First Year of Parenthood

In 2016, I became a mom to a gorgeous, amazing, feisty, adventurous little girl. A lot of people told me that the birthing part was the least of my concerns and that the first 100 days would in fact be far more difficult. They were oh so right. The first 100 days may be the most tiring, but the rest of the first year makes up for them. This "job" is my favorite one yet. In celebration of my daughter's first birthday being over two weeks ago, I thought I'd share some of my silliest mom moments / mistakes / embarrassing truths from my first year of being a parent. And obviously no judgement if you have similar new parent stories. 

1) Poop Range

I heard countless stories about getting sprayed with pea, especially when it comes to changing boy's diapers, but I never knew that this can also happen with poop. Let's just say the worst incident involved Adeline sneezing, an open diaper, and a face being too close to the wrong end. 

2) The Breathing Check

This is another one of those parenting quirks you don't think will apply to you (until it does). I still remember waking up in the middle of the night to check on Adeline in the bassinet beside our bed, and sneaking into our room during the day to stare at her chest and make sure she was breathing. The worst was probably once we transitioned her into the crib in her own room. There were definitely one too many times that I quietly tiptoed into her room just to insure she was okay, even though I could see her on the monitor perfectly fine. Ah the breathing check. 

3) The World Wide Web

When your child seems a little more whiny than usual or gets their first runny nose, the last thing you should do is search their symptoms online. I think my most stressful online search was actually about clogged milk ducts though. One site recommended pumping a little, another would threaten in all caps not to pump because that tells your body to produce more milk. I was starting to hyperventilate and freak about mastitis when Keith gently reminded me that I had a lactation consultant's phone number. This is where professionals come in handy. Contact your own lactation consultant, postpartum doula, family doctor, pediatrician, chiropractor, etc. Stay off the internet. 

4) Not Accepting Help when Offered

We hired a postpartum doula to help in the first month of being home with a newborn, since we don't live in the same state as any of our family. I wound up using her so little that she actually didn't hold me to the contracted hours initially agreed on. I never even took her up on her offer of taking Adeline for a walk so I could catch up on sleep. Oh man, do I wish I could use those hours sometimes now. 

5) Providing Constant Entertainment

The first six months of Adeline's life, I was convinced that she needed constant stimulation, interaction, entertainment, etc. I would get down on the floor and talk to her about everything, regularly move her from one activity to the next. I slowly started to realize that she was actually capable of entertaining herself and engaging in activities much longer than I expected from a baby. I've read more up on this philosophy over the past few months, and it's so much more enjoyable parenting during the day now. We can go to the park, have a picnic, and I read a book while she stacks her blocks, stares at leaves or grass blowing in the wind, tries to eat leaves on the ground, etc. At home, she explores the living room, pulls every toy out of her small toy basket, flips through her picture books, empties her diaper bag, laughs at herself in the mirror. I sit nearby keeping a watchful eye, but allow her to enjoy her surroundings and independence.

6) Worrying about Milestones

I definitely may have encouraged her to sit up earlier than Adeline was ready. It was just so darn cute to prop her up on the bed or couch, but it was also completely unnecessary. Now I'm more of the mindset that she'll do it when she's ready. I'm excited for more regular walking and more words too, but I also understand better now that more words = the sooner I'll start hearing no in response to everything. 

7) Eating Dirt (and other things...) 

If you follow me on Instagram, then you won't be surprised to hear that I took SO many baby photos this year. And due to my constant photo taking (I'm trying to be better this new year), there may have been a few close calls and dirty mouths thanks to my being distracted behind the camera. There were several times I was taking a photo at the park where Adeline managed to grab a handful of dirt or grass and I'd have to drop the phone and attempt to wipe all the dirt out of her mouth, but the worst incident was with a bug. I still don't know what kind of bug it was, but I was taking a photo of her standing against the wall and the next second she was chewing something she found on the wall. I managed to get out a tiny head. The rest was digested. Protein, right? 

8) Date Night

Keith and I agreed that we would go on at least one date night each month once the baby was born. Our first ever date night, Keith's parents watched Adeline when she was six weeks old, we ate at a restaurant across the street, and were back in less than a hour. The worst date night incident though was our first time using a non-family member as a sitter. She was professional and kind, but Adeline had a really tough time going to sleep and we basically had to lay her down upset and rush out the door to make our reservation. The entire first hour I was stressing that she was awake screaming at home, and the sitter didn't return either of my two anxious parent texts "just checking in". Keith and I barely spoke over dinner, because I was so stressed out, and we hurried home as soon as we finished. Adeline had been asleep the entire time. The sitter just hadn't noticed my texts. The next time we went out, we set up a wifi-enabled monitor and were able to check on her ourselves, every ten minutes or so (and sent no anxious texts to the sitter). Ah new parenthood. 

