Category Archives: Our Family

Mattress Comparison: Boring vs. Tuft & Needle vs. Nectar

Howdy friends. I feel like I always say it’s been a while, but, it has!

I never thought I would become a mattress reviewer, but here I am. Long story short: We wanted to move from a queen bed to a king. Since then, in the space of a month, I’ve used at home:

  • Legacy Tuft & Needle (legacy meaning no longer made)
  • (new) Tuft & Needle Mint
  • Nectar 
  • Boring (new company that launched early 2024)

In addition, in the past month I have also tested in stores for comparison:

  • Nectar Premier
  • Nectar Premier Copper
  • A bunch of TemperPedics
  • And other traditional spring and hybrid mattresses

All this to say, after a LOT of research online and nights spent from agony to comfort, I think I’m now qualified to share! Please note, I am a side sleeper and in a lighter body, but I’ve also considered input from my husband who sleeps on his back and tends to sleep hot.

Just give me the basic mattress comparison

MattressFull Price (King)Sale Price
heightComfort for Side SleeperToxic fume smell?WarrantyTrial Period
Nectar$1399$84911″Worst pain ever!no“forever”*30 to 365 nights
Tuft & Needle Mint$2095$167612″yesyes10 yearsup to 100 nights
Boring$999$89910″yesno10 yearsup to 99 nights
Legacy Tuft & Needleno longer for sale10″yesyes10 yearsn/a
*“forever” is really 10 years. The Nectar limited warranty replaces a mattress up to 10 years old, but “repairs” one over 10 years old.

Despite wanting to spread out across a king-sized mattress, we had zero concerns with our old queen-sized mattress from Tuft & Needle. (It re-sold for $150 within an hour on Facebook marketplace.)

I started my search for a king sized mattress with Tuft & Needle. I’d always liked the idea of the bed in a box, the simplicity of their products, and their ethos. For reference, we paid $350 for a twin in 2016 and $800 for a queen in 2017. I wasn’t expecting to find prices that low now, as inflation and supply chain issues have impacted every industry. However, I wasn’t expecting the online mattress market to have gotten so confusing.

What I dislike about online shopping for a mattress now

Too many options: It used to be your decision for a bed in a box was just what size. Now it seems like the options include hybrid (which sometimes costs more, sometimes less), special cooling gels and chemicals, tiered pricing options, and there are so many more companies out there now.

Hard to gauge quality and feel: It’s super hard to know what a mattress feels like without going to a store. I first started looking at Tuft & Needle’s website, but since the prices had gone up considerably, I shopped around. I found a blog comparing Nectar to Tuft & Needle, saying they were similar except Nectar was more expensive. Since Nectar was still offering an “end of year” sale at 40% off, I thought I was getting a deal. I’ve since learned that many companies run one sale after another. After “end of year clearance,” there was “MLK Day sale” running into “President’s Day sale.” It’s a sales gimmick.

The comparison bloggers are all paid: The pretty much all have affiliate links. Yes, I have participated in affiliate programs before, like Amazon, but it doesn’t impact what I recommend. And I will straight up tell you NOT to buy a mattress off Amazon but directly from the maker. It’s very important if there’s any chance you want to return it. But it makes it hard to find meaningful comparisons online.

If you like a softer feel, you pay the most: I understand having tiered pricing for quality. But I had always thought of soft-medium-firm as preferences. Since I happen to prefer a softer feel, I find it irritating that I have to pay for the most expensive version.

Too Hard: Nectar Mattresses

Swayed by online sources leaving me to believe a Nectar mattress would be comparable to the Tuft & Needles, I bought one on sale.

Pros: Easy to purchase, arrived quickly, no off-gassing/ weird chemical smell. My husband, a not picky, back sleeper, thought it was “ok.” It’s possible if you weigh more than 250 pounds that you might find it more cushiony.

Cons: Very hard. To me, it felt like there was zero cushioning. Perhaps as much cushioning as our floor with carpet. I had to fight to return it.

The back pain I felt after the first night was debilitating and didn’t stop. I was curious if the firmness was because it was “new.” I found a local brick and mortar mattress store, Mattress Firm, that carried Nectars. We went out to try out their floor model to get a sense of it “broken in”. It was slightly less hard than ours at home, but still way too hard. I also tried out the floor model of their “Premier” and “Premier Copper,” supposedly more plush, and thought both were too hard for side sleeping.

I didn’t know a bed could hurt me that much

The false advertising: Although Nectar advertises risk free returns “within your 365-night trial,” there was no response to multiple emails to initiate the return. Worse, when I called the customer service line, they told me that in their fine print was a line that I had to sleep on it for 30 nights before requesting a return. Hell to the no was I going to endure more days of pain, all day, as a result! Eventually, after declining the offer to pay more for their “premier” or purchase a separate topper, I asked to escalate my call to a manager. Thankfully, they granted me a “one time exception” to return it early. Seriously, what is their strategy? That people well get used to an uncomfortable bed and then get too lazy to return?

How I survived waiting for the next mattress: Once I came back from Mattress Firm and knew there was no hope for our Nectar Mattress, I ordered a different brand that night. While waiting for it to arrive, I couldn’t take even one night more. So I put a full-sized foam topper we use for the kids’ sleep-overs on top of my side of the mattress.

Yup, I definitely felt stacked up, like I was in the Princess and the Pea. Worse, the full-sized topper hit my husband’s side of the bed awkwardly half way, even trying to cheat it over, draping off my side. I’m still indignant over them charging a thousand dollars or more for essentially a box spring that’s unusable, as is.

Illustration by Edmund Dulac for the fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea” by Hans Christian Andersen.

Shopping in Person: Mattress Firm

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked Jessica at my local Mattress Firm. She wasn’t pushy and she seemed to be honest. However, the options there were disappointing. The value options were the above mentioned Nectars – crazy hard. The beds that felt good to me were the TemperPedics. The price point was out of my budget. I wasn’t interested in financing and taking on a monthly payment similar to another car! The only option in between was the “Sleepy’s” line. But their warranty lasts only two or three years and they tend to get replaced that often. She told me the most affordable option for me to be able to tolerate the Nectar was buying a topper. But my husband said it was silly to have a thousand dollar mattress that isn’t ready to sleep on.

Next: Tuft & Needle isn’t the same as it was

legacy tuft & needle

Seven years ago, when our youngest graduated from the crib mattress, I had just heard of Tuft & Needle, and gave it a try. Her twin was the most comfortable bed in the house, so Papa Bird and I ordered a queen a year later. I do recall both mattresses having a strong odor that dissipated in a day or two.

However, things change. The mattresses we purchased back then are now called “Legacy” Tuft and Needle. The “original” now sold is not in fact the original. The Legacy has an all off-white cover.

Upon exploring online, I learned that Serta Simmons purchased Tuft & Needle. Despite being founded as a “disruption” to business as usual mattresses – they are in fact now owned by a large, classic mattress company.

The New Tuft & Needle Mattresses

To get the same approximate comfort as the Legacy, I wondered if it was a safer bet to pay more for a “medium feel” Mint instead of the “new original”. I wasn’t sure if the “cooling gel” would be worth it, but I was scared to have a “medium firm” as the original is described.

The False Advertising: Despite the website saying you can go try out the mattresses in store, this is not actually the case. They list select Target locations (not all.) I was about to drive the 15 miles to the closest Target selling Tuft & Needle mattresses, but upon calling T&N customer service (east coast hours, by the way), I learned that no Target’s have floor models. It doesn’t surprise me, but I wish the website didn’t say that. I’d have to drive to an official Tuft & Needle store in Los Angeles to feel a floor model. (I also learned that the Target version is stripped down and lower quality.)

The Differences: As far as I can tell, the main difference (besides the price) between the Mint and our old Legacy Tuft & Needle is that the cover of the new Mint is grey with a thin mint-colored ribbon. Honestly, that doesn’t really matter as we keep our mattresses inside protective covers to reduce dust mites and allergens. Though, if I had to pick, I personally prefer a more minimal look. But again, no one sees it!

