Summer ’16 Mixtape

summer music playlist

Music is great all year round, but there really is something extra awesome about the sounds of your favorite new jams and the classics coming from the speakers while grilling out, sitting poolside, setting off fireworks or just sitting on the porch with a nice, cold drink. It just feels right and it feels even better when you have the right tunes to accompany you. Now that I have an 8 month old son who responds to music pretty well, I have this deep sense of responsibly to introduce him to good music. Actually good music that is actually good (redundant, I know). I don’t care about the top 40, not that it’s all terrible, but I do like music that has substance, gives all the good feels and that can be enjoyed by anyone that we might have over for a cookout, won’t be offensive to those nearby that I might not know at the pool or beach, etc.

Music can really set the tone for whatever occasion it’s being played at and to me, the tone for summer should be laid back, fun, sunny and have a little scent of tequila and bug spray in the air. So, I’m sharing my Summer Music Playlist/Mixtape (direct link) with you all.

But most importantly, I just know that I want to be able to share the discovery of music with my son so that when he listens to those songs later in life, he can be reminded of our time spent together sitting on the porch listening old records, swinging in the hammock listening to Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers” or simply listening to Lord Huron through our AppleTV. These are the songs that I want to remember these moments by. Yes, I know he’s only 8 months old, so maybe it’s more for me right now, but someday, when he is able to recall these moments, it will matter greatly to me, so I am starting him as young as I can so I can assure I don’t miss the first time he begins to really remember these things.

It’s a solid 2.5+ hours of the classics like Tom Petty’s “American Girl”, Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire” and “Your Love” by The Outfield that will give you that nostalgia of hanging out at the neighborhood pool as a kid, hitting those push-pops hard. I’ve also thrown in some of my more recent favorite songs that I feel like help completes this summers soundtrack like St. Lucia’s “Dancing on Glass”, Eliot Smith’s “Come Friday” and The Temper Traps new track “Fall Together”. Oh, just so you know, Eliot Smith is Stings daughter and her voice is incredible.

Have a listen! I promise, you’ll enjoy it.

 

And it’s an obvious statement, but don’t be stupid this 4th of July or anytime any other day of the year or your life. Your family loves you too much to pull a stupid stunt like drinking and driving. Be careful out there, you guys.

summer music playlist

Father’s Day Gift Guide

father's day gift guide

This Father’s Day is certainly going to be special. It’s my first Father’s Day as a father and it also happens to fall on my birthday. My birthday has fallen on Father’s Day in the past of course, but this year it’s a much bigger deal now I am a new father. Although, I’m definitely a lot more excited about it being my first Father’s Day than the part about turning another year older.

father's day gift guide father's day gift guide

As Father’s Day is quickly approaching and Jessica, my wife, has been asking what I’d like for Father’s Day/my birthday, I thought I’d share some ideas in case you haven’t figured out what to get the father in your life. And while Father’s Day isn’t about gifts, or at least it shouldn’t be, saying thank you with something nice, thoughtful and practical means a lot. Let’s be honest though, becoming a father has been the greatest gift in itself and no material possession can beat that, although a few of these might come close. I kid, I kid.

Below is the Father’s Day gift guide I curated to help sparks some ideas and find the perfect gift for this Father’s Day that practically any dad would love and appreciate.  So, no matter what kind of dad you’re celebrating, you’ll definitely find something here.

father's day gift guide

Row One: Camp Stool by Wood & Fault ($165) | The Detroit Arrow from Shinola ($1,100) | Pennants by Oxford Pennant ($20)
Row Two: Fjellkniven Knife by Helle ($114) | Post-Poo Drops from Aesop ($29) | The Homemade Gin Kit by W&P Design ($35)
Row Three: Great American Flask by Jacob Bromwell ($200) | Alarm Flip Clock from Twemco ($130) | Forager 5 Panel from Clyde Oak ($30)
Row Four: Montauk Cotton Rope Hammock from Yellow Leaf Hammocks ($115) | Mississippi Medicine Cologne by D.S. & Durga ($125) | 15″ Toolbox by Best Made Co. ($68)

father's day gift guide

Row One: This Land Tee from Clyde Oak ($28) | Winston Razor Set from Harry’s ($25) | NS2 Air Monitor Speakers by NOCS ($350)
Row Two: Italian Cowhide Wallet from Capsule ($70) | HERO4 Session from GoPro ($200) | Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival by Dave Canterbury ($10)
Row Three: Soapstone Whiskey Glass from American Stoneware ($60) | Dry Day Backpack from Filson ($125) | Water Bottle by Swell ($45)
Row Four: Sphere Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker by Photive ($50) | Emilio Chukka Boot from Nisolo ($178) | Smart Air Quality Monitor by Awair ($197)

father's day gift guide

“It is a wise father that knows his own child” – William Shakespeare

A Guide To: Your Baby’s First Beach Trip

baby's first beach trip

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to summer, or at least I think it does. At least when I was growing up it was the day all the pools opened up, so that was my indication that summer had started. This year, we got a little ambitious and tried to make our summer start at the beginning of May, which in North Carolina, can be hit or miss. This year, we missed the summer part of it. It was pretty chilly and rainy the entire time. To top it off, the rest of the house all got the stomach bug. Somehow Jessica, Forrest and I dodged that one. We still had a ton of fun with our friends when during our early beach trip out on the Outer Banks in Duck, NC, which if you’ve never visited (any of the Outer Banks), you are missing out.

duck, nc beach rental houseRental house we shared with friends in Duck, NC

outer banks nc stormWhat the ocean looked like the majority of the time. No bueno. 

With this trip being our first trip to the beach with Forrest made me think about how much extra stuff we had to think about bringing with us. There was way more than I initially thought. So, in case you’re getting ready to hit the road for your baby’s first beach trip, I’ve compiled a list of things we brought (or wish we had brought) with us on our first beach trip with Forrest and will absolutely be bringing with us next week when we go on Jessica’s family beach trip, also on the NC coast.

baby's first beach trip

Row One: Baby Floatie by Otteroo ($35) | Matisse Swimming Shorts by Bobo Choses ($54) | Ferris Sunglasses from Sons + Daughters ($75)
Row Two: Reversible Grid Blanket by Modern Burlap ($75) | Double Buckle Sandal from Old Navy ($13) | Wet Suit Bag by Flight 001 ($18)
Row Three: Swim Diapers by The Honest Co. ($14) | Carabiner Misting Fan by O2COOL ($8) | Sand Play Set from Green Toys ($19)
Row Four: Travel Crib Light by BabyBjorn ($250) | Brimmed Bonnet by Briar Handmade ($42) | City Market Tote by Apolis ($68)
Row Five: Pop & Tot Fleece Set by Tosan ($75) | Mineral-Based Sunscreen from Babyganics ($17) | Taches Baby Swim Pants by Mini Rodini ($38)

We used our BabyBjorn Travel Crib a ton. We debated bringing it because we had a room with two beds and thought that we might just want to put up “pillow bumpers” and let him sleep in the other bed, but in the end, we felt a lot better about having him in his travel crib. Although we didn’t get use a lot of the others during this first trip, we know we’ll being using them a lot next week, if the weather is nice, which is should be. However, we did wear our Tosan Pop + Tot sweatshirts since it was chilly and we’ll be packing them again this time around for those chilly nights, especially if I end up sun burnt. Oh, and PS, got tons of compliments on those, although Forrest is still working on filling into his.

tosan pop totTosan Pop + Tot sweatshirts

baby's first beach trip

baby's first beach trip

Row One: Beach Towel by Marimekko for Target ($18) | Tundra Cooler by Yeti ($270) | Taches Sun Hat from Mini Rodini ($46)
Row Two: Rash Guard by City Threads ($22) | Mini-Sun Chaise Beach Chair by Telescope Casual ($155) | Baby Carrier One by BabyBjorn ($150)
Row Three: Nest Cam by Nest ($195) | Dusting Powder from Burt’s Bees ($15) | Lilypad Playmat from Nook ($120)
Row Four: Chambray Bucket Hat from Old Navy ($10) | Travel Baby Beach Tent by Kilofly ($30) | Floor Seat by Bumbo ($40)

A few things we initially didn’t think we’d need/want to take and were either glad we did bring or will definitely be bringing this time were our Nest CamLilyPad and Bumbo Floor Seat. Nest Cam came in handy a lot when we’d put Forrest down for a nap or to sleep and didn’t want to have to keep running up and down like four flights of stairs to check on him. We could just check on him from our phones and setting up the Next Cam away from home was super easy. We’ll definitely be bringing it again next week too. The LilyPad was also a lifesaver. Any play mat is essential, especially if your beach house is all hardwoods. There were plenty of times we wanted to put Forrest down on the floor to play, but didn’t want him doing tummy time on the hardwoods. And the Bumbo seat was also a great idea instead of packing up a whole highchair since we could easily move it around all over the house to have Forres hang out in and also feed in him his solids in.

baby's first beach tripModern Burlap Blanket, Briar Handmade Brimmed Bonnet and Bobo Choses swim shorts

Any other good suggestions for first beach trip or summer vacations? Would love to hear about them!

 

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

mother's day gift guide

Mother’s Day has taken on a whole new meaning to me this year. Of course, I always honored it and did nice stuff for my own mother on Mother’s Day while growing up and still give my mom a call and if I’m in town, I’ll take her out to dinner. But, it wasn’t until having a child of my own and watching my wife mother him day in and day out that I was able to truly understand the sacrifice and work that mum’s put into this whole mothering thing. Being able to witness how much a mother truly deals with from the very first day one of becoming a mother, has made me not only appreciate my wife, and the mother of my son, but also my own mother. If I was anything like our son is, then I know I was certainly a handful right away. Showing mother’s how much we appreciate them on one day out of the year obviously isn’t enough and it should’t stop there, but if you want to show the mother in your life a little gratitude and appreciation, then be sure to do something extra nice. In addition to the Mother’s Day gift guide below, you ought to consider giving the mother in your life a break for a day. Whether that means cooking all day, cleaning the house from top to bottom for her, breakfast in bed or maybe consider a spa day for her. Do something that will help her relax and feel appreciated. To go the extra mile, get her something that will make her feel special and that she can remember this Mother’s Day by. So, whether you’re buying for your wife or your own mother, here is my Mother’s Day gift guide!

