Page 1

September 2021

newyorkfamily.com

Nicole Gonzalez

of Lillies & León on pivoting towards self-care and being a ‘work in progress’

Back to School

with kids wearing masks (an expert weighs in on the benefits)

Smart Apps

to keep everyone organized!

Fall Road Trips!


The city and the park in your backyard


Now leasing 2-bedroom apartments on the waterfront in Long Island City. CenterBlvdLIC.com

September 2021 | Brooklyn Family

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contents

September 2021 NewYorkFamily.com

pg. 20

pg. 14 pg.38

pg. 40

FEATURES 46 | Apps Devices and apps to keep track of your kids 38 | Practical Stratgeies Raising resilient kids 40 | Nicole Gonzalez - of Lillies and León Contributor Cris Pearlstein caught up with Nicole (of @lilliesandleon) to hear about how her pandemic experience resulted in her bettering herself 20 | Education How to improve your child’s writing

Directories 18 | Activities Listings

Stories & columns 6 | Editor’s Note September- You GotThis 8 | Mom Hacks Apps to keep families organized 10 | Mom Hacks Easy back to school lunches with Catherine McCord of Weelicious and One Potato Box 14 | Ask the Expert Kids wearing masks at school 24 | Travel Roadtrips for fall getaways 32 | Ask the Expert Breast Pumping advice for remote and In-person moms 34 | Family Fun A Fifth Avenue staycation 36 | Real Estate The best apartment buildings

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NewYorkFamily.com | September 2021

pg. 24

on the Cover Photo: Yumi Matsuo | yumimatsuostudio.com Hair & Makeup: Buffy Hernandez | buffysaintmarie.com Shot on location at: Maison | thisismaison.com, 1264 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10028 Produced by: Donna Duarte-Ladd Cover Story by: Cris Pearlstein | crispearlstein.com Production Asst: Courtney Ingalls


September 2021 | Brooklyn Family

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Editor’s Note

NewYorkFamily.com Publisher: Clifford Luster Executive Editor: Donna Duarte-Ladd Digital Editor: Courtney Ingalls Senior Adviser: Susan Weiss Digital Director: Erik Bliss Partnership Managers: Erin Brof, Mary Cassidy, Shelli Goldberg-Peck Ad Operations Manager: Rosalia Bobé Sales Assistant: Jake Davis Art Director: Leah Mitch Web Developer: Sylvan Migdal Graphic Designers: Arthur Arutyunov, Connie Sulsenti Nina Gallo Photography

September: You Got This School is on. Kids are entering a new school year; some will be attending a new school, new teachers, and so on. This school year, families are heading back to familiar ground, but at the same time, it is all being done a bit differently. Will school stay in person? Will we have remote days again? Who knows. What we do know is that we all have learned some lessons from 2020-2021 and might be a bit nervous going into this school year. But we got this. To guide you along the way, we have Apps to keep the family organized (page 8). We also have our Annual Activities Guide (page 18) for you to plan your kids’ extracurricular and weekend fun. And we know masks at school is a hot debate for some; we chatted

with a pediatrician on the benefit of Kids Wearing Masks at School (page 14). The beginning of the school year also means Fall is near, which means... road trip! Check out our picks for Fall Roadtrips (page 24). Lastly, the pandemic has been hard for mothers. New York Family contributor Cris Pearlstein chatted with our cover mom, Nicole Gonzalez of the gorgeous Lillies & León (page 40), on how the pandemic led her to pivot towards self-care. A good read and reminder that you have to also take care of yourself. #GOALS.

Donna and New York Family Media

Editorial Contributors: Jana Beauchamp, Cris Pearlstein, Mia Salas Editorial Interns: Maya Laidler, Briaunna Malone, Erin Yoon

Contact Information

ADVERTISING: (718) 260-4554 Advertising@NewYorkFamily.com Circulation: (718) 260-8336 Tina@NewYorkFamily.com

Address: New York Family Media/Schneps Media 1 MetroTech Center North, Third Floor Brooklyn, NY 11201

President: Victoria Schneps-Yunis CEO: Joshua Schneps Group Publisher: Clifford Luster

New York Family has been awarded the PMA Gold Award for Excellence both overall and in Website Design

2020

New York Family is published monthly by Queens Family Media, LLC.

get in touch Share your feedback and ideas about family life in the city! Email us at editorial@newyorkfamily.com and tag us at #newyorkfamily

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NewYorkFamily.com | September 2021

Reproduction of New York Family Media in whole or part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. All rights reserved. ©2021 Queens Family Media, LLC


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mom hacks

Apps to Keep Families Organized By Courtney Ingalls

P

arents know that as your kids get older, their lives start to be consumed by more activities such as school, work, sports, and clubs. Yes, it can sound overwhelming but luckily there are ways to keep your family more organized. Scheduling apps are easy to use and allow the whole family to be in the loop when it comes to each other’s schedules! Here are some of our top picks for scheduling apps that will keep your family organized. Cozi With the free Cozi app, not only will you be able to stay in the loop with schedules, but so will everyone else in the family. Cozi uses a color-coding feature where each member of the family has a designated color that will show up next their designated events. The scheduling app also gives you the option to start menu plans and to-do lists that your family can edit. Cozi.com TimeTree Have your family’s schedules all on one calendar when you use the TimeTree app! When it comes time for your family to plan a trip or a fun day to spend together, it will be easier to check TimeTree than having to tackle the sometimes impossible task of getting everyone in the same room. Timetreeapp.com. Any.do If you are a fan of organizing, then this app is the one for you! Any.do is user friendly and gives you the option to organize your events and lists into categories. You are also able to organize your itinerary even further writing notes and putting deadlines on tasks so every family member can stay in the loop! Any.do. FamilyWall Instead of having to take the time to combine everyone’s calendars into one, FamilyWall will let you sync your schedules in minutes. The app also wants to make sure you feel safe

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NewYorkFamily.com | September 2021

when using it, which is why there is security and privacy for all the information you share with other members of your family. Take it one step further and turn on the locator option which will let you check on a family member’s location! Familywall.com. OurHome Aside from scheduling events and activities for the family, you also need to keep track of the tasks that everyone is doing around the house. OurHome allows parents to assign different tasks to each kid. Once you designate jobs for everyone you can set due dates, create repeating schedules, add reminders or apply late penalties to make sure your kids are staying on the right track! Ourhomeapp.com. Flayk Keep your family organized by using Flayk! This scheduling app is a fan favorite and is an easy way to keep your family in the loop with what everyone is doing. Something that makes Flayk unique is that you can pass tasks and events onto other people. Things can come up day to day, which means you

might not be able to take the dog on a walk, or grab your kids from soccer practice. With Flayk, you can send out a notification to each family member and you will be notified when someone accepts the task. Flayk.com/ Google Calendar Add another Google app to your phone! The Google Calendar app brings you your family’s schedule with a view. When anyone adds an event to the calendar, you are able to add a photo or a location. This app is even more beneficial to families who have gmail accounts because events that are emailed to you will be added straight to the calendar so your family can stay informed. Google.com/ calendar/about/. Picniic This scheduling app is so great that it can pretty much organize your entire life for you. Not only is it used for its calendar, but you can also use it to locate family members, store files, upload and share pictures, create a shopping list and much more. You can also integrate popular services like ones that track your kids time online. Picniic.com.


