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Family Road Trip Survival Guide: 4 Tips To Have A Peaceful Car Ride With Kids

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Road trips are fantastic adventures for the family. It’s the gateway to experiences that your family members are going to have as you spend quality time together. At the same time, family road trips can be quite challenging when you have kids. You’ll have to be creative to get the children settled down as you spend hours to get to your destination. It’s going to take effort to keep them behaved, and you’ll need to be extremely patient with their needs while on the road. Despite these, it’s certainly not impossible to have a nice, enjoyable ride with your family. This article will help you survive the family road trip by giving four tips to have a peaceful ride with your kids.

  1. Prepare your car

Preparing your car means that you ensure it’s properly maintained and equipped with what you need. Since you’re going to spend a lot of time in your vehicle, it’s crucial that your car is prepared to take on this road trip to avoid or lessen troubles and be safe. From the mechanics to setting the ambiance, here are a few measures to take:

  • Have your car inspected professionally if you’re unable to check it skillfully. Ensure the windshield wipers are functional in case of a downpour, refill your coolant to avoid overheating, double-check the air pressure in all wheels, and test the brakes, among other things.
  • Consider a car rental if you doubt the capacity of your car for a long haul.
  • Opt to soundproof a car to lessen the noise and the youngsters from being irritable.
  • Get roadside assistance if it’s not a part of your auto insurance yet. It’s not an unnecessary expense especially when you experience unforeseen circumstances while on your trip.
  • Make sure your child’s car seat is inspected and safe.
  1. Drive in the evening

Driving at night can be beneficial because kids can just sleep on the way. This means that they will be less irritable and you’ll have to do less feeding and changing. In addition, there’ll be fewer distractions for you or whoever is driving the car. There are definitely safety measures and other considerations before you decide to drive at night. Some examples are:

  • Your driving experience. Driving at night requires more skill and concentration compared to driving during the day.
  • The driver’s vision. It’s undeniable that there’s decreased visibility at night and you won’t be able to see much compared to when it’s daytime.
  • Your route. You need to plan your route ahead to know areas with sharp corners, steep descents, and other hazards.
  • The weather. If there is a forecast for a downpour or snowstorm, it’s best to stay safe and opt to drive in the day.
  1. Pack the essentials

Packing road trip essentials means that you just don’t pack clothes and other things for your trip, but also have a bag specifically for the long drive. It’s vital that you have this handy and within reach so that you can attend to the needs of the kids, lessen tantrums, and have a peaceful car ride. Here are absolute necessities for an epic road trip:

  • Bring snacks for your kids and yourself. People can tend to be irritable when hungry, young and old alike. Make sure that you have tasty, healthy snacks for the family, and don’t forget variety. Kids usually want different kinds of food on different days, so bringing several of their favorites will give them the chance to choose as they please.
  • Take new toys. In case your kids are awake, you can use new toys to distract them. The beauty of new toys is the unfamiliarity, which will make them more engrossed in playing compared to when giving them old ones.
  • Don’t forget the security blankets and binkies. Long drives can cause stress, insecurity, and irritability to your children. Your kids will feel safer by ensuring that their comforting objects are within reach.
  • Emergency or first aid kit. You have to prepare for the worst when traveling with kids, so it’s crucial to make sure that you have a first aid kit handy. Disinfectants, cold pack, pain medicines, insect repellent, fun Band-aids, sunscreen, and others.
  1. Dress them comfortably

Dressing your kids comfortably means dressing them appropriately for the weather and ensuring that they won’t be having difficulties when trying to move. It’s crucial to make them feel comfortable for a long drive so that you have a peaceful car ride. You’re in a better mood when you’re wearing comfy clothes, and your kids are no different. Consider pajamas, stretchy leggings, and cotton shirts when on a road trip.

While having quality time with your family is of utmost importance, you want a road trip that won’t make you crazy. Prepare everything necessary and prioritize safety and comfort. Have a peaceful car ride with your kids by following the tips we provided, and you’ll surely have a great start for that holiday.

Events

Betty Buckley Has Created, Wrote and Narrated The Mayfly, An Animated Short Film

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The Mayfly, Betty Buckley’s animated short film.

Tony Award-winning, stage and screen icon Betty Buckley has created, wrote and narrated The Mayfly, an animated short film that will have its world debut at the prestigious American Documentary and Animation Film Festival in Palm Springs, Calif. on March 24, 2024. Tickets are available to the public HERE 

Animated traditionally in 2D, The Mayfly is the story of Megalyn Mayfly, who goes against all expectations and dedicates her short life to music and dance. Her quest takes her from Central Park West to the Upper East Side’s Carlyle Hotel where she dances her final opus at the elegant Cafe Carlyle.

