Beach Bag Essentials for Moms

There is nothing like heading to the beach unprepared. I think after five years of forgetting things, I have finally come up with a master list. First things first, you need a beach bag that can literally hold it all, especially when carrying along kids. I found a Lavand Straw Bag that is perfect for visits to the pool or beach. Yet, it’s big enough to hold every and has a stylish look as well.

beach bag essentials

Some must haves for every moms to have on hand are sunblock. CeraVe makes a wonderful sunblock save to use on my children as well as myself. I sometimes get so caught up with putting cream on my kids and usually forget about myself. But with their face stick, its easy and quick to apply. Plus, the invisible zinc makes for no white mess and is also super safe for the kids.

Bandaids are always in my bag as well because you always want to be prepared for any slips and falls. Another magic trick I think every mother knows, to get sandy feet or bums clean, use Johnson & Johnson baby powder. A game changer that has helped my children swim are these Puddle Jumpers by Stearns swimmies. Its added chest support encourages the right swim figure. They are also US Coast Guard approved.

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I have also come to learn that I should always pack a bib and found these adorable ones by BamButcho. She has a lovely shop on Etsy, and I just love the double sided coverage. And my family’s favorite water shoe is, of course Crocs. These water proof and slip proof shoes are always easy to take on and off and makes getting sandy shoes clean like a breeze.

Find out more summer time beach bag essentials on my video on the Momtrends YouTube channel…

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Friday Finds: Summer Travel Essentials for Kids

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With the weather getting nicer out, I have been thinking about our summer travels, and that means having a few essentials to ensure the kids are protected from the sun as well as have everything they need for days at the beach. Here are just a few of my favorites.

Bumkins line

Food Storage:

I am always carrying snacks with me and as a way to reduce waste and reuse what we have, I have been loving the vibrant and eco-friendly Bumkins line. This includes a collection of waterproof lunch and snack bags in a variety of styles and colors.  I love how lightweight and easy-to-close these bags are as well as how you can actually use them beyond food. They are great for baby’s toiletries, school supplies, change of clothes, small toys, teethers and pacifiers. They are also machine washable, easy-to-clean as well as Lead free, PVC free, BPA free, Phthalates free, and Vinyl free – making them great to use over-and-over again throughout your travels. They also have Bumkins in a variety of Disney-themed bags featuring such characters as Cinderella, Monsters Inc, Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh and more!

On-the-Go Rolling Luggage from Itzy Ritzy

Cool Luggage:

For luggage for the kids, we are loving the new On-the-Go Rolling Luggage from Itzy Ritzy, a company that believes packing function and style into one eco-friendly punch by providing attractive solutions to everyday challenges. The Adventure Happens line features a rolling suitcase with the interface of a monkey or an owl with a roomy interior pocket and a front zipper pocket for easy access to smaller items. Ideal for ages 3 and up, kids will love rolling their own suitcase to the airport as you can comfortably fit everything they need for a trip. It also features a locking handle for child or adult to pull suitcase and a clear ID pocket to personalize with a child’s name.


Cuddly Bandages

For summer, be sure to stock up on bandages and we love the line Tröstisar, a Swedish company whose mission is to help children cope with fear and pain. This includes the sweet Cuddly Bandage, a wearable cuddly friend that by touching helps the child to cope with a stressful situation, to calm down when angry or to soothe when sad. This allows parents to place a bandage on their kids wound and then a cute Cuddly Bandage that is fuzzy and soft to the touch. I love the cheerful and vibrant characters that are believed to help with the self soothing process. Additionally, they will soon be running an Instagram competition (starting 5/1), where the winners of an uploaded cuddly photo enters the chance to win free bandages.

Crocs for Kids Crocs for Kids

Summer Shoes:

For shoes, we are loving Crocs for the kids. These easy slip-on and slip-off shoes are great for everyday adventures as well as water fun. My older girl loves the CrocsLights Butterfly Clog with its illuminated features that lights up with every step. My youngest loves her Crocs Chameleons™ Whale Clog whose pattern changes in the sun, and then back again in the sun. There are also tons of styles for women and men to complete you family’s summer look.

