Weekend

Weekends are for wandering don’t you think? Summer has officially begun here in New York and the long weekend just confirmed the arrival of the season.

If you follow along on Instagram then you know we are travel bugs. The whole summer is spent traveling and eating and road tripping all over. Since moving up to Northern Westchester we are surrounded by endless travel possibilities all within a 5 hour drive of us. Montreal, Canada… Philly, Boston, Rhode Island, Vermont, Catskills, Lake George, and still the gorgeous beaches of Long Island that I miss so very much.

Last weekend we went up the Hudson Valley to Coldspring for our favorite hike. If you are looking for an amazing view, powerful climb up the mountain and just an escape… you need to go to BREAKNECK – the White Trail. This is not for beginner hikers since it’s more of a climb but so amazing. We saw a couple snakes that Lily was thrilled about and wanted to hug them and pet them and make them her own… ummm no… this jungle girl of mine has no fear. It’s a beautiful hike up Breakneck and takes about 30/45 minutes to get to the top. Thomas and Matt wandered the many shops in Coldspring, ate ice cream and counted all the choo choos at the train station while Lily and I were fighting off snakes on the hike!

After our 2 hour hike, we headed to nearby Beacon, NY for some grub. There are lots of changes up the Hudson Valley and it’s all still charming but losing that old vintage, farm feel. The Hipsters have taken over the towns and while they still have the charm, they now are cleaner, a lot more expensive, and kinda sterile. But still worth a trip… for now.

I hope you get a chance to explore and roam this season. Whether it’s a quick day trip to a neighboring town, or on a jet plane across the world… go travel and explore!

happy weekend.

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The New York Mom’s Guide To Christmas in New York

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The New York Mom's Guide To Christmas in New York

This is my absolute favorite season of the year! Every single part of New York is alive with the sights and sounds of the season. Christmas in New York is like nothing you can experience. It’s everything and much more than you have imagined and the magic is alive here in the big apple. Our little family has a lists of must’s we try to do every year. Some of these are pretty mainstream but some are off the beaten path.All of these are great to experience with kids.  I hope you enjoy my 11 favorite things to do in New York this Christmas Season!

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  1.  Rockerfeller Center – How could you not do this. While we always skip the ice skating, we do love to experience the tree and the window light show across the street at Saks Fifth Avenue. This year the lights are all projected and it’s an impressive story of New York but I miss the old-fashioned old school snowflakes of yesteryear.  Rockerfeller Center is the magical heart of Christmas in New York. While there make sure you stop by St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
  2.  Bergdorfs windows – Wanna hear a local secret…. The BEST holiday windows in NYC are at Bergdorf Goodman’s. And no lines or crowds. These are hands down the most creative, high couture, thoughtful, artful windows in the entire city. Sure you have the whimsy of the Saks windows and the Macy’s windows… but the high art cannot be touched when it comes to the Bergdorf Goodman Windows. It’s a MUST! Find them at 5th ave and 58th street.
  3.  Dyker Heights – Over there in Brooklyn is an entire neighborhood who is coo-coo for Christmas. You might have seen some of these homes featured on television on practically every single christmas home display show…but nothing compares to actually going to Dyker Heights and experiencing this magic in person. Dyker Heights, you bring the Christmas Season out in full force!
  4.  Skating at Standard Hotel – I’m giving away all the secrets here! Skip all the lines and tourists at Bryant Park and Rock Center ice skating rinks. The real deal is going on at a tiny ice rink at the Standard Hotel. The rink is super small, so parents can release their kids out on the ice while they sit on luxe seating – outside- under heating lamps – while sipping on their choice of seasonal hot toddy. The ‘ all the time’ celebrity sightings are also a bonus… if that’s your thang! Also it’s right at the Highline! 
  5. New York City Ballet Nutcracker– The Nutcracker like it’s a dream! You HAVE to see the NYCB Nutcracker, that tree, the dancers, that perfection…. magic!
  6. Chestnuts – A bag of roasted chestnuts for $5… all 8 of them. But they are the perfect seasonal street vendor food. Walk up and down 5th ave while eating your bag of chestnuts… magic!
  7. Handel’s Messiah Sing Along with the New York Phil Harmonic – No words. You MUST do this. The entire place is PACKED with hipsters, locals, old people… everyone. Singing the Messiah at least once during the Christmas season should be on everyone’s list!

The New York Mom's Guide To Christmas in New York

8.  Santa at ABC Carpet and Home – He’s the real deal. Every local knows that the best and realest Santa is at the ABC Carpet in the flatiron district. The lines can be long so always check the schedule before you go.

 9. Union Square Christmas Market – After you grab your Santa pic at ABC carpet, head over to the Union Square Holiday Market. Buy some handmade presents, drink some seriously chocolaty artisanal gold leaf hot chocolate and enjoy Union Square.

 10. Radio City Christmas Spectacular – another MUST. When they start kicking in unison… I mean! As a dancer, I know exactly what goes into those rehearsals and that hard work and magic delivers onstage! Also, you are going to sob like a baby at the last scene.

