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Posts Tagged ‘Beccarama’

As you all know I am a relative newbie to NYC, many people have told me that you can’t really call yourself a true New Yorker until you have toughed it out and lived here for at least ten years. That being said I think we can all agree that I am truly passionate about New York City and have happily embraced it as my new home. I spend much of my time on this blog charting all of my crazy adventures in this incredible place that I get to call home. I honestly feel very lucky to live here and experience all the ups and downs that life in Manhattan brings with it. So, when my incredibly talented and informed friend Rebecca Levey of Beccarama and KidzVuz invited me to be one of the bloggers to attend a meet and greet with mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, I jumped at the chance. It will be my first time voting in a NYC Mayoral election and I am excited to learn about the candidates so that I can use my voice in the best possible way.

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Bloggers for de Blasio

The Bloggers for de Blasio event was a very intimate event (around 20 or so)  where we were welcomed and immediately put at ease by the hosts and the de Blasio staff. This is the second time that I have been at an event held for Bill de Blasio and I am impressed by how easy going and approachable the people running the de Blasio campaign are. I am not always comfortable at social functions of a political nature but I found that this event was very relaxed and we were encouraged to talk to the de Blasio team, Bill’s wife Chirlane and Mr. de Blasio himself.

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Yes, Bill de Blasio really is that tall and I am really that short 😉

After impassioned introductions from Rebecca Levey and Cynthia Nixon, Bill de Blasio spent time going over his past work within the city of New York including his service on City Council and as Public Advocate, he then began laying out some of his  goals for the city of New York including Universal Pre- K and afterschool programs for all middle schoolers that include academics, culture and athletics. If Bill is elected as Mayor, he will be the only sitting Mayor to have a child currently in a NYC public school. As a parent of two children who are currently navigating through the NYC public school system I have first hand knowledge of how frustrating this process can be and how there is a desperate need for something to be done. Education in this city is hit and miss depending on what district you live in, over crowding and teaching to the test are real problems. I have been incredibly impressed with Bill de Blasio’s  platform on education. During this event he opened up the floor to questions and did not flinch from the tough questions aimed at him regarding the numerous issues revolving around education. His answers were well thought out, sincere and he did not deflect. It was unsurprising, given the audience that most of the questions did revolve around education, economic discrepancies and the future generations of New Yorkers. If I had one complaint was that this meet and greet ended too soon as I would have loved to hear more in depth answers about Bill’s stance on some of the other issues surrounding the Mayoral race. That being said, I get the impression from this campaign team that if I have any questions they would be happy to answer them.

A BIG thank you to Rebecca Levey for the invite and to the de Blasio team for the opportunity to listen, learn and be better informed. A positive, inspiring New York City experience!

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Bill de Blasio addressing the questions from the audience

From the de Blasio Campaign:

“Bill knows we only succeed as New Yorkers if we leave no New Yorker behind. Bill knows we need new leadership that lifts up all our people; leadership that understands New York is a city of neighborhoods- five boroughs and everyday people from all walks of life.”

“Bill believes that New York City will grow strong as one city that rises together.”

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Who are you voting for? Get out there, be informed!

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It is that time of year again- Winter Break. Although, I feel funny even saying that because I really don’t feel like we have even had winter here in NYC. The kids have worn their snow boots twice!! It has definitely been a crazy year for weather! Anyhoo, enough about that. This is the February school break week for the girls. Even though it really hasn’t been that long since the Holiday break, I really feel like everyone needed a little bit of change of pace and scenery. Case in point, on Sunday both girls stayed in their p.j.’s until mid afternoon and were totally content to hang in the apartment watching movies, reading and playing with their toys. They didn’t ask to go out once. They just needed some well deserved down time. I know how they feel.

Ron and the girls snuggling on the couch =)

There is something about February the shortest month, that seems to drag, wear on our patience and generally pull people into a funk. If the crap is going to hit the fan it usually happens in February 😉 So, on that note, it really is nice to have a bit of a breather right smack in the middle. While most New Yorker’s jet off to far away destinations or at least escape the Island, we have decided to enjoy a little staycation in one of the best cities in the world!! Ron is super busy at work right now and I have to admit, I am just enjoying NOT having a schedule to adhere to. I am sure by the end of the week I will be going a bit stir crazy, I am already missing my running group, but right now I am loving the flexibility. I also love exploring this incredible city and finding cool places to take the girls to.

NYC as our playground!!

Yesterday we decided to play tourist. The girls begged me to take them to the Times Square area because they really wanted to go to ToysRUs and American Girl Place. I was a little hesitant since it was a holiday and I did not want to get stuck in crowds and crowds of people. But, I gave in and we had a great day. We started off at the Empire 25 movie theatre on 42nd St. Over a healthy lunch of popcorn we watched the movie “The Secret World of Arrietty”. It was a wonderful movie and I highly recommend it. An enchanting, magical and thoughtful story. Each of us gave it two thumbs up!! After the movie we headed to ToysRUs. The girls had a specific “Barbie” that they were looking for and moved through the crowds like pros. I swear you would think those two had lived here since birth. I am often in awe of their confidence and resilience.

Striking a pose in Times Square

From ToysRUs we headed over to American Girl Place where they were eager to finally spend their gift card that Chantal had given them at Christmas. Again, they manoeuvred through crowds with comfort and ease. Not really sure what I was worried about, maybe MY sanity 😉 We topped the day off with a Magnolia cupcake. Yep, totally touristy and we loved it. Especially the part where it was just a short walk home through Central Park to crash in our warm and cozy apartment.

