Travel Essentials

Traveling can always be a little stressful, right? Add a couple of kids in diapers (or freshly out of diapers) and the stress level can reach astronomical levels.

I have had some serious fails in that department.

Like sending my entire supply of diapers in my check bag and thinking I could make a trip (with a connecting flight) with 3 diapers and a travel size wipes pack. Two poop diapers and one pee stream that managed to travel out of the diaper and onto my kid’s pair of pants later and I realized that I was the worst mom on earth.

I’m also very dramatic–I’m sure there are worse moms but still.

I realized I was in way over my head. I’m a firm believer in Jesus Christ but there was some serious karma mojo that followed me on that trip and evened me out for some wrong doing in some previous life.

After the first debacle, I smartened up and have incorporated some #momlife hacks into my travel arrangements.

This primarily pertains to airport travel because, to be honest, every kind of travel calls for different things while traveling with toddlers.

 

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Toilet Seat Covers. Because, Airport Toilets. No more wasting wipes on toilet seats…wipes are for cleaning toddler booties and that will happen too many times to go wasting wipes on other things.10068141BaggalliniTicketOrganizerCor.jpg

All-in-one carrying pouch. Money, I.D., plane tickets–all in one place. I was the lady with the kids that had to set her bag down and dig through 3 zipper pockets to find everyone’s boarding passes & I.D.s. People hated me. I know they did. Staring lasers at the back of my head. I smartened up. I keep this in my hand until we get to the gate.

If you are so inclined, a fanny pack is also a good option and now that they are back in style, there are some really cute options!

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Another good idea is to make “single use” potty packs. (I made that name up. I think it’s cute. heh.) I take a sandwich sized ziplock bag and put one diaper and 2-3 wipes in it. This way, you don’t have to take the entire diaper bag with you every time a change is needed.

Can we also just acknowledge that neck pillows are awesome? Everyone should have one and they come in kid sizes now. A wobbly-necked toddler gives me anxiety.

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Let’s also just, acknowledge that dry snacks are the best snacks in terms of travel. If you’ve ever had an apple sauce pack make its way onto clothes and into hair then you know that there is no sensible way to argue my view point.

While the obvious choices are goldfish, pretzels and the like, here are some healthy options. I was introduced to Teo Foods by my local Starbucks community wall (thanks, Starbucks!). It’s a start-up company aiming to tackle the conflicting issues of global waste and hunger. I never thought much about that specific idea but, as Teo Foods explained, there is something fundamentally wrong with the fact that 40% of all U.S. food goes to waste and yet, everyday, people are dying of hunger.

They offer healthy dried snacks produced from reclaimed and rescued produce including trail mix, banana bites, granola, and the list will, hopefully, continue to grow.

Win.

NYC Eats: What I discovered on my last trip to New York

During my first trip to NYC, I binged on pizza and hotdogs. That just made the most since to me at the time. After I got that desire out of my system, I made the better choice to search out some foodie-fun during my last trips.

The shop happened to be in the same building as the casting we had just left. We walked outside and I noticed the hanging sign. Makenzie and I stopped in at ‘Wichcraft–I thought the name was amazing..that’s why I chose to drop in. I figured, we had about 45 mins until the Kid Car driver arrived and this would be far more satisfying than airport food.

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Totally correct on that last thought: the food was so good. I don’t even remember the name of this version of their grilled-cheese, pressed sandwich but just look at it. It was delicious.

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Their bakery selection wasn’t bad either. A lot of gluten-free, vegan options. There was a variety of muffins like the one below. Croissants, scones, cinnamon rolls and other deliciousness.

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We really just sat around, enjoying the atmosphere and our lunch. It’s nice to just disconnect for a moment and live in the present. I find it easier to do when I’m spending time with one of my children at a time. There isn’t the constant need to make sure portions are just the same to avoid melt downs, that one child isn’t pouring drink into his/her lap while I’m wiping the hands of the other. You get the idea. It’s refreshing to just enjoy food as it is and in that calm moment. I always get that feeling when I’m eating with one child. Parents with multiple children understand this–the jump from one child to two is ground breaking.

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We also visited Pat Lafrieda Meat Purveyors during our visit. It was located in a food court (of sorts) that was connected to Maddison Square Garden. Since we were staying directly across the street, it made sense to walk on over and see what the food court had to offer. La Frieda was the first option in a line of restaurants. We made our rounds and decided to circle back around to La Frieda.

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The set up was super cute–like a farm. Ironic, since we were in the “concrete jungle” but maybe, as a Texas girl, the farm vibe was what drew me to La Frieda. Either way…they had some delicious options for lemonade, grilled cheese (clearly, that is my go-to while traveling. Go figure.), burgers (what they are best known for), yuca sticks, and other eats. Small menu, for sure, but it packed a punch. Everything we ordered was delicious and their were other items on the menu that were calling my name.

