My No-BS Baby Registry

The Northwest Woman | Baby Registry Essentials

I stepped into motherhood about a year ago. The waiting and anticipation of becoming a parent for the first time is probably the most magical, weird, and uncertainty-filled experience you can have in life. When it comes to preparation for anything, my default tends to be endless research—I can easily go down a rabbit hole on any topic. Baby gear being one of them, unfortunately.

For soon-to-be parents it can be so daunting looking at the endless lists of baby gear and gadgets, wondering, “Do I really need all this stuff?” I’ve found it’s truly impossible to know what the baby registry essentials are until after you’ve gone through the experience of having a baby and figuring out your parenting groove. “What you need” is so personal, varying from parent to parent, and it’s important to find what works best for you and your baby.

Coming up on a year postpartum, I wanted to write up some of my favorites—and what I didn’t love—from the baby gear I tried out.

All product opinions are my own and have been formed from my personal experience as a new mom.

Baby Registry Essentials

Here’s a list of my favorites from our registry and gifted items we received.

Diapers and wipes are never overrated. Find what works for you—I prefer plant-based, fragrance-free diapers and wipes. Subscription services are also so convenient and could be a great gift to a new parent.

All-purpose, ultra-soft cloths for spit up and other messes.

Swaddle blankets and sleep sacks for safe, secure sleeping.

Baby pajamas in a few different sizes—it’s nice to have some items that will fit your baby as they grow. That being said, any clothes with zippers are your friend!

Bedside sleeper—I really liked the basic model of the Halo Bassinest. Be sure to read up on safe sleeping guidelines for your babe.

Wipeable changing pad—easy clean up and less laundry? Yes, please. I love our changing pad from Skip Hop.

A gentle diaper balm. I really like The Honest Company’s Diaper Rash Cream and Earth Mama’s Organic Diaper Balm.

The NoseFrida aka the snot sucker. Way more effective and sanitary than the bulb-style nasal aspirators.

Baby Bjorn carrier. This is low-profile and easy to use. I received a wrap carrier and it was beautiful, but extremely time consuming to put on.

Don’t be afraid to ask for the big gear pieces like a stroller or carseat.

Don’t Forget Mom

Here are a few of my postpartum essentials to add to your registry or pick up for yourself.

Comfortable pajamas and a robe that are easy to put on. I lived in my pajamas for the first two weeks postpartum.

Reusable, cotton nursing pads. These are some of my favorites, and they can double as cotton rounds for removing makeup.

Invest in a breast pump with a hands-free bra.

Personal care items to help facilitate healing and postpartum comfort—I’d recommend these cooling pads and spray.

What You Don’t Need

Here’s what I would recommend skipping adding to your baby registry.

Baby bouncers and rockers. These items can be really expensive (and are not recommended for baby sleep!) and babies definitely have preferences to specifics motions (rocking vs. bouncing, etc.) I’d recommend borrowing over buying these items so you can try them out first.

Diaper bags. I hate diaper bags. They are so expensive, and so ugly. I bought a $30-ish insert for my Madewell tote for diapers and wipes, and it was worked so well!

Bottle and wipe warmers. These definitely fall into the “unnecessary gadgets” category for me. A friend of mine brought up these can backfire big time if you plan on traveling or being on the go—babies get used to having warm wipes and bottles, and you may not be able to provide that if you’re out running errands or on an airplane.

Cute, expensive burp cloths. I, too, had aspirations of beautifully-printed, linen cloths to gently mop my child’s messy face. In reality, you will grab whatever is closest to clean a mess—t-shirts, kitchen towels, your own hands. Don’t get too hung up on aesthetics in this department.

Parents and parents-to-be, what are some of your top baby registry picks? Leave a comment with yours!

February Beauty Favorites with Marc Jacobs, Glossier, and Others

February Beauty Favorites | The Northwest Woman

A not-so-secret about me: I love makeup and skincare. I am all about the elements of femininity, self-expression, and self-care that come with doing your makeup or having a skincare routine—it’s just for you, no one else. Even though I’ve tried out a lot of products over the years, I definitely have my beauty favorites, which seem to constantly grow and change from month to month.

