December 2015

little me clothingI’m a fan of Little Me clothing for kids. Just look at how cute this Little Me jacket is on J!  So when Stroller in The City invited bloggers like me to Lord & Taylor for a Little Me holiday party with Santa, I didn’t care that I already had 4 other events booked that day, I was going to be there!  All I had to do was mention Santa and cookies and Juliet was IN!  Of course, she didn’t mind the shopping either!

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The best part was that there was hardly a line to see Santa.  That, in NY is a Christmas miracle in and of itself!  To top it off, Santa was sweet enough to spend quality time with each little one, asking questions about their interests in addition to taking multiple photos with each guest.

santa photos at Lord and Taylor

Santa was a big fan of of Juliet’s attire, admiring her purse and her entire outfit.  How appropriate that he notice all the fashionable details while at this fun shopping event!

Here’s a peek at what we got to take home.  In addition to the books, juice, cookies and branded waters, there was a DJ, and complimentary Bobbi Brown Cosmetics makeovers. Plus when you purchased any Little me item, you received free embroidery.

goody bag

Juliet’s favorite take-home however was getting to show off her ballet moves for Santa and the fun memories made while there.  Thank you Little Me, Stroller in the City and Lord & Taylor for this adorable little event!    See my Instagram account for videos and more of the action!

Tell me in the comment area below, what your favorite meeting Santa or holiday shopping memory is!

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This is a sponsored post but all opinions are 100% mine.

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target wonderland nyc
Holiday shopping with a toddler in tow is not usually something I’d recommend.  But Target has revolutionized the experience with its Target Wonderland in the Meatpacking District of NYC and it has made it a must-do!  The futuristic, Willy Wonka style product playground is worth exploring, take it from my 2.5-year-old, minifashionista.  The playful, interactive and over-sized displays sparked wonderment and a sense of adventure in both of us. Pictured below is where we picked up Christmas tree shaped, chocolate-covered rice krispy treats (of which Juliet refused to share with me ‘cuz they were just that good).

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In addition to this ginormous light-up switch (which really did activate) we found an enormous Etch – A – Sketch which transposed your photographed image onto it, a life-sized boat made of Legos, and Elsa’s frozen palace (see below).

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Juliet loved choosing and getting her glittery snowflake tattoo within the confines of Elsa’s palace and was giddy with delight as she discovered each new area.

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There were fun surprises around every corner!IMG_0212

What was great as a shopper was that you were able to literally test-drive a couple of the more expensive items on many kids’ wishlists this year (drones or these cool cars that use a smartphone app).

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My toddler’s all-time favorite spot however was the ball pit.  It was shallow enough to avoid scaring her and pretty enough to inspire some Instagram-able selfies.

ball pit

We went on a Tuesday afternoon and were the only ones in the pit at times which was a wonderful, surreal NY experience for us.  I found myself having peaceful ‘Calgon take me away’ moments as I sunk slowly into the depths of the pearly pit. Juliet and I had a ball!

Overall, Target Wonderland, offered enough interactivity and creative discovery for my toddler to tire herself out in exploratory fun.  And it showcased enough cool technology to make you feel you were shopping in the future (i.e. getting to Skype St. Nick, finding presents by waving your arms around to control a video game, digital shopping and photo emailing with RFID).

target wonderland in nyc

Top tips if you go with kids:

  • Go during the weekday (through Dec. 22; Mon -Sat. 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sun., 10 a.m. – 6 p.m)
  • Find fast, cheap eats across the street at Chelsea Market (Target Wonderland is at 70 10th Avenue at 15th Street)
  • There’s stroller parking right outside the entrance and a diaper changing station at the entrance area but no bathrooms
  • Have the kids create a free custom engraved ornament as a keepsake (by the ball pit)
  • Bring your camera or have your cell charged up ‘cuz you won’t want to miss these photo opps

target wonderland

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Even for something as simple as a play date get together, I like to incorporate a theme and sometimes ask guests to dress accordingly.  For my holiday play date, I asked everyone to dress in plaid for pictures under the Christmas tree.

plaid party

Here’s my modern, minimalist take on the Christmas tree, perfect for my NYC apartment.

modern christmas tree

It doesn’t take up any room, I can still place presents or a food and beverage display under it, and after the holidays, I can put it away without taking up any coveted storage space.  For snacks, I had animal crackers, a ‘little fingers fruit salad’ made with holiday themed colored fruits as well as golden wrapped chocolates, gingerbread round cookies, and white chocolate pocky stick treats. white christmas decor

The dining table where us moms gathered to share parenting notes and holiday updates, featured a rice salad, hummus and chips as well as a festive gingerbread decorating station.  Guests were also served hot apple cider or hot chocolate with choice of fun toppings.

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cookie decorating with kids

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gingerbread cookie decorating party

What really made the play date fun though was that Bright Starts toys were awaiting them under another Christmas tree!  These colorful, interactive toys are such a hit amongst youngsters and being that they’re truly educational, they’re popular amongst parents too!

