*Disclaimer* As is common in the travel industry, writers are provided with complimentary rooms for review purposes. My disclosures are always honest and up front, just like my opinions.
The Adelphi Hotel in Saratoga Springs, New York is a great, easy and short trip from New York City. It’s perfect if you’re looking for an affordable yet luxurious getaway.
I have written up a review and also did a short video tour during my stay. In a nutshell, I loved the Adelphi Hotel in Saratoga Springs and my review will tell you why. I can’t wait to come back in the spring to visit again. It’s a great, easy and short getaway.
Hotel Adelphi, Saratoga Springs Review - YouTube
Following a $28 million renovation, the historic 150-year-old Adelphi Hotel in Saratoga Springs, New York, is welcoming guests again. Staff will greet you as you pull up and valet your car. If they’re not out there, just give the front desk a ring. When you walk in, you’re greeted by a beautiful lobby.
The hotel marries modern luxury with Saratoga history. It’s easy to see the updated regal, Victorian decor being brought into a chic boutique hotel.
Check-in was easy and done at modernized, Victorian desks. The rest of the lobby is filled with similar antique treasures (light fixtures and couches) that were saved and updated. Very cool vibe.
Welcome Amenity? No
The public areas are grand and remind us of yesteryear. There are so many details that have been tended to. I love the whole vibe.
Guest rooms are appointed with every modern luxury. Electronic switches with easy access from your bed to everything from lights to black out curtains.
Closet/Dresser Details? Not a ton of storage space but this isn’t a long-term destination so you don’t really need it.
Charging Situation? There were plenty of chargers.
Turn-Down Service: Yes, with sweet treats!
Bottled Water? Complimentary and from Saratoga. The blue bottles!
Coffee maker? Espresso machine/Tea.
Reading Material in the Room. Yes, loved reading the magazines about the local area.
White Glove Inspection: Couldn’t find a thing to complain about. And you know we lift the mattresses up and strip the bed. As New Yorkers, we’ve learned you can’t be too careful. The room had A LOT of white, too and I couldn’t find a spot.
Bathrooms have heated floors and towel racks so even during the cold winters, guests will be happy!
Makeup Mirror? Yes.
Hairdryer? Yes, decent quality.
Towel quality? Excellent. And Robes.
Amenities? Everything was top notch.
The Food & Drink
Saratoga is always lauded as a town for foodies and this hotel lived up to the reputation. I was really impressed with the food and cocktail quality. We tried the lobby bar, Morrissey’s, whose bartender is a true master of his craft. Not only did we sip expertly mixed drinks all night but we also got an education. Also, the date dessert was absolutely incredible. It doesn’t look like much but I will never forget it. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Blue Hen we only went for breakfast and it was pretty good. They were still working out a few kinks with new staff as the hotel only recently reopened. It’s an absolutely beautiful space though and it has a great menu. They also recently opened a winter ice bar on the terrace, which unfortunately we missed by a few weeks. Seems pretty cool.
The steakhouse, Salt and Char is where it’s at. It is absolutely incredible. I would honestly come all the way back to Saratoga for a meal here. Chef Bobby Flay gave it rave reviews and named the American wagyu rib eye cap as his favorite steak anywhere. So even if you don’t trust me, he knows his stuff.
The Little Things
Did I feel truly welcome by the staff? Yes, every person on the property was pleasant.
Wi-Fi? Yes, included.
Mini-Bar? Yes. Complimentary soft drinks and beer!
The Adelphi Hotel, Saratoga Springs
I hope you found this review of The Adelphi Hotel, Saratoga Springs New York helpful.
I’m a zealous over-preparer and planner. Before I gave birth when I asked friends what I needed to have the day I brought the baby home I was met with a myriad of recommendations. Some were the same, some were conflicting. I decided to put my research skills to good use. Consider it compulsive nesting that you can take advantage of. I researched every item diligently, tested multiple products (being a blogger, many companies sent me products when they heard via social media that I was expecting, major perk of blogging for nearly a decade).
For this article to be useful to you, it is probably important that you know what I was looking for. Inspired by Amy Poehler in Mean Girls, “I’m not a regular mom, I’m a cool mom.” I was on the hunt for not just the best of the best but I also wanted to be stylish. I’m very practical so if there was a gadget out there that made life easier, as a new parent I wanted to try it. Also, I was looking for style. If there was a way to keep our apartment looking like adults lived here too, I was all for it.
This is one article in a two-part series. In this article, I will cover the must have items for new moms that are for baby. The other article covers the must have items for mommy like nursing bras, nursing gear and pumping stuff.
Diapers and Wipes
Obviously, right? And I am of the school of thought that everything should be as organic as possible. So we went with Bambo diapers and Water Wipes. Even better, Subscribe and Save on Amazon and get an additional discount and free shipping. These score very low on EWG for toxins. They don’t have the wetness indicator stripes, which is kind of a bummer. Pampers have those and it is helpful for new parents. But they aren’t as pure so…
The Perfect Seat
The hype around the 4moms mamaRoo is real and it’s not just me who thinks it’s worth its higher price tag. The mamaRoo mimics soothing movements made by parents and is a true lifesaver for parents who need to calm their babies down–or just somewhere to strap them in so they can run to the bathroom. There are five different movements, five speeds and four built-in sounds you can choose from. You can also pair the mamaRoo with your phone to play custom music and so you can control it from wherever you’re sitting. The seat has a fully adjustable incline for maximum comfort (especially helpful for babies with reflux). In case of digestive emergency, the seat fabric (as well as infant insert) are removable and machine washable.
