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Problem Solvers

How to Protect Your Baby from his Baby Bottle

Posted by Caroline Fong May 21, 2014 02:00 PM

In my mind, plastic is a very innocent material, and I’ve never paid it much mind. It’s flexible, can be transparent, and comes in all sorts of colors. It doesn’t break like glass and I don’t need to cringe at the sound of my spoon coming in contact with a can or steel container.

In March, Mother Jones published an article on the scary new evidence on plastic. Even if BPA-free, it can still contain other estrogenic chemicals and “endocrine-disrupting chemicals known as phthalates.” They’ve all been linked to ailments and could even affect the health of future generations.

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One of 5 Phases' little fans


Raise Your Feet for Lost Sock Memorial Day

Posted by Caroline Fong May 9, 2014 02:00 PM

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I am convinced there is a sock monster that lives in my washing machine. On good days, I manage to find the same number of my beloved socks in the clean laundry. On grumpy days, I find lone socks, adding to my growing collection of odd socks.

Today is Lost Sock Memorial Day, the day we commemorate the lost halves of our socks. Let's raise our feet in memory of these lost feet mittens and replenish our collection. And let's go over a couple of ways to avoid losing more socks, shall we?


Journey to Product Launch: My Million-Dollar Idea

Posted by Caroline Fong April 14, 2014 05:00 PM

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For today’s post, learn about a product through a Maker's own words. Meet Gail Loos, the Ready for Market winner of The Grommet's 2014 Product Pitch Event, and her winning product hack. The Ecotonix Compost Shredder is a hand-operated food scrap shredder and recycling system.

It seemed so simple in concept. Find an idea that solves a big problem. Identify and quantify potential buyers. Hire someone to design, manufacture, and sell my innovative new product while I sit back and count a growing pile of money. Like many budding entrepreneurs, I dreamed of this straight path from idea to early retirement -- if I could only find the right problem-solving idea.


Weave Comfort Into Every Part of Your Day

Posted by Caroline Fong April 9, 2014 05:00 PM

Most of us don’t have the luxury of living close to work and have to regularly commute for long stretches. Couple that with all the little fires we deal with at different points of our day, it’s easy to feel deflated at day’s end.

If you’re like me, I am a fan of creature comforts. Yes, I’ll take an extra fluffy pillow for my head in bed. Yes, I need extra cushions on the couch. Yes, I’ll wear fluffy socks. And yes, I’ll sometimes sit on a Yogibo bean bag to work.

In the name of relaxation, I’ve rounded up 6 items to work into your day for some points of comfort. Simply choose from the three groups below for what’s most important -- and relaxing -- for you.


Ever had a case of itchy or suffocating underwear? Sure you have, and I’m sure it’s a place you never want to be in again.

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For the lads, find comfort in Charles van de Pear ($49) boxer shorts, which combine the best-of-both-men’s-underwear-worlds. Adjustable with built-in support, these luxury men’s underwear are made from lightweight woven cotton shirting fabric that softens with each wash.


Product Pitch Hacks: A People's History of Underappreciated Hacks

Posted by Caroline Fong March 3, 2014 07:00 PM

Last week’s blogging theme as part of the pre-game media coverage of The Grommet’s 2014 Product Pitch looked to the community for loved, but Underappreciated Hacks throughout the years.

We all have our favorite. From 3M’s Post-it note and Scotch Tape to the brown paper bag, there are product inventions that have become a part of our daily lives. I wanted to know what ingenious fixes the community had come to use day in and day out. It’s time to give these great products a little bit of attention.

From Meghan Gibbons of @gibbonstwin1:

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In her blog post “Vaseline: A Household Staple,” Meghan shares how such an inexpensive and overlooked item has many, many uses. It can be used as a makeup remover, a split end sealer, and as a fragrance preserver of any perfume you wear (just dab some on your pulse points before spritzing) -- not to mention it’s great for preventing chapped winter lips!


Fashionable Hacks from The Grommet

Posted by Caroline Fong February 19, 2014 05:00 PM

Last week’s Grommet Gallery of hacks contained six classic Grommets. They were the bestsellers, solving a range of problems from being able to use your Mason jars for coffee on the go to removing lint and pills from your cardigans.

This week’s hacks, or creative solutions and products that solve a problem, focus on fashion. Accessories have long been staples of a good outfit. An outfit wasn’t complete without the right pair of earrings, shoes, purse, or even gloves.

Be ready to be wowed by these six fashionable fashionable Grommets. They’ll pull your outfit together and more.



THINX ($32, Hiphugger) -- Others may not see this fashionable hack (unless they’re lucky), but you’ll feel beautiful and protected in a pair of these performance underwear. They’re leak and stain resistant for days when you need a bit of extra protection.


Product Pitch Hacks: Hack My Tech

Posted by Caroline Fong February 17, 2014 05:00 PM

As a launch platform for undiscovered products, The Grommet is hosting the 2014 Product Pitch Contest to celebrate and recognize the Makers out there and their innovative creations.

As part of the kickoff of this exciting event with media coverage on, we will be hosting a series of blog posts that will showcase hacks, or better and more creative solutions, to everyday problems as many of our Grommets are problem solvers.

To continue the Hack My Life (HML) blog series, last week’s theme was “Hack My Tech.” From iPods to smartphone apps, we love getting new tech gadgets and doing cool things with them. I asked the community what were some of their best tech hacks. It could be an ingenious repurposing of a tech item, a handy way to organize our plugged in lives, or even a knack for creative fixes for when tech devices fail.

Here are a few tips that will rally your wired gizmos in order!

From Meghan Gibbons, @gibbonstwin1:

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Image via iheartorganizing

In her blog post “Toilet Paper Rolls: The DIY Cord Organizer,” Meghan shares how she keeps the cords of her laptop, iPhone, Nook, camera, printer, and even her hair tools in her bathroom neatly organized on a tight student budget. She repurposes toilet paper cardboard tubes by decorating them (with patterned tape or colored duct tape) and turning them into to cord holders!


Classic Hacks from The Grommet

Posted by Caroline Fong February 12, 2014 05:00 PM

We’re all constantly looking for better ways to do things. Doing things more effectively or finding novel solutions could mean less cleanup work, longer intervals between replacing our possessions, or repurposing something we already have -- all of which could translate into saving time and money.

As part of the kickoff of the 2014 Product Pitch, The Grommet will feature a Grommet Gallery of hacks every week until the playoffs in March. Hacks are creative solutions and products that solve a problem.

This week’s feature contains six classic Grommets. These are the bestsellers and golden Grommets, the ones that have resonated widely within the community.


1. Cuppow ($7.95)


On the go and want to take your beloved Mason jar of coffee with you? This lid turns your regular Mason jar into a portable travel mug.


Hacks for a Weekend Bus Trip

Posted by Caroline Fong February 5, 2014 04:30 PM

Maybe it’s something about the blanket of snow we’re under right now, but many of my friends have been throwing around the idea of going away for a quick trip. I personally love the idea of a weekend trip. My favorite? New York City.

As Boston folks, we’re lucky that the The Big Apple is so close and accessible. Just jump on a bus and five hours later, boom, you’re in the heart of one of the busiest cities on earth with some of the best food around.


Hacks for Your MVP: Most Valuable Puppy

Posted by Caroline Fong February 3, 2014 01:30 PM

Move aside, Super Bowl. The Seattle Seahawks may have grabbed a dominating win, but Ginger, an Old English Sheepdog mix, dominated this year's Puppy Bowl in a series of strategic nutty plays on the field -- read as adorable!

Check out her scruffy antics on the field:


About The Grommet

We launch undiscovered products and help them succeed; we call them Grommets. Grommets aren't just things. Grommets are products with a purpose invented by people with stories. More »
Buy Differently is a sponsored blog powered by The Grommet, and part of Finds, a site you can count on to bring you the best discoveries around Boston and beyond. This blog is not written or edited by or Finds. The author is solely responsible for the content.
Caroline Fong
Caroline hails from a tiny tropical island originally, but calls Boston home. A curious bird, she spent a spring trekking all over Ireland, has been an Air Force Junior ROTC cadet, and worked at Disney World as a merchandising intern. With a love for all things interesting, she found herself at The Grommet, where she gets to eat, sleep, and breathe innovative undiscovered products. Say hello to her on Twitter.