a new chapter

isla bee collage

When I was a little girl I dreamed of being some big time exec in my corner office in NYC. I always imagined I’d be wildly successful and have no time for kids or husbands but I would be so happy and fulfilled. For Halloween one year I even dressed up as a business woman, only I told everyone I was a “Working Girl.” I wore a blazer, mini skirt and stockings and carried a briefcase. I walked door-to-door proudly exclaiming “I’m a working girl!” to anyone who asked. For some reason my mother didn’t see fit to correct me. In my defense, I was basing this costume after Melanie Griffith’s character Tess in the movie Working Girl. But again, why my mother let me watch this movie in elementary school is beyond me (damn hippies and their free spirits). Anyway. Then I met Chris in college and slowly but surely the seed of some day getting married was planted. And then I hit my mid-twenties and I eventually started to move past the trauma of watching (live) the birth of both of my little sisters (again, damn hippie parents) and I realized I wanted kids. So here I am. Married with children.

And this all leads to my point … I’ve decided not to return to work.

Well, we’ve decided, because this obviously puts the pressure on my husband to bring home the bacon. Never in a million years did I picture myself as a stay-at-home mom. Not for any negative reason. It just wasn’t my plan. Now it’s all I want to do. And rest assured it has not been lost on me just how lucky I am that we are in a position that I can do this.

The best part about all of this (aside from spending every day with the cutest baby on the planet) is that the future is open. For the first time in 10 years (I started my first job just seven days after graduation and haven’t stopped since), I have no idea what the future holds. Maybe I’ll freelance. Maybe in a few years I’ll go back to work and start a whole new career in a different field. And maybe I won’t. For now, my biggest concerns include figuring out how to maneuver the subways with a stroller (any Philly moms have tips?) and making other mom friends so Isla can interact with other babies and my brain doesn’t turn to mush with constant baby talk.

This is a new chapter I never knew I wanted, but I think it’s going to be my favorite.

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baby cousins on easter

Another classic cousin picture taken on Easter Sunday. I have such fond memories of parties down the shore and visits with my cousins when I was little. To this day we’re all very close, no matter the distance and years between us, so I love the idea of these three being buddies. These are Chris’ sister’s kids and they live pretty close to us. Especially compared to the nearly 600 miles that separates us from my sister’s boys (thank goodness for FaceTime!). We started the weekend down the shore with my side of the family, where my cousin Kevin was a total baby hog, bonding with Isla and teaching her lots of life lessons (he has a list, like how to snowboard, why she should marry a south paw and that the Yankees are the only team that matters). Then we went to North Jersey to Chris’ sister’s house, where these three got to spend the day together. It’s always so sweet to imagine just how close Isla will be to all these special people in her life. I feel so thankful to have such a close-knit family and to be able to see them so often (even if only through the computer!).


update: my uncle just sent me this adorable photo of my cousin cayden (so I think that makes him isla’s second cousin?) giving her a kiss on easter morning. i mean seriously. this is the love i’m talking about!

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white stripes

White J.Crew jeans; Madewell top; Costa Blanca vest (from Shop Bloom); Anthropologie sunglasses; Joie A La Plage Nice Sandals; Ikabags linen tote; gifted Etsy initial necklace; vintage + Studio47West bracelets; Nixon Kensington leather watch

Exposed toes, white jeans, short sleeves. Yes, please! One of my favorite things to do in the mornings now that I’m home with the baby every day is walk to the coffee shop. Sometimes I bring Isla with me, sometimes Chris comes, too, and sometimes Chris stays home with the sleepy baby. I love starting my day with fresh air and, of course, a little caffeine. On the mornings when I’m alone, I use it as time to recharge and take a deep breath. While I absolutely love my baby girl, I sometimes crave that time to myself, even if it’s only 20 minutes. Baby talk all day long can really make you miss adult conversation. Even if it’s just to say “iced grande no whip mocha, please!” We took these photos on our morning caffeine run together the other day and I was so excited to be wearing short sleeves and these sandals I snagged on sale at the end of last summer. It felt so good to be toes out! (As weird as that may seem.) Anyway. The moral here is yay spring mornings!

