I’m blaming everything on menopause. It’s just easier that way.

I was the one who thought I’d never go through menopause. Of course, I knew I would one day stop ovulating, but I had a feeling all those ugly symptoms my friends would bemoan about were not going to affect me. Every time a girlfriend would grab paper within her reach and create a makeshift fan, inside I shook my head and said: “that’s never happening to me.” Why I thought this was true, I have no idea. I just did.

Have you heard the saying “when man plans, God laughs?” Here’s a variation on the theme, “When middle-aged women plan, Mother Nature laughs.” And right now she’s bent over holding her sides guffawing. All of a sudden, and I mean all of a sudden, I no longer have a waist or an internal thermometer, my teenage acne has returned, I’m disoriented on occasion, and all I want to do is drink wine. I blame in all on menopause.

But here’s the exciting part; I don’t care. On some level, of course I’m not happy that my pants are tight, or I spend the night kicking off covers, and my doctors cringe when I tell them how much and how often I drink rose, but I’m letting some of the worrying go. And that says a lot because one of the best things I do is worry.

One thing that hasn’t changed is my energy, and Tom and I have been busy! We spent a fabulous 48 hours in Quoque, which if you didn’t know Quogue Is Not The Fucking Hamptons It’s our annual pilgrimage to our friends from Tokyo who now live on the West Coast. One of the highlights was a sea to table meal on the beach. IMG_1361

And seeing this a few feet from land.

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Making the rounds of seaside spots, we spent one night on Hen Island a magical place off the coast of Westchester that no one knows exists. My brother and sister-in-law have a family hideout where you spend most of your time bobbing in the bay, watching the sunset and digging for clams. It’s a complete off the grid opportunity – no running water or electricity – rustic and remote.

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We returned home, showered, and had a night in our bed before taking off on the next adventure, item #10 on my Summer To Do List – Glamping on Governor’s Island at Collective Retreats. The forecast improved over the course of the day, and we took the 1pm ferry to the island. Waiting for us in the ferry terminal on the city side was a rep from the company that checked us in and gave us braided bracelets that showed that we were guests of the retreat. Five minutes later, we were on the relatively empty island and were so excited to have Island Oyster mostly to ourselves. We’d been before on a weekend, and it was a madhouse. IMG_1426

We took our time and had a delicious lunch with lots of cold beverages. Walking over to the Collective Retreat area of the island (it’s a long walk, and there is no other way to get there than by walking – bring a wheelie bag), the weather looked like it was about to take a turn for the nasty. IMG_1435

But we were optimistic because it looked like this on the island.

We found our cabin and were so excited to settle in for an afternoon nap and some reading. Within 15 minutes, this happened.

We were evacuated, along with everyone on the island. They refunded our money, and we’re going to try again next summer. On another note, an Italian resort company known for restoring old buildings and making them into cool resorts just bought a huge piece of the island and will be opening in 2020 as a resort spa. I can’t imagine a better view from the pool. It’s on my Summer 2020 To Do List.

I started lifting weights recently – gasp…Tom has been begging me every other day for a year, and I finally said yes. I’ve been eight times, and I don’t hate it. But sometimes it leaves me a little stiff, and the other day I saw a great ad in a cab for a new spot called Strech’d. It’s a place you go where someone stretches you out. I went for the quickie session (25 minutes), and I came out feeling like I could twist and turn and bend much better than when I went in. It’s about half the price of a massage, and you leave without feeling like a greased watermelon. I bought a packet of five, and I’m looking forward to my next visit.

I have a friend that I’ve known for a long time, but we haven’t spent a lot of time together. But whenever we get together, we have a plan and a destination, and it’s always enlightening. This past Wednesday it was a guided tour of the UN. The last time I was at the UN I was in 3rd grade. Our tour guide, a beautiful journalist from Brazil that speaks three languages fluently and was very well versed in all things UN said they never get visitors from NY – everyone is always from somewhere else. The one hour tour costs $20 and is extremely interesting. I highly recommend it! Here I am pretending to be a delegate.

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I’m writing this blog from the Kimpton Hotel in Charlotte, NC. Tom and I are here to celebrate the 50th birthday of a very good friend who is one of the strongest women I know. It’s a priviledge to be here to celebrate another year of Rachel.

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Charlotte is a pretty happening city. Our hotel is a short walk from the Panther’s stadium (we had tickets to see them play the Dolphins last night, but my handbag was too big, so they turned us away), but fortunately, our hotel has a hopping rooftop bar with awesome views.

We’ve been enjoying the Southern Hospitality and the southern sized portions!

Sweet potato pancakes, a pimento cheese omelet and fried green tomatoes with faro, kale, and cauliflower.

Looking forward to the celebration tonight!

Have fun. Be bold.

 

Shall We Play A Game?

I married into a family of game players. Many of my best summer memories were spent around the dining room table at “The Hideout” in Plum Beach, Rhode Island playing Tripoli and Contact Rummy with my in-laws. The games would go on into the early hours and would be discussed at the breakfast table the next day over custom designed pancakes. For me, summer weekends and games go together like lobsters and drawn butter; you would never consider one without the other.

