Summer Statistics

Nantucket Lighthouse
Photo Cred: Libhop

It’s not the end of summer; it’s the beginning of fall.

I haven’t written in a few weeks, because on top of travel, this is my BUSY season, as my “real” job is helping high school seniors with their college application essays. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t squeeze in some serious summer emptynestering.

Tom and I shuttled up to Boston for a welcome home party in Hingham. Friends of ours from Tokyo had just returned home from a seven month around the world trip with their two teenage boys (yes, I said teenage boys) and I was so excited to hear all about the journey. Maria will be a guest on my blog this fall talking about the experience. I especially liked the fact that there was some serious macrame pool cover-up action at the party.

The following week we spent two nights in Philly moving our daughter back to college. The more time I spend in Philly, the more time I like it. It has an edge that second cities don’t often have, and a long list of varying neighborhoods. Not to mention it is a food lovers city. The first night we ate at Vedge. The website calls it “a vegetable restaurant” and it exceeded expectations. The food is both delicious and gorgeous. And it has a great vibe at the bar too.

The second night, we returned to one of our favorites, Zahav a modern Israeli restaurant that never disappoints. Pita and hummus for days…They take reservations 60 days in advance, and you’ll need to do that if you want to eat here.IMG_3425

The next day we scoured the thrift shops in search of just the right eclectic touch for Annie’s new room. We had a lot to choose from at The Strange and Unusual.

Despite the selection of stuffed game, they had a nice array of antique mirrors, which was on our list. I fell in love with the neighborhood. Next time I’m back, I’m going to canvas it some more. We stopped for a small bite at The Famous 4th Street Delicatessen. When the check comes, it arrives with a bag of warm homemade chocolate chip cookies.

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And then finally, we celebrated the end of summer in Nantucket with a Tokyo friends reunion where we played games, told stories, swam in the ocean, rode the bull, watched for shooting stars, and genuinely enjoyed being together.

A few of my favorite finds this summer:

Silver Mirror Facial Bar  – my new go to spot for my favorite dermaplaning treatment! Right now it’s on the UES, but they are opening a new location in Flatiron – yeah!

Stretch’d  OMG. This place is on my block! I go once a week for the quickie, and walk out an inch taller, and able to twist my neck all the way to my shoulders. They also sell great products with CBD oil!

It’s hard to believe that summer is really over when you are sweating bullets on the subway in 91-degree weather, but sweater weather will be here soon, and in my opinion, there is no better season in NYC. I think I’m going to make my Fall To Do list right now.

Have fun. Be bold.

 

Dermaplane: The Muffin of Beauty Secrets

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Muffins allow us to eat cake at breakfast without guilt. It’s the same idea with dermaplaning. I can have my face shaved without admitting that I shave my face. I’ve been dermaplaning since I lived in Japan – Japanese women have been shaving for years, and they have the most beautiful skin I’ve ever seen. When I mention this beauty secret to friends, they’re perplexed. Almost no one I know in New York has ever done it. I go to Wynter at Bare Beauty about once a month, and I walk out without any facial hair and a layer of dead skin removed. I highly recommend it.

Another fun Japanese find is my recent discovery of a Spanail location in Soho! Spanail has over 70 locations in Japan, and they are the absolute best in nail art and gel nails. And the service is very Japanese. They take their time, and you never feel like you are being rushed out the door. And, you can get sushi nails, so there’s a reason to go!

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You might notice that the look of the blog has changed since last week, and that’s because many readers have been asking for a way to quickly search for specific info. It’s still a work in progress, but at least you can now click on a specific category, or do a general search at the top of the blog. I hope you find it easier to navigate.

Last week’s blog on pizza was my most read blog EVER (times five!) Pizza will have to be a continuing feature at #emptynestnyc. I did have one of the best pizzas I had in a long time last week at Rubirosa if you go, get the vodka pie. I had friends in from Tokyo last week, and we celebrated an 18th birthday. This celebration was an all-day affair and included milkshakes at Black Tap,

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shopping in Nolita on Prince Street between the Bowery and Lafayette; my favorite block in NYC for small boutique shopping. Make sure you include side streets like Mott and Mulberry off of Prince. An entire day could be spent winding up and down this neighborhood.

We had a hilarious night at the Drag show LIPS.

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It’s the perfect place to celebrate a birthday with women. However, if you can book just for the show, I would skip the dinner. From there we took the birthday girl to sing karaoke at our favorite neighborhood spot Karaoke17.  The night ended with birthday cake and french fries at L’Express a decent French brasserie that is open 24/7. It’s a great place to have in your late night repertoire.

Last Saturday, when it felt like spring might be here, Tom and I went out to Brooklyn for an unplanned brunch. We had a destination – Williamsburg, but no place in mind. We ended up at Fette Sau a bbq shack in an old auto body shop. It’s been open for over ten years, and it’s not surprising. Great food, indoor/outdoor dining, with a full bar. Afterwards, we walked over to Milkbar for birthday cake shakes and chocolate pretzel soft serve, and ended the afternoon shopping for junk at Mother of Junk.

 

On Sunday, our nest was FULL for Easter dinner with our kids and their friends. I made a delicious lamb shoulder that I bought at the butcher at Eataly  and slowly roasted in the oven for seven hours, and served it with spinach pies I found at International Grocery.

Even though it’s April, it still feels like winter. I stand in my closet each morning, looking longingly at my cute skirts, and flats, wondering when I can put away the sweaters and turtlenecks, and drop all my boots off at Romano Cobbler.

Hopefully, next week’s blog will have some signs of springtime.

Have fun. Be bold.

 

Paris Prep

I’d hoped to be writing this week’s blog entry from Paris, where Tom and I planned to spend Valentine’s week, but Air France had other plans. Our flight was canceled last night with no warning, most likely due to the record-breaking snow that has blanketed the city of light, but hopefully, we’ll get out this evening. As Audrey Hepburn said in Sabrina, ‘Paris is always a good idea.’ I’m looking forward to iconic Paris selfies with snow!

This week was not the normal fun-filled, activity-laden emptynest week as I was in full “find a job” mode. What I’ve found is that looking for a full-time job is a full-time job. But  I’m making progress, which is a good feeling. That doesn’t mean I was inside the entire week either.

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On Monday, I had a surprise visit during the day from #2 son who, with excellent foresight, took the Monday off following the Superbowl. We went for a spontaneous lunch at Studio, the new all-day dining space in the Freehand Hotel on Lexington and 23rd. I would say that the ambiance is better than the food, (see above), but hopefully, they’ll get the “newby” kinks out and improve. An incredible rooftop bar will open in the summer.

I had a delicious Mexican lunch with a friend at La Contenta Oeste in the West Village. What I loved about the menu, was that all the standard Mexican favorites are there, but also, you’ll find great salads and fish made with Mexican ingredients but skew healthy and fresh.

To prepare for all the walking I will be doing in Paris; I went for my favorite Medical Pedicure. I always go to the 30 Park Avenue location, which is inside a podiatrist’s office. Medical pedicures are very different than the pedicures you get at your local nail salon. I highly recommend them, and the price isn’t much more than you’d pay in a salon.

And speaking of looking for a full-time job, I found a great new (at least to me) clothing store that comes from Sweden. It’s called Cos. They have three locations in NYC (5th Ave, Soho, and in the Oculus) and I feel they have a modern take on work clothes. I could see myself wearing their clothes to my new office (wherever and whenever that may be). And the price point is affordable.

Time to stuff too many clothes into 2 checked bags. Next week’s blog will be from Paris!

Au revoir NYC!

Have fun. Be bold.

 

 

Baby it’s cold outside.

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I wasn’t expecting the arctic blast that settled in the city this week. Somehow, in my mind, I thought it was going to be sunny and 40 until April. But winter is here, and one can no longer walk outside without accoutrement. I will be looking to up my hat and glove game in the days to come.

I kicked off the week with a favorite thing that I rarely get to do. While living in Japan, I became a fan of all things spa related including the Korean scrub. When I moved back to the US, I found that very few of my American friends wanted to go. It’s not that American’s don’t like spa treatments, most of my friends do. It’s that you have to be naked in front of one another for an extended period, and at our emptynest age, most friends would rather not. Luckily, I found a few that were up for the adventure, and we went to Juvenex Spa a very authentic scrub spot in Korea town. Our package consisted of sauna, steam, onsen, cold plunge, an intense full-body scrub and a 1/2 hour massage all for an amount less than a regular massage at a high-end spa would cost. You walk outside two hours later rubbing your skin because you can’t believe how soft you are. No Korean scrub experience would be complete without beer and bbq, so we walked down the block to Kang Ho Dong Kaekjeong my all-time favorite place to grill meat and wrap it in lettuce. The veggie side dishes are so extraordinary; I can even bring vegetarians.

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Tuesday was the first night of Chanukah, and instead of cooking we went out to Russ and Daughters Cafe Many readers may be familiar with their amazing fish store, but this is the cafe. It was a bit challenging for my non-Jewish husband to find something to eat for dinner as most of the menu tends towards “breakfast for dinner,” but in the end, he found a delicious brisket sandwich. The potato latkes were on point, as were the blintzes and noodle kugel.

As I’ve mentioned before, the move to NYC required finding new “people” from doctors to cobblers, and today I’d like to give a shout out to Preston at Bloom Beauty Lounge. I often tell my husband that if I don’t get my hair dyed every four weeks, he’ll be sleeping with grandma, so it was important for me to find someone who was really good at what they did and the salon was reasonably priced. I’m thrilled with my new hair, and the fact that it’s within walking distance is a bonus for my steps!

I’m a huge Broadway fan and have been since I can remember. A few years ago, I started buying four tickets to shows I thought would be hot. My thought was to sell two tickets at a high price to pay for my tickets and dinner. I’ve almost always made money, and usually (Hamilton) a lot of money. Besides the Harry Potter tickets, I’ve already purchased, two shows that will open this spring that might be interesting to movie fans are Mean Girls and Pretty Woman. It’s still early days and tickets are available directly from the links above at face value pricing.

A highlight of the week was a cozy lunch at Margaux in the Marlton Hotel. The hotel is steps from Washington Square Park and has a very old world feel. When you walk through the hotel doors, you find a lovely lounge with a wood burning fireplace conveniently located next to the bar. I have plans to return to sit and write with a glass of cabernet.

The weekend ended outside of the city, back in Westchester surrounded by friends and family to celebrate the holiday season. Even though I absolutely enjoy my new life in the city, I’ll always be connected to the people I love in the suburbs, and will hop on the Metro-North any time I’m invited.

Time to pour a glass of wine and order from seamless.

Have fun. Be Bold.

 

 

The Holiday Squeeze

IMG_7287Thanksgiving was emptynest’s first holiday in the new nest and in the hunting and gathering chaos running up to the holiday, I might have underestimated the tight squeeze of having eight humans live in a 2 bedroom apartment for five days. Thankfully, I had the forethought back in July to order Queen over Queen bunkbeds. 

The week started out with holiday shopping at the Union Square Holiday Market which is open every day from now until Christmas Eve. This is a high-end holiday market. They have charging stations, lounge areas and creative sips and snacks. Sometimes you’ll find that holiday pop-up markets all have the same vendors but I found this market quite diverse with a large array of goods. I bought a few very unique gifts including a NYC Water Tower Kit for a friend who has a thing for water towers.

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Sunday night, cousins came in from the suburbs to meet us in Chinatown for dinner. There are so many restaurant choices in Chinatown and they all look the same (dead ducks displayed upside down with steam wafting behind them.) I’d read about Wu’s Wonton King in the NY Times and it totally lived up to the hype. The restaurant has zero ambience, just large tables with lazy susans and really bad lighting, but I promise you that won’t be an issue. Make sure to order the whole duck sliced tableside and the whole crispy chicken with garlic and other sorts of magical ingredients.

While on the Upper West Side visiting a new doctor (more on finding doctors in NYC in a future January blog post), I stopped in at More and More the absolute best place to buy Christmas Ornaments (thanks MB for the tip). I’m so excited to add the new additions to my tree this year.

One of the challenges/opportunities of moving into an entirely new environment after years living in a small community is finding your people, as in “where to get stuff” people. The shoe repair guy (still working on this one), the hair colorist (Preston is awesome), but this week it was where to buy the turkey. I’d read that April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig and The Breslin had opened White Gold butcher and I ordered the turkey online weeks ago. However, waiting around on Thanksgiving eve two and half hours after my delivery deadline made me question my purchase. Kudos to Justine, the “Thanksgiving” manager at White Gold who assured me of my turkey’s arrival later that night. True to her word, my turkey arrived via uber at 10:42 pm. Gotta love NYC.

I’m pretty obsessed with eating out and when I moved to the city I vowed “no more bad meals ever.” To find recs I scour the NY Times, I’m obsessed with The Infatuation  and Eater NYC  and my ears prick up whenever I hear someone say anything about their last great meal.  Sometimes, I need to find a restaurant in a neighborhood I don’t often frequent and when I do, I use the free service Text Rex. Signing up for the service is quick and easy, and then whenever you need a recommendation you text them with the details and they text you ideas. The night before Thanksgiving I needed a “restaurant on the Upper West Side for a large group with plates that could be shared that wasn’t too expensive but near the parade balloon route.” They recommended Han Dynasty and it was the perfect place to eat before going to see the balloons. The only issue was that we had too much fun enjoying the meal (and the fishbowls) that we had to race down to the starting area only to find we were a minute late and the viewing had ended. Our large group pivoted and went to The Amsterdam Ale House instead. Next year I’m going to see the balloons before dinner.

I’m so excited to live in NYC during the holiday season. With every turn of a block, I find more lights and more decorations each day. It really is a magical time of year in the city. I’ve come across some ideas for “non-traditional” ways to celebrate the season this year. I’m looking forward to taking the kids to see A Christmas Carol inside the Merchant Marine Museum this Sunday. I just read about The Dead, 1904 at the Irish Rep Theater, a Christmas play with Melissa Gilbert inside the Irish Historical Museum that includes a sit-down dinner. Another fun idea is Magic AFter Hours with Noah Levine – those tickest might end up in someone’s stocking this year.

Thanks for reading. It’s Sunday morning and there’s a big world outside waiting..

Have Fun. Be Bold.