Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Review & Giveaway: Spring Skiing at Killington Resort

Disclosure: I was provided with lift tickets to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.


I shared prior to Easter how we were planning to head up to Vermont for a family-moon, and I'm excited to start sharing a few of our experiences during our trip!

We had already planned our stay at Snadragon Inn when we were also invited to Killington, about an hour away from the inn. Since we'd be in Vermont for a long weekend anyway I figured we could make a day trip out of it just to check out the property if ever we want to come back in the future.

My first skiing experience ever was spring skiing in New Hampshire, and it was a lot of fun so I was excited to see the conditions at Killington. Mr. Lovebird who travels frequently to Vermont for work had heard it was a must visit as well so on Easter Eve we drove over. It was a serene route and as we passed through a few towns, especially Woodstock, I knew on the way back I'd want to stop.


We were impressed by the breathtaking views as we approached the resort and while at first a few of the outer lots were a bit empty and we wondered where everyone was, as we made our way towards the peak we could see skiers zipping down and the crowds coming from the parking lot. It was full!

Those black dots are all people coming down the hill to the left!
More advanced skiiers were there during this time, but plenty of families and little ones were there too all geared up. Nia immediately broke into, "I want to skiiiiiiiii!," as she remembered our "Can House" adventure, but we showed her the gondola going up to Peak Lodge (elevation 4K ft!) and her eyes got big and she exclaimed, "OK!"



It was a fun ride up (and a bit scary for me - a little video is here):


 

We literally ascended into the clouds and the sun disappeared. We made our way to the Peak Lodge just around the corner and down a few steps from the gondola - it felt like we were stepping off a mountain and later when we could get stunning views of the three surrounding mountain ranges.


  

Peak Lodge is the newest lodge at Killington and while sleek and modern, it's definitely still comfortable. We got in just before noon but by 12:15/30p.m. the place was swamped! We opened our table to another couple and they shared with us how they had relocated from Boston to a small town of 1,500 in Vermont AND they loved it!


Nia had fun peering out the oversized windows into the clouds and catching glimpses of the gondolas arriving.

For lunch we enjoyed some of the best ski food I've ever had (I'm used to just hot dogs, chicken fingers and hamburgers on the menu!). My chunky tomato soup and fontina grilled cheese on hearty bread just how I like it was filling. There were several stations to choose from and had I been skiing I know I would've wanted to take a nap first on one of the lodge couches before heading back out!

 
After lunch we rode back down to make our way back to Snapdragon Inn. And yes, we stopped along the way! I picked up a few goodies at the Woodstock Farmer's Market and got carried away trying all the yummy samples while Uka stayed in the car with a napping Nia.



We highly recommend Killington and look forward to coming back with our family in the future (we just hope they make size 17 ski boots for Mr. Lovebird though - I shoulda asked!).

And with spring skiing still going on through May I'm giving away a family pack of 4 Killington lift tickets! The passes expire May 31, 2014 and all you have to do is enter via Rafflecopter below - there is only one mandatory entry with all others being optional. Giveaway ends Wednesday, May 7 with the winner announced on Thursday, May 8 (open to U.S. residents only). Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Snacktime with Stonyfield's New Organic Yogurt Pouches

Disclosure: I participated in a Blogger Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Stonyfield. I received coupons to facilitate my shopping trip and a promotional item to thank me for participating.


Ahhhh the afterschool snack dilemma! It's so easy to remember back to the 22 months I nursed Nia and thinking how far off such a thing seemed, but now almost done with her first year of preschool, it's definitely an issue. I admit it: we've stopped at the donut shop on the route home after school and we've had our share of battles about why we can't have a donut everyday. I explain to Nia it's a treat we eat sometimes and is extra special.

We kinda feel the same way about most traditional yogurt as well - especially the yogurt geared towards kids. We used to buy it a lot, but then I became concerned because of the sugar content. When I was invited to try Stonyfield YoBaby, YoToddler and YoKids, the first refrigerated organic yogurt pouch available, I was very curious to see how they measured up nutritionally and if they tasted good. 

I picked ours up at Whole Foods (you can check here to see where they're available), and compared to the other surrounding offerings the display was nearly ransacked! They weren't on sale or anything so I took that as a good sign. All of the Stonyfield organic yogurt pouches contain pure organic ingredients and never any high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors. 

Here are the flavors I picked for Nia:

Pear-Spinach-Mango/Strawberry-Beet-Berry/Blueberry/Strawberry
There weren't any YoBaby in stock, but I decided to hold off and try those with later as a mommy taste-test in preparation for Baby Agbai 2.0.

Nia's eye's lit up when she saw her YoKids pouches after school. I explained they were yogurt and at first she was a bit apprehensive and immediately asked that it be squirted into a bowl so she could eat it with a spoon. I got her to try it from the pouch and she ate it slowly but assured me it was good.

