In the day and age of Disney Princesses (and NY Fashion Weeks)…

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New York Fashion Week came and went. There was a time I was caught up in the buzz, checking out all the shows (and parties!) and reveling in the glamour of NYFW. These days, I’m more content to be home and chilled out, Aria at my side (and this baby in my belly.) My life is so dramatically different since becoming a parent, and I’m constantly reminded of the value of the real and the meaningful.

While fashion, glamour and beauty have their place, I’m always trying to reiterate what real beauty is to Miss Aria. At the age where Disney princesses rule, it’s so evident that she is so super impressionable, already dazzled by the external side of being “beautiful.” She’s a pro in her princess heels, begs for makeup and nail polish (which I barely wear!?!?!), and certainly can’t get enough of ANYthing that sparkles.

While all the frivolity has it’s place and time, I also find the need to remind her of what is truly beautiful, and where true beauty lies and grows. This quote reminded me of that. Pretty heart, pretty mind and pretty soul. Indeed the fairest of them all. May she always hold onto these more tightly than any tiara out there.

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First day of school… no tears here. (well, almost)

So, Miss. Aria started pre-k last week at one of the city’s public schools. We were extremely lucky to get a lottery spot at our school of choice, and her first days were a huge success. When I applied for Universal Pre-K last winter, the thought of her going to school full time was a bit daunting. Was my little one really ready for school 5 days a week all day long???

I now am so thankful that I went ahead with the process, and that she is in school full time. She is beyond ready (amazing how much 3 year olds can change and grow in a short 6 months), and I know school is the perfect place for her to grow her curious mind. She’s always looking for a challenge and so incredibly bright, and I’m sure this will only foster her incredible love of learning, and strengthen her foundation for future success.

Not to mention, I now realize the timing of it was all perfect (thank you Universe), as our next little one is expected at the end of October. Fully pregnant, I now have a little breathing room to prepare, and am also freed up to invest just as much time and energy into him when he arrives (Mommyhood take 2!).  Although, perhaps if I planned it better, I would have waited a few more months to get pregnant, as I’m totally reveling in the leisure of having some freedom again.

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Aria couldn’t have been more excited or ready on her first day of school. Her dad and I walked her over, while she skipped ahead most of the time, all smiles and fully excited for the experience. We had prepped her, encouraging her in the weeks leading up, chatting about the new adventure and how much fun she was going to have.

Indeed she absorbed all our encouragement, seemingly having no issue entering a new place, practically waving us off before we even entered the classroom that first day. She humored me on the way to school, allowing me to take multiple pics of her in her cute little leopard print dress and red jelly shoes, but once we arrived it was quite clear she was indeed Little Miss Independent.

While other kids walked in with hesitation, she greeted the new space enthusiastically, taking hold of her name tag necklace, practically pushing us out the door (but not before I insisted on a hug and snapped one more pic.)  I was so very grateful that she embraced the separation and experience so well, albeit I was also somewhat surprise that it was SO easy for her to wave us off (whaa!)

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It wasn’t until her third day in (which was really her first full day), that she even shared the slightest bit of dismay in her day. While recounting the school day on our drive up to our weekend house, she informed me of all the things she had done and accomplished. She was particularly proud of her picture of the panda she had drawn, and the new songs she had learned.  It was only after I asked about “rest time” (wondering if she indeed did rest), that she shared it had been the only tough part of her day.I wasn’t super surprised since naps are usually off the table these days (and often bedtime is not embraced by my girl).

She recounted how a little girl kept “squeaking” during the quiet time, and she “just couldn’t rest!”  I wasn’t completely surprised in her annoyance as she too often tells us to “be quiet” before going to bed (sigh), but upon further probing she then chose to mention that she also “cried a little bit.”  When I asked her why she said, “because I wanted you there,” quickly adding “but, nobody saw me because I pulled my blanket over my head.”

And there it was. Her first teary moment, which, of course, lead to my first teary moment. Choked up and eyes brimming as I drove up the West Side Highway, I realized that my girl wasn’t all independent after all. My heart ached a little bit, thinking about her alone and teary eyed under her soft orange blanket. I then replied how that was OK to feel sad, reminding her how new things can be hard and how sometimes we all need a little cry.

