Friday, August 27, 2010

{Field Trip Fridays} The Bronx Zoo

Our field trip today takes us to the outer boroughs into The Bronx. The Bronx Zoo to be exact.

Something I will never do again.

I'm not saying I won't go to The Bronx Zoo again. The girls love it.

What I'm saying is I won't go to The Bronx Zoo:

A - on a Wednesday (donation Day - which basically means pay what you want)
B - in the summer
C - when all the kids in NY are done with camp and school hasn't started yet

Everyone in NY apparently had the same idea that day because they were ALL at The Bronx Zoo with us.

This was the most crowded I had ever seen it. So crowded in fact that the main parking lot was full so they directed us to the other parking lot. Miraculously I found it. When we got there, there wasn't any room there either. They directed us to some cleared out grassy areas in the back. It felt like we just kept driving and driving until we finally found a small patch to park in. I didn't think we'd ever find our way back to the car!

Fortunately I had my 2 copilots with me.

My older one is a trip.

"Bub, what's with the Carol Channing wig?"


"Huh? It's Wacky Wednesday Mama, don't you know?!?"

Apparently I forgot to check the calendar.

Although it was crowded, we still managed to see some animals. We did have to skip some exhibits because the lines were just way too long.

My girls always like to go to the Children's Zoo section but this time we were parked all the way on the other side of the zoo. As we were making our way across the park, we saw...



a polar bear,


and deer. They always look for deer on the side of the road so they were thrilled to find some here. (and I was thrilled they were alive - not always the case on the side of the road!)


There's a separate entrance fee to the Children's Zoo - each ticket is $4 - went up a dollar from our last visit. (so did the parking)

The Children's Zoo is great because it's very interactive.

Firs we come to oversized birds nests, Doesn't look too comfortable.


Unless you're a bird, of course.


This is their favorite part - the girls like to call it the beaver holes.


The "beavers" are actually prairie dogs.

Look at this - the top dog is holding a stick trying to get the leaf out of their hole. His buddy is there for support. What teamwork!


Besides having a giant slide and lots of things to climb on, there are actually animals in the Children's Zoo!

Ducks (or maybe they're geese),


owls taking a little siesta,




alpaca (bet you thought it was a llama, right?)




This guy doesn't look too thrilled. Do you blame him?


and I think this was a cow


Honestly, I can't stare at that photo all day.

After making our way around the Children's Zoo and a good hand washing, we head on over to the Dancing Crane Cafe for lunch. I have to say, as far as zoos go, this one really has good food choices. We always get the same thing. I get a Gourmet Signature Salad and they get chicken strips, fries and a blue slushie. (I get one of those also - can't resist)

Once we're done with lunch, my girls spot something new at the zoo. An ice cream cart. Not just any ice cream though - these are Minimelts!! If you've never had Minimelts, they are similar to Dippin' Dots, and if you've never had Dippin' Dots...where've you been??

Ms. Channing over here decided on cotton candy (yum!) and my little one wanted mint chip (Eeek!)


I managed to get a taste of the cotton candy (by force) and it was really good!!


Expensive but good. It cost over $9 for 2 of these things.

Discovering these mini melts definitely made the trip worth it - crowds and all.

On our way out we were greeted by this guy


and Carol decided she needed a hair accessory. Have headband, will travel!


So what lessons have you learned today?

Bronx Zoo on a Wednesday - NO.

Children's Zoo - Yes.

Minimelts - DOUBLE YES!!!

What's your favorite zoo in your area? More importantly, does it have good food?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Headband Design - Twilight Inspired

Every time I do a fair, I try to come up with some new items to show. This Sunday I'm going to have a table at a fair in Riverdale, NY on Johnson Avenue. If you happen to be in the area, definitely stop by to say hello! I believe it's going on all day - from 10am to 5pm.

One of the things I have been working on is a new headband design using this amazing ribbon I found. It has a 2 tone shimmery essence to it and this one in particular instantly reminded me of the movie Twilight! The deep red color with the black just had a mysterious quality to it.

Using the ribbon, I created an oversized flower and attached a black button to the center.


I thought the size of the flower would pair perfectly with a skinny headband base wrapped in black satin ribbon.

Although my almost-seven-year-old loved this design, I especially see this design on a tween girl to an adult.


Look how good it looks on this beauty!


If you'd like one of these for yourself or as a gift for someone else and can't make it to the fair, no worries - I just added it to my Etsy shop!

I love this ribbon so much i think I'll be trying it in other colors. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 20, 2010

{Field Trip Fridays} Pop Tarts World - NYC

For the second edition of Field Trip Fridays, I'm sticking with the "pop" theme - but just a bit different than last week.

When I was a kid, just like I'm sure many others out there, I LOVED Pop Tarts! But I was very particular - only liked the strawberry filling with the white frosting on top. When you popped them in the toaster, as they were heating up you could just smell the sweet goodness that was about to pop out. Mmmmm!!

So fast forward to my adulthood and it had been a while since I tasted a pop tart again. The last time I had one I remember it being too sweet. My taste buds have definitely changed since childhood. I don't have as much of a taste for sweets as I used to. In fact, as far as cereal goes, the sweetest I could handle now is Multi Grain Cheerios. My favorite used to be those yellow Sugar Pops. (which are now called Corn Pops)

When I heard that a store just opened up in Times Square that was all about Pop Tarts, I thought - how can that be? I just HAD TO check it out. So, this week's field trip is to Pop Tarts World in Times Square.

You can definitely see the store from far away - huge billboards and everything is blue!



As you get closer, it's almost like a mystery of how to get in. Oh - there's the door!


As blue as it was outside, is as blue as it is inside - maybe even bluer!

There are large Pop Tarts boxes used for decorations as well as more Pop Tart art on the walls.



As I made my way around the store, I saw there was a lot going on.

There's merchandise - everything from clothes


including Create Your Own t-shirts


to lip balm.


For all of you gamers out there, there's a section just for you. See, they thought of everyone!


You can even make up your own gift packs


using the Varietizer. (sounds fancy!) Looks like a giant vending machine - filled with Pop Tarts!!


You get to pick 6 different flavors - each flavor containing 2 tarts.


In the back of the store is where you can order your custom Pop Tarts. The menu is filled with lots of choices.


You tell them which flavor you want - I chose berry (old habits die hard). Then you have to let them know how you want it - frozen, room temperature or heated. I chose heated.

Next come the toppings - I selected pink sprinkles with chopped nuts.


Looks pretty!!


By the time I was ready to eat my Pop Tart, the toppings had fallen off. Bummer!

By the way, if you have nut allergies, this is not the place for you - they made it very clear...


As I was on line waiting to order my Pop Tart, I kept hearing people talk about the Pop Tarts sushi. I became very curious. I had to see what this was all about.

Looks like sausage but it's really fruit rollups with crumbled Pop Tarts in the middle.


I have to say, I liked the sushi better than the actual Pop Tart!

OK, the tour is almost over but I saved the best part for last. The bathroom!


I thought this was the most creative section of the store - custom made Pop Tart tiles!! Wow!! How great is that?!?


All in all, I was glad I stopped by. If you love Pop Tarts, you will definitely like this store! And remember to try the sushi!!

What's your favorite Pop Tart flavor?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lessons Learned

Recently we celebrated my father in-law's 81st birthday. This year was extra special because he underwent open heart surgery - a double bypass. Fortunately he's doing really well!

To celebrate, we ended up going to a very nice Italian restaurant. With a name like Salvatore, Italian is a given.

It was going to be one of those long family dinners - appetizer, salad, main course, drinks, dessert - the works.

You would think after almost 7 years of parenthood I would have learned by now. Learn what you ask? To bring reinforcements! A coloring book, crayons, stickers. ANYTHING!!

But no - not me.

This is what happens with a 4 year old without reinforcements.

It starts out slow,


then the restlessness really sets in.

"Even I can balance" ("even" is her current favorite word)


"and even I can jump off. See - I'll do it a hundred times"


"even I can make funny faces"


"even I know I'm driving you crazy"


I ended up having to give her my new Flip video camera to keep her occupied. Wasn't too happy about it but there were no crayons in sight!

Don't let this happen to you!

How do you handle restaurants with your kids?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New Affiliate & A Guest Post

So excited about some news I want to share with you!

