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Movie time: Tribeca Drive-in at the Oculus Plaza at Westfield World Trade Center

Monday, August 7, 2017

One of the joys of living downtown are all the different events and experiences that are popping up in our neighborhood. This year Westfield World Trade Center and Tribeca Movie Drive-In partnered up to do free movie nights at the Oculus plaza on select weekends throughout the summer. The movie themes vary but when I saw Night at the Museum as a feature, I knew this may capture Winter's attention.

 It was a windy but overcast, warm afternoon. They set out fake turf and a bunch of chairs, bean bags, and a kids section with crayons and coloring pages (nice touch!). Eataly had to-go picnic boxes as well as a pop-up bar for drinks, and a gelato cart (yum!). We ran into Winter's classmate which made it even more enjoyable and got us a few cute pictures in the process :).  Check out the Tribeca Drive-In site for movie times and schedule.

Storytime at the Strand

Monday, July 10, 2017
When i worked at Penguin books, I was always in bookstores. The strand is one of my favorites in the city but since having kids, I've always opted for taking them to Barnes & Nobles because of its walking distance from our home.  However, when looking for things to do one weekend, I came across a Doc Mcstuffin's character storytime at the strand was immediately in.

 Both girls love Doc so it was a win-win: I get to head to cool bookstore, girls get doc.  The strand's storytime and crafts event  occurs twice a day every Saturday and Sunday.  Check out the their site for the appearance lineup. A few tips:

  • On sundays, the first storytime at 11am coincides with the store's opening, so if you arrive a little earlier, expect to be standing outside with a few neighbors.
  • the storytime area could be tight if there's a big turnout so do get there a little early
  • Two books were read and the Doc McStuffins made two appearances during the hour, they're available for pictures on both occassions. Very informal, so just go up and get a photo  
  • If you have restless toddlers who cant sit still for more than 10 minutes there's plenty of books and merchandise in the kids section to keep them occupied!

A Seaport 4th of July

Friday, July 7, 2017
Celebrating USA's birthday usually finds us settled in the city or at a friend's apartment for a cookout. As tempting as it is to head out of town to the  usual new yorker's getaway (hamptons, shore, vineyard, etc) we opt for a chilled out (and slightly emptier) city vibe and this year was no exception.   

The Seaport District has been undergoing a massive transformation since Sandy happened and every year its getting to be a cooler and cooler  spot to hang out.  This year Chase Sapphire offered cardmembers an exclusive VIP area at the Garden Bar, where they had free treats and hot dogs, a turf-picnic area that was decked out lawn games and free america-themed swag such as bandanas and flags.  
We decided to check it out and ended up staying there for almost half the day. Though we had hostesses provide bar/cocktail service at the lounge, we ended up getting Caribbean food from the street fair on Fulton Street and monster milkshakes from the Black Tap food truck.
Since the fireworks ended up moving up the east river closer to Long Island City (and had a late start time of 8:30), we caught the broadcast at home from the comfort of our beds and got ready for the remainder of the work week ahead.  Happy 4th!

5 tips to to eating out with toddlers in a grown-up restaurant

Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Living in a place like NYC where dining options are so abundant and time is precious, eating out with kids happens more often than not. The tricky thing is all the places WE want to eat out don't always have kid-focused menus.  This is probably due to refined kid-palates passed down from parents living in a diverse food city (I never heard of sushi til my late teens yet Winter knows what it is and loves edamame as a snack) but still... sometimes I just want to be easy and give them chicken fingers and fries and call it a day.  
 Well, I've collected a few tips from our dining and dining-while-traveling days that have come to make eating out with our toddlers doable and sometimes enjoyable. Granted these are general parent-survival tips you probably already have in your arsenal. nevertheless, sharing is caring and hopefully one of these might be handy for you or another parent/caregiver.
 1. Dine on the earlier side.   This may be a no-brainer due to kid schedules but if you have a choice go earlier in the meal time. Less people. You'll probably get more attentive service. And your food comes out quicker!

