Author: Julie

Watercolor cookies, the coolest (and easiest) party favor ever

I love to throw parties for my kids, especially with inspiration from all the great party ideas here on Cool Mom Picks. In particular, I’m always on the lookout for activities where our guests can make cool stuff that they’ll actually want to take home (and their parents won’t hate me for it). I’m dying to try these watercolor cookies from One Charming Party. Bake sugar cookies, top with a layer of fondant (recipe and how-to video included), and then get creative with the food coloring. Use a paper towel, small sponges, or even a paintbrush to decorate. So...

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Well, hello! Simple stationery for those just-because notes.

I’m a huge fan of email, instant messaging, text messaging, direct messaging, and wishing people happy birthday on Facebook. If there’s a way to reach out and touch someone with kind words, hey, I support it. But a handwritten note is still my favorite way to let people know I’m thinking of them. Because I’m old-school like that. The Hello Card set from Quill and Fox on Etsy is just right for those just-because notes. No need to obsess over which sentiment is appropriate, which design is clever enough, or even how to start your note. They’re all perfection....

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HelloFlo Period Starter Kit: More than a hilarious video, it’s a smart way for girls to be prepared

After learning about HelloFlo.com earlier this year, I’m happy to say that I’m no longer caught off guard on a monthly basis. In fact, you may have have seen the hilarious HelloFlo Camp Gyno video that’s circulating this week–but behind the (racy) humor there’s actually a super smart subscription service to help your daughter prep for her first monthly scramble for supplies. And we’ve got the full scoop. (Don’t worry, mamas of really little ones; it’s not quite as scary as it sounds to you now. Kind of.) Coming this September, HelloFlo.com will introduce their HelloFlo Period Starter Kit....

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Add some mad, merry scientists to your Christmas tree

My kids are finally at the age where I can outsource most of the tree decorating duties to them and still be pretty darn pleased with the results. It’s true: I haven’t tweaked a single strand of lights or rearranged the glass balls. But I just discovered that my tree is missing something: these super cool scientist ornaments. Brooklyn-based Eavesmade creates laser cut wood ornaments featuring scientists whose specialties range from astronomy and ecology to chemistry and engineering. I was thrilled to see old school greats like Galileo, Copernicus, and Tesla on the list, along with accomplished female scientists...

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Get involved: October 11 is the International Day of the Girl

At Cool Mom Picks, we’ve long been champions of causes and advocacy programs that benefit moms, kids, and families. So we’re thrilled to tell our readers that today is the very first annual International Day of the Girl Child, created by the United Nations to inspire greater awareness of the adversity and abuse faced by young women across the globe. Here are a few of the terrific organizations that are taking action to protect, honor and celebrate girls–not just today, but every day. In November 2011, the United Nations declared October 11 to be the International Day of the...

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Buy a shoe, skate a ramp, plant a tree

I confess to an enduring love for all things skateboarding. Perhaps I’m just subconsciously clinging to my youth, but I still dig the style–especially when it’s sharp and functional. We found some cool kids’ shoes that are perfect for fall (eek, it’s October!) and encompass both features. {Keep reading for an exclusive CMP discount on these cool shoes…and the chance to do a little good too!} My latest skate-centric crush is the Kids Jameson 2 Eco from etnies. Don’t be fooled by the canvas upper and the gum sole–these shoes are built to ride, with plenty of sturdy support...

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It only takes ONE mom

At Cool Mom Picks, we get a kick out of finding cool stuff to make moms’ lives easier. Then along comes a community partnership like ONE Moms that’s helping make moms’ lives easier in a truly profound way: Keeping mothers and babies safe and healthy. Right now, our friends from TheMotherhood and some of our favorite mom bloggers are in Kenya right now with the ONE Campaign, a non-partisan grassroots organization that advocates for smart policies to help combat extreme poverty and preventable disease. As part of the ONE Moms community, these moms are doing what I bet so...

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Mothers of Intention: Using our outside voices

My interest in politics has ebbed and flowed over the years, but since I’ve become a mother, public policy has taken on a whole new personal relevance for me. I’ve got three kiddos whose futures will be affected by the decisions of political leaders, from our local school board all the way up to the federal government. That’s a pretty sobering realization. But it’s an exciting one too, and that’s what prominent political blogger and mom Joanne Bamberger showcases in her new book, Mothers of Intention. Featuring an array of powerful essays by bloggers — including our own Kristen...

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Dressed to thrill

After the fun of dressing two little girls, I was pleasantly surprised to find that outfitting my baby boy was pretty darn fun too. So much for the myth that little boy clothes aren’t nearly as cute as little girl clothes. I do struggle in one area though: dressing up. Formal clothing for boys is a real mixed bag, and most of the button-down shirts I’ve found are downright boring. The handsome, modern button-down shirts for boys from Black Kite are my idea of the perfect dress up get-up for boys. Owner/designer Lindsay Mangat selects prints that have great...

