Archive for the 'interviews' Category

Register Now! Awesome Winter Weekends with Curious Jane!

Curious Jane Winter Field Trips

Come have fun with the CJ community!

Hey, Brooklyn mamas of daughters!

Looking for fun ways to keep your adventurous girl busy in the city this winter? Of course you are!

Well, Magnolia attended an amazing summer camp this year I was so happy with that I contacted the woman who founded it about doing some freelance work for her — and the Curious Jane Winter Field Trip Series is the collaborative end result. Great trips around the city, all girls, all fun, all winter!

Come sign up! From flying on a trapeze to cooking to building something cool, here’s a brief description of what we’ve got lined up (go to Curious Jane for complete deets):

* Curious Jane Takes on The Sketchbook Project in Carroll Gardens — Have an art book published!
Sunday, December 11

* Learn to Fly at Trapeze School New York in Manhattan
Sunday, January 22

* Build Something Cool at Makeville Woodworking Studios in Gowanus
Sunday, February 12

* Whip Up Something Tasty at The Brooklyn Kitchen in Williamsburg
Sunday, March 11

* Travel to See Your Finished Sketchbook + Sample Sweet Treats from Momofuku Milk Bar Brooklyn in Williamsburg
Sunday, April 22

For full details, and to learn about Curious Jane Weekend Workshops, too, (at the CJ work space, and very fun!), hop on over to the CJ site.

For more on the camp and its founder, Samantha Razook Murphy, read my interview with her….

Hope to see your girls (with a friend or sibling) there this winter!




Jasper on First Grade, Trains, and Taking Trips

Jasper on carousel

Jasper buggin' out on the Bug Carousel at The Bronx Zoo.

Earlier this week, I interviewed Magnolia about life in Brooklyn — now it’s Jasper‘s turn to weigh in on things. Here’s what the dude had to say….

OK, Jasper, how old are you?


And do you know what an interview is?

Where someone asks you lots of questions, like on the news.

You’re in first grade now — what are you learning?

I’m learning lots of things — how to read, how to write, how to count by 2’s. I still don’t know how to count all the way to 100 by 2’s. I’m learning lots of math, I’m learning which thing is heavier and which thing is lighter. Whichever one goes down is heavier, and whichever one goes up is lighter.

We talk all the time about how families are different and how you and Magnolia have two mommies — what do you think about being a kid with two moms?

It’s very nice. And I really liked when you let us go to the Botanical Gardens [Victorian Gardens at Wollman Rink for his birthday] with Ariel, and we got to have ice cream.

What do you think the moms are doing when we’re on the computer?

Um, looking at the computer. And trying to read stuff and see what everything is.

What do you like to do on the computer?

See videos. I like to do the cool game that you do with the snow balls and the snow man and then the animals sing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

What do you like about living in New York City?

Seeing all of my friends. Seeing the Empire State Building.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Brooklyn?

OK, let’s see. Going to the park, the playground, and the Botanical Gardens. I like the swings and the slides at the park.

If we were going to take a trip tomorrow and go visit someplace besides Brooklyn, where would you like to go?

I’d like to go and see Grandma and Grandpa Jack in Texas and go in the pool that they have. They have a pool you can blow up and swim inside.

I know you love the NYC trains — which is your favorite?

I think you know what this is going to be…. The J train and Q train.


Because the J train is my letter and the Q train is an express. And I like the D, too, ’cause it’s an express and it doesn’t run local at all.

We’re having friends over for dinner on Saturday night — what should we cook for them?

A cake.

What kind?

A raspberry cake.

I know sometimes you get a little frustrated with the moms — what do we do that upsets you?

When you take away one of my really special toys.

Why do you think we have to put a toy away sometimes?

Because I didn’t behave that good.

We’re going to take a big trip next year, to France and Italy — you’ve seen those places on your maps — what do you think we’ll do when we’re there?

See some pretty houses. And the Eiffel Tower. But I wouldn’t like to go up in it, it’s too high.

Lots of people will read this — what would you like them to know about you?

I was very good for Christmas, and I can’t believe Santa Claus gave me all of the presents, and most of them were just Spider Man.

What did you think of the interview?

It was very nice and I really liked it. And I can’t believe how many words mommy did [typed.]

Magnolia on Having Two Moms, Shiny Brite, and a Few of Her Favorite Things

M. with magic wand from Simply Playing on Etsy

Magnolia with her magic wand from Simply Playing on Etsy.

In a recent Babble article on advice for mom bloggers, I read a tip from Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, on a fun way to keep things fresh: do a guest post with your kids. So I decided to interview mine to see if they had anything funny or incriminating to say about us. Unlike those Deborah Solomon “Questions for…” columns in The New York Times, where they make it clear she has “condensed and edited” at will, I’m gonna give it to you straight.

Up first, Magnolia:

How old are you now?


Do you know what an interview is?

No. I don’t know.

What do you think mommy is doing when she sits at the computer?

You’re writing — sometimes you write a letter to mommy. Sometimes, you read a book to me and Jasper. Because sometimes you need to do stuff on the computer.

Any idea what a blog is? Have you ever heard that word?


What do you like to do on the computer?

I like to do…. um, write a letter to Jasper. I like to watch a movie on the computer. And I like to do…. That’s all the things I can think of.

What do you think about having two mommies?

I love my two mommies! I wish they had a magic wand that has real magic and when they say magic words, it would do real magic.

What do you like the most about our house in Brooklyn?

I like Rainbow in My Room. And I like this soccer ball.

What makes you really happy?

This magic wand. Cookies. Playing in the snow. Catching bugs in a jar.

And what makes you sad?

Um — when Jasper takes away my toys. And when Jasper takes away this magic wand from me.

What’s the best part of having an older brother?

His socks and shoes. I need to think about it…. Um, I like his trains on his train table.

You’ve mentioned a few times that you have a new magic wand — what do you like about it?

Um, its real magic. And its little strings. And the rainbow part of it. And the heart on the top. Did I do an interview?

You did! What do you think?


And later this week, Jasper weighs in. Stay tuned!

For more on Jenny Lawson, and her kind of super-amazing holiday post that ballooned into an avalanche of kindness, generosity, and general good-doing, read Today’s HuffPost Greatest Person: Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess. Talk about magic.

(magic wand from Santa, via Simply Playing by Adolina on Etsy)

Family Travel: Travel Savvy Mom’s Tips & Tricks on Visiting Disneyland



Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo! All smiles and magic with Cinderella's Fairy Godmother in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle at Disneyland.


As I mentioned recently, we’re starting a new family travel series on Shiny Brite — and we are psyched about it! First up, we spoke to Nicole from A Mom Amok about taking her kids to Rome. She said they were considering traveling to Los Angeles next to enjoy the beach, In-N-Out Burgers, and, if insanity completely overtook her, possibly a visit to Disneyland.

Turns out my next family travel interviewee, Jamie, just returned from a trip to Disney — and she’s an expert at this travel thing, so listen up.

Jamie Pearson writes about family vacations on her award-winning family travel blog, Travel Savvy Mom — here’s what she had to say about taking on the big mouse.

Continue reading ‘Family Travel: Travel Savvy Mom’s Tips & Tricks on Visiting Disneyland’

Family Travel: A Mom Amok on Rome with Kids

St Peter's Piazza

Hanging in Rome's St. Peter's Piazza.

Favorite thing in the world to do? Travel, hands down. And we still do a fair amount of it, though there’s no denying that having two kids has slowed us down more than a little. We know we’d be traveling more and very differently if we didn’t have kids. But we do, so we adapt.

It’s with that in mind that we’ve decided to start a new family travel series on Shiny Brite. We’ll interview parents who’ve taken recent trips with their kids and find out how things went — what made the destination great, or not so great, for families, and the places they loved while they were there.

We want to be inspired! And we hope you’ll find the interviews helpful and inspiring, too.

Up first, Nicole Caccavo Kear, from A Mom Amok. If you don’t know her blog, you should. It’s funny, very New York, and super-relate-able. She’s a mom I get. And I know from reading that she recently took her two young children to Rome. I couldn’t wait to hear more about it!….

Continue reading ‘Family Travel: A Mom Amok on Rome with Kids’

8 Questions for Karen Connell of A Child Grows in Brooklyn

Karen Connell

Karen and fam outside their Brooklyn home. Photo by Sue Barr (

One of the fun things about having a blog is getting to know other bloggers. We’ve loved reading and getting to know Karen Connell, the mom who founded A Child Grows in Brooklyn as a resource for local parents, in 2006. We’ve gotten countless great tips and bits of info from her!

As mistress of ACGIB, I consider Karen a super-savvy mama on all things kid-related in our home borough and beyond. So I thought it would be fun to ask her a few questions — about blogs she loves, Brooklyn, and where she likes to hang with her family.

(Photo: Sue Barr)

Continue reading ‘8 Questions for Karen Connell of A Child Grows in Brooklyn’

Meet Brigitte, Owner of Lulu’s Cuts & Toys

Brigitte Prat

Brigitte Prat, of Lulu's Cuts & Toys, Lulu's for Baby, and Lulu's Then & Now.

We’re big fans of Lulu’s Cuts & Toys; Jasper and Magnolia go there for haircuts (we book with Jennifer) and it’s our go-to spot for birthday presents, too. So I was psyched to see the news over on A Child Grows in Brooklyn that Lulu’s was expanding yet again – first there was Cuts & Toys, then recently Lulu’s for Baby, and coming soon: Lulu’s Then & Now, a chic but affordable re-sale shop for kids’ clothes.

I caught up with owner Brigitte Prat recently to ask how she juggles 3 businesses (!) and being mom to a 15-year-old. Here’s what she had to say.

So, you own Lulu’s Cuts & Toys and Lulu’s for Baby and you’re about to open Lulu’s Then & Now. How did you wind up mistress of a Park Slope mini-empire?

I moved to Brooklyn in 1998 when my daughter, Lulu, was 3. We used to travel to a place on the Upper West Side to get hair cuts – it was a real destination and activity for us. Lulu loved it so much she’d remind me, “Mom I need a haircut!” I loved living in Brooklyn, but was surprised that there was nothing like the place in Manhattan. I knew it was a great concept and that it would work in Park Slope.

But I was a single parent at the time and couldn’t just quit my job. I felt passionately about the idea, though, and talked it over with friends for three years. I finally decided to sever ties with my boss and go ahead with opening the store.

I’m a big fan of Willy Wonka, and wanted this place to feel like that. Magical. And customer service lacks everywhere, so that’s been my number one thing.

Lulu’s for Baby came about because I carried Maclaren’s toy strollers at Cuts & Toys and I was getting calls for their baby products. Park Slope is such an awesome neighborhood; I was surprised no one had opened a baby gear store. I didn’t have plans to do it but happened to see a young man showing the commercial space one day and I looked at it and it just snowballed from there.

We’re doing incredibly well. Having the strollers is great; it’s like selling cars. Parents have a million questions!

Running three shops and being a mom must be kind of insane – how do you balance the demands of work and home life?

I do work a lot; I have very little time at home. But I make time to have a day here and there with Lulu – as a teen she likes to go shopping, so we’ll do that. And we always have family dinners together.

I don’t have weekends free, but I live above Lulu’s Cuts and Toys, so I’m kind of home when she comes home. I may be downstairs, but I’m around and available for homework questions or whatever.

Having Lulu’s for Baby, though, has shown me I can NOT be at Toys all the time – it’s a spinning top now and will spin on its own.

Getting to that place is my next step for Baby.

When you buy for Lulu’s Toys and Lulu’s for Baby, what are you looking for? What’s top of mind when you are stocking the stores?

I’m a big visual person, so I look at things aesthetically. When I first opened, the merchandise was all European, but some of the pull toys are $40 or $50 and that’s just not reality.

I look hard at finding interesting toys that are affordable. I’ve stayed away from things that are too high end, even though some are beautiful.

OK, idea time: What are currently some best sellers at Lulu’s Toys? What are people loving?

Science kits do amazingly well, as do the mini-kick scooters in summer. We have jewelry boxes people love, and Playmobil and pretend play toys do well consistently.

What about at Lulu’s for Baby?

We’ve become the shower and baby gift place. Sophie the Giraffe is huge. So are OBall and Squish by Manhattan Toy. I’m still learning and getting help from parents coming into the store – I’ll order things they’re looking for.

Tell us about the new store, Lulu’s Then & Now. What made you decide to open it?

I have a partner, AnnMarie, and she helped me with Baby, too – she used to own City Cricket in the West Village. She called me about another idea and I ended up mentioning a re-sale shop. People are constantly asking me where to donate clothes. We met and decided to go for it.

A re-sale shop is a sign of the times; people are being smarter about their buys these days. And I totally believe in recycling. When she was younger, Lulu’s wardrobe was probably 80 percent recycled. You can make some great finds in a re-sale shop and nobody else will have it.

What can parents expect to find at Then & Now?

We’re getting some beautiful snow suits up to 18 months or 2 years that have never been used. Also Petit Bateau, Mini Boden, and some very cute Gap stuff. A few shoes, and some gorgeous wooden toys, too. The exciting thing is that it will constantly change and evolve.

The response has been huge; AnnMarie is a great visual merchandiser, so the shop will look boutique-y, but we’ll have cheap prices!

How can parents sell their used items to you?

Right now, since doors are not open yet, we’re asking people to call for an appointment: 718.398.Lulu

After we’re open, people can drop off, but preferably not on the weekends.

We’re offering 25 percent cash of retail value or 40 percent store credit.

When do you expect to be open?

By the end of August.

You work so hard, you must really be ready for vacation when it’s time – what’s your family vacation time like?

Lulu and I love L.A. and we have good friends there. But this year, we’re renting a house in the Catskills. I didn’t want to go somewhere where we’d be shopping or moving around a lot. I wanted to sit and relax, to be at the house playing board games or cooking together or in the pool. I just want to sit and have a nice glass of wine!

Any plans for Lulu’s to branch out into other Brooklyn neighborhoods?

Not really. What I offer is special, but to keep it that way you have to keep it small. Otherwise, it loses its charm.

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