Kicking off the Holidays in Style with Momtrends

It’s been a yearly tradition to kick off my holiday season with my friends at Momtrends their Annual Holiday Soiree. This year, they celebrated their 5th annual event!

Nicole Feliciano, the trend-spotting and style savvy founder of Momtrends, has a true knack for gathering the most influential voices in the Tri-State and beyond. Every event is filled with fabulous brands and amazing products, and this year’s Soiree was no exception.

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Momtrends’ Holiday Soiree featured a myriad of brands who help make the season brighter, ranging from Cabi to Pom Wonderful.

Epson showcased their Ecotank printer that boasts high quality prints and photos, and an impressive printing capacity. Apparently, with this printer, you don’t have to change the tanks for 2 years! My blogger pals and I had a blast posing in the backdrop and we even took some Epson prints home!

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The Cabi fashion show was a highlight of the night. It was so lovely to see Cabi’s functional styles on real women, including my friend, Divina of The cape and tailored skirt makes for a polished look for the holidays!

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Telaflora once again showcased their beautiful flowers, which would be perfect as centerpieces or hostess gifts. Among the beautiful red and white arrangements, I really loved the Peanuts collection!

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While hanging out with friends, we noshed on the various snacks dipped in Tessemae’s sauces and sipped on Pom-tinis. The all natural sauces from Tessemae’s has quite the back story. Some brothers began bottling the salad dressing upon realizing the true demand of their mom’s delicious recipes. Many years later, these dressings are available at Whole Foods, among other retailers.

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With pomegranates in season right now, it was great to taste various cocktails with this delicious fruit. After learning how to open this delicious fruit, I’m excited to include it in more recipes and snacks!

What are delicious beverages without containers to serve and transport them? I loved learning all about Igloo’s latest products, including that very cool party tub! As a major sports family, we use those Igloo coolers and containers incessantly!

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On to the baby and kid stuff:

I always love seeing my friends from Hasbro showcases their awesome toys. Hasbro was in the house and had their classic games to highlight. They have so many fun toys and games this holiday season, but it’s the classics that make family time so fun.

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I loved learning all about Bedgear and their very cool textile technology. This company makes waterproof crib sheets, wicking pillowcases, among other cool products. They were super cozy and perfect for napping after Turkey dinner.

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Perhaps one of my favorites of the night was Mudpuppy! As a kid product enthusiast, I loved the aesthetic and range of innovative books, games and other stationery product from Mudpuppy. IMG 0105

From the cool chalk board posters to the magnetic puzzle kits, I am totally smitten with this fabulous brand. And as luck would have it, I won a very generous prize kit from Mudpuppy as part of the evening’s raffle. Though I’m unlucky in so many other aspects, somehow, my luck balances out whenever I attend Momtrends’ events. So, thank you to the Momtrends team and to Mudpuppy for this awesome prize kit! After sharing a separate review on the products, I will be making a donation to the children’s hospital for kids to enjoy while receiving treatment.

Thank you, as always, to the Momtrends team for including me in such a lovely event. It’s always an honor to be included with so many smart and savvy women! Be on the lookout for more thorough reviews of more products spotted at the Holiday Soiree!

Healthy Snack: Mango Pomegranate Smoothie

One of our absolute favorite snacks around here are smoothies. Smoothies for breakfast, a mid-morning snack, an after school snack—it doesn’t matter the time of day, we love our smoothies. We’ve been known to listen to the blender demo people at Costco, watching them blend entire carrots at a time. I’ve been swooning over high power blending technology for quite some time, so imagine the thrill it was to get a first hand demo of Panasonic’s MX-ZX1800 high power blender. 


This blender has the capacity to chop, cream, blend, heat, grind, churn—pretty simplify things in the kitchen. 

For our first foray with this amazing appliance, we gave a tried and true smoothie recipe a whirl with a bit of a seasonal twist. The mango pomegranate smoothie is a tart but sweet snack and makes a great complement for breakfast. 



