Westchester Family - February 2024

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February 2024


A Love Story Sophie Demenge, founder of the popular children’s lifestyle line, Oeuf, on how family is first for both life and her brand

Make Memories at Sleepaway Camp!

Tooth Fairy Tales

What to know before your child’s next dental visit

Flu vs Covid Which one is it?

Charter School of Educational Excellence Do you want an excellent education for your child?

FREE Public School with Free lunch for all

Grades K-12


February 2024


pg. 28

pg. 14 pg. 10

pg. 26


Stories & columns

8 | Health Is it the flu, COVID, or a cold?

4 | Editor’s Letter

16 | Health Immunization Schedule 2024: what parents need to know 26 | Cover Sophie Demenge’s on founding, with her husband Michael, the children’s lifestyle brand Oeuf and how family is first for both her brand and life

10 | Ask the Expert The right dentist matters for kids with disability challenges 12 | Mom Hacks Teaching your kids about money 18 | Mom Stories Mirror on the Wall: reflections on beauty and aging

pg. 18

Family fun 14 | Family Day Out Visit the Elephant exhibit at the AMNH 28 | Calendar All the fun events and activities for February

Directories 19 | Charter Schools Guide

20 | Camp Sleepaway Camps: crafting memories this summer 23 | Camp 8 top tips for saving money on summer camp

on the Cover

24 | For Parents Only Westchester’s speakeasy bars

Produced by: Donna Duarte-Ladd

Photo: Yumi Matsuo | yumimatsuostudio.com Makeup & Hair: Buffy Hernandez | buffysaintmarie.com Cover written by: Serena Norr

February 2024 | Westchester Family


Editor’s Note

Nina Gallo Photography

Hey there, February Winter is here brrrr, and some of us have dusted off those winter coats after not experiencing snow in some parts of New York (701 days in the city alone!) With the colder months comes the seasonal viruses. While we aren’t doctors, we checked in with the experts, How Parents can Differentiate from the Flu, COVID or a Cold (page 8), to hopefully help you when that pesky cough sounds like it may be more. We also included the Immunization Schedule 2024 (page 16). The chilly weather is why we photographed our cover mom, Sophie Demenge (page 26), in her family’s cozy home this month. Sophie and her husband Michael founded the children’s lifestyle line Oeuf.

This line is unique and beloved by many New Yorkers who adore the quirky touches of city life woven into some of their designs. Sophie shares with us about living in Brooklyn and why family and Oeuf will always go hand in hand. Enough about winter! We are true New Yorkers, and we’re starting to think of the warmer months ahead because this is what we do, which means Summer Camp! We know summer camps, so we have a helpful piece on Sleepaway Camps (page 20) If you are searching for more camp info, head to our site (newyorkfamily.com) for all our helpful and articles.

Publisher: Clifford Luster Executive Director: Donna Duarte-Ladd Associate Publisher: Erin Brof Advertising Director: Stacie Goldberg Deputy Editor: Jeannine Cintron Digital Editor: Kaitlyn Riggio Events Manager: Shara Levine Partnership Managers: Lauren Alperin, Lauren Anchin, Joan Bergman, Mary Cassidy, Suzanne Cirigliano, Chris Cunnington, Lori Falco, Shelli Goldberg-Peck, LynnMarie Hanley, Lisa Herlihy, Nicole Miller, Janine Mulé, Nina Spiegelman, Gwen Tomaselli Marketing & Strategy Director: Rosalia Bobé Marketing & Events Assistant: Ashley Rivera Sales & Marketing assistant: Elana Cantor Marketing Assistant: Tilejah Gilead Media Sales Assistant: Anastasia Aktipis Art Director: Leah Mitch Web Developer: Sylvan Migdal Graphic Designers: Arthur Arutyunov, Connie Sulsenti Editors at large: Serena Norr, Cris Pearlstein Editorial Contributors: Jana Beauchamp, Mia Salas

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

Donna President: Victoria Schneps-Yunis CEO: Joshua Schneps COO: Clifford Luster 2023

New York Family has been awarded the PMA Gold Award for for Overall Design and Bronze for Website General Excellence.

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

4 WestchesterFamily.com | February 2024

New York Family is published monthly by Queens Family Media, LLC. Reproduction of New York Family Media in whole or part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. All rights reserved. ©2024 Queens Family Media, LLC

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When is a pediatric dentist right for your child?


inding the right practice for a child’s first encounter with a dentist can be daunting. Choose wrongly and children may view each visit with fear and anxiety. They may be too traumatized to learn about proper hygiene and nutrition. Make the right choice, however, and kids will have a relaxed, comfortable attitude about dental visits and can look forward to a lifetime of making good, proactive decisions about their oral health. Main Street Pediatric Dentistry has been the right choice for two generations of Westchester parents. Started by Dr. Penny Resnick-Graulich in 1984, Main Street Pediatric Dentistry is a child-centered practice designed especially to make the most vulnerable humans feel at ease. “We are a team of women who are compassionate and caring,” Dr. Penny says of Main Street, which comprises herself and three other dentists, as well as a staff of 18, including Hygienists. What sets Main Street Pediatric Dentistry apart? “We put a lot of work into making kids comfortable,” Dr. Penny says of her Tuckahoe office. “Our goal is to leave a lasting impression with your children that makes them excited to come back.” All rooms are themed and decorated to emphasize fun. There is a puzzle room, a jungle room, and a cave-themed room, a la the Indiana Jones movies. Waiting areas display a nautical theme and include a video room and a hands-on room for children with sensory challenges. This attention to detail goes beyond surface details. Main Street’s philosophy is to treat children differently than adults, from the demeanor of staff to treating child-specific conditions to paying particular attention to how the child’s teeth, gums, and mouth are growing and developing. According to Dr. Penny, educating children about good oral hygiene is a major component of her work. Main Street welcomes ALL children Parents of children with special needs have

6 WestchesterFamily.com | February 2024

found Main Street Pediatric Dentistry to be a welcome practice for their youngsters. In addition to the sensory area mentioned above, Main Street dentists are trained

to work with children who have a range of special needs. “These are some of my favorite patients,” Dr. Penny says. Treating special needs children requires specific skills tailored to meet those needs. “It can be everything from your tone of voice to respecting specific boundaries they may have, to tailoring treatment plans to their unique needs.” Like many superheroes, Dr. Penny’s origin story is rooted in the trauma she experienced as a child. When she was 16, a dentist injected her with novocaine for the first time and she promptly fainted. She says: “That was when I decided I wanted to make a difference in kids’ lives and get them to love coming to the dentist.” Dr. Penny is especially proud of the fact that close to 900 of her current patients are the children of patients who saw her in their early years. In addition to the practice’s clinical work, Main Street maintains a prominent profile in the community via outreach at local schools and libraries. To learn more about Main Street Pediatric Dentistry, visit their website at mainstreetpediatricdentistry.com or call them at 914-633-4440.

We are focused on optimal oral health while providing a safe, comfortable, and FUN environment – come check out our submarine-

Our dentists have specialized training to work with special needs patients

Penny Resnick-Graulich, D.M.D Emelie Preis, D.D.S. Gabriela Ganoza Duron, D.D.S. Fatina Shtivelman, D.D.S.

February 2024 | Westchester Family



Is it the Flu or COVID or a Cold? A helpful guide for parents By BarBara russo


ith flu season still upon us, viruses and early cases of respiratory illnesses on a constant news loop, it’s not hard to wonder when your child has a cold and when it is more. To make matters worse, seasonal influenza activity continues to increase in most parts of the country. As a parent, here’s what you need to know about this year’s flu season and what you can do to help keep your kids flu-free. Here are some tips on what is what when it comes to colds, flu, and Covid. But first the flu. The CDC estimates that there have been at least 1.8 million illnesses, 17,000 hospitalizations, and 1,100 deaths from flu so far this season. “At the moment, the flu season is in

8 WestchesterFamily.com | February 2024

high gear,” Samir Undavia, MD, attending physician, NJ ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery in Marlton, NJ, said, adding that the CDC numbers include both children and adults. But to put things into a clearer perspective, this year’s flu season isn’t too different from last year’s. “Parents should expect a similar flu season to last year, which included approximately 11,000 medical visits per 100,000 kids and 119 hospitalizations per 100,000 kids,” Undavia said. Over 80 percent of severe disease were unvaccinated children, Undavia added. In New York during this flu season, cases are rising, but right now, the rates are still lower than around this time last year, according to the state health department. Symptoms of Flu in Kids As anyone who’s had the flu can attest, having it at any age is brutal. Lots of rest and drinking plenty of fluids can help a lot.

