Newborn Essentials

She’s here!!! Well, she’s actually been here for a couple of months but I’m just now feeling like myself again and feel ready to write this post. The newborn and postpartum stages were ROUGH (more on postpartum and nursing later), but we got through them and that’s thanks to some really great support and tools.

I’ll preface this by saying you do not NEED anything on this list. Babies are resilient and amazing and you are an incredible mom whether you use these or not. This was what worked for us, so I hope it works for you, too!

Additionally, this post is not sponsored but I would recommend using Babylist for your registry. It groups all your registries into one list that allows guests to price match and ship directly to you.

Nanit Baby Monitor

The Nanit is first on the list because it is by far, hands down the best gift we received. Vivianne slept in our room maybe a total of three nights before we couldn’t take it anymore. Love her to death, but I’m convinced she is the loudest sleeper in the entire world. We moved her to a swing (that’s also on this list) in the living room so we could take shifts sleeping, but even that got old very quickly when my husband went back to work. Enter: Nanit.

Vivi was three weeks old when we moved her to the crib in her room. Now before you get all preachy, her room is approximately 10 feet away from ours, and the insights on this baby monitor are better than any monitoring I could do on my own. It monitors her breathing (it will sound a massive alarm if her breathing stops), the room temperature (which is important because of the risk of SIDS), humidity, her sleep patterns, and I can see it all on my phone. Even better, it has night vision so I can see her more than when she was in the bassinet beside me, and the app has night mode which allows the monitor sound to play behind other apps and even when my phone screen is locked. It gives me so much peace knowing she’s safely sleeping, and I can go about my way doing all kinds of fun things like sleep and showers.

Nespresso Machine

From here on out I will always gift new parents with a Nespresso machine. This beauty showed up INSIDE our house upon arriving home the hospital (true story, I had no idea who dropped it off and it was a happy mystery for weeks). As someone who even before baby had the bad habit of letting a coffee go cold, this has been a Godsend. When Vivi starts to wake I prep an espresso with coconut milk creamer and by the time her diaper is changed my coffee is ready and I’m all set to nurse her.

Life hack: purchase this secondhand. Ours is used and it doesn’t make a single difference of how much it costs – just that it makes coffee that packs a punch. Also, Sam’s Club and Walmart sell the pods in a party pack for way cheaper than you can get anywhere else.

Mylicon Gas Drops

Amazon.com: Infants' Mylicon Gas Relief Drops for Infants and Babies, Dye  Free Formula, 1 Fluid Ounce: Health & Personal Care

Prior to having a baby I didn’t think about silly things like The Witching Hour. Vivianne was on no sort of schedule, so I was used to nursing her to sleep when she got fussy. Gas pains threw us into a tailspin; no amount of nursing, shushing or cuddling could stop the tears. According to her doctor, babies aren’t born with the ability to squeeze their sphincter which makes bowel movements painful. Our girl had a heavy dose of the gas pains and through eliminating gaseous foods from my diet and adding Mylicon drops, they lessened a bit i.e. they stopped after 3 months and could have been something she just had to grow out of but they made me feel more in control.

Windi Gas and Colic Reliever for Babies

Amazon.com: Windi Gas and Colic Reliever for Babies (10 Count) by Frida Baby:  Health & Personal Care

Speaking of gas pains, the fridababy Windi truly works for quick relief. Pro tip: buy the knockoff version from Amazon to save money because these aren’t reusable and I was using up to three per day at the height of the screams. Pair this with bicycle kicks and massaging baby’s belly (tummy time helps, too) for maximum effect.

Graco DuoGlider Gliding Swing

Enter: how I managed to get any sleep and housework done the first three months of Vivianne’s life (also mentioned above in the first tip). This gliding swing vibrates as well, and that deadly combination keeps baby asleep for hours (true story: I had to go to the doctor in Gainesville so Kendrick stayed home to watch her, and she slept in this for a full three hours until I returned home). Even now it’s the only way her dad and babysitters can get her to sleep. Swaddle, feed, pop a paci in and voilà, a sleeping baby. ALSO, this reclines so if you have a baby with reflux or likes to sit up (Vivi is both), this is a game changer.

