Category: Girls Night Out

March 23rd, 2014 — 9:03pm

I recently enjoyed a wonderful girls night out with my good friend Lauren.

We headed over to the Arlington Club, a swanky UES steakhouse with an interesting bar scene — a 40+ crowd, many of whom are very obviously on the prowl.

Arlington Club’s swanky bar area

As we watched the flirting unfold, Lauren and I fell into the easy conversation that comes when you’re kindred spirits and you’ve known each other for a decade. We talked about our recent travels, the fun of vacation romance and how a change of scenery can make all the difference when it comes to meeting new people.

Speaking of the latter, this was my first visit to Arlington Club. And it presented the opportunity for us to meet two charming musicians who livened things up with their talents.

Wes shared tales of life on tour with the likes of Norah Jones, mentioning that he savors quiet nights in watching NetFlix when he’s back home in Brooklyn.

It occurred to me as he spoke that he had an openness and down to earth quality that’s frustratingly elusive among New York men. Sure enough, Wes revealed he’s from Charleston.

Though i adore my hometown, NYC seems to breed an aloof sensibility that often permeates the singles scene here. I notice it even more whenever I venture out of Manhattan — that there’s a warmth and friendliness elsewhere which is so difficult to find when you’re trying to mix and mingle in the Big Apple.

I can’t help thinking that most of the epic romances I’ve experienced have been with men from other places—California, Illinois, England and Australia to name a few. And, on this 20th anniversary of my very , I also find myself wondering if it’s time for me to try out a new zip code.


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February 16th, 2014 — 9:30pm

I’m a big fan of Valentine’s Day. Contrary to the media, greeting cards and jewelry companies, it is not an occasion exclusively for couples. It’s a day to celebrate all kinds of love – and I was reminded of that several times this past Friday.

My morning began at The Westin New York Grand Central, which welcomed staffers with hot chocolate, donuts and brightly colored balloons. Awaiting me inside my inbox – emails from colleagues and business associates wishing me a happy Valentine’s Day.

Friday was a dual hotel day on the job for me, so I headed over to the Sheraton New York Times Square.

In the Valentine’s Day spirit: my colleague (and awesome former boss) Kristin and me

All of us in sales and marketing were treated to a fun lunch (empanadas, cake pops) in our festively decorated conference room.

It is one of my wise coworkers whom I can credit with encouraging me to reach out to someone special who has been on my mind lately. I took the leap and he responded lovingly – reminding me exactly why he has restored my faith in the existence of good guys. And what better day to have that lesson resurface?

After work, I headed home to spruce myself up for a night on the town with good friend and fellow bachelorette Lauren. We ventured out of our neighborhood and down to the Financial District. First stop, watering hole Ulysses on Stone Street, where we enjoyed complimentary Champagne and hearty entrees (red snapper and seafood paella for me, Shepherd’s Pie for Lauren). Then, it was off to Bar 7even 5ive at the Andaz Wall Street.

As bartenders dressed like Cupid and wearing big feather wings roamed the room, Lauren and I talked about online dating disasters, turning 40 and taking steps toward new beginnings.

For me, one of those steps will involve a new direction for my little corner of the blogosphere.  Looking forward to sharing it with all of you soon!

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January 9th, 2014 — 9:17pm

Last weekend, I enjoyed a girls night out double header.

The evening began at , my favorite French restaurant in Midtown, with my friend Anna. While i enjoyed heavenly escargot and healthy chicken paillard, the two of us caught up on life, work and dating.

We talked about taking chances and breaking rules–two things I’ve been trying to do more of. It’s not always easy, especially when what you consider to be going far out of your comfort zone is viewed as no big deal in today’s complicated singles world. I was reminded of that recently when another friend said–

“This is going to be the year Melissa takes big risks.”

Clearly I still have some work to do.

After dinner, I met up with galpal Ayesha to see “Saving Mr. Banks.”