Then without missing a beat, she replied happily, “but then rest time ended and I got to play on the playground!” And that was the end of that.  After all, in the end, I guess the playground trumps all.

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Summer’s sweet end… holiday weekends in NYC… and beyond.

Despite it being well over 90 degrees (as I write this the sweat is pooling under me), I’m told summer is unofficially over. Aria begins pre-k tomorrow, and I’m trying to wrap my head around that, and the fact that the lazy days of summer are virtually behind us (not to mention that I’ll be a mother of 2 next month!).

We spent a good part of the Labor Day weekend in the city, taking full advantage of it being a bit emptier and the weather being absolutely beautiful– a perfect combination of warm sunshine and cool breezes. Aria had her dad chauffeuring her all over Manhattan via bike– with trips up and down the west side highway bike path (the Hudson River Park has so many amazing kid-friendly spots).

Saturday stops included the carousel just north of Chelsea Piers, and plenty of time at her go-to neighborhood playground. We even made a last minute run up to Turtle Cove Golf Range in the bronx, for some extra daddy-daughter time. It was so sweet to get to see them have so much time together– and both enjoy it so.

turtle cove golf

Sunday the biking twosome even journeyed around the tip of southern Manhattan, catching the ferry across to Governor’s Island. They romped around, hitting the playgrounds, eating lunch in the shadows of the old fort, and capped it all off with ice cream cones and silly selfies. She was spoiled, and so was I since I got  a few hours of time to just to relax my increasingly limited pregnant-girl body.

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We all dined out, trying places we’ve long been meaning to– like The Clam on Hudson (scoring a sidewalk seat with no reservation). We didn’t do quite as well when we attempted to drop in at Grand Banks (a cool schooner turned oyster bar) at sunset. Apparently, there were enough Manhattanites left in the city to leave the line winding longer than our limit with a toddler in tow. It was a gorgeous time on Pier 25, the sun setting low casting a warm glow over all,  so no hard feelings. And obviously (pic below), Aria was sleeping off her fun hangerover, so perhaps it was best.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 2.34.58 PMOn Monday, we got the treat of being invited out to a friend’s beautiful golf club, where the guys got in a round, and a good girlfriend and I had the chance to catch up over a leisurely lunch, followed by a cart-ride along the back nine to join the boys. (She also took the beautiful shots of my girl below — thank you Ana Photo!)

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Of course Aria had a blast– taking every opportunity to run through the greens’ sprinklers when they popped on (ah- to be a kid) and, of course, soaking in her dad’s golf skills (we’re hoping it all rubs off and she’s the future of the LPGA).
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She also insisted on “driving” the cart on my lap, which resulted in a few near misses, and far too many pushes of my hands off the wheel. She was adamant she could do it herself.  Little Miss Know It All is not quite the master driver…yet. hamilton farm golf feast

We capped it all off with an amazing seafood feast overlooking the course, and watched the sun (and summer) fade away over the greens.

Adieu summer. You will be missed.

See more of our weekend pics (and my lounging belly!) on my Instagram page @vanessaalfanotv

City Lifesaver: Boomerang NYC

icon_roundedThere are many things I love about NYC, but the combination of being pregnant and living in a 6 floor walk up is NOT one of them. Laundry also doesn’t top my list of favorites seeing that our apartment washing machine is minuscule, and the idea of lugging laundry and dry cleaning down (and more importantly back UP) the stairs ranks right up there with having my teeth cleaned.

boomerang cleaningFortunately, I just discovered a dry cleaning and laundry life-saver in Boomerang NYC. The new on-demand service will come to your doorstep (yes, up all those stairs), take away your dirties and deliver them back all with the press of a button on their amazingly easy app. They truly are on-demand, needing only a half hour lead time on pick up and drop offs (how that is even possible I don’t know), and, to top it all off, their delivery people are super nice (yes, smiles despite 90 degree stairwells), the dry cleaning is delivered in custom boomerang hanging bags, their prices are ridiculously competitive and they give back to charity!! Boom!

Incase you need a little more incentive to give them a try (and because they really are super cool), they’re extending a special discount to all my peeps.

Get $20 off your first order by entering the promo code
BOOM20

Just download the app here to get started, and check one more thing off your laundry list.

