A Snozzberry Right in Garden City? Introducing: Chocolate Works!

Standard

FullSizeRender (16)

Facebook Twitter

After my kids, Chocolate is one of the great loves of my life. I mean after my kids and my husband… I said husband. I promise I said husband.

So when you tell me there is a store called Chocolate Works and it is basically a functioning Wonka factory of fantastic-ness I will come running.

 IMG_3016

Allow me to explain.

A few years ago, while still living in Manhattan, I heard of this great place where you can decorate chocolate, make a chocolate treat, and then pick to your heart’s content from rows upon rows of candy. Naturally, we visited often. Then we moved. Then a Chocolate Works opened by me! That’s what I call luck.

 IMG_2940     IMG_2966

My daughter and I, along with the majority of her nursery school class, had the tremendous fortune of visiting this new Chocolate Works in Garden City over February break. While the kids were making a chocolate “pizza” (assembling pretzels on a golden (ticket) platter, covering them with milk chocolate and then decorating the whole “pizza” with every color chocolate imaginable), I was learning about their offerings and trying desperately not to lick the walls.

 FullSizeRender (18)

I was excited to learn how each Chocolate Works franchise is customized to its owner’s imagination. No two locations are the same, but you will find common items at each. This includes the 30 foot “I Love Lucy” style conveyor belt, the vast chocolate and candy displays, the chocolate fountain, and of course the party room where the real magic happens. Let’s also not forget about their signature cocoa covered truffles. One thing is for sure, Chocolate Works is certainly not your typical chocolate/candy store!

 FullSizeRender (17)

One of the unique Garden City offerings was Gifford’s Ice Cream. As I said above, chocolate is my game. I like ice cream but it takes a lot to impress me in the ice cream department. Well, let me tell you, I was im-pressed with Gifford’s. Made at a small dairy in Maine, this five time award winning ice cream was beyond delicious. This ice cream tasted like you went for a walk in the summer in a small town, there was a homemade ice cream parlor there, and you had to stop and get some. That is quite possibly the best ice cream compliment I could give and you know exactly what I mean! Creative flavor names included Maine Lobster Tracks, Black Bear, Smurf, Mt. Katahdin, and of course my choice – Mint Chip.

 IMG_2957

Besides the ice cream, I was really impressed with all of the custom items available at Chocolate Works. Not just for the variety but for the creativity. You can get something personalized as you wait, you can do small batch orders (meaning you can get creative for your next event without breaking the bank), you can order favors, you can order chocolate with your camp logo, you can have any shape or size made (they had examples of both a tooth and a foot!), you can even print a picture right on the chocolate!

 IMG_2970

Chocolate Works offers classes (drop off available, age 5+), public and private workshops (they recently had wheelchair bound seniors from a nursing home come and the staff brought the decorating to them!), local non profits events, ladies night outs, class field trips, and corporate gifts.

FullSizeRender (21) FullSizeRender (19) FullSizeRender (20)

With April break right around the corner, Chocolate Works is offering a bunch of fun workshops. Since this location is sandwiched between some delish lunch spots you can drop off your kid/s and be margarita bound in five minutes flat.

 Choc

At the end of the day a store like this is simply about having fun. It brings out the inner kid in all of us and Mark, the owner, knows and embraces this. In fact, he often opens and/or re-opens his door for customers drooling at the window outside of business hours. But my favorite tale was about a perk his wife enjoys. She’s been known to log-on to the store’s security camera to see what’s there, call up Mark and place her order for her dessert!

 IMG_2988

Chocolate Works in Garden City is open Monday – Thursday and Sunday 10am – 9pm;  Friday & Saturday 10am – 11pm. Chocolate Works is nut free in the party room (but chocolate containing nuts are sold in the store). They also offer a menu of gluten free products.

IMG_2946

*GIVEAWAY* Chocolate Works of Garden City has generously offered to give away admission to an upcoming chocolate workshop (your choice) and half a pound of their signature cocoa covered truffles!

FullSizeRender (22)

To win – please post in the comment section below:

What is your favorite chocolate concoction? The more creative the better!

Winner will be chosen April 4th.

CozyWoggle – The World’s First Car Seat Approved Coat!

Standard

IMG_2612

CozyWoggle Facebook Twitter

By now you can probably tell I’m a bit obsessed with car safety. Most likely because I went from urban living (read: not driving for a dozen years) to suburban living (read: driving everywhere, all the time). Learning car seat etiquette is very different when you go somewhere once a month versus every time you need milk (this is where – if I was on a sitcom – there would be a flashback to me running with no coat, wearing slippers to the supermarket literally in my apartment building to buy milk).

With my constant in-the-car-ness now, I have researched car seat safety, driving safety, car seat inspections and of course, forced my poor freezing children to take off their coats every time we go in the car.

