Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Review: The Smile

For those who think all of the hipsters have moved out to Brooklyn, when in Noho they can be found grabbing coffee or brunching at The Smile.  Fashionistas in vintage printed maxi skirts and fur coats dine with guys clad in black skinny jeans, knit hats, and black plastic glasses.  The chill crowd flocks to this rustic and cozy café/general store on Bond Street.  Noted as the “white-hot center of New York cool” by GQ Magazine, this sceney spot doesn’t disappoint.  The Smile boasts local ingredients, such as Gaspe Nova smoked salmon from the LES favorite Russ & Daughters', meats from Schaller and Weber, cheese from Murray’s, and bread from Sullivan St. Bakery.
Chef Melia Marden has created her menu with care from her tiny kitchen after scouring farmer’s markets for great side dishes and additions to the menu.  The Manouri Cheese and Fig (fig preserve, truffle oil, pear and arugula on toasted sourdough) is a must-order.   The sweet fig paired with the mild, yet creamy cheese is perfection within the flaky bread.  All of the sandwiches are accompanied by a generous pile of crispy North Fork potato chips and thin shaved house-cured pickles.  Enjoy strong iced coffee or tart basil lemonade to sip with your meal.  With salads and sandwiches priced at $13 or less, they are a steal for the neighborhood.  If you’re in the mood for breakfast items at brunch, try the Baked Eggs with Ham, which bubble with cheese in a red sauce.  This heavy dish may just cure your hangover from last night’s party in Bushwick.  The Smile.  26 Bond St.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Best Bachelorette Parties

As your favorite professional bridesmaid, I’ve got the plans for your bachelorette covered with a night or weekend you’ll never forget.  Fellow maids of honor and bridesmaids, take note!

Beach Weekend: Whether you head to the dirty Jersey Shore to fist pump in Seaside or desire a classy Montauk trip, there’s lots of fun to be had on a beach weekend for a bachelorette getaway.  There’s no need to spend thousands of dollars flying your bride and all of her besties to Puerto Rico or Mexico.  Traveling just a few hours outside of Manhattan will shine the sun on your face and let you dig your toes in the sand.  All of the girls can pitch in for a rental beach house or a few hotel rooms within walking distance from the ocean.  Tanning, swimming, dinner, brunch, and dancing at the bars with her bachelorette party for a weekend, will give your bride a fabulous ladies-only escape from all of the wedding planning stress before her walk down the aisle.  

Clubs & Casinos: Is your bride a little wild?  Spend a night in Atlantic City or fly to Vegas for a weekend filled with gambling, clubs, and buffet dinners.  If you’re not up for the flight, drive or take a bus down to AC for dancing and bottle service at Mur Mur in the Borgata.  Or reserve a cabana at The Pool After Dark at Harrah’s.  Yes, your bride will probably end up in the pool (with her dress still on) after a few too many vodka sodas, but this will provide you with the most embarrassing photos of her last night out as a single party girl.  

Boozy Brunch: For the Manhattan bride, who is just too busy with her CEO schedule to leave the island, plan a boozy brunch with her best girls at one of the popular unlimited drinking spots.  Spend hours throwing back mimosas or bloody marys at one of my favorites, such as Essex.

Wine Tasting: Buy a package deal for a bus ride out to the Hamptons, that includes wine tastings, lunch, and a ride back to get all of your drunk butts home.  Even in the burbs, a wine tasting can be a lovely bachelorette party!  For an Ohio wedding, I adored my time in Canton.  Sipping and sampling wines, enjoying appetizers, and laughing with her closest ladies will give your bride the tipsy send off from singledom that she deserves.

Bar Crawl & Scavenger Hunts: Was your bride the queen of college pub crawls?  She can relive her glory days with her crew stumbling around the West Village bars where she celebrated her 21st or the East Village dive bars where she met her first few one night stands.  Packages for bar crawls with themed scavenger hunts designed specifically with your bride in mind can be purchased from companies such as City Hunt.  Enjoy drink specials at each bar, while taking silly photos with the bridal party.

Private Dance Classes: Does your bride have secret desires to be a seductive stripper?  Or has she always been the sexiest dancer in your circle?  No matter how advanced her skills may be, book a private pole dance class for your bride and her bridesmaids.  Learn steamy moves that you can all use in your bedrooms (or at a trashy midtown club).  Your bride will let loose, laugh, and get her grove on.  And hey, the groom may benefit from this dance lesson.

Spa Day: Manicures, pedicures, massages, oh my!  Enjoy a day of relaxing in the sauna, a soothing facial, and gossip time in the jacuzzi with your best girls.  Your bride will feel pampered and relaxed.  And after all, she deserves to be treated like a princess before her big day.

What are your favorite bachelorette party plans? xo

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Martha Stewart’s Pie Pop-Up Shop

This past weekend only, the homemaker of all homemakers, Ms. Martha Stewart, sold her pies and tarts in a tiny shop in the West Village.  At only $3 a pie, these cute mini pastries were selling out quickly.  After waiting in line, everyone was given a ticket, which allowed you to purchase one pie.
With a group of foodie girlfriends, including the lovely Sarah of Fritos and Foie Gras, we shared both sweet and savory tarts.  The Chewy Chess Tart, reminded me of a pecan pie, without the nuts.  The brown sugar and buttery deliciousness was the perfect late afternoon treat with a glass of iced coffee.  The Leek and Olive Tart with melted brie was both flaky and creamy.   This pop-up shop was open to celebrate the launch of the new book, “Martha Stewart’s New Pies and Tarts”.  I may not be domestic enough to bake these adorable pies myself, but I certainly enjoyed tasting them.  If only this shop was a permanent fixture downtown for weekend afternoon strolls for sweets, when you’ve had your fill of New York City cupcake bakeries.
What's your favorite Martha Stewart dessert? xo

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Friends Every Girl Should Have

(image via)
Wing Woman: When you’re chatting with a sexy stranger at the bar, she’ll stay out past her bed time and entertain his less-than-cute friend.  She emails your crush to arrange a group outing, so you don’t have to invite him on a date.  Your Wing Woman will plot and plan for you because she knows you’ll do the same for her.

