Friday, December 27, 2013

Go Where The Love Is.

I get a tad frustrated at times when people speak about being mistreated by others but then do nothing about it.  If a friend, mate or coworker is treating you in an undesirable way, you have it in your power to put an end to it.  We teach people what they can get away with in all of our relationships.

I hear so many men and women complain about their significant other or the person they are dating at the moment.  I listen to some stories that lead me to think that the persons mate has little to no respect for them at all.  I don't live in a fairytale land and I know no that no relationship is going to be perfect all the time, but I do know that when I truly care for someone, the way I treat them shows it loud and clear.  Although I'd love to be in a relationship, I would rather wait for a suitable person to come along rather than be with someone that doesn't fulfill me emotionally, there is NO point.  A lot of people don't want to be "alone."  I'd take being alone over being with the wrong person any day of the week.  I feel no reason to be in a relationship in which I'm always arguing with a person or feeling like they don't respect or appreciate me as I do them.

I'm going to use myself for an example.  I am a completely loyal, kind hearted, trustworthy woman.  I have the most utter respect for myself and everyone I come into contact with.  I'm caring and nurturing and will be a wonderful wife and mother one day. I go out of my way for people on a daily basis.  I crave a deep loving relationship with someone, not just one that stops at the surface or appears nice from the outside.   Like I said, I have respect for myself, so why would I ever even entertain the thought of dating someone that doesn't have any respect for me?  Why would I even want to date someone that does not see my many qualities or want to invest in me?  I wouldn't, wanna know why?  I wouldn't want to because if someone is too stupid to see me for who I truly am then they are too stupid for me to date.  Spend your time with those who value the person you are.

Whenever I've truly cared for someone, I've handed out second chances like candy on halloween. Life can get in the way and communication can sometimes be completely off. Texting and emails are completely impersonal, calling or meeting is personal.  Keep it personal and you'll most likely have less miscommunication.  Sometimes my responses seem like those of a rancid bitch through a text when in reality I'm just doing 4 things at once.  Things can be misinterpreted so easily when you don't know a person well or even sometimes when you do.  A little effort goes a long way and its never a strenuous effort to take a moment and actually call or spend time together if you are really interested in someone.

I've heard stories from people that beg others to be with them or beat a relationship to death trying to make it work.  Newsflash!  Once you're truly able to communicate your feelings with someone, there shouldn't be so much fighting or a ton of grey areas.  If two people want to be together, little things won't destroy their relationship, they will want their mate happy and they will want them to feel good about being together.

When you're dating someone and they treat you differently than you feel comfortably with, you are best off telling them, unless you are dating a psychic, they may have no clue that there is even anything wrong. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt and give both of you the chance to clear up the situation so that what could have been a great relationship doesn't end over a silly miscommunication.  Yelling is ineffective and unnecessary, talk about it like adults.   On the flip side, some people won't care about how you feel which pretty much means that they don't care much about you either.

Now if you let a situation go on that leaves you feeling badly, you're telling your partner that there's nothing wrong with their behavior towards you, in which case you're then not allowed to get mad at them.  If you do tell them and they disregard your feelings and continue to mistreat you,then you can allow them to continue to do so, or move along without them.  If you stay in a relationship that isn't fulfilling you can only blame yourself.  We all have people that we're crazy about and although it hurts like hell, sometimes the feeling just isn't mutual.  You will never have to beg or force someone to be with you if they want to be with you.

When dating or getting to know someone you should be getting the same treatment you're giving.  Don't completely go out of your way for someone who doesn't give you the time of day, you're playing a losing game if you do.  If someone is skimming the surface with you its usually because they are skimming it with a few others or maybe aren't ready to settle down and put time into building a meaningful relationship with someone.  Not everyone wants a relationship and some people are fine with sexual encounters that mean nothing, sometimes thats just about all they are comfortable with.  Worst case scenario the person you are "seeing" could also already be in a relationship with someone else.  If you encounter someone thats a cheater you may as well just turn around and walk the other way because you've come in contact with a coward.  Real down to earth people with integrity do not cheat, they get out of relationships that aren't right for them.

I'm not going to sit here and get all stereotypical on you because that isn't at all in my nature.  I believe every situation is different and that everyone has different reasons for doing the things they do.  I just want you to open your eyes.  Don't waste yourself and all your many qualities on a man or woman that doesn't see them or want to see them.  The right person for you will never give you continuous excuses, they will instead, give you time, affection, attention and hopefully love.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Love and Cheesecake.

I love dessert and one of my favorites is cheesecake.  There are so many varieties and I enjoy many of them, but not all cheesecakes rate equally.  I prefer the Creme Brûlée option at one of my favorite restaurants, Mario's Tutto Bene.  I'd love to tell you what it is exactly about the taste of this dessert that I love so much, but like the other things that I fall in love with, I can't put my finger on the very ingredient that puts me into the state of automatic cheesecake bliss.  Some things are just too great to put into words.  Let's pretend for a moment that Creme Brûlée cheesecake  is your favorite too.

