It’s easy to get jaded and feel like you’ve seen it all once you’ve done a lot of anything.  For me, it takes a lot to impress or excite me when it comes to parties for instance.  I’ve attended, planned and produced so many in my lifetime and have kept up with the latest trends and offerings through industry tradeshows, blogs and celebrity planners that I feel I’ve seen every flower arrangement, candy bar setup, and balloon arrangement there is to see.  So I’m always seeking something new and creative to wow me and incorporate into my next event.  The same is true when I travel.  I seek something beyond the typical beach resort and long for the Instagram-able, colorful, bizarre and surreal.  Click through here for my tips on the 5 wild and wacky must-see spots to take your kids to in Tokyo for instance, or here for NYC’s most Instagram-able bucket list, and my 7 tips when visiting the world’s most surreal spa.  But if you’re looking for a fun Southern Californian road trip with memorable pit stops along the way, Look no further.  We did this day trip in December (when the weather is perfect out in the desert), and highly recommend these 6 unbelievable sights for your next road trip.  And guess what!  They’re all free!  Well the banana museum charges $1 if you don’t eat or buy anything there but basically all you need for these spots is an adventuresome spirit and an open mind.

  1. Salvation Mountain

    What do you get when you mix rainbows, with art and Christian messaging?  Salvation Mountain!  salton sea, california road trip, nilan california, nilan california, slab city, Made in the name of love, the deceased artist, Beal created this man-made mountain and painted it with over 100,000 gallons of paint over the course of nearly 3 decades! He created this unbelievably beautiful spectacle, the most colorful and happy hike you’ll ever take.  The art installation consists of the main mountain, a few caves and a painted tree area.  Selfie anyone?  Not a single person who goes here can resist taking a photo..it is just that remarkable.  Whether you are religious or not, the message is all about LOVE.  And I loved it.  It’s such a cheerful sight amidst the vast desert landscape.  Even the grumpiest soul can’t resist smiling here.california road trip ideas, salton sea, nilan california, most instagrammable california

    ADDRESS – Beal Rd Niland, CA 92257.   TIME TO ALLOT- 30 minutes if it’s hot or up to 1.5 hours if you’re a photographer and the weather is nice.  We spent close to an hour there because it was my newfound happy place!

  2. Ski Inn

    Dolla Dolla Bills Y’all! instagramable california, niland, salton sea, the ski inn The entire interior of this dark, otherwise dingy, non-descript dive bar is covered interestingly in dollar bills!  Doubling as wallpaper and a guestbook, people write messages or their names on the bill and then paste them to the walls and even ceiling of this joint.  If you need to stop for a bathroom break or want to enjoy a drink with the locals, this is the place to go!  They are happy to give you tips for your travels or just hang out and get to know you.  Juliet had to go potty on our road trip which is why I went in.  Imagine my surprise when I saw this decor!  I bought a .75 water bottle on my way out in exchange for using their bathroom (which was clean enough).  And uh, if you’re not thirsty, you could always buy one of their cans filled with fish assholes.  You heard me right….and they’re only $4.  TIP this place only takes cash.  Like I said, dolla dolla bills y’all!

    ADDRESS – 9596 Ave A Niland, CA 92257   TIME TO ALLOT – 5 to 45 minutes depending if you’re staying for lunch
  3. Banana Museum

     salton city things to see and do ,california road trip, bananas

    This tiny, eccentric museum is one of the most memorable ones you will ever see.  Having started by purchasing the world’s largest banana collection (a title awarded by the Guiness Book of World Records) off of eBay, the owner turned his family’s bar into a shrine / shop for everything yellow and exponentially grew his initial collection.  Think banana shaped phones, stuffed monkeys holding bananas, banana milkshakes and ice cream and banana toys and costumes even.  I went bananas in there taking pictures, trying on silly costumes and just being enthralled at the amazing collection.  My 4 year old tells people she went to the banana museum when people asked her what she did in California for 3 weeks. lol I guess she found it really a-PEEL-ing!salton sea, socal road trip san diego road trip, palm springs road trip, yellow, banana ice cream 

    ADDRESS – 98775 Hwy 111 Mecca, CA 92254.   TIP they are known to unexpectedly close early or not open on time so you may want to call ahead to confirm opening hours. (619) 840-1429.  TIME TO ALLOT – 10-25 minutes

