Category Archives: Play

If You Don’t Strava, It Didn’t Happen

If You Don’t Strava, It Didn’t Happen

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Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer and to get motivated you need to try out the fitness tracking app called STRAVA.

I only recently learned of STRAVA when Korben was showing me on Frank’s phone how many miles he had recently rode one Sunday afternoon.  I asked him what we were looking at and he just shook his head and said, “Oh Mommy, don’t you know STRAVA is like Facebook for Dads that work-out”.  So cute, right?  Actually, I learned that STRAVA is a fitness app that Frank has been using for a few years to track his progress mountain biking and more recently road riding.

In Frank’s opinion, STRAVA is the Gold standard for cycling, there are other apps out there, but any serious cyclist is using STRAVA and so are all of his/her friends.  If you don’t “STRAVA” the ride, it didn’t happen.

Without having to carry another device while riding, STRAVA through Frank’s iPhone tracks, records his altitude and provides a hill profile and map with his GPS coordinates after every work out, so you see precisely where he went riding. Calories burned are recorded, but they can be a bit misleading, since they are calculated for road riding and mountain biking burns more calories (climbing and descending).

What Frank likes most about this app is that he’s able to view his analytics and compete with others that he follows; whether they are friends or professional athletes.  For example, Frank’s following Lance Armstrong.  Yes, he’s controversial and what he did is unforgivable in the world of cycling, but Lance is still an amazing cyclist.  By following his friends and professional athletes, Frank is able to compare his stats with theirs which he says motivates him to push harder.

Like other social media platforms, you can comment, give kudos, and interact.  Everything is divided up into sections and Frank checks out the King of Mountain (KOM) and Personal Records (PR).  KOM is the designation given when someone in a particular section (area ride) has the fastest ride.  In the PR section, one can dig deeper into the stats and see who holds the KOM in each section and what one’s PR is compared to others. 

Funny enough, Frank learned about STRAVA from one of his Swedish friends (Marcus) who was training for a triathlon and thought that the name was made up but it actually does means “to strive”.   This fitness app is most used by runners and cyclists, but STRAVA can actually be helpful to track your progress and stay motivated with many outdoor activities.

Strava is the Swedish word for “strive,” which epitomizes who we are and what we do: If you’re striving to improve, no matter your goals or ability, you’re one of us.  Strava is the social network for athletes. We’re a global community of millions of runners, cyclists and triathletes, united by the camaraderie of sport. Our website and mobile apps bring athletes together from all walks of life and inspire them to unlock their potential – both as individuals and as communities. From Olympians to weekend warriors, we’re out there on the road and trail, all over the world, day after day.

Host an Art Partay

Host an Art Partay

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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 Art to 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:


Regents Review Classes in June

Regents Review Classes in June

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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.

Please visit or email me at to learn more about our Regents Review classes at Iona College, SAT and ACT prep classes, and our tutoring programs.


David Crino

Evolve Exam Prep and Tutoring

Our teachers will prepare you for the Regents exams in a small, comfortable classroom setting! 

Small Class Size

(All classes capped at 18)

NYS Certified Teachers

Take-home materials with practice problems


Register today! Classes start soon!

Register for classes in:

Visit for all class schedules.

Call us at 914-522-6270 or email us at if you have any questions.


If a classroom setting does not suit your needs then contact us about individual and small group tutoring and test prep sessions in your home.  Email us to schedule a session.

iPic Dobbs Ferry

iPic Dobbs Ferry

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We go to  A LOT of movies throughout the year and our go-to theater of choice used to be the AMC Palisades Theater.  Yep, we would drive the 20+ minutes and cross the Tappan Zee Bridge just so we could have a nice movie going experience seating in reclining reserved seats.  Recently, the new iPic Theater opened in Dobbs Ferry and we went to see Guardians of the Galaxy last Friday.  WOW – WOW – WOW  no more driving across the bridge.  We have found our new Date Night and Family Movie Theater right here in Westchester.

iPic Theaters indulges moviegoers in a new standard of affordable luxury unlike any other movie theater; deftly combining the highest levels of comfort, hospitality, and amenities that turn an ordinary experience into a unique and extraordinary movie-going escape. Whether you opt for our oversized, plush leather seats or custom Chaise Lounges in the Premium section, or treat yourself to the luxe comfort of our reclining seats and personal PODs in the Premium Plus section (complete with a personal pillow and blanket and complimentary popcorn), every seat is first-class with impeccable views of the big screen. Tempt all of your senses with next-level in-cinema dining. Premium seats are fitted with tables, perfect for housing selections carried in from iPic Express; or have it all delivered in the Premium Plus seats featuring a table to accommodate seat-side service, direct to your chair at the touch of a call-button by ninja-like servers throughout the movie.

Here’s a few tips on purchasing tickets:

There are multiple pricing options (starting from $15 – depending on the day of the week, time of movie and seat selection so check out the website or download the IPIC app to confirm pricing).  Fundamentally there are two seating options – Premium (green seats) and Premium Plus (orange seats) .  The main difference is whether you want to recline and/or have food and beverage service throughout the showing of your movie which is an additional VIP fee added per ticket.

Premium Seat Category (1st Row) of Chaise Lounges which are for only parties of two.  Single seats are not available in this section.  These seats do not recline and they do not include food or beverage service via servers, however purchases can be made at that iPic Express counter.

Premium Seating (2nd Row) do not recline nor do the have food and beverage service via servers, however purchases can be made at the iPic Express counter.

Premium Plus Seating (available in the remaining theater) that has an additional $15 VIP Fee added to the ticket price which includes a personal pillow and blanket and complimentary popcorn.  The seats fully recline and servers are on hand throughout the showing by simply touching the call-button and your server will quietly take your food and/or beverage order throughout the movie.

