It’s hard to believe that 15 years ago TODAY, my first baby was born. HB is fully into her teens and teaching more about being a parent and a better person than I could ever imagine. And not to mention, allowing me to hone my skills in patience, anger management and improving my sense of humor as I experience life through the eyes of a teen in the year 2017. Boy, new parents are in for the most wonderful, crazy ride of their lives! Which leads me to share info about an event I was invited to attend last week for new and soon to be mothers as a local blogger. I think when I started sharing pics from the event I gave a few of my friends a scare! But, while it definitely wasn’t my personal demographic – it was a good opportunity for me to see how this particular generation finds out about products, connects with others and enters into this exciting phase of life.
When I arrived to the MOABS Luxe and checked in, I was given an awesome VIP gift that included a Baby K’tan diaper bag filled with lots of stuff including a Baby Jack & Company lovey! I was then told to go and HAVE FUN! And boy did I! There is something really special about being around couples who are at the start of this magic. Their energy is contagious and they are so happy! I loved being around them…
My first stop was the AVEDA table (of course!), where I was treated to a nice, stress relieving shoulder massage using some amazing smelling Aveda oils. The staff at the table were the nicest and since I love Aveda products already, I did snag a limited edition candle Light The Way that smells amazing! And for those that know about Aveda, know that they are definitely a cause based company that believes in giving back. The candle is 12 bucks and all the proceeds go to help bring clean drinking water to people in Madagascar. From their site: “This year’s limited-edition aroma features certified organic vanilla, cinnamon and ylang ylang from Madagascar, where we’ve helped fund water systems for 10,000 people.” So, I helped others and got a yummy shoulder massage within the first 15 minutes of my arrival, I would say that the event was off to a great start, so I moved on…
Next up, I was greeted with food, drinks and a CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN! I mean – COME ON, Now! The drinks included one of my favorites – La Croix Sparkling Water. A table full of La Croix water – all flavors. I love sparking water so this was another win for me! Fully fed, chocolated up and hydrated, it was time to enter the big room. The room with the different vendors, displays and where the speakers were going to drop their knowledge. I kept thinking about how things have advanced since I had HB and Nate Dogg. Technology has improved so many aspects of parenting gear. I felt oddly unprepared even though I have successfully raised two kids myself…
First stop in the main room was to visit Dorie Howell Photography. Her table displayed all of her amazing photos. I asked her a few questions about her photography, including her camera brand of choice (Canon!). She mentioned she has been photographing babies for quite some time and does do families and other portraits as well. Her photos were gorgeous and you can tell she connects with the people she photographs. She also mentions many times she doesn’t require much post production work either – which is pretty impressive if you look at her photos. And in a small world coincidence, I shared her pic out during the event over Instagram and a dear friend of mine left a comment that Dorie is a dear family friend of hers! You never know who you will meet and we all are 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon for sure!
I walked around the event for a bit and then it was time to hear the keynote speaker Maria Bailey share her thoughts. She shared some really great ideas about blogging and becoming a Mom Influencer which is what she specializes in. I really enjoyed listening to her advice and will be sharing some of what I took away from her opening remarks soon in another blog post. As a fellow marketing, influencer and blogger – it’s always interesting to hear how others make their way and the trends that I need to adapt to. After she spoke, I went and introduced myself and we chatted a bit about my experience and some of the challenges I have found working with brands and companies – one of which is to prove to them how important it is to reach out to influencers and use social media even if it doesn’t bring in direct sales!
I made my way around to each of the tables – talking a bit to the vendors and sampling and inspecting their products. They had a great baker Randy Cakes who offered delicious cupcakes (I brought them home for my “baby” HB and she gave them a thumbs up) and Mother Nuture, who make refreshing flavored waters and delicious chocolate truffles containing some of the essential nutrients that moms and their babies need like folic acid, DHA, Protein, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and choline. The ingredients in each of their nutrient blends work in harmony with prenatal vitamins and are made with all natural ingredients, nothing artificial. Now, no one in my house is pregnant but I loved the water and my husband and kids loved the truffles!
