Friday, September 23, 2016

Savior Of The Shoe


Now that Loehmann's is gone, I do this a lot less than I used to, but I still do it. I buy shoes I shouldn't buy. The reality is, I shouldn't even be buying any shoes that aren't my beloved Abeo Balboa flips or Sketchers Go Walk slip-on sneaks. However, in my mind, I imagine myself out at fancy parties or somewhere other kinds of shoes are sort of required. Sure, every now and again, I do find myself at a charity event, a wedding, bat mitzvah, or work related gathering where I need to be more dressed than my usual work go-to of cargo pants and t-shirt.

I buy shoes. Not like Carrie Bradshaw-people-who-LOVE-shoes buy shoes. I buy shoes on a deal. And apparently, unlike my friend Alex and other people, never in a neutral. I may own like one pair of black boots and a couple pair of black shoes for dresses, but I definitely don't own anything in a beige or brown. I want to look at my shoes like I look at lampshades. A sea of rainbow color. I will not be happy until I have the whole sixty-four crayon box rainbow. In fact just recently, I felt the one thing I was missing in life was an insulated all weather boot in some kind blue. Somewhere between just regular cobalt type blue and a navy. Not boring dark navy though, but more of a brighter navy. Having a hard time finding exactly what I'm looking for. I actually had a pair of metallic navy but they were lined with some kind of faux shearling. Who knew that the lining would pull my pants down every time I walked? Sitting they're stunning. Walking, I'd be naked before hitting the corner.

One thing I was definitely missing was a pair of plain black, skinny heel boots to wear with a dress. Like a BCBG stretch jersey just-above-the-knee length dress. The last time I bought black boots that have a heel and are meant for a dress like that was for my ten year high school reunion. In 2002. Back when a chunkier heel was still in.

I found the perfect pair of black, skinny heeled boots last winter. Stuart Weitzman, leather like buttah, perfect boots. Except the heels were like four inches. Something crazy for me when generally, my highest heel is no more like two or two and a half inches. I don't even know how you're supposed to measure heels- do you go all the way to seam or where it meets the sole? Regardless, these boots were HIGH.

I stalked them at Saks Off Fifth because I wasn't paying over two hundred dollars for them either. They retailed normally for around six hundred but I certainly wouldn't be paying that. They weren't getting any cheaper at Saks Off Fifth, as I'd visited them at least three times over a month. I finally got them on eBay for one hundred and twenty. I was thrilled. I got them, wore them once, to The Wendy Williams show, and then I thought I was crippled. Not only couldn't I walk, somehow I stepped in a grate in NYC and ripped a piece of leather clean off the heel. I knew I couldn't ever wear them again and I couldn't sell them because I ruined the heel.

I just let them sit for months. The other day I remembered I saw an article about Vinny, the owner of the shoe repair place in Ridgewood. I read that he cuts heels down. This was intriguing. I wanted to go there but I was afraid it was going to cost me more than the shoes did. It seemed like a lot of work. I told my friend I was going and she said it was probably going to be expensive. She had shoes done in our town and it was expensive. But she said it was done by a third party. I knew Vinny does the shoes himself so I thought that would be a better bet.

IT WAS. I am SO HAPPY I went there. Vinny is amazing. I asked him how much it would be to cut down the heels a bit and he's said it would be twenty dollars to not only cut the heels but to fix the leather I ripped, as best as he could. TWENTY DOLLARS? What? Sure thing. Fix my boots! I asked when they'd be ready and he said I could pick them up the next day by noon. Noon??! Uh, ok. It's still over eighty degrees here and I don't need them yet, but ok! You pretty much had me hello. And twenty dollars.

I dropped them on Wednesday, picked them up on Thursday and they are perfect. I tried them on when I got home and miracle of miracles, I could walk. Comfortably. I wish I'd done this to other shoes I bought and never wore sooner. I have a pair of hot pink satin (or some kind of material) shoes I love but have never worn because they're just too high. Those will be my next small project. I feel like I could buy any shoes I want now and just have the heels cut down. It's a whole new shoe world!

But there is one cardinal rule you MUST follow when you go to Vinny. DON'T LOSE YOUR TICKET. He's busy, he's a mom & pop store, and he has A LOT of shoes there. Don't be a pain the behind. Make sure you know where your ticket is when you pick up. He's also nice enough to offer curbside service. We all know how difficult it is to park in Ridgewood. He'll bring your shoes right out to your car. We call that old school.

Thank you Vinny! You're the best!

Quality Shoe Repair
http://www.qualityshoerepairnj.com/
18 Oak St, Ridgewood, NJ 07450
Phone:(201) 445-5811
Monday - Saturday 7:30 am - 5:30 pm
Now offering convenient curbside pick up. 





Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Back Baby Back!



