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Excellence Playa Mujeres

About a month ago, Darren and I decided it was time for a little rest and relaxation.  He’s been working round the clock for ages and I’ve had one cold after the next not to mention I’m pregnant and chasing David around while he explores the world.  We first considered taking the little guy with us but after careful consideration we felt he was a bit too young still to sit quietly on the plane.  Plus, both sets of grandparents were all too eager to watch him while we jetted off to paradise.  We weren’t sure where we wanted to end up but the only criteria was to be in a warm, tropical setting.  After much research, we decided on the Excellence Playa Mujeres resort in Mexico for a 6 day/5 night escape.

Sunday morning we headed off to the airport and many hours later we arrived in Cancun.  The sun was shining, the humidity was high and the winds were breezy.  We sailded through immigration and managed to find the shortest line to clear customs.  After a short wait for our transportation van, we were on our way to the resort which was about an hour from the airport and about 20-30 minutes north of the strip hotels of Cancun.  When we pulled up we were warmly greeted by the staff with a cool washcloth to wipe our hands and face and a glass of champagne.  After a smooth check-in, we made our way to our room, a beautiful swim-out suite with a view of the lazy river and the spa.  We had our own private outdoor lounging space with two lounges and a daybed for relaxing.  The room was spacious and stocked with all the amenities you would need.  Our goal this trip was to relax and have some downtime so I requested a ‘quiet’ room.  The hotel obliged and kept us away from the hustle and bustle of the theater and bars.  While it was a short walk to the restaurants and the beach, it was just what we wanted.  Serenity.

We’ve spent our days relaxing either by the pool (of which there are 7) or on the beach.  The ocean is nothing spectacular.  I prefer the water and the beach in Aruba and St. Maarteen to to the beach in Cancun but it was still nice.   The hotel is an all-inclusive so everything is at your disposal.  There are eight different restaurants to choose from with a large variety of cuisine offered.  Breakfast is buffet style and lunch is an option of a la carte menu at certain restaurants or buffet at the main restaurant.  For an all-inclusive resort, we’ve found the food to be better than average in most cases.  Breakfast by far has surpassed any other buffet we’ve been to in terms of variety and quality.  Dinner options vary and some restaurants are better than others but overall we’d give the food a thumbs up.

The only disappointment we’ve experienced is the weather.  The first two days were magnificent.  Sun and a few clouds made for perfect days.  But today and yesterday there are thick clouds and some spotty rain.  It hasn’t forced us inside all day but it has put a damper on our tanning and pool time.  Since the weather is less than ideal we opted to play billiards, jenga and chess in the game room and then hit the spa for an afternoon.  I even managed to get Darren to try the spa experience.   I had a prenatal massage and a facial.  Both were excellent.  Darren had a hydrotherapy experience which was a circuit rotation through the steam room, sauna, warming pools and various other water therapy treatments.  Afterward, he said ‘not a fan’.

Overall, we both would give the resort an 8.5 rating.  The rooms are spacious and beautiful with all the amenities you would want.  The staff is very accommodating although at times service levels can be a little hit or miss.  The grounds are beautiful and meticulously maintained.  My only complaint is the mosquitoes.  They are out in abundance and I have a ton of bites to prove it.  The resort does provide bug spray for the outdoor restaurants but it didn’t prevent me from being bitten alive all day long.  Thank goodness I brought some insect creams to treat my bites. Despite the bugs, Darren and I would highly recommend this vacation destination to anyone.  It is a great place for anyone wanted to escape the hustle and bustle of their daily lives or for anyone celebrating a special occasion such as a honeymoon or anniversary.

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David’s News Update

Hello loyal readers.  I know I’ve been remiss in writing but so much has been happening lately that I haven’t been at the computer as much.  Too much fun playing with my friends, going to school and being spoiled rotten by all my grandparents.  First off, the biggest news I have to share is that I’m going to be a big brother in September.  I don’t exactly know what that means but Mom and Dad say I am going to have a brother or a sister in the house.  I am excited about this new arrival (as are mommy and daddy) but somehow I have a funny feeling my world is going to change.  Hmmm…. this is going to be interesting I rhink.

I also hear that I’m going to camp this summer and then to school in the fall.  Both of these sound like exciting adventures for me.  I know Mom is a little worried about our “separation” but I’m going to be a big boy and not cry at all.  I love playing outside and being with other kids so I bet I’ll take it all in stride.

My other big news is that I’m finally starting to walk.  Yes, that’s right.  Steps, lots and lots of steps.  I’m getting braver and braver by the day so before long these steps will be full fledged walking followed by running.  I’m really excited about this new milestone because I’ve been eying the jungle gym at the playground and can’t wait to climb and crawl all over it.  I’m going to be the king of the playground this spring!   I just pity mommy for having to chase me all day long and poor daddy who is going to be running after me when he gets home from a hard day of work.

Well, that’s what has been happening in my little life these past two months.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Passover and Easter holiday this week.  I’m super excited for our family seders because I love matzoh ball soup.  My mouth is watering in anticipation!  Happy celebrating everyone.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all.  Today is the day to spread love to all.  I celebrated my second Valentine’s Day with mommy & daddy last night with a special dinner out at their favorite sushi restaurant, Japan Inn in Bronxville.  We had to go on the early side because I’m not so good when I’m out too late but that didn’t matter.  I was a little edgy and didn’t want to eat my teriyaki chicken skewer but oh well.  I think they still managed to enjoy their slightly less than romantic dinner with me tagging along.  When we got home we all exchanged cards and Daddy gave mommy a beautiful necklace.  Mommy was super disappointed that her gift for Daddy did not arrive on time because the blizzard delayed shipping. But she’s confident Daddy will love our gift when it arrives later this week.  Daddy also gave mommy a treat by letting her sleep in just a bit while he got up bright and early to play with me.  Judging by the smiles and happiness on their faces this weekend, I think they are enjoying Valentine’s Day.

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15 Months Already

I’m back after a brief hiatus.  Mommy and Daddy took a much needed break from life and escaped up to Manchester/Bromley Vermont for some rest and relaxation while I was spoiled rotten by Grandma and Grandpa.  I honestly didn’t miss a beat with mom and dad gone but I did have big smiles for them when they returned.  While they were gone, I hit another big milestone….I turned 15 months old.  Monday afternoon, Mommy and I went to the doctor for my check up and things are going great although I didn’t want to be there in the slightest.  I cried from the moment I went into the examination room until I left.  Mom would like to think it was because it was close to nap time but I think I remembered being there weeks before when I was sick.  Either way, I was not a happy camper.  The nurse, however, was very patient as I wiggled all over the table while she tried to measure and weigh me.  In the end, she got what she needed.  I grew an inch since my last visit and am now 31 1/4 inches long and 22 lbs 8 oz.  Still on the lean side but all healthy and normal.  I’m not walking yet but I’m talking up a storm.  I have about 8 words now:  ma, da/daddy, pa, car, street (for Sesame Street), down, train, and ter ter (computer).  I am making strides towards walking but I’m not quite comfortable with it yet.  I’m starting to stand by myself without holding onto things so I’m confident a few steps will be happening in the coming weeks.  I am sure Mommy is tired of lugging me around all day and will welcome my ability to walk on my own.  I am however, going to make her wait just a little bit longer……

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Congratulations to Darren!

Anyone that knows Darren, knows he’s a workaholic.  He lives, breathes and sleeps digital media and his passion for the industry.  Darren never slows down and doesn’t know the meaning of ‘relaxation’.   Well, all of Darren’s tireless energy and enthusiasm has been rewarded once again as his company kbs+p and The Media Kitchen have created a new role for the agency and specifically for Darren, Chief Digital Media Officer.  David and I couldn’t be more proud of him and are so happy that his late nights and unwavering dedication has been recognized.  Here is the big announcement released today in AdWeek.

Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners’ The Media Kitchen is promoting Darren Herman to the newly created position of chief digital media officer.

Herman, 27, has held dual roles as head of digital media at The Media Kitchen and president of Varick Media Management, a demand-side platform he started 15 months ago. With his new role, Herman will give up operational duties at Varick, which is the MDC Partners play in buying ads across new real-time bidding exchanges.

“KBS+P is known for its big, sexy branding clients,” Herman said. “We’re moving into a world that’s in branded response. We can take big budgets for brands and show them their media dollars are working for them.”

In his new role, Herman will be in charge of digital media planning, buying, analytics and reporting. He reports to Barry Lowenthal, president of The Media Kitchen.

“It’s a really important role because it’s a visionary role,” he said. “It’s not a tactical media planning and buying job. It’s the kid of job that helps us decide what’s important to the agency and its clients.”

The Media Kitchen handles digital media for clients like Starz, Vanguard, Armani Exchange and Vespa.

Herman will remain on the board of Varick and continue to be involved as it searches for a new top executive.

He credited Lori Senecal, who joined KBS+P as a partner and CEO last August, with pushing the agency to embrace the Web. In another notable personnel move, KBS+P brought in Razorfish ecd Marc Lucas as its new chief creative officer.

“Lori is trying to push digital, digital, digital at the agency,” he said. “Digital is not the afterthought, it’s part of every plan we’re putting together.”

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Words of Wisdom for 2010

I received an email today with the following attachment and while I don’t usually partake in sending around these kinds of things, this is definitely advice worth sharing.  Several of my friends have shared it as well but for anyone who has not seen it, it’s worth a quick read.

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends
and parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their
journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God
never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one
is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take
no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie.
Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years,
will this matter?’

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone for everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does..

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you
did or didn’t do.

35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s,
we’d grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come….

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.


45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”

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Happy New Year

Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy new year from our home to yours.  It is hard to believe that a decade has gone by since we all rang in the millennium.  Ten years ago I was immersed in the Y2K craze that gripped the world.  I was working the command center at Morgan Stanley at the time and it was an experience.  We had state of the art monitoring systems, round the clock check-ins and global conference calls every few hours.  We prepared for months leading up to the event and were on call day and night for two weeks prior to the new year.  Being in the heart of Times Square it was no surprise that we had front row viewing for the ‘ball drop’ in all the timezones around the world.  I remember vividly walking outside as the first timezone rang in the year 2000 followed by Australia and then Japan.  At that point the crowds were building and we were back inside manning our post.  By nightfall, we were all out the area as required by security and I headed to a party with friends.  Flash forward ten years and everyone who was at that party has embarked on new phases in their lives.  Most of us are now married, have families and have moved out of the city.  Some changed careers, some changed companies and some stopped working altogether.  Regardless, of what direction life has taken us, one thing has stayed the same…we are all still friends and that is really special.  We have been through many ups and downs together these past 10 years but our bond has remained strong.   As we all embark on yet another new decade, we want to wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.  May all your dreams come true.

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Tavern on the Green Closing

I was so disappointed to wake up this morning to find out that Tavern on the Green in Central Park is closing on December 31st.  I always considered that place a New York classic that would always be there.  I loved the look of the restaurant in the winter, all covered in snow while driving through Central Park on the way to work every morning.  About six years ago, I took my niece Abby there for the very first time and we enjoyed it so much.  Abby and I had a holiday tradition of her spending time in the city during Christmas break doing whatever her heart desired.  On the day we were going to see The Nutcracker, I treated her to a special lunch at Tavern on the Green.  She was five at the time.  I will always remember her little eyes opening so wide when we walked inside and saw all the holiday decorations.  She (and I) were thrilled that we were seated right next to the giant Christmas tree that was decorated with hundreds of beautiful and unique ornaments.  She stared at that tree for a long time taking it all in.  We also had a fabulous view of the ice sculptures out on the patio.  A couple of years later when my other niece Isabel was old enough, I took both girls there and to see their little faces light up is the best memory in the world.   While the food wasn’t anything special, it was the experience and I will remember my experiences at the restaurant for a lifetime.  Too bad we won’t be able to give David the same experience now that the restaurant is closing its doors.   How disappointing!

According to the iReport on CNN’s website:

Report —

“Tavern on the Green, one of the most famous sites in New York City and once one of the nation’s top grossing restaurants, will close its doors on December 31, 2009.  Located in Central Park and 67th Street, it was originally a sheephold for the nearby Sheep Meadow.  Converted to a restaurant in the 1930’s. it gained international fame with its 1976 re-opening at one point becoming the second highest grossing restaurant in the U.S.Since then it’s been the scene of Broadway opening parties, movie premieres and has been featured in films like “Wall Street” and “Ghostbusters” among others.  The City of New York declined to renew its operating license in August 2009 and shortly after Tavern filed for Chapter 11 protection. Besides its glass framed dining and function rooms, the Tavern is well known for its outdoor space with horticultural figures and its entrance lined with yellow cabs and horse-drawn carriages.”

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Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Saturday night was the start of the major ‘blizzard’.  Well…. for us in Westchester it was a lot of buzz about nothing.  We did get some snow but certainly not the one to two feet as predicted.  Mom and Dad were so excited for a big snowfall so I could crawl and flop in the white powdery stuff once daylight approached.  When it was all said and done, there was enough snow though for me to put on my new snowsuit, hat and gloves and check out the six inches of white powdery stuff that was on the lawn.  After being bundled up so snuggly, Dad sat me on a pile of snow.  I didn’t really know what to make of it.  I just sat there and sat there….and…sat there.  I couldn’t move.  I felt the cool wet snow beneath me but I didn’t know how to get up.  I didn’t even try to roll over or do much of anything.  I was actually quite stunned.  I was also extremely mystified by the whole situation but thought it was interesting.  I just looked all over and had a little smile on my face.  I was thinking…this is different.  I might actually like this!   And it’s a good thing I seemed to enjoy the cold air and the snow because I am venturing on my first trip to Vermont next month.  It should be pretty interesting to say the least but what a better place than Manchester to get the real feel of winter.  I am still a couple of years away from skiing, much to Daddy’s chagrin, but I can roll around in the white fluffy stuff and go sledding which looks like lots and lots of fun.  I’m too young for hot chocolate but I am sure Mommy will have two warm cups ready for her and Daddy when we all come back inside.  Let the winter begin….

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My First Haircut

Yesterday, I had my very first haircut.  I am attending Daddy’s office family holiday party on Thursday so after lunch and a nap, Mom and I headed over to Snip Its in Scarsdale to be sure I will be looking my very best for the party.  Considering this was my first experience, I have to admit it wasn’t that bad.  Snip Its is dedicated to servicing kids so they knew just what they were getting when we came in.  Fortunately I didn’t have to wait and the lady took me right away.  I sat on a big chair, watched videos and played with toys while she wet my hair and started cutting.  I had a pretty serious face on at the beginning but midway through my cut I was curious as to what was going on around me so I started checking out the place.  This of course made things a little more challenging for the hairdresser but she went with the flow.  I was actually kind of enjoying the experience until the very end.  After 20 minutes or so, I wanted out of the chair and didn’t want the buzz cutter around my ears and neck.  I made that portion very challenging to say the least and that is when I started to cry.  But other than that it went very well.  When it was all over, I got a little prize and a certificate commemorating my first haircut along with a portion of my hair for mom to save.   All in all, I don’t think I’ll mind when I have to get another cut.

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