White J.Crew jeans; Madewell top; Costa Blanca vest (from Shop Bloom); Anthropologie sunglasses; Joie A La Plage Nice Sandals; Ikabags linen tote; gifted Etsy initial necklace; vintage + Studio47West bracelets; Nixon Kensington leather watch

White J.Crew jeans; Madewell top; Costa Blanca vest (from Shop Bloom); Anthropologie sunglasses; Joie A La Plage Nice Sandals; Ikabags linen tote; gifted Etsy initial necklace; vintage + Studio47West bracelets; Nixon Kensington leather watch

White J.Crew jeans; Madewell top; Costa Blanca vest (from Shop Bloom); Anthropologie sunglasses; Joie A La Plage Nice Sandals; Ikabags linen tote; gifted Etsy initial necklace; vintage + Studio47West bracelets; Nixon Kensington leather watch

White J.Crew jeans; Madewell top; Costa Blanca vest (from Shop Bloom); Anthropologie sunglasses; Joie A La Plage Nice Sandals; Ikabags linen tote; gifted Etsy initial necklace; vintage + Studio47West bracelets; Nixon Kensington leather watch

White J.Crew jeans; Madewell top; Costa Blanca vest (from Shop Bloom); Anthropologie sunglasses; Joie A La Plage Nice Sandals; Ikabags linen tote; gifted Etsy initial necklace; vintage + Studio47West bracelets; Nixon Kensington leather watch

{J.Crew jeans; Madewell top; Costa Blanca vest; Anthropologie sunglasses; Joie sandals; Ikabags tote; gifted necklace; vintage + Studio47West bracelets; Nixon watch}

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strolling along the schuylkill

Isla + Mama

Saturday was the most gorgeous day ever. Ever. Or at least it has felt like forever. We took Isla out for a long walk in the city along the Schuylkill River Trail. We walked more than six miles (!!) from Center City all the way up past the Philadelphia Art Museum to Boathouse Row and then back again. It was the most exercise I’ve gotten in more than a year. It felt so good. Let me tell you, pushing that stroller up hills is better than the gym! After we made our way back into the city we stopped at Vic Sushi Bar, one of our favorite sushi spots in the city. It’s tiny, seating only about eight people at the raw bar, and Isla was such a trooper. She sat happily in the stroller the whole time! Such a city girl. We stopped in Rittenhouse Square Park to people-watch, where we stumbled on our second wedding of the day, then made our way home, where we ended our night with a late snack at a few food trucks stationed on East Passyunk in celebration of shop Occasionette‘s one year anniversary. We tried battered fried cheese curds from The Cow and The Curd and they might have been the best thing ever. I am in love with food trucks. I wish they were everywhere. We had Hawaiian pork tacos from the Poi Dog truck, too. So good. It was such a great day. One of the best we’ve had, especially with our new little addition smiling (or sleeping) every step of the way!


Philadelphia Art Museum


Isla + Daddy

Philadelphia Boathouse Row

Schuylkill River Trail


Schuylkill River Trail

Isla + Mama

Philadelphia Boathouse Row

Schuylkill River Trail

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baby registry essentials

When it came time for us to create a baby registry, Chris and I felt really overwhelmed. There are so many products and brands and things you just never knew you needed. Sometimes the most logical things end up being useless, while the things you thought you’d never need become lifesavers. My favorite part of registering was watching Chris get confused. I can’t tell you how many times he said, “Wait, what’s the difference?” I mean, do you really need a swing, a bouncy seat, a vibrating seat, a jumperoo and a rocker? The right answer for us was no. We were determined to go minimalist, which still feels like too much stuff in our house! I did a TON of online research (looking at blogs, reading reviews, etc), then sat with my friend Sarah (who has a son) and FaceTimed my sister (who has two sons) so they could walk me through the products they love.

