A Non-traditional Gift Guide

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The holidays are coming up and I considered making a gift guide, but the truth is there are enough gift guides out there to render mine redundant. So I figured instead of writing a traditional gift guide post with some hypothetical things that I think someone would like, I will instead share with you real gifts that we bought this year and things that we love coming from our personal experience. Things that we rave about, things that we bought ourselves, things that Alexis will get for her first Christmas and birthday. And it’s completely up to you to decide whether it’s for you or not.


Non-traditional Gift Guide from The Art of Making a Baby


This is a new addition to my personal cosmetics and it’s here to stay. Hellomellow is a a completely non-toxic yummy line of body care. It has a mango avocado butter base, some essential oils and pretty much it. Here are the ingredients for the lip balm: avocado butter, mango butter, organic beeswax, soy wax, essential oils of the scent of your choice and… love.

Love, exactly! It’s cute, it smells amazing, it works great- it’s my go-to gift this holiday season. They have a preggo and a kiddo line ( I am guilty of using up all of Alexis’ body oil on myself because I adore the smell). They have amazing gift sets. Completely in love (wearing and licking the lip butter as I am writing this).


I was tipped off about BB creams by one of the readers. I was so intrigued by what these creams were promising that I bought one and then another and then another and another to try I am HOOKED! Basically, a BB Cream generally (there are a lot of types) is a foundation like cream with sun protection that is supposed to both moisturize, conceal and fight blemishes, uneven skin tone, wrinkles. It’s an all in one.

I bought this Silver label by Dr Jart+. I was blown away! I’ve been breaking out so badly for some reason and this cream basically makes every single spot disappear. I have never tried anything that would give such a good even, non-cakey, dewy but not oily foundation. I would seriously say if you have skin that requires foundation, do yourself a favor this holiday season and try this one. I suspect it’s best for light skin tones because the origins of BB creams is in Asia and it does give you sort of a light base. But supposedly it “adjusts to your color” and, if it doesn’t, it’s nothing a bronzer can’t fix. Also it’s pretty thick, and has good coverage, so if your skin is perfect, you might want to find one that is thinner. I did try the drugstore cheaper version of BB cream and it’s nowhere near what a BB cream is supposed to be. (plus all the nasties inside)

So for the holidays I bought myself another Dr Jart+ BB Cream to try and one for my mom that fights wrinkles ( the former is not as thick and light as the silver label, but doesn’t cover as well, the latter one has a very nice even base that is not too thick either). Certain Dr Jart+ creams don’t have parabens or pthalates, so that’s a bonus. Prior to that I was using a foundation iffy on the ingredients and one that was all natural but sucked!


Encouraged by my Dr Jart+ find, I decided that it was time I found myself some good and non-toxic cosmetics, since I’ve been using my old pre-pregnancy stuff that is definitely packed with nasty ingredients.

I settled on Josie Maran make up. Over the next few months, I will continue looking for other natural make up brands to try, but for now I am happy to have found Josie Maran, because it’s based on my favorite Argan oil. She has a really nice set to let you try some of her make up favorites: Beautiful Bronze Kit and Shimmer &Glow Essentials.




Remember bObles that I mentioned in the Obsessions post. Well, the tumble furniture has been here for a few weeks now, and it’s a great addition to our playroom. Currently, Alexis uses it to cruise around the playroom. I positioned it so that she could go from on bOble to another and cross the room that way. I can totally see years and years of play with these, as she finds new uses for it.


When I bought Alexis her first B. Toys piano that I mentioned here, I never thought t would be her #1 favorite toy of the century. I am not even exaggerating! Second to books, it’s the thing that keeps her occupied the longest. She’s figured out how to sing into the microphone, how to change the music playing, she presses the keys, she “records” herself and then replays it (obviously, the last two aren’t on purpose). You can ALWAYS hear the piano playing in our house when Lexi is awake. I don’t support having too many loud battery powered toys, but this one is a must! And what better way to foster early love to music.