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I hope everyone had a good weekend! Things are starting to pick up at work–as it does around this time. I am definitely seeing my schedule getting tighter around the edges which means less time for my weekend adventures. I’m soaking in all the time I can at this point.

Until next time!

NYC: 24 hours, 1 toddler & a Go-See

If you follow my IG account @aliceonsunday, you know that I am completely obsessed with taking photos of my babes. Especially of Makenzie because she genuinely likes it and has fun. Most of my photos of RJ are candid which I also absolutely love but my baby girl has a gift for posing.

When I realized this, I decided to send her photos to a few agents and see what feedback I received. A couple of months went by and I had pretty much forgotten about it. My mind is in the habit of jumping from idea to idea at a ridiculously fast rate.

That was when I got the email. One of the agents whom had told me that she was going to keep Makenzie’s photos on file thought that she might be a good fit for Gap’s holiday campaign and turns out, she was right! Gap requested Makenzie to come in and get in front of the camera for an audition.

Honestly, I was a little confused at first, scrolling through my emails trying to figure out how that even happened. Then I found the communication between myself and the above mentioned agent and my memory was jogged. I was so excited because, how it was explained to me, a casting by request is way less hectic, fewer kids (as opposed to an open-call) and your child is already on the radar of the casting director because s/he chose your child specifically.

Here was the catch: the casting was in New York. New York, in regards to me traveling there, is not a big deal.

Love New York.

It’s amazing.

Any chance I get, I want to go.

The tricky part about this trip, specifically, would be that I’d be traveling with a small child to a city where I love the subway but only if I’m alone or dealing with other adults. I had many reasons for dreading the idea of moving around in the big city with Makenzie:

1- NYC is too fast paced for me to be aware of my entire surroundings AND keep up with a toddler that absolutely loves to walk on her own and then takes off running like she is in some kind of “Tag” game that goes on for all of eternity.

2- I would need a stroller. Have you been on the subway? There is barely enough room for a slender individual with a fanny pack let alone an object on 4 wheels.

3-I am not comfortable driving in NYC. It’s like driving in Puerto Rico (yes, you too, mom). People are crazy or aggressive or a scary mixture of both and I don’t have the nervous system to handle it.

4-If I were to rent a car, I would need a car seat…I wasn’t about to travel with a car seat to the airport. Airport travel is already crazy enough. Add a child and the stress level, easily, bumps up 3 levels. But adding a car seat to the equation?! I would need an hour with a therapist and a shot of tequila after it was all said and done and I don’t even drink.

Luckily, my day job requires me to plan events and coordinate travel on the drop of a dime. I went into “Corporate-Mom” mode and got online to find some solutions to my issues because I had already decided that I was going to take her to meet these lovely people at Gap. I mean…come on, right?!

This was when I found Kid Car, a business specific to NYC, reminiscent of Uber, that gives you the opportunity to reserve a ride with a car seat included. Kid Car has gotten rave reviews on a national level for answering a problem for travelers who have children and locals alike. The drivers are put through a series of qualifying test–drug, background–which is great because they are asking you to trust them with your child(ren).

The app lets you set preferred drivers (if you use the system a lot), put in the location and time of the pick and where you need to be dropped off, pick a car seat specific to your needs based on your child’s age/weight (that way your driver doesn’t show up with a front-facing car seat while youre traveling with a 4-month old), and it also gives you an estimated cost. IMG_4402.PNG

It was perfect. I reserved our plane tickets, hotel and Kid Car rides for the entire trip and we were all set.

This was Makenzie’s first time traveling (out of the womb) so I was a little nervous but she was a ROCK STAR. She went through security on her own, sat in her seat, drank the juice the flight attendant gave her, and went to sleep for the majority of the ride. Not one tear. Not. One.

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We got there late on the night before the go-see and got settled in our room.

Side Note: The Kid Car experience, through and through, was great.

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When we got to the studio, the energy was high, the holding room and shoot area were all crisp white and open–very industrial looking,at the same time, with concrete floors…it was as you have seen in it in the movies (I guess Hollywood doesn’t alwasy lie)!

In all honesty, I had never seen so many gorgeous kids all in one room. Even more incredible, I had never experienced so many well behaved kids all in one room. Everyone was happy and playful and well mannered….not at all like the little terrors I am use to seeing in my own home from my own children. Makenzie, thankfully rose to the occasion and was a complete delight….until they called her name….she had a melt down. Of course.

