3.29.2010

sleepy

I'm a little sleepy today, but that's not the reason for this post.

If you're on the upper east side tomorrow afternoon, drop by Sleepy's on 86th Street (see attached invite). Laura Numeroff, the New York Times best-selling author of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie fame, will be reading from her latest book, The Jellybeans and the Big Book Bonanza (you'll also get a free copy). Laura has partnered with Sleepy’s and the non-profit organization First Book to promote family bedtime reading.

Your fact for the day:
Research shows that reading at least 20 minutes per night with your child can improve child literacy by 10 whole school days per year.

Laura would like to encourage parents to make a pledge to read to their children at least 20 minutes per night. Each pledge will support Sleepy’s corporate contribution to First Book by continuing to provide new books to families in need. You can take the pledge here (I just did!) and also enter for a chance to win lunch with Laura Numeroff here in the city.

These days, Baby S is more interested in chewing on books than the actual words written on the page. That being said, Husband and I do feel continued reading to her is very important, and the evidence is there, as stressed above. I have so many favorite childhood books, and I can't wait to share them with her one day (I could write my own book about my complete adoration for Anne of Green Gables).

If you're in the neighborhood, please stop by this special event tomorrow!

3.26.2010

spin (for) the bottle

Husband and I have a pretty good system going in terms of who does what with Baby S. For middle of the night feedings, we switch off. If one of us is particularly tired or working late, the other picks up the slack. Daytime feedings are a breeze. It's a fair and balanced agreement so successful I think we could teach a seminar.

This is going to shock all of no one, but yes, changing poopie diapers are another story. I know, you're dumbfounded... Husband will be the first to agree that I handle the bulk of responsibility in this department. He will do it if forced, but the look of sheer terror in his eyes is usually enough of a reason for me to take over. Although, I have to say, hearing the series of exclamations coming out of his mouth as he changes a particularly messy diaper is pure comedy. Baby S usually finds it pretty amusing, too.

Thus cometh the Wheel of Responsibility (when I say that out loud, I really wish I had a megaphone for some reason...) Given to me by my dear friend Darley, I have to say, it's pretty genius. Sure, it's mostly for comic relief, but Husband and I have already used it a few times when a dirty diaper is up for grabs. Obviously this will work for all manner of things, including feedings, getting baby dressed, etc. etc. Where the spinner goes, nobody knows, which is part of the fun... and even more fun when it lands on DAD. Hee hee.
Note: I'm thinking this is a pretty hilarious baby shower gift idea. I did a simple Google search, and there are a whole slew of companies that have it for sale...

3.22.2010

whew

2 strolls.
3 restaurants.
4 subway rides.

Baby S was quite the social butterfly this weekend.

Amidst our hobnobbing around town, we visited my good friend Claire's apartment on Saturday. She is mom extraordinaire to adorable Toddler C, who will no doubt have her mummy's fashion sense as she was decked out in a stylin' dress for spring and a pair of truly fab sunglasses.

While we caught up, Baby S checked out C's "big girl" room, had some lunch and took a snooze. Claire has a beautiful kitchen, and we decided to take advantage of it by cooking a recipe from Annabel Karmel's "Top 100 Finger Foods." *I received this book recently and was excited to try it out on a toddler. Annabel is from England, and a best-selling author of 17 baby & children's books on food and nutrition. According to Claire (who also happens to be British), she's quite popular in the UK.

We decided to make parmesan chicken strips, as C is a big fan of chicken fingers. I must admit I stood on the sidelines while Claire did the actual cooking, but it seemed very easy. The recipe is made from 4 simple ingredients and can be found here. While the cookbook says the preparations take 15 minutes, I'd say Claire had the chicken cut, coated and in the oven in 10 minutes flat (side note: we baked instead of broiled). End result? While I wasn't there to watch C have them for dinner that night, Claire reported that she was a big fan. She ended up adding a little pasta and marinara sauce to the strips, but they are tasty on their own as well. After looking at the cookbook more thoroughly, Claire plans to try out several other recipes. She thinks they are a bit different from the average fare, simple to make, and most importantly, healthy.

*On the topic of food, I've also been perusing Annabel's "Top 100 Baby Purees." Baby S is venturing into the world of solid foods, so I'm curious to try out some of her recipes (will report on this as we go along). We tried some mashed avocado over the weekend with limited results. Translation: more green on her bib than in her mouth. As they say, baby steps...


*In the spirit of full disclosure, I was given both books by Annabel's US public relations agency, Tractenberg & Co. As always, my opinion only...




3.19.2010

review: to market, to market...

It's no secret: I could gush about Chelsea Market all day long. I get all giggly and happy when I pass through the front doors, so much so there might be blushing involved. Reminds me of the school girl crush I had on a young Kirk Cameron (and we'll just leave that one where it is).

Not only a foodie paradise for picking up on the go (there's a fabulous seafood market, meat co., fruit exchange & wholesale Thai shoppe) there's several sit-down restaurants, bakeries, chocolate shops, a gelateria, kitchen supply store, and bookstore. To name a few. I'll just say it: Chelsea Market is a mecca for all things yummy. With the addition of Anthropologie and an open space that routinely houses sample sales (Baby S scored two adorable Jacadi outfits last month), you can now add to your wardrobe as your waistband expands from eating too many brownies at the Fat Witch.

In the winter months, Chelsea Market was a great place to go on a stroll with Baby S. True, fighting the crowds is kind of a pain (others apparently share my mad love for the place), but, hitting the market at just the right time (going early is best) - minus the crowds - makes for a really enjoyable time with the Little One. Speaking of Baby S, there is storytime on Sundays (11:30am & 2:30pm) at Posman Books. We haven't been yet but look forward to taking her soon.

Side note: it's only fitting that Chelsea Market is also home to our go-to morning news channel, NY1, the highlight being the dry wit and delivery of "In the Papers," by news anchor Pat Kiernan.

This past weekend, I checked out the new Limelight Marketplace. Only in NYC could a former church become a nightclub... and from a nightclub, a place to shop. First impressions? Well, going on a Sunday afternoon was not the best idea I've ever come up with. The place was packed with people just shuffling around in a daze, looking overwhelmed at best. I didn't see a whole lot of actual shopping going on. I did, however, run smack dab into a lady who was doing the same thing as I was, staring at the stained glass windows which they managed to preserve from the original structure. There is no question: the place is beautiful. It's also tiny, and I would recommend leaving the baby at home... definitely not stroller-friendly. The stores, among them Le Sportsac, Soapology and Hunter Boots, are more like little stands, with just a few items to choose from.

I was curious to see the cupcake shops (it's always about the food, what can I say...) Cupcake Stop and The Little Candy Cake Co. did not disappoint... the presentation is just lovely. It's too bad I couldn't actually sample anything as I had to stand 5 people deep away from the counter. All in all, I felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland... suddenly 10 feet tall, stepping into a miniature world full of all things pretty and out of reach.

Synopsis? Bring your entire family, stroller and kitchen sink to Chelsea Market for shopping, eating and hanging out (take a walk on the Highline afterwards). Go out with your girlfriends to the Limelight for "window" shopping and checking out the food booths (a 24 hr Grimaldi's pizza is opening soon).

Mmm... enjoy!

3.18.2010

disco fever

When I think of the club scene in New York, boisterous drunk people walking down my street at 4am immediately comes to mind (we live near a string of clubs). And yes, I do realize how old I sound here.

*Sigh*

Shockingly, I do not immediately think of the stroller set. Enter Baby Loves Disco. The brainchild of Heather Murphy Monteith, a professional dancer, Baby Loves Disco opens clubs to little ones (7 & under) and their parents for an afternoon dance party featuring music from the 70s & 80s, spun by professional djs. No Barney. No Mickey Mouse Club. I'm wagering a guess here, but no Yo Gabba Gabba, either. There are changing stations, bubble machines, healthy snacks, a chill-out room with books & games, etc. Oh, and Mum & Dad can have a cocktail. Nice touch!

More information can be found on their website... I randomly came across it last night and just had to share as the event sounds like so much fun. The next party in Manhattan is May 2nd at Le Poisson Rouge (March 21st is sold out), and I do believe Baby S and I will be there!

3.16.2010

big apple books

Tar Beach
by Faith Ringgold

What's a tar beach, you ask? I've lived in NYC for ten years, yet I didn't know the answer until reading Faith Ringgold's delightful story. A tar beach refers to a building rooftop, and it's where the story's main character, Cassie Lightfoot, spends many a summer night escaping the heat with her family.

Living in Harlem during the Depression, eight year old Cassie is a dreamer. While laying on a mattress with her little brother up on tar beach, Cassie's nightly dreams take her soaring over New York City, to places that seem very out of reach on the ground. Her imagination allows her to fly up over the George Washington bridge (which her father helped build) to the lights of midtown Manhattan. Despite her young age, she seems keenly aware of her family's situation, that her father is not allowed into the labor union, because her grandfather was not a member. She knows the impact of racism; that her father is looked down on because of he's "colored" and a "half-breed Indian." Cassie is wise beyond her years.

What's really lovely about Tar Beach is that the book was originally a work of art. Faith Ringgold began her career as a painter, and is best known for her "story quilts," which combine painting, quilted fabric and storytelling. It is also semi-autobiographical; Ringgold grew up in Harlem, experiencing the Depression and racism first hand. Cassie's story is her story.

Tar Beach captures the spirit and imagination of an eight year old girl, but above all, embraces her strength.

"I will always remember when the stars
fell down around me and lifted me up
above the George Washington Bridge."

reflections

I turned 32 years old yesterday.
Yay Me Day!

Like it or not, turning a year older is a good time for reflection. This past year was obviously a giNORmous one, with the arrival of a little human being to call our own. Whew. Still wrapping my head around the fact that I'm someone's mother. Bizarre. Five months in, this journey called parenthood continues to leave me amazed and overjoyed. It also leaves me overwhelmed, filled with working-mom guilt and fear of everything from SIDS to burning questions like... what if she won't let me put bows in her hair?? Most importantly, though, it fills me with love. Lots and lots of it.

Side note: as a result of this over-abundance of love, Husband was let off easy in the birthday department, as Baby S is a most excellent present (though the Saskia Larraz necklace he gave me was a nice touch).

I've also started this blog. The sort of amazing thing is that I'm actually keeping up with it. I'll be the first to admit that as someone who loves to write, I am truly awful at committing to my ideas in that department. My stories don't have happy endings because I rarely finish them. I either lose interest or motivation or both. The few I have finished are short and to the point. You get the idea. I had considered starting a few different blogs before I actually signed up for this account, and now the ideas are flowing so strongly that I'm not sure I'll remember all of them. It's a nice space to be in after suffering from writer's block for, oh, the last ten years or so.

Perhaps it's the sunny 60 degree weather today, but I am in a pretty great mood. I'm excited about this blog, and for that I have Baby S to thank. It brings to mind a conversation I had with a very good friend a couple of years ago. She was the mother of two at the time (now three!) and we were discussing my "career" (or lack there of, quite frankly). While she may have had her own personal reasons for this, she encouraged me to think of how my life would change with a baby, and the kind of options that might come about because of it. Little did she know, but she was absolutely right.

I'm excited about being a part of the intrepid force that is the mom blogosphere. With spring in the air, I'm looking forward to venturing out with Baby S and discovering more of what NYC has to offer in the kiddie department. In the midst of this, I want to stay true to why I began this blog in the first place. I'll write about what annoys me and which restaurants are a pain in the arse to get in/out of with a stroller. I'll try not to be boring. I'll review shops/products/books/etc. that I find interesting and worth knowing about. The list goes on, and for that, I am thankful.

