When you think of Texas the first city that comes to mind is Dallas. The land of the cowboy can make a wonderful affordable family vacation. We love the Texan attitude of big and brave and strong. We have visited Dallas many times to see family and each time we find something new to explore.
Looking for that perfect antique or a special gift for a close friend? Visit My London Flat at 2600 Persa Houston, TX. What makes this beautiful boutique extraordinary is that it has a price point for everyone. The former convent at St Anne’s features whimsical items for home & garden from $5 to antique chairs from the 1900’s at a bit higher price.
April 20, 2013—Happy Earth Day! Rye, NY the town of the first plastic bag ban in Westchester County New York is holding a family friendly celebration this weekend. From 10:00 am to 4:00 pm (Rain date April 21) close to a dozen local organizations will provide fun activities designed to promote awareness of and showcase the natural beauty found in Rye’s waterfront community.
Travel-Mommy: Skiing Mountain Creek, NJ by Guest Dad Blogger Greg Lao
The Mountain Creek view from a marketing mom’s perspective
Mountain Creek is located in Vernon, New Jersey southwest of the NY border at Warwick (a beautiful valley with a small production vineyard and distillery). Just 47 miles from the George Washington Bridge, Mountain Creek is actually the closest ski area to New York City. The mountain boasts 167 acres of ski-able terrain and 1040′ of vertical. There are 4 peaks – Vernon, Granite, South and the smaller Bear Peak. There are two base areas (you will have to decide which one to arrive at as they are separated by a mile or two or road – we’ll help you decide which one later). The mountain layout is weirdly reminiscent of Sugarbush Vermont with its Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen areas. Like Sugarbush, Mountain Creek has connected its two distinct areas with a horizontal chairlift that traverses a gorge. To be very clear, the scale and pitch of the terrain at Mountain Creek are MUCH smaller/less intense than the Bush.
Looking for a ski hill that has snow all winter? Killington Mountain has some of the best vertical and snow in the East Coast area. 140 slopes, 22 lifts and 71 miles of terrain is enough to keep even the most avid skier or rider busy for a week.
Only four hours from New York City, the resort is perfect if you’re still looking for a great place to go for spring break or even for end-of-the-season skiing. It is one of our favorite mountains because it’s so family friendly and has options for those who like “em steep and deep”. We just love bombing down Super Star like we are Alberto Tomba “la Bomba” and the moguls at Bear Mountain can’t be beat.
Travel-Mommy: Family Trip to Super Bowl 47
Our family has always dreamed of attending a Super Bowl. We “soccer moms”just love taking our families to major sporting events! So when we moved to Houston, we promised the children that we would make the road trip to New Orleans for the big game.
The Verizon Nokia Lumia 822 Windows Phone has become our best friend. As crazy busy soccer moms trying to balance it all, the amazing features of the phone allow us to manage everyday life and keep it simple.
Our smart phone “command center” helps us find our way through the chaos of three children and their often overwhelming schedules. It even keeps our 7-year-old occupied with her own Kids corner area–her personal section of games and Apps that we as parents feel comfortable approving. She can even watch a movie on Netflix which bought us peace and quiet during our recent road trip to the Super Bowl 47 in New Orleans.
However, the most fantastic feature of this phone is its durability. Not only has it been tossed around by our boys while they argue over the best Nokia music, but it has survived the family laundry cycle. The phone recently endured both the washer and dryer in a high school soccer sweatshirt.
We had loaned the phone to our teen during an away soccer game on a rainy night since his phone was not properly charged. When he arrived home after the mud wrestling, we were too busy cleaning up the trail he left in the kitchen as he disrobed on his way to the laundry room that we forgot to collect the phone. So of course, we were thorough as usual making sure everything went into the laundry right away.
The next morning after two hours of panic, we finally discovered the phone when we unloaded the dryer. To our amazement, we discovered our phone could still call, text and tweet! Unfortunately, our daughter’s sweatshirt did not survive the crayons left in her pocket. Note to self: always check pockets no matter how messy the clothes.
Now, if only the incredible Nokia Lumia 822 Windows Phone could get our children to put their clean clothes away!
Suzanna Keith received the Nokia Windows Lumia 822 from Verizon Wireless for review: all opinions expressed here are her own.
- Family Friendly Apps for the Super Bowl 47
- Living A Mobile LIfe with The Verizon Nokia Windows Phone
The 2013 SuperBowl is sure to be the most tech savvy advertising event yet. Super Bowl advertising can live stream on smartphones Apps, spur constant and instant social media engagement and has its own Youtube channel. Voting for your favorite Super Bowl ad is rampant across the entertainment industry with key examples like Hulu.com/adzone.
Are Ads the best part?
Per Adweek, American adults prefer watching Super Bowl commercials to the game itself, according to a survey by Chicago-based market research company Lab42. Of the 500 respondents age 18+, 39 percent said that the commercials were their favorite part of the game while 28 percent said watching the football game was their primary interest. This is good news for advertisers spending an average of $4mm for a :30 second spot.
