Category Archives: Totally Recommend

Jillian Tamaki for Penguin Classics (can’t. stop. drooling.)


These new book covers designed by illustrator and cartoonist Jillian Tamaki for Penguin Classics have literally left me speechless.  The colors, the embroidery, the talent of Ms. Tamaki and the fact that these are THREE OF MY MOST FAVORITE BOOKS EVER!!

I can’t wait to get these for Evelynne.  To me, this is exactly what the cover of The Secret Garden should be…a magical whimsical portal into a perfect, perfect book. And Emma and Black Beauty to boot? I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read all of these when I was a girl…


I love me some iPad, but for this family, paper books will always reign supreme.

Look for these lovelies to debut October 2011, and read all about her process and see some great “making of” pics on Jillian Tamaki’s blog.

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Boon LAWN Countertop Drying Rack


There is no doubt of my love for Boon’s Grass Drying Rack – except that lately not everything I need to dry fits on our cheery little patch of BPA-free drying “grass.”  Clearly Boon heard the cry from parents who have little hungry hippos and are always drying bottles – because the grass has turned into a Lawn!  This is great as we slowly venture into solids and have even more utensils to dry.  Also, Evie’s 8oz glass bottles will nestle so much easier on a larger space…no more balancing acts and piling of nipples!

Toddy Gear Smart Cloths


Now that I’m newly iPad obsessed, I of course have to consider every single iPad accessory out there to pimp protect my little friend.  Since I’ve already managed to splatter said iPad with red clam sauce (while cooking from the Whole Foods recipe app) last night, I immediately purchased a couple of Toddy Gear’s gorgeous and super-useful Smart Cloths, and I can’t wait to put them to use.  This is no new idea but I love the designs! Here’s a break down of what they do:

  • Made of 100% premium microfiber for effective removal of dirt, smudges and grime from your iPad or any touchscreen device without the need of any liquid
  • Perfect for Toddying smaller surfaces such as iPods, iPhones, Blackberry and Android devices
  • Double-Sided screen cleaner: plush to clean and buff – silk to polish
  • Environmentally friendly – machine washable, cold, tumble dry low
  • Treated with AEGIS Microbe Shield® to protect it from germs, mold and mildew making it the perfect antibacterial touch screen cleaner.

Can’t wait to clean up all my tech gear!

Music My Kid Loves


I know we’re only 14 weeks in so I may be defiantly proven wrong, but I have this theory that we raise our daughter on all kinds of music early on, maybe we’ll avoid The Wiggles and Yo Gabba Gabba all together.  It seems like a noble undertaking in order to preserve the sanity of the adults in the home.

All in all, Evie is a magical and insanely happy baby.  However she has severe reflux which means many hours trying to keep her calm while her little tummy is giving her fits.  Since day 1 music seems to be a big help. It started with classical music which almost instantly calms her down; then onto anything we can sing along to; and now we have a wide range of genres and songs on hand depending on the time of day and her mood.

I’ve thrown together some of her all time faves – but above else, more than anything, girlfriend loves her some Johnny Cash and she loves her some banjo.  I mean loves.

Steve Martin, The Crow
Carla Bruni, Quelqu’un m’a dit
Serge Gainsbourg, (we love the Serge Pandora station!)
Johnny Cash, all of it
Dolly Parton, doesn’t everyone love Dolly?
Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More
Claude Debussy, anything
Elvis Presley, just the peppy songs – especially Hound Dog
Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend

First 3 Months Baby Survival Guide


My daughter turned 3 months old this week.  In some ways it seems like the blink of an eye, and in others it feels like we’ve been together forever. She is, without a doubt, the most amazing creature I’ve ever set eyes on.

The blinding shock of being a new parent, however, hasn’t really dissipated…though this morning at 4am I was getting ready to feed her while The Hus was straightening up the changing table and I simply said “burp cloth” (because I forget to grab one every. single. time); in one move he grabbed it from the bin, turned and tossed it to me, I caught it in mid-air while holding the baby in the other arm and flung it over my shoulder in one fell swoop. Not bad for a couple of rookies! 😉

Small 4am achievements aside, one of the biggest shocks to any parent is the introduction to the completely overwhelming world of baby products, and more importantly – just how much you have to buy.  I’ve been overwhelmed and some what put off in that department pretty much since I found out I was preggers.  I didn’t register until very late, and it was only because my dear friend Serena literally dragged me to BabiesRUs (yes, I do now see the benefit of this overwhelming mega-store…sometimes) and told me exactly what to get.  The result was a fairly boring registry, but the items I received at my shower and have purchased myself have – for the most part – been put to good use.

