13 Things to Do in NYC this Summer

Summer is here, and if you’re planning a getaway to New York City or if you’re just a native wondering what to do to beat the heat, there are many wonderful options for you.  Whether exploring solo, on a first date, or looking for family fun, Vanessa Seis, Fall Fair Director of Affordable Art Fair NYC, has compiled a list of events, fun locations, art exhibitions, and cultural activities that will help you make the most of summer in the NYC area.

Affordable Art Fair NYC

Affordable Art Fair NYC’s Spring Fair courtesy of Phillip Reed

1.  We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 at Brooklyn Museum
This amazing exhibition features the works of over 40 black women artists who were creating work during the emergence of second-wave feminism, 1965-85. One of my favorite pieces is “Revolutionary (Angela Davis)” by Wadsworth A. Jarrell. It’s incredibly powerful and inspiring!

2.  The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s and PROCESS LAB: CITIZEN DESIGN at Cooper Hewitt Design Museum
On VIEW: April 07, 2017 – August 20, 2017
The Jazz Age is a flashback to the 1920’s, featuring over 400 examples of interior design, industrial design, decorative art, jewelry, fashion, and architecture, as well as related music and film. PROCESS LAB: CITIZEN DESIGN on the other hand is an exhibition that invites you to think about what you and your community care about, what the issues are, and what design tactics you would propose to make a positive change. It’s fascinating to realize how much you’re impacted by the design of your surroundings and it’s exciting to think about the changes that can be  made to improve your community.

3.  Arts in Bushwick Community Day 2017 Hosted by Arts in Bushwick at House of Yes
DATE: June 17, 2017
A super fun day for the entire family, Arts in Bushwick Community Day features art, live music, performances, kid’s activities, and so much more. Make sure to pick up information about Bushwick Open Studios in September, one of my favorite open studios events in NYC.

4.  JUST UNDER 100: NEW PRINTS 2017/SUMMER Selected by Katherine Bradford
ON VIEW: June 17 – September 16, 2017
Look out for work by my friend and artist Cary Hulbert. Cary works primarily in print and installation, and I’m super excited we got her on board for the upcoming fall edition of the  Affordable Art Fair NYC, where Cary will be producing a Limited Edition Print that will be for sale at the fair.

5.  Circle Shade – 2πR4 by Eva Jensen Design at Socrates Sculpture Park
ON VIEW: JUNE 21, 2017 – OCTOBER 28, 2017
In the summer, there is nothing better than blue skies and large-scale installations!

6.  Katja Novitskova, EARTH POTENTIAL presented by Public Art Fund
ON VIEW: from June 22 – November 9, 2017 June 22 in City Hall Park Seven large aluminum sculptures will be scattered throughout City Hall Park, inviting passersby to reflect on the ways in which we see—and comprehend—the potential of the Earth. I can’t wait to experience how the sculptures will interact with their surrounding and how people will respond to it!


7.  MoMA PS1 Warm Up 2017 Outdoor Music Series
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The Ultimate Online Kids Party Guide Is Here

Do you have a party coming up for a child between 1 and 18 years old?

Yes? Perfect! We have great news.


There is a new and exciting website out there that has been designed to help Moms and Dads like you with this daunting task. KidsParties.Party aims to please with their user-friendly pages and infinite lists of highly recommended entertainers, party places, rentals, and more for every state across the nation!

The KidsParties.Party goal is to be the number one party source for parents. Unlike other party directories, they aim to create a space that anyone can feel comfortable using and will help in planning a successful and memorable birthday party.

Their site also includes some unique features intended to benefit you!

You can email entertainers directly through the KidsParties.Party site. If you have hired an entertainer listed or are thinking about one, you can see reviews from other customers as well as leave your own. There is also a new system that allows entertainers to be star rated!

With over 120 party categories, you will find everything you need for your next birthday, graduation, or other children’s event. Everything is organized by state, but you can even narrow your results further by county.

