Category: Around the House

Pi Day pencils: Geekery at its most pointed

With today being Pi Day, I cannot advocate for scribbling the first 10 or so digits of Pi on one’s sneaker soles before a test in math class. (Not that I’d ever know of such things.) But I can certainly go for the transparency of the awesome set of Pi pencils found at the Columbus based Wacodis Etsy shop. I love the pretty pastels juxtaposed with the exquisite nerdery of 3.141592653589793238462… and so on. Nice bonus that they’re USA-made. Today, March 14, is of course a perfect day to order them. Mmm….Pi.  Find the of Pi pencils and other fun geeky pencil designs online at...

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An honest review of Marie Kondo’s newest book, Spark Joy: Does it light a fire or lack a certain spark?

It was with immense excitement that I ordered Marie Kondo’s newest book, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up. After all, it’s been a year since I wrote about her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, and put it to the test in my own home. Turns out, my post on whether her Konmari method of decluttering will work specifically for parents ended up being one of the most popular posts of 2015 on Cool Mom Picks. I guess “tidying” is a hot topic among us parents. Go figure. As for Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy, while the...

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Micuna’s cool modern baby furniture from Spain, now finally available in the U.S.

I’ve had my eye on Micuna, a popular, gorgeous line of eco-friendly, modern baby furniture made in Spain, for a while now. But shipping from Europe is kind of a nonstarter. Well, now parents of new babies — at least who happen to have an ample nursery decor budget — are in luck, because Micuna is finally available in the U.S. They make the kind of high chair you won’t stash away in the pantry when friends come over to dinner, and the Micuna crib is probably one you’ll keep for your grandkids one day. They’re that nice. However the real reason Micuna has become such a cult favorite...

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The SodaStream Power sparkling water maker: Is it really worth it?

I admit I have always coveted a SodaStream ever since I tried an earlier model at my parents’ house. However theirs seemed pretty big to me, and I live in a small apartment, where we’re supposed to subscribe to the rule about not owning single-purpose appliances (bread makers, panini presses) to cut back on clutter. But since becoming addicted to a different company’s fizzy water maker — until it fizzled out and was entirely discontinued — I leapt at the chance to try out the new SodaStream Power. Oh, was it worth the wait. The SodaStream Power is way sleeker than I was expecting, with a slim...

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A whale reading chair that really rocks

Sometimes it’s the little things. The totally unnecessary but love-it-want-it-now little things. Like this adorable whale reading chair from Sprout. It’s a sweet and modern rocking chair for toddlers to climb in, sit and chill, read a book, or just hang out while you’re cooking dinner (or, uh, checking email). Do I need it? No. Do I want it? Yes.   All of Sprout’s kids furniture has cool, minimalist design. You do have to build it yourself at home (no tools needed!) but the instructions are so simple you’re likely to have it together in no time (they say 5 minutes). The hardest part for me in...

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Target Pillowfort launches today, with adorable and affordable kids’ decor that parents will love too.

The exciting new Target Pillowfort collection of kids’ decor launches today at last, and has come along at just the right time. There’s something about being cooped up inside all winter that makes me want to redecorate. Every room. I’m getting bored with the same old stuff especially in my kids’ rooms, which are a mix of remnants of their nursery decor and a couple of cooler, tween-friendly pieces I’ve picked up here and there. Sadly, a full-house re-do isn’t in the budget. But some of the fresh designs in the Target Pillowfort collection might be. From pillows to artwork, full bedding sets, accent furniture, and those cute...

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Color-your-own placemats turn any table into the coolest restaurant ever

I’ve always been a big advocate of keeping my kids’ games and videos put away at the dinner table.  Especially in restaurants, which is why I have a special place in my heart for those that provide crayons to kids — in particular the smaller, more wiggly ones. So I think plenty of other parents will also be thrilled to discover the new OMY color-your-own placemats that we spotted at Toy Fair, from the same clever company that invented the artistic giant coloring posters our kids adore. I absolutely love these for dining out, dinner at the grandparents’ place, birthday parties, road trips, or just a way to make dinner a...

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Custom art globes pieces kick our wanderlust up a notch

This time of year I start to get a little stuck. The excitement of Valentine’s Day is gone, light is still limited, the weather is frigid. It’s like I just want to imagine myself someplace — anyplace — else. So I started browsing Etsy for globes and found some outrageously wonderful options from California artist Wendy Gold that at least get my mind traveling, if not my body. The custom globes at her shop ImagineNations Vintage Globe Art are more than just an artist with a nice hand taking a Sharpie to a scavenged globe; this is true art with the prices to...

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Bitter mugs: For those who think February 15 can’t come fast enough

At least speaking for Kristen and myself, we certainly been through every stage of Valentine’s Day at various times in our life — denial, anger, depression, acceptance. If you fall into any of the first three categories, we feel you. So for those of you Valentine’s Day haters risking eyestrain with all the eyerolls this week, these are just for you: Bitter Mugs. They go perfect with black coffee, a Netflix marathon, and schadenfreude. Related: 31 of the absolute funniest Valentine’s cards Found at Fairgoods, each purchase will fill your heart with not only a sort of bitter glee of knowing your...

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Happy Year of the Monkey, baby. You’re intelligent, creative, and darnit, people like you!

Today starts the Lunar New Year, and lots of little Year of the Monkey babies are soon to be born. If not already. I’ve always loved Tree by Kerri Lee‘s beautiful wooden birth year blocks, which a make sweet gift for a special little someone. Handcrafted by artist Kerri Lee and featured in her sister’s Etsy shop, you can order these in three colors, all of which feature characteristics of a Year of the Monkey baby. I think they make such lovely, affordable keepsakes, whether the lucky recipient is super into the Chinese zodiac, or just appreciates the thoughtfulness of a...

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