Mary Kay Has Joined Us in the Future

Hello, Mary Kay.

When I was a pre-teen growing up in a small-town lonely world, my mom dragged me to many a Mary Kay party. Remember those? There would be a gathering and everyone would sit around a dinner table. Mirrors, makeup and bad lighting, oooooh-ing and aaaaaah-ing after having their makeup expertly (?) done by a local dealer. Since they would let me try precious little more than lip gloss, all I wanted to do was gaze at the pictures of Mary Kay founder, Mary Kay. I was truly and sincerely impressed by her beauty. I questioned her decision about the pink Cadillac thing. I was more in the mindset of a Camaro as the ultimate luxury (and isn’t that a lot of information about me?) but still. Beauty. I was entranced. As time went on I became a sort of makeup junkie. In high school I pasted Boy George on my mirror and emulated his style. Let’s just say I deviated from the Mary Kay technique and at one point took great satisfaction when someone said my eyes looked like a sunset. In retrospect I realize they meant the blazing orange, yellow and red colors I was wearing in a striped pattern on my lids, not the overall gorgeous effect. Eventually I calmed down, muted the palette and lightened my hand a bit. But I have always loved makeup, it is the yin to my otherwise tomboy yang. Still, these days I don’t often wear it. I’ve accepted that I have freckles and even enjoy them a little. I am thankful for black eyelashes that don’t require too much attention. And I’ve noticed that foundation only serves to settle in the little lines by my eyes, calling attention to them more than “erasing” them as promised. So it’s moisturizer, sunscreen, lip gloss and sometimes a swipe of blush on any given day. Keep reading to see some incriminating photos, and for the chance to win a Mary Kay box set valued at $100!

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Get in the Game at ExerBlast

Literally getting into the game.

My son Roan and his colleague-in-secret-mission-hood, Sachin, were good enough to allow me to follow and document their adventure after being summoned to Botania. Where? Oh….you haven’t heard? It is “a distant planet where gentle plant people are relying on you to stop the ebb of Xi energy that has sustained them since antiquity…”. The secret mission started in TriBeCa, of all places. In an unassuming (but beautiful and spacious) place called ExerBlast.

Accepting the mission.

Getting wired.

Those who aren’t connected into the story may call this place a dream-obstacle-course. Those (like you, reader!) who are in-the-know, understand that while it may be hugely fun to scale rotating rock walls, climb big spider-webby light-sensored jungle-gym things,  and bounce in a roomful of Pilates-balls, it is also serious work to save the Botanians!

Moving rock wall?

No problem!

So my two serious secret agents got to work. They put on their sensors which tracked the energy they were collecting, and donned their earphones which kept them on-track for their mission.

After a quick warm-up, Sachin and Roan got moving. They were challenged by the mission-givers to get up to 2,500 steps (or Xi energy) each. I’m just saying that these two guys threw themselves into this challenge so entirely that they each collected 4,000, each. That’s right. They were entirely sweaty and mostly exhausted by the end, but proud as could be. And without them knowing, each boy had completed an amazing workout, using their arms, legs, core and lots of cardio. I do not think they would have signed up for that purpose, but it snuck itself in. How many places can you say that about?

Bouncing.

This may be the only moment he stopped moving.

But did they have fun? Um, duh. Not once did someone tell them to slow down, be careful,  or be quiet. Nor did they ever lose sight of their mission. Had I not been hobbled by whatever force of nature wonked my achilles out a few weeks ago, I would have been right there with them. These courses are designed for families to use together, ages 5 – 105. (Sorry for those who are 106. You’re just too old. Get over it.) The missions are also cooperative rather than competitive.

Climbing.

Jumping.

Dancing.

Grooving.

After going through all manner of awesomely lit and thoroughly challenging experiences, the boys were led in a Yoga-inspired cool down. I do believe it is the first time I have ever seen Secret Agent Roan and Secret Agent Sachin hold still for that long. Truly amazing.

Chilling.

This is the gorgeous thing of living in NYC. Amazing times to be had, with the coolest of ideas being actually available, just a subway ride away. ExerBlast has after-school programs, birthday party availability and Fall Family programs. And the staff just couldn’t be nicer. Founder Kate Gyllenhaal walked me around the space, describing visions of programs for the future, as well as plans for toddlers (yes. Please. Please.) to be included soon. For prices and more information, check their website, or you can even call them (888-898-9797) and talk to a real person. Maybe from Botania. But still real.

