A Family Trip to Broadway

Whether you’re visiting the heart of the big apple, or playing tourist in your magnificent city; taking in a Broadway show is a quintessential New York experience that the entire family is bound to remember, vividly. Past the bootleg characters lining Times Square and larger-than-life dazzling lights, my eight and six-year-old we’re thrilled this past Sunday to take a subway ride down to the iconic Lyric Theatre on West 42nd Street, to experience Cirque du Soleil’s PARAMOUR.

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What sounded like an interesting combination of theater plus acrobatics turned out to be an incredible experience for the entire family. With an alluring old Hollywood feel, stunning set design, powerful vocalists and intriguing characters, PARAMOUR wowed us all.  The captivating acrobatics woven throughout the production definitely elevated our Broadway experience. We left talking about the performers’ mind blowing-strengths and talents, especially that of identical twin artists, Andrew and Kevin Atherton, who magically made time stand still with unbelievable ariel-amazement.

Director: Philippe DecoufleArtistic Guide: Jean-Francois BouchardAssociate Creative Director: Pascale HenrotAssociate Creative Director and Scene Director: West HylerComposer: Bob & BillSet Designer: Jean RabasseChoreographer: Daphne MaugerCostumeAt one point during the performance, my six-year old’s legs started bouncing – a telltale sign of needing a restroom (quickly!).  As I was planning how we’d manage to high-tale it from our seats without disturbing theatergoers, I sighed and told him that I’d get him to a bathroom. To which he responded, “No mommy, I just can’t wait to see what happens next.”

Thank you to Cirque du Soleil PARAMOUR for hosting us.

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Cranberry Classroom: A Visit To Ocean Spray®’s Cranberry Bog

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This post is sponsored by Ocean Spray®. Opinions, as always, are my own.

My mother had this wonderful, old-fashioned metal food grinder which she’d clamp onto the kitchen table to make cranberry relish on Thanksgiving day.  As a kid, I always enjoyed watching the mashed up cranberries with a touch of orange ooze out the grinder’s bottom-end.   To this day, I can mentally taste her cranberry “sauce” with just a mere glimpse of a bag of Ocean Spray® Cranberries. And I’ll always appreciate how food has the ability to transport us back to specific times in our lives – carrying ties to the people and places we love.  My kids are quite fond of their abuela’s cranberry sauce – and of the cranberry in general (hello Ocean Spray® Craisins® Dried Cranberries!).  They eagerly joined in my excitement of celebrating the official start of the autumnal season with a visit to Ocean Spray®‘s iconic fresh cranberry bog right here in New York City’s bustling Rockefeller Center®.  As part of Ocean Spray®‘s Bogs Across America Tour, we joined in learning all about the cranberry and met multi-generational Ocean Spray® farmers in celebration of America’s favorite fruit and the bicentennial of the first cultivated cranberry harvest.  This is that 12th year that Ocean Spray® has brought their 1,500 sq. ft. cranberry bog back into Rockefeller Center® – and up until this time, we had only seen it on the news!

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Complete with report cards, the kids enlisted in Ocean Spray®‘s “Cranberry Classroom” and learned all about the cranberry from the inside out – including its amazing story of taste, health, and heritage in a fun, immersive and fruitful way.  The kids and I were fascinated to learn about how cranberries grow on low-lying vines and develop four hollow air chambers making them float when removed from the vine. And I loved chatting with families of farmers growing Ocean Spray® cranberries right here in neighboring New Jersey.  Equally as cool, was The Most Beautiful Harvest experience, in which the kids had their first go at Google Cardboard – transporting them through a beautiful Massachusetts-based cranberry bog.  This incredible, virtual-reality experience celebrates the beauty of the cranberry harvest – while showcasing the fruit’s journey from bog to bottle.  No worries if you missed this event – just visit www.OSharvest.com to check out fully immersive, 360-degree views of a bog. It’s the next best thing to being there!

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Little minds were hard at work as they made mini bogs-in-a-cup with molding clay, gravel, Peat Moss, sand, and cranberry vines.  This fun lesson taught young participants all about how cranberries are grown and also gave them the chance to contextualize what they would soon experience inside Ocean Spray’s® real-life cranberry bog!

