Author: Liz Gumbinner

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

I now have a tree filed with beautiful one-of-a-kind ornaments from years of craft fairs and museum shops, and travels to cities everywhere. But if I can’t get around the world, I’m glad their ornaments can now get to me, via Etsy. This stunning porcelain snowflake ornament comes by way of Barcelona, thanks to the shop NiuTaller. If you want to make the international shipping worthwhile (although at $5 for the first item it’s very reasonable), don’t miss the other goodies at the shop made of porcelain. For your next holiday party, adorn your collar with this tasteful snowflake...

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Chewbeads – Mom jewelry for your main accessory

I had not yet felt a great need for mom jewelry. For me, wearing my child’s name around my neck felt redundant because frankly, she is hanging around my neck.(After 15 months of breastfeeding and a total failure to ever accept a bottle, my husband has deemed her my “appendage.”) But here is some mom jewelry me (and my appendage) can really go for. Because it’s meant for babies too. Created by Lisa Greenwald, a former fashion-babe turned mom, Chewbeads is a line of non-toxic jewelry inspired by Lisa’s teething son. Sure, we’ve seen teething jewelry before- but this...

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I just wrote to say I love you

I don’t know about you, but I’m only a few months into school lunch-making and I’m running out with ideas to keep it interesting. Mostly for me. I try to create little surprises in my daughter’s lunchbox every day, from slicing her sandwich in different shapes, to tucking in a little sticky note with a silly drawing. A couple of companies are doing some cool stuff with lunchbox notes, for those mornings you (or really, I) just don’t the creativity in me. Or, you just want to do something a little more special on extra-special spelling test/school photo/soccer game...

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Donating extra Halloween candy? Reader Q&A

Dear Cool Moms, I seem to remember you once wrote about donating used Halloween candy. I was hoping to get it out of the house a little earlier this year for a change! -Amanda R   Hey Amanda. We feel you. Really we do. Especially now that Kristen has four kids at home bringing home pillowcases full of Milky Ways and Smarties. I tell my own girls that they can pick a certain number of pieces to keep and the rest they donate to people who don’t get any treats at all, and they love that idea. (Of course some...

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Put a cork in it: The cool OXO Uplift Tea Kettle

Trying to agree on a tea kettle with the sigOth last weekend in a Maine gourmet shop was nearly as difficult as trying to agree on a baby name. The kitchen is more or less his domain (the culinary school degree grants him as much), so he tends to get his way with things like professional pots and pans, and way too many fancy knives. Well wasn’t I thrilled when we agreed on the splurgey anniversary edition OXO Uplift Tea Kettle (Amazon affiliate link), with the stainless body and cork handles. I adore cork for its look, sustainability, and because it’s naturally heat resistant...

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Preppy is back! Three (very respectful, understated) cheers.

Preppy is back, mamas, if you haven’t noticed. My once and future idol, Lisa Birnbach of Preppy Handbook fame, is out promoting her follow-up book True Prep; loafers are everywhere; and Kanye West is influencing a whole new generation to choose blazers and suspenders over boxers and butt cracks. In other words, it’s Katherine Hepburn’s world again, and we’re just living in it. So I was thrilled to learn that the new LL Bean Signature shop is our newest sponsor (thanks for the support, guys!), because I looooove what they’re doing in their women’s line, thanks to creative director...

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Have you virtually hugged a grandparent today?

You may not have realized that today is Grandparents Day. And while yes, it’s a so-called Hallmark holiday, totally fabricated to maximize card-purchasing potential, I think it’s awesome. Maybe you can make sure to call your own grandparents if you’re still lucky to have them — or to get the kids on the phone with theirs. Of course, if you want to take it one stop further, we have one easy idea you can do right this very second. It’s hard to believe I only discovered Animoto about a year ago, because I feel like I use it so...

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Party like it’s 1959

I think I’ve discovered party favor central. And much to my delight, it’s not in a mall or a half-abandoned shopping center, which is where those party favor stores seem to be in New York. In fact, this little party supply shop is not even in New York. It’s in Wisconsin. But you can reach it through Etsy. Hey Yoyo definitely has a nostalgia/vintage-y vibe going, so if you’ve got your heart set on Thomas the Train plates and Big Bird cups for your kid’s birthday party, this ain’t it. However if you’re looking for a mid-century inspired 3-D...

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Art you can wear. Thanks Erica Rosenfeld.

People who know me live and in person tell me they often think of me in terms of my jewelry – big, chunky, interesting, often made of glass. Yes, glass. And when they ask where I got it, I find myself saying, more often than not, “It’s Erica Rosenfeld’s.” Erica Rosenfeld is not a friend whose jewelry I swipe, but an incredible Brooklyn artist who does fabulous things with glass techniques and beading. I’ve seen her inspired work go from a couple of local boutiques, to museum shops, to Barney’s. (Hello!) And not surprisingly at all; her work is...

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Tie one on

I always love reading through the Quit Your Day Job feature on Etsy’s Storque blog, which features all these wonderful artists and crafters who are making a real living off their passions. Most of them are so good, you can really see just why their artistry has caught on. This week’s inspiration: Libby of Diament Designs. This former MAC cosmetics employee turned entrepreneur has a great eye, selling original and vintage baubles that remind me of so many flea market finds I spotted in Europe earlier this year. She’s clearly got heart for hearts, bows, and other delicate objects....