Imagine you're at a convention of all the best cheesecakes in the world.  Upon walking around, you see it, with an imaginary light glowing down on it, your favorite Creme Brûlée cheesecake, that always gets better with every bite.  Even if  it's been months since you've last enjoyed this dessert, you can always remember quite distinctively, the taste.  As you walk closer, you notice that the pieces of this cake are dissapearing and just as you approach the sample table, the last one is gone!  You are instantaneously disappointed, but a small bit relieved when the representative of the company tells you that they may be bringing more out.  Being that now you have to wait for your favorite cake to come out, you decide to walk around and sample the others.  All of these cakes are raved about by many different people, and some of them are rated high and even more expensive than your favorite.  You taste and taste and find some of these Cheesecakes to be quite good.  The thought then crosses your mind that there maybe one comparable, or even better than the one that you've been raving about for so long.  You also think that maybe you were so used to that one cheesecake that you'd forgotten that they made so many other varieties of this dessert.  Now, you're confused about which cake to purchase because you have to pick only one to be delivered every month for the next year.  Finally, now with many choices at hand, you walk back on over to The Creme Brûlée table.

This can go a few different ways.  Either you taste your original favorite cake and know instantly that you were right all along and that it's always going to be your favorite.  You may decide that what used to be your favorite variety of this dessert, is not as good as you remember and decide that now you prefer the peanut butter option.  There is also the chance that you decide to still take home your original favorite, but realize a little more with each month, that when you get the delivery and break the box open, that indeed you kind of wish you'd ordered the peanut butter cake instead, but were too scared to take the chance and commit to something completely new.

As you can probably tell, I'm talking about more than cheesecake here.  This scenario can be used in dating or in other situations in life.  If, at the moment for some reason someone or something that you can't seem to get enough of is unavailable to you, its not a bad idea to explore your options.  You may be stuck on one person for a long period of time, but sometimes seeing who else is out there, can change your idea of a suitable mate.  Although you may come to the conclusion that you do prefer your original choice of person you will never be left wondering, what if?  Also, if you're presented with a more suitable date along the way,  don't be afraid to try them out.  I personally believe that I usually know exactly what I want, but we can all surprise ourselves from time to time.  Keep your options open, if by chance life runs out of Creme Brûlée cheesecake at the moment.   Maybe something about the Macadamia Nut flavor will intrigue your taste buds in a whole different way, but even if it doesn't, you'll be able to know for sure that there is only one type of cheesecake, that to you, makes dessert worth the calories.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

It's time to go Insane!!!

I purchased the Insanity DVD set about 6 months before actually opening it.  I did one or two of the workouts previously while borrowing a friends set and just wasn't feeling it.  For about three years I've been working out in my house.  I like to exercise alone, or with someone that is really interested in getting results.  During workouts I put my iPod on the dock and zone out.  Fussing around is not on my agenda,  If all you wan't to do is chit chat, let's just go have coffee after instead, capeesh?

We've always had a treadmill and over the years accumulated a Smith Machine, Bosu, Kettle Bells, weights, bands a bench and many other pieces of exercise equipment.  I used to work out in a gym, where at first I was a "cardio queen" that would kick-box, or stay on the elliptical for an hour while reading a magazine.  I graduated into the 20 minute weight circuit and knew zero about what I was doing, hired a trainer, switched gyms, worked out with friends, took spin class and then finally started exercising in my house.  Over the years, I've also tried countless workout DVD's, which I always got sick of.  I later started running outside or on my treadmill and hired a new trainer, who'd come to my house once every other week to teach me a bit about weights.

I was extremely bored with my workout and needed to try something new to switch it up.  One Monday, I opened my Insanity package and did the "Fit Test," this was a workout in itself!  The next day Plyometric Circuit, then Cardio Conditioning on Wednesday, Thursday Recovery (which is pretty much yoga with some deep muscle movement), Pure Cardio Friday and Plyo again Saturday.  There's a lot of "Interval Training" in Insanity.  Interval Training is when you push to your maximum limit for 1-3 minutes, recover for a small amount of time and then repeat the sequence.  This way of training is very effective for burning fat and it really rev's up the metabolism!  The Insanity workout schedule switches  every week and all of the workouts are approximately 40 minutes or so in the first month.  This is a plan someone needs to be mentally prepared for, it is by no means easy and one should follow as close as they can to get the best results.  There is something about Shaun T. (the trainer and face of Insanity, seen below) that makes me wan't to go faster and push hard through the workouts.  I actually may have a crush on him at this point, It's too bad he's taken and very uninterested in women.  Anyway, after the first week I was addicted. I didn't veer from the scheduled workout calendar, even though it differed from what I was comfortable with.  "A recovery day in the middle of the week?"  I hated the "Recovery" workout because it was very easy in comparison to the others and I hated that I was supposed to rest on Sundays.  I was also scared that I would lose any muscle mass that I already had from previous weight lifting, boy was I wrong!  Although Insanity does not require weights, using your own body weight is quite effective on its own!  I realized that the Insanity workout schedule is perfectly planned.  I found that the "Rest" or "Recovery" days came when I needed them.   It was hard for me to hand over the reins of my workout schedule to Shaun T. but I'm glad I did.

After the first three weeks I started to see noticeable changes in my body.  I was pumped for the workouts and while they didn't necessarily get easier, I felt stronger.  After the first month there is a recovery week.  Cardio Core and Balance on tap for the full week.  This is a lighter workout than all the others but it still gets your heart rate up!   During this week I was bored and started to get nervous for the second month.  I was told by other people who tried Insanity, that each workout is about 50 or 60 minutes long and so much harder.

