Customer Service or Bust

January 5, 2014

Happy New Year!!

I feel like people are so quick to slam companies that get it all wrong, so I am going to praise some companies who get it right. Let’s start the new year off on a positive note!

Nordstrom – People always talk about Nordstrom taking things back, but I had 2 things happen recently that have truly cemented them as a top-notch customer-service oriented biz. First, I headed to the after Xmas sales and happened to find 2 Vince sweaters I liked. One of them I was sure I had seen cheaper online, so as I slowly walked out of the fitting room, I did a quick search on my phone and found that yes, Neiman Marcus had the sweater $30 cheaper. So I went up to the register and asked if they did price matching. The saleswoman said yes, as long as you had a picture of the item online. So I showed her it on my phone, and without hesitation she matched the price. I headed home, and the next evening, I wanted to wear one of the sweaters. I took it out and — EPIC FAIL — the security tag was still attached. So I went to the other and there it was, plastic and ivory and ANNOYING. Especially because I don’t live near a Nordstrom. I grabbed the receipt and called from the car to express my displeasure and see if there was anything I could do besides schlep back out to the store. Vanessa, the manager of that department, listed to my tale and said she would call me back with a potential solution, and apologized profusely. Within 10 minutes she called to say that they would send someone to my house to take the security tags off. Fur reals! She gave me the number of who to call to arrange it, and I am happy to report that Juan came to my apartment building this morning and removed both security tags. Couldn’t have been nicer.

Sephora – Receipts get lost. But sometimes you regret a purchase. Sephora will take back their product without a receipt and give you store credit, no questions asked. Well, they may ask you why. But I like the peace of mind that the tinted moisturizer I bought, but then found a much better formula, can go back at any time. Keeps me loyal!

Space NK – If you’re into high end beauty products (and who isn’t, really? 🙂 Space NK’s N.Dulge rewards program is for you. You get $5 back for every $100 you spend on the well-edited collection. But here’s where you can get crafty: do it in the Space NK boutique in Bloomingdale’s and you’ll get N.Dulge points AND double Bloomie’s Loyalist points. Bonus!

Keepin’ it Positive

And what’s more positive than Happy, Pharrell Williams’ catchy tune from Despicable Me 2. (By the way, are my kids the only ones completely obsessed with this movie? We bought it from itunes and they watch at least part of it EVERY DAY!) Anyway, Pharrell has put together an amazing 24 hour music video for the song. Yes, 24 hours, shot in real time. You have to see it to comprehend how cool it is. Check it out at 24hoursofhappy.com.   You don’t need to watch the whole thing to get the gyst. It will start the video at exactly what time it is on your computer at that moment…you can stay there or jump around. There are celeb cameos, one of my favs being Magic Johnson, who danced at 5:36 am in his house, and shows off his amazing trophy room at his house in California! Pharrell shows up at the top of every hour. Enjoy!

Etc.

I was all set to be back into my routine and then blam! The snowstorm keeps my kids home from school and throws a wrench into things. What can you do?! Just go with it…we had an amazing, relaxing break, and I actually got lots of sleep. So much so that when I went back to work, a woman said, “You look refreshed.” And I responded, “Imagine that! The cure for dark circles is getting enough sleep!!” We should all throw out all of our useless creams and serums and just hit the hay. Word.

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Unsung Standbys

August 17, 2013

There is always so much hype about the latest and greatest restaurants, but last week I went out with my husband to a neighborhood spot that has been around forever, sat in the garden on a lovely night, and it really got me thinking that so many of these old timers don’t get their just due. We were at East of Eighth on 23rd Street, and while I can’t say that you’ll be bowled over by the food, it’s quite good and the prices are kept fairly reasonable (this is Manhattan, after all). The entrees top out at $25, and that’s for a steak dinner. There is a large bar if you’re looking for a spot to drink, but the real attraction here is the back garden. Our waiter was incredibly nice and the service is efficient without anyone feeling rushed. They also do a nice brunch on the weekends. It shows up on Groupon every once in a while, and that makes it a deal you can’t pass up. Great location if you are headed to the movies next door!

Alexis Bittar is on Revolve!

Alexis Bittar is on Revolve!

Revolve

There are so many shopping sites it is hard to differentiate them, truly. Have you been to revolveclothing.com? They seem to have a lot of in demand brands and a nice selection. Plus, the differentiation point for me is free shipping and free returns, and they have it. (Note to Neiman Marcus: get on the bandwagon for free returns.) I may try it before September 13th, because until then you can get 25% off full price merchandise with the code PSWFALL25. You can only use it one time and there are a few restrictions, but you’re welcome!

Etc.

