The northeast is finally feeling the warmth of Spring, and with that, we’re starting to break out our Spring clothes. The thing I love most about Spring kids style is that we can start shedding layers and, inevitably, brighter colors come into play.
At The Children’s Place this Spring, boys and girls styles are as vibrant as ever with cool graphics and fun prints as main focal points. The boys’ clothes are a super fun mix of classic cool and modern fun. Girls’ styles are playful and eclectic, with copious amounts of sweet prints and sassy silhouettes.
For my boys, I’m always drawn to TCP’s classic shirts and graphic tees. Since my younger one always inherits the older ones clothes, it’s important for me to stick with classic styles. I love the shirts I bought for Easter this year, and the ties and bow ties are the perfect complement, too!
Check out my Spring Haul from TCP!
Full disclosure: I was provided with a gift card to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.
In Dreamworks’ new animated film, “Home”, two unlikely characters cross paths and work together to overcome alienation while learning to embrace imperfections.
When the free-spirited tween, Tip, voiced by Rihanna, finds herself isolated and alone as the eccentric aliens, Boov, colonize Earth, she ventures out with her cat to search for her mom. As the Boov settle into their new digs, the quirky and often misunderstood, Oh, voiced by Jim Parsons, finds himself in another unfortunate scenario when he mistakenly sends a party invitation to everyone in his contact list—including their evil enemy, Gorg. When the cluelessly arrogant Boovian leader Captain Smek, voiced by comic legend Steve Martin, finds out that Oh made another mistake that might cost them their new home, ultimately, Oh is banished.
At the press junket a few weeks ago, I enjoyed listening to Rihanna, Parsons and Martin as they charmed a room full of bloggers and journalists.
To my surprise, Rihanna was hilarious and self-deprecating; at one point, I totally felt as though we could potentially be BFFs. When a fellow blogger asked Rihanna about how important it was for Tip to resonate with her own character and traits, I appreciated her candor:
“I think it was both important to me and DreamWorks Animation for this to be as realistic as possible. We wanted little girls to feel empowered, little girls of any size, shape, color, race. It didn’t matter. We wanted girls to just feel strong and brave and empowered and beautiful and like they can do anything. And they can take charge of their life or their situation no matter what.”
Hopefully, girls and boys will appreciate and be influenced by Tip’s fearlessness and determination to rise above adversity.
In person, Parsons was just as charming as I’d envisioned. When asked what his takeaways were from “Home,” Parsons appreciated several of Oh’s strengths.
“Oh has his own selection of them too, this optimism and eagerness and friendliness and hopefulness, that I don’t carry with me as in abundance and as much of the time as he does. And there’s not a good reason for–I mean, life gets in the way.”
Parsons provided charm and awkward likability to the outcasted Oh, while Rihanna gave Tip a sassy, yet vulnerable persona. As recognizable entertainers who stepped out of their usual realm, providing voiceovers for Home was a new frontier for both Rihanna and Jim Parsons.
It was Martin’s brand of grandiose comedy that made Captain Smek’s arrogance and cowardice believable, yet strangely likable. Martin, of course, could effortlessly entertain the room with a single sentence. As for Martin’s takeaway from the film:
“I’m vowing to be more animated. That’s true.”
Jennifer Lopez voiced Tip’s mom and lent her vocals for one of the songs in Home. With nods to popular lyrics and a unique soundtrack, the music was just as fun as the story itself.
“Home” unearths a number of themes, but one message that will hit home for kids and families is that camaraderie and friendship sometimes evolve when you least expect it. Despite their differences, when Tip and Oh reluctantly partner up to overcome adversity, they realize they have just as many similarities as they have differences.
As their adventure unfolds, they learn about their own personal strengths and acceptance for things out of their control. As Tip and Oh bond and travel to search for family and safety, ultimately, they find friendship and compassion. Dreamworks’ “Home” is yet another fulfilling family film that explores into multiple thought-provoking themes while maintaining a fun and relatable storyline for kids.
Overall, this is a fun film for families, but the story may be too big for littler audiences. For those who might not understand complex story lines or who can’t sit through an hour film, I wouldn’t recommend seeing Home in the theaters. At times, I felt that the dialogue was abrupt and borderline questionable. I found myself instinctively thinking a few times “we don’t say that,” as if my 7 year old was watching next to me. Toward the end, in one of the turnkey scenes, grief and loss is a brief topic. So, if your child is uneasy about loss and darker concepts such as evil, I’d give a second thought before watching “Home.”
