Upper West Side Restaurants: Cafe Fiorello

I've only been to Cafe Fiorello's twice, but each time I've ordered this gluttonous chocolate mousse dessert. Here's how it works: The server brings out two large silver buckets, one filled with whipped cream and the other is filled chocolate mousse, and dumps it all onto your plate with a large spoon. The presentation couldn't be sloppier. It's not much to look at, but I love it. One of my favorite desserts in NYC. And, now, Oscar's too!
You got a little something on your cheek. No the other one. Over, left, in the middle . . . Oh, never mind. 
took this picture after we already ate about half. 


Papier Mache Print Issue 5 Out NOW

A few months ago, my kids participated in a photo shoot for Papier Mache Magazine. The theme: Dreams. OMG I just saw a PDF version of the article. Amazing. Ella and two of the other girls were asked simple questions about dreams like What was your last dream? What colors are in your dreams? What was your favorite dream? I'm so proud. Kendra Smoot (the prop stylist) texted me these pics by photographer Anna Palma to hold me over while I wait for my print issue to arrive. I can't wait! Order it here.
Behind the scenes pictures after the jump.


Healthy Breakfast Ideas: Shakes and Bars (Giveaway)

A weekday breakfast for us is typically half of a protein bar with fruit for the kids and a smoothie for me. I've found it's the easiest way to get out the door on time. On a good week, I make enough shakes to last three days and buy enough breakfast bars to last the week. I was stoked when Pure Protein contacted me to try their products. It's a perfect fit!

Below is a simple and delicious Black and White Smoothie recipe I created using the Pure Protein Vanilla Cream Whey Powder

Black and White Smoothie

1 scoop of Pure Protein Vanilla Cream Whey Protein Powder
1 tbsp cacao powder
6-8 oz unsweetened vanilla coconut milk beverage
1/4 avocado
1/2 frozen banana
1 tsp raw honey
2 ice cubes

Place everything into the blender and mix until smooth. Serves one.
I was introduced to the importance of having protein for breakfast in high school during a SAT prep class. The teacher, aka gym coach, told us to eat healthy fats and protein (without sugar!) the morning of the test. It was the first time I ever thought of breakfast in terms of protein, not just calories. Her advice stuck with me. Every morning since, I've tried to include protein in my breakfast. Why? A quick google search reminded me the protein helps supports brain function and leads to increased alertness throughout the morning. With a whopping 20 grams of protein in each bar Pure Protein sent me and 25 in each gram scoop of the Vanilla Cream Whey Protein Powder, I can feel confident my kids and I are functioning at our best!

What is your favorite weekday breakfast food? Write your answer in the comments section for your chance to win a Pure Protein Prize Pack filled with 12 Vanilla Cream Shakes4 bars, and a 1 pound container of the Pure Protein Whey Powder Mix. A $50 Value. Enter by this Thursday (2/28) night. Winner will be announced Friday morning.

This post is sponsored by Pure Protein. Check out great ways to Eat Good and Look Great.


No Fighting On Date Night!

june 15, 2006
One of the biggest perks of having a job is getting a guaranteed date night with Rob. Once a week, I have a babysitter stay a few hours longer so we can go out to dinner. It gives us something to look forward to every week. All day long we text each other messages about date night. With the cost of dinner and the babysitter, it's unclear if I make any money that day. But it's worth it!

One time Rob bought a discounted dinner package through GroupOn. As soon as we entered the restaurant, the hostess greeted us by saying, "Groupon?"

Rob leaned in and whispered to me, "How did he know I had a Groupon coupon?" One look around the restaurant was obvious. We were a good forty years younger than everyone else sitting at the tables. It made for a wild night.

Another time we got into the stupidest fight before dinner. Luckily the friends we were meeting with were 30 minutes late so we could hash it out. By the time they arrived we made up! Had they showed up on time, yikes! Not our finest moment.


Day Off: Gone Fishing

i see you owen.
Here's some of my posts from Elizabeth Street you might have missed:

The Best Landscape Instagram Pics Inspiration to pull my camera away from my darling precious angels once in my life and take a picture of a damn sunset.
10 Colorful Pinners You Need to Follow Color-coded boards: love it or over it?
The Bullies of Books haha just kidding ;)
Lovey Dovey Table Top Decor Who says hearts, arrows, and love notes need to be limited to Valentine’s Day? I'm STILL regretting not picking out a heart shape diamond engagement ring. Please tell me someone reading this has one.
8 Tips for Arranging Grocery Store Flowers . This one was lost after Sandy, but it's back up!
5 Personal Finance Tips from expert financial advisor Theresa C. Wan. Because I should never ever ever ever dish out money advice. Ignore me if I start.
Bebe Day By Day Book Party omg this post was edited to death, but the photos are mine! ha


President's Day Weekend

We spent the weekend mauling Theodore Roosevelt at the Museum of Natural History. For an entire year, the museum is celebrating his love of nature and his American conservation efforts. Check out more details here.
A bronzed Santa? 
See the cute children with mine in the top picture? My childhood BFF and her family came to visit us. Miss her love her. Growing up, our moms (also BFFs) took us on trips to museums (hello Dali!) on days off from school. Here we are doing the same for our children. I now know it was probably equally as fun for them as it was for us kids. Although I could do without the bathroom breaks!

More pictures of the gang after the jump . . .


My Deflowering: Visiting the Museum of Sex

I'm pretty open about sex. I've already talked to my kids about it. I've been married for about ten years. Even so, my visit the the Museum of Sex was quite shocking . . .



*Click here for my Pink Lemonade Pancakes recipe*
Happy Valentine's Day!! I have a hot date at the Museum of Sex with Rob tonight. We canceled our dinner reservations at One if By Land for the Shake Shack. I just opened the fridge and saw a box of chocolates from CVS. Looking forward to day of cheap sleazy thrills with the one I've loved since 2001. The journal entry I wrote moments before our first date is here. It feels like I wrote it yesterday. It's been so long, I can't even do the math. 
Below is Oscar pounding through his Valentine's Day cards. Ella got the special DIY Valentines this year. See her cute cards here. The boys however? BAM and they were done.
(Funnier on Vine.


Fashion Week 2013

Sometimes I think I could be taken more seriously if I wasn't walking around NYC like this. Where do I begin? Mix matched gloves. A Russian hat. A bright orange sled. A rain jacket. Snacks in my pockets!
out of my way!!
in my head, i look like her. 


Mardi Gras King Cupcake

i finally planned ahead and used use a photographer and the light room at my office to take this picture.
Makes a huge difference. See more pics here.  
Over the weekend, I tested out my Mardi Gras King Cupcakes idea with the kids. It was so fun! According to tradition, every Mardi Gras party needs a King Cake. Inside each cake is a trinket, usually a plastic baby, to represent Jesus. The person who finds the baby in their slice of cake is proclaimed King or Queen of the party.

While my homemade version is nowhere near as professional looking as this one I did for Elizabeth Street, I was happy with the results. After Owen pulled the baby out of his cupcake and was made king, he demanded he wanted to eat all the cupcakes, use his middle fingers as much as he wanted (thanks Mr.Bean), decorate a Christmas Tree (?) and make Oscar his servant. I suggested we just have a dance party with New Orleans jazz music instead. He seemed cool with that option.

I was surprised Oscar and Ella didn't fuss too much about not winning. I guess the rings kept them satisfied and happy enough. They ignored Owen's ridiculous demands as they tore it up the dance floor. It's crazy what even the slightest bit of power can do. Eh boy.

Mardi Gras is tomorrow if you need an excuse to party twice this week! Click here to read my super simple instructions to make your very own child-safe King Cake.
i was missing a few key ingredients like eggs and milk and even cupcake liners. haha 
I found these rings in the clearance bin at Anthropologie for $10. Sadly, I can't find them online.  

Blurry pictures of the dance party after the jump. Happy Mardi Gras!


Favorite Shoe Sale: Chukka Boots

It's happened:
All my kids wear the same size shoes.
And one of our favorite pairs of boots are half off for $25 at Lands' End
We own both the olive and the sandstorm. Great quality, especially for the price!
Tons of sizes in both colors are still left. 

Also, if you are interested in Oscar's blue boots (see above), 
they are 20% off this weekend with coupon code: KIDDIES here at Piperlime. 
Really limited sizes in the blue, though. Good luck!

Check out more pictures of the kids sporting these boots on 
Also--outtakes featuring these shoes after the jump!


A Post for Writers: Getting Edited to Death

This picture has nothing to do with this text and any editor would advise not putting it with this post. ;)
A few weeks ago, editors started looking over my copy at Elizabeth Street. I was stoked. Until they actually looked over my work. Then I broke down.

A week into it, I sent this text to writer Joanna Goddard: Hey--we just started a new editing system at Elizabeth Street where I submit my posts two days early and two editors fix the hell out of it. It's awesome. I love their edits. I always agree with them, especially when they take out all my exclamation marks!!! But at the same time, I've started to doubt myself as a writer. No sentence goes untouched. Is this a totally normal process?

She responded: Totally normal. When I was an editor years ago, my boss told me, only change things when you're making it *better*, not just making it *different*. Thought it was great advice although most editors don't follow it!

I had to include Joanna's thoughts here so I never forget. Especially after what happened with my Bully Book Round-Up. It's an extreme example, but clearly shows the difference between what I submit and what gets published. Everything from my title to the last word got changed. I think there's good things in both texts, but I like the published/edited version better. It's more streamlined, coherent and professional. Mine version gets clunky at times. Check out the difference below. Do you agree with the edits?


Hiho Batik: Handmade Art

My boys and I recently had the chance to check out Hiho Batik, a relatively new art space-cum-boutique in Park Slope, Brooklyn. I loved the store--the calm vibe, the design, and (on a practical side) the fit of the shirts. You know how t-shirts can sometimes be too wide or too short? Their shirts are just right and so soft. But that's not even the coolest part! We soon met Robyn Stylman and her business partner Julia Gordon and learned about the art space in the back of the store. That's where costumers can create their own personalized batik shirts, bags, bibs, aprons, even pillows!

Gordon has been practicing the art of batik for more than 18 years in Boulder and Miami. I was unfamiliar with this popular Indonesian fabric design, so Gordon explained, “The process of batik involves outlining a design on a shirt using hot wax, painting the design with dyes, waxing over the design to keep the colors in place, and finally dying the final piece of cloth. The wax simply gets washed out in the process and you are left with a one-of-a-kind piece of art.”

I couldn't wait to test it out, but that nervous feeling I get when I'm doing something new crept up on me. However, the owners and employees were so calm as they walked me and the boys through the process that I really enjoyed myself. I kept repeating the montra they have written cheerfully on the chalkboard in the back room, "There are no mistakes in art." This especially applies to batik. It's ok if the end result is a little messy. It actually looks better!

Here's some pictures of Oscar's experience. After the jump is Owen's (aka the artist) experience. I highly recommend Hiho Batik. You can walk-in or reserve the space for any occasion. I can't wait to go back and pick up our shirts. Read more details about my exsperience in an article I did for Elizabeth Street here.
That's Julia Gordon helping Oscar with his design. Plus, a mug full of permanent markers!!  
goofy face. he's stoked. i want that dog.
This is Oscar pouring the hot wax onto the shirt. Super hot but super safe thanks to Julia keeping a watchful eye. 
I couldn't tell if my boys were more thrilled to paint or wear rubber gloves.
Here's an example of a finished product. Buy this Dino Bones shirt here. Comes in adult size, too ha ;)
  Owen's turn after the jump . . .


Sprinkle Sundae Cups

Every time I want to duplicate someone's idea, I do it with gusto thanks to this quote by Pablo Picasso: "Bad artists copy. Good artists steal.” That said, I totally copied Katrina's Super Bowl Sundaes last week for my post on Elizabeth Street. I thought I could simplify her steps, make ingredient adjustments, and it would be totally awesome. It wasn't terrible, but you be the judge.

The best thing that came from it was that I discovered a quick trick to make dessert bowls special. I lined all the bowls with regular decorator icing and then poured in sprinkles. All the sprinkles stayed on like glue. It was beautiful and playful and so easy. I would love to make it ahead for an ice cream social. Wouldn't a bunch of these bowls be so pretty lined up for a party? I should have stopped at this step!

Buy these mini latte bowls from Anthropologie or Paris ;) 


Instagram: My New Assignment at Elizabeth Street

Pier running in San Francisco
Even though Instagram is suddenly old news thanks to VINE (links to my short article), I've been asked to submit two photos a day on Elizabeth Street's Instagram feed. It's been fun going through my iPhone photos and selecting images that fit with their brand. Especially the ones I took before Instagram was invented. I finally get to put those images to use!

Here's some of the images I've already posted on their feed and some sneak peeks I'm planning to post next week. Oh! FYI: I'm reserving my current images for my Instagram feed (sharonbeesley) and my other photos for Elizabeth Street (ElizabethStMom).

Fanta Cheers from Mexico! That's Ella with her short haircut. I hated brushing her hair when she was three. 
Our weekend at my friend's house/mansion in New Jersey. 
Saving this picture for Valentine's Day :) Thanks Mike G for taking this pic.
Sneak peeks and ones I've used after the jump. 

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