9) Cabbage Leaves 

All I'll say is I totally tried this for an entire week after Adeline weaned. It might just be an old wives tale, and I'm not sure how much it actually helped, but it does feel kind of nice. :-) 

10) Bathtime Fun

A week or so ago, I managed to get in a pretty strenuous living room workout while Adeline sweetly played with her toys beside me (not always the case). Adeline has recently transitioned to one afternoon nap, and since I really didn't want to delay a shower for several hours, I decided we could take a bath together for me to clean up. It was going great until she tried to eat the bar soap and got upset when I took it away. She stood up in the bath, loudly crying, and then peed all over me. So my "smart" idea turned into an afternoon shower anyway. 

In this year of Firsts, I've learned a lot, especially how to be more forgiving of myself, ask for help when needed, and worry a little less about all of the what ifs. In January, Adeline celebrated her first birthday, Keith attended his first film festival premiere of a film he edited, and I participated in my first Women's March. Hope your New Year is off to a great start with a fresh slate for all kinds of silly mistakes and learning opportunities!

My Cruelty-Free Daily Beauty Routine

During my pregnancy, I started researching cruelty-free products for newborn care. I read various blogs, online reviews, even got a few sample products. It initially came about because I wanted to feel confident about anything I was putting on my baby's body. The first company I discovered during this search was Babo Botanicals, which I wrote a review last summer on. Adeline and I are both regular users of their shampoo/body wash and conditioner. Amidst my in-depth research, I discovered a lot of affordable products that were both cruelty-free and made of quality ingredients I could actually pronounce. Here are some more of the reasons we've made the switch, and you might want to as well. Over the past six months I gradually transitioned to almost 100% organic, cruelty-free products (each time I ran out of a product, I replaced it) and thought you all might enjoy hearing about my day-to-day routine.

Before I jump into it, two quick disclosures. 1) I am NOT a skincare professional, so please do your own research and check with a professional before switching to anything new. Keith treated me to a facial last week (one of my Christmas gifts) and the esthetician said my face was in great condition, so seems like I've found a good process for me, but keep in mind there are different skin types. 2) This is 100% my personal opinion. I was not given any of these products for free or asked to promote.

Daily Facial Care
I started using anti-wrinkle creams both morning and night when I was about sixteen. My grandmother regularly reminded me growing up about caring for your skin through the use of sunscreen, moisturizers, and skin protection (big hats and sunglasses!). I listened well and used the same product for fifteen years, but it not only wasn't cruelty-free, I also had no idea what the majority of the ingredients were. Here's a rundown of what my morning routine looks like now:

That's it! I'm pretty low-key on my daily routine, and unless I've got special plans, I really don't even use makeup on top of the tinted moisturizer. I do have some cruelty-free makeup info too though, so stay tuned for that. Below is a makeup-free photo for an idea of how I look daily (sans the ice cream - I don't have that daily!). If I'm exercising outside, I first apply Babo Botanicals Sport Sunstick to any exposed parts before going outside. Once back inside, I shower and then do the above routine.

Here's a quick rundown of what my evening routine looks like:

Bonus fun tip: I read recently that honey is great to use on in-progress pimples (not just teen problem sadly). I have now tried it twice in the past few months and it totally worked! Dab honey on the affected area after your nighttime ritual. There was a slight tingling as it went to work and by the next morning, both times, they were significantly less red and gone within two days. As I mentioned at the beginning of my post though, please research any products and remedies before using yourself.

Special Occasion Facial Regime (ie mascara time!)
I know a lot of women may think I'm nuts for not wearing mascara every single day, but firstly I was blessed with very dark lashes and secondly, I'm lazy. :-) I can't possibly remember to wash off mascara every night along with remembering to take out my contacts, so please excuse my tired eyes. Again, because I'm pretty low-key and like a very natural look even when "done up", I haven't tried a ton of cruelty-free makeup products, but I will say of the few products I have tried, I LOVE 100% Pure. I totally assumed when switching to cruelty-free products that they probably wouldn't be as effective. Silly perhaps, but that was just my assumption. Plus $25 for mascara that makes my lashes look insanely amazing, has not been tested on animals, is made of all-natural ingredients I can pronounce, and (strange but true) has a nice smell, sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me! Again, they totally didn't pay me. I just really love their mascara. On that note, here are the makeup go-to products I use from 100% Pure. I apply these after my morning ritual for special outings or events.

