Mommy Musings

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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Ever since becoming a new NYC parent, I’ve enjoyed checking out the biggest baby show in NYC, the New York Baby Show hosted by New York Family.

new york baby show discount tickets, ny baby show tickets, ny baby show discount code, new york baby show discount ticket

Here are 3 reasons why you should go:

  1. It’s a one-stop shop where you can taste-test, try-out, and even test-drive all the best and latest baby, family, and parenting products!  You’ll get to browse, ask questions and compare without the high-pressure sales tactics. Discover the latest trends, learn about new technologies, and learn from other parents who have tried the products out!
  2. You can tell your husband that you’re headed to an EVENT, (not just shopping)!  This is one shopping experience that my hubby can’t say no to.  He actually enjoys tagging along, and hunting down the latest finds for our family.  The interactive nature of the event escalates the shopping experience into a fun-filled time for the whole family.  Think raffles, mommy meetups, celebrity speakers, face-painting, and other free activities for the kids!
  3. You know the fun of shopping your local grocery store when they have samples?  It’s kind of the same thing here.  Every aisle that you turn into offers snacks for you and your kids, beverages to quench your thirst, stickers and promotional toys to keep your kids occupied.  And c’mon!  Who doesn’t like free stuff!

Enter to win free tickets for you and your family!

The 1st 10 win to click through here WIN!  Don’t fret if you click through and those are gone.  You can click to purchase single or family pack tickets for half off here.  Hope to see you there!

NYBS2017-Ticket Giveaway-Blog-700x500[2]

For tips on getting there click this link.

For exhibitor, seminar and programming info click here.

This is a sponsored post. #mtbloggerlounge

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misaki kawai, cave life

I love art and so does Juliet.  We’ve enrolled her in art classes since age 18months and she has happily and proudly made her own art at various school settings and at home ever since!  She often comes running over to us at school pick-up excitedly telling us, “I made this for YOU!!” And we’ve already collected a mountain of her artwork, turning our fridge and sometimes her playhouse into a virtual art gallery.  One way we’ve encouraged her love of art is to take her to art galleries around the city.  Here are the 3 main reasons galleries are great places to take a toddler. 

misaki kawai, cave life

  1. It’s a mommy and me outing that doesn’t SUCK.  There comes a time (usually weekly) where you’ve had enough of the playgrounds and indoor play pits.  Anyone relate to this?  Kids running around, crying and screaming while your mind goes numb and you look into your phone as your only outlet for parental pleasure…  Sometimes you need to mix it up!  Take your kids to a kid-friendly art gallery for some education and culture that feeds both your minds and souls.  How many times can you say you left inspired after leaving the playground?? misaki kawai, cave life
  2. Experience the culture without the overwhelm.  Toddlers (and plenty of adults) have short attention spans.  Instead of trying to cover an entire museum in one day in order to try and get your money’s worth,  (after all you could be forking over $20 admission at a famed NYC museum), you can expect to dedicate anywhere from 10minutes to a half an hour at a gallery for free while feeling the same accomplishment and satisfaction of having completed an artsy, worthwhile experience.  Small doses feel manageable.  Avoid the overwhelm and ensure yourself a happy toddler.misaki kawai, cave life
  3. It encourages curiosity and creativity.  Win mommy of the week award (if there ever was such a thing) by enriching your child’s life with the joy of exploration, curiosity AND creativity.  Juliet actually told me the other day at our last gallery outing, “Mommy, I love going on adventures with you.  this is so exciting!”  You never know what you may find!  In today’s case, we found an all yellow room, with fun painted furniture in the shape of bananas, snakes and bones.  The large-scale paintings, and wall murals seemed straight out of a child’s imagination.  Juliet immediately related and was quick to tell me about her favorite finds.cave life, nyc art, nyc art gallery, 312 bowery, the hole

If you’re interested in checking out this sunny space, go to 312 Bowery to a gallery space named “The Hole” before this “Cave Life” exhibit by Misaki Kawai ends on October 30th.  Note that it is only open Wednesday – Sunday 12pm-7pm and is by the Bleeker Street 6 train and Broadway-Lafayette B, D, F and M trains.

