Friday, April 29, 2011

NYC's Oldest Mexican Restuarant

Whether dining, partying, or shopping, I prefer to stay below 14th street.  But sometimes there are destinations worth traveling uptown for.   El Parador Café is one of those special places.  As the oldest authentic Mexican restaurant in New York City, El Parador Café boasts a traditional menu, an old world decorated vibe, and top service.   Located on 34th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues, it may seem off the beaten path to city dwellers and commuters alike, which has made it a best kept secret for foodies.
If your office is located in Midtown, take advantage of their new $20 three-course prix fixe lunch menu.  Stop by the bar for happy hour or pre-dinner drinks to order one of the best margaritas you’ve ever tasted this side of the Mexico border.  Light, crisp, and not too sweet, these tequila-heavy drinks are dangerous.  When making dinner reservations for a date with your new crush or for a girls’ night out, make sure to order the Taco Tray (Grilled Chicken, Beef Picadillo, Chorizo, Refried Beans, Guacamole, Crema, Tomatoes, Cilantro, Onions And Cheese) for the perfect variety to share.  Each meat is perfectly marinated, tender, and clearly made with care.  For a special treat, call ahead to enjoy additional specials to the Taco Tray, such as Beef Tongue, Chorizo with Potatoes, and Braised Short Ribs.  These specialty items are rotating features that can be prepared at your advance request.
For the best authentic Mexican food and margaritas in New York City, grab your passport (aka unlimited monthly Metrocard) and head to Midtown.  
El Parador Cafe.  325 E 34th St.

El Parador on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Interview with Candace Bushnell

A long line of pretty city girls decked out in their favorite Jimmy Choos waited outside the Gansevoort Park last night for their chance to catch a glimpse at Candace Bushnell, the famed writer of Sex And The City, and dating guru to all single New York City women, at her launch party with Gilt City for her latest young-adult book, Summer in the City.  The sequel to the #1 New York Times Bestseller The Carrie Diaries went on sale April 26th, and is sure to quickly become a favorite of her devoted readers.  Ladies enjoyed strong Xanté cocktails, passed hors d’oeuvres, and truffles from ChristinEats by the heated rooftop pool and sexy bar area at the Gansevoort Park Avenue Hotel.  After mingling, guests were treated to a signed copy of her new novel.
 
Ms. Bushnell was nothing short of stunning in a blue sequined dress and black rhinestone studded heels that Carrie herself would rock.  With a glass of white wine in hand, the ageless Candace listened to my questions with bright eyes and a friendly smile, like one of my girlfriends on a brunch date.

Sarah Shaker: Since you first began writing your column in The New York Observer in 1993, what has changed in the New York City dating scene?

Candace Bushnell: Young women are more relaxed about men now.  In the 80’s and 90’s many women felt they were expected to find someone, and if they didn’t they became the single thirty-something Sex And The City girls.  Now, women in their twenties are more focused on their career, and are more put together than some of the young men.

SS: In all of your work about Manhattan, you highlight the best in nightlife.  What was or is your all-time favorite bar in New York City?

CB: Studio 54 – nothing can compare.  Everyone who was someone went to that club.  There was something new about it.  At that time, everyone was discovering nightlife, so everyone was out.  Now clubs are all about bottle service, and no one is really dancing anymore.

SS: I wish I could have partied at Studio 54!  I love the nightlife scene, but I’m also a foodie.  What is your favorite restaurant in the city?

CB: Da Silvano has been a favorite of mine since the early 90’s.  Bar Pitti is next door, and people always seemed to favor one over the other.  Cipriani on 59th for lunch was glamorous.  I couldn’t always afford it, so I loved dining there for lunch when I could.

SS: What is your favorite neighborhood?

CB: My neighborhood!  My husband and I live on 9th and University in the Village.  We love being between the West and East Villages and can easily walk to Soho.
 
SS: Yes, I love living in the East Village!  I rarely go above 14th St.

CB: Well, you must go to the farmer’s market in Union Square.

SS: Yes, I never miss that!

CB: My first permanent apartment in New York was at 11th between University and Broadway.  I lived there for six years and loved it.

SS: I have been in the East Village for five years, and hope to stay downtown for much longer.

CB: Everything you could need is right there!

After our interview, she politely thanked me and wished me luck on my blog.  As a writer and downtown girl-about-town in the nightlife and dating scene, I couldn't be more of a fan of her work and chic lifestyle.  I can only dream to accomplish her success.  Ladies, if you can quote lines from almost every episode of Sex And The City, still crush on Aidan, but are looking for your Mr. Big, and have the best girlfriends anyone could ask for in your “very lovely life”, run out now and purchase her latest book!