Not just me- because I always say I'm back, then I don't really seem to be. TV is back! IT'S BACK! All of the TV. B has bailed on so many shows that it's looking like I may have to start getting up at like five o'clock in the morning to be able to watch all the things, old and new, that I want to watch.

I have to start with Dancing With The Stars. I'm really bummed that I didn't start watching this sooner. It just makes me happy. I ripped right through Monday's episode this morning without even looking at my cell phone except to sync my Fitbit. I love this show. It's just fun. At the beginning of every season, I think that I'm not going to be into it because I don't know most of the "stars" and then I'm pleasantly surprised. Sometimes I don't think I know them and then realize I do, like with Jake T. Austin. I had no idea he was the voice of Diego from Nick Jr. I actually know him from the TV show The Fosters but abandoned that show a few seasons ago. I didn't recognize him at first. He got a little older and a little chubbier- which I'm sure will change if he keeps dancing. *I didn't see who got kicked off yet*

I'm loving Jana Kramer and might have squealed when she danced to "I don't Wanna Be", the theme song to One Tree Hill by Gavin DeGraw. I know her as Alex Dupre, not as a country singer. I'm also really into Vanilla Ice. I was a teenager in the 90's. Enough said. But this entry isn't all about DWTS so I'm going to finish here. If you don't watch because you think it's corny, it IS corny! It's the good kind of corny that makes you smile. Even shed a tear from the personal stories and triumphs. I swear. There is definite crying on the treadmill and it isn't from getting up at six in the morning or jogging.

Everything else is back or starting this week. My DVR went from around sixty percent filled from stuff I still didn't catch up with from over the summer and/or are on the fence about bothering with, to around seventy-five percent in two nights.

I'm going to give you a list of what I have on tap that either B and I watch together or I watch alone.

Monday
The Voice- NBC, 8p
Lucifer- FOX, 9p

Tuesday
This is Us- NBC, 10p
Chicago Fire- NBC- comes back 10/11/16 at 10p
I don't know where This Is Us is going to go then. 

Wednesday
Blindspot- NBC, 8p
Empire- FOX, 9p
Chicago PD- NBC, 10p
Younger- TV Land, 10p

Thursday
Grey's Anatomy- ABC, 8p
The Good Place- NBC, 8:30
Notorious- ABC, 9p
Chicago Med- NBC, 9p
Better Things- FX, 10p
How To Get Away With Murder- ABC, 10p
The Blacklist- NBC, 10p

Sunday
Quantico- ABC, 9p.

I am on the fence about Quantico. I'm behind nine episodes and B has bailed. It got really confusing. I don't like their format of going back and forth in time. But I still have the episodes saved. I will see what happens. Unlike Limitless, which I was behind eleven episodes & is now cancelled. I erased them all except the one E was in for a hot second.

I'm looking forward to Notorious. I am going to miss Graceland so I'll take Notorious with Daniel Sunjata.

That's just what I know of so far. There is a show called High Maintenance that's starting in the beginning of November on HBO I want to try. The Affair comes back in November too. The third season of Transparent (Netflix) either started or is starting sometime soon. I'm still watching Real Housewives of the OC which I think is mid-season at this point. I'm sure there are other Real Housewives or other Bravo shows I'll pick up here and there.

I LOVE the show Better Things on FX. It's from Louis CK. It stars Pamela Adlon in a semi-autobiographical dramedy (according to me). It's about her as a single mom of three girls in LA. I knew I'd seen her before- she was on Louis but I never watched that. Then it hit me- Dolores Rebchuck! Grease 2. I knew I knew her! It's a half-hour show and definitely worth a watch.

Younger with Sutton Foster is coming back September 28th. We're definitely on board for that. I love Sutton Foster. I saw she's going to be in the Gilmore Girls reboot somehow and I'm looking forward to her and that show! I think Gilmore Girls is supposed to come back on Netflix at the end of November.

So this is how TV is shaping up for me right now. We didn't get to watch This Is Us yet. It looks like it lived up to the hype from the comments from friends on Facebook, so I'm really excited to get to that tonight. If you haven't checked out Lucifer- I thought it would be hokey, and it is, a little. But I love Tom Ellis something fierce. I was so annoyed when Rush got cancelled, so this is a good replacement. I also like Lauren German, who made me bawl my eyes out when she left Chicago Fire.

I may try to catch up with Billions. I DVR'd then erased it because we never got to it and it was taking up room. We also only watched one episode of the current season of House of Cards. We will eventually watch it but it requires too much brain power at the moment. And B does want to finish Andre Agassi's book sometime this year, so we'll have to see when we can fit this all in. It's a start! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Gaga For Gaga


Gaga is where the split between the camp kids and the non-camp kids comes in. All camp kids are gaga for Gaga. They know what it is and they LOVE it. It's one of E's favorite activities at his camp. I can tell you it seems to have come about in the 70's in Israel, and now it's here. I've never seen or heard of it played any other place but at camp. Now, here, in Waldwick in Bergen County, there is The Gagasphere. It just opened at the end of this summer by two of my friends, moms from Glen Rock- Leslie Schraer and Pam Diamond.

I don't know about anywhere else, but the birthday party scene in north Jersey is BIG. No one wants kids in their house. I don't. I don't have that kind of house. I have nowhere to put a bunch of boys and I don't want to entertain them. I'm saying it. And not qualifying it by saying "I love my kid but...". No. I don't want to be Julie the cruise director for seven and eight year old boys. I don't really entertain my own boy. I also know he's not going to break anything or trash the house. I don't live in a museum by any stretch, but there are only three of us. We never really baby proofed. He's never climbed on furniture, written on walls, messed with the art we have. I don't know what other kids do. I have a bar in my basement. While we aren't drinkers, people always seem to bring alcohol when they come to someone's house. So we have alcohol bottles from 2006 to now just sitting down there because it looks nice. E isn't drinking from them or breaking them, but again, I don't know about other children.

Now, with these party places, we've been spoiled. An hour and a half, party hosts, entertainment of some sort, pizza, cake, home. Works for everyone. Moms are always looking for something different though. We're a little bounced out. Most of us have done parties at the bounce places, the mini gyms for kids, etc. They're all fun, but how many of the same party are you going to have? On Bergen County Moms, people are always asking where to have a party that hasn't been done a million times already. Personally, I had no problem going to Kids U pretty much every weekend of pre-school for another party. But by the time they're seven or eight, I can see wanting to find something to change things up. With boys, you want to get their energy out. I'm not taking ten boys to paint pottery. While E could get into that if it was just the two of us, that's not a party for him.

We went to a party at The Gagasphere recently. It was great. I can only describe Gaga as a physical game in the realm of  dodge ball, which I don't even think kids are allowed to play anymore. It's in a pit, and that's all I can tell you. It's a less aggressive version of dodge ball in the way that it's played lower to the ground.

The kids come in, get a name tag, parents sign a waiver online or in person, the kids play for an hour with two party hosts, popular music plays in the background, they eat pizza and cake and go home. It just simple, physical fun. The difference between this and other sporting party venues is that there isn't a particular sport that a kid would feel like they need knowledge of to play. Like, if a kid has a soccer or football playing party, some kids might not know how to play or feel like they're not good enough compared to kids who play that sport all the time. This is more like Four Square where I guess some people may be better or not, but there aren't a lot of rules and it's more just about coordination. You don't need any prior knowledge of how to play or have played before to be good at it. They have all the rules actually written on a chalkboard wall

There are also the party hosts to keep the kids from getting too rowdy.
The Gagasphere isn't just for birthday parties. They have regular classes for after school. They have classes for special needs. They have two pits in the main room and then they have a small room with a smaller portable pit where they can have younger kids or take that portable pit on the road to do events in other venues.

I don't have time for E to do a class but I know some of his friends are taking a class this fall. It's great if your kid needs some extra work in hand/eye coordination.


The birthday parties have the option of some really fun add-ons like a DJ. We went to a party at Bounce U once that did the DJ add-on and it made the party exponentially more palatable for me. I felt like I was at D'Jais in Belmar. It was great. Having music does make a difference. The Gagasphere offers music for any level party but if I had unlimited funds to do up the party, I'd totally do the DJ. Maybe even have an adult Gaga party on a Saturday night. That's the cool thing- I feel like Gaga could be a party for any age. Couldn't you see husbands and wives going all out in a Gaga pit? I see they have an adult gaga league on their website so a birthday party can't be a far off thought. Great way to get out any negative energy- that's for sure!

E had a great time at the party he went to and I'm sure I'll be attending many more there as people start hearing about it. I already just got another invitation for a party in October a week after we went to the first party.
http://thegagasphere.com/

The Gagasphere
Address:140 Franklin Turnpike Waldwick, NJ 07463
Phone: (201) 445-2546
E-Mail: info@thegagasphere.com
Like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thegagasphere










Monday, September 19, 2016

Product Push






Apparently I'm on the new product train these days. I got the Gizmo Gadget, and over the weekend I was suckered, but in a good way, at one of those mall kiosks. I know you're probably thinking, "What? Who is this? Am I reading the wrong blog?". No, no.


Usually, before I can even BE approached by these aggressive sales people operating the mall kiosks, I put on my best pained expression and practically start sprinting past them. No, I don't want your Dead Sea scrubs or copper pain relieving bracelet. Not your balls that go splat, your prom costume jewelry and/or fake ponytails, or emoji pillows.

We happened to be walking by one of those hair straighter kiosks on the bottom floor by Adidas in Garden State Plaza. When we were walking by, there was a woman with out of control frizzy hair getting her hair straightened by this magic brush. Her hair was REALLY bad. It was thick, and just a mass of frizz. The guy, Lorenzo, was combing her hair out and it was laying in nice flattened, de-frizzed sections. I couldn't help but be intrigued.