September 2021 | Brooklyn Family

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MOM HACKS

Catherine McCord of Weelicious

Easy Back to School Lunch Ideas BY DONNA DUARTE�LADD

W

e know, we know. There is a lot of Back to School content coming your way, but let’s be honest- it is that time again. As we start to get a bit busy with the shopping and the planning that happens as the summer winds down we also know that snacks and lunches are top on that list. And we all know lunch is important, and for as many kids who eat school lunch, the same percentage of kids take lunch to school. There are also the kids who will be attending some form of school for the first time ever. And since the kids are not doing remote

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NewYorkFamily.com | September 2021

or blended learning this school year (for now) , we asked mother of three and top expert of all things family meals for a bit of a school lunch refresher, Catherine McCord of Weelicioous, and Onepotato.com. Yes, Back to School is happening, but don’t fret as we have these easy back-toschool lunch ideas to get you ready. For the newbies (nursery/preschool-pre-k) going to school for the first time, what is the best strategy and lunch ideas for these new students? Remember that lunch for nursery/ preschool kids can be busy with the excitement of play and friends. Using a

bento-style lunch box can help kids see all of their choices right when they open their lunchboxes. Make sure to offer a balance of fruits, vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates to keep their brains and bodies charged. Cutting food into bite-size pieces can help small kids. Instead of a big sandwich, you can offer “sushi” sandwiches which also have more eye appeal. Many schools are unable to refrigerate students’ lunches. What are some of your lunch suggestions that have a good shelf life in a traditional lunch box (with an ice pack)? This is all dependent on your child. Two


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mom hacks

of my kids love food at room temperature so I send everything from cheese cubes to leftover pasta, salads, grains, and more. My other child prefers warm lunch, so I send her with a thermos of soup, stew, oatmeal or dinner from the night before. What are some of your favorite lunches when there is a firm no nut policy at school? Luckily there are tons of nut-free spreads like sunflower seed or granola butter that are safe to send. Sliced chicken with a dipping sauce, turkey roll-ups, vegetarian burritos, hummus with pita chips, cream cheese with vegetables, yogurt with fruit and granola, and monogram sandwiches are a few of our go-to protein lunch ideas. Any tips for parents on what dinner meals make for great leftover easy school lunches for the kids? Fajitas, spaghetti with meatballs , pressure cooker beans, and rice, baked tofu, rice cooker macaroni and cheese, and brown rice cakes are on dinner to lunch rotation in our house.

“Remember that lunch for nursery/preschool kids can be busy with the excitement of play and friends. Using a bento-style lunch box can help kids see all of their choices right when they open their lunchboxes.” Catherine McCord is an LA-based former model turned entrepreneur who has built a healthyliving empire, authoring three books, founding healthy-eating destination Weelicious.com, and launching organic family-friendly food delivery service One Potato. We’d be happy to set up a time for you to speak to her about tips and tricks for her recipes, introducing healthy eating habits

to kids and how she is balancing everything during this summer. Catherine has appeared on The Today Show, ABC’s The Chew, Access Hollywood Live, Good Morning America, and Fox News as well as appearing regularly on the Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games and doing the occasional guest spot on Food Network’s Next Food Network Star and Duff Till Dawn.

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September 2021 | Brooklyn Family

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HealtH

Kids Wearing

Masks

at School An expert weighs in on the benefits By Donna Duarte-LaDD

T

he School year is happening. And while the mask debate is a hot topic for some- here in New Yorkwearing a face mask (recommended mask wearing is age 2 and up, the child should be able to remove themselves) in school is required. Will the requirement change soon? Probably not until the COVID Delta Variant is a huge concern. Our new Governor, Gov. Hochul, has asked state health officials to require a universal mask mandate in both public and private schools. But many parents understandably have concerns about kids mask-wearing all day at school. How vital is mask-wearing in schools? What are the benefits? For some maskwearing insight, we chatted with Samantha Lowe, MD, a pediatrician with White Plains Hospital Physician Associates in Armonk, NY, on why mask-wearing matters. With school going back full time, how important is mask wearing for our students? Due to the circulating and highly contagious Delta variant, the CDC recommends universal indoor masking by all students (age 2 and older), staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. The most effective protection against all COVID strains, including the Delta variant, is vaccination. However, more than 50% of children returning to school are doing so without the benefit of a COVID-19 vaccine. This is occurring for three reasons. First, children

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NewYorkFamily.com | September 2021

under 12 years of age are ineligible for vaccines at this time. Second, there is a percentage of students who meet vaccine eligibility but have chosen not to be vaccinated. And, third, there are other students who meet the vaccine age criteria but are ineligible for vaccines due to other health issues. Because of this, correct mask-wearing for all students, and anyone coming in contact with those students, is an absolute necessity. Are two masks necessary? At this time, the CDC recommends wearing a face mask with two to three layers that fits snugly over your face. In February of 2021, the CDC published research suggesting that layering a cloth mask over a surgical mask (double masking) when a mask only has one layer may provide additional protection from potentially infectious particles.

However, if your mask already has multiple layers and fits tightly, it’s not necessary to double mask and might make masks uncomfortable to wear and/or hinder vision if they go too high up on the face. A mask is only protective if your child is wearing it. Because children’s faces vary in size, it has been shown that cloth masks, especially those with adjustable ear straps and a nose cinch fit better than paper masks. Studies have shown that tightly woven cotton fabrics do a surprisingly good job of filtering out particles, and their performance can improve under humid conditions, such as those created when you breathe. Make sure that the cloth masks are thick enough that you cannot see through them, and if possible, add a filter to provide an extra layer of protection. For special needs kids or children with speech delays, do masks hinder language


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Health

development? Any tips for parents? If your child has special needs or speech delays, it’s worth discussing any concerns you may have with your pediatrician based on your child. For those parents, it may also be worth a conversation with your child’s school (for instance, to assure teachers will be wearing clear masks, providing necessary mask breaks etc…). There are also things you can do at home to help. Younger children naturally take visual cues based on a person’s mouth and how that translates to overall emotion and mood. With everyone in masks, you can help your child shift from reading mouths to reading eyes. You can practice this at home while wearing your mask and playing a game — can you guess if I am smiling? Frowning? Laughing based on my eyes alone? It is sometimes hard to hear what others say underneath their masks, especially if they are naturally soft-spoken. It’s important for you to understand what volume of voice your children can hear clearly. You can model the

A mask is only protective if your child is wearing it. Because children’s faces vary in size, it has been shown that cloth masks, especially those with adjustable ear straps and a nose cinch fit better than paper masks. teacher’s speaking voice to determine if the normal level is understandable or whether a few notches louder may be optimal. Then you can mention this concern to your school and the child’s teacher. Take as many opportunities as you can to arrange get-togethers with other children and relatives outside so they can benefit from as much full facial visualization as possible when they are not in school. As kids return to classrooms that can sometimes be hot, are there any tips for them to keep in mind if they feel overheated and overwhelmed with their facemask?

Practice at home in varied climates to find the mask that is most comfortable for your child to wear for extended periods of time. Know your child’s schedule and let them know when they can expect mask breaks during the day. If possible, on very hot days, try to limit their time in masks by driving them to school. Tell your children to advocate for themselves if they feel too hot or panicked by their masks by asking for a mask break in a safe environment. Kids are usually very resilient and get used to wearing masks very quickly in all climates and situations.

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Activities Directory | Special Advertising Supplement Ballet Hispánico School of Dance 167 W. 89th Street, NY 1-212- 362-6710 ballethispanico.org/school The Ballet Hispánico School of Dance is welcoming students back to campus this fall! Registration for the 20212022 school year is now open through September 1. Explore their training programs for all levels, ages 2-23, including ballet, flamenco, West African, hip-hop, modern, jazz, salsa, tap, early childhood, adult classes, and more. Scholarships and financial aid is available. In accordance with safety protocols and restrictions, class sizes will be limited, so enroll early to claim a spot! Visit ballethispanico. org/school or email school@ ballethispanico.org to register or to learn more.

Mark Morris Dance Group: Children & Teen Program Fort Greene 3 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn, NY 718-624-8400 mmdg.org

Offering year-round, community-based dance and music programming in a fully inclusive and nurturing environment. The School’s diverse and professional faculty provides progressive and noncompetitive instruction with all classes accompanied by live music. There are opportunities for students to perform and for parents to see their dancers in action. Committed to bringing the joy and benefits of dance and music to special needs students, these classes are kept small to allow for a more intimate learning experience and optional parent participation.

School of Rock Williamsburg 294 Graham Ave Brooklyn, NY 718- 210-1720 locations.schoolofrock.com/ williamsburg School of Rock provides performance-based music programs both in-person and remotely for kids and adults of all ages and skill levels, in a lively, fun environment through group class and

combining one-on-one music lessons with band rehearsals, culminating with live shows at local venues. Programs include Little Wing (Ages 3-5) - Weekly group class, Rookies (Ages 6-7) - Weekly group class, Rock 101 (Ages 8 -12), Weekly 1-on-1 lesson plus weekly group rehearsal inperson, Performance Program (Ages 8 - 18) - Weekly 1-on-1 lesson plus group rehearsal, culminating with a live show and. Also offering an Adult Program (Ages 18+) - Weekly 1-on-1 lesson plus weekly group rehearsal in-person, culminating with a live show!

The Noel Pointer School of Music Noel Pointer Foundation Bedford Stuyvesant 247 Herkimer St., Brooklyn, NY 718-230-4825 noelpointer.com A not-for-profit since 1995 that dramatically enriches the lives of children by developing string music education programs for under-served communities in NYC. Through professional training, per-

formance opportunities, and college placement assistance, NPF enhances a student’s cultural and academic experience, infusing them with a positive sense of who they are and a boundless sense of what they can become. Empowering children one note at a time by offering music enrichment programs in violin, viola, cello, piano, double bass, and guitar, after school and on Saturdays.

SkateYogi 140 Empire Blvd, Brooklyn 718-484-9777 hello@skateyogi.com skateyogi.com In fall 2021, SKATEYOGI is offering weekly classes for ages 5-7, 7-13 and teens. All classes are open level and welcome skaters from absolute beginners to experienced shredders. Their low student to teacher ratio ensures plenty of personal attention. Other offerings include day camps on school holidays and private lessons. Check skateyogi.com for current class schedule and shop hours.

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NewYorkFamily.com | September 2021


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Registration opens Sept 25-Oct 1 Scholarships and financial aid available

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EDUCATION

How to Improve Your Child’s Writing Sharpen up their skills with these helpful (and fun) activities BY EMILY LEVY

S

ome children enjoy spending hours on end writing paragraphs and stories, but others absolutely dread it. They may have great ideas but struggle to express them on paper. Yet as students move through school, the writing demands will only continue to increase. Help make writing fun for your child with the ideas detailed below. Play games! Playing word games with your child can help improve spelling, vocabulary, and overall writing skills. Try playing the popular game Scrabble, where players use letters on tiles to form words that build on each other. Hangman is another fun game, where one player thinks of a word and writes a

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NewYorkFamily.com | September 2021

series of blank spaces on a sheet of paper, each representing a letter. The other player must guess the letters one at a time until they come up with the word (or get “hanged”). You can play story games with your child, where you provide your child with a story that contains blanks for words that they must fill in or play a dice game like “Roll a Story” where players roll a series of dice that each contain a picture and uses their imagination to write a creative story. Journaling Encourage your child to maintain a journal and write in it daily or almost daily, and you will likely see a drastic improvement in her writing skills. Start by taking your child to a store and letting her pick out a journal with cool, colorful patterns that appeal to her.

Then try to do something interesting each day — whether it’s taking a trip to the zoo or a park, or simply discussing a current events topic or trying a new food for dinner. Then encourage your child to write about that topic in her journal. Tell her not to worry about perfect spelling or organization; the idea is just to write freely. Later you can teach her to go back and self-check her work with an acronym like COPS, which stands for Capitalization, Organization, Punctuation, and Spelling, where she writes a check box next to each letter in COPS (written vertically) and checks for each element in the acronym, one by one. For starters, though, just have her focus on writing freely and creatively. Create a Writing Jar Create a fun “writing jar” filled with story prompts. To do so, look through newspapers and magazines with your child and cut out interesting pictures of animals, celebrities, or


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Education

beautiful vacation spots. You can also write down phrases on small cards, like “If I were an animal, I’d be…” or “My favorite dessert is…” and put those cards in the jar. Then have your child close his eyes, pick a card from the jar, and use it as a story prompt to create a writing piece. You may want to have him self-check his work, just like with the journal entries, using COPS as detailed above. Write Letters Most of us prefer to text or email friends and relatives since it seems so much faster and more efficient. Yet creating handwritten letters can improve writing skills, and it’s exciting for the recipient to receive an actual letter in the mail — a real novelty these days. Purchase colored pens or pencils, stamps, and stickers for your child, and have her write a letter to a cousin, grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend, or even pen pal, then decorate it with lots of colors, pictures, and stickers. Make it a fun, colorful activity and she will have lots of fun doing it — plus the recipient will be thrilled to receive it!

Tell your child not to worry about perfect spelling or organization; the idea is just to write freely. Try an App! We all know that kids love playing on tablets or computers, so try integrating writing apps and games to help improve writing skills. The app Writing Challenge for Kids includes a variety of prompts that kids can choose from to write a creative story. “Book creator” is a tool that helps students write their own books using different templates and designs. “Edublogs” is a great website that helps your child get into blogging! Kids can create their own blog on a topic that interests them and can share it with others. “Net Rover” is another website that contains lots of fun writing games for kids to play. Writing is a wonderful opportunity for expression and a key skill that is critical for school success. Help your child improve her writing skills while having fun with these

tips, and she will be well on her way to school success! Dr. Emily Levy is the founder of EBL Coaching, a tutoring program that specializes in one-onone home and on-site instruction for students in grades preK-12 in NYC, NJ, and Westchester. She is also the author of Strategies for Study Success, a study skills workbooks series emphasizing test taking, note taking, reading comprehension, writing, and executive functioning strategies, and the Flags and Stars Orton Gillingham student workbook series. These books are currently used at schools nationwide. Dr. Levy studied at Brown University and later received her Masters Degree in Special Education and her Doctorate Degree in Education. She has spoken nationwide on research-based methods for teaching students with and without learning disabilities. Dr. Levy is currently the Director of EBL Coaching’s learning centers.

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September 2021 | Brooklyn Family

23


travel

Road Trip Inspiration

It’s time to start planning for fall By Mia SalaS

A

s the leaves change color, the weather gets cooler, and the pumpkin spice craze takes over, we’re all starting to feel the fall vibes. And what better way to enjoy the fall than with a family road trip? The best part about road trips is that they’re not as complicated to plan as a full vacay, and you can easily turn them into day-trips if that works best for your schedule. Lucky for us NYC families, there are some roadtrip treasures just hours away. If you’re looking to plan a quick getaway that your whole family will love, then check out these road trip ideas for the fall!