Alexis is not of that age yet that stacking or putting things in a box are entertaining to her too much. However, One Step Ahead sent us a toy that peaked her interest in a different way. It’s a soft, cloth covered box with a few cloth toys inside. The top of the box has a somewhat hidden opening in it, so that you could put your hand in there but you cannot easily see what’s inside.

Oh my, you should see the surprise, interest and determination when I put all the cloth toys into the box and Alexis goes to fish them out. She reaches in, searches for a toy, pulls it out, inspects it ( with me usually clapping, praising her and telling her what toy she pulled out), then goes in for another one with a look on her face like it is the most important job of all. While she is fishing in the box, I usually urge her with “What’s in the box? Is there anything else?”

Once all the toys are taken out of the box and thrown aside, she still reaches her hand in and searches and searches for more toys, even though I know there are none there. She will tilt the box, turn it upside down, try to look int there. It’s quite hilarious. Then she would usually show the sign for “all done”.

So this was an unexpected surprise of a toy- educational and fun.


This is a classic toy. What baby doesn’t have a rocking horse at some point or another? This one, sent from One Step Ahead, is padded, with a seat belt, a squeaker in one ear and a button to turn a song on in another ( which she surprisingly likes and turns on every time she is on a horse). When we first got it, she was terrified of being rocked. I think it had to do with the horse being a new toy and not liking the feeling of not having her balance. So I left it alone for a week or so. Now, she often crawls to the horse and “asks” me to put her on it and rock while she plays with the horsie’s hair and ears.




What kind of parents would we be if we didn’t buy her MORE books? lol Since she has a TON ( you really should see her book collection) of story and longer rhyme books, as well as small word books and board books, this time I went for something different.

Here’re a few interesting ones we got:

The first words flash cards are really cool and so is the knob puzzle. I can see Lexi liking these a lot.


Lexi doesn’t have a lot of stuffed animals because I don’t like the idea of them harboring dust. So this is one of the few stuffed toys she will have. There’s something about the characters that I couldn’t resist. I personally love snuggling up with a soft furry animal, though Alexis hasn’t displayed those tendencies. We’ll see.


This one is pretty mainstream, and I’ve been seeing them all around, so thought it’d be a fun toy to use during our Florida winters. I often want to go out and play with Alexis outside, but strolling is boring, she can’t walk yet, so the whole time is spent keeping her from eating rocks, plants and mulch. This trike will mean we’re outside and she has more freedom than in a stroller. There are a few Smart Trikes out there, we got this one.



That’s a birthday present, though we will set it up right away. Again it was to solve the whole “what do we do outdoors” dilemma. The closest playground to our community is for older kids, the next one is 15 minutes away and has mulch on the ground which means Lexi is only interested in getting that in her mouth. So this is a solution for one of those “we have 10 minutes to kill” moments. She loves slides and soon will be able to climb. It was on a really good sale during Cyber Monday, so I figured it’s a worthwhile investment.


Little Tikes swing was bought to compliment the playground, because what’s a playground without a swing. I can’t say she loves it yet, but I know she’ll warm up to it, she always does.


Believe or not, but I only bought it because I needed to add 30 dollars to get $25 off, but I think it’s pretty cool. It’s a racer unicorn for 18m+. I can already see Alexis chasing the cats around in that.


Note: Pretty much since always, we have been buying gifts for each other as a family (with the exception of a few years where we would surprise each other with a trip somewhere). See, because we tend to buy what we need or want throughout the year, on holidays we’re left with, well, nothing to gift each other. There are of course really expensive items on our wish lists, but if we hadn’t bought them during the year, then we probably can’t really afford them on holidays either. So our holiday “gifts” end up being items we buy “close to the holidays” 🙂 lol


Andrew has been looking to buy a Macbook pro for years, but couldn’t because all his work required a PC or Internet Explorer. Finally, all the companies he works with switched to Chrome, as well. So it was finally the time to be the laptop he’s always wanted.


This was a bit of a splurge that I had to think long and hard about. We sort of didn’t have a gift for me. I didn’t mind either. I get what I want before holidays, I don’t need trinkets just so that I feel “special”.

But when I found out that Pink is touring, I thought it’d make a great “gift”. I hadn’t been to a concert in 2 years since I got pregnant and my mom would be here and I love Pink and my mom has never been to a concert of this magnitude Except for, the tickets were mostly sold out and the re-sale tickets relatively close to stage were $350 for 2 tickets. That’s the price of a new lens for 2 hours of music. Yikes! But you can’t put a price on a fun experience, I guess.


I believe that a great gift for Christmas is a set of Christmas themed pj’s. I am not sure why but Christmas pajamas are so special to me, especially when they are for the whole family (or group of friends, etc). So this year I got us all a coordinating set of Hanna Anderson organic PJs. I don’t have a picture yet, because we’ll be wearing them on Christmas day, but I am strangely really excited about them 🙂

So that’s it!

What did YOU get your babies for Holidays?





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  • Reply
    December 12, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    macbooks are a great gift! he’ll have it for years. have fun at the concert.

  • Reply
    Mrs Loquacious
    December 12, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    To be honest, I haven’t bought my baby girl anything yet, although I was planning to get her a SmartTrike for her birthday after we return from Hawaii (which is really our big gift to each other since we are gone for 3 weeks)!

    Like you, we sort of buy what we want when we want it. It doesn’t leave much for Christmas gifting!

    This year, we were planning to stay in town and have our own very first family Christmas with just the 3 of us. Unfortunately today we got word that my dad has Stage 4 lung cancer, which is terminal. So, at the last minute, we are flying back to our old city to spend what is probably his last Christmas, with him. That set us back over $2k, so we may just go light on the gifts until baby’s birthday!

    • Reply
      December 13, 2012 at 9:03 AM

      Sorry to hear about your dad. Just a side note, babies don’t care about gifts. Mine are 4 and we’re only buying them a couple because they don’t really need more “stuff” and they will be over the moon. I think we as parents get more excited than our kids do. They really don’t even “get it” until 3 or 4.

  • Reply
    December 13, 2012 at 9:10 AM

    My daughter will be 15 months old on Christmas therefore she doesn’t quite get it yet. We got her the Zany Zoo from B Toys, I got a great price at Target. Aside from that a few books, and a Mr Rogers DVD (my husband and I both grew up watching him) she’s getting a big deposit into her college fund. We are taking advantage of getting away with spending small amounts on Christmas while we still can 🙂

    Lexi will love the Little Tikes outdoor play set. We have the same one, I found it for dirt cheap on Craigslist a few months ago. It was a great investment for those days that I just want to hang out at home.

  • Reply
    Elena C..
    December 13, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    Yay to MacBook Pro!!!!
    Have had mine for over 2 years now and loooove it! 🙂
    I want a set of matching pjs too! 🙂

  • Reply
    December 13, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    You like that keyboard? Ugh!! That thing is my enemy!! One of my in laws got it for Garrett. I wanted to return it but Mike wanted to keep it so we kept it. That thing drives me crazy. I wouldn’t care as much if it was just a regular keyboard but the all the meowing drives me crazy. Plus if you don’t turn it off it will meow on it’s own at random times, ours does anyway. Can’t stand that thing!! The kids play with it in the barn when MIke’s out there, so that’s much better. : )

    • Reply
      December 13, 2012 at 2:54 PM

      I have to agree – we tried it out at a friends house and hated it (but I tend to hate a lot of the big noisy electronic toys). We’re getting my DD a toy piano for Christmas, since she LOVES to play on our upright (she’ll walk over and reach up to the keys, it’s so cute!). I want to encourage her with real instruments (or as close as we can get) rather than plastic, electronic versions! She has a real harmonica, a real tambourine, a real tabla drum, etc. I want her to experience the feel and sounds of real music and real instruments.

      And it’s SO true that babies just don’t care about presents – they would much rather play with the boxes and wrapping paper! Besides the toy piano (a joint gift from us and her grandparents) we’re getting her a few new board books, and that’s it (and no presents for each other, we’re going to treat ourselves to a super nice date night out to a great restaurant while the grandparents babysit). It’s so easy to get caught up in all the silly materialism this time of year, we prefer to keep things simple and focus on just spending time with each other!

