Behind the Scenes at the TODAY SHOW

The whole gang during the segment

The whole gang during the segment

I actually love doing segments with lots of kids. I think it adds to the energy of the piece – but I do have to say last night I had this momentary thought “eight babies!, really?!…what were you thinking!”

The kids had a  long wait until it was time to go into the studio–and one thing I’ve learned over the years, never show kids toys long before they go on air – especially when you’re talking about babies and toddlers. To expect them to be engaged with toys for more than 10 minutes in any given setting, just isn’t reasonable in real life, much less in a tv studio with so many people, lights and cameras around. So we had some other related toys for them to play with in their separate “green room”…but at a certain point, they all started moving about the lower concourse — to say this particular group of kids were cute, is an understatement.  The kids were all in what I call that “cupcake” stage where they are just full of pure joy.  (At least at that moment!)

Once we got to the set, I was happy.  The kids and their parents were engaged with all the toys we had selected.  (You can hear them throughout!)  Doing segments with Natalie is also fun because she’s  in the middle of this zone with her two sons…so she gets it.

This is a picture of Matthew (4 months old)…enjoying  hanging out on the Infantino Twist & Fold mat. Picture 10

And here’s a pic with Natalie after the segment is over….To watch the segment, click here.

Natalie Morales and Stephanie Oppenheim

Natalie Morales and Stephanie Oppenheim

Today Show Tomorrow…

Tomorrow I’ll be talking about some of our award winning picks for babies and toddlers. Looking forward to sharing some of the really great products for these age groups.  We’ll be there with eight babies/toddlers! Should be lively!! The award winners are all featured on our Platinum List for this holiday season on our website,

The Today Show this morning…

Just got back from the studio.  The segment before mine ran a bit longer…so my five minutes became four 1/2 minutes—but we got through all the great products.  Natalie was great. To read the article with all the shopping information, click here.

I left without eating one of the delicious donuts!  Oh well!

Best Bubble Toys

As we’re wading through all of the new toys that will be vying for your toy dollar come December, I was just thinking how much fun blowing bubbles can be.  I’m not sure why I keep focusing on bubbles, but for the past few days, I’ve really wanted to play with some bubbles.

When you’re really little there’s the excitement of watching bubbles being blown by others and chasing them down–and as you get a bit older there’s the ultimate satisfaction of making your own bubbles. Now I find it really pleasing because it is such a pure play experience-no batteries, no instructions…you’re good to go.   Come to think of it, that’s probably why it’s on my mind so much–many of the toys we’ve been looking at this week are very high tech. Not that there’s anything wrong with high tech toys–but none of them deliver what bubbles do.  You make something so beautiful and then, in a matter of moments, watch it as it floats away….lovely really.

I loved the pink and blue plastic jars of bubbles –with the wand. Remember those?   The way the bubble solution always found it’s way to my hands…it was just fun- unless of course I knocked it over…and then there were tears! The picture below is from one of my birthday parties (my brother James is on the left). That is not me in the background, but I do remember that ride-on.


For this new generation, bubbles are a whole new experience–thanks in large part to the folks at Little Kids–the inventors of the No Spill Bubble Tumbler…no more tears from an accidential spill.  No more sticky fingers from trying to get the wand out of the solution.71PYT3BV15L._SL160_They have them now in all sizes–the little ones make  great party favors!

Now for super big bubbles–I’m a huge fan of the BeeBoo Big Bubble Mix Kit from Extreme Bubbles, Inc. You can watch my demo on the TODAY SHOW last year.  I’ve also noticed that it doesn’t matter how old people are–they love trying this toy out. Even my most reserved teen age (and mostly retired) toy testers love this product.


New date for Today Show segment is June 9th

The new date for the Best Outdoor Toy segment is June 9th in the 9:30 to 10am half hour. Let’s hope the third date is the charm. Some segments just seem plagued–but happily all the toys worked today and the kids were very cute. Al and I successfully played badmitton in the studio without hitting any lights. My childhood friends should be impressed that I hit the birdie repeatedly until I didn’t!  One of the two year olds has trouble with the word..”truck”…luckily he wasn’t wearing a mic.