Month: December 2010

The last minute gift that beats a Chia pet and helps empower women

It’s a horrible feeling– standing in line at the drugstore with a dented Homer Simpson Chia pet and a Snuggie on Christmas Eve, knowing that Great Aunt Evelyn is going to know you totally spaced on her gift. Luckily, there’s another option that doesn’t involve long lines or dashing through the snow. You can do it all online, you don’t have to wait for shipping, and as an added bonus it’s a gift that gives back. Plus it involves two of our favorite things: jewelry and empowering women. The Relief Bead program by Relief International helps empower impoverished women...

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Lovely print-at-home gifts to save you from the 11th hour mall run

Doing all of my shopping online sounds like such a brilliant way to avoid a lot of the stress of the holidays, except for now, when my choices are to email a gift card, which doesn’t seem very personal, or pay gigantic overnight shipping charges. I had just about resigned myself to having to hit the mall, when I found the neatest little online shop that has some great gift ideas–all of them printable. Everything at New Hampshire’s Salt & Paper from the Robot Art Print (below) to the personalized stationery, is made to be printed from the comfort of...

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A mellow baby is the very best kind

My older three kids gave me a heck of a time when it came to taking a bottle, so with number four, I’m determined to find one that she not only takes, but doesn’t add to the challenge with extra gas. And I may have just found the answer with the new Mellow bottles from Green to Grow. [don’t miss a nice discount after the jump] Now I’m not exactly a bottle expert, with my little breastfed baby bottle snobs and all, but I have to say that I’m pretty impressed with these – and it’s not just because...

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High-tech meets fabulously crafty

It’s very possible that some of you may score some new technology for the holidays. And of course we know that it’s the gift that keeps on taking–that dandy new iPhone 4 will require a spare power cord, decent ear buds, some fun apps, and of course, a swanky case. Ooh, have we got one for you. I think these needlepoint iPhone cases are the perfect way to hold onto the arty side of myself, even as I wholeheartedly embrace the technology glued to my left ear. The designs are beyond adorable–especially that Union Jack. (You know how we...

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The giving that keeps on giving

We’ve had the best time this month just giving away $500 Best Buy gift cards at Cool Mom Tech to our deserving and ever-awesome readers. But our mad benevolent giving frenzy is not over yet — click over to our Best Buy Wish List post about eReaders and tablets, and you can enter to win two more of those sweet sweet cards if you enter by tonight. And after that? Click over to today’s post about our must-have mobile accessories and enter to win two more $500 gift cards. (And after that, there will be two more. And after...

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The Maclaren 2011 preview – Stroller junkies, take note!

When Maclaren invited me to their NYC showroom to get a sneak peek at what’s in store for 2011, this was one preview I was not going to miss. From fun and flashy stroller shades to cool new buggy blankets, Maclaren has loads of goodies I’m super-excited about. And if you’re in the market for some new gear or an upgrade, it’s great to know what’s coming around the corner so you can decide whether to hold off a few months on that big purchase. Here’s the lowdown on my faves: [after the jump, catch the latest from Maclaren...

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Finally, a cool backpack diaper bag

I have nothing against backpack diaper bags. In fact, with four kids in tow, I completely understand their usefulness. I just haven’t yet found one that fits my style. And while I can’t say I’ll be trading in my beloved leather bag anytime soon, I’m definitely digging the new 2 in 1 backpack diaper bag from CMP fave Timi & Leslie. If you are an avid backpack diaper bag fan, then you’ll probably love this bag. And if you haven’t yet jumped on board yet, you’ll find it pretty intriguing. The Timi & Leslie 2 in 1 convertible backpack...

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Three good reasons to wash your hands.

Forget germs or flu bugs or anything like that. The way I see it, there are three new reasons to wash your hands right now: The three new holiday scents from Method. I can’t remember the last time I bought a hand soap that didn’t smell marvelous. These days, even frugal girls don’t have to settle for anything less! But my all-time favorites are the holiday scents. The relaxed comfort of peppermint vanilla, the spicy warmth of cinnamon bark, and the tart, juicy bite of hollyberry are the perfect complements to Method’s usual eco-conscious and skin-friendly formula. You can’t...

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The handbags that make me go all slack-jawed and tingly inside

You know that feeling when you’re browsing the racks of a favorite boutique and your eyes lock on something, and suddenly you feel yourself getting all sweaty and anxious and your heart is racing and your eyes widen and you just know you’re going to have to go to prom together? I mean…the cash register together? That’s how I felt the first time I laid eyes on one of the stunning handbags from Hayden-Harnett. It was exactly what I had been looking for for a year. Exactly. Well now you might feel the same way, only spending a whole...

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Okay, kid. Here’s that kitten you wanted.

I’m pretty sure my Christmas list one year included a puppy, a kitten, a bunny, and The Black Stallion. I was deeply disappointed not to find any boxes with air holes under the tree, but you can get at least 3 out of 4 with these adorable stocking stuffers/post-Christmas consolation prizes. Added bonus: clean kids. That’s a great gift. The Surprise Animal Soaps by Sunbasilgarden on Etsy are all-natural, handmade, and cute as a button. With scents including banana, strawberry, bubble gum, cotton candy, and creamsicle, part of the fun will be watching the kids hover over the sink,...

