Friday Favs

Friday Favs- a spot where I share my favorite products, apps, sites, articles, and moments from the week.


A fun new Cuban restaurant in Garden City with live entertainment – food was good, drinks were better, entertainment was best!

The most delicious ice cream I’ve ever had.

SERIOUSLY.  If you’re near Barclays, you must check it out!

After I enjoyed the ice cream above, I decided to kick spring off with a week of clean eating. I used to do this every month but fell out of that practice a few years ago. It’s a great way to to get back on track. Here is a great reference on meal prepping which helps A LOT.


I also made this healthy dinner (which I make only when my husband is traveling because he would disagree that it is actually, in fact, a dinner).

Kick off Spring by trying some of these 5 rituals

Friday Favs

Friday Favs- a spot where I share my favorite products, apps, sites, articles, and moments from the week.


An afternoon pick-me-up for you and a friend- now through Saturday, Macchiatos are buy 1, get 1 free at Starbucks from 2-5 each day.

Speaking of Starbucks, I grabbed this bar for the baby a few weeks ago. I was so impressed I looked for them in my local grocery stores with no luck. Amazon to the rescue! I ordered a case and I may like them just as much as she does 🙂


This isn’t new but every time I start to use it again, I wonder why I stopped. Natural Calm is a magnesium supplement that helps with stress, helps you sleep, helps with headaches, and helps keep you regular. Read the reviews on Amazon and check it out for yourself.

Finally, with the weather warming up, I’ve got Spring on my mind. Check out the sale at Shop Bop until tomorrow. The more you buy, the more you save at Shop Bop until 3/4.



Planning Children’s Birthday Parties

Spring is here which, for me, means Easter, April Fool’s (I just love pulling pranks on my two girls, especially because they never see it coming), and my older daughter’s birthday. She’s turning 14 this year and, although the parties have changed a lot through the years, it’s still important for me to find a way to celebrate her in an age-appropriate,

fabulous way.


Here are a few of my time-tested party tips.

  • Choose a theme– In my opinion, this is the most important part because it touches on all other aspects of the party. Sometimes your child will now exactly what they want and other times it may be easier to start with a color scheme and work from there. We’ve done a Spa Day, a Movie Première Night, a cooking party, costume parties, probably every Princess imaginable, BBQs, a New York Yankees party, a Luau, and this year will be a “Pjs and Pancakes” party.


Everyone dressed up, even the teachers, for my daughter’s Fancy Nancy party!

  • Invitations– If you are at all crafty, here is your time to shine. Using a computer, pictures and simple graphics, you can create a one-of-a-kind invitation for your one-of-a-kind child. If that seems too daunting, choose some paper from a local invitation store (or on-line) that already has the graphics and just add the wording. Make sure the invitation reflects the theme, includes all pertinent info, and your cell number, just in case parents need to reach you on the day of the party when you’ll inevitably be running around like a crazy person.
  •  Venue– Often times, the theme and the venue go hand in hand. If you are hosting a small party, I love doing it at the house and keeping it as simple as possible. Other location ideas are~

Parks, beach, pool
Roller skating/ice skating
Kid-friendly restaurants (pizza places and ice cream parlors are great)
Birthday party places
Laser Tag
Skate parks


For our Spa Party, the girls were treated like VIP’s with limo service from school to the party.

*Remember to consider the time of the year. If your child has a summer birthday and you are planning an outside party, make sure it is a water party or that the children will have an opportunity to go indoors at some point.

  •  Keep it small– when it comes to kids parties, the smaller, the better. Experts recommend one friend for each year of age so a seven year old’s party should be limited to seven friends. Now, we now this is not always possible, especially when kids are younger and there is pressure to invite the whole class. I’ve done both and I have to say, the birthday child really does enjoy the smaller parties more. They are surrounded by their intimate friends and really enjoy the interactions. Especially with girls, the child may feel pulled in different directions concerning who to play with and sit with and etc. The age guideline is just a suggestion but it’s a good place to start. If your child really has more close friends, by all means, include everyone, but try not to feel obligated to invite everyone.
  •  The devil is in the details– The tablescape is important so start planning early. The table should reflect the theme as much as possible. Make sure you have tablecloths (I always go with solid colors and chose fun plates and other table decorations). Here is where Pinterest is a Godsend. No need to reinvent the wheel when there are so many creative ideas ripe for the taking!
  •  Goody bags– Again, keep with the theme, if possible. Stay away from little plastic toys that parents will throw away as soon as their child is not looking. I’m doing slippers for the favor for my daughter’s party because it is a sleepover. Funky shoelaces, hair accessories, and nail polishes all make great favors (Sorry that this is all geared towards girls- it’s all I know!).
  • The Cake…or not? Think outside the box~ ice cream cakes are always a hit, as are cupcakes, and I’m going to try a donut cake (idea found on Pinterest) this year. Don’t forget fun candles or even sparklers.



My daughter’s cake from last year

  • Memories– Charge the camera and video camera (if you use two separate devices). If possible, put someone else in charge of taking pictures, as you’ll be busy managing the party and being the “hostess with the most-ess”. (A good girl friend comes in handy here, as this is not a favorite task of husbands. Maybe agree to be each other photographers for your children’s birthdays!)
  • Music– No matter where the party is, good music always creates a fun atmosphere. When my younger daughter had a gymnastics party, I created a cd of her favorite songs that the gym could play instead of whatever music they had on hand. It’s an easy way to personalize a party experience and sure to keep the kids singing along to the songs they love!


 I hope these tips help make your next birthday party planning a bit easier. Are there any tips you have learned along the way? I’d love to hear them!



If you only do one thing the week…get married! (Well, that’s my plan anyway!)

The time has flown by. It’s been a little over two and a half years since the man of my dreams walked into my life. As a 31-year-old divorcee with two children, my path hadn’t been as easy one but I remained positive and hopeful, choosing to focus on living a life of intention. When I was introduced to B, I was immediately taken by his two sides- his driven, successful, responsible side contrasting with his silly, outrageous and fun side (anyone who knows me well knows my two sides are quite polar as well). He was divorced. He had two kids. He had similar interests. Check, check, check! He also lived in New York. Hmmmmm…

In hindsight, I think this was a huge check. I had often felt suffocated in relationships. Only getting to see him every other week (initially) was a great thing for me. It forced me to confront feelings that I may have over wise overlooked. I missed him. I wanted to see him more. I was in love with him.

After six months, B popped the question in his “go big or go home” way~ on stage at a Train concert to the song, Marry Me. It was surreal, much like everything else in the previous six months.

The girls and I moved to New York six months after we got engaged. The transition wasn’t as easy for me as I had hoped but he was right by my side every step of the way. He’s been my everything for the last year and a half- my family, my best friend, my lover, and sometimes my punching bag.

We will get married tomorrow on the rooftop of 230 5th surrounded by our family and friends. All four of our beautiful children will walk in the wedding. The talented Courtney Ortiz will capture the moments, the one and only Chef Steve Martorano will be cooking his unbelievable South Philly Italian food (we met at one of his restaurants!), and Ron-Ben Israel  is preparing a magnificent cake. Finally, we’ve got the fabulous Louis XIV spinning all night. How lucky are we?!

I am aware of and appreciate my blessings each and every day. I feel so much gratitude that I have found an amazing partner to share my life with. So this week, if you only do one thing, believe in love!



Revel in the beauty and wonder of spring

Ahhhhhh…it’s spring in New York and there’s no where else I’d rather be (well, maybe Paris but New York will do for this year). I cannot begin to express how much I adore the change of seasons. It’s only my second spring and I feel the wonder like a child. In order to take advantage of all spring has to offer, I have made a Spring Bucket List (find the template here). Listed below are a few of the ways my family and I plan on making the most of this season of renewal.

  • Spring Cleaning- what is it about this time of year that makes us want to clean and organize? I found this handy checklist on the one and only Martha Stewart’s website.  I also change my air fresheners to a new, lighter scent and check the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms to make sure everything is working as it should. The hot tub will be drained and cleaned and the patio furniture set back up. Enjoying my morning tea outside is a simple luxury I’m eager to begin again.
  • A spring nature hunt- I can put a check by this one already! My little one loves the outdoors and I love taking pictures so we took the camera and searched for signs of spring in our yard(a lot of the pictures here were taken by her!).

  • Picnic in the park- Doesn’t this picture make you want to pack a picnic basket and set off to the closest park? We are lucky enough to live in walking distance to a lovely park and duck pond so a picnic to celebrate the season is definitely in order. Don’t forget to pack a blanket and some toys for the kids to play. I’m thinking a frisbee and bubbles…I’m sure my girls will complain they’re too old but will then delight in the beauty of the bubbles floating everywhere~ I always do!

  • Shop at the local Farmers’ Market- Why not get your fresh veggies from your local farmers’ market instead of the grocery store? I can’t wait to take my dog and peruse all the goodies and then go home and make a meal of it. Remember, eating seasonally has so many benefits!

  • Opening day at Yankee Stadium- What says spring better than baseball? B’s love for the game has rubbed off on me and the girls and we all enjoy going to games. We’ll be there next Friday, April 13th to root for the Yankees. Why don’t you show your support for your team and enjoy a hot dog while you’re at it? I can almost smell it!

  • Get ready for the rain- Polish up those wellies and make sure you have a fabulous umbrella. I have to admit, I don’t like the rain and have never went for a stroll (by choice) in a downpour but I’m going to give it a go. I can only imagine my little one’s delight and joy when I suggest a walk next time it rains. Life is short; dance in the rain!
  • Make fashion and beauty updates- I would normally be making quite a few spring purchases but I’m on a shopping hiatus until after the wedding (which, by the way, is in 36 days!!!). So instead I created my fantasy shopping list on my pinterest board. One thing I will be doing, however, is sampling all the great spring nail colors. Essie’s Spring Collection and Resort Collection are so much fun! A Crewed Interest in currently on my tips and Orange, It’s Obvious is on my toes. Nail polish is such an easy way to keep up with the trends and who doesn’t deserve a mani/pedi after a long week?
  • Attempt, again, to grow herbs and tomatoes (my daughter’s request)- I don’t know why I can’t seem to keep anything alive. It’s really quite frustrating. I will try again and keep the manicured fingers crossed that something grows.

And that’s it. Well, in addition to planning an Easter Brunch, my daughter’s 13th birthday, my other daughter’s first communion, and, of course, the wedding! Summer will be here before we know it. Time is ever so fleeting so make sure you find ways to enjoy the now.