Category: Around the House

7 inspirational 2017 planners to help you own the new year like a boss.

If you’re anything like me, the end of 2016 may have hoping that 2017 will somehow offer something better than where we feel we are now. However that’s something that happens by planning and doing — not just hoping. Which is why finding inspirational 2017 planners may have even more meaning right now than it has in years past for lots of us. There’s nothing quite like opening the pristine white pages of a new day planner to make me feel like this year is going to be totally different and better than ever before. You know, the year I finish that novel,...

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12 cool thank you cards that will make even texting-loving tweens and teens pick up a pen.

It’s that time of year when your kids will be getting lots (and lots) of gifts, which means it’s also that time when we as parents try to teach our kids a little something about gratitude, and a great way to do that is by having them write out thank you cards. Real cards. With a pen. When my daughters were younger, it was easy to get them to sit down and write notes of thanks to family and friends. Now that they are 9 and almost 13, not so much. But getting tweens and teens to send out actual thank you notes (because, no,...

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Modern Christmas tree alternatives for small spaces. And, no pesky needles.

Full disclosure: I was at Home Depot the day after Thanksgiving, picking out the perfect tree that I’ll probably keep until it’s brown and desiccated on Valentine’s Day. I’ve got plenty of space for a gigantic Douglas fir, no family members with allergies, and a dog who can usually be persuaded not to eat ornaments. But, if you’re looking for a modern Christmas tree alternative that by-Christma-passes the needles, the sap, and the enormity of it all, we’ve found some fantastic and beautiful alternatives, many of which will last for years and help create new traditions all your own. Related:...

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Cool, modern Christmas tree skirts that go with your own home decor, not Grandma’s.

We’re pulling out the Christmas decorations and dusting off the ornaments around here, and I’m realizing that one easy way to spruce up my holiday decor is with a fresh, new tree skirt. But have you ever searched for a modern Christmas tree skirt? They’re nearly impossible to come by. So I’m delighted to discover the wonderful modern Christmas tree skirts new at Minted this year. The designs are so crisp and clean, they add just the right amount of color and fun to your holiday decor. (And don’t miss out on a discount code they’re offering, right now!) Related: 14 festive and fun advent calendars to count...

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Prime: The photography book of women who make us want to be better women.

Looking for a cool holiday gift this season? Well, we do have 350 cool gift ideas in this year’s holiday gift guide, including a whole category of empowering gifts for girls who are going to grow up to run the world. And now here’s one for those same empowered, amazing, inspiring girls, once they’re already grown up. Prime: Reflections on Time and Beauty is a photo collection of extraordinary women by famed portrait photographer Peter Freed. While there are plenty of photo books of celebs and notable women on the shelves, what’s special about these 130 stunning black-and-white photos of women is that they’re all unretouched,...

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The subscription box that shines a little light this holiday season.

Confession: The end of daylight savings is killing me. It’s dark by dinner time, the cold is creeping in, and the stress is high, and I just want to hibernate forever. One surprising thing that’s helping me? Candles. They add warmth, a beautiful scent, and a cozy feeling that keeps the darkness at bay. And I’ve found a subscription that lets you give this gift of light to yourself — or to a friend — this holiday season. With Vellabox, you simply sign up for one of three different plans, and this candle subscription box services ships one or more candles to...

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Personalize a Stokke Tripp Trapp chair — a very special holiday gift for a very lucky child.

If you’re looking for a truly special holiday gift for a friend, family member, or for your own little bundle of joy, we think that the Stokke Tripp Trapp Chair, now available with free personalized engraving, is a fabulous option. We’re big fans of the Tripp Trapp at Cool Mom Picks. It’s a classic (seriously, it’s been around since the ’70s), it’s nice to look at (Scandinavian style is just the coolest), and it transitions from one stage to the next — year after year — your child’s once-beloved highchair becoming their homework desk chair. So we love that this chair can now have a truly...

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10 modern, uplifting holiday cards that wish your family and friends everything good

It’s time for me to start thinking about sending out our Christmas cards again. Yikes! I haven’t even scheduled a family photo session and I still need to update my address book. School and work and sports — not to mention the major distraction of the election — has left me way behind schedule. But the thing is, this year more than ever, I’m wanting to send out the good vibes of love, warmth, and peace to my friends and family. Because we need it, right? These beautiful modern, uplifting holiday cards we found at some of our favorite shops go beyond the traditional Merry Christmas...

