Bump Goes On Vacation – Excursion Day in Tenerife

Bump age: 23 weeks

We decided to do “el must de” Tenerife – Loro Parque. Before we got there, I imagined it would resemble Ripley’s Aquarium back home, with a main focus on ocean creatures, but I discovered “loro” is the Spanish word for parrots. We were in for a whole new adventure!

Queen Mum floral tank dressI handpicked the floral print tank dress by Queen Mum because I thought the multi-colour print would go well with the greenery as well as the colourful animals we were about to see. The sleeveless design was also suitable for a hot day out. Of course, never knowing what the weather may turn into, I took a cardigan in solid beige in case it got chilly, which would  pair but not compete with the beautiful consistent print of the dress. Queen Mum is one of my favourite maternity brands, whether it’s their dresses, shorts, or pants. I find myself drawn to their fabric, cut and design, so my maternity wardrobe is filling up mostly with their label. This floral dress is made out of high quality fabric that has quite a bit of stretch, but isn’t too clingy or conforming on the body. The ruching on the side allows additional room for a growing bump, but also creates the signature B silhouette for all expecting mamas.  It feels as comfy and playful as it looks.

An hour and a half bus ride later, we set foot on the biggest park in Tenerife. The first thing I saw were black swans! I have only heard of these majestic creatures in fairy tales so it was as if I was seeing a unicorn in real life for the first time.  

There were so many beautiful and exotic animals in Loro Parque, but my favorite were the pink flamingos. We also got to view the orca show, the sealion show and the loro show. It was exciting to watch Squishy’s expression on seeing these animals for the very first time in her life. While we were passing through the orchid garden, I thought to myself that the backdrop matched my Queen Mum dress – the perfect photo-op location. You know it’s the money shot when shortly after I posted, it was regrammed by Queen Mum’s official account! That just made my already perfect day even better.

Xoxo,

Bay_and_Bloor

The Importance of Versatility

A conversation with designer Pat Gillespie


b&w series 2CM:
What’s new with your design work?

Pat: The latest is our black and white series. I designed these dresses because we’ve found that the most difficult thing for a woman, especially a woman with a career, is finding clothing that reflects her normal style – the kind of thing she would have worn to work when she wasn’t pregnant. As a result, I’ve been designing a series of work dresses over the past few years. I chose a black and white theme for this collection because black and white never goes out of style. It’s easy, clean styling.

CM: It seems like something uncomplicated that you can just throw on but still look polished for work or to go to an event.


b&w seriesPat:
That’s the thing. When I design, I remember something my mother taught me early in my career. She’d say a good design should be able to do more than one thing. That’s something I’ve really held onto as a designer. I don’t believe in filing your closet full of impulse buys. You want to build a wardrobe that has substance, that has quality, that you can go to time and time again and it always makes you feel good.

Going back to my mother, I learned that you don’t buy a dress or an outfit for just one purpose. When you buy something for work, it should be versatile. This is why many women own a little black dress (aka LBD); it’s easy to dress up or dress down. The black and white prints of this current series are a more eye-catching version of the LBD. For example, the shift, paired with a jacket, is a great dress for work. Then, wear it with pretty sandals and jewelry and it becomes the perfect dress for a baby shower. Often in the store, a customer is looking for clothes for work and she’ll say “You know, I also have an event coming up and I think this dress could work for both.” So, clothing being versatile is key to a good wardrobe and it’s even more important in a maternity wardrobe.

CM: Why is versatility so important in a maternity wardrobe?

Pat: In your regular wardrobe, where you have dozens of pieces to choose from, you might wear something once or twice a month. A maternity wardrobe has fewer items so it’s important to be able to mix them around to create different looks. With this versatility, you will wear your maternity clothes – like the shift dress or wrap dress – twice a week, if not more. Clothing that can be worn more than one way adds value to your wardrobe. Style with versatility and value – that’s what this collection from Carry Maternity delivers.

The Holiday Wish List Contest

Holiday wish listBuying gifts for others can be difficult; finding just the right gift takes serious time and thought. Hence, the wish list.

When you’re pregnant, your holiday wish list is often filled with things for your little bundle of joy. While that’s a great idea, your family and friends will want to spoil you too. So we asked a few of our customers to share their wish lists and we hope you find inspiration to put together a wish list, just for you.

