Month: January 2009

I’ve smelled red and it’s absolutely delicious

Kids and dogs go together like red and Valentines Day, which is why I think the story book Mo Smells Red is such a cute gift for your little sweetheart. Not only will preschoolers love hearing about the adventures of Mo, a real life rescued stray, they’ll get a kick out of the “Press 2 Smell” feature which makes regular old scratch-and-sniff look passe. Author Margaret Hyde and illustrator Amanda Giacomini had the good sense to make the things Mo sniffs delicious and yummy like roses and strawberries. (No, no raw liver or dried blood.) To release the smell of...

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Toy storage for when your whole house feels like toy storage

One month after Christmas, and I still have no idea where half of these toys are going. I definitely need The Toy Store by Oeuf, a brand new super three-level toy storage system that offers a nice modern alternative to plastic storage bins. I love that the deep bins swivel forward so that even my four year old can reach the top shelf to put away his little toy cars. And, unlike some toy storage pieces that should never leave the light of a child’s bedroom, The Toy Store looks too cool to be hidden away.  In fact, once the kids...

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Making Valentine’s Cards that don’t look like you did

I keep looking for cute Valentines Day cards for my daughter to give out to her beloved friends and family, but the truth is, I haven’t found anything that makes you go “awwwww….” as much as the handmade Valentines Day cards she could make herself. Especially with Martha’s help. Good thing we just received a whole boxload of the cutest ev-ah Valentine’s Craft Supplies from Martha Stewart. Even a craft spaz like me can put together something passably adorable with a combo of blank cards, craft punch tools, Valentine’s-themed ribbon and of course, the requisite pink and red glitter....

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Breaking news – CPSIA delayed! Your amazing efforts made a difference

According to today’s most excellent release from the Consumer Products Safety Commission, the CPSC has done the only common sense thing it could have done, and granted a one year stay of testing and certification requirements until February 10, 2010. Which means… whoo! Commissioner Nancy Nord in her letter to congress calls it “a time-out.” Which is exactly the right thing to do. To quote the CPSC statement: Manufacturers and importers large and small of children’s products will not need to test or certify to these new requirements, but will need to meet the lead and phthalates limits… The...

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Not since Carrie Bradshaw has wearing a brooch been so stylish

The last time I wore something painted on my cardigan it was a first-grade finger painting project gone awry. But the one-of-a-kind fabric brooches we just discovered from artist/designer/mom Danita Art may change all that. The great thing about these cool brooches is that you’re not just wearing a pin, but an actual piece of original art. The adorable round faces in the center are prints from Danita’s original paintings, then embellished with fabric and loads of thread. Just the right flair to my excruciatingly boring mommy uniform or a chic tween’s handbag. Danita is always finding new fabrics...

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The Club Med Vacation: Only more appealing now that kids stay free

I learned early on that family vacations tend to be something you do for your children. [Ahem, fill in theme park of choice here.] Not so Club Med. In recent years the company has converted nearly all of their properties from places that singles went to be…very single, into incredible all-inclusive family friendly resorts. The kind that parents not only don’t mind going to, but you weep openly when you leave. As a testament to their commitment to families, Club Med has got a super promotion now where kids stay free.  (I know!) So if you’re looking to get...

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Bringing new meaning to the term “animal print”

So you want a canvas or two for baby’s room, and you’re trying to figure out something bright and colorful, with animals, that doesn’t look like the circus threw up on your walls. Leave it to Tiny Decor to find just the right mix of mod and whimsical; their new line of Animal Prints offers three different animals in your choice of five colors, with each animal having its very own pattern. And it’s all hand screenprinted on stretched organic canvases. Of course the elephant is polka-dotted, and the lion is herringbone, but I’m particularly taken with the houndstooth...

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Whereas I take back all previous skepticism about Yo Gabba Gabba!

If you had asked me about Nick Jr’s Yo Gabba Gabba! a few months ago–unlike editor Liz who’s their biggest fan on the planet–I would’ve told you, I don’t get it. However I am now writing enthusiastically about the Yo Gabba Gabba! soundtrack from the first two seasons of the hit kids’ show which is now available for download through iTunes. I get it now! Kicking off with the infectious tune Party in My Tummy (so yummy, so yummy), this soundtrack has a little bit of everything: thumping hip-hop beats, peppy indie pop melodies and sweet messages for kids...

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Born with a stainless steel spoon in his mouth

I have to say that the keepsake gifts for new baby boys are pretty slim pickin’s. I mean, nothing says “Welcome Boy” like a big plush monogrammed baby blanket, right? So, when I spotted the Baby’s First Spoon at Lisa Leonard Designs, I was glad to see someone finally got it right. This simple stainless steel baby spoon is handstamped to your specifications, and makes the perfect little new baby boy (or girl) gift. Whether the lucky new mom is a spoon collector or not, this custom gift expresses a lovely sentiment and makes a nice change from the...

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The perfect way to shake things up this Valentine’s Day.

Growing up, no Valentine’s Day was complete without a bagful of Be Mine and Hug Me heart candies. Sure they were cute, but let’s be honest: they tasted like chewable antacids. Conversation Heart Rattles from Yellow Label Kids are a much more tasteful way of showing your love. These sweet, soft, heart-shaped knit rattles are embroidered with the sayings you remember as a kid. And as if that weren’t enough, how about the fact that the rattles are made following fair trade practices–at CMP you know we truly “heart” that.  Plus they have the added bonus that they won’t...

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bgreen or b squared

I guess you could say that I’m the token eco-skeptic among the Cool Mom Picks writers.  Before you start throwing rotten tomatoes at me, consider what this means: If it’s green and crunchy and I rave about it, then it really is spectacular. That’s certainly the case with the new bgreen by joyababy Collection.  Of course, we’re already fans of joyababy founder and mom Joya Logue’s designs, so it’s not surprising that her new PVC-free line of bibs, blankets, and diaper clutches is just as gorgeous as everything else she has created.  With striking, sophisticated fabrics and mom-essential function,...

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The way to this mama’s heart is through her stomach

Besides unconditional love, the only thing that I want for Valentine’s Day is something chocolate and decadent. Like, say, these heart-shaped brownies from Kitchen Witch. I’ve already gushed about Casey’s ready-to-bake line of cookies, brownies and scones, but she also ships out an incredible line of pre-baked goodies including these made-for-Valentine’s-Day brownies. The best thing about Kitchen Witch’s many treats is that they taste fresh-from-the-oven homemade because Casey ships everything the day it is made. Cookies are still chewy, brownies are moist and marshmallows are springy and soft, just the way I’d make them if I had the talent....

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Here’s a review about a Neil Sedaka album. Uh huh. That’s right.

After reading the headline to this review, you may be wondering, When did Cool Mom Picks become Cool Grandmom Picks? I hear you. When I first heard that Neil Sedaka had put out a new CD of reworked hits for kids, I thought, There is no way this is going to be my kind of album. Well, guess what? Waking Up is Hard to Do is really worth a listen. No seriously! Stop laughing. It’s actually a really good album. I’m also a little surprised at how perfect Mr. Sedaka (yes, he warrants a “Mr.”) still sounds some decades...

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Flower hair clips that don’t look swiped from a Carmen Miranda memorabila auction

I’m not crazy about barrettes with so much going on that it’s like the hair clip enters the room before your kid does. You can keep your big crazy “corker” bows and humongo fake gardenias with rhinestone centers. Just leave me the simple little flower barrettes I just discovered from Berkley’s Clippies. Handmade by mom Amanda Roser out of buttons and layers of felt, they make a statement but without trying too hard. The clips are conveniently sorted by color at the shop, so you can stock up on pink barrettes for Valentines Day, or yellow and green barrettes...

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The best little $10 shower gift that’s not a stuffed animal

Enough with those baby name books filled with what seem to be a lot of arbitrary meanings. I’m sorry, Madison does not mean “Son of Maud” – it means “I fell in love with Daryl Hannah in Splash when I was a kid too.” So as far as baby name books go, I’m totally digging the Fortune Telling Book of Names. This pocket sized, faux leather bound, canary-yellow (gender neutral!) tome is a fun little guide to thousands of names and the fortune each one holds. If you’ve got a Sadie at home, she’s destined for great love, and...

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Bespoken? Word.

Every woman needs to one one perfect, crisp button-up shirt. And by perfect I mean it fits at the shoulders, the collar isn’t better suited to the Ringling Bros. wardrobe department, and your chest isn’t busting the buttons every time you inhale deeply. Rebecca & Drew has just introduced a very cool custom made shirt for women that may be the next best thing to heading to a tailor for measurements. You specify the fabric, your chest size and cup size (!!) and whether you prefer the classic oxford shirt (or custom shirtdress) longer in length. You can also...

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Enter the Ninja

Sometimes you just see something and there’s absolutely no reason for you to buy it except for the fact that it’s so freaking cute you just can’t pass it up. (Good thing I don’t find Coach bags so freaking cute, right?) The handmade leather key chains from Singapore-based Leather Prince will satisfy your cuteness quota without emptying your wallet. I’m completely infatuated with Taka the Ninja (pictured), but take two minutes to flip through their site and I’m willing to bet that you’ll find something you’ll want too. C’mon, how can you pass up a raccoon key chain or...

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I just shopped to say I Love You

I think the sweet little $15 silver heart charm around your neck is a nice sentiment for a Valentine’s Day gift, but I’ll be honest, I outgrew that look a good while ago. These days, my tastes tend more towards the Silver Carneilan Love Fob, newly out from our favorite splurgetastic house o’ baubles, The Fine Art of Family. If your sigOth wants to get you something extra-special this February 14, consider leaving the url open up on your computer. The large red carnelian stone engraved with the word love is set into a sterling silver case which dangles...

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Happy Niu Year!

Today is the official start of the Year of the Ox (Niu in Chinese), and if you’re into Chinese Zodiac, you’ll know that good things are predicted to come. Especially if you’ve got your own little Ox on the way. We love the idea of celebrating a new arrival with the super cute year of the ox double onesie set. A pair of snapsuits come packaged in a canvas bag, featuring a funky red ox declaring (in French) “We are the kings of 2009!” It comes courtesy of the hot new label Fauborg St Denis which is  a collaboration...

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Spreading the gluten-free love

Those of us with food allergies in the family know the scary importance of reading food labels. So does Jackie, a New England graphic artist turned mom of a son with celiac disease. She turned her years of obsessive label reading into a company called Vanilla Spoons that creates yummy, treat-filled gluten-free gift baskets. All of her gourmet gift baskets have cheeky movie-themed names (“Mix and the City” anyone?) and are packed full of the types of treats that most of us without food restrictions take for granted: Popcorn, chocolate, baking mixes, crackers. For Valentine’s Day, I love the...

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