Radio City Christmas Spectacular

The Christmas tree has arrived at Rockefeller center. Lights are twinkling on city streets and subway-musicians are signing carols.  We’re gearing up for Thanksgiving next week, but it’s certainly beginning to feel like Christmas in New York City.  And it is truly a magical place to be during the holiday season.

Radio City Music Hall

My whole clan was excited to head over to Radio City Music Hall to catch a matinée performance of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Radio City Music Hall Christmas Show

The production was joyfully mesmerizing for us all.  The precisions, syncronicity and elaborate costume changes of the Rockettes are incredible – and the kids were delighted to see Clara in the Nutcracker scene, complete with dancing stuffed animals.  The show is truly magical to see with littles – our’s ohhed and ahhed at the Wooden Soldiers scene, the ice skaters, beautiful effects and live camels.  The kids were elated with the Dancing Santas, and I found the finale, The Living Nativity scene to be quite moving.

Our experience was definitely elevated by having the chance to interact with the Rockettes in the famed Roxy Room.  Both of the children were wowed by this special pre-show press event.  We were also thrilled to leave with a lovely picture with Santa as a special keepsake of our unforgettable day.  The Radio City show was a true treat for our family and one that we are certain will remain a cherished family holiday memory.

radio city rockettesRadio City Christmas Spectacular Rockette

Spectacular indeed.

Special thanks to The Radio City Christmas Spectacular team for an incredible experience.  Opinions, as always, are my own.


New Year New You With Karina Smirnoff and JCPenney

Dancing with the Stars’ Karina Smirnoff recently joined forces with JCPenney to kick-start healthy resolutions in the new year with a day of fitness, juicing and fashion in JCPenney’s SoHo showroom.  Through her partnership with JCPenney – Karina aims to “showcase ways to feel great from the inside out”. The dance pro’s high intensity dance-inspired classes left editors with some new moves and serious caloric burning.  And DWTS pro Henry Byalikov left me nostalgic for my own Latin dancing days with his specialized Salsa instruction.

Henry Byalikov and Karina Smirnoff Dancing at JCPenney's New Year, New You Fitness Event in SoHo

I collaborated with JCPenney children’s collections last fall  and couldn’t wait to checkout their women’s fitness line.  Karina donned pieces from JCPenney’s exclusive Xersion and CityStreet Activewear lines and of course was the perfect fit model!  She described her experience with the line as comfortable, super cute and sexy, and also mentioned that the wide selection of pieces cater to every fitness level.

Karina Smirnoff wearing CityStreet and Xersion Activewear while teaching a danceclass at JCPenney's New Year, New You Fitness Event

That being said, I’m quite picky about my activewear.  I look for flattering and comfortable pieces that function in the gym and on school pick-ups.  I’ve tested out several JCPenney activewear pieces and am really happy with the fit and look.  Grab one of my favorite pieces  –  The Xersion Stretch Polar Fleece Cowlneck Pullover currently on sale at JCPenney online.

Celebrity nutritionist and chef Melissa Petitto was also onsite creating healthy juices and smoothies with JCPenny’s national brand juicers.  Guests previewed a variety of juicers/blenders in every price range including JCPenney’s Bella High Power Juice Extractor and Magic Bullet Blender.

dancing with the stars karina smirnoff

I definitely left with fitness inspiration!

dancing with the stars workout



JCPenney provided clothing samples and a gift bag.  Images 1-3 are via JCPenney.  As always, all opinions are my own.




Canon’s The Big Moment with The New York City Ballet & George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

There was a time when I had big dreams of growing up to become a ballet dancer.  Christmas times were once filled with rehearsals, Nutcracker performances and even missed school to tour with the Hartford Ballet.

A childhood dream fulfilled.

hartford ballet nutcrackerhartford ballet 1These scanned photos of the Party Scene in the Hartford Ballet’s Nutcracker were taken at the Bushnell Theatre in the early 90’s by my father  on a minature speed graphic with a very fine lens. My how technology has changed!

In retrospect, dancing up until my early teen years instilled in me a particular kind of dedication and perseverance for something that I was fiercely passionate about.  I never imagined that decades later I would have a dream day with The New York City Ballet: a big moment orchestrated by Canon.

With my friend Brianne –  I began my day at Lincoln center, venturing to the New York City Ballet’s sunlit rehearsal-studios through a corridor strewn with images showcasing George Balanchine’s ballets.  Prior to taking a ballet class, we received instruction on how to use the world’s most compact and light-weight full-featured DSLR: The Canon EOS Rebel SL1.  As a mother, writer and amateur photographer, carrying around my clunky and heavy DSLR is truly a labor of love.  I don’t want to compromise on image quality when working or capturing precious family memories.  I found the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 to be an ideal lightweight, portable camera with impressive image quality (in such a small body!).

Canon's The Big Moment with the New York City BalletCanon's The Big Moment with the New York City Ballet

When I viewed images of our ballet class led by New York City Ballet principal dancers: Abi Stafford, Jared Angle and Daniel Ulbrich I couldn’t help but laugh at the seriousness in my facial expressions.  Revisiting dance with the lull of an accompanying pianist, in a studio typically filled with renowned dancers of unfathomable dedication was overwhelming. 

Canon's The Big Moment with the New York City Ballet

The ballet class highlight most definitely came when we were treated to an up-close pas de deux of the dance of the Sugar Plum and Cavalier, gracefully articulated by Abi Stafford and Jared Angle.

Canon's The Big Moment with the New York City Ballet Canon's The Big Moment with the New York City Ballet

The Canon EOS Rebel SL1 captured many of their movements beautifully.

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 New York City Ballet Dancers #BigMoment New York City Ballet Principal Dancers

The day ended with a backstage tour of the David Koch Theater and viewing of The New York City Ballet’s George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.  I have attended many different productions and always dreamed of seeing Balanchine’s choreography.  To say it was breathtaking, flawless and incredibly moving is an understatement.  It was pure magic from the moment I heard the familiar pull of Tschaikovsky’s score.  I tried to soak in every single element – The NYCB Orchestra, intricate set details, ornate scenery, elaborate costumes and brilliant dancers were mesmerizing.  It was more that I could have ever imagined from a live ballet.  I promised myself that I would return to Lincoln Center someday with my own little ballerina.  For now, I have a special gift for her tucked under our tree – autographed point shoes and memorabilia, courtesy of Canon. 

Canon's The Big Moment with the New York City BalletNew York City Ballet Nutcracker Sugar Plum Fairy

A Big Moment indeed.

Special thanks to The New York City Ballet, Canon USA Imaging, and the entire team that made this #BigMoment possible.  I was not compensated for this post.  I received transportation, lunch, a Nutcracker Ticket and gift bag. Images 3-7 and 10 are via Getty Images for Canon.  Image 11 is via Paul Kolnik.  As always, opinions are my own.


A New Dance School

It was time to make the switch.  Lucia started taking ballet lessons when she was two-and-a-half and her love for dance hasn’t waned in the least.  After having an experience at a proper ballet school (at her fabulous fourth birthday party, which I will write about someday) – I’ve been searching for a dance school in our area that focuses a bit more on technique.   

She had her first ballet/tap/gymnastics combo class today.  The teacher was lovely and I hoped that Lucia would prefer the “new school” (which she did!) within three minutes of the class starting. The tap portion (which she was really excited about) was hilarious. 

Here she is getting individualized instruction to tap quietly with a controlled leg:

This is how well she followed her teachers instruction:

Watch out Rockettes.  There’s a new Ginger Rogers in town.