The Need for Speed

The Need for Speed

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Verizon Fios has just rolled out their Gigabit Connection “Revolutionary speed at a revolutionary price” which is absolutely perfect for my family that is aways connected and solves for the dilemna of not having enough internet bandwidth for work and play.

Bandwidth is described, by Techterms, “as the maxium data transfer rate of a network or Internet connection.  It measures how much data can be sent over a specific connection in a given amount of time.”  In my household where I”m able to work from home, its critical that I have enough bandwidth to work without interruption from my internet service provider especially in the afternoon and early evening when my son gets home and he starts playing X-Box live and my husband is catching up on international news by streaming live shows.

Take your own diagnostic at home with this easy speed test to see how much bandwidth you are getting on downloads and uploads and just think what you can do if you had up to 940 Mbps download an 880  Mbps upload.

Sponsored Post

LEGOLAND Beach Retreat is OPEN!

LEGOLAND Beach Retreat is OPEN!

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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.

Mamaroneck’s Food Truck Makers & Market –  April 30th

Mamaroneck’s Food Truck Makers & Market – April 30th

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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
Mamaroneck, NY
Location Fayette Avenue between Fenimore Rd & Ogden Ave., near the Mamaroneck MetroNorth Station (Entrance Between Majestic Kitchens & Bath & Vincent Service Station, Inc. (Mamaroneck, NY)

The Bott Shoppe – Art Gallery & Gift Store (Mamaroneck, NY)
Chatsworth Antiques & Consignments LLC Lounge (Mamaroneck, NY)
MADE: my art + design experience (Mamaroneck, NY)
Bullseye Glass Resource Center New York (Mamaroneck, NY)
Breadcrumbs Mag (New Rochelle, NY)
Mamaroneck Self Storage (Mamaroneck, NY)
Chocolations (Mamaroneck, NY)

School of Rock Mamaroneck (Mamaroneck, NY)
Artistree Performing Arts (Mamaroneck, NY)

Walter’s Hot Dogs (Mamaroneck, NY)
Longford’s Own-Made Ice Cream – Rye, NY
Boxcar Cantina – TexMex (Greenwich, CT)
HAPA Food Truck – Asian Fusion / Vegeterian (Stamford, CT)
The Souvlaki Truck – Greek (Yonkers, NY)
Dough Girls – Fire Oven Pizza (Greenwich, CT)

Mesh Print Studio – Mobile Print Station (Mamaroneck/New Rochelle, NY)
A Party With A Plan – Glitter Tattoos & Face Painting (Hartsdale, NY)
Henna Tattoo by Naty (Queens) – Henna art
Yard Games & More!

GK Designs Jewelry – Handstamped Metal & Crystal Crfeations (New Rochelle, NY)
Soapz Unlimited – Handmade Soaps (Yorktown Heights, NY)
Three Peas Jewelry – Upcycled Accessories (White Plains, NY)
Cynthia Wyffels – Handkit & Adorned Accessories (New Rochelle)
Yapa Artisanal Collections, LLC – Charity Collective (White Plains)
Spook Bunny Deliriums – Art Prints (Dobbs Ferry)
Hillary Short Photography (Rye, NY)
Dennis Dempsey Illustration – Paintings & Prints (Mamaroneck/New Rochelle, NY)
Half Pak designs – Bow Ties for Men & Kids (Rye, NY)
Grass & Clovers _ Upcycled Home Goods & Clothing (Hartsdale, NY)
Dennis Cucinella – Handmade wooden bowls and furtniture (Mamaroneck, NY)
Arts ThreeSixty – Laser Etched Products (NYC)
Jewelry from Washingtonville Housing Alliance‘s Women’s Artisan Collective (Mamaroneck, NY)

Community Resource Center (Mamaroneck, NY)
LMCTV Public Access Television (Larchmont/Mamaroneck, NY)
Relay for Life of Mamaroneck/Larchmont
American Cancer Society – Relay For Life
Village of Mamaroneck Committee for the Environment
Save the Sound (Mamaroneck, NY)
Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute (Irvington, NY)
YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities Network (Mamaroneck, NY)
Artisan NR (New Rochelle, NY)
Mamaroneck High School Impressions Magazine

MetroNorth Mamaroneck station, walk, skate, bike.

Limited parking. Check signs for EVENT PARKING, street parking also available in the area including at MetroNorth station. Please check the signs to avoid a ticket.


Our line up is set but if you want to be a considered a vendor for future events? Submit your info on the vendor form here:

Village of Mamaroneck, New York
Village of Mamaroneck, New York – Mayor Norman S. Rosenblum News
— Village of Mamaroneck Industrial Area Steering Committee
Village of Mamaroneck Recreation Department
Mamaroneck Chamber of Commerce
Village of Mamaroneck Arts Council
CityBurb Magazine

Kids Cooking Co. Hosts July Mini-Camp

Kids Cooking Co. Hosts July Mini-Camp

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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 Ideas

Teacher Appreciation Day Ideas

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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.

NATIONAL TEACHER APPRECIATION DAY – Tuesday of the first full week in May

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:

Dear Parents,

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:

  1.   Select an 8×10 sheet of paper of any type. (Printer or construction paper.  Color of their choice.)
  2.   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.
  3.   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.   
  4. 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! 
  5. 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:

Word cloud made with WordItOut

Other Gift Ideas: 

Teacher Appreciation Gift Printable Free

10 Things To Do in April

10 Things To Do in April

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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.

  1.  Shop the Booked Marketplace Pop-Up on 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.

2. Visit the Pleasantville 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

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     

4.  Take a Calligraphy Class

Classes are on April 8th and May 6th.    I took this class a few weeks ago and loved it.    By no means am I a calligraphy master but my Crayola Markers are being taken a lot more seriously since then.  Register here:

5.  Mindfulness Workshop at Yoga Haven in Scarsdale- 4/28, 4/29 and 4/30.

Mindfulness Matters Training Class for Parents

6.  Hudson Edit Spring Shopping Event-  4/21 and 4/22.

THE HUDSON EDIT offers Westchester a rotating selection of carefully curated pieces by exceptional designers.