Snuggle Me Organics Lounger

Confession: Vivi still sleeps in this inside her crib and she’s almost six months old. Safe sleep, I know, but she doesn’t roll and feels so snuggled it’s the only way we can get sleep. I’ve tried countless times to remove it and she can tell she’s not being hugged aka starts crying so I cave. I know I’ll have to bite the bullet soon and remove it all together but until that day I’m in sleepytime bliss. You can be, too! It’s also great for naps and lounging around the house while you do fun things like fold laundry beside her.

p.s. I AM NOT RECOMMENDING YOU LET YOUR BABY SLEEP IN THIS UNSUPERVISED, I am simply sharing how my family uses it. How you use it is totally up to your discretion and comfort level.

Muslin Burp Cloths

Babies throw up. A lot. I’ve found these are the thickest, most absorbent burp cloths. We were gifted two packs and I bought two more, so I’ll say buy as many as the days of the week you won’t want to do laundry (there are a lot).

Backpack Diaper Bag

Diaper bags are necessary, but I would fully recommend getting a backpack version. As a mom you need all the hands free, so putting this on and not having to worry about it going rogue and falling off a shoulder is a plus. Also, dads don’t mind carrying backpacks as much as purses!

Extra Car Seat Base

A common misconception is the idea that you need two car seats. You do not. We take Vivianne to daycare splitting the responsibilities, so we each have a car seat base and wherever Vivi goes, the car seat goes. Car seats can be very expensive and shouldn’t be bought secondhand (safety recommendations change and if the car seat has been damaged in an accident it isn’t safe for your baby). Buying an extra base instead of an extra car seat will save you hundreds.

Sound Machine

A sound machine is a MUST HAVE as far as I’m concerned. We have the Hatch Rest, but they now carry the Rest+, which will grow with your child’s needs and I would recommend spending the extra $20. We live on a very loud street and had a one-month-old on New Year’s, so this thing was a life saver. She sleeps through every sound (we cook dinner after she goes to bed and she has slept through pans banging together), and we don’t have to worry about walking on eggshells. I’d also recommend getting a travel sound machine, so baby can sleep on the go. Vivi is now trained that when she hears that sound she starts to lull into a sleepy state. You can also use a white noise playlist on Spotify or YouTube, but I’ve found that I like to have my phone free for audiobooks and podcasts while she sleeps and I can’t listen to them if I’m using it to play the white noise.

Knotted Sleep Gowns

Trust me when I say there is nothing worse than changing a baby’s diaper in the middle of the night and them wanting to play. The horror. My momma shared the wonder that is sleep gowns with me and I’ll never go back to button down pajamas (the only thing worse than the above mentioned). Instead of jostling baby, you simply slide the gown up, change the diaper and tie again. Simple, easy, and baby goes right back to sleep.

Thick Diaper Cream

I have tried every diaper cream. Every. Single. One. I love Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. It’s thick and sticks to baby, whereas a lot of them slide right off or aren’t thick enough to create a seal between her booty and poopy. Diaper rash is so painful and sad to see your baby suffering, so I’d say find one you like early on and stick with it. Pro tip: I’m obsessed with this diaper cream applicator and it’s ability to keep my hands clean (and not waste a wipe). I’ve also used this applicator for travel and it is SO handy to have on hand.

Babywearing Carrier or Sling

First off, you do not need to buy any baby carrier new. I bought our ergobaby structured carrier on Facebook Marketplace for $20 and was gifted a Wildbird ring sling. I love both for different reasons: ergobaby is more structured and was a lifesaver for travel where I needed more back support (get the newborn insert for the early days), and the ring sling is perfect for every day wear. In her infancy when Vivianne cried nonstop from gas pans, she would immediately fall asleep on my chest when I put her in the sling. The position of her knees up in an “M” position and her bum down forced the gas out and the bouncing of my walk and heartbeat lulled her to sleep right away. Let me tell you, you will pay any amount of money to get a sobbing child to sleep, and these you can get secondhand at both Facebook Marketplace and Poshmark.

Anti-colic Bottles

As mentioned above, Vivianne had awful gas pains (many people call this colic), and they usually got worse when taking a bottle. We invested in so many bottles and this is our top choice now. The shape helps eliminate gas, mimics breastfeeding and helps prevent nipple confusion, and protects the nutrients in your breastmilk when heating. She’s since graduated to the larger silicone option, but the original design was critical in those early days.

I could go on and on, but if we choose to have another baby these are the items I would definitely invest in again. Like I said at the top, you do not NEED any of these things, but they certainly make things a lot easier in the first few months. Please know you are the best parent for your baby and as overwhelming as this season is, things WILL get easier as they age. For now, focus on leaving the house once a day (even if it’s just to the end of the street) and try to sleep when the baby sleeps (I know it’s tempting to watch Netflix but you need your rest for the long nights). You are more important now than ever before, and your job as a parent is so valued. Good luck and reach out to me if you have any questions or need advice.

xoxo – Kait

My Pregnancy Must-Haves

We’re in the home stretch of my pregnancy (woohoo)! As we near the end I’m looking back on items I couldn’t have lived without. Pregnancy changed my priorities in ways I never could’ve imagined, but these products helped save my sanity (and body) along the way. I hope this helps you if you’re expecting!

  1. I’d heard a lot about bras but something I hadn’t really considered was maternity underwear. As my belly grew and even my high waisted underwear stopped fitting, these ended up becoming one of my “can’t live without” items. I’d recommend sizing up for a little extra comfort.
  2. Toward the end of my second trimester I had a day where I felt really light headed and sick – turns out I was low in iron. Low iron levels make it difficult to absorb water, which left me dehydrated. These, along with an iron supplement, totally took care of that problem and I’ve continued to use one a day since.
  3. I’ve always been a fan of Zella leggings, so I expected to like these for workouts. I was right – I ended up buying 3 pair. They stay up and are polished enough to wear with a sweater or to a workout.
  4. I work in an office setting, so I needed comfortable shoes that would still look polished. These heels have lasted my entire pregnancy, and they’re even more comfortable than some of my flats, including my tieks. The ankle strap keeps me secure while the arch provides the support I need to not get achy feet.
  5. I went through A LOT of maternity jeans and only kept this pair. They have just enough give without feeling like leggings and fit better than the pair of Madewell jeans I ordered and returned.
  6. Maternity bras are something I invested in pretty early on, including this Natori bra and this Spanx bra, but my favorite wound up being this soft cup bra. As my belly grew bigger, it wound up being the only bra that didn’t make my ribs ache.
  7. I’ve never been a big soda drinker but after giving up everything but water, this flavored sparkling water was such a treat.
  8. I cannot tell you how much I love these pajamas. I have them in the dress version, too, and they’re the first thing I change into when I get home. I love that they have front buttons, which means they’ll be great for breastfeeding, too.
  9. Living in Florida, shorts are a necessity and I have a pretty curvy lower body. Because of this, I bought and returned a lot of shorts. These are the best I found, along with these jean shorts.
  10. You can never go wrong with a little black dress, and pregnancy is no different. This dress goes great on its own, with a kimono, paired with a t-shirt or button down.
  11. Last but definitely not least, this pregnancy pillow has saved my sleep. I had one prior to this but it wasn’t quite thick enough. This pillow had just enough fluff to support my hips and my growing bump. I haven’t suffered from insomnia at all and I can’t say it’s because of this pillow, but I also can’t say it’s not because of this pillow.

And that’s all she wrote! I’ll be packing my hospital bag soon and I’ll be sure to detail what I did and didn’t use at the hospital in after the baby comes. Thank you so much for reading, and if you had something that was essential to your pregnancy, I’d love to hear in the comments.

Love y’all! XO

Kait

Special Announcement

In spite of the dumpster fire that is 2020, I have some good news…

We’re expecting our first child in November – a little girl! I’m 23 weeks along with this little babe and it’s the best silver lining I could’ve asked for.

Because I haven’t shared about this on the blog since we found out in March (!!!) I wanted to share a little recap about how the first trimester fared.

dress from Old Navy | Kendrick’s hat is one I picked out long before we were married and saved for the day I would tell him I was pregnant – almost 3 years ago!

Pregnancy in the middle of a pandemic has been… interesting, to say the least. We found out we were expecting just a few days after my 28th birthday (coincidentally the day Florida imposed a stay at home order) and a day after my brother and sister-in-law’s baby shower (I now have a nephew, too)!

To be honest, that stay at home order couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Just a week after we found out we were expecting, the morning sickness hit with a vengeance. If you’ve been pregnant, you know morning sickness is an all day occurrence and it’s definitely not for the weak – which I’ve decided I am!

I absolutely hate being sick and as someone who suffers from motion sickness, nausea is my mortal enemy. Add in a daily dose of headaches, growing pains and heartburn, and you have a combination that would force you to stay home even without a state mandate. Unfortunately, this also meant I didn’t stay as active as I would have hoped for the first three months and put on a little extra cushion for babe to cuddle.

