Monday, June 30, 2008

Get Your Tush in Gear

Lugging a diaper bag to the grocery store, mall, grandparents, where ever is no fun. Traveling light is a phenomenon from mom's singledom days - a distant fond memory. Until now...

Tushygear - don't you just love that name? - has a product to lighten moms' load and look ultra fashionable in the process.

Tushygear on the Road is a 3-in-one product; carry diapers, wipes, and a changing pad all in one chic rolled and ribbon-tied package. Totally totable, Tushygear was invented by (you guessed it!) a cool Midwest mom from Chicago who solved a problem moms everywhere struggle with. Now moms have an easily portable diapering solution so their precious tots' heines never have to touch a nasty public bathroom changing table again!

Tushygear comes in fab fabrics - I personally love the Big Fun Flowers. They retail for $38 and can be bought on the Tushygear site or online at one of these retailers

Friday, June 27, 2008

Mad Shopping Therapy

You have to be a girl to get it - shopping is therapy... The thrill of the hunt, the find, the catch, and the high of clutching your boutique bag (or having Mr. Postman leave a box on your stoop) - the anticipation of having, owning, getting. When I'm upset, shopping is my go-to calming source. 

On a recent shopping shrink session, I stumbled upon these cute nighties by Mad Sky. Available online at Sandbox Couture, these nightgowns have an Asian flare but maintain their sweetness. Sandbox also carries little boy pajamas I dig. Check out the Army-inspired set. Who doesn't love a new pair of jammies? 

If you're not on the market for night-ware, fear not; Sandbox Couture has tons of other choices from oodles of designers making hip and trendy clothes for tots. They have a fantastic clearance page if you're a bargain hunter. They also feature a Deal of the Day. Wether you're shopping as a stress reliever or for fun (or both!), you'll find something adorable for your kid at Sandbox. 

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Monsters aren't Under the Bed... They're in the Bathroom

Nice big-kid hooded towels are hard to come by. We're featured one company making custom towels - Towel Hoodies - and now we've found another CMM likes: Monster Fun available online at C Berry Baby. Monster Fun towels are also available in the designers' Etsy shop, Nissalisa

Started by sisters in-law, Nissa and Lisa from Georgia, the towels are personally designed and hand sewn, giving them a personal and indie feel. They pride themselves on packing personality-plus into their creations. 

Sized for little ones up to age 7, Monster Fun towels come in bright, happy colors like pink and tangerine. Available for around $45, there are monsters for little boys and little girls making bath time a little more fun... and not so scary.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Gettin' Twiggy with It

Cheesy title. I know. But there's nothing cheesy about Little Lark's style.
Little Lark is a line of onesies and tees available online at Mod and Mini. Pictured to the left is one of my favorite designs - Twig Shirt in Grass Green. All of the graphic designs are on trend - some are earthy and others are more playful like the Gnome

Tees retail for $30, while onesies for $28. Little Lark also offers some adorable pants and hats to coordinate. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Knitting is Bliss

My very patient mother in-law taught me how to knit a few years ago. For a long time, I dabbled making scarves - low risk, mindless projects. Then, she recently gave me a Debbie Bliss knitting book with patterns for babies and yarn to start a sweater project. It was the nudge I needed to fly out of the straight line scarf nest and spread my knitting stitch knowledge base.

I've had so much fun with this project. It's not perfect (that makes it "special," right?), and to date only about half finished. The book along with the Internet (and emergency fixing sessions with said knitting teacher) has assisted me through the pattern. 

If you're thinking about learning to knit, Knitting Help has a great Web site on getting started. If you are like I was - fearful of making anything other than a scarf - try something like a simple hat. Like my mother in-law says, you can't undo life, but you can undo a knitting project and start over. 

Monday, June 23, 2008

All a Twitter

Do you Twitter? No, I'm not talking about bird calling. I'm talking about Twitter, a new social networking site.
What's the point of Twittering? With short Tweets (yes, that's what they are called), one can update in 140 characters or less what they are doing at this very moment.

Who cares? Say your life isn't interesting enough for others to know what's up moment by moment? 

Twitter has a ton of cool real life uses for busy moms. Here are a few hypotheticals of how it can simplify your life:

Scenario 1: Dad and baby are at the grocery store. Dad doesn't know if you (mom) want Fuji or Gala apples. So, he pulls out his cell, logs onto the Internet, and Twitters the questions. Within seconds, you get an "nudge" that he's contacting you. You give your short response, "5 Fuji apples." Presto! 

Scenario 2: You're a busy working, traveling mom who just landed in another city for a business meeting. Your colleagues are around and you don't want to call home yet. So, you Twitter a message to home saying you landed and will call later. Fast, easy, done!