I loathe washing, drying, and straightening my hair. I don't even have thick or curly hair. I have thin, long, frizzy hair that just gets an unsightly wave if I don't use a bunch of product, a hair dryer, and a flat iron. It doesn't take LONG, but my arms get tired and I'm always in a hurry. This spring, I just started not drying it and not caring, and then if I had it in me, later in the day, when it was air dried, I'd use the flat iron. I got a new flat iron like six months ago and I don't even like it. It's fine but nothing is like my old one I can't even get anymore.

So this brush...Of course I let Lorenzo brush my hair with one- a CLEAN one. I'm not looking to get this new super lice going around. I let him do it because there is nothing I love more than having someone else brush or do anything to my hair. I'd actually washed, dried and straightened it myself before we got there. It was just so humid out that it looked all frizzy and terrible in the minutes it took to leave my house and get to the mall. Like the Lion/cat I am, I was all about him brushing me. But since he doesn't come with the brush, I had to pay attention.

I'd done no research on this or any other heat brush. I would never have purchased it normally. He said it's usually $299 but he'd sell it for $169 because it was an anniversary of nine years in the mall. I'm sure this is a crock, even though the prices on the website do say $299 for this brush. I just don't think anyone is buying it online like that. I think they're only sold at mall kiosks, which is where you'd have to see it. Most likely if you saw it in the mall, you'd have been pitched and would've gotten the lower price. You'd never have to go to the website. If you did, it shows the $299 and then I guess you're supposed to feel good about getting "the deal". The "deal" special for you.We also didn't pay the $169 either. I will assume they're given a bottom line price if someone seems on the hook enough to fork over the dough right then but is still hesitant. That's what I paid. I don't want to get the kid in trouble though so I'm not going to post what that is so just know that you can get it for less than the $169. Just seem interested but about to walk. I said that I wanted to see how my hair reacted when I went back outside first. That I'd be back.

My hair- The guy went into a whole spiel about how it's different than a flat iron. He said something about steam. Of course, B poked holes in that later because he said- "If there is no water, how is it steam? It's just heat." That's probably true. The sales guy said it could be used on wet hair. I don't think I would do that because that seems unnatural to me. He did use it on my frizzy hair and it did make it nice and smooth. It was much easier and less time consuming than the flat iron for a touch up kind of situation. I know that's probably not what most people are looking for in this type of product. They probably want to go from wet to dry with it without using a hair dryer. I want to just not use a hair dryer but use this later after my hair has air-dried instead of the flat iron. I don't have to blow dry but don't need the flat iron. The brush is just easier. Bigger sections and no snagging.

I often put my hair up the day after washing in a ponytail or bun to go on the treadmill or just walking or whatever. The bands make a dent. The brush got the denting out to look like I just washed my hair that day. Sometimes I find I have to go somewhere with done hair after I've started my day not having washed my hair. This will come in handy for those days I need a quick fix on dented, unwashed hair.

I really like the brush. I did do some research on the company, the brush, etc, because I couldn't help myself. Had I known about it a little earlier, I could've gotten it cheap on Groupon. Luckily, the deal is over, so I don't feel like I was totally taken. Because while they say there is a one year warranty, it's exchanges only and no refunds. If you got it home and decided you just didn't want it- too bad. You're in. I'm also going to assume they're not doing any price matching. Some of the comments on their Facebook page are from angry customers who had a problem with their customer service or pissed about the no refunds thing. Those things happen with every company, so I'm unconcerned at this point.

All in all, I think it's going to be a good purchase for me. I'd say that you should try one out, but only if you trust your skills in being able to say a firm no if you're not interested. Lorenzo wasn't pushy but they're good. They're trained to be good. Or they're innately good. Everyone has different hair and different needs though, so if it doesn't really wow you, then you should have the ability to say a firm no and move on. For my hair, it works. It's a cool life hack that will come in handy. We know how I love life hack type products. 

The name kind of skeeves me out a bit. Sutra. It sounds like sex toys. That's not really a complaint. Just an observation.

I don't have a before and after pic of my hair but you would have to see it on your own hair anyway. I'm just saying that it's worth a try or look-see. It's not just one of those annoying people trying to put crappy lotions on you as you're navigating the mall with your kids.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Gizmos and Gadgets



My friends know I love life hacks. Anything to make my life easier, I love. Especially gadgets. A melon baller, a cherry pitter, the Eurosealer, Brown & Crisp bags, an anchor for the beach umbrella so it doesn't blow away, Pack It bags (self freezing lunch bags). The Saltwater Canvas Whale bag with all it's pockets and inner carabiner, my beach chair with the face hole for optimum even tanning in comfort, my clear waterproof phone pouch for outside in the summer. My cooling towel, rain ponchos in pouches, my Wonder Wheeler cart, and my zip up picnic blanket with strap for easy transport. E and I both are excited when we see a new infomercial.