 

mother's day gift guide

Row One: Diamond Box by Areaware ($15) | Mama Bird T-Shirt by The Bee & The Fox ($28) | Auriga Set from Aesop ($67)
Row Two: Wood Calendar from Artifact Uprising ($30) | Urkel in Black from Konomo ($70) | Pink Love Bath Salts from Fig+Yarrow ($17)
Row Three: Coconut Milk Bath Soak by Herbivore Botanicals ($24) | Lori Tote by Nisolo ($158) | Audio Pillar by Stelle Audio ($300)
Row Four:  Dreamer Jute Nubby Panama Hat from Urban Outfitters ($39) | The Mama Necklace from Rufus & Murdog ($130) | Spirit Lamp Candle by D.S. & Durga ($65)
Row Five: Antidris Cassis Perfume Oil by Maison Louis Marie ($57) | The Writer by Letterfolk ($100) | Alta Fitness Tracker by Fitbit ($130)
Row Six: Turkish Cotton Beach Blanket from Fair Seas Supply Co. ($99) | Muralist Jumpsuit by Madewell ($128) | Serena Sandal from Nisolo ($98)

Best Diaper Bags For Dads

best diaper bags for dads

Who knew finding a diaper bag that wouldn’t clash with me and my wife’s personal styles while carrying around would be so hard? Honestly, I have no idea why so many companies and brands thought they should design diaper bags as if the child itself was the one carrying it around. I searched high and low for the best diaper bags for dads and of course, moms too. Luckily, a few sensible people out there created some better looking diaper bags (The Honest Co., Tosan, Storq) that even most dads wouldn’t mind carrying around.

It’s also become more common and practical to use other types of bags that weren’t originally designed for the use of a diaper bag. Personally, we went this route when we decided on a diaper bag. Mostly because many of the amazingly designed and produced diaper bags we loved were simply too expensive (like the incredibly designed Leader Bag Co. bag shown in this post which goes for $465) for us at the time or weren’t available yet. Plus, we also liked the idea of being able to use whatever we bought again later for something else. We ended up going with the Fajllraven Kanken Daypack for those exact reasons. Not very expensive and can certainly be used for other things. It’s a pretty good quality bag, but it’s not so expensive that we’ll lose our minds if we spill something on it or it gets damaged. If it lasts, which it seems it will, until after Forrest is no longer wearing diapers, we’ll be able to use it again for other purposes or he can even use it for school. The design of it isn’t crazy which helps ensure that it won’t look all that dated in a couple of years, so I am hoping it will still be a rather cool and hip back pack in a few years.

best diaper bags for dadsOur Fjallraven Kanken Daypack 

Before really ever looking into what diaper bag we wanted, I knew I probably didn’t want something that was created specifically as a diaper bag because my experience up until my wife’s pregnancy was that all diaper bags pretty much suck and we both probably wouldn’t be all too excited about carrying some floral or animal print bag that had to be worn over one shoulder or carried by hand.

My criteria for a diaper bag both Jess and I would be happy to lug around looked like this:

  • Large enough to store everything we might need for a full day outing plus some of our own items.
  • Backpack style. Anyone with a kid knows you need your hands free, so carrying a bag was out of the question and cross body/shoulder backs can really do a number on your back and shoulders.
  • Durable and reliable yet lightweight. We wanted something that could take a bit of a beating without feeling like we were carrying our child in it.
  • Has both style and function and was unisex. No reason to sacrifice one for the other, right?
  • Reusable when finished using it to carry diapers and baby stuff.

These were ones we looked into along with some newer ones we’ve discovered since then. You just can’t go wrong with any of these though. Sorry, but not sorry if you start drooling over the Leader Bag Co. or Filson bags. You just might have to work an extra few ours and check under the sofa cushions to get those.

Kanken Daypack by Fjallraven ($75) | Journeyman Backpack by Filson ($320) | Winlaw by Herschel Supply Co. ($90) | Julien Backpack by Leader Bag Co. ($465) | Louie Day Pack by Norse Projects ($155) | Ransel by KAOS ($205) | Lightdays Diaper Bag/Backpack by Olidays ($118) | Carryall by Storq ($115) | Little America Backpack by Herschel Supply Co. ($100) | City Backpack by The Honest Co. ($150) | Survey Backpack by Herschel Supply Co. ($55) | Convertible Adventure Pack by Tosan ($250)

Are there any other great bags you have found out there that folks should look into? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave