Stuff We Love

Sep
06
2014
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Stuff We Love

“Life is very tough. If you don’t laugh, it’s tough”

-Joan Rivers

Nov
13
2013
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Good Use of Media, Stuff We Love

I know, I know. When you blog, 1 of the top Golden SEO Rules of Social Media is DO NOT EVER leave your post.

I left my post..

as it wondered “Where is she?” in my absence.

Nothing scheduled..

no new interactions to be had..

(insert maternal guilt here)

Yes, we’re all busy..but..but

I know. Excuses are like smiles..everyone’s got one.

 

So I’ll spare you the excuses and leave you with a few photos to fill you in on what we’ve been up to over the past month. Ughh! Has it truly been that long?!

Who knows..perhaps we’ll have a lengthier post about one or two of them down the road?

I really am a good friend..no, really.

Daniel Tiger castDaniel Tiger’s Neighborhood cast party in Toronto with Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood’s Addison Holley (Miss Elania), Jake Beale (Daniel Tiger), Amariah Faulkner (Katerina Kittycat) and Stuart Ralston (O the Owl).

HalloweenHalloween traditions continue with Auntie extraordinaire, Dr Aunt Alice!

DailyShow

The Daily Show‘s Jason Jones and Samantha Bee took time out of their busy schedules to lay down some vocals for us. The best :) :) voice over team in the business! Our incredible Executive Producer, Wendy Harris, is always there to assist.

 

iQSmartParent

I hosted another episode of WQED’s iQ: smart parent (Tots & Tech) which explored current research & practical considerations of exposing children to media during the early childhood years. Our next show will be Nov 19th if you’d like to attend our live taping.

 

Creative Galaxy animatic

Amazon Studio’s Creative Galaxy is becoming more creative every day..

CGip

 ..and it’s oh so scrumptious!!

JoanRogers

Mister Rogers’ wife, Joanne, finally got to meet my hubbie & one of my daughters at The New School’s CREATIVITY & THERAPY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, a tribute to Mister Rogers. I was honored to be on their panel that evening.

 

Jason Priestly
..and I essentially became “besties” with this, Jason Priestly, guy. I see potential there.
But honestly..thank you Jason, for getting involved in a project for your kids & for being a fan of my shows.

And thanks again for your patience everyone!

xo

Angela

Sep
18
2013
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Good Use of Media, Stuff We Love, Super Why!
Truglio

Dr Alice Wilder, Dr Rosemarie Truglio & Angela Santomero

Many years ago, armed with the mission to change kids media, I attended Columbia University’s Teacher’s College. Pursuing a master’s degree in child development and psychology, with a specialty in instructional media & technology, I was fortunate to have Dr. Rosemarie Truglio as my advisor.

Dr Truglio informed me about the incredible research on children and television, as well as how to maximize the creative to teach.  She gave me the confidence to write my first show, The Magic Library, which transformed into PBS’ Super Why!.

UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS

Last night I attended a reception in NYC which honored Dr. Rosemarie T. Truglio with the University of Kansas’ 2013-2014 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dr Rosemarie is now the senior vice president of education and research at Sesame Workshop. She is responsible for the development of the curriculum on which “Sesame Street” is based, and she oversees all educational research pertaining to the development of “Sesame Street” content.SANTOMERO & TRUGLIO

I am honored to be one of Dr Truglio’s many accomplishments!  Congratulations on last night’s Distinguished Alumni Award award and thank you, Rosemarie, for your brilliance, support and most of all, your friendship.

Jul
24
2013
by: Greg | Filed under Kids, Parenting, Stuff We Love

 

Our friend, Alice, took our girls on a Cupcake Tour of New York, visiting the most scrumptious bakeries in lower Manhattan. While each shop is made up of culinary artists that offer uniquely special creations, there’s only 1 best. With that said, here’s our..