3.12.2010

recipe for a good start

So here's the thing... I cannot remember the last time I bought Ragu spaghetti sauce. The reputation, whether real or imagined, is that it lacks flavor. While I'm a proud bargain shopper (see here) sometimes an item being cheap actually means, well, it's cheap.

Okay, so I'm a snobby sauce buyer, I'll admit it. With that said, I was still excited to have been invited to the launch of a new program Ragu has created called "Recipe For A Good Start." Molly Ringwald (love her!) is the face of the campaign, along with registered dietitian Felicia Stoler and Food Network chef Marcela Valladolid. The goal is simple: to bring families together through cooking and eating dinner around the kitchen table. They believe cooking can open up the lines of communication within families and help them stay connected. Over a bowl of pasta. Or, one of the other many recipes you can make with Ragu (see suggestions on their website). While at the event, we heard from Molly and Felicia, made a lasagna with one of Ragu's test kitchen chefs, then dined on a variety of different dishes (all made with, you guessed it, Ragu). Marcela played hostess at the table, and she was lovely. Here's the thing, it didn't taste half bad.

Sure, it's a marketing campaign (which includes a recipe contest found here). The end result is, of course, to make money. But it's kind of why I unabashedly watched the "Secret Millionaire" show that was on last year. Yes, it's basically free advertising for that millionaire's company, but at least they did some good in the process. So, putting aside my previous notions, and armed with my new lasagna dish, recipe cards, Table Talk game, etc (yeah, yeah, the gift bag was a persuasive technique) I'm going to give Ragu a shot. I like their mission. While we've got a while to go before Baby S joins us at the kitchen table (umm... and we have a kitchen that's big enough for a table), we both feel strongly about the idea of dinnertime with the family. That's an idea I can get behind.




3.10.2010

a yummy afternoon

I had a delightful afternoon yesterday... and, let me just say, I don't use the word "delightful" often. If ever. I took a half day at work in order to attend a few events I was invited to as a blogger. I plan on writing a separate post about each, but here are the highlights:

Ragu's "Recipe for a Good Start" Program:

I was on hand for this new initiative from Ragu. Their goal is to help bring families together through cooking and re-connecting around the kitchen table. Molly Ringwald is the spokesperson for this program, and she spoke briefly about her own family's dinnertime routine (side note: I tried not to have flashes of "Pretty in Pink" while she spoke but it was tough. She's a cute lady and after just seeing her at the Oscars, I have to say she looks much better in person). Fab gift bag. More on this later and photos to come.

iVillage & Dove Chocolate's "Afternoon of Indulgent Moments":

Chocolate. Wine. Hand massage and makeup application for Nanny A. QT for me and Baby S in the middle of the afternoon. Delightful- 'nuff said!

Modern Moms Editor Showcase:

1 ballroom at the Marriot Marquis. 30+ baby & child-related vendors. I walked around munching on kiddie snacks, meeting product representatives and making connections. There were a few products in particular that stood out to me, which I will write about in more detail in future posts. I was honored to have been invited.

3.05.2010

did somebody say chocolate?

Two days ago, I wrote about fitting into my old jeans again (woohoo!) and today, my friends, I want to talk about chocolate. Yummy, dark, delicious chocolate. Yes, I realize the juxtaposition, but I feel strongly about the idea of "everything in moderation." Life is way too short to not treat yourself to little indulgences every once in a while...

This Tuesday, March 9th, the kind folks at DOVE Chocolate and iVillage have invited me to "An Afternoon of Indulgent Moments" at Chelsea Market (a place I ADORE and will be posting about in the future...) There will be DOVE chocolate & Gallo Wine pairings, decadent treats, beauty treatments and more.

Truth be told, they had me at "choc" - finishing the sentence wasn't even necessary. And here's the best part of all: you're invited, too! Just tell the gal/guy at the door that you're a guest of BABY MEETS CITY, and an afternoon of decadence awaits. In the spirit of full disclosure, I will mention a potential added bonus for me... the blogger with the most guests receives a restaurant gift certificate to Del Posto. Wow. Talk about decadent.

Click on the attached photo for all the details. Not that I want Nanny A drinking on the job, but I think I'll ask if she and Baby S can meet me at the event, as we live nearby. That may be the biggest treat of all. See you then!

3.04.2010

splish splash

If you live within the five boroughs, chances are your available space is at a premium. And as I've written about in a previous post, you adjust pretty quickly because the payoff is living in New York City. Husband and I still find that worthwhile, and hope Baby S will one day love the city as much as we do. That love (however dysfunctional and sometimes jaded) makes up for oh, a spare bathroom and a couple of walk-in closets.

Geez, how I would love a walk-in closet...

When your space is limited, you must be clever about where you store things. Everything. has. its. place. If just a few things are laying about, all of a sudden the entire apartment looks like a tornado just blew through it. Strange how that happens. When Baby S came along, so did a lot of STUFF. The problem is that most everything we have for her, we use on an almost daily basis.

She has, however, outgrown her baby bath. This is a real shame as it means A) she's getting bigger (sniffle, sniffle) and B) I'm not sure where she goes from here. A plastic bucket in the sink? She's not sitting up yet on her own, so I see that as a potential challenge. I've tried using current bath seat in our tub, but I have to lean over at a precarious angle which, quite frankly, hurts like the dickens. I welcome all suggestions if anyone reading this would like to comment...

When Baby S is a bit bigger, I see the Flexi-bath in our future. Invented by the Danish company, A Real Cool World, (http://www.arealcoolworld.com/#/flexibath) here are the basics: it's a hard plastic bathtub with a non-slip bottom that folds up flat. I haven't seen one "in the flesh," so to speak, but from the website, well, it looks pretty darn amazing. The best part, of course, is that it appears to take up hardly any space! Nice. Those Danes are so innovative.

This review says it will be in stores as of December 2009, but I haven't been able to find it on any US websites yet. When the Flexi-Bath becomes more widely available, I'd like to see Baby S splashing around in one... and then I'll store it away easily, in its very own place.

3.03.2010

a moment of victory

Today, for the first time, I am wearing a pair of my old jeans. Pre-pregnancy jeans. Jeans that don't have an elastic waist. Hurrah! Sure, I've basically sewn myself into them and am currently breathing a little funny. Hoping it isn't too obvious, as I'd hate to be channeling J-Lo here at work.

Savoring this small moment of victory...

3.02.2010

quack quack

Full disclosure: I'm a bargain shopper. While I've alluded to this in a previous post, I'm now declaring it for all to hear (um... read). Who doesn't love a deal? I cannot tell you the satisfaction I get out of seeing an item marked down, especially if it's a name brand. There was a time when I might have been embarrassed about my thrifty eye, but those days are long gone. Smart shopping is practical and, in this economy, necessary. Though I suspect that even if I won the lottery, I would still find myself shopping for deals...

Now, everyone knows that New York City is expensive. I work in SoHo and enjoy nothing more than window shopping past fantastic-looking boutiques during my lunch hour. Key words there are, of course, window shopping... I rarely enter for fear of passing out at the pricetags inside.

Baby S has opened up a whole new world to me in terms of clothes shopping. I love the sweet baby boys in my life, but my goodness, baby girls have the CUTEST clothes imaginable. Which brings me back to bargain shopping... it goes without saying that I want to dress Baby S in the most adorable threads out there, but I can't bring myself to pay boutique prices.

Enter Daffy's... I've only shopped at the location on Broadway, but let me just say, they have incredible markdowns on high end labels-- Angel Dear, Room Seven, Laura Ashley, the list goes on... if you like smocked outfits, there are plenty of those as well. I literally have to keep myself planted to my desk at lunch because if I cross the entrance of that store, I will-- for sure-- exit with yet another outfit for Baby S.

Photos of recent purchases to come...

Next shopping review: Clementine Consignment: http://clementineconsignment.com/Home/Home.html -- Love this store!



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