Mom Tips for Packing for the Outback

Packing for the Outback with Keen Footwear

What shoes do you bring for a vacation in the Outback? Keens of course. This summer we took the kids on an adventure to Australia. We planned a bit of city time and lots of time out in nature. When packing for the Outback in Australia, we made sure the kiddos were outfitted with Keen.

When we were deep into vacation planning for this summer, we mapped out a bit of Glamping at the Wildman Wilderness Lodge. Located in the “Top End” of Australia, this is remote territory. Before we set off, I ordered the girls each a new set of Keens.

In our family, they are the official footwear of summer adventure.

Wildman Wilderness Lodge

Planning a Trip to Australia

Mr. Momtrends and I wanted a holiday that was packed with adventure, animals and outdoor time. After a few city days in Sydney, we headed to Darwin and then drove to Wildman Lodge.

Wildman Wilderness Lodge opened in 2011–right at the height of the glamping trend. They put luxe tents and full-outfitted cabins on a choice piece of land near on the Mary River Wetlands. We gave the girls a choice of the stylish eco lodge (with A/C) and the safari tent option…wouldn’t you know they picked the tent!

Our lodge was perfect. When we arrived, we saw wallabies hopping happily around the property and a bunch of kids in the pool. Our tent was properly “glamped” out – there was a hot shower and fans. Left to my own devices, I would opt for more luxe than camping (you know with fancy things like a gym, wifi and a/c) but the kiddos ruled on this one.

The canvas tent was plenty roomy and the girls even had a little bunkbed area to themselves. Let’s call a spade a spade though. This tent offered very little privacy and we could hear the neighbor’s kids well past our designated “lights out.”

crocodile safari

Getting out in Nature

Our days were spent on hikes, in boats and exploring the lodge’s land. At base camp, we took bikes to the billabong – a little watering hole. From a safe distance from the banks (again with the crocodiles) we watched for native birds and even spotted a few water buffalo.

Croc hunting turned out out to be the biggest hit. No guns or knives were involved, this was a photo safari. As we boated around we spotted dozens and dozens of these prehistoric creatures. Our guides regaled us of their knowledge about this enormous beasts. Did you know that they only need to eat 1-2 times a year?

Our big outing was to a national park. Our guide drove us a few hours deeper into the Outback to explore the Kakadu National Park.

Our kids don’t usually pick the cultural itinerary. Fortunately, they were drawn into the Kakadu’s rock art. The art has gained World Heritage status because they share a glimpse at Aboriginal life thousands of years ago. Some paintings have been dated as up to 20,000 years old (according to the park website, this is one of the longest historical records of any group of people in the world).

In addition to the rock art, there’s also the overlook on the Ubirr walk. The view from the lookout over the Nadab floodplain will take your breath away.

At night, we watched the sun set from the pool or continued our marathon game of family Monopoly. Hopping like wallabies from the lodge to tent was safe and made the girls feel a bit of independence. Wildman Wilderness was the perfect mix of family time and adventure

cycling at Wildman Wilderness

Packing for the Outback

Picking the right footwear to match the holiday was easy. To cut down on luggage fees (and our struggles with carrying heavy bags), we limited our packing to a roller bag apiece. This means we needed footwear that did double duty. Keen fit the bill perfectly.

My older daughter had on the SeaCamp II. They are good on land or water–perfect for this girl who has trouble staying dry! They are also flexible and light–so she won’t complain and reach for her flip flops.

As for the packing list at Wildman, you don’t need much more than a sun hat, shorts, sturdy sandals (like Keen) and t-shirts. Even the dinner service is on the casual side, but you can wear a sundress if you like. P.S. don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray – we used copious amounts of both on this trip.

Brian Creek Monsoon Forest

The Keen shoes we picked were great for hiking and long nature walks. They were also great for the boat excursions. The days got hot, no one wanted to be in hiking boots, but I wanted toes covered and stability (you never know when you’ll have to outrun a crocodile!).

