Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Competition in the Kitchen with Walmart Steak Grill-Off

Living in NYC it's rare that we get an opportunity to grill - various apartments we've lived in don't always have outdoor space (our current one included!), but that hasn't stopped us. I was excited to participate in Walmart's Steak Grill-Off and opted to use our stove-top grilling pan to host a little friendly competition between Mr. Love Bird and myself. Of course, this left our Lil Love Bird to be the judge!

It's a rare treat for us to eat red meat and with grilling season nearly here (and Mr. Love Bird's birthday next week) I was excited to have a special Sunday dinner for us. I carefully selected a couple cuts from Walmart's USDA Choice Premium Beef department which was well stocked and fresh at our local store. I actually froze them in advance of this post and they thawed nicely.

The ingredients:

Hers: NY Strip Steak//His: Ribeye = both cuts that need little prep!
The prep:

Mr. Love Bird created a basic peppercorn cream sauce to go with his ribeye seasoned with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

I simply marinated my NY strip steaks for 30 minutes

The presentation:

The judging:

She's tough isn't she?

Are you ready to experience Walmart’s Steak-Over for yourself? Find out why you should choose your steaks at Walmart here. We shared our winning grilling tip - now tell us yours!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Walmart. The opinions and text are all mine.


Monday, April 29, 2013

The Move

This time last week I didn't know we'd be moving but as I write this I'm sitting around boxes and the movers will be here tomorrow morning. It all happened so fast that I'm having a hard time processing it!

Similar to our unit

So quickly, before I have to run Nia to her preschool prep class (catching the bus there for the last time today as we'll now be within walking distance!), here's what happened:

A fellow meet-up mom posted a unit was available in her apartment a few miles from us, and we decided on a whim last weekend to go check it out. We're in a month-to-month and thought we'd just see what was in that area since we weren't familiar with it. Well a few things sealed the deal for us:
  • Close proximity to the PATH train which goes right into Manhattan (no more dependency on the light rail/bus which then connects to the PATH)
  • In a urban renewal area - much cleaner, safer and more retail options than our current neighborhood and much more diverse
  • 10 minute straight bike ride to Mr. Love Bird's office (his current commute is 15 minutes)
  • Nia's fall preschool is a 3 minute walk around the corner from our apartment (we register her bright and early Wednesday) and her preschool prep class (ends in June) is a manageable 12 minutes walk
  • Adjacent to a college that allows us to use their new sports complex and Mr. Love Bird knows the bball coach so he's super excited to reconnect with him
  • Across the hall neighbors (the fellow meet-up family who told us about the unit) are great and have kids around Nia's age - they hit it off immediately when we met and Nia keeps asking about them!
  • WAAAAAY bigger than our current space - it's a 2-story loft with lots of sunlight, balcony with a view of Manhattan (SO excited to get my view back that I had when I first moved to NYC in '07 - I've missed it ever since!)
  • 6" concrete floors - we're SO sick of being able to hear our neighbors even when they sneeze, turn on their bathroom exhaust fan and do "other" things . . .
Living in our current space definitely served a purpose. Having 3 bedrooms to spread out was great but the area just wasn't cutting it. We know there's a good chance we'll have to relocate again due to Mr. Love Bird's job, but for now this opportunity opened, we prayed on it and when everything started falling into place we knew we were on the right track.

Now back to finish packing, and I hope to try to come back later with another post. We'll see. . . 


P.S. My post Living in the Midst of Ratchedness I linked to above ended up getting picked up by a local forum and turned into a political thread! I figured it out when my traffic spiked like crazy and someone had first posted it on my neighborhood site without giving credit to me. I told them to either give me credit or take it down and they did. Isn't that weird? It lives on in the local forum though properly linking to my blog.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Winner: Mommébox Launch Box

She really enjoyed the 70 degree weather we had yesterday!
I'm taking a quick break from packing (yes, we're moving - more on that later!) to announce the winner of the Mommébox launch giveaway . . .

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Congrats Teresha! I'll be in touch via email to get your contact information! 

If you didn't win there's still time to sign up here for the Spring box in time for Mother's Day.

Have a good day everyone!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

{Image Credit}


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Meeting Bloggers IRL Pt. 2

I've shared before how I really enjoy meeting fellow bloggers IRL (in real life) so here's an update on a few that I've met up with lately in order of most recent . . .

Monica of So Family at last week's Mom Trends travel event (didn't get a pic together but more on the event and better pics to come!)
Sona of the former While Sol Sleeps at Liberty Science Center with our cuties - hers was one of the first blogs I ever followed!
Dani of OK Dani and her son before we headed out to P&G's Best of event

Carol of Girl Gone Travel (formerly NY City Mama) 

Ruby of Growing up Blackxican at Toy Fair 2013 (we first met at Blogalicious '12)

Amy of Teach Mama at the Melissa & Doug booth at Toy Fair '13 (we first met at Blogalicious '12 as well!)
Dr. Yakini of Reality TV Fashion (formerly Prissy Mommy) at Blogalicious '12 (so happy to get this pic recently!)
It's top priority for me to step from behind the computer screen and get out there! And since blogging conference season is warming up (check out a comprehensive listing here) it's perfect timing to consider this. 

If you blog, how do you connect with fellow bloggers IRL? Conferences, local events or your own one-on-one meet-ups, such as coffee chats? 


P.S. I'm still on a mission to get that pic of me and Jenn of Baby Making Machine from BlogHer '10!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Welcome to NYC King's Hawaiian!

Earlier this month I was invited to learn about King's Hawaiian at an intimate dining event at the W Hotel Times Square. King's Hawaiian is the premiere Hawaiian bakery and having grown up in Ohio seeing Hawaiian bread in the grocery store but never trying it and now learning that they are new to the NYC market I was excited to attend.

With Courtney, Customer Care representative from King's Hawaiian
Immediately, I was drawn in by the hospitality exuded by Courtney, our host for the evening who also turned out to be the founder's grand-daughter. Started in 1950, King's Hawaiian has such a great legacy and Courtney really made a point to engage the attendees and share the spirit of Hawaii with us - even giving us each a real lei which smelled divine (I ended up drying mine per her directions!). 

We enjoyed a traditional Hawaiian holiday feast  . . .

The bread pudding was divine especially with the chocolate and nuts!

The rolls themselves were absolutely delicious - perfectly soft and slightly sweet, and I learned there were other varieties too including wheat and savory. Courtney is very hands-on with customers and told me how she gets calls from moms telling her how much their kids love the bread especially. When I went home and gave my Lil Love Bird a roll she devoured quickly and and asked for more - she ended up eating an entire mini-4 pack!

My 2nd plate of food
From sliders to stuffing it was great learning all the ways that the rolls can be used, and I was excited to receive samples, but unfortunately due to Nia's obsession with the rolls I wasn't able to try any of the recipes and will have to head out secretly to pick up more.

I was especially obsessed with these chocolate covered macadamia nut candies dusted with truffle powder - I need these in my life!            
*UPDATE* They are Island Princess Mele Macs (Chocolate Toffee Macadamia Nuts). Here is the link: http://www.islandprincesshawaii.com/Island-Princess-Mele-Macs-Mini-Meles-s/108.htm
Another fun surprise was how at the end we were able to send a care package from King's Hawaiian to anyone of our choosing. I sent it to my parents who texted me raving about the rolls a few days later!

You can learn more about King's Hawaiian here as well as find all the recipes for the delicious dishes we tried. 

Thank you King's Hawaiian for a great night!

Are you familiar with King's Hawaiian? If so, have you tried any recipes with their bread? 


Friday, April 19, 2013

Vigilance vs. Fear: The Reality of Living Where We Live

Post-Newtown I wrote about moving on and here we are again with another tragedy that has overtaken the last. Tragedy does seem to come in waves as I was discussing with Mr. Love Bird last night before bed. It's not the type of conversation I like to have before bed, but talking through these things helps me, similar to how writing this post is very therapeutic for me.

Absorbing media after events like this is challenging for me and as someone who has been in the industry, studied it from a sociological perspective and is a consumer of it, now as a mother I find that I shut out the images especially being home with my daughter. I can see how easy it is to get sucked into the black hole of speculation, the same images and soundbites on loop literally leaving one glued to the TV.

