Ariel's Friday Favorites

Happy Weekend everyone!  So excited to share with you a new addition to my blog; Friday Favorites. One Friday a month, I will feature a collection of some of my favorite things. It may be a recipe, a store, a product, or just some inspiration for you. Friday’s are my favorite day of the week, so why not kick off the weekend with beauty found all around?!

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Fave New Store - HomeSense

When we went to MA last month for our cousin’s baby shower, we had to make a pit stop in Framingham to check out the newest addition to the TJX family (the chain that is home to TJMaxx, Marshall’s, and Homegoods) - HomeSense, just days after its grand opening! Although I didn’t spend too much time there, I quickly fell in love with the store. Then last weekend we were in NJ shopping for couches (which are being delivered today - so excited!) and of course I had to pop into the second HomeSense location there. Like me, you may be asking yourself - what is the difference between Homegoods and HomeSense? The best way I can answer is by comparing the stores to Marshall’s and TJMaxx. They’re similar but different and you can totally shop at both! Officially, Homesense offers expanded furniture, lighting, art and gifting departments. They sell sofas, chandeliers, dining chairs, bar stools, poufs and pool and foosball tables too. Brands are a bigger emphasis in HomeSense, with names like Jonathan Adler and Kate Spade. The store aesthetics are also different, analysts observed, with HomeSense more like West Elm with a modern, clean and hip aesthetic, and HomeGoods, akin to Pottery Barn, whose furnishings have a traditional vibe. Even though Framingham and East Hanover are currently the only locations, you can be sure there will be many more stores popping up all over the place! (below images via HomeSense)

Favorite Children’s Gift Idea - Personalized books

Last week my friend Becky’s twins turned one and it made me realize just how close Adina’s first birthday is! We got to talking about gifts and she shared the cutest idea with me. I See Me! Is a line of high quality, personalized children's books with illustrations and stories customized to the child. I love their mission - to increase self esteem in children through personalized books that celebrate the uniqueness of each child. The goal of I See Me! books is to show each child how absolutely unique and special he or she is, to teach the child how to spell his or her name, and to build vocabulary skills. We have a bunch of birthdays coming up for friends and family members and these personalized books would make the cutest gifts! (below images via ISeeMe)

Favorite Children’s Program - PJ Library

While we’re on the subject of books… I am loving this program all about them! Every night before bed, we read Adina one or two stories. It has been a part of her bedtime routine for months and it’s fun to pick out a new book each night. PJ library is a program for children ages 6 months - 8 years with Judaism as a part of their lives. It sends free Jewish children's books to families across the world every month, with stories that can help your family talk together about values and traditions that are important to you. We finally signed up a few weeks ago, and got 2 books to start - one of which is in Russian (which we requested) all about Rosh Hashana - just in time for the Jewish New Year next week! They also host in-person events - wewent to a Shabbat sing-a-long today and it was so cute! PJ Library welcomes all Jewish families, whatever your background, knowledge, or family make-up, or observance may be. (below images via PJ Library)

TV Show - Younger

I just watched the finale of season 4 of Younger, TV Land’s dramedy about 40-year-old Liza who passes herself off as a 26-year-old in order to get a job and then has to keep the secret of her true identity. The show takes place in Brooklyn and kind of feels like watching Sex and the City or Girls but it’s way better! It has everything I love in a TV show - deep friendships, a love triangle, quick dialogue peppered with pop culture references, and a super talented cast. I think the first few seasons are on Hulu (and maybe Netflix?) or you can watch online on the TV Land site. My one complaint is that I wish the episodes were longer - 30 minutes goes by too fast! (below images via Younger TV)

Favorite On-The-Go Baby Food - Once Upon A Farm

Since she started eating solids, I have made most of Adina’s food. I may even do a blog post about our favorite baby foods and go-to recipes. Now that she is older and has six teeth, she is able to eat almost anything, so it has gotten easier to prepare food for her. That said, we are on-the-go a lot of the time and love to travel, so it’s been amazing to have easy, ready-made baby food we can just grab and go. There are so many brands out there and it’s hard to tell the difference between them when you see them all in the store.

A couple of my mama friends told me about this brand called Once Upon a Farm, a “farm to high chair” company whose vision is “to provide as many children as possible with the best tasting, most nutritious, and highest quality food possible utilizing sustainable methods.” I loved that they don’t add any sugars, preservatives or ingredients you can't pronounce in their food. Just fresh, whole ingredients picked in season from our partner farms, Cold Pressure Protected, refrigerated and delivered fresh from farm to highchair™. What makes it different from other baby food? Just because baby food says “organic” or “Non-GMO” doesn’t mean it’s necessarily fresh and nutrition optimized. Shelf stable baby food can sit on the shelf for over 2 years, which can be older than the baby eating it. The pouches are super easy to take with us when we’re out and about and they happen to taste delicious! They have an 8-pack trial you can try or I found mine at Whole Foods in the refrigerated section near the baby aisle. (below images via Once Upon A Farm)