It’s 2pm Eterna-a-a-a-all. Day 27 of My Favorite Things: Globalization

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Day 27 of My Favorite Things: Globalization

Today I did a global experiment. I have friends in all parts of the world. I asked them – via my Facebook page – to take a picture with their phone at 2pm Eastern Standard Time and email it to me. What you see below is the result.

I think it is so cool that I posted this request from my bed in New York at 9am this morning and was able to reach people in all corners of the world immediately. Can you believe there was a time when you could only write letters? Or make expensive long distance phone calls? It amazed me that with the push of a button I got to all of you. Pretty cool, right? Our kids will grow up in a world knowing nothing but this. Amazing. Thank you for your help today.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

Thank you Sandra E.!

Chris G

Rockaway Beach, New York

Thank you Chris G.! 

East Hampton

East Hampton, New York

Thank you Jen G.!

Gaithersburg MD

Gaithersburg, Maryland

Thank you Danny C.!

Jerusalem, Israel

Jerusalem, Israel

Thank you Noam G.!

Los Angeles, California

Beverly Hills, California

Thank you Alex C.!

NY, NY

Manhattan, New York

Thank you Monica S.!

Port Washinton, NY

Port Washington, New York

Thank you Ross W.!

Prospect Park, Brooklyn NY

Brooklyn, New York

Thank you Erin K.!

Toronto, Canada Jack A

Toronto, Canada

Thank you Jack A.!

Seattle, WA

Seattle, Washington

Thank you Avery F.!

And finally… my view at 2pm EST today:

Sands Point, NY

Sands Point, New York

Happy Labor Day everyone!

Thank you everyone for helping me with this “experiment”. All who have responded have become one of my favorite things!

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Ain’t Nothin’ But a Book Thang Baby. Day 26 of My Favorite Things: Books

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Day 26 of My Favorite Things: Books

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PJ Library (@PJLibrary Facebook) Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (@dollyslibrary Facebook)

Today I don’t want to talk about one brand or one item. I want to talk about many. Today everyone gets a give away! One that will be special for your entire family and will come to your door every month for the next five years! Today I want to share with you some of my favorite kid’s books.

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Some of my favorite board books for babies

I feel like one of the most talked about topics when I stand around the playground or at a birthday party is books. I am always looking for new books to read to my kids, series I have never heard of, or a favorite of a friend. I also love sharing my favorites with friends who ask me. So in honor if school starting – allow me to share my favorites with you – by age group – so you can try some new books with your kiddies!

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Some of my favorite books for age 2+

Our book collection is curated from favorites of mine and my husband’s as a child, articles I’ve read, suggestions from friends, PJ Library, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, gifts from family and friends and book store recommendations. I was always a voracious reader (yeah – I won Book It. Bragging rights allowed. I remember eating my sweet pizza pie of achievement!), I thought summer reading programs were the cat’s meow. I made dioramas for sport. I just love to read. I want to bring my love of books into my children’s lives and make them readers too.

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Some of my favorite books for age 3+

From Goodnight Moon – which we read to my daughter every night for two years at bedtime, to the “Little Miss” series we read now, books have been a huge part of my daughter’s life. In fact, we read three before bedtime (her choice) and used to read three before her nap too.

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Some of my favorite books for age 4+

PJ Library and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library are both amazing. If you don’t know about them you need to. And tell your friends. Both send your child a FREE book every month. The catch? They want you to read it. PJ Library sends books with Jewish themes and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library send secular ones.  Some of the best books we have are from these organizations and I am so grateful for them. I think the thrill I get when the envelope arrives is equal to my daughter’s.

Thank you to Johannes Gutenberg for creating the printing press and allowing the mass production of books. Books – one of my favorite things!

*Note – due to popular demand – here are all the books with clickable links*:

The Mint Chip Mama’s Beloved Book List – Part 1

The Mint Chip Mama’s Beloved Book List – Part 2

*GIVEAWAY* Everyone wins today – both PJ Library and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library send you free books every month!

Sign up here:

PJ Library

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

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Here is a little more on PJ Library and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library because as you know – I LOVE learning about the heritage of brands:

PJ Library

PJ Library is a Jewish family engagement program implemented on a local level throughout North America. We mail free, high-quality Jewish children’s literature and music to families across the continent on a monthly basis.

PJ Library is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, made possible through partnerships with philanthropists and local Jewish organizations. Today, families in hundreds of communities across the United States and Canada are able to explore the timeless core values of Judaism through books and music.

All families raising Jewish children from age six months of age through five, six, seven or eight years (depending on the community) are welcome to sign up.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

In 1995, Dolly Parton launched an exciting new effort, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, to benefit the children of her home county in East Tennessee, USA. Dolly’s vision was to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families by providing them with the gift of a specially selected book each month. By mailing high quality, age-appropriate books directly to their homes, she wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. Moreover, she could insure that every child would have books, regardless of their family’s income.

Dolly’s Imagination Library became so popular that in the year 2000 she announced that she would make the program available for replication to any community that was willing to partner with her to support it locally. Since the initial program launch in the United States, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has gone from just a few dozen books to over 60,000,000 books mailed to children in the United States, into Canada and across the proverbial pond into the United Kingdom! Currently over 1600 local communities provide the Imagination Library to over 750,000 children each and every month. Already statistics and independent reports have shown Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library drastically improves early childhood literacy for children enrolled in the program. Further studies have shown improved scores during early literacy testing.

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Carry Your “Kitchen Sink” in Style. Day 25 of My Favorite Things: Kipling’s Joslyn Tote

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Day 25 of My Favorite Things: Kipling’s Joslyn Tote

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@KiplingUSA Facebook

For those of you who knew me prior to having children you will know that handbags used to be a big part of my life. For those of you who didn’t, you will think my only handbag since we met was my beloved Skip Hop Duo bag. It’s funny for moms who live in Manhattan – your stroller is your car and your diaper bag your handbag. But what happens once your kid ages out of her stroller and is potty trained?

I asked this very same question last summer. I was pregnant and tasked with entertaining a child who walked everywhere. My main carrying needs were snacks, hand sanitizer, a first aid kit, and a few odds and ends I thought were vital. My summer was going to consist of walking the shortest distance to the nearest playground, bus or subway stop, with only this bag and my daughter. It was hot. I was big and uncomfortable. I needed something lightweight that was pushing-a-swing friendly.

I went to the inner sanctum of my closet where high end luxury bags hid in their dust cloths since my move three years prior. Sadly, lambskin would not fit my needs. This meant it was time to shop.

The investigation began (this included interviewing friends, strangers and lots of googling). Finally I found the exact bag I was looking for – with a familiar gorilla accouterment. Kipling! I saw the display and went ape (ha ha). EVERY bag was what I was looking for – now I just had to hone in. I settled on the Joslyn Tote. What I thought would be a “transition” bag has became one of the best bag I’ve ever bought.

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It’s the size of a book but it’s capacity is endless!

This bag is amazing. It is lightweight, has shoulder straps and a cross body strap, a huge front pouch (where I keep a supermarket), and two other pouches in front – one a double zippered pouch where I keep my sanitation station, and the other a flap pouch with Velcro closure where I keep my phone. The back has a huge pouch the size of the bag with a Velcro closure – where I keep my reusable tote (yes I have one on me at all times). Folks, that’s just the outside! Inside is a sizable main compartment where I keep my “kitchen sink”. On either side you have a zippered pouch (I keep my gift cards, wallet, sunglasses, and eye glasses in here) and a pen holder. A pen holder! Never thought about that but I can find my pen in a second! I’ve even become that person who signs credit card slips with my own pen. Pretty high class, no? All of this and it is lightweight and relatively small – given its capacity. It even fits my NKThreads pouch with all my son’s diaper supplies!

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What’s in my bag? All of this!

I feel like all of us moms look for a cute transition bag that brings a tad of style back into our lives. This is it! Plus – who can resist a bag that comes with a little gorilla keychain? When you go to the store to check out back to school backpacks, get this for yourself. You will be taking them to school, so I give you permission to get a new bag too.

Thank you Kipling for introducing me to a stylish product that lets me carry everything I need. You have become one of my favorite things!

Since I carry around a supermarket for two children and an undernourished yours truly (read granola bar-o-rama) today’s giveaway is right in time for back to school meal planning – a new “Lunchable” type idea from Revolution Foods – perfect for lunch boxes or even dinner! All you need in a little box. Organic, healthy and ready in five minutes? Done and done.

 

*GIVEAWAY* Revolution Foods (Facebook, @RevolutionFoods) has generously offered to give away four (one of each flavor!) of their new Meal Kits to four lucky readers!

To win – please post in the comment section below:

What is your favorite handbag story? Romance me. We all have one.

Mine was my first Prada bag – I used all of my camp tips in 1997 to buy it. I still LOVE it and use it all the time.

Winner will be chosen Thursday, September 4th.

Revolution Foods

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Here is a little more on Kipling because as you know – I LOVE learning about the heritage of brands:

Our tale is a fun one that dates back to 1987, when three designer pals in Antwerp, Belgium stumbled upon a happy accident on a loom and discovered crinkled nylon fabric … and voila! A world of bright and colorful bags and accessories were born. Playfully dubbed Kipling, after the clever little spirit of the monkeys in Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, our story came to life and has been an inspiration around the world ever since.

While it is true we all have places to go and things to see — we prefer a skip, hop or a cartwheel to get there. We keep tallies of smiles in our daily diaries and make wallpaper out of our favorite Polaroids. We believe in seeing everything through a child’s gaze in a grown-up world. We pretty much make it our mission to find fun in anything. Simply put, you could say we have a lot in common with you! We live a joyful life and cherish little moments. But, most of all, we love making bags that lighten and brighten your day.

So, come along. We invite you to join us in our lifelong pursuit of spreading happy around the world – no matter where you go. From the schoolyard or campus to a casual stroll through the city or park, our promise is to inject a dash of fun, a wink and a burst of cheer into every moment along the way.

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Try to Say Adventureland without a Smile. Day 24 of My Favorite Things: Adventureland

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Day 24 of My Favorite Things: Adventureland

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@AdventurelandLI Facebook

I dare you to say Adventureland to any person who grew up on Long Island and not get a huge smile and ten stories ranging from begging your parents to go on a weekend to a first date in middle school to an outing with camp/school/college friends during break. Adventureland was pretty much the coolest place on the entire island, well on Earth – in a kids opinion.

I can vividly remember begging my mom to take me to Adventureland. Maybe once a season I would wear her down to comply. It would be the biggest deal. Sometimes you would even bump into your friends from school – with equally worn down looking parents – and you would have someone to ride the rides with you. Either way – once you walked through those gates you were in heaven.  I remember staring at the “big” rides with fear – the Pirate Ship, Gravitron, etc. Then, that first time I tried them I felt so grown up. I remember how the wind felt on my face as I went around and around on the Musik Express as 80s or 90s music blared. It was like a coming of age rite of passage for every suburban kid. But the swings were always my favorite.

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Now, as a parent, living back in the same town where I grew up, I get to share Adventureland with my daughter. As a friend of mine mentioned to me today – it is still fun for us to go – but in a different way. Not so much to go on the rides – which luckily my daughter can ride herself, but the fact that any day you go it is like a mini reunion. Without fail there is always a friend of mine at Adventureland who I get to catch up with as our kids play. I tell you – we all seem to move back here and we all want to take our kids where we wanted to go as kids. I believe they call that nostalgia.

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My daughter’s first experience at Adventureland was exactly a year ago. We had found our house and came out for the inspection. She was such a trooper I wanted to reward her. Buying that unlimited ride bracelet for her was exhilarating! I may have shed tears of joy. I was seven months pregnant so I could not join her on rides but I watched her smile get bigger and bigger as she went round and round.

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Once my daughter’s birthday rolled around I knew the best present anyone could get her was a season pass to Adventureland. To say we have gotten our money’s worth is an understatement. Considering we have been there two days this week alone – and were invited for today and tomorrow as well. It is close, fun, my daughter loves it and it costs me nothing to go. Win, Win, Win, Win! Why have a play date at your house?

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If you travel with a cuddly sidekick – like I roll these days – you will be happy to know there are multiple shady places to sit near each ride. I usually go with my daughter (even for an hour after school – season pass!) let her go on a ride and sit with my son in the shade. But we are talking enough shade that I don’t even have to put suntan lotion on him or me. It’s the small things I value these days…

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Admission to the park is free so I don’t have to pay to just sit there like other parks (yay!). You have the option of buying tickets for the rides – each ride taking 3+ tickets, the POP bracelet (Pay One Price – I don’t know if they still call it POP but I will forever call it POP) – which is unlimited riding for the day, or the season pass – which covers you from March through November. Adventureland also offers a large indoor arcade (skeeball!) as well as a large air conditioned area to eat and for birthday parties. They both sell food and allow you to eat your own food –which many other parks do not allow.

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I love that Adventureland is a place that is not only fun for both me and my daughter but it also brings a smile to my face every time I go. We have our routine – rides from opening until lunch time (about an hour and a half), lunch break in the air conditioning, a grand finale ride, and a graceful exit.

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I like watching my daughter’s eyes widen looking at the Pirate Ship as we leave. She says “Whoa Mama, that ride looks scary. I’m never going on that.” But I know before I know it, I will be holding her hand as we ride it together for her first time.

Thank you Adventureland for being the coolest place in the world for kids (and moms). You have have always been and always will be one of my favorite things!

*GIVEAWAY* Adventureland has offered to give away a family four pack of POP bracelets to one lucky reader!

To win – please post in the comment section below:

You favorite amusement park memory – extra points if it was at Adventureland!

Winner will be chosen Wednesday, September 3rd.

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Here is a little more on Adventureland because as you know – I LOVE learning about the heritage of brands:

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Tooth of Hearts. Two Hearts That Beat As One. I Need You. I Need You. Day 23 of My Favorite Things: Oral-B ProfessionalCare SmartSeries 5000 with SmartGuide Electric Toothbrush

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Day 23 of My Favorite Things: Oral-B ProfessionalCare SmartSeries 5000 with SmartGuide Electric Toothbrush

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@OralB Facebook

I have always been a big fan of brushing my teeth. I know that is weird but it’s the truth. I still remember when I was little and the dentist told me I was old enough to start brushing in the morning and the evening. I felt like such a grown up. I remember getting new toothbrushes at the dentist and feeling like I won a prize every six months. And yes, I went every six months, to the day, every year. I am one of those weird people who actually like going to the dentist. But so do my parents, and now my daughter as well. So it must be genetic. Don’t get me started on my tooth fairy pillow.

My first electric toothbrush had a Smurf base. OMG, I just got a thrill up my spine thinking about it. It was so cool. Then I remember when Oral B launched their manual toothbrushes with different color bristles that faded with use. It was like something from the future. Each visit to the drugstore I got a thrill like most normal kids got going to the candy store – which incidentally I never went to – which is probably why I never had cavities…

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My toothbrush evolution. You totally want my Smurf toothbrush.

Those drugstore visits stopped at the holidays in 2002. My family dentist – after a perfect cleaning and tooth bill of health mind you … (dink! A sparkle on my tooth shines as I smile, point and wink) – said I should start using an electric toothbrush. Whoa. That was big time. Little old me? But I wasn’t famous or a national celebrity. Since I had come out to Long Island from Manhattan for my appointment, my requisite visit to Costco followed.

She was sitting there blinking her long eyelashes at me as we walked in to the store – my companion for the next decade – my Braun 3D Excel electric toothbrush. I was so excited – I begged my mom to get it for me for the holidays. This is a true story. It sounds so lame as I write it. Ha! But I really wanted it.

My new Braun 3D Excel toothbrush would travel with me around the world. She came with me to my wedding and on my honeymoon. She even joined me in the hospital – twice – when I had my children. Sadly a few months ago she went to that swirling dental sink in the sky.

To say I was lost is an understatement. Use a basic toothbrush!? What? Now that I’z fancy? I went to the store to replace it but was so completely overwhelmed. Unlike in the olden days, there were a million choices. I asked the sales associate for help. She asked what my needs were. I answered – to brush my teeth. She looked at me blankly. That was not a sufficient answer. I left shaking and feeling inadequate.

So I did what I prefer to do when I want to buy something important. Stopped in my tracks and turned to an expert in the field for advice. In this case the expert was Dr. Lauren Argentina of Modern Dentistry. She did not pause. She said she had the exact toothbrush for me – the Oral-B ProfessionalCare SmartSeries 5000 with SmartGuide Electric Toothbrush.

I took my new toothbrush home and welcomed her into my family. She was a bit jazzy for me but I was open to making a new friend. She immediately wowed me with all of her functions – her 30 second timer so I knew to brush each quadrant for the recommended two minutes, her red light indicator to show I was brushing too hard (I’ll admit I am a reformed too-hard brusher), multiple heads, and the best part – her SmartGuide clock/timer that uses an interactive wireless display to help optimize brushing. Plus she used the same brush heads as my Braun toothbrush!