I am clearly no makeup guru and will never post how-to guides on social media, but here's a photo of me (far right) from a family Christmas shoot all "done up" with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, niece and daughter. Pretty intense brows, eh? :-)

I already linked my previous review on Babo Botanicals from last summer, but just for a full-body recap, I shower using their shampoo/body wash in my hair and as my shaving gel (works great for my sensitive legs!), their conditioner, plus their lavender lotion after every shower and each evening. I also have used Tom's of Maine Original Care Deodorant, Fluoride Free Toothpaste and Mouthwash for years and continue to very happily. I haven't found a cruelty-free hair product yet to replace mine, but I'm starting to research Paul Mitchell's products now. If you have any favorites, please share in the comments! Lastly and most importantly, the main part of my daily beauty routine is water. I drink at least 64 oz a day, and on days when I exercise more vigorously, I make sure to drink a little more on top of that. 

I tried to figure out a price breakdown for each section, but since some things I have to purchase each month (like the bar soap) and most last me many months in a row, the math was getting way too complicated for me. So instead, I'll just let you know that if you were to purchase all the facial products I use daily that would cost about $90 2-3 times a year (plus $4 every other month or so for the Tea Tree bar soap and $40 once a year for the exfoliant). And if you were to purchase all the makeup I listed, that would cost an additional $135 once or twice a year depending on your usage. I completely understand that the makeup might be double what you currently spend depending on the company, so here's a super thorough list, broken down by type and affordability, of all the high-quality, cruelty-free makeup lines out there.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, feedback, questions, your own favorite brands, etc. Also, please let me know if you'd like to continue to see posts like this from time to time. Next post, I'll be sharing all about the 10 silliest things I did in my first year of parenting.

Links to some of the websites I found most helpful during my research: Jenni Raincloud, Gimme the Good Stuff, Cruelty Free Kitty

Celebrating the Winter Solstice

A month ago, on an online parenting forum, someone asked for tips on how to skip both Santa and the strictly Christian aspects of Christmas with her children. She asked for feedback if anyone else had done this and had details on where various Christmas traditions originated. Since my childhood did not include Santa and he won't be part of our family tradition, I thought others might also be interested in learning more about how I responded to her question. I explained that my mom told my four siblings and I as children that Santa Claus was inspired by an actual person, St. Nicholas, and though Santa is not real, the idea of him inspires people to give to others. We also were taught that everyone has different traditions and it's important to respect those, so if you were wondering, no I never ruined Santa for anyone else. I've had several friends who were taught as children to believe in Santa express concern that not including him may take away from the "magic" of Christmas. As a child and still to this day, I find magic in the process of decorating a tree and frosted cookies to share with family and friends, in strolling through a neighborhood of houses strung in multicolored lights, sipping on hot chocolate in front of a fireplace with someone you love, and watching your family members eyes light up as they excitedly unwrap the gift you spent months making or picking out just for them. There is so much magic and excitement everywhere this time of year, so please know that if you also weren't raised to believe in Santa or have considered not making him a part of your family tradition, it's 100% okay. Your kids will be just fine. And you will find a lot of other ways to make your family's holiday experience truly special.

Image from Jeh's Today

On the second portion of the forum poster's question, and the main purpose of this post, I thought for many years that Christmas was strictly a Christian holiday. So when I started to explore my spiritual and religious beliefs in college and realized that they no longer aligned with my childhood beliefs, I started to worry that meant missing out on celebrating various holidays. I won't delve too deeply into my religious beliefs here. My super simplified explanation is that I believe there are many religions because there are many different types of people and each of us finds different religious or spiritual practices that bring us closer to a higher being or help us be the best, kindest, most loving version of ourselves. For some that is in long hikes, exploring the outdoors, running, meditation, yoga, prayer, reading, fasting, volunteering, etc. And for some, that also means attending church on a daily or weekly or monthly or annual basis. Mainly, I'd encourage everyone to ask lots of questions, do a lot of soul searching, and find what's best for you and your family. Thankfully both Keith and I went through this spiritual exploration separately around the same time in our lives and came to a similar conclusion.

