Friday, September 28, 2012

Always a Bridesmaid: Wedding Topics and Tips

(NYC wedding of my friends Meghan and Tristan by Tara Leigh Photography)
In honor of this weekend's wedding and celebration of my Alpha Omicron Pi "Big Big" sister Darlene, it seems like time for a fun Friday round up post; sharing my favorite past bridesmaid and bachelorette topics! The cool fall weather means wedding season is in full swing! Get ready for all of your upcoming fall weddings, whether you're attending as a guest or want to be the best bridesmaid ever:

Single Girls' Survival Guides: How to get through the Bridal Shower without cringing (or falling asleep), Bridesmaid Dress Shopping tips (so you don't freak out during your fitting) and how to rock being Dateless at the Reception!

Guest etiquette: What Not to Wear to a Wedding

Throwing a bachelorette: Ideas for throwing the Best Bachelorette Party and the 5 Best NYC Stores for Bachelorette Party Gifts.

Advice (and warnings) for the lovely bride: The 5 Lies Brides Tell, 5 Tips for Choosing (and Thanking) Your Bridesmaids.

Happy wedding season to all of the beautiful brides and my fellow professional bridesmaids xo

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Idle Hands Bar 3rd Annual Pumpkin Picking Party

Fall means warm drinks, comfortable weather and pumpkin beers, of course! Idle Hands Bar, everyone’s favorite East Village basement for bourbon, beer and rock, has once again called every beer distributor in NYC to collect the last bottles and kegs of this delicious seasonal style to throw one heck of an autumn party. They’ll be pouring 16 of the most awesome pumpkin beers in NYC and once they run out, the whole city may feel a pumpkin dry spell!

Pre-buy an Idle Hands Pumpkin Picking Passport to get 10 pumpkin beers for only $49!

Idle Hands will feature:

Southern Tier Pumking OAK AGED!!
Southern Tier Pumking
Elysian Night Owl
Fishermans Imperial Pumpkin Stout
Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin
Flying DogThe Fear
Greenport Harbor Leaf Pile  
Saranac Pumpkin Ale
Smuttynose Pumpkin
Harpoon UFO Pumpkin
Blue Point Pumpkin
Bruery / Elysian / Stone – La Citrueille Celeste De Citracado
Captain Lawrence Pumpkin Ale
Heavy Seas Great Pumpkin
Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin 
Dogfish Head Punkin

How to redeem your pumpkin passport for a tipsy time this fall:

Buy your Pumpkin Picking Passport here. Bring your receipt to Idle Hands to pick up your passport. It is redeemable starting Friday, September 28, 2012 at the Pumpkin Picking Party, where you can drink 10 pumpkin beers from the full Idle Hands Bar beer menu when you present your passport for each beer.

Pumpkin Beers are available while supplies last. When pumpkin beers run out you can choose any craft beer $7/under for all remaining credits. Don’t think you can chug all those beers in one frat-tastic night? These beers are redeemable over as many visits as you want, any day or night, through November 1, 2012!

And sharing is caring: Your Pumpkin Passport is transferable and sharable because drinking with friends makes drinking more fun! xo

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lucky 777 and Jimmy's No. 43 Host NY Amateur Chili Cook-Off

Is chili your favorite fall comfort food? Do you have a secret chili recipe that always impresses your family and apartment guests? Then, this cook-off is for you!
October is National Chili Month and to celebrate, New York's only all-chili restaurant, Lucky 777 Chili Parlor and your East Village craft beer spot Jimmy's No. 43 are hosting New York's Best Amateur Chili Cook-Off on Sunday, October 14. From 1-3 p.m., sample, compare and judge amateur chili chefs and their homemade versions of your favorite comfort food.

Top prizes will be awarded to The People's Choice and The Judge's Choice. Tickets are just $20 for unlimited tastings, fresh baked cornbread muffins and a voucher for a Lucky Taco at Lucky 777 Chili, mentioned in my recent CBS New York article as one of the best cheap eats in the West Village, until December 1.

