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If you were to think about large-scale efforts – mapping the human genome, searching for monster prime numbers, developing the TESLA, you would be wise to add planning a family Caribbean vacation to your list.

There’s the organizing, packing, passport-checking, last-minute snack shopping, the rounding up of coloring books, crayons, headphones, medication, sunscreen and whatever sand-caked plastic shovels that can be found from the last vacation.

Rodney imposed house rules against me asking him to exfoliate my back and apply sunless tanner the night before a trip, so now I leave that job to the professionals. Which of course never gets done. Time, who? what?

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This year I got my act together and scheduled an appointment that I promised I wouldn’t break. I stuck to my guns, shed my clothes in front of a woman whose name sounded like Mary but wasn’t, and stepped into the booth. After a few passes of her spray gun, she declared that I looked “ow-some” and I skipped back home, a burnished shade of bronze.

My kids weren’t impressed. Over the sobs of one child, another demanded to know what happened to my “other skin”. The third was found later, hiding in a closet. This pre-tan effort, I imagine, won’t happen again.

It was the least I could do to get ready for what promised to be the trip of a lifetime.

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When traveling with kids, Rodney and I have always leaned towards big hotels with big pools, big restaurants, and a bigger set of amenities. The kind of place where a kid can race around and find plenty of entertainment.

This year though, my Dad was planning to join us and suggested that we rent a villa through Inspirato. After looking through their list of properties, we found a house that seemed like it would be a great fit for our family: our own pool, an empty beach, ocean-facing bedrooms, and the icing on our Tortuga rum cake….a well-stocked kitchen.

I’m not sure how many times the word “idyllic” was dropped into the conversation during our stay, but I’m pretty certain that were in three-digit territory.

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It’s time friends. It took 9 months of coordination, planning, excessive emailing and general indecisiveness to get to this point, but I’m happy to unveil an updated blog design.

Two years ago I began this blog as a means to share my love of food with a broader audience. Though I put many hours of work into the concept behind the site, selecting the original design took several minutes.

I’d hired a freelancer to help me through some nagging technical and design issues, and he offered a quick solution: buy a pre-made theme. Genius.

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But I had one other suggestion for my friend the programmer: find a theme that hides the photography.

Hide it ….Bury it….Make it invisible.

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Let the record state that if you’re planning to attend a store opening, and are planning to take pictures that you’re then planning to share with the company, don’t arrive after you’ve been drinking.

It’s at times like these when I’m relieved that I’m not a surgeon. Or part of Barrack Obama’s security detail. Even a dressmaker, all of those pointy needles and other stabby things.

It wasn’t always the case. I used to have a job where drinking wasn’t part of the job. It was much easier to demarcate that line in the sand – these are the times when drinking is acceptable – these are the times when drinking is not.

But then you start to work in environments where drinking is the norm. And in some cases, where NOT having a beverage in your hand is completely unacceptable. Like that event a few weeks ago for Edible Manhattan where against my will, I was forced to drink moonshine and talk about local spirits all night.

For legal reasons, let’s strike that last sentence. It was willful, all of it, I apologize. Sometimes I can’t even admit these things to myself.

The day of the Edible event was a long one. It started out with working lunch where I was taking food photos for a restaurant. You can’t very well take photos of lunch without a cocktail in the mix. And sometimes that first cocktail needs another one on the table for balance.

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I can name three foods that my kids unanimously adore: spaghetti, avocados, and chickpeas. Occasionally chicken will find its way onto the short list, although lately we’ve had poultry battles reminiscent of The Cold War. I finally had to ask what was going on because everyone was silently pushing their chicken around their plates. Apparently I make it too often.

I have a love/hate relationship with spaghetti. On the one hand, I’m Italian and feeding my kids noodles for dinner is part of my job description. On the other, it’s a starch with little dietary value. Not the end of the world, an “absence of” is still better than foods that are “full of” [trans fats, preservatives, artificial colors, etc]. But I’d prefer to give them something that packs more nutritional heat.

Chickpeas are my hero food because although they look deceptively simple, they’re still full of the good stuff, namely protein and fiber.

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I’m making my kids sound pickier than they are – they do love many healthy foods. They like their tomatoes raw, their broccoli salted and their corn on the cob. Lauren starts most days with a slice of toast, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Carrots are a favorite snack. Runny eggs are religion.

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It’s likely that I’m snorkeling off the shore of some Caribbean island right now. So to stave off any jealousy or daggers thrown in my general direction, let’s pretend that we’re still in New York contending with Month 5 of sleet and snow.

Though the temps may have been lower than hoped this spring, it hasn’t stopped us from getting out and exploring the city on foot.

Emma was off on Spring Break last week, a full week earlier than the other kids. And since we’re traveling this week, she gets to skip a full week of school. Translation: that is SO NOT fair MOM.

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I told Lauren that it wasn’t fair that she was born first and had my complete attention for the first two years of her life. And that she’ll get her driver’s license first. AKA zip it.

So back to last week. Emma knows not to broadcast what actually took place since it was nothing short of incredible.

Monday took this form: lunch–chocolate store–Sephora–nails. 

We took a breather on Tuesday, just enough rest to recharge the batteries and prepare our feet for another day of walking.

On Wednesday we spent the day on the Lower East Side doing the following:

Park visit:

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As if Monday’s visit to Lilac Chocolates didn’t provide us with enough sweets, we were determined to visit Economy Candy.

We headed off on Rivington and quickly realized that we were heading in the wrong direction. But in one of those fortuitous twists of fate, we ended up at the tip of the alley that leads down to Freemans Restaurant.

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