travel-section

Category : Stroller Adventures

Joovy Groove Ultralight

As a mom constantly on the go, I just can’t afford to drag around a heavy stroller for my boys. I’m a die-hard umbrella stroller lover. I like that I can open it with one hand while the other is grabbing the baby that just ran away (yes, I see you shaking your head as you picture this scene from your own life). I like that I can carry the stroller under one arm, and a bag and baby in the other, but your basic umbrella stroller has some draw backs. That’s where the Joovy Groove Ultralight comes in.

This sexy little lady is five pounds lighter than its big sister, making it an easier stroller to travel with and explore new lands… or just the farmers market down the street.

Here’s the dirt on the Joovy Ultralight Groove

• Stroller Weight: 12.78 pounds
• Stroller Dimensions Folded (inches): 12.5 H x 13 W x 40 D
• Stroller Dimensions Assembled: 40.75 H x 21 W x 33.5 D
• Min.Age: 3 Months / Max.Weight: 55 pounds
• Safety features: Five-point harness and reflective safety package
• Colors: Blueberry (as pictured), Purpleness, Triple Black and Charcoal

Joovy Groove Ultralight

Stash your stuff

Storage is what you sacrifice when you go for the cheap umbrella stroller. When you are constantly on the go you need a spot to stash your purse, an extra bag of snacks, loose toys, lovies and that left shoe that the baby keeps throwing into the street. You also need to give your back a break. The Joovy Groove Ultralight has enough space to stick all of your kids stuff plus a large purse, diaper bag or camera bag. I even managed to throw the kids’ coats in the storage below the stroller with my Big Buddha purse.

Joovy Groove Ultralight

Nighty-night baby

With your standard umbrella stroller you also lose the ability to recline your tired baby or toddler. This has come to bite me in the bum more than once. The Joovy easily reclines up to 149 degrees with the pull of a tab. The adjustable leg support means even longer babies can relax without their feet falling over the edge. An oversize canopy will block the sun allowing your little bundle of joy to snuggle up without any bright lights blinding him or her as you move about town.

Stand up straight woman!

If you are a savvy mama of a taller stature, you know how hard it is to find a stroller with handlebars high enough that you don’t have to slouch while you walk to reach them. The aerodynamic design of the Joovy handlebars lets you stand tall while you shop and explore the city. The two separate handlebars also make it easier to maneuver your stroller one handed.

Joovy Groove Ultralight

Getting ahead of the curve

One last drawback of your standard umbrella stroller is the wheels. The tred isn’t very good and you can’t cut those corners very easily. Joovy’s wheels spin around allowing you to tackle those tough curves, even one-handed. You can steer around tight spots, avoid pedestrians cutting you off and sprint to catch the train. The handling on uneven ground is similar to other non-jogger strollers. Without heavy-duty wheels you are bound to hit a few bumps in the road, but you won’t be any worse for wear.

Joovy Groove Ultralight

Let’s wrap it up

There is only one spot that your basic umbrella stroller will have the Joovy beat, but not for long with a little practice. Your basic stroller is easier to open and close one-handed, and tuck under your arm. The way to conquer this is to try opening and closing it at home a few times. The auto fold lock is great, but you will need both hands to unlock the stroller until you get the hang of it. You will also have to unlock the wheels before you start rolling, which you can do with your foot.

Closing the stroller also takes a flick of your foot, but you need to do it in two spots — the most obvious being the step tab in the back, but I found I also had to wiggle my foot to the side to make the mental frame collapse all the way. I could still do all this with a baby in one arm, but not as easily. I have a few more test runs to do before I’ve perfected my technique.

What do you think makes the ultimate travel stroller?

Disclaimer: I was sent the Joovy Groove Ultralight for review. The above is my own savvy sassy opinion

Read More →

By far and away one of our favorite, favorite, favorite spots to go for a little staycation is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It is about an hour and a half drive from the Bay Area but always gets the “2 thumbs up” from our little man. Our general itinerary looks like this (yes, we go that frequently):

Intercontinental Monterey

9:00 Depart San Francisco

10:30 Arrive at the Intercontinental, check in and buy tickets for the Aquarium (they are 2 days for the price of 1).