The truth?

She had 2! I wanted to try some too and the following day I secretly snagged one, but she stole it from me after only one-sip. Greedy girl! From the little bit I tasted, it is quite good: tangy and smooth and not too sweet. I don't like my yogurt to taste like icing!

I was curious about the difference between the different stages of yogurt and while the YoKids were singular flavors, the YoToddler pouches had both fruit and vegetables in them and I was surprised Nia liked the Strawberry-Beet-Berry flavor as I had never given her beets before. I'm not a fan of beets, but it's interesting how our own biases as parents can deter us from offering certain things to our kids! At her age and especially younger it's important to introduce her to a wide variety of foods.

After 3 days of Stonyfield Nia asked after school if there were more, and when I told her they were unfortunately gone (and she wouldn't even let me have one to myself!) she lowered her eyes in disappointment. I guess I know what I'll be adding to our grocery list next time around!

Be sure to connect with Stonyfield online:

What are your go-to after school snacks? Do your kids love yogurt too?
 

Monday, April 28, 2014

33 Weeks and Not Slowing Down

I saw my acupuncturist last week (she's amazing!*) and I had an "aha" moment while telling her how bizarrely people (men mostly) tend to respond and interact with me being pregnant especially with rude comments such as:
  • Ooooh you're ready to pop!
  • Are you going to have any more kids after this one?
  • You're gonna go any day now, aren't you?
  • You look SO tired! (Especially in a moment when I think I look great and feel energized O_o)

Basically, it comes down to this:

Do NOT say anything to pregnant women except: "You look great!"

Even if you're lying. 

Even if you're not sure she's pregnant - cause it's all-encompassing and less embarrassing than assuming she is pregnant!

Just simply offer that compliment and leave it at that. 

Everything else is ANNOYING!

Consider that your PSA of the day.

Anyway, back to my "aha!" moment . . .

In sharing this with my acupuncturist, I've decided to start shushing these people, especially strangers and especially men when they make these ignorant comments. Just a simple:

{Image Credit}
Oh! And one other frequent, annoying comment is inquiring when I'm going to slow down. I'm going non-stop most days and while I'm generally tired, I'm extremely ambitious, but the notion that a 3rd trimester pregnant woman = automatic bed rest is unfounded. 

Many women work right up to their due date or even have their water break at work - work being in an office or at home, out and about or wherever your "work" takes you. While not ideal, I'm smart enough to wear the appropriate equipment when I get to the very end. 

I even asked my midwife last week was there any reason to be concerned. She agreed the "slow down" comments are unfounded. I'm healthy, feel great and look great and can keep going as I see fit. I told her I walk about 1 - 2 hours a day (which has helped me maintain a healthy weight gain this time around!) and her only suggestion was to do a good stretch when I'm back at home so I'll start doing that. 

The one thing I WON'T do is slow down. 

On that note, a few pics to recap one of the most fun, non-stop weekends I've had this spring:

Tribeca Teaches was so inspiring - tons of student talent and so many Harlem schools represented!
A double date night in watching the Brooklyn Nets with my new-mommy friend, our hubbies and and our girls, 9 weeks and 3 1/2 years old, just couldn't last!
Hanging with my sister and reppin' GoGo squeeZ at the Bronx Zoo's Run for the Wild
A rainy night enjoying Italian tapas with Wellesley friends at cozy Aria
More GoGo squeeZ fun with the March of Dimes March for Babies
Celebrating my sister Ariane's birthday
How was your weekend? Pregnant or not, how do you respond (or not bother to respond!) to ignorant comments that come your way? And speaking of not responding to foolishness, this pin relating to the issue is my most-pinned pin.



*P.S. If you're in the NYC metro area you can stop by Masha's booth at the BUST Craftacular in Brooklyn this Sunday, May 4. More details here!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Giveaway Alert: Celebrate National Dance Week with Madame Alexander and Angelina Ballerina

Disclosure: I'm a member of the Madame Alexander 's Mom Advisory Board. I received a promotional item in support of this campaign and all opinions expressed are my own.

One of Nia's favorite shows is Angelina Ballerina - when it's on she's completely captivated! From a young age she's been quite the dancer (remember this choreography she did with her dad?), and we even signed her up for spring dance lessons.

We were super excited when a special surprise arrived in the mail from our friends at Madame Alexander . . .


Nia was thrilled to receive her Angelina Ballerina and took her along with us to our family-moon in Vermont last week:


To celebrate National Dance Week starting today through May 4th you can enter to win an Angelina Ballerina gift set from Madame Alexander's Facebook contest:


Be sure to enter daily and if you want a head start for your little dancer use code DANCE to get 20% off your entire purchase on Madame Alexander's website.  
  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Mommy & Me Spring Break in the DMV

Nia's been saying how much she misses her Nana and Papi lately so I thought her spring break would be the perfect (pre-baby 2.0!) time to go down for a visit. We took the Bolt Bus after Nia "singing" at our church's Palm Sunday service (it was actually from the 2nd row as she refused to go on stage), and met up with them and my sister Ariane right at the Metro station to go to the capitol to see the last day of the National Cherry Blossom Festival

Each year I see them from afar or slightly post-peak bloom either down there or at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden (which is still pre-bloom according to the status map), but I was thrilled to see them in all their glory this year, although my parents said years' past have been better I guess due to the bad winter we had this year. 

Nonetheless, it was definitely a fun family outing and Nia LOVED the open space to run free (much to the chagrin of many, but she was fine!):





After a 4 hour bus ride, we took a 30 minute train then walked for another 30 minutes and this was her treat for being a good sport! It took several ice cream trucks to find the one she wanted, but it was worth it in the end - she's still talking about her popsicle!


The white "popcorn" buds are just starting to come out here in NYC-metro, which Nia likes comparing to D.C. but the trees are still pretty bare. There's still quite a chill in the air and it feels like spring is just really reluctant this year. 

A few more memories made on the trip:


Here's a video of her first kite flying experience
A belated birthday breakfast from our Ohio roots at Bob Evans

Also, Nia's talented Nana was busy sewing her an adorable Easter ensemble (a sneak peak here). I'll have better pics of it to share soon . . .

Do you have cherry blossoms where you live? Have they blossomed yet? 

 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Lot To Blog About




I've never been a blogger who has a lack of topics. I have hundreds of draft posts still in my queue and still so much more to add. 

I really enjoy this space, and I thank all of you who visit here!

I'm a huge believer in managing expectations and before it gets a little nutty, I wanted to give a quick preview of some topics I want to continue/finish and others that are on my mind that I really want to get a handle on and blog about over the next few months:
  • Spring Break recap - besides our family-moon, Nia and I had a little adventure down in MD with my parents 
  • Family-moon recap - I seriously could've stayed at least 2 more days in VT; being thrown back into the hectic-ness of NYC has been hard. I totally see how folks can move off the grid . . . 
  • Puerto Rico Anniversary Trip - continued features of brands who came along for the trip 
  • Toy Fair 2014 - there are going to be many more posts about featured brands and giveaways to come 
    • The Nursery Makeover - transitioning the kids' room (Baby Agbai 2.0 won't be in there until December but I've started the process now)
    • American Blogger vs. Real American Blogger - catch the trailer here 
    • Alt Summit SLC - I still have a few inspired posts from business cards to fashion that I want to get down
    • Nigeria 2011/12 - my BlackBerry crashing after that trip lost all my notes and it seems to crush my desire to post about it; I want to revisit the pictures from the trip and capture some thoughts I still have about that life-changing trip
    • Formally spilling the beans on mine and my sisters' new business venture 
    • A few NYC events I've attended - from hair events to baby events and entertainment events, I have some fun recaps to share!
    • Listen to Your Mother - I never fully shared in 2013 about this amazing event and with it coming up again I want to be sure to give it due diligence especially for those of you considering attending 
    • Nia's piano lessons - we have my childhood piano in our apartment as of last week, and I'm excited to share what it's been like having a 3 year old who takes piano lessons
    It may get a little jumpy on the blog for a bit, but that's how my mind is working right about now. I'm balancing blogging commitments with spur of the moment topics as well as IRL commitments I have due to my blog. All of that besides my family duties as well. It's a juggling act I'm happy to have (and definitely still prefer to my former corporate life!)

    While I hunker down with my editorial calendar, if there's something missing from the list that you remember I promised to write about please remind me in the comments below (pregnancy brain is not sexist or made up it's FOR REAL!).

     

    Monday, April 21, 2014

    Baby Agbai 2.0 Report: 32 Weeks

    We got in yesterday from our last pre-baby trip: a family-moon to Snapdragon Inn in Windsor, VT (I posted a few pics on Instagram!). I'll have lots of details to share soon, but now that the trip is over it's serious nesting time over the next 8 weeks (or so) until I meet Baby Agbai 2.0.

    Here's how things are looking at Week 32:


    How far along: 32 weeks 

    How big is baby: (from 3DPregnancy.com) Both you and baby are putting on some serious weight at this point. You’ll probably gain about a pound a week for the next few weeks, with half of that poundage bulking up baby. He’ll likely double his weight in the next eight weeks.

    By the end of this week, your baby will weigh about 4 pounds and measure over 17 inches long—about the length of a hot pair of above-the-knee boots. Christian Louboutin? Manolo Blahnik? We’re thinking Isaac Mizrahi for Target—you’ve got a nursery to furnish! 

    Stretch Marks: Still there on the lower belly 

    Sleep: A certain someone's picked up an awful snoring habit that should be nipped in the bud soon . . . until then I'm sadly not sleeping very well 

    Best Moment This Week: Spending our last "family of 3" weekend away at the Snapdragon Inn

    Movement: Still not as active as Lil Lovebird was, Baby 2.0 is definitely having more moments of activity than before mostly tied to when I'm hungry or right after I've eaten 

    Sex of the Baby: BOY! And I'm still as giddy today as I was when I first found out weeks ago

    Food Craving: No must-haves but an occasional lemonade makes me super happy! 

    Belly Button In or Out: Out and besides Nia noticing it as I mentioned last time other little kids around the same navel-height are noticing it too like her classmates. It's kinda funny! 

    What I Miss: Being able to sleep without the sound of snoring coming into my ear in surround sound O_o

    What I'm Looking Forward To: 
    • Nesting over the next 8 weeks - I really need to get organized including cooking meals in advance. I was sorely unprepared last time on this front and it was not fun! 
    • Continuing acupuncture - I've had two sessions so far to combat the intense lower back pain on my left side; I feel relaxed and good immediately after, but it's sustaining the relief that I need 
    • My gym opening at last - a shame I joined in the fall with hopes it'd open in January (they were hoping for a December start), but now it's pushed to May and while I don't think I'll make it there just a few weeks before my due date, I NEED that gym open so post-partum I can start to get back on track immediately. I was just picking up back up with running right before I got pregnant and I'm excited to get back into shape! 

    Milestone: Hmmmm I guess our family-moon as our last family-of-3 trip (Nia keeps referring to Vermont at "Meh-mont" - it's so cute that I don't want to correct her!)

     

    P.S. Wanna see what I looked like first go-around at this stage? Click here!

    Friday, April 18, 2014

    And We're Off! A Family-moon in Vermont

    It's been years since I've been to Vermont having visited twice while living in Boston for 9 years, and when I met the co-owners of Snapdragon Inn at Alt SLC earlier this year I was excited to be invited to their property with my family. 

    While I considered a romantic getaway for just me and Mr. Lovebird I had to reconsider as I have vivid memories of me and my parents at Lil Lovebird's age so I thought her coming along would make a special memory for her pre-baby Bobo (as she still calls him!).

    Here's a sneak peak of what awaits us at Snapdragon Inn located in Windsor, VT:



    {Images credit: Snapdragon Inn}

    It's a bit chillier up there than here (spring is really slow to start it seems) and spring skiing is still going strong. We were also invited to Killington so we're making a day trip out of it especially because Mr. Lovebird who spends a lot of time in Vermont for work has heard it's a must-visit. 

    On Sunday I've seen a few sunrise Easter services that look grueling intriguing to attend, but I think between me and my bump and Nia's super-feisty nature lately, I don't think we'll be able to get up so early. I found a 10a.m. service though that I think we'll be able to manage. 

    Follow along on Instagram throughout the weekend for a few snippets of our family-moon and I'll have a full report when I return!

    Are you taking any special trips this holiday weekend?  Wishing you and your family a happy Easter!
     
     

    Thursday, April 17, 2014

    Who Me? Team Apple?!

    If you've followed my blog you've heard about my tech woes especially lately with the cracking of my tablet screen and PC hard drive dying all on the same day. We've been a PC family for years but what's interesting is when I think back the very first computer I ever learned on was a Mac. 

    So I guess it was time to return to my roots...



    YESSSSS! 

    I'm now Team Apple and...

    I. LOVE. IT.

    I wrote this post from my new MacBook Air and it was such a breeze. Here's what I like off the bat:
    • SO quiet - with a flash drive I hardly even know it's running; super silent!
    • Lightweight - I can't get over how thin it is! With post-baby travel and especially at blogging conferences this is very important
    • Easy to use - out of the box I was ready to go and love how quickly it starts up from off or sleep mode (my PC took too much time to think!)
    • Comfortable keyboard - I was concerned about a 13" laptop feeling too cramped, but it's super comfy to type on

    There are only a couple things I have issues with so far:
    • No light on the FaceTime HD camera 
    • Certain things just don't appear like they do on a PC (ex. trying to connect my wireless hard drive and printer)

    Next, I definitely need to get an indestructible case for it especially with my bad luck with technology. What I've seen so far on Amazon are a little too utilitarian looking. I want something both tough and stylish. Any recommendations?

    Are you an Apple fan? If you switched from PC to Mac what was your experience like? Please share your tips/tricks and resources for making the transition easier!


     

    P.S. While I switched my laptop I am definitely still Team Droid when it comes to phones! 

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