Annapolis & Anne Arundel County We love the history embedded in this fun family road trip! From culturally and historically rich museums like the Banneker-Douglass Museum to yummy eats & treats like Dangerously Delicious Pies, we can’t get enough of this place. Your kids may also like the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, where you can hop on hiking trails or launch your kayak for an outdoor adventure.

annapoliS City DoCk

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Only in Hudson County NJ

Liberty State Park Statue of Liberty Liberty Science Center Ellis Island American Dream

Liberty State Park, in Jersey City, is a 1,200-acre green space with Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop. Liberty Science Center is a 300,000 square foot science experience which is ideal for all ages, featuring the western hemisphere’s largest IMAX dome planetarium, a 3D theater, 110 species of live animals, hurricane and tornado-force wind simulators, live simulcast surgeries and many travelling museum exhibits. Statue Cruises ferry service departs daily from Liberty State Park for the Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island National Immigration Museum. The ferry is located next to the historic Central Terminal building. Ferries depart from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m and approximately every hour. Departure area is accessible from Liberty State Park Light Rail Station and there is plenty of visitor parking American Dream near the MetLife Stadium complex is at once an attraction, shopping and dining mecca. A colossal Garden State attraction, this 3 million square foot experience center in East Rutherford, is two miles from an array of hotels in Secaucus, and offers an exciting new entertainment and shopping experience. Stop by our website at www.visithudson.org. See you soon!

MetLife Stadium Statue Cruises

Supported in part by a grant from the New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism

FOLLOW US: @visithudsonNJ

September 2021 | Brooklyn Family

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travel

Hudson County New Jersey has some gems that are not too far from the city, and one of them is Hudson County! You don’t want to miss the two big events of the fall: the 31st Annual JCAST and All About Downtown. At JCAST (Sept 30-Oct 3), the largest art tour in NJ, you can explore artists, curated tours, kid events and more. All About Downtown (Sept 18) is a street fair with local businesses, kids rides, face paint, beer gardens and live music. Hudson County has lots of events coming up in the fall, so mark your calendars now.

Jersey City

Newport Newport is the perfect place to bring your family for a quick getaway this fall. From unparalleled seafood to charming seaside resorts, beaches, shopping and kid-friendly activities, you will have plenty to do. If you’re curious about the options for kids, we recommend checking out the craft classes at Cutie Curls Boutique or the Scavenger Hunt Bingo at NBS. We’ve also got the scoop on the new Marble House Family/ Kids Tour, designed for kids under age 13. A professional voice

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actor plays the role of Marble House, which Alva Vanderbilt regarded as her “fourth child.” The house speaks in a friendly voice, guiding young visitors to see the “little things” that tell a big story. This is the perfect activity for the whole family, because little ones and bigger kids alike can join in on the educational fun. And for the parents, we know you’ll love the Wine + Cheese sail. Great for a date night or just a fun evening with friends, it doesn’t get much better than wine and gourmet cheeses!


short A road trip away for your fall family getaway. Visit Newport... The Classic Coast.

DiscoverNewport.org

September 2021 | Brooklyn Family

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travel

Rockland County For families looking for adventure and gorgeous scenery, you are going to want to head to Rockland County. If you’re looking for an outdoor escape, Rockland County has beautiful fall foliage, hiking trails, apple and pumpkin picking, street fairs and more. We recommend Dr. Davies Farm or The Orchards of Concklin for a farm adventure! Get in the fall spirit with a family trip to Rockland County this season. In Rockland County’s Rivertowns, enjoy a range of activities with spectacular views of the Hudson River. Find several parks stretching north to south, where there’s plenty of public space to access the water. You can camp and fish in Haverstraw, sail or go tubing along the coast of Nyack, or canoe through the marshes off Piermont.

Hook Mountain, nYack

Long Island An iconic destination at any point in the year, Long Island especially comes to life in the fall. Between the many family-friendly wineries and breweries like Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard and Six Harbor Brewing Company, and the abundance of farms and orchards like Wickham’s Fruit Farm and Woodside Orchards, you’re guaranteed an adventure! We recommend going apple or pumpkin picking at one of the many farms, checking out a museum (the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium or the New York Marine Rescue Center are our top picks!) and you certainly can’t forget to attend a fun fall event! Harbes Orchard

has an Apple Harvest on September 11-12 and a Pumpkin Harvest on September 25-26. You also don’t want to miss the Long Island Fall Festival in Huntington on October 8-11. If you’re looking to really dive into the nature of our surroundings, we have some recommendations for that, too: Caleb Smith State Park Preserve has 543 acres of woodlands with marked trails and amazing views. Sunken Meadow State Park is perfect for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and picnicking. While the Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Oakdale has 690 acres of lawns, open meadows, and a wildflower garden for the best Instagram photos.

BaYard cutting arBoretuM

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September 2021 | Brooklyn Family

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travel

Putnam County Mark your calendars for some fall fun in Putnam County, just about an hour away from NYC. We love the Brewster Fall Festival, an annual arts, culture, street vendor and performance extravaganza, coming up on September 19, 11am-4pm. You can totally plan a day trip to join the family fun and support a good cause at the same time: this year, the festival will have a silent auction to raise funds for restoring the Old Town Hall Theater. Also happening on September 25 is the Modern Makers Market, a free pop-up event with artisanal goods, glass making and pottery. If you’re aiming for October, then plan for Oktober Fest at Tilly Foster Farm, October 23-24. There will be beer, food, entertainment and more! Don’t feel like committing to a date? Visit Putnam County anytime in the fall for fun at the park, nature walks and museums. Tilly FosTer Farm

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NewYorkFamily.com | September 2021

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travel

The Inn aT easT hIll Farm

New Hampshire A perfect road trip is one to a charming destination. Pack up the family or head over for some me-time at The Inn at East Hill Farm (1-800-242-6495 ). This is a working farm located in the southwestern corner of New Hampshire; this inn offers hands-on farm activities and resort amenities. Farm activities include milking the cow and goat, patting the bunnies, collecting chicken eggs, making butter, campfire with marshmallows, horseback riding, and wagon rides. Resort amenities include a children’s recreation program, swimming in the indoor or outdoor pools, boating on the pond, tennis, basketball, shuffleboard, hiking Gap Mountain or Mt. Monadnock, cross country skiing, ice skating, sledding, and snowshoeing, are also available for our guests. And it is time to relax; three meals are included with every overnight stay. All of their delicious meals are homecooked and served family-style; you can eat as much as your belly will hold! They also offer vegetarian options and can accommodate special diets upon request. The bottomless cookie jar is, for obvious reasons, popular with guests. We also love that The Inn hosts family vacations, family reunions, meetings and conferences, and holiday gatherings.