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At first I kind of laughed at this high-faluting SmartGuide “sidekick”. As I set it up I was wondering why I needed a counter to help me brush my teeth, but it was a clock too and I needed a clock so on the vanity it went. When it was time to brush my teeth that night – I turned the brush on and on went the SmartGuide. “Hello, nice to see you” I said. “No need to count, I’m good staring at myself in the mirror” I continued.

But my eye kept wandering over. Ok. I was intrigued. It was SO cool. It was mesmerizing. I couldn’t help but watch it count as I brushed. Know what? It got me to brush for two minutes! Besides knowing exactly how long two minutes was – it had a little smiley face to encourage me to get there too. How could I have ever brushed my teeth without it? I was hooked. Well done Oral-B, well done.

This toothbrush is amazing. My teeth feel cleaner and I can swear they are whiter. The interactive SmartGuide makes it fun and the clock is so helpful. This is a big girl toothbrush. This is the Rolls-Royce of toothbrushes. G-L-A-M.O-R-O-U-S. First class all the way. I highly suggest checking it out if you are in the market.

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I like the floss brush head. Mainly for the pretty colors.

Thank you Oral-B for taking care of my teeth and for continuously creating innovative products. You have become one of my favorite things!

*GIVEAWAY* Oral-B has offered to give away the Gingivitis solution including the Oral-B ProfessionalCare SmartSeries 5000 with SmartGuide Electric Toothbrush to one lucky reader!

To win – please post in the comment section below:

What is your favorite tooth brushing memory?

Winner will be chosen Monday, September 1.

toothbrush

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Here is a little more on Oral-B because as you know – I LOVE learning about the heritage of brands:

The Oral-B brand was founded in 1950 by Dr. Robert Hutson, a young periodontist from San Jose, California. Dr. Hutson noticed that his patients were neglecting their daily oral care because stiff, pointed toothbrush bristles were injuring tender gum tissue.

To respond to his patients’ needs, Dr. Hutson designed and patented a revolutionary new toothbrush featuring soft nylon bristles with smooth, end-rounded tips. The new brush effectively removed plaque and cleaned teeth thoroughly while massaging gum tissue. Dr. Hutson called the toothbrush “Oral-B.” The first product was known as the “Oral-B 60”, because it had 60 tufts.

Now, more than 50 years later, Oral-B is the world’s leading toothbrush brand and the toothbrush most recommended by dentists. Oral-B became part of the Gillette group in 1984. Braun, also part of the Gillette group at that time, started to use the Oral-B brand for electric toothbrushes. Oral-B has been part of the Procter & Gamble company since 2006.

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It’s Saturday. I’m Going to The Met. Day 22 of My Favorite Things: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Day 22 of My Favorite Things: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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@metmuseum Facebook

One of my absolute favorite things to do – while living in Manhattan – was to take my daughter to a museum. The Met, The Guggenheim, The Natural History Museum – these were all our “backyard”. You see – the wonderful trade off for living with no backyard – while living in Manhattan – is that there is so much to do.

The Met holds a very special place in my heart. I lived only a few short blocks from this museum for a decade. I used to visit by myself, with my husband, with my daughter & eventually with both of my children.

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The museum is a mammoth. Vying for the title with its sister museums in Paris (The Louvre) & Madrid (The Prado). It is completely overwhelming. But if you are strategic in your visit then it is doable. By this I mean go see one exhibit or one wing or for one hour.

One of my all time favorite exhibits is the Temple of Dendur. I visited it many times. Even visited its sister exhibit in Madrid. I must have been Egyptian in a former life. I love it. I could just sit and stare for hours.

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One of the coolest events I went to while living in Manhattan was the swearing in of Councilman Dan Garodnick – at the Temple of Dendur. I could not believe I was there after hours. I felt like Jennifer Lopez in Maid in Manhattan (incidentally a movie whose screening I went to & danced with JLo at the premiere – huzza!).

Much like the rest of Manhattan – when my child came along my beloved museum morphed into a space that was a place for me to take her and view through a different lens.

You say world famous museum. I say a HUGE air conditioned space with all kinds of things for her to see.

20140823 MetFrom her inaugural visit as an infant in a stroller to her last visit walking out waving goodbye to her favorite statue “baby” while I pushed her baby brother in her stroller. The Met has evolved with us as we have evolved with her.

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Besides all of the amazing things to see at The Met – the armor room (kids love this!), to the American Wing’s courtyard & cafe, to the Chinese Courtyard – they offer a class for kids included with admission called Start with Art.