From Tip and Oh’s light-hearted coming of age story, we learn that the idea of “home” transcends its literal meaning of a place or a thing. “Home” playfully depicts home as a feeling of contentment and a personal destination where love, life, family, friends converge. Home arrives in theaters on March 27.
Full disclosure: I was invited to participate in this press junket, but did not receive compensation. As always, opinions on NKT are my own.
We’re excited to partner up again with Saban to share the latest and greatest. This time, we’ll be focusing on the beloved Power Rangers franchise. Marking the 22nd year, this season is dino-mite. No, really…Power Rangers Dino Charge, which debuted in February, on Nickelodeon is fully charged with wild adventures.
This season in Power Rangers Dino Charge, an alien entrust powerful Energems to 10 dinosaurs, but when the dinosaurs went ext inct, the Energems were lost. Now, an intergalactic bounty hunter is determined to reclaim the Energems and rule the universe, destroying our planet in the process. A new team of Power Rangers must find the lost Energems and use their Dino Chargers to power up an arsenal of din-fueled weapons, zords and Megazords to save the world.
We had the chance to get a look at the new Deluxe Dino Charge Morpher ourselves. They’re pretty amazing and we can’t get enough of it!
Check out our video for our Power Rangers Dino Charge unboxing:
New episodes of Power Rangers Dino Charge will continue to air every Saturday at 12 p.m. on Nickelodeon, with encore episodes airing Sundays at 8 a.m. on Nickelodeon and Saturdays at 7 p.m. on Nicktoons.
New episodes of Power Rangers Dino Charge will continue to air every Saturday at 12 p.m. on Nickelodeon in the U.S., with encore episodes airing Sundays at 8 a.m. on Nickelodeon and Saturdays at 7 p.m. on Nicktoons.
There was so much to see and do at Toy Fair this year. Before I share about the trends I saw, I wanted to share a few of my favorites from this year’s show. Most of these toys won’t hit shelves until this summer or fall, so here’s your sneak peek at a few of my favorite next kid things:
Spinmaster’s Sew Cool did so well last year that they’re riding the maker trend with a number of cool activity sets for Tweens. Knit Cool is an interesting set that allows kids to knit with ease, similar to that of finger/arm knitting. I can’t wait to see this generation of kids continue to make cool things with their own imagination and ingenuity.
Selfies and tech toys were displayed loud and proud at Toy Fair. Snap Pets from Wowee is a fun selfie tool that can be used to take selfie images or as a remote. Tweens will love the small size of this cool selfie tool.
Speaking of creations, Lego, as expected, has a slew of cool new sets. Because Lego Minecraft was one of hottest gifts last holiday season, I thought I’d share a few photos of the upcoming sets in this series.
I saw a lot of new and upcoming Lego sets that encourage kids to forego the instruction manual and enjoy open-ended play. The crafting box is just one of many sets that give suggestions on what to build, but just like the digital version of Minecraft, this set capitalizes on pure imagination.
The Mine is another cool set that I loved seeing coming to life. The skeleton, creeper and spider are my favorite part of this set!
The Ender Dragon is another cool set that is sure to be huge among Minecraft aficionados.
Plan Toys remains one of my absolute favorite toy companies, not just because they produce aesthetically pleasing goodies, but also because they’re eco-friendly and socially conscious. Here are just a few of my favorite finds from my Plan Toys booth visit.
This chalkboard table set would look super cool in a playroom or classroom!
This rocket nesting toy is so eye-catching. The toys nesting inside were never-ending!
I can’t resist boat toys. This sailboat was so classic and cute!
If only NYC taxis could be this innocent and cute. Nevertheless, I love this sweet wooden taxi.
You can’t go wrong with wooden pull toys. Plan Toys owns the cute card in this category.
Happy National Bubble Bath Day! After an exhausting day, there’s nothing we love more than winding down with a warm bubble bath.
I love bubble baths that smell fresh, but don’t have the harmful chemicals or synthetic fragrances. We’re all about bubble baths, so here’s a round up of just a few of our favorites:
Little Twig has a bunch of great products, but the Unscented Bubble Bath is one of my favorites. With so many unsavory additives and ingredients in baby soaps and baths, I appreciate that Little Twig products boasts nothing but the good stuff.
So Cozy, as we’ve mentioned before is one of our favorite lines of kid products. From the shampoos to body washes, So Cozy makes bath time fun and so easy. Our favorite for bath time that gets all the suds going is the Cinch 2-n-1 Shampoo and Body Wash. My older guy loves that it smells fresh and not so “baby!”
