4.26.2012

square marks the spot (and a giveaway!)






Thank you to SquareSpot for sponsoring this post! Visit SquareSpot to find great deals and discounts on high quality family-centric products and services.

Baby Sister will be 7 months next weekend, and a few weeks ago I decided it was time to get my exercise on.  You know, I like to ease into things... who wants to rush into that whole working out thing, anyway? (Any marathon runners or Iron Man competitors reading this may be rolling their eyes at my slack self right now, but that's okay. It's deserved, I'll admit it!) On a positive note, I've started hitting the gym, but I can already tell the Stairmaster and I are going to be duking it out pretty soon.

Worried that my newfound exercising self would burn out before I've had a chance to develop Michelle Obama arms, I started looking around for other "fun" ways to exercise (because that's possible, right?).  I found a great deal on Squarespot and am excited to try it out in the coming weeks -- 3 Strollercize classes in Central Park for $65 (a $120 value), plus free registration. These classes do actually sound fun-ish, and Central Park will be beautiful in May. I also like the fact that Baby Sister will be joining me as I try and tone/flatten/demolish her former home.  We'll see how it goes!

I'm also so happy to have discovered Squarespot in the midst of all this "new me" discovery time. The online marketplace is the brainchild of Michelle Clark, a NYC mama whose goal is to bring great deals and discounts on high quality family-focused products and services. If you're like me, you receive multiple "daily deal"-type emails, but I'm really pleased that Squarespot stands out from the pack. Aside from fabulous weekly deals, you can also sign up for a Squarecard, giving you exclusive benefits to numerous retailers online and in the city.  Buy 1 get 1 free cupcakes from Butter Lane, anyone? (Forget that part about my exercise plan for a minute...)

Squarecard benefits are not just in NYC, either -- Squarespot is national with retail deals in Chicago, Palm Beach, Los Angeles and Orange County, too.  Signing up is easy -- click here to get started!

Last but certainly not least, Squarecard would like to offer Baby Meets City readers a $100 Visa gift card (yes, you read that correctly) to celebrate its launch! See below for 2 quick and easy ways to enter. This offer is open to US residents only.

Good luck!

4.24.2012

date night

Hard truth here: Husband and I don't get out much. I'm not really proud of this fact, but there you have it. I could go into the reasons why (guilt over making nanny stay late/ not having a regular babysitter/ cost of said babysitter on top of night out/ location in Upstate Manhattan/ etc) but that's a post for another day... and who wants to admit they're not out partying like rock stars anymore?*

* I did party like a rock star once or twice. But, that was a decade called my twenties, which seems like a realllllly long time ago now.

Needless to say, I was beyond thrilled when the chance at a night out presented itself. "Benji," a film Husband edited, was chosen to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, so obviously he was not going to miss it (and clearly, when there is a red carpet and opportunity to dress up, I must be present). After arranging with a lovely friend to babysit, I was excited for weeks beforehand... until I realized I HAD NOTHING TO WEAR. And not only that, I have zero time for shopping these days.

Enter Rent the Runway, a luxury dress rental website where you can, literally, rent a look right off the runway. This is such a genius idea, and quite frankly, perfect for moms who not only have precious little time to shop, but don't need a closet full of cocktail dresses, either. Jeans and a cute top are much more my "go to" wardrobe pieces anyway. After perusing their website, I must admit picking a dress was much harder than I thought it would be. There were so many gorgeous ones to choose from, but I did find the categories helpful... with everything from "pear" to "straight and narrow" to help narrow down the choices, in addition to length of dress, etc. I also found reading the reviews helpful. There's even a "bump-friendly" section for expectant mamas!  Worried about what size to choose, I was relieved to find that Rent the Runway will ship a second size to you for free.


Jenny Fleiss, Co-Founder of Rent the Runway (and a new mama herself!), was kind enough to talk to me, and expressed her agreement that her business is a great option for busy moms. I was also curious at how she was balancing work with new daughter, Daniella, at home.

From Jenny:

"There's definitely an adjustment period, but I find I am setting my own rules and standards for getting things done so that I can spend more time with my baby. Being a mother is definitely a motivating factor. I now spend even more time prioritizing my schedule, and I'm always finding ways to multi-task so I can maximize the time I get to spend with her, whether it's taking my blackberry on the treadmill with me or getting in early to work."

Jenny counts Bubby's and story time at Hudson Park Library as some of her favorite places to bring Daniella.

After choosing this dress by Theia (retails $595, rented for $75!) I was ready for the big night. We rubbed elbows with saw Robert DeNiro from a distance and the directors of the film made a point of calling out Husband's awesome skills in their introduction. The documentary itself is a touching and stirring portrait of a life lost too soon, and naturally, I am so proud of Husband's work on the film. Afterwards, we headed to an after-party at 404, which was so much fun. Our evening was truly a "New York" night, and a reminder that we all need one of those every once in a while.

Guess I'd better start scheduling a babysitter more often...

It's very Mad Men, no?


Disclaimer: Rent the Runway generously offered me credit on their website for the purposes of this review. All opinions expressed herein are my own.