Saving Mr Banks: one of my favorite movies in a long time

Richly deserving of the positive buzz about it, the movie is a witty, poignant tale of Mary Poppins’ journey to the screen. Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson are spectacular, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the theater at the film’s moving end.

As the credits rolled, Ayesha and I talked about fun to dos for 2014 – from new Broadway shows we want to see to delicious desserts we want to indulge in again (churros, please). If these final weeks of my thirties are any indication, the big 4-0 is going to be fabulous!

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December 9th, 2013 — 9:15pm

Saturday, I enjoyed a girls night out with my good friend Bobbi.

We headed over to , an Italian bistro on the UES that I’ve been meaning to try since it replaced a Greek seafood eatery in the same location.

Bottega Restaurant: A welcome addition to the UES

My neighborhood has been lacking an Italian restaurant with authentic charm since Da Filippo closed a few years ago. Though on the pricey side, Bottega fills the void quite nicely with Mediterranean ambience, welcoming, attentive service and delicious food. I enjoyed a heavenly beet salad and red snapper, both of which were excellent.

Over dinner, we talked about work, plans to celebrate our upcoming 40th birthdays and, of course, our latest dating travails.

One of the things I’m discovering in this final stretch of my thirties is how much harder it becomes to not close yourself off because of past hurts and disappointments. When the opportunity for romance arises, it feels fraught with more emotional risk somehow. But, as more than a few wise women have recently reminded me, failing to take a chance is an even more perilous scenario.

Fellow dating blogger told me:

“Life is short. Enjoy good relationships, even if they are brief. Pain can come with any relationship, because we make ourselves vulnerable. This is a good thing, not a bad thing. Each person has their own personal romantic trajectory, different from anyone else’s. Who’s to say what will happen next?”

Well said — and words I’m taking to heart.

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November 24th, 2013 — 11:40am

Thursday night, my good friend Sara and I headed over Lord & Taylor’s flagship store in Midtown for a Girls Night Out with Allure Magazine and ESQ Movado.

The evening featured Champagne, sweet treats and the opportunity to try on a sassy, colorful watch. We also got to enjoy mini manicures. Sara chose a festive gold color while I went for my usual pale pink (note to self: be more adventurous with nail color in 2014).

All smiles: Sara enjoying a mini manicure

One of the evening’s highlights – a Q&A session with dating expert and author . Andrea has long been a favorite of mine when it comes to dispensing practical advice that is based on common sense rather than outdated rules.

“The best thing you can do for your love life is to love your life,” she told the crowd of about 200 women.

Dating expert Andrea Syrtash

Andrea also encouraged taking risks this holiday season, whether it’s approaching someone at a party or exploring a new hobby that answers the question, where do I shine?

As for the right time to broach the subject of where a relationship is going, Andrea maintains there’s no one size fits all answer.

“Some couples know after 3 weeks, some couples take seven years,” she said.

Everything Andrea said truly resonated with me. 2013 has been a very bumpy year when it comes to dating – one that has raised more questions than it has answered. It’s forced me to reexamine long held rules which may be holding me back, and to see how hard it is to check your emotional baggage at the door when you’re getting to know someone new.

With 2014 right around the corner, I’ve already decided on my first New Year’s resolution – to not make any that have to do with my love life. That’s a first for me, so maybe the approaching end of my thirties has made me a little wiser after all.

Hope springs eternal.

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September 30th, 2013 — 7:44pm

Friday, I enjoyed an impromptu girls night out with my friend Vania.

We met up at Sojourn on NYC’s Upper East Side. It’s no mystery why this has become one of Vania’s favorite haunts — Sojourn has a welcoming neighborhood vibe and great wine list and always attracts a lively crowd.

Vania and me

Friday was no exception. The bar quickly filled up. When Vania spotted a male friend of hers she waved him over to join us. Alongside him was his colleague BW, a charming, tall attorney with an irresistible Southern accent.

