And are you ready for this?! We're giving away a $150 store credit (US residents only; good for 2 - 3 Kigurumi costumes), and have a 25% off coupon code for everyone else!! Just read on and enter to win at the bottom of this blog post!!
If you're searching for a unique Halloween Costume, or an easy Cosplay idea for your next Comic Con, I've got a suggestion for ya! Kigurumi hooded onesie costumes from Kutame! From dragons and sharks to unicorns and pandas, they have a massive selection of costumes! You'll even find some Japanese ones such as Gudetama, Korilakkuma, Rilakkuma, Mega Man, Shiba Inu, and Gloomy Bear (in black or pink). Not only does Kutame have tons of Kigurumi, they also have Pusheen, blind boxes, mugs and other great gifts.
And are you ready for this?! We're giving away a $150 store credit (US residents only; good for 2 - 3 Kigurumi costumes), and have a 25% off coupon code for everyone else!! Just read on and enter to win at the bottom of this blog post!!
They are SUPER soft, and warm (made of 100% polyester, SAZAC's signature soft fleece), machine washable (just turn them inside out), and because they're so loose fitting they allow for plenty of layering underneath which makes them the perfect choice for Trick-or-Treating in chilly locations! Another thing that makes Kigurumi so great is there's no guessing game when choosing your size. They're meant to be loose fitting, and only come in 2 size options for adults: "regular one size" (what hubby and I got, we're both about 5'8") and "extra tall size" (for those over 6') and 2 size options for kids: 3-5 years old (what we got for our just turned 3 year old twins) and 5-9 years old (what we got for my small almost 6 year old son).
You can see that they're quite big on my kids, but the elastic wrists and ankles are great. Kind of harem pant style. Loose, comfy, and lots of fun to "monkey around in" as my son mentions in our HILARIOUS unboxing video, watch it here!! I can see them being a great costume during pregnancy and postpartum, as well, since they're so roomy!
Here are my husband and I modeling our "regular one size" Kigurumi. I got the "colorful skeleton" (only available in regular size) and he got the "skeleton" (available in regular & extra tall size), both have pockets and retail for $59 on shopkutame.com (don't forget to use code "USJAPANFAM" for your 25% off!!)
Here's our son in his Japanese monkey costume, with pockets, retailing for $45. He's almost 6 years old and about 43 inches tall, wearing the "5-9 year old size", it's also available in 3-5 year old size. I'm so happy he chose this costume, not only is it adorable and kinda hilarious with the red butt, but about 10 years ago his father and I actually drove out from our home in Yokohama to see the Japanese snow monkeys in the mountains of Nagano, lounging in the steamy natural hot springs! It was quite an amazing experience!!
Here are our twins modeling the pink unicorn and blue unicorn costumes. They just turned 3 and are about 36" tall, wearing the size 3-5 years (also available in 5-9 years). Both have pockets and retail for $45. The hoods were a bit difficult for them to manage at first, but after playing around in them for a while they figured them out. It's fun to pull them forward and be totally in character, but do make sure you and your kids can see well when necessary, or know to take their hoods down when crossing the road! Safety first!!
Suffice it to say, we are all totally in love with our new Kigurumi onesie character costumes, and think you will be too!!! US Residents can get 25% off their orders with code USJAPANFAM at shopkutame.com and can also enter to win $150 credit in the Rafflecopter box below. Don't forget you can earn more points daily with certain actions such as tweeting, watching our videos, and commenting on blog posts! The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM EST on Monday, October 15. Good luck to all, and be sure to comment below with your thoughts on these costumes, Japanese culture, or a fun Halloween/Costume-related story!!
We couldn't be more excited to let you all know about a sweet new spot that's recently opened right here in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Whether you have a sweet tooth, crave great coffee, or are throwing a party in need of a phenomenal cake, get thee to Cheesecake Diva on 3rd (between 73rd and 74th).
The vibe inside is modern, clean, and minimalistic, with a handful of tables, a bathroom, and a refrigerated case displaying their beautiful cheesecakes! We're also thrilled to note that it is stroller and wheelchair friendly, with a nice amount of open space in the shop, and a ramp at the front door (no step - hoorah)! Our double stroller had no problems and we didn't feel "in the way" as we do in many cramped Bay Ridge cafes and stores.
We don't want to keep you waiting. You all want the scoop on their namesake: CHEESECAKE!! They have SO many flavors, every single one of them looks delicious - we're talking strawberry, dulce de leche, matcha, cookie 'n cream, kiwi, the list goes on. To be more specific, that list contains 22 flavors of cheesecake!! They sell 6", 10", and 12" cheesecakes, but what I love is that they also have "small" individual sized ones for just $3.95. There's (almost) no guilt devouring one yourself. Better yet, bring some friends and share an assortment! I treated myself and my kids to the "chocomallow" and it was ah-may-zing. Rich and creamy, absolutely delectable! This place is a MUST for any and all cheesecake lovers in the Tri-State area!
And how about this, one of their newest items (pictured below), a pack of 12 different flavored mini cheesecakes for $12.50. YUM!!