Month two rolled around and by that Wednesday I was relieved.  Although the new workouts were more taxing, i found them to be a bit more fun.  They didn't feel that much longer and the calorie burn  was higher which is a plus!  I loved feeling energized again after the workouts, as I did in month one before the recovery week.  By the end of the program I felt like a champion.  I was so excited to have finished but more excited to start again!  As hard as Insanity is, I absolutely love it.  As much as I thought that I would never be a "workout DVD" person, I am.  Shaun T. is my hero.  I think he may even be able to see me through my T.V. and is now biting off of my style,  because we even wear the same yoga pants!

I love the Insanity workout so much that I opted for another round!  I may even do it a third time!  Never, did I think that I would even finish a full week on the program, yet want to do it again! I guess I should have sent away for the t-shirt after all!  If you are bored with your workout or feel like it just isn't working anymore, you really need to try Insanity.  Pop It in the DVD player, put on your Polar heart rate monitor, lace up a pair of cool colored cross training sneakers (i swear bright colors give me more energy) and push play!  Most importantly, don't forget to DIG DEEP and by the end of the workout, like I always do, you'll feel like the guy in this video when you're done!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Googa My Mooga.

It is almost time for one of my favorite events of the year!  The Great Googa Mooga is a outdoor  music festival.  Picture a park full of tents run by NYC's hottest restaurants , craft beers, specialty liquors shaken into amazing cocktails and even a few wine stations too!  Googa Mooga takes place Prospect Park in Brooklyn, on a weekend in mid May.  Our group of friends had a blast last year and can't wait to go back ever since!

Being outside on a sunny day is great for the mind body and soul.  Picnic tables and lawn chairs full of people in casual summer attire, music, food and drinks all make the atmosphere relaxed and so much fun.  I am actually smiling now just thinking about it!  If you don't have a ticket yet for this year, you'd better act quick, they are selling out like hotcakes!

Last year the day of Googa Mooga a group of us met at the Cupping Room Cafe in SoHo.  We had a low key brunch and then headed on the train to Brooklyn.  Prospect Park was a bit of a walk from the last subway stop but I never complain at the thought of a little extra exercise.  When we arrived at the park we noticed the "valet bike parking" which I've never seen before, but got a great kick out of.  After walking around and taking in the scene, we wandered through the tents and grabbed a fancy beer from one.  Later we sat at a  long picnic table on the perimeter of the scene and the laughs and fun became endless, I also got a little crazy with the picture taking!  I would love to talk to you about the food at GM but I'm not really sure if I ate anything to be honest,  possibly a slice of pizza.  I was full from the meal we had earlier, I was too busy having fun and didn't wanna miss out on anything while standing in a line for an hour.

After the festival we all got on a train back to Brooklyn to venture to a bar or two.  While en route we had a small pull-up competition that would probably be frowned upon by any employees of the subway.  I was a little disappointed at my performance but demand a rematch this year.  I've been doing the Insanity workout and it includes many push-ups which are vital to creating a strong back, I'm hoping for at least a "half."  Cheers to Fran for winning by the way!  After being at the bar for a small moment we all realized we were a bit tired and done for the day so we headed back to the car in SoHo and then headed home.

I believe that this year Googa is going to be run a bit more efficiently.  They gave away tickets last year to many people but this year for a free ticket you had to win a raffle.  One of my friends made the point that this was probably in order to control lines and be a bit more prepared for the crowds, last year they actually ran out of beer.  If you've read my blog before you know that I love "brunch" but I wouldn't advise anyone to go before this festival, there is so much to taste and enjoy there, you will want to make the most of it!

I am so excited that in a few weeks I get to experience Googa Mooga again!  I love a relaxing day outside, maybe even a bit more than a night at a swanky restaurant.  Always keep in mind, when planning any gathering the most important factor is the company you bring along with you, so make sure to bring the fun people.  I'm not sure I can do much better in that department!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

My favorite day of the week.

Sunday is my favorite day of the week, it's typically a day tucked away for fun and relaxation with friends or family.  It's on top of my list of favorite things!  It's also nice to take a day of pleasure after a long stressful week full of chores and the routine schedule.

Sundays are also a great day for doing brunch and I really love a great brunch!  My first brunch experience was quite memorable.  I went one Sunday with my friends Ant and Tina.  At the time I really didn't understand the concept of "brunch" because it was a bit new and NJ hadn't caught up to the NYC day-party scene.  We started at Balthazar and managed to get a table.  It's a well known restaurant in NYC located on Spring St, which is nearly impossible to get in on Sundays.  There we each had a delicious ratatouille omelet while we imbibed on a Billini (or two) before we made our way over to the Cupping Room Cafe.

The three of us sat at the bar as the Mimosas started flowing.  We heard the music pulsating from next door at Via Dei Mille (which is now closed) and just had to go over.  People were dancing on every table and even on the bar, this was one of the best parties I have ever been to in my life.  Because of the rainy day Tina and I both had on flat boots and all three of us had on comfortable outfits no where fit for a club. The girls here were dressed for a night out on the town and the men were all in suits, we didn't even care what we were wearing and before I knew it Tina was up on the bar dancing in her rain boots!  This day/night experience will go down in the books for sure.

Later on Jersey caught on, as usual.  The rest of my friends had never experienced "brunch" this way, so of course, like any other experience I've had and loved, I HAD to share it with them!  My birthday party that year was held at the W in Hoboken upstairs in the  Chandelier Room.  Just like the previous day-party it was a blast but we were all prepared and dressed appropriately for this one!  The next year we calmed it down a bit and hit Gemma, a great restaurant in the Bowery Park Hotel followed by a leisurely or not so leisurely afternoon inside the Standard Biergarten, still very fun but less dancing.

My friend Phil and I went to The Standard Grill a few weeks ago.  We ordered a Chopped Vegetable Salad, Charred Spanish Octopus with Sweet Potato and Chiles (one of my favorite things) and the fluffiest Omelet ever I have ever seen in my life.  Each of us ordered "Standard 69" cocktail, which was a mix of raspberry puree, gin, fresh lemon and champagne.  This cocktail was delicious but too heavy for my taste, I took two sips, handed mine over to Phil and asked the waiter for a Patron and seltzer with lime.

 The High Line is a park built on a historic freight rail line that is elevated about the streets on the West Side of Manhattan and I've been dying to see it ever since it was first built.  I have been to the Meat Packing District many times but always seem to miss the time of day when it's open.  The best times to see The High Line are in the Spring or Summer and I probably should have waited!  We both got a great laugh at the fact that the attraction I would not stop talking about was completely flower-less and the grass appeared to be more like hay.  Afterwards we headed to Fig and Olive. Here I had a Cucumber Cosmo and Phil had a Dirty Martini, both perfectly made.  We also shared a cheese plate and olives, laughs and stories about lame men and women that we've each encountered. This was a  subdue and fabulous day.

I always like to venture to new places and put a spin on things.  I enjoy new experiences and sharing them with my friends.  This year for my birthday a couple of us are going to take a Trapeze class on Chelsea Piers in NYC, following I'm sure we'll find a great spot for a casual brunch.  I used to view fun as getting decked out on a Saturday night and heading to a club or lounge in heels so high I could probably suffer a nose bleed, drinking too much vodka and staying out until sunrise.  Although I can't say I've seen my last party brunch, currently, I'd rather have a nice meal and a glass of wine in the afternoon and then go for a walk around the city or check out a movie on the projector screen at The Highline.

Brunch can come in the form of eggs at the corner diner or a full on drink and dance fest at a hot NYC restaurant.  Although I may have had a different opinion a few years ago, shots of Patron and bottomless glasses of Proseco aren't really my weekend scene these days and I don't need to stand on a table to have fun anymore.  Now, my favorite kind of brunch takes place on a Sunday at around 1 o'clock in a great setting (either NYC or somewhere on or near a large body of water).  Sharing different plates of delicious food, with good friends, along with a lot of laughs and a Mimosa, Bloody Mary or a special cocktail that is crafted at the hands of a A+ Mixologist, completely rocks let alone my Sunday, but my world.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Simply Exciting.

Going along with the crowd is thought to be a "safe" route by many, though it's not always the correct one.  Its easier to take the path of many others, because if by chance, the outcome isn't as desired, you won't suffer through it alone.  Going your own way and trying something different than others will sometimes lead you to the finest outcome.  For example, you may get completely sick of your career and want to try to turn a favorite hobby of yours into one, go for it!  Don't exist in your life, live, enjoy and plow right through it, it is yours after all.

As my friend was in Milan for business, he came across a artist from a tiny town.  The man has no T.V or internet or any idea that other opportunities lie out there for him.  We then wandered through the thoughts of whether or not its better to be ignorant to all of life's possibilities but learn to appreciate and just stick to one thing, or to have a clear a view of your potential and keep waiting for what you want.

 I seem to always enjoy an scenic route in many situations in life and I don't mind getting lost while there either.  There is so much to see in the world, why keep your setting so small or all of your days so planned?  Some people believe in ultimate simplicity, they are happy with a simple job in a small town, having the same bottle of beer every weekend at the same bar and not much diversion from that.  A life of this sort to many is enjoyable and they have little need for much more excitement.  I on the other hand, fear ever having a life of that sort, I love new things too much to be stuck in a rut of monotony.

There are many things I love that are simple. One of the reasons I love Country music so much is that every song is usually about love in some form or having a good time with friends.  Never will you hear Brad Paisley sing about the new Rolex on his wrist.  Always coming across satisfaction so easily doesn't sound so bad at all.

The most important things are pretty simple, family, friends and health, everything else is just sprinkles on the ice cream sundae of life.  Sometimes I for a second I wish that I didn't require so much entertainment and have such a high level of expectations for myself, because then satisfaction would come much more readily right?  I then quickly realize that I'm just not that person.   I love to keep my world open to new people, foods and adventures and take opportunities presented to me to the max.  On the other hand,  I am most positively sure that whenever the day comes that I have a baby, I know that I'll be so in love and awe that the last thing on my mind will be jumping from place to place, I will want to savor the moment.

Variety is the spice of life.  I've often pondered the thought of there being one perfect career for me, but have come to the conclusion that there isn't, I portray interest in many different things and want to cultivate them all.  I take something from everything I do, places I go or people I meet.  I love that the artist devotes so much of himself to his work and that alone seems to keep him happy but i feel that he is missing out on so much.  A happy medium of fully enjoying the little things and living life to the fullest, is the most attractive state of mind to me.  Being able to be happy with less, but also opening yourself up to always welcome more of what life has to offer, will bring one the best of both worlds.

