Category: Helpful Services

Thinking about adopting? Here’s how to get started, from a parent who’s been through the journey.

If your family has been thinking about adopting, I’m here as a BTDT mom to help. This year, my family grew by one more child when my husband and I adopted our daughter, a spunky 2-year-old from South Korea. It feels like we’re experts on adoption at this point, having waited a full three years to get her home, but it doesn’t feel that long ago that we were totally clueless about where to start. I’m not going to lie, the process is long and bumpy. And it can be exhausting, both emotionally and physically. But without hesitation I’d highly recommend it to anyone who feels...

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Sponsored Message: The Upromise MasterCard helps you save money for college when you shop

This is a sponsored message from Upromise by Sallie Mae   Saving money for college just got a whole lot easier thanks to the Upromise MasterCard, which can help you earn up to 10% cash back just by shopping the way you already do. With 5% back when you shop through Upromise.com and an additional 5% when you use the Upromise MasterCard, you can either pocket that total 10% cash back, invest it in an eligible 529 college savings plan, pay down an eligible student loan, or transfer it into a Upromise GoalSaver account. And with special promotions for cardmembers throughout the year, you...

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Sponsored Message: Sittercity Date Night Now guarantees an available sitter for your next date night. (Or maybe your first date night?)

This is a sponsored message on behalf of Date Night Now by Sittercity You find yourself with a few free hours on a Thursday night, and the urge to actually get out and do something besides binge watch a TV series. But as parents know, finding a sitter, especially last minute, is way harder than getting a table at your favorite local restaurant, or tickets for an actual  grown-up movie you’ve been dying to see in an actual theater. So much for date night. But all that’s about to change thanks to Date Night Now by Sittercity. Sittercity has helped thousands and thousands of...

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Havenly: An affordable online home design service perfect for procastinators, busy people, and stressed-out new parents

Hooray! You have a baby on the way and pretty soon your nesting instinct is going to kick into hyperdrive. If you’re like me, you excitedly clear out the spare room eager to start decorating for the new bundle and then…you hit a wall. Between lack of time and feeling stressed out by all the options out there (not to mention nightmares about Pinterest fails), I get it. Which is why I’m so happy to share my new online interior design service find, Havenly. Just for the rest of you who may be in redecorating mode. Havenly is all about helping busy — or simply overwhelmed — people decorate...

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How to foster a love of music in your little kids: 6 simple, no-stress things you can do right now

Music is such an important part of children’s lives from both an educational and entertainment standpoint. As a former music therapist and college professor I might be a little biased, but there are plenty of personal stories and scientific studies to back up the theories. What a lot of parents don’t know is that it a child’s music aptitude (think, music IQ) is still forming up through the age of 9. So while some kids are definitely “born with it,” even if your kids don’t seem to be, you can still absolutely raise their level of musical intelligence in those early,...

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Glassful: The artisanal, indie version of a wine of the month club. About time!

Even though I love wine, I find the experience of selecting wine a little overwhelming. I never remember what I love most, can’t seem to buy the same bottle twice (unless, of course, it’s a wine I didn’t enjoy), and always feel like I’m relying on others to figure out what to buy. Glassful, a new monthly subscription box service (or call it a newfangled wine-of-the-month club) from the caring oenophiles at at Glassful HQ in New York City, is meant for people like me. They assess your taste in wine and delivers three bottles that have been curated just for you every month,...

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Blue Apron review: Is it worth the price for families?

I’ve been wanting to check out Blue Apron for awhile now, especially after seeing so many friends, whose foodie sensibilities I trust implicitly, give this subscription food delivery service a thumbs up. If you’re not familiar with Blue Apron, they deliver recipes complete with all the ingredients you need right to your door, so all you do is put them together and cook them. Sounds awesome, right? However as a busy single mom of four kids ranging in age from ten down to four, I was curious to see whether the service is worth the price, which as you might guess is on the higher side; the...

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Sponsored Message: Amwell makes doctors’ house calls digital

This is a sponsored message from Amwell. When you’re a parent, anything that helps you save time is a lifesaver. A new one to add to your list: Amwell, or American Well, a smart app and online teleheath platform that’s saving parents tons of time, aggravation, and money where their family’s medical care is concerned. Sign up for Amwell and you can connect with top board-certified doctors online for live consultations about issues like your daughter’s out-of-nowhere rash on her face or the emergency antibiotics you need before you head out of town the next day. Everything about it is like a real doctor visit. Only instead of going into the office, you...