  4. Bombay Beach Ruins at Salton Sea

    You know the crystal clear ocean water and soft sand beaches from the brochures?? Yea..this is not that.  This is the creepy, apocalyptic version of that. Imagine, a deserted beach where you can look for miles beyond and feel like you’re the last person standing on earth.salton sea road trip. socal road trip, californian road trip ( It is the largest inland body of water in California and yes that is me seemingly in the middle of nowhere land). Fun fact – the surface of the Salton Sea is 234.0 feet (or 71 meters) below sea level!  And the water is so thick with salt that it doesn’t move.  No crashing waves.  Just dead silence.  Speaking of dead, expect to see a lot of dead fish as you walk the crunchy, dry cracked sand.  It is bizarre.  And that’s why it is cool.  You’ll wander around feeling as if you have just entered twilight zone as you come across abandoned ships covered in graffiti, hundreds of bird and fish bones, and what looks to be a mini Stonehenge. salton sea things to do, instagramable california, california roa dtrip There is also a visitor’s center there but because we had already read-up on the history and googled all there was to know about it, we skipped it and saved $5 (parking fee) just by going to the nearby beach.

    ADDRESS -100-225 State Park Rd  Mecca, CA 92254    TIME TO ALOT -20 minutes because it is a bit smelly with the sulfur and scent of dead fish.  NOTE – the piles of dead fish that people have written about are no longer there so no worries. You kind of have to hunt for them bones now..

  5. East Jesus

    Wanna hang out with hippies and explore their artsy playground? Then this is the perfect place for you.  californian road trip, hippies, coachella, burning man, slab city resident, slab city artThis place felt like the opposite of my hometown, Manhattan which is why I with wide-eyed curiosity, visited.  What do you mean they live “off-the-grid?”  No electricity?  No taxes, no sewage system?? Unfathomable.  But then you see the art, the wall of broken-down TVs with political messages, the supersized see-saw for adventurous adults, the makeshift bowling alley and the plane, yes a PLANE… and even the most jaded traveler snaps out of it and excitedly wanders about wanting to see more.  It has a Burning Man vibe so if you’re into that you’ll love this too.  slab city art, cars, car, painted car, grafitti, street art, hippies, burning manMany music videos and films have been shot here but mostly this place is a relatively unknown deserted area with residents ranging from squatters, to the homeless to the free-spirited, artsy campers.  To be honest, my husband was terrified to visit at first thinking we’d be walking into a community of meth addicts who would eventually kidnap and kill us.  But the reviews I read and the amount of tourists I saw when there made me feel safe enough to bring my family out of the confines of our safe rental car.  How did I know there were so many tourists?  OH you will KNOW who the tourists are and who the locals are.  This is their drive-in movie theater btw.  drive through, drive in movie theater, hippie, socal road trip, california road trip Imagine movie night here!
    ADDRESS Sidewinder Road, Niland, California.   It is only about 10 minutes away from Salvation Mountain.  TIME TO ALLOT -25 minutes to an hour depending how interested you are in getting to know the locals.

  6. Palm Tree Farm

    Does the sight of palm trees make you happy?  Me too.  But things clustered in freakish numbers tend to creep me out (i.e. one pigeon is ok but a hundred flocking around a small space …not ok).  That’s the effect that standing in the middle of this seemingly never-ending palm tree forest will give you.  They did look beautiful from afar, perfectly lined up and all growing at the same rate and height. They’ll totally satisfy any OCD that you have.  Perhaps that’s what lured me in.  We parked off to the side of the road for a closer look and for a picture-esque opportunity.  But I quickly found that standing next to the millions of thorny, hovering trees was not a comforting feeling.  I wanted to get the hell outta there and fast!  Therefore I’m setting the TIME TO ALOT as 5-10 minutes.  It’s a quick pit stop.  Get your freaky forest picture and RUN!palm tree forest, palm tree nursery, palm tree farm, niland, road trip ideas for california, california road trip  ADDRESS – off Rte 11 between Joshua Tree and Nilan (most of the area is fenced but you can find an area that is not and park along the side of the road for some quick photos!

I loved every moment of this road trip because it offered destinations that were both weird and wacky that will stand out in our memories long after we leave our beloved state of California.