Perfect for Twins: Britax B-Ready Double Stroller

Britax B-Ready

Britax, who is the manufacturer of this dope baby carrier offered to let me try out their B-Ready Stroller. And get this. Instead of just unboxing it, throwing the little dudes in it, and letting you know what I thought, I put this poor piece of equipment through ridiculous tests. I didn’t mean to be extra hard on it but I was. And if you don’t want to read to the end, here’s this: it is awesome. Tell a friend.

Here’s why:

I only had the Britax B-Ready for about three days before we left on vacation. I thought it’d be a great test to see if we could wrangle a double stroller through the airport, gate check it, and wheel our twins around in it without really being familiar with it. I mean – I find it annoying when it takes six months to learn how to use a piece of equipment for my babies. I have about three minutes at night after they go to bed before I fall asleep and no minutes during the day during which to learn all the nuances of a stroller. I’m lucky some days that I actually am wearing pants. You follow?

My stroller has to go up and down this staircase a few times a day. My stroller has to be supertough.

It was a dream. I was able to put the B-Ready together superquick. Me. All by myself. And I seriously suck at putting things together. Everything about using it was intuitive from the get-go. And any stroller I’m going to have is going to need to be built incredibly sturdy to withstand the roads, curbs, stairs and rats that it gets rolled over. (hahaha – kidding about the rats.) (?)

My older son loves to push his little bros.

But the devil of this thing is in the details. Not only did B-Ready pass my airport and vacation test, it passed the Hurricane Irene test. All of the photos in this post were taken while my family was walking around literally in the Eye of Hurricane Irene.

A little hurricane wind. No problem.

Umm...seriously....no problem...

So. I would tell my sister, my friends and anyone else who would listen to consider the Britax B-Ready for their babies Why?

  • The storage under the seats has a lot of room. And you can actually get to it. The super-geniuses at Britax have put zippers on the front and the sides of the storage space, so you can throw whatever it is you throw into that area without wrestling your kid out of the lower seat. I love this!! It seems so simple but it is a game changer.

    See? Can put apples in through the side zipper. Love.

  • The sun-visor on each seat actually is big enough to shield the boys from the sun. My dudes are somewhat vampire-like in their wailing once the sun hits them in the eyes. They flip out. The Britax B-Ready has totally superb huge canopies that effectively keep the sun off my boys’ faces. Love that.
  • Multiple seat configurations. Ok, this is kind of “duh” but I need a double stroller. But I also *want* a single stroller. The B-Ready can be used as either a double or a single, and it is easy to move between them. With twins, there are times when I want to put one in a carrier, and push the other around, in a single stroller. I do not want a giant huge heavy single stroller people. I want a light cute easy breezy single stroller. And when you remove the bottom seat it is just that. (The second seat is sold seperately.)

And last, but oh-so-mightily important:

  • I can push the Britax B-Ready with one hand. Easily. With total control. With both babies in it. I’m impressed with this. Seriously. This frees my other hand up for holding my older son’s hand, holding coffee, or waving at everyone because I’m just in that good of a mood.

One-handed-push so I can love-up my older boy.

There are a multitude of other features that the Britax B-Ready has including:

  • Appropriate for use with children from birth when using infant car seat, bassinet, or second seat (sold separately).
  • For use with children at least 6 months old, up to 55 lbs when using top seat only.
  • CLICK & GO integrated infant car seat adapter works with BRITAX CHAPERONE and B-SAFE infant car seats and bassinet.
  • Travel System compatible with other major infant car seat brands when used with Infant Car Seat Adapter Frame, such as Chicco Key Fit, Chicco Key Fit 30, Graco Snugride 32, Graco Snugride 35, and Peg Perego Primo Viaggio
  • Reversible top seat with 3 recline positions
  • Simple fold with automatic chassis lock
  • Adjustable handle height
  • No re-thread, adjustable, five-point harness and head pad
  • One-step linked brake locks both rear wheels with one step
  • Removable storage bag with insulated drink holders
  • Included accessories: adult cup-holder, rain cover, CLICK & GO BRITAX infant car seat adapters
  • MSRP (USD) $499.99 (Second seat, shown in my photos MSRP (USD) $149.99)

(Seriously)Magnificent Baby

Magnificent

Babies

A test is administered to new parents every night, and most of us fail. It’s not our fault. Our fingers are fumbly and clumsy. We are only half-way awake. The babies are squirly and squirmy. And what type of passive-agressive weirdo designed infant pajamas anyway, what with their secret combination of how the snaps connect? Who created that mess of snaps up and down every leg, meeting in the middle, and going all the way up to the top ALWAYS always at least one being wrongly matched and ALWAYS always having to be completely undone while my babies are crying for me to end this torture and put them back to sweet heavenly sleep.

Not that I feel strongly about pajamas or anything.

I mean, it’s shocking the simple changes that can be made…that make a parents life easier. May I please now introduce you to my new very very very big time totally favorite pair of infant pajamas?

Elephants on Parade Collection

I’m not even kidding this is gift you need to buy every parent you know, right this very moment. The new parent will possibly say “thanks” at first and marvel at the cushy awesome softer-than-you-can-imagine Peruvian cotton. The new parent will think the way these PJ’s feel is the special thing that makes them…special. Or they may be of the breed who love for their offspring to be unbearably cute in sweet designs that are simple and not overbearing. (I’m a fan of the Magnificent Baby “Elephants on Parade” collection designed by supernova juggernaut A-List Mom Elina Furman). The new parent may initially believe the softness and cuteness are the reason why these jams rule.

Nay.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Pistols + Popcorn jury…I am talking about magnets. Magnetic closures up and down these sweet little soft adorable jams that practically close themselves, perfectly – every time. Let me disclose that the husband and father of my children first pooh-poohed the magnetic closures as not that cool until he tried them, late at night (ok, actually early in the morning). And husband baby-daddy was sold.

“They practically close themselves”, he admitted in the morning.

And yes that’s true. So listen I may be on fire for these PJ’s, I may be sounding a tad bit enthusiastic about Magnificent Baby uh, because I am. I love them so very much, and if you want them, you can find them at a store near you or online.

Get Into the Move Part 2


Even just holding two babies while smiling = Getting Into The Move

It’s two weeks after my original Degree motionSense Get Into the Move Post, and how is my fitness regime? Well, gee it’s perfect, see? Summertime with its popsicles and ice-cream and BBQ’s and lazy sun-napping has created the perfect climate for me to be hard-core and disciplined about my health! Read on to find out how I’ve done, and to have another chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card!

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Get Into The Move

Get Into the Move

Last year was a doozy. I really let myself go. I mean, I packed on close to 35 pounds, in right around nine months. I know, that’s epic. Of course, two babies were being made during the process so I gave myself a pass. But now those babes are almost seven months old, and I’m done handing out passes to myself. I won’t get all cuckoo crazy pants and say I’m a total mess. Honestly, I’ve lost most of the weight and I do move my body around the world a lot. If I’m not chasing a baby or a big kid, I’m probably busy putting things away and then immediately taking them out again to be played with. I’m taking one boy to school and picking him up from school.  While he’s there,  I’m taking my twin boys on rides in their stroller to introduce them to Mother Brooklyn, and carrying them like footballs up and down endless flights of stairs. I do not own a car so anywhere we want to go, we walk. Keep reading to find out where I’ve gone wrong, what I’m going to do about it, and how you can win a $100 Visa gift card!

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HomeGoods part 2!

HomeGoods Manhattan store

This past weekend was shaping up to be a tad bit logistically epic. Roan was booked for a photo shoot for  Papier Mache magazine which has these beautiful and imaginative spreads with great styling and costumes and he was seriously excited. I had a shopping date at HomeGoods (wait, do you love Facebook pages? Click here!) with all my besties, at exactly the same time. Then there were two infant babies to plan for, who made no plans of their own, but who were insistent that they are too young to be left home alone just yet. It was doable, however, because I have a positive can-do attitude! (oh – and amazing friends/family who will always help me by wearing a baby or two. OK, and an amazing husband who does way more than his allotted 50% in this relationship.) Can-Do!

Choices...

So the only thing that was stumping me was this: what should I shop for at HomeGoods?

Keep reading to find out how to enter (twice!) for a HomeGoods gift card worth $100!

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Alpina Restart

Yes, I am exactly this glamorous each morning.

Every day I eat the same thing for breakfast: Yogurt with granola. After 2 cups of coffee, getting Roan off to school, kissing the handsome baby-daddy goodbye, and getting the twins so milk-drunk they pass out, I finally have time to eat breakfast on my own. I also add dried cranberries and fresh blueberries to it and a little bit of milk. And now you know what my favorite meal is. I love yogurt. My weirdo secret is that sometimes it will be the foundation of what I eat, all day. I’ll have my normal breakfast. Then eat yogurt with bananas for lunch. Then if the boys are gone or eating something I cannot stand (we have drastically different tastes, my husband and I: Exhibit A – hotdogs. No way. I cannot. But I try to be tolerant of those who can), I’ll grab yet another bowl of yogurt and maybe top it off with toast. If you are a nutritionist please do not analyze this diet. It’s just….I’ll say it again….I do love yogurt.

