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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michelle kohanzo

Michelle Kohanzo loves chaos. Case in point: She runs the show at Land of Nod and parents 4 (yes 4!) kids – Emily (16), Connor (13), Henry (10), and Everett (7).

She also loves sleep and fashion (equally), which can get her in a jam some days when she arrives at work in an outfit she’s “not feeling”. She found herself in such a situation the morning before our chat, and she had to make a mad dash for Madewell so she could get on with her day: “I am kind of obsessed with clothes, and I have to dress to my mood – if I don’t wear the right thing, I’m thrown off.”

It’s no surprise that the woman at the helm of everyone’s favorite source for pint-sized whimsy is quirky, warm, and super creative. Michelle’s been at LON for 15 years, which is basically since the beginning, and has worked in literally every department. The secret to her success? “I love that we are always trying new things. Sure, we’ve made some mistakes but we’re always innovative.”

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We got a peek at the new spring introductions – bedding, wall art, pillows, and bath items – inspired by three of our fav Little Golden Books – Saggy Baggy Elephant, Shy Little Kitten, and Tawny Scrawny Lion – and let’s just say it is to die.

The Chicagoan has been working on a seriously quirky new hobby – read on to learn what she’s up to – and why she’s the least likely to be called a “soccer mom” anytime soon. Meet Michelle!

Precious Sleep

I love sleep, so I sleep as late as possible, which is usually until 7:30am – and I’m out the door by 8am. We have someone who lives in, which helps get the kids off, so I only have to worry about myself. In those 30 minutes, I get dressed and drink as much coffee as possible, then hop in the car for an hour-long commute from our home in Barrington, Illinois, to the Chicago LON office.

Mother’s Helper

My daughter interned at LON this summer, and I quickly realized how much I love that time to myself in the car! She’s interested in pursuing a career in photography (well, for now – she is just 16), and I wanted her to see how much hard work goes into the “glamorous” creative side. She got to see those unglamorous parts (hauling equipment, packing up bags of product), and I was really proud of her – she held her own around a lot of different people and matured from the experience.

The Long Chicago Winters

I love to craft with the kids and am always on Pinterest looking for ideas. For Thanksgiving, we will make place cards out of construction paper, glue, glitter – I buy a lot of supplies to get the creativity going. I have no issue with mess and feel the more relaxed you can be with that kind of thing, the better. Recently, my little guy and I painted a wall in the house with acrylic paint – I just let him go crazy! I ended up covering it with wallpaper, but it was such a fun activity.

Have FUN

The way parents today incorporate toys and imagination into their home is different even from when my kids were little. It used to be that you threw everything in your kids room to hide it, but now people live with it harmoniously. A bright storage piece holds toys and allows grownups to live more playfully – a beige house is so boring! It’s a unique time in your life when kids are small, so you should celebrate that and feel comfortable in your home.

Top Dogs

You get a lot of mileage out of big wooden blocks and play tents or teepees because kids love having their own secret hideout within the home. They can be an enchanted forest, a hideout to read – the possibilities are endless.

Toy Tip

I let my kids dictate their own play, so I don’t get too involved, but I find that keeping things organized and to a minimum fosters creativity.

Clothes Make This Woman

I have to dress to my mood. Today, for example, I had on jeans, and I felt they looked sloppy with my shirt, and I wasn’t comfortable in my skin. So I went to Madewell and got a pair of faded blue boyfriend jeans and a gray tank top, which went with the jacket I was wearing. If you know me well enough, you know my mood based on what I’m wearing!

Playing Favorites

I am obsessed with the clothing line State. Beautiful Dreamers in Brooklyn is my favorite store in the whole world. And Ace & Jig is just so good.

Kid-Friendly House

Every room in our home is multi-functional, and we use every single inch of the house. There isn’t a single room we don’t go into every day – that’s important to me – I think you shouldn’t have a house that you don’t use. And with kids around, nothing should be so precious that you would be devastated if it was broken. I teach them to be respectful of our things, but kids are going to be kids.

Just A Phase

Every step of parenting is a phase. No matter how horrible they are acting or how much they say they hate you, it’s not about you as a parent. If you can remember that, you can get through it.

Hands On

I unwind by making things. Every night, I come home and cook dinner. I LOVE to feed my family. During the week it’s something easy like tacos, but on the weekend, I’ll make Julia Child’s beef bourguignon. And the last 3 or 4 months, I’ve been weaving wall hangings. It’s such a great way to decompress, and you can do it anywhere.

The Family That Travels Together…

We take a family vacation somewhere different every year. This past summer, we went to DisneyWorld, and the 6 of us were out for dinner. I had this moment of clarity where everyone just seemed so grown-up – we were having this amazing meal, where no one was fighting or whining or spilling anything, and I just realized how much I really enjoy spending time with these people that I made.

#Momfail

I have no interest in my kids sporting activities – I rarely go to their games. My husband coaches and is so involved – he is appalled by me! It’s usually so cold outside that I can’t even pay attention to what’s going on in the soccer or football game.

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35 Kids Books You Must Own

The best part about books: the more the merrier!

We’ve curated a library of old and new classics that tick all the boxes:
1) Entertaining to your little one.
2) Fun to read for you.
3) Gorgeous enough to leave around the house or prop on a shelf as decor.