While it’s very fancy and looks beautiful, the Fisher Price Rock and Play is a fraction of the cost and works just as well to calm little ones. Lots of people sleep their babies in here though we do not condone that since it’s technically not on the back, which doctors recommend.
The Perfect Diaper Pail
Ubbiworld Diaper Pail totes itself as the can of steel and new parents may consider it to be just as powerful as Superman. Its powder-coated steel and rubber seals lock odor in. Its innovative sliding lid minimizes air disruption and keeps the odors sealed inside. The Ubbi Diaper Pail holds up to 50 newborn diapers and is perfect for days you can’t take out the trash. Plus, there are no special bags required, you can use any standard trash bag (or cloth liner) making it affordable and easy to use. It’s also sleek, slim and fits into tiny spaces. While some prefer a hands-free option, the superior odor blocking technology makes this our winner!
We do also love the Dékor hands-free diaper pail, which offers the convenience of step and drop diaper pail. It’s available in the plus (up to newborn 60 diapers), the classic (up to 45 newborn diapers) and the mini (up to 25 newborn diapers). We like this as a second option for a bedroom or other room you may find yourself changing diapers in. The pail is made of ABS plastic so it won’t absorb like most other plastics.
The two biggest issues with infant bathing issues are that the second you place your infant in the tub, the water is dirty. The water also starts to cool off as soon as you turn the faucet off. The 4moms Infant Tub solves both of these problems. First, the design allows for clean, warm water to continuously flow in, while dirty water flows out. There are two side drains as well, which allow parents to set the proper depth for the perfect bath. There is also a clean water reservoir so you can easily rinse (there is even a perfectly-sized rinse cup included). This is a big upgrade from your typical infant tub, knowing that your baby has clean water for the entire duration of his or her soak is priceless. Second, the 4moms tub gives parents peace of mind that the baby’s bathwater temp is always just right. It has a color-coded digital temperature gauge to ensure your baby’s bath water is comfortable and safe the whole time. Fits both single and double sinks. We haven’t heard a peep out of our newborn since we have done baths in here. The baby nurse was shocked to see a newborn actually appear to enjoy bath time!
Super Safe Car Seat
We met with the Car Seat Lady to learn how to properly install our seat that we picked. No car seat is effective if you can’t install it properly. I highly recommend checking out her YouTube videos. Just FYI, I paid for my full meeting with her and it was worth every penny.
We have the Chicco Fit2, MESA and Nuna Pipa and she was fine with all of those brands. Look out for more detailed reviews of those coming soon.
The Perfect Overall Stroller
One of the biggest decisions new parents make are choosing the stroller. It’s one of the biggest investments so you’ll want to make sure you pick a good one because it will be around for a while. My top choice is the UPPABaby Vista. Do remember, I am an ambassador for the brand but I am the one who sought them out, not the other way around. This stroller is perfect for parents who want a durable product, alot of storage and excellent maneuverability. Check out my full review of the UPPABaby VISTA stroller.
Easy Stroller for Travel
The BABYZEN YOYO+ stroller is my top pick because of its fold. It’s really great whether you’re just going out in your neighborhood or on a flight halfway around the world (it will fit in the overhead compartment on planes). It’s lightweight and has the easiest one-hand fold that we’ve ever seen. Just click a button and you can fold and unfold with JUST ONE HAND (this is a big deal). It features a 145-degree incline for several seat positions to keep baby happy even when she’s napping. Oh and I LOVE the spying window. The four-wheel suspension system offers a smooth ride. The canopy offers UPF 50 and there is decent storage space to accommodate baby’s stuff. Car seat adapter is sold separately but accommodates the Nuna Pipa, Cybex Aton, Cybex Aton 2, and the Maxi Cosi Mico’s infant car seats. For travel, to keep baby safe from the sun and other elements, I recommend purchasing the BABYZEN Mosquito Net and Parasol.
But since the Babyzen YOYO is only compatible with certain car seats, we recommend the Mountain Buggy Nano, which is a great umbrella stroller for about half the price of the BabyZen. Plus, it fits almost any car seat. It’s not quite as stylish or easy to fold (though it’s still pretty good). For the price though, it’s definitely a great option for those looking not to spend as much. We love that it’s compatible with almost any infant car seats making it ideal for travel. You don’t even need to buy an adapter, it comes with everything you need. Many other umbrella strollers aren’t compatible with any car seats or (like the Recaro) are only compatible with its own. There are straps under the nano that work just like a safety belt in a car. Also, you can pair this with the Cocoon and then use it right from newborn age as your main stroller if you want. The Mountain Buggy Nano is great for travel because it’s easy to lift and fits in small spaces. It has rear wheel suspension to keep your baby comfortable on their travel adventure, an easy to use color defined brake for extra safety and 5.5” EVA wheels for a smooth ride. Its maneuverability is really great, it moves with excellent ease. This makes up for its fold, which isn’t the easiest. Also, love its versatility and ability to last a long time. For travel, to keep baby safe from the sun and other elements, I recommend purchasing the Mosquito Net and Sun Shade. I do wish this stroller had a spying window but you can’t win em all.
After consulting with the EWG’s website, I found California Baby, which is a healthy brand that I know I can trust when using it on my daughter. It doesn’t contain toxic chemicals and harsh ingredients. I also use alot of Honest Company products.