While some bloggers carry on as if nothing happened or a small mention of the news, others feel as though to do so is disrespectful. What I believe is that each bloggers' space is their own. It's their choice. If you are a sunshine/rainbows type of blogger that's great; conversely if you're a "let's keep it real" kind of blogger that's great too. If you're somewhere in between, more power to you. My fellow bloggers don't owe me anything.

While I'm not trying to understand the events that happened what I know for sure is that I stand firmly by what I wrote before. This is a troubled world we live in, but what I can do is continue on with my pledge: to be there for those around me, have compassion, show I care and importantly, while it seems cliche especially in NYC: if I see something, I will say something.

A personal experience to share on that point . . .

Years ago my family was in town visiting NYC and staying in NJ. I had secured tickets for my parents to see Lion King on Broadway while I took my siblings to see the Spongebob movie. On the way back while waiting on the PATH back to NJ to depart, I moved seats to sit closer to my family on the other end of the train. After about 10 minutes of sitting there I started to wonder what was going on. I looked back to where I was sitting to see police had entered our train car and were looking around the area I had been sitting. That's when I noticed I had left my shopping bags there. I didn't understand why those around me didn't speak up to say I had left my bag when I got up to move - there were plenty of people around. It's something I do in an instant for others when I see someone's left something behind, but I simply walked over quickly and identified it as my bag and the train proceeded to leave the station.

That incident has stuck with me and while it hasn't caused me to live in fear since, it has caused me to be vigilant. My eyes and ears are on guard. It's one of the prices of living where we (the collective we) live whether "where" is a major metro or a small town.

Today I went out with Nia and was happy to let her walk freely around enjoying a bit of independence on the sidewalks of Jersey City without holding my hand (although she'd reach out from time to time to hold it). I refuse to infuse my child with fear, but I will teach her to be streetsmart and to be there for those around her.   


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Introducing Mommébox: a Subscription Box Service for Moms (and a Giveaway!)

A few months ago I hinted at Mommébox a subscription box service on Instagram and at long last I'm excited to share my vlog about it including a giveaway:

I'm now the Director of Business Development for the start-up and have been curating products for the boxes. You can learn more about Mommébox here and sign up for the next box, Spring, in time for Mother's Day. 

To enter the giveaway use the Rafflecopter form below. As always my giveaways only require one mandatory entry with the others being optional.  

Giveaway ends on Wednesday, April 24 with the winner being announced Thursday, April 25. Open to U.S. residents only. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

P.S. If you're a company owner and would like your prodcut featured in an upcoming Mommébox email partners@mommebox.com!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mompreneur Spotlight: Chic Chanta

My semi-formal spotlight on mompreneurs has had a snowball effect of sorts and has been opening my eyes to all the fellow mompreneurs around me IRL (in real life) and online. 

A while back I won a giveaway that Christina of Being Mrs. Jones was hosting to launch her new business Chic Chanta - an online boutique for tutus and accessories. I won a cute tutu and bow set for my Lil Love bird  -  Christina added in a bracelet bonus as well!

I gave Christina a color scheme and she customized Nia's prize!

What I love about Chic Chanta is the attention to detail. As a graphic designer (Christina designed my current blog template - yes, she's multi-talented!), she has an eye for color and style. Her items are packaged neatly with tissue and a custom label. Nia was excited to open up her surprise package and model it for me. 

She prefers not to wear any other clothing with her tutu

Adding Chic Chanta to Nia's growing collection of tutus has been wonderful! The products are well constructed and made with love. I encourage you to support Christina and check out her blog too - her girls Izzy and Zoe are the cutest!

Do you have a tutu lover in your household? How do you manage your growing collection?

Monday, April 15, 2013

A NYC Spring Family Visit

I'm writing this as I just heard about the explosions at the Boston Marathon. I am terribly saddened especially having attended Marathon Monday several times over the 9 years I lived in Boston. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone there. 

This weekend my parents came up with my Grandma Mary who was visiting from Ohio. We did lots of touristy stuff which Grandma absolutely loved! We were exhausted afterward, but it was well worth it . . . 

Post-"42" (highly recommend it!)

A mini-reunion with Uncle Van right before we entered the 9/11 Memorial site

Grandma Mary's 1st Taxi Ride


Have you been to NYC before? What was your favorite touristy thing you did on your visit? If you haven't been what's the #1 thing you'd want to do?


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