sleeping routine. This way you will not have to worry about constantly going in & out of the room. 

Image from Apartment Therapy

Image from Apartment Therapy

You can do this!

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Wonderful Windows

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Wonderful Windows

So you got some windows..... So you know you need curtains....... But getting window treatments right is a crucial part of any design. Especially because they are NOT cheap. Lately, I've been spending a lot of time learning more about the in's & out's of window coverings. There truly are so many things you need to consider up front. Not to mention where you exactly hang them. That's a whole other ball of wax. Thus, figuring all this all out can be very daunting.  So I sat down with the window treatment expert, my girl Laurie McParland of Picture Perfect Windows. We talked about everything you need to know to get it done properly.

#1. How Fancy do you want to go?

Beautiful Master Bedroom Drapes by Laurie Mcparland Designs

When clients sit down with me to talk about window treatments, I quickly try to figure out what route they need to go: 

What Dana Can Do........

We make simple flat panels. Many of the manufactures I work with like Bebe Chic & Pine Creek make lovely curtains. They can come with either a rod pocket or with buckram to be used with ring hooks or clips. They will always have a relaxed casual look. These usually run around $250 & include fabric.

What Laurie Can Do....... 

What can she not do?  You name it Roman Shades, Cornices, Balloon Valances.  She can do it all.  Especially when you want specific styles panels, like Toptack, Pinch Pleat, Goblet or Inverted pleats. Her styles are more structured & consistent. They will always look perfect. These usually start around $300+ Fabric by the yard

#2. How will you use them?:

It's important to know what you need from your window treatment. Are they going to just be decorative or functional.  Are you going to open & close them everyday. Or will they stay in place? How much light comes into the space? All curtains need to be lined! But do you really need a black-out lining? I say if sunlight is streaming in during nap-time, you need black out.

Working

Stationary

#3. Perfect Functioning

There are so many ways to hang a curtain. For 12 years I have been designing & selling drapes to clients. Most often we use a simple 3" rod pocket. Well, I have recently learned that is wrong!! Thanks Laurie. To clarify, rod pockets are great for stationary non-working drapes. But if you want to move smoothly back and forth on the rod, you need to put them on rings. Then you attach the curtains to the rings with hooks placed in the back of the panel. Or you can use ring clips that attach to the top of the panel.  The clips are definitely more of a casual look. But they will both give you the functionality you are looking for.

#4. How to Hang?

When hanging curtains, there are few rules one must follow

  • The curtain has to go all the way to the floor. 
  • You want the curtain to make the window appear taller & wider
  • Hang the rod as high as you can
  • Stretch the rod at least 5" to 10" beyond the frame

I think Erin Gates of the lifestyle blog Elements of Style said it best. I have cut & pasted from one of her best blog posts. I could not have said it better & she only used 4 WORDS:

#5. Lauries's Pet Peeves

After 20+ years making window treatment for Bethesda's best. What are the things that absolutely drives her crazy.

  • Hanging curtains to the window sill (AS IF)
  • Buying "Ready Made Curtains" at the standard length that are too short. There is no standard. Custom gives you length that is right for your windows.
  • Not lining the curtains. Unless they are sheers. you shouldn't be able to see through them:)
  • Narrow Panels that are too small for the windows. Every window needs two panels. Each panel should be the width of the window. 

Laurie's Best Everly & Monet Rooms:

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New in Studio

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New in Studio

Back in the day I used to hold on to floor models like they were GOLD.   Not anymore. You like it you buy it, it's gone.  We bring things to the studio floor & sometimes they leave quicker than I want.  Had you visited us last weekend, you would have thought we had nothing to sell. So my boys at N-Route brought some new pieces. You know I try to jam everything but the kitchen sink into 900 square feet. I wanted to take a moment to give you a feel of what we have on board.

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Hospital Bed To Daybed

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Hospital Bed To Daybed

When Nikki Herson Eberstein commented on a post of a pretty feminine bedroom picture on Instagram, I had no idea what I would be apart of. “@everlyandmonetUmmmmm, I need this room for Jami STAT: You think you could “girl-up” her hospital bed? Upholster her headboard and make it look less clinical??????”  Of course I said yes. I would love to show a little love to mom with strength I can't imagine & a little girl who is a FIGHTER.

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DIY-Gallery Wall

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DIY-Gallery Wall

So you know it's bad when your Daughter says "Mommy why aren't there any pictures of me on the walls?" Especially when this is the child who has had 11 professional photo sessions with "Best of Bethesda" photographer Kyung Jung of Yellowhale photography.  Honestly, it is so embarrassing. I don't know how many excuses I can make...but here is a brief list:

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    Why Dana Loves

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    Why Dana Loves

    This week I want to kill two birds with one stone.  I’m getting ready to reorganize my website and I need to review each of my manufacturers.  We have chosen the best companies in the business.  So in this week’s blog I want to share why I love them. Check them out.

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    PB Kids vs Everly & Monet

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    PB Kids vs Everly & Monet

    Today I wanted to compare & contrast some of the Brands I carry at Everly & Monet in Contrast to Pottery Barn. Now don’t get me wrong—I love the beautiful Pottery Barn catalog and walking through a beautiful Pottery Barn store.  However I think that you should always consider your options before letting Pottery Barn be your default

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    Girl Bosses of Bethesda! Take 2

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    Girl Bosses of Bethesda! Take 2

    I had so much fun introducing everyone to the fabulous girl bosses of Bethesda last fall. Our readers nicely received the blog and some folks actually gave them a ring. It really was so cool to be able to highlight such hardworking entrepreneurial women; I couldn't wait to do it again. It takes a lot of guts to step out & open your own business. I’ve watched these 6 women put in so much hard work throughout the years & to see them flourish in their craft is amazing. I am honored to call them friends. 

