Category: Around the House

The Architectural Digest Home Design Show: Visit us!

This coming Friday March 20, we’re so excited to be representing at the Great.ly booth at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show NYC, showing some of our favorite makers from our Indie Shop. If you’re into design, and in the NY area, stop by on Friday and behold the gorgeousness. The show features the best in home decor, furnishings, art, accessories, textiles and more. Basically, the stuff that makes you realize you immediately need to redecorate every room in your house. As for us, we’re excited to be showing some of our favorite makers from our own Indie Shop including Paloma’s...

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A YA book subscription for the teen (or bookaholic mom) who’s read everything.

When you’ve got a precocious reader in the house, it can be hard to find books they haven’t yet discovered and devoured. I know this because I am that reader and I spawned that reader. Luckily, we found a subscription service — you know we love subscription services!– that will send you the newest, most carefully vetted books for teens, kids who read on the teen level, and adults who love the fast pace and swoony tummy-flutters that YA books can provide. It’s called Uppercase Box, and it’s a YA book subscription service for readers 13 and up that...

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Custom engraved cutting boards as special as what you use them for.

A while back, we found the loveliest custom ceramic plates fired with handwritten recipes from your family. It was such a cool keepsake gift for someone who values the idea of an heirloom family recipe, and the idea has always stayed with me. So when I saw a variation on the theme, in these cool custom engraved cutting boards laser-etched with your handwritten recipes, I really was drawn to them. Because it’s a scan, there’s so much you can do with it–work with a recipe card, something scribbled on an envelope, or a recipe that was typewritten on a funky old typewriter back in...

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Move over cutesie nursery art, plush taxidermy is taking over.

When papier-mâché animal heads began popping up on blogs a few years ago, I wasn’t completely sold on the trend of faux taxidermy as children’s decor. Sure, they were a million times less creepy than the real deal, but they didn’t seem playful enough for a kid’s bedroom. On the other hand, the plush taxidermy from Kelsey Davis Design are the perfect mix of wit and whimsy. If had a nursery to decorate, I’d place my order today.  All of the creatures she makes would be adorable over a crib or a dresser, but the crown-wearing lion and vintage-patterned pig are my two favorites. Related: Zoo portrait clocks that will have you laughing.   The wall mounts...

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The Konmari Method: Does it work for families?

With daylight savings coming up, I know I’m not the only one itching to open up windows and start spring cleaning the house from top to bottom. So I decided to try out the popular Konmari method of organization from the book by Japanese sensation Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, if a little reluctantly as a parent. All I can say is, this book has rocked my world. And soon will rock my entire house. However there are some aspects that parents should be aware of. Related: The best of the eco-friendly cleaning...

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Go ahead and draw on the furniture, kids!

We’ve seen some pretty spectacular kids’ toys made out of cardboard, from those beautifully designed cardboard food truck playhouses we recently shared, to pirate ships and toy castles. And now we’re loving the cardboard furniture from the Cardboard Guys which was recently funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign. Their inventive, smartly designed kid-sized cardboard desk and chair gives our kids a great place to work and to create. This assembly-challenged parent is very thankful to hear that putting the five to six pieces together for each component is really simple and requires no adhesives or emergency trips to the hardware store for supplies. Just snap the recyclable...

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A life without coffee? Unimaginable.

Suddenly I get all of Delilah’s posts about making coffee with a Chemex and how every drop of effort is worth every drop of coffee you get; at least ever since my unexpected turn (if you ask those who know me best)  from K-Cup coffee drinker to full-fledged coffee devotee. I never thought I’d say things like “wow, the crema on that espresso is really amazing.” And yes, I know it sounds kind of douchey so I don’t say it out loud when actual people are around. Because I’m also picky about good design, I have to give huge props to these...

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5 creative photo gifts for baby showers. All guaranteed to last longer than a bottle warmer.

Photo gifts for baby showers can be a win even before the little one arrives. It’s just so personal and thoughtful, and hey, if you’re going to go off the registry, might as well really go off the registry. So we’ve looked around to find some of the most creative photo gift ideas out there. You know, the ones so sweet they’re destined to bring tears to the eyes of the guest of honor (with a little help of those pregnancy hormones). Of course, as with any photo gift, these require a little bit of lead time to get ready before...

