Author: Kristen Chase

4 reasons to consider an ecotourism vacation for your family. (Besides being awesome.)

The idea of combining education and conservation with a family vacation is super appealing to parents, which is why ecotourism is such a fascinating concept for me — and maybe for you. If you’re not familiar with ecotourism, it’s aimed at providing travelers with environmental awareness by offering experiences that also support conservation. But in my own research, so many ecotourism vacation options involve heavy travel, often internationally, which can definitely be costly for families — especially for my family of five. That’s why I was so thrilled to learn about Jekyll Island, a small spot off the coast of Georgia,...

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The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: 5 cool fall and winter staples we love

I love a Nordstrom sale, and their Anniversary Sale is no exception, because you can get great discounts on brand new items. So, if you’ve got a little cash stashed, here are 5 of my favorites, all fabulous fall and winter staples, if I do say so myself, that I’m coveting. Cool Mom Picks is a reward style affiliate.  Related: Cool shorts alternatives – Yes mamas, you can wear culottes Spanx faux leather leggings I’m a huge fan of these faux leather leggings, because they’re super flattering and pretty comfortable, at least for Spanx anyway. I wear them all winter long,...

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10 cool nighttime activities for kids that let you be the fun parent

With the kids out of school and the days so much longer, I’ve been trying to make summer extra fun for them, which means extending bedtimes way past their normal time and heading out for nighttime adventures. Seriously, there are so many fun things to do with kids when it’s dark (even though admittedly, I find them sleeping soundly in their beds very fun. Ha). As a glasses wearer, this has all been made so much easier for me thanks to our newest sponsor, ZEISS DriveSafe, which can actually give you better vision at night. I’m not sure if it’s my age (cough 40 cough) or...

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11 family-friendly television shows that everyone can agree on. Seriously.

We’ve been moving away from solo gadget time in my house and exchanging it for family screen time, within reason, of course. That means we all gather around the television and watch something that we all enjoy. Really. With kids ages 5 to 12, you might think that it’s hard to find a television show that we can agree on, but that’s absolutely not the case. Here are 10 family-friendly television shows that are perfect for families to enjoy together, from little kids to tweens and teens, and most importantly, the grown-ups too. Related: Documentaries to watch with kids about other kids:...

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Cool shorts alternatives: Yes, mamas, you can wear culottes

I admit, that while I totally rocked culottes the first time they came around, I was a little hesitant to try them again. But I have to say, that I really do love them, especially with all the short shorts every where I turn. If you’re looking for cool shorts alternatives, I definitely recommend checking out culottes. Now, I’m not a huge fan of the denim culottes, but rather, the fun flowy kind that make you do a “is that a skirt?” double-take. I know a lot of women think they can’t wear them, but if you can find the right...

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The handiest travel bag for parents? Found it.

I’m not even sure when I got the Baggu tote pack, but over the years (yes, it’s been that long), it has been a huge travel lifesaver for me, time and time again. And even better, it’s currently on super sale. This bag is an upgraded drawstring backpack, carrying just enough essentials for you or your kids, whether you’re on a plane, a hike, a camp, you name it, but in my opinion, much more comfortably (and stylishly). They’ve since added tote handles to the newer version of the bag, which means you can carry it on your back or as a...

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Alpine Pluggies make flying with kids a whole lot less painful

I was cruising the eye and ear care aisle at CVS last week on vacation, waiting for my daughter’s ear infection prescription to be filled (womp, womp) and trying to find something that might help her ears for the plane ride home. On a whim, I grabbed a few packs of Alpine Pluggies for her (and for me, actually), and wow, I have to say that they made a huge difference for the plane ride home. Related: The cutest travel pillow for kids when they’re too big to fall asleep in your lap These special earplugs, available in sizes...

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The coolest pool floats, from hot lips to flying rainbow unicorns

When I saw the FUNBOY pool floats my pool envy grew three sizes, because, a flamingo? Flaming lips? A rainbow unicorn? I need to have these in my life right now. And not just because they’re freaking cool. They actually give back in an amazing way too. These fancy floats, or “luxury floats” as they’re called (what?), turn out to be celeb favorites, if you tend to purchase your summer toys based on such things. Still, we can see why. They’re all perfect for Insta photo opps, from a golden swan to a giant flamingo, to a hashtag — which we suggest not...

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Hot fashion trend: Fringe bikini tops hide your not-so-favorite trouble spots

Confession: I don’t love my stomach. And while I really want to feel super confident sporting a bikini, I just never have been able to get there. That was until I discovered the fringe trend, which is a very cool way to still wear a bikini but keep my not-so favorite, post-4-kids part under wraps. If you’re like me and don’t necessarily want a tankini or one-piece bathing suit, but still want to camouflage your stomach a bit, then check out these five fun fringe bikinis that will do just that. CMP is an rstyle affiliate 1. Luli Fama underwire fringe bikini...

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Common mistakes parents make when applying sunscreen on kids and how to fix them.

With four outdoor-loving kids and lots of pool and beach time on our calendar this summer, you can bet I am always stocking up on sunscreen. I’m pretty careful about when and how I slather it on, too, which is why I was surprised to see that I was making a few very common mistakes when it comes to applying sunscreen to kids. Ack. If you’re going to be applying sunscreen to kids — and hopefully yourself — this summer, you’ll want to check these common mistakes parents make and what to do about them. No need to feel guilty; just...

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5 free summer reading challenges for kids. Prizes included!

Even though I’ve got a couple of avid readers in my house, I’m always looking for ways to continue to encourage them to pick up a book. Thankfully, there are no shortage of summer reading challenges that offer kids a little incentive for their participation. Whether you’re trying to give your reluctant reader a little motivation summer, or just want something to reward your voracious book lover, here are 5 free summer reading challenges for kids that you’ll want to check out, all of which offer participants prizes. Related: 3 simple tips from LeVar Burton to get your kids...

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Finding Dory review: What to expect before you take your kids

This past weekend, my family and I braved the crowds to catch the new Finding Dory movie, the long-awaited sequel to the perennial favorite, Finding Nemo. With kids ranging in age from 5 up through 12, I was hoping it was something they would all enjoy, and thankfully I was right, though I think I might have laughed the most. While I don’t feel as though it was as funny or enjoyable as Finding Nemo, the kids were all glad we went, which is a pretty big deal if you’re like me and have a couple of very anxious movie watchers. And it’s not...

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The new Athleta Girl clothing line: Is it worth the price?

I am an unabashed Athleta fan after being introduced to their clothes by a friend a couple of years ago. I practically live in them, mostly because I can wear them to workout and then for the rest of the day without feeling like I’m wearing gym clothes. Yes, perhaps the epitome of lazy, but hey, it works for me. So when my girls were invited to test out a few pieces of their new Athleta Girl line, I was more than thrilled. And no surprise, so were they. Over the last couple of weeks, my girls and I (the laundress...

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Spray your gray away with the Rita Hazan root concealer

About a year ago, I realized that if I grew out my regularly dyed hair, I’d probably be completely gray, which means that about 3–4 weeks after my salon visit, I’ve got hella roots showing. But thanks to discovering the Rita Hazan root concealer, I  can go an extra couple of weeks before plunking down a pretty penny for hair color. The little bottle isn’t cheap, but boy does it work (and a little goes a very long way). Just a small spray over my roots on my dark brown hair after I’ve finished blow drying it and I’ve got fantastic cover-up until...

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Budget family travel tips: 5 smart do’s and don’ts to save you a ton on your next family vacation

A few months ago, I decided I wanted to celebrate my 40th birthday with a big trip, but whoa, family vacations are certainly not cheap! Especially when you’re traveling with kids — or in my case, four of them. Even though I’d been saving for a while, I was determined to keep my spending down as much as I could. After scoring a great deal on plane tickets (hooray for off-season vacations), I did some research to figure out how I could stick within my vacation budget while still having a great time. And, it worked! So I’ve put together 5 simple do’s...

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Why Bombas socks are the bomb

With summer slip-on shoe season finally here, it’s also officially stinky feet season, which is why I’ve been on the hunt for peds that don’t suck. You know, those no-show socks that keep your feet dry while you wear your favorite TOMS, Chuck Taylors, Vans (or if you’re like Liz, Superga sneakers). Well, since trying Bombas socks, I’m a happy girl and my feet are too. Related: The newest TOMS let you dip your toes into the political process  I actually purchased Bombas socks through a Facebook ad (yes apparently, they do work!) and I’m so glad I did. Their no-show socks...

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What we think about THINX Period Underwear: An honest review, with all the details.

After 25 years as a woman with a period, you can’t blame me for growing tired of the monthly tampon, pad, and pantyliner rotation. Sorry, no menstrual cup love from me — though I know lots of ladies love them. So, after seeing the Facebook ads for THINX period underwear and then a review from a fellow, trusted blogger, I figured it couldn’t hurt to get a pair and try them. Not just for myself but quite honestly, more for my tween who is about to be entering her period years. (And sorry Sweetie, for embarrassing you completely.) If you’re wondering “Hold...

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Keepsake jewelry under $75 that makes a meaningful gift for your favorite grad.

‘Tis the season for graduations, whether you’ve got a new college graduate in the family, a niece or nephew graduating from high school, or like me, a sixth grader moving up to middle school. Sniff. While so many of us are looking for just the right special, personalized gift, I am always happy to share ideas that don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. (Because, hey college will do that for you. Heh.) I was really happy to find some thoughtful, affordable graduation gift ideas for anyone on your list — grade school through college — when I browsed through the selection from our newest sponsor, HeidiJHale...

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A special gift for a special anniversary, in honor of May is Gold Month

To commemorate the Cool Mom Picks 10th anniversary (!!) I wanted to share a special gift with Liz, something that would visibly remind us of this exciting milestone. It didn’t take too long to land on the idea of jewelry, considering we’re both accessories junkies — as our readers no doubt know by now — but it couldn’t be just any jewelry. I finally committed to a truly beautiful custom karat gold necklace from Julian & Co, one of our favorite indie, mom-run businesses. So I’m thrilled to share the journey behind my design collaboration with designer Tania Condon of Julian & Co and the gorgeous final result both Liz...

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Sh*tty Mom For All Seasons is a parenting guide full of what we all need: Laughs. Lots of them.

If you loved the best-selling Sh*tty Mom book as much as we did when it came out four years ago, you will be as excited as we were to get our hands on its much-anticipated sequel, out just this week. If you couldn’t guess it from the title alone, Sh*tty Mom For All Seasons is a parenting guide like no other. And that’s a very, very, very good thing. Let’s just say it feels like a parenting book from some renowned mom guru kidnapped by the writing staff of SNL and plied with lots of merlot. This follow-up title by authors and NBC TODAY Show producers Alicia...

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