Tag Archives: nyc

Home Organizing Is Done & Done!

Done & Done does your home, too!

With a move and a baby on the way, it’s near impossible to find time to organize my closets and pack. I have so much unnecessary stuff that I needed to pitch, but it’s hard to throw away memories and find the time. There is a chance I might be making excuses…

I finally asked one of my clients who owns an organization company to help. She booked an appointment with me right before the holidays, so I could start the new year off right! Kate and her team started with my baby’s closet full of everything from toys, clothes, luggage, blankets, boxes of old photos – you name it – it’s in there.

She pulled out the endless number of towels I had, and went through what to keep and what to donate. The keep items were perfectly folded in a hotel-like way back into the closet. I had no idea how many holiday hand towels one person could accumulate. Bye!

We all know kids’ toys take over a NYC apartment fast; I stuffed all of mine in the closet. Everything was pulled out and assed; do I really need this?

Then came the boxes. We started filling them with items we didn’t need until after our move; kids clothes, blankets, old pictures, toys no longer age appropriate… off they went into labeled boxes.

It took about 2.5 hours to get everything together and organized, then off they went wishing me well in the new year with a fresh start of no clutter! Below is a before and after of the closet.

Baby closet-before

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“It’s important to have an organized home since babies and children are by nature somewhat unpredictable. Having an organized home allows for a feeling of control and the ability to handle anything that might occur at any given moment.”

Book your appointment with Kate’s mother, Ann, and mention Bell Family to get 10% off! Promo ends March 1st.

To learn more about Done & Done, click here.

Written by our Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell

The Woman Inside the Mom

It’s important for moms to focus on the woman that lives inside being a mom. It can be easy to forget about who you are and what you want when you are caught up playing the role of mom, and looking after your little one(s).

Beyond Mom is a community of over 6,000 creative and productive women that focus on seeking Self within motherhood. We had the chance to get to know Randi Zinn, author, mindfulness and wellness expert, and founder of Beyond Mom, to learn more about this great organization.

Q: What was your greatest influence or drive to start up Beyond Mom?

A: Intuitively, I knew that I wouldn’t be happy just focusing on motherhood. I love my kids beyond measure but somehow inside I knew that if I was fueling myself and giving to the world, I would be a better mother. I met so many women who felt the same way and I wanted to create a space that honored this perspective and encouraged it. Plus, I want to show my kids what it looks like to work hard and go for your dreams. Just the other day, my son asked why I had to leave to go to an event for my book, and I told him that I wanted him to know that he could write a book one day….he seemed to like that answer.

Q: The name Beyond Mom is great! Why is it so important for moms to realize that there is value in life “Beyond Mom”?

A: When we shed all the titles, the expectations, the daily schedules and to-do lists, there is an essence that is made up of the truth of who we really are. The more time that we are in touch with that essence, the happier we really are because then we are in the flow of our lives. Our culture tells us that we should look perfect, act perfect and raise perfect children, and yet, tells us that we’re selfish for nurturing and investing in ourselves. I’m hoping Beyond Mom changes that cultural mindset….quickly.

Q: What are the most successful ways Beyond Mom works to support/encourage moms and their individual pursuits?

A: I hold regular events to bring women together for information, inspiration and community – I think magic happens in real time! What is most successful though are the day long retreats that I hold for moms to refuel themselves with yoga, meditation, discussion, speakers, and best of all, free time. Moms desperately need time to themselves and rarely get it. I’m super excited that our first Urban Day Retreat is happening on February 10th here in NYC and there’s still some spots left! Sign up here and invest in yourself and you will experience the rewards!

Q: You’re also the author of the recently published book, Going Beyond Mom. What are a few tips readers will learn by picking up a copy for themselves?

A: My book walks a woman through the layers of who she is and the layers that most typically experience upheaval as a mom. I walk you through how to rebuild these parts of yourself so you feel more solid and are able to be more present in all parts of your life – especially if you want to launch an idea. (second part of the book). A few of my favorite tips: move your body – moving your body reminds you that you are alive (very important when you are exhausted), use mindfulness techniques to calm mental overwhelm and intense emotional reactions, make sure the community in your home (anyone who walks in to help keep your home and kids safe and happy, is aligned with your values and overall needs, surrounded yourself with like-minded, inspiring people, and befriend change! (don’t struggle against change – accept it – and experience the unexpected beauty on the other side). How to do all of the above? Buy the book and dive in!

