Month: June 2008

Sundresses That Aren’t So, Um, Sunny

It’s hard not to be smitten with sundresses for little girls – they’re so sweet, so springy, so totally age appropriate. I could, however, live without the Laura Ingalls fabrics. So when a friend bestowed my youngest daughter with a totally awesome sundress made from a concert tee I was like, yes! Awesome. The Wild Horses dress with a nicely crafted elasticized bodice is courtesy of Rockin’ Robin (tweet, tweet, tweet) comes with a matching pair of bloomers, and we found it online at West Village Kids. Sorry friend, I know how much you spent now. (And thank you!)...

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The Captain of the Hooks

My kids are masters of The Heap. Think: The coat that just missed the peg on the entryway wall.  The wet towel they couldn’t get onto the rack in the bathroom.  The backpack they left carelessly on the floor because. . .well, where is that supposed to go? The J Hook from Design Within Reach may be the best step towards eliminating The Heap that I can find. Made out of soft tinted silicone rubber in six cool colors, you can place a bunch of them at a kid-friendly height without worrying that they will impale themselves should they...

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Publish or Perish

For years, “organize photos” has been at the top of my to-do list.Between piles of printed snapshots and folders chock full of digital pictures, I can never seem to make the time – meaning my piles and folders grow bigger, and the project more intimidating. Fortunately, I’ve discovered an easy way to print and show off my photographic memories with the Blurb book publishing software. Better than a photo album, these are actual beautifully printed, bookstore quality books with dust jackets and everything if you choose. The free software is aptly called BookSmart and it makes it very easy...

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Everything’s coming up roses

My thrifty spouse is against buying fresh cut flowers (what a romantic) so on more than one occasion, I’ve taken it upon myself to pick some up, hoping to send a big fat hint his way. When I saw Peggy Li’s new Rose Necklace I thought maybe this is a flower I can actually get him to buy for me. Cut to perfection in sterling silver, this necklace is sweet for any summer look you’ve got going and is right on trend with this season’s florals. If you don’t have a birthday or gift-giving occasion on the horizon, do...

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Cakes That Truly Take the Cake

Open Matthew Mead’s new Cakes for Kids cookbook and you’ll experience a combination of awe and complete intimidation. It’s as if my inner competimommy is saying Yes! We can make this! while my inner Peggy Bundy is like Are you freaking kidding me? 35 gorgeous technicolor photos demonstrate how flour, butter, eggs and sugar, in the right combos (and with the right decorating tools and probably with the right professional food stylist) can become a spectacular rainbow, grasshopper, candy-filled treasure chest or eye-popping beach ball. These recipes are not for the confectionarily-challeged; while the directions seem fairly clear and...

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The Reluctant Joy of Cooking

Despite my usual aversion to cutesy names, I have to concede that Domenica Catelli’s Mom-a-licious cookbook delivers deliciously on what its subtitle claims: Fresh, fast, family food. And what family doesn’t want fresh, fast food? The pictures are gorgeous, the recipes simple (and they even include tips for which parts the kids can do with you), and the result is a fabulous resource for the what-should-we-have-for-dinner blues that never leaves me wondering why a cookbook assumes I have capers on hand. Hint: I don’t. There are particularly good sections on baby food here, but even if you’re past the...

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Metal Mania: Fun For the Whole Family!

I don’t do themed nurseries. In fact, I don’t do nurseries at all. The typical baby decor out there is way too baby-ish for me and I really don’t want to redo the kids’ rooms each time they grow out of one obsession and into another. Crib Rock Couture’s new Metal Mania line of wall decor was made for rebellious moms like me. These solid-steel designs are created in the same style as the company’s funky kids concert tees we love. But kids won’t soon grow out of this wall art. The steel wall panels are a funky alternative...

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Racecar Chic. Who knew.

It is definitely a certain kind of fellow who has the need for more than one basic pair of cuff links in his wardrobe. And it is definitely a certain kind of fellow who  has a thing for Formula One race cars. So file this under “oh-so-specific Father’s Day gift ideas” but we’re totally loving the F1 racecar cuff links for the Grand Prix fan in your life. Even the posts look like a steering wheel. Sure it’s not the 1965 Alfa Romeo GT Junior he’s had his eye on, but it’s the thought that counts. Considering racing is...

