Month: July 2009

Protecting kids from sunburn, petrochemicals, and shoddy package design

We’ve gotten our fair share of baby lotions and bath products from Little Twig as gifts and I must say, they’re often the ones I reach for first. I love the adorable packaging, but even more so I love the pthalate-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free products inside which are consistently excellent across the line.  So of course I had high expectations for their new SPF 30+ Mineral Sunscreen for children. The first sign that I was going to like this sunscreen was the scent, which is light and not chemical-y, probably because it’s actually not chemical-y. It goes on really nicely...

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Take a Ride on The Sippy Cups’ Time Machine

They grow up so fast, I’ve said a million times, and while they’re still little I want to introduce them to the coolest indie-vibe kids’ music I can. Like CMP fave The Sippy Cups’ new CD The Time Machine. Mixing bits of “stop and smell the roses” wisdom with fun-loving trippy pop/rock, I wonder if the band is talking to the kids or the parents when they sing in the title track, We spend our days in search of love/And wish the time to linger on and on and on and on. Sigh. Off to go hug the kids...

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Baby quilts approved by those of us who know baby quilts

I’m from small-town Iowa, so when my daughter was born, the Quilting Ladies (as they are known) whipped up something custom, no problem. I didn’t even have to ask. But fear not, Quilting Lady-less mamas, for Etsy has delivered once again. Baby Jayne’s quilted blankets have the piercing/batting/quilting/edging quality of aging Lutheran church ladies’ work, but these lovingly handmade baby quilts can be had by anyone with a credit card and mailing address. I’m also impressed by the design of these blankets, especially the classic looking black and butter cream baby quilt which would appeal to even you city...

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A is for Alexander Girard – Alphabet blocks for you mid-century design freaks

My heart is going thumpity-thump on seeing the new Alexander Girard alphabet blocks by House Industries. Yes okay, so the set is 100 bucks at maXimo design but the truth is, if I add up all the disposable plastic toys we’ve received for the kids, I could have owned about 60 of these sets–and actually owned something my kids could hand down to their own kids. The blocks, besides being utterly gorgeous in both color and typography, are all US made out of sustainable Michigan-grown basswood. (Love the idea of supporting Michigan industry these days.) And of course the...

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Rolling with Dante Beatrix

We’re already huge fans of the kids’ backpacks from Dante Beatrix as we already revealed (again) this week, so it’s not surprising that they’ve got some new items we’re adding to the must-have-it-NOW-NOW-NOW list. First of all, their new wheelie bags for kids are an essential once your child is old enough not to make you carry all 700 lbs of his stuff through the airport. We first saw Dante Beatrix’s new kids’ luggage line at a children’s trade show earlier this year and couldn’t wait until they were available for sale so we could rave about them. The...

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Squiggle it, just a little bit

Now that I’ve put my foot down on the whole no-DVD-in-the-car thing (the same way Liz had mentioned earlier this week), I better have something to keep my three occupied on long road trips. So along with all the great kids’ music we play, I keep some attention-grabbing toys stashed in the van like RandomLine’s Squiggle On-The-Go pads. Part game, part art project, Squiggle On-The-Go is basically a thick notepad with a “squiggle” printed on each tear-off sheet and a spinner on the back that tells the kids which way to hold the notepad before they turn their squiggle...

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Children’s aprons as pretty as the clothes underneath

As of late, my daughter the artist has been causing me quite a headache with her adamant desire to wear dresses even while engaging in messy crafts.You’d think a smock would do the trick but in her mind, all that does is cover up her beautiful dress. Oh the horror! Well, thanks to the gorgeous new reversible children’s aprons from Amuse Me, our little problem is solved. Beautifully constructed from bright, stylish fabrics and featuring a couple of strategically placed pockets and tie straps, these aprons are just as pretty as my daughter’s dresses. In fact, they’re so pretty,...

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Cool Mom Picks loves Psychobaby!

If we just so happened to win the lottery, one of the first places we’d hit on a spending spree would probably be Psychobaby, a Chicago-based boutique that sports some of the hippest clothes, shoes, and gifts for the alternative set. We found them way back when we first started CMP, and now we’re really excited to announce a whole new partnership with them. Right now, the online shop will have an entire section featuring Cool Mom Picks’ favorite Psychobaby picks. It’s like being the Rachel Zoe of rockin’ kids stuff. How fun! We had a tough time narrowing it...

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You’ve got to keep it decorated

If I had my way, birthday decorations would be limited to a couple of mylar balloons. It’s not that I don’t appreciate a good birthday celebration. It’s just that when you pile on the streamers and the birthday signs and the confetti (oh how I loathe the confetti), you’re either stuck with a ton of post-party trash or a box of junk that you’ve got to figure out where to store. But at this year’s party, we’ll have two balloons and a lovely keepsake photo banner from Mary Had a Little Party. Mom of two Kristen Davis takes your...

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It’s a tie

While I appreciate the joys of velcro as much as the next mom, I’m worried that if I don’t start introducing actual shoe laces to my 4 year-old soon she’ll be learning to tie her sneakers in college. (Right about when she starts eating protein and sleeping all night in her own bed, I’d guess.) The classic Italian Superga sneakers in kids and toddler sizes–with actual old skool shoelaces–are calling my name. Those canvas tops over the thick white rubber soles feel like Vans, only more Mediterranean Coast than Zuma Beach. I’m reallllly digging navy shoes these days which look snazzy...

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Creative playroom design inspiration? Reader Q&A

Wondering if you could point me toward a cool, creative book about playroom design or a website/book that showcases creative kid spaces in general? Can’t find anything beyond the usual pink teddy bears… -Courtney You’re a mom after our own hearts, Courtney – We recently featured an amazing book about children’s design and decor called Play All Day that’s just phenomenal. You’ll find architecture and design inspiration galore. As far as websites go, we’re huge fans of Ohdeedoh.com, the children’s decor and design blog from Apartment Therapy. In fact, just the other day they had a great post up...

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Baby Star, not just for newborns anymore

I’m always kind of bummed when I fall in love with a line of baby blankets or clothes and realize there’s nothing left for me from that label once my kids turn toddlers. So it’s nice that Portland’s Baby Star has been taking their crowd-pleasing modern prints and expanding them beyond just blankets and newborn basics. The double-lined baby dresses with rick rack trim and a cute little pocket on the front are just adorable, and you’ll find a great selection of them at Alex Casey Baby to get you through the rest of summer–especially if you are blessed,...

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Lullaby music gets a nice 21st century update

Now that it’s still light at bedtime, my kids are bouncing off the walls when I try to tuck them under their covers at night. I need help, and I’ll take it in the form of Sunflow’s latest CD, the lullaby collection Under the Stars. It’s totally different than what I usually spin, but seeing as my CD collection is more suited for bouncing off the walls, this is a lovely alternative to me yelling go to sleep already! Sunflow’s duo Fran King and Nancy Falkow are based out of Dublin but don’t expect to hear any Irish jigs....

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Viva la French nursery decor

It doesn’t take much to get me pining for Paris, but Bastille Day turns that urge into a full-on achey craving. So wouldn’t you know I’d have to go and stumble upon this beautiful French alphabet poster from Bibitty just when the airfare (and all that incredible unpasteurized cheese) is out of reach. The vintage colors and typography are really lovely and subtle, so much so that you could make them the core of your nursery decor using the French alphabet cards. I think they’d actually look great in a boy’s or girl’s room, making it a cool shower...

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Everything old is new again. And then framed.

“Say, is that a 1950’s original Davy Crockett costume beautifully framed on your wall?” “Why yes, yes it is.” Petrie Point Designs has taken recycling to a whole new level with their Petrie Pint vintage collection. Susan Petrie-Badertscher takes one-of-a-kind children’s clothing and toys from the 1920’s through the 50’s and frames them in shadow boxes to create some of the most original interior decor I’ve ever seen. I had so much fun clicking through their current collection (which is always being updated) and falling in love with everything from the Lola toy baby buggy to the Lacey baby...

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Good Baby. Good mommy. Good diaper cream. Everyone wins.

When my first daughter was born, I figured all diaper creams were pretty much created equal. I bought whatever sounded familiar, never once scanning the label for stuff like synthetic fragrances, methylparabens, or sodium borate–let alone BHA which is on the banned/restricted list in Europe and carcinogenic per California’s Prop 65, but is a key ingredient in big brands (coughDesitincough). Let’s just say I still have residual mommy guilt over that one.  I will say I am feeling totally guilt-free since I’ve been slathering my second daughter’s nether regions with Our Best Barrier and Diaper Cream from the most...

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Not your grandmother’s embroidery thread. Although it kind of is.

I pretty much love every piece of jewelry I’m seeing come out of Australia’s Polli lately, and their new woven pendants are no exception. It’s like the best of both worlds that I adore, with post-industrial laser stamped stainless steel pieces blended with beautifully intricate embroidery – which happened to be hand-stitched by the designer’s own mom! The single camelia pendant in your choice of five different colors is sweet and simple and very wearable, and the earrings are darling to get you through summer. But being a statement jewelry kind of a gal, it’s the dragonfly pendant I...

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Table Topics cards: Road trip essentials

I am one of those moms who avidly resisted a DVD in the car until I finally broke down before a 10-hour car trip with two under three. Even so, I am a strong believer in looking out the window, playing word games, and singing along to music, with the DVD as a very last resort. Table Topics, which we raved about when they first launched, aren’t just for tables. In fact, these decks of provocative questions make rockin’ road trip and dinner table distractions. The Kids Topics cards and the Family Table Topics cards are a great way to keep all...

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Tons of our favorite designers in one store, oh rapture!

If I were walking down the street in Chicago and came across Lollie, owned by sisters Mimi and Alyssa Fron, it would be impossible not to go in. Unfortunately 1000 miles stand between me and this adorable boutique which carries practically a who’s who of Cool Mom Picks featured designers. Fortunately Lollie’s gone online so now we can all enjoy their huge selection of designer duds for newborns to 8 year olds without booking a delay-riddled flight to the windy city. It’s also a good time to check in because so much is on sale at every price point,...

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The Hipwaders Prove Size Doesn’t Matter

At only 16 minutes long, The Hipwaders EP, Goodie Bag may be short but it’s still the perfect little morsel of music for a quick drive across town, or to get us moving during a speed-cleanup session before company arrives. This Bay Area threesome have a toe-tapping, jangly guitar sound and smart, quirky lyrics that remind me of They Might Be Giants and Barenaked Ladies. But it’s the minor-chords in  songs like What’s That Noise? that give the CD a very cool edge that make it sound even more grown up. My kids especially like Field Trip‘s outer space...

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