When I was a kid, I wanted the patch thing that would repair rips in furniture. I didn't have any furniture to patch but it looked cool. I'm one of the few people who can't wait to try the wireless ear buds coming out for the iPhone 7. Now that I listen to a podcast (For Crying Out Loud) and Stern interviews during E's swim practice, not having those headphone wires that just tangle in my bag is a plus. I know I shouldn't mention this either, but they will be a plus if I was hypothetically going in a tanning bed. Or just laying out at the town pool.

Changing gears here for a moment, compared to most parents these days, at least here and from what I hear of the Los Angeles area, B and I are pretty "free range parents". We give E a pretty decent amount of freedom. Not even always on purpose. I get into a conversation with other moms and I'm just not that concerned with what he's doing. He's not a moron and he's always safe enough. We live in small town suburbia. Yes, things can happen anywhere, but I'm just not wired to be overly neurotic in that respect. Plus, I'm always prepared with my gadgets.

I had seen the Gizmo Pal and Gizmo Gadget (Verizon) in a magazine and was intrigued. E is in second grade. I was walking to and from kindergarten alone and I was five. Unbelievably and annoyingly, school will not dismiss kids without a parent until fourth grade but he is perfectly capable of walking two blocks to school on his own or with a friend. Or at least, I plan on getting him that capable. Because I'm not raising a lemming. Of course, none of his friends parents are ready for this, so I think it will be awhile till he gets to walk with a friend, but I'm working on it. (It's like TWO BLOCKS they have to cross, not busy streets, then one cross with a CROSSING GUARD!) I'm all about the big picture, and the big picture is I'm trying to get him prepared for life.

I'd been leaving him home for periods of time most of the summer and it's gone extremely well. Except that up until a few times after I'd already left him, I didn't have a working landline. I finally fixed that, but I thought it would be nice to have a back up, for when he's out and about. I didn't want to give him a phone, at seven and a half. Even a flip phone. There is really no one for him to call and I definitely don't need him having a smartphone. Even leaving him home, I'm still with him most of the time, and a regular phone or smartphone is just not necessary. I give him physical freedom but not internet freedom.

I read about the Gizmo Pal but it seemed like for the extra seventy dollars or whatever, at his age, it seemed better to just go for the Gadget. It has more capabilities that are cool, but not distracting like social media. It can also call or receive calls from ten people vs the four for the Pal 2. The Gadget also has a pedometer like a Fitbit type thing. E had been asking for a Fitbit. I can't say I haven't been curious how many steps he logs in a day. Though, I wasn't buying him a Fitbit to find out. The Gadget can also text one of ten pre-programmed (by parent/caregiver) texts if just a quick answer is warranted.

We were going to a block party in our town last Saturday night. I already knew we weren't going to be keeping a close eye on him. It was in a cul-de-sac off some streets near-ish to where we live. We didn't know the "guest list" but we knew there would be people there we know well enough- their kids go to school with E in a pretty small school (K-5, two classrooms per grade, about 22 kids each class). There was going to be tons of kids there and it just wasn't going to be possible to follow him around nor do I want to do that. He can't learn independence if I'm following him around. And really, in this situation, NO ONE was following their kids around. We'd lost track of him twice at a Halloween block party last October, where the second time, it just got dark way quicker than we anticipated. He has known my cell number for years but without some way to use it, he'd have to ask someone.

I bought the Gizmo Gadget Friday through Verizon and they shipped it for overnight delivery by noon on Saturday. I was trying to do the pick up in two hours thing they offer online but it wasn't working. I called, they were actually helpful, and did it over the phone, waiving the activation fee and overnight shipping fee. I was able to teach E to use it in like five minutes. I programmed six numbers in there of anyone he might need to call and we tested it out.

The volume on both ends is good. We were both able to easily hear each other. It's very user friendly for a kid his age. He immediately got into the jump rope exercise and the step counting. There are no "games"- just something that has the ability to make funny sounds. It is touch screen so it's easy for him to work it since he's used to the iPad. He finds it comfortable enough. He didn't have a problem wearing it any playing. It's waterproof so he was able to be part of a water balloon fight with it. And be really sweaty, considering last Saturday in Bergen County was like taking a schvitz. It's not small and I believe the Pal is the same size. On my friend Michelle's twins who are five and small, they did look big. But the girls still had no problem wearing them and keeping them on.

Does E "need" this? No. Of course not. It's a luxury. However as a review, I'll say it's convenient. He has a lot of activities. Last year, I sat at every activity for the duration because there was no where for me to go. Now, with some changes I've made, I could actually even go home if needed and come back. Or the supermarket. He could call me from this if he ever got done early. If he forgot something. If he didn't feel well. Or I could tell him I'm running a few minutes late because of traffic. It was helpful at the block party because I could let him run amok and if I really wanted to, I could check the GPS for his exact location. If he really got lost in the dark, he'd be able to call instead of panic.

If he was walking to school, I could check to see he made it there. Or home if I allowed (or the school allowed) him to walk home while I was still at work. Or if he walked to our store from school. That may not happen now, but it's something for the future. My friend's kid is in fourth grade and the first day, which was a half day, he asked her if he could walk to town with his friends for pizza. He doesn't have a phone. She was freaked out because he's never been allowed to walk into town with his friends. If he had something like this, she might have felt more comfortable allowing him to go.

Basically, it's a source for peace of mind if you want to spend the money. Or if you want to give your kid a little baby step into more freedom. For Michelle's kids, the Pal is enough because she's rarely without all four of them and they're all very close in age. If you have two, three, five kids with a bigger span in age, they're most likely going in different directions all the time or in carpools so these are a great way to keep tabs on who is where and when. Without the responsibility of internet and social media access too young.

I really like it. Everything is controlled by an app the parent(s) or caregivers have. He can't do or change anything himself. So it's a nice pre-phone compromise. I know too many people who have given their kids E's age and younger, their old smartphones and now have to backtrack with controls because they didn't think about that prior. When they gave it, the kids were young enough to be in their parents full control. They gave them the old phones in place of a tablet. Kids grow up fast and then they are in position of having too much internet free range. This is a much safer option. 

Other cellular carriers have different versions of child gps trackers but as far as the Googling I've done, these are the options with the most positive reviews. You do not have to be an existing Verizon customer, I believe.

The app you need is called Gizmo Hub. You can also use it to make the Gadget silent during different times or days of the week, check the battery charge, and you can turn it off totally from the app as well.

PC Mag Review - http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2494449,00.asp

Gizmo Gadget- https://www.verizonwireless.com/connected-devices/lg-gizmogadget/




Wednesday, September 7, 2016

I'm Back!

It must have been a great summer for me to have written very few times here. It really was an awesome, action packed summer. I'm back- sort of. I thought I'd have time at work yesterday to write a little something, but I forgot it was a half-day (at school). Then today I thought I'd get to it, but somehow the day got away from me. Now it's almost time for me to leave. I did want to get something out though. I'm sure there are at least some of you who have been wondering if I just quit talking about myself and giving my opinions. Rest assured, I was just busy having fun. I wouldn't quit social media or anything, but I wasn't sitting and writing.

First, I have to thank my cousin Jana and her husband Steve for hosting us, pretty much every weekend. In town or not themselves, they opened their home and their fabulous couch* to us. (More on that couch later.) It was so much fun getting to spend time with them when they were around and then use of their home and pool when they weren't. We can't take off work - because we just can't. So our Sundays off, especially in the summer, are precious. We lucked out and got beautiful weather almost every Sunday from July 4th on. Even if it wasn't beautiful out inland, it was perfect beach weather. Being able to stay over at their place every Saturday night saved us any Sunday morning shore traffic. It was great to already be down there.

Side note- not so great being ripped off at the bagel place we were going to down there. It cost us double, literally double what it costs at home for two bagels and cream cheese and a taylor ham and egg on a roll. Highway Robbery.

I'll mention the couch now- it's called a plunge sectional. If you're in the market for a couch- I highly recommend. Jana said she actually googled "world's most comfortable couch" or something like that. My Fitbit logs my sleep. The only place I've ever hit five hours of sleep that isn't considered "restless" is on that couch.

I discovered Cupcake Magician down in Red Bank this summer too- which guarantees I will be visiting over the winter too. I'm now obsessed. I also found Fetish in Asbury Park which sells my favorite brand- Sky. The brand is pretty elusive up in Bergen so at least I know where to look first when I want something.

We attended two gay pride parades- NYC and Asbury. Had a spectacular time at both. E got his now favorite rainbow sequin fedora he's been wearing everywhere. Best $5 I ever spent.

We BBQ'd with the Cohen's twice in the beginning of the summer. We didn't get to see enough of them, but hopefully we'll make up for it in during the year. 

We spent time with friends I continue to want to know better and who have great kids. We didn't get to see them all as much as we'd like because other people take that thing called vacation. They were all away at different times. When we were able to get together or see each other at the town pool, it's always a pleasure. Briana, Ryan, Carolina, Dave, Deirdre, Colin, Chris and Minnie- we plan to see you over the school year whether you like it or not. I happen to think we make a good, fun, crew. 

I made a new friend Michelle this summer, who I enjoy thoroughly. She matches me in deep talk. She also has a lovely husband and awesome kids that E loves to play with. He feels like it's a party every time we see them because he gets four kids at once.

I didn't take my "8 days" I usually take off in the summer while E is in camp. I normally try to pick the nicest day of the week and go to the pool myself. I don't know what happened- camp started like three days after school ended this year and I was trapped in a tornado of chaos. It was go-go-go from the end of school to start of camp. I think I only took five days and only two or three of those I ended up relaxing. I did manage to get my money's worth of the pool though. I signed E up for the town swim team, thinking it would be stress-free. And the actual team and swimming was stress-free. The stress came from E's camp bus not getting home until 4:58p and having to be at the pool by 5p. We made it though! There was just a lot of him getting naked in the foyer of our house and then running out the door. That's how we roll. Naked and running. It could be a reality show, I'm sure.

Then came the day I'm pretty sure parents crashed the school server - teacher assignment day. It looks like E has a nice mix of kids in his class. He was really happy to have a few good friends with him this year so I'm crossing my fingers for an easy time. We also switched swim teams so I won't be shlepping to Lodi. Ever again. My experience with the Scarlett Waves over, for many reasons (worst experience- for another time), I feel like I can breathe. I didn't over-schedule, so far, I don't think. I'm optimistic that how I worked things this year will be monumentally better than last year. I feel like I got sort of cheated out of enjoying how awesome E's teacher was because I was always rushing around from activity to activity and place to place. I could never really absorb her amazing-ness. I was too stressed out feeling like I was in a hamster wheel.

After camp ended we had a full two weeks off before school started. It just so happened that a lot of shows slated for release in the fall were and are doing their tapings now. I got a decent amount of casting calls in a row, submitted E quickly and he got called for three shows.  Shows for NBC,  Showtime, and Hulu. Getting up at 4:45a to be in Yonkers not to long after that wasn't the way I usually enjoy spending my time but E and I have these work sessions down pat by now and something comical or interesting always happens. I'll write a "Day in the life" of a child background actor soon. We've had a few Kramer-esque moments, of course, that would only happen to me. Don't worry- I'll let everyone know when you could look for him to flash quickly before your eyes on TV.

I also made thirty-three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for school lunch. A freezer packed with pb&j makes me very happy. 

Now we're back to school. First day was yesterday and E said he had a great day. His teacher seems nice and I'm happy to be back on a structured schedule. Sort of. It probably won't feel fully structured to me, or B, until I'm back at work for a full week, but I'm getting there!

Cousins

1st day of 2nd grade
pb&j


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Boys Love Dance Too


E had an awesome time last year in hip hop dance class. He absolutely looks forward to going every single week. One week they were off because they go with the school vacation schedule of the town they're in, and I didn't realize it was spring break. We got there and E was SO bummed. That's how I know it was a great class. For ballet and tap (at a different studio), by his last (3rd) year, he wasn't into it anymore. He was bored. He asked not to go. But these classes now, these teachers, they are amazing and really make kids want to dance.

It's a really low key place, where it isn't a money grab, and they really care about your kids. They had their recital in June. The mother of one of the owners was in the hospital and he still made it to the recital. Their dedication is nothing like anything I've ever seen.

They're running a special- 10% off tuition if you sign up before August 26th. I just emailed my registration. They do payment plans where they just take the money out of your bank every month, which makes it a lot easier than handing over the whole chunk of money at once.

E's confidence has soared ever since realizing he can dance and dance well. I feel like he's super coordinated in other activities because of dance. It's also great exercise.

I just saw they have a Groupon going too for Drop-In classes.

Here is their website address- www.dancetcstudio.com, their fall schedule and their registration form. The email is dancetcstudio@gmail.com and the address is 7-15 Fair Lawn Ave, Fair Lawn NJ 07410



Monday, August 8, 2016

Down There and Up Here

I don't know if I've ever discussed my obsession with Sky (brand) clothing in here. Probably because I want it all for myself. It's a brand out of California. I first saw and loved it on the Real Housewives of Orange County. Then the Real Housewives of New Jersey adopted it. Many of the Sky fabrics and styles just work for my body type. Once Arden B. went a little too club-trendy, and then out of business, I was out of luck. Sky is definitely higher end. I could never afford to buy much of it at full retail price, but watch out if I find it on a sale rack. It's just REALLY hard to find here.

Sky brand is carried in boutiques mostly. Most of these boutiques are small and don't have a lot of inventory to begin with. Then with the Sky stuff, they only seem to have a few pieces. In my experience, the dresses are scarce.

It was going to be a rainy Sunday, a day we'd normally be on the beach. I still wanted to go down to Red Bank because Cupcake Magician's hours on Sunday don't gel with my tanning/beach schedule. They open at 11a and close by 4p. I'd never make it on a beach day. I also wanted to hit up Double Take (consignment) because last year around this time, I found a great Sky dress for sale at the one in Ridgewood.