Accepting Applications for Grades K-5 www.tnaacs.org 718-385-1709

APPLY TODAY

2021-2022 School Year September 2021 | Brooklyn Family

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ask the expert

Breast Pumping Advice For moms returning to work By Donna Duarte -LaDD

A

s we all know, life is starting to get back to normal, and kids will be returning to school come soon. For some moms, this post-quarantine life will resemble what it looked like pre-pandemic. The hustle of dropping kids off before you start your workday and then some. But when you are a breast-pumping mom, you also have to schedule pumping into your work schedule. If you have pumped at work before, you know that there can be challenges. Many moms, including myself, have a story or two on pumping at work. It’s comedy at its best (when you can laugh about it). Returning to the office will be an adjustment for parents everywhere, and for breast-pumping moms, it will be a massive adjustment. Frankly, breast pumping in itself is challenging, and this counts for both mothers pumping while working remotely or in the office. We touched base with lactation expert Ashley Georgakopoulos, IBCLC and Motif Medical Lactation Director who shared her tips for moms on pumping at the office and incorporating it into your workday. As mothers return to the office, what should a Breast Pumping mother keep in mind if planning to pump at work? The biggest thing to plan for is having a conversation with the employer, where applicable, to discuss not only the timing of breaks and intervals to incorporate pumping into the schedule but also where a clean quiet place would be to pump. Other things to think about are how to store the milk, do you need a cooler, or do you have access to a refrigerator? And finally, remember that what you pump does not necessarily equal what your actual supply is and until mothers get comfortable with pumping and responsive

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to pumping, sometimes it can be difficult to pump out what you need right away. Find a way to make the space your own and implement as many comfort measures as possible to relax your body and respond well to the pump. The pandemic presented remote work to many, and some mothers are planning to keep working remotely. As we know, remote life means we are home; how can a breastpumping mom incorporate pumping at home and assure it is considered part of her workday? Break up break times into 15 to 20-minute intervals every 2-3 hours. Hands-free pumping may also be a great tool to implement, using a bra that supports that or making your own by cutting out holes in a sports bra just big enough for the smaller end of the funnel on the flange to fit through. This allows for pumping as often as needed while keeping your hands free to get your work done or enjoying your morning coffee. Advice on setting a pumping schedule?

Try to replicate the frequency of how often the baby would eat if eating directly from the breast. This is usually on average, every 2 to 3 hours, not longer, as we see sometimes in bottle-feeding. Frequency is a priority to not only maintain supply but to not put pressure on the mother to pump out more than 4 ounces a session. It’s much easier to pump out 2 1/2 to 3 ounces per pumping session, and done so frequently will easily equate to the total amount needed to leave for baby! How can a new mom build a milk stash, and why should she? The easiest way to build a milk stash is to start a couple of weeks before returning to work or before when the stash is needed, incorporating one to two additional pumping sessions a day, preferably in the morning where you have more volume to work with. You do not need a freezer stash full to have a healthy stash to rely on. This stash will help be a buffer for one first returning to work and for any deficits. Keep in mind, you will still be pumping throughout the day at work.


Virtual Open House Dates 2021-22: 9/27, 10/4, 10/18, 10/25, 11/1. 11/8, 11/15, 11/29, 12/6, 12/13, 1/10, 1/24, 2/7, 3/7

Apply for 2022-2023 on our website on or after September 7, 2021. Families will be invited to enroll based on the date of their application, so applying earlier is better! Mixed-age half-day sessions (8:30-11:30am) for children who are 2 and 3 years old, and mixed-age full day sessions (8:30am-3:00pm) for children who are 2 through 5 years old

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Open enrollment has begun. We currently have 9th-grade seats available for the 2021-2022 school year

WCHS offers: • Advanced Placement (AP) and Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) classes • Special Education (SPED) and English as a New Language (ENL) services

• Student-driven course selection • Social emotional supports • Visual and performing arts, extracurricular activities, and athletics

Visit www.thewcs.org to

APPLY NOW 198 Varet Street Brooklyn, NY 11206 admissions@thewcs.org

347-217-6995

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September 2021 | Brooklyn Family

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FAMILY FUN

Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue Experience classic NYC for a family staycation this season BY DONNA DUARTE�LADD

S

ummer is winding down (whahhh), and many of us have chosen to stay close to home by indulging in staycations. Staycations, especially during the pandemic, have become not just one-offs but part of our new normal. Staycations are also a way to give back by spending money in our hometown. The best part is these mini-trips are an opportunity to re-explore the city by playing tourist. New York’s Fifth Avenue is iconic and is one of the most bustling parts of NYC and home to luxury brands like Tiffany & Co and Gucci. The best part of Fifth Ave is there are endless spots to shop and so much to do throughout the year. This area also makes for a perfect day trip or an overnight stay as it is located right by many of the major subway lines, and no car is required. All of these stops are within walking distance of each other.

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Where to Stay on your NYC Staycation of Fifth Avenue The Pierre 2 East 61St Street (at 5th Avenue) 212-838-8000

Known for its rich history of glamour and French chic, this hotel is perfect if looking for gorgeous views and wanting to be near Central Park. Rooms have either a city view room of the skyline or a park view. It’s a bit hard to pull yourself away from this hotel because the staff’s warmth beckons you to stay awhile. Thankfully there are delicious eats for dinner of French-American dishes or aromatic Indian cuisine at Perrine, located right in the hotel. Make sure you charge your phone as the views are quintessential New York, and you will want to share the beauty. Where to Go Around Fifth Avenue Tea at the Plaza The Palm Court In Plaza Hotel 768 5th Ave

212- 546-5300

Whether you are solo on this staycation or with the kids, you must consider tea at the Plaza. The atmosphere is surprisingly cozy. Yes, it is posh, but it is all good vibes. Waiters are happy to see you and are incredibly accommodating if you bring the kids. The tea menu is an experience, and some favorites are the Lobster Medallion, Toasted Brioche Beet Cured Salmon. Also super delish is the Egg Salad, Bacon & Date Jam on Whole Wheat Bread. Kids will love the peanut butter and mini jelly sandwiches and English cucumber sandwich. Yes, a cookie and cream Oreo macaroon topped off with pink cotton candy is part of the kids’ menu, and all bites leave you quite full. Lego Store on Fifth Avenue 636 Fifth Avenue 212-245-3248

The store once located by the Rockefeller Ice rink is now situated at a prime spot on Fifth Avenue. The difference from the last location is there is more space. The new Lego store is far from a one-stop-shop; once entering, you and the kids will have a fun experience, so we suggest allowing at least an hour to two to make the most of the store. First, reserve your ticket for the Brick Lab either online or


as soon you enter the store. This experience is a fun collaboration of both the physical and digital worlds, allowing your child to be immersed in the Lego world fully. The Brick Specialists will guide your explorer with walls and light and sound, inviting the player to play along. Tickets for the Brick Lab are $15, and the experience lasts about 20 minutes. Another fun and super affordable “experience” is customizing a Minifigure at The LEGO Minifigure Factory, $11.99. It takes about 30 minutes. It is one of the most popular experiences, so we suggest doing this experience first. Lastly, if looking to invest in a little future art piece, check out the Mosaic Maker, where for $129, your child takes a pic at the photo booth then it is printed out so when you get home, you can build a Lego of their cute face, very Warhol. Top of The Rock 30 Rockefeller Plaza 1-877-692-7625

The entire family will appreciate our gorgeous city even more at seventy floors up with the stunning views of the city that

(Left) The new Lego Store on Fifth Avenue. (Right) Views from Top of The Rock. can be seen from Top of Rock. There are three floors (67th, 69th, and 70th) where you can check out picturesque views of both the Hudson and East Rivers and the iconic Brooklyn Bridge and Chrysler Building. Because tickets can be purchase at a specific time; there are rarely huge lines. The decks, which were designed like the decks of an

early 1900’s Ocean linear, are super spacious, making for comfortable viewing. Security informed us that the most popular visiting hour is sunset as the views are stunning, and of course, everyone wants that NYC sunset shot for the gram. Open seven days a week Sunday–Saturday 10 am-10 pm with the last elevator going up at 9:10 pm.

