Category: girl talk


Girls Night Out: East Village

March 31st, 2013 — 8:04pm

Thursday, I headed down to the East Village for a girls night out with my good friend Bobbi.

On my way to meet her, it occurred to me that I need to visit this neighborhood more often, teeming as it is with inviting little bistros and bars. Case in point: Giano, the cozy wine bar and restaurant I stumbled upon online.

Giano (Photo Credit: Dailydishblog.com)

Ideal for either a date or girls night out, Giano has rustic charm and an Italy-born host who makes every menu item sound buenissimo.
Over drinks and a delicious dinner, we talked about women who forget themselves once they’re married, our recent respective speed dating experiences, and increasing dating fatigue.

With the big 4-0 looming in 2014, I am definitely feeling a cumulative weariness from decades of dating. People often say love finds you when you’re not looking. That may be true but it has also been my experience that no one will find you if you’re sitting on your couch.

The question then becomes – how do you balance putting yourself out there with not getting worn out from it all? How do you remain hopeful about happily ever after when today’s dating culture (in New York especially) seems more accommodating of right now romance?

As I continue trying to figure that out, I also remain profoundly grateful for wonderful friends who make such heavy contemplation a lot more fun.

Happy Easter all!

| dating in New York, dating in your thirties, East Village, girl talk, Girls Night Out

A Night At Da Marino

November 11th, 2012 — 5:00pm

Wednesday, my fabulous girls night out with C continued despite the blizzard-like conditions. we walked past Da Marino near Times Square, a bundled-up doorman  outside helped us decide our dinner plans.

Me and Da Marino's charming doorman

“You must join us Ladies – our bathroom has been rated number one in New York City.”

How could we resist an offbeat invitation like that?

As soon as we walked downstairs into Da Marino, we knew we’d made the right choice. The restaurant has cozy, rustic vibe offset by the energetic staff and lively entertainment. Waiters and hosts whizzed by  speaking frenetic Italian as we were treated to music from a piano player and singer who belted out tunes like “Con Te Partiro.” They handed out maracas so it was impossible not to get caught up in the fun. It felt like we were at a traditional Italian villa.

And it turned out the doorman wasn’t exaggerating about Da Marino’s bathroom.

Da Marino's bathroom is ranked as the best in NYC

With exposed brick, sculpture, a mini waterfall and even seating for two, it reinforces the restaurant’s authentic atmosphere.

As we sipped on Pinot Noir and enjoyed shared plates of fried calamari and mozzarella salad, C and I also shared some great conversation – reflecting on the cathartic joys of travel, the perquisites of a soulmate connection and the importance of being your own best champion.

Along the way, we managed to completely forget the nor’easter outside and feel grateful all over again to live in a city where you never know where the night is going to take you. Viva NYC.

| girl talk, Girls Night Out, Times Square

A Sun Drenched Girlfriends Getaway

June 21st, 2012 — 9:18pm

Last weekend, my girlfriends getaway to Miami kicked off with an early check-in at the Marriott South Beach. It was just after 11am when Patrina and I arrived, but our ocean view room was all ready for us.

All Smiles: Trina and me enjoying our first meal in South Beach

After changing into beach attire, we headed down to the hotel’s Deco Blue restaurant for a delightful early lunch (grilled mahi mahi sandwich for Trina, steak Caesar salad for me) complimented by refreshing skinny colada cocktails. Like we always do no matter how long it’s been since we’ve seen each other, Trina and I had plenty to talk about – from reminiscing about long ago day as reporters in sleepy Southern Illinois to, of course, dating dilemmas and pet peeves.

Trina shared the story of a friend’s male friend paying with a gift card on a first date. Though I’m all for being frugal, we both agreed this probably wasn’t the best way or occasion on which to demonstrate that. Save it for the second date.

Taking advantage of the idyllic sunny and breezy weather, we walked a few steps to the beach, where we settled in to some umbrella-covered deck chairs for a few blissful hours. Back in our room, as I mentioned on Saturday, we were surprised with sparkling wine, white chocolate-covered strawberries and a thoughtfully personalized note.  When it comes to genuine hospitality, Marriott is in a class by itself.

Española Way is full of great restaurants

For dinner, we took a quick cab ride over to Española Way, a charming stretch of cozy restaurants and bars, settling at Segafredo for Italian fare and more of Miami’s service with a smile. One thing we weren’t smiling about – the automatic 18% gratuity that’s added to every restaurant or bar bill. This is new since my last visit to Miami two years ago. Maybe there’s something to it, though, because every single food and beverage person we encountered was beyond friendly and attentive.

