Abundance: Bringing it Forth

So, although it seems like the only thing that is overly abundant as of late is snow (oh and all of Aria’s toys that seem to be constantly underfoot or all over the floor for me to pick up), I know that abundance exists beyond what we can see. This morning I was baby-free so I took advantage of it by going to a yoga class at Living Yoga. The theme (my how I love my yoga lessons) had me thinking beyond the 75 minute class.

TREE OF LIFE ABUNDANCEAbundance is something that’s been circling around my head lately. I recently watched on of Marie Forleo’s videos with guest Kate Northrop, both of whom I know and respect greatly. Their focus was abundance in finances and beyond, while this morning at yoga it was about a release of holding back or hoarding (whether energy or ideas or material possessions), and in turn allowing abundance to come forth.

In all, abundance really comes back to our energy, intention and faith in the renewal process. It’s this idea that when we give or empty out, abundance is right there behind us ready to fill in that space. The idea that there is plenty for all, and the Universe just needs us to release in order to give it right back to us, and our holding on to anything too tightly not only hinders that process, but in fact cuts us off from abundance in our lives

All great teachings from the Buddha to the Bible re-iterate this, and my experience in life has shown me it’s true. Yet, whether ego, “sense”, or fear of being without, there are still there are days I hold on too tightly and hamper the little voice within that knows better. So, today I appreciated being reminded of the abundance that exists when we let go and choose it. Abundance is ours…we just have to bring it forth.

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City Escape: Kid Friendly In The Florida Keys

founders park islamorada

So, we’ve been back in snowy New York  for the about a week and the Florida bug must have been contagious because since returning I’ve had two different mom-friends ask about recommendations in The Keys. The Florida Keys are an easy escape as the start of them (Key Largo) is only about an hour and a half from the Ft. Lauderdale/Miami area. It’s an easy drive and great way to get a quick taste of island life. Aria’s Pop and Uncle Adam live there, so I’ve gotten quite familiar with them, especially the little treasures on Key Largo & Islamorada.

Where to stay:
The beauty of having family in any vacation spot is getting to crash with them and not worry about hotels. The Keys leave something to be desired when it comes to accommodations– a lot of roadside motels and no-frills spots that still end up being pretty pricy.

My first recommendation to friends to is check out Airbnb. Often you can find great apartments or private homes for rent (for a lot less than hotels). If you can get a waterfront spot, go for it– the beauty of the keys is really on (or in) the turquoise waters.  If you can’t score being seaside, don’t worry– most of the Keys are only a mile or so wide, so you’re never really far away.

One hotel I do love is Cheeca Lodge. It has gorgeous ocean front accommodations, beautiful spa, tennis and golf courses on site and a pool and private lagoon (which is perfect for the kids). They also have Camp Cheeca,” a day camp for kids 5-12 that explores the natural wonders of the Florida Keys.

What to do:
Now that Aria’s a toddler, I got to experience The Keys in a whole different way. This go-around, I was scoping out playgrounds and kid-friendly spots. And I found them.

Founders Park: This is a municipal park in Islamorada. It’s about $5 for non-residents to park and inside there is a huge pool area (separate fee) and a very pretty little beach with calm waters and two great playgrounds. It’s definitely worth a visit with a little one. Picture above!

Theatre of the Sea: I had passed this place hundreds of time and this trip the whole family made a visit for Miss Aria. It’s a bit of a mini tropical Sea World, but one geared towards preservation and education. They have dolphin and sea lion shows, a nature walk, a fun little bottomless boat tour (where dolphins and iguana’s make appearances), and a bunch of other fun things for kids.

Theatre of the sea

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park: Another spot w/little beaches, endless bike and walking trails, and access to Key Largo’s best asset– the water. They do snorkeling tours and scuba tours, but you can also just rent a snorkel, mask and some fins and go in off their beaches. They are in the midst of the mangroves, which are a signature of Key Largo and great explore by kayak (also available for rent on-site).

Where to Happy Hour & Eat
There are endless spots for food and drink, but here are a couple of my regulars when in Key Largo & Islamorada.

Breakfast: Made To Order— sit out on the back deck and enjoy water views and good food.

Lunch:  The Islander Resort: Go for the shrimp tacos and stay to use their pool and beach area.  The pool area is “resort guest only,” but locals can always be found there. The pool also has a wide gradual entrance (zero entry) on one side and mini-waterfall which is great for the little ones.

Dinner: Morado Bay— This bayside retreat offers two great options– The Beach Cafe for casual dining and Pierre’s for a more refined dining experience. Both come along with good food and amazing views.

Happy Hour: The Lor-e-lie (Islamorda)— Great sunsets, drink specials, live music, island vibe. Grab a table or one of the adirondeck chairs next to the water (and away from bar) and let the little one loose in the sand.

Want to know another amazing Florida island spot for families? Check out my all time favorite kid-friendly vacation spot HERE. 

The Islander resort nap

Product Review: Brica Roll n Go Car Seat Transporter

UnknownScreen Shot 2014-02-13 at 1.32.09 PMSo, we just returned from sunny Florida (sigh) and even though I forgot this travel item this trip, I’ve been meaning to review it for a bit. We’ve been traveling with Aria since she was only a few months old, and  on our last big trip (Switzerland, Dubai, Milan) this item came in super handy.

Dragging a car seat through the airport is never fun, and the Brica Roll N Go allows you to strap the car seat to it and essentially roll your child through the airports. It eliminates the need to have a stroller along (side-note– in Dubai airport Emirates has courtesy Maclarens available for passengers which I think is genius), and avoids you having to carry the car seat separately. We found it VERY handy in large international airports when we had long walks and customs lines (and one jet lagged toddler). Aria basically went back to sleep in her seat and we pulled her along.

It’s relatively easy to hook up the car seat to The Brica Roll-n-Go, although I will say that the base is somewhat small and at times I felt like the seat might be more secure on a larger base like the Britax version.  It’s also lightweight enough and packs easily into the overhead compartment on board.

I bought mine last minute at Babies-R-Us here in the city, but was also looking for the  GoGo BabyZ  Seat Luggage Strap option (which I couldn’t find in store). It’s cheaper and may be more convenient (although I can’t attest to it’s sturdiness & security) since it’s a single strap to store away.  I also just saw this Kids Luggage Travel Chair product on Shark Tank last night and am thinking it will be a good option as she gets older and loses the car seat all together.  Happy Travels!20140204_153344

New York Snow Over Florida Sunshine: My toddler made me do it.

20140203_150714-SNOW

This morning we were supposed to head out on a flight to Florida. Ah, yes, the warm Florida Keys where 80 degree temps and flip flop wearing days await. Instead, I sit at our lake house, watching snowflakes swirl — grateful for warm socks and good decision making.  You see, back in the day (pre-Aria) a little snow (or talk of it) wouldn’t have had me rescheduling flights. I would have grabbed my carry-on and headed to the airport, trusting that our early flight out would beat the first flakes in. However, with a little one in tow, everything changes. All the time.

I have to laugh at how the carefree traveler in me has been totally replaced by Miss. Play-it-Safe. For there is no easy delay with a toddler in tow. And hopping in a cab home (if said delay turns into cancellation) is not easy breezy with a two year old, car seat, stroller, suitcase, etc. etc. (and forget getting them all back up our 6 floor walk up in the city). Gone are the days of chancing it to make sure I get in as much sun as possible. These days I choose to watch the snow fall with a little one toddler napping in her crib, knowing that Florida isn’t going anywhere (and neither is my sanity).