The Halo Luxe Plus Bassinest combines both a separate bassinet and the concept of co-sleeping. The swiveling stand rotates a full 360-degrees allowing you to bring the baby close to you in bed while also allowing you both to enjoy a safe sleep. The side wall provides a safe barrier between you and your baby but can be lowered for easy access. The base is extremely sturdy (and quite heavy) so you’ll never worry it will tip over. It has four solid (long) legs so you just have to get used to them and be aware so you don’t trip. You can easily twist the cradle though allowing you to get in and out of bed easily. The luxe model also has a nightlight, soothing sounds, vibration, lullabies, a floor light, nursing timer and a storage caddy (also auto shutoff). It also comes with fitted sheet, and mattress pad. They also sell an organic mattress and sheets for a non-toxic option with no flame retardant.
When it came to choosing a humidifier I had heard great things about the Crane Drop Cool Mist Humidifier. It seemed to be the standard that most people got. I liked that it had a modern design and was available in a variety of fun colors. It’s super affordable, at only $34.99. It has a capacity of one gallon, which can work for about 24 hours (even more if you’re in a tiny apartment like mine). It’s also really easy to clean and refill, which was my main concern. I like to clean the tank often since a baby is breathing in the air. It works great and isn’t too noisy.
Truth be told, we didn’t use swaddles that often but the standard swaddles that baby stores will recommend are the aden + anais swaddle blankets. Their generous size makes swaddling easy and aden + anais, the blankies get softer with every wash without fading. All the cute neon prints I picked stay the same every load. They’re 100% cotton muslin and they come in adorable patterns. We use these for everything from swaddling to receiving blankets. It takes a little while to get the technique down for swaddling in a blanket though. So be sure to take notes from your baby nurse or more experienced mommy friends.
If you’re a new parent you may be relieved to know that there are about a million products that allow you to easily swaddle your little one with less brainpower. These are great because they can’t unravel and pose a suffocation risk—think of these products as swaddling for dummies. It almost feels like cheating.
My favorite was the Swaddle Up is a little different than other brands because it allows your baby to sleep in a position with his or her arms up, which some consider to be more natural since it allows for self-soothing. Medical research shows that babies sleep better when they are swaddled and are able to self-soothe (remember seeing your baby in the ultrasound with his or her hands by her face?). The Swaddle Up has patented “wings” that allow your baby to sleep in a position with their arms up allowing their hands access for self-soothing. It’s also supposed to help to calm baby’s startle reflex. Plus, the arms up position reduces the risk of accidental rolling from back to front. The Swaddle Up has a twin zipper that allows for easy diaper changes (trust me this is key). The Swaddle Up is available in Stage 1 in three sizes: S,M and L, and in three different fabrics to take you into the different seasons: winter warm, original organic and summer lite. There is also Stage 2 for the transition. The 50/50 is designed to gently help babies transition from a swaddle to independence.
A Mesmerizing Mobile
Once your baby can see clearly, you’ll want them to see something adorable and soothing in their crib when you’re not around. I am obsessed with the Skip Hop brand. Everything they make is so classy looking and blends with even sophisticated décor. I love Skip Hop’s Moonlight & Melodies Projection Mobile which comes in the cutest cloud, moon and star variety we have ever seen. It has a neutral color palette that will match any nursery, plays eight lullabies and nature sounds and also projects stars on the ceiling to slowly soothe your little one into a peaceful sleep. And its remote control can restart the mobile after 20 minutes even outside the nursery if your baby needs an encore!
There are so many options out there. We tested out many of the top-rated brands to figure out which worked the best and for what application exactly. Since there are so many different scenarios where you’ll find yourself wanting to stalk your baby.
Watch When You’re Away: Nest
While the Nest camera isn’t exclusively a baby monitor, we love it for precisely this use. It requires Wi-Fi and pairs with a personal device like a phone or tablet so you can monitor when you’re away from home. The Nest is super easy to set up, all you have to do is download the app and pair it with the device. It offers a very large field of view (which is adjustable from the app on your device), night vision and 24/7 streaming (you can also choose to pay an additional fee to record activity if you want to go back and review at a later time). The Nest camera has excellent visual quality, clocking in at 1080 pixels, which gives super clear resolution—even the night vision. While you can set up notifications for movement, you can’t use this as a monitor to alert you when your baby cries, etc. since that’s not what it’s meant for. I love it to be able to check into the nursery when I’m not home so I can see what’s going on. And I don’t know much about hacking (despite my love of Mr. Robot) but from what I have read, this device is very unlikely to be able to be broken into by outsiders. In the 15 months that I have had it, it has never disconnected.
Watch in Your Home without a Phone
Levana’s Baby Monitor is more of your typical baby monitor. It has a camera with a 300-degree pan and 100-degree tilt. It also offers night vision. The tilt and zoom is very quiet and is unlikely to wake a little one from his or her slumber. The camera has great resolution, which you can view from the included wireless touch-screen monitor from up to 500 feet away from the camera. This device features a push-to-talk component that I love–you can talk to a fussy baby from the other room to help soothe her. The monitor has a 12-hour battery life (in power save mode) and a private digital signal that doesn’t require Wi-Fi. It also recharges very quickly from any micro-USB port, which is very convenient. The device also offers temperature sensors and customizable notifications. Its best quality though is that it never disconnects from the camera, which I have found to be an issue with several other cameras.
These devices collect data on your baby and try and organize it into useful insights that can help you. They aim at helping you rest easy—not an easy task for new parents. While many people may criticize the opportunity to stalk your little one, to me I felt that the peace of mind they gave me really helped. SIDS is a real issue and while none of these devices are proven to help combat this problem, having something that will alert you to problematic behavior couldn’t hurt. People warned me that I would drive myself crazy with these devices but I found the exact opposite to be true. I found that I was able to sit in the other room and relax for a few minutes without constantly asking myself whether or not the baby was ok. This just gave that extra bit of reassurance.
The Owlet is simply revolutionary in my opinion and more than worth its $249 cost. It uses pulse oximetry to monitor your baby’s heart rate and can tell you if she stops breathing. The technology is essentially the same as the clip that goes on your finger at the hospital but it’s now fit for babies at home. Owlet cleverly created a sock that can stay on your baby’s foot to do the same job. The sock then pairs with your smart device and an alarm that you place next to your bed, which will alert you if anything goes wrong. You can check out my full review of the Owlet Smart Sock and learn more about the new version here.
There are plenty of skeptics out there who may question whether babies will kick this off or be uncomfortable but I can vow that is not the case. It fits comfortably on (and comes with 3 sizes) and can fit easily inside a onesie with feet that will help keep the sock from going anywhere.
Being able to monitor our baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels is invaluable. Of course there are the naysayers that say it’s crazy but for those of us who gain peace of mind from more information rather than less, I think this gadget is priceless. It saves parents from having to get up every two minutes to check and see if your child is breathing (you know who you are) and lets you get a few extra minutes of sleep knowing that Owlet is watching over your little one and that you will be notified (via an alarm you place next to your own bed) if anything goes awry. Of course the product isn’t perfect and you do run the risk of the sock coming off or being notified for a false positive but it is absolutely worth it to me. And we have only had one instance of a false alarm, which was most likely our own fault.
Unintentional suffocation is a leading cause of death for children under the age of one in the United States so of course parents are experiencing restless nights. With the Owlet monitor, parents can rest easier knowing they will be alerted if their baby is in distress. My friend who was a pediatric nurse said she knew too many things that could go wrong, and I felt the same way.
The ErgoBaby Adapt is a 3-position carrier that adapts to your growing baby (from newborn to toddler (7-45 lbs). The best part is it can be used right from birth without having to buy an infant insert. I had heard great things about Ergobaby, which consistently wins awards for having the most ergonomic carriers. It’s easy to figure out how to get on (which trust me isn’t always the case, I found myself knotted in a tangled web of baby carriers on more than one occasion). Figure out your favorite position: front inward carry, hip carry or back carry. Oh, and it’s machine washable.
Pack and Play
The 4moms Breeze is the easiest playard to maneuver on the market. It opens/closes in one simple step: you push it open and pull it closed. It comes with an infant bassinet and convenient travel bag, which keeps it clean. The material is very durable and easy to clean. The only downside is that it is quite heavy, however, for it to be safe and sturdy, it has to be. It also makes for a great travel crib. Sheets for the playard and basinet are sold separately. We absolutely love this.
As I said, I love Skip Hop because it has a certain sophisticated look. It also has a soft color palette to complement any home décor while not overpowering the room. Silver Lining Activity Gym by Skip Hop is an extremely engaging activity gym offering music, lights, squeaks, rattles and a baby-safe mirror. The oversized mat provides plush comfort and multiple textures and patterns for sensory development. It also comes with a tummy time pillow. The Gym is also BPA-free, PVC-free and Pthalate-free. This gym provides hours of entertainment.
Diaper Changing Pad
The Hatch Smart Changing Pad is for tech lovers—it’s a changing pad that measures and tracks data about your baby’s feeding and diaper schedule. It then sends the data to your mobile device. It can also be hooked up now to Alexa.
The Hatch is part diaper changing table/part lifesaving tool that takes your baby’s weight while you’re stuck with the dirty job of diaper change. Perhaps my favorite part though is that you can weigh your baby before and after a feeding so you can actually measure—to the ounce, how much your baby..
Boy do I love the city! I love New York so much! But during the winter, I can’t wait to escape. Trapped indoors and inside our tiny apartment with no reprieve is not my idea of a good time! Especially now that we have a baby. So, I compiled a list for Forbes of my favorite weekend getaways from New York City that are nearby and don’t require going to an airport. These weekend getaways from NYC can have you relaxing in no time and without the hassle and headache of an airport–not to mention the delays.
Just check out this gorgeous garden at my top pick, Glenmere Mansion. Truly one of my favorite places I have ever visited. So luxurious and restorative. I can’t wait to check it out in the summer.
Here, I just wanted to take a little time to share some personal thoughts about a few destinations I listed.
First on the list was Glenmere Mansion, this is the quintessential luxury mansion. The grounds are gorgeous. They really marry old, classic decor with modern amenities. And the food was incredible. You know my taste, even though I love the elegant dining room (especially the breakfast), the tavern was out of this world. I always enjoy casual fine dining. The General Tso’s cauliflower was to die for! As was the fried chicken sandwich. I would go back just for that. Probably one of the best meals I have ever had. I kid you not.
The Adelphi Hotel in Saratoga Springs was amazing too. I had the pleasure to recently visit. While I loved all the meals, the one that truly stood out was at Salt and Char, a steakhouse renowned by Bobby Flay. I had no idea what I was in for but it was truly a delight. The rooms at the hotel were also awesome and very modern while retaining the old-fashioned details that make it so special.
Next, Canyon Ranch is such a special place. Whatever you do–don’t miss the lectures with the brilliant medical staff. Keep an open mind! And don’t miss dinner at the Café. The experience is so much fun there. The waitstaff there is so sweet and really make it a personal experience. And the small plates are NYC restaurant quality! We even heard a rumor that they want to bring their delicious and nutritious dining to other cities. Stay tuned on that!
I was absolutely blown away by this hotel. We received a discount but did pay for our hotel accommodations. If you’re looking for the perfect hotel to escape the city and relax, look no further.
It’s just over an hour’s drive from the city.
Welcome Amenity? Bellinis when you check in.
Glenmere was one of America’s finest country homes, once host to royalty, aristocracy, and leading artists.Glenmere was originally fashioned as a 35-room Tuscan villa with a central open cortile and
majestic interior details, including marble-columned porticoes and sweeping interior and exterior staircases. Now it is reborn as a premier luxury hotel and spa. With just 18 guest accommodations, 2 superb restaurants, and exceptional recreational facilities including a full-service spa with bath house/hammam, a discerning few will rediscover in Glenmere a model of refined relaxation. From its lush meadows and formal gardens to its sweeping marble staircases, grand cortile, and gracious terraces, Glenmere evokes European-style elegance and sophistication.
A painstaking restoration now returns Glenmere to its original magnificence, with flowing rooms and broad terraces all centered on the refurbished cortile. Original architectural details have been preserved throughout, and the landscape once more offers panoramic views of the surrounding hills and tranquil Glenmere Lake. The formal gardens are stunning.
The best part though is all of the rooms there are here to relax. Fireplaces galore, puzzles, board games and even a self-playing piano.
There is a small but sweet check-in desk. There are also a few chairs. It’s small but lovely.
Glenmere has 18 guest accommodations ranging in different sizes. No two are alike; all are equally incredible.
Esteemed interior designer Scott Snyder marries historical elegance with contemporary comfort and whimsy. Each room has one-of-a-kind furnishings, sumptuous beds, and fine antiques combined with spectacular art and unique objects. Many rooms have working fireplaces (limited seasonally), and many offer terraces with open views of Glenmere’s grounds and gardens, as well as the lake and hills beyond. All guest accommodations feature custom-designed Italian linens, sumptuous marble baths with heated floors, state-of-the-art AV systems without Bluetooth, featuring large flat-screen TVs, DVD players, iPod docking stations, and high-speed Internet access.
Charging Situation? There were plenty and USB plugs as well.
Turn-Down Service: Yes and you got a special treat and weather report!
Bottled Water? Complimentary.
Coffee maker? Espresso machine on the floor.
White Glove Inspection: Couldn’t find a thing to complain about. And you know we flip the mattress and tear the sheets off.
Oh and the details!
The bathroom is the most contemporary part of the room. All marble. Gorgeous mirror and spectacularly beautifully decorated sink. There was a rain shower and a steam shower! My favorite combo. There was even a bench in there to boot.
Makeup Mirror? Yep.
Hairdryer? Yes, high quality.
Designer Toiletries? Yes, Yes, Yes.
Towel quality? Excellent.
Robes? Excellent quality as well.
Amenities? Heated floor was such a luxury during our winter visit. You can even control the temperature.
And so many beautiful details!
The Food & Drink
Glenmere has two different restaurants. The intimate dining room and Frog’s End. The dining room is wonderful. The menu is fine dining done right.
This is also where breakfast (which is included in the room charge) is served. Breakfast is delicious. They even have a daily pancake!
For casual luxury, Frog’s End is a cozy tavern and a perfect spot to hide away with a book or chat over a game of chess. The Fried chicken and waffle sandwich was one of the best things I have ever eaten in my life. The cauliflower appetizer was amazing as well.
Classy Hotel Bar? You can sit at Frog’s End bar or in any of the many sitting rooms where you can have cocktails brought to you. The setting could not be more lovely and the cocktails are great. Very good beer selection as well.
The spa is supposed to be incredible, unfortunately we did not have a chance this visit to see. There’s always next time!
The Little Things
Did I feel truly welcome by the staff? Yes
Wi-Fi? Yes, complimentary.
Cocktail Quality? Excellent
Any other quirky things? There are board games and puzzles and oversized books lurking around every corner and on every surface. Lots of lovely chess boards too.
Good For Families: No, this is definitely where to come for a romantic getaway.
Room for Improvement
Zero to complain about at all. Such a gorgeous hotel.
The Wow Factor(s):
My most memorable experience was…too many to count! Sitting by the fireplace and listening to the self-playing piano while sipping cocktails was probably my favorite if I had to pick. Also that meal at Frog’s End will not soon be forgotten.
The Bottom Line: Would I recommend it? Am I coming Back?
Would come back tomorrow and every weekend if I could. It is simply breathtaking. Look forward to coming back here maybe in the summer months as well so we can enjoy the gardens. Oh yea and most beautiful sunsets ever! This pic does NOT do it justice.
*Disclaimer* As is common in the travel industry, writers are provided with discounts for review purposes but we did pay for some of our stay. You can’t buy the love here, people! Just ask my husband after we’ve had an argument!
As many of you who follow me on social media know, I took a trip with the whole family to Greece back in May–including our 8 month-old daughter. It wasn’t easy all the time but it was worth every ounce of work (If you haven’t seen it, check out my ultimate packing list for traveling with a baby).
Mykonos was a place on my bucket list for years. When I had my daughter, I really got the itch to take a beach getaway. I hadn’t been anywhere tropical during my pregnancy because I wasn’t allowed to fly too far. Plus, Zika killed our dreams of a Caribbean babymoon. Mykonos lived up to all the hype and even more. Greece in general is very child-friendly. Most people we met LOVED babies and engaged our daughter nonstop.
The best advice I can give is to pick a great luxury hotel because during the day, most people just sun and swim and enjoy the hotel amenities. When choosing where to stay, consider the Mykonos Grand Hotel and Resort. It was absolutely incredible. The views
Bringing a little one into the world is one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences in any parents’ life. But making choices that affect your little one’s health and wellness can seem daunting. In a world filled with so much conflicting information, it’s difficult to know who you can trust. As new parents, we are faced with so many decisions: will we nurse or give formula? Make homemade baby food or give premade? Go conventional or organic? Who can we turn to for the answers? Our babies don’t come with instruction manuals…so who knows best? Surveying friends, family and doctors can produce vastly differing opinions leaving you even more confused than when you started.
So, who can you trust? The health associations that we believe are impartial are often influenced and funded by their donors. For example, remember that time this summer that the world condemned coconut oil based on the American Heart Association’s recommendation? But did you also know that American Heart Association accepts significant funding from the Canola Oil Council? Seems convenient that they went after Canola’s main competitor when there is so much hard research showing coconut oil’s health benefits. (Learn more in this podcast).
But I digress…My point is that as a parent you really need to do your own research and consider the source when it comes to taking care of your family. Just because something is the popular way of doing something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best way. But if we can’t trust the health associations, what about our own doctors?
Unfortunately, the truth is that while the best pediatricians may be extremely well-versed in medicine, they rarely study nutrition—which is kind of crazy since they are probably the main source most parents learn about baby and child nutrition.
Since most pediatricians aren’t nutrition experts, often, they follow the American Pediatric Association recommendations for what children should eat. And remember what I said about the American Heart Association? Well, after taking a quick glance at top donors of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), I found that several of their biggest donors are manufacturers of infant formula and pharmaceuticals. So again, it’s good to know these ties when considering the credibility and potential biases. (You can check out their report from 2016, which lists its donors here).
Feeling completely overwhelmed yet? Fear not, I turned to a nutrition expert who I know always does her homework and who is one of my the most trusted sources for health recommendations in the industry.
Her name is Kimberly Snyder, she is a nutritionist and multi-time New York Times best-selling author of The Beauty Detox series and Radical Beauty. Kimberly’s advice is often featured on The Today Show and The Dr. Oz Show and has been featured in many other publications like The New York Times, Vogue, Elle, InStyle and Vanity Fair, among many others. She’s also lauded by nearly every celebrity in Hollywood (Reese Witherspoon, Drew Barrymore, Kerry Washington and many others).
But her newest and arguably most important job is that she’s a new mommy to an adorable baby boy she calls Bub! What excellent timing for the rest of us struggling mommies out there who need to get to the bottom of baby nutrition! I was lucky enough to interview Kimberly about infant nutrition. So let’s get to it!
Katie Lara: Hi Kimberly, thank you so much for taking the time to discuss baby nutrition and health with us today. We are so grateful for your time. I know that lots of us struggle with wanting the best for our little ones and not knowing where to turn. So I am happy you’re here to help! I’m going to jump right in!
So, not all of us have an easy time nursing and producing enough milk to feed our babies. Or some moms just don’t enjoy it or it isn’t feasible with working, etc. What are your thoughts about dairy and formula for babies and children?
Kimberly Snyder: This is a tough question. I know that a lot of Mamas struggle with breast milk, despite eating lactation-promoting foods, staying hydrated and doing everything in their power that they can! I recommend choosing an organic formula no matter what the specific type is. And I think it’s a personal choice that needs to be discussed with your pediatrician. Of course, unfortunately a lot of pediatricians have not studied nutrition in-depth, and might be apt to just recommend the standard dairy-based formula. I’m personally not an advocate for dairy for all humans- babies or adults.
The Harvard School of Public Health just announced their Healthy Eating Plate to address the deficiencies in the USDA MyPlate guidelines. Notably, they recommend limiting all milk, cheese, dairy and red meat and avoiding cold cuts and other processed meats altogether. Harvard states, “there is considerable evidence that too-high intakes (of dairy) can be harmful.” You can check it out here.
I won’t get into it all here, but there are thousands of studies linking dairy to a wide variety of human health issues like increased osteoporosis, and a 49% increase in mortality rates from those with breast cancer. I have whole sections on dairy in 3 of my books citing dozens of studies- here are just 3 of them.
A 2005 review published in the Journal of Pediatrics concluded that milk consumption does not improve bone integrity in children.
The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study followed more than 72,000 women for eighteen years and its results showed that there was no protective effect of increased milk consumption on fracture risk.
The Iowa Women’s Health Study found that women who consumed more than one glass of milk daily hard a 73 percent greater chance of developing ovarian cancer than women who dank less than one glass per day.
We are the only species out of millions that drinks the milk of another animal. Dairy is made for a baby cow, not a baby human. It is an extremely acid-forming, phlegm and mucus-forming food, and many hypothesize a connection between dairy and issues such as ear infections and respiratory disorders in children.
The amino acid composition of human breast milk is different from cow’s milk. Cow’s milk is much higher in casein. Human milk provides more cystine, which is a sulfur-containing amino acid. Sulfur and nitrogen retention are critical for protein assimilation. This is why the protein in human breast milk is completely usable for the baby, while only some of the protein in cow’s milk formula can be used and may be very difficult for baby to digest.
While it may not be ideal either, there is organic soy formula as an option, assuming there are no allergy issues.
KL: For people who aren’t followers of yours this may sound pretty shocking because even for one-year olds, pediatricians recommend three servings of dairy a day for calcium and vitamin D. What would you recommend to replace this?
KS: I talk extensively in The Beauty Detox Solution and my other books about how milk is NOT the best option for calcium that is actually retained in the body. Sure there is an impressive amount of calcium listed on the label of the milk carton, but upon digestion, alkaline minerals- and namely calcium- are pulled from the bones to help neutralize the acid-forming effect of dairy digestion, resulting in an actual net calcium loss.
There is a lot of research to back this up that I cite in my books and on my website, but I thought since you brought up pediatricians I would bring up my own pediatrician instead here.
It is critical to understand that most doctors don’t study nutrition specifically. What I love about our pediatrician, Dr. Jay Gordon, is that he has not only been part of the teaching faculty at UCLA Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, but that he took a Senior Fellowship in Pediatric Nutrition at Sloan-Kettering Institute in New York City. He is a pediatrician that is actually ALSO trained in nutrition! This is quite rare, and I want to emphasize that again.
Dr. Gordon is an advocate for breastfeeding and supportive of non-milk alternatives and avoiding dairy. I got this quote from Dr. Gordon (which I wholeheartedly agree with): “I always recommend dark green vegetables for calcium. Soy beans, navy beans, tempeh and, easiest, fresh almond milk. We need far less calcium than most old reports say we do.”
KL: Is there anything in milk that babies can’t get elsewhere?
KS: No! And Dr. Gordon furthers, “There is absolutely nothing in cow milk that we can’t get from other dietary sources.”
KL: What about when other kids are drinking milk when they get off formula, what do u recommend instead?
KS: There are other great milk products that have good fats, such as hemp milk, cashew milk, coconut milk, hazelnut milk, almond milk and so on.
KL: What are some Kimberly Snyder approved snacks that don’t involve time in the kitchen?
KS: The best teething foods I gave Bubs were cut-up apples. He would gnaw on them like a mouse! I never had to give him puffs or teething biscuits. For snacks, he loves avocados, bananas, cut up grapes, pear, quinoa & veggie burgers and chia pudding. Also the Endurance Bar recipe from the Beauty Detox Foods is great for kids to make and store!
For very little attention and time you can cook up some lentils and steamed veggies and take them on the go.
KL: Is there a pre-made baby food that you trust or do you think it’s really important to go homemade?
KS: I totally get being a busy mom- and I am one busy mom myself juggling many things! But I would encourage moms to get a Vitamix and a steamer and make a few simple things, in batches, which is fresher and more nutrient-dense than pre-made squeezey packets and the like. Simple is more than okay, it’s excellent!!
You can make the Glowing Green Smoothie (GGS), and steam veggies and try baby led weaning with finger foods. That is the combo that I did with Bubs. GGS was the first food Bubby had after breast milk, and he has 1-2 sippy cups every single day and has rarely ever gotten sick! He is an energetic, chubby little baby.
KL: To save some time, how do you feel about using boxed, pre-washed or frozen vegetables?
KS: Yes on both! It helps make it happen and are great practical options
KL: What Sippy Cup do you recommend?
KS: I’ve been using the BPA/BPS-, PVC-. Phthalate-free Lollacup, which is weighted and has a thick straw for the GGS and is easy to clean!
KL: FYI I use ThinkBaby’s amazing straw bottles. They are free from BPA, phthalates, nitrosamines, lead, PVC, PET, and biologically harmful chemicals
KL: I know you are all about probiotics, what are your thoughts about them for babies?
KS: I believe that babies need them in their diet too! I open one of the Kimberly Snyder SBO Probiotic capsules and give Bubs 1/3 of it, which can be easily sprinkled on food. For older children I would recommend to up the dose to ½-1 capsule.
KL: There is so much plastic in everything we use. What do you do about plastic toys?
KS: All of Bubs toys are wooden instead of plastic. I let it be known to friends and relatives that I knew would give toys no matter what- I wasn’t shy or embarrassed about it! Better to not have people waste their money, right? I do this to avoid unnecessary pesticides, toxic glues, and flame retardant chemicals. Wooden toys are fantastic and sturdy.
KL: Any tips to avoid baby getting sick or tips when they do?
KS: Breastfeed as much as you can – which is proven to help build Baby’s immune system. But don’t feel bad if you can’t – we are all doing our best! Babies need love and happy Mamas that are taking care of themselves as well!
I’m a big advocate of giving baby probiotics to further help with immunity and living in the modern world. I give Bubs the SBO Probiotics even though I’m still nursing.
When your baby is sick, try staying very hydrated, taking little sips of cooled ginger tea, probiotics (I’ll mention them again), and vitamin-C rich foods and drinks (depending on age), such as the Glowing Green Smoothie.
KL: Any picks for healthy furniture?
KS: I use a super high tech baby company that is virtually toxin-free for Bubs mattress. It’s called Kalon.
KL: What baby books do you recommend for parents?
KS: Disease-Proof Your Child 100 Promises to my Baby, The Conscious Parent
KL: Any Mommy hacks or tricks you’ve learned along the way that may be helpful to others?
KS: Having Bubs has changed who I am, I used to love my own yoga time and mediation time but I learned that with Bubs my life can be shared. I am happy to mediate while he is breastfeeding on my lap and do errands while he is wrapped to me. I did what felt natural to me and all moms have their own instincts when it comes to their baby. I believe that moms should do what they feel and I learned to not worry about what others think. I do what is best for my baby and my family and don’t look for approval from others, and I encourage all moms to do that as well.
As a working mom, I’m in a flow of coordinating walking Bubs in the stroller so he can look around when I am on conference calls, doing my deepest writing/most concentrated work when he is napping, and swapping work and playing time constantly every other moment he is awake- working much more slowly! And working after I put him to bed…hence why I am doing this interview at 9:30 pm. I wouldn’t change it at all- I love being a mom, but I also love my work. Every mom has to find her groove, whether that is going back to the office, staying home for a while, or working from home, like me. I’ll say it again- do what feels right to you and go with it!
KL: When making our green smoothies (which our daughter loves!), we know that organic fruits/veggies are the best. There are lots of considerations in busy lives. Buying at the store may mean having non-organic ingredients.
KS: Organic foods do have more minerals and nutrients and less pesticides and toxins. It’s also of course better for the earth. That being said, if budget is an issue, I would recommend soaking inorganic foods for a while in a water bath with a veggie wash or some apple cider vinegar, and which will help with the pesticide removal to an extent (though not add more nutrients back in), and make the Glowing Green Smoothie anyway.
The EWG guide is great for being the smartest with your budget towards choosing organic foods that have the most pesticide content, and do your best! And you’ll still get nutrition and benefits. And hey, a non-organic GGS is infinitely better than most every other breakfast option out there, like bagels and cream cheese or McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches.
KL: Thank you so much for taking the time to share your wonderful advice with us today! It has been eye-opening and beyond generous of you to share your time and limited bandwidth. We can’t wait for the future when one day we can read an entire book about your tips for building healthy kids!
Useful Links and Information
Snyder continues to build momentum around her brand “Kimberly Snyder Lifestyle” (KimberlySnyder.com), which features supplements and information products, including her signature SBO Probiotic formula. Snyder is also the founder of Glow Bio, an Los Angeles-based organic cleanse, juice and smoothie company that ships nationally, and is also home of the world famous Glowing Green Smoothie®.
We are just fresh off our first international trip with my infant daughter who is 8 months old. We had the trip of a lifetime but it’s absolutely mind-blowing how much stuff she required. Crazy, crazy, crazy. We compiled everything that we needed to bring and then I went back over the list and added things that we forgot or things that we thought may be useful in the future. This packing list is everything that your entire family will need. I checked friends lists as well as every list I could get my hands on online and here is what I came up with. Also, a little bit of background, I am a total type-A person that is super organized. I err on the side of “better to have it and not need it.” So feel free to use this list as a guide and skip over certain items. I wanted an all-encompassing list that we could skip over certain things if we wanted. Please, please leave items I may have forgotten in the comments to help other parents (including me) out. Bon voyage and happy travels! Without further ado, here is the Ultimate Packing List for Traveling with a Baby
Packing List for Baby
Baby Clothing Packing List
Clothes – shirts, pants, dresses
Hair Accessories (bows,headbands)
Baseball hat, sun hats, swim hats
Baby Miscellaneous Packing List
Crib Cover for sleep
Car seat blackout shade
Sound machines (portable and plugin)
Baby Floatation for Pool
Baby Toiletries Packing List
Baby Benadryl, Tylenol & Motrin
Soap/Shampoo for bath
Disposable diaper changing pad sheets
Baby Feeding Packing List
Dr brown bottle brush (tiny one)
Dr browns bottle topper not cap
Teething Biscuits and O’s
Bibs – for milk & food
Sterilizer Steam bags
Table disposable covers for eating
Plane Packing List
Bottles/Formula (need to get water after security. Bring on plane, our last plane actually ran out of bottled water)
Meals for baby
Snacks for baby
*Extra clothes for everyone (baby and adult)
Diapers –We were told one for every hour you will be traveling (and then bring extra)
Copies of Prescriptions
Medicine (baby and adult)
TSA Precheck/Global Entry cards
Charged Battery packs for plane & Cords for Phones/Sound Machine
Travel sound machine
Blackout cover for car seat
Disposable diaper changing pad sheets (trust me, airports can have some nasty places to change)
Anti-bacterial stuff for plane and wipes
Plastic bags for misc. trash
Pacifier (if your baby takes one, ours doesn’t)
Snacks for mom and dad
Sleep masks/ear plugs (one parent can use at a time)
Adult Packing ListClothing
Shoes: walking, beach sandals, night
Hats- sun and baseball
Adult – Toiletries Packing List
Hair Products (Gel, Rogaine, whatever you need)
Condoms (unless you want to travel with another kid)
Technology Packing List
Camera, memory cards,
Smoke detector? (Kind of crazy but saw on one list and depends where you’re going)
Odds & Ends Packing List
Passports (and copies)
Global entry cards
First Class Lounge Entry card
Boarding passes (download apps for mobile)
Headphones (charge noise-cancelling)
Sports equipment (games, tennis shoes, rackets?)
FAA Car Seat Guidelines printed
What stroller are you going to take? Large or Umbrella?
What storage bag? If bringing a large stroller the airline will make you check it. Some may still make you check the umbrella stroller. You need to bring a storage bag, airlines make you sign something saying they aren’t responsible for lost or damaged items when you give them the stroller. And strollers are expensive, man. Most strollers make their own bags to match.
Car Seat & Adapter if necessary for stroller
Make sure that the car seat states that it is FAA Approved. It should say it on the seat itself. You will need to show this to the flight attendants. Be prepared to also have an argument or two about whether your car seat can be rear-facing if you are not on an American airline. Only American airlines require that you are allowed to have your baby’s car seat in a seat if you purchase it. Most other airlines have varying policies. That said, I strongly believe that every baby should be in a car seat even though the airlines will let you travel with your baby on your lap until they are one year-old. The Car Seat Lady explains this way better and more intelligently than I do so be sure to check it out.
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