There are times in life when its great to live lavishly,run forward without abandon, get lost, take a lot of risks and live like its your last day on earth.  There are also times when its nice to sit back in your favorite spot on your couch, in your most comfortable sweats, with a bowl of popcorn, a glass of wine and the people you love. I myself, don't feel i have to choose between excitement and simplicity, because each day I can "put on different shoes."  So like I say while shopping for a new pair of heels," I'll take both. "

Friday, March 15, 2013

Hey, Im just lookin' for a good time.

"The rule is that you never ever talk about forever but you never say never in life."  This is one of the lines from one of my favorite Lady Antebellum songs.  Commitment in general is sometimes hard for some of us.  Committing to a career, relationship or even a gym-schedule scares some people a bit, but two important things that accompany responsibility are opportunity and joy.

People sometimes shy away from opportunities presented to them, if they feel they may not be able to fulfill expectations.  Everyone is different, which is why personal experience is the best teacher of all.  I always tell clients at work about my own personal salon horror stories (from back in the day), this makes them laugh and also thankful that I speak of these situations in a past tense!  If I never screwed up someones hair-color, I would've never learned how to fix someones  else's.  Life presents us with a surprise situation from time to time, though at the moment we are nerved and have no idea how we will complete or fix the task at hand, usually in the end, we laugh about thinking we weren't capable of completion. Never shy away from an assignment of any sort because someone else had a bad outcome of a similar situation (even if that other person is you in the past).  You are not them, you have a different heart and a different mind and by doing so you'd only be missing out on would could be a grand chance that will lead you to many other places.

Committing to a relationship is feared by many, when its time to take the next step, you may get the urge to start backing away.  Maybe you're not interested in your date enough to move things forward, or  at the present time in your life, you don't have the mindset or time to devote to them and don't want to ruin a future chance for a relationship.  Some will fake feelings just so that they don't have to be alone,  being single can be lonely.  The correct relationship can bring much joy, the wrong one will cause a lot of unnecessary misery.  I enjoy spending time with people that I feel at home with.  When someone  is not on the same page as me in any sort of way, I don't usually want to spend my down time with them.  Waiting for the correct yin to your yang is essential.  When people ask me why I am still single, my answer is never a man hating comment, its simply "He's not here yet."  The longer we are alone the more stuck in our ways we become, keep this in mind when a "petty" issue arrises.  You don't always have to be right, especially when the differential of the argument holds little importance.

I am on my 7th out of 9 weeks of the Insanity workout.  Im sure you've heard of it, its known to be the hardest workout put on DVD.  A few months after I purchased the set of discs, I finally took the first step and opened the box.  Although I've been working out for many years,  I heard about how hard it was from friends and feared that I would never be able to finish or even keep up with the people in this video.  Everyone was right, the first month was hard as hell, but I finished it.  The second month's workouts are longer and more challenging than the first, but during each workout, I fight through it and before you know it, I'm checking another box off of the workout calendar that comes with the program.  In many of life's challenges, half of the battle is pushing play and getting started, before you know it, your at the other end of the tunnel.

Fearing change is more normal than not and sometimes you have to become uncomfortable to get comfortable.  We all have fears that that we won't be the best at whatever goals we pursue.  It is mandatory to fail at a few things to achieve ultimate success.  If you never start up your engine, you'll never see how fast or far your car can go.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Magical Cookies.

Years ago I discovered my love for baking goodies for my family and friends.  I'd ask someone to tell me a favorite dessert of theirs and then proceed to perfect it.  I love to make people feel special on their birthdays and my way of doing so is by preparing their favorite treat!

Dessert is my favorite part of a meal.  Although I enjoy cooking, I find baking and decorating something sweet to be more therapeutic and exciting.  I've learned some of my favorite recipes from people in my family or friends.  The taste of a favorite food or act of preparing one can be nostalgic.  I still remember rolling meatballs in my grandmothers kitchen when i was little and when the smell of my mothers Cream Puffs permeates through my house every few weeks I find it to be comforting.  Whether I'm making my father's favorite "Ice box" cake (stove prepared pudding layered with graham crackers and put in the refrigerator overnight) or a fancy Lemon Merengue Pie as per request of my friend Irwin at work it gives me great pleasure to roll up my sleeves and bust out the ingredients!

My friend Eric works with me at Xoma Salon  and is the best make-up artist around. Eric celebrated a birthday last week and he happens to love Magic Cookies.  Magic Cookies are delicious,  they are loaded with graham, chocolate chips, coconut and walnuts and also are super easy to make!  I like to use this recipe from  Taste of Home.


  • Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 cups (12 oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped nuts


  • Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13 x 9-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray.
  • Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter in small bowl. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with chocolate chips, coconut and nuts. Press down firmly with fork.
  • Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Loosen from sides of pan while still warm; cool on wire rack. Cut into bars or diamonds. Yield: 2 dozen bars. 

    TIP For perfectly cut cookie bars, line entire pan with foil, extending foil over edge of pan. Coat lightly with no-stick cooking spray. After bars have baked and cooled, lift up with edges of foil to remove from pan. Cut into individual bars.


