Month: January 2010

Pepsi wants to give you their Superbowl commercial money

As a former ad agency madman, I fully admit that I watch the Superbowl for the commercials. And to consume unhealthy snacks. But this year, it isn’t the little 30-second snippets that have me excited, it’s Pepsi’s decision to break a 23-year Superbowl streak, take their $20 million, and give it away. Yes, Give. It. Away. And some of it could be yours if you have one good idea that could make the U.S., or even just your corner of it, a better place. For all the deets go to refresheverything.com but here is the basic scoop: Every month...

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Some British oi and American folk helps us Rise and Shine

I require a vat of coffee and some peppy tunes to get me going in the morning, and my kids are turning out to be just like me, minus the java infusion. The aptly named Rise and Shine kids’ music album by Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke has the kind of jumpy beat, quick-as-a-whip lyrics and LOL surprises to get our day started on the right foot as we pogo through the morning routine. Starting off with a bang (or really, a rooster), the quick-tempo Rise and Shine catches my kids’ attention with Mr. Clarke’s strong English accent singing,...

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Fancy pants kids clothes for up to 70% off.

When one of my favorite local shops is having a 20-70% off clearance sale, I’d be remiss if I didn’t drop everything I’m doing, head to the website, and click on every single category immediately. You know, just to see. In this case it’s Estella NYC. The great thing is, it’s not just clearance on fall/winter items. This cute Saomini sundress is now $25 down from $62 and the boys’ clothes section is stocked with everything from cool hoodies (love this one!) to designer jeans. There’s also baby clothes galore, and stuff for swanky moms, like Issey Miyake Pleats...

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Argh, Pirate’s Booty goes New York

As the New York City taxpayer amongst us, I felt it my sworn duty (so help me Bloomberg) to try the New York Pizza flavor Pirate’s Booty recently introduced by Robert’s Gourmet. You know, the beloved makers of all-natural treats for parents looking to justify the snacks in the house. I’m happy to say that the flavor of these baked corn and rice puffs does taste like pizza, more than say, pizza-flavored Combos. (So now you know my guilty pleasure airplane snack.) I was quite surprised that you can actually taste real tomato and oregano, and paprika gives it...

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Baby clothes as cute as the baby (or maybe even cuter)

I’m a total sucker for baby clothes — so tiny! so cute! — but my standards are pretty high. When I saw what San Francisco-based Speesees had to offer, I started wishing I were still in the baby-making business. Speesees pieces (fun to say) are everything you want for your precious new baby. Made of super-soft organic cotton, each piece is also fair-trade certified, which means that every time you wriggle those little hands through the sleeves, you’ve made the world a slightly better place. And on top of all that, these are about the cutest darn baby clothes...

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Parenting tips from the (cool, funny) mom next door

I used to love reading parenting guides. My oldest child was an overachiever from the start, and the guides served as affirmation that she was a prodigy and I was a model parent. Then my middle child – my obstinate, tantrum-throwing, speech-delayed middle child – was born, and I chucked all those parenting books in the garbage. I really wish I’d had Jen Singer’s “Stop Second-Guessing Yourself” books back then. Creator of the much-lauded virtual community MommaSaid.net, Jen is the kind of mom we all wish lived next door. Her trademark candor and cheeky humor elevates these parenting guides...

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Heart in the right place

If you’ve been following the news, or at least this website, then you’re probably not going to be poking around your favorite big box store over the next few weeks, looking for some little inexpensive heart-shaped metal charms for the kids. Cadmium is so very 2009. At The Silly Wagon, I stumbled on this sweet mini heart necklace from Julie the Fish Designs. The modern heart design is hand stamped onto a disc-shaped pendant made of solid sterling silver, which last I heard is not a banned substance. Even the ball chain is real silver. For just under $25,...

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Loloko is Japanese for oh-so-cute

I confessed my serious addiction to Japanese cute when I told you about Momiji dolls, so please cut me some slack if I seem a little gushy when talking about Loloko Shop. This little Northern California shop does cute right with little trinkets, home items and office supplies. And the frugalista in me loves that nothing in the shop costs more than $12, meaning things are priced right for kids–and for adults who could do without a credit card hangover. Opened back in 2006, owner Laura (“Lolo”) fell in love with Japanese kawaii during her two years spent living...

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A pocket full of books

Games on the iPhone are nice, having books on hand make you feel a little less guilty about trying to keep the kid occupied on mile-long supermarket checkout lines. Now you can always have books on hand without carting around pounds of hardbacks: PicPocket Books adapts great kids’ books for the iPhone, and they start at just a buck apiece in iTunes. You can read the stories aloud or turn on the built-in narration, and kids can learn along as each spoken word is highlighted, too. Sure, there’s a little bit of (subtle) animation, in some stories, and sometimes...

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Project Night Night helps a homeless child sleep a little better

My sons are 7 and 9, but every night, the snuggle up in bed with their favorite stuffed friends. Those “stufties,” as my little son calls them, are just one more layer of familiarity and comfort in their lives. Not every child has that though — that warm bed in a safe house to curl up in every night. And that’s where Project Night Night comes in. Project Night Night provides that little bit of comfort and security for homeless children, in the form of a Night Night Package which includes a security blanket, a stuffed friend, and a...

