Holiday Shopping at Rockefeller Center

Holiday Shopping at Rockefeller Center

family at rockefeller centerWhat is the first thought that comes to mind when you think about the holidays and Rockefeller Center? Tree lighting and the ice rink, possibly? How about all the amazing shops at 30 Rock? I decided to take my family on an early walk through some of the shops at Rockefeller Center, including the newly re-opened FAO Schwarz (which I am so over the moon about!) to share a few of my favorites on my holiday gift guide list this season.

VICTORINOX at Rockefeller Center

Victorinox at Rockefeller Center

First stop, Victorinox. My husband loves Swiss Army knives, and so we decided to check out the store. I happen to love their luggage collection as my son owns one just for himself.

Victorinox - swiss army knife

From sport knives to luggage to watches, Victorinox is a well-known brand particularly for their namesake which translates to “stainless steel”. I love that you can also have their Swiss army knives personalized right in the shop!

Victorinox - Kitchen Knives at Rockefeller Center

Victorinox - luggage at Rockefeller Center

T2 TEA at Rockefeller Center

Next, we were off to T2 Tea,  a brand I didn’t know much about but upon entering immediately fell in love with their tea concept and getting to sample some of their teas.

T2 at Rockefeller Center

My son’s adventurous palette had him trying the tea too (T2!). One of our favorites that makes the perfect gift for a tea-lover is their Storybook Tea Loose Tea series, which comes in a beautifully packaged storybook. In store, they added soy milk and honey which made it such a creamy blend of goodness, we had to have another taste.

tea gift at Rockefeller Center

loose tea storybook - T2

A few other great ideas from T2 Tea? A one of a kind limited edition tea cup set. With only 700 made, the beautifully detailed floral & patterned set would make anyone enjoy their tea in elegance. For those who love a surprise everyday, the Book of Secrets Advent Calendar has tea samplings, to find a new flavor or two, which would make the perfect gift to find out the next favorite tea to love.

tea cup set - Rockefeller Center

SUGARFINA at Rockefeller Center

Now who can resist candy? Sugarfina is the perfect candy brand that makes little candies so if you eat a few you don’t feel so guilty. Plus, who can resist the store’s unbelievable Instagram-worthy candy wall?

Sugarfina at Rockefeller Center

Candy is one of those things you would never re-gift, am I right? These are some of my faves, especially one for the fellas. The Corona gift set comes so nicely packaged, you would never think you are gifting a beer concept set. For the ladies or even a group of girlfriends, the Rose All Day Bento Box is so pretty to gift. But for those who love all kinds of candy, I think my favorite is the Bento Box from Sugarfina where you can choose from a variety of flavors to put into the picture perfect box.

Sugarfina at Rockefeller Center

Sugarfina at Rockefeller Center

And who would resist the perfect Champagne gummy bear candy as a stocking stuffer, right?

Sugarfina at Rockefeller Center

FAO SCHWARZ at Rockefeller Center

Christmas can’t be Christmas without some of the most special toys; and even better from one of the most special toy stores in the world. FAO Schwarz is BACK…and right in front of the iconic Rockefeller Center tree! While the entire store is a dream and I would buy it all if I could, here are some of my favorites that caught my eye and make great gifts for little ones that you may not find anywhere else.

The classic FAO Schwarz teddy bear and all the iconic large stuffed animals remind me of my own youth when I wanted a larger than life zoo filled with giraffes and bears in my own home.

The hand painted decor and details put into the interactive areas all over the new store make it the perfect reason to visit alone. Plus, if you’re like me you can’t resist looking at the Barbie’s. They have so many beautiful limited edition Barbie’s perfect for a collector or  the little girl in your family.

FAO Schwarz at Rockefeller Center

I can’t wait to go back and see my son enjoy the race car making area where he’ll be able to build his own. His excitement for all the toys that let him build and create couldn’t be contained! If you know a child who loves to build structures, the Meccano set makes a great gift!

FAO Schwarz at Rockefeller Center

FAO Schwarz at Rockefeller Center

There is nothing more iconic than the large floor piano! Of course, we couldn’t resist trying it out and had a blast doing so. Who remembers the movie BIG with Tom Hanks?

FAO Schwarz at Rockefeller Center

So if you find yourself in New York, make it a point to stroll through some of my favorites and enjoy the holiday scenery at Rockefeller Center and create memories with those you love.

Have you been to Rockefeller Center during the holidays or wish to? What are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments below! Happy Holiday shopping!