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B Kind 2 Earth Day

I can hardly believe that Earth Day is older than I am. (Ah, feeling young — what mom doesn’t love that?) Begun in 1970 as a means of demonstrating broad public support for the environmental cause, Earth Day is a reminder that this planet is a pretty cool place to live, and we don’t want it to look like it belongs on an episode of Hoarders. To that end, the National Wildlife Federation, Nickelodeon, and our friends at The Motherhood have joined forces to create B Kind 2 Earth Day. We’re super excited to be on board too, and...

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Best baby books? – Reader Q+A

Any suggestions for a good baby book? I saw the “Baby’s First Year Journal” in your Ultimate Baby Shower Guide but I’m wondering if you have any other cool things you’ve found out there? -Janet First of all, our all new 2012 Baby Shower Gift Guide is going to be out any day now. You’re in for a treat! But back to your question–we’ve found no shortage of super cool baby books of all varieties. What we seem to be lacking, however is the time to fill them out. For you motivated mamas who are ready to document those...

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Play clothes for the sand trap or the sand box

One of the many surprise discoveries I made after having a baby boy was that I’m actually pickier about boy clothes. Specifically, a lot of sports-themed duds don’t pass muster, but select favorites make me swoon. But here’s a new line that gets the green light from me. Check out the spring 2011 connection from Fore!! Axel and Hudson and you’ll see why I love the subtle graphics, like the shower of golf tees and screenprint suspenders, as well as  the vintage 1970’s styles and patterns. I can totally picture my little dude in these golf-inspired designs, looking like...

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Turn those kiddos into busy bees

Spring break is on its way, and I’m making plans. But my spring break plans don’t involve beaches, bikinis, or beer. Instead, I’m looking for ways to keep my kids busy. (Besides cleaning the bathroom, my standard fallback response to the cry of boredom.) If you’re in my same boat, crafty DIY site WhipUp.net has a cool solution. The inaugural issue of the Action Pack Mini-Mag is all about paper and beeswax, with instructions for making origami boats (dipped in beeswax so they really float), beeswax candles and lip balm with printable labels, plus how-to steps for drawing bees,...

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Vancouver travel with families – O Canada!

When you think of foreign travel, Canada probably doesn’t spring to mind. After all, we’ve got hockey, maple syrup, and a Francophile or two here in the United States, right? Well, yes. But as I discovered on a recent trip to Vancouver and the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort, thanks to a wonderful press trip put on by the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver and the Four Seasons Resort Whistler, the Vancouver area is well worth exploring on a family vacation. Vancouver My first stop was Vancouver. The Four Seasons Vancouver is situated atop the Pacific Centre shopping complex, within walking...

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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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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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You say it’s your Birth Day

When I was pregnant for the first time, I developed an unhealthy affinity for those birth documentaries that had previously repelled me.  Something about growing a baby myself made me want to click over and immerse myself in the gory details. A new book from pediatrician Mark Sloan, Birth Day, would have been a far better alternative. Dr. Sloan is a fantastic storyteller, weaving historical information, medical studies, and his own professional experience into a truly fascinating look at childbirth over the centuries. I really like how the level of technical detail and writing style are accessible to just...

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Flipping for BrainFlips

Kids these days have it so easy: Cell phones, computers, and cartoons on TV twenty-four hours a day. Technology has even made studying a cinch. No more Encyclopedia Britannica — now it’s all about search engines. But flashcards are one classic study method that hasn’t been improved upon by technology, until now. Check out BrainFlips – an amazing way to create your own multimedia online flashcards when you’re teaching your kids the state capitals, basic arithmetic, animals complete with animal sounds, or learning a new language before a big trip.  Enter the questions, fill in the answers, keep your...

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Purple Trail makes anybody a professional party planner

I want to be a good hostess, really I do. But my idea of throwing a party involves opening a few bottles of wine and putting steaks on the grill. I’m a little shaky where it comes to the details that elevate a party from fun to fabulous. Purple Trail is exactly what entertaining-impaired hostesses like me need. It’s not just another online invitation service–though the design options are endless and gorgeous and totally ad-free.  What makes Purple Trail so appealing to me are the unique party ideas like diaper poker (I guess if you have to play a...

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Group gifts get smarter

With a child heading to second grade next year (how did that happen already?), I’m well-versed in the usual procedure of collecting money for a group teacher gift.  Problem is, we’re still doing it the same way we did it when I was a kid: Everybody sends in five bucks and one parent buys a gift card with all the dough. Next year, I’m going to strongly suggest that we use lolligift instead.  An online “social gifting” service, Lolligift makes the process of pooling funds practically effortless.  I love that all I have to do is send a few...

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