Spring-Break Essential: The Best Sun Hats for Little Vacationers

Hello, spring. (Well, hello officially, at least.) We’ve been dreaming about you, and counting down the days until you’d peek your sunny little head out from behind winter’s bleak and cold and cloudy horizon. Alas, here you are! The Vernal Equinox—could we love you any more?!? The day that signifies the change in seasons. Of course, the weather is still rather unpredictable (is that snow I see in the upcoming weekend’s forecast?). At least, we know the temperature will slowly but surely rise, and the sun will steadily make more of a regular appearance. We’re counting on you, spring!

While we may have to hold our breath a bit for more spring-like conditions, one thing is fast on the way: spring break! Time to go somewhere beautiful and exotic (unless, of course, your a ski fam), and get a sneak peek at the summer weather on its way.

My crew cut out a bit early for our own officially unofficial spring break vacation last week in Florida and the Bahamas. Sunny days, balmy nights, sand, surf, and warm-weather fun—it was exactly what we needed to recharge our tired bodies and minds.

Seeing my two babies soaking up the rays (protected with SPF and wide-brimmed hats) warmed my heart and soothed my Vitamin D-deprived soul. Not only did they look adorable rocking big straw hats in Boca and Sarasota and Nassau, they stayed shady, calm, and cool. So don’t forget to pack your favorite kid-friendly sunscreen, some flip-flops, and a few haute little toddler sun hats (I mean what more could you possibly need?… ahem, diapers?), if you’re headed somewhere tropical these next few spring-break weeks!

I’ve rounded up a few fashionable and functional toddler sun hats for your smallest spring breakers. Enjoy!

  1. Osh Gosh “Poolside” Floppy Sun Hat, $8 / 2. Janie & Jack Color-Block Floppy Hat, $26 / 3. Children’s Place Straw Kitten Hat, $ / 4. Gap Chambray Panama Hat, $ / 5. Cat & Jack Straw Bow Hat, $8 / Janie & Jack Sun Hat, $26

  1. Old Navy Straw Hat, $14 / 2. Children’s Place Straw Bear Hat, $ / 3. Gap Shark Bucket Hat, $20 / 4. Janie & Jack Striped Boater Hat, $26

This is not a sponsored post. It may contain affiliate links. All opinions are our own.

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5 Ways to Save Money On Your Next Ski Trip

We love the snow! From Camelback Mountain to Keystone, Mammoth to Solitude to Jackson Hole, we are big fans of getting your family to the slopes. From skiing to snowboarding, snowshoeing to tubing, taking your family to the snow provides fun family bonding time, physical activity and challenges, and time in the great outdoors. Buuuuut…ski trips can be expensive. Today we’re sharing five ways to shave some dough off your trip to the snow.

Get a pass – or buy tickets ahead of time.

Have a favorite ski resort? If you have a mountain close by and are motivated to get days on the snow, getting a season pass is one of the most affordable ways to get lots of time on the slopes. Check out deals at your favorite mountain or multi-mountain passes in your area like the MaxPass that is good on 39 mountains throughout North America and Canada, the Cali4nia Pass, or one of Colorado’s various multi-mountain passes. Many resorts also offer a discount if you buy tickets ahead of time at a local retailer or with through a provider like AAA or Costco. Save time and money by checking out the resort website for information on where you can pick up tickets ahead of time.

Pack your own food.

Granted lift tickets and gear can be expensive, but one of the biggest wallet-grabbers on a ski trip is the on-mountain food! It’s expensive – and yet so tempting when you have kids who are tired and hungry and cold. If you’re staying in a ski-in/ski-out or on-mountain condo, you can keep run “home” for lunch. Otherwise, skip the pricey ski cafeteria and instead plan ahead by pre-making sandwiches, wraps or salads that you keep in your car or in a locker. My kids love a stick of salami and block of cheese that we pair with a whole baguette and some fruit. Another favorite snow family packs Top Ramen and an instant JetBoil that plugs into their car for a fast and warm lunch break. Be sure to stash a granola bar, nuts or kid-friendly snack in each kid’s jacket pocket too. And when it’s been a good day for everyone (or if someone’s having a really bad day), go ahead and splurge on that $6 hot chocolate.

