Traveling Mamas

Inspiring you to explore our world

  • More than 80 iconic landmarks across 13 countries will join (RED) to promote awareness of the ongoing fight against the AIDS pandemic, by turning red to mark World AIDS Day on 1st December. The campaign will launched in Sydney where Wendy McCarthy, Chair of Pacific Friends of the Global Fund will light the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge on November 30th with the Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard, the Premier of New South Wales Kristina Keneally and Bono and The Edge, who is currently touring Australia with U2.

    To help turn the world (RED) in honour of World AIDS Day, visit

    The campaign is to highlight the attainable goal of ending mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015, creating the first generation in 30 years of babies born HIV-free. Below is a list of the landmarks that are participating.

    Individuals can show their support and help turn the world (RED) by sending images and words of support via the social networks; Facebook, FourSquare, Meet-ups and Twitter. (RED) will aggregate this information on a global map, displaying all posts alongside the landmarks, with the hope of turning the map of the world (RED), to represent the world’s support of the 2015 goal.  Fittingly, the innovative technology behind the map visualisation, called ‘Ushahidi’, stems from an open source project born in Africa for use in crisis response.

    Additionally, (RED)’s documentary ‘The Lazarus Effect’, directed by Spike Jonze and Lance Bangs which illustrates the importance of antiretroviral drugs will be aired on television on World AIDS Day in over sixty countries, including Channel 4 in the UK, HBO in the USA, Fox LatinoAmerica, Top Explore in South Africa and SBS in Australia.

    The following landmarks will be lit:

    Australia Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge

    Brazil City Hall (Nova Prata)

    Japan Tokyo Tower & Tokyo Metropolitan courtesy of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government / and the Tokyo Tower

    South Africa Table Mountain (Cape Town)

    Spain Puerta de Alcala (Madrid)

    France Hotel de Ville de Paris (City Hall)

    Netherlands Paradiso (Amsterdam)

    Switzerland Phare des Pâquis (Geneva)

    United Kingdom London Eye, BT Tower, Trafalgar Square fountains, Alexandra Palace, County Hall, The Glasgow Science Centre

    Ireland City Hall, Convention Centre (Dublin)

    Bermuda City Hall (Hamilton)

    Canada CN Tower & City Hall (Toronto)

    United States

    Pennsylvania                           The needle on the Highmark Building (Pittsburgh), The Boat House Row (Philadelphia)

    Utah                                            City & County Building (Salt Lake City)

    New York                                  The Empire State Building, The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, JFK Control Tower, Niagara Falls, The Brooklyn Courthouse, New York Stock Exchange

    Maryland                                  Washington Monument (Baltimore)

    Florida                                        Amway Center  Tower(Orlando), Miami Tower, Old City Hall (Miami),

    MOCA Plaza Sidewalk Lights (Miami)

    Atlanta                                       City Hall, Georgia World Congress Center – International Plaza Towers, Georgia Dome, Centennial Olympic Park, World of Coca Cola (Georgia)

    Ohio                                            City Hall (Columbus), Columbus Public Health Building (Columbus), The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Cleveland), Museum Center (formerly the Union Terminal) (Cincinnati) and Fountain Square (Cincinnati)

    Texas                                          Lancaster Avenue lights (Fort Worth), City Hall (Houston)

    California                                   LAX Pylons (Los Angeles), Convention Center (Long Beach), City Hall (Oakland), Hyatt (Wall) (Long Beach), Shoreline Square (Long Beach), Terrace Theatre Fountains (Long Beach), Promenade (Long Beach), Gazebo at Shoreline Drive (Long Beach), Light House (Long Beach), Renaissance (Wall Tree) (Long Beach), Pine Street (Long Beach), City Hall (San Francisco)

    Missouri                                    Civil Courts Building (St. Louis)

    Tennessee                                               The Courthouse, Deaderick Street (Nashville)

    Nevada                                      MEET, Lou Ruvo Center (Las Vegas)

    Oregon                                      The Morrison Bridge (Portland)

    Rhode Island                           City Hall, 1 Financial Plaza, 111 Westminster Street, The Blue Cross/Blue Shield Building, Bank of America City Center, The State House, GTech Building, The Biltmore Hotel (Providence)

