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MomTrends Lands End Holiday Party

Me in a Size Four! With Nicole, Alicia, and Carrie at the MomTrends Event

Yesterday, dear reader, I left off my tale of blogger-woe at the point at which I had vanquished my underwhelming-techie self over at Qualcomm, only to find myself oversized for Lands End.

A breif recap: I went to a Qualcomm super techie press conference.  I am not even a sub-super techie.  But I figured it out. Yay me.  Then, I left there and went straight to the MomTrends Lands End holiday party where I should have been totally in the zone – instead, I was in the the petite department.  That pretty much brings you up to date. So what did I do next?

Lucikly, Nicole, MomTrends herself (and an actual size 2) had hired stylists and they went to work. (Luckily, too, I had a pair of Spanx in my bag. I’m nothing if not prepared) I squeezed into the Spanx, into the size 4 dress, donned a blazer to cover the worst of it, and a size too-big (but super duper cute) Lands End riding boots to distract from the worst of it, and walked the runway like a champ.

A champ who couldn’t move her arms too far in front of her body…but still.

And what did I take away from these two seemingly disparate events?

1. That I can understand tech speak if I just listen hard enough, and brush up on my metaphorical Swahili.

2. That it kinda does matter who powers your smart phone, and maybe I should start paying attention.

3. That Lands End makes  suprisingly sophisticated housewares like Mercury glass candle holders, birch bark candles, and hand knit animals.

4. That Lands End Canvas line is (gasp) kinda hip.

and most importantly, that

5. Lands End has taken vanity sizing to new levels of vanity. and I love them for it.  Because Vanity Sizing or no,  I can’t help but be thrilled that I fit into a size four.  I will take that to my GRAVE, people!  A size four! Vanity sizing works!  I felt fabulous.

(The terrific make up by Evy Drew didn’t hurt either.)

And there you have it.  From Tech geek to fashion floozy. A day in the(blogging) life of this NYC Blogger.

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goodkidvuzvertIf I need a gift for a toddler, or a first or second grader, I head on over the The Toy Insider, because I know they don’t just list a bunch of toys, these people research and test and try and can rattle off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of any toy on the market.  It’s almost  freaky.  And it’s just the kind of knowledge you want in a toy guide.

But if I want in depth suggestions for every kind of tween – from foodies, to book worms, to techies, to fashiontween-sta’s – well, then I head on over to KidZVuz.  There, we’ve not only listed the best stuff, we’re giving  a lot of it away.

And I mean A LOT. Like a Wappy Dog, Moshi Monster DS game with gift pack, Just Dance 3 for Xbox Kinect, just to name a few.

You can’t enter here, but you can over on The KidzVuz Parent Blog, and your kids can enter at KidzVuz.com.

So go. Read. Shop. Enter. You never know.  It could be your lucky day!

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I cannot tell you how many times I have made my kids something for dinner – something that I have made, and they have eaten 100’s of times – and they tell me they don’t like it.  It. Is. Infuriating.  I’m sure it has to do with control or who knows what…but it still kills me.

Kids love to eat.  Just not always the stuff we want them to. What do your kids eat…or not eat?  How do you include them in preparing family meals?  What’s your stand on fast food?   For the answers to these and other questions, come to our KidzVuz Twitter party, this Wednesday night at 10pm eastern – after the kids have gone to sleep!

Our panelists this week include the ever-awesome @ritzking, who knows from food…and tweens, @foodtrainers the fabulous nutritionist and mom of a tween boy and a few other surprise guests.  And of course, there will be delicious prizes!

Remember to follow @KidzVuz and #KVBuzz to win!  You must be (virtually) present to win.

#KVBuzz Twitter Party Details & RSVP

WHAT: #KVBuzz Twitter Party – get ready to talk about tweens, food, and cooking with your kids.
WHEN: Wednesday, October 19th, 10-11pm EST
WHERE: On Twitter of course! Follow and use the #KVBuzz hashtag during the party, set up a column on TweetDeck or HootSuite for easy following.
PRIZES: 2 x$25 Grub Hub gift card, 1 x $25 Panera Gift Card
FOLLOW: Follow @KidzVuz, @Hip2housewife, @beccasara, @ritzking and @foodtrainers and RSVP here. No RSVP? No chance to win!

Want more chances to win?