This Weekend: MAYfest– Music, Art & Yoga for the whole family.

So, this weekend I’ll be teaching at Mayfest, the Hudson Valley’s first Music, Art & Yoga Festival. I’ll be teaching a Vinyasa class on Saturday at 11am called Finding Your Flow, for all of you out there who want to find your flow (both on and off the mat). I’m excited to be a part of such fun weekend event, and to be teaching alongside some renowned teachers like Sadie Nardini and Justin Wolfer.

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The weekend will basically be like going back to camp (for all ages). The lineup includes great bands, stellar yoga classes, nature hikes, paddle board yoga, a wellness village and so much more– all in a beautiful lakeside location that is just over an hour from NYC.

The best part is it’s totally a family affair. Bring the kids along because Mayfest is also offering a “Kids Canteen” with plenty of offerings for the little ones including story time, yoga, sports, and even nature writing. Plus (best, best part), childcare is available so that mom and dad can totally take advantage of all the adult fun stuff going on.

For more information or to get tickets go to www.MAYfestNY.com. Hope to see you there!

To Swim Or Not To Swim

SoScreen Shot 2015-04-10 at 11.41.09 AM, the YMCA has been our go-to for swim lessons the past couple years. Aria and I have done two sessions of Mommy & Me classes, and just this past March she began swim on her own in the Pike class. Well, kinda.

The reality of the situation was Aria had zero interest in getting in the water by herself. While the other 3 & 4 year old girls in her class had the time of their lives, bobbing on noodles and jumping off the side into the instructors arms, my little one wanted no part of any of it. The first class she refused to even go in the water, and only after some serious bribery agreed to go in– which in reality meant permanently attaching herself (in a death grip)  to the instructor. The whole class.

Class #2 was exactly the same, and whenScreen Shot 2015-04-10 at 11.40.46 AM we got to class #3 she complained and cried the whole day leading up to swim, and insisted she just wanted “sign out” (btw-I have no idea where she got that from, but good on her for figuring out that that was even an option). This presented a bit of a conundrum though, since I feel like there’s a time to push kids (knowing once she got over her fear, she’s be a full on fish), but  also a big difference between pushing/encouraging and forcing.

In the end Aria got her way (she quite often manages to), and we agreed to postpone lessons until the she feels a bit more positive about the whole situation. We really wanted her to learn to swim since we live on a lake for a good part of the summer, but ultimately I don’t think it works to force our kids in fearful situations. So, we’ll keep on with the water wings and letting her do her own thing for now. Some battles just aren’t worth the fight.

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 Incidentally, the McBurney YMCA is doing SWIM WEEK from April 6-10 and offering FREE SWIM LESSONS for members.

Check out more info here!

Looking forward….

Our last snowy pic of winter 2015 by the amazing Ana Photo!

Our last snowy pic of 2015 by the amazing Ana Photo!

It seems unbelievable that just a week ago we were taking snowy pictures with the amazing Ana Schechter.

It feels like Spring is finally on the horizon now. We hit the playground for the first time this week, and despite slushy puddles and wet pants and socks by play’s end, it was nice to be out, feel the sun on our face, and feel hopeful that winter (and snow) is just about past!

In teaching yoga this week, I’ve been paralleling the natural elements around us, and asking students to consider what we need to let thaw in our own lives. What can we let go of in order to prepare space, and prepare ground where new seeds (and we) can grow?  It’s necessary, and worth considering for anyone who wants to bring in the new, fresh and better stuff in life.

In a practical sense we’ve also been preparing, thinking about next year and our plans for living in the city (or not). Kelcey Kintner, who I adore and seem to be living a parallel life of some days (minus 4 kids of course),  recently wrote about how she lost a piece of herself in leaving NYC (her blog Mama Bird Diaries is a must follow). I’m sure many of us NYC moms battle with the question of going or staying. I know I’ve been for quite some time.

For now, we’re still keeping our love (some days hate) affair with NYC going. Pre-K applications open on March 16 for all the NYC moms out there, and I’m hoping the process is not too painful. Apparently, with the new Pre-K for all initiative, there are many more seats available, but it’s still important to get the application in ASAP.

So, here’s to Spring and many new things on the horizon. Let the sun shine on your face today, and enjoy it!