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Westchester Woman Wednesday: Meet Nicole Steinthal

Westchester Woman Wednesday: Meet Nicole Steinthal

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This month’s Westchester Woman Wednesday is Nicole Steinthal.   She’s a lifestyle blogger as well and she’s got one foot in Westchester and one foot in Greenwich.  She’s a supermom to her college-aged son, TJ and two daughters, Daisy and Peyton.   She posts on her blog daily and covers topics related to fashion, dining, entertaining.  Her blog is called NS Lifestyles and while it is kind of like our “eat/shop/play” posts, it’s another level!   She posts recipes that she uses, gives her rundown of recommendations at HomeGoods and organizes group outings of 40-50 people to Broadway shows monthly.   I will include some favorite posts below.

Nicole’s December Broadway Outing:

Trader Joe’s Favorites:

Fall Decorating Ideas:

Home Goods Roundup:

When I was thinking about how to properly interview Nicole, I thought, let’s keep this totally natural.  When scrolling through my recent texts, I realized how we go back and forth.   One day recently, I had a car maintenance appointment in Greenwich so I texted her asking her.  “In Greenwich.  Good salad?” and she answered back with a suggestion immediately.  The best was the day at my son’s school book fair when I snuck a pic on my phone of a woman’s purse that I admired.  I did not have the nerve to ask her what brand it was. “Excuse me, I’ve never spoken to you.  What brand is your bag?”   So I snuck a pic sent it to Nicole and within minutes, she replied with links on where to buy the bag!!    Our text chains are so random and while we might not talk or see each other frequently, we pick up where we leave off each timer we do meet up in person.   So her interview is basically her list of favorites, tried and true or what I would call her personal Rolodex for just about anything you could ever want or need!!

Nicole is proof that even when you have older kids, there are always things going on and she’s the kind of person that everyone knows and stops to say hello to!  Each time I’ve met Nicole for lunch in Rye, she seems to know just about everyone– which brings me to how we met, and that’s through Instagram.  We found each other because we were always liking the same things and commenting on the same pictures so the conversation started and we’ve been friends ever since.

In Nicole’s voice from here on:

I am honored that Erin an Shawna consider me a mom “just like us” because I think they are beyond fabulous and I am soooo honored to be picked for their Wednesday girl!!!  This fall marks my 4 year (!!!) blogging anniversary.  As a lifestyle blogger, I’ve seen and tried it all…here are some of my fav’s around Westchester and Beyond…

Salad:   Asian Chicken Salad at The Kneaded Bread – Port Chester
Casual Eatery:   MIX Kitchen – Greenwich healthy lunch spot with quick snacks that make you feel good about what you eat.  I love their greek salad, protein bits, and their gluten-free donuts!!!!
Restaurant for date night and also girls night out:  Le Penguin- Greenwich  The floating Island is my fav dessert ever…
Pizza:   Sals – Mamaroneck HANDS DOWN
Baked Goods:   Sugar Hi -Armonk
Coffee Shop:  CF – Greenwich
Local Deli:   Jerry’s Post Road Market – Rye
Movie Theater:  IPic – Dobby Ferry
Outing: Gallery or Museum tour with Emily McElwreath expert art docent!!!
Hair Salon:  Beauty Box in Rye (ask for Melissa for your color) 
Mani/Pedi:  Coco Nail Salon – Rye Brook
Facial Services/Treatments/Anti-Aging Center: Skin Westchester in Rye
Dermatologist:  Dr. Anetta Ressko – Rye
Laser Hair Removal:  Westchester Laser in Rye Brook
Asian Foot Massage and Reflexology:  Footsie – Mt Kisco
Pharmacy: Rye Beach Pharmacy
Doctor Concierge Service: HealthSapiens 
Best Work Out: Pilates Reformer
Florist: McArdyles Greenwich
Local Artist: Katy Garry Fine Art
Lighting Store: Padto Port Chester
Consignment Shop:  Penny Pincher in Bedford Hills
Fashion Styling and In-Home Consignment Services
SC Style and Cosign
Gourmet Grocery and Wine Shop: Citerella in Greenwich
Ice Cream: Carvel
Interior Design and Staging: Iconic Modern Home
Home Zhusher:  Cricket Burns..using what you already own, your house will be ready to be photographed for a magazine in a few days…Brilliant!!!!!
College Prep:  Carnegie Prep – Greenwich
Personal Shopper:  Monica Naro – Saks Greenwich
Fur Designer:  Linda Richards – NYC & Port Chester
Best Jewelry Selection: Queens Antiques
Favorite “Something For Everyone” Shops:
Lola NY – White Plains
Style – Armonk
Anthropologie – White Plains, Greenwich
Zara – Yonkers, Greenwich
Our Etsy Shop

Our Etsy Shop

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Your business isn’t complete until you have a website;  And Facebook page, a Twitter Account and an Instagram.  A pinboard on Pinterest is on the back burner right now….a YouTube Channel is likely NEVER going to happen, a podcast is in our near future (yes, we have this in the works) and we’ve just opened our Etsy Shop.   Just when we catch up, the next big thing happens.  Let’s enjoy this for a while.  Here’s the link to our Etsy Shop.   Yay!!

Simply click the link to see this screen appear.   We’ve got mugs, tees & journals so far.

***The women’s tees run small, sort of “junior sizing” so I suggest sizing up on these.   The unisex cut is a little more forgiving…..wider arms and fuller at the bottom.  ***

MUST give credit to our graphic designer Cassandra Caruso for making this all possible.  From the logo to the products, she’s helped us figure out what we wanted.   Our love for Cassandra started in early 2017 when we asked her to be our FIRST Westchester Woman Wednesday

Here’s the background on who Cassandra is and what she can do for you!

Shawna’s article focuses more on what Cassandra can do for your business!  (see our avatars below!) 

Westchester Woman Wednesday:  Meet Kimberly Giannelli

Westchester Woman Wednesday: Meet Kimberly Giannelli

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Earlier this week, I had my monthly in-person meeting/interview with this month’s Westchester Woman Wednesday choice, Kim Giannelli. I usually do my best to fit the person’s schedule and honor their restaurant (and meal) of choice. For some women, lunch is easier; for others, getting away mid-day is hard and they prefer dinner.

