Snag This Savings Offer at Medieval Times!

It’s no secret that we’re super-fans of Medieval Times! The jousting, knights, falconry, and excitement won us over at our very first visit to the Lyndhurst, NJ castle. We’ve since made annual visits a family tradition. Last time, we brought along the grandparents and cousins, and there’s nothing like feasting with your hands and cheering until your faces hurt (while donned matching crowns) alongside family and friends. It’s a super fun and entertaining experience for all generations!

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That’s why I’m happy to share the best Medieval Times coupon code available right now! You won’t find a better deal than this:

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Coupon Code: NJBlog36

Exclusive Price: $36.95* for adults and $30.95* for kids (*plus tax and processing). This is a savings of up to $26 per person! General admission is usually $62.95 for adults and $36.95 for kids.

Includes: Two Hour Tournament • Four Course Feast • Magnificent Pure Spanish Horses • Authentic Sword Fights Jousting and more!
Valid through: 12/31/2018, excluding the late NYE show.

Restrictions: Must mention or enter code NJBLOG36 at time of purchase. May not be combined with any other offer or group rate. Tax, gratuity, and applicable fees are additional. Not valid on prior purchases. Not valid for the late NYE show. Valid at the Lyndhurst location only for shows through 12/31/2018.

WIN IT! Head on over to our Facebook Page for a ticket giveaway to the NJ Castle!

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On Family Meditation with Headspace

This post is sponsored by Headspace. Start a daily meditation practice by scrolling to the bottom of the post for a discount code. 

Summer is a powerful time. Magic happens within waves amongst salt water’s healing powers.

As a parent, summer can also sometimes feel like a strange dichotomy of being present in the readily-available peace found in the ocean – while fighting frustration on the days when sibling bickering sets in. According to a recent parenting survey by Momtrends Media, 40% of parents find the summer months to be the most stressful, followed by back-to-school season and the holidays.

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I always welcome opportunities to better myself and when a partnership with the meditation app Headspace came my way it truly felt serendipitous. I tried other meditation programs in the past but eventually couldn’t stick to their many commitments. Headspace was different; within just a few minutes a day, I found myself calmer, more alive, and well aware of the fact that I’m in charge of my responses to the world around me. Headspace never made me feel judged – often reminding me that there is “no good or bad way to meditate”. This app has given me a tool to introduce meditation to my kids (they especially love the animations) with a specific section just for them. We now have a family meditation practice that is beautifully simple to stick with.

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Thanks to Momtrends Media, I had the chance to meet the Headspace team at a lovely lunch event that they hosted in NYC. When I was introduced to co-founder Andy Puddicombe, and voice-of-all-things Headspace, I found myself gushing “but I feel like you’re my friend!” while restraining my arms behind my back before they could unfurl around him in an awkwardly tight hug. If you’re familiar with the app, Andy’s soothing British-accented voice, along with a collection of animations, quotes, and secular, simple meditations – make meditation a part my day that I look forward to and crave.

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Before leading us all in a guided meditation, Andy spoke of his decade of training as a Buddhist Monk. Along with his business partner, Rich Pierson, the duo sought out to improve the health and happiness around the world with the creation of Headspace – the first meditation app on the Market in 2012. Headspace now reaches over 30 million people every year!

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A few things that Andy said really stuck with me:

I love how Andy spoke of mediation as a vehicle to increase compassion, gratitude, and empathy for the world around us. Pulling from his time in the monastery, he spoke of meditation as a means to not just better yourself, but also make a difference in your families and communities while putting something valuable back into the world.

Andy spoke of focusing on the breath to destress. Headspace makes this so simple even for children – with prompts to invite their favorite stuffed animal or toy to join them and rest on their bellies while breathing.

He also asked us to keep a gratitude journal specifically about family. I adore this idea. While we already have a gratitude practice in place in our home – focusing on what I’m grateful for within my children is a beautiful thing.

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As a mother, a person who lives with migraine, and as someone who comes from a public health background – it’s hard to adequately capture how grateful I am to be introduced to something so helpful.  Headspace is wonderful to gift to a friend or family member suffering an acute loss or trauma (there is a grief pack within the brave section) and even coping with cancer and pain management packs within the health session. There are single meditations for things like losing my temper and panicking – along with falling back to sleep, creative writing, difficult conversations, fear of flying and so much more.