Here are some of my beauty favorites from this last month:

Boy Brow by Glossier

I totally get why Boy Brow is a cult beauty product. (And if it’s not already, it sure will be.) This little wand and tube combo tints, shapes, and fills out my brows like a dream. If you’re like me, and need a little brow drama, without veering into Instagram-brow territory, look no further than Boy Brow.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner

When it comes to eyeliner, I’m not very adventurous. Anything with a neutral tone and a good formula does the trick for me. I was sent two of the Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliners, complimentary, to try out, and I love them! They’re super smooth and creamy, with lots of pigment, and are so versatile—you can wear it in a bold line for extra definition, or smudge it out for a smokey look.

Love Your Bare Face Hydrating Cleansing Oil by Julep

I’ve been using this cleansing oil (with a Konjac sponge) for a few months now and it has been a total dry-skin savior for me this winter. With ingredients like grape seed oil, rosehip oil, vitamin E, this cleanser takes off every speck of makeup and leaves my skin feeling both nourished and clean (but not tight or dried out.)

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+

I totally bought this product on a whim after seeing it mentioned by one of my favorite bloggers, The Anna Edit (#YouTubeMadeMeBuyIt). No regrets! This CC cream is a multitasker—full coverage, broad-spectrum sun protection, a dewy finish, and tons of skin-perfecting ingredients. I apply it using a flat-top kabuki brush, or sometimes my fingers when I’m in a hurry.

Elizabeth & James Nirvana White

I’ve never been a daily perfume wearer, but Nirvana White by Elizabeth and James is starting to change my mind. With peony and muguet (French Lily of the Valley) notes, I love how light, feminine, and floral this perfume is.

 

What are your beauty favorites for this month? Let me know in a comment!

Upside-Down Orange Olive Oil Cake

Olive Oil Citrus Cake | The Northwest Woman

Olive oil cake is a subtle dessert, and I think that’s why I like it so much. It’s not very flashy, it’s easy to make, and isn’t too sweet, which makes it a great after-dinner treat or even the perfect breakfast companion to a big cup of coffee.

I recently had a splendid run-in with this dessert. If you ever find yourself in Vancouver B.C., head to Ask for Luigi for dinner and get the olive oil cake (and a big plate of pasta.) I owe my friends Lisa & Elie a giant “thank you” for the amazing recommendation!

The simplicity of the olive oil cake I had at Ask for Luigi stuck with me for weeks, and put me in the baking mood. I had a small group of friends over for dinner recently, and decided to whip one up for the occasion, and layer on some citrusy-sweetness by making an upside-down orange olive oil cake. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

Olive Oil Citrus Cake | The Northwest Woman

Upside-Down Orange Olive Oil Cake

Prep time: About 30 minutes

Bake time: 50 minutes

Equipment: 

  • Medium/large sauce pan
  • Cake pan (or a springform pan)
  • Whisk and spatula
  • Medium and large mixing bowls

Ingredients:

Citrus 

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 orange, cut into thin, round slices, with the peels on.

Cake

  • 3 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • ¾ cup plain yogurt, whole milk
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.

Start the citrus topping:

  1. Add the 1/2 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a medium/large saucepan. Heat over medium heat and stir until the sugar is mostly dissolved.
  2. Add your thin slices of orange to the mix, laying them out so they don’t overlap in the pan.
  3. Continue to cook the orange on medium heat. The sugar-water mix will start to bubble and cook down into a syrup.
  4. About 4 or 5 minutes into cooking, flip the orange slices over and continue to stir occasionally until the sugar-water mix is cooked down into an amber-colored syrup and the orange sliced start to darken and deepen in color.
  5. Remove the pan from heat.
  6. Using a fork, line the bottom of your cake pan or springform cake pan with the orange slices. I made a second layer of orange slices to fill in gaps along the top.
  7. Pour the syrup from the saucepan into the cake pan to top off the orange slices. Set aside.

Then start the cake mix:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup sugar with 3 teaspoons of orange zest. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar until it’s well combined. This will infuse the citrus flavor into the cake.
  2. Add the 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice and 3/4 cup plain yogurt to the sugar and whisk together.
  3. Mix in the 3 eggs, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: 1½ cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and ¼ teaspoon salt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the larger bowl, slowly mixing it in until everything is combined.
  6. Fold in the 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil using a spatula.
  7. Pour the cake batter into the cake pan to cover the orange bottom layer.

Bake the cake for 50 minutes, then allow it to cool for 10 minutes in the pan.

Remove the cake from the pan to serve by flipping it upside down and carefully sliding it out using a spatula. 

Enjoy!

Photos by Matthew Land.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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