Thursday, August 26, 2010

Your Personal Stylist....Meet Monica Diaz

With such busy and complex lives as mothers, wives, community leaders, career women and entreprenuers its a wonder we don't LOSE OUR MINDS!!  The speed in which we move would make anyone dizzy.  Armed with Blackberries, IPhones and IPads we have MASTERED the art of managing multiples schedules for multiple people.  We are the PERSONIFICATION of MULTI-TASKING! 

With all that we manage, it can be a challenge to find the time to take care of ourselves, but we MUST!  There will always be demands on our schedules...deadlines looming, children to drop off at activities, meals to cook...or not, households to manage, meetings to attend and work to be done. But we must put numero uno on the top of our TO DO LISTS. 

Keeping ourselves "together" is CRITICAL not only for our public faces, but most importantly for our own emotional well being.  We DESERVE to feel good about ourselves. 

I am BLESSED to be surrounded by some incredibly CREATIVE people who bring their own definition to the word: STYLE.  Over the next few posts I will feature their work to inspire us to take a moment to reflect on our INNER and OUTER beauty.

First up on deck.....Monica Diaz!

Not only is Monica an incredible stylist and knowlegeable professor and consultant of Fashion, she's also an author!  I'm so proud of her it makes me tingle:)

Here's a description of her new book, 7 Days To Style:

"In 7 Days To Style personal stylist Monica Diaz guides you through the process of defining your authentic style. Each day holds a new fun discovery. You will learn how to better express and define your style by assessing who you are and how others see you. Clean your closet and organize your wardrobe in a couple of easy steps. Define your shape and learn the colors and clothing styles that work best for you. Shop with a focused list for what you really need. At the end of these 7 days you will be a more confident and stylish You."

We all know how CRUCIAL it is that we look the part.  But you're really FIERCE when your look reflects your authentic self.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

RIISE & Chocolate Chip Present A Fall Boutique Recruitment Event

Let's face it, selecting an educational institution is one of the toughest decisions we will make for our children.  We go on tours and network with other parents to find what we hope will be the perfect choice.  We look for answers to questions like...

How is the school performing?  Does the school have a strong reputation for academics?  Are the teachers using up to date methodologies?  Will my child fit in?  Will he/she be treated fairly?  Will he/she be challenged?  Will this school prepare him/her for a bright future and help shape them into a well-rounded intellectual?

I've spoken with so many STRESSED out parents, overwhelmed and almost paralyzed by the pressure of making THE best decision for their child(ren)'s academic future.

As a parent considering Independent Schools for my own children, I am excited to share this unique opportunity with you to hear directly from administrators, parents and students about what makes Independent School education so valuable.

Is it right for your child? Come see for yourself.

Chocolate Chip & RIISE
Resources in Independent School Education

A Fall Boutique Recruitment Event:
An Intimate Discussion Between Families and Independent Schools

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sarah Lawrence College

Heimbolt Visual Arts Center
Bronxville, NY

Presenting Sponsor
Riverdale Country School

Participating School Sponsors
Brunswick School
Rye Country Day School

Participating Schools
The Calhoun School
Greenwich Country Day School
The Waterside School
And more to come....    

Special thanks to our Community Sponsors:
LAC Enterprises, LLC
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc
Omicron Eta Chapter
Vibrant Health

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Calling all Beautiful Ballerinas......Audition for Dance Theatre of Harlem

The American cultural institution, Dance Theatre of Harlem, is having open auditions Saturday, August 21, 2010 for their
Community (Saturday) and Pre-Professional (after school) Programs:

ages 3 to 6: 10:00am-11:00am
ages 7- 9: 11:00am-12:00pm
ages 10-14: 12:00pm-1:00pm
ages 15-18: 1:00pm-2:30pm

Dance Theatre of Harlem
Everett Center for The Performing Arts
466 West 152 Street (between Amsterdam and Convent Avenues)
New York, NY 10031

Tuition Assistance is available, along with a limited number of Scholarships.
For more information, call (212) 690-2800.

Leotard/tights and ballet slippers or t-shirts/shorts/socks.
No jewelry, skirts, or extra warmers. Hair should be neatly pulled back and secured.

Arrive 30 minutes prior to the audition.
Young ladies already on pointe bring both pointe and soft ballet shoes.

