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  • Baby Must Haves | 3-6 Months

    Hello friends!

    I'm behind in making this post because as I'm writing this, our little Maggie Quinn is 27 months old, aka 2 years... we stopped tracking "months" after she turned 2. If anyone wants specifics, I say " She turned 2 in July!" and call it a day. I started writing this post in February 2018 - it's now September 2019. Yikes. Anyway, I'm traveling what feels like WAY back in time with this post to when Mags was 3-4-5-6 months old! Here she was... pre-sitting up or crawling days:

    This post is for all the mamas (& dads!) out there, present or future. These are some of the products that made life easier for us and kept baby happy and healthy! I created this list when she was actually these ages to help me remember for future babies and to help everyone else fumbling around for WHAT THE HECK DO I DO WITH THIS TINY HUMAN I HAVE TO KEEP ALIVE AND ENTERTAIN. Let's be real, your first kid especially, you have no clue what you're doing. Anyone that does, or seems to, is either 1) an imposter; 2) totally faking it; 3) some sort of super human; 4) has their parents actually raising their child for them; or 5) is a combination of the above. Find my thoughts about each product below...

    Ok, so here is the run down on this stuff...

    SLEEP ESSENTIALS

    Halo SleepSack Micro-Fleece Wearable Blanket: In the swaddle version, these annoyed me - the fleece was so bulky by our baby's face and it was always in the way while I tried to nurse her at night. We swapped her over to the wearable blanket style around the 8-week mark - she didn't like to be swaddled, though these are the only ones she did sorta like. These are the perfect, safe, warm, cozy alternative! The micro-fleece has been our favorite, as her room is kept around 70 degrees, and combined with long-sleeved jammies, she stays at a comfortable temperature. I liked the plush dot velboa style ones as well!

    Huggies OverNites Diapers: As soon as our baby could come close to fitting in size 3 diapers (the smallest they make overnight diapers) we switched her over to these Huggies overnights. Game. Changed. Once our daughter started sleeping through the night around 10 weeks old, I would find that she'd often soak through her normal diapers over those long stretches of sleep. These can hold SO MUCH - a must-have product! From a friend's recommendation (actually, like 4 different friends!), we opted to use Huggies OverNites over other brands - they are apparently the best on the market for being most absorbant and reasonably priced. We love them! We use and love up&up diapers from Target otherwise, but heard their overnight diapers aren't as good.

    Motorola MBP36XL Portable 5" Video Baby Monitor: So once our babe started sleeping in her crib in her room, not in the bassinet in our room, around 10 weeks, this device came in very handy! We love the big, clear screen and that it shows the temperature in her room - not necessary, but super convenient. There are SO MANY baby monitors out there, and after doing a lot of research, this one and this Infant Optics one were our faves. I like that there is an option to add an additional camera for any future babies and that they are NOT wifi connected. If I'm leaving my baby with a caretaker at our home, I don't want to temptation of "checking in" and I don't want to have to rely on a wifi network for the camera to work - I don't trust Comcast or CenturyLink nearly enough to feel confident in that. Plus, there was the whole people hacking into your baby monitor debacle that happened a few years ago - I'm sure this creepy hacking issue has been fixed, but it's still way too creepy to risk it. 

    Jellycat Magic Bunny Board Book: So this is by no means a "needed" item, but it's one we've loved incorporating into our bedtime routine with our daughter. Unless I am feeding her right before bed (sometimes the timing of her feedings just happens that way) and she falls right asleep, I read her a few books before bed. This one has been a staple, because it's adorable and about going to sleep :) I actually came across this book (and coordinating SUPER soft bunny from Jellycat) before I was even pregnant while shopping with my mom. She ended up buying the book and bunny for me and giving it to me the Christmas before our daughter was born, about 9 months after seeing it in the store and gushing over its cuteness. So, the book and bunny have a special little place in my heart and I'm hoping Maggie will love the bunny too, once she stops trying to shove its plush face in her mouth, because TEETHING.

    Freshly Picked Moccs: These seemed to be the ONLY shoes that would stay on our daughter's feet, with her nonstop kicking/moving legs. Plus, they were so darn cute! I loved the gold and rose gold, as well as the tan with the soles for when she started crawling/walking later on - they matched everything! I think these leopard chelesea boots are also unbelievably adorable! These are defnitely not cheap, but babies at this age really only need one or two pairs of shoes, and the sizing fits them for quite awhile. 

    Baby GAP Socks: These socks were my favorite. Just enough grip on the bottom, nice basic colors/prints and the perfect height, especially for winter months with boots/coverage. Must have item!

    Burt's Bees Baby Sleepers or the Cloud Island ones from Target: These were my favorite go-to sleepers. The Burt's Bees ones are snug-fitting and something about them I just loved. The Cloud Island line from Target has the cutest prints and a price that can't be beat. They also wash well and have a bottom-top zipper, which is amazing for diaper changes!! 

    Copper Pearl Drool Bibs: These were a lifesaver - Maggie was a drooler in this stage and was a "happy spitter" after eating. For this phase of her life, we didn't go without a drool bib! These were soft, but also absorbent and substantial enough without overtaking her outfit. I liked the solid gray ones too - easier to match!

