April 2017

momtrends

Securing your financial future may not be the sexiest topic but it sure makes sense to seriously think about it when you realize that kids’ college tuitions are just getting pricier each year. (Did you know that currently it takes about $75k / year for a student to room, board and attend NYU for instance)?  Per year, you heard me right…. Us blogging moms learned all about this at the recent MomTrends ny529edu event with NY 529 who was there to helpfully explain this powerful savings plan.

momtrends, chef, kids cooking, kids chef hat

Luckily I have a financial guru (my brainiac husband who also works in finance) who was smart enough to start a NY 529 as soon as our daughter was born. So I knew the major benefit was tax savings. Your earnings grow federally tax-deferred, and qualified withdrawals are tax-free. But there was still so much that I needed to learn!

ny 529, ny schools, ny529edu

Here are 5 things I didn’t know about the state – subsidized, higher education savings plan:

  1. The money can be used not just for college but for: post graduate programs, vocational and post secondary trade schools, books, supplies, equipment, computers, and certain room and board fees
  2. Anyone can start one (parents, grandparents, other relatives, friends—as long as he or she is a U.S. citizen or a resident alien) and with just $25 minimum
  3. There’s a link to send out for contributions in lieu of holiday and birthday gifts
  4. opening an account takes as little as 10 minutes
  5. You can change the beneficiary, as desired, to a sibling, a relative, or even to yourself—should you choose to go back to school (it’s never too late for that either!).  So even if your child for some reason doesn’t end up needing the full amount, it can be transferred to someone who does need it!

While we were planning for our kids’ futures, the kids had so much fun planning our lunches!  The event was held at the ICE Institute of Culinary Education in Battery Park City and it was the perfect place for our kids to turn into chefs for the day!  Here is little J designing her own chef hat…of course she had to bedazzle it with gems, and color in purple and pink!  (SUCH a girly girl!)making chef hat, kids chef hat, kids cooking, princess outfit

She was so cute, telling me she was going to be just like Disney princess Tiana (who loves cooking in all the stories).   Here she is modeling her new chef hat, accessorized of course with the tiara she wore to the event!

kid chef, little chef, baby chef, cooking with kids, institute of culinary education

And here are all the little kids.  Who says there are too many cooks in the kitchen??
2N9A9369-1024x683Lunch was surprisingly delicious!  These kids can cook for me ANYTIME!!  Thanks guys!

kids cooking, cooking party for kids

Now all I need to do is figure out how to get my daughter into one of my alma maters..Harvard? Yale? I hear both calling your name, little J!

 

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shoes, purse, fashionista, giveawayShopping spree, anyone??  I’m running a $1K cash or Nordrstrom giveaway with some fab bloggers! It is easy to enter and you’ll find some other great accounts I’m sure you’ll love following as well (must follow all).  Enter in the rafflecopter below.  And follow me @fabgabblog and @fab_kids on Instagram! Ends 4/29 at midnight!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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things to do in tokyo, cook tokyo, travel to tokyo, tokyo for kids

If you’re looking for a list of the most popular tourist attractions, the top temples, or info. on the major amusement parks, museums and zoos to take your kids to in Tokyo, this is not for you.  Yes, there is a Tokyo Disneyland, Legoland, museum of nature and science, and Ueno Zoo but there are also similar sights elsewhere.  If you’re looking for the wild, the wacky and the only-in-Tokyo experiences, you’ve come to the right place!  Here are 5 must-see spots to take your kids to while in Tokyo that will leave you craving more of the colorful, crazy, and quirky “kawaii” that makes Tokyo the most memorable place to travel to.

  1. Maid Cafe

    Most typically found in the Akihabara district of Tokyo, these maid cafes promise to treat you as master as they welcome you into their girly, frilly world of cuteness.    maidWith a diverse mix of families celebrating a birthday, giggling girls coming in for an after-school treat, to tourists and the random old man, the room is filled with a curious audience entranced by the spell these girls cast.  These happy-go-lucky maids dressed in stereotypical maid costumes only seen during Halloween in the States, dance, sing, play toys and games, pose for photos and encourage you to singalong and cast a spell onto your food.  What?  Yes.  Form your hands into a heart and in your most adorable voice, repeat after me…”“moe, moe, kyun!”DSC_8468tokyo themed cafe, at home maid cafe I, as an American tourist did not understand.  But I didn’t care.  And neither did my 4 year old who was just as entranced as I was.  She had so much fun she even exclaimed that she changed her mind.  She didn’t want to be a doctor anymore.  She wanted to be a waitress!  Great.  Just great.  We left in bliss anyways. For more on Maid Cafes click here.