Clowns, princess characters, laser tag venues, petting zoos, and party favors are only a few examples of what you can find here. And the fun does not stop there!

Their blog continues to be updated with the most useful information for parents struggling around their child’s birthday. KidsParties.Party’s writers have even taken the time to write hundreds of completely unique birthday wishes.

Find the perfect wish for your son or daughter and write it up in a blank card! Save yourself the hassle of trying to find the most special card for your child. These exclusive birthday messages are organized into age categories and cover every passion your little one might have!

Kids Parties

KidsParties.Party goes above and beyond making your life easier!

Their site also has a completely free and user-friendly software that allows you to make your own birthday party invitations. Customize these creative templates with your own text, fonts, and images, or start from scratch on a blank card. Invites print best on high-quality 5×7 photograph paper – but you will be most impressed with how much money you have saved yourself by printing these at home!

The mission at KidsParties.Party is to take business directories to an entirely new level. They allow parents to become a part of this process; users like you get to review and rate every entertainer, allowing others to see your party experiences and giving you the opportunity to read up on theirs.

This site will become your new go-to for every party in your future. You will never again waste hours Google searching for nearby magicians or banquet halls. Trust the kid party professionals, and your next party is sure to be a hit!

Get started now: https://www.kidsparties.party/

Thank you to Danielle Ternyila for contributing this article.  Danielle is a published novelist and graduate of the Rowan University Writing Arts Program. She now writes for FunNewJersey.com and KidsParties.Party. She loves to travel everywhere and anywhere in the world, usually with her dog by her side.

Lightning Strikes this Friday when Cars 3 Comes to Theaters + $25 Fandango Gift Card Giveaway with THREE Winners!

My son’s bedroom has been decorated with a Cars theme since he first saw the movie back when he as just two years old.  Lightning McQueen has been one of his very favorite characters ever since, and as you can imagine, we’ve seen Cars more times than I can count.  Needless to say, he was VERY excited when he learned that Cars 3 was coming out, and he’d been waiting rather anxiously to see it.  The big moment finally happened for us last night.

Cars 3 - Lightning & Cruz

Over the past couple of months, I’ve heard people expressing concerns over the new addition to the Cars franchise.  Some didn’t like what they saw in the trailer–no one wants to see our beloved #95 hurt, right?  Others were disappointed in Cars 2, and I have to admit, I happened to be one of those.  Still, I had hope, and after seeing the extended sneak peek of the film at the Cars 3:  Road to the Races Tour, I was pretty confident I was going to like this one.  I was right.

Cars 3

After more than a decade of racing, Lightning McQueen finds himself surrounded by younger, faster cars.  A devastating loss to his main rival, Jackson Storm, prompts him to team up with  high-spirited, high-tech trainer Cruz Ramirez, with the hope that she can keep him from having to retire and become just another brand promoting merchandise to his fans.  Lightning only has one chance to get himself back on top, but he finds that the latest technology isn’t what’s going to get him there.  With Cruz by his side, he goes back to his roots and they both get a little dirty.  Okay, maybe more than a little.

Cars 3 - Miss Fritter

Lightning’s return to his roots allows some screen time for the original characters we loved from Radiator Springs, including a few heartfelt flashbacks featuring the late Doc Hudson. Surprisingly, it’s also an effective way to introduce a few interesting, new characters, like the formidable Miss Fritter pictured above.  There’s plenty of action in that scene, and it really throws Cruz into the middle of things.

We also meet a group of veterans whom Pixar based on real life racing legends.  They’re a great bunch of characters who provide an important link to the Fabulous Hudson Hornet and to the roots of car racing.

Cars 3

Lightning and Cruz both learn a lot about racing and about themselves, and they come out winners in their own ways.  As for the ending, I can’t say I’m totally on board with it, but I would say that I’m about 95% there.  (See what I just did?)  While it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to see happen, you have to love where they went with the story.  That’s about as much as I can tell you without giving too much away, but I think you’ll like it too.  Cars 3 is a story about relationships, and it really brings back the warmth and emotion of the first movie.  If you were a fan of that one, you won’t want to miss Cars 3.

Cars 3 opens this Friday, June 16th, so you won’t have to wait long to find out exactly what happens.  Grab your Cars 3 tickets from Fandango now to make sure you get a seat at your preferred showing!  If you want to get really fancy, you can also pick up some Cars 3 themed gift cards:

Fandango - Cars 3 Gift Cards

Fandango is also giving you guys a chance to win one of three $25 gift cards! (These are good for use on Fandango.com and not restricted to Cars 3.)  Open to US residents who are 18 and older.  Ends 6/29/17 at 11:59 PM ET.  Good luck!

Cars 3 Fandango Giveaway [Read more…]

The New VIZIO SmartCast Sound Bar System Has Chromecast Built Right In!

I remember the days when televisions were televisions, radios were radios, and we had cassette players in cars like it was yesterday.  Ah, the simplicity of a small selection of channels to choose from, and the satisfaction of popping in that brand new mixtape your crush made you…

Things are all-in-one these days, and as much as I miss the simplicity of days gone by, I really do love the convenience of having plenty of tech options around my home–especially when it comes to audio.  Two of my favorite things to do are listen to music and watch movies, so good speakers are kind of a priority for me.  The sound that comes through a television’s built-in speakers, however, is often underwhelming. I’m the kind of person who loves good, strong, rich audio whether it’s movies or music–a good sound system is a must when buying a new car, so of course I want that kind of premium sound in my home too. Sadly, TV speakers just don’t really do it for me.

VIZIO SmartCast Wireless Sound Bar System SB3651-E6

In addition to wanting good sound, I also want something low profile that won’t stick out like a sore thumb, as well as something cost-efficient. I know, I’m picky. But these are my requirements, and they’re happily met by the VIZIO SmartCast Wireless Sound Bar System, which we received in exchange for review.

We’ve been using this sound bar system in our home for the past month, and we’ve been really pleased with its performance!

Vizio Sound Bar

The setup was incredibly easy and only took a few minutes. For once, the included instructions were clear, well-written, and featured lots of helpful illustrations. I really wish more companies would use VIZIO as an example here, because they honestly made installation a breeze.  You can wall mount your speakers or go with a simple table top like we did–what ever fits your space best.

As for the sound quality, we’ve been impressed. The last time we went shopping for a sound bar, we tested and returned three of them before we found one that actually seemed to make a difference. Since we’ve used so many of them, I feel confident that this one is awesome – it definitely beats the competition. The dialogue is really clear, which is important when you’re watching movies with kids who won’t sit still or keep quiet.  Have you ever discovered new dialogue in a movie you seen millions of times before?  I’m always fascinated when that happens, and this system will do that for you.   The bass sound is great too, and while it won’t disturb your neighbors, it will add an extra level of depth that will make you feel like you’re watching in a real movie theater or listening at a live concert.

Vizio Sound Bar Subwoofer and Side Speakers

And now we come to what I love best about this sound bar system.  As a family, we have just loved what the VIZIO Sound Bar has done for our weekend movie night experiences, but I’m the one who really gives it a workout.  In the past, I’ve mentioned how I almost always have music playing in the house, and during the workday, you can bet either Pandora or Spotify is on in the background.  Since Chromecast is built right in, you can play audio from any Chromecast-enabled app, and that’s just what I’ve been doing.  With a simple tap, I cast my music directly to the sound bar–no TV power required.  I wasn’t unhappy with the single speaker I was using previously, but a nice 5.1 system is definitely a big sound upgrade.  With the satellite speakers and subwoofer, it provides a much richer surround sound that really does fill the whole room.

Vizio Wirless Sound Bar Remote

The sound bar system comes with a remote control for basic functions like subwoofer settings and volume, but you can also control it with your mobile device through the VIZIO SmartCast app.   Again, you can cast directly from within a Chromecast-enable app, but if you have multiple SmartCast devices, the app is an easy way to control them all from one place.  It’s also Bluetooth-enabled, and if you’re a Google Home user, you can even control the sound bar with your voice.  There are a lot of options here, but don’t be overwhelmed.  There are real, printed instructions for setting up everything.

If you’re looking for new speakers for your home entertainment system, I think you’ll really like the VIZIO SmartCast Wireless Sound Bar System.  With tons of great features and superb sound quality for just $249.99, it has to be one of the very best values out there for sound bars.  Check it out at Vizio.com.


A Motorized Umbrella that Opens AND Closes with the Touch of a Button + Giveaway

How’s the weather where you are?  The sun is trying to come out here, but lately, it’s been rainy more often than not.  Don’t tell my husband, but I have a Father’s Day gift that will help him keep dry and looking pretty snazzy during his daily commute in less than perfect weather:  the ShedRain e-Motion™ Motorized Open & Close Compact Umbrella.

Note the “Open & Close” in the name.  With the push of one button, the ShedRain e-Motion can be both opened and closed, and the canopy doesn’t just close, it also slides all the way down to the handle.  That means you only need one hand to operate this, so you can go ahead and do what you like with the other hand.  I suggest using it as a bagel holder, but if you’d rather carry a briefcase or a coffee, I’ll understand.

ShedRain E-Motion Motorized Umbrella

I can honestly say this is my first experience with a battery-powered umbrella, and it’s just as cool as it sounds.  The built-in, rechargeable battery is responsible for the motorized magic of the e-Motion.  The package includes an international voltage charger (100-240V), and you get between 120-150 open/close cycles per charge.  That’s a lot of rain between charges.

ShedRain E-Motion Umbrella Buttons

Press and hold the Up Arrow to open. Press and hold the Down Arrow to close.  Easy peasy.

ShedRain Umbrella Charging

The LED light on the handle will turn red to let you know it’s time to charge.  (Another sign is if the umbrella opens and closes slowly.)  Once it’s fully charged, the light turns green.  Don’t worry if you forget to charge it; the ShedRain e-Motion will also operate as a manual umbrella.

This is a nifty gadget, and it’s made me think of an umbrella as a tech item for the first time ever.  It’s more than just a gadget though–it’s a really nice umbrella with or without the motorization.  As you might expect, there’s a little more heaviness in the handle than you find in your average compact umbrella, but overall it’s fairly lightweight.  The frame is made of fiberglass and aluminum, and the fabric is coated with Teflon.  It’s a very sturdy umbrella, and I can see this being just what my husband needs on those rainy and windy days in NYC.

ShedRain E-Motion Umbrella Cover

Another feature worth mentioning is the case.  Getting a case back onto an umbrella can be like trying to refold a map.  This case that comes with the ShedRain e-Motion is roomy AND it has a zipper.  You will not have any problems getting this cover on over a sloppily closed umbrella, and despite it’s roominess, the cover stays put.  The fabric is nice and thick too.

ShedRain E-Motion Umbrella

The ShedRain e-Motion can be purchased at ShedRain.com for $99.00.  You might be thinking that’s a heavy price tag, but let me assure you, this is a very high quality umbrella.  Once you get your hands on one, you will be able to feel the difference.  ShedRain offers a limited Lifetime Warranty, and every umbrella they make is designed to hold up in adverse weather conditions and withstand the stresses of use over time.  I’d say this one umbrella is worth about a billion of the ones my husband buys in the city.   Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but seriously, this is the real deal.

ShedRain is generously offering Game On Mom readers a chance to win an e-Motion Motorized Umbrella!  Giveaway is open to US residents who are 18 and older.  Ends 6/23/17 at 11:59 ET.  Good luck!

ShedRain Umbrella Giveaway [Read more…]