Ahoy! With summer in full swing, I can’t keep my mind off the beach. There are so many amazing nautical options out there right now and they are making me want to party like a lob-star! Sail away with me on this die worthy tablescape decor journey.
Whether it be simply running an errand or traveling via airplane, being on-the-go with a baby is something you have to prepare for. Here’s a list of products I suggest registering for or purchasing so you will be ready and set to jet!
Make changing time easy on the go with the adorable Portable Changing Pad. These change pads feature padded, wipeable interior lining and include a convenient pocket for holding baby wipes, diapers and more.
Bottle-feed on-the-go with a Formula Dispenser. They have tightly fitted compartments for storing your pre-measured formula and a handy spout that allows you to pour directly into a bottle without spilling. Also can hold snacks for the later years!
Pack ‘N Plays are a great replacement for a crib when traveling or to keep at your parents/in-laws, at work, etc. So ideally you want them to be super light, compact/easy to store and easy to assemble.
Providing the ultimate privacy for your child is the SlumberPod Privacy Pod, an easy-to-set up canopy that creates a darkened space so your child can sleep peacefully.
Pod can be used with a standard playard, mini-crib, or select toddler cot.
NOTE: This has been such a game-changer when staying in a hotel room or a friend’s house and sharing a room with my son.
Portable Baby Monitor
Since this monitor is used purely for travel, it’s recommended that you find one that’s not expensive and lightweight / compact.
Most importantly, it’s recommended that you stay away from monitors that rely on wi-fi connections. You may not always be able to guarantee the Internet connection at your destination is both fast and strong enough to keep your monitor connected.
You could also have problems with the baby monitor app on your phone/ipad if you don’t have a good Internet connection.
Baby Sense: Affordable, video monitor, doesn’t require WiFi
Nanit: If you registered or own the Nanit, it comes with a travel accessory. But it does require WiFi.
Portable Sound Machine
Calm and comfort your little one everywhere you go with a Portable Sound Machine. You can play white noise to help your precious baby fall gently to sleep by creating a consistent sound environment. You can also bring the machine with you on the go for portable naps by attaching it to the handle of your tot’s stroller or car seat.
Helps keep your car seat/stroller clean and damage-free when traveling (i.e. rough handling at the airport).
Plus the storage area for gate-checked items is very dusty. The last thing you want to do is put your baby in a filthy seat when you arrive at your destination.
NOTE: I purchased a travel bag for my DOONA car seat/stroller, and I only ended up using it once. I typically travel with my son in his own seat on the plane and in the Doona, so I rarely needed to have it checked. If you are planning on having your baby in your lap, then you will probably want to have a travel bag.
A carrier is really nice if you’re on a walk and want to run into a coffee shop or a boutique. It’s also nice for action-packed places like malls, airports, crowded restaurants, etc. where you will want your baby as close to you as possible.
When it comes to carriers, stick to black/dark fabrics to help hide drool/spit-up stains. You will quickly notice how large and bulky a stroller becomes when entering a room. (Another plus for having the Doona.)
I remember being terrified to give my baby his first bath knowing how difficult a wet baby can be to hold onto… especially if they are a little wiggle monster like mine. But, bathtime ended up being one of my favorite activities. I’ve compiled a list of bathtime necessities to register for or purchase, along with a few options to choose from.
Many parents choose to bathe their baby in the sink (often with a sink insert) or use a baby bathtub until they’re ready for the “big-kid bath.”
Even though Chase was born at 9 pounds, I still thought he was so tiny and breakable, I felt most comfortable bathing him in the sink with an insert until he grew out of it (around 6 months). I used the Puj and LOVED it. It was great for a sink insert, but also super easy to travel with.
Place it directly in your tub or sink, and the soft mesh backrest will gently cradle your little one while you wash and rinse.
Suitable for babies up to 6 months of age
I started to use a baby bathtub when he was fully capable of sitting up on his own. And when he outgrew the tub, I began bathing him in the actual bathtub (with a nonskid mat). Here are some of the most highly rated and long-time favorite tubs:
If you have a night nurse, I’d email him/her to see what they recommend. If you aren’t using a night nurse, I’d go to BuyBuyBABY and smell test all of them to determine which scent is your favorite. The Weleda brand is what my night nurse requested and I love the smell!
Sprout covers come in handy once baby is taking baths in the actual bathtub. My son is constantly slipping when he plays with his toys, so this has saved him from hitting his head more times than I can count. (Also why an anti-slip mat is so clutch!)
It’s not summer unless you host or attend a BBQ or two. I originally created a design board for inspiration for the BBQ I hosted, and now you can see it in reality below. Whether you’re the grill master or simply enjoy chowing down on some hotdogs, you’ll want to have all these items on hand for your next BBQ!