This is an edited transcript of a conversation between Candace Bushnell and Sarah M. Shaker

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Online Dating Advice for Men


Although I have dated many different men over the past five years as a downtown girl-about-town in NYC, I have yet to venture into online dating.  I've met men at bars, through friends, at work, and at random city locations (from Whole Foods to Crunch Gym), but never from posting an internet profile.  Many of my girlfriends have joined the online dating world and have more than their share of stories to share with our fellow single ladies and advice to give to the men in the virtual world.  So dudes, listen up to my sassy Guest Blogger, Marisa:

-When you message me, don’t just say "hi you're pretty".  I know that already, got anything else?

-If you're not answering the drug question I'm assuming you do drugs on the regular, and as Alanis says "I'm not the doctor".

-Please don't ask for my number after the very first message, you creepy Long Island serial killer.  I don’t want my body to end up on the beach.

-When you do ask for my number, at the right time, don’t text me.  I don’t need a virtual boyfriend.

-Don't send me a four page journal entry about your deepest darkest secrets.  You're creepy, go away.

-Ok, so I sent you a message first, big deal.  I know your manly ego tells you it’s wrong for a woman to approach you.  You're intimidated by the fact that I have big enough balls myself to write to you.  But, instead of not writing back, even though you really want to, just do it.  You'll grow a pair of balls one day.  I hope.

-Listen, if I send you a message and you're not interested you don't have to write back, I get it.  But PLEASE, don't continuously look at my profile every day unless you're planning on writing me back sometime before I'm dead.

-Please don't join this dating website if you're not actually interested in a relationship.  You're wasting my time.

What advice to you have for the men of the online dating world? xo

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lemon Spa Luxury at Trevi Nails

As a Downtown girl-about-town who loves a good deal, I tend to purchase spa packages from deal sites like Gilt City, Lifebooker or even Groupon.  The Best Cheap Nail Salons in the East Village are generally where I head for my bi-weekly mani/pedis.  But, when you’re looking to splurge on your nails before a big event or want to treat yourself to a couple hours of relaxation, head to Trevi Nails.  This clean and brightly decorated nail spa is a bustling salon where both Grand Central Station commuters and Murray Hill princesses rush to get their nails perfected.

I was treated to the Lemon Spa Pedicure and Manicure for a delightful indulgence.  Although this package is a bit expensive, at over $80, it was well worth the price tag!  Enjoy over an hour of massages with oils, lotions, and a hot stone, as well as lemon based exfoliates to rid the dry, flaky skin on your legs and feet to prepare for spring sandals.   The ladies on staff are all friendly, welcoming, and polite.  Chat about current celeb gossip, shopping, or your silly ex with your manicurist.  Or just close your eyes and appreciate the massages and scrubs.  With a wide variety of Essie and OPI polishes available, you will most certainly find the color that fits your mood, style, or seasonal preferences.

If you’re looking to book a birthday party or bachelorette, inquire about reserving the basement floor for a private party for your ladies, which will be open by this summer, just in time for all of the summer birthdays and June brides.

Where do you go for luxury nail service? xo

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Review: Locanda Verde

Listed as Number One of the “38 Essential New York Restaurants” on Eater this month, I just had to see what the buzz was about at Locanda Verde.  After making reservations almost three weeks in advance (and having to dine at 6pm - extremely early by New York standards) I must admit the delicious dinner and quality service made the wait and the less-than-cool early dinner arrival all worthwhile.  Although this Italian restaurant has been open for almost two years, it’s packed with foodies, men in suits, pretty fashionistas, and chic young families each and every night of the week.  As described by UrbanDaddy, Locanda Verde is “brought to you by little-known thespian Robert De Niro and his crack team of vets: Ken Friedman (the Spotted Pig, John Dory), chef Andrew Carmellini (A Voce) and pastry chef Karen DeMasco (Craft)”, so you know they’ve brought in the big guns for success.  If you didn’t make a reservation, it may be hard to sneak in, but if you want to give your luck a try, spend your time Tribeca people watching by the bustling bar with a strong martini or glass of wine.
As a cheese lover, I can’t give the Sheep’s Milk Ricotta appetizer enough praise.   Seasoned with only sea salt and olive oil, served with crispy rustic bread, I could have indulged in this creamy spread all night.   But, I had to share with my girlfriends (and save room for my main course).  With a variety of crostinis offered, we enjoyed the Fava Bean Crostini (with prosciutto and shaved parmesan).  The salty cheese and thinly sliced buttery prosciutto balanced the smooth bean and made a perfect pairing to our (many) glasses of red wine.
If you’re looking for a comforting meal, you must order the Pappardelle (with lamb bolognese, ricotta and mint).  This meaty and creamy dish is now one of my favorite pasta dishes in New York.
For those trying to stay on their diet, the Roasted Sea Scallops (with Sicilian cauliflower and citrus) or the Salmon special, are perfect flavorful options that will keep your calories in check.
As our table was filled with dessert loving ladies, we opted to share the La Fantasia di Cioccolato for Two (chocolate gelato, marsala gelato, caramel tartufo, cacao croccante) and were not disappointed.  The sweet layers of creamy gelatos and chewy chocolate bites were the perfect way to end our dinner.

Call now for a reservation to enjoy Locanda Verde with your crew or for a date with your lover.  You may have to dine early or wait a couple weeks, but remember that good things are always worth the wait.
Locanda Verde. 377 Greenwich St.


Locanda Verde on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 22, 2011

Top Lies Men Tell Women


After divulging some of the little lies women tell men, it seems appropriate to list the common lies straight from the lips of our male counterparts.

1. “I’ll call you tomorrow.”  If a first date just didn’t seem to produce heart-throbbing fireworks, he’s not going to call you back.  Ever.  Really.  And trust me when I say, “it’s okay”.  Stop wasting time replaying everything he said in your mind.  Don’t call your BFF to help you decide what Carrie Bradshaw would say.   Your bestie will just make it worse with her thoughts on his motives for his actions and words.  Just move on.
 
2. “Sure, I’ll still respect you if we sleep together on the first date.”  The important thing here is that you respect yourself after sleeping with him.  Men will say almost anything to get you into bed once they are turned on and their testosterone is pumping.  If you’re the type of girl who enjoys one night stands, then go for sex on the first date.  But, if you’re always emotionally connected to a guy post-sex and will be hurt if he never calls you back, head back to your apartment alone.

3. “Tell me about your day.”  Harsh fact, but men don’t want to hear about your day; they don’t.  Unless you’re working for the FBI, posing for Playboy, or serve as the the nanny to Jenna Jameson’s twin babies, there’s really nothing interesting men find about your work day being miserable because Emily from HR stole your Fage yogurt from the office fridge, which sabotaged your weight loss efforts.  Not all women participate in this type of recall process when talking about their day, but the ones who do (and yes, I’m totally guilty), please stop it.  And share these little dramas about that jealous bitch of a coworker with your best girlfriend instead.  

4. “I’m not drunk.”  Dude, I can smell the PBRs on your breath.  And you can barely get your key in the apartment door.  Give us a break.  Just fess up to your Hooters boozefest with your bros.

5. “I’m not looking for a relationship right now.”  Translation: “I’m not looking for a relationship with YOU right now.”

6. “I’m not interested in you just for the sex.”  Hmm, really?  Well, we should probably do stuff other than, you know, have sex.  Plans before 2am?  Dinner, perhaps?

7. “I’m leaving her for you.”  Oh, but he hasn’t done it yet, has he?  If he’s still married, living with his girlfriend, or in any relationship that leaves you as the mistress, end it with him and run.  If he has no problem having you as his “other woman”, what will stop him from cheating on you once you kids make it official?

8. “I don’t think she’s that pretty.”  I love this lie.  Tell this lie all the time.

What have men lied to you about? xo

Thursday, April 21, 2011

SoulCycle

(image via Shape)
As a member of Crunch Gym for the past five years, I’ve fallen in love with spin classes.  My favorite instructor, who is exclusive to Crunch, is none other than Carl Hall.  With his amazing R&B and pop music hits, never-ending energy, and sassy attitude, you won’t find a better leader.  His devoted clients race to arrive at the gym early enough to be guaranteed a bike in his class.  He gives nutrition advice (usually in the form of a joke, such as “all you can have tonight are baby lettuces.  And no more alcohol until the weekend.”)  As the spring has approached he’s even brought his measuring tape to class.  Yes, I wish I was kidding.  But his humor and fit body make him an inspiration.

