Tea Collection Sale

June 11, 2012

Tea Collection makes some beautiful clothes, especially for babies. They’re expensive, though, for something little Albert will only wear for a few months, so getting their pieces on sale makes the most sense.

What also makes sense is not ordering them from Tea Collection directly: their returns process is terrible and their exchange process is even worse. (They email you store credit to use for something else weeks after the return is received. If they remember. Which they usually don’t.)

On both counts, Diapers.com‘s current sale on Tea Collection’s classic baby clothes is perfect. (Free shipping both ways if you spend more than $49, and super easy returns.)

I’m sad to think that these pieces might be being discontinued because they’re adorable, but the sale is great, so stock up for your upcoming baby or stockpile a few gifts for future baby showers.

My favorites:

Baby Girl Chinese Jacket in petal pink, $29

Baby Boy Chinese Jacket in indigo, $29

Baby Girl Lotus Wrap Jacket, $22

Baby Boy, 3 Bodysuits, Boxed, $22

And, my all-time favorite baby blanket on sale for $21. At 40″x 40″ and single-ply jersey, it’s perfect for swaddling but will still big enough when your little one is a toddler.


Blackout Curtains

May 15, 2012

Unless you have those awesome European interlocking blinds that can turn your baby’s boudoir into a room fit for developing film, you might want to consider investing in blackout drapes, especially if you’re in the process of choosing drapes for your baby’s room. They’re not absolutely essential, no, but this minimalist mama is a convert to the cause of darkness. (Not like that, you weirdos!) Especially if you have a non-sleeping baby. Or if your nursery is sunny – which is otherwise lovely but might not be the best for sleep at nap and bed time.

Technically, this is a “wait and see” item, since your infant will likely sleep pretty much anywhere, including broad daylight in a crowd, for the first few weeks. After that stage, you’ll need to be a little choosier to make sure Anastasia gets her zzzzs, and she might need a little assistance depending on what kind of sleeper it looks like she’s going to be. If she’s highly distractible and wakeful like our baby was, blackout curtains are one of the things that will help.

There are two types:

  1. Curtains with a built-in light-blocking backing.
  2. Panels of just the light-blocking material that you can hang behind your existing curtains.

The former are easier to manage since they’re all one piece, but the options in design and color are limited. The latter won’t require the cost of re-purchasing curtains you might have already, but they will hang heavier on your curtain hardware (so you might need to keep an eye on how it’s holding up with the added weight), plus you will get a few more gaps that let in light because you’re arranging two layers.

Since I liked our existing curtains, we opted for the panels and here’s my advice: absolutely, 100% get the panels that are the same width as your curtain panels. You want them to hang exactly behind your existing panels. Trust me on this.

I thought I was brilliant saving money by buying the narrow-slice panels that add up to the width of a single panel of our curtains. The site claimed that hotels buy these: the narrow widths allow you to buy however many you need to match any width of curtain panel. After falling for this marketing, my conclusion is that they are jerky liars. I can’t imagine a hotel dealing with the annoyance of these mini panels: they separate when you breath on them and let streaks of sunshine into the room at every seam which ruins the whole point of having them in the first place. This happens all the time. All. The. Time. Gargh!

So just spend the extra money and get the nice Pottery Barn Kids ones which line up with your curtain panels. Seriously.

Blackout Panels, Pottery Barn Kids $39-$59 per panel, depending on width

Blackout Curtains in nursery-friendly designs and colors, Pottery Barn Kids $49 – $229, depending on size, or anywhere else that carries them, e.g. Overstock.com, $40 and up

I wrote a while ago about “transitional objects” and how important they can be for babies. Chances are, you’ll pick out one you like before Baby arrives, or someone will give you some candidates at your baby shower.

I liked the duck I got Astrid, but she never took to it (or any other one) and, truth be told, I wasn’t in love with it myself. Maybe she sensed my ambivalence. Anyway, the other day, I came across a couple of Gund’s Comfy Cozies. The blanket part is a bit bigger than most loveys, but also cuter. Plush top, silky underside. I really liked the ladybug and the bee, and the giraffe is adorable. I also like this slightly smaller Gund giraffe. I’m sensing a theme here. Maybe I’ll just go buy a giraffe for myself and be done with it.

Gund Comfy Cozy, $35 at Gund.com 

Hello Bugs!

March 28, 2012

As I’ve noted before, babies aren’t into books. Because they can’t see. They’re weird like that. But they can discern black and white shapes and patterns before colors, which is why those Wee Gallery Art Cards are a great crib companion, as are the awkwardly named Wimmer-Ferguson mirror and mobile.

