He Named Me Malala – A Review From a Parental Perspective #withMalala


Lily’s 5th grade class read about Malala this year. She was inspired and would come home and tell us all about this modern-day hero. So when I was approached to be a media partner for the upcoming documentary – He Named Me Malala – airing on the NatGeo Channel on MONDAY February 29 at 8:00pm EST,   I had to jump onboard.

He Named Me Malala is a powerful documentary about Malala Yousafzai. Malala is the youngest person ever to win a Nobel Peace Prize and she has proven to be this generations, hero in a very unconventional way. Unlike the heroes we see on the big screen – you know muscles, brawn, skin-tight outfits, capes, and magical transforming power, Malala’s strength and power lie in her words.

At the age of 11, living in Pakistan, she decided to start a blog. Yes… a blog. A blog where she talked about the Taliban regime and her support for girls to be educated. She gained fans and was shot down in public 3 times on a bus and left for dead.

He Named Me Malala tells this story and has real-time accounts of what happened, what has happened since, and gives the viewer not only the full play-by-play of Malala’s powerful story but also takes us into her culture and family.

I’m not going to go into a full review of the film, because you can read all about it all over the web. However, I would like to give you a parents perspective and whether or not you should watch this film with your child.  *Note: I said WITH your child. It’s a tough one to have a kid watch alone. 

Lily is 11. She’s in 5th grade. She has read the book and knows the story. She had lots of questions about the shooting and grasping the concept that girls are denied educational rights over boys. She had questions while reading the book and we answered them the best we could.

The film. The film is different. It’s visual and there are a lot of images that are tough to take in for young kids. The content is serious with visuals of the blood on the bus, her face after being shot, and imagery of local life in poverty ridden areas of Pakistan.

There are a few moments of emotional relief like the beautiful relationship she has with her father who, contradictory to the stereotype of Pakistani men, supports and fuels Malala’s women’s right’s movement, and another moment when Malala is caught looking at pictures of David Beckham online. I mean… who can blame her right. But overall, this film is intense. Especially for kids who have not been exposed to any context or real life experience similar to the Pakistani terrain, culture, and imagery in this context and storyline.

He Named Me Malala is a PG-13 film. And this is an appropriate rating. If your child is watching PG-13 movies already, then you should watch this because this film with its ( very few) graphic visuals and true change-makers- story that’s happening right now. At least this film has a better message than other PG-13 flicks where zombies are eating people or snakes have invading a plane or even 6 o’clock the news.


This said, it is an important documentary that should be watched by kids in Middle and High School. The mature content will resonate and may even work as a call to action for some kids.

He Named Me Malala is an important documentary and PARENTS… you …WE… should watch it. To know the truth and to know what’s happening and to know that our children will be inspired by this strong change-maker.

What does the name MALALA mean? We learn from the film that – Malala’s father – who is a significant part of inspiring his daughter to fight for what she believes in,  named his first born -fueled with power from the beginning. Malala is named after the Pastun Joan of Arc of sorts –  Malalai of Maiwand,  who fought and gave her own life while she  encouraged Afghan soldiers to stand up against British colonialists.

He Named Me Malala will be shown commercial free on the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC channel on Monday February 29 at 8:00pm ET/7:00pm CT.

Another way to support this amazing story and cause is to tweet #withMalala! Between now and 3/10 and 21st Century Fox will donate $1 to the Malala Fund for every tweet tagged #withMalala. It’s never been easier to support the Fund and girls’ education globally. Tell all your friends to get on board too!

Please tweet this message —>  @thenewyorkmom & I are standing #withMalala Please RT this message to have @21CF donate $1 to @Malalafund 4 supporting girls right to edu! 

*Thanks for swinging by and supporting this powerful story!  You guys are awesome!*

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Exit 4 – A Gourmet Food Hall in the Heart of the NYC Suburbs

Be still my food loving heart! A one stop gourmet food hall for all my hangry cravings!

Earlier this month, Exit 4 Food Hall opened in the town next door and they invited me to come over for a sampling for Media Night. I’m not going to beat around the bush… it’s good. really good, so good in fact that if you are heading up north from Manhattan it is TOTALLY worth the stop. They made it easy for you to remember… EXIT 4 off Interstate 684.

So what’s a food hall. Well if you are in Brooklyn or Manhattan then you know exactly what these are. It’s one restaurant that has several different food style selections almost like a food court but elevated without the free chicken bourbon samples.It’s not fast food and no chain restaurants it’s gourmet sit down dinner food in a very communal seating situation. You can expect prices to be anywhere from the teens to $25 for an entree.

Exit 4 has 9 stations that include everything from the freshest raw oysters to home-made pastas, sandwiches, bahn-mi, chicken and ribs, cheese and meat platters, sushi, wood fire pizza and more.  A bar serves wine, beer and other cocktails. This is the new wave of eating that has taken over the Brooklyn and Manhattan food scene and now it’s right here… in my back yard!  As a family of four, one of use has to always compromise when we go out to dinner. In comes the concept of a food hall to fit all our needs. Thomas can have his mac and cheese to his heart’s content, Matt can have some oysters and sashimi, my pick is the squid ink pasta and Lily can have her lobster roll.

Izi Albanese, the owner of Exit 4 Food Hall, has successfully collected a handful of local culinary favorites to come together in one place and this is the winning recipe. The long communal tables, quiet comfy seating in the back, bar stools that are never empty for too long and the excitement of the entire place makes for a staple that needs to be rooted in any town. This place gets PACKED and loud and there is a waiting list because they don’t take reservations… especially on the weekends and I love it. No more sleepy suburbs… there is LIFE up here!

The nine food stations at Exit 4: 

Charcuterie 153

You get your cheeses, smoked goods and meat platters. And did I mention the Chocolate fountain!

X 4 on Tap

Featuring local craft beer, wines on tap, and my obsession… nitro coffee. You MUST ask for this!

Fuoco Wood-Fire Pizza

Create your own pizza or choose a gourmet combination for the table.

Dirty Roots

Myong Feiner, who has a local cult following, spins a Korean twist on everyday salads and sandwiches.Try the Grilled octopus and the Ahi Bahn Mi.


Slow cooked meats, comfort food and classic sandwiches.

Inno Sushi

Chef James Jung is at the helm of this one with a signature Exit 4 Sushi roll and for those of us who crave the real deal… a Poke Bowl (sticky rice, raw fish, seaweed and other ingredients) is on this menu!

Piacci Pasta Bar

The pasta bar boasts fresh pastas, some I have never even heard of, and my favorite – Squid Ink. Choose your pasta, choose your sauce, choose your protein and it gets whipped together right in front of you.


Rawsome Seafood Bar

Joe from Mount Kisco Seafood is the captain of this seafood ship with fresh clams, oysters, an overstuffed lobster sandwich and seasonal soups. It’s a seafood… especially shellfish lovers treat and will not disappoint.


Head on over to Exit 4 Food Hall to get your foodie fix in the burbs!

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10 Indoor Activities to Beat the Snow Days!

The New York Mom

It’s FREEZING in New York! We’ve been hit with a bizarre winter this year going from negative temps to a balmy 55 degrees in a 48 hour period. The kids have been out of school for what seems like AGES and I am about to lose my mind with these frigid indoor days!

But whether you have kids or not… an icy polar vortex means you MUST stay indoors… or else! As Thomas says – Elsa will catch you! 

I know what you non snow types are saying… it’s snow… build a magical snowman! Not so simple you warm weather friends. It’s been so cold that you cannot even play in the snow, your face freezes the minute you step outside and all your bones stiffen to prevent you from moving another inch in the freeze that is happening out there.

So what DO we do in here? We’ve already binge watched Aziz Ansari and Parenthood… but now what! Here are a few tips for to keep you busy, sane and Instagrammy during these unexpected wintry days!

The New York Mom

Here are 10 Indoor Activities to Beat the SNOW DAYS! 

  1. Bake cookies- Always a hit! And go the extra mile to make the frosting and decorate.
  2. Mad Scientist – Make some slime, playdoh, Build a volcano or whatever your little wild science mind comes up with.
  3. Dance Party – No really… turn off the lights and plug-in your christmas twinkle strand and dance your heart out!!
  4. Camp out by your fireplace! This is totally A family favorite here!!! Sleeping bags, marshmallows, pillows everywhere! perfect!
  5. Make Something – This is the perfect time to get out the glitter and glue and make something awesome.
  6. Spa Day – Yes… make it a day of pampering just for you. A long lazy hot bath, a hot toddy by the fireplace and an actual old school paper book. Sidetone: the kids loved this. i never got my spa day!
  7. Board Games – Grab your family and your neighbors and play a game around a board!
  8. Make a decadent meal. Don’t you wish you had the time to make a meal totally from scratch? Finally open up that pasta maker you received as a wedding gift and start making some fresh spinach pasta on this wintry day!
  9. Curate your closet – I know… it’s not the best suggestion but if you say you are ‘curating’ your closet as opposed to “cleaning out’ your closet… it sounds soo fashion bloggeresque!
  10. It’s a SNOW DAY! Go build that magical snowman!!!
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Valentines Gift Guide for the Gents