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Cute non-skid pants give crawlers a leg up

Before we had babies, we decided that what our house needed was stained concrete floors. Slippery-as-heck concrete floors, as we found out after we had babies, are not exactly the easiest place for them to learn to crawl. We ended up investing in a lot of rugs. So I find the idea behind these non-skid play pants totally ingenious. The brainchildren of mom-to-three Amy Shoaff of Dot Dot Couture, these 100% cotton non-skid play pants are pants with traction. Adorable traction. Check out the designs on the knees: retro cars (the cutest one), giraffes, hearts, dragons. Each design is...

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One of the best baby gifts in the world just got more affordable.

My quest for all things cool for babies started when a friend told me about Trumpette socks. She said all the hip Mommies in her Brooklyn Mommy’s group had them. Images of moms dressed in effortlessly chic clothes with Converse sneakers came mind. Babies flashed brightly colored feet and smiles. I wasn’t too far off. And now, those very socks just got affordable and accessible to even those outside the Park Slope environs. Target now sells Trumpettetoo with the same cute style as the original Trumpette, but easier on the wallet. The collection includes socks, tights and shoes in...

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The coolest family movies for Christmas day.

In my family our Christmas day tradition always involved a nice big breakfast, lots of coffee, lots of gifts, and then afterward, we’d bundle up and brave the crowds at a midtown movie theater for one of the big releases. (Yes, crowds–clearly we’re not the only one with this tradition in Manhattan!) Since having kids who are only just now old enough to make it through a movie in a theater, our tradition has been put on temporary hiatus. So we thought we’d bring it back gently this year, by watching a favorite movie right in the cozy, crowd-free...

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Starbucks and Jonathan Adler fight AIDS with Frappuccinos

I was in Starbucks this week–okay, a few times this week. (What? It’s Peppermint Mocha, season.) And I was thinking about how much the people in my life like getting Starbucks gift cards over the holidays. Glancing at the display, I was so excited to see the swanky looking Jonathan Adler gift cards, it took me a minute to realize the awesome charitable component to them. The (STARBUCKS)RED Gift card not only looks good, it does good –it does good. Every time you use the card, 5 cents will be donated to the Global Fund to help fight AIDS...

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Last minute holiday card help from Cocodot that helps people in need too.

This year, I planned on getting my holiday cards out with plenty of time and all of a sudden it’s Christmas week. Good thing there’s a service that lets me send out cards–really, professionally designed holiday cards–digitally. Not only is it a lot cheaper, but it’s also a lot faster and I don’t have to buy stamps. I don’t even want to walk past the post office during the holidays. And best yet, it supports some of the best charities out there. Cocodot designs some attractive digital cards to begin with, and to make the idea even sweeter, they’ve...

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On the thirteenth day of Christmas: PEACE.

Partridges, French hens, the splattered eggs of a dozen overactive geese. Forget ’em. If you want to say “I love you” with birds, go for the artistic, lasting beauty of paper lovebirds, another gift that gives back. Whether you’d like a whole flock in mobile form or individual ornaments in sets of three, you’re sure to win anyone over with the pretty PEACE birds available at Hazel Wood Children that perpetuate the ideals of hope, opportunity, and freedom Not only are these PEACE birds  gorgeous, but each one is handmade of recycled materials by PEACE, a grassroots cooperative of...

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Design your own jewelry without an RISD degree

I have very clear, 1980s-tinged memories of heading to the mall with my then-babysitter and going to every store–literally–while she hunted down the perfect white tank top. I kid you not. It’s a wonder that I still love shopping. And an even bigger wonder that I often find myself doing the same thing–only with jewelry.  But I think I’ve found the antidote to “close, but it’s still not exactly what I was looking for” with some ultra-cool DIY jewelry. Sheyna specializes in design your own jewelry incorporating sterling silver, 14K gold vermeil, natural semi-precious stones, and charms, so you can make...

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Honey for the hostess

While Christmas is drawing ever so close, I know the hostess invitations and house visits will extend well into the new year. I can’t stop browsing hostess gifts, looking for something more interesting than candles or flower bouquets. I think these handmade wooden honey dippers are so architectural and gorgeous. Made by a Brooklyn artist out of sustainable raised American maple, I’d think that’s cool enough in itself. But when you look closely, and you see that the design is actually meant to look like a honeybee–well, that’s even more special. You can also splurge on the really amazing...

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6 great kindie music CDs for Christmas

I was fretting to my sister that I didn’t know what to get her kids, my sweet little niece and nephew, who seemingly have everything. Her response: Don’t you review kids’ music for Cool Mom Picks? Just get them some cool new tunes!   Funny how the most obvious choice can be right under your nose.   So for all of those who are wondering what the heck to get those kids who have almost everything–or you’re just looking for some cool stocking stuffers that don’t end up in a landfill by Christmas 2011–here is a handful of really...

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A world of Discovery that doesn’t require full contact shopping

If you’re sick of the frantic rush of live holiday shopping but still want to take up some real estate under the tree, you need to go check out the cool stuff at Discovery Kids, the exclusive toy section of The Discovery Channel Store. It’s filled with items meant to spark imagination and sneakily teach about the wonders of the natural world. Via Discovery Kids, a big hit around our house is Rainbow in my Room, a machine that–not surprisingly–creates rainbows that arc across the room. My daughter was starting to enter the “I’m scared of the dark” phase,...

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