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Mother Essentials: Morrow Soft Goods Founders, Michelle Toney & Stephanie Cleary

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

Photography by Portrait by Ye Rink Mok

Want an extra special treat? You’re in luck—today’s Mother Essentials is a double-stuffed version featuring not one, but two rad moms! Morrow Soft Goods founders Michelle Toney (mom to Cosimo, 3) and Stephanie Cleary (mom to Oslo, 4, and Francis, 1) know a thing or two about making their family homes nice and cozy. So, it makes sense that their respective lists of must-haves include top picks from their sustainably minded home brand (known for its beautifully hued bedding, textured rugs and pillows, and comfy sleepwear), as well as tried-and-tested skincare products and their favorite goodies for the baby and toddler years. It all adds up to a perfect place to start to build your wishlist for the upcoming holidays. Enjoy! 

Stephanie’s Picks

Wooden Band Set. “We have this in a basket in our living room, and both kids (4 and 1 year old) just play with it all the time.” Melissa & Doug Deluxe Band Set With Wooden Musical Instruments and Storage Case, $40.99, Amazon.

Noto Multi-Bene Stick.My beauty secret. I put a little on my lips when I want to feel a bit put together/dressed-up, and I put it on my cheeks everyday. It’s so easy to apply.” NOTO Botanics Organic Oscillate Multi-Benne Stain, $19, Amazon. 

Bodha Eye Mask. “The best nightly ritual. It helps put me to sleep and makes me relax.” Aromatherapy Eye-Pillow, $42, Bodha

Green Goo Baby Balm. “We have a few of these at home and in our go bag. It works great for scrapes, minor cuts, dry skin, and the obvious baby balm.” Baby Balm Salve, $32.99, Green Goo

Pipette Eczema Cream. “We use this daily.” Eczema Lotion, $14, Pipette.

Iris Hantverk Dustpan + Brush. “I love it and so do the kids. It’s cute enough to have out and the kids think it’s a toy, so they’re always trying to clean/sweep. With two kids, we always have it out to pick up the crumbs and messes.” Dustpan and Brush Set in Moss Green, $55, Fjorn.

Morrow Oversized Elio Blanket.This lives on our sofa. It’s big enough for all of us to snuggle under during story time and to protect our sofa from the inevitable sticky fingers and muddy feet.” Elio Cotton Throw Blanket, $409, Morrow Soft Goods.

Tula Hat. “My go-to gardening hat/backyard hat with SPF protection. I also don’t feel too precious about it when the kids want to wear it outside.” Lattice Gardener Hat, $39.95, Back Country Gear.

Liewood Swim.This is what our kids live in all summer and a good SPF.” Seersucker Swim Top, $18, Liewood.

Morrow Fia Azul.I can sleep in it and wear it on my early Zoom calls. I even wear it out in the world and still feel put together.” Fia Tank, $79, Morrow Soft Goods.

Yoga. “I do this 10-20 minutes every other day to clear my head. It’s really helped me be less stressed about work and parenting during a pandemic.” Yoga via Peloton.

Make P:rem Sunblock. “The best everyday sun protection. It feels like lotion; I put it on my face and arms every morning.” Make P:rem UV Defense Me, $30, Yes Style.

Coola Waterproof Sunblock. We have this sitting by the backyard door as well as in our to-go bag. It’s clean, natural, waterproof resistant, and goes on easy.” COOLA Organic Sunscreen, SPF 50, $28, Amazon.

Michelle’s Picks

The Octopus Escapes.Cosimo is just getting to the age where we can read more substantial books than board books (particularly during the day when he has more patience and attention span) and this book has recently captured our imaginations and really got him excited. We also got it right around the time we went to the aquarium for the first time so it kind of went hand in hand.” The Octopus Escapes, written by Maile Meloy and illustrated by Felicita Sala, $16.55, Bookshop and Amazon.

Piecework Kids Puzzles. “I love these kids puzzles as little gifts. They seem to be just the right thing for Cosimo’s friends’ older siblings.” Plenty Of Fish Puzzle, $22, Piecework.

Mini Rodini Onesies. “Expensive per piece, however these onesies were our hands-down favorites. They are very soft and stretchy, so they lasted quite a while and grew with baby. Great for gifting!” Printed Onesie, $88, Mini Rodini

Adidas Toddler Sneakers. “We are on our third or fourth pair of these as he grows. All the styles and fits are great! We always try and match whatever sneakers are Daddy’s current favorites and it makes him feel so proud to have matching sneakers like Daddy. He loves when they wear them together.” Superstar Sneakers, $45, Adidas

Roseview Fussy Baby Oil.These oils were a lovely gift from a friend and were a soothing ritual when Cosimo was little. He was truly a ‘fussy baby’ and applying this oil was calming for both of us.” Fussy Baby by Roseview, $35, Roseview.

Organic Matte Sateen Sheets. “I am biased, but we took years to develop the perfect cotton sheets and these are exquisite. Sleep is so treasured as a parent, so making your bed a soft, airy, breathable, sustainable retreat feels amazing.” Classic Sheet Set in Organic Matte Sateen, $155, Morrow Soft Goods. 

Terra Kaffe. “Next to a perfect night’s sleep (how elusive!), a beautiful Americano is always on demand with this machine. It’s a lifesaver and a true household favorite.” Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machine, $825, Terra Kaffe.

Osea Essential Hydrating Oil. “This helped me through the skin changes of pregnancy and postpartum and always feels so good on my skin.” Essential Hydrating Oil, $26, Osea

Life Factory Bottles. “These glass bottles have been with us for 2+ years now! We used them when Cosimo was a baby from about 6 months + and have been using ever since. There is a Dr. Brown’s sippy cup spouts that fits them great when you’re done with the baby nipple.” Lifefactory 9 oz. Glass Baby Bottle with Protective Silicone Sleeve, $16.99, Buy Buy Baby.

Otter Backpack from Ore Originals. “I found buying Cosimo’s first backpack so exciting and it really made him feel like a big boy ready for preschool. This one is a great size and we really love it.” Backpack, $18.95, Ore Originals

MTA Bus Toy.This little toy has been a favorite travel souvenir and one that makes us (mom and dad) hopeful for a time when we can all go to visit New York together. Cosimo just loves how realistic it is and plays and plays with it. An unexpected favorite item in our home.” MTA Bus, $26, FAO Schwartz and Amazon.

Osea Essential Hydrating Oil. “This helped me through the skin changes of pregnancy and postpartum and always feels so good on my skin.” Essential Hydrating Oil, $26, Osea

Red Hook Textiles Weekender. “This tote is such a generous size and is always filled with sand toys and dump trucks and sunscreen for impromptu beach trips. Something about the material is so thick and sturdy, it’s been a favorite since we got it.” The RHT Weekender, $120, Red Hook Textiles. 

Down Duvet Insert. “This insert is on our bed all year round and is the secret to making our linen duvet light as air, fluffy, and cozy. I truly miss it when I’m not sleeping at home. We have been sleeping on it for years to test it even though we only launched it this year. It is Responsible Down Source Certified, machine washable, and dries like a dream.” Quilted Down Duvet Insert, $375, Morrow Soft Goods.

Bunny Lovey.We bought these in multiples from about 6 months to 18 months. Cosimo never took a pacifier but would actually be soothed by chewing on these bunny ears, hence it was so important to me that these are made of organic cotton. They took a number of washings and we never wanted to be without! He still sleeps with one.” Snuggle Bunny Lovey, $25, Under The Nile.

For more Mother Essentials, peep our recent past columns with mega-influencer Nabela Noor, Angela O’Brien of Cleobella, Nikki Osei-Barrett of District Motherhued, Blair Paysinger of Post 21, Idia Lanlokun of Ola & Mide, Karam Kim of Bluecut aprons, children’s authors Evan Sargent and Joanna HoEli Yonas of Toki Mats, Shaina Kerrigan of Molly J., Jenna Levine of LINNÉ botanicals, Eunice Byun of Material, and Sandra Lin of Kiwi Co.

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