Like KidzVuz on Facebook for an extra entry

Tweet out: “I’m going! @kidzvuz twitter party on 10/19 at 10pm -tweens, food, fun! RSVP to win a $25 Grub Hub gift card and more! http://ht.ly/707Vv”

That’s it.  Once you’re at the Twitter party, the conversation flies fast and furious…and so do the prizes.

So join us! Talk Turkey…or pizza. Or…whatever.



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The Entire cast of Motherhood Out Loud

Last week I went to see Primary Stages Motherhood Out Loud, which opens today at the 59E59 theatre here in NYC. MOL is an uneven series of vignettes about – you guess it – motherhood.  From childbirth to college, to becoming the parent to your own parents, it covers the experiences all parents have.

And that’s the problem.

It’s not that I don’t want to “relate” to what I’m seeing on stage, it’s just that I’d also like it to make me realize I relate to something I ddin’t quite know I did before.  I guess it’s Andy Warhol‘s theory of the visual arts applied to the theatre arts: Art is something that makes you look at familiar things in new ways.

Well, they got the familiar part.

Yes, I can relate to the story about about the callous anesthesiologist administering an epidural.  Yes, I chuckled when a new mom called her baby a “sleep terrorist.”  I completely “got” the mother who announced she hated the playground.  (I did too) But none of the comedy surprised me.  None of it made me laugh about something I never realized was funny, or ridiculous.  It felt a little bit “been there done that.”

Which was a bummer, because I got the tickets from my brand-spanking new affiliation with MamaDrama (full disclosure) and I wanted to like it more than I did. Thank goodness for the dramatic pieces which were much more consistent, and sometimes, downright wonderful.

You certainly can’t blame the actors for the show’s weaknesses: three women and one man play all the parts: Mary Bacon, Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Randy Graff, amd James Lecesne. They all do a terrific job jumping from part to part, from playwright to playwright. (The show is actually a series of vignettes from several different writers.)

But it’s uneven.  Because while the comedy scenes felt a bit cliched – the more serious scenes  shine Michelle Lowe’s Queen Esther, about a gender-confused little boy, captures the pain and love of a mother for her son. And hey- there’s Michele Lowe again with Graduation Day Fugue, a moving, subtle monologue about an empty nester. (Lowe should have stuck with drama, however, her “comic” Bridal Shop piece falls flat.)

“If we’re using a Surrogate, how come I’m the one with Morning Sickness” is a wonderful comic/serious turn for James Lecesne, written by Marco Pennette. It’s about  gay couple and their struggle to have a baby.  And it’s just the kind of humor I like – it’s funny, but twinged with sadness.  The father is self aware – he knows when his “inner asshole” comes out. He knows both his gay and his straight friends will look at him funny. But he’s a parent.  Lescensne does it again with a comic/tragic turn in Elizabeth, by David Cale.  In this piece, a grown son becomes the “parent” to his aging mother.

So bottom line: you’ll laugh.  I did.  But you’ll laugh in a sit-com way — not in a “John Stewart is so insightfully funny and I never looked at it that way” way.  And you’ll tear up — not from cliches, but from good writing (kudos to Jessica Goldberg for Stars and Stripes about a military mother, movingly, angrily, lovingly performed by Ekulona.), good performances, and moments that make you say “how true.  And I never looked at it that way before.”

Warhol might even have been proud.

Want tickets to see Motherhood Out Loud? Use this discount code for $5 off the ticket price. BWWMOM

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You may have heard – since I blog about it incessantly, but this week, Rebecca Levey from http://www.beccarama.com and I are launching a brand-spanking-new version of our love child – er – website for tweens,  KidzVuz!

And social media babes that we are, we’re celebrating with a Twitter Party!  We’re going to be talking about the up-side of kids and the internet.  Yes, there really is one.  We’re talking about kids getting creative through technology.  Look,  KidzVuz is all about empowering kids to express their opinions, master video making, become critical thinkers and learn how to be positive digital citizens.  Let’s celebrate our kids’ creativity and big mouths – instead of just scaring them about the big bad digital boogie man!  Plus, you could win some super cool prizes that may even garner you a hug….from your surly pre-teen!