  2. Animal themed Cafe

    If dining with your family has become monotonous, don’t fret!  ‘Cuz in Tokyo you can choose to dine with an animal of your choice!  There are plenty of cat cafes, dog cafes, bunny cafes and even owl cafes to suit your fancy!  We chose the exotic-sounding owl cafe and weren’t disappointed.japan things to do, japan themed cafe, kyoto owl cafe, owls, owlHow is it that in the States, we were never allowed to touch owls?? Apparently they’re super friendly and enjoy being petted?! We got such a kick out of this place and couldn’t believe how many different owls there were..ones I didn’t even know existed.  It was surreal.  Every few steps, we met a wildly different owl. Check out this one that looked wooden!DSC_0351We got to pet (with the back of our hands) about 15 different owls that day.  How cool is that?  Juliet just learned about owls at school too and was super psyched.  Hoot Hoot!  What an amazing learning experience for the kids to learn fun facts about owls hands on. DSC_0356

  3. Monster Cafe

    Better than Xanax (I would imagine).  ‘Cuz how can anyone be sad in a room that looked like a rainbow just exploded there?  I think if Lisa Frank, 80’s rainbow sticker creator had a restaurant it would look like this. things to do in japan, travel to tokyo with kids, cool things to do with kids in japan, kawaii japan A game of I spy in here could include unicorns, bunnies, and gigantic mushroom sightings that will have you feeling like you’re hallucinating in this trippy place.  cool things to see in tokyo, cool things to do in tokyo, places to eat tokyo, tokyo for kids, japan with kids, monster restaurantAnd don’t worry, while the name of the restaurant may sound scary, there is nothing scary about this place.  It’s more of a dream than a nightmare!  I would love to know what sort of dreams little J had after experiencing this place…DSC_8790Address: YM square building 4F, 4-31-10, Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo. Opening Hours: 11.30am-4.30pm and 6pm-10.30pm daily.

  4. Robot Restaurant

    “Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto” as the song goes, this place (more like a cafe with parade style entertainment) is the definition of wacky.  And it’s WONDERFUL!  robot restaurant review, things to do with kids in tokyo, things to do with kids japanIt’s so hard to find the words to describe how much I enjoyed this weird, highly Instagram-able wonderland. things to do japan, things to do tokyo, themed restaurants, themed cafes japan It’s burning man on a sugar high! Think dazzling lights, estatic costumed performers, beaming laser lights and Transformer-like robots coming at you…”roboto roboto” their main song will be singing in your head for days!  It’s sensory overload in the most over-the-top fashion and you will wonder how you’ll ever go back to normal life again..things to do tokyo, travel to japan with kids, robot cafe, themed japanese cafes, themed restaurants japanI’m uploading some insider videos of this place and all our Japan adventures on our Youtube channel soon so subscribe to see all the wild details.  TIP:  secure reservations beforehand.  get the biggest discount from the Metro Magazine at the airport when you land or click here.  And if your child scares easily from loud noises or large mechanical creatures stay away.

  5. Alice In Wonderland

    Where else can you find not 1 but 5 (yes 5!) Alice in Wonderland themed restaurants in one city?  Tokyo, this is why we love you!  aliceinDiamond Dining (where these pictures are sourced from) owns Alice in a Labyrnith, Alice in Fantasy Book, Alice in Magical Land, Alice in an Old Castle, and Alice in a Dancing Land.  alicerestauranThese super cute meals and fantastical scenes are bound to make your child squeal in delight while making the momarazzi in us all marvel at all the amazing photo opps. alice in wonderland restaurant japanThe Japanese are so amazing at inspiring us moms to try creating food art at home.   themed restaurants japan, alice in wonderland restaurant in japan, cute japanese cafes, themed cafes in japan

     

     

    So what do you think?  Which of these 5 hot spots would you most want to try? What would YOUR kids most enjoy?

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It’s always exciting to try out new kid services and fashion programs so when I was asked by Kid Things to try out their new text shopping solution for busy parents I jumped at the chance!  If shopping on the go and partnering with a professional stylist sounds intriguing to you too, you should try it out!  All it takes is is entering your cell into their website GetKidThings.com (you won’t get spammed with ads or be pressured into any sales).

 

 

 

get kid things

 

 

 

I tried this process and was immediately greeted by a friendly stylist named Michelle who happily searched through the brands they work with to help me with my request.

 

 

 

kid things, kids stylist, stylist

 

 

 

They select from trusted, quality brands such as the ones below.

 

 

 

kid things, kid brands, kids fashion, kids clothes

 

 

 

And their stylists are available pretty much 24/7 to answer all your styling needs, and to offer options that fit your needs.  I imagine that it would be the perfect thing for busy moms on the go who either find it hard to keep up with their children’s ever-changing sizing and styling needs and/or for the mom who doesn’t particularly enjoy shopping.  I personally love shopping for kids’ clothes and enjoy the styling but I still benefited from the service.

I sent her a photo of a couple of shorts that I needed tops for along with a general request to see some casual dress options for my 4 year old to play in this summer.  We went back and forth with about 20 pictured pieces until I got exactly what I loved.

 

 

 

kids styling, kids fashion, texting, fashion delivery

 

 

And it was great because the options were pre-edited.  Instead of wasting time browsing 10 brands’s sites, I found myself feeling extra productive getting my to do list done while this stylist browsed and edited the 10 sites for me.  It’s quite the VIP experience having an on-call stylist on hand!

Kid Things styles for newborns – 9 year old children, offers free shipping for orders over $100 and allows you to track your shipment.  Plus they’ve partnered with Educare, a non-profit kids’ education charity to donate a portion of their proceeds so you can feel good knowing your shopping benefits those in need.  What do you think?  Would you use Kid Things?  Stay tuned for my follow-up post where I show you what we chose and how we styled the pieces!

 

I received product in exchange for this review but as always the opinions expressed are 100% my own.

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