    Babybjorn Bouncer: Don't let the price tag scare you - keep your eye on this on Amazon. The price is constantly fluctuating. I found mine for $130! These are often found on Facebook Marketplace too. But let me tell you - this is maybe my #1 favorite baby item. It's THE BEST and takes up zero space and is super cozy for baby. Maggie could fit in this pretty early on and stayed in here until she could start climbing out on her own, haha. She sat in this while I got ready for work in the morning, while I had to go to the bathroom (real talk!), while doing dishes, while doing ANYTHING - it easily moves from room to room, folds flat, travels so well - it's the best. We didn't have a swing or a million other places for her to sit. This was the solution for so much of the time. LOVED. IT.

    Skip Hop Activity Mat: This is one of those things that some people like, others find it to be "eh" - I was kind of in the middle. You could just have a blanket on the ground for them to sit on and have other toys around, but it's easy to have something to grab that has the little activty bar connected. This one is cute and gender neutral, which felt like a practical choice for me. Didn't need hot pink unicorns and tiaras all over everything..!

    Sophie: If you know, you know - this little giraffe is a baby's favorite. Easy to hold, chew, suck, squeeze - and cute to boot. Must have!

    Sassy Ring O' Links: Cheap entertainment. As a 2-year-old, Maggie still plays with these as "bracelets" - best $4.99 you'll spend! These have been a favorite since day 1.

    Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes: Another fave for in the car - and the music isn't super annoying AND it can be turned off. Get this before your next road trip!

    Graco Bumper Jumper: This was another fan favorite, for parents and baby! We got this for our daughter for Christmas when she was 6 months old and kicked ourselves for not having it months sooner. They get some exercise and work on their strength and have so much fun doing it! And, anything that is safe and hands free for mom and dad is a win. Hours of entertainment! We liked this option with the tray and it was very comfy for her to sit in. We always put these slippers on her since we have hardwood floors for a little extra cushion!

    Boogie Wipes: These are a lifesaver for runny noses and messes in general - unscented saline wipes rather than tissues help keep their little noses from getting red and chapped and get the mess much easier! Diaper bag and nursery must-have!

    Teethers: (1) (2) (3) - You gotta have some of these on-hand at this age. Teething pains come in like a wrecking ball and a teether helps save the day!

    Baby GAP Garter Sweater: Maggie had one of these at every stage. It was the best to keep her warm and looking cute. The quality is top-notch. Score one on sale and it's a great deal.

    JJ Cole Car Seat Cover: If you live in a cold climate, this is a non-negotiable item - easy to get them in and out or take it on and off and a nice neutral color. I like the JJ Cole one best!

    Burt's Bees Baby Stroller Blanket: Sadly, they discontinued this blanket, but it was a thick, soft velour blanket that was awesome to keep in the car or take on walks when it was chilly. Here's another favorite of ours!

    Onesies & Leggings - Favessssssssssssssssss: Old Navy, Baby GAP, Zara, H&M and ribbed Zara leggings and onesies that look like normal shirts and crewneck sweatshirts over basic short sleeve onesies.

    Ok, that's the list! Enjoy!

  • Baby Must-Haves | 0-3 Months

    Well, I've now officially joined the Mom Club and frequently use #momlife in my daily conversations and social media posts. Motherhood is no joke. It can be SO challenging, but it's also awesome, so that's nice.

    Before our little #maggiequinnjoyce was born, I was Queen of the Baby Registry World. My baby registry was a well oiled machine, people. I was constantly price checking, comparing, switching, updating, adding, deleting - it was awesome, and I loved every minute. You guys, I am a researcher when it comes to products and services. I want, nope, NEED to know that I'm getting the best deal - the best product or service for the best price. So, that doesn't mean the cheapest, or most expensive, it's a balance - it's finding the best quality that's at a justifiable price that does the best job. You can imagine how much time I spent on our wedding...

    SO all that to say, I have an informed opinion about most things I own. Now that I've entered a new domain - Baby Products - I wanted to share my findings with you all! I've broken down products by use, according to age. Since Maggie is almost 3 months, I'll limit things to what we've actually used up to this point.

    Here we go!

    Muslin Swaddles - Muslin swaddle blankets come in handy for a variety of reasons with a newborn. I personally love the quality and adorable prints that Little Unicorn's swaddles offer. Other noteable brands I've liked are Aden+Anais and these from Target.

    Little Giraffe Lovey - So this was a gift that I received at a shower and originally didn't know that it would be SO USEFUL, especially during the first few weeks baby was home. The size is so perfect for a newborn! Regular sized blankets seem huge compared to their little 8-ish pound bodies. This blanky was great to wrap around her for naps and to keep her cozy during trips in her car seat. Moving forward as she grows, I'm hoping she will like this and adopt it as her "lovey". We have a similar one that has a stuffed animal on it - maybe she'll end up choosing that one as her lovey! P.S. I love all things Jellycat brand!

    Milk Snob Cover - Guys, this thing is great. It's soft, thin and so stretchy. I had to use this last week while flying with my little girl and had to nurse her during the flight (I am NOT someone who feels comfy nursing in front of people. Just my preference.) and this was awesome to have. It's also what I put over her car seat if it's raining out so she doesn't get wet but also isn't hot. It's also designed to fit over carts for when they're older. It comes in a million cute prints too!

