I’m in The New York Times (or at least my avatar is)

I got a super surprising Google alert today that I thought was a mistake.  There was my Twitter handle – @beccasara – and there was “New York Times” next to it.  So of course I had to click on over.  And my Harry Potter tweet was featured in the #trendingNYC column in the City Room Blog.  Screenshot and all.  My avatar will look familiar to those of you who play the Wii – it’s a Mii – or as my girls call it the Momii.

Fun way to start the day!  Does this count as press?

Meeting Selena Gomez & Leighton Meester for Monte Carlo

The girls and fellow KidzVuz reporter Freckles Forever went to a preview screening and had their own little press conference with the stars of the new film Monte Carlo, Selena Gomez and Leighton Meester.  They got a few minutes with Cory Monteith too at the grown up press conference they attended first.  We’ll have the kid’s reviews of Monte Carlo up this week on KidzVuz.  In the meantime, here’s the picture snapped at the event.

My Top 5 NYC Movies for Blog Her ’10 and Beyond…

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Even if you’ve never been to NYC chances are you feel like you have just from watching Sex and the City, or Law and Order or Seinfeld (with its fake NYC sets it still passes).  But I thought I’d put together a list of my favorite New York movies that will put you in a positive New York mood (no Taxi Driver and no Woody Allen – because you know that already) while you’re on the plane, or bus, or even relaxing in the hotel in between all the BlogHer madness.

My Top Five, Slightly Cheesy, but I Don’t Care, NYC Movies

  1. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – I know, I know, how cliche – but there it is.  A perfect New York movie with style, whimsy, sparkle and Audrey.  Plus no other movie captures what it’s like to be out in the eerie quiet of the early morning in Manhattan like Audrey eating a pastry in front of Tiffany’s.
  2. When Harry Met Sally – OK, so one minute they’re eating at Cafe Luxembourg and the next minute they’re walking the streets of SoHo, but other than that this is a real New York, Upper West Side story.  And no one can get a cab on New Year’s Eve – that’s true.
  3. Moonstruck – It’s Brooklyn – real Italian Brooklyn.  And it’s the Metropolitan Opera.  And it’s a perfect movie.  It captures the angst, the unexpected joy and startling beauty, the humor and the rough edges of New York.
  4. Fame – the ORIGINAL for God’s Sake.  Old Times Square.  What it feels like to be truly young, hungry and talented in New York City before facebook, youtube and Disney.
  5. Working Girl – The iconic ride on the Staten Island Ferry is enough to make this a top 5 NYC movie in my book.  But nothing says NYC like the underdog who makes it big on pluck, determination and street smarts.  And kick ass lingerie.  Really.  Plus – that 80’s hair and eye make up – come on!

If you’ve got kids in tow you could also check out – Stuart Little, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Ghostbusters, Big and Splash for some child friendly NYC films.

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The Bittersweet Inevitability of Growing Up – A Weekend Spent with Peter Pan and Toy Story 3

my daughter and her beloved monkey

My daughters finished 2nd grade and now at 8 years old they have declared themselves to be “tweens.”  I personally thought the whole tween thing was for ages 10-12, the real prepubescent years with middle school and all those horrors.  But no, Time Out Kids had an entire tween issue and right there on the cover it said ages 8-12 and if it’s in print, especially full color giant sized print, my daughters take it as gospel.  They will go to sleep away camp for one week this summer, for the first time.  Next year they will be in 3rd grade, starting standardized testing and being a part of the “upper” grades.  Whether I truly think of them as tweens or not doesn’t really matter, the sad truth is they are growing up and there is nothing I can do to stop it.

As if this weren’t already weighing on my mind we spent a weekend taking in two great shows that hammered in the nostalgic, heart wrenching reality of childhood’s inevitable demise.  On Saturday night we went to the Papermill Playhouse’s production of Peter Pan and on Sunday watched Disney’s Toy Story 3 in IMAX 3D.    Everyone knows the story of Peter Pan – the boy who refused to grow up and gave up a chance at a real family and real love as a result.  Like all good stories Peter Pan changes as the reader ages.  When I was in 4th grade I played Peter Pan in a school performance.  On the most basic level the musical is wonderful, full of witty and rich songs, colorful characters and perfectly drawn characters.  But when you’re a child the sad character at the end is really Wendy who got old and is now a boring old mom who watches her daughter fly away for an amazing adventure in Neverland.  Seeing the play as an adult I just felt bad for Peter at the mercy of his petulant, immature ego and constantly looking for new lost boys to follow him and new little girls to play mother to his pretend father.  (The other thing that was glaringly apparent seeing the play as an adult is that both Peter and Captain Hook are perhaps two of the biggest narcissists that ever walked the stage.  But that’s a an examination about manhood vs. boyhood that deserves its own post, or Master’s thesis!)

