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Monday, October 7, 2013

Gingerbread Kidz in Scarsdale

Last week, my friend had her fourth baby!    Not only a 4th, but her oldest is only 7.     And.....on top of that.....her fourth girl.    What do you buy a mom of 4 girls??   She has seen the best of the best girl stuff and is quite honestly, tired of it by now.     I bought some cute stuff for the newest addition to the family and some cute things for my own favorite fashionista as well;  my stylish 7 year old.

For those of you who do not know Gingerbread Kidz in Scarsdale, it is worth checking out.    A little pricey, not the kind of place where most do their big back-to-school shop but great for a gift, for a special occasion outfit or accessory and they have some good sales too.    Of course they have the staples:  Trumpette socks for baby girls and boys (trumpette socks) and my favorite Angel Dear blankies (best blankies ever) and outfits.

Here is the link to their website

Gingerbread Kidz Website

Since my youngest was a baby 3 years ago, they have created some new Angel Dear blankies, including the pink owl.   Owls seem to be the craze right now.   This one in pink below and I believe there is also a turquoise one.     Super trendy.  

Emoji leggings!!!    For those with kids who text, you know what Emojis are.    For those who do not, here is an urban dictionary definition for emojis.   Urban Dictionary can summarize way  Better than I can begin to explain EMOJIS!    <--- click here!     <3   :-)   LOL

And hair chalk.....easy to apply and rinse out for girls who want the color streaks in their hair and for those moms who refuse to let their girls get the ombre hair color at 8-9 years old!    (Cute gift for those big sisters of said 4th baby girl.)  

Some more things.       These 3 are for my own daughter.   This is where I get in trouble,  I go out in search of a gift for one person and consequently, return home with things for my daughter.    I can't simply dump them all on her bed for when she comes home; after all she is SEVEN.     I hold onto them in a hiding spot and take them out when needed.    The day of a party,  when she gets a good report card or when I need a tooth fairy gift that I would otherwise be unprepared for.      
Loved this geometric sheath dress (on sale) and the black tank with the lace (also on sale) that she wore quite well with white denim shorts and black sandals.   My clearance items recreate an outfit and those boring white shorts are now fun again.  
The black fur vest.....well that was not on sale BUT it was less than I expected it to be.    Knowing how  much my daughter hates wearing a winter coat (she's always been warm-blooded) I knew that this would take place of a fall coat until she needs her winter coat, which for her, is a North Face, and I don't mean the puffy one.   She manages all winter with the plain furry zip up, the one that's more than a fleece (is it the Oso or the Denali?) but not the ski-jacket, down filled bulky one.   So it's justified, as it is her fall "jacket."

If she wanted a real coat.....I would want this one for her or for ME!!      The price is way higher than most stores for a winter coat for a kid but they go up to tween sizes, so I may have to wait for her to reach an age that warrants a coat with a price tag like this.  The brand is Mackage and the site is below in case you want to take a look at their coats.   Softest, nicest material....OMG!
 Mackage Kids

Back to baby stuff.......Hair bows, $12-$14, in all colors......Baby bloomer bottoms in white, satin baby shoes in white too, somehow I can't locate the photo.    And there is that cute little Angel Dear again.   I wrote an entry on Angel Dear a while back......

Here it is:   My Angel Dear blog entry :-)

Definitely check out Gingerbread Kidz in Scarsdale;  right in the heart of the village on the corner of Chase Road and Popham Road.  

Happy Shopping!  

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Origami Wrap: A must for all women!

A recent entry was about how wonderful a shopper I am, how I get a lot for my buck 
and how I'm such a bargain hunter... and that is all true.    Except when I splurge.   

Today, I splurged.   Twice.
I bought not one, but TWO Origami Wraps at ECHO in Beacon, NY.  
How many ways can it be worn, I am not exactly sure but there has to be a number.    
This piece, although expensive, is well worth it!     
 Here are some photos of the ways this item can be worn.

Below the photos you will find the YouTube link for a tutorial/demonstration on how to wear it.  

You're welcome   :-) 

The video:    

For more info on Origami Wrap/ECHO Party coming to Westchester this fall, stay tuned.   
The owner of the boutique is doing an event in Scarsdale area soon.    Details to follow.  
An excellent gift for that friend who has everything.    It is one size fits all and comes in a variety of colors, not shown above unfortunately.     Shades of blue, red and pink, a deep purple and more. 

For more items by Lilla P and for info on Echo, click below

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Importance of Date Night: A Lesson from Kate Middleton

Everyone loves Kate Middleton.    How can you not?   She symbolizes all things good.     Comes from a normal-ish down to earth family, has amazing style and great taste in men.   

She chose William at a young age, when most girls her age are picking the "wrong guy" she knew.     I believe their love is genuine and I think she earned some major royal points for producing a male heir right off the bat.  

We watched her marry, have her first baby and do it all (with the world watching her every move) with a smile and with class.    Typically, the British tabloids are talking about her "Date Night" with William this week.   Her baby is under 2 months old and there she is, going out with William, dressed up and looking fabulous, as always.

Some probably think:  

  • "Must be nice."   
  • "When you have servants to watch your infant, you can go out."   
  • "I did not leave my child until he/she was 6 months, at least."

Not me.   Nope.   I love her for it.    She knows how important it is to stay connected to her husband, her best friend.    I hope to see her out more often.    It does not mean that she loves her baby any less than those that stay home and care for theirs 24/7.    She is looking for adult time, adult conversation and is resuming a normal life.   

Some parents give up on a social life once they have children.   They even stop socializing with their spouse.    Since my first child was born almost 8 years ago, my husband and I chose one night a week for our date night.   This was our night to go out and forget all that was going on at home.    This is the night to wear the new shirt that has been hanging in the closet, put on some eye make up, eat dinner without interruptions and go out on a date, like we did for weeks and weeks and weeks before getting married.    

In America, we will imitate Kate's clothing style, her haircut, even replicate her wedding dress!   We should take it the next step by following her example and observe how she behaves.       

Confessions of a Shopaholic: Emma's Trip to Denny's Childrenswear

It's no secret that I love to shop.     Some think I overspend, and at times, I do.   But I love a good bargain.   I love shopping off the clearance rack, on discount sites like Rue La La, Groupon, etc.    It would never cross my mind to walk into a high end department store, buy off the rack, no sale/no coupon.   For myself, I like TJMaxx, Fox's in Eastchester, Annie Sez, stores like that.

For my kids, I like the standard Gap staple items;  Lord and Taylor when I have a coupon, which is almost always; and websites like Zulily for some of the name brands that I love, because they are discounted.    For shoes, I like Stride Rite outlet store.  I buy their Converse in Kohls's when I have a 20-30% off coupon rather than buying at Modell's.   So yes, I admit that I shop a lot but I get more than most for my dollar.   

Do I splurge?   Yes!  For a dress to wear to a wedding, yes.    A jacket that I know will not be available in my size by the time it goes on sale, absolutely.   Holiday card outfits for my kids, obviously.  I am not *that* in control.     A store that is hard for me to resist is Denny's Childrenswear.       Their layette section is boutique-like.    Very fashionable, original type items for babies.    They have great brand name clothing-- expensive, yes...but often reduced so it's sort of like, marked up so it can be marked down.       Here are a few things that I bought today.      

While I would love to complain about the prices, I really can't.  
  • The outfit on the left was on the SUPER SALE rack, with items 40% off and up.    The tank was marked $26.50.   Rang up $7.50.  The shorts, marked 22.50, rang up $6.25.    Super clearance about 70% off.  
  • The denim vest with black cotton sleeves  (So Nikki, a great brand) was shockingly regularly priced at $49.50.    I expected it to be a lot more than that, considering what a denim jacket goes for in a store like the Gap.    
  • The Keep Calm and Rainbow Loom On Shirt-- Marked $27.50, rang up $22.  (20% off)

Boys clothes are never as much fun to buy as girls clothes, but today was one of the rare days that my son wound up with more things than his sister!     (Not all items shown.  My husband reads this.)   My little guy loves Superheroes so I found these cute shirts with pants to match.  A little pricier than the Gap/Old Navy (or worse, the Children's Place) Junk Food Tees, but around $25-$29 each.    High for a tee shirt, yes, but I balanced my savings out with solid pants to match them, on the super sale rack.     I also found the cute Adidas outfits there, discounted 20% too.   

Lastly, what I will not include are the accessories.   Not on sale, overpriced, but irresistible.   Cute baby bib in chevron print for an upcoming baby shower;  a $20 headband for my gorgeous niece, and a few pairs of underwear that's say, "a little too pretty for a 7 year old to wear."     Those items did not make the blog entry, but worth every penny and well deserved for my good shopping choices.  

Next stop:  Epstein's in Tuckahoe.    Standard items like sneakers, sporty shorts but whoever the girls 7-16 buyer is, has shopped at Denny's!    Lots of the same brands;  So Nikki, Pinc Premium, etc.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Children's Book: Comforting Kids after 9/11 Tragedy

In 2001, I was working as an elementary school teacher.   The events that took place during the school day on 9/11 was something that no one was prepared for.  Something that was not included on a college syllabus; how to deal with a terrorist act.  
The news was coming in and the teachers were buzzing in the halls. Ones who lived close by ran home to watch it on TV.  Some sat in cars listening to radio coverage.  Very few of us checked in with our loved ones via text, if we had the phones that were capable of sending or receiving text messages.  

Living within close proximity to NYC, many of our students parents worked in Manhattan.   Being the first week of school, we were not sure which parents did and no one dared ask.   It came up in casual conversation that day, as we tried to survey which children had parents that "took the train to work," or "which parents drove to work."  Most teachers abandoned lesson plans for that day and tried to assess what their kids would go home to on 9/11 and how they would return to the classroom on 9/12.   Before sending them home that day, we gave them a blanket message about something happening that day and that the teachers were riding the bus home that day for a change-- because we wanted to be sure that each child had someone to meet them at their stop.   I vividly recall a beautiful 10 year old girl saying, "Can you tell us what it is??  My mom won't know.   She works in NYC."  

Needless to say, 9/12 arrived and all of my students arrived the next day with stories (some worse than others) but everyone was OK.   The sun rose, the birds chirped and the school was still there.   This book is a great resource and comfort for kids to explain that yes, some very bad things go on in the world, but everything will be all right.     I sent this in to school with my little one this morning (after reading it last night.)   A note to the teacher saying this was a gift to her classroom library.

Who knows what her experience on 9/11 was.  She was also teaching that day, had friends and family to check in on and students to greet the next morning.     She asked the children to wear red, white and blue to school today.   I am sure 12 years later, she has perfected the message but this book is one that will likely be a special addition to her collection of teaching materials.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Taking the Fall SATs or PSATs? 3 session course at Iona College begins THIS Sunday!

The SAT is in less than a month!
Students taking the Fall SAT are looking to boost their grade. 
Students taking the PSAT can also benefit from this course.

We can help them! 
Registration closes soon.

SAT Workshop: 

Three session course on September 15th, 22nd and 29th 

Classes held at Iona College 

Small class sizes

Concept review, drills and practice problems

Frequent student assessments to identify weak areas 

Opportunity to stay for extra help at the end of each session 

Use of technology in classrooms

Take home materials including SAT Review Book

NYS certified, experienced teachers

Register with a friend get $100 off

"Bill Me Later" with Pay Pal

Register online :

Please feel free to forward this link to students, parents and counselors who may be interested:

Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you for your help!

