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explorenyc

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People Are Always Shocked When I Tell Them This One Thing My Kids Haven’t Done

We have been blessed with the ability to live in one of the busiest cities in the U.S.. For the most part, I love living in NYC. There truly is always something to do if you’re looking. We really take the name of the city that never sleeps to heart. That being said, I probably haven’t done like 85% of the things that one would expect when you live in a city this big. I’ve never been to a broadway show, I can’t remember if I’ve been to the statue of liberty, & I’ve only been in Times Square after midnight because I used to work in one of the stores there. I feel like I was a pretty sheltered child. I didn’t REALLY start to experience the magic of the city until I was old enough to venture there alone. I’m pretty sure thats common growing up here.

I was taking the subway alone by the time I was 12, maybe younger. My brother and I would take the train and the bus, from our house to my grandmas house on the weekends. Back then I don’t think it was that abnormal to see young children on the train alone. At 12 I was probably the size of a 9/10 year old, but I still remember taking that trip when the time came. It was no big deal. It’s never felt like a big deal especially living here, until I had children of my own.

My children, the rough and tough NYC babies that they are, have never been on the train.

Granted, Zayn is only 1 1/2, but RJ is approaching 5 and hasn’t stepped foot on a subway platform. Interestingly enough they’re both fascinated with the subway and trains, despite having never been on one. We have been to plenty of places that warranted a train ride, and that most people would use public transportation to get to. Still nope, all the nopes. We actually go to Manhattan, the busiest city with the worst parking almost every weekend. It is always by car.

Something (everything) about motherhood has caused my anxiety to reach higher heights.

I remember once when my brother and I took the train with my mother, my brother was looking out the window. His foot brushed against this lady’s pants, and all hell broke loose. My mom and that lady almost got into a fight on the train because of his foot touching her raggedy pants leg. I know my children, and I know where their excitement level is going to be through the roof. Just off the strength of trying something new. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I just think about the amount of people, the general annoyed mood of people on public transportation and my oldest childs carefree and happy spirit. I don’t want the experience to be a bad one, for any of us.

Part of me knows I shouldn’t OVER shelter them, but the mama bear part of me just wants to maintain the innocence. Honestly, now that they are both older than stroller age, we’ll most likely start venturing into the city by train since it’s getting warmer. But I still have anxiety about it.

0 In explore - nyc/ Travel

8 Fun Ways to Spend A Rainy Day with Kids in NYC

Spring is finally almost here and I am ready for the warmer weather. Spring isn’t exactly my favorite season, but it’s a tie between second and third because its always freaking raining. As a mama of two under 5 (whew!) I am constantly looking for rainy day activities to keep those two little boys entertained. I’ve come up with a couple of different ways we like to spend our rainy days in the city.

Museums

I still think the boys are kind of young for “big” museums, and at 4 and 1 they have absolutely no indoor voices. We tend to stick to children museums (Brooklyn is our favorite) or pop ups that are kid friendly. The boys loved the Museum of Pizza and i had an amazing time at Mickey the True Original. Places that are kid friendly and interactive are always at the top of our lists.

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23 In explore - nyc

Cirque du Soleil LUZIA is Coming to NYC! – Giveaway

Photo: Matt Beard © 2017 Cirque du Soleil

If you have ever been to a Cirque du Soleil performance then you know that the effects are EVERYTHING. From the visuals, to the storyline, Cirque truly is one of the most enchanting shows I’ve ever been to. I’ve seen multiple Cirque du Soleil shows (TORUK has been my favorite so far) but I will literally take any chance I can to see one. Every performance brings something different and I always manage to be even more in awe than before. So its safe to say, I’m really excited for LUZIA to be coming to NYC this spring.

In a series of grand visual surprises and breathtaking acrobatic performances, LUZIA takes audiences on a surrealistic journey filled with wonders, playfulness and striking artistry. Smoothly passing from an old movie set to the ocean to a smoky dance hall or an arid desert, LUZIA cleverly brings to the stage multiple places, faces and sounds of Mexico taken from both tradition and modernity. Rich in awe-inspiring moments, LUZIA enchants by incorporating rain into acrobatic and artistic scenes – a first for a Cirque du Soleil touring production.

Photo: Matt Beard © 2017 Cirque du Soleil
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0 In explore - nyc

LAUNCH Trampoline Park is Open in Queens and It’s Everything We Needed! – #launchtrampolinepark

My family and I received a free jump session at the newly opened LAUNCH Trampoline Park in Queens, NY. All opinions expressed are my own.  

FINALLY! LAUNCH Trampoline Park has come to Queens and it is everything we needed in the boroughs! I loved indoor trampoline parks BEFORE I had kids but now, they’re a whole different kind of experience. An experience that I definitely appreciate but one that I just couldn’t drag myself all the way out to exit 800839924 on the LIE for, not with two toddlers. 

Soooooo when I saw LAUNCH was opening up right in Queens I COULD. NOT. WAIT. Y’all know RJ is ACTIVE and I knew this would be right up their alley, so I was excited we got to head in Tuesday night to check out the facilities and get in a 90 minute jump session. 

If you’ve been to an indoor trampoline park before, then you’re aware that when you arrive you come in, and sign waivers before you head to the counter and pay for your jump session. The waiver and check in process was seamless for us as it wasn’t too busy, but it does look like they have the front area set up in a controlled manner for when the chaos does kick in (like next week when theres no school!). If you want to expedite that process even further, you could always fill out your waiver before hand online and that would definitely save you time on a busy afternoon. After waivers, you get socks, pay for your session and then you head up to the jump area which is HUGE.

With a huge main main jump arena, LAUNCH has plenty of space for jumpers of all ages. The boys were able to run and jump freely without being in the way of any of the bigger kids (and adults) that were jumping a little more…. exuberantly (LOL) than they were. They also have multiple dodgeball courts, a jump basketball arena for adults (and multiple heights for kids in the main arena), a rock climbing wall, a battle beam AND a obstacle course. When you add that in with the arcade games and concession area, LAUNCH truly has something for everybody. You could easily spend the day here if your children have the same endless energy mine do. Check out more pictures from our evening at the park, and to see more of the facilities.

I am so happy LAUNCH came to queens and it is definitely the perfect place for families, especially with temperatures starting to drop in NYC. If you head over to their website, you can sign up for a session online and receive 10% off your first jump! Also, if you aren’t already, follow me on Instagram and check out my NYC and Mom Life highlights & you can check out some adorable kiddie videos from our night there.

So what do you think? Are you going to be heading to LAUNCH? Have you been there already?

0 In explore - nyc/ Holiday Guide 2018

The EVERYTHING Guide to NYC During the Holidays

The holiday magic is endless in the city that never sleeps! Most days I want to escape the busyness of NYC for somewhere quiet and rural but that is NEVER the case during the holidays. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else this time of year because the magic in the city is ENDLESS. NYC is an extremely popular place for tourists visits and its such a big city it can seem overwhelming. Im here to organize your life and hopefully make it seem a little less chaotic so you have everything you need when it comes to visiting the Big Apple during Christmastime.

The Trees

  Image via Rockefeller Center

Image via Rockefeller Center

The tree at Rockefeller Center is probably one of the most popular trees in NYC during Christmas. I honestly look forward to them bringing the tree into the city every year and the tree lighting which usually happens after Thanksgiving, along with a huge show. It’s truly the holiday tree of NYC. But it isn’t the only tree great for photo ops! You may want to check out some of these other trees as well. The tree at South Street Seaport is beautiful and you can usually get closer (bundle up! it’s always colder near the water!).

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree – Between W 48th and W 51st Streets

The Tree at South Street Seaport – @ South and Fulton Street

Holiday Tree at Bryant Park – Sixth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Street

Lincoln Square Christmas Tree – Broadway and 63rd Street

The Shows

  Image via Blue Man Group

Image via Blue Man Group

I remember seeing the commercials for all kinds of Christmas shows on Broadway from being a little girl. I’ve always wanted to see one and I have YET to experience it even though I’ve lived in the city for the whole 28 years of my life. One of my main goals as a parent is to give my children the memories I don’t have, and that includes at Christmas. Though you can probably google and find loads of different versions of The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol, these holiday shows are usually at the top of the to do list when it comes to what to see.

Christmas Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes – Radio City Music Hall November 12th – January 1st

The Hip Hop Nutcracker – New Jersey Performing Arts Center / December 14th

Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas – The Hulu Theater @ MSG / December 13th – 30th

Ice Skating

  Photo via Bryant Park Corp.

Photo via Bryant Park Corp.