 2. Come prepared.  With distractions.   Once we're seated and the girls have gotten over the sensory overload of a new place we start with the menus.  "What do you want to eat?" I know they can't read yet but it engages them in conversation and will buy you some time. Since Winter is learning her numbers, we play games with the menu either asking her to read the prices out or calling a number out and have her try to find it.  Once that is done, the crayons and paper come out. I bring this with me almost everywhere. dont even need a whole pack - 2 or 3 colors will suffice!

 3. Feed them first. When we first sit down to the table, I'll quickly scan the menu and order something for them to eat before we even put drink orders in. Most restaurants usually take at least 20-30 min to get the main dish out so I try to avoid hangry toddlers by just having them eat asap. If it's more of a high-brow menu, I'll usually ask the waiter for suggestions and more often than not, the chef is happy to make something a little simpler or we'll go adventurous and I'll hold off on the details of what they're eating til AFTER they ate it lol.  "this is yummy pasta"  and not mention the rabbit.
4. Pull out the big guns when they're finished so that we parents can enjoy our meals.  And by that I mean the ipad/iphone/etc.  I know some parents prohibit this from the table and I get it, but I especially use these when traveling (why can't I enjoy my meal in this new place?!) or when wait times are especially long and even I'm starting to get impatient.
5. Dine and dash.  Well not exactly don't pay the bill but we tend to eat quicker with when the girls are with us.  The restlessness sets in, they get to curious mode and you hear yourself being all parent-y saying "put that down!" "don't play with that" "do NOT stick that pasta up your nose!"  this doesn't mean we rush through eating, it just means I'm pro-active in ordering the next course or asking for the check as soon as they're setting down our dessert. This is to shorten wait times all around and the restaurant loves you because they get to turn your table over quicker.  

SO there you have it - do you have any tips for eating out?

Winter checks out the Lion King

Thursday, June 29, 2017
Even though we're New Yorkers, we don't frequent Broadway shows very much. But when some great tickets came our way for the Lion King, we couldn't pass it up.  It was going to be a family affair but when I realized the running time was about 2 hours and 30 min with an intermission, I didn't think Nyla would be able to sit still that long so we opted to take Amber (who watches the girls but is an amazing vocalist!) to enjoy the show.  

Already familiar with the Lion King brand (Lion guard is the cartoon currently airing on disney jr), Winter was really excited to go and had no qualms getting into "theme" for our broadway outing.  We sat right on the aisle so we got extreme closeups with the procession of "animals" during the opening of the show.  The sets and costumes were incredible and the music is everything we've come to know and love (and a few new ones were thrown in!).  I highly recommend it for kids.  It is suggested that kids ages 6 and up attend but if you have a toddler who can sit through a full movie, I think you could totally swing it.  Winter had 1 bout of sleepiness but snapped out of it once the lights and music switched up. I'd love to go to Aladdin but want Winter to be familiar with the storyline and music first so we can all take it in.  Hakuna Matada!

5 Tips for Traveling with 2 and 3 year olds

Saturday, June 10, 2017
We just got back from a weekend in LA that gave us a dose of sun and heat we've been craving in the midst of a gloomy/rainy New York spring.  A post about our stay at the SLS Beverly Hills is coming soon but wanted to share some tips on how we had a pretty stress-free trip that included another solo flight with toddlers, a mini-road trip, a sleep-deprived, jetlagged mommy, and some much needed pooltime!

1) First flight out. Even if its at 6am
I've given this tip on several of my previous travel blog posts and it still applies.  We had a 6am flight out of JFK which meant getting up at 3am so that we were in a car at 4am.  Winter actually woke up in the middle of the night and kept me company as I packed (yes I had a jam-packed work day and taught class and wrapped up some projects; so I didn't get to actual packing until like 11ish) so I let her stay up. I did take a min 45 min nap.  What happens is that on the flight, they'll be a little amped up from the whole airport episode but they're conked out less than an hour into the flight.  And they ended up waking up with about 90 min left to go which we filled with snack time, homework, and nick jr tv (yay jetblue)

2) Even with the time change, stick to the schedule
I don't know about you, but I have little energizer bunnies. They just keep going and going until nap time or bedtime and then its lights out.  So the day we got to LA was probably the longest waking day during the entire trip for them but the next morning, it was back to the same schedule. Nyla may whine when we've dipped into her naptime but I handle it like our walking alarm clock. Whine = you've got about 30 min until we've reached toddler defcon 5 meltdown to get these girls napping. This especially helps if we're meeting up with friends (like we usually are when traveling) who can't do an early dinner like we usually do.