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347.996.2688 • 718.858.8961 serahkaiel@gmail.com • www.littlethinkersmontessori.com September 2021 | Brooklyn Family

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real estate

The Best Apartment I Buildings in NYC

By Donna Duarte-LaDD

Discover what these great properties have to offer families

f you live in New York City, you probably have a profound passion for our bustling metropolis. And why wouldn’t you? This city is amazing and has unique communities and apartment buildings that are 100 percent equipped for family living. Here are 2 worth moving to:

Property: 5241 and 5203 Center Blvd Schools Nearby: Brighter Babies, PS/IS 78Q - District 30 (K-1, 2-8), Hunter’s Point Community Middle School, Little Ones LIC Parks: Hunter’s Point South Park, Gantry Plaza State Park

These impressive apartment buildings are surrounded by natural light with views of Brooklyn, Long Island City, and the Manhattan skylines. Each apartment features kitchen and bathrooms with high-end finishes and appliances as well as ample storage space. And with family in mind, some apartments include in-unit washers and dryers as well as private terraces. While each apartment is airy and inviting, the building’s amenity program provides access to wraparound terraces, sundecks with BBQ grills, and indoor offerings like a fitness center, lounge, and clubroom. And hey, we all want the choice to stay closer to home these days, and with access to a children’s playroom and HomeWork™- TFC’s signature co-working amenity you will have this option plus some for you and yours at 5241 and 5203 Center Blvd.

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Property: The Pavilion Neighborhood: Lenox Hill, UES Address: 500 East 77th Street glenwoodnyc.com Schools Nearby: Public Schools: Bayard Taylor School, Eleanor Roosevelt High School. Private Schools: The Town School, Lycee’ Francais de New York. Parks: Carl Schurz Park and Central Park

The Pavilion, from Glenwood Management, beckons families to live their best lives with its circular drive, fountains, and an elegant lobby that is home to New York’s ultimate luxury rental living for New York families. With a 35 -story high building, the Pavilion offerings include 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom apartments that are spacious and beautifully designed with well-appointed kitchens and bathrooms and custom closets. Many apartments have balconies where you can relax and enjoy panoramic river and city views. As a tenant of this building, you will have access to five-star amenities as The Pavilion’s offerings are endless. And in a time of social distancing, this building is a calm oasis within our busy city. There is a 24 Hour doorman, a shopping arcade, a grocery store, and a complimentary fitness center. And while there are amazing parks nearby, you will appreciate the children’s playroom for those days you feel like staying close to home. While cleaning and laundry valet can be utilized, the building also features three laundry rooms. And if you are heading back to the office, there is a free shuttle bus that will take you to the subway. Other full-service amenities residents of The Pavilion may enjoy are gorgeous landscaped rooftop sundecks, maid service, and bicycle and luggage storage and a 24 hour garage.


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September 2021 | Brooklyn Family

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8 Practical Strategies to Raise

Resilient Children Tools to help kids face the range of challenges that come their way

By Cara Zelas

T

he past 18 months have been rough, the global pandemic has knocked us off our feet and challenged families in all facets of life. It has been a test on our endurance, relationships, and mental health. The rollercoaster of emotions for parents has been difficult to manage, and as an educator, I want to examine the emotional well-being and analyze the consequences for children. I try to view the world from my children’s perspective and attempt to understand how this pandemic has affected their life experiences. I have discovered that children are more resilient than we realize. I want to nurture this resilience, the ability to rebound from setbacks and overcome failures, and to arm them with essential tools to face obstacles that are sure to come their way. Build positive relationships Helping your child establish positive relationships through clear communication, openness, honesty, and trust helps your child feel like they can take risks and make mistakes knowing they have a strong web to catch them. On a subconscious level, this allows your child to try new things with less hesitation and more confidence. Develop confidence Encourage your child to have a positive outlook on who they are. Nurture selfkindness and celebrate unique gifts and strengths. Allow space for mistakes as from mistakes, we learn, grow and gain confidence. Manage emotions Giving feelings a name. With the right vocabulary, children have a way of expressing how they feel. Acknowledging emotions by

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Setting goals is important because it helps your child develop intrinsic motivation, responsibility for their actions and is a life-long gift. using simple language, “I see you are feeling (insert emotion),” provides validation and gives your child the affirmation that you are listening and understanding them in the moment. Emotional self-regulation techniques such as simple breathing activities or taking a walk are easy to implement and are effective. Enable independence Give age-appropriate responsibilities. Simple household chores are small, un-directed tasks that give a sense of responsibility and confidence. If your child is old enough, drop them at family or friends for playdates, allow them space to be separate from their home dynamic. Encourage independent thought about events happening in their lives, let them form their own opinions, have a discussion, even if you disagree — this is a wonderful opportunity to show your child how to be respectful of all ideas and points of view.

Set realistic goals Teaching your child to set goals and following through is important for developing fortitude and perseverance, especially when the going gets tough. Setting goals is important because it helps your child develop intrinsic motivation, responsibility for their actions and is a life-long gift. Try these ideas: let your child pick their goal, break it down into smaller steps, write it down (In a study conducted by Prof. Gail Matthews, people who write down their goals are 20% more successful In accomplishing them than those who did not), put a time frame on it, discuss potential hurdles that they may encounter and help with problemsolving before they begin. Take risks Have a conversation about taking risks and trying new things, rather than saying, “be careful,” tell them the consequences of their actions. Allow for some freedom and space to explore and step back to observe. See failures as opportunities Reframe failure as a course correction. Connect with your child by telling them a time you set a goal, made mistakes, or failed but kept going. Sharing personal experiences or stories makes it more meaningful and you can model the steps and outcome. Don’t rush to their rescue Unless your child is in immediate danger or in harm’s way, let your child process what is happening when something goes wrong or they are facing a challenge. As parents, we want to save our children from any kind of hardship however this sets up our children to buckle under pressure or any uncomfortable situation in their future. Let your child problem-solve on their own and endeavor to create an environment


where your child feels safe to ask for your help when they need it. Cara Zelas is teaching kindness to children all around the world. She is an author and educator (worldoflittledude.com0 originally from Sydney,

Australia and now living in New York City with her family and therapy dog, Little Dude. Cara received her Bachelor of Media Communications and Bachelor of Elementary Education Degrees as well as an Early Childhood Montessori Certification and is an active volunteer with The

Good Dog Foundation. Cara and Little Dude visit hospitals and schools throughout New York City, where they deliver kindness and support to those in need. Little Dude has taught Cara and countless children that being kind to others is contagious. September 2021 | Brooklyn Family

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Nicole Gonzalez

is Pivoting Towards Self-Care We caught up with Nicole (of @lilliesandleon) to hear how her pandemic experience resulted in her bettering herself — and how thrilled she is to be a ‘work in progress’ By Cris Pearlstein

I

clicked the join meeting button on my screen and waited to see what face would greet me on the other end. See, I knew I was interviewing Nicole Gonzalez of @lilliesandleon but I didn’t really know what she looked like. Despite being very active on Instagram— with 36.1K followers—Nicole is quite a private person who is really good at including herself in photos without actually including herself. Private to a fault, she keeps a close-knit circle of family and friends —along with her two kids, Lucas León, almost 10, and Lillie Sol, 6— and she shares the moments she spends with them on her feed without giving too much away. Any follower can see how she masters being present with the people she cherishes, while also capturing the beauty around her. It’s a difficult dance for most people, but she nails it. When the blank screen changed to reveal her face I was greeted by a huge smile and an apology that she was taking the call from her childhood bedroom, in the home she grew up in. Wearing a white tank top, a gorgeous gold charm necklace, and her bouncy black hair in a half pony, she started to tell me about her family, her upbringing in the Bronx, and her incredible journey of making space for self-care after losing herself during the pandemic. Get ready to take notes, because we can all learn a thing or two about how she’s helping herself get back on track. You live on the Upper East Side, right? Is that where you typically spend your time? We have family all over the city in Queens, in Brooklyn, in the Bronx so we go all over the place—the train is our best friend, we take it everywhere! But yes,

