June is a crazy month for everyone. With all that’s been going on, Shawna and I did not have time for monthly “lunch” with one of our favorite Westchester Women. Instead we decided to share posts from three Westchester bloggers instead. The focus is food and summer cooking. We think you will enjoy these three articles. One is on homemade, healthy ice pops; Another is on the T-Fal OptiGrill (an indoor grill) and the third is on a place called The Twisted Branch in Valhalla. For those who like to cook, these summery ideas should come in handy. Happy Summer!
We’re so happy to feature a Westchester dad today for Father’s Day. It’s always interesting to me to hear how people who aren’t Westchester natives discover Westchester, decide to make it home and best of all, hear what they love most about their town. I believe that Westchester has something for everyone. This dad does too! 🙂
(You can follow him online at www.westchesterdaddy.com or @westchesterdaddy on Instagram)
From Claremont to Claremont
by Kevin Hylton
I knew I was going to be ok in the burbs when I found the Bronxville coffee shop“Slave to the Grind.” I have two daughters (four years and 16 months)and I’mbasically stitched together with a delicate recipeof caffeine (by way of coffee) and IPA.
I don’t mean to sound overly dramatic. I was excited to move to the suburbs. I was the riot leader in our family trying to make the move happen for years. But even when our one bedroom apartment in Morningside Heights was bursting at the seams, the possibility and eventual reality of a signed contract of sale to move to southern Westchester kinda made me regurgitate my fish tacos.
I moved to NYC after I graduated from law school and worked for a large law firm.But I actually moved to NY to try become a screenwriter/take advantage of the entertainment industry in Manhattan. Soon after moving to Harlem I pivoted from the law and started writing as a theater and film journalist, then a playwright and eventually I got a gig screenwriting for Disney animated TV. All this I did from my tiny apartment in Harlem on Claremont Avenue.
When we had our second daughter, I decided to shelf the screenwriting dream for a bit.I turned my interest in architecture and real estate into a job and became a Real Estate Broker with Houlihan Lawrence’s Bronxville office (where I still work).Still, I secretly held on to the desire to do some screenwriting on the side but assumed moving to the burbs was the end of the writing dream.
But within months of moving, I found a HBO producer, production company owner, and a comedy central contact all while walking our dachshund in our new Fleetwood neighborhood.Huh, I guess the suburbs are not a total cultural wasteland where dreams must go to die.
I was never cool enough to be a hipster. But I liked to feel as if I was a bit ahead of the curve. When I moved to Claremont Ave and 124th in the City it wasn’t a Columbia U outpost yet.It was a bit dodgy. It was, however, a great place to grab an amazing taco for a buck at an authentic hole in the wall. My friends uptown were a collection of my neighbors (who at that time didn’t move every 2 years), the postal and ups workers, the woman in the laundromat, and the guys who owned the liquor store.And my fears of moving out of this wierd NY City neighborhood was that we’d lose everything that made life feel real: diversityof culture, opinion, and genuineness. All that and solid tacos, cafe con leche, and a decent selection of beers at the local bar.
Little did I know that what I’d find in Westchester is exactly what I loved about Morningside when I moved uptown some 12 years ago.Mom and pop coffee shops, restaurants (including Cuban, Cajun, Mexican, you name it), indie pharmacies and bookstores all are either in my town or a neighboring one. It’s walkable, people are friendly, and I can be at grand central in 24 minutes on the train (15 to Harlem).
I still can’t quite fathom how we ended up buying our house on Claremont Avenue in Fleetwood. The coincidence that years of searching for a house would lead us to move from Claremont Ave in Manhattan to Claremont Ave in Fleetwood is bizarreand oddly, really comforting (my 4 year old already knowing what street we live on.)Regardless I’m happy we made the leap.
If you follow my blog at www.westchesterdaddy.com or track me on Instagram (#westchesterdaddy) you’ll see some parenting cartoons, resources forparents in the burbs, and the occasional piece on real estate in the area.I started the blog primarily due to my experience searching for a home for my family in Westchester.We couldn’t find a site that combined parenting resources with details on towns and info on real estate. Hope you like it.
If you are still in one of the Boroughs contemplating how you could possibly find another place to call home, check out my site to learn more about Westchester. Or just give me a call (646.388.0030). I’m partial to Fleetwood but if you like Park Slope maybe Hastings or Dobbs Ferry will be your thing. Regardless, you’ll be surprised by what you find. I now believe Westchester has a home for everyone.
If you’re in southern Westchester, below are some of the local spots I’ve found that made me feel right at home.
(Fleetwood. The most amazing Cajun food and music outside The Crescent City. Like in the Big Easy you don’t have to spend a lot to have a good meal.Order the red beans and rice some Monday and you’ll see what I mean)
(Fleetwood. Many claim this to be the best pizza in Westchester. It gives any old school spot in the City a run for it’s money.Grab a slice in their no frills spot or sit down to dine in the adjoining restaurant.
(Bronxville. If you’re serious about beer you best stop in here. Excellent collection of bottles and rotating taps at this beer shop with regular, daily happy hour and growler options.Their website has a blog covering beers as well)
I’ve been shopping at LOLA for years. It began as a private in-home boutique where friends could shop by appointment only. Denise sourced the trendiest fashion items, mostly bags and jewelry/accessories. It was a unique experience to shop this way but there were bigger plans in mind for LOLA. Denise brought on her fashionista/BFF/business partner Dawn, who brings her own background of fashion, retail and merchandising. Together, the two opened up LOLA New York in White Plains and last week, their second location LOLA New York in Tuckahoe, just opposite the Crestwood Train Station.
Both locations carry unique brands; Some local and some national. Each piece has a story, which Dawn and Denise will tell you while you shop. Things like: “Those pretty note cards your holding were created by a local artist who just got picked up by Nordstrom.” (and she did!)
“These S’well bottles are going to be the next big craze.” (They were right!)
While shopping at LOLA you’ll find what’s “in” for this season and you’ll actually be ahead of the curve, being the first to have the next big thing. Those cool ripped jeans that everyone is wearing, they’ve had them since last season. Long tassel necklaces, they had them before most stores carried them. Anything that I buy there seems to catch on….It’s like they have a magic crystal ball and the inside scoop on fashion season after season.
So proud of Dawn and Denise as they opened their 2nd location in Tuckahoe. Grand Opening Party was last Thursday!
“LOLA New York is inspired by today’s modern woman, she likes nice things and wears what she’s got with confidence. Dawn and Denise met 10 years ago at a kindergarten roundup for their boys and have grown their friendship with a bond so close they were able to turn their dreams into a successful business. Their love of fashion and savvy business sense has worked hand in hand to get them to where they are today. With five kids between them and supportive men in their lives, LOLA New York was born. With two locations in the lower Westchester area, they are dedicated to offering their clients the very best of what fashion has to offer. The brands you find are hand picked and wonderfully curated for that perfect look. Their taste is undeniable, the boutiques offer the prettiest of accessories along with classic and trendy pieces to make you look and feel your very best.”
In recent years, I’ve organized a lot of art parties. A couple of years ago my daughter decided that she wanted a duct tape themed birthday party. After searching all over Westchester for this kind of party, I hired Gina Zohar Fine Artto come and make duct tape wallets and jewelry with them. In Girl Scouts, I’ve worked with a number of artists on drawing/sketching, painting and art appreciation badges. Teaching is one of the hardest jobs out there, but teaching kids (or adults for that matter) to draw or paint has to be the most challenging task.
A few months ago, I was looking for someone to do a Paint Night Party for my daughter and friends at the end of the school year and thanks to Instagram, I found Carey at Art Partay. Before graduating from our neighborhood elementary school,12 girls and their moms got together to paint a canvas painting of their school. Carey made up a sample and created another alongside the girls, instructing them every step of the way. Carey had a wonderful way with the girls and each one was able to complete their own version of the school they’ve grown up in over the past 4 years.
What I liked most about working with Art Partay was that it was customized and we had a choice of locations. We went with Tequila Sunrise (a Mexican restaurant) for the music, energy and menu. We selected the day and time that we wanted and most importantly, the painting was our choice. Carey works out of her locations or will come to your home.
If you’re interested in hosting your own art party, you can find these artists/teachers online by following the links below:
This month’s Westchester Woman Wednesday is Cristin Grogan. Among other things, Cristin is the founder and creator of DeskGlam, a subscription box that launched just over a month ago. And she calls Westchester home. In fact, she’s a White Plains native, born and raised in the county, attending White Plains High School and currently residing in Scarsdale.
Shawna and I have known Cristin since we launched our blog about 4 years ago. At the time, she was working as a social media strategist and what struck us when we first met her was how modest she was. She’s well-educated, uber professional, hard working and quite a fashionista. In addition to holding a full-time job, she had some part-time ventures of her own, balancing a relationship with her wonderful boyfriend Rob and being “big sister” to her equally adorable younger sisters.
Fast forward and Cristin is still doing great things, which is not at all surprising to us. Her newest venture DeskGlam is where all of her skill sets come together. Put together her web design and marketing brain, her communication skills, her creative/artistic brain, her aesthetic and her overall need for “all things pretty” and DeskGlam was born. (http://deskglam.com/) For Cristin, it’s a labor of love and she’s utilizing all of her strengths. The first of it’s kind (that we know of) DeskGlam delivers pretty desk and office supplies to subscribers each month. She supports a lot of independent creative-preneurs (new word for me) and gives them a platform to introduce their products to consumers. She sources items to share each month and each item has a story. In her June box, she has a handmade notebook all the way from France– The designer? She found her on Etsy and they spoke via webcam!
At the end of the day, Cristin is a normal twenty-something. She enjoys going out to local favorites such as Emma’s in White Plains, Pastina’s in Hartsdale and The Beehive in Armonk. She loves beauty supply stores and scoring a bargain at Nordstrom Rack. For fun, she takes classes at pure barre in Greenwich or goes out for a hike. It will be interesting to see DeskGlam take off in the upcoming months, knowing it all started as one woman’s great idea, right here in Westchester.
So often, people ask me: “Do you know someone who tutors?” My answer is, “Sure!” Plenty of people I know tutor. Then they tell me it’s for a high school subject, like Math or Science and I’ve got no one. Now I have a go-to team of high school teachers/tutors for all of our kids! With the new state standards being what they are, the Common Core math curriculum being our current reality, I’d only trust Evolve Exam Prep and Tutoring to help my teen. These are teachers who are teaching these subjects on a daily basis and can quickly identify where our kids need help in time for the big test. Right now, kids are in crunch mode, a month before an exam and need an intensive program to sharpen up a years worth of material.
As a local resident and teacher with 20 years of teaching and tutoring experience, I am a strong supporter for education and advocate of my community. I was concerned with hearing my students criticize some of the test prep companies in the local area. With my years of experience, I knew that I could create a better program – and so I established Evolve Exam Prep & Tutoring, LLC.
One of the complaints that I heard most often was the other test prep companies were using unqualified tutors and college students to tutor and teach their courses. I have seen many brilliant people fail as teachers because there is so much more to teaching than just knowing the material. A good teacher will convey the material to the student and differentiate teaching strategies to fit each student’s individual needs.
At Evolve we use only hand-picked, highly effective NYS Certified teachers who have multiple years of teaching experience and training.
Another major complaint that I heard was that other test prep companies had class sizes that were too big. Research shows, and any good teacher will tell you, that class size has a huge impact on how a student learns.
This is why at Evolve our class sizes are capped at 18 students. At Evolve, we also offer private tutoring for individuals and small groups of 2-5 students. These small class sizes help us to maximize our contact and attention for each individual.
My daughter and her friends all have the same sneakers. White Adidas Superstars, with three stripes on the side. You know, the ones that were cool in the 80’s? Look around at the mall and you’ll see every kid is wearing them. She’s on her third pair since April 2016 and keeps getting the black stripes. When I take her out looking for sneakers, I have tried to steer her towards “cuter” ones (without laces) especially slip-ons which are easier for summer. In our travels recently, I have found some pretty ones so decided to share them.
