Month: December 2011

For those days that beauty’s a pain in the lip

I hate those winter days in which my lips are so chapped that wearing lipstick isn’t the best idea. So when I saw Burt’s Bees came out with a 100% natural tinted lip balm, I was like yep. Sign me up for some of that. [don’t miss a huge limited time discount after the jump] Those of us who love Burt’s Bees regular lip balm are a little culty about it (ask us about the secret handshake sometime) and the Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm is going to bring more devotees into the fray. They don’t impart a lot...

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The perfect little-girl necklaces from Bel Kai Designs

Along with the toys, book and clothes, I always like to have one sentimental gift to my kids tucked into their stocking that they know is from me: Their Sappy Mama. For my eight-year-old daughter, I found a sweet little trinket that expresses how much I love this age, when my precocious child is still young enough to play with dolls and crawl into my bed during a storm. {keep reading for your chance to win a necklace!} CMP favorite, Bel Kai Designs has a Sarah Jane Studios line that includes ten delicate one-inch charms that make my heart...

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The best mugs for gift-giving

Okay, so we sometimes make fun of mugs as gifts around here. But only because when most people think of mug gifts, they think of some awful “world’s greatest____” thing in comic sans that was nabbed off the bargain shelf at the last minute. The truth is, a gorgeous mug can be a fabulous hostess gift, especially if you fill it with a bag of gourmet hot cocoa, a special loose leaf tea, or a huge bouquet of candy canes. Here, just a few mugs that I think can make the gift really special. Japan’s Kinto makes beautiful mugs,...

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From glitter dreidels to cinnamon birds, why are we not surprised that Martha Stewart has you covered

I have a chronic and embarrassing condition called “failure to plan ahead”, which occasionally leaves me without a hostess gift, cute wrapping paper, or party decorations. Good news! There’s a cure, and it comes in book form. Martha Stewart to the rescue! Martha Stewart’s Handmade Holiday Crafts is one of those books as beautiful as it is helpful. With projects that start with New Year’s and end with Hanukkah and Christmas, you’re sure to find something beautiful to make for every holiday and the seasons in between, including lots of fun crafts for kids. The Christmas section is especially...

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Scotch Tape gets greener and so do the holidays

Over the years, we’ve become more aware of eco-friendly gift wrap options from reusable gift bags, to recycled wrapping paper. But one thing I haven’t thought so much about is tape. And honestly, this must be the time of of year that the folks at Scotch Tape make about 99% of their profits. That’s why I’m glad to see they’ve finally figured out a way to make a more earth-friendly tape. The Scotch Magic Greener Tape is made with 75% recycled or plant-based materials, which sure beats 0%. I’ve tried it out and truly didn’t notice any difference in...

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Personalized stamps for the holidays? There’s still time!

Okay, Cool Mom Picks is a safe space where I feel like I can admit this freely: I’m starting to panic a little. The gift-purchasing isn’t going as planned. I keep seeing all these amazingly fabulous personalized gifts–that I should have purchased two weeks ago. Here’s one shop that can still help you out. Rock Paper Scissors offers a huge variety of personalized items. A lot of the designs are a little…cute. But if you poke around, there’s such a huge selection you may find something you love. One thing we could all use this season– the personalized self-inking...

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Great gifts for your kids that benefit their school, too

I admit it: I’m a fan of pretty much every one of those daily-deals sites. Hand me an exclusive membership to sweet deals on designer merch and I get a little thrill.  And this new site totally supersizes that thrill in the coolest way possible, because every purchase I make goes to my daughter’s own school. Treehouse Tykes is a private-member site that features awesome brands of kids’ clothing, toys, books, and furniture–up to 70% off. But here’s the key difference between it and other sales sites: 10% of your purchase goes to the school, or charitable organization of your...

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When you’re a cool kid, the sun shines on you 24 hours a day

Kid (and baby) sunglasses are usually one of those things that are terribly cute in theory but not always so great in practice. They’re often slippy, stomped, and broken within, like, minutes. So these new sunglasses for kids are worth their weight in sunscreen. If you’re looking for a cool little gift before some family travel to warmer climes this season, definitely check out the new Scream sunglasses by Eyes Cream Shades. They’re everything you want kids’ sunglasses to be: they stay on (without that wraparound head strap thing that so many kid glasses have), their lenses are polycarbonate...

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Simple wooden toys that your kids will simply adore

I never mean to, but I occasionally have a weird mind slip and underestimate the power of simplicity. When a package arrived in the mail from Gween, bearing six pieces of pretty, shiny wood meant to put together into a windmill shape, I wasn’t sure my kids would like it. But you know what? They loved it. But the experts at Gween knew that they would. The cool windmill (officially named “Gusto”) is one of five models of stackable toys that can be put together in different ways–which works on kids’ motor skills, piques their problem-solving interests, and (if...

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Goodnight (shiny, silver) moon

I love wearing jewelry that I don’t have to think about. I’m always on the hunt for pieces that go with everything, offer just the right amount of pop, and stand out in a subtle way. So I am absolutely over the moon (sorry, couldn’t resist) with this gorgeous necklace from Melinda Maria. [don’t miss an exclusive discount after the jump!] I love how the moon and star are positioned, and how the chain doubles up connecting the two charms together in such a sweet way. It’s perfectly priced to gift to those closest to you, or heck, just...

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Celebrity designed holiday cards that give back. And they’re actually nice!