I've been doing a lot of networking on Linkedin lately - joining different groups, and get this - actively participating! One of the groups I joined was a Guest Blogging group. From that group, there was a request for a guest blogger for a baking related site. We chatted back and forth and not only did I do a guest post for them, I decided to become one of their affiliates!

I was very impressed with the site. It's called and it's for the baker wanting to start a baking business out of their home. There's lots of information about the laws in each state, as well as locating an incubator kitchen in your area. They also have posts, podcasts and webinars on baking topics as well as business topics. So, I decided to become an afiliate of theirs. I put the link on the right sidebar of this blog - it looks like this:

Besides being an affiliate now, I also did a guest post for them. For my first post I decided to combine 2 of my passions - cake decorating and photography - giving tips on how to photograph your baked works of art.


You can see the full post here.

Now I have to think about what to do for my next post.

But not today, I'm off to the Bronx Zoo with my girls. Day 3 of Camp Mommy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

TCG Facebook Fan Page

How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun?

Yesterday I decided to finally work on a Facebook fan page for Total City Girl. I started one awhile ago but didn't do much with it and hadn't made it public.

Happy to say it's up and running!!

It's in the beginning stages but at least it's a start.


I posted a bunch of photos of the creations I work on as well as started some new discussions. Join in on the conversation!

Also, there's a tab to My Etsy Shop. I currently have a bunch of headband designs listed and will be adding my accordion photo books, as well as party supplies in the near future.

One of the discussions I started was to post a link to your fan page, so if you have one, head on over and post the link and become a fan of Total City Girl!

Friday, August 13, 2010

{Field Trip Fridays} Popbar NYC

I'm trying to organize my blog a bit and thought that coming up with themes or categories for certain days would be a fun way to start. I'm thinking Fridays may be fun to do "Field Trip Fridays" - showing you places to go just in time for the weekend. Most of my field trips will be to places in NYC, so even if you don't live here, you may want to stop by if you're in town visiting.

So, to launch off "Field Trip Fridays", our first stop will be to a place called The Popbar. In our home, evening treats are a big deal to my girls. After dinner, bath and 'jamas, up next on our bedtime routine is the "treat". This treat has become so important to them that I sometimes have to use it as leverage to get them to listen. I know a lot of you parents out there may not think that threatening your kids is the proper way to parent, but when push comes to shove, the threat of not having that treat will definitely get their butts in gear. Fortunately, I don't have to use it too often.

OK, it may seem like I'm getting off track a bit but the reason I bring up the treat is that 9 times out of 10, they want a pop - either an ice pop or a Popsicle or some other form of a frozen treat. I've been hearing about this Popbar for some time now and thought this would be a fun place to check out.

Located in the West Village, The Popbar is a small, unassuming storefront basically selling gelato on a stick.


Once inside you can see their case filled with lots of different flavor choices.



Even the walls are decorated with giant pops!


My girls each wanted coconut which I found amusing since I never saw them eat anything coconut before in their lives. I was torn between the berry and the mandarin but ultimately decided on the mandarin. The hubbs went for a chocolate variety.

Once you pick your flavor, you have the option to have it dipped in chocolate (white, milk or dark) and add toppings.


My older one went all out with the coconut, dipping it in white chocolate and then adding shredded coconut to the whole bar.


(does that headband look familiar? Just mentioned it yesterday!)

My little one only dipped half of hers in milk chocolate with a light sprinkling of the shredded coconut.


Once she was done with the chocolate side, she was done altogether. Guess she's not a coconut fan after all. (I could've told you that one!)

The hubbs had his dipped in dark chocolate and then topped with granola. For mine, I really wanted to enjoy the taste of the mandarin so I only had the very top dipped in dark chocolate and topped with a bit of biscotti.


All I can say is Wow!! It was so good!! I definitely recommend the mandarin and next time I would dip a little further and add more toppings. It didn't take away from the mandarin taste - just made it so much better!!

Do you have a favorite ice cream place in your area that you enjoy going to?

Have you ever been to the Popbar? Which flavor did you get?

Let me know what you think of the "Field Trip Fridays" idea. Would love your feedback.

Have a great weekend!
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