GENERAL TIPS FOR THIS ROAD TRIP

  • AVOID the summer season and check the weather because road tripping through the desert isn’t as fun when you’re panting and drenched in sweat.  December was the perfect time to visit!
  • Bring lots of water, some snacks and a packed meal as backup because there are not a lot of good places to stop for a meal unless you travel to the nearby San Diego or Palm Springs cities which is what we did for our final, dinner stop.
  • Bring an extra cell phone battery and make sure your camera is all charged up and has enough storage to make room for the hundreds of pictures you are bound to take because if you don’t record and upload it later for your friends, were you really there?? haha
  • Research the hashtags for the locales if you are into photography and want to make sure you don’t miss any important shots.
  • Plan the perfect outfit!  We made sure to have a colorful outfit that coordinated the mountain’s pastel rainbow for an extra perfect picture.  But for you this may simply mean dressing in layers as depending on the time of day or season you go, you may experience a dip in temperature once the sun goes down or want to make sure you have your favorite sunglasses to shield you from the intense desert sun.
  • We had no problems with cell or navigation reception along the way from Orange County, California.
  • camping options can be found nearby at Joshua Tree, on the Sultan Sea at Bombay Beach and of course at Slab City but really if you start early in the day, you can cover all 6 of these areas within one day!
  • It’s less than an hour from Palm Springs so it’s a great idea to start or end there!

 

What do you think?  Would you want to take this road trip?  And what other strange sights do you recommend that I must see?  Please tell me in the comments.  I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Wanna add some unique pics to your Instagram feed while traveling through NY but don’t want to limit your travel shots to the same, traditional stuff that everyone else expects from New York?  Or have you already seen all the classic Christmas hot spots and are now looking for something new and cool?  Well either way, you’ve come to the right place because here is a list of the top 5 spots in NY you won’t want to miss!  Plus I’ve packed in all the insider info. you’ll need!

  1. Yankee Candle Pop-Up yankee candle, soho pop up, nyc pop up, instragmable nyc

    WHAT:  It’s a fragrant pop-up that allows you to personalize a candle with your own photo, shop their entire collection and take selfies at 4 photogenic areas.  WHERE:  503 Broadway between Broome and Spring across from Zara.  WHEN:  until January 3, 2018 from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays.  TIP:  Study other people’s poses for the upside down room so you can best plan out your shot by researching the hashtag.  It’s a bit of a mind warp when you arrive and have just minutes to take the perfect shot and you’ll want to use your limited time wisely.  Click here for more info.  And make sure to have a high-res photo that you love and want to personalize your candle with on your phone.  They’ll ask you to email it to them and staffers on-site will walk you through the fun process of creating this cute gift idea for yourself or a loved one.  HASHTAG:  #candlepowernyc

  2. Google Pop – Up made by google, nyc most instagramable, nyc photo opps, ball pit

    What: a branded pop -up where you can play, shop and explore all things Google.  Highlights include a psychedelic photo station, virtual reality experience and an all-white ball pit pitched as a snowglobe that you get to play in!  WHERE: 110 5th Ave, (between 16th and 17th streets)   WHEN:  10am-8pm everyday  HASHTAG: #googlepopup  TIP:go after 6:30pm on a weekday to avoid the lines.  And if you have a furry friend, go this Saturday from 1-3pm for a photo of your special pet turned into custom gift wrap!  Click here for more details!

  3. Gingerbread House and Flatiron Art iconic nyc, iconic new york, flatiron building

    Within close walking distance to the Google Pop-up are two must-see stops in the neighborhood.  Take a picture with “Flatiron Reflection,” the shimmering, artsy tubes in front of the iconic FlatIron Building,  WHERE: North Flatiron Public Plaza at the intersection of Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and 23rd Street.  Nearby at Madison Square Park across the street, go find the Gingerbread House. WHAT:  a life sized, super-sweet gingerbread house featuring a real gummy bear wreath, a marshmallow snowman, and a gingerbread man (found on videotape (inside) all created by magazine, “Taste of Home.”  Being that it is set against the backdrop of a gorgeously lit Christmas tree and New York’s skyline, it makes for a stunning photo opp in the city.  WHEN:  Flatiron Reflection will be open to the public everyday through Jan 1 and the gingerbread house will be around through December 20.  If you want to go inside, the house is open 2-8 p.m. during the week and noon-8 p.m. on weekends through Dec. 20. HASHTAG:  #gingerbreadBLVD  TIP:  if it’s cold and there is a line, just opt to take pictures towards the back of the house and you won’t be missing much!gingerbread house, gingerbread house nyc, life sized gingerbread house

  4. Festival of Life david zwirner gallery, david zwirner, yayoi, japanese artist, instagramable ny

    WHAT:  Modern artist Yayoi Kusama from Japan has brought her famously colorful modern art to Chelsea and has been received with 2-4 hour long lines it is so popular! People are even creating custom clothes to match her art to optimize the Instagram-able opportunity! You’ll see sixty-six paintings from her iconic My Eternal Soul series, new large-scale flower sculptures, a polka-dotted environment, and two Infinity Mirror Rooms.  WHEN: only open until the 16th until 6pm everyday.  WHERE:  525 AND 533 W 19th st. (2 gallery spaces at David Zwirner Galleries)  HASHTAG:  #festivaloflife  TIP: expect to wait  2 – 4 hours to enter into the exhibition. If the wait time exceeds 2 hours, they will post an update with the estimated wait time on @davidzwirner Twitter and Instagram Stories.  When wait times are 4 hours or longer, the line closures may occur as early as 2PM.  Flash photography, video cameras, tripods, and selfie sticks are strictly prohibited. Visitors may take photographs without flash.  Note that the gallery does not have public restrooms!  For more info click here.