Fitness Friend: She wakes you up for 7am yoga, encourages you to order salad with salmon for lunch, and doesn’t drink every night.  This friend gives you the healthy kick-in-the-butt you need when you’ve been on a nightlife bender.

Spoiled Brat: Brought up on luxury handbags, exotic excursions, and dinners at the newest celebrity chef restaurants, she will introduce you to the finer things in life. Even if you can’t afford to live in her world 24/7, you’ll learn to love and appreciate the best of the best.

Discount Diva: She finds the most expensive looking pieces at Forever 21 that you always get compliments on, she isn't afraid to bring a Groupon to dins, and she is proud to have a healthy savings account after living in NYC for the past five years.  Her influence will help you to get your finances in check.

Feisty Fighter: She will defend you until the end.  As my spicy Staten Island fighter once told me, “I’d take a bottle in the face for you.”  Enough said.

Party Girl: Invited to the coolest events, this girl thinks she’s still the social chair of your sorority.  A girl-about-town, she is out drinking most week nights, and can go shot for shot with the boys.  She adds spontaneity and adventures to your most boring days.

Straight Dude: Gorge on wings and chug beers without embarrassment with this platonic buddy.   Chat about sports, new films, and everything that doesn’t include drama.  This guy can give honest advice on your crush’s behavior and help you to move in to your new walk-up studio.

Fabulous Gay: He is honest about your fashion and figure.  Whether sassy or sweet, a trendy and outgoing gay male friend will give you the advice that your girlfriends may be holding back.

Life-Fixer: This organized lady could run a personal assistant agency.  She helped you study for the bar exam, reminds you to pick up your laundry on the weekends, and is thriving in her career.  Lean on this future CEO to get our own life in order.

Honest Abe: No matter what you ask, she tells it like it is and doesn't sugar coat the bad news.  Her tough love approach is important when most friends will tell you what you want to hear just to make you happy and to avoid conflict.  Go to your Honest Abe when the truth matters most.

Married Lady: This woman has found the love of her life, and wants to help you find yours too. She sets you up with her husband’s lacrosse buddies, her dreamy male coworker, and that mysterious barista at her local coffee shop.  She's almost as much of a yenta as your mother.  Just don’t let her make your profile without sitting right next to her.

Little Mama: She can sew the button back on your Marc Jacobs blazer, bakes cupcakes for every brunch gathering, and is truly concerned for your well-being.  This motherly friend takes care of you when you can’t get to your real mom back home.

Comedian Cutie: Call this friend up when you need a good laugh.  She can turn any tragic situation into a skit from SNL.  When you need to see the bright side or make fun of your ex, turn to this funny diva.

Big Sis: As an older city lady, she is the real life Carrie Bradshaw.  She has owned her UWS apt for years, as well as a home in the Hamptons, only carries Chanel bags, and has dined at The Waverly Inn so many times they know her order.  This older and wiser woman has lived your 20-something life and survived (aka succeeded) to tell the tales.  She can offer the best advice on love and career in the big city.

Burbs Babe: Escape the mean streets of NYC to visit her huge apartment for a shopping trip at a mall then lunch at Panera.  Even the hippest Manhattanite needs a break in the simple burbs from time to time.

What type of friend are you? xo

Friday, March 25, 2011

Learning to Beer!

As a resident and lover of the East Village, I’ve been a fan of Idle Hands Bar, the “bourbon, beer, rock” basement below Billy Hurricanes, since their opening.   I was recently told about their weekly beer tastings, and couldn’t resist attending.  Every Wednesday they host Learning to Beer, a series of tastings by brewery.  You’ll learn the history of the featured brewery and the story behind each beer you sample.  This two hour event includes 3-5 beers to taste, at least two full pours after the tastings have completed, and appetizers that compliment the types of beers served.  
This past Wednesday, my lovely friend Kris and I attended Learning to Beer with Two Brothers Brewing Company.  Armed with my camera, a pen, tasting notes, and a glass of water, I was ready to take on the beers.  Rev. David Ciancio, an owner at Idle Hands, who is also highly networked in the restaurant and PR industries, and the writer of the blog Burger Conquest, began the evening by introducing Ben Wood, the representative who would educate us on all things Two Brothers Brewing Company.   The first tasting poured was The Bitter End Pale Ale.  As a fan of lighter beers, I loved this!  With citrus and floral notes, I was a happy girl.  Next, we sampled Long Haul Session Ale, which was still a light beer, but with oaky flavors.  The third tasting was the Domaine DuPage, a French Style Country Ale translated as a “beer to keep”.  This amber colored ale was delicious highlighting both caramel and fruity flavors with a floral and spicy hop balanced to cleanse the palate.  The fourth beer poured into our glasses was Cane and Abel, which is brewed with Thai palm sugar.  I noticed vanilla and tropical fruit flavors (mango and papaya are mentioned in our tasting notes) and it definitely had a kick to it.  
Once the tasting concluded, rock music was pumped back on and an eclectic array of pizzas from Two Boots was served to compliment the interesting beers.  I had small slices of The Newman (sopressata & sweet italian sausage on a white pie), The Dude (a cajun bacon cheeseburger pie with tasso, ground beef, cheddar, & mozzarella), Night Tripper (sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic & jalapeno pesto on a white pie with a whole wheat crust), and Bayou Beast (bbq shrimp, crawfish, andouille, jalapenos, & mozzarella).   Each week, Rev. orders local East Village food to accentuate the specific beers.  Everything from Croxley’s wings to Korzo Haus’s fried burgers has been included.  I’d seriously attend these weekly tastings for the food alone, as this neighborhood truly has some of the best restaurants in the city.
While stuffing our faces with pizza, we were poured a full glass of Monarch White, their anniversary beer, to enjoy with our pizza.  This Belgium style white beer was crisp and refreshing.  I’d love to have a glass or two (or more) with a slice of orange on my rooftop during the spring.  The final beer was a huge contrast, as it was a creamy stout.  The Northwind Imperial Stout was too heavy for my tastes, but I noticed the sweet chocolate and coffee notes.  I couldn’t finish this glass, but sipped on it for the dessert-like qualities.

