Category: Kitchen + Dining

10 funny mugs to help you celebrate National Coffee Day in style

Every day is National Coffee Day for some of us, which means that every day is also Wow, I Need Something to Put All This Coffee In Day. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite funny coffee mugs that might make you smile when there’s basically no reason to smile. By which we mean, before dawn. When you’re waiting on the school bus. Yawn. Whether you’re a slave to single origins in the Chemex (like me!), you’ve mastered bulletproof buttered coffee, or you’re down with the cold brews, you’re sure to find something here that says what you need to say to...

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Cool hostess gifts: Handmade tea towels you’ll want to keep for yourself

You know what’s awesome? When a favorite artisan or etsy shop of mine decides to brand out a little beyond their regular spate of offerings. That’s exactly what happened with Foxy and Winston, whom I loved for their cool letterpress and now for their kitchen textiles, which is fancy for cotton tea towels, napkins, and tablecloths. (Sorry, we’ve been on a Fancy Nancy kick around my place lately). Whether your own kitchen needs a little refreshing or you’ve got another lucky someone in mind, these handmade tea towels are some of the prettiest I’ve seen, with bright colors and fun patterns (and organic cotton,...

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Funny coffee mugs for caffeine junkies. You know who you are.

Considering how much our Facebook fans loved this hilarious coffee drinkers t-shirt, we couldn’t help but share this hilarious coffee mug we found at AvenueBlue on Etsy. I’m sorry for what I said before I had my coffee.  Now if that’s not the truth, then we’re not sure what is. Of course, if you’re not a coffee drinker (or bulletproof buttered coffee drinker, what?), then you’ll love these other mugs, all of which are available in 3 custom sizes, depending on how much tea, coffee, or um adult substances, you drink. Think teacher gifts, friend gifts, or just because you need a...

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Stockholm Syndrome

My parents’ kitchen is entirely black and white, so whenever I see a standout piece, I have to pick it up for my mom. I’m hoping that my recent finds in the Stockholm kitchen accessories collection from Rosanna Inc. will have me in the running for daughter of the year. I love these Scandinavian-inspired designs which feature funky ’60s throwback geometric patterns that fit right in in 2014. I’m in organizational mode for back to school and beyond, so I have my eye on the porcelain canister collection with bamboo lids–I’m actually considering moving the flour and sugar to a more permanent home on my kitchen counter. And this coffee fiend also finds the mug set featuring all four patterns mighty attractive. There...

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Define Bottles: Fruit-infused water bottles because, yum.

My son would drink juice all day long if I’d let him. I obviously don’t, because wow, there’s a lot of sugar in juice, but I know he wants something tastier than water all day long. So this week we’ve been trying out the Define fruit-infused water bottles for a healthy, portable alternative to juice that has more flavor than water, but none of the additives from the flavored waters on the shelf. The Define bottle was invented by a now 15-year-old boy named Carter–how cool is that? He wanted to combat diabetes and childhood obesity by figuring out an alternative to sugary drinks. The final result...

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Perfect, perfectly cool hostess gifts from Elizabeth Benotti

I find it’s always a good idea to have a few nice hostess gifts stashed away in the hall closet in case of  last-minute dinner party invitations or weekend plans. I do this with kids’ birthday presents too, and it makes life so much easier. We’ve covered lots of cool hostess gifts, and now I’m adding to the list these pretty handmade ceramics by Elizabeth Benotti at Etsy, which are so original and fun, a little funky, and simple. I think so many of my friends would love them.   Elizabeth Benotti’s graphic style is fresh and modern, and I love that they’re not too precious or twee.Even...

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Could this bowl get your kids to finish their vegetables?

I’m a sucker for cool serving dishes, and right now I’m loving these handmade ceramic bowls from Marina Marinski at her Etsy shop, Marinksi Handmades. Marina’s engraved illustrations are whimsical and seriously cool. Don’t they kind of have a Secret of the Kells, art house animated film look?  Which means even though they’re illustrated, they’re not too cute for me to set out when my own friends come over. Although mostly, with those faces hidden in the bottom of the bowl, I’m thinking they’ll encourage my kids to eat all of the carrot sticks in there just to uncover them.   Each ceramic bowl is made to order,...

