Month: December 2009

A clean start to the new year

We have a tradition of visiting friends and family on January 1 – now that we have kids. And we’re not quite so hungover that day. For a New Year’s gift, I love the idea of grabbing one of the natural, small batch handmade Soaptopia gift boxes, especially when they contain the new Piece of Peace soap. The name itself delivers just the right message for the New Year. But the soap itself is a delight – a not too smelly, not too girlie blend of rosemary and rose geranium oil with an exfoliating strip of quartz sand from...

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Web Coolness – Best holiday music, grandparent gifts, and an eco-Hanukkah

Here are a few of the things we’ve been reading around the web this week. We hope you’ll like them too.The Daily Green – Tips for a more sustainable Hanukkah. Nice picks, including a sustainable wooden dreidel and cute recycled gifts. Alpha Mom– Looking to freshen up that holiday playlist? Alpha Mom CEO Isabel Kallman offers up a list of her 20 favorite holiday tunes. And they’re good ones! Craftzine: For a great, personalized touch to the gift of a book, check out this make your own photo bookmark tutorial. BlogHer – Weigh in on this provocative discussion about...

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Maternity Spanx! At last, at last!

I can say, in all honestly, that there have been times when I would not have gone out out in public had I not been wearing my Spanx. That has everything to do with the way Spanx just makes everything feel so supported, both in the lift-and-smooth kind of way and in the this-helps-me-stand-up-straighter kind of way. Which is why it would have been so awesome to have had some kind of Spanx product to slip on when I was pregnant and my belly was all ponderous and swingy and out there. Because you know those maternity jeans with...

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Shop for Anissa, today!

A few days ago we told you about our friend and fellow blogger, Anissa Mayhew, who suffered a severe stroke in late November. We are so pleased that today is Shop For Anissa Day in which more than 60 businesses have agreed to donate a portion of today’s sales to the Help 4 Anissa fund to stem her growing medical costs, and help support her three kids and husband, who has taken a leave from his job to care for them. Not only is this a great cause, there are some fabulous shops represented here that will definitely help...

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The perfect little gift for the tween who has everything. (And don’t they all?)

Got a tween girl on your list this year? I don’t, I confess. But if I did, I totally know what I’d get her. (See, isn’t that always the way? Now if only I could trade this great tween gift idea with someone who knows the perfect thing for a 62-year-old man, my holiday shopping would be taken care of.) My own gift-giving woes aside, these little Ladybug Earbuds at The Conran Shop are so cute I could eat them. They’re compatible with any 3.5 mm headphone socket so her iPod touch, MP3, computer and whatever else she can...

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Lovely gift boxes that take the ugh out of gift wrapping.

I am beyond grateful for all the pretty boxes and gift bags out there because I am 1. Totally spazzy with wrapping paper (seriously, it’s sad) and 2. Totally impatient with long gift wrap lines at department stores. Let’s also add 3. Totally annoyed with the $5 gift wrap charges that some shops want to bilk you with over the holidays. So here are a few cool holiday gift boxes and gift bags I’ve come across recently that make things easy for those of you like me: Martha Stewart Crafts does a smashing job with the holiday cookie and...

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Redbox helps you save your money for popcorn

Sure, there’s no shortage of ways to rent movies nowadays; whether you go in-store, via mail service, or even streaming over the Internet. Still, ’tis the season to be mindful of where every penny is going, so maybe it’s time to check out Redbox, which is a kiosk-based $1 movie-rental service. Basically, you reserve your movie online, then pick it up at a kiosk, generally in chains like Kroger and Walgreens. But of course, make sure there’s one near you before you sign on. (There are 50 in Atlanta where I live.) The movie selection isn’t massive, but it...

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Giving the gift of creativity – Great craft kits for kids

As the nieces and nephews and various children in my life get a little older, I’m increasingly more into finding crafty gifts that not only entertain them for a little while, but let them show off their handiwork when they’re done. Here are a few favorites that help kids explore their creativity- while showings off yours. (You awesome gift giver, you!) CMP fave Zebra Mix has come out with a really fun new kit – a Cupcake Studio activity kit. Could you just get a kid a box of cheap cupcake mix instead? Sure, but then you’d be lame....

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Get your freak on

I’ve seen my neighbor’s tween struggling with a full school backpack, so I may have to play Santa and pass a Freak-O-Bag her way for those days when a few extra books threaten to topple her onto her back. Now, even my mom knows how smart it is to keep a portable reusable bag folded up and clipped to her pocketbook, but trust me, these are no grandma shopping bags. Instead, the Freak-O-Bag normally looks like a little creature dangling from wherever it is clipped. But, when needed, the “pets” transform into a generous 16″x16″ reusable tote. The original...

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Not your grandma’s recipe cards

My grandmother wrote recipes on flowery little cards expressly for that purpose, and my mother rebelled against the cute by using nothing more than plain index cards. Me, I fall somewhere in the middle–plain cards seem kind of depressing, but I’m just not a hearts and flowers kind of gal. Up until recently I was solving this dilemma by keeping my recipes in a handy stack of paper scraps on my kitchen counter. Ahem. But I took one look at these Spoon Recipe Cards and knew I’d found the solution. They’re cute, but not too cute. And the split...

