10 Awesome August Events for Families in NYC

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August has arrived, which means summer will be over before we know it. So, we’d better do our best to enjoy every last minute we have! Thankfully, there is tons of fun things to do in NYC for families this month – everything from delicious food events to outdoor carnivals. You can even go ahead and visit the nearby apple orchards and stock up before fall.

Today, I am highlight 10 family-friendly NYC happenings in August, so get your calendar ready!

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Restaurant Week

As a foodie, you know I am super pumped for Restaurant Week 2019. Running from July 22—Aug 16th, Restaurant Week offers deals at over 370 restaurants with prix-fixe menus for lunch and dinner. TimeOut has a guide for places to take the kids during Restaurant Week.

Manhattan’s Summer Streets

Saturdays in August mean car-free days in Manhattan where families are encouraged to use other means of travel (i.e., bikes, scooters) for a 7-mile stretch. Along this route, there are rest stops with family-friendly activities.

Bronx Zoo’s Dinosaur Safari

If you haven’t taken the family to Dinosaur Safari at the Bronx Zoo, make plans to visit before this exhibit closes in early November. Your kids will love seeing the 40 animatronic dinosaurs and the fossil dig.

Sand Sculpting Contest

The 29th Annual Sand Sculpting Competition will take place on August 17th at the Coney Island Beach. These sand sculptures are incredible and totally worth the trip!

Fly NYC

For a more laidback family adventure, check out FlyNYC Kite Flying Festival on Saturday, August 17th at Riverside Park. If you don’t have a kite of your own, kite kits are provided until they run out.

Photo:  NYC-ARTS

Photo: NYC-ARTS

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

This weekend, head to Queens for the amazing Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival. Your family will marvel at the custom-made boats and enjoy cultural favorites (i.e., music, demonstrations, food, and bubble tea).

Hercules in Central Park

The Disney version of Hercules is being performed in Central Park in the evenings from August 31st – September 4th. Not only will kids love this live theater experience, but parents will appreciate that it is FREE!

Smorgasburg

Back to food again, because, of course! Smorgasburg is held Saturdays and Sundays during August in Prospect Park. You can try a wide variety of dishes and treats.

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Richmond County Fair

Take the family to an old-fashion county fair (and Staten Island’s one and only) from August 31st to September 2nd. This is a wonderful way to send out summer.

Summer Outdoor Movies

Families have tons of options for free outdoor movies this summer in NYC. Check out this list of outdoor movies in NYC from the New York Times and make plans to get there early!

Photo: Whitney Browne of YYDC on  Battery Dance Festival

Photo: Whitney Browne of YYDC on Battery Dance Festival

Battery Dance Festival

Make plans to spend time at New York’s longest-running dance festival. The Battery Dance Festival will be held August 11th – 16th at Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park.

Which NYC event are you most looking forward to enjoying with your family this month? Let me know in the comments!

My Favorite Sweet Spots in NYC

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I have a sweet tooth. There are few things that bring me as much joy as giving into a sugary temptation. And, according to doctors, I don’t have to feel guilty about it or give up sweets. According to WebMD, “Many nutritionists agree that when it comes to sweet treats, it’s not really what you eat, but how much and how often. ‘Small indulgences, even once a day, are fine,’ says Cindy Moore.”

So, I have chosen to follow the good doctor’s advice and plan to indulge my sweet tooth whenever I feel like it. I’m just not going to gorge myself on chocolate. I have a feeling this is something we can all handle. Am I right, ladies?

Fortunately, I live in NYC, which is essentially a sweets metropolitan as glamourous as Charlie’s Chocolate Factory. Everywhere you turn, you can find a bakery, a candy store, or an ice cream shop. If you live in NYC or plan to visit, these are some of my favorite places to indulge my sweet tooth without worrying about going overboard.

Levain Bakery

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If you are craving the world’s best cookie, then look no further than Levain Bakery. They made it their mission to create the world’s best chocolate chip cookie – and they succeeded! While their chocolate chip cookies are out of this world, we love all the cookies they offer. They currently have five locations throughout New York.

Spot Dessert Bar

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If you are looking for unique dessert dishes, then check out one of the three Spot Dessert Bar locations in NYC. They offer tapas desserts, including the super popular Green Tea Lava, as well as seasonal creations. Everything from the taste to the presentation is on point.

Hershey’s Chocolate World

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If you want an entire dessert experience, then head to Hershey’s Chocolate World because it has a little bit of everything. Guests can shop Hershey’s logo products, personalize candy bar wrappers and Hershey’s kisses, and visit the Hershey’s Kitchen Bakery. Your senses will be overwhelmed in the best way possible.

