Author: Kate Etue

Baby Penguins: Two happy little books for Penguin Awareness Day

Yesterday was Penguin Awareness Day, but you probably already knew that. (Right.) Still, how fun is a day celebrating penguins? At my house, we read one of our new favorite picture books, Baby Penguins Everywhere by Melissa Guion. Here, Mama penguin has lots and lots of babies. She’s happy to be a mama, but taking care of a family is hard, and Mama could really just use a moment alone every now and then (maybe without having to lock herself in the bathroom, right?) , making this a playful story that my kids ask for again and again. And now,...

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Black Wagon’s first ever toy sale starts now. As in right now. Don’t miss it!

Cool. Cheap. And your kids will like, oh, everything. Doesn’t get better than that, right? Then check out this weekend’s huge sale at Black Wagon starting today. It’s one of our favorite go-to sites for apparel and toys for babies and kids. The toys are all 20% off, and the clothing up to 50% off on our favorite brands, plus flat rate shipping which you should get while you can, because it’s changing February 1. Here are a few (very few) CMP-approved goodies I have my eye on. Especially at these prices. Soopsori Wooden Rattle Blocks  What a lovely eco-friendly baby gift, or...

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Easy, last-minute Golden Globes party ideas. It’s not too late!

I’ve been so busy getting my kids back into the school routine that I’d totally forgotten I need some Golden Globes party ideas! Like the whole world, I’m really excited to watch Amy and Tina. And I’m determined that it’s really not too late to make things more fun and festive—even if the only guests are me and my family. If you’ve got the award-show bug too, here’s how keep it fun and simple so you can enjoy seeing who wins. And what they’re wearing, of course. Online Invitations It’s not too late to invite a few close friends...

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Got bling? Here are some of our favorite jewelry storage ideas.

We love fabulous jewelry around here, so, naturally, we love to find new, innovative ways to store all of it. Recently we shared a great jewelry storage tip in our post about solving 10 tricky organization problems, making us thinking about some of our other favorite ideas for jewelry storage. So here they are, including DIY projects, repurposed vintage items, and some amazing purpose-made storage pieces should you want to splurge. One of my favorite ideas comes from the Love and Lace blog. In fact, I’m swooning over the way she’s organizing her amazing jewelry collection. This wooden serving bowl (at...

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Go from knocked-up to knockout with Pilates videos just for moms

This year my New Year’s resolution is—you’re gonna be shocked, I know—to lose ten pounds. Or maybe let’s just round it up to 20. Ready to talk Pilates videos? If you’re in a similar boat, I think you’ll love these new ones I’ve found created specifically for expectant moms and those of us trying to lose postpartum weight. Even if our babies are now toddlers. Or older. Erica Ziel is a master Pilates instructor (and Heidi Klum lookalike, but don’t let that deter you) and the creator of the Knocked-Up Fitness series. I tried out the After Baby DVD, and man, are my arms sore...

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Clever, creative storage solutions for 10 tricky storage problems from LEGOs to jewelry.

Now that my house is overflowing with too many toys (thanks to very generous grandparents), it’s time for some serious storage solutions. I’m desperate for some organization for all those Rainbow Loom bands, LEGO pieces and  American Girl doll clothes, just to name a few. So, here’s a list of some of our favorite storage ideas, from kids’ stuff to your stuff. Storage Solutions for LEGOs (above) The one toy our readers keep trying to figure out how to best store are their LEGO collections. Do you sort by color? By kit? All in one huge bin, which gets...

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Aden and Anais Bamboo Daydream Blankets are all grown up

At the moment I am sitting on the couch in front of a roasty fire. There’s snow outside, Sarah McLaughlin is on in the background (guilty pleasure, don’t judge), and I’m draped in my new Aden + Anais Bamboo Daydream Blanket. You guys, this is the life. Aden + Anais swaddlers have been one of Cool Mom Picks’ top choices for essential baby gear since we first helped break the news about their launch in 2006. So when I heard about the Bamboo Daydream Blanket, a larger version of their luxury dream blankets, I couldn’t wait to get my hands...

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The ultimate collection of 15 of the most lovely, printable 2014 calendars. Some of them free.

Tracking down the best printable 2014 calendars online for you was so much fun this year. Because right up there with the fall tradition of splurging on school supplies, picking out a new calendar has always been one of my favorite shopping moments of the year. The truth is, now instead of limiting yourself to a few picked-over selections at the stationery store, there are thousands of printable calendars online to fit every taste. If searching through all those possibilities is overwhelming, rest easy. I’ve curated a list of the best designs the web has to offer. Modern Printable...

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13 stunning New Year’s party printables and DIY ideas

We have been seeing so many cool New Year’s party printables and DIY ideas around the web, that we have carefully culled it down to 13 of our very favorites to spare you the challenging Pinterest search with promising how-to photos that  lead to dead ends or instructions in Japanese. Whether you’re celebrating New Year’s Eve with a hundred of your closest friends (because you know, parents get to do that every year), or you just want to feel festive while you’re snuggled on the couch watching Ryan Seacrest, we hope these DIY ideas help make your evening sparkly and...

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Gorgeous modern holiday table settings for some festive inspiration. And uh, hold the Waterford.

When I’ve spent hours working on the perfect Christmas meal, a great holiday table setting is important to me. Serving it on plastic Santa Claus plates with paper napkins is not really my thing, since I want to show my friends and family how much love went into the meal. Still, I want it to be simple enough that kids feel welcome, and I’m not ignoring my family all day to make the table look like something out of a too-perfect magazine spread. I’ve been inspired by these beautiful holiday table settings and the creative details, and I hope...

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Because Grandma’s walls could use a little gifting: beautiful custom photo canvases

It’s no secret that the Cool Mom Picks team loves to find unique photo gifts for family, friends and teachers. While photo books are a great option for any price level, it’s actually affordable and easier than you think to create custom photo canvases too. Because, hey, Grandma’s walls could use a little love too. So we’re excited about the photo options at Picaboo for home decor. You can easily upload your pictures to Picaboo’s site straight from your computer, Facebook, or Flickr. Then Picaboo offers two editing modes — Easy or Creative. As you’d imagine, the Creative mode offers...

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A comparison of our 11 favorite custom photo book services, for one of our all-time favorite gifts.

This is that time of year when I start thinking about putting together a photo book with all my pictures from the year, but I usually get hung up on wanting one that will actually last until my kids are adults, so they can enjoy them for years to come. There are so many options out there, I know! So to help you wade through them all, we’ve put together this round-up of 11 terrific options, and what makes each one so special. UPDATE: Please see An updated comparison of our 13 favorite custom photo book services Blurb Photo...

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Nina in Vorm: Modern meets vintage gifts at this cool Etsy shop.

I love the warmth and comfort that vintage pieces can express. They bring to mind a slower pace and remind me to focus on the moment and quit rushing so much. I need that sometimes. But there’s a really fine line between that  charming and out-of-touch, right? Polyester crocheted afghan? No. Modern screen printing on vintage china? Yes. Meet Nina van de Goor, a graphic designer based in the Netherlands who does some amazing work. She’s the perfect mix of whimsy and modern, and I’ve fallen in love with her whole shop, Ninainvorm. Nina designs some amazing poster prints, which...

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These custom family plates are holiday-perfect

Little Peach Print Co. is an Etsy shop by artist Sally Leach based out of Northamptonshire, UK, and her prints and decorative plates have all the charm you’d expect from a shop in the English countryside, but with a great eye for modern trends. Each custom design on the personalized plates is hand illustrated and adhered to the plate on a decal, then sealed with acrylic varnish. They’ll arrive on your doorstep in a sturdy cardboard box wrapped with yellow and white bakers twine and a gift tag, so if you’re ordering these as a gift, you can be...

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Reusable gift bags that could fit in Santa’s pockets

I like to keep a stash of gifts on hand to give to those last-minute people I totally forgot to shop for— bottles of Essie nail polish for my kids’  room moms, or Starbucks gift cards for the piano teacher—you know, just in case. But it never fails that I have the gift but no reusable gift bag to pop it in without much fuss. The Etsy shop 1 Pixie Place has a huge selection of muslin bags, and I’ve scanned through them to choose some of my favorites. Whew, it was hard to pick just a few! They’d be perfect for...

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Gifts that give back: These ornaments could change the world. For real.

Some of our favorite ornaments this year are more than just pretty baubles for your tree. They just might cure breast cancer, save an endangered species, or transform the life of women living in extreme poverty. Pretty impressive. The shiny green and red heart ornament (above) was designed by Mariska Hargitay and supports Child Mind, a non-profit focused on transforming mental heath care for kids everywhere. Love that. ($40) This adorable little bigfoot yeti comes from Ten Thousand Villages, an online retailer sourced completely by disadvantaged artisans in 38 countries worldwide. This particular guy was crafted in the foothills...

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Wild things, you make our heart sing with this gorgeous picture book

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but that’s exactly what I did when this fabulous new picture book arrived on my doorstep this week. I could instantly tell we were going to love it. And we did! Everyone in the nameless town where Mr. Tiger Goes Wild is set seems to be perfectly fine with the prim-and-proper status quo. But Mr. Tiger has had enough. Something just isn’t satisfying him in bland exchanges about the weather. So he decides he must break free. He journeys to the Wilderness, where he has an epiphany of sorts. The question...

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14 creative gift wrap ideas to make your nice list feel super special this holiday season

The simplest handmade gift can feel like it’s worth a million bucks if you’ve taken the time to wrap it with love. So we’ve pulled together some stunningly creative gift wrap ideas from the best of the Web to help you make your loved ones feel extra special this Christmas.And they don’t have to be hard! My grandmother was my style icon. She believed that, although what’s on the inside matters more, what’s on the outside still matters quite a bit. In other words, she taught us not to be lazy with details. I think that’s especially true when it...

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A fun new alphabet book that will give your kids a feel for the ABCs

Learning the alphabet is one of those huge milestones in your child’s life, so much so that you should be ready to brag she second they’ve sung the song right for the first time–and probably the millionth. If you’re looking for some variation from basic board books and TV shows in your teaching the ABCs routine, you’ll want to check out this very cool new book. There are some great alphabet books out there–check out the awesome photographs from ABC NYC for some big-city letter play–but what makes Alphablock by Christopher Franceschelli stand out from the crowd is that each letter is die-cut,...

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Zazzle: Custom gifts for the holidays that go way beyond mugs and calendars. Way.

Featured Partner If you’re looking for a way to put a personal touch on your Christmas or Hanukkah celebrations this winter, we were surprised to learn that our latest sponsor, Zazzle (yay, Zazzle!), has really upped their game this year. In a big way. There’s a huge new selection of everything related to holiday cards–from stationery to return labels and even custom postage stamps–plus amazing custom gift ideas. We were really surprised ourselves to see what the site has become, and think it will be a great, affordable resource for our readers this year. We discovered they have millions (literally) of...

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