Buy gear at the end of the season or off-season.

With a little bit of planning (and maybe a reminder on your calendar app!), you can score some amazing deals on ski and snowboarding gear and clothes off-season or at the end of the season. This is especially key when kids are growing out of gear nearly every season! It also doesn’t hurt to find fellow snow families who you can swap and get hand-me-down gear from too.

Go midweek.

It can be tricky to swing with work and school, but if you’re able, heading to the slopes midweek will save you money on lift tickets – often close to 20-25%! Plus, you’ll have the lifts and slopes to yourself.

Find a place where kids ski free.

There are lots of ski resorts around the US that allow kids to ski to free or nearly free. Check out our post here on states that have discounted ski/snowboard programs for kids – most you need to apply for before you head to the slopes. Many resorts also offer “Kids Ski Free” programs for kids under a certain age or with the purchase of a separate adult lift ticket.

Be sure to check out our 2016-2017 Family Ski & Snowboard Guide with family travel tips, gear recommendations and resort reviews. And click here to see all our ski and snowboard reviews on the site.

Momtrends was not paid for this post.

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Visit Estes Park, Colorado

The Rockies are calling, people. I was lucky enough to visit Estes Park, Colorado and get the star treatment as I toured the park with the pros. I had never been to the Rocky Mountains before and from a first-timer’s perspective, the wonderment and adventure one achieves whilst there is undeniable. Who knew I could hike at high altitudes with a llama? Not me! There are so many things to do, the words, “I’m bored” will never escape your child’s lips again. At least, not in Estes Park!

The accommodations:

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Everyone knows the YMCA. But did you know that Estes Park is home to the very first? Built in the late 1800’s, the vast campus spreads over 860 acres. With 250 cabins, 9 lodge buildings, and ample space to explore, the YMCA of the Rockies is the perfect family retreat. The view is stunning. There are mountains surrounding the scene, free roaming elk everywhere you look, and beautiful hiking trails throughout the area.

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Set nature aside for a moment and discover the stunning Crafts and Design Center where you aren’t just making lanyards— with expert guidance, you can weave a basket, paint a silk scarf, or learn an entirely new skill.

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There is also miniature golf, a beautiful pool, and plenty of sports activities around. You could spend the entirety of your vacation nestled right here and you would feel completely satisfied. Plus there’s a day camp for the kiddos so you can sneak away and get a massage. Yes, really.

Fun to be had:

I have never fly-fished before. It’s an art. I’ve seen A River Runs Through It like, ten times, and I watch as Brad Pitt (in all his glory) flings the line up and down the river catching fish after fish. Let me be quite plain: it’s not easy. But Kirk’s Fly Shop in the heart of Estes Park guarantees you’ll catch a fish. With the unparalleled knowledge of Kirk and his staff, you are outfitted with waiters and rods and given a thorough crash-course on how to catch trout. Check out my video below to see how I did:

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If you’re not sure if a fishing excursion is right for you, there are several options to choose from. You can choose a full day adventure or go for a few hours. Either way, you are led through the Rockies with llamas (they are great pack animals and I didn’t get spit on once. Also, if you have little ones who weigh under 80lbs, they can opt to ride them through the tougher areas of the trail) to a gorgeous river where there are 4 kinds of trout available to catch.

contigo-water-bottle-colorado-estes-parkAll the fish catching can be distracting though, and staying hydrated is important. If you’re not used to the elevation, doing this trip on day two or three of your vacation is wise. Lucky for me I had this awesome water bottle from Contigo which my llama friend Bruce was clearly impressed by as well.

The history (and haunts):

The MacGregor Ranch is one of those idyllic places you see in magazines. Set on paradisal grounds that have remained untouched since it’s inception in 1870, the ranch offers a youth program, garden, tours, and an education about early homesteading. Take a look back in the early days of Estes Park and the Black Canyon Creek area. The Lumpy Ridge borders the Ranch on the north boundary and offers dramatic views of the Estes valley. macgregor-ranch-estes-park-colorado

Have you ever read The Shining? You’ve at least either seen the movie or have heard of it. Well, welcome to the Stanley Hotel, the very one which inspired Stephen King’s creepiness. Though it wasn’t filmed here, there are plenty of nods to the story throughout the hotel. Learn the history of the hotel and it’s amazing builders, The Stanley’s while getting an education about the trials and tribulations of the early 1900’s.

the-stanley-hotel-the-shining-estes-parkThere’s also an impressive whiskey bar, a live-in psychic, a hedge maze, and ghost tours of the various buildings on the property. It’s definitely a fun stop if for nothing more than to get another impressive view of Estes Park.

Eat and Drink:

Get down with a chuckwagon dinner and cowboy music at the Lazy B Ranch and Wranglers. Dinner and a show takes on a honky-tonk vibe and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see the owner’s son play fiddle. Definitely check their calendar to see a list of performers and make it a stop on your visit. Perfect for the whole family.

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Add The Baldplate Inn to your dining stops. Part hotel part restaurant, the Baldplate has some interesting history. Their signature key room is filled with so many keys, you could probably open every door in the country. Scavenger hunts for specific “famous” keys are great for the kids and their pie list is divine. Be sure to bring a spare key with you to add to their incredible collection.

baldplate-inn-keys-dinner-estes-parkDon’t forget to take everyone to the Donut Haus. Perched on the corner in downtown, this fun little shop has some pretty big flavors. They open at 6am which makes a great breakfast stop before you head out for the day. Try the cheesecake donut or lemon filled. You’re welcome.

This is not a sponsored post. 

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Exploring Canyon Ranch Wellness Resort at Kaplankaya

Like most busy moms, I find myself giving everything I have to my kids, my husband, my job, my friends…basically everyone but me. I’m sure I’m not alone right? We’re all too often guilty of neglecting ourselves. At the end of the day, there’s just not much left to devote to us. So, travel has become my respite. I try to fit in a getaway whenever my schedule allows and they always have one thing in common…I must be able to relax. I’m game for a fun activity as much as the next girl, but my number one goal for vacation is to come back well rested.

Kaplankaya resort

That being said, sometimes a vacay just isn’t in the cards and I’ve found that simply planning one for the future or daydreaming about a spot on my travel lust list can help center me. On that note, I just added another destination to said lust list. The brand new Canyon Ranch Wellness Resort at Kaplankaya, located on the idyllic sun-kissed Aegean coast, is right up my R&R lovin’ alley.

Kaplankaya

Not only will you find spectacular natural beauty, ancient ruins and archeological sites, but being that it’s a Canyon Ranch property you can expect a luxurious environment with a focus on well-being. Who wouldn’t want to spend some quality time at the Canyon Ranch Spa or Fitness and Health + Healing Center? Count this girl in! You can choose from 38 treatment rooms where you will be able to enjoy rejuvenating treatments combining traditional and Eastern medicine practices. There is nothing like the wellness experience Canyon Ranch is known for!

sunset

So, if it’s been a while since you put some me time on your calendar, why not start planning that wellness getaway you so deserve? The Canyon Ranch Wellness Resort at Kaplankaya is just what the doctor ordered!

Momtrends was not paid for this post.

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#MomtrendsTravel: Trends, Gear, Must-Haves, and More

MT Travel EventScenes from MT Travel

Before I had kids, I traveled… A lot. It was an important part of my job at the time, and one that I treasured. I relished seeing different parts of the country and exploring the diverse cultures of our world. I soaked it in. I made the most of it. And I never took it for granted. I knew that one day, I’d be grounded. The realities of life with little people would limit my mobility. But it would never squander my wanderlust.

This is the part of my article, where I give a big shout out to those mamas who tackle the airport with multiple newborn car seats and strollers in tow and brave six hour flights with screaming infants on their laps. I bow down to you—because I just couldn’t do it. But now that I have two toddlers, I’m starting to get excited about travel once again. I no longer see my kids as a travel hindrance, but rather as a reason to get out and explore the unknown. I can’t wait to see new destinations through their eager eyes.