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Share a drink with a kaiju, thanks to this awesome Tokidoki x ZoLi collaboration.

We love it when two trusted favorites come together to make a product we believe in — and that our kids think is super cool. Behold this rad collaboration between fashion icon Tokidoki and ZoLi, trusted makers of cool water bottles and food solutions, all free of yucky chemicals. It’s a match made in rainbow unicorn heaven. The limited edition Tokidoki x ZoLi line includes 16 oz. stainless steel water bottles and 12 oz. food containers that are well-insulated and are great for hot or cold foods, so lunch is covered. Whether it’s water, soup, or yogurt, it’s all so much...

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Gathre’s bonded leather playmats are wipeable, waterproof, and so chic.

I can still vividly remember the playdate I had for my toddler the same week we laid new carpet in our house. You know where this is going, right? Within minutes, the mom’s mega-venti-grande-whatever coffee was all over the place. And yes, the stain is still there. What would have saved me then — and the countless other times my kids or their friends have made a mess all over the floor — are these chic bonded leather playmats by Gathre. These simple, waterproof leather mats are so pretty…and so functional! They can be used for everything from a picnic blanket to a...

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6 cool digital election night party invitations to precede the pizza, booze, and Pepto Bismol

The last time I hosted an election night viewing party with friends was back in 2000 when our friends resignedly left around midnight, with no winner decided. (It’s a good thing or they might have been camped out on our living room floor for a week.) I haven’t held one since, but since this year’s election night could be an historic moment for our country — and the end to an incredibly stressful election cycle — I’d like to share it in the comfort of some like-minded friends. I’m sure I’m not alone here. So I took a look at some digital election night party invitations...

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Mattresses in a box? We’ve tried them. Here’s what we think.

I’ve been needing a new mattress for a while now, but the idea of spending $2,000 (or more, yeesh!) on a traditional box spring and mattress set has kept me from heading to the stores to try them out. Because with multiple kids at home, there are a million other things I could spend that money on. Of course, I too have been seeing all the ads over social media for the much cheaper bed-in-a-box companies that ship mattresses right to your home. So, Kristen and I took on the hard job of sleeping (er, mattress testing) so we could share our thoughts on which...

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Plum Print will digitize your kid’s artwork and turn it into keepsakes you’ll love. Hooray for custom holiday gifts!

We all have talented spawn, which means we all have an old box stuffed full of artwork or a tower of papers threatening to flood the closet. And, we’ve been (and still are!) big fans of services that allow you to take photos of doodles and drawings and turn them into art books. But now, we’ve found the next level of service for turning kids artwork into keepsakes you’ll love, and the best part is that you don’t have to photograph, scan, or upload anything. Just send in a box of art, and get a catalogue of masterpieces in return. With Plum Print,...

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Newly gives old materials new life in the most beautiful way

It used to be that clothes and gifts made from recycled materials compromised on style. But these days, companies are finding creative ways to make fabulous products using resources we already have, making a huge, positive impact on the planet we live on and the one we’re going to leave our children. That’s why we’re so thrilled to get the exclusive first look at Newly, a new company offering some of the most gorgeous home goods we’ve ever seen, all made from 100% recycled materials using sustainable, energy-efficient methods. The five founders, including Barrett Ward, the creator of Cool Mom Picks favorite FashionABLE, established Newly...

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Celebrate Everything by Darcy Miller: The party planning guidebook so inspiring it will make you celebrate…oh heck. Tuesdays.

The holidays are fast approaching, which means it’s party season! I’m thinking all about Halloween this week, but before you know it we’ll be planning New Year’s parties. Not to mention the, oh… 1,285 family birthdays that my family seems to celebrate in November and December alone. I could use a little fresh inspiration to make each of these parties really special, and I’m finding lots of it in the wonderful new party idea book, Celebrate Everything, by Martha Stewart Weddings editor and party planner extraordinaire, Darcy Miller. Whether you’re looking for something as simple as a fun cocktail recipe, a jolt of inspiration for a central...