Symptoms of the flu in children and adults usually include fever, chills, muscle and body aches, fatigue, headaches, cough, sore throat, and a runny nose. But there are a few differences in symptoms between children and adults, explained Flora Sinha, MD, internal medicine at Cedars Sinai Medical Group. “Gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are also common, although these symptoms are seen more in children versus adults. Children may also have higher fevers,” Sinha said. When to See a Doctor At this point, you might be wondering: The flu is often treated at home. At what point should I bring my child to the doctor? “Parents should bring their child to a doctor if they have complications from the flu, such as ear pain and pressure, shortness of breath, severe fatigue without oral intake of liquids and food, or if the symptoms

Flu vs. Covid vs. a Cold persist for longer than the flu should last, which is over 10-14 days,” explained Undavia. Sinha added that temperature and fever play a big role in when to bring your child to the pediatrician. “For very young babies–younger than 3 months–you’ll want to see your pediatrician if your child has a rectal fever of 100.4 or higher immediately,” Shinha explained. “For healthy adults and children 3 years of age and up we look for a fever that is higher than 104F and/or that won’t respond to fever reducing medications or lasts longer than 72 hours. If your child is extremely fatigued, looking lethargic, you may also bring them in.” One of the best ways for kids and adults to prevent the spread of the flu includes washing hands often Preventing the Flu Not surprising, some of the best ways for kids and adults to prevent the spread of the flu are pretty simple. It’s basically what you’d expect to do when trying to prevent other

Jenean White, MD, a family medicine physician, shared some general symptoms to look if you’re trying to identify which illness is present: Fever

Commonly present in all except cold; more sudden onset with flu


Present in all; mild to moderate with a cold


Rare in cold; common in flu; sometimes with COVID


Rare in cold; sometimes in COVID and flu


Rare in cold; common in COVID and flu

Runny or stuffy nose

Common with cold; sometimes with COVID and flu

Shortness of breath

Rare in flu and cold; sometimes in COVID

respiratory illnesses, including: • Washing hands often • Avoiding close contact with sick people. When you’re sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick. • Covering coughs and sneezes • Staying home if you’re sick The Flu vs. Covid vs. a Cold: Which is it? Your child comes home from school and isn’t

feeling well. Is it a cold? A Covid test reads negative, okay it’s the flu or is it? Needless to say, differentiating between these three respiratory illnesses can be quite difficult. Without a lab test confirming the diagnosis, identifying which illness is present can be challenging, Undavia said. But in general, colds are more mild, while the flu and Covid can be more severe.

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ask the expert

Your Neurodiverse Child’s Dental Visit The right dentist matters for kids with disability challenges By Donna Duarte-LaDD


ot many of us go to a dental office excitedly; I still, from childhood visits, have needle fear. You know that long silver needle that goes in your mouth? Just why? I ask myself any time I’m in the dental chair. This is why, as parents, we can all understand why kids may face challenges when visiting the dentist. Imagine how sensory or kids with disability challenges may feel on these visits. As a mom with a child on the ASD spectrum, dental visits are one of the most challenging of doctor visits as they incorporate things my child hates to do, like sit still and have you look into his mouth. Like most special needs parents, we not only want doctors to get our kid; We need you to vibe with all the uniqueness they bring to the table or rather the chair- for these visits can be nerve-racking for them and us parents. This is why when I found Dr. Alice Hoang at Brooklyn Mint Dental, I knew we may have found ‘our person.’ Dr. Alice specializes in treating neurodiverse patients, both adults and children. The office aims to make dental visits more practical and enjoyable, which isn’t easy if you have an anxious child. I was super impressed not only with Dr. Alice and her entire office, who took the time to get to know my son, but how she slowly worked to make him comfortable and was able to get him in the medical chair without him once freaking out (she was ready with the weighted blankets and his favorite shows-brilliant.) I appreciated Dr. Alice’s advice about using a gentler three-sided toothbrush, which can do more when your child has limited teeth brushing time, and using toothpaste with fun flavors. Most notably, her understanding and natural caring personality that most special needs parents know our kids have a superpower of knowing who is real and who is not and gravitating only toward the people who naturally connect with them. I asked the doctor for some pointers for parents wondering what dental office may work for them and the questions they need to ask when choosing a dentist. How should parents approach long-term dental care planning for special needs

children? The more that guardians are mindful of their child’s triggers, sources of comfort, communication style, and behavioral profile, the easier it is for a provider to tailor their care to be more approachable. When we care for special needs children, the guardian’s input is uniquely critical to the care of their children. Appointments should be on the shorter side, especially at the beginning for special needs children, so they can get acclimated with the space and staff. Easing into treatment slowly can prevent fear leading up to future dental visits. I am not physically or mentally challenged, yet I am still not a fan of dental visits, so what strategies work for you when you have a patient with high anxieties or sensory challenges? The tools we use for our sensory-sensitive patients work for even the most anxious patients. Ultimately, our amenities are intended to ease behavioral management of our patients in most circumstances, no matter the patient’s diagnosis. What should parents look for in a dentist when seeking treatment for this child with disability challenges? The most important aspect of anyone’s

10 WestchesterFamily.com | February 2024

care is finding a provider they trust and feel safe with. When seeking treatment for a child with disability challenges, this applies to both the guardians and the patient. My philosophy is meeting any patient where they are to help them achieve the highest level of dental health possible. I would encourage any guardian to find a dentist that values relationships with all patients no matter their needs. Ultimately, dentistry varies from dentist to dentist, and the philosophy, values and personality of the dentist shape the practice. Is it essential for the doctor to have parental involvement, or should they (the parents) step back a bit? Collaboration is an important aspect of general dentistry, whether with other professionals and/or with our patients and their guardians. I would encourage parents to be involved in familiarizing and desensitizing the patient in the new environment. Establishing trust with the dentist helps build rapport and makes the patient feel comfortable with the parent or guardian’s support. When a treatment plan is suggested, dentists like to offer choices, explaining the difference of the pros/ cons of each option, allowing both the patient and their guardian to choose the best option with the dentist’s support. When booking the first appointment, I

would also ask the dental practice if it’s possible to have shorter appointments initially for your child to get acquainted with their new environment. With time, your child will feel more in control of their environment and less anxiety towards a new, but now familiar face. You can ask if you can bring some items that might help your child in the chair such as weighted blankets or stuffed animals, their favorite show or music cued up, noise-canceling headphones and sunglasses. Involve your child in this process so they know they have some autonomy and their opinion matters. A boost in self-esteem and confidence does wonders for everyone. Pertaining specifically to sleep needs, how does treatment for neurodiverse patients and/or patients with dental traumas differ? The assessment and screening of sleep and airway will be the same. However, the treatment may vary, and patients with prior trauma or sensory sensitivity may reject the possible options available depending on the etiology and manifestations of their trauma or sensory sensitivity.