All proceeds from this event will benefit God's Love We Deliver and their expansion program. For more information or to register as a contestant for New York's Best Amateur Chili Cook-Off, contact blogger and Lucky 777 Chili rep McKenzie Mahoney at 202-679-5544 or

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What New Yorkers Hate About New York

Over a year ago, I shared the Top Reasons to Live In NYC. It was even quoted in my interview with City Unlisted. While those ten reasons may be the biggest explanations as to why we’re drawn here, it’s those small everyday joys that keep us in this city - making us fall in love with this place over and over again. Making us “real” New Yorkers.
(Rooftop view from my old East Village apartment. Something I don't hate about NYC)
While New York City may seem glamorous to those who have visited on a long weekend or dream of Carrie Bradshaw’s closet and fabulous parties, those of us who live here, know that there are just as many reasons to hate this city, as there are to love it. 

What New Yorker’s hate about New York:

The subway during the summer. Nothing could be grosser or more annoying than when you’re drenched in sweat waiting 15 minutes for the F train to arrive in triple digit heat. Then packing into a crammed air conditioned car, as you cool off a bit, but risk getting sick, standing closer to the sweaty stranger on your side than you’ve ever stood near your crush.

The subway during the winter. The long trek from your apartment to the train, as it snows or sleets, is only made worse by the long wait underground, as you sweat through your puffy winter coat.

Those we don’t obey the subway “rules”. Some people just don't know the rules of riding the train, like moving to the center when crowded, to give up their seat to an elderly passenger or to avoid eating messy, smelly food when commuting. No one wants to see or smell that fried shrimp you’re munching on out of a greasy paper bag.

Rodents. Mice, rats and cockroaches, oh my! Let’s face it; these little critters are not just underground. They’re in your office building, apartment complex and even your favorite restaurant.

Times Square. Sure, New Yorkers love a Broadway Show, but when finding yourself in that tourist-packed, heavily littered and extremely loud section of Midtown for any other reason, it feels like you're stuck in a circle of hell.

The always-rising cost of rent. Yes, your 300 square foot East Village studio costs as much to rent as your friends in the burbs pay for the mortgage on their 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home with a backyard and pool. But the charm of your exposed brick wall and 2-minute walk to your favorite Italian restaurant make your pricey, cramped living space a steal by New York standards. Or you frequently dream about the day you’ll have enough closets to keep your full wardrobe out all year round.

Overpriced everything. $18 artisan cocktails; $9 craft beers; $4 espressos; $2,500/month studio apartments, $20,000/year tuition to send your children to a daycare or private school. We can’t save any money, can we?

Lack of amenities. No dishwasher? No washer and dryer in the building (never mind in the unit)? One tiny closet? No storage space? Welcome to your new Manhattan apartment.

The tiny, maze-like grocery stores. You push, shove and dodge your way down the isles just to grab a jar of Trader Joe’s brand pasta sauce above the Park Slope mom carrying her crying baby, as he holds his very own iPad. Makes you miss Stop and Shop and Sam’s Club, doesn’t it?

Long, long lines. Whether we’re waiting to get a table at brunch or are in line to get a prescription filled at a drug store, there are always lines. At lease some lines are worth the wait.

We may all have a love-hate relationship with New York City, but even when we’ve had the worst day (a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day) we’re soon reminded why we love living here. New York may beat us up, disappoint us and knock us down from time to time, but we’ll just keep on loving her anyway.

What do you hate (or love) about living in NYC? xo

Monday, September 24, 2012

Madison Square Eats Open for Fall 2012

Madison Square Park has turned Worth Square, the small traffic island just west of the park, into a foodie haven for the fall season with the reopening of Madison Square Eats this past weekend.

Open from 11am until 9pm everyday until October 19, Madison Square Eats is the perfect spot for lunch (if you can sneak out of the office) or dinner to share a variety of foods with your date. Whether you’re hungry for a full meal of savory items from pizza to pork buns or craving a sweet treat, like a mini cannoli or an ice cream sandwich, you’ll find exactly what you’re in the mood for at Madison Square Eats!