    Washington                             Murray Morgan Bridge (Tacoma), The Space Needle (Seattle)

    Illinois                                        Wrigley Building (Chicago), TBD (Urbana), Town Square Clock Tower (Schaumburg)

    South Carolina                       Furman University Bell Tower (Greenville)

    Colorado                                  Old Routt County Courthouse (Steamboat Springs)

    Virginia                                      Richmond CenterStage (Richmond)

    New Mexico                           TBD (Santa Fe)- For further details, please contact Rubenstein Communications

    Massachusetts                      The Zakim Bridge (Boston)

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  • Have you heard about the fun and lightweight toy for all ages? Paper Jamz is an affordable and entertaining holiday gift that everyone will love. I first saw these in Walmart when grocery shopping and my daughter talked me into buying one. It was less than $20 and extremely light. We also bought a pack of Rayovac batteries, which is the official battery of Paper Jamz (and I put a few extra packs in the buggy to get ready for all the holiday toys that need to be powered.)

    Paper Jamz makes a great gift or toy for travel (once you get to your destination) because it is lightweight and can be placed on top of your luggage in the trunk. It isn’t small, so I don’t recommend it for air travel, but man is it a fun gadget. Each Paper Jamz comes with three pre-recorded songs and you can even freestyle. I was rocking out the other night singing about decorating the house and how I was thankful to be one of Rayovac’s Power Bloggers. It’s fun to work with them and pretend like I’m a rock star with my Rayovac powered Paper Jamz guitar. The poor dog was looking at me sideways before he started howling.

    I’d love to help a few of you get some of these popular holiday gifts to put under your own tree, or just rock out on Christmas Eve with the family. Rayovac and Paper Jamz want YOU to have as much fun as I’ve been having and would like to give one of you a $250 Visa Gift Card and five (5) of you Rayovac Jams Packs (A Paper Jamz Guitar and one pack of Rayovac Alkaline AAA 24 pack batteries).

    How to enter to win the $250 Visa Gift Card:

    Write a blog post about the Rayovac Mom Rocks the Holidays Sweepstakes. Include the following Mom Rocks the Holidays widget to your post so your followers can link directly to the Sweepstakes   – You must be sure to add at the end of your post the following phrase – “Followers who promote the Rayovac Mom Rocks the Holidays Sweepstakes may receive gifts from Rayovac.” Then, send an email through our contact page with the link to your post so we can verify your entry. We like Rayovac batteries because they provide value and are long lasting.

    How to Enter to Win the Rayovac Jams Pack:

    Just leave a comment telling us what you’re doing this holiday season!

    This is a sponsored post by Rayovac and prizes are provided by the sponsor. Giveaway is open to US residents ages 21 and older. Giveaway closes at 11:59PM CST on December 2, 2010 – So hurry and enter!

    Bonus Entries: Tweet this post and provide a link to the tweet as a comment for an extra entry!

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  • I’ve recently been selected to participate in the Lana’ i New Media Artist in Residence program, which excites me to no end! I’ve been to Hawaii a few times, but always on assignment and with no one from home. This will be my first visit to the Island of Lana’ i and I have the chance to experience this journey of discovery with my husband. We’ve contemplated bringing our kids with us, but with their ages (12 and 14) taking them out of school isn’t an option we want to consider. Plus, even though we’re parents, we can’t forget that we’re a couple also.

    manele panorama

    Crystal Pineapple from Four Seasons LanaiI have been dreaming of Hawaii lately, and Lana’ i in particular, ever since I won a beautiful crystal pineapple from @FSLanai on Twitter. When this small, delicate item arrived in the mail, I immediately placed it in my china cabinet, next to my wine and champagne glasses. Every time I relax with a glass of bubbly or vino, I catch a sparkly glimpse of this magical pineapple of travel inspiration and immediately dream of Hawaii.

    Soon, the dream will become a reality I get to share with my man, and it has become his dream also. He’s been exploring the Lana’ i Official website, researching golf courses and outdoor adventures. He knows I’ll have some official things to do while in Lana’ i (like check out the spa), and he plans on making the most of his visit by hitting the links and planning his game strategy.