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Doesn’t everyone have their holiday cards done by a designer? Well, why the heck not?

There is nothing that beats the convenience of digital photo cards printed out at your local drugstore, but for something a little more distinctive, you have to check out the new digital holiday cards from Hello Lucky. The Moyle sisters of Hello Lucky are known for their high-end letterpress stationery and invitations and impeccable design sense, so it was totally worth a look-see when we found out that they now offer a customized digitally printed option for holiday cards. Choose your favorite vintage-inspired, worn-finish design, or even send in a favorite pic for one of their photo cards. A...

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Because everyone needs their Momey

I hope that we’ve proven time and again that a child’s favorite doll may not be the one with the perfect skin and the perfect nose and the perfect wardrobe and the $100 price tag. In fact the Aminals Organic Momey doll is stealing hearts these days for far far less. This “Momey” is a squishy plush mommy doll whose look (and evidently name) is based on children’s drawings. Even though my kids never see me trotting around with red nails and a minidress, they knew this was “me” instantly. For any doll that I know they’ll keep close,...

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The Whiplash Scooter according to Brodie – 4.5 stars out of 5

When the makers of the popular Wave skateboard asked me to send their much buzzed-about new Whiplash Scooter for a test drive, I was like uh…not on your life. But I have a 12 year-old nephew named Brodie who I knew could give me the scoop since that’s who should be riding these crazy things in the first place, and not 40-something moms with strong self-preservation instincts. His eloquent sixth-grade verdict? “It’s very fun!” And this from a kid who tried the Wave skateboard once but could barely get on it. After hearing him rave about it, it’s not...

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Ultra cool affordable handmade jewelry from Indie Craft Experience

It never ceases to amaze me how many awesome artisans live right here in Atlanta, many of whom we’ve featured on this site. So when I had the chance to hit the local Indie Craft Experience, not only was I pleased to run into past faves, like Mary Sweeney from the Felted Heart and artist Alena Hennessey (who’s actually not from Atlanta, but hey, we don’t discriminate), but I found some great new jewelry artisans just in time for the holidays. And thanks to the beauty of online shopping, you don’t have to live in Atlanta to bring them...

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Showcase a kid’s artwork beyond your refrigerator door

I love how my little artists fearlessly choose their colors to create a purple tree under a green cloud, or how a bunch of stick figures can end up looking just like our family; they blow me away every time. RedStamp has one of my favorite ideas for how to pass on these little works of art to those people who will appreciate them as much as I do–their Custom Kid-Designed Stationery turns kid-art into one-of-a-kind flat cards that can become gifts for grandparents, parents, or even for my kids themselves, who could use them for thank-you cards after...

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Kirtsy Takes a Bow – and it’s well, well earned.

I can’t stop reading Kirtsy Takes a Bow: A Celebration of Women’s Online Favorites. And rereading it. And going back to make sure there’s nothing I missed. The thing is, it’s not just me. An art director friend shirked work for an hour to browse after I handed it his way. Yes, he’s a guy. This witty, thoroughly entertaining compilation from Laura Mayes, co-founder of social news sharing site Kirtsy and occasional Cool Mom Picks contributor, does a phenomenal job of capturing the energy, the inspiration, the humor, the art, the beauty, and the passion that can be accessed...

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The Lazy Baker makes a gingerbread man that is easy to catch

Normally, if you were to call me lazy at this time of the year, you’d find a candy cane in a most uncomfortable place, but the kind people at The Lazy Baker are my new best friends for creating gourmet baking mixes, like their Gingerbread Cookie Kit, which saved me a bunch of time, effort and mess. It’s almost like an elf came into my kitchen and threw together all the messy, dusty dry ingredients for all-natural holiday-ready gingerbread, and I didn’t have to crack a recipe book. And we’re talking “real” ingredients like flour, brown sugar and spices—nothing...

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Oh, mon coeur! Ocechou does adorable right

As much as I like modern design, I still want to see a heavy dose of adorable in a baby’s room. Thankfully, Switzerland’s Nicole of Ocechou does adorable right–not by using the same old licensed characters or doe-eyed puppies, but with sweet, original illustrations of happy creatures, from elefants to monstres. I got to practice my freshman-level French skills going through the site although you’ll find English translations on most pages. Even with limited French,you’ll want to click on everything since there is adorable everywhere. Using soft, muted colors, her children’s French ABC poster still really pops. And I...

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A new iPhone App that even the Grinch would love

I have to admit I’m a bit of an iPhone app addict, but even though the number of smart phone apps are growing into the hundreds of thousands I generally think that there are only a dozen or two that are worthwhile. The Dr. Seuss Camera–Grinch Edition iPhone app is totally one of those. Select a card and use your built in camera to add yourself, or loved one to the picture. It’s incredibly fun and easy. My son instantly became The Grinch and my husband the put-upon pup, Max. Then you can choose a funky “Seussian” border treatment...

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Let them eat cookies!

The holidays aren’t so sweet for those people who have to pass up all the trays of Christmas cookies because of a food allergy or vegan lifestyle. So, when I heard that Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero were following up their most-awesome Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World with the new Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, I couldn’t wait to get my grubby little hands on it. I knew they wouldn’t let me and my milk-allergic daughter down. And, oh, did they pull through with this cookbook, whose photographs are food porn for those of us...

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