Now that we’ve survived the first 12 weeks, I thought I’d do a round-up of the essentials I use almost every day.  The dollar output is very real when you have a kid, and I hope this list can help another mom make smart decisions on what to buy in the vast guilt-ridden, high-pressure, over-priced sea of baby products.  I know I scoured lists like this – and still do – when looking for that perfect baby item.  I’m in no way an expert (how could you be in 3 months), but I am grateful for the aid these items have given us.


UppaBaby Vista Stroller: Our dear friends got this stroller for their first, and it was a simple 15 minute discussion/demo of them explaining why they went with the Uppa and we were sold.  We never looked at another stroller.  We used the bassinet every day and night for 3 straight months…we’d just roll her around the house and it was great.  The stroller opens and closes with ease, and the wheels and base are sturdy enough for us to take her on moderate dirt trails – which we do often.  It’s not as hardcore as the Chariot, nor as pricey as the Buggaboo. It has add-ons that allow it to grow with your growing family. It is perfect.  The best part is you can turn this puppy 360 degrees with one hand, which makes maneuvering doors and corners so much easier when you’re by yourself.  It’s so light it practically pushes itself. And how great looking is this thing?

Dutalier Sleigh Multiposition & Recliner Glider & Ottoman: We probably spent the most time looking for a glider before she was born.  We knew we wanted to get a really good glider and were prepared to spend some money on it.  What we weren’t prepared for is just how ugly they all are and then how really REALLY expensive these things can get.  I’ll spare you the sordid details of months of going to baby stores and sitting in chairs and just say thank gawd for my friend Serena who patiently pointed out what ended up being the deciding factor: yes, the overstuffed chairs are more modern looking and cute, but when you are nursing on 2 hours of sleep and you’re stuck in that chair for what feels like an eternity you will want to lay your head back.  The overstuffed chairs aren’t high enough to support your head like this one.  Plus it reclines – a feature I am eternally grateful for. And lastly, the ottoman has a slide out stool which was one of the first things that finally helped me master breastfeeding.  You need to have your feet elevated at an angle to prop the kid up.  That said, this thing is ugly, so very very ugly, but I love it anyway.  We decided on this make because the price was the best for what you were getting and it is super super comfy.


BabyBjorn BabySitter Balance: I literally can’t say enough great things about this bouncer.  It is worth every penny and then some.  If your kid has reflux (which mine does) this is one of the only bouncers that actually keeps the child upright. My daughter loved it from the first time we set her in it…she can look around and move her arms and legs instead of being slumped on her back like other bouncers.  The toy addition is flapping adorable, and I love that it’s wood.  The simple design and modern colors are a nice plus too…it can blend into the decor of your home so you have one less shocking “baby” item to stare at while drinking wine.

Mustela Facial Cleansing Cloths: I’m obsessed with Mustella. Obsessed. Mustela products are free of parabens, pthalates, phenoxyethenol and alcohol.  My baby spits up all the time.  ALL the time.  These delicate wipes keep her neck and face clean in-between bathtime without drying out her skin. And they smell divine.

Mustela No-Rinse Cleansing Fluid: A great and gentle cleanser that helps clean up serious diaper explosions.  A couple swipes of this get the tough parts that wipes just can’t clean.  It easily removes old diaper cream and leaves your baby’s bottom smelling waaaaay better than it did before.

Mustela Foam Shampoo For Newborns: Again – easy on her skin and free from parabens etc.  Great for cradle cap and it is tearless.

Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Bottles: LOVE these bottles, BPA free and they really do help reduce gas and colic.  I have to use the Premie nipples to keep the milk flow to a minimum, but they are great if you have a kid who spits up a lot and/or has reflux or colic.

Dr. Brown’s Bottle Warmer: See my gushing review here.


Boon Grass Countertop Drying Rack: Super cute and not obnoxiously large or complicated.  Just slide bottles, nipples, pacis whatever in between and on top of the “grass” and there you go.


Thirsties Duo Diaper Wraps: We decided to cloth diaper and we LOVE it.  These wraps are not only super cute, they’re pretty affordable for what’s on the market and the size allows them to grow with your baby.  I prefer the Duo which has the velcro closure on the top. I find it fits better and is easier to use than the snaps. I recommend you purchase at least 6 wraps if you’re going to go the cloth route.

Snappi Cloth Diaper Fasteners: An updated and pain-free alternative to the scary diaper pins of yore.

Gerber Undershirts: Plain white undershirts are actually harder to find than you think, but they are a must to keep your baby warm.  Put one on under every onesie. (I get mine at BabiesRUs)


Cloud B Gentle Giraffe (or Lamb) Sound Machine: If you subscribe to the theory of the 4th Trimester (see Happiest Baby On The Block below) then you’ll appreciate the gentle white noise of this adorable sound machine.  It has four sounds: womb, ocean (my fave), rain and whales. No chirpy music or bright lights, just soothing sounds to lull your little one to sleep. (And the giraffe conveniently fits in our nursery motif!)

Miracle Blanket: My best friend gave this to me as a pre-baby gift with stern instructions that we were to use it all the time. This swaddler saved us, and our daughter loves it. We love it.  Buy it. Use it.

Seventh Generation Free & Clear Laundry Detergent: I skipped the temptation to use Dreft which is super expensive and went ahead with what we normally use which is free of dyes and fragrance, it plant-based and biodegradeable.  I just use 1/4 of what I would normally use for adult clothes and she’s been totally fine.

Gripe Water: An all-natural tincture that helps your baby’s tummy feel better. Again, with reflux we’ll use anything that works, and this really works.  It’s just Fennel and Ginger…basically bitters for babies, but she loves the taste! (Available at RiteAid, Whole Foods and sometimes Target)

Simply Saline Baby Nasal Mist: It sucks to do it, but if your baby has a stuffy nose, you gotta spray this up in there to break it up.

What To Expect The First Year: It’s like The Joy Of Cooking for babies. It’s the Rookie Bible for new parents.

Happiest Baby On The Block DVD: Skipped the book and went straight to the DVD.  Most definetly worth an hour and a half of your time; Dr. Harvey Karp is the dog whisperer of babies and his methods of calming a screaming little one are a lifesaver. (Available on Netflix)

On Becoming Baby Wise: The theories in this book aren’t for everyone, but the general premise worked for us.  It really helped us set a schedule for our daughter, and now she’s pretty much sleeping though the night.

The Vaccine Book: A straight-forward easy-to-read overview of vaccines.  It’s not pro or anti, but gives reasons why you should and maybe why you wouldn’t want to do any certain vaccine.  It’s really helped me make better, more informed decisions on this topic.

OXO Tot Bottle Brush: We like this universal bottle scrubber best.  It fits in any bottle, including breast milk storage bottles and scrubs em clean.  Plus I’m a sucker for orange.  And it’s OXO, so you know it’s made well.

Medela Breast Pump: If you breast-feed, then you’ll need to pump. Buy this pump. It will save you. (Also, Medela brand Lanolin is my fave. You’ll need that too, promise.)

And for you, parents I recommend the following:
Coffee
Wine

You’ll figure out the rest easy enough.

Caudalie Skin Care

A couple years ago, I decided every New Year I would embark on “greening” one area of our lives.  In 2009 I started to switch over to all non-toxic, eco-friendly cleaning products.  In 2010 I started to transition to paraben-free, non-toxic beauty products (a much harder challenge.) This year, it’s all about eco-friendly baby.  We’re cloth diapering, and using what I know about skin care and household cleaning to keep the products I use on/around her as gentle and non-toxic as possible.

I’ll be sharing with you all the products I’ve tested and now use daily.  Full disclosure: we’re by no means 100% “green”, but we’re trying.  Some products are just too good and haven’t been replicated with better ingredients. Do I feel a bit guilty about this? Yes, because I feel guilty about everything. However, there is no substituting good performance and results.

But here’s one line I absolutely love: Caudalie.

I have pretty basic combination skin that tends towards the dry side.  Living in uber-dry Colorado means we have to work a little harder to moisturize everything, so super-intense skin care products just don’t work on me here.  This line is gentle but keeps my skin pretty darn clear and clean. Plus it meets my “natural” skincare requirements and is formulated WITHOUT:

  • Parabens
  • Sulfates
  • Synthetic Dyes
  • Petrochemicals
  • Phthalates
  • GMO’s
  • Triclosan

My favorite daily products are the Instant Foaming Cleanser, Beauty Elixir, and their amazing Grape Water.

They also make most of their most popular products in TSA-approved travel sizes which makes me very happy.  I just keep a whole set in my travel pack and never have to worry about scraping/wasting product into smaller containers.

Plus the packaging is super pretty, and it’s French!