LADIES AND GENTLEMEN AND CHILDREN OF AGES! BIG APPLE CIRCUS Comes to Queens!

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Big Apple Circus presents METAMORPHOSIS

Cunningham Park, Fresh Meadows, Queens

Queens Metamorphosis Show Info - med

As they say – the more things change the more they stay the same. For me seeing Big Apple Circus‘ METAMORPHOSIS –  for the second time this year – was equally enjoyable. In fact more so than at Lincoln Center!

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There are a few reasons for this.

1. I knew the show so I knew the really cool parts to watch for and not miss. Plus I knew where Francesco the Clown hung out before the performance started!

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2. My son was older so he was even more into it – if that is possible since he was MESMERIZED last time as well.

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3. My daughter knew what to expect and was really excited to see her favorite acts again. And in a last minute upset shocked us all by asking for popcorn instead of cotton candy. All she talked about once she knew we were going was the cotton candy. I’m still in shock.

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4. Queens! Shorter drive; free to park (a huge shout out to the many, many, many “circus parking” signs with arrows plastered from the highway exit to the parking lot); easier to get there; less traffic; and you could even make a day of it in beautiful Cunningham Park if it suited your fancy!

5. We were lucky enough to see one of the first shows featuring the new ringmaster Nelson Lugo – who is filling in for longtime favorite John Kennedy Kane as he recovers. This New York City based actor/magician – with over 20 years performing experience – brought new energy to the show. Plus I like this line from his bio “He is a very happy, excited, and tired guy”. I can relate!

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I will say this – Vladimir and Olga Smirnov still stole the show in my opinion. Since I knew their act going in I thought I could catch a “tell” or anything that would give me a clue how they change costumes so quickly. But despite my dead-on-no-blinking stare, I was completely stumped. You’d like to think with the death defying trapeze, animal tricks, spaceships and flying humans, quick costume changes would not be the most jaw dropping act but by George, HOW DO THEY DO IT!!!? Seriously, it was so cool. No really, how do they do it? I promise I won’t tell anyone!

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Photo Credit: Big Apple Circus

METAMORPHOSIS runs through Sunday, June 14th under the Big Top at Cunningham Park, Queens (196-22 Union Turnpike, just west of Francis Lewis Boulevard, in Fresh Meadows).

Tickets for METAMORPHOSIS start at $20 and are available at www.bigapplecircus.org or by calling (888) 541-3750. NEW THIS SEASON! Wednesday Family shows at 11am and 6:30pm: BOGO – Buy One ticket, Get One free for a special 75-minute version of METAMORPHOSIS (no intermission). ***For all shows children under three are free if they sit on the lap of a paid adult, one child per lap.***

I’m happy to offer my readers 20% off their whole purchase using promo code APPLE (Limited availability, offer good on select seats and shows, other conditions apply.)

The Circus Box Office, located in front of the Big Top is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am – 8pm, and Saturday through Monday from 10am – 6pm (or to 8pm on weekend days when there is a 7pm performance). There is no service charge for tickets purchased at the box office.

The Big Top is air-conditioned in warm weather for all-season comfort! The show’s running time is about two hours, including a fifteen-minute intermission. For more ticket information, group sales, inquiries about wheelchair-accessible seating, or for additional information, please call the Ticket Info Line at (800) 922-3772.

Once again I want to share all the good that Big Apple Circus (a not-for-profit performing arts and outreach institution committed to invigorating the communities they serve with the joy and wonder of classical circus) does for the community. At the center of the big apple, is a big heart. I like supporting companies that give back and reading about all of these different programs simply blew me away.

Tax-deductible contributions made by corporations, foundations and individuals enable Big Apple Circus to bring its special magic to diverse audiences through its outreach programs including:

Clown Care[SM] the signature community outreach program of the Big Apple Circus, brings the joy of classical circus to hospitalized children at 16 leading pediatric facilities across the United States.