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A Reusable Swim Diaper. For Real.

We’re year-round pool goers in this family, and the water-worshipping indoctrination starts early. Out of the womb and into the pool, I say. That is, once I’ve gotten you out of your diaper, out of your clothes, into your swim diaper, and into your suit. Sigh. My newest babe made his pool debut last weekend with the help of the Baby Swim Pack, new this season from Konfidence USA, the makers of the signature neoprene Konfidence jacket we featured last year for new swimmers. The highlight of the Baby Swim Pack is a reusable swim diaper that adjusts to...

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Dante Beatrix: Putting our kids on the front lines of the eco-fashion wars

Believe it or not, moms are already starting to ask us about back to school shopping. (Seriously, chill moms! We’re not even up to camp ideas!) Backpacks of course are on top of the list, and we’ve got our eyes open for options besides PVC or heinous licensed characters that your kids will outgrow before the school even begins. We’re so excited to find out that chi-chi diaper bag maker to the stars, Dante Beatrix, is just starting to ship their new line of eco backpacks for kids. The bags aren’t just “eco” because one of them has a big old green recycling icon on it; they’re actually made 100% of recycled bottles, with the exception of the canvas trim which in itself is a green fabric choice. That’s about as far from PVC as a bag gets. The graphic icons are a little message-y: In addition to the green one there’s a pink heart and an orange peace sign. But your children will just think they look cool. Which they do. Pack your kid’s organic almond butter sandwiches in reusable lunch bags with a Sigg bottle full of hormone-free milk and they’re the coolest kids at school. –Liz EDITED TO ADD: Dante Beatrix is now Beatrix NY. Find them at http://beatrixny.com Congratulations to Kristi D, winner of an eco-backpack of her...

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Doodle Do’s

My daughter is destined to be the artist of the family, no doubt about it. If she’s awake, she’s got a crayon in her hand. This is great news when we take her out to restaurants because she’s easily occupied. But it’s bad news when I forget to pack some crayons which, pretty much is always. Apple Blossom Toys, who we recently reviewed for their lovely handmade jingle balls, has just made a crayon caddy, called a Doodle Caddy, after my own heart. It’s handmade, she can customize it in any of the great fabrics you see in her shop, and best, it’s small! Like, wallet-sized small. It even includes a little pad for moms like me who forget the paper too. Which, pretty much is always....

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Shopping Gets Greener by the Second

Well it’s about time that someone finally developed a decent shopping engine for more eco-conscious consumers. That honor is going to Greenzer.com. At first glance (the site is still in beta), they seem to have relationships with relatively progressive brands including Patagonia, Seventh Generation, Herman Miller and Burt’s Bees, plus CMP faves like Sigg (shown) and gDiapers. It’s a cool way to help guide your purchase decisions, like hey – I never knew that Toshiba laptop was Energy Star rated. But where there’s real value added is with Greenzer’s editorial. Click on lifestyle and you’ll catch daily posts, green...

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Smart Sheets

It’s exhausting enough to drag yourself out of bed for the 2am feeding, but add a leaky-diaper induced crib sheet change and nighttime becomes painful. Or, you could get yourself the Clouds and Stars super genius zip sheet. Setting it up will take you a bit longer than a typical sheet change, but once you get the zipper base on the underside of your mattress, you’re set to go. Now the soft cotton top sheet zips on (and off) in a snap, making the far too frequent new baby crib sheet changes a no-brainer. Just make sure you’ve stocked up on extra zip sheets which also...

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Dolls After Your Children’s Own Hearts. And Drawings.

We’ve found a whole lot of companies that transform your children’s art into everything from custom lamps to chic jewelry to delicate handbags. It’s so cool to us that those favorite scribbles and stick figures can have a life beyond the refrigerator door. So I am totally wowed and excited to have discovered the inspired dolls from Wooberry. The dolls themselves are absolutely charming, each one one-of-a-kind and handmade from sketches made by artist Melissa Conroy’s own child. My daughter went nuts over them when she first saw their spindly legs and awkward, welcoming smiles. And she definitely cracked...

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Dad, You’re the Best. Can I Have Five Dollars?

We’re a book family for sure. If I’m ever short on a gift idea, a book is always a home run provided it’s suited to the recipient (i.e. I’m not getting my sigOth the new Sex and the City book). With Father’s Day fast approaching (T minus 6 and counting mamas, get on it!) one of the options on my radar is Michael Heatley’s The Dads’ Book for the Dad Who’s Best at Everything. It’s basically a fun little bathroom book filled with anecdotes, tips and tricks, humorous quotations, and engaging top-ten-style lists (Twenty Ways to Get Some Peace...

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Happy Feet

We’ve had a heck of a time trying to find summer sandals for my daughter. Combine her in-between shoe size with fairly narrow feet and you basically eliminate most of the better shoe options out there. So when I slid a pair of Kuuru Shoes on her narrow tootsies without they flying off her feet, I was overjoyed. Designed by mom Helen Cheng, these shoes feature an inner sole modeled after real feet so they’re built to fit a variety of widths quite well. And I love that they’ve got a solid sole for active little lasses like mine. If you’re curious whether...

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Big Brands Doing Cool Things: The Eco TV from Phillips

Let’s face it, what most guys are really hoping for for Father’s Day is that big screen TV. I know my own sigOth’s wish list includes a vast array of expensive electronic toys for boys. Like really expensive. Like the kind that require a trip to Circuit City with the Platinum Card. Whether your hedge fund paid out this year or you’re just looking for an excuse to replace the old 14″ relic left over from your college days, you might be able to justify the purchase a little better with the Eco TV from Phillips. This Energy Star-rated baby has a full 42″ flat screen and has won all kinds of awards, in no small part because it’s RoHS compliant. Which means it’s free of all those bad heavy metals (lead, cadmium, mercury, and so on) that are probably eating our brains faster than bad reality shows. It’s got a power saver mode, a backlight that dims, and even the manuals and the packaging are recycled. Just like half the programming that you’ll use it to watch this summer after the kids are asleep. Rock of Love II in HD anyone? Find it at Amazon for a mere $1249.99...

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Following in the Footsteps of Hemingway and that Pretentious Guy at Starbucks

I love the idea of snatching up a Molskine for Father’s Day. The little pocket journals famous for having been used by the likes of Picasso and Hemingway are just perfect for dads and granddads with a lot on their minds – whether they’re writers, comedians, architects or just really really anal grocery shoppers. If you want to take it up a notch, we’ve just been turned onto custom laser-engraved Moleskines from EngraveYourBook.com. Send over a pic that would look great as a b&w photocopy, and the artists at the company will get it onto a custom notebook at...

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Jimeale: Keeping The Things that Keep You Pretty, Pretty

When I first got my hands on Jimeale New York’s celeb favorite diaper bags, I was impressed with how sturdy and practical and not blingy and pretty much un-Hollywood they were. (Go Isla Fisher and Naomi Watts! You chose wisely, mamas.) Now that I’m checking out their new line of cosmetic bags and travel accessories, I’m raising my eyebrows and nodding and making that  high pitched “hm” sound that I make when I’m liking something. And that the sigOth makes fun of me for. The shiny pink styles are easily my favorite, and I especially like the jewelry or cosmetic case which comes with an extra zippered compartment and a little change purse sized bag inside that velcros in and out – great for earrings, rings, or even a spare binky for the kids. One more reason I’m liking the pink? 15% of all the profits from them goes to Boarding for Breast Cancer. Terrific. –Liz Congratulations to Megan K, winner of the Jimeale gift...

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High Tea, Hold the Snootiness

I’ve come to look forward to my daily afternoon tea (timed ever so carefully to coincide with my kids’ daily breakdown). So it’s no surprise that when I saw the eco-friendly tea towels from Hammocks and High Tea, my interest was piqued.   Combining organic cotton and solvent free inks, Brooklyn artist Karen Young has infused her modern sensibility with a love of tropical design. The tea towels, like the Parrot Cove design in particular, feature bright cheerful patterns that dispel the image of a stuffy Victorian ritual. Grab a few for when you need the perfect hostess gift. I’m betting she’ll love these...

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