Now that we’re six months into pregnancy and firmly in the second trimester, I’m feeling much better and have started taking 1-1 pilates sessions to tone and prepare for babe’s arrival. I’d say the biggest downside to being pregnant in a pandemic is that Kendrick has only been allowed to attend one doctor’s appointment with me. We’re not sure what delivery will look like, but we’re going in with very little expectations – just praying for a healthy momma and baby.

I got by on my pre-pregnancy clothes up until 22 weeks, but now I’ve officially transitioned to maternity wear and will be sharing some of my favorites, along with how we told grandparents, my must-haves for pregnancy, and how to plan a virtual baby shower in the coming weeks.

I would love to hear if you guys have any more questions or if there is anything else you’d want me to fill you in on. Please leave any questions below in the comments!

Thank you for being part of this exciting time for us. This baby was not a surprise, it was what we were hoping for in 2020 and are so overwhelmed with gratitude that we get to raise this bundle of joy.

Love y’all! XO

Kait

Valentine’s Gift Inspo

A version of this article originally appeared in the February 2020 Ocala Magazine.

Stumped? Here’s some creative inspiration to surprise your special someone with a sweet something.

February is for lovers. This decade, elevate your Valentine’s Day plans and get her what she really wants. Whether it’s a designer bag or an afternoon exploring downtown, Ocala has you covered.

Food Tour

Uncover a vast spectrum of cooking styles in Ocala’s historic downtown. Brick City Food Tours visit five local tasting locations in the downtown neighborhood. Between samples, your informative guides will share their experiences of local customs, historic stories and specialty shops. This walking tour is ideal for lovers eager to discover the culinary secrets and traditions that compose the horse capital of the world — book on Airbnb Experiences.

Wine Making Class

The Corkscrew Winery now offers swine-making classes, which turns the casual wine lover into a chemist. Book a private class and craft your favorite style or join a group of other wine connoisseurs by booking on Groupon.com.

Dance Together

Become the dancers you always wanted to be. Move in sync during a dance class with Ocala’s Arthur Murray Dance Centers, which specializes in teaching couples how to dance. Located in downtown Ocala, your first dance lesson is free.

Designer Taste

All it takes is to step into one of these elegant boutiques and any shopper will land on the perfect, fashionable gift. Shannon Roth Collection features Julie Vos and Theia jewelry, Current Air and Mod Ref clothing, and home goods designed by the talened Jan Barboglio. Steps away, Agapanthus boasts Pandora jewelry gift sets, Longchamp handbags and sought-after candles like Voluspa and the Capri Blue Volcano.

Savor the Cook

Give the gift of zest and bring home the cooking of chef Albert Barrett. The woman who savors flavors will love anything from Stella’s Modern Pantry – handcrafted chocolates, Caymus wine, specialty cheese, caviar spread and more.

Sentimental Selection

Gallery on Magnolia is home to hand-crafted “spirit tiles.” Each tile begins with wood and is wrapped with copper and a glass infusion then fired to create a work of art. Each displays a glistening scene paired with a synonymous quote, and the E.E. Cummings “I care your heart with me” tile is perfect for a special woman.

Art Aficionado

Ocala’s art scene is booming, and art enthusiasts are sure to love hand-selected pieces. Check out the First Friday Art Walk on February 7 to explore Ocala’s native art scene. Art devotees will love the innovative work of Ocala’s local artists.

Water Adventure

Silver Springs State Park is a natural wonder right here in Ocala. Spend the day on the water taking in the springs by paddleboard, canoe, kayak or glass-bottom boat. It’s perfect for the couples who loves to get outdoors, and as an added bonus: finish the day sharing an ice cream cone at Paradise Treats.

Commemorate Your Wedding

The creative team at Marley Mae Market & Paperie is known for thinking outside the box. They’re bringing their A game for Valentine’s Day with custom pieces to commemorate your wedding day. Choose from a custom print of you wedding vows or first dance song lyrics and remind your lady of the first day of the rest of your lives.

A Night at the Theater

What’s more romantic than a night at the ballet? The Reilly Arts Center hosts Dance Alive National Ballet on February 21 as they present “Loveland.” This ballet is inspired by the pull of the moon, a love story that blends love, romance and passion.

Be Inspired

Ocala is host to an award-winning museum, home to approximately 18,000 objects in its permanent collection and features temporary traveling exhibits. At the Appleton Museum of Art, take in artwork from Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa and more as you cozy up to your partner.

