In honor of the Fourth of July (happy 241, America!) I’m grateful to our friends at Tattly Tattoos who put together this lovely photographic series, in which they asked all different makers, creators, and entrepreneurs to describe what it means to them to be American. While yes, it’s a promotion for Tattly tattoos, it’s just so interesting to read so many different answers to the question. The artists touch on topics from opportunity, to diversity, compassion, pride in your heritage, hard work, and the continued quest for equality. Related: The patriotic t-shirt that reminds us what makes America wonderful Robert Moy of...Read More
10 tips to help you finally write that book, from a published author who did it…while nursing a baby.
I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that you can totally write a book. You don’t need otherworldly talent (though you do need some talent); you don’t need an MFA you promised yourself you’d get but never did; you don’t even need somebody else’s permission. The bad news? Writing a book is really hard. But, if you think you’ve got one in you, I can help. I’m now a traditionally published author, but back in 2009, I was just a harried mom of two who needed a hobby just for me. My husband (bless him) suggested I try...Read More
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....Read More
When I was a kid at summer camp, mail time was always one of the best parts of my days. And I’d imagine now, a time when hardly any of us get actual personal snail mail at all, camp mail is an even more exciting ritual. So we’ve got some cool ideas to help arm your campers with some awesome camp stationery for kids, so they can write you about everything they’re enjoying — and everything they’re missing from home). Because the only thing better than letters from home while you’re at camp, are letters from camp when you’re the parent back home....Read More
This review almost didn’t happen, because my daughter “lost” this writer’s notebook; she’d written so many hopes, dreams, and ideas in it that she didn’t want anyone, to see it. Ever. It’s that kind of book. It inspires trust and sparks imagination. And she only let me have it back briefly, if I promised not to read what she’d written. And I’m trying really, really hard not to. It’s called Fireflies: A Writer’s Notebook, and although it’s been written for all ages, it’s especially perfect for my precocious eight-year-old writer. The idea is that ideas are like fireflies, which can spark...Read More
While we try to cook most of our meals at home–with the help of all of the awesome recipes curated on Cool Mom Picks by our resident foodie, Stacie Billis–sometimes dining out is a necessity. You get it. And now Chipotle’s new Cultivating Thought author series is a very cool effort that just put the chain at the top of my list for our next pit stop. Author Jonathan Safran Foer apparently came up with the idea to print writing selections on cups and bags after stopping for a bite at Chipotle one day, then finding himself with nothing to read. He pitched the Chipotle CEO, who loved the...Read More
Our favorite picture books inspire our kids to come up with stories of their own, though I’m especially excited about the Little Red Writing book, which also teaches them the how to construct the story so that it’s entertaining and fun. Because while I have always loved my kids’ stories, they definitely get better when they aren’t one big run-on sentence. (Sorry kids.) Written by Joan Holub and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, the book packs several grammar lessons into a story borrowed heavily from Little Red Riding Hood, as you might have guessed. Little Red is a pencil who is assigned a writing...Read More
We all have our pet peeves, and one of mine happens to be spelling and grammar. Even a text message with they’re/there/their used incorrectly is enough to make me cringe. (To say nothing of all the pitches we receive daily that assure us “mom’s will love this!”) That’s why this set of mugs would be perfect for starting every grammatically-correct day. I love how the Grammar Grumbles mugs from The Literary Gift Company illustrate the proper use of two/to/too and clarify that no one will actually die if they don’t get what they’re yearning for. (It’s a figure of...Read More
As we move to empower our daughters, to help them find strong role models (you know, whose accomplishments don’t include “twerking”), and to get them excited about their potential, I’m so delighted to find a new website that helps do those very things. The Reconstructionists is a Tumblr blog which is celebrating remarkable women for a whole year. Created as a partnership between Maria Popova of Brainpickings and amazing illustrator Lisa Congdon, I cannot stop poring through it. Gather your daughters–and sons–around, read the short bios, explore the quotes, and get some good discussions going. You’ll of course find ususal female role model...Read More
