Author: Liz Gumbinner

Ordering french fries isn’t actually speaking French

Bilingual educational tools are all the rage in the US these days and The Cool Mom Picks editors have certainly come across our share of DVDs, CDs, books and other tools to get kids speaking everything from Spanish to…well, not Sanskrit. Yet. One of the cooler options we’ve found is the Little Pim series of foreign languge DVDs. Their creator, Julia Pimsleur-Levine is both a documentary filmmaker and the daughter of an acclaimed language professor and it’s clear from the quality that she knows her stuff. When my daughter said, "Mommy, panda video again!" after the first watching I...

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Mommy likes the leather

Having just picked up the sad, scattered remains of a beaded ring just now destroyed by my brute of a 6 month-old, I forgot how tough babies can be on mommy’s baubles. With that fresh in my mind, I’m very happy to have found artist Allison Sattinger’s Marshmallow Blossom Bracelet at the Succulent Wife. (Is that the coolest shop name or what?) It’s made of neither marshmallows nor blossoms, but of hand-tooled, painted leather and a big old snap. So it makes an awesome statement without risking demise at the hands of a grabby baby. Of course you don’t...

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Stocking stuffer central

Sometimes I shop with a person in mind. And then sometimes I just browse fun shops and think, "ooh, who can I get this for?" So-fun UK shop Betty Joy falls into the latter category, especially now that there are stockings that need stuffing in my near future. Everything in this shop is entirely handmade. So you’ll find all kinds of quirky jewelry in the $10 to $25 range (attention, moms of tweens!), knit neckwarmers, nifty hand-stitched felt animals, plus cool little purses and accessories. Of course I’m partial to the leather I Heart Mum brooch. In fact, I...

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Evidently You Can Run as Fast as You Can and Catch the Gingerbread Man

Plenty of families have their own interesting Christmas traditions. At my mom’s house, it was to bake gingerbread men to hang on the Christmas ficus, then bite their limbs off while they dangled from the tree. So wasn’t I delighted to find what trendsetters we all were way back when, as I got wind of the amputee gingerbread cookie cutters at Spoon Sisters. Okay, so that’s not what they call them. They’re actually ABC cutters, as in that old chestnut, "already been chewed." In any case, it makes a hilarious hostess gift for just $10.95 when you pair it...

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Keeping the baby close to your heart. Literally.

So you’ve done the ID bracelet. You’ve done the locket. You’ve done every cool keepsake-y baby gift known to man and yet you’re still not satisfied. You want the newest, freshest, coolest, latest. Voila: The brand new Baby Coins from perennial CMP fave, Julian & Co. Artist Tania Condon has created this absolutely innovative pendant inscribed with an image of your own kid from a photo. (The clearer your picture, the greater the oooooh/ahhhhhh factor.) They’re shiny and bright, but still have a slightly rough-hewn look that makes them really special.  I like the tiny sterling Piccolo coin (shown)...

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Getting your fixx of indie

Just in time for the holidays, our blogging friends at Indie Fixx have come along with their very own online boutique, appropriately named the Indie Fixx Shop. Perfect! You’ll have fun browsing the beautiful site for all kinds of very reasonable jewelry, yummy bath products, and fun stuff for the home including the great block print dishtowels from Artgoodies, previously featured here. All of it is, natch, from independent artists. But what really caught my eye for kids was Shira Sela’s lovely Kite Print. Just grab the frame with that old nursery print you’re tired of, replace it with...

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A bird on the neck is worth, I don’t know…16 in the bush?

Some restaurants have that one dish you love so much that you keep coming back for it. But my favorite spots have so many tantalizing choices that each time I want something different. That’s exactly how I felt when I stumbled on Amy Bengtson’s jewelry. It’s hard to even decide what to feature here (I’ve switched the photo three times). Her pieces are at once substantial and demure as she plays between the lightness of mother of pearl hand inlays and the earthiness of sleek laser-carved woods backed by metals. I love the funkiness of her mod floral necklace,...

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A doggie fashion do

Okay so you went and got that Nemo (or whatever) backpack for your daughter that she begged for – and now, only six minutes into the school year she’s too old for it. How quickly they grow. And how taxing it can be on our wallets. A stylish and way affordable substitute comes via designer/mom Jubily Boyd and her wonderful shop, Amies Circle of Friends. She’s created a totally cute collection of pooches and turned them into a sweet series of vinyl bags (no lead – we asked) including backpacks,  totes, wristlets and more. Not one tops 25 bucks....

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A pinch of flower

With each change of season I feel the call to update my jewelry drawer. It’s a sickness, I know, but with Spring in the air, I just can’t be asked to accessorize with the same old same old. Why, even the suggestion of it is shocking. So right now I’ve got my eye on the delicate little porcelain flower hoop earrings from Denmark’s Casalinga.  They come in seasonally appropriate shades of yellow, green and pink, which may be exactly what I need to get out of my Winter black and brown rut. At just $42 at Peek Keep, get...

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