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell

KidPass – One Pass to Amazing Activities

We recently teamed up with KidPass to learn more about the thousands of activities they offer to kids throughout the New York area. Read our Q&A below to see how one pass can unlock a new world of fun for your little one(s). A special discount offer for Bell Family may even be in store, too!

Q: What are some examples of the variety of activities offered by KidPass? Are the activities for children of all ages? 

A: Have you ever found yourself with a restless child and lots of time to fill? KidPass to the rescue!  KidPass can get your child into 5,000 places to play in New York City like Kidville, Gymboree, NY Kids Club, 92Y, lots of swimming pools, all kinds of classes, and tons of open play spaces throughout NYC. If you can dream it, KidPass can take your kids there, and we have activities for newborns, toddlers, and kids up to age 17.

Q: What are the different plans you offer those looking to join, and how do the plans work?

A: Most of our parents choose the KidPass Basic Plan. For $49 a month, you get 10 credits to use on activities of your choice. Search by date and neighborhood, find an activity you like, and book it on our site. Your spot will be waiting for you when you arrive. If you ever want more credits, we’ve got a Family plan and a Power plan too.

Q: Many families have busy schedules and require flexibility. How flexible are the memberships and class schedules? Is there a fee for cancellations?

A: Oh we know how it is! We are all parents at KidPass and we know that plans can change quickly. If you make a reservation with KidPass and need to cancel it, your safest bet is to cancel it 24 hours in advance. And if you ever want to cancel your KidPass membership, there are no penalties for pausing or cancelling your account.

Q: How does a family or childcare provider get started?

A: We’re inviting all our friends from Bell Family to try KidPass for free for one month! Use this link and the discount will be applied at checkout. Come play with us soon!

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Inside Scoop on Explore + Discover Early Learning Center

Along Second Avenue in New York City, you’ll come across an organization like no other.  Explore + Discover Early Learning Center is an organization that provides both excellent and unique childcare in the heart of Manhattan. Infants and toddlers will feel right at home as they receive nurturing care, and learn life-long social and physical skills.

Bell Family had the opportunity to talk with the Co-Founder & President of Explore + Discover for a Q&A, to provide a quick guide for families on why this should be their new go-to for childcare.

Q: How does a family apply to be part of Explore + Discover? How much advance time should a family give for the application process? Do you offer all age programs?

Families begin the application process by calling and setting up a time to visit the center. Once the date/time are scheduled, prospective parents (with or without child/children) come in for a visit with our Director and/or Educational Director. This accomplishes a number of important objectives, including but not limited to:

- Giving us an opportunity to learn more about the child and family.
- Allowing us to more completely explain how the program operates, and answer any questions.
- Letting the family see the facility, and the program in action.

We recommend that if a family is considering applying to the program at that point, that they fill out an application and pay the application fee at the time of their visit. This allows the family to be in the queue, and if they should decide to take next steps to join the program, we have their information and are able to move things along fairly quickly.

Advance time is always recommended—we have some families who come to us when they are thinking of conceiving, which is wonderful (and frankly pretty forward-thinking from a family-planning POV).  At the same time, we keep our doors open to families who may not make preparations in advance, and if we can accommodate them, we are happy to!

Q: What does a common day look like for an infant or toddler at Explore + Discover? What kind of activities can they expect to be apart of?

A typical day for a child at Explore + Discover involves a combination of open exploration, thoughtfully planned creative experiences, and careful attention to caregiving routines.

We believe that allowing children time for exploration through free play each day is vital for social and emotional growth. Each classroom environment is designed with the age and developmental level of the children in mind, offering high quality open-ended materials to encourage creative play.

We also offer a variety of open-ended art and musical experiences throughout the week. Art specialists, as well as classroom teachers, plan engaging activities as a creative outlet for the children. Painting, mark making or drawing, working with clay, and collage are just a sampling of the experiences in our art studio.

Many of our teachers play the guitar and each class is visited by the music teachers, where they listen to, and eventually sing along with familiar songs and rhymes. As part of our Music Before Words program, the children are exposed to a variety of instruments. They are encouraged to listen to the sounds, move to the music, and even touch or play each instrument.