“Establishing trust with the dentist helps build rapport and makes the patient feel comfortable with the parent or guardian’s support.” As a dentist who treats sensory-sensitive patients and children with disabilities? What measures do you take to make the dental experience more comfortable for the kids and parents? When we created Brooklyn Mint, we wanted to put the most anxious patient at ease, whether they are triggered by sensory stimulation or by the environment. In every treatment suite, we have individualized speakers for music (or white noise), a television with noise-canceling headphones, massaging heated eye masks, cooling eye masks, weighted blankets, a weighted stuffed toy, microfiber blankets, light dimmers, a selection of fidget toys, guided meditation virtual and traditional nitrous oxide as well as an option for moderate sedation. While each amenity we offer helps elevate the patient experience,

each is also very intentional and evidencebased. We also have a children’s sensory room with a nursing chair for any chest-feeding parents. More importantly, our doctors and team can ease the most anxious and/or sensory-sensitive patient. When a patient receives our initial forms, there is an “Optional Handle Me with Care Questionnaire.” When patients (or their guardians) decide to complete this form, it allows us to customize the care of our patients before they even step through our doors. We can cue preferred television shows and music, dim the lights, have any amenity readily available, and customize our approach for each patient. Dr. Alice Hoang can be found at: Brooklyn Mint Dental, 567 Pacific Street, Suite B, Brooklyn, NY 11217. 718-360-0365

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mom hacks

Teaching Your Kids About Money By Serena Norr


y jaw dropped when my younger daughter told me that MOM stands for Made Out of Money! I had to set her straight on that one, but it had me thinking about how we talk about and teach money to our kids. Learning about money is a valuable life skill where kids and teens can understand how money works and how to budget, invest, and save. Below, we’re sharing some helpful programs and resources in Westchester (and beyond) to help your kids understand that the meaning of MOM has nothing to do with money. ALICE $ense Program (White Plains) This Westchester and Putnam program focuses on helping residents access financial resources. This includes tips on how to grow your savings, build sustainable spending habits, handle financial emergencies, and more. Additionally, the program is free. Reach out to alicesense@uwwp.org to learn more. Future Entrepreneurs and Innovators (Rye) This camp, led by iCamp, focuses on teaching kids entrepreneur skills. This includes a focus

on their business ideas, collaboration, and learn the importance of dividing up project tasks. Additionally, students will create a website for their business, use digital design, coding, more. Additionally, kids will share their business ideas to the class via a Shark Tank-style pitch.

dynamics of money related to the stock market. This includes workshops, an after-school program, and a summer camp. Current classes include teen bond basics, Wall Street 101, learning about stocks, budgeting, and more. Check out their website for the latest classes.

One World (Westchester and Online) This Westchester-based program offers an online and bi-lingual 21st Century Youth Program. Serving Middle and High School students, programming supports teens in Elmsford, Port Chester, and Ossining, covering financial and technology readiness skills. 55 Hillandale Road, Rye Brook, NY 10573.

Pockets for Change This organization works with local schools (K-12) to bring their financial literacy program to kids and teens. Recently, they partnered with The Chappaqua Summer Scholarship Program to teach teens financial literacy. Pocket Change believes understanding money is a tool for self-care and social justice. The organization educates and provides tools to teens to help them discover their relationship with money, build skills to navigate financial systems and create a community for action and advocacy.

914United (Bronxville) 914United offers a range of classes for teens. For money, teens in Westchester can take their One Step Ahead program. A careerreadiness and financial literacy focused program, kids will gain tips as they learn how to managing money and how to stand out during a job search. 54 McGeory Ave, Bronxville, NY 10708 Teach Me Wall Street This online program teaches kids and teens the

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biz Kid$ This TV program, focused on money for teens and kids, teaches how to make money and start businesses. Additionally, this includes easily accessible workshops and lessons online. Some programs include budgeting basics, understanding allowance, money math, banking, and more.

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family day out

Celebration of Elephants Must-see exhibit at American Museum of Natural History By BarBara russo


f you haven’t yet - it is time to walk into the new The Secret World of Elephants exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History, and you’ll get a sense of just how amazing these gentle giants are in the wild. In a narrow but sprawling curatorial space at the uptown museum, The Secret World of Elephants, now opened, tells the story of elephant species and their relatives through life-size models, videos, graphics, and more. “We are delighted to present The Secret World of Elephants, a comprehensive look at these intriguing and important animals and the latest scientific thinking about their abilities, environmental roles, social structure, history and future,” Sean M. Decatur, president of the American Museum of Natural History, said. “This exhibition is an example of what the American Museum of Natural History does so well: by starting at a point of shared curiosity and fascination we can share larger stories about evolution, the environment, animal behavior, and the interactions between human and animals, thereby expanding understanding of the natural world and our impact on it.” What to Expect at The Secret World of Elephants Some of us have been fortunate enough to see an elephant at a zoo or even in the wild. However, the new museum exhibit allows visitors of all ages to learn more about these beautiful creatures. The Secret World of Elephants offers so much insight into these animals through interactive exhibits including: A station where visitors can feel the extremely low sound waves elephants use— called infrasound—to send messages through the ground and to other elephants’ feet, which conduct vibrations up their legs and to their brains A life-size African elephant model with a video projection on one side of its body showing the skeleton of this massive mammal and

providing an inside look at how it processes the huge amount of food it eats—about 300–500 pounds per day—and elephant gestation, which can last for nearly two years, longer than any other living mammal A miniature elephant model that prompts visitors to turn a wheel to flap its ears, a process that helps elephants keep cool in hot environments And—brace yourself!—an exploration of elephant poop, featuring replica dung, that provides key nutrients for plants and other animals and helps expand plant ranges by transporting seeds. (Pretty fascinating!) Additionally, life-size models, including a scientifically accurate representation of a woolly mammoth shedding its fur, fossils and casts, and videos reveal the amazing story of these massive mammals. A Bit About Elephants It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t see how majestic elephants truly are. By the way, there are three species of elephants native to two continents: the African savanna, African forest and Asian elephant. But at one time, animals like this, who had tusks and trunks, lived on almost every continent and many islands. Although only these three elephant species remain, their abilities remain remarkable. Elephants’ trunks are strong enough to pull down a tree, yet nimble enough to pluck a single blade of grass. They communicate extensively with each other, maintaining complex emotional ties with other herd mem-

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bers. They shape their environment, creating habitat for countless plants and animals. And over centuries of interactions with humans, they’ve been trained for war and work, and are powerful religious and political symbols across cultures. “Elephants are the world’s largest land animal, but we understand surprisingly little about them,” The Secret World of Elephants curator Ross MacPhee, curator emeritus in the museum’s department of mammalogy, said. “Researchers are working toward assembling a much more complete picture of elephants and we’re learning new secrets about their minds, bodies, and ecological importance every day. We also know elephants face an uncertain future. The global demand for ivory, along with climate change and habitat loss, are pushing them along the path to extinction. If we don’t act quickly, elephants could be gone before we ever truly get to know them.” What You Need to Know About Visiting the AMNH The American Museum of Natural History is located at 200 Central Park West, Manhattan. Hours: The museum is open daily, 10 am–5:30 pm; at presstime the exhibit has tickets available until June 30th, 2024. Tickets: Tickets that include admission to The Secret World of Elephants start at $28 for adults, $16.50 for children (ages 3-12) and $22.50 for seniors and students. Timed-entry tickets must be reserved in advance at amnh. org/tickets. For more information, visit amnh.org.


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February 2024 | Westchester Family



Immunization Schedule 2024 What parents need to know By Kaitlyn Riggio


ith the new year comes a new, updated immunization schedule from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). This is especially important for parents of children attending school in New York. Children attending day care and pre-K through 12th grade in New York State must receive all required vaccinations from the recommended schedule in order to remain in school. We sat down with some health experts to put together this guide of what you need to know about the immunization schedule, including what it is, what’s new this year and why it’s important to follow it.

What is an immunization schedule? How is it determined, and why is it important for parents to follow it? Immunization schedules are specific guidelines on when vaccines should be administered. Determined by the ACIP, schedules are determined by factors including the patient’s age and when they received their last dose of vaccine. The immunization schedule is carefully studied and created under many levels of oversight. Health professionals do not recommend deviating from the schedule or vaccinating on a delayed schedule. “Any delay in vaccines just is putting your child at risk for these serious conditions,” says Dr. Ashley Stephens, pediatrician and assistant professor of pediatrics at Columbia University. “We don’t recommend it, and there’s actually a lot of practices who don’t allow that.” Dr. Wendy Johnson, pediatrician at Tribeca Pediatrics, says that the timing of the immunization schedule is determined to protect children from illnesses when they’d be most vulnerable to them. As a result, deviating from the schedule can have serious consequences. “That’s kind of like a hole where that particular disease can get through and their

child could get sick,” Johnson says. “And all of the things that we have vaccines for are things that potentially can cause serious harm and maybe even death.” Why is there a new immunization schedule every year? What updates to the immunization schedule should parents be aware of this year? The CDC puts out a new immunization schedule every year to keep up to date with changes in formulations of vaccines, new vaccines and updated recommendations regarding who should receive which vaccines and when. This year, the updated immunization schedule saw the addition of a new RSV vaccine (under the brand name Beyfortus) for children under eight months old and some high-risk kids between eight and 19 months old. What’s unique about Beyfortus is that it gives protection against RSV right away, meaning infants will be protected from RSV more quickly. “It’s actually giving you the protection