But don't worry, it's not just about cheesecake. They have espresso drinks and specialty coffee (including pour over & siphon coffee - pictured below left), bubble tea (upgrade to tapioca or lychee jelly for just $0.50), 7 flavors of milk tea, 7 kinds of flavored tea, and egg waffle & ice cream (pictured below right) for $9 with four free toppings and ice cream available in vanilla, black sesame, taro and cookie n’ creme. We're also told they'll soon be adding homemade cookies and seasonal coffee drinks, including Pumpkin Spice Latte and Matcha Latte.
So, go on. Get over to Cheesecake Diva at 7309 3rd Avenue in Bay Ridge pronto. Treat yourself. Treat your kids. Plan your next book club there. Order a cake for an upcoming birthday or catered event. Thank a teacher with a gift card. Grab a coffee on the way to work and a cheesecake on the way home, for that special someone... or yourself. You deserve it!
Have you been to Cheesecake Diva yet? Comment below with what you had and how much you loved it!!
Be sure to follow Cheesecake Diva on Facebook & Instagram, and check out their cheesecake menu on cheesecakedivanyc.com.
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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased, cuz hey, I'm no sell out!
My crew went back to school a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to take a minute to let you guys know about some of my favorite items we're using this year - from great kids shoes to bento box to washable labels, all from brands included in my $600 value jackpot Fall Favorites for the Family Giveaway running through September 19, 2018 - enter to win here!!
Click below to watch the haul on our YouTube channel, or read on for the blog version!
Stuck On You has the best personalized items for kids and families. I previously reviewed the Stuck On You Bento Box and Backpack my son is using, and we've just gotten their washable labels and fabric stamp to try out - must haves for school, day care, and camp! The labels come in all sizes to choose from, and as with all of the Stuck On You items, you can personalize the text, font, color, and even add a cute little logo or character! (Do take a moment to read my PSA on child safety at the bottom of this post regarding labeling items with your child's name). We haven't had these labels long enough to see how they do long term, but I'll check back in and update this post in a few weeks to let you know how our items have been doing with heavy use and being thrown in the dishwasher. My DIY sharpie labeling didn't survive a day at school on my twins' water bottles, not to mention the dishwasher! So, fingers crossed these labels live up to their promise (I'm pretty sure they will!!).
Another must-have to make sure your kids' items are all labeled before heading off to school is the Clothing Name Stamp Pack by Stuck On You. It comes with a personalized stamp, fabric ink, and blank iron-on labels. So you can choose to stamp directly onto the clothes or clothing label, or onto the iron-on label. SUPER easy, waterproof, and permanent!!
We've been a huge fan of pediped for years now, check out my past reviews of shoes here (2017), here (2016) and here (2015)! They are an award-winning children's shoe company known for supporting the healthy growth of children's feet, and their fabulous selection of adorable and stylish shoes for babies through big kids!
My girls were sent pediped's Grip 'n Go Nikki Pink/Orange Sandals, featuring a genuine leather upper, breathable leather lining, all natural rubber sole, and super comfy memory foam insole. Approved by American Podiatric Medical Association for promoting healthy foot development and available in sizes 19 - 23 (4.5 - 7), they're currently on sale for $30!! The velcro strap is easy for kids to do themselves, it's not a loop through (which mine frequently struggle with if they pull it too far out of the loop by accident), and they were my girls were literally flipping over the fun colors! The memory foam insole is very squishy and the sole is super flexible - check out the image above and get a better feel for it in my demo video here!
My son was sent these super cool Flex Logan boots in Chestnut, which are, get this - VEGAN!! They're also machine washable, have a natural rubber sole, breathable canvas lining, are approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association for promoting healthy foot development, and feature the "Flex Fit System" - they come with an extra insert per foot so you can make sure they fit your child perfectly. I love that they LOOK like a laced up shoe but they are in fact, not. The laces are non-tie elastic and stretch to allow your child to get his or her foot in there easily, with a velcro strap up top. Under pants or on show with shorts, these boots are fabulous for the Fall through winter and spring!
Don't forget you can win a pair of pediped children's shoes and a $50 store credit to Stuck On You in my $600 value jackpot giveaway on the blog now!!! Enter to win here!!
Just like with developing an ear and ability for other languages, the earlier you start your child's musical education the better! Singing to your babies, taking your toddlers to shake maracas and dance around at singalongs, and introducing your preschooler to their first instrument!
Choosing that right first instrument can be a difficult decision, but I'm thrilled to introduce you today to one amazing option: the Loog Mini Guitar! We were provided one for review as part of my $600 value jackpot giveaway (enter to win here!!), but all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
The Loog Mini Guitar is not just a kid's sized guitar or ukulele. It actually utilizes just the 3 top strings from a regular guitar, making it simpler for children to learn just the top half of all of the essential chords. What they learn will stay with them as they transition to a regular 6-string guitar in a few years. Brilliant!
What's more? The free Loog Guitar app makes it FUN!! Your child will create a character, tune their guitar, learn chords (with the help of YouTube tutorials built into the app), and unlock great songs to learn by artists such as Bruno Mars, Tom Petty, and Taylor Swift! With the help of this app, your child will be rocking it out on their mini guitar in no time! Be sure to watch my short YouTube video to see my 5 year old using the app to tune the guitar and work on his chords!
Now, I'm not going to lie to you. For my 5 year old, it was anything but easy. That said, he definitely had fun. Obviously some things in life, such as learning to play an instrument, take time and effort! I hope to spending a bit of one-on-one time together with the app and the guitar will help him get the hang of it and have fun! Check him out in action here:
You can buy a Loog Mini Guitar, good for ages 3+, on their website here, and also find great guitars for older kids, and lots of accessories such as bags, stands, and more! You can also find Loog Mini Guitar on Amazon (affiliate link).
You can win your very own Loog Mini Guitar ($79 value) as part of my $600 value jackpot Fall Favorites for the Family Giveaway - just click here to enter to win!!!
We are T minus 2 weeks til back to school here in NYC, so I wanted to take a moment to share with you a couple of our favorite school items we got last year - they survived to live another year - SCORE!!!
Stuck On You is an Australian brand that sells personalized, well, everything for kids and families! We're talking book bags, bento boxes, lunch bags, clothing labels, clothing stamps, pencil cases, hats, planners, you name it! Last year, we worked with them as part of our 2017 Back to School Giveaway, and were provided a personalized Book Bag, Bento Box and Cooler Bag for my son who was off to Kindergarten. (Stay tuned for our 2018 Back To School / Family Fall Favorites Giveaway going live in September!!!)
What's great is that each Stuck On You item you choose can be personalized - you choose the color, the image, text, and font! (Please see my Safety PSA at the bottom of this post!!!). It's fun for kids, and the parents!
His backpack has gotten TONS of mileage over the past year, carrying his gear to school in Brooklyn every day and even journeying to Japan and Maine with us! I love the gender neutral light mint he chose, though it did get pretty dirty thanks to a water bottle that quite often leaked. But, with a quick scrub in the bath tub it was looking good as new each time (see photos - these are after 1 year of use), so no worries there!! We got the "large" size ($44.95 on sale currently for $35.96) which fits full sized folders and holds his lunch box and everything, but they do have a mini sized too ($24.95 on sale now for $19.96) for the preschool/day care set.
We also got Bento Value Pack ($59.95) including the leak-proof bento box and bento box cooler. The cooler comes with an attached bag that zips closed to hold the included reusable ice pack, and this bag fits the bento box perfectly! The bento box has a removable partitioned insert, and SEALS SHUT when closed, meaning you could put a dip in one of the compartments and it won't leak into another compartment or into your bag when shut!! How amazing is that!!!
So, if back to school shopping, or just looking to replace some old items, definitely check out Stuck On You! And now on to an important message...
***CHILD SAFETY PSA***
Many warn not to put your child's name on any items that will be viewable out in the public, which usually means their backpack and jacket. The concern is the risk of a stranger seeing it and calling your child by name, making them think that it is a safe person. This is obviously a HUGE safety concern, however simply keeping their name off of their backpack won't cut it. I urge you to talk to your children regularly about the dangers of not just strangers, but "Tricky People" (read more here). In this day and age of social media and oversharenting (guilty!!), it's quite possible for your child's name and/or face to be quite well known. Not just that, but a stranger could be lurking and overhear you calling your child's name. Just because someone knows their name, or their parent's name, doesn't mean they're safe. Just because they're a stranger, doesn't mean they're dangerous. Unfortunately, even a teacher, a friend's parent, an uncle, a friend, anyone could have bad intentions. Without scaring them too much, we have to teach them to always be cautious, know to tell their caregiver immediately if ANYONE says or does ANYTHING that makes them uncomfortable. Know how to react in an emergency (scream, kick / scratch / gauge out eyes) etc. So, keep your child's name off of his or backpack if it makes you feel better (you could still personalize it perhaps with a nickname or initials or simply a logo or character they identify with), but know you need to be more proactive than that.
My kids don't take a bus or have after school care yet, so I'm not too concerned with their names on backpacks that simply go from home to under the stroller to school cubbies, and they're always with me anyway. But once they're traveling too and from school/camp/activities on their own, I certainly plan to leave names and identifying objects off of their backpacks. However, my kids are quite familiar with "strangers" knowing them and their names on a regular basis (because of our presence on social media), so we have the talk regularly about why people know them, what a "tricky person" is, why it's dangerous to run off or linger behind me on the sidewalk, etc. At 2 and 5 years old, I'm not sure how much they really "get it", but it's a conversation that must happen, often, and it evolves as they get older.
So, what do you think!? Do you personalize your kids' stuff? How do educate your kids about "stranger danger" and "tricky people"? Leave a comment below, and be sure to follow us across social on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and YOUTUBE, and stay tuned for our HUGE Fall Faves Group Giveaway!!!!!!
