Tag Archives: New York City

To the Year of Execution

As 2014 whips to a close, we once are again left with the swirling questions of where did it go, what did we accomplish, what will we never forget?

As life rushes by, we pass the years where each year is filled with constant life-shaping milestones: The milestones of college, our first jobs, and our first dysfunctional relationships. These are replaced by seconds and thirds as we learn from our past mistakes to pave the way for future success. Although there are still many milestones, it seems as though each passing year moves a little faster, each year comprising a larger whole of one’s life, relentlessly pushing forward through the rough times and even faster through the wonderful memories.

For me it was the year of purported clarity starting with the perfect new job. It was a year teeming with llamas in Peru and camels in Morocco, one signaling a shift in the weather for many of my relationships, and a momentous step in another direction for my career. I look back on 2014 and smile because it was a good year. Not particularly momentous but filled with a train of many successes after purposefully moving toward the goals that I had set for myself.

I’ve discovered that one of my biggest fears in life is to be mediocre. I think it’s something about NYC that propels us forward but I’ve come to realize that not achieving everything you can out of life is a crime – both in regards to your personal and professional life. This mentality will shape the new year and urge me to do more. It also perpetually makes me want to surround myself with those who share the same life trajectory.

To ring in this year we celebrated with close friends yesterday on the eve. Is it true that how you start the new year dictates how you spend your year? Not sure but I spent it bougie of course. We had blood orange champagne sparklers to toast a new year. A Young Pecorina Fonduta (D’s recipe), an Olive Tapenade with Biscottes, and Serrano ham-wrapped Persimmon with Rosemary. After the ball dropped Naisha, Ivanka, Blake and I finished off the bougie night at a Black and Gold Masque at the McKittrick Hotel. Nance wanted to come but she’s recovering from shoulder surgery so we thought that may be a little bit overzealous. It was a perfectly low-key NYE with good friends to kick-off the year.

I said I wanted 2014 to be a year of clarity and I think that it’s all somewhat clearer. Was I thinking I would have an epiphany and know exactly what path to pursue in life? Yes but no year can do that I suppose, no matter how diligent you are. Like I always say the key is making a plan but ensuring flexibility in that plan.

What do I want this year to be? The year of execution. The seeds have been planted and now let’s see which ones take root. I have a much better idea of what I want and the trade-offs that I may need to make to attain the priorities I set in my life. Having many conflicting priorities is natural, but choosing which ones mean the most is the only way to prevent yourself from getting burnt out. Here’s looking at you 2015.

 

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The Opportunity of Unbalance

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Lately I feel rather off balance. The winds of change have swept into my life along with the crisp Autumn breeze. Never more before have I felt the endless rhythm of life propel me forward, giving me less and less time to stop and absorb the changes.

Yet despite a slight sense of unease, I have often felt that unbalance spurs you to make a change for the better. Often stability can go hand in hand with complacency. It’s so easy to get used to the status quo (your social circle, your job, your day-to-day routine, your inadequate boyfriend… theoretical in my case) that your personal development becomes stagnant. However, I firmly believe that each person should work to constantly evolve, reinvent, and better themselves. At the end only you limit the person you will be 2/5/10 years from now.

I try to channel my current unbalance into meeting new people, being open, and letting loose. I can be an icy betch, but I’m opening myself up to new experiences. A party that could mean foodie contacts on a Sunday night, why the hell not? Why not go out with someone you don’t really know very well? Sure, I’ll go to a midnight screening of Psycho! 

You don’t have to tell me that we all need a routine, I’m the perpetuate planner. But when routine makes you less-resilient and fails to allow for  growth, it’s time to a consider taking steps out of your comfort zone. Ask yourself am I working to be a better version of myself? If the answer is no, work toward that goal – or at least that’s my reco.

What I react to now is that change is pulling me in one direction but pulling others around me in possibly another. It’s interesting how you can grow together with someone for so long and then all of sudden change brings you farther apart as you focus on different priorities.