Here’s a quick roundup of what you shouldn't miss when you stop by Madison Square Eats this fall:
Green Lemonade from Ilili
Ilili may be best known for their Lebanese dishes like Kibbeh and Tabbouleh, but it’s their Green Lemonade that everyone’s sipping alongside every meal at Madison Square Eats for $4 a cup. This sweet lemonade is made with mint, cucumber and ginger and is now known as “crack juice” among fellow Madison Square Eats vendors, who just like the rest of NYC can’t get enough of this crisp and refreshing lemonade.
Bee Sting from Roberta’s
Bushwick’s hip spot for delicious eats and the summer’s wildest Sunday Funday party, Tiki Disco, serves piping hot personal sized thin crust pizzas. The Bee Sting (mozzarella, tomato, soppressata, chili oil and honey) gives you a spicy kick in the mouth with a sweet way to soothe the burn.

Classic Ragu or Signature Nutella Rice Ball from Arancini Bros.
Arancini Bros. is New York's first and only company specializing in Sicilian rice balls. Flavors are rotating at Madison Square Eats, including the standard meat ragu with peas to a spicy and creamy buffalo chicken. Don’t miss the Ragu, but if you’re in a dessert mood, their Nutella rice ball is so popular they sell out most nights, so make sure to grab one early!
(credit: Eater's Flickr because I ate mine too fast for a photo)
Short Rib and Brisket Sandwich from Mayhem and Stout
Serving their slow braised sandwiches at food fairs around the city, Mayhem and Stout knows how to prepare juicy, tender meat with creative sauces stuffed into fresh bread. Order a Short Rib and Brisket Sandwich with Maple Brown Sugar Sriracha, topped with green onion and chive for a spicy kick with a sweet finish. The meat and sauce literally melts in your mouth, making it one of the best brisket sandwiches in NYC.
Sweet BBQ and 21 Spice Dry Rub Rib Combo from Baby Got Back Ribs
When you can’t make a decision between a spiced dry rub or messy sauced up ribs, you can enjoy both with a $16 combo platter at Baby Got Back Ribs. Served with jalapeƱo cornbread and apple slaw, this hearty Southern plate has Middle Eastern influences in the dry rub mixture, balancing out the sweet and gooey sauce on the bbq ribs. For $1 more try their Almost Sweet Tea. Don’t forget to grab a few wet wipes!
Lobster Mac N Cheese from Red Hook Lobster Pound.
Always debating just who has the best lobster roll in NYC? Check out Red Hook Lobster Pound for a Maine Roll, featuring Maine lobster meat, a touch of homemade mayo, a bit of celery and spices or try a Connecticut Roll with lobster and warm butter. Want comfort food? Their creamy Lobster Mac N Cheese is perfect to get cozy this fall with chunks of lobster meat covered in melted cheese and noodles.
Cinnamax from Melt Bakery
It's never too cold out for ice cream sandwiches! Enjoy sweet cinnamon ice cream wedged between two soft snickerdoodle cookies this fall at Madison Square Eats or try one of their other rotating ice cream and cookie combos. The Cinnamax is also available at The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop daily, among other popular Melt Bakery ice cream sandwiches.
Pumpkin Pie Cannoli from Stuffed Cannoli
With a long list of rotating flavors each week, choose from seasonal favorite Pumpkin Pie to Mud Slide, a chocolate lover’s dream. You can enjoy these mini cannoli in just a couple bites, so try a few flavors each time you visit.
Birthday Cake Truffles from Milk Bar
Who doesn’t love Momofuku Milk Bar? Grab their always popular Birthday Cake Truffles at Madison Square Eats, sold in packages of 3 to snack as you walk through the park or order a gift box dozen for the perfect housewarming gift (if you can promise to not eat them all by yourself at home in pjs).

Madison Square Eats at 24th & Broadway. Open daily, 11am-9pm until Oct. 19.

Check out what I loved at Madison Square Eats last year too! xo
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