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Celebrate Earth Day with Green Toys

Today is Earth Day!

In honor of the annual day of environmental action, I would like to highlight a great eco-friendly toy maker, Green Toys, which makes an awesome line of classic children’s toys constructed from recycled plastic milk jugs and other 100% recycled materials. This helps reduce fossil fuel use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improving the overall health and happiness of the planet. They are also made here in the USA.

Green Toys Animals-on-WheelsBest of all, my kids really like Green Toys! I was first introduced to them at Toy Fair earlier this year. Green Toys products are also the only toys on the market made from 100% recycled post-consumer recycled materials, and are the only ones on the market packaged exclusively in 100% recyclable cardboard, with no twist ties or plastics that must be discarded into landfills.

My boys have their Animals-on-Wheels turtle. They are already loving cars and especially like the handle so they can easily drive the car up the walls and carry it around from room to room making vroom noises. The compact, rounded bodies are designed with no sharp edges or metal axles, making these rollers perfect for encouraging imaginative, eco-friendly play for early crawlers. Also, they are super safe with no BPA, phthalates, or PVC, and dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.

Green Toys Pizza ParlorAlso, since my family are pizza makers including my dad and my sons' grandpa, I had to get their Pizza Parlor play set. I especially love that this toy is unisex as it's hard to find kitchen playsets that are made for boys too. They even make a pink dump truck toy for girls, which I think is very progressive of them. The pizza play kit comes with a pizza delivery box, a plastic pizza cutter and stacking play food products and toppings. Adorable!

We also have the Green Toys Shape Sorter. They like the challenge of it and I like that they are learning shapes and developing eye-hand coordination, problem solving, and fine and gross motor skills in the process. Here's Logan all over it:

You can find Green Toys at specialty toy stores, on Amazon.com and at shop.greentoys.com.

The NY Auto Show Girls Night Out Party

Last night, Raphael and I scheduled a late-night babysitter (or second time ever) and headed to the New York International Auto Show for a Toyota and She Buys Cars Girls Night Out event. We enjoyed cocktails and a show floor tour before the massive event opened up to the public.

Granted, Raphael isn't a girl, but he still enjoyed the event and it was fun remembering how over eight years ago we had went when we were only dating. Also, he used the up-close show floor look as a chance to pick out his next ride i.e. the non-family car.

As always, I enjoyed chatting with other lovely bloggers and guests, check out the following selfie with actor and fashionista Lizza Monet Morales.
NYIAS Selfie
Also, the lovely Vera Sweeney (one of the first bloggers I ever met almost 9 years ago now) took this amazing group selfie (go go gadget arms!):

It was also the first time in awhile that I got tipsy and it felt good, as did the chair massage that I received at the Toyota booth:
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OK now let's talk cars. First, we checked out the latest edition of our Toyota Highlander and then ogled the FT1 concept car from Toyota, which will probably not be on the streets for another two years or so. Super hot, right?

We were then wow'd by the ELR, a luxury hybrid electric car from Cadillac with its paneled grille plates and sleek design.

While at show I took Dr. Oz The Good Life Magazine's Driving Safety Quiz. I got all the answers right except for the first one:

The least germy spot in your car is... 
your radio dial
places where you spilled food,
your steering wheel
your door handle

Apparently it's your radio knob, which I thought would be quite germy. I also learned that you can boost your reaction time by 10% by chewing a piece of gum while driving. Interesting. 

Twin Thursday: Toddler Talk

Visiting the Set of Graceland

Last week, I had the exciting opportunity to go on a press trip to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. for a set visit of USA Network's hit hour-long drama series, Graceland.

In prep, I watched all the episodes from the first season, back-to-back, bingeing on them like a TV junkie. And like a junkie, I found the show to be highly addictive. I love when I can’t predict what is going to happen next and this show has so many twists and turns, I was continually having my mind blown. Plus, the hot looking guys in the show also helped to keep me glued to the tube.

I really got a kick out of being on the set and walking around the beach house that is at the core of each episode. I felt like I was trespassing or something, lol. Unlike other sets that I've been on, this one is actually setup like a real home, with each of the character’s rooms totally decked out and completely enclosed with walls, windows, ceilings and everything. The furnishings were so cool; they could be featured in a House Beautiful magazine. I definitely would purchase several of the posters and furniture that I saw.

Here’s the famous Choir Wheel referenced and seen in several episodes. The post-it note reads: “Johnny- Where is the freakin vacuum? -Charlie” Gotta love the detail!

In addition to the set tour, we saw a scene being filmed from the 7th episode of the second season and conduct interviews with each of the six main actors and actresses. All of whom, were super down to earth and very friendly.

When I first started watching the show it was the handsome Daniel Sunjata who I recognized right away from Grey’s Anatomy, Sex and the City and for his role as Ranger in One for the Money. He also starred in TV’s Rescue Me and in the last Batman film Dark Knight Rises. In Graceland, he’s a mysterious, cocky, bad ass. He walks a fine line between good and bad, but yet you can’t help rooting for him.

I was familiar with Aaron Tveit's musical career on Broadway and his role in the latest Les Miserables movie, but this was my first time seeing him in a role sans singing. In-person, his hair was perfect and I felt like I was being drawn in by his eyes. He was also well spoken and sincere.

Manny Montana was super personable and even led us on the set tour himself and led us over to the food services truck and ate lunch with us.

Brandon Jay McLaren, who I liked from She’s the Man, was especially good at keeping the spoilers in season two to himself.

Serinda Swan meanwhile wasn't filming that day so we met up with her over breakfast, which was a special treat. We also got to meet her french bull dog Buddha (photo).

And our final interview of the day was with Vanessa Ferlito inside her character Charlie's room. She was funny, dropping F' bombs and telling it like it is. We all got a kick out of her refreshing interview.

I also had fun visiting the props truck, where I picked up a fake bag of cocaine, which was filled with brownie mix, making it feel like real powder inside. The FBI badges and plastic guns were all surprisingly heavy also adding to the realism.

For more photos from my visit on the set, check out my Google+ album.

And for a sneak peek for what's ahead on Season 2 of Graceland read my Huffington Post article.

Twin Thursday: Future Lock Pickers Video

Here's an iPhone video of my 16-month-old twin boys teaming together to break into the mini fridge in their playroom and easily bypassing the childproof lock put there to thwart them. We didn't teach them this, but one day discovered they knew how to open it on their own. I guess they saw us do it enough.

    

I know, I probably shouldn't have laughed when they first did it, because now it's a game for them, but I couldn't help it.