Author: Liz Gumbinner

Could you use a little box of joy these days?

Our friend Marisa Cummings, the accomplished illustrator and force behind  Creative Thursday, has launched an adorable box of happiness and inspiration, as she calls it. Or, more succinctly, a Box of Joy. They’ve been so popular that there are only a limited number left, but if you have a friend, sister, niece, or tween or teen daughter who needs a little pick-me-up, this could do the trick. The box comes in two sizes, complete with a surprise selection of adorable items Marisa has created, from her original canvas wall art, to mugs, notebooks, and even fabric. Think for a moment; I imagine there’s...

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Shop Art Theft: A site to support indie artists, not the retailers ripping them off.

After following the awful account of indie artist Tuesday Bassen and her legal struggles with Zara, which we shared a couple weeks back,  we reaffirm our ongoing, ten-year commitment to supporting small makers and original artists — especially when they’re being ripped off by big retailers. (Sorry are we supposed to say allegedly ripped off? How about allegedly ripped off hashtag-eyeroll?) Now there’s a website from one of the artists involved in the case that makes it even easier to get the real goods. The new Shop Art Theft documents side-by-side photos of the merch sold at big retailers, alongside the original work of artists like Tuesday,...

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After Nice: Advice for talking to kids about terrorism and tragedy, and where to donate

In light of the Nice, France Bastille Day celebration attack last night, our hearts are heavy  — again — as they have been far too many times lately. When we look for advice about talking to our own children about tragedies like these, it becomes clear that parents face our own unique set of challenges; while we are trying to process the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack and seek out news, we are balancing our own fear, horror, outrage and despondency along with what to say to our children, how to behave, what to expose them to, and just how much. So...

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The very best beach umbrellas and tents for families, after a ton of research

You cannot even believe how much time I spent last summer tracking down the best beach umbrella. I finally went with my parents’ strongly recommended pick, which was a surprise one to me. (And you have no idea how strongly recommended it was, unless you a) know my parents or b) saw their 18 emails detailing just why it was the very best one and how they spend even more time researching products than I do and how I’d be crazy not to buy it.) Well, thanks to my parents and my own obsessive beach umbrella-searching skills, I’m here to share...

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C.O.P.S: A great organization to help support fallen police officers and their families

We are running out of words for the unbelievably tragic week America has had, with the latest loss of American lives being the devastating sniper attack on Dallas law enforcement officials last night, after an otherwise peaceful protest. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the fallen officers, who by all accounts, were unimaginably heroic and protective of their community even in the face of overwhelming horror. While I’m nowhere near Dallas, as someone who lived through 9/11 just blocks from the World Trade Center, it brings back so much of the heartache we all witnessed in the ensuing...

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Important links we’re reading on a somber week. Because #blacklivesmatter.

Each Friday we offer up web coolness, a collection of our favorite links, videos and articles we’re liking around the web that week. But this week, in light of the horrific murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile that are weighing so heavily on our hearts right now, we wanted to share some links specifically around the subject of these tragedies. You’ll find an array of diverse voices and points-of-view that have resonated with us, personally, in various ways. You may not relate to all of them. That’s okay. We think it’s important to hear lots of perspectives. If you are hurting so much you can’t...

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18 fun, free printable summer coloring pages for kids. Good ones!

Now that we’re deep in the heart of summer, I find my kids like cooling down in the afternoons with some crafting time, and free printable coloring pages for kids often do the trick. Whether you’re passing time, celebrating a summer birthday, going screen-free on a road trip or just delighting in all those mornings your kids wake up with the sun at 5:15 AM and need something to do besides waking you — I put together some of the coolest free printable summer coloring pages I’ve seen around the web, for kids of all ages. Did I mention they’re free? Yup. All...

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26 fun 4th of July ideas to make the day a fantastic one.