Thank you,
David Crino
Regents Exam Prep LLC

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

10 Reasons to Visit The Melting Pot

So last week, some 'social media' friends of mine gathered for a brainstorm/networking session at The Melting Pot in White Plains.   It was a Monday, which offers a Ladies Night Out package for $19.95 a person.    This package includes cheese fondue (appetizer), a choice of salads and dessert.   We chose The Melting Pot for its central location, variety of food choices and were happy to learn about all that The Melting Pot has to offer.  

Here we are, tweeting, status updating, doing our social media "thing" from our table.    We were lucky enough to land the waterfall room.     The photo might be unclear, but the back wall is a glass wall that appears to be a waterfall-- and the chandelier provided a perfect amount of light to see our food choices.   There are two burners on a table our size so we chose two appetizer cheeses to start, followed by excellent salad choices, followed by AMAZING desserts.    

Our two cheese appetizers:   a spicy cheese with jalapeños and a spinach artichoke dip.     We were given unlimited amounts of bread for dipping as well as veggies.    Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and apples too.   

We had a choice of salads.   Mine was the traditional iceberg with tomato, cheese, croutons and hard boiled egg.    Other choices included a Ceasar Salad and something like a Waldorf Salad, with cranberries, blue cheese, etc.     I went for the plain choice.    

Last but not least......Dessert:  My favorite part of any meal.      Ying/Yang (dark chocolate and white chocolate)   or S'Mores (chocolate w marshmallow and I think some graham crackers too)    The items to dip into these chocolates were amazing enough.    Rice Krispie Treats, pound cake, cheesecake, brownies and fruit items such as bananas and strawberries.   

Look at this platter!      I admit, I sampled everything!!!    When we ran out, they brought another platter of dipping items.   Heaven!   

After our amazing dinner and dessert, we were taken on a tour of the restaurant and I was amazed at all that it had to offer.  

10 Things I Learned on my visit and tour of The Melting Pot:

1.   Ladies Night is every Monday.   For the above pictured meal, the cost was $19.95 a person.     Scheduling Monday nights out with friends so I can enjoy this experience once again.  

2.   The Melting Pot does birthday parties for kids!!!   When your kids are too old for the usual parties at the gym/sports type places, what a nice culinary experience this can be for them.   I did not get info on pricing but I did see the room where a party would be held-- and I was impressed with their movie screen that pulls down, for parents who want to show a movie while their kids have their party.   Brilliant.    

For moms like me, who want to have a theme for a party, it's as simple as bringing a movie, serving the meal and of course finding a favor that goes with the film or the fondue.   The possibilities are endless.    I am envisioning a "Sam and Cat" (New Nickelodeon Show) 30 minute episode as the theme for my 7 year old.   How about a MINECRAFT party.....with free wifi, the kids can bring their ipads and play against each other!   Or for those who want to go old school, maybe something different like Little House on the Prairie.....the Jetsons....Not every girl likes princesses and not every boy wants a sports party.      Besides birthday parties they even do Sweet Sixteens!   The party room holds up to 56 people.     Many party packages available.   

3.    Kids with stellar report cards eat for free!     This is a year round event.     Straight from the website.    This was one tidbit I felt the need to share:    

Straight "A's" Club

Hey kids! Did you get good grades this semester? If you did, we want to reward* all elementary and secondary school students with a free meal! Simply bring in your all "A's" report card, and we'll serve you a three-course dinner, including our famous chocolate fondue!  (Each free child's meal must be accompanied by the purchase of an adult four-course dinner.)

4.       Eating in a restaurant is not easy for those who are dieting, as we all know.   We diet for a 

wedding, a vacation or after our precious babies are born and we give up all the things we probably 

overindulged in before the diet began.    (Things like cheese and chocolate!)   

 The Melting Pot is going to introduce a Weight Watchers Menu!  Of course, the target date is 

January2014....because really, diets naturally begin after the new year, right??   

 Here is a sample of what it will look like.  

