Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Year of Progress

One day shy of his sixth birthday
In 2011, I finished grad school and got the two master degrees. In 2012, I had to buckle down, grind through, and work hard until I got the excellent job.

By the time 2013 rolled around, I had one main goal in mind -- progress.

I wanted to challenge myself and make a little bit of progress in love and life and working and writing and this whole single mom thing.

In fact, it was in this year that I upgraded my job and became one step closer to that dream position. And it made me realize that there's no reason for me (or any other young mother or single mother) not to go get our dreams.


But it wasn't without a little bit of struggle, ups and downs, bumps and bruises, and hard work.


It was in this year that I came into my own as a single mother and gained an immense amount of confidence that I didn't know I had. And it made me realize that I can trust my own instincts when planting seeds in Aiden's life. Or when instilling values in him. Or when teaching him right from wrong.


In Puerto Rico
I traveled.

To Philadelphia with Aiden during our spring break. To Atlanta with The Guy. To Puerto Rico with Aiden, where I sat poolside watching my sweet boy swim like a fish, and thanked God for progress. To Connecticut for my friend's wedding. And The Jersey Shore for Labor Day Weekend. I spent a weekend at Geneva on The Lake for The American Dairy Association Blogger Tour and Food & Wine Festival. I was with The Guy and we had a lovely time. Oh, and Aiden and I spent the holidays in the mid-west with The Guy and his family.

This was a big step for me and I'm continuing to learn how to be vulnerable, how to give a little more of myself, how not be so guarded all the time, and how to fully embrace love. Because I deserve it. So yeah... I can officially change my Facebook status to "in a relationship" now. Bam!

(I'm growing up, y'all.)


Christmas Day | 2013
I learned when to step up and I learned when to step back by making sure that Aiden has a male mentor to look up to. Something that I learned for sure is that single mothers can create a family for their children. And that children of single mothers can thrive.



I wrote my heart out and I left pieces of myself in The New York Times and REDBOOK Magazine. I shared my personal style and left a piece of my style in The New York Daily News. In print and online. Bam! I shared my favorite child-friendly hangout spots in NYC and left a piece of myself in Time Out New York Kids. In print and online. Kapow! Aiden started the school year with a new-found confidence, turned six, and rocked it all the way out during the Ugg Australia petitePARADE Kids Fashion Week Show. He's like a total rockstar in the making!


Rocking the runway
When I look back, all I can think is... thank goodness for progress. I went through hell with Aiden's other parent, and breaking up, and starting over again. But... progress.

If you're going through hell, keep going. Keep pushing. Keep moving forward. Because it gets better. If 2013 was a testament to anything at all, it was to this simple fact -- life goes on and, if you keep pushing, you'll get better at kicking it's ass.


2014, we're coming for you!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dancing From the Soul -- Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Magnificent. Elegant. Enthralling. Soulful. An extraordinary vision manifested. One masterpiece after another.

These are just a few of the words and phrases that describe the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. And, quite frankly, these words and phrases don't do the company enough justice.

Aiden and I had the opportunity to see the company perform last weekend and, when we left City Center, we were moved... changed... inspired. I mean, that's what good and effective theater does to you, right? It leaves you feeling and thinking and challenging the status quo.

The show began with Artistic Director, Robert Battle, greeting the audience members and wittily pointing out that he noticed we were all dolled up, with our "hair did, nails did, everything did." As he stated, we "show[ed] out" and showed up ready for a great performance.

And that's exactly what we got.

Each night, different pieces are performed, which makes it even more amazing. Aiden and I were in attendance for the Ailey-Ellington night, which celebrates Duke Ellington and his music, and is a mixture of classical ballet with modern techniques like Horton.

There were a few pieces that stuck with me:

Pas de Duke is Alvin Ailey's modern dance translation of the classical pas de deux. This piece brings Duke Ellington's music to life in a way that touches your soul. The piece stays with you long after the dancers leave the stage.

AAADT's Antonio Douthit-Boyd in Alvin Ailey's Pas de Duke.  Photo by Paul Kolnik
The River combines classical ballet, modern dance, and jazz, and is clearly so seamlessly choreographed and so smooth, just like... you guessed it... water.

AAADT's Jamar Roberts and Alicia Graf Mack in Alvin Ailey's The River. Photo by Paul Kolnik
The "sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful" Revelations is one of my absolute favorite ballets. I live for this finale. Every. Single. Time. It's a great celebration and lovely tribute to African culture and spirituals. And it gets the crowd going. Every. Single. Time. 

AAADT's Antonio Douthit-Boyd, Yannick Lebrun and Kirven Douthit-Boyd in Relevations. Photo: Andrew Eccles
AAADT's Kirven Douthit-Boyd, Alicia Graf Mack and Demetia Hopkins in Revelations. Photo by Gert Krautbauer

It's truly a celebration of dance and culture. As Robert Battle stated in his charming greeting, "Dancing comes to the people and should always be delivered back to the people."

