Broadway for the whole family: School of Rock

So, here's where I admit that I never saw the movie, School of Rock, with Jack Black, or the current series on Nickelodeon under the same name, despite being very familiar with its entertaining story line. Not to worry. I'm pretty sure I got the best part of the deal last weekend when I was a member of the audience at Andrew Lloyd Weber's adaptation on Broadway. School of Rock - The Musical is SO much fun!

For the very few not familiar with this story, it follows Dewey Finn, a broke, down on his luck rocker who's in need of a few extra bucks so that he can enter his town's Battle of the Bands contest. He poses as a substitute teacher at an elite private school to make some extra money, and in the meantime, takes a class of no nonsense kids and turns them into rock stars. Naturally, hijinks (and cool tunes!) ensue.

With tickets as low as $59 (and orchestra seats at $89), School of Rock - The Musical is an engaging night for the whole family, especially if you have any mini musicians in your home. While everyone in the cast is excellent (and the songs range from full on rock-n-roll tunes to ballads), this show is all about the kids. At least 4 were playing live instruments on stage throughout the show, and ALL of them sang and danced their hearts out -- truly amazing! I'm pretty sure this is just the beginning for many of these incredibly talented little performers. The future of Broadway is alive and well at School of Rock - The Musical.

Keep in mind when booking tickets that the show is 2 1/2 hours long (with one intermission) and is recommended for ages 8+ (children under 4 are not permitted in the theater, which I imagine is because of the volume). Rock-n-roll, friends.

Worth checking out!

Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary tickets in exchange for an honest review of School of Rock - The Musical. All opinions are my own.


New Music Alert: Thunder & Sunshine

NYC is not lacking in entertaining children's & family-friendly music groups, but any music fan will tell you there's always room for one more. We recently checked out Thunder and Sunshine at Joe's Pub and had such a fun time! The band was created by Esther Crow (an old friend of ours & all-around rock star) who's been a part of the NYC music scene for over a decade. After having a baby in 2013, Esther decided to broaden her audience to include the kiddo set, & we're so happy she did!

Thunder and Sunshine's funky tunes are geared towards the WHOLE family & not just the littles (with nary an Old McDonald in sight- hurrah!). In writing the album, Esther was influenced by many performers, from Sesame Street & The Electric Company to The Sugarhill Gang and Sly and the Family Stone. You'll hear sounds from the 70's & 80's in each song and be moving to the beat before you know it... promise! We also loved the multi-media aspect: the band incorporated video of kids being interviewed by various puppet friends (created by the talented Jeff Lewonczyk) throughout the set.

Photo credit: Ebet Roberts

Stay tuned to my social channels and I will keep you posted on Thunder and Sunshine's next performance, but in the meantime, you can check out "The Letter Z" below. Additionally, Esther can be found performing story time at Bank Street Bookstore every other Thursday at 10:30am starting on February 23rd & their debut album is available for purchase ($8!) on Bandcamp.




Style Report: Rockets of Awesome

Have you heard of Rockets of Awesome? This new children's clothing service (specializing in sizes 2-14) offers high-quality, on-trend items that make shopping for the girls SO much easier and less hectic than dragging them to a store (where the excitement lasts about 3 minutes).

HOW IT WORKS: after creating a style profile on the site, Rockets of Awesome will deliver 8-12 seasonally-appropriate items based on your child's preferences 4 times a year. With zero membership or shipping fees, you're only charged for the items you decide to keep. Return the things you don't with a pre-paid shipping label & envelope. Everything you'll receive is $40 or under, and all items are easy to mix & match together (that gets a big THUMBS UP from mama).

The girls were sent a box to try out a couple months ago, and they've had so much fun wearing these styles. Meanwhile, I've been impressed with the quality, comfort and variety of clothing that arrived (from casual to dressy and sporty). Of everything we received, I probably would only have sent back 2 or 3 items, so they really seem to have a good sense of the styles the girls like from their profile. I'm all about simplifying our lives these days, and this is an easy way for us to make clothing decisions. Plus, it's kind of fun to have the fashion show when the box arrives!

A few of their favorite styles this winter:

Viv has never been afraid of color: she loves this bright orange skirt!

Rockets of Awesome signature silver jackets - so cool!

Love these sweaters!

This is only a small sampling of what arrived, so I encourage you to check out Rockets of Awesome and see their durable and creative styles for yourself. So much fun!

Disclosure: I was provided with product in exchange for an honest review. All opinions herein of my own. 


A Kids' Room Update with FLOR Carpet Tiles

I'm attempting to make a few updates in the girls' room this winter, and the first one has a lot to do with one of my New Years resolutions: de-clutter, de-clutter, de-clutter (3 times for emphasis!)... let's hope I follow through with that one. We all, and especially the girls, seem to accumulate a lot of STUFF throughout the year, which obviously doesn't make a whole lot of sense in a small NYC apartment.

But more on that later! Another update needed is flooring for their room. As you can see, I've been using their old play mat and nursery rug together since we moved, and while it has worked fine, I've been on the hunt for one rug to bring the whole room together. Enter FLOR carpet tiles!

The FLOR tiles I selected (they offer rugs as well, but tiles are a great option for kids' areas) have really brightened and brought the girls' room together, and here's why I love them for kids:

First, fun designs. While the packaging tells you in which direction the tile should be placed, you can lay them down any way you like, creating a design that's wholly unique, just like your kiddo. The tiles themselves are durable, washable, but if you can't get a stain out - they're replaceable, too! And if you send the tile back for them to replace, they'll recycle it back into a future tile for someone else. I love that the company is committed to environmentally-friendly practices, too.

While you attach with a sticker to the bottom of each tile, connecting them together, they're easy to take apart, too, if you decide to move it. In fact, it was a fun project to do with the girls -- they really had fun deciding which tile to lay down next!

And so, the finished product... so happy with this clean, modern design. I gravitated away from pink & purple, as I imagine we'll have the rug for a while and they might not always love those colors QUITE as much as they do now. Luckily, FLOR has tons of fun colors and designs to choose from in a variety of sizes.

What a simple way to make a fun new update. Absolutely recommend checking out FLOR!

Next up... bigger table & chairs. Little legs are growing like weeds around here!

Disclosure: Product was provided to me by FLOR for the purposes of this review. All opinions herein are my own.


A Halftime Bathroom Break with Febreze & Charmin

So, pretty much everyone knows I'm not a huge sports fan... especially when it comes to football. Which is sort of hilarious since I married a guy who LOVES the sport (and plenty of other things, too, thank goodness). But that being said, I always watch the Super Bowl. Sure, it's mostly for the commercials & half-time show, but I do love the "all American" aspect of the whole event. And once upon a time, these two sure looked cute in their cheerleader outfits (though too bad it's not the Packers playing this year)!

For this year's big game, I've partnered with Febreze & Charmin to help spread the word about The Halftime Bathroom Break. Yep, you guessed it... this is the phenomenon of millions of Americans rushing to the bathroom for those precious few minutes between the halftime whistle & the start of the halftime show. Hurry, hurry, people!

Given the bathroom's popularity during the big game, I found it surprising to learn that half of Super Bowl party throwers aren't prepping their bathroom ahead of time & not only that, are forgetting to buy bathroom supplies. For shame! More toilets are flushed between the 2nd & 3rd quarter than at any other time of year (throw that little nugget out at your next dinner party!) And here's another fun fact: 3 rolls of Charmin Ultra Strong Mega Roll are long enough to span an entire football field. That, my friends, is a lot of TP.

So, when you're party planning, note to self: DON'T FORGET the bathroom supplies! We're having a few friends over to watch the Super Bowl, and I'll be prepping with Febreze smallSPACES with OdorClear technology (perfect for our tiny bathroom!) and Charmin Ultra Strong.

Keeping your bathroom stocked and smelling good (for the entire game and beyond) has never been so easy! Thankful that we'll be clearing away odor molecules instead of just masking them AND having Charmin around to keep everyone feeling clean. I would say that's a win win... regardless of who wins the game!

Disclosure: I partnered with Febreze and Charmin for this post & was provided with compensation & product, including a gold toilet seat. Yes, really! All opinions herein are my own.


Happy New Year with Zazzle's Holiday Card Collection

Happy New Year, friends!

2017 has arrived, and after an eventful, sometimes upsetting/sometimes amazing year, I think we can all say we're glad it's here. Last month, with all the holiday hoopla, I admit that I let sending cards out slip by the wayside... same goes for last year & the year before that! I don't know, it just seems like ONE MORE THING to deal with in an already overstuffed month of fun & celebration.

So, Happy New Year cards it is (and if they arrive by the end of the month, that's okay, right?) Hope so. For all you procrastinating card-senders, I'm a big fan of Zazzle & their customizable cards/stamps/address labels... actually, you want to put your name on just about anything... and they most likely have it! 

I ordered my cards this morning & I was so happy with how easy the process was for customizing photos & text. Hmm... wonder which one I chose --it's among the fun designs below!

This handwritten design is filled with personality:

Everyone needs more gold accents in their life:

I think I'm going to start saying "super awesome wonder-is-tic jolly-happy-docious."

It will be the best year ever... did you hear that, 2017?!

Zazzle currently has a 15% off site-wide sale happening, so this is a great time to pick up your new years cards & surprise your friends with a little happy in their mailbox in a couple weeks. 

Here's to an amazing 2017!

Disclosure: I was provided with shopping credit for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.


Holiday Safety Tips with Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care

Earlier this month, I worked with Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care to bring together a group of my fellow parenting bloggers for a lunch & learn on their services and holiday safety tips in which we can all benefit. With 6 locations in the city, Northwell Health-Go Health Urgent Care is an important medical resource here in the city, especially when health concerns arise & you need to see a provider quickly.

Here are some of my key takeaways from the event:

First, on the topic of urgent care. Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care provides immediate walk-in healthcare for non-life threatening injuries & illnesses (bronchitis, cold & flu, ear or sinus pain, infections, nausea, etc). Backed by the entire Northwell Health system, you'll see an experienced clinician to receive the most efficient, highest quality care. Sick child this winter? As long as they are older than 6 months of age, you can bring them in for treatment.

Regarding health insurance, Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care accepts many commercial insurance plans, including employer-sponsored and individual plans, Medicare, Medicaid & motor vehicle insurance. For patients without health insurance, they offer affordable self-pay rates.

Now, on to the holidays! A few things to keep on your radar, friends, especially those of us with young children.

Did you know that the holly berry is the most dangerous type of plant during the winter season? Me, neither. Berries can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea (and in rare cases, death) in children that eat 20 or more, so keep them out of reach of curious toddlers...

Toy injuries resulted in 185,000 visits to the emergency room in 2015. So on that note, select toys that are appropriate to your child's age, and don't give electronic toys with heating elements to children under the age of 8. Look for sturdy construction and tightly secured parts.

Replace smoke & carbon monoxide detector batteries annually. One way to remember? Pick an annual event or holiday and set a reminder to take care of it then. Never use space heaters or portable generators indoors without proper ventilation.

Lastly, and this is for the mamas out there: SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a REAL thing. More common in women, this disorder generally comes in the winter months due to lack of sunlight. Leading to grumpiness, lack of sleep and trouble concentrating, there are ways to keep SAD at bay by making time for yourself, having a support system, getting sunlight when you can, getting enough sleep and laughing as often as you can. I could use this advice all year long!

Special thanks to Handzies, an alcohol-free cleaning wipe that's perfect for keeping hands clean all year long, not just through the winter, and Pipsnacks, a delicious snacking popcorn that's made with all-natural, gluten-free and non-GMO ingredients, for providing samples in everyone's goody bags.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care. All opinions expressed herein are my own.
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