7.30.2010

review: www.blurb.com - part 2

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was given a neat opportunity by the website Blurb to create a book of my choosing using their downloadable software. A pretty sweet offer... except I couldn't for the life of me figure out what type of book I wanted to make. The fact that Baby S would be plastered all over it was a given. But what KIND of book... I pondered it for days. Perhaps an album of our recent trip to Nantucket? Or her life, in photos, to date? Completely out of left field: maybe a cookbook of family recipes? I should mention that quick decision-making is not one of my better attributes. Unleash me on a grocery store cereal aisle and you'll see what I mean.

I blame this completely on Blurb, by the way, as their options are endless (see here for categories & examples). After much "himming and hawwing" -- I actually confirmed that spelling on Urban Dictionary -- I made my decision. I created a book for Baby S of her "first days." I assume in a few years she will be curious to know about her birth story, so along with photos I included details like time of birth, her height & weight, friends who visited in the hospital, etc. Not included? The pain and torture of her delivery. Some things are better left to the imagination, and I'll have plenty of time to tell her about that when she's an obnoxious teenager giving me trouble about something. Because that's bound to happen, right?

Firstly, it's quite simple to download the software needed to make a Blurb book (this is coming from a techno-phobe, by the way). I found the instructions for picking a template (a wide variety of colors & designs are offered) to be straightforward. Budget your time for working on this project, because if you're anything like me, it'll take you a while to figure out how you want each page to look. The drag and drop feature is a simple and pretty standard way of placing photo to page. Uploading my photos was pretty simple. I must say I didn't get into the editing of photo sizes and templates TOO much... I basically stuck to what was offered. And before I got too in over my head, my creation was finished and sent off to print. Done and done!

I'm excited to report that Baby S' book arrived carefully packaged and looking beautiful. I am really happy with the finished product, and I hope she'll enjoy having it as a memento down the road. The glossy pages and binding would make you think I was a professional... which I wager is the secret behind their success.

7.28.2010

a mini getaway

DISCLAIMER: I understand that I won't be garnering any sympathy with this admission, and yet I must put it out there: I am still pooped from this past weekend.  I mean, seriously dragging.  What was I doing?  Oh, floating around in a pool, basking in the sun, drinking fruity beverages and gossiping with my group of friends from college. 

See what I mean about no sympathy?  It's okay, I get it. 

While the idea of a mini-break from the Big Apple and catching up with friends was a close to perfect thought, it also meant that I was abandoning leaving Baby S for two days, my first time away from her.  I felt conflicted about my decision for weeks beforehand, even though I knew she would be perfectly fine without me.  My inner guilt as a working mother came out in full force - what, you only see your child for 3 hours a day and you're leaving her for the weekend, too?!  It's really a treat having those types of questions floating through your head all day.  Sigh.

Ultimately, though, I knew it was a good thing to get away for a little bit -- to have a little me time -- and reconnect with the person I was before I became someone's mother.  Plus it was lots of fun.  Laughter, fresh air and an (almost) full moon are good for the soul.  Not to mention a peach daiquiri.  Or two or three.

And, as I already knew, Baby S did just fine without me.  Sure, she woke up at the crack of dawn both days, refused to nap and passed her cold on to Husband, but who's counting.  Mmmm... actually I think maybe him. 

What's that they say?  Timing is everything... 

7.27.2010

reviews

Baby Meets City is PR-friendly. I enjoy writing reviews on just about anything, as long as it is relevant to my readers and life as a city mom. Translation: if you would like a review written on the latest high tech lawn mower, I am probably not your best option. All reviews are my opinion only - 100% honest and forthright. Go figure, right? See "Reviews" under Labels for an ongoing list.

A few examples:

Flexibath
Chelsea Market
Baby Loves Disco
Diapers.com Review

If you are interested in advertising on Baby Meets City, please contact me for rates and more information.

7.20.2010

well, imagine that...

It didn't take Husband and I long to figure out that children's music can be, let's face it, truly awful. 9 months in to this journey called Parenthood, and we've already heard plenty of the cheese offered up as the latest and greatest for our baby's ears. Producers seem to have forgotten one important thing, however... we have to listen to it, too. And we're a little less forgiving.

This is why I say THANK YOU, THANK YOU to Brian Gossett, who compiled a collection of indie songs for both you and your child to enjoy. Judging from his website, I'm betting he was a fan of the mix tape as much as I was back in the day. Imagine That! Music for Hip Moms & Dads has two volumes and is available for download here and here. All tunes are certifiably "G" rated and totally fun. I recognized a few of them, but most are new discoveries. I hope you enjoy them as much as we have. Cheers!

Some of my faves:
Three Little Birds by Elizabeth Mitchell
It's A Big World by Renee & Jeremy
Everyday by Rogue Wave
Catch the Moon by Lisa Loeb & Elizabeth Mitchell

For all of you road-tripping to Grandma's this summer... you're welcome. :)

7.16.2010

what do fashion & doing good have in common?

As I mentioned in my last post, I was invited by TheMotherhood to participate in "Do Good Day," sponsored by 77kids.  On Tuesday morning, I marched myself over to the American Eagle Design Studio in the pouring rain.  By "march" I mean I hailed a cab.  And it was one of those rare occasions that a taxi appeared when I actually needed it... for any New Yorkers reading, you know this doesn't happen often, much less in the rain. 

The day began with a good omen and only continued... at American Eagle, our team first met Sarah Hough,VP of Design, who gave us a tour of their "inspiration" wall.  AE designers are inspired by many things, including vintage shopping in Europe and LA and sifting through thrift stores and textile galleries in upstate NY.  A little something I didn't know: in the fashion industry, work is done a year in advance, so the designs I saw were for next year's "back to school" season-- photos here are from this year's collection.  Just call me a fashion insider... for all of 2 hours.  Let it be known I enjoyed every minute.

Side note: I love, love, LOVE that little77 (the 0-18 mos arm of 77kids) has partnered with companies like aden + anais (their muslin blankets are, in a word, FAB).  They're even color-coordinating some of their clothing to go with the blankets.  Hello, easy baby shower gift!


Next, we heard from Betsy Schumacher, Senior VP of Merchandising.  I have to say, I was really impressed by her.  A few things that resonated: as a mother of triplets, she calls the new 77kids stores a "labor of love."  She looks to be inspired by everyone on her team, (many of whom are parents themselves) and has a keen awareness of what's important to mothers & their children.  Kids want to feel confident in their clothes.  A mom wants to navigate a store with ease (strollers were kept in mind during the design process), and if her kids can be entertained at the same time, all the better.  The new stores (locations found here) have interactive juke boxes, modern photo booths and computer screens where kids can see themselves in 77kids outfits.  Fun!  77kids is also committed to giving back, which is how the whole idea of "Do Good Day" was created.  Of course, there's a bottom line that needs to be met as in any other business, but 77kids is striving to be more than that.  And I kind of love that about them.

When our team left the studio on our "good day" activity, the sun was out and shining.  I said a silent "holla!" as we set out towards Grand Central Station, armed with dollar bills, cards with easy "pay it forward" ideas, and gorgeous sunflowers & gerber daisies from floral & event designer StoneKelly.  Our plan was to hand out these items to our fellow New Yorkers.  Jaded, rushed, I-won't-crack-a-smile New Yorkers.  This was going to be interesting.

Photo courtesy of
Kim from Mom In The City
Now, the down side of all this is that shortly after we arrived at Grand Central, I had to leave and head to my real job.  But before I left, I witnessed Emily from TheMotherhood passing out dollars to a group of construction workers, and I only wish our cameras had been ready at that moment!  While the rest of the group successfully handed out our "good day" items, I trudged to work, handing out dollars & "pay it forward" cards in route.

It's a funny thing to approach a stranger and see the suspicious look in their eye turn to one of vague interest, and then (for the most part) appreciation.  I handed out dollars to subway riders, and on the way home from work, to women pushing strollers on the street, my local UPS man, the clerks at my grocery store.  The next day, I asked Nanny A to pass some out to her friends at the park.  Today, I left the remaining dollars and cards in obvious places around my office.  Just call me one of Santa's elves. 

What a fun day.  I'm so grateful to have had this experience with TheMotherhood and 77kids.  And most importantly, to have done just a little bit of good along the way.

7.13.2010

"do good day" & 77 acts of kindness

A few months ago, I joined TheMotherhood, an online community for moms founded by Cooper Munroe & Emily McKhann.  At its core, TheMotherhood is a place to share ideas & ask questions of each other on a range of topics; a forum for women to inspire & learn from one other. As a new mom with loads of questions (and just as many opinions), joining the ranks was a no brainer.  There's no question, I'm kind of in awe of the important discussions (here's an example) taking place on their site.