 

Jasmine + Lee | Candace Berry Photography (www.candaceberry.com)

Jasmine, due in May 2016, works in a government and corporate affairs role for a multinational company and spends about a third of her time on business travel. Now that she’s in her second trimester and has a renewed sense of energy, she’s looking for maternity clothes that are comfortable but polished and professional.

 

Isabelle MaynardIsabelle found her pregnancy to be an incredible experience and loved watching her body change month by month. Anticipating her baby’s arrival in mid-December, she can’t wait to experience all the “first” moments and to see Baby smile as he/she recognizes Mom. Her wish list is a combination of comfort and style.

 

Allison ArkellAllie, a fitness instructor, loves to stay active, which she currently does by taking long walks with her boy, four-month-old Emmett, in his carrier. As a first-time mom who teaches yoga and spin classes part-time, she likes her clothes to be versatile, durable and flattering.

 

Now, what’s on your holiday wish list? For a chance to win a $100 gift card, share your list in the comments section below or on our Facebook page. Winner will be drawn on December 14th and will be contacted via email or Facebook.

Share the Warmth with New Moms

Autumn is here. Like turning on a light switch, the leaves change colour and a chill creeps into the air.

The annual ritual of rummaging through closets for fall and winter jackets has begun. Luckily we usually find them exactly where they were packed away, ready to be of service again. Canadian weather can hand you almost anything, so most of us own several coats. We hang the ones useful for fickle fall weather in the hall closet, waiting for a nippy morning.

Some young mothers aren’t fortunate enough to have one coat, much less a choice of which one to wear, and are left struggling in the cold. For the past two years, we have collected gently used coats for the Swap Shop at Jessie’s – The June Callwood Centre for Young Women. Jessie’s Centre provides much needed services to help empower pregnant teenagers, young parents and their children. Their programs are well attended throughout most of the year, but attendance drops with cold temperatures. Travelling through winter weather to access services can be difficult without appropriate outerwear.

This year, we’ve decided to support Jessie’s further by donating 5% of our fall coat sales to the Well Woman and Well Baby Clinic. You can also help us not only by bringing a coat to donate but by telling your friends about our Share the Warmth campaign and encouraging them to donate as well. Along with women’s coats (non-maternity as well as maternity coats), we can also take coats for children under 5 years old. As a thank you for your donation, we will give you $25 off a new maternity/baby-carrying coat. We currently have beautiful and practical winter coats from MCoat, Modern Eternity, Seraphine and Noppies.

With gratitude for your help,

Pat, Sarah and Kshama
Carry Maternity

Dressing from the Inside Out: The Right Underwear for Maternity Clothes

 

The Cache Coeur Illusion Brief. Featured in Carry Maternity's blog post on choosing the right maternity underwear.

What you wear underneath is the first step in creating any great fashion look, but especially so when you’re pregnant. As your body changes and grows, you need to have the right support that flatters and shapes you in all the right places. That will give you the confidence to sport even the most figure-hugging maternity fashion and to really accentuate your growing baby bump. Plus you’ll feel more comfortable with undergarments that fit well. There’s nothing worse than underwear that rides up, pinches or sags.

In a past post we looked at tips for finding the perfect bra. Now, let’s sort out the underwear situation and what your options are for achieving a streamlined, gorgeous silhouette that creates comfort and confidence.

There has been a lot of talk lately about trends in underwear – some say the thong is out and granny panties, or those panties that provide more generous coverage, are in. When it comes to underwear, you do have a few options. Let’s take a look.

Go Commando!

The challenge with a very fitted dress is that unsightly panty lines show through the stretchy fabric. Going commando (without underwear) is okay; just opt to wear a Spanx (Power Mama is especially made for pregnancy) or hose instead. This will provide a bit of coverage without the lines.

Thong

As baby grows, your pelvic bones are shifting and you may find your hips becoming a bit fleshier. While wearing a thong usually avoids panty lines, these changes in pregnancy can make wearing a thong uncomfortable and actually create more visible lines under clothing. If you want to go with a thong, be sure to check out how the dress looks overtop – are there any lines? And choose the right size, it may be necessary to go up a size during pregnancy.