How does the new Tuft & Needle Mint compare?

Temperature? One of the selling factors of the Mint, besides extra plushness is “breathable, open-cell foam infused with ceramic and cooling gel plus heat-conducting graphite.” Unfortunately, it is winter and cold this season, even in San Diego. August in our non-air conditioned house might better test the mattress comparison to Boring and others. But we weren’t able to tell any difference between the different brands ability to be cool or not.

Comfort? I would say this is similar in feel to both the legacy and the Boring mattress for me as a side sleeper. My husband as a back sleeper says he can’t really feel the difference.

Pros: Easy to purchase, arrived quickly, along with the comfort listed above. Easy returns by filling out a form and scheduling pick up via an app.

Cons: Weird chemical “off gassing” smell, though it was less obvious after a few days. And the cost – the Mint costs twice as much as a Boring Mattress. Saving a thousand dollars is a thousand dollars!

tuft & needle mint mattress delivery

A Boring Mattress with an Interesting Proposal

While I was trying to research the difference between the legacy Tuft & Needle and the new original and Mint, I stumbled upon a Reddit thread talking about the Boring Mattress Company. The original founders of T&N started Boring – “coming soon.” I dropped my email in their landing page of a website but was in far too much pain from the horrible Nectar mattress to wait or think too much on it. My quick impression was that a Boring mattress would be closer to what Tuft & Needle was like 7-8 years ago than the current Tuft & Needles are now.

Unfortunate timing: About two days after we finally put all the sheets and comforters and mattress covers onto the new Mint, and barely a week after buying it, I got an email. Boring launched. They were offering $100 off for signing up on their interest list. I was out and about running errands, and responded quickly from my phone. I shared that maybe if I had gotten it a week earlier, but we were set, the T&N being “fine” and cash flow not allowing another purchase.

Daehee wrote back, expressing understanding and offering up a sleep trial – meaning a grace period to try out the Boring Mattress with the ability to return it with no money out of pocket. I can’t promise that they will offer this in the future to others, but being so new, they really wanted honest, constructive feedback. I appreciated the offer, but explained it was both a hard sell to my husband for all the heavy lifting, and I was scared of being too uncomfortable on a “medium firm” as a lightweight side sleeper.

The Boring mission

All this time, I thought Daehee was only in customer service, but once I got home and read their website some more, I realized Daehee is in fact cofounder of both Tuft & Needle and Boring. He humored me with menial questions on the specs, and also took the effort of asking his wife, a side sleeper my size, how she compared the Boring to the Legacy Tuft & Needle. How sweet is that? (She thought they were similarly comfortable.)

I really resonate with the mission of Boring. Why is buying a mattress so complicated? What exactly is in “cooling gel”? Why do you have to pay more for basic padding? People are seriously dropping a grand for something that feels like a brick and gets replaced in 2-3 years? And my only other option is to make another car payment each month to sleep on a TempurPedic??

Here we go again: new mattress take three

I waited until a good time to sweet talk my husband into changing up the bed again. He came on board when I shared how much we’d save if we like Boring as much as the Mint. Last week, I happened to be pulling up to the house when FedEx delivered the Boring Mattress box with a proud “Made in America” label.

The driver laughed, “You sure have been ordering a lot of mattresses lately!” It was him! He had brought all three in the space of a month! I laughed trying to imagine what he was picturing… Our house is too small to have three king-sized bedrooms. What was going on in our suburban house? Was I building a Princess and the Pea bed??

My Boring mattress comparison

Just like the others: delivery was quick. Unboxing was the same. (Check the video below!)

boring mattress comparison

Pros: No yucky off gassing or chemical smell at all for us. Boring does warn that it is possible to have briefly, though.

My not so Baby Bird jumped up and rolled on the mattress giggling. I laid down smiling, feeling that classic memory foam give of luxury brands like TemperPedic. I said, “I was hoping to like the Boring mattress as much as the more expensive Mint, but I think I like it better!”

