Make it easy on yourself parents!

Parenting is tough. No doubt about that. Here a few products to help you out on those days when you need all the help you can get!

DocATot (Delux)  – The Deluxe+ Dock from DockATot is the ultimate docking station for your newborn baby up to 8 months. This multi-functional design offers a comfy spot for diaper changes, tummy time, lounging, playing, cuddling, and napping. Lightweight and portable and easy to transport, this 3 lb machine washable wonder is well worth the price tag. Want to use it outside? No problem, the company also produces a nifty ‘cabana kit’ which includes a 50+ SPF UV-protected fabric hideaway bug screen and a retractable sun shade. The screen folds into a pouch and the kit also features a waterproof base protector.

Baby Brezza’s Formula Pro Advanced – Ever wondered what it would be like if you had a robot making your formula for you? Baby Brezza Formula Pro Advanced is the most advanced way to automatically make a warm, formula bottle instantly – it’s a true is a life saver (think 3am feeds in an instant.) No measuring, no mixing and no fuss. You can customize the perfect bottle for your baby by choosing 1 ounce increments between 2-10 ounces, 1 of 3 temperature settings or dispensing water only. It works with virtually all brands of formula and all bottle brands and sizes. BPA-FREE.

Hey Honey’s Trick or Treat CC2 Cream – The all-in-one solution for mom’s on the go, who want coverage with anti-aging skincare. Trick: Enjoy the complete and natural skin-perfecting coverage, use it all over the face and under eyes. Treat: Feel the benefits of an all-day, active moisturizing cream. Infused with the natural power of honey and propolis to give you both hydration (honey) and anti-bacterial treatment (propolis). Developed with Triple Pigment Technology, this CC cream moisturizes while disguising the appearance of skin imperfections.

Dr Brown’s Solid Feeding Products
Transitioning from all milk to food? No sweat. Dr Brown’s has a great range of products to help, including their long spatula spoons with comfortable long handle to reach the bottom of taller jars, and spatula edges to help wipe food from baby’s mouth. Their soft spout transition cup is also a must for solid feeding babies, with sturdy, contoured handles that make it easier than ever for little hands to get a comfortable grip and a spill-proof silicone spout valve that makes sipping easy for tiny mouths.

Solly Baby’s Fall/Winter Range – These are great for multi-use as a swaddle and carrier and fold up nice and small into any baby bag. Best part is that they come in great seasonal colors to match any of your outfits! Solly Baby wraps give you and your little one unparalleled closeness and comfort and are made from sustainable fabrics, environmentally-friendly dyes and Certified Lenzing Modal – making them super soft, eco safe and long lasting. 

The ultimate baby travel bag

What are the best baby products to travel with and why? As a mom on the go, I have been traveling with my 6 month-er since 4 months… on trains, plane and automobiles. I have had to get really good at having travel sizes, nifty tricks on hand and good products that do more than one thing.

So what will you find in my baby bag on the go?

Mommy makeup – Admitdly this one is for me but happy mommy is happy baby. If you’re anything like me, you love kissing your little one as much as possible…. but for affectionate and breastfeeding moms alike, you want to be careful what allergens could affect your baby. During my pregnancy I did some research into clean makeup brands and found ILIA Beauty. From concealers to tinted lip conditioners and multi sticks (one stick that does cheeks, lips and even eyes) they have you covered, both in convenience and organic clean ingredients that are safe for you and baby.

Swaddles and wraps – These are great for multi-use as a swaddle and carrier and fold up nice and small into my baby bag. Solly Baby wraps give you and your little one unparalleled closeness and comfort. Solly products are made from sustainable fabrics, environmentally-friendly dyes and Certified Lenzing Modal – making them super soft, eco safe and long lasting. 

Stack-able, hold-able baby bottles – Nanobebe has to be the best bottle solution since sliced bread, when it comes to storage and convenience. Not only do their bottles look and feel like a real breast, with a shape that baby can actually hold themselves –  but they also stack on top of each other! The bottles also heat 2x faster than normal bottles and all have a 360 degree venting system to reduce colic issues. They have pump adapters for easy pump right to bottle milk transfer AND have a cute little bag that you can pop a few in with a cooler right inside. Now that’s what I call smart.

Baby wash and baby cream – Whether you are the kind of mother who ventures for the kitchen sink or has some fancy blow up bath, you will need to take something to wash baby with. I am not a fan of anything that could irritate baby so brands like Little Green are great (not only because their products are nice enough that I even like to use them washing my own hair!) They have a whole ‘travel friendly’ line, including their Shampoo and Body Wash – mild and tear-free, with vitamin b and e to nourish baby’s skin harmlessly. Another great travel product is their Soothing Balm – a little stick of heaven for chapped lips, rashes or any irritated skin on the go. Both TSA friendly, they can slip right into that baby bag side pocket!


Burp clothes and bibs – When I am traveling, I just don’t have the room for a hundred burp clothes in my luggage or time to do laundry. I like to take a few snap up little bibs instead that pop right around baby’s neck. Dr Brown’s does a line of great soft little snap up bibs with teethers attached (think no velcro pulling on delicate baby clothes) that fold up nicely and fit easily into my bag. They come in some fun colors and patterns too, protecting baby and me from messes. If I have to wash them on the go, they can be easily hand washed a dry fast on a hotel towel rod. No mess, no stress.  


Pacifiers and teethers – Why do I feel like I can never have enough of these?!? Because I cant! There are so many great pacifiers out there now and this really depends on what your baby prefers, their age etc. Dr Browns does a range of great soft silicone pacifiers. I also like the little flexi-pacies Nonobebe does which are lightweight and ergonomic so the pacifier stays in baby’s mouth. Doddle and Co do some great teethers and are also known for their pacifier that ‘pops when it drops’ to save on constant cleaning. Having said that, if you have a wee extra bit of room and are looking for a nipple sanitizer on the go, it’s worth picking up BBLUv’s battery powered one!

Baby sunnies – Apart from looking cute as pie, sunglasses for little ones by Hipsterkid actually protect their eyes. Basically, these are the sunglasses we want for ourselves in mini-size. Get ready for your kid to steal the scene with 100% UVA and UVB protection, Polarized, shatter-resistant lenses and Flexible, durable frames – all of which also help protect your little one’s eyes for sun damage.

Pampering Mom & Dad

Mom and Dad deserve a pamper sometimes right? Dah! Of course we do. When it comes to having kids, particularly in the early years, we can 100% forget that looking after ourselves puts us in a better position to look after our little critters. So here’s what’s on my spoil mom and dad list (whether you buy them for yourself or your significant other!)

Dads

Oars and Alps – This natural men’s self grooming line caters to men who are active and on the go (great for travelers) These neat products are infused with Alpine Caribou Moss – a small mighty plant from Finland (backed up by ingredients like naturally aloe vera and volcanic sand) to aid everyday sweat, pollution and sunlight. Best part is, because they are clean, coming into contact with baby is totally safe.
Favorite products include their natural deodorant (which actually WORKS) and had a great earthy botanical scent along with their Essentials kit – for when you wake up looking (and maybe feeling) like the cast from The Hangover! Scrub away last night’s sins with their Exfoliating Power Cleansing Face Wash and depuff + cool under eye bags with the Wake Up Eye Stick. Follow those up with their ultra hydrating Face + Eye Cream and you’ll look like you got a full 8 hours of sleep, even if all you’ve had is a full cup of coffee.

Cremo – Typically known for their outstanding shave cream, this brand also does a great line of hair, body and cologne products too. Favorites include their Juniper and Eucalyptus 2-in-1 shampoo, for when you don’t have time to mess around. It leaves your hair perfectly clean and well-balanced, with a unique, sophisticated scent. It’s what you call the whole package.) Cremo’s Cedar and Cypress Bodywash is also a must, featuring the rich, powerful fragrance of refreshing blue cedar wood, aromatic cypress and a citrus zest, in a lightweight, concentrated formula that delivers a rich lather.

Moms

Earthly Body – I love that this brand is mommy baby safe – aiming to create the highest quality personal care products with naturally-derived ingredients whenever possible. So whether you are nursing or nurturing your little one, you can feel safe with their products. Even better, they strive to set an example by creating their products in an environmentally way (you go Mom, being an example to your little ones!) While they house a number of sustainable brands – a couple of my favorites are their Hemp Seed Hand and Body Lotion (a rich blend of Hemp Seed Oil and Argan Oil (leaving skin healthy, radiant, and smelling like heaven) or their CBD Daily Intensive Cream (perfect to rub on that lower achy back from a day picking up the baby or just the laundry!)

Lively Nursing Wear – Sexy, silky and sophisticated are not words you commonly use to describe nursing bras or maternity wear but this brand nails it. “Inspired by women with wild hearts and boss brains” this brand is delivering bras and undies that blur the aesthetic lines of lingerie, active, and swim, taking the best elements of high-style and comfort from each category. These gorgeous undergarments have established an entirely new category and POV of lingerie, a movement that they call Leisurée. I love the mesh trim bralettes and the choice of nudes to natural colors they offer, along with their great activewear pieces and bodysuits. A must have place to shop if you are lacking that oomph and body confidence you used to feel pre-baby.

Innersense – Nature is at the center of Innersense Organic Beauty – it’s perfect for the mom who wants to pamper herself with clean, pure beautiful haircare. These products are crafted from certified organic plant ingredients your hair will love in luxurious formulations that deliver hydration, health, moisture, shine and protection only Mother Nature can provide. Formulated from a rich, concentrated combination of Certified Organic plant ingredients like coconut, avocado and shea butter, these healthy ingredients leave hair clean, residue-free and naturally shiny and voluminous. A few favorites include their Sweet Spirit Leave In Conditioner and Refresh Dry Shampoo (for the days when we just don’t have time to wash that mom hair.) And what about our fading hair color when we don’t have time to hit the salon? Try their Color Awaken Hairbath for a little extra boost!

Why you should travel with you children

I have recently learnt that traveling with kids, particularly young kids, is never easy. As parents, we need to re-think how we travel, and a lot of it is letting go of our own expectations of ‘the perfect trip.’ Instead of expecting perfection, we should just be as well prepared as possible and know that any hiccups will only add to the stories you will remember at the end of a trip.

So how does travel help our children?

Travel breaks down barriers and enhances connection. Travel also shows your children that though we all look different, we are the same. It is a great opportunity to teach our children about diversity in the world and interact and even make friends with children that come from different cultures, places and experiences. Travel is also an opportunity to leave behind the technology that feeds out childrens’ hands nowadays and reconnect with life, family and the world. If you keep technology and the news of the day to a minimum and enjoy each other’s company and conversation, you can teach your kids that the best things in life are free.

Travel broadens our perspective and enhances developmental milestones. Whether you travel to the next town or around the world, moving out of a comfort zone or everyday routine will enhance your family’s understanding of our world and the lives of our fellow citizens. Travel helps children experience a wide repertoire of sights, smells, sounds, colors, faces and languages from an early age. Travel opens up endless possibilities in their tiny minds and they become open and used to trying new things.

Travel builds character and helps kids become more adaptable and flexible kids. Traveling with young children exposes them to a new ‘normal.’ It allows them to be more adaptable to changing situations and be more flexible in their habits. They are used to sleeping in their beds, sleeping in prams, sleeping on an airplane seat, sleeping in a crowded shopping mall or outside, under a blanket. It also provides an opportunity to model what matters most – delayed flights, weather changes, poor service or a rocky road help all of us learn to live in the moment, share resources, manage unexpected consequences and see the bright side of the occasional travel mishap.