Seamless High-Waisted Underwear

This option, often called “granny panties,” is really hot right now. They may not be the most flattering when undressing for your beau, but they are your best bet for wearing underwear that doesn’t create lines. Be careful to select a pair with give at the tummy. If not specifically made for maternity (here’s a great pick that is), you want to be sure there is enough stretch at the top of the panty so as not to restrict or pinch the skin.

Seamless Low-Waisted Underwear

This type of underwear – bikini or boyshorts, or a panty with lace – is best worn under jeans or flowy dresses that do not hug the hips or bum. You can get away with a lower panty line, or a textured fabric, when wearing looser clothing.

Other Things to Consider When Choosing Your Underwear

Smoothing garments also help to create a streamlined silhouette. Spanx has created a product called Power Mama that provides the support and smoothness they are known for, including at the rear and hip, but with a soft mesh panel in the front so there is no compression on the baby.

Angel Care Maternity Support Band is a support garment that is also effective for diminishing muffin top when paired with low waisted jeans. It can be quite comfortable and soothing, as it provides back and under belly support with the added benefit of a smoothing effect.

For light coverage and support, a well-made tank top will smooth out curves and provide back and belly support. Try Blanqi tank tops for your separates and A-line dresses.

It is important to keep in mind that well-fitting undergarments will not only improve your look, and make you feel more comfortable, but make your clothes fit better as well. When shopping for maternity clothing, have your undergarments on hand or in mind for the best look and fit (this is especially important when buying dresses for more formal occasions).

Here’s a good tip to live by: Pretty on the outside starts with functional on the inside. So get your pretty on – inside and out!

Shop our lingerie and support garments.

Or chat with us for more options.

Shown: The Cache Coeur Illusion Brief.

Holiday Gift Guide 2014

Holiday Gift Guide 2014

An expectant mother often forgets to stop and pamper herself. So, if there’s a special mom-to-be on your shopping list this holiday season, save the baby gifts for next year, and treat her to something that’s all about her. Whether she’s in her first trimester or the final countdown, she’s sure to appreciate a bit of indulgence. In that spirit, we’ve pulled together a gift guide to help you find just the right thing to spoil the mom-to-be this holiday season.

$50 and under: the Stocking Stuffer gift

Skip Hop Grab & Go stroller organizer $25, Bella Band $35, Mama Mio Pregnancy Essentials kit $49, Shupeas baby shoes $35, Blueberry Hill baby hats $18-$35

 

$100 and under: the BFF gift

Mamalicious Blazer $89, Mamalicious Sparkly Dress $69, Elari diaper wallet $65, Blanqi support tank $85, Mamalicious denim $79, Isabella Oliver scoop neck top $75, Bola necklace $85

 

$150 and under: the Under-the-Tree gift

Carry Sweater dress $149, Queen Mum sweater $169, Boob panty/nursing bra set, Skip Hop Chelsea diaper bag $125, Cache Coeur Lisa Nursing Nightgown $110

 

The Splurge gift

Mayana Genevière bra $90, Carry Ruched dress $149, MamaMio package: Boob Tube, Lucky Legs,Tummy Rub Butter $137, Paige denim, gift card, Mcoat $379

Clothes Worth Getting Pregnant For



Pat’s concept of Carry Maternity is to create a place where women can feel welcomed and at home. It’s her hope, she says, that the store will continue to be a social hub for women and mothers, whether they’re looking for jeans that work for their changing figures, or just a place to quickly pop in and breastfeed.

Guest Speakers for this event included, a pre and postnatal wellness introduction from Samantha at Core Expectations, Nadine from Mayana Genevière introduced her high luxe intimate maternity undergarments.
In addition to the craving stations Chocolate Brunette Pastry Company provided a fantastic array of cupcakes and truffles. The beautiful evening was captured in natural lighting by Adriana Villela of ÜmlaPhoto.