Scenario 3: You have family living in all corners of the world, and it seems you never have a half hour to call and catch up. Keep up with each other with Twitter. It's a virtual way to stay connected and have a feel for each other's lives. Voila!

Signing up is free and simple, and once you start you'll see how great Twittering is. 

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bling your Breastfeeding

I nursed for about eight weeks. They were the roughest eight weeks of this baby experience. My hat is off to the women who can make it work longer than I did. Unfortunately, it did not work out well for me for many reasons... 
But if I had nursed longer, I would have bought one of these cool necklaces for breastfeeding moms from Baby Friendly Beads. Designed to withstand the toll babies take on our jewelry as they learn to tug and pull, these necklaces are also pretty cute. The designs are versatile enough to wear with a multitude of outfits. 
Another cool idea are the reminder bracelet. As you nurse, you switch the bracelet to the side you last fed from so there's no guessing next time baby cries for mommy which side needs to be emptied first. The beads are strung on memory wire - no clasps to mess with; your arms are full enough!
Necklaces start at $12 and reminder bracelets at $16. 

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Little Lily is Big on Fashion

Etsy is so addicting. If you aren't familiar, Etsy is a hugely popular online store where people can buy and sell handmade and vintage items. Many of my posts feature Etsy shops. Pouncing is the most cumpulsive of all things Etsy, which is when you click "Pounce" and the site shows the last few items bought by people all over the world. I love seeing what people buy - and it proves once again there is a market for EVERYTHING. 

I Pounced and came upon something quite good, Little Lily - Lily Sky. Lily Sky's shop specializes in children's clothing, accessories and toys. They feature these pinafore dresses (Freshcut Flowers pictured above) that are darling - I want one in every design!  

The fabrics are eclectic but appropriate for little girls. The designer is a cool midwest mom from Chicago who says she is inspired by retro, vintage, Indian and Asian materials. Items are custom made and are available in sizes 3 mo. to 6T.

Lily Sky also sells plush toys including the sugar cookie gifty item pictured above, which includes 6 cookies and mini rolling pin packaged in a paisley take-out inspired box. How cute would this be for a tea party? 

Plush toys retail for $20. Pinafore dresses start at $26.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Birthday Party Ideas

I'm going to use today's post to pat myself on the back. My husband and I co-created an elaborate, cost-effective first birthday party for Olivia last weekend. The color scheme was pink and orange - a very hot combo now - and the theme was princess (I know, cliched, but couldn't help but indulge). 

Here are some of the ideas we came up with (or were inspired by someone else) that worked really well that you might be able to incorporate into your next posh party.

1. The invitation sets the tone. Instead of doing the normal blah-blah invite, we jazzed it up with this copy: Princess Olivia is turning one. You're invited to her palace for a party. Date. Time. The (insert last name) Castle. (insert street number and name) Court. The Kingdom of (insert city). Regrets only. 

2. I made a birthday banner using felt and letter stencils. The felt was cut into triangle flags on which I put a letter of a different color. All the flags were  strung together with yarn and hung on our mantle. We'll keep this and use it every year. 

3. As a keepsake, instead of a guest book we created a time capsule for attendees to write notes to Olivia to open on her 50th birthday. We provided slips of paper that prompted with "Dear Olivia" and "Love." The time capsule was an old paint can my husband cleaned up. 

4. Little kids swinging bats frightens me. For a pinata, we found a company, Celebrate Express,  that makes bat-less princess version that has ribbon hanging from it. One of the ribbon rips the pinata open for the candy to fall out. Each kid took a turn pulling a ribbon until the "right" one was chosen.

5. Crown and tiara making as an activity went over really well with the kids and adults. My mother in-law came up with this idea and bought all the supplies. She had the pre-shaped foam and foil paper for the shapes. Then she had all kinds of decorations like gems, letters for names, and even boa trim. 

6. I turned Olivia's highchair into a throne by using removable foam mounting squares to secure pink netting around the trey. I decorated the netting with rhinestone gems. 

Okay, have I bragged enough? We had a blast at the party and hope our guests did too. Many of the things we did were homemade and saved us a ton of money. Maybe you'll be inspired by my ideas. And if you have ideas you want to share, be sure to post a comment! 

Pics from the party can be seen in the slideshow to the left. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Shape of Love

Today is Miss Olivia's 1-year birthday, and I'm taking a vaca day to spend extra-special time with her. One thing I like to do on mornings were not rushing out the door to day care and work is make a hot breakfast. A family favorite is shaped pancakes.

I'm not as artistic as some; free handing hearts, stars, and butterflies is not my specialty du jour. Thank goodness for Shape-Its, a company started by one smart mama that creates molds for pancakes and other foods to make meal time play time too. 
Shape-Its come in all sorts of, well, shapes in their Pan Pal line including dinos, sheep, and whales for $5.99 each. Pan Pals are dishwasher safe (love that!) and have two handles for ease of use. 