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we spend a lot of time in our neighborhood, we love it here. We have Central Park, we have all the museums so close by, the kids’ school is right here, and their activities, too. Lillie’s dance classes are on the west side, but we just jump on the crosstown bus and we’re there in 10 minutes. Where are you from? Where did you grow up? My mother is from Puerto Rico and I grew up in Riverdale in the Bronx, which is where I am right now as we’re talking—I’m actually sitting in my childhood bedroom. My mom was a single mom, she was a teacher who always worked in the city, so that’s where I always went to school. I went to elementary school and junior high in Spanish Harlem, and then I went to Beacon High School on the Upper West Side. Speaking of school, how do you feel about your kids going back to in-person school full time? We had an opportunity to see how their school was going to handle everything in the spring, for the last month and a half of the school year. The teachers were great about easing them in and we felt so safe. Having said that, I know that nothing is 100% and every decision we make is taking a chance, but because of how it went in the spring we feel really good about the school year ahead. That is so great to hear! As mothers, all we can do right now is make the best decision in the moment and just be ready to change that decision if we feel differently down the road. This situation is so everchanging. That’s what makes me feel better, too. I don’t feel like I’m putting them in and then that’s it. If at


Photo by Yumi Matsuo

September Month 2021 2021 || XXXXXX Brooklyn Family Family

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“I’m really looking forward to carving out that time for myself where I’ll be able to work from home, produce content, collaborate, all of these dreams and everything I’ve been wanting to do that I had forgotten about or just felt weren’t possible during the pandemic.” any point I feel cases are going up or the school isn’t handling it well, or whatever, I can always pull them out. What are you most looking forward to as the school year begins? When I think of them going back I just feel a surge of happiness for them being able to be with their friends again. My daughter loves to learn, but Zoom school at five years old was tough, so it’s wonderful for her to be in school. But what I’m most looking forward to is getting back to me. I feel like I lost a huge part of myself during this whole ordeal—my career, my goals, everything just took a backseat. I’m really looking forward to carving out that time for myself where I’ll be able to work from home, produce content, collaborate, all of these dreams and everything I’ve been wanting to do that I had forgotten about or just felt weren’t possible during the pandemic. I’m starting to feel that fire coming back and it feels really really good. I think a lot of people—and moms in particular—can relate to that statement. Speaking of your goals, what are some of the things you’re hoping to accomplish for yourself, professionally or personally? I’ve thought about getting back to my blog, but I think I’ve lost the joy in that somewhere along the way so I don’t know yet. The other day my friend was asking me different questions and it got me thinking about what it was that I lost—was it writing, was it sharing? When it comes to social media, things shifted since back when Instagram first started out. The race changed and we had to change the way we did things, and it became more of a hustle rather than creating art. But now I’m starting to enjoy creating again. I enjoy taking pictures and sharing different parts about my life and opening up in certain ways. I used to write more about my journey through motherhood, but now I just talk to my friends, I don’t really share anything too personal. But what’s interesting is I find that I resonate with accounts that share personal things about motherhood, so it’s making me want to share part of my story a little bit more. I am so lucky that I have a wonderful group of girlfriends that have kept me afloat, that I’m able to share things with, but sharing on social

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media again will be baby steps because I’m such a private person. I think sharing our stories ultimately makes us feel less alone during this crazy thing called motherhood. You mentioned your friends, can you talk a little bit about what roles your friends play in your life as a mom, especially throughout the pandemic? Oh my god, for me it’s a loaded question because my mom was a single mom and I’m an only child and so a lot of the people in my life that were my family growing up were actually her best friends. They became aunts to me. I grew up seeing the importance of women having friends, and how they can be even more important than blood family in some cases. I’m just so lucky to have amazing friends, some since I was 12 years old. I have a very small family so my friends are very important to me. As a mom who is coming out of this pandemic, and who is just trying to get through every day like we all are, what are some of the little things you do just for yourself? What does self-care look like for you? Self-care for me right now is 1000% taking care of my mental health because it completely affects how I move through the world, how I move with my children, and how I see my future. My mental health was definitely impacted greatly throughout the pandemic, and it’s still an ongoing struggle. Even a little bit before Covid hit I began to have anxiety for the first time, so when the pandemic hit and I lost my aunt, my mom’s best friend who is like a second mother to me, I wasn’t able to handle that grief properly—and I still have a lot of that grief. She didn’t have a funeral, we weren’t able to say goodbye, nothing. It was the first time I had to step into that adult role as I was the one making phone calls, handling the logistics, and it took so much out of me because that was when we were home with sirens blaring all day. It was a lot and I think I just hit bottom. But at the end of last year I couldn’t take it, living with that pain and grief and anxiety but not doing anything to help myself. I realized I couldn’t wake up like that anymore, I needed to learn how to manage those feelings. I started journaling so I could figure out the thoughts in my head. It’s not a daily practice but every now and then I take out my notebook. Also, being honest with myself and with my friends has been a big step for me, because I’m such a private person to a fault that I often don’t share things even with my close friends. So being able to talk to people and open up was like a weight was lifted. And now I’m in the process of finding a therapist, and I hope to have that all figured out by the time they start school so I can start my weekly sessions. I’ve also recently started doing acupuncture. I’ve never thought about it, never done it in my life, but Ora Space reached out asking me to work with them. It truly has made such a difference. I’ve cried during sessions, they’ve helped so much, I truly see the


progression. The first two times I stayed awake and I couldn’t relax. My mind was too busy thinking about where I had to go after my appointment, what I had to do, how I had to go buy stuff for lunch for the kids. But the last couple of sessions I’ve been able to completely shut off and feel almost the release from my body. When I leave the office I’m on Cloud 9. It helps me get through the week, it resets my body, and even when the partnership ends, it is something I will definitely be implementing in my life. And I even want to expose my kids to it, to show them that there’s other ways to heal and release.

Photo by Yumi Matsuo

September 2021 | Brooklyn Family

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Nicole’s Favorite...

Cafe to get a cup of coffee: Maman, 1424 3rd Avenue Store to shop for her kids: Piccolini.com

this to get misinterpreted like I fixed myself and I’m super woman now, because it’s still very much a work in progress. But to know that I’m on that path brings me so much happiness.

