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.

Bowling

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.

Arcade

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.

Characters

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.

Dining

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!

Accommodations

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!

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.

Fall Fashion That’s Off The Chains

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Made popular by Versace’s opulent designs, the chain print motif remains one of the most universally recognized clothing patterns. From haute couture to ready-to-wear, we’ve seen this trend blazing down the runways of Versace for decades. These designs are equally feminine and edgy, often incorporating Medusa heads and gold chains, all at a price unattainable for most. But with the evolution of fast fashion and online commerce, this trend that oozes sophisticated glamour is finally accessible for budget-conscious shoppers. The elaborate print has made its revival and brands like Zara, Asos and Topshop are among those designing garments that make an equally bold fashion statement without the sky-high price tag.  Scroll down to see some of my favorites at all different price points! Treat yo’self.

Tops

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Jackets

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Dresses/Rompers

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Bottoms

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Scarves

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Pretty In Pink – Spring’s Hottest Hue

The blazer is truly the most transformative article of clothing. No other wardrobe staple will instantaneously upgrade your ensemble to chic and polished quite like the blazer. Even denim becomes dressy with the addition of this universal wardrobe staple. A blazer’s flattering, streamlined silhouette is timeless, elegant, and oh-so-feminine. Layer over a basic tee and pair with destroyed denim and booties for a look that is equal parts sophisticated and edgy. With Spring in full bloom, I’ve scoured the racks of my favorite Upper East side boutiques and mega retailers in search of the most fabulous pink blazers. Below are a some of my favorites and all below $200! Treat yo’self.

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1. Ivanka Trump Zip Pocket Open Front Crepe Jacket  2. Forever 21 Buttoned Bell-Sleeve Blazer  3. LOFT Sateen Long Blazer  4. Bardot Tuck Sleeve Blazer  5. Banana Republic Classic-Fit Lightweight Blazer  6. Women’s Willow & Clay Quilted Blazer  7. Forever 21 Striped Double-Breasted Blazer  8. Vince Camuto Ruffle-Sleeve Jacket  9. BCBGeneration Drape Front Jacket  10. Miss Selfridge Military Blazer  11. AQUA Open-Front Blazer 12. Ivanka Trump Ruffle Full-Zip Top  13. Free People Uptown Girl Blazer  14. Mural Slouchy Boyfriend Blazer

 

Life Is Short – Buy The Shoes

It’s highly improbable to traverse a few blocks in Manhattan’s Upper East Side without encountering bubbly mother-daughter duos jointly pushing strollers along the avenue, bonding within these precious moments, the lines of mother/daughter having blurred. I recognize them virtually everywhere I go, these tickled twosomes creating indelible memories while hand-picking baby’s layette, enjoying dual pedicures, or brunching at Bergdorf’s. Peering in on such enviable moments now tugs tenderly on my heartstrings. At the store I lift up a pair of 6-inch studded Louboutin wedges for closer inspection. “Are you out of your mind?” emphatically reverberates from within an internal monologue. I could always count on my mother’s unfiltered opinions to dissuade me from making capricious purchases and guide me through a myriad of life’s more crucial dilemmas. It’s been exactly 365 days since my mother’s sudden passing. Only now am I beginning to soak in the magnitude of my loss.

Although death is arguably the most unpredictable event of life, the loss of a parent is truly an inescapable rite of passage, an all too tangible manifestation of the circle of life. As children, we are taught that we must all lose our parents, but take comfort in the likelihood that it will be 7, 8 or even 9 decades before needing to cope with that loss. My mother’s startling and premature death obliterated the timeline I had always envisioned, leaving me feeling as if I had recklessly spun out of orbit.  My mother was “home” – the first place I ever lived and the universe from whose substance I was created. Now that she’s gone, I’ll never be able to truly return. I’m untethered, yet expected to safeguard my own children in today’s turbulent world. It’s bewildering to ponder that I’m their stability while often feeling like a palm tree swaying in hurricane-force winds. I often wonder if my mother ever felt this way – dismantled by life’s circumstances, but resolute to persevere for the sake of her children. There are so many things I wish I could ask her.

Life after a loss is simply perplexing. One of the greatest ironies, I’ve discovered, is that the loss of your mother typically constitutes the most grown-up experience you’ll ever have, yet there is no other experience that will make you feel more like a child. The trauma following such a tragedy is a quintessential ordeal she would have helped us to overcome. Yet somehow, we are expected to absorb the initial trauma, endure the heartache, and re-emerge more resilient. But grief does not follow a linear trajectory and is, in all actuality, a dynamic fluid process. It has long been said that time heals all wounds, but we seldom consider the residual scars that remain. In my personal experience, the more time elapses, the more deeply I ache for the past.  I stitch together flickers of childhood memories into hazy photographs, as if illuminated by a crackling, vintage projector. And I fear that as time continues to pass, the latticework of these fragmented memories will dissolve, slipping through my fingers like sand in an hourglass.

Losing my mother so suddenly has moved me to contemplate the transient nature of all things living, acutely aware of our world reeling on its axis. As summer passed, for the very first time I wholly appreciated vibrantly colored leaves fluttering to the ground, and in the depths of the New York City winter, I felt comforted by the promise of Spring’s technicolor aura. Through unfathomable heartbreak I’ve found meaning in life more rich and profound than ever before. Every instant of joy feels more pure – its undiluted beauty radiating throughout each fiber of my being.  I am often overcome with elation as I watch my children erupt into unbridled laughter. And as I tuck them into bed for the night, the sensation of undeniable warmth envelopes me. Inside me churns a cauldron of heightened emotions and I drink them all in – the despair, the exhilaration, the sorrow and yes, the happiness. My life is now far more beautiful, impassioned and complete, not despite my loss, but because of it.

 

Bridging The Gap 

As children turn 3 or 4, New York City parents often start considering the possibility of moving to the suburbs. After all, raising children here is not for the faint of heart. Living in New York City offers our children a myriad of rich cultural experiences and exposes them to a melting pot of ethnic diversity. But at what expense? In this sprawling metropolis, it’s virtually impossible to shelter our kids from the poverty, profanity-laced conversations and vulgar displays of human indecency found on the city sidewalks. Eager to ditch the concrete jungle for backyards and barbecues, thousands of Manhattan families every year partake in a mass exodus to the suburbs of Long Island, Westchester and New Jersey. But that leaves us, the courageous leftovers, addicted to the urban hustle and determined to raise well-adjusted, resilient kids in the world’s very best city.

Wouldn’t life be easier if we could open our back door and let our children spill out into the yard? Absolutely! But with Central Park only a few short blocks away and a multitude of iconic New York attractions at our fingertips, city kids are exposed to an exhilarating, diverse environment that challenges their curiosities and nurtures their desire to know more about their world. Sure, my kids may not have 3,000 square feet to stash the toys they seldom use, but after nap on any given day they will experience the thrills of riding the tram to Roosevelt Island, playing peek-a-boo with the animals in the Central Park Zoo, or studying the colossal dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural History.  Although at times it would be nice to have a bit more space, I feel so very privileged to offer my kids these unique adventures.

Whenever we have the opportunity, we strive to engage in quintessential New York City experiences and have amassed quite a bucket list of Big Apple essentials. Last weekend we capitalized on the unseasonably warm conditions and embarked on an expedition by foot across the Brooklyn Bridge. The elegance of this beloved landmark of grandiose proportion is surpassed only by the breathtaking views of lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, and Freedom Tower. While walking the promenade, I couldn’t help but marvel at the potpourri of both tourists and NYC dwellers – a veritable melting pot of ethnic and cultural diversity. It is my hope that continuous immersion in such a heterogeneous city will encourage my children to grow into compassionate adults who understand and respect similarities and differences amongst people in their communities.

Once across the bridge, we wandered through Brooklyn Bridge Park in Dumbo, where the kids galloped through the large lawns like wild stallions against a backdrop of the most magnificent Manhattan sky-line. And no trip across the bridge would be complete without a visit to Jane’s carousel, the majestic waterfront merry-go-round enclosed in a genuine glass jewel box. The exquisite attention to detail is as extraordinary as the panoramic view from within the ornate crystal enclosure. Horses painted with genuine gold leaf are adorned with custom bridles hand-painted by the same authorized agent who puts finishing touches on the finest Mercedes-Benz vehicles. As the blazing afternoon sun began to weaken, I watched as my son circled round and round, dipping and rising to the tune of life’s most simple melody. There he was – my little boy, riding off into the sunset – the city at his back and only the horizon ahead. Sometimes in life we need to take a step back to see the beauty of what’s right in front of us. It was in this moment I felt so overcome with gratitude for the opportunity to rediscover this awe-inspiring metropolis through the eyes of my children. You see, while we may not have the picture-perfect suburban home and private back yard surrounded by a white picket fence, what we have is far more valuable. We have New York – the “Big Apple,” “the city that never sleeps,’’ the “concrete jungle.” And here, anything is possible. 

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Shop My Look

 

Vintage Havana shirt

Vintage Havana 3-Tier Ruffle Blouse – Sold Out (Similar Here)

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Flying Monkey Dark Wash Cutoff Shorts

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Prada Sunglasses

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Crazy for Camouflage

Crazy for Camouflage

While camouflage was once synonymous with military personnel or those with an outdoorsy lifestyle, it’s virtually impossible to walk more than a few city blocks without spotting someone draped in the highly recognizable pattern.  A form of visual deception, “camo” was once used to blend into one’s surroundings, but ironically has cemented its place in mainstream fashion as an eye-catching style standout. The runways of Valentino, Balmain, Versace, and more are abounding with flashes of camouflage, a true indicator that the trend has major staying power. But why as a society are we so head-over-heels for this military-inspired print? Could camo be the new black?

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Pants: Design Lab   Top: H&M    Shoes: Christian Louboutin (sold-out) – similar here  Sunglasses: Fendi

Many women remain unaware that wearing camouflage is not merely a bold statement; it also has practical applications. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wear white or pastel around my kids for more than 25 seconds without being splattered with peanut butter or doused with ketchup. Ever wear white pants to a pizza party with 15 toddlers? I didn’t think so. And as much as I adore light colored garments, I have a severe aversion to spending time in my laundry room. I would much rather be playing with my kids than battling a Sharpie stain with Oxyclean. The designs used to outfit our nation’s bravest are more than capable of withstanding a shrapnel of diaper blowouts, spit-up, and slingshot purées, which is why as mom of an infant and toddler, the camouflage pieces in my wardrobe are my most essential commodities. Even after several hours playing in the grass or chasing after my son on the playground, my camouflaged garments remain neat and unblemished.

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Above all else, what I love most about camouflage is its versatility.  The classic print is gender-neutral and can be worn by people of all ages. The design’s subdued hues seamlessly cascade into each other creating the iconic patterns that are easily paired with both neutrals and pops of color. And while sweat pants and activewear made from the popular print are most traditional, skinny jeans and tailored blazer in a camouflage print are ultra-chic wardrobe additions. In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked if we see military-inspired looks on the red carpet this award season.

Although we most often see camo in earthy greens and browns, some of my most favorite pieces are those that incorporate vibrant colors.  Take a peek at my favorite pieces below.

Sanctuary War Is Over Jacket – $159

Santuary War Is Over Jacket

Sam. Camo Freedom Vest – $294

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Studded Camouflage Tote Bag – $1360 (marked down from $3395!!!)

Valentino Studded Camouflage Tote Bag

Design Lab Grunge Camo Pants – $59

Design Lab Grunge Camo Pants

Rag & Bone Sinclair Crew Cashmere Sweater – $395

Rag and Bone

Lottie Camouflage-print Stretch Sports Bra – $85

Lotie bra Net a porter

Splendid Woodbury Camo Pant – $128

Splendid Woodbury Camo Pant

Winter Boot Wishlist

 

With summer behind us and cooler temperatures rapidly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about Fall/Winter footwear indulgences. I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of Fall’s hottest styles and today I’m sharing my ultimate Winter boot wishlist with you all. Pull up a chair, take some notes, and start shopping. Go!

See by Chloé “Oxana” Genuine Rabbit Fur Boot

See be Chloe Oxana boot

The “Oxana” boot really excites my inner urban Eskimo and upon first glance I instantly felt warm and fuzzy inside. Although it’s similar in silhouette to the classic Ugg boot, the additional layer of fur and matching pom-pom ties are opulent upgrades. This boot also boasts a woven striped cuff across the top that adds a pretty pop of color to an otherwise monochrome color palette. A thick lug sole provides added traction and durability perfect for traipsing through the streets in inclement weather. In these boots, nothing will come between me and a sale at Bergdorf’s! Although they retail for $495 at Saks, Shopbop and Bloomingdales, Nordstrom has them in stock for only $295. Cha-ching!

Schutz “Lisie” Bow Platform Boot

Schutz Lisie boot

An homage to the much pricier Chloe “Harper” (as seen here), this lace up boot features a chunky block heel and lug sole, perfect for withstanding the dangerous pothole-laden city streets. Seriously, these are so comfortable I can walk 9 blocks to my son’s school and back without any discomfort. When Nancy Sinatra said these boots are made for walkin’, she was obviously referring to the Schutz “Lisie” boot. For a small investment of $290, these are the boots you will continue to wear season after season.  They’re available only here and I wouldn’t be surprised if they sell out after NYC’s first brisk Fall day.

Stuart Weitzman “Yukon” Fur Booties

Stuart Weitzman Yukon boots

The famous footwear legend, Stuart Weitzman, has once again blessed our closets with new boots that slay. Fashion meets function, these booties are made from water-resistant suede with a sheepskin lining for extra warmth. With a modest 3.25″ heel, this boot is both ultra-luxe and street-friendly. Embellished with vibrantly colored fur, this trendsetting boot will keep your hooves toasty and is sure to get you noticed. Although these will set you back a pretty penny ($800), these boots are après ski chic and a winter wardrobe investment piece for years to come.  Click here to make your other boots jealous! 