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I pity the fool who doesn’t like this Mr. T teapot set

When you think tea, you think Mr. T, right? Smooth, powerful, totally in control of a rainy afternoon next to the sleeping cat, B.A. Baracus pities the fool who doesn’t enjoy a nice cuppa. This Mr. Tea Tea Set for One from Squackdoodle on Etsy is an upcycled teapot and tea cup printed with an image of Mr. T and, well, the words “Mr. Tea.” Just as straightforward and cool as Mr. T himself. Considering the three pretty colors, maybe B.A. should change his name from Bad Attitude to Blissful Afternoon.   After checking the feedback, it looks like the image...

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Arne Clausen: Looking pretty awesome for 126, right?

As I approach 35, I realize that I need to face the facts: I am a full-on grown-up. But as I look around our house, I realize that some of our decor and family habits don’t reflect this fact. Knowing that I want to be the family with the pitcher of milk–not the carton–on the breakfast table, I set out on a quest to find just the right piece; the one that said responsible, together, and happy. I think I found it at the Brooklyn-based LEIF webshop. My ideal sugar and creamer set is fresh, clean, cheery and oh-so-mature–much like everything in this gorgeous shop. This beautiful...

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Go ahead, break my day.

I’m currently trying to stage a ban on plastic (probably not ideal for our health) and paper (definitely not ideal for the environment) cups from our household. So when I saw the newest launch from Lifefactory — durable drinking glasses protected in the same silicone wrap as their Lifefactory water bottles and glass baby bottle  — I did a little happy dance.   We’ve been dining al fresco every night since the weather turned warmer and I’m not a big fan of breakable stuff on our deck since most of us are always barefoot. I can feel totally safe though with these awesome glasses. They come in a smaller 11...

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A handmade hostess gift that gives back from glassybaby

Confession: If I don’t have a hostess gift, the first place I look is the cabinet full of wine bottles I have  received as hostess gifts myself. Sure, it looks like a fine, old vintage–but that’s because I haven’t had a party since 2005. Oops. But here’s one gift I wouldn’t let out of my cold, condensation-frosted fingers: a handblown glassware cup with a great story. We love glassybaby’s votive candles, which grew from mom-of-three Lee Rhodes’ battle with cancer and her desire to spread hope and serenity. So it’s only natural that we’d love the idea of getting...

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The Mastrad Purefizz Soda Maker: The ultimate soda maker, as in, get one.

UPDATE AUGUST 20, 2015: So, it’s been a year now that I’ve been using Mastrad’s Purefizz Soda Maker and suddenly…it just wasn’t working. Ugh. Like, the cap wasn’t fitting correctly and required (i.e. wasted) sometimes 4-5 CO2 chargers to get one bottle that worked. I contacted the company and they have indeed discontinued the product because of some manufacturing problems. However customer service is extremely responsive, and if you own a Purefizz Soda Maker and are experiencing issues, I suggest you contact them too. Sorry for any inconvenience. Looks like it’s time to finally break down and get a Soda Stream.  -Liz  ...

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Going coastal; better than going postal.

I am a sucker for kitsch, as long as it’s clever. My apartment is filled with funky knick-knacks that I believe add to its charming–or what my mother likes to call “eclectic”– style, so these witty coastal Reed Wilson Design coasters are perfect for me. Spotted  in part of the Martha Stewart American Made collection on eBay, you’ll find a set of four coasters repping the North, East, West and Gulf Coast. Get it? Coaster?    These double entendre wooden coasters add a touch of artisanal fun to a coffee table. Along with protection from dreaded drink rings, of course. And how great are they for a Fourth of July hostess...

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These 3D cookie cutters are anything but cookie cutter.

Cookie cutters have come a long way since I was a kid and we could choose between Jelly Jar and Lopsided Heart. Thanks to 3D printers, we can now have our cookies cut like charcuterie diagrams, our favorite literary characters, three-dimensional gems, or, well, basically anything your lopsided heart can hope for. Printmeneer is shop printing out 3D cookie cutters in the Netherlands. It  grew from the shop owner’s frustration at not being able to find a miter cookie cutter for Dutch cookies to celebrate Sinterklaas at Christmas. Now thanks to the wonders of 3D printing technology and a little creativity, you can...

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10 of the best essential summer wine accessories to keep your vino fresh, cool and portable.

