Pizza-Making 101 at Rossopomodoro in the West Village

Ask any kid their top 5 favorite foods, and pizza will undoubtedly be at the top of the list-- let's face it, pizza is practically its own food group at our house. So, when we got an invite to Rossopomodoro for a children's pizza-making lesson, the answer was an obvious no-brainer.

This West Village neighborhood favorite serves up classic Neapolitan cuisine in a warm & inviting atmosphere. The space allocated for children's pizza classes is semi-private, sunlit, and perfectly situated right next to their shiny gold brick oven.

The girls were given a chef's hat, apron and rolling pin when we arrived, and they got to work rolling out their dough under the supervision of Achille Confuorto, a GM Partner at the restaurant who also teaches adults how to make pizza at their location inside Eatily. As you can see from the pics below, it was a really fun and well-run class, and most importantly, the pizza was DELISH! Classes begin this weekend (for $27, your child will receive the aforementioned chef's hat, apron, rolling pin as well as their pizza masterpiece after it comes out of the oven). Call 212.242.2310 to reserve your child's spot!


Rossopomodoro will also begin using this space soon for birthday parties -- such a fun way to celebrate! Side note: had a look at their $10 children's menu, too, and will be adding it to my list of kid-friendly restaurants.

Disclosure: While this class was complimentary, all opinions herein are my own.


Underwater in Times Square with National Geographic

Over spring break, the girls and I checked out National Geographic's Encounter: Ocean Odyssey in Times Square. What a fascinating experience! I'll be honest, we had no idea what to expect, especially because I knew there wasn't suddenly an aquarium in the middle of Manhattan. But I'll get to that in a moment.

For starters, it's worth mentioning that this is a popular activity. Combine that with a holiday week, and the venue was quite crowded. That said, I think the staff did a good job of maintaining crowd control, and separating everyone into groups of 20 or so people made it feel like we'd be able to see everything and not get squashed in the process.

Thanks to some truly amazing technology, we went "underwater" and experienced all sorts of sea life on our tour: from coral reefs and kelp forests to a battle between two Humbold squid. In one room, we put on 3D glasses in order to witness a Humpback whale's feeding frenzy (I'm still dazzled by that one). There are plenty of touch screens for kids that need to reach out and tangibly experience things, including the last room which showed us the environmental factors that are damaging our oceans and their inhabitants. I felt like we left having learned some cool new facts about ocean life as well as our responsibility to protect it.

Due to the "underwater" factor, photo taking was a bit challenging, but trust me when I say this is a very cool, immersive and educational experience that the whole family will enjoy. At the moment, National Geographic is offering a family 4-pack deal at $99 for visits this spring. Enjoy!

Disclosure: We were given complimentary tickets to attend Ocean Odyssey. All opinions herein are my own.


Cinderella Lives in Greenwich Village

Last weekend, the girls and I checked out the new musical "Cinderella," playing now through April 22nd at The Players Theatre in Greenwich Village. Written by Michael Sgouros and Brenda Bell, fairy tale fans will notice a few slight changes from the original story, but nothing that will have you flagging a pumpkin carriage and heading for the exit. In fact, this Cinderella is pure love and light, a girl in search of family and security more than anything else (Prince Charming's companionship is an added bonus). We loved the live music, original songs and in particular, the wicked step-mother "Madame," played fantastically in drag by Eric Fletcher.

As an added bonus, come early for pre-show arts-n-crafts and learn how the magic happens behind the scenes, and afterwards, pose for photos with the cast. Check out the New York Times review and take note, they are offering one weekday performance during NYC public school spring break.

Use code BMC20 for 20% off tickets and have a magical time, friends!


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.
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