Vaudeville Caravan[SM] brings the uplifting power of the circus to delight the residents of nursing care facilities.

Circus After School[SM] provide a unique opportunity for at-risk youth to develop life-enhancing skills such as teamwork, commitment, and responsible risk-taking through a structured program of learning and performing the circus arts.

Circus For All!® annually distributes more than 50,000 free and discounted tickets to public and private schools and not-for-profit organizations serving disadvantaged children, families, and the elderly.

Circus of the Senses® a unique performance that enables children and adults with vision or hearing impairments and other disabilities to experience the magic and joy of the circus.

Big Apple Circus Embraces Autism! for these performances, Big Apple Circus worked with renowned ASD experts to adapt Metamorphosis for families with members on the spectrum.  The adapted show includes the same world-class artistry as the full performance only with a shorter running time, adjusted lighting and sound, calming centers, pictorial social narratives and plenty of folks to assist in creating a memorable event for all!

Ticket Giveaway!

Win two tickets for the Big Apple Circus!

Friday, June 12th at 6:30pm

To win, answer the following question:

Name one of the performers and/or acts from this year’s METAMORPHOSIS cast!

Winner will be chosen Saturday, June 6th, 2015 at 5pm.

Fun Findings at The New York Baby Show!

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Hello from the left, right under the balloon!
Photo Credit: New York Baby Show

One of the things I miss about living in Manhattan is the great events I used to go to. So when Momtrends invited me to their lounge (read pampering and a birdseye view) at The New York Baby Show I couldn’t drive into the city fast enough. In tow was my favorite gal because – as we know – the true critic of cool is a precocious child.

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I present to you my favorite finds. Some are old favorites, some are new products that got me excited (which after five years in this parenting game is becoming more and more of a challenge!). Click on the links for more information. Enjoy!

Mom Pampering

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As always, Glam Squad did not disappoint. Besides being completely obsessed with their great hair ties and headbands, I treated myself to a hair styling and new trendy manicure! Glam Squad can do this for you too, in the comfort of your own home. Yep, if you live in NYC, LA, or Miami they will come right to you for hair, nails and make-up. How fantastic is that?

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I was very impressed by Maven. You know how you don’t take care of yourself because for you to go to the doctor it is a whole procedure (pun intended). Well Maven brings the doctor to you – via their Maven Clinic app. You pick one of their highly qualified providers, book your face-to-face video appointment, pay the clearly stated fee, and away you go! No more time suck in a doctor’s waiting room. Brilliant.

Wash & Wear

If you are like me, cleaning your clothes and cleaning your kids take up a good portion of your time. I am always looking to make sure the products I use are non-toxic and healthy for my kids.  I was happy to see one of my favorite brands – Babyganics on Saturday. I love their new labels. They make me happy. Everything of theirs that I’ve tried over the years I’ve loved. Plus it is a brand that you can trust so you don’t have to put too much effort into trying a new product. Just grab and go. Extra points for being Long Island based!

One of the coolest companies I found was Eco Nuts. I’m still baffled by the science behind their Soap Nuts. These little Himalayan nuts naturally contain soap. You throw them in your washer and the soap cleans your clothes! What? I know. Check out their site for more info.

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When talking about kids and clothes, especially at this pre-camp time of year, labels always come up. Happy as always to give a shout out to my friends at Mabel’s Labels. Their Limited Edition Camp Label Pack has everything your little one needs to ensure what you put on the bus comes off the bus. As someone who never found things with her name properly spelled as a child I get a thrill every time they give me labels. No ghetto sharpie stac“E”y drawn in here!

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Food

Prior to mashed baby food and toddler food, there is milk. I want to highlight a new app I’m very excited about called Moms Pump Here. It locates the nearest place for you to nurse. We have all had that challenge of a baby crying, engorgement, and no clue where to sit that is both private and clean. Enter Moms Pump Here. Consider it a GPS for your boobs. Let’s help them grow their database in the name of liquid gold! If you know of a place to share click here. Brilliant!