Momtrends Travel Event Atmosphere

Earlier this week, the Momtrends’ team hosted our annual travel trends event at the Ivivva store in Union Square. New York City bloggers gathered to talk about the latest and greatest in gear, destinations, and must-haves for traveling moms and families. It was inspiring to see so many active parents—who are passionate about raising citizens of the world.

picnic food

They mingled sipped delicious Noble Vines and revitalizing Essentia water and snacked on GoPicnic goodies  (a staple you’re going to want for your family’s next camping trip or picnic outing).

kids table

hersheys world

elenis cookies

Meanwhile, the bloggers’ children had a blast in the designated kids’ section—thanks to the incredible college-educated nannies of The Nanny League. The sitters engaged the kids and had them creating amazing crafts, courtesy of Seedling. The highly trained sitters kept the kids active, engaged, calm, and quiet—except, of course, when the littles tiptoed over to the Hershey’s Chocolate World Attraction display for chocolate covered marshmallows or to the create your own Eleni’s cookie station. (You can actually design and draw pictures on these delicious treats!)

MT Travel

After some schmoozing and socializing, our own Nicole kicked off the festivities and introduced some phenomenal brands and products that help make travel more of a pleasure, and less of a pain point. FamilyFun and Mommy Nearest were also on hand to talk travel trends, tips, and destination options, and more. I feel excited and inspired after the presentations… I can’t wait to book my next trip—and my family’s first big vacation!

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1. Seedling/ 2. Ivivva/ 3. Cool Gear International/ 4. Kidz Bop/ 5. Fresh-Tips/ 6. Essentia/ 7. Igloo/ 8. eBags/ 9. FamilyFun/ 10. Guardian/ 11. GoPicnic

talbots

talbots looks

Talbots
The ladies of Momtrends looked smart, chic, and travel-ready in their fabulous Talbots ensembles. These pieces are easy to pack and style in multiple ways. Nicole wore a picnic-perfect white eyelet skirt that was crisp, feminine, and comfortable (a key when you’re sitting on a plane or riding on a roller-coaster.) Sherri looked beautiful in a retro-inspired fit-and-flare shirt-dress with a whimsical, maritime, sailboat motif. The all-American color combo makes it a great wardrobe addition from Memorial Day until Labor Day. Brooke looked polished in a signature paisley print pencil skirt with pops of sunny yellow and a versatile red sweater. Nicole, Sherri, and Brooke looked simultaneously modern and classic—making these three great looks for wherever your travels take you.

ivivva girls

ivivva models

ivivva brand

Ivivva
We had three fabulous mini models on hand showing off some seriously stylish looks from Ivivva, a brand launched by lululemon and celebrating girls with beautiful, technical athletic wear (in sizes 6-14). Not only are the versatile pieces perfect for yogis-in-training, they’re suitcase friendly, multi-functional, and ideal for travel.

guardian

Guardian
If you’re a camping family. Or a picnic-loving family. Or an amusement park-obsessed family. Or any sort of person who enjoys the great outdoors, you need Guardian in your life. This non-toxic mosquito and tick repellent is an alternative to DEET that actually works. Enough said.

ebag

eBags
Packing can be difficult—especially when you’re picking outfits for a family of four (or more!). Amazing gear from eBags can help streamline planning and make life easier on everyone. We got great tips—like using packing pods to separate outfits and shoes!

igloo

Igloo
Whether you’re packing cold waters for your child’s sports game or heading out to your favorite camping site for the weekend, the products from igloo keep you cool!

canyon ranch

Canyon Ranch
With properties in Lenox, Massachusetts, Tucson, Arizona and one soon-to-open in Kaplankaya Turkey, Canyon Ranch sets the bar in the luxury wellness experience. Guests at the #MomtrendsTravel event got to test out some signature products—just a touch of the amazing things awaiting guests at these picturesque properties.

fresh tips

Fresh-Tips
When you’re on a road trip or camping, it’s not always convenient or possible to stop and brush your teeth. No water? No problem. There’s no H20 required with Fresh-Tips—just brush your teeth on-the-go.

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Cool Gear International

Travel-friendly water bottles, tumblers, TSA-friendly tubes, and more make life on the move simpler and more manageable. (I’ll never get stopped because my shampoo bottle is too large again!)

