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13 mom-approved products to put on your baby registry

Practicality beats Pinterest vibes when it comes to baby necessities.

Years before my pregnancy test went from minus to plus, I was nesting for my baby. Like most first-time moms, I had pinned several crafty and whimsical versions of a nursery for my future son or daughter. I envisioned a custom bassinet shaped like the moon, handmade out of old rustic wooden pallets. On my Amazon wishlist, I had saved cute little pacifiers that looked like mustaches, which happened to pair perfectly with the derby hat I found on Etsy. Thanks to Instagram, I favorited numerous formal ensembles, complete with matching patent leather shoes, all suited for every major holiday.

When the time finally came to grab the Target scan gun and begin building my epic baby registry, I had a bit of a reality check — thanks to my best friend and veteran mom Hillary — and had to start from scratch. She handed me a copy of the book “Baby Bargains” and tossed me every solid colored cotton onesie known to man and baby bottles that help with reducing gas and acid reflux, and we definitely weren’t leaving without registering for every diaper in every size. Hillary let me keep the rattle that looked like a coffee cup, but beyond that, my registry had been shaped up with some sense.

As I figured out pretty quickly, while my Pinterest picks were perfectly precious, they were insanely impractical. Now that I have been a mom for two years now, experience has proven to me that frills are fussy and practical is key. Outfits with suspenders and bow ties are super fun, but hand-washing is for the birds. (Speaking of things that are machine-washable, that lavender baby detergent may smell heavenly, but you are going to be in rash hell if you clean your baby’s clothes in it.)

If you’re struggling with what to put on your baby registry, help is on the way! Here are some great ideas to get your registry going while your baby is growing.

CHECK THESE OUT



HALO Sleepsack

$29.99

As instructors will tell you in every parenting class, tiny babies don’t use blankets. New babies can be swaddled or put to bed in a sleepsack. This soft and cuddly version will keep your baby warm and cozy, and the swaddle feature will help them stay asleep as they work through their startle reflex phase.



WubbaNub Pacifier

$14.99

Maybe giraffes adorn your child’s nursery or maybe cats are your jam. Either way, WubbaNub has a ton of cute pacifiers perfect for any baby. The cute little animal attached to the paci allows for easy positioning and significantly decreases the chances of losing it under the crib in the middle of the night.



Ergobaby Omni 360

$180.99

Maybe giraffes adorn your child’s nursery or maybe cats are your jam. Either way, WubbaNub has a ton of cute pacifiers perfect for any baby. The cute little animal attached to the paci allows for easy positioning and significantly decreases the chances of losing it under the crib in the middle of the night.

44 sympathy gifts to show your love and support

Dealing with the death of a friend or family member is one of the hardest things to deal with in life. Being there for someone and surrounding them with love is one way to help heal.

If you’re not able to be with them physically, you can show them that they have your support during this time of need by sending them a bereavement gift.

The best sympathy gifts can be the ones that just show them that you are thinking of them at this time. From a sympathy gift basket to condolence flowers, we rounded up a few options to show them you care.

HERE ARE SOME IDEAS OF SYMPATHY GIFTS

charcoal portrait sympathy gift





Hand-Drawn Charcoal Portrait for Loved Ones

$31.49

Sometimes the best thing you can send someone who is grieving is a meal. If you aren’t sure of what they like, you can send them an e-gift card with a custom amount so they can order a meal, desserts or a meal kit at their leisure.
Life tree kit





1-800-Flowers Seeds of Life Tree Kit

$31.49

Many people choose to spend some time alone after losing someone close to them. If that’s the case for your friend or loved one, send them this “31 Days of Kind Notes” gift to show them that you’re there for them even if it’s from afar. The keepsake jar includes notes with encouraging messages like “I hope you find some peace today” and “Hang in there; take one day at a time.”
memorial pendant sympathy





Custom Handwriting Memorial Pendant

$31.49

This custom handwriting memorial pendant gives your recipient a memory close to their heart no matter where life takes them. This gold piece can be engraved on one or both sides with up to 20 letters.

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10 Best Smart Alarm Clocks of 2021

You don’t typically need much from your alarm clock as long it goes off when you need it to. But with technology improving everyday, additional features of a smart alarm clock — like various music streaming capabilities and a smart assistant — can make your everyday tasks a lot easier.