      • Reply
        December 15, 2012 at 4:25 PM

        We try not to get too carried away with gifts also. There are 3 sets of grandparents and they go way overboard as it is so we try to keep things pretty low key. Good suggestions on keeping Christmas minimalist!

  • Reply
    December 13, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    My toddler is getting art supplies (wooden easel, paints, brushes, etc) because she is really into creating things right now. I also got her some new puzzles and educational Montessori-type toys. Oh, and tutus. She loves tutus. 🙂 My 6-month-old isn’t getting much, because she uses all her older sisters’ outgrown toys. I got her a freshwater pearl necklace and bracelet as her main gift. Her sister has one, and though she is only 2 she is really proud of it and careful with it when we take it out for her to wear, I wanted her baby sister to have one too.

  • Reply
    Jenna / Eat Drink Pretty
    December 13, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    Thanks for the gift guide. One thing I’ll say about the rocking horse is I loved it when I saw it in a previous post of yours but refuse to pay $25 shipping surcharge on a $100 toy. Bummer, it’s so cute and I think my DD would love it.

  • Reply
    December 13, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    Wow! That’s a lot of fun toys. Do you ever worry spoling little Lexi?

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      December 14, 2012 at 11:56 AM

      Nope, not at all! She’s too young to care about toys. To her having 5 toys is the same as having 20. She gets a variety of toys, primarily so that she was exposed to different things.
      Letting an older kid do anything they want without limits or discipline is what spoils children.

  • Reply
    December 13, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    I so not have kids and my family is overseas …. So I treat my partners family as my own 😀 I got a lot of small pressies for the closest a relatives of my partner 🙂 as for my boyfriend, he really needs a new watch and got him one! Can’t wait to give it to him :))))

  • Reply
    December 13, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    My husband and I do the same thing- we rarely give each other gifts. We always do something around the house or take a trip. Gifts are not my “love language” 🙂
    How stinkin’ cute is her all done sign!? I use it all day and Henry just stares at me.
    And Sandra Boynton books are our favorites!

  • Reply
    December 14, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    Hellowmellow sounds GREAT! Thanks for the tip. I’m looking for more natural makeup/skincare. I wanted to try that BB stuff you linked, but I saw the ingredients listed a lot of ‘-cones’ and ‘glycol’s…aren’t those bad? Lexi is cute, and her hair is getting long! 🙂
    I haven’t been blogging/instagram-ing much lately. After the death of our beloved cat, my motivation plummeted. I do hope to get back into the swing of blogging at some point though. I miss it!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      December 14, 2012 at 10:23 PM

      Yeah the BB creams aren’t the greatest from the ingredients standpoint. I am pretty much happy they don’t have parabens or phthalates. They work so good and anything natural I found just sucks, so I am sticking with it for now. -cones aren’t that bad, all the do really is create a bit of a layer above the skin…

  • Reply
    December 14, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    Meowmusic ROCKS. My boy has a musical daddy, so i knew he’d have it in him but he is already, at almost 23 months, playing twinkle little star (not perfectly but perfectly in my eyes hehe) because of that piano! Love it. Also, I don’t know if you already have any Sandra Boynton books but you will love them. They are so lovely. I recommend Happy Hippo, Angry Duck and Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs. She’s definitely my favourite children’s author.

  • Reply
    December 15, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    So is the first Dr Jart+ you got a BB cream or not? I’m trying to figure it out. And the one you just got, does it do the same for your skin as the first. I’m also breaking out like I’m 13 all over again and its driving me nuts!!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      December 15, 2012 at 5:24 PM

      Yes, the first Dr Jart+ I got is a BB cream but it’s specifically for blemishes and the coverage is the best I’ve found. The others I got after it give less coverage, but are also better suited for dark sin tones.

      • Reply
        December 15, 2012 at 5:57 PM

        Woohoo! Just pressed send on that order. Thanks so much, can’t wait to try. I really love your site, Save me many hours of research on my own…

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