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Hiking with your family is a such a great way to get exercise, encourage exploration of nature and wildlife, and escape the hectic schedule of everyday life. New Yorkers have so many options right outside the city!  MommyPoppins put together a great list of easy hikes for NYC families: 5 Easy NY State Park Hikes for Families in Hudson Valley.  I recently visited #3, Minnewaska State Park Preserve, and fell in love with the gorgeous, endless views of the valley.  Don’t forget to check out my list of the Best Portable Bluetooth Wireless Speakers to help choose a lightweight, easy-to-use speaker for your trip!

1.  AdventurePak by Carson  {view on Amazon}
2.  Backyard Safari Field Tools by Summit {view on Amazon}
3.  Jamison Sneaker by KEEN {view on Amazon}
4.  Natural Hardwood Hiking Stick for Children {view on Amazon}
5.  Kids Helios Sun Hat by Outdoor Research {view on Amazon}
6.  Kids Daypack by Osprey {view on Amazon}
7.  Chandler CNX Hiking Shoe by KEEN {view on Amazon}
8. Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellent (DEET-free) by Repel {view on Amazon}
9.  Free, Printable Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt by The Bird Feed NYC  {get the free activity sheet}
10.  Fishing Pole Campfire Roaster by FireBuggz {view on Amazon}
11.  Bug-Eye Headlight for Kids by Coghlan’s {view on Amazon}
12.  Kids Magnifier by Coghlan’s {view on Amazon}
13.  Kids Tracker Backpack by Lucky Bums {view on Amazon}
14.  Trabagon Jacket by White Sierra {view on Amazon}
15.  Lakeside Sleeping Bag by Wenzel {view on Amazon}

One of my favorite singers, the legendary Freddie Mercury would have turned 68 today!  He was best known as the incredible lead singer and lyricist for Queen and his unforgettably unique, powerful voice ranged over 4-octaves.  Today, in his honor, I’m sharing 3 amazing Queen performances:  ”Under Pressure” live at Wembley Stadium (1986), “Somebody to Love” live at Montreal (1981), and “Bohemian Rhapsody” live at Wembley Stadium” (1986).   Happy Birthday, Freddie!

 

 

 

 
Today would have been Michael Jackson’s 56th birthday. In his honor, I’m sharing my favorite MJ song, “Man in the Mirror”, performed at the 1989 Grammy Awards. Please watch and share!

 
I’m going to make a change
For once in my life
It’s gonna feel real good
Gonna make a difference, gonna make it right

As I turned up the collar on my favorite winter coat
This wind is blowin’ my mind
I see the kids in the street with not enough to eat
Who am I to be blind, pretending not to see their need?

A summer’s disregard, a broken bottle top
And one man’s soul
They follow each other on the wind ya know?
‘Cause they got nowhere to go, that’s why I want you to know

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change

I’ve been a victim of a selfish kinda love
It’s time that I realize
There are some with no home, not a nickel to loan
Could it be, really mean, pretending that they’re not alone?

A willow deeply scarred, somebody’s broken heart
And a washed out dream
(Washed out dream)
They follow the pattern of the wind ya see
‘Cause they got no place to be that’s why I’m starting with me

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change

Next time you go to a baseball game with your kids, print a copy of this scavenger hunt to bring along!  Can you find all 20?

Click the link below to download and print the free PDF.

Scavenger Hunt for Kids: Baseball Search PDF

Want more scavenger hunts? CLICK HERE

When deciding which portable bluetooth wireless speaker to purchase last week, I compared all the popular models available and narrowed down my options by reviews. These are my top 6! I ended up choosing the Ultimate Ears MINI BOOM speaker (#2) and it worked perfectly for my hiking trip. It took no time to connect to multiple users, it was lightweight and easy to carry in the mesh pocket of a backpack, it didn’t slip off the rocks when we stopped to rest and relax, and had an amazing, clear sound.  Next week, I’ll take my MINI BOOM to the beach!

 
1. Etekcity® RoverBeats Mini Bluetooth Wireless Speaker
Price: $24.99 view price on Amazon
Battery Life: 7 hours
Bluetooth Wireless: 33 feet
Weight: 100 grams (.22 pound)
Pros: lightweight, non-skid bottom

2. Ultimate Ears MINI BOOM Bluetooth Wireless Speaker
Price: $99.99 view price on Amazon
Battery Life: 10 hours
Bluetooth Wireless: 50 feet
Weight: 8.2 ounces (.66 pound)
Pros: nice bass tones, stylish design, multiple colors

3. Omaker Outdoor Sport Rugged Square Design SplashProof & Shockproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Price: $69.99 view price on Amazon
Battery Life: 8 hours
Bluetooth Wireless: 33 feet (recommended to stay within 16.5 feet)
Weight: 301 grams (.51 pound)
Pros: shockproof and splashproof!

4. Jawbone JAMBOX Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
Price: $149.99 view price on Amazon
Battery Life: 10 hours
Bluetooth Wireless: 50 feet
Weight: 12 ounces (.75 pound)
Pros: stylish design, multiple colors, great sound

5. Photive CYREN Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
Price:  $119.95 view price on Amazon
Battery Life: 10 hours
Bluetooth Wireless: 33 feet
Weight: 11 ounce (.69 pound)
Pros: stylish design, multiple colors

6. The OontZ Angle Ultra Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
Price: $69.99 view price on Amazon
Battery Life: 10 hours (OontZ site says 12)
Bluetooth Wireless:  up to 30 feet
Weight: 9.1 ounces (.57 pound)
Pros: lightweight, slim design

Today is National Lemonade Day!
Pucker up and sip on one of these sweet & tart lemonades in honor of the holiday!

Ideas:
*Replace white granulated sugar with agave syrup.
*Serve in chilled mason jars.
*Adults- add a splash of vodka to make a cocktail.

1.  Cucumber Mint Lemonade by The Little Epicurean  view the recipe
 
2.  Blueberry Lemonade by Damn Delicious  view the recipe
 
3.  Frozen Blackberry Basil Lemonade by The Kitchen McCabe  view the recipe
 
4.  Pink Watermelon Lemonade Slushies by Half Baked Harvest  view the recipe
 
5.  Raspberry Peach Lemonade by Delacy  view the recipe

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Deborah Lippmann is the go-to manicurist of the stars and the fashion industry and her high-quality line of polishes puts all others to shame. This amazing nail polish brand is cruelty-free, entirely vegan (except for the cuticle remover), and full of the most gorgeous sheer, creamy, and sparkly shades! They are easy to apply, fast-drying, and long-lasting. And, best of all- you’ll feel extra beautiful knowing that no animals were harmed for your manicure or pedicure!  Here are my picks from her current collection.

Crème, Sheer, Glitter & Shimmer: Treatment-infused nail colors with Biotin and green tea. No Toluene, Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, or DBP. No animal testing.

1.  Before He Cheats Crème Nail Lacquer  {view on Amazon}
2.  Between the Sheets Crème Nail Lacquer  {view on Amazon}
3.  Mermaid’s Dream Glitter Nail Lacquer  {view on Amazon}
4.  P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) Sheer Nail Lacquer {view on Amazon}
5.  Daytripper Crème Nail Lacquer  {view on Amazon}
6.  Happy Birthday Glitter Nail Lacquer  {view on Amazon}
7.  Shape of My Heart Crème Nail Lacquer  {view on Amazon}
8.  Let’s Go Crazy Glitter Nail Lacquer  {view on Amazon}
9.  Flowers in Her Hair Crème Nail Lacquer   {view on Amazon}
10.  Build Me Up Buttercup Crème Nail Lacquer  {view on Amazon}
11.  Stop and Stare Crème Nail Lacquer  {view on Amazon}
12. Mermaid’s Kiss Glitter Nail Lacquer {view on Amazon}

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Top:
Washington Square Park, 1900 source
Bottom:
Washington Square Park, 2014

Click through to see each image: Continue reading


Ernest Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899- 115 years ago today! I compiled a list of 10 of my favorite Hemingway quotes and life lessons in honor of his special day.

 

The world breaks everyone and, afterward, many are strong at the broken places.
(A Farewell to Arms)

The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.

Never mistake motion for action.

Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.

I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.

Courage is grace under pressure.

It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.

Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry: Worry never fixes anything.

There is nothing else than now. There is neither yesterday, certainly, nor is there any tomorrow. How old must you be before you know that? There is only now, and if now is only two days, then two days is your life and everything in it will be in proportion. This is how you live a life in two days. And if you stop complaining and asking for what you never will get, you will have a good life. A good life is not measured by any biblical span.
(For Whom the Bell Tolls)

We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.
(The Wild Years)

One of my favorite artists, painter Gustav Klimt, was born on July 14, 1862 in Baumgarten, Austria- 152 years ago today!  I’ve chosen 10 of my favorite Klimt paintings in honor of his special day.  His style is perfect for introducing to children.  After viewing his works (ex:  Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer 1 is great for identifying shapes, Country Garden with Sunflowers is perfect for identifying colors), ask kids to draw their own Klimt-inspired work of art.  Happy Birthday, Gustav!

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A reader from Australia asked me to give my “Nature Walk” scavenger hunt an Aussie update for her daughter’s 5th birthday party.  Here it is!  Download the free printable below!

Scavenger Hunt- Aussie Nature Walk PDF

Want more scavenger hunts? CLICK HERE


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Top Photo:
Orchard Street from Rivington, Looking North (1898)
photo source

Bottom Photo:
Orchard Street from Rivington, Looking North (June 6, 2014)
photo by Carina Zimmerman

View full images:

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Today is actress and singer Audra McDonald’s birthday!  In April, I had the pleasure of seeing Audra perform as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.   I was absolutely blown away by the way she transformed her voice to match Billie’s vocal style.  Every nuance was spot on.  Compare below!  The play is set in a run-down bar in Philadelphia in 1959, where Billie gave one of her last performances.  Throughout the play, Audra, as Billie, staggers around the stage, slurs her words, smokes cigarettes, and tells the intimate tales of her songs.  You can hear a pin drop as she gives an introduction to “Strange Fruit” and quietly begins to croon.  She recently won a Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for her work in this must-see show.  This win also makes her the first person to win 6 Tony Awards for acting!  Happy Birthday, Audra!  New Yorkers- get your tickets to the show!

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Watermelon is one of my favorite foods to eat (and drink) in the summer, especially post-exercise.  It’s hydrating (about 91% water) and is a great source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, potassium, and cancer-fighting lycopene!  Here are 4 healthy and delicious recipes to try this Summer:

1.  Watermelon Peach Cooler by Yummy Healthy Easy  view the recipe

2.  Watermelon Lime Vegan Ice Cream by Family Fresh Cooking  view the recipe

3.  Watermelon Gazpacho by A Couple Cooks  view the recipe

4.  Grilled Watermelon with Smoked Salt & Jalepeño Rings by Boulder Locavore  view the recipe


Saturday Afternoon in Central Park (June 26, 1909) by Power O’Malley for Harper’s Weekly
(click here to enlarge)

image source

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