Even if we are just going down the street.

To buy milk.

I should say I also made all grandparents swear to do this in their cars too with the fierceness of Ursula when she makes Ariel sign away her voice. Now sing.

Enter the CozyWoggle.

When I learned about the CozyWoggle back in September – during Child Passenger Safety Month, I became a bit obsessed. I asked to review a coat for the blog but they were – not surprisingly – sold out. In case you missed all the hubbub on the Twittersphere, the CozyWoggle is the ONLY product that looks and acts like a coat, but is safe to be worn in a car seat. Yes, SAFE TO BE WORN IN A CAR SEAT! It is made from heavy-duty wind/water resistant polyester, and is lined with cozy fleece.

A little begging followed.

Then, miraculously on my daughter’s birthday, her new CozyWoggle arrived. Tada!

IMG_2653

On it went immediately. We watched the video and a warm triumph followed. The idea is simple – you’ve got your normal zipper down the front, but then there is a zipper on each side under the arms as well. You basically make the coat into a cape so you can lock the car seat straps right on your child. Once safely clicked in place, your child can slip their arms back into the open sleeves and bam! Warm-o-rama! Genius! The coat feels sturdy and seems to be very well made. It is warm but not overly puffy.

IMG_2654

But who am I – the mother – to give an official seal of approval?

The next morning, on our maiden voyage to school, as my son sat shivering waiting for the car to warm up, my daughter volunteered “I don’t need the heat, I’m feeling warm from my coat!” My heart smiled.

IMG_2661

As children are known to be fickle, I waited a few days to solicit some additional five year old feedback. Besides saying it was “SO cozy” about forty five times, she said she liked the color, the feel, the pockets – which were “so warm I don’t even need gloves!”, and that it smelled good. Not quite sure about the last one but if she was happy I was happy.

IMG_2656

Of course the end of the day question is how much extra time will this take you per ride. As in your “HURRY UP AND GET IN THE #$%^ing CAR” number. I’m happy to report this number is minimal. And this is coming from a mom who reads those “don’t yell at your kid to rush” articles and feels bad about herself.

IMG_2673

I LOVE the idea that nothing comes between her and her car seat straps and that she can be warm as we drive around. To be honest, the coat is so cute with the sides open she wears it like that most days. Of course, leave it to my daughter to carry off the coat as a fashionable cape – or as she calls it – her “super hero cape!” –  along with her little Ninja Turtle hat.

IMG_2664

Luckily her love for this coat has only grown. She runs to it every morning and has been super excited to show her friends and Grandparents how it transforms. By far, her favorite part is the arm zippers which she thinks are “really fun!”. So much so she declared she wants to “wear it every day until I’m 52”. While the 5T is quite generous in size and will most likely fit her next year, 52 might be a stretch. But I think by the year 2062 she’ll be in the driver’s seat. Sniff.

IMG_2813

I love this coat. I love that she loves this coat! I love that she stays warm and safe and thinks it is fun. I’m pretty sure the depths of her fan-hood could be summed up in what she said this morning. We were all ready to leave for school and suddenly she yells “Take it off! Take it off! I’m going to sneeze and I don’t want to get germs on my coat. I love it too much!”.

IMG_3307

The CozyWoggle is available in four colors: red, navy blue, purple, and pink. It comes in sizes 12 months, 18 months, 2T, 3T, 4, 5 and 6. You can buy one on the CozyWoggle website or on Amazon. I picked a neutral red so the coat can be a beloved hand me down for my son once my daughter grows out of it. Unlike the pink footie pajamas I sneak him into sometimes…

FullSizeRender (14)

Everyone wins!

CozyWoggle is currently offering 30% off on their site! 

****************************************************************************

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

Alexandria, VA, based CJ’s Kids was started by Cherlyn Jenkins – a special education teacher and behavior specialist in 2012. When Cherlyn’s kids were little, she learned that young children shouldn’t be placed in car seats while wearing their coats. This is because traditional coats often compress in a car accident, leaving the 5-point harness straps loose and putting children at greater risk for injury and even ejection from their car seats. She needed to find a way to keep her children warm, while also keeping them safe – and didn’t want to juggle even more items, like extra jackets or blankets. She couldn’t find a coat or jacket proven to be safe in car seats, so she created one herself. They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and that’s certainly true in this case!

As parents, we excel at safety-proofing our homes, putting up gates on our stairs and latches on our cabinets, but then we inadvertently jeopardize our children’s safety by putting them into their car seats wearing traditional coats. Crash tests conducted at an NHTSA approved lab, MGA Research, have demonstrated that wearing the Cozywoggle while riding in a car seat is safer than wearing a traditional coat. In fact, the Cozywoggle was proven to be as safe as riding in a car seat without any coat at all.