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Home For The Holidays: Pediped Review & Giveaway

#Pediped shoes review & #giveaway - brunchwithmybaby.com

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 review & #giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

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!

#pediped review & #giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

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.

#Brianjames shoes review & #Pediped #giveaway - brunchwithmybaby.com

GIVEAWAY
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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Brunch With My Baby were given a product sample for reviewing purposes. All opinions are our own.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

The 411 On Cord Blood Banking #MC #cordblood411

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for the Cord Blood Registry. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

This week I attended an unusual event – an introduction to Cord Blood Banking at the very posh Russian Tea Rooms. I was really keen to attend and learn more because I felt like I hadn’t been well informed enough about cord blood banking during my pregnancy. I should actually say that I wasn’t informed about it at all by my doctors – in Australia it’s not a big deal at all, hence why I hadn’t even heard of it until I moved here, and I didn’t start seeing my New York doctor until I was five months pregnant, and I guess he figured I already knew about it, so didn’t bring it up.

I only knew about cord blood banking because I found a pamphlet in a waiting room somewhere while I was waiting for an appointment. I started researching it online and I didn’t really find super useful information to help me make my mind up about if I should have the cord blood banked or not. I knew enough to know that it was a good thing for science to donate the cells, and was intending to this if I didn’t bank it privately – but the problem was I couldn’t get a definite answer on if it was important enough to bank the blood privately, and while I was humming and haring over my options, I went into early labour and had the baby. BAM, problem solved – no decision made and no cord blood donated or banked.

Why was I thinking of banking it? I have a family history of auto immune disorders (type 1 diabetes and Hashimoto’s disease), so I’ve been worried about the likelihood of Cheese inheriting something. There are currently medical trials in place treating auto immune disorders using stem cells, which is why I was considering banking the cord blood privately.

So more about cord blood banking. Basically, cord blood is the blood found in a baby’s umbilical cord. It’s rich in potent stem cells, the powerful cells used in regenerative medicine. Stem cells have already been used in the treatment of more than 80 conditions, including certain cancers, blood disorders, immune deficiencies, and metabolic disorders.

Expecting parents have two choices when it comes to cord blood. You can either bank it privately so it is reserved for your or your family’s use alone (it costs about $2K upfront, and a yearly upkeep fee of $130), or you can donate it so it can be used by anyone who needs it. It’s free to donate the cord blood, but can be a bit difficult to organise as it means an extra step for hospital staff to have to take care of on top of taking care of you and your baby. Currently, only 10% of cord blood in the USA is collected for either banking or donations. If you want more info on cord blood banking. you can find it here: http://www.cordbankingbasics.com.

Back to the event: a group of bloggers (including myself) were served breakfast at the very swish Russian Tea Rooms, while we listened to talks on cord blood banking on behalf of the Cord Blood Registry, including a personal account of how a stem cell transplant improved the recovery of a child who suffered a stroke. It was really interesting to listen to the facts about cord blood (and heart breaking to learn about the little girl who needed the treatment), and also really great to mingle with other bloggers at such a beautiful venue.

We learned some really useful info about cord blood banking – whether to bank or donate it is a big decision that could really feature more prominently in an expectant parent’s check list. I think we owe it to our children to think through all the options out there that might effect their future health. While it is possible to get stem cells from adults, the stem cells in cord blood are so much more potent as they are brand new and pure – and there is only one opportunity for them to be harvested, at the birth of every child.

While stem cell medicine is still in its infancy, it is already known that stem cells reduce inflammation, stimulate the growth of new cells, promote healing in the body and stimulate blood flow. It’s amazing to think of what might be accomplished, and what diseases might be curable, in the future with the use of these amazing little cells.

Blogger gathering – with Stephanie Barnhart, Allison Cooper and Elizabeth De Castro.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

A Day With A Toddler At American Museum of Natural History: The Hit List

American Museum of Natural History - A Day At The Museum, via brunchwithmybaby.com
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:

American Museum of Natural History via brunchwithmybaby.com

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

American Museum of Natural History via brunchwithmybaby.com
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

American Museum of Natural History via brunchwithmybaby.com
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

American Museum of Natural History - A Day At The Museum, via brunchwithmybaby.com

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

American Museum of Natural History - A Day At The Museum, via brunchwithmybaby.com

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

American Museum of Natural History via brunchwithmybaby.com
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

American Museum of Natural History
79th Street and Central Park West
New York, NY

After (or before) your visit, check out these delicious places to eat that are right around the corner.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Representing Your 'Hood: The Brooklyn Block Scarves

The Brooklyn Block #brooklynblock Scarves: Wear Your 'Hood via brunchwithmybaby.com

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.

#TheBrooklynBlock scarves via brunchwithmybaby.com #TheBrooklynBlock scarves via brunchwithmybaby.com #TheBrooklynBlock scarves via brunchwithmybaby.com #TheBrooklynBlock scarves via brunchwithmybaby.com

 

The Brooklyn Block #brooklynblock Scarves: Wear Your 'Hood via brunchwithmybaby.com

The Brooklyn Block #brooklynblock Scarves: Wear Your 'Hood via brunchwithmybaby.com

brooklynblock-scarf-alexis

brooklynblock-scarf-alexis

 

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Superheroes, Princess & Holiday Spirit: The Cute Outfit Gift Guide From Picnic

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.

Kids' #GiftGuide from Picnic via brunchwithmybaby.com

1. Fore!! Axel & Hudson, $30
2. Rowdy Sprout, $40
3. Babiators, $22

Kids' #GiftGuide from Picnic via brunchwithmybaby.com

1. My Subway Ride, Gibbs Smith Publisher, $15.99
2. I’m So Brooklyn, $22
3. The ABCs of Brooklyn, Lynas Press, $16.95
4. Brooklyn Owl Hair Clip, $12
5. Tattly MTA Tattoos, $15

Kids' #GiftGuide from Picnic via brunchwithmybaby.com
1. Jellycat, Dylan the Dragon, $32
2. Fluf, Lunch Bag, $22
3. Siaomimi, $22
4. Seedling, Make your own Superhero Cape Kit, $42

Kids' #GiftGuide from Picnic via brunchwithmybaby.com
1. I Love Gorgeous, $124
2. Piggy Paint, $5
3. Wee One, $7
4. Pink Chicken, $92

Kids' #GiftGuide from Picnic via brunchwithmybaby.com

1. Skylar Luna, $39
2. Giddy Giddy, Hair Clip, $8
3. Piggy Paint, Sometimes Sweet, $9
4. Seedling, Make Your Own Snow Globe, $30
5. Piggy Paint, Eat Your Peace, $9

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. 

Picnic
192 Amity St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving 2013

A very happy Thanksgiving this year, surrounded by loved ones and friends, old and new. Thanks to our friends Dan and Sue for hosting and inviting us to their amazing expat Thanksgiving feast.

This year I am very thankful to our community of friends,  for my family, and for how lucky I really am. I like to whine and complain a lot about things that aren’t perfect, but the reality is I’m so lucky. A supportive, loving husband, a healthy, beautiful little girl, living in New York City, and really enjoying an amazing life. So many blessings, so very thankful.

#Thanksgiving 2013

#Thanksgiving

#Thanksgiving

After lunch was some dancing. Cheese really loves dancing lately and was loving it.


What’s Thanksgiving without pie?!

#Thanksgiving

 

 

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Your Latest Squeeze: aden + anais musy mate Giveaway

#adenandanais #musymate #giveaway brunchwithmybaby.com

It was a spin out moment when I realised that most of my friends are having second babies this year! Really? Already? I feel like I just emerged from the trenches. Or on second thought, I’m still in them.

I recently visited this five-week-old snuggly boy, who has a new best friend to help him cope with the tough life of a newborn — an aden + anais jungle jam musy mate lovey.

The musy mate collection from aden + anais features lovies made from cotton muslin, just like the swaddles I used two years ago, and LOVED when Cheese was a tiny baby. I wish they’d been around then! I would have felt much more comfortable with her snuggling up to one of these than with the other lovies we considered, and eventually passed on. Other lovies on the market tend to be made out of non-breathable materials. But since these are made with breathable muslin, you can rest a little easier when placing them beside your newborn, or when buying them as a baby shower gift.

Since there are no sewn-on eyes on musy mates, they are fine to be left with a little one while they’re awake. However, aden + anais recommend removing all stuffed animals/loose blankets from the crib before your baby falls asleep.

Musy mates are not only super soft and cuddly, they’re also machine washable just like the swaddle blankets (yay!), so no need to worry about getting spit up all over them.

#adenandanais #musymate #giveaway brunchwithmybaby.com

@adenandanais #musymate #giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

GIVEAWAY
aden + anais is giving Brunch With My Baby readers the chance to win their own musy mate to cuddle or to gift, valued at $24.95. (Adorable baby not included.)

Giveaway is open Wed November 27 to 11:59pm Tues Dec 10 2013 EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Entry open to US mailing addresses only.

Brunch With My Baby was given a product sample for reviewing purposes. All opinions are our own.

 

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

These Boots Are Made For Running: The High Line With Stride Rite + Giveaway

#StrideRite Medallion review and #giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

Cheese is one active kid. She loves to run, jump and climb, and her favourite thing in the world is a playground. Because she’s so active, I’m really picky when it comes to choosing her shoes. I tend to go for practical first, and then style, because I want quality shoes that will fit her feet properly as they’re growing, and support her little feet in their athletic endeavours. Because of this, Stride Rite remains one of my top brands when buying shoes. They’re designed with the utmost care to fit tiny feet properly. They’re durable, made from top materials, and rigorously tested to ensure a high quality shoe.
#StrideRite Medallion review and #giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

This winter, I wanted a good pair of boots for Cheese, that would keep her feet warm and enable her to keep playing and running outside without hinderance. The Stride Rite Medallion Collection Roslin is the perfect boot for my busy little Cheese.

#StrideRite Medallion review and #giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

We took Cheese and her new boots for a spin on the High Line. The boots are great for an active toddler. Padded for comfort, strong but comfortable leather for long-term wear, and easy to get on and off. These boots are made for running, not walking! They get the Cheese’s tick of approval (ie she didn’t whine and yell “off, off!!”).

#StrideRite Medallion review and #giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

 

The High Line is a favourite place of ours to let the Cheese run wild. It’s pretty contained and in a long, straight line, so we can let her loose without worrying about her running into traffic or hurting herself in general. It’s lined with plants as well, which change during the seasons and provide Cheese with amazing leaves and flowers to discover on her eye level, that she can actually touch (we’re looking at you here, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens …). She really enjoyed the different levels on the High Line, with ramps, steps and viewing platforms, and loves peeking over the edge at the buildings, people and fire trucks down below.

#StrideRite Medallion review and #giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

There are actually multiple sections to the High Line, but we generally just enter it randomly when we get the urge (“Hey, there’s the High Line, let’s go up!”), and exit when we realise we’re kinda hungry/cold/tired/cranky (this may or may not be the toddler). That’s the best thing about it — it’s like a get-on-get-off bus ride through Chelsea, perfect for entertaining a crazy active toddler as well as yourself.

GIVEAWAY!
The generous people at Stride Rite are offering one lucky Brunch With My Baby reader the chance to win their own pair of Stride Rite shoes of their choice.

Giveaway open from Nov 20th 2013 to 11:59pm EST Tues 26th, 2013.

Open to US mailing addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Ballerina Swan: Anyone Can Dance

With the weather turning to bitter cold again, I was so excited to have the opportunity to check out another kids theatre show with Cheese. After our success with Wanda’s Monster, I was really eager to take her to another show. This time, the show was called Ballerina Swan, produced by Making Books Sing (who also produced Wanda’s Monster).

#ballerinaswan

The theatre/dance performance was based on a book, also called Ballerina Swan, by Allegra Kent – a former NYC Ballet ballerina of 30 years. So yes, she is certainly qualified to be writing ballet books. We were privileged to meet Ms Kent before the performance. While her performing days are over, she still bears the look and poise of a life of ballet.

I love ballet. Love, love, love ballet, since I was about age three, according to my parents. Story goes I begged for lessons for two years until they gave in. I’m thankful for that, as it’s been a life-long love of mine, and one that I am now beyond thrilled to be able to share with Cheese. Lately she’s been asking to go to dance class, and has been mimicking the little ballet dancers she sees going into class at NY Kids Club. With this in mind, I thought this was the perfect show for us to be seeing.

Ballerina Swan tells the story of Sophie, a swan who wants to be a ballerina. She watches dancers in class and tried to join in, only to be derided and chased away by the teacher. Once another, more liberal-minded, teacher takes over the class, Sophie is welcomed with open arms (or wings?) by the children, who admire her for her strengths (great neck movements), and help her with the areas that need more work (it’s hard to accomplish turn out with webbed feet!).

Becoming a dancer is hard work, and Sophie gets frustrated with her slow progress. Her fellow dancers urge her to keep trying and practicing, reminding her that it takes dedication to become a dancer. A good lesson for kids, by the way, since it’s a life lesson for anything they will want to attempt.

Sophie works hard and, over time, becomes the dancer she dreams of being. The dual messages of hard work paying off and of accepting those who are different to us are woven into the beautiful scenes of talented ballet dancers.

The show will appeal mostly to girls (there were a few boys who were protesting having to watch a ballet show), who love all things tulle and tutu. Yes there were a few little girls actually attending the show in tutus … At 50 minutes it was a good length – the story flew (sorry, couldn’t help myself) along quickly, with no lagging moments – critical for keeping the attention of small children. The show is also interactive. There is a really fun moment where the dancers ask the audience to dance. I thought Cheese might be too young, but no, she hopped up and copied the dancers’ port de bras, turns and tendus. It literally brought a tear to my eye to see her first actual dance moves.

#ballerinaswan

Cheese insisted on sitting solo during the show (she also enjoyed folding herself up into the seat over and over and over again …).

#ballerinaswan

Ballerina Swan via akissgoodnight.co

Ballerina Swan - via akissgoodnight.co

#ballerinaswan

After the show we met the cast. Despite looking quite sour in this picture, Cheese actually was brave enough to give Sophie a pat and was excited to meet her.

Ballerina Swan runs from November 9 – 24th, 2013.
Wed-Fri 10:30am, Sat & Sun 11am & 2pm
Tickets $25
Best for ages 3-8
Buy tickets by calling 646-250-1178 or online at makingbookssing.org.
Save 10% on tickets by using the code “POSTCARD
After every weekend performance, stick around for a 20-minute meet-and-greet with the cast.

Images of the show by Carol Rosegg

I was not compensated for this post. I was given preview tickets for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Halloween in New York 2013

This year was the first year that Cheese was old enough to kind of “get” Halloween. She didn’t understand dressing up as someone or something, so I was still able to choose her outfit (yay!). A friend knew that Cheese was into Mickey and Minnie Mouse and passed on a Minnie Mouse dress that they didn’t need for their toddler.

It fit Cheese PERFECTLY. I definitely wouldn’t have thought of it as a costume idea myself (I’m more into a bit of a DIY/thrown-together-kinda-thing), so it was great for Cheese to try something really new. She’s not a “girlie” girl and happiest when unencumbered to run and climb, so it was so my great surprise that she LOVED the frilly Minnie Mouse dress.

She wore it for three days straight (with me washing it in between because she got it filthy every time she wore it), and every time she put the dress on she turned into a different kid. One who twirled and fluffed out her taffeta skirt. It. was. adorable. And, she’s been asking to wear dresses ever since.

It’s always tough to decide what to do for Halloween in Brooklyn as there are so many options. I decided on the DUMBO Under The Archway event because it looked to be a bit less crazy than some of the other options considering I was taking a little toddler. We stroller on down to DUMBO, stopping to collect candy from the stores on the way (kinda of a lazy-ass version of trick-or-treating …) and ended up under the Archway to join the festivities.

My personal fave was the Boothify photo booth. Cheese enjoyed running through it, photobombing everyone else. They also had music playing and a little fake Brooklyn bridge set up that the toddlers enjoyed dancing and running all over, and a free art station with Creatively Wild. We ran into some friends and Alec came home early to join us, making it a super fun afternoon for the toddlers AND for us.

Cheese had the best afternoon possibly of her life, without even eating any candy (oh, alright, she did get in a few licks of a lollypop). Can’t wait to do it all again next year!

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!