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Heart shaped box

I am an advocate of the notion that great gift wrap can make everything more special, and poking around 1000 Markets, I was happy to stumble upon the Valentines Heart Favor Box from designer Jennifer Jermantowicz of Pasaii Design Studio. The set comes with the crimson gift box, the sweet cardinal-adorned gift tag, some bakers twine and directions to get it all looking purdy. Or order the set of 8 and have the tag personalized with whatever you’d like; the studio specializes in wedding stuff so you know they know what they’re doing. Crafty types might be able to...

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The pendant with real heart

How do I love this anatomical heart necklace? Let me count the ways: Let’s start with the hand-cut sterling silver. Continue on to the fact that it’s, you know, a pretty darn realistic rendering of a real heart without being gross or macabre. In fact, I’d argue it has an incredible beauty in those delicate, branching vessels. Sweethearts, take note: This would be the perfect Valentine’s gift for the woman who doesn’t do cutesy, but who does have an appreciation for the modern and unique. I’m completely smitten. Form, function, fabulous. -Mir Order the anatomical heart necklace from Laurel...

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How my daughter’s food allergy made me a FAAN

Having a kid with a food allergy may be more common these days, but that still doesn’t mean it’s super easy to navigate the supermarket, a classmate’s birthday party or even a simple school lunch. That’s why when my oldest was diagnosed with an allergy to milk, I looked for support from the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network which thankfully shortens to FAAN. FAAN was started by Ann Munoz-Furlong back when it was even harder to navigate the supermarket aisles. They even helped with the passage of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2006, for which...

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A glider that has beauty and brains

I remember waddling over to the glider section of the baby mega-store. I eased myself onto one of the basic floor models. It wasn’t much to look at (which is a nice way of saying, butt ugly), but I felt like I had discovered heaven in chair form. Well, if that was the Dark Ages of gliders, welcome to the Age of Enlightenment. The Grano Glider Recliner from Monte Design is not only one of the most incredibly comfortable gliders you’ll ever sit in, but one of the most sleek and stylish ones you’ll ever see. I love that...

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Our Valentine’s Day Card Contest entries are making our hearts go thump thump

We are so excited by the phenomenal entries flying in for our Valentine’s Day color-your-own card design contest in partnership with Etsy to support the Children’s Heart Foundation. Competition is getting so tough we may just have to let our kids call tiebreakers! There’s still time to get your entry in by linking it up in comments on the post, or emailing it to us directly, but make sure you get it in by this Friday, 1/22 at midnight PST. We want to make sure parents have plenty of time to buy the cards before Valentine’s Day, and that...

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Hot diggity, that’s comfortable

It started with two brothers complaining that their booster seats were uncomfortable; five years later, their parents run Diggity Kids, proud purveyor of American-made comfort travel systems for kids who need more cushy digs in the car. All three pieces–seat belt cover, neck pillow, and wedge seat cushion–are designed to make travel in even a hard plastic booster seat more comfortable. I’ve got a secret to tell you, though. The Keester booster seat cushion is nothing short of a miracle for those of us whose kids are really too big for a booster but still juuuuust a little too...

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Makes kids out of the bath as cute as they are in it.

My daughter has a crazy affection for her little bathrobe, especially now while the mornings are cold. She throws it on over her pajamas for breakfast, and there’s something so sweet about it to me – as if a bathrobe makes every morning feel like a lazy Sunday, even as we have to get dressed, pack lunch, and get off to school precisely 8 minutes after the spoon clinks down in the empty cereal bowl. Poking around this week I came across the Dwell Studio toddler bathrobes and just swooned. The sparrow and paper doll designs are clearly for...

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Your old soles could help Haiti

Haiti has been on our minds nonstop since the devastating earthquake last week, but now that donations have been made to some worthy charities, we are stuck with what else can we do? What else? Donate shoes. Soles4Souls has partnered with Foot Solutions to try to get as many gently-worn shoes as possible to the people of Haiti. From little sneakers for a child, to sturdy work boots for an adult clearing rubble, all types of basic footwear are needed except probably snow boots. But, if you have those, send them along since Soles4Souls will be sure to find...

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Fight germs without becoming “that mom”

I’ve got a bottle of hand sanitizer in my purse, as I’m sure all of you do, too. It feels like an imperative, even though I’ll pick actual soap-and-water hand washing over hand sanitizer whenever I can. So when I first heard about “a new hand sanitizer” I may not have been overly excited, you know, until I found out that in addition to being all-natural, it continues killing germs for hours after use. Sound impossible? It’s not. staSAFE‘s active ingredient, derived from silver and zinc, has been shown to reduce bacteria on the hands more than two hours...

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Down with manilla! (The folders, not the town in New South Wales)

I just had a discussion with a friend about how beautiful file folders can make an instant difference in your mood when you sit down at your desk, whether that desk is in a cozy nook of your bedroom or in the midst of white cubicle hell. The first place I think to look for decorative folders is International Arrivals, which, despite the totally misleading name, has nothing to do with traveling and everything to do with cool office supplies. They have a dandy collection of Filex Filing Folders, like my favorite, the wood-grained Emma folder shown here. Invest...

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