Friday, April 21 10a-3p
Saturday, April 22 10a-3p

Celebrate Spring with food, wine, and fashion! Follow The Hudson Edit on Facebook for more information on our upcoming events.

The Hudson Edit is excited to partner with Meritage restaurant for our spring event! Come browse five incredible lines while enjoying selections from Meritage’s catering menu.   Free admission.


7.  Westchester Children’s Museum Private Playdate- 4/26

Explore the museum and enjoy a special storytime with local author and Scattered Books Bookstore owner, Laura Scott Schaefer. Books will be available for purchase if you’d like to have a copy signed!  Tickets MUST be purchased in advance. $6 per person.  Available by following this link:

8.  Visit One World Trade.

Beautifully written blog post from fifi + hop.   A great day trip for over the Spring Break.

One World Observatory: Complete Visitors Guide


9.   Meet Bill Nye the Science Guy at Barnes & Noble in Eastchester on 4/6.   Wristbands are for sale at 9am and the event is from 7pm to 9pm.  Wristbands guarantee entry for the evening event.  

10.  Book your ticket for Soul Camp on June 10th.

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.

For more info, visit or follow Soul Camp on Facebook, 



Verizon Fios Provides Peace of Mind When Working From Home

Verizon Fios Provides Peace of Mind When Working From Home

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I have the flexibility to work from home.  However, the only way I could have the freedom to telecommute without having to take the express train into Grand Central every day is to ensure that ALL my communication (emails, calls, video conferences, etc.) and large bandwidth requirements of my job are met.  Regardless of which office (home or midtown NYC) I’m sitting at, it is critical that I have a quality, reliable, fast network provider.

I’ve been a Verizon Fios customers ever since I moved to Westchester in 2010.  At first I signed up for convenience (they were the provider that was already connected into our house), but seven years later and three house moves we are still a Verizon Fios customer by choice.

Within a few years of moving to the suburbs, my company provided all employees with Polycom phones which allowed me to utilize VoIP technology.  This was the breakthrough that allowed me the flexibility of working from home.  I could be sitting in Westchester making calls from my work phone which was connected to the Internet via my computer and my calls would display my company’s NYC office number on caller IDs.

Why I chose to stay a Verizon Fios customer is the ability for me to work from home without having to worry about my service provider.

  1. Have you spoken on the phone and every once in awhile the call will break up where you miss a few words in the sentence of the call?  That’s what’s known as latency.  The greater the latency the greater the delay and increase in frustration with either calling party.  There is absolutely no way I could work from home and have QUALITY voice conversations if my service provider had issues with latency.
  2. Have you been frustrated when trying to send and receive large files?  Imagine trying to explain or apologize to a work colleague or client that your internet is too slow and rather than seconds, it’s taking minutes to send and/or receive data? If that ever happened to me, I doubt I would still be able to work from home.  It’s critical that my network provider is FAST which means I need enough bandwidth that can seamlessly handle the data that I’m sending and receiving every day for work.
  3. Have you been in the middle of an important conversation and lost connection?  We have become used to this when speaking on our mobile devices, but its unacceptable for work calls.  If I were to consistently lose service at home due to an unreliable network, I would not be able to consistently work from home.  In the past 7-years that I have been a Verizon Fios customer there were only two times that I was out of service – which were due to extreme winter weather conditions.  Even so, the outages lasted only a few days. That’s what I would consider amazing reliability and uptime.

I work in the Telecommunications Industry so I tend to get a little “wonky” with some terminology.  The definitions provided are from an online Telecom Dictionary as reference to my post above. 

BANDWIDTH CAPACITY is maximum amount of data or media that can be transferred by a communication channel or system.

LATENCY is the amount of time delay between the initiation of a service request for data transmission or when data is initially received for retransmission to the time when the data transmission service request is granted or when the retransmission of data begins.

VOICE OVER INTERNET PROTOCOL (VoIP) is a process of sending voice telephone signals over the Internet or other data network. Packet routing information is then added to the digital voice signal so it can be routed through the Internet or data network.

Uptime is the uninterrupted period of time that network or computer resources are accessible and available to a user.

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iPic Theater – The Ultimate Night Out

iPic Theater – The Ultimate Night Out

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SIGN UP for a FREE Premium Movie Ticket and 3-month Sapphire Trial Membership to experience the ultimate night out at iPic Theater.   “Your Night, Your Way” is more than a phrase; it’s the iPic Entertainment philosophy.

iPic Theaters’ plush cinemas indulge moviegoers in a new standard of affordable luxury – deftly combining the highest levels of comfort and service that turns an ordinary night out into an extraordinary escape. Whether you opt for the over sized, extra-cushioned leather seats in the Premium section, or sinfully decadent reclining seats in the Premium Plus level (complete with a personal blanket and pillow), every seat is first-class with impeccable views of the big screen. Take your treats to go – Premium seats are fitted with your own table, perfect for housing your selections carried in from iPic Express; or have it all delivered to you in the Premium Plus seats that feature a table in between each pair of seats to accommodate food service, direct to your chair by our ninja-like servers before and during your movie.


Hire A Line Sitter for Hamilton Tickets

Hire A Line Sitter for Hamilton Tickets

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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.

How does it work?   Let them explain.

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!

“Parenting in the Real World” by Westchester’s Own Stephanie O’Leary

“Parenting in the Real World” by Westchester’s Own Stephanie O’Leary

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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.

Dr Stephanie O’Leary, based in Mt Kisco, NY discusses this topic on her site and with parents on her Facebook Page, Parenting in the Real World.


  • 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.


Three Reasons to Love Club Pilates

Three Reasons to Love Club Pilates

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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 Pilates Scarsdale 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.


Wherever you go, you’re paying more for reformer classes.  Classes have up to 12 members.  You can purchase monthly membership packages based on how often you plan to go.  I purchased my husband the 4 pack because he trains at his “main gym” during the week, sometimes here in Westchester and other times during the day in the city.  His plan is to take classes on weekends as an add-on.  (Yes– Pilates is good for men too! Read this article:

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
  • Unlimited- $229

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 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.

365 Central Park Ave.
Scarsdale, NY 10583
(914) 449-4411 |


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!

Lego Parties at Mathnasium

Lego Parties at Mathnasium

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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

Apps for Busy Families: iGotThis and Cozi

Apps for Busy Families: iGotThis and Cozi

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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:

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. 

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.


Smart Things to Do in NYC

Smart Things to Do in NYC

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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.

Tilt Kids Festival | Simon Critchley: Philosophy for Kids 

TimesTalks: Depeche Mode

New Book Explores the Power of Friendship

These are just a few….. the ones I have added to my family’s personal March calendar.   I hope you find something “smart” to do this month and every month after.   🙂


Drybar Comes to Westchester

Drybar Comes to Westchester

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Guess what Westchester… we have our very own Drybar! 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 feel like 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:

Club Pilates Opening in Scarsdale

Club Pilates Opening in Scarsdale

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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. 

Mindfulness Matters Training Class for Parents

Mindfulness Matters Training Class for Parents

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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.

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 if you’re interested in joining this group of moms in late April.  With further questions, reach out to Yoga Haven directly by emailing

Mindfulness Matters in Schools Teacher Training

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.

classroom_yoga_mindful_listeningMindfulness 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
  • Manual

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.


Weekend Overview:

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


Mindfulness Matters in Schools Teacher Training


Things to Read in Your “Spare Time”

Things to Read in Your “Spare Time”

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“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.

I love this site, Inside Hook.  It’s a daily lifestyle guide for adventurous and discerning men.  It’s sort of like what Maxim Magazine was to our men years ago.  While it’s mostly topics for men, I love the articles.  Here’s one about a cool spa-like, mountain getaway in Upstate NY.

An education/parenting article titled, Math Attitude Influences Math Achievement caught my eye this week too.

Math Attitude Influences Math Achievement

The teacher in me has always had an issue with a parent who dismisses their child’s abilities in math based on genetics.  Moms are most guilty of this more than dads.  The danger is that it gives kids permission to “give up” and become helpless in the learning process.  They learn from their most trusted adult that it’s OK to stop trying.

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.”    (

The article us moms at home this week might find most useful for the week ahead is this one!

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!

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.

Is the Peloton Cycle Worth Buying?


Using Books to Teach our Children Tolerance and Kindness in this Post-Election World


Westchester Woman Wednesday:  Meet Julianne Steiner

Westchester Woman Wednesday: Meet Julianne Steiner

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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 Steiner



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!

Julianne and her sister Jessica are BFF sisters. They work together all week long and choose to spend their time together on weekends. After moving out of their family home, they were roommates for some time.
Julianne and her husband Adam, with their 3 girls, Danielle (12), Sarah (10) and Ally (18 months)















Brush Calligraphy Workshop

Brush Calligraphy Workshop

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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:


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.

If you’re “allowed” on LoHud check out this article:   If you’re like me and use only your monthly allowance of free articles, just check out KOI on Facebook,

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.)

Workshop Includes:

  • 2.5-hour guided instruction
  • private, dedicated space
  • 3 brush pens to take home as well as in-class use of instructor’s personal collection
  • workbook created by Lillian (including basic strokes, lowercase alphabet, practice/guide sheets, & PDF printable/download for continued practice at home)
  • basic color blending techniques
  • 10% discount off your next workshop with Lillian Liming
  • light refreshments



Can’t make it to this workshop? Book a private workshop!Questions? Please email:

Connect with Lillian on Instagram 



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Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 10.01.57 PM.pnglaurieberg.valetines17




at Wyatt Lily Boutique

Friday, February 10, 2-6pm

1 Chase Road in Scarsdale


Treat yourself this Valentine’s Day!


Come in to shop our Lilies and Lace Trunk Show, be fitted for your bra and champagne! 


Westchester Woman Wednesday:  Meet Cassandra Caruso

Westchester Woman Wednesday: Meet Cassandra Caruso

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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.

Ellie and her friend wanted to be “social media” for Halloween. She made these dresses and headbands so they could be “Instagram” and “Snapchat.”


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.

DIY Project– Upcycled table, spray painted.

Her work speaks for itself and there’s really nothing she can’t do.  You can find her online at

Tees she made for my daughter and I when we took a girls trip to San Diego
End of the year gift to my Girl Scouts. Peace Out Girl Scout on the front and their names on the back.
Party favors….for a fox themed party.
Yes. You can really order this! RHoWC
Mother and baby tees/onesies. Not exactly matching, but coordinating for moms who don’t want to be too matchy.


Upcoming Events for Women in Westchester

Upcoming Events for Women in Westchester

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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

-a gift bag valued at over $150 


Feb 7th-   Sophie Kinsella at Barnes and Noble, Eastchester

Posted on our site last week.   Get your signed copy of My (Not So) Perfect Life by signing up here:

Sophie Kinsella Comes to Westchester


Feb 9th, 7pm-10pm  MNO– Private Screening of Fifty Shades Darker at Ridge Hill, Yonkers
Main Street Mama is back with a Ladies Night Out Private Screening you don’t want to miss! the Lines, Bring a cocktail ,Grab your girlfriends and join us for a Private Screening with Christian and Anna

Doors open at 7 so don’t be laters Baby

Seating is General Admission and on a first come first serve basis!

