Once Vince started using sippy cups and snack traps, I searched high and low for dishwasher safe name labels so we could keep track of our things at playdates, and eventually daycare or preschool. Of course I wanted something super cool, and not too cutesy baby poo-poo. (That’s a legit term, right?) No luck.
I’m a high-low kind of girl – in life, love, and the pursuit of beautiful interiors. I love the thrill of a good thrift shop find and I’m not above trolling discount superstores for the best deals.
But today I want to talk about what really brings all the boys to the yard: the high end pieces that keep a home filled with bargain bin finds staying classy. Enter, The HighBoy – a curated online collection dripping with fine antiques from the farthest reaching corners of the country and the most reputable dealers in the biz.
For most of us, furnishing our homes is a gradual process and most of our furnishings aren’t all that special. But if you invest in one or two super-fantastic statement pieces your home will graduate to a gorgeous, sexy, magazine-worthy space.
Here are some of my favorite picks from The HighBoy right now:
Maybe it’s time to swap out that overstuffed behemoth from Bob’s and scoop up a pair of statement armchairs. Make ’em count! Arm chairs are a great way to be bold and bring in a really sculptural shape or killer texture.
With so many folks working from home these days I’m all about upgrading your desk sitch. Or if you have a huge entryway, stop your guests in their tracks with a beautiful desk stacked with coffee table books and interesting objects.
With Vince’s 1st Birthday already in our rear view mirror, I’ve been looking back over his first year and I’m feeling all the feels; sad that I can’t slow time, but super excited for the fun that awaits and soaking up the fun that we’re having now.
I’m also looking back at all the stuff that we’ve accumulated and trying not to be totally horrified. I’m teasing out the best of the best and sharing my picks with you all. If you missed my essentials for newborns, check it here.
Here is the second installation of my Mommy Must List – for the 3-6 months stage, when they shed their precious (and terrifying!) brand newbie status and become rapidly developing infants. This is typically the stage when working moms go back to work (#toosoon), when most little ones are transferred to their cribs at night and when big skills like grasping toys, rolling over, sitting up and really interacting with caregivers take hold. It’s a great age – but of course, they all are.
BUMBLE AND BUMBLE PRET-A-POWDER – because showers are a luxury but getting out is a necessity. This is an expensive little bottle of hair powder but I’ve had it for over a year and I’m not even halfway through. It smells great and doesn’t give you that awful powdered wig effect.
INFANTINO TEXTURED BALL SET – babes this age are learning to hold things and take in a lot of information by touch and taste. we love this set – each is a different size, color and texture.
CROSS BODY BAG (similar) – once you get past the 10-diapers-a-day newborn stage, you can lighten your load and carry just the essentials for quicker outings. To keep your hands free for toting a babe, a chic cross body bag is key.
GOURMET MAIL-ORDER MEALS (like Blue Apron) – friends of ours who’d had a baby a month earlier sent us a free trial of Blue Apron and it turned out to be a life saver. Even though I’m an avid cook and both sets of grandparents are local, we still needed a lot of help feeding ourselves. Even six months in I wasn’t ready to juggle meal planning, shopping and cooking every night (that didn’t come back until recently). James is a hands on husband and Dad, but he doesn’t have the years of practice that I’ve clocked in, so these turnkey meals were a great solution for us. Three nights a week I knew we would sit down to a beautiful dinner, and it became a slice of normalcy amidst our new chaos that we really looked forward to.
MEDELA HARMONY MANUAL BREAST PUMP – I never used a mechanical pump because I didn’t have to pump all that often – Vince and I are a package deal so the boob is always there for him. But even Moms who pump at work say this is a good grab-and-go option when you don’t feel like messing with the big guns. Our lactation consultant highly recommended it and I found it to be easy to clean and good at its job.
2TB STORAGE DRIVE – you’ll quickly run out of space on your phone with your little show stopper around so snap up one or two of these to back up those 100 videos of baby cooing and pooping.
MOZART TAKE-ALONG TUNES – when my bestie swore this was the best $8 bucks she’d ever spent, I’m sure I responded with a blank stare. But now I’m running around all like, “this is the best $8 bucks I’ve ever spent, you guys!” Seriously – it’s kid magic and even if you’re anti-batteries, it’s freaking Mozart, so lighten up.
NOSEFRIDA NASAL ASPIRATOR – snot sucking sounds like the grossest thing ever until is your baby who needs it. This is the new go-to – bulbs are so out.
MERLIN’S MAGIC SLEEPSUIT – new parents will do anything to get their babies to sleep, including dressing them up in a ridiculous astronaut suit every night so that they don’t startle themselves awake, but they can still suck their thumb.
COMBAT-READY BALM FOR BABIES – this cream is made from all natural ingredients and it’s super gentle, so I use it for everything from chapped cheeks and chins to tiny scratches on his face. I’m only just ready to replace my jar after a full year of use so the price is worth it.
BABY SPARKS ACTIVITY APP – unless you have a background in infant development or have tons of babies in your life, your first will be somewhat of a mystery and in these early months there’s a lot of ‘what should we do now?’. This app helped give me ideas of things to do with Vince at each age – games to play and exercises we could do with him that were fun and age appropriate. A Serious Sidenote: The full function of this app is, in my opinion, totally over the top, neurotic Type A crazy-pants and I don’t think it’s worthwhile for a mother to subject themselves or their child to a rigorous daily checklist of developmental milestone activities. The added pressure is a nothankyou and it’s a slippery slope of self doubt and anxiety when you start comparing your little ones to imaginary textbook babies (speaking from experience!). Most babies develop fully and normally, and ALL do so on their own timeline and without a whole bunch of prompting from adults so we can all pretty much chill out on this stuff. That said, there were definitely days when I was in need of suggestions for new ways to play with Vince. This app was a great tool in that way and I’m still using it occasionally. Staring contests get old quick.
Those are my picks for this fun age! Go play with your babes!
Swans are a thing now, but they still feel fresh to me. Their black and white plumage and sculptural shape play nicely with modern interiors, but they have a great Victorian quality to them as well. Plus swans are total bitches – nasty birds, really – so there’s something kind of intimidating which makes me want to plaster them all over the walls of my non-existent powder room.
I just added these little cuties to the shop today. They’re made of celluloid which was big in the 1920’s.
I love some of the swan trends I’m seeing out and around…
Are you planning a swan theme for your babe’s room? Or a chic powder or dressing room?
When you bring home a bundle of baby joy, you also bring home a giant mother load of baby shit and it takes over your life and next thing you know, you live in a daycare facility. <<<fart noise>>>
As tiny house dwellers, we aspired to be high-horse minimalist parents and failed so miserably: the boxes kept arriving with more things we thought we couldn’t live without and my anxiety levels spiked.
As we head towards Vince’s first birthday, I’m able to look back and see what really saved our asses and what we should have just said ‘no’ to.
Here are my picks for the Newborn Weeks. This list is obviously not exhaustive, but these are things that we used a LOT and I think should be on every mama’s list.
Fisher Price Rock n’ Play – $60: Affectionately called ‘the taco’ in my mom crew, we all swear by this simple seat/rocker/bassinet combo. Vince slept swaddled at my bedside in it for his first 3 months until we moved him into his crib. It’s super light and folds up with one click so we brought it everywhere. Babies love the cozy shape and our pediatrician OK’d it for sleeping nights while he was small. There is a breathable mesh lining and the slight tilt is great for parents who worry about spitting up or reflux issues.
Sassy Rattle Ring – $5: A really inexpensive toy that will move through all of baby’s stages from developing eye sight, to grasping objects, to tracking noise and later teething. This guy is just all around good design.
Vornado Zippi Personal Fan – $19: They really freak you out about having good air circulation wherever baby is sleeping, so we picked up this little tabletop fan and it’s the best ever. Cloth ‘blades’ provide peace of mind and it folds up for travel. Plus it’s nice looking.
Medela Lanolin Nipple Cream – $8: It’s the best one out there…and you’ll need it within the first few minutes of nursing your new babe so bring it with you to the hospital! Nipple cream for President!
EO Lavender Hand Sanitizing Gel – $10: Hand sanitizer kind of grosses me out but with a newborn at home you will be using it all the time, especially during diaper changes…might as well use one that smells like a spa treatment and is infused with relaxing lavender essential oil.
Nursing Tanks from Target – $20: I’m still wearing one of these everyday and to sleep at night. Nursing wardrobes are the worst worst worst, but I found my groove wearing one of these with a loose top layered over that I can easily pull up. This way my post-pregnancy belly is covered (not that I would have been comfortable baring it before pregnancy either) but my baby has easy access to the boob.
BAGGU Duck Bag – $26: I was looking for an excuse to get one of these totes for a while, so I made it my diaper bag and it has worked really well for me. There’s an adjustable shoulder strap and it’s made from durable canvas so I don’t have to worry about rain, spit-up or sticky hands. It’s just the right size and best of all it doesn’t look like it comes with a side of minivan.
AccuRite Indoor Humidity Monitor – $12: Another thing that new moms freak out about is humidity, so we all buy a humidifier when we have a baby (with good reason). But how do you know if it’s between the recommended 68 and 72 degrees ferenheit or if it’s above or below 55% humidity? This little guy is cheap and handy. Just get one so you can cross that anxiety trigger off of your growing list.
Exercise Ball – $24: Strengthen your core? Um, no. Working out my abs is the LAST thing on my mind as a new mom. We were tipped off by our lactation consultant about this secret weapon for soothing a fussy baby. We were reluctant to buy another thing but sure enough, more than any other gadget we owned, simply holding Vince while gently bouncing on this ball was a no-fail way to get him to calm down or drift to sleep. Magic baby whisperer shit.
CamelBak EDDY – $15: Throughout pregnancy, labor and delivery and all nursing sessions, this was my boyfriend, cuddled next to me and hydrating me like a champ. The no spill design is key for nursing since little hands tend to find their way into your glass.
Skip Hop Treetop Friends Activity Mat – $75: We tried to go the design snob route and get a beautifully designed minimalist wooden activity gym with three dinky dangling toys…thinking our little budding architect would appreciate high design at an early age. After about four weeks it was clear that Vince was bored and we had wasted our money. Thankfully, a good friend loaned us this mat, which is actually pretty cute. It’s a really great, versatile toy and became a fast favorite until he was six months old and sitting up, at which point we turned it into a fort and got some of the best baby belly laughs in a raucous game of peekaboo. The moral of that story is…don’t be a douche to your baby…just get the good toys.
Magnificent Baby Long Sleeve Burrito – $25: I would have outfitted Vince in these magnetic onesies every day when he was a newborn if I were a millionaire. He has super strong arms (and bad feelings about clothes going over his head) so dressing him was a struggle from day one, but this cute, gender neutral “burrito” (!!) opens in front and closes with magnets – the smartest idea ever. Bing bang bong…baby is dressed.
There we go. 12 things that I would buy ten times over if I had a litter of children to raise.
Our boy is turning one next month (agh!) and we decided to create a reading nook in his room to mark the occasion. Vince is growing into quite the little bookworm.
He tipped us off by being an early page turner at 8 months and by crawling over to his basket of books whenever we put him down. His first theatrical meltdown was staged after I finished a book and didn’t immediately begin again. And as if to seal the deal, in the last few weeks he’s decidedly chosen “book” to be his first word…pronounced “ugkkkkkk”.
Nerds that we are, we are falling over ourselves to keep reading at the top of his list and since we currently read on the living room floor, we thought he would enjoy having a special place in his own room to cozy up with a good book.
We’re still talking about how the space will be carved out, but we know that we want a beanbag chair for him to slump into. Beanbag chairs, once reserved for the set of Austin Powers or Clarissa Explains It All, are now considered legit grown up living room furniture. But since Vince will probably smudge boogers or half eaten cookies into his, I’m going pass on the $1,000 faux fur models and instead attempt to make one.
This tutorial makes it look really easy and swears it only takes 30 minutes. Which means it will take me 3 hours, at least, between my limited sewing skills, my penchant for fucking up instructions and my cat-napping kid.
I ordered these cute string lights from Bright Lab Lights, which work great with the room’s (loose) color palette of navy, mustard, magenta and brown. I use this image as my guiding light when I feel like things are looking cray-ballz in there.
I’ll be ordering the fabric from Spoonflower and I’ve narrowed it to these six combos of a navy/coral print for the front and mustard/gold backing (shown in one yard swatches). I prefer to keep it pretty gender neutral and don’t want anything too cutesy. Versatility is key in our tiny house! It has to pass the, “Would I want this in my living room?” test.
Which combo is your favorite? I’m leaning toward option #4, but I’m not totally sold on any of these. I wish that badass painting in the above photo was also made into fabric that was super affordable. Help!
For the first time in 5 years I’m not hosting Thanksgiving at our house in Sleepy Hollow. I’m still kind of in the weeds when it comes to keeping house (a phase that may last for the next 20 years) and am just barely getting back into a groove where I can plan, shop for and cook meals for our small family on a regular basis.
We are, however, hosting a Day-After Leftover Super Sandwich Fest at our place. My grocery store haul makes a pretty cute and super simplistic last minute centerpiece. The bamboo drum plate is from IKEA; we used them as our wedding centerpieces along with fresh spring artichokes.
Here are some other ideas for really easy last minute centerpieces, all available at the grocery store.
Fill vases with citrus and clipped branches from fall trees and plants.
The power bounty: throw down a massive cheese board and use your appetizers as your centerpiece.
Scatter a few (unscented) pillar candles, cheesecloth, apples and a few lacey sprigs of seeded eucalyptus.
Extra points for centerpieces that double as gifts for guests, like jars of pickled cranberries. Fill a mason jar with this easy recipe and throw a tag on each with each guest’s name and you have a place card / favor / centerpiece all in one! Yippee!
Squeeze your loved ones this year and eat until your belly is happy and full!