They also have Kits themed for Easter, Holidays, Pets, and more that include 2-3 Shape-Its food forms, 2 decorating gels, 2 decorating sprinkles, and 4 food-safe markers all in a reusable vinyl bag for $16.99. That sounds like a cool bday gift to me! Shape-Its can be ordered here

Monday, June 16, 2008

Write this Down

If I don't write things down, they don't happen. Life is coming at me too fast to keep track of it all, and lists are my saving grace. And when I feel overwhelmed, stopping to write down all my thoughts - buy more diapers, send birthday card to so-and-so, schedule eyebrow wax - makes me feel more in control. They're just words on paper, but they somehow make sense of the craziness.

Words are also a big interior design trend. Scribble It has a great selection of vinyl decals from cutsy to chic for any room of your home - or even your car if you're so inclined. Available in a tons of colors and sizes, you'll be inspired to redecorate after visiting this site! 

My favorite saying Scribble is: A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten and the future worth living for. So true. 

Scribble It also has design-based wall art. Their vintage collection is full of slammin' designs like the oval frame and chandelier. 

If you have a saying you want but don't see it on the site, custom orders are welcomed. Pricing is fantastic - small saying start around $5 - but varies by size and shape. 

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sweet Nothings

Every woman knows an outfit is not complete with out accessories. The most classic, basic wardrobe can be jazzed up with a few key bold necklaces, belts, earrings, and scarves. Little girls are no different. Stocking up on basic tops and bottoms and then changing it up with fun headbands, bows and shoes will stretch your daughter's clothing budget.

I'm always on the lookout for unique hair pretties for Olivia and found a new favorite. Lou and Lee makes a super cute felt flower head wrap, Something Special Multi Color Headband, that I can't wait to get my hands on. The multiple petal colors keeps it fresh and flexible for tons of outfit options. Product retails for $13.

Lou and Lee has other fun products including the Red and White Blue Buns onesie is precious, and the Crochet Strawberry Blossom Felt Booties are too much - perfect baby shower gift. 

Nothing you need but things you will totally want, Lou and Lee is a great shopping destination for accessories for your little sweetie. Happy shopping!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fly Me to the Moon

I've been a little gender biased featuring more cool stuff for little girls than little boys. That's hard to help since I have a daughter and my eye is naturally attracted to things for her. Plus, cool stuff for little boys is difficult to come by. But my friends with boys who read this blog have gently pointed out, "Hey! More stuff for our studs, please." And I aim to please.
Thanks goodness for indie brands offering sons an alternative to dinosaures and dump truck primary-color striped tees. Popidiot is one such indie company offering XY trendy tots fashionable frocks, although their products are gender-neutral. 

Silk screened on American Apparel cotton t-shirts, Popidiot is both cool, silly (their own word) and affordable - just $15. The Rocket Boy tee comes in two colors, blue and green. The Skelly design is a friendly take on the popular skull and cross bone. Most are available in sizes 4-10.
Mom and dad can get in on the fun too. Adult-sized tees are available in many of the same designs as kids. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

One more shopping temptation...

Olivia turns one next week. Over the last year, I have spent a small fortune on her wardrobe and have loved every minute of it. There's so much goodness to be had, especially with the 24/7 availability of online shopping. And I've found yet another temptation.

Bydrieclothing hands down has the most adorable handmade little girls clothing I have found online to date. Just take a look at the hat and dress pictured to the left (Modern Party Pinny dress $45, hat $28)! I could seriously happily spend my next paycheck at this Etsy shop - Bill and I can shop at The Good Will. No problem. 

The designer of Byrdieclothing has won numerous awards for construction and style of her fashions, which are offered in sizes 1T-6. Beautiful patterns, unique designs, and hand sewn makes this collection irresistible. Happy shopping!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Reduce, Eco-use, Recycle

I've been coveting oh-so-stylish Sigg bottles for some time now but haven't had the stomach to drop 20 bucks on a water bottle. Aren't I glad I didn't splurge because I recently stumbled upon a similar product that retails for half the price of Siggs, ecowaterbottles

Ecousable's Ecowaterbottles come in fashionable designs and colors. My favorite is Purple. I also like that they offer what they call Water Wrapz to enhance the design and comfort of the bottles. The Flower Power design pretty cute. Some of them look a little juvenile, but there are gems to be had.  

Asthetics aside, ecowaterbottles are reusable, making them an Earth-friendly choice. Its interior is tasteless, non-leaching, and toxin free. Recyclable themselves, the bottles are made of lightweight, stainless steel, perfect for busy moms on the go. 

