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Mother Essentials: Amanda Klein

Written by Erin Feher

This mama has made it her business to curate well-designed, meant-to-last toys that engage the imaginations of kids. Amanda Klein is the co-founder of Rose & Rex, an incredible online shop that stocks beautiful toys handpicked by educators, so we had to know which items keep this new Brooklyn-based mama of one (little Gus is just 6 months old) moving through her day. Amanda, a designer by trade, founded Rose & Rex with her sister Allison, a play-based tutor with a master’s degree in Early Childhood and Childhood Education. Their combined passion for bringing play-based learning to kids everywhere was the impetus for launching Rose & Rex. They work with teachers and child development experts to select only open-ended toys—ones that offer more than one possible use, come to life with a child’s imagination, and engage rather than entertain. To get to know the woman behind the brand, check out Amanda’s current Mother Essentials below.

Maurice Sendak Nutshell Library. “I loved all of Maurice Sendak’s books as a child, and in particular I adored the Nutshell Library. The four hardback books in their tidy box felt special and were just the right size for small hands. My son is a little young for them now, but I hope he will grow to enjoy them as much as I did.” Maurice Sendak Nutshell Library, $11.16, Amazon.

Ankle Boots. “Impossibly soft leather booties that are comfortable, chic, and ethically made.” Lana Ankle Boots, $228, Nisolo.

Stretch Onsie. “This onsie is like a second skin. It’s made of super soft organic cotton jersey and elastane, which results in a snug but comfortable fit that fits a growing baby longer than onsies without stretch.” Grey Label Onsie, $29, Gray Label.

A Red Lip. “There’s nothing like a gorgeous lipstick to lift spirits and make you feel pulled together after a sleepless night. Crimson and Clover is a sheer bright red that is easy to apply and, of course, organic and non-toxic!” Ilia Tinted Lip Conditioner in Crimson and Clover, $28, Credo Beauty.

Coconut Oil. “A luxurious moisturizing balm made of organic coconut oil infused with calendula and red clover. I used this during pregnancy and postpartum to help prevent stretch marks, but it’s also gentle enough to use on my son for a post-bath massage.” Infused Coconut Oil, $23, Brooklyn Herborium.

Locket Necklace. “A dear friend gifted me this stunning locket. She made it even more special by filling it with a pictures of my two boys: My son on one side and my husband on the other. I couldn’t dream up a more thoughtful gift!” Lumiére Locket by Ariel Gordon & Taylor Sterling, $995, Ariel Gordon Jewelry.

A Wild Rug. “This was the first decorative item I got for my son’s nursery and I love it because it’s playful, but also a little fierce. If he doesn’t like it when he gets older, I’ll happily move it into my bedroom!” Moody Lion Rug, $155, Collyer’s Mansion.

News Podcast. “As a new mother, I haven’t had as much time to read the newspaper as I used to. Instead, I’ve started listening to The New York Times’ The Daily Podcast every morning while breastfeeding. Each day, the host, Michael Barbaro, takes a deep dive into one hot button issue.” The Daily Podcast.

Tasty Teether. “My son’s first teeth just came in and it seems there is no end to the drooling, gnawing, and pink cheeks. He loves munching on this whimsical avocado teether, and aside from making me smile, I feel good knowing it is made of natural rubber rather than plastic. When teething days are behind us he can play with it in the bath or when he pretends to be a chef!” Arnold the Avocado Teether and Bath Toy, $15, Rose & Rex.

Ice Cream. “This is a fellow female-founded company based in NYC. For those not lucky enough to be within walking distance of their Brooklyn tasting room, they offer seasonal ice cream-of-the-month subscriptions.” MilkMade Ice Cream.

Soft Swaddles. “There are lots of muslin swaddles out there, and having tried them all, these are the softest and most durable, with the perfect amount of natural stretch. As a designer, I also appreciate the beauty of their marine and botanical patterns, which feel timeless and playful.” Lewis Home Swaddles, $28, Maisonette.

Leonard Cohen Record. “Quite simply the best album start to finish. Among our hundreds of records this is one that I return to again and again.” Songs of Leonard Cohen on Vinyl, $25.32, Amazon.

Pretty Playmat. “My 6-month-old son spends a lot of time playing, kicking, and rolling around on the the floor. This playmat has generous proportions and makes a perfect play space for him. It also looks beautiful on my living room floor!” Marine Life Aquatic Playmat, $84, Rose & Rex.   

Clean Deodorant. “I detoxed my beauty routine when I found out I was pregnant and I was surprised to learn that deodorants are some of the most toxic products we put on our bodies. Agent Nateur is coconut oil-based and scented with essential oils. It smells beautiful, and unlike many natural deodorants I’ve tried, it actually works!” Agent Nateur Holi (Stick) No. 3 Deodorant, $21, Nordstrom.

A Better Tote. “This is my stealth diaper bag. I added their leather insert to help separate diapers from laptop. I appreciate the company’s philosophy of ‘fewer, better things.'” Leather Zipper Tote, $195, Cuyana.

Rose & Rex Blog. “My online go-to for age-appropriate play tips, imaginative activities, and inspiring parent profiles.” Rose & Rex Blog.

For more on Amanda Klein, check out her Instagram feed. And for more Mother Essentials, peep our past columns with designer Taylor Jay, clean living expert Kristian Henderson, Oakland retail queen Sherri McMullen, eco-fashion designer Alyssa KerbelShahidah Zareef of Bossmom NationJoanne EncarnacionLaTonya YvetteMorgan Walker of Make.doJeanne Chan of Harlow & Grey, and more.

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