Imagination Approved

My daughter Lola is an only child and has a very active imagination; she loves to change her voice and do impressions, usually performing for either her father and I or her stuffed animals, demanding our attention.

I searched Jersey City and surrounding areas for a drama or acting class, but only found a few that were geared towards younger kids and only offering standard active play time. Luckily, I saw an Instagram post about Treasure Trunk Theatre (TTT) hosting a new imaginative play program at Three Little Birds.

Founded by Elisa Pupko 4 years ago in Brooklyn, TTT combines her love for the arts and teaching children. After relocating to Brooklyn from Seattle, with her husband, she became a nanny while pursuing an acting career. During that time, she came up with an idea to put together a program to teach kids something different – how to enjoy imaginative play.

She rented a space in a yoga studio, ran her program and after one year, was hosting her first camp. The rest is history! Today, in addition to their recent partnership with Jersey City’s Three Little Birds, a performance studio, TTT offers programs at 9 other locations in Brooklyn, as well as being a part of 2 after-school programs. TTT has 15 teaching artists, with backgrounds in theatre and child education, ready to accommodate any demand.

Lola joined the class and it was kismet! She met a few other girls her age who also had very active and colorful imaginations. Elisa took them on a wild adventure to find the royal rose. The girls did improv, while Elisa encouraged them to use their broad imaginations to lead the story their own way. They opened the treasure trunk and found crowns and wands to take along their adventure. The entire experience was magical to watch; Lola was in her element. At the end of the class, Lola immediately asked when she could return!

I invite you to bring your little ones to explore a magical adventure with Elisa. All my readers can take their first class for just $5! Follow this link to register for an individual class date and enter promo code ‘jcmomblog’ at checkout.

Class Details:

Imagination Adventure
For Ages 3-6
Thursdays 4:30-5:15pm (September 15 – December 15)
No Class November 24

Three Little Birds                                                                                                                                            16 Erie St                                                                                                                                                        Jersey City, NJ, 07302

“Imagination Adventure –  Act, Move, Create, and Play… Where will your imagination take you today? In this class, children will go on a dramatic adventure that begins with the opening of the treasure trunk. The props and costumes inside the trunk provide the spark that inspires a story that we will create using our voices, bodies, and imaginations.  Children will learn how to work together as an ensemble and explore the art of improvisation. This class provides a great way for children to begin incorporating dramatic arts into story telling. Every class is a new adventure!” – Elisa Pupko

xoxo

Babies & Barre

Six years ago when I was a new mom, I remember feeling so much love, but also very alone at times. I wasn’t alone in the physical sense; there was my husband, there with me every step of the way, Lola’s grandmother’s checking in, and my big sister trying to answer all of my questions from one moment to the next. But the one thing I was missing was a fellow new mom to talk to, or even cry to – yes, I’m a big crier.

“I started taking barre when I had gained a large amount of weight from having breast cancer at 26,” said Paulina Kashirsky, owner of JC Barre. “The hormones and sickness had me up to a size 12 and I hated my body. I tried running and classes at the gym, but never felt like I was pushed or much changed happen. A friend told me to try barre and I was hooked. The changes started after a few weeks of committing to an unlimited package but I still felt I lacked cardio.  I also always felt like the frumpy no make-up girl in class. I opened JC Barre after testing multiple barre work outs but found one with cardio breaks bit in and tweaked on the method to make a fast flowing and body shaking (I love the shake since it shows change is happening) and fat burning class. We wanted to create a studio that was simple but wasn’t intimidating to any body type and had no preset pretenses. As time went on we saw that people loved our instructors who were often dancers and added dance and cardio blend classes to complement our barre classes.”

Today, six years later, I am so happy to see that there are so many chances for new moms to connect in Jersey City. JC Barre holds a mommy and me barre class (baby not required), where new moms, veteran moms and future moms can get some exercise in and meet new friends. How cool is that!?

I recently sat down with JC Barre’s manager, Megan Smith. I immediately felt like we were bff’s — Megan has such a bubbly and outgoing personality, we were immediately new best friends.