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Luckily, it was the shortest melt down (all of 5 seconds) I have evered witnessed and she said “Pictures?”, I said ” Yes” and she walked over to the set and showed out. I was a proud mama bird. I was a little intimidated by all the kids and their big time representations : Wilhelmina, Generation, and Zuri just to name a few…but Makenzie impressed the casting crew because she got a call back for the final cut! I think I am officially a “momager”.

We headed back to New York for the final cuts and she was right at home. I think I may have a star on my hands, people.

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I have learned a lot from this experience. Mainly that the modeling/acting life is no joke. It is a whirlwind. A fun whirlwind but a whirlwind, nonetheless. I was exhausted after both castings and so was she. During the experience, she had an amazing time–I could tell she was happy and having fun and it only confirmed what I already knew: she loves being the center of attention.

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That was the best part.

 I hope everyone has started their week out well! I am already craving next weekend. As a corporate mom, my weeks are full– as well as most holidays–so the weekends that are completely free from work, I try to jam pack adventure in with my kids. I have a lot of ideas for next weekend but we will see how it all works out.
Until next time!
 

New York City Produce Pop-Up Shop

I traveled to NYC to experience Swan Lake, preformed by Misty Copeland and the American Ballet Theater. First off, WOW. The ballet was beautiful. The costumes were amazing. Misty was….so powerful in so many ways. I’ll talk about that at a later time.

What was also nearly as astounding as the ballet was the pop-up produce market that appeared right in the middle of all the mayhem on 66th + Lincoln Center. FullSizeRender 6.jpg

There is nothing in that area besides high-rises, hotels, resturants and (of course) Lincoln Center. It totally embodies the “concrete jungle” nickname and yet within an hour, it seemed, all this super fresh produce, flowers, juices and bread showed up.FullSizeRender 7.jpg

It smelled wonderful–as I walked through my body immediately reminded me that I hadn’t eaten anything besides pizza and hotdogs since I had landed. Damn good pizza and hotdogs, I must say, but still. I’m completely disgusted with myself. I should’ve grabbed a few freshly squeezed juices and a bushel of berries and started an immediate cleanse at that realization.

I didn’t.

Instead, I grabbed a coffee and headed to the airport. Oh well. Better eating decisions to be made once I get back to my normal routine.

There were also some really talented artists at the pop-up shop. I saw a lot of sketches and acrylic art that could easily rival some I’ve seen in museums. But there they were–selling their work on the street. What’s that Jay-Z quote? “Since I made it here, I can make it anywhere…”

That seems to be the correct sentiment.

 

 

Around Town- ATX Coffee

Like most people with Caribbean backgrounds, coffee has always been part of day-to-day life. After becoming a mom, coffee became a necessity to managing a sense of normal. Now, I’m a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur. Strong emphasis on “self” proclaimed.

Honestly, after plenty of k-cups and grande/non-fat/3-pump/iced-white mochas (yes, I am a Starbucks snob. Don’t judge me.) I decided that I would make it a point to try out new coffee wherever I traveled.

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I mentioned going to Austin for the Renegade Craft Fair in a previous post, remember that? Well while my mom was tucked away at the hotel with the kiddos, fast asleep, I snuck out onto the streets to check out the coffee shops.

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Vintage Heart Coffee is a locally owned coffee shop on 7th street. It’s super hip and tucked away and had an amazing Bob Marley playlist playing–the barista’s look and sound gave me strong Ellen DeGeneres (seriously) and I had about 30 mins of drinking coffee and feeling “cool” again.

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I had a macchiato and this amazing lavender lemonade.

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The macchiato was so good, y’all. And that lavender lemonade was the best part of my walk back to the hotel.

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I also visited Wright Bros Brew & Brew before heading out to 6th street on my first night in Austin. Brew & Brew stays open late with a full espresso bar and 39 rotating taps of beer or cider.

It was completely tucked away on a back road. Industrial style building, the barista had purple hair and a huge personality. She made a vanilla latte for me that trumps all lattes.

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kisses + milk foam mustaches

Around Town- River Walk

Fiesta had just wrapped up in San Antonio so the spirit was still high. In all honesty, the Mexican culture and the need to celebrate it is always high in my home town.

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I took the kids home to visit family and in all the “hustle & bustle” I had managed to spend all of ZERO time with my mom. So…in a last ditch effort to get some face time with her, I suggested that we go downtown to the river walk, early Sunday morning, before the kids and I got back on the road.