    Substitute chocolate chips or nuts with candy coated pieces, dried cranberries, raisins, mini-marshmallows or butterscotch chips.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Give a little.

You have the friend that would do anything in the world for you without expecting anything in return and you're also blessed with one who's always looking out for only themselves and  how they can benefit from a situation.  I've always been one to give and have learned over the years not to expect anything in return from anyone when I do, this way I am rarely disappointed.

As our lives evolve we often go separate ways from friends that we were once closer to, it's not as easy to drop everything and share all of our friends special moments or support them during hard times.  Great friends will always be there for you when they can and at least attempt to be when they can't.  There will always be a time when you're not available to a friend when they need you, but make sure that your presence is known.  If you often get so self involved that you're always forgetting about the people close to you, the moment when you need someone, don't be surprised if you turn around to an empty room.

Giving is much more gratifying than taking.  I love buying a special present for someone and watching them open it up.  I get so excited to watch their eyes light up like those of a child who just found out that they're going on a surprise trip to Disney World that morning.  One day when I have kids of my own I'm totally pulling that one on them!

I recall a night years ago, a few friends and I were at the diner drinking coffee and chit-chatting for hours like usual.  We got on the topic of winning the "Mega Millions" and went around the table asking what everyone would do with the money.  The first thing I could come up with was to go around to all of the places I frequent, hand a big fat check to someone who's always pleasant, helpful or just puts a smile on my face and watch them jump around uncontrollably in sheer joy and excitement!  I love designer  goods, planes, vacations, cars and houses just as much as anyone else, but the thought of doing that a handful of times, would be more fulfilling than all the Louis Vuitton bags in the world.  To know that I just made someones day, lifted any type of money worries off their chest, gave them more time to relax and be with their families and to experience a lifestyle that they never thought possible, is  definitely up there with the blissful feeling I hear you get on your wedding day or when your child is born.

Giving doesn't always have to be to someone else, sometimes it's your turn to be on the receiving end of your own generosity.  Whether it be a compliment, nice meal, mani- pedi, long gym session or new watch, its always nice to show yourself some love too.  When you only give to others, you risk burnout, taking care of yourself is essential if you want to correctly tend to anyone else.

Benevolence doesn't always have to do with money.  A small gesture or word said from one person to the next can change the tone of that individuals whole day.  When one person is helpful to another a chain reaction has the chance to begin.  I viewed the most beautiful video the other day and it melted my heart.  Be always gracious, 'cause love makes the world go 'round. :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hair, There, Everywhere.

I love when I look back and realize that I've made the right decisions in my life.  Doing hair has taught me a lot about people, life and my artistic ability. I remember getting a cross-eyed look from more than one person when I decided not to go to college and to go to beauty school instead.  Thankfully, I  always follow my heart and once again it has taken me to the correct place.

The most rewarding thing about the my job in the beauty industry is having the opportunity to help a person feel good about themselves.  Everyone should feel beautiful and I love assisting that feeling whenever possible.  In 2005 I attended Vidal Sassoon Academy for a 6 - week haircutting course, which I refer to as "beauty college."  I picked up my things and lived in a hotel room in Santa Monica, Ca. by myself for almost two months.  I met so many amazing people at school, some in which i still keep in touch with.  I am so thankful for this experience because aside from the top notch education that I got from class everyday, I was able to do something completely on my own for the very first time.

If anyone is aspiring to be in the hair business Vidal Sassoon Academy is one of the best places to start or extend your journey.  I first attended a local cosmetology school, then started working in a salon and later went to Sassoon, there they taught me everything I needed to know about cutting hair.  I returned a few years after for a two week advanced coloring class which was also amazing, the school being in sunny California was a bonus!   I've attended many seminars on haircutting, coloring and thermal reconditioning throughout my almost ten year stand in the beauty industry.  Aside from Sassoon I've studied at Toni & Guy, Wella, Bumble & Bumble and Milbom USA etc. and I've learned something  from each one.

I love Hair extensions as they are my specialty.  The brands I regularly use are Hair Locs, Great Lengths and a few Tape-In methods.  A lot of clients assume that hair extensions are just for length. When they discover that on any style, extensions can be applied for volume, highlighting or to help get through the phase of growing out a short haircut, many are sold right away.

Many of the friendships closest to my heart began at the salon that I still currently work in.  Xoma is an upscale hair salon that houses much talent and many down to earth people.  We treat our clients like friends and from the moment one walks in, we strive to make sure they feel welcome.
I could never work in a stiff environment with a lot of rules, I prefer freedom with my wardrobe and my schedule.  Xoma stayed open through a full renovation so that clients could still have their hair done regularly and we've also worked through a time when half of the staff left us at once.  Our upgraded establishment is marvelous and we've filled the empty chairs.  A little bit of patience goes a long way.

Whether I'm coloring my grandma's hair, beautifying a client for a special night out or dolling up one of my best friends or family members for their wedding day,  I find hairdressing to be an especially gratifying career.  I've no doubt in my mind that I'll wear many hats in my life but I will never lose my passion for being a stylist.

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.-Confucius"

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Wine don't Whine.

Every alcoholic beverage has a different experience.   When I think of wine, I think of the aromas and flavors.  I imagine sharing a bottle with a group of friends or a date and the calming feeling that follows my first sip.  I love wine so much that I've recently become a Consultant for The Traveling Vineyard. The Traveling Vineyard is a in at home wine tasting, comparable to Mary Kay, Lia Sophia and Pampered Chef.

