sweet dreams

There was a time, not so long ago, when sleep and I were in a monogamous relationship with no plans of separating. Here's a widely known fact amongst my friends & family: I am a certified professional Grade A snoozer. A natural disaster cannot keep me awake when it's time for bed (that's a true story, actually, I slept through a hurricane once). In short, if there was a prize for sleeping, I would be covered in medals.

And then I had a baby.

Within hours of Baby S' arrival, sleep and I got a divorce, and it wasn't pretty. I had known the end was near for a while. Well wishers in sing song-y unison would say, "get your rest now!" with a tad too much glee in their voices. Like a squirrel gathering nuts for winter, I tried to store up as many zzzs as I could before the big day (if only sleeping with a bowling ball for a stomach was comfortable).

I will be honest, though, I have lived to tell about it. Yes, there were plenty of nights in the beginning when I considered making dark under eye circles a fashion statement. A year later, it is still tough to be awoken in the middle of night by a crying Baby S. But it does get easier... and I will say (embracing the glass-half-full approach), I get a heck of a lot done in a day. Perhaps that's because I'm a working mom who already has an agenda set for the weekend before it arrives, but getting up earlier just makes me more productive.

Take Sunday, for example. I met the fabulous Glamamom for coffee at 9:30am, following by swinging at the park with our cutie pies. Then Husband, Baby S and I took the bus across town to meet my cousin for brunch. Afterwards, I ran some errands with Baby S, followed by an early dinner with friends at their apartment. By 8pm, I felt like I'd crammed three days into one. And while I don't plan every free day with multiple activities (Lord knows I like my down time...), knowing that the time is there to accomplish a few things because I'm up and embracing the day is actually pretty cool.

Sure, there are moments when I miss the lazy weekends of sleeping in till 11am. Absolutely no question about it. But there is something special about knowing that you have a full day ahead of you, filled with possibilities.

And, as my father would say, "You can sleep when you're dead."

READ BETWEEN THE LINES: Substantial amounts of coffee required on daily basis to embrace "glass half full" approach.


review: shutterfly holiday collection

I think most of us would admit to feeling stressed at some point during the holiday season. From navigating through frenzied shoppers & deciding what gifts to purchase, to seeing the days slip by, knowing there's so much left to do.... sufficed to say, December can get downright nutty. Thank goodness for spiked egg nog.

There is a moment when the hectic pace & craziness of the season slips away, though. For me, it's collecting the mail each night. I absolutely love to receive holiday cards.  I adore seeing how the children of family & friends have grown, reading the yearly recaps and checking out the different card designs, from classic to modern.  Each card is then placed on our refrigerator or mantle to enjoy for an even longer amount of time. In my opinion, holiday cards bring out the essence of what the season is really about -- joy, love, hope, friends, family.

I also love to SEND Christmas cards. With nearly every photo I take of Baby S, I think to myself.... will this be the one? Will this be the perfect shot? "The one," of course, is the photo that will be placed on our card. Sure, I might be slightly crazed (see above) but what can I say, I love picking out that special picture and the perfect card to send to friends & family.

Shutterfly is making my life easier this year.  We have used their service before to make albums and create prints, but who knew they had such a wide array of cards to choose from?  The only problem I see thus far is deciding which one to pick... here are a few of my favorites:

So classic...

Perfect for the NYC family!

And if I can't decide on just one picture...

Oh, decisions, decisions.  But, at least these are FUN decisions, like choosing between chocolate-covered pretzels and peppermint bark.  Not whether it's a shirt or tie for dad this year.

*Right now, Shutterfly is offering free shipping on orders over $30.  Happy card shopping!

This post is part of a series sponsored by Shutterfly.


review: gustorganics

I had been wanting to try GustOrganics, the certified green & organic restaurant, since reading this article about their baby food back in January. Which means, yes, it only took me until November to get there. Sheeeeeesh (issue to dissect another day, like months from now).

I have to say, I felt cleansed & healthier just stepping inside. The bamboo/green/raw materials theme is somewhat spa-esque, not usually the aesthetic you find in a bustling space such as this one. Mellow tunes playing overhead seemed in direct contrast to the surprisingly packed restaurant we found on a late Saturday afternoon pop in.

