Author: Kristen Chase

Etnies Spring 2015: Cool skater shoes for kids, even if they’re not skaters. Yet.

My son hasn’t pulled out his skateboard in a couple of years but that hasn’t stopped him from wearing his new etnies from their Spring 2015 collection. And considering how picky he tends to be about footwear, I’d say that’s nothing short of amazing. If you’re looking for something a little cooler than your average sneaker for your kids, I’m really digging the new etnies spring collection, particularly the Lo-Cut SC Kids that don’t even look like your typical skater kicks. They’re ridiculously light, though still supportive and comfortable thanks to a foam mid-sole. And my son, who is still not super keen on...

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House of Bricks: The hilarious Sesame Street House of Cards parody

If you are as obsessed with House of Cards as I am, please take a few minutes out of your day to watch House of Bricks, the hilarious Sesame Street House of Cards parody, because it is pure genius. I have barely come up for food or air–and oh right, my children–over the past week in an attempt to catch up on House of Cards Season 2 so I can then binge watch the newly-released House of Cards Season 3. But somehow this parody was worth taking my attention away from the real Frank Underwood for a few minutes. Because you guys,...

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VIDA scarves by Karen Walrond: Gorgeous photos brought to life around your neck

We always love sharing awesome style collaborations between artists and cool companies, but even better when it’s a friend, like the amazing author and photographer Karen Walrond, who’s launched a line of VIDA scarves. We’ve known Karen and her outstanding work for we-won’t-say-how-many years, so how exciting that she’s collaborating to bring her beautiful photographs to life and with such a wonderful company that brings the vision designers, artists, and creatives alive with the help of artisans in Pakistan, who are paid a fair wage and provided with literacy programs to help them further their own lives.   The scarves,...

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The coolest free printable Year of the Goat coloring page to ring in the Chinese New Year

For a little Chinese New Year celebration this evening, I’ll be tracking down some delicious take-out dumplings at my local Chinese food joint (in lieu of my Chinese mom’s amazing cooking, sniffle), and printing out a few copies of this free Year of the Goat printable coloring page that I know my kids will love. What a cool, modern design to bring the Chinese Zodiac to life–which trust me, is pretty hard to find, if you’ve ever searched for free Chinese New Year printables. All you need is your printer, some crayons, and you’ve got a fun, simple way to share a cultural experience with your kids....

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8 of the coolest Year of the Sheep baby gifts for your little lamb

I’ve always loved the Chinese Zodiac and not just because I’m a Chinese American. I am fascinated by the history of the signs and their meanings. So with the Chinese New Year just a couple of days away, we thought it would be fun to round-up cool Year of the Sheep baby gifts. If you happen to be expecting a little baby lamb (we’ll go with the lamb instead of the ram) in 2015 or know someone who is, here are some wonderful Year of the Sheep baby gifts to help celebrate. Kung Hei Fat Choi!   The beautiful knit dolls from BlaBla Kids have...

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I saw the signs.

I’ve seen my fair share of beautiful initial necklaces, many of which I own (funny how that happens), but none like these beautiful Sign Language Alphabet necklaces by Monserat De Lucca. I recently discovered them and wow. Talk about a thoughtful, creative, and super affordable Valentine’s Day gift. The detail of each letter as it is formed by the hand is really pretty cool, and such a special way to wear a favorite letter — whether it’s your own initial or someone else’s — around your neck. Related: Cool heart necklaces as stylish as sentimental   The only bummer is that not all letters are...

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3 of the best BB creams for any busy woman without a lot of time in the morning

I’ve been using BB creams since I first discovered them years ago thanks to my Birchbox subscription, and I’ve never gone back to using anything else, though surprisingly enough, not a lot of women I know have used one. If you’re wondering what the heck a BB cream is, it stands for Beauty Balm, but I describe it as a product that falls in between a tinted moisturizer and foundation; light to medium coverage that evens your skin tone and gives your skin an extra boost of nutrients and SPF. I realize that everyone’s skin is different, and I’ll...

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Candy gifts for Valentine’s Day that go way beyond the ordinary.

I know what you might be thinking:  Candy gifts for Valentine’s Day? Could you be more cliché, Cool Mom Picks? And well, if you’ve never been introduced to Sugarfina, a favorite here with our staff, well then you will understand why I’m all excited about their offerings for Valentine’s Day this year. I fell in love with Sugarfina after our Editor Liz gave me their Love Bites gift set after a break-up, and made me laugh with the apple frogs (as in, stop kissing them) and the fish representing the many others in the sea. This may look like kid stuff, but it’s gourmet candy, which...

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Givenchy Noir Couture Mascara: Call us its new biggest fans.

I’ve been using the same awesome drugstore-brand mascara for as long as I can remember because, well, it works and costs me less than $10. But I was introduced to the Givenchy Noir Couture mascara on a recent trip to Sephora, and let’s just say I’ve never seen my eyes look like this. Ever. In a good way. Consider this mascara a regular fixture in my makeup bag from now on. What’s cool about this particular mascara is that it contains keratin and peptides, which means it gives your lashes a little extra boost of nutrients while making them look fabulous. And...

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Poesy rings by Monica Rich Kosann: When ring around your collar is a very good thing

I’ve coveted the beautiful personalized jewelry by Monica Rich Kosann ever since we first discovered it years ago, but the new Poesy rings in her ever-growing array of keepsake jewelry are probably my favorite yet, and just in time for Valentine’s Day. I’ve admittedly become a bit more sentimental in my old age, which is probably why I just love the idea behind this new collection of  gorgeous rings with a message inside. They’re based on a 500-year-old tradition of exchanging rings containing poetic inscriptions with friends, family, and lovers. These particular pieces have short, sweet messages of love,  encouragement, or friendship, all crafted...