  5. Louis Vuitton’s Volez, Voguez, Voyagez louis vuitton exhibit

    WHAT: If you like fashion, or enjoy history, this Monogrammed exhibit is not to be missed!  It retraces the brand’s heritage and follows its founders giving you a deeper appreciation of the iconic luxury brand while sending you down a fashionable path prompting endless poses.   WHERE:   86 Trinity Pl, in the Financial District  WHEN:  until January 7th, 10am-8pm Mon-Sat. 11am-7pm Sundays, limited hours on Christmas Eve, NYE and New Year’s day (check website for details).   TIP:  Book Reservations to minimize entry wait time.  Check website for guided tour times.  Audio tours are also available in English,s most Spanish and Chinese. Visitors with tickets will be given priority over ‘Walk-ins’

So which one of these Instagram-able options most interests YOU?  And if you’ve already been to one of these, what is YOUR best tip? I’d love to know – leave a comment below!

 

Read On for my top tips for getting that Instagram-able photo HERE!

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Admissions to the Gifted and Talented (G&T) programs in NYC requires a minimum score of 90 for district-wide programs and 97 for citywide programs.    The elusive test is important because it provides a shot at a high-quality alternative to the often unimpressive public school default.  And the stakes are high because for many parents, private schools (which can run up to 50k a year depending on which private school you choose in NYC) are oftentimes not an option.   Not only that but admittance into a citywide G&T score also means getting to skip the dreaded middle school admission process and scoring a guaranteed G&T seat through 12th grade which is like GOLD here in New York!  No wonder the pressure is ON.  It’s also especially intense here in New York because even if your genius child scores 99% or better on this test which is graded on a curve, there still is no guarantee of admission for the only 400 available citywide G&T seats.  (Only 1 in 4 99th percentile scoring kids get one of the coveted citywide G& T school spots!)  So the competition is fierce and the lottery system is real.    But how does one prep a 4 year old for a 1-2 hour exam where a stranger is allowed only to state a question once and never repeat the instruction?

gifted and talented, nyc tutoring

Kids who are extremely intelligent may still stumble on concepts when a strange test proctor questions them with an unfamiliar format.  The only way to set your child up for success is to make sure your child understands the basic premises behind what the test covers and to actually practice the types of questions he/she will encounter on test day.  I’ve never gone into a test without preparation and expected to do well so I would never expect a 4 year old to do so either.  I strongly believe that there are test-taking skills that will improve any child’s performance – and they CAN be learned!  Just take the component of stamina for instance.  What 4 year old child, naturally is gifted at focusing for an hour or more on answering boring test questions?  They can however learn to exercise their concentration and listening skills beforehand so that they are able to remain more focused for a prolonged period.  So when Noodle Pros contacted me about participating in a trial tutoring period in exchange for a review, I jumped at the opportunity and was curious as to how their service worked.

Noodle Pros is an exclusive group of experienced, professional tutors who work in all tests and subjects, from Pre-K to Graduate School.  We were so happy with our assigned teacher, Kalen who had a decade of experience tutoring and an expertise in the kindergarten G&T exam. As a fellow Ivy League graduate, I felt comforted and confident in the fact that she valued educational achievement in the same way that I did.  She is so invested in children’s development and learning that she even helped design, market and create content for Scene App for Kids on the side.  I found also that she was able to quickly establish a connection with Juliet who warmed up to her and broke out of her shyness easily with fun tasks like finding matching mermaids and coloring them for their initial project together.  Juliet liked this task so much that when Kalen promised she would keep that mermaid page for her to continue working on next time, Juliet remembered two weeks later, and looked forward to her specially saved page.  I appreciated how Kalen innately understood how to peek the interest of my 4 year-old girly girl.

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The hour-long session involves teaching and/or reviewing concepts that the test would cover including visual discrimination, following aural directions, recognizing sequences and predicting patterns.  This is done through colorful manipulatives that involve plastic figurines (“let’s see how you would group these objects”), to identifying opposites with puzzle pieces (see above), to pattern completion challenges on the ipad or dry-erase board.