 

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bright starts toys

The toys were suggested for kids 6months – 3years which was the perfect age range for our play group.

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You’d be surprised at how even the simplest of the packages, the “bunch of balls” 16 ball set captured their fancy. (MRSP: $7.99) As a toddler, you can roll them, throw them, catch them, try to juggle them, balance them and share them.  Plus they’re compatible with all the Bright Starts Having a Ball toys like the Spin & Giggle Puppy or Having a ball jungle fun ball climber which are my personal favorites. The whirling wobble bobble fun is absolutely mezmerizing.  Check it out in this video montage below!

 

As you can see, we had a ball!  How do you like to host your play dates?  And what are your fun holiday play date ideas? Please share!

Disclosure: I received free products in order to host the Bright Starts sponsored Play Date. The opinions expressed here are my own.

brightstarts toys

Spin & Giggle puppy (purchase here)
Learn & Giggle fish (purchase here)
Learn & Giggle activity station (purchase here)
Giggables (purchase here)
Bunch of Balls (purchase here)
Connect with Bright Starts Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest

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museum of feeling

A free, interactive place to take your NYC kid in the neighborhood?  A place to create your own art and have a mood ring like experience?  It all sounded intriguing to me so I dashed on over with my minifashionista to check out what all the buzz was about at the Museum of Feelings at Brookfield Place.  Turns out it is a very cool, albeit thinly veiled pop-up by Glade, who creatively immerses you in their latest scents as your travel through a mysterious maze of ‘exhibits.’ Juliet started off loving her freebie – the shiny piece of cardboard she was instructed at entrance to refract light.

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The docents poetically waxed on about the responsive mood wall, the dividing of your shadows and how fragrances act as the muse to inspire visitors to explore their emotions.  Of course, Juliet only heard ‘yada yada yada’ and was more interested in the mixing of all her favorite colors.  ‘ooh blue, ooh red, oh look at THAT! YELLOW!’

museum of feelingsJuliet courageously ventured forward despite the darkness and enjoyed getting to experiment with her newfound glittery cardboard. If I were a more knowledgeable mom, I would have used this opportune time to teach her about how light refracts and the science behind it but I am not, so we resorted to a playful and elementary discussion on the prettiness of the lights.  (Sorry kid.)

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We were told this room was about feeling optimistic.  The reflective pass card apparently activated sensors that triggered ambient audio and light.  Berry scents filled the room. 

J’s feeling status? curiously excited.

The next room labeled, ‘Joyful’ was J’s favorite. This staffer distributed these glasses and encouraged us to think about the feeling of being young during the holiday season. That was easy!

museum of feelings

She couldn’t believe her luck upon entering through its dangling green, light-up vines and she laughed as they tickled her every move.  Infused with Glade’s Balsam & Fir Winter Collection fragrance, this modern forest appeared never-ending thanks to the room’s mirrored and reflective surfaces.

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J’s feeling status? Playful!

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This unique room definitely gave me a feeling of gratiude – for being a NY mom and being able to take my toddler to such cool places.

The ‘Feel Invigorated’ room inspired by the Glade® Blue Odyssee scent, transported you into a world where a colorful halo followed and tracked your every motion.

glade pop up

J’s feeling status? upset (She was the only one without a halo since she was too little to be tracked by one)

The next room was a fun one for my tech-savvy toddler.  Use the futuristic ipad to control the floral images in the room and be rewarded with the scent of Blooming Peony & Cherry, we were told.  This kaleidoscopic room was totally trippy and inspired Juliet to lie down to truly enjoy the magnificent wonder of it all.

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Only a toddler could get away with this.

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J’s feeling status?  Pensive

The next room was supposed to inspire calm with the help of  Glade’s Lavender & Vanilla fragrance.  Fog clouds enveloped you while scents and sounds further transported you to a heavenly peace.  And it did.  That is until, Juliet practically screamed out, ‘UH-OH Mommy, I POO-ed!!”  museum of feelings

Uh-oh is right!  Thanks for emitting your own cloud of odor, J!  Suddenly, we saw the room clear out and only we were left to ‘immerse ourselves in our feelings.”  (i.e. feelings of guilt and remorse)  The room suddenly went from heaven to hell in a split second.  Where’s the bathroom?? lol

J’s feeling status?  Disgusted.

(new) scent:  a mix of lavender and diarrhea  ( I do not suggest Glade try and market THAT).

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After exiting, we found ourselves in what was relatively, a ginormous room dedicated to taking selfies.  (This is a modern museum after all).  The above pic was the only one we hurriedly took since we were, you know in a rush to change the poopy mess.  But for those fortunate enough not to have a diaper filled with pooh, you could stick around and have this magical machine read your current mood and artistically display it (for all the world to see) in a colorful photograph like the ones below!

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Oh yea and you could also buy yourself a Glade candle souvenir but we were to pooped out to do that.

This interactive installation is on Brookfield Place’s Waterfront Plaza and is open to the public until December 15. And I highly recommend it!
Monday – Saturday – 11:00AM – 9:00PM
Sunday – 11:00AM – 7:00PM 

brookfield place ice skating

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Every Thanksgiving period is a time to reflect on the year and be grateful for all the blessings in your life, big and small – something we should strive to do everyday.  Personally, I’m most thankful for my healthy, happy adorable little family who make me smile and laugh everyday.

thanksgiving

 

Business-wise, I have a lot to be thankful for as well.  This past year was the first year where I really made a concerted effort to monetize my blog and its affiliated social media and make a business out of my personal passion planning events.  In doing so, I’m thankful for the partners, and sponsors who have collaborated along the way.

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image via

I look forward to continuing the partnerships in 2016!  Happy holidays to you all! What are YOU thankful for as this year comes to a close?

For collaboration inquiries, please email fabgabblog@gmail.com.  THANKS!

-Stella

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I’m a perfectionist but I’ve learned as a mother that achieving that sort of standard all the time is mission impossible.  Motherhood is far from perfect.  We moms may try to achieve some semblance of it in one way or another but something always happens to make us feel we’ve fallen short .  Sometimes we all out fail.  I’m not talking about the days you gave your child screen time so you could get some me time or the day you fed him/her processed food, I’m talking about epic fails like the below, real-life examples.

This morning I lost my house keys and my car. The good news is I found my house keys. They were in my car. I found my car parked at the train station cause I forgot I drove it there yesterday. Oh, and I just lost my wallet.”

“I made homemade cinnamon rolls for my husband’s birthday this year. It was so much work and I was so exhausted that I let my 2 year old eat them for breakfast, lunch, and you guessed it… Dinner too!”

“I bribe my older 2 with cash to play with the 2 yr old so I can get a break.”

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Confession time.  I have two mommy fail moments that will never cease to amaze me.  I’ll start with the most disgusting one.  You know those mornings where you got such little sleep that even when you get out of bed, you were still half asleep?  Motherhood is filled with these type of mornings.  If you’re a mom, I know you know what I’m talking about.

I sleep-walked my way to the bathroom and brushed my teeth, half closing my eyes the entire time.  I brushed and brushed with determined vigor, remembering how the dentist instructed me that we should brush for at least 2 minutes each round.  As exhausted as I was, I conscientiously made sure to dig into all the crevices all the while never bothering to look up into the mirror, cuz you know, I was half asleep.  It wasn’t until I finished that I looked up to find there was no usual toothpaste lather and down to find that I had actually been brushing with diaper cream!

mommy fail

EWWW!  Who put that there?!? was my initial horrified reaction.  “Am I going to die?!” was my next.  After hurriedly spitting, gargling, rinsing and flossing, I had to call poison control cuz that’s what the tube scarily suggests if the product is ever ingested.  I’ll tell you, that woke me up pronto!  I felt like a fool having to explain my predicament to customer service but she calmly explained that I’d live (phew!) and that many other moms have done the same thing. (seriously???!)

My 2nd confession is the most mortifying epic fail.  I’m a nice person.  Really.  I rarely ever say anything negative about other people.  I look for the good in others. But this particular incident made me look, well not so nice. And I regret it to this day.  I was tasked with securing a babysitter to watch my child and one of her besties so us parents could enjoy a double date night out on the town.  Knowing that J’s friend had a penchant for pretty sitters, I asked the potential sitter for a picture during the final (phone) interview stages (and also cuz I was curious if I would recognize her since I know and see tons of nannies during the day as a SAHM).  She promptly and without hesitation sent me one and with bad judgement, I thought it would be amusing to forward it over to my friend who was waiting for sitter updates with a snarky comment that read, “not really a looker but seems nice otherwise.”  Ehem.  Except, I didn’t actually send the photo to my friend but rather (gulp) back to the sitter I was considering!!  ARGH!

It was as if all time had stopped moments after this dreadful realization.  My mind raced as to how I could salvage this texting error and possibly still book her (time was running out and I was out of better options).  Luckily, she was a forgiving soul, and my PR background helped me talk my way out of this PR crisis and soon enough she was at our doorstep, both of us ready to move forward from the awkward start.  Of course, as I’m getting the kids oriented with their new sitter and we’re sitting around playing with instruments to the music blaring on our loudspeakers, the next song sings, ‘if you’re BEAUTIFUL and you know it clap your hands!’ (since when did they start changing the lyrics to ‘if you’re happy and you know it’ and WHY?!?? oh WHY???” Double whammy.  I was screwed.  Our eyes met and I was so horrified that to this day, I don’t even remember if she clapped her hands.

#mommyfail.  What’s your story?

If you enjoyed this article and know a mom who could use some comic relief, please share with others!

And if you want to read about my real-life #daddyfail story, click here.

The below memes are found from dear baby.

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