Category: Gear

Panda school supplies: Our vote for cutest 2014 back to school trend.

We thought hedgehogs, foxes, even narwhals would hit it big as the hot animal for kids his year. And yes, they have. But of all things, we’re also noticing a ton of adorable panda school supplies and we can’t say we’re complaining. If your kids awwww at them as much as ours do, here are some of our favorites.       Panda preschool Backpack and Panda Zoo Lunchie ($20, $14 Skip*Hop) What preschooler or little kid would not want to skip to school holding one–or both–of these cute panda supplies in their paws. Actually, my seven-year old likes the lunch...

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GB Ellum stroller review: Lightweight, compact and affordable, it’s a parent’s dream

Ever get the feeling that a new stroller will cost about as much as baby’s future college education? Stroller trends over the years have certainly made it seem that way. Which is why I love finding awesome strollers at prices that won’t prevent our little geniuses from actually being able to go to college, and the brand new GB Ellum stroller is one of them. We’re talking, the $200 range. And that’s pretty darn good these days. It’s a simple stroller, perfect for city strolling — so no off-roading with this one — and designed specifically for “fashion forward parents.” Heh....

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The Creeper ate my homework!

If Minecraft ate a bunch of your kids’ time this summer, this Minecraft Creeper backpack is the perfect way to head back to school, where sadly, Stampy Longnose videos are not part of the daily curriculum. Of course teachers will not accept “The Creeper ate my homework,” as a viable excuse but that shouldn’t stop your young Minecraft fan from begging for a creeper backpack to start the school year. With oodles of compartments, pockets, organizers, and sturdy double zippers, the Minecraft Creeper backpack from our pals at ThinkGeek is an unusually savvy way to merge video games and a workhorse of a...

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10 of the best diaper bags under $150 that any mom of multiples (or any over-packer) will love

Like a lot of you out there, I can’t live without my favorite handbags, yet for some reason, diaper bags were not at the top of my priority list when I began preparing for baby number one. Now I know better. However I’ve run into trouble recently, in my attempt to plan for baby number two, in finding a stylish, affordable diaper bag with room to spare. Room for bottles and sippys. Room for extra clothes. Room for wipes of every kind. Room for what-are-those-things-called again? Oh right, diapers. For two kids this time. We’ve covered so many fantastic diaper bag brands over the years, and now mainstream handbag designers...

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7 tips for keeping your car seat clean. Or, mostly clean. We’re realists.

Having lived through hundreds of road trips with dozens of children between us all, we’re no strangers to the joys (ahem) of keeping your child’s car seat clean. Or at least, attempting to. So on behalf or our newest sponsor, Evenflo, makers of some of our favorite car seats, we’ve got lots of great ideas for you, from a few BTDT moms who’ve seen (and smelled and wiped) it all. Besides, have you seen the new Evenflo ProComfort line of car seats? Gorgeous. And we bet you’d like to keep them that way as long as possible. Especially because this line...

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The ultimate cute self closing pacifiers for germaphobe parents

None of my kids had any interest in baby pacifiers, which was not for lack of trying on my part, let me tell you. If they had, I know that my germaphobic tendencies mean that I would have carried around lots of extra clean binkies and pacifier wipes, and  tried to heed the urging of my Cool Mom compadres to never invest in a useless pacifier sterilizer. But here’s something up my alley without a big investment: the Keep-it-Kleen baby pacifiers from RaZbaby. We first discovered these self closing pacifiers years ago, and since then they’ve added a ton of new adorable designs–I totally love how retro the...

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Happy birthday Prince George! Today, our babies suck British binkies in solidarity with you.

I am not a big royal watcher but I can’t help but peek at all the adorable photos circulating of Prince George this week as he reaches his first birthday today. I can’t even imagine what he’s going to to be getting for gifts: A new pony? An original Banksy of his likeness?  One of these outrageous children’s playhouses perhaps? (And here we all are wondering whether we should get our own one-year-olds a new outfit or a small toy.) In honor of the royal milestone, we thought we’d send a shoutout to British baby company Tommee Tippee which hit American shores about four years ago, and  now...

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HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper totally reinvents the bassinet

Waiting for someone to build a better bassinet? Well exciting news, expectant parents: HALO, creators of those cozy, fool-proof sleepsacks we love, is launching a bassinet called the HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper, and trust me when I say it’s a game-changer. (Get it? Bassinet + Nest? Bassinest.) Now I will say that when I had my first baby last summer, I was showered with tidbits of new mom advice, one of which was not to buy a bassinet no matter how adorable I thought one would be. I was told that a bassinet would take up too much room (a hot commodity where we lived), delay sleep-training,...

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SIGG water bottles for kids get an international makeover

They may not get filled with anything more exotic than ice water, but a new travel series SIGG water bottle for kids will get your brood thinking about far-away places while they sip. With six different cities represented in the series there is bound to be a little wanderlust around the lunch table once school is back in session. The Paris bottle is parfait for little Francophiles. Or let them pick from London, Shanghai, Switzerland, Germany, and New York City bottles, all illustrated with iconic images from the location.While there is a boy and girl version of each bottle, starring either “Max” or “Ruby” (oddly) on the front, the color scheme and illustrative...

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Bumbleride Indie 4: Lightweight and off-road ready.

I’ve owned one too many strollers in a quest for one that my child can grow with, that can handle my local terrain, and also not break the bank. So when I heard that Bumbleride, a favorite of ours, was coming out with a new “crossover” stroller called the Indie 4--lightweight enough for everyday errands with four off-road-ready wheels–I was eager to test one out. In the past, living around NYC, I never owned a car that I had to pack a stroller into, so I wasn’t as concerned about a stroller’s weight or how easy it was to fold. I only cared if its wheels were...

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Handmade travel bags and accessories that get you more excited for travel.

I have an obsession with toiletry bags and dopp kits. As in, I believe that you can’t have too many for travel. I use them for my many cords and adapters, for wayward pens and a small notepad, for toiletries of course, and even for underthings–tuck a little lavender sachet in one and fight that not-so-fresh feeling on the road. Ha. So I got all happy finding the beautiful handmade travel bags and pouches from Hallie Gray that we’re carrying at our indie shop through GREAT.LY. Clockwise: Tribal Stripe Toiletry Bag, Zip Pouch Travel Bag , Raspberry Toiletry Travel Bag, Moshi Toiletry Travel Bag They’re all...

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The Skip Hop Duo Signature Diaper Bag is back, redesigned, and better than ever. Can we talk pockets?

It’s safe to say that Skip Hop revolutionized the diaper bag category with its cool modern twist on the new mom essential accessory. When it launched its first Duo diaper bag ten years ago, parents finally had a sleek and durable bag that wasn’t bright pink or emblazoned with teddy bears for all their baby stuff. (Yes, new parents, there was a time that those were your only choices; hard to believe, right?) Skip Hop just announced the new and improved version of their Skip Hop Duo Signature Diaper Bag, with updated extras like a tech pocket that’s easily accessible and will hold most smart...

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Camp labels: The bane of your summer parenting existence made easier

I admit I have been lax in the clothes labeling department, inadvertently donating way too many cardigans and water bottles to mysterious children at our school. But now that my kids are going to summer camp for the first time, it has been mandated in no uncertain terms, ALL ITEMS MUST BE CLEARLY LABELED WITH THE CAMPER’S NAME. So of course I turned to our label mainstay, Mabel’s Labels, whose labels actually stay on well and don’t get all worn away in the wash. Turns out their personalized label camp combo which they launched about 6 years ago is now wonderfully updated with loads more design...

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A new hedgehog backpack from Skip Hop. Like that won’t be the most popular thing ever.

Skip Hop is inextricable from my memories of my boys in their early years. My older son started preschool with a frog backpack and ended Pre-K with a very well worn monkey on his back. My three-year-old is currently toting the fox around on his tiny shoulders, but the replacement this September will undoubtedly be the adorable hedgehog backpack. And you may know how we feel about hedgehogs. He was just added to the Skip Hop Zoo Pack lineup this month, along with a pretty butterfly and kids will love them.   Matching butterfly and hedgehog lunch boxes— which Skip Hop refers to as the cutesie “Zoo Lunchies”–are...

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7 cool snack containers for kids that beat plastic bags

We’ve got a gaggle of snackers in our homes, so cool snack containers for kids are an absolute must. They’re a far more eco-friendly choice over plastic bags, which as we all know by now not only saves waste but plenty of money over the long run. Plus, we’ve found that packing our own snacks before we head out actually forces us to make healthier choices for the kids when we’re on the go. Let’s admit it–rest stops and c-stores can be filled with some less ideal temptations when you’re already starving. We’ve rounded-up seven of our own favorite reusable snack containers that are...