After lingering for dessert (a heavenly tiramisu), we braved a brief downpour and found ourselves seeking shelter in a boutique pet shop that specializes in puppies and toy dogs. Needless to say, the cuteness factor was through the roof here. Trina and I admitted to the shopkeepers that if we were locals, we would likely have taken two of their little charges home.

Up next…more about our memorable weekend in South Beach, which included the that everyone’s been buzzing about.

| girl talk, girlfriend getaways

An Action Packed Girls Weekend

June 10th, 2012 — 6:10pm

This weekend, I had the pleasure of catching up with my dear friend of 26 years Jackie. Jackie and I went to junior high school together when I was living in Toronto. We packed a lot in to the last couple of days.

Jackie and me at the Lowell Hotel

Friday, we enjoyed afternoon tea at NYC’s elegant Lowell Hotel in Midtown. While nibbling on finger sandwiches, scones and Devonshire cream, Jackie and I reflected on family ties and how good friends are just as important in carrying you through tough times. Afterward, craving a quiet night in, we rented the Justin Timberlake-Mila Kunis romcom “Friends With Benefits,” definitely one of the most entertaining and well written romcoms I’ve seen in awhile.

Yesterday was action packed. We started the day by heading down to SoHo, delighted to stumble upon a street fair teeming with cheap jewelry finds, colorful clothes and scrumptious foods. Street fairs are one of my favorite things about summer in NYC.

A delicious spread of teas and spices at the SoHo street fair that we stumbled upon

Then it was off to nearby SoHo Park, a charming eatery whose charming public garden décor lives up to its name, for some delicious veggie burgers with cheese. From there, Jackie and I went to Macy’s to take advantage of a huge sale and add to our summer wardrobe. Back at home, I whipped up salmon burgers with dill sauce for us, happy to cook for my dear friend since I was far less adept in the kitchen during her visit last year.

After dinner and a few cocktails, we went downtown again – to my favorite nightclub, Canal Room, to hear 80’s cover band

Rubix Kube ROCKED!!

As always, the band delivered a high energy set that had everyone dancing and singing along to classics like “Beat It,” “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” and “Jessie’s Girl.” Jackie and I were hoarse and happy when we caught up with lead female vocalist Cherie Martorana outside.

Jackie and me with lead singer Cherie Martorana after the show

Another fantastic girls’ weekend from start to finish. Can’t wait for my next one…next weekend in South Beach. Stay tuned!

| afternoon tea, catching up with old friends, girl talk, girlfriend getaways, Rubix Kube, SoHo

Girls Night Out: Numero 28

May 21st, 2012 — 7:17pm

When you live in a neighborhood you love, it’s easy to become a creature of habit and visit the same places over and over. Having recently added a new class at the gym to my weekly repertoire, I’ve been venturing over to First Avenue more – which is how I stumbled upon a new favorite restaurant, Numero 28.

Numero 28's UES location serves up delicious brick oven pizza (photo courtesy: newyork.grubstreet.com)

I enjoyed my first visit to Numero 28, a cozy little pizzeria with a menu of brick oven pies that’s as delicious as it is varied, on Friday with my good friend Crystal. Crystal and I hadn’t seen each other in awhile, so we had a lot to catch up on. I filled her in on my recent and final dating blitz and summer travel plans (South Beach and London here I come!).

Crystal told me about rediscovering her passion for dance through the belly dancing troupe she recently joined. She shared photos of her looking gorgeous as characters ranging from a recycling goddess to a Spanish senorita, with a radiant smile matching the one I could see on her face.

Crystal’s new adventure reminded me of something I’ve been reading in a fantastic book by Amy Spencer, Bright Side Up. In the book – a wise, comforting guide to living a happier life – Amy emphasizes how it’s never too late to follow your dreams or discover a new one. I couldn’t agree with her more, especially when I have wonderful friends like Crystal to inspire me.

| girl talk, Girls Night Out, Upper East Side restaurants

Catching Up With A West Coast Friend

July 11th, 2011 — 11:54am

Girls Night Out: Kim and me on the LES

Last week, I had the pleasure of catching up twice with San Francisco-based galpal and former PR colleague Kim.

Wednesday night, I joined Kim and handful of her friends for drinks down at Hotel Chantelle on NYC’s Lower East Side.  My night was made when I got carded by the genial bartender.