For summer hikes and longer adventures, we love the collection from Hi-Tec Sports. For kids our favorite is the Sierra Lite Original Jr, one of the original shoes Hi-Tec created 40 years ago. It has a Multi-Directional Tracion with a rugged outsole, so your child is safe on different types of terrains. It also has a moisture-wicking lining that keeps the foot dry. Lastly, it has a Big-Fit technology that increases the life span of the shoe 2-3 months for that ever growing foot. This includes great colors like pink and purple and blue and yellow.

KIds Summer Fashions KIds Summer Fashions

Kids Clothing: 

We love kids’ clothing that is simple and fun, and one of our favorites is My Lil’ Superstar and their line of high end and affordable clothing. This includes a collection of designers from A Bird, Desigual and Just for Girls where you can find dresses, play clothes and summer essentials. My daughter had the chance to wear the Deux Par Deux Plaid Cherry Skirt and the fun MIM-PI White T-Shirt that she loves to mix up with its enclosed three designs. As one-stop shop for all of your kids’ essentials, we love how they focus on an ode to modern design and fun styles that your kids will love.



For sunnies for kids, we love the cute collection from Zoobug, an international award-winning brand of beautiful eyewear created just for kids by an ophthalmologist, Dr. Julie Le. Beautifully hand-made and made to measure exclusively for babies and children to the age of 12 years. Each frame takes 6 weeks from start to finish. Flex hinges, built up nose bridges, high quality acetate, the kid’s sunglasses feature Italian polarized lenses. The baby frames are made from hypoallergenic materials and each come with adjustable and removable headbands and also bendy tips to shape around their soft heads. This includes a line of a range of sizes and colors with some of our favorites being the Daisy Rosey Pearl and the Purple style for girls.


For hats, we have been loving the collection from Sunday Afternoons, a headwear company based in Oregon that does just that protects kids from sun, while keeping them stylish. Our favorite is the Kids’ Play Hat that are sun protective as it offers UPF 50+ certified sun rating. Available in a variety of colors, the hats are water repellent, stain resistant, smartStrap® breakaway chinstrap technology that is really comfortable for kids. They also offer a women’s and men’s line that will have the whole family protected all summer long.

DSC_0492 Lately Lily


We love bringing books when traveling, and one of our new favorites is Lately Lily, an insightful lifestyle brand for thoughtful young girls, is launching a collection of new products with Chronicle Books that celebrates the brand’s namesake and her spirit of adventure and imagination. Created by author/illustrator and Lately Lily co-founder, Micah Player, the new releases will launch alongside the brand’s revamped website, and follow the character of Lily as she travels the world with her parents and best friend, Zeborah (a fun loving stuffed zebra). Available now this includes the book, Lately Lily: The Adventures of a Travelling Girl — a heartfelt and colorful picture book that showcases Lily’s adventures by plane, train, boat, and even by camel. Through her eyes, the story takes readers to newfound destinations, discovering the sights, sounds and people that make international travel so exciting. We also love the Lately Lily ABC Travel Flash Cards, a vibrant collection of flash cards featuring Lily that help kids learn the alphabet and the world of travel at the same time and the Lately Lily Sunny Yellow Suitcase, a unique activity kit that has everything kids need to get ready for an adventure. Includes a booklet with travel tips, exciting games, doodle ideas, activity cards to combat boredom, luggage tags and stickers.


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Spring and Summer Getaway Fashion Favorites

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Travel is a big part of our summer and spring breaks. From weekend getaways to longer adventures, we hope you are enjoying lots of sun and fun times with your families. From bathing suits to sandals to sunscreen, here is a round-up of some of our favorites so that you can enjoy your getaway in style.

Summer Accessories:

For summer hair, we love This allows you to tie and transform your hair into beautiful styles via their curling tie. How it works is the stylish tie is filled with an organic mix that retains heat via a microwave. You then place it on your head and wrap it around with the result being soft, bouncy, and fun waves. This is super easy to travel as busy moms can look great on-the-go.

We love Hipzbag as a way to pack all of your stuff hands free. This fashionable purse includes a built-in rear pocket that fits any cellphone, you’ll never again have to worry about dropping your phone or missing a call. This includes dozens of styles and colors available to fit any outfit or occasion that hook the bag directly onto your belt loops and go hands free. A Funktional matching strap lets you rock your Hipzbag across body or around your waist (3 Ways to Wear!). Retail starts at $19.95 at

For a bigger bag we love the chic and beautiful bags from ESPEROS. For every bag sold, the company helps to send a child in need to school for a year! This includes a collection of fun Market Totes with some of our favorites being the Poppy Market Tote, the Midnight Everyday Tote and the Printed “Hope” Bag.  These are  perfect for lugging everything from laptops to groceries and your favorite beach-going necessities, the Market Tote seamlessly blends fashion and function for everyday use.

As for sunglasses, we love the collection from Hobie and their proprietary polarized film allows the eyes to transmit clear “color messages” to our brain. They also have glasses that  feature HydroClean Plus™ and HydroClean™ lens coatings that will get you unmatched vision on and off the water as well as frame technology that is super comfortable. Some of our favorite styles are the Woody frame and the Dogpatch that will truly change the way you see while they protect your eyes.

Summer Shoes:

As for summer shoes, we are loving Crocs. This isn’t the traditional Croc that they started with as the brand as evolved to offer more fashionable shoes with some of our favorites being the simple and fun Beach Line Flip, the Women’s Cap Toe Flat, and the fun Women’s Huarache Flat – all of which are light, colorful and perfect for travel.

Food and Cooler Essentials:

The most innovative cooler that recently caught our eye is the system from PackIt. Designed by a mom, PackIt is the one and only freezable cooler that keeps food and drinks cold on the go for up to 10 hours-no ice packs needed. Each bag is foldable and has a patented freezable gel built into its lining so the entire cooler can be stored in the freezer overnight. Simply pull it out in the morning, pack up and go. Its frozen walls create cold inside the bag and even chill room-temperature items in about an hour. PackIt’s coolers for lunch, wine, baby bottles, shopping, picnics and more are sold in over 20 countries worldwide and at better US retailers. For more information, visit

As for snacks, we love the collection of portable on-the-go and healthy snack bites from Gourmet Nut with some favorites like Feel Good Mix, Mango Slices, and Almonds. We also love their collection of Chia, flax and hemp seeds that are great for adding into yogurts or cereal. We love how they contain important vitamins, minerals and fatty acids that can help protect and support the body such as how chia seeds can help lower cholesterol, protects the body from free radicals and cancer, and have as much calcium as a half a cup of milk and how flaxseeds can Reduce inflammation and lowers bad cholesterol. One ounce has more than twice the omega-3s as 4 ounces of salmon. To learn even more about seeds, we love this post from Real Simple about their benefits.

Bathing Suits:

Bathing suits have entered into their own trend category with a fun collection of on-trend prints and styles. One of our favorite brands is the online retailer, Lime Ricki where you can discover a collection of takini tops, rash guards, and one-pieces. My personal favorite is the Button Chevron One-Piece that really looks like an extension of a shirt or dress style that I would wear. This includes 50+ UV protection and a panel that seams in the front and light shirring that will slim and flatter your figure. Other favorites include the Princess Parrots One-Piece and the Drawstring Butterfly for even more coverage. Love their styles as much as we do? Be sure to use the code MOMTRENDS15 to receive 15% off online shopping from now through May 24th.

Another favorite is the online retailer, SwimSpot where you can discover designer swimwear such as bottoms, cover-ups, one pieces, and more from a variety of designers. My favorite is the Found Gilty One Piece Swimsuit from Guess. This includes a fashionable monochrome piece that features built-in soft cups and a halter neck tie add lift and shape to your bustline.