Kim chose dinner. At Playa Bowls in Bronxville. Not exactly what this mom would consider a great place for dinner, but off I went to meet Kim, with my 12-year-old, who happens to adore Kim almost as much as she does Playa Bowls. Three hours later, our conversation ended. The store was closing up and we had completely lost track of time, talking about just about every single topic, from her work, of course, the eat/shop/play topics, dancing, NYC, Playa Bowls, her dog Penelope and more. I almost don’t even know where to begin.

First- Who is she? Kim is a thirty-something who has figured out a way to achieve balance by doing all of the things she loves. I consider this the definition of success. She’s a lifelong dancer/ballerina, the VP of a boutique PR firm and she’s mom to Penelope, her French Bulldog. Besides these three very time-consuming roles, she works on lots of other creative projects with children; from private dance lessons in Scarsdale, producing musicals with Young at Arts in Bronxville and choreographing dances with Jazz Co in Eastchester. Those are just a few of her small projects.

I must mention that in our 3-hour chat, almost every group of kids and moms stopped to say hello to her, as she has worked with them in one way or another. I observed her interactions with the kids each time and noticed that they were so interested in what she had to say and vice versa. “Are you going back to Young at Arts?” “Will you be dancing at Central Park Dance again this year?” “You were great in hip-hop, but don’t forget how much you loved ballet.” My ulterior motive in bringing my daughter along was in hopes of her giving her some smart advice, which she did, but never did I expect that every tween and teen roaming through Bronxville would receive the same treatment that evening. It was incredible to watch.

A lifelong dancer, Kim finished college and worked in marketing– for Lincoln Center. What’s a better fit for a recent graduate who loves art and theater? After ten years there, her career evolved into public relations. Naturally, she would join In the Lights PR, as they represented many artistic clients that she genuinely understood and loved. It’s clear that Kim is a master at helping businesses and personalities find their story and figure out innovating, interesting and impactful ways to tell them. She’s aware of the shift in the market right now and is enjoying herself in building campaigns that involve PR and social media marketing.

Beyond her impressive resume, Kim is a truly beautiful person. She’s pretty in a way that is different than most. She’s simple, yet edgy. She’s stylish, but she’s bold. She’s unique and she pulls it off perfectly. I had to ask the question that I don’t ask most people. Who inspires her? Her answer: Betsey Johnson. It all made sense. The pops of color, the punk meets glam look, that’s Kim. In talking about Betsey’s style, she shared her story about going to her 70th birthday party and giving her this photo (below) telling her that she had been a creative inspiration for her for so long. Kim shares that same energy and boldness.

It almost seems silly to share Kim’s eat/shop/play favorites after the above paragraphs. Playa Bowls covers eating, most of the above is about her work and talents, so I’m left with shopping and playing. I will end off with her favorite “play” thing, which is her dog Penelope, who she’s currently working on making #InstaFamous. If anyone can do it, it’s Kim!  You can follow Penelope on IG here.

Bunk 9’s Guide to Growing Up- Book Review

Bunk 9’s Guide to Growing Up- Book Review

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This is a book I wish my mom had given me at about 12 years old.   Having my own 12-year-old daughter, I am happy to have it so I can educate her in a way she can understand, by reading a book that appears like another girl’s journal.   Over the years, I have bought the dorky books on growing up and bodily changes, only for her to roll her eyes and laugh at the illustrations and eventually say thanks, but no thanks.

The book is called “Bunk 9’s Guide to Growing Up” and it’s very well done.  (Follow link here– Amazon has some good photos of the inside.)  It helps girls, as well as their moms, get through these tough parent/child topics in a comfortable way.  The book is user-friendly and contains all the secrets, tips and expert advice on the good, the bad and the awkward moments of adolescence.

It’s written in the form of a diary from ‘Camp Silver Moon’ as if the lessons on changes of life are passed down from one group of girls to the next.   There are 9 voices (girls) who share their experiences with everything from menstruation, hygiene, health and of course, crushes.   Luckily there’s a table of contents, so girls can feel free to read it in any order they please!   The voices of each girl are ones girls can relate to and the stories are likely things girls today can relate to as well.

I did snap some photos of the pages to share, only because I know some won’t link to Amazon if they’re reading on a smartphone.  It’s easier to scroll so scroll below to see inside the book.  Not the best quality but you’ll get the idea!

Bunk 9’s Guide to Growing Up:  Secrets, Tips and Expert Advice on the Good, the Bad & the Awkward.

Written by Adah Huchi and Illustrated by Meg Hunt

Buy Links



Barnes and Noble:

Books A Million:


menstruation materials…..
all about bras
skin care
Westchester Woman Wednesday:  Meet Shannon, Lori & Christine

Westchester Woman Wednesday: Meet Shannon, Lori & Christine

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I’m thrilled to share this month’s choice for Westchester Woman Wednesday.   In fact, I should say “women” because it’s a trio of talent that has taken The Dance Gallery in Tuckahoe to a new level.   The Dance Gallery had been previously owned by Stephanie Urbina (since 2012) and it was pretty much a one woman show.  In 2018, Shannon DiNota stepped in as the new owner of The Dance Gallery and helping her with the transition are Lori Mortensen and Christine Magliari.  Each one has their own skill set that they bring to the table, but the commonality is their shared vision for the studio.

Besides already having been instructors at The Dance Gallery, they were also parents (one an aunt) of dancers at the studio.  It was a natural move for the three of them to come together and build upon the things that were already great about where they worked and chose to have their daughters (and nieces) dance.  Each brings a different experience;  Shannon is a lifelong dancer who has studied, performed and taught in cities across the US and London. Lori has a music and theater background and is the business manager for the studio. She brings along her communications background and experience. The office manager is Christine, who wears many hats.  She’s an actress, a pilates & yoga instructor, stylist and musical theater instructor.   All three women have ties to the Tuckahoe/Bronxville/Eastchester community and are truly an asset to the young dancers at The Dance Gallery.

Their mission is to offer quality dance instruction by experienced professionals who possess a passion for teaching students of all ages in a disciplined and nurturing environment. The Dance Gallery teaches dance as an art form, emphasizing fundamental technique and diversity of styles including classical ballet, jazz, tap, modern, musical theater and hip-hop.  Since the takeover in early 2018, new programs such as Irish Dance, Bollywood (Indian dance) and Adult Tap Dance classes have been added.

