Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Baby Carrier Cover

February 8, 2012

Alina Maturu, age 4 months, on assignment for UncommonGoods
As told to Swati Parikh

Gift Lab: Baby Carrier Cover

Background Research:

My mommy and I love to go for walks in our neighborhood. Every day she dresses me in a bunch of layers to keep me warm, straps me into a carrier and we set off on our daily adventure. I love going for walks and falling asleep while we’re out. The problem is that I hate putting on that winter bearsuit

– even though I’m super cute in it, it makes me all hot and sweaty and my mom gets sweaty too. So I whine and cry every time she puts it on me and we struggle to get out the door. And my mommy can’t zip up her coat around me, so she’s cold once we get outside too.

A carrier cover is just what we need. It will keep me and my mommy nice and warm and we’ll get to avoid the hassle of putting on a bunch of layers before leaving the house.

It’s been a fairly warm winter this year, but I finally got to see my first real snow storm in January. It was the perfect day to test out the carrier cover. We first watched this little video to figure out how to put it on:

Once we had it in place, with the proper strings pulled tight, we set off for an adventure in the snow to see how warm we would be in the cover.

It works! As my mom likes to say, the carrier keeps me “snug as a bug in a rug.” All I have to wear is this cute little onesie, pants and a sweater. No bearsuit. No crying. Once we get inside my mommy easily slips it off and I stay asleep the whole time.

My mommy also feels much warmer with the cover and feels like she was wearing another layer but not overheating. Her neck and chest are still exposed to the cold air, but she solves this problem by wearing a scarf with it. The cover is a little bulky, but once she puts her coat on over it we look like a cute cozy pair.

And daddy likes it too. Did I mention he has the coolest job in the world? He works at UncommonGoods.

Alina’s Wardrobe: I Love My Microscope Onesie, $25.

Alina’s Baby Carrier Cover: $69 at UncommonGoods.

The Uncommon Life

Gift Lab #4: Speaker-Easy

June 2, 2010
Balloon Speaker - Ameet

Product Name: Balloon Speaker

Background Research: I love to listen to music, but find headphones constricting. I want to be able to listen to my music throughout my house and when I travel.

cute little speaker

Hypothesis: I’m hoping that the balloon speaker will be just as easy to use and carry as headphones.  I also like the idea of sharing my music with others, but am skeptical about sound quality.

Experiment: I’d like to test speaker out around the house, in the kitchen and the bathroom, and bring it with me on trip to New Orleans.

Results: The balloon speaker is remarkably easy to use. I just opened the box and connected to the headphone jack in my iPod, and instantly I had music!  I was also impressed with the battery life (5 hours of continuous play) and it can be recharged by connecting to your laptop.

Fits in suitcase

It’s even more lightweight and portable than I imagined. It fits in a cute little pouch (about the size of my hand), and has no issue getting into a suitcase or getting past airport security.

It’s also super cute! Did I mention it looks just like a clown’s nose?

Music in the Kitchen

I’ve especially enjoyed using the balloon speaker in the kitchen and listening to podcasts of This American Life while I am cooking.  It’s here I really appreciate the size of the balloon speaker, considering the small size of my apartment’s kitchen.

I’ve also used it while getting ready in the morning – taking it with me into the bedroom and the bathroom (note: unit is not waterproof).

Sound quality was pretty good. It’s a great alternative for headphones, but does not replace a home stereo. For parties or more “serious listening” I’d recommend an iPod Docking Station or our Ceramic Speakers.

Conclusion: I love my balloon speaker!  I’m not someone who collects a lot of stuff, but this is a really cute and practical item. I definitely plan to take it on my other trips this summer – especially the beach. I think it’s a great gift for any music lover and it’s priced under $50.

The Uncommon Life

Compost & the City

May 13, 2010

In preparation for Compostapalooza, our partnership with Quirky to create the ultimate composting product, we’re running a series of compost education posts. Read up, then put those brainstorming caps on for kick-off on May 17!


I’ve officially caught the compost bug.

I never thought I’d get much satisfaction from dumping smelly food scraps into a bin of other smelly food scraps. But sometimes I surprise myself.

I now bring my raw food scraps (i.e. fruits, vegetables, egg shells, tea bags) to my neighborhood community garden in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The scraps are then processed into compost that is used to nourish the vegetables and other plants in the garden with essential minerals.

I love the concept of making something useful from something we have no use for. We recycle paper and plastic. Why not food? Food waste accounts for the largest component of our trash each year.  Composting also reduces our need for chemically laden fertilizers, most of which are derived from oil.  And why pay for something you can get for free?


I store my food scraps in the freezer. That way, you can enjoy the benefits of composting without the stink factor. I then make my weekly trip to the Garden of Union on Saturday morning. I simply look for the marked bin, add my scraps, and cover with sawdust. The sawdust helps keep rodents away and also ensures the proper chemical balance of carbon and nitrogen. And that’s it! I’m doing my part to reduce my footprint, and grow yummy food within my community.

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