If you don’t own these, you should.

corduroy

caterpillar

moon

mother

red_shelf

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patthebunny

knuffle_bunny

good-night

giant

gray_shelf

llama

press-here

alpha-block

quiet

red_shelf

waiting

oops

pout

bath

gray_shelf

giraffes

animal-kisses

crayon

hug

red_shelf

dear-zoo

bed-book

yarn

wild

gray_shelf

goodnight

best

tails

pigasso

red_shelf

moose

red-barn

caps-for-sale

10-min-til-bedtime

gray_shelf

bear-snores

pete-the-cat

color-kittens

red_shelf

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The Ultimate Mini Art Studio

The best way to keep the whole family happy and entertained on an inside kind of day? Arts and crafts. (Truth: Coloring with crayons gives us inner peace. And if we’re coloring in a Just Add Color coloring book? That’s even better than… )

And so, we present, the inner workings of an art station that will inspire every toddler and parent to get creative.

prep

Art Table

If you’re crunched for extra space, the kitchen table is a perfectly good place to get your arts and crafts on. Tip: Put a kids placemat under the “canvas” just in case. And should the markers bleed through, a Magic Eraser works wonders on tables, as long as it’s not wood.

Land of Nod’s adjustable play table grows with your child. It’s low to the ground for toddlers, has add-on legs for bigger kids, and turns into a homework desk later on, so you’ll feel good about the investment.

art-table

If you have a little nook, P’kolino’s Little Modern table and chairs has a streamlined design, hidden storage, and a flip top – one side’s a chalkboard, the other wood. Order it now, as its sold out everywhere and on backorder for good reason.

landofnod

Art Smock

Take cover. We prefer the long-sleeve art smock to keep shirt sleeves and elbows out of the action. For toddlers, go Jaq Jaq Bird; for older kids, AM PM Kids.

green-shirt

pink-shirt

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Splash Mat

Place a splash mat underneath the crafting/kitchen table or go ahead and have at the project on the floor. Either way, the heavyweight vinyl covering keeps the damage to a minimum.

art-smock

Storage

Clear shoeboxes are the perfect storage containers for supplies – they limit how much stuff is in each box and allow everyone to see – and eventually read since we label ours – what’s inside the box.

splashmat

cloth

color

Finger Paints

We have two hands-on picks for finger painting: Wee Can Too all natural paints and Alex Toys’ Tots Finger paints in squeeze tubes.

finger-paints

tots-finger-paints

All-Purpose Paint

Crayola’s rainbow assortment does the trick on paper, cardboard, and wood. Plus, it’s washable.

kids-paint

Crayons

The natural (made from beeswax and soy) thick crayons (easy for little hands to grasp) from Stockmar are truly a delight to draw with. We also keep a pack of Crayola Twistables in stock – the plastic casing keeps the stick from snapping in two.

crayola

crayola-twistables

Markers

We like to keep it non-toxic and real with P’kolino’s eco-friendly markers made with food dye inks. But our kiddo’s favorites are the Do-A-Dot Rainbow marker set.

crayons

crayons2

tools

Paint Brushes & Sponges

Extra wide handles make these first brushes and sponges easy to grasp.

brushes

sponge

Scissors

Fiskars scissors are the choice of lefties, righties, and preschool teachers from coast to coast.

scissors

Glue

We attack the sticky stuff in two different ways. If the project is supervised, we squirt some Elmer’s glue into a cup and use Q-tips to spread. If the project is only kind-of supervised, we stick with Elmer’s purple glue sticks. (Note: the purple dries clear, but helps your little see where they are putting it.)

glue_1

glue2

canvas

Paper Paper

Todd Oldham’s partnership with Target – Kid Made Modern – has produced an amazing array of craft project kits for older kids (file this knowledge away for when your kids are ages 5 and up). But we are equally as enamored with his mixed paper and construction zone paper pad collections. The assortment and price cannot be beat.

paper

paper2

Tissue Paper

Paper flowers, collage, decoupage, stained glass, paper mache – tissue paper is the Beyonce of art supplies. It can do anything. P.S. Always keep the scraps.

tissue

Easel Paper

Murals make amazing works of art you can hang on the wall. Use painter’s tape to attach easel paper to the floor and either trace their bodies or draw a cityscape and let them go crazy filling it in.

tissue-paper

extras

Stickers

Go old school with Mrs. Grossman’s variety packs. Go new school with Melissa & Doug’s themed collections and stick pads.

stickers

Feathers

Feathers are a must – they take every art project to the next level. Just skip the ones with pointy ends for young children.

feathers

Stamps

A good stamp pad, a piece of white paper, and a whole bunch of stamps is how we get through the making dinner/witching hours. Make it educational with a set of ABC stamps.

stamps

stamps2

Googly Eyes

Really? Yes, you really need googly eyes.

googlyeyes

Pipe Cleaners

An essential building block of nursery school art projects, we like ours in bright colors.

pipe-cleaners

Yarn

We keep a few skeins of yarn on hand for self-portrait hair, jewelry making, and hand weaving.

yarn

Pom Poms

Available in both regular and sparkly varieties, thank you very much.

pom-poms

pom-poms2

Wooden Beads

The more, the better. String them on yarn (nice necklace!), encircle a pipe cleaner (it’s a bracelet), glue them to a cardboard box (mission control board).

wooden-beads

Model Magic

Easier to clean up than Play-Doh and less of a hassle than regular clay, meet Crayola’s Model Magic.

model-magic

Glitter

If you’re really, really brave, go for the glitter! If mess gives you hives, skip it.

glitter

If helping the kids get creative just isn’t in your genes, opt for an art project in a box from Eye Can Art, KiwiCrate, Seedling, P.S.XO, and Cooper & Kid.

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