Author: Julie

Buttoned-up baby gifts

As far as I’m concerned, the greatest gifts are the ones that you’d feel far too frivolous buying for yourself, but are unexpectedly practical.  That theory goes double for new baby gifts. That’s why the Car Seat Cardigan from Pomegranate Babies is my new go-to baby gift for the extra special new babies I know. We’ve never seen anything quite like these hand-knitted infant car seat covers adorned with hand-felted embellishments like frogs and flowers.  Not only are they ridiculously cute, they’re absolutely useful. No need to wrestle the baby into a bunting (which makes buckling the car seat...

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Muu Furniture: When a red plastic racecar bed really isn’t your style

I’m in favor of pulling out all the stops to decorate my children’s rooms beautifully. But since a little redecorating is inevitable between preschool and high school, that means choosing furniture with some built-in flexibility. Woodworker Robert Kwak’s beautiful new furniture line at Muu incorporates modern lines and sustainable materials to create furniture that’s perfectly suited to any kid’s room. But it’s the custom MuuPanel system that really makes this furniture stand out. No generic baby illustrations on these interchangeable panels; from guitarists to helicopters to Japanese blossoms, these motifs will stand the tests of time–and fickle tweens.  Even...

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Put your money where your child’s chest is

If you want to make a statement, and you’re not above using your baby as a billboard (we’re not), try +E (positive energy) Awareness Apparel. These soft, 100% certified organic cotton tees and onesies are designed to deliver the social, environmental or political message that’s nearest to your heart. And your baby’s butt. Seriously. Check out the one that says “DIRTY,” for example. The single bold word is displayed on the chest, but I love the strategically-placed blurb about air pollution on the back that delivers the details. Other designs are more serious, but there’s a cause for everyone...

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Mommy cards get smarter, even as mommies don’t

I used to be really good at remembering names and faces.  A little stalkerish even. But then I had children and a good percentage of my brain cells expired from lack of sleep.  Now I’m lucky if I remember my own name, let alone the names of those three super-cool moms I met ten minutes ago at the park. So when I checked out Thumbprint Trading Cards, I fell immediately in love.  Much more than mere mommy cards, these two-inch square cards incorporate custom photos along with contact information–ideal for those of us who need a visual memory cue...

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Utterly charming cards. Really.

While I’ll happily spend hours browsing through all types of stationery, searching for just the right mix of simplicity and elegance, greeting cards almost always leave me cold.  Blame it on years of searching for some idealistic notion of preprinted sentiments that probably doesn’t even exist. So I was quite literally charmed when I got a peek at Jaimee Tassio’s charmed cards.  Simple and elegant, yes; smothered in schmaltz, not at all. In fact the only adornment is a tiny charm, suspended from a thin wire–a thoughtful touch to underscore your own thoughtful words inside....

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Who are we to say that 9 year-olds can’t vote?

Apparently the upcoming Presidential election is a hot topic at the local elementary school, so I’ve become a little more careful when spouting off, lest my words be repeated at recess: Well, MY mom says… Thank goodness Linda Ellerbee has stepped in to stop my bloviating, at least temporarily.  The veteran Nick News anchor is hosting a kids’ special entitled Kids Pick the President airing tonight at 9ET–good thing tomorrow’s not a school day. Then starting today kids can head to a very cool microsite to cast their own votes. Never mind those pesky laws about voting age or...

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As the crow flies

I’m already on record as not being a fan of fluffy pastel nursery decor.  How are children supposed to develop good design sensibilities if you don’t show them the way? This striking mobile from Contexture, aptly named “As the Crow Flies,” is far from fluffy.  Laser-cut from recycled black paper and old road maps, it depicts 14 crows and a large hand-folded tree with fantastic detail. While far from typical, the high contrast mobile is actually perfectly suited for a baby’s room, and according to the Contexture site: “Family is important to crows. They mate for life, live in...

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To me, every day is Halloween

My kids love to admire the aisles of Halloween-themed kids’ clothing almost as much as I love to admire the aisles of Halloween-themed candy. But I can’t bring myself to buy any those jack-o-lantern shirts and “happy halloween” bibs because hello, the kids can wear them twice, max. My money’s better spent on Reese’s cups and a personal trainer. But longtime CMP fave, Playdate NYC, has a great way for your little goblin to get his fill of creepy-crawlies at Halloween and well beyond.  With bats and spiders hand-appliqued in felt on thermal cotton tees, these shirts won’t look...

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Don’t know much about teratology, but Belli does

I’m conspicuously absent from photos taken after the birth of each of my babies. I know a lot of you mamas knows what I’m talking about. But it wasn’t even my complexion and weight that were making me camera-shy; it was my lady parts–my tender c-section incision and my ravaged nipples–that were making it nearly impossible for me to crack a smile. I wish I’d known about Belli’s pregnancy and motherhood skin care lines back then. Originally created by Dr. Jason Rubin for his own wife during her pregnancy, all the ingredients go through strict teratology screening process. Yeah,...

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Designer dresses designed by daughters

Sadly, shopping with my daughter is already filled with bargaining (if not actual bargains), and she isn’t even a surly tween yet. So I’ve got Style for Grace to thank for a remarkably relaxed and enjoyable mother-daughter shopping experience–that took place right here at my kitchen table. The site’s creator, Aimee LaLiberte, was inspired by her daughter Grace (natch) to design unique clothing that wouldn’t be seen on every other little girl. Pick a dress style, pick from six collections of fabrics, preview your design, and place your order. I could have spent hours swapping out fabrics and admiring...