We’ve gathered some our favorite mom bloggers – experts on raising tweens and teens –  because that’s their reality!  We all know that the preteen years can be tough, but these panelists have handled it with humor, savvy and an immunity against eye-rolling. (at least where their kids can see them do it)

Join @selfishmom, @madijack, @jenwag57 and @take2mommy, along with us, @kidzvuz (AKA@beccasara & @hip2housewife) as we party and dish about how to give our kids the tools they need to rule the internet and become content creators – not passive consumers!

Have a BLAST! AND WIN Prizes!

During our KidzVuz launch party, we will be giving away fabulous prizes! Remember to follow @KidzVuz and #KVBuzz to win!

Grand Prize: A Nintendo DSi with a set of Super Mario games worth $500
Redakai X-Reader Trading Card Pack, starter set, and 3D card reader
$25 Fashion Playtes (it’s a design your own real-life clothing site!) Gift certificate,and  Nancy Drew: The Captive Curse PC game.

Who knows?  There may be even more fun toys!

#KVBuzz Twitter Party Details & RSVP

WHAT: #KVBuzz Twitter Party – get ready to talk about tweens, tech and creativity
WHEN: Wednesday, October 5th, 10-11pm EST
WHERE: On Twitter of course! Follow and use the #KVBuzz hashtag during the party, set up a column on TweetDeck or HootSuite for easy following.
PRIZES: Redekai, Fashion Playtes and Nintendo DSi with game prize pack
FOLLOW: Follow @KidzVuz, @SelfishMom, @JenWag57, @Madijack, @Hip2housewife, @beccasara and @take2mommy and RSVP below in the Linky tool so we can all follow each other.

Want more chances to win?

Like KidzVuz on Facebook (you can just click on the widget to the right!) for an extra entry

Tweet out: “I’m going! @kidzvuz twitter party on 10/5 at 10pm – tweens, tech & creativity!

Last – and VERY IMPORTANT:  RSVP to be eligible to win a Nintendo DSi & more and the KidzVuz Parents’ Blog.

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It is a well documented fact that no one over the age of 8 is capable of learning the trading card games Pokemon, Yugioh, or any of the other ones either. It must be a biological imperative: if you are not a kid – especially a boy – between the ages of 7 and 12, your brain simply cannot memorize the powers of each card, the levels, the points, the evolutions…any of it.

Which is why kids will absolutely love the new to stores Mechatar robots.  They will instinctively understand the interactive toy with an incredibly well-integrated (and needed to play it) online component, but their parents (like me) will not.  What kid wouldn’t like that?  They get to feel  superior and  have fun.

The way I see it, Mechatar is essentially a 3-d, hold-it-in-your-hand, walk-it-across the room with your remote, trading card.  Mechatars battle, they have power levels, and “lives” and “elements.”  There are, according to the online training, eight elements in the Mechaverse.  There’s even a handy dandy flow chart that shows which of these elements beats which.  And yet I still had NO clue what did what to whom and why. My son seemed to instinctively understand it all and immediately began battling away.

Here’s basically how it works, courtesy of the Mechatar team:

“Brand-new and launching this fall, Mechatars combines the best of online gaming and RC robotic toys by connecting the physical world and online world through

This one is called Wrexx

cloud computing.”

Basically, right out of the box (read: no need to find batteries) your robot can walk around the room just like any other RC toy.  (And I would like to mention that the robot worked on carpet just as well as on our wood floors. Also, that it did not take a ridiculous, Herculean effort to get it out of the box. I loved that.) What makes it different is the online component.  Attach your robot to your computer with the included USB chord, and you can play online games, battle other virtual Mechatars and download missions from the computer onto the actual robot to then play in the real world.  As you complete real life missions (make sure you are in “mission mode” on the remote) you earn points and badges in the virtual Mechaverse.  As you earn points in the Mechaverse, you can new skills on your real robot. It really is “blended reality.”

Also, in addition to battling online, actual Mechatars in the same room can sense each other via wireless technology and battle each other right in your living room. (didn’t get to try this – as they only sent one. But sounds like my kid would LOVE that aspect, too)

Pretty nifty.

Want One?

Here’s what you have to do

  • Visit www.Mechatars.com
  • Check out the Mechatar lineup and then leave a comment telling me which Mechatar you’d like to win. (In other words: “I wanna win” in the comment box doesn’t count!) Please note: in order to see the Mechatar line up, you’ll have to click on “play now” then “register.”   But don’t worry, you won’t need to leave any info o the site.

One winner will be chosen at random on October 4th. You must be a US resident 18 or older to enter.