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With some serious excitement, we donned waders to get inside the beautifully vibrant bog amidst 2,000 pounds of fresh floating cranberries!

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The boy was super interested in applying lessons learned. Here he is digging for clay, sand and gravel!

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While the girl couldn’t resist an opportunity to dump fresh cranberries on her little brother’s head.

 

A photo posted by Monica (@marinobambinos) on



All this hard work stirred up pint-sized appetites!

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And reminded me that Ocean Spray® Craisins® Dried Cranberries never fail to please!  These Ladybugs On a Log make a great after-school snack.

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Thanks so much to Ocean Spray® for having us join in this unforgettable experience.

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Wishing you all the goodness of this new fall season – and do share your favorite cranberry recipes below!  Thank you to Ocean Spray® for sponsoring this blog post. All opinions are my own.

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A Look Inside The NYC Dumpling Festival 2016

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Over the weekend, we were among the dumpling enthusiasts who brought our appetites to NYC’s Lower East Side to celebrate all things dumpling at the 13th Annual Chef One Dumpling Festival in Sarah D. Roosevelt Park.

With a fitting theme of “There’s a Chef in Everyone,” the festivities included NYC Borough based food stations serving up truly tasty varieties of dumplings such as Kung Pao Chicken, Pork & Kimchi, Kale & Vegetable, Buffalo Chicken, Edamame and even a new seasonal Pumpkin flavor.

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In addition to the grub – attendees snapped photos with the one-and-only Dumpling Mama mascot, commemorated the fun in a cool gif-making photo booth, joined in dumpling-making classes, and watched along with wide-eyed wonder at the many talented performances.

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From traditional Lion dancing to a group of tap dancers and more, the festival brought a great mix of entertainment.  While I’ll contest that the musical performance by string based trio Yut and the Hot Four – was the act to see, my eight-year-old was most impressed with the fire dancers’ flame-waving choreography.

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Of course, we can’t forget the competitive eaters who joined in the Dumpling Eating Contest. Although I couldn’t fully stomach watching this portion – this contest always draws an attentive (and massive!) crowd, with winner’s taking home hefty-checks for their face-stuffing accomplishments.  Would you believe the female division’s winner scarfed down 115 dumplings in two minutes time?!

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The prize sharing continued, and the excitement was palpable as raffles were drawn for prizes including a pair of Delta Air Lines tickets and a Year’s Supply of Chef One Dumplings.

Although the lines were long due to the festival’s gaining popularity,  the social media team was on it – offering free samples and more to those who took to Twitter to grumble.

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My favorite part was getting to see the festival’s continued dedication to feeding food-insecure New Yorkers. With all proceeds benefiting The Food Bank for New York City – joining in the festival is always pure dumpling-indulgent goodness to feel good about. Best of all, they welcome volunteers! Stay connected to Chef One to find out about partnering with The Food Bank NYC at next year’s festival.

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And for all our friends who missed out on #dumplingfest2016, Chef One hasn’t forgotten about you! Check out the below video to master dumpling making in your kitchen and stay tuned for details on next year’s Dumpling Festival.  You bet we’ll be there!

This is a sponsored post. Opinions, as always, are my own.

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All About The 2016 Dumpling Festival in NYC

Dumpling fans rejoice!  The 6th Annual Dumpling Festival is coming back to NYC, this Saturday, September 24th and you bet we’ll be hightailing it to Sara D. Roosevelt Park (noon-5pm), again this year, to catch all the action and chomp away at delicious dumplings made fresh in Chef One’s Brooklyn-based location.

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With a fitting theme of “There is a Chef in Everyone” -a $20 ticket will get you four tastings of dumplings with varieties including Kung Pao Chicken, Pork & Kimchi, Kale & Vegetable, Buffalo Chicken, Edamame and more. Tickets will also provide an entry into the raffle drawing for airfare from Delta Air Lines and a Year’s Supply of Chef One Dumplings.

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Hosted by Youtubers Mike Chen and Dan Chen of Strictly Dumpling and Double Chen – the event will also hold the 13th Annual Dumpling Eating Contest moderated by ESPN sports announcer Larry Hardesty.

KobayashiThe 2015 record holder,Takeru Kobayashi, consumed 93 dumpings in 2 minutes time.

Stop by to catch incredible performances, snap a photo with “Dumpling Mama”  join in a dumpling making class (kids welcome!), and so much more!

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Best of all, this is a feast to feel good about! Proceeds from the event help support our city’s food-insecure population with 100% of proceeds donated to The Food Bank for NYC.

Follow the buzz on social media with #Dumplingfest2016 and stay connected to all of Chef One’s Dumpling goodness on Facebook.

This is a sponsored post. Opinions, as always are my own. Image number one via Chef One. 

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DIY, Design and More: Join Us at HGTV Magazine’s 3rd Annual Blogger Block Party

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Calling all design-lovers, DIYers, makers and more! HGTV Magazine is hosting their 3rd Annual Blogger Block Party, here in NYC on August 22nd, and this full-day event is set to engage a coveted influential audience of designers, lifestyle bloggers and style savvy consumers who turn to HGTV magazine for all things creative.

With live demos and access to highly talented creatives, last year’s event was incredibly impressive, drawing over 500 attendees and generating over 5 million social impressions!  Check out the line-up of dedicated speakers below, including Emily Henderson, Genevieve Gorder, Sherry & John Petersik of Young House Love, Rachel Faucett of Handmade Charlotte and Emily Bidwell from Etsy.

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HGTV Magazine Blogger Block Party || August 22, 2016, 12-8pm || 404 Studios || 404 10th Avenue, NYC

Make sure to RSVP here. I look forward to seeing you at the event and please note that it’s open to ages 18+, so grab a sitter if needed to fully enjoy a day of design inspiration!

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This is a sponsored post.

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And They All Screamed For Ice Cream

This post brought to you by Breyers Ice Cream. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Marino Bambinos.

In many ways, familiar tastes and scents have the ability to transport us back to times in our lives that connect us to the people and places ingrained in our memories.  During my childhood, we didn’t have a lot of treats in our home, but if I was lucky, the freezer had a carton of ice cream. It was always Breyers Natural Vanilla, and without fail, my father would sprinkle the perfectly round scoop with wheat germ before serving it to us.  These memories built on hot summer days with an unexpected scoop of ice cream very much shape how I approach summer with my own kids.  With the final day of school upon us, we’ll have plenty of time for spontaneous fun, with this mom saying “YES!” to ice cream.

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With a great reason to ring in the official start to summer, we hightailed it to Madison Square Park to join in a giant birthday party celebrating the 150th birthday of Breyers Ice Cream – the makers of America’s No.1 Vanilla ice cream.  Did you know that the vanilla that goes into Breyers products is 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified, and comes from sustainable vanilla farms in Madagascar?

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We spotted the green and white balloons before we even entered the park and arrived to a gargantuan Breyers ice cream carton with a walk-through interior displaying the history of the iconic ice cream brand.  And the best part?  Free ice cream for all!

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My little boy is a strictly vanilla guy, but the big girl was determined to sample Breyers new ice cream variety: Breyers Ice Cream Cake comprised of Breyers Chocolate Ice Cream with loads of chocolatey crunchies, sandwiched between Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream.  I get cravings, just thinking about it!  After the kids inhaled their ice cream we relaxed at a table and had fun people-watching the wide spectrum of New Yorkers who came out to join in the fun.  There were classrooms of school children, co-workers on lunch breaks and families – sporting green birthday caps, enjoying tons of free ice cream and snapping away at the fun photo booth.

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In addition to the free ice cream, Breyers enlisted the help of Girls star Allison Williams, Grammy winning singer, songwriter and actress Kelly Rowland, and Jane the Virgin/ Broadway’s Chicago star Jaime Camil.  The trio led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to the brand – culminating in stands of streamers, confetti and glitter exploding out of the life-size carton rimmed birthday candles.  As the crowd fan-girled over the celebrities, the stars caught it all on snapchat and joined in the ice-cream eating fun.

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Cheers to ice cream on hot summer days! Wishing you all the best of the season.

Breyers only uses milk and cream from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones.  *Suppliers of other ingredients such as cookies, candies and; sauces may not be able to make this pledge.  The FDA states that no significant difference has been shown between dairy derived from rBST-treated and non-rBST treated. 

Thank you for your continued support of sponsored content on Marino Bambinos.

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