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The Neatnik Saucer – A better option than high chair covers the size of a schoolbus

I used to love going out to eat, knowing that I had no role whatsoever in the preparation or clean-up. These days, with three kids and a diaper bag in tow, in the time it takes for a single sip of wine and a quick glimpse of the menu, six crayons and two spoons and a package of crackers have already hit the deck. The mom-daughter invented Neatnik Saucer goes a long way towards letting me enjoy my wine in peace. It fits over (often grubby) restaurant high chairs and keeps all the toys and food pretty much confined....

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Going cuckoo for cu cu yo

Having brought two out of three babies home to a teeny apartment, I’m a trained minimalist where it comes to gear; I love oh-so-cute stuff as much as the next mama. But if it doesn’t combine form and function, it’s not for me. Enter Ana Reza-Hadden and Laura Nixon Miller, the moms and creative minds behind cu cu yo who are doing incredibly smart things with those old registry standbys, the changing pad and the travel blanket. I love how compactly their Ori Changing Station folds, secured with a wide elastic band which is far superior to magnetic clasps...

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Petite Palate – One bite for baby, one bite for me…

I’m one of those lucky women with a husband who loves to cook. The man not only knows the difference between tarragon and cardamom, he actually cares. Too bad our girls still prefer kiddie foods. So we’re making a last ditch-effort to cultivate some taste in our third-born, and judging from his reaction to Petite Palate gourmet baby food, we just might succeed. The line is the creation of moms and pedigreed chefs Lisa Beels and Christine Naylor who take the French POV of training those young taste buds to prefer small meals with big flavor. Foods like lentil...

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You can put a price on style. 52,50 Euros for a tee, to be exact.

Not all parents are fortunate enough to have style-obsessed children like I do. Already they shun those mainstream clothing outlets in favor of browsing boutiques with me, while pooh-poohing classmates we encounter in lesser, less expensive preschool duds. You know I’m kidding, right? Mostly we stick with the affordable stuff, but it’s always nice to add a few high-fashion la-di-da pieces I really love. For that very thing, take a look at the UK’s Little Fashion Gallery and their high-end selection for infants and kids. You’ll find brands like Little Marc Jacobs, Wowo and Bonpoint with designer prices to...

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Babywearing twins. Yes indeedy.

My hat’s off to all moms of twins–double the gear, double the diapers, double the feedings. And not being able to wear both babies at once? That seems the most daunting prospect of all to me, since babywearing has saved my sanity with all three kids. So when I saw that the Baby K’Tan baby carrier could be used to wear twins, I was amazed. These two loops of cloth feel as soft as a well-worn tee shirt, and they can be arranged in all sorts of  configurations including a cradle hold for two babies up to ten pounds...

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Baby videos actually entertaining for mamas too.

Now that I’ve got three children, I’ve given up trying to protect the youngest from his older sisters’ tastes in TV shows. Is it cliché to mention that I saw Road Runner get clobbered at least a thousand times as a kid, and I’m still an upstanding member of society? Even so, it’s nice to pop in a DVD that’s actually geared toward my baby that doesn’t simultaneously make me want to take forks to my own eyeballs, which is why the new titles from Sparkabilities are my kind of baby videos. The content is based on the PlayWisely...

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Tiesies – ‘Cause every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man

I’m all for outfitting my baby boy in some fine threads on special occasions.  But dressing a wee one in the same style sported by a forty-something man (sweater vests, anyone?) isn’t special–at least not the way you’d intended. Try a tiesie on for size instead.  These organic cotton onesies and tees by Pumpkin Girl are hilarious adorned with vintage men’s ties, carefully sewn into place, so they don’t fall into the wee one’s soup bowl, of course. They’re perfect for those events where other less fashion-forward babies squirm around uncomfortably in rumpled pint-sized trousers and vests....

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I have a picture pinned to my wall

I’m all for handing my girls a box of crayons and a ream of paper and letting them while away an afternoon creating works of art.  The only problem?  Their cumulative efforts result in a fire hazard worthy of condemnation. The ART:Archives has the perfect solution for those great masterpieces that I can’t bear to let go. They took twenty-five of my daughter’s favorite drawings, photographed them, and set them to music in a phenomenally-produced DVD.  Even the credits are all about the artist, listing vital stats like her name, age, grade, school, and a slew of her current...

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Skateboards that you wear

It’s been (cough, cough) twenty years, but I still haven’t outgrown my adoration for skateboards and the guys who ride them. Teenage infatuations die hard. Unfortunately I’m too old to plaster Tony Hawk posters on my living room walls, which is why I’m so enamored of these earrings made from old skateboards found at BTC Elements. Bruised and battered decks are carved into sweeping wooden hoops – a perfectly elegant way to wax nostalgic. Certainly more elegant than jumping into a mosh pit. I only wish that Portland designer Lindsay Jo Holmes would allow buyers to select earrings based...

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Custom jewelry without the custom jewelry prices

Like the other CMP writers, I don’t usually gravitate toward keepsakes. If it’s engraved or personalized and it’s not a wedding invitation, it’s probably not my style. But there’s an exception to everything, and my beautiful mother’s necklace from ohana by Lea definitely flies in the face of my "get that engraved thing away from me" policy. Designer Lea Speakes lovingly creates custom silver jewelry with careful attention to every detail down to the packaging. The sterling silver discs are each hand-stamped with my children’s names and a tiny design, then dangle from a delicate silver chain that make...

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