I spoke to Karen Connell of A Child Grows In Brooklyn a couple of months ago about, amongst other things, her upcoming first ever Brooklyn Baby Expo and her energy and passion for the project, evident then, came to fruition yesterday in an amazing event right in my backyard at the Toren, a new residential condominium building in Fort Greene.
Actually, I hadn't planned on blogging about it, but how could I not? It was THE event for Brooklyn new and expectant parents, including two GREAT seminars that I attended.
The first was a seminar on "parenting partnerships" with Soho Parenting and Family Matters, both companies who provide coaching, support and guidance for parents and families. The seminar included a very interesting discussion about how parenting roles are handled between partners, how to diffuse tension and resolve conflict, and how the popular advice of "never going to sleep angry" that may have worked for older generations might not exactly be applicable today. This last resonated with me... it's not necessarily about going to bed angry but sometimes it's better to walk away from a conflict, let everyone cool down, and return to the issue after a night's sleep, or even two. So true! I loved that there were so many dads there to give their perspective also, although I think it was mostly expectant dads, as the dads with kids were all home with them so their wives could attend the event - also good to see!
The other seminar I went to was given by Alexandra Zissu, co-author of Planet Home, a practical guide to greening your home so it's safer for your family as well as the environment. I liked the fact that Alexandra didn't present an all or nothing, good or bad scenario, but gave suggestions as to things that you could do, depending on your "shade of green" and the lengths you are willing go to. Obviously, she's on the far end of the spectrum but is not saying that everyone must be. In fact, she said if you only do one thing, the single most impactful thing you can do is to run your washer on a cold rather than warm or hot cycle, and the energy savings are great enough that you could call yourself "green" based on this alone. She said that detergents these days are designed more and more to work well without requiring hot water. I have certainly found that to be true and it's easier on the clothing as well. I haven't read the book yet, but all attendees got a free copy to take home and flipping through, it looks like there are lots of easy to apply tips.
In addition to the seminars, there were also tons of exhibitors, many giving mini-presentations and demos. I ran into Amanda from Urban Clarity and Joyce from NYC School Help and gave a quick wave to Hannah of Bump Brooklyn who was in the middle of giving a pregnant mom the scoop on what she would and wouldn't be needing in the way of maternity and new mom clothing. I love that I'm starting to get to know local business owners and plan on featuring many of them on the blog later this year.
There were many other favorite and new-to-me brands too, but I have to say, my absolute favorite new find was Overall Baby. I love overalls - I think they are pretty much the cutest thing ever plus they are really practical too, especially in the summer when you can throw them over a t-shirt or short sleeved onesie and be done. Check out the etsy store and stock up for summer! Sizes go up to 4T so it's not just for babies either...(I just ordered a pair of robot "shortalls" for Liam!)
Finally, I do want to say that I was pretty impressed with the Toren. I didn't see any model apartments but all the exhibitors were set up in various empty apartments and the layouts seemed open and spacious. I've toured apartments in similar modern buildings in Manhattan that sell for many many times the price where, as an architect, the floor plans make no sense to me as they waste a lot of space on corridors, so much so that the layout actually feels more like a pre-war apartment! The Toren has beautiful apartments, great amenities (indoor lap pool, anyone?!) and of course, the views of the city are amazing.
Congratulations Karen and team for pulling off an amazing event - I can only imagine the effort this undertaking involved. I hope you can all get some rest this week!
All images from respective company websites.
nyc baby, child and family photographer & architect alethea cheng fitzpatrick is based in brooklyn. she specializes in baby photography as interior design & interior design for babies. view her portfolio of babies, children or families or send her an e-mail here!