The holidays are just around the corner, so it's time for our list of favorite things. Read on for some great activities and gift ideas, most are Westchester based. Enjoy!
Raindrops on Roses
Uncorking a champagne bottle near some chocolate roses counts, right? Tasteful Treats and Treasures Gift Baskets in Armonk, a Best of Westchester winner, has classy and fun gifts for any occasion. This is the type of place you walk into with a list of presents for other people, and come out with twice as much because you kept seeing great things for yourself. They'll work with you to create the perfect basket or small gift for the teacher, trainer, mail person, new mom, or family member who has everything.
We were recently invited to tour their retail space and found so many fantastic elements that can stand alone or be perfect in a gift basket. Sure, they have champagne and chocolate roses, but what about Krispy Kreme flavored Jelly Bellys, Tate's cookies, and Nutella? Or a Sophie the Giraffe baby basket? Come in and see for yourself.
And just like Oprah, I have a discount for readers. Receive 10% off your first online purchase with the code IN30 or 15% off your first in-store purchase AND a free gift with purchase if you mention Apple Moms at the checkout.
Warm Woolen Mittens
You'll need some to visit Westchester's Winter Wonderland, a fun family festival hosted by Westchester parks at the Kensico Dam plaza in Valhalla. Launched in 2014, this event gets better every year. From 5pm to 9pm or 10pm most nights, there's a lot packed in to the space, especially for kids in preschool and grade school. For $15 admission per person (children under 3 are free), kids can visit Santa (bring your camera for pics!), go on midway rides, see the light show, go ice skating (free rental included), bounce along on a hay ride, head into the circus tent for a fun gravity-defying show, or purchase tickets for the pony or camel ride or the giant slide. Food trucks serve up warm comfort food and there is alcohol available for purchase in the seating tent. Fun and festive, it's a great way to enjoy the cold weather and get in the holiday spirit.
Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With Strings
Well, no one uses strings anymore, right? But we love the Christmas-every-month feeling of subscription boxes. If you haven't looked into these lately, there's much more variety than the wine-of-the-month/CD/cookie clubs of yesteryear. You can get almost everything on a subscription basis, and the subscriber has lots of control over the price point and frequency of deliveries. Here are a few we subscribe to:
Our daughter gets a Petite Princess Box every month. We love the unique themes and accessories that are hand-selected. Past months have included themes of "Princess in Paris," "Mermaid Madness", and "Queen & Me" matching mommy-daughter jewelry and accessories. The box contains gorgeous hair pieces (bows, headbangs, barettes, etc.) and some other small items such as a necklace, bracelet, socks, or other small accessories. It's perfect for the mom who is too distracted to make sure her daughter always has seasonal accessories. Forgot to buy a Halloween shirt? No need when you just got a pumpkin barrette and a cat-ears headband!
Stitch Fix has solved my husband's problem of "What are the cool dudes wearing these days?" Every few months, he gets a box full of suggestions that we try on, laugh (only at a few) and buy (almost the whole box). He gives direct feedback on fit and can even suggest what to send him next. He's gotten a winter coat, shoes, great jeans, and a belt all by request. It saves me time having to go shopping with him and sit in the dressing room giving him feedback on clothes. They send curated boxes to men and women--I'm thinking about trying it myself.
Yogi Surprise boxes add a little zen to an otherwise busy day. You can get a Lifestyle box with a medley of yoga-related items or a Jewelry box with two jewelry items and a treat. Yogi Surprise boxes boast Fair Trade, Organic, GMO Free. Basically all the things I'm not the other three weeks and six days of the month. My most recent one contained a bar, a journal, a pressure point tension reliever, some tea, and other great zen items.
Girls in White Dresses with Blue Satin Sashes
You may not be able to find that exact outfit for the girl in your life, but you can find something pretty darn adorable at one of these retail stores. We love shopping local!
Lil Chameleon, Tuckahoe
It's the resale boutique you didn't know you were missing. We've gotten so many great finds in children's clothes, not to mention toys, books, and a line of new accessories.
Once Upon a Child, Scarsdale
When I'm looking for a formal dress, this is my go-to. They have a fantastic selection of formalwear, some with the original tags still on, most for under $10! For an elegant toddler dress your little one will wear only once or twice, it's a great bargain.
SilverSpoon Gifts, Bronxville
Resale is great for kids clothes bargains, but sometimes you want a fresh, crisp new classic outfit. Enter SilverSpoon in Bronxville. This is where you get gorgeous clothes for Christmas photos, milestones, or new baby gifts. And everything can be monogrammed for free. Browsing for the perfect item is easy because you can't go wrong with a whole store full classy well-priced stuff.
Crisp Apple Strudels
Okay, this is America, so let's swap the strudel for pie. And I have a secret: the best apple pie in the states is available at Stew Leonards! It's called Apple Pie Baked in a Paper Bag from Elegant Farmer in Wisconsin. Twice a year during Thanksgiving and Christmas, Stew's carries these crave-able, obsess-able baked goods. You heat them up in the oven inside their bag, and the caramelized sugar crust comes to life. Trust me, you'll never settle for another brand again. But if you get to Stew's this Christmas and there's only one left, save it for me!
That's all the lines of the song that I can mash into this list! Don't forget there's still a week left to donate old and new toys and coats to needy children in the Mount Vernon area. Balanced Life Christian Center is collecting coats from infant to adult, hats, mittens, gloves, scarves and toys in good shape, INCLUDING stuffed animals. In need of a warm coat for you or a loved one? Stop by this Saturday, December 16 between 10am and 1pm to pick up a free coat or other winter items.
If you'd like to donate, you can drop off items to the Balanced Life Christian Center at 160 South 4th Avenue, Second Floor in Mount Vernon. Their hours vary, so contact Sheila Gifford at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text her at 914-863-4456 to coordinate a dropoff. If you can't get there yourself, reach out to us at email@example.com and we might be able to help your items get to the church.
Join us at our upcoming meetups!
Monday, December 11 & 18, 10:30am - 12:00pm at Lil Chameleon. BYO baby/toddler and meet other moms! $5 cash at the door.
Thursday, December 14, 8:00pm - 10:00pm. Mommy's Night Out drinks in collaboration with the Bronxville Moms Meetup Group! Stephen's Green restaurant in Tuckahoe. Free ample parking behind the building.
Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And as always, check our website for events and weekly library programs. We've just made a whole easy-to-navigate chart so you know exactly where to go for free educational fun that doesn't overlap with naptime!
See you next time!