 

Top 5 List of NYC bakeriesCrumbs

#5 Crumbs Bake Shop starts off our list. Crumbs bakes more than 50 delicious varieties of cupcakes daily, including the gourmet chocolate cupcake. It’s hard to believe they started only 10 years ago on NYCs Upper Westside.

amorino

#4 Yes, it was a cupcake tour, but the finest Italian gelato at Amorino couldn’t be overlooked. When you try it you’ll understand it’s inclusion on our list!

Gelato

 

Magnolia Bakery

#3 No sugary tour would be complete without a trip to the famous Magnolia Bakery in NYC for a red velvet cupcake! Magnolia has been cherished for its classic American baked goods, vintage decor & warm, inviting atmosphere.

 

[Continue to find our Favorite Bakery in New York City]

 

Jul
24
2013
by: Greg | Filed under Kids, Parenting, Stuff We Love

 

Our friend, Alice, took our girls on a Cupcake Tour of New York, visiting the most scrumptious bakeries in lower Manhattan. While each shop is made up of culinary artists that offer uniquely special creations, there’s only 1 best. With that said, here’s our..

 

Top 5 List of NYC bakeriesCrumbs

#5 Crumbs Bake Shop starts off our list. Crumbs bakes more than 50 delicious varieties of cupcakes daily, including the gourmet chocolate cupcake. It’s hard to believe they started only 10 years ago on NYCs Upper Westside.

amorino

#4 Yes, it was a cupcake tour, but the finest Italian gelato at Amorino couldn’t be overlooked. When you try it you’ll understand it’s inclusion on our list!

Gelato

 

Magnolia Bakery

#3 No sugary tour would be complete without a trip to the famous Magnolia Bakery in NYC for a red velvet cupcake! Magnolia has been cherished for its classic American baked goods, vintage decor & warm, inviting atmosphere.

Baked By Melissa #2 The runner-up goes to Baked by Melissa. New Yorkers (especially my girls) love Melissa Bushell’s cupcakes! Especially the signature tie-dye cupcake, inspired from her love of the care-free rock ‘n roll culture of the 60′s & 70′s.

Molly's Cupcakes#1 And our hands down winner in the best NYC Bakery is.. Molly’s Cupcakes! While there, you can (and should!) create your very own cupcake. Pick a cake flavor, choose a frosting & then dress it up with tasty toppings.

Molly's

Comments overheard at Molly’s: “Yummy!”, “Can we live here?” and “This is amazing!!!”

Molly’s was the team favorite due to their red velvet cake and their vanilla cake with butter cream..extra sprinkles.

“Do they have swings in the store” you ask?

Of course they do!

Much thanks for a wonderful day Aunt Alice! Aside from “a daughter’s” decision to wear ill fitting footwear, the day was a complete success. The girls arrived home with full bellies & smiles.

Cupcake Walk

 

 

And wouldn’t you know it?! Richard Cohen’s Sugar Love: A Not-So Sweet Story aired yesterday on the Diane Rehm Show! Just teeing up the balance for you :)

~Greg

 

And if you have a bakery you’d like to add to our list, PLEASE let us know!

May
22
2013
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Blue's Clues, Kids, Stuff We Love

App-Screenshot-iPadMy super friend Traci Paige Johnson, a graduate of Northwestern University, joined me in 1994 to create Blue’s Clues which ran for 10 years on Nickelodeon. Traci’s unique style of cutout animation became the signature look for Blue’s Clues & beyond. Today she is the co-owner/ founder of the media company, Yummico.

 

How was creating Blue’s Clues different than creating Yummiloo?

When you and I created Blues Clues, we had Nickelodeon (with their resources and money) behind us. In contrast, I created Yummiloo with scotch tape and rubber bands – not literally, but certainly in spirit. I came up with the idea and did the design & animation with my husband in our basement. Yummiloo has been a bootstrap operation from top to bottom.

 

Was there a specific instance with one of your boys that gave you the idea that “we need something about food for kids?”

I actually do remember a very significant ‘aha’ moment. When my 3 yr old, Emmet, was around one & a half, I was feeding him and he refused to eat his broccoli. Tired and frustrated, I reached into his toy bin and pulled out a little plastic gorilla. I spontaneously play-acted the gorilla swinging over to his plate, roaring: “YUM… broccoli!” Then I had the gorilla pretend to eat it. I hadn’t planned to do this beforehand, I was just improvising in the moment. But it worked! The gorilla’s interest in the broccoli changed Emmet’s attitude, and he began to eat it too. I took note. Modeling and play, when introducing new foods, is a powerful combination.

Aside from this one particular instance, I’ve felt a general frustration with the way we, as a culture, present food to kids. There are so many things out there that are working against parents who are trying to get their kids to eat right: the ubiquity of unhealthy treats, of relentless commercials, and of kids menus stuffed with only chicken nuggets and white pasta. We parents need all the help we can get.

Yummiloo came out of this frustration, and out of a realization that there wasn’t a nutrition series for preschoolers involving good stories and pre-school relatable characters. I’ve done a lot of research on this issue and it all states that the “window of opportunity is open” in preschoolers and this is the time to introduce a variety of foods. They want to model good behavior and want to do what’s good for their bodies. Yummiloo’s mission is to make “real food” as irresistible to kids as “fake foods”. I want to take the tools of visual media (like those employed in advertising) and use them to get kids to want to eat right, to want broccoli and apples and be a true “food adventurer” setting the foundation of healthy eating for the rest of their lives.Plum

 

You and I share a vision that shows for kids should be richly textured, smart, interesting and layered. How is Yummiloo all those things?

Yummiloo is a world that kids will want to jump into… and it’s made entirely of real, healthy food. The messages and curriculum aren’t “skill & drill” but are couched organically into the story. There’s hide and seek for the youngest viewers while teaching about composting for the older set. We’ve built the message of modeling healthy food into Yummiloo’s very design. It’s “delicious media…good and good for you.” Like all the shows we create, it inspires kids even AFTER the screen is turned off.

Yummiloo is so beautiful! As an artist, what was your process in designing it?

Honestly, I was really inspired by the power of advertising – by the way a gorgeously photographed burger in a TV commercial can make you want to eat a burger (or pizza, ice cream, etc). I wanted to take the tools and techniques of Madison Avenue and employ them in the creation of a world made entirely of healthy food. To do this, we went to the market to get the freshest foods available; we lit and photographed them to bring out their color, their shape – and their overall ‘yumminess’; then we brought them into the computer. These photographed foods were the foundation, the inspiration, out of which the world took shape.

 

Have you heard any feedback from kids? Are they asking to eat more broccoli trees?

Funny you should ask – we just got a post from a mom whose thee year-old asked for a plum while in the produce section of the supermarket… and she had never had a plum before. It’s in its early days, but kids seem sparked. They’ve really responded to the world and enjoy pointing out the foods they see hidden in the landscape. I’m encouraged. This is the perfect age to get kids excited about fresh foods.

 

[continue..]

May
22
2013
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Blue's Clues, Kids, Stuff We Love

App-Screenshot-iPadMy super friend Traci Paige Johnson, a graduate of Northwestern University, joined me in 1994 to create Blue’s Clues which ran for 10 years on Nickelodeon. Traci’s unique style of cutout animation became the signature look for Blue’s Clues & beyond. Today she is the co-owner/ founder of the media company, Yummico.

 

How was creating Blue’s Clues different than creating Yummiloo?

When you and I created Blues Clues, we had Nickelodeon (with their resources and money) behind us. In contrast, I created Yummiloo with scotch tape and rubber bands – not literally, but certainly in spirit. I came up with the idea and did the design & animation with my husband in our basement. Yummiloo has been a bootstrap operation from top to bottom.

 

Was there a specific instance with one of your boys that gave you the idea that “we need something about food for kids?”

I actually do remember a very significant ‘aha’ moment. When my 3 yr old, Emmet, was around one & a half, I was feeding him and he refused to eat his broccoli. Tired and frustrated, I reached into his toy bin and pulled out a little plastic gorilla. I spontaneously play-acted the gorilla swinging over to his plate, roaring: “YUM… broccoli!” Then I had the gorilla pretend to eat it. I hadn’t planned to do this beforehand, I was just improvising in the moment. But it worked! The gorilla’s interest in the broccoli changed Emmet’s attitude, and he began to eat it too. I took note. Modeling and play, when introducing new foods, is a powerful combination.

Aside from this one particular instance, I’ve felt a general frustration with the way we, as a culture, present food to kids. There are so many things out there that are working against parents who are trying to get their kids to eat right: the ubiquity of unhealthy treats, of relentless commercials, and of kids menus stuffed with only chicken nuggets and white pasta. We parents need all the help we can get.

Yummiloo came out of this frustration, and out of a realization that there wasn’t a nutrition series for preschoolers involving good stories and pre-school relatable characters. I’ve done a lot of research on this issue and it all states that the “window of opportunity is open” in preschoolers and this is the time to introduce a variety of foods. They want to model good behavior and want to do what’s good for their bodies. Yummiloo’s mission is to make “real food” as irresistible to kids as “fake foods”. I want to take the tools of visual media (like those employed in advertising) and use them to get kids to want to eat right, to want broccoli and apples and be a true “food adventurer” setting the foundation of healthy eating for the rest of their lives.Plum

 

You and I share a vision that shows for kids should be richly textured, smart, interesting and layered. How is Yummiloo all those things?

Yummiloo is a world that kids will want to jump into… and it’s made entirely of real, healthy food. The messages and curriculum aren’t “skill & drill” but are couched organically into the story. There’s hide and seek for the youngest viewers while teaching about composting for the older set. We’ve built the message of modeling healthy food into Yummiloo’s very design. It’s “delicious media…good and good for you.” Like all the shows we create, it inspires kids even AFTER the screen is turned off.

Yummiloo is so beautiful! As an artist, what was your process in designing it?

Honestly, I was really inspired by the power of advertising – by the way a gorgeously photographed burger in a TV commercial can make you want to eat a burger (or pizza, ice cream, etc). I wanted to take the tools and techniques of Madison Avenue and employ them in the creation of a world made entirely of healthy food. To do this, we went to the market to get the freshest foods available; we lit and photographed them to bring out their color, their shape – and their overall ‘yumminess’; then we brought them into the computer. These photographed foods were the foundation, the inspiration, out of which the world took shape.

 

Have you heard any feedback from kids? Are they asking to eat more broccoli trees?

Funny you should ask – we just got a post from a mom whose thee year-old asked for a plum while in the produce section of the supermarket… and she had never had a plum before. It’s in its early days, but kids seem sparked. They’ve really responded to the world and enjoy pointing out the foods they see hidden in the landscape. I’m encouraged. This is the perfect age to get kids excited about fresh foods.

 

[continue..]

 

Why an app first? Do you feel a strong connection with interactive media and teaching kids about healthy foods?

When the iPad first came out, my creativity was sparked. I couldn’t help thinking that if we were making Blue’s Clues today, we’d be making it for the iPad – with real interactivity! Also, from an utterly pragmatic point-of-view, an app is a wonderful way to launch a brand fast – and for relatively little money.

 

What is your ultimate goal with Yummiloo?

My ultimate long-term goal for Yummiloo is to help foster a generation of healthier eaters – and thereby a healthier generation! In the short-term, I hope to make Yummiloo a trusted brand and a helpful ally to parents like me. It’s certainly not just a single app – but a property that will hopefully live on all devices, across all media.

Rainbow Power App

What kinds of stories do you tell in the app? What can kids and parents expect when they play it?

We have so many stories we want to tell, it was hard to pick just 1 for the first app. But eventually, we settled on the Yummiloo ‘Rainbow Power’. In it, the Yum Yums are headed to their annual carnival, but the Rainbow Machine which powers the carnival is empty. Kids at home need to help Rooty and the other Yum Yums harvest as many different colored fruits and vegetables, teaching food identification and where food comes from. Just as it takes all the colored foods to power the carnival, it takes all the colored foods to power YOU!