As soon as I heard about TTV I signed up instantly, who doesn't love or know someone who loves wine?  I hosted my kickoff tasting at my house with family and a few friends.  The only preparations the host of the party has to make are to have food pairing options available.  To no surprise, I opted for a kitchen full of different snacks for my friends to enjoy afterwards also, I can't help it, I love to entertain!  Each tasting set (which is provided by the consultant) has two red, two white and one dessert wine.  TTV's selection of wine is tasty and moderately priced. After you taste there is an option to purchase and always a promotional deal of the month.  At my particular tasting, if a guest bought 3 bottles of wine, they could add a set of wine pourers for only $2.00, with a five bottle purchase an optional cooler for $5.00 and so on.  The more you buy, the more promotions you qualify for. The company also offers to send two bottles of wine to a persons home every month for around $30.00, I thought this would be a great gift to give or even to buy for myself!

A TTV party is perfect for getting together with a group of friends or colleagues. The knowledgeable consultant at your party will simplify the steps of wine tasting for your group.  If interested in hosting a wine tasting or becoming a TTV consultant feel free to contact me and I'll walk you through the steps.

Food & Wine magazine had this Wine Tasting Workout in an issue I was skimming through the other day and I absolutely loved it! Go through the steps and you'll be on your way to becoming a sommelier!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery.

My friends love birthdays!  Even with everyones crazy schedules we always manage to get together and celebrate.  My best friend Anthony's birthday is next week when he'll be away, so this Saturday we got together and headed to The Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery.

The rainy weather added to the already cozy setting.  The pot belly stoves,  acoustic rock n' roll group on stage and farm to table menu was worth the drive and the wine wasn't bad either.  As soon as we walked into the winery, we each purchased a souvenir glass to sample some of Warwick's wines.  The cider is one of their best sellers along with the black currant dessert wine and they are delicious!  I'm usually partial to red wines, here I favored the white, it was perfect.  The wines were a bit lighter in body than I'd usually prefer but very refreshing.  It's worth a visit to Warwick to bask in the whole hearted atmosphere.  There aren't many other things in life that's better than a day of laughs and friends!

Getting a table is a bit of a task at this place, you have to move quick and come early!  The four of us that arrived first were starving so we shared a Caramelized Onion and Brie Panini, Margherita pizza, Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad and a Cheese Plate while we waited for the rest of the gang.  The food was fantastic and although I stuck close by the salad I did manage to try everything.  The mushroom panini was my favorite but the mussels we ordered later on gave it a run for it's money.  Though I did not try them, the truffle fries  looked excellent! If I lived nearby I could definitely see myself stopping in for lunch from time to time.

The winery closed around six o'clock, so we headed into town to Eddie's Roadhouse, which happened to be owned by a guy from Jersey! The bar was tiny and packed so we were happy that we could snag a couple of seats, later the eight of us gladly took over the whole bar area.  Eddie's offers all craft beers which lit up the eyes of my beer loving friends.  I am not a beer fan, luckily they also had a full bar so I switched it up and had my signature Patron and seltzer with lime.  We shared a hummus plate with eggplant ratatouille and olive spread, it was delicious.  I also rolled with another goat cheese salad here,  I know not repetitive at all, it was very very good, better than the first! We then parted ways with the others and the original four of us wandered to a couple other places.  The other bars did not excite us much so within fifteen minutes we were tired and ready to go home.  All in all our experience was fabulous and I can't wait to visit again.  Happy Birthday Ant!

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Online dating has helped many people find their mate and now that it's socially acceptable, we can even talk about it!  The thought of putting up a picture on a website along side your stats makes some nauseous, but if you're shy, trying to throw yourself back into the dating pool, or just looking for a way to date outside your social circle, a dating website could be the way to go.  It's not easy to meet someone in the bar/club scene.  Even when an extremely confident man or woman approaches someone a lot of times nerves or pride get in the way.

Being extremely open minded and one of the only single ones left out of my group of friends,  I gave online dating a run.  I wandered through the website, put up a profile and photo and the emails started flowing in.  I didn't feel bad not answering someones message if I wasn't interested or attracted as there was no pressure like there would be if we met in person.  When someone peaked my interest,  it was much easier to relax and be myself from the get go, I was never worried about my hair or sounding silly in some way.  I remember situations when I've given the wrong impression to someone that I was interested in just because I was nervous; this doesn't occur when you meet online.  It is also nice to see a photo and a little excerpt of how a person perceives themselves before taking time out of your schedule for them.

It is very wise to actually talk on the phone a couple times and see more than one photo of someone before you agree to a date.  Text messages and emails are great for those who know each other well, but when meeting someone new, texts can be taken out of context.  I can be very sarcastic and I'm sure that I've offended a handful of people that don't know me well through a text.  One of my friends even describes my written words sometimes as "lethal." Adjust your expectations, when looking at photos,  if the person looks old, add 5 years, if they look too heavy for your taste add 5 pounds.  This leaves more room for you to be pleasantly surprised when you see them in person.  Try your best to focus on the most important thing that won't change, their personality.