However, it’s 2018, and the games have changed. Maybe it’s because 50 is the new 35, but many of our weekend games are more physical than those of yesteryear. Yes, we still play cards (although now, it’s strictly Hearts), and there is always a few rounds of Spoons, but all the hours everyone spends at the gym (I don’t include myself here) now pay off in spades. Our current favorite is the Bag game. I first played the game in Mexico when it was introduced by one of my best friends who lives in Chicago. The concept is simple:

1. Place a paper shopping bag on the floor.

2. The first player picks it up with their mouth (without using anything but their mouth – no hands on the floor (see above pics) and then rips a piece off the bag.

3. Continue with each player, biting and ripping, until the bag is the size of an index card. Anyone who falls or touches the floor is out.

4. You can end the game early if you are willing to eat the paper after picking it up. Yes, this has been done in the past (I’m talking about you Gina).

I promise lots of laughs, great photos, and a full pulled hamstrings.

August 1 is two days away, and I wanted to update you on my Summer To Do List.  I’m proud to say that I’m halfway there!

  1. Get tickets for Shakespeare in the Park and get them the old-fashioned way by arriving with a cup of coffee and waiting in line at 7:45 in the morning.
  2. Go to Tipsy Scoop and eat ice cream infused with alcohol. 
  3. Read Convenience Store Woman because the subject completely fascinates me. 
  4. Eat at the Queens Night Market on a Saturday night.
  5. Swing and drink rose with girlfriends at The Rose Mansion.
  6. Take the Ferry to the new Domino Park and have a picnic and run through the fountains.
  7. Go to The Little One and eat kakegori (Japanese shaved ice). 
  8. Much to Tom’s dismay, go hang out on the boardwalk at Coney Island.
  9. Walk across The Brooklyn Bridge (I admit, I’ve NEVER done it).
  10. Spend a night glamping on Governor’s Island Collective Resorts.

I have to admit that not everything has been awesome (you can skip number 7) It looks much better than it tastes.

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I highly recommend number 5. Drinking rose while taking fun pictures with girlfriends is as fun as it sounds.

Have fun. Be bold.

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Believe The Hype

Okay, I take that back. Don’t always believe the hype. Some things of course hold up, like the beautiful landscapes of the south fork of Long Island (see above), or the satisfaction of making salted watermelon juice fresh from the farm stand (see below). IMG_0936

But, this weekend, thanks to Resy Select, I was able to score two reservations to restaurants I’ve been trying to get into for months; Don Angie and Frenchette. Regarding hype, Don Angie hits the mark. However, I found it a challenge to dine at Don Angie with only two people, as I wanted to order everything on the menu. We started with the stuffed garlic flatbread, which was exceptional, as well as the cantaloupe, prosciutto, mint, tamarind, hazelnut, and feta cheese salad. It was summer on a plate; a recipe I will steal and make at home. For the main course, we shared the garganelli with broken meatball ragu (OMG) and the charred shell steak with preserved lemons, and a side of eggplant with pine nut brittle. Nothing on the dessert list tempted us, so we saved our calories for Twizzlers at the movies. The only thing we found a bit odd, was that there were several open tables. Knowing how hard it is to get a reservation, I couldn’t figure out how they were managing the room. Maybe they save tables for walk-ins? If so, I highly suggest you do that.

On the other hand, I know my experience at Frenchette is going against everything I’ve read, but I thought it was just okay, and expensive. The room had a great buzz, and unlike Don Angie was packed, with tables turning constantly. My first issue is that their wine list consists only of petnat wines, which are very trendy right now. I tried to like them, I really did. But I’m not a fan of wines with a tingly mouthfeel. When I drink champagne, I like bubbles. But when I drink wine, I don’t want anything buzzing on my tongue. We had several of the menu highlights, like the raw oysters served with sausages, the brouillade (softly scrambled eggs with escargot), and the duck frite. I think I would have enjoyed the brouillade more at brunch with toast. Speaking of toast, I was disapointed by their bread as well. The duck was overcooked and lacked taste. We also ordered the bistro cut steak and the clafoutis with cherries for dessert. The steak and frite were good, the dessert, not so much.

The highlight of the weekend was knocking off another item on my Summer To Do List – Coney Island. The weather was perfect – 75 degrees, overcast, and breezy. We took the Q train to the last stop and found ourselves in crazy town.

We had a blast riding go-karts, eating Nathan’s hotdogs, White Castle hamburgers, soft serve and Italian ices. The boardwalk is one of the best places for people watching. Grab a bench, and get a front row seat to a fascinating world.

Have fun. Be bold.

 

 

 

 

One Perfect Day

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Perfect days don’t just happen; at least they don’t to me. I’ve tried to be spontaneous, I really have. And there are times when the stars have aligned, and magic happens, but usually, for me, spontaneity ends up in a bunch of near misses. The fabulous art fair that I walked two blocks east of, or the old friend in town for one night that I found out about a week later. Or god forbid, the meal I wanted to eat, in the place I wanted to eat it, that because I didn’t book ahead was full. At my age, I can afford to take the time to plan, and with great plans, your odds improve for that One Perfect Day.