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Kidz Bop

When roadtripping, the only soundtrack you need—Kidz Bop! Who can resist family-friend versions of the latest pop hits?

swag bags

Before the evening ended, we closed out the #MomtrendsTravel event with a few fabulous giveaways and goody-bags. Lucky guests took home amazing gear, and some even won tickets to hot Broadway shows like Gazillion Bubble Show, One Funny Mother, and The Woodsman. Because, as we learned, you can even be a tourist in your own city!

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Event Sponsors:
Canyon Ranch
Cool Gear International
eBags
Essentia
FamilyFun
Fresh-Tips
Gazillion Bubble Show
GoPicnic
Guardian
Hershey’s Chocolate World Attraction
Igloo
Ivivva
Kidz Bop
Mommy Nearest
Noble Vines
One Funny Mother
Seedling
Talbots
That Physics Show
The Nanny League
The Woodsman

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

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How to Feel Fabulous in Your Swimsuit

This post was sponsored by Target.

Three years ago I gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl. Every day since has been nothing short of heaven thanks to her, but, if I’m being honest, each day has also been fraught with my insecurities too. You see, shortly after she was born, I was diagnosed with a thyroid condition. What’s followed has been three long years of different medications, different dosages and many different diet and exercise programs. Losing weight is much harder for me than it once was and, as such, I now have curves that I didn’t have before. Getting used to them has been a difficult journey…Us women tend to be our own toughest critics and I had a hard time accepting that clothes look different on me now. And, unfortunately, that means I’ve also avoided swimsuits and the fun that can come with wearing them. I mean, I went on a tropical vacation with my bestie and only wore a swimsuit once. Ridiculous.

one piece swimsuit

I’ve seen countless viral articles about body acceptance over the past few years and every time I read one, I thought about how this was going to be the year I finally stopped focusing on my body so much, but I never really followed through until this past summer. Our family was on our annual summer vacation and the kids, per the usual, were begging to go swimming. This is the first year that my daughter had actually showed interest in the pool. In the past, she shrieked when we brought her anywhere near it. Haha! And as I watched my husband get ready to take them both on his own without even a second thought – because I simply don’t usually go – I realized how silly I had been. Who was I afraid of being judged by? My husband, who looks at me like I’m the only girl in the world every single day? My kids, who could care less what I look like as long as I have arms to hug them? So I threw on one of my mom’s old swimsuits that she had left at our vacation home and hopped in the pool. You know what? I had a blast! I didn’t think about those extra curves of mine once. Ok, I did wish I had a better fitting swimsuit. Just sayin’.

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This year, I do not plan on rockin’ my mom’s swimwear. Oh no. When vacay time rolls around I’ll be ready with a few killer new suits of my own thanks to Target. Because while the first step to owning your curves is being happy with yourself, the next step is finding a flattering swimsuit that makes you feel even more fabulous! Thankfully, Target has an amazing selection of swimwear. You can find everything from a flirty bikini to a sexy one-piece. I found three, in fact. I went for distinctly different looks, so I would have a suit to fit every mood. They do all have one thing in common though…a pretty neckline. Braided straps here, eyelet ruffles there…It’s all about the details. When you want to draw attention away from your problem areas, draw the eyes somewhere else. Since my problem areas are my midriff and thighs, I went for swimsuits that would draw the eyes up!

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And don’t forget that fit is king. Don’t focus on the size. Focus on the fit! You can even try mixing and matching different tops and bottoms if you’re different sizes on the top and bottom. So many of us are! In fact, I know I just scored three suits, but I may have to go back and pick up a mix and match tankini. Haha!

So, if you’re ready to embrace your figure and make a splash in your swimsuit too this year, head over to Target! They even offer free shipping and returns, so you can try everything on in the comfort of your home if you so desire. Find your style @targetstyle.

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Creactive Writing: My Circus Experience at Club Med Punta Cana

creactive_As a mom to an energetic toddler and an attention-hungry six month old, I’m a master juggler. It’s a circus in our house all day every day, and I play the role of ringmaster… So when Club Med in Punta Cana invited Momtrends to report on the new Creactive by Cirque du Soleil experience, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I mean, I already do serious acrobatics to get my son to go to sleep each night—what could they possibly teach me that I didn’t already know?