Horse Capital of the World

What could be more fitting for a romantic day out than horseback riding in the horse capital of the world? Book a private ride or join a group and tap into your adventurous side with Cactus Jack’s Trail Rides. We hear some of the best bonding experiences come from experiences that test your comfort zone.

Ocala is home to a wide variety of ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day whether your partner prefers gifts or quality time. Regardless of how you celebrate, what matters most is who you share it with.

Photos by Brittany Bishop Photography.

Valentine’s Day Movies: Julia Style

julia-for-blog

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

Ah, romance. It might surprise you that this true crime loving feminist is a sucker for a good chick flick but, alas, I’m multifaceted. Growing up I lived for the in depth story lines I’d create for my Barbie dolls and doodled my crushes’ names in my notebook at school. I have a running list of names I’d like to name my children (I should be more embarrassed than I am to admit it’s three pages long), and I’m a big fan of how Kait and Ken sound together.

When my momma shared her love of Julia Roberts with me, something inside me just related with her characters. She was quirky, beautiful, quick witted and introspective. As a young woman, her films bridged the gap of romance between Beauty and the Beast to Sleeping with the Enemy. Maybe that’s why all these years later I never tire of watching the same Julia movies over and over – especially in February.

I know Valentine’s Day is a holiday created by Hallmark but hear me out: what’s wrong with taking an extra day to make sure the people you love are celebrated? Whether you’re celebrating with your lover, your girlfriends, or your family, a Julia Roberts movie is the perfect flick to bring your night full circle. To prove my point she’s the universal choice for movie night: even my husband loves Eat Pray Love!

What are your favorite movies to watch on Valentine’s Day? I’d love to hear your recs!

xo – Kait

50 Under $50 Uncommon Gift Guide

I always have the best intentions when it comes to holiday gifts but somehow always wait until the last minute and scramble to find something truly special. This year I’ve started my research early and found 50 creative gifts that are memorable and fun – and all under $50!

Uncommon Goods is a site I stumbled upon a few years ago and always come back to for inspiration, which is why they’re my pick for the best place to find thought-provoking gifts that the recipient will feel was selected just for them. I hope you enjoy this holiday gift guide and find the perfect gift for the special people in your life!

Get ahead of the game and shop these uncommon gifts!

1 – Minute Mimosa Sugar Cube Trio

Minute Mimosa Sugar Cube Trio
Drop one of these cubes into a glass of bubbly and watch it turn into a mimosa or bellini cocktail.

2 – Handblown Glass Olive Oil Pourer

Handblown Glass Olive Oil Pourer
Crafted in three colorways, these oil pourers were inspired by the artist’s trip to Greece.

3 – Swimming Koi Sculptures

Tyson Weiss’s handmade, deep blue ceramic koi fish conjure a dreamy, underwater scene in a garden or yard.

4 – Popcorn Seasoning Set

Popcorn Seasoning Set
David & Patricia Beets’ mouthwatering handmade seasonings turn popcorn into a special snacking occasion.

5 – Cat Eyeglasses Holder

Cat Eyeglasses Holder
This hand-carved kitty sits by your side, eliminating those frantic, blurry-eyed searches for your specs.

6 – Magnetic Poster Frame

Magnetic Poster Frame
A simple, pretty alternative to tape, putty, or expensive glass frames.

7- Breakfast Jar with Easy Measure Lid

Breakfast Jar with Easy Measure Lid
Your healthy overnight oats habit deserves a convenient container that preps, chills, carries, and serves.

8 – Collapsible Water Bottle

Collapsible Water Bottle
A great companion for travel and hiking hydration, this bottle breaks down small enough to fit in a pocket.

9 – Hand Knit Dog Ornaments

Hand Knit Dog Ornaments
Each cuddly, palm-sized hound, lab, pug and more yips to life with the needlework of fair trade artisans.

10 – Vietnamese Pho Complete Dinner Kit

Vietnamese Pho Complete Dinner Kit
Cook the aromatic Vietnamese classic in 45 minutes without having to track down exotic ingredients.

11 – Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
Send your little one (or you) off to dreamland with the stories of 100 strong women in this inspirational book.

12 – Lazy Wood Spoon

Lazy Wood Spoon
Jonathan Simons’ cleverly designed tool gives you and your spoon a rest.

13 – Do Anything Smart Button

Do Anything Smart Button
Click this coin-size button to find your phone, order a pizza, water the lawn, send an SOS, and lots more.

14 – Two Lies and a Truth Card Game

Two Lies and a Truth Card Game
These “facts” all sound real, but two of them aren’t true at all.

15 – Sleepy Cat Paperweight

Sleepy Cat Paperweight
Bring kitty to work with April Wagner’s hand-blown glass paperweights in calico and orange or brown tabby.

16 – Orbit Oil and Vinegar Set

Orbit Oil and Vinegar Set
This cruet holds oil and vinegar in two mouth-blown glass bubbles, one inside the other.

17 – Homemade Gin Kit

Homemade Gin Kit
Embrace the do-it-yourself spirit by making a batch of aromatic gin using your favorite vodka as the base.

18 – Zodiac Perfume

Zodiac Perfume
Inspired by the signs of the zodiac, each is blended to capture the spirit of your celestial makeup.

19 – Cocktail Spoon Straws

Cocktail Spoon Straws
Scoop, stir, and sip frozen cocktails, ice cream floats, and smoothies with one clever, reusable utensil.

20 – Women’s Organizing Travel 4-pack

Women's Organizing Travel 4-pack
Printed with images of what’s inside, these travel bags keep your to-go essentials stylishly contained.

21 – Do You Look Like Your Dog Matching Game

Do You Look Like Your Dog Matching Game
This charming memory game will have you matching up pooches and their peoples.

22 – Beard Bib & Shaper Set

Beard Bib & Shaper Set
This set of grooming accessories helps you shape your beard and skip the sink full of whiskers.

23 – Market Tote

Market Tote
This sturdy canvas and vegan leather tote with multiple compartments protects your market fresh produce.

24 – Starry Night Solar Stake

Starry Night Solar Stake
Stephen Kitras uses his own artistry to bring some of van Gogh’s magic to life in your own garden.

25 – Vase Bookends

Vase Bookends
These handmade flower vases are designed to hold books between them, or desktop tools inside them.

26 – Zodiac Profile Coasters

Zodiac Profile Coasters
Astrological signs shine on these coasters. Each set shows symbols representing its featured zodiac.

27 – Twist & Shake Droplet Colander

Twist & Shake Droplet Colander
Combining the functions of colander and salad spinner, this ingenious tool is a major improvement on both.

28 – Windowsill Garden Tumblers

Windowsill Garden Tumblers
These colored glass planter kits contain all novices need to grow and enjoy indoor plants in small spaces.

29 – Mimosa Diagram Glassware

Mimosa Diagram Glassware - Set of 2
What do you get when one part orange juice and two parts bubbly combine? A reason to celebrate!

30 – Szechuan Chili Oil

Szechuan Chili Oil
Alex Sorenson’s insanely crave-y chili oil is the condiment of Szechuan flavor-seekers’ dreams.

31 – Coconut Fiber Whale Planter

Coconut Fiber Whale Planter
Thar she grows! This charming coconut fiber planter is sustainably made by artisans in the Philippines.

32 – Stay Tray | Adjustable Serving Tray

Stay Tray
Strategically arranged shock cords keep plates and cups from sliding around on this party serving tray.

33 – Reclaimed Guitar String Bracelet

Reclaimed Guitar String Bracelet
Naomi Celestin brings music and art together in these wearable riffs on blue and gold.

34 – Self-Care Chamomile Tea Gift Set

Self-Care Chamomile Tea Gift Set
This giftable set lets you grow, steep, and sip your own chamomile tea.

35 – Rose Quartz De-Puffing Eye Tool

Rose Quartz De-Puffing Eye Tool
De-puff and soothe your eyes with this hand-polished rose quartz tool.

36 – Incense Self-Storage & Burner

Incense Self-Storage & Burner
Not your hippie aunt’s incense burner.

37 – Karaoke Microphone Speaker

Karaoke Microphone Speaker
Bar? Crowd? Cords? You don’t need any of ’em to sing karaoke thanks to this portable little wonder.

38 – Give Back To Nature Candles

Give Back To Nature Candles
Follow the fragrance to your favorite places on the planet and create a better world.

39 – Self-Watering Lavender Grow Kit

Self-Watering Lavender Grow Kit
For the dreamer of English Gardens filled with lovely lavender.

40 – Skin Renewing Masks

Skin Renewing Masks
Mix up a mask with these organic ingredients and let the heavenly smells wash over you.

41 – Ballerina Herbal Warming Slippers

Ballerina Herbal Warming Slippers
Soothe your sensitive soles with these comfy, plush and aromatic spa-style relaxation slippers.

