We first started this site with the mission of discovering cool things — particularly from small businesses and women-run companies — and share them with you all. While we’ve become popular for our gift guides to suit every budget, our tech tips, our support of non-profits and causes, and thoughtful parenting advice around current events and issues, I hope that our genuine support for small businesses will always come through.

With that, I want to share 5 randomly cool things that I really want to share. Kind of like the cool picks of the week we share at the end of each Spawned podcast episode.

Actually, wait.

Maybe this list isn’t all that random.

Seems that I unconsciously created a kind of self-care theme here, which makes perfect sense as we all work our way through the craziness of this country right now, headed straight toward the back-to-school crush. Hope you find something to love here — while supporting some really cool indie makers and entrepreneurs.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means some purchases may generate a small commission to help support our work, all at no additional cost to you. This never impacts my suggestions. So, thank you for your support of our own small business!


5 cool things I’m loving right now from small businesses

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Molly J CBD Gummies review; Why we love this hand-crafted, woman-run CBD brand

1. Handcrafted CBD Gumdrops from Molly J Life

Last year, this small, mom-run business sent me a beautiful gift box of their small-batch, handcrafted, organic CBD gumdrops and now I’m obsessed. They come in the most delicious, very adult flavors, like Elderflower Grapefruit and Lemon Lavender. Whether you’re looking for a serious chill or a good night’s sleep they absolutely do the trick.

At about $4/gumdrop they’re definitely an indulgent gift — for yourself or someone else — but I find they can be a nicer way to wind down than a glass of wine, cost less per serving, and keep you thinking straight.


Aloisia Beauty Revitalize Eye Cream review: Why we love it

2. Aloisia Beauty Revitalize Eye Cream

You frequent readers and Spawned listeners will know I’m fairly obsessed with the women-run, K-beauty inspired, clean beauty brand Aloisia Beauty. And now they’re out with a brand new eye cream, which I have been loving for the past week — after years of not finding one I like!

While I could live without the “anti-aging” moniker in the beauty industry, I am liking this addition to the brand’s line; it’s been reducing puffiness, feels nice going on at night, and smells pretty great.

As for the price, it’s comparable to the better eye creams from Estée Lauder, Clinique and Dior — but far more affordable than Tata Harper, or the high-end creams from brands like Estée, Lancome, Trish McEvoy and Revive.


Printable anxiety tracker from Tyler Feder: Great, low-stress way to help you manage your week (and your feelings)

3. Anxiety Tracker Printable by Tyler Feder 

I am such a fan of artist Tyler Feder’s work, not the least of which is her 2021 body-positive picture book, Bodies are Cool (available  here from bookstore.org, supporting my local indie bookseller, Books are Magic).  Her Roaring Softly Etsy shop includes a wonderful selection of items featuring her artwork, including this fairly new printable anxiety tracker. She describes it as a gentle way to plan out your life without getting too overwhelmed. Nothing has any dates printed, so you can always start over if you like 🙂

Three buds Apothecary Soy Candles: Amazing gift in the most delicious scents

4. Three Buds Apothecary Soy Candles

I recently met a mom of one of my daughter’s friends and she brought over a thoughtful gift — the most beautiful candle. Turns out, she made it! What? I am now the #1 fan of the Three Buds Apothecary Nomad scented candle which I never would have thought to buy myself (not usually a patchouli fan here), but it’s honestly, the addition of of bergamot and jasmine make it one of the most balanced, lovely room fragrances.

I would totally try the Hygge candle next (we know how much you all like Hygge gifts these days!), especially knowing I’m supporting a small, woman-owned Vermont business with great values and outstanding taste. Poke around the site for lots of fantastic gift ideas.


Morgan Harper Nichols Storyteller App: Daily inspiration, like it's coming from a good, wise friend

5. Morgan Harper Nichols Storyteller App

If you follow either @coolmompicks or my personal account @mom101 on Instagram, surely you’ve seen plenty of shares from the wonderful Morgan Harper Nichols. Since the beginning of 2022, I’ve ben a subscriber to her Storyteller App, which shares simple daily phone notifications like take time to notice what is beautiful around you. And let what is beautiful remind you of what is beautiful about you too.

I don’t consider myself  the “inspirational quote” type, and yet I love getting the notifications. In addition, you can click through each day for a new daily quote (downloadable as beautiful phone wallpaper) and a longer message that feels like advice from your wisest, closest friend.

Reminder: Subscribe to our newsletter and each week (or so) you’ll get 5 cool picks from me or from Kristen delivered right to your inbox. Who knows what we’ll recommend next week!