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Is the innovative Taga Bike Stroller worth the price tag? Here’s the real scoop.

Last month the, Taga Bike began selling in the US after six years in Europe, and I’ve been fascinated by this innovation in biking for parents, and the whole bakfiet trend that’s slowly making its way to our shores.  I totally see the appeal of a bike-stroller hybrid like the Taga; there is a cute outdoor shopping center about a mile from my house, and I’ve frequently thought how nice it would be to ride my bike down there, shop a bit, grab some groceries, and head back home with my four-year-old, who isn’t big enough to ride his own bike that far himself. And...

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If you can’t run away to the circus, run away to camp with the circus in your lunch bag.

As I start to evaluate my kids’ lunchboxes and decide which will actually hold up through summer camp, and which require a loving send-off, I come across these wonderful new lunch bags for kids and coordinating accessories from our friends at ISAK. There’s a wonderful, quirky collection filled with Scandinavian style and color that includes a lunch bag, bento boxes, a plastic water bottle and a vacuum-packed flask for hot and cold drink.  And if circus isn’t your theme, I also love the playful purple set with their signature happy girls across the lids.         They’re adorably colorful...

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7 celebrity diaper bags we’re drooling over from affordable to whoa.

We have to admit: sometimes it’s fun to spy into the lives of the rich and famous to see what baby gear they use. So this week we thought we’d check out a few celebrity diaper bags, should you need Halle Berry’s or Brad Pitt’s style guidance. Yes, cool dads carry diaper bags too. And even cooler, he’s carrying one that’s fairly affordable. Note: if you want to see celebrity babies, you won’t find them here. We respect and support the paparazzi photo ban of celebrity kids.   The chic leather satchel at top, which happens to be Jessica...

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Earth Day pick: Your PlanetBox lunch box gets even cooler with the help of Jack Johnson

PlanetBox eco-friendly stainless steel lunch boxes are a favorite for my kids and me. Now, through an Earth Day partnership with kid-friendly folk musician Jack Johnson, they’re making school environmental education better too, and I love that so much. PlanetBox’s bento-like boxes are pricy, so let me start there and explain why I’ve found they’re totally worth the investment. They are free of lead, phthalates, BPAs, and any other new, bad chemicals we don’t know about yet–and they’re designed to last forever. Hopefully not “landfill forever” but forever as in, we’ve had ours for years and they still pop out...

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Lil’ Sidekick toy strap for babies: The alternative to picking up that doll that your kid flings out of the stroller 100 billion times.

It’s been a while since we found a cool toy strap for babies and their strollers–as in, so long, that item isn’t even available anymore. So it’s nice to discover  Lil’ Sidekick, which keeps any item tethered to wherever your baby is sitting, and keep it from falling (or uh, “falling”) onto the ground. My baby is at the age where she is very grabby and will put anything in her mouth. But her coordination isn’t quite there, so whatever she grabs and gums, she inevitably drops. Over and over again. You with me mamas? If so, you’ll love Lil’ Sidekick, s a...

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The coolest travel journals for kids to help them remember every awesome moment

Travel journals for kids are such a brilliant idea. I mean, what kid doesn’t want to remember every detail of a family vacation in his or her own way? A little drawing of the world’s largest yoyo you saw in California, a ticket from the museum in Madrid, or a list of things you want to see when you land in NYC for the first time–they’re all amazing memories, and they deserve to be preserved in a really cool journal. Here are some of our favorite travel journals made just for kids, from DIY projects to ones you can...

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5 ridiculous baby products that seem like April Fool’s Day jokes…but aren’t

Every now and then we see ridiculous baby products that make us wonder if they’re real or…if they’re April Fool’s Day jokes left over from years past. Turns out, these five crazy baby products are not jokes at all. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t make us laugh. Or gasp. Or encourage some parents somewhere to think, “hey, I need that!”  We’ll chalk it up to pregnancy brain. We’ve all been there. You get a free pass.   1. The Baby Mop. Hey, your baby’s rolling around on the floor anyway, might as well put him to good use....

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The new designer diaper bags from Timi & Leslie hold a lot. Because heaven knows moms carry more than diapers with them.

I’ve been at war with my bags. Like all moms I know, I carry around a lot of stuff so I gave a big cheer when I saw the new designer diaper bags from Timi & Leslie that join the ranks of the stylish diaper bags that the label is famous for. While I’m years past the baby stage, my everyday tote still needs to have generous room to fit my usual cargo load of stainless steel water bottles, Mac Air, and baggies of snacks, plus the essentials like keys and wallet. I have sworn not to be one of those moms who...

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Sure, I let my toddler drink soda! Just kidding.

Oh, those shiny, shiny cans of soda pop that your children look at so longingly. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could have the shiny outside without the sugar inside? Well, thanks to the clever design of these Cozy Cans reusable drink cups for kid from the awesome folks at Beatrix NY, your kids can have all of the beverage flash and panache with none of the high-fructose corn syrup.   These environmentally-friendly, lead and BPA-free, bright and sassy, vacuum-insulated cans with “brand names” like Dino-licious and Bubbly Bug are made to keep liquids hot or cold. The stainless steel construction feels very sturdy and...

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Chewbeads’ new soft baby rattle and teether is so chic it could pass as a bracelet. That rattles.

A baby rattle has to be one of the most iconic baby gifts of all time so we love looking for cool ones. We’ve found some amazing wooden rattles and soft rattles out there, but one of my favorites may be the brand new Mercer soft baby rattle from one of our favorite mom-run brands, Chewbeads. It’s not plastic, but rather a 100% food-grade silicone with no BPA, phthalates, lead, or cadmium, just like their necklaces for moms and their awesome new Juniorbeads line. And since babies chew on everything, whether it’s a rattle that doubles as a teether or not, we’re...

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Cool, colorful carry-on luggage – should you be able to tear yourself away from black.

I was never a colorful carry-on luggage gal; I’ve spent most of my life fairly satisfied with black, until recently when I was forced to check a bag–then watched at the carousel as about six people picked up my bag and put it back down before it got to me. Eep. Clearly a cool luggage tag or tying a ribbon around the handle won’t always cut it, so here are a few great options for chic, colorful carry-on luggage that gives you plenty of inspiration to pack light.     I discovered the Hideo Wakamatsuta Jellybean Carry-On several years...

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A chic play mat that matches your living room more than it matches a neon explosion

There are many times I’ve considered permanently covering the floor in butcher paper to protect it from the ketchup and rice that always miss my kids’ mouths at mealtime. Same goes for those days my son paints on his easel. Although I’ve considered sacrificing a few old patchwork quilts sent to us as baby gifts, I another option is the chic, wipeable new Posh Play Mat.  Unlike most kids’ play mats that come in juvenile patterns, the Posh Play Mat is made with PVC-free faux leather (so no carcinogens) and embossed with a faux reptile pattern that’s very Fashion...

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Breaking news: Britax stroller recall

If you’re the owner of a B-Agile Double, BOB Motion, or Britax B-Agile stroller (which we’ve featured here on Cool Mom Picks) purchased between May 2011 and June 2013, there has been a recall due to issues with the folding mechanism specifically when pressing the release button while pulling on the release strap. To avoid possible injuries to big (and small fingers), you should stop using the recalled strollers immediately and contact Britax to receive a free repair kit. Stay safe, mamas. For more information about the Britax stroller recall, check the CPSC...

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Massaging teethers for babies: Preferable to letting them chew on the cat’s tail.

My kids were mouthers. You know, the kind who learned to crawl, then proceeded to put every single thing into their mouths for the next, oh, three years. So I can pretty much guarantee that CMP fave, innobaby, would have had a place of honor in my great bag of teethers I carried everywhere, if these new baby teethers had been around back then. Their new line of fruit-themed Teethin’ Smart ez grip Massaging Teethers is totally adorable, even if the name is as much a mouthful as the teethers themselves. And with new colors for some of their...

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The luggage tag that says hands off. Pretty clearly.

Having recently spent oh, a good twenty minutes at a luggage carousel in a panic that my bag wasn’t out yet and that it happened to be the exact same shade of black as every other, with a black luggage tag that blended right in, it’s time for me to move beyond tying a red ribbon to the handle. Which is why I think I may be in love with this Jonathan Adler Luggage Tag.  The color, the type, the message…everything about it is perfect. And also the sale price: it’s currently 1/3 off at Nordstrom. It would also...

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