Exploring With The Explorer

For the first time, in a long time, we went on the Great American Road trip around the state of New York.  I have lived in New York City for over 20 years and have never taken the time nor had the time to really explore what is right here in my backyard. I had the perfect opportunity to do this with my folks in town from St. Louis.  They booked a trip to New York City for 10 days and I took them on a serious adventure.

We kicked off the road trip in the Ford Explorer, which had plenty of room for all of us.  We headed upstate to Lake George and spent a few days exploring various little towns along the way.  We even took the side roads at times to see all the farms and barns, which my daughter adored.  Whenever we caught site of cows or horses we had to pull over and take in the view.  When you live in New York City, sights such as these are not only so joyous to see but you can forget how simple life can be just a few hours away.

We stopped for the night at the historic and beautiful Sagamore Hotel, which has views for days.  We plopped ourselves down at the bottom of the dock after a delicious lobster dinner and just watched the sunset go down as the boats went by.   I loved watching my Dad take it all in.  When you live in St. Louis you a landlocked so you really appreciate lakes, oceans and anytime you can get on the water.

The next morning we piled back into the Explorer and headed southwest towards Cooperstown New York.  It’s been a dream of mine to take my Dad to the Baseball Hall of Fame and being only 2 hours from Lake George we made that our next stop.  Growing up in St. Louis, you become a die-hard Cardinals fan, so I have baseball in my blood and to visit the Hall of Fame was pretty awesome for me too.  I loved watching my Dads eyes light up and tell stories of the old players and just ramble off facts as if he was a baseball historian.  We explored Cooperstown after the museum and took in a fabulous lunch and found the best bakery too.

After Cooperstown we made our way to Woodstock.  My dad was dying to see where Woodstock took place.  The drive to Woodstock was stunning.  We took in the mountains and hills of the Catskill region.  We stayed with friends who have a weekend home up there, and great knowledge about the area.  We drove into the town of Woodstock and it is still filled with many hippies and musicians playing right in the middle of the town.  Great shops to pick up little trinkets and of course the coolest Woodstock tie-dye T-Shirts one could find.

Our next road trip stop took us to Westhampton New York.  We have always loved The Hamptons but this was our first time in Westhampton.  It had a more laid back vibe than we were used to and a terrific little town that had such quaint shops and restaurants.  A favorite find was John Scott’s Surf Shack.  It is just right off Dune Road, with a casual atmosphere and the best lobster roll.  

The next morning we discovered Pike’s Beach off Dune Road.  It was quiet, it was beautiful and it had a food truck that pulls up around Noon offering sandwiches, and ice cream and every drink.  This was essential with the kids and we were at that food truck for ice cream one too many times.  

The last stop on our great New York Road trip was over to Riverhead.  Riverhead is a short 20 minutes from Westhampton and we were told to not miss the Farm Country Kitchen.  It could be one of the best meals we have ever had!

We ended our Great New York Road Trip back in New York City.  We explored our last few moments with the Explorer by taking the car through Times Square to see more action on our way home.  My parents eyes still light up even thought they come to visit me all the time, I guess it is still so incredible to see.  

Our great American Road trip through the state of New York was exhausting and beautiful all at the same time.  Hopefully our next American Road trip will take us out of the State of New York, because this country has so much to see.

Horrific TSA Experience to Helping with TSA Cares

This could have been YOU.  Or your mom.  Or your dad.  Or your child.  Or someone else you may be traveling with.

‪Last December it was me.  Because of this, I’m hoping it won’t be YOU or anyone else.

‪I was loud.  I am now proud.  More than anything I’m thankful to the TSA for hearing me and now asking me to share my story, together with them, so it doesn’t happen to others.  I’m grateful that my kids, and others, can see that something positive can come from a negative.

‪I’m grateful that my story, and the video I worked on with the TSA can help travelers to make sure they know the best way to travel through security, can be a mini reminder for agents on their role to keep passengers safe while being respectful and sensitive.

‪I’m glad it happened to me.  I, fortunately, have a chance to make a difference.  I hopefully have.  I purposefully chose to capture the situation to share with you.  I now, proudly, am sharing more so others who travel with illness make sure to know the protocol.

‪So, please, watch the video.  Know your rights.  Pass this along.  Remember, the TSA is here to protect us.  Not hurt us.  As a mom, I am very proud that my children know that I stood up for my rights and because of it others will be helped in the future.