11:00 Walk over to the Aquarium which is a block away

12:30 Meander over to El Torito for some great sea otter and dolphin sightings while dining

2:45 Head Back to the Aquarium to see various animal feedings at 3

4:00 Let the smell of Nestle Toll House guide us across the street for some warm cookies and milk

Monterey AquariumAbout the Monterey Bay Aquarium

It was founded in 1984 by four marine biologists and gift funding from David & Lucile Packard, and based in the former Hovden Sardine Cannery, The Aquarium’s goals are to educate people on the marine-world that makes up Monterey Bay and beyond through the use of state-of-the-art aquariums, displays, interactive exhibits, and presentations. There is a huge emphasis on everything being done tastefully, humanely and educating in a manner that everyone can understand. Some of the exhibits thatwe love are the sea otters, penguins, sea horses, jellyfish and the feeding of the kelp forest.

IMG_5085

Depending on the nature of our trip, we generally stop at the Aquarium for a couple more hours the next morning before heading back home. While, we generally center our trip around going to the Aquarium several times per trip; it is nice to make a pit stop with the whole family in Carmel or Pebble Beach.

Family Travel Tips:

1.  Buy Aquarium tickets at the Intercontinental: 2 days for the price of 1 or purchase them ahead of time at AAA or at the Intercontinental Hotel

2.  Check out the Gilroy Premium Outlets on your to or from the Bay Area…one of favorite outlet stops is Lululemon :)

3.  Snag a window seat at El Torito and one is sure to see sea otter cracking clams on their chests, whales and pelicans galore

4.  Check Travelzoo for great hotel deals on the Intercontinental or Portola Hotel and Spa

Read More →

Here’s a stroller that every sporty parent is going to love pushing around the neighborhood because it’s all about BMW. That’s right, the sleek German-engineered auto manufacturer has teamed up with Maclaren to bring you a first-class strolling experience. The new Maclaren BMW combines contoured design with engineering excellence.

What I like about this product is the understatement; you know that phrase, “less is more”? Key elements of a Maclaren stroller are redesigned exclusively for BMW and then the logo is added in tastefully selected areas that incorporate well into the overall look. Let me give you a brief tour.

Seat

The stain-resistant removable seat liner has been reworked to look and feel like the bucket seat of a BMW. It is a really sleek looking. The padded 5-point safety harness has the signature Maclaren heavy-duty buckle with the BMW insignia. While the seat has multiple recline positions, it does not lie completely flat, and is suitable only for babies six months and older.

Performance Features

This is, no question, a city stroller, but it is equipped with 4-wheel suspension to smooth out the ride. Five-inch hard wheels have the BMW look. The aluminum frame is sturdy, with a 55-pound carrying capacity, yet the stroller weighs just over 12 pounds. Reflective piping and red reflectors on the rear frame provide low light safety.

Weather Protection

I love the contoured sun hood with its sleek look. Tinted peek-a-boo windows on each side keep the sun out your child’s eyes. A zip-out mesh panel provides another peek-a-boo window and allows for air circulation. A rain shield is included with purchase.

Parent Amenities

A small storage pocket behind the seat provides a space for your wallet, keys or phone. The storage basket beneath the seat is standard Maclaren. It doesn’t hold much; you could fit a small diaper bag and a few essentials. The ergonomic handle bars are comfortable for adults with different heights at 41 inches from the ground.

Maclaren BMW Strollers

Maclaren BMW strollers come in blue, black or silver.

Customer Feedback

While new on the market, the Maclaren BMW has gotten 5-star reviews so far for sleek design and smooth handling. This is a luxury product, and a price that reflects that. This buggy retails for $385 and is not available in stores. If you like Limited Edition products, especially from Maclaren’s Object of Design series, you will love the BMW.

