Thursday, January 14, 2016

Da 8-count is now Nyla Winter

It started out as a dance blog -  then a workout blog - then a mommy blog - but at its heart its always been a personal journal. So in the spirit of celebrating that, and now that's its a new year - i'm giving it a new name.

Head on over to

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Travelogue: Cayman Islands (Ritz Carlton)

With only two weeks left before the end of my maternity leave (cue: tears) we decided last minute to get out of the city for a quick beach getaway with the girls. I've been reading numerous positive reviews of how kid-friendly the ritz Carlton in grand cayman was and thought we should give it a shot especially since we've never been to the Cayman Islands.

Getting there:
Flying from JFK on jetblue, It was a quick 3 hour and 15 min flight time which is ideal when traveling with a toddler and baby. We lucked out with an empty row (hello!) so it was smooth sailing from takeoff to touchdown. Deplaning at Arrival required a bit of handling since there's no gateway - it's an old school staircase onto the tarmac and then walking to arrivals / customs.  Because we carry-on our luggage (yep, even with 2 kids) having a bjorn and a walking toddler was efficient and fortunately the jetblue staff was equally helpful in giving us a hand down the stairwell.

Travel tip: on a previous flight to Dallas, virgin airlines broke our umbrella stroller. As a replacement, we looked at umbrella strollers for newborns and landed on a mclaren quest with a universal boogie board attachment that fit the bill perfectly. Granted no car seat this time around but we knew we'd be mostly resort bound and not driving much for this trip. It worked out really well for us. All about traveling lighter and smarter!

The resort: nice big property with two main buildings connected by a bridge on the 3rd floor. There are 2 resort pools, one Oceanside and another on the resort side. In addition to being near the main lobby, the Resort side pool is next to Anidiamo (Italian restaurant) and starfish cay (kids water playground) and the basketball courts. Nearby is the kids environment ambassador club where there's plenty of family and kids programming to keep them busy. If you've got little ones who may never want to leave this area you may actually want a room resort side rather than Oceanside.

*resort tip: get a 3rd floor room close to the elevators if you're the type to drop by your room often. We were in 271 which was at the very end of the hall and having to get to our room was a bit of a trek even from the lobby.

The pool by the ocean is a decent size and is a few steps from the ocean. Both pool and ocean have plenty of chairs that are serviced by Bar Jacks which is your typical poolside eats of grilled foods and salads as well as your cold beers and frozen cocktails (I was a big fan of the shrimp quesadilla and Cuban colada!). Though both pools run about 4 1/2 ft in the shallow end, life vests and some pool/beach toys are available for toddlers and up.
The beach is fairly shallow and there are a variety of activities to partake in. Our crew was too young for these activities so hubby and I traded off in taking our 18 month old, winter, to swim or play while Nyla chilled, ate, or slept.

Food: all the restaurants were fairly decent.

The breakfast buffet at Seven  is good and pricey (~$40/pp) but was included with our room. If it wasn't, I am pretty sure we would have gone to a local restaurant instead to get more bang for our buck. We also had dinner at Seven but didn't have anything that stood out except for the bread (ugh soo good and warm). Service at both meal times was prompt and courteous and accommodated us easily with high chair and a spot for our stroller.

Bar jacks by the pool was good and had we been there for more days, it's a place we'd most likely return to.

In room dining: decently good. Shrimp quesadilla wasn't exactly up to par with the one at bar jacks but it was fine. A little detail I appreciated - they tell you when your order is ready (approx 30 min) by noting aloud what time the order is taken and what time you should expect it at your door. I also believe you can order from any of the restaurants because hubby wanted key lime pie from seven and they made it happen. I had the Creme brûlée and it was delicious

Sushi restaurant: I guess this a popular spot because no walkins were being taken due to capacity so reserve ahead of time. However they will serve you same menu in the lobby lounge which is what we opted to do. Unfortunately this was the worst experience ever. We sat and waited for 2 basic rolls and kids meal for over an hour.  It was really unbelievable as we saw other folk who arrived after us get their food. And with a restless toddler in tow, you can imagine how challenging this could be. the manager was hard to find and our poor waiter who was transferred onto to our table mid-wait could see my anger and frustration and took it upon himself to comp our meal because even he had a hard time tracking the manager. I'm not a sushi person but the hubby said it was quite good and he would have ordered more if it wasn't for the crazy wait and lack of attention.
Starfish cay. Winter did not want to leave. She loved just playing in the fountains and splashing on the ground. Though it's better suited for those over 36" tall to ride the mini slides, younger ones will be just as entertained with the various sprinklers, fountains and overall watery aura of this playground.

Island outings:
Because it was a short trip we didn't get off the property much. Dining alone is a pretty penny so hit up local restaurants if you're trying to save.

TIP: Whenever we travel we take concierge suggestions but we also ask the day to day staff (waiters, housekeeping, taxi drivers, etc) where THEY eat. It always gives us a peek into the local non-touristy life of a place and we always come back with stories and full, happy tummies.

We are at Catch and champion house on this trip. Champion house was definitely a local spot but one that everyone we spoke to recommended. Hubby had the oxtail and I had BBQ chicken which was delicious. Oxtail was "ok" according to him. There's no AC so be prepared if you come on a smoldering day (or order takeout and bring it to the beach or back to your hotel). Catch was our brunch outing and is a fairly newish restaurant. it was really good and a nice recommendation from our concierge. Both hubby and I really loved everything we had and would have come back if we were staying longer. There are interior and exterior seating which is nice if you get hit with a rainstorm. You can still eat overlooking the water.

Our one excursion was to the turtle farm. We figured this was toddler friendly and it is for the most part. I would stick to the turtle section and skip the "water park" - it's literally a bunch of tanks where you can see these amazingly huge turtles and in one part even "catch" them and hold them up. Children under 5 are not recommended to touch or handle the turtles because of bacteria their immune systems may not be developed  enough to tackle. I'd recommend bringing your own hand sanitizer though. It was a cute excursion but it was getting hot and barely any shade so we were in and out in less than an hour. They provide a free shuttle between several hotels and the park at certain times though the staff is pretty flexible and took us and another family back early.

All in all, this trip was exactly what we had planned it out to be. A quick infant-friendly island getaway for some R&R. I recommend the ritz especially for families and the cayman islands for its direct-flight proximity to nyc. On the island, everyone speaks English, takes US dollars (though there is cayman currency) and for the most part very friendly! Small (or big if you like your spirits) thing to note is that Sunday is dry on the island so no alcohol is served/sold Sunday morning (?) so keep in mind if you were on the hunt for a raging brunch day party. Happy travels!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Swaddle me baby: A peek into Aden + Anais HQ

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!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Scenes from the summer

It's crazy how summer is almost over. Winter is taking a break from school and spending her activity filled days with her sister and her nanny, Ximena (who's known  and cared for Winter she was barely 3 months old). It's great that she gets to get out and experience the city, run around and get fresh air, but the other side of me misses that social, structured classroom setting. Anyhow, I'll be posting pic updates of her summer here on the blog. 
We did a double take when walking by our church and saw this outside. She's a star!
Art in the Park at Rockefeller Park with her bestie, Sophia. They made clay pots.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Winter and I check out the Bratz Relaunch

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 (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,, or

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.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Hop on the Merry Go Round

As if I couldn't add one more thing to my plate: In addition to being a working mom of a newborn and a toddler in one of the best cities in the world, I find a majority of my time is spent culling though various sources of information to find cultural or just plain ole fun activities for my kids to experience. I belong to a mom group, I check mommypoppins, redtricycle, redrover, parks dept websites, library websites, etc etc etc the list goes on and on and on... There are no shortage of things to do in this city. And though I rely heavily on those sites listed above It just seems like information overload OR it just takes time to get THROUGH IT all. So I had an idea - what if i just got a plain simple list of things emailed to me. Yes, that seems digestable and quick. So Merry Go Round was born.

Enter Merry Go Round: its a daily email listing all the kid related events going on in the city that day, organized by the hour and borrough, delivered to your inbox each morning. No articles, no heavy graphics, or restaurant or product reviews to clutter up your reading. Just when, what, where, and how old and how much. Everybody's time-strapped so I figured this is helpful especially if you're on the go or you just happen to be in a different neighborhood and want to check what's going on.

Wanna try it out? Go subscribe or check out past issues here and let me know what you think!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Winter's Friday at the Play-Well TEKnologies Lego workshop

Winter attended the Play+Well lego brick building workshop at South Street Seaport on Friday. It was an event geared towards kids 4 and up but already familiar with lego blocks I thought she could be even more familiar with the building activity when surrounded by other kids (even if they're older). Hosted by Fidifamilies and Play+Well teknologies, it was a jam packed event but everybody seemed to have fun and it's always nice to get goodies from Bitsy's Brainfood, Green Mustache and GoGo squeeZ.

You can catch a snippet of Winter in one of the shots in this recap video by Fidi Families

Afterwards, Winter hits up Rockefeller Park to play and hang out.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Maple Review (food delivery)

After receiving an invite for a free meal from a close friend, I decided to give Maple a try.  Maple is a food delivery service started by celebrity chef David Chang. Menus are posted twice daily (lunch and dinner) and usually have 3 options to choose from. I have been getting their daily chef-prepared menus for a few days but nothing sparked my interest until the bbq ribs popped up (and it happened to be 4th of july weekend - perfect!) So using my free credit we did a family dinner using maple and a few things stood out:

a) the ribs and corn were GOOD.  b) we also ordered a salmon dish as well which was equally fresh and yummy. c) delivery was SUPER quick. like in less than 20 minutes which is amazing by NYC standards.  d) portion size is perfect.

The meal was so good I went back and ordered SECONDS lol.  So yay for Maple. They are on my food delivery rotation along with Munchery and good ole seamless. I think the pricing is totally competitive with those other two options and the quality is so far so good. Download the app to order and happy eating!

If you live in the NYC downtown battery park/fidi area, leave a comment below for a free meal on me!

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Happy Birthday, USA!

we woke up to crappy weather so I thought our 4th would be a bust. But the skies cleared and we jumped at the chance to go outside for a stroll. Everyone was decked out in red white and blue and so were the girls! Though we were only a few blocks from excellent viewing areas, we opted to forgo the crowds and catch the fireworks on tv. Happy Birthday, USA!

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Work it out

Got the all clear from the doctor to resume life as usual (as if anything is "usual" these days) so it's back on the workout grind to shed some of the baby weight. I'm not following any strict workout or food plan right now. I figured I'd ease into everything for a month. The routine right now seems to be getting the girls up, fed, dressed and winter ready for school, drop off winter, then nyla and I grab a quick snack (bagel and a coffee/tea) and head to the park where I'll eat and check emails and instagram then it's mini exercise circuit using a park bench doing tricep dips, push-up, crunches, step-ups, t-bends, and standing jumps and then speed walking to another bench. I'll do 3-5 sets and call it a day. Gotta start somewhere!