To see more from TSA cares watch here:

https://youtu.be/Mt54VpVip-Y

https://youtu.be/iGTJt5ssQbI

What is Play? Let’s Play and help others…

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Let’s Play, an initiative by Dr Pepper Snapple Group that provides kids and families with the tools, places and inspiration to make active play a daily priority by building and improving playgrounds and donating sports equipment to groups in need. Although I received compensation for this post, all opinions are my own.

What does PLAY mean to you?  I can tell you, to me and my boys play means basketball.  Play means baseball.  Play means climbing and running.  Play means friendship.  Play means communication.  Play means teamwork.  Play means health.  Play means fun.  Play means laughing.  Play means learning.  Play means practicing.  Play is EVERYTHING.  

Play can happen anywhere but what if your school, town or community didn’t have clean, safe and inspiring places to play?  What if you could change that for your community or one in need?  What if you could help change that with your kids by your side actually making a difference?

That’s exactly what I’m going to do with my two boys on August 18th in Trenton, New Jersey.  As a mom, and a founder of The MOMS, I can bring my kids to work with me most days.  They have joined me on my podcast, The MOMS.  They have joined me at our Mamarazzi events with celebrities like Will and Jaden Smith, Jennifer Garner and Kevin James.  But having my kids by my side building a playground and sorting and packing sports equipment for kids in need with Let’s Play is among my greatest proud mom moments.  There’s nothing better than having my kids help others.  I won’t have to explain or teach them about why Let’s Play was created or how important it is to help others.  They will experience it themselves. They will learn by doing and see my partnership with Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and understand another aspect of my work and how lucky we are to love what we do and help a community along the way.  Let’s Play is a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families to play nationwide. Their goal is to help families achieve that balance by providing the tools, places and inspiration to make physical activity a daily priority.  Anyone can apply for a grant to improve their play space or receive sports equipment.

My older son, Jaron, joined me at the planning meeting at the beginning of the summer and felt so accomplished learning and helping from the beginning stages.  We will all take part in making this play space, this dream, a reality.  He has asked me weekly when we will get to finish the playground.  It’s something he will never forget.

Play also means planning.  Play also means production.  This is also play.   This play makes me a proud parent.  Come play with US!

Follow along with me on social to learn more about Let’s Play, and how Let’s Play is making active play a priority as Trenton kids head back to school.

 

Minute With The MOMS: Nut Job 2 Cast

Breaking news: Though Maya Rudolph, Will Arnett, Bobby Moynihan and Gabriel Iglesias are all in The Nut Job 2… Our #Mamarazzi was the first time they were all together…There’s just too many funny stories to share so please watch the full video here!

Click below for A Minute with the cast from The Nut Job! Time to laugh NutJobMoms Will Arnett, Gabriel Iglesias, MayaRudolph, and BobbyMoynihan

 

HALLE BERRY MAMARAZZI

Halle Berry talks family, and career, on Mamarazzi LIVE-Stream interview series on Thursday August 3rd, on Time Inc.’s People Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Halle clues us in on the WiFi wipeout that happens during the school year at her home, and how far she has gone to protect her children and her fight for the Senate Bill #606.

To watch the entire Mamarazzi show with Halle Berry visit:

http://people.com/pen/0000015c-7e17-d600-afdf-7f3785b70000/0000015d-a9d8-d06e-a77f-abfd31be0000/

TONI COLETTE MAMARAZZI

Toni Collette talks family, and career, on Mamarazzi LIVE-Stream interview series on Wednesday August 2nd, on Time Inc.’s People Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN).

On this Mamarazzi episode we got the scoop on Fun Mom Dinner from Toni Colette! Click below to watch her recap on working with legendary Funny Females,  the Fun Mom Dinner after party and how she handles being a MOM away from her kids.

ARUBA BABY!

When you live in New York City, you happen to be blessed with direct flights to pretty much anywhere.  Growing up in St. Louis, I remember connecting multiple times to get to our destinations.  Since living in NYC, I have been to several of the Caribbean Islands, but this was our first time to Aruba.

Many of our friends had visited the island before and spoke about all the activities and the nightlife and many had compared Aruba to Hawaii.  They said there was an easiness of walking out the front door of your hotel and being a part of the town and the people.  

With many things in motion with all the kids at different camps this summer, we decided to go in early July with our little one.  I thought summertime would leave the Island empty; boy was I wrong.  It was packed and full of life.

We arrived Mid-day and got to our hotel, The Hyatt Aruba, just in time to take in an afternoon swim in the ocean.  When you walk from the front hotel lobby down towards the beach, you discover that the property has the most amazing tropical birds and fish and even swans placed along the paths, you almost feel like you are in a tropical jungle.  