I don’t let the kids bike in flip flops, Keen shoes are much more stable and safe for cycling.

My younger daughter is wearing the Moxie Sandal in blue. it’s got “Cleansport NXT™” for natural odor control and is easy to slip on quickly. In addition to NOT stinking, it’s also very quick to dry out.

In addition to being sturdy and breathable, they dry fast too. There were trips to wave pools in Darwin (no crocs or sharks there) where we wanted pool-friendly footwear, Keen fit the bill. We’d set the shoes on our deck at night to dry them out – worked like a charm.

Keen footwer for kids

Next up for these shoes? Sleepaway camp. The camps all require closed-toe shoes. I know my kids are going to be at the lake and wet 90% of the time at camp. Keen footwear is easy to slip on and off and better for running around than flip-flops.

Whatever your adventure this summer, order up the kiddos some Keens and you’ll be sure to have happy little feet.

Packing for the Outback with Keen Footwear

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How to Layer for Winter

If there is one thing my kiddos don’t love, it’s the cold. They’re Florida babies through and through, so they don’t typically have to deal with too many months of cold weather, but this year we had a couple of trips that meant they got to experience some temps they aren’t quite used to. Haha! We just so happened to be in Washington D.C. during one of their coldest snaps last month and we recently got back from our annual after-Christmas trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains, which always trumps Florida’s much warmer December weather. Layering was, obviously, a big necessity when it came to their outfits. So, let’s talk about how to layer this winter…

Being the all year ’round kinda fashion lover that I am, I enjoyed being able to play around with their wardrobes even more this winter and, like I said, all those cold-weather looks included lots of layers! The reason being that when we’re out and about in cold weather, we find ourselves going from the frigid air outside to overheated buildings and if the kids can’t strip off some layers when they get inside, they’re miserable. Actually, so is their mama. I hate being too hot or too cold. Who’s with me? I guess we should all live in California. Bwah! But I digress…

how to layer

winter boots

First let’s start with a nice, warm jacket or coat. Most kiddos can’t wear a coat for more than one season thanks to the speediness with which they grow, so you probably don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on them. Old Navy has some super warm and incredibly cute coats that are priced just right. Both my kiddos were nice and toasty in their puffer jackets as they toured our nation’s Capitol in thirty degree weather. And I’m also partial to their quilted jackets. They’re seriously stylish too!

fleece jacket

winter layers

Next, a good sweatshirt, hoodie or zip-up pullover is one of my favorite layering pieces. Not only can they serve as jackets in milder temps, but they’re perfect for when it’s too hot to have a coat on inside, but not quite warm enough for a shirt only. Patagonia makes some fabulous fleece ones and the fun color of my son’s Better Sweater Fleece Jacket really pops against the more neutral colors of the rest of his look like his black and white camo cargo pants for instance. And the kitty print of my daughter’s Cat & Jack sweatshirt couldn’t be any sweeter. Also, the glitter in her jeggings is so fab, I want a pair. Bwah!

cat and jack

stride rite high tops

sibling style

Underneath the hoodie and coat you’ll want a long-sleeved top. I’m a big fan of thermal tees for when it’s really chilly, but a cotton number will do just fine if your hoodie is heavy enough. We found some fun printed stripe and floral long-sleeved tops at Old Navy too. They went perfectly under both sweaters and hoodies/zip-ups alike! I mean it doesn’t get much cuter than a floral print top and bright red cords…Am I right?!

red cords

winter layer look

Now, while layering is an integral part of my kids’ winter wardrobes, so is footwear. And this year we’ve been all bout high-tops and boots. Snow boots are on our list for obvious reasons. They tackle icy, snowy weather like nothing else. Keen’s Kelsey and Basin WP boots were just what my littles needed to keep them nice and toasty.