Cons: The mattress seems a teensy bit shorter than T&N Mint and Nectar. I was expecting a gap between the bottom of the headboard and the top of the mattress since the Boring is only 10″ high. My husband also noticed a small gap inside our bed frame once it was pushed back. Understandably, our three-week old deep pocket fitted sheets sag and do not hug the mattress snugly. If I had known ahead of time I’d be buying this mattress, I might have selected a different headboard and sheets. Too late now. But I can live with all that to have a solid mattress at such a reasonable price point.

Bottom line on Boring: It is in fact very similar to the Tuft & Needle of the last decade. AND – if you can believe it – at last decade’s prices.

Thanks for reading, friends! I’m off to sleep on my Boring mattress. If you have questions, please leave them in the comments or head to Boring.Co (not an affiliate link.)

Strong Girls – Supportive Women

Hello Baby Birds Farm friends!

It has been a minute. For most of 2019, I have been focusing on launching an online course for new and expecting parents, designed to prevent postpartum depression. That is, when I’m not laughing with the Little Birds.

babes support babes, babe with a dream

In addition to blogging regularly at, and continuing to be a fourth trimester expert and guest contributor for Ergobaby, I have started posting on

I thought this latest post, featuring a collaboration with a sisterhood of supportive women I’ve met on Instagram, might interest some of you. Curious about how the Little Birds are growing and making me laugh? Head over to the Prevent PPD blog to see our feature of a small, Southern-California, woman owned business, Babe with a Dream.

[Giveaway] “Smallfoot” DVD/Blu-Ray Combo Pack

The Little Birds are taking over the blog! Today, they are sharing their review of the movie, “Smallfoot,” AND giving away a Blu-Ray, DVD, and Digital download combo pack.

In case you don’t follow Baby Birds Farm on Instagram yet, Little Bird has been asking to start her own blog. We let her take a baby step as she staged an Instagram “takeover” to cover the opening of a new movie about Volcanoes at the Fleet Science Center. She did so well that she and the Littler Bird were asked to takeover again to share about “Smallfoot.”

Smallfoot DVD Giveaway

Digital downloads start December 4th in the United States. The DVD and Blu-Ray versions will be out December 11th. And YOU can win a combo pack right now. Enter below and one winner will be sent a combo pack directly to their home (US only please.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Loquat Sorbet Recipe with Tequila and Salt

Here’s a fun post: a delicious recipe for loquat sorbet made with a splash of tequila and sprinkled with Hawaiian black lava salt.

Loquat Sorbet Recipe using fresh loquats and a splash of tequila and salt

The loquats came from a tree in our backyard. We started it from the seed of a tree down the street and it’s taken off. According to the Specialty Produce App, loquats grow well in most Southern states, but usually only fruit in California, Florida and Hawaii.

Loquat Tree with fruit ready to make into loquat sorbet

This post is a family collaboration! Papa Bird (our sorbet master) came up with the recipe and shot the “making of” photos. The child labor came from the (not so) Baby Birds.

Fresh loquats from the treekids cooking loquat sorbet

Kids Cooking in the Garden

Kids cutting loquats for sorbet with playful chef safety knives

The girls have been honing their kitchen skills with their new knife set. They love the safety knives from Playful Chef (Amazon link) which are designed to cut through apples and carrots, but safely fit in young hands. They use them almost daily.

The kids also harvested the loquats from the tree, selecting the ripest, softest and sweetest fruit.

My kids enjoy cooking, especially sweet treats. And they LOVE making and eating anything from our garden.

How to Make Loquat Sorbet

Loquat Sorbet Recipe using fresh loquats and a splash of tequila and salt

Loquats are from the same family as apples, pears and roses. The fruit have a mild, sweet, slightly sour and refreshing flavor.

loquats on the tree, ready for this sorbet recipe

They grow rampant in Southern California. So check your neighborhood and forage! If you or a friend have a tree, you likely have more fruit than you can deal with. And sadly, there are not very many loquat recipes out there. Select fruit that are a little soft and pull off easily from the branch.