OK, so you’ve probably never wondered what a holiday card designed by Jennifer Aniston or Zoe Saldana would look like, but here’s a hint: They’re stylish. Stylish enough that it surprised us. And stylish enough that they are carried by paper goods powerhouse Tiny Prints this holiday, and come with a fabulous charitable component too.  You are familiar with Tiny Prints, aren’t you? They brought hip back to cute paper goods, and this celebrity-designed line of cards is no exception. The irony (and I mean this in a good way) is that these celebrities have come together to raise funds...

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A star to top the one on top of the Christmas tree

While I love the silhouette ornaments in our Holiday Gift Guide this year as a fabulous grandparent gift, here’s one more idea. And if you’ve got up to 5 cousins (or kids) in the family, even better. The customized star ornament from CMP fave Lisa Leonard is a beautiful way to commemorate a new baby’s first Christmas. But since you’ve got five lines to play with, another lovely idea is to engrave the name of each of the kids, and send it off to all doting grandparents. Or heck, just write something heartfelt about loving Grandma and Papa. That...

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Some of the very best baby pajamas, now in some of the very best prints

Now that Hanna Andersson has a whole new line of their wonderful, parent-approved pajamas, in new prints from one of our favorite designers, it’s like that magic that happens when two things we love come together. You know, like when when the fresh-baked cupcakes are right next to the wine at the supermarket. Kind of. [don’t miss a REALLY great giveaway for 10 CMP readers plus a terrific discount after the jump] We are so excited that the beautiful, sophisticated Serena & Lily prints that we’ve always loved in children’s bedding and other textiles are now a part of a...

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Web Coolness – loads of holiday fun, OB’s mea culpa, and a Nook vs Kindle smackdown

We’re here to spread some holiday cheer with cool links from around the web. The prettiest thing to happen to junk mail: Snowflakes! Get the tutorial at Michele Made Me. Woo hoo! Tech gifts for everyone on your list in our 2011 Cool Mom Tech Holiday Gift Guide! (and psst, we’re giving away an iPad2!) Get a big dose of Christmas cheer with this fun Holiday Flash Mob, starring the lovely Loralee and the American Festival Chorus. Inject a little “sunny” into your Christmas with this new Renee & Jeremy download. Can you guess the top names of 2011?...

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POP! goes the bookend

All around the Ikea bookshelf The bibliophile chased the bookend The bookend stepped on a Kindle plug POP! goes the balloon dog! Not really, though. That’s why these Balloon Dog Bookends by IMM Living from the SFMOMA store are so special– they can’t pop. What they can do is hold up books with style and color. In a new twist (ha!) on kids’ bookends, the airy, ephemeral but unpoppable balloon dog is cast in resin with enough weight to keep those pesky books on the shelf. They’re available in orange and purple and measure in at about the size...

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Beautiful holiday photo cards that are easy to make. So you might actually send them.

Last year we discovered the beautiful new holiday card company, Pinhole Press. And this year, the company has a whole new lineup of cards–so I’m glad to have discovered them myself. Let’s just say making holiday cards stresses me out so much, I usually put them off for a long time. Like until February. But this year, I just may have cards out to family and friends in time for the holidays. And I don’t mean Groundhog Day. [don’t miss an exclusive discount just for cmp readers!] The process is incredibly simple. You choose from one of the stunning...

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Best train table for a toddler? Reader Q&A

My toddler LOVES anything train! Do you all have any ideas for cool train tables that my toddler would love?   I wish I had done this research for my son before we got his ugly train table many years ago. Though he loves it, it’s a major eyesore every time I walk into his room. Here are some cooler-looking train tables I think you, and your toddler, could love.   Under-the-bed Train Table Sled I like that this Train Table Sled by Choo Choo Track & Toy Company doesn’t take up much space and can slide under the bed when not...

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Life is like a box of handmade snowflake ornaments

Because I live in the desert, snowflakes are as rare as… well, snowflakes in the desert. We dream of white Christmases but they don’t often happen. So snowflakes are my holiday totem, and I absolutely love how they’ve come together in this affordable, handmade set of wooden ornaments. The absolutely gorgeous mini snowflake ornaments collection from Timber Green Woods are the closest I’ll get to the real thing–and I’m perfectly content with that. Made with sustainable wood harvested from the company’s family farm, each unique design is laser-cut and finished with nontoxic oil. Then they’re all popped into an...

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It’s time to raise the curtain on the coolest Muppets items

We headed off to see The Muppets this past weekend, both for the nostalgia and to introduce my kids to the beloved characters of my younger years. And while I believe that much of this movie would be lost on kids younger than grade school, my older kids were delighted with the music and characters and are now infected with Muppet Mania. But before you head out and get bombarded with all the licensed merchandise this movie will spawn, take a look at some of the coolest Muppet items we’ve found. –Christina The iconic Adidas sneaker (also featured in...

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You oughta be on note pads

Grandparents can be tricky to shop for at holiday time. “Don’t get me a thing,” they’ll tell you, but truth be told, they’d rather weep for weeks over the thoughtful gift that shows up anyway. We’ve only got a few days left to get the delightful custom photo note pads from Penny Paper Co., but I can pretty much guarantee they’ll be a huge hit under the in-law’s tree this year. Just choose your most adorable picture of baby, send it off to the designer, and in 7-10 days (plus delivery time), you’ll have a perfectly sweet present to...

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