And They’re Off!

The Kentucky Derby is this Saturday and it’s a great opportunity to have a party. A dear friend scored tickets for me to attend Eleven Madison Parks’ Annual Derby Party.  It’s been years since I’ve attended a Kentucky Derby party. It was 1986, my sophomore year in college. Some friends and I took a road trip and spent the day in the infield.  I have a feeling this year’s event will be a little more civilized.

If you’re having a party of your own, I thought you might like these.  You can purchase them here.  If you aren’t able to get them in time, you can plan a party for the Preakness on May 18th or the Belmont Stakes on June 8th.

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Do we really need perfume for our hair?

Has this ever happened to you?  You read or hear about something and then a week later you hear about it again?  I guess that’s when you know it’s becoming a trend.

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A few weeks ago, I read a blog entry that talked about how spraying perfume into your hair could ruin it.  Evidently, the alcohol in the perfume will dry out your hair and possibly cause your scalp to flake – YUK!  The article, Hair Mistwent on to say that perfumers are beginning to develop hair mists.  I thought this was interesting but not enough to go out and buy some.

Fast forward to today.  I was getting my hair colored when I overheard two stylists talking about this fabulous hair perfume.  Apparently, the salon keeps running out of their stock.  All the stylists are using it before they head out at night.  Of course, now I had to have some!  Lucky for me, the salon still had a few bottles for sale.  It is called Essence Absolue by Shu Uemura.  I tried it today.  It smells fantastic and makes your hair so shiny!

HOW DID I MISS THIS (aka I LOVE NYC!)

How many of you already knew about this amazing site – Humans of New York?? I can’t believe it has taken me this long to discover it! Even with all the controversy over Donna Karan using his photos without authorization or compensation. I vaguely remember this but I guess I wasn’t paying attention. My loss.

Brandon Stanton has been taking photographs of New Yorkers every day for almost 3 years. His images reflect all kinds of people – kids, families, couples, animals, tattoos, moments, etc. Everything we see on the city streets, day after day. Not only does he photograph these people but he gets their “stories”. You know, every New Yorker has a story. He has inspired many others to copy his project all over the world. He lets them use the name and receives no compensation. He has only give credit on his site to a few that have shown a sincere commitment.

I just love his pictures. You can follow him on his website, via twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook. Brandon has also published a book of the same name.

BEING ORGANIZED ON THE RUN

How many times have you been out running around and wish you had some piece of information with you? Or maybe you wanted to take note of something you’ll need to reference later.

Sure, you have your calendar and contacts in your phone but what about the random names and phone numbers of the parents on your kid’s soccer team? You know, the ones you’re too lazy to input into your contacts because your kids will probably never be on the same team again. Or, what about a copy of the crazy practice and game schedule? Or, the name of that great wine you just tasted?

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You can do what I used to do – email yourself. Then you’ll have to look at the email later on and figure out where to put that information so it’s handy when you go to buy a bottle of wine. My inbox tends to fill-up as I never have a place to put this new and important information.

I have discovered the perfect solution – Evernote!

Evernote can be used on your computer, tablet and phone. It captures anything and is synched among all your devices. You can write a note, clip an entire web page or article, save a photo, or upload a PDF. It synchs in real-time so you can access it on your phone or tablet immediately. You can even organize everything in notebooks so they are easy to find. Here’s how I use it:

  • I create notebooks for all the different things I want to organize – Books to Read, Movies for Family Movie Night, New Restaurants to Check Out, Notes from My Pediatrician, Boys Baseball Schedule, Ideas for Maven Files etc.
  • As I go through my day I add items to these notebooks – for example:
    • When I am at the pediatrician’s office and she tells me which vitamins to give my kids or recommends a specialist, I write it in a note and file in the proper notebook.
    • When a friend recommends a great book, I look it up on Amazon, use the Evernote Web Clipper, and file the page in the “Books to Read“ notebook.
    • Both my kids play baseball on different days, different times and at different fields. It is impossible to keep it straight. I scan the team roster and schedule into my computer and file the PDF in the proper notebook.
  • When I am out, I can look up any of this information on my phone via the Evernote App. Everything is synched in real-time so I can always have access.