Needless to say, I was pretty excited when Emily reached out and asked if I'd like to join a team of NYC bloggers for a special project with 77kids, the children's clothing line of American Eagle.  The gist?  To celebrate and spread the word about 77kids store openings across the country (locations found here), 7 mom bloggers in 11 cities are performing random acts of kindness.  Pretty cool, eh? That's a campaign I can get behind... and I haven't even mentioned how cute the clothes are!


My fellow NYC team members:

Kim Coleman: Mom In The City
Emily McKhann: TheMotherhood
Jen Rabulan-Bertram: Next Kid Thing
Jessica Shyba: Momma's Gone City
Sherri Schubert: Mom Trends
Suzanne Chan: Mom Confessionals


Tomorrow, after checking out the 77kids line at the American Eagle design studio, we'll gather in Bryant Park to spread a little cheer to our fellow New Yorkers.  We'll be handing out flowers (I'm expecting some surprised expressions) and dollar bills.  Yes, dollar bills.  The spirit created here by American Eagle is a simple one.  Paying it forward.  A small gesture of kindness can mean the world to someone, and if we happen to start a trend with this campaign, I'm thrilled to say that I was a part of it.


Disclosure: I am working with The Motherhood on behalf of 77kids by American Eagle, and was paid a monetary stipend for participating in this project.

7.12.2010

take me out to the ball game

On Saturday night, Husband, Baby S and I ventured out (via the F train) to Coney Island for a Brooklyn Cyclones game. With rain looming ahead for most of the afternoon, we decided to chance it as we were meeting up with friends for what has become a summer tradition. Along the way, I struck up a conversation with a woman that was smiling at Baby S. A fellow mom, we found we had quite a lot to talk about, which was nice as it made the long ride go a bit faster. Turns out, Deidre Rodman is an accomplished musician and has recently started a children's band in NYC. So fun! (Side note: if you're a Tina Fey fan, she has a fab song on her site, aptly named, "Tina Fey." Check it out!)

Reason #2584 why it's great to have a child: you meet cool people on the subway.



Coney Island is something of an enigma to me.  On one hand, I love the kitschy rides (from the ground, mind you), the corn dogs at Nathan's, the boardwalk.  The grime I could do without, but this is NYC we're talking about.  Grime just adds to the charm.  Just because I don't want to touch anything while I'm there doesn't mean the place can't be fun.  

The ball park, however, reminds me of small town America.  And as a result, there isn't a bad seat in the house.  Mid-range tickets are $13/person, and the food (ahh... the sinful, greasy, ballpark food) isn't over the top in price, either.  Baby S, decked out in a Milwaukee Brewers onesie (her very first outfit, picked out by Husband when she was still just a wee bun in the oven), thoroughly enjoyed herself, which was something of a surprise.  Granted, she couldn't have cared less about the happenings on the field (they were throwing a ball around, that much I'm sure...) but the other spectators more than entertained her.  She was right there with the crowd when they were yelling, too.  I think my ears are still ringing.  Our friends have two little kiddos, and she had a great time playing with them, too.  

Though we made a quick exit after the game and missed the fireworks (and I didn't eat nearly the amount of junk food that I was anticipating), we were psyched the rain didn't keep us away from this classic NYC summer activity.

7.07.2010

island in the stream

It's right around this time every year that Husband and I start dreaming about buying a country house. I'm talking Baby Boom-style (all the Diane Keaton/80s film fans will get it)... that perfect fixer-upper with a private lake and serene views. Maybe an apple orchard? I'm getting greedy now. I also would not mind having a town vet that looks like Sam Shepard, but that's a different dream altogether. Ahh... to have wide open space in which to roam, a place to run a sprinkler for Baby S, a backyard where Husband can be manly and barbecue. A car in which to drive back to the city when we get bored. The dream isn't completely ridiculous, but seems like more of a long range plan at this point... we hope, anyway.

This July 4th holiday, we were here in the city, cranking the AC and mulling the poor decision to stay put for the weekend. At the suggestion of friends, we decided to make a break for it and venture out to Governor's Island. Smack dab in the middle of the Hudson, this island was used as a military facility in various forms for oh, the last 200 years or so. These days, all that's left is a series of abandoned buildings (some of them quite beautiful) and a pretty amazing view of Lady Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. Jersey City, I'm not forgetting you, either. Lucky for us New Yorkers, the island has become a park that everyone can enjoy, provided they aren't prone to seasickness (the free ferry is located next to the Staten Island ferry terminal by Battery Park).

Saying hi to the Statue of Liberty
Always in search of a little adventure, this day trip fit the bill. We felt like we had really "gotten away," despite our close proximity to Manhattan. If you're into biking, the island is a great spot for a leisurely ride, and you can't beat the views (bike rentals are available and FREE on Fridays). Baby S is still too young for much activity other than clapping and chewing on her toes, so we concentrated on circling the island on foot (she took it all in from her cushy stroller, lucky gal). Roseanne Cash was there for a free concert, and we cruised by as she was performing. The mellow sounds seemed fitting as we looked down Colonel's Row. Side note: Husband felt like he was walking around the set of "Lost."

A few suggestions: if you're looking to picnic, I would bring your own food.  There are various food carts located around the island, but there didn't seem to be too much variety other than sandwiches and gyros (though Water Taxi Beach has a cafe- we did not go there).  Arrive early.  There are hammocks on Picnic Point, and I have a feeling once you sit down in one, you don't get up for the rest of the day.  I would advise NOT going for a swim in the Hudson.  We saw one such unlucky fellow doing a few laps, and the speed with which the NYC Police boat came on the scene was mighty impressive.  All in all, spending July 4th with Miss Independent herself, Lady Liberty, seemed fitting.  I feel sure we'll be back for another visit this summer.

That evening, we checked out the Macy's fireworks show from our rooftop. I was a little worried that Baby S might have an adverse reaction to the noise, but she was completely mesmerized.... for the first 5 minutes, afterwhich she made it abundantly clear she was ready to go back downstairs. After a long day "island-trekking" by way of subway and ferry, we were ready to go home, too.

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July holiday!

Baby S & Husband taking in the show

review: baby loves disco

A couple months ago, I wrote this post about Baby Loves Disco, which I randomly discovered while surfing online and avoiding dishes. The idea behind BLD is simple. First, take a nightclub and make it kid-friendly. Throw in balloons, bubble machines, hoola hoops and a dj spinning classic tunes that don't involve learning your ABC's. Oh, and a "chill out" room if your kiddie (or you) need a rest. Did I mention adult beverages? Started in 1995 by Heather Murphy Monteith and Andy Blackman, the BLD phenomenon has spread around the globe, not to mention the US.

Baby Loves Disco in Dubai, anyone?

What can I say, when I saw they were planning a disco party on May 3rd at Le Poisson Rouge, I knew we HAD to try it out (if nothing else, I wanted to report about it on this blog). We arrived in front of the club to wait in a small line. Velvet rope included. And no, I haven't done that in about 5 years, let alone with a baby on my hip. After "checking" our stroller, we headed downstairs, the sounds of Stevie Wonder meeting us along the way.

First off, at the ripe ol' age of 6 months, I knew Baby S would be too young (though she did enjoy staring at the bright lights of the disco ball). That being said, Husband and I certainly got our money's worth out of the deal ($15/adult... our "non-walker" got in free). We met up with friends and their respective cuties, and had a good time just checking the place out. It was hilarious watching kids strutting (or attempting to strut) their stuff on the dance floor. And the music was fun.

Your child's age is really key, though, if you are interested in going to a Baby Loves Disco event in the future. Their website says the age range is 6 months to 7 years old. I really think, based on my experience, that 3-5 year olds would get the most out of it. I saw one little boy that looked to be about 7 and he just looked, well, old. On top of which, he tore up the dance contest, leaving a group of weaving toddlers in his wake.

A couple notes: if there is another one at this location during the summer, I hope they make sure the AC is running. It was hot down there. And frankly, a little loud. I realize this admission makes ME officially old, but there you have it.

Baby Loves Disco - been there, done that. And I would go again... in a few years, when Baby S and Husband can really shake it up on the dance floor.

7.01.2010

psssst...

Egg baby by Susan Lazar is hosting a pretty fabulous giveaway, and it's too good a contest to keep to myself.  The brand, known for its simple yet classic designs and high quality organic materials (sizes newborn to 6Y), is launching their first annual “Bundle of Love” contest.  Just go to their website and enter to win a $200 gift certificate on some of the cutest clothes out there.  As simple as that!

I was introduced to this line by Baby S' Gunkle Dennis, who has an eye for all things hip and artistic (and yes, that can translate to baby clothes).  Here she is in their voile cotton jumper dress & matching hat.  Adorable, and I should add that the breathable fabric is perfect for summer.

Happy shopping, and good luck in the contest!
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