The citrus and Vitamin C provided by the mango and orange juice is ideal for prime cold and flu season. The pomegranate, which is in season, is such an excellent source of antioxidants, fiber and more Vitamin C. The seeds not only add a little color, but also a sweet juicy flavor. The kids love digging into this smoothie and crunching the seeds.

A few pointers for opening the pomegranate: slice one end, score the fruit from top to bottom 3-4 times around and then wiggle a knife on the end where it was sliced to pop open the fruit. Place the opened fruit in a bowl and scoop out seeds with a spoon.



If I do say so, this tastes even better than my local smoothie shop! My favorite part of this recipe is the ease and minimal effort for such a creamy treat.


1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1 cup frozen mango cubes
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds 

Combine yogurt, mango and pomegranate seeds in blender. I like putting the mango at the bottom to ensure it gets chopped just so.


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When opening the pomegranate, scoop out seeds above the blender so that juice can add to the mixture.




Add orange juice until it fills almost to the top of the fruit mixture. Blend using the smoothie function, adding more juice as necessary. Serve with a handful of pomegranate seeds and enjoy!





Mango Pomegranate Smoothie


1 cup plain non-fat yogurt

1 cup frozen mango cubes

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds 


Combine yogurt, mango and pomegranate seeds in blender. When opening the pomegranate, scoop out seeds above the blender so that juice can add to the mixture. Add orange juice until it fills almost to the top of the fruit mixture. Blend using the smoothie function, adding more juice as necessary. Pour into glass and enjoy.

Top Toys of 2015

From Toy Fair in February to recent holiday media events, I’ve been scouting toys and trends all year for The Next Kid Thing. I have several lists in the works, but before the biggest shopping day of the year kicks off, I wanted to share some of the coolest toys that I think might be the big sellers this season.

I put this list together based on the play value, my kids’ reaction, price point as well as accessibility. I’ve been checking out the toys’ popularity online and in person and have compiled, what I think, might be some of the hottest sellers this season. Some obvious picks did not make my list because the supply is more accessible or the price is out of reach for many people.

Keep an eye out for more of our picks. Until then, I present The Next Kid Thing Top Toys for 2015.




1. Sit-to-Stand Ultimate Alphabet Train

 This is the latest version of Vtech’s popular Alphabet Train. The multi-phase toy is intuitive and is perfect for tots who are sitting, toddling or already on the go. I love that this toy grows with kids and offers so many different types of educational play and function. On sale, I’ve spotted this great toy in the $40 range.


2. Bright Beats Dance and Move Beatbo

Beatbo first caught my eye at Toy Fair because of its bright and simple aesthetic. Beatbo dances, sings and has engaging educational games, perfect for curious toddlers. Beatbo can be found at major retailers for $35.


3. Paw Patrol Interactive Mission Chase

 Chase has all kinds of features, making him quite the hot commodity. Chase is bigger in size and has cool details for making missions easier. Paw Patrol toys, in general, are popular, so make sure to pick up Chase before he becomes hard to find later in the season. This Chase is #1 on my little guy’s list.


4. Paw Patrol Patroller

This Paw Patroller vehicle holds 3 vehicles when closed and several more when opened, making it an ideal gift for Paw Patrol mega-fans. This cool vehicle has multiple functions and landed on several top toys’ lists, and will certainly be another popular toy this season. Head’s up: Target currently has a 20% off Promo on toys. Head to their site to take advantage of this deal.


5. Shopkins

Just like it’s been all year, expect anything Shopkins to be super popular this holiday season. Right now, playsets and blind bags are in stock, but expect anything Shopkins to be a must-have for kids who appreciate these super cute collectibles. I love this Ice Cream Truck!


6. Clever Keet

Little Live Pets have been a favorite for animal lovers, and Clever Keet is no exception. This clever guy can chat and respond to your voice. He dances and even rides his little cart. 

