A NYC Getaway with The Emerson Resort

Last week, we escaped for a few days to upstate New York and the Catskills Mountains. I love this area so much! In two short hours from Manhattan, we found ourselves among the rolling countryside of Mount Tremper at The Emerson Resort and Spa. Its convenient location off Route 28 makes it a easy getaway for a girls weekend (their spa is currently under renovation and is going to be gorgeous when finished!), a romantic babymoon getaway, or as we discovered, a relaxing family vacation.

The girls settled in quickly to our Royal Suite room, complete with private balcony and a gorgeous bathroom with whirlpool bath and rain shower. Our room felt luxurious yet totally comfortable at the same time: the perfect combo.

The Emerson has taken great care to appeal to families-- their activity field has lots of outdoor games (frisbee, volleyball, corn hole, horse shoes, badminton, etc.) and we visited the pool to cool off each afternoon. They also hold bonfires every weekend, with 'smores kits available at the front desk. Yum! If you're looking for more activity, bike rentals are available and guided hikes can be arranged.

We had breakfast each morning at The Woodnotes Grill, which serves locally grown food in their beautiful dining room and outdoor deck. The first morning, I went with granola and Greek yogurt as I was taking a yoga class afterwards. Delicious! We have two little girls obsessed with chocolate chip pancakes, so the kitchen was able to specially add chocolate chips to their pancakes for them each day. The yoga class, by the way, was such a great way to start the day... why don't I do that more often again?? 

The Emerson is also home to the World's Largest Kaleidoscope. No, really! It was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records. Built inside a silo on the property, hotel guests can view a beautiful display of moving images and mirrors designed by a kaleidoscope expert. Several themed shows set to music and narration are available to view; the one we saw was about the solar system. Quite stunning! After the show, there are several smaller kaleidoscopes to check out. Love the photo of Vivian... obviously we all had to have our picture taken in that one!

During our stay, we had an opportunity to check out nearby Woodstock and Phoenicia (more photos coming in my next post). What a gorgeous area... it's amazing how fast the stress falls away when you leave the city!

On our last night, we had fun with the Family Game Night basket, which included popcorn, games, puzzles and candy. Another added touch that makes The Emerson really stand out! Themed baskets for families, friends and couples are available for $30-$100, depending on what you choose.

The Emerson really struck the perfect balance between being peaceful and relaxing, yet offering enough activities to keep our kids busy both at the resort and in the surrounding area. I look forward to going back in the future!

Disclosure: We were guests of The Emerson in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are my


Summer in the City with Kids in the Game

My girls recently completed a week of day camp with Kids in the Game, which operates summer day camps on the Upper West Side, Inwood and Riverdale (in addition to after school, recess and athletic programs for kids throughout the year). They had such a blast!

Walking to camp

The week was packed full of games, sports instruction, field trips (Millie's group went to The Intrepid), water play, face painting and making new friends. I loved hearing about their day when I would pick them up each afternoon, and we also loved how easily they fell asleep each night after a day full of fun. Hurrah!

Super Hero face painting

I asked Millie to come up with a list of games they played during the week, and boy did she deliver... among them, Capture the Flag, Freeze Dance, Musical Chairs, Caterpillar Tag and soccer. She also received instruction in tennis twice during the week, which was great as she had a few tennis lessons last summer. There was also time for yoga and arts-n-crafts... it was truly a week packed full of engaging activities.

Field trip to The Intrepid

Need to fill a couple more weeks of summer for your child? Kids in the Game camps run through August 19th, and while prices vary depending on which location you choose, I can tell you from doing the research, Kids in the Game is a very affordable option.

Flag football in Inwood Hill Park

Here's to keeping our kids active & having fun during the summer!

Disclosure: I was provided with a week of camp for my daughters in exchange for this promotion. All opinions are my own.


Be Gone Flip Flops: SOAK Slides to the Rescue (& a giveaway!)

Confession: I used to be a chronic flip flop-wearer in the summer, and not like, in a cute "strolling on the beach" kind of way. In like a, "switch my work shoes for my flip flops and wear them all the way home on the gritty streets of New York City" kind of way. And sad but true, I wasn't alone. I've seen many a flip flop flopping down the street in my day.

At the ripe ol' age of 38, I've realized a thing or two, and one of those things is flip flops are not for city streets. The eww factor is just way too high. Fortunately, I've discovered SOAK slides, and I'm loving everything about this company. First, it's mom-owned & made in the USA (Maine) & the shoes themselves are made out of vegan, recyclable materials. How cool is that? And oh yeah, they're super comfy and come in a whole bunch of cool colors. The look goes easily from the playground or laundry room to out for the evening... finally, a shoe that gets it.

Be gone, flip flops, be gone! Unless I am in some way near a body of water, in which case, perfectly acceptable.

And now for the fun news! I'm excited to partner with SOAK on a giveaway of their fabulous shoes. Go HERE to enter a super duper easy contest to win a pair for yourself. Good luck!! SOAK will be in touch in 2 weeks if you're the winner.

Disclosure: I was given a pair of SOAK slides for review. All opinions are my own.


Screen Time: Precious Cargo, the Hilarious New Web Series

There's a large contingent of NYC families who find themselves planning their children's futures while they're still in the womb -- which exclusive preschool they'll attend, and once born, they're eyeing up fancy private schools; even the ivy leagues! Nursery University was a fascinating documentary on the subject. I can't say I fall into this category myself (sighs of relief at my kids' amazing public school), but living in the city, I'm certainly not immune to the crazy that takes over a certain demographic once they've produced a little one.

Precious Cargo, a new web series on Vimeo, takes a hilarious look at those parents pushing their kids into the big leagues of NYC private schools from a unique perspective: the tutors they've hired to achieve that goal. Played by Lauren Singerman & Sasha Kaye (both former tutors themselves), the series explores the differences between New Yorkers who have it all and those just struggling to get by.

Lauren explains,“Our experience as tutors seemed a perfect jumping-off point into a fictionalized world that we could use to tell that story.”

With a new episode airing each week, it's definitely worth a look. I'm loving the fresh and quirky cast of characters (including the child actors, who are surprisingly good), and I'm rooting for Lisa to find her way. If I had to describe it in terms of film & tv, I'd say The Nanny Diaries meets Odd Mom Out?

Check out the trailer here, and turn into Vimeo each week to catch the complete series!

PRECIOUS CARGO Web Series Trailer from Precious Cargo on Vimeo.


Big Apple Books: New York is My Playground

There's a new addition at Big Apple Books, and we're all loving it! New York is My Playground, by author and photographer Jane Goodrich, is a colorful picture book filled with NYC kids doing all sorts of awesome things just by living here. In fact, I read it to my daughter's class towards the end of the school year, and what can I say, I was a hit. Mmm... so maybe the book should technically get most of the credit. In any case, while the pages are no doubt a love letter to the little ones who inhabit this city, it's also perfect for any kid who dreams about coming to the Big Apple for a visit.

If you'd like to attend a reading and meet the author in person, Ms. Goodrich will be hosting a story time at POWERHOUSE on 8th in Brooklyn on Sunday, July 24. Click HERE for all the details!


A NYC Summer with Kids in the Game (& a GIVEAWAY!)

And just like that, the NYC school year is drawing to a close. In about a week, I'm going to have a kindergartner and 2nd grader on my hands. How on earth did that happen? But before I can adjust to that crazy realization, a long summer looms in front of me. Like just about everyone (see recent New York Times article), finding a way to keep your child entertained during the summer affordably can be a challenge -- especially in families where both parents work full-time, which is just about everyone.

If you're still mapping out your summer plans (i.e, are a procrastinator like me), I want to introduce you to a dynamic day camp I recently learned about -- Kids in the Game.

Kids in the Game operates day camps in 3 parts of the city: the Upper West Side, Inwood and it's newest location, Riverdale. A leading provider of after school and youth sports programs during the school year, their summer day camp program has become a natural extension of one common theme: teaching kids health, wellness and life skills through sports. While a typical day at camp involves active play like basketball, soccer and tennis, the program is rounded out with arts and crafts, dance, music and field trips to museums, the zoo, etc.

Kids in the Game was founded by Michael Murphy, a former college basketball coach, and summer staff are a mix of teachers and teaching assistants, current and former college athletes, current and former professional dancers, and graduate students in programs ranging from physical education to early childhood development. Rising high school seniors also play supporting roles as part of their Counselor in Training program.

Set up like a typical school day, Kids in the Game campers can be dropped off between 7:30-9am, when camp begins. Pre-k campers are picked up at 2:30 (with an after school option till 4pm), while kindergartners and above are picked up between 4-4:30pm (with an after school option till 6pm). While weekly camp prices vary depending on which location you choose, Kids in the Game is arguably one of the most affordable options you have in NYC. Here's to that!

So here's the really EXCITING part. Kids in the Game has agreed to give one lucky reader a FREE WEEK of camp for their child this summer -- at the LOCATION of their choice and the WEEK of their choice (in case you hadn't noticed, all caps means I'm kinda EXCITED). So here's what you do -- simply fill out the Rafflecopter contest below and check back here on June 27th. I'll announce the winner on my social media channels as well.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: My kids will be attending one week of camp in exchange for this review and promotion. All opinions are my own.


Celebrating the Mama-to-Be with Dreft

Although it's hard for me to believe now, there was a time not so long ago when I was washing a whole lot of baby clothes. Instead of dropping them off at the local dry cleaners like I did with our own items, I started washing each onesie and sleeper myself, just so I could use Dreft. That's dedication, friends. So when Dreft asked me to host a laundry party, I immediately said yes, as I had a particular mama-to-be in mind who will soon be in that very same boat.

Good smelling goody bags!

Luckily for millions of parents, Dreft understands that parenthood is messy and imperfect, yet those are often the most memorable moments (#Amazinghood). Dreft products are specially formulated to be gentle on skin and tough on stains, and is the #1 baby laundry detergent choice of pediatricians and #1 dermatologist recommended brand for baby clothes. Now that's a hash tag!

At our party, my mama and mama-to-be friends went home with Dreft Newborn and Active Baby detergent, AND new Dreft Blissfuls scent-beads, which are safe on all fabrics and can release freshness for up to 2 weeks -- awesome!

The party was the perfect opportunity for us to enjoy a few snacks and drinks and talk about motherhood -- the good, the bad and the smelly parts! Luckily, it didn't seem to phase the mama-to-be one bit. As she embarks on this amazing journey ahead, she's armed with everything she needs... a loving partner, an open heart, and hey, a little Dreft to guard against life's messes.

Party assistant

Disclosure: I hosted this #Amazinghood party in partnership with Dreft. All opinions are my own.

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