When asked by my sorority sister Meghan to attend a spin class at SoulCycle, “New York City’s Full Body Indoor Cycling Studio”, I couldn’t resist cheating on my beloved Carl for just one night to see what all the fuss was about.  SoulCycle has become a celebrity fitness hotspot, with avid fans such as Chelsea Clinton and Tory Burch.  This luxury studio, with seven locations (four of which are in Manhattan) has complimentary gel seats (your booty will thank them), sexy dim lighting, flickering candles to illuminate the instructor in the center of everyone’s view, and heart-pumping music.  You'll even get an arm workout thanks to a quick toning session with one-pound weights (they're surprisingly heavy after half an hour of spinning).  With a high price tag (a single class costs $32, and a 10 class series costs $310), Soulcycle is filled with both athletes and affluent New Yorkers.   I attended class at the Union Square location, with a high-energy instructor who made the class both fun and exhilarating.

I hope to visit SoulCycle again to mix up my workout routine and enjoy their spa-like locker rooms and services.  Although, cheating on Carl again just doesn’t seem right.

Have you tried spin classes? xo

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Review: Frito Pie at Cowgirl


With my lovely foodie friend Sarah from Fritos and Foie Gras and a few of our favorite hungry gal pals, I indulged in a life changing meal at Cowgirl - a Frito® Pie.  Yes, you heard me right.  This “Texas tradition” is a heaping pile of beef brisket or veggie chili (your choice, but I obviously went with the meaty option), melted cheddar, onions, sour cream and jalapeños bursting out of a bag of Fritos®.  When looking at this glorious mess, one will either be immediately starving or grossed out.  I couldn't wait to dive into the piping hot chili, gooey cheese, tender beef, and crispy corn chips.  The jalapeños added a mild spice; while the creamy and smooth sour cream perfectly balanced all of the flavors without being overwhelming or drowning anything out.  This may not be a diet-friendly dish, but it is worth the cheat.  And who didn’t love crunching on Fritos® as a kid while watching TGIF?
  
This kitschy, Texan-themed restaurant is perfect for an early dinner with the kids you’re babysitting or for West Village locals to grab a drink or two with a heavy dinner to prevent a hangover.  The prices are reasonable, the service is prompt and friendly, and the comfort food is delicious.  Stop by Cowgirl soon after work to catch up with your girlfriends, while straying from your daily carb counting woes.  
Cowgirl.  519 Hudson St.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How to Survive a Hangover at Work


You've woken up with your contacts glued to your eyes, a pounding headache, and your alarm reminds you to be on a conference call in an hour.   Hop in the shower, put on a little makeup, then rock your biggest sunglasses en route to the office.  Here’s how to survive a hangover at work:

1.       Drink Lots Of Water and Take Painkillers
Chances are you’re still dehydrated.  Your first step should be to grab a big glass of water and pack a water bottle in your bag.  Sip it slowly (especially if your stomach’s feeling rough), as chugging the water might hurt your tummy.  If you’re not nauseous, drink coconut water or an electrolyte enhanced sports drink.  A mild painkiller, like ibuprofen, will help with the headache.  You might also want to take something to settle your stomach.

2.      Vomit Discreetly
If the subway ride enhanced your nausea, head to the bathroom as soon as you arrive to the office.  Lock the door and run the water, so no one hears your coughing and gagging.   

3.      Eat
The thought of eating may make you want to vomit (and the smell of a breakfast burrito may actually make you puke) but plain food will help your body recover faster.  Try some dry bread, a toasted whole wheat bagel, or even saltines if you really think your stomach’s not up to much.  You may need to force it down, but you will feel better once it’s digested and has soaked up what’s left of last night’s vodka.

4.      Avoid Conflicts
Of course, it’s a good idea to avoid getting into arguments with your coworkers in general, but when you’re struggling with a hangover make an extra effort to avoid situations where you’re likely to overreact.  One of your colleagues has just said the stupidest thing ever about Obama?  Let it go.

5.      Go Slow and Steady
Even basic tasks can be a struggle when you’re hungover.  Don’t rush anything that isn’t a priority.  Even if you have a lot to get done, you’re going to lose more time by making mistakes that you have to fix another day than by taking your time in the first place.

6.      Avoid Clients
This might not always be an option, but if you don’t need to see or interact with clients, try not to.  You’re never going to look or sound your best when you have a pale complexion, bloodshot eyes, a tendency to forget what you were talking about mid-conversation, and a frequent yawn.

7.      Tackle Easy Tasks
If you have some choice over your work flow and duties go for some of the easier, routine jobs that you keep putting off, like organizing files or updating that boring excel document with contact info. 