All kidding aside, I jumped at the opportunity for two reasons: 1.) My almost three-year-old son is obsessed with the circus. The idea of coming home and showing him photographic evidence of Mommy flying the trapeze and doing all sorts of Spider-Man-like stunts was absolutely irresistible. 2.) I really, really needed three blissful nights of uninterrupted sleep. Oh, and the fact that this was all set in a pristine tropical destination didn’t hurt one bit either… I packed my bag, and showered my babies with kisses (and tears!)… but, um, “Peace out, kiddies. Mama’s going to Punta Cana.”

viewTo Club Med With Love…
I’d been to a Club Med once before. I was four and remember very little except for the fact that I refused to let my parents leave me in the kids’ club, and everyone who worked there called me “Laurén.” (Fast forward twenty-nine years, I still swooned every time the mainly French staff referred to me by name.)

beds.fThe beachfront resort itself is sprawling and beautiful with a decisively Caribbean vibe—bright buildings and shabby-chic cabanas decorate the lush property like colorful jimmies on a delectable sundae. The main pool is sparkling and the lobby offers a dark and lovely retreat from the sunny palm-lined lawn and sandy surf. There are canopied beds and chaise lounges everywhere—and I think I may have tried every last resting spot… for the sake of journalistic research, of course. (Also, #mamaneedsanap.)

There are two main restaurants: Hisapnola and Semana. Guests can get their fill at the all-you-can-eat international buffets which boast everything from omelets in the morning to lobster at night. Additionally, the poolside Cielo bar offers midday snacks and nonstop “cocktailing” for thirsty guests (they make a mean mojito!), and Celeste, on the beach, is also open for a quick bite and a spiked sipper.

pool2My room in the main section of the resort was comfortable, clean and functional. The large family-friendly pool was always hopping with activity—there were kids playing and grandparents doing water aerobics (lead by a Speedo-clad instructor, I might add.)

There’s a 5 Trident space for those seeking more luxurious accommodations. Guests require a special bracelet to access this area with a private pool and more modern amenities. It’s worth noting that a new adults’ only Zen Oasis section, complete with deluxe suites, will be opening in December.

lauren_finSun, Sand, and Awesome Activities…
In addition to sun bathing and pool splashing, guests can enjoy water sports, sailing, archery, and golf among other activities. Of course, drinks are included so cocktail-sipping is another popular choice for the kid-free 21+ set (which, for once, included me!).

The Creactive Side of Life…
I had one main goal for this trip—besides getting sleep—and that was to learn to juggle. My brother, who lives in Seattle, will juggle for my son over Skype, and it blows his little mind. He tries so hard to do it too—he’ll pick up three balls and throw them up in the air whilst humming circus music. It’s the cutest thing in the world. So, while all the other journalists immediately ran to the trapeze (there were 55 other writers from all around the world!), I went straight to Guillermo for private juggling lessons. In all honesty, I wasn’t anticipating success—I can barely walk and chew gum—but I wanted to give it my all for the sake of my son.

jugglefin3Guillermo had me start with one ball—practicing the perfect arc of tossing it from one hand to the other. Next, we added a second ball—throwing the right, then the left, and then catching on the left, and then the right—and then reversing the entire process. After a few minutes, he handed me a third ball—and I honestly don’t know how but I just magically started juggling. I think even Guillermo was shocked. It was only about a half an hour total, and I was doing it. (Seriously, watch the video HERE.)

bungeefinWith my first circus success under my belt, I moved on to the acrobatic bungee. I was so excited about this activity. A Creactive staff member harnesses you into a very tight and, thus, very secure, er, “crotch belt”. You’re then suspended high in the air where you can swing, jump, and flip. It took a few minutes to truly trust that I wasn’t going to fall on my face, but once I got my confidence, it felt so liberating. You grab on the bungee cords and pull yourself up to get momentum and bounce—and then, they’re casually like, “oh, hey, try flipping backwards.” After a few failed attempts, I managed a flip and it was so fun! (Worth noting: my abs killed like crazy the next day from this activity!)

Finally, I ended my training at the trapeze—where I needed to conquer my fear of heights and learn to let go. I was so nervous after getting hooked up to cords and gear and belts that I forgot to dip my hands in the chalk before climbing the ladder to the top—so I’ll conveniently blame my poor grip on that lapse of judgment! A Cirque staff member grabbed me by my belt, held me back, and had me reach for the bar—this was by far the scariest part. Before I knew it he was counting to three and I was jumping and soaring. “Now pull your legs up and hook your knees,” he called out to me. Despite the fact that I heard him say this to people before me (and actually saw some of them follow through!), this took me by complete surprise. I felt like I didn’t have the arm and core strength to hoist myself up. So instead I just enjoyed the ride—which was good enough for me. (You can watch HERE.)

The next day, a few writers went back to try again—one gal was so good she even managed to do “the catch” where a Cirque staff member caught her by the hands. Pretty impressive stuff, but I opted for another activity that works the core: stand-up paddle boarding. Seriously, these abs need strengthening before I try the trapeze again—and so I’m going to put them to work!

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vwAdditionally, guests can take clown makeup classes, learn to play the bongos, try the tight rope, walk the vertical wall, and engage in a multitude of other amazing activities in the Creactive playscape. It’s open to guests by age group—so there’s a separate session for adults as well as one for little kids, big kids, and teenagers.

creactive2.finI should mention that the Creactive staff includes a mix of Cirque du Soleil veterans and newbies who receive intense training before, you know, dangling you 20 feet up in the air.

spapool2The Spa Life…
In order to fully and accurately report on Club Med’s amenities, I had to visit and experience the L’Occitane spa (oh, the things I do for Momtrends!). I was treated to a 60-minute massage—and it was sensational. Granted, I spent the first 30 minutes obsessing about whether I froze enough breast milk back home (where is that darned off button for my brain?!?), but the second half of my massage was pure hypnotic, hallucinogenic, drool-worthy bliss. And the post-massage view—well, it took my breath away.

kids2.finI Want to Be a Kid Again..
I have to say I was absolutely blown away by what I saw of the kids’ club program. It’s like summer camp to the nth degree. The facilities are phenomenal, the staff is amazing, and the extra programs would make any kid beg for another minute, an extra hour… ONE more day… “Puh-leeeease, Mom and Dad!”

kids1.finalAs much as I enjoyed my solo trip, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much my little one would absolutely go bonkers playing in the kiddie pool, climbing the play structures, eating cotton candy and riding the animals at the weekly carnival, performing in the circus, and making friends from all over the world…

pressCome to think of it… I just made friends from all over the world too—fifty-five of them to be exact—in an absolutely dreamy destination. We ran away to Punta Cana, if only for three days, and joined the circus. It was better than sleep-away camp… It was Camp Creactive at Club Med. I can’t wait to return and share the experience with my family.

And, next time, I will hook my legs.

This is not a sponsored post. Flights, accommodations, activities, and meals were paid for as part of a media fam trip. All opinions are our own.

 

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Traveling With Baby: Lighten Your Load With BABYBJÖRN

baby bjorn 1Traveling with a baby is no easy task. Even if you have the happiest, most easy-going little one in the world, there’s still so much to do– so much stuff to bring, to pack, to carry… It’s positively daunting! From diapers and lotions to gear and high chairs–it’s enough to make a vacation sound like more work than it’s worth.

My husband and I recently took our toddler and five month old to Florida and it was stressful–fun, exciting, and totally amazing, but also really, really hard. By the time we returned home, I was exhausted from carting around those heavy strollers, car seats, portable cribs, and travel toys! (Who leaves vacation needing a massage?!?… This mom does!)

We’re hoping to take a few more family trips this summer–perhaps to Rhode Island or Cape Cod or the Hamptons or to visit family in Kentucky. Regardless of our destination, there are a few new essentials I’ll be packing to lighten the load… These items are absolute must-haves in my book. I can’t wait for our summer journeys to begin.