 “Skinny Dipping” three-course menu   
 The points value ranges – from 14 to 18 points.
Weight Watchers members have a daily points target of 26-32 points 
plus given 49 discretionary points per week. 

Salad (Choose One)  
California Salad and Black Raspberry Vinaigrette - - 6 points
House Salad and House Dressing – 3 points

Entree (Choose One)
Petite Seafood Trio – 4 points (pair with seasoned court bouillon – most vegetable broths have 0 points)

Shrimp and Sirloin – 5 points (pair with seasoned court bouillon – most vegetable broths have 0 points)

Filet and Chicken Duo – 4 points (pair with seasoned court bouillon – most vegetable broths have 0 points)

Dessert (One Option)
Dark Chocolate Fondue and Dessert Dipper Plate – 7 points

This menu looks too good to be true-- limited carbs, rich in protein and fiber.   

5.   The Melting Pot offers packages for Girl Scout Groups!     Some are offered as fundraisers, called Fondue-Raisers.    Some are cooking classes, where the girls can earn a cooking badge, learning to cook something different than they usually cook.    And other events incorporate a tour and/or power point presentation all about fondue.    Very informative, regardless of which option you would choose.    

6.   Lover's Lane.   There was a small section of cute, private 

"nook" tables for 2.    Tucked away from the larger tables,

this section offers quiet and private dining as well as  special 

romantic packages for special occasions.    

Here is a link to all of them.  

Lover's Lane Packages at The Melting Pot

There is one that starts at just under $50 per couple but of course, 

this one is right up my alley-- I had to share.    

Evening Under the Stars Package ($199/couple)

Let us help make your special evening for two even more romantic by purchasing our “Just For Lovers” dining package. Your evening will begin with a bottle of either Moet or Veuve Champagne waiting at your private table in "Lover’s Lane." This intimate dining area for two comes equipped with a view of the “stars” above and plenty of privacy. Our chef will then prepare a special four-course fondue meal for the two of you (of your choice - a custom menu will be at your table). A single long stem rose in a bud vase, two champagne flutes and commemorative photo in a silver picture frame will be presented upon your departure.

7.    Family Fondue Sundays (every Sunday from 12-4 p.m.) 

 Parents can enjoy a three-course meal (salad, entrée and 

chocolate) for $28 and kids under 14 can eat for just $16 (entrée 

and chocolate).

**Celebrate Your Kids Return from Camp (now through August 31, 2013)**

And.....The last 3 "reasons to visit The Melting Pot" are special 
events that are not being made totally public until today.

8.     Special Princess Luncheon – Sunday, October 27, 2013
Enjoy “Royal” Entertainment at The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot is hosting a special princess luncheon on Sunday, October 27 from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Participants will be able to enjoy a delicious fondue lunch, join in a parade as well as take part in numerous craft activities.  This popular affair draws many children, their families and the young at heart. In previous princess events, many guests got into the spirit of things by wearing the attire of the time period.

To help guests remember the special day, photographs will be taken at each table with the princess and will be given to the participants.     

9.    Flappers, Fellas & Fondue* – September 29-October 3, 2013 AND October 6-10, 2013
Step back in time and celebrate the Roaring 20s with a special three-course fondue dinner, specially crafted cocktails, trivia, prizes and more! Join us for Flappers, Fellas & Fondue September 16-19 only at The Melting Pot of White Plains!
*Dress in your 1920s finest!

10.   Best Fondue Friends Forever – September 16 – 19, 2013
Love bonding with your besties over fondue? The Melting Pot of White Plains presents Best Fondue Friends Forever from September 16-19, 2013. It’s a weeklong event of fondue and drink specials! Because cheese ‘n’ chocolate besties are the best kind of besties. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Emma's Fab Finds: Summer 2013

I know, I know.....I bet you are going to think I'm going to promote Rainbow Loom!     Nope, they need no advertising.   That product sells itself!!   I can't count how many times I have heard mothers in the stores say, "I wish I had invented this."   Yes....we all wish we had invented the Rainbow Loom, the silly bands a couple of years ago....we know.    Plain old plastic making someone millions of dollars.     

While I was out buying Rainbow Loom bands at the Learning Express in Scarsdale, I came across this awesome toy for my kids.    It is SAND!    But not real sand.   It is kind of like a cross between sand and play dough.  Has a nice consistency and doesn't spoil, harden or get ruined if left out.   It doesn't dry out like play dough and it is made with all natural ingredients.    Kid can build with it, mold it, drive their cars over it, through it....or (if you have a daughter) pretend to cook with it.   Costs about $25 and comes with about 3-4 tools to use with it.   
Because I was researching it for this entry, I found an 4 or 8 lb bin of it.    Now I am going to have to buy it!!    Check out the website.      Living Sand 

This is one for the mommies.     I started using this in March 2013.    It takes a good 4-6 or 6-8 weeks to work.    But when it works, it works!!    I was out to lunch with my cousin, who knows that I experiment with all the new things-- one of the first to switch from acrylic to color gel manicures, had tattooed lipliner done, laser hair removal a handful of she looked at me and said, "Your eyelashes look great.   I saw that sign in the nail salon and said 'I'm sure Emma will try that."     I said, "Try what?"  She said, "The extensions."  I realized that she was referring to the $99 eyelash extensions at the nail salon that we both go to.    I was happy to confess that I did NOT have them done.  I told her about GrandeLASH and she was amazed that it made my eyelashes appear so long and fake!!   Sells online for $45-50.   Also available at Lola NY in White Plains ( for store hours)     People have mentioned that Latisse does the same thing, but from what I hear, Latisse darkens your skin.   That is available only by prescription and this does not require one-- and no darkening around the eyes.   Also works on eye brows for those who want to thicken their brows.  :-)     Check out this product as well as the others:      Grandelash

Sunday, August 4, 2013


LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Yonkers 

Since it's opening, Westchester residents have always loved Ridge Hill's LEGOLAND Discovery Center.   It's been one of those places that always has a great crowd, great entertainment and fun for children and parents alike.   A sure standout spot at Ridge Hill.  

Last week was the opening weekend of the new Legends of CHIMA.    As we entered the facility, we were greeted by Laval, the Lion Price.     He is the character from the movie that is new to the Cartoon Network.   The premise of the show is that groups of animals fight to get the Chi and once they have it, it gives them special powers.    Apparently Laval is the prince of his group and he was once on the other side, making him a very important character.    

The 12 min film showed over and over so that everyone would have a chance to see it and of course the toys are available for purchase.      The film is 4D (warning) so prepare to be surprised by some special effects while in your seat!     A little scary for my 3 year old at first, but he quickly yelled out "again" once he realized it was part of the show.     

For those who have never been, or might not be interested in the movie, the NYC area called MINILAND is worth seeing.     Caught lots of dads and grandpas inside enjoying the sights of NYC made of all lego items.    The Statue of Liberty, Yankee Stadium and the Empire State Building to name a few.   The surprise fireworks display was a nice treat too!    

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Portrait Couture: Photo sessions to capture 'Moments in Time'

When I was pregnant with my last child, I had maternity photos done, at the suggestion of a very good friend who told me that I would want to "capture the moment."    I was not sure I wanted to do it, because that time in my life, as happy as I was, was not when I felt the most beautiful. She said, "Do the photo shoot w your daughter.  Make it a nice experience for both of you."    I did the shoot and the pictures came out beautiful.   I loved them three years ago.

Today, I love them even more.    I love looking back at my daughter at that age, and even at myself, as I realize that I will never be 7 months pregnant again and while it is not the best photo of me, it is something I will always have to reflect on and it was an experience that was truly special for my daughter and I.   

The added benefit was when I was changing back into my normal clothes and the photographer decided to snap a few shots of my daughter.  Those few shots are some of the best I have of her.     