I forgot to water my plants before we left my house for the week a couple of weeks ago and now I just cannot get them back to the glorious state they were in. Ugh! I lost too many blooms. I had been doing a combo of plain water twice a week and water with Miracle Gro (which really works!) every few weeks and they were doing so well and really made my front porch beautiful. I guess I will give them a shot of Miracle Gro today and see if they improve. Now they’re just green with a few fuschia blooms here and there. I guess it could be worse.

Headed to the beach today — i thought it was supposed to be nice all weekend but now they are saying rain tomorrow. Guess that means errands for me!

You’re My Obsession

August 6, 2013

Do you know how hard it is to find fast, healthy recipes that correspond to the food restrictions in this house? My husband doesn’t eat cheese or eggs. I don’t eat beef or pork and I try not eat too much pasta or rice. I am sick of my same old recipes! I’m into this bulgur wheat and peach recipe lately — I will have to share it soon…

Anyway…Tonight I’d rather talk about 2 new beauty products in my repertoire that I am loving. Loving!

Love.

Love.

The first is Hello Sailor! lipstick from Lipstick Queen by Poppy. First off, it’s blue. That in itself is cool. But it goes on kind of berry color — purplish/red. It’s sheer without being too sheer, and definitely gives you more color than a lip balm, yet it feels more like a balm than a gloss. Ya with me? I love it on it’s own, and one night I layered it with another pinkish color lippy I have, and it was even better. It’s definitely mixable with other colors to give them a little more pop. I think it’s supposed to make your teeth look whiter. Not sure about that, but in every other way I am down with it.

It’s a Barneys exclusive. And since their site has free shipping in the US, it’s a no brainer. You don’t even have to get up off the couch. $25.

Next on my list is something for the hair. I really like the look of my hair apres swim in the ocean. The sand and saltwater make it a bit wavy, relaxed and somehow sun-kissed. Apparently I am not

Does as promised!

Does as promised!

alone, because there are a rash of products that promise to make your hair look just like that. I decided to try Sachajuan Ocean Mist, and from the beautiful blue color to the bottle that looks like glass but isn’t to the most important thing: it works, well, this is another winner. I should say that my hair is pretty thick to begin with. But I think this would add some body to any thickness. I wash my hair, towel dry it and then spray a few spritzes all over before I head out the door. It dries fuller and with a bit more wave. Score! They carry this at Sephora, but they are out, so I ordered this from Barneys too. $28.

Finally, nails. I think i have mentioned that I am all about clear polish on my hands. I just cannot bear to look at obvious chips, and I can’t set aside time between manicures to take off the polish. So clear lets me ignore the inevitable glitches. So I was intrigued by Dior’s Nail Glow. It over promises a bit in that it says it will make your nails look like you have a french manicure with just one coat. It doesn’t. But it does make the pink of your nails pinker and the whites whiter, and somehow just one coat makes your nails look more well-kept than just plain old clear. Plus I’ve had it on for almost a week now and there are no visible chips. And I applied it myself! That is crazy. i would say if you like the look of clear on your nails, you’ll like this even better. I ordered it from Nordstrom online. Any beauty orders from there let you pick 3 free samples, and they have free shipping too. $24.

That should keep you occupied for a while…my work here is done!

Etc.

The weather in NYC has been glorious. Yesterday was just about as perfect a beach day as they come, and we took advantage of it! Over 7 hours of sand and surf. Makes coming back to reality that much harder, but I was off today so that helped. Re-entry tomorrow. At least I have my new fav products to help me face the day! Ha ha.

Glimpse Into Fall

July 27, 2013

Who couldn't use a new hoodie from Quiksilver???

Who couldn’t use a new hoodie from Quiksilver???

Well I skipped dessert last night and did an extra workout this morning in the name of getting my fav cheese danish from the bakery this morning, which I have yet to have this summer, and wouldn’t you know it: sold out! There’s some sort of moral in that story but…strawberries and yogurt it is!

Let’s turn our attention now to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. This is a yearly event and I like it because it offers real savings on things before the season, and it’s things you might actually want! If your kids need back to school sneakers, they’ve got some Nikes. I like these adidas kicks but my son wasn’t into them. For women, these Frye boots are pretty rad, and they’ve got a bunch of denim and other staples if you’re in need. I also like the beauty exclusives they do for the sale, like these brushes from MAC.

Definitely worth taking a look around the sire. And Nordstrom, bless their hearts, always have free shipping and free returns, whatever the amount you spend. If you”re buying shoes and aren’t sure of the fit, I recommend ordering 2 sizes and then shipping the one back that doesn’t fit. That way you don’t end up disappointed if what you want is sold out. Sale is til August 5th, and then prices head back up.

Leg Up

There are a few things that I just have a hard time spending a lot of coin on — black leggings are one of them. These from Old Navy work well — and they come in long and a cropped version. They hold their shape and their color, which is a lot more than I can say for some other brands. And at less than $13, well, enough said.

Etc.

We are trying a new restaurant tonight — Ohana Grill. Heard it was good so we’ll see. