A S.T.E.A.M. Play Space at The Westchester Mall

The long-awaited play space at the Westchester Mall has finally opened! and just in time for the winter months.

Thomas and I headed to the mall to run a few errands and pick up a christmas suit for him and lo and behold… the play space was open! This is part of the new Connect and Play – tech lounge and play center that really brings the classic mall play space into the tech world. There are comfy couches and charging stations all around and the play space is nothing short of an interactive science and art center!

This Play space is not like other mall play spaces. It’s almost like a mini children’s museum with a full S.T.E.A.M. focus. There are 4 primary activity centers featuring – art, engineering, music, and a tile table. A STEAM jr, space for babies and toddlers is blocked off to keep the crawlers and early walkers contained and safe.

Thomas and I were there on a weekday morning and it was really quiet and clean. I am curious to see what this space will look when it’s used. While I felt that the space was pretty cool with the STEAM focus, Thomas wanted to just run around and there really isn’t any space to just run. Additionally the Tile Table is pretty small and there were 3 kids at the table when we were there and that was at capacity, the digital art easels filled up too and Thomas had to wait for his turn but it took some of the play out of the experience. I know my toddler and he wants to tumble and run and there isn’t much for that. But there is a lot of interesting interactive play and he loved the engineering corner.

Thomas and I are looking forward to spending some time at this play space this winter. Bonus for me… there is an Anthropologie, Nordstrom, Potterbarn, Apple Store, Sur La Table and so much more at the Westchester!

The fancy new food court is slated to open Aril2017… I can’t wait! Seems like this is a new concept for mall food courts and play spaces. I’m looking forward to seeing all the changes.

The Westchester Mall is in White Plains, NY and a quick train ride or drive north of Manhattan.

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Apple Picking with Kids

Apple Picking The-New-York-Mom

Living in New York means that every season gets a grand hurrah! and Fall – being my favorite season, gets lots of hurrahs! Apple Picking is one of our favorite fall festivities. The smell of the crisp air, the walk through the orchards, apples eaten along the pick, apple cider, cinnamon donuts… I could go on forever. Apple picking with kids has it’s set of challenges as does basically doing anything with kids. Here is my tried and true list of do’s and don’t of apple picking with kids from my years of schlepping my kids up and down orchards up here in New York.

HUGE TIP – Some of the orchards have already run out of apples so please call before you head up. We are fortunate to live in the middle of orchards so we go all the time on weekdays with no crowds. 

Apple picking on the weekends is for those of you who like to live on the edge. We go to some of the orchards that are about an hour north of Manhattan. The weekends are insane. There is no charm in over crowded apple picking orchards. You have to stand in lines for everything and sometimes after standing in that line for 30 minutes you STILL don’t get your Cinnamon Donut! Then you have to walk forever to get to your car to then sit in traffic inching forward as your kids scream because … remember… no cinnamon donut! Go during the week if you can.

Apple Picking The-New-York-Mom

Take the kids apple picking when they are off on ‘school days‘. It’s not as crowded and you will certainly dodge the ‘Instagram Selfie’ crowd.

Dress – don’t wear heels when apple picking! I can’t believe I have to tell you this… you would be surprised at how many gals show up in heels!  You know this is dirt and mud and orchard land right. You are walking up hills and picking apples! Skip the heels. Wear your fall boots, skinnies, a sweater and a hat. Rock!

Apple Picking The-New-York-Mom

Bring water, it can get hot up in the orchards so bring water. The orchards are usually a bit of a walk from the car so a backpack with a snack and water is best.

Some orchards have evening music so check in advance and time your trip accordingly.

I wear sunscreen year round and so do the kids. So add that to your backpack.

Apple Picking The-New-York-Mom

A little provision for you and your honey. Go ahead – fill that water bottle with a little something special. Sit up at the top of  your apple orchard taking in the scenery and sip away. Because those drink lines are super long and not worth the wait.

MUST go on a hayride. So fun. And definitely do the corn mazes!!!

Poision Ivy likes to go all around apple trees. We haven’t had an issue but some orchards might overlook this and forget to take the poison ivy out. Be on the look out for three shiny leaves! Apple Picking The-New-York-Mom

Eat the apples from the tree. I know you paid for your bag of apples but what’s apple picking without munching on one red delicious fruit while picking.

Head up north to the Hudson Valley – Beacon, Coldspring, Hudson, Rhinebeck … all amazing towns with gorgeous views and not half the crowds. The time you will spend sitting in your car in traffic will be put to great use driving through the Hudson Valley on twisted roads with falling leaves while taking in some of the best scenery that New York State has to offer.