    Green Sprouts Burp Cloths - These are amazing! I have about 12 of them and I'm never without one with baby. They are crazy absorbent and are the perfect size. They get softer with each wash (but not in a deteriorating way), which is good because they get washed 1-2 times per week! Maggie isn't a huge spit up baby, but when she does, these come to the rescue every time. I tried these at first, and they're soft and I love that they're gray and simple, but they are NOT absorbent like they say, which is the whole point of burp cloths... probably the only Burt's Bees product I don't like - usually they're amazing.

    Boppy Nursing Pillow - This is something I debated over bringing with me to the hospital when Maggie was born. I hemmed and hawed, and I'm glad I decided to bring it. It is a lifesaver for breastfeeding! It makes baby much more supported and stable and is more comfortable for me. I use it every time I nurse, unless I'm not at home, of course. I got this cover for it from PB Kids and it's perfect - soft, simple, no obnoxious baby pattern, yay!

    Nuna Pipa + Tavo Travel System - This travel system is by far the most expensive baby item we purchased, but let me tell you, it was so worth it! We absolutely love this car seat and stroller. We debated between this system and the Maxi Cosi Adorra stroller and Mico Max 30 car seat, which we actually purchased first and returned. Here's why - the stroller is just a shell for the infant seat and the stroller seat isn't used until they're bigger. At first I thought this was an awesome feature, however, it didn't provide ANY shade or covering for baby while they were in the stroller like the Nuna stroller does. This was miserable for walks and when baby was sleeping - totally exposed unless you jerry rigged a blanket or used a car seat cover, which was just annoying. I also didn't like the poor quality of the infant seat awning - it never stayed in place and was super cheap feeling compared to the nice (expensive!) seat material. The stroller wheels were also kinda crappy and kept getting stuck, so i knew this would only get worse with time. The Nuna Tavo has shocks, so the ride is so much smoother. The quality of the materials and craftsmanship is amazing and it's super easy to fold up and take in and out of the car. The other favorite feature for me is the Dream Drape - game. changer. Couldn't be happier with Nuna products - they are so quality and to me, so worth the cost. Also, the Pipa car seat is 5 lbs lighter than most other car seats on the market - THIS IS SO WORTH IT. 

    Spots and Dots book - My husband and I refer to this as the "magic book" because it literally mesmerizes our daughter when looking at it. So, when we're nearing meltdown in the car or she is bored and restless, out comes the magic book to buy us some time. She stares and coos at it and it's just about the cutest thing ever. 

    Solly Wrap - We have this in the gray and white stripe and it's SO SOFT. I had the Boba wrap at first (similar to the Moby) and ended up returning it after I discovered the Solly. Here's the deal, newborns are HOT and in turn, while holding them, you end up warmer than you usually would be. This is compounded when you have your baby literally wrapped to your body in July and August, especially! The Boba and the Moby have thicker, bulkier material than the Solly. The material of the Solly is the thinnest, softest, stretchiest and most breathable on the market. Plus, it comes in way cuter patterns and colors than the other brands. I should have used this more in Maggie's first month home, but we had so many people visiting and wanting to hold her, that it just wasn't used as much. But, it can be used up to 25 lbs! So, there's time. It's nice to travel with this, because it folds up nice and tiny to put in the diaper bag, unlike a structured carrier. 

    BabyBjorn One Air Carrier - This structured carrier is made of the softest mesh material EVER. I originally had the Ergobaby 360 in the "mesh" and HATED it. Like, truly felt angered while trying to put it on and figure out how to get comfortable in it, which never happened. The BabyBjorn doesn't need a separate infant insert like the Ergo does, and looks a lot nicer, in my opinion. The One Air is made of 100% mesh material, keeping you and baby cool while wearing it and it fits sooooo comfortably on your body, especially around the shoulders. The clips to lock baby in are also WAY easier with the BabyBjorn versus the Ergo, which uses weird (and ugly IMO) buttons and the material is a thick canvas (yes, even the "mesh" one, which has like a little tiny panel of mesh fabric). Getting baby in and out of the One Air is SO easy and I absolutely love the dark gray color we got ours in. Can't say enough about how much I love this carrier, guys!

    SkipHop Car Mirror - This is so helpful in the backseat while driving with baby. Since they are rear-facing, it's nice to be able to glance and see their face in the mirror and know if they're awake, sleeping, etc. I like this one because it's a good size (not too big, not too small), is nice and clear (some look kinda distorted), attaches nicely to the headrest and is black :)

    JuJuBe Be Right Back Diaper Bag - This is definitely an item you want to touch, feel and see in person before making a final decision. I saw this one at BuyBuyBaby and really liked it (and my husband did too!). It has a lot of pockets, zippers and compartments to keep things organized, and the backpack style is a must-have feature for me. Carrying the infant seat and a million other things is much easier with the diaper bag out of the way on your back instead of sliding off your shoulder, like other bags inevitably will. The material of this is stain and water resistant and the bag is fully machine washable. The side pockets have Thinsulate to keep bottles and beverages hot or cold, and there is a built-in back pocket for the changing pad it comes with. Again, I also loved that it came in black with gold hardware! Another bag option I debated over was this one - I love the brown leather color, but ultimately felt like it just didn't have the organization I was looking for in a diaper bag.

