Teresa Strasser: The local actress, writer, mother, and all-around personality scores a fresh title
The local actress, writer, mother, and all-around personality scores a fresh title.
By Nadine Bubeck
In Yiddish, the word mensch means “a person of integrity and honor; a likeable and friendly person.” It’s a word not tossed around lightly, but it’s the first that comes to mind when describing Teresa Strasser.
It’s not so often that you come across a TV person that’s pretty much the same on camera and off. Quite often, TV people “turn it on for the tube,” portraying a somewhat cheesy persona. But that’s not the case with the very real, very authentic Strasser, non apologetic for her upfront, relatable, accept me for who I am attitude.
It’s refreshing to know that the TV personality, best selling author, writer, brand ambassador, Emmy-covering, celebrity-interviewing all around fantastic boy mom is so incredibly down to Earth. It’s rare. It’s special. And the Valley is lucky to have her.
Strasser grew up in San Francisco, in what was once a small, blue-collar neighborhood called Noe Valley, now known for lavish living, home to techy big wigs and alpha moms.
Who would have thought the Noe Valley native would eventually become an Emmy-winning journalist? Here’s her brief resume, nonetheless, extremely impressive. She hosted TLC’s While You Were Out; co-hosted The Adam Carolla (radio) Show; authored the hilarious, Exploiting My Baby: Because It’s Exploiting Me; contributes to the Los Angeles Times, The Los Angeles Jewish Journal, HuffPost Parents, and more. Other television credits include reporting for Good Day New York, Good Day Live, and On Air with Ryan Seacrest. There’s more, but I simply don’t have the allotted word count.
In addition to hosting The List weekend edition, Strasser is proud to flaunt her new title as Family Travel Insider for Best Western. This means she writes blogs and makes videos about traveling with kids.
One might ask––how would you score such a dream gig? Well, it’s all about who you know. An Adam Carolla fan working in marketing at the hotel chain thought she would be a perfect fit for the opportunity.
In short, they send her on four trips a year, anywhere in the United States, with her entire family.
So far, she has explored New York City, Las Vegas, Carlsbad, Philadelphia, and more, instilling in her boys the love of travel.
“At first, I found it intimidating to travel with kids, you know, packing, schlepping, change of routine, etc., but once I forced myself to deal with a few convenience barriers, I never looked back. It’s always worth it,” says Strasser.
Experience. Memories. Fun. What more could you want?
“Unlike many travel writers or experts, I love doing so-called ‘touristy’ things. Bring on the kitsch. Growing up in San Francisco, I never rode a cable car until I was 18, but when I finally did, it was all it was cracked up to be. Most native New Yorkers have never been inside the Statue of Liberty, but it’s an awesome experience,” she says.
And while this isn’t a paid ad for Best Western, Strasser says their accommodations are perfect for families. New York City’s Best Western Plus Hospitality House on East 49th Street, for example, offers 800-square-foot rooms, with two bedrooms, a full kitchen, and a dining area. Plus, the properties are often strategically placed in central locations.
But it’s still work, if you can really call it that.
Throughout her adventures, she shoots and edits videos, and it’s become a family affair. Strasser’s hubby, Dan, is the cinematographer. Her dad, who often joins them on vacation, wrangles the kids. And her boys help keep notes, in addition to being utterly adorable co-stars.
So what has she learned? To make traveling a breeze by practicing very easy travel tips. These include: dress your kids in orange (easily spotted in a crowd); make a SnackleBox (a fishing tackle box is a great idea for keeping snacks organized); and befriend Tuesdays––this esteemed day of the week is usually the least busy with crowds.
“My best kept secret: the wonders of plastic bags. I pack individual outfits in them, I pack wet bathing suits in them, I use them as dirty laundry hampers, crayon holders, sunscreen carriers, oh, and even…sandwich bags. That’s what they’re for, right?”
But of course, home is where the heart is, and Strasser is always happy to return to her humble abode in Arcadia. She considers her neighborhood Mayberry with cacti, and finds comfort in that. Simply put, she can’t go to Safeway without seeing a neighbor or a friend from Little League or flag football.
When Strasser isn’t working (which isn’t often considering she has a million jobs), she can be found making soup in her Vitamix and spending time with her sons. Her favorite thing about being a boy mom: she is never expected to do any sort of craft.
“I don’t mean to gender-stereotype, because I’m sure some boys love making lanyards and coloring, but mine don’t, and that’s a relief, because I wasn’t blessed with any skills in the visual arts whatsoever,” she says.
True that, fellow boy mama.
Of course I couldn’t resist asking the cliché “how do you do it all” question. And Strasser’s response was as real as any “normal mom” would say.
“All I know is that you don’t tune a guitar and weld it. You have to pick it up and keep tuning it. That’s all I know about the working mom life. For me, it’s a guitar that I keep tuning. Some days it sounds terrible, other days, harmonious, but I’m almost never totally satisfied.”
Our Valley’s mensch, keeping it real.
For more information on Strasser, visit teresastrasser.com.
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