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    Must haves ......NYNow, Gift Show

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    Must haves ......NYNow, Gift Show

    One of the exciting perks of my job is getting to attend trade shows. Having a chance to see all the new & cool pieces before they enter the market place is so much fun. It is cool to be among the best manufacturers in the industry. It is really important for me to stay on top of the latest trends and whats HOT in design.

    Here are some cool things I found at the most recent NYNOW tradeshow held in New York's Javits Center. This is a show exclusively to the trade for furniture, gifts, flatware & accessories.

    I walked this show with new & open eyes. This is the 1st time I walked it as Everly & Monet, Introducing myself as a Children's Designer & Studio owner. It was a little strange not looking at Trumpette socks & the cutest baby blankets. Instead I was looking "Adult" options that could translate into youth spaces. Vanities/Desks, Chandeliers/Pendants, Artwork, Rugs & little decorative accents. I am always overwhelmed with just how much is out there. So may wonderful options!

    Check out some of my cool findings from the pictures I took below. Please note I will not be bringing everything into the studio. However, I now have access to a abundant of new & interesting lines that enable me to introduce you to unique pieces when we try to build a space. It's all about having amazing resources at my fingertips. Don't hesitate to ask me about anything you see below.I already have some orders in queue...

    Case Goods

    Lighting

    Bedding

    Accessories

    Art

    Mirrors

    Bungalow 5

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    A Room for Rose

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    A Room for Rose

    Today, I want to talk about our design process.  When you work with me in the studio, how do we get from Consultation, to Design, to a complete space? How does my thought process work in conjunction with your thought process? Then how does it all come together to create an amazing room. A perfect example of this collaboration has to be with our clients Kimberly and Derek Adams.

     

    Now when coming prepared for a consult, it never hurts to be a little Type A. In all of my years, I have never had anyone with a PowerPoint presentation in hand. Yes, printed out with enough copies for everyone. And I must say, I absolutely loved every minute of it! Please check out how we turned her presentation into her dream nursery.

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    Behind the Scenes

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    Behind the Scenes

    As I hang out at Guardados restaurant in Bethesda, prepping my blog post for the day. (If you haven’t been there, you must go. Bethesda Eats: Future Blog) Today’s post I want to take the blinders off & show you a little behind the scenes of how I create lovely fabric layouts. Oh it’s a process. Fabric combinations just don’t come out  of thin air. I spend several hours becoming one with my fabrics. Memorizing their textures, colors, prints & patterns. This helps me understand what fabrics will work well with others Thus, when clients come in, I can make their vision come together. See how we do it.

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    You can Afford Us?

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    You can Afford Us?

    Everybody can play at our studio. It's funny because my mother probably would have never stepped foot into a store like mine. Maybe it's because she would assume everything in my store would be way too expensive for her to afford. 

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    Nursery Reveal: The Cohn Family

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    Nursery Reveal: The Cohn Family

    I am so excited to reveal the beautiful nursery of my amazing clients Allison & Mychael Cohn. Over the years Allison has been a very loyal client. Her adolescence therapy practice is right across the street from our studio. www.cohncounseling.com She has always been the 1st in line to celebrate the birth of her friends babies. So It was important for me to celebrate the birth of her son Mason with a room that would bring her joy. It turned out just perfect. Check it out

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    Introducing Our Design Studio

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    Introducing Our Design Studio

    Well y'all it's finally here. I've been hinting for awhile that we would be making changes to the store. So l now say goodbye to Daisy Baby as we knew for the last eleven years, a baby boutique full of gifts & clothes. We now welcome Everly & Monet, a Children's Design Studio full of fabric samples & wood chips. But more importantly, a comprehensive menu of design services

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    Reminiscing on all the daisy babies

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    Reminiscing on all the daisy babies

    I remember the night before Daisy Baby & Mommies Too opened its doors for the 1st time -- Andrea's (The original owner & Founder) idea was finally coming to fruition. We would be a cute baby shop that sold adorable clothes with nurseries & childrens furniture. Every gift box would have a yellow duck on top. I had never been a part of building a business from the ground up & I knew this would be a special place. Yet I had no idea how many lives I would touch & how many would affect mine. 

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    Best Highchair: Tripp Trapp

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    Best Highchair: Tripp Trapp

    I so should have posted this blog before we all gathered around the Thanksgiving table. Below is a photo of my kids Thanksgiving table I posted from Instagram stories.  It's nice to review a product I use everyday. I really love the Tripp Trapp High Chair from Stokke. (I actually love A LOT of Stokke stuff)  Ever, Ford & Winter still all sit in their chairs everyday.  And there is even one for my nephew Elliott when he comes to dine. 

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    4 tips and 2 recipes

    Dana knows fabrics, but Dana does not know Cooking! So this is finally my opportunity to get a guest blogger on the Everly & Monet page. So excited to feature another local mom entrepreneur & local author Natasha Rosenstock Nadel. I've known Natasha for years because she is the twin sister of my uber stylist Lani Inlander, who has given several talks in the store. So I am so happy to feature her as my first guest blogger.

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