ROI and Pre-buzz:
Super Bowl Commercials bring entertainment and an opportunity to sell to the largest television audience of the year. Most advertisers feel that $4 million is worth the investment. The announcement of buying airtime on the Super Bowl can even bump up a company’s stock price, at least in the short-term. Per Forbes, “that surprising finding was gleaned in a study of publicly traded Super Bowl advertisers by researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder, which found that the stock price of these companies rose shortly after the media began to hype the ads’ upcoming appearance.” This study is great rationale for all the pre-buzz hype that we have discussed in past blogs.
Some advertisers like GM are questioning the ROI and spent tremendous budgets during the play-off games. However, the line up for this year looks great so far and here are some of our favorites:
Doritos: Like last year, the brand ran a contest allowing consumer to create a spot with the winner pocketing $1 million dollars. Facebook votes elected the winner. These are some of our favorite pre-Super Bowl ads.
VW: The brand’s campaigns are the Super Bowl’s most innovative. The pre-buzz spot utilizes Youtube’s power by incorporating all the channel’s major video stars into a happy song.
Automakers are trying to get more bang for their buck by introducing teaser photos, images, tweets and Facebook posts about their ads. Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Audi and Kia have all released some sort of teaser for their commercials. Automotive brands traditionally represent about 60% of Super Bowl ads.
Coke: Last year Coke struggled with the engagement of its advertising. Mid-January, the brand introduced spots driving consumers to CokeChase.com to vote for their favorite team and sabotage their fictional foes. The TV spot introduces three teams of characters — a band of cowboys, a gang of “badlanders” and a pack of Vegas-style showgirls — as they chase after an elusive bottle of Coca-Cola. We are excited to see the final spot during the first half of the game.
Pepsi: Some brands like Pepsi will not even call their campaign a commercial but describe their Super Bowl spot as an introduction to its sponsored halftime show. Pepsi is encouraging consumers to submit photos of themselves in specific poses that will be stitched together into a 30-second spot by their agency.
Mars: The candy maker is taking an old fashioned approach. “Rather than releasing its 30-second M&Ms spot early to create some buzz — as has been the trend of late — the candy maker still believes in the power of what top North American marketer Roy Benin calls the “anticipation bubble.” Adage
Domino’s: restaurants still maximize their football sponsorships to gain momentum before the Super Bowl vs. paying for the pricey ad. The Domino’s “Dare ad” is the best ad we have ever seen from the pizza brand.
Meanwhile, we still believe Super Bowl ad creative needs to be more tailored for women because they make 80% of household purchases. Kentucky Fried Chicken demonstrated it got the message with its fun “couch gating” campaign by having a young woman play a major role.
Our next blog will be a review of our family trip to Super Bowl 2013:NOLA and we can’t wait for Superbowl 2014 in NJ at the Meadowlands!
- Are the best ads of the year really Shown during the SuperBowl (revolutionarymarketingideas.com)
- Insights from the Super Bowl
- Brand that don’t advertise in the Super Bowl but should (revolutionarymarketingideas.com)
- Who’s Buying What in Super Bowl 2013 (adage.com)
- Super Bowl Ad Spending Hits New Heights (forbes.com)
- How to Win the Super Bowl (adweek.com)
- Tech Insights: Family friendly Apps for the Super Bowl 47? (revolutionarymarketingideas.com)
- 2013 Coke Chase Super Bowl Game Day Ad (superbowl-commercials.co)
We are traveling to New Orleans and have searched high and low for Super Bowl Apps that are family friendly to help with the trip. What tech are you using for the big game? Last year, Forbes sang loudly about how the Super Bowl went high-tech with the NFL live streaming App on smartphones and the wide-spread integration of social media by advertisers. We even launched our blog last year with highlights of Super Bowl Tech. The 2013 Super Bowl will rank as the most tech savvy event yet. Since we know just enough about tech to be dangerous, we reviewed our experiences, analyzed the internet and plan to try the following Apps:
Travel and Planning Apps:
- Gas Buddy: check out current gas prices, and find nearby gas stations. Only if they had more details on the facilities because we refuse to download the Charmin App. Can you guess its name? Our children would never stop laughing about that one.
- Waze: we plan to try this free GPS App for navigating New Orleans
- How about the Super Bowl team offers a family friendly GPS app on their site for all type of phones (Android & iPhone)? We studied the Map pdf online, but in a town you don’t know a GPS App becomes your best friend–especially with three rowdy children in the back seat shouting “are we there yet?” Luckily, we have friends in NOLA who advised us to take the 1-10 exit at Loyola avoiding the blocked stadium exit. Verizon offers an Android Super Bowl mobile guide so we plan to download to our Nokia Lumia 822 Windows Phone
- Lodging:we booked the Sheraton New Orleans with the American Express Concierge but wouldn’t an App to reach them be easy!
- Parking: Hard to find a handicapped spot–why not include in the Super Bowl GPS App?