I love a good glass of wine any time of the year, but especially during the summer months. There’s something about sipping a good rosé on a picnic or starting dinner with an effervescent, chilled dry Lambrusco that brings out the wine lover in me. The weather makes wine feel casual and my favorite summer wine accessories make drinking it easy. Hope they help you too.   In the summer I nearly exclusively drink from my GoVino glasses, which we count among our picnic essentials here at Cool Mom Picks. These attractive cups made specifically for wine are made from a BPA-free...

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Picnic-perfect plastic tableware for toddlers

It’s picnic weather down South, and we’re spending most nights out on the back porch, sipping on some tea and eating dinner with the neighbors. It’s idyllic, until the kids start playing frisbee with their plates. I’m not big on plastic dinnerware inside, but when we’re dining al fresco you never know what can happen, so I stick with the non-breakable–and preferably non-toxic–variety of kids’ cups dishes tableware. If you’re looking for an option beyond melamine but with the same durability and convenience, our family’s new favorites are the cool kids’ dishes in Lollaland’s mealtime set. Made in the USA in...

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Wine2go portable wine bags: The life of the (pool) party

Our neighborhood pool has a strict no-glass policy, which is why I’m excited about the portable wine bags from Wine2Go. I get that glass, concrete and bare feet are a dangerous mix, but relaxing by a moonlit pool after a long day while my kids swim just feels like a nice time to have a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and this is a better way to do it than you might think.   The plastic Wine2Go container holds a full bottle of wine, while the Flask2Go portable wine bag each holds 8 ounces, or 5 shots, of liquor. Not that I recommend slamming...

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Cool cloth napkins bring ombre to your kitchen

I weaned my family off of paper napkins awhile ago, and we’ve never gone back. This is mostly thanks to my ever-growing supply of cool cloth napkins, like these ombre napkins at Nine Space. I love that the ombre trend is hitting kitchen accessories, and these napkins are the perfect way to introduce it into your home. They’re a fun pop of color for your dinner table, outdoor BBQ or picnic basket, and a nice change from the often simple, subdued napkins I’ve seen and own. And considering how much time you spend at the table–or if you’re me, in...

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Learning dishes for kids and other educational tableware that sneak some brain food in with the vegetables

Mealtime is the one time my busy kids sit still for a little while, so I love that smart people are creating such interesting learning dishes for kids, educational placemats, and other housewares that let kids do more than doodle at the table. Or uh, play Candy Crush. Whether or not your kids will actually review math facts or practice cursive over the mashed potatoes, they’re likely to absorb some of the information presented in front of them, which I think is kind of neat. ALPHABET PLACEMATS For little ones, Brinware’s brightly colored, easy-to-clean silicone alphabet placemats (above) make for a...

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Silikids new silicone drink covers and table accessories for kids brighten up spring

Our readers recently went nuts for Sip Snap lids, silicone drink covers that stretch to fit over any glass, turning it into a sippy. Well clearly it’s a trend because now CMP favorite  Silikids has just released new silicone drink covers too, along with some other fun products that keep mealtime colorful–and a lot less messy–for families. When my youngest turned three I went on a rampage, determined that we would be a sippy-cup free home and my children would know how to drink from a regular glass, darn it. But there are times that visiting friends’ kids come over, and I...

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Embossed custom rolling pins: Mad tools for mad baking skills.

I finally understand the benefit of those embossed, custom rolling pins. I love to bake for my family, especially a yummy batch of homemade cookies, but it all turns tragic when I try to decorate them. As in, my kids aren’t quite sure if they’re supposed to be Easter eggs or basketballs. Well, I don’t have to be awesome at it to love baking, so I’m itching to get my hands on one of the amazing custom rolling pins from Valek’s Rolling Pins on Etsy. These wooden rolling pins remind me of my grandmother’s kitchen, but they are embossed...

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Make your own drinking cups for kids with SipSnap lids

My kids do really well drinking out of actual cups, but sippies and cups with straws are a fixture for my little ones who still tend to spill a little. Or, on bad days, more than they actually get in their mouths. That’s why I’m really digging the clever new SipSnap lids by Double Double. This Kickstarter campaign (get in now!) is introducing SipSnap silicone lids stretch to fit over the top of any kind of cup, turning it into a kids’ drinking cup instantly. I’ve actually tried to do something similar by pairing random lids with cups I have around,...

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Kids’ dishes that are pretty enough for the grownup table.

