4 Reasons Why Woodloch Should be your First Post-pandemic Destination

After having spent the majority of the pandemic within the confines of our homes, the emergence of Covid-19 vaccines has given us not only the protection we need to curb the pandemic, but also a restored sense of freedom for which we have all so desperately been yearning. Our return visit to Woodloch this past weekend was so amazing, and seeing the kids’ excitement to be back together at their favorite resort was truly heartwarming. Today I’m sharing 4 reasons why Woodloch should be your first post-pandemic destination.

1. Effortless Dining

After preparing countless meals at home during the pandemic, parents everywhere are ready to be freed from their kitchen bunkers! The kitchen burn-out is real, and preparing meal after meal every day during lockdown and quarantines is enough to drive anyone bonkers. The dining experience at Woodloch couldn’t be any more delightful and effortless.

The core values of family togetherness are at the very heart of meal plan dining at Woodloch, and something we missed so terribly throughout the pandemic. Gathering to share a meal with our Woodloch family is such a great way to slow down and reconnect after a busy day of activities. Each meal is a multi-course dining experience served by only the friendliest and most accommodating staff.

And what meal would be complete without a colossal assortment of dreamy ice creams and others desserts?!

The Woodloch mission is to treat all guests as if they were company in their own homes, and they’ve succeeded, especially in their dining room. Picky kids? No problem! There are an abundance of meal options even for the most finicky eaters. And for those who prefer to dine in the comfort of your their suite, meals can also be taken to-go. Bon Appétit!

2. Plenty of Covid-Safe Outdoor Activities

Woodloch boasts a multitude of family-friendly outdoor activities that would appeal to even those whose Covid comfort level may prohibit most indoor activities. Built on over 300 acres, the Woodloch property contains an abundance of attractions including, but not limited to, go-carts, miniature golf, scenic boat tours, snow tubing, peddle boats and row boats, bocce ball, rock climbing wall, hiking trails and petting zoo with pony rides. We were bummed to have missed the snow tubing this trip, but sadly there was just no snow (Snow tubing is typically open only in January and February). But that didn’t keep us from crossing every other outdoor activity off our fall 2021 Woodloch bucket list!

The mini golf course is the perfect backdrop for lessons in sportsmanship (think 2 young kids wielding golf clubs – haha) and is situated right next to a massive playground that Chloe is still talking about!

Although we had brisk Fall weather during our trip, that didn’t keep us off the lake. One of the highlights of our weekend was peddle boating on Lake Teedyuskung and breathing in the refreshing mountain air.

The pony rides at Woodloch are always a crowd favorite, and this trip was no exception. We arrived at the petting zoo as soon as it opened up for the day, which meant Evan and Chloe were able to get several consecutive rides even before a line formed.

We must have raced in the go-carts at least 10 times during our most recent stay, and probably would have spent more hours doing so if not for the other countless activities on our Woodloch weekend agenda.

3. Busy Days of Planned Activities

Upon check-in at Woodloch you receive a schedule of events that will serve as your guide throughout your busy days on their expansive property. After months of quarantine and lockdowns, fun-filled days are just what the doctor ordered. A busy day of activities is the perfect excuse to unplug and connect with those you love most.

At any given moment throughout the day, there are a multitude of family-friendly activities to choose from – truly something for everyone in all age groups. From scavenger hunts, to arts and crafts, Family Feud, Trivia, and countless other games, activities and contests throughout each day, the FOMO feelings will be kicked into high gear at Woodloch. Between scheduled activities Evan and Chloe love ducking into one of the many arcade areas where Air Hockey and video games abound.

The Arts & Crafts room is a tranquil place to unwind in between the other more adventurous activities. Always stocked with plenty of projects and art supplies, this room is a great way for parents to enjoy some quiet time for a few moments while the kids work independently.

The Indoor Splash Zone at Woodloch may be one of our favorite attractions of all. Our last visit was pre-Covid, but almost two years later and now Evan and Chloe are much stronger swimmers. Once intimidated by the corkscrew water slide, they’re now seasoned adventures who repeatedly crushed the water slide with ease. It’s amazing what 1+ years in isolation can do!

At the time of our last visit, Chloe was not yet tall enough to ride on the bumper cars. This year, however, she more than made up for lost time, as we visited the bumper cars each day of our stay. These kids just couldn’t get enough!

4. Entertainment

Because of Covid-19, it feels like we’ve been robbed of so many of life’s greatest pleasures. Attending musical and theatrical performances was once one of our favorite pastimes, but sadly, because of Covid there are fewer opportunities for this kind of eye-zapping, sensory overload that so many of us long for. Pressing pause on everyday life and letting the magic of a live performance transport you to another world is just what we could all use right now, and oh boy, does Woodloch deliver!

With world class performances every night, you won’t ever want to leave! During our most recent stay we caught Nowhere Slow’s new “Music of the Movies” show and the kids sang along to all their favorite songs from movies until ultimately Chloe fell asleep in my arms. I’d say it was a good night!

