Chocolate, Chiles and Plenty of Cacti at the Desert Botanical Garden

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This past week I was fortunate to be invited to explore the Desert Botanical Garden while visiting the city of Phoenix, Arizona.  Located in Papago Park, not far from downtown Phoenix, the park is a local gem for any visitor either living in the area or coming from another place, like me.  A “Phoenix Point of Pride,” it's one of only a few botanical gardens accredited by the American Association of Museums. And it feels like a museum!  The 20,000 plants from around the world represent 3,931 plant classifications in 139 plant families.  They accurately … [Read more...]

Ticking an Item off the Bucket List: Hot Air Ballooning in Phoenix, Arizona

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Riding in a hot air balloon as always been on the very top of my bucket list, and I've been dreaming about the experience for years.  So when I was recently visiting the state of Arizona and had the opportunity to go on a sunrise trip, I jumped.  Little did I know that I would have a revelation in the air.  Let me tell you about the flight first. The trip took place above the Sonoran Desert.  I dragged my partner in crime, RoseAnna Schick,  who was not so keen on waking up so early and who had gone previously in Australia.  We were on a very early … [Read more...]

A Bit of England at High Tea at the Ritz Carlton in Phoenix

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How do you hold your cup of tea? Do you lift your saucer and insert your pinky through the handle of the tea cup? Little did I know before I had high tea at the Ritz Carlton in Phoenix on Saturday afternoon that I would learn the true way to hold my cup and experience an Afternoon Tea right out of England.  Yes, I do go to the UK every year and I do get served a lot of tea when I'm there, but I haven't mastered the art of high tea.  I was in for a big surprise at High Tea at the Ritz. The Ritz is as elegant as it gets and you can't beat the … [Read more...]

The Heard Museum in Phoenix: Colorful, Illuminating and Historical

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Yesterday I went to the Heard Museum, a museum dedicated to the myriad cultures and art of Native Americans of the Southwest.  I have to admit that my knowledge of this diverse and large group of people is narrow and I was eager to explore the museum and take it all in.  Open since 1929 and located right downtown, the Heard is not only a history lesson but it's a salute and homage to Native Americans.  It also gives Indian artists a place to display their work.  We happened to be there during an outdoors Spanish Market, a large festival displaying work … [Read more...]

Staying in the Heart of Phoenix

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Like every other New Yorker, I've had a tough few weeks.  First I was sick for a week.  Then along came Hurricane Sandy which took away our power for 10 days and certainly didn't help me heal quickly.  Then we got hit with a snow storm.  Back in August, I met the people from the Greater Phoenix and Mesa Convention & Visitors Bureau and they invited me on a press trip that was set to take place this weekend.  I was never going to cancel but I have wondered how I would actually ever get myself here this weekend. But yesterday at 5am, I left my house … [Read more...]

A Glow in the Dark Theatrical Experience of Eric Carle’s Treasured Stories

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar is my all-time favorite childhood book. Similarly, my son is partial to Eric Carle and is a huge fan of Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See and From Head to Toe. So I jumped at the opportunity to take my son for a special "back screen pass" to Treasured Stories by Eric Carle at The Symphony Space today. Located on the Upper West Side, this was our first time to The Symphony Space (Broadway & 95th Street) Darren Critz, Director of Family Programs, explained, "Going to see the arts is easy to do. Families can roll … [Read more...]

Annie the Musical: A Salute to Musical Theater and New York City

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  A few weeks ago my daughter and I headed into the city to see Annie the Musical.  It's a show that I grew up with, like everyone else, and I was desperate to watch the look on my daughter's face as she watched it for the first time. It's also a show that everyone from my generation remembers seeing for the first time and one who's words to every song we know by heart. Director James Lapine has brought this new version of the musical to the Palace Theatre and there's nothing not to like about it.  For me, it provided a sense of nostalgia; for … [Read more...]

This Crazy Kind, Wonderful Community (Social Media)

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The last two weeks have been unlike any other I have ever experienced. Hurricane Sandy hit New York and in the course of a day, many lives were destroyed.  Homes were swept up, lifetime belongings were ruined, memories were deleted, and lives were changed.  For nine days, my family lived without power.  At first, we were like campers, scrambling for a hot drink, gathering by the fire, playing games and   taking one day at a time as the weather worsened.  In the back of my mind the whole time was the people who's lives were impacted far worse than me and … [Read more...]

Thinking about 2020 and Making a Move

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About a month ago, an email landed in my inbox from a very familiar, friendly voice.  It was from Andrea Sheehan, an old friend and former colleague.  She had found me on Linked In and was wondering what I was up to. The timing could not have been better.  I was on the cusp of leaving my position and was looking for a new opportunity.  Andrea went on to tell me about a new company she was forming and the excitement in her voice was as transparent and honest as I'd ever heard. Andrea is a mom of 4  (I don't know how she does it).  She's also a … [Read more...]

How You and Your Kids Can Help Out Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

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Now that Hurricane Sandy has come and gone, though I'm still without power for the unforeseeable future, I want to help out the people so devastatingly impacted by the storm.  So much destruction, so many lives lost.  I realize that I am lucky to still have a house standing, without flooding and we all our fine. I'd like my kids to understand the importance of helping people during difficult times, as well, in my ongoing effort to raise altruistic children.  Here are some of the ways I've determined we can help - we'll pick out what is realistic for … [Read more...]