These weekly events are perfect for a night out with your crew, to meet cute guys (hipster and preppy dudes alike), or even for an interactive date!  Check out the upcoming events and buy tickets for only $35 here.

Where do you go for beer or wine tastings? xo

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Top Reasons to Live in NYC

(image via Destination360)
1. You're never, ever bored
There's always a restaurant opening to try, adorable boutiques to shop in, museum exhibits to view, a latest new workout craze to get your sweat on, spa services to indulge in, and bars are open until 4am.

2. Cabs 
You’ll never get a DUI like Paris Hilton in LA.  Cabs safely get your drunk booty home.

3. Food Glorious Food
In just the blocks around my apartment I can dine out for Thai, Indian, Italian, Greek, Cuban, Japanese, Argentinean, seafood, German, Spanish tapas, Middle Eastern, wings/bar food, French, Dominican, burgers, Polish, and soul food.  There are even restaurants that specialize in only one thing (mac n cheese, hot dogs, dumplings, crepes, pomme frites, and cupcakes) within walking distance.

4. Fashion
Where in the burbs can you rock combat boots with a sequined mini?

5. Delivery
Seriously, one can get anything delivered.  When I had mono a few years back, the bodega on my corner dropped off saltines, Gatorade, and Tylenol (thanks Sunny and Annie's!).  Even the McDonald’s delivers.  And yes, that's embarrassing.

6. Doormen
If you're as lucky to have them as I am, they sign for your packages, stop that creepy stranger from getting into the elevator, hold your dry cleaning, and so much more. My mornings wouldn't be as delightful without a chat about telenovelas with Diego or as mortifying without sneaking a new boy past Mac late at night.

7. Central Park
Summer weekends of picnics, drinking, frisbee, or reading a good book while lying out in Central Park make you feel like you’ve escaped the concrete jungle for a few hours without taking a train to the country.

8. Rooftops
My rooftop is one of the best in the East Village.  I've thrown birthday parties, wine tastings, and cookouts and even enjoyed a romantic Italian feast with an ex in the late spring.  With a killer view of both the uptown skyline and the Manhattan Bridge, there is nothing like access to a sexy Manhattan rooftop.

9. Melting Pot
You’ll make friends from different states (and even countries) with ethnic backgrounds you’ve never encountered during your childhood in a tiny beach town.   Euro princes will hit on you at Southside, your friend from Japan can instruct you on the proper way to use chopsticks, attending Passover at your Jewish friend’s apartment is a delicious experience, and that coworker from New Jersey always invites you to her parents’ for a cookout and pool party during the hot summer months to escape your sweltering walkup for an afternoon.  As a Catholic girl from the suburbs, New York City has opened my eyes to amazing people that have influenced my views, personal culture, and tastes.

10. Nightlife
Where else can you party until 4am?  The hottest (and sometimes secret) bars downtown are the place to be.  Dance until the sun comes up when Paul Sevigny spins, get photographed by Patrick McMullan, casually bump into celebs at Goldbar's Sunday Funday and remember your work hangover was well worth it.  You'll never get to live this life again.

What are your top reasons to live in NYC? xo

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Big Gay Italian Wedding

(image via)
Having spent five years on the producing team of a Daytime Drama, attending a performance of the Off-Broadway comedy My Big Gay Italian Wedding during “Soap Week” was a must-see.  From Thursday March 17 through Saturday March 19, five leading ladies from New York City based soap operas took the stage.  One Life to Live’s Ilene Kristen (Roxie) has already been appearing in the Off-Broadway comedy, portraying the wild and outspoken Aunt Toniann, but for a limited engagement she had some of her co-stars and other soap actors join in on the fun!  One Life to Live's Kristen Alderson (Starr) portrayed Maria, the younger sister of the main character, with dreams of becoming a Broadway singer, and Brittany Underwood (Langston) played the sassy lesbian Lucia.  As The World Turns’ Ellen Dolan (Margo) and Marnie Schulenburg (Alison) took on the roles of Angela, the smothering Italian mother and Connie, the fiesty ex-girlfriend of Lucia, respectively.