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Shoe Trends for Spring

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Shoes can make and put a look together. From sandals to wedges to rain boots to keep your tooties dry during the rain, we rounded up some of our favorites for spring 2014.

Aerosoles: During a recent preview we had the chance to check out the latest collection of Aerosoles up close. For spring, we really love the bright flats with my favorite being the You Betcha that I can see wearing for Easter and beyond. We are also loving a little lift from the Acoustic shoe and the Aristocrat that is super fun for work and on-the-town.

Dansko: Dankso sure knows comfortable shoes that look great. Renowned for their clogs, they also make an assortment of fun sandals with some of our favorites being the JOVIE Metallic Leather, JANIS Textured Leather Red Crackle and the bright DANA Full Grain Leather Bright Multi Pasadena Collection that are perfect for time with the kids or when you are running around.

Antelope Shoes: We love the fun wedges from the high-end retailer Antelope Shoes with some favorites for spring being the Slingback Sandal (818) and the Slingback Sandal (996). Despite having a lift, the shoes are super comfortable and made with the finest and softest pieces of leather, hand cut with precise craftsmanship.

Bokos Sandals: I am always looking for a sturdy sandal for the summer. One of my favorites is from Bokos Sandals, a Minneapolis-based footwear company launched in early 2013. This includes a fun line of vibrant and comfortable sandals for women and men with some of our favorites colors being the Melon and Lavendar. The sandals are also  ultra-durable, comfortable and easy-to-clean – making them a great addition to your spring wardrobe that go way beyond use at the beach.

Crocs: Crocs have changed a lot over the years. They are more than a shoe for your kids where they now offer fashionable prints and styles that go beyond water sports. For spring, I love the Women’s A-leigh Linen Cork Wrap Wedge, the Women’s Cap Toe Flat and the fun Adrina Flat that is perfect for spring and summer.

Go Go Golosh: The weather is so changeable in Spring. It may be rainy one day and sunny the next. For those rainy days, we love Go Go Golosh, a new, fashionable line of galoshes that are designed to be worn over your dressy heels and flats. This is great concept that allows you to wear your on-trend shoes where you can carry your light and compact Go Go Golosh shoes to be prepared when rain strikes. They’re completely waterproof and they can fold up and slip into their attached waterproof carrying case. They also come in a variety of colors such as  Pinky Belle, Purple Belle and Blue Belle – making them super easy, simple and super cute for spring.

LAMO Footwear: With the winter we have had, warm weather spring hasn’t quite kicked off. For this transition time, we love the collection of warm moccasins from LAMO Footwear. This includes a fun collection featuring the Lady’s Britain Moc II, the Gabrielle Moc and the chic Elite Moc. This includes moccasins with a 100% leather Comfort-Arch insole and a suede upper that is super comfortable and perfect for chilly spring days as well as around the home. They also offer kids, men’s and more styles for women.

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Haiti Crocs Cares Program With the Countess & LHJ

Haiti Ladies Home Journal

I’ve been blessed with abundance. A recent trip to Haiti with Ladies Home Journal and Crocs served as a reminder for me to practice gratitude. Last December, I traveled with Sally Lee (Editor of LHJ), LuAnn De Lesseps (of Real Housewives fame), Jennifer Brandt (, Cathering Connors ( and a team from CrocsCares and LHJ. Our mission was to pass out hundreds of new Crocs shoes to Haitian school children in need.

We arrived in Haiti during the late afternoon and I quickly learned that Haiti will not be kept to a NYC pace of efficiently. As we scurried around the airport, we discovered many of the shoes we were to deliver were still held up in customs. The persistent women from Crocs eventually freed the shoes—but not without some drama. Lesson learned: The Crocs team wasn’t just about a photo op. They wanted to get as many pairs of shoes onto deserving feet as humanly possible.

haiti dusty roads

From the airport, we climbed into trucks and slowly, slowly chugged up the hills form Port au Prince to Pétion-Ville (a suburb of sorts of Port-au-Prince). The drive lasted about two hours due to dense traffic. The good news? I had plenty of time to soak in my surroundings. Haiti has had a immensely difficult time rebuilding after the 2010 magnitude 7.0 earthquake. Many buildings in Port-au-Prince remain in shambles.