I hope you’ll join me in this meditation journey because I want everyone to have headspace! Get 40% of your Headspace subscription for the year (which you’ll need to have full access to the app) with this code:

https://www.headspace.com/buy/checkout/summary?voucherCode=MARINOBAMBINOS

Register and enter the promo code here by July 4th:

Once you log into the app on your phone, it will automatically connect to the subscription you just activated.

Event photos 4-6 via Momtrends. 

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Not One Type: A Closer Look At Breast Cancer

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Thank you to Genentech for sponsoring this post.

 According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 236,968 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States in 2014, and (not counting some types of skin cancer) breast cancer in the U.S. is the most common cause of cancer in women – across all races and ethnicities. It is also the leading cause of death from cancer, among Latina women. Like so many others I know, breast cancer has impacted my family profoundly and the trajectory of my loved ones. That’s why it’s important for me to join in sharing the Not One Type campaign, merging messages from a trifecta of champions – Genentech, Living Beyond Breast Cancer and ThirdLove.

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I recently joined New Yorkers in exploring the Not One Type Studio – a SoHo pop-up experience, encouraging women and their loved ones to take a closer look at breast cancer. Upon stepping into the ThirdLove Studio, women curious about bra shopping were visually halted by ThirdLove’s bra installation – challenging prevalent breast cancer misconceptions – with uniformed rows of suspended bras that were only one size, and only one color. Just like ThirdLove creates uniquely tailored bras to a women’s specific size, shape and color preference – Not One Type is sharing information about the ways in which breast cancer is a very complex and not-one-size-fits-all disease.

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The Not One Type website explains how breast cancer is classified into different types – determined by the unique characteristics of each tumor, including subtype, lymph node status and stage, among other criteria. Understanding the uniqueness of each diagnosis helps to empower women and their loved ones to engage in helpful conversations and make more informed treatment decisions with their providers.

I know first-hand that family and friends often step in as patient advocates – and according to Not One Type, women facing the early stages of breast cancer rely on three or more people to help them process treatment options. An incredibly valuable tool on the Not One Type website is a checklist of questions to help women facing this diagnosis and their supporters be as well-informed as possible in conversations with doctors.

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In addition to all of the visual messaging, a lovely tribute wall, “boobie pins” in all shapes and sizes, and ThirdLove discount cards – the campaign’s spokeswomen Giuliana Rancic was on hand leading the discussion with women currently living with breast cancer as well as drawing from her personal experience.  According to Giuliana “understanding your unique diagnosis is critical to receiving the right treatment for you. And it’s not just important for those diagnosed to know about the different types, but for those who love them.”

Armed with new-to-me facts and insight, I’m grateful that I can now help better support a loved one. Have a look around notonetype.org, I’m sure you’ll learn something too.

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The Queen Rules at Medieval Times

It’s a new year and a new time –  and we’re thrilled to share that starting today, Medieval Times is debuting a new show based around a matriarch! So move on over King, because her majesty, the Queen, is now in charge as the sole ruler of the land.

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We’re big fans of visiting the Lyndhurst, NJ castle – it makes for a really fun and entertaining experience for all generations.  Alongside the jousting, cheering and feasting with our hands – I can’t tell you how happy I am to have my kids (a daughter and son) see the new show with a female in charge as a firm and respected leader.  For the first time in 34-years – the Queen is cast in this leadership role. Right-on Medieval Times!

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In addition to the Queen and the continuation of all the elements that viewers love, there are a bunch of exciting new changes to the show.

  • The new live-action film score is precisely synchronized with every element of the show: from lights to fights; jousts to jabs; the Queen’s entry to curtain closings and more.
  • More than 700 new costumes for all nine castles’ performers including horses, all of which are custom-designed and hand-made at a dedicated costume shop in Dallas, TX.
  • The sound and light team spends 120 hours programming 300 new music cues and 500 new lighting cues. Several castles are installing and programming a new LED lighting system that offers 256 colors (the previous system had 14 colors).  The system is powered by 10 miles of cable and an estimated million-dollar upgrade.
  • 200 new suits of armor, shields, and helmets, all of which are custom-designed and hand-made at a dedicated armory in Florida.
  • More than 350 team members and 225 horses train and rehearse new lines and fight scenes for three months while still presenting the current show.
  • New music – composed by Dr. Daniel May, a  composer and jazz pianist who highlights include scoring “Everest” and other films – and working with notable names including Sting and The Moody Blues. Dr. Daniel May directed and recorded Medieval Times’ new show composition in Kiev with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine. He directed the choir in Ukraine with lyrics written by poet and choir member Solomia Gorokhivska, and a solo cellist and violin player from Pittsburgh, PA.

Grab your tickets here!

 

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Introducing Kinder Joy: These Coveted Kinder Eggs Have Finally Come to the US

Kinder-Egg-Joy-USA-launchThis post is sponsored by Kinder. Content and opinions, as always, are my own. 

There’s no longer a need to travel overseas to pick up those coveted Kinder Eggs because Kinder Joy has finally come to America! I couldn’t wait to join Kinder at their official launch at Manhattan’s Pier 59 to get my hands on the exciting treat.

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The lovely Malin Akerman joined in the excitement as the official shipment pulled into Chelsea Piers.  And she shared a sweet story of getting to finally enjoy the nostalgic treat from her childhood abroad with her son, who also came along for the Kinder festivities.

Check out the Kinder Joy shipping crates pulling into Chelsea Piers. That’s a lot of Kinder!

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Eager parents couldn’t wait to introduce the treat + toy to their kiddos as the first official Kinder Joy products rolled (or sailed!) in.

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Popular overseas – we’re pretty confident that Kinder Joy will soon be flying off the shelves!  Wondering what all the hype is about? Kinder Joy is a plastic egg that splits down the middle to reveal two separately sealed halves.

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One side contains a treat and the other, a toy! The treat side, comprised of two soft cream layers (sweet milk-cream and cocoa), along with two chocolate-covered wafer bites – filled with sweet cocoa cream – is simply divine.  You better believe that someone licked the included spoon clean!

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And the separately sealed toy side contains one of over 40 different toys – creatively designed for kids to assemble and engage in fun play alongside their parent.

Your kids will have a blast putting their little toys together.  And if you’re lucky, they’ll hopefully share the treat side with you!

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I’m pretty sure that these kids love me extra when I come home with treats!  And Kinder Joy was the perfect way to add a little surprise to my littles day after returning home from a long work trip the evening prior.

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I happen to love sharing in their joy (more than anything, really) too.

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See ya’ in the Kinder isle!

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Anime NYC 2017

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When your dad whips up a pretty cool Samus Aran Varia suit and Megaman X light armor cosplay for Halloween, I suppose it’s natural to want to step into that armor more than once. And while we didn’t make it to Comi Con, the kids were super stoked to attend Anime NYC 2017 – this past weekend at the Javits Center.

At ages 7 and 9, the kids are already huge fans of Japanese animation, and it has a lot of influence in the art they create. It was our first experience at an event like this, and we were all pretty blown away with the anime superfans and the overall glimpse into anime culture.

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The vibe was super positive, and most adults had a genuine curiosity in the kids’ interest in their cosplay creations. Our girl was so excited to connect with other females who have a love for Samus, and she also saw tons of her other cosplay favorite – Sailor Moon. Our Megaman X said it was the coolest day ever and both the kids were really intrigued with the otaku art on display in the artist alley.

They kept saying things like – “WOW, people really LOVE Anime!”

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The kids were good sports about all the photo requests (there were a ton!).

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The highlight of our experience was stumbling in front of the Wize Guys Collectibles both when we first entered the venue. They hosted voice actor Christopher Sabat, and he actually looked up from his autographing and selfie-booth busyness to take a photo of the kids!  He then told our Samus all about his voice work in Metroid Prime and gave both kids autographed prints. Day made! It’s pretty incredible when a celebrity goes out of their way to be super kind and down to earth.

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Now to convince the dad to whip up some new cosplay for next year!

 

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