What do you think of the Maclaren and BMW collaboration?

Read More →

Bumbleride Indie - via Savvy Sassy Moms

When considering an umbrella stroller, obvious factors come into play: You want something that is light weight, compact and easy to transport.  Often times this is your second stroller for quick errands or for a special trip.

Many parents unfortunately choose a product that has shabby quality and it breaks down right in the middle of your Disneyland vacation.  A good rule of thumb is to budget at LEAST $60 to get something decent.

So that leaves the question – what about the higher-end umbrella strollers? What features and benefits are offered to justify spending $200 or more? Let’s take a look at the main factors.

1. Wheels & Suspension

High-end umbrella strollers have all-wheel suspension and larger wheels than their cheaper counterparts. A good suspension system gives your baby a smoother ride over rough terrain, think cobblestones or a boardwalk. Larger wheels, especially if made of softer rubber, absorbs bumps, too. Some brands use ball bearings in the wheels and this improves the steering, making turning effortless and one-handed, a real achievement with separate handles!

2. Plush Padding, Premium Fabrics

One thing for sure when your sits down, he or she’s going to be really comfortable. While quality products have cushy padding, at the same time, there’s full support. UPPAbaby G-series have some of the cushiest padding with REALLY soft liners.  Look for padded shoulder straps as well.

Then you’ll have a pop of color when walking down the sidewalk. Your stroller is likely to turn heads with a nice bright color, made of sturdy material that is not going to fade or wear down from weathering. In 2013, Bumbleride will incorporate a green technology into all their fabrics, utilizing 50% recycled material for exterior and 50% bamboo for the interior material.

3. Weather Protection

When you buy a higher-end umbrella stroller, a rain cover usually comes with your purchase. Rain covers are nice not only for rain, but for foggy misty days and for the wind.

Cheaper products will have a small, inadequate sun canopy, prompting many moms to buy a sun shade extender. You won’t need this when you spend a bit more on a better brand. You can expect a huge sun canopy with a visor that comes at least halfway down the seat. Below is the Joovy Groove, which has an amazing canopy that also ratchets down even more from the back  to block the lowest sun angles. Many of these brands have a peek-a-boo window at the top, too.

Joovy Groove

4. Sturdy Frame

A cheap umbrella stroller is rickety and clatters over the sidewalk. Often times it only holds about 30-40 pounds. Enter a quality-made item and the high-grade lightweight aluminum in the frame withstands a 50 to 55-pound weight limit. You should expect a well-balanced stroller that, even when empty, won’t tip back when you hang your purse on the handles.

Now the product weight varies from featherlight to rather hefty, up to 19 pounds. It depends on how important a very light weight is for you, but either way, you will be getting a well-made, sturdy product.

5. Ergonomic Comfort

Better umbrella strollers are actually comfortable to push. The handles are high enough for the tallest parents not to hunch over and even for most petite parents to feel comfortable with. The handles themselves are foam covered for a flexible grip. The high handles provide enough clearance to allow for a natural stride and you won’t kick the back.

Little extras that make baby more comfortable, too. A few higher-end umbrella strollers have a sling-type seat, with a hammock-like design; the Maclaren Volo comes to mind. But most of your choices will have a supported backrest. Look for an adjustable leg rest to prop up baby’s legs so they don’t dangle.

 

 What is your criteria when choosing an umbrella stroller? Would you spend more for these extra features?

 

IMAGES All images are courtesy of Bumbleride and Joovy. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Pop artist Romero Britto lends his colorful work to the Quinny Moodd.

Many parents like their strollers to stand out and look unique. Your child is unique and beautiful, so why not your stroller, too, right? Whether you add a seat liner in a different color or pattern or change out the sun canopy, stroller brands are finding ways for parents to step out in high style and fashion.