That's exactly what the company did. Again.

The show was so enjoyable, not only because of the talented dancers, but because it is evident that each one of them loves what they do. You can tell that dancing is in their blood stream, their bones, and all up in their DNA... it's as though they were made to do this. You can feel their energy because it jumps off the stage, bouncing from row to row, seat to seat. From their hearts to yours.

It's truly a remarkable experience. And I'm happy that Aiden and I have started this tradition in going to see them during this time of year. It's a memory that he'll keep with him for years to come.

And that, my friends, is what it's all about.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater runs through January 5, 2014 at City Center and tickets start as low as $25. Visit the website to grab your tickets now and be prepared to be mesmerized.

{Disclaimer: I was provided with tickets to the performance in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mother Africa at The New Victory Theater


That's all I could say whenever I think of Mother Africa, the holiday show at The New Victory Theater that Aiden and I saw a couple weekends ago. And, to say the least, it's all kinds of cool. It's performed by Tanzania's Circus Der Sinne, which means Circus of the Senses in English, and it's a true celebration of Africa and it's many countries and cultures. Everything is deeply rooted in African culture -- the diverse acts, the band performing, the vocals done in the native language of different African countries, the vibrant costumes -- everything!

Don't expect to see elements of a tradition circus in the show -- there aren't any clowns, trained animals, or rings of fire. But what you'll get is so much more. Stilt walkers from Tanzania, jugglers from Ethiopia, and a contortionist from Kenya, to name a few. And that's just the acts.

You'll also get a mini-history lesson. Like from the charasmatic and energetic GumBoot Dance, which has roots in South Africa's gold mines. Or from the masked stilt dancers of the Zulu folks. Or from the instrument called the mbira.

And while you're getting that history lesson and enjoying the different circus acts, you'll be sitting at the edge of your seat. I mean, the entire time you'll be wondering if the unicyler is going to push the limits and go higher, or if the human foot juggler will be able to continue throwing 12-year-old Tomas Teka Alemu into the air while he's [Tomas] doing back flips. I mean... how on Earth are they doing those things?

That will be the question of the hour.

During the slow and sustained "African Flute" act, when contortionist Ersi Teame Gebregziabher squeezed his entire exceeding flexible body into a tennis racket (what the what?!?!), this was the conversation that ensued between Aiden and me:
Aiden: [Looking puzzled] Why is he doing that?!
Me: Umm... I think the better question is HOW is he doing that?
Aiden: Yeah... HOW is he doing that?
Me: I have NO idea!
Autographs with the performers after the show
When we got home, Aiden drew pictures of his favorite parts of the show: the unicyle act, the six-chair balancing act, and the foot juggler/12-year-old back flipping act.

But in case you need a better visual than that of a six-year-old budding artist, feast your eyes on these:


Mother Africa is playing at The New Victory Theater from now until January 5, 2014, with tickets ranging from $17 to $70. The show is 100 minutes long with one intermission, just the right amount of time for little who may get antsy during a show. Visit the website to purchase your tickets and get you some African entertainment and culture!

Thank me later.

Oh, and leave a comment below if you'd like to check it out because I'm giving away Mother Africa tickets to ONE lucky Mommy Delicious reader.

You're welcome.

(Disclaimer: I was provided with tickets to Mother Africa in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed herein are my own. The giveaway is sponsored by Mother Africa.)

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Trip to The Prinicipal's Office. And Some Other Things Too.

"Okay. Okay. This is why I had to go to the Principal's office..."

That was the beginning of the conversation that I had with Aiden the other day. The end of the conversation? Very enlightening.

Because Zion was angry at Hudson, he [Zion] told Aiden to tell Hudson that he's [Aiden] not his friend anymore. And Aiden listens to Zion. Sigh.

In comes Foundue. Foundue tells a very sad and mad Hudson to tell Aiden that he's [Hudson] gonna tell his mother on Aiden. And Hudson listens to Foundue. Double sigh.

So then there was Aiden telling Hudson that he doesn't want to be friends with him anymore and Hudson telling Aiden that he's gonna tell his mama on Aiden. And all because they were listening to what other people told them to do.

So they all ended up in the Prinicpal's office.

When I spoke to Aiden about it, he said that he has to listen to Zion or else Zion won't be his friend anymore. And that Zion is funny and always making jokes so he wants to be friends with Zion.

So y'all know I gave it to him straight, right?

