Author: Kristen Chase

5 simple tips to get kids involved in ending poverty

Getting my kids involved with helping others has always been an extremely important part of parenting for me, and I’ve done my best to include them in my own charitable passions when I can. But after attending the recent Global Citizen Festival on behalf of our sponsor (and event partner) Citi, I’ve been thinking more deeply about global poverty, an epidemic affecting a staggering 1.2 billion people, and how I can get my own kids involved.     Admittedly, poverty is not an easy topic to broach with kids, but it’s an extremely important one. Start when they’re young and it’s not only...

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Jen7 Jeans: Jeans for moms that aren’t mom jeans.

So you should know a couple of things about me right off the bat. I live in jeans all fall and winter, like every single day. And I will happily spend a fair amount of money on them if I find a pair that fit me really well, which after having four kids is no easy feat. That’s why I’m really digging the new Jen7 jeans from 7 For All Mankind. Now I’ve been a long time fan of 7 For All Mankind jeans. In fact, they are probably the first pair of higher-end jeans I ever purchased back before I...

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Cool hostess gifts: Handmade tea towels you’ll want to keep for yourself

You know what’s awesome? When a favorite artisan or etsy shop of mine decides to brand out a little beyond their regular spate of offerings. That’s exactly what happened with Foxy and Winston, whom I loved for their cool letterpress and now for their kitchen textiles, which is fancy for cotton tea towels, napkins, and tablecloths. (Sorry, we’ve been on a Fancy Nancy kick around my place lately). Whether your own kitchen needs a little refreshing or you’ve got another lucky someone in mind, these handmade tea towels are some of the prettiest I’ve seen, with bright colors and fun patterns (and organic cotton,...

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I like big bins and I cannot lie.

We’ve featured no shortage of kid-friendly storage bins here on Cool Mom Picks, but now that my kids are getting older (sniffle), I’m in the market for a little organizational help that’s a little more my taste, like these stylish storage bins from MUNI shop on Etsy. I can always use a few more bins in my life, especially now that school has started, and these handmade linen baskets are perfect. I particularly love the leather handles, which make them sturdier than some others I’ve seen. And the designs are sweet and modern.   Charging cables, office supplies, well,...

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Reusable grocery bags with a sense of humor

If you’re like me, the hardest part about switching from plastic bags to reusable grocery bags was remembering to actually bring them, which is why this tote bag from Emily McDowell (love her!) cracked me up. Of course, this cute bag can’t actually force you to remember it, but it’s definitely a hilarious way to celebrate the small victory with your fellow shoppers when you do because, well, I’m pretty sure we can all relate. And if you need a little reusable grocery bag advice: Stock up on a bunch and leave them in your car, or do what I do and leave your trunk open (well,...

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Funny coffee mugs for caffeine junkies. You know who you are.

Considering how much our Facebook fans loved this hilarious coffee drinkers t-shirt, we couldn’t help but share this hilarious coffee mug we found at AvenueBlue on Etsy. I’m sorry for what I said before I had my coffee.  Now if that’s not the truth, then we’re not sure what is. Of course, if you’re not a coffee drinker (or bulletproof buttered coffee drinker, what?), then you’ll love these other mugs, all of which are available in 3 custom sizes, depending on how much tea, coffee, or um adult substances, you drink. Think teacher gifts, friend gifts, or just because you need a...

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7 of our favorite Made in the USA gifts just in time for Labor Day

If you’ve read our site for any length of time, then you know that American-made products are our heart and soul; celebrating them (and the indie makers behind them) is actually one of the reasons we started Cool Mom Picks in the first place. It’s why we love having our own Cool Mom Picks indie shop at Great.ly, which allows us to support local, indie artisans in another way. So, in honor of Labor Day, we rounded up some of our favorite American-made goodies featured in our indie shop. Whether you’re looking for a special treat for yourself, someone close to you, or just want to get...

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Labor Day recipe ideas: Make your holiday barbecue extra tasty and delicious

If you’re like us and celebrating the unofficial end of summer and the start of school (whoo!) with some food and fun today, we rounded up a bunch of our favorite recipes that you can still whip up in time for your party or barbecue. Here’s to one last day of summer awesome before the craziness of back to school officially begins. Happy Labor Day, cool moms! DRINKS It’s the end of summer, so not just any margarita will do. Try one of these sophisticated margarita recipes and toast the end of August. Beat the heat with these delicious boozy slushie recipes. You...

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The new Appaman outerwear line has us craving the cold. Well, almost.

When I moved back to the northeast last year after nearly ten years in Atlanta, my children and I were sorely unprepared for winter. My first purchase: An Appaman long down coat that I’d seen on Liz’s girls several winters in a row. This year, I’m determined to be ready for the colder climes, which just got a whole lot easier with our scoop on the new Appaman outerwear line. How very, very convenient. It’s not just that I love their modern twist on classic looks that never go out of style. Appaman makes coats that truly last, not...

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PLAE shoes make playing more stylish and comfortable for kids

With four kids to outfit in back-to-school clothes and shoes this year, you can bet I’m extra picky about what I purchase because I simply can’t afford to keep rebuying items throughout the year. And while I have my go-tos that are tried and true over the years, I’m happy to have found PLAE shoes — and so are my kids. Designed by a former designer from one of the big-name, stylish athletic shoes, he definitely nails the balance of great style and wearable play shoes. My littlest ones have spent the summer running around in PLAE’s stylish, funky kicks, and while...

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The new FashionABLE fall line has us ready for cooler climes. Yes, it’s just that good.