In the past five or six years, in trying to figure out how we wanted to celebrate various holidays as a family, we have done a lot of research on where various traditions (mainly Easter, Halloween, and Christmas) originated. We found that many Christmas traditions originated in pagan winter celebrations (see this article from the Christian Post). Did you know that Christmas trees were originally called Yule Trees (see this article from Christianity Today with some tree and gift history) and the evergreen served as a reminder amidst the dead of winter that the earth would bloom again? Did you know that December 25 was designated Christmas (though not when historians actually believe Jesus was born), because how closely it fell to the Winter Solstice and Christians hoped it would draw more pagans to Christianity? It is believed that Advent Wreaths were based off pagan traditions of lighting candles during the longest night of the year as a symbol of hope and reminder that the sun would rise again (see this article from Catholic Education). Mistletoe was considered by the Druids to bring joy and peace. Pagan Romans considered laurel wreaths (like the ones we now hang on our doors) sacred to the sun god, Apollo. This article has a further lightened synopsis of various origin stories.

Image from Time Slips on Norse Yule Traditions

I find all of this very fascinating! Plus, as I said earlier, I think it's so important when continuing or passing down traditions to research where they came from and contemplate if it's right for your own family. This is part of the reason three years ago we decided to reduce the number of gifts we exchanged and move to a tradition of "something you want/need/wear/read". We wanted our family celebration to be more about our time spent together and less about the number or size of gifts under the tree. In the past few years, as we started to discuss adding a child to our family, I started to struggle even more so with some of our Christmas traditions and constantly questioned whether we were doing them for the actual symbolism or just to simply do them. I know some day in the not so far off future Adeline will start to question everything. And when she questions why we decorate a tree, exchange gifts, sing certain songs, go to church, hang lights on our house, and give handmade cookies to our neighbors, I want to insure we have a very well thought out, honest response. And not just "because we do". So this year, we're trying something else new to our family that feels more fitting to our beliefs. Tonight we're going to have a Winter Solstice celebration. 

This solstice celebrates the longest night of the year and is often ushered in by turning off all lights in your home and eating your family meal over candlelight. There are many ways to celebrate the Winter Solstice, so if you're interested in learning more or possibly having your own family celebration, I recommend reading this list of suggestions, this article that shares more on the history and various traditions, this slideshow from Refinery29 with some simple tips, or picking up any of these books from your local bookstore. This year, for our first Winter Solstice celebration, we're going to turn off all the lights in our house, turn off our phones, and take an evening walk around our neighborhood together. We plan to bring a few branches of rosemary from the bush out front inside while singing Deck the Halls, and form a wreath on our dining table around four candles. We'll hang a sprig of mistletoe above the front door and shout three times "Hug and kiss, hug and kiss! May this whole house be full of bliss!" Next, we'll light the four candles on our dining table - one for each family member and one for our family as a whole. And then enjoy a special homemade meal together with spiced eggnog and some traditional Christmas music playing in the background. Lastly we'll have our family gift exchange by our tree while Adeline tries to eat the wrapping paper (not part of the celebration) and then we'll carry Adeline to bed by candlelight.

I'm excited to see how our holiday traditions continue to evolve over the years, and I'd love to hear how some of your traditions have changed once you settled down, had children, or did your own research. Feel free to privately message me on my comments page if you have a question on my experience without Santa, how our family Winter Solstice celebration turned out, or if you'd like some of my favorite recipes for cookie exchanges. Happy Solstice! Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas!

Our 2017 Word of the Year

I know that you all look forward to this post all year long, so I decided not to keep you waiting on the edge of your seat until January! ;-) Well at least I've been looking forward to writing this post for months. 2016 was the "year of family" and I'd be lying if I didn't say that didn't exactly make for the most exciting monthly reveals or blog posts. But I do think it was really important to focus entirely on our family unit this year. We took Adeline on five round-trip flights (including next weeks) to meet extended family in Wisconsin, attend my sister's graduation and best friend's wedding in Texas, and spend the holidays with both sides of our family. Keith and I made it a habit to get a babysitter and go on at least one date night every month. The first 2-3 times were especially challenging, but eventually we got the hang of it, found sitters we felt super comfortable with, bought a wifi-enabled camera so we could occasionally check on her from our phones, and finally learned to relax and actually enjoy our nights out. We are aware that we're also super fortunate Adeline took right to sleep training early on, so we also didn't have to worry too much about her waking up and freaking out at someone other than me comforting her (yay parent win!).