    Puj Bath - This choice was purely based on space, to be honest. We live in a modest sized home that doesn't have much closet space, so having a giant infant tub didn't seem practical for us. In came the Puj! This beauty hangs FLAT on a little hook behind our bathroom door and is the softest rubbery material that squishes right in our bathroom sink. My only qualm is that it's really designed to be used up to 6 months, so if you aren't ready to have baby in the big tub at that point, you need another baby tub... annoying. We'll cross that bridge when it comes I guess and see where things are at. To be continued...

    Sleepers - Our daughter lives in footy sleepers like this one (this floral print has been my all-time fave) from Carter's most of her life. I put her in onesies/leggings/rompers for daycare and she'll wear cute outfits to church or other outings, but most of the time, she's in a sleeper. This is what she sleeps in every night and they're so easy for diaper changes. Carter's has great ones, as well as Burt's Bees Baby, KicKee Pants if you wanna spend more (they're SO SOFT) and I really like Old Navy/Baby Gap ones as well. 

    Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier - This little thing is a lifesaver for us. We tried 3 different types of pacifiers with our daughter and she clearly liked these best! She loves her paci (I also say binky, bink and nuk... still haven't landed on what I call these things yet!) as she is falling asleep and as a newborn she loved to suck, so this magestic piece of rubber saved my body from being chewed on 24/7. I use these clips to keep track of her paci sometimes too (I imagine these will be even more helpful once she's on the move) and are super convenient when we are out and about and don't want to worry about losing the paci or it falling on the ground. I have this color and this color.

    Zutano Booties - These are AWESOME because they actually stay on your baby's feet when shoes and socks really don't at this tiny stage. These have two sizes for the little snaps, so whether your baby has chunkier ankles or more skinny ankles, they will fit comfortably. They come in 3m (what we currently have) and I plan to buy them in 6m once these get too small. I like them because they are soft and unstructured like socks, but look more "presentable" like shoes. They come in lots of colors, but I love this neutral gray.

    Eddie Bauer Glider - This glider is a staple in our nursery. I wanted the upholstered rocker/glider that swiveled as well, but didn't want to spend a bajillion dollars. This Eddie Bauer one is from Target and is exactly what I was looking for - it's simple and classic in design, is the perfect shade of gray that I wanted, wasn't huge (our nursery is only 11'x10') and was COMFY. This glider checked all of those boxes - it is the perfect size, so comfy and looks great in the nursery, along with this fabulous gold pouf as an ottoman, though this glider does have a matching ottoman we opted not to purchase. 

    Fisher Price Auto Rock N Play - Our daughter loves to take naps in this little contraption. I would say that every parent I know SWEARS by this thing. A lot of people's kids slept in this every night their first few months of life, especially those with any reflux issues (it's at an incline). We however, have her sleep in a bassinet (see below) and she only uses this for daytime naps or a safe place for me to put her if I'm home alone and need to use the bathroom or swap out the laundry, etc. We also have a 4moms mamaRoo that she likes as well, but won't nap in (more for play/awake time). The Rock N Play is nice because it's pretty portable - it folds up with the touch of a button. We have the "auto" version, which can plug in and rock on a timer or continuously and can also play music/sounds, if desired. Our daughter naps great in this thing!

    Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper - This is what our daughter sleeps in next to our bed every night. She slept in this her first night home from the hospital and does really well in it. I've read that it's an easier transition for infants from a bassinet to a crib because both are flat (rather than an incline like the Rock N Play). I love this Halo bassinet because 1. it actually fits in our room, 2. the sides are mesh - our daughter rolls on her side and I don't have to worry about her suffocating when she rolls to the sides of this bassinet, 3. it swivels all around at different angles and the side slides down with light pressure, so it's easy to manuever while you're still in bed (super nice for when you're first home and recovering, especially if you had a c-section).

    Halo Wearable Blanket - Our daughter wasn't the typical newborn who needed to be tightly swaddled at night. She honestly didn't care one way or the other! I tried the classic Halo swaddle and found it to be really annoying, as it would bunch up by her neck when she was little and then she easily busted her arms free of it part way through the night. Fail. I tried this Love to Dream one because she liked to have her arms up by her head. We used this for a few weeks and she liked it, until ditching the swaddle altogether and just using a wearable blanket to keep her warm and cozy, but not restrict her arms. She sleeps through the night now in one, so I'd say we found our winner! If your baby likes to be swaddled but you find the Halo swaddles unbearable like I did, I've heard the Woombie is amazing!

    Cloud B Sleep Sheep - We use this every night next to the bassinet (and will eventually use by the crib in her nursery) not just as a "soother" but more for noise. We have the Marpac Dohm in her nursery by the door, so once she sleeps in there, we'll have that on all night. But the Sleep Sheep has a timer, so it's nice as they are falling asleep to have that consistent noise close to their head that signals sleepy time! Plus, I think this little sheep is adorable and we can travel with it easily! I will say though, she does NOT rely on this to sleep and will just as easily fall asleep without it. I think it will make crib training easier though next month as we start that transition.