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Remarkably Average Parenting: The hilarious parenting book for the social media generation

The self-deprecating mom advice book is a genre I can get behind, but it’s not always done well. I’m still recommending the edgy Sh*tty Mom series and the offbeat Let’s Panic  About Babies, but a lot of the other titles start to run together in my mind, especially after you’ve read as many as I have. However I can honestly say that the new The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting absolutely jumps out from the pack. From Iana Wiles, author of the popular blog Mommy Shorts (and Cool Mom Picks buddy), the book feels like it’s spun off from both her blog and her popular Instagram feeds,...

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The Belly Art Project by Sara Blakely: A fun gift for new moms that also happens to help moms in need.

Sara Blakely has been fantastically successful helping us hide our post-baby bellies with her magical Spanx products, but now she’s asking women to show off their bellies all in the name of charity. Her new book, The Belly Art Project, is a fun gift that gives back to new moms who need our help the most. Plus it gives back a sense of humor to our pregnant friends who just might need a few laughs to get through those grueling last few weeks of pregnancy. I remember; it’s rough. Related: Sex after pregnancy: 5 tips from Rosie Pope to help you get back in the saddle again In the book,...

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Your Padawan will dream of a galaxy far, far away in these rad Star Wars beds.

Good news, Star Wars fans: these are the beds you’ve been looking for. And the TIE Fighter desks too. This licensed Star Wars furniture collection from Rooms To Go is styled after Star Wars vehicles, and includes smart ideas like hidden drawers, and, in the case of the Millennium Falcon Gray Bookcase Bed, built-in Bluetooth, speakers, audio controls, touch lighting, and a charging station. So cool, even Han would be impressed. Related: These Star Wars pumpkin ideas are set to stun for Halloween.   Beds are available in twin, double twin, and full sizes, and prices range from $399.99 for the TIE...

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How to get rid of spiders, mice, and moths — without burning down the house.

Is there anything worse than finding mouse droppings in your house? Oh, right. There is: Finding a palm-sized wolf spider in your kid’s bed. Ask me how I know. Luckily, I’ve found a company that makes all-natural pest repellent, which means you don’t have to burn your house down and move to a different country thanks to some unwelcome creature finding its way into your home. It’s called Stay Away, and it really works. Stay Away makes several different products, each crafted of all-natural, botanical, kid- and pet-safe ingredients. Whether your latest enemies are rodents, spiders, moths, ants, or beetles...

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30 things you can clean, fix, or straighten up when you’ve only got 10 minutes

Keeping a house clean when you’ve got work and kids and pets and all of the things can be a pretty ominous task if you think of it all at once. However if you can break it down, and tackle a single chore or maybe even a couple of smaller tasks when you’ve got a free 10 minutes in your day (or evening), you’ll be amazed at how much better your home can look, and how great it can make you feel. (We aren’t the only ones who experience clean counter zen, are we?) We’re thrilled to be teaming up with our newest sponsor Pyoure, a...

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7 clever stuffed animal storage solutions: Our favorite ideas for all your kids’ fuzzy friends

It seems like one of the great organizational issues that all parents have in common is finding stuffed animals storage solutions for those dozens of critters that seem to accumulate out of nowhere. When I was a kid, it was Beanie Babies that started to flood my bedroom, their tiny plush bodies displacing books, clothing, and everything else in its way. Whether your kid is now amassing Beanie Boos or those stuffed animals that actually are, well, animal-sized, the predicament of stuffed animal storage solutions looms larger than ever. So as a first-time mom-to-be, I’m going to be prepared. Which is why I...

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Pro family photography tips for parents who’ve caught the photo bug

My absolute favorite feature on my iPhone isn’t the smart to-do list that keeps my life sane or the ability to look up random facts on Google whenever I want — it is, of course, the camera. I take thousands of pictures each year, and as a result, I kind of believe myself to be a pretty decent photographer (thanks, Instagram filters). But the truth is, I have a lot to learn about getting the best angle or action shot. And the Real Life Family Photography book by professional photographer Amy Drucker has tons of these kinds of really smart family photography tips to help novices —...

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Brooklinen: Amazing modern sheets when you don’t have the zillion hours it takes to look for amazing sheets

As someone who dreads sheet shopping with the fiery hatred of a thousands suns (seriously, why why why are 99% of all the sheets online so darn fugly?), I breathed a sigh of relief when I first clicked over to Brooklinen, a new site offering beautifully packaged, well-made sheet sets in go-with-anything modern fabrics. If you’re into big florals or wild colors, this is not going to be your thing. But it certainly is mine. They sent out a core set to try out (windowpane if you’re curious, which I looooo-oooove) and I admit I’m about a zillion times more impressed than I had...