I went all the way in about how he doesn't have to listen to anyone who's telling him to do something that's not right -- especially not one of his classmates. I told Aiden that he has his own brain and his own thoughts and God didn't give him a brain and a mind and thoughts and feelings for him to follow someone else -- especially when they're doing the wrong thing. I said that friends don't make friends do mean things, but instead, they help each other out. I pointed out that, at that very moment, Zion was not being the bestest friend that he can be to Aiden. And I also stressed that, at that very moment, Aiden definitely wasn't being the bestest friend that he can be to Zion. Or Hudson. Because he's supposed to help his friend by setting an example and telling him not to say mean things to someone else. And he's supposed to stand up for what's right and not say mean things to another person just because someone told him to.

I asked him how he thinks Hudson felt when he said that to him. "Alone and lonely," was his response. "And you made that happen. You're the person responsible for making someone else feel badly about themselves. Is that the kind of person you want to be?" was my response.


"I know that. Because you're a kind and sweet person. And you've made better choices than that in the past so I know you can make better choices now. Don't allow anyone to tell you to do something that you know is wrong. Not ever. Because you're a leader. And you're better than that."

It's not easy instilling values in our children, and I may or may not have been too harsh. I don't know. I keep replaying the conversation in my mind and thinking about things that I want to add in the follow-up conversations that I'm going to have with Aiden about the situation.

That's the thing about parenting -- we push our kids and rethink things and second guess ourselves at times. We trust our gut and feign competence and fake it till we make it, all at the same time. It's impression management at it's finest. But we keep going until we're the best that we can be.

And until our children are the best that they can be.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Perfectly Good Reasons to Enjoy A "Do Nothing" Day

It's not like I didn't have any plans for Sunday. I did. The plan was to go to church, get brunch, go ice skating, and take a picture with Santa before heading back to Brooklyn to make dinner and get all geared up for the week ahead.

But then I woke up too late to go to church. So I turned back around and went to sleep. And before I knew it, it was noon and I hadn't gotten out of bed for the day, save for the seven minutes it took me to make Aiden a quick breakfast.

Then, I decided that I'd do some work. After all, I have several deadlines approaching and my review of Mother Africa, which was all kinds of cool by the way, was still fresh in my head. So I told myself that in a half hour, I'd get up and knock out a few assignments.

No cigar.

By 1pm, I was lying in bed watching Law and Order: SVU on Netflix. By 2:30pm, I was whining to The Guy about how I'd been lazy all day, and even though I had so much to do, and there was so much that I could have done, I did nothing all morning. He reminded me that it is, in fact, okay to take one day out of my exceedingly busy life to do absolutely nothing. And that I shouldn't, for a second, feel badly about it.

Thanks babe.

(Yes, I just called The Guy "Babe" on this here website. Yes, I have some updates for you all. Yes, it's coming soon. Patience, my friends. Patience.)

By the end of the night, after watching about five more episodes of SVU, taking a break only to eat, read with Aiden, and chat with The Guy, I was feeling all kinds of refreshed and ready to kick this week's ass. That's when I thought of all the great reasons to take the day off and do absolutely nothing. All. Day. Long.

1. It re-energizes you in a way you never thought possible. 
No matter how much I work out or how many times I take time to  remind myself of my calling and purpose, nothing refreshes me more than taking time out to do absolutely nothing.

2. It allows you to re-group and re-think priorities in your life.
No doubt about it, I'm always taking care of career-related business -- even when it leaves me stressed out and stretched thin. But taking time to chill with loved ones is absolutely priceless. And, not to mention, it is business too.

3. It's enjoyable. 
Don't get me wrong, I'm more of an always-on-the-go type of person. Aiden and I always have something planned over the weekend or on our days off. In fact, on those days, he'll wake up in the morning, and say, "Let's discuss our plans for today. What are we gonna do?" I love exploring NYC with him and experiences new things and new cultures, but hello... sometimes you just gotta enjoy a pajama day in the comfort of your own home. And that's quite alright.

4. It helps you to reflect and re-focus your vision and goals in life. 
In the midst of doing absolutely nothing, I was able to be still. And think about all that I've accomplished this year as well as all that I still want to accomplish in the future. Doing nothing is a great time to allow you to meditate and map out your next move.

Truth is, I won't have another "do nothing"day for a while, but at least I was able to experience a much-needed chill day this past weekend.

What do you guys like about "do nothing" days?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Your Mission is Greater Than You Are

Not gonna lie, these past few weeks at work have been particularly stressful and have totally kicked my ass.

I’m straight up tired. So much so that I’ve been quite literally counting down the days until our winter break – ten school days.

But right now, I’m beat. And tired. And stretched thin. And thisclose to give up. Needless to say, these past few weeks have been rough.

That’s when I take a step back and remember why I do what I do, why I have early mornings and late nights, why I drop Aiden off to school extra early in order to get to work, why I have Aiden stay in after school classes and programs so that I can work some more, why I over-caffeine at times, why I care so much…

And I realize that this is bigger than just me. It’s bigger than just Aiden. Yes, I’ll be the best mother that I can be to him and you best believe that I put my all into that little boy, but I’ve been called to be the best that I can be in my career too. To be a part of something so meaningful and so profound… to help close an achievement gap… to help students who have the least amount of resources and the most needs.

I’ve been called to be a part of a mission.

I’ve been called to have an impact.

It certainly isn’t easy. But it’s totally worth it.

If you're feeling like you're tired and stretched thin and just... can't... go... on, push forward anyway. Think about all the good you can do and think about the fact that it's not just about you. Your calling is greater than you are. Your mission is greater than you are. The impact that you can leave is greater than you are. Leave your mark and make your impact. 

Don't settle. Be great. 

There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. – Nelson Mandela

Thursday, December 5, 2013

On Owning Your Own Happiness

The other day, I saw a status update on a friends Facebook page that really struck a chord with me. It read something like, "When you learn that happiness is a choice, you begin to make different choices..." Choose happiness.

A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with an old [single] girlfriend. She was going on and on about how sad (and lonely) she was/is because she lacks that special someone in her life. She went so far as to say that she felt almost cried the previous night because she wanted to go out, but didn't have a guy to go out with.


I get it. Sometimes being single can feel lonely. But I'm a firm believer in being proactive to create the life that you want and surrounding yourself with things that make you... happy. I'm a firm believer in choosing happiness. So naturally my response was that she should have called a few of her girlfriends up and make plans to hit up one of their favorite spots in the city. Easy enough. Her response? She wanted to go out with a man. Okay. I'm single. I can totally dig wanting to be all boo'ed up for a Saturday-night date night. My response? "Well, how are you going to find 'him' if you're at home moping around on a Saturday night. You're young (she's, like 25 or something), go out, have fun, enjoy your 20's."

Then I made the mistake of putting myself into the equation. I said, "I'm single and I have fun. You can always come out with my friends and me should you feel the need." Her response? "Maybe marriage is not for you; I [pointing to herself] am a relationship girl."


I was in no mood to fight that battle on that lovely Sunday afternoon.

I'm sure there's a reason why I'm here... at this particular place in my life. (And you. And you.) There's some lesson to be learned, some experience to become engrossed in, some goal to achieve. It's not entirely easy learning how to be alone and enjoy your own company, but I do think that it is necessary. Not to mention, once you're there, it is pretty awesome.

Sure I'd like to have someone to share my life with -- the dope things and the dreadful things -- when the time is right. But, until then, I'm choosing happiness. If I want to go out, best believe that I call my girls up and say something along the lines of, "Let's do something fun. Get dressed, we're going [insert name of favorite spot here]." One doesn't find happiness by simply being in a relationship. That's a huge myth, if there ever was one, and those who think that's the case are in for a rude awakening.

I feel like I'm finally at the point where I'm making conscious decisions to just... be happy. It's not always easy because sometimes it requires making difficult decisions, but the peace of mind and serenity is totally worth it.

I once read, "This is your life. Do what you love and do it often... If you are looking for the love of your life, stop. They will be waiting for you when you start doing things that you love" and things that make you happy.

I found my "happy" and I'm holding on to it come heck or high water.

Have you found yours? What are you doing to hold on to it? 

{This post was originally published on January 19, 2012 -- Have Your Found Your "Happy"?.}

Monday, December 2, 2013

Planting Seeds

Aiden: Mommy, when I grow up, can I still live with you?
Me: You can live with me until you finish college. Then, you have to find your own place to live.
Aiden: Until I finish Columbia?  
He's already speaking it into existence. That's my boy! 

You see, I've been talking to Aiden about going to college since he was an infant. He's been talking back to me about it since he was a toddler. We've visited Columbia's campus several times and he is very much aware that that's where I went to college. Obviously he doesn't know the specifics about getting into college, but he does know that you need to work really, really hard in school in order to get to college. And that's any college, not just Columbia. 

Planting seeds. 

"Mommy, I wish we had a million dollars so we could give it to old, old men. Because they don’t have any homes or food or clothes." 
This is a random thought that Aiden shared with me one morning during our commute to his school. To him, “old, old men” refers to the homeless men that we see on the subway and streets of NYC. 

I've been talking to Aiden about our charge to help others in need since he was an infant.  He's been talking back to me about it since he was a toddler. We talk about the fact that life is not just about him, that he's a part of a larger community, with a larger mission, and a larger purpose -- to be a blessing to others. Sometimes I'm not sure if our talks are actually meaningful to him. 

Sometimes I even get discouraged. 

But then. Then he shows an interest in helping homeless men. Then he asks to donate a few of his toys to the day care center that is down the block from my job. Then he trades his favorite ninja turtle toy with a friend from school in order to get a toy that he thought my niece (his cousin) would like. That's when I know that he is indeed learning about the needs of others and he is flourishing into a very sweet and compassionate little boy. 

Planting seeds.