It promises to bring out the kid in all of us.  Juliet and I went home and continued to talk about what we saw and even tried to replicate some of the artwork at home!

misaki kawai, cave life, nyc art gallery, the hole, art for kids

For more of our artsy adventures, check out our posts on  Refinery 29’s NYFW installation, NYC street art, and the Osgemeos gallery exhibit!

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Bio-Kidz invited us to an informative, and interactive kids’ food experience where we could sip, slurp and create delicious treats with their new, 100% probiotic drink for kids.  Given Juliet loves any chance to cook, (the girl sleeps with her whisk for heaven’s sake!) I knew she would get a kick out of this.  So I took her along for the ride and boy was I happy I did!  Here she is checking out the beautiful interiors of Freshmade NYC where the event was held.
kidfresh ny, kidfresh, children's books
While she happily sipped away (and downed 2 whole Bio Kidz drinks..suffice it to say, Juliet approves), I enjoyed a little nutritional lesson on how to prevent colds with the help of probiotics.  This is something my ears totally perked up to given my family was sick for a whopping 5 weeks last winter.  YES, 5!  I promise you, we are not normally sickly people.  In fact, my husband and I rarely ever got sick before Juliet started school.  As any parent knows, you can wash your hands all you want but it’s nearly impossible to avoid germs that a toddler brings home and almost inevitable you’ll get sick at some point.  Alas the joys of parenthood!  Anyways, after being down that long with the cold, you too would be desperate to try anything.
That’s when I learned about the 3 superheros of micro-bials the defender, the reinforcer and repairer (won’t bore you with their actual scientific names).
freshmade, freshmadeny, probiotic kids, kids foods

Simply put, they powerfully combat bad bacteria while also while increasing good bacteria in the gut and that’s where 80% of the immune system lies.  (who knew??)  This inspired Juliet to strike her best superhero pose.

Afterwards, together, Juliet and I decorated her first apron.  I love childhood.  There’s a first for everything!  She immediately tried it on and put it to use during the next activity.
kids aprons, kids cooking, kids craft, bio-kidz
This is where we really got hands-on.  We love any opportunity to get creative and cute with food.  So making butterflies and funny faces out of smoothies and fruits was just delightful!
fruits for kids, cooking with kids, baking with kids
She couldn’t wait to show daddy her masterpiece!
cute kids food, funny faces, kids cooking

All the smoothies and chia mixtures were delicious and infused with Bio-Kidz showing fun ways to incorporate them into toddler and kids meals.  My personal favorite was the chia mix!  And as a mom, I love Bio-Kidz’s portable small, to go containers and can see myself packing her cooler bag with this yummy, nutritious snack.

Bio-Kidz is the only premium, 100% probiotic fermented milk for children on the market.  It can be found in the supplement section of most Whole Foods in our NY/NJ area and provides a perfectly portioned, probiotic shot for daily consumption.   Would you try this?
Thank you Bio-Kidz for the gifted cooler bag and products to review.   All opinions are mines as always.

 

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Does your child hate to sit down for a meal?  Does he/she love veggies one day and then have no interest in them another day?  Does he/she stress you out with his/her picky eating?  If so, try these creative tips.