Raffles , Vendors and amazing Gift Bags


Feb 13th- Special Screening of Life, Animated 

Pelham Picture House

·       7:30-9 p.m. Movie screening

·       9-9:30 p.m. Q&A

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.


The Picture House

175 Wolfs Lane, Pelham, NY 10803

Phone: 914.738.7337



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. 



Looking ahead to March.  Save these Dates

3/10- Emma Westchester’s Spring Shopping Party at Athleta in Scarsdale.   Vendors welcome, reach out via email to discuss.

3/19- Our friends at 914 PopUps has a pop up shopping event.  Think holiday boutique in March!    You can follow them on Instagram @914popups for info.


East Coast Skiing

East Coast Skiing

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Skiing is a great way to have your children spend time outside during the winter months and have FUN. It counter acts “cabin fever” and gives you a great opportunity to spend quality time with your kids (driving to and from the slopes) as well as to get disconnected from all the iPhones, iPads and Kindles while hitting the slopes.  The West Coast has amazing skiing with varied terrain, above tree-line skiing and ideal conditions.  Living in Westchester County, our area is not known for any of these things – I admit, but there are still plenty of ways to have fun on the slopes, if you are willing to drive a bit without having to fly out West….Frank and Korben have been enjoying their weekend trips exploring the east coast trails.

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Within just a 2-hour drive from our area is Hunter Mountain, Windham Mountain, Mountain Creek.  Lesser know mountains are Mount Peter, Thunder ridge and Mowhawk Mountain.  The general rule with skiing around Westchester is the the further you are willing to drive, the better the skiing becomes. If you are willing to drive 5+ hrs (depending on your tolerance for speeding tickets) the skiing world opens up considerably.  Killington, White Face, Sugarbush and Stowe are my favorites.

Past few years my husband and son have been traveling to Stowe when there is a long-weekend school break.  In the past the Stowe “base area” was a dirt parking lot.  Today, Stowe has invested a lot of money on improvements over the past few years with their new base lodge; including a Gondola which connects the beginner area with the rest of the mountain with ease. The Base Lodge has everything that you would need for skiing.  The Stowe Mountain Lodge is at the base and is a wonderful ski-in/ski-out property that caters to families with great dining options and evening activities for the kids.

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In addition to Stowe Mountain Lodge there are a variety of homes, apartments and hotels in all price ranges for families to choose from within their budget.  If you are looking for something more affordable, the Innsbruck Inn is ideally located less than 3-miles from the Base Lodge and their rooms include a breakfast buffet.

Stowe is ideal for the entire family.  If there is a member of your family that is not an avid skier or snowboarder or simply a “fair weather skier” like my wife (conditions have to mild and sunny) than there are wonderful shops in the little village located along the he access road near the Base Lodge which is something rare for East Coast Ski Towns.

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But back to the mountain – Stowe, has a large variety of runs, from very Beginner to Double Black Diamond. There is a Gondola that brings you all the away to the top, without having to brave the extremely windy and cold elements that are typical for East Coast skiing. The Beginner’s area is south facing, so that it is always a few degrees warmer then on the rest of the mountain. You might not think that this would be a big deal, but with plunging temperatures any Novice skier will appreciate those extra few degrees.  Stowe is less then 100 Miles away from the Canadian Border, so it does get cold.  Korben favors a run called “Toll Road”, which goes all the way from the top to the very bottom, in a 3.7 mile long serpentine.  Frank prefers to ski the more difficult runs of which there are many to choose from. These runs are challenging and fun, some of the best East Coast skiing that you can find.

Last piece of advice…for those that want to truly enjoy skiing with your kids and a stress-free Ski Vacation…place your kids in a SKI SCHOOL, they will learn faster amongst their peers and you get to ski the steeps and before you know it your children will be old enough to want to ski with you and they will be able to sooner than if you attempted to teach them on your own.

Kick Off  Your 2017 Bucket List by Traveling to Barbados

Kick Off Your 2017 Bucket List by Traveling to Barbados

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As we close the final pages of 2016, it is time to begin mapping out the New Year, and Mango Bay Hotel encourages travelers to add a trip to Barbados to their 2017 bucket list. The 76-room hotel’s all-inclusive value provides vacationers with an array of options to kick start the New Year, whether it be exploring an adventurous side while swimming with turtles, or relaxing on the beach.
The hotel’s on-property fitness center will assist those who wish to stick to their new year’s resolutions, while Element’s Spa will satisfy vacationers looking to refresh and rejuvenate, as an extensive menu of skin, body and facial treatments are available.
To celebrate the start of the New Year, Mango Bay will be hosting the annual New Year’s Eve Grand Buffet themed “Disco Back in Time,” where guests can enjoy a champagne reception with Peter Odle, chairman of Mango Bay Hotel, as well as a buffet, entertainment and fireworks.  Those who prefer to participate in island events can explore Barbados’ Naniki Music Festival taking place Jan. 11 – 15, 2017, where Grammy Award winner Chrisette Michele will perform. Travelers with sweet tooth temptations can make their way over to the islands annualChocolate Festival & Conference taking place Jan. 28, 2017 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre  from 11a.m. – 7p.m. Visitors and locals alike will come together to enjoy pastries, sweets, workshops and, of course, chocolate.  An all-inclusive Mango Bay vacation features: all meals, afternoon tea, local and brand name drinks including wine with dinner; various watersports including water-skiing, paddle boarding, kayaking, hobiecat sailing, pedal boating and snorkeling; complimentary offering of scuba diving lessons (on-property); off-property sightseeing excursions such as a glass-bottom boat trip and a catamaran sail, as well as nightly entertainment.
The hotel’s convenient location gives travelers the option of walking to local bars, restaurants, clubs and the posh Limegrove Centre, where luxury retailers are available for purchase including Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Cartier and Burberry, among others. Dining at the hotel provides savory fusion of Caribbean and international cuisine, with buffet-style meals and table service options. Live music is featured nightly from 9 – 11p.m.  Accommodations at the resort include the following categories: Standard Rooms, Standard One-Bedrooms, Superior Rooms, Deluxe Rooms, Oceanfront Rooms and Penthouse Suites.  Decorated in warm Caribbean colors, the contemporarily-styled rooms and suites at Mango Bay feature king-size beds, air conditioning, bathrobes, beach towels, iPod docking stations, cable television, direct-dial telephone, hairdryer, an electronic safe, iron with ironing board and coffee/tea-making facilities. Computer wireless internet access is available in public areas, including the reception, guest lounge, around the pool and bar and restaurant.  Children three years of age and under sharing a room with two adults stay free-of-charge and children 4 to 18 years old are offered a reduced rate.
Located in the historic Holetown area on the famed Gold Coast of Barbados, the 76-room Mango Bay is known for its casual sophistication and all-inclusive value. Having been honored with TripAdvisor’s 2015 and 2016 Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame, Mango Bay has proven to cater to the needs of its guests. This unique accolade honors hospitality excellence and is only given to establishments that have won TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years.
This beachfront, boutique-style property is the ideal tropical retreat for travelers seeking an escape from the everyday hustle and bustle – an oasis where warm breezes, delightful Caribbean sunshine, and picturesque beaches are refreshing and revitalizing. Spacious accommodations, a centrally-located swimming pool, delicious dining and tremendous all-inclusive value make Mango Bay a truly exceptional “Uncomplicated, Unencumbered, Unforgettable” vacation paradise.
Find Mango Bay on Facebook (, Twitter ( and Instagram ( For more information call (246) 626-1384.
Getting Into The Holiday Spirit at The Ritz-Carlton Westchester