The event went on for a few hours with different guest speakers talking about car seat safety, pre-schools, cribs, baby stuff and more. And there were really terrific raffles after each speaker (think Cribs, gift sets of Aveda products, High End Car Seats) I even ran into a former coworker of mine, Heidi, who blogs at Boys on a Budget! I haven’t seen her in almost 20 years, so that was a huge bonus! It was a great night – stepping outside of my comfort zone, meeting new folks, re-connecting with others and finding out about some amazing products geared towards new Moms!
I have been so busy that I haven’t had a ton of time to update, which is good and bad. I often find posting in here a cathartic experience and one that forces me to stop for a few moments during the week and think – about what has caught my attention during the week, what is spinning around in my head – and document it for lack of a better word. So, it’s been well over a week with no entry – and I feel the guilt creeping up.
NY Tartan Week 2016
Rumor has it that I do have some Scottish genes from my fraternal grandmother, but in all honesty, no one would ever mistake me for being Scottish. That didn’t stop me and 10 of my Outlander friends from traveling to the Big Apple to celebrate the yearly New York Tartan Week yearly event, including marching in the parade down 6th Ave. We had been planning this girls trip (dubbed Tartcon 2016) for more than six months as a way to get together beyond online. We had no idea that the leading actor Sam Heughan would be the Grand Marshall of the parade and cause thousands of other Outlander fans to drop everything and head to NYC too.
Seeing the Outlander Stars
As part of Tartcon, we were able to see the OL cast at the Apple store in SoHo (although I was too short to really see anything). The following day, Scotty was able to pull a few strings and get two front row seats reserved for me and my friend Mandy to watch Outlander Cast: AOL Build Interview. I was able to fan-girl for a few short minutes and then it was over. Mr Heughan did make eye contact briefly (I quickly got flustered and looked away) and shook my hand (which was soft but a bit on the cool side). Then – it was over. I never saw Mr Heughan in person again. Sigh…
On Sunday, we were able to march in the parade as part of the Outlanders United group. Normally this would be fun, but it was cold and rainy. Most of the marchers were not prepared for the weather, including me. I did have a hat and jacket on but boy, my hands were frozen by the end. Not to mention, something had upset my stomach big time so I was struggling to finish the parade, so I could run off to find the nearest restroom (TMI).
There is something really endearing about the parade tradition. People gathering together, for a common cause/theme. It’s a very old fashioned tradition and even though it was rainy and cold, the energy surrounding the event was palpable. There were doggies wearing special tartan sweaters, bag pipes, traditional Scottish gear, lots of kilts and of course WHISKEY!
After the parade, was the after party at Papillion Bistro. I wasn’t feeling 100% and I looked like a drowned rat – so I wasn’t in the most festive, partying mood. Despite that, I made the best of it and spent the next few hours with some lovely, amazing friends and some serious Scottish lovers drinking lots and lots of water. (Well – I was drinking the water anyway).
After the party, we walked over to the Director’s Guild to watch a special screening of Episode 1 of the Second season of Outlander. Well, that was the plan anyway. One of my friends, Kathy and I were so cold and over it all, we decided to pre-order pizza (Johns Pizza) and leave the screening early to pick it up and enjoy some carbs, water and down time in our hotel room. Think about the constant activity and noise I was being barraged with the past few days – I needed some down time. Living in the suburbs is not good training for being in a big city. You tend to forgot how loud and always on the go it is. It’s not a bad thing, just not something I am used to.
There were a ton of other activities and moments I shared with my amazing group of friends this weekend. Imagine 11 of us (some just meeting in person for the first time), all hanging out for 4 days together. There was fun, good food, Whiskey, great memories and a lot of support. There were also a lot of strong personalities in one group, but we all got along amazingly well. This was the sort of trip we needed -getting away from our lives for a few days. Our wonderful lives that are full of husbands, kids, jobs, real life responsibility and enjoyed each other’s company with love, laughter and support. Each of the women on the trip has a story and personal experiences. After this weekend, I think we all found something magical and powerful in one another and combined. And after it was all said and done, we ended up adding two new Tarts to the group as well.
I have so much to share but with my new job keeping me beyond busy, so little time to share it…
Here are some of the amazing pictures taken by Scotty at this past weekend’s New York Comic Con….