|Sorry about the blurry cell phone picture|
I've found that books are particularly big and clunky when you're trying to pack for a ten-day vacation to the Caribbean with a toddler using only carry-on luggage. Let's be honest: I'm way too cheap to check bags.
But when we went to Barbados this summer, I knew we couldn't go without reading material. Then, I remembered my copy of Highlights Hello that I'd gotten at their launch party when I'd gone to BlogHer in August.
You've probably seen Highlights magazine in a doctor's office somewhere. Or maybe a classroom. I never had a subscription to the magazine as a kid, but I know I read it a lot. I was in braces for more than four years of my life, so I spent many hours in waiting rooms. Highlights Hello is Highlights for babies, ages 0-2 to be specific.
I tossed our copy into Little Spaghetti's backpack o' toys and took it on the plane to Barbados with us. It was the only "book" we brought with us, and thank goodness we did. We read it every night before bedtime. Throughout the day, he would pull it out to read it to himself.
We even read it on the beach. It turns out that even turquoise water and white sand beaches are better when you've got something to read.
The magazine has a story, poems, colorful images, and little tips on some of the pages for parents (or whoever's reading) about how to engage your kids. My favorite is the "Find It" section that's a toddler's version of Highlights' famous Hidden Pictures. The Highlights Hello pages are coated so they're waterproof (but also non-toxic). The binding is sewn, so it can withstand a lot of bending and cramming.
So far, it's been pretty indestructible. Rumor is you can even put it in the washing machine, though I haven't tried that out...yet. It's perfect to keep in a purse or diaper bag to pull out whenever you find yourself waiting somewhere because it's light, sturdy, and doesn't take up much space.
And, I can't end this post without saying something about Highlights as a company. I mentioned the launch party in New York City that I was lucky enough to attend when I went to BlogHer in August. If you're not familiar with BlogHer, you should know that there are a lot of parties at and around the conference. A lot.
The Highlights party was different, though - no swanky location, no fancy gourmet chefs, no swag, no celebrity appearances, and nothing about it was over-the-top. Yet, it was probably my favorite of all the events I attended during my time at BlogHer.
Why? It's simple. I talked to three Highlights representatives, and all of them had read my blog. They'd read enough of it so that they could talk to me about my son (and they complimented my writing; flattery never gets old!). The PR representatives actually worked at Highlights, so they could answer all of my questions and were passionate about what they did. They had a genuine interest in working with bloggers and becoming part of the blogging community. And, their products focus on writing, which is what blogging is all about after all.
Even though the event was three months ago, it's the one thing I haven't been able to forget that I wanted to blog about. (One of these days I'll do an actual BlogHer recap post about all of the awesome people and great brands I met. Better late than never, right?) I loved meeting the Highlights folks, and I came away an even bigger believer in their magazine and their company.
I can safely say that Highlights is something I can't wait to continue to share with my son. We're headed into the next stage of Highlights magazines: High Five (ages 2-6), which Little Spaghetti has really started enjoying. But if we have another baby, you can bet I'll be adding more Highlights Hellos to our collection, too.
I wasn't compensated for this post, but I did get a free breakfast at the Highlights Hello launch party, free copies of their magazines to check out, and a free one-year subscription. I also met some really cool Highlights employees, but I'm probably not required to disclose that.