 

I love that you & your handsome husband Bob worked on this together. How was that different from working with me?! I was your work husband! :)

It is such a joy to work with such a talented designer, writer and big picture thinker. We’ve been wanting to do a project together for a long time & the end result has been fabulous. It’s so wonderful brainstorming ideas, stories, and characters together. Then when designing, he takes my initial sketches/ideas & does “his magic”. He translates them into the computer adding textures, shadows, and makes them come to life. We complement each other so well. He’s also the most patient person I know, letting me make infinite changes and tweaks to get it “just right.” It’s a luxury to work this way and I’m so grateful for him!

Feel free to visit Yumiloo’s website and download the $1.99 app

Feb
14
2013
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, PRESS, Stuff We Love

Angela Santomero & Jason Mraz

Earlier in October I spoke about meeting Jason Mraz, for the first time, at a JFK center event in Washington, DC.

I was excited to meet the incredibly successful & talented singer that isn’t too cool to sing a Mister Rogers song at his concerts. But to completely push me over the (happy) edge, he was interested in recording the opening and closing songs of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood for us.

!

I’m sorry, what?!

!!

Sitting on the “this might happen” info for months was painful but we finally got word that, although Jason was on tour, he was able to squeeze in some studio time, to record the tracks for US.

 

While this info didn’t leak until a few months ago, I am so proud to announce that today, on this day o’ LOVE, Jason Mraz has taken us in and out of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood by way of what he does best. I can not thank Mr. Mraz & his team of professionals enough.

Enjoy & let me know what you think of the new version!

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood Valentine's Day

Also, be sure to check out the beautiful post that Marshall Heyman, of the Wall Street Journal’s Culture section, wrote about Mraz’s involvement for today’s episode, entitled Mr. Rogers’ Classics & Tiger Love. But did Jason Mraz really “record them wearing a cardigan“?Wall Street Journal

..as well as Jason’s mention, on his blog, about the impact that Fred Rogers had on him.

“It takes no time to fall in love, but it takes you years to know what love is.”
Jason Mraz

Feb
11
2013
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Kids, Stuff We Love

snowflakeI hope my friends in the Northeast were able to enjoy this weekend’s snowstorm. And for those in a warmer climate..no need to share your weather report, as we’ve got over a month to go with the cold stuff.  Enjoy your week everyone!

Share your winter fun picts with everyone by sending them to me at Angela@AngelasClues.com – subject “winter”.

Jan
14
2013
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Kids, Parenting, Stuff We Love

http://www.idinamenzel.com/IdinaAndDAt 12, I loved Donny Osmond.  What I wouldn’t have done to be able to go to the Donny and Marie Show!

My 12 yr old loves Wicked…and Idina Menzel.

She started singing the Wicked songs when she was 3 (note to self:  find that video!). And she’s singing The Wizard and I for her voice recital.

So, when I heard that Idina (aka Elphaba) was playing at Carnegie Hall I just had to take her.

There we were, at the start of the concert, listening to the orchestra play “Somewhere over the Rainbow” and transition into “The Wizard and I”.  Hope looked at me, gasped and then watched, with her eyes wide, as Idina sang in her beautiful pink gown and comfy, bare feet.

I cried. Big tears.

It was one of those moments that I knew changed her. She was inspired, excited and thrilled.
Idina Menzel site

And then the kicker, in an effort to try to cement (or at least, lean towards) the Super Mom status, after the show we got to go THERE..yes, backstage

and..

MEET HER!
My daughter was star struck and Idina was super sweet with her.  We found out that her son loves Super Why!  Hope thought that was pretty cool, too.
Idina Menzel - Angela SantomeroAs a Mom, I live to make my girls’ dreams come true.  Best feeling in the world.
Donny OsmondDonny Osmond