I recently discovered an incredibly talented artist. Simone Kestelman, born and raised in Brazil, is new to Westchester and is really making her mark. She’s a lot of things; an interior designer, installing custom pieces for your home and gallery owner that rivals the hippest art studios in Brooklyn. Her space in White Plains doubles as a gallery to visit and enjoy her displayed work but has an area for #momslikeus to purchase some of her original pieces. Currently, there are thousands of pieces for sale in her beautifully restored, 9,000 square foot location in White Plains.
Simone’s work is inspired by her education and travels and reflects current social issues. Being as well traveled as she is, she’s had the opportunity to observe and understand first hand, the physical and emotional pains of injustice and inequality that affects different societies. Each piece in her gallery tells a story and comes from a place of deep thought and passion. Interestingly, her use of the color red symbolizes the magic of children. She attempts to see the world through the eyes of a child, filled with magic and bright moments.
Simone is a multimedia artist focusing on ceramics, glass and photography. Simone is an internationally acclaimed artist with over 30 years experience. Simone recently moved her gallery from Brazil to White Plains. Her work has been at exhibitions in Greece, Brazil and the US.
Join Simone in a discussion and presentation of her works on June 9th at 7pm and 8pm.
“I think art is the physical expression of our souls at a point in time. I put my feelings and aspirations into my art. Having a living art gallery enables me continuously record my inner state, while also having the freedom to reinvent myself. “-Simone Kestelman
Meet Simone at Sk Studio Art Gallery Grand Opening Event
June 9th, 2017 6pm-9pm
Melissa Tomlin of New York Style Life, is proud to present a Grand Opening Reception for local Brazilian artist Simone Kestelman
Sk Studio Art Gallery
122 Westmoreland Ave
White Plains, NY
(entrance to gallery is on Intervale Street)
Please RSVP by May 26th to firstname.lastname@example.org
Wine and light refreshments will be served.
If you are unable to attend the event there will also be an open house Saturday June 10th from 11am-3pm (no RSVP needed)
Epic! is an unlimited eBook subscription service ($4.99/month and FREE for elementary school teachers and librarians) with the largest catalogue of high quality books from well known publishers that creates a unique and fun experience to get kids excited about reading. Similar to Netflix, Epic! provides personalized reading recommendations based on age and interest and instant streaming. To date, over 20 million books per month are read by children across the nation. Epic! makes a great gift for a child who loves technology.
Epic! has become one of the most popular apps in kids and education categories because of its unique ability to provide quick, streamable literature that is controlled by kids. There is a read-to-me feature that provides an audio reading experience to enhance early learners, as well as, quizzes that help educators provide assessment and learning while remaining fun for students.
Kids use technology, and they like engaging in games. The efforts of companies like Epic! bring a melding of education with entertaining technology. It’s comforting to see that there are people like Markosian who choose to dedicate their entrepreneurial creativity to developing technology that benefits learning.
Maple & Rose, a new market-driven catering company in Westchester, is cooking up outstanding seasonal eats for the home, office, and special events. Co-founded by Eastchester resident, Matt Gorney, and Larchmont resident, Chef Ryan Hart, Maple & Rose aims to bring together friends, family and community through its rustic, elegant, and comforting food experiences.
In addition to their event catering services, they are offering two delivery services that are of particular interest to #momslikeus. The first is Simple Supper, which is a seasonal, three-course dinner, delivered to your door. Whether you’re looking for a weeknight dinner or an easy way to impress some guests, Simple Supper will change what you think when you think delivery. Currently they are delivering Wednesday through Saturday, South of 287 and East of the Bronx River Parkway.
The second is an amazing Mother’s Day Brunch complete with five different seasonal dishes. Drop a hint to your loved ones this year and relax in your home while enjoying this elegant meal with family and friends.
Before this month comes to a close, I realized I must post our Westchester Woman Wednesday. Where did April go? Weeks ago, I had lunch with Lillian Huang and decided she’d be our Westchester Woman of this month. We literally met on Instagram earlier this year because for some reason, I follow calligraphy accounts. If you don’t follow them, you should. I swear they’re therapeutic. Some of the pics are artsy photos with an inspiring word or phrase above it. The videos are incredible, where you find yourself watching someone handwrite the letters of the alphabet to a full quote. I guess because I love language and the physical art of handwriting, these accounts sort of capture both in an artistic way. Anyway, Lillian is my new favorite Instagrammer and once you follow her account, you’ll see why! https://www.instagram.com/lillianliming/
Lillian is somewhat new to the area, but has already introduced me to new dining spots in the area. (She has a background as a food blogger, so I trusted her choices immediately.) She highly recommended Bibille, a Korean Fusion restaurant in Tarrytown and Cafe Trois in Northvale, NJ (review) which is really a few miles over the Rockland/NJ line. She also raved about T Swirl Crepe in White Plains; which I learned has many locations in NYC and a menu of both sweet and savory crepes as well as some amazing teas! (check out this menu)
She’s not a shopaholic, but loves to support projects and enterprises that support women. Certainly not what I had expected in the “shop” category and it’s giving me some time to think and reflect on how many people there are out there who work to help others achieve a quality of life, through their passion.
FashionABLE – www.livefashionable.com – They create opportunities for women in developing and at-risk communities and their beautiful products are a result of empowering and teaching the women how to earn a living rather than depending on charity.
Nozomi Project – www.nozomiproject.com – Nozomi (means hope) is a social enterprise bringing sustainable income, community, dignity and hope to the women in Ishinomaki, Japan by training them to craft high-quality jewelry products. Nozomi women are creating one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry featuring broken pieces of pottery left in the wake of the tsunami and other up-cycled pottery.
Lillian’s idea of fun is exactly what I expected. She enjoys traveling and visiting new places, one of which is Westchester, which she is new to. She likes immersing herself in places and seeing how others live, exploring what makes each place unique. She’s someone who really stops to “smell the roses” which I think so many of us don’t take time to do. Many #momslikeus are busy with our work and family responsibilities and we forget to absorb the beautiful things around us. I guess that’s why I enjoy her IG account so much….there’s a sense of beauty and calm that I crave.
My son James turned 7 a few weeks ago. Days before his birthday, I had nothing in mind for him. He has every single LEGO set available and rarely asks for things. I was scrolling through my inbox and when I saw LEGOLAND in a subject line, I assumed it was from the location in Ridge Hill. I looked again and it said “Beach Retreat” so I opened it and realized that this location was now open! Birthday present dilemma solved– We’re taking James to LEGOLAND Beach Retreat(brand new, opened earlier this month) for a stay in a LEGO mini-house or bungalow.
LEGOLAND Florida is located midway between Tampa and Orlando, about 45 min from either airport. The (original) LEGOLAND Hotel is not quite 2 years old and the LEGOLAND theme park is filled with activities, rides and attractions for kids to enjoy.
Designed to look like larger-than-life LEGO sets, 83 bungalows offer 166 separate rooms that sleep up to five, including a cozy area just for kids with a bunk bed, trundle bed and privacy curtain. They’re an ideal solution for families and groups traveling together, or for those seeking a fun new way to vacation at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. Each cove has its own outdoor play area within view of the bungalows’ shaded patios, where mom and dad can relax while kids romp and run.
Opening less than two years after the debut of the popular 152-room LEGOLAND Hotel, and with its own unique, outdoor-themed amenities, LEGOLAND Beach Retreat more than doubles accommodations at the Florida vacation destination. Along with picturesque lake views and a giant LEGO lighthouse featuring a real rotating beacon, highlights also include:
A giant swimming pool next to The Lighthouse, with an adjacent sandy area perfect for building sandcastles and the resort’s biggest outdoor play structure for kids.
Sandy’s Castle Restaurant, featuring a bountiful menu of entrees, sides and desserts designed to please the palates of kids and grownups alike. A delicious breakfast buffet is included with each night’s stay.
Bricks Beach Bar, offering an eclectic menu of made-to-order food, drinks and creative cocktails served both poolside and indoors.
Palm Tree Traders, a large retail shop stocked with LEGO building sets and Minifigures, apparel, toys, swimwear, snacks and sundries.
A hands-on LEGO building station where kids can contribute their original creations to a giant sandcastle made out of thousands of LEGO bricks.
Free Wi-Fi throughout the site.
Complimentary transportation to the theme park entrance, as well as complimentary parking in LEGOLAND Florida Resort’s main parking lot for guests who choose to drive.
Early access to the LEGOLAND Florida theme park, with exclusive use of some of the most popular attractions, including the all-new LEGO NINJAGO® World and LEGO NINJAGO The Ride.
I will be posting pics and comments next month from LEGOLAND Beach Retreat.
Kicking off Small Business Week, join the Village of Mamaroneck in bringing together an eclectic mix of local food, artists & artisans in the Industrial Area of Mamaroneck, NY with special highlight on the area’s small businesses.
Sunday, April 30, 2017
(Rain Date To Be Announced)
Noon – 5PM
Location Fayette Avenue between Fenimore Rd & Ogden Ave., near the Mamaroneck MetroNorth Station (Entrance Between Majestic Kitchens & Bath & Vincent Service Station, Inc. (Mamaroneck, NY)
This weather has me wanting to ditch my winter coat and go shopping for spring- I’ve discovered this brand and decided to share. Can be found online or in Bloomingdales, Saks and Nordstrom. Recently too on Amazon! It’s called cooper & ella and super cute. Check it out.
The Kids Cooking Co. was founded on the belief that when we teach our children the fundamentals of cooking and give them the time and space to prepare a meal from whole ingredients, we are gifting them something special. In this fast-paced world we live in, all too often meal time is an after-thought resulting in prepackaged and processed foods on the run. The Kids Cooking Co. aims to help instill in our young people, a life-long love of learning about what and how they eat. And we do this in a fun and exciting atmosphere.
The Kids Cooking Co. serves the lower Westchester County NY area offering classes for our school aged children at our Bronxville location. These classes take place in a commercial kitchen. For our younger clients, the Kids Cooking co. will come to your preschool and extend the day with cooking enrichment.
Teacher Appreciation Day is one of my favorite days of the year. There’s no one I appreciate more than my kids’ teachers. Having spent 11 years in the classroom, I know that teachers do not need this day to feel appreciated, because most feel appreciated every day in the work they do with their kids. The simple gestures and interactions are the rewards that parents will never even know took place. But, I like this day because it’s an opportunity for kids to see others show their teachers just how much they are respected and it gives teachers a special day for themselves.
This year, it falls on Tuesday, May 9th, during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 8-12. Some schools choose to observe the week, the day or not at all. In some places, PTA’s will organize breakfast or lunch for their entire staff. I’m lucky to live in a district where families find it to be a meaningful day. Over the years, I have seen posts/comments where someone comments that they didn’t know this day even existed. This is why I wanted to get this post out there early, so you can think of fun ways to celebrate the teachers in your kids’ lives.
Over the years, I’ve come up with different ideas and projects. Some years, I was the class mom, and chose to organize a group gift from the class. Our PTA stresses that the gift should be thoughtful and meaningful and the cost should be minimal. On years that I was not the class mom, I chose to do small things each day during teacher appreciation week, sending in a small, $5 or less item each day of the week….Monday, nice fine tip markers…..Tuesday, post it notes…..Wednesday, a $5 Starbucks gift card…..etc.
Two of my favorite ideas though, were when I involved the class. When my daughter was in kindergarten, I sent out this email to the parents of her classmates:
Next Wednesday, 4/25 is the day that ABC School PTA has decided to celebrate their teachers, by having a Teacher Appreciation Luncheon.
While the teachers will enjoy this day with their colleagues, we felt that it would be nice to involve the children in this celebration. Having the children participate and be involved in this day, helps them to understand the meaning of the word “appreciation.” Our children learn this by the example that we, as parents, model for them.
