Month: January 2011

Love, cupcakes, and other indoor sports.

For some reason my daughter has been obsessed with the idea of make your own cupcakes lately. Oh wait…I remember why. Because cupcakes are good. Or at least they’re supposed to be. We’ve tried a few DIY kits recently have been hardly worth the calories. (HFCS frosting? Yuck.) And then recently we sampled the goodies from Saint Cupcake, whose cupcake kits give new meaning to OH GOD YES. Portland’s Saint Cupcake does as magnificent a job as I’ve ever seen with a make-your-own cupcake kit. Start by choosing your fresh-baked cupcake flavors, from vanilla, chocolate and red velvet to...

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Paper dolls meet building blocks

My go-to standard baby shower gift was, for a long time, either a baby bathtub, or infant footie sleepers. Useful, and admittedly a little uninspired. These days, I want to give something unusual, beautiful and creative: both moms and babies deserve them. My latest find? Blocks for more than building. Another offering from one our fave shops, Magpie Lovely, these chunky 2″ Paper Doll Blocks feature sweet vintage illustrations and are priced at $20 for the set of three. They’re hand-sanded and sepia-inked to achieve an heirloomy look and feel, but they’re safe and eco-friendly, with untreated wood and...

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Great boy stuff for Valentine’s Day? Reader Q+A

I always find so much cute stuff for girls, especially for Valentine’s Day, but I don’t know what to give the boys. -Shannon As a mama of a son, I am definitely on the lookout for great boys’ items for Valentine’s Day. And while you had a great idea for a handmade gift in the comments of our post about handmade Valentine’s crafts for girls, you inspired me to look for even more items for the little guys in our life. Hope you find something in what I’ve dug up for you! -Christina Want a project the whole class...

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That’s right honey, you can’t win

While I’ve never taken my husband to task for only buying three lemons instead of the dozen I requested (“Who asks for a dozen lemons anyway?”), I have to confess that I avoid sending him to the grocery store because…well, whatever he gets is usually wrong. So when I saw this reusable grocery bag from CMP fave Twisted Twee, I felt like it was made just for me. Or actually, just for my husband. Hand printed on washable cotton, “Whatever I get, it will be wrong” is absolutely right. I think I’ll buy it and stash it in his...

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Valentine’s table for two. Hold the whining.

During these days of expensive childcare and daytime exhaustion, I’d imagine that for many of us, a romantic Valentine’s Date means putting the kids to bed and praying they stay there while you sit down to a romantic dinner in the dining room. Fondue perhaps? I thought this Valentine’s Card from Cocodot was kind of a cool thing–send it to your love digitally or the ye olde fashioned snail mail way, and make a stay-at-home date for the 14th. Then put on something lacy under your clothes, grab some bubbly and you’re ready to go. Romance is still alive....

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The guy who told us to “Whip It Good” is all about doing good

Oh the red, plastic upside down flower-pot-ish hats, and the throbbing techno beat — Man did I love Devo back in the day. Frontman Mark Mothersbaugh has always been a visionary and an artist (maybe your kids know him from Yo Gabba Gabba?) but he also happens to be quite the philanthropist. Mark and fellow artist Shepard Fairey collaborated on a brand new art exhibit in LA called The Big Picture that’s worth a visit if you’re in SoCal. The exhibit features fascinating and fanciful prints that don’t just challenge the viewer to look deeper, but also raise awareness...

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5 great picks you might have missed this week – let’s hear it for the girls

While we love finding cool things for the cool boys of the world, this week, we want to hear it for the girls– little girls, big girls, and uh… “the girls.” 1. Who needs expensive hair clips when you can make them yourself? This free, easy Valentine’s tutorial will yield heaps of happy handmade hearts for her hair. 2. We’ve found the holy green grail of breast pumps. Finally, an environmentally conscious choice that you can legally lend or resell! 3. The prettiest, fanciest, twirliest, sparkliest, most princesstastic girls’ dress up clothes we’ve ever seen can be found here....

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NOM NOM NOM your kid’s nightmares

Four is a magical age. And for us, it includes a daily account of closet gremlins and nightmares that involve an epic battle between Scooby Doo and armored Transformer/My Little Pony hybrids. I love the imagination. The fear of bedtime, not so much. That’s why I love the idea of this Nightmare Nibbler. After all, if you can’t beat the monsters, you might as well get an even scarier monster to chase them away and eat the nightmares, right? This handsome stuffed monster just happens to be named Norbert, and he’s part of the Nightmare Nibbler Nation, sent from...

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Baby proofing with a new kind of outlet cover

I know all about baby proofing, considering my toddler is absolutely fascinated by electrical outlets. For some reason, the combination of the right height plus holes you can poke your fingers into equals a good time. Whee! Luckily, there’s a new outlet cover in town and this one is impossible for curious hands to pry off–but a cinch for parents when they have to actually use the outlet. Kid-E-Covers were designed by a dad who designs car parts for the automotive industry, and realized he could build a better electrical outlet cover that covers the entire thing and not...

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Modern kids furniture for your modern kids

Sweet, pastel-colored, vintage-inspired furnishings all have their (very well-deserved!) places. But lately, it’s the modern stuff that really makes me go, awww. And that’s exactly what I said when I saw this gorgeous furniture. Pretty sure you will, too. Weego Baby is interminably cool. I mean, check out the lines they carry, like Argington’s Uffizi bunk beds—I want to curl up in one of those babies. Built as a complement to Weego Home, Weego Baby was made with clean lines and uncluttered spaces in mind–but without forsaking any of the fun and color of kids’ decor. (This elephant bookshelf...

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A pretty reusable bag for all your gross, smelly, leaky stuff

I have a drawer in the kitchen full of plastic bags. As much as I’d like to consider myself a green(ish) mom, it’s the one thing I can’t say no to at the grocery store. The reason? I use the bags to transport leaky sippy cups and discard stinky diapers while on the go. But all that eco-waste (and guilt) may be coming to an end. The Stuff Sack by Go Gaga. is entirely waterproof, leak proof, odor proof and stain proof (that’s a lot of proofs!). Which means you can stick unfinished cartons of Yo Baby, half-eaten bagels...

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Web coolness – Valentines treats, heart-y crafts, and hostess gifts

Here are some things we’ve liked reading around the web this week. We hope you will too. Tutorial for a spectacular Valentine’s Crossword cake from i am baker (shown). Not for beginners, but wow. An easier option: spelling out L.O.V.E. with candy. Cool Valentine’s Day cards for kids from Kristen–all free of licensed characters! This Design Blahg post on bangin’ hostess gifts is not only handy–it’s hilarious. Have you entered the Handmade Olympics yet? Do it! It’s awesome! Chinese New Year is coming up – here are some fun craft projects for the Year of the...

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Enter the 2011 Handmade Olympics. We give it a 10!

We’ve been long time supporters of handmade here at Cool Mom Picks. In fact, it’s our original reason for being. And so when Kristal from Rik Rak Studio (love her stuff!) asked Liz and me to judge her amazing Handmade Olympics, we said “Absolutely!” without a moment of hesitation. Whether you’re a popular Etsian or a crafter by hobby, entering in each of the seven categories is super easy. (No triple salchows required!) Just comment on the event page at the Rik Rak blog with the name of the item, the creator, and a link to the image or...

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Maternity style tips from author and maternity stylista Amy Tara Koch

I only had one pregnancy that required winter clothes and boy, was that a challenge. Pants never seemed to fit me and sweaters always made me hot, so I found myself wearing the same few outfits over and over again. Too bad I didn’t have author and style expert Amy Tara Koch’s book Bump It Up back then. The book is chock full of amazing maternity style tips plus advice from some of the world’s most famous fashion designers and stylists. It’s definitely a must-have manual for any pregnant chica, regardless of what number kid you’re on. I recently...

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The green laundry detergent that impresses the you-know-what out of me.

When one scoop of detergent can take a toddler diaper Houdini’s bedspread from poop-ravaged nightmare to deliciously clean in just one wash, I have trouble holding back my enthusiasm. Still, it takes more than that to impress me, and I’ve found a brand new laundry detergent that delivers. This utterly rockin’ new Rockin Green detergent is everything that we love. It’s eco-conscious and free of dyes, phosphates, dioxins, parabens, SLS, and animal ingredients. It has formulas for hard, soft, and regular water  But most importantly, it really freakin’ works. I’ve been using Rockin’ Green for several weeks on all...

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Dress up clothing so gorgeous, it will make you twirl too.

These days, my girls would rather get into dress up clothing than play nearly anything else. I’m not complaining; I love all the creativity and imagination it inspires, when they piece together the mismatched accessories, tutus, hats and capes in their room and turn into fairy princesses, fairy princess cowboys, and fairy princess firefighters. (That’s my three year-old for you.) If you are nodding your head with understanding right now, you are going to simply die (die!) with our latest pick. It is rare that I open up a sample sent to me and actually gasp. It’s rarer yet...

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Stroller blanket smackdown: The best of the cold weather best

Not sure how everyone else is feeling about their winter so far, but in my neck of the woods, the weather gods have not been kind. We’ve had snow, sleet, frigid temps…we’re only missing hail storms. Ever since the first below 40 degree day hit, I’ve been hot on the hunt for the perfect, all-weather stroller blanket. Not such an easy task. Here’s what I’ve found so far to be the best of the best. 7AM Enfant Blanket 212 Evolution Besides the fact that 7AM wins in the style department, their newest offering–the 212 Evolution (at top)–is also the...

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Now your daughter can wear her heart in her hair

Most girls–my own daughter included–have lots of these little metal snap barrettes lying around and, if you happen to be a crafty type, you probably also have some pretty wool felt at home, too. If so, in just about 15 minutes you can make a couple of gorgeous Valentine’s heart barrettes and your daughter will be ready for the 14th. I love crafting. Love it. But I am the queen of unfinished projects. Time and time again I start something new instead of, say, putting the binding on the sampler quilt I started two years ago. Needless to say,...

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LEGO storage that kids won’t forget to use

LEGO is, in my mind, the quintessential building toy of childhood. I played with it when I was little; both of my kids–their ages in double digits–still love to build with it. The problem, of course, is that no matter what LEGO storage solutions I come up with, there seems to always be a stray brick or ten on the floor, waiting to skewer my foot. While this BOX4BLOX LEGO organizer hasn’t solved all of my LEGO woes, it’s gone a long way towards keeping the mess contained, and I’ll tell you why: It’s the only storage system that...

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Carving your initials in a tree for Valentine’s Day. Awwwww…

I love the romantic idea behind a young couple carving their initials in a tree so that all passersby and woodland creatures will bear witness to their devotion for years to come. But in reality, I’m way too much of a softie to carve anything into a perfectly healthy tree–what if I hurt the tree?! Besides, I frown upon public vandalism. So instead of going after a mighty oak with a pocket knife, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite items that capture the spirit of “C+J” in bark, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Lisa Leonard’s Sweetheart Tree Necklace...

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