There ya have it. A bonafide tried and true guide to apple picking this season. Have fun!

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Summer 2016

We are in summer mode over here. The kids are out of school and the lazy summer days have begun. Lily has a sleepaway camp later in the summer, Thomas starts a local town camp next month but for this week we are winging it!

I’ve decided not to put Lily in an all summer camp this summer. I want her to just hang, get bored, to have unstructured days, to find her own entertainment, and to hang out with the neighborhood kids.

We moved to this community for this very reason. Lily walks to the town pool, downtown, rides bikes all over the neighborhood with friends, eats popsicles in the afternoon and builds fairy houses with Thomas. It’s that old school – non programmed- summer days of old.

We’ve been having lazy brunches in town and long strolls through our neighborhood saying hi to the chickens and pig and goats.

Yummy Salmon Toast from the Reading Room in Katonah,NY

If you know us , you know that we don’t sit still for long and we have a whole list of summer trips and day trips and quick jaunts all around the tri-state and I can’t wait to share this with you. New York has just so very much to offer and there is never a shortage of engaging activities for kids… I’m talking about hikes, museums, towns to wander through, flea markets, balloon festivals…etc.

Summer 2016 we are ready!

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Screening of The Little Prince at Jacob Burns Film Center

Lily and I attended a very special sneak- peak screening of the new film The Little Prince. This gorgeous stop motion animation film is inspired by the ever popular children’s book – The Little Prince.

Academy Award Wining Direct Mark Osbourne… a local neighbor up here in the burbs… takes us into a very relatable story but one with a lot of magic. The film was screened for a very special event at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, NY

The Little Prince is a story of a girl and her single mother. The mother works hard to provide the very best for the child – buying a house in the best school district, scheduling and over scheduling the child so she’s exposed to every single academic experience… all the while.. forgetting about the fun and color and emotion of life. A neighbor.. the Aviator… introduces the child to the world of the Little Prince.

This film is pure art work. From the ideas presented in visual and emotional capacity to the beautiful music and message of the film. It’s a MUST SEE.

I can’t even truly being to express the imagery and the emotion this film exudes… so I’ve attached the trailer for you to view.

This film sticks to you and inspires you and for kids… it opens up a new creative pathway and thinking outside the ‘scheduled’ box. This is a somber film, with a few humorous moments to break it up. It’s thought-provoking and the imagery is just stunning. The film opens with the narrator telling us a story of the first drawing he made as a child. _ it was of a boa constrictor eating an Elephant. Elephant was in the long narrow belly of the Boa and when the narrator presents this image to a class of his peers… they think it’s a hat. This film encourages us to look outside the box… or rather live our entire lives outside the box. Actually get rid of the box entirely! It’s a great reminder to stay forever young… and as a parent… to keep reminding our children that childhood is for creating and creativity and freedom and magic.

Before the screening we met Mark Osbourne and he chatted about the process and had a few of the original clay structures used for the film. Fun Fact : Director Mark Osbourne’s son is the voice of the Little prince in the film. His son was helping out when the film was being created and they loved it so much that they kept him in!

The Little prince runs 108 minutes and is rated PG.

After the screening we walked across the street to the Jacob Burns Media lab for an afternoon of crafting movie making, and digital creativity. The media Lab has some amazing digital creative programs for kids of all ages. Lily’s fave has always been the claymation station.

Swing by JACOB BURNS FILM CENTER to learn all about their amazing film schedule and Media Arts Lab.

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A Day at Muscoot Farm

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The weather has finally warmed up enough for us to throw on some coats and boots and headed off to the farm. The kids and I have been stir crazy and have been craving a good ole afternoon at our local farm. Muscoot Farm, is just a couple of miles from our house and it’s our go-to on any given day for hiking, farm chores, and saying hello to all the animals. IMG_1670   IMG_1749 IMG_1769-0 Muscoot Farm

I used to take Lily to this farm when she was younger and it’s been a treat to be back in the area for Thomas and his own farm adventures.

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Some of the pictures… the ones with the leaves… are from a trip to Muscoot in November. But I came across them while writing this and had to share. Thomas loves this farm and we love to support it. From the farmers market on weekends, the kids programming, Maple Sugaring, fairy gardens, farm chores… all of it. There is something for every age and never a dull moment.

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It was still a bit cold this week, but we managed. The trees were all being tapped for maple syrup and there were babies in the barn. Thomas is at eye level with all the animal private bits so this makes for constant, interesting, non-filtered, commentary for all to enjoy.

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Although the ponds were frozen it didn’t stop us from our favorite activity… throwing things into the water. This time we threw ice chunks into the water and watched them bounce all across the pond.

I’m so excited for the week ahead. We have temps in the 50’s and 60’s which means it’s flip-flop weather right!

We barely even had a winter over here and i’m still eagerly awaiting the warmer weather. Just thinking about flip flops, shorts, no jackets, no snow boots, no socks… enough to make a gal do a little summertime dance!

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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.

Rotiss-A-Q

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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New York is a Winter Wonderland…

The New York MomWe had the most magical snowstorm over the weekend. Winter storm Jonah stopped by to drop off mounds and mounds of white powder and we loved every moment of it!

The New York MomWhile New York City is nothing but slush puddles and gross snow mountains… here in the burbs…the ground is still covered in a blanket of glistening snow while shiny icicles hang from the edges of the house.

It’s amazing how a bit of snow makes us come to a complete halt. It literally takes a force of nature for us humans to slow down and enjoy our lives.

The trains weren’t running, power was out, schools have been cancelled and it snowed for over 24 hours straight. The kids spent most of their time outside in this wintry wonderland. Jonah, our snow mountain dog, of course was in his element. Finally after a winter that has been in the 50’s and 60’s we have snow!

The New York Mom

Lily has had enough of my – I’m never in any pictures –  complaints and got behind the camera to snap a few pictures dancing in the snow.

Yes I’m in shorts…in the snow… i know! But honestly when it snows.. the temps are not that bad… it’s only in the mid 30’s ya know. and I had some intense snow boots and had a super thin insulated winter zip up hoodie on… so I was good. my shorts were totally fine! I can’t stand wearing all the winter clothing… ugh! Just thinking about all those layers makes me feel claustrophobic!

The kids however were totally bundled up… head to toe. Do as I say not as I do. The New York MomDSC_0198
I hope you ran out and played in the snow!! I can’t wait for more snow days!

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Fairies and Skeletons and Candy Oh My!

 It’s witching day everyday over here… but we tried to dress up for it just once!  

Did you feel like Halloween was a MUCH bigger production this year than in years past? I seems like everyone around us was going all out and we just had our sad and lonely skeleton waving at anyone who passes by.

This year Thomas chose to be the fairy “periwinkle’ from the Tinkerbell films. Periwinkle is Tinkerbell’s newly found sister. Apparently two kids sneezed and laughed at the same time and two fairies were born from the aftermath!

Lily was a Skeleton Flapper. At first we found this cute flapper dress and she loved the fringe and all of it. As a dancer, to me a flapper has all the connotations of Fosse dance, the jazz era, character shoes and those technical things. To the rest of the world a “flapper’ was a ‘party girl’ at the clubs in the 20’s. So we couldn’t have our 10YO daughter wandering about as a party girl… so we killed her and added some Dia Del Los Muertos style face paint and done! Dead Skleton flapper.

Thomas was the only fairy we saw at Halloween. boy or girl…which is bizarre because I was a fairy for years!

The town we just moved to does Halloween like none other. It’s a whole ordeal over here with bands and productions and scary movies being shown on people lawns and there was even a Golden Wonka Bar being handed out.

We were tempted to go to the other side of town by the horse farms and trick or treat with our neighbor… Martha Stewart… but this being our first year in town and since we will be besties for sure… i didn’t want to seem too eager ya know!

Hope you had a good witching season. It’s witching season everyday around these parts!

 

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Moving to the country… or NYC suburbs

Hello blog! it’s been a long while. but we are back in the storytelling business!

We have moved into our house. our casa, our abode! Finally!

our long summer on the run from the law, lootin towns and shootin clowns has come to an end.

we are h o m e.

while i write this, there are boxes piled high in every single room, this house is smaller than our last home so we are going to have to get rid of our wares. who wants stuff? come and get it!

The kids are happy, the yard is huge and has no shortage of critters lingering around. Last night as we came back from dinner, there were 2 massive deer across the street in the neighbor’s lawn, the raccoons can be heard at night, wasps in the vents, woodpeckers, rustling of trees all day and hummingbirds… HUMMINGBIRDS you guys! i have never seen a hummingbird in real life and now they are all over our yard! Lily is especially excited about all this nature and has already built a house for the fairies. We unloaded the art boxes and Thomas wasted no time creating something pink! his favorite color these days.

Lily has signed up for Ballet at the best school in the burbs – i know this because as a professional dancer i am a total dance snob!, She has already found her #squad.

The neighbors have been over, the mailman has dog treats and even the school bus driver asks us about the move.

 

As with most houses that aren’t brand spanking new, this house needs some updates. I cannot wait to start working on these and can’t wait to show you some of the DIY stuff I have planned. We have kitchen remodels, bedrooms being painted, lawn stuff and even a new coat of paint on the house. Which Matt is convinced he can do himself!

I’ve been getting a lot of emails about our move from all of you who are looking to move to the suburbs from Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx!  – how did you move, how did you choose your town, are the schools really THAT great, there are amazing restaurants up there aren’t there, is it good for families with young children, is it safe, is it true that all the yup-sters ( yuppy hipsters) have moved up there, what about the taxes, is Martha Stewart really your neighbor… yes yes and yes yall!

I promise… superly promise… to write a post where I tell you exactly how we narrowed down our search and decided to settle in the town we did. also i can give you the low down on real estate agents and our fab attorney… did you know you need an attorney in NY state to buy a house… ours is awesome and you should use him!

For now…

I have to unpack and catch up on this life of mine that has been on hold for 2+ months!

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The Fat Lady Has Not Sung

The New York Mom

* lots of spelling errors and random around-the-bush type of thoughts ahead! Read with a soft heart* 

you know what they say….

it ain’t over until the fat lady sings.

well folks… the fat lady… whoever she is… has not sung.

our closing date has been moved to maybe september 4th.
or later

this is heartbreaking since we have been sooooo patiently awaiting this freaking closing of the house and now because of an unknown glitch in the sellers documents …. we have to wait longer.

* recap* – we are moving to the burbs. Matt has a new awesome gig. We had to buy a house in 6weeks and have been living like nomads since June 28! … and go* 

At this point, i am a hotel living pro… we are all hotel living pros.

I’m getting used to the midnight crash bedtimes, the hotel breakfasts, the air, the housekeeping, the eating at restaurants every single meal, the bleeding of my wallet and the over chlorine pools.

Lily starts school on wednesday… while we are still in a hotel… and this makes my heartbreak.

I really wanted and expected to be in our own new home when she started 5th grade.

What I really feel like doing is stomping my feet and screaming and yelling. but i’m over it. I need a hug, I need everyone to say… this sucks.. this is kinda normal in the new york market when you don;t have family you can move in with and you HAD to find a home in 6 weeks before moving out of your home! DAYUM!

We have maybe gotten into a rhythm this hotel living thing and our summer has been nothing but adventures and new places and amazing food and indulgences we normally wouldn’t engage in. So no complaints.

right? not really.

i feel bad for Lily… she’s nervous and she’s starting a new school and a new town and a new everything. But she’s amazing and strong… and it’s an adventure. we keep reminding her of that.

Hey you know what’s awesome… our friends.

This whole experience has taught us the value of friendship and reminded us of those amazing wonderful people we will be growing old with. just think… porch swingin, mint julip sippin, late night chattin, old folks commune livin…

// To lenore for being my constant amazing pillar of support, humor, art, dance, laundry and love.

To my sister and brother-in-law for constantly checking in on us and reminding us of the awesome life that awaits us when we do move in.

To Carrie for the playdates and looooong hikes with 2 slooow toddlers.

To Sharon for the mad love. the food, the wine, the gifts…i mean love love love love… unconditional.

To Leigh for the pool party to say – welcome to the hood!

To Anna for volunteering to take the kids AND the dog… you can have them ( some days)

To Lara for the invite to PA…

Kathy for offering to open up her home

To our parents for … well everything. do i even need to mention them!

We feel semi normal thanks to the support of our friends. //

I totally am aware that we are OK and it is all going to be OK and we are “moving to a freaking coveted part of the burbs for christs sake” … as commented on a previous post. ( thanks for that stern reminder in a meanie face tone)

Yes I get it… but my struggles and battles are mine and I am going through it. don’t negate this.

We have to function, with Matt’s demanding full-time job , My many freelance gigs and many many coveted projects and press trips i’ve have to turn down, my potential tarnished reputation professionally, juggling a 2.5 YO MOTO who does not ever stop moving, a 10YO who is starting a new school, new town, new everything.. while also trying to figure out how to be 10!

It’s my struggle.

I thank my friends, family and YOU…. dear reader… for being a constant. The best part about this blog is sharing my daily grind and getting the gift of advice and support from unexpected spaces. I thank you for that.

ok so back to the moving date… september 4th… at the earliest. Cross all yer fingahs and toes!

 

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