So here is a run-through (by category) of the items we use and love. I’d also like to know which products you rely on so please leave your own advice or questions in the comments! 

baby registry items for on the go

Baby Registry | On-the-Go

Britax B-Agile Stroller + B-Safe car seat + extra base. We wanted a stroller that is easily collapsible for our city life (small home, always on the go). My sister recommended we go to a baby store and ask an employee to walk us through all the options and show us how they all work (this was great advice!). Also, lift the car seats while you’re there. This one is heavy, but not nearly as heavy as some of the others. We also considered the City Mini. The only reason we didn’t go for that one is because they don’t make a car seat so you need an expensive adapter to fit another seat onto it.
Britax stroller organizer. A necessity for my water on the go (ahem, my Starbucks), and for small storage.
Britax backseat mirror. Fits perfectly and helps me see the baby in my rearview mirror to make sure she’s okay while I’m driving.
Baby Bjorn Original Baby Carrier: There are so many carriers out there. We really like our Bjorn, which was a hand-me-down. If we had the choice, we might have looked at the Ergo, too. Go to a store, try them on (Cloth on East Passyunk in Philly lets you try all the carriers right there in the store) and choose the one that is most comfortable for you. We use the Bjorn more now that Isla is a bit bigger and it’s particularly comfortable for Chris.
The Wrap by Solly Baby. There are also a lot of fabric wraps out there. This one is a bit more expensive than some of the others and worth every single penny. I’ve heard people say the others are really thick and sweaty. The Solly is light, comfortable and really easy to wear (once you get the hang of stuffing a baby in there!). It’s perfect for a fussy newborn and much easier on the back than the bigger carriers like the Bjorn.
JJ Cole Original Bundleme (infant size). Since Isla was born in the dead of winter, this shearling car seat sleeping bag-like thing was amazing. We didn’t even have to buy her a winter coat.
Baggu Duck Bag. I am not a traditional diaper bag kinda girl. I wanted a large cross-body bag that I could use out and about in the city while keeping my hands free. This bag is only $22 and while it lacks pockets, Baggu also sells these awesome small nylon bags for organizing (and storing wet and yucky clothes when Isla has an accident on the go!). So far it’s the perfect bag for all our essentials.
The Mommy Hook. My mom got us a large carabiner and I love it. I keep it on the stroller handle so I can hang the diaper bag or light shopping bags. It’s so simple but a real lifesaver.

baby registry items for sleeping

Baby Registry | Sleep

Foscam Camera + Baby Monitor App. We opted for a wireless camera and baby monitor app for our phones and iPad rather than a traditional baby monitor. So far we’re really happy with this decision. The camera has night vision and I can rotate the view from my app no matter where we are. And I love being able to walk around the house with my phone in my hand and the app running. This means we can also check on the baby when she’s home with a babysitter!
Sealy Baby Firm Rest Crib Mattress. Isla has been sleeping nine-hour nights since we moved her into her crib so she must love her firm mattress!
Graco Pack N Play Playard with Bassinet. A lifesaver. We set this up on the first floor as a changing station and nap space. We opted not to get the attachable seat for sleeping and I’m glad because we really didn’t need it. Just make sure you get the quilted fitted sheet for extra comfort for naps.
Oeuf Sparrow Crib. I am obsessed with this crib. It’s simple, sleek and great quality. You can check out how it looks in Isla’s nursery reveal post.
Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets. So soft and big. We haven’t used these for swaddling since we first brought Isla home from the hospital but I carry one of these everywhere we go. I use it to cover the car seat to block the wind and sun, to wrap her while we’re out and to cover me when I breastfeed in public (Yes, I breastfeed in public! No shame here.). They are really light and versatile. And all the designs are adorable. We have six of them, which is a good amount so far.
Philips Avent BPA Free Soothie Pacifier. Isla will take any color (I hear the different colors mean different things) but this is the only pacifier she will take when she’s tired.
Crane Drop Shape Cool Mist Humidifier. We haven’t used this yet but it has great reviews. Lately Isla’s nose has been really boogie, so I’m hoping this will help.
Micro-fleece footed PJs. Since we have a winter baby, the micro-fleece PJs were key. I bought a bunch of these and we just transitioned to cotton since it’s getting a bit warmer. But no matter the material, I suggest onesies with feet and zippers. Buttons are no fun at 3 a.m.!
Miracle Blanket. This is a miracle. I am not kidding. Isla is still swaddled at three months. We went back and forth at first with swaddling (arms in, arms out, fleece sleeping bag, Halo Sleep Sack) but nothing compares to this Miracle Blanket. I imagine it feels like a straight jacket, but Isla started sleeping through the night at eight weeks so it’s working!
Halo Sleep Sack (cotton or fleece). This worked in the winter for warmth, but Isla busted her arms out a few times. I’ve heard some babies love it so I’m wondering if we should have gone with a smaller size.
Carter’s Keep Me Dry Waterproof Fitted Quilted Crib Pad. We bought two. So far so good.

