Brooklyn

What To Do in NYC with Kids: The New York Transit Museum

March 25, 2019

I am beyond excited to start this series for a number of reasons. First and foremost we love our city and sharing our favorite things to do here, especially with Owen. I realize New York City can seem really intimidating to live in or even visit with kids, but it doesn’t have to be. Over the past three years we have truly found some gems that make this city so much more approachable with little ones that I’ve been dying to share with you all. The second and kind of silly reason is, these pieces are so fun and natural for us to shoot. They give us a reason to get out of our usual routine and soak up what we love about our home, and most importantly, what our kiddo loves about our home!

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Goodbye New York

April 13, 2017

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NYC,

Goodbyes are tough.

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How do you make time for yourself?

February 3, 2017

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This may come off as a bit of a ramble, but I’ve been really struggling lately to take time just for myself. Zack and I have set up a really great schedule that allows each of us a couple nights a week to put bedtime on the other, get out of the house and do whatever we please. I’ve made a few decisions recently to be healthier – I’ve brought yoga back into the mix more consistently and I’m doing my best to eat clean. My “me” time usually involves taking the train to the studio, practicing, and coming home to shower and usually picking back up where I left off with work. While this is wonderful, and I would have given a limb for this flexibility a year ago, I’m finding that having evenings free typically means I’m spending that time alone. Which isn’t bad, but when I’m alone I have a hard time disconnecting from work or things that need to be done at home. Does this happen for any one else? Do you find it difficult to really make time for yourself?

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10 Notes on Starting & Running a Blog

October 12, 2016

Last night Amy and I spoke at The Rising Tide Society about blogging, photography and the businesses Amy and I have built. While I definitely don’t consider myself an expert, I’ve received a handful of messages asking for tips on blogging so I figured in light of us speaking I would put them together to share with you here. It’s hard to believe how far we’ve come in the past year or so, but it goes without saying that I couldn’t have built Household without Amy’s photography, guidance, last minute babysitting skills or her comforting hugs. She’s beyond talented and if after you’re done reading this you’re like, “But how do I up my photography skills?” sign up for her Documented Workshop mailing list – she will keep you posted on our next workshop! Here are my top ten suggestions on how to start a blog, run a blog and love the process.

1. Stay true to your mission. Ask yourself this question before you get started and probably every couple weeks after. For me, it has always been to portray our lives as they are. It’s easy to get caught up with what’s popular and what you know will gain traction, and while those are areas I have to stay conscious of since this is actually a business, it’s important that Household reads as authentic as possible. This started as a journal for Owen, Zack and I to look back on and I want to remember our lives as they were – not what was trendy at the time.

2. Identify your voice. Practice makes perfect, and while I am by no means the perfect writer, my writing has come so far from the first posts you’ll find on Household. It’s quite the process and my suggestions here is to keep writing and you will undoubtedly get better. It doesn’t mean you have to publish everything you write – I find myself jotting thoughts down on my phone while I’m on the train or chasing Owen around. Getting those thoughts out while they’re fresh makes going back and elaborating much easier.

3. Tune into your audience. Who do you want to read your blog? Where to they engage socially? For me, my audience is 89% female, and a lot of those women are moms. Since I fit into my own demographic I know that Instagram is the best social channel for this group. Blog traffic isn’t going to happen magically, so you’ve got to drive it on your own. There are plenty of ways to do this, but to give you some perspective over 50% of my traffic comes directly from Instagram so this is a channel I put a lot of energy into.

4. Find a photographer. A lot of bloggers are photographers themselves, and while I’m sure that comes in handy, no outside contribution has been more vital than my photographer, Amy Frances. She’s been with me since day one and is not only becoming more and more talented daily, but she’s the perfect person to check back in with as a expand the Household brand.

5. Decide whether you want your blog to be for profit or not. While Household Mag. is a for profit blog, not every post is sponsored. There are plenty of posts, like this one that are shared knowledge, personal experiences of mine and so on. There’s nothing wrong with your blog being a personal outlet that supports your pre-existing business or simply just a journal, but if you’re going to take on sponsored posts make sure you follow the correct business practices and that you always disclose sponsored posts.