Travel is inspiring and educational. Travel with young kids means exposing them and making them interested in geography, world maps and airplanes early on. They start to form a better understanding of their environment and the knowledge that it’s a big world out there. They are interested in learning capitals of the different countries they visit, and being able to look for it on a map.

Travel helps ignite children’s imagination. Travel encourages children to engage in creative play – skills that they develop during childhood. Feed your children’s natural curiosity through travel. Do they yearn to learn more about art, history or science? Whether you opt for magnificent museums, nature’s classroom or immersive experiences, expand their knowledge (and your own) by exploring new ideas and destinations together.

Where to cool off this summer!

No doubt that summer heat has sunk in… and for those of us living in spots around the country with hot hot temps (like NYC) so where can we go to cool off this summer both near and far?

NYC
Central Park, N.Y – Who says you can’t keep cool in the city? Park yourself alongside the Bethesda Fountain in Central park or take to the Lake in a rented rowboat from Loeb’s boathouse.
Rockaway Beach – Take the subway, a beach shuttle bus or the ferry to the free, Queens beach that is filled with plenty of affordable food trucks as well as great bars and shops.
Robert H. Treman State Park- Take a dip in the stream-fed pool beneath the 115-foot Lucifer Falls, at Robert H. Treman State Park in the Finger Lakes

Missouri – Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park – Play in the shallows of the East Fork of the Black River or shoot through “Mother Nature’s hydraulics” in the natural swimming holes at Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park in Middle Brook, Missouri.

Pennsylvania – Ohiopyle State Park – Cool off on the natural waterslides, courtesy of Mother Nature, the Youghiogheny River Gorge and thousands of years of erosion.

CT – Brownstone Park – This adventure center in Portland, Connecticut, provides an adrenaline-pumping plunge into the water from a zip line. Spend the rest of the day rock climbing, cliff jumping, swimming, kayaking and more

Texas – Blue Hole Regional Park – Picture yourself plunging into Blue Hole from a rope swing… This good ol’ fashioned Texas swimming hole became a 126-acre regional park in 2005.

NJ – Delaware River – Flowing for 330 miles from New York through Pennsylvania, families typically float down the Delaware River from Frenchtown, N.J., where they rent tubes, canoes, kayaks or rafts.

California Coast – The entire coastline is booming in the summer months as temps reach a nice high in the day but cool off at night. Consider SD which has a combination of breezy beaches like La Jolla Shores and buzzing nightlife. Or stay in west LA and checkout Malibu’s cliff-side beaches like Point Dune, known for it’s gorgeous tide pools.

Hawaii – From Maui to Kauai to O’ahu, Hawaii boasts plenty of beautiful beaches but there are also hiking trails to explore. Once you reach the end of the trail, take a dip in one of the cool, refreshing swimming holes before heading back down the mountain.

San Diego

The sunny city that I cant quite compare to anywhere else – San Diego really does have it all from sports and shopping to surfing and sensational dining. On my recent trip with family, I made a point of hitting up a few new spots that have been on the ‘must do’ list for a while.

The nightlife hotspot – King and Queens Cantina
If you are looking for a dinner spot with friends or family that packs a punch in music, vibe and cuisine – look no further. King and Queen Cantina brings a Latin flavor to San Diego’s Little Italy with colorful skull décor and a Dia de Los Muertos theme all year long. Seat yourselves at the downstairs bar or follow mood lighting upstairs outdoor bar where you can take to the San Diego skyline as you sip hand-crafted cocktails at this modern Mexican cantina. Creative owner and founder Jorge Cueva brings the ‘Mexican Cantine’ style and hisipanic popular menu from Orange County’s hotspot Tempo Urban Kitchen to create an eclectic menu from sushi to tacos as well as popular Latin dishes combined with inspiration from around the world. My choices include the sHISHITO PEPPERS (Soy glazed, malted salt, lime crema) the NO TORTILLA TACOS (Stuffed tempura jalapeno, spicy tuna, cheese, spicy aioli, pear and cucumber slaw, radish, cilantro, wrapped in jicama tortilla) and the DIABLO ROLL (Avocado, cucumber, crab meat, and shrimp tempura, wrapped in seaweed and rice, topped with spicy tuna and crispy onions.) Pair these with their famous Margarita Flight or a couple Modelas – and your set for a unforgettable night.

The ambient spot – Havana 1920
Havana 1920 brings Hemingway’s Cuba to life with authentic Cuban dishes, drinks and entertainment. Located just south of Market Street in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, you will find an atmospheric hideaway and hotspot serving up a most entertaining evening. Start your night with an aged rum, overlooking the street scenery from the upstairs balcony – and dig into their CEVICHE TROPICAL (shrimp, grilled pineapple, jalapeño, cucumber, tomato, onion, and cilantro.) For mains dig into the classic SANDWICH CUBANO (Cuban Sandwich Slices of slow roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on Cuban Bread) or a BISTEC HAVANA 24 (Angus skirt steak topped with our own chimichurri served with grilled Cuban bread, plantains and a side Caribbean avocado salad.) Once your done, head downstairs for a nightcap and soak up the buzzing scenery.

The brunch spot – The Mission
The Mission is a casual, local eatery with a brunch choice for everyone. Their concept specializes in simple, healthy, tasty food with a whimsical edge and a focus on artful presentation at an affordable price. By focusing on the use of simple and fresh ingredients, this vibrant urban bistro promotes living in an increasingly health-conscious world – which includes everything from classic pancakes and sandwiches to modern Chino-Latino cuisine! A few of my favorites include the SOY CHORIZO BURRITO (Black beans, crispy rosemary potatoes, scrambled eggs, jack cheese, cilantro, scallions, tomatoes and chipotle crema in a large whole wheat tortilla) and the ZEN BREAKFAST (Scrambled egg whites, braised tofu, brown rice, grilled zucchini & squash with tomato & onion garnish) but if you want to indulge there are every kind of pancake imaginable from blueberry to banana. This concept in healthy dining, combined with pleasant surroundings, is The Mission’s specialty and has made The Mission a huge favorite among local San Diegans and travelers from around the world.

The happening hotel – The Kimpton Solamar
This hotel boasts both a great location and great presentation- explore, indulge and recharge right in the center of the Gas Lamp District. This Kimpton offers an all-inclusive vibe with rich décor. Our regal-meets-vibrant, urban refuge provides modern comfort, a rooftop pool oasis, dazzling dining destinations, genuinely engaged service, plus a central location ideal for exploring some of the city’s latest dining trends and sizzling nightlife options. Of course, being a Kimpton, expect all the generous quirks – like happy of complimentary wine for guests at night, cold brew at 6am in the lobby and dog cookies for traveling fidos. By far, one of my favorite spots to stay in SD.

The activity – The San Diego Zoo
This is a great activity for all ages, aside of beaching it and shopping. Set in Balboa Park, The San Diego Zoo houses was a pioneer in the concept of open-air, cageless exhibits that re-create natural animal habitats. Walk around the park, jump on the Skyfari aerial tram or hop on a guided bus tour of the entire zoo – and experience live talks, feedings, and demonstrations. Meet over 4,000 rare and endangered animals, and over 650 unique species from all over the world in this 100-acre site.. You’ll get up close to koalas as well as gorillas, elephants, crocodiles and more in exhibits from the African Rocks to the Australian Outback!

Pregnant woman on hospital bedrest gets a surprise maternity photo shoot – Featured in today.com

When it became clear that Francesca Page, then 27 weeks pregnant, was not leaving the hospital before she delivered her baby, she felt sad that she was missing out on some of the traditional mom-to-be experiences. But that sadness didn’t last long. A week into her stay, her sister, Georgina, threw Page a maternity photo shoot in the hospital. See full article here!

When it became clear that Francesca Page would spend the rest of her pregnancy in the hospital, her sister, Georgina, arranged a surprise maternity photo shoot.
When it became clear that Francesca Page would spend the rest of her pregnancy in the hospital, her sister, Georgina, arranged a surprise maternity photo shoot. 

Mommy & baby safe beauty (this summer)

When it comes to caring for baby, you also have to care for yourself. That means making sure that the way you look and feel is as non-toxic as possible. As a mother, or mother to be, what you put on your skin comes in constant contact with baby – from kisses to breastmilk. So what can you do to ensure that you and baby are safe without compromising your favorite beauty products? These brands have found the answers!

OSEA – Osea believes that non-toxic skincare is vital for long-term health, beauty, and radiance. These lucious products are powered by plant-based ingredients so effective they eliminate the need for harmful synthetic ingredients entirely. A top pick for mommys and mommys to be – expect 10/10 skincare without synthetic ingredients or chemicals. My current favorite is their Hyaluronic Sea Serum – lightweight, non-greasy moisture boosting serum smoothes wrinkles & fine lines and replenishes dry, thirsty skin. Hyaluronic Acid attracts up to 1,000 X its weight in water, strengthening the skin’s moisture barrier for visibly improved firmness and elasticity….say goodbye to that lack of sleep tired mommy skin with natural hydration!

ILIA – Ilia are carving out a new path in beauty, by balancing safety with product performance, choosing clean, effective ingredients that work. With roots in organic bases, vivid color, and active botanicals, it’s makeup infused with skincare. These products are made to enhance natural beauty in a natural way and are a go-to for moms who don’t have the time for a ‘ten step’ result and also want that natural glow without compromising what they are putting on their skin. This summer I am loving Ilia’s True Skin Serum Foundation and their Liquid Light Liquid – a unique gel based formula that illuminates, and gives a natural dewy finish to the skin. For a multi use pop of color with a lush scent, try their Color Haze  – a cleanly formulated cream based formula for cheeks and lip that can build in color intensity, or blend out to a soft wash of color. Products have no silicone, gluten, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, synthetic fragrances or synthetic dyes. 


VAPOUR – Vapour Organic Beauty was founded with the principles of performance and purity as first priorities and their makeup contains only natural, healthy, minimally processed ingredients: a minimum of 70% organic ingredients with the remaining 30% comprised of mineral pigments and essential oils. Their on-the-go multi use style sticks are wonderful for moms who need a beauty fix they can take with them, that is not harmful to them or baby. For the summer season, their Runway Mini collection is a must including everything you need to BYOS (stylist) using their bestselling Aura Multi Use shades for warm skin tones and cult-favorite Halo Illuminator..and it all comes in a gorgeous Artisan Makeup Bag.


HERBIVORE – Looks good, smells even better and is 100% safe for mommy. On top of all that every ingredient that Herbivore includes in their products is there for a specific therapeutic reason using highly concentrated, and effective formulas, created and tested on real people — never on animals and always from scratch. All of Herbivore’s products have an emphasis on organic, high quality, and food-grade ingredients and are ethically source the finest raw natural materials the earth has to offer. Aside of the fact that it has the same name is my daughter (Coco Rose) it’s also my favorite line of products at Herbivore. The CocoRose Lux hydration trio has it all for mommy – body polish, rose mist and lip conditioner that is like a sugary rose treat for mommys on the go. Other top choices include their Soaking Salts sets (for mommy relax time) and face oils like Orchid Oil that smell like paradise and provide protection against the visible signs of aging. 