winter coat

matching layers

puffer coat

puffy coat

boys boots

And high-tops are perfect for winter because they keep those tiny ankles warm and add a ridiculously cool element to outfits, which is always a plus for my style-focused daughter. My son, on the other hand, just wants to be comfortable. Thank goodness his Keen Encanto Wesley High-Tops are just that! As are my little lady’s Encanto Scout High Tops. Plus, they sparkle, so you know they were a hit with her! While we’re talking about sparkle, we also took advantage of the metallic trend with Stride Rite’s Stone High Tops. Another home run!

high tops

keen high tops

how to wear pink

metallic high tops

So, as you round out your kids’ cold weather wardrobes, I hope you’ll think about how to layer this winter and consider adding a few of these layering and footwear must haves to the rotation! Also, a little tip… *Outerwear has started to go on hyper sale and they’re selling out fast, so don’t delay if you need new jackets or coats!

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UNEEK: The Sandal of Summer from KEEN

In our house, summer is full of beach-lounging and trail-hiking, rock-hopping and bike-riding. Activities that require something sturdier than a flip-flop, but that allows for more air (and water) flow than a shoe. Meet the shoe of summer – meet UNEEK .

new sandals for summerThis innovative, dare we say, “uneek” design from KEEN, one of our favorite makers of shoes for adults and kids, takes a sole and two cords to create a perfect fit for your foot. The durable sole provides great traction for water activities like river walking or paddleboarding and the dual cord allows you to adjust the fit based on your comfort level and activity.

UNEEK-viewsUNEEK comes in three colors for women – all black, blue and white, or grey and pink (which, by the way, looks GREAT with our logo!) and three for men.

UNEEK17UNEEK6

Check out this fun clip that shoes how UNEEK was designed as well as some other unique creations (that guy’s beard?!)

Get your feet ready for summer with UNEEK from KEEN.

 

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Summer Trends for Girls

Summer Trends for Girls

With the summer comes lightening our layers and adding dresses and durable t-shirts for camp. It also means adding in comfortable shoes for active outings and protective hats. Here are some of our favorites for summer 2014:

Rompers:

Kids Fashion

banana_jump_suit_large

For easy and fun fashions for kids we love rompers, and our favorite new online retailer is Le Petit Organic where you can discover a gorgeous selection of curated brands that are eco-friendly or organic and super stylish. This includes favorites like the Banana Jumpsuit  and the super cute Mini Rodini Giraffe Summersuit that features a collection of bright and vibrant  giraffe’s in material that is organic and GOTS certified.

Dresses:

Little Joule

Joules Dresses

Joules

For dresses, we love Joules and Little Joules, a kid’s line for boys and girls and babies. This includes an adorable prints and florals for girls and great animal and British themed apparel for boys. This includes a beautiful collection of dresses and skirts with some of our favorites being the JNR CONSTANCE Girls Woven Dress and the JNR MICHELLE Girls Jersey Skirt that are both chic and playful for long summer days.

Smokks Dresses

Another favorite is Smokks, a new clothing system for girls and their moms. The style-made-simple effortless clothing system offers a modern take on classic little girl looks made with high-quality, vibrant Liberty of London™ fabrics.  Each stylish piece is durable for everyday wear, able to be layered for multiple seasons, soft and iron free, and contains no buttons, zips or hooks for ultimate comfort. With adjustable hems and ample arm holes, each piece grows with the child for over two years.

Shirts:

They Will Be

For easy and fun looks we love Girls Will Be, the go-to brand for girls’ clothing that breaks away from the stereotypical pink, ruffles, and sparkly pieces, and gives lil’ ladies more options to express their individuality! Girls Will Be was designed to empower young girls to be themselves and never feel like they need to conform to the increasingly narrow definition of “girl” reflected in far too many of the clothes (and other products) marketed to them. The collection consists of t-shirts, sweatshirts & shorts that break free of the stereotypical girly styles dominating retail today.  It offers girls style rules that are simple — colors beyond pink, no cutesy embellishments, imagery that breaks gender stereotypes, and styles that let girls be kids. Offered in sizes 4-12, our shirts are made in the USA, super soft, and built to last.