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Sponsored Message: An easy way to get your family organized, all with one simple system.

This is a sponsored message from Home Headquarters Kit Parents can use all the organizational help they can get, and now it’s even easier thanks to the Home Headquarters Kit, an all-in-one organization system designed to make life easier for busy families. Each kit includes a ready-to-hang wall calendar, family goal tracker, and meal planning system — essential tools for family organization — plus a family motto board, and even a pen holder. Their free downloadable templates can even be customized to suit the size of your household and your family’s unique needs. Need help getting started? They’ve got video tutorials to get you...

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Sponsored Message: Leesa Mattresses are designed to help you sleep better, whatever your body type

This is a sponsored message from Leesa Mattress The key to getting better sleep is often about finding the best mattress for your body, and that’s exactly what Leesa Mattress delivers. Designed by a group of smart entrepreneurs who had their own sleep issues, they designed the Leesa Mattress after having tried out all sorts of beds with all all sorts of reported benefits — that they never actually saw. The result was the Leesa Mattress, a premium, thoughtfully designed mattress made entirely in the USA. It features three layers of foam including a top cooling layer, and what’s most special is that it’s been designed with their unique universal adaptive feel feature which means it...

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5 smart storage solutions for your kids’ artwork. Goodbye clutter!

Remember that trippy British kid’s television show Teletubbies? How can anyone forget?! There was a character named The Noo-noo, which was a vacuum cleaner that went around sucking up anything out of place. Well, sadly, I too hate clutter so much that my family nicknamed me The Noo-noo. I’m pretty sure it’s not a term of endearment, but messes and clutter makes me absolutely crazy, so I deserve it. With my kids back in school, I’m already seething with anxiety over anticipation of all the artwork and projects that will be coming home. Of course I want to display all their masterful collages and favorite poems, but everything else needs...

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How to set up a playroom for kids when you don’t have a lot of space: 8 expert tips.

We love the idea of our kids having their own playroom, but not all of us has an actual room to spare for play. Still, that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice half your living room or give up your dining room table. There are so many ways to create an amazing playroom for your kids in a small space, whether you’re an apartment dweller just in a home with smaller rooms. We’re thrilled to be partnering with VTech to bring you this post, since their engaging early learning toys blend education, discovery, technology and creativity, making them perennial parent favorites. And now they’ve launched a new line of products, including a clever convertible Activity Desk...

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3 extremely cool world map decals to get kids excited about geography

If your family is anything like ours, you’re only now getting caught up on lost sleep from the Olympics. But in its wake, the games leave us all with a healthy dose of wanderlust and interest in oh, say…Tonga. For no apparent reason. So, we’ve decided to round up some of the coolest world map decals to help inspire your own burgeoning jet-setters who may have gotten excited about learning more about the countries of the world this summer. The graphics are so nice to look at, and some even include a ton of information to qualify them as educational. Decals for the win! Related: Peel-and-stick wallpaper:...

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17 fun pencil cases for writers, book lovers and word nerds. Like us!

We love pencil cases! They’re where we put all our pencils! And pens, and earbuds, and erasers, and… pretty much anything that’ll fit. As our kids head back to school, we’re getting serious about corralling clutter, and if we can do it with flair, even better. So we’ve put together a ton of cool pencil cases especially geared toward lovers of books and writing. Or, as we like to call ourselves, word nerds. And we’re so pleased that this post is brought to you by our newest sponsor Pentel because, hello? What writer doesn’t adore premium quality pens that help you express your own writing style and creativity....

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Decluttering the bedroom night table: Check.

My night stand is a thing of terror — between the glassware, the paperbacks, the cards from the kids, the remote controls, the empty candy wrappers (what? It’s been a stressful election season), the mini body moisturizer samples, and a couple of photo frames, it does not look like anything you will see in a shelter magazine. Ever. So this genius felt bedside caddy is exactly what I’ve been looking for! I can move the magazines, books and remotes in the structured envelope, add maybe a few cards or notes, and — done! They’re off my night stand and...

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