My Big Gay Italian Wedding focuses on two gay men from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn as they plan their wedding, along with their stereotypical family and friends causing trouble, including an overbearing Italian mother, a jealous ex-boyfriend with a Fire Island tale of cheating to reveal, an eccentric wedding planner from Hell, and a pedophilic priest, just to name a few of the over-the-top characters.   My Big Gay Italian Wedding, stars Anthony J. Wilkinson, who is also the play’s writer, as Anthony Pinnunziato, a gay Italian man, born and bred in Brooklyn, spoken with a dead-on New Yawk accent.  Anthony carries the show, as he makes you laugh and sigh, while you root for his love to succeed.  Ilene Kristen of OLTL fame steals the show with her sass and comic timing.  Brett Douglas, who originated the role of Maurizio Le Grande is also a stand out performer who commands the stage, while he evokes roaring laughter from the crowd.  Erik Ransom, who flamboyantly originated the role of Rodney Jones, brings the audience to happy tears with his cross-dressing antics and feisty Venezuelan accent.  The soap opera duo of Marnie Schulenburg and Brittany Underwood, the ex-lesbian couple, played off each other perfectly with their constant arguments and sexual tension.  These actresses performed with ease, as these roles were much less dramatic than their years in Daytime Television.  Ellen Dolan smoothly transitioned from the sensible and level headed Margo Hughes, whom she portrayed for twenty years on As The World Turns, to the hyperventilating Italian mother, Angela Pinnunziato.   

With lines updated in the script poking fun at current topics, ranging from stabs at Charlie Sheen to Sarah Palin, the audience can’t help but enjoy their night of silly theater.  My Big Gay Italian Wedding may not seriously address the issues of gay rights and marriage, but the fluff and fun had on stage makes for a great escape from the hate and prejudice in everyone’s daily lives.   

My Big Gay Italian Wedding is directed by Teresa A. Cicala with Executive Producers Sonia Blangiardo and Dina Manzo, of The Real Housewives of New Jersey fame.  For tickets visit Telecharge

Monday, March 21, 2011

Discount Dates

Living in an expensive city has taught even the trendiest girl to be thrifty.  With deal websites like Groupon, Lifebooker, Living Social, Gilt City, and Scoutmob arriving daily in your inbox, taking advantage of these deals on everything from spa services to dining is a no-brainer.  While printing out a $25 gift certificate that you only paid $2 for to redeem with your girlfriends for a week night dinner is a great way to save a few bucks, deal sites for first dates is an etiquette no-no.  

Sure, you'd like a guy who's wise with his money.  But, using a Groupon on a first date might make him look cheap, not savvy.  One of my best gals went on a first date with a guy she met through a friend.  With so much in common (from political views to an obsession with Seinfeld) they seemed like a match.  Unfortunately, in person he wasn’t Prince Charming.  He lacked manners and social skills.  To make matters worse, when the check arrived at the table, he not only rudely told her he expected them to split the bill (he did not ask or suggest it), he also whipped out a coupon from a popular deals site.  Splitting the bill is one thing, but adding on this discount makes for an embarrassing scenario.  

Ladies want to be treated on a first date.  We may be independent, making our own salaries and paying our rent, but we'd like to be wined and dined at the beginning of a relationship.  Once you're a couple I encourage using these discounts to enjoy the city you love together without emptying your savings.  And I also believe that a lady should cover the bill from time to time.  

What's your take on dating with discounts? xo

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patty's Day

Happy St. Patty's Day to my lovely readers!  I'll be attending Patrick McMullan's Annual St. Patrick's Day Party.  Stay tuned for a recap on this fabulous event.

How will you be celebrating St. Patty's Day? xo

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cubicle Romance

(image via)
He’s handsome, makes you laugh, shares your industry passion, and brightens your day before you’ve even had your morning coffee.  He’s your work crush.  Swoon.  As office romances can be controversial, they can also be lovely.  Dating a superior can lead to issues with both HR and your career.  But, a relationship with a same-level coworker can have its positives.  You already share the same interests (television production, writing, finance, medicine…) as you’ve found yourself in the same field.  You’ve also developed a friendship cracking jokes during those boring Monday morning meetings and sharing a pitcher at the company happy hour once a month.  His stolen glances make your heart skip a beat when you’re working on a boring excel document.  Can this crush become your boyfriend?  Yes, if you take it slow.  No matter how attracted you are, make sure a drunken late night romp doesn’t occur after the office holiday party.  A one night stand with a coworker will most likely lead to embarrassment and possibly make you a hotter lunch topic with the girls in the next cubicle than the mess Lindsay Lohan has gotten herself into this week.  Build a friendship and discreetly flirt.  Make plans to get out of the office together to get to know each other in real life.  The way I see it, you most likely won’t work together forever, so why not let yourself fall for your work dream man?  

Have you ever had an office romance? xo

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Big Cheesy

“It’s salty. Gooey. Crispy. Crunchy. And when it’s served at the uber-hip Openhouse Gallery in Nolita… well, it just tastes that much better.”  Gilt City was right.  “The Big Cheesy”, a competition for the title of Best Grilled Cheese amongst some of the city’s top chefs was a delicious afternoon inside this Mulberry Street popup shop event space.  Gilt City members purchased advanced tickets at only $25 a pop, to enjoy tastings of cheesy goodness from seven restaurants and two beers from Sixpoint craft ales.  As a serious cheese lover, I was waiting all week in anticipation to get my hands on these creamy sandwiches.   With an empty stomach, a slight hangover, my camera, and my always hungry friend Jared in tow, we were ready to vote on just who makes the very best grilled cheese in NYC.
After getting our first beer, we headed to Milk Truck’s station.   And what a way to start!  Their cheddar, aged gruyere, creamy bleu, onions and mushroom on rosemary foccacia concoction was no joke.  This Brooklyn-based stand, found at the Brooklyn Flea is serious competition to the larger restaurants putting up a fight.  Such a delicious start to an hour of stuffing our faces.
Next, we headed over to Artisanal, serving the appropriately named “The Frenchie” with brie, wild mushroom, red onion and truffle oil.  This tasting was tiny, but packed a rich flavor.  Heavy (and full of fat) brie is one of my favorite indulgences.
The Plaza Food Hall by Todd English served up bite-sized smoked truffle, pecorino, and provolone with a spicy tomato jam on home-baked focaccia.  This grilled cheese earned Jared’s seal of approval as his vote for his favorite.
Alice's Tea Cup served a sandwich made from lapsang souchong smoked chicken breast, gruyere cheese, mustard and mayo on raisin fennel semolina bread.  This sandwich was a nice change from the traditional notion of grilled cheese.  I adore this tea shop for a girls’ weekend tea date after shopping at Saks.
Upon entering the second room in the gallery, we came upon an East Village favorite, Barnyard.  I may be biased, as this cheese shop is just a few blocks from my apartment, but every sandwich I’ve ever tried there has been delicious.  With a crusty bread display from Grandaisy Bakery, I was already drooling as I approached their table.  These buttery sandwiches with aged cheddar among other cheeses had bacon and caramelized balsamic onions.  The chef from Barnyard carried a giant block of aged cheddar for guests to sample slices.  Umm this was seriously my version of heaven.  I gave Barnyard my vote for the best grilled cheese. 
The least diet-friendly sandwich came from Big Daddy's.  This diner served a parmesan encrusted American, jack and cheddar cheese sandwich topped with sugar-coated bacon and stuffed with macaroni and cheese.  How could that ever be wrong?
The last station was Bua, an East Village bar favorite of mine.  They served two Pullman bread grilled cheese options: Taleggio from Northern Italy and Cheddar from Dublin, Ireland.  Jared I and shared both of these basic, yet flavorful bread, butter, and cheese sandwiches.  Just like at the bar, they were served with spicy mustard and pickles on the side. 
After our second beer, we grabbed a bag of Herr’s Grilled Cheese Flavored Curls (which I was very thankful to discover in my purse hours later after Saturday night boozing).  Gilt City put on such a great tasting afternoon.  I’m looking forward to more of their foodie events in the future!  The winner will be posted on the Openhouse Facebook Page and will have their recipe published in Edible Manhattan.
Where do you get the best grilled cheese in NYC? xo  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tony Lucca at Joe's Pub

I've found my newest music crush.  Sigh. 

My darling friend Sam and I share the same taste in music (Our Glee themed Halloween costumes truly say it all), so when she mentioned that Tony Lucca, a singer/songwriter whom she’s loved for years would be performing at Joe’s Pub, I knew I needed to be there.  

We enjoyed Firefly sweet tea cocktails as we fell in love with Tony.  His strong vocals and romantic lyrics, reminded me of Gavin DeGraw or Jason Mraz.  I am clearly now swooning.  “Anchored” quickly became my favorite of his songs, as I have over played it so much in the past week, most normal people would be sick of it.  His cover of Billy Joel’s “Vienna” got me hooked.  

This talented musician played both guitar and piano during the concert, which always impresses me.  Growing up performing in musicals and singing jazz music, any singer who plays multiple instruments earns my respect.  And it doesn’t hurt that he’s adorably cute too.  This married man and father to a baby girl, writes his lyrics from his personal experiences and emotions.  Who wouldn’t love a guy who writes songs for his daughter?  If only I can marry an artistic type just like this talented performer one day.  Now, I’m officially a Tony Lucca fan. 

Who’s your music crush? xo

(image via)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Review: Rubirosa

Rubirosa comes straight out of the borough of Staten Island, where chef and co-owner Angelo "A.J." Pappalardo mastered his pizza making craft at the tender age of twelve in his dad's legendary (and still going strong) pizzeria Joe and Pat's.  For those of us not willing to take the ferry to indulge in their famous pizza, Rubirosa will be sure to satisfy your crazing.  Pappalardo, who cooked at Esca and Circo, has teamed up with chef buddy Al Di Meglio (who also worked at Circo and the short-lived Olana) to launch Rubirosa.  Located on Mulberry Street in Little Italy, which has degenerated into a tourist destination, populated by less than stellar restaurants, was a perfect fit as the neighborhood is in dire need of a high quality and authentic Italian restaurant.
In a city where the competition for the best pizza is fierce, Rubirosa delivers top-notch competition to the standby favorites from Di Fara’s in Brooklyn to Motorino in the East Village.  Good-quality fresh mozzarella covers bright-red sauces of slightly sweet crushed tomatoes on an ultrathin crust that is crunchy at the edges, but gives way to a crisp yet pliant middle.
Bring in a large party to enjoy a family style menu that will stuff even the hungriest guy in your crew.  Of the Bruschetta options ($2.50 each), the meatball, with plenty of parmigiano, is like a dainty two-bite meatball sub.  The Stuffed Artichoke ($11) arrives piping hot and is filled with buttery crumbs.  The Calamari Fritti ($10) is crispy without being greasy with a slightly spicy kick.  When it comes to the pasta dishes, there are varieties for every taste.   For meat lovers who enjoy a hearty red sauce, make sure to order the Pappardelle ($24) with sausage ragu and pecorino.  In the mood for seafood?  Try the Tagliatelle ($26) overflowing with clams, mussels, shrimp, and scallops.  If you’d like some green with your carbs, you’ll want the Ricotta Ravioli ($24) decorated with zucchini, yellow squash, and parmigiano.  Make sure to save room for the pizzas!  The Classic ($19) is a must-try 50 year old family recipe.  Order the Vodka ($20) for a creamy vodka sauce with fresh mozzarella.  The Sausage ($21) with broccoli rabe, fresh mozzarella, and pecorino is a wonderfully flavorful.  With your stomach so full it hurts, you still won’t be able to pass up the Zeppoles, served with a warm chocolate dipping sauce.  These are seriously fluffy white balls of heaven.
With Joe and Pat's-style pizza perfection and al dente house-made pastas, Rubirosa could easily be located in your Nonna’s kitchen.  Overall this is a restaurant that any Italian grandmother would be happy to call her own, and an authentic restaurant any New Yorker should be thrilled to have in the heart of Little Italy.

