Quick Tip: Naming Your Children

Consider the horror when Owen showed up to pre-k and found another Owen in the class. NOOOOOO! I thought I was more creative than to have a kid with the double name! The thing is, Owen thinks it's great. It's been months and I still secretly cringed in embarrassment. There's nothing really wrong with him sharing a name with someone else in his class or office his whole life, but I think we could've avoided it. We had so many great options! At least 100,000!

So, here's my advice I tell everyone: One of the best ways to avoid having your kid share a name with a classmate is to browse through these personalized towels/bedsheets/backpacks in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog. Despite how much you might love the name, if you see it in the catalog, your kid will have a higher risk of name repeat. Sadly, if I could go back to the PBKids catalogs in 2005, I would see Ella monogramed on every pillow. Same with my boys in 2007. Look! There's some left over Owen baskets they are still using.  Do you see your kids name in some of the items in the current catalog? Prepare yourselves.

Did you have a popular name growing up? I grew up with a lot of Lindsays, Jennifers, and Michelles. Did you mind? Or did you always wish you had something more exotic or unusual?


Staying Indoors

Last Friday it rained all morning and into the afternoon. Not the fun puddle jumping rain, just the slow steady grey drizzle kind. There's an idea making the blog rounds about "there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes". Great concept, but I just wasn't in the mood to face the great outdoors with my boys. Instead, I decided to dump all my art supplies on the kitchen table and get inspired. I let the boys cut, glue, and draw whatever they wanted for a while, and then it hit me!

I could make race tracks with the tape Todd Oldham gave me from the Kid Made Modern event! You know, tape race tracks! Another idea making the blog rounds!  I've seen people make tape racetracks on the floor (and couch!) with soft tape like this, but I liked the boldness of the Kid Made Modern tape. It isn't as gummy as duck tape, but it had similar feel.  I used up all the tape and made the most colorful racetracks around. And then the dinosaurs attacked.

I'm not the crafty type, more of the impulsive type. I didn't really think about the consequences of pulling tape off our old linoleum flooring. Three days later Rob pulled it all up after I assured him I did a few test strips to make sure it removes easily (I didn't actually. Whoops!). For the most part it came up just fine, but it pulled up a couple of the tile edges. I can see why the softer tape like thismade more sense.

While the Kids Made Modern tape doesn't get released until late May, Duck Brand Tapehas been making decorative tape for a while now.  It's is the perfect thing to have laying around for a rainy day. Check out patterned duck tape herehereand here (my favorite) for inspiration. Oh and the leopard tape!Everyone, especially bloggers, seems obsessed with leopard print. I feel obligated to include it.

There's a million (better!) projects to do with decorative tape. Some cute and some bizarre. What are your favorite or craziest tape creations? Extra bonus points if you found a tutorial using the leopard duck tape!

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.


Wild Friday Nights

*Coordinating my kids clothing to everything we do is intentional and essential in NYC. 

When Joanna told me about the ball pit at the Children's Museum of the Arts, I imagined it would be like the kind at a McDonald's Playland.  But this was so much cooler! And cleaner (I hope)! And so easy to recreate! Buy 10 of these exercise balls and this interlocking foam mat. Wahla! Ball pit. Surely this is what you want to do with the spare room in your house. Move over craft room/man cave/guest bedroom. Ball pit coming in! Think of the fun.

Wait for it . . . And kick! 
Making a sister poke her own eye might be the funniest trick a brother can do. 
Oscar nailed this one. Poor Ella! I'm so glad I never had a brother. My sweet sisters would never.

And finally this pic captures the chaos of the ball pit when Rob entered. Watch out little baby in the back!

Pic from Joanna's iphone

This is just one of the many rooms CMA executes perfectly.  Actually, CMA is by far the best children's museum I've ever visited anywhere. It's mix of fun, hands on, and aesthetically gorgeous.  I'm tempted to go again tomorrow for its Lunar New Year celebration.  I saw them setting it up on our way out.  It looks like they have a lot planned! Go if you can!

Have you been to CMA yet? Put it on your itinerary if you are visiting NYC with kids.  It's special without feeling touristy. Tip: It's pay as you wish Thursdays 4-6pm! Tempting. I'll go back someday and take more pictures of my other favorite spots of the musuem. For now, just take my word for it. It's amazing.

This post includes Amazon Affiliate links.


I've Seen the Light. It Was Green.

I never heard of a shampoo bar until I read about it on my friend Betsy's blog called Eco Novice. I always go to her site to get a realistic perspective on going green. She has a way of being totally informative without being patronizing. Such a slippery slope! 

Last year one of her New Years resolutions was to switch to shampoo bars. I guess this trend has been going on while I've been blissfully throwing plastic bottles into my recycling bin. Instead of liquid shampoo in plastic bottles, people have made the switch to cut down on waste.  So when I ran out of shampoo last week (I really thought I was doing so well with my Modern Organics products!), I decided to give it a try. It's changed everything. I feel like angels are cleaning my hair and turning each strand into gold!

Hmm. Realistic perspectives on going green is not going to be my speciality. I'll leave that to Betsy. As she puts it: I honestly thought the transition would be a bit bumpier.  I've noticed minimal differences between using my Avalon Organics bottled shampoo and this shampoo bar. I have noticed that I can wash my hair a bit less often (every 1.5 to 2 weeks instead of once a week).

She takes it one step further and buys her shampoo bars from etsy or small local shops, but I'm not there yet. I bought the Godiva shampoo bar from Lush, a world wide cosmetic store. They claim their products are homemade, but how is that even possible? You can't fool me.

As far as going green, there are still some changes I would like to make. I have yet to get rid of my teflon pans. My love for bulk size Shout Stain Remover might always exist as long as I have kids in my house and I keep buying them overpriced American Apparel clothes. I have a drawer filled with plastic bags from the grocery store. But I am making progress.  Little by little I'll change the world.  And hey, I don't own a car! That's huge!

What ways have you decided to go green? Reusable grocery bags? Bike to work (rain or shine like Julie!)? Cloth Diapers? Less meat? All of the above? None of the above?* 

*AKA my husband Rob. He cringes when I start in on all this eco green stuff.  Even worse than when I talk to my kids about sex! ha

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.



Before moving to NY, I bought my ballet flats from Old Navy and my kid's shoes from Target. It suited us just fine. But since moving here and getting rid of our car, I learned really quickly that our shoes weren't cutting it. The life of cheap shoes was too short. Just walking the kids to school is .6 miles one way! So on top off all the playing and running around at school and after school, we add another 1.2 miles onto their shoes.  My kids were wearing out their shoes before they grew out of them. It was so hard for me to buy new shoes in the same size. It felt wrong!

At lot of my friends joke that a few weeks into moving to NY, they realize they need a complete shoe make over. Not to keep up with the fashion pressure, but to survive! I look at shoes completely differently now. Did you do the same thing?

Good news! Remember this post I did about these Clarks shoes I bought for the boys? 50% off at Amazon now! Only $30! I'm stocking up. Classic example of good solid cute NYC approved shoes.

This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.


Third Year's A Charm

Ella training for the Boston Marathon in Boston.

Third year in a row I've signed up for the NYC Marathon lottery. Never once has my number come up. Usually I take a sigh of relief when that happens. And then I'm disappointed. And then I start looking for other ways to get a guaranteed spot in the race by raising money for a charity.  And then I'm really disappointed in myself when I don't have the heart to do all the fundraising. I know.

Anyone else enter it this year? Anyone RUN in it? For a charity?!

I haven't gone out for a jog in awhile. Thinking I should. Maybe it will bring me some good luck.

My NYC Half Marathon review from last year is here. I didn't really like it. Hoping I'll have a better experience by running an extra 13 miles . . .


All I've Ate Today is a Bagel*

Last week I (and over 2 million other people) watched this video on things Nyorkers say. I thought it was great, but I started thinking a funny spin off could be a video of things Nyorker parents say.  I find myself apologizing a lot, especially when I have the double stroller. Excuse me, sorry, oh gosh! Oopps, I ran over your toes! Totally misjudged. Ah! Your heals! Pardon me.

And you should see the looks I get when I say I send my kids to the local public school!

What are things you've heard New Yorker parents say?

*i know it's not grammatically correct, but it's how he said it in the video. ha


Art Night with Todd Oldham

Last night we celebrated Todd Oldham's new line of art supplies coming to Target this May. The collection is called Kid Made Modern (the craft book is available here.) Everything in the collection is beautifully made, high quality, and inspiring. I wish I took more pictures of my favorites: The comic book kit, the wooden blocks, the watercolors (so many colors!). Instead, I was busy chasing Owen and Oscar away from the snack bar. For most of the evening the boys had a chocolate cookie in one hand and paint brush in the other. Life couldn't have been better for them.
About Todd: He's so genuine and kind.  I remember watching him years ago on the TV show Top Design. He seemed so thoughtful with all the contestants, treating them as friends. He was exactly the same way in person. He asked really good questions and my kids adored him. At the end of the night, he took my goody bag and started stuffing it with more art supplies. While it might look like the conversation they are having with Todd to the left is about something deep like art philosophy, it was actually going something more like this:
Oscar: Your face is red!
Todd: It is? Oh, it's because I'm a little hot in this sweater.
Ella: How could you be hot on such a cold day?

Unbeknownst to me, actress/comedian/writer Amy Sedaris was also there. I atleast should have recognized her from Elf, but I didn't. Instead, I did talk to her about one of the kids at the party who was perfectly covered in paint. I asked her, "Oh wow, who's that kid's mom?" And she said, "Oh that's my kid!"  And I believed her! I said something ridiculous like, "Really? He's so awesome!" haha She probably thought I was such an idiot. Oh well.  She was so nice and I couldn't get my eyes off of her despite not knowing why. Then I overheard someone say, "Isn't that Amy Sedaris?" oh yeah . . . it is . . .

Below are pictures of the kids playing and creating and also some of the art supplies I took home. One of the best things about the Kid Made Modern art supplies their packaging.  Everything is tastefully done with modern colors and shapes and minimal graphics. I asked Todd about that.  He told me that as a kid he remembers studying everything about his art supplies. The colors, the packaging, it was all important and interesting to him. He wanted to create beautiful art supplies for kids to enjoy! I think he did just that.  Look for the Kid Made Modern collection this May at Target.

This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.


Influencers are a Few of My Favorite Things

Usually before I do anything, I consult my top influencers (Rotten Tomatoes, 2012 Michelin Guide, Yelp, Amazon's book reviews, my favorite blogs, etc.). It's helps navigate me through a world full of mindless choices. Take the downtown floral store Harvest for example. How in the world am I suppose to choose just one color of rose? Look at all the options! I've never seen a store like it. I was so happy to discover it by myself so I could take my time to investigate each rose and find my favorite.

But then after awhile, I couldn't make up my mind. So finally I decided on these tangerine color roses. Big shout out to whoever correctly guesses who influenced me!

How do you decide what movie your going to watch/what nail polish color/or what book to read?  Do you trust your own instincts and experiences? Or do you use others to guide you? A mix of both?
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