  

Together they aptly incorporated and discussed handy test-taking vocabulary such as “right, left, single, identical, diagonal, column, row, beneath, outline…” all words that kids at age 4 might not be required to know at school yet but would need to know in order to answer the test questions.   Basic arithmetic vocabulary was introduced as well.  “Let’s organize by land or sea creatures… If we take away 1 then how many do we have left?  That’s an equal number of land and sea creatures!”  I make sure to incorporate addition and subtraction concepts regularly in life so Juliet already knows how to count and subtract anything by 1 and loved that this was reinforced here.   I was also happy to observe that Juliet enjoyed all the “brain games” but was not surprised given the girl has in the past sat through 18 worksheet pages at a time totally determined to try and finish her workbook in record time.  (Is there a class for us parents to train our own stamina so that we can keep up with our own children’s love of learning?? Cuz I was ready to quit after page 10!)  Even Kalen who just met her, noticed and reported how “engaged and eager to do well” she was.  new york tutor, gifted and talented test, gifted and talented tutor, noodle pros, how to prepare for gifted and talented test  She isn’t a robot though.  And as nerdy as she may naturally be, she is still a 4 – year old.  During the hour when Kalen noticed Juliet was getting a little restless, they got up for a quick game of silly Simon says (and I spy out the window during the 2nd day of tutoring).  This enabled them to take a much-needed break, shake their sillies out and re-focus with even more energy.  And Juliet continued the laughter throughout the rest of her sessions.

nyc test prep, gifted and talented test prep

It filled me with joy to see her enjoy her Noodle Pros session.  The varied tasks and visuals really helped to make the learnings fun and playful.  What child doesn’t love a game or puzzle?

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What I also found to be a major benefit of this one-on-one tutoring besides the customizable program, designed to fit your little one’s specific strengths and weaknesses was the post-session report.  Below are excerpts from our first two sessions’ reports so that you can understand the level of detail you may expect.

“…She is a lot of fun and really enjoys these brain games and challenges. As I mentioned, I’m impressed with her ability to focus with you in the room. …. I asked her to identify which item in each row was different. She enjoyed this and had no trouble finding the different shell in each row. Next, we did a variety of games with manipulatives to help prepare her for the language in the three OLSAT subtests: aural reasoning, following directions, and arithmetic reasoning. When asked to sort the manipulatives into groups she was unsure of what to do. However, as soon as I specified what group: by color or by a particular type (fruit, sea creatures, etc) she was able to follow my instruction. She demonstrated strong foundational skills with math concepts seeing that she was able to count quantities accurately and understood one-to-one correspondence. We did some pattern completion practice using a Bright Kids NNAT app. I also demonstrated figural analogies in the form of matrix reasoning on a drawing app and with the SET cards. Throughout the course of the session I used the following vocabulary with Juliet: row, identical, most different, outline, solid, second to last, bottom, equal.

 Overall, we were so happy with the level of engagement, learning and enthusiasm with which both Kalen and Juliet brought to each session.  Juliet actually kept following-up post- session with questions as to when she was going to get to see Kalen again and when they were going to do the games again.  That sort of sealed the deal in my mind, I’ve since booked a series of sessions for this last month leading up to the test.

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Each tutor comes at a differing hourly cost and each teacher comes with their own curriculum, materials and philosophy.  So it’s important to read up on their profiles, and find your best match.  They are not cheap.  You will pay upwards of $200/hour for these premium tutors but if you compare that investment to the cost of 1 year (or 12 years of private school tuition) hoping your child will get into a citywide G&T program, there really is no comparison.  And even if your child doesn’t get in, the investment is not wasted because the skills and concepts learned will help them with logic, reasoning, analysis and focus down the line anyways.  For those of you considering having your child take this all-important 1-2hour test, this one-on-one test prep is worth it.  And with the next round of testing coming up in January, there is still time to book your private tutor through Noodle Pros.

noodlepros, nyc test prep

DISCLAIMER.  All opinions expressed are my own.  This service was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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target clothes for kids, target littles, minifashionista, mini modelSometimes the shoes make the outfit and sometimes the shoes simply inspire one which is why when we were sent an amazing package from Amadin we knew the outfit would begin with these fab shoesamadin, amadin shoesThis burgundy primary IV Motif style features a luxe suede slipper and velvet exterior.  The embroidered motif screams royalty and you can immediately tell this is one special shoe.  We paired it with a matching pom pom fur hat and some clothes from Target (socks are Catimini).   This shoe retails for $150 and can be purchased through the Amadin website.

Handcrafted in Italy, this luxurious suede slipper is accented with a stylish embroidered motif.