Happy 4th of July everyone! Oh America, you look pretty great for 240. Here’s our advice for making the most out of the holiday: (Top image: popsicle stick American Flag craft via A Pumpkin and a Princess) 1. Be safe out there. 2. Fire up the grill. 3. Make the best BBQ sauce ever. 4. Eat all the foods. 5. Make one of these 30 red white and blue recipes. 6. Distract the kids with a fun fireworks app while you eat all the foods. Chocolate dipped red white and blue ice cream cones | Cool Mom Eats 7. Get the kids in cool American flag clothes that...

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Our favorite summer sandals for women and kids from the massive new Target sale: Most under $12!

This post presented in partnership with Target If you’re not a total Target addict like I am (seriously, my daughter and I spent a good two hours in their Brooklyn store yesterday and I have the biceps to show for it), you may not be aware that they just kicked off their Deal Days of Summer Sale. Let’s just say…huge. Discounted items are even more discounted. And if you happen to have the Cartwheel app, which saved me a sweet 20% off the sheets I was buying anyway, then even better. Each day from now through July 4, you’ll find a different deal on home goods,...

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The best resources to help you talk to your children about tragedy, like the Orlando shooting.

This is an update of a previously published post   It’s been somber mood around here over the past 24 hours, as our hearts go out to the loved ones of the 100+ innocent people tragically murdered or wounded at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando on Sunday morning. My own 10-year-old daughter Thalia drew the broken rainbow heart image above in response, which I think captures so much of what we’re all feeling about this despicable and senseless act. (I shared my story of how it came about with Cosmopolitan, and you can read more about it there.) There are far too...

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Well Played: The new must-read parenting book to make sure you’re having as much fun as the kids. Maybe more.

There’s been a rush on books about happiness lately, spurred the breakaway success of Gretchen Rubin’s life-changing The Happiness Project, which I still turn to all the time. And if there’s one new theme in non-cheesy inspirational books we’re excited to hear more about, it’s playfulness. I mean, can’t we just have a little more fun already? Ideally, without first being all introspective and angsty about life, artfully Konmari-ing our homes, Tiger Momming our kids into after-school activity oblivion, and perfecting the art of mediation? The answer is a resounding yes! And the absolute best place to start is with the brand new Well Played: The Ultimate Guide...

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Here’s how you can follow Cool Mom Picks, Cool Mom Tech, Cool Mom Eats. We promise we’ll make it worth your while.

Whichever social media site is your guilty pleasure du jour, we’re there, making sure you don’t miss our favorite posts on parenting, fashion, apps, recipes, deals and discounts, and random awesomeness from around the web. Plus our favorite part: we love hearing from you and getting to chat back! So find us on… Cool Mom Picks: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest And now, you can shop right from our Instagram account. It’s easy! Just register with LikeToKnow.It — it’s free. Then, when you see something you love in our feed with the #liketkit hashtag, like the photo and in just...

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Getting real with Jenna + Bodhi Elfman about parenting and relationships after kids | Spawned Episode 41

Well this is a good one, Spawned podcast fans! In our newest episode of Spawned with Kristen + Liz, we’re getting real about relationships and parenting with two very special guests, Jenna and Bodhi Elfman. (Yes, that Jenna and Bodhi Elfman.) Beyond being famous for all sorts of stuff, they’re parents of two very cute boys, and they have a podcast of their own called Kicking and Screaming, a funny, authentic, super unvarnished look at their 21-year marriage. You can even watch the companion video to the podcast each week. So we thought we’d get their perspective on all sorts of burning parenting and relationship topics. and wow, it...

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13 of the coolest personalized gifts for Dad | 2016 Father’s Day Gift Guide

We always love finding the coolest personalized Father’s Day gifts every year as part of our Father’s Day gift guide. And by cool, we mean no cheesy “your name here” mugs. (Not that he wouldn’t love it if it came from you, though.) So check out all 13 of these awesome personalized gifts for dads and grandfathers that we’ve found, whether you’re looking for something small and sentimental, or a big splurge to blow his mind. CMP is an rstyle affiliate   1. A Custom-Engraved Bottle of His Favorite Liquor Both ReserveBar.com and Spirited Gifts offer a nice selection whether he likes...