Place for self-care: Ora Space, 9 East 4th Street, 646-205-7008 Kid-friendly restaurant: Patsy’s Pizzeria, 801 2nd Avenue and 61 West 74th Street Parks to take the kids: Ancient Playground, Central Park, East Side at 85th and Wave Hill Public Garden, 4900 Independence Avenue Date night or girls night restaurant: La Esquina, 114 Kenmare, 200 West 55th Street, 1402 2nd Avenue Favorite kid activities: ice skating in Bryant Park, roller skating in Central Park, and Museum Mile

Another thing that’s been a huge help is exercising three times a week. I do it at home with two little dumbbells and a booty band, and I watch YouTube videos. I do what I can and when I don’t I really feel the difference in my brain. I never want to do it but I never regret it because I always feel so good afterwards. I didn’t work out at all during the pandemic, and in January or February I decided to do a very easy online Pilates class and my knees and my joints were on fire. I realized how much I needed to stretch, move my limbs, move my joints. The same way you take care of your car, you put gas in it, you change the oil, it’s the same for your body and you only have one. If I don’t do anything now to take care of it I will wake up in 10 years and it will be even harder. I want to be strong, I want to be 50 years old and strong. We talked a lot about the struggles of the pandemic, but what was the silver lining of the pandemic for you? Were there any positives? It’s a hard question for me, but if I had to answer it I would say that before Covid hit I was just living with anxiety, not doing much about it, and just going through life accepting things as they were. The pandemic brought me to a place where things got so bad, but then a light switch flipped. I realized I wanted to change things about my life, and it forced me to reckon with things in a way that was uncomfortable. I might not have done it otherwise because I was always so busy, and I never wanted to take the time to open that part of me. Before the pandemic it’s almost like I wasn’t listening to my gut or my intuition because I didn’t have time to wallow in what I was feeling or sit down and figure out where this pain is coming from, where this trigger is coming from. I just had to keep moving. So to then be able to say I want to deal with these feelings, I want to figure out from the bottom up what I can do for myself, I’d have to say that was the positive thing that came out of this. But I do not want

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It sounds to me that the theme of your life right now is that you’re working to make yourself strong again, physically, mentally, emotionally. That’s how I feel. And I think what’s so amazing is within my friend group I’ve seen a collective shift, too, towards this way of thinking. Even scrolling through social media, you can see the shift in the type of posts people are sharing, of people making changes, growing, and it’s a beautiful part of life because we shouldn’t stay the same. I’m not the same person I was before—I love that person, I love all parts of me, I love every part of my story, but I’ve grown and changed and I’m always changing. That’s the beauty of life. Now I realize that I need to use all my resources: acupuncture, talking to my friends, telling them what I need, being honest about how I feel with the people I love, and even therapy, it can all make a big difference in my mental health. As moms and women it’s often hard to ask for help, to open up to those close to us, because there’s a veil of perfection that we’re always hiding behind. I think what has helped me a lot the longer I’ve been a mom, is looking at the relationship I have with my mom. She’s always been the queen of my life, but I look at her now as an adult and I see her faults, I see that she’s a real person, and that realization has helped me so much. When I beat myself up over being the perfect mom for my kids, I’m now able to take a step back and remember that I’m a person, too. I’m just a person, there’s no manual on how to do this, I’m going to make mistakes. Also, when they see me upset or see a side of me that’s human, like when they see me cry or get into arguments with my mom, now I know that’s ok because they also see us work it out. It’s a part of life, I can’t walk around being a shell of myself. I want my kids to see all of me because all sides of us are beautiful. I tell my son and my daughter it’s ok to cry, it’s ok to have all these big feelings you have, I have big feelings, too. It’s helped me a lot to remind myself that I’m a human being. Especially during the pandemic, what was I supposed to do, hide every time I got upset? Like they weren’t going to see me cry? I was with them every second of every day. It’s just not realistic. So when you look to the future, what do you see? I want a little country house, that’s the dream, that’s my next goal. It’ll be our weekend house for now, but my intention is that I will live there eventually. I went to SUNY New Paltz for college so I love the Catskills, I love Upstate New York. I want to retire there and have a garden. The house will be for the kids now, but my intention is one day my grandchildren will come and visit me there.


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September 2021 | Brooklyn Family

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apps

Apps and Devices to Keep Track of Your Kids By Donna Duarte-LaDD

P

erhaps it’s because we have all been together for the last 19 months, and as many parents go back to a schedule or an office — they may want to know where the kids are, as in an exact location. Or you may want to be privy to what sites or how long they have been online for the day. Whatever the reason, you are the parent, and you want an app or device to tell you what you need to know, and maybe even help set rules for the year ahead. Here are the 5 we recommend:

Circle Home Plus meetcircle.com

Screen time and rules went out the door for many parents during quarantine. Understandably, this became the lifeline for all of us. But if your kids, especially the older ones, are having a hard time putting the electronics down, it may be time for an advanced tech solution. Circle Home plus works by allowing you to manage your child’s screen time as well as websites and apps. Many parents know there are times, especially with specific sites and games, kids need rules, and with this device, you can manage their activity. Also, what a six-year-old looks at online may differ from, say, your fourteen-yearold. With this device, you can customize each user’s settings.(iOS and Android) Life360 life360.com

Keeping track of your child doesn’t mean you are micromanaging or being a helicopter parent; it means you’re parenting. Life 360 consists of three features: location, driving, and digital safety. As far as tracking apps and plans go, this one of the most affordable. The plans range from $4.17 to $16.67 monthly. Depending on the plan you choose, you can use this app for location history; unlimited place alerts to SOS Help Alert with 24/7 Dispatchers. As most of our kids become phone owners and want to meet up with their friends or go to the park, it is nice to know where they are; the app even alerts when their phone is low on battery. How long I will personally use this app, I am not sure. Every parent is different. As your child gets older, there may be a point where they may not be comfortable having this app on their

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phone; this is a family conversation to have when the time comes; meanwhile, a little piece of mine is something all parents deserve.(iOS or Android) Family Link families.google.com

If you’re looking for a way to have ground rules be part of your home system, then Family Link is a great way to implement boundaries when it comes to your child’s online activity. The Family Link app from Google is free and helps parents stay in the loop via their child’s Android device. Letting parents set specific digital ground rules for their family. We all know that during quarantine, the usage of electronics became a lifeline- especially with kids missing out on in-person socializing. Electronics became both a necessity and a burden. Now it is time to get back to some device usage limits. There is even an automatic shutdown time you can add, such as at bedtime on their devices. Or one biggie is to remotely shut down a device when asking isn’t working. As we get back to some everyday routines, Family Link will help you manage your child’s apps and know how much time they spend on each app, enabling you to set limits. See which devices work with Family Link.(Android devices running version 7.0 (Nougat) and higher. Devices running Android versions 5.0 and 6.0 (Lollipop and Marshmallow) may also be able to run Family Link). Jiobit jiobit.com

When babies are newborns, we have a baby monitor; some are basic while others are a bit like a James Bond gadget. This is what Jiobit is in the location monitor device world. A small real-time GPS tracker uses a combination of cellular, GPS, Wi-Fi & Bluetooth to track your child. The Jiobit can be secured using the builtin loop, which can be fastened onto shoelaces and a drawstring, or the secure loop, which can go into a buttonhole or around a belt loop. If you have ever called your child’s school to

assure they got off the bus, the Jiobit one-ups a phone call by allowing you to set up a geolocation check-in alert when your child arrives at a particular place like daycare. The device costs $130, and a data subscription is required (they range from $9-$15). So there is a bit of a financial commitment to this device, and it may not be for everyone. (Jiobit has its own secure connection to the internetand GPS-check the website before purchase to assure coverage). Tick Talk 4

If you are searching for a tracking device in a watch form, you may want to check out the Tick Talk 4 smartwatch. This durable smartwatch is an excellent alternative to a phone and especially great for young kids. The watch is a GPS that allows you to know your child’s location and communicate via video calling, voice calling, Wi-Fi calling as well as secured smart messaging. There are 20 Parental Controls such as blocking certain numbers and approving contacts. The watch does need to be set up with your cellphone provider; the cost averages around $10-15. Parents will also appreciate that reminders can be set on the phone. (redpocket.com/activate)


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