Below, we styled it with a matching maroon skirt and a more studious looking blazer for a classic and very cute look!  cute kids shoes, minifashionista, microfashion, kids fashion blogger

The 2nd set of shoes were just as special.  Take a look at the adorable tassel detailing! kids shoes, kids fashion, girls fashion  These are the purple primary color (one of Juliet’s favorites!!) But they also come in pink, orange, blues, yellow, chestnut and brown and they retail for $125.  Also handcrafted with care in Italy, they feature only the finest in genuine leather.  Below, J wore the slippers with leggings, a tee and a fur vest.

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Surprisingly this brand originated for boys as the founder, a dad who wanted to match his mini-me couldn’t find suitable shoes to style his trendy tot.  So the shoes you see here are unisex.  Click through to shop their fabulous collection!

 

How would you wear these shoes??  And what which pair would you choose?

 

 

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chanel boyfriend, chanel boyfriend watch, chanel pop up nyc, chanel boyfriend pop upChanel created a Coco Club, an exclusive pop-up lounge inspired by their latest “boy-friend” watch by taking over the Wing and it was as fabulous as you’d expect.  Taking over and transforming the Wing which is an all-women’s workspace and social club in the chic Soho neighborhood of Manhattan was a smart move given they were building off the traditional men’s club idea -but for women.  And for Coco’s Club this had to include endless branded photo opps cuz that’s what Chanel fans in this day and age want!  Everywhere you looked there were black and white vignettes with classic Chanel timepieces, signature logos and pretty spots to pose at.  And befittingly, social media stars, fashionistas and Chanel crazed fans flocked in with their tweed, chain purses and CC logos…including US!  It was like we all knew we had to wear Coco’s fashion uniform in order to gain entrance into this premier club lol.  The people watching was insane.   Who brought and dressed their dogs in Chanel couture??  Yes people I am not kidding… see my IG story for evidence before it disappears!

Our club card instructed us that after checking in we should:  explore in the library, get glam in the locker room, linger in the cafe and unwind in the game room.  So we did!  Exploring the library consisted of browsing black folders all numbered in the signature Chanel style and then taking a seat and sketching, scribbling or writing notes on the branded papers and postcards.  You can bet I made sure to take home extras as souvenirs.  The Chanel stickers and Coco black pencils were our fav!

The Coco cafe was a sunlit room where I happily people-watched while eating a complimentary chicken sandwich and hourglass lemonade (which was a black drink made with activated charcoal and a branded, CC drink stirrer).How will regular lemonade ever compare now I wondered..chanel nyc pop up, chanel nyc, chanel pop up eventSurrounding the room and all throughout the space you could find snarky quotes with a watch or men’s club sort of theme to them which helped focus the attention on the masculine-styled timepieces which were the real star of the event.  chanel boyfriend, chanel event, chanel nyc

After eating, you could get your lipstick touched up in the beauty room or call your favorite fashionable friend.Juliet said she wanted to meet Coco Chanel and I had to break it to her that she wasn’t going to be able to…  We did however end the night with a children’s bedtime book that my friend bought us all about the life of Gabrielle Chanel, AKA Coco Chanel!

Our Coco Card instructed us to “unwind in the game room.” And so we did.  We played ping pong with branded paddles, shopped the quilted display cases and even took turns being Chanel sharks at the pool table.

 

What an incredible day!  We will surely remember this fun mommy and me outing each time we carry our purses and wear anything reminiscent of Coco.  This pop-up was open to the public just one day only unfortunately.  I will try to blog about the last pop-up that we attended another time.

For ideas on how to dress your daughter in Chanel – inspired outfits, click here!

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It’s that time of the year to be thankful and I am thankful for YOU,  all my readers!  So I’m hosting this giveaway where 4 people will win $500 PayPal CASH or an Amazon gift card!  Giveaway ends 12.15 EST.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winners must be 18 years or older to win. Void where prohibited. Enter by using the Rafflecopter widget. Bonus entries will be added in manually and winners will be chosen at random. All entries are verified if winner’s entry cannot be verified, or information is not given for verification the entry will be deemed invalid and a new winner will be chosen.  Winner will be notified by email that they used for Rafflecopter. Winner has 48 hours to respond claiming prize or prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be chosen. Winner will be added to “winners list” page which will be emailed to co-hosts within a week of winner being chosen and giveaway concluding.

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For our Back-To-School Brainiac Bash, we were so happy to have Mabels Labels as one of the goody bag sponsors.  They were the perfect brand to tie into the celebratory school kick-off season since their handy, customizable labels are so perfect for lunch boxes, backpacks, and the extra clothes stored at school.  Have you heard of Mabels Labels?  They are the most trusted label provider for durable, customizable and cute labels!  They stick on everything: clothes, shoes, sports equipment, sippy cups..the list goes on.

