Take a Bite Out Of The Big Apple With Two Munchkins. 

Following your husband on his business trip to New York may seem like a good idea but it’s definitely a little tough. It wasn’t all smiles like the pictures show. 😜 

But, yes – I’m that mom that always says to bring and travel with your kids to show them the big world and everything out there. Experiences are so much better live. So, these two monsters definitely got to take in New York – the toddler way – it wasn’t at all like when I used to live here with all the HH, late hours out and about, and nice restaurants we ate at! #timeflies

We stayed at the Westin Grand Central – pretty nice and central spot to get around the city. They gave the girls little kid’s bags with goodies inside in hopes of keeping them quiet during their stay. The only problem we ran into was getting a fridge. Literally painful how many times we had to call front desk. 

P.S. we took a morning direct flight from CA (6 hour flight). It was easy for our 4.5 year old toddler but our energetic 13 month was a bag of tricks. No amount of milk and goodies could put her to sleep. She was just too excited. 

First stop was Cafe Zaiya for black sesame soft serve. Omg so good. Dinner followed shortly after at Vezza. You have to get the shroomtown pizza if you’re a mushroom fan – the best. Pizza is the classic New York style pizza with a thin crust. 

P.S. all my food links are usually to #yelp being my favorite app to use and I’m not just a taker, I’m also Yelp Elite! More reviews (usually short and sweet), go here

Amazing New York weather so we walked to seriously the best bagel shop called Ess-a-bagel. It was right by my old apartment when I lived in NY so had to take the girls there and we ate on the remodeled entrance. 


We walked on Park Ave to Central Park after a quick stop at the Plaza Hotel. There is a crazy big food court inside with lots of yummy eats. Definitely worth checking out. 


Central Park was packed as it was a gorgeous day. Too bad the fall leaves hadn’t happened yet (beginning of October) but beautiful nonetheless. 


Since we were already in the 70s and heading to the Children’s museum of Manhattan, we just had to stop at the BEST cookie bakery ever. Levain Bakery – you’ve fulfilled my preggo cravings. Thank you! 


📷: The museum was fun and not crowded (whew). It was surprisingly pretty clean and of course very interactive. Super good idea for the cold & rainy day. The girls are twinning in gap – It always seems I can find their sizes at Gap (they’re about 3.5 years apart). Any brands you recommend?

Weekend is now over and this is when it turns to just me and the kids (of course meeting up with friends and cousins!). 

Here’s a quick read along with pictures and recommendations (things to note) of the 4 days out and about in the Big Apple. They’re in order of how it played out since we know transporting 2 kids (plus gummy bear in the making) and one stroller isn’t exactly smooth sailing so you have plan so you’re not backtracking and uber-ing too much. 

  • Monday – We took the 34th Street ferry to DUMBO and it’s great!! Clean, good views, fast, and only $2.75 (kids free). If you’re looking for some trendy, hipster pictures – definitely come here. Family pictures would have been fun here but we will make do with kids twinning. 
  • We ate at Shake Shack for lunch, playground after, walked Brooklyn Bridge (the entrance is stairs – no ramp) to catch the amazing skyline, another playground before dinner at the absolute best pizza joint – Juliana’s. If you’ve heard/eaten of Grimaldi’s, this is actually the real original Grimaldi’s 🍕 pizza joint (Patsy Grimaldi sold the Grimaldi’s name awhile back to a customer). I was super excited to meet Patsy! Before heading back on the ferry, we had to have Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. So good! 





  • Tuesday – Because of the time change (3 hours), the kids got up st 10am. Yay for me! We did dessert before lunch with getting some shaved ice from Sweet Moment and then pork chop rice at a local hole in the wall joint (just ok, so won’t blog about it) since we were already in Chinatown. 
  • Super nice day so we walked through Soho, downtown, and union square before getting to my cousin’s place. Abigail couldn’t have been more thrilled to be reunited with them. 


  • Wednesday – we went to the ever so popular Totto Ramen (it is basically this one or Ippudo). Both yummy! After that, we went to the coolest park ever – Riverside Hippo playground up in the Westside (they have super charming brownstones).  Thank you @minicitybabes for the rec! 
  • We topped off the afternoon with treats from Doughnut Planet. P.S. we decided to take the bus up and probably not the best idea with a stroller as it looks like you generally have to fold it up. They are definitely not like the London buses I’m used to! 