PLUME – hair and lash science – As a mom, having time to put on a full face of makeup isn’t really a reality. However, if you are going to go naked faced, at least keep your brows and facial hair in check. Plume’s pomade and precision brush (100% vegan and cruelty free) promotes the growth of your brows while adding definition and color to your best feature. Their  Ash & Brow Enhancing Serum is also specially formulated by a master cosmetic chemist to promote the longevity and fullness of lash & brow follicles.  These combined with a set of their Precision Tweezers and your brows can take on anything the day throws at you!

Rahua Hair Products – Aside of the fact that these products smell like a tropical lush paradise, they are also derived from it. Rahua products are known for their pure ingredients and unparalleled performance. Straight from the Amazon rainforest these products contain the secret to fantastically long, lustrous hair – rahua oil. This ingredient, used for centuries on the gorgeous locks of the Amazonian women, can now be found in this line of innovative, plant-based products to heal, nourish, beautify, and transform. My favorite? Their hydration line of haircare, which makes me feel like I am bathing my locks in a 100% natural tropical pink smoothie.

Phlur Fragrances – Finally fragrance designed for skin, that avoid potentially toxic ingredients like parabens, phthalates and BHT, as well as possible endocrine disruptors. Vegan and cruelty-free, Phlur scents pack a punch in scent but avoid all the nasties. The brand gives you the option to have three samples sent for $18 so you can test out what you like. A couples popular ones are Sandara (calming and meditative, a spiritual journey inspired by a retreat into nature. Sandara most of all is a reflection of you, with notes of forest air, violet leaves, timur pepper, sandalwood, oak moss) and Hanami (a minimalist scent, for when less is more. Aquatic and floral, subtle and warm, with notes of fig, white florals, hazelnut, sandalwood.)

Making summer travel easier for parents…some tips!

Let the kids help plan travel

It’s certainly one way to avoid problems – let the kids plan the family vacation. Have them decide where they would like to go and what to see. Maybe they would like to stay in a tree house, or see the world’s largest ball of twine. If you provide a map and a little information, you can let them have some input into planning a road trip. If you’re thinking of a beach vacation, most all-inclusive resorts have kids’ programs where they can learn to surf, snorkel or sail. This gives parents a little time to themselves.You can use a travel booking website to find deals and have the kids look through ideas with you online!

Time is key

When it comes to summer travel with family, time is your most valuable asset. If you’ve traveled 10-plus hours and only have a few days to explore, don’t try to do it all on your own via google, especially when you have kids. You’ll most likely end up in touristy areas, waiting in long lines or even worse: a big red bus with 85 other tourists doing the same thing. Instead, pay a little extra and find a local agency who can create experiences that save you time.

Choose easier destinations with a bit of everything

Look at destinations that aren’t as ‘wild’ but respectively have a bit of something for everyone; consider a resort or resort style city like San Diego (zoos, beaches, bars.) Choose places and are easily accessible from the USA or even within it. Less is sometimes more; Instead of trying to see the top 20 best sites in a city, focus on strolling the streets and picnicking in a park. Over plan meals and under plan the schedule.

Get Finances Straight

Plan well ahead, sometimes 9 to 12 months in advance to get the best rates and availability. Airline companies will run flash sales months in advance. Taking advantage of these sales will expand your budget for hotels and tours. Also, be clear about budgets especially when traveling as an extended family with different budgets. Work with a tour company or travel agent and ask to pre-pay for as much of your trip as possible. This will allow everyone to relax and be on vacation with no worries about compounding expenses.

Prep well and pack smart

Pack the bare minimum when you travel with kids because you can always buy what you need in your destination. Roll clothes and stuff socks and underwear inside shoes. Wear your heaviest clothes on the flight. Encourage kids to choose and pack their own clothes to minimize complaints and to teach travel skills. Select versatile and comfortable clothes and color-coordinated separates so if something gets dirty you only have to change part of the outfit. And pack bags with what is needed first on the top — a change of clothes for dinner, pajamas, or what is needed during the day including a change of clothes in case of accidents

What being a NICU mom is really like – as featured in Parents Magazine

I delivered my baby girl two and a half months before her due date. The NICU became my everyday reality for six weeks. It was odd, surreal, and completely out of my control.

