AWNY Mums and Dads Update, November 2017

By Helen McWilliam

I have a few things for you this month: my tips on how to cope with being stuck inside for days on end with sick kids, a recap of our Women of Letters Event and some details about our last event for the year, the upcoming AWNY Mums’ Christmas Dinner.

Sickness
I’ve been at the doctor’s office weekly, sometimes twice weekly for the last four weeks.  My kids and I have had colds on and off since school started in September. With nearly 5 years’ practice, I feel like I have become skilled at entertaining sick toddlers as well as keeping myself sane.  So here are my top tips!

  1. Preplanning: Since my eldest was about 6 months old, I’ve always put away a box of rainy day toys, usually the really noisy ones that drive you nuts but your children love.  It means you can sit and have a cup of tea or get something done whilst they play with the “new” toys.
  2. Baking: It can make such a mess, especially the flour but it takes a lot of time to measure, mix, bake and eat.  It also helps that my two children love vacuuming!
  3. Books for ideas: I’ve read a few different ones but the best book I have found is  “150 Screen Free Activities for Kids”.  It is full of ideas that keep children entertained for a decent period of time and I can generally find the ingredients for the more popular slimes in the house.
  4. Facetime: The time difference is perfect at the moment for a chat with the grandparents in the afternoons.  It keeps all three of us occupied for at least an hour.  It is so nice to have an adult conversation as well!
  5. Fresh air: I also scope out quiet parks/play spaces for outside time when they start to feel better but are not quite ready for general population.  Our favourites are the DeWitt Clinton Park on 53rd and West End as well as the train near the river in Riverside Park South at about 61st.

Although sickness does lead to more time at home, it is a fantastic time of the year to be out and about in the city.  For festive tips, have a read of a recent post by AWNY Mum, Nakia Gordon on enjoying the festive spirit with children.

Women of Letters
Our event for November was a group visit to “Women of Letters” at the City Winery.  Women of Letters is a monthly literary salon which aims to revive the lost art of letter writing.  I have to admit to being an addict and haven’t missed a show in the two years since I have lived in New York City.  We had a great turn out of Aussies and enjoyed some inspiring letters on the theme of a “Letter to my Creation”.  The next Women of Letters is in January 2018, check the City Winery website for more details.

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AWNY  Mums’ Christmas Party
Finally this month, Amanda has found us an amazing deal at new Restaurant Coarse NYC in the West Village. For $49 (plus tax and tips) we will be treated to a 3-4 course meal with wine pairings!   RSVP via the event on the Mums and Dads Facebook page or by emailing AWNY.

Enjoy all that the silly season has to offer and we hope to see you at the Christmas party!

Helen and Amanda

Event: AWNY Mums’ Christmas Dinner

Join us in celebrating Christmas in New York with fellow Aussie Mums over a fabulous dinner at Coarse NYC in the West Village.

New restaurant Coarse will surprise us with a delicious spontaneous chef’s tasting meal with wine pairings, highlighting great seasonal produce for just $49 (plus tax and tip)!

Event Details:
Date: Monday December 11th
Time: 7:30 pm
Location: Coarse NYC, 306 West 13 th Street, New York
Cost: $49 plus tax and tip
RSVP: Please RSVP as soon as possible, via the event on the Australian Mums and Dads in New York Facebook group or by emailing AWNY.

Hope to see you all for a fun filled night celebrating Christmas in NYC with great food, wine and Aussie company!

Event: Women of Letters NYC

Women of Letters is everyone’s favorite literary salon!

What is Women of Letters NYC?

Each month, host Sofija Stefanovic introduces a lineup of six women, from various walks of life.  The most interesting and acclaimed writers, musicians, actors, comedians and politicians appear together on stage, in an intimate setting, with the purpose of celebrating female talent and the lost art of letter-writing.  The shows are funny and sad, and never recorded or filmed – part of the magic is that they exist in the moment, and the events are a safe story-telling space.

Women of Letters veterans include: Molly Ringwald, Jean Grae, Kathleen Turner, Margo Jefferson, Martha Wainwright, Aparna Nancherla, Siri Hustvedt, Edie Falco, Elaine Welteroth, Susan Orlean, Emma Straub, Alexis Okeowo, Sonia Manzano, Eileen Myles, Suki Kim, Tavi Gevinson, Yael Stone, Amber Tamblyn and many more.

This Month’s Theme:

“A LETTER TO MY CREATION” is hosted by special guest, Angela Ledgerwood (of the Lit Up podcast) and features, together on stage for the first time ever:

  • Esteemed writer of essays, fiction and humour, KASHANA CAULEY
  • Eminent storyteller and author of Burn Down the Ground, KAMBRI CREWS
  • Award-winning poet, actress and playwright, DAEL ORLANDERSMITH
  • Beloved cult comedian and chanteuse, LADY RIZO
  • Legendary singer, songwriter, performer, author and actress, SUZZY ROCHE
  • Acclaimed author of “The Interestings”, MEG WOLITZER

Event Details:

Date: Wednesday, November 29th.
Time: Doors open at 6 pm for an 8 pm start
Location: City Winery, 155 Varick Street, New York.
Tickets: Purchase your tickets through City Winery. Women of Letters is a very popular event and regularly sells out so please get your tickets soon if you’d like to come along. Ticket prices range from $20 – $40
Promo Code: Use the PROMO code AWNY at the checkout and receive a $5 discount.

Join the Aussie Contingent:

There’s an Aussie contingent sitting in seats 270-276 so sit nearby if you are coming along. Please feel free to contact Amanda and Helen, through the Australian Mums and Dads in New York Group, to arrange to meet up.

Stick around afterwards as we have been invited to grab a drink with the organisers and letter writers of the night!

Eco Cleaning Supplies Inspired By Australian Recycling – AWNY Startup Stories with Sacha Dunn

Tell us about your business and what inspired you to begin.

I started Common Good when I had small children and became concerned about the chemicals we were bringing into our home. I was equally alarmed by the amount of plastic recycling our little family was generating each week from laundry detergent and hand soap bottles. We remember that in Australia, we’d keep the big plastic container and refill it with a milk carton of laundry detergent. When we couldn’t find anything like that here in New York, we created Common Good and designed a refill station where people could bring their empty bottles, refill them and keep them out of the recycling stream for years.

What is your Ah Ha moment?

That happened before launching Common Good  In my previous career, I was a still life and interiors prop stylist. I used styled for Vogue Living and was the style editor at Marie Claire Lifestyle (remember that magazine?!) When we moved to New York in 2001, it was bad timing to start a new career. But I called a few photo editors and on the third call, the editor said “just keep talking with that Australian accent! I’m so glad you’re here. I only hire Australian stylists and photographer. I’m going to book you on this job.” The accent has been working for me ever since.
 Sacha Portrait copy

What have been the hardest lessons in starting a business?

The hardest lessons have been about moving from a freelance creative business to manufacturing and distribution. That’s a lot to learn. I feel like I got an MBA in real time. The other big thing I learned, was how to build a company culture. As a freelancer, you don’t work with the same people for very long. Now we have a team of people who are amazing and we look forward to seeing each other every day.

Where have you been most successful in marketing your business?

We were lucky. We created a product we wanted, put it out into the world to see if people would buy it and they did! Beyond that initial success, word-of-mouth is the best thing any brand can hope for and because we have a great mission, we get a lot of people sharing our brand.

Do you have any mentors, and how have people been with sharing information and their networks?

We have some wonderful mentors! People are either drawn to us by our mission which means we get a wide range of advice from finance to environmental to sales and marketing. I also think we get interest because we’re trying to move the needle in terms of sustainability in a category that is dominated by a few major corporations.

What advice would you given someone thinking about starting a business?

Talk to other entrepreneurs! It is like having a baby and will take 2x the time you think it will. At the same time, don’t wait, don’t hold back. If it’s something you really want to do then get to work and make it happen.

Other than yourself, what piece of Australia have you put into your business?

The whole idea behind Common Good is Australian! It was that A-ha moment of refilling our laundry bottles that lead us to create Common Good. I also think that everything about me is Australian so there are probably a lot of things about how I work that are culturally different because I’m Australian.
 Refill Station copy

What is next for your business?

We are launching the next phase in refillable household soaps and cleaners! Our new Refill Box Collection uses 83% less plastic than the equivalent bottles and will ship direct to your door.
 

Do you have any offer or promo code you would like to share with AWNY members?

We don’t have a promo code but we’d love you to check us out on Kickstarter!

Why the Kickstarter now?