Keep reading for a chance to win a $200 Visa Gift Card. That’s cool, no?

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Home Goods and My Frugal Neurosis

Embedded deep in my DNA is the need to be frugal. I don’t know if it’s that I grew up drinking powdered milk (not something I can wholeheartedly recommend) or if it’s just the way I’m wired, but I cannot bear to spend fistfuls of cash on things that are not necessities. This manifests in ways that I can usually live with. Our sheets are not the best. Our couch is a little saggy in the middle. The artwork on our walls consists of pictures we’ve taken, blown up at Kinko’s, and framed in cheap nondescript frames. Anything that’s brag-worthy is pretty much guaranteed to be swag that my husband has brought home from a photo shoot, or something that’s been gifted to us.

Still, there are times where I look through a catalogue and think well Howdy Doody wouldn’t it be nice to live in a house full of rooms that had some design in mind? I do like nice things, I just cannot be motivated to spend the money that the nice things require. I also am not a huge fan of buying used things. It’s a quirk, a weirdness, a neurotic flare-up that it just creeps me out a little to take things into my home that have already been in someone else’s home.

So. Am I destined to live a life of photo shoot swag and imitation quality items? Maybe. But…..maybe not? Keep reading for a chance to win gift certificates to Home Goods, and to find out…if I really can have nice things.

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Baby Wearing With Britax

Smith was totally cheating on his dad with The Baby Guy Jamie Grayson. Watchout.

On Wednesday,my sister-wife-life-partner-extra-strength-next-door-neighbor Lola packed up baby Sheppard, and I packed up baby Smith and we went on the F Train to New York City! It’s true! We took those babes into the Concrete Jungle and met up with The Baby Guy, Jamie Grayson as well as Karen from A Child Grows in Brooklyn and Melissa from Married My Sugar Daddy (Karen + Melissa together make up Buzzing Bloggers, a juggernaut team of can-do-ness and sunshine.) When we arrived at the pre-arranged meeting spot in the lobby of a hotel, I was super-duper happy to immediately run into Natalie Diaz from Twiniversity (who gave me the sleep training advice that has led to peace, love, mana from heaven, and smiles all around in this family of mine. Also the advice that started a fire-storm of strong opinions on this post.) Then there was Nancy Horn, walking around with her beautiful (and I do mean beeee-uuuu-teeee-ful) child.

I was there to look at the new Britax baby carrier which is going to be available to the public soon – early summer of this year. I walked away with two carriers for my two babies, and am here to say good news people! There’s a new sheriff in town when it comes to wearing a baby. There are a few things that are different about this here model. First – weight is distributed differently. Essentially, you’ll take more of the burden on your hips, and less on your shoulders and back. That’s a treat. Second – the baby is resting on a harness, so if your hip strap becomes undone, your child will not plummet to an untimely drop on his/her head. This was demonstrated to me by Jamie when he abruptly unlatched my hip strap which made my face go all contorted and my heart beat faster and my mouth say, “Ahhh @$#!” because I assumed my baby would fall out and be dropped on his head. This did not happen. And so. Yay.

Britax Baby Carrier. Does not make you look fat.

I now have five baby carriers. I like them all. But there are a few things about this Britax that has me reaching for it instead of the others. It’s super easy to put on. It goes over the head, and then two clicks and that’s that. It’s super padded for my shoulders and also for my baby’s fat legs. And my favorite detail is that it has a snap-on and off bib that you can throw in the wash because let’s face it people. Babies are kind of disgusting and always slobbering or spitting up. It’s lovely to be able to wash and change out that part of the carrier. The only detail that I think they missed is a front pocket which I do adore in my other carrier. So nice to have a zip pocket on a carrier that you can throw your phone or wallet into. Guess I’ll have to use my pants pocket. Ah well. Not a deal breaker.

The Britax baby carrier will be retailing for $129 – $139 when it comes out but they’ve pinky promised the Pistols + Popcorn staff (eh….me….) that we can have one to give away to a lucky ducky reader. Yahooo! Because the only thing I like more than getting free stuff for myself is getting free stuff for you. Stay tuned!