lily_aldridge

She might be a Victoria’s Secret Angel, but she defies all model stereotypes: She’s totally down-to-earth and says being a mom is the greatest joy she’s ever experienced. We chatted with the gorgeous Lily Aldridge while she was sitting in the hair chair prepping for a Victoria’s Secret shoot at Milk Studios. The supermodel is married to Kings Of Leon frontman Caleb Followill (yes, “Sex on Fire” was written about her), and they have a two-year-old daughter Dixie Pearl. Lily is extremely hands-on, and unless it’s a quick overnight trip, Dixie comes with her wherever she goes.

The family splits their time between Nashville and New York and just returned from England where they celebrated Dixie’s second birthday at the London Zoo, complete with a cowgirl theme, of course.

Lily got real with us about how she stayed fit during pregnancy, her secret to getting back in shape, her must-have beauty products (she’s obsessed!), her genius tips for traveling with a toddler, and much much more.

Stellar Advice

I was pregnant at same time as Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio and they gave me such good advice for how to stay in shape. I did a lot of prenatal yoga and got lots of massages. I relaxed and had the most beautiful pregnancy – I loved every second of it.

Back To Work

I saw all my friends bounce back with exercise and just being healthy. It was so inspiring to me, so I never worried about that. It was hard work getting back in shape, but I did it, and I was really proud.

After I gave birth, I started doing Ballet Beautiful with Mary Helen Bowers, and she got me ready for the VS fashion show four months post-baby. Getting back in shape with her was an amazing experience. She just had a baby too, so she has a prenatal workout video.

Model Moms

Being a working mom is such a good example for your child. All my friends I work with – Adriana, Miranda [Kerr] and Alessandra – are all amazing working moms, and it’s so great to have such a support system with your friends.

On The Go, Go, Go

Dixie already has so many frequent flyer miles – she comes with me everywhere unless it’s a quick overnight trip.

I pack tons of snacks (raisins and seaweed crisps are favorites) and download a bunch of educational apps on the iPad and let her go to town. It keeps her happy and the people around us, too, since she isn’t crying. Right now, she’s loving ABC Storybots, where robots sing songs about each letter. She can count and sing the ABCs – if you find the right educational apps, the iPad is a great learning tool.

I also have this amazing thing called the CARES Harness – it’s FAA-approved and you don’t need to carry on a car seat. It’s so incredible and makes traveling so much easier.

The Perfect Pregnancy

I did not model while pregnant. I checked out and really relaxed, enjoyed myself and had a healthy, happy pregnancy. I didn’t have tons of cravings, but one night at 4am, I was really wanting dried pineapple and I contemplated waking my husband to go and get it. I waited until the morning, but when I finally got it, it was glorious. Looking back, I should have woken him up!

Pregnancy Wardrobe

I loved my J. Brand maternity jeans. I also loved Hatch – they make such beautiful dresses. I had this one dress from them, and I swear every time I wore it, I got more compliments on it than any other outfit I have ever worn. They were so cute and comfortable. I would love to do a collaboration with them the next time I’m pregnant.

Beauty Junkie

I am a beauty freak. I went to Sephora yesterday and bought like the whole store. I love Creme de la Mer moisturizer, Proactiv Plus cleanser, Pure Fiji starfruit body scrub, Fresh lemon bath cubes, Tom Ford’s Jasmin Rouge and anything Kora [Miranda Kerr’s line].

When I was pregnant, I didn’t put anything on my body that wasn’t all natural. I went a bit wild. I have a whole new respect for ingredients and products. I used a lot of Mama Mio and Kora. To prevent stretch marks, I used a lot of oils – I put as many on as I could, and it worked! Loved the one by Mother’s Special Blend.

#Momfail

I swore I was going to feed her only healthy, organic stuff, but I totally give her juice and ice cream – you have to let them be kids! Also, trying to go down those swirly slides at the park always leads to an embarrassing moment.

The Name Game

I love classic names. I loved the name Pearl and my husband is Southern and he loved the name Dixie. We had two names picked out, and when she was born, I looked at her and just said, she’s a Dixie Pearl! She is such a firecracker and has so much personality – her name suits her perfectly.

Downtime

If you granted me three hours alone on a Saturday afternoon, you’d find me in bed watching House of Cards or Orange Is The New Black being so happy.

Lifesaving Baby Products

Water Wipes are so gentle and amazing, I now use them on my face! Other wipes were irritating her. I’m obsessed with Waxolene as a cure-all because it’s all natural and works. The Fisher-Price swing was a life saver, but next go around I’m getting the mamaRoo that sits on the floor.

The Challenge

Right now, Dixie is so social, and I’m really trying to teach her manners and to share, but it’s really hard to teach a two-year-old. I throw a full-on party in the street when she shares something with anyone, even me!

Night, Night

One of the greatest things I’ve done as a mom is put Dixie on a sleep schedule, using The Dream Sleeper book. It helps everyone get through the day – she knows when it’s time for a nap and is a great sleeper, and I can schedule workouts around that.

Yes, She Eats

I am a huge foodie. I appreciate delicious food, whether it’s a $1 taco or dinner at a five-star restaurant. One of my favorite meal is the roasted chicken at Barbuto, and the chef Jonathan Waxman just opened a restaurant in Nashville that I haven’t been to yet. When we land there tomorrow, the whole family is going directly to Adele’s for dinner. We are so excited he came to Nashville!

Fun With Dixie

We are members of The Nashville Zoo, which is incredible – one of the best zoos I’ve ever been to. At the end of my pregnancy, I would walk around there all day trying to get my labor started.

Dixie and I are obsessed with the homemade popsicles at Las Paletas and it’s right next door to the park, so we get popsicles and go to park and that’s my idea of a perfect day.

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shoshanna_gruss

Within 2 minutes of chatting with Shoshanna Gruss, we were smitten. She’s warm, kind, real, honest, funny, and a successful entrepreneur who’s managed to find true balance in her life. But then she told us about her daughter Sienna and their impromptu girls trip to New Orleans, and we almost ditched on the designer to hang with her. “She’ll eat anything, try anything, loves museums, and is always down to explore.” And she’s in a band. She’s nine.

But back to our mom-crush. The mother of 3 (aforementioned Sienna; twins Colby and Angelica are 2) runs a business, sees her friends (albeit not as often as she’d like), takes her daughter to school (and picks her up) every day, reads an occasional book, and travels (with and without kids). She’s the quintessential role model for entrepreneur moms, and we say that without even the slightest eyeroll.

Besides overseeing her eponymous fashion line (that’s been around for 17 years!), she’s also the Style Director at Elizabeth Arden, where she collaborates on the design of new products and acts as a spokesperson for the brand. And speaking of collaborating, Sienna has helped design suits for the babygirl swim: “She’s more rock-n-roll than I am, so our stuff is a little too girly for her. I let her help, and her designs have been best-sellers!”

She talked openly with us about her difficulty getting pregnant both times (the 7-year age difference wasn’t “the plan”), and her good fortune of having 3 healthy kids is not lost on her – her gratefulness is palpable. She’s also shared tips for twins parents, her secret to staying organized, and her terrifying #momfail we give her kudos for sharing.

Meet the smart, beautiful, down-to-earth Shoshanna Gruss.

She’s With The Band

Sienna sings and plays keyboard and drums in a band. Currently she’s in a Rolling Stones cover band with the School of Rock, but her old band, Kings of Brooklyn, played at the Bitter End – it was such a proud moment!

Colby strums away on his ukulele all day long. Some people are born with this.

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Out Of Your Control

Anjelica, on the other hand, is going to be an ultimate fighting champion – she’s very physical. I was an athlete and was the same way as a child. My mom is the most refined elegant woman but was a wild animal as a child. You gotta celebrate the kid you got, not try and make them into what you want them to be!

Meaningful Names

My kids are all named after grandparents who have passed away. It’s such a nice Jewish tradition to name kids after family members who are no longer with us. When they ask why they have their name, it keeps you talking about people who were loved and special so they feel that connection.

Winter Babies

The twins were born in November during the coldest winter ever, and I’m a secret hermit so we were shut-ins for the first year, and I didn’t feel guilty about it. No one loves a snowstorm more than me – I love being trapped in the house , so it was a perfect year for me!

Twins Must-Have

The City Select Twin Jogger is the perfect twin stroller. They can face front and back, facing each other or not – you can coordinate it a million different ways. It’s easier to have them front and back so you don’t take up the whole sidewalk, and they enjoy it.

Twins Tips

Don’t buy 2 of everything! They only want whatever thing the other is playing with – it’s not about the toy itself. He loves cars and trucks, and she likes to beat him up – whatever he has in his hand, she wants.

Don’t compare them. She is physical, verbal, and jealous; he is totally laid back. They never hit milestones at the same time. It’s a fascinating study of gender.

The Struggle

Sienna is 9 and the twins are 2 – that was not our family plan. It was hard for me to get pregnant both times, so instead of seeing anything as a negative, I am just so grateful that I have 3 healthy kids. The long road has made me never sweat the small stuff because I know how lucky I am.

Perspective

It’s almost a beautiful age difference because Sienna grew up with just us for so many years, and now the twins are as well. I’ve been the young mommy and the old mommy. I was always so nervous with Sienna, but I am less so with the twins. All the things I have watched some super successful type-A moms stress over – getting into the right schools and making straight A’s – I don’t fret about that stuff. My only goal is to keep my children healthy and happy. You have to find your child’s strengths and help them feel good about that, and instill confidence in the places where they aren’t excelling, all while allowing them to be themselves.

How She Does It

I am a super organized person, and I have to write everything down, like with pen and paper. I use a paper calendar, and I have all of them from the last 20 years – they are so helpful with remembering things!

