Archive for March, 2012

ELLEN & AMY’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE: The Family Travel Conference & Madame Tussauds

Posted by at 19 March, 2012, 5:47 pm

Back in February, I had the opportunity to attend the Family Travel Conference in New York City with my daughter Amy, who recently graduated from college and is embarking on her own journalism career. After attending workshops on topics like “Monetizing Your Content” and “Creating Web Videos,” we were each given The New York Pass (a sponsor of the conference) and sent out to sample a city attraction of our choice.

We picked Madame Tussauds New York wax museum because, believe it or not, I’d never been. With Spring Break coming up, you may find yourself touring Madame Tussauds with your own kids–especially if you have tweens or teens. So I thought I’d let Amy “wax” on as guest blogger about ways she made Madame Tussauds more fun than I ever imagined it could be.



By Amy Parlapiano

We don’t need to tell you much about Madame Tussauds wax museum in New York’s Times Square. Everyone knows the drill: There are tons of amazing, real-life celebrity wax figures, and crowds of people walking through and taking pictures with them and poking them to make sure that’s not ACTUALLY Justin Timberlake gazing lovingly back. But to mix up your Madame Tussauds experience, I’ve invented some games to play as you walk through the gilded halls of waxed celebs.


It’s one of my favorite things to go into Madame Tussauds and pick out the wax figures that are slightly hotter than their real life counterparts. The ones where you’re like, “Oh hey there, Joey Fatone from *Nsync, how’d you get so good-looking? For some very strange reason you’re placed right in the middle of your boy band, while JT is shoved off to the side (and right out of my picture).  What’s up with that?”


Joining Joey in the HOTTER THAN LIFE category is Bono. Bono’s wax figure is gifted with a glowing face, a perfectly chiseled chin, some very impressive bone structure, and shiny hair that makes him look a bit too European—one might liken his wax figure to a young Antonio Banderas  wearing Bono-inspired sunglasses.  Which, in my book, with all due respect to him, classifies as TOO HOT FOR BONO. Apparently, my mom (a big U2 fan) didn’t agree.


This one doesn’t really start out as a game. But it can definitely turn into one if you keep track of funny things the person you’re in the museum with (like, maybe, my mom, for example) says as you walk by each wax figure. My personal favorite was my mom’s reaction to this lovely, accomplished woman:

My mom: “Who’s this now? Oh, Madeleine Albright, right?”
Me: “…..Um. Not quite.”
My mom: “Hey there Madeleine! That’s a good Madeleine Albright!”
Me: “…..Dude. It’s Helen Keller.”

So next time you’re at the wax museum, keep track of all your mistaken identities on a list called MADELEINE ALBRIGHT OR HELEN KELLER? It’s great material you can use to mock your family member for years to come.

Madeleine Albright? Guess again!

Madeleine Albright? Guess again!


As you’re walking through Madame Tussauds, some of the placement of wax figures is a bit random. To show you what I mean, let’s take a stroll through my mind as I walk through what appears to be the Presidential/Political Figures of Importance Room.

Me: “Oh, cool, the Presidential/Political Figures of Importance Room! LOOK, there’s Ben Franklin, my very favorite inventor of libraries, bifocals and odometers….  Lookin’ quite good, Benny F, have you been doing Weight Watchers? And, oh, there’s Abe… and…. I think George Washington, even though his hair is different than he wears it on the dollar bill! Ah, there’s Bill and Hill! And the Obamas…. and Helen Keller (or is it Madeleine Albright?!), and Ronald Reagan, and….. hmm,  JFK’s lookin’ a little rough around the edges, but Jackie looks perfectly composed, as usual. And, wow….so many Presidential peeps in here. But wait….. why is Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong in here? Did I miss something in social studies??? Was this famous trumpet player once President?!”

These moments will happen often. Keep track.

And here’s a bonus question for you: Who is the only figure in Madame Tussauds not actually made of wax?


Hello I love you,

Won’t you tell me why I am merely a dismembered head of stone instead of a full-bodied wax re-enactment?


Answer: Jim Morrison of The Doors

Game 4: FIND YOUR FAVORITE CELEBRITY. Of course, there are so many awesomely perfect figures in Madame Tussauds.

Like: Harrison Ford


And : Leonardo DiCaprio


You’ll just have to go there yourself to spot your own celebrity crush.

Category : Travel Writer Mom

Monkey Bars

Posted by at 12 March, 2012, 12:07 pm

monkeybarsMy daughter is a monkey.  The kid can climb, swing and maneuver herself in any direction with minimal effort.  She will pull herself up 12-foot poles or balance at the top of any play structure.  She is strong and has zero fear; two qualities that lead to success in any physical challenge she comes across.  I watch her in awe and do my best to let go of the mother’s fear that she could hurt herself.  Instead, I try to rise to her standard of letting go of the fear of falling, of failure, of hurting myself.  The truth is, she gets scratched and bruised on a daily basis and has come to terms with that is just part of doing what she loves.

I take that challenge with me to the office.  Each day, I put myself out there for rejection, failure and defeat in hopes I will be greeted with acceptance and success on whatever I set out to accomplish. I am doing something I love so I have learned to take any setbacks and funnel it into energy used to push further.

I tried to make it across the monkey bars last weekend only to discover it’s a skill I have lost over the years.  Those little people make it look so easy. I asked my girls to teach me again how to swing from bar to bar.  Their faces lit up trying to give me pointers.  Each time I failed, they presented me with another scenario to see if it would be easier. They took their role as teachers very seriously.  It was clear to me how important it is for my children to see me trying something that challenges me.  From their point of view it is much easier to see a physical challenge rather than the challenge of working with the FCC.   For them to understand the importance of not giving up just because something is difficult is priceless.

Even better was this feeling that they had something to teach me.  Now my children have taught me more than they will ever know since the moment they were born but this is the first time I asked for their direct guidance.  However simple it may seem, it boosted their confidence tremendously.  There are moments in motherhood when you know you’ve hit the mark.  This was one of those moments.   I look forward to everything else they have to share with me throughout the years.  In the meantime, tackling the monkey bars is now written on the pages of my goal book.

What skill have you learned from your children?

Category : Toy Mom