Elle’s 11 Essentials: Practical & Playful

This is my favorite round-up so far. It includes some of my absolute favorite items- items that I truly deem as being essential. Just seeing this list gets me excited. Some of the items are really fun, whereas others are practical and delightful. Enjoy!

#1: Peanut


Imagine a Tender-like app for mamas & babies to link up & play (Tbh, I totally just googled “swiping dating app,” because I got married looooooooong before dating apps were a thing). Meet Peanut! You can swipe left or right to link up with like-minded mamas while your littles have a playdate. This is a keeper for us, because we live soooooo far away from family and we have friends who either don’t have kids, or who don’t have kids around Camille’s age. It’s nice for Cam to have fun with someone her own size! I must admit, I haven’t been super active on this app recently, but now that it’s warming up and I have a few months off, Camille and I will be linking up with other mamas asap-tually! 

#2: Belif Eucalyptus Herbal Extract Toner

6.75 fl. oz. – $28

As a person with problem-child skin, I’ve tried my fair share of skincare products. This is one of my all-time favorite toners! It’s moisturizing and toning without making my skin feel tight or exceptionally dry. Although I use it all over my face, I notice the biggest difference on areas where I have oily spots. I am a life convert because after using it, my skin always feels super refreshed. The scent is pleasant, all natural, and not overpowering.




#3: Dietland by Sarai Walker

Holy-moly. You know how Alice chose to go down the rabbit-hole and then found herself in a very strange alternate universe? Yeah this book is that plus Fight Club mixed with a little V for Vendetta. It’s hilarious, dark, strange, empowering and exciting. There are sooooooo many layers to this read and I’m here for all of them. Before this became a show it was a phenomenal book (READ THE BOOK)! I actually started chatting up some stranger on the train because we both were reading the book. It turned out that she was one of the crew members of the show! It’s great. Get it. Read it. The end.



#4: Little Nomad

Various sizes available. 4×6 = $99It’s an elegant playmat that resembles a rug. It’s lovely and made for little people. How much better can it get? Oh! They’re non-toxic and liquid-resistant. I think this appealing playmat really speaks for itself. Ours is easy to clean and looks great without being too kitschy.   




#5: Focusmateessential

Focusmate is basically a free accountability platform where you video chat with strangers online for 50 minute sessions. You share your goals for the 50 minutes and then check in with each other periodically. Let me be the first to say that this platform can seem kind of weird at first, however, it has really helped me to boost my productivity. I primarily work on my blog from home and it’s oh so easy to “work” from the couch, get distracted by Instagram and sometimes even fall into a light nap, but that would be beyond weird with a stranger watching you. Not only have I boosted my productivity, but my mindset as I approach my work is more serious. I get dressed in business casual attire and set up my desk so that I can work without abandoning my focusmate. It’s phenomenal. In fact, I’m using it right now as I write this post! Try it out at least once. 



#6: Target’s Smartly Hand Soap

essential hand soap

10 oz for $0.99

Okay… let’s get real for a moment. I love Target’s new Smartly line because of the price, but as it relates to products, I’m only a full convert of the hand soap line. I’ve tried many other products, but the hand soap seems to have the best quality to me. My absolute favorite is Smells Like Summertime. I cannot quite articulate what “summertime” smells like, but trust me, it smells good! 10 oz. for 99 cents is a steal. I’m quite satisfied with this product!

#7: MagnaTiles





100 pieces for $120

MAGNA-TILES! There is not enough time to express my love for Magna-Tiles! To me, Magna-Tiles are a modern version of legos, but magnetized and way cooler! This toy is great to encourage your little ones to increase their spatial, tactile, math, & science skills. They can be rather pricey, but I truly enjoy them. I think that I may play with them more than Cam! 😂 



#8: Ursa Major Essential Face Wipes

essential skin care

40 -pack $45.60


When I know that it’s going to be a long day before I get home to wash my face, or when I need a post-workout pick-me up, my go-to are these individual wipes that I can quickly toss in my bag. The scent can be a tad strong, but it is so refreshing! It has some pretty nice ingredients like fir, willow bark, green tea, aloe, and lavender. When I was pregnant with Camille I’d get regular facials because the pregnancy hormones were making my skin go out of whack. My esthetician recommended that I keep these wipes with me for a quick refresh on the go, and I haven’t let go since!




#9: The Bee & The Fox

This super cool, retro-inspired, t-shirt brand has empowering and hella cute designs at a reasonable cost. There is a “Motherlode” Collection with really witty graphic tees around motherhood. My fave is a fitted crew-neck that says “Question Authority Not Your Mother.” 



#10: Regalo My Cot Portable Toddler Bed

$26 -Includes fitted sheet

We’re past the point where Cami can comfortably sleep in her pack-n-play when we travel, and it’s not the most comfortable for us to share a bed with this wild one. Thankfully, we found this portable toddler bed! 🙌🏽 It’s washable (always a win when dealing with toddlers), lightweight, and doesn’t require installation. 



#11: Around the World in 80 Purees: Easy Recipes for Global Baby Food by Leena Saini


This baby cookbook is soooo much fun! If you’re looking to raise a non-picky eater who can appreciate various tastes of the world, this should be your go-to. Although Camille has some big chompers now, we still use some of the recipes, we just don’t puree them. Check it out! 


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Check out other Elle’s 11 Essentials Posts!

What are your thoughts on this post?

  1. […] I’ve talked about Focusmate before, and while I don’t use it religiously, having an accountability buddy has become increasingly more important in my wfh journey. With a toddler, constant Zoom meetings with my team, and other stuff, it’s so easy to become distracted from what needs to occur at particular times. Focusmate has done wonders to make sure that I am holding myself accountable.    […]

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