The holidays bring it on in so many ways. For me, it’s also when my love/hate relationship to stuff gets triggered. The spirit of shopping is in the air, but what do I—or my kids—really need? What warrants real estate in an overcrowded home, with a mom who has a deep-seated fear of clutter? Discrimination, discrimination, discrimination. After months of careful reviewing, here’s my carefully honed list of favorites. Most are local, but a few, even though out of state, were too good to miss a mention.
MaJia (memories and journeys in art), 512west.com
A former magazine art director turned Denver mom, Heidi Goman started this hip, whimsical keepsake conpany. Each MaJia, a 5” x 5” handmade square painting, can be personalized to include a name or number (think birthday year). Modeled on the idea of charm bracelets, the squares can celebrate a wide variety of occasions, including anniversaries (plus they look great in a grid). On the back of each painting, an embedded secret pouch is designed to hold a note or letter to your loved one. Don’t be surprised if Goman’s eye-pleasing aesthetics turn you into a budding art collector. Reasonably priced at $45 each, you can now afford to mark each year with flair.
Beanz skirts, beanzclothing.com, (skirts are $34)
Handmade, three-tiered skirts right out of A Little House on the Prairie are perfect for your budding farm girl. Founder Stacey Birtwhistle deftly combines the retro patterns into a sturdy fashion statement that no bona fide country girl can resist.
Eco ditty bags, ecoditty,com
Being a mom with a taste for adventure translates into lots of packed lunched on-the-go. Don’t let single-use Ziplock remorse weigh you down—instead try these organic, feather light snack and sandwich bags made from organic cotton. Jennie Hammers started the company when she found out her two-year-old was allergic to PVC plastic: her mission to rid her home of toxins and create an eco-friendly food storage solution had begun. These clever, contemporary pouches hold up to repeated washings and can even be put in the dishwasher.
Lake’s Mountain Organics, lakesmountainorganics.com
Founded by another toxin conscious mom, Alex Teller, these natural skincare products use high quality organic botanicals for baby’s sensitive skin—and smell wonderful to boot. A big fan of the diaper balm for my 15-month-year-old, I secretly tap into her stash of Lake’s Mountain body wash and oils when she isn’t looking.
Suuthe by mari, suuthe.com
Started by a mom, Mari Carlin Dart, on the search for a cure for her son’s eczema, this line features emu oil, an ingredient prized for its ability to heal damaged skin. Made from organic, food-grade ingredients, suuthe is über pure and perfect for Colorado’s dry climate. If nothing more fits into your hectic morning skin routine, slap on some of Suuthe facial moisturizer and brave the day.
Playdate with Denver, playdatewithdenver.com, $22
Written by Kyrie Collins, a de facto energetic mother of two, this book consolidates everything you wanted to know about kids’ adventures in Denver and the Front Range. Clearly laid out, with tons of interesting tidbits and cool ideas, this is a must have for moms who get tired—dare I say bored–of their local playground.
Woolino sleepy sack, woolino.com, $80-$90
In the chilly winter months, who hasn’t woken up and found their baby outside of her blankets and woefully cold? I soon discovered that the sleepy sack, or wearable sleeping bag for babies, is a must have, and I had my son in one for a good four winters. Normally sleep sacks are made from fleece, so when I found the Woolino, lined with merino wool on the inside and cotton on the outside, I thought it was worth the splurge. The wool makes the sack eminently breathable and able to be used even in the warmer months. The ingenious design, which features adjustable snaps, means the sack fits babies from 3 to 24 months. Truly a gift worth asking the grandparents for.
phil & ted’s traveler, philandteds.com, $180
Nothing is worth more than a good night’s sleep to parents, and this portable crib may be one of the best investments you make in your early parenting career. It’s a godsend for camping, traveling, or even whenever nap time hits and you are not at home. Phil & ted designed this sleek, compact crib with utmost mastery. Weighing in at seven pounds (without mattress), this is one of the few travel items that actually merits the tag line: Don’t leave home without it.
Putumayo Kids, putumayo.com, coloring and sticker books, $12
Now that you have the portable crib and will travel, what could be better than some world coloring books and stickers to accompany your journey? Even if you are just armchair travelers, these captivating books—that feature Europe, Africa, and Latin America—will take you deep into imaginative ruminations on faraway lands. Once Putumayo’s endearing illustrations spark your child’s curiosity about other cultures, follow through with a trip to a museum, a road trip, or—dream big—a jaunt overseas.