6. Learn how to say no. Once things pick up you’ll have a lot of companies and brands reaching out to you. Always check back in with my first point and ask yourself does this support my mission? If the answer is no then you know your answer. There’s also some level of free work that everyone in this space does. I’ve referenced it before, but Amy shared this great chart a while back that’s great to look to when you find yourself torn between doing work for free and saying no.

7. Network with the right people. This is something I’ve only gotten better at, but it can be intimidating in the beginning to reach out to people you admire for advice, or attend events that you’re not entirely sure why you got an invite to begin with, but I have to say it’s all worth it. Put yourself out there, make some friends, learn more about your field. Working on a computer from home can be a lonely profession, but it doesn’t have to be.

8. Develop a structure and stick to it. Being consistent is important if you ask me. You don’t have to set your expectations too high, so start small with one post a week. Do a little research on the best time to publish blog posts and plan the rest of your social schedule around that (Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook). As you progress, build on this schedule until you’ve reached the level of content you feel is best for your blog or brand.

9. Utilize free analytics. I host my website through Squarespace where I can directly access my analytics at no additional charge. This is helpful because blogging is so much harder to track engagement than Instagram is for instance. People are far less likely to comment and like your blog posts so it’s important to know how many people are seeing your hard work and what posts are driving more traffic than others.

10. Check back in with yourself. There’s been a lot of talk this past year on staying authentic when it comes to blogging and social media in general, and enjoying these platforms. My advice is that if you’re not enjoying it stop now. Life is too short to waste your time doing something you don’t love or to feel pressure to engage with something that doesn’t give you joy.

Fall with My Little Guy

October 4, 2016

Last week I swear when we went to bed it was summer and the next morning we woke up to a fall breeze. Just like that the seasons made a switch overnight. We might be going a little overboard since it’s just in the sixties, but it feels nice to turn the AC off, open the windows and add an extra layer of clothing. I’m such a sucker for this season. It’s in these moments that I think to myself, “Oh, you’re such a mom.” All I’ve wanted to do this past week is make pie, drink warm drinks, make our home extra cozy, and go for long walks with Owen to soak up this weather. Last winter I primarily wore Owen since he was just a newborn, and well, it just seemed easier.

Times have definitely changed. Now that he’s a year old (and twenty two pounds) I find myself leaning more and more on the stroller for our outings. We cycled through a few before landing on just the right one for our family, but I have to say the Cameleon3 Elements from Bugaboo kind of knocked it out of the park right away for us. The moment I brought it down the stairs and started pushing Owen I might have said to myself out loud (like a crazy person), “This is so nice.” Honestly though, it’s an incredibly smooth ride for both myself and Owen and has proven to be beneficial as we stroll through the city and the park. The park is the perfect location for a stroll with my new Bugaboo Cameleon³ Elements since the designer drew inspiration from nature when designing this stroller. The Bugaboo Cameleon³ Elements features a new soft-to-the-touch herringbone fabric on the bassinet, seat and sun canopy, which has a natural-style and unrefined texture.

The small wheels swivel to help you navigate through smaller spaces (hello any NYC market or really any establishment) and the larger wheels make trekking through rougher terrain more efficient. It’s these features that allow us to move freely and allow Owen to explore the world. Bugaboo strollers are an investment and my only regret is that we didn’t make the jump to Bugaboo sooner. Bugaboo strollers are designed to carry your little one from the time they’re born through their toddler years. Bugaboo turns burdens into blessings through unexpected, yet useful features found in all of their strollers such as the option to have them face forward or out which is a feature we haven’t had with any of our previous strollers. Owen likes to see the world so I had him out this particular day. Watching the world through his eyes is just about the greatest thing. My Cameleon³ Elements is definitely the one for me and I’m ready to take it with me everywhere!

For more information, please visit www.bugaboo.com or join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Photography by Amy Frances.

This post was sponsored by Bugaboo

An Intentional Autumn

September 19, 2016

Guys, I’m finally doing it – I’m taking my first solo vacation since Owen was born! Now that he’s almost one I think it’s finally time I take a long weekend to relax and reconnect with myself (and get a full nights sleep – I think I’ve forgotten what that feels like). Zack and I we’re trying to figure out a way I could do this. A stay-cation? Maybe a solo trip to Chicago? It feels as though taking a weekend to myself is just what’s in order after going through pregnancy, labor and the first year of motherhood. But I know myself well enough, and if I were to stay in the city or even take a trip outside of New York alone I would most likely end up working. Which isn’t bad, but I’m type-A enough to know it might be wise to take a vacation with a little more structure so I don’t create the structure myself. Make sense? I started browsing the internet and came across Rebecca of A Daily Gathering’s retreat, An Intentional Autumn, in the heart of the Catskills. It’s November 10-14 if you’re looking for an escape yourself. Her words speak for themselves and I think I had my wallet in hand before I could finish reading.

“We’ll be gathering at the magical Foxfire Mountain House, starting our days with yoga, then moving onto family style meals, interactive workshops, beautiful tablescapes, cozy fireside downtime, and building relationships around the table. Workshops include styling and photography, baking, autumn flower arranging, visual storytelling, weaving, and more!

An Intentional Autumn is for anyone with the desire to slow down and learn about the art of intentional living, and how to share this art to a larger audience through beautiful styling and photography. The workshop & retreat is open to singles & couples of all levels that are interested in styling, photography, intentional living, creative rejuvenation, and taking the time to develop their own creative process & get inspired.

The goal is for students to learn and explore the topics they are most interested in; Rebecca & her team will be offering one-on-one times where students can learn more about social media, building a brand, styling, using a camera, intentional living…whatever it is they are most interested in! This retreat will provide for students’ needs and desires while providing a beautiful and beneficial experience for their creative journey!

Rebecca has brought together a stellar group of folks: guest instructors include William and Susan Brinson, Anna Watson Carl, Lauren and Rachel @ Sweet Root Village, Joy @ Mornings Like These, and Toni @ The Catskill Kiwi. Jewel Peach will be leading everyone in [optional] morning yoga, and Hannah and Talia Olmstead will be preparing breakfasts and lunches!

Foxfire Mountain House is a gorgeously restored inn nestled in the heart of the Catskills. You’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to your worldly uncle’s country estate with perfectly curated eclectic vintage decor, natural wonders and collections, a roaring fire in the hearth, pure linen bedding for restful nights, and lots of fresh mountain air. And if you feel like it, you can spend an evening or two out in the open air, stargazing by the bonfire.” – Rebecca Gallop

Needless to say, I booked my ticket and I’m counting down the days until November 10th. If you’re interested in taking part in this incredible retreat you can find more information at www.adailygathering.com and purchase your tickets at www.adailygathering.bigcartel.com. Get an extra special discount of $175 off when you use the code HOUSEHOLDMAG. Hope to see some of your faces there!

Walter’s & Fort Greene

August 26, 2016

Amy and I met on the train. This is something we’ve somehow mastered – the art of coordinating to meet on a specific car at a particular train station. I’m always impressed and always reminded of this scene in Broad City. Mostly because I’m normally like Ilana, and Amy is normally much more prepared like Abbi. I’m blaming my tendency to be late on Owen, that’s fair right?! That and farts? Haha. Anyways, we took the G a few stops into Fort Greene, walked around, snapped some photos for Ace & Jig and ate dinner at Walter’s. Fort Greene is one of those neighborhoods I never visited before I lived in New York, but have truly come to love. The streets are lined with brownstones and large trees like you see here, there are some exceptional restaurants and bars in the area and some great kid friendly parks as well. I really explored this neighborhood for the first time this summer when my parents were visiting and staying in an Airbnb in the area. It’s honestly one of the few other spots I can see us living in Brooklyn, but if you’re visiting New York, or are local and just want a change of pace I highly recommend checking it out as well.

Amy and I have made this a bit of a monthly ritual and I really love our nights out together. We typically head to a neighborhood we haven’t covered here, take some photos and check out either a new restaurant or one of our favorites in the area (and maybe a bar or two). This time we checked out a new spot, Walter’s. It was so delicious. We had boozy cocktails, Amy had the salmon, like the classy lady I am I had the steak. Haha. I don’t take these kidless nights out lightly. Give me all the meat and booze please. We reflected on the fact that as we completed this ritual last month we talked about Amy moving to full time photography and quitting her day job, and we chatted about my freelance work and how I was getting the feeling it might lead me in that direction too, and as we sat down to dinner just a month later this was already in the works for each of us. Amy’s last day of work was a week ago, and my last day at the shop was almost three weeks ago. Things happened quickly and I have to pat each of us on the back for busting our asses and making it happen. Cheers to Amy who is going to kill it this year as a full-time freelance photographer (and cheers to me cause now I have her a little more at my finger tips)! It’s a win, win all around.

Photography by Amy Frances.

Documented Workshop

August 15, 2016

Hey guys, by the time this is published Amy may have sold the final seats, but as of now there are two seats left for her documented workshop and if you can make it you should really come! The workshop will take place in Park Slope – Brooklyn, NY on Saturday August 27th. As much as I get routine tips from Amy, I’m really looking forward to sitting down and getting a full on lesson. (I might be equally excited to have a little me time, eat some delicious food and be surrounded by good company.” Here’s what you need to know:

“It will be a day full of meeting other parents in Brooklyn, a basic photography lesson, learning tips and tricks for successfully documenting your everyday moments at home with your kids, a delicious catered lunch, and one on one time with Amy Frances and Keetch Miller (of Keetch Miller Photography) to ask any of your burning questions when it comes to using your camera to its potential. We will also go over a few tips for taking better iPhone photos and specific apps/editing tools that we love.

The workshop starts at 9:30am with coffee and pastries, and will continue with a few lessons from both Amy and Keetch. We will go over things like, “what does this button do?” and “what exactly is aperture?”  We will keep it beginner friendly as this is NOT meant to teach you all to become pros. This is meant to teach you the very basics and bare bones of how to successfully and efficiently use your camera to document your everyday moments with your family.

We will break for lunch around 1pm when your families are welcome to join us. After lunch there will be time for you to ask questions, hang out, and practice taking photos with Amy and Keetch near by to help out if need be. We have the possibility of arranging childcare, so if you need to bring your child to the first half, please let me know when signing up so we can plan accordingly.

We will have some lovely goodies for all the participants, as well as some fun stuff for the kiddos as well.”

Hope to see you there! 🙂

Della & Windsor Terrace

July 22, 2016

Zack and I recently set up a schedule to give ourselves a little more time alone each week. This time is intended for whatever we want or need so long as it’s out of the house and independent from the family. This is a hard system to get used to because I value our time as a family so much, but I’ve learned the hard way that it’s essential to take in a little me time. Mondays are my evenings and this past Monday I decided I needed a little bit of a break – I’ve typically been using my “me” time to work. I met Amy at Della, a restaurant and bar we both had been dying to try after her sister recommended it in Windsor Terrace. Windsor Terrace is Amy’s neighborhood, and call me a bad friend, but I’ve only been a couple of times. She clearly gets a gold star for typically coming to us – this was true in my pregnancy and since Owen has been born, but either way we hadn’t seen each other in far too long which meant there was tons to talk about as we indulged in a couple glasses of wine and dinner.

Dinner was fantastic. You can check out their menu here, but we each had a couple glasses of the Grenache-Syrah and I had the roasted chicken and Amy had the cacciucco. Both we’re excellent. Windsor Terrace is located right off the Fort Hamilton Parkway stop if you’re taking the F or G which makes it super accessible. It’s a great little neighborhood with numerous hidden gems like Della. If you’re local and haven’t been I highly recommend checking it out, and same goes for all you summer travelers. This definitely isn’t an area filled with tourists and I can guarantee you’ll enjoy it!

Photography by Amy Frances.

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