The assortment of nightly entertainment ranges from theatrical performances, to musicians, comedians, circus acts, children’s entertainment, and more. At Woodloch you will always be on the edge of your seat!

Introducing Tamaris – The newest luxury European footwear brand now available in the U.S.⁣

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx on behalf of Tamaris.

As the temperatures drop and the holiday season is suddenly upon us, every fashionista scours the web for this season’s hottest boots and winter accessories. Buying new Fall boots has always been one of my favorite seasonal activities, but this year it’s more fun than ever before! As Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted and we are free to congregate and attend social gatherings, there is no better time to invest in your wardrobe, especially when it comes to this season’s hottest footwear. ⁣

I was so excited to discover Tamaris, a European footwear designer well-known for their supple leather designs and fashion-forward styles. For the very first time this exclusive European footwear brand is available in the U.S. and I couldn’t be more thrilled to share it with all of you. ⁣

The Tamaris Signe Heeled Bootie is classically elegant, yet makes a bold statement and is born to be seen. In fact, although I was instantly drawn to the Signe boots in black, I think I may also need to add the Dusty Rose and Dusty Grey pairs to my winter wardrobe.⁣

Made from supremely buttery leather, the Signe sits atop a substantial 2 3/4″ heel. But unlike many other heeled boots that wreak havoc on your feet, the Tamaris Signe boot is known for its signature COMFORT-lining and is insanely comfortable and easy to wear. ANTIshokk softens the impact of each step by 50% and the ANTIslide outsole ensures walking with ease even in wintry conditions. It’s usually such a challenge to find boots that are as stylish as they are comfortable, but Tamaris has truly succeeded at both with their Signe boot. Finished with a scrunched elastic band at the top for maximum insulation, this boot is built both for coziness and practicality.⁣

Be sure to visit Tamaris on Instagram (@Tamaris_us) and check out the other designs and styles at Tamaris. In the spirit of the upcoming holidays, Tamaris will be giving away a pair of their beautiful shoes to 5 lucky winners! Feeling lucky? View the latest post on my Instagram feed (here) for instructions to enter. ⁣

Outer – Where Comfort Meets Luxury

Since buying a home in the suburbs, lounging in the backyard has proven to be such a wonderful alternative to the fast-paced lifestyle of the concrete jungle. But creating the perfect backyard oasis begins with choosing the right furniture, and I knew we needed the very best. When I first discovered Outer, I was so floored to learn about how the brand has successfully reinvented outdoor furniture that’s just as luxurious as it is practical. This direct-to-customer company based in Santa Monica has seemingly done the impossible by designing comfortable outdoor furniture as stylish as our indoor furniture and as durable as camping gear, all with the capability to keep itself dry and clean. If the name Outer sounds familiar to you, you may have seen them pitching on Shark Tank, where they accepted an offer from a very eager Lori Grenier. ⁣

Say goodbye to broken down wicker, rusted frames and uncomfortable, soggy wet cushions! Today I’m sharing what differentiates the Outer outdoor furniture from all the others. ⁣

Patented OuterShell®⁣

The protective Outershell can be rolled down and concealed inconspicuously behind the back cushion

There’s few things worse than planning to host a social gathering outside only to discover that the cushions on your patio set are soggy and wet from recent rainfall. No one wants to sit on waterlogged cushions! An Outer sofa is always clean, dry, and ready to be used. The cushions are made from multi-layer, eco-friendly foam with an extra breathable layer that keeps the foam dry. But wait – it gets even better! The built-in patented OuterShell® quickly rolls out and over the cushions to protect them from everyday dirt, debris and morning dew. This is a total game changer for those who live in areas with unpredictable weather!!

The protective Outershell conveniently pulls out from behind the cushions to protect against the elements
The protective Outershell can be secured to the bottom of the cushion for easy removal

The cover can also be secured to the bottom of the cushion to keep it in place during inclement weather or to easily remove the cushions and carry them inside. Thanks to the ingenious designers at Outer, never again will a passing shower interfere with your plans to lounge outside. ⁣


I have a profound appreciation of Outer’s dedication to sustainability and keeping our planet beautiful for future generations. Their furniture is 100% recyclable and eco-friendly for the most conscious of consumers. Each chair of the Outer Sofa is made from approximately 100 ocean plastic bottles and all other materials are selected with intention, including wood, which has been harvested from sustainably managed forests. And if you’re an avid environmentalist, you’ll be even more delighted to hear about the philanthropic efforts of Outer. For every Outer chair and sofa sold in the Teak collection, saplings will be planted in partner forests to help maintain Earth’s carbon balance. I love supporting brands with a social and environmental conscience.⁣

Our Wicker sofa with armchairs comfortably seats 5 and looks perfect with the Teak coffee table with concrete inlay


After a long day of managing a myriad of responsibilities, I long for moments of relaxation in my backyard oasis where my body and mind can finally feel at peace. The Outer couch redefines comfort with its multi-layer memory foam cushions that offer luxurious relaxation usually found only in high-end mattresses. It is truly the world’s most comfortable outdoor cushion! The generously sized frames are carefully engineered by the experts at Outer to comfortably fit a diverse range of body types, leg lengths and heights. ⁣

The Wicker armchairs are the perfect size for my love bugs


In a world where weather is increasingly unpredictable, we need only the highest quality outdoor furniture that is capable of withstanding the elements. Outer’s life-proof fabric, all-weather wicker, powder-coated frame and stainless steel legs are built to withstand not only severe weather conditions, but also everyday usage with even the most rambunctious kids and pets.