Best part of all is the price - just $9.99 per bottle. 

Monday, June 9, 2008

Jet Setter

We have not dared take Olivia on a plane. I've been on too many a trip when an infant screams Bloody Mary from wheels up to wheels down and do not want to be responsible for putting trapped passengers through that torture. However, that does not mean I can't plan for the trips we will eventually take by buying some chic kids luggage.

Busquets is a nearly 100-year-old company from Spain that offers stylish rolling duffel bags for tots. Available in several colors and designs for $119 at Little Jet Set, the suitcases are perfectly sized for little hands. Matching accessories are also available such as the toiletry bag complete with toothbrush holder and brush for $37.95.

Busquets products are giving me the itch to book a trip... Now where too?..

Friday, June 6, 2008

Sprout a New Web Site to Bookmark

I recently stumbled upon Sprout Child, a cool boutique out of Royal Oak, MI. They have a great line up of children's clothes brands. Founders Amy and Lauren have been best friends for many years, and always dreamt of opening a "cool, funky kids boutique." CMM thinks they've succeeded.

Hard to believe fall clothes are starting to arrive at retail as summer is just getting underway, but Sprout Child has fab new fall fashions from Cotton Caboodle, Flowers by Zoe, and Baby Bean among other labels. My credit card is having hot flashes as I sit here and plot my next purchase. I want the red and yellow floral Baby Bean dress ($64... for a special occasion, okay!), Flowers by Zoe alphabet long sleeved tee ($40... don't judge... you'll want it too when you click the link), and Hi Ho Batik pants with heart design ($34... if you divide the number of times she'll wear by the total cost it's practically free!). 

If you can't stand a splurge and are okay on last year's fashions, check out their fall/winter 07/08 clearance. You'll get 30% at checkout by entering the code SCWS30. 

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Raga Mama

Sometimes a simple toy is all a baby needs. Let me rephrase: simple and stylish. Parents can easily get wrapped up in the bells and whistles of toys available in today's busy marketplace (I'm guilty as charged!), they forget that a ball does the trick to pass a few minutes of a baby's day. 
Enter Little Poppy Shop, a new adorable shop on Etsy that sells super stylish rag balls. Ever since the sample came in the mail, my daughter hasn't stopped playing with it. Hand sewn with beautifully patterned fabrics (not too matchy-matchy making it uber hip), it is filled with soft cotton and has a bell in the center for a rattle effect. The balls are bigger than they look in the pictures. I'd say one is about as big as my one-year-old's head.

The ball's packaging is as nice as the product itself; it comes wrapped in netting tied with a complimentary bow. I can't wait to give this as gifts for upcoming baby showers! Product retails for $12. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Do Some Good While You Shoe Shop

Now through June 15, Pediped will donate 50% of the sale price on select sale styles to Make-a-Wish foundation. Pediped is an outstanding shoe brand for pre-walkers and walkers. They're sturdy enough to wear outdoors but flexible enough for developing feet. 

I bought Olivia the Lola metallic pink shoes, and we love them. She likes how the light catches the shinny finish and is obsessed with the velcro - easily amused that child is. They normally retail for $30 but are on sale for $20.

If I had a boy, I would order Liam orange/brown - so hip. And I'm thinking about ordering another pair for Olivia - probably the Madeline chocolate brown/pink

Hurry. Supplies are limited and time is running out! Order today.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Modern June

Being a hip housewife is an art. I'm hardly a traditional housewife bringing home more than half the bacon (sorry, honey, but it's true). When I am in domestic mode, I want to do it in style - like any other cool midwest mom. 

Modern June's Splat Mat makes a trendy addition to your tot's tabletop. Made from retro-pattern oilcloth, Splat Mats are versatile to solve many a messy woe modern moms endure. Cringe when you're kid eats off the restaurant table? Take a Splat Mat and put your mind at ease. Hate scraping art projects from the crevices of your kitchen table? Put down the Deluxe Splat Mat and voila! The best part of Splat Mats is they wipe clean easily, no matter what mess your little one creates.

Splat Mats also come with matching bibs and art smocks making them a fantastic, unique baby shower or birthday gift. Each order is customized to your fabric color and pattern specifications. Prices start at $18.

Monday, June 2, 2008

I've Got a Golden Ticket!

Baby Legs is taking a page from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. From June 1 to July 15 at participating retailers, consumers - that's you! - can look for specially marked packages of Baby Legs to win fabulous prizes. Grand prize winner will receive a trip to uber chic Seattle worth $3500.

The specially marked packages of Baby Legs will have a golden overlocking stitch sewn around the inside seam closest to the signature "BL" logo. 

Other prizes are from some of CMM's fav sites. See list in the graphic above or by clicking the first link. Click here for contest rules

Good luck!