I am committed to dropping Sienna off and picking her up every day at 2:30pm from school. I’ve had my business for 17 years, so it runs like a machine. What suffers is my social life – I see my friends a few times a month, and I plan it in advance (it’s all about being a planner). I have really great help and the women I work with are incredible and the reason I get to be the kind of mom I want to be.

Her Style

I wear a uniform: a Chinti & Parker sweater or Steven Alan button-down, high-waisted skinny jeans (either Citizens or Sevens – I love the high-waisted are flattering and nothing sticks out), and Supergas. I feel casual enough to get on floor with the kids but pulled together enough for work.

The Hardest Part

I struggle with letting them be independent and giving them space to grow. When I see them try something and not succeed right away, my instinct is to go and do it for them, but they need to figure things out on their own sometimes. That’s hard for me.

Biggest Fashion Pet Peeve

That trying too hard look: I see these NY women wearing the highest heels and the tightest pants, and it makes me uncomfortable for them. Comfort, grace, and elegance are so appealing. I like people to express themselves and the non-creativity in that look bums me out.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh

To unwind, I love to listen to that flutey spa music, put my face in a pillow, and lay there and drift off at night. I would love to find more time to read (there are 30 books next to my bed), but I am so tired!

I did just read I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You and Warpaint, about the Elizabeth Arden-Helena Rubinstein rivalry – their stories are fascinating. I get super obsessed with women who have broken boundaries like they did.

My fantasy is to be on a beach with sea glass and beautiful shells, a chair, my flutey music, a beachcomber, and a reader – if anyone wants to give me a present!

Last Purchase

I have a thing with chromatic color, and Solange did this Chromance collection of multi-colored stones – it was a real gift to myself. Women, in general, are not as giving to themselves as men, but I’m changing that!

Secret Obsession

I torture Sienna with crafts like making friendship bracelets, and she is not into it like I am! I love to bake, paint, and make stuff. I have a sketchbook of stuff I have cut out and glued in: things that inspire me, places I want to go. I just took Sienna to New Orleans, and we had the best time. That’s what life is all about.

#Momfail

When Sienna was little, I was holding her on my hip and gabbing away on the phone, not paying close attention to her. She had pulled a knife out of the woodblock and was holding it over herself, and I smiled and slowly just grabbed it from her, praying she didn’t drop it. Then I moved the woodblock to the other side of the kitchen… and started breathing again.

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holiday gift guides

The time to get your holiday shopping done is right NOW. Our 6 gift guides make it super easy.

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last-call-for-girls
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last-call-for-village
last-call-gift-wrap

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holiday traditions

Nothing says December quite like holiday pajamas and family QT. To wit: 7 seasonal pairings of jammies and family holiday traditions. And remember, it’s never too early to start making memories with your own brood.

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Glow-In-The-Dark Pajamas
+ Christmas Light Hunting

Bundle the rascals in J.Crew’s glow in-the-dark togs (Santa, lights, or yeti for kids; lights or snowmen for baby) and then pile the fam in the mini-van (as if) to scope the neighborhood for the best holiday lights, while listening to Christmas music, of course.

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Festive Pajamas + Hot Cider + Cookie Decorating

Dress the kids in cute matching jammies (kid, baby), heat up some apple cider (spiked for the adults), and bake and decorate cookies. Make memories off the sugar (and possibly bourbon) high!

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Hanukkah Pajamas + Kid-Friendly Menorah + Hanukkah Books + DIY Dreidl

Oh, Hanukkah, oh, hanukkah come light the kid-friendly menorah (in festive jammies). Until your littles are old enough to play with fire, designate this wooden menorah their candle holder of choice. Teach them what it all means with fun books they can understand like Sammy Spider’s First Hanukkah, Hanukkah Bear, and Hoppy Hanukkah. Then get crafty and decorate your own dreidl.

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Flannel Nightgowns + Festive Movie + Snacks

We think red flannel nightgowns (mom, daughter) are the Christmas version of girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes. Pair the gowns with everyone’s favorite holiday classic (we watch The Sound of Music at our house) and a bowl of popcorn and some hot cocoa, and you’ve got yourself a mommy-daughter tradition.

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Moose Union Suits + A Personalized
Video Message from Santa + Reading of
Twas The Night Before Christmas

Nothing says, “Ho, ho, ho” like an actual personalized video greeting from the man himself. And if you’re going to go all out with the kitsch, go all out with moose union suits for the whole gang (baby, adult). Bring the message full circle with a reading of Twas The Night Before Christmas.

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Adopt A Family In Need + Have A Wrap Party

Tis the season for helping others – an important lesson for littles to learn. The best way to teach them is by doing, so adopt a family in need and spend an evening together wrapping gifts for your adopted family. In NY, we love NY Cares Winter Wishes, but a quick search will find one in your area.

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The Fifth Night + Hanukkah Jammies

Eight nights of gifts is a lot of loot. We love the concept of turning the fifth night into an evening all about giving back. Pick out gifts with your child and take them to the local charity of your choosing. We like JChoice for finding one.

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