Here’s one of my secrets for keeping the kids well-behaved at mealtime: Avoid kids’ dishes that look like they’re kids’ dishes. Don’t laugh. I’ve found that when  kids eat off of plates with cartoons on them, it seems to set the scene for them to act, well, like kids. When I treat my kids like they’re mature, responsible little people, they tend to act that way. Crazy, I know.  The makers of the Bambino dishware from Ekobo get that parents don’t necessarily want kids’ stuff to scream kids’ stuff. Their dishes are simple, modern, and gorgeous. I love each of the six...

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Unique cookie cutters alert: Gingerbread action men!

I went nuts over the Ninjabread men cookie cutters when we featured them awhile back because heaven knows we love unique cookie cutters. So it’s no surprise that I’ll soon be adding these gingerbread action man cookie cutters to my collection as well, especially since they’re customizable. Yes, really. I’m preparing for my kids to flip when they see these cool cookie cutters that can actually be changed up into three different poses by moving their arms and legs around. I can imagine the fun they’ll have creating whatever sort of action figure they’re in the mood to eat–rock...

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Geek out with these earth science drinking glasses

I’ve somehow collected way too many pint glasses over the years that aren’t necessarily my taste, especially since I’ve been out of college for awhile. I’m pretty sure I’m due for a glassware upgrade, which is why I’ve got my eye on these unique earth science drinking glasses at the shop we always find cool stuff, Uncommon Goods. I’m not sure what I love more; that this set of four drinking glasses was made here in the USA, or that they’re completely science-geeked out with the four sections of the universe–ocean, earth, atmosphere, and space.   And in case you’re not super...

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Salt and pepper shakers that let you invite Kate Spade to your dinner table

I have always had a thing for salt and pepper shakers, with phases ranging from kitschy mid-century to delicate 20’s-era, to modern and handmade. I’m not sure I actually need another set, but I sure have my eyes on these Kate Spade salt and pepper shakers which are utterly charming as you’d expect. I love that hand-drawn sketch over the simply white porcelain. Charming without getting into kitsch-land. Because I’ve already been there, and I have the poodle shakers to prove it. Besides, it’s kind of nice to be able to tell which is with without having to squint down at...

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A tea towel that talks back.

We love functional. We also love whimsical. So when the two come together? Boom. The hard-working tea towel gets a charm makeover in designer Christina Weber’s Studiopatro shop–and with a quote by indie filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, no less.   With 100% linen, a splash of color, and some fun and thoughtful words, these tea towels from Weber’s studio at Martha Stewart American Made get the job done while injecting a little beauty and whimsy into your day. Who knows? You may want one to dry your dishes, and another to hang on your wall for inspiration. Get the Devour tea towel for $24...

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Chomp Stix chopsticks for kids. Don’t be surprised if your children take a sudden interest in sushi.

It’s been a while since we found a cool pair of kids’ chopsticks to feature around here, so I’m excited to have discovered Chomp Stix. Especially considering I have children who ask to eat our local sushi restaurant–despite eating like two things on the menu–simply to use the “kid chopsticks” the owner makes them with a rubber band and chopstick wrapper. The Chomp Stix does it one better, with three brightly colored, adorable designs, each durable and dishwasher safe. Look closely and you realize they take the shape of a shark with lots of teeth (for the youngest kids...

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Ceramic dishes that make it a mod mod mod mod world.

Gray skies, dirty snow, and drippy slush of winter? I reject you. Give me color and shine! Especially if it arrives in the form of these vibrant, mod, ceramic dishes by Ceramica Botanica. Handcrafted in Texas by Susan Rodriguez, each ceramic work of art is hand built of clay and decorated with stencils and slips before firing to a food-safe shine. The artist calls the collection Modern Retro. We call it deliciously bright. Imagine the black and white bowl filled with apples and oranges.   We kind of want everything at this shop. And there’s a lot, so that’s saying...

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Handmade stone coasters that will make grownups out of us yet. Or…maybe not.

Their purpose may be pretty utilitarian, but I love how a really good set of coasters can embellish a table, almost like a piece of jewelry jazzing up a basic outfit. And the handmade Italian-stone coasters I spotted on Etsy at Meadow Tea would look much nicer on my coffee tables than the round cardboard coasters pilfered from the local bar. Yes, I still have those. Don’t judge. Meadow Tea’s Wood You stone coaster set (shown at top) includes four faux bois-style coasters with a crimson heart etched into the trunk of a tree; a very cool little anniversary gift or Valentine’s...

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