Zanna_Roberts_Rassi

After two years of struggling to get and stay pregnant, Zanna Roberts Rassi’s doctor said to her, “Congratulations, you’re pregnant. Not just a little pregnant, but like really pregnant.” And for anyone who’s been there, you know what that means: Twins.

“I told my husband [Milk Studios founder Mazdack] Rassi and he just burst out laughing and said, brilliant.”

And just like that, two new projects were added to the Rassi portfolio. The fashion polymath is already an editor at Marie Claire, a stylist (clients include True Religion and Pantene), a correspondent for E! News and a Project Runway regular.

She’s also funny, British and adorable, like a woodland sprite who chose Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, as her habitat and a style that’s more sleek with a hint of rock-n-roll than ethereal bohemian (though we’re sure she could pull that off, too). Next week we’ll share Zanna’s fertility trials and tribulations – there were plenty. But first: A peek into life as a professional city mom with 4-month-old twins.

What She Does All Day

Fashion editor, TV fashion correspondent and stylist. One day I’m on a campaign shoot for a fashion client the next interviewing celebs or designers for E! News the next on the Today show talking fashion tips then to a brainstorming meeting at Marie Claire. Never the same day twice.

The Beginning

My parents were in NY when the twins were born. They waved us off to the hospital at 5am for the planned C-section. We floated around on cloud nine for the three weeks afterwards.

Double Vision… Twice!

We are fortunate enough to have a place out of the city – a very old cottage and garden in New Jersey that reminds me of where I was born: Manchester, UK. But this means we had to buy four of everything. Four cribs, four bouncy chairs, two double strollers and you get the picture! Finding bargains is essential – like the $100 cribs from Ikea!

I’ve Got This Figured Out

With twins, you have to have systems and schedules. Demand feeding would be a disaster. We would never sleep or eat. Its about always having the next step lined up. The swaddle flat and ready to go when they are ready to go down, the milk warm for straight after the bath so they don’t scream the house down, the diaper bag set at all times, bedding and laundry done once a day so nothing piles up. A place for everything and everything in its place. You can’t drop a beat. And when they’re sleeping, you have to prep for the next thing!

On Names

Rumi, after the Persian poet, my husband is of Persian descent. Juno is ancient Greek goddess. The mother of all gods. Wow, they have some lofty names to live up to!

Mini Workouts

The only way I can help from falling asleep some afternoons is by lifting Rumi over my head. She weighs nearly 10lbs – I figure twenty of those along with daily carrying means I should get some bicep situation happening!

Best Buy

The amazing double stroller the Bugaboo Donkey with an Andy Warhol floral print. It’s fashionable and functional.

Dressing The Bump

I began pregnancy with a personal challenge of not wearing leggings and T-shirts every day. I began #stylethebump on Instagram, this being the way I would stop myself from being lazy! My key is to still dress like yourself. (You dont have to look like a giant baby just because you’re having one!) For me that was a little rock’n’roll in the mix. Leather J Brand leggings were my lifesaver. Invest in one key piece.

Magic Ingredient

We have full time help, Karen. She’s been there since day 4. Our sweet, smart saviour! Since I went back to work a few weeks later, she has been imperative. I respect stay at home mums (like my mother was) more than you can imagine – it’s harder in a different way than working all day. And hands-off Karen anyone reading this!

Travel Necessity

I keep a very organized diaper bag. But it’s not a diaper bag, it’s a fabulous Tumi backpack with a thousand pockets.

The Perfect Moment

It’s Sunday at 8am in our house in New Jersey. The four of us lay in bed. Rassi is snoozing and Juno is sleeping on his chest. I’m nursing Rumi. My mum and dad are cooking up breakfast downstairs whilst “baby symphony” plays in the background. It was magic. I cried!

On Nursing

I couldn’t produce enough for two, so I supplemented with formula from the beginning. I think of breast milk as medicine. I pumped four times a day. Initially, nursing two babies at once, I got the hang of it, it’s like holding two footballs. I don’t know how anyone does it when they’re bigger!

On Pumping

I’ve pumped on set, in the back of an RV, in public toilets. One special day I was in the bathroom at Milk Studios shooting whilst on a conference call, texting my nanny, and looked in the mirror and burst out laughing. Multitasking at its finest.

* A Tip! *

If they won’t latch, wet the bottom of their nose with milk, and they’ll tip they their head up and then you can pop the nipple in!

#Momfail

I missed a doctor’s appointment and I felt so, so guilty.

On Future Rassis

We have a few on ice because we did IVF. That’s the most miraculous thing. They’re breathing, eating, smiling beings after three months on ice! I can’t get my head around that. Such a miracle.

3 Hours To Yourself

I’d catch up with family on the phone, and go sit in a park and drink rose with girlfriends!

A Night With Your Man

It’s our 5-year wedding anniversary, and I’m surprising him with a trip uptown to stay at the Carlyle. I plan to drink champagne, chat like adults with no agenda, and sleep. For us, not getting on a plane is such a luxury!

Can’t Buy Enough

For the girls, Earth Mama Angel Baby oil and Nununu stars and stripes collection. For me, Blueprint green juice is amazing when you don’t have time to do something good for yourself. And Lansinoh nipple cream. My friend Mariana brought it to the hospital for me – life saver.

New Obsession

Rather than trawling boutiques for the coolest little-people things, I hop on Mini Style and find the most unique clothes, accessories, and toys. Its a one-stop shop for buying gifts. Crushing right now on the new Mini X Thief & Bandit collaboration.

On Becoming Her Mother

She’s creeping in. I hear her voice in mine. Morals, manners, family values… I hear it when I talk to Rassi about the girls.

Comments   Comments   Comments

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.

More

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.

Comments   Comments   Comments

Less
holiday gift guides

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

last-call-for-her
last-call-for-him
last-call-for-girls
last-call-for-boys
last-call-for-village
last-call-gift-wrap

Comments   Comments   Comments

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.

holiday-traditions-lights

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.

More

holiday-traditions-pajamas

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!

holiday-traditions-hannukah

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.

holiday-traditions-nightgowns

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.

holiday-traditions-before-christmas

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.

holiday-traditions-wrap

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.

holiday-traditions-hannukah-jammies

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.

Comments   Comments   Comments

Less