Elemental Ts Elemental Ts_TreeFrog_Girls89_BEST

We also love Elemental Ts, a new Brooklyn-based, mom-founded and run, kids’ t-shirt company that embraces the enthusiasm for what we sometimes affectionately and sometimes exhaustedly refer to as the WHY?/WHAT? phase of childhood.  Kids see the world on a more magnified scale and are naturally curious.  Every stick, bug and flower is fascinating to them.  They are riveted by animals and by machines and by the mechanics of how they work.  It is that way of seeing the world that inspired Elemental Ts. Their designs feature detailed images of both wildlife and man-made objects in the style of line drawings found in classic science textbooks while keeping the fun and vibrant color combinations that kids really want to wear.  We think that our shirts will really speak to your audience – they are fun and informational. In addition, each shirt comes with a toy magnifying glass and little fact card that introduces some interesting details about the animal or object depicted. The designs are sketched by a local artist and every shirt is screen printed by hand in New York City. 

Shoes:

Keen Shoes for KidsKeen Shoes

For shoes we are loving KEEN and their fun and comfortable Maderas MJ style shoe. This fun and stylish shoe is great for parents looking searching for a great look and the comfort to match. They are also certified vegan and built with an adjustable hook and loop closure strap for quick on-and-off wear, the Maderas MJ is sure to make an impression during playtime.

Clark's Kids Shoe review

For sandals, we love Clark’s Kids and how every Clarks style is constructed with growing feet in mind and the comfort and fit technologies to make play more comfortable. Clarks Kids fits newborns to age 12. This includes favorites like the Rio Flower and the Softly Rio that are super feminine and fun while also providing incredible support. The sandals are also  soft, light, and flexible while offering maximum adjustability, and leather linings add to the comfortable feel.

Hats:

Catamini Hats

Another favorite is Catimini, the Paris-based luxury children’s fashion brand, has stylish sun hats that dress up any suit from looking drab to fab! Some of our favorites are the Catimini Spirit CityCatimini Spirit Ethnique Straw Hat and the cute Catimini Spirit Denim Bucket Hat– all of which will offer the ultimate in comfort and style this summer!

Swimwear:

Platypus Australia

With mix-and-match pieces in florals, retro prints, and bright colors, Platypus Australia (PlatypusAustralia.com) provides the must-have UV protective swimwear of the season. Some favorites are the Platypus Australia Rose Baby Kids Swimsuit with Bowl, the Platypus Australia Palm Springs Youth Swim Short and the Platypus Australia Retro Cars Baby Kids Swim Short.
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Warm Weather Shoes for Kids

Can you feel the warm weather nippin’ at your heels, lovelies? It’s on its way, if it hasn’t already arrived in your neighborhood! Forget warm, HOT weather has definitely landed in my neck of the woods. It was 92 degrees at 6:00 the other day. Can you believe that?

I’ve already started to update my kiddos’ spring/summer footwear wardrobe and I bet you’ve thought about doing the same. Like with all little ones, my kids have pretty much outgrown most of the shoes I bought them last season. So, since both their shoe options have dwindled, I’m on the hunt to add some more warm weather shoes to their closets.

keen, stride rite, hi-tec, children's place, summer shoes, kids summer shoes, water shoes

Keen Infant Seacamp / Keen Toddler Breezemont / Hi-Tec Sierra Lite Original Jr. / Keen Toddler Whisper / Hi-Tec Indra Strap (this women’s style would be great for a mommy and me look) / Keen Girls Seacamp

Spring and summer are seasons full of exploration opportunities, so shoes that are fitting for say a hike or some water fun would be good additions to your must buy list. Both Keen and Hi-Tec have great options for your adventurous offspring. My son just loves the water play areas at the zoo and some of our local parks, but going barefoot is a no no in this mama’s book, so good quality water shoes are always warm weather must haves for us.