Today, we enjoyed a leisurely morning, followed by a manicure for the girls (another gift certificate from Christmas) and then a shopping trip to Trader Joe’s. We are getting ready for a friend sleeping over tonight where we will be making chocolate chip pancakes for dinner in celebration of Fat Tuesday.

A little pampering 😉

The finished product

And what does the rest of the week have in store for us? Who knows? I have a few ideas in the back of my head. My good friend Rebecca of Beccarama told me about The Museum of The Moving Image for the Muppet Exhibit, I know the girls would LOVE that. And then when they get home they can review it on the incredible Kidzvuz site (if you have kids/tweens and they haven’t visited this site yet, what are you waiting for??!!) There is also The Bronx Zoo, The Brooklyn Museum and of course, there is a Carlos Cake Boss mug that I have to replace… Really, a NYC staycation has endless possibilities!! We are looking forward to our next adventure. Oh, and February isn’t ALL bad, there is Ron’s birthday and on Friday we will dine in style to celebrate his 40th. By then, I will definitely need a drink or two 😉

*Some other great resources for kids in NYC are: NYCity Mama, Mommy Poppins, Time Out NYC Kids

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On Tuesday afternoon we arrived back in Rome airport from Prague and immediately we were thrown back into the hustle and bustle of big city living. Except this city is slightly different in it’s architectural style than anything I have ever seen. It’s not often that you see a modern building standing beside one that has been around for approximately 2000 years or more!! Not going to lie, I was a little blown away. Although I much prefer seeing it from the relative safety of the sidewalk rather than the car ride from the airport as Rome appears to have no traffic laws and speed and lanes are a mere suggestion. A good back seat passenger, I am not 😉

Thanks to a good friend we had an excellent hotel recommendation and we stayed at the Albergo del Senato. It is a very friendly hotel with a fabulous location. We had a 6th floor room that had a little balcony that over looked the Pantheon. There was no better way to get an immediate vibe of the city.

The view from our hotel room balcony- the Pantheon and the surrounding Piazza

Now, being from NYC you would think that we would be used to walking but I have to admit that Ron and I definitely put in the miles while exploring this magnificent city. We used this to justify all of the wine, gelato, pasta and the occasional emergency pizza that we consumed. FYI -The best gelato was recommended by Beccarama and IS at San Crispino (on the way to the Spanish Steps). I could write a post on the food alone. And don’t get me started on the shopping… we may have had to buy an extra bag to get everything back home! Every morning we stopped and had our cappuccinos and croissants at the local coffee bar, Tazza D’ Oro. I would end my love affair with Starbucks, if I could visit this establishment every day.

Chai Latte, I love you... but when in Rome...

Shoe Porn!

We needed the caffeine because heading out to see the sights of ancient Rome is not for the faint of heart. It is hot and there are crowds but it is worth it to see the incredible structures and works of art. I am still in awe and wonderment when I think of the pieces of art on door frames, the statues in the courtyard of apartment buildings and tiny beyond beautiful churches tucked into alleyways, let alone awesome structures such as the Colosseum and the Forum. We visited the Colosseum and Palatine Hill on a very hot day but were very lucky to receive some valuable advice to avoid the hour and a half line up: if you pay 5 extra euros for the audio guide (which we loved) you can go through a separate line right on up to the audio line and buy your ticket/audio guide with little to no wait. Trust me, on a hot day, those 5 euros are worth every, uh, euro! I loved listening to the history of the planning and building of the Colosseum as well as the on-going re-construction. It does however freak me out a bit that it is said that when the Colosseum falls, the world will end. Lets hope it makes it through 2012 😉 The surrounding Palatine Hill where the remains of the ancient Roman palaces and grounds are, should not be missed, although be warned that it is quite a hilly walk especially in the heat. Keep refilling your water bottle at the many water fountains.

A View of the Colosseum

A definite highlight of our adventure in Rome was visiting St. Peter’s Basilica and then heading over to the Vatican for an evening tour, ending at the Sistine Chapel. I will have to write another blog later on after I return home about the powerful effect this visit had on me. Right now, only a day later, I am still trying to fully process all that I have seen. At St. Peter’s Basilica there was an extremely moving and powerful installation on the life of Pope John Paul II, this and the breathtaking Basilica is a memory that I will cherish forever. Our evening tour of the Vatican as the sun set over the city of Rome was also a once in a lifetime experience and one that I can’t quite find the words for right now.

St. Peter's Basilica

Courtyard inside the Vatican Museum

I have to admit, I did fall in love with the beauty and romance that is the city of Rome. The energy, passion and pride of the people are evident in all of those that you talk to. There is soo much to see and do, I feel like we only scratched the surface. But, I know that I will be back because I stood with my back to the Trevi Fountain and threw a coin with my right hand over my left shoulder! Legend has it, if you do this, you will return to the incredible city of Rome =)

The Trevi Fountain

And now, I am sitting here writing this post from our third and final destination, a little villa in Tuscany. There is a glass of white wine by the computer, I am full of home made pasta, cheeses and bread. I think I may be slipping into a bit of a carb coma… I can hear nothing but the sound of my fingers on the keyboard… it is heavenly. The sun is setting over the rolling hills and I am melting into complete and utter relaxation. I have a feeling that this might be my most favorite destination of all or maybe it is just exactly the pace I have been looking for… Bouna Sera!

Do not disturb 😉

P.S. To my new readers that have found me through FP, thank you soo much for all of your wonderful comments, I look forward to reading your blogs and getting back to your comments soon… maybe after vacation 😉

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