Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Great Rocksby

Please come out to support the Glen Rock Middle and High School. Tickets are on sale for our bi-annual fundraiser. It's going to be a night to remember. Lot's of fun to be had, while raising funds for our school. This years profits will be used, among other things, to enhance our current technology program.


FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2013 - 7:00 - 11:00PM



Take a step back in time: The year is 1922, a time of flappers, gangsters, lavish parties and decadence ...Roaring '20s attire is encouraged but not required; bring on your best Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan or Al Capone, or come just as you are.

Tickets are $50 per person

Includes: light fare, beer, wine, funny money for casino games, dancing, live and silent auctions, a 50/50 raffle and more....

Can't wait to see you there!

Ticket purchases are non-refundable. This purchase will show up on your credit card statement as Acteva...Any chargeback & addtional fees incurred by the HSA will be the sole responsibility of the purchaser.

Acteva is our preferred method of payment for this event. Need Help? Contact Nicole Vazquez @

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bounce Safari

I didn't even know there was another bounce place for kids. Of course I know Bounce U, then came Screaming Parties, but I was unaware another had moved in. Bounce Safari crept in right under my nose in Waldwick. Waldwick is like the hotbed of kid activity. Gymboree, Little Gym, In the Swing, Bounce Safari, the Superdome which also houses Music For Aardvarks classes. Next door to that is The Learning Center where Jellybean Junction functions for birthday parties. I love it. They're all close enough to me.

A neighbor had his son's 3rd birthday party there a few weeks ago. I'll start with the pros. It's clean. I'm sure it's partially because it's new, but whatever- I'll take it. I also REALLY like the set up. It seems like it's more for younger kids- I'd say like ten years old and under. I'm sure the bounce things can hold bigger because the parents were in some of them too. But I feel like over ten they probably wouldn't really be into it. I don't know. My kid is four. I'm guessing on the age thing. My point is, if you have littler ones, I feel like this is the best of the bounce places for that. They have stuff for the little ones to play with- hopscotch mat, big blocks, ride on bounce animals, balls, etc. BUT, it's only worth it if you don't have to pay for a kid under two years old, not to bounce, just to hang out and play with the "extras". If that's the case then it's awesome.

They have two bounce rooms. The first one has like five recliner-type seats and a bench for parents to sit. In the second room is my favorite piece of equipment- a large green sectional couch. Perfect. Not every place really has a comfortable place to sit. The kids can totally maneuver the bounce equipment by themselves for the most part. I didn't see any parent that HAD to help their kids much.

The party room is a standard room with a special seat for the birthday kid. The big blue "special chair" is pretty cool.

I definitely thought there was enough equipment/stuff to do for all the kids. I don't know how many kids we had, but it didn't seem crowded and I definitely think they can accommodate 25 (included in party price)-40 (max for parties) kids without it being a problem.

I love that I didn't have to take my shoes off in there. I hate having to do that. I do it with no complaint but it was a nice bonus not to have to take them off. ***But, no high heels/stilettos. Not sure why one would wear those to a kid bounce place but whatever***

Now for my thoughts on what could be improved and/or suggestions:

-The party package brochure needs more detail and clarification. I want to know how long the party is and descriptions of the names they use for the party packages. For instance- I have no idea what the difference is between an Explorer Jr and an Ultimate Explorer package except for cost. Then I see a "Play date" option, but what does that mean? Is that different than a birthday party?

-My friend tried to organize a group outing there for a discounted price. I had no idea what the deal was, that Bounce U was offering something competitive she was trying to match, etc. She just gave me the details and asked if I wanted to come to a Valentines Party there for the kids. Normally, I never cancel a standing date with close family friends. It's a sacred date, for lack of better description. But E had been good, it was friends he hadn't been able to see in awhile and I thought he'd love it. My point is that I would've never just gone there that day had my friend not organized this "party".

She said it was difficult to deal with the owner. I don't know the owner or what transpired between them. I'm just going to give my observations from what I personally experienced. Apparently Bounce U had a Valentine's Deal of an open bounce, pizza, juice, and decorate a cookie, all for $14.95/pp. When my friend asked me to come to Bounce Safari, I just assumed that was the regular price for this kind of deal. I'm not positive but I think it's actually $20 normally. I think $20 is high but I don't go to Bounce U either so I don't know if that is competitive. She told me she saw a deal on Bounce Safari's site that said there was a deal on a certain night for this $14.95 price/per child. She couldn't go the day it was offered but she knows enough people and knew she could get a group together if she could do it on another day. Apparently, she spoke to the owner and he was not very accommodating about it. He didn't want to give us any money off to make it less than Bounce U since Bounce U was offering the cookie thing. I'm putting this part in, even though it sounds like secondhand information, because I know what Bounce U was offering first hand and I know what deal we got at Bounce Safari, so it's firsthand fact what was what and where with the cost.