keen, stride rite, hi-tec, children's place, summer shoes, kids summer shoes, water shoes

Children’s Place Rainbow Gladiator Sandal / Disney Baby Minnie Mouse Soft Stride / Children’s Place Gladiator Sandal / Valentina Personalized Espadrilles / Stride Rite Medallion Collection Amora / Valentina Personalized Espadrilles / Children’s Place Bouquet Sandal / Stride Rite Sloane / Children’s Place Glitz Sandal

My lil’ lady bean, on the other hand, hasn’t quite found her love of water yet. Pretty, girly shoes are more her speed. Luckily places like Stride Rite, Children’s Place and Valentina all have some gorgeous options for spring and summer. My Minnie Mouse lovin’ girl would definitely love to rock Stride Rite’s Disney Baby Soft Motions.

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Winter Essentials

Winter Essentials

We are not the biggest fan of cold weather, but living in NYC I do love having a change in seasons and the experiences like skiing, iceskating, and hot chocolate that comes with colder weather. To have some relief for winter, I load up on layers, lotions and boots to stay and warm and dry. Here are some of my favorite essentials this winter!

VitaMelts Multi: Staying healthy is so important during the winter when our immune system gets weaker. An easy way to make sure that I get the vitamins I need is by taking VitaMelts Multi where I get a combination of 12 key nutrients including 100% of Vitamins A, C, E and B and 250% of vitamin D. Another favorite is the VitaMelts Hair, Skin, Nails, a vitamin that is formulated with Biotin and Vitamin C to support healthy skin, hair, and nails.

Ski wear for the kids: For those skiing, we love the warm helmets with Zipmold® foam from bern and the super warm Obermeyer’s Verbier Jacket. This includes a jacket with fleece lined collars and cuffs and a fun pick-your-mood zipper pull. The Verbier also boasts Obermeyer’s  I-Grow™ extended wear system, allowing the sleeves to be lengthened by a snip of a thread and allowing the jacket’s lifespan to last more than one winter. Another favorite is the Obermeyer Powder Suit, a suit that is equipped with a reinforced seat/knee and soft, fleece lining at all the vital contact points of high activity to ensure a full day of warmth and comfort on the hill. It also features Obermeyer’s I-Grow™ Extended Wear System extending the length of the sleeves and pant cuffs, reinforced stitching, belt loops, inseams full motion sleeve construction.

ChapStuff: For lip relief, we love ChapStuff from Mayron’s Goods. Featuring a combination of Shea Butter based Cocoa and Orange concoction of Organic and Essential Oils, this product is great for the lips (and anywhere where you have chapped skin) for instant relief and nourished skin.

Trilipiderm: My skin gets incredibly dry in the winter but I finally found some relief thanks to the collection of lotions from Trilipiderm. My favorite is their All-Body Moisture Retention Crème, an instant solution to dryness thanks to its blend of natural, plant-derived that hydrates and replaces essential lipids to the skin. I also love how it isn’t heavy or greasy, but a silky treatment that will leave your skin feeling completely refreshed.

Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil Pure Treatment Oil: Does your hair have winter static, going in every direction, flying up and out and sticking to cheeks. For relief, we love Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil Pure Treatment Oil, a treatment made of the world’s richest sources of essential fatty acids containing Omega 3, 6 & 9 to help smooth the hair’s shaft while the Vitamin E off future damage leaving hair that is consistently static and frizz free.