Elena Black & Bordeaux Fur-Trimmed Lace-Up Boots

Elena Black & Bordeaux Fur-Trimmed Lace-Up Boots

Combat boot meets snow bunny in the form of patent leather from this little-known Italian shoe brand.  Designed for the city girl who’s Uptown chic with Downtown edge, this boot has fashionistas near and far doing cartwheels. I just love the contrast between the feminine jewel-toned trim and rugged structural details. These boots are also available in many different color combinations at none other than my favorite discount department store, Century21. For $169 I couldn’t let these get away. To my fellow fashionistas who love a bargain – you’re welcome. 

Jeffrey Campbell “Fowler” Boots 

Jeffrey Campbell 80MM FOWLER SUEDE & FAUX SHEARLING BOOTS

Step aside – the Rolls Royce of hiking boots has arrived, complete with metal D-rings and treaded rubber sole. These suede boots are made by Jeffrey Campbell, one of my favorite affordable shoe designers most well-known for his avant-garde creations. This pair, admittedly one of his more subdued designs, is by far the most versatile boot on this list. Easily paired with leggings and a sweater, I’d also wear them with skinny jeans and a blazer. Hold onto your hat – Luisaviaroma is offering 18% off of qualifying items (these boots included) with promo code AS18. Gosh, I love shopping online!

Casadei Bouclé Ankle Boots

Casadei Boucle Boot

Casadei really hit a home run with this woolen bouclé ankle boot. Channeling Coco Chanel with their intricately woven upper, these boots are sure to be an instant classic.  The metallic chunky heel accentuates the golden flecks in the fabric and a gold-tone zipper on the inside of each boot completes the flawless design. I’m most tempted to pair these boots with destroyed denim and a leather biker jacket to create the perfect harmony between sophistication and edge. Leave it to Luisaviaroma to offer this style in both a boot and pump (as seen here). 

Ash “Gipsy” Fringe Over-the-Knee Boots

Ash Gipsy Fringe Over the Knee Hidden Wedge Boots

The Ash “Gipsy” over-the-knee boot is proof that flat boots can be just as sexy as heels. Made with suede so supple even cows would be jealous, these boots effortlessly ooze luxury. Framed by long layers of fringe, these boots are equal parts playful and sophisticated. And because of their rich neutral color, these boots will match any ensemble. They’re currently marked down from $500 to $275. Need I say more? Click here to find them in your size. 

Young, Wild, and Three!

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 stacks of unopened mail, we often feel as if we’re constantly engaging in a game of catch-up. And the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. In an effort to take full advantage of all this heaping metropolis has to offer our children, we often over-commit them with trips to museums, enrichment activities, lessons and playdates. I’m the first to admit that I’ve been guilty of trying to fill every minute of every day with a variety of activities to keep my kids busy. But we must not lose sight of something so very essential to the healthy development of our children – the importance of green grass and fresh air.

Ever since my son was born, I’ve been flabbergasted at the amount of energy radiating from his itty-bitty body. Even from a young age it was abundantly clear that he required outdoor play time every day in order to blow off steam and sleep soundly through the night. In addition to assuring a good night’s sleep, the health benefits of outdoor exercise are immeasurable. Regular physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight, builds muscle and reduces the risk of many health conditions.  Green grass and fresh air are also essential for the psychological well being of children, especially city kids, most of whom are confined to small apartments. I still recall the very first time we introduced my son to playing in the grass – he was so hesitant to wander off the blanket and picked at the individual blades of green, so fearful that they would pierce his tender little feet. Flash forward almost three years later and he runs like an untamed antelope through fields of green grass.

Some of my most favorite childhood memories are long summer days spent building forts in the woods behind my childhood home, playing in the snow and other self-directed activities outside. Now that I have two kids, it’s a bit more challenging to get outside, especially in the colder months. Bundling up babies in several layers is an arduous task, but I understand the importance and make it a priority to get my kiddos outside for at least 30 minutes every day. And as often as possible, my husband and I take the kids out East or to Connecticut to visit family outside of the city. Disconnecting from our electrical devises and spending time outside as a family is one of our favorite things to do.

What are some of your favorite outdoor family activities?

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Shop this post: Alpha And Omega One-Shoulder Gingham Ruffle Top AEO Denim X Hi-Rise Shortie, Christian Louboutin Dehia Espadrilles (old) – similar here

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