Rachel Zoe for A Pea in the Pod Launch Party

(my love letter to A Pea in the Pod)

I am 32 1/2 weeks into this pregnancy which is, technically speaking, Very Pregnant. My lower back is screaming, my energy level is dwindling, and the only piece of pre-pregnancy clothing that fits is a dress I bought three sizes too big (sale fail). Before I became pregnant, I thought maternity clothes were a punch line; The duds of the lazy or a thing I'd resort to if I had a mashed potato meltdown. I didn't see any room in my style or my closet for ruching, empire waisting, or the expense of a temporary wardrobe. I am a young(ish), thrifty, style-conscious woman! I will not succumb to leggings and caftans! 

I hate being wrong. 

I type this post wearing one of my now nine pairs of black leggings, a ruched cotton maternity top, and an oversized swacket. I have blown far past the legal limit on A Pea in the Pod tanks and soft bras, and I don't even remember what a zipper feels like. Once all of my longest tees became crop tops, shopping for larger versions of former favorites (bye bye Steven Alan button downs) was depressing, as I came out of every dressing room looking like a yurt. Normal clothing isn't prepared to deal with basketball torsos and uniboobs. There was just no pleasure in muscling into ill-fitting anything that only reminded me how large I'd grown (and how small I may never will be again). I am much happier wearing what fits right now, embracing and marveling at my ever-growing belly and the sci-fi-worthy stretchiness of skin. Plus, when a place like Destination Maternity exists, it's a pretty small sacrifice to make to the style gods. I was shocked when I finally walked through their doors and found a treasure chest full of cuteness made just for ladies like ME! I reach for their own label's tops faster than anything else in my drawer, and lines like Vince, Splendid and J. Brand (old friends!) are now designing for the store. While it's more expensive than Target, the shops has frequent sales, bathrooms, tiny bottled waters, the friendliest staff imaginable, and everything a swelling belly aches for. I know this sounds like a sponsored post, but I can't help but gush from the rooftops about how much less wonderful life would be without striped ruched tees and an empire-waisted cargo coat!

SO YOU'LL UNDERSTAND WHY...When I was invited to the launch of Rachel Zoe's collection for A Pea in the Pod, I begged production to clear the date so I could make the decidedly not doctor-recommended day trip to LA to be there. A Pea in the Pod graciously gifted me a dress from Zoe's new collection, which is as modern and stylish as you'd expect. The dress I wore had a super chic print made from the most comfortable material I've ever put on my body. I added an old jean jacket to give the top more shape and wore my most comfortable heels (buttery leather Roberto del Carlo wedges I purchased a few years ago at a Barneys blowout sale). Steven Mason and Andre Sarmiento had done my hair and make-up for an appearance on Home and Family earlier in the day (their fees covered by NBC yay!), and made sure it was a style that would transfer to the party. I LOVE this lip color André used, and even braved The Beverly Center to pick up my own tube from Sephora. It's Bite Beauty's Cashmere Lip Creme in Sherry and is so deeply pigmented that I barely needed a touch up at the end of the day.  At the event, I had the pleasure of meeting Rachel (lovely, hilarious) and Chris Daniel, A Pea in the Pod's president and my new hero. I arrived back in PDX late that night and slipped into my Secret Fit Belly leggings, thoroughly exhausted and totally happy. Stretch cotton is so underrated.

Dress: Rachel Zoe for A Pea in the Pod (gifted, $138 in store/online)

Jacket: Levi's ($60)

Shoes: Roberto del Carlo (about $150, on sale)

Hair/Makeup: Steven Mason and Andre Sarmiento, covered by NBC publicity