Ethan's Favorite Baby Toys 0-12 months

Best Baby Toys 0-12 Months
Ethan turned 15 months old on July 29th! I am sharing his favorite baby toys during the first year. Check out more the best baby toys and other first year baby essentials here and toddler (a growing list!) here.

Baby Einstein star: This is an OG toy used from the early days and he still likes listening to the music. 
Finger puppet book: We still read this every night. He loves when the elephant "moves". :)
Peek-a-boo bunny: He also still loves this toy; it has never ceased to make him giggle from the start!
Loveevery play gym: This was a favorite resting place for many months. It's great quality. 
Sofie the Giraffe: He loved chewing on this so much we bought 2!

Photo by me, created in Canva.



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Recent Beauty Loves


It has been a while since I have written one of these posts! Since the quarantine began this spring, I have been trying to use up some of my beauty products, like masks, creams, etc. I've also purchased a few new products, a mix of high and low. Let's get to it!

1. Flamingo shaving gel: Got this at Target and LOVE it. My legs felt sooo smooth. Once I run out of Venus razors, I am going to try their razors.

2. SEEN shampoo & conditioner: I have suffered from face and back breakouts on + off forever so when I saw this on a blog, I thought I'd give it a shot. It's a haircare line developed by dermatologists that won't clog pores or cause breakouts. I have definitely seen (no pun intended) a difference since using this and when I don't.

3. St. Tropez Bronzing Water Face Mist: Fake tan tends to not look good on me since I am so fair. At Sephora last fall, this was recommended to me and it's great. The smell is light and nice, it's refreshing for the face, and just gives me a nice glow.  Repurchased!

4. Supergoop! Glowscreen: Speaking of glow, I bought the Suprergoop! Glowscreen at the beginning of quarantine after getting a sample and finally using it. It was perfect timing as I was so not wanting to put on actual makeup anymore and it's another love!  My review of this product is that the glow is subtle and is perfect for everyday.  It's my go-to face makeup.

5. EcoBrow Defining Crayon: After trying many a brow pencils, wands, etc. this is my favorite by far. It's buildable in terms of how much color you want on your eyebrow hairs and has the built in comb on the other side. Plus, it's a clean product!

What are some of your favorite recent beauty purchases? 

Photo created by me in Canva. Trying it out!


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30 Day Song Challenge


I am not sure where this 30 day song challenge originated on Instagram, but I discovered it through Things I Bought and Liked (maybe she started it!). I thought it would be fun to do for the month of May, and I shared them all on my Instagram stories (and there is a highlight saved). Here I wanted to give more context into why I chose the songs that I did, and perhaps inspire you to do for the month of July!
  1. A song you like with a color in the title: Yellow by Coldplay - Yellow is my favorite color and have always loved this song.
  2. A song you like with a number in the title: Just the Two of Us by Will Smith - the first song that came to mind. 
  3. A song that reminds you of summertime: All Night Longer by Sammy Adams - this was our jam the last few summers in Newport (close seconds = basically anything by Kenny Chesney) 
  4. A song that reminds you of someone you'd rather forget: Return of the Mack by Mark Morrison - this prompt felt so negative so I flipped it to a song that reminds me of someone I'll never forget: this is my and Doug's "song" that we danced to at a bar (drunkenly lol) the first night we met. 
  5. A song that needs to be played loud: It's All Coming Back to Me Now by Celine Dion - lots of fun memories with my SIL and friends belting this one out 
  6. A song that makes you want to dance: Shake it Off by Taylor Swift - cannot help but dance around sillily when this song plays
  7. A song to drive to: Days Go By by Keith Urban - this song makes me want to drive with the windows down and feel the breeze
  8. A song about drugs or alcohol: Rehab by Amy Winehouse - first song that came to mind
  9. A song that makes you happy: Treasure by Bruno Mars - one of my fave songs ever, love Bruno!
  10. A song that makes you sad: You Can Close Your Eyes by James Taylor - my mom used to sing this song to us as babies/kids. I cannot help but cry my eyes out when I hear it. I had it on a playlist for Ethan and had to take it off because I always cried! 😭
  11. A song you never get tired of: Home by Phillip Phillips - a friend told me this song was the only one that quieted her colicky baby. Whenever Ethan is too fussy and can't get to sleep, I play this and it AMAZINGLY works like a charm to calm him. I've listened to it more times than I can count.
  12. A song from your preteen years: Wannabe by Spice Girls - this song came out when I was in 6th grade
  13. A song you like from the 70s: September by Earth, Wind & Fire - always a favorite
  14. A song you'd love to be played at your wedding: Wonderwall by Boyce Avenue - this cover was our first dance song 💑
  15. A song you like that's a cover by another artist: When The Stars Go Blue by Tim McGraw - I have always liked this song and wasn't even sure who the original artist is...turns out it is Ryan Adams. I love the version by The Corrs too.
  16. A song that's a classic favorite: Higher Love by Steve Winwood - just like this song 
  17. A song you'd sing a duet with someone on karaoke: You're the One That I Want from Grease - this is an easy and fun duet that came to mind
  18. A song from the year you were born: Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go by Wham! - 1985's #3 song of the year
  19. A song that makes you think about life: In My Life by The Beatles - came to mind first and when I was at camp as a kid, I learned this song in sign language.
  20. A song that has many meanings to you: I Want It That Way by Backstreet Boys - this song reminds me of so many good times with my family and friends for 20 years
  21. A song you like with a person's name in the title: Barbara Ann by The Beach Boys - we have been playing a lot of The Beach Boys for Ethan lately, he loves!
  22. A song that moves you forward: Hold On by Wilson Phillips - this song makes me feel strong
  23. A song you think everybody should listen to: Levels by Avicii - I couldn't think of one for this day, so this is Doug's pick (his fave song ever) 🤣
  24. A song by a band you wish were still together: It's Gonna Be Me by *NSYNC - wouldn't hate a reunion and this seemed like a good song to do since it was May
  25. A song you like by an artist no longer living: Waterfalls by TLC - Left Eye's rap! 
  26. A song that makes you want to fall in love: It Had to Be You by Harry Connick Jr. - When Harry Met Sally is my fave movie and I walked down the aisle to an instrumental version of this song
  27. A song that breaks your heart: Remember When by Alan Jackson - oh man, this one is a tear jerker, even more now that we are parents. 
  28. A song by an artist whose voice you love: Orinoco Flow by Enya - love her voice. Her music is what I play to relax
  29. A song you remember from your childhood: Down By the Bay by Raffi - been listening to Raffi again with Ethan! When I was a kid, we had a version of this song we made for members of my family. I was "Did you ever see Jaime, playing a game-y" down by the bay... 😊
  30. A song that reminds you of yourself: Cruise by Florida Georgia Line - I wasn't sure what song to pick here, but I have loved this song since came out; I never turn it off when hearing it; and it always puts me in a good mood. It reminds me of meeting Doug and we processed down the aisle at our wedding to an instrumental version. 