baby registry items for feeding

Baby Registry | Eat

Svan Signet Complete High Chair. We haven’t unpacked this yet but my girlfriend has it and we love it. It fits in beautifully with your normal furniture and graduates to an adult chair.
Aden + Anais Burpy Bib. We have about 10 of these. I use them as spit up rags. They are really soft and perfect for all her drooly messes.
She’s not big enough yet for real foods, but we registered for the Munchkin Multi BowlsMunchkin Snack Catchers and Beaba First Stage Soft Spoons based on reviews and friend advice.
Philips AVENT BPA Free Classic Polypropylene Bottle (with corresponding slow, medium and fast nipples). So far so good. We don’t use bottles very often because I’m breastfeeding but these work pretty well so far.
Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags. These are great for freezing breastmilk. They store very easily and neatly with no leaks.
Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Nipple Cream. A lifesaver for early breastfeeding pain! Use it after every feeding in the beginning. Trust me!
Boon Grass Countertop Drying Rack + Boon Stem Accessory. My only complaint is that I wish we had bought the bigger one! It looks cute on the countertop and makes drying bottles, pacifiers and pump accessories easy.
Munchkin Deluxe Dishwasher Basket. It’s a great fit and helps keep all those little accessories safe during washing.
Nuby Paci Cradle Pacifier Box (not pictured). Fits two pacifiers so I can always find them in my diaper bag. Doubles as a toy for Isla. She loves to grab the handle.

baby registry items for bathing

Baby Registry | Bathe

Skip Hop Bath Spout Cover. We haven’t had to use this yet but it’s nice and thick. Should fit perfectly on our tub spout.
Puj Tub. This doesn’t fit great in our sinks so I don’t love it as much as a lot of other reviewers, but it is very soft and if I had to do it all over again I think I would buy this one again.
3 Sprouts Hooded Towel. So soft and adorable. Our favorite towel. Comes in other colors/animals, too.
Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment. Be prepared, this stuff is great for baby’s skin, but very greasy. Isla has sensitive skin so we also really like Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Lotion. Just make sure your shampoo, lotion, etc. is free of dyes, fragrance, SPF, etc. (so avoid that pink Johnson + Johnson lotion!).
Munchkin Five Sea Squirts. For tubby time fun!

baby registry items for play time

Baby Registry | Play

Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo. We just took this out last week and so far Isla loves it. She’s mesmerized by all the colors, shapes and sounds. Soon enough she’ll be able to play with the buttons, too. And perhaps her short legs will eventually touch the ground so she can bounce!
4Moms Mamaroo + Infant Insert. We splurged on this after Isla was born because she wouldn’t let us put her down. It took her a while to get adjusted but she’s finally starting to like the seat. It has a great selection of movements and speeds so it’s sure to suit most babies. I recommend the infant insert, too. It makes the seat much softer and comfy for baby.
Vulli So` Pure Teether. We have both this one and the full-size Sophie the Giraffe. This little one is our favorite. Isla holds onto it for dear life when she’s in her car seat and now that she’s already teething she goes to town chewing on it. We don’t leave home with it.
Baby Einstein Neptune Ocean Adventure Gym. Hands down our favorite place to play. Isla loves to chat with her ocean friends and can lay on this mat entertaining herself for quite a while throughout the day. If I had to choose one thing on this “playtime” list, it’s this.
Mary Meyer Bestever Baby Mat. This is a hand-me-down and has quickly become one of our favorites. Isla sleeps on it sometimes and this is where she learned to roll over! It’s super soft and perfect for tummy time.

baby registry clothing ideas

Baby Registry | Wear

I was really confused about sizing for a newborn. Isla was more than eight pounds at birth and she fit into newborn white onesies until she was two-and-a-half months old. From there it just depends on the brand. I suggest buying a few basics in newborn then going with 0-3 for the rest. Things shrink in the dryer and these babes grow so quickly! (tip: Baby Gap and Old Navy constantly have great sales so be on the lookout.)