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Hey Kid – Make your own cupcakes

My three kids, and even my 2-year-old, are super eager to help me in the kitchen. And surprise, they seem even more eager to consume what I’ve prepared when they’ve had a hand (or entire arm as it seems to go) in making it. Granted, they probably won’t need any prompting to chow down on cupcakes, but this awesome My First Baking Kit is a fabulous way to give any kiddo a little kitchen inspiration. Each tin is made to order, featuring a slew of baking essentials including cookie cutters, sprinkles (or jimmies, ahem), and cake toppers just to name a few. There’s also...

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Popsicles for the wall

With the temperature finally reaching holy mama, it’s hot out there–and that’s the technical term–I love looking at artwork that makes it somehow feel cooler inside. The popsicle print from LA’s Mint Buttercup is giving me goosebumps, with a combination of cool color palate and striking graphic of a double popsicle. It would look pretty cool in a summer house, but knowing my kids, they’d be happy to look at it year round. And for just $12, I’d be happy to buy it for them, as opposed to the HFCS-laden stuff from the ice cream truck. –Liz Find artwork...

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Mommy, where do organics come from?

This here city mama is lucky that my children have grandparents in the country who grow tomatoes and kale and sweet peas and wild strawberries, so that they can learn that no, vegetables do not come from aisle 3. I’ve always thought that learning about food, from planting to harvest, was the best way to get kids interested in it. And, hopefully, eating it. So I was delighted to discover We Grew It, Let’s Eat It, an absolutely lovely book by NPR producer Justine Kenin. It’s the kind of book you’d expect to find in the most progressive preschool or...

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Silly Bandz, now coming to a chest near you

I was hoping–praying–that the Silly Bandz craze would stay far far away from my daughter’s preschool. When it hit, it hit hard, like a giant neon apocalyptic storm of wiggly plastic and shrieking children. I can completely see why some schools are banning the bracelets; who can focus on eating lunch or practicing our letters when there is a pink kangaroo to be traded for an orange guitar! So Lisa and Ken Gold, the mom and dad team behind LikeWear had a brilliant idea: The as yet unbanned Silly Bandz t-shirts. Okay so they’re actually called “Silly Rubber Bands...

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Put a ring on it

The unofficial start of summer begins this weekend although truth be told, I’ve been wearing linen for a few weeks now. (Shhh . . .) Still, now I feel 100% comfortable flaunting my ivory colored pendants, my summery bangles, and my strappy sandals and no wardrobe police can stop me. While I’m at it, I’ve been wanting to add some fun costume-y turquoise something-or-other to my jewelry options. I’ve had my eye on the enamel, Mrs. Roper-esque kaleidoscope ring spotted at Fantasy Jewelry Box for a while now–this shop is like costume jewelry mecca–and I just finally hit purchase....

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Happy Father’s Day, dawg

Not every guy is a jewelry guy but I am in admiration of those funky types who are. Meaning, those men who can pull off the hipster dog tag or chunky ID bracelet thing; not those with the Wookie chest hair and the gold Mr. T chains. For those dads in the former category, I just love this men’s custom dog tag from Penelope Poet, right in time for Father’s Day. No curlie-cue fonts here, just a sleek courier typewriter face, so he can display the children’s initials, birth dates, birthplace coordinates, or even a special nickname they call...

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Beautiful little dresses at beautiful little prices

Ses Petites Mains has been consistently one of my favorite shops for small-label, beautifully tailored girls’ clothes from designer Beth Miles. And right now, you can hit their private sale–oops, did I just make it public?– for fabulous savings on their very special clothing for very lucky girls. My picks include the lovely 1940’s-esque shirtwaist dress, the sweet plaid sun top, a plaid slip dress (shown) that I wish came in my size, and the billowy tallulah dress which we own and is a well-worn favorite that’s held up beautifully after multiple (multiple!) washings. The sizes are limited in...

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The princess and the peas. And carrots. Probably ice cream too.

I have accepted the whole princess thing that has definitely turned into a Princess Thing around here as of late. But I’m still having trouble embracing…you know. The princesses. The ones with the skinny waistlines and luxurious hair and faces on licensed merchandise from electric toothbrushes to diaper wipes. So when I got a look at the new French Bull Princess dishware for kids, I literally gasped. Oh joy! These colorful melamine plates, shallow cereal bowls and cups are adorable, multicultural, and lead to just as much healthy fantasizing as the big brand products. They also lead to as...

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Tegu blocks build way more than imaginations

You know, you think a block is a block is a block. Then something like Tegu comes around and suddenly those regular blocks your kids play with just seem you know…like regular blocks. If you haven’t heard of Tegu, they’re the eco-friendly, Honduran-made building blocks with magnets inside. Which means your kids can be creative as they want to be, unhindered by either boring gravity or 90-degree angles. The blonde hardwood cubes and planks themselves are simple and beautifully smooth and the appeal is remarkable–my three year-old is as captivated as a seven year-old friend. They’re not cheap–prices are...

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Cashmere out, yak hair in

I love all the flower-embellished accessories right now, even if it’s so ubiquitous that Gap and J Crew are all over it. But so are our favorite indie labels. Take a look at this sweet hand-knit rose clutch from CMP’s beloved site, Shokay. It’s soft and unstructured, made of 75% yak hair which is pretty much Himalayan cashmere. The rest is a bamboo fiber. It not only looks beautiful, it does beautiful things, like providing a sustainable income to the Tibetan herders and artisans that Shokay sources from. Sounds like a great backstory for a great Mother’s Day gift....

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