Busy Moms, Salon 718 is For You!

Before I had Cameron I would get my hair cut and colored about four times a year.  After I had Cameron, things went downhill pretty rapidly.  I managed to get a few cuts, but color took way too long.  I just didn’t have the patience for it, and I certainly wasn’t going to spend time traveling all the way to the city for some “me time.”  I’m sure I’m not the only mom out there who has trouble making time for herself.  It’s not that my husband won’t take Cam – it’s more than I don’t ask him to.  This is definitely something I (and maybe you) need to work on!

But, with my brother’s wedding approaching I knew something had to be done – and one of my mom friends had been suggesting for a long time that I see her friend Michaella who has her own private salon in Prospect Heights called Salon 718.

First I should say that I decided this all a bit last minute – I called on a Thursday, and I was able to get an appointment for cut and highlights that Saturday – I was so thankful!  So – I walked over from my home in Fort Greene to Michaella’s Salon 718 which is located at 539 Bergen Street.  FYI – if you are coming from Fort Greene or Clinton Hill you can easily take the bus down Vanderbuilt as well.  She started on me right away after a brief consultation.  She was very fast with her highlights – something I really appreciated (it can be SO boring sitting under those foils!)  And, the woman who washes your hair (her name is Sunshine) is some kind of goddess – your scalp will enjoy the massage.  I was cut, colored, and styled and out the door in under an hour and a half – which was pretty speedy in my book – and of course, I loved the results. The color was beautiful, and the cut was very wash and wear, which is exactly what I asked for.  She even gave me some styling tips as she did the blow out.

Overall, Salon 718 was a great experience – so if you are looking for a local place to get your hair done, give them a try.  Currently, they are running a promotion for $25 off color – just mention “Win” to get the discount.  Also, on Thursday nights they are open late for Merlot Thursdays – where you can have a glass of wine while you get your hair done and your hubby puts your little one to bed.  If you’d like to give Salon 718 a try, call them at 718.623.6153 for your appointment.

Posted from New York, New York, United States.

The BEST Stretch Mark Cream!

Recently I was talking to a friend who is 7 months pregnant and I asked her what she was using on her baby belly to prevent stretch marks.  She said she had just run out of what she was using, and was thinking of trying something else.  That reminded me of an amazing product I used when I was pregnant with Cameron which another mom friend had recommended to me – L’Occitane Shea Butter.

This product, while not specifically marketed as “stretch mark cream” is, I think, the best thing out there for the job.  Most stretch mark creams have shea butter in them, but this stuff is 100% pure shea butter!

I knew from my own experience this stuff really works(I didn’t get a single one *knock on wood* for next time) but I wondered why shea butter actually helps prevent stretch marks so I asked my friend Google!  Here’s what I found out:

Because of its high concentration of non-saponifiable fatty acids, shea butter has a moisturizing and healing effect on the skin. The lipids contained in the butter are highly beneficial to the cells found in the epidermis and promote skin healing and improvement. Shea butter works well to improve the skin’s elasticity, thus enabling it to stretch with greater ease.

Sounds good to me!  You can buy this cream on Amazon.com, on the Sephora website, in Sephora stores, or at L’Occitane stores. It is a little pricey, but I would say that not getting stretch marks is worth it! One 4.9 oz tin will most likely get you through the whole pregnancy.

Posted from New York, New York, United States.

Rainy Day Blues? Check Out These Indoor Baby Friendly Places in the Neighborhood

These last few days have been very fall-like!  I’m sure summer isn’t over yet – but more rainy and gloomy days are on the horizon, so I decided to do a re post / update on an old topic I visited last winter – Indoor Baby Friendly Places in the Fort Greene / Clinton Hill area:

The Booklyn Flea – On Sundays you can find the Brooklyn Flea indoors at One Hanson Place (the big clock tower) from 10am to 5pm.  The Flea is on the main floor and lower level.  According to one mom, the lower level has food options, and the upper level is where the sales go on.  She said the lower level is a great place to take kids and let them roam around, and that there is space for strollers.  So if you are looking for a weekend activity – check out the indoor Flea!