What I love personally is their gentle, yet serious approach. It’s age appropriate and allows girls a safe and comfortable dance environment. It’s a mixture of traditional and “new” which was evident in the June recital.  Some classic ballet pieces, some modern selections and my favorite, the “Annie Fusion” where the younger girls performed Annie’s “It’s a Hard Knock Life” the traditional way (imagine buckets and rags) followed by the older girls who performed the modern version of the same song, with choreography and outfits that were a little more mature.  Everyone gets what they need and everyone leaves happy.

THE DANCE GALLERY is located at The Main Street Depot, 25 Main Street, 2nd Floor, Tuckahoe, NY 10707​​

Phone: (914) 255-4092

Email: ​  

Fall 2018 Class Schedule can be found here.

DGNY bracelets made by Beads by Meg… @beadzbymeg on IG or
L to R- Lori, Shannon and Christine at The Dance Gallery Recital, June 2018.













Links to all Bios can be found here.

The Truth About Hosting an Au Pair

The Truth About Hosting an Au Pair

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I’m a SAHM and I have an au pair.  People ask me, “Why?”   My reply, “Why not?”  When I resigned from teaching full time, I never expected that I would be in the house with my kids 24/7/365, waiting for my husband to get home so I could throw the household responsibilities on him as he walked in the door.  More than ever, I needed a life outside of the home now that I would not be at work, interacting with people, using my lunch hour to run an errand or enjoying five minutes alone in my car.   We decided to hire a part time nanny when my son was born, mainly to deal with the morning madness.  Getting my 4 year old to PreK, with an infant was going to be hard (not impossible) and stress inducing.   Being on a pick up and drop off schedule for school at the same time as an infant’s changing nap schedule was not something I was looking forward to either.   We decided having someone 4-5 hours a day was all we needed.   It gave me a break, helped keep the baby on his routine and allowed my daughter to make it to school on time, fed and prepared each day.  I was happy to food shop alone, get to the gym and enjoy a break before the big one came home and we ran to and from the playground and after school activities, followed by dinner, baths and bedtime.

Fast forward 5 years and it’s kindergarten for my baby.  (Fourth grade for my older child.)  The part time nanny has been with us all these years and she’s ready to start her career after finishing up her schooling.   It was then that I decided to consider hosting an au pair, not because I needed “child care” but I wanted an extra set of hands at home, more of a mother’s helper.   A consistent, reliable mothers helper.  Sure, MOST au pairs are considered for 45 hour a week child care for working parents.  I needed about half of that, but I wanted one consistent person, who knew my children, my household rules and routines, that could be the other adult in the house for when I needed it.  So after a 4-6 week process, we selected our first au pair.   We went with Cultural Care Au Pair, mainly because they had about 50-60 au pairs in my zip code.   

Currently, we are on our third au pair in three years and I truly believe that it’s been a great experience for all.   It wasn’t until the end of this past school year when I discovered my daughter’s memoir writing assignment that I realized how much this has meant to her.   The assignment was to think about three memories that were meaningful to them and describe it.   My daughter (age 12) wrote about meeting our first au pair and “Learning a New Culture.”   I would love to post it, but couldn’t do that to her….as it was likely one of the most personal pieces of writing ever.  She talked about how excited she was to meet her, the things they did together, how she is like a sister to her and how much she learned from her.   In her year with our family, she treated my daughter like a little sister and gave her some wonderful advice on friendships and hard work.  Much of this same advice was given to her by me (her mom) over the years, but if you know tween girls, they believe it when someone other than mom says it!

AP 1 and AP 2 meeting up in Colombia to pass along the AP iPhone!


Here are some “truths” about hosting an au pair.   From here on in I will use the abbreviations: AP, HM and HF- au pair, host mom and host family.   The lingo is quite interesting and after three years, we have a good understanding of it.

  1. It’s not a luxury.  It’s actually quite affordable.  It’s assumed by many that live in help is so expensive.  It can be– but with an AP you’re paying a weekly stipend of $200.  Some APs work 20-25 hours a week, some work 45.  Some have 1 child to care for, while others have 4.   It’s the same stipend whether you live in NY, LA, Miami or North Dakota.   The other money that is paid goes to the agency that transports the APs to the US, handles Visas with the Department of State, trains the APs, supports them while here, etc.  It’s bundled into an administrative fee paid directly to the agency that you’re with.  Depending on the agency it’s in the neighborhood of $8,000 per year.   So plan on your 45 hour work week costing around $350-$375 per week more or less.  If you consider day care will cost that for one child, it works out when you have a second or third child factored in.
  2. Your schedule is flexible, unlike any other child care situation.   If your needs change from week to week, you’re able to switch up the schedule as needed.  If you work odd or rotating hours, it works.  You can schedule 3 long days, a weekend day, evening hours or a “split schedule” which is what parents with school aged kids set up.  Morning 7-9am and Afternoons 3-7pm.   When there are changes to the schedule (half days, school breaks, sick kids) you can adjust it, with notice.
  3. Sometimes the AP is your 3rd adult.  Sometimes she’s your 3rd kid.   I mean this in the nicest way.   Our APs have all been trustworthy and responsible.  But at the same time, they have been like an older sister to my two– who were 5 and 9 when we started the program– Now 8 and 12.   Although they have all been in their early 20s, I have made sure to buy them Valentine’s gifts, like I do for the kids, winter boots for the snow, Halloween costumes and more.   The APs are often leaving their family’s home for the first time and still need a mom.  APs refer to moms as the HM, host mom.
  4. It’s good for the marriage.    This should have been #1 and I think my husband would agree.  There’s no “his and her” lists of things to do for the kids.  If he wants to go to the gym after work, I am not telling him he can’t because of homework or showers.   Having a second adult in the house to stay back and shower one kid while I’m out picking up the other from an activity is simpler all around.   I could bring my son to sit outside the dance studio and do his homework while eating an afternoon snack– but having someone home to let him have a quiet house (or a playdate of his own) is a nice option to have too. It doesn’t hurt that we can go out to dinner alone every Thursday and that when I have nights out, I tell him that dinner is in the fridge and the kids are covered!
  5. They don’t clean!   You would not believe how many people ask me this question, so I am including it.   NO.  They aren’t your cleaning person.   They can straighten up the toys or wash the kids clothing but don’t expect a sparkling bathroom.  The way a typical member of a family will load or unload the dishwasher, they can be expected to pitch in and help.  The same goes with cooking.   My au pair can grill hamburgers for the kids or make ravioli for them for dinner– but when we order in, I make sure to get her the dinner she wants too.  So preparing meals for the kids and packing a lunch are OK, but don’t leave a gluten-free cookbook with sticky notes on the pages on the meals you want.   On nights that I cook the full meal, she’s kicking a ball outside with my son and reminding my daughter to get into the shower or pack her school bag for the morning.  Pets are also a no-no.  People do it, but not the responsibility of the AP.
  6. Their lifelong dream isn’t to watch your kids.   This job is a full experience.  Many APs come to the US to learn English, take classes, meet new people from other countries and travel.   This job enables them to achieve a lot of these things.  Most are college educated, even professionals in their home country.   Some use this year as a gap year before starting their studies.  Overall, they have their own wish list while they are here and it’s important to be mindful of this.  They are usually not formally trained to deal with little kids, so they have a lot to learn when they get here.   Again, many are coming from their family home to yours, without living on their own, owning their own car, paying bills, etc.   They intend to do this for a year (the maximum is two years) and pursue their other life goals.  To take it a step further, I might even add that they aren’t here because they have to be.  It’s a decision they make with their family and the family allows them to go and have this experience in the US.   I have found (just in my own experience with APs and their friends) that they come from wonderful families, who value the learning experience and want them to have an opportunity like this- sort of how American families allow their kids to study abroad for a semester.
  7. Your kids will thank you for it.   There’s a lot of benefits for children.  Language is usually the most common interest for the HF.  They want their child to learn from the AP but really the AP learns from the kids.   My children have only a handful of Spanish words after 3 years of Spanish speaking APs.   My kids have asked to see pictures of what it’s like back home, wanted to learn about their families, often FaceTiming with the parents.  We have been unusual in that we’ve hosted some family members and friends over the years and met up on vacation with the families of the APs.   I do not think that’s typical but it’s worked out for us and my children have enjoyed this time more than I ever imagined they would.