“You have a fever of 105!” the doctor exclaimed. I was sicker than I realized. And yet, all I could think about was seeing my newborn baby, who was born two and a half months before her due date. That was my first taste of motherhood, that moment I realized I wasn’t thinking only about myself anymore.
Almost two weeks earlier, I had gone to the hospital with what I thought was a backache. The pain turned out to be early contractions—I was 27.5 weeks. Doctors worried I had placental abruption, a rare but serious complication where the placenta detaches from the uterus. I was put on hospital bed rest and waited to see if I would stop bleeding and contracting, or if my little girl would have to be delivered.

They were some of the longest days of my life, essentially going into labor every night and fighting through each day to keep my baby inside me. But I tried to focus on the positives and block out the negatives. Every day, I was greeted by nurses who checked on me almost every two hours. I made friends, I had things from Amazon and Seamless delivered to my room, and I even participated in crafts. I also made daily walks down my one corridor, gripping onto my IV pole, to see the new babies, all the while knowing my little girl would not make it to full term.

My thoughtful younger sister even surprised me with an impromptu pregnancy shoot in the hospital, dragging a light reflector, a bag of wardrobe changes, a photographer, and even my dog in tow, to capture my pregnancy. She knew I would likely not be able to go home until after delivery.

After 10 days, a myriad of drugs, IV drips, magnesium, and steroids, the fight came to an end and my little girl decided enough was enough—as did my body. Within a day, I dilated past the point of no return, and at 6:10 a.m. delivered my 2.9-pound baby. The doctor said my placenta had completely fallen apart inside me.
I remember when my daughter came out, she cried and was breathing on her own, which was an incredible relief. But all I had was a quick glance; I didn’t get to hold her. She was quickly whisked off to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and I was left to process everything for the first time.

The NICU became my everyday reality for six weeks. It felt almost like I was working as a nurse even though that wasn’t my job. It was odd, surreal, and completely out of my control. But I was not alone. Each day, I watched mothers walk in dazed, confused, crying, laughing, smiling, or sleeping slumped in a chair, as their babies sat in little boxes.

A strange part about having a NICU baby is how people react. The corridors of the postpartum area are usually filled with visiting families, balloons, and baby giggles, but when I arrived, that wasn’t quite the case. No one really knew what to do, bring, or even if they should be happy for me or feel bad.

See Parents.com for full article.


Art Bar, Boston

Set on Cambridge’s Charles River – Art Bar is a hidden hotspot for an al-fresco brunch, bar-bite and cocktail, or even a romantic dinner. Attached to the Royal Sonesta, Boston, you might be suprised to find this little gem. ArtBar’s creative, seasonal, American cuisine includes ingredients that are native to the region and New England area. Dishes such as their (jumbo lump) Crab Cakes with spicy remoulade or their Lobster Roll with lemon aioli – set the tone for the best of Boston. 

Dishes are beautifully composed using both seasonal and regional ingredients, perfectly accommodating everything from a quick bite to a happy hour repast, a romantic dinner or a communal feast with friends. Surf and turf are both on the menu, but not to miss are the Pan Seared Sea Scallops with sunchoke puree, shaved radish, snap peas, pancetta crumbs and micro herbs. And did I mention they also have a vegan menu? Yup, serving everything from vegan tacos to burgers and desert (their Coconut Milk Ice Cream – with vegan peanut butter cups – is to die for!)

Prefer to visit for brunch? No problem; brunch is served Saturday & Sunday, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, where you can find everything from Eggs Benedict to Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast. 

ArtBar is proud to be named one of BostInno’s 50 Best Patios in Boston and was included in NECN’s Boston’s Best Patios segment. ArtBar was also named one of the best for outdoor dining in Cambridge by Zagat. It’s certainly worth a try if you are in the area!