Husband and I were there primarily for Baby S to sample their baby food menu, but of course, managed to try a couple items for ourselves (starting with the wine list). I asked our waiter about food options for Baby S, and he immediately told me that it would take 30 minutes for her food to come out, as they prepare on the spot with only the freshest ingredients. We had the time so this wasn't a big deal, but please remember if you plan on trying out GustOrganics for yourself and your Little One.

Because there's nothing more fun than a hungry, cranky baby!

While Baby S waited (somewhat) patiently, I shared my soup with her, a fall-themed squash flavor that was pretty tasty. When her food arrived, we were nearing the end of our wine. Excellent timing as we took turns feeding her, both of us armed with spoons pointed in her direction. For her main course, I ordered the "chicken breast made with zucchini, carrot, one bay leaf, and salted water." She seemed to enjoy it, though the real hit was dessert -- a puree of "peaches, sugar and GustOrganics pure water." Clearly she gets her sweet tooth from me.

Side note: GustOrganics (at $7-10 per entree) does not skimp on portions -- we had both selections wrapped up and she got 3 more meals out of them over the next couple of days.

If ordering in is more your style, you're in luck. GustOrganics will deliver their baby food right to your doorstep via a carbon-free footprint delivery service in a biodegradable container. See website for more details & pricing.

My "two thumbs up" rating is two-fold, first because they even have baby food on the menu (fresh & huge portions!) & secondly, we were able to easily stash our stroller in the corner upon arrival.


this, that & the other

I find it so easy to make Seinfeld references, don't you?

Life has been eventful lately, both as a mommy & a blogger.  I'm talking everything from Runaway Bunnies at Halloween to meeting Niecy Nash.  Here's a quick rundown of what I've been up to lately:

I had this short piece published on the CBS New York website.  Researching "Daddy & Me" play date ideas was a lot of fun, as it gets me excited about living in NYC all over again (while temporarily forgetting things like, as astutely proclaimed by The Rent is Too D*mn High party leader Jimmy McMillan, umm.... the rent is too d*mn high).

With the end of 2010 on the horizon (& nearly all of my vacation days used), I'm already thinking about where we'll go on vacation next year.  Since Baby S can fly free until age 2, Husband and I are thinking of a bigger trip, though we love Nantucket.  Bigger as in Europe.  This is as far as I've gotten, though, as I'm too overwhelmed with the endless options floating around in my head.  Luckily, I can turn to my cousin's new blog, To Europe With Kids.  Sonja and family have travelled extensively in Europe, and she is chock full of tips/suggestions/itinerary ideas for travelling with young children to teenagers.  This is going to be a great resource once the true planning begins.  I can't wait!

I was recently invited to an event at the Samsung Experience store at Columbus Circle.  Their sleek & sexy showroom includes a makeshift kitchen featuring, you guessed it, Samsung products. First off, when I think of Samsung, I don't get much further than flat screen TVs.  I didn't even realize they made household appliances, but make them they do... is it wrong to covet this seriously awesome refrigerator?  I'm pretty sure it is, yet I couldn't help myself.  Of course, living in a rental, I am not in the market for a new oven, refrigerator or sigh washer & dryer.  And yet, a girl can dream (let it be known I dream about stainless appliances only on occasion). 

Miss Nash & Plain Jane
Highlight of event?  Meeting the one-and-only Niecy Nash.  Looking pretty glam in a silky red number, I got a chance to speak with her briefly.  I told her that it has long been understood between a friend and I that if we could have drinks with any celebrity, it would be her.  Response from NN: "Mmm....Well, I'd have a drink with me, too!"  Miss Niecy does not suffer from lack of self esteem and I kind of love that about her.  Man, do I ever look BLAH next to her!

I attended American Eagle's 2011 Spring Preview, paying particular attention to what's in store (literally) for their 77kids & Little 77 line.  I saw some really, REALLY cute items for Spring, so am excited about that.  In fact, their stores are doing so well that they're expanding to new locations - that's great news for 77kids.  The relaxed yet urban look of Aerie had me walking out of the room wishing I was in a hammock by a lake somewhere, just minutes away from jetting into the city in a Mini Cooper (yes, I also dream about Mini Coopers).

Our little bunny
Lastly - and most, most importantly - I chased after a little Runaway Bunny on Halloween.  Baby S was pretty adorable in her bunny costume.  Our weekend was Halloween activity-filled, with a venture to Central Park on Saturday and a carnival at Hudson River Park on Sunday.  I loooooved seeing all the kids dressed up in their costumes, which only makes me wonder... what will she be next year!?

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