Check out the menu here

235 Mulberry Street

Where is your favorite pizza in NYC? xo

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Top 10 Reasons Not To Marry Him

10. He’s just so sweet
Finding that special someone can be a grueling and lengthy task.  So when you do come across a socially acceptable guy (the kind you'd take home to meet your parents back in the burbs), you may feel tempted to snatch him up from the reach of the millions of single city ladies.  But as sweet, handsome and well-educated as he may be, it won't mean much if your personalities don't jive. His well behaved personality and “good on paper” qualities should come in second to sharing similar tastes, interests and goals. Remember: He has to be right for you, not everyone else.

9. You've Been Dating Forever
Don't get me wrong, I’m impressed by any romance that can withstand the test of time.  And it's great when a teenage crush can grow into a full-blown adult romance.  But let's be real, if he wanted to spend the rest of his life with you, wouldn't he have put a ring on it by now?  Somewhere in your subconscious there are valid issues that are keeping you from getting engaged.  Don't worry about the years you've already invested; think about all the future ones you'll spoil by doing something that just doesn't feel right.  Staying with someone just because it’s comfortable and easy, are not reasons to stay together to wait until he makes it official.

8. All Your Friends Are Doing It
It's normal that you want to be included in the wedding planning convos with your girlfriends at brunch and be a part of current trends.   But unlike owning the newest pair of Sergio Rossi pumps, this “follow the leader” approach should not apply to marriage.  Being the only unwed gal in your crew may feel a little awkward at times, but it's nothing compared to the agony you'll feel by getting hitched to the wrong guy, just to feel like you’ve caught up with the group.

7. To Please Your Parents
Your parents are convinced that all of their friends’ kids are married.  And they can’t wait to be grandparents.  But, having your parents’ opinion should not be the deciding factor on who is the best man to spend the rest of your life with.  (Arranged marriages and dowries are so 19th Century)  A marriage is not a group endeavor, and the fact that your parents think he's an angel sent from heaven won't make the relationship work.  In other words, put your feelings first; all you can do is just hope that mama and daddy approve.

6. It's The Logical Next Step
Most ladies (and some men) seem to think that marriage is just one of those logical steps in the sequence of life (Job? Check. Bought a Manhattan apartment? Check. Marriage?).  But just because you have a great career and a nice two-bedroom on Central Park West, that doesn't mean you should complete the package with a walk down the aisle.  Everyone takes different paths in life, and it's possible that yours won't necessarily include dress fittings and church rehearsals in the near future.

5. Financial Stability
Just because owning a place in the city with a spouse will make your mortgage more affordable, does not mean you must jump into marriage to make owning your dream apartment a reality.   Two incomes and joint health insurance seems tempting to enjoy a more luxurious life, but don’t commit to a life together based on money alone.

4. You’ve Always Dreamed of Your Wedding
You decided on your wedding colors, honeymoon location, and your children’s names back in your middle school diary.  You’re that girl who fantasized about her wedding your whole life and can’t wait to get your wedding planner on payroll.  While the guy you’ve been dating may not seem like Mr. Right, he’s got potential and the timing would be perfect for a June wedding at The Plaza.  Just because you’ve got it all planned out in your mind, doesn’t mean you should rush to make it a reality with the wrong guy.  You’re time for your dream wedding will come one day; don’t rush it with the wrong guy just to experience the fairytale. 

3. He Caught You Off Guard
In one of life's unpredictable turn of events, by some freak miracle, he proposed to you earlier than you would have expected it.  And being on the spot, coupled with the fact that you're head-over-heels for him, may lead you to say "yes" without giving it enough consideration.  But if you have even the slightest doubt, take the time to mull it over.

2. You're Close To His Family
You love his mom's cooking, his dad gives great advice, and his sister is one of your closest friends.  But it's not his family that you will have to share a bed with for the rest of your life.  And if things just aren’t perfect with him any longer, don’t stay around because you don’t want to hurt his loving mother’s feelings.  Focus on finding the right individual rather than the right family portrait.  It's very likely that if you get along with him, your in-laws will be just as special.

1. You’re Having His Baby
Let’s be brutally honest: Kids do not make marriages work.  It may not be in your, his, or a child's best interest to see two parents subject themselves to a marriage of convenience.  Work together to come up with the best solution, but remember that there is a third party involved. And your child will be the one who suffers most should his/her parents force themselves into a family mold.  Remember, there are successful single parents everywhere.

What reasons aren’t good enough for you to get married? xo

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sunday Funday at Goldbar

In the know party kids head out on Sunday nights in New York City to hit up Jonny Lennon’s Funday party at Goldbar.  For the last few years, the wild weekly bash has steadily grown into an international brand, with offshoots in France, Miami, Las Vegas and at Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.  The musically driven, alcohol fueled parties are so packed that guests often have to slip through the crowded room just to make it to their tables and can’t avoid brushing up against sexy strangers as they dance.   

This past Sunday Funday was a special night, as it was the birthday celebration of Kristina Marino of The Downtown Diaries.  This nightlife princess seriously knows how to party.  Jonny Lennon presented the birthday bash with music by Jesse Marco, DJ Sinatra, and DJ Theory.  Now, most responsible (and sane) twenty-somethings would stay in on a Sunday evening, but they risk missing an epic night of music, dancing, and full out debauchery.  After a private (and delicious) dinner at Rubirosa, Kristina and her crew arrived at Goldbar around 11:30pm.  For those of you who frequent Goldbar, you know this is a little early for the fun to begin, but with her friends, the party quickly follows.  We got situated at our table and began enjoying bottle service as the party started to take off.   The mix of current pop hits to 90’s favorites kept the young and beautiful crowd dancing in their stilettos until early Monday morning.  Sunday Funday at Goldbar is an event not to be missed.   The Monday morning hangover is more than worth it.     

Monday, March 7, 2011

How Not To Dump Her

My advice, stories, opinions, and questions are usually for the ladies out there.  But, this time I’m talking to my male readers.  Gentleman, please don’t break up with us in any of these pathetic ways.

The Houdini: Instead of breaking up with you in person like a human being, he simply disappears from your life.   I have a close friend who dated a guy who was the worst offender.   They dated on and off in college, then started dating seriously after grad school.  After a few months of dinners, buying a Christmas tree together, and even a skydiving trip, he Houdini-ed her, with no explanation.  When she tried to contact him to talk about it he refused to engage.  He just stopped returning her calls, emails, texts, and never let her in on the reason.  We honestly wondered if this asshole was even alive.  Guys, this is emotionally abusive and confusing.  At least have the decency to the girl it’s over!  Even if you have to make up a LIE (“I’m just not ready to be serious with all of my finance work, blah blah blah”).  Anyone who can’t even communicate with you is a complete coward.

The Houdini Plus A Douche-y Justification: The only thing worse than the Houdini is when a guy defends his indefensible behavior with a cold-hearted comment that makes you regret every second you spent stressing over him.  Basically, once you’ve been dating for months, exclusively sleeping together, he disappears like in the story above.  But, once you run into him at a bar or he finally answers your gchat, he throws in a beauty like “It was just fun and sex.  It’s not like you meant anything to me.”

Social Media Breakup: You know that episode of “Sex and the City” when Carrie gets dumped by Berger via a Post-It note?   Yeah, if you break up with someone over Facebook, MySpace (if it was 2001), or Twitter, you’re as bad as that guy.

Text, Email or Gchat Breakup: Nope, you’re not in the clear if you break up with someone over email (even if it’s lengthy or “heartfelt”).  You still didn’t do it in person, which is the only acceptable way (unless you’re stationed in Iraq or shooting a film in Australia).  Breaking up over the phone or via text message is just as bad - just ask Taylor Swift.

Projecting: I’m sure you’re confused right now (who isn’t during a breakup?), but don’t be all cray-cray and blame the other person for your problem.  You know that Madonna song, “Human Nature,” where she sings, “I’m not your bitch, don’t hang your s**t on me”?  Yeah, don’t be that jerk.  If you’re projecting your own problems onto another person, you belong in therapy, not the singles scene.  A guy who almost got fired from work for sleeping in too late, abused cocaine and Adderall, and had issues with his therapist and parents, would tell me about his lifelong traumas for hours each week.  I listened and offered comfort, advice and support, so he decided to tell me I was “too needy” for his attention.  Seriously, dude?

Breaking Up After Sex: It’s. Just. Wrong.  Don’t do this ever.

Wasting Her Time/Money After Traveling to See You: Dumping someone who just hopped a plane, train or Bolt Bus (or even a taxi to an outer borough) to see you is inconsiderate.

Do you have any tales of bad breakup behavior? xo

Friday, March 4, 2011

Best Unlimited Boozy Brunch

With your Ray Bans on, a faint stain of red lipstick, and your head pounding, you may just need a hair of the dog to cure your vodka induced hangover from last night’s insanity at Le Bain.   Thankfully, these unlimited cocktail brunches will settle your stomach and get you tipsy all over again.

Poco: For $22.95 you can order any brunch item (the Poco Benedict, Lobster Mac n Cheese or Salmon BLT are the way to go) and you’ll get three late-morning cocktails.  For a large party of 10 or more, you can get all-you-can-drink mimosas, bloody marys and sangria for $28 with three hours to enjoy this daytime debauchery.  Make a reservation as this 20-something fav gets packed quickly! Poco at 33 Avenue B

Diablo Royale Este: In the mood for a spicy kick to your first meal of the day?  Check out their new $22 all-you-can-drink brunch special.  Order the Huevos Rancheros for a classic Mexican dish or the Mexi Scrambled (scrambled eggs with chorizo, onions, poblanos, cilantro, and crema)  And Enjoy unlimited bloody marys or mimosas with your mid-afternoon fiesta. Diablo Royale Este at 167 Avenue A

Agozar: They offer unlimited sangria with any brunch item ($12-$16) for 2 hours at this lively Cuban bistro right off the Bowery.   Try the Sandwhiche Cubano with shoestring fries, for a hearty fix to your hangover.  Agozar at 324 Bowery