Now that parenting has gotten SO much easier and we're like total pros (don't worry - totally joking!), we came up with a new focus for 2017. Next year will be the "year of firsts". It helps that Adeline is celebrating her 1st birthday next month, and that will totally be her first month achievement, but I also loved the idea of each of us doing something for the first time every month next year. How awesome and challenging does that sound?!? So in January, Adeline will turn one (and probably take her first steps too!), and Keith will get to attend the Sundance Film Festival for the 1st time to celebrate the premiere of a documentary he worked on for the past year (!!!). I haven't figured out my first for January yet. But, I already know my first for March/April and have some ideas for a few other months next year too.

We're hoping to drive back to New York together, so in February or March, that will be Adeline's first cross-country road trip and hopefully Keith's first time seeing the Grand Canyon. We might try to plan a summer or fall international trip too, so that could be Adeline's first visit to another country and our first time flying 5+ hours with a baby (eek!). Maybe I'll dye my hair a fun color or we'll run our first Marathon. We could start a business, finish a screenplay, or maybe I'll finally convince Keith to buy a farmhouse (I've got a few favorites on Zillow). I don't know what next year will look like yet, but I'm really looking forward to a more exciting year of posts, activities, and achievements to share with you all here!

Anyone else have a "word of the year" or suggestions for some firsts you'd love to see us try?

"Something" Holiday Gift Ideas

I've mentioned in previous holiday posts that Keith and I started a new gift exchange tradition several years ago. I proposed the idea as a way to reduce the amount of gifts and money spent. But I mainly warmed Keith to the idea by suggesting that once we did have a kid, this would be a great way to make this time of year less about the overabundance of gifts and (hopefully) more focused on the quality family time. I've been meaning to share some ideas for others interested in incorporating this into their own family's traditions, so here's my holiday gift guide for everyone on your lists "something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read". This may be a little last minute, but I know several of the shops I listed are still shipping in time for Christmas, so it's definitely worth reaching out. Everything on the first three lists is U.S. made, geared toward a variety of ages and genders. I tried to link directly to all seller or maker's websites (in the fourth list of books for example), so you can shop locally if that's your preference.

It can be a bit of a challenge to differentiate between what someone wants and what they actually need, and often I find that these overlap with the other categories. Because of this, we rarely actually gift each other four gifts. For example, several years ago Keith gave me the entire Anne of Green Gable Series, which fell under "read" and "want" for me (I totally teared up). This year, both Keith and Adeline's "wear" gifts also fall under "need", so they each have three to open next week. First up, some U.S. made items that some on your shopping list may "want" this year.

  • Posie Girl by Pockets with Posies
    I love these gorgeously made dolls, and if you're interested, the shop is doing a release tomorrow morning. Jump on it fast, because they always sell out in seconds!
  • Wooden toys by Bannor Toys
    They have state-shaped rattles, push toys, etc. and I think these would make such great stocking stuffers, shower gifts, and for a child's something you want or need.
  • Caramel Salted Caramel Chews from Napa Valley Chocolate
  • Bath Salts from The Little Flower Soap Co
    These could totally go under the want or need category for most people, and everything in this Etsy shop's inventory looks wonderful and relaxing.
  • Feminism is Cool pin by Modern Girl Blitz
    Everyone needs this pin (and hopefully wants it). 
  • Wine Bottle Gift Bag by Hen House Originals
    I love that this bag can be reused, brought out at the holidays, or even incorporated in your home decor. Plus, it's just an added bonus if you include a locally made wine or beer too!
  • Engraved Wooden Music Box by Soundbarrel
  • Script Initial Ring and Snap Front Leather Wallet from James Avery
    I love this lowercase initial ring and leather wallet by this Texas-based company (that my sister works at!).
  • Wooden Blocks by Uncle Goose
    These were one of Adeline's gifts from my sister-in-law and brother-in-law and they are beautifully made! The shop also has customized blocks available, so you could gift these for a child's room with their name on them or as holiday decor for fa amily or friend.

We all need a variety of things - food, new socks, a foot massage, a clean house, so sometimes I've found that gifting "something you need" can be as simple as a handmade gift certificate good for one week of loading and unloading the dishwasher (*hint hint* Keith). It could also be a homemade meal or offering to walk the dog all weekend. But, if you'd like actual items to wrap and exchange with your loved ones, here are a few locally made items that might fit the bill.

  • Pretzel Bandana Bib by Deeks and Me
    How adorable is this bandana bib?!? Also, this is a perfect example of "something to wear" and "something you need". These come in handy when you have a newborn that spits up and then again once they start teething (so much drool!). Keep their face dry and have the most stylish baby!
  • Burp cloths by Heavenly 4get Me Knotts
    Oh man, when you have a new baby, you need burp cloths in every single room of your house! So, why not have some cute ones too? These are made by a high school friend of mine who also makes adorable clothing, bedding, and hooded towels.
  • Beard Oil and Essential Oils by No Tox Life
    Keith currently uses a beard oil we bought in Brooklyn, but we're planning to check out Smorgasburg LA this weekend and this is one of the vendors there. I'm also a big believer in using essential oils to help with headaches, anxiety, relaxation, etc (I use lavender essential oil drops on my pillow every night).
  • Shaving Mug by Miri Hardy Pottery
    Keith has let me know this is a necessity for any hairy man. Pair this with some shaving soap for your favorite bearded or beardless man.
  • Vermont Maple Syrup by Dorset Maple Reserve
    I gifted small bottles of this Bourbon Barrel Aged Syrup to family last year and it was a big hit. I don't know how much everyone necessarily "needs" this, but as someone who always grew up with genuine maple syrup (no cheap stuff for us!) on my pancakes, I think this is an important addition to everyone's home. Plus it's not just for pancakes, they have cocktail recipes on their website too!
  • Olive Oil by Lincoln and Berry
    Everyone needs some good olive oil in their home!
  • Fun socks by The Sock Drawer
  • Small Lap or Wall Quilt by The Bottle Tree
    When you're looking for custom wall decor or a new quilt for your bed or child's room, check out this Texas-owned company. The Bottle Tree is owned by a dear friend, who made a similar wall hanging to this for Adeline's nursery, and she sells beautiful custom quilts, teaches classes, and has a lovely blog.
  • Christmas Coasters by E Line Creations
    I feel like coasters and tea towels always make great gifts. Those are two things that get lost or dirty over time and it's always nice to get fresh new ones.
  • Giving Thanks Tea Towel by Indigo and Snow
    These might be part of some gifts I'm giving out this year. Shhhh!

This category is always the most challenging for me when buying for Keith, but when it comes to buying for our daughter, I think I bought her gift about four months ago. The great thing about "something to wear" is it can go beyond just clothing. Think about shoes, ties, headbands, mittens and hats, etc. This is also a great gift category that might allow you to make a gift instead of buy something. Even if you're not a seamstress or knitter, there are tons of ideas on Pinterest for making your own headbands and bowties!

  • Knotted gown and donut beanie from Candy Kirby Designs
    I always meant to buy a few of these before Adeline was born and sadly my pregnancy brain spaced it, but the next baby shower I'm invited to, I'm definitely gifting a few of these. Their shop also has blankets, crib sheets, and the cuddliest looking dolls!
  • Squid Unisex Shirt and Dino/Robot Onesie by GnomEnterprises
    That dino/robot onesie was one of my favorites of Adeline's 3-6 months clothes, and I really hope we get to pass this down to a friend or family member.
  • "Hello darkness my old friend" shirt from The Handmade Home
    This home design blog is great, but they also have a really fun line of tee shirts. There were too many to even share here and would be fun gifts for everyone on your list.
  • "It is well with my soul" shirt from Pike Road Southern
    Sadly this style sold out, but I included these on my list as a source for future celebrations or next year's "something to wear" gifts. They have styles for both men and women, and the main thing I love is that a portion of all their sales go toward helping cover local families adoption costs.
  • Chunky Cowl Scarf by Hanson Street
    This scarf looks gorgeous and, in the right color, could be feminine or masculine. I totally want a few of these for next winter in New York!
  • "Stay little" tee from OneTwentyTwoKids
  • Baby Red Moccasins and Bow from By Sophia Baby
    These are insanely adorable! I keep almost buying them for Adeline, but since she's not walking yet, and just pulls off anything I put on her feet in minutes, it seems a little pointless. But oh man, once she needs shoes I am all over these!

Books are of course very much based on personality and preference, and for someone on your list that perhaps isn't a big reader, you could gift them a "book on tape" or even an Audible gift card to download some on their phone or tablet for their daily commute or future travels. Some of these books I've already gifted, some on are my own reading list, and some I thought might interest my readers.

If you implement your own "something you want/need/wear/read" tradition, please share some of your favorite shops or items from past years. Stay tuned for our post-gift exchange rundown in the coming weeks, along with our "word of the year" for 2017!