When aden + anais sent an eblast out asking fans to submit their "mom hacks" for a chance to win an invite to their headquarters and some swag, I didn't think much of winning when I entered. But the swaddle angels looked down favorably on me and a few days later I got an email saying I'm invited! So I invited fellow mama, RL, and we hopped across the river to Dumbo to check out where the muslin magic happens and take a peek at aden + anais.
The cocktail party, held in the company's main conference/play room complete with bar/massage chair/air hockey table, was a small intimate affair with around 20 or so people. It was a bit awkward as all the attendees were either congregating around the lounge or the conference room table so unless you were a fearless icebreaker, everyone kind of kept to themselves. RL and I were perfectly content at the bar (lol) catching up on her recent summer travel in France with her husband and 3 month old, while sipping margaritas and sneaking in a rice krispy treat bite. It was a little like being at a middle school dance with no one willing to break out on the dance floor. However aden + anais founder, Raegan, worked both sides of the room chatting up mamas and answering questions. I learned of their other products which happened to be displayed—of which I had no idea they produced—such as a bath and body line, bedding, and muslin apparel.
my favs from the line. That romper, though?!
A sneek peek into their Fall release! I heart this blanket (for myself lol)
I fell in love with their dream and daydream blankets which are essentially multilayers of their muslin fabric used in their swaddles but bunched and sewn together with a border. SO soft! And i was living for the black and white patterns which would go so perfectly in the girls room! I mean when I found out I was pregnant, their swaddle blankets were THE go-to - HAD TO have them (and rightly so) items. The fabric is just so soft and flexible and stretchy, and the prints are across the board from modern (plain colors or iconic patterns) to baby oriented (pink/blue cutesy animals etc) to suit every kind of taste.
Both Nyla and Winter have been rocking aden + anais from day 1!
When we left all the attendees were given a swaddle blanket and products - double YAY! I can say that I've broken out the conditioner on winter's hair. I loved the texture of her hair post-conditioning so I will continue to test it out on both of us. And of course the swaddle blanket is always welcome because even though Nyla doesn't swaddle, I use it for nursing, bundling her in the stroller, or even laying out in grass if we decide to spontaneously take a trip out. So thanks again to aden + anais for the invite.
I was not compensated for this post. I'm just a fan of the brand!
Bratz are back and it's good to be yourself; It’s good to be Bratz.
Last month I was lucky enough to attend a brunch with a few other NJ and NYC bloggers to learn about a super secret relaunch of Bratz dolls. I'm finally able to share the release as the Bratz line has hit the shelves and are now available just about everywhere! First off, that brunch...mmm mmm good at Hundred Acres in Soho.
On to the really good part though: the dolls! How fun are these girls?
As a former Barbie fan I remember getting new outfits to be a special treat for my dolls, but with the bratz dolls they come with a several outfits and soooo many accessories (because what girl doesn't have accessories?!) backpacks, cell phone, cellphone covers, jewelry, stickers, etc. I mean, I wanted to break open the box and tinker with all those accessories and outfits myself (haha). Bratz also come with a variety of themed playsets. From Study Abroad Series to Fierce Fitness, the opportunities for creative play are endless. My fav was the #snowkissed playset featuring a ski lodge complete with hot cocoa, snowboards, fireplace and bar stools.
The Bratz dolls encourage self-expression, individuality, confidence, and creativity while embodying the interests, passions, fashions, and personalities of the modern day girl. Here's a glance of the crew:
What I actually really love about the line is the ability to create a custom bratz doll where you can choose their features and outfits. This is exclusively available on target.com (makes very cool gifts for your little one or their bffs!)
This was a prelim comp of the custom kit - not the actual! Click on the target link to build your own!
At the official Bratz launch at Toys r Us Times Square, I brought Winter with me and we got to hang out with Skyler Stecker who rocks out the theme song "Bratz what's up" to the bratz line. Winter danced everytime it came on (and it continually looped so you can imagine how often we all got treated to a Winter boogie) . We were treated to a breakfast spread and complimentary nail art and an autograph signing by Skyler (who I learned later was from my hometown of Tampa!). Winter and skyler were fist-bumping all morning which was cute and funny.
As far as the dolls go, Winter was intrigued by the size and the colorfulness of them but considering she's only a year and a half, I think it was just sensory overload coupled with the fact that she has the typical attention span of a toddler. How does one stay focused when there was a ginormous Ferris wheel constantly in one's view?!
The launch event culminated with a brief pep talk/intro about the vision and future of the line by Jasmin Larian, the designer and founder of the line (one of the dolls is modeled after her). Jasmin even took a selfie with Winter:
it was a fun event and will be interesting to see if my girls will gravitate to edgier independent spirit of the Bratz doll line. I won't be surprised if it ends up on a future christmas/birthday wishlists. I only wonder is who will they each choose? :)
Bratz products are available at Target, Walmart, Toys“R”Us nationwide and will soon be found at Kmart, Amazon and all other major retailers. For more information on Bratz, please visit www.bratz.com,www.facebook.com/Bratz, or www.instagram.com/officialbratz. Disclosure:I was given a gift card in June for attending the prelaunch brunch but as always, opinions are 100% my own. Thank you to Bratz and everyone involved in inviting my daughter and I to these events.
Itching to escape the city for a beach vacay, we looked at several caribbean spots but in the back of my head, I always like to put cruising on my list of options mainly for the no-brainer, all inclusive nature of a cruise. Food- check. accommodations - check. Entertainment - check. Relaxation - check plus. So for vacation, I just happened to look up a disney cruise and everything seemed to line up: dates, price (it was almost half off the regular cost), and weather. We booked with less than 2 weeks to the sailing date. That gave me 2 weeks to do some serious internet sleuthing to prep for our first time on a Disney Cruise. Things I've learned:
the beds are super comfy
Our stateroom: 7126. That couch turns into a bed. Cribs are available upon request
Which room to book? Due to the last minute booking, I opted for a guaranteed balcony room. This means you don't choose your stateroom but instead get placed based on what's left. We ended up with a great room. The disney staterooms are designed for FAMILIES. So there's space and storage and the split bathroom (a tub and a shower?! and separate toilet room?) was a plus. Don't be afraid to book a guaranteed room - you might end up scoring a better room than you bargained for.
Disney Dream lobby atrium
Cruising with an infant: I thought Winter (and us lol) would totally miss out on all the fun being that she's not old enough to use the Oceaneer's club (starts at 3 years old) which is basically the best daycare/camp I've ever seen for kids but the great thing about Disney is they've thought of that as well and have a decent sized playroom nursery that takes infants younger than 3 and at a very reasonable rate ($9/hr).
Meals are infant friendly too
Winter was still in soft-food land so we found the restaurants (as expected) to be very accommodating. And because of the rotational dining system Disney has (with 3-4 themed restaurants you rotate through for dinner), your waiters will be prepared by the second night. Our waiter would have winter's food ready and pureed to go right after seating us. Food wise, I thought it was good not great but better than I was expecting. Coming off Celebrity cruises, I thought their food (and service) was excellent but that's just a different cruise experience I thought that shouldn't be compared.
infants can't go in the pools but can enjoy the nemo splash area
Win is her name! My baby blowing away the competition...
Activities: Disney is so detailed oriented that there's activities for every age group on board. No one is left out. I was surprised to meet a good number of groups who were traveling without any children at all (strange? a little, but these were hardcore cruisers or Disney enthusiasts so I give them a pass). She was curious and the presence of hundreds of kids was fun for her. She had a few play areas she could venture into (nemo splash area), character meet and greets she could attend and even an activity or two she can participate in (diaper dash?!)
Not staged - it really looks like this.
Ports: We were on a short 4 day cruise to the Bahamas and Castaway Cay (disney's private island). All cruise reports say to skip bahamas and opt to stay on ship but we've never been so we checked out Atlantis and the Cove. Atlantis felt dated but the water park looked awesome so we'll save for an older Winter. Castaway Cay was as great as everyone reported it to be. We only had Coco Cay (royal carribbean's private island) to compare it to and its hands down above and beyond Coco. The boat literally pulls up to the island, which I assume is an engineering feat unto itself but it lends to easy disembarking (rather than hopping on a ferry to island like other cruise lines). Again, designed for everyone - (paved roads, trams, private adult only beach/area, cabanas for families, etc) Disney thinks of everything. I heard about the 5k they host on the island so I laced up and ran in that despite the crazy humidity, sun, and late morning heat. It's unofficially timed and the crew members who run the race make it as fun-minded and non-competitive as possible (spoiler: everyone gets a medal - even if you cheat the course - which is a little boring, but you get your workout in).
Don't let the smile fool you, I wanted to a pass out from the heat/humidity!
The beach areas are jam packed with recreational options for families but I liked that even the sand and design of the beach (very gradual slope) were infant-friendly. You're treated to a bbq lunch buffet/picnic on the island so don't skip it!
Overall: It was a great vacation for the family. I forgot to add they do Halloween on the Seas which lets the kids trick or treat in costume (and families went ALL OUT FOR THIS). Also memorable was Pirates of the Caribbean night (how apropo) where you have a midnight buffet and a fireworks show off the ship (pretty cool). I hear christmastime is also fun and magical for guests. This was an added bonus to the experience.
Arggh! Pirate night!
I would definitely disney cruise it up again but only when Winter can take advantage of the Oceaneer's club (It's seriously amazing and I'm a bit jealous us adults can't enjoy it!). However if you have an infant and are seriously considering it- go for it! we met a few couples traveling with infants and they like us, took everything in stride and enjoyed the option that they could have alone time whenever they wished or just have a fun new experience together as a family. As you can see from the video, we had a great time!
Had a fun night with my other half at the def jam 30th anniversary concert. I am a late bloomer when it comes to hip hop so though I appreciate watching legends step up to the mic (EPMD, Meth/Red, Keith Murray) I didn't know many songs. But once we got to the 90s artists (DMX, ja rule/ashanti, warreng G, foxxy) and current hits (2 chainz, big sean, rick ross) I was dancing and having a blast.
My two halves met me post-race and we cut through the park to check out the 9-11 memorial since it was now open and free to the public. It was really eerie/sad, but beautiful to see the scale of the footprints of the twin towers. We remember.
With Baby Dockery's arrival just a little over a month away, my dear friends Marfa, Nicole, and I (as well as Mr P) took to planning a fun co-ed baby shower cocktail party. After scouring dozens of themes on pinterest I liked the literal theme of a shower - like clouds, rain, etc but wanted to put a glam-fab twist to it. So I opted for a grown up palette of gold, black, and white, and pink accents (nod to the Baby Dockery's gender). We had the whole thing catered by Sal Lamboglia, a chef who has worked the launches of fabulous NYC restaurants like the Dutch, Locanda Verde, and now Lafayette. The food was amazing, the decor exactly what I wanted, and the vibe was fun and giddy as always. Here are some snaps from the night:
Left: my entrance :) Dress from Asos. Right: My dad, Karl, and my good friend and cohost aka (college) "roomie" Kiana
Black and Gold! I spray painted baby bottles and pacifiers gold. In keeping with the theme, I designed these water bottle labels incorporating our logo (yes Mr. P and I have a logo). I couldn't decide on 1 shower design for the front so I had fun and used all 4!
Throughout the room were a few baby items scattered on tables and on window sills. Nicole made these mini cloud arrangements for various tables. People loved the kid rainboots with hydrangeas. Also scattered about were baby photos of me and P.
One of the highlights was the slideshow we had looping on the tv showing even more embarrassing kid/baby photos of us as well as couple shots and our maternity shoot.
The Chili Bar was a hit!
Though we had passed food, I wanted guests to be able to nibble and eat all night long without searching out a server. So this buffet table was a perfect complement to have. I almost didn't get these letter balloons (I had no idea so pricey!) but I'm really glad I did. It made for a good photo backdrop for guests.
Left: Newly engaged family Nicole, Mike, and Mike Jr. Right: my "big sis" Marfa, and our fashionista, Shelley from our Spring & 6th blog days
When I saw all the crazy baby shower games you can play I instantly thought "Heck, no" lol. BUT! there was one game that I thought would be crazy fun for all my lush alcoholic friends: the baby bottle drinking race game. I wish I had it on video because we were all crying from laughing so hard at the cheers and jeers during the male and female races.
Why am I not surprised Kiana won this contest? And for the men - it was a close one between Floyd and Antony
And when the party was over...some sweet parting gifts for all our guests. Cotton Candy and mini Prosecco bottles.
Labels and bottle tags by you know who :)
Photography: Cody Swanson and my dad Karl Kindred
Centerpiece and florals: Nicole Laurenceau, NYCFlowerProject
Catering: Chef Sal Lamboglia
Graphic Design and Art direction: moi!
and special thanks to Marfa Ertilus and Floyd Boyce for not letting me worry about anything or moving stuff during and after the party. Kiana and Lisa for running the games. My makeup by Sariah. Our parents and family for traveling from Florida and Texas and Georgia to attend the celebration and of course all our friends for coming! We had a blast!
OH! and we didn't use paper invitations - we kept it green and used an online rsvp site, splashthat.com. Here's the digital invite that went out as well as part of the thank you email — I think it pretty much set the tone of how we wanted the night to go. Fun fun fun...
Just a quick post that photos from my baby shower will be up soon. It's so hard to choose the best ones. It was such a fun event - way too short! Amazing food, awesome friends, and great times all around. Now all that's left is baby!
It's almost time! Less than 50 days til the big day!
Making : decor items for shower next week. I couldn't help it - I need something to do! Cooking : comfort food like a yummy chili that will last me 3 days. Drinking : Decaf iced coffee in the morning and cold cold cold ice water Reading: about labor and delivery (um.. doesn't sound fun). Wanting: our dining room table to arrive ... its taking forever. Looking: like I swallowed a basketball a watermelon. lol. Playing: a lot of throwbacks (90s R&B and pop) Wasting: free time on pinterest (soo much cute stuff!) Sewing: nothing. Wishing: it was easier to find a position to sleep in. STILL Enjoying: weekends with no plans (this is what it is like to relax?) Waiting: for her! but patiently :) Liking: the constant dance rehearsals and kickboxing classes in my tummy. Wondering: how life is gonna change Loving: still - his daily conversations to her via talking to my tummy. Hoping: (more like praying) this pregnancy continues to progress smoothly Marveling: at my ever growing tummy size Needing: more days off! kind of love chilling at home these days Smelling: like fall...apple cinnamon candles and fresh flowers I bought Wearing: leggings and trying to still work in my pre-preggo clothes (somehow) Following: lots of mom-ish blogs Noticing: the leaves change Knowing: I have less than 50 days Thinking: of all the things that need to be done Feeling: fine Bookmarking: recipes and articles for fall/winter Opening: lots of UPS and fedex boxes! Giggling: at my awkward self trying to bend down to pick things up off the ground, get out of bed, or off our couch. it's truly comical.
Making : Paintings...received a cool commission so have to get 2 out the door this week! Cooking : more like baking - been using the oven a lot for chicken, grilled cheese sandwiches, and apple desserts. Drinking : Decaf iced coffee in the morning and cold cold cold ice water Reading: the internet - soo much to read and research for this little one who's coming Wanting: our dining room table to arrive. i'm excited. Looking: like I swallowed a basketball lol. Playing: a lot of Lorde and any other newish artist that has that vibe. Wasting: some of my meals. My eyes are hungrier than my stomach sometimes. Sewing: nothing! Wishing: it was easier to find a position to sleep in. Enjoying: the fall weather in NYC - looooove it. Waiting: for her! but patiently :) Liking: all the baby gap royal line...the crown sleeper! Wondering: what she's going to be like Loving: his daily conversations to her via talking to my tummy. Hoping: (more like praying) this pregnancy continues to progress smoothly Marveling: at my tummy moving at the randomest times Needing: more days off! kind of love chilling at home these days Smelling: like fall...apple cinnamon candles and fresh flowers I bought Wearing: leggings. leggings. leggings. Following: my heart Noticing: other people's baby related brands on the street (like strollers!) Knowing: there's so much to look forward to Thinking: about how life is gonna change Feeling: optimistic and nervous Bookmarking: (more like pinning!) every thing that is cute (clothes, blogs, party ideas, etc) Opening: boxes Giggling: at my dance moves in this new body ...sometimes.
My other half was on a cooking frenzy on saturday. Definitely feeling like fall with the kitchen cooking up stews and such while college football was on blast. From top cw: Grilled Branzino topped with salsa, a chorizo and shrimp gumbo, and cioppino with mussels, shrimp, and squid.
It's not that I forgot to blog it's that stuff has been happening! So I'll show moreso than tell...
First off: I trained for the Dallas 1/2 marathon in the beginning of the year only to not run the race due to work and schedule conflicts. Boo. I still love running in the winter though.
I DJ'ed here and there... A superbowl party at the Gansevoort Park, weekends at C Wonder, and then a charity benefit at Hotel Chantelle for the Precious Dreams Foundation.
DJ Sefa on the 1s and 2s
And I even dj'ed a wedding!
Sandhya & Adam's wedding at the Benjamin Hotel in NYC
I kept teaching at crunch...
...and I spent most nights and weekends painting my butt off.
all the while producing and sending rewards to my kickstarter backers
all in the name of getting ready for my solo exhibit, Soundtracks:Freestyles...
which took place in Chelsea at Rogue Space Gallery. It was a crazy amount of work getting this show together but it was all so worth it. For more about the work and the show visit my art site at www.artbyeunice.com. My work got featured in places and in pages which was pretty cool.
Clockwise from top left: PM360 greatest creators issue featured art works by artists working in the advertising industry, Sheen Magazine did a feature on me and my show, and online website see.me featured my works in an outdoor public exhibition in herald square in NYC.
and then I relaxed!
I took a bit of a break to go to P's reunion, hang out in the city, and even jet down to Miami for a little R&R. I came back to an insane work schedule at the office and next thing you know, it's July. Sheesh!
Since my husband is the broker to athletes and celebs, I sometimes get the fun opportunity to hang out with some of them. Tonight we dropped by Iman Shumpert's birthday celebration at DL in the lower east side. Iman (or "Shump" as some people call him) is very down to earth and is one of the fan favorites on the NY Knicks. His defense is suffocating and shuts down opponents. He's recovering from a knee injury so all us Knicks fans are awaiting his healthy return to the squad for the upcoming season. Happy Bday Shump!
It's really crazy when you can have all your passions align and in this case I had the very amazing opportunity to DJ an event at my advertising job that featured two legends in the music industry: Niles Rodgers and Billy Mann. They are both writers and musicians who have written for everybody (Niles is of Chic fame - wrote Diana Ross's I'm coming out, Duran Duran, INXS, and Madonna's Like a Virgin album; Billy Mann: Pink, Kelly Rowland, John Legend, Celine Dion) or have been sampled by everybody. They spoke about being creatives and the "currency" of creativity in the business world. It was very inspiring and fun to hear all their anecdotes and backgrounds. It was even better that I got to DJ the event and play and mix their work. A few pics I could snag that day:
It came down to the wire, but in NCAA-like cinderella fashion, my team came from being the bottom seed in the playoffs to take the title for the league. We had an overtime win with only 5 players (so no subs), and a two clutch baskets in the last minute of the game. It was INSANE lol - I felt like it was the NBA finals albeit would only 5 fans in the stands and no life size trophy. It felt good though and i'm proud of team NeON!
This was me in the game before the championships - hitting two free throws to put us up by 5 and essentially locking in the win in the upset against the #1 seeded team. Ice cold!
Last week I dusted off my turntables for my first gig of 2012, djing a private party for The Prince Group at one of their exclusive penthouse listings in downtown manhattan. I love throwing or spinning these types of parties since it's a great way to get work and non-work friends together for drinks and in this case, some delicious food from Luke's Lobster (I confess, I ate 3 shrimp rolls - they're just too good!).
Clockwise from top: A bit of the eblast invitation I sent for The Prince Group; with Jason Perkal of the Prince Group; Claire Sulmners from Fashion Bomb Daily and I refuse to wear black; and with the Prince himself.
The space is amazing. The building, 20 Pine, The Collection, is not unlike most residential buildings in the financial district. It was the home of Chase Bank, and after 9/11, was converted to a residential, amenity-driven, luxury condo building. The penthouse itself is on the top floor and served as the former office of David Rockefeller himself. The showstopper of the unit though, is the 1300 sq ft terrace that overlooks everything between the east river, empire state building, hudson river to the statue of liberty and parts of brooklyn. It truly is a breathtaking view. I can only imagine the entertaining that will be going on once the future tenants move in (jealous!).
From L to R: Ria, myself, Shelley, and Alina
Nightime divas from L to R: Myself, Shelley, and Amanda
From top to bottom: a moment with Gigi, spectacular night views; with Justine, Nycole, and Shelley (our iphone pic to our missing musketeer who was unfortunately stuck at the office); and below, picture perfect daytime views from the terrace.
I've posted a few of my favorite snapshots but more than 150+ images reside on the Prince Group's blog. And if you are looking for a new home to buy or rent or sell in NYC, I of course have to plug in the best brokerage firm in new york city.
My friend Nycole organizes a group to do this fun 4 mile charity run/walk every year. It's always fun to do because there's no other time I can get my friends to jog with me through central park at 8am (haha!) So this year, we're at it again with our 4 mile jog and walk. It was especially nice because Jaime just returned from L.A. and I got catch up with my isa [dance] compadres.
Though Mr. P and I opt to celebrate Valentine's day randomly throughout the year (isn't better when it's unexpected?!), I grew up getting little gifts from my mom and dad on this day. So I can't help but still be a little spoiled to acts of sweetness. These years I just pay it forward and spoil friends or coworkers - it's nice to bring a smile to people's faces. So in honor of hallmark day, here's my short wish-list of sweetness. Note: unless Mr. P catches wind of this blogpost, there's a good chance I'm buying one of (or all of) these for myself —the joys of adulthood ;-)
Salted caramel Macaroons from Bisous Ciao
Perfect texture, good price, soooo many flavors and I just love their packaging and branding.
A print, painting, or a card: nothing beats trying to express your love in words - even if it's just a few. To you, it may cost ~$5 for a card...but to her, it's priceless. (The above is a print painted by me - sold in my etsy shop.)
Roses are cliche...pick something else that's just as beautiful!
It's the little things that count...and sometimes the little things are so simple. I love Aroma hot chocolate.