Taiyaki NYC

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If you want ice cream, try something new and head to Taiyaki NYC, which offers delicious matcha green tea and black sesame ice cream, among others. Known for their fish-shaped ice cream cones, they make the taiyaki waffles fresh on-site.

Plus, Other NYC Desserts I Am Dying to Try

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With incredible chefs and bakers, the NYC dessert scene is incredible! You could eat a new dessert in this city every day without repeating. It’s amazing. NYC is where some of the most famous desserts have gotten their start (I’m looking at you, cronut!). You can enjoy macaroons, cupcakes, and ice cream galore, as well as totally unique treats. For example, at Dominique Ansel Bakery, you can enjoy a cookie shot glass filled with milk. Shoot the milk and enjoy a milk-soaked cookie as a chaser. Yum!

What is your favorite place to indulge your sweet tooth in NYC? Let me know in the comments so I can check it out!

How NYC Families Can Save Money This Summer

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During summer, there is nothing worse than hearing your kids whine that they are “sooo bored!” But, if you spend money trying to keep them entertained each day of summer break, your wallet will start to hurt. And, if you are like me, I would rather spend my hard-earned money on a fabulous vacation than spending it doing a bunch of little things around the city. Fortunately, it is easier than ever to save money and have fun in NYC.

Free Library Fun

If you don’t already have a library card, now is the time to get one. Today’s libraries aren’t the stuffy old places you might remember from childhood. They offer tons of free materials you can borrow – including DVDs. Plus, the New York Public Library Summer Reading offers some pretty great kids programs that go beyond the standard story times, such as a DJ Dance Party.

Free Outdoor Movies

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During the summer, families can take their pick of free outdoor movies once the sun goes down. The most popular outdoor movies are hosted by NYC parks, are all PG-13 and under, and feature movies such as The Incredibles 2 and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Check out Time Out New York’s guide to what is showing where and when here.  

Free Outdoor Concerts

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Families can also take their pick of free outdoor summer concerts taking place all around New York City. For instance, there are the New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Park series (with all performances beginning at 8 pm) and Make Music New York on June 21st from 10 am – 10 pm.

Free Public Pools and Splash Pads

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There are several options for cooling off during the hot summer in the city. Families can visit one of the free outdoor swimming pools in NYC (opening on June 27, 2019). A bonus for pool visitors is that NYC parks offer free swimming classes and free sunscreen. If taking the kids to the pool seems like too much, then head to one of the many local splash parks. Mommy Poppins has a list of the Best Water Playgrounds and Sprinklers for Kids in NYC.

Free Museum Days

Photo:  NYCGo

Photo: NYCGo

Visiting the fantastic museums can add up – unless you are smart enough to take advantage of the free museum days offered this summer. For example, Brooklyn Children’s Museum offers “pay as you wish on Thursdays from 2–6 pm and Sundays from 4–7 pm” and the Staten Island Zoo offers “free Tuesdays after 2 pm.”

Free Festivals

Another great way to keep the whole family entertained is to head to an outdoor festival. Many outdoor festivals are free to enter and explore – but you may wind up spending money to enjoy food, purchase arts and crafts, or participate in activities. One popular outdoor festival taking place in June is the Museum Mile Festival happening June 11, 2019, from 6 pm – 9 pm.

Now you have plenty of ways to save money and keep the kids busy and entertained this summer, leaving you money to take the vacation of your dreams.

10 Family-Friendly NYC Events This April

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Can you believe the first week of April is already over? Where has the time gone? As the season changes, there are more and more fun things to do in NYC – especially outdoors. With an abundance of outdoor fun, I have identified ten of my favorite family-friendly things to do in NYC this April.

Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival

On Easter Sunday (April 21st) beginning at 10 am, the annual Easter Parade takes place along Fifth Avenue (and St. Patrick’s Cathedral) with participants wearing their finest Easter attire and outrageously silly bonnets.

Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival NYC

The cherry blossoms bloom in April in NYC and families have multiple opportunities to see them and snap the perfect Insta-worthy photo. Sakura Matsuri is held April 27th -28th at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. You can also sign your family up for a Cherry Blossom Tour of Central Park in the month of April.

EarthFest

With Earth Day taking place each April, it is the perfect time to teach your kids to respect the earth. One family-friendly event to help you is EarthFest taking place April 13th at the American Museum of Natural History.

Paw Patrol Live

Photo:  TimeOut  (Courtesy of PAW Patrol Live and Madison Square Garden)

Photo: TimeOut (Courtesy of PAW Patrol Live and Madison Square Garden)

If your kids are fans of Paw Patrol, then make plans to see PAW Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue. This live-action show will take place April 13th and 14th at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Midtown West.