Evernote has saved me so much time, is simple to use, and it’s free! Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Stone Barns Annual Sheep Shearing Festival

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We were lucky enough to score tickets to the Sheep Shearing Festival this past weekend at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.  For those who are not familiar with Stone Barns, it is a working farm and food education center in Tarrytown, NY.  They run two amazing restaurants - Blue Hill in NYC and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, right on the farm.  Every weekend they have events for all ages.  You can tour the farm, collect the eggs from the hen-house, attend a gardening workshop or cooking class or just run around.  There is something for everyone!  You can bring your own picnic or there is a small café run out of the same kitchen as the award-winning restaurant.

Once a year they have an old-fashioned Sheep Shearing Festival.  I have been trying to get to this for years and always seem to have something else going on the same day.  Finally, this year we were available.  Little did I know that they tickets would sell out in an hour!  I feel so lucky that we were able to attend this year.

As a kid I went to camp at an American Colony Museum.  Our teachers were all dressed in period costumes and we learned about what life was like in the 19th century.  We were taught how to spin wool into thread using a spinning wheel, how to felt wool and use looms to weave.  It was so much fun!  I have always remembered this experience and was so excited that my kids could have a glimpse into this historical period.  Of course it’s not quite the same thing when you have a gourmet market and food trucks right outside.

The day was a huge success!  I hope you’ll  mark your calendars for next year. There is no exact date set for next year but the tickets went on sale March 18th this year.  If you sign up for their newsletter you will be notified about all their events.

NEW RESOURCE FOR REVIEWING APPS

ImageMost of you have heard of Common Sense Media – a great tool to help you decide which movies, television and apps are appropriate for your children.  I just learned of another great resource you might be interested in.

The Children’s Technology Review
http://childrenstech.com

A subscription-based email newsletter modeled after Consumer Reports. There is no advertising content. The newsletter summarizes products and trends in children’s interactive media.  It looks at 6 categories:

• Ease of use – Can a child use it with minimal help?
• Childproof – Is it designed with “child-reality” in mind?
• Educational – What can be learned? 
• Entertaining – Is it fun to use?
• Design features – How smart is this program?

Cost
$30 per year for 12 issues.  Each issue contains approximately 50 reviews on new technology/media products –  apps, technology toys, websites, video games, etc. Subscription includes access to back issues dating back to 2005.  

 

Originally a Master’s thesis, Children’s Technology Review was created by Warren Buckleitner in 1993. His ten years of research resulted in a systematic evaluation process (see video for further details http://childrenstech.com/evaluation-instrument) for assessing children’s software. 

WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH ALL YOUR NON-DIGITIZED PHOTOS?

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Once my kids were born, I started taking a lot of pictures. I have thousands and thousands.  We frequently sit and look at them on my computer or via Apple TV, reliving many fond memories.

It got me thinking – what happened to all the photos I took in high school and college?  What about the box of family photos I took from the basement of my parents’ house?  All those photos are boxed up and sitting in storage.  My kids are always asking me about what it was like when I was a kid.  I decide it was time to show them.

Based on a friend’s recommendation,and shipped them off to ScanCafe.  I didn’t have to spend time organizing and labeling them.  I literally dumped them in the box and off they went.  I also sent video of my stepsons’ gymnastics meets and old newspaper clippings.

A few weeks later everything was digitized.  I reviewed the photos and videos online and selected the ones I wanted to keep.  Even though they scanned everything, I only had to pay for what I actually wanted (as long as I purchased at least 80% of the photos).  They even restored some of the old, ripped and worn photos.  I had the option of purchasing the original photo or the restored version.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous about sending off the only version of my photos.  They could have easily been lost in the mail.  In the end, I figured I wasn’t looking at them anyway so the risk was fairly low.

If you register on their site, you will frequently receive discounts via email.

http://www.scancafe.com