Westchester Indie Bookstore Tour | The Voracious Reader

My daughters and I love bookstores. Since they were babies, we have loved heading to our local bookseller, picking up a huge stack of books and eating a snack in the cafe while we read through the whole pile. It’s one of the rituals we will always remember about their childhood and we’ve discovered some of our all-time favorite stories this way.

To give some of the incredible indie bookstores throughout Westchester a little bit of love, we’re going to slowly but surely take you along on a tour of all of them. First stop: The Voracious Reader in Larchmont.

Tucked away on a tree-lined street in a neighborhood I don’t know very well, I almost missed this spot entirely—but I’m so glad I circled back around to find it! While the exterior melts in with the landscape, the inside is a roomy, brightly lit treasure trove of children’s literature. And yes, this store carries almost entirely children’s books—from board books right up through YA.

The Voracious Reader in Larchmont, NY | Westchester indie bookstore

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Makeup Overhaul with About FACE by Meredith Hayman, Makeup Artist

I first met Meredith Hayman in 2009. My best friend convinced me to schedule a makeup trial for my wedding and, after checking out reviews, she scheduled us an appointment with Meredith. On the way to her home studio, I was excited for the adventure but completely unconvinced that I would book a makeup artist.

But then I met Meredith and the way I look at makeup completely changed. I booked her that day and have remained friends with her ever since.

I’m a natural girl. I throw my hair in a ponytail or top knot, swipe on some mascara and go. The thought of 1) lengthening the time it takes me to get out of the house or 2) looking like I’m wearing a mask is completely unappealing to me. Through the years, Meredith has taught me that I can look my best without spending a ton of time getting ready, without sinking all of my money into makeup products, and without looking like I’m wearing a mask.

Recently, Meredith gave me a complete makeup overhaul. What the heck does that mean? Well, I documented mine so that I could take you along for the ride…

makeup overhaul with About FACE by Meredith Hayman, Makeup Artist | step one: see what you have

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Mother’s Day Contest – Win Tickets to LEGOLAND!

Let’s be honest. Moms are some of the hardest working people in the world. Whether you work full time, stay at home, work from home or some combination of the three, you know that labor doesn’t end when that baby pops out. In fact, it’s just the start.

But when you work hard, you should get to play hard too, right?

That’s why my friends at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester are hosting a Moms Go Free Weekend in celebration of Mother’s Day on May 13th and 14th. Moms will be treated to free admission with the purchase of a child ticket either online (using promo code 171019) or in person.

To go a step further, I teamed up with LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester to treat one local mom and her whole family to a day of play!

That’s right, one lucky momma will win a family 4-pack of tickets and get to explore the educational and interactive attractions available at LEGOLAND, including: hands-on play areas, a 4D cinema, the Master Builder Academy, two LEGO® amusement rides, the newly opened LEGO Ninjago City Adventure (a two-story, 2,300-square-foot play structure with more than 20 interactive features) and MINILAND, the venue’s signature re-creation of landmarks throughout New York City, made entirely out of more than 1 million LEGO® bricks.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester - Moms Go Free Weekend | win tickets to LEGOLAND

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iD Tech Summer Camp in Westchester Offers a Different Camp Experience

This post is sponsored by iD Tech.

As soon as spring break is over, this momma is ready to start thinking about summer camp. After all of that togetherness (and knowing how much activity is going to be crammed into the next two months), figuring out a summer plan suddenly moves much further up my priority list. The problem? My girls aren’t interested in a traditional summer camp experience. In fact, they couldn’t be less interested.

Arts and crafts? Yes please. Singing and dancing? Bring it on. Sports? Mmmm, not so much.

My daughters know what they like and a run-of-the-mill summer camp experience is not it. But mention a tech camp that teaches them coding and game design or lets them experiment with 3D printing and they are all ears.

iD Tech provides just that with both summer day camps and overnight camps separated by age groups (kids ages 6–12 and teens ages 13–18). They even offer an all-girls summer camp program for ages 10–15 to encourage girls to get involved—I love this about them (in 2018, 30% of their camper population will be female and they plan to continue advocating for girls in STEM with a goal of achieving a 50/50 balance).

