Category: Travel + Events

Costa Rica’s Peninsula Papagayo – Undiscovered paradise for families

The idea of a family beach vacation usually conjures up images of crowded beaches, a muddy ocean, and food I will wish I hadn’t eaten. Doesn’t really sound like a vacation to me. So when Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo invited Cool Mom Picks to check out their resort for families, you can bet my interest was piqued. Costa Rica is one of those places that not only looks amazing but actually is, considering every single person I spoke to who had been there had nothing but awesome things to say. Followed by, “I can’t wait to...

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Join the Smirkus like you wanted to…

This weekend, I had the pleasure of taking my kids and some friends to one of the greatest circuses I’d ever been to. The one thing that made it different than any other–the performers were all kids. Before you roll your eyes and imagine some tedious high school production of Barnum, let me assure you, Circus Smirkus is just amazing. If you are anywhere near New England or upstate New York this summer, run and grab tickets for their traveling show. Now in its 24th year, Circus Smirkus is a single-ring circus show that’s just the right size and...

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Thinking about travel to San Antonio? You’ll remember the Alamo. And the food. And the roller coasters.

Remember the Alamo? Not a problem–I can help because I’m still dreaming about it. I was lucky enough to hitch onto a press trip to San Antonio, Texas recently, as Cool Mom Picks aims to cover more fun and interesting travel options and family vacation destinations by popular request, and boy am I glad I did. With international taxes and fuel surcharges making overseas trips more prohibitive, it’s great to know that there are so many cool things to do right in our own borders. I admit that San Antonio isn’t the first place I necessarily think of when...

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Get ready to head-bop at this year’s Kindiefest

Last year, I attended Kindiefest, the coolest kids-and-family music conference and band showcase, and have been excitedly waiting for details about Kindiefest ’11 ever since the calendar turned over to a new year. My daughter who came with me? Yeah, she’s been waiting too. In fact, that’s her, in the middle of this photo, surrounded by Liz’s daughters and CMP fave band, the Okee Dokee Brothers. Not in the music industry? No worries: If your kids are old enough to shake, rattle and roll—or even just do that adorable baby bounce dance—I’ve got the greatest excuse for you to make a road...

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Vancouver travel with families – O Canada!

When you think of foreign travel, Canada probably doesn’t spring to mind. After all, we’ve got hockey, maple syrup, and a Francophile or two here in the United States, right? Well, yes. But as I discovered on a recent trip to Vancouver and the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort, thanks to a wonderful press trip put on by the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver and the Four Seasons Resort Whistler, the Vancouver area is well worth exploring on a family vacation. Vancouver My first stop was Vancouver. The Four Seasons Vancouver is situated atop the Pacific Centre shopping complex, within walking...

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Why NYC may be the best place to see a kids’ movie in March

Having just lived through 80 minutes watching a Shakespearean classic turned into a story involving garden gnomes, I am not exactly itching to head out to see the next 3D “blockbuster” Hollywood has lined up for my kids. But if I can get us to New York City this month, I’ll be sure to include a trip to the Children’s International Film Festival to catch some of the best and brightest films for kids from around the world. If you’re in town, lucky you, here are a hundred great reasons to head to the movies this weekend. Starting March...

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The Disney Dream Cruise – is it actually dreamy?

When my kids begged us to take them to Disney World, our first thought was the park of course. And last year when I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon in early spring and was then invited to experience Disneyland, we did just that. But as we’re not really a cruise-type family, a Disney cruise just never even entered our minds. Recently, Disney invited us to be a part of their new Disney Dream inaugural cruise media event, however. With a four year-old son who’d sooner just ride the monorail back and forth from the hotel, and littler ones...

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The guy who told us to “Whip It Good” is all about doing good

Oh the red, plastic upside down flower-pot-ish hats, and the throbbing techno beat — Man did I love Devo back in the day. Frontman Mark Mothersbaugh has always been a visionary and an artist (maybe your kids know him from Yo Gabba Gabba?) but he also happens to be quite the philanthropist. Mark and fellow artist Shepard Fairey collaborated on a brand new art exhibit in LA called The Big Picture that’s worth a visit if you’re in SoCal. The exhibit features fascinating and fanciful prints that don’t just challenge the viewer to look deeper, but also raise awareness...

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Martin Luther King Jr’s dream coming to a city near you

Tomorrow marks the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr Day or, as many kids will tell you, a day off from schooooooool! And while sleeping in is definitely a benefit, there are loads of kid-friendly, educational activities going on all over the country that’ll give you good reason to get out of your PJ’s. Along with the parades, birthday celebrations—Dr. King would have been 82—and musical performances, there are also plenty of ways to mark this National Day of Service by doing something to help those in your community. Just check out their extensive searchable database for volunteer...

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Altitude Design Summit, here we come!

I am so excited about heading to Salt Lake City in two weeks for the Altitude Design Summit, I’m already stressing about which boots to pack. (The really warm fashionable ones? Or the super waterproof Hunter boots? Or wait, what if I go skiing with Julie…does that change everything?) I’ll be speaking on a panel with the wonderful Maggie Mason of Mighty Girl and Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind, and other inspiring design folks I can’t wait to see include bloggers from CMP favorites like Swiss Miss, Dooce, Design*Sponge, Oh Happy Day, Oh Joy!, Design Mom, Boston Mamas,...

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A Universal Orlando Vacation for younger kids? Totally.

Here’s a fun secret: For many years, Universal Orlando resort used to be an ad-world client of mine, which means I’ve been there more times than I can count. Not bad to get to ride the Hulk Coaster and suck down a Red Stripe at Bob Marley’s bar in between meetings. (In that order, necessarily.) That said, I’ve never been there as a parent, unless you count toting a baby around in a Bjorn. And boy that’s a different experience. I was never sure whether you could do a Universal vacation in Orlando with kids too young to care...

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The coolest things to do with kids in New York over the holidays

As a native New Yorker, I admit I’m totally biased when I say that this is one of the most magical places for a family to be over the holidays. Because I get so many emails each year from readers and out-of-town friends asking me about must-do family fun, I figured this would be a great place to answer all of you. From the traditional stuff that’s famous for a reason, to some off-the-beaten path activities, here are my picks for my own family’s favorites of the awesome seasonal events that New York City has to offer. THE STUFF...

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Sandra Boynton – Udderly amazing

To say that Sandra Boynton is my favorite children’s author is an understatement, (with deep props to Dr. Seuss). But truly, for the first few years of my son’s life her chunky children’s books were a constant. Her writing is fun, bouncy and the pictures. Oh, the pictures. [don’t miss a FABULOUS $400 giveaway after the jump! Seriously, it’s a good one…] So squeeze me, because she has just released a new book called Amazing Cows, an ode to all things bovine. I am going to savor all 96 colorful pages of cowtastic jokes, poems, stories, games and more....

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Cirque du Soleil – now performing in your living room between the tricycle and the house plant

My kids once had a gymnastics teacher who was training to be a Cirque du Soleil acrobat. He would take a ribbon that was hanging from the ceiling and spin himself up it as if gravity had no effect on him. It was freakishly amazing, a description I’ve heard about all Cirque du Soleil shows, though I’ve never had the chance to see one myself just yet. Now though, we can all get a chance to see their spectacular performances — on that sleek rectangular box you’ve got across from your couch. Beginning tonight and running through December, PBS will air...

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Yo Gabba Gabba Live – The hot kids’ ticket of the year.

Calling all Yo Gabba Gabba fans! I know from the gazillion times my son has been entranced by the show that it’s always full of surprises (ie Erykah Badu appearing out of nowhere). Well the live show that’s launched yesterday promises to be the same way and we can’t wait. Let’s just say previous on-stage guests included Sarah Silverman, The Roots and Devendra Banhart. There’s still tickets left and we’re excited to have a few to give away. [don’t miss two great giveaways after the jump!] If you’re in the NYC area, we’ve got four tickets up for grabs...

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The Cool Mom Picks guide to a cooler Orlando vacation: Part 3 – New stuff! New stuff!

This is the third post in a three-part series on Orlando vacation tips from Cool Mom Picks. We know that for some parents, an Orlando trip is something you do once in a lifetime. But for some, it’s something you do once in a while. Or maybe even once a year. (Unless you actually live in Orlando, in which case we’d imagine you’re there quite a bit, huh.) Of course every trip can be a different trip because there’s just so much darn stuff to do there. But there are a lot of new, cool things to do that...

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Tennis, anyone?

The US Open has always been one of the coolest thing about living and parenting in New York. It’s one of the few sporting events that doesn’t cost your family six hundred gazillion dollars, you’re pretty much guaranteed not to have a drunken, obscenity-spewing fan next to you, and it’s not too hard to explain the rules. See, that guy hits it and that guy hits it back, okay? Well this Saturday is is more than just the US Open, it’s the 15th Annual Arthur Ashe Kids Day, and our friends at Stonyfield Farm are sponsors once again. Which...

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The Cool Mom Picks guide to a cooler Orlando vacation. Part 2: The 5 and under Set

This is the second post in a three-part series on Orlando vacation¬†tips from Cool Mom Picks.   Traveling with kids under five comes with its own set of challenges. The first challenge being: Should I even do this at all? We unequivocally say, yes! As frequent travelers ourselves, we know that the earlier you travel with kids, the sooner they become good travelers–which means new experiences, broader horizons, and meals after which you don’t have to do the dishes. (Heh.) So how do you get the most out of an Orlando vacation with the littlest kids? We’ve got some...

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The Cool Mom Picks guide to a cooler Orlando vacation. Part 1: Money saving tips.

An Orlando vacation is pretty much a requisite at some point in your life once you’ve had kids, right? It’s like you hit the L&D ward and they give you breastfeeding advice, a swaddling tutorial, and coupons for Sea World. While an Orlando vacation may be less expensive than international trips, it still makes sense to take advantage of all the money-saving tips you can. After all, wouldn’t you rather spend any extra hard-earned cash on one great dinner out at Emeril’s (and a baby sitter) than overpaying for a hotel room? Having been there a ton ourselves, we’ve...

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Baby Loves Disco, now with extra added boogie

Why did the handkerchief dance? Because you put a little boogie in it. (Heh). And why does my kid dance? Because she’s a ballerina/ninja/cheerleader/doctor/dinosaur-tamer. And that is why Baby Loves Disco keeps on rockin’ with some super cool news for families all over the country. This fall, our friends at Baby Loves Disco will be back with more awesome family-friendly dance parties across the nation. We’ve already told you about their groundbreaking Lemonade Tour, which is raising money as we speak to help find a cure for childhood cancer. But we want to remind you of BLD’s ongoing, original...

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Cool kid travel guides they’ll actually read

When we moved to Georgia, I tried to pad the transition with various books about what a great place it was and the interesting things that have happened here. My efforts were met with a resounding “meh” from my children. Hmph. Of course, the brand new Cool Stuff Every Kid Should Know city guides from Arcadia Kids weren’t around, back then, otherwise I could have gotten them the Atlanta book and totally won them over.   Even though we live here, now, both kids pronounced this little book “totally cool,” and why not? It’s chock-full of not just landmarks...

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Pucker up for The Lemonade Tour by Baby Loves Disco

Yeah there she was, like disco lemonade… You know we love to party hearty with the fine folks at Baby Loves Disco. And you really know we love to shop. Now, thanks to the new Lemonade Tour, you get to do both at malls all across the country–with proceeds going to a great charity, too. If you don’t know Baby Loves Disco yet, you should. They turn hip nightclubs into child-safe, family-friendly parties on Saturday afternoons with music that appeals to both rockin’ parents and their kids. But for those of us– like myself– who can’t get to a...

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The Cool Mom Picks Guide to surviving Disneyland

We’re hardly Disney fanatics around my place, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a princess loving daughter who still gets giddy at the sight of Ariel and Tiana. And so, I was pretty excited when we were invited on a press trip to check out Disneyland, California Adventure, and especially their new World of Color water and light show. If you’re planning your own visit, learn from my experiences! Here’s a simple Cool Mom Picks guide to help make your visit a cooler and more enjoyable one. Avoid the lines (yes, it’s possible!) There are a few ways...

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Lilith Fair is back!

I’m sad to admit that it’s been a very loooong time since I’ve been to a music concert, but I still have vivid memories of the amazing Lilith Fair, the awesome all-female touring music festival back in the late 90s. Well, it’s back, mamas, and if you missed Lilith Fair the first time around then I strongly suggest you snag a sitter now, grab some girlfriends, and make a night of it. The brainchild of superstar (and mom) Sarah McLachlan and friends, this phenomenal gathering of women artists features some of the hottest musicians bridging across all musical genres...

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Make sure what goes to camp, doesn’t stay at camp

I’ve never been good at labeling my kids’ stuff which means I’ve paid the price in misplaced water bottles, forgotten jackets and other random missing objects. But with three kids going to camp this summer, I’d better get on my game to make sure what walks out of the house in the morning walks back in at the end of the day, albeit dirty and stinky. I’m a big fan of Name Bubbles’ Camp Pack of colorful waterproof and laundry-safe personalized labels which get the job done in a lot less time than a Sharpie. You’ll get 124 press-and-stick...

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Yo Gabba Gabba! Live! At Radio City! And why can’t I stop using these exclamation points!

The only thing more trippy than watching a guy in a giant yellow neoprene robot costume singing “Don’t Bite Your Friends” to a hiphop beat on your big screen TV might just be watching it live. And I don’t want to hear it from you cynics. Any children’s show that features Amy Sedaris as the tooth fairy and gets my kids singing along with the Roots is a-okay by me. Which is why we’re so excited to let you know that Yo Gabba Gabba! Live!: There’s a Party in My City is heading to Radio City Music hall in...

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Summer Camp – it’s come a long way from lanyards and capture the flag

While suburban kids have access to pools and lakes and campgrounds, we city folk make do with our own assets when it comes to summer camps for preschoolers–like museum trips and cooking classes and lots and lots of arts and crafts. And of course, we justify it by telling ourselves that the kids will be more comfortable out of the humidity anyway. So I laughed to learn who else has thrown their hat into the day camp ring this year; it seems that NYC institution, Dylan’s Candy Bar, is introducing Manhattan tots to Dylan’s Candy Bar Camp. Yes, it’s...

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Babymoons go trendy

Doesn’t it seem like all the hip hotels cater to the barely-legal, barely-dressed, reality-stars-in-the-making crowd? Well, it’s nice to see one of the super cool hotel chains doing a little sumthin’, sumthin’ for the grown ups now. Specifically, grown-up women who are about to become mothers. W Hotels just introduced their Baby Me babymoon package in time for Mother’s Day last week, but lasting all year long. Even if you’ve traded in your string bikini for a skirted pregnancy bathing suit, you can still kick back by the pool and read your complimentary copy of Bump it Up, by...

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Shopping, Sex, and Free Babysitting at Psychobaby. Do I have your attention yet?

We love checking out what’s new and hot at one of our fave boutiques, Psychobaby, and this spring is no exception. They’ve packed their virtual shelves full of warm weather duds that will make your little hipster stand out at the playgroup. Now here’s the coolest part: If you happen to live in Chicago, you can peruse it all in person at their storefront where they’ll be hosting me,  Cool Mom Picks co-founder Kristen Chase, when I do a fantastic mom’s night out in-store event on April 22 from 7-9pm. There will be food, drinks, and hello, shopping, plus you can pick up...

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Come and embarrass your kids with us at Kindiefest

As Cool Mom Picks’ de facto kids’ music reviewer, I’m as big a fan of indie, family-friendly music as even the fans who are oh, 30-35 years younger than I am.  But, that’s not going to stop me from pogoing around the Kindiefest Festival on Sunday, May 2, with CMP editor Liz, and the best part about it is that you can join us.  If you can get yourself and your kids to littlefield NYC in Brooklyn by noonish on the 2nd, you’ll be treated to some of the most fabulous kid-friendly music artists out there today. Bands like...

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