Category: Doing Good

Redefining Christmas: The gift that really keeps on giving

My extremely generous in-laws keep bugging me about what they can get me for Christmas, and quite frankly, unless it’s some magic bubble that I can place over my children so that they will healthy for longer than one week at a time, I’m really fine without receiving a holiday gift. But since they insist, I’m asking them to give to my favorite charity instead, and Redefine Christmas makes it a bit more festive than just having them send twenty bucks to the Salvation Army. Simply choose a holiday e-card like the cute snowman seen here, fill in your information, and they’ll send it...

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When a card is so much more than just a card

The idea of pediatricians formulating baby skin care products–as the MD Moms have done with the much beloved Baby Silk line–is easy to understand. But I love that they’ve outdone themselves this holiday with the brand new and extremely special Oscar Litwak Foundation Charity Notecards. I thought they were cheerful and fun even before I read about the foundation and its mission to lift the spirits of kids in hospitals. But I especially like the cards knowing that a full 100% of the proceeds goes towards the Mobile Playroom Program, which brings fun and games to bed-ridden kids. Buy...

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Let your monsters make your monster pendant

We love the Metal for Monsters pieces at Blend Creations so much, we were delighted to hear that they’ve expanded the line: Now you can design your own monsters, or–better yet–let the kids design one for you and Blend will laser-etch their design right on the pendant including a signature or inscription on the back. You could also supply a thumb print, or pretty much anything, making this a really cool personalized gift. And $16 from each pendant goes directly to UNICEF. I’m not telling you what to do, lurking dad readers…I’m just saying that some signed, wearable art...

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Expressing our thanks through acts of do-gooding

Happy Thanksgiving cool moms. In the spirit of giving thanks, we thought we’d share with you each of our favorite charitable orgs, some of whom are really getting whomped by the economy this year. Not from individual donors per se (you guys are always so great!), but from the fortune 500 companies and Wall Street firms they tend to rely on. Maybe we’ll turn you onto a new charity, maybe we’ll inspire you to give some extra love to your own. Kristen: As a military wife, I’ve been fortunate to have my husband stateside. But many families are not,...

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Greeting cards for charities that benefit you too

While I’ve always liked the idea of buying holiday cards that benefit a charity, the reality of some of those options was… not really what I had in mind. Now you can do something benevolent without succumbing to the starving artist watercolor cards with Cards That Give. This is a one-stop shop for all sorts of gorgeous cards, benefiting a wide variety of excellent do-gooding orgs, all rated 3 stars and higher by Charity Navigator. Some of our favorites include the holiday card from nonprofit writing center 826LA, the Mod Menorah card from Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, and...

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Tiny Revolutionary continues to revolutionize the charity tee

The charities promoted on the stack of rarely-worn tees in my closet  are great; it’s the shirts that could use some work. So I was psyched to see that CMP fave, Tiny Revolutionary is continuing to put out great-looking t-shirts that provide some serious support to worthy organizations. Their new Giving Tee line is feel-good all around: My kids or I get a cool-looking, hand-numbered t-shirt (like No Guitar Left Behind) and Tiny Revolutionary sends a big chunk of the purchase price to the charity to help them do more good things in the world.  The latest groups to...

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Put your money where your child’s chest is

If you want to make a statement, and you’re not above using your baby as a billboard (we’re not), try +E (positive energy) Awareness Apparel. These soft, 100% certified organic cotton tees and onesies are designed to deliver the social, environmental or political message that’s nearest to your heart. And your baby’s butt. Seriously. Check out the one that says “DIRTY,” for example. The single bold word is displayed on the chest, but I love the strategically-placed blurb about air pollution on the back that delivers the details. Other designs are more serious, but there’s a cause for everyone...

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Monsters Giving Back

You rarely need a reason to buy jewelry, but the best one is when it’s supporting a fantastic cause. That’s the case with the  limited edition Metal for Monsters pieces from our friends at Blend Creations. They’ve collaborated with 9 different artists to create unique stainless steel pieces that definitely appeal to your whimsical side, especially with Halloween approaching. I’m completely smitten with Lars (pictured) but could be swayed by A Monster Heart. Plus every purchase contributes $16 to UNICEF, which is more than you’d ever raise in pennies on the 31st. ...

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Tees for Trees

You might assume that a company called Tees for Change isn’t promoting 35-cent garments, but some kind of social progress. And indeed you’d be right. This company, run by mom Andreea Ayers aiming to get more positive messages out in the world with their organic onesies and tees for both kids and adults. (Well, the tees are for both. The onesies are just for the kids.) Andrea is definitely living her values through her company–for every tee you buy, a tree is planted via Trees for the Future. It’s the baby collection we’re liking best on the site, featuring...

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Computer Games That Care and Cure

My daughter is already a bit obsessed with computer games and she’s only four. I’m afraid to think about what will happen when she hits the tween years and can do more than just move the mouse around. Thanks to Generation Cures, I’m armed and ready with a site that not only provides families with free online puzzle games and animated stories that actually teach tweens about helping others. So not only are the games hip and fun but the messages they instill are invaluable. Although the site was created with the hopes to raise funds to advance the...

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Big Brands Doing Cool Things: Paint Your Own Polos from Ralph Lauren

The last thing you might think to do on a rainy day is set your kid lose with permanent paints on a $45 Ralph Lauren Polo. But then Ralph Lauren begs to differ. Behold: The Paint Your Own Polo kits for kids. Packaged with paints, stamps, and brushes in a  cool little paint can, the kit makes a great gift for the children of your friends with the beach house that you scammed an invite to this summer. Oddly, the kits only start at sizes for about five year olds (Hey Ralph! Preschoolers like painting too!) but if you’ve...

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Art + Philanthrophy. A Combo We Can Get Behind.

We’ve all wished for more hours in the day, but I think mom and artist Rebecca Peragine of Art and Philanthropy must have actually found them. In fact I’m sure she’s uncovered a way to recycle those hours just as she recycles everyday objects in her collage art. The artist turns snippets of old newspapers and scraps of old magazine pages into colorful, exciting original artwork and note cards–which come with recycled paper bag envelopes. And starting this week, she’s also making great-looking eco-market totes. But her good work doesn’t end there. Not only does Rebecca donate a portion...

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Heal, Dog. Seriously, Heal.

Sometimes you really dig a piece of art just because it’s cool. But sometimes you get to know the back story and suddenly it’s that much more meaningful. Such is the case of the charming Lulu the Dog paintings from Massachusetts artist, dad and visionary Scott Leaver of Heal Good Dog. Turns out the word heal is quite literal–all the portraits (cute custom ones too) are based on Scott’s dog Lulu, aka The Cancer-Fighting Dog. Scott’s a survivor and he credits his pooch for helping him get through it. Aw, the power of love. 10% of all the proceeds...

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A Little Bit of Do-Gooding on Mother’s Day with Global Giving

Not everyone wants another piece of jewelry for Mother’s Day. So if you’ve got a mama on your list who prefers to give than to receive, I recommend checking out Global Giving and their Mother’s Day menu of fantastic, women and family-oriented projects that need your support. I like Global Giving because it’s customized, for one thing. You can pick projects as specific as providing delivery kits for safe home births in Tibet or supplying school supplies for children in The Bronx. Or choose a gift card (bonus: it’s biodegradable) and let the recipient pick one of 500 grassroots...

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Laying Down Roots for Mother’s Day

Not every mama wants something on Mother’s Day. Plenty of mamas are very happy with just a phone call, a handmade card or a contribution in her name to a decent cause. For that latter group, TreePeople is a great dot-org that does some good in the actual US of A. Since a group of teens founded the not-for-profit thirty years ago, they’ve helped to green up the L.A. landscape with more than 2 million trees (!!!) and if you’ve ever caught the wildfires or recent Griffith Park fires on TV, you know what a big deal that can...

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Little Fingers For Big Change

When my daughter was a wee tot, my mother gave me a bunch of finger puppets. She put them in an old purse of my grandmother’s and told me to take them to restaurants. Finger puppets enabled my husband and I to continue eating with childless adults, and we still use them four years later for similar reasons. Fable and Lore’s beautiful, substantial, fair-trade finger puppets found at My Princess Closet are made from extra fabric scraps so no two dragons, wizards or knights are alike. And, bonus, 100% of the proceeds benefit UNESCO’s Literacy Initiative for Empowerment campaign,...

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An Amazing Gift for Any Kid: Values

It’s important for me that my kids grow up understanding the concepts of charity and benevolence, and that the holiday season isn’t only about what’s under the tree. Not everyone can spend Christmas volunteering at soup kitchen or collecting Toys for Tots, but thankfully a brilliant dot-org has another option. Click pronto over to Markmakers, created this year by a Virginia husband-wife team and their four kids. Essentially they sell gift cards for kids with a twist – instead of using the cash towards building a stuffed bear or procuring six pounds of gummy worms, children shop for services...

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Paying it Forward (and Jewelry Too)

As the year draws to a close, we hope you’re looking for a few well-deserving organizations to which to bequeath a few tax-deductible dollars. Not that there’s any lack of such dot-orgs in the world, but we thought we’d add a really cool one to the list: Trickle Up. Taking a page from the "Teach a (wo)man to fish…" school of thought, the charity gives seed money, training and support to women in developing countries to help them start or grow businesses. We’re talking like 10,000 businesses a year. That’s a whole lot of women pulling themselves out of...

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Giving Thanks to the Trees, Too

Team Cool Mom Picks has always been a bit rah rah about books as gifts. Besides the obvious benefits, they’re not quickly outgrown and they’re pretty much guaranteed not to be on any recall lists any time soon. (Unless you’re one of those weirdos trying to ban Harry Potter.) On the other hand, there aren’t too many books made from recycled paper just yet. So when we heard about the very innovative effort from Eco-Libris, we were intrigued. The way it works is you figure out how many books you want to "balance out". Say, all the ones you’re...

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Laptops All Around!

As the day of giving thanks approaches, I think it’s important to think about how privileged we all are just to be able to sit behind our computer screens, connecting to other parents, doing a little shopping, playing a little Snood. Starting tomorrow, not-for-profit One Laptop Per Child launches their Give 1, Get 1 campaign across North America. Through the 26, for every very cute, kid-friendly XO laptop you buy for $399, they’ll donate one to a child in a developing country, particularly in places where schools can only afford to spend less than $20 a year per child....

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Mothers for Women

While we’ve got no problems with the "ply me with gifts" aspect of Mother’s Day (obviously), we’re no less fans of using the occasion as an opportunity to reflect on how lucky we all are–and pay it forward accordingly.

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Mod Farm

Cool Mom Picks is constantly on the lookout for truly fantastic kids’ room art, and it’s not easy. Just google "nursery art" sometime, and behold the frightening array of garish watercolor farm animals in straw hats. The prints look more like something from one of those Starving Artist stadium shows than something you’d be proud to display over a crib.

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C is for Cure

My mother-in-law successfully beat breast cancer several years ago, and while she doesn’t talk about it much, we all know it’s a cause she adamantly supports.We do our best to buy breast cancer stamps and wear any pink ribbon paraphernalia she sends us, but I’m always on the look out for something extraordinary that expresses our support for her courageous battle.

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Adopting Style

I just received an email from a friend who’s recently returned from Kyrgyzstan with his beautiful new adopted daughter. Another friend is currently in China on a similar mission, and then CMP received an email from the author of a popular adoption blog–all of which made us realize that the adoptive parents market is underserved when it comes to cool gear.

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Maybe Pooh Needs a New Home

I won’t go into exactly how many stuffed animals I have lying around my house, but I will say that I recently sent a few into on an extended trip to "toy vacation land" in order to make room on my daughter’s bed for, well, my daughter.

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There’s a Future Johnny Cash in There


Here at CMP, we talk a lot about stuff: Stuff for you. Stuff for your children. Stuff that makes us happy. But we don’t want our children’s lives to be ruled by how much stuff they have. And that’s why the message of singer-songwriter Paul Reisler seems so important.

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Out of Africa

One of the greatest gifts my daughter received for her recent birthday was a pair of hand-batiked t-shirts–especially once I discovered the story behind the label. My ever socially-conscious (and gift giver extraordinaire) best friend tracked them down through Global Mamas, a non-profit helping small women-led businesses in Africa.

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Where the Real Stars Hang

If you’re a frequent reader of Cool Mom Picks, then you know we believe that being a cool mom transcends what kind of diaper bag you carry. For the past three years I’ve balanced my love of stuff with my work for the Starlight Starbright Foundation, a non-profit organization for seriously ill children and their families.

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