20140823 SwAMy daughter and I attended this fantastic program for close to three years. It’s a simple premise – a teacher leads the hour long “class”. A theme is picked, a painting or sculpture relating to the theme is visited. A short explanation or story is read, then the kids get to do an art project. Pretty much it is the best class there is based on the best art collection in the world.

Weekend upon weekend my daughter and I would walk over to The Met for our special morning. Followed by a little lunch in the cafe and a bus (“let’s take the Limited one Mama”) ride home in time for a nap. The most perfect day.

I don’t miss much about living in the city. However, I will openly and happily admit that I miss this one hour – once a week.

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Thank you to The Metropolitan Museum of Art for introducing me to the best art in the world. You have always been and always will be one of my favorite things!

*GIVEAWAY* Everyone  wins today! The Met is pay as you wish – so go and enjoy!

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Here is a little more on The Met because as you know – I LOVE learning about the heritage of brands:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s earliest roots date back to 1866 in Paris, France, when a group of Americans agreed to create a “national institution and gallery of art” to bring art and art education to the American people.

On April 13, 1870, The Metropolitan Museum of Art was incorporated, opening to the public in the Dodworth Building at 681 Fifth Avenue. On November 20 of that same year, the Museum acquired its first object, a Roman sarcophagus.

In 1871, 174 European paintings, including works by Anthony van DyckNicolas Poussin, andGiovanni Battista Tiepolo, entered the collection.

On March 30, 1880, after a brief move to the Douglas Mansion at 128 West 14th Street, the Museum opened to the public at its current site on Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street. The architects Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould designed the initial Ruskinian Gothic structure, the west facade of which is still visible in the Robert Lehman Wing. The building has since expanded greatly, and the various additions—built as early as 1888—now completely surround the original structure.

The Museum’s collection continued to grow throughout the rest of the nineteenth century. The 1874–76 purchase of the Cesnola Collection of Cypriot art—works dating from the Bronze Age to the end of the Roman period—helped to establish the Met’s reputation as a major repository of classical antiquities. When the American painter John Kensett died in 1872, thirty-eight of his canvases came to the Museum, and in 1889, the Museum acquired two works by Édouard Manet.

The Museum’s Beaux-Arts Fifth Avenue facade and Great Hall, designed by the architect and founding Museum Trustee Richard Morris Hunt, opened to the public in December 1902. The Evening Post reported that at last New York had a neoclassical palace of art, “one of the finest in the world, and the only public building in recent years which approaches in dignity and grandeur the museums of the old world.”

By the twentieth century, the Museum had become one of the world’s great art centers. Today, the Museum’s two-million-square-foot building houses over two million objects, tens of thousands of which are on view at any given time.

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I’m the Ice Cream of the Crop. I Rise to the Top. Day 21 of My Favorite Things: Baskin Robbins

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Day 21 of My Favorite Things: Baskin Robbins

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@BaskinRobbins Facebook

There are few things I take as seriously as my annual birthday cake. I say annual – not because of my birthday, which is obviously annual – but because of my annual birthday cake tradition – can you guess what it is? You got it – a mint chip ice cream cake. To be more specific – a mint chip ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins with chocolate cake on the bottom and crunchies in between the layers. I must have this cake every year. In fact I could care less about celebrating my birthday. In my opinion it really is just an excuse to buy an ice cream cake.

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Celebrating my 23rd birthday at Jade Terrace in Manhattan – where I will meet the future Mint Chip Papa.

You see, I come from a long line of Baskin Robbins mint chip ice cream lovers. We’ve had the gene marked on our matrilineal side. It’s gene 31 (clever, no?). Maybe it’s how special I felt sharing a scoop with my grandma; or maybe it’s because this is the only “treat” my organic, health nut mom would let sneak through; or maybe it’s my connection to being a kid with no worries. Don’t know, but if you know me, you know my birthday means business – in the cake department.

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Celebrating my 30th birthday at Alta in Manhattan.

What’s funny is I’m not such an ice cream person. My husband, on the other hand, has a bigger-than-he-should portion of ice cream EVERY night. Sometimes I have a teaspoon – and that’s enough. I’m more of a chocolate cake kind of girl. Granted whatever dessert I do have usually has some mint-chocolate element – whether it is Thin Mints or Mint Oreos. At least I’m consistent. But when May rolls in there’s only one thing to do. Go to Baskin Robbins. I’ve had the cake I described above for every birthday that I can remember. I’ve brought this cake into trendy bars and clubs and even into fancy restaurants. There is no discussion involved with the venue. You want my business you let in my cake. Case closed.