When we enter our apartment building, I expect him to greet the doorman. When there are people in the elevator with us, I expect him to greet them too. Before bedtime, I expect him to say his prayers. When he speaks to people, I expect him to look them in the eye. When he meets someone new, I expect him to shake their hands and greet them by saying, "Hello, my name is Aiden." 

Planting seeds. 

You see, with every conversation that I Aiden and I have, with every expectation that I reinforce for him, I am planting seeds. Seeds that'll help him grow into the person that he is capable of becoming. Seeds that'll allow him to reach his full potential. Seeds that'll help steer him towards greatness. 

And when you speak with your children, that's exactly what you're doing -- planting seeds. With every conversation, with every expectation that you set, and with every lesson you teach... you are planting seeds. So they can be great. 
So be encouraged today. 

Keep planting. Keep harvesting. Keep helping them flourish. And most of all, keep loving them.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Bringing Books to Life with NetFlix.com

Aiden's a huge Eric Carle fan, and his children's book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar has been one of his favorite books since he was about 1-year-old. He loved it so much that I had to read it to him every. single. day.

Until it mysteriously disappeared one day. (ie: I hid it at the bottom of his book shelf. Hey... I had to get the kid to enjoy the many other books in his collection, right?)

A few weeks ago, it resurfaced while we were cleaning his library and I decided to add it back into our storytime rotation. After all, Eric Carle's books are required reading for all young children. So I may as well embrace the awesomeness, right?

 That's when I found out that we could also watch a movie of this beloved children's book on NetFlix.com, which is a great way to add to the experience of the book. The movie is a half hour -- the perfect amount of time for little ones to sit and enjoy their fave book on-screen.

To add a little "umph" to the Eric Carle experience, I stumbled upon this beauty:

With a little bit of cheese and a few apples, this is a delish snack that the kid and I can make before watching the movie. After all, if the book is required reading, then the movie should be required viewing. Right?

Check out Netflix.com in order to see other children's books that can come to life on-screen... right in the comfort of your own living room! 

{Disclaimer: As a member of the NetFlix Stream Team, this post is sponsored by NetFlix. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Jodi the Yogi: Yoga for Kids!

Enjoying Story Time Yoga at Karma Kids Yoga
What might the world look like if an entire generation of young people grow up learning that their true power is found in being good to themselves and others?

That's the question the lovely ladies over at Jodi the Yogi are asking folks. That and other questions such as, "What have you learned from yoga that you wish you could share with a younger version of yourself?"

Jodi the Yogi is an "interactive health and wellness series that uses the practice of yoga to support the positive development of young children. The series will make the benefits of yoga accessible to kids all over the world," which is beyond cool. 

I remember the first time I took a yoga class. I was a junior in high school and working as an assistant ballet and jazz teacher at a ballet school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The ballet school offered unlimited classes to anyone who worked there and I would take advantage of that perk by signing up for different classes a few times a week. One day, I signed up for a beginning yoga class. I figured if I could become fairly good at the art of ballet and jazz, I could also take on yoga.

Boy, was that first class an experience for me.

For someone who had been dancing all those years, I realized that I had no idea how to control my breathing while attempting to hold new poises for an extended period of time. "Breathe into the poise," the instructor said to me. But I was hot and sweaty and trying desperately not to look like a fool. Breathing, unfortunately, was not at the top of my list. Throughout the remainder of the class, I kept saying that I was done with yoga, that I'd just stick to ballet and jazz.

But after the class, I decided that I needed to give myself time to learn the ins and outs of yoga. So I gave it another go. And while, I am not an avid yoga practice-r, I am happy that I stuck with it.

Not only did that little stint teach me another lesson in perseverance and resilience (y'all know I'm good for that!), but yoga has given me a better awareness of my body in ways that I never thought possible. Centering myself, focusing on my breathing, and meditating has helped me hone in on certain stress points, figure out their source, and not only figure out how to alleviate the stress, but also ways in which to deal with the stress source itself.

Yoga's pretty amazing in that way.

And I'm happy to share it with Aiden whenever we have the chance. 

Now it's your turn. What have you learned from yoga that you wish you could share with a younger version of yourself? Or your child? Or anyone else willing to listen? Visit the Jodi the Yogi website in order to learn all about the campaign and ways in which Jodi the Yogi wants to give kids everywhere free access to yoga. They are currently seeking any kind of donation in order to get this amazing project up and running.

Seriously. Visit the website and help out in any small way possible.

{Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this post. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}

Sunday, November 24, 2013

{Dating Tales} Keeping the Online Dating Profile Open

Having freelanced for HowAboutWe.com's The Date Report and having worked with the site on a few campaigns, including starting an online dating profile, going on a few dates, and attempting to find "Mr. Right," I was pretty excited when I found out that the online dating site was getting all couple-y.

HowAboutWe for Couples is a site where couples can book dates together. And, ya know, start dating again with those butterflies-in-the-stomach, this-is-a-great-first-date type of feeling. But without that awkward I-don't-know-how-this-is-going-to-go, this-is-like-a-job-interview-with-cocktails kind of way. After all, the entire premise of HowAboutWe is to get offline and go on dates. Fast. 

Naturally, the section of the site that's geared towards couples would focus on the same thing. HowAboutWe for Couples provides a monthly curated selection of cool dates in New York City, which ranges from a five-course tasting to cooking classes to themed-dates (read: Haunted House dates around Halloween) to tango classes.

Between shuttling Aiden to and from school, all of his weekend extracurricular activities, and getting ready for my little guy to turn six, this delicious single momma needed a bit of sexy fun. Sooner than later.

So I used HowAboutWe for Couples sign up for a Wine Tasting and Tango class with The Guy. I figured we needed to release some tension, especially after dealing with my guardedness and all the other issues I've had to power through. All I did was book the date through the site, and HowAboutWe took care of the rest -- the planning, the reservations, and telling me where to show up. A bonus? The tip was already included when I made the reservation.

Tangoing is typically not my style, but I vowed to go on different types of dates this year, and so... it was fun to try out. We learned a new dance style, got to be silly, and we got to flirt and be sexy. Plus, I was able to get my grown woman on.

And now, I'm ready for another date. A boozy brunch or a city cruise is currently calling my name. And I'm happy that I can keep my online dating profile open, even if it's just to browse and book dates for The Guy and me. 

HowAboutWe for Couples membership is $18/month and it'll give you access to free HowAboutWe dates, up to 75% off every date in the collection, members-only services, one FREE date, early booking on new dates, and couples rewards (ie: buy one, get one free). Afraid of commitment? No worries! Membership requires no commitment and you can pause or cancel at any time. You can also purchase dates as a non-member, without the member discount.

Happy dating!

{Disclosure: I received free subscription to HowAboutWe for Couples in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Feet Don't Fail Me Now at The New Victory Theater

Last weekend, Aiden and I headed to The New Victory Theater to check out a show that makes me want to dust off my jazz and tap shoes from 15 years ago and get moving! 

Feet Don't Fail Me Now is, in a word, mesmerizing. It's like street hip-hop meets Savion Glover's level of tap dancing awesomeness. The dance movements are so organic and so smooth, so clearly choreographed and orchestrated to perfection! "Heatbox," the human beat box joins the hoofers and their collaboration is amazing. There is so much chemistry amongst the performers that it makes the show run seamlessly from one number to the next.

The show is 6o minute with no intermission. And at the end of the show, I was all like, "That's it!" I wanted more. I needed more. The show is so dope that it leaves you so satisfied, yet wanting so much more that you dance as you leave the theater... and all the way home.
Aiden was engaged the entire time! He was either sitting still and focused on the greatness on stage (Battle), or sitting at the edge of his seat and attempting to dance along with the performers (Study Hall).

[photo via

The mixture of jazz, percussion, salsa, and hip-hop is so soulful and so joyous. What I loved the most is that the show is inspiring. It inspires the audience to get up and get moving. To dance. To reach for their goals. To never stop. 

In fact, at the end of the show, during the closing lines, one of the talented dancers, Ricci, says,
"When you lose the joy in your heart, when you lose the smile on your face, when you lose the bounce in your step... never stop believing! Keep dancing. Look down at your shoes and say, 'Feet... Don't... Fail Me Now!'"
 I couldn't agree more!
And never could Aiden. He walked out the theater dancing and singing
Fail me now. 
Feet don't fail me now!

And I walked out bopping to his beat. It was, in a word, perfection. 
Feet Don't Fail Me Now will be running at The New Victory Theater until December 1, 2013. Tickets in the balcony start at just $14. Visit the website for more information or to purchase your tickets. 
{Disclaimer: I received tickets to the show in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.}

Monday, November 18, 2013

Warm Up Your Walls with HP Photo Wall Decor -- $50 Walmart Gift Card Giveaway!

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of joining HGTV Personality and Interior Designer Genevieve Gorder and the HP team at a Warm Up Your Walls blogger event at the Eventi Hotel. Not only did Genevieve fill us in on awesome news -- HP now offers unique, same-day photo creations. which includes photo canvases and mounted photos -- she also provided us with tips and tricks on how to make our walls less boring and more fabulous.

This was during the Q&A portion of the event. And let me tell you, Genevieve is so charismatic and friendly that I had such a blast chatting it up with her.