See link below for details:

Also check out Beautiful Ballerina featuring the young dancers of Dance Theatre of Harlem.  It's the perfect book for your beautiful ballerina.

Special Shout out to DTH ambassadors Michael Armstrong, Lori Hall Armstrong and Theresa Kump Leghorn!!!

Stay tuned to Chocolate Chip for details on a FREE Dance Theatre of Harlem performance coming in the Fall and the exhibit Harlem? Harlem! 1969-2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How to Make the Most of 11th Grade

This is a post that you'll want to print out, save and share with anyone you know that has a child in high school, especially 11th grade. 

Chocolate Chip is honored to have Admission Director, Karen Abigail Williams as a guest blogger sharing her insight and perspective on maximizing the junior year of high school. 

Making the Most of 11th Grade:

Tips for Helping Students Reduce the Pressure of Senior Year by Planning ahead in Junior Year

By Karen A. Williams

August 10, 2010

As summer comes to a close for students around the country, this is a perfect opportunity to begin thinking about and (planning for) the “tipping point” of high school- junior year. Traditionally, students and their families waited until 12th grade to go into full planning mode around the college process. Today, more and more families are beginning to realize that the12th grade is too fast paced and high pressured to spend much time thinking. Senior year is the time for action. Junior year is the time for thinking.

Take advantage of the following tips so that the 11th grade can be the period of preparation before the launch. The time you spend planning as a junior can ensure that you will sail smoothly through senior year.

1. Get serious about your studies
As a Director of Admission, most of my colleagues will tell you that we like to see more A’s and B’s on the transcript than C’s and D’s. Take as many challenging classes as you’d like but be sure of your ability to do well in them. Register for a rigorous academic schedule and do your very best to score as many good grades as possible. If you can handle it, consider signing up for advanced classes. Admission officers don’t expect you to take more than 1 or 2 as a high school junior.

2. Take the SAT or ACT at least once for practice but do not have the scores sent to any colleges.
This process will allow you to take the test under regular test conditions without the pressure of having someone see the scores. Use your scores as the basis for improvement while you study or hire a tutor to for test prep.

3. Commit to a sport (or instrument) if you haven’t already.
Generally, admission officers aren’t impressed by the students who are a “Jacks of all trades, masters of none.” If you run track fairly well but you’re great at volleyball, drop track and focus on becoming excellent at volleyball.

4. Commit to regular community service or an extracurricular activity or get a job.
Do something with your lives besides studying. Admission officers want to admit interesting and well rounded students.

5. Begin thinking about the kind of college you'd like to attend and add yourself to mailing lists.
Take this time to consider the following:

Location: do you want to live at home or could you live an hour or two away? Can you go across the country, and if so, can you afford to get home quickly when you're homesick?

Size: do like small classes or are you just fine in large lecture halls?

Style of the college: do you need to have close personal relationships with your professors or would you prefer to blend in among your other classmates? Do you want to pledge a fraternity or sorority? Do you play sports? Are you interested in an HBCU?

Consider your school types carefully as there are major differences between large state institutions, ivy league schools and small liberal arts institutions.

And finally, here are a few tips for parents so that the whole family can make the most of this year:

1. Initiate conversations about the process of choosing college but don't force it.
Let your child guide the discussion. Every child is at varying stage of readiness in the 11th grade. Inaction or procrastination in 11th grade isn’t a huge deal but juniors shouldn’t waste the year being so disengaged that they end up under pressure (with nothing accomplished) in 12th grade. Severe procrastination about the college planning process could be a sign of fear and anxiety about moving on.

2. Don't connect every mistake they make to their chances of getting into college
Kids make mistakes. Sometimes, kids make really stupid mistakes. In the admissions field, we’ve seen them all. Don’t panic. Colleges consider grades, courses, and activities over the four year period of high school but we focus most on 11th and 12 grade. If you child gets a C or D or experiences disciplinary action in school, sit down with them, understand the issue, and rectify it- quickly. Also, be prepared to explain it during the college admission process.

If your child is consistently late for school or received detention in the 9th grade, don’t sweat it. We'll never know.

3. Stop waking them up in the morning, doing their laundry, and making their beds immediately.
No one at the college will do it for them.

The best way to prepare your children for this new phase of life is to help them become self-sufficient. Support them as they make their own phone calls, secure their own applications, and write their own essays. Helping them is fine. Hovering over them makes you a “helicopter parent” and this is our greatest pet peeve as admission officers.

4. Finally, lead by example. Don't allow this process (or your child) to make you crazy.
Your child will be fine wherever they attend college.

President Barack Obama may have attended Harvard and Columbia but successful people attend all kinds of colleges. General Colin Powell attended City College, Oprah Winfrey attended Tennessee State University, and Drs. Bill and Camille Cosby earned their doctorates from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Remain open to the possibilities. Don’t use junior year to program your child into loving the school that you love.

With your guidance and support, they will achieve every goal they set their minds to. In the meantime, let’s make junior year as pain-free and enjoyable as possible.

Karen Abigail Williams is the Director of Admission at a highly selective liberal arts college in New York City. She specializes in college admission counseling, the first year experience and retention issues among at-risk and first generation students. Karen is completing her doctoral degree in Higher Education Administration at Northeastern University and is a married mother of two, a son age 12 and a 16 year- old daughter, who will become a high school junior in the fall.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Purchase Dance Corps Nutcracker Auditions: Dancers 5-13 yrs old

One of the moms at Brooke's dancing school Rooftop Rhythms told me about this exciting opportunity for children.  Boys and girls ages 5-13 are invited to audition on Saturday, September 11 and Sunday September 12 for roles in the Purchase College Conservatory of Dance production of Nutcracker ’10.

Here are the details: 

Where: Studio E of the Dance building at Purchase College 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, NY.

Audition schedule:

Saturday , September 11
Group 1 (7-8 yrs old as of Sept .1, 2010)
Registration 9:15 AM
Audition 10 AM-Noon

Group 2 (9-10 yrs old as of Sept. 1, 2010)
Registration 12:30 PM
Audition 1-3 PM

Group 3 (11-13 yrs. Old as of Sept. 1, 2010)
Registration 2:45 PM
Audition 3:15-4 PM

Sunday, September 12
Group 1 (5-6 yrs old as of Sept. 1, 2010)
Children attend one of three ½ hour sessions
Registration 12:30 PM
Audition 1-3 PM

Callback audition
Registration 3 PM
Audition 3:30-4:30 PM

Children who audition should have some previous dance experience and be no taller than five feet. Dance attire or sweatpants should be worn to audition. Boys are encouraged to audition.

Rehearsals will begin October 5 and will vary from one to three rehearsals per week, depending on the role in which the children are cast.

The Purchase Dance Corps performs this traditional version of Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic from November 30-December 5, 2010 on the main stage in the Performing Arts Center.  Nutcracker ’10 stars Principal Dancers with the New York City Ballet and inlcudes more than 200 area children and nearly 200 Conservatory of Dance students. Artistic director is Bettijane Sills, former New York Ballet soloist and member of the Conservatory faculty.  The Conservatory of Dance is recognized as a preeminent center for training professional dancers and choreographers.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Voices and Images of Girls by Girls

Join Girls Inc Westchester for a presentation of

"The Voices and Images of Girls by Girls"

Thursday, August 12, 2010
Hackley School, Tarrytown NY
RSVP by Monday 8/9/10 to

Chocolate Chip will be in the house and we hope you will be too!

"Inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold"
Click on the link below to learn more about Girls Inc

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Chocolate Chip TGIF Brag Wall

Hi Chocolate Chips!

The one thing that ties us all together are our children!  In most social settings it's inappropriate for us to talk about our children's accomplishments in detail or for too long. 

Not true for Chocolate Chip!  Every Friday we will open up the blog for you to brag about your childrens' accomplishments!  We want to know all about them!  So post your comments and shout outs without apology and let the world know how proud you are of your children!

I'll start....

Ryan (3): Won a 2nd place medal in soccer during Junior Olympics!!!
Brooke (6): Completed her first film, "The Fishing Trip" at Apple Camp and won 4 first place ribbons (3 of which were perfect 10's) at her first gymnsastics meet in June!!!


Go ahead!  Don't be shy.  We can't wait to hear what your children, neices, nephews, godchildren or grandchildren are up to.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Chocolate Chip Guide: 5 Things to Do Before School Starts-The NYC Edition

It's back!  You loved our Chocolate Chip Guide to the Holidays and now we're getting you through the last few weeks of summer before school starts.  These are great cultural activities that are also big FUN! Your Fav 5 didn't make the cut?  Let us know about them.  You never know they may make the 2011 edition.

