A Pastel BabyDear Diary

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Ok real talk – baby shopping is absolutely fun and cute and everything I dreamed of, but it’s also no easy feat. There is so much to consider, like safety, fabric content and sizing (/sizing in relation to different seasons). I felt really prepared when I got pregnant because I’d been swooning over cute baby stuff wistfully for years, but when it comes down to things you actually need it really is so hard to know, and there are about 1000 options for every product out there! Top all of that off with not having met the human you’re shopping for yet, and it’s suddenly a wildly daunting task.

I did a lot of crowd-sourcing amongst the mamas I know before assembling this list, and a lot of the items I chose to include are my personal choices for my (coming soon) baby. Of course I can’t speak to what my child will actually like yet, but no one can, that’s the tricky part about babies! I did my best to weigh out both design and function – the Nuna Pipa Lite Car Seat is not only beautiful, but the lightest car seat you can buy, which is so important when I often won’t have someone to help carry baby in it. The Bugaboo stroller is so beautiful, but it also has great larger wheels to get around in the snow and ice that comes with Canadian winters. My Stokke highchair looks great at the table but also promises to grow with my baby for years to come! Some items like the Playtex Diaper Genie are a tried and true must-have, while others like the Oeuf NYC bunny ear hat are more for fun.

I’ll be sure to report back on what my baby actually loves best after being born, but for now here are all of the holiday essentials I recommend for newborns and soon-to-be borns!

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1. Baby Tula Explore Multi-Position Baby Carrier
2. Briar baby bonnet in Canary
3. Happiest Baby Snoo Sleeper
4. LouLou Lollipop pacifier clip
5. Minimoc Arctic Wolf Shoe
6. Bugaboo Fox stroller
7. Scandiborn Lemon Clip Toy
8. Fawn Design diaper bag in blush
9. Moon Picnic wooden face toy
10. MeriMeri quilted baby sleeping bag
11. Lovefresh baby collection
12. Scandiborn animal washcloths
13. Stokke high chair in pink
14. MeriMeri sun rattle
15. Ouef pink bunny hat and mittens
16. Playtex Diaper Genie
17. Kyte Baby footie in mustard
18. Little Unicorn cotton muslin swaddle
19. Scandiborn rabbit baby towel in dusty rose
20. Owlet care pink fabric smart sock

A few more of my personal favourites //

Little Unicorn Bibs
Luxe Baby Love Rainbow
Parade Organics Bear Hat
Beba Bean Toggle Sweater
Ouistitine Hand Puppet

Services and Instant Gifts //

Parasol diaper subscription
Baby + Me Yoga classes at West End Mamas

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Dear Diary

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First off, apologies for the late gift guide posting – growing a human in my body has really impacted my time management as of late!

The good news is, you so do not need a big excuse like Christmas to treat the moms-to-be and new moms in your life. Whether someone you know has just announced, is waddling through their third trimester and getting a little bit impatient (hem… me), or basking in newborn bliss these people in your life are working hard, and it’s so important not to forget about treating them! Of course baby clothes and cute felted rattles are always appreciated, but a gift that says “I see you and I’m here for you” specifically for the moms in your circle? That’s a special gift that isn’t as often received.

This guide includes some of my very favourite purchases from the past 8 months, plus the top items on my wishlist right now. I’ll be doing a more practical guide to dressing the bump and the essentials I couldn’t live without while expecting, but this guide is more about those special surprises that remind a new mom you still care about the her that’s hiding behind that bump or baby.

And remember, when in doubt, bring FOOD!

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The Goods //

1. Nurture by Erica Chidi Cohen
2. Love Wellness Do it All wipes
3. Woodlot Palo & Rose everyday mist
4.‘Mama’ gold necklace
5.Love Wellness Good Girl probiotics
6. Moodbeli Bliss Booster
7. Hatch Nipple + Lip balm
8. Hatch Belly Oil
9. Moonbath bath tea
10. The Every Bodysuit by Knix
11. Woodlot essential oils
12. Hatch cashmere sock bundle
13. BBhugme Pregnancy Pillow

A few more of my personal favourites //

Blanqi maternity and postpartum supportwear
Maternity teas by New Moon Tea co.
Mama bird t-shirt

Services and Instant Gifts //

Mom Box or The Womb Box – Who doesn’t love a good curated gift box?
A West End Mamas Gift card – prenatal yoga, massages, acupuncture; if you can name it, they do it!
At home beauty services from Wink and Wave – send some pampering direct to mama.
Postpartum visits from an awesome Doula (like Birth Boss!) – good support is priceless.
Sprout Collection Subscription – the best way to look cute and save on maternity wear when expecting!

And you can find so many more great ideas at Mother Mother shop!

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Dear Diary

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it 100 times over – Toronto is simply not a happy place. There’s very little colour in our city, with the scales tipping toward grey and black especially in the winter. We’re a town of neutrals, of busy streets and even busier people who all seem to have their own very set agendas. We get a lot done, but I definitely wouldn’t describe Toronto as exceptionally HAPPY.

Luckily, Happy Place is here to save the day.

Much like The Museum Of Ice Cream, Happy Place is a touring installation of fun, photo-friendly experiences, and just in time for the winter blues it has popped-up in Toronto for the first time ever! There’s lemonade, there’s a pot of gold to jump into, there’s a confetti cannon globe you can stand inside, and there’s even a snack bar at the end with all rainbow food! I don’t want to give too much away in case you decide to go yourself! The surprises are all part of the fun…

Here’s the info if you want to go //

Where // 245 Queens Quay W (Harbourfront Centre)
When // November 1st – January 1st
Get tickets here

And some photos from our visit of course – how could we not?

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Dear Diary

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We hear it all the time in hashtags and Instagram captions, but my goodness, being pregnant really does show you how crazy mysterious and magical women’s bodies can be. Watching my body shift, stretch and grow in ways I never thought possible over the past 6 months has been a total trip, and understanding how to slow down and listen to its new demands hasn’t been easy for someone as go-go-go as I am.

I also haven’t been the best about following all of the pregnancy “rules”. Turns out the internet will tell you almost anything you can think of is risky when carrying a child – food, spices, herbs, scents, essential oils, if you can name it and there’s a warning about it. My first trimester I was terrified, constantly searching every single ingredient and giving up some of my favourite teas and tinctures. The more I monitored and read, the more nervous I became… it felt like unless I was eating exclusively processed, packaged junk food I was totally doomed.

The thing is, I started to realize the most unhealthy thing I could possibly be full of was fear. I started doing more research, and it turns out the internet warns against a lot of ingredients simply because their effect hasn’t been studied on pregnancy. Kombucha, for example, is often not recommended because it contains a tiny amount of alcohol, but a lot of women believe the healthy bacteria outweighs any potential negative concerns. Still, I wasn’t truly confident in my decisions until I read Nurture by Erica Chidi Cohen.

I haven’t been big on pregnancy reading, but if you’re going to buy one book, this is the one to invest in. Erica is all about trusting your body and using common sense to make decisions instead of being lead by anxiety, and it helped me get comfortable with the idea that I know best for my body and my baby. Sushi for example, is almost always flash frozen now, killing the bacteria pregnant women are warned of, so as long as you pick a busy, popular restaurant that doesn’t leave fish sitting out, you’re probably totally fine. Same with cold pressed juice – buy fresh from a reliable source and there’s very little chance bacteria has had enough time to grow!

With newfound confidence, I started experimenting with different ways to keep calm and carry (baby) on, like adaptogenic smoothie recipes and essential-oil boosted epsom salt baths. Stress has been my number one enemy this pregnancy – I’m so happy to be where I am, but I’m constantly on edge, all too often frustrated with work issues, friend conflicts and disappointment in myself. Hormones can be hard to handle, and I also stopped taking anti-depressants when I conceived which has been more of an adjustment than I expected. All that in mind, being a mother is about adapting, and I’ve worked hard to take care of myself with these potions and rituals that create time and space for my changing body and mind.

*I am not a doctor, and though these products and potions worked great for me, make sure you check in with your midwife/doula/care provider before trying anything new!

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Moodbeli Powders //

Hot chocolate has been my biggest craving by far this pregnancy, and I wanted to find something healthier than Carnation brand powder with mini marshmallows. I came across Moodbeli and instantly fell in love – their tonics are all SO delicious and can be brewed hot or mixed into a smoothie. Like a milky taste? Try adding some of their “Cloud Powder” to your cup – it’s like a plant-based cream. The best part about this brand is every product is rich with vitamins and minerals, for example the Bliss Booster is high in iron + calcium, and tastes like spicy hot chocolate to boot.

My favourites //

Cloud Powder
Bliss Booster
Ceremony Tonic

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Moonbath //

I have yet to find a pregnant lady who didn’t swear by taking baths – it’s a great way to take the weight off of those tired bones and let all that stress go. I’m all about soaking up fancy, indulgent baths, but I love the idea of adding a bit more meaning and healing in the mix. Moonbath checks out on both fronts, with super pretty packaging and aromatherapy-focused ingredients that aim to evoke specific strengths. All natural and thoughtfully crafted, I especially love brewing the Nasty Woman bath tea when I’m feeling a bit too hormone-heavy.

