One of the absolute coolest things about living in a cramped city like New York is that you’re bound to have people in your circles who are doing really cool things. I recently discovered that one of my Brooklyn neighbors is the creator of this beautiful line of shoes, called Inkkas.
Inkkas.com is a socially conscious clothing company founded in 2012 on the principles of fair trade, philanthropy and authenticity. All production, sourcing and manufacturing of the shoes is done South America. The shoes are handmade of authentic South American textile by South Americans. As well as being beautiful, they’re ethically made and afforable (yay!). Kids’ Inkkas are $46 and adults’ start at $65. A portion of all proceeds is donated to to help protect the Amazon rainforest.
I was supremely thrilled for the opportunity to try out Inkkas shoes for myself and Miss E. Sidebar: it seems a lot of people actually named their child “Cheese” last year (no judgement!), so to start the new year off, I’m changing my daughter’s online pseudoym to something a bit less . . . dairy-like. Miss E it is (and sometimes Missy E, if she’s being sassy).
Back to the shoes: my slightly more subtle (in terms of design) Inkkas are the Concrete Jungle Low Tops (also available in High Tops). I like that the pattern is funky but not so over the top that I can’t just throw them on while wearing other colors. Missy E on the other hand, adores her very brightly colored Cotton Candy Kids.
I took the Inkkas shoes on our trip to Mexico a few weeks back since we needed some comfortable shoes to run around in (and to search for lizards in, and to take trips through lagoons in, and to eat guacamole in). Not only did the shoes fit the aesthetic of the trip (the patterns are reminiscent of traditional Mexican textiles), they’re also really comfortable, making them the perfect shoes for both kids and adults to wear all day.
GIVEAWAY The kind folks at Inkkas are giving Brunch With My Baby readers the chance to win their own pair of Inkkas shoes. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.
Entry open to US mailing addresses only.
Giveaway open Thurs Jan 2, 2014 to 11:59pm Wed Jan 8 EST.
Baby, it’s cold outside! While you’re pulling on the boots and wrapping yourselves in the warmest possible coats you can, you still need to dress up for the holidays (or, if you’re anything like us, dress your kid up and then throw on something passable for yourself as an after thought).
Big boots are great for the cold, but they are NOT great with indoor heating, which is why Missy Cheese will be wearing a pair of Pediped Flex Janes for all her holiday functions (this toddler keeps a busy dance card). She’s such a super active kid that she will only tolerate comfortable shoes that let her move freely and climb things that toddlers aren’t meant to climb (like, say, kitchen stools, or Christmas trees . . . but, I digress). The Pediped Flex Janes are not just pretty-looking shoes for looking good in photos, they’re also so practical and comfortable that kids won’t refuse to wear them. Added bonus — these shoes double as school shoes, so Cheese will be wearing them to school in spring.
Pediped shoes feature a Flex Fit System™, which is an additional insole that can be inserted into the shoe for a snug fit and then removed to make room as your child’s foot grows. These insoles can reduce shoe size by almost half a size, extending the life of the shoe. When you’re forking out big bucks every few months for even more shoes, you really want those babies to last as long as possible!
It’s also worth noting that the makers of Pediped have been hearing for years from their “grown-up” customers that they want nice-looking, comfortable shoes, too. Pediped’s answer? A shoe line for adults, called Brian James, which launched last spring. We were sent a pair of Brian James 3.0 Booties to test drive, and I have to say, they are so comfortable — made from soft leather, and with a heel that is easy to walk in — plus they make my legs look great (woo!). The magic is in the making: Extra padding on both the ball and heel of foot. My feet are thanking Pediped’s consideration.
The kind folks at Pediped are giving Brunch With My Baby readers the chance to win their own pair of Pediped kids’ shoes.Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.
Entry open to US mailing addresses only.
Giveaway open Wed Dec 18, 2013, to 11:59pm EST Tues Dec 24, 2013.