7. American Girl Grace Thomas

The 2015 Girl of the Year Grace Thomas encourages savvy kids to pursue big ideas and embrace the business world. Available for only one year, the Grace collection includes an18-inch Grace doll featuring long dark-brown hair and blue eyes, plus several French-inspired outfits, accessories, and toys that reflect her interests, such as the premium French Bakery Set with more than 60 pieces.

8. Girl Scouts Cookie Oven

The very cool Girl Scouts Cookie Oven is making quite the buzz this holiday season. With this fantastic toy, kids can bake their favorite Girl Scout cookie flavors at home while learning how to bake. 

9. Interactive R2-D2

With the upcoming release of the latest installment of Star Wars: the Force Awakens, it’s no surprise that Star Wars toys will be among the hottest toys this season. One toy that made our list of hot toys is Thinkways’ Interactive R2-D2. He projects images, turns his head while he talks, is voice-activated, among other cool features. With over 1000 programmable action combos, this smart toy will be a favorite for kids and adults alike.

10. BB-8 Sphero

BB-8 Sphero has been a hot Star Wars item since Force Friday earlier this year. This interactive droid is app-enabled and has voice-recognition, and has been dubbed the coolest Star Wars Toy by various outlets. Another toy that’s expected to be a popular multi-generational gift, this guy might be hard to find later in the season.

11. Lego Dimensions

Lego Dimensions joins the market as the latest toy to life video game. But this time, this video game has the clout of its beloved Lego franchise and characters to back up its foray onto consoles. From fun characters from the Lego Movie to classic superhero and cartoon figures, Lego Dimensions is already popular for kids and families. Since spotting it at the Kidz Vuz Back to School party, this game is #1 on my older guy’s list!
Head’s up: Lego Dimensions is featured on Target’s Cartwheel for 35% off for two more days, which makes it around $65. Combine this with an additional 5% off if you have Target RedCard. To compare: Toys R’ Us has Lego Dimensions on sale for $64.99 on Black Friday at 7am. 

12. LeapFrog LeapPad Platinum

LeapFrog’s latest LeapPad Platinum has some of the coolest features yet. It features a faster processor and crisp screen. In addition to the popular LeapFrog games and easy-to-navigate interface, the LeapPad Platinum features the unique and cutting-edge ImagiCard technology. My preschooler is obsessed with ImagiCard and I appreciate how reinforces counting, colors, alphabet, as well as tactile manipulation.

As of today, all of these toys are available in stores and online. Be sure to take advantage of pre-Black Friday sales and coupons which are proving to be cheaper than schlepping out to stores in the wee hours later this week.

Stay tuned for more gift ideas with all of my NKT Holiday Gift Guides!



PBS Kids: A Creature Christmas and Nature Cat to Debut

As we’re getting ready to feast on turkey, our friends over on PBS Kids are getting us into the holiday spirit with some great Christmas content featuring the Wild Kratts.

On November 25th, PBS is premiering “A Creature Christmas,” which is the first hour-long holiday Wild Kratts special. In this fun special, the Kratts take a break from their fearless questing for creatures to celebrate Christmas. But when they receive an alert that their favorite critters are disappearing around the globe, their holiday celebration quickly turns into a rescue mission. Wild Kratts: A Creature Christmas premieres November 25 with encore presentations on November 26, 27, 28 and 29; December 7, 18, 20, 24 and 25.

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Then, following the debut of “Creature Christmas,” be sure to check out the brand-new action-adventure series, Nature Cat. The show stars an ordinary housecat named Fred who becomes his alter-ego, “Nature Cat,” – backyard nature explorer – when his family leaves for the day. We’re already loving the energy and spunk from Nature Cat. Check out the site!