Apple Blossom Children’s Carnival

Nothing screams “SPRING!” more than an outdoor children’s carnival. Take the whole family to the Apple Blossom Children’s Carnival at Queens County Farm the first two weekends of April.

Dinosaur Safari

Dinosaur Safari heads to the Bronx Zoo beginning April 19th. Your family can see these giant animatronic roaring dinosaurs up close.

Outdoor Roller Skating at Pier 2

After ice skating season ends, it is time for roller skating! Families will love the Pier 2 Roller Rink at Brooklyn Bridge Park. The roller skating season officially begins April 12th.

FAD Market

The FAD Market is a pop-up market celebrating Fashion, Art, and Design – all things I love! The Brooklyn MADE Market is April 13th and 14th at City Point. In addition to all the handcrafted goods for sale, there are also food vendors on site.

NYC Food Truck Fest

Foodies families must make plans to visit the NYC Food Truck Fest on April 13th. This is the largest food truck festival in NYC with gourmet food trucks and unique food vendors. Make sure you go with an empty belly!

Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry’s

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Last but certainly not least is Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry’s. My family loves ice cream, so we are all about visiting Ben and Jerry’s on April 9th (from 12 pm – 8 pm) to enjoy a free scoop.

I hope you and your family have a blast enjoying all the spring fun. If you know of an event my family would love, let me know in the comments!

6 Reasons to Look Forward to Spring in NYC

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Did you know it is officially Spring? It sure is hard to tell when it is still in the 40s here in NYC! I am so envious of the people down South posting Spring pictures already. But, I know that soon it will feel like Spring. To help me get over my jealousy, I am spending time thinking about all the fun things I can do once the warmer weather moves our way.

Park Hopping with My Girls

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I love taking my girls to the playgrounds around NYC. We have so many great ones to choose from, and it is a wonderful thing to do as a family. We all get out of the house, get some exercise, and have fun. This spring I want to park hop. All this means is I want to explore new parks and playgrounds instead of frequenting the same ones every time.

Seeing the Cherry Blossoms at Brooklyn’s Botanic Garden

You know spring has officially arrived when the Cherry Blossoms bloom! The best place to view them is at Sakura Matsuri, the annual cherry blossom festival held at Brooklyn Botanic Garden on April 27th and 28th. It is such a fun, cultural event for families.

Visiting Our Favorite Zoos

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We love going to the zoo, but we’ve learned that some seasons are better than others to visit. For example, if you go to the zoo on a really hot summer day, you won’t see much activity from the animals (probably because they feel just as miserable as you do in the heat). But, if you visit on a nice spring day, you will get to see the animals being more active.

Heading to Coney Island for a Day

Yes, Coney Island is a tourist trap. But, it is still great fun for NY families! Spending a day at Luna Park and exploring the boardwalk will leave your kids happy and tired. The rides tend to open up on weekends around Easter and then daily after Memorial Day.

Eating Outdoors

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I love to eat, but I really really love to eat outdoors. Once the weather warms up and the skies are clear, I love to find restaurants with outdoor seating where I can eat and people watch at the same time. It is also the perfect time of year to plan a picnic. I love hiking and it a picnic afterward makes the hike that much more exciting.

Family Scavenger Hunts at Central Park

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Anyone can create their own scavenger hunt, but did you know there are tons of official scavenger hunts for Central Park? Whether you create your own or purchase a ticket for a group scavenger hunt, you will have a blast searching Central Park for clues!

What are you most looking forward to doing this Spring in NYC?

10 Festive Christmas Dates for Couples in New York City

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During the busy holiday season, I think it is super important to spend time with my husband. It is too easy to get caught up in all the holiday busyness and stuff with my girls before I realize I haven’t had any good quality time with my man. Plus, the holiday season is romantic – why not take advantage of the added twinkling lights this time of year? I’ve gathered up ten wonderful Christmas date ideas for couples in NYC that will have you hunting for places to kiss under the mistletoe.

Go Ice Skating

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There are several places to go ice skating in New York, but my favorite place to go ice skating this time of year is The Rink at Rockefeller Center below the giant Christmas tree. Yes, it is a tourist trap, but that just means it is perfect for people-watching!

Shop Til You Drop

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Christmas means shopping. Why not turn one of your favorite activities into a date with the one you love? You both have to buy gifts for the people in your life, so enjoy spending time together while you check off your lists.

Marvel at the Holiday Window Displays

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If your man claims he hates shopping, then take him window shopping instead. Trust me – this is a date you both will love. The holiday window displays at New York City stores is something to see. Take your time to hold hands through the city streets and talk about which holiday window displays are your favorites.

Watch a Broadway Show

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For theater-lovers, there is always a show to see in NYC. These make some of the best date nights because you get to experience it together.

Enjoy Holiday Menus at Restaurants

Dinner dates are always my favorite types of dates, but I love them, even more, come Christmas time. Why? Well, many restaurants in New York City rollout special holiday menus so you and your date can try new dishes and holiday-themed drinks.

Cheer at a Basketball Game

If you are a basketball fan, a date to cheer on the New York Knicks is a must. While the weather outside is frigid, the atmosphere in the arena is on fire!

Play Like a Kid at FAO Schwartz

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Yes, you are a grown up. But, I promise you, something amazing happens to adults when they visit FAO Schwartz! You become a kid again! Let go of some of your holiday stress by trying out toys with your guy and shopping for the little people in your life.

Tour Dyker Heights

Photograph: Teddy Wolff

Photograph: Teddy Wolff

For a truly festive date, take a tour of the Christmas lights in the affluent Dyker Heights neighborhood. This neighborhood goes all out with illuminating their homes – some even hire professional light decorators! If you want to do it right, take the Slice of Brooklyn Dyker Heights Christmas Lights tour.

Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art

During the Christmas season, the Metropolitan Museum of Art adds some festive art to the museum. For those who love to explore museums for date night, this one is a must. In addition to beautiful Christmas trees, you will also see an eighteenth-century Neapolitan Nativity scene.

Take a Carriage Ride in Central Park

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Those of you looking for romance straight from the tv screen, look no further than the carriage rides offered in Central Park. Cuddle under a warm blanket, drink a hot beverage, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city during this special time of year.

What to Do in NYC as a Family this Holiday Season

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While there are always plenty of things for families to do in New York City, the holiday season ramps up the fun. The city comes alive even more and making it feel like NYC its truly the best place to be for the “most wonderful time of the year.” Each year, I try to plan out things to do with my family to celebrate Christmas in NYC. Here are my picks for 2018:

Shop at American Girl Place

My daughters have hit the age where American Girl dolls are all they want. Thankfully, there is an American Girl Place in NYC. If you have not visited the store before, it is a whole experience in and of itself. Visiting the store with my girls this time of year also helps me check something off Santa’s list.

Watch the Nutcracker Ballet

Photograph: Paul Kolnik

Photograph: Paul Kolnik

It is a tradition to take in a performance of The Nutcracker Ballet. All whole family loves watching The Nutcracker, and New York City Ballet has the best of the best.

Observe the Trains at the Botanical Garden

The Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden is a city tradition that my family always enjoys. This train display is unique because it travels around over 175 New York landmarks.

Make a Wish List by Visiting FAO Schwarz

Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

FAO Schwarz has newly reopened, so we are so excited to go visit this famous toy store. Not only will our girls get to make their Christmas wish lists, we will get to see first-hand the toys they really gravitate to making our Christmas shopping easier.

Marvel at the Gingerbread House in Madison Square Park

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Making gingerbread houses is fun, but seeing a life-size gingerbread house is even better! Head to Madison Square Park to see those giant gingerbread houses.

See the Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Photograph: Ali Goldstein

Photograph: Ali Goldstein

Another New York City tradition is the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes – and for good reason! It is such a fun show to see as a family! We look forward to it every year.

Go Ice Skating

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Throughout New York, there are several ice skating rinks. The most popular is the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center. In addition to being iconic, it is also one of the most Christmas-y spots in the city.

Have Holiday Tea at the Plaza

If your kids have read the children’s book Eloise, the holidays are the perfect time to visit the Plaza Hotel and experience Eloise’s life in the hotel. In addition to holiday tea, they also have a cute setup for kids to write letters to Santa.

Visit Santa at Macy’s

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The most popular place to visit Santa is Macy’s. Everyone should visit the iconic (and giant) Macy’s Santaland with their children at least once.

Search for the Best Hot Chocolate

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While you trek around NYC in the cold weather, search for the best hot chocolate. While Serendipity 3 is the most well-known frozen hot chocolate spot, you are bound to find some others that serve warm delicious chocolate-y goodness in a cup.

Which Christmas Festivities Does Your Family Most Enjoy in NYC?

Where We Go When We Need to Leave the House

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I firmly believe your home should be a sanctuary for your family. It should feel safe and full of love at all times. But, let’s be real. As much as I love my house, there are times I have to get out of it. I’m sure my fellow working moms understand this feeling. You cannot just go to work and go home each day. You must find ways to see the rest of the world!

That’s why as the temperatures cool and before the frigid winter weather arrives, I like to take advantage of the many outdoor options in New York City. There are so many great things for kids to do in NYC – and many of them are outdoors. A simple outdoor excursion is all we need to feel refreshed. Plus, a little Vitamin D is healthy for everyone!

If you are a fellow NYC working mom or just visiting New York for a trip with kids, here are some of my family’s favorite outdoor places in NY.

Explore Central Park

Of course, I have to include Central Park on my list of favorites! Not only is it one of the country’s most iconic parks, but it is also a great place for families in NYC! Central Park has tons of places to explore. For example, it has over fifty monuments, sculptures, and fountains. You can plan an entire scavenger hunt just for those structures. Add in bridges and wildlife, and the park feels magical.

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Plus, Central Park is home to 21 playgrounds! My girls have some they love more than others, so I encourage to explore the park’s various playgrounds to find the ones that your kids like the most.

Check out the views at Hunters Point

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Hunter’s Point Park is a newer park located in Long Island City. We love visiting this park because it offers amazing views of the NYC skyline. Plus, since it is a waterfront park, it also offers scenic waterfront views. It also has playgrounds that my girls love.

Take in the Scenery at Prospect Park

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Prospect Park is a super family-friendly and beautiful park with playgrounds and more. It is home to one of NYC’s enchanting carousels, as well as a zoo with real-life animals. Prospect Park also has a skating rink in the winter, a children’s garden, and free kids programming at the Audubon Center.

Spend Time with the Animals at NYC Zoos

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Both Central Park and Prospect Park have zoos that are open to the public. My girls love visiting zoos and seeing the animals up close. It is one of my family’s favorite ways to spend an afternoon. Plus, the fall is a great time to visit the zoo because the animals are more active than other seasons of the year.

And if the weather doesn’t cooperate…

If we need to get out of the house and it is raining or snowing, we just head to one of the nearest indoor play areas. My girls think Chuck E Cheese is the most fun place ever. I can put up with the noise and excitement because I know it makes them happy – and sleepy. Time Out also has a guide to other great ideas for indoor NYC play spaces if you are looking for somewhere new.

Using Neutrogena's Tried & True products!

This content is sponsored by Neutrogena. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

As a working mom in the big city, my routine in the morning and at night is usually very short on time and spending it taking care of my face usually takes a backseat.  The weather this winter has been particularly brutal and my face always feels tired and dry.  I've been wanting to reset my morning (and night) routine and focus a little more effort into taking care of my face and hydrating it

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I am working with Neutrogena and Rite Aid to try three of their tried & true products and see how they change my morning and night routines taking care of my face.  My skin sometimes breaks out in the morning and feels tired especially during the winter months. With the Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub, it deep cleans and washes off any roughness or blackheads without over-drying my face.  My face feels clean and I can see the acne go away after several washes.

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After my scrub I’ll try the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel to keep my face from getting dry throughout the day if I’m out in the cold.  The moment I put it on, I feel it absorbed into the skin.  It’s not oily and my skin feels refreshed.  The best thing about the Hydro Boost is that I have this non oily fresh feeling throughout the day.  My face doesn’t get dry and it doesn’t feel as tired as it used to. 

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Doing this routine morning and night has changed the way my face feels now.  When I go to work my face feels uplifted and not dry at all.  When I go to bed, my face actually feels fresh and smooth and best of all, hydrated giving me a great night's sleep.

Another great Neutrogena product that I use daily and is a must-have in my routine is the Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes & wipes.  They are my go-to after my long day of work to help me remove the thickest and heaviest makeup.  They clean with ease but are also gentle on my skin.  I use this before cleaning my skin at night.

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I purchased these items at Rite Aid and now there is a great deal on Neutrogena Skin Care.   It will be Buy 1, Get 1 at 50% off during the weeks of 2/4, 2/18 and 2/25. During the week of 2/4 when you use your Rite Aid Wellness+ Card, for every $40 you spend, you will receive $15 in Bonus Cash towards your next visit.  Check out this page for more and pick up these products at a great price!  What a great way to stock up on more Neutrogena skin products!

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Bought the winter coats out... but still a bit warm!

One of the pleasures of this winter in NYC is that the weather has been pretty mild for December.  We had our winter coats all ready but we didn't need it.  Nonetheless we went back to our favorite area in Brooklyn to have some fun before it starts to really get cold.  The sun was out so I got a good view of lower Manhattan also.  Next up...SNOW!  (I hope).