We’re running the crowdfunding campaign because we want to show this product to people and get them excited before we manufacture. We want to get feedback and questions from as many people as possible before we launch. This felt like the best way to get that feedback. We plan on manufacturing in the fall so it won’t be too long before the new products are on the market.

CG Current Range 2 copy

Follow Common Good on Social Media

Websitehttps://www.commongoodandco.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/commongoodandco/ 

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/commongoodandco

Pinteresthttps://www.pinterest.com/commongoodandco/

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/commongoodandco/

Love this AWNY Startup Story? Want more?

Register for our monthly newsletter and be kept in the loop for our upcoming Startup Stories event where you can hear more stories like this first hand and meet some of Aussie women entrepreneurs.

Blog – https://australianwomeninnewyork.org 

Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/AUWomenNYC/ 

Twitter – https://twitter.com/AUWomenNYC 

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/auwomennyc/

Are you an Australian female who owns a business in New York?

If you do and you want to tell us all about it, email us at awny@aaanyc.org

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AWNY Mums & Dads December update: Farewell NYC

Written by Anita Davison

The Rockefeller Christmas tree is lit, twinkle lights adorn the streets of NYC and songs about snowflakes and Santa Claus are being piped through the speakers of every store you enter; these things, along with cooler temperatures mean Christmas is almost here and 2016 is almost over. It’s been quite a year here in the US. A lot has happened in the media, most notably Donald Trump taking home the blue ribbon for winning the US Presidential Election. Whatever your opinion of the result, or the man himself, 2017 looks to be another interesting year. As none of us possess a crystal ball to see into the future, only time will tell what the future of the world, and this nation we call home, holds.

A little closer to home now, and big changes are ahead for my family. Our time in NYC is quickly coming to an end, and my thoughts are drifting to things like lobster rolls, cream pies, Cheers!, and Ivy league schools; that’s right, we are moving to Boston!

The past 3.5 years in NYC have been great, it’s such an amazing city with so much to experience. We always dreamed of living in NYC, not anywhere else in the USA, just NYC; but our mindset has shifted over the past few months and we are excited to experience a new city and lifestyle. At the end of the month, we will trade in our subway pass for a new car, city living for a house in the ‘burbs and step back into a similar lifestyle we once knew back in Sydney – although instead of spending summer weekends on the Northern Beaches, we will spend them at ‘The Cape’ and our winter weekends will be filled with snowboarding lessons and snowball fights. The hardest part of this transition is saying goodbye to our wonderful friends and the networks we have become apart of or created, but thankfully we will only be 4 hours away instead of the other side of the world!

It’s been an honor to sit on the AWNY committee and lead the Aussie Mums & Dads Group. Since taking the helm almost 2 years ago, we have nearly doubled the number of members on our Facebook page, held our inaugural Spring Picnic, and have been featured in a round up in the best Aussie communities in the USA.

Co-lead Sally B. will step into the lead role of the M&Ds group and continue to attend regular AWNY committee meetings. Some positive changes are coming to the way the group is managed, these will be shared with you after our AWNY committee meeting next week. With these changes I hope to create a more inclusive and open group for our members in all boroughs of NYC to have a say, create events and make the network for Aussie (and Kiwi) Mums and Dads in New York even stronger.

I will be staying on as an administrator of the Facebook group, continuing in a social media capacity only, so this isn’t officially goodbye. You will continue to see my name pop up on the page and perhaps I’ll contribute to an occasional update or attend an event when I’m down for a visit (which will be regularly!)

Our Mums & Dads End of Year Drinks will be held this month on Dec 15, the event details are below, along with a link to AWNY ‘What’s on in December’ update. I hope to see you there!

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and safe and happy New Year. Try not to max out those credit cards!

Until next time, whenever that may be…

Anita xo

 


Got a craving for meat pies?

Four n Twenty Pies will be delivering in NYC again at the end of December check out their websiteFacebook & Twitter feed for updates and how to order!


Upcoming Event

Aussie Mums & Dads End of Year Drinks

Thursday, December 15 at 7:30pm
Joe’s, 480 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10024

Cost: Drinks & food available for purchase
RSVP: 
Not essential, but if you would like to let people know you are going, feel free to RSVP via the Facebook event page.

Fun things to do in New York this December

Lot’s of ideas in this ‘Whats On’ blog post.