Of course we all can’t be winners, but we sort of can, use this code ” MechMom” to get 10% off your order at http://www.mechatars.com. (Coupon Code Valid through November 30th)

Overall, this is a classic remote control toy with a 21st century high-tech twist that separates it from the rest of the pack.  My prediction: It’s gonna be huge.  I mean, with the online Mechaverse, they already have animated versions of the robots — could a movie/tv series/t-shirts/lunch box  be far behind? So buyer beware: if you get your kid one of these, you may end up living in your own Mechaverse – with an obsessed kid talking incomprehensibly – and happily – about elements, and life points, and who knows what else!

I was selected to participate in this sponsored post series by Clever Girls Collective.

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We had great photos by Mae Hacking

Yes, it’s taken me this long to recover from the ginormous event that was Sweet Suite 11 at BlogHer, the party KidzVuz and The Big Toy Book hosted at The Hard Rock hotel. We had swag.  We had wine. We had cupcakes.  We had line of women waiting to get in. And I’m finally (finally!) posting all about it.

And once they got in, we have Shainsware Bracelets for them to make, Xbox games for them to play, Penguin Books for them to read, a super cool bubble gun for them to ooh and ahh over…and lots more.

The night before BlogHer officially began we held out fabulous party for over 300 influential women bloggers from all over the -2country. Ever wondered what an ocean of swag looks like?  Check out these pics of set up and fulfillment of the awesome swag bags full of the incredible products from our sponsors.  From Adora to XBox Kinect, Hex Bugs to Shainsware bracelets, plus Leapfrog, Penguin Books, Briarpatch games, Activision, Disney Princess, Bananagrams and f Hasbro Nerf– the sponsors were awesome and best of all the guests had an amazing time trying out all of the super cool toys. (more…)

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So your beautiful summer retreat was destroyed in the hurricane?  Or it wasn’t, but your staff of thousands simply couldn’t make it out of their own flooded digs in time to ready your mansion for your Labor Day arrival?  What’s that?  You don’t have a fabulous seaside retreat?  No one needs to know that.  Irene is the perfect excuse to stay in NYC for Labor Day Weekend.  it’s not that you don’t have a mansion by the sea – it’s just that mother nature refused to cooperate!

Not that you need an excuse.  Because any true New Yorker knows, the best time to be in New York City is when everyone else is gone.  Like Labor Day Weekend.  Chic restaurants will suddenly be thrilled to see you — and not just at 5:30pm. Sold out shows will have great seats. And there will be something to do every day of the holiday weekend.  Because Holiday or no – it’s still New York City – where there is always something fabulous going on for you and your family.

1.  Friday: Fireworks – Start off your weekend with a bang, at the final Coney Island Friday Night Fireworks display of the summer. Head to the boardwalk anywhere between 5th and 21st Sts, and get a great view. Fireworks start at 9:30 – a bit late for some kids – but hey, it’s the last weekend of the summer.  Live a little.  Click on  coneyislandfunguide.com for more ingo

2. Saturday: The NYC Unicycle Festival  – What’s cooler than unicycling?  LOTS of people unicycling.  This annual festival is a blast for kids and grown ups alike.  And while it goes on all weekend, the events on Governors Island on September 3 from noon to 5 pm are your best bet with the kids.  Plus. Governor’s Island is just waaay cool.

This year’s Governors Island festivities include:

  • Unicycle basketball and hockey.
  • Learn-to-ride sessions.
  • Races and competitions.
  • The Hell on Wheel Unicycle Trials Course
  • A Unicycle Basketball match featuring NYC’s own King Charles Troupe vs. The Puerto Rican Nationals.
  • An exhibition game presented by the Unicycle Football League
  • World Record Attempts
  • Public show featuring the best unicycle entertainers from around the world.

To get to Governors Island you can take a free ferry from Manhattan or Brooklyn.

The Governors Island ferry departs from the Battery Maritime Building located at 10 South Street, adjacent to the Staten Island Ferry in Lower Manhattan. For subway, bus, or Brooklyn Ferry information visit http://govisland.com/html/visit/directions.shtml

3. Saturday or Sunday: Big City Fishing – True, this has been going on all summer, but Labor Day weekend is your last chance to go fishing on the Hudson with gear and instruction provided by the NYC Parks department.

Kids (and adults) age five and up with not only learn to fish, but will also learn about the Hudson River environment.  In a typical session, Trust staff offer a brief introduction to ecology and water quality, followed by an overview of the many fish species that live in Hudson River Park’s Estuarine Sanctuary.

But it’s more than fishing – view plankton through microscopes, examine live specimens – caught that morning, either in traps or on someone’s line; and identify species from the Hudson River Park’s signature Fish Poster.

4. Sunday Go Kayaking.  No, really. Manhattan is an island after all.  Plus, it’s free.  And (assuming Irene’s wrath is over) not too tough.  Check out the free kayaks available through the Downtown Boathouse.  Take a quick spin, or a three hour tour.  Ginger and MaryAnne not included.

5. MondayThe Richmond County Fair – Yes, a county fair in NYC – because Staten Island, is (I swear) part of NYC.  Some call it the forgotten borough. But I call it the greenest, most family friendly part of the city.  Here’s what you can find at the fair:

Amusement rides, County Fair contests, crafts, magic, farm animals (you read that right), pig races (you read that right, too), classic cars, live music, food, rides – even pony rides – and lots more on 25 acres.  Admission is $15 per person, and kids under 30” tall are free! For more info, click here.

6. Monday Night – The weekend is almost over (and then school starts – yay!) but there’s still time for one big party: Nickelodeon’s Mega Music Fest featuring celebrities like Colbie Caillat, Wyclef Jean, and The Roots.  But if that doesn’t sound kid friendly, consider this:  they’ll all be performing never-before-seen duets with Dora the Explorer, the cast of Yo Gabba Gabba!, and Kai-lan.  Plus there will be special appearances by The Laurie Berkner Band, The Fresh Beat Band, and even a few surprise cameos.  Host John Leguizamo will make your preschooler’s first big concert a night to remember.

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Image from BroadwayWorld.com

On average, I’d say my husband and I go to the theatre about 15 times a year — maybe even a bit more. Our kids?  Not so much.  A lot of the time, New York productions skew either too old (inappropriate) or too young (can you help the Princess find her way home? Clap three times everyone!).  We do love going to The New Victory, for unusual, innovative productions. I just bought our subscription for the year, as a matter of fact. But other than the occasional Broadway musical and the New Vic, the kids don’t go to the theatre with us very much. (Though we do go to dance: Alvin Ailey is a perennial favorite, as is Parsons Dance, as long as David Parson’s piece “Caught” is on the bill. Plus, I force them to see at least one classical ballet each year. Cuz I’m mean.)

My son has complained that he only ever gets to see musicals – never a play.  And I can’t say I disagree.  But do I really want him – does he really want – to sit through a meditation on the morality of war photographers, and the essence of what it means to be present? (Donald Margulies‘ Time Stands Still, last season at Manhattan Theatre Club) Would he enjoy a play about a small town that’s really about birth, death, and everything in between? (Will Eno’s Middletown, at The Vineyard Theatre last season.)

ummmm. No.

Which is why I was excited about War Horse, the hugely successful play from The Lincoln Center Theatre at the Vivian Beaumont. Based on the young adult novel by Michael Morpurgo, (more…)

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Photo from oneapron.com

I’ve been hesitant to write about Jennifer Perillo’s loss, just one week ago, of her husband Mike.  I don’t want to intrude on her grief.  Or pretend that we are closer than we are. Or seem like I’m using her very personal tragedy as blog fodder.

Plus, so many others – like Marinka, at Motherhood in NYC, and Nicole at Momtrends – other New York based bloggers who know and love Jennie – have already written beautiful posts.  Food bloggers from around the country  – some who never even met Jennie or her family, have been moved to write their own tributes, and to bake the Peanut Butter Pie that was Mike’s favorite, and that Jennie asked everyone to bake, and give to someone they love today…for who knows what tomorrow will bring.

But I still feel compelled to write because I do know Jennie.  And I’ve met her adorable little girls.  And, in a strange, small-world coincidence that I didn’t even realize until Mike was already gone – I knew Mike, too.  I worked with him for years.  We spent countless hours together in windowless rooms making promos for Lifetime television (Mike was an editor, I was a writer/producer) and Nickelodeon, and who knows how many other clients.  I remember Mike as talented, funny, whip smart, quick, full of energy and life – and very crush worthy.

It’s no wonder so many are crushed by his sudden, way-too-young loss. (more…)

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