The ocean and beach were buzzing with so many people, boats, and floats and huts with people everywhere loving the white sandy beaches.  The water was crystal blue and we plopped ourselves down till the sunset. Later that evening we dined at the hotel and went to sleep early dreaming of the next gorgeous day.

We were up and out early the second day and we took in the pools and waterslides.  The water was so warm, that our daughter who was a timid swimmer became an actual swimmer on this day.  She learned to jump in the water for the first time and made friends with so many little girls at the pool that we then became friends with other families.  Late afternoon we explored the boardwalk along the beach, which was filled with people and amazing food shacks.

This is what makes Aruba different than any other island we have ever been to.  You can walk right out of your resort, turn right or left and be around the most amazing restaurants and food shacks you have ever seen.  Most island resorts have security and guards and a gate when you pull in.  You are locked into your resort unless you book a taxi ride somewhere.  We were so surprised and pleased that you could go for long walks along the beach and boardwalk and also around the town so easily.

We discovered a gem called Edwardo’s Beach Shack that had every Acai Bowl you could ever imagine.  They had every type of smoothie to fresh juices and fruit soft serve.  This Edwardo’s had a line of people everyday and became a staple of ours.  Another unbelievable discovery was dinner at Madame Jannette.  We didn’t realize that there isn’t an actual Madame Janette.  Madame Janette is a spicy pepper grown in Aruba.  I did however leave the restaurant with their famous almond crusted grouper that I will attempt to make one day and share the recipe.

The other magic of the Hyatt Aruba is that it is perfectly located on  Palms Beach.  You have the most unbelievable views from your room, and you will never be bored with 4 indoor/outdoor restaurants, 5 bars, including swim-up and beach bars, a gym and tennis courts, plus a casino and a spa.  We thought about all the water sports but we were quite contempt just building sand castles with our little one and being lazy on the complimentary rafts for all the guests.

As the song says “Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take you to….” Back to Aruba I would say.  Aruba Baby!

It’s My 1-Year Chemoversary — Here’s What I’ve Learned Since

Looking back, I did look sick … but now I look and feel like myself again.

Happy Anniversary to me. It’s not romantic. It’s not a gold, silver or even bronze. It’s my first chemoversary and I hope it lasts longer than my actual wedding anniversaries did. It’s been a year since I completed chemo. While in the midst of treatment I decided to celebrate all of the time. With the end of each treatment I had a party or dinner. I also decided to travel more. Having things to look forward to got me through each day. That philosophy has continued for me. I celebrate as much as possible and want to continue to travel as much as possible.

So, with my boys off to camp, I planned a girls’ trip to Canyon Ranch . This trip though was more than being with friends. This trip was more about feeling like me again. This trip was me for the first time in a year finally feeling like it is okay to push myself. This trip was me for the first time finally with a full appetite again. This trip for me was healthy.

Read the full story at GoodHousekeeping.com

I’m So Happy My Kids Are Away at Camp This Summer

Yep, I said it. I deserve it. They deserve it. Gwyneth, contrary to what you said recently about summer camps for kids, I love my two boys. Kristen Hewitt, contrary to your piece that you are doing nothing with your kids all summer; I’m doing NOTHING. WITH. MY. KIDS — as in, they are not here. They are away and I couldn’t be happier.

I didn’t know how I would feel and had a lot of anxiety leading up to my boys leaving. I am 5 days in and feel great. I’m used to my kids not being with me all time since I am divorced. My two boys (12 and almost 9) left on Saturday and I was expecting that when their normal return time of 7 p.m. on Sunday evening of their dad’s weekend came I would be devastated. I thought about it when 7 p.m. came, but I was just fine. It felt a little weird, but I’ll take it.

Read the full article at GoodHousekeeping.com

Taking My Daughter To SeaWorld

I grew up with grandparents who lived in Orlando Florida.  Every year we visited them and made an annual trip to SeaWorld.  SeaWorld was one of my favorite places to visit as a little girl.

 I remember the feeling of sitting next to my Dad at all the shows waiting to get splashed.  I can still hear his laugh and him saying “Get ready Missy!”  That was our favorite part.  I was 8 years old and my sister was 5.

Today it is my turn.  Not I get to take my daughter to SeaWorld.  She is just about how old I was when I started visiting, and now I get to relive everything I did with my mom and dad, and see it all again in her eyes.

Just this past week, we went to SeaWorld San Diego for one of our Word of Mom programs where we bring together families from all across the country.  This group came from the Southern California area and they got an up close and personal experience with some of San Diego SeaWorld’s new adventures.  We started the day with a beautiful catered lunch with some surprise animal visitors that included a Penguin, a Sloth and a Porcupine.  To be able to interact with the animals in this intimate setting was something quite special.  

Following our lunch we went to see the new Orca Encounter Show.  It was mesmerizing.  There is now an infinity screen behind the water that brings their story to life.  I watched my little one stare in awe as she learned all about the Orcas and watched them swim beautifully and leap out of the water.  After the show, we got to stick around and ask the trainers some questions and learn more about their habitat, the training and their life here at SeaWorld. 

We then got to see the hilarious Sea Lion Show and the Dolphin Show where we got our own private splash moment as well as the opportunity to pet the Dolphins, feed the Dolphins and learn more about what inspires the trainers.

The most important moment happened towards the end of our guided tour, we were brought behind the scenes to the animal rescue and rehabilitation area of the park.  We were able to learn about their rescue missions, and talk first hand about what is endangering our oceans and animals.  I had no idea that SeaWorld is often the first responders when an animal is in trouble and washed upon the shores. The questions from the children were so smart and now our kids know how important it is to deflate and throw away all the balloons they get.  This is just one of so many dangers to our sea life as these balloons end up in our waters and killing our sea life.  

After this education, we had downtime to explore the park on our own.  I took my daughter on the Bayside Sky Ride, which was one of my favorites as a little girl.  You get to go high above the park and look down at everything on this relaxing gondola ride. I told her my stories of when I was 8 years old at SeaWorld and how she is now experiencing what I got to experience.  Maybe it registered, not sure, as she was busy waving to everyone else on the ride that we passed.

We ended the evening with the new incredible Electric Ocean.  There is a brand new Cirque show that happens just as the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.  This all happens after dark at SeaWorld San Diego.  First, we stumbled upon a kids’ disco, which had us moms even shaking it.  They had dancers and a DJ and everyone was dressed up in glow costume and the kids were having the time of their lives.  We wandered with tired feet to see all the beautiful lights at night and left the park before it closed petting the entry fish one last time.

I leave you with this thought; Education is powerful, information is powerful. To all the naysayers of the SeaWorld parks because of Blackfish…. It might be time to immerse yourselves in all the positive work they do for Ocean life and animals today. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised and wanting to take your children back again and again, just like I did with my daughter this past week.

This post was in partnership with SeaWorld.  These are my own opinions.

 

YOU ARE NOT ALONE WITH YOUR LBL

Thank you Poise® for sponsoring this post. Follow Poise on Facebook and Twitter and share how you Seize Your #PoiseMoment.

I thought there was something seriously wrong with me after I had my 3rd baby.  I will never forget the day.  I went to the gym a few months after she was born went to do some jumping jacks, and realized that I had leaked.   I called my Mom, because I was so worried, she explained that I had LBL and not to worry.  Following the days after the gym, there were more LBL moments while sneezing and laughing.  

1 and 3 women experience LBL (light bladder leakage) and many aren’t comfortable talking about this.  That is why I chose to partner with Poise to help empower other women and bring this topic and conversation to the forefront.  It was liberating and important to share my story so that other women don’t feel like they are alone.

Just this past month, I hosted an event at BlogHer, (the biggest blogging conference for women in the world) where we brought together women from all across the country in an intimate setting for wine, yoga and conversation.  I was joined by OBGYN, Dr. Jessica Shepherd and pelvic health expert, SarahHaag to discuss my personal story and to learn how to take control of LBL with better solutions.

I was surprised by the community of women in the room and how open so many women were about their own LBL struggles.   Everyone shared their own personal stories and so many women had so many questions.  Sarah brought in an actual model pelvis and many women didn’t even understand this area of their bodies.  There were laughs and comfort and we all discovered that LBL does not have to slow you down, thanks to Poise.

Poise has a variety of products – from Pads and liners to Poise Impressa Bladder Supports which is an over the counter product designed to stop bladder leaks before they even happen.  Women were relieved to learn about this as they discussed their own struggles with working out, sneezing, laughing and even sex.  For me personally, I found myself feeling for the first time, not alone and not ashamed. I had felt for sometime that there was something wrong with my body or that I didn’t focus on those kegels enough, but what I realized is that so many women have this problem and so many are ashamed too when you just don’t have to be.

At the end of the yoga class and pelvic demonstration, all the women gathered with a glass of wine on their yoga mats and it was kind of like sitting around a campfire with your friends.  We all just opened up about our LBL issues, our kids and bodies.  It made me realize again, why I love what I do and how we have to continue the conversation, so that so many more women, don’t feel alone like I did.

Go ahead and Poise a try!  Choose a free sample kit to experience the comfort and protection of Poise®.

Disclosure: I was selected for this opportunity and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own. 

Having a Poise Moment and being real about LBL

1 in 3 woman experience light bladder leaks .

I am one of them. Tonight I had the opportunity to be in a room with so many honest moms sharing their stories and it reminds me of why I do what I do, and that is to start a dialogue and empower moms and women to feel good about themselves. There is no shame, in LBL, and I hope whoever is struggling knows that they are not alone because there are solutions. And we all fell in love 💜with Jessica Shepherd md and Sarah Haag.

Disclosure: This is post in partnership with Poise, all opinions are our own.

A Dad With The MOMS…

A Dad With The MOMS…I’m cool with that…I like it..”- Michael Strahan. I’m cool with it too! We spoke about kids and social media, co-parenting with an ex, his clothing line with JCPenney, kids playing football and wait til you see and hear how he answered my kid’s questions and what he said about them! But my favorite part of our convo for next week’s #TheMOMSPodcast was when I asked about his career path…

Michael – “You can’t be afraid to try new things. Even what you’re doing. You’re stepping out and creating something that wasn’t there before …you’re trying to make something bigger and create a business for yourself and that’s the same thing …opportunities come your way and you can’t be afraid to take them. We always discourage ourselves and encourage other people. You tell your kids….’You can do anything you want to do.’ Just go for it. Then when it comes to yourself you have doubts.

We have to change our frame of mind and think the way we encourage others. That’s what I’ve learned to do. Of course I’m scared. I’m not an expert at everything. And asked to do things that take you out of your comfort level. Those are the things that take you to the next level. I just go for it and if it doesn’t work, I learned from it”.

As a dad who does it all, we met Michael Strahan on the set of the commercial shoot of his two menswear collections available exclusively at JCPenney. Collection by Michael Strahan, a line of men’s tailored clothing and accessories and MSX by Michael Strahan, a new line of men’s athleisure apparel.  Collection offers stylish and distinctive assortment of tailored suit separates, sport coats, dress shirts, neckwear, belts and accessories including tie clips, cuff links, socks, wallets and shoes.

MSX by Michael Strahan offers a stylish yet functional assortment of apparel that is changing the rules of clothing to wear what you want, wherever you want and still look and feel great – from performance muscle tees and tech knit shorts to polos and chino pants.

With approximately 190 SKUs the assortment continues to expand, and is now offering a range of styles for boys starting at size 8. Both collections are available in 500 stores and jcpenney.com.

P-L-A-Y is Everything!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Let’s Play, an initiative by Dr Pepper Snapple Group that provides kids and families with the tools, places and inspiration to make active play a daily priority by building and improving playgrounds and donating sports equipment to groups in need. Although I received compensation for this post, all opinions are my own.

P-L-A-Y is Everything! Getting involved is everything! Doing it with my kids is everything! Our imaginations were hard at work! We joined this incredible school Foundation Academies in Trenton to dream up the perfect playground and in August we will join this community to make it a reality thanks to Dr Pepper Snapple Group through its Let’s Play program!

My 12-year-old Jaron and I took part in the planning. We measured the area of what is now the parking lot that will be turned into the playground with help from Kaboom. A safe playground that kids can enjoy for years to come.

We sat with the kids as they learned about their options for the space and drew pictures of their dream areas and activities. We cheered them on and encouraged them to design whatever they wanted as junior architects. We will be on hand to join their community and volunteers from Dr Pepper Snapple to turn some of the designs into a reality on Aug. 18. Volunteers will also sort and pack new sports equipment with Good Sports inc to distribute to several local youth-serving organizations to make active play a priority.

 

Captain Underpants Mamarazzi

Today more than ever we are fighting technology, especially with our kids.  Pushing books down their throats is not ideal, but unfortunately we are living in new times with new battles. So when a character like Captain Underpants enters your world with characters like Professor PoopyPants, it is hard to not love this series and wild superhero.

The film is a surprising gem with the biggest laughs and it has the biggest heart.  Parents you too will be hysterical….take a sneak peek at our Captain Underpants Mamarazzi event with the filmakers.