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Anti Valentine’s Day flowers for all the single ladies. Because we deserve them too!

Being a single mom on Valentine’s Day just means I focus my love on my four kids, but that doesn’t mean I’m not just a little bit jealous of all the Valentine’s Day flowers being exchanged between couples. That’s why I had to chuckle when I discovered the Anti Valentine’s Day bouquets at Flower Muse. They make the perfect, slightly snarky, and very fun gift for your own single self or someone else in your life who needs some platonic love on Valentine’s Day this year. The Anti Valentine’s Day bouquets aren’t gag gifts–far from it, actually, considering the fresh farm-to-door process for each bouquet.. The...

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Tattly tattoos do good. And it’s great.

It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of Tattly tattoos, but even more now that they’ve teamed up with charity:water to help raise money for an awesome cause. The Craziest Thing tattoo not only has a message I’d more than happily wear on my arm (or back or leg), but 80% of the proceeds from each purchase go to support the charity: water initiativ to bring clean, safe water to developing nations.   And if you think temporary tattoos are just for kids, no way! Sure, my kids love their designs, but I love wearing them just as much as they do, especially since...

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Tru-Colour bandages: Because kids come in different colors

I love every single thing about Tru-Colour bandages, from their story to their packaging–but most of all, how they celebrate and honor diversity. Adoptive dad Toby couldn’t find bandages to match the skin tones of three of his five kids, so he created Tru-Colour. They’re available in three shades, all packed in a resealable bag, so addresses one more issue, too.   While they are a bit pricier than regular bandages, with 30 in each bag for around $6 (plus free shipping), I’m happy to pay a bit of a premium in support of such a positive message. Sometimes it’s the simple things that help work towards big...

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The Book with No Pictures. Guess what? Your kids won’t miss them.

Can I tell you how big a hit I was as the surprise reader at my son’s second grade class the other day, when I read The Book with No Pictures? It was all, “Again!” and, “More!” If you can get your hands on this book too, you’ll understand why. This hilarious book written by actor and humorist B.J. Novak (you know, from The Office) is true to its title: There are no pictures in it whatsoever. Just pages full of funny dialogue written as if the reader (that’s you) is being forced to say silly things by the writer (a kid). The idea is that the...

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Big UNIQLO sale alert: 10 awesome kids’ clothing pieces under $20.

I am never one to pass up a UNIQLO sale, especially since they’ve become my personal go-to for pants and sweaters. Seriously, I wear them pretty much every single day in some combination. But their kids clothes are fabulous too. If you’re not yet familiar with UNIQLO, it’s a Japanese-based company that makes what I’d describe as affordable modern and urban clothing for the entire family. Like H+M only more basics and solid colors, lots of gender neutral styles, and an excellent selection of clothes for kids. That includes non-hoochie clothes for girls. Hooray. So of course I spent way too long on the site, searching...

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‘Tis the season for snood scarves

Since moving up north after almost ten years enjoying mild southern winters, I have become addicted to chunky scarves, like these snood scarves from IRISMINT on Etsy which I’m pretty sure I’d wear non-stop until spring. Each piece is made completely by hand from natural fibers like merino wool and cashmere (ooh!), in a gorgeous array of colors and patterns. I’m in love with the geometric pattern, which is so on-trend right now, and the herringbone and the ikat are gorgeous, too. All can be worn pulled up, or folded over if you prefer them to be lower on your neck....

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Sponsored Message: Taking better family photos is a snap with SHOOT 2015

This is a sponsored message on behalf of SHOOT 2015 If you’ve been wanting to learn how to take better photos of your family–or better photos in general–but aren’t quite sure where to start, SHOOT 2015 was made just for you. This affordable, online digital photography course is a comprehensive but easy way to hone your skills or learn new ones, all from the comfort of your own laptop. For an entire year, professional photographers Amy Tripple and Heidi Peters, both members of the National Association of Professional Child Photographers, will provide an inspiring, organized, manageable course to help you document your family...

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3 fun long lasting lipsticks for the holidays that actually work

I’ve been obsessed with bold lip colors ever since I got a pixie cut a couple of months ago, but after reapplying way too often during the day (hello, coffee addiction) I decided I needed to switch to long-lasting lipsticks. But if you’ve tried them, you know that too often they’re not really long-lasting. So I decided to put three popular brands to the test (yes, I even kissed my hand to show you how well they stayed on), all in colors that I think are perfect for the holidays. “What, no red?”  you ask. And sorry, no reds, ladies. It’s all...

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Cool craft kits for kids that give back

If you’ve got big kids like mine who love to DIY, then you need to snatch up one of these KidKnits craft kits for kids that help give back to people in need. Founded by 9-year old (yes, 9!) and avid knitter Ellie, KidKnits is a non-profit organization that helps families in Chile and Rwanda through the sale of hat craft kits. Each kit features everything you’ll need to make your own hat, including your color choice of hand-dyed yarn from the artisans in both countries the charity supports, as well as a round loom, hook, needle, and instructions, all...

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The best teacher gift ideas from people who know: actual teachers.

We are always on the lookout for the best teacher gift ideas every year, and it may in fact be one of the top gift questions we get from readers every year about this time. (Then again in May.) And hey, I get it; if there are any people on my holiday shopping list that I’m most grateful for, it’s my kids’ teachers. They’re with my kids all day every day, and go above and beyond the job description, from purchasing supplies for the classroom from their own wallets to sending personal emails and notes home to let me know how my kids are doing....

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