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Growing up in San Antonio, I took for granted all the treasures around me. Now, as an adult, I have a real appreciation for those things and want to share them with my kiddos. River boat tours are pretty popular among tourists and for good reason. The tour is inexpensive, not too short or long in duration, you almost always enjoy a good breeze thanks to the water and huge trees that surround the river, and an amazing tour guide handing you interesting and entertaining facts (& fiction) along the way. A sort of soothing voice and and a good sense of humor must be at the top of the ‘Requirements’ list for the tour guides because each tour that I have logged into my memory has given me an excellent tour guide. You know, the kind that is funny without trying (but they must be trying because….I mean, come on) and easy on the ears.

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The kids had a blast on the boat and even managed to shower each-other with hugs and kisses in between exclamations of excitement and pointing out to me, a thousand times, that we were going under a bridge.

Seriously, San Antonio is a magical place. While many Texans would criticize our lack of a skyline, it is because so much of our downtown is rooted in history and protected by the government; it can’t be touched…and in a way it has given my hometown a nostalgic feel and a sense of rich culture.

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It really is a joy to go home–each and every time. Especially now that I have kids. It just brings a whole new level of magic.

Renegade Craft Fair-ATX Style

This past weekend, I took the kids to Austin. The Renegade Craft Fair was in town and I had been wanting to go since last year when I first found them during a late night, internet troll session.

The Renegade Craft fair is ran independently and curates the best in DIY-ers, artist, makers, and designers. This fair is held all over the country and in London. Luckily, Austin is just a short drive from home.

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It was a complete celebration of small businesses with food trucks, samples, and live music. And this may not be a highlight to some people but the Fair Market is equipped with nice, clean bathrooms so…. no port-a-potties! (If you are raising one or more toddlers, you completely understand why I was so happy about real bathroom access).

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While I was there, I was able to see and speak to some businesses that I was currently aware of and loving their work (like Stay Home Club) as well as find some new and amazing brands to swoon over (like Piper Press & Lemon Glaze Ceramics).

I bought these awesome pins from Stay Home Club:

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This print from Piper Press that I am SUPER excited to put in the kids’ room:

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This amazing herbal tea ‘Cougar Tranquilizer’ and robot tea infuser:

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The girl with the cool hair working the booth explained to me that the tea is naturally sweetened by liquorish root. It tastes AMAZING.

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I bought this candle ‘Hippie Scent’ that has a heavier musk smell which is my go-to in my bed- and living room. The girl at the booth said that during their last burning test, the candle burned for 82 hours (although most burn for about 70). Most soy candles this size only burn 30-40 hours so this was a great value.

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I loved my interactions with all the vendors but the business that stole my heart was Lemon Glaze Ceramics.

I bought the Tupac bowl but the entire set is amazing.

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Carmen Aberasturi is the maker and founder of Lemon Glaze ceramics. If you go to her site, you’ll notice that these ceramics are not featured. She explained that her daughter loves hip hop and that she made these as a going away gift for college. When her daughter got to college, her friends freaked at how cool the dishes were and asked the daughter if her mother could make the same dishes for them. They became an instant hit and Carmen explained that her daughter said she should make more and sale them at the fair. “I just listen to my daughter. She knows.”

Carmen is the sweetest little lady you will ever meet and the dishes really are a hit. I took my dish to work to decorate my desk and have been asked by several people for Carmen’s contact information.

Gotta love the makers, creators, movers, and shakers of the world! I hear that the New York fair is the biggest with over 500 vendors. Traveling to NYC to see the Renegade Craft Fair in all it’s glory is definitely on my to-do list now.

Around Town

I went home this past weekend (super last minute, with very little time to do anything) and we made the most of our 30-hour window. Lots of food, fruit picking (& throwing), and dirty toes thanks to my aunts’ secret garden of a front yard.

We drove in around 7PM on Friday and I pretty much handed the kids off to my mom and took a 2 hour nap.

As if a 2-lane highway isn’t bad enough, one lane was closed for construction so the usual 3 hour drive turned into a 5 hour drive without anywhere to pull over for a rest or bathroom break. RJ had a loose poop incident and I had to tuck a diaper into my jeans to pee while stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Yea–that happened. Hashtag: Epic Fail.

Anyways, Saturday morning we went to breakfast at Magnolia Pancake Haus (as seen on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives).

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This place really is amazing–If you’ve never been to one, definitely seek one out. I ordered bacon pancakes and corn beef hash.

Amaziiiiiing.

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Cream mustache

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Around to the back!

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Backyard shenanigans at Magnolia

Later that day we went to my aunts’ house and had some good, old-fashioned garden fun. My aunt, funny enough, calls herself the “accidental gardener”; if she sees a plant or a flower she loves, she just grabs some of the buds and plants them in her yard, haphazardly.

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There is absolutely nothing like being home.