Hi, Word Nerd here. You know, the type who cringes wildly every time she receives a pitch promising “A Great Story Idea For Mom’s Everywhere.” I’m also a little anal about the its/it’s issues on my children’s homework, so you can imagine how excited I am about this line of grammar police dishware. The may/can plates from Grammar Rules are so perfect for kids, giving you the perfect opportunity to explain that “yes, everyone can have ice cream for breakfast but no, you may not.” (Or at least that’s the example I might use.) They’re such fun...Read More
With all the talk about getting rid of cursive handwriting in schools, this writer is a little panicky. Fortunately my kids are showing the inclination anyway. Which is in part why I’m loving these awesome personalized placemats to help them do that very thing. We fell in love with the awesome kids’ personalized placemats from Sarah + Abraham a while back–my kids still love sitting down at the chair where they see a likeness of their faces staring back at them. Plus? The placemats show no real sign of wear and tear, even after everyday use for more than...Read More
Ok, so there’s actually no wrong way to celebrate Pi Day, which is today, 3.14. (Get it?) But this option is inexpensive, functional, and calorie-free. Plus, it can help your kids learn more than the first three digits of everyone’s favorite mathematical constant. The Pi Pencil Pack from Wacodis on Etsy brings you plenty of pretty pastel pencils printed with, well, pi. Say that three times fast–or 3.14 times fast. You get thirty pencils in colors of your choice, hand-printed with as many digits of pi as possible. And they’re not shoddy pencils, either, but No. 2 graphite with...Read More
I’ve been a long time fan of artist and designer Marisa Anne Cummings of Creative Thursday, who’s created some of the beautiful artwork, growth charts, and calendars seen on these here pages. So when I finally got my hands on her new book to help you get your creativity on too, it met every expectation. Boy, I love this book. The thing I love most about Creative Thursday: Everyday Inspiration to Grow Your Creative Practice is that it isn’t really just about illustrating or painting or for professionals or people who have their own “crafting rooms.” Really, it’s for...Read More
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened book review – We dare you not to laugh so hard you embarrass yourself in public
Anyone who’s familiar with the uber popular blog The Bloggess, by Jenny Lawson, won’t be surprised in the least that her new memoir Let’s Pretend this Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) is spit-bourbon-out-your-nose funny. You won’t be surprised that this is not a book to read out loud to the nun sitting next to you on the bus. You also might not be surprised that it debuted #1 on the New York Times best-seller list this week. What might surprise you, however, is how poignant, moving, and absolutely captivating it is from cover to cover. From the first...Read More
One of my literary heroes has always been Anna Quindlen. She’s not only an amazing columnist, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, hard working mom, and now incredible author, she’s an all-around very cool, very inspiring woman. Next Tuesday in NYC, I’ll be hosting a reading and signing for her new book, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake which is a warm, humorous take on motherhood, marriage, girlfriends, our bodies–ya know. All the stuff we’re talking about anyway. Only she’ll say it better. Which is why you’ll want to buy it, then have it signed. If you’re in the NYC area,...Read More
Ask my mom, and she’ll tell you that she knew I was a writer from the moment I was born, or at least from the moment I started scrawling my first story on the wall in… um… nevermind. Too bad they didn’t have this onesie back then. The utterly adorable The Writer Onesie is a must-have for anyone who writes or reads or loves the written word or just has a thing for old-fashioned typewriters. Whether you like the gender-neutral yellow or the pink on pink, each organic cotton onesie by All Good Living features a printed typewriter...Read More
After our local Border’s bookstore closed, I became a bit “woe is me” about the future of books. I’m one of those people who just can’t imagine sitting down my kids for a bedtime story with my iPad in my lap. So, I’m rejoicing over this excellent “read it and then create your own” book bundle from Dave Egger’s own McSweeney’s Books, which is doing its part to keep the genre vibrant, exciting and, most importantly to me, paper. The McMullens Bundle includes three beautifully illustrated hardcover picture books, as well as The Author-Illustrator Starter Kit of blank books....Read More
My mom was amazing with personal notes–she always produced the loveliest card, written just-so, perfectly on-time, for every occasion. Her mastery of the art form skipped a generation. But the good news is that means my kids have a fair shot at note-writing expertise–and these adorable new educational cards can only help. Letter Learning is a line of educational greeting cards for kids, invented by teacher and mama Ellen Richard. There’s a card for every occasion–from birthdays to party invites to “just because,” with cute illustrations and pre-made words that kids trace out so that they’re “writing” while learning to write...Read More
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