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Both of my children love Mum-Mum crackers. They dissolve very quickly so parents don’t have to worry about big pieces and small mouths. Check out their new Mum-Mum Snax for school aged kids. They are both clearly marked as peanut free and gluten free.

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Kiddylicious snacks were new to me. My 19 month old son has gobbled up their Fruit Crispies like crazy! I loved their packaging and that their snacks are fruit filled and healthy.

I have been looking to get some new reusable snack bags for my son’s incessant snack habit (read: I can’t afford to keep buying prepackaged bags of his choice du jour). I loved these Green Sprouts Snack Bags. Exactly what I was looking for and beyond cute patterns.

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Another new item to me was the BiteSizers food scissors. With their little click-to-seal cover you can throw a pair in your bag and be ready to show a slice of pizza at a birthday party who’s boss. For me, the test was cutting a Clementine. I’m psyched to report the scissor opened wide enough to snip that baby in half. Plus there is a blade so you can cut vertically. Love!

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Things That Come Out of Our Babies

The adorable My Carry Potty – available in a bee, cow and ladybug pattern – was so cute. Such a great idea too. Who hasn’t been stuck on the go with a kid who needed to go right NOW. In addition to being leak and odor proof with a watertight seal, it also offers a great carry handle so your kid will be excited.

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I have been thinking of introducing cloth diapers into our world. My son naps on a good schedule at home and I can usually predict what I’ll find when I change him. Because of this I thought I could do a little green with this approach. I was so excited the first booth I came to was Tidy Tots Diapers! It was like they read my mind. There is so much research behind this diaper it is impressive. Plus they have a tie dye pattern, so you know me, sold!

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I was so happy to see one of my absolute favorite products – The NoseFrida. If you don’t know of this, or haven’t been given it as a gift by moi allow me to explain. This delightful product has a tube that goes in your baby’s nostril which you suck the snot out of using the other side. There is a filter, don’t worry. I cannot tell you how many times we used this allowing my daughter to breathe easier. Amazing Amazing Amazing. A+++++.

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There was also a new intriguing product in the nasal aspiration field coming out in July – The Baby Health Care Baby Smile Nasal Aspirator. I am very curious to try it!

Out & About

Sometimes I sit and dream about traveling to a (enter any adjective here) place with my kids. There are so many parts involved with something like this starting with safe travel. I loved the Sit ‘n’ Stroll Zoomer which converts any car seat into a Sit ‘n’ Stroll! When the day comes making this dream a reality I look forward to zipping my kids through the airport with this. I also love the idea of having my Britax car seats with me so I know they are both clean and the best.

Another super cool product new to me was the No Mo Nausea Band – the first acupressure and aromatherapy wrist band out there. While it looks very similar to an acupressure bracelet you’ve seen before, once you get closer you will smell the delicious peppermint oil emanating from the band naturally decreasing nausea and vomiting for adults and kids. Loved it. It immediately calmed me down. Maybe it would help with tantrums…theirs or mine.

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Clothes are a basic item we all need for our kids. It is so nice when there is a line that one can mix and match and everything goes so little thought is needed. Primary is exactly this. As they say “Brilliant basics for under $25”. Their website is clean and easy offering sizes 0 – 10. Basics mean you can fall in love with one of their styles and it will be there throughout the size run. Also a cute idea for a longitudinal picture montage!

Being out and about necessitates a good bag. Not to mention one that won’t make your stroller topple over. Hatch Things was created with exactly this in mind. That’s what you get when you add a RISD degree and a new mom together! Plus it folds into itself – which I love – and has multiple connection options. I like options.

Finally, with these little people growing up so fast it is imperative one has a great camera to snap all those fleeting moments. Canon, one of my favorite camera brands, was there with a fantastic product that’s easy to use. I still remember the excitement ordering my first digital camera from them in 2003!

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Thank You!