The Outer wicker furniture and coffee table have maintained its function and beauty even with my most rambunctious crew
The Teak Outer Coffee Table with Concrete Inlay is the perfect addition to the Wicker Outdoor Sofa with Armchairs

First, let’s discuss the cushions because aside from being unbelievably comfortable, the Outer seat cushions are built to last! Manufactured from a proprietary fabric that has properties of organic fabric, the performance characteristics actually most closely resemble that of outdoor apparel. The cushions are waterproof and extremely easy to clean, especially because the fabric is already resistant to stains, mold and mildew. Finished with a nano-coating and resistant to UV light, the Outer cushions can easily last a lifetime if properly cared for. ⁣

The Outer all-weather wicker is handwoven, extremely easy to maintain and UV-resistant, meaning the furniture can be left outside all year. The sofas are designed to withstand both sizzling and subzero temps, heavy rain, snow, and are impervious even to salty sea air. ⁣

Sitting on the memory foam cushions feels like lounging mini mattresses

Thanks to Outer, our backyard has truly become a peaceful oasis amongst the chaos of the outside world. Are you ready to kick back and enjoy life’s simple luxuries in your own backyard? Use promo code “LULANDLOU200” for $200 off at Outer.

Outer furniture for the most luxurious backyard relaxation experience

The Luxe life in Lagos

It don’t mean a thing if I ain’t got that bling ✨ ⁣⁣

Nothing takes an outfit from drab to fab quite like jewelry and accessories. And as we celebrate the re-opening of our world after Covid-19 lockdowns, we can once again have fun with fashion by curating unique looks for social gatherings and returning to the office. I certainly plan on making up for lost time! ⁣

Working alongside LAGOS has always been a dream of mine, which is why I am so exceptionally proud to share our new partnership. LAGOS jewelry is the embodiment of superior artistry, unparalleled style and timeless elegance. Internationally recognized for their representation of bold femininity, every piece of LAGOS jewelry is a perfect blend of sophistication and edge. All of the exquisite pieces are highly textured, which is one of the features that differentiates LAGOS jewelry from other brands.

Gold Beaded X Ring, Signature Caviar Silver Front-Back Earrings, Caviar Spark Diamond Circle Necklace, Signature Caviar Beaded Bracelet, 18K Rose Gold and Stainless Steel Watch Bracelet, 12mm Rose Gold Caviar Bracelet, 6mm Rose Gold Caviar Bracelet

Caviar, the signature design of LAGOS, refers to the luminous beading present on each piece of LAGOS jewelry. Using meticulous technique, highly-skilled artisans work with precision and keen attention to detail as they perform hundreds of steps required to create the signature beaded Caviar detailing on each of the LAGOS pieces. The superior craftsmanship is truly awe-inspiring. ⁣⁣

A few months ago I received a smart watch, and while I love the convenience of wrist-wear technology, the flimsy rubber watch band didn’t jive well with the rest of my wardrobe. I knew there had to be a better option and made it my mission to track down a polished and elegant alternative to the unfashionable rubber band.

From the moment I laid eyes on the LAGOS Smart Caviar collection (featuring this stunning 18k rose gold and stainless steel watch bracelet), I’ve been patiently waiting for the perfect moment to share all the details with my fellow fashionistas. Never could I have envisioned a better blend of fashion and practicality. And how exciting that you can now wear your smart watch just as you would wear any piece of jewelry or luxury watch!

I was instantly drawn to the Smart Caviar Rose watch bracelet. The mixing of different metals in the two-tone style is absolutely mesmerizing, and the versatility in easily pairing it with other jewelry makes it a smart investment piece. The LAGOS Smart caviar watch bracelet is truly next-level chic when layered with a stack of bracelets, and is the perfect example of how one piece of jewelry can be a day-to-day staple that effortlessly transitions to evening and red carpet glam. ⁣

Not a fan of the two-tone style? The Smart Caviar watch bracelet is also available in stainless steel, sterling silver, ceramic.

Vou Pre – A Luxury Skincare Line Like No Other

Filters are great, but great skin is better. A healthy, glowing complexion lays the foundation for a youthful and radiant appearance. And as a self-professed lover of all things luxury, I pamper my skin with only the most decadent products.  Although it may seem more fun to splurge on a new pair of Louboutins, investing time and money into your skincare routine is the only way to naturally slow down the aging process, and even red bottoms can’t do that! Your future self will thank you.

Vou Pre is a female-formulated, skincare line for only the most discerning clientele. Crafted from the finest dermatologist tested ingredients, the Vou Pre line is poised to revolutionize skincare for many different skin types and concerns. Backed by extensive scientific research, the transformative formulas contain some of the most powerful ingredients in the modern skincare industry, like soluble collagen, zeolite, dragon fruit extract, and cannabis sativa oil (just to name a few).

Vou Pre Aqua Collection

Although I love to call New York City home, the arctic winter temperatures in the concrete jungle wreak havoc on my skin. The Vou Pre Aqua Collection is a savior for my dry and flaky complexion that is so desperately in need of some TLC. A comprehensive skin care regime formulated for dry skin, the Vou Pre Aqua Collection contains everything you need for a multi-sensory, spa-like experience in the comfort of your own home. The Vou Pre Aqua Collection contains the items below and VouPre suggests using them in the following order:

1. Microneedle Roller

2. Aqua Melting Mask

3. Mask Application Brush

4. Aqua Hydration Serum

5. Aqua Nano Cream

At the very beginning of the pamper session is perhaps the most important step of all – prepping the skin with the .3mm micro needle roller (also referred to as a dermal roller).

The Vou Pre Microneedle Roller

For those of you not familiar with microneedling, it’s a minimally-invasive treatment during which tiny needles puncture the skin to create micro-injuries, which rejuvenate your skin by stimulating collagen and elastin production. Having previously received microneedling treatments only in a spa-like setting, I was initially hesitant to use the tool on myself without any formal training. But with modern advancements in technology, at-home microneedling treatments with a dermal roller are safe and easy to use at home. The Vou Pre dermal roller resembles a miniature paint roller covered with tiny needles and it’s not much bigger than a shaving razor. I found the device to be extremely user-friendly and relatively painless, and when used consistently, the dermal roller has a myriad of benefits that make it a no-brainer. The benefits of microneedling in general include the following:

  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
  • Improves and corrects hyperpigmentation, skin discoloration, and other skin irregularities
  • Reduces large pores
  • Improves scarring caused by acne or other skin injuries
  • Tightens skin
  • Increases product absorption up to 90%


The Vou Pre Microneedle Roller

Vou Pre recommends starting with the Dermal Roller once a week before bedtime, ultimately working towards using it 2-3 times per week. I’ve seemlessly incorporated the dermal roller into my routine and learned first-hand that some of the benefits are instantly noticeable – right after I use the dermal roller I can immediately see that my skin is better able to absorb the products that follow in the collection. And my skin is noticeably softer and more supple.

The Aqua Melting Mask

The Aqua Melting Mask

The Aqua Melting Mask differs from most other masks I’m accustomed to, in that it’s meant to be left on the skin rather than rinsed off.  Using the mask application brush, you generously apply to all areas of the face and let it sit for 10 minutes before massaging it into the skin. Now that I’ve been using it for a few weeks, I’ve grown quite fond of allowing the mask to fully absorb into the skin (without rinsing) and my face is noticeably softer after using the mask. And did I mention how amazing it smells?

The Aqua Ultra Hydration Serum

Aqua Ultra Hydration Serum

The Aqua Ultra Hydration Serum is considerably thicker than serums I’ve used in the past, but it’s hydrating effects are indisputable. With a convenient dropper for easy application, the VouPre serum glides on smoothly and left no greasy residue.

Vou Pre Aqua Nano Cream

The Aqua Nano Cream is the last step in the Vou Pre Aqua Collection and rich enough to lock in just the right amount of moisture. It’s silky in texture, spreads easily, and doesn’t leave any greasy residue on the skin. And its very subtle fragrance is a refreshing departure from some of the heavily perfumed creams on the market. When used concurrently with the Aqua Melting Mask and Ultra Hydration Serum, the Aqua Nano Cream will effectively restore hydration to even the driest skin.

In addition to the hydrating products in the Aqua Collection, I’ve also been using the Vou Pre Radiance Facial Cleanser and Vita C Serum, both of which have become staples in my daily skincare regimen.

Vou Pre Vita C Serum and Radiance Facial Cleanser

In the past I had always relied on facial wipes to remove my makeup, but was looking for an alternative in the interest of sustainability, as wipes are some of the most wasteful products in the world. I was thrilled to discover just how quickly and efficiently the Vou Pre Radiance Facial Cleanser works to remove the makeup and grime accumulated during my hectic days pounding the pavement in NYC.

The Vou Pre Vita C is a nutrient-rich serum formulated to both balance uneven skin tone and restore a healthy, glowing complexion. I love applying the Vita C serum before makeup in the morning, which keeps my skin feeling nourished all day long.

Filters don’t follow you around in real life and taking care is your skin is more important than covering it up. Aging is a fact of life, but looking your age is not. The Vou Pre skincare line is an excellent approach to aging gracefully and slowing down the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. If you haven’t tried the Vou Pre products, what are you waiting for?

Woodloch Resort – A Scenic Suburban Oasis Only 90 Miles From NYC

As busy parents raising kids in New York City, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our every day lives. With jam-packed calendars and time spent preoccupied with devices, we often feel stretched in many different directions and find ourselves struggling for time to catch-up with our own kids. Last weekend we departed the concrete jungle and drove less than 100 miles to Woodloch Resort in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains in search of respite from the chaos of our everyday lives.

A tranquil departure from the urban grind, Woodloch is an all-inclusive resort built around a picturesque mountain lake setting. Their dedication to providing the perfect family-focused getaway was immediately apparent and we were so touched at the warm welcome we received by staff throughout the resort. You see, at Woodloch, the emphasis is placed on the importance of “togethering” and old-fashioned family values. Their heartwarming hospitality coupled with the serene natural beauty of the resort make for the perfect setting to relax, reboot, and make memories that will last a lifetime.

There is no shortage of activities at the exceptional Poconos resort, even during the most inclement weather. Even though it was cold and rainy during our stay, we were so well entertained that it now boggles my mind to think of all we accomplished in only a 2-day visit. I attribute this partially to the attentive staff and their enthusiasm in helping us choose the best activities for our family and always making sure we knew of everything going on throughout the resort. Although we had marathon days of consecutive activities at Woodloch, we still only tackled a fraction of their endless activities. Below are some of the highlights from our visit.

Bumper Cars

Hit and run has never been so much fun! We enjoyed whirling around and bumping into each other so much that we even went back for another battle of the bumpers the following day. Evan was barely tall enough to ride, but Chloe has to sit this one out. For toddlers who aren’t tall enough to ride, there are vehicles in an adjoining area that will keep them happy and entertained.

Snow Tubing

Being outside in the crisp mountain air is truly invigorating, especially for us city dwellers. And snow tubing is an exhilarating family-friendly activity for families. Although I was terrified to try it, I took the plunge and careened down the snow-covered hill with ease again and again.

Pony Rides & Petting Zoo

No child’s visit to Woodloch is complete without visiting the petting zoo and taking a ride on a real pony. Fun for kids of all ages, the petting zoo is the perfect opportunity to interact with farm animals like sheep and baby goats. Both Chloe and Evan took multiple turns riding the ponies and loved stopping to wave to the camera.

Go Carts

The outdoor go-carts at Woodloch are a recipe for fast-paced family fun. As we zoomed around the track, Evan kept asking for me to go faster, and I did my best to humor his competitive spirit and need for speed. We’re already looking forward to returning in the Spring to re-live this memorable racing experience.


Chloe and Evan have always loved to bowl, which is why we were so thrilled to discover this bowling alley at Woodloch. We didn’t keep score and the kids often skipped our turns, but we loved watching them figure out the nuances of the game.


We stopped by the arcade at Woodloch multiple times throughout our stay, where we went head-to-head in frequent air hockey tournaments and played every new and old-school video games imaginable.


We were so pleasantly surprised by the multitude of characters walking around the grounds at Woodloch. It was such a treat for the kids to have a meet and greet with all their favorites! Not pictured below is Gilligan from the 1960’s television show, who was unmistakable in his red collared shirt and white bucket hat.


Every meal at Woodloch is 5-star dining experience with multiple courses. Luckily my pants had some stretch to accommodate the thousands of calories we consumed each day. Just take a look at this raw bar!


Our spacious suite at Woodloch was the perfect setting to unwind after a busy day of endless activities. Fully stocked with all the best bath/shower products and immaculately clean, we felt right at home nestled in our cozy suite overlooking the pristine lake.

The best things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been and the memories we’ve made along the way. Thank you, Woodloch, for providing the perfect destination for us to unplug, reconnect and savor our moments together.  While taking advantage of the awe-inspiring amenities at your lakeside resort, we created life-long memories that I will cherish forever. Kids won’t remember that fancy game or toys we buy them, but they’ll remember the special times we spent with them.

For more details about Woodloch, click here to view my friend Stella’s review. We we lucky enough to visit Woodloch on the very same weekend!

Cozy Up With Walmart’s Hottest Toys This Fall

As summer comes to a close and the first brisk gusts of wind swirl through the towering New York City skyscrapers, we pull out our coziest flannel pajamas from storage and huddle under our fleece throw blankets. We guzzle down warm apple cider and eat oven-baked cookies, delighting in the splendor of the upcoming holiday season. At this time of year, New York City kids start spending more time indoors as the temperatures outside continue to plummet. And as their afternoons at the playground begin to dwindle, parents scramble to find this season’s best toys in desperate attempts to keep their children entertained within the confines of their small NYC apartments. But with a market super saturated with toys and children’s items, it can be overwhelming to sift through all the options. I’m so thrilled to have partnered with Walmart, America’s Best Toy Shop, to share with you this Fall’s newest and most highly coveted toys.

Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Popcorn Party Play Food Set with 6 Non-Toxic Play-Doh Cans

I’ve never seen more excitement in Evan’s eyes than when I presented him with this Play-Doh Popcorn Play Set. He loved twisting the crank, watching the “popcorn” fall into the basket below, and utilizing his imagination to mold Play-Doh Oreos and chocolate candies. Like most Kindergartener’s, he loves the feeling of Play-Doh between his fingers and was so enthusiastic about creating these make-believe tasty morsels.

PLAYMOBIL Park Playground

When frigid temperatures prohibit trips to the playground, why not bring the playground to your kids?! Both Evan and Chloe loved using the figurines in the PLAYMOBIL Park Playground to re-enact their favorite playground activities, even including going down the slide head first. It can be difficult to find toys that interest both a 3-year-old and 5-year-old, but this toy kept them both engaged and encouraged them to play alongside each other.

Some of my other favorites at Walmart are as follows:

VTech Myla the Magical Unicorn Electronic Pet

Because what little girls these days are not fascinated with unicorns? Children can dip Myla’s magic brush into the butterfly palette to choose a color and then use it to paint her eyes, wings and horn a variety of colors. This is perfect for children who are obsessed with Mommy’s makeup and gives them the opportunity to practice mixing colors. I just added this Myla the Magical Unicorn to Chloe’s wish list and you should too!


I love toys that promote learning, which is why I was initially drawn to this toy.  As kids guide the animals up the ramp two by two and onto the floating vessel, it becomes the perfect opportunity to introduce them to the beautiful biblical story behind the toy. And get this – the PLAYMOBIL Noah’s Ark actually floats so it can even be used during bath time! 

LEGO Friends Dolphins Rescue Mission 41378 Building Kit with Submarine

I also love toys that bring awareness to global issues and send positive messages to our youth. When playing with the LEGO Friends Dolphin Rescue Mission Building Kit with Submarine, children will embark on a mission to rescue a trapped dolphin and find the hidden treasure throughout their underwater adventure! I just love how this toy teaches our children about the importance of caring for animals.

Little Tikes 2-in-1 Food Truck Play Kitchen with 20+ Accessories

In a city where food trucks line the avenues, the Little Tikes Food Truck Play Kitchen encourages role-playing and gives children hands-on experience serving up the tastiest treats. I love that it fosters interactive play and encourages children to play together. Even with their relatively short attentions spans, I can easily see this providing hours of entertainment for my kids this Fall.

LINCOLN LOGS Classic Farmhouse

Never has another toy made me feel so nostalgic about my own childhood than the Lincoln Logs Classic Farmhouse. This toy encourages kids to think outside the box to create structures of all shapes and sizes and even introduces the concepts of spatial awareness and problem solving. I’m always amazed at how focused my children suddenly become when they’re building and creating! 

LEGO Architecture Empire State Building 21046 Model Skyscraper Building Kit

My children are endlessly fascinated by the Empire State Building and other iconic landmarks of NYC that they see so frequently while growing up in this heaping metropolis. The prospect of constructing the LEGO Architecture Empire State Building Kit may seem overwhelming at first, but reinforces the importance of patience and working together to finish a task. Children will feel so proud when it’s complete!


Here’s the Scoop: Evan’s Fro-yo-licious Birthday Celebration

The hours may be long, but the days are most definitely short. I can hardly believe that my sweet boy is turning FIVE! To celebrate Evan’s milestone birthday, it was only fitting that we throw him a party that would be sweet, sugar-coated and oh-so-sticky, just like him. For as long as I can remember, we’ve been frequenting our favorite neighborhood dessert destination, 16 Handles, where we love watching both Evan and Chloe revel in the most decadent sweet treats. It was a no-brainer that this was the perfect venue to host a birthday party that would be most memorable and personally meaningful for him.

There’s something about frozen yogurt that bridges the gap between childhood and adulthood. It’s a delicious indulgence that neither young nor old can resist. So I knew that both Evan’s friends and their parents would be elated to attend his sweet celebration at 16 Handles, where they boast 16 fro-yo flavors and a toppings bar that knows no bounds. Nothing makes me feel like a kid again quite like visiting my favorite fro-yo destination!

The 16 Handles location on 64th St. And 1st Avenue proved to be the perfect space to accommodate our party. The oversized party rooms facilitated easy transitions from one activity to the next and kept all of our guests feeling comfortable. A long table in their party room comfortably sat 20+ kids with plenty of standing room for adults. And adjacent to that is another area where we set up a shark themed table complete with food, drinks, party favors and other party paraphernalia.

When the entertainer arrived we shuffled the kids into yet another room lined with benches, which is the ideal space for watching any kind of entertainment.