3) Go-bags for everyone!
With both girls potty-trained I've ditched the diaper bag/super-sized totes. But that doesn't mean I've come prepared with distractions. These days, I'll carry an ipad, and a CHARGER which can fit in any of my purses along with a small wallet and any personal toileteries.  I'm making more of an effort to pare down on the big totes and opt for mini backpacks or smaller satchel size bags like this fun kate spade one I recently got on sale. Plus, who wants to lug a 10lb bag of STUFF anyway? not I!  Also I'm able to travel light since the girls have their own bookbags they WANT to carry. so in goes their stickers, mini notebooks, mini toys along with snacks.  Just be cautious of the weight your little ones are carrying.

4) No strollers ...but...I might sneak a bjorn
I've embraced Nyla not wanting to be in a stroller. Less gear to keep track of and it makes us so much more mobile. BUT one thing I will take (just in case) is the bjorn.  I know, she's too big to probably be in this thing but I will take a casual kick in the knee if it means I may have to make a dash to the gate to board our flight. And literally I brought this out of retirement for our flight to LA because it was just me and the girls. Terminal 5 is literally a madhouse (even at 6am) so it just makes it easier when I have one hand on our rolling carry-on (yes carryon for all 3 of us!) and one hand holding winter's hand.

5) #$*! happens. Just go with the flow.
Maybe its just the way I am, but we're pretty flexible when it comes to traveling with the girls. I'll always try to find things for us to do in case boredom ever sets in (and that means for me and P - NOT the girls lol).  I'm very open to late bedtimes, morning sleep-ins, or just scratching off the to-see list in favor of just lounging poolside while the girls splash away or just hitting up a neighborhood playground  (which actually ended up happening) to burn some energy.  This also happened with dinner plans when we went next door to Gyu Kaku (my personal favorite in nyc) for dinner instead of trying something LA-ish and local.  Sometimes doing something familiar —even in a new environment— is an experience in itself.  After all, isn't this a "vacation?"

Any tips you have? please leave a comment below!!

Happy Travels!

We're working on some things... but heeyyyy....

Thursday, April 27, 2017

We're working on a few posts! Be back soon!

April: Random portraits

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Our Sunday Best...

Monday, April 17, 2017
Our easter itinerary felt jam-packed this year but I think it was because I was rolling solo with the girls this past weekend while Mr was out of town on a business trip.  Fortunately HE was being extra glorious on sunday and graced us with the most amazing weather ever.  We were off to our regular morning service (but I knew it would be extra-packed) in our Sunday best. The girls had new lime green dresses from Cat & Jack at Target and denim mary janes from Children's Place. They were complimented all day - talk about a color pop!

Morning service was followed with a family celebration and easter egg hunt on the church grounds - and by grounds, i mean a cemetary.  I try not to think about (because it kind of creeps me out) but then again, it IS easter.  The girls were SO INTO the hunt and I appreciated that the church staff acknowledges this and has the older kids take found eggs (you turn them in for prizes) and re-hide them back out for the little kids to find. 

She's used to it.

Egg hunt prizes

We had about an hour and a half to kill before our brunch reservation so we walked around Brookfield place and then headed to Rockefeller playground and ran into the girls' best friend, S!

Then it was off to Atrio at the Conrad Hotel for their Easter brunch complete with easter bunny pictures, ANOTHER egg hunt, and donut decorating courtesy of Underwest donuts.  It may have been a bit too fancy for me to handle 2 toddlers solo but I did sneak in a brunch cocktail, and the girls (well, Nyla)  kind of comandeered posession of the easter bunny lol.   The all-you-can-eat brunch spread was delicious, and the staff accommodated me graciously so I think this may turn into an annual thing. Cheers!

decorating Underwest donuts

we took bathroom selfie curtsies :)

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