my favorite fun stuff for baby

i shared my top 10 essentials (that you didn't know you needed!) -- but now that baby boy is getting more interactive, i'm also discovering some FUN stuff that he (and mama) are loving!  here are 5 of our current favorites...

1. sandra boynton board books - i was familiar with these from reading them to my niece, and i haven't met one i didn't like! favorites: moo baa la la la, happy hippo angry duck, and the going to bed book.

2. winkle rattle & sensory teether - this was the first thing he could grasp with his little hands, and also the first toy he started putting in his mouth!

3. circo security blankets - this little "lovey" is the perfect amount of soft, and has become his favorite pal to bring along on car rides as a little piece of "home"

4. bright starts lots of links - from his activity mat to his carseat to his swing, these little links add length to other toys, or are fun on their own. with a variety of grips and textures, he loves grabbing and pulling (and putting them in his mouth!)

5. mirrors - it's so fun watching your baby see their reflection. any kid-safe mirror will do - i love this one from skip hop or this one from bright starts

what are some fun baby toys you and your little one love?


the best baby books

as soon as you get the positive on your pregnancy test (and you realize you're entering a whole new world where there are a lot more questions than answers!), you're on amazon buying all the baby books. and there are so many. how do you choose? a combination of friend's suggestions and doing some research of my own, i found the following books to be the best ones for me.
the first 4 are pregnancy-related, and the last 3 are for when baby is actually here!

  1. the girlfriends guide to pregnancy - i chose this one over the popular what to expect book, because it seemed a bit more honest and straightforward on what to really expect (and threw in some humor, too!)
  2. belly laughs - speaking of humor - this one, by jennie mcarthy, will have you laughing all the way to the delivery room, with some much appreciated comic relief
  3. the pregnancy countdown book - i loved how this one broke it down into the details of the weeks and days and what's happening both in your body and with your baby's development
  4. dude, you're gonna be a dad - this one was for jeff, so he could have a little bit of an idea what was going on. he also borrowed the birth partner from a friend, which was super helpful for him during labor + delivery! 
  5. bringing up bebe - an american mom shares all the secrets + wisdom she discovered about french parenting while raising her baby in paris. this is my favorite book i read by far! 
  6. baby wise -  definitely some great tips + tricks on getting your baby on a schedule
  7. moms on call - a set of 3 books: for 0-6 months, 6-15 months, and toddlers - written by pediatric mom nurses  - more amazing help with scheduling, plus simple instructions for things like what to keep in your medicine cabinet and how to introduce solid foods. i've only read the 0-6 months so far, but i intend on reading the other two! (i also love their iPhone app!!)
i'd love to hear from other mamas out there... what books did you love?


the gender reveal.

we definitely knew we wanted to find out the gender of our baby - one, because i'm a major planner and two, because we both felt like it would help us to connect more during the pregnancy to know the gender, and call the baby by name.

so at our 20 week appointment, it was super clear... our little baby was a BOY! i honestly was going to be super thrilled either way, but i think secretly i was hoping for a boy, because i knew jeff would be so excited about all of the father-son stuff - and we had a great boy family name already picked-out! we decided we wanted that initial moment to be something we shared just the 2 of us, so we found out at the ultrasound, but then we wanted to do a fun reveal with our close friends that following weekend to share the big news.  here's how we threw our little gender reveal party...

there are so many great ideas out there: balloons out of a box, popping a big balloon with confetti coming out, silly string, and of course, the classic cutting into a cake.
i am a sucker for cake balls, so i decided to go that route (and jeff voted for the least-clean-up option!)
i used this sugar cookie truffle recipe, and made the inside a light blue color (not too dark so the coating could still hide it!) after the white chocolate coating, i divided the recipe in half, and covered half with pink sprinkles and half with blue, and set them in two separate displays. each color had corresponding balloons as well.

there was also a little poem i wrote, so guests would know to wait and eat together:

it's time to guess, what do you think?
will it be blue? will it be pink?
all together, let's take a bite,
and then we'll see who got it right!

it was a mid-afternoon party, so we also had some light savory snacks, including fruit, a cheese plate, veggies + hummus, and popcorn. i stocked up on simple blue and pink plates, napkins, and cups from party city. 

the other fun thing we did was have people guess the gender when they arrived. i had tiny blue and pink clothespins (also from party city!) and guests would wear the color they thought until the reveal... it was about 50/50!!


the top 10 baby things you didn't know you needed.

as a first-time mom, registering for our little guy was a bit overwhelming. you walk in any baby store and you are immediately bombarded with all of the options, and i found myself wanting someone to just tell me what you really need. of course there's the big stuff like the car seat, stroller, pack n play, and crib. and honestly those were easier to choose. it's all the little stuff that you just aren't sure you'll really use.  well, almost 2 months in, i've compiled a list of the stuff that we are so glad we've had. here are my top 10 baby things you probably didn't know you needed:

  1. halo sleepsacks - this is what we use for our little man at night (versus having to manually swaddle him). the hospital actually brought him to us in one of these, and during our stay we realized how great they are... i've bought 4 more! they have armholes, and you can choose to "swaddle" with arms wrapped in, or if your baby is like ours, with arms out (he loves to have his hands near his face!). it's got an easy zipper for those middle-of-the-night-diaper-changes and keeps your little one nice and warm and cozy. 
  2. muslin blankets from aden + anais - these are the only blankets you need! we use them everywhere... they're soft, breathable, and come in a great variety of colors + patterns. (i also love their car seat canopy)
  3. puj tub - fits in your bathroom sink and makes bath time in the first few months super simple! plus, it folds flat for easy drying & storage.
  4. baby bjorn bouncer - we actually borrowed this from a friend, and i had no idea how much we'd use it! it's where our little guy hangs out every morning in the bathroom while i shower or in the kitchen while i make dinner! it has 3 angle settings, and it folds flat for easy storage + traveling.
  5. a good sound machine - babies love white noise because they're used to a noisy womb. we have this one for nighttime, and this one for travel / naps in various places around the house.
  6. my brest friend nursing pillow - i feel like everyone talks about the boppy - but i think this is a much better option. it clips on, wraps all the way around, and is a flat surface for your newborn to lie on for easy access! i'm a big fan (plus the little pocket is great for keeping anything you might need during/after nursing like nipple butter - i swear by this stuff!)
  7. the boppy we do love is their newborn lounger - the recessed interior fits your little baby's bottom and is the perfect spot to lay them down for a bit.
  8. a diaper bag with all the pockets - i wanted something that was functional, but that wouldn't scream MOM BAG... plus i wanted it to be gender neutral so jeff could carry it, too!  i love this grey one from skip hop, that has all the right pockets and special clips that attach to your stroller. *bonus: i also love their bottle bag and pacifier pocket
  9. rock n play sleeper - chances are, your newborn will be sleeping in your room for the first couple of months. so you need a sleeper option other than your crib for those early days. i love the rock n play, because it's super simple + lightweight, with an extra deep inclined seat.  (another winner is the halo bassinet)
  10. baby bum brush diaper cream applicator - in case you didn't know, you'll be changing a lot of diapers, and with all that changing + wiping, baby's bum can get pretty red. so a good diaper cream is essential, and this applicator makes it quick + easy + mess-free! 
any baby things you were surprised you needed? 


eat more cookies!

there are lots of opinions out there about what can help + hinder your milk supply as a breastfeeding mom, but the one that caught my eye immediately were the lactation cookies! you're telling me that eating more of these cookies is something that will HELP me? ok, i'm in.

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are probably my favorite sweet treat, so i set out to find the perfect recipe. and i'm picky about my cookies -- they need to be soft + chewy, with the right proportion of chocolate chips, and just the right amount of sweet + buttery.

here's the winning recipe:

  • 2 tbsp flaxseed
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup of butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp brewer's yeast
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • preheat oven to 350
  • mix together the flaxseed meal + water and set aside for 3-5 minutes
  • mix all dry ingredients except for oats and set aside
  • cream butter + brown sugar, then add in the egg, flaxseed mixture and vanilla
  • slowly add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix well
  • stir in oats and then chips
  • scoop onto baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes
*i made generous-sized drops, and this recipe yielded about 3 dozen cookies

  • for the flaxseed - i recommend bob's red mill whole ground flaxseed meal (available at trader joe's or in organic section of grocery stores!)
  • the brewer's yeast is the most important ingredient to make these lactation cookies! i used bluebonnet super earth brewer's yeast and found that 4 tbsp left no trace of bitterness (it comes in a huge container -- so find some other mama friends and share it!) available online or at health-food stores
  • the dough gets super sticky towards the end, so i used my hands to mix in the oats + chocolate chips


brilliant basics.

between gifts and generous hand-me-downs, we were fortunate to not have to buy many clothes for our little guy for these first 12 months. but i came across primary.com and just had to invest in a few brilliant basics. all of their products are simple, solid, classic pieces, made of super soft pima cotton, and nothing is over $25! 

i got him a babysuit, a polo babysuit, a pair of the baby pants, and one of the long sleeve rompers (pictured below - because ZIPPERS!) and i have to say i love each of the pieces. they really are so soft, and i love the simplicity of them (no giant logos or cheesy phrases) i'm already planning to order more in his next size.

and i love the way they show you your order history (called "my closet") - so you can quickly see what you should re-order, in different colors, sizes, etc:

got bigger kids? there are great basics for bigger boys & girls as well. 
i see the henley, the layered tee, and the pi's in our future!!


the diapers dilemma.

so. many. diapers.
i've stopped counting how many we go through each day, because it's just depressing.
baby boy can make some poop, y'all.

and what i've realized is that you want to find the best diapers for your baby. ones that will contain the inevitable poop catastrophe (and won't leak when he's sideways nursing!) i have friends that swear by pampers, and others that will only use huggies. we tried them both in the first couple of weeks, but we were still having some leakage, and i didn't feel like they fit him well.
then i tried honest company... and they were amazing. they're eco-friendly, ultra absorbent, and free of lotions, fragrances, & latex - so baby boy's bum doesn't get as irritated. i also like that they come up really high, which equals less-likely blowouts.
i'd already decided that the honest wipes were my favorite (plant-based, super thick, and versatile - i can use them on his hands + face, too!) ... so when i loved the diapers as well i knew that the honest diaper + wipe bundle was going to be my best bet.
you get 6 jumbo bags of diapers + 4 packages of wipes mailed to your door each month (or however often you choose) and you're just charged for each shipment! it actually comes down to a pretty good deal once you break it down - and the convenience is amazing. 
plus, they come in the cutest prints, and you get to pick a different one each month!