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As longtime Wild Kratts fans, I’m looking forward to this cool holiday special. We can’t wait to see what kind of adventure the Kratt brothers are up to for the holidays. Nature Cat sounds like so much fun! I totally envision our crazy cat having his own alter-ego every time he escapes the house! 

Video: Happy Dance Snoopy from Just Play Toys

As I’m busy getting prepping this year’s Holiday Gift Guide, I thought I’d share a video of one of my favorite toys that I spotted in my travels. Just Play Toys, one of my favorites, has some of the hottest toys this Holiday Season, including Happy Dance Snoopy! This fun plush toy dances to the iconic Peanuts theme song, while moving its feet and flopping his beagle ears! If you give him a smooch on his nose, he responds with a smooch, a laugh, a howl or a belch. Silly dog!


As a huge fan of this franchise and the latest release, I think Just Play did the Peanuts franchise justice with this fun toy. At just $29.99, Happy Dance Snoopy is such a reasonable price point for this guy. There are several other fun toys in the line, but I’m so smitten with Happy Dance Snoopy. In a complicated time, it’s refreshing to divert happiness and fun to beloved characters who exude a free-spirited life! Check out Snoopy in action!


First Look: Verizon GizmoPal 2 and GizmoPal Gadget

Just in time for the official launch of their new wearables geared to kids, Verizon offered us a first look at the GizmoPal 2 and GizmoPal Gadget.

The LG GizmoPal 2 is the next iteration of the wearable that launched last year. The GizmoPal 2 can be programmed with several numbers with the use of the GizmoPal app. A child can call the numbers with a single button. Parents can also call the child on the GizmoPal 2, and can also track them since the device is GPS-enabled.
 The devices come in kid-friendly colors and can be personalIzed with stickers.

 The other new device, GizmoPal Gadget is a very sleek smart watch with the same premise, but with more sophisticated features. The GizmoPal Gadget has a touchscreen and is loaded with several cool games and activities in addition to the calling and tracking features.

 This neat gadget has really impressed us, right from the first swipe. I love that I’ll be able to track my son after he leaves school to make sure I make it in time for pick up. Better yet, if I get caught in traffic, I can call him or text him to let him know.

 And while he’s waiting for me, he can play with the nifty voice changer to keep him occupied. I can’t wait to share a more thorough review of these cool devices.

Odd-tober and Halloween Shows on PBS

We’ve been busy getting ready for Halloween over here. As we finish carving pumpkins and all the usual fun stuff, I wanted to share some cool stuff that’s been going on at PBS.

Earlier in the month, in honor of Odd Squad, PBS kicked the spooky season with a one-hour special and the return of Halloween-themed family favorites from various series! The premiere featured “Odd Squad: Against the Odds,” which will included five 11-minute stories with Olive, Otto and the rest of the gang as they solve the community’s strange problems.


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“Odd-tober” will continue on PBS KIDS this week with the return of family Halloween favorites, including “Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest.” Favorite episodes from series such as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Wild Kratts, PEG + CAT and Dinosaur Train will also air throughout the week. Don’t forget to check out games and stream the Halloween-themed episodes free on and the PBS KIDS Video App.

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We’re all about that crazy Curious George and his silly shenanigans. What are your favorite Halloween shows on PBS?  

Reading Rainbow on YouTube Kids

As we’re in the thick of fall festivities with friends, when the kids aren’t busy chasing each other around outside, we sometimes find them huddled in the corner on their iPads. For almost all of our younger kids, the first app or site they head to, without fail, is YouTube. Just like us, the kids are starting to say, “Guys, check out this video!”

And as the kids check out, I often nudge my friends and make sure they know all about the awesomeness that is YouTube Kids. For kids in that younger age bracket, you can’t go wrong with the content that’s curated and offered on YouTube Kids. Despite the ads, YTK is a no-brainer for us, especially when it comes to educational content.