A thoughtful focus on caregiving makes Explore + Discover unique. Feeding, sleeping, and diapering routines are looked at as a time for bonding and beginning to encourage independence.

Q: What are some key items you look to teach the children that attend Explore + Discover? Tell us about your mission.

At Explore + Discover, our goal is to set the foundation for children to become lifelong learners.

We encourage them to investigate their curiosities and wonderings by providing an engaging classroom environment and enriching open-ended materials.

We believe that teachers are partners in learning rather than the keepers of knowledge, therefore providing opportunities for exploration, creating, and questioning.

Using the children’s natural interests and developmental stage as a starting point, the teachers design curriculum unique to each group. By the time the children leave E+D, it is our hope that they have developed the self-confidence, problem solving skills, and inquisitiveness needed to navigate the upcoming years of school.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

New York Baby Show Highlights

At the end of last month, the annual New York Baby Show concluded, where our very own, Lindsay Bell, was a guest speaker.

This year, the event racked up its biggest numbers yet with 5,000 families registered! At the two-day event, both expecting and new moms had the opportunity to walk around the show to discover new products, take in seminars on bump and baby, and check out fun attractions such as the Cannon Step-And-Repeat and the respites (like the DK Reading Rest Stop).

This is a great event hosted every year by New York Baby Show. If you haven’t gone yet, next year is your year!

To see additional photos and coverage from the event, check out their Facebook page!

NY Baby Show

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Scandinavia House Playing & Learning Center

The Scandinavia House Playing & Learning Center is a hidden gem in midtown east NYC.

First, it’s clean. The toys seem new and the carpets are always well vacuumed for the next day, which is not always the case with free play areas.

Second, it’s cost effective! People can sign up for a membership at $400 per year, and have full access to the play center. Or you can use a trial pass on Saturday’s for $15.

Third, it’s for those toddlers that are walking and up. With padded walls and soft carpet, it’s perfect for new walkers and rolling around.

Finally, it’s a great way to mingle with other moms and nannies.

For more information, checkout their website here.

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Written by our Founder & President, Lindsay Bell

Cardamom Event Recap

Our Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell, recently attended CARDAMOM’S event that took place last week in NYC. Here is what Lindsay had to say about the “Girlfriends, Glam, & Giving” event (full details on the event can be found in our blog).

The event was well attended at a local salon in Flatiron; where moms were welcomed with complimentary blow-outs… wow! Then h’orderves and vino were passed around, and Project Playdate presented on behalf of Founder, Amanda Raposo. Project Playdate is an award winning alternative to babysitting that helps women and children in need. There was a silent auction on site where 100% proceeds of the auction went to Project Playdate. It was truly a great event all around!

To learn more about CARDAMOM read the release below.

Cardamom_event

CARDAMOM app launches to connect moms with one easy “wave”.

They say it takes a village. But modern motherhood can be an isolating experience, without ready-made friends to lean on, laugh with or talk with. Many women, disconnected from their “pre-mom” lives, struggle to find and make connections that are in sync with their new lifestyles.

Enter Cardamom, a game-changing new app for moms. Launched for iOS last week, Cardamom utilizes profile-matching technology to introduce moms by neighborhood, kids’ ages, availability, interests, and even niche factors such as language and career choices. Users create a customized profile Card, then digitally “wave” hello to each other to explore a friendship. Cardamom makes it easy to connect and chat with other women in real time.

“Before motherhood, we made friends organically through decades of life,” says Cardamom cofounder Sonal Patel, a New York City-based mother of two, “When you have a child, it can feel like starting all over. So, women expend a tremendous amount of time and effort in meeting other moms, through meet-ups, mommy-and-me classes, playgrounds, moms’ groups, events and more. But it can be overwhelming, exhausting and uncertain.”

The Cardamom app is an easy solution for moms to quickly find and connect with each other. “It’s all done from the comfort of your phone, with no planning and no pressure,” offers Patel. “And it’s not just about play dates. We connect women who just want to chat with other moms in their local areas or someone to grab coffee, or even build professional networks.”