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A new company dedicated to products that addresses the problems all parents have.

We love tips and hacks to help parents manage that not always fun job of parenting. And now there’s a mom-and-dad run company so committed to it, they’re creating products that bring to life those age-old parental tricks with modern design. The Doin’ Time Family Clock is the one of the three products from N+B that seems most useful to me. It provides magnetic tabs to help kids not only learn time the old-fashioned analog way, but to show them just when they should be doing what to get out of the house or to bed on time. I know I’ve tried many variations...

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The 2016 National Spelling Bee winners. And tips for getting your kids excited about spelling.

The 2016 National Scripps Spelling Bee finals ended last night and just wow. For the third year running, two amazing kids tied as winners: 13 year old Jairam Pathwar of Upstate NY, and Austin Texas’ Nihar Janga who is only 11. Wow. To clinch the number-one slot from among 285 contestants, Jairam and Nihar persevered through words like juamave, Biniou and zindiq, finally closing the deal with winning words gesellschaft (Nihar) and Feldenkrais (Jairam). All I can think of is that Rosenkrantz and Feldenkrais are Dead, but I know that’s not right. (Turns out it’s a method of education, like Waldorf or Montessori — two words I actually can...

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Web coolness: Disney heroines as warrior princesses, baby names that need to come back, best end of year teacher gifts + more!

Here are some links we’re liking around the web this week, with lots of time this holiday weekend for your to read them all. Hope you like them too.   From here on forward, this week shall forever be known as Chewbacca Mom Won the Internet Week. Whoo, it’s summer! If you plan on dusting off the grill, we’ve found the best grilling recipes to kickoff summer cookout season. 3 wonderful way to support our troops this Memorial Day. (It’s not just about barbecues, of course.) What else we’ll be doing with our kids Monday: Watching The Roots miniseries reboot on the...

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Make it Easy: A guilt-free cookbook for busy parents. So, all of us.

We are always thrilled to find new cookbooks that make life easier for parents, especially because meal planning (and cooking and serving and cleaning and cajoling the kids to eat any of it in the first place) can be…well, not our favorite part of the day. But we’re doubly thrilled when that new cookbook is from our very own Cool Mom Eats editor Stacie Billis. Whoo! The smart, encouraging, and beautifully presented Make it Easy: 120 Mix-and-Match Recipes to Cook from Scratch–with Smart Store-Bought Shortcuts When You Need Them is the right cookbook for busy parents at the right time. As in, I...

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The new TOMS shoes let you dip a toe into the political process

You may be vaguely aware that another US presidential election season is upon us, unless of course you’ve been sequestered in a Himalayan yurt somewhere, totally unplugged until just this very second. (In which case, hey! Thanks for making a visit to Cool Mom Picks one of your first stops!) While we can all agree that the next several months should be…interesting, to say the least, leave it to TOMS Shoes to turn our civic responsibilities into some generous do-gooding with the new election edition TOMS shoes. You’ve got your choice of two styles, featuring a patriotic pattern of either Democratic Donkeys or Republican Elephants....

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What’s black and white and cool all over? Hip new kids swimwear from Nununu

I pretty much love all the hip, modern kidswear from Nununu. Some of it pushes design boundaries though, so when I heard they introduced new swimwear for kids this season– well, I wasn’t sure if it would be a little too avant-garde for most parents, or as wearable as the few Nununu basics that my youngest daughter owns and never wants to take off. Turns out, the swimwear is not only wearable, it’s modern, fun, and even modest. Which is the trifecta for this mom. You’ll find Nununu swimsuits for kids and babies in every shade of black. And okay, a little gray or white thrown...

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