Along those lines, we were given a board book of basic shape outlines (a pony, a button) called White on Black that Astrid was interested in for a while. I never loved it: it was so basic that there wasn’t much charming about it. But whatever – she liked it, albeit not for long.

The other day I came across Hello, Bugs!  which is adorable and much more appealing. Similar deal: basic shapes, black and white for an infant’s developing eyesight, but this time the drawings (all bugs) have some personality. I have no idea if the addition of some shiny gold to the b/w repertoire totally ruins the whole developmental principle, but it definitely makes it more appealing for me as the parent! Hello, Vegas bugs!

Hello, Bugs! by Smiriti Prasadam, $5.95 at Amazon. Also: Hello, Animals! same price

Pacifier Wipes

March 21, 2012

Yes, I know: these don’t sound very minimalist. They sound like yet another thing germaphobe mamas pack in their diaper bags. You know the ones: hand sanitizer dispensers installed by the front door and bottles sterilized every day. I am not that mama. I just can’t find the energy for it. But these packs of mini wipes specifically for wiping off dropped pacifiers are always in my diaper bag.

For one thing, the cleanser in them is food grade, so the pacifiers aren’t getting the diaper wipe deoderant on them before they go back in Leonard’s little mouth. For another, they’re small and thin – the exact size you need for wiping off a small pacifier – so you’re not using up your store of on-the-go diaper wipes for a tiny job. I love them. Between these and the lightweight pacifier clips from Booginhead (worst company name ever), your little self-comforting bundle will be all set on the road.

First Years Gumdrops Pacifier Wipes, about $4.50 for one 40-pack on Amazon

And, for the record, I disagree with the negative reviewers on Amazon: yeah, washing with water and dish detergent is preferable and yes, these wipes do have chemicals in them, but these are for when you’re walking through the zoo or buckled into your seat on a plane and you can’t get to a sink. I’d much rather clean a pacifier with chemicals and know I’ve killed the giraffe germs or United Airlines cooties than make an only-ever-natural-ingredients stand while my baby melts down because I refuse to give her her pacifier! In a pinch, yes, chemicals are your friend, people. 

OK, so I know I said you don’t need to have your future child’s teddy bear all sorted out and kicking it in the nursery when the baby arrives, and I stand by that statement. But if you were going to go out in search of a classic bear for tiny Clivette and you wanted an all-plush bear instead of the moveable-arms-and-legs one I recommended from the Smithsonian, I think I’ve found your bear.

Melissa & Doug make so many toys these days that no one place stocks all of them, so it’s no wonder this chestnut got lost in the shuffle. And by “chestnut,” I mean, “Chestnut Teddy Bear Stuffed Animal.” He’s 16″ tall, so about the same slightly oversized height of the other bear and he’s approximately the same color. But a.) he has a necktie, and b.) he’s all soft. Myself, I preferred having a bear I could position at the tea table, but I can see the merits of a squishier model for sleeping with and packing along for all occasions.

Anyway, just a thought. If you were holding out for a softer alternative, I hope I’ve ended your search for you! Have a good weekend.

Melissa & Doug Chestnut Teddy Bear, $20 at Melissa & Doug.com

Birth Announcements

February 17, 2012

You’re either the kind of person who sends birth announcements or you’re not.

Subcategory of the former: the kind of person who designs your own letterpress birth announcements and prints them at your local printing press, including a tasteful black and white photo, affixed by hand to the inside with understated photo corners and perfectly kerned names and dates. Alternate subcategory: the kind of person who has scrapbooking supplies on hand and enjoys a nice afternoon at a flat table with bric brac and glitter.

Let me be clear: I am the kind of person (second child, lacking in memorabilia from my own childhood, a little OCD) who sends birth announcements. I am not the kind of person who has any facility with a printing press or a glue gun or knows anyone who will hook me up with their own skills in that department for cheap. So I used Tiny Prints for our birth announcements (and Christmas cards and birthday invitations – oh, and shower invitations too) and I love them. They offer charming card choices and a meticulous process and, since they’re located in the Bay Area, their turnaround on my custom orders is ridiculous. Like, I have the prints in my hands in a week or less. But the main thing is that I love the cards themselves.

So if you’re looking to have a place lined up to print your happy announcements, consider them. They rock.

(You can pre-select designs you like before the baby comes and save them in your account. Once little Herkimer is in your arms, you can just drop in the appropriately adorable photo and voila!)

Tiny Prints, birth announcements starting at about 80 cents each, envelopes included