A few posts ago, I wrote about my Summer To Do List, and since we were on the August side of July 4th, I felt the desire to knock one or two off my list. Tom took off work July 3-6th, and we only had plans on the actual 4th. I wanted to make the best of our NYC staycation, so I scanned the weather forecast looking for the perfect weather conditions for our adventure. By the way, people always ask me if Tom is up for all the activities I plan, and I can say wholeheartedly YES. He never says no, not ever. I asked him recently if he wanted to add any items to my summer to do list, and he said, “No. I’m good with your list.” Yes, I know how lucky I am. I could be attending a boat show at MSG, or fishing off some random pier.

 

Saturday called for low humidity, sunny skies, and a temperature around 75 degrees. Absolute perfection for a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, brunch along the river, and a walk around the brand new Domino Park. I’ve put a link in that describes how to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, but it’s really simple. Take the #6 subway to Brooklyn Bridge, get out, and look for the crowds walking on the bridge. It’s that easy. What I was surprised by was the shopping opportunities at the base of the bridge that continued for quite a bit. It reminded me of the Great Wall of China. I forget that I am not a tourist, but the walk is one of the things that many tourists do when in NYC.

The trek across took about 30 minutes, not because of the length of the bridge, but the abundance of walkers. Everyone was in a fabulous mood, which made the slow stroll feel like something we were doing together. At one point we were walking behind a group of twenty-something kids from Italy, and one of the young girls yelled out “Theeese is amazing! I leeeeve here! I leeeeve here.” You couldn’t help but smile. It was amazing, and we are so lucky that we live here. This is what New York is all about; people coming from other countries, excited by the possibilities that New York has to offer. I was excited for her new adventure.

Making a left off the end of the bridge, and you’ll find yourself in DUMBO (Down under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), which puts you on a movie set; literally. Once Upon a Time in America, The French Connection, Vanilla Sky, CSI, The Sopranos, Just Friends, and so many other films and TV shows have been filmed using this amazing background. It’s a shot that’s used to let the viewer know that the action has moved from NYC to Brooklyn. Due to the beautiful weather, there were a LOT of people taking pictures. I’ll have to return in the fall, on a gray day when I’ll have the street to myself. The first picture in this blog is me doing the quintessential jump on Washington and Water Street.

Continuing with the theme of this post, I had pre-booked at Cecconi’s a waterfront restaurant with spectacular views of the Manhattan Bridge. Brunch starts at 11am and you’ll have better luck requesting a table outside if you book closer to 11. Our reservation was at 11:45, and when we left, there was a long wait for a table outside. Cecconi’s serves a very decent brunch. It has everything you want on a brunch menu, and the hash brown balls are ridiculous.

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After brunch, we walked around, stopping in shops that looked interesting including Shibui a Japanese antiques and furniture shop. Tom and I are collectors of Japanese “junk” and love to peruse any spot where we might add to our collection. However, this place was totemo takai!!! That means ridiculously expensive. I already owned many of the items for sale, and if those prices were real, I told Tom we didn’t have to worry about our retirement; I had it covered with all of my shrine sale finds! They had a pair of Samurai stirrups that were selling for $4500! Alas, I don’t own a pair, only a single, but now I appreciate it more than ever. This is a picture of fishing floats, which is something I collect, but in my two bedroom apartment, I couldn’t justify purchasing any more.

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I tried to get Tom to buy a pair of shoes at John Fluevog for our niece’s wedding next weekend to no avail.

Domino Park was too far to walk, so we purchased tickets on our  NYC Ferry App (I highly recommend this, as the line to purchase tickets was long). It’s a bargain at $2.75 for a one-way pass. You can use the same pass in the same direction if you hop back on within 90 minutes of purchase. We took the ferry one stop to South Williamsburg, where we walked on Kent Avenue to 5th street (about a ten-minute walk). You’ll see the old Domino Sugar Factory and smokestack before you arrive at the park.

 

This park is a home run for people who live nearby. 50 million dollars was spent on this park, and you can tell. There are bocce courts, a sand volleyball court, a fabulous water park, turf fields, playgrounds, their version of the Highline, and a Danny Meyer taco joint, all with magnificent views of NYC. If I had young kids, and lived in the city it would be on my weekend short list. However, having gone once, I can now check it off my list.

We walked a bit further north to the North Williamsburg ferry stop and hopped back on (within the 90 minutes) for our ride back to the city. It’s the best $2.75 you can spend in NYC. As we exited the boat, we saw a sign advertising a ferry to Nantucket. We both looked at each other and agreed it would be on next summer’s to do list.

We walked home from 34th and the FDR, picking up bagels for Sunday morning at our favorite hand-rolled spot Gramercy Bagel. We were heading home for a nap before our return to Brooklyn for an 8:15 reservation at Lilia – a reservation we got that morning at the last minute (I love July 4th in NYC)!!!

And as we were walking from the subway to the restaurant later that night, we walked right by a sweet little Italian street fair, carousel rides and all. So, there was a little spontaneous magic after all.

Have fun. Be bold.