1. Harlem Week
It's not summer without Harlem Week!  Here is a recap of some of the upcoming children's activities:
Saturday, August 14, 2010
NY City “Children’s Festival”
W.135th St. btwn. Malcolm X & A.C. Powell Jr. Blvds.
Featuring Excerpts from Disney musicals, games, arts & crafts, live music and dance, healthy eating and living exhibits, open houses by the Harlem YMCA, “Back to School” exhibits, sports and recreation clinics.
National Historic Black College Fair & Expo
W.135th St. (btwn. Malcolm X & A.C. Powell Jr. Blvds.)
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Kids' Night on Broadway (KNOB) and HARLEM WEEK 2010 have partnered this summer to give kids age 6-18 a chance to see a participating Broadway show for free when accompanied by a full-paying adult.
For a complete listing of activities click on the link below:

2. Arthur Ashe Kids Day
The kick off the 2010 US Open Season
Saturday August 28, 2010
9:30 am – 1 pm: Grounds Activities at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center – Free for all!
1:00 pm:  Arthur Ashe Stadium Show featuring Disney stars The Jo Bros (aka The Jonas Brothers) and Demi Lovato
Great seats for $10 & $20!
To purchase tickets click below

He's been gone since 1993 and I'm still touched by his inspiring story.  To help children ages 4-8 learn more about Arthur Ashe pick up the book written by his daughter and photographed by his wife Jean in his final days: Daddy and Me : A Photo Story of Arthur Ashe and his Daughter Camera
Brooke and I borrowed it from the library around Father's Day and it left an indelible mark on her not only as a budding African American tennis player, but most importantly as daddy's baby girl. 

For young adults and parents check out Days of Grace, a poignant autobiography chronicling the life of this amazing man, husband, father, athlete and activist!

3. Jazz for Kids
@ the Jazz Standard
116 E. 27th St., New York, NY 10016
$5, Sundays from 2-3pm
Performance by the Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra
The food at Blue Smoke is pretty good too:)

4. Family Art Project @ Wave Hill
Saturdays and Sundays 10am-1pm in the Ecology Building
West 249th Street and Independence Avenue (front gate)
Our neighbors told us about these great activities that they try to check out weekly. 
Wave Hill is a public garden and cultural center tucked away NOMA (North of Manhattan) in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.
Free admission to the grounds Saturdays until noon
Spray a Garden, Flutter with the Butterflies, Fishy Fun, Be a Bee and more to come

5. 64th Annual Shinnecock Powwow
Shinnecock Reservation
West Gate Road
Southampton, NY
Presented by Shinnecock Indian Nation
September 3 - 6, 2010
I vividly remember attending this event as a child with the E. 218th Street delegation led by Flo and Drew Suggs, my neighbors who owned their own bus company.  The Harvest celebration is an outdoor gathering on the beautiful Shinnecock Indian Reservation. Activities include music & dance performances, fire lighting at sunset, demonstrations, foods and native crafts.
Grounds open Friday: 3:00pm, Sat-Mon: 10:00am
Tickets: $12 Adults, $10 Kids, Seniors & Handicap

Monday, August 2, 2010

Public Schools Private Innovation

As a parent of a child attending a public school, I am EXCITED about this upcoming Ebony Education Roundtable to discuss the REAL issues!

In this age of cutbacks, we have to find creative solutions to ensure our children still WIN on the academic front.  Have you ever asked your child's principal what you can do to help your school?  Our schools can benefit tremendously from not only our ideas, but access to our networks and resources as well. 

When teaching assistants were eliminated from the kindergarten classrooms, my mother, a retired educator, volunteered her time.  A dad concerned by the lack of physical education at my son's school organized a brand new program for the children in partnership with the tennis club where he serves as director.

Your schedule may prevent you from serving as a class parent, but perhaps you can get your company to donate computers or even write a grant to subsidize the music/arts program (that's my goal for this year) to help make a difference in your child's school.

So tune in to catch the webcast of
Public Schools Private Innovation: Building Successful Public Schools on
August 11, 2010 6:00pm-7:30pm EST at or
view it on MSNBC on August 15, 2010 12-:00-2:00pm EST