8.      Take a Nap (if at all possible)
During your lunch break get your head down and take a nap.  Hail a cab home for a quick thirty minutes of shut eye or lock yourself in your office and let your assistant know you can’t take any calls for the next hour.

9.      Ask For Help
Even if you’re normally confident and independent about your work, you might make mistakes when you’re struggling with a hangover.  Ask a colleague to double check important documents for you and proof read any materials for clients or sponsors.

10.   Don’t Mention The Hangover
It’s almost surprising just how many people will tell colleagues “I’m so hungover today”.   Save that confession for your best girlfriend in the office, but not the whole row of cubicles down your hallway.  The last thing you want is for your CEO to hear about this, as office gossip spreads fast.  If anyone notices your absent stare or multiple trips to the bathroom to vomit, just mention you’ve been feeling under the weather for the past day or so and you just thought you were run down.  With the fear of catching your flu-like bug, you will most likely get sent home early.

How do you survive a hangover at work? xo

Monday, April 18, 2011

Top Lies Women Tell Men

(image via)
Attention dudes of NYC (and frankly, all over the world) women lie in certain situations and your perfect little angel is no exception.  We may be trying to make ourselves look better in your eyes, or make you feel better about yourself, but no matter the reason for our tall tales, we've come to do it naturally.  Here are some of the most common lies ladies tell.

Age/Weight: Women have it hard.  We get paid less than our male coworkers, are expected to hide our emotional nature in the workplace, and are forced to wear Spanx as bridesmaids.  Although cougars are so hot right now, we can’t help but want to appear younger, thinner, and sexier in your eyes.
 
Our Number of Sexual Partners: Women are considered easy or loose when admitting to having had several sexual partners.  It’s no one’s business what our grand total is, yet somehow in the dating world it’s a question that’s asked early on while trying to establish a connection.  The past should just be the past.  Women should be just as sexually liberated as men.  Ladies, just enjoy all of those romps in the sack, refuse to feel ashamed, and choose to keep your real number to yourself.  And men, just don’t ask and we won’t tell.

“I’ll Be Ready In a Minute.”: Listen guys, if before you left the house to go out on a date, you had to shower, shave (or wax) half your body, slather your skin with moisturizer, apply expensive miracle-like beauty products, paint on layers of makeup, blow dry then curl your long hair, model outfits for your roommate to find the perfect combination that makes you look sexy, thin, and polished, it would take you a long time to get ready, too.  So, just freakin’ wait.

"I'm Not Mad At You.": Oh, yes she is.  Don't think you're getting off that easily.  This lie is one of the most frequently used in relationships.  Typically, women who have been hurt by men in their lives use this phrase as an emotional defense.  Instead of admitting that she's actually quite hurt by your relatively minor offense, she will pretend that she doesn't care at all.  In reality, she does care, very much so, but doesn't want to look too bitchy about it, so just responds halfheartedly.  "No, I'm not angry" or “No, it’s fine”, are phrases that mean "I am shooting hate vibes at you right now, please pick up on it."  Excessive eye rolling, nasty tones and general passive-aggressive behavior are dead giveaways.  Please save yourself time and future headaches by calling her on her real feelings and discussing why she's so angry.  And listen.  We actually want you to notice and work to fix the situation.

“You’re the best lover I've ever had.”: When a woman says you’re the best, be afraid (be very afraid) and then run out to get the latest copy of The Joy of Sex or at least one of those creepy karma sutra pamphlets sold in Times Square.  One of the best qualities in women is that we see the big picture.  So what he has a small penis?  He has a good, steady job.  So what he can’t last longer than five minutes?  His smile is just so dreamy.  And even if he can’t mimic Don Draper in the bedroom, those veggie and brie omelets he whips up after sex are so delicious and high in protein.  Men, just get over it.  Then learn to recognize the three signs that you’re not the best lover since her sexy affair in Barcelona: One, when she leaves an episode of Desperate Housewives on while you’re on top of her.  Two, when she prefers you in the kitchen instead of the bedroom.  And three, when she pulls out her bright pink vibrator with rotating beads to help you out.  Males also have to see the big picture, and that’s that she’s with you and wants to share certain parts of her life with you (And other parts she shares with that pink toy).

What do you lie to men about? xo

Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy 25th Birthday Sami!