We went down the shore area we always go to and I got my cupcakes. Had no luck at Double Take, so I started looking up stores that carry Sky. I found a few places- Shrewsbury, Long Branch and Asbury park. I went to Shrewsbury and Long Branch and had no luck. One place carried some Sky but nothing I wanted and the other had nothing. We weren't going to go to Asbury because it was out of the way and rainy. My cousin said they were still there eating brunch and it wasn't raining there. So we thought we'd just go there if it was the only place we weren't going to get soaked.

We had last been in Asbury on the day of the PRIDE parade. Some of the stores were closed. We walked by Fetish on Cookman Ave and it was closed. Honestly, I didn't look in- I thought it was a sex store.

This time though, that was my destination. I looked on the ShopSky website (www.shopsky.com) and it says their stuff is sold at Fetish. So to Fetish I was going. I walked in and JACKPOT. A decent amount of Sky. A rack of dresses and then some stuff sprinkled on other racks. There were two dresses I was interested in. Neither were really my size, but I thought I would try both on and see which size could fit. I put the first one on and it was made for me. It was just SO me. AND, it was on sale. That was the whole point- I was looking for Sky on sale and here it was, just waiting for me. In regards to shopping, and loving "gowns" like I do, it often works in my favor having an August birthday. Maxi dresses are considered "summer" here, so I can usually get something on sale. The stores are already geared up for fall.

The staff at Fetish was lovely. I only could find one business card with one person's name on it- Sarah. She was very helpful and so was the other girl who was working with her that day. (Sorry I didn't take better notes). I will TOTALLY go back there. They have a lot of "goth" type stuff, but somehow they have Sky there too and it works.







Fetish
644 Cookman Ave
Asbury Park, NJ 07712
732-898-9215 

Then, this past week was also the Ridgewood Sidewalk Sale. I always try to go so I might try to get E some new sneakers for school, at Ridgewood Bootery. Or get my Nike Air Pegasus for me at a running store there. Both of which, I did happen to score this time. I had a little time for once, because I took of that day, so I thought I'd peruse the whole street. I walked all the way up from Ridgewood Bootery towards the train station. On the left side after Ridgewood Coffee, there is a new-ish boutique called Gigi's Boutique.

I say it's "new" but it's actually been there for a year and a half. I guess I haven't been in Ridgewood, just walking around in a long time. Or if I was, it wasn't up that far. I go to the Ridgewood shopping district way less ever since Gymboree closed. That was my go-to place for gifts or for something quick for E. So I found Gigi's after I did some walking. It is next to a bridal shop that moved somewhere else.

It's really nice in there. They have a larger selection than quite a few of the boutiques I'd gone into on my dress-quest. She had a decent amount of Sky tops and I wanted all of them. I was annoyed that Sky didn't have Gigi's in their store locator search on their site. While there were no dresses that I saw there, I was able to see the tops to determine what kind of size I'd want in that brand. There were other really nice things in there too. I saw some tied dyed active wear that was right up my alley. I met the owners, who are lovely and seem like they're very accommodating. I just felt like they probably go out of their way for their customers.

I wasn't really in shopping mode that day- I was in my bathing suit for the pool and I wanted to maximize my sun time. I wasn't trying anything on. Not without the proper bra. I was in and out of the boutique pretty quick, after chatting up the owners for a few minutes. Gigi's is definitely a nice addition to Ridgewood's downtown. I feel like I could find things in there that wouldn't look silly on someone in their 40's. There is something for everyone. There was a girl and her mom in there while I was there- the daughter had to be college age. So either they have something for everyone or I just don't know that I'm too old to shop in certain places.

Definitely stop in if you want something to go out to dinner with the girls in or for date night.





Gigi's Boutique
48 E.Ridgewood Ave
Ridgewood, NJ 07450
201-857-2558 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Best of Bergen 2017

 

Hi there! It's me. I'm here. And I do have real stuff to write about- including a great find (boutique) that I happened upon the other day. I just can't write about this minute, because I want a good photo of something I bought there and I don't have that yet.

I do have a favor to ask though! Sorry, but I do. It's that time of year again where I need to please vote for my store in the 201 Magazine Best of Bergen Poll. I know I've said it before, but this free advertising goes a long way.

Voting in this poll can be your superficial escape today. Winning this honor is something that helps us immensely. It just gives us another inch of credibility and it's great advertising. It's sort of like our Emmy awards. It's a little pat on the back for how hard we work to really BE the best.

http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2951679/201-Magazine-s-Best-of-Bergen-Readers-Poll-2017

They went from "Home Decor" to "Home" but it's #99, and if you could vote for Shades of Soho, Glen Rock in that category, we'd really appreciate it!

Thanks so much!!

Oh, and PS- I just found out today that we won 2nd place in the Jewish Standard's Readers Choice 2016 vote.  Here is the supplement: https://www.scribd.com/embeds/319479645/content?start_page=1&view_mode=slideshow&access_key=key-wAaMDoRucVtTZwsWcLZN&show_recommendations=false