Alarm Clock

When shopping for a smart alarm clock, our Rothman recommends considering the following:

  • Smart assistant capabilities: “If you’re going with one with a built-in smart assistant, make sure it’s compatible with other devices you have,” she says. For instance, an Amazon Echo Dot would work best if you also had an Amazon TV or other Alexa-compatible devices.
  • Bluetooth features: Most (but not all) smart alarm clocks have bluetooth enabled so you can stream your own songs and music. Otherwise, some clocks include a USB port, SD card or aux port to sync music.
  • Wellness content: Some clocks provide a reading light, guided meditations or sunrise wake-up to gently prompt you awake.

Check Out These Smart Alarm Clocks

Echo Dot Alarm Clock

Echo Dot

$59.99

A speaker, assistant and alarm clock in one, the Echo Dot is a great choice for helping you with everyday tasks while taking up minimal space. You can ask Alexa to wake you up to music, set recurring reminders or have her tell you the weather and daily news. Note that while this model can display the time and weather, it doesn’t have an actual screen display. If that’s a dealbreaker for you, you can try the Echo Show 5. 

Wake-Up Light

$99.99

Not only were our Lab experts impressed with this alarm clock, but it also has a cult-following with over 10,000 reviews on Amazon. Instead of waking you up with a loud buzzer sound, this sunrise clock uses a special simulated sunrise setting with the choice of various nature sounds to gently wake you up. You can even use the alarm clock as a reading lamp, radio or even a morning mood booster, thanks to its warm glow and adjustable brightness settings. 

Nest Hub 7-inch Smart Display with Google Assistant

$99.99

It has its own speaker, but if you have other Nest speakers in the house, you can broadcast messages throughout your home and alert family members to gather or even chat from room to room. You can tell Google Assistant to stream music, pause and play YouTube videos or tell you the latest sports updates. The Sunrise Alarm wakes you up gently with calming sounds.

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19 newborn Halloween costumes for their holiday debut

Have you thought of what Halloween costumes your baby is going to wear? They may not be heading out for a candy-fueled night of revelry, but that doesn’t mean you should hold back.

Baby in cute Halloween

Tiny tots in Halloween costumes are the ultimate treat, whether they are on the cusp of their first birthday, or they are a recent arrival just getting acquainted with the outside world.

From relatively spooky to impossibly sweet, here are some of our most squee-worthy choices for baby’s very first Halloween.

CHECK THESE COSTUMES OUT

Mother and baby in a Witch Costume

A wee witch Halloween Costumes

$39.99

Who needs a broomstick when you can ride in style in your comfy carrier? This carrier cover slips easily over most major baby carriers to transform them into a stylishly wicked mode of transportation, for the tiniest Halloween witch.
Baby in garden gnome Halloween costume

A wise little garden gnome

$40.88

Everyone knows garden gnomes love to travel. This costume is perfect for this first big excursion traversing the neighborhood. It’s kitschy, it’s cute, it’s cozy, and since garden gnomes are a little bit creepy, it’s just right for a little Halloween hair-raising, without being too scary.
Baby in bat Halloween Consume

A baby bat

$16.99

Get ready for admirers to go batty over this cute little costume. The snap-bottom onesie will make for easy access, should any baby-style “tricks” occur, and the bat-eared beanie will help keep them warm.

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5 Brilliant Travel Items That Make Packing Easier

Fitting everything on the vacation packing checklist in a suitcase is an accomplishment all by itself

Man Packing a Suitcase

Going on vacation is undeniably fun—but packing a suitcase for that travel is decidedly less fun. Fitting everything on the vacation packing checklist in a suitcase is an accomplishment all by itself, though that can sometimes mean reaching a vacation destination with wrinkled, crumpled clothes or a white shirt that was packed next to some shoes and is now sporting some unpleasant dirt marks.

If getting everything you need into a suitcase before the big trip is the only thing stopping you from entering into full-on vacation mode, you’re not alone. As many travelers can attest, finding ways to keep your items organized and wrinkle-free without adding extra weight to your suitcase is a daunting task. From keeping your dirty shoes and clean clothes separate to helping you find exactly what you need upon arrival, we’ve curated a travel packing list of clever items that will make packing (and unpacking) a cinch no matter where your travels take you.

CHECK THEM OUT

Ebags Ultralight Packing bags

eBags Ultralight Packing Cubes – 5pc Set

$45

Ever open your carefully packed suitcase only to find it a hot mess after touchdown? Packing cubes will organize all of your essentials and help keep them that way—even as your luggage is jostled to and fro en route to its final destination. As an added bonus, these mesh ones allow you to see what’s in each compartment, so you won’t have to tear apart your entire suitcase looking for that one thing you need before checking your bag at the airport.
Travel Bag

Coghlan’s Three Piece Mesh Ditty Bag Set

$5

Mesh bags are extremely versatile, making them a go-to packing accessory. Use them to stow your delicates, group toiletries together, and even separate your dirty laundry.
Travel Shoe bags for your suitcase

Yamiu Travel Shoe Bags

4 for $12

These travel bags—available with drawstring or zippered closures—have rave reviews, and with good reason: The bags are waterproof and available in larger sizes for those with bigger feet. The bags are also lightweight and good for use as a toiletry bag, dirty clothes holder, and more. They are even large enough for heeled shoes—great news for travelers who like to dress up on the go.

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Easy Ways to Tie a Scarf

Are there tricks for how to tie a scarf?

Sure, we love our drop earrings and ankle socks, but once fall and winter roll around, our go-to accessory tends to be a scarf. Aside from providing warmth, this little extra is often our outfit’s missing piece, taking looks from meh to whoa. However, we have gotten tripped up before, struggling to find the right way to style one.

As it turns out, there are many ways to wear this tiny piece of material — and we’ve a total found 18. Using a 30” x 80” scarf, we’ve created a handy guide using GIFs, showing you how to drape, knot, and twist like a pro.

You’ll definitely want to bookmark this one for later.

CHECK THESE STYLES OUT

Lady Tying a Purple Scarf

Belted Drape

Step 1: Drape the scarf evenly around your neck and let it hang. 

Step 2: Fasten a skinny belt over the scarf at the waist. 

$20

Woman showing how to tie a Blue scarf

The Basic Loop

Step 1: Drape the scarf unevenly around your neck (the short end should hit the chest area).

Step 2: Loop the longer end around your neck twice before letting it hang.

$20

woman wearing a scarf

The Basic Loop

Step 1: Fold your scarf in half and drape around your neck. 

Step 2: Feed the top end through the loop. 

Step 3: Twist the loop to create a second hole.

Step 4: Feed the bottom end through the second hole. Adjust accordingly. 

$20

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The 10 Best Kitchen Compost Bins for Cleanly Storing Food Scraps

Whether you’re starting a backyard garden and don’t want to spend a fortune on fertilizer or are simply hoping to cut down on waste (like grandma would have), there are plenty of reasons to start composting your kitchen scraps.

Food waste is terrible for landfills, nitrogen-rich soil is great for plants (like our lawns, flower beds, and food gardens are made out of) and it’s just plain sensible! In fact, many cities and municipalities are even starting to collect food waste separately from other trash, so they can compost it.

If you’re going to collect your kitchen scraps—whether it’s for your own backyard compost pile, for a local community garden, or because your city, county, or town is starting to collect it separately—you’ll want some place to collect it.

That means finding a place to put bits of food where they don’t make a mess, and won’t smell. You could, of course, put everything in a gallon-sized plastic bag. But that way tends to be messy, so usually a small dedicated container is the way to go. Any lidded plastic container will do, though you want it to be big enough to hold a day’s scraps (and not so big that it sits around for a week — phew!).

CHECK THESE OUT

compost bin

A Great All-Around Compost Bins

$22.45

Together, an airtight lid and charcoal filter help to control and trap odors. The contraption is also resistant to rust and leaks and at 1.3 gallons, big enough to hold several days worth of waste. It boasts thousands of positive reviews and is one of Amazon’s all-time best-selling compost bins.
A Freezer-Safe Compost Bin

A Freezer-Safe Compost Bins

$14.99

Worried about the smell? This smart silicone bin is designed to be stored in your freezer. When it’s full, simply flip it upside down and squeeze, and the frozen scraps drop right out. It’s also dishwasher safe.

A Stylish Bin That Looks Great

Stylish Bins That Looks Great

$39.99

This beauty of a bin will take pride of place on your countertop. Made from sustainable bamboo materials, the sleek design and pretty wood handle will be right at home in your modern kitchen.

The 6 Best Ice Cream Makers for Perfect At-Home Ice Cream

Picture it: A hot, sunny day in the middle of summer. You’re sitting on your new-built porch swing, enjoying the breeze. What could possibly make this experience any better?

ICECREAM ON A PLATE

A scoop of homemade ice cream! Homemade ice cream has it all over the store-bought stuff. That’s because you know exactly what goes into it, so you can skip the weird ingredients and dial into the flavors you most want. We tend to go for extra creamy and not too sweet.

Now, you don’t actually need an ice cream maker to make ice cream. (Here’s an easy no-churn recipe.) But having one makes whipping up a pint or two just as easy as can be, and come summer, you may find yourself using it all the time.

That’s why we sorted through all of the many, many ice cream makers on the market to find you five of the best-rated, most-loved, and most useful machines, so you can easily select the right one for you, no matter your situation. Whether you live in an apartment, love the look of old-school stuff, want the kids to be able to serve themselves, need something for entertaining friends, or would just love a bowl of ice cream late at night, we’ve got the device for you. We’ve even found the ultimate high-end model for those of you who want the freshest ice cream for the least amount of work—and it looks absolutely gorgeous.

CHECK THESE OUT

classic icecream maker

A Classic Ice Cream Makers That Looks Beautiful

$49.99

This no-churn maker sports a powerful electric motor, so you don’t have to wear yourself out turning a handle—but the beautiful wood exterior still takes us back.
ice cream maker easy to clean

A Cost Effective Easy-to-Clean Model

$39.99

If you don’t need the wood exterior, this bright blue ice cream machine is less expensive, and still gets rave reviews.
soft serve ice cream maker

Ice Cream Makers for Soft-Serve Lovers

$185.00

If you don’t need the wood exterior, this bright blue ice cream machine is less expensive, and still gets rave reviews.

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The 32 best engagement gifts for couples in 2021

We found options for every type of couple at every budget.

Getting engaged is one of those magical life moments that’s worth celebrating, and showering the happy couple with a sweet gift is a great way to share in their joy.

However, finding a good engagement gift can be quite the challenge, especially if you want to impress them with cool finds. Luckily, we did some digging to find some cool gifts for couples that are getting ready to tie the knot.

Whether you’re shopping for a personalized memento, a household essential or a splurge gift you can go in on with a group, Shop TODAY has rounded up 32 of the best engagement gifts that any couple would be thrilled to receive.

Check out our top picks

photo frame for Couples



Meural Smart WiFi Digital Photo Frame

$299.95

Digital photo frames are always a great gift option, but this one takes things up a notch. After connecting an Apple or Android device to the frame, couples can upload, crop and display their most precious memories. Perfect for family gatherings and wedding festivities, the frame lets lovebirds curate their photos into personalized playlists and has a crisp HD screen.
personalized wedding box for couples





Personalized Wedding Box

$66.00

Every couple needs a special keepsake box to help them store love letters, jewelry and more. This gorgeous option comes in several wooden finishes and can feature a custom engraved message that’s unique to the couple.







Couples Engagement Gift Box

$59.99

Not sure what to get the lovebirds? Get them a little bit of everything with this gift box that includes a ring dish, frame, luggage tags, a candle and more.

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Get ready for some backyard fun with these 6 must-have lawn games

With fall looming right around the corner, it is important to squeeze in all of your favorite summer activities before the warm weather leaves us. That means hitting the beach, lounging by the pool and spending time with family and friends outside.

If you are wondering how you can make these outdoor activities more entertaining, there is a simple answer: lawn games. Whether you are kicking a ball or tossing a bean bag, nothing is more fun than tapping into your competitive spirit.

backyard game sandbox

To help you achieve some backyard fun, lifestyle expert Meredith Sinclair shared with Hoda & Jenna six fun lawn games people of all ages can enjoy. Challenge your friends and family, make some memories and enjoy summer with these must-have products, from shuffleboard to giant Jenga.

Here are some ideas

Games Galore Personalized Picnic Blanket backyard games



Games Galore Personalized Picnic Blanket

$35.99

This personalized picnic blanket is the perfect form of entertainment when lounging in the yard, on the beach or even in the park. The blanket features four classic board games including checkers, tic-tac-toe, dots and bullseye. One side of the blanket is a soft fleece while the other is a waterproof polyester shell. While game pieces are not included, you can use anything to play, from stones and seashells to toothpicks.
Backyard Jenga Giant JS7





Jenga Giant JS7

$169.95

This personalized picnic blanket is the perfect form of entertainment when lounging in the yard, on the beach or even in the park. The blanket features four classic board games including checkers, tic-tac-toe, dots and bullseye. One side of the blanket is a soft fleece while the other is a waterproof polyester shell. While game pieces are not included, you can use anything to play, from stones and seashells to toothpicks.
Shuffle Zone Shuffleboard







Shuffle Zone Shuffleboard

$143.99

Shuffleboard is a classic game that never goes out of style. The colorful shuffle zone is made of high-quality indoor and outdoor carpet with a non-skid back so it will always be secure. The set also comes with two wooden cues and 10 wooden pucks.

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