 

Any parent knows that we are constantly susceptible to losing any one of these items while commuting, strolling around or simply leaving things behind from destination to destination.  These microwave-safe, laundry-safe, dishwasher safe labels are wayyyy better than the masking tape and scribbly name that our parents resorted to. Be the mommy superstar that you know you want to be and start school, camp, daycare and everyday right with the coolest identification in town.  With celebrity mom endorsements coming from everyone from Victoria Beckham to Gwyneth Paltrow to Heidi Klum and Reese Witherspoon, you know you’re onto something!

Besides being entirely innovative, and handy I loved how customizable they were!  You could choose from tons of designs.  Being that I have a princess-obsessed 4 year old who loves purple and pink, I chose for her this adorable tiara design below that included her full name and my phone number in case anything got lost (and found).

organizational labels, mabels labelsThey also had Hello Kitty, and a myriad of other popular graphic designs.  The perfectionist in me is sooo happy with these perfectly pretty labels.  It satisfies whatever OCD I have and I can’t get over how I’m able to wash, wear and launder these things!!  How amazing is that?  And they’re perfect for little kids trying to figure out their left vs. right shoe.  They make these ingenious stickers that are vertically pre-cut in half so the child can visually match them up to complete the picture and figure out which shoes goes on which foot!shoe labels, school suppliesHooray!!

What would YOU get??

DISCLAIMER We were given product to review for this article.  All opinions are 100% my own.

 

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girls clothes, cami girls panties

We were recently introduced to the brand, Lucky And Me and given a delightful package of comfy and colorful bike and gym shorts, panties and tunic to try on and style.  And we are in love!  They’re exactly the kind of cute basics that we needed in Juliet’s wardrobe, made with only high-end, organic fabrics.  Moms will also be happy to know that they’re made free of harmful chemicals and come in the cutest colors!  Check out the gym short color selection!  gymnast, gymnastics clothes, lucky n me, lucky and me They’re the perfect thing for our little gymnast to wear providing both comfort and coverage.  And they can double as cover-ups under skirts too.

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The longer version of these shorts are called “bike shorts” and come in various vibrant options as well. We use these under skirts, tutus, and as summertime jammies.

comfy girls clothes, gym shorts, bike shorts for girls, lucky n me They’re the perfect piece for the playground and it’s so great to have a bunch of colors to choose from in our wardrobe!The blue tunic top worn with the bike shorts here is a size 6 (she usually wears a sz 5).  As you can see, it can easily double as a dress or part of a PJ set.    And of course the panties.  This brand started with the mission of creating durable, comfortable panties so it is no surprise that they were such high quality.  girls panties, girls underwear Lucky and Me is our new go-to for all the basic staples…leggings, socks, camis, shorts and undies.  What would YOU get??

 

DISCLAIMER:  We received product in exchange for a review.  All opinions expressed are 100% our own.

 

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We were excited to take our mermaid-obsessed, 4-year old to National Geographic’s Encounter: Ocean Odyssey in Times Square because it was the first of its kind to immerse you in an under-the-sea experience without requiring you to know how to swim!  (I’m the only one in our family who can so that was a relief!)  This cool new National Geographic Encounter allows you to virtually swim under and across the Pacific Ocean overnight, from Asia to California and explore the magical underworld that is their 60,000 square foot entertainment experience all without getting wet.  By harnessing ground-breaking technology (think video mapping, 3D effects, 8K photo real animation, enveloping sound system, mega projection screens, and“real-time” audience tracking),  you’re transported and traveling underwater.

national geographic ocean odyssey, national geographic encounter, things to do times squareThis first room really took my breath away.  With the floor to ceiling screen and the touch-sensitive projections on the floor, you really feel immersed in this underwater scene. ocean odyssey, national geographic encounter, national geographic ny, national geographic times squareYou can expect to encounter dolphins, sharks, stingrays and whales and may find your kids either mesmerized in one spot or chasing after them as they swim by.  It’s a sight to see and so fun for the kids to watch!

 

After the timed portion ends, you and the group follow the hosts who act as your tour guides and direct you into the reef room where you’ll find that coral glows beneath you and smaller creatures can be found if you look closely.  The production quality is truly remarkable.  I loved taking in every detail from the kelp forest to the underwater sounds of the most mysterious and mighty sea creatures.