42 – Bluetooth Speaker & Water Bottle

Bluetooth Speaker & Water Bottle
Get your dance *and* your drink on (we’re talking H2O here) with this speaker slash reusable bottle.

43 – Natural Henna Temporary Tattoo Freestyle Kit

Natural Henna Temporary Tattoo Freestyle Kit
Create beautiful pain-free, temporary body art with this freestyle henna tattoo kit.

44 – Pho Noodle Bowl w/Chopsticks

Pho Noodle Bowl w/Chopsticks
This three-in-one noodle dish set turns a easy, healthy meal into a delicious feast.

45 – Live Streaming Selfie Light

Live Streaming Selfie Light
Get that do-it-yourselfie glow.

46 – 10-Piece Lip Balm Gift Set

10-Piece Lip Balm Gift Set
Lip balm enthusiasts, we’ve got your fix: this set made from all-natural goat’s milk and essential oils.

47 – Wood Smoke Grilling Planks

Wood Smoke Grilling Planks
Grilling is great, wood plank grilling’s even better. Soak, smoke and enjoy the applause.

48 – Glass Herb Keeper

Glass Herb Keeper
It’ll keep what’s left of your bunch perky for longer—we tried it, and our herbs lasted for over a week.

49 – Cala Earrings

Cala Earrings
This bold, brass interpretation of fringe-y tassel earrings helps its Kenyan maker earn a good living.

50 – Awaken And Refresh Shower Steamers

Awaken And Refresh Shower Steamers
Anusha Moodley’s essential oil-infused aromatherapy tablets turn your shower into a mood-transforming spa.

Ocala Christmas Photo Locations

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! In Ocala it’s still pretty warm, but we’re all faking it by decorating early and forcing joy on everyone we meet. One thing that’s right on schedule though, is planning our holiday photos.

As someone who has taken her fair share of Christmas card photos in Ocala, this year I started to feel like I’ve run out of new locations. We don’t get snow here, so we really have to get creative with where we muster holiday cheer. I put on my thinking cap and assembled a list of my favorite local locations for a festive Christmas card.

Silver Springs State Park

Glass Bottom Boats, a sweet shop filled with festive goodies and romantic pergolas covered in ivy. What could be more Ocala?

Kandy Kane Christmas Treeland

We don’t get snow in Ocala, but we do get Christmas trees! This is one of my favorite galleries to look back on because it was a true experience. We cut down our own tree and decorated it that night!

Appleton Museum of Art

I love the regal feeling of this location. The Appleton boasts a reflecting pool, gorgeous marble walls, a garden courtyard, floor to ceiling windows and, of course, breathtaking art galleries.

Downtown Ocala

Ocala’s historic downtown is one of my favorite parts of the city. There’s gorgeous architecture with every turn, and now that the original brick has been restored it feels even more revived.

Your Local Park

Ocala is home to some beautiful local parks! This park is just off 11th Street in the downtown Ocala neighborhood, and there are so many more like it. Just to name a few: Tuscawilla Park, Baseline Road Trailhead and Sholom Park.

After you’ve chosen a location, then it’s time to select outfits! Stay tuned for my next post, where I’ll break down outfits for every location. Where is your favorite local photo location?

Spotlight: Brick City Food Tours

I started a business!

Brick City Food Tours is an idea that was born out of a search on Airbnb on a weekday afternoon. I was feeling uninspired and dreaming of the day I found *the* thing that would light my fire.

I searched Airbnb Experiences, curious about what adventures or classes were offered in Ocala. It honestly surprised me when I saw there wasn’t much available. That’s when it hit me; my husband, Kendrick, and I went on a food tour in Chicago before we moved back to Ocala and absolutely loved it.

Why couldn’t there be one in Ocala? The economy is growing, families are moving here and there are new restaurants popping up all over downtown. Residents and guests are excited about seeing Ocala gain businesses similar to other Florida hubs like Orlando or Tampa. In short, there’s never been a better time to start.

I’ve lived in Ocala for half a decade and through my work with nonprofits and artists have come to appreciate the downtown food scene, as well as the history that surrounds it. I’m passionate about sharing the unique cuisines, crafted by talented local chefs, that make Ocala’s downtown eateries worth exploring.

What is Brick City Food Tours?