A great first date location is somewhere you can both relax.  A fun activity is nice but make sure you are able to talk to each other , don't go to the movies or to a loud club.  It's best to meet for a drink or coffee,  don't commit to a long meal or daylong event.   Try to keep the date simple incase there's no chemistry, but leave enough room for flexibility incase there is; this way you're not having to find an out.  Even if you are blown away by each other, please do NOT sleep together just yet,  go out again and let things develop.  What can turn into a bountiful relationship can be instantly ruined by having sex too soon, it can send the wrong signals.

When making your profile keep in mind what you are trying to attract.  Don't put up four pictures of your dog unless you are trying to set him up too and if you are looking for someone of a respectable nature, don't put up half naked pictures of yourself. Be honest about who you are and who you are looking for.

Be a bit weary when meeting anyone new. Meet in a public location the first few times, strangers don't belong in your car or home.  I have been in contact with a couple compulsive liars and even one guy who was on the run.  Although it takes some of the magic away from dating, if you have an uneasy feeling about someone, but are still interested in going out, it's not the worst idea to become friends on Facebook or to Google them beforehand to make sure that their story lines up.

I've had good and bad experiences dating online. Towards the end of my adventure, I felt a bit burned out as it was repetitive and no longer fun.  Although I didn't  find my "match," I did meet a few nice people and had many interesting experiences.  In conclusion, if you want my personal advice, you're best off taking a lot of the guess work out of it and meeting someone through a friend.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Susie and Sally.

I get a kick out of reality TV.  I don't care what is going on in other peoples lives, but what I do enjoy is the little vacation my mind gets.  Whether its Real Housewives, Vanderpump Rules, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Shahs of Sunset or until i just couldn't stand it anymore- The Jersey Shore, it is always nice to just sit and watch nonsense that carries no weight in our real lives on TV.  I don't  have a "show" i have to watch, when I am watching anything, it is usually on for background and if someone wants to change it, I don't oblige.  The only time I put up a fight is if they want to put on a horror or historical flick- I am not a fan of either of those, or even being in the same room with them.  I don't want to be either scared or bored to death! 

There are friends and clients of mine think that reality shows are repulsive.  They either think it is silly nonsense, a bad example or that it rots your brain and I cannot totally disagree.  Usually, the people on these shows are fighting over ridiculous things, stealing each others boyfriends or husbands, trying to "one-up" or impress each other, talking behind their best friends back or spending money in really lavish ways.  Aside from the frivolous spending, (I mean come on, it is kind of exciting to think a person could have no worries about money) none of these things are really anything that we don' t all experience in our every day lives.  That old saying "The more money, The more problems" is completely relevant here but what people don't say  is how they are bringing on those problems themselves.

Although it is entertaining to watch a show that is so ridiculous, in real life I'm not a fan of the way people treat each other at times.  Women (or once and a while men) can be down right vicious!  Working in the hair industry in one of NJ's most savvy communities, I hear stories about women that compete with each other over things that are silly, quite frequently.  When it comes to weddings, the celebration should be about celebrating the couple and not just a show to put on for all of their friends. 

People are so brainwashed with the idea that one way of living is the right way for everyone.  A marriage, house and two kids may not be an  ideal life for everyone.  When a person doesn't take a chance to sit back, breathe and understand who they are, what they truly desire and what will make them happy,  they tend to worry more about keeping up or blending with everyone else.  I believe that one will experience more true happiness if they really "know thyself." If a person is sure of or has a good idea of what it is that will make them happy in life, little things that really don't matter to them anyway will not take such a big space in their head.  Comparing myself to anyone else but me would be useless.

About a year ago, I read one of Bethenny Frankel's books "A Place of Yes."  I enjoyed the book completely and would recommend it to anyone, i may even read it again.  In one of the chapters in the book she speaks about "staying in your own lane." 

“I once read a quote in a book called Competition, that said, ‘Your opponent, in the end, is never really the player on the other side of the net, or the swimmer in the next lane, or the team on the other side of the field. Your opponent is yourself, your negative internal voices, your level of determination.” You have to stay in your lane. If you keep looking to the left and to the right to see what everyone else is doing, you slow down and lose your momentum. In any kind of competition, if you keep your mind on  you and not on anybody else, you stay focused and efficient. “ - A Place of Yes

I could not agree more. 

"Competition" and "cattiness" comes from one's own insecurities.  Telling your friend something about another friend that isn't positive will not do anything for you.  If you call someone fat, it wont make you thinner and comparing win's and losses will not make yours any better or worse.  If we could all just be our friends and families cheerleaders think about how much more positive and less stressful life would be.  It is a big world, there is enough room for everyone to attain their dream.  Keep the drama inside the television.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Glass is Full.

Passion is something a lot of us search our souls for.  What I have found over the years is that the journey to finding your passion is sometimes not given as much credit as it deserves.  I myself longed for some time to know just what it is that makes me tick, what tickles my fancy and what would make my millions.  Sometimes i was so caught up with figuring it out that i forgot to just keep living and let life show me.

Whether you are looking for the love of your life, the perfect job or just want to feel more fulfilled, just keep moving forward.  We sometimes worry too much and all it does is rob us of our happiness.  Scrolling down my "wall" just today I came across a great photo and short story.

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they'd be asked the "half empty or half full" question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: "How heavy is this glass of water?"
Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn't change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." She continued, "The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything."
It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down! -author unknown

A little food for thought for the day. :)