 

OWNER OF CARRY MATERNITY SUPPORTS WOMEN BEYOND TORONTO’S CITY LIMITS

Work for Widows is a charity organization that is a product of a truly tragic disaster. In 2004, a Tsunami devastated numerous coastal communities of Sri Lanka. Many women were left to face an uncertain future as the tsunami left them widowed, homeless and without income as they struggled to care for their children. The heartbreaking story of one particular woman sparked Work for Widows founder, Pamela Porodo into action. While assisting to feed, clothe and offer medical assistance to the victims of the disaster, a Buddhist monk who managed a Moratuwa camp was concerned about one of the displaced survivors and introduced her to Pam. Pam met the young 23 year old woman who was 6 months pregnant and alone. She had lost her home, mother, father, husband and three year old child to the deadly wave. Without hope and what she deemed a bleak future ahead of her, she was stealing medication from other victims in the camp to end her life and that of her unborn child.

Many hours were spent with this young woman in order to convince her to hand over the medication in exchange for a promise that there was a way to support herself  and child.  With no plan set in place yet, Pam bought a bag of beads, some fishing line and showed the young woman how to make a simple necklace,  promising to return to the camp the next day to buy her jewellery. Upon return it was clear that word had spread as Pam was greeted by a small crowd of local women. It was upon this humble platform that the organization was established. Today, Work for Widows has supported over 180 widowed and abandoned women along with 362 children under the age of 18. The overarching aim is to empower impoverished and abandoned women in Sri Lanka by providing with them a means to earn a living while staying at home to care for and educate their children.

Owner of Carry Maternity, Pat Gillespie explains that their reason for stocking the jewellery stems from their personal mandate – Our family extends beyond our own walls. “We wanted to support an organization that is doing something positive for women. Work for Widows is a wonderful initiative and we are so proud to be an advocate”. Pat, who also knows somebody who has lost their life in a tsunami, says that it is very easy to feel for the women. “the destruction caused to people’s lives from disasters such as this is horrendous“. This organization is unique in that rather than just providing immediate relief and refuge, it lays the platform for women to be able to make a living and provides ongoing support in their endeavours.

By volunteering as an ambassador for the program, Pat Gillespie  shares the same proactive spirit with other entrepreneurial ambassadors like Amber MacJodi Faith, and One Tooth Activewear.

Each piece is very personalized and comes with a thank you message from its maker. Very reasonably priced, it is a great way to make a small contribution to the livelihood program supporting hundreds of women and children. To find out more about the efforts of Work for Widows, or browse their jewellery visit them online. Alternatively, you can find a range of handmade jewellery for sale at Carry Maternity in Toronto’s Yorkville.

Saying Goodbye to Harmful Chemicals at Carry Maternity

“It really started when I was a young mother, and I was facing an illness,” she says. “That really motivated a lot of changes, so a big part of my devotion to the store being a clean environment has to do with my own health, and the health of women.”

Although women are expected to drop unhealthy habits like drinking, smoking and even caffeine from their lifestyles, Patknows there are plenty of lesser known factors in our environments that can be just as damaging. Toxins in everything from beauty products to cleaning supplies can all be absorbed through women’s skin, which can be harmful for both soon-to-be mothers and their babies.

“The number one reason we wanted to do all natural is that we’re so much more informed today about pregnancy and our body, the vessel that carries the child, being a clean environment,” Pat says. “Some women actually even prepare before they get pregnant, and really clean up their act.”

Part of that, she says, is eschewing products that let of gases and chemicals that can have a negative effect on the body. In the Carry Maternity store, Pat says she and her staff are “returning to the origins of cleaning,” using basic, natural materials that our mothers and grandmothers might have used, like baking soda and vinegar.

Generally speaking, she says that the women who come into Carry Maternity are well informed, and eager to learn more about how to create healthier conditions for themselves during pregnancy.

“I think it’s natural that women are also looking at what they’re putting on their body, what they’re putting in their body, and what’s in their environment,” she says. “Women are pretty committed these days to not just parenting, but the process of being pregnant as well.”

Some of Pat’s favourite all-natural products include:

J.R. Watkins Naturals Window Cleaner – works on mirrors, windows, glass tabletops, without leaving streaks or residue.

Whip-It Premixed, Ready To Go Formula – plant-based multipurpose “supercleaner”, capable of breaking down tough stains while disinfecting.

Nutribiotic Grapefruit Seed Extract – one of nature’s powerful disinfectant, it can be diluted to use on hard surfaces instead of bleach.