Uncover a vast spectrum of cooking styles in Ocala’s historic downtown. Your guided Brick City Food Tour visits 5 sit down tasting locations in the downtown neighborhood. Between samples, your informative guides (Kendrick and I) will share their experience of local customs, historic stories and specialty shops. This walking tour is ideal for Ocala residents and travelers eager to discover the culinary secrets and traditions that compose the horse capitol of the world. Whether you’re vacationing in Ocala for the first time or a long-time resident, you’re sure to walk away with a greater understanding of the geographic history and culinary techniques of the city.

Where You’ll Be

We’ll most likely visit Sayulita Taqueria (Mexican street food), Ivy on the Square (southern delicacies), Ocala’s Chocolate and Confections (the finest European chocolate), Pi on Broadway (gourmet pizzas and tapas), and Feta Mediterranean Cuisine (generational Greek tapas). However, we could do a slightly different version of this tour, depending on the weather and availability of the restaurant.

What Are People Saying?

  • “I cannot recommend this tour enough! It really showed off the diverse cuisine options all in walking distance in downtown Ocala. There really is something for everybody! Even as a local, I got to taste items off the menus I hadn’t had before that were so delicious I plan on going back and ordering again. I also enjoyed learning more about Ocala from the awesome tour guides. This was a great way to spend an afternoon, and my husband & I left full and happy!” – Brittany
  • “The Brick City Food Tour was a great experience. The food selections were great and the tour/learning about some of the history of downtown Ocala made the experience worthwhile. Enjoyed being able to connect and get to know the other members of the tour group. Thanks Brick City Food Tour for a great experience. Would highly recommend to others and will definitely make it a point to do it again!” – Justin
  • “I loved the day and enjoyed the experience! Was introduced to several places that I had not dined in before but will make a trip back to in the future.” – Michele

How Can You Support Us?

Book a tour here! With a maximum of 10 people per tour, it’s the perfect way to experience downtown Ocala and hopefully make a few friends along the way. The tours run from 2 PM – 5 PM, so it’s great for a fun afternoon adventure or a unique way to show out of town guests your city. We even do private tours for birthdays or corporate outings!

If you aren’t a foodie, you can still support us! Please share with your friends and family, spreading the word about our passion. Thank you in advance for supporting us, Ocala!

-Kait

10 Easy Last Minute Costumes

Let’s get real. You, like so many others, waited until the last minute to find a Halloween costume. It’s almost too late to order anything from Amazon and your local Halloween store is bare racks.

Instead of freaking out, take these four steps:

  1. Get outfit inspiration ideas from this post.
  2. Check Facebook Marketplace for local costumes sold by your neighbors.
  3. Use the Amazon Prime your aunt pays for and get a costume shipped to you in 2 days.
  4. If steps 1-3 have failed you, hit up Walmart or Goodwill and put together an easy DIY costume.

I’ve done the first part for you – check out my favorite easy, last minute costumes here:

Space Jam Lola Bunny and Bugs Bunny

All you need is the jersey (I got ours from Ebay), white basketball shorts, triple stripe socks and bunny ears. Lucky for you, I’m selling ours on Facebook Marketplace here and here.

Contestants from The Bachelor

Y’all know I love the Bachelor and all things Bachelor-adjacent. Slip on the bridesmaid dress that lives in the back of your closet and carry around a rose. Don’t forget the two drinks per hour limit!

Pink Ladies

At this point, everyone should own this pair of Spanx faux leather leggings, right? Throw on an oversized pink button down, a cute pair of sunnies, a bandana and you’re ready for action!

Social Butterfly

Full disclosure, I still may rock this at work on Halloween. It’s tasteful, super cute and only requires a pair of wings from your local Walmart.

Regina George

“Regina George… How do I begin to explain Regina George? I hear her hair’s insured for $10,000.” Cut out holes in a tee and confidently rock that look.

80s Workout Diva

Channel your inner Jamie Lee Curtis and SWEAT! This is a perfect example of an easy DIY from Walmart or Goodwill. Biker shorts are back in style and every Goodwill I’ve ever been to carries a fanny pack and a windbreaker.

Cowgirl

Who doesn’t want to ride a horse at the party? This pony and cowgirl accessories are easy to find at your local Walmart in the toys section!

Beer Pong

I saw a girl dressed as this in college and I’ve envied her ever since. It requires a little DIY, but if you’re someone who would rock this you probably have some extra duct tape lying around, anyway.

Hippie

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If you went to Coachella this year you already have this outfit, so why not rock it twice?

Dancing Women Wearing Bunny Ears Emoji

Grab your go-to little black dress, a pair of bunny ears and your BFF!