This is the first post in a new series, all about sharing with you what products and tools I’m currently appreciating in my daily life. There are a lot of things that I use daily in my home and on the go that make my life either easier or more enjoyable – or both! They’re so good, I want to share them with you and spread the happiness. This is a round-up of what’s currently “in my bag” for my daily travels and “on my counter” in our home.
What’s in my bag
There are some things I carry with me every day. These days, before I leave the house, I make sure my bag is stocked with a certain number of essential items. When I go out with my son, I take my diaper bag, and when I go out without him, I take one of my favorite purses.
First of all, let me tell you about this diaper bag. I have been carrying this Ju-Ju-Be BFF bag for more than two years now, because it so easy to carry every day and meet all of my organization needs for traveling with baby or toddler! Lucky for me, my dear friend recommended this bag to me before my little one was born. As soon as they came out with black and white graphic patterns with gold metal hardware, I knew it was for me!
So check it out if you are in the market for an excellent diaper bag. This one meets all the organization needs and is comfortable to carry as a backpack or shoulder bag. I know a lot of my friends switched over to a purse after carrying a diaper bag with baby for a while, and other friends have been through about seven diaper bags after having their babies, trying to find one that will suit their needs. I say, get this one, and simplify your life!
This is what’s in my bag right now:
1 Two Ju-Ju-Be “Be Quick” organizing wristlets
I use one for diapering supplies and one for my personal essentials. When I need to switch from diaper bag to purse, I simply pull out one of my Be Quick wristlets and toss it into my purse. This usually happens at the last second before I run out the door, so speed counts!
2 C.O. Bigelow lip balms
I’ve never been much of a lipstick person. I remember back in high school trying to find a color in my mom’s stash of lipsticks that would suit me for homecoming dances. I just never felt myself in a bold lip color, and I haven’t yet found one that feels comfortable on, either. Given, I haven’t looked for one in years, so I’m willing to take suggestions on the latest and greatest thing to try! Lip glosses are comfortable to me, and I’m enjoying this one for every day and this one with a little shimmer.
3 Contigo travel mug
For all the coffee. Every day. I never before had a coffee mug that kept my drink hot for hours! These Contigo stainless steel travel mugs have been the best, and my husband and I both use them constantly. It’s just what I need when I’m busy running around and can’t stop to drink my coffee all at once.
4 Aden + Anais muslin swaddle blanket
We have used these swaddle blankets in so many ways since my son was a tiny babe. They are butter-soft muslin and just the right weight. Of course, we started out using them to swaddle him as a newborn. But then, as he grew, we kept using them even after he was swaddle-free. These blankets have been used as nursing covers, stroller blankets, cozy comfort blankets in the car. I even wrapped one around my neck like a scarf once in a cold restaurant. I only wish they would have had these prints when our baby was small! They are beautiful.
5 Coconut and aloe lotion
This is a little DIY beauty product we enjoy every day. As the weather turns colder and the air in our home is drier, we are more in need of some help in the moisture department. It’s simple, natural, effective, and we like it a lot! I shared the recipe and some tips here.
6 Swiss Army knife
I originally received this pocket knife as a gift, and I’ve been carrying it since 2006. It has been a help to me more times than I can count. If you aren’t carrying a Swiss Army knife in your bag, seriously, what are you waiting for? I’ve used it to open wine bottles, cut fruit on the road, open packages, trim a nail, cut a thread. And it’s fun to pull it out to come to the rescue when your friend or significant other needs a hand and isn’t quite as prepared. I’d even go so far as to recommend this as a gift for your girlfriends this holiday season!
7 Butipod wipes case
I never wanted to carry a disposable wipes packages in my bag. I prefer something slimmer, so I can carry just the amount of wipes I may need, and not a whole large package. These Butipod wipes cases fit the bill. I keep them in the Ju-Ju-Be Be Quick wristlet with a few diapers and diaper cream, and we are good to go. I expect I will continue to carry one of these in my bag long after the diapering years are over! What mom doesn’t need a few wipes on hand?