Inspired by a real event witnessed by Ms. Buckley at a Judy Collins concert at the Café Carlyle in New York City, The Mayflyis a love letter to music and New York City.

Ms. Buckley said, “What I observed was so lovely —a mayfly, dancing as if part of the show itself.  I felt the mayfly’s dance was intentional. And from this experience, the story of Megalyn emerged. It’s a film that I hope encourages us to embrace our passions and break free from societal norms.”

The Mayfly is directed by four-time Emmy-nominee Sue Perrotto (Beavis and Butt-head Do America; Pooh’s Heffalump Movie, Daria).  The music is composed by Grammy-nominated Christian Jacob (Clint Eastwood’s Sully and The 15:17 to Paris). BluBlu Studios is the animation house.

The creative team includes character designer Eugene Salandra, production designer Meryl Rosner and storyboard artist Viki Anderson. Produced by Melissa Coolidge and Bradford Coolidge. Buckley and Perrotto also serve as Executive Producers.

Betty Buckley

Betty Buckley

Betty Buckley is a legendary, multi-award winning actress/singer whose career spans theater, film, television and concert halls around the world.  She is a 2012 Theatre Hall of Fame inductee and the 2017 recipient of the Julie Harris Awards from The Actor’s Fund for Artistic Achievement and received The Lifetime Achievement Award from The American Songbook Association in 2023.

Ms. Buckley co-stars in the film Imaginary for Blumhouse Productions to be released by Lionsgate March 8, 2024.  She co-starred with James McAvoy in the M. Night Shyamalan hit film Split, one of the top international box office hits of 2017.  She received a Saturn Award Nomination for Best Featured Actress for her work in the film.

She won a Tony Award for her performance as Grizabella, the Glamour Cat, in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS and received her second Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a musical for her performance as Hesione in Triumph of Love.  She received an Olivier Award nomination for her critically acclaimed interpretation of Norma Desmond in the London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard, which she repeated to more rave reviews on Broadway.

Her other films include her debut in Brian de Palma’s screen version of Stephen King’s Carrie, Bruce Beresford’s Tender Mercies, Roman Polanski’s Frantic, Woody Allen’s Another Woman, Lawrence Kasden’s Wyatt Earp and M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening.

Her other Broadway credits include 1776, Pippin, Song and Dance, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Carrie.  She headlined the first National Tour of the new Broadway production of Hello, Dolly! in 2018/2019.

Off-Broadway credits include the world premiere of Horton Foote’s The Old Friends for which she received a Drama Desk Nomination in 2014, White Lies, Lincoln Center’s Elegies, the original NYSF production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Eros Trilogy, Juno’s Swans and I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It On the Road.  Regional credits include The Perfectionist, Gypsy, The Threepenny Opera, Camino Real, Buffalo Gal, Arsenic and Old Lace, The Old Friends at Houston’s Alley Theatre and Grey Gardens at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, NY and The Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles in 2016 for which she received an Ovation Award Nomination.

In London, she starred in Promises, Promises for which she was nominated for An Evening Standard Award and in the 2013 British premiere of Dear World.

On television, Buckley has a recurring role on “Law & Order SVU” for NBC and guest starred on the Fox/Warner Bros. TV show “The Cleaning Lady.”  She co-starred in the third season of AMC’s hit series “Preacher” and has guest starred on The CW hit “Supergirl”, the NBC Series “Chicago Med” and ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars.”  For HBO, she has appeared on “Getting On”, “The Leftovers”, “The Pacific” and for three seasons on OZ.  She starred as Abby Bradford in the hit series “Eight is Enough.” She appeared twice on The Kennedy Center Honors and was a guest star in numerous television series, miniseries and films for television including Evergreen, Roses for the Rich and Without a Trace. She has been nominated for two Daytime Emmy Awards® for her work on Taking a Stand, an After School special.

In 2022, she released the compilation recording Betty Buckley Sings Stephen Sondheim as a tribute to the late composer. The recording comprises 24 songs Buckley has recorded of Sondheim’s music over the span of her career.  She has recorded 18 CD’s: including Ghostlight, produced by T Bone Burnett released in 2014, Story Songs in 2017 and Hope in 2018.  Buckley tours in concert worldwide with her ensemble of musicians and in 2015 was featured in the Royal Albert Hall concert of Follies, in celebration of Stephen Sondheim’s 85th birthday.