Now available in New York City and the surrounding areas, Cardamom will be building out networks in the coming months, with a nationwide expansion planned by early 2017.

The Cardamom app is available for free download at the iTunes store. It is compatible with iPhone, and an Android-compatible version will be released in the coming weeks.

A Radio City Rockette Newbie

I have visited New York City countless times and even lived there for about five months for a summer internship. It’s easy to rack up the visits when you have two sisters that move there by the time you are 10 years old.

Given all of my visits, I’ve done my fair share of activities – the top of the Empire State Building, walks through Central Park, Broadway shows, golf at Chelsea Pier, games at Yankee Stadium – the list goes on and on. However, there was one thing that remained on my NYC bucket list, and that was to see the Radio City Rockettes.

A few weeks ago my dream came true and I found myself inside Radio City Music Hall (thanks Mom)! The entire experience was like no other. It all started with a preshow drink with my mom and big sis, Lindsay, at Del Frisco’s. My sister considers this move a preshow staple each time she sees it. An hour later I found myself stepping into the grand lobby with two story Christmas trees and decorations to my left and right. We soon made our way to our seats and the show started right then. Cue the orchestra, dim the lights, and here comes Santa Clause.

Each act throughout the show was a show stopper. There were shopping scenes, toys that came to life, a tour through NYC, fireworks, snowfall, and the conclusion gave you a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas (tears might have been shed). If you sat near me you would often see my jaw dropped, eyes sparkling, or constantly poking my mom who sat next to me saying, “WOW!” I’ve been to many Broadway shows and musicals, and I can honestly say that nothing has compared to the experience I felt while inside this grand music hall.

We exited out of the gold doors and onto 6th Ave, when I felt as if I should be skipping down the street and singing Christmas carols. It was like I was ten again and believing in all things Santa.

If you haven’t seen the show… go! It’s great entertainment for all ages. Take it from the toddlers to the grandparents that were seen in the audience at the show I went to. If you can’t make it to Radio City, pull up your Netflix app. Believe it or not, you can watch the Christmas Spectacular right at home! You won’t have the live fireworks or snowfall (unless your are seriously invested), but you can appreciate the story just the same.

I’ll leave you with a photo I took of my favorite act in the show. The synchronicity of these girls was INSANE!

Rockettes

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell!

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer Event

A family fun day is right around the corner for all of those around New York City! On Saturday, December 3rd, it’s time to give back and help raise awareness for childhood cancer.

In 2007, the parents of a young boy who was diagnosed with cancer helped to launch Cookies for Kids’s Cancer by baking a total of 96,000 cookies with the help of 250 volunteers. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer now stands tall as a nonprofit committed to raising funds for research to develop new, improved treatments for pediatric cancer (the #1 disease killer of children in the US).

On Saturday, December 3rd, you can help support this wonderful organization at their next event! Meet amazing pastry chefs and munch on delicious treats, or make holiday gifts with food magazine experts for everyone on your shopping list (even Fido!), while mingling with friends. There will be a lot of fun activities for all family members and it’ll be a sweet way to kick off the holiday season!

The location of the event is at The Metropolitan Pavilion, 123 West 18th Street, 2nd floor (Between 6th & 7th Ave)

Additional information and ticket information can be found here.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell!

Mother’s Day: Events, Gifts, and More!

Greetings, all!

The countdown is on to the day where we show moms everywhere just how much we love them. If you are still looking for the right gift for the mom in your life, take a look at some of the creative ideas we have listed below. We’re pretty confident you might be Mom’s favorite this year.

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 8th.

Gifts:

Yankee Candle Bouquet (via diy-brico.blogspot.cl) If you smell every candle before checking out.
Cozy Stuffed Slippers (via Pretty Providence) If you want to be cute but your wallet funds are not.
Personalized Jewelry (via LayeredAndLong) If a little bling if her thing.
Homemade Everything (via DIY Ready) If crafty is your middle name.

Events/Activities (in NYC):

Brunch, Brunch, and More Brunch (via TimeOut) If you can eat eggs all day every day.
Picnic in the Garden (via TimeOut)  If you want a royally good time.
Cooking Class (via TimeOut)  If you want to build up your recipe box.
Choc-o-late (via TimeOut) If the key to her heart is through cocoa goodness.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell!