NYC + Friday Favorites

It’s been a busy few weeks in NYC, baby-duty for our precious granddaughter, as our daughter is back to work.  The days are full of kisses, bottles, diapers, cooking, walking, reading books aloud, singing songs, and all around family fun!

Here’s a peek into what we’ve done, seen, eaten or discussed this week on the Upper East side –

Art – The Met and Heavenly Bodies:  Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.  Granddaughter has seen the exhibit three times now : )

The Met, fashion, NYC
Versace jacket in the Heavenly Bodies exhibit at The Met

 Food  – Hooray for neighborhood newcomer, Van Leeuwan Artisan Ice Cream – *bonus tip*  Get the sundae with three scoops and all the trimmings.  It costs less than getting three scoops on a cone.  Oh, and the strawberry tastes just like freshly picked strawberries!

NYC, Van Leeuwen
Artisan ice cream

New parents have got to keep up their energy, so we’ve been cooking lots – new favorites like no-cook Energy Balls and old favorites like Jamie Oliver’s Salmon Packets.

And can you guess what’s in this photo?

NYC, Amazon, NYTimes
Any guesses?

If you guessed homemade chicken stock, then you’re correct!  Our s.i.l. (son-in-law) has perfected Instapot chicken stock and found these fun blue silicone freezer molds so you can freeze the stock, then stack the frozen blocks in a zip lock baggie.  Pull out a delicious, homemade one cup serving at a time.  Check out the NYTimes recipe from Melissa Clark, Instapot cooking guru.

Baby girl clothes and bows – All the favorites like Gap, Carters, Little English, Baby Bling hair bows, Starry Knight shoes, onesies painted by artist Papa Steve!

baby, Steve McKenzie, art, NYC
Precious sleeping baby

Best board books –  (Go straight to Saturn Booksellers and they’ll ship all the latest to you or a loved one).  My new favorite is The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli.  Chomp, chomp, chomp! What’s your favorite read-aloud child’s book?

Not only have we (hopefully) helped our adult kids ease into family-work-life balance, but we’ve gotten to dote on them and this precious baby girl.  For that, we are very thankful for the time, love and support from our friends and family.

 

 

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5 Stress-free Gift Giving Solutions

I don’t know about you, but gift giving stresses me.  I agonize over what to give a loved one.  Will they like it?  Will it be in the way and not loved?  I’ve found 5 winning solutions – subscription boxes that take the headache out of gift giving and make you a hero all year long!

gift stress
Enjoy the occasion with these subscription box gift ideas – no stress!

It’s simple really, think about what your friend enjoys – coffee, beauty products, fishing – and I bet there’s a subscription box for just about every category.  These gift  boxes usually contain a curated selection of exclusive and/or unusual items.  Here’s a quick list of five proven winners

Suthinstyle Box– a quarterly subscription for women filled with fashion, food and finer things made in and inspired by the South.  Curated by the stylish Ashley Stamoulis, who calls her boxes “her love letters to the South”.  Membership plans range from seasonal to annual and your mom, sister, mil (mother-in-law), sil (sister-in-law) will be thrilled!

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Founder Ashley Stamoulis and her fabulous pink SuthinGirl box

 

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A sampling of all the goodies in the spring box

 

Darlings Fine Things– Known for their wide range of beauty products, fashion and shoes, Darlings Fine Things has hand-picked a selection of goodies for $35 per month.  Personally I can’t wait to try my Michael Marcus Eye Gel!  Again, perfectly geared to the women in your life…

gift stress box
Darlings Fine Things Box Full of Wonderful

gift stress box

MistoBox Coffee Subscription – After polling my Facebook group of savvy Atlanta-Decatur women, this coffee company rose to the top of the crema.  For our NYC daughter and sil (son-in-law), space is at a premium.  So I’m very aware of not adding to their home.  The solution? A six-month subscription of craft coffees! They savored all the different coffees, from six different makers!  Once they received their MistoBox coffee subscription, they were matched with a coffee curator – a coffee expert who learned the kinds of coffee they liked and sent them coffee based on their preferences.

gift stress box
A sampling of craft coffees

Next, one of my favorite gifts to give and receive, BOOKS!  My dear friend, talented businesswoman and writer, Jill Niehaus Miner, owns a thriving, independent bookstore, Saturn Booksellers.   Did I mention that she was awarded the Michigan Small Retailer of the Year award? Not a small feat these days.  I could go on and on bragging about Jill and her team but let’s talk about their Monthly Book subscriptions for adults, teens, young readers and the grandbaby board books.  It’s very simple.  Choose your recipient’s age and Saturn Booksellers takes care of the shipping.  Your loved one gets a book from you, every month.  It’s a win-win!  Also, do yourself a favor and sign up for their emails on book recommendations.  You’ll be in the know with new releases and more.

gift box book
It’s never too early for a family read aloud session as our son in law, Jim and daughter Molly, read to our sweet granddaughter, Amelia May.

Let me know what you think of these gift options, and I hope these suggestions will make your gift giving occasions less stressful and more enjoyable!  That’s what it’s all about, enjoying time together with friends and family.