With that said, we are asking all of the children to do the following:
Select an 8×10 sheet of paper of any type. (Printer or construction paper. Color of their choice.)
Using the letter that they are assigned (see below) they will make a block letter on their paper. The paper will be in the portrait/vertical position. The block letter will be capitalized and will fill the paper.
The children will color in their letter or decorate their letter in any way they choose: with stripes, with polka dots, in a solid color, with collaging materials, elbow macaroni, etc. It is their choice.
Children will bring this paper/letter to school on Wednesday 4/25 (not in their folder, but loose in their backpack.) Teachers collect the folders as part of their their morning procedures. This is a surprise!
At 11am, upon returning from library the children will get their letters out of their backpack and line up in the following order (see below) and it will spell out the message: Happy Teacher Appreciation Day. It will appear bright and colorful and the children will love surprising their teachers! 🙂
I know….this sounds like a LOT of work but amazing when the kids pulled it off. I assigned each kid in the class a letter starting with H, then A, then P….and so on. I arranged for the teacher to let me come in at 11am that day so I could give her the gift from the class. They pulled it off perfectly. I’d share the pic of each child holding up their letter, but for privacy reasons, I won’t. The teacher loved it so much that she hung it up in the hallway outside the classroom.
Another year, I sent an email out to the parents asking them to look at the sample Wordle (or word cloud) that my Girl Scouts had made for me. I asked each parent to simply reply to the email with three words that described their teacher. I made her a Wordle, framed it and found a printer paper that served as an iron on and ironed it onto a tee shirt for her. The cute thing about the wordle is that the words that are used most often are larger than the others. By looking at this Wordle, it shows how many kids called her kind, fun, smart, helpful, etc. Once finished you can change the font, the color, the size, etc. I picked colors that I thought she would like. This one took less time and planning and was managed from my computer. When they gave her the shirt, I had them sign the back of the shirt with fabric markers.
You can follow this link to use WordItOut to make a word cloud:
I met this vendor at two different holiday events; one in Westchester and one in Greenwich. I was shocked that these “mommy necklaces” had not taken off in Westchester. Another vendor in the area sells them too. I purchased a necklace from each of them and the quality was very different. I would never name the other vendor, in fairness to them, but I will tell you that Alix Fray Jewelry was the better of the two, by far.
Besides these necklaces, the have an entire line of amazing gift items for moms, graduates, grandmothers, sisters and any female on your list for any occasion. You can visit her site for pricing and ordering information. Initial necklaces, leather clutches, mommy necklaces and bracelets and more! I’m posting this now so you can place your order in time for Mother’s Day delivery. Happy Shopping.
We don’t keep a calendar of events. We considered it and realized that every other site has one and that’s where people go for “things to do.” However, the other sites usually list things for the kids– Not the moms. So we’ve decided to publish things for the moms to do, alone or with kids. Each month, we get so many requests to post events, so here’s your “end of the month” blog post: 10 things you might want to do in April.
Shop the Booked Marketplace Pop-Upon 4/20. Its being held at LIFE The Place to Be in Ardsley. Guest will enjoy a unique shopping experience, lite bites, mini-massages and more. Tickets are $20 per shopper and can be purchased via this link. https://www.eventbrite.com/o/booked-parties-13201894868
2. Visit thePleasantville Farmer’s Market.
It’s now outdoors, on Saturdays starting April 1st from 8:30am to 1pm.
56 vendors will provide the community with the highest quality regionally grown foods including seasonal vegetables (with 3 Certified Organic producers), humanely raised meat, fresh fruit and berries, prepared foods created with ingredients from regional farms, allergen-free baked goods, flowers, wine, and many other offerings.
Responding to shoppers’ requests, the Market is adding a hot breakfast and a new lunch option this summer, to complement the popular Aba’s Falafel. The Pleasantville Farmers Market attracts an average of over 3000 visitors every Saturday and has become a major regional destination. “Our research shows shoppers come from all over the county for the quality and diversity of vendors present at the Market, as well as the engaging weekly Culinary, Kids and Music programming held throughout the season,” says Steven Bates, Executive Director of Market Operations, Foodchester, Inc, the non-profit operator of the Pleasantville Farmers Market. “Another draw is that the Market is in the center of a walkable Village, close to restaurants, shops and the Burns theater.” The location is at Memorial Plaza, right at the Pleasantville Train Station. For more info, visit pleasantvillefarmersmarket.com
3. Enjoy a Jazz Brunch!
Starting Sunday April 2nd at East End in Greenwich and Mediterraneo in Norwalk. So very NYC, finally out here in the suburbs! (Remember the GIRLS episode where they went to the jazz brunch? I think Marnie was singing, if I remember it correctly…. ) After watching LaLa Land last week, I am more interested in checking this out. Menus and pics below.
Guests will enjoy bottomless Mimosas, Bloody Mary’s and $1 oysters. Live Jazz music will entertain guests every Sunday in April between 12:00-4:00pm. Artists’ featured will include up-and-coming New York City Jazz musicians Margi Gianquinto and Albert Rivera. Reservations are suggested especially for large parties of 8 or more. To make reservations you may call: (203) 229-0000
Yes, I am aware that this is not really an April event, but I’d buy now so as not to get sold out! These events are usually on weekends, but for the first time they are on a single day in this area for NY and NJ folks. A full day of a variety of healthy, wellness, outdoor activities.
Shawna and I go to a lot of restaurants. Some are chef’s tastings or new seasonal menu previews and others are full service meals or grand openings. It’s always an interesting assortment of guests and we often wonder afterwards who created the guest list. We leave with lots of new Instagram followers and some of them, we might never run into again. It’s a fun way to meet people who love the food scene here in Westchester and try some new places out, that we can in turn share with our readers. One “Westchester foodie” that we have seen at a number of events is our Westchester Woman Wednesday for March. Her name is Aleesia Forni and she a journalist for the Westchester Business Journal and the Westchester WAG Magazine. Her food photography skills are incredible. She’s one of the rare foodie experts who actually uses a real camera, instead of using an iPhone with filters. Because of the work that she does, her IG account is amaaaazing– See for yourself by following Aleesia on Instagram at @AleesiaEats
So we decided we wanted to get together with Aleesia and talk about food, dining and just “good eating” in Westchester. We met for dinner (most Westchester Woman Wednesday meals are lunch) due to Aleesia’s busy work schedule. She has a job that any one of us would love. Between the WAG Magazine and the business journal, she’s busy with pretty awesome assignments. We knew she was not from the area, but we learned over dinner that Aleesia is anything but a Westchester native. She grew up on a farm in Ohio, attended Ohio State University and wound up in moving Westchester after a short time living and working in Virginia Beach. Her longtime boyfriend John has been with her every step of the way, each following their own career paths and building their resumes since college. Their choice to live in the Peekskill/Montrose area was based on their shared interests. They wanted to find the balance between city and country life. In one hour they can can enjoy a sporting event in NYC or find themselves on hiking trails in the mountains.
Aleesia is not what we’d call “moms like us” but she’s a dog mom. A really good one, actually. Without being married or having a child, she already has a college savings account for her first child. (I think I about fell off my chair at that one actually…) Her dog is her baby for now and she’s factored into her budget, one day a week at doggy day care because she realizes the importance of socializing her dog. And yes, we asked, the dog also has pet insurance. Why? Because she’s researched it and realizes that it’s worth having. It’s safe to say that she’s uber-responsible and what one would call a “conscientious consumer.” No fancy doggie clothes or impulse buys for this dog. On my best days pre-age 30, I don’t think I was ever this logical.
So what does she do for fun in Westchester? Certainly not what I would have guessed. She has a Pinterest Group! (I glanced over to Shawna for a reaction and realized that she had no idea what that even meant. I told her it was like Girl Scouts for GrownUps.) They meet once a month and work on things they found on Pinterest pages. The group consists of 10-15 women, who found one another on Meetup.com. They knit, make crafts or other projects that have caught their eye. They meet once a month and take turns supplying materials and space. I’m certain that Shawna and I will visit one of these groups at some point.
By the end of dinner, I was not sure if I had even covered all of our topics. I had stopped writing and just listened! I think we sort of did….although, a very different conversation than we had over lunch with our January and February friends, Cassandra and Julianne! Our car ride home from dinner was spent talking about post-college days and how neither of us lived or worked the way Aleesia does. The shared opinion of these two moms is, her mom must be proud!
My husband has been asking me to get tickets to Hamilton for months. Every time I searched Ticketmaster I was turned off at the high prices and discouraged that we would have to wait for six months to be able to go. I don’t trust StubHub or CraigsList, especially for something like this. I asked my “ticket guy” that I have been using for years for help and I had to give him dates about a month or two out. He usually comes through with the best seats so I figured I would just pay the price and go through him. Nothing.
I have been following this Instagram account for these guys who call themselves Same Old Line Dudes. “They wait for your wants” is their tagline. You pay them hourly for places like Black Tap, sample sales, video game releases, food items and of course the hottest ticket in NYC, which is Hamilton.
I went to their website and did as they said, I texted them. After a few messages back and forth, I was able to get tickets to the date of my choice, in under a week! My husband was thrilled and we marked it on the calendar for St Patrick’s Day, 3/17. The line sitters were going to stand in line for us at 5am, get our tickets when the box office opened and give them to us at 7pm, before the 8pm show.
Without all the details, we paid $500 per ticket. $199 face value, plus $300 in waiting time for the line sitters. Each line sitter can only secure one ticket for Hamilton. (Other places, they can hold a spot for 2 or more people I think- Just not Hamilton. Figures!) Was it a lot of money? Absolutely. But it’s not something we would do everyday. It was an experience (using the line sitters) and even more of an experience to see this show!
A “real world” topic for many parents right now is on state testing. We live in Westchester County, known for it’s high taxes and expensive real estate, with a lot of high-performing school districts. Many of the publications that publish “Top US High Schools” report that Westchester has dozens of schools included on this list. There are many factors contribute to the success of our school districts. At the elementary level, it’s often “test scores.” Test scores on tests given to kids grades 3-8 across the country, before they enter high school. This topic is widely debated at home in Westchester and across the country, with some strongly in favor of the high standards and academic rigor and others who challenge it, feeling it’s an inappropriate tool/measure, with unfair decisions as outcomes and tax dollars/funding attached to flawed results. My personal feeling is that each child and family should make informed choices based on what they value. It’s a very personal decision to make with your own child in mind, politics aside.
A simple road-map to help you parent like a rock-star (even when you want to give up).
A no-nonsense approach to help you navigate the chaos of the daily grind.
Strategies to help ditch the “mommy (or daddy) guilt” that only makes your job harder.
Easy ways to prepare your child for the challenges that exist out there in the real world...all while rediscovering joy in parenting!
Dr. Stephanie O’Leary: “Parenting in the Real World” was created as an approach that does not judge the reality of what parents face or dismiss the challenges that exist in all households. The trusted strategies I’ve developed will turn the volume up on respect, listening, and accountability while shrinking the daily dramas that sap joy and exhaust everyone. I have tested these tools at home and have seen them successfully transform parent-child relationships time and again in my clinical practice. I am excited to share them here so every parent has an opportunity to create positive change and build meaningful family connections (while getting everyone where they need to be, when they need to be there, and making sure the lunches are made). In the here and now, “Parenting in the Real World” offers simple ways to get through the day while liking your child as much as you love him or her. In the long run, the changes you make will build unbreakable parent-child bonds that will benefit you and your family for years to come.
Is Your Child Opting Out? A Parent’s Guide to State Testing By Stephanie O’Leary, Psy.D., Author of Parenting in the Real World
The time of year for standardized state testing has arrived and if you have school-age children, there’s no way to avoid this topic. Everyone has strong opinions when it comes to the issue of “opting out,” so how do you decide what’s best for your child? To help you make the best decision for your child, let me debunk some common parental concerns when it comes to opting out:
Will opting out spoil my child or teach them to avoid responsibility?
No. State tests are not real life situations and many parents and educators feel they are poorly constructed and developmentally inappropriate. You can teach your child to be responsible on a daily basis by having them do chores, manage more of their morning and evening routine, and face the natural consequences of practical slip-ups (i.e., forgotten permission slips, lunch bags, homework assignments).
Will opting out leave my child unprepared for future tests?
No. Our public education system includes plenty of opportunities for students to practice taking tests on a weekly basis in the classroom. Your child’s preparedness for future SAT or ACT exams has nothing to do with how often he or she sat for state tests starting in grade school. In fact, hearing year after year that scores don’t matter and that there’s no way to prepare may set a negative precedent and make it even harder for kids who take state tests to gear up when preparation does count and scores do matter.
Will there be negative consequences at school if my child opts out?
No. State laws vary, but national laws protect a parent’s right to opt their child out of standardized tests. Furthermore, even states that threaten to change district funding if opt-out rates exceed a certain percentage have never acted on those warnings. Might you ruffle a few feathers or get an ear-full from an administrator if you opt your child out? Sure.
Will opting your child out endanger their standing as a student or their ability to move on to the next grade?
Absolutely not. After you’ve made your decision, here are a few things to keep in mind:
You’ll need to write a letter. You can find resources online about specific information to include in your state, but a simple opt-out statement is really all you need to begin with. Click HERE to download the sample letter I use.
Your school district may have specific policies or procedures they ask you to follow. You can do your best, but at the end of the day sending a simple note to your child’s principal is sufficient to start the process.
There’s no deadline, so if you’ve made your decision closer to the test date(s) send the letter in anyway—even if it’s the day of the test.
Ask what your child will be doing while peers are taking tests (most will be asked to engage in quiet activities in an alternate classroom or location, such as an auditorium or gymnasium).
Know that if you keep your child home from school on the day of testing he or she will miss instruction that’s provided after the testing is over.
Most districts do not consider it a legal/excused absence if you list the reason as “opting out of standardized testing.”
Most schools will allow you to keep your child home during the hour(s) of testing without an attendance penalty if your son or daughter arrives in time for educational instruction (you can call ahead and ask about timing for your child’s specific test).
About the Author: Stephanie O’Leary, Psy.D. is a Clinical Psychologist located in Westchester County, NY specializing in Neuropsychology, mom of two, and author of Parenting in the Real World. She provides parents with a no-nonsense approach to navigating the daily grind while preparing their child for the challenges they’ll face in the real world. www.stephanieoleary.com
With spring holidays around the corner, I’m finding it hard to get motivated to locate recipes and prepare for the big meal. Today is a snow day, and I have comfort food on my mind. I’m making homemade cookies and muffins and preparing my once a year, corned beef and mashed potatoes St Patrick’s Day meal today, because I know I will be home for the 3-4 hours that it takes to make it. My hope is that by Friday I will not be stuck in the house. Hours upon hours in the kitchen is only for certain occasions, like a snow day.
I was happy to see that Rye Brook’s Balducci’s location has this catering menu. Catering is perceived as “so expensive” or only necessary for a large group. Balducci’s is smart; their menu can work for parties as small 6 guests. I so prefer to enjoy my company on a holiday over spending the whole time cooking, serving and cleaning. Going out for Passover/Easter meals can seem impersonal, so if you want to stay home and not have the headache of shopping and cooking, I suggest Balducci’s. They have it covered; from appetizers to desserts. (Those chocolate covered pretzels are amazing!)
The menu should be available online this week, but here’s a sneak peek. The store is located in the Rye Ridge Shopping Center. You can find Balducci’s online at:
Some of the best pics on Instagram are pics of food. I never post what I cook and rarely post what I eat. But I love looking at others pics. I started following this food account and learned that it’s created by two high school students. I asked them to send me a list of their “Best of Westchester” and here’s what they think is the best. Some are good old fashioned favorites like the Candlelight Inn and some are old-turned-new, like the new breakfast menu at the Scarsdale Metro Diner. They’ve shared the best bacon-egg-cheese sandwich, pizza, wings, burgers, guacamole, baked goods and more. This list would take the average Westchester-ite years to compile. Not the healthiest, but these basketball playing student athletes work plenty of calories off at practice and games each week! Their account on Instagram is below, along with their pics and list of favorites.
This account all started in Lancaster Pennsylvania. My friend and I travel a lot for our AAU basketball team and in doing this we visit a lot of new and delicious restaurants. We were in a diner eating cheesecake and taking pictures of it when our mothers suggested we create a food account on Instagram to post all our pictures on. At first, we made a joke of the idea, but then we actually considered the possibility and then we created f00diies_.
It took us a while to gain fame and get more followers, however after a while we slowly gained fame. We would have never expected to have over 5,600 followers when we first made the account but now looking back I am glad that we did. Posting the pictures and eating all these delicious foods has been a lot of fun. People tag us in and send us pictures and the time and feel honored when we post their pictures. We hope to continue to gain followers and share our delicious meals with our awesome followers.
F00diies_ Favorite Picks in Westchester:
Scarsdale Metro Diner
From omelets and eggs to burgers, panini and wraps and their new and improved breakfast menu, Metro has it all. You can’t go wrong with anything at the Metro diner, all food is made fresh and tastes delicious. Be sure to try out their new breakfast menu that includes cannoli pancakes and Nutella toppings etc.
Candle Light has an abundance to choose from, besides their best seller… the famous wings. Candle Light overall has quality food and tastes delicious. Their waffle fries and potato skins are to die for. Also, their tacos and salads are delicious. They even have special New York Juniors cheesecakes on their menu. Their outside dinning in the nice weather is a bonus!
Rio Bravo of Larchmont
By the far the best Mexican food around. The fresh made guacamole is out of this world. The service space and quality of food is outstanding. All around everything on the menu is delicious, try the mango quesadilla it is one of my favorites.
A little touch of Italy is now in Tuckahoe! Italian Job is a new restaurant and is extremely delicious. The pizza is made fresh in their brick oven. They even have Nutella zeppolis and Nutella pizza for dessert.
Anthony’s Coal Fire Pizza White Plains
Anthony’s is one of the best restaurants around. They have the best meatballs with fresh ricotta cheese I have ever had in my life. Their coal fire wings with caramelized unions are to die for. And to top it off they have awesome pizza in many different styles.
An awesome diner with a great variety to choose from. All foods are quality made and delicious. The breakfast menu is out of this world with Nutella, and s’mores toppings to add to French toast, waffles, and pancakes. Their paninis and wraps are also very delicious, they also have the best milkshakes in town.
Pipers Kilt Eastchester
When you are craving a burger, you must try Pipers. Pipers has one of the best burgers in Westchester along with their potato skins, union rings, mozzarella sticks, etc. And don’t forget their awesome French onion soup!
Hands down the best authentic Italian food in Westchester. The quality of the food and the quantity given will last beyond one meal. The Penne Vodka is extremely rich and creamy and their potato croquets melt in your mouth. They have mouthwatering dishes from chicken, veal, fish, to homemade pastas and more! Don’t miss out on this, and make sure you make a reservation.
360 American Grille Mamaroneck
Awesome place in the heart of the Mamaroneck! The burgers are superb and their mac and cheese is magnificent. They even have a s’mores dip for dessert! And don’t forget to try the cowboy nachos and their array of salads.
Pizzeria Veloce White Plains
A new restaurant in White Plains. You can either make your own salad or pizza. All ingredients are fresh and organic. They have a super friendly staff and atmosphere. Don’t forget to try the delicious desserts.
Beascakes Bakery and Breads Armonk
The best bakery in Westchester. Well worth the ride! Their cakes are heavenly, they even make their own cookies and cream filling. The chocolate chip cookies are filled white rich chocolate and the cupcakes are exceptional.
Auray Gourmet Larchmont
A cute little café in Larchmont. They have the best crepes in Westchester. The crepes can be filled with Nutella strawberries and bananas. They also have a variety of sandwiches and paninis on their menu.
Old school pizza with old school décor. They have thin crust delicious pizza. They have had one of the best pizzas in Westchester for a long time. They also have a very large menu of regular meals to choose from as well. The bread is warm and delicious and their mozzarella sticks are divine. Definitely worth a visit.
Lange’s Deli Bronxville
Hands down the best bacon egg and cheese in Westchester. You can even add avocado to your bacon egg and cheese! They have an array of options to choose from. Their sandwiches are fresh and delicious.
Buon Amicis Deli Scarsdale
An unbeatable deli full of the freshest Italian ingredients in town. The chicken cutlets are thin and crispy. One of my personal favorites and most popular sandwich is the 007, which is chicken cutlet, mozzarella, bacon, and hot sauce on awesome panini bread. Helpful Hint: call your order in the lines are usually long.
I’ve been taking pilates reformer classes for years. No matter where I have gone, it involves an extra charge beyond the gym membership, as it’s considered private/semi-private group training. In the past 7-8 years, I have taken these classes at larger gyms such as NYSC, Lifetime and Equinox. I have taken classes at smaller studios that focus just on pilates. For the most part, the classes will run from $35-40 per group session on up to $85+ for an individual session. Add that onto your regular gym membership and pilates reformer can become an expensive way to exercise.
Club PilatesScarsdale is in their first month of business. They’re located on Central Avenue in the Archway Shopping Center, directly beside California Pizza Kitchen. They’re like no other pilates studio in the area, in my opinion. The three main reasons why I am loving Club Pilates are the cost, their schedule and the quality of instructors and equipment. My husband and I are both members and decided it was smart because we can still keep our regular gym memberships and benefit from their cost-effective pricing and flexible schedule.
I did the unlimited and at the end of the month, I will wind up paying half of what I would pay to take this class elsewhere; instead of $40 per class, about $20 per class! So financially, it works out.
The packages work for everyone, whether you want to walk in or go unlimited. So easy to book, online or with the Club Pilates app. The pricing is as follows:
8 pack- $199
4 pack- $109
Walk in- $35
Some March specials are still going on for those that sign up before the Grand Opening– So if you’re interested, speak to Alli or Heather for pricing and promotions that are being offered now for new members. It’s a nice discount off the above rates!
The month of March is for demo classes and for members only. Right now, there are about 30-some-odd classes on the schedule. By April, there will be 50-60 classes on the schedule. Classes start as early as 6am or as late as 7pm. This schedule works for everyone– for those early birds who want to go before work, for those who drop kids off at school between 7-9am and for people who like to go after work. With 50 classes a week, you’re sure to find ones that fits your schedule. If you want to sign up for a demo class, email me at email@example.com and I will send you over as a referral.m Everyone that I have sent has loved it! You can also contact Heather or Alli at Club Pilates. Contact info is below.
My only hesitation with Club Pilates was the quality of the instructors and so far, I have been very impressed! On par with the instructors I have taken classes with at the larger gyms. So far, I have taken classes with Shannon, Donna and Hadley. Each very different, but very enthusiastic, willing to help those that are new to pilates, while challenging those that have years of experience. The facility itself is brand new and beautiful and the stations are like nothing I’ve seen before. Every piece of equipment is there for your use.
Club Pilates Scarsdale is the first location of it’s kind in NY and I am sure that it will do well here in Westchester. Between the incredible instructors, better-than-competitive pricing and lots of classes to choose from, it can’t not succeed. Highly recommend and I look forward to seeing you in classes!
Being the mom of a really girlie girl, I never knew the hours of fun (and quiet) LEGO could provide. Also never knew that it could (and would) eventually consume my entire first floor. What started as a shelf for LEGO creations quickly transformed into a sprawling “Lego City” that has slowly taken over our living space. I was thrilled to see that Mathnasium was offering LEGO-themed birthday parties.
For more information contact Shane at firstname.lastname@example.org
I love structure, schedules and plans. But I also love being creative and spontaneous, sharing a good find when I want to. I realized last week that I have been lacking in the “eat” posts and made it a priority for this week. I’ve been thinking about “what’s trending” on the food scene (and on IG food posts) and it’s that new cookie dough place in the city, called CookieDo NYC (pronounced “dough”) The one where you have to wait on line for over an hour, just to get indoors to buy cookie dough.
Over the winter break, I had a girls day in the city with some friends and Do was on our list. We had planned to go to the taping of the Harry Connick Jr Show in midtown, down to the village to Denino’s for lunch and for cookie dough after. At the end of the taping, I checked my Facebook page and saw a friend posting pics of her and her kids at Do. I private messaged her asking how long the line was and she replied, “about an hour and half.” Long story short, we never made it there.
This week, while thinking about what I could post in the eat category, that was real and genuine (and something other than Restaurant Week which is going on from March 6- March 19th) I came across a friends post about Edoughble and said, that’s going to be my post!
Most popular flavors are what you’d expect. Chocolate chip, birthday cake, s’mores, Oreo cookie flavor….their names are fancier than I am giving them credit for– I’m writing them from memory. They have vegan and gluten-free options too. You can follow them on FB to see some more pics!
As parents, we complain that our kids are tech-obsessed and rely too much on their devices, yet we are very much the same. They spend an excessive amount of time on screens, tablets, connected to wi-fi….but we’re no different. We are always looking for ways to simplify our lives (and theirs) and to the rescue comes an app to help us. Ironic isn’t it? We schedule our hair appointments online, our grocery deliveries, buy movie tickets and more. Way more than a telephone, our smartphones are our calculators, cameras, web browsers, calendars, bill-paying devices, notepads and tracking devices. On the topic of “tracking” ourselves and our kids, I’m sharing the link to Shawna’s recent post on Life360 and how families can use it: http://www.emmawestchester.com/2016/10/11/favorite-app-life-360giving-me-peace-of-mind-korben-more-independence/
I recently read about two new iPhone apps that are useful for families, that help them to stay organized. The first one is called Cozi. I haven’t used it enough to write a proper review of it, so I am borrowing from someone who wrote up a nice summary of her use with it, what she liked and disliked. She rated it 4.5 out of 5 stars, and thinks it’s a good tool for organizing a busy family. https://www.clothforall.com/cozi-a-family-app/
A second app is for the family who needs a little more than Cozi can offer. iGotThis is a task-focused, life management solution that builds self-esteem by ensuring repeated success. It’s loaded with features to keep kids with ADHD on track, focused, and motivated – all while providing real-time visibility and complete control for parents.Approximately 12 million parents are raising an extraordinary child and are looking for ways to solve the issues that come up with such a diagnosis. One of the main symptoms of ADHD is not being able to follow through on a task without being distracted. Another issue is low self-esteem, which often results from the ordinary world’s methods that sets those with ADHD up for failure. iGotThis provides:
Repeated successes with its unique failsafe reminder system
Motivation through a customizable rewards feature
Positive reinforcement with game dynamics
Inspirational Messaging about ADHD
Real-Time, remote oversight to parents
It’s so important to build self-confidence and remind those children that ADHD is not a deficiency, it’s a gift. iGotThis helps them learn valuable skills and creates habits that will help them succeed, and build their self-esteem so they can one day have the confidence to enter the world as adults.
The video above gives more info on iGotThis and has a Kickstarter page for the next 30 days. Back the project on the Kickstarter page between March 6th and April 6th to help fund finishing the app and you will become one of the “Founding Families” of iGotThis. These families will enjoy lower prices, additional rewards, privileges and recognition.
Every Friday night, I look over the topics that we’ve posted to go out in our e-blast on Saturday morning and I notice that I didn’t touch on every single category (eat, shop, play.) In an ideal world, I would post 3 times each week, once in each category. Even better, Monday would be eat, Wednesday would be shop and Friday would be play. But that wouldn’t be authentic and what’s happening in the moment. I love rules and structure, but I also love being real and genuine, sharing what I love the most each and every week.
In recent weeks, we’ve had many posts on eat and shop (possibly too many shop…I know!) so my goal for this week was to make sure I found something enriching, educational, entertaining, something that would fall into the “play” category. Play can mean lots of things….from culture, to travel, to outdoors, to literature/music, to something for the kids/family. This is a “play” post to make up for the other weeks when we didn’t have enough play info for you. It’s for women, for girls nights, for date nights or for the whole family.
There are so many great suggestions on Thought Gallery NYC. One of my favorite weekly newsletters and filled with incredible events for everyone. Truly an event for every day of the month, so decided to share this weekend so you can plan ahead in the month of March. I’ve shared a few of my favorite from the March calendar.
Last month, I was looking at my March calendar and realized that I needed some new and fresh topics. I needed guest bloggers. People who would write about topics that women are interested in, related to eating, shopping and playing in and around Westchester. There’s a lot of topics that I can’t write about myself, because I don’t know enough about them and I fear that I would misrepresent them. I had a few responses (thank you Facebook) and one was from Lauren Mascia, a local mom, who volunteered to be my first guest blogger. The rest of this post is in Lauren’s voice. (Bold text off to differentiate.) My story is one many of you can most likely relate to. I had a successful career in Buying and Planning with a large retailer. I proposed a flextime scenario when I first became a mom. At the time, I was turned down and told that they were worried it would set a precedent. Forward many years and several unfulfilling part time gigs and a health issue; a commute and an office job would be difficult for me. Beautycounter’s mission resonates with me and the products are incredible, so becoming part of the company was a no-brainer.
I’m about to tell you something that you don’t want to hear.But it’s really, really important.The average American woman uses 12 products a day, which may contain cancer causing, endocrine disrupting chemicals.This is what lead me to Beautycounter, a company who’s mission it is to get safer products into the hands of everyone by educating consumers and as a business, to support and help pass better public health protective laws. I was so impressed with the company’s efforts and products that I decided to become part of it.We are on a mission.
Beautycounter is doing all it can to get Congress to enact health protective laws in the beauty industry.We are actively involved in discussions with our elected leaders in our country and in Canada.I am excited and energized to be attending a meeting with Charles Schumer’s office next week.
I will be at Athleta Scarsdale on Friday March 10th and I would love to meet you, and for you to see and sample our products.You can you can also email me at email@example.com and/or check out my website www.beautycounter.com/laurenmascia and hey, if this resonates with you I am always looking for passionate people to join my team.
To learn more about our health and skincare products, read on. We are a DISRUPTIVE brand.Why? We are disruptive because our products are not only safer, they are high performing. Our sunscreen was on my radar before I joined the company.For years I drove my kids crazy by not allowing them to use any of the widely available drugstore brands.
My reasoning for this is that most of these brands fall into 3 categories: 1) Chemical Sunscreens- like those with the ingredient Oxybenezone, they absorb through the skin and may disrupt the hormone system.2)Nanoparticles- they’re extremely small molecules, one billionth of a meter and are often found in mineral sunscreens.Although zinc or titanium nanoparticles do not easily penetrate the skin, they may cause lung damage if inhaled in spray sunscreens.3)Retinyl Palmitate or Retinol- these forms of Vitamin A may speed the development of skin tumors when applied to sun-exposed skin.So what to do? Look for non-nano mineral sunscreens such as those using non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.My problem was that a lot of these sunscreens I tried were hard to rub in and leave you looking white and chalky.Not ours! Beautycounter sunscreen goes on easily and is sheer.It smells yummy and it’s water resistant.It’s even kid approved! You can choose from the All Over Sunscreen, the Protect Stick Face, The Protect Stick Body, (all SPF 30) and the Protect Lip Balm (SPF 15).We also have a fantastic Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 that comes in 5 shades also an ALLURE Best Of Beauty Winner.
If you’re a new mom concerned about what products to use on delicate, vulnerable baby skin or you’re looking for a baby gift, look no further.We have a full line of wash, oil (which can double as mom eye makeup remover or as a carrier for essential oils. I love multi-use products!), Balm (which can also be used for eczema, cracked heels, etc.), Rash Cream and a super functional diaper bag (which can double as a bag for the market, pool or beach, picnics, tennis, etc.)All items are sold separately and in fabulous collections or sets.VOGUE listed our products among their Favorite Baby Shower Gifts in 2016 and REAL SIMPLE voted us #1 Best Skincare Products for Babies in April 2016.
I could go on and on about all the transformative skincare, super mascara, fun lip-glosses, body and kids line but I know you don’t have all day so I’ll tell you about one more must have product that I’m addicted to.Our Lip Conditioners.Either Peppermint (peppermint & rosemary oil) or Calendula (calendula and chamomile oils-soothing, softening and anti-inflammatory).They’re thick and nourishing without being sticky.Get one for your car, nightstand, desk, bag, etc.
Hope to see you on Friday afternoon at the Emma Westchester Shopping Event. I’ll be there from 4-6, available to answer questions, show you the line of products that Beautycounter has to offer. You can purchase, sign up for a hostess party of your own and if nothing else, learn about the steps women just like ourselves are taking to make products safer for all of us!
Guess what Westchester… we have our very ownDrybar!For those of us who are cult followers of this blow dry only salon, this is HUGE news. For those of you don’t know about DryBar… you’ll thank us!
DryBar is a blow-dry only salon that offers hair menus – whether it’s the Cosmo with loose curls or the Manhattan for a sleek look, maybe you feellike a Dirty Martini all tousled and textured… Drybar has what your mood needs! For $45 you get your wash and fancy blow dry.
This swanky salon is a MUST for busy gals. Whether it’s part of your weekly hair routine or just a treat, fab hair can make a girl feel like a million bucks!
The Westchester Drybar is located in White Plains Plaza on 1N Broadway… right in the center of everything. The bright yellow and white cheery store is welcoming with knowledgeable staff and comfortable chairs, coffee and drinks.
The convenience of a pop in salon is such a great luxury. The Dry Bar doesn’t do cuts or color… strictly blow outs so you can pop in and out on your lunch break. Word of warning though… Drybar has a cult following and will book up really fast so plan ahead. They do open at 7am most days to give you a fresh fab start to your day!
You can download the app or book your spot online.
I’ll see you at the Drybar!
A big thanks to Maria Colaco aka The New York Mom for helping us out with this post and filling in as an Emma Westchester contributor. It’s always nice to collaborate with other bloggers in the area. You can follow Maria’s blog here: http://www.thenewyorkmom.com/
Meet Heather Rhyu. She’s a fellow Westchester mom who has recently decided to make the jump into being a small business owner, leaving her Finance job in the city, so she can have more time at home with her 3-year old daughter and 5-month old son. Heather is opening up a boutique Pilates studio in Scarsdale on Central Ave., called Club Pilates. With over 400 locations signed, Club Pilates is the largest national Pilates franchise in the country. Heather is opening the first Club Pilates in NY state, right here in Westchester. The studio is located in the Archway shopping plaza, right next to the California Pizza Kitchen. Pizza and Pilates anyone?
Club Pilates offers reformer-based Pilates group classes as well as private training sessions and will have brand-new state of the art equipment, including not just Reformers, but the entire array of Pilates tools including the Chair, the Springboard, the Jumpboard, etc. Most of their classes are based on classical Pilates reformer classes but they do have some contemporary fusion classes as well, such as Cardio Sculpt, Barre/Reformer Fusion, TRX/Reformer Fusion and more.
Club Pilates Scarsdale’s soft opening weekend is coming up on March 3rd through 5th. They will have a lot of exciting things going on in the studio over the weekend with free trial classes, complementary mini massages, a brow bar, some healthy bites, raffle giveaways and more! There are a few spots left in their complementary demo classes over the soft opening weekend but if you miss it, they will be offering these demos at least once a day for their first month of business. Let’s go do some Pilates!
For more information, you can check out their website and facebook page.
A couple of times a year, Emma Westchester and Athleta Scarsdale team up to bring out some #momslikesus for a Shopping Event. It’s a nice way to get to meet some local women, who are starting businesses or working as independent consultants. The common theme is that they are all wellness, health or fitness related. Shoppers at Athleta are usually like-minded, in the fact that they like to know the latest trends in health and wellness. Meeting these vendors enhances their shopping experience so Athleta welcomes guests like this to the store regularly.
While shopping for clothes for spin class, you might want to know that there are supplements that will give you increased energy, aiding your workout. Lori Aliberti will be available to answer questions about Pruvit’s KetoOS products on March 10th. She swears by them and recently gave her day job her 2 weeks notice to fully concentrate on this.
Lauren Mascia, is a local BeautyCounter consultant. I had honestly never researched this company too much, but Lauren has offered to share her products and her extensive knowledge of toxins in products and ingredients in a guest post next week. She will be at the event with her products for shoppers to learn about. I’m most interested in the sunscreen with the spring and summer months around the corner.
Shawna and I will be there, of course. While we don’t have a product to sell, we just like the network of interesting women, sharing ideas, working together, supporting one another and of course shopping with our readers. It’s always fun to connect in person, off the computer and we thank Athleta Scarsdale for giving us the venue for such an event. Hope to see you there!
I’ve never been the mom to think that anything worthwhile should come just from the school. Home is the first school and serves as the most influential place where kids learn. Formal education is only a piece of the puzzle and anything that’s worth doing should come from home first, school second.
When I saw that this class was being offered for teachers, I thought, “Who thinks that teachers should bare this responsibility?” In this educational climate (politics aside) parents like to have some say in what programs are offered in schools. The reality is that teachers are burdened with more and more demands, high stakes standardized testing, a new/changing evaluation formula, tying students test scores to teacher performance and more. As a parent, I trust that my school district implements what helps children and if I feel otherwise, I seek it out on my own.
I called Yoga Haven last week to inquire about this workshop and in fact, it is given for teachers who are looking to incorporate this practice into their classrooms. I applaud any teacher who gives their Friday, Saturday and Sunday (12 hours in total) to take this class for the benefit of their students. In my teacher days, I’d have done the same. However, I do believe that parents should be proactive in their kids overall wellness and mental health so I asked if this class would be appropriate for parents to take as well. I’m sharing the link and the breakdown of all 3 days below. I hope some other moms will come out and take this too! Here’s an article that I came across this week on how it works. The research shows that mindfulness reduces student stress and even improves academic outcomes.https://www.edutopia.org/article/mindfulness-all-the-rage-does-it-work-youki-terada
Yoga Haven is offering 10% off to Emma Westchester Readers (aka #momslikeus) who register for this workshop. The cost is $295, less $30, so $265 for parents who wish to register. We will need to get 5, so please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in joining this group of moms in late April. With further questions, reach out to Yoga Haven directly by emailing email@example.com
Mindfulness in schools is becoming more and more popular. Because students and educators experience enormous amounts of stress, many schools are embracing Mindfulness practices and curriculums as an antidote to the many competing pressures. Mindfulness gives students and teachers the tools to better understand themselves and their experiences, fosters their overall well-being, and allows a greater capacity for compassion, empathy and resilience.
Yoga Haven’s Mindfulness Matters™ in Schools Teacher Training will give you the tools you need to bring these practices to your students, grades pre-K through 12. This 12 hour, weekend program will include a study of the neuroscience of mindfulness, coupled with an exploration and experience of the practice in its many forms. Together we will build a wonderful toolkit full of knowledge and practices to bring into our lives and back to our schools.
Join us at Yoga Haven’s stunning and inviting Scarsdale studio. This premiere studio has created, sustained and supported Mindfulness practices for many years, and proudly brings these practices to our area’s educators. Give yourself and your students the gift of training in this haven. Whether you’re just beginning or furthering your studies, Yoga Haven’s well-equipped studio will be the perfect location for your training.
Mindfulness Matters™ in Schools Teacher Training will include:
The benefits of Mindfulness
The neuroscience of the practice
The negative effects of technology use
Deep experiential practice, including yoga, chair yoga, breath work and meditation
A study of age-appropriate practices that can be brought to your students and practiced in your own day-to-day life
Resources to enhance and deepen your study and practice
Skill building, learning-by-doing and trouble-shooting
Who is this training for?
The training is for current classroom teachers, school staff and/or administrators, grades Pre-K though 12. This workshop is also appropriate for parents of school age children who would like to learn more about mindfulness and using these techniques with their children. The weekend is an opportunity for those interested in beginning or deepening their practice and developing or enhancing their toolkit for bringing Mindfulness to their students.
FRIDAY, APRIL 28, 6-9pm
Opening The Door To Mindfulness
Study the basic neuroscience behind the practice and benefits of Mindfulness. Learn how we can apply this, together with our students, to manage life’s stress and challenges.
SATURDAY, APRIL 29, 1:30-6pm
A Mindful Classroom Begins With A Mindful Teacher
Experience the practice of yoga as moving meditation followed by a sitting meditation.
The Mind/Body Experience In A Technological Age
While Technology can be one of our most critical educational tools, overuse and misuse can have far-reaching effects. Examine the effects of technology’s overload on an ancient nervous system and leave with a set of daily practices for both you and your students.
SUNDAY, APRIL 30, 1:30-6pm
Building A Toolkit
Living with present awareness takes practice. Bringing it into the classrooms takes courage and skill. Together, we will build a toolkit to take the practice into our daily lives and into our classrooms, one breath at a time. Educators will leave with a set of best practices and a readiness to bring the practice from the studio into the classroom.
Program Fee:$295 (with 5 Emma Westchester readers, $265)
To register, follow the link below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
“Spare Time.” What a funny expression. You’ve read interviews where someone is asked what they do in their spare time. Who really has spare time? We’d all do pretty much anything for some of it! There’s even memes about it.
I have a notes section on my phone where I save things to do in my “spare time.” I write down a book title that I should go on Amazon and read about or a documentary someone mentions I should see. But I keep articles open in my web browser for a week, saving articles “to read later.” Here are some things that are in my open browser, that I can’t X out until I’ve read them. I thought this was a perfect time to post this list; with lots of people traveling this week, or others of us staying home catching up on doctor’s appointments with their kids, going to Rockin’ Jump to fill these days off. Here are some things you might like reading.
A friend shared a site called fifi+ hop travel and adventure with kids with me this week and it’s filled with travel and day trip ideas for kidsand families. I’m always searching for quality experiences in NY, the US and beyond. I could read every article on this site and plan to when I have some “spare time.” (https://fifiandhop.com/)
If you’re looking for things to do with the kids during this upcoming week, Mommy Poppins Westchester always has some good suggestions. It’s filled with lots of good suggestions for #momslikeus! People always say, “You always know what’s going on.” I tell them, “Actually, I don’t. I go online and search just like you do! https://mommypoppins.com/westchester
OK- Two more articles to go. Both are found on a blog called My Purse Strings.
One is about using the Peloton bike and the other is a list of suggested children’s books to teach tolerance and kindness. Both of these articles are ones that have been picked up by some other larger blogs as of recently. This blog is written by a super blogger located right here in Westchester. Topics are varied, from fitness to technology to saving money and challenges to keep sane while being a mother! Her summer keep-the-kids-busy-challenge stressed me out as I read it each day and wondered what she was doing with her kids next. It can be found under 30 Day Challenge and it let’s you see the kind of mom that she is.
Our February choice for “Westchester Woman Wednesday” is Julianne Steiner. I first met Julianne about 4 years ago when I bought a Groupon for a facial. I never had a real aesthetician, that I saw regularly. I would go to Tranquility Spa every 3-4 months or squeeze in a facial when I was away on vacation. I remember talking with her at my first appointment about having an aesthetician, the way you would have a hairdresser. I sort of put facials and skin care in the same category as nail care, where it didn’t matter who gave you a mani/pedi one month to the next. I started to treat skin care the way I do hair care, and started to see the value of going to the same person for my skin over the years.
Julianne is a Westchester native, now raising a family here in Westchester. She’s lived all over, from Hartsdale to Pleasantville to Eastchester. She briefly lived in Stamford, CT and in the Country Club section of the Bronx. What’s remained constant is that she’s been in business for 13 years in the Heathcote Section of Scarsdale in what locals call “The Five Corners.” She’s located on the 2nd floor of the Wilgrin Building on Palmer Avenue, opposite Balducci’s. Julianne offers everything from skin care to laser hair removal to make up application for special occasions.
Julianne and her sister Jessica Steiner (a licensed massage therapist, in the same location) have offered a special deal, “better than a Groupon” for Emma Westchester readers. Julianne and Jessica are offering the following services/packages for first time customers. Simply mention Emma Westchester when booking your first appointment.
One 45 min micro facial, regularly priced at $175 is being offered for $70.
Two 45 min micro facials, regularly priced at $350 are being offered at $145.
Three 45 min micro facials, regularly priced at $525 are being offered at $170.
One 60 min massage, regularly priced at $140 is being offered at $100.
These prices do not require a coupon purchase and do not have to be used by a certain time. You can contact Jessica to arrange massage appointments by calling 914-924-7744. You can contact Julianne to schedule skin care appointments by calling (or texting, yes texting!) 914-874-4453.
Shawna and I met Julianne for lunch last week at one of our favorite spots, the Metro Deli in Scarsdale. We asked her about our three favorite topics: eating, shopping and playing in Westchester, as we plan to ask all of our featured Westchester Women. Shocking to me, Julianne loves eating at Korean BBQ in Yonkers (link to NYTimes article) I think it’s called Korea Gardens (link to restaurant) and The Cookery in Dobbs Ferry. She likes kimchi pancakes (need to google image that one) and seasonal food items and considers herself a foodie.
Not surprising is that she’s a Sephora junkie, always looking into the newest makeup and skin care products. Her go to outfit is a maxi dress in the summer and she usually shops for clothing in department stores like Lord and Taylor, Nordstrom and Bloomingdales. I had to ask what her favorite skin care products are, in case anyone wanted secret tips. She swears by MD Solar Science products because it’s truly a doctor-approved skin care/sunscreen and safe for your skin. She loves Dermaware because they are corrective products and her product of choice is Jurlique. Get this…the only line she has continued to sell in her 13 years. She loves them because they are organic products.
On the topic of “playing,” Julianne admits that her family and her work are what she needs the most. I would have taken that as her answer, but Shawna pressed and asked her for something outside of home, work and family. To complete the interview, without skipping the third piece of it, Julianne enjoys the outdoors, hiking, going to wine tastings, dining out, visiting the city and going to comedy clubs. Between running a business and a household, I think she forgot for a short time, what her outside interests were!
Between Paint Nite Parties and Adult Coloring Books, it’s clear that artistic expression is an outlet for lots of women. I started following these calligraphy accounts on Instagram recently. More than I care to admit. I watch the videos and find them soothing to watch and am amazed at the beautiful letter formations that look so easy. I love written language, a hand written note, vocabulary and phrases. I also love the look (and feel and smell) of pens and markers! Here’s an article on why art is good for the brain: https://bebrainfit.com/the-health-benefits-of-art-are-for-everyone/
The other day, I regrammed/reposted a phrase that I have always loved. That night before going to sleep, I checked my comments and learned about this Calligraphy Basics Workshop, being held later this month in White Plains. Not only White Plains, in a brand new space that I just visited for the first time a couple of weeks ago. It’s called KOI Creative Space and it’s a co-working space right on Mamaroneck Avenue.
You can register for this class by following the link below. Emma Westchester readers save $5 on their fee using the code EMMA225 when registering. (It took me a minute to realize that the date is Feb 25, so 225 is the code for the savings.)
When Random House asked me to promote the Sophie Kinsellaevent at Barnes and Noble last week, they offered me the opportunity to have a 10 minute interview with Sophie herself. Since I had just come up with the idea for interviewing our favorite Westchester Women, I decided to use this method of questioning and get some experience with it by asking Sophie Kinsella (only a New York Times Bestselling Author) my questions about eating, shopping and playing. Since she’s from England, her answers are going to be very different so I thought, in 10 minutes, I will be able to get a sense of who she is, what she likes and place her in the part of Westchester, if she were ever to live here, that she belonged.
In my 10 minutes, based on my questions and her answers, I think Sophie Kinsella would be best suited for Bedford; although probably not full time. She’d have a NYC address and a home in Bedford. Schools would be tricky. She has 5 kids and I get the sense that she would like community schools, so maybe her primary residence would be in one place or the other and she would go the private school route, regardless. I see her living in a sprawling English Colonial, on at least an acre, with a game room, a tennis court and plenty of space for her family of 7. (She has 4 sons and 1 daughter.) On weekends, I see her flying from Westchester Airport to Martha’s Vineyard rather than packing up the car for the Hamptons.
Sophie didn’t hesitate when I asked her about her favorite place to eat. It’s called The Wolseley and to use her lingo, it’s “quite posh.” I did some research on The Wolseley and it seems like a high-class establishment, located right on Piccadilly. Sophie enjoys the all-day menu and by the photos on the website, it looks proper, complete with silver teapots and platters, served by waiters in crisp white cloth gloves. She enjoys cooking and recently started learning to make her own jam and meringues. At the end of her many hours in the kitchen, she realizes there’s no meal, but she’s enjoyed learning to make some new things. Overall, her cooking is “patchy.” (direct quote)
I then asked her about where she likes to shop and commented on the beautiful dress she was wearing. She said she bought it in the airport, where she power shops to and from cities on her book tours. She likes airport shopping mainly because it’s the only time she has to herself to shop. The dress was made by an Italian designer, Pinko and she was happy to have found it in her travels. I checked out their dresses and they are to die for. She’s got an eye for style, for sure. She’s happy to have an Anthropologie in London and finds herself buying things she didn’t know she needed (hence the Shopaholic series of yesteryear. Deep down, I think she’s a closet compulsive shopper!)
Her free time is spent with her family. They love tennis and they’ve enjoyed ballroom dancing, trying many styles of dance, tango being “rubbish” (yes, she said that.) Her kids like playing board games and watching a movie together at home. She finds it hard to find something “suitable” for all kids to watch and I told her that Shawna had once posted an article on media/movie choices for all ages. She asked if I’d share it with her. Common Sense Media might help her choose appropriate titles and she might enjoy knowing the themes in advance, as well as the age groups that will enjoy it.
What amazed me after talking with her is that she’s so British and has managed to grab the attention of so many American women over the years. In fact, 100 tickets were sold to this event on Tuesday night and most of the women (like myself) had been following her for almost 20 years. I commented that many American women my age had been following her for years and remarked at her following. When we began, we were single shopaholics, looking for the right man and most of us are now married women, like herself. Her advice to #momslikeus is simple. “Enjoy your children. Stop worrying that you’re doing something wrong. They’ll be fine.” She remarked that in raising 5 kids, she’s learned over the years that worrying and stressing is not worth the headache. According to Sophie, “We’re all doing a fine job.”
Last month, Shawna and I had one of our working breakfast meetings and we had a list of people we wanted to get together with in the new year. Some that we have worked with for years, others we’ve met in the past couple of months. “Let’s do lunch,” is an annoyingly overused (and grammatically improper) phrase. Sometimes, it’s even an insincere way to exit a conversation. We really LIKE having lunch. We like trying new places and finding ways to collaborate with others, so we decided to plan some lunches with our favorite Westchester women and feature them on our Westchester Wednesdays, today being the first one!
Cassandra was our natural first choice because she’s someone that meets our criteria for “favorite people.” We love her work, we’ve both ordered her products and she’s truly one of the most humble people out there.
Because she’s a full-time working mother of two, lunch was hard for her. So we decided to meet for coffee and catch up, see what she’s up to and ask her to be the first interviewee for this new project of ours. Instead of a Q&A format, asking silly questions, we decided to stick to our three main topics (eating shopping and playing in Westchester) and see how goes.
Cassandra is a Silver Lake Girl. This means that she’s from West Harrison, which is not White Plains nor Harrison. West Harrison residents call themselves Silver Lakers. She loves being from a community where everyone sticks together and shares the feeling of hometown pride. Her first job was at an ice cream shop in town, Scoops. Cassandra’s now working as a graphic designer and has her side business Hello BeYouTeeFul where she designs and makes custom items of all types, from tee shirts to paper products for kids, brides, bachelorette parties and even my daughters Halloween costume this past year. She takes an idea and turns it into a reality.
Where does she like to eat, shop and play? She likes cooking at home and loves her crock pot and a tiramisu from Martine’s in Scarsdale is her dessert of choice. She loves H&M for jeans and her go-to outfit is a denim shirt, leggings, boots and a scarf. Besides going shopping at Michael’s for paper products and craft inspiration, we learned that she visits the H&M location in the city because they have a home furnishing department (we had no idea). As a 20-something, she enjoyed clubbing and dancing (we were shocked, due to her reserved demeanor) but fun in her 30s is up-cycling things she finds on Craigslist. She loves spray painting the most and credits her dad who worked in an auto body, for this skill. Here’s a before and after project of hers.
Her work speaks for itself and there’s really nothing she can’t do. You can find her online at www.hellobeyouteefull.com
When Shawna and I redesigned our site late last year, we decided to narrow our topics into three main categories. Our new site is keeping us more focused and we are happy to post within the following three topics– eat, shop and play. Most things are just for women and sometimes our posts include the family/kids.
So what is is the PLAY category all about? It’s basically “everything else” outside of eating/dining/cooking and shopping/products/sales. “Play” covers everything from travel to entertainment/plays/concerts, from books to movies, including activities, recreation and more.
To share a few different play topics, I decided to post a listing of fun events that our readers might like to know about and participate in in the upcoming months.
Feb 5th- HGTV Addict’s Interior Design Master Class
A full day event with Betsy Helmuth and her team at Affordable Interior Design. They’re offering 50% off for Emma Westchester readers, simply use the code EMMA when registering. General Admission is $275 and runs from 10am-4pm. Q&A sessions, and includes the following topics:
Learn to create the perfect floor plan for EVERY room, EVERY time, select furnishings that will last (and not break the bank), find the best online shops and getting the deepest discounts at big box stores, curate a color palette that wows, work with patterns like a pro and get the deepest discounts when online shopping.
The event also includes:
-two breakout Q&A sessions with Affordable Interior Design’s pros where your personal design dilemmas will get answered
-secret list of top stores and online resources
-interior design cheat sheet with measurements, rules, tricks, and more
Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health will be hosting a special screening of the documentary Life, Animated, an inspirational story about a young man with autism who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. The story is truly one of a kind and has just been nominated for an Oscar in the “Best Documentary” category.
The screening will be followed by a special Q&A session with Owen Suskind, the young man featured in the documentary, and his family Ron and Cornelia.
FEB 16 @ 7:30PM | SAT, FEB 18 @ 4:30 & 8PM | SUN, FEB 19 @ 3PM at Mamaroneck’s Emelin Theater
Special screenings of Manchester By The Sea, nominated for six 2017 Academy Awards. Manchester by the Sea is the story of a solitary Boston janitor who returns to his hometown to take care of his teenage nephew, and is forced to deal with a past that separated him from his wife and the community where he was born and raised. Deeply poignant, and unexpectedly funny, the film explores the power of familial love, community, sacrifice and hope.
I’m so Westchester. A 30-minute express train could get me into Grand Central with ease, but it seems like such a hassle to go into the city for things. Plus, I like my car. The traffic is a headache and the parking is worse. So I just avoid it.
Invitations like these ones have been coming across my email screen for a while now. Probably the best one was Emily Giffin, an amazing chick-lit author and I was so thrilled, until I saw the address. I reserved a spot and thought, I’ll suck it up and go for Emily Giffin. I never went, because it was on a hot, disgusting day in June and it wasn’t in Westchester.
Lucky for us, Westchester has the first Barnes & Noble concept store in the country. An added bonus is that I can walk to it. A concept store, complete with a restaurant (and a well respected chef) and a bar, a patio with a fire pit and bocce balls. It’s amazing and it’s going to have events that you’d expect to find in the city, right here in our backyard. My friend Aleesia wrote this article about the store: http://westfaironline.com/83462/barnes-noble-opens-concept-store-restaurant-in-eastchester/
Sophie Kinsella has been writing for us ladies since we were in our 20s. She’s the author of the Shopaholic series we all enjoyed reading. She will be at B&N in Eastchester on Feb 7th for a signing, wine and snacks and whatever else a concept store offers their loyal readers and shoppers. You can purchase tickets by following this link.
I’m thrilled too, that I’ve been asked to interview her prior to the event. I need to spend the weekend figuring out exactly what one asks a best-selling author when given the opportunity. This will be a first!
From #1 internationally bestselling author comes a new novel that is part love story, part workplace comedy, and part witty critique on the judgments we all make in a social-media obsessed culture
Admit it – we’ve all been guilty of tweaking our online lives. Whether it’s the post of the perfect cake (while the first several attempts burned in the oven) or staging the ideal selfie (after softening the lights and changing the angle), we can all own up to styling and re-styling our online lives at some point.
With more than 35 million copies in print and nearly 500,000 followers on Facebook, #1 internationally bestselling author Sophie Kinsella has won praise and fans across the globe for her sharply observed characters and uncanny ability to tap into the zeitgeist. In her new novel, MY NOT SO PERFECT LIFE (A Random House Hardcover to be published on February 7, 2017), Kinsella takes on our complicated relationships with social media and the age-old adage of the grass always being greener—especially if you can use the right filter.
Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for—particularly her boss Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh London townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle—from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she tries to negotiate. No wonder Katie takes refuge in her not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she firmly believes that one day, she will have that real life if she just works hard enough. But when Demeter suddenly fires Katie, she must put those dreams on hold and moves back home to her family’s farm, where she helps them set up a luxe “glamour camping” business. Worlds collide when Demeter and her family unexpectedly turn up as a guests and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.
Sophie Kinsella is celebrated for her vibrant, relatable characters and her storytelling gifts. In MY NOT SO PERFECT LIFE, she brings us the relatable heroine, Katie Brenner and her pursuit of that perfect, styled life—IRL or online.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
In addition to the Shopaholic series, SOPHIE KINSELLA is the author of the standalones I’ve Got Your Number, Can You Keep A Secret?, The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me?, Twenties Girl, and Wedding Night.She lives in England with her family, where she is working on her next standalone novel.
My husband is a very modern, forward-thinking guy. If I had to pick one way that he’s traditional (or let’s say old-school) it would be in his appetite. He likes a nice dinner when he comes home. Breakfast is usually on the go each morning after his 7 am workout and his commute to the city. Lunch is wherever he is during his work day. So dinner is his only sit-down meal of the day. Not to say that I slave over a hot stove (I don’t) but I try to make him meals that I know he will enjoy and appreciate. When there are weekends like this one coming up, where I have overscheduled myself, I find myself going to Balducci’s for some “cheat meals” for when I’m gone.
My 10 year old is dancing tomorrow at Lincoln Center which has turned into an all day affair from drop off, to dress rehearsal, a lunch break and then a 2pm performance. Sunday is a small family get together during the day and then Monday, I’m organizing an outing for 120+ Girl Scouts. I want to know that when I am in and out of the house all weekend, that there’s plenty of things for him to snack on. My son….he’s fine; yogurt and cereal, a turkey sandwich, some goldfish- standard 6 year old food will do. So today after running some errands, I made a stop to Balducci’s and got some essentials for the weekend.
At the last minute, I made myself a tea to-go and picked up a small thank you gift for the dance teacher, saving me a trip to another store afterwards. A beautiful chocolate covered pretzel platter, complete with Caspari napkins and a Papyrus card! Only the best, down to the paper goods!
At Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market, taste comes first with hand-selected produce, prime cut meats, fish flown in fresh from the wharves, restaurant-quality Chef Prepared foods and exceptional imported cheeses and patisserie treats. What started as a produce stand run by “Pop” Balducci, has now become a food powerhouse, with stores located in Maryland, Virginia, New York and Connecticut.
Balducci’s is more than a quality market, it is a destination for the food lover, the adventuresome pleasure-seeker who knows that eating is more than just a part of living life – it’s part of enjoying life. Below are a few of our exceptional services.
Catering: We make our restaurant-caliber meals available for catering. Balducci’s in-store chefs have crafted a menu of fabulous foods including everything from starters, sides and entrees to baked goods and custom dinners. Additionally, our catering team offers party planning capabilities perfect for any event or occasion. Whether you have business lunches or lavish receptions, our consultants can assist you in choosing impeccable offerings for your next soiree.
Team of Experts: The heart of our gourmet markets is our team of chefs, cheese professionals, butchers, fishmongers, pastry chefs and bakers. We have an Executive Chef, butcher and specialty food experts in each of our locations who assist customers with their selections, from hand-cut cheeses and quality meats to fresh seafood and delectable desserts.
Gift Baskets: For all of life’s special occasions, celebrate with great food. Make a memorable impact on friends, family, or colleagues with a variety of traditional and gourmet treats delightfully packaged in one of Balducci’s Gift Baskets.
Balducci’s Chef Prepared Items
Balducci’s specializes in healthy and indulgent Chef Prepared entrees and side dishes that will satisfy everyone in the family. Stop in, grab a side and save time in the kitchen!
A seasonal highlight includes our new Chef Prepared grain and noodle bowls that are deliciously wholesome. Enjoy the taste of vegetable noodles, ramen or quinoa mixed with a variety of fresh toppings. Packed with protein and filled with fiber, you can choose your favorite combination of meats, seafood or tofu for a filling, grab-and-go meal!
New Rye Brook Location
Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market is excited to share its love of food with Rye Brook, NY at its newest store location at the Rye Ridge Shopping Center. The grand opening celebration will take place on Friday, January 27th and will launch with a commemorative bread cutting ceremony, in-store tastings, chef demonstrations, prizes, and advice from a nutritionist with the festivities continuing throughout the weekend.
And for the foodies, who really like recipes to follow….Balducci’s is sharing one of their favorites with us. It meets the 10 ingredients and under rule that I like to follow so I decidd to post it and I might try it this week. I suppose the sauce could go with any pasta, for those that don’t like ravioli.
BALDUCCI’S GLUTEN FREE FOUR CHEESE RAVIOLI SERVED WITH BASIL CREAM SAUCE
One 9 oz package Balducci’s chilled Gluten Free Four Cheese Ravioli
2 tbls butter
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
3 tbls chopped fresh basil
3/4 cup good quality dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
Parmesan cheese shavings
Cook ravioli in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, about 8 minutes. Drain well. Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add pecans and stir until slightly darker and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer pecans to small bowl. Add shallots and basil to same skillet. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine and cream. Increase heat and boil until sauce is reduced to generous 3/4 cup, about 5 minutes.
Add ravioli to sauce; toss. Season with salt and pepper. Divide between bowls. Sprinkle with pecans and Parmesan.
One of our main categories is called “eat.” Shawna is the restaurant-goer out of the two of us as she has a far more sophisticated palate than I do. I have a total of about 25 food items that I eat in restaurants and am limited to only American or Italian food. Drives my husband crazy and he hopes my kids will experiment with new foods as they get older; things like sushi and seafood. Shawna enjoys the dining scene and I think I’ve mentioned on another post that she has a 3-visits rule, meaning that she likes to form opinions on restaurants and eateries after 3 times, sampling a lot of items, on different times of day. And she’s a tough critic. Between food, atmosphere and service, she weighs them all equally, for the most part. (There are rare exceptions, like a greasy spoon or dive takeout place, where she will sacrifice the atmosphere for a good meal.)
But truth be told, I have a sweet tooth. I love my tea and cookies and would happily skip a meal if it meant I could save my calories for a sweet treat; a brownie sundae, a cannoli or a piece of red velvet cake. With the help of Facebook, I have found some amazing sweet treats for my kids birthday cakes, party favors or for gift giving. Different occasions call for different vendors. Because I like the rule of 3 myself, I am going to share three of my favorites. Here’s my rare contribution to the “eat” category.
Rosemarie is a local mom who creates custom cake pops and desserts for all occasions. She’s made me red velvet cake pops for my kids birthdays, dipped Oreos with emoji faces and most recently, Vineyard Vines themed cake pops for my friends daughters birthday party. With about 2 weeks notice she can complete your cake pop order and she makes them by the dozen. Pops can range between $2 to $4 based on the detail needed. And they taste as good as they look.
Lisa teaches culinary classes to students and in her spare time, bakes cakes and cookies to suit your theme. She made me a Wonder Woman cake, salted caramel cupcakes and most recently, Vineyard Vines themed cookies wrapped up for party favors. When I asked her for these cookies, she didn’t know what Vineyard Vines logo even looked like. She googled it and wrote back saying she’d try it. They looked beautiful and tasted great, buttery and soft. Like the cake pops, I’d give her a week to 10 days notice, depending on the size of your order. I needed 24 cookies and they ran me about $2 to $3 per cookie.
I found Gotham Cookies by asking around on the UES Mommas page on Facebook. Every year, I send a dozen or so corporate gifts to clients in the city. I’ve used online ordering sites like Eleni’s and Crumbs Cupcakes in the past. I want a brand that people in Manhattan will know or will like to know about. So when I asked the moms on this page, the replies were what I expected and what I had used before. A few of them mentioned (and liked others comments) suggesting Gotham Cookies. So I took my chances and sent a dozen out. I ordered a handful to give to neighbors and friends and to try myself. A great suggestion– they were amazing. Highly recommend Gotham for orders big or small.
Gift box, holds 12 cookies. Red velvet, white chocolate chunk, left. Winter chocolate chunk, right.
It’s no secret that I love LOLA. Since I discovered this boutique years ago, even before the opening on Mamaroneck Avenue, it was my go-to place for fashion finds and gift items. What I have noticed about LOLA over the years, is that they always have the “in thing” first! They find the best items and are always ahead of the trends. What you’ll find in LOLA appears 6-12 months before everywhere else. It’s a healthy blend of clothing and accessories, including jewelry, hats/scarves/gloves and bags. They also carry gift items, such as candles, soaps, cards, stationery, Swell water bottles and home decor items. You never know what you’ll find when you walk into Lola.
Denise Elias and Dawn Pasacreta have grown their love of fashion into a flourishing boutique in downtown White Plains, NY. What started as a hobby quickly turned into the Lola New York storefront. Denise and Dawn aimed to share their enthusiasm with a wider audience. Since opening their shop in 2014, Lola has become something more, inspiring fashion lovers throughout the local region and beyond. Every piece, from scarves and jewelry to clothing and handbags, is selected with a keen eye. After a single trip to our boutique, you’ll get a real sense of our modern aesthetic. Lola New York wants you to look great and feel even better – whether you’re planning a casual day around town or an elegant night out.
Two upcoming trunk shows are posted below. Laurie Berg and Linda Richards are two local designers that are LOLA regulars.They are both going on this weekend, December 16th and 17th. If you miss the Laurie Berg trunk show, there’s always pieces in stock to choose from.
With about a week left of shopping, you’re sure to find something you will love. Not necessarily as a gift, but to wear to your own holiday parties.
LOLA NEW YORK • 396 MAMARONECK AVE. • WHITE PLAINS, NY 10605
My kids are now 10 and 6. When they were babies, I spent many hours (and dollars) shopping at a trendy kids boutique in the Scarsdale Village which is now Wyatt Lily. It was great then, but even better now. It’s usually my first stop when I have a baby gift to buy for a new mom, because you’re sure to find something special or unusual. They stock the brands that I love and I always find fun things for my two while I’m there. James loves the wacky junk food-type/rock and roll/ retro-ish tee shirts and there’s no shortage of emoji themed clothing and gift items for Ellie and her tween friends.
What Wyatt Lily has now, that the former store owner didn’t have, is the ability to make up custom gifts right there on site! Big sis/little sis tees and onesies and other really adorable personalized items. Hanging in the window when you walk by are some cute examples of what they can make. Tees that say, “Ladies Man” or “Living The Dream” and other cute sayings that just fit the kid in mind.
Fashion onesies and baby tees for the chicest baby on the block – from Wyatt Lily’s own signature collection. Wyatt Lily makes custom items while you wait – onesies, tees, dresses, tanks, and more. You can write whatever you want – we have loads of ideas to get you started. The perfect gift!
I didn’t want to like LuLaRoe leggings. I first saw them over the summer when a Facebook friend hosted an online Pop Up Party one night from 8-9pm, but curiosity got to me and I had to see what they were all about. Lots of big prints, polka dots, each one louder than the next. It was sort of like walking through JoAnn’s fabric store and thinking, ugh, at each roll of fabric. Who wears this?? But, I made my obligatory purchase and ordered a pair in the most tolerable pattern I could find. They’re just OK. They were $25 or so and if I wear them a few times, it works out. If I had a pic, I would post, but I never took one.
They are super soft and stretchy. Everyone who wears them swears by them. Truly, it’s what we are all looking for and wearing black yoga pants has become a joke! When buying, OS means one size fits all from size 00 to size 12. Which means, my 10 year old and I wear the same size in them. The next size is TC, which means Tall and Curvy, sizes 12-24. Quite a range. There’s “tween” too which my daughter should be wearing at 10 years old and under 100 pounds, but she likes the OS patterns more. Obviously.
Fast forward….November/December 2016 and they’ve really grabbed my attention. Way nicer prints than I had seen months ago and like a bridal gown, you can’t really see if you like it and can’t truly appreciate it until you put it on. With black boots and an oversized black sweater, all that’s peeking out is a little color. So many of us dress in black, black, grey and more black. A pop of color is not the worst thing. So I bought my first pair that I actually liked. I loved this Moroccan pattern and thought they’d go great with a navy wrap sweater and tan boots.
This past week I walked into my Monday morning pilates class and my instructor (and friend of 15+ years) had them on. I said, “Mary! Are those LuLaRoe??” I wasn’t 100% sure but I usually know where things come from when I see them on. They weren’t her usual Athleta leggings. They were awesome. I looked closely and noticed they were shinier than my LuLaRoe leggings and she said, “Yes! They make an exercise line.” I had not seen these before but I am now on a mission to get the same exact ones! On Friday morning, she had a different pair on. Pictured below are Mary’s exercise/running leggings. Not quite compression leggings, but thicker and more appropriate for working out in.
And that’s just the leggings. There’s an entire line of items, from dresses to maxi shirts to tunics, vests and more. Those run on different sizing charts, but it seems each item has a fit and a rule. (If you’re buying the “Irma” you size down, things like that.) I don’t know a fraction of what the consultants know. I bought this cute outfit for my sister for the holidays. An Irma (she’s a M, but bought her a S) and a pair of OS ornament leggings.
LuLaRoe leggings can be found on FB Page/Groups and I have a few local women that are selling them via Pop Up/Online Parties. You simply type “sold” and pay by Google Invoice and they’re shipped to you. In my case, they are delivered to my front door. Kim is local and she’s hosting pop ups weekly. Nicole is another consultant, who has different merchandise and will upload lots of albums when she gets her next shipment on or around 12/17. For some reason, everyone has different items in stock so it pays to shop around and see who has what!
Kim Giannelli is based in Bronxville and Nicole Kohloff is based in Greenwich. Both of them will ship to you. You can find them on Facebook and you will see for yourself that what one has, the other might not. You might get your tweens or OS from Kim and your exercise ones from Nicole. Join both groups and see what you like.