cool baby products you should know about.

Cool Baby Things

Clockwise from top:

1. The Eclipse by Cotton Rainbow. How genius is this? A car seat and stroller blanket that won’t blow away, thanks to (removable) weighted corners. It’s made from 100% breathable cotton, and features a cute peek-a-boo window that you can leave open or closed. Perfect for sunny outings this summer! Fun fact: the two girls who created this graduated from my alma mater, UC Davis. Go Aggies! Use promo code ASHLEEHEART for 10% off (expires July 1st and they’re low on grey so get em while they’re hot!).

2. Aden + Anais Wearable Blanket. We are constantly trying to figure out if Carson is too hot or too cold when he’s sleeping. In the winter, we used the Halo sleepsack and I never thought twice about it, but now the weather is a bit fickle. Our house is usually roasting in the late afternoon, but completely cools down in the middle of the night. Carson goes to bed at 6:30pm and our house is pretty warm around that time. These wearable blankets are made from 100% cotton muslim and they are super breathable, so he doesn’t get too hot when we put him down. Plus, let’s be honest, they’re cute.

3. Fisher Price Booster Seat. Here are my thoughts on high chairs: I hate high chairs. They are big and obnoxious and take up tons of space. I love booster seats because you just plop them on a chair and you’re done. We bought this exact same booster seat for Everett when he was six months old. He is now THREE and he still sits in it for every meal. You guys. It’s $25. Come on. The best part? When you’re having company over, you can just take it off the chair and stuff it in the closet if you need the extra space! We’ve done that a few times when hosting parties, etc, and I love how small and compact these seats are. Traveling with your family? Throw it in the car! Boom. Highly, highly recommend.

4. Green Toys My First Stacker. Carson is still learning how to sit up, and nothing keeps his perfectly postured attention like these stacking cups. I put a blanket on the floor, sandwich Carson in a boppy pillow, and put these right in front of him. He’s good for 20-30 minutes, which is like an hour in mom-land.

5. Zoli Baby Buzz Electric Nail Trimmer. File this one under Things I Wish I Had With My First Baby. Cutting your baby’s fingernails is an arduous, miserable, infuriating process. I love to procrastinate this chore as long as humanly possible, pretending to ignore the fact that my kid has actual talons, until he eventually swipes my cheek and turns me into Scarface. You, too? Fret no more. This electric nail trimmer is super easy to use, safe for baby, and it’s even fun for big brothers to watch. True story: we made a whole afternoon out of trimming Carson’s nails last week. This is my life now folks, mom of two right here just trying to survive the afternoons. I like to pull out all the stops.

6. Hudson-Mint Teething Necklace. My friend Rachel started Chewable Charm last year and the business has blown up. I am so proud of her! I have three of these teething necklaces and just started wearing them last week, much to Carson’s excitement. He doesn’t have any teeth yet but he loves to chew/bite/grab the beads. (p.s. I also have this teething necklace and love it!)

7. Zoli Gummy Sticks. YOU GUYS. If you have been searching for the perfect teething toy, you need not look any further. These gum massagers are EVERYTHING. Two for $10! You cannot beat that price! Carson is holding one of these in his hands at all times. They are fan-freaking-tastic. Tell your friends.

Any baby products making your life easier these days? Do tell.

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things to watch, read, and listen to.

Because I’m a sucker for a good recommendation.

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SHOWS TO BINGE-WATCH

1. The Newsroom. You know when you binge watch a TV show and then it’s over and you want to cry a little bit? That’s how I feel about The Newsroom.

2. Army Wives. You know how sometimes you need something casual to play in the background while you fold laundry/do dishes/edit photos on the couch while the kids are napping? Army Wives is good for this. Other shows that are good for this: The Mindy Project, Gilmore Girls, One Tree Hill, The Fosters.

MOVIES TO RENT ON THE WEEKEND 

1. Chef – Will make you hungry and secretly wish you had gone to culinary school.

2. This Is Where I Leave You – All star cast, including Tina Fey. Enough said.

3. Going Clear – Scientology documentary that will make you go whoa.

PODCASTS TO LISTEN TO

1. The Startup – A podcast about what it’s really like to get a business off the ground. They talk about the highs, the lows, fundraising, how to find investors, marital/relationship impact, etc. It’s….fascinating.

2. Beyond Your Blog – A podcast all about how to get your writing published! I first learned about this podcast after Susan asked to interview me about the Coffee + Crumbs submission process. You can listen to that episode right here. Other episodes worth a listen: The NY Times Motherlode, Huffington Post Parents, Verily Magazine.

BOOKS TO READ

1. If You Find This Letter – Hannah was one of the very first blogs I started reading. I fell in love with her writing, her relentless honesty, her ability to pour pure romance into perfectly imperfect sentences. When she got a book deal, it felt like it was happening to my best friend, even though Hannah and I have never met. And that’s how you’ll feel reading this book—like you’re listening to your very best friend tell all of her very best stories. All you need is a bowl of popcorn.

2. Savor – 365 short devotionals from my favorite writer on the planet. What more could you want?

Your turn! What are you watching, reading, and listening to?

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friday, I’m in love.

love-1 love-2 love-25love-4 love-5 love-26 love-7 love-8 love-10 love-11 love-27love-28love-13 love-15 love-17 love-18 love-19 love-20 love-22On Mother’s Day weekend, I came to the startling realization that the last time I took a picture with my two boys was on Valentine’s Day. With my iPhone.

Say whaaaaaaat?

Naturally, I threw on a skirt and staged an impromptu photo shoot and because it was Mother’s Day weekend, Brett wasn’t even allowed to complain.

True story: we drove all over town looking for the perfect location. Option A: closed for private event. Option B: swarming with 200 teenagers taking prom photos. 45 minutes later, Everett was whining because we forgot his fruit snacks and Carson was screaming his head off and I just gave up altogether.

“NEVER MIND LET’S GO HOME AND ORDER PIZZA!”

But my sweet husband was not going to let that happen. I had washed my hair! I had put on makeup! I was wearing a skirt!

He drove over to the river (which, might I add, is walking distance from our house), we trekked down to the trail, and boom. He took these pictures for me and saved the day.

And then we went home and ordered pizza and everyone lived happily ever after.

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p.s. My Madewell tank, Everett’s Ralph Lauren shirt, Everett’s Keen sandals, and Carson’s Gap romper are all from ThredUP. If you’re not shopping there, you’re missing out. Sling by Sakura Bloom.

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the capsule wardrobe: five benefits.

At the risk of sounding dramatic, the capsule wardrobe is changing my life.

I know, I know. That was dramatic. Sorry.

I am 1.5 months in to my nursing-friendly spring wardrobe, and here is everything you could possibly want to know about it:

1. Getting dressed is a breeze. I don’t even think about it. I grab an outfit based on the weather and outing and it takes 10 seconds. I don’t wonder if the clothes fit right, I don’t stare at my closet for ten minutes before making a decision, I just grab and go. THINK OF HOW MUCH TIME I COULD SAVE OVER A DECADE OF THIS! I could write my first novel with that kind of extra time. I have never been aware of how much time I waste every single day trying to decide what to wear. I have two kids now—ain’t nobody got time for that.

2. The less I have, the less I want. This has been the biggest (and most positive!) change for me with the capsule wardrobe. I haven’t had a desire to shop, or a desire to buy new clothes. I feel overwhelmingly content. I’m not online shopping, or pinning clothes I don’t need, or wandering the aisles of Target lusting over things. I have more than enough. If anything, I’m suddenly hyper-aware of how much pressure lies all around me to buy buy buy and have have have. Consumerism is alive and well in our culture and I am just so dang tired of being bombarded with messages about stuff stuff stuff. Let’s wear what makes us feel good. Let’s simplify the process. Let’s be grateful for what we have and chill out on the cycle of more more more.

3. I have a better idea of what I like to wear and what looks good on me. Even within such a small number of clothing, I find myself gravitating towards the same few looks and items. I love my high rise skinny jeans and my slouchy tees. The more I pick and choose within limited options, the more I develop and embrace my personal style for this specific season: the one that involves chasing a toddler all day and nursing a baby around the clock. I love to get dressed up once or twice a week but the rest of the time, I’m down on the floor with my kids and I’m dressed like it. And it feels good to just…..own that.

4. I can see what my wardrobe is missing. A few times I have thought to myself, “It would be really nice if I had ________ (a denim sleeveless blouse, a few more form-fitting layering pieces). I’m thinking about clothes more intentionally and more specifically. I’m not shopping “just because” or buying aimlessly. I’m starting to think about my summer capsule wardrobe and can pinpoint specific items I’d love to have the next time around. It feels good (and financially responsible!) to curate a short list based on what my closet is lacking, instead of just adding to the masses. I’m finding it’s a lot easier to assess your wardrobe as a whole when you can look at everything you own in one organized closet.

which brings me to….

5. I love having a clean closet. Let’s be real. I have two kids, and my house is a mess 98% of the time. All day long I am cleaning up messes and dishes and attempting to put laundry away before Everett jumps on stacks of neatly folded t-shirts. Our house is a public space, it belongs to all of us. We all contribute to the mess in some way. But my half of the closet? That is a private space, and it only belongs to me. I can keep it clean 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And I do. Because it’s easy. Because there are hardly any clothes in there now!

Notes for next time…. 

It’s really important to LOVE every item in your capsule wardrobe. I’ve learned that I don’t really love 1/3 of my current capsule (oops). If I stare at the same top ten days in a row and think, “I don’t want to wear that,” it probably doesn’t belong in my closet.

It’s also really important to take the weather into consideration. I made my capsule wardrobe during an unseasonably hot week, and I mistakenly assumed the rest of spring would be 85 degrees. I did not account for much variation. We’ve had a few random cold days and I’ve been….well….cold. Oops.

Have you ever done a capsule wardrobe? How’d it go?

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three years old never looked so fun.

BounceU-1 BounceU-2 BounceU-3 BounceU-8 BounceU-9 BounceU-10 BounceU-11 BounceU-12 BounceU-13 BounceU-14 BounceU-15 BounceU-16 BounceU-17 BounceU-18 BounceU-21 BounceU-22 BounceU-24 BounceU-25 BounceU-26 BounceU-28 BounceU-29 BounceU-30 BounceU-31 BounceU-32 BounceU-33 BounceU-34We skipped the birthday party this year and took two friends to BounceU to slide the day away, followed by lunch at In-N-Out burger because we’re fancy like that. Everett went down the monster slide approximately 84 times and then took a 3.5 hour nap so yeeeeeah, the day was a giant success for everyone.

Until next year…..happy birthday, Ev!

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