i've also been a subscriber to honest's essentials bundle for the past year -- where you pick 5 products each month for $39.95, ranging from personal care items like shampoo and tampons, to home products like dish soap and glass cleaner -- all natural + safe for you and your family.
my favorites include the facial cleansing towelettes, dryer cloths, lip balm, bug spray, hand sanitizer sprays, and sunscreen.


the nursery.

with the announcement of baby boy pardo, i've got lots of fun baby stuff to share with you guys!  first up -- the nursery. i had such a blast getting to decorate his room. while we did find out the gender, i wanted to go a little more gender-neutral, just in case we want to use the nursery again down the road for another kid and that kid happens to be a little lady. i chose a "subtle safari" theme (key on the word "subtle" -- not going overboard on the animals!) and decided to keep our already-grey-walls (sherwin williams paint color "grey clouds") with a color palette of white, teal, and gold.


so without further ado, here is his nursery...

 hudson babyletto crib: amazon 
pennant flags: etsy
first alphabet animal poster: my friend bekah designed - anderson design group 
elephant blanket: land of nod

komfy kings glider: target 
french seam square pouf ottoman: target 
hourglass accent side table: target 
door knob curtain tie-back: urban outfitters

little darlings animal prints: the animal print shop
bookshelf: land of nod 
index cube gold bins: land of nod

dresser: hemnes 3 drawer chest from IKEA
gold dots changing pad cover: land of nod
elephant: fiona walker england from magpies (the cutest children's boutique in nashville!)
industrial wall mirror: urban outfitters 


hello there, old friend.

well, it's been awhile, huh?
i don't know who i'm even apologizing to, but i'm sorry for just dropping off completely! life has been a little...well, busy, to say the least. i mostly blame work - when your job involves staring at your screen all day, crafting messages and words and images, the last thing i wanted to do was come home and stare at another screen and craft any more messages.
so, i just stopped blogging.
sure, there have been moments where i've had stuff to say, exciting things to share, but i just never found the time to sit down and type.
but... here i am, on maternity leave (surprise! more on that below) and i find myself missing this whole online sharing space and discovering a whole new world of things to blog about. so in-between naps and nursing, i'm going to try to share a bit about this new phase of life.
i hope you'll come back and join me!

but first -- here's a quick + crazy re-cap of the past 18 months...

OCTOBER 2014: seeing the dawgs play as a part of an unofficial 10 year reunion weekend in athens with my college best friends  

DECEMBER 2014: we celebrated our 33rd birthdays with 3 days in NYC - highlights: a winter walk on the highline, brunching at my favorite spot (le pain quoitidian), seeing once and cabaret on broadway, and an amazing dinner at craft.

SPRING 2015: i traveled for work... a lot. alt summit in salt lake city in january, if:gathering in austin in february, back to austin for the texas style council conference in march, then straight to LA for the launch party for our collaboration with minka kelly. then finally to boston in april for the Q conference. whew.

EASTER 2015: after meeting with a core group for about 6 months, we helped to launch the east nashville congregation of our church, midtown fellowship. jeff got hired as our worship director, and we are loving this new community right in our neighborhood.

MAY 2015: girls trip out west - we hiked the canyons of zion national park in utah, and then spent a couple of days soaking up the sun in vegas

JUNE 2015: we found out we're PREGNANT!! whoa. 
(this is the 20 week ultrasound photo)

AUGUST 2015: huge expansion of what we do at FASHIONABLE, adding in a local component to our work. i organized a launch party + a new website / rebrand on the same day and almost went crazy!

SEPTEMBER 2015: we found out baby pardo is a BOY!

OCTOBER 2015: babymoon to the beach - jeff's 1st time down at 30a, and thankfully he discovered he loves it as much as i do. (and we decided our dream is to live in alys beach - when we win the lottery.) 

NOVEMBER 2015: "friendsgiving" with our new midtown east community group

JANUARY 2016: nashville blizzard - over 8"!! 

FEBRUARY 2016: while we counted down to baby boy's due date, we discovered dozen bakery, and our love for chocolate croissants. (and proceeded to go on repeat every weekend)

MARCH 2016: after 30 hours of labor, and 2 weeks past his due date, our little bundle of joy is born. stay tuned for all the ways he's changing our lives!  


tuesday tunes: lindsay mccaul

i'm breaking my blog silence to tell you about a new album i am so excited about! my friend lindsay mccaul released her album one more step today, and it is so great. yes, i'm biased -- jeff wrote/produced half the songs -- but even so -- i'd love it regardless!

the title track, "one more step" is about lindsay's dad, who passed away a couple of years ago. it's a beautiful song, and i tear up every time...

so so proud of lindsay & this record -- go get it & show your support!