The beauty of a large chain like Baskin Robbins is – no matter where you live, you can find one. That means on Long Island, in Manhattan, Ann Arbor, even Spain – where ever I lived at the time of my birthday a slice of Baskin Robbins mint chip cake was eaten by yours truly on May 3rd. Now you can even order a custom cake online! Oh… and I will.

When I reached out to Baskin Robbins for a giveaway for The Mint Chip Mama I couldn’t help it and my absolute love for the brand poured out of me. I guess one doesn’t know how deep brand ties run until they let loose. It makes me happy to think how much MY daughter loves mint chip ice cream too. Taking part in our family tradition. She knows it’s my favorite and the sneaky kid she is – she knows she will get it when she asks for it – so I can get some too.

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Celebrating my daughter’s half birthday. Sneaky kid insisted on a mint chip cake!

Different things bring families together. For my family, especially the women of the house – there is nothing more special, delicious, or satisfying than mint chip ice cream from Baskin Robbins.

Last summer when I was pregnant and letting myself indulge more than usual – a Baskin Robbins opened up in my apartment building. It was like a sign from above. In addition to my beloved ice cream I became addicted to the mint chip flavored iced coffee (decaf, don’t worry) from their partner in crime – Dunkin Donuts. H-e-a-v-e-n. Feet up on a bench, sitting outside, my daughter was in camp, my baby was happily kicking in my tummy and in my hand – ice cold heaven.

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Every summer Baskin Robbins offers a limited time flavor in August and September. It is usually some creative flavor concoction that makes me say “seriously? I need to try that NOW”. This year’s flavor is peanut butter and jelly – peanut butter flavored ice cream with grape jelly and peanut butter ribbons. I can only imagine how amazing it is. I should mention my second favorite flavor is chocolate peanut butter (this is my husband’s favorite flavor). So I’m very excited to try it.

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Peanut butter and jelly ice cream

*GIVEAWAY* Baskin Robbins has offered to give away a $10 gift card to one lucky reader! To win – please post in the comment section below:

What is your favorite memory having to do with ice cream?

Winner will be chosen Friday, August 29th.

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Here is a little more on Baskin Robbins because as you know – I LOVE learning about the heritage of brands:

Two brothers-in-law shared a dream to create an innovative ice cream store that would be a neighborhood gathering place for families. Burton “Burt” Baskin and Irvine “Irv” Robbins had a mutual love of old-fashioned ice cream and the desire to provide customers a variety of flavors made with ingredients of the highest quality in a fun, inviting atmosphere.

They started out in separate ventures at the advice of Irv’s father. In the 1940’s Irv opened Snowbird Ice Cream in Glendale, California and Burt opened Burton’s Ice Cream Shop in Pasadena, CA. By 1948, they had six stores between them. This concept eventually grew into Baskin-Robbins.

As the number of stores grew, Burt and Irv recognized that to maintain the high standards each store would require a manager who had an ownership interest in its overall operation. Even though they didn’t realize it at the time, the two founders had pioneered the concept of franchising in the ice cream industry.

In 1949, there were more than 40 stores in Southern California when Burt and Irv purchased their first dairy in Burbank. This business decision allowed them to have complete control over the production of their ice cream, and the development of new ingredients and flavors.

In 1953 the ice cream chain became Baskin-Robbins. It included the “31®” logo to represent a flavor for every day of the month, Cherry (pink) and Chocolate (brown) polka dots to be reminiscent of clowns, carnivals and fun and lastly, the use of cartoons to bring their flavors alive with personality to graphically highlight the name and delicious ingredients. With this over-arching branding, Baskin-Robbins’ iconic pink spoons were created with the belief that people should be able to try any of their many flavors without cost.

The franchise model created by Burt and Irv decades ago is still used by Baskin-Robbins today. Each owner holds a stake in the business’ success. This hands-on, small business approach allows franchisees the ability to create a strong presence in local communities all over the world. As a result, Baskin-Robbins has grown to become the world’s largest chain of ice cream specialty stores, with more than 2,800 locations throughout the United States and 5,800 around the globe.

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