I’m pretty sure my closet looks like a FashionABLE storefront, so now that scarf weather is around the corner, you can bet I’ve got my eye on the new FashionABLE fall line, which just so happens to be exclusively at Great.ly for a limited time. Add in free shipping for the rest of the weekend, and there is just no reason to wait. We’ve stocked the Cool Mom Picks indie shop at Great.ly with all of our favorites from the new FashionABLE fall line. And don’t forget about the not new, not fall items in there either. Seriously, those leather bracelets are killer in any...

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Rent the Runway Unlimited: Designer accessories delivered to your door monthly. Hold us!

I am already a huge fan of Rent the Runway, so when I discovered their new Unlimited service, I may have scared the neighbors with my screeches. And trust me, if you love accessories as much as I do, you are going to want to sign up for this, stat. Rent the Runway sends your choice of gorgeous designer dresses, jewelry, and handbags right to your home (or anywhere you’re going to be, really) with free return shipping. In other words, it’s my favorite invention since the iPhone. And that’s saying something. The Unlimited service however, is just for us junkies; it allows you to rent...

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Cool messenger bags for back to school. For you and the kids.

I love pretty much every part of back to school shopping, but picking out the new school bag might just be the best part. And it’s even more fun these days now that there are so many cool options, like these cool messenger bags (and backpacks) from The Medium Control on Etsy.   If you’re shopping for a big kid or yourself, I’d definitely take a whirl around their cool shop full of fun printed messenger bags and backpacks. I’m partial to the old school turntable bag myself, or the Eames chairs backpack. Monogrammed bags are a cool way to help identify your...

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Handcrafted leather bags as gorgeous as those from any big name designer

I love designer bags from big names, don’t get me wrong. But there’s also just something awesome about handcrafted bags from indie designers and smaller names, especially when they are as modern, sophisticated, and hot (did I mention hot?) as the ones at Opelle Creative. For the price of a big name mass-produced designer bag, you can get a handcrafted leather bag made to order especially for you at Opelle,  a Toronto-based label on Etsy that creates each of their gorgeous designs from original patterns. Let’s just say it’s as close to getting a bag made just for me as I’ll probably ever get. I already feel like...

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The MZ Wallace Farmer’s Market Tote: A stylish bag for one of our favorite causes.

So when I saw the MZ Wallace Farmer’s Market Tote I willed it onto my shoulder. I’m a huge MZ Wallace fan thanks to all the compliments I get when I carry their Hayley bag on my shoulder. But when I found out their newest addition actually supports an amazing cause, well forget about it. That bag is so mine. I love that they’ve teamed up with Provisions by Food52 to create a cool tote in navy (oh my, the navy) in their signature Bedford nylon and leather trim, so that $50 from the purchase supports Alice Waters’ wonderful Edible Schoolyard Project....

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A bandana baby bib with a pacifier clip. So simple, it’s genius.

There have been no shortage of clever products made since my kids have emerged from babyhood and the handmade bandana baby bib with a pacifier clip from SevenWhiteRabbits ranks high on that list. It’s quite a simple concept but one that’s so smart if you’ve got a baby who loves a pacifier. Take an adorable bandana bib (the most subtle of all the bib styles, by the way), then attach ribbon pacifier clip. Voila! A drool catcher and a binky catcher altogether. Oh, and a little hint: If you see a specific bib you like in the shop, just ask to have the pacifier clip...

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7 outrageous Homeaway rentals that you won’t believe are real

When you think outrageous family vacations you probably think they’re just for the Pitt-Jolie clan. French villa? Private island? Butlers? Yes please. But now with our newest partner Homeaway and their “Million Ways to Stay” Contest, you could travel like the rich and famous too. And even bring the kids. Here, we’ve tracked down 7 totally insane Homeaway rental properties that we think families will go nuts for. And you could stay at any of them if you win Homeaway’s contest – check out all the details below.  And uh, we’ve used Homeaway ourselves to book our own family vacations, but we assure...

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Pretty leather summer totes, now made in the U.S.A.

It’s no secret that I’ve got an obsession with bags, so when I saw these leather summer totes from CMP fave Ellington (so pretty!) the only question in my mind was which color to get.   I really love that Ellington took their popular classic totes and went back to figure out how they could be made in the U.S.A., which is really something extra special these days. And the colors are amazing. I’m immediately drawn to the turquoise, but the bright red is definitely an eyecatcher. Take a peek at the other more subtle color swatches if you prefer your shades a little more neutral....

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Cool leggings for babies that help kids in need. (Not just kids in need of leggings.)

When I first laid my eyes on the cool leggings for babies and kids at LA mom and pop-owned Chaboukie, I dug the fun patterns and soft fabrics. But the fact that they’re made by hand here in the USA and help kids in need, well, yeah, it turned into a full-blown crush. Chaboukie is the brainchild of LA parents Leah Piehl and Greg Bertens who wanted cool, well-made leggings with a little more style. So they created their own brand, featuring funky, light fabrics that are super comfy and soft, sized from baby to a 4T toddler (though they seem...

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Karlie Kloss and Warby Parker sunglasses = Cool shades for a cause

Over the years, I’ve gotten a little more playful with my shades — actually purchasing more than just my one go-to “please children don’t break them” pair per summer.  So when I saw the new Karlie Kloss and Warby Parker sunglasses collaboration that supports an awesome cause, well, heck yeah I’m in.     If you wear glasses then you know Warby Parker, so how fun that they teamed up with Karlie Kloss to create three cool sunglasses styles. I’m partial to the Marple cat-eye style myself,  but the Julia aviators (at top) are a classic that seem to look great...

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