My kids in Disney. Age 11, 7 and AP, age 22.
Giant Selfie–my kids, my AP, her sister and cousins visiting from Colombia, another Colombian AP friend living in the area w her host kid!
My kids with our 2nd AP and her parents in Mexico. 2017.
My daughter, age 10 in March 2016 with AP and her sister and cousins. Still asking me when we can go to Colombia to visit them. Until then, they communicate on social media.


My son (age 8) and our 3rd AP.
My kids in Feb 2018, when we brought our 3rd AP a winter coat at the training school in Tarrytown. AP2 and AP3 had a week overlap with the kids.
Westchester Woman Wednesday:  Meet Lauren Ferrara

Westchester Woman Wednesday: Meet Lauren Ferrara

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Lauren Ferrara, Precision Spa

We’re slowly getting back into the routine of weekly posts but we never want to miss the chance to highlight a Westchester Woman.    Lauren Ferrara is an aesthetician at Precision Spa in Harrison.

About 18 months ago, I went for a routine brow shaping at a local spa and the aesthetician asked if I had considered microblading.   She herself was not trained, but was considering it because this form of cosmetic tattooing was becoming the craze in Westchester.   After learning more about it (and realizing that my brows were not quite keeping up with my dark hair color) I asked her, “Where’s the best place to have it done?”

Her response, “Precision. It’s like a factory.  They are the best.”

So, I went home and googled it, called and made an appointment for microblading.  At that point, there was a 3-4 month wait.  I was placed on a cancellation list and I was called early, about 5-6 weeks later.   I was greeted by Lauren, who spent a good two hours with me from start to finish.   Almost a year and half later, my brows are still looking great and I will go for my second treatment in September to avoid having them fade this summer.

Lauren was introduced to Nicole Zillitto, the owner of Precision Spa in early 2016.  She calls Nicole the “pioneer” of microblading in Westchester, which is why she went to her for her own brows in February 2016. By June 2016, Lauren was working alongside her at Precision Spa.  Although Lauren had been working as an aesthetician at another spa, she felt it was an incredible opportunity to work and learn from Nicole.  Lauren’s first customer was her husband, Jesse, who volunteered to be her first microblading client!   Currently, Lauren and Nicole take turns doing brows for each other on their days off.

At Precision, Lauren sees 40-50 clients per week between microblading, brow shaping, tints, lash lifts and facials.   I’ve gone to her for pretty much everything at this point and besides getting exceptional services, Lauren is completely entertaining, genuine and fun to talk to about pretty much anything and everything!   It’s for this reason, that I decided to discuss “eating, shopping, playing in and around Westchester” with her and surprising her with this article today!

She’s not a cook.  Both Lauren and Jesse work long hours and enjoy going out to places like Mason Sandwich Co in Eastchester and Harvest on the Hudson in Hastings.   She’s obsessed with working out at SLT Studio in Scarsdale and enjoys browsing the aisles at Home Goods.  She is a dog mom to her beagle-mix, Rosie.

Follow Lauren on Instagram (by clicking here) or visit Precision Spa online at
Before and After Pics

The stages of microblading.   Before and After, with some steps in between!


We’re Back!

We’re Back!

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In case you haven’t noticed, we took a brief hiatus.   At the end of 2017, Shawna and I decided we’d take some time “off” from the blog and resume posts in the new year.  A couple of factors contributed to this decision.  Shawna’s day job was changing and she needed some time to adjust to the newness of it all.   I had a bunch of family issues going on– nothing serious, just things to deal with at home;  changing au pairs, some school issues with my son and extended family members with needs that took some more time than usual. I also had some group outings to plan and organize for my daughter’s social life (Two Girl Scout Community events and two Broadway shows.)  So Shawna resumed her role as F/T working mom and I resumed mine as a crazed SAHM.   The break was a nice time for us to reflect on things that we did well, things we wanted to continue and things we did not want to continue.  The best way to really think is to walk away from something and revisit it with new eyes. Emma Westchester has been a work in progress since 2013 and while 2017 was likely our best year yet, most productive and lucrative, it was a little too much to keep up with!

So we sat down after the first few months “away” and decided:  we want it to be fun again.   So we came up with a new format for ourselves.   Instead of posting on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays– we will post once a week, only on Wednesdays.  Mondays are the first day back to work after the weekend and everyone is catching up on all things, starting off the work week– and Friday everyone is just “done” and ready for the weekend to focus on family.   Wednesday is the lull, where we you can take a minute for yourself and enjoy a minute at the computer and catch up on all things Westchester, if you’re so inclined.   Starting next week, we will change the newsletter to go out on Wednesdays, maybe even every other Wednesday, so we don’t hit your mailbox too often.   We realize everyone is tired of e-mail.

We’ll still post on things related to eating, shopping & playing in and around Westchester, with or without kids.   We will still post Westchester Woman Wednesday articles.  We will post on things we truly enjoy, as always, because we believe that it’s important to be genuine and authentic.  We won’t post about something we haven’t tried ourselves or something we wouldn’t do on our own, as we have always done.  We’ll continue to stay true to our core mission.   While we’ve been happy to share things for some people, we can’t share one 5K event and not another– or one Charity Shopping event and not another.  So we’ll have to learn to say “no” once in a while.  We’re going to cut out the extra stuff on the site and live by the “Less is More” rule and we’ll practice what we preach each day.

Here’s to “Year 6” of Emma Westchester– keeping it honest and real– and maintaining a work/life/balance for these two moms.  🙂


Westchester Woman Wednesday:  Meet Diane Clehane

Westchester Woman Wednesday: Meet Diane Clehane

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With the Royal Wedding just a few days away, I felt that this week was the perfect time to feature, Westchester’s own, Diane Clehane.  Well, I still consider her a Westchester woman. I met Diane about 12-13 years ago when she was living in Scarsdale, her home for about 20 years. She moved to Greenwich a few years back, but is back in town regularly for work meetings, hair appointments and lunches at the Scarsdale Metro Diner.   We’ve been Facebook friends for a number of years and when she writes about the Royal Family, I really feel like I am hearing the honest truth, because she’s truly an expert on them.   Her two novels, both about Diana and her numerous articles about the Royal Wedding can be found below.

Diane Clehane is a New York Times best-selling author and award-winning journalist who has reported on and written about the lives of some of the world’s most intriguing people for Vanity Fair, Forbes, People and many other national publications. Her new book, “Imagining Diana,” (<–link to download) imagines what Princess Diana’s life would have been like if she survived the crash. The book has garnered a wave of media coverage in international outlets including The New York Times and The Daily Mail. called this novel “one of the best books on Diana.” Diane is a well respected commentator on popular culture and expert on Britain’s royal family. In fact, she has been cited as an authority on a variety of topics in outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, WWD and Harper’s Bazaar.

Most recently, she’s been contributing to a lot of news outlets for readers who want to know every latest happening as we lead up to the Royal Wedding this Saturday.


DIANA:  The Secrets of Her Style and Imagining Diana are available by clicking on these hyperlinks.

Published in 2018, available for download
A best seller– available for purchase










If you’re interested in binge reading some recent stories about the Royal Wedding, The Best Life Online and MSN have picked up some of Diane’s articles.   

***A total aside….Not royal related….I enjoyed following Diane’s coverage (and honest criticism) of the American Girl Doll collections in recent years.   The article below is a 3-in-1, so make sure to click on the hyperlinks inside the article to get the full story: 
She’s a wonderful writer, dedicated mother and wife and we’re happy to have such a valuable resource here in Westchester…..OK, Greenwich.

And a few things we wanted to share, just for fun.  We can partake in the Royal Wedding festivities online here at home.

  1.   If you love Prince Harry and Meghan…..join this Facebook Group.   I especially like the rules for this group– not that any of this needs to be said, but you know….it’s Facebook.

*No negative comments about Meghan or Harry – if you don’t like them as a couple, you should not be in this group
*Posts must be in English (or translated)
*No pictures of Charles/Camilla – and no bashing them or other royals
*No blocking admins
*No fighting and certainly no defaming/cursing at other members
*No racism/no politicizing (including no using the term fake news)
*memes/pictures/comments that feature other royals and not Harry/Meghan
(much less those that feature something totally unrelated) should be featured on a different page
*Close to saying no cursing — please be mindful, careful, minimal with cursing

2.   If you want to find out what your Royal title would be…This was Shawna’s idea– to include this quiz!   Find your Royal Title.  We can all pretend for this weekend.  🙂

3.  If you’re looking for details on the timeline of events for Saturday. 



Armonk Outdoor Art Show- Sept 23 & 24

Armonk Outdoor Art Show- Sept 23 & 24

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56th Annual Armonk Outdoor Art Show

Saturday & Sunday, September 23 & September 24

10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Rain or Shine.

205 Business Park Drive, Armonk, NY 10504

Ranked one of “The Top 50” Fine Art and Fine Craft Fairs in the US by Art Fair SourceBook and among the top “Fine Art and Design Shows” in the New York Metro Area by Sunshine Artist Magazine, the 56th annual Armonk Outdoor Art Show will continue its long tradition of showcasing fresh and diverse art.  Over 185 juried artists from 29 states, Israel and Canada, will be featured, with 35 new artists added to the show this year.  A broad spectrum of art in every medium and price point will be on display, including painting, mixed mediums, printmaking/drawing/ pastels, sculpture, photography/digital art, wearable art, and fine crafts. Free personal consultants, trained in fine art and home design, are available to assist visitors in selecting art that best fits their taste and decor. 

New This Year:  More Activities, Food and Drink – All as Fresh as the Art!

Family Activities Tent – All new, fun-filled, free activities under a Big-Top Tent!

Presented by:

First Five – Hands on projects, appropriate for children ages 1-5 with adult participation.

The Harvey School – Interactive programs, appropriate for children ages 5-12.

The Neuberger Museum of Art – A creative exploration and experimentation inspired by the works in the Neuberger Museum’s permanent collection. Fun for children of

all ages.


Food, Craft Beer and Wine – Diverse vendors with new additions!

Including: Luke’s Lobster, Captain Lawrence Brewing and Market North


Gold Sponsors: Equinox, Houlihan Lawrence, Northern Westchester Hospital, Rosen & Company, Inc.,

White Plains Hospital Medical & Wellness and Westchester Medical Center will entertain and inform.

The Art Show is sponsored by Friends of the North Castle Public Library, Inc., and net proceeds benefit the Town’s libraries in Armonk and North White Plains.   

Admission price: $12.00, $10.00 for seniors or with coupon, children under 18 free.

There is ample free parking on site.  Sorry, no dogs allowed.

For further information, and discount coupons, visit:

Facebook /armonkoutdoorartshow 

Instagram @armonkoutdoorartshow


Westchester Woman Wednesday:  Meet Andrea Worthington

Westchester Woman Wednesday: Meet Andrea Worthington

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Happy Wednesday!   Today’s Westchester Woman Wednesday feature is all about Andrea Worthington, of “Baby Got Chat” aka  

Here’s her story:

I came to Westchester from NYC in 2014, as a soon-to-be new mom in my second trimester. I expected to buy a house near the train and use it as a crash pad while I continued doing everything I loved in the city. What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with the lifestyle this county offers: suburban perks with an urban mindset. I also didn’t expect to fall in love with being a parent to the point where I left my job as an art director at a media/publishing company to raise my daughter and newborn son. My passion for discovering everything Westchester has to offer our children has led me to BabyGotChat. My aim is to try everything so you don’t have to, and report back with direct and honest reviews and recommendations. 

Interestingly, I connected with Andrea via a Facebook moms group and we realized we kind of do the same thing, only hers is for kids 0-5 and mine is mostly for kids 5 and up.  She keeps an awesome calendar and reviews just about anything that moms would like to try, reporting back to her readers.  We both like to write for moms, connect with moms and we share a love of Westchester County; I am a Westchester native and I love when newcomers feel at home. Andrea recently posted this article on her site, The Cheap Moms Guide to Westchester, which I loved.    I also really loved her solo Momcation story this spring.   So here are links to both:

Over lunch recently, I had to ask her where her favorite places to eat, shop and play were.  With zero hesitation she answered:  Emma’s Ale House in White Plains, Ridge Hill in Yonkers and Lifetime Fitness in White Plains.   🙂      Here’s how you can follow Andrea’s blog Baby Got Chat and social media outlets:

Instagram: babygotchat

Facebook: babygotchat

Twitter: babygotchat


Yoga Hike, Book Club, Food Trucks, Art Show and Teen Classes!

Yoga Hike, Book Club, Food Trucks, Art Show and Teen Classes!

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We don’t keep a proper calendar of events but from time to time we post an article with some things that we think you might want to know about!    Here are our top eat/shop/play suggestions for the coming months.

August 26th, Hike + Yoga + Meditation 

Start your day with a heart pumping hike over the rolling hills of Rockefeller State Park to the historic Rockwood Hall situated on the banks of the mighty Hudson River. Here we will practice an invigorating yoga flow followed by a guided meditation. Next, it’s time for lunch and free time to explore, journal, and take photos. After that we will practice a walking meditation as we hike it back to home base. Once the retreat is complete leave time to explore the area! The nearby Rivertowns (Tarrytown, Irvington, Dobbs Ferry, and Hastings on Hudson) have a wide array of shops and restaurants, many with stunning views of the Hudson River. And the world renowned Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture is just down the road from the preserve!

For more info and to sign up:


September 10th, Food Truck Mash Up at Empire City in Yonkers. 


Vote for your favorite truck!

The best food trucks facing off for one day only!

Full beer and drink bar, live music, kids carnival games AND MORE!

September 15th,   Emma Westchester’s Friday Night Shopping Party at Athleta Scarsdale.  For those who have attended our Athleta Events in the past, you know they’re not something you want to miss.  You can get styled for fall!   Will have some great vendors and information booths as always.   (Am in the process of lining up some this week and will share as they’re confirmed! )

September 21st, Meet Author Gabrielle Nevin at Barnes & Noble in Eastchester.   Bring your whole book club!    Her book Young Jane Young doesn’t come out until Aug 22nd, so plan ahead, pre-order here and pencil in 9/21 for your meeting.  I’ve gone to the author events at the store and they do a great job!


Save the Date:  September 23 and 24.   Armonk Outdoor Art Show.   More info to follow.   A great event, this year with some added activities for the kids!

Here are some things for the kids, tweens and teens:  

365 Central Park Ave., Scarsdale, NY 10583

(914) 449-4411 | 

The perfect class for athletic or inactive teenagers, CP Teen aims to build healthy habits in young participants. Build self esteem, strong muscles, and coordination in a body that is changing and growing. Club Pilates is a fun, safe environment where proper movement and body alignment is learned using the Reformer, springboard, TRX and more.

Guest Blogger:  Westchester Daddy

Guest Blogger: Westchester Daddy

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We’re so happy to feature a Westchester dad today for Father’s Day.    It’s always interesting to me to hear how people who aren’t Westchester natives discover Westchester, decide to make it home and best of all, hear what they love most about their town.  I believe that Westchester has something for everyone.  This dad does too!  🙂

(You can follow him online at or @westchesterdaddy on Instagram)

From Claremont to Claremont

by Kevin Hylton

I knew I was going to be ok in the burbs when I found the Bronxville coffee shop Slave to the Grind.” I have two daughters (four years and 16 months) and I’m basically stitched together with a delicate recipe of caffeine (by way of coffee) and IPA.

I don’t mean to sound overly dramatic. I was excited to move to the suburbs.  I was the riot leader in our family trying to make the move happen for years.  But even when our one bedroom apartment in Morningside Heights was bursting at the seams, the possibility and eventual reality of a signed contract of sale to move to southern Westchester kinda made me regurgitate my fish tacos.

I moved to NYC after I graduated from law school and worked for a large law firm.  But I actually moved to NY to try become a screenwriter/take advantage of the entertainment industry in Manhattan. Soon after moving to Harlem I pivoted from the law and started writing as a theater and film journalist, then a playwright and eventually I got a gig screenwriting for Disney animated TV.  All this I did from my tiny apartment in Harlem on Claremont Avenue.

When we had our second daughter, I decided to shelf the screenwriting dream for a bit.  I turned my interest in architecture and real estate into a job and became a Real Estate Broker with Houlihan Lawrence’s Bronxville office (where I still work).  Still, I secretly held on to the desire to do some screenwriting on the side but assumed moving to the burbs was the end of the writing dream.

But within months of moving, I found a HBO producer, production company owner, and a comedy central contact all while walking our dachshund in our new Fleetwood neighborhood.  Huh, I guess the suburbs are not a total cultural wasteland where dreams must go to die.

I was never cool enough to be a hipster. But I liked to feel as if I was a bit ahead of the curve. When I moved to Claremont Ave and 124th in the City it wasn’t a Columbia U outpost yet.  It was a bit dodgy. It was, however, a great place to grab an amazing taco for a buck at an authentic hole in the wall. My friends uptown were a collection of my neighbors (who at that time didn’t move every 2 years), the postal and ups workers, the woman in the laundromat, and the guys who owned the liquor store.  And my fears of moving out of this wierd NY City neighborhood was that we’d lose everything that made life feel real: diversity of culture, opinion, and genuineness.   All that and solid tacos, cafe con leche, and a decent selection of beers at the local bar. 

Little did I know that what I’d find in Westchester is exactly what I loved about Morningside when I moved uptown some 12 years ago.  Mom and pop coffee shops, restaurants (including Cuban, Cajun, Mexican, you name it), indie pharmacies and bookstores all are either in my town or a neighboring one. It’s walkable, people are friendly, and I can be at grand central in 24 minutes on the train (15 to Harlem). 

I still can’t quite fathom how we ended up buying our house on Claremont Avenue in Fleetwood.  The coincidence that years of searching for a house would lead us to move from Claremont Ave in Manhattan to Claremont Ave in Fleetwood is bizarre and oddly, really comforting (my 4 year old already knowing what street we live on.)  Regardless I’m happy we made the leap.    

If you follow my blog at or track me on Instagram (#westchesterdaddy) you’ll see some parenting cartoons, resources for parents in the burbs, and the occasional piece on real estate in the area.  I started the blog primarily due to my experience searching for a home for my family in Westchester.  We couldn’t find a site that combined parenting resources with details on towns and info on real estate. Hope you like it.

If you are still in one of the Boroughs contemplating how you could possibly find another place to call home, check out my site to learn more about Westchester.  Or just give me a call (646.388.0030). I’m partial to Fleetwood but if you like Park Slope maybe Hastings or Dobbs Ferry will be your thing. Regardless, you’ll be surprised by what you find. I now believe Westchester has a home for everyone.

If you’re in southern Westchester, below are some of the local spots I’ve found that made me feel right at home.

Slave to the Grind

(Bronxville. Solid coffee and treats in what could be an East Village coffee shop.  Piercings, suits, and flip flops all appropriate)

The Bayou

(Fleetwood.  The most amazing Cajun food and music outside The Crescent City. Like in the Big Easy you don’t have to spend a lot to have a good meal.  Order the red beans and rice some Monday and you’ll see what I mean)


(New Rochelle authentic taco spot. Legit tacos. If you’re in the know you already known about Bar Taco in Portchester.  If you are down south check this spot out.)

Bronxville Diner

(Bronxville.  Kitschy diner with nice attention to detail.  Small but mighty. This place reminds me of EJ’s in the City.)

Joes of Fleetwood

(Fleetwood. Many claim this to be the best pizza in Westchester. It gives any old school spot in the City a run for it’s money.  Grab a slice in their no frills spot or sit down to dine in the adjoining restaurant.

Beer Noggin

(Bronxville. If you’re serious about beer you best stop in here. Excellent collection of bottles and rotating taps at this beer shop with regular, daily happy hour and growler options.  Their website has a blog covering beers as well)

For more spots to hit in the Many villages and towns around Westchester check out my site at

German Style Biergarten Opens in Port Chester (Thursday – Sunday)

German Style Biergarten Opens in Port Chester (Thursday – Sunday)

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Love checking out new restaurants and can’t wait to try out the Village Beer Garden .  I’m a little biased, but I’ve always thought that it was about time that that we have a German style Biergarten in Westchester.  This new addition to the large Port Chester restaurant scene is now open, though only on Thursday & Friday from 4PM and Saturday & Sunday from 12PM located at the Metro-North Port Chester Station.

Our House Hospitality, whose eating and drinking establishments include the Rye House in Manhattan and Port Chester, and Sala One Nine, Tapas Bar & Restaurant in the Flatiron District of New York, has created an open-air urban retreat reminiscent of a German Biergarten – only now with the whistle and hum of a north and south bound locomotive in the background.   Steeped in history, the Port Chester tracks were laid circa 1840, coinciding with the originating Munich beer gardens which have since inspired decades of beer halls and breweries around the globe. Village Beer Garden paints the picture of one such gathering place, filled with communal butcher block tables with seating for 200, dotted with red patio umbrellas, and wrapped in steel-glass framing and green shrubbery. Overlooking an active downtown retail, dining, and entertainment district, Village Beer Garden is at the center of a historic town which continues to evolve.  An extensive local craft and imported beer list and creative cocktails mark their territory, complimented by an authentic-meets-A-typical Oktoberfest style menu. Bar pickins include house made pretzel nuggets, sweet/spicy/dill pickles, German meatballs, and fried cheese curd. Lighter fare comes in the form of chicken or salmon Niçoise, chilled shrimp cocktail, and German cucumber salad. A sausage menu ofkielbasa, bratwurst, sweet and hot Italian sausage, and boudin blanc share the plate with krauts and slaws. Crispy chicken schnitzel, juicy burgers, and frankfurters round out the food offerings, with added tater tots, sprouts, spaetzli, and fries.

3 Broad Street – Port Chester, NY 10573 -(914) 481-8771 –

Got Sneakers?

Got Sneakers?

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My daughter and her friends all have the same sneakers. White Adidas Superstars, with three stripes on the side. You know, the ones that were cool in the 80’s? Look around at the mall and you’ll see every kid is wearing them. She’s on her third pair since April 2016 and keeps getting the black stripes. When I take her out looking for sneakers, I have tried to steer her towards “cuter” ones (without laces) especially slip-ons which are easier for summer. In our travels recently, I have found some pretty ones so decided to share them.

Got Sneakers?