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DISCLOSURE-BAR-701-300x34(2)BABYBJÖRN Travel Crib Light

Sleeping away from home with small children has never been easier thanks to the BABYBJÖRN Travel Crib Light. It’s easy to set up, pack up, and carry (it weighs only 13 pounds). It can fit in the overhead compartment of a a plane, or can be folded and stowed away in the trunk of a car–making it perfect for adventures, both big and small.

baby bjorn 2BABY BJÖRN Baby Carrier One

Keep your little one calm, happy, and secure with the BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier One. Mom (or Dad) can have both hands free, and Baby will stay safe and snug facing forwards or backwards. It’s great for navigating hectic airports and crowded streets too.

Happy Baby, Happy Travels!

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baby bjorn 4This is a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

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Happy Snacking with Nutella®

kids on a swing

School is out for summer! The girls ended last week and we’ve been spending tons of time outdoors. To celebrate the culmination of the year, we had a mini picnic and a long afternoon at the park.

We finished off the picnic with these Nutella® & GO! Hazelnut Spread snacks. So portable and fun! The girls were thrilled to have a sweet treat and love the dipping sticks. After the snacks we headed to our favorite playground.

nutella & go

It was one of those days when the girls were acting so “sisterly.” Watching out for each other, playing without parental intervention and having a blast. Is there a formal name for this swing option when two people share a swing? There should be!

This photo of the two of them on the swings in all out giggle-fest makes me so happy. There’s plenty of bickering in our house, so these moments of bliss mean so, so much. I know these simple playground days won’t last forever. When they asked to stay a little longer on the swings, I surely couldn’t deny them!

While my kids love when I whip out Nutella® Hazelnut Spread at breakfast, these GO! snacks made them so happy.

Nutella dipping fun

For more snacking ideas head to Nutella® ‘s tumblr page here to get more ideas on how to make your own summer memories with Nutella®

Nutella® hazelnut spread is a happy start to every day! Pick up a jar of Nutella in the spreads aisle and enjoy it with whole wheat toast, waffles, pancakes, strawberries, bananas and many other foods. Nutella. Spread the Happy™.

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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by the makers of Nutella via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Nutella.

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Summer Travel Options: Wyndham Vacation Rentals #VRMonth

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Wyndham Vacation Rentals.

Wyndham Vacation Rental Month

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With the school year winding down, we are starting to get in serious summer planning mode. There will be camps and staycation adventures, but also trips that will make the summer an adventure for everyone.

With National Vacation Rental Month approaching, this is also a great time to plan for different options like vacation rentals such as with the program from Wyndham Vacation Rentals. As a mom of two, I love having the ability to have space and accommodations such as a fully equipped kitchens, in-unit washers/dryers that really make the difference for the travel experience that we all have. And being with Wyndham, you can get the added benefit of their amenities such as shuttle service, a concierge desk, and housekeeping – where you can really get the space you need with the services of feeling like you are on vacation.

Wyndham Vacation Rentals

This makes it so much easier to enjoy spacious living accommodations while also being able to get some groceries where the kids can enjoy everything from snacks to breakfast in the comfort of our own home. As my family starts to grow more, I am noticing that many hotels don’t provide everything we need from food to location needs. I also love staying at places that feel authentic and as a part of the culture and environment where we are visiting.

Wyndham Vacation Rentals

Through this innovative program, families can choose from a variety of rental sizes – to fit both your families needs and your travel needs – such as condos and cabins to beach homes and villas. Another bonus is that you can experience a savings of up to 35% off at WyndhamVacationRentals.com. This includes popular destinations for summer such as Myrtle Beach, Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains, the islands of Charleston, the Emerald Coast and Hilton Head Island. 

You can really find a customized rental option to fit the needs of your family as well as the type of vacation that you are taking. As parents we love this as a flexible and affordable option to explore and see the country this summer, while also being comfortable and having the amenities that our families require.

Be sure to check out our video about why we love this as an option for families:

Be sure to check out Wyndham Vacation Rentals to learn more about National Vacation Rental Month and the benefits of vacationing with Wyndham Vacation Rentals.

 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Wyndham Vacation Rentals.

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