Watching the Game Apps:
- NFL Mobile : by Verizon Wireless: offers live audio, videos and news
- CBS Sports Mobile App: Check stats, watch commercials and get live social media feeds. For the first time, you can watch it online at CBSSports.com
- Super Bowl 2013 News Pro (Android): fun news and the latest tweets
Keeping the kids amused Apps:
With elementary school aged school and even Teens you can be at the most exciting event in history and still they will tap you on the shoulder to say “mom I am bored”. So to keep the children amused while checking into the hotel or grabbing a bus, we will whip out our smart phones for the usual entertaining Apps:
- Angry bird
- Subway Surfer
- ilearn: Planet Boing!
- Wouldn’t it be great if there was a Super Bowl family friendly game App too? Such as Angry Ravens eat the 49ers?
Can’t wait for Superbowl 2014 at the NJ Meadowlands!
- How the 2012 Superbowl is going high-tech from Forbes
- Apps for the Big Game by Knowyourcell
- Revolutionary New App and Video Strategies for the Super Bowl (revolutionarymarketingideas.com)
- Are the best ads of the year really Shown during the Super Bowl (revolutionarymarketingideas.com)
- Insights from the Super Bowl
- Revolutionary TV and social media metrics on the Super Bowl
- Brand that don’t advertise in the Super Bowl but should (revolutionarymarketingideas.com)
What makes Beaver Creek famous
What an extraordinary family ski vacation Beaver Creek in Colorado can be! However, be sure to save your pennies because it is pricey. However, our family felt the expense was worth the amazing accommodations, conditions, views, service and daily free chocolate chip cookies at day’s end.
With its luxury and easy access, the resort has often been called the sister of Deer Valley. Skiing with children can be a tremendous amount of work but Beaver Creek does everything it can to make it convenient and fun for families. The escalator to the hill is sure revolutionary in ski resort design. This is “not exactly roughing it” as the Beaver Creek motto demonstrates. We can’t wait to visit the resort again.
Lift tickets, Ski Rentals and Ski lessons:
- Save 20% if you buy your lift tickets on-line seven days in advance but they will still be around $100 a day. The resort will ship plastic lift cards to your home so your family can climb right on the lift when you arrive. The liftties can scan the passes through your clothes so you don’t have to disrobe in the lift line (great for kids!)
- The lift tickets also work for 4 other Colorado resorts: Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Arapahoe Basin
- For ski rentals, plan on spending about $50 a day for adults and $29 for kids. Save 20% if you order the ski rentals on-line. The rental companies also offer the great perk of free delivery to your lodging. This benefit is so helpful and really saves on time and stress. However, if you have your own skis, it is cheaper to bring them out if your family can manage the hassle and the baggage fees
- Parking is a bit tough if you are not staying on the hill. The Westin hotel in Avon has its own lift or you can park in the village parking and take the Gondola. Or you can park by Bachelor Gulch and take the bus to the lift.
- Friends highly recommend the ski school and if you need you can park in the Ford Hall garage in the village for 2 hours for free while you drop off the kids
Lodging & dining:
- Park Hyatt: is beautiful and conveniently located next to the ice skating rink and has a great spa Allegria
- The Ritz: you need the big bucks, but go there for a drink
- VBRO or Dwellable.com are great options for rentals
- Our family loved the Dusty Boot for dinner
- Other friends recommend Blue Moose Pizza, Beano’s Cabin, Toscanini and Vin in Avon. 4 Eagle Ranch in Wolcott makes for lifetime memories.
The Ritz at Bachelor’s Gulch
- A two flight escalator brings skiers from the village to the lift
- Olympic Gold Medalist Lindsey Von offers ski camps for young girls
- Every day at 3pm the staff hands out fresh-baked cookies near the Centennial Express and McCoys
- Free hot cocoa in the morning at the top of Centennial Express
Ways to save cash:
- Check out the kids fly free promo from Beaver Creek & American Airlines
- Eat breakfast at the condo and pack your lunch from Walmart or Citimarket in Avon. Store your lunch in the lockers in the Ford Hall on the 2nd level or at Batchelor Gulf. Trade off easy home cooked meals with nights on the town
- Save your air miles and consider a credit card with air or hotel miles
- Try to hit a Costco or big box store before your leave for hand and feet warmers
- Sports Authority in Avon has affordable ski stuff if you forget anything
Quick packing Tips:
- Try to pack 2-3 days before the trip so you have time to review the items several times. Lay out items in a pile for each person: long underwear, ski jacket, pants, neck warmers, hat, helmet, gloves, ski socks and boots. Pack extra socks & gloves
- Be sure to take time to pack for Mom. We always forget something key: contact solution, medicines, phone chargers, a watch or gloves
- Pack a swimsuit just in case you get a pool or hot tub invite
Did we miss anything in our family ski trip review of Beaver Creek? Let us know your thoughts! Let it snow because the resorts need fresh powder!
- Beaver Creek Family Vacation Part 1 (midwestmountainess.com)
- Family Ski Trips.com: Skiing Colorado