I watched my daughters intently during Peter Pan.  They were completely entranced.  The flying of course is always spectacular and as I said the execution of the show from cast, to choreography to direction was flawless.  But at the end both of my daughters couldn’t understand why Peter would go back to Neverland rather than stay with the Darlings and have a real family.  To them Neverland didn’t seem like a fantasy come true – it seemed like a place with kids who needed someone to take care of them.  I never thought of it that way, after all the entire conceit of Neverland is that never growing old is the ultimate wish, but it’s more of a wish of an adult looking back than of a child looking forward.

Toy Story 3 was another matter.  While the mother’s quiet dismay at sending her son Andy off to college plays in at the every end of the film it is Andy himself who has to make the brutally conscious choice to give up the symbol of his childhood, Woody the cowboy, and leave childhood behind for real.  While of course I cried like every adult I’ve spoken to who saw Toy Story 3, my daughters cried even more.  Now, one of my daughters always cries at movies when they get the least bit sad or sentimental and always has.  It’s one of the reasons she hated going to the movies.  She does not like having her emotions manipulated.  But, she gave into it this time and just sort of went with it instead of being scared by it.  For my daughters the thought of giving up their beloved stuffed Monkey or blanket was horrifying.  They could not fathom how Andy could give up his most prized toy friend to another child.  And because the movie was so beautifully done you could see that Andy couldn’t quite deal with this decision either.  It’s one thing to make that inevitable march towards adulthood because that is where the thread of time is pulling you, and another thing entirely to make a wide-awake decision to abandon a cherished part of your younger self.

As a mom I am constantly torn between wanting my daughters to mature and take on more responsibility – pour your own cereal and milk into a bowl for god’s sake! – and then wanting it all to slow down and be thankful that they still want to crawl into our bed in the morning and cuddle.  They also seem to be struggling with wanting to remain in that fuzzy babyish realm of childhood and move forward into the adolescent world of making their own decisions, keeping secrets and taking on new responsibilities.   Spending a weekend with Peter Pan and Toy Story 3 made it abundantly clear to them and me that while growing up cannot be avoided it’s not something any of us need to rush.  And yes, my daughter already told me her stuffed monkey will be going to college with her.  I don’t doubt it.

Can a Television Be a Member of the Family?



For the last five years my husband and I have researched TVs. Our steadfast and true 27″ picture tube set sat like a big ol’ lazy uncle on it’s stand and delivered perfectly fine viewing as far as we were concerned.  But, we had the itch.  The flat screen bigger-than-your-kitchen-table TV itch.  One by one our friends and families turned in their old model TVs for sleek and ever bigger sets.  But we held out, year after year, watching prices fall and new models come out, and not quite ready to splurge on something out of pure decadence.  After all, our TV worked perfectly fine.

Then this month something happened.  My husband was home sick and intoxicated by the endless promises of Black Friday sales, of the incessant ads and reviews on the web of all the TVs that were passing us by.   For the first time ever he didn’t just browse Amazon and Best Buy and cnet reading the reviews and saying, “what if?” but instead he made an Excel spreadsheet with all of the options.  Now, I knew he was serious.  If my husband could make a spreadsheet for every moment of his life he would.  Once it’s on the spreadsheet it’s real, it’s tangible, it’s going to happen.

And so it did.  We bit the bullet and bought a 50″ Samsung TV.  My husband came home from work to be here when the delivery guys arrived.  They set it up, plugged everything in, and left.  A calm fell over the apartment.  And I hate to admit it, but we turned on the TV and just sat down to look at it in awe.  It changed our entire living room – we both looked at each other and realized that the TV was nicer than any other piece of furniture in the room.  The TV practically demands a room make over.  Did I feel bad for the sad blob of a TV that now sat on the floor awaiting removal by our Super?  No.  It had been replaced by a much younger, thinner and sexier model, and quite frankly it was time.

All these years my fear of getting a TV like this was that it sort of announced to the world in all caps: “WE WATCH TV.”  You know what? We do.  I actually love TV.  My kids watch almost no TV, but even they walked in to the apartment after school in full giddiness and anticipation.  They couldn’t have been more excited if we had brought home a baby.  (Though still a distant second to a puppy)  And the Wii on this TV?  It makes me want to buy some adult games, or maybe even bust out the Wii Fit.  There is no doubt that our newest addition to the family has made us all ridiculously happy – and the fact that my husband and I spent a night watching both My Fair Lady and Star Wars with equal absorption on both our parts is pretty telling about the power of this TV to suck us in.  Eventually I’m sure the TV will seem ho hum and part of our everyday life but for now it’s incredibly fun to have something new and shiny that we all enjoy.  I imagine it’s how many people feel about a new car – but being a Manhattanite I could care less about ever owning a car in this city.  However, if I could just convince my husband to start a spreadsheet on dining room tables…

This post originally appeared on nycmomsblog