We are all a work in progress and hopefully our wedding photo is not the only beautiful moment we have captured.  No offense to our mothers and grandmothers, but think about many women are defined by their wedding photos?  Women typically do not give themselves a chance to be photographed once they are married-- maybe because they become moms and have photo sessions of their children?   Who knows-- but why not take time for ourselves and capture our best selves?   

Below are some great mother daughter shots (before and after)
Many more on the link below as well.  

Who doesn’t want to capture a newborn’s first days or a toddler’s playful ways . . . or have a little fun creating a tastefully sexy series of photos for a husband or boyfriend?
These are just a few of the portraitures created by Silvana DeFrancis of Silvana DeFrancis Photography in Bronxville, New York.  I recently had the pleasure of meeting Silvana, and am delighted to offer you the following Portrait Session package—a $350 value—courtesy of her photography studio.

  • A Gift Voucher valued at $250 redeemable for a complimentary makeover (hair and make-up session) at the Silvana DeFrancis Photography studio when used as an add-on to a portrait session.
  •   $100 discount for a family/children's photography session.
  • You can view Silvana’s impressive portfolio by checking out her website at .   

 But don’t delay!  Although sessions can be redeemed at a later date, they must be booked by August 27.

Portrait Couture & Boudoir Photography

Be sure to check out the new Portrait Couture line featuring contemporary fashion inspired portraiture. Experience a pamper session, a girls day out & a perfect reason to celebrate you. We invite all women and the people who love them. Beauty is not on the outside it’s something that shines out from inside you. Experience your amazing self through a personal session with me…it will change the way you feel forever.

Portrait Couture, it's about you...STUNNING.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Starbucks Refresher- $2 refills after 2pm

It seems that Starbucks is the place for all people to meet up.   Mothers and daughters on days out shopping, friends reconnecting after time not seeing either other, post-work out sessions, even job interviews!    In my small town Starbucks I have heard some great conversations and wondered, 'where did these people meet before Starbucks?"

My husband who spends his days outside of Westchester, in Manhattan tells me about the people he overhears.   (Not eavesdropping- you can't help but hear people talking.)   He mentioned hearing a couple discuss their plans to help one party get his/her citizenship so they were meeting to "cram" for their session with the interviewers.   Having friends and relatives who legitimately went through this process, I know that it is a grueling one.    For people who really do not live together, know which side of the bed to say they sleep on or how one takes their coffee, I imagine it would be that much more difficult.    My other favorite was the life coach, meeting with the prep-school girl before her college interview.  I can just imagine what her mom paid for this 1 hr session at Starbucks (and follow up sessions, I'm sure.)  

But the point of this entry is to mention this DRINK.     I went off on a tangent.   I love Starbucks but I do not like coffee.    I can't drink tea other than in the morning and in the summer, I prefer a cold beverage, without coffee.   For some time, the cold beverages were coffee-ish......frappuccino, or whatever caramel macchiato drink, with 300-400 calories.   Coffee and tea are low calorie drinks, those fancy chilly coffee drinks are pricey, fattening and contain coffee.  

Imagine my surprise today when I discovered the Orange Refresher.    I imagine it is relatively new.  Contains only 90 calories for the middle size....what's that grande?  (its tall, grande, venti, right?     I never order it that way!)      It's sort of a glorified orange juice, minus the pulp, iced, with an orange wedge in it and contains some green tea extracts which gives either of two benefits:  calming or energy.  Have to do some more research, but I am glad to have either one on most days--  For 90 calories, I get a clear cup with my name in  magic marker and can be a Starbucks girl this summer.        

I want to say it costs around $3 and the promotion right now, is if you bring your receipt back to Starbucks (any store, not just the one you bought it in) and show your receipt, you get a refill for $2.    I think it is the grande size.    Refill of 90 calories is not the worst thing and if it's energy producing or calming-- I will find out---    it's well worth the two bucks.   

July 15 to Aug 18.... Check it out.    
(Also, it's non-carbonated like the canned Refreshers)   

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Westchester's Own ChickLit Author-- Susie Orman Schnall

   Book Launch Party

On Grace 
Book Launch Party 
on 7.17.13  

Susie Orman Schnall
best pal, who owns Nest Inspired Home in Rye   

If nothing else, you will want to check out Nest Inspired Home in Rye.   Fabulous home furnishings.   But that is a blog for another day.   Hard to stay focused in that store!

A little background:
Susie Orman Schall and her friend from college both made some "pre-turning 40" goals for themselves and each one succeeded.  One wanted to open a shop and one wanted to write a novel.  
Both women successfully met their goal of finding something new and different to accomplish.
So fitting for the signing/book launch to be held here.    Friends supporting friends. 
Surrounded by college friends of theirs, some friends of friends and others who knew neither one but came out to support the pair.  Such a fun gathering to support Susie's first novel.

For more photos:

So.....what is the book about??

Well....I can't give away the plot of the book, of course.   I will never forget when my husband was 9/10 of the way through "Sell" by Stephen King.   He was reading it slowly and carefully; making sure not to rush through it and miss any of the details.    One Sunday morning, he was sitting in the car, reading the NY Times Book Review and the review gave away the ending!  (Isn't that no-no numero uno??)  Naturally, I felt sooo guilty as he was sitting in the car as I food shopped, occupying himself w the newspaper and in the meantime, spoiled the last section of the book, that he was looking so forward to.  

So instead of summarizing the story and in turn, ruining the ending I will list some bullet points/themes:

- a perfect read for moms approaching 40, who have dedicated their lives, often putting off careers and/or advancement of careers to find the "balance" between being a mom and a career woman.    Every woman finds a different way to achieve balance and finds satisfaction in their own way.    This allows for reflection for most readers and we can personally connect to Grace's feelings.

- deals with (yes!) social media......"facebook flirting" which totally happens, infidelity whether physical or not.....and the importance of being your partners equal.  

- deals with finding a "sense of self" which is one that many moms go through.    Stay at home moms end their careers and strive to find a "purpose" for lack of a better word.   An old boss once told me, "You will never get an award for being the best stay at home mom."    We make this sacrifice for our kids and sometimes it deems unfulfilling.   Getting back into the workplace, reinventing oneself, failures and basically doing this all over again is a challenge.   

- differences between how women view things and how men view things.   Values, parenting styles, expectations to name a few.  Also how differently our parents, based on their experiences view marriage and family.

- the importance of friendships between women; always having a shoulder to lean on and a listening ear.   Despite all that went on in Grace's life, she was always true to her best female friend, which I loved.  

I think this book is one that most women can relate to.   The main character is named Grace.   (Title, On Grace)    I loved at the signing when Susie said, "Either you are Grace or you know Grace."  Very true.   I found myself thinking about the Graces in my extended circles of friends.   Marriage takes work and partners need to stay in communication and keep their marriage strong, regardless of who is at home, who is working, etc.    Not everyone really puts forth the effort that it requires and some assume that once they are married, they do not have to work at it, support each other emotionally.     

"It really hits home to this demographic," Susie said (meaning women in Westchester that are in the almost-40 category).   Most of us can relate to Grace which keeps us turning the pages in her book.    

As I read, I thought about it and realized, that certainly this plot might be a filled with problems of women living in suburban/city mom life and wondered if this same "juggling/balancing" existed in other parts of the country, with some varieties.   I am eager to see how people feel about it after reading it.   It is a great summer, a page turner and really something we can relate to and take some small "marriage advice" away from.    

And best of all:  no British girls with glamorous but low-paying publishing jobs in the big city, bed-hopping, partying, shopping until they max out their credit cards.   A giant phew to that!

On Grace is available on or at Arcade Books on Purchase Street in Rye.   Enjoy!!