My baby sister turns 25 tomorrow.  Time has certainly flown by since our arguments over Barbie Dolls, clothes, and her insistence on imitating my every move.  Whether I need a shoulder to cry on, a good laugh, or tough love (yes, I promise I stopped seeing that douchebag), Sami is always there and always on my side.  I’ll be heading to Boston for a long weekend to celebrate her Quarter-of-a-Century Birthday with her lovely friends to enjoy delicious food, Newbury Street shopping, and very strong cocktails.  Miss Samantha Shaker is my best friend.  I am the luckiest.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Review: Rockography

Are you a rock n’ roll music buff who isn’t satisfied with the mediocre and overpriced food at Hard Rock Café?  I’d like to introduce you to Rockography.  This music themed Greenwhich Village diner, heavy on the gourmet version of your favorite childhood junk food is laid-back, cool and blasting with tunes.
Make sure to begin with a strong and delicious cocktail (or two…).  Because who couldn’t use a stiff drink to start off your night on the right note?  Rockography pays tribute to classic rock’s legendary musicians with a signature cocktail menu inspired by the “guitar gods”.  The Comfortably Numb (Bulldog Gin, St. Germaine, Myer Lemon, Fresh Sour) is light, citrusy, and smooth, yet you can’t miss the strong spike of top shelf liquor.  If you’ve got a sweet tooth and live for chocolate, order the Stairway to Heaven (Grey Goose Espresso, Café De Creme, Nutella) a creamy and almost too dangerously easy-to-drink cocktail.  Who says you can’t enjoy your dessert before your meal?  If champagne is your thing, the Less Conversation (42 Below Passion Fruit, Champagne, Passion Fruit Puree, Cranberry Juice, Fresh Sour) is a must-order.  For the sexy straight man in your crew, who refuses to sip his alcohol from a martini glass, he can enjoy a beer in a bag with a shot on the side.
If you’re up for an indulgent shareable appetizer, the dirty chips are the only way to go.  Kettle cooked potato chips drown in homemade Velveeta cheese, blue cheese, bacon, tomatoes and scallions.  Popcorn replaces the traditional pre-dinner bread.  It’s freshly popped, lightly buttered, and salty, and they will gladly refill the bucket to line your stomach from all of alcohol you’ll be drowning your system with.
The F.U. Burger (a 16 oz. burger specialty topped with mixed iceberg lettuce, fried tomato, onion rings, maple bacon, pickles, fried egg, Velveeta sauce, sesame seed bun, served with a side of tator tots) needs to be shared with your gal pals, or inhaled by a dude.  This charbroiled patty blends with the salty yet sweet bacon, a drippy gooey egg, melted sharp cheese, tart pickles, crispy onion rings, and a few veggies, so you can pretend this isn’t a heart attack waiting to happen.  The crispy tator tots will remind you of the best part of elementary school lunch (or college brunch as a hungover sorority girl).
Are you a peanut butter lover?  The Fried PB&J (with raspberry jam) is somehow light as the bread has the consistency of a pastry shell.  Served with an ice cold pint of milk (yes, in a tiny kindergarten-sized milk carton) and chips, this meal will transport you back to 1990.

Don’t show up at Rockography without an empty stomach.  The whole menu is heavy and indulgent.  Ask for Barry to ensure you get a sweet, funny and enthusiastic server who has the menu memorized and can answer any question with ease.  And he is also adorably handsome, so that doesn’t hurt.  Rockography. 504 6th Ave.

*Note: My meal was paid for by the restaurant.  I was not paid or required to write a review, and my opinions are my own.

(Images via Sarah Spigelman)

Rockography on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

When Your Past Becomes Your Present

(image via)
“New York is definitely haunted. Old lovers, ex-boyfriends, anyone you have unresolved issues with you are bound to run into again and again until you resolve them.”  In a city as big as New York, it’s hard to imagine that just around the next corner could be an old flame or past indiscretion.  With all of the people crammed on this island, you’re bound to run into an ex (or a one night stand) when you least expect it.  Whether you’re shopping at Whole Foods in your sweaty yoga clothes, out on a date with a new guy, or grabbing toilet paper at the corner bodega, you will inevitably bump into a man from your past.  Do you believe the chance meeting is fate?  Is there a reason for this encounter?  Or is it just a random coincidence?  Time and time again I’ve been blindsided by run-ins with ex boy-toys.  At times I’ve made small talk, catching up on each other’s jobs, roommates, and whereabouts.  Then there are the incidents when I’ve put on my Ray Bans, snuck away behind a sun tan lotion display at Duane Reade, and ran without looking back.