Getting Into The Holiday Spirit at The Ritz-Carlton Westchester

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Spent a wonderful morning at The Ritz-Calrton Westchester decorating gingerbread houses, a tradition that started a few years ago with just Ellie and Korben has expanded.


If you missed this fun event, you can still get into the holiday spirit and head over to the Ritz-Carlton Westchester and start a new tradition with your family.

Breakfast With Santa

Sunday, December 11, 2016 Arrive anytime between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Join Santa for a delicious breakfast buffet, along with face painters and balloon artists. The hotel’s beautiful ballroom will be transformed into a holiday wonderland that the whole family will enjoy. A great time to take your family photos with Santa.

$79.00 per adult, plus tax and gratuity
$45.00 per child ages 2-10, plus tax and gratuity

Advanced reservations are required. Please contact Katie at (914) 467-5826

Afternoon Tea

Saturday and Sunday’s. 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, November 26, 2016 – January 1, 2017

Dazzle your winter with The Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester’s afternoon tea. Relax by the fireplace and pair your Ritz-Carlton experience with traditional afternoon tea. Enjoy your choice of tea, fresh scones, homemade jam, tea sandwiches and petit fours.

Hudson Valley afternoon tea is $45.00

Reservations are required. To make a reservation please call the Lobby Lounge at (914) 467-5717.

Lobby Lounge Breakfast Buffet

Saturday’s and Sunday’s only 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.

Indulge in breakfast at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester Lobby Lounge. Enjoy a live omelet station, warm cinnamon rolls, chicken apple sausage, roasted potatoes, an array of muffins and croissant, and more.

Breakfast buffet is $31.00 per adult and $19.00 per child. Seating is first come first serve. Reservations cannot be made.

Wine Down Wednesday

Every Wednesday 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Unwind each Wednesday in The Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester. Wine Down Wednesday’s are the perfect time to break up your day and relax by a roaring fire. Selected wines are $10.00 and can be paired with many great offerings on the Lobby Lounge menu. Whether dining for lunch or joining us for happy hour, let us enhance your Wednesday.

Seating is first come first serve. Reservations cannot be made.

Favorite App: Life 360…Giving Me Peace of Mind & Korben More Independence

Favorite App: Life 360…Giving Me Peace of Mind & Korben More Independence

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Korben spends the summer in Germany with my in-laws and has been doing so for many years; he has an amazing time, but I’m a nervous wreck for 2-months while he is away. An article in Time Parenting called “How to Parent Like a German” describes my in-laws attitude towards kids independence which is so different from mine.

Germans let children go almost everywhere alone. Most grade school kids walk without their parents to school and around their neighborhoods. Some even take the subway alone. German parents are concerned about safety, of course, but they usually focus on traffic, not abductions. The facts seem to be on the Germans’ side. Stranger abductions are extremely rare; there were only 115 a year in all of America, according to the most recent U.S. Department of Justice study. And walking around without parental supervision, or “independent mobility” as the researchers call it, is good for kids.

Though the facts show that I’m completely irrational in my over-protective hovering of Korben, I have been trying to change my helicopter parenting ways and give him more and more independence. The turning point was when Korben turned 9 and we gave him an iPhone for his birthday. I realize that for many, this age is too young and I should’ve waited till he was 10 or even 12, but we felt that Korben was mature enough to have the responsibility of having his own phone though we did give him parameters (how long he could be on it) and restrictions (parental controls and no social media). Not only was Korben ecstatic to get a phone I was ecstatic with what it gave me – Peace of Mind! I immediately found an app called Life 360 and this become one of the first apps that I downloaded to Korben’s phone.


The Life360 app allows me to view Korben on a map and as long as Korben has his phone, I know exactly where he is without having to call, text or send an email! Throughout the school year, I would know when Korben arrived/left the school grounds, when he was with his friends for play-dates, if he was out with our sitter running around or at home and now that Korben is in Germany, I’ve been able to check-in to see where he is without having to call or text numerous times a day.


Even when my in-laws decided to travel to Denmark, I was able to track Korben and knew the beach town that they were staying in and was able to zoom in on Life360 to see the house that they rented for the week.