California Baby Calming
Speaking of babies, California Baby is one of my absolute favorite companies in the baby realm. I’ll always associate CB with being a new mom and bathing my brand new baby. The scents are absolutely divine and i want to believe that the Calming scent really does calm down my rambunctious little boys. CB uses only the good stuff AND they have a bubble wand in their bottle to boot!
There are so many things to love about bubble baths, namely the bubbles themselves. But truly, as some parents might agree, bubble baths have quite a few benefits.
1. Bubble baths make bath time a fun bonding experience.
When the kids cooperate, bubble baths are a great time for imaginative play for both the kids and parents, too. We love making crazy hair and mohawks with suds, and silly facial hair too. My guys have a quirky kid shave kit they like to use during bubble baths. It’s always a hoot.
2. Bubble baths are great for bedtime routine.
The thing about baths: they are helpful in winding down the day and even helping to calm everyone down…again, if everyone cooperates. Taking a bubble bath gives everyone a chance to exhale after a long day and it gives the kids something to look forward to end the day.
3. Everyone gets squeaky clean!
The most obvious benefit of a bubble bath for kids is that everyone gets clean at the same time! When you have multiple young children, one of the best things about bath time is just throwing them all in the tub and streamlining bath time by getting the older ones to help with scrubbing the younger ones!
Over the summer, I was invited to a lovely event in downtown NYC to check out the latest and greatest in eyeglasses from Lenscrafters. Lenscrafters, well known for being a total eye care solution for families, provided an informative forum as we perused the latest offerings of glasses.
I had the chance to speak to several eye doctors to learn about helpful information to share with all of you.
Reports show that 1 in 4 kids have an undiagnosed vision problem. Lenscrafters suggests that the start of the new school year is an ideal time to make sure kids are seeing their best. But if you ask me, the start of a new year is a good time to start fresh, too!
And because we’re a big sports family, I found this stat particularly interesting:
Nearly 22 million kids between the ages of 6 and 17 play sports. When playing sports it’s essential for kids to have the right eyewear so that they can see clearly and perform their best, including protective eyewear such as sunglasses.
Beyond the stats, it’s always interesting to hear what the experts have to say firsthand. At the Lenscrafters event, we spoke to several eye doctors who shared great information that had me rethinking my thoughts eyewear.
“Kids receive more than three times the annual sun exposure that adults do because they seldom wear sunglasses and their eyes are especially susceptible to UV-related harm,” says Dr. Mark Jacquot, O.D., Lenscrafters’ senior director of eye care.
“Make sure children wear sunglasses all of the time they are outdoors, and make sure the lenses provide 100 percent UVA and UVB protection.”
Lenscrafters makes eye care for families easier. Not only do they have highly regarded in-house eye doctors, the glasses are put together for you there too. The turn around time can’t be beat.
With all of the different glasses and sunglasses Lenscrafters offers, it’s great to know they have simplified things, especially for indecisive people like me. Described as a virtual mirror, the My Look App harnesses technology to help provide a better look at your choices. I love the way it lays out all the great choices on one screen, with YOUR look!
The opticians at Lenscrafters are always so helpful, yet not too pushy. Having an app to help choose glasses makes the decision that much easier. For kids, Lenscrafters offers a variety of brands that appeal to kids, including Disney, Polo and Oakley, among others. I personally love the Disney frames with the cool details on the sides.
As a kid, I remember hating my glasses; with choices like these, glasses for kids are much more appealing. Though my guy doesn’t need glasses, he was practically begging for the fun Disney frames!
Because my prescription was pretty minimal, I went with new reading glasses and Biggie went with some super cool Oakleys. Our optician was super patient when we were going through the options. So, for indecisive customers like us, this is huge.
In the end, we absolutely love our choices and couldn’t have asked for a better total eye care experience. For busy parents, eye care is one of those necessary tasks that we all wish could be easier, and thanks to Lenscrafters, it is! I appreciate that Lenscrafters offers everything in house and is an overall great experience.
We were provided with complimentary products and eye exams to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.
We’re just few days away from Halloween, and more than likely, you’ve got your costumes all picked and ready to go. But for those of you who don’t, I put together a round up of some of the most popular boys’ costumes for the 4-8 year old range. Four is a bit beyond the cutesy animals and eight isn’t quite into all the gory monsters quite yet. There’s quite a few boy costumes that touch graze the gore factor but focus on that super hero/machismo theme.
Saban’s Power Rangers have some of the fiercest costumes at reasonable price points. My guys had the chance to check out the toddler ranger and the Red Ranger, both of which were bold and appear powerful with the muscle detailing. What we liked most about these costumes is that they featured a lot of details and were true to the characters from the show.