Has your past ever become your present? xo

Monday, April 11, 2011

Birds and Fellas

I’ve always been oh-so-spoiled.  When working on As The World Turns, the talented and sassy Theresa Marra-Siliceo, an Emmy Award winning Key Hairstylist, cut and styled my hair during her spare time at the studio.  I provided her with a creative outlet to test out new looks, as I was treated to the trendiest sexy haircuts.  Now that our soap opera has long wrapped, and the lovely Theresa is working her little butt off all around the television world, I realized it was time to find a salon that could make me almost as happy as she did.
(image via)
As an East Village resident, I pass cute intimate salons each and every day.  After purchasing a Groupon for Birds and Fellas, an adorable little salon just one block from my apartment, I couldn’t wait for my first appointment.  I’m a sucker for a good deal, as I feel savvy purchasing a luxury service experience at an affordable rate.  My stylist Jennifer greeted me when I arrived with a cheery smile, showcasing her bubbly personality.  This Los Angeles transplant, who has converted into a Brooklyn hipster, wore the perfect spring floral dress and white Ray Bans.  She handed me a form to fill out to update my personal profile in their system for my future visits.  I circled my preferred beverages by seasonal menu, to be handed to me upon arrival at my next appointment.  Spring/Summer choices included Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and premium cold sake.  Autumn/Winter offerings included hot chocolate, Shiraz, Merlot, and Cabernet.  The Anytime Hot/Cold menu included gourmet teas and coffees, Evian water, Diet Coke and Orangina.  Of course I chose a wine option for each season.  Then I circled my favorite magazine from a list of popular options.  Are you a couture fashionista who craves Vogue?  Or a gossip fiend who lives on Us Weekly?  No matter your interests, there is a fluff publication ready to entertain you.

After discussing my vision of long layers, Jennifer washed, conditioned, and massaged my scalp.  What girl doesn't find this time to be the most relaxing moments of the salon experience?  Then she got to work at her chair by the window, quickly yet expertly cutting my long dark locks.  I can only hope I can imitate her blow drying tricks.  The style came out so perfect that I wished I had a hot date that evening to show it off.  I decided then and there to book my next appointment for a June haircut and to try out Ombre color, the celebrity driven highlights craze of darker roots with lightened tips.  I can’t wait to rock the look this summer.

Birds and Fellas will text or email you a reminder when you are due for another cut, color, or touchup, along with available appointments at that time.  They also host regular cocktail socials at the hair lab or select local bars where guests can mingle for networking or just to make new friends.  With reasonably priced women’s cuts starting at just $64, Birds and Fellas is a steal in the New York City beauty scene.

Where is your favorite salon? xo

Friday, April 8, 2011

Beautiful Disaster

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He’s trouble.  Abuses alcohol.  Sleeps in too late.  Dabbles in drugs.  And always has a cocky attitude.  But, he is oh-so-sexy.  I’m guilty of falling for my share of bad boys.  What is their appeal anyway?  If a guy isn’t boyfriend material, why do we stick around?  Dating in NYC is tough enough.  With the uneven ratio of single men to single women, dating a guy who’s living on the edge is a waste of your time.  Even with this knowledge, we still seem to fall hard.  Is it the game he plays that keeps you interested?  Or is it the idea that you’re never really sure if he’s under your spell or searching for the next pretty young thing?  When there is a chase involved, you can’t help but want to catch him.

Have you ever fallen hard for a beautiful disaster? xo

Thursday, April 7, 2011

One Day Without Shoes

As a downtown girl-about-town, rocking combat boots to platform pumps, it’s easy to forget that millions of children all over the world are forced to go barefoot every day.  Tuesday marked “One Day Without Shoes”, an annual challenge hosted by TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie, to remind us of those children in need.   Last year, some 250,000 people participated through more than 1,600 events worldwide.  “One Day Without Shoes” urges adults and children to go shoeless to create awareness of those who have no choice.   Gilt City invited members to “leave their Louboutins at the door”, shop, mingle, and sip cocktails at Charles Nolan, a boutique on Gansevoort Street, to honor this day.  This awareness party was packed with fashionistas and editors alike.  Delicious mini sandwiches and cookies were provided by ‘wichcraft and a mini bar was set up with artisanal cocktails and beer to enjoy while shopping for shoes and accessories galore.  Deciding between glittery gold or the perfect summer cream was difficult, but I went with the more practical purchase.   Upon paying for my new pair of shoes, Gilt City gift cards were given to customers.  Deciding on which amazing Gilt City lifestyle event to redeem this at will prove to be difficult.
TOMS Shoes is known to give a pair of new shoes to a child in need with every pair of shoes purchased no matter what time of the year.   Visit TOMS online to purchase a pair of their comfortable flats or wedges to add to your spring wardrobe, while making a difference in a child’s life.