Making birthday parties for my kids has always been a source of anxiety for me, but the staff at 16 Handles succeeded in making Evan’s birthday party a stress-free experience. They were so incredibly helpful to ensure that the party ran smoothly and executed all of the details with ease. It was clear that their staff members are very experienced in hosting special events and private parties. They maintained composure and organization even in the presence of 20+ children with balloon swords on sugar-highs.

It filled us with so much joy to watch Evan and his pals devour more fro-yo flavor and topping combinations than you can ever possibly imagine. Cookie dough pieces, cheesecake bites, and rainbow cookies, oh my! A veritable heaven for those with even the most discerning sweet tooth. 16 Handles even offers sugar-free fro-yo and fresh fruit toppings for those who’d rather not have sugar coursing through their veins.

As the party winded down, I couldn’t help but marvel at how my baby boy has blossomed into the sweetest, most nurturing soul I have ever known. Being Evan’s mommy (and Chloe’s too!) continues to be the greatest privilege in my life. Thank you, 16 Handles for making this birthday a sweet celebration we will all remember.

With locations all over New York City and the New York metropolitan area, 16 Handles is the perfect venue for your child’s next birthday party. Click here to start planning your own!

10 Things Nobody Tells You About Losing Your Mother

After my mother’s sudden passing two years ago on this date, I’ve haphazardly stumbled my way through the grieving process, having spent much of the past two years adrift in the wreckage of unfathomable heartache and a sea of designer shopping bags. But despite the mood-boosting qualities of impulse purchases, my new wardrobe additions have failed to piece back together the shards of my own shattered identity. As I’ve struggled to find meaning in a world that seems predictably unpredictable and utterly cruel at times, I’ve come to the conclusion that what has emerged is the stark reality of ineffable loss and the endowment of a profound wisdom understood too early. Acutely aware that the 2nd anniversary of her death has been quickly approaching, I’ve spent countless hours reflecting on all I’ve ascertained about life and my mother’s premature death and today I’m sharing ten internal revelations nobody ever tells you about losing your mother. 

  1. Her passing will become a defining moment in your life.  You will start to organize the memories of your life into two very distinct repositories of experience as if plotted chronologically on a timeline – when your mother was alive and after her death. In fact, as the calendar pages flutter in the breeze, a decreasing segment of my closet is now mom-approved.
  2. You will search for ways to make full the void before realizing that such a gaping injury to your heart is ultimately irreparable. Even the Bergdorf’s after-Christmas sale will fail to rehabilitate your aching spirit as you struggle to adjust to a life that feels forever incomplete.
  3. Life is now fractured through a prism, dampening light as never before. That fierce pair of Louboutin boots at Barney’s you were eyeing suddenly just seem like a superfluous irrelevance. You will make that purchase another day.  
  4. The person you were before she died is forever altered by this cataclysmic event; you will morph into a more vulnerable iteration of yourself, emerging with a deeper appreciation of life and enhanced compassion for others. This reservoir of tenderness for others will translate into a deeper empathy for others and you are poised to become a better mother, spouse, friend and neighbor.
  5. You will emerge inherently mindful of life’s complexity, and forever feel more grown-up. When my mother, keeper of my childhood memories, passed away, I was recklessly catapulted over an invisible barrier to a requisite maturity.  I was just 35 at the time. Although a mother myself, the child in me was inextricably tethered to my mother. In her absence, I often find myself foraging for her spot-on guidance, wisdom and unfiltered critiques of my wardrobe choices I so desperately still need. 
  6. You will begin to contemplate the transient nature of all living things and develop a vivid, visceral knowledge of your own fleeting mortality.  You will examine and parse out what critically matters and re-formulate your core values. You will become less willing to put up with people who waste your time. And you will learn how to draw hard lines, unapologetically say no, and engage in guilt-free pampering sessions.
  7. Sadness will wash over you at the most unexpected and inconvenient times. Discrete circumstances can cause you to sense your mother’s absence more acutely, such as when your child reaches a new milestone or you stumble upon a pair of Manolo’s at Off Fifth and experience the dire urge to share it with her.  During such vulnerable moments, the wound is re-opened and triggers what may best be described as “mommy-missing feelings.” 
  8. You will find solace in doing the things she loved doing. My mother was an excellent cook. After she passed away I discovered her hand-written recipes tucked in a drawer, a proverbial cheat sheet to create her signature delicacies. With this revelation I’ve since been able to celebrate her life by cooking the recipes so sweetly reminiscent of my childhood. As the aromas that I so deeply miss waft through my kitchen, I’m comforted by my mother’s presence. 
  9. You will come to understand that it’s not solely the relationship you had with your mother that you grieve, but also the relationship you could be having now.  In motherhood, when the ambiance may fluctuate between peace and pandemonium instantaneously, my mother was my pillar of strength. I long for the powerfully soothing tone of her voice assuring me that I’m not alone in the world. 
  10. You will learn that love is more potent than death. My relationship with my mother is one which transcends the limitations of the physical realm. It will endure in perpetuity. Her essence impacts virtually every decision I make and the principals and morality she so deeply ingrained in me escort me through each new challenge I now face without her. I detect glimpses of her whenever I peer into the mirror. And by living my life in a manner I know would make her most proud, she will continue to live on through me always.