“Do you card all the ladies just to make us smile?” I asked.

“To avoid a $3,000 fine,” he answered without missing a beat. “And, of course, to make the ladies smile.”

The next day, over a delicious lunch at Ko Sushi on the UES, Kim and I talked about the absence of courtly behavior these days and her decision to get back into online dating – only this time with a different strategy.

“I’ve decided to be more proactive rather than reactive,” she said.

“Spoken like a fellow publicist,” I joked, since those are the same adjectives we use to describe tactics in PR.

Kim and I also mused about potential destinations we would consider moving to someday. Though still a great fan of the Big Apple, Kim admitted she never considered it a long-term home. As she said that, it hit me that – until recently – I never considered it anything else. Dreams change, though, so I’m open to wherever the next great opportunity takes me. Wonder where and what that will be?

| girl talk, Lower East Side, Upper East Side restaurants

A Weekend Jaunt To The Poconos

July 16th, 2009 — 10:26pm

Last weekend, I left the hustle and bustle behind and headed to the Poconos for some family fun. After a breezy two-hour drive into the heart of Pennsylvania’s lush territory, I arrived at the home of my Uncle Chucky, Titi (a.k.a Auntie) Rosie and younger cousin Melanie.

Family Bonding: (from left) Titi Rosie, my cousin Melanie and Mel’s eight-month-old cutie Caden

Uncle Chuck threw some burgers on the grill and we talked about their upcoming trip to Aruba. The getaway will be their first alone together since Melanie was born 20 years ago, so Rosie was wondering how they’d fare without her. With a laugh, Rosie acknowledged she’s more of a talker than Uncle Chuck, which got us on the subject of women in general needing to converse more than the opposite sex.

Speaking of girl talk, Rosie and I later did plenty of it – about how relationships evolve over time and how, the longer you’re single, the more difficult it can be to open yourself up to someone new.

Rosie empathized, recalling that because of her painful divorce, she had no interest in marriage when she first met Uncle Chuck. She said you never know how a relationship is going to unfold, that even a bumpy start doesn’t necessarily rule out happily ever after.

Her insight gave me pause. As someone who’s made a career out of identifying why Mr. Right For Now can only be just that, it’s nice to think that, someday, I might end up being surprised by his longevity.

| family bonding, girl talk, Mr. Right For Now, The Poconos, weekend getaways

A Weekend Jaunt To The Poconos

July 16th, 2009 — 5:26pm

Last weekend, I left the hustle and bustle behind and headed to the Poconos for some family fun. After a breezy two-hour drive into the heart of Pennsylvania’s lush territory, I arrived at the home of my Uncle Chucky, Titi (a.k.a Auntie) Rosie and younger cousin Melanie.

Family Bonding: (from left) Titi Rosie, my cousin Melanie and Mel’s eight-month-old cutie Caden

Uncle Chuck threw some burgers on the grill and we talked about their upcoming trip to Aruba. The getaway will be their first alone together since Melanie was born 20 years ago, so Rosie was wondering how they’d fare without her. With a laugh, Rosie acknowledged she’s more of a talker than Uncle Chuck, which got us on the subject of women in general needing to converse more than the opposite sex.

Speaking of girl talk, Rosie and I later did plenty of it – about how relationships evolve over time and how, the longer you’re single, the more difficult it can be to open yourself up to someone new.

Rosie empathized, recalling that because of her painful divorce, she had no interest in marriage when she first met Uncle Chuck. She said you never know how a relationship is going to unfold, that even a bumpy start doesn’t necessarily rule out happily ever after.

Her insight gave me pause. As someone who’s made a career out of identifying why Mr. Right For Now can only be just that, it’s nice to think that, someday, I might end up being surprised by his longevity.

| family bonding, girl talk, Mr. Right For Now, The Poconos, weekend getaways

Girls’ Night Out

July 9th, 2008 — 11:19pm

My evening at Fresco by Scotto restaurant began with a quick drink at the bar. While waiting for my dining companions to arrive, I smiled and listened to the four suit-clad men beside me engaged in cocktails and convivial conversation.

In the space of less than ten minutes, the men had moved swiftly across several subjects — including salary bonuses, politics and dogfighting. Topics of a different sort characterized the dialogue that unfolded over dinner between me, my good friend Cindy and two longtime friends of hers.