Most of the kids that we were all going to be registering were between three and four years old. That's who we'd assume we'd be paying for. Even though there are blocks and balls for the little ones, I would not expect to pay for them. When I had a birthday party at Jellybean Junction, they didn't even charge me for kids I thought they would. This year, I had E's party at the Wyckoff Y and they didn't charge me for the kids that were two and under. Sure, they could do some of it, but they weren't really doing enough to get charged the $16.99 for them as real "guests".

I walked into Bounce Safari when my other friend was signing her waiver for her three year old daughter. She has another daughter who is maybe a year and a half. She was asked to pay for the "baby".  I was eavesdropping. I guess somehow it got worked out that the people with second kids 0-2 would just be able to pay an extra $5 for pizza. Turned out she'd asked prior if she could just let the baby eat her older daughter's pizza because her older daughter was allergic. She didn't end up having to pay extra but it just seemed very nickel & dimed. As a business owner myself, I don't like that. We don't do that. We give away parts, throw stuff in, etc- just as gestures of good will/faith. It's good business. Sure, we may lose a chandelier shade here and there, some parts, etc or it doesn't turn into a sale. But, we're very easy to work with, accommodating, and generally well-liked. If I was the owner in this situation, a mom is telling me she's going to bring in 15-20 kids, I'd pretty much give her anything she asked for within reason. That has "future business" written all over it. Parties, play dates, open bounce, camps- whatever they offer, moms are always looking for new places and activities to bring the 0-6 yrs old set.

Then we had this whole bizarre interaction having to do with the pizza. Every kid was supposed to get one piece. I get that. But there was pizza left over. Either, it was going to go in the trash or the guy was going to take it home? I don't know. It's not like they could re-serve it to other people. There was enough for some of the kids to have more. But it got into this whole weird explanation by the girl working the "party" about how they all have to get the same amount, blah blah. We (the moms) were just standing there like, "What? Seriously?". Sure, sometimes there is enough for everyone to have seconds and sometimes there isn't. You want it, speak up and if you snooze, you lose. There was like half a pie left- which meant in kid slices, there was approximately eight? The owner had come in and told the friend who organized it that they could finish the pizza. The employee working the party was not told this information I have to assume. She first said the kids couldn't have anymore pizza. We knew there was some left over. I'm sure she was just doing her job as she was told. But it was WEIRD. Who does that?? If kids are hungry, just feed them if there is food. It's not like kids or parents were throwing down over extra slices. Everyone there KNEW each other. We're all friends or at least friend-LY. If I had gotten one for E and my friend's son A had wanted one and he didn't get one, I would've just cut E's in half and called it a day.

It just seemed like it was not an easy or smooth booking. It's not all "Do you know who we are?" but the truth is this- we're all local moms. Not only are we local and moms, but some of these girls have 3-4 kids EACH. That's a lot of potential patrons. The current trend is to have all birthdays out in these play places. Now there are a ton of them. So you have to be competitive for everything. Even if your sole edge is just being nice or accommodating. Throw us a coupon for our next visit! Make us feel like you want our business again. Some of us are mom bloggers (me!) and write about every place I go to- from hair dressers to cake to play places. I know for my business, I much prefer positive, awesome reviews online vs seeing something not so great go up into cyberworld for eternity. Some of the moms are members of a local Junior Women's League, a bunch of those moms there are in Newcomers & Neighbors, MOMS Club, and some are crossovers from other groups, school, or religious organization. We all talk, compare, review, and spread our thoughts. If you're in any kid biz in the area, I'd think any business would want to use that to their advantage and I just think in a few ways, the owner of this place misses the mark.

That's not to say they can't or won't work out the kinks. On the pro side, I'll say that there were a good number of staff engaging the kids. There was a guy employee who I thought did an exceptional job keeping the boys engaged. I didn't catch his name. Maybe someone reading knows. I think he was the only guy working. Staff is HUGE at these things. I wasn't thrilled at all with my party staff at one of the parties I did at another place. The staff needs to have very strong personalities dealing with kids this age.

A small suggestion would be to put some hooks or a set of cubbies against one of the walls in each room. I wanted my handbag with me, but I didn't want to leave it on the couch or floor because of the many little ones there. I don't know what's in my bag at any given time but it's probably not all kid friendly. It would've been cool to be able to put it higher up in a cubby so I didn't have to drag it around. I didn't mind letting my jacket stay hung up outside the bounce rooms, but I wouldn't have left my bag out there.

The prices seem on par or actually better for birthday parties than similar places, especially with what is included. The brochures I took are a little confusing. They don't say how long the parties are. The birthday party we went to last week (not the Valentines event) was 3:45-5:30. Usually parties are an hour and a half with the option to upgrade to two hours. I'm not sure if an hour and forty-five minutes is standard or something the hosts asked for. This is important because I felt like there was way too much time left for eating. Normally, at these places, they leave them just 25-30min to eat and then some of the places, like My Gym and Kids U let them go back and play for any remaining time. I don't need that, but then cut down the food time to twenty minutes. They can't sit still for any longer. They're used to either leaving right away after cake or going back to play. Because it felt so long, they were just kind of sitting around because it was too much time and E was bothering me about going back to the bounce area.

***I see the website does have a little more info on it, and the parties are an hour and forty five minutes.***

All in all, now that I've seen the prices, I would definitely consider having a party there. From the brochure, it looks like they have a lot of cool add-ons to the parties. I haven't done the math to see if those add-ons are more or less expensive than doing your own thing but it all looks competitive enough. For all the parties, they're private (no other parties going on at the same time), the kids get pizza & juice/water, a cake & goody bags. Other add-ons that are included or available depending on the type of party are group photos, different dessert options, and a gift for the guest of honor. They also have a RIDICULOUS (in a good way) sized menu for adult food. You can't bring in any of your own food though except cake or allergy related food. I don't love that because if I can get a better deal on adult food, I want to be allowed to do that. 

I can't/won't put in here some of the other things told to me about the experience in the organization of this Valentine's event. I try to be fair and like I've said- I try not to put too much secondhand information unless I know it for fact- like the Bounce U vs Bounce Safari price/package/event info given out publicly. But that's precisely the crux of this whole review. Word of mouth is HUGE. I think it's a very cool place, just some of what I've been told coupled with some interactions I had and what I saw might give me some pause. Definitely check it out though- it's nice to have another bounce option besides Bounce U and Screamin' Parties.

***If anyone who was there, with firsthand accounts, wants to add their thoughts in the comments section, please do so.***

Friday, February 15, 2013


If you think I talk about my hair a lot, I can tell you for sure, it's close to every three months. That's how often I get my hair done- Cut, foiled, and added "fun" color. I started with blue, went to pink that ended up being sort of purple and pink because there was leftover blue, then true pink like a fuscia, and this time....I did like a bordeaux color.

The past few times, I used one brand, don't know what it is, but while it stayed in for a few months, it certainly lost it's vibrant color within approximately four weeks. This new one, Don told me, is a Goldwell color called Elumen and it's more of a "permanent" color. He said it lasts 2-3x as long. There is also a much bigger color palatte for these colors. They have a bright pink like I had, but they also have vibrant but more toned down colors for a look that may not be as "shocking". The day after I'd get the bright one, I'd feel the eyes on me in the school parking lot when I'd go to pick up E. I'd get stopped in the supermarket and asked about it. I liked that- don't get me wrong, but there were some cons. One was that when I'd wash my hair, tons of the dye would come out. It wouldn't stain anything, like my tub, but if I'd wanted any of the highlighted blond hairs to stay that way, I'd have to wash the colored pieces separately. Truth be told, when I did the blue, that was a huge pain in the ass. Because blue color and "yellow" blond highlights mixed together are going to make green. Green is not a good color on hair. It just isn't. Or blond swimmers wouldn't bother trying to get the chlorine out of their hair.

Don did something else different this time too. I don't know what, but what my hair ended up looking like this time was EXACTLY how I'd imagined it would look the first time. I'm not a hair dresser so I don't know how stuff gets done or what it can and can't look like. He tries to explain to me but I end up just saying- Do what you want. Because it's not my specialty- he knows better than I do. Because I don't know how hair works, it's also hard to articulate what I want it to look like and I've never found any pictures of what I like. Sometimes I don't know what I like till it's done on me.

I LOVE IT. I waited until today to write anything because I wanted to see how it came out after I washed it. This time, I'm almost positive no color washed out. That was a definite plus. It stayed wherever he put it. It's got more of a purple-ish red-ish pink tone to it. I am calling it bordeaux because it looks like our bordeaux fabric we use to make lampshades. He put a handful of blond highlights in too so it's chunkier or has a more textured look to it than before. I LIKE it to look like I did something. The word "subtle is rarely in my vocabulary and I don't particularly want it in my hair. I don't want it to look like "natural" highlights. Maybe that's part personality, part Jersey? I don't know. But I want it to look like SOMETHING. Something that did not occur in nature.

I also love the element of surprise in it. Up and down- it looks different both ways. If I just part it different it achieves a different look. It's very versatile. People say to me they wish they could be "that brave" but with this permanent one, it's easy for the most gun-shy, "beige" person to try it out. It will seem like stepping totally outside their box for them, but in reality, it's not crazy or teenager looking.

And I'll say again, Don did it from start to finish. No ten different people servicing my head. I'm pretty sure his staff do the same thing with their clients. It doesn't have the snooty feel of other places I've been to where you feel the "Master stylist" is too important to do the nitty gritty from the washing to mixing color, etc. Anywhere you go, for any service, you want the person doing the work to have done their time in the trenches, learning their craft from the bottom up. That's like a lost art. In the age of reality tv from everything from cooking to actually haircutting, coloring & styling, I've been to hairdressers that think they're going to be the next Jerseylicious star. I doubt Don even knows what that is or who they are. He doesn't push for votes in contest for Best Hair ______ in Bergen County because he's too busy actually doing hair and making his salon the best it can be. He doesn't pay attention to what other salons are doing. He's going to seminars on the products he uses and carries in his space. His staff is like a little family and they follow his lead. His staff all have talent, heart and are hungry to learn.

I say all this about the staff and Don himself, because my husband has always gone locally and he's had some crazy haircutting experiences. One girl was drop dead gorgeous, really nutty, topic inappropriate (if that's a term- I just made it up in my head), didn't give the best cut and then quit because her boyfriend didn't want her having male clients. Now he's been going to someone else who just wants to engage him in right wing and uber-conservative social issue politics. I've never had a bit of drama in Salon Azano that they bring to the table. If anything, I might bring the drama in terms of my stories and I like it that way. It's just a pleasure going there.

I had B take pics of my hair but I don't feel they do the color justice. And they're gross pictures of me. But whatever- it's all about the hair, not about me and my lack of make-up. I just wanted to get them quick that first night because I was afraid some of the color would wash out. Since it didn't, maybe he can take some more pics this weekend.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Project GLAM

From Amy Heller, Founder & President at WGirls-Inc:

We need 1000 additional dresses, 1000 pieces of makeup, and 1000 pieces of costume jewelery to meet the demand for the WGIRLS Prom Dress Giveaway this year. Whose with me on this? Do you work for a company that has overstock or any of these items? The company gets great PR, a big tax write off, and MOST IMPORTANTLY the AMAZING feeling of knowing they helped to make dreams come true for hundreded of girls in need ! Please reach out to me in a private message if YOU or your employer can help in any way. Thank you!!!!!

Project GLAM: Prom Dresses for Disadvantaged Girls in Need

Have a Dress to Donate?
Donations are accepted via mail throughout the year:
Please address all packages to the attention of : The WGIRLS
SDS Global Logistics, Inc. • 52-09 31st Place • Long Island City, NY • 11101

The WGIRLS created Project "GLaM" to provide underprivileged girls with prom dresses and accompanying accessories so that they are able to enjoy the rite of passage of their high school prom.
WGIRLS chapters spend months collecting donations of new and gently-worn dresses and accessories, culminating in distributions to pre-screened high school students at boutique-style events in conjunction with local non-profits or Project GlaM events hosted by WGIRLS chapters across the country.
Project "GLaM" stands for Granting Lasting Memories, and WGIRLS achieves that for thousands of economically disadvantage high school aged women throughout the country by providing what they need to have a successful and glamorous evening with their classmates.
“For many teen girls, a harsh reality of high school hits home when the expense of prom comes up,” said Amy Heller, President and Founder of WGIRLS Inc.. “Our Prom Squad’ will help create lasting memories for thousands of area girls who would not otherwise be able to attend this important and magical event.”’

WGIRLS chapters nation-wide accept donations of new and gently-worn dresses and accessories, and new cosmetics to allow young women to experience this important evening. To give your dress and/or accessories a “Second Dance,” or to join the WGIRLS Prom Squad and throw a drive of your own, please contact for collection information.

Project Glam was featured by

Monday, February 4, 2013

4th Birthday Party Madness

The big #4.

We decided to have a joint party this year with E's "brother" S. They're best friends, according to E - they're brothers, and they're in the same class. It's encouraged that if you do a party, to invite the whole class. That would normally be around fourteen or fifteen kids. Last year there was only one class but this year they are separated into two classes. It's a small school and tight little community, so most of the kids in the other class, they became friends with last year. We didn't want to leave anyone out. Though, there some I wouldn't know if they were standing in front of me simply because they're new this year and not in E's class. But, since we decided to split the party, we were able to invite both classes and some friends from outside of school. Even with all those kids, it would still be less expensive than doing it alone.

We chose the Wyckoff YMCA. They have the most "themes" for parties that I've seen around here. AND, most importantly, they were the only ones I know of that could accommodate 36-42 kids (we had some last minute cancellations so my beginning headcount of yeses was 42). Originally I had planned to do the Lego party but there were too many kids. For that party, the kids spend the better part of the time making a Lego structure. Since E is a January baby, he's one of the older kids in the class. That leaves most of the rest of them not four yet. Had they been four going on five, it might have worked but not with so many younger kids.

The "Festival" theme was cute. There was a bounce house, games, and room to run around. The room was big enough which is what I was really worried about. They gave me four party hosts which was great. I had also brought my thirteen year old sitter and her eleven year old sister (Syd & Jordan) as reinforcements just in case it reached Lord of the Flies level in there. The hosts also did 2-3 crafts with the kids and the kids did sit nicely and do them. Syd & Jordan were a big help during the craft time too. There was a beading craft where they made bracelets from pipe cleaners and beads. Then later they did something with colored sand in figures to wear on a string- like a necklace. The beads were easy for them to do but the sand they needed a lot of help. And really, the things they were filing were small. Once it was filled it was over. It's cute but they could've found a longer craft.

They also did a circle time and they were really kept occupied for the majority of the time. The kids seemed to enjoy everything. They have one of those big piano things that goes flat on the floor. When you walk on it it plays different notes- like in the movie Big with Tom Hanks. Games were like carnival games, but age appropriate- throw a ring around a big rubber duckie. There was face paint too. E loves him some face painting. Lucky for me, it wasn't a full Spiderman face like the last event we were at with face painting.

Cons: The bounce house is small and only can take three kids at a time. I've seen ones for the backyard that are more industrial than this one. It also wasn't as sturdy as some I've seen. I didn't really know what was going on over there but B told me later that it kept deflating. These are some healthy three and four year old kids. They need something that is going to hold them better. It's hard to judge but I do think they could fit one that is a little bigger/stronger.

It was a little confusing in the beginning when people were starting to come in. Since there was only the bounce house and some games, there should be a little more structure right away. When they know they're having a giant party like that, maybe a craft or pictures to color on could be laid out on the tables so they can have something to do until the more structured activity goes on. At a place like Kids U, they immediately go on the huge jungle gym thing so they're occupied without melting down because they have to wait to do stuff.

Lastly, the communication could be better. They didn't tell me they were doing face painting right away. Within minutes, E had half a face of paint before I could get a photo before it happened. It's fine- I don't mind face paint, but I didn't know they were doing it. They could've given me a quick rundown of how things were going to go. I'm partly to blame- I didn't ask. But they could've just given me a heads up to what's what and the timeline. They didn't ask for the parents when it was time to do the cake. Joce & Eric, S's parents, were in the "adult" room next door, divided by windows. They saw the lights go out and ran in. They were doing S's cake/singing first. Eric wanted to get his parents on FaceTime on his phone so they could "be there" for the cake and almost missed the whole thing himself because they just started without telling us. Usually, a host will say- "Hey, we're going to do the cake in about five minutes. Is that ok?" or something to that effect. Then at the end they really rush you out. I don't know what the party times are there and how close in time to the prior party but I could barely get my bearings as I was trying to get our stuff together to go. I didn't leave anything there, but totally could see how I might have.

