Adventure, baby!

Guest Brunchers

Dressing Brooklyn: Appaman and the Husband and Wife Team Behind It

The Brunch With My Baby team are huge fans of Appaman, a Brooklyn clothing brand known for their stylish kids’ clothes. Lynn Husum owns the brand, along with her husband Harald. She filled us in on what it’s like running a family business and raising kids (Kaya, 9, and Elie, 7) in NYC. 

#Appaman: Interview & #Giveaway via

We hear that Appaman was named after Harald’s childhood stuffed monkey. Is he still kicking around?
Yes Appaman (the original) is still around. He is a little floppy but he is in the office on a shelf for inspiration.

#Appaman: Interview & #Giveaway via

Appaman is a husband and wife team — how has it been working together AND raising two girls?
We truly love to work together. We are great at the division of labor thing. I won’t lie, there are good days and bad days, but the good far outweighs the bad. We each have tasks at work and home and we don’t micromanage each other. I think trust and a sense of humor are imperative when you have a working marriage like ours. The highs are being able to be in each others lives on a consistent and regular basis, to celebrate the triumphs and laugh at the daily absurdities. The lows are that we have most of the same problems so when something goes wrong we are both stressing about it. Rather than just one party having a work issue, we both have it.

#Appaman: Interview & #Giveaway via

Starting your own business is a brave endeavor — what were Appaman’s humble beginnings?
We started in our 659 square foot apartment in Brooklyn. We dyed clothing in our washing machine and went door-to-door selling our wares. Harald took some screen-printing classes and was printing on our kitchen table. I took a night course on marketing to the children’s wear industry on a shoestring. I was a star pupil, did everything I was told and it worked.

#Appaman: Interview & #Giveaway via

Were there any big setbacks or disasters along the way?
Knock wood, we have not had too many disasters. The biggest one I can recall is the season very early on that we shipped pants that could not fit any human child. They were very long and incredibly thin. We had to recall them but at the time we only had a few dozen accounts so although it seemed like a big deal at the time it was pretty minor.

#Appaman: Interview & #Giveaway via

What was the biggest “We’ve made it!” moment with Appaman so far?
One of our T-shirts was photographed on Maddox Jolie-Pitt on the day Angelina announced her pregnancy with Brad Pitt’s baby. It was like the photo that went around the world. It was a perfect shot of our t-shirt and our phones were ringing off the hook. It was an exciting moment and a great example of the power of celebrity in the day and age.

#Appaman: Interview & #Giveaway via

Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
We live in NYC so inspiration is everywhere you look. Walking down the street can fuel creativity any day of the week.

#Appaman: Interview & #Giveaway via

What do your kids think of your designs? Do they wear them?
We have two girls and they are fans of Appaman but are very picky. They like to choose the styles they are into at the current moment and are very vocal about their opinions. They are both pretty proud of Appaman but do not wear it exclusively.

#Appaman: Interview & #Giveaway via

You’re based in Brooklyn! What are your favorite places in the ‘hood to take your family?
I love Brooklyn and my family has extreme Brooklyn pride. We are big fans of Coney Island for the boardwalk, Nathan’s and the Cyclones. We spend a lot of time at Fort Tilden beach in the summer. We hit Bay Ridge regularly for eating. We love Tanoreen for Middle Eastern food. Grand Sichuan House for Chinese. My kids’ favorite is Vietnamese food. They are obsessed with Pork Pho. We always go to Gia Lam in Sunset Park. We spend a lot of time at Brooklyn Bridge Park and weekends on Governor’s Island. Brooklyn is an amazing place to raise a family. I like to refer to it as small town living in an urban setting. My kids know all of the merchants in town and we shop at small bodegas for fruits, veggies, fish and meat. It’s friendly and family oriented.

The kind folks at Appaman are giving one lucky Brunch My Baby reader the chance to win an outfit from their fall/winter collection. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

Entry open to US mailing addresses only. Giveaway opens Wed February 19, 2014 to 11:59pm 25 February EST. By entering this competition you are agreeing to sign up to the Brunch With My Baby mailing list. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Angela Santomero: Creating Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood

Today’s Brunch Special is courtesy of Angela Santomero, founder & executive producer of Out of the Blue Enterprises, creator of Blue’s Clues for Nick Jr, Super Why & Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood for PBS Kids, and Creative Galaxy & Wishenpoof for Amazon Kids. Angela lives with her husband, Greg, and two daughters in New York City. 

An interview with Angela Santomero, creater of #bluesclues & #danieltiger via

Tell us about your background, and how you got your break in TV. 
I have a Masters in Child Development & Instructional Technology and Media from Teachers College, Columbia University.  I was inspired by Fred Rogers and the incredible and important work he was doing for kids and parents through television and wanted to make an impact the way that he did.

Tell us about your career path.
Since I have a background in research, I started my career in the revolutionary research department at Nickelodeon working with kids and media.  Research has always been my “secret sauce” and what has shaped my vision and my work creating media for kids. An interview with Angela Santomero, creater of #bluesclues & #danieltiger via
How did your ideas for Blues Clues, Super Why and Daniel Tiger come about?
I’ve always wanted a dog. And to be a super hero. And Daniel Tiger was my favorite character on Mister Rogers Neighborhood! I also wanted to teach kids everything they needed to know before they got to kindergarten (Blue’s Clues); to teach kids the power of reading, how to read, what strategies to use when reading and how to get lost inside a book (Super Why); and I am a firm believer that the foundation of all learning is socio emotional skills.  So promoting Fred’s legacy through his groundbreaking socio emotional curriculum was a passion of mine.

An interview with Angela Santomero, creater of #bluesclues & #danieltiger via
How hard is it to get a series actually on the TV?

Let’s just say that it took 6 years to get Daniel Tiger on the air!  So, it’s a long laborious passion-filled love project — much like being a mom!

Tell us about your new girl empowerment pilot, Wishenproof for Amazon Studios.
Wishenpoof is a dream project for me, as Bianca, our girl lead, is smart, empowered, and self-assured, persevering through her newfound ability to use her “wishes” to help.  I love who Bianca is: that she’s not afraid to wear a puffy skirt and high tops, and is okay with messing up her wishes, as long as she can keep practicing and, in the end, help her friends.

An interview with Angela Santomero, creater of #bluesclues & #danieltiger via
How do you create your characters? Are they ever based off people you know in real life?
Always!  I’m like Taylor Swift – you better be careful because my favorite people and those that have done me wrong are ALL in my shows!  😉

Do your kids think what you do is cool? Who are their fave characters?
My girls liked when they saw my name on a book. That cemented what I did with them.  Oh, and the thinking chair in the basement is cool, too.

Everyone wants to know the “secret” to a maintaining a successful career and being a hands-on mom. Tell us about your balancing act.
So many answers to this question! All I can say is there is NO BALANCE. Every day has its ups and downs, challenges and wonderful opportunities.  I have been fortunate to have a husband who supports me 100% and the best team in children’s media who enable me to do what I do and understand that I’m a mom, too.

You’re raising your two daughters in NYC. What are your favorite things about bringing up kids here?
I love that I never had to close my stroller when I was done with it.  It just stayed outside my door, waiting for me.  I love that I can walk everywhere – the doctor’s office, to all our baby classes, shopping, visiting friends. I love that my kids grew up with Central Park as their “backyard”, and museums and the best classes at their fingertips. I love that my kids are “restaurant kids” as almost all NYC kids are – they knew how to sit and order and be respectful and play “waiting games” in a restaurant before they could walk!

Where are your fave places to go in the city with your kids?
We love to see Broadway Shows – I have Broadway kids!  We just saw Wicked again and Matilda … Fabulous! We love the UWS – Arty’s, Ruby Foos, Café Lalo, Alice’s Tea Cup, Popovers, Jacob’s Pickles, MoMA, Chelsea Piers, Hi Art classes, The American Museum of Natural History and watching the balloons blow up the day before the Thanksgiving Day Parade!

An Interview with Angela Santomero via Brunchwithmybaby.comAngela Santomero is Co‐Founder: Out of the Blue Enterprises LLC. She’s the  Creator, Executive Producer & Head Writer of Daniel Tigerʹs NeighborhoodSuper Why (PBS KIDS), Blue’s Clues (Nick Jr) and On‐Air Host & Executive Producer: The Parent Show (PBS 

A Child Grows In Brooklyn's Kim Janulewicz & Nicole Horne Talk Website, Work and Parenthood

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.

#achildgrowsinbrooklyn via

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.

#achildgrowsinbrooklyn via

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?

#achildgrowsinbrooklyn via

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.

#achildgrowsinbrooklyn via

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.

#achildgrowsinbrooklyn via

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.

#achildgrowsinbrooklyn via

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.

— To play.
The old standbys are the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and all that Prospect Park has to offer. We’ve recently been having fun at the new NY Kids Club in Park Slope, Frolic! play space in Williamsburg, Twinkle in Greenpoint, Everyday Athlete in Brooklyn Heights and Carroll Gardens. We have a comprehensive guide on A Child Grows Marketplace to help find lots of great options for places to play in Brooklyn.

— 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.

Follow Kim and Nicole and A Child Grows in Brooklyn via their siteNewsletter subscriptionTwitter,  FacebookPinterest and Google +.

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

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

Kids' #GiftGuide from Picnic via

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
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
1. I Love Gorgeous, $124
2. Piggy Paint, $5
3. Wee One, $7
4. Pink Chicken, $92

Kids' #GiftGuide from Picnic via

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. 

192 Amity St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Brunch Special: Brianne Manz, Stroller In The City

Today’s Brunch Special is courtesy of Brianne Manz, the writer/blogger behind Stroller In The City. She’s mom to three kids (Ryder, 5, Siella, 2, and Gemma, 7 months), and lives in Battery City with her husband, Jason. 

An Interview with #Brianne Manz from #strollerinthecity -

Tell us a bit about your pre-baby career.
I was once a fashion showroom owner for women’s apparel. The showroom was based in NYC and represented about 10 designers. We sold the brands to stores all over country. When my son was born I wanted to focus on being a mom and sold my company.

How did you make the transition to writer/blogger?
The whole process happened organically. I started this little blog at the time to write about the adventures I was having while being out about being a mom. I was also determined to find clothing for my son that wasn’t baby blue. Now, five years later, things have changed dramatically in the fashion world for kids.

How has life changed with three kids?
It has changed 100%. Three has definitely been a game changer for sure! You just do not have enough hands. Plus I also did it the opposite way of most by having my second and third pretty close in age (21 mos). My middle daughter is full into her terrible twos, so I pretty much have my hands full. Not to mention the sleeping for all has been extremely hard for us because now the baby (7 mos) is teething.

Fashion-wise — you used to work in fashion, and always look amazing on your site. What do your readers NOT see?
Why thank you! I would say my readers do not see me sitting behind my computer catching up on work in my pj’s; which consist of non matching leggings, sweats, or tanks.

An Interview with #Brianne Manz from #strollerinthecity -

How hard is it to pull together a look now that you have three kids? What do you always make time for, what parts of your beauty and styling routine have you dropped?
I have a big archive in my closet from working in fashion for so many years, so putting an outfit together for me is easy, like second nature. Asking me to pick out furniture, is a whole other ballgame. Interior design is so hard for me.

As for beauty — this is so bad I know, but the one thing I really try to do for myself once a week is get a blow out. I was never able to blow out my own hair, and this is a little “me” thing that makes my life easier when I literally have 5 minutes to shower. I did however drop most of my beauty regimens, like facials or night time masks which I should totally make time for.

An Interview with #Brianne Manz from #strollerinthecity -

What are your key ways to dress stylishly when you’re with the kids — how do you put together an outfit that’s kid-friendly but still looks fantastic? 
I think comfort is key especially when with the kids all day long. I am usually wearing comfy shoes or boots with little or no heel because pushing a stroller can take a huge toll on your feet. Summertime I live in long dresses and thong sandals; it’s easy yet chic.

Tell us a bit about your neighborhood: A few of your fave places to go with the kids.
We live in Battery Park. It’s like suburbia of NYC. We have so many amazing playgrounds here, it’s pretty easy to change up the scene. Some of our favorite parks include: West Thames Park, Pier 25 on the Hudson, and Washington Market.

We have so many restaurants down here now, and pretty soon even more will be opening. Although I do like to cook, some days its too much. The kids will usually choose Inatesso Pizza or Shake Shack.

Brianne Manz is a fashion shownroom owner turned mom and blogger/writer. She lives in NYC with her husband and three children. Her blog Stroller In The City boasts about city living, kids fashion and all things that are mommy. Follow Brianne on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Brunch Special: weeSpring Co-Founder Allyson Downey

Today’s Brunch Special is courtesy of Allyson Downey, co-founder of weeSpring — the number one social review site for baby gear. WeeSpring helps new and expecting parents collect advice from their friends about what they need for their baby, simplifying the overwhelming (and often anxiety-inducing) world of baby shopping. Allyson lives with her husband, Jack, and son Logan, age two, on the Upper West Side.

#weeSpring - #baby #gear recommended by your friends. Interview with founder Allyson Downey at

We love your site! Can you tell us a bit about how weeSpring began?
When I walked into a Babies R Us for the first time, I was completely overwhelmed by the product choices. I immediately emailed my friends with babies about what products were must-haves . . . and what I didn’t actually need. After gathering lists and spreadsheets from literally dozens of friends, a light bulb went off: so many people have already figured this stuff out. All I needed to do was collate their research by finding out what they loved and what they wished they’d never bought. Along with my husband Jack and co-founder Melissa, I built weeSpring to make preparing for parenthood simple, social, and fun — while also giving more experienced parents an easy way to share what they’ve learned.

#weeSpring - #baby #gear recommended by your friends. Interview with founder Allyson Downey at

How has weeSpring grown?
We always knew this was something we wanted — but we’ve been floored by our users’ response. In just a few short months since launching, we have over 50,000 ratings across 2,000 products on the site. That’s more product reviews than and Buy Buy Baby combined for any specific product.

#weeSpring - #baby #gear recommended by your friends. Interview with founder Allyson Downey at

What’s next for you and weeSpring?
We have a few new programs in place – last month we launched a partnership with eBay so weeSpring users can easily sell the products their little ones have outgrown. Next up, we’re launching the Blogs weeLove program, which will highlight some of our favorite parenting voices from bloggers who are real and relatable. And we have some more exciting news coming up that we can’t share at the moment . . . but keep an eye on our blog . . . or join weeSpring so you’ll receive our emails and be one of the first to know.

#weeSpring - #baby #gear recommended by your friends. Interview with founder Allyson Downey at

How do you find a good balance between parenting and running your business?
Balance? What’s balance?

In seriousness, we make it work by getting an awful lot of work done in the twelve hours a day that our son is asleep. Doing things like writing up this interview at 10:30pm means that I can spend 90 minutes in the middle of the day on Tuesday with my son at his pre-school. We also have amazing support from our caregiver, Liliana, who I wrote about in the WSJ.

#weeSpring - #baby #gear recommended by your friends. Interview with founder Allyson Downey at

Tell us about your experiences parenting in NYC.
Everyone talks about how hard it must be to raise a baby in the city — but I can’t imagine anything better. In those lonely early days of being home alone all day with a newborn (my husband started business school when Logan was eight days old . . . definitely not planned!), all I needed to do was strap on my Mei Tai and wander around the neighborhood. In New York, perfect strangers will strike up a conversation with you about your baby. Frances McDormand stopped me on the street one day to compliment our tiny little pumpkin hat, and we wound up chatting for five blocks.

#weeSpring - #baby #gear recommended by your friends. Interview with founder Allyson Downey at
The weeSpring founders with their kids.

What do you think are the benefits of raising kids in NYC?
My son goes to the Bronx Zoo every other week. The Museum of Natural History is our rainy day playground. (Head to the Hall of Minerals! It’s carpeted, everything’s behind glass panels, and the tourists skip it.) He’s two and knows FAO Schwartz as well as Tom Hanks in Big. What could be better?

What are your fave places in NYC to take your family?
We try and get out of the city on the weekends when we can for a change of pace. Lawrence Farms in Newburgh has amazing “You Pick” options for every season: strawberries, snap peas, cherries, peaches, corn, tomatoes, apples . . . and the views are spectacular. A bit closer, we like Stone Barns, where we can wander around and look at the cows and pigs, and have a great snack from their cafe.

Fave local restaurants or cafes to eat out with your family ?
One of the redeeming factors of being up with a toddler at the crack of dawn on a weekend is that it is easy-peasy to get to Good Enough to Eat in time for the first brunch seating at 9am (aim to arrive by 8:45am!). When we miss that — or if we are joining friends who think brunch before 11am is absurd — we do Ditch Plains, which is the most stroller-friendly restaurant on the UWS . . . not to mention they a) take reservations and b) have a TV at every booth that they’ll tune to cartoons on request. When I was on maternity leave, I could regularly be found at the Mermaid Inn for their $1 oyster happy hour, sitting alone at the bar with a baby strapped to my chest, eating oysters over his sleeping head and nursing a half glass of wine (so I could still breastfeed when we got home).

Your “secret” New York faves?
El Parador! We haven’t been in ages (though did take Logan in his Chicco Key Fit when he was a little baby), but they have the best margaritas. And while the food is much more upscale than this, the taco tray is my favorite thing on the menu (and the best thing not on the menu is queso fundido con chorizo).

#weeSpring - #baby #gear recommended by your friends. Interview with founder Allyson Downey at brunchwithmybaby.comAllyson and her husband, Jack Downey, have extensive experience building online political communities and empowering individuals to amplify their voices using the web. They collaborated to launch the first statewide online grassroots fundraising campaign in New York and co-produced a “people’s inauguration” for Eliot Spitzer featuring James Taylor and Jimmy Fallon. And Jack and Ally enjoyed working together so much that they decided to get married.

As new parents, the questions that keep them up at night aren’t about voter engagement or crowd-building, but about non-toxic bubble bath, easy-to-clean car seats, and the most subway-friendly umbrella stroller. Jack is a graduate of Dartmouth College and is finishing his MBA at NYU Stern. Ally received her BA from Colby College, her MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts, and her MBA from Columbia Business School.

Brunch Special: Hit the Town in Green Style with these Hip & Healthy Kids Picks

Today’s Brunch Special is courtesy of Marissa Zitka Abruzzo, President of Hip & Healthy Kids. She’s also a Board Certified Health Counselor, member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and a local New Jersey Mom to a 3-year-old cutie.

Remember the days of running out the door with your tiny purse full of only your wallet, phone, lip gloss and mints?  Neither do I. With kids, those days have been long replaced by feeling like a pack mule. However, with a little bit of organization and picking some super cool products, you will feel hipper and lighter than your four-legged equine friend.

The Bag
Let’s start with the bag. When selecting a diaper bag, I look for something waterproof and/or washable. A ton of pockets are not as important to me as long as there’s an easy way to organize.  I also look for a bag that makes a statement. Personally, I am not into bags with butterflies and flowers galore.  Instead, I want something that is fashionable, unique and socially responsible. This bag by Malia designs fits that bill. This fair trade messenger bag is not only socially conscious, but also environmentally-friendly. It’s made from recycled Vietnamese feed bags!   


Next, I stock it up with my diapering selection. Perhaps you are a cloth diaperer?  If so check out this article to figure out how to make it work in a big way.  If you go the disposable route, select diapers that are free of chlorine processing, fragrances, and petroleum-based lotions like Seventh Generation Diapers. Also select wipes free of chlorine processing, fragrances, dyes, and alcohol like Seventh Generation Free & Clear Wipes.

Nursing Cover
I toss in my nursing cover next. I have one of these beauties from Udder Covers. 100% cotton, breathable and washable, these covers are a nursing mother-on-the-go must have. If you want one of your own, Hip & Healthy Kids has a deal for you. Check out their site and at enter in promo code “hhk” to get a free nursing cover (you only have to pay shipping and handling).

Udder Cover - green picks for moms via

Food Containers
While we’re on the topic of eating…  If your little one is on to solids, pack up a ThinkBaby bento box. This eco-friendly, air tight, on-the-go travel container will keep your food fresh for hours. It’s a perfect size to throw into lunch boxes, baby bags, purses, and backpacks. It is BPA, PVC, Lead, Phthalates and Melamine free with a sleek stainless steel interior.  You will also be helping the environment with your reusable container instead of using harmful plastic baggies.

Hip & Healthy Kids readers can get their own bento box right from the online storefront (look under Kid’s Gear for the ThinkBaby products).

For sunny days, I toss in one of my non-toxic sunscreens. Read more here to figure out what chemicals to avoid and how to select a non-toxic sunscreen. (Cheat sheet oxybenzone = bad.)


Hand Sanitizer
Lastly, I place my CleanWell thyme-based, biodegradable, and alcohol-free hand sanitizer in an easily accessible pouch.

Baby Carrier
For a child 45 lbs. and under, be sure to also bring along your Ergo Carrier. These carriers are made from natural fabrics, and the ergonomic design is key for parent and baby comfort. Ergo allows baby to be positioned in a natural cradle, so excessive pressure on the hips (which may result in hip dysplasia) is avoided. A bunch of fun colors/designs allow you to express yourself, since your cute shirt is likely concealed from public viewing.

Now gaze down into those beautiful little eyes, throw on your diaper bag and smile knowing that you are more than ready to take on the day in style.

Marissa Abruzzo, Hip and Healthy Kids, via brunchwithmybaby.comMarissa Zitka Abruzzo, MS, is a Board Certified Health Counselor, member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, and President of Hip & Healthy Kids. Hip & Healthy Kids is THE place for information on how to maximize your family’s health while keeping things fun and hip. Marissa has transformed her holistic, eco-friendly, and nutritionally-focused vision into a fresh resource for modern families. Follow Hip & Healthy Kids on Facebook and on Twitter @HipHealthyKids.


Brunch Special: Authors Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus: From Nanny Diaries To Motherhood + GIVEAWAY

Today’s Brunch Special is courtesy of Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, local authors (and moms!). The friends wrote the bestseller, The Nanny Diaries, and have just released their latest book, The First Affair. Emma lives with her husband, Joel, and three-year-old son on the Upper West Side. Nicola, a New York native, lives with her husband, David, and her three-year-old, Sophie, in Brooklyn.

Did having kids change your NYC lives?
Absolutely! A block has never been so long. And we both marvel at the lack of storage space in strollers, the weight of diaper bags, the ordeal of getting your kid ten blocks in a rainstorm. When our kids were little we had raw envy of our friends in the suburbs, throwing the kid and the groceries in the car.
Nicola: I remember pushing the stroller and a carton of diapers uphill in a headwind that was biblical.

An interview with authors Emma Mclaughlin & Nicola Kraus via

Where are your favourite places in the city to go with your kids?
Nicola: We love the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and the Prospect Park Zoo for toddlers — it’s small and very manageable. The fabulous thing about Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens is that every restaurant, no matter how fancy, is kid-friendly before 7pm so I take Sophie out every weekend.
Emma: I’ve taken up permanent weekend residence at the Met Museum. It’s always amazing to see people lined up on the steps when the family entrance is opened to all. It’s the best-kept secret. And even if you’ve been up since 5am there’s something magical about having an entire exhibit hall to yourselves in the opening hours.

An interview with authors Emma Mclaughlin & Nicola Kraus via

Where do you like to take your families for special occasions?
Nicola: I love Red Gravy on Atlantic because it’s quiet enough for old and young to hear small voices.
Emma: I like Elizabeth’s on Columbus because they have a reasonably priced kids menu and it’s organic.

What’s your number one tip for dining out with young kids?
Nicola: Start young and do it frequently. We made sure Sophie went out to eat at least once a week and now she can sit quietly and entertain herself through a three-hour meal. Have a go-bag filled with all those little doo-hickeys you get from birthday parties, plus crayons and playdoh. When she was a baby I would raid the kitchen and hand her a whisk or a wine stopper. She’d be fascinated for long enough for us to enjoy our food. It doesn’t always go smoothly — bring the iPhone in case of meltdowns. Emma agrees that it’s all about coming with a deep bag of tricks.

How did having kids affect your friendship and work partnership?
We just say thank god our kids magically arrived four months apart because it’s invaluable that we’re both trying to schedule flu shots. We both can’t take work calls between 5:30pm and 8:30pm (when LA ALWAYS wants to talk). We both have weird stains on our clothes. It would be so hard because, even having been nannies, you do not understand the life-force suck that is parenting until you’re in the trenches.

How do you fit in writing and parenting? How do you balance both of these important roles?
No procrastinating allowed! We make the most of every hour, every minute. While we’re figuring out our next scene, we fold laundry. While we’re on a conference call with our editor we throw the chicken in the slow cooker. Then we get the kids to bed and lie on the floor.

Your breakthrough novel, The Nanny Diaries, was loosely based on your experiences with nannying. What were some of the things you thought you knew as a caregiver that were challenged when you had your own children?
Honestly, it was really hard and rewarding work then, and it’s really hard and rewarding work now. We will say that when we were nannies we were also in college so sleep deprivation was a result of studying hard or going out. We were usually able to catch up on weekends if we needed to. When you’re the mom there’s no laying on the couch for an entire Sunday watching rom-coms to get back on track. We now reminisce about those Sundays the way people talk about honeymooning in Paris.

What were some of the biggest obstacles you faced when feeding your charges and how have you applied some of those lessons in the feeding of your own kids? 
Nicola: Sophie has gone through long stretches where I swear she was solar-powered. But the girls I nannied for who went through long plain pasta phases one day loved sushi so I breathed through it. The biggest thing I try to do (which is hard because we’re all pressed for time and who wants to make something that won’t be a slam-dunk) is re-introduce things she’s passed on previous nights.  It always pays off but it takes patience. Serious patience.

Tell us about your latest book, The First Affair.
It’s the story of Jamie McAlister, a White House intern sucked into a torrid affair with the President of the United States that threatens to destroy them both. It’s our sexiest book yet, but as Moms we wrote the kind of book we want to read, something thrilling that keeps us turning the pages!

Pick up your copy of The First Affair from

McLaughlinKraus_First Affair final cover
We’re delighted to offer Brunch With My Baby readers the chance to win an autographed copy of The First Affair, the new novel by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

Competition open Wednesday October 9, 2013 to 11:59pm EST Wednesday October 16.

Open to US mailing addresses only.

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Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus are the authors of The Nanny Diaries, which was declared by Newsweek a ‘phenomenon’, the longest-running hardcover bestseller of 2002 and was made into a major motion picture in 2007. They are also the authors of the New York Times bestsellers Citizen GirlDedication, The Nanny Returns, and Between You and Me; The Real Real and Over You are their first two young adult novels. Their most recent novel, The First Affair, hit stands in August 2013.

Dapple On-The-Go Essentials Kit Review + GIVEAWAY

Dapple - Dapple Essentials Kit - Review and GIVEAWAY via
Dapple founders Dana Rubenstein and
Tamar Rosenthal

We were introduced to Dapple’s line of green, baby-friendly cleaners when we were new mothers, terrified of germs (Alexis was especially OCD about it), and uncertain of what cleaning products we could safely use around our newborns. Dapple came to the rescue for all of our cleaning needs. All Dapple products are made with all-natural ingredients, and are free of nasties like parabens, BPA and dyes.

A little bit about the history of Dapple from co-founder (and local NY mom of four), Dana Rubenstein
“Tamar (Rosenthal, co-founder of Dapple) and I have been close friends forever. She had her first baby a couple of years before me so of course I turned to her when I had a question about washing baby bottles and pump parts: Did she know of an all natural and baby-safe solution to clean baby bottles and utensils that actually worked? It’s hard to stump Tamar but this question did. So we decided to do something about this and create our own solution. We assembled a small team of knowledgeable pediatricians and experienced green chemists and the rest is Dapple history.”

Dapple’s offices are in Long Island City, so when you buy Dapple, you’re supporting a great local business.

#Dapple On-The-Go kit review and #GIVEAWAY via

REVIEW: Dapple On-The-Go Essentials Kit
The Dapple On-The-Go Essentials Kit combines our four favourite Dapple products into one throw-in-the-diaper bag essentials box. The kit is perfect for keeping in your bag for daily outings around town, or for weekends away. The Dapple range is baby-safe, hypoallergenic and biodegradable, so not only are their products going to help you stress less about keeping Baby’s bottles clean and Baby healthy, they’re also great for the environment. Each item is TSA compliant, so you can keep them in your carry-on luggage when you fly.

Travel Baby Bottle and Dish Cleaner
Christine: I’ve been using this to clean Cheese’s bottles, sippy cups and utensils since she was born. It removes milk film and gets rid of any smells. You can also use this to clean breast pump parts. As well as being a thorough cleaner, it has a subtle, pleasant scent, is gentle on skin, and a little bit goes a long way. Bottle size is 3oz.

Toy & Surface Wipes
Christine: These wipes are essential for sticky situations when you’re out in restaurants and on public transport. They quickly clean surfaces and toys that have hit the subway floor. Since they’re made with natural ingredients, Baby can put toys straight back in her mouth again without you worrying about what chemicals (or subway germs) she is also eating. Contains 20 count wipes.

Food Grade Pacifier Wipes
Alexis: Unfortunately my almost two-year-old is still hooked on his paci. And as much as I am a firm believer in the “5 Second Rule” there are those moments when the paci falls on the subway floor or city sidewalk and a quick wipe on my pants leg won’t cut it. I use the paci wipes for those kinds of falls, and feel a little better about the fact that I almost always forget to bring a backup paci. So far,Little J has failed to exhibit any signs of that third eye or second head springing up due to paci contamination so the wipes must be working! Contains 10 individually-wrapped pacifier wipes.

Baby Laundry Detergent Handwash in Sink
Christine: I’ve taken these small laundry detergent bottles on all of our trips. It’s so helpful to have baby-safe detergent in a small bottle on hand when you travel. It’s also useful to keep in your diaper bag in case of any diaper blowouts that require emergency attention, since you can use it to wash clothes in a sink. I’ve found the detergent to clean clothes well, leave a pleasant smell, and produce zero irritation on Cheese’s skin. Contains three travel sink packs.

#Dapple On-The-Go kit review and #GIVEAWAY via

GIVEAWAY The kind folks at Dapple have given us FOUR Dapple On-The-Go Essential Kits to give away to Brunch With My Baby readers. Enter the Rafflecopter widget below for your chance to win one of these four boxes.

The competition is open Wed Sept 11th to 11:59pm, Tue 17th, 2013.

Competition is open to US mailing addresses only.

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We were sent a product sample to aid us with this review. All opinions are our own.

Brunch Special: Jessi Brelsford, Owner of Taste Buds Kitchen

Today’s Brunch Special is courtesy of Jessi Brelsford, owner of Taste Buds Kitchen. Jessi and her husband, Jeff (who just joined TBK full-time), live in Murray Hill, after having lived seven years in a 5th floor walk-up in the West Village. 

Tastebuds Kitchen


How would you sum up Taste Buds Kitchen? How did it start?
Taste Buds Kitchen offers fresh and creative culinary events for kids and families ages two to adults. We love kids, families and food! Cooking birthday parties, summer camps and our in-school after-school programs are our most popular offerings. Our home base is our Kids Kitchen in Chelsea but we also have satellite locations at FAO Schwarz and in Bridgehampton for the summer.

I started Taste Buds as a hobby back in 2007 when I was working full-time on Wall Street. A few baking classes later, I made it into a full-time business and I haven’t looked back since. I love the challenge and adventure of being a small business owner and bringing smiles to the budding chefs of NYC through our lip-smacking culinary adventures.


Why is food important to you and your family? What are you trying to teach your children about food?
My husband and I love food and, of course, we love to eat. The best part of my day is a glass of wine and one of my husband’s home cooked meals. I love that food brings people together and offers the opportunity for connection in the kitchen. I enjoy exploring all of the tastes, textures and combinations and, most of all, the conversation and fun that happens in the kitchen. And of course being a resident New Yorker, I love checking out all restaurants and markets and pursuing my never-ending quest for the best cup of hot chocolate.

My passion for the kitchen started in high school when my mom, sister and I started hosting a weekly “gourmet night” for my family. Each week, we’d each be in charge of a course — starter, main and dessert — and the only rules were that it had to be a new recipe. We had a blast and I love the recipes that we discovered and, to this day, make them often.

Tell us a bit about what kids will learn in the Taste Buds Kitchen classes?
We make everything from scratch and have a blast doing it! The kids learn so much, from measuring, to kneading and decorating, to more advanced Iron Chef type challenges. The younger chefs work on ingredient identification, tastes and textures while older chefs whip up gourmet meals from scratch without following a recipe. We strive to keep food and kitchen knowledge age appropriate and, most of all, to keep the classes fun. Our BYOB adult classes are also a ton of fun and a great way to learn a new skill, like making sushi and dumplings, homemade pasta and more. We also offer special caregiver classes for Baby Food 101 and Cooking for Toddlers.

What do you hope will be the end result of kids taking the classes?
My goal is that Taste Buds Kitchen offers buddings chefs of all ages a new and engaging experience that makes their week. I want everyone who walks through our door to feel welcomed and excited for our culinary adventure. We teach skills that you can apply to food and the kitchen for the rest of your life!

Tips for introducing kids to a great range of food?
Taste, taste, taste and then taste some more. Everyone’s taste buds change multiple times over the course of a lifetime so it’s never too late to try to introduce a new food. And of course, the more kids help to prepare something, the more they’ll want to try it. We like to use  “I Tried Something New” stickers that work like a charm on the 2 and 3-year-olds.

What exciting classes are coming up in the Kitchen?
Our Fall Semester Classes are really amazing! We offer six weekly classes in our Chelsea Kitchen for children ages two to teen. Plus evening BYOB classes for adults.

And then of course my favorite month of the year is December, when we turn our kitchen into a Winter Gingerbread Wonderland with Gingerbread House Decorating Classes for families all month long. It’s the best!

Lastly, what are a few of your favourite local spots to eat out with your family?
Our favorite places of late are Spasso in the West Village, Cacio Peppe for their signature dish and S’Mac for their amazing Mac & Cheese. I keep a restaurant spreadsheet with over 300+ entries of all restaurants that I’ve tried with a special section for where I want to go next. Yum NYC!

Taste Buds Kitchen
109 West 27th Street, 10FL (btw 6th & 7th Avenues)
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212-242-2248