    We both can’t wait to experience the culture of Lana’ i, the flora, the wildlife, and the natural wonders so that I can share things with you in hopes that you can one day plan your own dream exploration of the Island of Lana’ i. I anticipate a little bit of relaxation, but will be spending the bulk of my time checking out the hotels, food, and attractions of Lana’i for families and couples. I hope to talk story with some of the locals and learn of the people that make Hawaii and Lana’i an inspiring destination. I hope to even add a few new balcony moments to my travel memory library.

    Four Seasons Manele Bay

    Follow along the other new media artists who are also sharing their own experiences through the Twitter hashtag #VisitLanai, the Visit Lana’ i Flickr group, and their own personal blogs. My fingers are crossed that I don’t offend anyone with my attempt at learning the correct way to share the Hawaiian language. If you notice any mistakes, please let me know so that I can make corrections.

    Participants Include: (this site) – on Twitter: @Cajun_Mama & @TravelingMamas – on Twitter: @LandLopers – on Twitter: @CAroundTheWorld – on Twitter: @EverywhereTrip – on Twitter: @SheilaBeal – on Twitter: @TravelswithTwo

    Lanai New Media Writer in Residence Badge

    Sponsors of this new media project include: Lana’i Visitors Bureau, Four Seasons Lana’i (includes FS Manele Bay and The Lodge at Koele), Hotel Lana’ i, and many others TBA. All posts identified with this project will display a graphic stating such. An honorarium and some travel assistance is being provided for participants, but as always you can expect on an honest accounting of this travel experience.

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  • If you’re looking for a place to see Christmas lights in Evansville, Indiana, head to Garvin Park, where 61 light displays are set up as part of Ritzy’s Fantasy of Lights.

    My family checked out this Evansville Christmas tradition on a visit to Indiana over the weekend. We loaded the kids up in the car – but not before getting in our PJs and serving up a round of hot chocolate with whipped cream AND marshmallows.

    The Fantasy of Lights is a drive-through exhibit. There is an admission fee of $7 per car or $10 if you have a minivan-full, and it all goes to the local Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center.

    The light displays are all pictures and holiday scenes, most sponsored by local businesses. I especially liked the ones where the businesses got creative and sponsored a display that reflects what they do. There was a bicycling Santa representing a cycle shop, and a local builder had a group of elves building a house.

    Fantasy of Lights also has Christmas music playing on an FM transmitter, so you can use your car radio to hear the soundtrack as you drive through.

    It took about 25 minutes to wind through the displays in the park, and it was a very fun way to end a day spent with family.

    Ritzy’s Fantasy of Lights is open nightly through January 2, 2011, at Garvin Park in Evansville. Hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

    When the weather is clear, you can also park the car and get a horse-drawn carriage ride through the light display for $30.

    Be sure to check out the video my family made of our Christmas lights adventure at the top right of this page.

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  • Can you spot the travel deals with all the emails being sent to your inbox? Andre Moreau of WAFB TV in Baton Rouge, Louisiana asked this question and we tried to help him find out how to book the travel deals and how to avoid the scams. (Watch Money Monday Travel Deals video on

    The Deals – This site advertises vacations starting at $249 with air. The $249 is a starting price and there are taxes and other fees that will be tacked on to your total price. This price is for departures from certain destinations and is for lodging at the Viva Wyndham Fortuna. I went to to see what the reviews state, and I didn’t see anything horrible, just that it is a three star property and has a gorgeous beach. – Andre found some packages that offer $50 back in the form of a credit card. There are tons of packages on the site for whatever destination you are dreaming of. – The airfare deals from New Orleans were astounding for the holiday season. A roundtrip flight from New Orleans to Boston was $108 plus taxes. There were so many destinations to choose from with airfare at an average of 40% off.

    The Scams

    Have you ever walked into the office and noticed a flyer on the fax machine advertising a trip to Orlando, a trip to Daytona Beach, a Bahamas Cruise, AND a bonus trip to Hawaii? All these trips for one low price of $199.

    If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

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