I couldn't have gotten through my 4th-trimester without Anthony Bourdain

Mr. Bourdain's TV show saved my travel-loving mind during those tied-to-the-couch moments of new motherhood.

I couldn't have gotten through my 4th-trimester without Anthony Bourdain

Before I had kids, travel was my cultural, intellectual and soulful passion. It lit up all my senses and invigorated me with a seemingly boundless energy.

I completed an internship in Hong Kong when I was 21. Later, I got my masters in London, my yoga teacher training in Bali, then I dabbled in non-profit work in Tanzania. Along the way, I explored the depths and delights of 30 countries—hot springs in Morocco, castles in Slovenia, elephant sanctuaries in Thailand, and Grand Bazaar shopping in Turkey.

Frequent travel satisfied a deep desire within me to learn, evolve and grow. Before our first son was born, I pledged to my husband that we shouldn't let parenthood restrict our shared desire to keep exploring far-off destinations.


Naively inspired by picture-perfect Instagram accounts of parents perched on mountain cliffs with smiling infants snuggled in carriers, I assumed that, yes, travel would become a bit more complicated with an infant in tow, but we should still be able to carry on with our travel wish list as before.

Fast forward to when our son was born.

Nevermind the havoc that is actually flying with an infant or the rigidity caused by working around nap schedules, or the premature end to the day caused by infant bedtimes (my beloved jaunts through night markets until 3 am became a distant memory)—I quickly realized that at least for the first stretch of my son's life I was not going on any big-time adventures. I would likely be home, figuring this whole motherhood thing out.

I had never been homebound like this in my life; it was a shocking feeling at first. While a year prior I had been soaking up an enchanting ballet performance at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, now I was up every two hours through the night grasping my son's tiny body as he dream-fed in our small studio apartment in NYC.

Enter Anthony Bourdain and his show, Parts Unknown. In the middle of the night, while my son nursed, I would open my laptop, load up Netflix, plug in my earphones and be transported to the dizzying array of locales Anthony Bourdain dove into.

I would no longer be sitting on my couch in my stained nursing shirt munching on rice crackers, but be alongside him slurping pho in Vietnam or basking in a BBQ on the beach in Brazil. His thoughtful and fascinating narration that intertwined food, culture, history and politics of the places he visited acted like a soothing balm over my restless spirit in those early days of motherhood.

Motherhood comes with some steep sacrifices. Amidst the physical and emotional strain is the loss of a freedom you can only know pre-kids. So, thank you, Anthony Bourdain, for making the loss of who I was a little easier to swallow for the mama I am now.

When the seasons of motherhood change, and my boys are old enough for adventurous trips with us, I'll be introducing them to your gift of curiosity about this world and the people in it. And I'll think back to those 3 am nursing sessions when your show was my refuge with gratitude and fondness.

I'll always associate you with my early days of new motherhood, Mr. Bourdain. You will always have a place in my heart, and honestly, in my identity. As the world mourns the loss of a world-renowned chef and television host, I mourn the loss of what feels like a really good friend.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

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We could not be more excited to bring the magic of Meri Meri to the Motherly Shop. For over 30 years, their playful line of party products, decorations, children's toys and stationery have brought magic to celebrations and spaces all over the world. Staring as a kitchen table endeavor with some scissors, pens and glitter in Los Angeles in 1985, Meri Meri (founder Meredithe Stuart-Smith's childhood nickname) has evolved from a little network of mamas working from home to a team of 200 dreaming up beautiful, well-crafted products that make any day feel special.

We've stocked The Motherly Shop with everything from Halloween must-haves to instant-heirloom gifts kiddos will adore. Whether you're throwing a party or just trying to make the everyday feel a little more special, we've got you covered.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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