Will you order shoes for this worthy cause? xo

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Review: Korzo Haus

The quest for the best burger in NYC is an ongoing debate among many foodie bloggers.  When I discovered Korzo Haus, a tiny restaurant on my block featuring fried burgers, I couldn’t resist trying this out-of-the-ordinary cheeseburger.  The Original, a beef patty ground on their counter, with apple-smoked organic bacon, Allgauer Emmentaller cheese, mustard, and dill pickle inside Langos Hungarian fried bread ($11) is served with Fried Halušky in rosemary oil and buttermilk aioli.  Huge and not for the faint-of-heart, this burger will satisfy your red meat craving.  The Langos is crispy on the outside yet soft on the inside.  The bun to beef ratio and complete patty enclosure guarantees no loss of the juices.  Make sure to order this medium rare to enjoy the full flavor of the fresh beef.  The fried halušky is as addictive as your favorite French fries.  You will be shoving them into your mouth by the handfuls.  If you’re a mac-n-cheese fanatic make sure to try the Halušky w/ bryndza (Slovak feta cheese), crispy bacon bits and chives ($5).  This creamy side dish is one of the best takes on macaroni and cheese that I have ever tasted.  Share it with your friends, so you’ll save room for the heavy burgers.  When a traditional burger just won’t do, visit Korzo Haus for this fried meaty indulgence.
Korzo Haus. 178 E. 7th St.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Roommate Hookups

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In the world of relationships, dating your friend’s ex is the biggest no-no.  But, dating your roommate should be a close second.  Even though the first is more evil, it can only leave you friendless, while room-mating just might leave you homeless in Tompkins Square Park.  No matter how well some people know the risks, they can’t avoid moving in, then falling in love.  I’ve got a male roommate whom I adore.  He’s reliable, clean, caring, and will sit through endless episodes of Gossip Girl.  As a roomie he is pretty perfect.  Before he moved in last year, I had yet to live with a guy.  I’ve always known that this type of living situation could only work if we were just friends.  As he is like a big brother, I’m lucky to have him and no drama.

But, what if you find yourself head-over-heels for the cutie in the next bedroom?  The blunt (and best) advice is to ignore those feelings until you are no longer cohabitating.  A drunken night of sex with the dude on the other side of your wall can make for an awkward morning-after if he doesn’t soberly share your feelings of attraction.  If he happens to reciprocate your feelings, it can still go sour.  The romantic mystery that goes along with dating someone new is completely lost when you already know his quirks.  And there is really no way to get away from him for some alone time, as you must see each other every morning and night.  If you do start a relationship with your roommate, you should consider changing your living situation once the lease is up (or as quickly as possible).  Even if you’re one of the exceptions whose relationship goes well for a while as both roommates and lovers, if you breakup, you’ll be miserable living with your ex.  Won’t you feel jealous once you both start dating other people?  His new girl will literally be in your personal space.

Would you date a roommate? xo

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Review: Peels

Brunch is the best meal as a New Yorker.  How can you resist lazy afternoons spent indulging in rich foods, coffee, cocktails, and gossip?  Peels, located on Bowery, opened last summer by the team at Freemans, a Lower East Side favorite.  The country kitchen feel is highlighted by big picture windows, bright white walls, and wooden tables.  Arrive early or put your name in while you take a walk around Noho with your crew, as the wait can be rather long.  Try one of their fresh baked pastries to start.  Your low carb diet is almost impossible to follow with the temptations at Peels.  The Pecan Sticky Bun is fluffy, sweet, and a great balance to a side order of sausages.  With a Southern inspired twist on the menu, enjoy the Build-A-Biscuit option, which can include eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, fried chicken, avocado, and cheddar cheese.  Each item costs $6 or less to add on to your buttery biscuit.  The Peels Biscuit & Gravy (toasted buttermilk biscuit, poached eggs, sausage gravy) is a must-order for a creamy and filling dish from the sandwich menu.  Notice the indie rock music that plays quietly under the chatter of diners trying to piece together the details from last night’s debauchery.  The crowd ranges from pretty young things to parents visiting from the burbs.  If you’re looking for comfort food to soak up Saturday night’s sins, and have also accepted that you’ll never be a size 2, spend your Sundays devouring biscuits at Peels.  Peels. 325 Bowery.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Drunk Dial



Happy Friday to my lovely readers!  Hope your drunk dials this weekend aren't as embarrassing...

xo
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