Do you have a kid interested in the STEM fields? Read on to see what iD Tech summer camps have to offer.

iD Tech summer technology camp in Westchester NY

iD Tech STEM Summer Camps

iD Tech can be found at distinguished campuses all over the country including Stanford, UCLA, Princeton, and MIT. Westchester is lucky enough to have two locations offering their programs: Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville and (in its inaugural year!) Manhattanville College in Purchase.

Courses are taught by hand-selected staff (recruited from universities like Caltech, RIT, and Stanford) in small groups of 8 students per instructor. Students get to choose from courses in coding, game design, virtual reality, robotics, engineering, 3D printing, and more and will be able to use professional software from Adobe, Apple, Microsoft, and other industry leaders.

Is your kid really into Minecraft? Both campuses offer courses in Minecraft game design. Or, maybe, like my daughter, your child has gotten really into coding classes offered at school. He or she can build on that with a DIY Build Your Own Laptop & Learn Coding course. There are so many different options available—from 3D Printing and Mobile Game Design to Cryptography & Cyber Security.

iD Tech has been at it for 18 years and their alumni have gone on to start companies, found nonprofits, and land jobs at tech powerhouses like Facebook and Google. If your child shows any interest in tech, these camps are a great way to bring them to the next level.

iD Tech computer camp in Westcheser

Courses start at $879 for a one-week session and run all day. And, in case you’re not too into the idea of them sitting inside behind a computer all day, outdoor play and other camp activities are included as part of each day.

Because they’re so awesome, iD Tech Camps are offering Westchester with Kids readers $75 off one week at any iD Tech Camps program. Use code WWKTECH17 through June 15th.

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Deal Alert! Save Money on Westchester Kids Activities

This post contains affiliate links.

I am a momma who likes to save money. Sometimes I call myself thrifty to soften the edges, but if I’m being honest: I’m cheap. Raising kids is expensive business and I am number one in line when it comes to trying to make things less expensive. With summer vacation breathing down our necks, I can almost see the dollar bills being sucked from my hands with a vacuum. I want to be able to do a lot of fun things with my kids, but I also want to be able to pay the bills.

Assuming there are plenty of you out there who are just like me, I put together a list of current Groupon deals in Westchester County.

Everything on the list below is kid friendly. If you prefer to save yourself a buck or two on kid-free activities (like maybe a Statue of Liberty dinner cruise for your next girls night out), there are plenty of reduced-price grown up options over there too.

save money on local kids fun in Westchester with Groupon

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Fun Kids Birthday Party Ideas in Westchester + a FREE Party Planning Printable

Kids birthday parties somehow manage to be both the best and most annoying things imaginable. Planning them can be a huge pain (especially if you’re like me and put everything off until the last second), but the look on your little booger’s face while she’s having the time of her life with her friends is totally worth it.

If the thought of getting to that happy place makes you break out in hives, I found help!

A one-stop shop for planning kids birthday parties, Booked Parties makes life a trillion times easier by offering local parents online access to unique birthday party vendors and venues throughout New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. Want someone to come to your house and keep the kids entertained? They’ve got it. Want to find a venue as far away from your house as possible so that you don’t have to clean for guests? They’ve got you covered there too!

They even have a marketplace where you can get gifts, favors, decor, and more just with the click of a button (ok, maybe a few buttons). Sounds like the least annoying kids birthday party planning experience ever, right?

And if you’re sick of the same old parties for your kids, but feel like you already know about all of the birthday party ideas Westchester has to offer, I bet Booked Parties will prove you wrong! I collected a few of my favorite outside-the-box ideas to show you the diverse options they have to offer. (Also, make sure you read all the way to the end for a free birthday party planning printable!)

Fun Kids Birthday Party Ideas in Westchester

Westchester Kids Birthday Parties | Bang & Boom

Bang & Boom birthday party in a box

Do you kind of wish you could throw a party at your house but that someone would do all of the work for you? You’re in luck! Bang & Boom will send you a party in a box—these guys are outside of the box while simultaneously being inside a box! 😉 They cover everything—from invitations and activities to decorations and even matches! I love that their themes are totally unique and original. I mean, look at the cups that go along with their I Love New York box! Activities for this box include design-your-own subway car, a big city scavenger hunt and a large-scale poster of New York’s skyline to color and decorate. Each of the party guests also gets a Lady Liberty crown. I’m obsessed!

Westchester Kids Birthday Parties | Penny Lick Ice Cream

Make ice cream at Penny Lick Ice Cream Company

Um, enough said, no? Seriously though, they host kids birthday parties at their Hastings-on-Hudson location and your little party people get to learn how to make (and eat—although they probably won’t need any help with that part) ice cream from the ingredients right down to the final product. That sounds awesome! If there’s another party idea you had your heart set on, but are drooling at the thought of homemade ice cream, Penny Lick also brings their ice cream push carts to parties.

Westchester Kids Birthday Parties | TumbleBusNY

TumbleBusNY, a kids party bus

This is a pretty cool idea. TumbleBusNY is basically a kids gym inside of a converted school bus! They’ve got monkey bars, a mini trampoline, ropes, mini parallel bars and so much more. And, since they’re completely mobile, you can have a party with them anywhere. They can come park outside of your house, at a park, at your kids’ favorite pizza place—there are so many possibilities!

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10 Things to Do with Kids in Westchester This Spring

Right now I’m looking out my window and I actually see green everywhere. Spring has officially sprung, which means we can burst out of hibernation and jump back into all of the fun Westchester has to offer families. In case your brain has collected a few cobwebs over the winter (mine definitely has) and you’re at a loss for what to do with your kids, I put together a list of 10 things to do with kids in Westchester this spring.

Sit back, take a sip of coffee and get your calendar ready!

Things to Do with Kids in Westchester This Spring

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Westchester Family Fun Giveaway

Last week I had the pleasure of being a sponsor at the launch of Booked Parties’ new Booked Marketplace. It’s a curated selection of gifts, party favors, decor and so much more from local small business owners. I met lots of fun new people, spent more money than I should have, and had a fun prize to raffle off to party goers.

But, after I got home, I really wanted to keep the party going. So I’m going to!

Westchester Family Fun Giveaway

If you didn’t already enter my Westchester Family Fun Giveaway (or if you did and you want a to snag a couple of extra entries), you’re in luck! I’m extending the entry period through this Wednesday and opening it up to everyone!

So, what is this fabulous prize?

I’m giving away a family 4-pack of tickets to LEGOLAND Discovery Center and a Zip & Zoe mini backpack filled with a few fun goodies to take along on family adventures.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester

Entrants will also be sent an exclusive Westchester Adventure List with more than 25 ideas for both indoor and outdoor family adventures. The list is a sneak peek at a fun new project I’m working on and will be offering Westchester with Kids readers soon.

Entering the contest is so easy. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter below—there are even a few options to earn extra entries and up your chances at winning. Good luck! 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Celebrate Earth Day with Kids in Westchester

Earth Day is this coming Saturday, April 22nd and there are plenty of ways to get kids involved. Whether you’re looking to get dirty with some hands-on experience (say, cleaning a local park), you want to teach your kids about recycling, or you want to explore our gorgeous county a little bit, there are a bunch of options over the next two weeks.

Here are some kid-friendly Earth Day events throughout Westchester, broken down by day. I’ll be adding more as I find them, so check back!

earth day fun for kids in westchester

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Non-Candy Easter Basket Ideas from Westchester Businesses

non-candy Easter basket ideas from Westchester businesses

With Easter less than a week away, it’s definitely time to get our collective acts together and figure out what the heck we’re going to fill those baskets with. Personally, I have no problem in the candy department. I know what my kids like (and what I like to swipe while they’re at school or sleeping). But what I always have trouble with is adding some not-so sugary goodies that they’ll actually use.

This year, I turned to some local small business owners to see what options they have—and what goodies they have trouble keeping on the shelves. Here’s what they had to say…

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