8 OXO Tot snack disk
These snack disks are perfect for carrying a small amount of snacks on the go for your baby or toddler, keeping them fresh and from getting smashed in your bag. My son was able to hold onto this snack disk easily from a young age, and they are a slim size to fit into your bag comfortably, too. A winner.
9 Itzy Ritzy wet bag
Something to hold the bib, the snacks, and an ice pack when you need it, these wet bags are my secret to success in transporting snacks from place to place for my boy and for me too! I happened upon this solution, and it’s been working for me ever since. In a pinch, throw messy baby clothes or a bathing suit in this wet bag, and keep the rest of your diaper bag or carryall clean and dry. (Along with seven other essentials you might not have considered, I would list these wet bags on any complete registry for a new baby!)
What’s on my counter
These are some of my favorite things we are using on a daily basis in the kitchen and around the house.
1 Anjou essential oils diffuser
I’m just diving into the world of essential oils, and I’ve just started diffusing them in my home this week! We got this diffuser, and I’ve used lavender essential oil in it the last two days. I love it already, and my son thinks the colored light show is pretty entertaining. I started with lavender for calm – who doesn’t need more calm in the home?? My next step will be to try diffusing some different oils to see how they work for our family.
2 808 wireless speaker
When we’re on the first floor of the house, we usually stream music through the stereo. But when we are working in the garage or in one of the rooms upstairs, a little bluetooth speaker like this one makes the mood more jolly!
3 Reusable soap dispensers
We have these plastic pump bottles in the kitchen and these glass pump bottles in the bathrooms. I didn’t like the look of a bottle of dish soap or one of those throw-away hand soap dispensers sitting out. The countertops look so much more streamlined with a simple and clean-looking soap dispenser on the counter! These have been working great for us for at least a year now. I appreciate them in my daily routine.
4 Glass jars for coffee beans and grounds
I’ve had our set of glass canisters for several years now, and they are working fine. But if I were buying a new set, I would get these! As soon as we bring a bag of coffee home from the store, I empty it into one of our glass jars, and we scoop the beans or grounds from there. It’s so much easier and neater than opening and folding up a bag every time. It keeps the coffee fresher, too. Pretty and useful storage is a win for me! (P.S. I label our coffee varieties with electrical tape and Sharpie markers. Use what you have!)
5 Keurig 2.0 K475 Plus coffee brewer
I held out for a long, long time, brewing coffee in a regular drip coffee pot and avoiding the Keurig routine. When our drip coffee maker failed, we used a french press for a few months. The coffee tasted great, but who has the time for that in the morning with a toddler running around!
Settling the issue, my husband got me this Keurig 2.0 K475 Plus for my birthday this year. I still don’t like spending extra cash on those little plastic cups of coffee! I put my own coffee grounds into the reusable K-cup and reusable carafe pods most of the time. But this machine sure is convenient, and even to brew one cup using the reusable pod is quick and easy. I like this carafe for the weekends, when my husband and I are both drinking coffee in the morning.
Incidentally, the handle on our carafe got busted off the pot just this morning in an unfortunate “toddler holding the carafe then mysteriously dropping it onto the floor while becoming distracted looking at the pretty new color-changing essential oils diffuser” situation. Such is life. I’m getting ready to give it the DIY (super glue) treatment tomorrow.
6 MagnaFun animal magnets
Ok, these magnets are technically on the refrigerator and not on the counter. But they are so attractive and fun to play with for my son that I had to mention them. We have the wild animals set, but there are a lot of other nice-looking sets, too (race cars, dinosaurs, sea creatures, something for everyone it seems). Our boy received them as a gift from his thoughtful cousin, and they’ve had lasting play time! Plus, you need something to hold up the precious artwork made by your little ones!
Just don’t let your kids catch you putting their construction paper moose in the recycling bin after it’s been proudly displayed for two weeks. “Mom, don’t throw it away!” That thing will be going back up on the fridge in no time. Shhh…putting the artwork directly into the recycling can on trash pick-up day lends better to a smooth transition.
What essentials are you carrying in your bag right now? What’s on your counter at home that makes your life better every day?