So on that note, have you seen the new Quinny Moodd with the colorful frame? This version of the Moodd was revealed in the 2013 stroller updates last month. Turns out each piece is unique due to the complex technique  used  to basically bake the image onto the frame. Yes, your Moodd  is one-of-a-kind! So who is the artist? His name is Romero Britto. Why has Quinny teamed up him? Let’s find out a little more about this influential artist.

romero-britto-secretgarden

Who is Romero Britto?
A native of Brazil, Romero Britto came to live in Miami in the late 1980s. Britto combines elements of Picasso’s cubism and Lichtenstein’s pop art to create his own colorful creations he finds inspiring and positive in life. He is recognized as a major influence in the contemporary art scene for the last 14 years.

Britto’s first major break came shortly after coming to the United States when Absolut Vodka approached him about their “Absolut Art” campaign along with Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. Since then, Britto has collaborated with brands such as Audi, Disney, Volvo, Evian, Pepsi, Royal Caribbean Cruises and FIFA. One of the official posters of the 2010 World Cup was designed by Britto.

Maxi Cosi and Quinny Britto Collection

Quinny, Maxi Cosi and Britto
But now let’s look closer at this gorgeous Quinny stroller and accessories. You’ve got lots of style options.
Besides the cool looking frame on the Moodd, you can change out the seat liner with black, red or blue, sold separately for about $99. I like the winged heart on the canopy with this limited edition product.

Another stylish accessory is the parasol. Offering additional shade the $60 umbrella comes in two versions: Britto Heart, which is the same design as the sun canopy – all black with the winged heart, or Britto Landscape, which is a gorgeous colorful trapezoid patterns all over.

Maxi Cosi goes hand-in-hand with Quinny, because they are both under the same company, Dorel. So the Maxi Cosi Mico car seat is what you use with your Quinny strollers, and the new Britto Mico car seat is just as stunning.

The canopy is red with the same winged heart as the stroller. The black seat padding contrasts with nicely with the red canopy. The handle and head support pillow are in that signature colorful Britto pattern. It is absolutely gorgeous.

Lastly, Maxi Cosi offers two different window shades. One with the teddy bear (remember I mentioned the popular teddy bear earlier?) and the winged heart. Both colorful designs are set on a yellow background. What a bright way to perk up your car and shade your baby.

I hope to highlight more artists who collaborate with stroller companies in the future. What do you think of the Romero Britto line?

Top Photo: Atlas Galleries

 

Read More →

I might be a little bias and think that every time of year is a good time  to visit the Bay Area…In particular, this time of year is so ideal. With a slight chill in the air and a puddle left over from yesterday’s rain, there is something so cozy and romantic about bundling up and heading out to a festive holiday activity in the Bay Area. So far some of our favorite holiday hot spots include:

Downtown WC Ice Skating

 Ice Skating Downtown Walnut Creek: Open daily through January 13th…perfect spot to take a break from all the holiday shopping hustle and bustle downtown. Literally walk out of Neiman Marcus or Pottery Barn and within minutes you could be lacing up your skates.

Train of Lights at the Niles Canyon Railway: All decked out in lights for the holidays, the Niles Canyon Railway provides a historic train ride experience all year-round from the 1880’s depot in Sunol and from the Niles Station in Fremont. With tickets sold out most nights, get your tickets ahead of time to ensure a seat.

trainoflights

Tilden Christmas Fantasy: Not only will you be able to ride the antique, hand carved merry-go-round, it feels like a true fantasy with decked out Christmas trees all around and themed holiday light displays lighting up the hills of Tilden Park. Although almost slight disastrous for my 2 year old, the hubby and I enjoyed seeing one of the largest Christmas ornament displays in the Bay Area. Yummy treats, hot drinks, carolers and nightly visits from Santa and his live reindeer will truly make you feel like you are walking in a winter wonderland.

tildenxmasfantasy

Winter Workshops at Habitot: Like most 2 year olds, my little man is OBSESSED with trains. If your little one is a train-aholic, you must come check out Habitot’s annual train display. You can peek through the window of Suite M and see a small scale locomotive choo-chooing through a winter wonderland scene. With this train scene as inspiration, toddlers can create railroad track patterned pictures, paint with wheels, etc. Next year, we hope to plan ahead and reserve a spot with in the Gingerbread House Workshop. It looks like a super fun mommy/daddy and kiddo activity making a gingerbread house. With all the supplies  and space provided…it sounds like all the holiday fun sans the mess…icing on the gingerbread house if you ask us!

gingerbreadhouseworkshop


Magical Tea Time at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins
It is the perfect mix of kid entertainment and chic “mommyness.” Kiddos of all ages are entertained by a renowned magician and face painter as well as ginger cookie decorating station (no you don’t have to sneak one out with you…they encourage you to take one with you :)). Parents and kiddos are sure to enjoy mouth watering gourmet bites and upscale teas. I am pretty sure that this is going to be my new holiday tradition with my little man, we had far too much fun getting all dressed up and going on a mommy and son date! We are already awaiting the dates for the Magical Tea next year so we can deck the halls once again at the Mark Hopkins!

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week as Eddie and his stroller head out to San Francisco to check out the Holiday Scene at the Fairmont, Oakland Zoo Lights, and much more holiday fun…

This post was sponsored by Spotivate: Connect. Discover. Experience
Spotivate is a destination for discovering the best local experiences for your family.

In the Bay Area? Spotivate has launched in San Francisco! Don’t worry Spotivate is coming soon to a town near you! Spotivate on Facebook and Follow Spotivate on Twitter

Read More →

One of the hidden gems in the East Bay is Tilden Regional Park. Now you are probably thinking, why would I want to take my family to a Regional Park when visiting the San Francisco area. Here is why we think you should come:

Steam Trains: The antique steam train is a 12 minute ride through the scenic ridge of Tilden Park which includes a beautiful view of the Bay as well as some fun tunnels. There are covered and uncovered seats on the train, but my little guy always prefer the covered seats near the caboose. Tickets are $3/ride for everyone age 2 and up, but we always buy the 5 punchcard for $12. We usually ride the train twice and then head off to our next destination.

While there are many options in Tilden such as:

*A splendid antique carousel with hand-carved and beautifully painted wooden carousel animals to ride. The calliope plays music to make any child’s heart sing. Tickets are $2/ride and $10 for 7 ride ticket.

*Ardenwood Historic Farm‘s horse-drawn train ride takes kids more than 100 years back in time on a ride into the park with docents dressed in period costumes.

*Little Farm If you ask my little dude, after finishing up on the Steam Trains he highly recommends loading up in the car and heading out to the Little Farm. Along the way you can stop and check out some of the most beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay.

So what is the The Little Farm? It is a working farm that is open every day of the year and free of charge…SCORE! Kids can meet, greet and pet cows, shorthorn cattle. goats. bunnies. chickens, geese, pigs and the like.

Our suggestion is to bring lots of celery and lettuce so you can feed the animals. Another plus, the area surrounding the Little Farm is fabulous for picnics and walks; however, if you prefer to explore the area a little more, I highly suggest heading down to Lake Anza which has a fun beach, fishing and more! While we could go on and on about how much we love Tilden Park, we think you should come join us one of these weekends!

Other Family Travel Tips:

  1. Head to Rick and Ann’s, a local favorite, for a hearty breakfast
  2. Bring a picnic with you to Tilden, a waterproof blanket and some toys
  3. Check out the North Face Outlet in Berkeley, about 15 minutes away. We tend to wander in on days with an extra 30-50% off or on Sample Sale Days.

 

This post was sponsored by Spotivate: Connect. Discover. Experience
Spotivate is a destination for discovering the best local experiences for your family.

In the Bay Area?  Spotivate is launching in San Francisco tomorrow and coming soon to a town near you!Spotivate on Facebook  and Follow Spotivate on Twitter

Read More →

Savvy Sassy Newsletter

  • Stylish News in Your Inbox...
  • All The Latest Trends...
  • Our Greatest Giveaways Sent to You....

Be Savvy. Be Sassy. Signup Below: