Looking for something fun to do in the city? Check out the Rosé Mansion!

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Even going to the bathroom is a photo op!

There’s only two weeks left to check out the fun pop up event, Rosé Mansion in NYC.

In case you haven’t heard, pop up events are all the rage right now in NYC. This one is adults only (because of the drinking) and is an instagram lover’s dream come true. Since I love to help keep everyone in the loop, here is a list of all the current pop up events going on right now.

Your ticket gets you a tour through the many rooms which are basically staged photo-ops. Workers attempt to teach you about rosé and you will get to sample a very small amount in each room. While we were there, on a Saturday night, no one was interested in the educational component but instead taking fun pictures was the goal.

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We left tipsy with a ton of fun pictures and then headed to Mastro’s dinner.  It was a different way to spend a night in the city and even our husband’s had fun although I will say it was mainly groups of women. If you go, let me know how you liked it!

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Friday Favs

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

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Struggling with a phone addiction? Who isn’t? Read these innovative tips to cut back.

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Attention Foodies! Have you checked out The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017? The world’s best restaurant is right in our backyard! I’ve listed the other restaurants that are also in NYC- Cosme is the only one I’ve been too and I can say it most definitely IS amazing.

1. Eleven Madison Park (New York City)

17. Le Bernardin (New York City)

40. Cosme (New York City)

Best Pastry Chef: Dominique Ansel (Dominique Ansel Bakery, NYC)

Speaking of food, please tell me you’ve jumped on the avocado toast bandwagon. How can something be so healthy AND delicious? Check out the below ideas from The Ambitious Kitchen for making your avocado toast even more fabulous.toast-1

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Finally, this moment from our Mother/daughter trip to Florida for our last college visits. Decision time!

Making Life Easier The First Year- The Baby Items You Won’t Want To Live Without

Since it had been 12 years since having a baby, I was so excited to buy every last baby item I could get my hands on. I mean, what is more fun than shopping for baby stuff?!

B and I were just discussing what were the good purchases and what we could have done without. The Bugaboo that I was dying to have? Sure, it is beautiful and I very much enjoyed taking her for walks the first few months but when we were actually leaving the house on a daily basis the fact that it is two pieces and heavy as hell became a real annoyance (hello, Baby Jogger City Mini GT!). The Pack N’ Play? Well, it served the purpose of having a place to put her downstairs but I would never attempt to travel with it because it is so heavy and a real pain to take down and put up (enter the Lotus Travel Crib, which I adore). The items below are certainly not must-haves like a crib and car seat but these are must-haves for making your life a tab bit simpler with an infant.

 

 

 

Have Baby, Will Travel- traveling with an infant under 6 months

First post in awhile! Life’s been pretty busy with five kids, go figure 😉
I’ve actually written a few travel posts previously because I love traveling and we frequently travel with our kids but, let me tell you, I was quite stressed about traveling with a five month old! We had a trip to Florida planned when Jules was about five months and then a trip to Puerto Rico planned a few weeks after that, just shy of her turning six months. What did I really need? How would I keep her on any type of schedule? Would it be enjoyable for any of us?
Well, after the two previously mentioned trips, I’m here with exactly what you need and what worked for us.
The Gear, Specifically For Babies 6 Months and Under~
Infant car seat and base
Snap and go (or similar)
Large bag to gate check car seat and base
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Travel Sound Machine- a lifesaver!
Packing for the Baby
I packed each “day” outfit, complete with socks and a headband (of course), as well as pajamas, separately, each in large ziplock bags. At this point I didn’t see a need for “night” outfits for her.
I also packed in 4 separate ziplocks—
1. Three extra complete outfits
2. Swimsuits, swim diapers (two for each day), her sunscreen, and her bug spray
3. Bibs (two bibs for each day)
4. Medicine (thermometer, teething tablets, gas drops, cough syrup, vapor rub, saline spray)
Ziplock full of medication- none of which we needed, thankfully!
In our checked bag, I packed an entire, unopened can of powered formula, her daily food (not much at this point), extra spoons, an entire unopened pack of diapers and wipes, the mat that she loves to lay on, and quite a few toys. I picked up this mat for our PR trip and I can’t say enough about it! It was perfect for her at six months because she was rolling all over the place and it’s huge. I can see us using it later at the park and beach as well.
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Jules on her favorite mat in Florida, before she was rolling over
Traveling
First, check everything you can. We checked our own bags, including a suitcase packed exclusively with the baby’s stuff mentioned above and her travel crib (I highly recommend the Lotus crib- super light weight and very easy to put up and take down). We carried on a very well-stocked diaper bag, plus a backpack with extra bottles, formula and the ziplocks with the medicines (all under 3.5 ounces) and the extra clothes just in case we were delayed or our bags were lost.
We elected not to buy her her own seat. I figured at this point she’d be in my arms regardless. I was lucky enough to have a friend who had a spare infant car seat and snap and go so I borrowed that instead of bringing our own. Most people will need to bring their regular car seat and base and snap and go, which would still work beautifully. We used this throughout the airport and gate checked it right before we boarded the plane. We put the car seat and base in the travel bag to keep it clean and prevent damage.
On the plane, she was pretty good. We timed the flights to coincide with her nap time so I fed her during take off and she fell asleep shortly after. Normally she sleeps for two hours but she slept for about 45 min both times (one sleep cycle) and then was up. I don’t normally use pacifier clips but they are so necessary when traveling so the damn pacifier doesn’t keep falling on the floor. I definitely had to walk her back and forth a bit when the crankiness began but overall all she did great.
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I’m in love with this travel crib!
Schedules
I am the first to admit I can be a bit neurotic when it comes to schedules (this is what works for us; no judgement whatsoever to all the non-scheduled babies and mamas!). Jules is a great napper and sleeper and I attribute that to her consistent daily schedule so I wanted to keep to it as much as possible without sacrificing our vacation. Here’s what worked for us~
  • 7:30am- Wake up at normal time. Because there was an hour difference in PR, that meant an hour later- score!
  • 7:30-9am- After her morning bottle, I’d get her dressed and take her down for a walk around the hotel while I grabbed coffee and breakfast. We’d check out the beach and pool area and it was nice and quiet. This was actually one of my favorite times of each day.
  • 9am- Time for her morning nap. I’d put her down, then quietly sneak out for my alone time by the pool/beach (leaving my hubby sleeping- must be nice!)
  • 10:30- she’d typically wake around 11 so I would come back up at this time. By now, my husband was up and ready to go down to the pool. He’d leave, I’d get her up and fed and then bring her down to hang with the family at the pool/beach. We’d all have lunch and by the time she was ready for her afternoon nap around 1, I was ready for a break from the sun too. I’d put her down and read my book or take a nap, depending upon how many cocktails I enjoyed by the pool 😉
  • 3pm- She’d wake up, have her bottle, and then we’d do our afternoon activity (we checked out the rainforest and Old San Juan in PR and visited family in FL)
  • 7pm- Dinner for all of us. I’d already have her in PJs and feed her her bottle at dinner. She’d typically fall asleep during our dinner but transitioning her to her crib wasn’t an issue.

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Bottles
This was the part I had the most difficulty wrapping my head around before the trip for some reason but it really wasn’t as challenging as I thought it would be. I picked up this great travel bottle washing kit and drying rack and these microwaveable sterilizing bags and packed enough bottles for a full day, plus one, which meant we had to wash/sterilize bottles every day. I designated my husband in charge of this and he did great. He set up a nice area on the counter (bathroom in FL/small kitchen in PR), using lysol wipes to wipe everything down, and made space for clean/dirty bottles. Then, every night, he’d wash the bottles in the sink and then sterilize them in the microwave using the bags. It worked perfectly. We stocked up on bottled water upon arrival and filled the bottles with water so they were ready to go for each feeding. She is ok with taking bottles at room temperature so we didn’t have to worry about heating them.
Fun?
My final concern was would these trips even be enjoyable. Admittedly, traveling with a young baby is definitely more work and not as relaxing. However, what can compare with your baby’s first time going into a pool or watching their expression as waves touch their feet for the first time? Nothing! The older kids had a blast and we created some very special family memories, which to us is the point of family trips. It was fun and I’d do it again in a heartbeat!
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First time on the beach
I hope these tips help if you are planning a trip with a young baby.
xo,
Tanya

Plan a Trip With Your Children to Somplace You’ve Never Been

I didn’t get to experience family vacations as a child. Money was tight and, understandably, traveling didn’t rank as high on the priority list as making sure the bills were paid. I’m not quite sure where I got the travel bug from but, for me, there’s nothing better than traveling to an unfamiliar place and experiencing new sights. I made this a priority and planned for it, using my yearly income tax return to pay for a family vacation. You can’t put a price on memories and experiences and I feel that money spent in this area is money well spent.

“5-4-3-2-1…New York, Here We Come!” I can still hear my oldest, then five years old, shout as we made our way through the mid-town tunnel. Our first trip was to New York. We left the little one at home because she was just a few months old. To this day, this remains the best trip I’ve ever taken. Seeing New York City for the first time and sharing that experience with my daughter, so young and curious about the world around her, has now become a memory that I will cherish for the rest of my days. Over the next few years we took a cruise, rented a beach house in Ft. Myers, and went skiing in Vermont (my first time seeing snow and getting on skis was another amazing experience I got to share with the girls), and took quite a few trips to Disney. Nowadays we are blessed to be in a situation where we do a whole lot of traveling sometimes more than we’d like. Even so, throughout the past year I felt I was missing out on that special bonding and excitement that the girls and I had shared so I decided to plan a weekend girls trip to Washington, D.C.

When planning a trip to an area I’ve never been, I make sure to do my homework. First and foremost, I ask my friends for advice on visiting the area and jot down their recommendations. I then check tripadvisor.com and look for travel blogs about the city that I’m visiting. I then take my list and think about my children. What will keep them engaged? What will be meaningful and what will they enjoy?

For this trip to D.C, I decided upon the Monuments by Moonlight tour which was amazing and served as a great way to see the monuments and memorials without a whole lot of walking. With so many museums to choose from, I had to really do my research and narrow it down to three that would be interesting for all and unique to Washington. I chose the American History Museum (The Spark Lab keep them busy for an hour+), the Holocaust Museum (the children’s exhibit only), and the Spy Museum (so, so cool!) We walked the streets of Georgetown and grabbed dinner and cupcakes (Sprinkles, not D.C Cupcakes~ the line was ri-dic-u-lous!) to enjoy later in our hotel room.

We were just there for the weekend and although I could have fit more in, I make it a point to leave a little down time on our trips. Day-to-day, the girls don’t spend a ton of time together and on these trips they just have each other. One of the highlights for me was when my younger one decided to take a bath in the “sick” tub (as in uber cool) and my older one went in to help her wash her hair. Hearing them talk about their life plans and their bucket lists at ages 12 and 7 put a smile on my lips as wide as the Potomac River.

Stop procrastinating and plan the trip you’ve always wanted to take with your children. Each stage passes with the blink of an eye so now is the time. If finances won’t allow for something this year, begin planning for next year. Enjoy the process~ the anticipation is to be cherished and appreciated as well!

Memorial Day- NOLA Style

New Orleans has been on my travel list since I first saw Interview With a Vampire way back when I was in High School. Oh, how time passes! Anyway, when B and I were discussing what to do over our Memorial Day adult weekend, NOLA was suggested and quickly decided upon.
After I gathered input from a few close friends, I planned a great weekend getaway. Listed below is how we spent two days getting acquainted with the Big Easy.

We stayed at the Windsor Court in the French Quarter to be close to all the action. It was absolutely perfect. Now mind you, this is an old hotel so don’t expect perfection. If you’re looking for that, I’d suggest the W, one of my all-time favs in any city. We were looking for something more authentic and the Windsor Court was just what we were looking for.

Due to our late arrival (our cancelled flight led to six hours of touring Miami International Airport), the only thing we did on Friday was enjoy a few classic New Orleans drinks (recipes below!) at the Column Hotel in the Garden District, followed by dinner at Lilette. I heard about Lilette at the James Beard Awards a few weeks ago and was lucky enough to score a reservation on a Friday. The food was delish but the waiting 30 minutes for a cab we could have done without…

Day 2 found us wandering aimlessly down Royal Street, stopping and browsing in the many antique shops and art galleries. B picked up some cuff links and I my very first set of pearls. I guess I really am grown up! At Jackson Square, I had my palm read~ “I can see you losing twenty dollars in the very near future”~ and then it was off to Bourbon Street to Pat O’Briens to have a famous headache-inducing Hurricane. Can you say sugar overload?! We ended our night  at Tipitinas, a very hip live music venue.

Sunday morning we enjoyed a late brunch at Commander’s Palace, which I have to say is a bit overrated. We strolled down Royal Street again and managed to squeeze in a mani/pedis at the mall before our flight home. Short and sweet, it was a great introduction to a city I am looking forward to visiting again soon.