Author: Julie

Calendar girl

I’m a minimalist where it comes to calendars.  I know some moms live and die by their beloved organizers, but give me a compact monthly view calendar at my fingertips and I’m set. The 18-month Mouse Pad calendar from Ann Kelle Designs is perfect for me.  Bright colors, hip designs, and since it does double-duty as a mouse pad, it’s literally at my fingertips–because it’s no secret I spend far too much time at the computer. Browsing around the rest of the shop, I found several more items featuring the same cheery graphics.  Perfect stocking stuffers for stationery lovers....

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Yes Virginia, there is a baby carrier designed for napping

With my first baby, The Nap was sacred. With my second, napping was important, but it was no longer worthy of capitalization. Now I’m on the go with the older two so often that I’m happy if the baby sacks out in his carrier for fifteen minutes.  Problem is, most babywearing contraptions aren’t really conducive to getting some shut-eye. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the soft structured Action Baby Carrier has a sleeping hood. Cradle that drowsy baby against your chest, secure the hood to the shoulder strap (don’t worry, there’s plenty of ventilation), and go about...

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It’s time to dress up right

Being a novice knitter myself, I have a deep appreciation for the time and effort that goes into creating a pair of children’s mittens–a project I’ve yet to successfully complete.  Trouble is, even if I did manage to finish a pair, my daughter would complain of impending frostbite before she’d finished packing a single snowball.  Yarn by itself is no match for wet snow. But the M’uppet Mittens by Zooni found at My Princess Closet have solved that problem quite nicely.  These hand-knitted and crocheted deep purple mittens adorned with lavender posies are lined in cozy fleece.  I love...

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Don’t leave the hospital without your Brella

I may not be a fan of matchy-matchy outfits, but coordinated stationery ensembles are the sort of matching that I can appreciate, as long as they’re done well.  No pastel teddy bears or scary clowns, please. Brella Baby has hit the mark with their new Brella Bundles.  Their signature collection gift set includes a baby memory book, coordinating journal/photo album, and two sets of boxed note cards–everything a new mama needs to start documenting in style. What I love most about Brella is their use of modern colors and elegant designs. After all, these books really are for mothers...

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fin + roe: For parents who still get to pick out the Christmas cards

Since I’ve got a house full of kids, it’s a safe bet that my holiday cards are going to feature photos of those kids.  But I still want those cards to reflect my taste–which means no cards with ice-skating penguins or dancing candy canes. The holiday cards from fin + roe are just what I’m after.  With fresh, crisp designs and bright colors, the simplicity of these cards is what makes them so appealing to me.  I love the customization options–not just colors, but patterns too.  Plus, the customer service is out of this world, with personal design attention...

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The sweetest announcements. Literally.

Out of consideration for my post-baby figure, I rarely bake any more. It’s just one of the sacrifices I make in the name of vanity. But at holiday time, my no-bake resolution goes out the window (and takes my willpower right along with it).  Send me a recipe for anything involving butter and sugar, and I’ll whip the kitchen into a frenzy. Naturally, the Holiday Recipe Cards from Ringo Baby–who we always love for their inventive cards and announcements–caught my eye. Your photo and greeting go on the front like any other holiday card but on the back, you...

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Yellow Pages, now more green than yellow

I think it’s been at least five years since I used an actual telephone book. With a wi-fi broadband connection to the all-knowing Internet, those old books are now only useful to me as makeshift booster seats and yet they continue to show up on my doorstep, year after year. I’ve finally found a way to curtail these unsolicited deliveries: YellowPagesGoesGreen.org, which is like the National Do-Not-Call Registry, but for unwanted telephone books. A grassroots organization started by a Missouri college student, the service lets you “opt-out” by contacting publishers and saying hey, hold the phone books already. Not...

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Not since the mimeograph have we been more excited to sniff paper

I’m one of those goofy, sentimental types where it comes to personal correspondence.  If you send me a card, you can be sure it will occupy a place of honor on my refrigerator. But if you send me one of these holiday scratch ‘n’ sniff cards from Jack and Lulu, I’ll keep it under my pillow so that I can breathe in the sweet scent of hot chocolate or peppermint all night long. Pick up a few sets at Fred Flare for the children of the 80’s on your holiday list....

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Raising a glass to glass baby bottles

I’m actually glad that I pitched all of the bottles I used for my first two kids and had to buy new ones for surprise baby #3.  Because with all the recent news about plastics leaching BPA and who knows what chemicals into the milk, I’ve gotten a lot more choosy about what I stick in my baby’s mouth. Medela has recently come out with new glass bottles and they definitely get a thumbs up from me. A totally safe alternative from a company we mamas have trusted for years, they’re finally widely available–both at big ol’ stores like...

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Do animals smile? Anamalz do.

All three of my kids totally dig toy animals. Even the baby happily bangs the horse and cow and pig against the roof of our wooden play barn. It’s pretty easy to see that a bunch of new animal figurines would make fantastic stocking stuffers around here, and I’ve got my eye on Australian Anamalz. These handcrafted organic wood and textile animal figurines (a good selection available at CMP-fave Petit Baby) are a great eco-alternative to the standard plastic animals littering our family room. Made with non-toxic glues and paints, I won’t have to worry when they inevitably make...

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Function that makes me feel pretty for a change

My baby boy and I are closing in on nine months of successful breastfeeding but unfortunately, that’s just the problem. Based on my first two babies, I planned for only a few months of nursing and that’s left me in dire need of new nursing-friendly unmentionables.  It would be even nicer if they were pretty too. Enter the new Medela nursing camisole. Made of a cotton/bamboo blend in either black or white (no leopard prints, yay!), with non-scratchy lace trim, this cami not only makes it easy to feed my baby without baring my midsection, it’s the prettiest undergarment...

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Nap + Cuddle = Nuddle

The weather is finally turning cold here in Colorado, which means that it’s time to begin our annual battle over the thermostat.  My husband turns it up, I turn it down, and round and round we go until April. I think I might have finally figured out a way to get him to wave the white flag of surrender: the Nuddle Blanket. Which is for us for a change, and not the kids. This ultra-soft, super-plush microfiber blanket is like no blanket I’ve ever seen. First of all it has actual armholes so that I can read or type...

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Shearling booties! Ack, dying from the cuteness!

Feet certainly don’t get any cuter with age, so I figure I might as well leave my kids’ toes bare for as long as I can. But while bare toes are adorable, they look a little out of place paired with a velveteen dress or flannel trousers in holiday photos. The Little EDA shearling booties at Bean New York are a perfect choice for winter photo ops and other occasions where toasty toes are a necessity. Available in chocolate, pumpkin, or sage and lined in wonderfully soft shearling, they’re so warm and cozy and luxurious I wish they made...

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Beaba Babycook: Now you’re cooking, mama

Call me ecologically bankrupt, but I’m willing to pay for convenience. Disposable dipes and wipes are a mainstay around here, as was jarred baby food–until I tried the Beaba Babycook. (Update: Now the Beaba Babycook Pro, shown below.) This little gadget steams and blends fruits and veggies quickly and efficiently, even for a kitchen novice like me. Not only does the sleek modern design look great on my counter, the Babycook is made of safe Polysulfone–meaning there’s no leaching of any chemicals into my carefully-prepared home made baby food. It comes with a recipe booklet with instructions for making such delicacies...

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The Daily Grommet: Another enjoyable time (and money) suck on the web.

Here at CMP, we see a lot of fabulous products created by entrepreneurs. But we don’t always get a chance to delve deeper into the stories behind those products. So we’ve been waiting eagerly for the brand new product discovery site, The Daily Grommet which just launched in beta  They use video to highlight one incredible find a day for moms that hasn’t yet hit the big time–well, mostly. I can’t quite say that Hanky Panky thongs are yet unheard of considering you can get them in every department store. But I did like discovering a new Japanese kind...

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Pictures of you

I love to choose sentimental, personal gifts that say something more than “I dropped $50 on you.” (Hello, gift cards.) Problem is, sentimental, personal gifts can border on cheesy if you aren’t choosy. The design-your-own photo frames from Designs by Elizabeth Ann definitely pass muster. Pick a size, choose a background, and add a quote or monogram–so simple. These frames would make a great housewarming gift or hostess gift this holiday. Just make sure you pick wisely; can’t regift something monogrammed....

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Diaper bag organization gets a fashion forward facelift

Long before Cool Mom Picks, I was a big fan of diaper bags that made a statement beyond “I wipe poopy butts all day long.” But after treating myself to something pretty, I soon discovered pretty didn’t necessarily keep me any more organized. Fast-forward six years, and I’ve found SoYoung Mother, makers of a diaper bag that not only looks fabulous, but was designed entirely with organization in mind.  Created by Catherine SoYoung Choi, these bags feature a shallow bottom and clear and mesh pockets to make it much easier to find whatever binkie or saltine packet you’re frantically...

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BookSwim – Like Netflix for books

I used to collect books the way other people collect whatever it is they collect, but since having kids, my book-buying budget has been re-allocated to board books, and a trip to the library means sitting in a circle for story time. Then I found BookSwim, and I cursed myself for having not found it sooner. It’s like Netflix, except for books. Add titles to your pool in the order you’d like to receive them, then keep them as long as you like. If you can’t bear to part with a title, you can even buy it. You’ll find...

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There’s an exception to every rule: Family music even I can stand

I have allowed my children to invade nearly all areas of my life.  There are chicken nuggets in my freezer, tricycles in my driveway, and hordes of toys in every room of the house. But I admit I’ve drawn the line at listening to children’s music, even the undoubtedly fabulous selections featured here on Cool Mom Picks. My kids will listen to my own music and like it. But then I heard LeeAnn Anderson’s debut CD, Light As Air, and I had to make an exception. Black Eyed Peas made me giggle, Drift Away made me sing along, and...

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Who needs a stroller when you’ve got a Cruizer?

With each successive child, it gets progressively more difficult to haul around my brood. I started with one of those gargantuan travel systems that’s more trouble than it’s worth. Then I moved on to the stroller frame that accommodates the infant carrier. But now I’ve found the greatest method of baby-hauling yet invented–the Infant Cruizer from GoGoBabyz. The Cruizer’s base accommodates Graco car seats, but it comes with adaptors to fit Britax, Combi, and Peg Perego models too. Just snap the infant carrier into the base and raise the handle to a comfortable height.  That’s it.  Really! The large,...

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