Sun Burnt Cow: Widely known one of the biggest Sunday parties in town (well, other than the infamous and exclusive Day and Night Brunches & Sunday Funday evening at Goldbar).   Arrive early if you want to take advantage of the $15 Endless Brunch.  And I seriously mean “endeless” - you will need a cab to take your drunk ass home.  
Sun Burnt Cow at 137 Avenue C

Yerba Buena: Get unlimited bellinis, mimosas and jalapeno bloody mary’s for just $12 (menu says there’s a 1-hour limit, but I’ve been recently with my gals and they let us linger quite a bit longer).  Try the Benedict Yerba Buena or Tres Arepas.  Make a reservation, unless you don’t mind sitting at the bar while you booze it up with your crew.  Yerba Buena at 23 Avenue A

Where do you go for a boozy brunch? xo

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Get Under to Get Over

Is it true that the easiest way to get "over" Mr. Wrong is to get "under" someone new?  When your mind is consumed with thoughts of your ex, it’s hard to direct your attention to that handsome stranger.  Wondering “what went wrong?” or “why doesn’t he miss me too?” all day long, will only hinder you from finding your next potential partner.  Being a girl who falls too hard too quickly and cares too deeply, moving on has never been easy.  I’ve always believed that when you’re open to meeting someone new, not necessarily sleeping with this sexy stranger, but focusing on getting to know him, it can be a helpful way to get over the guy who broke your heart.   Now to be clear, I’m not opposed to hooking up with a new cutie.  But, just the physical act of sex with a stranger can make an already emotional girl that much more upset.  So, how do you move on?  

Do you believe that crushing on a new guy will get you over Mr. Wrong? xo

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rent The Runway Weddings

Rent The Runway continues to make this budget conscious city gal happy with the launch of a wedding section.  Dresses can now be rented for your walk down the aisle with that dorky groomsman.  A Badgley Mischka cocktail dress retailing at $355 can be rented for only $100!  And no need to worry about alterations (which can cost up to $75 at a bridal shop) as you will get a free backup size!  This site is truly genius for the professional bridesmaid who has no use for the ten bridesmaid dresses hanging in her tiny East Village closet.   There are even dresses and accessories available for the bride to rent.  With her engagement party, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, bachelorette party, and the honeymoon, this wife-to-be requires the perfect dress for each occasion.  Luckily, Rent The Runway has dresses for every special event.  With all of the photos being taken during this whirlwind time, the Soon-To-Be-Mrs. won’t be caught dead in any of those dresses again.  And with a Hervé Léger
 costing $1,600, but available to rent at only $200, why not decide to go rental?

Would you prefer to rent a bridesmaid dress? xo

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Manbag

As city girls, it's second nature to carry a huge purse (or multiple bags) all day long. Your cross body Chanel may be light, but it's rare to be wearing that alone.  Women must carry what they need for the day ahead from the moment they step out of their apartment, until they arrive home at the end of a long day.  You can’t forget your lunch, makeup bag, umbrella, gym clothes, sunglasses, iPad, yoga mat... and the list goes on.  

With the subway and cabs being your modes of transportation, you've got no choice but to carry your belongings. That is, until you find yourself a Mr. Big with a town car.  But, until that glorious day, we must lug everything around, while making an effort to still look fabulous as we huff, puff, and grunt.  So how do men schlep their stuff around the streets?  Over the past few years, guys in the big city have become unafraid to rock a Manbag.  Wonder what these male accessories say about the sexy guy who carries them?  There may be a lot you can tell about a man by the bag he carries…

Back-to-School Backpack: This young-at-heart guy might just find this type of bag to be easy to carry, comfortable on his shoulders, and no-fuss.  Or he may be immature. I was seeing a guy who always had a backpack with him, from the bars at happy hour to our early morning commutes together. Those North Face backpacks take me back to my days in the dorm.  He was irrational, irresponsible, and a little crazy. Maybe his Manbag of choice should have been a red flag?

Rugged Leather or Canvas Backpack: This trendier version of the backpack your guy wore by his locker in 2002 carries his kindle and change of clothes from last night’s date. A guy who sports this Manbag may be a fashion conscious hipster or the laid back artsy type. He transports his stuff on his back without looking like he’s 18, while keeping his straight manhood intact.

Cross Body Leather Messenger: This metrosexual look is polished and put together. This is the true Manbag or “Murse”. Judge all you like, but this guy wants to look good, while lugging his iPad, favorite book, and a cardigan for his chilly office.  He could be pretentious and have a love for Jack Spade. Or he may just be mature and going for a professional look.   

Laptop Case: The man who carries this around could be a techy nerd, finance douchebag, production freelancer, or mysterious writer. With this type of bag, you must also observe his attire to make your superficial judgment. Is he wearing an expensive suit? Or skinny jeans, plaid, and Ray Bans?

Canvas tote: This environmentally friendly guy is going green. Or he just wants a cheap and non-flashy way to lug his crap around town.

Fanny pack: This man is an ironic hipster from way out in Brooklyn. Or a fabulous gay.  Let’s hope it’s the latter. And it’s a Gucci.

Duffel bag: This athletic guy makes hitting the gym a priority. He brings this Manbag to and from work, so he can get in his cardio and bench pressing time before or after his office hours. He may even play on a recreational sports team. This cutie is health conscious and can time manage his workouts before drinks with his buddies.

Just his wallet: This manly man sticks his wallet and keys in his back pocket and sports his sunglasses. He either won’t be caught dead with a Manbag or he’s so chill that he doesn’t need much to enjoy his time around the city.

Have you ever judged a guy by his Manbag?  xo
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