I soon learned that BW is from Birmingham and has great affection for NYC (he lived here briefly), football and telling it like is. We had an effortless, engaging conversation about the plusses and minuses of life in the Big Apple, and the often alarmist media coverage about being single over the age of 35. When BW expressed his appreciation for the enduring beauty of Jane Fonda and Raquel Welch, I have to admit I swooned a little.

From Sojourn, we headed over to my favorite Irish dive bar nearby, , where the flirting continued as a cover band played classic hits we sang along to.

As the night ended, I couldn’t help thinking that there is a lot to be said for being out and about, especially in the bar scene. It’s something I haven’t really done in awhile, but the vagaries of online dating have made me appreciate for the umpteenth time one fundamental reality: meeting new people in the real world is always a thousand times better.

Who knows? Maybe (almost) 40 is the new 30 after all.

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July 21st, 2013 — 7:56pm

Friday, I enjoyed a girls night out with my friend Anna.

Our evening began at Ko Sushi, my longtime favorite neighborhood Japanese restaurant. The sushi is delicious and reasonably priced and the service always swift and friendly. Their iron chef signature roll is a must.

Anna and I settled into a table by the window, where we talked about the ups and downs of online dating, our respective journeys at Starwood Hotels and summer travels. Then, it was off to Yankee Stadium to see “The Legends of Summer” — Justin Timberlake and Jay Z.

Anna and me at Yankee Stadium

The concert was without a doubt the hottest I’ve ever been to — literally, as NYU’s blistering heat wave kept temperatures past 90 degrees even after the sun went down. Watching these two powerhouse entertainers, though, you’d never know it.

JT and Jay-Z delivered an energetic two hour set, riffing smoothly off each other and taking turns in the spotlight. Though I’m no rap fan, even I have to admit Jay Z had the crowd on its feet and singing along with him.

JT and Jay Z brought their A-game

Still, for me and Anna, it was all about Justin. I was especially excited to see him, having had to part with my ticket to his Madison Square Garden show back in 2007 when I got a stomach bug. He didn’t disappoint. Alternating between guitar, keyboards and piano, JT sailed through classics old and new including Like I love You, Senorita, Cry Me A River,Take Back The Nightight   Mirrors. Timbaland joined in for the frenetic and fabulous Sexy Back.

Speaking of cameos, one of the evening’s most exhilarating moments came when Alicia Keys appeared. As a New Yorker, it just doesn’t get any better than hearing her and Jay Z belt out Empire State of Mind. An added bonus — JT bookending the song with a jazzy rendition of New York, New York. For their encore, Justin and Jay Z did Suit and Tie, a pitch perfect ending to a fantastic show.

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May 19th, 2013 — 8:23pm

Friday, I enjoyed a girls night out with my Starwood colleague and friend Anna.

Gaonnuri: authentic Korean fare set against NYC’s stunning skyline

Anna introduced me to , an upscale Korean barbecue restaurant located on the top floor of 1250 Broadway with stunning city views. She read my mind when suggesting it as the perfect date venue (especially the drinks-only window seating area). I may have to return here if my tentative date with a recent Speed Dating bachelor comes to pass.

While enjoying white wine and beef bibimbap (served with rice in a traditional hot stone pot), we talked about being true to where you are in the single versus settling down trajectory, the allure of living abroad and the good fortune of working for a company that is rich with opportunity.

That last tangent of conversation continued over Cosmopolitans at Hotel Metro’s rooftop bar. I confided in Anna about the challenging first few days of my new job – Marketing Manager of the Sheraton New York Times Square. I’m now a two-hotel girl, dividing my time between the Sheraton and my beloved Westin New York Grand Central.

They’re very different hotels so, inevitably of course, I felt somewhat overwhelmed at first. I started to settle in, though, as soon as I received words of support from both my Westin and Sheraton colleagues. For the first time ever in my long and winding career, I finally feel like I’m in a place where I can truly grow and stay put. The management at Starwood Hotels & Resorts is that rare breed capable of pushing you beyond your comfort zone while ensuring you are ready for it.