  1.  Cut out shapes.  A pancake, omelette, or sandwich for instance, can easily turn into a fun shape with the help of a cookie cutter.  I like to incorporate this idea into all my holiday meals.  (stars for fourth of July, hearts for Valentine’s, bears for an animal themed 2nd birthday). IMG_1966 toddler foodIf you have time to get more elaborate, you can even use a bento cutter like my bear face cutter (used below) and have your child help you draw a face (with edible markers). edible marker IMG_0746
  2. Slice and Skewer.  Has your toddler suddenly banned fruit or veggies? instagram.com_2015-07-02_22-21-52 party foodmeisterdishSkewers seem to magically disguise previously unwanted foods.  It has worked for me and maybe it will work for you.
  3. Choose fun dishes.  We use these fun Fred & Friends dishes – here are some examples of how you can decorate them with food.face dishfred and friendsThe melamine hairstyle versions featured above are the nonbreakable versions and what I’d recommend for babies and toddlers. Skiphop, Sanrio and Disney are all great bets too if your child has a favorite character like Mickey, or Hello Kitty.
  4. Enlist their help!  My daughter has had so much fun helping me mix ingredients together during our cooking and baking sessions that she now asks to sleep with her whisk she loves it so much!  Getting her involved with the process of cooking has interested her in tasting the final product even more.

In the end, if all else fails, and your picky toddler still won’t eat 3 sit-down meals, don’t fret.  Rest assured in knowing that pediatricians say that as long as they have 1 decent meal and are growing at a normal weight and height that you don’t have to pull your hair out worrying and stressing.  It’s true that some days, they’ll be good eaters and others they won’t but hopefully, these tips will add some fun and interest back into his/her eating habits.

What other tips would you add?

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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.”

mommy fail

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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fab mom

 

I’ve written about how to spot a fab mom on the playground here.  I’ve featured fab moms every Monday on my @fab_kids Instagram page. And I’ve expressed what being a fab mom means to me.  But to my husband and any other person off the street, the term ‘fab mom’ is simply synonomous with being an over-the-top fashion mom. In everyone else’s eyes it’s like we’re a whole different species, obsessed with fashion, turning back-to-school shopping into a science.

Well it’s time fab moms around the world unite.  Here are 6 reasons why:

  1.  It’s a way to normalize yourself.  Fab moms, if you wanna feel normal, (and we all know you’re not), you need to find others like you!  Remember that feeling in high school where all you wanted to do was be able to fit in and sometimes all it took was finding the right ‘clique?’  Guess what, motherhood is high school all over again.  Being a new mom shoves you into a whole new world where making new friends is a basic requirement to survive.  Finding others like you is the key to comfortably fitting in.  I remember this one time a mommy friend and I trekked all the way uptown with kids in tow for a very 2015- Insta meet…you know where you meet in person the fashionistas you’ve been stalking, err I mean talking to on Instagram.  Yea we’re modern moms like that.  And we were willing to travel to the other side of Manhattan to hunt for these other fab moms.  Except when we arrived at the selected playground, all we saw were Birkenstocks, mommy jeans and athletic sneakers.  We were momentarily horrified that we wasted the trekk and slightly defeated thinking we’d never really find our tribe.  Luckily we eventually all found each other by strategically spotting the other highly decorated toddlers (and their designer strollers).Odd Mom Out
  2.  You don’t want to be the only Mamarazzi around.  What’s a mamarazzi? We’re the outlandish mom who acts like her child’s personal paparazzi! With camera phone in one hand and a SLR draped around the neck, we stalk our mini muse’s every move making sure to capture each sashay and over-the-shoulder look.mamarazzi instagramIt’s nice to be around other Mamarazzis because fab moms see one another and give each other appreciative looks instead of the judgemental ones that we’re used to getting during our never-ending photo shoots.  Mamarazzis admire one another for the perseverance exhibited when trying to capture the perfect photo!  And they are the perfect bystander to ask a photo favor from.  “Do you mind taking a shot of us in our matching outfits?  The selfie can only capture so much…and we need a head-to-toe, full-outfit shot please.”  Who else would be able to respond with such a supportive, ‘YES, sure!’ and say it without a pinch of criticism or ridicule?mommy and me outfits
  3.  We don’t shy away from Instafame and never say no to an impromptu photo shoot so it’s a minor relief when we find other moms who share the same ideology.  It’s incomprehensible how one would have a Pinterest-worthy play date and NOT record it on social media (right?!?).  Other fab moms get that and even encourage those Instagram posts of the kids.  We’re not trying to raise miniature Kim Kardashians but we don’t mind living out and sharing our lives on social media.  It’s all in good fun and a fellow fab mom is always more than willing to help out, assist and style your photo shoot with you – who wouldn’t love that?!

fashionable kids

The above screenshot is of my @fab_kids Instagram account that features the most stylish minifashionistas from around the world.  If you aren’t already folowing, why NOT??

Here’s little J getting some Insta love at the recent Chanel pop-up store during New York Fashion Week.  Notice how she’s so used to the cameras that all this attention didn’t even phase her.

4.  Your kids need to socialize with other fashion kids.   You don’t want your child wondering to themselves, why they’re the only freaks dressed to the nines .  Insert another over-accessorized child or two and suddenly your child doesn’t seem so out of place!

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5 Your husband isn’t likely to understand your overwhelming need to find the perfect holiday themed outfit and neither are the rest of the PTA members.  But your fab mom friend will and she will not only share your enthusiasm for the search but be able to rattle off the top 5 places to get the best deal and most unique fashions!  She may even offer to help organize that closet, let you borrow her fab finds and suggest you shop together! Finally, someone who shares your unbridled passion for fashion!

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6 Zagat won’t be able to help you but we will!  As a new mom, finding the perfect kid-friendly places to see and be seen is like trying to find a Vogue Italia at Yale University.  No one around you cares or has a clue as to what you’re talking about.  Your typical event sites and local directories won’t point you into a  glam girl section.  No, you need your fellow fab mom as a resource! “Have you heard about the adorable Eloise shop at the Plaza?”  “There’s no occasion but wanna join me for a brunch at American Girl?”  “I hear Laduree has a beautiful garden in SoHo – tea anyone?”  “Can you get me into NYFW?  How about Kids Fashion Week?”  These are all commonly heard sayings amongst fab moms who are desperately looking for reasons to break out their new wardrobe and break in some new shoes (kids’ and moms’ both!).  Kids need reasons to dress-up too!

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That’s why I’ve hosted posh play dates and hosted dress-up kids’ parties in Manhattan through my organization, Fab kidsWhite party for toddlers anyone??  I’m on a personal mission to connect these lost and poorly understood souls.   We all want a mommy meetup that we can actually look forward to and look fab for, right?  Fab moms unite and if you’re in Manhattan, let’s meet up!  I’ve got a fashionable crew of fab moms who want to meet you.

If you know of any fab moms, please share this post with them and encourage them to join our (self-deprecating) tribe on FB!

 

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Every Monday, I feature fashionable fab moms on my fab_kids Instagram account.  Go check them out!  They’re so inspiring!  IG Followers are asked to tag their mommy and me photos to #fab_mom. And I realized that other than my first blog post about how to tell if you’re a fab mom, I hadn’t straight out defined what it meant to me.  So here it is!

 

fab moms what they are list on stationary

I’m currently planning a Fab Mom Blogger Bash in NYC.  Know a fab mom that should be invited?  Let me know!  And share this with your favorite fab mom letting them know you think they’re fabulous!

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fab mom There’s definitely a set of moms, who even after having a baby are determined to be as fabulous and stylish as they once were pre-baby.  Channeling their fashion expertise into impeccably dressing their kid(s), they scour the web in search of the perfect shoes and accessories to complete their child’s ever-changing wardrobe and organize closets not as a non-stop chore but rather with a passion, as if Karl Lagerfeld were about to do a final inspection.    I am guilty of being one of these moms and finding other (crazy?) fab moms like me has become one of my new mom goals.

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I’ve developed an eagle eye for spotting these women.  Read below and you’ll soon be able to spot a fab mom at your nearest playground:

  • We wear faux fur to the playground with our ripped jeans and movie-star sunglasses.
  • Leopard.  ’nuff said.
  • We refuse to wear sneakers outside of the gym (unless they have a trendy wedge heel).
  • Others curiously wonder how our kids always look like they just stepped out of a catalog
  • Our diaper bag is designer
  • We accessorize with Chanel despite it being completely inappropriate for the setting.
  • Matching outfits. Yes really.
  • Our kids live their lives in front of our cameras and on social media

Note how I say “we”.  I can poke fun at all of these unusual characteristics because I have exhibited every one of them, I’m sure.  9.13

Surely, you stare at us out of the corner of your eyes and wonder all sorts of things about our lifestyle, our choices and simply how we got out of the house looking so polished.  You might secretly hate us.  We know.  We see and feel those stares.  And we know we don’t fit in everywhere we go.  And yes we know we look ridiculous to you at times.

Rest assured, sometimes we hate ourselves too. It takes extra time and energy to care this much about how things look.  My husband nags me and tells me to relax when I have rare moments of downtime.  But instead, I race around the house trying to make everything look more presentable than need be, and can’t stop my perfectionism when it comes to my passion – fashion.  I’m often found sewing or crafting something for Juliet’s wardrobe.  Or I’m cleaning out our closets, editing things we have outgrown and /or haven’t worn.  I’m making sure that: all the hangers are facing the same way, that clothing is steamed, that outfits are planned, that sales are not missed.  If I didn’t care so much, I could actually take a breather and soak in the tub listening to Sade or something.

So while it may be simpler and more comfortable to slide into yet another pair of yoga pants and call it a day, I am in a skirt, blouse and ballerina hair bun.  (I will admit, I have actually forgone the high heel in exchange for flats..something I never thought I’d do)  But I have yet to give up my old wardrobe.  I figure if it still fits, celebrate it and wear it!  So what if my old fashion PR NYC wardrobe doesn’t fit in with the workout wear / mommy uniform I’m usually surrounded by?  I feel better, more like myself in my old wardrobe. Comparatively, yes, I’m dressed up at classes and play dates where I show up and I’m the only one accessorizing with something other than a diaper bag.  Sometimes I get asked if I’m going somewhere special that day.  (No, I think.  I just wanted to wear the pretty clothes that are sitting in my closet.  I’m just off to school drop-off like you.)

I don’t need an occasion anymore.  My child’s music or art or ballet class has become my occasion.  After all, what else does the stay at home mom usually get to leave the house for?  I dress to please me but I know better than to attend in something like a pencil skirt that would hinder my ability to chase after a toddler and sit on the ground during circle time.  Therefore, I have learned to tone down my fancier pieces with laid back jeans and perhaps a wedge sneaker thrown in as a nod to all the sneaker-ed moms in the room.

And I’ve started a new FB page for us fashion-obsessed moms.  Like Fab Kids!  And follow @fab_kids on Instagram where every Monday a #fab_mom and her child are featured.  Recently, I’ve started hosting NYC themed play dates and parties.  They involve fashion themes like our white party or back to school nerdy book exchange  or Haute Halloween for instance.  And they allow for fab moms to meet, network, and play with their little ones in the comfort of their Manolos.

 

 

 

 

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I’m not too fab for a nice hand me down.  My husband once freaked thinking I might be bringing home lice when I brought home amazing goodies at a kids consignment store.  But really, once you wash them there should be nothing to worry about.  I’ve happily welcomed hand me downs from friends too and have added to Juliet’s wardrobe on the cheap in this way.

So when I heard about this NYC event where it’s basically a giant mommy trading event, I had to check it out.  Little Swappies granted me a press pass (thank you!) and today I excitedly trekked over there in hopes of a good scavenger hunt.  The anticipation of a good deal and the adventure of heading out on my own for once, without baby and without husband was like adrenaline in this shopaholic’s body.

 

little swappies

 Photo credit:  Sofia Lynn Photography

Here’s how it works.  You bring in a minimum of 5 pieces of like-new, clean baby items 0-6years old or maternity clothes, kids toys or books.  ( I went way over the minimum and brought in an entire shopping bag full of stuff and the other moms that I noticed did too).   Pay a non-refundable $20 in advance or $25 at the door, check out the sponsor booths and enter raffles while they organize the drop-offs by size, then browse the selection and take whatever you need (they give you a tote bag to collect items and bring them home with you).  Reception and organization is 10-11:15 and the doors to “shop” open until 12 noon.

Before attending, I worried that it would be like one of those infamous Filene’s Basement bridal sample sale rushes where you get stampeded in the process.  It is NY after all.  Much to my surprise though, the crowd was civilized … and this was basically a free for all.  I’ve been to NY sample sales where the women clawed and jumped over their own kids to pay hundreds of dollars on the last designer item. I even have a sample sale battle wound as a result of the vulture-like craze near freebies can engender.

Perhaps it was the speech right before opening the doors that reminded us how the partner charity was benefiting from the event.  Perhaps it was too early in the morning to get that feisty.  Or perhaps it was because it was a holy Sunday.  Nobody tripped anyone else, no one ran, and no one stole anything out of my hands.  People were shockingly courteous from what I saw.  Here’s a snapshot of one table area.

 

little swappies event in nyc

little swappies

Here is the raffle table (everyone gets one raffle ticket and can enter to win a raffle of their choice).  I entered to win a free baby photo shoot but there was really no chance in winning that since I didn’t stay til the end.  I started feeling guilty for being out and leaving the babysitting duties to my hubby so I took off early.  little swappies

They also offered free babysitting and stroller parking as well as a coat hanging area (leave all of the above at your own risk).

little swappies nyc

And then for those who really love freebies, there are sponsor tables that you can browse to pick up more items (as if the goody bag weren’t enough).

Here is what I came home with.

little swappies new yorkbaby clothes

I was most excited about the items that were apparently never  used and brand new.  The blue summer smocked outfit, the red heart long sleeved shirt, the elephant toy and smaller blocks all had tags and or were in their original packaging.  Score!!

So here are some of my Little Swappies tips:

  • Know before you go.  Review your child’s closet to see what she has and what she needs.  Make a mental list. I for instance, knew I needed outfits in the 18month -2 year range but would also take any cute shoes in the 12month+ range.   Having also done  my research on age-appropriate toys, I knew what the next developmental toys in Juliet’s collection should be.  Search for blocks and see if there are any interesting board books to add to her collection.  She loves to turn pages and I need them to be sturdy enough for her little hands not to rip.
  • Leave the kid(s) at home unless you are OK with leaving them with the free babysitting service.  It’s too much hassle to lug around the extra weight for the two hours you are there or navigate narrow aisles with a stroller.  And you don’t want anything to slow you down.  The tables 6 months and up empty out pretty quickly so you have to look and act fast.
  • Skip the Starbucks stop on the way there, save yourself the money and just show up because they have free Starbucks waiting for you there!  There are most likely also going to be some edible samples from the different companies that are trying to promote themselves too.
  • Leave the hubby behind.  It isn’t fun to be surrounded by so much estrogen.  Plus there aren’t many chairs in the waiting lounge area so he’ll either have to stand around wishing  he was instead home in front of the TV or follow you around like a sad puppy.  Give yourself some me time and relish in the girly hunt!
  • Enjoy the sponsor tables but make sure to head to the entrance doors around 20-30minutes before they open otherwise, you’ll be in a panic at the end of the line wondering if your sizes will have run out by the time you make it through the doors.
  • Most moms live in them already but just in case, wear comfy shoes.  Standing on your 4′ heels is no fun when in line.   And hello, this is a mommy swapping event.  There is no need to dress to impress.  Who are you kidding?  We all know you live in leggings and flats everyday anyways!

 

 

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