It’s Holiday Card Crunch Time!

by & filed under Portraiture.

Screen Shot 2018-11-01 at 3.10.04 PMIt feels as if Halloween was just yesterday but there are actually just a few short weeks before the window closes for sessions and holiday cards. The mild weather has extended the time when leaves in parks like Pier A would normally turn. We are just beginning to see their spectacular color now and we are able to offer additional dates!

Our mini sessions are $495 for a 45-minute shoot with a custom 8″ x 10″ standard print.

Pier A Park, Hoboken, among the gingko trees

Saturday, November 10th @ 4pm
Sunday, November 11th @ 9am, 11am, 1pm, 2pm or 3pm

Hartshorn Arboretum in Short Hills

Another option that showcases the fall colors well is Hartshorn Arboretum. The arboretum has beautiful stone walls, magical ferns and a wooded area which create a dreamy location.

Sunday, November 11th @ 12pm, 1pm, 2pm or 3pm

Not forgetting our sundrenched Hoboken studio, we have LAST MINUTE studio session dates:

Saturday and Sunday, November 17th and 18th

These will be 45-minute sessions with a custom 8 x 10 print for $295.

Contact the stu­dio at (201) 610-1199 to book your session- don’t wait!

Ice Skating Season Opens- The Local Ice Rink List

by & filed under Family Time : New Jersey, Family Time: New York, Portraiture.

Ice Skating Season

November marks the start of ice skating outdoors. Take the opportunity to hit the ice (hopefully not literally) before the crowds arrive. While the NJ rinks open a bit later (with the exception of Pershing Field & Secaucus) but there are also the NYC rinks from iconic Rock Center and Wollman rinks to the free rink at Bryant Park already open! Please call to confirm opening times and policies. Most offer “skate buddies” for little beginners.
Newport Skates – Jersey City – Opens November 9th
Located in Jersey City’s waterfront community, Newport Skates is the perfect place to skate with kids. The rink is on the smaller side and pretty empty (or mostly kids) weekday afternoons. Season passes, lessons, and group party rates are available.

Charlie Heger Ice Rink – Jersey City-Opens November 4th
Also known as Pershing Field, this outdoor rink is covered—you can skate (or learn to skate) in all types of weather. Plus, it’s quiet and very affordable. The 2017 skating season will run through mid-March.

Secaucus Ice Rink – Secaucus– Not yet posted
Tucked in the Meadowlands, in Buchmuller Park, you’ll find the Secaucus Ice Rink. Typically open through April, the rink offers skate rentals and party packages.

The Rink at Brookfield Place – Battery Park City– Opens November 7th
Enjoy stunning views of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty while skating around this rink, which returns for its fifth season. The ice is cleaned at the end of every 90-minute session, so don’t dawdle getting out there. At 7,350 square feet, it beats the Rock Center rink for space and can accommodate 250 skaters at a time. Prices, however, are steeper than at some other rinks. Parent-and-child skate lessons and hockey classes are offered. Afterward, you’ll find plenty more to do in the family-friendly Battery Park City neighborhood. Adjacent Brookfield Place has bathrooms, hot cocoa, and snacks, as well as Santa and plenty of rotating art and winter fun come the holidays.

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park – Midtown West -Now Open
FREE admission; skate rental prices and hours vary. NYC’s only free-admission rink attracts massive crowds. The best time to go is early in the season, before Thanksgiving, when the weather is mild and the lines are short (or at least, shorter). Don’t even try to go during holiday break. Later in the season, stick to weekdays before 5pm and early weekend mornings if you can. If you really can’t stand to wait, spring for the Express Skate package, which includes entry, skate rental, and bag check for $30. Afterward, grab a hot chocolate or choose from a selection of comfort foods at the Public Fare Snackbar, then hit the always-popular holiday shops. Bring your own blades and locks for a truly free skate session.

Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center – Midtown East– Now Open
Every tourist’s favorite rink opened for the season October 7. Despite its popularity, three-hour waits aren’t always the norm—just when the Christmas tree is lit. Skating early or late in the season is fun and easy—if expensive. (Even during off-season, it’s by far the priciest rink in the city.) It accommodates just 150 skaters, hence the wait, but some believe it offers one of the most charming, intimate skating sessions, smack in the middle of NYC. Sign up for one of the special packages such as breakfast with Santa for an extra-special holiday treat. There are plenty of family-friendly sights in the area, too.

The Standard Ice Rink – Meatpacking District- Opens November 23rd
The Standard hotel’s 3,000-square-foot ice rink opens in mid-to-late November, depending on the weather, and it’s a surprising gem. Despite the swanky hipster scene at the bar, you’ll find loads of local kids on the ice, wobbling around the small rink. Rent or bring your own skates, and there are usually skate buddies (little penguins and other support racks) available to help newbies find their footing. The atmosphere is friendly and low profile. Parents can even grab a drink at the bar and mingle rinkside if the mood strikes. The rink makes a good destination after an icy winter walk along The High Line or a visit to the Whitney.

Wollman Rink – Central Park -Now Open (Weather Permitting)
This is the iconic NYC skate spot in Central Park. Though it is perpetually crowded, every family should skate here at least once. Try to arrive at the start of the first session or right after school to get a few spins in before the hordes arrive. A moonlit, post-dinner skate is always fun, too. You’ll be rewarded with one of the most famous views of Midtown, not to mention a perimeter of pretty, possibly snow-dusted trees—as well as tired kids, ready for bed. Lockers are available for a fee. Note: It’s cash only.


Does My Child Need OT? Interview with Brittany Smith of Jump Ahead Pediatrics JC

by & filed under People and Places We Love, Portraiture.

Brittany Smith

We met with Brittany Smith co-owner of Jump Ahead Pediatrics in Jersey City to talk about how you decide whether your child actually needs to see an Occupational Therapist. As a mum herself she had great suggestions for questions you need to ask your pediatrician to figure out what type of care your child might need and when.

Here is Brittany’s advice:

I always pack the essentials when going to a pediatrician visit; my child, diaper bag, and my list of questions that I have been saving up since my last visit. Being an occupational therapist, I usually do not have many development questions on this list. However, friends of mine have lists of questions pertaining to development; when should my baby walk? My baby isn’t sitting up yet, is she delayed? He doesn’t have 50 words; when should I start being concerned?

The following are 4 questions that I believe are important to ask based on my experience as well as friends’ and families I service:

1. Can you recommend any reputable books on this topic?
No matter what the question is that you ask the pediatrician, you, of course, will not receive every single detail you may need since they are unable to spend hours with you. Asking for books that elaborate on the advice they are giving you is helpful in order for you to obtain all of the knowledge you want / need for that topic.

2. If the pediatrician thinks your child can benefit from services / therapies, ask for a recommendation of places that are in-network with your insurance company.
I am saddened when I hear that families that go to in-network pediatricians are given out-of-network lists of providers in the area. Out-of-network services can become very expensive (unless you have low out-of-network deductibles); children may be receiving therapy 1-5 times per week… those bills rack up pretty quickly! Going to an in-network provider may cut some of those costs or cost you nothing at all.

3. If you are skeptical about an answer, ask for research or go get a second opinion to back it up.
We all want to do what is absolutely best for our children. I have heard some untrue / biased information that comes from pediatricians and I have also heard some valuable, factual information from other pediatricians. Most of us do not know pediatricians on a personal basis so we want to make sure their advice is based on facts / research instead of personal parenting / experiences. Asking for a second opinion on answers you are not comfortable with is great advocating for your child. For example, my child was once diagnosed with an infected bug bite and prescribed aggressive antibiotics. Based on the timeline of how the bump on his leg occurred, I did not agree with the diagnosis. I got a second opinion and it turns out the bug bite was not infected but rather became quickly inflamed because my son already had a fever / inflammation in his body; If I did not request a second opinion, I would have given my son unnecessary antibiotics over a simple bug bite. My “mommy sense” steered me and my kiddo in the right direction!

4. Ask about blood-work, hair-analysis, and/or genetic testing
If your child is given a diagnosis of any kind, ask about running these tests on your child. I have heard stories from parents about their children getting diagnosed with something, running these tests (either by the pediatrician’s request or the parent’s request), and realizing that their levels were severely off! By adding supplements, making diet changes, etc, some of these difficulties for their children have gone away or decreased!

Brittany Smith is an occupational therapist and the co-owner of Jump Ahead Pediatrics in Jersey City. She is a mom to Bryce, a spunky two year old boy.