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Clever personalized plates that let kids play with their food the fashionable way.

Parents of picky eaters, rejoice! The solution to your dinnertime drama might be as simple as a personalized plate… and a cookie cutter. Little Me personalized plates and dress-up cutters for kids are designed to inspire creativity with food, but I’ve found them to be extremely helpful in getting my son to simply eat his dinner. Turns out chicken nuggets are infinitely more exciting when served next to an illustration resembling your child, and that my son’s spinach cakes actually get eaten when they’re cut into the shape of pants and a shirt. Well, mostly. We still haven’t had a dinner that doesn’t end with me begging...

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Beep beep! Reader coming through

Bookends are always a smart way to blend function with design in a kid’s room, so I’m often looking for cool ones. I’m taken with the wooden car bookends on My Sweet Muffin, which also happen to be on sale right now. They’re handmade in the Netherlands from rubberwood, then screenprinted. All three designs are pretty cool, but I have to admit a fondness for the not-specifically-a-VW minibus.   The one tough thing will be to get your kids to resist the urge to color them in. Or hey…let them paint them. Why not, right? Find the wooden car bookends on My...

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IKEA alternative: The cool new modern shelving and storage bins from Sprout Kids

Keeping the playroom clean is a regular battle at our house, and I’m ready for a truce. But when I start to get sick of the mess, I usually turn to storage bins as my go-to method for keeping clutter to a minimum. It’s a system that’s easy enough for my kids follow when they clean up—they just dump their toys in the bins. And it works for me, because I don’t see a mess everywhere. Lately, I’ve added the modern shelving and storage bins from Sprout Kids to my wish list. If you’re looking for an IKEA Kallax storage system alternative, take a look at...

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The freedom clip for Keurig 2.0 gives you java freedom of choice. Power to the people!

Last summer, Keurig Green Mountain released the latest version of their K-Cup brewer, the Keurig 2.0, with a new feature that only allows brewing of authorized K-Cup pods. Convenience coffee drinkers across the nation were understandably up in arms, but they can rest now (or be more alert?) thanks to the Freedom Clip for Keurig 2.0 from Rogers Family Company. This small plastic device essentially overrides the lockout technology and allows the new Keurig machine owners to brew coffee of their choice from most non-approved K-Cup type pods. Oh yeah, and it’s free. How’s that for sticking it to a monopoly? Of course this isn’t all about benevolence;...

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IKEA Kallax: The best storage for families gets a makeover and a name change

I’ve purchased six Expedit storage units from IKEA for our three-child house, so you can imagine my shock when I discovered that they were no longer selling what I consider their most versatile, affordable, and useful storage solution for families. Turns out that the new IKEA Kallax storage system is actually the Expedit system, with a makeover and name change. Hooray! The furniture looks very similar to Expedit, which is good news for those of us who want to add more coordinating pieces. But Kallax has some neat features for families, like slightly rounded edges to make it a bit safer around young kids, and a more durable finish...

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A fun tissue holder to get kids smiling through the phlegm.

Kids will always have runny noses. Always. So I’m all for adding a little fun to the dreaded Parental Nose Wipe with this adorable Whale Tissue Holder we spotted at Etsy shop ShopSparklyPony. We think that kids’ tissue holders can be a little corny at times,  but this little whale is a charming work of art. Lovingly hand crafted and–get this– “individually tested for proper tissue-release,” each whale is stamped, dated, signed and numbered so you know your Moby Dick is an original. Because you know that’s just the kind of thing that kids care about when they’re home with a miserable cold....

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Bringing a little smile to your kid’s room with a chair

On a day that I’ll take any rays of happiness to brighten up a dreary, snowy day, I smiled the moment I stumbled on the bear and rabbit play chairs by Oeuf furniture–makers of the most beautiful, modern kids furniture. In either a light birch or a dark walnut, the animal shape of the chairs is irresistible. It’s like the best of both worlds–kid-friendly furniture that actually fits into the modern decor of an adult room, too. The total chair height is 24 inches, with the seat about 13-inches off the ground. So it’s probably best for kids in the 2-6 range....

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Personalized Valentines cards with extra heart

I know that for some couples out there, when it comes to Valentine’s Day, it’s the card that counts. So I’m always searching for really special V-Day cards that could make special gifts all on their own. I recently spotted these lovely, made-to-order personalized Valentine’s cards from EKRA, on Etsy and I’m really taken with them. The heavy cut cardstock cover features your two names on front, and a red or pink heart behind. It’s totally the kind of thing I could see saving on a shelf in the bedroom for a good long time, or if you’re sentimental, framing.  Don’t forget to write a...

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The Mini Life: When you feel like you’ve seen every baby and kid gift out there, here’s where to go.

I’m always happy to introduce you to beautifully-curated independent web boutiques and here’s one more  new one that’s caught my attention since its launch just a few weeks ago. Mini Life is an exquisite children’s lifestyle boutique packed full of gorgeous toys, decor, home items and more, all cultivated from around the world. It’s definitely not the kinds of gifts you see in every shop in the mall. Founder Athena Rotolo has a modern sensibility I just love, and if you’ve got little ones to shop for–or maybe, splurge on–then you must look around this exquisite site. Here are just...

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The Happy Mat that saved mealtimes

My toddler seeks out new ways daily to make mealtimes all stress and all mess. Food on the floor, “non-slip” mat thrown in the air, liquids everywhere–you name it, he’s done it. It’s more than the OCD in me can handle some days–okay, most days–and it raises the question: do happy mealtimes really exist? Well, I have good news, my fellow neat freaks. It’s called the Happy Mat, made by a company called ezpz. (Get it? Easy-Peasy?) Created by Lindsey Laurain, a mom of three young boys who I know understands messy mealtimes, the sturdy, high quality silicone mat truly suctions to...

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Bezar: The new members-only marketplace for rabid fans of modern design

Well no sooner did Fab co-founder Bradford Shelhammer move onto new ventures, he announced the launch of Bezar, a new members-only site that will feature the same gorgeous products, emerging designers, and great prices that helped put Fab on the map. He has always has amazing taste, and I’m so excited about this new site. Update April, 2017: Bezar is sadly no longer online. For great design, we highly recommend Fab, Gilt Home, RueLaLa Home, Haute Look Home and Chairish, all also accessible through our exclusive invitation codes A quick look at the teaser homepage and I see brands we already...

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9 creative makeup storage ideas from sushi mats to candy jars

Confession: I’m still using the not-so-clean plastic Caboodle I got as a high school graduation gift. (Editor’s Note: Noooooo!) So it’s clearly way past time for me to look for some fresh new ways to keep my makeup organized. There are plenty of those lucite cosmetics organizers out there in the drugstores, but I’ve been looking for some more creative, unexpected makeup storage ideas that will give my vanity a needed pop of personality. But of course, it has to keep my stuff accessible too all without making my bathroom look like the MAC counter at Nordstrom. So I spent a ton of time searching the...

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All about that bling: 8 modern necklace storage ideas we can’t wait to try

Declutter. That’s my goal for this week, and I’m starting with my jewelry. Whenever I sort through my jewelry box to get organized, I’m always surprised at the pieces I totally forgot I own, simply because I don’t see them. So I tracked down some modern necklace storage ideas that I really love, from store-bought stands to some simple (promise) DIY jewelry storage projects, to help me get my jewelry out where I can see it. After all, it would be nice to wear more than the two necklaces I seem to be alternating between every day!   Rustic gets...

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Because you can never have too many Moleskine journals. Especially cute handmade ones.

As a writer, I’m of the mind that you can never have too many journals or blank books on hand. I stockpile them like a zombie apocalypse conspiracy theorist, hoarding canned goods and ammo. But unlike gunshot, they also happen to make great impromptu gifts. So I love the made-to-order, illustrated, handmade Moleskine journals from Elena Mazzali of Etsy shop La Douceur du Miel (“The sweetness of honey”). This plain, unlined journal is just made for recipes, honey-based or otherwise. But the other journals–which the artist cleverly calls “Mieleskins”–are pretty great too. Like a bear rocking out to a Beatles cassette....

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Handcrafted toy chests you’ll love to look at. Not just because they’re hiding all those toys.

It’s that time of year, so I was looking back at our post on colorful toy storage options, and came across the toy chests from Drift Studio. (Thanks, Christina!) So I clicked over to see what was new, and wow. As much as this Brooklyn mama loves the Brooklyn maps toy chest that we originally featured, I really dig the other toy chest designs from this Wisconsin based studio, too. From geometric patterns and graphic jungle animals to retro-toy designs like paper airplanes or jacks, there’s definitely something for any decor. Or hey, maybe it will inspire the decor theme to begin with.   Each chest is gorgeously handcrafted–with a...

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Personalized growth charts for kids from Tinyme: Oh the cuteness.

Before you start making more pencil marks on the wall, remember this: Long after the crib is gone and the tiny toddler shoes are replaced by giant adult-size sneakers, that growth chart you started oh-so-many years ago may be something you want to keep. So choose wisely. We have shared many awesome-looking growth charts over the years that we love and now we’ve found one more resource: The personalized growth chart decals from Tinyme, the stylish gift company that just keeps on impressing us. The decals come in six adorable styles that are fun and playful but won’t look totally out of place in an older-kids’...

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Dream a little dream of dragons, bats, and narwhals.

Now you can put your baby to sleep with visions of fantasy dragons, hedgehogs, and even adorable bats (yes, they’re a thing) in her head. The handmade baby mobiles from Bee Janie Baby Mobiles feature all these creatures and more. You guys, they even have a mythical beasts mobile—you know, in case you have a Game of Thrones nursery in the works. Each mobile is handmade from felt, and most have somewhat unexpected creatures for a baby’s room. I mean, have you ever seen a mobile with bats before—the sleeping-in-caves kind, not the baseball kind? Me either, but I want one now. The...

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Beating the winter blahs with a shot of color to your table

Lately, I love the idea of my dinner table feeling coordinated but not entirely matchy-matchy. And then I saw these gorgeous handmade cloth napkins at the Shapes Colors Etsy shop and thought, yes! Just like that! The artist, San Francisco mom Samantha Cisneros, screenprints them each by hand with bright, colorful, eco-friendly ink in colors like fuchsia, milt, and cobalt. And while you can buy them each individually–or a set that matches–I kind of like the idea of having all six that are different. It’s a nice way to brighten the table during the winter blahs (that’s an actual...

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Happy New Year, cool moms!

Wishing you an amazing new year full of joy, love, and lots of sleep. Hey, two out of three isn’t bad. Here’s hoping 2015 is the best year ever. Thanks for being the best readers on the Internet. Love, your favorite type nerds, Liz, Kristen, and Team Cool Mom Picks.  Helvetica calendar poster via Yumalum on...

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11 of the coolest 2015 calendars you won’t mind looking at for a year

Is it overkill to hang a different calendar in every room of your house? Because there are so many gorgeous 2015 calendars that I’m struggling to choose just one. Here are 11 of the coolest calendars for next year, ranging from wall calendars to desk calendars to calendars you can use as gift wrap. I say let’s just give ourselves permission to buy as many as we’d like and simply call them pieces of art. They’re all so pretty! Above is Kristina Krogh Studio’s 2015 wall calendar, which combines two of my favorite design elements: black typography and gold foil. Simple yet stunning, it would look...

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This woodland cookie cutter set takes the cake.

I won’t pretend to understand why my son’s sandwiches, pancakes, and cheese slices taste better when they’re cut into animal shapes, but if using cookie cutters means he’ll eat more than a few nibbles of food, I’m happy to oblige. I like my shapes to be seasonal (yes, I admit this), so I’m all about this Woodland cookie cutter set, which is perfect for the holidays and beyond. If you’ve got a picky eater of your own or a child who loves to bake with you, the set of six cookie cutters would make an awesome gift for a kid, and they’re conveniently packaged in a pink...

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11 essential cleaning tips before your holiday party. Whether you’re a neat freak or a “hide everything in the closet” kind of person.

It’s that time of year when pretty much everyone is entertaining. And yeah, we all know how to run the vacuum and wield a toilet brush (or hire someone else to do it, if you’re lucky), but as the resident Cool Mom Picks neat freak, I’ve got a few pre-holiday party cleaning tips and tricks that I’ve picked up over the years to help you get the place in even better shape. Don’t worry — they’re simple, and they’ll actually make your job easier. [Editor’s note: We like that because uh, not all of us around here are neat freaks...

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