Cost- it's $299 for 10 kids. Every kid after is $16.99. They include pretty much everything, including the added bonus of coffee and cookies for the adults. Set up, clean up, host(s), cake, favors, paper goods for the kids, pizza, juice/water, activity. You have to give the headcount the Wednesday before for a party on Sunday. I thought that was a little far out because especially with little kids and the flu this year, in 3-5 days I could have any number of kids drop out. I know they have to make sure they have staff, but I would assume they would need a host per every 10 kids, so if it was 35 or 40 they'd still need that extra person. I'm not sure how they work that with cost. Last year's party at Jellybean Junction, they actually counted the kids and didn't count some of the younger ones as participants. I was pleasantly surprised by that. This time, I think I got charged for the full amount of kids even though I let them know on Friday that two weren't coming. Whatever. It was a relatively easy party and when you're talking 30-40 three and four year olds, the word "easy" is not the word one would usually use. You pay for easy.

The place itself is huge and very clean. The room they had next to the party room was very convenient for adults. It probably would've been better for me if there was just another long table where they were putting the pizza and cake for me to put the adult food there. At three and four most of the kids don't want to let their parents out of their sight. So it wasn't that convenient to have to leave the room. But people did, they got food, and we really didn't have much to take home. We brought in small sandwiches, veggies & dip, fruit, and various kinds of chips. For the first time, we didn't over-buy.

Of course- Pam's cake was perfection and everyone was raving about it. It was a Green Lantern cake- green buttercream, fondant, vanilla cake and raspberry buttercream filling. MY kind of cake! She may be "down" but she's not "OUT" for sure. If you want her info, just get in touch with me, check her FB page, and she'll be keeping her A la Cupcakes phone number for the foreseeable future. E was THRILLED with his awesome cake. I took the leftovers, cut them into personal size pieces, and froze them individually so I could have them for however long I can stretch it out.

Thanks to Eric and Joce for sharing the party. The boys were happy to celebrate together and I'm so glad it went off without a hitch. We are more than happy to share their birthdays for the future- it went great!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Kid Party Entertainment

Kid parties aren't what they used to be. I had a summer birthday so most of my parties were in my backyard with pizza and the pool. We didn't have these play places where they pretty much do the whole party from start to finish. But that's what people do now because of many reasons. You have to invite the whole class, people don't want kids all over their house, they don't have a house big enough, or they just don't want to set up and clean up. Most homes are two-parent working outside the home and parties of any kind, especially kids, is a lot of work.

Ages two years on up are all pretty easy to plan in one of these kid places. But that 1st birthday is a real challenge. They're too young to do much so you can't do a gym or climbing party. Especially if your kid is an early birthday like January- most of the kids aren't even one yet. So the only thing to really do is have it in your house or rent a room like a VFW or Knights of Columbus, or a restaurant. But then how do you keep these new crawlers and walkers from decimating a place, crying from boredom or just to give parents a little break from chasing after them to enjoy adult interaction?

I found something. I've personally met Michael from Preschool of Rock and I've seen him in action at the Hoboken Arts & Music Festival. Tons of energy, cool instruments, and totally worth checking out. Prices are below. But just FYI- if you think that sounds like a lot- it's actually LESS expensive than other musical entertainment I've investigated. If cost is a concern- this is definitely a competitive price.

Preschool of Rock- Parties:

Bring Preschool of Rock to your next special event.
Create an unforgettable, playful and imaginative musical adventure for your family and guests. We pride ourselves in providing the most original and engaging party entertainment.
We make every effort to ensure our events are absolutely seamless. Our performance is hip, fully interactive and intelligent, with a level of humor and candor that spans all ages.
· Performed live on Guitar and Drums
· Interesting instruments and props.
· Fast paced transitions with upbeat & interactive music.
· Singing, dramatic play, big movement & dancing.
· Instrument discovery jam session.
· 45 minutes of captivating energy and action.
· Drum Circles
Party includes: Sound system, Shakers, Scarves, Drums & Sticks
(Example of props: bowls and spoons for the pancake song)