Reading Rainbow on YouTube Kids

One of the channels I absolutely love seeing on YouTube Kids is Reading Rainbow. Yes, THAT Reading Rainbow, the educational delight of our youth. I can still remember watching it on that rolling tv on the media cart in our blackened classroom. As a book lover, LeVar Burton’s voice and enthusiasm of education and reading resonates so much joy, especially now as a parent.

I appreciate that my kids can check out Reading Rainbow on YTK at their leisure and learn all about STEM topics such as 3D printing, athletics and tech, and even how astronauts poop in space! It’s the classic books, though, that bring back the best memories, and ones that I’m thrilled to share with my kids via YouTube Kids.

Looking for a fun way to reinforce lessons at home or to bring a classic book to life? YouTube Kids is a great resource. The YouTube Kids App is free on iTunes and Google Play. As with any app or online content, make sure you know what your kid is watching!

Family Fun: The Bronx Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo

One of our most favorite places to go around Halloween time is the Bronx Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo. Not-so-spooky, the Boo at the Zoo is a fun family affair, where there is something for everyone. This year’s theme is aptly named, Mystery & Mischief.

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Boo at the Zoo is a fabulous time of year when with festive costumes and thrilling decorations converge with special events at the zoo in celebration of Halloween. The Bronx Zoo is currently featuring a myriad of events and festivities on the weekends until November 1.

My kids adore the zoo and get all into the decorations. It’s so fun to see the usual sites at the zoo, all decked out for Halloween. From pumpkins to spooky backdrops, the Bronx Zoo knows how to get into the Halloween Spirit. The bug carousel is one of my kids’  absolute favorite things at the zoo; the boys love being in their costumes and showing off and just riding around and around as many times as we can.

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During Boo at the Zoo, in addition to checking out all the animals, there are so many fun tricks and treats to see. Throughout the zoo, there are treats for the kids and a fun costume parade. The Alice Farley Dance Company will lead the way again, decked out as snakes, bats, butterflies, and more.  

Among other highlights for Boo at the Zoo include:  the Jack ‘O Lantern Illumination, music, magic shows, giant pumpkin carvings and much much more!

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photo credit: Bronx Zoo

If you’re not in the Bronx, stop by another borough for their version of Boo at the Zoo. Queens Zoo and Prospect Park Zoo both have Halloween activities to let visitors get up close with animals, from the creepy to the cute. And for those who prefer an aquatic take on the holiday, the New York Aquarium’s Ascarium is back this year.

More details and tickets for Boo at the Zoo are available here:

Full disclosure: I received tickets to the zoo to share about my experience. As always, opinions on NKT are my own.

Celebrating Hotel Translyvania 2 at the Bronx Zoo

Just before the highly anticipated Hotel Translyania 2 hit theaters, the boys and I were thrilled to enjoy a day with the Drac Pack at the Bronx Zoo. Hosted by our friends at Kidz Vuz and Sony Pictures, we enjoyed breakfast in an event space overlooking the Congo Gorilla Forest.

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The guys were beside themselves by their incredible surroundings and hanging with our blogger friends. Actually, I don’t think we did much eating; we certainly took in the sights more than anything else.

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We absolutely loved meeting and greeting the Drac Pack and posing with our cool capes. In the new animated film, several notable names get in on the monster fun: Adam Sandler once again voices the lovable Dracula, Andy Samberg voices Jonathan, Selena Gomez lends her voice for Mavis, Kevin James is Frankenstein, Steve Buscemi voices Wayne and David Spade is Griffin.


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As part of the event, we had the chance to learn more about bats from the Bronx Zoo experts. My guys loved learning about Rodriguez Bats and all about their environments and what they eat. It was so cool to see them in their habitat at the zoo.

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Thanks to Sony and Kidz Vuz, we enjoyed the rest of the day at the Bronx Zoo exploring and taking in all of the fun with our friends!

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Be sure to check out Hotel Translyvania 2, which is now in theaters!


Full disclosure: I was provided with a stipend to cover transportation costs. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.