She has 21 years of dance experience behind her. She started dancing when she was 3-years-old. During her Hunter College days, where she majored at their School of Dance. After graduating, she was introduced to Pilates, fell in love with it, and that is when she decided to pursue fitness as a profession.

She is a certified Pilates, MegaPlyojam instructor and an A.C.E. personal trainer, specializing in pre-post-natal. With various clients in NYC, she also teaches youth fitness to the kids at the OLC school. While a college student, she was also a nanny so she has always had a fondness for kids. Doesn’t my new best friend sound super cool?!

When I asked Megan to sum up the studio in a few words, she described as, “A place that’s less stuffy than most barre studios. Always very welcoming and never any judgement.” She adds that the mommy and me classes are a great social factor where you meet new mom friends, and get to connect with them a few times a week at the same time, seeing results with the core-strengthening exercises.

I had never taken a barre class and was intimated. I’m no ballerina, that’s for sure. I attended the mommy and me B3 class and really enjoyed it! It was a fusion of ballet and Pilates. We used small weights that really worked both my arms and legs. Even though it was my first time taking the class, I didn’t feel left behind or judged in any way. Megan encouraged us all and provided clear instructions. The few babies in the class enjoyed the class as well – most of them napped the whole time. After class, I chatted with the fellow moms and even though I have a big girl now, we shared stories and advice. I even bumped into one of the moms at a JC kids event a week later. That’s our awesome community for you!

In addition to 4 mommy and me classes during the week, they also have early morning, evening classes and weekend classes. I highly recommend attending a class to not only become a fit mom, but to find new mom friends along the way. They even offer a Flyaroo fitness class for kids ages 5-6, which is a fitness, yoga and cardio blend that incorporates different cultures from around the world. You can find their full schedule and prices on their website: http://www.jcbarrestudio.com/

*Special deal for my readers and first time JC Barre students: You can take any class on the current class schedule for free. Be sure to mention the JC Mom Blog. *

Keep an eye out for them at the upcoming Grove Street Holiday Market – you just may nab a free class card. They also offer new student specials and have different promotions all year round.

xoxo

Let Your Fingers Do the Walking

Over the years, I have visited countless nail salons. I’ve tried acrylic nails, gel manicures, French manicures, spa pedicures and the standard manicure/pedicure combo. I have bounced around from salon-to-salon looking for the best, but have never truly felt completely satisfied. If it’s not being bombarded with obnoxious amounts of chemicals in the air, I’m constantly being subjected to inferior work. I’ve literally walked from the manicurists table to the drying table to find smudged polish on a few of my nails. Grrr!

Recently, I’ve been taking my daughter, Lola. She is a 5 year old who is obsessed with beauty products. Seeing her sad face as she pointed out the bad polish, along with the horrid smell of products in the air, was too much for this mommy to bare. No one messes with my baby!

Luckily for me, I saw an “opening soon” sign on Central Avenue in the Heights for a salon, “The Nail Loft.” The name sounded so sophisticated, my interest was immediately peaked! I quickly googled the name and the first thing that appeared was a beautiful chandelier, with gorgeous furniture in the background. The walls are covered in abstract wall paper, which is only enhanced by the sun’s rays reflecting from their enormous storefront window.

nail-loft-2

Opened in January of 2016, not even one year ago, the place is just as fabulous as promised! Lola and I absolutely love getting our manicures there. They provide sparkling water, all the technicians are professional and courteous and there’s no horrid smell. We have never left unsatisfied and I’m even planning on throwing Lola’s next birthday party there; yes, you can rent the space out for birthday parties, bridal showers, or baby showers! Oh, and most importantly, the prices are affordable on just about any budget.

The Nail Loft also condemns the use of MMA (Methyl Methacrylate), which the majority of nail salons use since it’s less expensive. How do you know if a product contains MMA? The product has a strong irritating chemical odor and/or the nail extensions are extremely hard or virtually impossible to remove with normal solvents designed to remove acrylic nails.

That’s all I’ve ever experienced in any salon my daughter and I have ever visited. The Nail Loft promised to never use products that contain MMA — I was immediately sold! If you haven’t visited them yet, I highly recommend it. Your fingers and lungs will thank you for it later!

xoxo