Check out Kenzo sporting his Stuck on Me backpack at the airport in Japan:
A single stroller that converts to a double stroller in just seconds, with no spare parts to lose!? This is the key feature of the brand new budget-friendly Evenflo Pivot Xpand. Keep reading for my full review and to see why it's a great choice for anyone with 1 child, twins, and siblings. And oh yeah, don't miss my demo video at the bottom to see it in action!!
**Disclaimer: I was provided with this stroller free of charge for my honest review. But don't worry, I'm no sell out - all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely 100% unbiased! Feel free to comment below, on social, or on our YouTube video with any questions and I'll reply ASAP!
Out of the box, the Pivot Xpand had the quickest and easiest set up of any stroller I've experienced, and we've had more than 10! Honestly, I could have done it without the manual, though that was concise and easy to understand. I had it in single mode in less than 5 minutes, including opening the box! From there, it converts to double mode in all of 15 seconds and I'm not even exaggerating. It's incredible!! This feature is definitely the selling point of this stroller - everything you need to convert from single to double stroller is built into the frame! You simply slide the top seat connectors into a higher position. Pull out the lower seat's connectors, and snap those seats on. Done!
Evenflo Xpand Key Features:
Of course, no stroller is perfect. There are a few less than ideal aspects I have to mention, since I pride myself on honest reviews. This is a somewhat compact tandem (especially when comparing to the last tandem I reviewed), which is great for navigating tight corners, but it also means that the seats are too close in some configurations to allow for recline or adjustments of foot rests. It's not a huge deal, you'll just need to play around with what configuration will work best for your kids. My girls prefer facing eachother, and lucky for us, this configuration also works great for full recline and use of foot rests - hoorah! One other minor issue is that when the front seat is rear facing, you'll lose some use of your basket, especially if the foot rest is down. Again, not a major issue, but something to keep in mind. The belly bars are great, but I'd love to have snack bars available (Hint hint, Evenflo, if you're reading this, get on it)! I'm not sure if they have rain covers for this stroller or have any coming out, but 2 of the Manito Beta Rain Shields should do the trick (we haven't tested those, but we love the Manito Elegance Alpha Double Rain Shield on our Joovy and StrollAir side by side strollers)!
DON'T MISS MY VIDEO DEMO!!
See how it converts from single to double, how the handle & foot rests adjust, check out the seat recline levels, canopy, the self-standing collapse, and more!
How will vibrant hair dyes show up on virgin brown hair? Read on & watch my videos below to see how different brands and colors have worked on me before you try on your own hair!!
In high school I went through some crazy hair phases - from platinum blonde to dark red, you name it! I spent much of my 20's with long blonde highlighted hair, spending tons of money at salons in Tokyo and NYC. After meeting my now husband, I settled into my "mousy light brown" hair and have not changed it color-wise for over a decade! But... I got bored. So, I recently started my adventure with vibrant semi-permanent hair dyes, ones that wash out in 4-15 washes and don't have bleach, ammonia, or any really damaging chemicals. They're cheap, they're fun, but do they work??
In a nutshell, you can't expect to look like Mal from Descendants without bleaching your hair first, but you can still have fun without lightening it. I'll add my youtube videos below as I try new colors - comment below with what you think, what colors you've played around with, etc!!
L'Oreal Colorista (Burgundy)
This was my first delve into the vibrant semi-permanent hair dyes (in January 2018). I bought 2 boxes at Rite Aid for about $20, and spent about $50 at the salon having them apply it because I was too scared to try it and ruin my hair and bathroom haha!! It was beautiful, purplish reddish dark brown, but it did wash out very quickly, about 50% the first wash and by 5 washes was pretty much gone. I did shampoo with warm/hot water and regular shampoo with sulfate, so I'm not sure how much this had to do with the quick fade out. It was fun and I liked it, but with the salon expense, totally not worth it.
- Purchase L'oreal Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color on Amazon (affiliate link)
Clairol Color Crave (Orchid)
This was my 2nd "crazy" color, and my first ever time dyeing my own hair (or anyone's, for that matter). Watch the video, it's helpful but mostly funny - I take you through my paranoid prep of my head (Burt's Bees ointment all over my hairline, ears, and neck) and bathroom (garbage bags all over), dyeing my hair, washing it out, and how it looks dyed. It was very dark, blueish purple in sunlight, almost black in regular indoor lighting. There was ZERO SMELL from the dye itself or on my head afterward, which was awesome, but makes sense since there aren't really any harsh chemicals in there. The vaseline worked well at protecting my skin, and I ended up getting some dye on my hands and arms when I forgot gloves washing it off, but it came off with a quick rub with hand sanitizer! I'll update this page when I find out how quickly it fades, I'm a bit nervous it'll go grey during the fadeout, since it is quite a blueish hue of purple. It's supposed to last 15 washes and this time I'll be trying to use colder water and special sulfate-free color safe shampoo and conditioner (Redken Color Extend Magnetics Sulfate-Free Shampoo & L'Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Moisture Conditioner - affiliate links).
- Purchase Clairol Color Crave Semi-Permanent Hair Color (amazon affiliate link)
OK, that's all I've done so far, but now that I know I can DIY at home for so cheaply, I plan to keep doing a new color every 3 months or so (once the last color is 100% out)! Leave a comment below if you have a brand / color to suggest for me, give me tips on coloring at home, or share any hilarious DIY stories of your own!!
I am what some may consider a stroller connoisseur. We've been through NINE strollers (2 more since I wrote "Signs You Might Be a Stroller Addict"), and I can say from experience, no stroller is perfect, but some come pretty darn close!
We've been HUGE fans of StrollAir's MyDuo side by side double stroller (see my review here), using it as our daily workhorse since our twins were born 2.5 years ago (check out my review here). So when StrollAir announced they were releasing a new tandem stroller that goes from (shorter) single to (longer) double, I just couldn't wait to get my hands on it!!
StrollAir's Solo to Tango Stroller just hit the market a few months ago, and could just be the only stroller you'll ever need - taking you from your first baby through your second, and of course it's a great choice for twins as well. The Solo, retailing for $499.99, is a single stroller with a 50-pound maximum reversible infant-ready seat. It comes with a winter muff, rain cover, mosquito net, 5-point harness, adjustable footrest, huge under basket with storage pockets, adjustable leatherette handlebar, and leatherette bumper bar. It also has a MASSIVE canopy, dare I say the largest in the market?, with magnetic mesh peeakboo window and an extra zippered panel that allows the canopy to cover your child practically head to toe. What's more? You can zip off the fabric sides of the seat to unveil breathable mesh when the seat is reclined, perfect for keeping your little one cool in the stroller in summer (see one of my kids demonstrating the mesh, below right)!
But here's where it gets REALLY COOL. For $199.99 you can buy the Tango, which is basically the kit to turn your single into a double tandem stroller. Included in that package you'll get a second seat (identical to the Solo seat in size, weight limit, and functions) as well as all of the accessories (winter muff, rain cover, mosquito net, leatherette bumper), and your extension pieces that will both lengthen the stroller and lift up the Solo seat to make space for the Tango seat to snap in. Both seats are infant-ready (please use an infant head and body support pillow), but you can also purchase 1 or 2 bassinets or 1-2 universal car seat adapters, as well as a shopping tote that can sit in the empty Tango seat spot, giving Solo to Tango an insane amount of configuration possibilities (a few of mine pictured below)!!
Be sure to watch my demo video below for a fun unboxing, setting the stroller up in Solo and switching to Tango mode, and my demonstrations of how various features work such as different switching the seat directions, adjusting the handlebar height, reclining seats, extending the canopy, hoisting it up over curbs (heavy, but doable), and collapsing it. The stroller comes with an instruction manual, and their rep has confirmed PDF instructions and video demo will be up on their website soon. It wasn't too hard to set up, no tools needed thankfully, but you definitely need to reference the instructions here and there, for safety and sanity's sake!
The feature I find most useful of StrollAir's Solo to Tango is the ability to go from shorter single stroller to longer tandem stroller. As a mom of twins plus one, we almost always need our double. But there are times we need to take just 1 child to the doctor (in a stroller), so we keep a backup single stroller in the closet (taking up very valuable city apartment space!!!). But now, with the Solo to Tango, we just need this one stroller!!! It takes less than 5 minutes (the same amount of time to dig out our spare single) to switch from Tango to Solo: you just unzip the basket, snap out the extension frame, switch the front wheels back to the original Solo front, zip the basket back, remove the seat extensions, and snap the seat back in. Done! No tools necessary! (You can see me switching from Solo to Tango mode in my YouTube demo).
As far as accessories go, you can upgrade to air-filled tires for a smoother ride, however I gotta say, I find their standard tires great (super smooth push) and there's never a concern of getting a flat out there on the nail and glass-filled sidewalks of NYC haha! StrollAir also sells a shopping tote, hop on board, parent console, and handle sleeves. The winter foot muffs are FABULOUS and come standard with the stroller, check them out pictured below. Together with the ginormous canopies, you're ready for the harshest winter (or to hide your precious cargo from the paparazzi LOL)!!
The Tango doesn't collapse super small (see photo above center), but it is quick and easy to collapse - you just have to make sure seats and wheels are facing forward, then lock the stroller, click the red button on the left side of the handlebar, squeeze the telescoping handlebar button and push the handlebar in all the way. You'll feel the stroller frame kind of release and then you can swing the whole thing in on itself by pushing the handlebar down. What's really great is that it's self standing!! If you need to fit it into a tighter space, you can get it to fold smaller by quickly removing the belly bars, wheels, and seats.
One question I get a lot from our followers is whether side by side or tandem double strollers are better, and I gotta tell you, that's a really really hard call. The two biggest pros of a side by side, in my opinion, are not having to stop walking in order to get snacks or bottles to both of your children (since they're both within your reach) and hoisting the stroller over curbs is also easier.