It’s almost Valentines Day and I have the perfect Valentines Day Gift Guide for Gents! Men are tough to shop for and while they surely appreciate a good bow tie or a button down, we never seem to surprise the boys with anything exciting. Unless you are like my friend who made a 3D doll that looks like her husband. That’s just bonus points! 

I’ve been writing a few gazillion gift guides this season and thought I would share one of my faves that’s live right on PROVISIONS MAG. 

A fab gift guide for that dashing gent in your life. Hope on over to PROVISIONS MAG for the full scoop!


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Do Parents Get a Sick Day!

It’s hard for parents to be sick. And sometimes … i welcome a sick day because it forces me to just stop moving.

Matt has been out-of-town a lot and we’ve had these ‘snow days’ which are fun and all but it’s tough when i also have work deadlines and commitments.

Have you tried to get a toddler in a snow suit… you come talk to me after you have lived through that!

Finally after months of dodging the weather change and everyone else being sick… i got the lucky sick ticket  and have been sick for a few days with severe sneezing fits that have been hurting my body. Can you break a rib from sneezing!

Well Matt has been taking care of me and my sweet Lily – who gets nervous anytime I’m sick-  has been making me tea every evening. And gave me the last bit of her ice cream cake today!

But still today, I had to cancel all my work events and slept all day… and all of a sudden i was alerted that school was getting out early due to snow and had to jump out of my sick-bed, wash my sick puffy face, throw on a coat over my sick pj’s and rush over to pick up Thomas from preschool because they had early dismissal.

Lily came home from school with all the emotional charge a 5ht grader carries all day and to top that off we had MATH homework to contend with.

Parents never get a sick day. How do we do it? I don’t know. I had to cancel my day just so I would have enough energy to make it through a few hours of after-school activities.

I’m not feeling any better but finally took some – knock you out-  meds to get rid of this sickness overnight.

Tis the season for getting sick you guys… and while we are busy taking care of the littles… who is taking care of us!

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Meet Me at The Philharmonic


Hey there reader… i’m hosting a meetup this SUNDAY – Feb 7th at 2pm with the Westchester Philharmonic!

The Westchester Philharmonic is having a great afternoon concert that is specifically geared toward the younger audiences but is also for seasoned musical patrons. So we thought it would be a great idea to meet a few of the locals and say hello at this annual event. I hope you can come and join us this Sunday!!

Don’t worry you will make it home in time for the Superbowl… a little culture and sports all in the same day!

  • This family friendly concert features Multi-Grammy Award winner opera star – DAWN UPSHAW
  • A Pre-Concert Petting Zoo allows kids to meet members of the Philharmonic and touch the musical instruments.
  • Meet some local families and Westchester County based online parenting media at 2pm!
  • Kids 17 and under are FREE!!! ( with adult ticket purchase)

The Phil’s Friends and Family Concert

at: The Concert Hall
The Performing Arts Center Purchase College
735 Anderson Hill Road Purchase, New York

2pm Musical Petting Zoo

3pm Concert! 

Advance reservations are required, please call (914) 682-3707.

I’ll see you this Sunday at the Phil!


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and then one day

your little baby

who would ask to be carried up the stairs to bed

who would jump in every puddle she every saw

who would hold your leg for support – lean way back – and look up at you and say, ” mommy, i love you”

who would hug you with all her might with her tiny hands barely wrapping around even half your waist...

your little baby …

turns eleven.

The New York Mom

Happy Birthday to my sweetest Lily


// shows me compassion

// teaches me forgiveness

// feeds my imagination

// and truly believes that i – her flawed mother – is much more awesome that I ever think.

I thank God for you everyday Lily. every single day  Even at your dragon moments, because it’s within those dragon moments that you are becoming fierce and finding your patience, your strength, and your human limitations. I am honored that I get to be the one who guides you through this life and join in on your adventures.

// To the moon… nothing left! //



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