Sk Studio Art Gallery Grand Opening

Sk Studio Art Gallery Grand Opening

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I recently discovered an incredibly talented artist.   Simone Kestelman, born and raised in Brazil, is new to Westchester and is really making her mark.  She’s a lot of things;  an interior designer, installing custom pieces for your home and gallery owner that rivals the hippest art studios in Brooklyn.  Her space in White Plains doubles as a gallery to visit and enjoy her displayed work but has an area for #momslikeus to purchase some of her original pieces.   Currently, there are thousands of pieces for sale in her beautifully restored, 9,000 square foot location in White Plains.

Simone’s work is inspired by her education and travels and reflects current social issues.  Being as well traveled as she is, she’s had the opportunity to observe and understand first hand, the physical and emotional pains of injustice and inequality that affects different societies.   Each piece in her gallery tells a story and comes from a place of deep thought and passion.  Interestingly, her use of the color red symbolizes the magic of children.  She attempts to see the world through the eyes of a child, filled with magic and bright moments.

Simone is a multimedia artist focusing on ceramics, glass and photography. Simone is an internationally acclaimed artist with over 30 years experience. Simone recently moved her gallery from Brazil to White Plains. Her work has been at exhibitions in Greece, Brazil and the US.

Join Simone in a discussion and presentation of her works on June 9th at 7pm and 8pm.

“I think art is the physical expression of our souls at a point in time. I put my feelings and aspirations into my art. Having a living art gallery enables me continuously record my inner state, while also having the freedom to reinvent myself. “-Simone Kestelman

Meet Simone at Sk Studio Art Gallery Grand Opening Event

June 9th, 2017 6pm-9pm

Melissa Tomlin of New York Style Life, is proud to present a Grand Opening Reception for local Brazilian artist Simone Kestelman

Sk Studio Art Gallery

122 Westmoreland Ave
White Plains, NY

(entrance to gallery is on Intervale Street)

Please RSVP by May 26th to

Wine and light refreshments will be served.

If you are unable to attend the event there will also be an open house Saturday June 10th from 11am-3pm (no RSVP needed)

Follow Simone online:



Epic! Like Netflix for kids books!

Epic! Like Netflix for kids books!

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Epic! is an unlimited eBook subscription service ($4.99/month and FREE for elementary school teachers and librarians) with the largest catalogue of high quality books from well known publishers that creates a unique and fun experience to get kids excited about reading. Similar to Netflix, Epic! provides personalized reading recommendations based on age and interest and instant streaming. To date, over 20 million books per month are read by children across the nation.   Epic! makes a great gift for a child who loves technology.  

Epic! has become one of the most popular apps in kids and education categories because of its unique ability to provide quick, streamable literature that is controlled by kids. There is a read-to-me feature that provides an audio reading experience to enhance early learners, as well as, quizzes that help educators provide assessment and learning while remaining fun for students.

Kids use technology, and they like engaging in games. The efforts of companies like Epic! bring a melding of education with entertaining technology. It’s comforting to see that there are people like Markosian who choose to dedicate their entrepreneurial creativity to developing technology that benefits learning.

Read more of this article from Scholastic:

You can find more info online at:

Westchester Woman Wednesday:  Meet Aleesia Forni

Westchester Woman Wednesday: Meet Aleesia Forni

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Shawna and I go to a lot of restaurants. Some are chef’s tastings or new seasonal menu previews and others are full service meals or grand openings.  It’s always an interesting assortment of guests and we often wonder afterwards who created the guest list.   We leave with lots of new Instagram followers and some of them, we might never run into again.  It’s a fun way to meet people who love the food scene here in Westchester and try some new places out, that we can in turn share with our readers. One “Westchester foodie” that we have seen at a number of events is our Westchester Woman Wednesday for March.   Her name is Aleesia Forni and she a journalist for the Westchester Business Journal and the Westchester WAG Magazine.  Her food photography skills are incredible. She’s one of the rare foodie experts who actually uses a real camera, instead of using an iPhone with filters.  Because of the work that she does, her IG account is amaaaazing– See for yourself by following Aleesia on Instagram at @AleesiaEats

So we decided we wanted to get together with Aleesia and talk about food, dining and just “good eating” in Westchester.   We met for dinner (most Westchester Woman Wednesday meals are lunch) due to Aleesia’s busy work schedule.  She has a job that any one of us would love.  Between the WAG Magazine and the business journal, she’s busy with pretty awesome assignments.  We knew she was not from the area, but we learned over dinner that Aleesia is anything but a Westchester native.  She grew up on a farm in Ohio, attended Ohio State University and wound up in moving Westchester after a short time living and working in Virginia Beach.  Her longtime boyfriend John has been with her every step of the way, each following their own career paths and building their resumes since college.  Their choice to live in the Peekskill/Montrose area was based on their shared interests.  They wanted to find the balance between city and country life.  In one hour they can can enjoy a sporting event in NYC or find themselves on hiking trails in the mountains.

Aleesia is not what we’d call “moms like us” but she’s a dog mom. A really good one, actually. Without being married or having a child, she already has a college savings account for her first child.  (I think I about fell off my chair at that one actually…) Her dog is her baby for now and she’s factored into her budget, one day a week at doggy day care because she realizes the importance of socializing her dog.  And yes, we asked, the dog also has pet insurance.  Why?  Because she’s researched it and realizes that it’s worth having.  It’s safe to say that she’s uber-responsible and what one would call a “conscientious consumer.”  No fancy doggie clothes or impulse buys for this dog.  On my best days pre-age 30, I don’t think I was ever this logical.

So what does she do for fun in Westchester?  Certainly not what I would have guessed.  She has a Pinterest Group!  (I glanced over to Shawna for a reaction and realized that she had no idea what that even meant. I told her it was like Girl Scouts for GrownUps.) They meet once a month and work on things they found on Pinterest pages.  The group consists of 10-15 women, who found one another on  They knit, make crafts or other projects that have caught their eye.  They meet once a month and take turns supplying materials and space.  I’m certain that Shawna and I will visit one of these groups at some point.

By the end of dinner, I was not sure if I had even covered all of our topics.  I had stopped writing and just listened!  I think we sort of did….although, a very different conversation than we had over lunch with our January and February friends, Cassandra and Julianne!  Our car ride home from dinner was spent talking about post-college days and how neither of us lived or worked the way Aleesia does.  The shared opinion of these two moms is, her mom must be proud!