I was nervous that a tandem would feel easy to tip and hard to maneuver around corners, but I gotta say the StrollAir Tango is neither of these things. The large wheels and wide back wheel base are very helpful with these issues. Also due to the large wheels, it has no trouble rolling smoothly over the biggest divots, that our double umbrella stroller was constantly getting stuck on! If pushing on slanted sidewalk, you have to use a bit more muscle to keep it straight than a side by side, but it performed light years beyond the Joovy Big Caboose we used 2 years ago in terms of stability and ease of steering and turning corners.
In some tandem configurations you could face the problem of one child kicking the other one, but recently we've had the issue in our side by side of our girls fighting, pulling hair, etc, so there's really no way to avoid this - if your kids want to fight, they will find a way, no matter what kind of stroller they're in! That said, in the StrollAir Tango you can have your children facing opposite directions - so YAY, I have found a solution!!
I've also found this tandem easier to get through the grocery store aisles. When my girls are next to each other in a wide SBS, they both stretch out their arms and legs (my twin "octopus") and grab or knock stuff of the shelf. SO frustrating. We've never found a main doorway our SBS couldn't get through, but it couldn't get through our bedroom doorway or the grocery store checkout lanes, which the tandem can. it's amazing what just a few inches in width can mean (the back wheels are the widest part of the Tango, about 25.5" wide. Our side by side is 29" wide and many are up to 32" or so!!)!
Very long story short, I don't think there's an easy answer as to side by side or tandem being better, you need to take both types for a test drive to see which will suit you better. Either way, StrollAir has got an amazing stroller for you. If leaning toward a tandem, I can't recommend their Solo to Tango highly enough! And if going for a side by side, their new TwinWay (pretty much a vamped up MyDuo) is the way to go!! Side note, their ReVu also sounds amazing - it's an umbrella stroller with a reversible seat!!
Have any questions about this stroller, or any others we've owned? Have a single or double stroller you love, or features you wish one would offer? Leave a comment below!! And don't miss these other stroller reviews I've done:
Disclaimer: We were provided this stroller free of charge, but all thoughts and opinions are unbiased - we are no sell outs!!
We enjoyed our weekend in Lancaster last summer so much (see here) we decided to pretty much copy cat our own trip again this year! As far as budget-friendly family vacation destinations within a few hours drive of NYC go, this is one of the best. A MUST for any NY / NJ / PA family with kids in the range of about 2-10 years old.
In exchange for our honest reviews, we were provided free admission to Cherry Crest Adventure Farm & Dutch Wonderland, and complimentary accommodation at Bird in Hand Family Inn, but don't worry, all opinions are unbiased - we don't sell out guys! Read on for details on each place, and don't miss our 2 great videos below!!
Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is one of the most unique places we've ever been. It's outdoors, set on 15 acres of peaceful beautiful Lancaster farmland, chock full of 50 kinds of activities, games and rides that encourage movement, creativity, and teamwork! Children 2 and under are free, and others can get a day pass for $17 ($30 ticket allows you to come back an unlimited amount of times in the year - open from end of May til start of November!), and there are a few other passes that include extras such as apple launcher and shooting range, which are great but not necessary for families with young kids in my opinion.
Here are my families' personal favorite things to do at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm:
Starting July 3 you can visit their 23rd Annual Amazing Maize Maze, "a gigantic, 5-acre Board Game Madness design created from 2.5 miles of paths and tricky turns!! This sounds SO COOL and we hope to go back later this summer to finally check it out (the past 2 times we've been was technically "spring" seasons, before the maze opens).
**Edited: We finally went during Labor Day Weekend!! Check out our video highlights from the Amazing Maize Maze and more!
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highlights from Cherry Crest Adventure Farm!
Whether seeking thrill rides, toddler & baby friendly calmer rides, animatronic dinosaurs, water park, or shows - Dutch Wonderland has got them all!!
We found our 36" 2.5 year old twins could ride a ton of things this year, compared to last year. And our son, now 46" could ride all but 1 ride that he wanted to, except for wooden Kingdom Coaster (minimum 48"). You can see the height requirements for all rides here, and at each ride they'll have a sign up so you can quickly see if your kids can ride.
I was shocked that my son was tall enough for the new hanging Merlin's Mayhem rollercoaster, but the way the seat is built and with the backup old-school lap belt, it felt super secure and i wasn't the least bit nervous of him flying out. If you have a kid tall enough (minimum 39", under 48" must ride with a "responsible rider") definitely prioritize it, that ride is super smooth and crazy fast. SO much fun!!
I'm totally bummed both times we've been, late May last year and early June this year, it wasn't quite warm enough to use their water park, which looks amazing. So, we're hoping to go back later this summer! Also very unlucky was the massive rain storm that met us at the park - it started pouring after just 3 hours. After checking the radar, we called it a day at 1pm and heard later they ended up shutting down the park at 2:30pm.