I would be remiss without a shout out to the lovely ladies of The Nanny League who kept my daughter entertained so I could do my initial lap around the show solo.  The Nanny League is an elite placement agency that matches high-profile families with professional, college educated nannies.

‘Til next year!

I hope you too have found some interesting things living vicariously through my experience at The New York Baby Show. If you are interested in any of the brands above reach out to me. I have several coupon codes I’d love to share!

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Weed, Weed Wiiiiiine. Get Off My Laaaawn!

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@Fiskars_HQ  #Fiskars Facebook

Most normal girls would want to spend their birthday getting pampered, going shopping, or having a long, leisurely lunch. Nope, not me. I celebrated my birthday two weeks ago doing exactly what I wanted – weeding my lawn.

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After a year of living in my house and learning all the maintenance one must provide one’s beautiful green carpet, I knew as the snow melted and the weather changed – game.was.on.

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We’ll call last year my training wheels.  Despite a weekly conference with my gardener there was nothing I could do about our overabundance of weeds. With our full Southern sun exposure his advice was to just “stay on top of it”. Boy oh boy did these weeds bother me. They would look at me and smirk. They would laugh at me when I tried to pull them out slowly wiggling in a circle.  “Yeah, babe, my roots go deep” they would snort as I fell backwards on my tush from the yank & break. JERKS! *Exhale* I wanted these rude, unwanted squatters to know that in the summer of 2015, their shenanigans and tom foolery would not-fly-here.

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So what does a person (who doesn’t want to put chemicals on their lawn & doesn’t want to break their back again from plucking) do to let these multiplying fools know this is a no weed zone? I dreamt up a mean claw on a stick that existed for this very purpose. After looking around, it seemed my dream could become a reality! Apparently others pondered on the existence of such a magical instrument as well! Enter the Fiskars UpRoot® Weed and Root Remover (I get a big smile just thinking about her!).

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The Fiskars UpRoot® Weed and Root Remover makes it easy to remove dandelions, thistles and other invasive weeds from your lawn without kneeling, bending over or using chemicals. It features four serrated, stainless-steel claws that grab the weed by its root (for clean removal) and then kicks it out between uses with an easy-eject mechanism on the handle. The weeder also comes with a lifetime warranty.

What the description doesn’t say is it’s pretty bad-ass. It’s beyond simple to operate and when you eject the weed it sounds like you are the Terminator. Naturally, I felt the need to yell “You’re terminated, f$%ker” after each weed eviction. Which you know, was AWESOME. Plus you don’t look weird at all yelling at your lawn.

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It is so easy to use. Even with my pre-birthday manicure and pedicure in full effect and wearing flip flops (all bad ideas) I did great, got some good exercise, and left my lawn looking homogeneous and grassy.

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Allow me to explain how to use this beautiful unicorn. PS – If you like popping pimples, you will get an extra thrill from this product. Same idea. Extract and unload.

Look for the center of the weed. You’ll see it laughing at you.

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Use the 40” handle to jab it in its smirking face.

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Push weeder into the ground.

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Put your foot on the foot platform.

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With your foot on the platform, pull weeder towards you.

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SMILE.

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You’re terminated f$%ker!

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It’s helpful if you have an assistant to collect your weeds since the cleanup is always the worst part. I suggest tricking your child into thinking it’s fun! Sure – wear a tutu! (cue evil laugh)

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As we are entering Summer show those unwanted weed interlopers there’s no messing with you. I guarantee you will love this product. If your weeds invited their obnoxious branch/vine friends to your house, check out the Fiskars Lopper as well. I use mine a ton. You can also feel free to yell “Get Off My Plane” like Harrison Ford in Air Force One when you tell those branches who’s the boss.

We all know it was Mona.

Shoe’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile – First Shoes with Stride Rite

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@striderite Facebook

I have two children. A boy kid and a girl kid. Can you guess who has the shoe obsession? If you guessed the boy kid, you are correct. My little Salvatore Ferragamo, even at 18 months,  has got an eye for shoes and accessories like no one else in my family. He insists on wearing shoes whether needed or not.

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We are a shoe-taking-off household so there are many shoes at our front door and downstairs by our garage door. If you want to keep my son busy for a good thirty minutes you can let him play in one of these areas. He will put each shoe on and walk around. The smile on his face is so large you kind of just have to sit there and watch. Invite us over, he’ll put on your shoes too! He doesn’t discriminate.  He will also introduce his shoes – and mine – to anyone he sees. Like a dog sniffing your you-know-what to make a new friend? He does this, but by showing you his shoes.

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My favorite is when he forces my husband (who he calls “Mommy”) to put on his slippers, which is basically every day. It goes something like this: He finds my husband, points vigorously towards my husband’s feet and shouts “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” louder and louder until my husband puts on his slippers. It’s kind of awesome.

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When this little shoe tyrant finally started walking, I was so excited to get him into a real pair of shoes. His first shoes! Oh was he excited too. If you’ve been reading my blog I’m sure you know my slight obsession with Stride Rite. It was the only store where I was brought as a child to buy shoes and in turn it is the only store where I will bring my children to buy shoes.

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So how does one go about finding the right first shoes? Much like with everything else important I deferred to the experts. I am a firm believe that if you go to a good store with educated sales professionals they can steer you in the right direction and answer any questions you have. Add in the almost century of shoe making experience Stride Rite has and it’s easy! With their First Steps categories (Crib, Cruise & Walk, and Off & Running) you can view all shoes appropriate for your child at whatever level of mobility they are enjoying at that time.

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I was surprised to find that things had changed in the five years since I bought my daughter her first shoes. In 2010 we were directed right to the Emilia, the white, bootlike, very supportive shoe that was most likely identical to my first pair in the 70’s. For my son, however, the craftmenship has progressed to make for a much larger selection! We were very excited to pick his first shoes as the Stride Rite SRT Gilmore and the Stride Rite SRT Jasper. While each pair has a few different bells and whistles, they both have Stride Rite’s patented Sensory Response Technology™, rounded edges to decrease stumbles and falls, and self-molding footbeds with contoured heel cradle. They are both made with premium leather and available in medium, wide and extra wide widths.

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As most of you know once the kid starts walking they don’t stop. They – in fact – get faster! You want your child to be in a supportive shoe that will help them with their footing as well as help their foot develop properly. I like that there is science behind this shoe and someone designed it to not only look cute but as a smart choice for parents. Plus, they are easy to get on and off. Even a five year old can do it!

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So in conclusion, happy boy, happy Mommy, well supported feet. Win Win Win!

Ev Shoe*GIVEAWAY* Stride Rite has offered to give away this pair of boy’s Stride Rite SRT Gilmore in a 4.5 Wide (both of my kid’s first shoe size) to one lucky reader!

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To win – please post in the comment section below:

What’s the cutest walking or shoe related thing your son does?

Winner will be chosen Thursday, May 14th, 2015.

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

In 1919 Jacob Slosberg and partner Philip Green started the Green Shoe Manufacturing Co. The quality children’s shoe manufacturer, specializing in stitchdown shoes, operates out of a converted stable in Boston, MA. In 1937 the name Stride Rite shoes is applied to every pair.

During World War II, Green Shoe worked with the U.S. Army to develop a nurse’s field boot and produced thousands of pairs of WAC boots.

In 1986 Stride Rite succeeds in banning smoking of cigarettes, cigars and pipes from Stride Rite workplaces, a rare effort among corporations of the time.

Stride Rite currently offers 400 different styles. They pride themselves in their sales associates who are trained to get you to find your size and get the right fit. The shoes feature breathable materials like leather; many with anti-stink linings. The soles are sturdy, lightweight and flexible for comfort – giving mom piece of mind. Stride Rite also offers a full line of uniform friendly shoes.