Spider-Man must have some kind of record for being one of the most popular Halloween costumes. This Marvel costume that can be found at Party City boasts lots of muscles and webbing details the only thing missing are the instant webs!
Batman is another favorite boys’ costume, particularly with the younger and much older boys. This toddler Batman costume mirrors the old school dark knight costume, and one that’s likely to be a hit with the littlest fans.
Ninjas seem to be a longtime favorite for boys, presumably for its mysterious, yet powerful stature. As opposed to the common black ninja costumes, this ninja costume from Halloween Spirit has green details that set it apart. Double swords and a draped mask complete this mysterious get-up.
Ninja Turtles are, perhaps, one of the biggest comebacks in terms of revived characters and surrounding frenzy. TMNT is expected to be one of the most popular costumes for boys this Halloween, so be on the lookout for all types of turtles, specifically in the likeness of Leo, Donnie, Mikey and Raphael.
Expect to see a lot of video game-inspired costumes this weekend, including Minecraft, Mario and lots of Skylanders. Activision’s über popular video game franchise recently released a new installment, Trap Team, so be on the lookout for Skylanders of any kind. My older guy will be donning a Chop Chop costume, which is essentially a ferocious skeleton warrior.
In case you’re on the lookout for a last minute costume, all of the above can be found at Walmart, Target, Halloween Spirit or Party City. Happy Trick or Treating!
With many of us starting school either this week or in the coming days, there’s an equal mix of excitement and anxiety about starting with a clean slate. Like many of you, we use the new school year as a chance to refresh our wardrobe and update our look.
Just the other week, we learned firsthand about some easy back to school hairstyles.
Biggie was asked to participate in a segment on the Today Show that focused on hairstyles for kids. But before we get to his hairstyle, here are the tips we learned from Cozy Friedman of Cozy’s Cuts.
1. Turn a braided ponytail into an easy updo by wrapping it up in a bun. You can accessorize with clips on the side to dress up this easy updo.
2. Turn a side ponytail inside out with a Flip Tail by parting the hair above the rubber band and then flipping the tail through the part. This is an easy alternative for a regular pony.
3. Tame bedhead with detangler and then comb it through. Add a drop of styling product to polish off a surfer look, and voilà!
4. And for the one that is most relevant for my guy, clean up a longer summer cut in lieu of a more conservative look and adding spikes in the front. From what I’m learning, boys this age are starting to become more aware of their appearance.
While my guy and I loved his longer locks, his hair got a lot of wear and tear this summer from all that swimming he did. So, one of the talented stylists from Cozy’s Cuts for Kids trimmed his hair, added texture with some layers and then styled with some product, such as Cozy’s styling gel.
Cozy’s tip about spiking the front of boys’ hair like J’s: just use a drop of gel and massage into the roots and style as you’d like. For shorter cuts like this, Cozy says you don’t need product in the back since the hair already goes in its natural direction.
Cozy not only has a chain of hair salons geared to kids, but also has a line of excellent hair products called So Cozy Haircare for Children. This line of hair care products has all kinds of good stuff and much less of the bad stuff. So Cozy Haircare boasts that their products are non-toxic, has no parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic color, propylene glycol and are free of gluten, wheat and nuts.
1. The 3-n-1 shampoo/conditioner and body wash is ideal for simplifying bath time, especially on hectic school nights. The 3-n-1 formulation lets you lather up the kids in one fell swoop: from head all the way down to their toes.
2. Behave Styling Cream helps to tame frizzies and defines curled hair with a softer hold. The aloe barbadensis leaf extract helps to moisturize and soothe the hair and scalp.
3. Behave Styling Gel with medium hold helps to style those spikes or keep those slicked back styles smooth. The tropical smell is a fresh twist for kids and the fruit acid complex helps to promote a healthy scalp.
4. Cinch Detangler and Leave-in Conditioner helps with hair that’s prone to knotting. It moisturizes as it makes combing hair easier. It contains Keratin which helps to strengthen and protect hair. The soy protein helps to promote growth and make hair soft. This detangler is something I could’ve used as a long-haired kid, and to this day as a knotty-haired mama!
So Cozy for kids is a fun line and ideal for streamlining those back to school routines at home! In the NYC? Head over to Cozy Cuts for Kids for those back to school cuts!
And, in case you missed the Back to School segment on the Today Show the other week, here’s Cozy demonstrating her tips on the kids, including my guy at the very end!
It may feel like we were just unwrapping Christmas gifts, but thankfully, after the longest winter ever, we can finally focus on spring and summer. And with a new season comes more new toys!
Last week, TTPM highlighted the key top trends and best in play at their annual spring and summer showcase. Time to Play Mag, which has expanded and officially rebranded to TTPM, is the same juggernaut and resource for reviews on playthings and beyond.
The TTPM editors pinpointed three trends that will contribute to the popularity of toys this summer, including: bigger blockbuster movie lineup, innovative outdoor toys and breakout hits.
The movies that are expected amp up toy sales include Transformers: Age of Extinction, Disney Planes: Fire and Rescue, Godzilla, and The Amazing Spider- Man 2. We’re hardcore Spider-Man fans, so our house alone may contribute to this increase in sales.
Innovative outdoor toys such as automated bubble blowers, our favorite: the bike bubbler and Grab n’ Go Chalk Games are just a few of the many toys that are sure to keep the kids entertained for hours. There are so many fantastic breakout hits, but Paw Patrol, Lego Movie, The Happy’s and not surprisingly, Frozen take top honors in this category.
There were quite a few standouts for spring and summer toys in the showcase. Ride-on toys such as Razor’s Power Ride 360 and the Kawasaki TMNT 4-wheelers made it on to the hot list. Personally, Hasbro’s Spider-Man toys and TMNT Combat-a-Bubbles are on our current list of must-haves.
I have tons of photos to share from the event which I’ll include within this post. I also did a gifting suite haul, something I had fun doing with my older son.
Attending the TTPT showcases is always a highlight of the season for me, but getting to test out the toys via the gifting suite is a true highlight for the whole family. So, many thanks to the companies who participate in the gifting suite.
Crayola’s new Grab & Go Games is one of my favorites this seasons. The kit includes chalk and accessories needed to play an outdoor game such as bean bag toss, foot hockey, chip shot golf and an obstacle course. These are games we’ve been playing for years, but Crayola, as always, has the foresight to conveniently package these games for easy outdoor play. Grab & Go
Tricksters Helmets are a line of plush helmets from the makers of Pillow Pets.
The helmets, themselves, are the hard, protective kind that can be used for bike riding, scootering and beyond, but what makes Tricksters different is the plush exterior.
They can be found at www.trickstershelmets.com or at select specialty retailers.The Trickster Helmets come in five different styles: Rainbow Bear, Flower Power Cat, Lulu Leopard, Comfy Pandy and Snuggly Puppy.
This 3-wheeled scooter features an adjustable handle and super-efficient foot brake. The sleek design and compact frame set this scooter apart from other well known brands. What I like most about this scooter is that my 2 year old can use the scooter in the handlebar’s lowest position and my oldest can glide across the street in one of the middle settings. The YBike GLX pro is a scooter that will go and grow with the kids! A more thorough review to come!
This remote controlled board takes street skating to a whole new level. Geared to older kids and more experienced skate enthusiasts, the California model was designed to be light weight and has a variety of speed variations. Equipped with a wireless remote control the 3 positions (Beginner / Medium / Expert) and brake are all powered by a simple movement of the trigger! It has a power motor 150W and max weight 100lbs
Brer Rabbit Toy’s Golf Bag is a fun beginner set for wanna-be golfers. It comes with three toy golf clubs, two tees, two holes, two numbered flags and five toy golf balls. It’s ideal for preschoolers who are interested in putting, but not quite ready for the driving range. It’s just hitting shelves now and retails for about $16.99
Little Tikes new dome-shaped climber channels play structures of yesterday. It features various sized holes to accommodate those who need easy or challenging climbing play. The hiding spots, too, would make for great preschool play. I love that this outdoor toy provides endless play patterns for younger kids and beyond. The Tunnel N Dome Climber retails for $149.99
Resembling a Nerf-textured O-ball, the Bash Ball has a cool hollowed Nerf foam core with grip-able holes. The holes gives kids a better grip to pass, fling, whip or whatever! This ball is one of our absolute favorite toys right now. It’s been fun for both my bigger boy and my littler guy; and an absolutely ideal toy for OT and PT. This is such a cool innovation, I’m excited to check out even more NERF N-Sports gear!
The super popular Nerf Rebelle line is unveiling several more products to their lineup. The Star Shot Target Set and Crossbow is among the new products, and will help make target practice even easier with the red laser light that helps to pinpoint the target. The Star Shot target set includes a crossbow, large size target and comes with 6 suction cup darts.NERF Rebelle Star Shot Target Set and Crossbow
When old fashioned bubbles just aren’t enough: you can create a gazillion bubbles instantly with the Gazillion Bubbles Typhoon 2.0. There’s no pump and or wait time, just massive amounts of bubbles with this fun contraption.. In fact, this bubble fountain blows more than 5,000 bubbles per minute.