Author: Kristen Chase

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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Vans shoes, even customizable for your budding fashion designer

I just so happened to be in a Vans store without children last weekend (dreamy, right?) and whoa, just when I thought some of my favorite shoes couldn’t get any cooler, they did. If you’re like me and are shopping for spring and summer shoes for your kids, take a peek at what I found. So, while the Late Night line isn’t super new, it’s definitely new to me. I snatched up the Donut slip-ons for my daughter, who’s completely, 100% obsessed with them. But I have to say the Pizza slip-ons cracked me up. Related: Fayvel shoes let...

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Sponsored Message: Never miss a game, season finale or live TV event with Slingbox

This is a sponsored message from Slingbox. Whether you travel for work or just need a diversion while you’re waiting for your kids at soccer practice, Slingbox lets you watch and control all the cable TV channels you already pay for when you’re on the go — on your tablet, phone, PC, or Mac. All with absolutely no monthly fees. – Don’t miss a special offer below! –  Getting set up with Slingbox is easy. Just connect it to your set-top box in seconds via WiFi or Ethernet cable, and the service will “sling” all of your cable channels right to your...

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The Gift of Failure: 3 tips from Jessica Lahey to help you raise more self-reliant kids

With the prevalence of helicopter parenting these days, it’s no surprise we’re seeing kids becoming much more dependent than independent — and let’s face it, we’re seeing more really tired parents. But it can be challenging for parents who are used to doing so much for our kids to take a step (or a bunch of steps) back and allow our kids some autonomy. So how thrilled were we to welcome Jessica Lahey, columnist, educator, and author of The Gift of Failure to our Spawned with Kristen and Liz this week to discuss ways we might be inadvertently stifling our kids’ creativity and...

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Pouch goals. Is that a thing? Because it should be.

With everything you can find at Society6 — smart phone cases, laptop bags, even leggings — they’ve now added carry-all pouches and let’s just say I’ve spent waaaaaaay too long flipping through all the fabulous choices. These canvas pouches with wraparound artwork come in three different sizes, with the smaller ones a good choices for pencils or make-up, and the bigger sizes able to double as a clutch. And well, the choices are endless. Almost literally. Here are some of my favorites (whew, it was hard to choose). Related: Society6 leggings – Be still my stylish geeky heart weapons of mass...

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The Clek Mat-thingy. Because kids + cars = gross.

As a suburban mom of four, I live in my car. And as much as I try to tell my kids that this time we will not be eating in the car (don’t laugh too hard), I can never stick to that rule because, well, we’re all in it so much. That’s why the Clek Mat-thingy is so smart. Also, the name makes me chuckle every time I say it. Related: Tokidoki and Clek collaborate for some out-of-this-world car seats  Not only does the non-slip, waterproof Mat-thingy protect your seats against spills and messes, it keeps them safe from compression damage courtesy...

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Babyation: A smart, stylish breast pump. Nope, pigs aren’t flying.

My breast pump definitely got the job done, but it was certainly not stylish. Or smart. Try awkward and uncomfortable. But the husband and wife team behind Babyation are aiming to change that. Their new breast pump might be exactly what nursing moms have been hoping for. Babyation is the brain child of Jared Miller and Samantha Rudolph, born after they realized breast pumps really hadn’t changed much since the 1850s. Talk about scary! So, they set out to make a pump that’s super quiet, very discreet (as in, no boobage on display), and smart — it interfaces with an app that gives moms...

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Happy Year of the Monkey, baby. You’re intelligent, creative, and darnit, people like you!

Today starts the Lunar New Year, and lots of little Year of the Monkey babies are soon to be born. If not already. I’ve always loved Tree by Kerri Lee‘s beautiful wooden birth year blocks, which a make sweet gift for a special little someone. Handcrafted by artist Kerri Lee and featured in her sister’s Etsy shop, you can order these in three colors, all of which feature characteristics of a Year of the Monkey baby. I think they make such lovely, affordable keepsakes, whether the lucky recipient is super into the Chinese zodiac, or just appreciates the thoughtfulness of a...

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New and cool: Personalized Moleskines. Notebooks, journals, you name it. (Get it?)

I never leave home without my Moleskine notebook, as I’ve recently shared — or really, I should say “notebooks” considering how many I have for lists, ideas, and… more lists. Now I’m so excited that you can finally order personalized Moleskine notebooks online, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Or really any day in my book. (I can’t stop the puns!) Related: Illustrated handmade Moleskine journals. Ooh. If you love this as much as I do, hit the site, then choose from a huge selection of personalizable notebooks and journals — there are tons! Next click Personalize  under Add to Shopping Cart. You...

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7 little indulgences under $10 that make big changes to your mood.

I’m a huge fan of grabbing little indulgences or surprises for my kids here and there to help make them feel better after a bad day or, you know, just make them feel special. But when it comes to me, I have gotten pretty good at rationalizing myself right out of treating myself, even though I know that these little things are not necessarily treats but rather small ways I can help brighten my own mood. And they definitely have a trickle down effect into my work, my kids, and yes, my own mental health. No surprise then that I welcomed the final...

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Friendships after kids: Smart tips and resources for making new mom (and dad) friends | Spawned Episode 30

Making new friends as adults is hard enough as it is, but it can be especially challenging when you have kids. And it’s not just making new friends, but also maintaining those old ones too. I  know first-hand that when you’ve already gone all those life changes that come with a new baby, it would be so nice if there was at least one thing that stayed the same. Sigh. When our Spawned podcast listener Shari emailed asking us to discuss the topic friendships after kids (thanks Shari!), we jumped at the chance, because both of us have, in some way, experienced difficulties in that department....

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8 great cars for big families that fit 3 car seats safely in the second row

I still remember car shopping when I was pregnant with my third child, trying to figure out which cars for big families would be right for me. As in, I didn’t want a minivan, and I wanted my car to safely fit three car seats, for my three kids under four. To be honest, I had absolutely no idea where to start, and it turned out to be something that dealers really didn’t know too much about either. Not fun. If only I could have thought to check out our newest partner, Cars.com, which is a tremendous help for families who are car shopping. It actually features a wealth of...

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Stand up straight! 5 simple ways to improve your posture

I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m tall or because I sit hunched over a computer all day long, but I have terrible posture. This isn’t necessarily a new discovery, but what is new to me is how much bad posture can actually affect your stress levels — something I learned as part of our sponsor Aetna’s Month of Mindfulness #Mindful30 challenge. Yikes! Like it’s not bad enough that I realize I look bad slouching in pictures, now it’s contributing to stress? So for my 3rd challenge, they asked me to focus on “perfecting my posture,” and boy, did I need...

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The Volume Mascara by Kevyn Aucoin: You’ll never buy another mascara ever again.

I discovered The Volume Mascara by Kevyn Aucoin last year when Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere raved about it, and after using it for this long (hey, it takes me awhile!), I feel comfortable saying that it is by far the best mascara I have ever owned. If you’re looking for the perfect mascara, then I have the one for you. Cool Mom Picks is a reward style affiliate.     As someone who wears contacts and needs a smudge-proof mascara that’s not waterproof, I’ve only really ever found a couple that work well, and even then, I could...

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