Author: Liz Gumbinner

Work after baby: Lauren Smith Brody’s tips for surviving with sanity and style | Spawned ep 75

How do you get back to work after having a baby without losing your mind? How in the world can you start looking — and feeling — human again when you feel anything but? How do you carve out me-time when it seems least likely? And the big one: Is it possible to ever get rid of mommy guilt when you’re a working mom? We’ve got answers! This week while Kristen was traveling (sniff) I was so fortunate to sit down for a fun, honest, and incredibly helpful chat on this week’s episode of Spawned with Lauren Smith Brody, former Glamour magazine...

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Build your own LEGO fidget spinner, await the gushing praise.

With the massive popularity of fidget spinners, it was only a matter of time before we found a DIY project for making your own. Fortunately this one doesn’t require an engineering degree or even a 3-D printer: Just some basic LEGO pieces. The very clever Sarah at Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls (F.K.A. Frugal Fun for Boys and my girls in particular thank her for the name change!) has put together a terrific tutorial on how to build your own LEGO fidget spinner. Click over and find detailed photos, step-by-step directions, and even links to purchasing the right round tiles and...

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The best and worst states for working moms: A whole lot of surprises | Thinking: Parent

Reading the results of today’s WalletHub study on the best and worst states for working moms, well let’s just say that this working mom’s eyes are wide open: 70% of moms with children under 18 are employed, so this is info that really impacts our country as a whole. There’s some great news in the study…and then some states that make me want to storm the governors’ offices and state legislatures, and go all Gloria Steinem on them. The WalletHub methodology is pretty fascinating, at least for a data nerd like me. (And for these purposes, let’s just establish that “working mom” means...

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12 fantastic gifts for stepmothers on Mother’s Day. Because we love them too. | Mother’s Day Gift Guide

We certainly couldn’t forget to include cool gifts for stepmothers in our Mother’s Day Gift Guide this year. After all, for a lot of us, Mother’s Day is a chance to give thanks to all the nurturing women in our lives who have helped make us who we are — and that includes grandmother, mothers-in-law, godmothers, and of course, stepmothers. Whether your stepmother raised you like her own child, whether she’s a dedicated grandmother to your own children, or whether she’s simply another fabulous female in your life you rely on for love and support, we hope these gifts for stepmothers on Mother’s Day are a small way to honor a very...

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The Princess Bride turns 30! Have fun storming the theaters.

Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles. Really, what’s not to love about The Princess Bride? Nothing, is the answer. There’s nothing not to love. Back in my single days, I even had a Princess Bride Test in which any prospective suitor who “didn’t get the big deal about it” was automatically out. And now — and yes, I know I’m not the first to make this joke...

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7 important things to do before a career change or starting a business

As someone who left a full-time advertising career behind to become a writer, website publisher, and public speaker — all while raising tiny children, all while being the sole earner in my household  — I totally get how scary it is to change courses. It is! It’s scary! But, there are times that opportunities fall in your lap, passions make themselves known, and big dreams call so loudly, you just can’t ignore them. So, I’ve put together some of my own favorite real world tips for a few important things to do when you’re embarking on a career change or starting...

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One Star Wars gift we want the whole world to buy. May the Fourth be with you!

We are clearly not unbiased when it comes to everything Star Wars, but when there’s a totally perfect Star Wars gift to celebrate May the Fourth and it happens to support one of our own team, we’re all over it. And you should be too. Can’t wait for The Last Jedi? You’re in luck!   Uh. So I’ve been keeping secrets from you… #Phasma A post shared by Delilah S. Dawson (@delilahsdawson) on Apr 14, 2017 at 2:39pm PDT Our own longtime contributor Delilah S. Dawson, also a popular author, girl power graphic novelist, hilarious Instagrammer and bona fide Star Wars junkie is...

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A teacher appreciation gift your kids will appreciate later. We hope.

If you’re looking for the perfect teacher appreciation gift, well, admittedly it may not be a mug. I’m well aware that most teachers probably have their share of them, though I’d like to think that’s because you can only own so many “World’s Greatest Teacher” mugs. On the other hand, I would totally make an exception for this grammar nerd mug. How perfect for the teacher who’s always correcting, “Yes, of course you can go to the bathroom, unless you’re having a medical issue. Are you wondering if you may go to the bathroom?” Related: We asked actual teachers for their favorite (and least favorite) teacher...

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Inspirational quote art for your home office: 14 amazing quotes to encourage amazing women

She believed she could so she did. My very favorite inspirational quote. The first time I saw it, not long after I had graduated college, it was printed on a funky wooden brooch by an artist at a craft fair. I pinned it to a jacket, and wore it for ages. From then on, it was like…it was mine. I claim it! (Even though I’ve been told it was penned by R.S. Grey, from her book, Scoring Wilder.) Now, I repeat it to myself like a mantra, whenever I need a little boost. Hey, maybe that’s your favorite too. Maybe there’s another. Maybe you just haven’t found the one...

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A taco truck on every shoulder

While I’d personally be thrilled to have a taco truck on every corner (especially those ones from Austin, mmm…), I would happily settle for this hilarious taco truck lunch tote dangling from my shoulder. Especially because it doesn’t have to be a lunch tote at all; just wear it as a handbag and bask in that 2017 zeitgeist. Related: The taco truck playhouse for kids not satisfied with those boring castles. For the price, I can’t imagine it’s made of genuine nappa leather (or anything even remotely close to that). But then, for the cost of a few tacos pollo con mole — or two tickets...

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15 of our very favorite personalized gifts for mom | Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2017

We remember when personalized Mother’s Day gifts meant monogramming a tote bag for her months in advance and spending a fortune to do it. Now, there are so many cool personalized gifts for mom (and Grandma and your mother-in-law too) that make a gift a lot more special — but not necessarily much more spendy. So take a look at our picks this year for cool personalized gifts for moms of all kinds, whether they’re from you, or you’re shopping “for” the little ones. And don’t forget the best one of all — a hand-signed Mother’s Day card. Of course....

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Exquisite Mother’s Day jewelry ideas that glitter and give back: Our fave!

You all know what fans we are of gifts that give back, especially this time of year. And of course, we can never say no to fab jewelry gifts. (Hint to the SigOths and children, ahem.) So we are thrilled to welcome our sponsor, Guilded Grey, which makes stylish, vintage-inspired jewelry that’s so wearable, you can find something in the shop for any mom in your life. In fact, we’ve included them in our Mother’s Day gift guides in the past, that’s how much we love them! Most of the collection includes one-of-a-kind, handmade layered necklaces, all crafted from vintage chains,...

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We found the most adorably modern, modest, mix-and-match swimsuits for kids. So many problems solved!

Each spring, one of our readers’ favorite posts is our recommendations for cute, modest swimsuits for girls that are stylish but not…you know…a little old for them. We’ll have our latest version coming soon! But in the meanwhile, I’m so excited to share this brand new swimsuit line for kids that launched today. From our friends at mom-run Primary, whose wonderfully wearable, affordable basics for kids and babies pretty much fill my girls’ closet these days, there’s now an awesome line of swimwear for girls and boys that will make a picky swimsuit-searching parent dance with glee. You’ll find a colorful, kid-appropriate collection...

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The most fabulous indie Mother’s Day gifts from women makers + shops | Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2017

This year, we’ve been feeling like moms are in need of a lot of love. As in, more than usual. So for 2017, we wanted to kick off our annual Mother’s Day gift guide with fabulous gift ideas as always (would you expect anything less?) that will not only delight any special mom in your life, but will do some good for an indie business, small maker, or woman-run business. While we wholeheartedly admit that nothing gives us more joy on Mother’s Day than handmade cards from our kids, and maybe some coffee in bed, a very close second would be...

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Go forth and reinvent! 10 terrific resources for women ready for a career change or entrepreneurship.

We know a little something about reinvention after motherhood and women entrepreneurs. Hey, Kristen did an entire TedX talk about it! And I’ve made a few career switches myself — finally landing on this sweet gig that Kristen and I created for ourselves. The best part is, Cool Mom Picks has allowed us to support so many other entrepreneurial women who have found themselves in similar situations, wanting to embark on a new business venture that will enable them to wake up every day feeling excited. Just like we do. So we’re always down to share any companies, organizations, or resources that for women entrepreneurs — and not just...

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5 too-cool girls’ rompers FTWW! (For the wardrobe win.)

You will not be seeing me in a romper… this summer. I mean, I have learned never to say never (see also my snark about skinny jeans in the early CMP days, ha), but until I’m size supermodel (hahahaha hahaaha haaaaa!!) I will happily leave the rompers as the purview of my daughters. Turns out there are so many cute girls’ rompers for spring and summer right now that are just so playful and fun and everything warm-weather clothes should be when you’re playground-age. So I hope my 5 picks for spring and summer help you find something cool, in all senses of the word....

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Gap just launched a Star Wars 40th anniversary collection and we are here for it!

While I want to be a little cynical about the brand new GAP collection of Star Wars 40th anniversary clothes and accessories for kids and adults, that just launched today I have to admit here…it’s awesome. Like, design snob seal of approval awesome. Related:5 of the hottest Star Wars toys your kids totally want. Trust us. The Star Wars Princess Leia “force to be reckoned with” tee (clever, right?) at top is my number one top pick for the young female jedis-in-training among us. And I say young because darn, it only comes in girls sizes or I’d totally be all over that...

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An irresistible collection of teeny, tiny, extraordinarily big family adventures

The brand new children’s book, Atlas of Miniature Adventures is the most charming, wonderful, travel-meets-trivia book. Author Emily Hawkins and illustrator Lucy Letherland sure know how get even the most cynical, “can’t we just stay on the couch and play video games?” couch potato excited to explore the world. (If only via Google.) The colorful, engaging pages take us across all 7 continents, with descriptions of fabulous adventures and natural treasures — but the catch is, they’re all in miniature. Irresistible! You’ll find short descriptions of diverse destinations, both natural and manmade, including the exquisite 1930 fairy castle dollhouse in Chicago’s Museum of...

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How to get the perfect brow: 5 essential tips from NYC’s top brow expert

So let’s talk brows. Or more specifically, how to get the perfect brow. Because as I’ve said before, if there is one single thing you can do to make you look polished — even if you wear no other makeup — it’s making sure your brows look great. In fact, I so fell in love with the Boom Boom Seamless Brow pen, that I reached out to its creator, eyebrow queen Malynda Vigliotti  — also known as Boom Boom, founder and namesake of NYC’s Boom Boom Brow Bar — to give us her tips for how to get the perfect brow....

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A law to force parents to RSVP to kids’ parties: We’re in!

Who among us hasn’t sat around thinking, if I ran the world… Well, our newest partner, STARZ, asked me to do just that, and took me, oh, about a minute to decide what I would do if I assumed the throne. Don’t miss a fun giveaway below! Now of course I’d want to devote billions of dollars or pounds or yen or rupees toward ensuring my citizens were safe, healthy and prosperous. That should go without saying. But my very first act: Legislating timely RSVPs for children’s parties. (What? I’m a queen! I can totally make that a law. And if you’re a parent I know you support...

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