Top 7 Parental Pet Peeves

Top 7 Parental Pet Peeves

The Never-ending Bedtime Routine

There was a time when I’d tuck my children into bed and whisper sweet nothings like, “I love you more than all the stars in the sky” or “I love you all the way to the moon”. We’d kiss, hug, give each other fist bumps and then they would peacefully drift off to sleep.  I really do remember this happening. . . maybe twice. Let’s be honest – more often than not, bedtime consists of negotiating with my tiny, demanding CEOs for different books, sips of water, and last-minute trips the bathroom. This is a seemingly never-ending sequence of events, and once the light turns off and the door gets closed, all hell breaks loose in their secluded mischief chamber. Through their deafening cackling, I can hear them using their mattresses as trampolines as they playfully hurl stuffed animals at each other. The years may be short, but somehow bedtime is 576,923 days long.

Masterful Mess Makers

Whether they’re excitedly rummaging through my makeup drawer or converting the walls of our home to crayon-based mural drawings, only one thing is certain – my toddlers love exploring the world one mess at a time. My very own apprentice demolition crew, I can always count on them for wrecking any semblance of order in our home. Like pint-sized dump trucks, they load up purses and other containers with junk from their play area and haul it to other rooms, where it will be dumped, dismantled and ultimately abandoned. The cumulative effect of this behavior results in the transition of our orderly apartment into a treacherous Lego minefield. And speaking of messes, does anyone else spend an inordinate amount of time daily touching things in your home and wondering why they’re sticky?

Melodramatic Mealtime

Much like the uncertain outcome when leading a horse to water, there is never any guarantee that my children, who have willingly arrived at the dinner table, will actually consume the food they’ve been given. Mealtime wouldn’t be complete without at least one of my kids refusing to eat what’s been served, even if it’s exactly what they asked me to cook for them. Sometimes it even seems like it might just be easier to cut out the middle man, throw away an entire plate of food and squirt ketchup all over the floor. With a promising future in quality control, my toddlers will examine their food, searching for any inconsistencies in color, texture, or shape before protesting anything that fails to resemble the usual mealtime offerings.  I wish I was as brave as my 2-year old who proclaims her tummy is too full to eat her dinner, but then asks me for a snack five minutes later.

Walking Petri Dishes

The careless touching of contaminated surfaces is behavior I will never comprehend. Despite my excessive warnings not to touch germy surfaces, my toddlers seemingly can’t resist dangerous play dates with pathogens. A ride on the subway isn’t complete without caressing every square inch of the train car and tracing shapes with their fingers on the murky brown window panels. What better opportunity to taste each finger than after pressing the elevator button inside the Times Square subway station? These unsanitary habits make me cringe, and once the germs enter our home it’s only a matter of time before we find ourselves battling a household epidemic. Actually, spending all day recuperating in bed doesn’t sound so bad, Oh wait, I’m a mom! Scratch that idea. 

Unrealistic demands

Just once, I’d like to wake up with the same renewed sense of optimism as my 4-year old who just asked me for the 20th day in a row if he can have M&M’s for breakfast. I now realize that all of the things my sweet babies were trying to tell me when they were infants were probably just demands for more snacks and toys. When my 2-year old optimistically asks to bring her tablet into her crib at nap time, she seems genuinely bewildered as I tell her “no” for the 427th time.

Declarations of Independence

Shortly after they begin walking and talking, toddlers develop a ferocious determination to do things on their own. “No, let me! Let me!” is a phrase I’ve heard at least 10 times even before my kids get out the door in the morning. Toddlers seem to have a warped sense of reality when it comes to their physical limitations and often don’t have the necessary skill set to complete more difficult tasks without help (although offers to help are usually met with resistance). For instance, my 2-year old will often demand to change her own diaper even though clearly this is a recipe for disaster. Only after a 5 minute standoff (and maybe bribing her with my phone) does she relinquish diaper changing duties to me. And explaining to my 4-year old why I cannot allow him to drive our car feels like bargaining with a tiny dictator. But I have to be flexible. When he insists on pouring himself a cup of milk from the 1-gallon jug, I take a step back and feign a smile as my whole life flashes before my eyes.

The Backhanded Snot Wipe 

Despite frequent hand washing and our best efforts to sanitize everything that comes through our door, it always seems like we are fighting a losing battle against an endless onslaught of runny noses and low-grade fevers. No need to panic, however (or buy tissues, for that matter), as most toddlers have mastered the haphazard movement of snot across their faces by utilizing the back of their perfectly dimpled hands. This maneuver defies all logic and often leads to bothersome irritation of toddlers’ sensitive skin. That glistening coat of dried mucus often masks cheeks that are chafed, crusty, and in dire need of some TLC.