 11. Botanical Gardens Train Show – Choo Choo… this is a choo choo show like none other. This elaborate Train Show is created using ONLY natures bounty. A must! Also they have a boozy weekend showing… i vote for that one.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

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Family Travel ~ Glamping with Firelight Camps

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Last weekend we headed up to New York’s gorgeous Finger Lake region for a little camping. ..ahem… glamping!

You know just us and nature, in a tent, with a king sized bed for Matt and i and a Full sized bed for Thomas and Lily, down comforters, fire pit, bocce ball… you know… glamping!

So glamping… for those of you who are ‘ pitch your own tent’ purists… is glamorous camping = glam-ping.

So if you are up for a family adventure within the tri-state… i’ve got one for you!

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We headed up to Firelight Camps, founded by Food Network star Emma Frisch and her husband Robert in Ithaca, NY.  It took us about 3 hours to get there which was perfectly fine because the drive up the Hudson Valley was absolutely stunning. The mountains were on FIE-YAH  with the changing of the leaves.

Our evening started out with a Wine Tasting Hour, which lasted a little over an hour 😉

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A warm cozy fire, hammocks, lazy couches all made way for a beautiful night under the stars. Our tent, which really is a tent, just reinforced and had a deck and other amenities, reminded me of one of those magic tents which pop up from time to time in the Harry POtter movies. You know when Hermoine, Ron and Harry all are travelling everywhere to track down Lord Voldemort and have to find the holcruxes… i digress.

The tent was like from a story book.

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The lack of electricity in the tents was pretty magical. After all this IS …you know… camping. This lack of techy distractions allowed all of us to truly stop everything and just be with each other and laugh and tell scary stories. The pitch back cold evening was spent chatting  and playing games in remote control LED flickering candle-light and little lanterns.  Lily brought her dolls and played with them while Matt and I sat on the back deck and watched the stars.

There are tons of hiking trails right off your campsite, daily hiking tours like edible walks are all coordinated through the very helpful staff.

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While your tent does not have a restroom, there is a very clean, spa like communal restroom, bath, lounge, sauna a quick walk from your tent. Lily loved walking in the pitch dark with her lantern , just to go to the bathroom. The main lounge area with the fire pit, bar, hammocks…etc is open 24 hours. A complimentary organic breakfast is served every morning in the communal lounge. Of course we had breakfast in our PJ’s!

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A few things to note: While you do feel like you are out in the woods, you can still hear the car on the highway or roads nearby. This was a bit distracting when we were trying to just enjoy the quite and the crickets. While we didn’t have heaters in our tents, there are heaters in tents. We loooved being chilly but were totally fine when we were under the big down comforters.

We really enjoyed our experience at Firelight Camps. Rates start at $155 a night which is very reasonable for the whole experience. Imagine a couples get away, girls weekend or just a family recharge trip.

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Swing by FIRELIGHTS CAMPS for more deets.

* A press accommodation was offered for purposes of this review. All opinions are my own*

 

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Easter Sunday – what the kids wore.

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This Easter we decided to buy the kids traditional Indian clothes. Thomas is 16 months and doesn’t have any Indian clothes. Lily has gorgeous dresses and salwar kameez’s and ornate skirts from India but has outgrown most of them and it was time to get new ones.

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So off we went to “India Town”.  In the heart of Jackson Heights, Queens… over on Roosevelt Avenue… one can find India – in new york.

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Do you know what Carrom Boards are? This was one of our favorite games growing up. This big square board behind Lily is a Carrom Board. One of these days I would love to buy her one and teach her how to play. DSC_0167

I remember the first time my grandmother visited and we all went for some biryani and curry and jelabi’s. She stood in the middle of the street and said… this is just like India. Lily loves going to ” india town”. She loves hearing my stories from my childhood that always come up when I see a toy or book or smell something which reminds me of my childhood.

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The grocery stores are overflowing with produce, the gold stores are gorgeous and proud and the clothing is one of a kind and just like I remember. Lots of gold embroidery, lots of stitching, and just stunning. The clothing stores are fullied to the brim with festive colors, gorgeous silks and intricate patterns. The shop keepers are only too eager to help you and pull out every gorgeous outfit they have just in the hope you pick one. There are no duplicates and you never know what the selection will be that day.

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Of course when we go to Jackson Heights we have to make a stop at one of the many colorful sweet shops. Lily … like my mom… loves indian sweets.  I love watching her pick her favorites from the colorful selection in front of her. She takes her time and tries to decide which color would taste best and carefully makes her selections. Always picking the biggest on of the batch.

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Lily had lots of gorgeous dresses to pick from which made the decision for her dress that much harder. But in the end we picked a classic red and green with gold embellishment ghagra choli. She has room to grow into it which is great because she looked stunning on Easter Sunday and I just can’t wait for her to wear that dress again.

Thomas looked like a prince. It was a beautiful purple silk with gold and silver embroidered work.

The end result was more than I could have expected. Look at this sweetness. My mom and grandmother were very excited about these Easter outfits!

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I love that we are so close all these amazing cultural spots and love that Lily and Thomas get to experience a small part of Indian Culture… all the way here in NY!

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