We did squeeze in a show and were very impressed with the level of entertainment. The story was the "Adventures of the Frog Prince", and included lots of silly but skilled divers. My son enjoyed sitting in the front row (by himself) and getting soaked! Don't worry, they paint the benches by color code so you can sit in a dry or wet section, as per your heart's desire! You can check out showtimes before visiting here.
Kids 2 and under are free, but don't worry, there's still plenty they can do as many rides allow children of any height as long as they can walk (but keep in mind, not many allow lap babies). For ages 3+ you can get a day pass for $45 or a season pass from $97~, and you can even get a season pass that combines Dutch Wonderland and Hershey Park!! Also, keep your eyes peeled in the spring for early bird discounts!
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highlights from Dutch Wonderland
& Bird in Hand Family Inn!
Last year we stayed at the Doubletree, which was wonderful - we especially loved their indoor splash zone at the pool. But this year we wanted a bit more of a local experience and we were HIGHLY impressed with Bird in Hand Family Inn, our new recommendation for the best family-friendly hotel in Lancaster!!
Featuring 2 indoor pools & a jacuzzi, a zero-entry outdoor pool, one of the most impressive playgrounds I've ever run across, a delicious breakfast buffet and dinner smorgasbord (with ala cart menus as well), live evening entertainment (not included), free tours of Amish farms, set in an incredibly quiet and beautiful backdrop, you really can't go wrong with the Bird in Hand Family Inn. All this and rooms go for under $200 a night!! Total win!!
We got a double queen room with a view of the pool - it was clean, modern, and comfortable. We did have a bit of hallway noise at one point, but nothing too bothersome (we're New Yorkers, don't forget haha). The buildings are a bit spread out but we enjoyed walking around to explore, there's farm land all around, you'll hear Amish riding by in their buggies, and Waters Edge Mini Golf is right on site as well! They also sell different packages and experiences, such as hot air balloon rides, wine tastings, and talks on Amish History and Beliefs.
Live close by or are considering a longer Lancaster vacation than just a weekend? Here are some other great places to check out:
Amish / Pennsylvania Dutch Experiences & Activities:
Pennsylvania Dutch Smorgasbords:
Other Local Dining Experiences:
Have you been to Lancaster or any of these places? Planning to go soon? Have another place to recommend? Be sure to leave a comment below!! And if you live in New York City or the Tri-State area, don't miss my massive list of the best family-friendly destinations with 3 hours drive of NYC!!
We were just hosted for a long weekend at the family-friendly all-inclusive Woodloch Resort in The Poconos and had THE BEST TIME!! Not being a cold weather kinda girl, I was a bit nervous, but it was just as awesome as when we went in summer (see that review here). For a taste of what activities and food to expect, keep reading, and don't forget to watch our highlights video on our YouTube channel!
OUR RIDE THERE:
Last time we journeyed to Woodloch, we took the bus and got a complimentary shuttle from the station to the resort. This time, we rode in style!! We were provided a beautiful 2018 Toyota Highlander Hybrid LE from Toyota for the weekend. With seating for 8 passengers and producing a 280 hybrid system net horsepower with 30 city mpg and 28 highway mpg, the Highlander was just what we needed for our familiy of 5. Using the LATCH system for our twins' Combi Coccoro car seats (affiliate link) and our 5 year old sandwiched between them in his Mifold booster (my blog review here), we were able to easily fit all 3 in the center row. This meant I was able to hand them snacks and screens, and it was extremely helpful when my son got super car sick on the way home. Thankfully mama had thought ahead and brought some metal bowls just in case the Dramamine didn't do its job!
The 2018 Highlander has great cargo space, especially with the back row folded down (or you can utilize the back row's 60/40 split). It earned the "Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle" (SULEV) rating, which is surprising for a SUV, and its electric on-demand all wheel drive with intelligence (AWD-i) made driving on curvy mountain roads a dream (except for aforementioned carsickness...). With a MSRP starting at $36,670 it's a great option for families needing safety and space!
OUTDOOR WINTER ACTIVITIES:
There was a lot of snow, but we didn't cross a single slippery step. They do such an amazing job of clearing paths and roads, even the go carts were safe to race around the track! My kiddos loved simply playing in the snow, but we all had a blast on their complimentary Snow Tubing run!! It's a hike up the hill lugging the tube (especially with a toddler bumming a ride) but a great way to burn off that morning's breakfast LOL! We didn't partake in their "Winter Olympics" but watched others for a bit and it looked like a lot of fun!
Some of their outdoor activities are seasonal and thus closed during winter (such as lake and outdoor pool activities, horse-drawn wagon rides, and snow covered play grounds) but others are year round, weather permitting. We had a blast driving the go carts, even our twins got to ride along this time!! They also have a new outdoor covered 9,000 square foot synthetic ice skating rink, with skate rental ($5 per 2 hours) and walkers for little ones to learn to skate with.
