showin’ off: our new pbteen bean bag (a.k.a. groovy dog bed)


I’ve been thinking about getting a Furlicious bean bag from PB Teen for ages… and finally bit the bullet the other week. I was worried that it would make our living room seem too dormy or juvenile. But then I realized that with a four-year old and a puppy in the house, it was nearly impossible to have “mature” decor anyhow! Actually, it was Isadora who tipped the scale towards buying the bean bag. There’s a bookstore in our neighborhood that has one tucked in the kids’ corner, and whenever we go there we get so cozy reading that it’s hard to leave. Sure, she would have preferred a purple polka dotted variation, but I thought this faux flokati monster would match our brown leather couch, orange Saarinen chair and shag rug better. Since I seem to spend more time sitting on the floor than furniture these days, it is already getting a ton of use. Isadora “loves it” and the puppy… well, see for yourself. I dare say it’s the best $180 I’ve spent in a long time. — Angela M.

kinda genuis: to-go lids to help you reuse glass jars


Just today I was feeling glass jar guilt. I saw a page in the new MSL that suggested we use them to store things like pre-chopped garlic and unused onion halves, and I thought, oh, I’ll never be that organized. I save a lot of glass jars, but except for firefly catching in the summer, they don’t get much use. This supremely clever item at Uncrate, called the Cuppow, could help me be a much more practical recycler. It’s a reusable top that acts like a coffee cup lid. Of course, pouring hot liquid into a glass jar is not the smartest way to consume your joe (ouch!) but it could be great for lemonade and iced tea in the summertime. Stick a straw in it (and repeat stern “two hands!” instructions over and over) and I’ve got a spill-proof starter glass for Isadora. Available at Uncrate, $8. — Angela M.

What do you do with your old glass jars? Send suggestions and ideas, please!

swank toy: moma modern play house


I secretly enjoy many of Isadora’s toys: The smell of Playdough. The soft comfort of a stuffed bear. The endless possibilities of a pile of wooden blocks. But one of her new toys has got me tinkering nonstop. It’s the MoMa Modern Playhouse, a clever kit that allows mom and kid alike to act out their mid century home dreams. It comes with six colorful cardboard nesting boxes, eight pieces of chic furniture and several rug or floor coverings. There are also some vinyl stickers that look like Eames clocks and lamps, but I had a hard time getting them to cling. No worries! A matching kit with a dress up family keeps our imaginations active. Created by the smart people at Chronicle books, $19. — Angela M.

gaga for japanese design: mood humidifier & egg mold



We took a field trip to a mega Japanese supermarket, Mitsuwa in Edgewater, NJ the other day. It’s an enormous store complete with a food court, gift shops and a Wegmans-sized grocery store. It’s so big that it’s a little overwhelming, especially with busloads of crowds milling around. Luckily, after some Miso Ramen nourishment, we were ready to hit the aisles.

Two things made it home with us and they have already changed our lives. The first is a perfectly compact humidifier called Mood, $44. You attach a bottle of water on the top and turn up the dial — out pours a delightful mist. I’m never good with humidifiers. I hate cleaning them and never remember to change the filter. This little number should do the trick through the rest of the winter. Did I mention it glows? So cute.

My other new obsession is an egg mold. Our little girl already enjoys a hard boiled now and then, but having them shaped like bunnies and bears makes them even more appealing! To create, you peel the eggs while they’re still warm and then pop in the mold, close them, and let them cool down. My guess is it will make Isadora the star of her preschool lunch bunch. Love them! You can get your own on Amazon, for about $5.

Previous posts about Japanese inspired design.

Bento box art

Japanese Softee Kits

Japanese Masking Tape

the puppy files: introducing…cupcake!


Hello dear readers! It’s Monday afternoon, and though I am a little more sleepy than usual I didn’t want to wait a moment longer before introducing you to our new puppy, Cupcake. (Yes, our four-year old daughter picked out his name.) We picked him up from the breeder on Saturday, and spent about an hour there playing with him and his siblings, and getting some last minute tips on puppy care. It really helped to see where he was coming from. The house was big and warm and cozy — a puppy paradise, really.

We brought him home via a four hour drive that went surprising well. The little guy mostly snoozed contently the whole way. As soon as we got home, he promptly set about exploring his new place. It took him about five minutes before he found a spot to poop. Luckily, it was on the hard floor and was easy to clean up. We spent most of the night laughing and playing, amazed that he was already so good fetching; all those squeaky toys really are actually a ton of fun! The first night in the crate was not so bad. He fell asleep after about ten minutes and only woke up once around 2 am. After a quick, cold visit to the backyard, he went back to sleep until dawn. I thought, this is easy…

That was until last night, which seemed much harder than the first. Perhaps it was finally sinking in that his brothers and sisters were not going to show up? What ever was going on in that little walnut of a brain, Cupcake would not quiet down. After about 20 minutes of unsuccessfully trying to lure him to sleep, we decided to move the crate downstairs. Bad idea. He cried all night! Well, at least until around 2:30 a.m. when I took him outside (burrrrr — when did it suddenly get so cold here?!) and then moved the crate back up to our room. I got him to go to sleep by literally sliding it as close to our bed possible and then sticking my fingers in the crate. Not exactly comfortable for me, but it worked! We’ll try that again tonight. My plan is make sure we wear him out with lots of play before we put him in the crate to sleep.

People keep telling me that dogs learn to love being in their crates but it’s hard to imagine. From the wails he made last night you would think we were torturing him. Please tell me it gets easier! — Angela M.

Previously on the Puppy Files

Getting Our Home Ready For a New Pup

After Losing Our Dear Cat, We Ask: Is It Time For a Dog?

Chosing the Perfect Breed

What to Look For In A Breeder