Tadpoles Organic Cotton Pin-Stripe Kimono-Style Bodysuit. We loved the kimono-style onesies for our newborn. It’s scary at first pulling clothing over your baby’s tiny little head! These make changing much less stressful in those first few days and weeks.
Nature Baby Organic Cotton Drawstring Booties. Socks do not stay on baby feet. I don’t care where they are from. These cotton drawstring booties, however, do. They are really soft and help keep baby’s feet warm all day. I doubled them up with socks in the winter. J.Crew also sells these in a variety of colors.
Guavaboots. We love these booties just as much as the pair above. These puppies don’t come off for anything (well, unless you undo the velcro).
Kushies Everyday Layette 2 Pack Cuffed Pant. We have these in pink. They are very light and soft. Perfect for lazy newborn days.
Kushies Everyday Layette Wrap Long Sleeve Bodysuit. Another kimono-style bodysuit and another item from Kushies. I really love the Kushies brand. Very very soft on baby skin.
Just One You by Carter’s Bodysuits. Isla wears white onesies under everything. We bought a bunch of long-sleeved bodysuits for the winter and we’re just now busting out the short sleeves. Carter’s Just One You brand is our favorite.
I love baby headwraps. These helped keep Isla’s head warm in the house all winter and they are so adorable I can barely stand it. The ones pictured are from House of Mia, but I also love Boucle D’or Designs (often pictured on Isla) and Little Hip Squeaks. They all have adorable organic cotton leggings, too.
Gerber Socks. Remember when I just told you socks don’t stay on? I stand by that statement, but these stay on the best out of all the socks we have. And since you need socks, I would recommend these. Also, the colored socks with their dyes sometimes make Isla’s feet stinky so we really like these simple white ones.
Gap onesie. Gap has some seriously adorable baby clothes and you can always find a good sale. These onesies are great for spring sleeping (now that we can put away the fleece!) and they’re always perfect for lounging during the day. Also, the asymmetrical zipper means no jabbing baby in the face!

Baby Registry items for diapering, health and teething

Baby Registry | Miscellaneous

Nosefrida The Snotsucker Nasal Aspirator. The thought of sucking your baby’s snot out of her nose might be a little bit, well, foul, but trust me, this thing works great. I try not to use it often, but when Isla’s really clogged up this does the trick. Plus she thinks it’s hilarious and cracks up the entire time.
Aden + Anais Muslin Changing Pad Cover. I love this muslin fabric. We have the muslin sheets, too, and they are really soft and comfortable.
Ikea Skubb Drawer Organizers. We use these for Isla’s drawers and ours. They are the perfect way to organize all those cute baby clothes and accessories in her dresser and armoire.
Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad. The straps on this are key for our wriggly baby! This is also really comfortable and fits perfectly on Isla’s dresser.
Vicks Baby Rectal Thermometer. Rectal thermometer is key, according to my pediatrician. Thankfully, we haven’t had to try this one out yet but it has good reviews.
Boudreaux Butt Paste. I mean, it’s called butt paste! This stuff is great. We don’t use it often but so far no rashes!
Piyo Piyo Yellow Baby Nail Scissors. Chris and I were terrified to cut Isla’s nails when we brought her home. I tried biting them, but that just left them with sharp edges. I really didn’t want to use actual clippers because baby nails are connected to the skin and can bleed a lot if you cut too much. These scissors are great! We use them constantly because those nails grow like crazy and we’ve never nicked her (knock on wood).
All Free and Clear Detergent. People will tell you to use Dreft, which we did at first. But we found All Free and Clear is cheaper and just as baby safe.
Pampers Swaddlers. Deciding on a diaper brand is a big deal. We’re still toying with The Honest Company and Seventh Generation to be a bit more eco-friendly and use less chemicals on Isla’s little bum, but so far she hasn’t had any issues (no rashes at all) with Pampers.

So there’s our list! Now tell me, what did I miss? What products do you love for your little one?

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