Story time at Greenlight BookstoreGreenlight Bookstore is located at 686 Fulton Street and has a free story time on Saturday mornings at 10:30 AM.  Check it out for more weekend fun.  And for any day of the week – Greenlight has a great childrens book section – you can browse while your child plays in the cardboard house, draws on the chalkboard, and snuggles with the giant stuffed bear.

Story time at Brownstone Books – Brownstone Books is located at 409 Lewis Ave in Bed Stuy.  Story time happens every Wednesday and Saturday from 12-1pm.  Unfortunately this is smack in the middle of Cameron’s nap time, so I have yet to check it out.  The suggested donation is $5.  For more information, check out the Brownstone Books website.

The Clinton Hill Library – Not only does Clinton Hill Library (380 Washington Ave) have a great and free Reading for Babies program on Tuesdays at 11:00 as well as Toddler Time on Fridays at 11, it’s a great place to take your kid to let them roam around even when no scheduled activities are going on.  We spent many a cold winter day here!

Chuck E Cheese – Now this one, I never would have thought of!  One day a few of us moms and babes were hanging out at Der Schwarze Kölner and one of the moms said that she had just been at Chuck E Cheese with her little one.  She said that it was her nanny who had originally suggested it, and although she was skeptical – it turned out to be a great place for him to roam around, and it was free (since they aren’t playing any games).  Chuck E. Cheese is located in the Atlantic Terminal Mall.

Der Schwarze Kölner aka the Beer Garden – As I mentioned above I’ve been going to the Beer Garden (710 Fulton Street) with Cameron and some other moms + babies.  It is a great rainy day (or super hot day, or snowy day) option – and they are so welcoming and nice!  Read more about Der Schwarze Kölner at this other post I wrote.

Finally, there’s the Brooklyn Children’s Museum.  It’s not really in Fort Greene / Clinton Hill – but it’s just a short drive away.  I did a complete write up on the Children’s Museum here, so check it out to get all the news you can use!

If you have other ideas to share, please leave a comment!

Posted from New York, New York, United States.

Back to School Bash at Habana Outpost!

I’ve got another year ’till Cameron is heading to Preschool for the first time – but I know that since the summer is ending lots of families out there are gearing up for back to school!

Recently, Darcy, a Fort Greene mom, and General Manager of Habana Outpost (757 Fulton St, in Fort Greene) emailed me to let me know that on Monday September 6 from 12-5 Habana is hosting a FREE Back to School Bash.  Here’s the info:

Bring the kids out for one last day of summer fun at Fort Greene’s favorite family eco-eatery! This year there will be free stilt walkers, clowns, face painting, games, prizes, crafts, a dance party and as always free notebooks and pencils for all school aged children while supplies last.

Thanks for the heads up Darcy!

Posted from New York, New York, United States.

The Wilson Aquatic Center is Closing – Temporarily

Recently we were back in Washington D.C. visiting Cameron’s Grandparents and of course, the Wilson Aquatic Center!  FYI – During the renovation of Wilson High School the entrance to the Aquatic Center is closed, so you have to enter from the Nebraska Avenue side (near the athletic field).

Cameron is ready to get his swim on!

While there I learned that the Wilson Aquatic Center will be closed from August 23 – September 14 for maintenance and a deep cleaning.  According to the Department of Parks and Recreation website, here’s whats on the to-do list:

  • Remove and drain all pool water according to local or federal regulations.
  • Acid wash pool shell.
  • Clean all pool drains.
  • Service and perform maintenance on movable bulkheads.
  • Purchase and install new lighting throughout the facility.
  • Clean and seal all existing tile floors through-out the building.
  • Check hydrostatic relief valves.
  • Replace and recharge pool media for pool tanks.
  • Install and clean pool lights and pool shell lights as needed.
  • Pressure wash pool deck.
  • Deep cleaning of offices, locker rooms and lobby area.

Sounds good to me! Although it’s an inconvenience to have the pool closed, it’s good that they are taking care of it so it is there for years to come for us all to enjoy.

Posted from New York, New York, United States.

Move About Myrtle in September

Every Sunday from 12 -6pm in September Myrtle Ave between Hall and Clermont in Fort Greene / Clinton Hill will be closed to traffic – and open to fun!  It’s called Move About Myrtle – and of course, it’s free.  Here’s a little preview of the events that are scheduled:

September 5th: Back-to-School celebration with activities for the whole family!
September 12th: Brooklyn Food Coalition’s GRUB FEST featuring the biggest potluck ever, a Mac and Cheese contest, and fun for foodies of all ages!
September 19th: “The Case of the Curious Pedestrian” will offer playful public art installations, performances and surprises on all five blocks…and the FDNY Smoke House!
September 26th: It’s Bicycle Day, and our 2nd annual tree giveaway!

And every Sunday: kids activities and games, sidewalk cafes, free yoga and dance classes by Move With Grace studio, music and performances, merchant specials, free tastings, and raffle prizes!

I will add more info as it becomes available – so stay tuned!  And see you on Myrtle Ave in September!

Posted from New York, New York, United States.

A Visit to the Brooklyn Childrens Museum

On a recent hot and humid summer day Cameron and I headed to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum (located at 145 Brooklyn Avenue – @ St. Marks Avenue) for the first time.  I had heard it was great fun especially for the kids, so I was excited.

Cameron and I drove over – it’s a pretty quick and easy trip down Atlantic Ave to Brooklyn Ave.  I had been worried about street parking… but it worked out beautifully.  In this neck of the woods street cleaning happens from 8:30-10am.  The Museum opens at 10am.  Perfect!  So, when I got there at a few minutes after 10 there was ample parking directly across the street.

Admission to the Museum is a little steep at $7.50 per person – only children under 1 are free.  They stamp your hand so that you can come and go as many times as you like in one day.  Keep this in mind if you want to head out for lunch.

Cameron was first drawn down the main hallway in the center of the Museum which has a lot of flowing water and mechanical things to observe.  Our first exhibit was Neighborhood Nature.  There’s a pond the kids can look in from below getting a “fish eyes view,” some stuffed ducks which Cameron enjoyed pointing out while yelling “duck!” “duck!”

There’s a Community Garden where the kids can dig and play in the dirt (which is really just ground up cork – don’t worry they can’t get dirty at all!)  There were supposed to be watering cans and shovels the kids could play with, but there didn’t seem to be any around.  I thought there was supposed to be a place to touch horseshoe crabs and starfish – although I saw some sort of water area, there wasn’t any staff there, and I didn’t see anything larger than a gulf shrimp in them.

From here we made our way to the Science Inquiry Center.  Cameron loved the bird, chameleon,  and snake that live in here.  There was some sort of shell display with knobs Cameron slid back and fourth for a solid five minutes.  I think it was supposed to do something – but it looks like it was broken.  There were coloring pencils and paper around the kids could draw with.  There was also a light table with shapes for the kids to play with.  We unfortunately had to leave this area before Cam was done because there was a Birthday Party on the way.

Next we checked out the World of Brooklyn exhibit.  Cameron played the steel drums, got dressed up in a Carnival outfit, and touched everything in the West African Import Store.  He also really loves sitting on the Vespa.  We evacuated this area as two camp groups swooped in.

We turned our attention to the upstairs area, where we found the 30,000 object collection (which we had to flee as there were some toy cars which Cameron got upset about because they were behind glass).  Then we went to the Children of Hangzhou exhibit.  Cameron really loved the big water buffalo, but unfortunately you weren’t supposed to put the kids on it for a ride.  He found some buttons which controlled a video that he could push relentlessly, which he really enjoyed.

It was getting close to lunch time so we headed over to the Cafe.  I was pretty disappointed – the salads and sandwiches looked old and sad, and the hot food options – mini pizzas and chicken tenders – looked pretty unappetizing.  I decided to skip the food and feed Cameron at home.  I would recommend packing a lunch, or checking out the local neighborhood for something to eat.  The Museum website lists a few suggestions.

On our way towards the exit I finally spotted Totally Tots.  I had heard about this section from other moms, and probably should have headed here first.  As the name implies, this area is designed for toddlers.  Everything is at their level, and there’s lot of fun toys.  There is also a water are for the kids to splash around in.  Smocks are provided so the kids stay dry.  Cameron had a lot of fun, but it was getting on to nap time, and Cam was hungry, so we headed home.

Overall, Cam had a great time, and it was a nice way to spend a hot summer morning.  I was a little disappointed – most of the exhibits seemed pretty warn, with a lot of things broken or missing.  But I guess it doesn’t really matter since Cameron didn’t know or care.  I think for older kids they might find it a little annoying.  I would certainly consider going back, but perhaps on a free day. Free hours this summer are the second and fourth weekend of each month from 2-5pm.

For more information check out the Brooklyn Childrens Museum website at BrooklynKids.org You can also find them on Facebook and on Twitter.  For a list of all the current exhibits, check out this page of the Children’s Museum website.

Posted from New York, New York, United States.

Pratt Post Office Finds a New Home

Pratt Post Office closed back in March for what was originally billed as an 8 – 12 week renovation.  5 months later… the original office is still closed – Surprise!?  Today I went to go pick up my mail from my P.O. Box and I saw that the post office has a new temporary home.  It is now located at 510A Myrtle, next to the Beauty Supply Store.

510A Myrtle Ave - Pratt Post Office!

At this little store front you can pick up your packages and your P.O. Box mail.  Directly out front is parked the Mobile Unit where you can buy stamps.  Hopefully this means faster service for package pick up!

A peek inside the package pick up location

Posted from New York, New York, United States.

Tea Collection Sleepwear at the Mini Social!

Today I was excited to see that Cameron’s favorite sleepwear (Tea Collection) was on sale at the Mini Social.  I just snapped up 4 sets at various sizes… some for now, some for later.  Tea Collection jammies are soft, super comfortable, and cute!  Check out the Mini Social to get some at a great price!  Usually these PJs sell for $35, but you can get them for $17.50!

Tea Collection at the Mini Social

If you haven’t heard, the Mini Social is a site that does online sample sales for babies and kids.  They feature designer quality brands at great prices.  Sign up and get their daily emails about what is on sale.  They often have brands like Melissa and Doug, Plan Toys, Robeez, See Kai Run, and more.

Posted from New York, New York, United States.

Two More Places in the ‘Hood to Get Fresh Fruits and Veggies

My go to shopping spot for fresh food in Fort Greene is definitely the Farmer’s Market at Fort Greene Park on Saturday mornings.  But – sometimes my rations run out before Saturday rolls around again.  Now there’s two more options for farm fresh produce on other days of the week:

Fresh fruits and veggies in our neighborhood at the Myrtle Ave Farm Stand

On Thursdays from 4-7pm you can find the Myrtle Avenue Farm Stand located 177 Myrtle btwn Prince and Navy in front of the Ingersoll Community Garden.  You can find beets, carrots, lettuce, collards, potatoes, white onions, basil, broccoli, eggplant, peppers, parsley, corn, peaches and red plums at great prices – nothing costs over $2.50 per bunch or pound!  The Farm Stand is open through October 28th, 2010.

Youthmarket on Lafayette

My Little O recently reported that on Fridays the Lafayette Youthmarket is stationed at the corner of Lafayette and Washington Avenues in Clinton Hill, every Friday from 1pm to 7pm, until October 29, 2010.  The market offers fresh, locally grown produce at reasonable prices. It is a part of GrowNYC, which is a network of youth-run urban farm stands in New York City.

So check out the Farm Stand and the Youthmarket and get some healthy, tasty, and fresh food for your family!

Posted from New York, New York, United States.