February was Authors Month at the lovely Tucson Miraval Resort and Spa. Since Miraval is only a few miles from my home, I once again had the opportunity to cruise over for the last session featuring Mary Ann Zoellner and Alicia Ybarbo, both Emmy award-winning producers for NBC’s TODAY show – yes, that one. We had a lot of good laughs and it was fun hearing Mary Ann and Alicia tell about their days on the set of TODAY, life as a mom, and how their new book: TODAY’S MOMS: Essentials For Surviving Baby’s First Year came to be (keep reading and you’ll find out, too).
Mary Ann and Alicia kindly agreed to chat with us and reveal a little more about themselves, their family, some travel tips, and of course tell us more about their latest endeavor: TODAY’S MOMS.
Welcome, Alicia and Mary Ann!
1. Tell us a little about yourselves and your children.
Mary Ann: I work full-time as a producer at TODAY and have been at NBC for over 12 years. I live in NYC with my husband, Alexander, and we have two children, Zurielle, 4, and Arabella, 2. They are two head strong girlie girls, I grew up with six brothers so that is new to me!
Alicia: I work full-time as a producer at TODAY and have been at NBC for more than a decade. I live in NYC with my husband, Mark, and we have two children, Jack and Lucy. They will turn 4 and 6 in April, so I’m starting to feel the pressure of planning parties… It’s that time of year for me, haha.
2. TODAY’S MOMS: Essentials For Surviving Baby’s First Year looks fantastic (I did get to sneak a peek), what will our readers find helpful about the book?
Alicia: Thank you! We are so excited about the book. It’s been four years in the making… I was pregnant with my daughter, Lucy, when Mary Ann called – from the airport – to say she had this sparkplug idea of a book, and look at us now.Â We think this book helps to make the connection between the moms who watch the show and the moms who put the show together… from producers, stage managers and seniors to Meredith Vieira, Ann Curry, Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Natalie Morales, Tiki Barber and Amy Robach… they each share their tips and tales of having kids. We also have a huge team of contributors who’ve added their expertise, like Peter Greenberg/travel, Jean Chatzky/money, Joy Bauer/nutrition, Lloyd Boston/fashion, Eve Pearl/make-up and more… I wish I had this book when I was a new mom.
Mary Ann: TODAY’S MOMS is really about every modern mom. It is kind of Girlfriend’s Guide/Meets What to Expect when your expecting.Â Fun, easy to read, but full of advice and anecdotes.
3. Does your book offer travel advice?
Mary Ann: The book was conceived while I was traveling! I think every mother should travel as much as possible with their babies when they are young – under 2.Â I traveled all over the place with my daughter, Zurielle, starting when she was 3 weeks old. Just have a Sit n’ Stroll.
Alicia: Whether you’re traveling by road, plane or train, it’s all in there… and TODAY’S Travel Editor, Peter Greenberg, shares several tips, including how to baby proof a hotel yourself, with a homemade childproofing kit…
4. Where have you traveled with your children?
Mary Ann: Oklahoma, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Florida, California (for work and pleasure), Texas to see family. I loved Casa de Campo in the DR.Â Great place for kids. My daughter still talks about the big pool and the little pool (whirlpool.) In Costa Rica my husband went down for two weeks and went to Language School. The women in the school watched my daughter while I was in class.
Alicia: I grew up in Northern California, so at least twice a year the entire family travels cross country. We’re on planes a lot and, because of this, my son LOVES to fly. Best piece of advice is to let them pack their own carry-on bag. So cute to see them dragging their rolling bag around the airport. Even cuter when they’re responsible for their own crayons, stickers, paper, snuggly, books, water bottle, etc…
5. Is there any travel advice you would like to pass along to our readers?
Alicia: Skip the cute outfits when you’re traveling. I dress the kids in pajamas underneath a sweat suit. That way they’re comfortable traveling to airport and boarding plane, and if there are accidents (of any kind) it’s easy to change. Then, once on the plane we usually take off the sweat suit and they’re instantly ready for naptime/bedtime. Once we get to our destination I change them out of those items into clean clothes.
Mary Ann: Sit n’ Stroll and always take on the plane way more clothes/diapers/food/treats then you think you will need!
6. Can you give us more scoop about the book – when will it hit the shelves?
The book, TODAY’S MOMS: Essentials for Surviving Baby’s First Year will be released on April 7. You can also check us out on todaysmoms.tv (and follow them on twitter @todaysmoms).
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat, Alicia and Mary Ann. We can’t wait until the book comes out!