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The New Normal*


*For now

We kicked off our new normal this week. Ethan's daycare officially canceled their summer offerings a few weeks back, so we have a babysitter coming to watch him a few days a week. Doug and I are regularly going back to our offices (we both work at small businesses with not a lot of people and are social distancing in our own spaces + wearing masks otherwise). It's only been a few days, but I already feel more productive and energized in various aspects of my life. Granted, it is back to craziness in the morning getting everyone prepped for the day before the sitter comes, but when I come home, I feel like I enjoy my babe and house more. 

I say "for now", as we don't know what the future brings with the Coronavirus. Case numbers in Mass. have been on the decline which is great news. I try not to think too much into the fall (and future) because really it is so unpredictable. We hope that Ethan's daycare will open in some capacity this fall. I think the time learning with teachers and interacting with other kids was SO good for him; I hope he gets that again soon. For now, enjoying our new normal as much as we can... That includes a full on TODDLER who is walking, throwing mini tantrums, saying new words, going through sleep training, getting more teeth... every day is a new adventure! 😆

We also recently expanded our "pod" to include our immediate family, one friend family, and our sitter. We are all practicing best social distancing, mask wearing, etc. so I feel OK right now in our decision to open up a bit. Again, it's all for now. Stay healthy! 



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New Books for Ethan and Why


I wrote this post in the middle of the night last Saturday night. Wasn't sure if I was going to actually post it. A lot has transpired since then but decided to share anyways. 🖤

I am awake and really anxious at 2 am. The last couple of days have been filled with grim news and images around the Coronavirus, the death of George Floyd, and our country divided more than ever and on fire. I went to bed reading social media and articles, filling my brain with so much and feeling sad for our country and helpless; it's no wonder I woke up this way.

I admit I have a tendency to put my head in the sand and turn off the news when bad things are happening, opting for a podcast on my favorite Bravo shows vs. news/"real life" podcasts and content. I rationalized it with saying to myself that I have enough going on in my life, enough to think and worry about, etc. I don’t need anything else. But I can’t do that anymore. But this all feels like so much that I don’t know where to begin. 

And then, these 2 Instagram posts really resonated with me.




What I took away from these posts, and other insightful and educational articles from The Everymom and Cup of Jo to name two, is that I can start small and I can start with Ethan. My job is to raise Ethan the best I can — I say “I” because this is my blog but really it’s we, Doug and I — we need to raise Ethan with our values, practices of kindness and inclusivity, and teach him about different types of people (etc.). We can, as individuals and as a family, further seek out people and stories that aren’t like us by color of their skin but also by who they love, what language they speak, where they live, what they believe, etc. We can share those stories with others. We can stay informed and listen. We can surround ourselves with people who match our values and not seek out or distance ourselves from those that don’t... We can VOTE.

I ordered some new board books that promote and show diversity + inclusivity, and books with main characters that are not white. It might not be much, but it feels like a good first step, for a 13 month old.

I focused on buying board books as otherwise, he would rip them to shreds. Below includes the books seen above and a few others I didn’t buy but liked:
I saved some hardcover/paperback books for toddlers and older kids that are right now either too mature for E or not a board book. Here are some:

I’d love to hear any other ideas and resources you have.🖤

There are Amazon affliliate links above. Any commissions made will be donated to Boston After School & Beyond, an organization that brings "quality learning to more children in Boston".


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