INDOOR YEAR ROUND FUN:
Our go-to indoor activities at Woodloch are the bumper cars (1 rider per car, 40" and up can drive - this was the first time our son was tall enough and he looooooooved it!!!), Woodloch Forest Indoor Playground (a multi level climbing structure for ages 3+ though our 2.5 year olds did ok with our help, with zip line, slides, rolling barrels, you name it - SO fun for the kids and parents, you'll have to watch our video to get a better feel of it; they also have a 5 and under section for the littlest ones), and the Toddler Room (a small play room with TONS of toys, and parents can kinda sit back and relax). Our kids love the "kiddie cars" (electric kid-sized SUVs) but to be honest they make me really anxious since the kids are HORRIBLE drivers and crash into each other and parents as they try to supervise. It's hilarious, but nerve wracking haha!
And of course, the indoor pool complex!!!! Be sure to set aside at least 2 hours for this on the daily. There's a huge room with a big pool, a few hot tub options for various ages (one is adults only because it's so hot, one is 1' deep wading/infant pool), and one is an all ages not-too-hot hot tub LOL). In another section is a decent sized kid's area with lots of little water jet activities, and 2 teeny water slides. In a completely separate room, and not to be missed, is the Splash Zone with a huge double cork screw water slide (you must be 42"+) and 300 gallon bucket that tips over every couple of minutes!! They have a rack of PuddleJumpers and life vests to borrow (though I didn't notice any for under 30 pounds, so you may want to bring your own baby float or be prepared to carry babies and smaller toddlers)!
There were some new activities we didn't get a chance to do, but definitely worth mentioning!!! They have a new Escape Room (ages 13+) and mini bowling (extra charge for both).
You don't have to get a meal plan at Woodloch, but I highly recommend splurging for it (you can get a 2 meal or 3 meal plan). The food is phenomenal and meals are a highlight of our trips there!! A different character greets your children at the entrance for each meal, 2 of our 3 kids were over the moon about this, I loved seeing their faces light up as they run over and give hugs and high fives to them (our more reserved child was terrified of all except the "human" characters i.e. Minion was a no-no, but Captain America was great!).
Breakfast doesn't start til 8:30AM though, and if you have early 5-6AM risers like we do, it's pure torture waiting for food, and none of the activities open til 8-10AM, so consider bringing snacks to munch on and activities to kill time in the early morning - or make use of their cable TV and free wifi.
I can't even go into all the yummy food we had, so I'm including a slide show of some of the meals below. You're given a table that will be yours for the entirety of your visit, which is cool because you don't have to figure out seating and where to put the high chairs and all that, and the kids enjoy being the leaders and taking the family to your table each day!!
Each breakfast you'll have a HUGE crumb cake waiting for you on your table. Lunch and dinner have a selection of entrees to choose from, but each meal is all you can eat, so you can select multiple entrees or custom order such as a half size of 2 different ones. Some side items are family style, and Sunday lunch is a buffet. They also have a selection of kid-friendly staples such as pizza, chicken tenders, PB&J, and grilled cheese. They have crayons and coloring booklets if you ask, and their high chairs are really great, escape proof for my little Houdinis!!
We were provided 2 nights in an Edgewater Suite in Springbrook on the main Woodloch Pines property. It was the perfect location in winter because we could get to the pool complex without going outside! And it was just a 5-10 minute walk to the dining area, indoor playground, and bumper cars, and a 10-15 minute walk to the go carts and ice skating area.
They do have a shuttle that goes around the property every 20 minutes or so, but mostly we walked because we were lucky with beautiful, albeit cold, weather and enjoyed walking around the property. Last time, we had our double stroller with us and found it doable, though some of the paths are quite steep!
The room was spotless, with gorgeous lake views from the living room (with balcony) and bedroom! A sleeper sofa and matching love seat, and they installed bedrails on both of our queen beds so we could co-sleep with our kids without worrying about anyone falling out! Every plug not in use had a baby proof cover on it - they really think of everything! The room also had 2 bathrooms (one with a shower, one with a tub) which was a treat since our own home only has one bathroom!!
So, pretty ahhhhmayzing, am I right!? It should go without saying that Woodloch is by no means considered a "budget" vacation. But you get what you pay for, and you get a LOT at Woodloch! You could spend well over a week here without doing all of the free activities they offer! With a 3 meal plan for a family of 4 during peak vacation times, you could easily spend over $1K for 2 nights (but don't forget, that covers your room, food, and activities!). That said, there are certainly ways to score a better deal, so check out the "exclusive offers" page on their website occasionally - off peak rates start at $159 per adult per night (plus tax and 15% gratuity that gets divided by all the staff).
Some offers they currently have going on include:
Have you been to Woodloch or any other family-friendly resorts or destinations? Leave a comment below and let us know!! And don't forget to check out our fun highlights video of our trip below (be sure to subscribe!)
DISCLAIMER: While we were provided complimentary room & board by Woodloch and a complimentary vehicle by Toyota in exchange for our reviews, all thoughts and opinions are our own - completely honest and unbiased - we're no sellouts!! We only share what we truly loooooove!!
About Me ^_^
I'm a NYC mom blogger, Influencer, YouTuber, & Entrepreneur living in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1)! My blog is chock full of humor, honesty, family travel, product reviews & giveaways, galore!