 

And the interactive elements like the kelp mirror maze which we let Juliet lead us into and out of were truly engaging!Playing with sea lions and having them mirror our every move was so much fun!  Juliet tried to teach them ballet and some of her signature twirls lol 

 

Overall, the blockbuster digital technology wowed us all – even my geeky husband who thought he was up on the latest and greatest in technology was seriously impressed with the 40 foot 3-D dome room.  new york acquarium, nyc acquarium We just wish that part of the experience had lasted longer!

new york things to do, times square things to do ,digital acquarium, nyc fish, national geographic odyssey, national geographic encounterOverall, the visuals are truly stunning. The creators and producers of National Geographic Encounter, have engaged a world-class global team of Academy, GRAMMY®, and Emmy® Award-winning artists, including the design firm Falcon’s Creative Group and the visual effects team behind “Game of Thrones,” to produce this never-before-seen experience.  Everything from the majestic ocean soundscape across the 230 loudspeakers and 180 independent sound channels to the creative set design and cinematic quality forge to create an incredible state-of-the-art immersion.

 

You totally forget you’re in the bustling center of Times Square.  I love experiences that make me feel ‘present’ and in the moment.  Too often we are rushing and racing around whether physically or in our minds.  This experience had a calming, meditative effect on me that reminded me to enjoy the ‘now.’ Plus I’m happy to report that my little one learned a thing or two and piqued her interest in the underwater world.  Instead of talking just about mermaids, she now chats about squids, how large whales are and coral too!    People varied in their reviews of whether they liked that the bulk of the education and information was found at the end of the experience.  I preferred it that way.  I liked that nothing interrupted the sensory experience I was having in each room.  And this way I could explore whatever topics most piqued my interest at the end by finding the sound dome to stand under that matched the visual I loved.  Here, kids of all ages could learn through touch screens, audio-visuals, and taped interviews with marine biologists.

And in the end, Juliet had so much fun browsing the gift shop where she got to take home a fun souvenir to remind her of her newfound interests.  

 

 

DISCLAIMER:  Our tickets were complimentary in exchange for a review but all opinions expressed are my own.

ADDRESS:  226 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036

Wednesday 10AM–10:30PM
Thursday 10AM–10:30PM
Friday 10AM–12AM
Saturday 10AM–12AM
Sunday 10AM–10:30PM
Monday 10AM–10:30PM
Tuesday 10AM–10:30PM

READ ON about another Times Square, family-friendly experience, Gulliver’s Gate!

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Last week, I got to join FIDI Families and other NYC Mommy bloggers out for a fun cooking class with Butter Beans Kitchen at their new Battery Park location inside Asphalt Green.  On the Menu: Jeweled Pomegranate Rice Pilaf, Sweet Potato Hummus, Kofta Kebab with Seasonal Market Veggies, and Honey Pistachio Baklava.  The Mediterranean menu sounded exotic and I knew I was in for a fun night out including a complimentary wine tasting by Simply Wine.  butter beans kitchen , nyc cooking class I guess Juliet was right.  Moms do drink wine at their “mommy play dates!” cooking class nyc ny cooking class, nyc cooking class

We all had a bunch of fun thanks to the easygoing and super approachable chef who taught us handy tips along the way including how to best cut an onion, tell if your oil is heated and what not to do to with your knife in order to avoid dulling it.  She was terrific at explaining step-by-step and was unbelievably not phased at all by our social-media obsessed crew who constantly had camera-in-hand documenting each and every instruction, step and photo opp.

 

These foreign dishes were surprisingly easy to make and tasty too!  My favorite recipes from the night included the pomegranete rice pilaf and the sweet potato hummus.

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The sweet and savory flavor combinations of Middle Eastern cuisine made for fresh and elegant meals with a minimum of ingredients–no special equipment required.cooking class, nyc cooking class, cooking class in ny

I love how Butter Beans demystified this new cuisine for me and helped me feel comfortable cooking up these amazing dishes!

It really was a fun class for people of all skill levels!  asphalt green cooking class, manhattan cooking class, nyc cooking class, Thank you so much to Butter Beans Kitchen, Asphalt Green, Simply Wines and FIDI Families for hosting us!  The candlelit dinner was scrumptious and the cooking class was such a treat!

 

In addition to their Thursday adult classes, be sure to check out the  farm-to-table kids classes on Wednesdays.  Use code BBFRIENDS to receive $10 off their first class.  Use code BBSIBLING to receive 5% off registration for siblings!

Classes are held at Asphalt Green Battery Park City Culinary Center, 212 North End Ave, New York, NY 10282.

$95 per class, 15% off for Asphalt Green members.

DISCLAIMER.  We received a complimentary class and event experience in exchange for the review but all opinions are my own.
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