With the dreamy Dali-esque paintings of artist Gregory Drasler surrounding us, talk moved swiftly from Fresco’s pricey menu (about $75 per person) to questions about relationships. Should a groom’s nuptial toast to his bride be breathlessly romantic or humorously anecdotal? To date or not to date right after a breakup? And just how attracted do you need to be to go out with someone more than once?

“I like him well enough,” said one of Cindy’s friends, adding that her new guy’s lack of height prohibits her from feeling any more than that.

Cindy’s other friend seemed unsure what to feel about her recent entre into the social networking universe, where she’s encountered more than one old flame. Sometimes even cyberspace can be an unnervingly small world.

All of this girl talk took place between bites of truly delectable Italian fare. My palette was pleased by each of the following menu selections–tuna tartar with avocado, vegetarian pennette in a tomato sauce with mozzarella cheese, and the most divine banana pudding with vanilla wafers, butterscotch sauce and whipped cream. The pudding was so heavenly that it has claimed the fifth spot in my personal pantheon of all-time favorite desserts. Here are the other Top 4:

4. Chocolate mousse at Vivolo’s in Midtown. Light yet sinfully rich and satisfying, garnished with a dollop of whipped cream and a strawberry.

3. Key lime pie at Cedar’s, Foxwoods, Connecticut. Memorable as much for the slice’s gargantuan size as for being the perfect blend of tart and sweet.

2. Chocolate ice cream sundae at T-Bar on the Upper East Side. In two words–pure decadence.

And the most memorable dessert of all time, reigning supreme after more than 15 years…

1. TiramiSu, The Savoy Hotel, Zurich. Literally meaning “pick me up” in Italian, this slice of heaven was introduced to me by a charming maitre’d who spoke five languages fluently. Though I said I had no room for dessert, he insisted I try the TiramiSu. I ended up ordering a second serving and thus, an enduring love affair was born.

Men may come and go, but the pleasure of a good dessert lingers forever!

| dessert, girl talk, relationships, restaurants

Girls’ Night Out

July 9th, 2008 — 6:19pm

My evening at Fresco by Scotto restaurant began with a quick drink at the bar. While waiting for my dining companions to arrive, I smiled and listened to the four suit-clad men beside me engaged in cocktails and convivial conversation.

In the space of less than ten minutes, the men had moved swiftly across several subjects — including salary bonuses, politics and dogfighting. Topics of a different sort characterized the dialogue that unfolded over dinner between me, my good friend Cindy and two longtime friends of hers.

With the dreamy Dali-esque paintings of artist Gregory Drasler surrounding us, talk moved swiftly from Fresco’s pricey menu (about $75 per person) to questions about relationships. Should a groom’s nuptial toast to his bride be breathlessly romantic or humorously anecdotal? To date or not to date right after a breakup? And just how attracted do you need to be to go out with someone more than once?

“I like him well enough,” said one of Cindy’s friends, adding that her new guy’s lack of height prohibits her from feeling any more than that.

Cindy’s other friend seemed unsure what to feel about her recent entre into the social networking universe, where she’s encountered more than one old flame. Sometimes even cyberspace can be an unnervingly small world.

All of this girl talk took place between bites of truly delectable Italian fare. My palette was pleased by each of the following menu selections–tuna tartar with avocado, vegetarian pennette in a tomato sauce with mozzarella cheese, and the most divine banana pudding with vanilla wafers, butterscotch sauce and whipped cream. The pudding was so heavenly that it has claimed the fifth spot in my personal pantheon of all-time favorite desserts. Here are the other Top 4:

4. Chocolate mousse at Vivolo’s in Midtown. Light yet sinfully rich and satisfying, garnished with a dollop of whipped cream and a strawberry.

3. Key lime pie at Cedar’s, Foxwoods, Connecticut. Memorable as much for the slice’s gargantuan size as for being the perfect blend of tart and sweet.

2. Chocolate ice cream sundae at T-Bar on the Upper East Side. In two words–pure decadence.

And the most memorable dessert of all time, reigning supreme after more than 15 years…

1. TiramiSu, The Savoy Hotel, Zurich. Literally meaning “pick me up” in Italian, this slice of heaven was introduced to me by a charming maitre’d who spoke five languages fluently. Though I said I had no room for dessert, he insisted I try the TiramiSu. I ended up ordering a second serving and thus, an enduring love affair was born.

Men may come and go, but the pleasure of a good dessert lingers forever!

| dessert, girl talk, relationships, restaurants

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