Monday, December 30, 2013

Win Baby Magic No-Rinse Wash

My kids have perpetually dirty faces. Every time I turn around, one of them is covered in something. So when Kristi (who represents Baby Magic) asked if I'd like to review their No-Rinse wash, I was psyched.

The No-Rinse Wash is great for when your kids are dirty from the playground or have just eaten pizza, are covered in tomato sauce and you forgot to bring baby wipes with you. Maybe you stopped buying baby wipes because your children are out of diapers. In that case, the No-Rinse wash is an awesome item to keep in your bag. 

Baby Magic has been in business since the 1950's. Their products are cruelty free, paraben free, made in the USA and hypoallergenic. 

In order to test out the No-Rinse Wash, I started with a dirty face, which wasn't hard to come by in my house. 

Then I squirted some No-Rinse wash out.

Let me pause here to tell you about the scent. The No-Rinse wash has a subtle fresh scent. It's not overpowering, but rather it smells faintly like baby powder. After applying the wash, this happened:

Naturally, when Samara saw what was going on, she wanted to try the No-Rinse Wash. I don't blame her, I was the youngest child too. She didn't want to miss out on the fun. 

The No-Rinse wash isn't just for faces. You can use in the place of soap. Let's say you went to the beach and you don't feel like giving your kids a full-on bath. You can use the No-Rinse wash instead. In fact after I tried it out on my kids, Samara decided to pump out some foam and rub it all over my legs…for fun. My legs smell pretty great right now. 

Want to win the No-Rinse Wash from Baby Magic for your dirty faced kiddos? Enter below!

**Giveaway open to U.S. residents only.
***This is a product review. All opinions expressed are my own

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Win Tree Hut Shea Body Butter and Shea Sugar Body Scrub and Smell Amazing!

The smell of shea butter is one of my favorite smells of all time. So when Kristi reached out to me on behalf of Tree Hut and asked if I'd like to review and giveaway their Shea Body Butter and Shea Sugar Scrub, I wanted to jump through the computer and hug her.

When I received the body products, I was more excited than usual to take a shower. Kristi told me that the Shea Sugar Body Scrub was great for exfoliating and awesome to shave your legs with. So with that information in my mind, I hopped into the shower.

Kristi was right. The Shea Sugar Body Scrub rocks! My legs feel amazing! It definitely is an exfoliant, but it's a gentle one. For me that's important since I have sensitive skin.

Shaving cream, I think we need to break up. I have a new shower boyfriend. The Shea Sugar Body Scrub in the Almond & Honey flavor has a wonderfully fresh smell. When I smelled it I actually felt a little more awake. Take that coffee! It's made with organic shea butter and essential oils including evening primrose oil. Love it!

Then I moved on to the Shea Body Butter.

When I opened this sexy container, I immediately put my nose up to it and smelled inside. I knew it was going to smell great, but I wasn't prepared for my reaction. I actually wanted to eat it. But I held myself back and decided that I'd better rub it on my body instead.

Let me tell you guys, this stuff is awesome. I have eczema and it flares up during the winter. The Shea Body Butter moisturized my skin and made me smell like a vanilla milkshake. In the words of the 90s girl group, SWV, I'm so into you, Shea Body Butter.

One of the things I love about the Shea Body Butter is that it's made with organic shea butter and fortified with vitamins A, C and E.  I am dedicated to using natural products and it's important to me (if I can) to use organic products on my body.

Do you want to win this dynamic smelling duo? You know you do! Enter below and if you're lucky, you'll smell as good as I do right now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Giveaway open to U.S. residents only.
***This is a product review. All opinions expressed are my own

Sunday, December 8, 2013

What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up?

For the past five and a half years, I've been mainly home raising my children. When Ari was born I made a decision to stay home with him so that I wouldn't miss a thing. I saw him crawl, walk and talk.

When Ari turned one I began substitute teaching. A few months later, I started transcribing for reality television. The teaching was flexible and I could do it when my parents were available to watch Ari. Transcription I could do from home and was also fairly flexible, although deadlines were tight.

My life has changed now, and I'm in need of a more steady income. I need to find a full time job.

The challenge is this: my resume looks like an impressionist painting. It's full of varying jobs. From working at a veterinary hospital to being a vocational rehabilitation counselor to becoming a substitute teacher.

I've had many jobs, but I've never had a career.

At this point in my life, it's time to decide on a career and pursue it. As a Libra, I tend to be indecisive. But once I make up my mind it's unmovable. It's just getting to that point where I make a decision that's tough.

The question is, what do I want to be when I grow up?

I know I want to do something creative.

I'd love to teach theater to kids. I looked into it, and the drama license from New York City Department of Education for theater is for Kindergarten through 12th grade. So that's an option. But that requires having the Department of Education evaluate my transcript and more coursework, so that's not an immediate option.

I need to find a job in the interim that allows me to use my creativity but also pays the bills.

Any ideas?

Monday, November 25, 2013

SuSu - A New York Cat Story

We were all devastated when our cat Simon died. Samara kept saying at random intervals. "Simey died," or "Simey went bye bye."

Just a few weeks before Simon died, Ari and I were passing by a local bodega on the way home from school when we noticed a kitten walk outside onto the sidewalk.

"Get her, Mommy! We have to save her or she might run into the street and get dead!" Ari said frantically. So we brought her back inside the deli.

Ever since that day, we made it a point to visit the deli after school and see SuSu, which is what the store employees named her.

We would play with her and hold her. She particularly enjoyed batting my dangling earrings around. Sometimes she would just curl up with Ari on the floor.

After a while, the kids and I became attached to SuSu.

One day, suddenly (after sixteen years of life) our cat Simon passed away. We were left with a empty place in our home and in our hearts.

The day Simon died, I went to the bodega to see if SuSu was there. In my mind, I thought, if she was there, I would ask the owner if we could have her. We'd bonded with her so much over the past couple of weeks, I felt as if she already was our cat. But SuSu was nowhere to be found.
"I think she's taking a nap behind the paper towels up there." Said the guy who worked behind the counter.

I came back the next day and there was SuSu happily laying in her favorite spot, next to the apples and bananas in the window sill of the deli. I turned to Ali, the owner of the deli and asked:
"Do you think we could have her? We're really attached to her, and our cat just passed away."
"Well, you know, the customers really love her," Ali said "And we need a cat."
"How about this, just think about it?" I asked hopefully.
"Okay, I'll think about it." He said with a small smile.

We returned to the bodega every day after that for several more days. Every couple of days I would ask Ali again:
"Do you think we could keep her?"
"I don't know. We really need a cat. But I'll think about it." He'd always reply.

One day, I asked one my friend Amanda how to say "good deed" in Arabic. I can't for the life of me remember how to say it now, but I came to Ali and told him in Arabic that giving us the cat would be a good deed. He smiled and said (predictably) "Okay, I'll think about it."

Today, I went into the deli to say hi to SuSu. Ali turned to me and said:
"So you can have her. But I will need your address and phone number. If you could bring her back once every couple of months for a week, if there's a mouse or something, it's a deal."
"Really?" I asked in disbelief. "Thank you so much!"

I quickly scribbled my address and phone number on a tiny scrap of receipt paper and thanked Ali profusely. Then I picked up SuSu and carried her home in my arms since Ali didn't have a cat carrier.

The other day, I asked Ari "What would you name SuSu if Ali says we can keep her?"
"Carly." He said. I thought about it and it was the perfect name. What immediately sprang to mind was the folk artist Carly Simon, which made me think: Simon! Naming her Carly was like a homage to Simon.

So Carly is the newest member to our home, and we love her so much already.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Simon Book

Dear Simon,

I remember the day Brian and I found you at BARC shelter in Brooklyn. You had no tail and you were wrestling with a white cat named Cody. Joanna, who worked there, said you were a special boy. She was right. For the past 11 years you have been there for me through everything in my life. You were there through heartbreaks, good times and awful times. You snuggled with me when I was sad and slept next to my chest when I was sick.

You were a wise professor.

I loved how you were great with other animals. You loved dogs, bunnies, and other cats too!

You loved to eat any and all food, but you especially loved oatmeal and apples. You would eat anything though, including  licking the cap of my dad's Diet Coke.

I'm so glad you got to see my children and be in their lives, but let's face it: you were my first child.

Ari and I made a book with our memories of you in it. It was Ari's idea.

Hopefully, I be able to stop crying soon. I really miss you. 

I will never forget you. 

I love you, Simon. 

I know you're up there in heaven stealing some old man's scrambled eggs and purring about it. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Please Stop Screaming - Zombies Are Not Eating Us

Samara is two and a half-ish and she has developed this delightful habit of screaming when she doesn't get what she wants. I know (in my mind) that it's a phase. She won't be screaming for the rest of her life.  I don't reinforce the screaming by giving her what she wants when she's shattering the glass windows in my apartment with her screeching. But still, I'm starting to lose whatever sanity I might have had left.

I'm so tired of the screaming. It makes me cranky.

Every time she screams I say "Please stop screaming and tell me what you want."

This tends to get her to stop for a minute, but then five minutes later something else pisses her off and she's screaming again.

I mean, I know it's hard to be two. I get it. You have limited control over what you wear or what your day's activities are going consist of, but can you please do me a favor and stop screaming about it?

For example, if Ari took your dollhouse away, just say "Hey Mommy! Ari took my dollhouse!" You don't need to scream so loud that my ears feel like someone shot an arrow through them.

Perhaps you object to whatever I served you for lunch. Instead of deafening me and showing me your bright pink tonsils, you could try saying "I don't want to eat that."

Maybe you don't want to wear that green shirt. That's cool. All you need to do is say "I want to wear my pink shirt." There's really no need to act as if zombies are about to eat our brains, the house is burning down and I told you that you can never have a cupcake again in your entire life.

In summation, just tell me what it is you want and stop scaring the shit out of me.

Thank you.

Monday, November 4, 2013


This Halloween we went trick or treating on 5th Avenue in Brooklyn. We stopped at all the various stores. The kids were happy to fill their 99 cent store plastic pumpkin baskets with candy loot. 

As we were collecting the goods I kept thinking about how different it was trick or treating when I was little. I lived in a ten story building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. We used to ring every apartment doorbell and try to get as much candy as possible. 

Then I thought about how trick or treating would be for kids who grew up in the suburbs or the country. It must be fun to knock on actual house doors! I've never had that experience as a city kid. 

How was your Halloween?  Boo! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Circle Line Halloween Kids Cruise!

On Saturday October 26th, the kids and I had the pleasure of attending an awesome Halloween Kids Cruise by the Circle Line!

There was a balloon artist, a face painter, a magician, and a band on board the boat.

Samara was excited about the face painter. She requested to become a mermaid. 

Here she is with her mermaid face and tail!

While we were waiting in line to get her face painted, the magician showed us some cool card tricks. 

This is our friend Liam (who we met on the cruise) getting his face painted into a scary pumpkin!

Liam was visiting New York all the way from London. 

All the kids on the boat got to dance to the sounds of Baze and His Silly Friends! Baze and His Silly Friends is an awesome kids band from New Jersey. They were dressed for the occasion like pirates.

 We liked their music so much, that Samara requested a CD. 

One of our favorite songs was a jam that combined the popular nursery rhymes and had all the kiddos rocking out. 

And let's remember the best part of being on a boat: looking out on the water!

The kids and I had an awesome time on board. 

Thank you to the Circle Line for an awesome Halloween Kids Cruise!*

*This is a sponsored post for the Circle Line. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

"Can Jewish Women Have it All?"

Tonight I had the opportunity to speak at the JCC of Greater New Haven on the topic of "Can Jewish Women Have it All?"

I was joined by Rabbi Rona Shapiro, two wonderful female Jewish authors, Blu Greenberg and Michelle Cove, Rabbi Leah Cohen, and Doris Zelinsky, former CEO of Country Home Bakers.

I was truly honored to be surrounded by such well accomplished women in the Jewish community and to have a chance to share in their thoughts about whether or not Jewish women could "have it all."

Before I got to the JCC I had prepared what I would speak about. Once I began to hear the other brilliant women on this panel speak, my ideas shifted and changed. I was inspired by what ideas these women of varying ages and career backgrounds brought to the table.

I am excited to read Blu and Michelle's books!

Special shout out to DeDe Jacobs-Komisar for inviting me to speak on this panel. You're awesome!

Oh! And here's my answer to the question, can Jewish women have it all? You can have whatever is important to you and what you set your mind to have. It's a matter of realizing what you value and love in your life and going for it!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Stop! - Ari Speaks Up

When I picked up Ari today, one of the paras approached me. A para is someone who works one on one with a child who has special needs.

"I wanted to let you know that Ari came up to me on the playground today and let me know that a group of kids were hitting Bryan.**  He said that Bryan was telling them to stop and they weren't listening. They asked him to hit Bryan too, but instead he said he wanted to tell a teacher."

She said that she was able to stop the kids from hitting Bryan and she thanked Ari for telling her. I, in turn thanked her for telling me the story.

I was glad that Ari spoke up. I was so proud of him, and I told him so.

I can only hope that if one day Ari is in Bryan's position, another kid speaks up for him.

**Not his real name

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Circle Line Halloween Kids Cruise - 10/26/13 NYC!

Halloween is approaching and The Circle Line Kids Cruise is prepared to celebrate! Bring your kids on board the Halloween Kids Cruise on Saturday 10/26/13 at 10am and make sure to come in costume. Want to hear more? Here's Lindsey Guinn from Circle Line with the scoop:

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Box Game

Today a tradition was passed down. Many elementary school children have learned this ancient practice over the years. It was time that Ari learned The Box Game.

For those of you who don't know The Box Game, it works like this: 

Each player draws one line at a time between two dots. The object is to make a box. When you get a box, you draw your first initial inside to claim it. 

Ari now knows the sacred tradition of The Box Game.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Motherhood Comes Naturally (and other vicious lies) - By Jill Smokler -AKA Scary Mommy - A Review

"You'll sleep more when the kids get older."
"Parenting strengthens a marriage."
"It gets easier!"
"It's just a phase."
"Parents have all the answers."

These are some of the lies that people innocently (or not so innocently) offer to new parents to make them feel better about parenthood. Jill Smokler debunks these statements in her book: Motherhood Comes Naturally (and other vicious lies). 

I loved reading this book. I was laughing or nodding internally with each page. I have my own confession to make, I actually sat my children in front of the TV several times so that I could sneak away to my bedroom to read. That's how good it is. 

So if those statements above aren't true, then what is?

Motherhood is never sleeping because every hour one of these things happens:
1. A child climbs into your bed.
2. Your kid is sleeping in your bed and kicks you in the face.
3. Your other child peed on herself and needs to be changed. 
4. Your husband is snoring so loudly through all of this that you want to murder him. 

Motherhood Comes Naturally (and other vicious lies) makes moms feel sane. It makes you feel less guilty for wanting to pee in peace or being annoyed by your kids because they want something and you just want to take a nap.

One of my favorite parts of the book is entitled "Five Hours in The Life of a Stay at Home Mom."
Here are some of the things that occur within this time period:
"5:24 Get kicked in the face by toddler"
"5:31 Get kicked in the thigh by toddler"
"8:19 Enter grocery store find bananas, coffee, and Advil." P. 121-123 Motherhood Comes Naturally (and other vicious lies). 

This book would make an awesome baby shower gift or a present for an already experienced mom who knows what's up. 

Without further ado, I will pass this book on to my dear friend Lea Grover over at Becoming Super Mommy. She won it during a chat session on OS/NS Mom! 

So what are you waiting for go read Jill's book! You will laugh your ass off!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bee's Wrap - A Natural Alternative to Conserving Leftovers

My friend Josina sent me a email a while back and asked me to check out Bee's Wrap. Bee's Wrap is a natural alternative to conserving leftovers rather than using things like aluminum foil.

Bee's Wrap is fabric combined magically with beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin and voila! There you have it, a natural way to keep your food fresh!

 Check out how it worked covering my leftover bowl of brown rice spaghetti!

Bee's Wrap is awesome at covering leftover pasta, wrapping cheese, veggies, bread, snacks or even half an avocado!

I love using Bee's Wrap with my leftovers. It feels great in my hands. It's fun to manipulate it, and it smells great!

Do you want to win three sizes of Bee's Wrap? Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cold Hands Warm Heart

We were in line at Dunkin Donuts. An elderly lady stood behind me in line. She clutched my arm. Her hands were cold.
"Oh you're so warm!" She said. "I'm always cold."
"You know what they say? Cold hands, warm heart." I said with a smile.
I instinctively rubbed her hand to warm it.
"That feels so nice." She said smiling back. "I can't stand for so long." She said.
"You can go ahead of me in line." I told her.
"Do you have grandkids?" I asked.
"Oh sure. They're all almost through college." She replied.
"Nice." I replied "Any great grandkids?"
"Not yet. Soon!" She said with a laugh. I laughed too.
"Are those yours?" She said pointing to Ari and Samara who were looking at the juice cooler.
"Yes. They are."
"Beautiful," she said. I was still rubbing her cold hand. "Here, buy something for the kids." With that she handed me three dollars. I bought donuts.
There is good in the world.

KneeBouncers- Great Play with Purpose

A few years back, I found an awesome site for kids called Kneebouncers. It allowed Ari (who was two at the time) to use my computer without breaking it and learn letters, numbers, shapes, and colors! When I heard that Kneebouncers had released an IPad app called Great Play with Purpose, I was excited for Samara to get in on the action. So I wrote to the guys over at Kneebouncers and asked if we could give it a try. They graciously agreed!

Samara had a great time on the Kneebouncers app learning colors through popping balloons:

She learned number and letters:

And she moved on to some shapes! She had the help of Freddy the bear :)

She also got to play with a train:

Samara highly recommends the Kneebouncers Great Play With Purpose app. If you want to check it out for your kid, go to the app store and look up "KneeBouncers Great Play with Purpose" or just click here!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Vegan À La Mode - A Cookbook Giveaway!

When I was at BlogHer13', I attended a writing seminar on how to transform a blog into a book. One of the panelists at that seminar was Hannah Kaminsky. I was impressed by how articulate she was when she revealed her path toward getting published. Hannah is a tenacious young woman. She's already a successful published author in her early twenties.

The unique part of her journey is that she was able to publish her vegan cookbooks without a literary agent. She pitched her proposal directly to publishers and she was picked up by a publishing house directly. I was impressed by her perseverance and her humility.

I was excited when Hannah agreed to let me giveaway Vegan À La Mode, her vegan ice cream cookbook!

First of all, all the ice cream looks delicious. Secondly the recipes have awesome titles like "Cookie Monster Ice Cream," which I'm dying to try. Other recipes include "Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream" "Cheesecake Ice Cream" "Double Chocolate Fudge Chunk Ice Cream" and "Hint of Mint Chocolate Sorbet" Seriously, check this out:

I don't know about you, but that belongs in my belly. 

So check it out guys, Lauren from Skyhorse Publishing agreed to give away FIVE copies of Vegan À La Mode to five of my lucky readers. You can enter to win Hannah's yummy cookbook below.

Good luck and happy ice cream!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Circle Line Liberty Cruise!

This morning we were scheduled to attend the Circle Line Radio Disney Kids Cruise. As our luck would have it, on the way to our to the 10:00am cruise, we were in a taxi and got stuck in traffic on 42nd Street behind a giant tow truck. I kept willing the truck to move faster in my mind, but it didn't listen to me.

We got the dock of The Circle Line at 10:07am and found that the Kids Cruise had already left. I didn't want to let my kids down, so I went into the Circle Line office and asked if they would let us attend a different cruise instead. They graciously allowed us to hop on board the Liberty Cruise at 10:45am. The kids were psyched.**

The Liberty Cruise is 75 minutes long. I was nervous that the kids would melt down and it would be too long for them. It turned out it was the complete opposite. They were fascinated with all the scenery.

                                Ari took this picture!

 They especially loved looking out at the water.

There's something about being around water that is therapeutic to kids and adults.

Ari had fun exploring the ship.

As a native New Yorker, I still appreciate being a tourist in my own city. It's fun to check out historical landmarks like Ellis Island...

and of course the famous lady in green, The Statue of Liberty!

Samara was loving the boat and being outside in the cool air. She kept trying to say "liberty" but it sounded more like "liw-boo-tee."

Of course they got hungry half way through our journey. Ari was excited to eat his giant pretzel and Samara was happy to have her hotdog. 

Even the bathrooms were nice on this boat!

The staff was super friendly. I especially loved our tour guide, Dave. 

Dave has been with the Circle Line since 1993. He's worked with the company for 20 seasons. When giving the tour, he told us that he started with an initial script but his schtick has changed over the years based on the questions of passengers on board. I thought that was pretty cool. The patrons of the Circle Line had a role in the content of the tour. 

We had a great experience on The Liberty Cruise. If you're visiting New York, or even if you're a native, it's a fun way to spend the day either as a genuine tourist or a tourist in your own city.

The kids and I will be attending the Circle Line Kids Cruise on October 26th. We hope to see you there too!

For more information on The Circle Line click here. For information on the Circle Line Kids Cruises click here.

**This is a sponsored post for The Circle Line. All opinions expressed are my own.