4.20.2012

big apple books: it's transportation week!

by Jennifer Swender and Paul DuBois Jacobs 

Toddler S, other than being obsessed with dinosaurs, is in love with all things transportation. Trains, planes, automobiles... you get the idea. She's taking a Music for Aardvarks class right now, and, not surprisingly, her favorite song in class is called "Taxi." The delight she gets from seeing a train arriving in the subway station is infectious, and always gets us excited about whatever adventure we're headed on. Needless to say, I was totally excited to discover the latest additions to Big Apple Books ever-growing list: My Taxi Ride and My Subway Ride.

Written by Brooklyn couple Jennifer Swender and Paul DuBois Jacobs, these books are almost poetic in their descriptions of travelling via subway and taxi in New York City. The illustrations, by Selina Alko, are fun for kids and adults alike, and I loved how each book covered our favorite places in the city, from the Central Park Zoo to the Museum of Natural History (because everything comes back to dinosaurs at our house...)

In each book, whether it's by subway or taxi, the reader sets out to discover an array of experiences, that like New York City itself, can't be replicated anywhere else. Perfect books for the little traveller in your home!

4.13.2012

friday finds: the family portrait

In a couple weeks, we're having some family pictures taken by the very talented Katie of  Katie Markquart Photography. We live close to Ft. Tryon Park, home of The Cloisters and gorgeous views of the Hudson River, so I think we'll head over there for a pretty backdrop. I just hope the weather cooperates and spring will truly have arrived by then. And, oh yeah, if the gals could be perfectly happy with no crankiness, crying or spit up, that'd be good, too!

In the meantime, I've been perusing photos on Pinterest for creative ideas and inspiration. Here are a few I've found that I just adore:

Photo credit: Nicole Cassano Photography

Photo credit: Leighkm Photography
 
Photo credit: Fracture Blog

Photo credit: Caroline Tran Photography


Photo credit: Katie Markquart Photography
 Do you have a favorite picture of your family?  If so, I'd love to see it!  Post to Baby Meets City's Facebook page if you feel comfortable, and I'll look forward to sharing photos from our session in a couple weeks!


4.04.2012

dinosaurs & eating over the sink

You're wondering what the connection is, right?

Toddler S is still knee (possibly thigh) deep into everything dino, and thus far we've indulged her adoration. I love it when she tells me the stegosaurus is her favorite, what can I say. She has dinosaur figurines, stuffed animals and books, and we bought a family membership to the American Museum of Natural History mostly for the dinosaur wing. I recently saw this hair clip on Etsy and couldn't resist it. And just go ahead, ask me anything you want to know about the Cretaceous Period...

EESH.

Dino fever is spreading and I'm feeling slightly powerless against it.

My Dino Gal
And it doesn't stop there, of course. PBS brings us Dinosaur Train (dinos and trains, the other toddler obsession... those people are geniuses), which is a big hit in our household. When I heard a child screaming "All aboard!" at the park this past weekend, I knew it was my little cherub.

But here, people, is where I draw the line (or at least until recently) -- the Nick Jr. series, Dino Dan. Oh, where do I start. The premise of every show is Dan and his vivid imagination, conjuring up dinosaurs around every corner. To say Dan is 'going through a dinosaur phase' is a vast understatement. The kid is obsessed. OR, and here's where I go deep: is there a super natural element to the show, and everyone around him is just BLIND and DEAF? These are the questions that keep me up at night. The list of possibly vision and hearing-impaired people around Dan isn't helping matters:

Trek -- I'm convinced that with a name like Trek, this child actually belongs to Sarah Palin.
Cory -- The lovable, overweight best friend, whose every bit of dialogue revolves around a search for food. C'mon writers, give the hungry kid a story line!
Ricardo -- This future quarterback is going to look back on high school as the good years.
Kami -- Mean Girl in training.
Angie -- I actually quite like her. She's the sweet girl-next-door and Dan's future girlfriend. At least I hope so, for his sake.

Dan's Mom, despite needing to fire the show's wardrobe stylist, gets an A++ for being the most patient mother on the small screen today. And it wasn't till recently that I connected the dots on who she is, after Husband sent me her website (he has a bit of a crush). Allana Harkin, aka Dan's Mom, is one half of the duo behind Eating Over the Sink on Babble, and if you enjoy reading any humor blogs or commentaries on motherhood, I highly recommend this one. The fabulous Samantha Bee, comedienne and "correspondent" on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, makes up the other half. I've loved reading their blog, so imagine my surprise when I realized the lady wearing the slip-on sneakers was, in fact, eating over the sink in her spare time. Sam and Allana's posts combine the hilarious and heartfelt, and I'm excited to share a few of them here:

Be The Awesome That You Are
Hunter-Gatherer-Warrior Mother
Bra Shopping 101

So here's the deal. As a result of this revelation, I'm going to try and forget about Ricardo and Kami, who I suspect will date one day, and Cory's recurring quest for snacks. I'll forgive Trek's penchant for being loud and obnoxious, which I suppose is just the role of little brothers. I'll attempt to suspend disbelief and embrace Dan's T Rex size imagination... oh man, I'll try my hardest.

Dan's Mom, with your ill-fitting mom jeans, this is all for you! And for my little gal, who, like Dan, can't get enough of all things dino.
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