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that your body usually develops,” Stephens says. “You don’t need those couple weeks to give protection.” Every schedule includes an updated flu shot to target new strains that may be going around, and this year the recommendations suggest that everyone six months and older should get a flu shot. Some vaccines were taken off the schedule as well, including the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV-13), diphtheria and tetanus toxoid vaccine (DT), bivalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and Menactra. Even though a new immunization schedule is put out every year, parents shouldn’t worry if they previously vaccinated their children according to the “old” schedule. “The immunization schedule is constantly changing as new technology and data emerge,” says Dr. Whitney Casares, pediatrician and host of the Modern Mommy podcast. In cases where a child might have missed a vaccination (for example, they’ve moved to the United States from a country where cer-

tain vaccines aren’t required), Johnson says there’s a catch-up immunization schedule to get kids on track. When looking at the vaccine schedule, parents might be confused to see diseases that aren’t common anymore, like polio or measles. Why is it important to continue vaccinating against these illnesses, even when they don’t pop up much anymore? Vaccinating large groups of people for diseases that have become rare is what keeps them rare, Casares says. “Scientists call this ‘herd immunity,’” Casares says. “Even though we don’t see these diseases often, they can still re-emerge if there’s not enough immunity in a community.” Herd immunity is especially important for members of the population who aren’t able to get vaccinated. For example, children can’t get a measles vaccine until they’re a year old, so it’s up to the adults around them to get vaccinated to avoid spreading the illness. Johnson refers to diseases like these as “opportunistic,” on the lookout for any entry-

“Any delay in vaccines just is putting your child at risk for these serious conditions.” point to spread. “Even though you don’t hear about these cases, these things are still there,” Johnson says. “And if you don’t vaccinate against it, it’s like an open door.” Just because there hasn’t been a local outbreak of a disease in a while doesn’t mean the disease is gone for good. “It doesn’t make news when you say, ‘Oh, we didn’t see a case of measles this year,’” Stephens says. “But these are serious illnesses that vaccines prevent.” Some parents might be wary about vaccinating their children for different reasons. How can they manage some of

these anxieties? Casares says that while parents might have some hesitations surrounding vaccines, it’s important to remember that they’re important to keeping children healthy and safe. “It’s completely understandable that parents may worry about vaccinating their children,” Casares says. “It’s important to remember that the risk of not vaccinating kids is significantly higher than any side effects associated with the vaccines themselves.” Johnson advises parents to “stay away from Dr. Google,” as much of the information online is put out by individuals not qualified to give medical information to generate clicks. She also recommends doctor-reviewed sites like kidshealth.org if parents are on the look out for information online. If you have questions about vaccines or anything on the immunization schedule, don’t be afraid to ask. “It’s important to talk with your pediatrician or other trusted health professionals to make sure your questions are answered and you feel confident getting the vaccine,” Stephens says.

Do You Know a Child with Learning Disabilities? The John Cardinal O’Connor School helps children who learn differently thrive. The John Cardinal O’Connor School invites parents to learn about our affordable language-based academic curriculum for children in grades K-8 with learning disabilities, speech or language impairments or other health impairments. Our certified special-education teachers use multi-sensory teaching techniques and blended learning in small classes to help children thrive academically, spiritually, emotionally and socially in our supportive school community. JCOS is a Catholic elementary school that welcomes children of all faiths. Call Sister Jeannie at (914) 591-9330 or email admissions@johncardinaloconnorschool.org to make an appointment today!

Now welcoming Kindergarten and 1st Grade! February 2024 | Westchester Family


mom stories

Mirror on the Wall Reflections on beauty & aging By Drew IsserlIs Kramer


very night, I look in the mirror at the 39-year-old woman staring back at me. I am not young. I am not old. But things are changing. I pluck a gray hair and wonder, do I have jowls? Are my lips wrinkling, or am I just dehydrated? In truth, I don’t take great care of myself. I don’t moisturize enough. I don’t speak the language of dermatology. Sometimes I forget to wear a hat. I wonder what will happen if I continue down this course. Will I look like a little old lady while everyone else I know has the skin of a baby’s bottom? What will I look like if I look 87? The rebellious side of my personality toys with being a silver fox. What if I let my skin leather with decades of happy summers in the sun? Maybe I can be a fearless, cool crone like Iris Apfel. In some ways, I can present as low maintenance. I’ll never be a woman with a perfect manicure or blowout, but I have a vibe and my own vices. I haven’t taken the leap into injectables because I am scared. I work out three days a week and start the day with a Gwenyth Paltrow intermittent fast until lunch to keep carbs, cheese, and wine in my major food groups. There are months that I become fed up with my graying hair and impulsively drive to a salon for a single process rinse. Maybe I am not ready to look old. In today’s filtered online world, no one needs to look old. Mainstream photo-editing tools like Facetune and Instagram’s Paris filter shrink my pores and waistline in a swipe and a pinch. Such advances in technology and media created our youth-obsessed culture and standards of beauty so unattainable that even celebrities cannot keep up. In December 2023, 56-year-old actress Maria Bello made headlines for lamenting that “every housewife on TV was seemingly getting younger” while she was getting older. Try she did to beat the clock, but it only brought misery and pain. Eventually, she learned to “own it.” Self-acceptance is always the goal, but every day every woman must confront the mirror and ask herself: is this the best she can do? The best one can do is a personal assess-

ment. It is the lowest amount of work one is willing to put in to look and feel presentable when leaving the house. While this changes depending on the occasion, for the purpose of this examination, my personal best will be defined as good enough to run into an old friend on the street without feeling naked in my aging face. As I grapple with the shifting shape of my head, I consult the women in my life to understand how they approach growing older. My first call is to my lawyer and mother, who is 69. I asked her if I could refer to myself as “coming from vain people ‘’ in print without offending her. She responds with knowing agreement. She believes that her mother, a beautiful woman with never a blonde hair out of place, would be “rolling over in her grave to know that her daughter let her hair go white.” During the pandemic, my mother went cold turkey on hair dye, declaring herself free. “As you get older,” she says, “everything changes.” While she no longer cares much about clothes or makeup, she admits she misses her blonde era. Asked for her current definition of “good enough,” she says she doesn’t want to give up Botox because she doesn’t want to “look like a hag.” My first lesson in aging: everyone has a relationship with appearance and their own line for its maintenance, one that might shift over time. At the mention of Botox, I call Dr. Margo

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Lederhandler–the go to dermatologist of my thirty-something mom friends in Westchester, NY. My first line of questions came from my observation of a group of 29-year-old girls at a neighboring table at a restaurant. In a discussion of their addiction to Botox, one joked that she “didn’t know what was in it, but didn’t care.” When probed about the science and risk factors of looking good, Dr. Lederhandler expertly detailed the history of Botulinum toxin-A, first used as an ophthalmological treatment in the 1970s. When injected into the nerve under the skin near the eye, doctors saw offensive muscle spasms go away with a wrinkle reduction bonus. This cosmetic purpose was FDA approved in 2002, launching a multimillion-dollar antiaging revolution of injectable products that smooth lines and fill sag. Aside from the occasional bruise or a reversible eyelid or eyebrow droop, Dr. Lederhandler assures that the risks are low when the facial anatomy is assessed properly. Reassured that the toxins that freeze muscles won’t scramble my brain, I ask Dr. Lederhandler if I’ve missed my boat not starting at 29. What’s the deal with preventative? She advises patients to “begin injectables when bothered by lines that remain when the face is at rest.” The lines on the skin show signs of repeated muscle movement. The longer those lines are ingrained, the harder

it will be to erase them. In that sense, earlier can be better. As we ponder the many other options to prevent aging, my mind races. Overwhelmed by the magnitude of treatments that range from surgical to injectable to topical to lasers, Dr. Lederhandler brings me back to the present with the admission: It is OK to age. “We will all age,” she reminds. “Some people don’t want to be lineless.” For her patients and herself, her goal is “not to defy aging, but to look like the best version of herself.” She uses injectables, lasers, topicals and sunscreen to help patients look rested and refreshed. To Dr. Lederhandler, “aging gracefully does not mean giving up; rather, it is to help patients understand what is reasonable and to feel good in their skin.” Armed with more information, I toy with the idea of a laser to keep my pores cute for in real-life encounters on the street. As I consider the many other things I could do with the price of eternal youth, I slink back into my regular life. While chatting with my writer friend Fran Scheffler, I ask her how she approaches beauty as she ages. A stunning silver fox at 77, I learned that her dark hair started to go gray at the age of 15. In college, she got away with a Clarol wash-in

Self-acceptance is always the goal, but every day every woman must confront the mirror and ask herself: is this the best she can do? shampoo, but in her early 30s, she “stopped needing to be that vain” and embraced the slow transformation of age. Reflecting on the impact of her own mother’s vanity, she adds, “in her mother’s generation, dress, makeup and hair was an artform.” It was very important to keep herself looking good. Fran attributes her more simple approach to beauty to the validation she received for her intelligence. With a Ph.D. in Speech, Language, and Hearing, her work as a clinician and academic shifted her focus to bigger things than the mirror. While she worries

that “women who are too caught up in looks believe that is all they offer,” she admits that “the women who do nothing look unkempt.” Anything too extreme is unhealthy. Today, Fran wants to look healthy. As we discussed her style and new hair styling tool, it struck me that a little vanity is important. It is healthy to care about one’s physical appearance. Keeping the body mentally and physically fit is not an irrational quest for youth and beauty. Instead, I rebrand it a pursuit of wholeness in mind, body, and spirit. It is a commitment to accept what is while, as my Grammy would say, “doing the most with what we have.” If it takes a facelift or a crisp new pair of blue jeans to confront the mirror and move on to a greater purpose, you receive no judgment here. I cannot predict how I will feel or the lengths I will go to feel like I am my best self. We all struggle to accept change at every age. If we are lucky, we will get to mourn the youthful glow that recedes with each passing year and become accustomed to a new face in the mirror. Aging is scary, but I do like the person that I am becoming. My collagen is waning, but my chutzpah grows.

charter schools Directory Special Advertising Supplement

Amani Public Charter School 60 S Third Ave., Mount Vernon amanicharter.org 914-668-2553 btanner@amanicharter.org The Mission of Amani Public Charter School is to provide 100% of Mount Vernon students who attend the school from 5th-8th grade with the academic and critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in competitive high school programs, college, and the career of their choice.

The Charter School of Educational Excellence 260 Warburton Ave, Yonkers 914-476-5070 charterschoolofeducational­excellence.org The Charter School of Educational Excellence (CSEE) is a regional charter school open to students in grades k-12 who reside in Westchester, Rockland, and Bronx counties. In partnership with parents, teachers, and community, CSEE instills in students a passion for learning to be critical thinkers, leaders, and lifelong learners. Their curriculum fosters a healthy body and mind course of study that has been recognized by the NYS Department of Education as an “Exceptional School” for its academic program.

February 2024 | Westchester Family




CampS Crafting memories this summer


onths before summer, many parents entertain an age-old question: how can we make this summer special for their kids? One tradition is summer sleepaway camps. Sleepaway camps nourish kids while giving them a break from everyday routine, whether from the city or from playing videos all day (#iykyk.), This allows kids to step out of their comfort zones after a long school year and explore new or familiar friendships in a supportive and supervised setting. These camp experiences contribute to personal development, resilience, and a deeper connection. The best part is that there is a camp for every kid that is the perfect fit for a fantastic summer. Check out our picks!

Camp Tuku Huguenot, N.y., 12746 Camptuku.org 928-224-5855, info@camptuku.org

Camp Chateaugay 233 Gadway Road, merrill, Ny 12955 Chateaugay.com info@chateaugay.com

Tucked away on the pristine shores of a beautiful mountain lake in New York’s Adirondacks, Camp Chateaugay has been the summer “home away from home” for campers aged 7 -17 years old, since 1946. Camp Chateaugay is a co-ed, traditional, sleep-away summer camp focused on building independence, self confidence and friendships as well as providing world-class training in a variety of land sports, water sports, and arts — all while having fun and creating life-long memories. Camp Chateaugay offers campers the chance to unplug from technology and connect with nature. They provide a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment with experienced and passionate staff who are dedicated to ensuring every camper has an unforgettable summer, filled with fun, learning and growth.

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Camp Tuku is a traditional sleepaway camp with a mindful approach! With summer camps hosted in Mayer, Arizona, and Huguenot, NY, Camp Tuku welcomes girls and boys ages 6-17 from all over the country. In everything they do – from yoga, innovations, archery, low ropes, arts & crafts, swimming, and pet care – they do it mindfully, always integrating the mind, body, and heart to build resilience in their campers! In collaboration with Emory University’s Center for Contemplative Science (The Center), Camp Tuku has integrated its mindfulness summer camp program with The Center’s SEE Learning™ curriculum, integrating competencies, resources, and skills that support kids’ well-being and flourishing. Campers will build relationships and focus on community while building resilience, confidence, focus, reflection, and awareness.

Dorothy P Flint 4-H Camp

Frost Valley YMCA

3186 Sound Ave. Riverhead NY 11901 ccenassau.org/dpf-4-h-camp DPF4hCamp@cornell.edu

2000 Frost Valley Road, Claryville, NY 12725 Frostvalley.org 845-985-2291, info@frostvalley.org

Dorothy P.Flint 4-H Camp is proudly embarking on its 100th year of creating unforgettable memories! Nestled on the picturesque Long Island Sound in Riverhead, NY, the 140-acre co-ed overnight and day camp is a haven for campers aged 5-16. DPF 4-H Camp celebrates diversity and provides a nurturing environment for youth to reach their fullest potential as capable, competent, and caring citizens. 4-H educational programs are designed to inspire curiosity, creativity, and a love for learning in our natural world, ensuring that each camper’s experience is fun and enriching. Programs in Archery, Nature & Ecology, Outdoor Living & Cooking, Farm & Agriculture, Sport & Recreation, Performing Arts, and Visual Arts & Crafts.

Frost Valley YMCA is the premier summer camp in the heart of New York’s Catskill Mountains, just a few hours from New York City. At Frost Valley YMCA, your camper can participate in sports, arts and crafts, hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, canoeing, swimming, singing, storytelling around the campfire, sleeping underneath a canopy of stars, and so much more! Frost Valley is guided by 8 core values: caring, community, diversity, honesty, inclusiveness, respect, responsibility, and stewardship, which are infused into all camp programs. At Frost Valley, children and teens become campers for life. Help your child experience the magic of camp for the upcoming Summer of 2024! Tiered pricing and financial assistance are available.

Ghostlight Theater Camp

Incarnation Camp

7 Camp Eastwood Circle Ghostlighttheatercamp.com 207- 358-0641, chris@ghostlighttheatercamp.com

253 Bushy Hill Road, Ivoryton, CT 06442 Incarnationcamp.org info@incarnationcamp.org

Unleash the Spotlight at Ghostlight Theater Camp! Elevate your child’s summer with the ultimate stage experience! Their unrivaled productions, dynamic classes, and engaging activities set them apart as the premier theater camp. Immerse your young stars in a world of creativity where every moment is a chance to shine. At Ghostlight, they cultivate more than talent; they build confidence and independence. Their carefully crafted program empowers campers to discover their unique voices, fostering lifelong skills that extend beyond the stage. With top-notch instructors, cutting-edge productions, and a supportive community, your child will leave Ghostlight Theater Camp with newfound skills and a shining sense of self.

Incarnation Camps - Wilderness adventure & classic summer camp fun! Located in coastal Connecticut, on over 700 wooded acres surrounding a mile-long private lake, Incarnation Camps are the country’s oldest coed camps. Since 1886, they have provided programming that offers funfilled, traditional camp experiences with experiential learning and many options for campers, including ceramics, sports, woodworking, arts & crafts, sailing, archery, farm care, music, and so much more! Campers are guided through well-rounded & adventurous programs that develop an appreciation for nature & celebrate the uniqueness of each individual. Incarnation Camp programs serve over 1000 campers each summer, and our alumni network is far-reaching. February 2024 | Westchester Family



Woodward Action Sports Camp Pocono Springs Camp 48 Pocono Springs Way, East Stroudsburg PA 18302 poconospringscamp.com summer@poconospringscamp.com

Located in the Pocono Mountains, just 75 miles from NYC, Pocono Springs offers a unique concept in the world of sleepaway camps: a traditional co-ed camp experience in a 5-week program. Their five-week program allows families to provide their children with a full-season summer camp experience while also having the flexibility for family travel, specialty camps, and other summer fun outside of camp. Additionally, they’re not a session camp! This means every camper starts and ends together - creating a truly cohesive community filled with down-to-earth families and mature staff who are genuinely excited to be part of your camper’s growth. A three-week “intro program” is available for 1st year campers entering grades 2nd-5th.

Woodward, PA woodwardpa.com 814-349-5633, office@woodwardcamp.com

For those who love action sports, a week at Camp Woodward is beyond anything you could imagine. With a more than 50-year legacy of teaching kids the art of balance and agility, Woodward knows what it takes to learn and progress in the most popular action sports. That is why they have built the most innovative parks, hired the most capable instructors, and partnered with the world’s top action sports athletes to create the ultimate summer camp experience. All located on a beautiful 48-acre campus, the summer camp experience at Woodward includes a wide range of recreation activities in addition to sports instruction and competition. Plus, Woodward’s supportive community, fueled by a shared passion for action sports culture, lifts all athletes and ignites their complete potential. There’s simply no place like it.

Check us out Online! We’re the #1 print and digital lifestyle platform for engaged parents in New York Visit westchesterfamily.com to check it out and sign up for our weekly newsletters! 22 WestchesterFamily.com | February 2024


8 Top Tips for Saving Money on Summer Camp by Jess Michaels


hen you decide to send your child to camp, you are giving them the opportunity to try new activities, meet new people, gain independence, and learn about who they are as individuals, among so many other benefits. Camp is an amazing experience; however, parents have their family budgets to consider. Here are a few ways for families to save money on summer camp: Look for camp early – It’s not too early to start thinking about camp for summer 2025. Looking early and registering for camp in the summer or early fall will help you save money by taking advantage of the early bird rates camps offer. This is also a good way to ensure you get a spot at your top choice camp. Begin your research now to understand which camps you would like to tour this summer. Seeing a camp in action is one of the best ways to get a feel for a camp. Scholarships & financial assistance – If you are looking for a camp that offers scholarships, financial assistance, and sliding scales, start your search with non-profit summer camps. Families can also reach out to the

American Camp Association, NY, and NJ for a list of camps that financial assistance. Assistance offered from the U.S government – The government offers programs that may help families save money on summer camp. • Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA) – A Dependent Care FSA is a pre-tax benefit account that allows you to pay for dependent care such as day camp while you are working. Visit the FSA Feds Website at www.fsafeds. com for more information. • Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit -The IRS allows an income tax credit of up to $6,000 of dependent care expenses if you have two or more dependents and up to $3,000 for one dependent. Day camps can count towards the children and dependent care tax credit. Visit www.irs.gov for more information. Work at camp – Do you enjoy working with children or are you in a profession such as education, social work or nursing? Summer camps are always looking for qualified, enthusiastic adults to work at camp. Besides a competitive salary, many camps will offer your child a discount for camp. Sibling discount – Did you know many

camps offer savings for registering multiple children at camp? Take advantage of these savings by sending more than one child to camp. Give the gift of camp – Giving your child the opportunity to go to summer camp truly is a gift so why not make it part of a birthday or holiday gift. Does your child need that big birthday party and more toys? Asking extending family to contribute to camp as a gift is also a great idea. The skills and experiences gained at summer camp will last for a lifetime while that new toy may be fun for a couple of months. Beware of too good a deal – We all have our budgets to consider but beware of a camp deal that seems too good to be true. Your child’s safety needs to be at the top of mind with any camp decision you make so please do your research. At a minimum, a camp should be inspected by the Department of Health. Choosing an ACA Accredited camp means that the camp goes above and beyond state licensing and meets hundreds of health and safety standards. Call the American Camp Association, NY and NJ – If you would like to send your child to camp, there is a camp for every budget. Families can reach out to the American Camp Association, NY and NJ’s Camper Placement Specialist Renee Flax for free, one-on-one advice on finding the right camp at the right price for your family. Contact: renee@acanynj.org or 212-391-5208. February 2024 | Westchester Family


for parents only

The Best SpeakeasyStyle Bars in Westchester By Serena Norr


ooking for a new date night idea or a night out with your friends? Check out one of the many speakeasy-style bars in Westchester. The fun of finding the location adds to the appeal where you and your date will end up in bars that are secret, mysterious, and fun. You’ll also find elevated bar menus with signature dishes that pair incredibly with their selection of beautifully-crafted cocktails. Read on to check out more about some of the hottest speakeasy-style bars in Westchester. The Speakeasy at Divino This speakeasy is located in an alleyway where you will have to go down the stairs and walk under the bridge. Once you find this location, enjoy their signature cocktails and delicious Italian bites. This includes fried mozzarella, arancini, mini meatballs, short rib tacos, and more. Enjoy happy hour at the Speakeasy from Tuesday-Friday from 4:00pm-7:00pm. Additionally, they also offer live music and there is a DJ on the weekends. The speakeasy is open from Tuesday-Sunday from 4:00pm-2:00am. 524 Warburton Ave, Hastings-On-Hudson, NY 10706. The Blind Pig of Westchester Located in White Plains, find signature cocktails, wine, beer, and more at this 1930s-style speakeasy. Some standouts include the Piggie Colada (served in a coconut); the Clarified Colada; The Lockdown; and the Fig Manhattan. The Blind Pig is also known for their elevated bar food where you will find bar snacks, charcuterie and cheese platters, and a full dinner and lunch menu. For dinner, find Vampire Deviled Eggs, Whipped Ricotta Toast, a variety of Mac n’ Cheeses platters, and Hot Honey Chicken Sliders, to name a few options. 174 Martine Ave, White Plains, NY 10601.

Whistling Rail Located at the Bronxville train station, the Whistling Rail serves as a cocktail speakeasy bar and a coffeeshop. The speakeasy has its own separate entrance from North side of the building where you can enjoy cocktails, wine, beer, and tapas. Additionally, they also host special events – such as their upcoming literary cabaret – where writers are invited to share their work. Live jazz on the weekends is also pretty common. The speakeasy is open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, starting at 5:30pm. 2 Station Plaza, Bronxville, NY 10708.

mussels, flatbread pizza, drunken beef short ribs, pulled pork sliders, and much more. Six23 Social is open from Tuesday from Thursday from 5pm-12am; Friday and Saturday from 3pm-2am; and Sunday from 3pm-12am. 623 Main St, Sparkill, NY 10976.

Six23 Social This speakeasy restaurant offers a lively ambiance with delicious food and cocktails created by their talented mixologists. This includes rare and aged spirits, balanced Old Fashioned, and artfully crafted martinis. Some standout menu items include beer

POUR This bar, located in the structure of a house, is renowned for its dark, romantic vibe. Here, you can enjoy crafted cocktails, wine, and rare whiskies along with their menu of flatbreads, charcuterie, and small plates. 241 Main St, Mt Kisco, NY 10549

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Prohibitions End Cocktail Lounge Enjoy a collection of craft cocktails as well as wine and beer in this speakeasy-style bar. Additionally, they have a Happy Hour every weekday from 4:00pm-8:00pm and live music. 765 Pelham Rd, New Rochelle, NY 10805.


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Frank D. Isoldi, Broker Sales Associate Coldwell Banker Realty 209 Central Avenue, Westfield, NJ 07090 Cell 908.787.5990 Office 908.233.5555 Website theisoldicollection.com Facebook /theisoldiconnection Twitter @HomesWestfield Instagram @frankdisoldi

© 2024 Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. All rights reserved. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Operated by a subsidiary of NRT LLC.


February 2024 | Westchester Family


A New York Love Story Sophie Demenge on founding with her husband Michael, the children’s lifestyle brand Oeuf and how family is first for both her brand and life

By Serena norr


or many New Yorkers, when one hears any conversation regarding the brand Oeuf (oeufnyc.com), the line French born Sophie Demenge started over 20 years ago with her husband, Michael Ryan, many have the same reaction, mostly of Ahhh. Memories may toggle somewhere from nostalgia to aspirational home goals. For us parents who now have kids in their tween and teenage years, we have memories of that dreamy baby stage where we chose a unique item or two (or three!) and placed it delicately in our baby’s room or carefully hunged in the closet. Then we recall with a warmth how each room, each closet, was eventually upgraded to reflect a new stage with Oeuf’s beautiful pieces. Which is the point. Oeuf was created to design their daughters’ room with a modern and high quality (non-existent at the time) that evolved into a brand renowned for its modern, sustainable, and durable furniture and clothing. This further expanded when their son was born, and they haven’t looked back. Over the years, their Prospect Park home - particularly the kids’ rooms - became the backdrop of many photoshoots (where we recently enjoyed spending time during this cover shoot!). Today, Sophie, Michael, and their small team (which is a family affair as it sometimes includes help from their kids: Mae, now 21, and Marius, now 19) continue to be strongly rooted in their values of craftsmanship and quality. Much of Sophie’s design and focus on sustainability comes from her background growing up in France, surrounded by quality products that weren’t thrown away. Oeuf and family are still growing as the brand and Sophie, now an empty nester, evolve into new designs and new adventures. Read on to learn more about this seasoned mom and entrepreneur who embraces life - and her business - with heart, love, and a mission to always stay true to herself.

Tell us about the history of Oeuf and how you and your husband, Michael Ryan, created it 21 years ago? We kind of created it by necessity because in 2002, there was really nothing. It was a very different landscape in the kids’ design space, especially in furniture. At the time, we actually had another design business for grownups where we were creating ceramics wood, one-of-a-kind pieces, and metal pieces. Since we had that business, we already had a design studio in Brooklyn. So, when I was expecting, Michael and I started looking around for furniture where we realized that there was this giant gap. So, we decided to make everything for my daughter in the studio, and it took off. At first, we actually didn’t plan on making it a business. The pieces were just for her. We curated and made her rugs, the bedding, the crib, all the furniture, and the toys. It was really, really fun to do. When they went to the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in NYC where we presented some of our kids’ stuff. A few weeks later, we were in The New York Times! It was incredible, but I think people saw that there were items out there that weren’t made well or clunky. Plus, they weren’t a variety of great design and kids were not kind of honored that way. We kept designing things for the kids and continued to expand. Two-and-a-half years later, I had my son, Maus and then we made a toddler bed. We then made a desk, a bunk bed, and expanded to clothing. While we did still have the other business, we realized that what we were creating at Oeuf was a lot more fun and went for it. What has been the experience like working with your husband? We do very different things that compliment each other. We have a division of labor and tasks. It has changed and evolved over the years. Sometimes it does feel like we are in a never-ending round of couples therapy and other times it’s exhilarating. I

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think it’s important to be able to separate marriage and our work relationship a little bit. We also know each other so well and know when we need to leave when one of us needs a bit more space. We’re also both goofballs and laugh a lot. I think that’s the super glue in the relationship. I also still feel like we’re in this 20-year-old startup where we’re still learning. We’ve had to adapt together really quickly, and even when we feel like we have a handle on things, something else happens. This is very similar to parenting and nice to know that Michael is the one I can bounce ideas off of and connect with about everything from parenting to business. Have you ever felt the need to change your products over the years to conform to trend? We believe in staying true to ourselves and I don’t think we are influenced by the outside world. We try to do what makes sense and we’re not trying to please anyone or even guess what people want. As with our history, we created what was best for our own children and it resonated. We only launch a new product when we’re excited about something or when we feel like it is missing in the market. Tell us how your now-grown children are involved in Oeuf. It’s wonderful! They’ve done really everything from the behind the scenes styling to modeling when they were newborn to helping out at photo shoots or selling at sample sales! They’ve also grown up in this world since a lot of our photo shoots are held at home. They’re used to seeing stylists, photographers,and people come in and out of their rooms with equipment. The business has become a part of our creative family adventure. However, they do have their own lives- and I welcome them back to help whenever they are around. What was it like raising Mae and Marius in Brooklyn? How was it different from your experience growing up in Paris?

mothers who are inundated with products. I actually think you don’t need much. For example, in France we don’t throw things away. In our line, we encourage people to resell items, use them on other kids, or give them a friend. This is our sustainable model, which is rooted in our design and mission. Tell us about what it’s like now that your kids are older and you are in the empty nester phase - what are you excited about? I’m really excited when they come home but I also love seeing them out in the world and becoming their own people. I actually like being in the background (of their lives) where I almost become irrelevant. I think a great testament to my parenting is to let them shine and be their own people. In terms of my day-to-day, it freed up some time, including my mental time. Women and mothers take on so much that we don’t even realize. I feel like I was wearing these different backpacks - like what’s for dinner or appointments - that I don’t have to be burdened with. I’m also a new empty nester cause my son just graduated from high school so I haven’t even really figured out how I want to use this newfound energy. Especially, as a mom, I think we always put ourselves last. I don’t even know what I would love to be doing yet, because I’m so used to doing everything for everybody else. It’s also shocking (in a good way) to have this time. I think having more time with friends, and even reading a book is going to be amazing. There’s this French comedian who says that being an empty nester is kind of like being a teenager with a credit card. I resonate with that a lot in this stage.

Photo by Yumi Matsuo

I started out as a mom in the East Village. When May was two, two years old, we moved to Brooklyn. I wanted her to have a community and roots. I find Brooklyn very similar to Paris in that way. When I grew up in Paris, I always walked to school, which is similar to how they grew up in Park Slope. We used to walk everywhere. When they were younger, the kids would walk to the orthodontist or to their friends’ house or for sleepovers. Brooklyn feels like a village (like Paris) that I love. I also love having access to Prospect Park, which is similar to my walks to the Luxembourg Garden. Now, it is also beautiful to see my kids’

connection to France. We all go all the time. My daughter actually lived there last year and wants to move back when she graduates. My son is there now, too! What do you think influences your design sensibility? I think design and creativity is very personal. We’re not really a big consumer type of family so I think there’s this French sensibility from how I grew up about quality and not quality. When we first started, we would tell people to buy less, really buy less. Especially young

Is there anything about the brand you’d like to share that people might not be familiar with. Consistency and quality is important to us where all of the furniture is made in Europe for the past 20 years. Michael often goes to Latvia where the products are made as well as Bolivia where our knitters live. We even invited the five original knitters to spend a week with us in Brooklyn. At the end of the day, our family (and the people who work for us) are interwoven in the business. At the end of the day that’s what really matters. Discover more about Oeuf at oeufnyc.com and on Instagram @oeufnyc.

This piece has been edited for clarity and brevity. To read the entire cover article please visit newyorkfamily.com February 2024 | Westchester Family


calendar By Shara Levine


Teatown Hudson River EagleFest WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 3, 9 am – 4 pm WHERE: Croton Point Park, 1 Croton Point Ave., Croton-OnHudson AGES: 5 and up WHAT: This annual event includes thrilling live bird shows, bird walks, educational displays and exhibits, crafts and games, food trucks, and more! WANT TO GO?: $17-$35. teatown.org

Chinese New Year Celebration WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 3, 1:30 – 6 pm WHERE: The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase AGES: All WHAT: Celebrate the year of the Dragon with festive family activities, delicious Chinese food samples, artistic performances and stunning shows. WANT TO GO?: $25-$100. wacany.org

Soul + Instrumental Petting Zoo with the Westchester Music Conservatory WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 3, 3 pm; Sunday, Feb. 4, 11 am. WHERE: Jacob Burns Film Center, 364 Manville Rd, Pleasantville AGES: All WHAT: Enjoy a screening of Soul, followed by a “Instrument Petting Zoo” where families can explore different instruments and hear what they sound like. WANT TO GO?: $16; $11 members; $9 child. burnsfilmcenter.org

Light-Up Valentine’s Day Cards

Point of View Photography

Emelin Theatre presents The Boy Who Cried Wolf on February 10. WHEN: Tuesday, Feb. 6, 5 – 6:30 pm WHERE: The Rye Arts Center, 51 Milton Road, Rye AGES: 9 - 12 WHAT: Create personalized cards and transform them into dazzling displays using LED lights. WANT TO GO?: $35. (914) 967–0700, ryeartscenter.org

Shabbat Shabbang WHEN: Friday, Feb. 9, 5 – 6 pm. WHERE: Temple Israel of Northern Westchester, 31 Glengary Ln, Croton-OnHudson

28 WestchesterFamily.com | February 2024

AGES: 7 and younger WHAT: Enjoy an evening of songs, music, crafts, challah, pizza, and yummy treats! WANT TO GO?: Free. tinw.org

Muscoot Farm’s Winter Festival WHEN: Feb. 10-11, Saturday & Sunday, 12 – 3 pm. WHERE: Muscoot Farm, 51 NY-100, Katonah AGES: All WHAT: Join the farm for a weekend of music, animals, winter treats, hayride, and more.

WANT TO GO?: TBA. muscootfarm.org

The Rock and Roll Playhouse plays The Music Of Harry Styles + More WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 10, 2 pm WHERE: Garcia’s at The Capitol Theatre, 145 Westchester Ave, Port Chester AGES: 10 and younger WHAT: You and your kids will Adore the sounds of Harry Styles at this kiddie concert! WANT TO GO?: $17.50 advance; $20 day of show; free for children younger than 1. thecapitoltheatre.com

Discover a private high school that’s truly different Pioneer of immersion learning

Check out LEGO NINJAGO Dragon’s Rising, starting February 16 at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester. The Boy Who Cried Wolf WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 10, 11 am and 2 pm WHERE: Emelin Theatre, 153 Library Lane, Mamaroneck AGES: 3 and older WHAT: Inspired by the famous Aesop fable, this performance brings you endearing characters, hilarious sheep and a scary wolf or two! WANT TO GO?: $19-$24. (914) 698–0098, emelin.org

Black History Month Celebration WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 10, 3 – 7 pm WHERE: New Rochelle High School, 265 Clove Road, New Rochelle AGES: All WHAT: Enjoy a dynamic spoken word and art exhibition of students’ work, face painting, scavenger hunts, book giveaways for kids, and more. WANT TO GO?: Free admission; Auditorium event: $5; $3 for students. wabseny.com

Cirque Zuma Zuma WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 10, 5 – 7 pm WHERE: Paramount Hudson Valley Theater, 1008 Brown St, Peekskill AGES: All WHAT: This one-of-a-kind show takes you on an immersive journey through the heart of Africa in this extraordinary production featuring pulsating rhythms

Schedule a personalized, private tour

and dynamic performances. WANT TO GO?: $25-$39.50. paramounthudsonvalley.com

Walk with the Light of Your Life WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 14, 5 – 7 pm WHERE: Rockefeller State Park Preserve, 125 Phelps Way, Pleasantville AGES: All WHAT: This Valentine’s Day, celebrate love with the light of your life with an evening stroll, hot chocolate, and art. WANT TO GO?: Free. parks. ny.gov

LEGO NINJAGO Dragon’s Rising WHEN: Feb. 16-March 17, Weekdays, 11 am – 5 pm, Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am – 7 pm WHERE: LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester, 39 Fitzgerald Street, Yonkers AGES: All WHAT: Become a Spinjitzu master when you train with Lloyd, spark your dragon energy, reunite the Ninja’s in MINILAND, and more! WANT TO GO?: Tickets starting at $24.99. legolanddiscoverycenter.com

Lunar New Year 2024 WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 17, 11 am – 5 pm WHERE: Hudson River Museum, 511 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers



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February 2024 | Westchester Family


calendar February AGES: All WHAT: Celebrate the year of the dragon with a colorful Lion Dance, origami making, Chinese folk dance performances, Indonesian gamelan music and dance, and more. WANT TO GO?: $8-$13; free for members. (914) 963–4550, hrm.org

of live Afro-Jazz, percussion, and kora. WANT TO GO?: $43-$63. (718) 960–8833, lehmancenter.org

The Magic School Bus: Lost In The Solar System WHEN: Sunday, Feb. 11, 11 am WHERE: BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers St., Tribeca AGES: 5 – 12 WHAT: Hop on the bus and blast into outer space with Ms. Frizzle for an epic interplanetary field trip! WANT TO GO?: $40. tribecapac.org

Royal Hanneford Circus WHEN: Feb. 17-19, Saturday and Sunday, 10 am, 2 pm, and 6 pm; Monday, 10 am WHERE: Westchester County Center, 198 Central Ave, White Plains AGES: All WHAT: Witness motorcycle stunts, graceful aerialists, funny clowns, and amazing animals! WANT TO GO?: $28-$35. countycenter.biz

Pinkalicious The Musical WHEN: Sunday, Feb. 18, 1 pm WHERE: Tarrytown Music Hall, 13 Main St., Tarrytown AGES: All WHAT: See Pinkalicious jump off the page and onto the stage in this musical based on the popular children’s book. WANT TO GO?: $39; $34 kids. tarrytownmusichall.org

Magic Show with Magic Evan! WHEN: Friday, Feb. 23, 2:30 – 3:15 pm WHERE: Warner Library, 121 N Broadway, Tarrytown AGES: All WHAT: Kick off your weekend with some magic at this fun filled show! WANT TO GO?: Free. warnerlibrary.org


The Royal Hanneford Circus comes to Westchester County Center from February 17 to 19.

NYC HERO’s ‘The Winter Forest of the Northern Lights’ WHEN: Daily, 11 am – 9 pm, through March 31. WHERE: Rockefeller Center, 45 Rockefeller Plaza, Midtown AGES: All WHAT: Step into an underground Winter Forest to explore seven zones of wonder and be transported to the ultimate viewing of the Aurora Borealis. WANT TO GO?: $20. hero-nyc. com

China Institute in America Presents: Lunar New Year Family Festival 2024! WHEN: Sunday, Feb. 4, 2 – 5 pm

WHERE: China Institute, 40 Rector Street, Financial District AGES: All ages WHAT: Celebrate the Year of the Dragon with an authentic, captivating, and truly immersive cultural experience filled with festive activities and performances. WANT TO GO?: $5-$15. (212) 744–8181, chinainstitute.org

Afrique en Cirque WHEN: Sunday, Feb. 4, 4 pm WHERE: Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Jerome Park AGES: All WHAT: Inspired by daily life in Guinea, see acrobats execute gravity-defying moves and human pyramids, accompanied by the contemporary sounds

Kindness Weekend WHEN: Feb. 24-25, Saturday and Sunday, 9 am – 5 pm. WHERE: Westchester Children’s Museum, 100 Playland Parkway, Rye AGES: All WHAT: Celebrate the importance of spreading joy, positivity, and love with a STEAM spin. WANT TO GO?: Included with admission: $14; $12 seniors; free for children younger than 1. (914) 421–5050, discoverwcm. org

WHEN: Feb. 17-March 3, see website for complete schedule. WHERE: The New Victory Theater, 209 W 42nd Street, Midtown AGES: All WHAT: See world record-holding athletes and artists show off their mad skills in freestyle basketball, BMX biking, breakdancing, acrobatics and more. WANT TO GO?: Tickets start at $24. (646) 223–3010, newvictory.org

Blippi at The New York Botanical Garden WHEN: Feb. 19-25, Daily, 11 am, 1:30 pm, and 3:30 pm; except Feb. 22. WHERE: New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd., Belmont AGES: All WHAT: Enjoy an interactive experience with Blippi that encourages kids’ curiosity of plants from seed to flower with a photo op after! WANT TO GO?: $35; $31 seniors 65 and older and students with ID; $15 ages 2-12. (718) 817–8700, nybg.org

Harlem Globetrotters

Celebrate Black History at a special family event at New Rochelle High School on February 10.

30 WestchesterFamily.com | February 2024

WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 24, 1 pm WHERE: Madison Square Garden, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, Midtown AGES: All WHAT: See the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters as they dribble, spin, slam, and dunk their way past their relentless rivals, the Washington Generals. WANT TO GO?: Tickets start at $49.75. msg.com

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