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Sponsored Message: GiftedandTalented.com gives kids the extra educational boost they need

This is a sponsored message from GiftedandTalented.com For parents with advanced learners, it can be tough to know how to meet their academic needs and keep them challenged. Whether you’re looking to give yours an educational boost or want to provide them with the chance to explore their already established interests, GiftedandTalented.com has you covered, with K-12 online courses that give students a highly personalized learning experience–all right in your own home. -Don’t miss an exclusive discount below- Based on ongoing research at Stanford University, GiftedandTalented.com offers everything you’ll need to help your kids reach their maximum educational potential without the boredom, thanks to...

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Sponsored Message: Schoola turns old clothes into cash for your school

This is a sponsored message from Schoola If you’re in organization and clean-up mode (hello, new year!) you may be interested to know that you can actually turn those old clothes of yours into cash for your kids’ school thanks to Schoola. This online retailer of gently used clothing features tons of popular brands like Ralph Lauren, Lands End, J Crew, and Tea Collection–and also gives back to schools with every single purchase made. As part of their #PassTheBag challenge, they’re encouraging parents to clean out their closets and help their own kid’s schools in the process, all completely free. To participate, visit the Schoola website,...

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Sponsored Message: Taking better family photos is a snap with SHOOT 2015

This is a sponsored message on behalf of SHOOT 2015 If you’ve been wanting to learn how to take better photos of your family–or better photos in general–but aren’t quite sure where to start, SHOOT 2015 was made just for you. This affordable, online digital photography course is a comprehensive but easy way to hone your skills or learn new ones, all from the comfort of your own laptop. For an entire year, professional photographers Amy Tripple and Heidi Peters, both members of the National Association of Professional Child Photographers, will provide an inspiring, organized, manageable course to help you document your family...

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9 fantastic photo books under $30 for sweet but affordable gifts. Ready to sort through your camera roll?

This is the time of year when I know it’s time to start thinking about putting together my yearly photo books but I dread looking at my iPhoto files– because 4,589 photos is a lot to wade through. But I’ve found some photo book services that help you to build great-looking photo books easily, quickly, and affordably. Some even do it for you. And the best part: They’re all under $30. I buy photo books as gifts so I can document our family’s year together (and because admittedly I’m terrible at scrapbooking), but also because they’re perfect for so many people: Aunts...

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Thanksgiving pies that deliver, deliciously

We recently shared our essential tips for how to make a homemade pie, but have a feeling that some of you may skip out on the baking this Thanksgiving. No judgments here if you’d rather place an order and have your Thanksgiving pies delivered. In fact, we’ll help you find the best mail order pies around. Bon Appetit is one of our most trusted sources for foodstuff and they recently did the hard work of tasting 75 mail order pies from around the country. Hard job, right? (I don’t feel bad for them either.) They’ve narrowed it down to...

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What’s my 20? Well, a little different from Tina Fey’s.

For the last year, I’ve been partnering with American Express, in part because I love Amex (member since forever) and partly because when I see those awesome Tina Fey commercials, I’m now sure we’re really just two degrees from being best friends. If you’ve seen those ads too, in which she hilarious shares some of the ordinary things she buys on her Amex EveryDay Credit Card, then you might know that when you hit 20 purchases in a month, you could earn double Membership Reward Points on the card. And boy do I like my points. So I thought I’d share my non-famous mom version of my 20. These are the 20 things...

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An awesome new meal planning website that personalizes your meal plans. It’s like doing it yourself, without having to do it yourself.

How many times have you heard “Just meal plan!” when you groan about the never-ending responsibility of feeding your family night after night?  But time constraints, logistics, or the fact that organizing ahead isn’t everyone’s strong suit mean meal planning just doesn’t work for all of us. Now, thanks to new awesome meal planning website gatheredtable, someone else can do it for you. Don’t miss a big update below   Does any of these statistics resonate with you? You’re not alone, which is why so many meal planning sites and apps have popped up lately. I’ve looked into many of them and haven’t found one that I...

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Decorist makes stylish, affordable, online interior design available to everyone.

Repurposing our old furniture and accessories into our new house just doesn’t always work. That rug that was perfect in my old bedroom just doesn’t cut it in the new one, it turns out. And while I love interior design sites like nousDecor, sometimes I need  serious professional help. So the timing was perfect for me to discover Decorist, an online interior design service for any project in your house. I’d normally try to fix that rug situation on my own, because interior design services can be pricey. So I’m the perfect candidate for Decorist’s lower cost interior design consulting–also a great...

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The best pregnancy calendar week by week, now in your inbox

One of the greatest resources on AlphaMom — a wonderful site full of great resources, published by friend of CMP Isabel Kallman — has to be the Zero to Forty pregnancy calendar, for wonderful week by week support and humor. It was originally written by Amy Storch of the blog Amalah while she was pregnant with her second son. Not only is it informative (though Amy is not a doctor, and she does not play one on TV), it’s also hilarious. Just try not to pee yourself, mamas. Now you can sign up for pregnancy calendar weekly newsletters delivered based on your due...

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Instacart: Grocery shopping right from your couch with a very awesome twist.

Taking four kids to the grocery store is like a full-on workout. But really, taking even one cranky toddler shopping can be no easy task. Especially in this weather. So when Instacart offered Cool Mom Picks an exclusive first look to try out their brand new Philly service, which happens to launch today in addition to Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., and the San Francisco Bay Area, you can bet I jumped at the chance. Grocery delivery from Whole Foods (as well as Costco and coming soon, a few smaller groceries) within two hours of your order? Yes please. That’s...

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Need a last-minute Halloween costume idea? Rent the Runway to the rescue.

Need a Halloween costume and don’t want to get stuck with the last Sexy Teletubby costume at the store? The good news is that with a little DIY cleverness, you might find the answer in your own closet. Or, we have an extra easy idea courtesy of a partnership between Rent the Runway and Etsy.  But you have to act fast! In addition to getting designer dresses at a fraction of the cost, Rent the Runway just launched amazing, curated costume ideas using their available dresses– genius. Each costume includes a dress you can rent, and then you can check...

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More to love: Rent the Runway adds plus sizes

You could say a few of us here have become quite the evangelists for Rent the Runway. After seeing Kristen strut her stuff on a Las Vegas business trip in two gorgeous designer dresses, I tried it myself for an event this past spring, and fell in love with the clothes, the service, the style–everything. So I’m glad even more women will get to reap the benefits with the addition of their brand new plus size line.   Rent the Runway Plus is so awesome for women sizes 14-22 who feel more Badgley-Mischka than Lane Bryant. In fact, they happen...

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Zoobean: Personal book recommendations for your one-of-a-kind kid

Finding just the right books for your child can be, well, challenging–especially if your kid is as finicky about what she reads as what she eats: No peas, broccoli, or dumb princess books, thank you. So I love this cool, custom service made to create your kid’s dream reading list. {EDITED TO ADD: Zoobean is currently not taking on any new subscribers.} Hooray for Zoobean. Created by a mom-and-dad duo who were struggling to find kids’ books with biracial main characters for their son and daughter, this book-curating subscription service does the searching for you. Also perfect for those...

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How to get the most out of Origami

If you’re like us, then you’ve got tons of photos and videos on your smartphone that you end up texting and emailing to friends and family fairly frequently. Well, if you’re looking for a safe and more efficient way to keep your family updated on your many adventures without having to use Facebook, you might want to give Origami a shot. To help show you how to get the most out of this smart platform, our Editor Kristen put together this quick, handy video that highlights how easy Origami is to use (seriously, so easy!) and why you might really like it. EXTRA COOL: WIN IT! We’ve got 15 free one-year subscriptions to Origami ($50 value) up for grabs, courtesy of our sponsor. Just download the free Origami app and sign in or sign up (also free), then send us the email address you used as your login. Mail it to contests@coolmompicks.com with ORIGAMI in the subject by midnight PT Thursday 8/8. We’ll pick 15 lucky winners at random. And if you can’t wait and want to get started, Origami is offering a free 30-day...

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Family Movie Night Ideas: 7 classic kids’ movies that still hold up today

We don’t know about you, but with summer in full swing and later sunsets/later bedtimes a fact of life, we’ve been indulging in quite a few family movie nights. As we look for some new ideas, it’s been super fun digging into our Netflix accounts to find some of our own childhood favorites to introduce to the next generation. And now we get to share them with you too, thanks to our sponsor Netflix Families. If you’ve checked out the new Just for Kids section on Netflix, you’ll know it’s super easy finding great movies and shows for kids...

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Summer vacation memories from top parent bloggers and a great way to share your own. Safely.

With school out and summer almost officially here, say hello to 4000 new smartphone photos and videos of our kids being adorable at Kindergarten graduation, on the beach, watching fireworks, and running through the sprinkler on the lawn. [Don’t miss an amazing giveaway for 20 readers below!] Of course, we love sharing our photos with friends and family–don’t we all? But we’re also aware of the increasing privacy issues on certain uh, large social media sites. So we’re thrilled to be partnering with Origami, a really brilliant new website and iPhone/Android app that’s just perfect (and perfectly safe) for...

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Foodies, welcome to your digital recipe box of awesomeness.

There’s an avalanche of recipe sites out there, and one of my personal favorites is about to become yours, too. Foodily (which appropriately stands for “Food, I Love You”) is a social recipe network combining a massive library of curated recipes (i.e., recipes you can trust) with your social network. Think of it as recipes with benefits.    Foodily allows users to discover, save, share and discuss recipes collected from around the web with friends. Now, with the release of “Foodily Originals,” users can also add personal recipes to their collections. That means you can combine the best recipes...

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The Bouqs Co: Sending flowers for Mother’s Day just got easier

Mother’s Day flowers may be a cliche gift, but one I happen to like very much. I never turn down the chance to have beautiful blooms on my front entry table, my night stand, a bookshelf. So I’m so happy to find a new service that makes sending flowers for Mother’s Day–or any day–easy and affordable.   The Bouqs Co. is a smart idea: gorgeous, premium, socially responsible buds straight from the farm, all at a fixed price of $40. If you want to do it up, you can double your order for $50 or triple it for $60....

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HelloFlo.com: A monthly subscription service made just for women. Every month. Can you see where we’re going with this?

So if you’re anything like me, at that time of month you’re caught completely off guard and then are reduced to pillaging your drawers and cabinets trying to find that box of tampons and pads you think you bought a month ago but can never seem to find. That is why this new monthly subscription service is made for me. And possibly you too. Meet HelloFlo.com, a smart new service that delivers everything you need for your period all in one box, right on your doorstep. No sending your partner to Target for tampons, or scrounging through old purses...

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A babysitter for New Year’s Eve? No problem! A comparison of the top two caregiver websites.

I’ve personally had good fortune finding babysitters using both Sittercity.com and Care.com, national services which help members match up with trustworthy child care providers. In fact, that’s how I found our current beloved nanny who’s been with us for two years. Now it’s rare that my husband is home for any of the major holidays given his work (including Christmas, unfortunately). But this year, he’s going to be home for New Year’s Eve. This is big news, people! And big enough for me to start hunting down a babysitter so that we can ring in 2013 outside of the...

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Hey, good-looking! 10 attractive gift cards you’ll be glad to give

We admit it, we’re not the biggest fans of gift cards as holiday gifts. It can seem somewhat last minute and impersonal. Then again, there are some great gift cards out there, and if it’s for the right store or service, a gift card may be exactly what your loved one is hoping for. Fortunately, there are so many pretty gift card designs available from many of our favorite places. We rounded up some of the most attractive ones, so that you can find the right way to help someone splurge (and help you feel better about going the...

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Fun in a box: 7 cool gift subscriptions for kids

The only thing more exciting than a present under the tree is a big box on the front porch with a kid’s name on it. Whether you’re looking for cool kids’ crafts and activities to keep your kids busy at home well past December, or a really special holiday gift for your nieces and nephews across the country, you’ll find just what you’re looking for on our list of the best in kids’ gift subscriptions for the holidays. And if you’re looking for a subscription box gift for a teen or adult, we’ve got that covered, too. For discovering and...

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