Skating is fun year round, but skating during the holidays is something different. I try to go ice skating every year because 1. I love to skate, and 2. skating with the holiday decorations up is amazing. There are plenty of indoor rinks to check out but if you want to go skating with a holiday view, these three rinks are amazing for that purpose.

The Rink at Rockefeller Center – 5th Ave between 49th and 50th Streets

The Rink at Winter Village at Bryant Park – between 40th and 42nd Streets & Fifth and Sixth Avenues

Lakeside in Prospect Park – Lincoln Road and Parkside/Ocean Avenue

The Displays

  Bloomingdales image via BFA.com

Bloomingdales image via BFA.com

If but for nothing else, a trip into Manhattan is worth it just to see the store displays. Fifth avenue is illuminated this time of year with holiday displays in all of your favorite stores. Many people know about the huge window display at Macy’s Herald Square, but there are so many other stores that have huge displays worth visiting.

Bloomingdales – 59th Street and Lexington Avenue

Macy’s – 34th Street between 6th and 7th Avenue

Saks Fifth Avenue – 5th Avenue and 49th Street

Tiffany & Co. – 5th Avenue and 57th Street

0 In explore - nyc

6 Playdate Ideas for Little Boys in NYC | #BoyMom

Listen, if you’re a mom with a little boy… then you obviously feel my struggle and that’s how you landed here. Little girls have it all… tea parties and kiddie salons and mini spas… they get the works! Little boys are left to the wayside to fend for themselves and play in somebodies dirt somewhere and are just supposed to be happy with that. Dramatic perhaps, but hey! I’m known for drama and I’m tired of feeling like my babies aren’t as important because they can’t get their nails painted or have princess parties or whatever. We need places to play too! So I’ve done my research and I’ve dug up some of the best places I could find in and around the city to bring your little sonshines for a playdate.

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0 In explore - nyc

10 Amazing Things to Do In NYC This Fall |Explore NYC

Fall is finally here and I am finally in my happy place! While I’m not a full-fledged pumpkin spice girl, fall is hands down my favorite season. I love the fall colors, the smell, sweater weather, all things pumpkin and apple, & most importantly the lead up to the holidays. Being an NYC girl I’ve enjoyed fall in the city my entire life and I’m excited the boys are a little bit older and can enjoy the fall activities that I love with me! Check out some of my favorite things to do during fall (with and without kids) in NYC below.

Queens County Farm

This place is the epitome of fall family activities! From the pumpkin patch, to a corn maze, petting zoo and farmers market they have an array of fall activities for families to enjoy every year. We went for the first time last year and RJ loved the pony rides and playing with the other kids in their play area.

The HighLine

The highline is an elevated trail in Manhattan with amazing views. If you’re into greenery, photography, & street art this is a great place to go and see fall foliage. Even better, its free to access so on a day that isn’t too chilly you can go and get some great shots of the city.

New York Comic Con

Geek culture is taking over and NYC is home to the largest pop culture event on the east coast! If you love all things anime, cosplay and just all around geeky, this is the place for you! The city is already alive with characters and comic con just makes the experience even more exciting.

NYC Village Halloween Parade

Probably one of the most colorful and creative parade, people come from all over to participate in this parade on halloween night. This event usually starts in the evening and lasts a few hours so it’s mainly adults but is one of the most attended parades in the city. The 2018 theme for the parade is I am a Robot. 

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

Though this is technically not IN NYC, this event is beautiful and close enough for a day trip. With more than 7000 pumpkins carved by volunteers, it is easy to marvel in the wonder of all the illuminations.

Apple Picking

When I was younger apple picking was one of my favorite things to do with my family. I loved having the family time and I loved all the fall apple recipes that came after. Apple pie is STILL my favorite holiday dessert and I could eat it the entire seasons of fall/winter without ever getting tired of it. So many variations!

NYC Wine and Food Festival

I feel like this doesn’t need much explaining because food… wine…. what else is there to even say? But theres a ton of events spread over the entire weekend including parties, tastings and classes. Its foodie paradise!

Blood Manor

Definitely not for the faint at heart. Blood Manor boasts being NYC’s scariest halloween attraction. If you can handle haunted houses Blood Manor is definitely worth a visit. This one is obviously not for kids, but the city is full of not-so-scary halloween attractions worth checking out for little ones as well.

Ice Skating

Bryant Park, Central Park and Rockefeller Center are all home to NYCs most beautiful ice skating rinks. Most of these rinks open to the public in late October and fall is the PERFECT time to go in my opinion. Before it gets TOO cold to enjoy and way way crowded with NYCs holiday tourists.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 

I know I said the Halloween parade was amazing but if you know NYC you know this is THE parade of the year. We catch it on tv because we haven’t been bold enough to brave the crowds and by November it’s a little cold here but if you have older kids I’m sure they’d LOVE to be up close to the action. I’ve never been in person either but when the boys get a little older and a little less whiney we’ll be making our way there! 

 Image via Macy’s Parade Press

Image via Macy’s Parade Press

We’re also looking forward to checking out some things later in the fall once it gets close to the holidays such as the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show, Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting.

What’s fall like in your city? What’s your favorite thing to do? Lets chat in the comments! xoxo

0 In explore - nyc/ Trending

Should I Take My Toddler to See SMALLFOOT? |No Spoiler Review

This post is in partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures.

Last month, RJ and I got to check out an advanced screening of SMALLFOOT at the Crosby Street Hotel (did you know they had a whole movie theatre in there?! Check out my friend Sanaa’s hotel review). I’m always a little hesitant about taking RJ to the movies because he’s one of those kids that yell at the screen and talk during the whole movie but thankfully the theatre was full of kids hyped up on dummies, cotton candy and popcorn so he wasn’t the only one that had EVERYTHING to say throughout the entire movie.

An animated adventure for all ages, with original music and an all-star cast, “Smallfoot” turns the Bigfoot legend upside down when a bright young Yeti finds something he thought didn’t exist—a human. News of this “smallfoot” throws the simple Yeti community into an uproar over what else might be out there in the big world beyond their snowy village, in an all new story about friendship, courage and the joy of discovery. Let me give you a chance to check out the trailer below:

How long is the movie?

The running time for Smallfoot is an hour and 49 minutes. If your little gets antsy (like mine does) I’m definitely team skip the previews. Also, SNACKS. RJ is much quieter and will sit still for a lot longer when popcorn is involved. He ate his whole bucket of popcorn and then asked if we could trade. So basically, he gave me his leftover kernels and then ate all my popcorn too.

But….. Yetis, should I be concerned?

Smallfoot really is a movie for all ages! I also say this to say, my 3 year old watches and loves Jurassic park without blinking an eye. But I think its pretty safe to say that as long as Migo and Meechee stay ON the screen then your little one will be OK. With us being at a private screening they showed up to take some pictures with the kids before the movie and RJ was NOT WITH IT. But he LOVES his Meechee stuffed animal, and he gets excited whenever he sees a billboard for the movie. No permanent damage was done LOL

Will I enjoy SMALLFOOT too?

Yes!!! Lessons on lessons on lessons, okay?! I was in the movie laughing, learning and getting emotional (pisces problems) just as much as RJ. There is humor in the movie for adults and children, lessons everyone can take away and amazing songs (because who doesn’t love music). You’ll probably take away more from the movie than your little one and it opens up an amazing doorway for a few different conversations. SMALLFOOT is a movie your whole family, from younger to oldest will remember.

SMALLFOOT stomps into theaters everywhere September 28th! Get tickets to see the movie here.

So my only question now is…. are you YETI?!?! Do you plan on checking out #SMALLFOOT? Have you seen it already? What did you take away? Lets talk in the comments! xoxo.

** BONUS MOM HACK! I printed out the SMALLFOOT posters, glued them to index cards, and we use them for a memory card matching game. Thank me later! ;)**

0 In explore - nyc/ life

Recap: The 2018 New York Baby Show #NYBSBloggerLounge

My family and I were invited to attend the 8th Annual New York Baby Show on behalf of MomTrends. All opinions expressed belong to me. 

If you read my post from last year, you know that the New York Baby Show is the biggest baby show in the country hosting over 150 exhibitors catering to new and expecting families. Soooo much happened this year the day of the New York baby show that I ALMOST didn’t make it. I pressed my way through car trouble, torrential rain, a croupy 10 month old and an extremely over tired toddler to check out as much of the exhibitors as I can and I’m excited to bring our TOP 3 Items from the show to you!

bloom – Alma Mini Crib

I was fascinated with the bloom’s Alma Mini Crib IMMEDIATELY.  Made from solid wood and coming in a variety of colors, the Alma Mini Crib is a super practical crib solution especially for city life. The crib folds and unfolds easily for easy transport and storage. I secretly considered getting this crib for Nana’s house but Zayn is such an active kid and follows his big brother constantly that I feel like he wouldn’t get that much more use out of it. Check out more on the Alma Mini Crib here.