What is Life360? Life360 is a free smartphone app that helps families and close friends stay in sync throughout their busy day. With Life360, you can see where your family and friends are on a private map, stay in touch with group and one-on-one messaging, and get help in an emergency. Life360 was started in 2008 and has 75 million members and growing!

Is Life360 Free? Yes! Our core service is (and always will be) 100% free of charge. However, we do offer some premium features for a small monthly fee. Life360 Premium is $4.99/month or $49.99/year and gives you more of the app you love. Plus, you can try it for free for 30 days!

What phones will run Life360? We work on iPhone, Android, and Windows devices or over SMS using a non-smartphone. We were previously able to offer a beta app in Blackberry, but this app has been discontinued. Even though we support all Android devices, certain non-GPS Android devices may be unable to install our software. In these cases, we suggest inviting the non-GPS device to a Circle as a “non-smartphone”. This will still allow users to locate this device on demand. While some users were previously able to use tablets with our app, the latest version and technology is no longer compatible with these devices. To locate someone who owns a non-smartphone, you will need to upgrade to Life360 Premium, which costs $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year.

Girls Day in NYC: Blushington in the Underground & Bosie Tea Parlor

Girls Day in NYC: Blushington in the Underground & Bosie Tea Parlor

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Last week, Shawna and I decided to change things up a bit and spend the day outside of Westchester. Nothing too crazy; nothing historical or cultural….Simply a change of scenery doing two of the things we love most; shopping and eating. We wanted a different experience…to find something that our beloved Westchester can’t offer us. We had our makeup done at Blushington in “The Underground” at Le Parker Meridien in Midtown and had tea service at Bosie Tea Parlor in the West Village.


Blushington is a nothing short of amazing. A full service makeup/beauty salon for everything from eyelash extensions to waxing to “just eye make up” to “full face” makeup, even tutorial lessons lasting about 60 mins. With locations in Texas and California, NYC welcomed Blushington to the Underground aka Woman Cave in Midtown Manhattan.

img_8898We downloaded the Blushington app, reserved appointments at the same time and in 30 minutes time, had a fresh, natural “day look” for ourselves. $55 plus tip and no pressure to buy products, which I appreciate. I’d so prefer to pay for a treatment than go to the department store counter for the “free makeup” (ick) and then select which items I want to buy after the fact, in return for the makeup application. Blushington does not make commission on sales so they use what they think is best and there’s no pressure to buy the products. I did wind up buying a bottle of cameilla oil for my eyelashes (a natural enhancer) and the perfect shade of berry lipstick that they used on my lips.

I’ve always enjoyed the amenities at Le Parker Meridien. Norma’s has an amazing brunch and my husband has enjoyed getting a shave at the barber shop on the main floor. The Burger Joint is a fun, greasy spoon, “trying to look rugged” dining option for hotel guests (and outsiders alike) who aren’t interested in “proper” hotel dining options or their price tag.


But the Underground is like a woman cave! It’s got everything any woman could want or need. A drybar, nail salon, spa, gym, cafe and of course Blushington. It’s one level below the main lobby at Le Parker Meridien and you could literally spend the day there.

Our next stop was for tea at Bosie Tea Parlor. Selecting a location for tea was not easy; Not due to a shortage of choices by any means. There are lots of tea choices in NYC. But, we wanted tea when we wanted it; Not at 3pm necessarily and without the tea accessories, the doilies and the floral tablecloths. We also didn’t want “high tea” which felt stuffy, served to us with white gloves either. We found the perfect spot when we found Bosie (on the BBC website of all places!) and it was “just right.” Not too matronly and not too royal. Really, who needs the attitude, you know?

Their tea service is served all day, the decor is “normal” and they have a full menu for those that might not want to have “just tea.” For $32, I was very pleased. Included scones, cream and jam that were to die for; tea sandwiches, dessert and a pot of tea. I skipped the champagne this time. I had to get back to meet the school bus by 3pm!


All in all, a great day out with my blogging bestie, just in a different area code. Looking forward to our next girls day out.

GLOW AirBrush Tans

GLOW AirBrush Tans

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I am fair skinned.  With freckles.  Who doesn’t tan.  Clearly, tanning is not something that comes naturally to me.

Over the years, I have spent many hours in the sun trying to achieve a golden tan and worse, in tanning beds/booths trying to get the perfect summer tan.  It’s a wonder that I made it to 40 without any serious damage to my skin.   It was not until around 35 that I realized the seriousness of taking care of my skin, avoiding wrinkles and worse, skin cancer.   When I became a mom, it was like a switch went off in my head and all of a sudden, I was logosunscreen obsessed.  My kids are sunscreened daily from April- October and I rarely sit anywhere (with them or alone) that is not shaded.   A big change from my 20’s and early 30’s to say the least.

Last week, I visited Glow Airbrush Tans in the Rye Ridge Shopping Center.  It’s located in the building beside/upstairs from Lester’s around the back in the Rye Ridge Shopping Center.  I wanted to get a spray tan before going away for a long weekend with my kids.  I have spray tanned before and have been less than thrilled with the results.  It’s just too dark for someone with my complexion.

This airbrush tan, was mixed/customized for my skin tone (very light) and came out very natural.  When I saw people on the day right after it was done, they didn’t automatically ask, “Did you tan??’  Other times, I would be confined to the house until it wore off by day 2 because it was so unbelievably dark.   I knew when Day 1 was not too dark, that day 2 and the days that followed would be even better.  And it was.  I had just enough color on my face, arms and legs to wear spring dresses and sandals in April without having to worry about my winter white skin!

I highly recommend Glow Airbrush Tans.  You can find them online at: or in person at Glow AirBrush Tanning, 14 Rye Ridge Plaza, Suite 220, Rye Brook, NY.

Spending a Weekend Getaway at Saybrook Point Inn & Spa

Spending a Weekend Getaway at Saybrook Point Inn & Spa

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Three Stories to Success

My husband always laughs at me as he knows I’ve had a good holiday when I come home and have brought the half-filled shampoos from the hotel; have made a mental note to buy the mattress on which I slept and finds me looking at properties in the area I visited. After a weekend away at Saybrook Point Inn in Old Saybrook, CT, about a 90min drive from lower Westchester, I have to admit I have done all three.


We arrived late on Friday night, and although it was dark when we drove through the incredibly quaint town we could see the historic charm I had been told about and we were dying to get going the next day….That was until the fantastic front desk manager showed us to our wonderful guesthouse called Three Stories. Located just across the street from the main Inn, Three Stories is a recently restored guesthouse with sweeping views of the Connecticut River and South Cove. As per its name this guesthouse originally built in 1892 has been restored to all its three-story glory and painted the most wonderful shade of colonial pink. Inside it has all the fixtures and fittings of a colonial building minus the draught that many of these buildings carry with them.


Our wonderful room, complete with a full-body spray shower, electric fireplace and king size bed also had a wonderful wrap round balcony that had impressive views of the Marina. With only 8 luxuriously appointed rooms each with their own balcony and named after famed local residents in Old Saybrook’s history, the guest house is an incredibly peaceful and quiet retreat. Individual rooms can be rented or the entire guesthouse can be booked, perfect for a family retreat or special occasion. On the first floor there is a wonderful lounge and dining room, where one can help themselves to delicious banana bread or muffins freshly baked as well as Keurig coffee as you pleased. Mrs. Pratt, the housekeeper is on hand to answer any questions and give helpful tips but ensures you maintain privacy so much so that you feel right at home. Although this guesthouse has been lovingly restored by the Tagliatela family, owners of Saybrook Point Inn they have also given the house modern amenities such as a rooftop patio with fire pit overlooking the South Cove as well as an elevator making the entire house wheelchair accessible. On the lower ground floor a bar and billiards room is also available for use by the guests.


In terms of food you can’t go wrong in Old Saybrook. Right on the property is their AAA Four Diamond restaurant, Fresh Salt, the only casual fine dining option with waterfront views in the town of Old Saybrook. Their Executive Chef works closely with local farmers; artisans and fishermen to ensure all ingredients are fresh, local and seasonal. Not only was dinner delicious we also struggled each morning to decide on what to eat and on Sundays their brunch is another award winning event. Breakfast can be to stay or to go, if you wish to venture into town where other great restaurants and shops await.

Needless to say with all this it was incredibly tough to venture out but downtown Old Saybrook is picture perfect and we borrowed some of the hotel bikes (they have tandem bikes too) and took a quick ride into Old Saybrook. Cycling along we ventured past historic homes and into the town where buying local is strongly supported. The Main Street with its 375-year history has endless possibilities for shopping and family run businesses dominate where we enjoyed browsing beautiful antique stores, art galleries and sampled some delicious cakes in local bakeries, where everyone thanks you genuinely for your support. A few real estate guides may have been snuck into my bag as well. The town is adorable and its no wonder Katherine Hepburn was a resident of neighboring Fenwick and lived here until her death in 2003. A Cultural Arts Centre (The Kate) has been erected in her name and features a 250-seat theatre and museum honoring Katherine Hepburn and I managed to view some of her awards and learn even more about this wonderful town in which she lived.IMG_4594

Back at the Inn after our morning cycling we enjoyed a very relaxing couples massage at SANNO. We changed into our plush robes and sat down in their peaceful Relaxation Room where we were met by our wonderful therapists, April and Ron. A choice of either an unscented or a selection of scents was included in our massage and we lay down to enjoy an hour of bliss. I’d like to say I remember the massage and even though I have two years worth of knots in my back, I drifted in and out of sleep as the wind outside acted as a beautiful white noise lulling me into a great REM form of sleep. Post massage and my back feeling ten years lighter we returned to the relaxation room before returning to the outside world.

As well as a fantastic spa the Inn has a health club with indoor and outdoor heated saltwater pools. The main Inn has 82 rooms with some having wood burning fires and sweeping water views. Even though there was a wedding on that weekend the hotel managed impeccably and service was friendly, prompt and sincere.


It is with a heavy heart we had to leave on Sunday but this Inn and its guesthouses are on point and we are already planning a return visit.

Emma Westchester contributor Rosalind Batheja visited on the weekend of 13 – 15 November and stayed at Three Stories Guest House. Prices start from $377 per room.

You can visit Saybrook Point online at but you’ll really want to go directly to their photo gallery to get a true sense of this magnificent property. It’s really lives up to it’s 4-star/4 diamond distinction.

Here are a few pics to check out before you get there.

Whistler – North America’s #1 Ski Resort

Whistler – North America’s #1 Ski Resort

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Whistler has been rated by SKI Magazine Reader’s Poll as the #1 overall best ski resort in North America.

We recently returned from our annual Whistler family ski vacation and can’t wait to go back again next year. One of the many great things about Whistler is their amazing instructors (for children and adults); they will start teaching kids as young as three. Korben started at age 5 attending the Whistler Kids 5-Day Adventure Ski Camps and has continued to progress from “pizza stance” with no poles to parallel skiing and hockey stops.

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I went from skiing to learning to snowboard and then back to skiing. While Korben and I were learning on the Green and Blue runs, Frank would be backcountry skiing.

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This has been a very long winter, but the good news is that with the long winter brings a longer ski season and Whistler has extended through May. Whether you have a few days or a few weeks Whistler has something for everyone. Check out tips on how to plan your trip, organize your itinerary and research where to stay, where to dine which lessons are right for you on Whistler Backcomb’s Official Ski Resort Website > www.

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