Carry Maternity is Made in Canada

Stitched into each piece of Carry Maternity’s house line is small reminder of its origin, something that owner and designer Pat Gillespie views with quiet satisfaction. They may not stand out, but tiny ‘Made in Canada’ tags set the shop’s signature items in stark contrast to the myriad brands whose offshore practices are so controversial.

As fast fashion lines have become ever more ubiquitous on the streets, the quality of both their products and their ethics have come into question, so for Pat, keeping her line’s production local was an easy decision on several fronts.

“To start, we can be really responsive to what we see customers asking for, and the turnaround time is very quick,” she says. “I can produce something within two to three weeks.”

That means that when inspiration strikes, Pat is in a position to see her vision through from start to finish, on a shortened timeline. Once her designs are drawn up, she can have a hand in their execution at the Toronto factory where her garments are created.

“I can supervise the pattern making process, the fittings – everything is done with me involved,” Pat says. “I have a long history with the manufacturing house that I deal with. I’m confident of their quality, standards, and their work conditions.”

And her ‘Made in Canada’ policy ensures that the items her customers ultimately take home are exceptional, since each design is only produced as part of a small run.

“Because we produce locally, we can do small quantities,” Pat explains. “So when I choose a print, it’s not a mass production piece. It’s unique, but you’re not paying a premium for it.”

Her desire to keep her production in Canada has a moral undercurrent as well as those practical ones. Carry Maternity’s concern with community extends to Pat’s business practices, and she has no interest in outsourcing production to places where the industry has had a detrimental effect on other societies.

“I think people really do care about where their clothing comes from,” she adds. “We’re aboutcommunity, and about family health, so it really follows through that we also want to be sure that our clothing is made in an ethical way.”

Getting to Know Yorkville’s Carry Maternity

It takes a village to raise a child, and in an age when so many connections are forged digitally, Carry Maternity’s Pat Gillespie wants to bring back the personal touch that old adage suggests.

Located amid the bustle of one of Toronto’s most renowned neighbourhoods, Carry’s Yorkville location is a haven for expecting women and new mothers looking to connect with a maternal community – and, of course, top-of-the-line fashions to flatter their changing figures.

And Carry’s customers aren’t the only ones undergoing transformations – the store itself is in the final stage of transitioning from its former identity as Rhonda Maternity to a completely updated store and a host of new products. What hasn’t changed is the attention to detail and individual care that has attracted a loyal clientele for decades.

Here, Pat offers some insight on what customers, new and old, can expect following the redesign, her personal connection to the store, and how dressing during pregnancy can be more uplifting than stressful.

How important is your connection with your customers – both in the store, and when you design?

Pat Gillespie: Community is really important, because when you go into a maternity store, you’re often feeling vulnerable. In our society, we are so weird about women’s bodies – we’re spoon-fed this craziness about having to be a certain size, a certain shape, so when a woman starts to have any changes, even though they’re leading to a positive result, she’ll be freaked out a lot of the time.

In a store like ours, we really have to be trusted, and we have to be credible. Everybody on staff is extremely skilled at looking at somebody’s body type and understanding how to enhance it. So our customers come to know us really well, and we come to know them very well, and it’s a very natural process.

For 19 years, I designed and manufactured clothing and sold to retailers, and even though I’d worked on the maternity floor previously, I was away from the customer. I started to design more in a vacuum, and then you get very trend-focused and less about your customer. So, I think I was a good designer, but coming back to retail and actually being able to interact with the customers I’m selling to or designing for, has made a huge difference in improving me as a designer.

What can customers expect when they walk in the door at Carry Maternity?

We carry literally everything to do with the pregnancy lifestyle, from an undergarment to a pair of jeans. We have a fairly big focus on work, because it’s not an easy thing to locate. We’re pretty full service.

We’re going to embrace more community events, and we’re going to be more concerned about not just dressing someone beautifully and on budget, but also their wellbeing. We try and provide products that people can use with confidence, and not worry about chemicals that they’ve heard could cause problems for themselves or possibly for their baby.

Our store is a space where women know they can pop in and breastfeed if they need to – people tend to return and visit us. I think our instincts are very community-oriented. We want to be supportive of women – we’re women who are looking to help other women.