She received a Grammy Nomination for Stars and the Moon, Betty Buckley Live at the Donmar. She received her second Grammy Nomination for the audio book The Diaries of Adam and Eve.

For over forty years, Ms. Buckley has been a teacher of scene study and song interpretation, giving workshops in Manhattan and various universities and performing Arts Conservatories around the country.  She has been a faculty member in the theatre department of the University of Texas at Arlington and teaches regularly at the T. Schreiber Studio in New York City, The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX and in Los Angeles, Denver and Oklahoma.

In 2009, Ms. Buckley received the Texas Medal of Arts Award for Theater and was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in 2007.  In 2015, she was awarded The Stephen Bruton Award by The Lone Star Film Festival for her work in film and music. In 2018, she received the Sarah Siddons Award for outstanding theatrical performance in a Chicago theatrical production. She has two honorary doctorates from The Boston Conservatory and Marymount College and has been honored with three Lifetime Achievement Awards for her contributions to theater from the New England Theater Conference, The Shubert Theater in New Haven and the Terry Schreiber School in NYC.

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Food and Drink

Blu On The Hudson The Destination For a Perfect Dinning Experience

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I first wrote about Blu On The Hudson 8 months ago. This perfect mini vacation, is one stop on the 158 bus or a ferry ride away. Located on the Hudson River, at 1200 Harbor Boulevard, in Weehawken, you will find breath taking views, a calming atmosphere and food that rivals  the best 4 – 5 star restaurants in Manhattan.This is the spot where Arron Burr shot Hamilton.

Blu on the Hudson is spacious with over 30,000 square foot, so far, but they are creating a space that I was lucky enough to see. This glass enclosed and outdoor upstairs will rival every wedding, event space within a 2 hour drive.  I am letting you know, now is the time to book your event before it is booked out.

Blu Hospitality Group, truly wants to impress you and goes out of their way to do so. You are greated by a specious luxurious space and a large fireplace.

Beautiful walls, several dining room with views, alcoves for a intimate dinning moments and bar that you will want everyone to know your name, awaits. High ceilings and modern decor makes everyone who enters forget their stress and just relax. You can feel your body ease.

From moment one, you are made to feel like Blu’s welcomed and invited guests.

Sarah

My server Sarah was a prime example of this.

Starting off the experience, my guest, writer and friend Craig and I decided to indulge with cocktails. I had the Oil On The Skin ($16) made with Aperol, Strawberry, Grapefruit and Prosecco. This was refreshing and the perfect summer drink. Craig, who was excited by the amount of Tuffle inspired food and drink choices ordered the Blu Seasonal Black Truffle Bloody Mary ($18) and was thrilled. Spicy, with garnishes that made this drink an appetizer in itself had sure this brunch was already a hit.

When looking at the menu I knew we had to try the Ricotta Stuffed Pancakes ($21). Topped with a Blueberry Compote and served with organic Maple Syrup, these surpassed my expectations. The ricotta had a lemon zest, the pancakes fluffy with crispy edges. I was already imitating Sally in the film “When Harry Met Sally” after my first bite. I will definitely be coming back, for this alone.

Already on a bacon kick thanks to David Burke, I also wanted to try the Thick Cut Wagyu “Bacon” ($26), that is slow cooked in a soy caramel glaze. This is only served at dinner, but luckily I got to try this. With a savory salty crunch, this was the perfect compliment to the pancakes. Sweet, then savory, crunchy, then tender, what Blu offers the dinning experience is a sensual layered, all senses dive, into carnal pleasures.

I now needed the perfect Iced Coffee and again the simplest of needs had a taste sensation.

For entree’s more truffles for Craig with the Truffled Mushroom Omelette ($22) filled with White Cheddar, egg whites and one yolk served with a side salad. Craig was in heaven with his light as a feather, but flavorful dish.

 

Craig also ordered the Parmesan Truffle Fries ($12), and I am so glad he did. These were bite fulls of erotic delights.Loving artichokes, I ordered Eggs on Artichoke ($24), which consisted of poached eggs, pecorino, roasted tomatoes in a light béarnaise sauce. The piece de resistance of this dish, were the lightly fried artichokes that added texture, then melted into your mouth with a pop of flavor. Even the roasted tomatoes added an arousing impact to the tongue. When food is done well, sex definitely comes second.
The fabulous warm and inviting manager Andrew, wanted us to try his favorite dish, the Jumbo Lump Crabmeat and Shrimp Cobb Salad ($29). Topped with Deviled Eggs, Bacon, Tomatoes, Corn and Avocado, this was served over Market Greens and a feast to behold. The crabmeat was tender and the shrimp succulent, but the surprise here was the corn, which added so much to the dish. This is great luncheon entree when you want to indulge and also stay healthy.

Now I was so full, I was not going to do desserts, but feast or famine and feast it was. The adorable Sarah made sure we were given these beautiful dishes to indulge.

First up the Tiramisu ($14), which is one of the best I have ever had. Extra creamy and not overly sweet. An added layer of thin chocolate added to the decadence. This dessert also puts on a show.

The most luxurious, extravagant haven of food for the senses has to be the Chocolate S’Mores ($14). Served with a gluten free graham cracker crust, Chocolate Mouse and Marshmallow. Tiny chunks of sea salt make this decadent and sweet, with pops of indulgence.

A coffee ($6) ended our foray of culinary ecstasy. To quote myself from my last experience at Blu “Food and sex have always gone hand in hand and eating at Blu On The Hudson, will make all your senses take flight. This restaurant potions of food, drinks and presentation justify and make the whole experience worth the trip and the cost.”

To Executive Chef Juan Carols Ortega, you make my body sing with your creations. This is definitely one of my favorite places to eat. Blu is exquisite perfection.

You can follow Blu on The Hudson at @bluonthehudson.

 

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Food and Drink

Splendid Cocktails on St. Patrick’s Day with Bushmills Irish Whiskey

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St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. The day is full of joy, but you don’t have to wait until March 17 to get lucky.  You will love these amazing cocktails to toast on the day of green and glory from Bushmills Irish Whiskey.

The Original variation is quite fascinating. It is bold with a peppery undertone, yet smooth in construction like velvet. It perfectly combines their pure single malt whiskey and a lighter grain whiskey. It warms your heart to sip, so makes for a perfect holiday mix. Try the love at home this St. Patrick’s Day.

The Gold Rush

Ingredients

1.5 parts Bushmills Original

1 part fresh lemon juice

1 part honey syrup

4 sprigs fresh mint

Lemon wheel

Method – Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 10 seconds and strain over fresh ice

 

The  Irish Coffee

Ingredients:

50ml Bushmills Black Bush

1 tsp demerara sugar

150ml black coffee

Lightly whipped fresh cream

Coffee beans to garnish

Method – Add all of the ingredients to an Irish coffee glass and stir, leaving space at the top for the fresh cream. Slowly pour the cream on top and garnish with coffee beans. Pour the cream over the spoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Events

Eli Marcus Brings His Networking Event to Fushimi Times Square

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Eli Marcus, Chief Marketing Officer of NYC’s largest circulation Visitor Magazine, City Guide, has done it again. On February 28th he organized a wonderful networking event for those in the hospitality and theater communities. And true to form he did so in a beautiful new restaurant on West 43rd Street off 8th Avenue – in the heart of Times Square. Fushimi Times Square is the latest outlet for the Japanese group who has had success in Staten Island, Bay Ridge and Williamsburg. Their restaurant at 311 West 43rd Street is a welcome entry to the area and now that the scaffolding is gone from that block it is a pleasant walk to the welcoming door of this beautiful space.

Fushimi Beautiful decorations

The decor has a beautiful sculpture of a fish hanging from the ceiling which depicts the delicious selections of sushi and sashimi prepared by the talented chefs.

The talented chefs are in view as they create these delicacies.

Guests at the evenings event were served appetizers of amazing tuna tartare and a variety of warm dishes of dumplings, and eggrolls – pork, shrimp and vegetarian.

Tuna tartare is a burst of flavor

Dumplings and Eggrolls were served

Barry Huang, manager of Fushimi Times Square is a silhouette in the long entry way to this beautifully designed restaurant.

Eli and Ramon

Eli invited some interesting people to the event. Publicist to megastars, Ramon Hervey II, has an interesting podcast  and is the author of The Fame Game.

Eli and Hugh Hysell

Hugh Hysell is a major force in the New York social circles and it was great to see him at the event.

Errol, Quinn and Eli

Errol Rappaport, promoter, and singer, actress, Quinn Lemley, who just returned from London where she performed her one woman show about Rita Hayworth joined Eli at the event.

Rocksax gave out merch to lucky winners

Rocksax, purveyor of officially licensed music merchandise was in attendance and gave out some of their product to some lucky attendees.

The beautiful bar

In addition to the wonderful food, Fushimi’s beautiful bar is a welcome spot to relax.

The crowd

As usual the attendees had an excellent time meeting, chatting and enjoying the food

Barry and Eli

Eli looks on as the Fushimi manager, Barry Huang thanks the guests for coming

Barry and the DJ

Barry and the DJ kept the food, drinks and music going through the event

I look forward to returning to Fushimi at 311 West 43rd Street for a full dinner of their excellent visionary Japanese-fusion dishes.

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Food and Drink

How to Spot High-Quality Mushrooms: Your Ultimate Guide

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How to Spot High-Quality Mushrooms: Your Ultimate Guide

When it comes to the culinary world, mushrooms hold a unique place. They’re not just another ingredient but a delicacy that can elevate dishes with their distinct flavors and textures. However, not all mushrooms are created equal. Recognizing high-quality mushrooms can significantly impact your cooking and dining experience. Here’s your ultimate guide to identifying the crème de la crème of fungi, ensuring every bite is a journey to gastronomic bliss.

Appearance: The First Impression

The initial tell-tale sign of a high-quality mushroom, including Magic Mushroom Gummies, is its appearance. Look for mushrooms and mushroom products with a fresh, vibrant look. They should possess a smooth, unblemished surface. Any signs of bruising or discoloration often indicate mishandling or age. The color should be consistent with the variety of the mushroom; for example, a Shiitake should have a rich, brown hue, while a Portobello should boast a deep, dark brown complexion. Similarly, Magic Mushroom Gummies should have a uniform color that reflects their natural ingredients, without any irregular spots or fading, ensuring their quality and potency.

Firmness: The Touch Test

After visual inspection, gently squeeze the mushroom. It should feel firm to the touch, not slimy or mushy. A high-quality mushroom will have a certain resilience, bouncing back after you apply slight pressure. This firmness is a good indicator of freshness and proper storage. Mushrooms that feel too soft or start to disintegrate under gentle pressure are past their prime.

Aroma: The Scent of Freshness

A fresh, high-quality mushroom will have a mild, earthy smell. This aroma should be pleasant and subtle, not overpowering or unpleasant. Any hint of sourness or an ammonia-like smell is a red flag, signaling that the mushroom is beginning to spoil. Trust your nose; it can be one of your greatest allies in determining the quality of mushrooms.

Dryness: The Moisture Balance

While mushrooms naturally contain moisture, they should not appear wet or slimy. Excessive moisture can indicate improper storage, leading to faster degradation of the mushroom. On the flip side, you want mushrooms that are dry enough, as this can mean they’re old and have lost their natural juiciness. The goal is to find mushrooms that strike the perfect balance, looking plump and hydrated without any wetness on the surface.

Stem and Cap: The Integrity Check

High-quality mushrooms should have caps and stems that are intact. The cap should be securely attached to the stem, indicating that the mushroom was harvested correctly and handled carefully. Any signs of separation between the cap and stem could suggest aging or rough handling. Additionally, the gills (located under the cap) should be intact and not overly exposed, which is another sign of freshness.

Size and Shape: The Uniformity Aspect

While mushrooms naturally vary in size and shape, a batch of high-quality mushrooms should have some uniformity. This doesn’t mean they need to be identical; rather, their size and shape should be appropriate for their variety. This uniformity is often a sign of careful selection and handling, ensuring that each mushroom meets a certain quality standard.

Storage: The Environment Factor

Lastly, where and how the mushrooms are stored can give clues about their quality. High-quality mushrooms are typically stored in a cool, dry place. If you’re purchasing mushrooms, look for those stored in a refrigerated section or displayed in a cool area, away from direct sunlight. This ensures they remain fresh for longer.

Wrapping Up

Identifying high-quality mushrooms is an art that combines visual inspection, tactile examination, and a bit of olfactory investigation. By looking for these essential signs—appearance, firmness, aroma, dryness, stem and cap integrity, size and shape, and storage conditions—you’ll be well-equipped to select the finest for your culinary adventures. Remember, the quality of the ingredients can transform a good dish into an extraordinary one. So, the next time you find yourself in the produce aisle or at a local farmers’ market, use these tips to pick the best mushrooms out there and elevate your cooking to the next level.

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