U|R® POWERED gloves: Busy parents will love these fashionable and efficient gloves from U|R® POWERED that creates an innovative and invisible solution enabling you to operate touch screen devices with all five fingers without taking your gloves off! How it works is that U|R® patented conductive coatings are state of the art, contain no metals and are environmentally friendly. Best of all, they are sleek, comfortable and elegant in a variety of styles, materials and colors for men and women. The U|R® POWERED collection of connected accessories also includes audio headwear; hats, headbands and earmuffs with built-in headphones that allow for simple audio integration. Not only will your ears be nice and warm, but you can also listen to your favorite tunes or answer phone calls with a swipe of a finger. The U|R® POWERED collection is available for purchase at http://www.urpowered.com/ and leading retailers;Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Von Maur and Amazon Fall 2013.

Hydrating Eye Crème: My skin tends to suffer during the cold weather, so I am seeking some relief with the Hydrating Eye Crème with Hyaluronic Acid from derma e. As a natural anti-aging formula, this cream is designed to deliver moisture while diminishing the look of fine lines, wrinkles, crow’s feet and puffiness.

Heat Holders: My feet get incredibly cold in the winter, so I am relying on Heat Holders, a thermal sock that combines the best thermal technology to ensure that you never have to suffer the discomfort of cold feet again. Using a combination of soft cashmere-like fibers that are carefully blended together in a unique three stage knitting process, I love the feeling of overall warmth that they deliver as well as their fun colors and styles like stripes, boot socks and much more.

Keen Kids’ Boots: To keep our feet dry and warm, we are loving the collection of boots from KEEN. For relief from the snow, we love the Kalamazoo High Boot where kids will have super warm insulation and a waterproof upper. It also has a great dual climate non-marking rubber outsole and moisture wicking textile so kids can enjoy the cold weather even longer.

Adventures of the Penguin King: With the cold weather, I also love spending more time inside and one of my favorite things to do with my kids is enjoy a family movie night. Our new favorite is Adventures of the Penguin King, a lively action documentary that follows the story of Rex, a young King Penguin, who has been away from his home. He returns home with the mission to mate and raise a family. Directed by Anthony Geffen and narrated by Tim Allen, my daughters and I loved this interesting movie as we took this journey with the beloved Rex.

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Back-to-School Shoe Trends

shoe trends. shoe trends for kids, back to school

Whether you have an older kid or a kid that just starting out, they are going to need shoes. From uniform styles to chic high tops, here are a few of our favorite shoe trends for kids.

1. We love how kids can show off their style with the Enzo Girls Francine (Toddler/Little Kid/Big Kid).Featuring a metallic or white fabric upper in a classic silhouette, these shoes have an easy lace-up closure for quick and easy on and off and a breathable textile lining and a cushioned textile insole. They also have a flexible rubber outsole so kids can feel comfortable throughout the day.

2. Running around is pretty much a given with kids, and one of our favorite kids’ sneaker lines is the etnies collection. Featuring fun and popular styles from high tops to low tops to include the RVM, Decade, Uptown and the Fader, we love how comfortable these sneakers are while also offering a unique style. Some of our favorites from the line include the RVM Strap Toddler in a variety of colors and the fun RVM Vulc Disney shoe. Also, they have fun charitable tie-in through etnies Buy a Shoe, Plant a Tree reforestation program featuring one of the top selling styles, the Jameson Eco 2 as well as the RVM Vulc.

3. For some high fashion fun for the kids, we love the collection of flat shoes from Venettini. Featuring fun colors and high quality shoes, we adore the fun patent leather styles for kids with some of our favorites being the Randy and the Violet for girls and the Mark for boys.

4. We are big fans of the brand KEEN for their men’s and women’s line and they also have high quality shoes for kids that offer them a mix of fashion, comfort, and functionality. For back-to-school we love the Harvest MJ shoe, Maderas MJ, and the super cute Luna Boot for the trendy little lady. For boys, we love the Sorrento and the cool Alameda high tops.

5. For kids wearing uniforms, we love the shoes from French Toast where you can find basics like the Classic Mary Jane (Bianca) and Self-Close Strap Oxford Shoe. We also love The Children’s Place where you can find their classtime slip-on shoe for uniforms.

 

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