My favourites //

Nasty Woman Bath Tea
New Moon Bath Tea
Milk and Honey Bath Salt
Sacred Smoke Smudge Blend

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Fleurs //

I first found this brand through Hello Mellow, an awesome local wellness shop that sells all sorts of healing products. Yes, the Fleurs brand contains CBD, which has not yet been comprehensively studied on pregnant women, and though the amount absorbed from these creams and teas that actually makes it to baby is minute, I have personally only used them very sparingly since becoming pregnant. A lot of women are medicating with full-on CBD oil for pregnancy nausea and aches nowadays, but to be on the safe side I plan on using these products more regularly after birth. This is a personal choice, and I definitely look forward to more well-researched data about CBD and pregnancy in the future, because it really can be so helpful!

Pregnant aside, this local brand is seriously amazing. Each tea bag is carefully dosed to provide non-psychoactive relief, and their pain potion has been a lifesaver in the past when I got stress headaches that nothing else seemed to touch.

My favourites //

CBD pain potion
Stress roll-on
Organic CBD teas

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Herb and Nectar Tea //

If the unknowns of CBD aren’t your thing, I’m also a huge fan of Herb and Nectar Tea. They use a lot of herbs that are on the “risky” list, but their Divine Feminine Blend has been one of my absolute favourites to sip this past 6 months – it’s not only safe for pregnant women but encourages uterine strength and is high in iron and magnesium. I also recommend their high quality, pure Cacao Tea, which basically makes a cup of the most decadent rose cinnamon hot chocolate you can possibly imagine. Make sure you order ahead of time, as each jar is hand blended fresh!

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Some other spirit-boosting favourites //

Tarot cards by Labyrinthos
Lohn Candles
Palo Santo from Cardea Auset
The Strength in our Scars poetry book by Bianca Sparacino

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Dear DiaryDress Up

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Clothing waste has always been a big concern for me with a career in blogging. It can be hard not to get caught up in always wearing brand new items all the time, and I often struggle with looking fresh without over-consuming. Then I got pregnant, and things took on a whole new level of wasteful.

Instead of staying the same size and wearing my clothing until it was too worn out to wear anymore, suddenly nothing in my closet would even fit over my hips, and when I tried to buy some cheap, fast fashion items in bigger sizes, I grew out of them within a couple weeks. At a time when your body is constantly changing, how can you possibly keep up without needing a whole new wardrobe every week? And don’t even get me started on kid’s clothing with how quick they grow and change!

The new UN Climate Change Report that was released this past month was a huge wakeup call to me – without taking immediate action to treat the environment with more respect, our future is in danger, and as far as I can see every little bit in every area of our lives helps. I’ve been cutting back on using plastic straws and consuming cow-based animal products, but what about the very clothes I put on my back? Becoming pregnant and realizing a lot of the items I’ve barely worn in my closet may never fit me again made me realize I can do better.

Did you know North Americans send more than 12 million tons of textiles into the waste stream every year? Canadians on average buy 70 new articles of clothing annually (I think personally I might be closer to 80+), and I don’t even want to think about the hike in that number when pregnancy and growing kids are involved. So what’s the answer? As Autumn rolled around and I started to need more cozy pregnancy items in larger sizes, I decided to take stock of alternatives to buying new. Here’s what I came up with:

1 // Thrift it! I knew I wanted some looser dresses for blogger events this Fall, so instead of shopping online like I usually might I walked to my local Value Village and I was honestly shocked at how much I found. I ended up with three different options for under $50, and dropped off a bag of pieces that no longer fit me too. You can see my three finds in these photos!

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Did you know that one thrifted t-shirt can save up to 2,650 litres of water, and a secondhand pair of jeans saves up to 6,800 litres of water? Plus, bringing in donations is an amazing way to give back to the system without creating more trash.

Fun Fact: On October 16th, aka Waste Reduction Week’s Textiles Tuesday, Value Village set up an installation made of reused textiles in Toronto’s famous Graffiti Alley to bring awareness to just how much clothing waste humans produce. Needless to say, it was a LOT!

2 // Take good care of the items you love by washing them carefully. I use the cold cycle, hang to dry, and only buy all-natural detergent to help out with my environmental impact too!

3 // If you have to buy new, don’t spend on novelty pieces you’ll only wear once, instead save your pennies and invest in beautiful pieces made locally that are built to last a lifetime. Bonus points for organic/natural fabrics.

4 // Organize a clothing swap with your friends! Make a night of it with tea and cookies for good measure. It’s a great way to update your wardrobe without spending any cash, and any leftovers can be taken to your local thrift shop to be loved by others.

5 // Take damaged or too-loose items to be repaired or altered at your local tailor. I’ve struck up quite the friendship with mine and he always does a seriously amazing job making my older pieces look like new.

Which of my Value Village finds do you like best?