There are always famous food institutions that you think you should try when you visit a city. People walk over the Brooklyn Bridge just to try one such spot: Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in DUMBO. It’s impossible to walk past the restaurant without stumbling over the queue of people waiting patiently for their slice of famous pie. I get it, I love trying food that I’ve been told is great — but I really, really, really hate lining up for it.
So the secret I’m letting you in on here is huge: Right next to Grimaldi’s is a little pizzeria with a red awning called Juliana’s Pizza. It’s run by the actual Grimaldi family — the ones who started, and then sold, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. Yes, let that all sink in for a minute, and then ponder, like we always do, how they ended up situated next to each other in DUMBO.
Juliana’s is owned by Patsy & Carol Grimaldi. They sold Grimaldi’s Pizzeria over a decade ago to a customer, but it seems that their passion for pizza never quit, as they partnered with a long-time collaborator to open Juliana’s. The Grimaldis wanted to create a neighborhood pizzeria, preparing and serving pies the way Patsy had for generations. Their new endeavor, Juliana’s, was named in honor of Pat’s mother, Maria ‘Juliana’ Lancieri, and has found its home in the Fulton Ferry Historic District, in the building that was once home to Grimaldi’s.
Juliana’s is usually busy and tightly packed, making it hard to move around with a little one. It does however mean that they have lots of tables constantly turning over and makes it easy to get a table on weekdays. if you’re visiting on weekends, be prepared to wait. Call ahead and put your name down, but make sure your party is all there or they won’t let you sit down.
We don’t usually let Cheese have juice since it makes her totally hyper, but we relented this time because we were dining with friends whose kids were having juice, and Cheese was desperate for juice too. We totally regretted it about an hour later when she was high as a kite, but sometimes it’s worth it to keep the peace at the table.
We ordered a simple large classic Margherita ($19). Tomato, mozzarella and basil — the only ingredients needed for the perfect pizza. Juliana’s produces a flavorful, thin crusted pizza, topped with locally and internationally-sourced toppings, and cooked inside a hand-built, coal-stoked hearth. Locals know that Juliana’s is a source for great pizza, and are known to pick up pizza and drive it home, not letting the fact that they don’t deliver stop them from getting their hit of tasty mozzarella and crispy dough.
Today’s Brunch Special is courtesy of Kim Janulewicz and Nicole Horne, the owners and editors of the popular website, A Child Grows In Brooklyn. Kim lives with her husband, Adrian, son Mason (age four), and daughter Arden (age two), in Clinton Hill. Nicole lives with her husband, Nate, daughter Lucy (age four), and son Owen (two), in Park Slope.
Tell us about A Child Grows In Brooklyn. We are the largest parenting website in Brooklyn and one of the best known parenting blogs in the NYC area. We are considered THE go-to resource for Brooklyn families and we are always striving to have the most up to date and relevant information for parents in Brooklyn. We want parents to have the right information to make the most educated decisions possible for the most important things in life. We also place an emphasis on listing exciting and diverse family-friendly activities for our Brooklyn community.
How did you came to run A Child Grows In Brooklyn?
Kim and I first met when we had just had our oldest children in a mom’s group at the old Boing Boing shop on 7th Ave. We clicked immediately. Not only because we were first time moms together, but our husbands also had so much in common, and we were one of the few from our mom’s group going back to work after the (way too short) maternity leave we had. We loved our jobs but we were both looking to also do something we felt more passionate about, so combining our two big loves, our children and Brooklyn, A Child Grows became our newest baby.
What are your day jobs?
Nicole is Director of Acquisitions for a commercial real estate company and Kim is a recruiter for IE Business School.
How do you manage running a popular website, day jobs, and spending time with your families? Do you manage to achieve work/life balance? That is the million-dollar question! How does one achieve such a balance? I think this is something we will continue to strive for until the kids are off to college.
One key piece of the puzzle has been having an equal partnership with our husbands in all that we do. Both of our husbands work as well, but they also do everything we do for the kids and the house. Without that, I think the family dynamic would sometimes crumble. We also strive to always be in the moment, whether it is work, family time or personal time, and be grateful for all we have. There is always work to be done and places to be, but if we don’t enjoy the day for what it is and really be present in the moment with our family and friends, what is the point?
Did you take time out of the work force when having kids? If so, how did you find getting back into work? We took our 3-4 months of maternity leave after both of our children were born. Going back to work was not easy at first. You have so many emotions as a new mom that it’s hard to anticipate how you are going to feel. It was even harder with our second babies, because we were having so much fun with the first on our leave. But it got easier as our babies got a little older and we got better at balancing our work with our home life.
We are both fortunate to have schedules that allow us to have breakfast as a family, take the kids to school, be home for dinner most nights and work from home on Fridays. What has been most helpful in juggling family and work is to prioritize what is truly important and learning to say no to invites or projects that will not fit our schedules. Another piece of advice we got as new moms, that has served us well: hire the best help you can afford. Whether the help is a nanny, daycare, a grandparent or a combination, having childcare you can trust and is dependable will be your best investment and save you a lot of stress and worry.
What do you love about running A Child Grows? What have you learned/experienced that you didn’t expect when you took it on?
The most amazing part of A Child Grows is meeting so many of the innovators, entrepreneurs, and small businesses in Brooklyn. We have met the most amazing people. People who are taking risks, following their dreams and creating something wonderful. It has been truly inspiring to us. So inspiring, that we have started writing monthly articles showing off Brooklyn’s best in our Brooklyn Business Spotlights and Upstarts: Parents Raising Children, Building Businesses on the site.
What’s next for A Child Grows?
We hope to continue to be the most trusted resource for Brooklyn parents. We are constantly researching the best events, products and advice to help parents make informed decisions and are always striving to be relevant, entertaining and helpful.
We are busy planning our 3rd annual Brooklyn Baby and Family Expo in April 2014. It is going to be another fabulous event for the whole family for expectant, new and seasoned parents with children up to age 8. It is a day to bring the online A Child Grows in Brooklyn community together in person to meet new friends and experience relevant educational seminars, community resources, and best products and resources for families.
We are also planning our first virtual Brooklyn Camp Expo in early 2014. It will be a comprehensive listing of all the surrounding camp options for Brooklyn families.
We are also working on comprehensive neighborhood guides to make visiting new Brooklyn areas easier and more fun for families.
Tell us about your fave places in Brooklyn —
— To eat out as a family. We love having a family meal out at Dinosaur BBQ, which is so big and loud (to drown out our children’s squeals) and has a great kids menu. And we have been exploring all the new restaurants in Gowanus in general.
— And to hibernate in during winter!
There is no hibernating in Brooklyn! There is too much to do and see (plus our apartments are too small!) If you are ever at a loss for new ideas for family outings, we post a weekly and weekend event guide every Sunday and Thursday on the site! You can get our weekly newsletter for all the event listings to help plan your week.
Right, so this cold snap means we need to find places that are warm and entertaining for a toddler, FAST. The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) is the the perfect place to take an active kid. It has enough rooms, exhibits and general cool stuff to occupy kids of all ages all day — and their parents too (praise be!).
The AMHN has plenty of special exhibits on as well as the permanents like ye olde dinosaurs. If you’re planning a day at the museum (and with toddlers, two hours often feels like a whole day), make sure you visit these toddler-pleasers:
Origami Holiday Tree The Origami Holiday Tree is a tradition that goes back 40 years at the museum. Volunteers start folding the ornaments in July to complete the hundreds of creatures that are displayed on the tree. Every year the tree has a different theme — this year it’s Wicked, Wild, and Wonderful, in honor of the Museum’s new exhibition The Power of Poison. The animals are mostly easily identifiable, even for toddlers, so you can easily spend a long time just at the tree, asking your toddler to show you the different animals, and pointing out those they they might not be able to identify themselves. It’s also a good photo op.
Dates: Through January 12, 2014 Entry: Included with general admission
Dinosaurs Everyone’s favourite dinosaurs are crowd pleasers for the toddler set too. We like to let Cheese loose in the dinosaur rooms and watch her roar at the T-rex. If your kid (or spouse) is a dinosaur freak, take the “Dino Tour” suggested by the AMNH website to help visitors take in all the dinos on offer. The most entertaining part of the dinosaur exhibits for us is when Cheese tells her dad that the T-Rex needs to brush his teeth (see pic above).
Dates: Permanent exhibit Entry: Included with general admission
The Butterfly Conservatory
These beautiful insects flutter into the museum every year. Entry is timed, so you need to buy a ticket for this special exhibit, and play close observance to the rules. I’d suggest taking only babies or older toddlers who can follow directions into this exhibit, as the butterflies are within toddler-reach at all times. The butterflies like to land on visitors — making for some very exciting times for toddlers when they experience their light touch. An enchanting experience, not just the toddlers.
Dates: Through May 26, 2014 Entry: Additional ticket required
Whales Of The Deep
This exhibit is fascinating for adults, and fun for kids. There is a life-sized whale heart that kids can crawl inside, and a massive sperm whale skeleton. Cheese’s favourite part of the exhibit was the sound chamber where you could spin a wheel and select a whale, and then listen to its distinctive sounds.
Dates: Through January 5, 2014 Entry: Additional ticket required
Frogs: A Chorus Of Color This live exhibit features frogs in bright orange, blue and red. Toddlers and kids of all ages will enjoy seeing such a large variety of frogs from around the world. It’s a rare chance to get up close to these critters, not to be missed for frog-lovers of all ages.
Dates: Through January 5, 2014 Entry: Additional ticket required
Milstein Hall of Ocean Life The 94-foot-long, 21,000-pound model of a blue whale hanging from the ceiling is a must-see for every visitor. The hall has recently been renovated, and now features 750 sea creatures, including computerized glowing jellyfishes, and includes modern technology in the exhibits, such as high-definition video projections and interactive computer stations. The best spot in the room is lying directly underneath the whale on the floor. No kidding. It’s amazing how different the world looks from down there.
Dates: Permanent exhibit Entry: Included with general admission
One of the crappiest things about crappy weather is having to do all your usual toting around of your kid, but now with tons more layers and accessories. The one bright spot? Winter layers that have style and street cred, like these scarves from The Brooklyn Block.
The Brooklyn Block folks have created a line of scarves that represent different neighborhoods in Brooklyn, like DUMBO, Red Hook and Clinton Hill. The process is something to geek-out about: First, they take videos of the various locations across Brooklyn, then they process them into code to generate specific patterns. The generated pattern is then printed on a scarf, reflecting the colors, layers and textures of that particular neighborhood.
Since we’re full of Brooklyn pride, Alexis and I were eager to take these scarves out into our own ‘hoods; Alexis in DUMBO, and me in Clinton Hill.
Each scarf is its own little work of art. Notice how beautifully each scarf picks up the colors of the specific Brooklyn neighborhood it represents. In DUMBO, Alexis’s scarf picked up the mellow shades of blue and grey of a late winter afternoon. And in Clinton Hill, Christine’s scarf played off of the subtle purples of the brownstones, and the grays from the wrought iron railings on the stoops.
The Brooklyn Block scarves are currently available online. Current blocks you can wear are Clinton Hill/Fort Greene, Red Hook, DUMBO and Dekalb Market. No news yet on if Park Slope will make the cut.
Find the perfect gift for kids who love to dress up, rock out and get into the holiday spirit, thanks to Lindsey Engler, owner of Picnic, in Cobble Hill. Picnic is a Brooklyn parent’s go-to store for hip, playful, children’s clothing and accessory (they even have a little picnic table for the little ones to hang out on and where they can watch cartoons while you shop).
Picnic prides itself on outfitting kids for everyday adventures. See below for the Picnic gift guide to a little something for every kid on your Christmas list, from the superhero, to the kid with Brooklyn pride, and even the kid who is crazy for Christmas.
What does the holiday season hold for Picnic?
Picnic is hosting its first ‘Decorate and Donate’ art project which it began in early November and runs through December 24th. Children who visit the store are invited to sit down at the picnic table and decorate a cardstock mitten with stickers, crayons and gems. For each mitten a child decorates, Picnic will donate $1 to the Make A Wish foundation. Picnic also has the mittens hanging in the store for everyone to see! The kids are so proud that they are helping other children – and they love seeing their artwork on display!
Inspired by lazy afternoons in the park and hanging upside down on the monkey bars, Picnic is the brainchild of owner Lindsey Engler. Lindsey, a new mom and Brooklyn resident, had always wanted to open a small, neighborhood boutique and, after many years of work in Manhattan’s garment district, she decided to make the move shortly after the birth of her daughter.
Cafe Lalo does desserts extremely well. It’s what they’re famous for, and the reason we usually visit. Our go-to item in the summer is the Lalo Special (frozen yogurt and berries, $11.50). Now that the weather has cooled waaaaay down, we’ve branched into the more savory items on their menu. One of the really fun things about Cafe Lalo is that they feature dishes from all over the world. This visit, we tried the Baked Salmon Salad ($14), Fresh Mixed Seasonal Berries ($7), Goat Cheese Quiche (served with Mediterranean Salad, $11), and the French Fries ($7). The dishes were solid. Not extraordinary but really good, warming dishes, perfect for lunch before playing with a toddler. The quiche had big chunks of tart goat’s cheese, with a flaky crust. The salad had great seasoning and super-juicy tomatoes. Cheese picked at the French fries and berries — both of which were absolutely delicious, by the way. Ripe berries, even though it was off-season.
I have to say, the desserts are still the winning dishes at Cafe Lalo — we dropped by again after playing at the Children’s Museum and took home some cheesecake. Hey, we had a big workout, okay?
We covered the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMoM) pretty thoroughly in our previous post. The CMoM has a new exhibition open for the holiday season that’s worth checking out — The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop. This exhibit is suitable for all ages, and runs through till December 31, 2013. Inspired by Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, kids can step straight into the pages of this Seussian classic holiday tale. The walls of the room are wrapped in scenes from How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, which is fun to see for adults and kids alike, who have grown up loving Dr Seuss.
In The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop, kids can try “sock skating” on the indoor rink (including playing games of “freeze” with CMOM staffers); pretend to steer Max, the Grinch’s “Rein-Dog” on an interactive sleigh; make Dr Seuss-themed crafts and join in on story time to hear How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and other classic books by Dr. Seuss. Check out the CMOMcalendar for daily events.
The most fun for us was the “sock skating”, which was really more like slippery dancing. CMOM staffers make sure that not too many kids get on the “ice” at a time, so it’s a safe activity for the smallest of toddlers.
High Chairs: No Stroller storage: You can’t bring your stroller inside, but they’ll store it for you somewhere mysterious under the restaurant. Easy access: No. Quite a few steps. Change tables: No. The bathrooms are pretty small. Kids’ menu: No, but there’s so much to choose from, from bagels and muffins to steamed eggs or homemade waffles.
201 West 83rd St. (between Amsterdam Ave. & Broadway)
Upper West Side, New York
Phone: (212) 496-6031
Hours: Mon-Thur 8am-2am; Fri 8am-4am; Sat 9am-4am Sun 9am-2am. Holidays until 4am.
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
212 W. 83rd St (between Amsterdam Ave. & Broadway)
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 721-1234
Hours: Sun-Fri 10am-5pm; Sat 10am-7pm. Closed Mondays.
Looking for a gift for the foodie in your house? Our friend Ann Cantrell of Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store in Brooklyn has rounded up the absolute ULTIMATE in foodie gifts for all ages, even babies.