Here's what she had to say:
  • Be sure that you have a "healthy collection of photos" printed out -- everything doesn't have to match! 
  • Find 1 to 3 important grounding pieces. These will "live in the collection."
  • The pictures don't have to be ALL black and white. Or ALL color. "Variety" is the name of the game!
  • Mix frames, add accents (such as mirrors or other ornaments), and have fun with it! 
  • Don't over think it -- just do it!
After weeks of doing quite the opposite of "not over thinking it," I've finally decided that I want this as my centerpiece:

It's one of my favorite quotes so it'll "live in the collection." Then, I plan on including a mixture of black and white photos, color photos, and one or two accent pieces to "spice" things up. The pictures will be a mixture of different sizes and reflective of the things that Aiden and I love to do. After all, that's what life is about, right? Doing what you love!

Although the event took place weeks ago, I decided to hold off on posting this review and giveaway until now because, well, the holidays are coming and HP's same-day photo creation will allow you to personalize gifts to all of the special people in your lives.

TWO (2) lucky Mommy Delicious readers will receive a $50 Walmart gift card to warm up your walls with HP Photo Wall Decor.

To enter, "like" Mommy Delicious on Facebook. Leave a comment below stating that you've done so.

For one extra entry, go to the Mommy Delicious Facebook page, look for the Facebook posting of this giveaway, and share that posting on your Facebook wall. Leave a comment below stating that you've done so.
-- TWO entries total.
-- Leave a SEPARATE comment for each entry so that it will be counted.
-- Leave your contact information in each comment so that I can reach you if you win.
-- Open to US residents only.
-- Giveaway will end on Tuesday, November 26th at 5pm and TWO winners will be chosen via random.org.

Get ready to Warm Up Your Walls! Good luck!

{Disclaimer: Event attendees received a gift bag with Walmart gift cards. This giveaway is sponsored by Warm Up Your Walls with HP/Walmart.}

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Minted Holiday Photo Cards {A Review}

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, that only means one thing -- the holidays are a comin'! And it's time to take a few hundred holiday-themed pictures of Aiden in the hopes of getting one the perfect shot to put on our annual photo card. That's no easy task, and choosing the perfect photo card is even more difficult.

Enter Minted. The online stationary store run by a global community of designers.

And the way that Minted.com is designed makes it very simple and convenient to browse these designers' holiday photo cards. There are a number of filters that you can select -- how many photos you'd like on the card, the format of the card (flat, folded, or mini-book cards), if you'd like foiled pressed or ornament cards, price, or if you'd like the newest designs showcased first. I found it fairly simple to look for cute and elegant holiday photo cards.

One of the things that draws me to Minted is their powerful mission -- "To find exceptional artists and designers all over the world and bring their work to consumers who appreciate great design." Minted has several goals, one of which is to "use technology to allow their community to discover the work of great designers from all over the world." Simultaneously, Minted creates a place where designers can get exposure and build their careers.

After perusing the website for a few days, I've decided that I'm going with a foil-pressed card this year. Made with real foil, it's simple, elegant, and classic. And quite frankly, it's calling my name. My top three contenders are: 

What do you think? Which one should I go with?

Visit the Minted website in order to select your holiday photo cards. (You're welcome.)

{Disclaimer: I was provided with a Minted.com credit in order to facilitate this review. Photos via Minted.com.}

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Weekend to Remember

This month started out with a bang. I spent the first weekend of the month hanging out with The American Dairy Association for the Dairy Council's Fall Dairy Tour and Food & Wine Festival. The getaway took place upstate New York, in part at Geneva on the Lake, a cozy hotel with staff members that are just as lovely as the grounds of the hotel.

Seriously. The sights we so serene and breathtaking, especially with Fall's colorful background.

The first part of the weekend was a dairy tour and it led me to a farm where I was talking all things cows. My outfit wasn't at all prepared for dairy farm life so I covered my Aldo riding boots in plastic and held on to my Philip Lim for Target bag for dear life! I refused to get them all muddy!

Before we got to the dairy farm, we headed to Cornell University to learn all about their dairy plant at which point we got to eat homemade frozen yogurt. At 10am. On a Saturday morning. Score! We also attended a session that was particularly exciting for me -- Creating a Smarter Lunchroom. Stay tuned for a more in-depth post on this session since I think there were so many great takeaways, tips, and tricks in order to get our kids to eat healthier -- even when we're not around. In the meantime, check out their website or follow Smarter Lunchrooms on Twitter

The evening called for a wine and cheese pairings/tasting. A huge shout-out to Anthony Road Winery and Muranda Cheese Company for the getting me good and tipsy and ready for the 4-course gourmet meal that followed. Which included more wine, naturally.

It was such an informative weekend and I walked away from it all so full. Literally and Figuratively. I have so many ideas and strategies that I've already implemented for getting Aiden (as well as the students at my school) to make healthier eating choices. Look out for Part Two of this post where I'll be sharing the wealth.

{photo by American Dairy Association and Dairy Council via Hightail.com}
From meeting and chatting with some amazing women and bloggers (shout outs to Colleen, Jeannine, Serena, Lauren, and Kimberly) to touring the grounds of Geneva on the Lake to talking all things dairy, the weekend was pretty epic. Thanks so much to BML Public Relations and the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council for a fantastic weekend!

{Disclaimer: Food, lodging, and travel expenses were provided by ADADC and BML Public Relations. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}

Monday, November 11, 2013

He Has Me

Ever so often something happens that makes the decision that I made to end things with Aiden's other parent sting a little. Just a little though. Don't get me wrong, I never regret the decision. But I do think about the impact it has on Aiden. Because it does have a huge impact on him.

A couple days ago the sting came during a conversation between Aiden and me.
Aiden: "My dad plays football." That's the sentence I used when [my teacher] asked me to think of a sentence with the word 'plays'.
Me: That sentence works fine. 
Aiden: Well... I don't have a dad. But I said that sentence anyway.
Enter the sting. 
I tried to search for the words to respond to Aiden. But nothing seemed to suffice. I thought about making a joke about it. But I couldn't think of a witty response fast enough. I thought about proclaiming to Aiden that, although he hasn't seen him in a long time, he does, in fact, have a dad. But I didn't want to dismiss his thoughts and feelings. 
I thought and thought, but I couldn't muster up a response to Aiden's comment. I stared at him as he searched my face for a response. But I just stood there, frozen.
I've written about this before. I've thought about this before. Countless times. I've felt sorry about this before -- sorry that I didn't pick a better parenting partner to help me raise Aiden; sorry that Aiden doesn't get to call someone "daddy" everyday; sorry that Aiden doesn't have the security in a father that he deserves. Just... sorry.

But I can't let myself go down that road. It's a downward spiral that's ineffective.
These are the cards that Aiden and I have been dealt. The only thing I can do is make peace with the situation, move forward, rock this single mom thing out, and show Aiden that life is about making the best of what you have

Eventually, I pulled myself together, smiled, and said, "You have me." With confidence and with reassurance. Because he does have me. 
Always and forever.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Giveaway -- $40 Sephora Gift Card

Happy November!

I know, I know... I'm a few days late. Hope you all had a lovely Halloween and a great ending to October, otherwise known as the month that I reminisce about domestic violence.

Let's start the month off with a super fun giveaway, shall we? A Sephora gift card, because, let's face it, we could all use some Sephora in our lives.

One (1) lucky Mommy Delicious reader will win a $40 Sephora Gift Card to kick off their beauty shopping for the month of November! 

To enter, "like" Mommy Delicious on Facebook. Leave a comment below stating that you've done so.

For one extra entry, go to the Mommy Delicious Facebook page, look for the Facebook posting of this giveaway, and share that posting on your Facebook wall. Leave a comment below stating that you've done so.
-- TWO entries total.
-- Leave a SEPARATE comment for each entry so that it will be counted.
-- Leave your contact information in each comment so that I can reach you if you win.
-- Open to US residents only.
-- Giveaway will end on Monday, November 11th 5pm and one winner will be chosen via random.org.

Good luck and happy shopping! 

Winner Announced: Congrats to Dominique Rene!!! I'll be emailing you for your contact information!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Domestic Violence Affects Everyone Involved

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and I couldn't let the month come to a close without speaking on this issue.

More specifically, I've been thinking about who, exactly, is affected by intimate partner violence, be it physical, verbal, or emotional. No need to recount my own personal story of physical abuse from the hands of my ex because most of you have already heard it. (If not, check the link.) Heck, I still receive messages and emails in regards to that story from people who feel encouraged to share their story. Kudos.

But the statistics* are... frighteningly alarming.

One in four women (25%) will experience some form of domestic violence in her lifetime.  
Women account for 85% of the victims of domestic violence, while men account for approximately 15%. 
Women of all races are equally vulnerable to violence by an intimate partner. 
Domestic violence affects people regardless of income.
Nearly three out of four (74%) Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.  
Between 3.3 - 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually. 
And children learn what they see. Although Aiden did not witness the assaults, it could have been otherwise. And, honestly, it may have only been a matter of time...

This right here. This is what drove me to leave the toxic relationship, even above my own desire to lookout for my own safety and well-being. Parenting. And parenting effectively. As best as I know how.

Because this relationship, this parent-child dichotomy, is the first experience that Aiden will have with the world. This is where he will learn about love and tolerance and peace and acceptance. This is where he will learn about hatred and violence and dysfunctional love (that's not really love) and all the ugly things that my mind won't even let me think about right now. This is where he will learn how to love and how to handle situations effectively and how to deal with stress when the going gets tough.

This is why parenting -- down-and-dirty-and-put-the-kids'-best-interest-first parenting -- is so important.

And this... is why domestic violence affects everyone involved. Period.

The circle of domestic violence is smaller than we think. Don't be silenced. Speak on it. And speak often.

Statistics source.

{Originally published on October 26, 2011.}


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