 

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What to Wear to Yoga Class

What to Wear to Yoga Class

As the year begins in full force, vision boards are being created and everyone is focused on their resolutions most likely about how to get more workouts in 2018. This past year I really wanted to get myself back into my favorite hot yoga class that really changed the way I felt after giving birth to my daughter. Hot yoga cleared my mind, made me sweat out any stress and anxiety, and really had my body craving only the good things to eat like fruits and veggies. I still have a long way to go to make it a regular part of my life, but 2018 is my year! I’m going to make it a part of my life again.

what to wear to yoga

When it came time to plan my yoga outfits, one thing I’ve always said about working out (see what I mean here) is that I enjoy deciding what to wear for my workouts. It mentally helps me feel good about having comfortable and stylish workout clothing when I have to face the mirror during those 90 minute yoga sessions. After all, who doesn’t enjoy some stylish and comfy workout clothes to motivate you to get to the gym? I’m a big fan of waistband leggings because they sit high on the waist and lengthen my petite legs. They also don’t pull down when I’m bending over in some yoga move requiring me to focus on pulling up my pants rather than the downward dog! Ha!

When I found this purple cotton tank top at Target for under $8, I was sold! I had to get them in every color. They are perfect for everything from working out to summer days to a pop of color under a blazer for work.

what to wear to yoga

So grab yourself a pair of comfy cotton leggings and tank top, a colorful water bottle, an inspiring towel, yoga mat and stylish kicks for the walk to the studio, a pretty set of stacked bracelets (because why not!) and you’re set to go!

what to wear to yoga

And after being all geared up for a great yoga session, go all in and then treat yourself to a healthy brunch afterwards with your favorite gals!

wear to yoga

wear to yoga

wear to yoga

what to wear to yoga

Thank you so much for stopping by & reading! What is your favorite type of yoga? Let me know in the comments! I’d love some inspiration this weekend!

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Cheers to 2018!

Cheers to 2018!

Happy New Year! I wish you all the best as you start another year blessed with those you love. It’s also a moment to acknowledge that if you are living a different life than you were last year – someone no longer here, a new job, on a different path – it doesn’t mean that the next steps for 2018 will be as difficult. You will rise. When I think about how I wanted to spend 2017, I know that I wanted to dedicate more time to family and friends and travel. I did my best to do that. I also wanted to indulge in some of the best of what makes my home better. From nicer and cozier bedding to enjoying my husband’s flair for cooking, I was excited to ring in  2018 in style at home! 

cheers to 2018

cheers to 2018

cheers to 2018

We hosted many holidays this season at our home, from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve and kept New Year’s Eve simple with some friends. When I found these gold tabletop accessories from the Martha Stewart home & holiday collection for our hosting duties, I fell in love. Simple design with a touch of elegance and I was able to elevate the tabletop for our dinner parties.

martha stewart

martha stewart

And there’s not special way to say cheers to 2018 if you don’t have great wine! In 2017, I was thrilled to connect with Martha Stewart this year when she launched her Martha Stewart Wine Co. subscription. The wine tasting along was incredible, so when I received my first box to my home I was impressed with the selection. My husband is big on how to pair food and wine, so we both took advantage of making a few of Martha’s recipes from her Slow Cooker book to pair with her wine selections and her year of entertaining book to have dinner party decor ideas – and they did not disappoint.

martha stewart

martha stewart

Thank you for always being such wonderful supportive readers. I wish you nothing but love and joy this year and raise my glass to you – Cheers to your best year yet!

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Summer Oasis // Jersey Shore Beach House

Summer Oasis // Jersey Shore Beach House

What’s summer without a stay by the beach in a beautiful home away from home? I love staying at any great hotel, but over the last few years my husband and I have opted to stay in homes we find on VRBO. Whether we were staying in London, Buenos Aires, Cape Cod or for a staycation at the Jersey Shore, we always like the coziness of a place that feels like home. Enter Oasis By the Sea! This exquisite and well-appointed Jersey Shore beach house in Manasquan, NJ is literally 120 steps away from the beach, and the minute you enter the door, all you want to do is RELAX!

Jersey Shore Beach House

jersey shore beach house

The owners of the beach house really took the time to pay attention to the details that make a beachside rental feel like an oasis. With neutral tones throughout the home with touches of gold and anchored with a variety of sea blue colors all around the house, you almost don’t want to leave to go to the beach itself.

Jersey Shore Beach House

Jersey Shore Beach House

Jersey Shore Beach House

Jersey Shore beach house

I loved wearing this white dress around the house and shared more here in this post. Love the decor? I’ve rounded up some similar finds to transform one of your rooms into an oasis home, even if you don’t live anywhere by the sea but want to feel like you do! 

Jersey Shore beach house

With 4 bedrooms (one with a balcony), two full bathrooms, toys for kids, ceiling fans in every room along with a sweet welcome treat, the home came equipped with everything we needed, even if we simply wanted to stay in and cook for the night. With plenty of space for parking (in the shade!), beach essentials such as beach towels and chairs, you really don’t need to pack much to enjoy your vacation in complete comfort. It really felt like an oasis by the sea.

Jersey Shore beach house

Jersey Shore Beach House

Jersey Shore Beach House

There is so much to do in the area of Manasquan and the surrounding towns (Sea Girt, Point Pleasant) as well. With great restaurants, the boardwalk at Point Pleasant, and the Jersey Shore at your footsteps, there is no denying that if you are looking for a great place to stay without the potential hassles of booking a hotel, this home is right for you. It definitely was for my family.

Jersey Shore Beach House

Jersey Shore beach house

There are a few weeks/weekends open in July and August, so be sure to check out the Oasis by the Seas home here to see if something may work for you and your family. Be sure to book your stay soon, as this is the first summer it has been available for the summer and almost already rented out entirely for the season!

Jersey Shore Beach House

Check out our vlog of our stay on my Youtube channel below for a full recap of the exciting weekend we had! We’d love for you to subscribe and let us know what you think! Have a very happy 4th of July weekend, if you celebrate! Thank you for stopping by!

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Being Mommy // 5 Things I Learned About Motherhood

Being Mommy // 5 Things I Learned About Motherhood

Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful women of the world! No matter what form your motherhood may take, your role as a mother is most definitely the most important role of your life. I live and breathe being a mother to my son every day. It is my raison d’etre, if you will! Now, as most of you know, my role as a mother is unique in that I have a beautiful and precocious son and also had a daughter born still at 33 weeks old. This Mother’s Day, I wanted to share what I’ve learned  about motherhood, from being a mother to a joyful soul on earth and to my angel’s soul in heaven.

Motherhood means forgiveness.

I’ve learned that it takes a lot of soul searching to forgive myself when I feel like I’ve messed up as a Mom – whether I am being tough about homework or too much TV. I know that I am not perfect, but my perfectionist ways definitely take over sometimes. And when I am not at my best self (tired, overwhelmed), it comes through in my role as Mom. But I have to forgive myself. Forgive those moments and make the next moments good ones – for me and for him. As I continue to grow through the heartbreak of my daughter’s loss, I know somewhere deep inside, I need to forgive myself for blaming myself. Does that make sense? Any woman who has lost a child knows those quiet moments when they think it’s their own fault, but it’s not. Forgiving yourself for thinking that is key.

things I learned about motherhood

Motherhood means pure joy.

The day my son was born, it was truly the happiest day of my life. I could not contain the smile, even in the midst of physical pain while at the hospital and learning to breastfeed, while I looked at him in my arms. My cheeks hurt from so much joy. It was the purest form of emotion I have ever felt, and I knew that because the words would escape me when I would try to describe the feeling. Even today, watching him discover something new or solve a problem, make a joke, or peek in to watch him sleeping, I am overcome with the joy that his existence in my life brings. And while I wish every day that my daughter was here with me, there is a sense of joy that I feel knowing that I have a guiding angel in my corner. I have no choice but to feel that joy, for the sorrow sometimes can be too much.

things I learned about motherhood

things I learned about motherhood

Motherhood means staying young.

As a teacher, I am surrounded by young teens who are eager to grow up and get on with their lives outside of the world of their parents. They are so quick to want to stop being young. When you’re a mother, life can be so busy that it’s easy to only wear the “grown up” hat. You can forget to play and just be “young” with your kids or find joy in the silliest things. Whenever my son and I play, I make sure I make the corny jokes, laugh the big silly laughs and make battleships with the Legos on a “stay up late” night!

things I learned about motherhood

Motherhood means learning from others.

I don’t think that I could have gone through those early days of being a new mom without the posse of women I found in my weekly breastfeeding group (aka “boob group” – I know!). It took all my energy to make it to my first meeting, anxious that I was the only one worrying about ruining my chances at being a great mom. But we were all worried and we all had a million questions about the baby’s weight loss, no sleep, controlling our husbands who didn’t know what they were doing (p.s. they do!), and all the other things that come with being a new mom. Those friendships are still with me today, as we often compare notes of the current status of our kid’s sassiness and how we just want to tell them where to go with their new found attitudes! Ha! I learned to let myself learn from others, that I did not have all the answers and never will. So whether it’s a new baby or one lost, I’ve learned to let myself learn from other women to be a great mom.

Motherhood means not forgetting yourself.

Remember when you didn’t take that shower to get your child ready for school since you woke up late after staying up late so you could just have a moment to yourself? Or when you gave everyone else the pretty plate of food and you took what you had burnt? Yeah, those times. We all forget ourselves for the sake of others. And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. What I learned, however, is that I don’t need to forget myself to be better for others. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I need to take care of my skin, my health, my mental happiness so that I can exist as a balanced whole and happy woman as a Mom, a wife, a teacher and every other role I have in my life. While I may not always find the time to remember myself (am I right?), I learned to make it a point to schedule myself into my own calendar more often. Everyone around me will be happier I did. (Trust me!)

Thank you so much for reading this far! I wish you all a lovely day, whether you are a Mom or are celebrating yours.  

2016 Holiday Season Gift Guide

2016 Holiday Season Gift Guide

Happy 12 days before Christmas! This is such an exciting time of the year as we prepare to celebrate the holiday season and spend time with all of the people we love! I am so happy to share my first Holiday Gift Guide! We put a great deal of thought into what we believe the most important people in your life would enjoy as a gift this season. It’s a comprehensive list of goodies even the most challenging of people to buy for will enjoy! I hope you enjoy looking around each of the curated picks! Let us know what you think! Shopping for yourself? Feel free to visit some of my favorite things here

Who is on your list?

Click below to visit each uniquely curated list! Happy Shopping!

holiday gift guide

holiday gift guide

holiday gift guide

holiday gift guide

holiday gift guide

2106 Party Host Gift Guide

holiday gift guide

holiday gift guide

holiday gift guide

holiday gift guide

holiday gift guide

holiday gift guide under $50

Be on the lookout over the next few days as we prepare to celebrate these 12 days leading up to Christmas, with our version of 12 Days of Christmas and a series of giveaways! Our first giveaway is in collaboration with Maggy LondonOur winner has been announced in our previous post! Happy Holidays from our family to yours! 

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Nine Lives // Unplugged with Cheryl Hines

Nine Lives // Unplugged with Cheryl Hines

School for me has already begun with professional development and planning for the upcoming year, and all I can think about is how much more time I need to dedicate to getting my work done along with the myriad of other “to-do’s” to make it through any given week. It can be so easy to just send my son along to play on the iPad or to watch TV so I can get things done, but I genuinely try my best not to. (Not saying that I never have either.) But after recently being invited to see a screening of the Nine Lives, the premise of the movie only reaffirmed to me that we need to get unplugged in our lives and intentionally connect to our families more often than we probably do.

Nine Lives unplugged

Film Title: Nine Lives

Nine Lives, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and starring Kevin Spacey as the father Tom Firebrand, Jennifer Garner as his wife Lara and Cheryl Hines as his ex-wife, gives us a look into the life of a man so focused on his own success of building the tallest skyscraper he overlooks how his daughter Rebecca (Malina Weissman) and wife are missing connecting with him at home. After the screening, a group of us bloggers were able to talk with Cheryl Hines about the movie and her thoughts on its message to parents and children.

Take a look at the trailer…

NineLives-CherylHines-Group

Something that interested me was how she perceived the message of this movie would translate to the children who see it. So I decided to ask Cheryl, “From a kids perspective, what do you think is the message that they walk away from after watching the film?”

unplugged

I was in complete agreement with what she had to say. She shared, “I hope that kids walk away with the idea that if your parents aren’t paying enough attention to you, tell them it’s time to unplug.  But, what I do with my kids and my nieces and nephews when we go out to eat, we all stack our cell phones in the middle of the table.  And you’re not allowed to touch your cell phone during dinner….But, I think it’s important for people, families, friends, to just stop, you know, listen to each other, and hang out with each other, and enjoy each other while you can. Because kids are only kids once.”

As a mother, it made me stop to think how often I let the cellphones or iPad or the laptops interfere with family time – time where we can really be connecting with each other rather than disconnected from each other. In recent months, I have made progress with my son trying to find ways to reign in the amount of electronic use not only for him , but for my husband and I as well. So here are my 5 tips for getting the kids (and yourself!) unplugged!

  1. Set one day (or two!) aside every week to have activities away from the electronics. “Turn it off Tuesday” or “Wired-less Wednesday”.
  2. Declare a set amount of time when you and your kids will be allowed to be plugged in. I do most of my work after my son goes to be to avoid the amount of time he sees me on my phone or laptop, and I use a timer to let him know when he must shut it off.
  3. Play “smart” games at the dinner table that carry over to dessert and then another room without turning on the TV. We often talk about our day by asking a series of questions like “What was your high and low for the day”, or challenge each other about a topic that we love to talk about like dinosaurs, science or the most recent book we are reading.
  4. Assign a set of books to get through the week before being allowed to get plugged back in.
  5. If getting unplugged is a challenge, find a way to watch something together and ask questions along the way. “Why do you think that character did that?” What do you believe is the reason they made this show for us to watch?” or just about anything to create the family conversation beyond the TV.

Trust me when I say that not only will you enjoy the antics of the father turned cat in the movie, and even Christopher Walkin as the cat shop owner (he’s hilarious!), but also appreciate the clear message that parents need to take a moment to get unplugged just as much as our children do. 

Thank you for reading! Nine Lives is out in theatres now! Let me know if you go see it and what you think in the comments below!

Thank you to EuropaCorp and Cheryl Hines!

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