haiti shanty

The hilly area where we were staying wasn’t particullay hard-hit from the 2010 earthquake, but it was cut off from vital access to Port-au-Prince’s supplies and support. The poverty was palpable. The streets were strewn with litter, and far too many young men an women wandered around aimlessly or took a stab at selling cheap goods from roadside stands. It didn’t take two hours to discern that Haiti is hurting for industry and jobs.

haiti school

Thankfully, some organizations are helping the country rebuild. A good place to start is the school. During our stay we saw three schools and each one was notable for the ingenious ways it served a community. With miniscule budgets, communities did their best to get the children of Haiti a leg up. No matter where you go in the world, we all want the best for our kids.

Haiti school kids

The schools consisted of cinderblock walls and scant supplies. Most families were lucky to scrape together the school fees to cover attendance–there was nothing left for books or supplies. Aid organizations provide what they can. Crocs worked with Feed The Children to orchestrate this shoe drop. Feed the Children has been working to immunize children and get nutritious meals to those in need via community schools.

Just like in any community in the USA, the local school is a community hub. For Haitian kids, school is where they can get medical attention and a regular meal. Rural communities like the ones we visited, don’t have the funds for clinics and there seems to be little reliable food aid.

haitian lunch program

Children trek for miles on dusty, rocky roads for the chance at a meal and perhaps some basic instruction. The lucky few will stick with school and go on to a shot at higher learning in a distant city. With a little more luck, these students will return to help Haiti rebuild. You can see how the process is a long and winding one. The first step is to get children regular medical care, food, and teachers who can make a difference. That’s where CrocsCares come in. Part symbolic, part practical, the act of giving shoes to these needy kids was meant to do two things. First, show the children that they are loved and valued (I am sure there are many, many days when they feel forgotten) Second, help the journey to school be a little lighter, brighter and sunnier.

crocs cares

So we lugged new, bright, beautiful shoes up and down the hills of Haiti. We sat and fit hundreds of little (and big!) feet with ladybug Crocs, striped Crocs, hot pink Crocs, pirate Crocs…you get the picture. My goal was to treat every little foot with the same loving care I would give my girls back at home. Since there was a BIG language barrier (I don’t speak French or Creole), I just merrily sang my favorite Disney tunes as I fitted the little feet.

Haitian Schoolkids

Did the kids know what was going on? I’m not sure. But this I know: For a brief respite life wasn’t as hard. Someone was taking care of them. Giving them something new and pretty and maybe, just maybe, giving them a reason to hope for something better than the cards they had been dealt. We were rewarded with smiles, giggles and the feeling that for a moment we made a difference.

Everywhere you look in Haiti you can see rubble. From the buildings to the broken down adults. But here’s the thing: Hope exists in these kids. In horrible surroundings, they found the capacity to smile. We were treated to a few songs in thanks. The smiles and the melodies will stick with me for a lifetime. Buying shoes for my girls can never be a simple act again.

blogging team Haiti

Hotel Kinam was a little oasis of calm throughout our busy stay. The friendly staff did their best to keep us in hot showers, cool rooms—both of which were much appreciated and a true rarity in Haiti. Back there with our little group we shared stories of the children and of wanting to do more. My mission is to spread the word. I hope you’ll join me by sharing this story in social media and supporting the trip’s sponsors. Tweet this: “Join the 5000 likes 5000 shoes movement @crocs @LHJmagazine @momtrends”

Join the “5000 likes 5000 shoes initiative and enter for a chance to win lunch with LuAnn:

crocs cares

Find out more about our mission in this April’s Ladies Home Journal (with the incredible TIna Fey on the cover!) on newsstands now.


Read more about CrocsCares here. Follow the movement on twitter @CrocsCares and on Facebook

For more pictures from the trip, visit the Momtrends Facebook album here.

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