    📷: she could feel how tired this bus ride was making me. 😂


    • Thursday – I wanted to take the girls to see the famous #NASA Enterprise space shuttle and tell her this is what her grandpa did for work. Not sure if she got it, but she did think it was really cool to see all the airplanes, submarine, drones, and space shuttle. We headed to a very late lunch at Gotham West Market which is perfect for an indecisive group to meet with all the different food choices. 
    • Of course, an afternoon isn’t complete without dessert – cookies specifically so went to both Schmackery and Amy’s Bread (close to each other). We also got Tasty Hand Pulled Noodles to go to meet up with my cousin that picked up Momofuku Milk Bar for me. Yes – it’s the great cookie test for my favorite cookie bakery. Winner goes to Levain Bakery!!! 





    💟 P.S. we used the Uppababy lightweight stroller on this trip and loved it. It sits higher up so babe can just sit in there at a table instead of a  high chair. It’s also nice and narrow to fit through tight spaces. Stands up when folded but I still have to master closing it quickly with the button and pushing the sides together. Overall, definitely worth it as you can recline for your little and yes she slept in it several times. #win

    Anyone want to follow this schedule? It’s doable and amazing when you can have sweets to consume. It would have been a lot nicer with a glass of wine to top each day off. 😂🍷

    Cheers for now and part 2 of New York coming soon. xx

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    5 Months Ago. 

    I can’t believe just 5 months ago we were living in London and traveling to all these amazing countries so quickly. I didn’t think I would miss living in Europe so much but I do – the ease of getting around without driving, getting a quick bite to eat, seeing gorgeous architecture with a snap of my fingers, or just hanging out at a park/cafe people watching with an afternoon drink. 🍷😎


    📷: My favorite jewelry store, Boodles. It’s a British company so I just had to get a piece before leaving. I think Britain is missing me as much as I miss living there because I sadly lost one of the earrings the other day. 😥😥 #timetogoback #boodles 

    Without a doubt, my hubs will always be Cali dude (although he can’t swim…yet) so our 2 year stint in London was a lovely break. Maybe in a couple years, another opportunity will come along and we’ll be out of the ‘burbs again. #fingerscrossed 

    When we lived in London, we quickly abandoned the stroller for Abigail and she learned to walk everywhere and loved it. She walked 7 miles one day with no complaints. Rain or shine. 


    So, now that we moved back to socal, I went on a mission to find the perfect stroller for me to use for Addison. 
    My requirements: 

    • 4 wheels (at least 2 in the front to go up and down the escalator even though you’re not suppose to)
    • maneuver easily with one hand while holding a coffee 
    • baby A can face both ways
    • car seat friendly
    • not too heavy
    • easy to close without feeling like you’re going to pinch a finger

    Easy right?!
    I came across Kangaroo by Venice Child and fell in love. The colors, the simple design, versatile, and all terrain really caught my attention and not to mention it was founded in California (home again). 👍🏻


    We got our Kangaroo last week and wow I can vouch that it meets all my needs. 

    She can see the world just a little higher up and at 3 different inclines.



    We can definitely easily manuever it one handed, easily close it, change the recline positions and oh my you’ll have to stop and chat with people on how styling your babe is in it. 


    Most importantly, A loves it and makes sure it’s nearby. 😜

    So cheers for now as baby A was snoozing in her Kangaroo by Venice Child while mama wrote this. 


    P.S. The front bar can be removed. Also, when you’re packing away in your car, I found the easiest is to just take off the seat and pack separately from the bottom part. #soinlove

    Fun For All – Lake Tahoe. 

    Took a little bit of debate on where to go for a much needed family vacation with our fav’s, but we finally decided on Lake Tahoe. A lot of fun when your kiddos are close in age, the hubs are good buddies, and of course the mama is my good university friend (and bridesmaid!). #timeflies


    📷: the crew (kids are 4 years old, 1 year old, and 9 months)

    Lake Tahoe is a great choice since it’s only a short flight (approximately 1 hour from Orange County, CA) to take in the great outdoors, and also rotate with the boys to go to the casinos.

    We haven’t taken JetBlue since we left for London so decided on this airline based on them flying out of Long Beach airport – small and nicely renovated airport plus a great price point. They knocked it out of the ballpark with lovely, efficient service, good drinks and snacks. Alcoholic beverages were $7 (good selection of beer). #jetblue #love

    Got a rental car and of course had to do a stop at Costco – super close from Reno airport.

    • Traveler’s tip: Bring your own car seat if you want to make sure it’s clean! We also decided to buy another one we wouldn’t mind getting tossed around during transit.
    • Evenflo (toddler booster seat) 
    • car seat cover – this one is great (no wheels) and was only $9.

      After much thought into whether or not to get an airbnb, we decided to make it easy and stay at  Hard Rock this time around. It was “nice enough” since it was renovated a couple years back, spacious, good food inside, and a casino right downstairs.

      📷: Yes, she’s in Bebeaulait’s Muslin car seat cover & swaddle blankets. I love Muslin breathable fabric and highly recommend getting one for a car seat cover so your baby doesn’t get too hot in his/her car seat (also has a zipper to open/close if needed). Isn’t this print the cutest?!

      📷: Traveler’s tip – request a crib (they usually roll) instead of a pack n’ play – so much cleaner! Ask for some flat sheets/fleece blankets to place on the hotel room floor if you have a crawler in the house. Bring also a crib fitted sheet if you’re worried about their sheets on your baby’s soft skin.  P.S. Addison just pulled herself up for the first time here (9 months).

      📷: Across the street from Hard Rock is Edgewood where you can play golf. We took a walk there with the kids. It’s gorgeous!

      Day 1 – we went to Zephyr Cove to take in the lake and hang out at the beach.  We stopped at the market to get goodies.  They have grills there so we made s’mores!  Gorgeous and relaxing (not very populated) spot to play in the sand. I believe it was $8 per car. Oh yea, clean individual bathrooms.



      Day 2 we went bike riding around town and fishing at Sawmill Pond (kid’s fishing location).


      📷: Got a lot of questions about my carrier and I love my MiaMily carrier. So much more back support and a compartment to store a bottle, phone, diaper, keys, etc.


      📷: Caught 5 fish and brought them to MacDuff’s for them to cook 3 different ways! YUM! Pretty good deal as they provided salad and sides for $20/person. Get the bread pudding for dessert. #nomnom

      Day 3, departed Lake Tahoe and headed home. Sweet trip with our fav’s with a lot of memories always. The kids all got sick but hey what trip isn’t complete without that happening. 

      Cheers for now and thanks for reading. We love traveling with our kiddos and honestly it’s really not hard! #bringiton #travelwithkids 

      xx

      OMG, 22. 

      Abigail (3.5 years old) has now been to 22 European countries in the span of 2 years since moving to London. She’ll have some stories to tell but definitely iPhone pictures to share. Isn’t it crazy how tech savvy kids are?

      This trip to Cyprus was a little painful since she was sick with a cough and probably a sore throat, but she toughed it out for the most part and only made it apparent she was just a toddler 30% of the day and wanted tons of cuddles from us.

      We stayed at The Royal Apollonia for this holiday and we would definitely recommend it. It’s been renovated nicely and the hotel room floors are tile which makes it feel so much cleaner (plus, they provide hotel slippers!). We had a spectacular balcony view of the pool and Mediterranean Sea.

      📷: Outside our balcony 💟 Already drooling at 13 weeks but this Frecklebaby bib makes my list as absorbent, soft, bamboo, and the cutest prints on both sides. But wait, imagine nothing dropping on the floor with the unique snap on leash for a teething toy or paci.

      P.S. Use CODE: GIVE for $4 off any of my sets of books. Free shipping. Visit www.ajangsley.com 

       

      Breakfast is included and there is a pretty yummy range of food to choose from so get there before 10:30am. Oh and parking is free!

      📷: 💟 cutest organic panda bear outfits from Turtle Dove London. Super soft material, monochrome patterns, modern, and a new shop. Love!

      📷: one down, one more to go.  

      The pool. We went when the pools were not heated (indoor is) so it was pretty cold water. I think the ocean was warmer! They have their own beach which is great because there is also a jetty so the waves are not so big. Perfect for swimming in the sea.

      📷: the kiddie pool (this is sectioned off and the adult pool with pool bar is next to it).

      What was really sweet as I think we were also one of the few families with kids on the property was when the staff came at night for turn down service (they usually just give us chocolate) and gave us a jar of honey for Abigail’s cough. So thoughtful – thank you Royal Apollonia 

      Visiting the capital, Narcosia, was pretty neat. We got to see more locals, have a typical Greek lunch, and do some shopping (no, we didn’t bring home a bird!).

       


      📷: We had to get another Bebeaulait muslin infinity nursing scarf as she is constantly seeing Addison in it and wants to be just like mommy.

      Travel tip: bring a scarf (muslin would be ideal since it folds up so compact in your bag) as it comes in handy in so many ways for you and your little.

      📷: See you later Mediterranean Sea. 💟: Thrilled to wear my Bellaha flip flops to see the world. This shop gives back to support infant and maternal health around the world. Win, win ladies – pretty and comfy sandals that give back!

      Cheers for now and thanks for reading. xx

      Take Me Back to Santorini.

      The perfect end to our Greece holiday was definitely here. If you’re going for your honeymoon, romantic getaway, or babymoon like us, stay in Oia.

      📷: View of Oia in the distance.

      📷: A little light #lovebooksbyAJ reading before heading out.

      We couldn’t have asked for a better boutique hotel to stay at for the last two nights in Greece. It’s called Ikies traditional houses. I will say it took a bit to convince the staff to let us stay there as I didn’t read the “terms & conditions” – no children under 13 years old allowed. Oops!

      📷: Boatman’s house studio

      Travel recommended product: Daylong sunscreen. Don’t we hate rubbing it in with our wiggling toddlers? This one goes on quickly and easily. LOVE.

      We also chose to rent a car to drive around Santorini as it’s gorgeous, peaceful, and really quite the landscape. I would definitely recommend doing this.

      📷: Bunch of restaurants along here with a great view. You can walk down from the cliff but it is a lot of steps!

      📷: Sunset view with #nofilter

      As always, thanks for reading.  Cheers for now!

      G is for Great Greece. 

      Part 2: Delphi & Meteora

      Simply amazing. Pictures don’t do these two cities justice especially Meteora and the majestic monasteries sitting atop these cliffs dating back to the 1300s.

      Delphi

      📷: On the drive to Delphi

      📷: Cute little town of Delphi

      Travel Recommended Product:

      • Bobble is our go to bottle for Abigail as it has a filter and doesn’t leak. Although, after looking at it’s website, I don’t see the small bottle that Abigail uses listed anymore (18.5 oz is what they have which may be a little heavy for a 2 year old). #bobble help!

      📷: Our guide at the Delphi Ruins


      📷: Finally warmed up a bit to not wear a jacket (end of April).

        


      Product LOVE:

      • This girl has to take off the bracelets while eating. We love our pineapple bracelet from Zopihi.  They have the cutest children’s jewelry designed in Austin, inspired by Maui.  The best thing about their products are they are lead, cadium, and phthalates free. Mums – go check them out!


      Meteora


      📷: Crazy wind makes a crazy #mombun


        

      📷: The Meteora – one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to the Mount Athos. More info, check out wikipedia


      📷: Along the drive in the mountains there were these stands – I wonder exactly what the significance is. Anyone know?

      Travel recommended product:

      • We are in love with our passport holder from Up & Away. It’s easy to hold the passports together with up to a family of 5, putting your cards in one spot, and some cash as well. If you travel as much as us, you can also stick extra landing cards in there! And, I can’t forget that you can choose from a variety of colors and patterns for the interior and exterior – keeping the jet setting family in style!  LOVE – make these a perfect Mother’s Day present. *hint, hint.

      📷: The town of Meteora. We ate at the Gardenia (pictured left) which was just OK, but as always friendly service.

      Product LOVE:

      • My little loves her Mini Melissa shoes – she thinks she’s walking the catwalk!  Definitely be prepared for how quickly they will get scuffed up.  Cool thing – they have this baby powder smell. No stinky feet for her!

      📷: We stayed at the Grand Meteora Hotel which was nice that it is new with a gorgeous view of the rocks. However, if you’re looking for strong wi-fi or pool after your hike around Meteora, this definitely isn’t the place for you.

      • Tip: I always read and write reviews from trip advisor.  I’ve found them generally pretty accurate for the hotels. Food wise – it’s definitely a hit or miss. 



      📷: view from our balcony

      Cheers for now!

      G is for Gorgeous Greece. 

      Athens

      Wow, so far Greece is what I pictured and anticipated. Athens is our first stop of our last big week long European trip as a family of three.
      Usually, before a trip, I love reading some “did you know?” facts about places we go – they’re great conversation openers so hopefully you share them. These are my top three: 

      • First Olympic Games: The first Olympic games were held in Athens in 776 BC.The first games as we know them were held here in 1896, the city then hosted them again in 2004 (venere). To note, all of the street signs of Athens had to be changed to include a Latin spelling under the Greek before hosting the 2004 games!
      • According to Greek mythology, Athena and Poseidon competed for the honour of being the patron of the capital city, each offering a gift to gain favour with the people. The olive tree (given by Athena) was deemed more valuable than the water provided by Poseidon, so the city was named after her. It’s the world’s 3rd largest producer of olives! (lowcostholidays)
      • Greece enjoys more than 250 days of sunshine—or 3,000 sunny hours—a year (randomhistory)…oh so jealous with this London weather we have!


      📷: theatre (said the theatre originated in Greece)


      📷: heading up Acropolis (balloon courtesy of Hard Rock Cafe where we ate later)

      📷: amazing view at the top of Acropolis.

        📷: plaza where the flea markets/shopping is at. Pretty hectic, but not overwhelming.


      📷: national garden

      📷: chilling like a local.


      📷: delicious loukoumades (Greek donuts)

       📷: view from our hotel rooftop: Royal Olympic. Centrally located, but pictures were definitely enhanced with the “renovations.”  We had to hold the shower head to shower. Painful – hello dry shampoo!

       #familyselfie

      Cheers for now!