    Mother's Bliss Gripe Water - Our daughter had really bad gas her first two months of life. This stuff helped SO much! She loved the taste of it too and would immediately stop crying as soon as the dropper hit her lips, no joke! This stuff helps with hiccups too, which was a daily occurance during those first two months as well. Even if it's totally placebo effect and this does nothing, it makes you feel better as a parent that you're trying something!

    FridaBaby Nose Frida - This is also magic. You suck on one end and put the other at the base of baby's nostrils and out comes their snot. Ok, this sounds totally gross, but once you have a baby you realize that this is SO EXCITING because hello, baby's can't blow their nose, people. This thing is dynamite. (And no, you don't ingest any snot, there is a filter.)

    Ubbi Diaper Pail - So a lot of people told me that a diaper pail wasn't necessary and that they are a waste of money. I couldn't disagree more! This is 100% necessary! Our daughter's room is on the main floor of our home, so 10/10 diaper changes at home happen in the nursery on her changing table. So, every dirty diaper goes in the diaper pail, which needs to be brought out to the dumpster once a week (the night before trash day!). I love this Ubbi one because it's made out of steel, which means it doesn't absorb odor but keeps odor from escaping! It also doesn't need its own special bag like the Diaper Genie or other similar products do. We use normal kitchen trash bags for this thing so it's no added cost. It comes in nice neutral colors too - ours is white.

    Boudreaux's Butt Paste - There are a ton of different brands of diaper creams out there aside from this one - Desitin, Aquaphor, Honest Company, Burt's Bees, etc. I chose Butt Paste (aside from the funny name) because it's what my mom and sisters swore by and now I see why! Our daughter had a little bit of diaper rash her first day home and we used this stuff for every diaper change those first few days and literally, her diaper rash was gone after the first use and she's never gotten it again... it's magic paste and I'm now a believer. We have a bottle in her nursery and one in the diaper bag, just in case.

    Ubbi Wipes Dispenser - This may seem like more of a "luxury" item than a necessity, but hear me out. When you buy a big box of wipes, they come in a bunch of little pouches with sticky tabs to open/close the package. I don't know about you, but opening and closing those little sticky tabs like 10 times a day is super annoying, especially because it stops being sticky and then the wipes dry up. No thank you! In comes this little $19.99 gem of a product! This wipes dispenser has a weighted panel that sits on top of the wipes pack and allows wipes to come out one at a time, as well as a window to monitor quantity of wipes (if you don't put the package in there like I do). It also has a rubber seal to keep wipes fresh and moist as well as non-skid protective rubber feet to hold the dispenser in place. Do yourself a favor and just order one - you won't regret it, I promise!

    Munchkin Disposable Changing Pads - This is another item that may seem unnecessary, but it's one of my most used products! We have a nice fluffy changing pad cover to keep baby comfortable while changing diapers and clothes. Instead of washing that every time a diaper change gets messy, which is often, put one of these on top of the pad cover and simply wash this instead of the whole cover. They come in a 3-pack and can be used and washed a million times apparently because we've washed ours about that many times already and they are still in perfect condition. Highly recommend!

    Pony Tails book - I keep this book next to the changing pad and my daughter coos and talks to it the whole time she lays there. She absolutely LOVES it. Little does she realize that it's a crinkle book and has furry tails on it that's she can play with as she develops in the next few months. This is a Jellycat book (I told you, I LOVE Jellycat stuff - their stuffed animals are the BEST.) and there are a few versions of "tails" books - Jungly Tails, Fluffy Tails, Puppy Tails, Fishy Tails, etc. SO DANG CUTE!

    So there you have it - my must-haves for 0-3 month olds. Of course there are other things you need, like diapers, wipes, clothes, etc. but these are the products that we use and love most! You'll notice that in most of the items I purchased, I tried to be gender neutral (in case we have a boy next!) and not in a gawdy baby pattern. There is some UGLY baby gear out there, but there are aesthetically pleasing options that don't break the bank if you do a little research. The places I frequent most for baby stuff are: Amazon, Target, Nordstrom and BuyBuyBaby (they have some of the gear that you can see in person rather than only online). Another fun website for more boutique style stuff is Spearmint LOVE!

    Hopefully this is helpful for any new parent or grandparent/aunt/uncle looking to buy an awesome baby shower gift!

    What are your must-have baby items? COMMENT below!

    xo Cait 

  • Hey, so, you haven't blogged in awhile...

    So, I've stepped back from blogging for the past, oh I don't know, almost 2 years?! It hasn't been laziness or lack of motivation (desire though, I'd say); it's been more of... identity or dislike of identity rather. I kinda loathe (ha, that's an oxymoron) the connotation of blogging. Everyone and their mom has a blog. And, now that I actually am a mom (life update! ha), now there's the mom-rant blogger connotation in addition to the try-hard fashion bloggers, the make-your-life-look-better-than-it-is bloggers, the anti-vaccine-do-everything-with-oils bloggers (don't even get me started people), the people-who-are-awful-writers-and-can't-spell bloggers (you make my skin crawl)... I just didn't want to be lumped in any category.

    I blog(ged) because I want(ed) to share things that I love, products that have made my life easier, ramblings, creative things... whatever I feel like. I don't blog because I think I'm awesome or want the affirmation of others, or for some sort of status. I just wanna do what I want, when I want, without other people chiming in or judging from afar. But yes, ok, I realize that's impossible! Maybe I'm worried about that though because I do that to others......... BOOM I said it. I'm judging you, other blogger! Sorry! I'm not a meany, but I am human... We all do it, so don't even act like you don't. Hey young 20-something try-hard fashion blogger with the instagrid you OBSESS over... I'm judging you, but I'm also inspired by you and am secretly proud of you for just doing you. It's a weird line, guys, between the judging and admiring for me, and some days I land on one side, and other days I land on the other side.

    So... that's where I'm at. It boils down to control - I want to control what other people perceive about me. I want people to know me before they assume what I'm like - being misunderstood is maybe the worst thing in the world to me. It kills my soul to feel like someone thinks something of me that isn't true. Sigh, adulting is hard, guys.

    So that's where I'm at. Moving forward, if I feel inspired to write a post, I'm gonna write it! I'm going to stop obsessing over this crisis of the mind I've been having and start being more like the 20-something (who am I kidding, almost THIRTY-SOMETHING) mama who is just doing her thing, not caring about meanies like me judging her.

    Let's do this, y'all. 

    xo, Cait

  • Gimme Dat List | March

    "He will come to us like the rain." -Hosea 6:3

    Spring is almost here, friends. (cue applause) I love this verse in Hosea and it always reminds me of spring. Even though it can get sloppy outside, I'm thankful for the slop this time of year. It means things are melting and coming to life and the greens are getting greener - hence, the rain. Praise Him for rain being rain and not snow, y'all... hallelu!

    With that, I have some fun things shown below that are currently on my "Ooh, I would love to have that!" list for March. I'm really vibing botanicals, florals, gold (ok, this is year round), marble (oops, yeah, year round love there), sandals, lightweight fabrics, and brights and whites. 

    I'm currently in the market for a new phone case, which is quite a decision. I'm not one to swap these out to match my outfit. I'm more of a one and done (until it breaks) type of girl in this department. And thus, my case recently broke and here I stand. So, I'm digging this cute pineapple one. Too summery? Maybe. Does that matter? Not really. TBD here.

    Regarding the clip board... that might be one you're scraching your head over. Um, why do I need a clip board? Well, I like using them as wall art to highlight a photo or drawing rather than using a frame. Ahhhh, it's all making sense now, eh? I want to get some botanical prints and get four of these to make a little mini gallery. Cute, don't you think?

    The other item I want to highlight is the set of cord tacos... WHAT! How genius/hilarious are these you guys?! I randomly stumbled upon them on the Free People website - bahahaha. R-A-N-D-O-M. So I don't know about you guys, but I have borderline OCD tendencies with certain things in my life. One of them: cords. Seeing cords dangling or having cords unkept in a "junk drawer" makes my skin crawl. Right now, our TV has two cords that hang below it that aren't covered by the console table under it. Literally I'm annoyed every time I see it, but since we are likely moving soon, I don't want to go to extreme measures to cover them - UGHHH. So, here comes the cord tacos. Tuck these around headphones, phone chargers, etc. in your purse, in a *neat* junk drawer in your home, in your car's center console - wherever. These are a fabulous invention! Plus, the cognac color leather is divine. Thanks Free Peeps!

    phone case / necklacebirkenstocks / clipboard / clock / vest / scarf / plant / volume spray / cord taco set

    There you have it! What's on your current want list? SHARE & COMMENT below! :)

    xo Cait

  • My Life | Me, a Yogi?

    We all have New Year's resolutions year after year - to lose weight, eat more veggies, spend less time on social media, walk our dogs more, eat fewer cheeseburgers. Some of my resolutions this year were to spend more time in prayer and solitude, exercise more frequently, and to spend more time for myself and by myself (I rarely spend time alone). Even as I type that, I feel slightly embarrassed. My nature tells me that that is selfish - I should do more, achieve more, spend more time and energy with others and for others. But for me, that's my default. Those are my strengths - I empathize, I relate, I develop, I adapt, I listen. My tendency is to say "yes" to any social invitation, to fill my schedule, to neglect having margin in my life. If I don't take intentional time to step back, to be alone, to pray, to just be, it becomes an unhealthy imbalance and I lose myself. 

    So how have I begun to remedy this imbalance? For starters, I'm trying to say "no" when I should. I'm trying to question my motivation for saying "yes". Is it because it's something I want to do? Is it because it's beneficial? Is it something that I am doing just to please the other person?

    I've also started practicing yoga 3-4 times per week. No, it's not weird chanting or meditation to some eastern religious god. I'm doing yoga sculpt (trust me, it's SUCH a good workout!), hot yoga and other variations of each. (Side note: The amount you sweat in these classes is actually rather mind-boggling, as the room temperatures - with added humity, might I add - reach between 92-103 degrees.) I'm taking time to take care of my body, to calm my mind... to just breathe. Whether I can't resist my extroverted nature and I attend a class with a friend, or whether I go alone and take some time for prayerful solitude in a room full of strangers, yoga is starting to literally change my life for the better. I feel stronger, healthier, more patient (!) and more like ME. I allowed myself to neglect myself for too long. And now, I just breathe - inhale through the nose, open mouth exhale - and take the hour I carve out each day for yoga and enjoy every minute of it. Ahhhhh. I feel more relaxed just thinking about it! 

    Taking time for yourself resting, vacationing, exercising - these are spiritual, not selfish, practices. I'm working on believing that myself. The more I take my own advice, the most the voices (a.k.a. lies) in my head disappear and in their absence comes silence, margin and more room for good things and God things. So take my advice - be counter cultural - relax, breathe deep and create margin. 

    So I'm a Yogi now I guess, and I love it. Namaste :)

    “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” -Psalm 62:1-2

    #restisspiritual

    You can't get your sweat on without the proper gear. Here are my must-haves for a hot yoga class:

    headband / tank top / wrap / tumbler / yoga mat / strap / pants / towel / bra / sandals

    xo Cait

  • My Picks | The Best Burgers in Minneapolis-St.Paul

    So, it's safe to say that my favorite food is a cheeseburger - and great for the thighs, let me tell ya. There is never a time in life that a cheeseburger doesn't sound absolutely divine. After living in Minneapolis, home of the Juicy Lucy, for the past 7 years, I've tried quite a few burgers and have recently experienced a few new(er) places that each have a delectable burger.

    I realize my usual blog content pertains to clothes, makeup, home decor - you know the stuff that really matters in life - but I've decided to branch out! Afterall, there are no rules here - I do what I want, y'all! I'm not concerning myself with what fits in my blog "grid", if you will - WOOOOOOOOOF! Don't get me started on people who obsess over their stupid grid... I literally hate it. Get over yourself. Ew. Moving on...

    So, back to burgers. YUM. Ok, here is my list of 10 bests. Some you'll see on many "Minneapolis Best of" lists and others you may have never heard of. And please note that in no way, shape or form am I pretending to have great insight and expertise on food because I'm writing this. Nope, just a consumer here sharing my opinions! Feel free to disagree with my choices - I won't argue with you unless you tell me that my dog isn't cute. He is the cutest dog on the planet and you're wrong if you disagree :) 

    • Victory 44's "Perfect Burger" - A local fan-favorite, Victory 44's Perfect Burger truly lives up to its name. The patty is part beef and part bacon and comes on a sensational bun from Rustica Bakery. Topped with gooey American cheese, house-made pickles (and I don't even like pickles... these are phenomenal) and thick-cut bacon (and I don't even like bacon, I know), this burger melts in your mouth, confusing your brain because you're transported to your own kind of heaven on earth... yeah, it's GOOD! It comes with bacon-loaded fries, which are basically yummy french fries with bacon grease and bacon powder sprinkled on top. It's a party, y'all. ($17.00 w/ fries) 
    • Red Cow's "Brooklyn" - This burger, you guys... it's SO GOOD - literally melts in your mouth delicious. It has two thinly smashed Red Cow grind patties, white American cheese, bone marrow (WHAT) and in-house pickles. Back up though... BONE MARROW?! Yeah, don't let that seem scary. I'm the world's pickiest and least adventurous eater and I love it. And no, it's not like hard chunks of bone fragments on top of your burger. It's basically melted down and added in the middle of the patties with the cheese creating a buttery substance that melts into the patties and cheese, becoming an invisible secret ingredient of deliciousness absorbed into every bite. TRUST ME ON THIS. Red Cow's fries are also delish and they have a sweet potato option, which is a fan favorite (not mine, but for some). They also offer Gluten Free versions of most of their menu items, including their french fries. ($14.00 w/ fries)  
    • Revival's "Revival Burger" - Thinly cooked-to-perfection grass-fed beef made in-house, using 80% short rib and 20% brisket, with melted American cheese, mayo and house-made pickles. This burger will quickly become one you crave. Though they don't offer french fries at Revival (which seems like a burger consumption sin), they do have yummy sides to choose from like their mac-n-cheese or hush puppies (shown below). ($13.00 + side) 
    • Nighthawks' "Cheeseburger"- Another classic take on a burger, this one drips with American cheese over the juicy beef patties. Fermented pickles come on the side and are oh so delicious. The patty(ies) sit on a bed of yummy carmelized onions atop a homemade potato bun. All of this is topped with their "secret sauce", which is ketchup, mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, burger, and bun blended up - yeah! I recommend the double versus the single - it's on the smaller side for dinner (double shown below) and I just don't know why you wouldn't get the double... duh. Fries cost extra, but they're worth it if you share with the table. ($10.00/single or $15.00/double w/ coleslaw or potato salad) 
    • The Nook's "Juicy Nookie" - The original Nook and its larger counterpart, Shamrocks, make what might be the best Juicy Lucy (called a Juicy Nookie) in the Twin Cities. In my opinion, their juicy lucy is the best juicy of all. It's classic deliciousness at its best - gooey American cheese oozes out of the perfectly cooked beef patty on a simple bun and delicious fries (they also have sweet potato fries and waffles fries that you can substitute for). The Nook is a city staple - you must go and see for yourself! ($9.50 w/ fries) 
    • The Nook's "Nookie Supreme" - Ok, so this thing is HUGE. Two Angus chuck patties are separated by a bun half and gooey American cheese with lettuce, onion and their "special sauce". I love the flavor of this but it's generally too much food for me, though my husband says otherwise. However, I read here that you can fix that issue by simply ordering a cheeseburger with lettuce and special sauce, which is basically a single version of the Nook's classic go-to burger. This beauty was also featured on Guy Fieri's FOOD Network show, Diners Drive-ins and Dives! ($12.50 w/ fries) 
    • The Lowbrow's "Highbrow Burger" - This beauty is made with 100% grass fed Minnesota beef and comes topped with melted brie, caramelized onions, field greens and roasted garlic aioli. Deemed the "fancypants" burger on the menu, this doesn't disappoint. They also offer a Gluten Free bun option for an additional $2.00 and their french fries are yummy and Gluten Free/Vegan for those who need that option. ($11.00 w/ fries) 
    • Matt's Bar's "Jucy Lucy" - A Minneapolis classic that apparently was the "original" lucy, but many other restaurants claim the same, so who's to say? Probs not me. Matt's is something you must try, but for me the location and experience leaves SO much to be desired, that it's not a place I frequent. Seating is sparse, they only accept cash and local checks (who in the world uses checks anymore...) and there's always an obnoxiously long wait time in the teeny tiny bar area. However, they make a really delicious Jucy Lucy (their unique spelling) that everyone must have at least once or twice or ten times. No frills here, just yumminess. ($7.25 + fries) 
    • Edina Grill's "Cheese Burger" - This one is very simple and is never on any "Best of" lists, however, it is classically delicious in its own right. Coming with lettuce, tomato, mayo and your choice of cheese (obvi American is best in this case) with a simple bun and served with yummy, perfectly crispy french fries. Plus, I love Edina Grill - it's a family favorite and located in a prime 50th and France location in Edina. Win-win. ($11.95 w/ fries) 
    • Lucky's 13 "Juicy Lulu" - Like the previous, you're not going to find this burger on any "Best of" lists, however, I want to give some credit where credit is due. A solid juicy lucy in its own right, the Juicy Lulu from Lucky's 13 Pub in Bloomington holds its own. Not to mention, they use that fantastic crushed ice in their soft drinks, which is nostalgic and delcious in my Diet Coke with lime. The burger is simple - gooey American cheese, beef patty, sesame seed bun and perfectly crispy fries. You can add lettuce, tomato or onion too, which adds a nice extra crunch. Another Lucky's win - they serve all-you-can-eat popcorn while you wait for your food. Yum. ($12.99 w/ fries) 

    All photos are linked to their original sources.

    Honorable mentions that I've heard are great, but haven't had the chance to try yet: Saint Dinette, Meritage, 112 Eatery, Parlour, Libertine, HauteDish.
    Honorable mentions I've had but didn't make the list: Tilia, Blue Door Pub, Pat's Tap, Buster's on 28th. 

    So there you have it! Now I'm hungry.... mmmm. Thoughts? Agree or disagree? Is yours a favorite I missed? SHARE your thoughts by COMMENTING below! :)

    xo Cait

  • Splurge VS. Steal | Valentine's Day Date Night

    It's almost Valentine's Day! Planning on going on a date or having a Girl's Night Out? Depending on your budget (or amount of self-control), here are two options to consider - the first from Madewell (the splurge) and the second from H&M (the steal). No matter what you wear, you'll need some beauty basics from Sephora, like a few of my favorites shown below. I rarely wear false eyelashes, but Valentine's Day is the perfect time of year to up the drama! Whether you buy a nice silk set like the ones shown from Sephora or a cheaper alternative like these, they're a fun touch to any outfit.

    For Valentine's Day, I like to stick with a classic look - shades of red, pink, cream, black and metallics. Even a little animal print seems to fit the bill. I love feminine touches like silk and chiffon while keeping in mind the practical needs of warmth for those of us living in the frozen tundra - wool coats and closed toe shoes. Cold night? Skip the dress and tights and stick with black jeans, dark denim or fun "treggings" like those shown below - a trouser/jegging style pant to keep your legs warm and toasty. There's no need to suffer for beauty, ladies - we've got options!

    So here you have it - a splurge look and a steal look. Which do you like better? What's your go-to date night look? SHARE below and leave a COMMENT or tag me on Insta @caitquinnjoyce, #prideandjoyce :)

    Madewell: silk top / high riser jeans / flats / cross-body bag / coat / earrings / ring / long necklace

    Sephora: false lashes / Benefit mascara / Marc Jacobs Beauty eyeliner / Urban Decay Naked3 palette / bareMinerals foundation / NARS lipstick "Fire Down Below" / butter nail color set / Miss Dior "Blooming Bouquet" perfume

    H&M: tie-neck blouse / polka dot treggings / heels / shoulder bag / coat / earrings / bangle set / bracelet

    Happy Valentine's Day! xoxoxo

    Cait