Month: November 2008

The immaculate confection

Recently I wanted to make cookies for my girls but I was too tired to start from scratch. I grabbed a thing of that refrigerated cookie dough that I remember eating raw in my college days and figured it would be fine in a pinch. Oh man, was it horrible. Beyond horrible. Like two dozen cookies that went uneaten horrible. Needless to say, I was skeptical when offered a chance to test drive the Immaculate Baking organic cookie dough but I’ll cut to the chase: Yum. The dough is totally organic and free of preservatives and trans-fats so you...

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Merino Kids Baby Sleep Sack – Hold the Blankets

My husband used to go into my wriggly toddler son’s room every night at least twice to cover him up. But thanks to the Merino Kids baby sleep sack, we’re all getting way more sleep now. This super comfy striped sack is made using a 100% merino inner layer and then soft cotton on the outside, which definitely kept my kid warm but not overheated. And thanks to strategically placed slits, you can strap your little one in his carseat with the sack on. No reaching back to keep covering him with his blanket on the long car ride...

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Cool Mom Picks loves Brazil!

We just wanted to give a huge thanks to Época, Brazil’s popular weekly magazine, for naming Cool Mom Picks among their top 20 international blogs! We are beyond honored to be in such esteemed company as the Huffington Post, Boing Boing, Post Secret, Perez Hilton, Treehugger and Chez Pim.  And special thanks to our friend Isabel Kallman of Alpha Mom, who was kind enough to translate the article from Portuguese for us. Because the excerpt of our Baby Loves Salsa review, according to Babelfish’s online translator, read: With the new album Baby Loves Parsley…now the children can use to...

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Baby Safe Cap – Save your brain cells for more important things

Considering I can barely keep track of my cell phone, let alone a baby bottle cap, just guess how many bottle caps I’ve lost. Okay don’t hurt yourself with all that math.   Thank goodness for Baby Safe Caps, which simply fit onto your standard-sized bottles, flip back when your kid needs to eat, and then close so you don’t have to scramble to try to find a cap–or worse, let it roam around your bag collecting cheerio crumbs. Sweet!  -Kristen Congratulations to Cathy S, winner of the set of Baby Safe...

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A Fairy for all Seasons

It’s always nice cracking open some children’s books to get your kids into the spirit of the holidays, but not every parent is looking to do it through biblical tales or the Santa story. A cool alternative: Positive Spin Press offers three fairy tales–literally–from author Lisa Sferiazza Johsnon that do a lovely job of exploring the season without favoring any one religion over another. Each one features the beautifully drawn Eve from illustrator Tucker Johnson, along with her fairy pals as they all celebrate Halloween, Christmas and other winter holidays, some of which I’d never even heard of before....

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The coolest ABC magnets in the preschool

I still remember seeing a colorful print called Lea’s Alphabets on this site even back before I was writing here. What made that alphabet artwork pop for me was Gregoire Ganter’s amazing photographs of street signs and images from cities all around the world. I remember thinking how great it’d look in my daughters’ room, but, alas, our budget was tied up in such boring things as “mortgage” and “preschool”. So I was thrilled to see that the same inventive idea used for Lea’s Alphabets has been translated into a set of 26 recession-friendly magnets. Unlike those cheesy plastic...

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Yellow Pages, now more green than yellow

I think it’s been at least five years since I used an actual telephone book. With a wi-fi broadband connection to the all-knowing Internet, those old books are now only useful to me as makeshift booster seats and yet they continue to show up on my doorstep, year after year. I’ve finally found a way to curtail these unsolicited deliveries: YellowPagesGoesGreen.org, which is like the National Do-Not-Call Registry, but for unwanted telephone books. A grassroots organization started by a Missouri college student, the service lets you “opt-out” by contacting publishers and saying hey, hold the phone books already. Not...

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So much better than a holiday letter. (Oh so much better.)

Maybe you have time to sit down and write a newsy, personal note in every holiday card you send out, but personally, I consider it a good day if I can make the time to get fully dressed. And don’t even get me started on those “holiday newsletters” from family who think that it’s really important to let you know that they repainted the master bathroom back in May. The compromise? Any one of the really lovely Holiday Yearline options from Minted.com. On the face of it, it’s a photo card — customizable by you, of course, down to...

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Rock-a-bye birdies, made of bamboo

I can’t stop staring at this bamboo mobile by Petit Collage, available at Branch Home, and I’m just looking at a picture. In real life, those laser-cut bamboo birds each have a different pattern cut into their middles, so as they twirl around on the hanging thread I’m thinking there’s got to be some seriously funky light reflection going on through the cut-outs. That’d be pretty fascinating to stare at from inside a crib, while drifting off to sleep, no? But it’s also simple and elegant enough to hang elsewhere in the house. Why should baby have all the...

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Get your felt on

The more I realize how totally impractical it is to wear anything remotely nice around my sticky-fingered kids, the more I’m started to appreciate the value of accessories that aren’t all that valuable. UK shop Lupin Handmade, whose amazing felt mobiles we found earlier this year, has a smart, bold felt poppy headband that I’ve got my eye on for the holidays. Nice way to turn up the festivity for 15 bucks, and bonus – it’s not nearly as trite as sticking felt mistletoe in your hair....

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Dipping a toe into the scarf craze of 2008

Since scarves are The Thing these days, I’ve been keeping a more focused eye on the NYC street vendors to see if any of their knockoffs are jumping out at me. Nope, not yet. Mostly, the same old fake Burberry and pashminas from 2000. So I was happy to stumble onto the long jersey scarf from Shade Clothing, which is a great deal at less than 10 bucks, and comes in some nice bright colors. Did I mention it’s less than 10 bucks? As you poke around the shop, keep in mind that the label was started by two...

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Holiday baby gifts for baby that are actually more appealing than the wrapping paper

Oh I just can’t wait for all those obligatory stuffed animals that my baby will get over the holidays because really, what else do you give a newborn for Christmas? So here’s a suggestion: An adorable  duck rattle baby toy from Estella NYC. Hand crocheted by Peruvian artisans and designed by the smart folks at Estella, this soft cotton duck has a satisfying rattle inside, beating out any stuffed bear, bunny, or even Rudolph. If ducks are too conventional for you, then you’re in luck; the goat is equally as cute and is guaranteed not to eat the crib bedding...

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Good news for the immature among us (ahem)

While I submit that no one in their right mind gives a kid a harmonica–even with a how-to book–I got the chance to poke around the Klutz site recently and there are definitely some cool new options from one of my favorite childhood mainstays. My favorite is easily The Encyclopedia of Immaturity, which actually may be a little more fun for me than for the kids. Where else can you get bad jokes plus directions on how to make shrunken heads all in the same volume? That’s my kind of gift. Oh, and my kids’....

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Silhouette cards – Make sure they get your good side.

Every year, our families bug us about our holiday cards because we only send pictures of the kids. I guess my husband and I never figured that anyone would actually want to see our mugs too. Besides, it’s pretty hard getting a candid family shot that doesn’t look like total cheese.  If you’re looking for a creative card option to represent the family, skip the photo options and try the silhouette ornament cards from Chick Print. Mom and artist Madeley Rodriguez will create your silhouettes (pets too!) and print them along with your holiday message in archival inks. Plus, black silhouettes...

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Yak yak yak

Merino wool? Old hat. Soy cotton? So last week. The new hot luxury fabric of the day it would seem is hand-combed yak hair. Heavenly soft like cashmere, thick and yummy in every way. Sound appealing? Then check out Shokay (Tibetan for yak), a socially conscious company that supports struggling Tibetan yak farmers through the sale of exquisite kids clothes, women’s accessories, plus indulgent pillows and throws all made of the luxury fiber. It is painfully hard to pare down the wish list from the shop into a single manageable paragraph, but I think I’m going to go with...

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Berry beautiful holiday cards

These days  you can spread “good will on earth” while being kind to it as well. But let’s be honest, not all eco-friendly cards are created equal. The Winter Berry Holiday Cards we spotted from the new line of eco-friendly cards available at Red Stamp are just beautiful–simple yet elegant. And they’re printed on thick, high-quality, 100% recycled paper with vegetable based inks. No flimsy, flecked paper here. I also like the fact that they are “general” enough to send to anyone on my holiday list, for Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, Winter Solstice…I think I still have that one Wiccan...

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Scrub-a-dub-dub, Zoo Zuds in the tub

I love the idea of all-natural soaps, but often I don’t actually love the actual all-natural soap. Sometimes they just seem… I don’t know. Fussy. Slimy. And weird-smelling. So you have to believe me when I tell you that hand-made Zoo Zuds, currently on sale at Bitsy Birdie, are something of a trifecta of awesomeness. First, each bar is named for an animal and the label gives you cool stats about that animal. Second, these are solid (read: not slimy!) bars of substantial soap, with gentle veggie oils as a base (suitable for even the most sensitive skin). And...

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year: The time our holiday shopping guide launches.

The winter sweaters are out, the tinsel is already in the store windows, and the annual Cool Mom Picks Holiday Gift Guide is live and, if we do say so, kicking. We’ve scoured the web to help you solve your every gift giving dilemma, from your adorable pirate-obsessed son to the grandparents to your hard-to-shop-for vegan sister. Even tons of cool ideas under 12 bucks for the kids in your life. Plus, lots of discount codes. Must have the codes! And since it’s often better to give than to receive, we’ve got two $250 gift cards up for grabs...

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A bag that brings your work and your babies together in one

Yes, I’m an avowed bag fanatic, but that doesn’t mean I want to carry a second one for my laptop along with my diaper bag. However I had yet to come across a hybrid diaper/laptop bag that I’d actually carry until I discovered the classic Vert Tote from Acme Made. Okay, so it’s not really a diaper bag at all, but this sharp tote bag can definitely work as one, particularly if you loathe diaper bags that scream “mommy.” I’m loving the bright red canvas paired with the chocolate leather, along with the reasonable amount of pockets, extra strap...

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Definitely not your granny’s crochet

Thanks to my not-so-quickly shrinking postpartum body, the only items that are guaranteed to fit me are accessories. So at the top of my “dear santa pleeeeeeeeease” list are these Floral Crochet Earrings spotted at Three Lovelies. Artist Claudia Lobao actually crochets gold wire (seriously!) to create these dainty earrings that will be perfect for the holidays and beyond–like when I can actually fit into more than just jewelry. I promise Santa, I will continue to treasure them long after they’ve left the pages of In Style. -Kristen Get 15% off your purchase through 12/23/08 with code...

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