I’ve said it many times but it bears repeating here. Professionally speaking, I’ve gone from kissing a frog to finding Prince Charming. I was so miserable in my last job that I never thought I would find this kind of career fulfillment again. I can’t help thinking that’s also a good metaphor for dating too. There is always the possibility for something really wonderful to happen.

With an out of town old flame heading this way in a few weeks, I’m looking forward to some kind of wonderful becoming a reality.

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May 12th, 2013 — 8:48pm

Friday, I enjoyed a low-key and much needed girls night out with my dear friend Sara.

Go Burger: Delicious fare in a fun setting on the UES

Our destination – , a laidback yet lively bistro on NYC’s Upper East Side. Having both wrapped up a frenetic work week, we happily bookended our meal with pigs in a blanket and a chocolate chip cookie dough milkshake. Sharing caloric indulgence is without a doubt one of life’s greatest pleasures.

Over dinner, we talked about summer travel plans, the fun of Field Day as youngsters and one of our biggest pet peeves about singlehood – prying questions about the state of our love lives.

It’s all too common for those who are partnered up to ask those of us who are not why we’re still single. However well intentioned these questions might be, even when posed under the guise of making small talk, the fact is that doesn’t make them any less intrusive. It’s basically the equivalent of asking a couple how their sex life is – i.e., something to think twice about doing.

Of course, we understand there is an inevitable curiosity about our singlehood, and it does often come from a genuine place of caring on the part of family and friends. But we want and have a lot more to talk about than that. And being bombarded with love life questions, especially from people you haven’t seen in awhile, ends up making you feel reduced to your dating status. Talk about a major buzzkill.

So the next time you’re thinking of going into twenty questions mode with a single friend/colleague/family member, hold the interrogating. We’ll be thankful for your restraint. And when there’s news to tell, we’ll be that much happier to share it.

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May 5th, 2013 — 8:38pm

This has been a particularly action-packed week — with four work-related events, two of which I had a large part in planning. It culminated in yesterday’s Bridal Bash, an occasion that represented the intersection of business and pleasure which is very much a part of my job.

Westin ladies decked out for the bash: (from left) Jhana, Donna, Jenn and me

To celebrate the opening of our new ballroom, my Westin New York Grand Central colleagues and I came up with a fun idea – inviting women to wear their wedding or bridesmaid dresses again while joining us for an afternoon of cocktails and giveaways. Among those in attendance were a handful of my girlfriends who came to support me and reminded me how lucky I am to have them in my life.

Among my favorite moments: the overcome-with-joy reaction of a prizewinning woman who made me feel a little like Oprah must when she’s giving away something big…Working with a nice WPIX/Channel 11 camera guy to get a sound bite from one of our guests. It was a fun throwback to my TV reporter days, and another example of how I’ve finally landed in a gig where I feel like everything I did before was in preparation for it.

After Bridal Bash ended, my good friend Bobbi and I decided to take advantage of the Kentucky Derby-Cinco de Mayo celebrations going on. Our first stop was Stone Rose Lounge for drinks and light bites. Then, we walked over to the trendy Hudson Hotel.

The hotel’s outdoor fiesta was for ticketed guests only, so we parked ourselves in a corner of the bar for some lively conversation about work and dating. We talked about discovering ex-boyfriends are married, the increasing appeal of non-New York men and viewing past relationships with hindsight.

“Do have you any regrets?” Bobbi asked, about the guys I’ve walked away from over the years.

I actually don’t. Though there are romantic situations I could have handled better, sparing myself and another person a lot of needless heartache, I know I did the best I could at the time. And that I am stronger and, I like to think, wiser for having gone through all of those ill-fated loves. I learned from every single one of them. I’m a better woman for it all, knowing that when I meet the right person, I’ll be truly ready for him.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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