This outdoor furniture set is the perfect size, comfortable and looks really high quality. Also, for a couch, two chairs and a coffee table, it is very reasonably priced! I bought the white bench that is behind my table in a pretty gray color to match my previously owned table. But, it arrived in a charcoal black color instead. I am terrible at returning things, so I just decided to have it painted in white.
Shop the Outdoor Furniture:
Shop the serveware and similar items below to create a tablescape that’s east for your guests to serve themselves:
I looked so hard to find these adorable mini grill dip bowls or anything similar, but had no luck! I purchased them in the Under $5 aisle at Target, which I think is a highly underrated aisle. I have found so many cute things there!
These pink cocktail napkins were the perfect punch of color to the table. I also placed this baking blanket on top of a simple silver tray to make it more festive. This baking blanket also comes in blue!
My mom gifted me this tablecloth at an antique store, but I wanted to share some similar options:
I love that you can write on this beverage dispenser! I used an Expo White Board Marker and it worked perfectly.
Shop the Bar and similar items below:
The Cheese Board
Hosting a gathering outdoors can get quite toasty at times, especially in Texas. I always like to keep a few apps inside for those guests that need a break for some AC or even as a pitstop for guests on their way to the bathroom. I love the simplicity of this round wooden cheeseboard, but I also love that it’s a Lazy Susan!
One of the very first things I put on my Baby Registry was my stroller. When purchasing a stroller, you need to consider your environment (city or the burbs) and lifestyle.
For example, if you are an avid fitness fan and plan to go on jogs and tons of outside adventures with your baby on a regular basis, then an athletic/jogger stroller is probably the best fit for you. If you are someone that is planning on taking your baby on a ton of errands with you (grocery store, mall, dining out, etc.), and will take light strolls around your neighborhood, I would suggest the Doona or a smaller/lightweight umbrella stroller.
It is also important to take your living space into consideration. If your home has minimal storage, take a close look at how easily the stroller can be stored (i.e. a simple one-hand fold) and how compact it gets, as well as the weight (esp. if you live in a walk-up apartment.)
Lastly, look out for the stroller’s weight capacity and age limit. Some strollers can only hold babies up to 30 pounds, while others can accommodate up to 65. Also, not all strollers are safe for newborns. You never want to put a newborn baby in a stroller without a deep reclining seat or bassinet, as they still need neck support. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until between 4 and 6 months to use the stroller.
Types of Strollers
Full-size strollers: Also known as all-purpose strollers, these strollers combine a smooth ride with convenient features like a storage basket, seat recline and cup holders. All-purpose strollers tend to be on the bulkier side and take a bit of effort to fold down. Full-size strollers also offer travel systems, meaning they can attach to an infant car seat to easily transition from car to stroller.
Umbrella strollers: Umbrella strollers are lightweight, making them ideal for travel or quick errands around town. True to name, they can fold up like an umbrella, making them portable and compact. The downside…Umbrella strollers are usually not as sturdy as full-size strollers and also don’t have tons of storage space.
Jogging strollers: If you’d like the ability to run with baby, you’ll need a jogging stroller for its increased stability and shock absorption.
Most versatile due to the all-terrain wheels, a UV 50+ canopy, an adjustable handlebar and hand-operated brake.
It’s long-lasting as it holds kids up to 65 pounds!
Cons: Although “Jogger” is in its name, it isn’t *as* good as the BOB for jogging. But, if you are only planning on jogging around your neighborhood, the all-terrain wheels make it great for tons of concrete usage.
Once your baby outgrows the Doona (which will most likely be around 1 year), this stroller will be your new best friend when traveling.
Has an easy, one-handed fold to fit in an airline’s overhead compartment. And its compact size means it’s airline-certified to bring on board a plane as carry-on.
Cons: Can become an all in one travel system, but needs to use adapters for car seats.
The Holy Grail
I can NOT recommend the Doona enough!!! In one simple motion, the Doona goes from a car seat to a stroller in seconds. It is super compact, lightweight, FAA Aircraft Approved for travel, AND can be strapped into a car safely even without the car seat base (by strapping it in with a seatbelt). This means, if you are traveling or live in a city like New York or San Fran where you may be taking ubers / cabs frequently, you can safely jump into a car at the drop of a hat! (I’ve also taken the Doona on the subway, and it fit nicely on the subway bench, as shown below.) Although expensive, the Doona is worth every penny for its convenience.
When it came time to do my Baby Registry when I was pregnant with my son Chase, I felt paralyzed. Everyone I spoke to gave me different advice.
Of course, every baby and parent is different, which leads to very different experiences. This makes taking any guidance super difficult because there’s a ton of conflicting opinions on gadgets / brands / products / etc. I remember wondering, “where do I even begin?” and “where is the best place to register?” and “how many stores is too many to register for?”
So, I decided to create a Baby Registry Guide as a way to keep myself organized with all of the products I had been researching and hearing about. In this post, I will share my thoughts on the best places to register and an outline of items I suggest registering. Hopefully this will help in alleviating some of the stress I remember feeling when it came to tackling a Baby Registry.
Best Places to Register
I suggest registering at only two stores. One ‘mega’ store/website and one local store. You want at least one registry to be accessible to your friends and family that may not be able to attend the shower in person and can easily mail it to you directly. For your main registry, I suggest a ‘mega’ store/website like BuyBuyBABY, Target, Walmart or Amazon. These ‘mega’ stores not only have everything, but sticking to one store for the majority of your purchases will make returns easier. For your second store, I suggest registering at a local store as an option for those friends and family able to attend your shower in-person.
There are also Registry websites like BabyList.com or MyRegistry.com, which allow you to add items from *any* site, including Amazon, to your registry. My only hesitancy with these sites is that since they are newer and not yet a well-oiled machine like Amazon, so I know some people don’t find them user-friendly.
[Note: If using BabyList.com or MyRegistry.com, you can create a “Private List” and compile all the items that you need, but don’t necessarily want to register for (i.e. nipple shields, bottle brushes, etc.)]
If the item you are registering for is available at both the ‘mega’ store as well as your local store, I suggest registering for it at the local store — as people prefer to easily pick up items to bring to the shower. Also nice for those last-minute shoppers, like myself. 🙂
Registry *Must-Haves* Checklist
Below is an outline of items you will need to register for. As part of my Mama ArdyParty series, I will do individual posts that go more in-depth on each category and provide options of items to choose from. You can use this list as a starting point to get acquainted with the necessities and as a general checklist.
Gear & Travel
Carrier (i.e. a strap on accessory to carry baby on your chest)
Travel Accessories (portable changing pad, back seat car mirror, etc.)
The following items are things you will need, but you don’t necessarily need to put them on your registry. Either because there are more important items you’d rather your friends purchase for you (i.e. stroller) or you will most likely receive as gifts regardless. Some items I chose not to add to my registry because they were either super cheap (nipple brushes) or super expensive (crib), and I was more comfortable purchasing them on my own.
Plenty of people do register for these items – so it’s completely up to your personal preference if you want to add them to your registry!
Purified Water (Recommended to use filtered/purified water when making formula bottles up to at least 6 months of age. Also important to put water in first, then add formula. Putting formula powder in the bottle first won’t mix as well and can give baby colic. )
Note: Don’t purchase too many diapers in the NB size because babies grow fast and the hospital will give you plenty to take home. Also, if your baby weighs 8 pounds or more at birth, they might already be ready for Size 1.
Below are items that even if you register for it – your friends/family will likely go off registry. Everything on this list I probably received 4 or more as gifts after Chase was born. So I did not register for any of these, but all are must-haves!
As mentioned, every baby and parent is different and that leads to very different experiences. This makes taking advice difficult because there’s a ton of conflicting opinions on gadgets / brands / products / etc. These are just some takeaways I felt I heard consistently among friends… but, again, completely up to you!
4 oz bottles
Don’t register for 4oz. bottles!! Just use 8oz. bottles and only fill it up with as little or as much as you need.
No need to register for any of the original swaddle blankets. These were made before wearable ones like the HALO were invented. No need to make your life more difficult by trying to learn how to swaddle your baby with a loose blanket when there’s an invention for that.
Swaddle blankets are also more dangerous because it’s possible for a baby to wiggle out of it.
I suggest not registering for any, and I bet you will still receive a ton as a gift. And although you won’t use any for actual swaddling, they do serve as wonderful stroller blankets and car seat covers.
Bottle Sterilizer Machine
Most recommend hand-washing bottles/parts and leaving them in a bowl of warm water overnight and then air-drying them using the dryer racks. I did a lot of research on bottle sterilizer machines and couldn’t find one brand that was reliable.
Reviews mentioned that they can’t wash that many bottles at a time, aren’t compatible with the bottle brands you may end up using, or they break after a few months of use.
Also, a lot of bottle sets come with sterilizer bags as another alternative to an expensive sterilizer machine.
Tracks your sleeping baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels; silently monitors your baby and alerts parents if something is wrong.
Although highly rated online, I’ve heard the sock falls off frequently from the baby wiggling and you get an alert that your baby has stopped breathing (!!) when it actually hasn’t! So it seems way more stressful than helpful.
A very popular brand – you will see it at every baby store and on a ton of people’s registries. I heard it works great at first, but then it doesn’t contain the smell very well after a few months. But I’ve also had friends that haven’t had an issue…
I personally don’t like that you have to use your hand to open it. A hands-free diaper pail comes in handy …A LOT.
A new study has shown that babies that are 3 months or older can suffocate in the Rock N Play. This is because they are able to roll over.
If you receive one as a gift, just make sure not to use it once the baby is older than 3 months.
Woof… That’s A LOT of stuff!
I know all of this may still seem very overwhelming and like a staggering amount of stuff. I’m no expert on parenting or babies, but I personally felt that by having the items on this list, I felt more prepared and less scared of what was to come with a newborn. I also made sure not to open everything I received at my baby shower in case I got duplicates or the items didn’t come in handy so I could return them. The majority of registry items are returnable for almost a year if you don’t need them… and if not, there’s always the option of regifting. 😉
Life is one big party, am I right?! While hosting parties and dreaming up party tablescapes are a huge passion of mine, the biggest party I’m attending right now is motherhood. My son, Chase, is one and a half years old and I am having so much fun being his Mama!
But, when I was pregnant, I was terrified of what was to come. Even though I have three older sisters who have made me an Aunt 8 times over, and tons of friends with kids, I still didn’t feel prepared. And when it came time to do my Baby Registry, I felt more lost than ever. Everyone I spoke to gave me different advice…
Of course every baby and parent is different, which leads to very different experiences. This makes taking any guidance super difficult because there’s a ton of conflicting opinions on gadgets / brands / products / etc. I became extremely overwhelmed, which led me to create a Baby Registry Guide. This guide originally started as a way to keep myself organized and calm, but eventually became a resource I shared with friends and family in my hopes of removing some of the stress I remember feeling.
The items I included in my Baby Registry Guide are what *I believe* are the most standard baby necessities, what I’ve found (and continue to find) useful in my own experience, as well as the advice I felt I heard consistently among friends & family who’ve had babies.
Long story short, I’m excited to start a new series on ArdyParty called “Mama ArdyParty.” I will be sharing my Baby Registry Guide in increments and other fun baby-related stuff on ArdyParty.com and the newly created Mama ArdyParty instagram account. Not to mention inspiration for parties like baby showers and kid’s birthdays. 🙂
For those of you who have absolutely zero interest in anything to do with babies, please don’t run for the hills! I promise to continue to post about ALL things party decor as it is, and always will be, one of my biggest passions. I hope you are as excited as I am to continue on this journey with me!
Also, I’d like to state for the record, I am in NO WAY an expert on parenting or babies. I have simply found a love for researching products and sharing my experiences with others. But, at the end of the day, it’s completely up to you what you choose to register for or purchase. It feels like every day there are new products being made, so I know I have missed a bunch of stuff. And when *not if* that’s the case, I’d absolutely LOVE for you to share your feedback and cool new finds with me!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend! Later this week, I am planning on hosting a small backyard BBQ as a send-off for my besties that are moving to a new city. Although I can’t throw them a big bash in the current climate, I know they will still feel all the love with only a few close friends (social distancing) in my backyard.
When hosting outside, I like to avoid using glassware by using a mix of melamine plasticware and paper products. Practically everything included in this post is outdoor-safe! How cute are those lime napkins to place on my Margarita bar?!
MELAMINE, ALL MINE!
I am obsessed with the set of 4 beautiful blue melamine dipping bowls, perfect for condiments like ketchup and mustard, or for extra salt for your guest’s margaritas. Since we are keeping the party short and sweet, I am not planning on serving a lot of food, so the green chip and dip bowl (with the adorable bluebird perching on the rim) is the perfect statement piece for a backyard party. I’ve included some of my favorite outdoor serveware below!
ICE ICE BABY
When hosting a party, *especially when outside in hot temps* it is imperative to have lots of ice on hand. That’s why I love this outdoor riviera bar cart… it has two ice buckets included! And the bottom shelf is perfect for storing extra glasses. In addition to the bar cart, I will have a few party tubs out filled with different drink options on ice to keep them cool. But, the AERIN ginger jar champagne bucket is ideal for ice being used solely for making cocktails. (The ice tongs are key here versus everyone using their hands!) I’ve included some of my favorite ice buckets below.
Can’t wait to share with you the finished look from my backyard BBQ. Cheers to grillin’ and chillin’!
The days of relaxing in a cabana or getting cozy in a hammock while taking sun-kissed selfies with my besties seems so far away. Mainly because I am not in my early twenties anymore, but also… ya know, COVID. But that doesn’t mean we can’t find our own beach! So let’s sip on a homemade piña colada and get into the beach vibe with this cabana-inspired decor:
Still want to ride the wave of creating an outdoor oasis? More below!