Friday, February 1, 2013

Cake Devastation

I guess I've always used a "guilty until proven innocent" mentality for products, food, goods, etc. I'm not cheap by any stretch of the imagination or I'd have less goods, more money these days. It's more that everyone has their "things" they're willing to spend money on. Perfect example- it costs $3.58 for a Starbucks Tall Skinny Vanilla Latte. That's a "small" for those not in the Starbucks know. I wish I didn't know it because even typing that I feel like a dick. I'm not even a coffee drinker. So here illustrates my point. I don't know the difference between good coffee and bad coffee. I'd go next door to the deli or Dunkin Donuts but they don't have the Skinny Vanilla Latte and I like things with vanilla. So I'm willing to pay the $3.58. As are thousands of others. Daily. It's fanatical. Now- here's the "for instance": I'm on a message board. It costs $2.99 for the app. People balk at that $2.99. Yet, it makes it easier to use the board, which they're on daily, many times daily, and it doesn't go right through you. You buy the app once. You buy coffee daily which adds up to more than the app thousands of times over. But it's all in the perceived value.

I never bought salon hair products, designer make-up, or expensive baked goods. But there have been a few people who have been able to convert me with their magic goods that have really wowed me. Don from Salon Azano got me into Eufora for my hair and Pam from A la Cupcakes turned me into a specialty bake shop daily customer. I used to buy every birthday cake from Shop Rite. This year, I'm doing a Pam specialty because it's worth it. I'm like a cult follower of hers.

Pam is closing her retail store tomorrow. I'm devastated. Why? It's just cupcakes you say? NO. It's not. First- Pam IS her work. She doesn't just churn out cake. Sounds silly but she literally bakes with love. Every flavor is thought out extensively and worked till perfection. She uses high end ingredients. I've been to every well-known, respected cupcake place in northern Bergen County and other counties. Ever since falling in love with Pam's goods, I'm not even tempted to buy anywhere else. There are 3-4 other places within a few miles of me and I wouldn't go to any of them anymore. I don't know where I will get stuff to bring to people's parties, dinners, events, etc if she doesn't find another baking home. I'm just not bringing sub-par goodies. Knowing sweets is MY specialty and while others might not notice or care if they haven't already had hers, I care. If I'm not excited to eat what I bring, I'm not bringing it.

When she first brought her business to Glen Rock, there was no other cupcake place. No other real bakery place. That was my biggest complaint about the whole area. Yes, you could buy some baked goods at most of the deli places in town, but definitely not the kind of specialty cupcakes, pies, cookies & cakes for events that are all the rage now. Regretfully I didn't know about her for quite some time while she was here. She took a small space with little parking, that couldn't be seen by the main road. You really had to know where you were going. People didn't really know all her capabilities and it was difficult to really get the word out. Once people came, they loved her stuff, but it was getting them in the door daily to support the retail business was a struggle. She also couldn't do things like children's parties because she didn't have the bathroom requirement to be able to do that. It was just really hard to grow with the parameters she was working with.

Yes, there are more pressing matters in the world. But today is still a sad day for Glen Rock, for baked goods, and for me. Pam is still honoring her commitments and if she has a commitment for a certain day and you still need something, she isn't going to turn you away if she knows she'll be able to fill it. She isn't closing because her baked goods are anything less than spectacular. She's closing because doing the best work isn't always synonymous with monetary success. Don't I know how that goes! She doesn't gouge people with her prices- she's very competitively priced. She uses the finest ingredients where others definitely skimp, and she doesn't serve old, frozen goods- she bakes fresh daily. Doing the best is often cost-prohibitive.

Pam also went above and beyond for all her customers- whether someone new or a longtime devotee. She's still making E's awesome Green Lantern cake and I will always know how to get in touch with her. She is still working on getting a new space- so if anyone knows of a fully equipped baking kitchen available anywhere in the area, please contact her ASAP. What is next for her is unknown, but I'm hoping it's a new space, somewhere local, where she can do her thing. I'm always going to be a fan, I'm definitely going to do what I can to help & promote her, and I'm going to cross my fingers for some kind of cupcake miracle.

If you want any last minute things- I don't know what she has today or tomorrow but you can always just go in to say good-bye and good luck. In my opinion, we're losing the best store (besides mine) in downtown Glen Rock and one of the nicest people. I wish we could have a riot, a la (haha) Kidco, or at least have a going away party. I could definitely do with one more "Raspberry Paradise"- the one she made especially for me, if I do pat myself on the back for her letting me come up with my own concoction. I can't wait for E's cake- it'll be all that more bittersweet sweet for me.

You will still be able to reach her via the A la Cupcakes phone number indefinitely, the FB page, and by email.

(201) 444-2253