Big Apple Books: Americanine: A Hot Dog in New York

In Americanine: A Hot Dog in New York, author and illustrator Yann Kebbi gives us a dogs-eye view of New York City with colorful hand-drawn illustrations and observations of city life from the sidewalk up. I love not only this little French doggie's hilarious observations (a look inside a gym at people running on a treadmill going nowhere is particularly funny) but how we can find something new on the page every time we open the book... there are just so many details in each drawing. Happy to include Americanine: A Hot Dog in New York to the Big Apple Books collection!

A look inside Grand Central Station

Recognize this famous museum?

If you'd like to see more illustrations from the book, check out the Brain Pickings' review (or better yet, pick up a copy yourself)!


New Theater for Kids: This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing

The girls and I recently checked out a production of The Atlantic Theater Company's This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing at the Linda Gross Theater in Chelsea. We really enjoyed ourselves!

Written by Finegan Kruckemeyer, the fairy tale follows three sisters and the choices they make after their father leaves them in a deep, dark forest at the request of their wicked step-mother (why are the step-mothers in fairy tales always so awful?). What follows are three entertaining adventures as the sisters go in search of themselves and ultimately each other.

"This Girl Laughs..." played to a packed house, and I have to say we were really "in it" the whole time. We loved the musical element and the set was gorgeous (also impressive was what the cast was able to create with the help of limited items on stage & everyone's imagination). While the sisters each followed their own callings, I loved most of all that in the end, finding each other was their most important quest. I was crying as we clapped for everyone on stage! Showing through March 4th, "This Girl Laughs..." is a funny, thoughtful and girl-empowering adventure, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Photo credit: Ahron R. Foster


Feeling Mindful with prAna in 2018

With age 40 just around the corner, I'm becoming more and more mindful about the type of purchases I make -- and that includes everything from food, medicine, furniture, skincare to of course, our clothing. At the top of my "favorites" list is prAna, a clothing brand that makes a point of seeking out materials from sustainable resources, adheres to strict guidelines for safety and efficacy and considers fair trade practices a vital part of their company mission. 

I've tried prAna before, and I'm consistently impressed with not only the above points, but also their quality and comfortability. This time around, I'm trying one of their gorgeous spring patterned sweaters (made of 100% organic cotton) and a pair of yoga pants (made from organic cotton hemp) that are so durable, stretchy and most importantly, super high on the comfy meter. Yoga pants that you can wear out and about without feeling self-conscious (though that's never been an issue with me!) -- prAna designers are so confident in these pants, in fact, they even made a video about them. Oh, and this particular pair has back POCKETS. Holla!

We're down south this week, recharging a bit and escaping the winter weather of NYC -- which also means the perfect time to try out my new duds.

Taking a little time for myself on the front porch of my parents' home,
reading a new book, BACK TALK, by my friend Danielle Lazarin.
Porch buddy. Love this print in the Leda Pant!
Love the pattern of the Getup sweater!

So good to be home for a bit and recharge my batteries for a little while. I'm also proud to spread the word about one of my favorites, a company that really values where they come from (still based in Carlsbad, CA where it all began) as well as the greater world around them.

To celebrate their #mindfulprAna // #prAnaSpring18 campaign, I'm offering my readers a 15% discount on non-sale items, good from now until March 20th with code MPESS18. Happy shopping!

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


Feeling Festive in 2018 with Zazzle

If you're anything like me, the month of December has you running through a long list of To Do's that never seem to end - you mark one thing off the list and add another simultaneously. While I did feel like I was able to enjoy the essence of the Christmas season, I can't say that I ever felt all that relaxed. And ultimately, there are things that just don't get done - a la sending out a festive greeting. If we're being honest, this year I didn't even attempt it, as I knew I'd have more time on my hands in early January, and who wants all their fun mail at the same time, amIright?

We opted to send out a "Happy New Year" card to friends and family, and used Zazzle to make it as seamless as possible. I even ordered stamps from them as well! I personally love a photo card, and Zazzle has a million different options, with a customization process that's straightforward and easy. We had a few great pictures from our vacation to California over the summer, so finding the photo was easy -- picking the design was the hard part! See some of my favorites below:

A classic, multi-photo layout:

Love the polka dots:

And the colors are fantastic in this HNY card:

Now, here's another fun idea. Try skipping holiday cards altogether and wait until February to send a Valentine's Day greeting! It'll be a fun surprise for your friends & family, and once again, Zazzle has some adorable options. Here are a few: 

So if you've been waiting around to get those cards, here's a little push in the right direction! Zazzle is currently offering a 15% off discount site-wide with code NYESSENTIALS.

Happy 2018 (and while we're on the subject, an early Happy Valentine's Day as well)!

Disclosure: I was provided with store credit in exchange for this review. All opinions herein are my own.


Holiday Gift Giving with World Vision

Give back while you shop for loved ones this holiday season with World Vision, a global humanitarian organization that aims to combat poverty and injustice around the world (take a look at their mission here). World Vision is present in nearly 100 countries, helping wherever there is need, from emergency relief in disaster situations, through their sponsored child program to bringing clean water to communities living without. They are also incredibly transparent with how every dollar is spent, which I really appreciate.

By buying handcrafted gifts from all over the world, you can help further the work of World Vision. See below for some of their gorgeous offerings -- in this case, perfect for a special lady in your life!

This bracelet was designed by actress Patricia Heaton and handcrafted by artisans in India who are thriving in fair trade business ($100 donation).

This stylish Vietnamese tote bag is hand-embroidered by mostly disabled women who are gaining independence and overcoming poverty through their crafts ($100 donation).

With a donation of $85, you can receive this gorgeous infinity scarf, handmade by weavers in Tamil Nadu, South India, who earn sustainable income from these scarves.

This necklace is so my style, and I love the colors. Made by Delhi artisans in a fair trade producer group, you can receive this with a donation of $100.

I'm really crushing on this wraparound ring, handmade by fair trade artisans in India. Yours to gift (or keep!) for a $65 donation.

Incredibly special is this African soapstone box, which was hand-carved and etched by local artisans in Kenya. Using this sustainable resource, artisans are lifting themselves and their families out of poverty ($85 donation).

Happy to spread the mission of World Vision and encourage a different way of gift giving this holiday season!

Disclosure: I was provided with a sampling of products in order to complete this review. All opinions herein are my own.


prAna -- Effortless Style; Ethically Made

The older I get, the more careful I am about which brands I support on social media as well as purchase for myself and my family. Companies who are invested in the care of our environment automatically get top billing in my book, from the way they source materials to their treatment of employees and everywhere in between. prAna is one of those brands (read more about their mission to create thoughtfully & give back here). I recently partnered with them to review sweaters from this year's collection, and I'm giving a hearty thumbs up in terms of style, warmth & sustainability. Free shipping until December 15th (as well as a 15% off discount code- see bottom of post!) make it easy to try them out for yourself.

First up, the Deedra Sweater Tunic, which kept me warm as I waited 2 hours (EESH) for the Yayoi Kusama Festival of Life exhibit in Chelsea last week.

Full disclosure, there's another significant reason why I love this sweater -- its tunic style covers my rear when I wear leggings! And that is really crucial when you wear leggings say, 4 days a week. Maybe 5? That's not the point. Comfort is key in my "active mom" lifestyle, but so is not showing off my booty.

I also wore it recently to a holiday party with my friend Michelle. We've been friends since college, and apparently enjoy showing up to parties wearing similar gray sweaters. Not planned, but funny just the same! The Deedra Sweater Tunic is perfect for any occasion.

Next up is Aya, a gorgeous sweatshirt/sweater combo. I'm in love with auburn, the color I chose, as I think it's the perfect color palette to take me from fall to winter. Also, this sweater is warm, as in, recycled wool blend sweaters don't come to mess around. Keep that in mind, but I am relieved knowing this sweater is going to keep me cozy all winter long. 

Also, this is what happens when your photographer is your child:

I do think it shows off the sweater pretty nicely, and I'm in love with the buttons! Such a fun extra touch. Thanks, Millie!

So, ready to give sustainable, ethically-made clothing a try? On the prAna website, use code CMBM17 for 15% off through December 20th -- and there's free shipping until 12/15! Proud and happy to support this brand with a conscious.

Disclosure: While I was given product for review, all opinions herein are my own.


Learning to Ride with Woom Bikes

Timing is everything, they say. After lots of practice with her dad, Millie took her first official ride on her own on Father's Day earlier this year. A pretty special moment for the two of them, on the perfect day, no less. But as she'd been using training wheels for a while, we quickly realized she had outgrown her bike and would need a new one.

The search began, and it didn't take long to discover woom bikes (probably because they're on countless "best kids' bike" lists, including Bicycling & Outside Online). This family-owned company first began in Europe, and its US branch was formed when one of the family members moved to Austin, Texas. So take European style and innovation blended with bikes shipped out of the good ol' USA, and that's a pretty awesome combination.

There's a lot to love about Millie's new bike, and I'll start with a few of her favorites: first, she loves the gears! As someone who didn't figure out how to use gears until adulthood (EEK), I fully understand this makes for an added bonus, as she can really take ownership of her ride based on the terrain. Millie also likes the ability to break with her hands, as she feels more in control of the bike that way. The handlebars are ergonomically designed, cushion-y while also being easy to grip.

Aesthetically speaking, Millie loves the bright green color (woom sticks to basic primary colors, which I love - you'll have to search for Elsa elsewhere), and the fact that she can easily pick it up if need be -- it's so lightweight! This makes getting it in and out of an apartment building, over street curbs, etc. a smooth & stress-free process.

Based on her height, Millie is using the woom 5 for ages 7-11 (woom bikes are made for one year olds through teenagers!) with an adjustable seat that we'll move up as she grows.

When purchasing a woom bike, customers in the U.S. can consider an UpCycle membership ($59), which makes a lot of sense if your children are growing like weeds (that'd be all kids, right?). Membership guarantees that when your child is ready for their next bike, you send in the used bike (thus "upcycling") and receive 40% of the returned bikes cost good toward your purchase of the next size up (includes free shipping). UpCycled bikes are donated to nonprofits around the country that focus on youth bike riding. Love!

Helmets by MELON are also offered on woom's site. So pleased with this one, and having tried a few already, it's easy to compare and contrast. First, the helmet is sturdy but lightweight (having heard lots of complaints about heavy helmets, this was a relief). It comes with several adjustable cushion attachments to make a perfect, secure and safe fit, which is most important. I've also been really happy with the magnetic closure, which makes it so easy to take on and off (if you've ever accidentally caught a piece of your child's chin while securing a helmet, you know what a relief this is!) Two thumbs up, MELON, and love all the fun colors and designs, too!

I love the confidence this bike has given Millie. She took to riding right away, and it's been so much fun seeing her improve and become more self-assured each time we take it out. On that topic, I love that woom offers an expert tips page on bike riding on their site. We'll definitely be consulting it as Vivian heads down the same road.

Keep woom in mind if a new bike is on your child's Christmas or Hanukkah list!

Disclosure: I was provided with a bike and helmet for purposes of this review. All opinions herein are my own.
Related Posts with Thumbnails
Blogging tips