Can you grow apart but still foster the same, deep relationship? I think yes but it takes conscious effort from both parties and a foresight to realize that changes to the dynamic of a relationship are an inevitable part of life. All you can do is try your best to adapt yourself to be better and see where the pieces fall.

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Sweet AND Savory Please: Brunch at Telepan

Lately I’ve been less eager to leave the neighborhood, preferring rather to explore the best of the Upper West Side. I think it’s a combination of wanting to avoid the oppressively hot subway, the fact that a number of my friends happen to live in the vicinity, and also that sometimes I don’t feel like schlepping to brunch downtown after long workweeks.

Today I had a rather phenomenal brunch at Telepan, right in the heart of my favorite part of the UWS. Known for high-end fare, the brunch is a best-kept secret. 2 courses for $32 – not bad for the quality of food served here, in my opinion. If you’re looking for a drunk brunch, go somewhere else. Telepan is not recommended for frat stars and lushes. But if you’re in the mood for a classy catch-up session, go to Telepan. The atmosphere is quiet and refined and located right off Columbus Ave among the beautiful townhouses of the UWS.

For the food, I won’t say that I was blown away as much as somewhere like The Breslin, but overall Telepan offers great service and good food. The best thing about a prix fixe brunch is that you don’t have to answer that age-old brunch question: Sweet or Savory? At Telepan, you can have both!

I did just that. First I had the Apple Sausage with poached egg, duck prosciutto and watercress. Just enough for my salty fix. Can you really go wrong with duck prosciutto? My second course was the Fallen pancake soufflé with brown sugar bacon and blueberry sauce. I thought the “fallen pancake soufflés” were a bit dense for me, but I applaud the creativity. Brunch food often bores me and I always appreciate the innovation. Fresh pastries and bread for the table added to the atmosphere, making brunch feel more special than just a hangover recovery session.

After being stuffed, thoroughly breaking all the rules of my Paleo diet on a deserved cheat day, I meandered home, strolling through the Upper West Side. I think there really is something to be said about staying local in your neighborhood in NYC every so often. In a city bounding with so many options, it’s always somewhat exciting to discover somewhere new that you pass every day. Just another reason to love this city.

212.590.4300    Ÿ http://telepan-ny.com/

See more reviews at NYC Restaurants.

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A Summer of Strategically Drinking

Strategically Drinking with champagne?

Strategically Drinking with champagne?

Oh NYC. It’s hard to match Manhattan in the late spring. Although we know what awaits us around the corner with unavoidably sweaty subway rides and a veritable sauna-esque backdrop, summer still heralds the promise of exciting things to come. You should know by now that it is a proven theory that Manhattanites come out of the woodwork when the cold lifts – Out of hibernation to frolic, have fun, and, frankly, fuck.

If you were wondering what caused the hiatus of the cub and the cougar, I was frolicking around with alpacas in Peru with Éva and Naisha while Nance has been busy giving us added inspiration (Even though that’s not really necessary), chugging away with finals, working toward her Master’s. As always, a break from my urban jungle supplied me with fresh fodder on how I can revamp in my life.

As Naisha and I sipped on Pisco sours in Lima on our hotel’s rooftop, I had a thought: This summer I aim to strategically drink and party with tact.  Is the real coming age of the young professional when one forgoes the endless nights of binge drinking to focus on more noble pursuits? I’m thinking…Invite-only parties, rooftop openings, tennis tournaments, training for half marathons. I mean I surround myself with only the classiest; it’s not a pipedream but simply something that I will now actively devote my time and attention to. I know I’ve always been ahead of the curve for my age, but it’s clear that I need to expand my gay circle, network more as I seek to switch careers, as always fill my life with extravagance… Oh and sure I’ll fit in a summer fling in there as well.

Last summer I learned that binge drinking and pissing away weekends at clubs has a short shelf life. Let’s be real, I’ll never find the man that can keep up with me at the Ritz/Metropolitan anyways. Don’t get me wrong, I‘ll still drag myself to Le Bain or the Electric Room if I really must 🙂

I should preface I am test-driving the Paleo diet for the month of June which accompanies this new summer philosophy… In any event, I guess my driving point is this: The singles of NYC complain how it’s hard to meet anyone in this city of excess (Me included). Well boo hoo – we’re young, vivacious, and beautiful. The only thing stopping us from meeting new men, and people and general, is ourselves. It’s not easy but we must put ourselves in new social situations. They may throw us off balance, but it’s those moments when you’re the most open to meting someone new. Sorry Tinder, you’ll be a backup for a mythical man creatures on standby, but I’m looking for first encounters other than swipes this summer.

Don’t get me wrong, my goal of strategically drinking is not about finding a man, but I think it’s a sound game plan for many a Manhattanite this summer. The year of the horse continues to be a year transformation for this cub. I feel new age, driven chiefly to shake my status quo and fling myself into the winds of change. After all, I did go on a 4 day trek when I learned  how to get over the alarming state of my hair without a blow drier… Who am I again?

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CC Dinner Party Series: Dinner with Miss Universe

Since I am frequently lamenting the lack of a “dinner party” mentality in New York City social life, Brian and I recently decided to entertain “chez nous” with greater regularity.  That this coincided with the onset of colder weather works for us. Since our mentalities meet at around age 40, he was open to my suggestion to have a “Miss Universe Pageant Viewing Party” this past November.  A few of my friends came, those who weren’t otherwise busy having migraines or too tired to walk 5 blocks, so Brian and his betches rounded out the party.

Part of the joy of throwing a party, a bash, or a shindig is the preparation.  I actually love the hustle and bustle of making the apartment ready to receive guests.  Since I love Chiaroscuro, the lighting, appropriately dimmed, gave it all a soft glow, including me. The menu, previously discussed in detail between us, focused on a communal meal to be consumed while gathered together around the TV.  Could you guess that we had cheese fondue? It was accompanied by a simple green salad and a healthy choice olive oil-ricotta cake with concord grape coulis.

Watching The Miss Universe Pageant is actually a tradition that dates from my married days. I’m not sure why this took hold but I think that it was rooted in having other couples over for dinner and the pageant happened to be on.  Those guest in finance and law became characteristically competitive as we wrote lists of our Top Ten, narrowed it down to finalists and gave a running commentary about bust size, national costume, evening gown choice.  It was catty and bitchy and fun which never goes out of fashion.  Those who accurately predicted the winner were a little smug about spotting a real beauty among all those beauties.  Did they feel like Donald Trump (the current pageant owner) who in real life has made a career out of finding beautiful women?

Although it is certain that some of the male species (excluding Brian and those of his persuasion) watch these pageants through the lens of fantasy, that night we women were grounded in reality.  A few of us commented on the irony of happily lapping up bread and cheese, washed down by a dry white, while women with perfect body proportions (surgically enhanced we opined) paraded before our eyes in swimsuits.   We were appropriately snide about Steven Tyler, Tara Lipinski and Melanie Brown’s (oh Spice Girl what have you become?) B-list slide into irrelevance on national television.

At the end of the evening, Gabriela Isler, Miss Venezuela was crowned Miss Universe 2013 and later accomplished her first duty to pose in a ruby cum diamond encrusted swimsuit.  Although it was near unanimous among our group that Miss Ecuador should have won, I noticed that Miss Venezuela owned the crown from the start.  She acted as if she was Miss Universe already and the universe obliged her fantasy.   That should instruct us to think seriously about our fantasies so that we make them come true.

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CC Dinner Party Series: Holiday Fête

With Christmas lights illuminating this already luminous city and frigid weather once again gripping the Big Apple, another C&C Party was necessary to bolster a little holiday cheer amongst betches and cougars alike. It snowed the day of our party which added to the allure of our decorated apartment, filled with smells of baking cookies mixed with Frasier fir and set to the tune of a medley of Frank Sinatra Christmas classics and Ke$ha.

Now it’s established that Nancy and I are overachievers. But we really did outdo ourselves this time. I think we propel each other to be excessive. Surrounded by our mounting dishes planned and executed to perfection, we thought quite simply: our friends are lucky.

To start we had a medley of cheese, nuts, dried figs and apricots from Zabars. Of course we went a little overboard and splurged on 7 French cheeses (most of which was eaten after the party). I made a white bean dip, seasoned with sage and rosemary, drizzled with white truffle oil. Too decadent? To follow, Nancy made a mushroom mousse which was really the star of the night and I accompanied the mousse with sweet potato crostini sprinkled with capers.

But dessert is always my favorite and it did not disappoint. We made stacks of 4 different types of cookies (Peanut butter thumb-print, Mexican wedding, Caramel blondies, and Spicy Gingerbread), a three-tiered Bordeaux red velvet cake, and a tiramisu. Needless to say we had some leftovers.

Of course we had to spice up the evening with a slightly racy Yankee Swap Christmas exchange. I opted for the most sexual present provided by none other than Éva and Nance got an appropriate “Boudoir Diaries” book picked out especially for her. We decorated the tree with Nance’s beautiful Italian crystal ornaments and I of course had to indulge in a few photoshoots.

As we prepped for almost 24 hours before our holiday fete, we thought to ourselves is the dinner party becoming a dying art? How many people in NYC really cook so extravagantly and entertain their friends these days? I suppose I’m just too bougie and too much of an old soul for my age, but I personally enjoy sharing food with my friends. Mind you it can be expensive, but it was my Christmas present to les betches this year, a labor of love for those we love. It may be a dying art but in my opinion it ups one’s personal stock. Until the right man sweeps this cub and cougar off our feet, we will continue to shower our friends with good cooking in exchange for good company and nights well spent.

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Dinner at The Marrow

I don’t usually rave about restaurants as it takes a lot for me to say that I had an impeccable meal. So take note. Since moving here, dinner at the Marrow was easily one of the best dining experiences that I’ve had in NYC.

I visited this West Village gem with my sister, an equally-discriminating, fellow foodie, when she visited me in the Spring. Opened earlier this year, I found out about Harold Dieterle’s new restaurant while skimming the pages of TimeOut NYC.  My interested peaked due to its out-of-the-box desserts but I was also drawn to the restaurant’s Italian-German fusion POV. An unlikely pairing, but I’ll tell you the two work together quite harmoniously.

The ambiance was simple yet chic and the wait staff was on point the night we dined there. Nestled in one of my favorite parts of the West Village, large ceiling-to-floor windows perfectly frame the restaurant at the corner of Greenwich and Bank streets. To add to its accolades, the menu is not excessively exorbitant making it a great place to bring a date or catch up with friends.  Also, the menu is seasonal and I would say the ambiance channels “farm-to-table” in certain aspects. The fresh combination of Italian-German cooking plays center stage as German trademarks such as Duck Schnitzel and Spaetzle blend fittingly alongside Burratta, Ricotta Cavatelli, and Risotto.

The Rundown:

We had no choice but to start with the restaurant’s namesake: the Bone Marrow. Not only was the presentation impressive, but to add to the decadent bone marrow, Uni (sea urchin) is served on top for a unique, flavor overload. Served with crostini, I must say the first course did not disappoint.

Next up were our main courses; both seasonal dishes in the spring. I had the Black Fish which was perfectly cooked alongside root vegetables. As an aside: although I hail somewhat from the school of thought that fish is fish, I’m currently on a quest to try all the types of fish so I can decide which is my favorite. That and I also perpetually watch my waistline. In any event, my sister had the Braised Lamb Neck. Any time you mention braised anything, you know that it’s going to be good. And it was excellent.

Last up: Dessert. I came to the Marrow to try the heralded Ginger Stout Cake served with Cider Roasted Apples and Honey Ice Cream. Now let me tell you that I am quite the baking connoisseur and about 90% of the time I am not impressed with dessert at top restaurants. BUT this cake was hands down the best dessert I’ve tried at a top NYC restaurant. Warm, not overly-decadent, paired perfectly with an ice-cream with a spot-on flavor profile. I will go back just to have that dessert again.

So if you’re not already salivating, look up the menu, and make your reservation at The Marrow. Without breaking the bank, dinner felt special and unique, as any really great meal should, no?

Photos courtesy of themarrownyc.com

The Marrow – 99 Bank Street – 212 428 6000

See more review at NYC Restaurants.

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Betch Spotlight: Naisha

I’ve always seen Naisha as a modern power betch in the making. Fiercely independent, she firmly has her eye on the prize of what she wants out of her career and life.  Working as woman in finance, I can clearly envision her as a rogue betch at 30 upstaging all of the A-hole, frat boy financiers. As one of my most intelligent friends, she has aspirations to have a private jet by 40. Lofty ambitions yes, but I wouldn’t count this betch out.

NaishaBorn abroad in Mumbai, her exotic looks and long legs have made her and Éva a power couple on meatpacking nights out on the town (That actually is her modeling to the right). She’s not a man-eater but she likes to play hard-ball with man conquests. Not all of them can keep up, but she’s not looking for love so she takes risks and worst case scenario? She hairflips and moves on.

In the night she can transform. Naisha can drink you under the table albeit she may not be the most graceful by 4 AM. There have been too many WTF moments with Naisha to recount but she’s continued to add some of the most vibrant hues to my already colorful life.

An example? While celebrating my birthday month, we decided to frequent Beauty & Essex.  We traversed the crowded venue, went up the marble staircase to get a drink upstairs. After some stupid betch knocked my $17 drink out of my hand, I decided I was over B&E and we decided to move on for the night. On our descent to leave, Naisha slipped, her stillettos flew into the air and she rolled down the marble staircase in quite a dramatic and seemingly painful fashion. While everyone on the staircase froze in shock, Naisha picked herself up without even a cry of pain and urged us to go on to the next bar. Apparently a lot of legends fill the pages of my life, no?

But with drunken stories aside, she is a trusted confidante and an assuredly life-long friend. She lives her life with no regrets, and her calm demeanor can always sift pass what I’m saying and to uncover what I’m actually thinking. Her college boyfriend ended in a long, drawn-out break-up and now she lives self-sufficiently, devoted to advancing her career, knowing full-well that she will find a man, on her terms, when she is looking for love. Naisha and I share this view on life to the T. She just seems to live it with fewer hiccups than me. Betch on, ya crazy betch.

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Betch Spotlight: Ivanka

Check out more beautiful pictures of the Beautiful Ballerina Project here: http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/the-beautiful-ballerina

Check out more beautiful pictures of the Beautiful Ballerina Project here: http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/the-beautiful-ballerin

Ivanka is my exotic Russian ballerina.

Ok, she’s not actually Russian but she perfectly channels the refined poise that comes with “Ivanka”. Not to mention that her tall, graceful form lent perfectly to the many years she practiced classical ballet. (Note: this pic is not of Ivanka, but evokes her silhoutte and commanding presence) Ivanka towers over men and stops them in her tracks with her statuesque features. She’s the girl who has the confidence to always wear stillettos, owning her height effortlessly. When Ivanka is on my arm, betches better be aware, we make quite the striking power couple.

She is a Sacramento socialite. Raised on the west coast but schooled in New York City, she has the best of both coasts. Yet her style is a cross between Paris and Martha’s Vineyard. Raised in a family that loved culture and travel, this American girl surely maintains a penchant for adventure and worldly taste. She knows how to be perfectly proper, long ago mastering a poker face, masking judgment behind a smile I know so well.

Yet don’t be fooled by her good taste and avid support of propriety. There are two sides to this betch. Crazy Ivanka often comes out, and I assure you that there are few personalities that are equally as entertaining. If she’s hungry, for godsake give her a sandwich because otherwise who knows what may happen. On late nights after a few drinks, she can RAGE. She loves her EDM but watch out, her Xena-esque cry can scare small children. Crazy Ivanka also has a softer side, channeling a blushing 5-year old betch when she likes a guy worth her time. Of course the unwitting men have no idea, because she rarely breaks her poise and self-assured countenance. She’s multi-faceted, revealing a different side when she decides it’s time for you to be surprised.

Of all the betches, Ivanka  best shares my pre-maturely attained bougie standards. We joke that we’re already 40 year-old power ice queens at heart. We bonded over foie gras and escargot and celebrate our mutual foodie love with extravagant, secret dates together (who needs savings right?). We frequent the Plaza for tea, only the F. Scott Fitzgerald option obviously. We’re admitted wine snobs (Seulment Bordeux, Bourgogne, or Sancerre s’il vous plait) and share the belief that Paris is the greatest city in the world; the city where we met and fell in love.

Most importantly, Ivanka is my ultimate confidante.  We go to each other when we need clear, unaffected advice. We both have had our fair share of silly betch moments this year but I’m glad she’s been close at hand to bitch slap me, ever so composedly. She is smart, ambitious, and as a day job works at one of the city’s most prominent finance firms. Do see a trend? The betches of my life master not only looks, the fierce factor, and the night, but also excel in intelligence, drive, and success.

I’m not sure what I would do without Ivanka. Probably laugh out loud less at work from her crazy text messages, assuredly spend less money on extravagance, but definitely make more questionable life decisions without her centering force in my life. Thankfully she lives just down the 1 and a catch-up session is only 10 minutes away. Betch on my love.

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Betch Spotlight: Cameron

Next up to bat: Cameron.

Born and bred in this shimmering city, Cameron is an established uptown girl. An effortless conversationalist, Cameron is the epitome of well-connected. Teen vogue model in a past life, daughter of actors, Cam lives one of those somewhat mythical NYC upbringings.

Cam has always been to me that natural, American beauty. Despite being a child in this extravagant city, she always impressed me by her unaffected style, preferring Frye boots to stilettos any day of the week. She’d rather travel than buy a bag at B.G. and her down-to-earth nature and established M.O. continues to set her apart working in the fashion industry.

Being witty is a life mandate for Cam. She has mastered the art of the witty, seductive text message response. Keeping men on their toes, her words are always on point. She never has any mal-intent, her exs were narcissistic and exhausting, and she’s an advocate of consummating the friendship.

Of all my betches, Cam loves love the most. She is boy-crazy. It’s not that she needs a man, in fact, even when dating someone she is NOT the girl to get so absorbed in her man where she loses all time for her friends. Quite the opposite actually.  But one of her goals is to find a guy worth her time. Come on men, really, what is there not to love?

We really are similar in certain ways. We are the connectors among our friends; The two that make the plans and often have our weekends booked weeks in advance just to ensure that we capitalize on our time off. I mean I am surely the opposite of “loving love” but  maybe she rubs off on my ice queen heart. The verdict is still out.

If there was one person who would share my life as a sitcom it would be Cameron. She’s introduced me to some of my best friends, lived alongside me in Paris, and without her I never would have met Nance or be writing this homage.  Living down the hall from us, sometimes it feels like a nouveau version of Will&Grace – coming over on a Sunday night sharing stories of the weekend, hashing out life plans, planning our next international vacation together, getting tag-team life advice from Nance and I. She may be a silly betch, but I can’t imagine going it without her.

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