Chicco – Bravofor2 Double Stroller 

I’m on the lookout for a sit-n-stand stroller even though James thinks we don’t need one. I’m just thinking about how summer is coming, we’re going to be spending way more time outside and RJs little toddler legs are going to be getting tired. The Chicco Bravofor2 initially caught my eye because it wasn’t big or bulky. With a cute modern design and the ability for your big kid to choose how they want to ride, the Chicco was definitely winning me over. The easy one hand fold had me sold. I’m lucky if I have ONE hand available on outings I can’t deal with not being able to function  . Check out all the great features of the Bravofor2 here

PRIMO – The 2-in-1 Smart Voyager 

One of the last stops we made was PRIMO. I was really excited about the PRIMO LapBaby but then it came time to strap Zayn in, he was too big :(. We further decided based on his size, age and how grabby he is that he wasn’t a good fit for that product anyway, but it definitely would’ve came in handy when he was younger! PRIMO also had the 2–in-1 Smart Voyager on display and this highchair/swing combo I LOVED! It only took about 30 seconds to convert from a swing (controllable entirely by phone) to a fully functional high chair and back again. The swing has awesome features like Automatic Cry Activation, 8 swing speeds, and can be connected via Bluetooth. For more information on the Smart Voyager feel free to check out PRIMO’s website here

 

All in all, the New York Baby Show didn’t disappoint and I’m glad we pushed through and made it. I can’t wait to go next year (but I’m highly considering making it a solo trip) to see what new products will be out. I can’t believe by then I’ll have two toddlers! Eek! 

Did you stop by the New York Baby Show? What were your favorite products? Leave your thoughts in the comments!  

0 In explore - nyc/ life/ Travel

8 East Coast Festivals Every Black Girl NEEDS to Be At This Summer

Festival season is upon us and I suffer from major FOMO every year. I find that I always find out about festivals at the last minute and then I don’t have the proper time to get my life/coins together so that I can attend. After going to Curlfest for the first time last year, I’m determined to hit as many festivals as possible this year and I’ve created this list of festivals that are (mainly) on the east coast JUST so I don’t forget where I need (want) to be and when. If you love good vibes, good food and good music then you probably want to check a few of these out too! *festival names are clickable… you’re welcome ;)*

Governors Ball * June 1st – 3rd – Randall’s Island, NYC

Roots Picnic * June 2nd – Philadelphia, PA 

Essence Festival * July 5th – 8th – New Orleans, LA

Technically NOLA isn’t considered the “east coast” but if you don’t know by now that Essence is THE festival to be at I’m not sure how you even came across this list. Do you even festival?? 

The Greatest Day Ever * July 14th & 15th – New York, NY

Curlfest * July 21st – Brooklyn, NY

Panorama Music Festival * July 27th – 29th – Randall’s Island, NYC

Swing through @BrooklynSteel to peep the fresh mural 🌐

A post shared by Panorama NYC (@panoramanyc) on

Afropunk * August 25th & 26th – Brooklyn, NY

Made in America * September 1st & 2nd – Philadelphia, PA

There it is! Which festivals are you most excited about? I can’t wait for Curlfest and Afropunk! Hype to go to a festival that I didnt list? Not tryna go alone and want to meet up? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. xoxo

0 In explore - nyc

Meet Me at the 2018 New York Baby Show! | Giveaway

The 2018 New York Baby Show, on May 19 & 20 at Pier 94 will once again be the largest show for new and expectant parents in the country. I attended last year and learned so much when I was expecting Zayn so I’m excited to be going again (anything to make this mom of 2 life easier)! Now in its 8th year, no other event provides a better experience for thousands of expectant and new families from New York and neighboring counties, seeking a family-friendly jamboree of top brands, great speakers and seminars, big giveaways, and lots of learning, support, bonding, and fun as you make your way into parenthood. I’m giving away tickets below for you and your family to experience the show. 

Are you going to meet me at the biggest baby show in the country? Find out how you can get free tickets to attend here

So will I see you there? Leave a comment below and let me know!!

**Missed out on the giveaway? Don’t worry! Check out this link to receive a special 50% off discount exclusively for Life with Tanay readers**