Loquat sorbet

Next, Papa Bird set up an assembly line for the girls outside. The fruit can be juicy and sticky.

Kids Cooking Recipe: Fresh Fruit (Loquat) Sorbet

The kids cut the fruit in half. Loquats contain 3-7 large, hard, inedible seeds in the middle.

fresh loquats with seeds

Remove the seeds. The fruit are now ready to run through a juicer.

loquat sorbet

Preparing the loquat sorbet

This sorbet came out delicious!

Loquat sorbet with tequila and Hawaiian lava salt

To make 2 cups of juice, Papa Bird used approximately 60 halved, seeded loquats. We have a Breville compact juicer, which quickly separated the juice from the skin and less edible parts.

Read the printable recipe below. Continue reading

Our Family Vacation to Catalina (Plus 7 Travel Hacks) and My New Bag

We just got back from vacation on Santa Catalina Island! We love how close the island is. For us, a short ferry ride, and an even shorter drive from my sister’s house near Long Beach, delivers us to Avalon.

Golf Carting around Catalina

And once you get there, you feel transported to another country. The cobblestone streets remind me of Europe and cars are few and far between. Many streets in the main town, Avalon, are entirely blocked off for pedestrians.

Santa Catalina Bubbles

Most places are close enough to walk. Or if you do want a quick ride, hop on a golf cart!

Golf Carting around Catalina

Beach Bums

Catalina FloatiesIn fact, my sister’s family and ours were mostly beach bums for four days straight. We lounged in the sand, ordered food and drinks from the Descanso Beach Club –brought to our towel, danced to live reggae, and floated in the ocean for hours. You can see golden Garibaldi swim right under you in the clear, turquoise water.

Santa Catalina Island

Mama’s New Bag

Thanks to a cute online baby store, The Baby Cubby, my new bag had enough room to carry snacks, sunscreen, water bottles for everyone, wipes, UV sun protection shirts, and more. The Baby Cubby had the MZ Wallace Parker Tote in their curated selection of “diaper bags,” and given the room, I could see why. Yet other high-end retailers, such as Bloomingdales and Nordstrom’s, sell it simply as a purse. (Unsolicited advice to new parents: if you are going to buy a diaper bag, don’t get something that looks like one! Get something you can use for years after.)

MZ Wallace Parker Hobo

Full Disclosure: Baby Cubby sponsored this post by providing me a gift certificate, which I used on the bag. No one sponsored our vacation – but just putting it out there – email me at if you want to sponsor our next trip!

MZ Wallace Parker Hobo

Additionally, I liked that the hobo bag offered three different options for straps, including cross-body, and one that looks dressy-enough for a night out. Another thing that sets Baby Cubby apart from other baby boutiques is that they always price match, even Amazon. (How often do you shop at the cute boutiques for ideas and then go online to find the lowest price? I know I do. One of their selling points is saving you time – they research the latest and greatest products AND ensure it’s the lowest price possible.) In my particular case, Baby Cubby marked the bag I wanted to such a deep discount that they couldn’t even offer it online. I ended up calling the store to place the order and after calling on a Friday, I had it in hands by Tuesday.

Mama Bird’s Catalina Travel Hacks

  • MZ Wallace Parker HoboChange into jammies at a restaurant after dinner, hop on the ferry, and let the kids get sleepy on the way home. (I had room for their change of clothes, long pants for me, toothbrushes, an iPad…)
  • Restaurants don’t give away free glasses of water. When you order “just water,” waiters bring plastic bottles. Put any leftover in your purse, water is precious on the island!
  • If you are fair, or just don’t want the sun 24/7, bring a UV sunscreen shirt.
  • Bring PBJs and snacks to the beach and let the kids splurge on ice cream or a virgin piña colada instead of buying every meal.
  • Baby wipes help clean sandy hands before eating.
  • Pack empty plastic bags to bring home wet suits — you will want to swim until the last moment.
  • To prevent seasickness on the ferry, dose up with Bonine (for those over 12), Dramamine (any age) or brush up on my favorite morning sickness remedies.

Until Next Time, Catalina!

Catalina Express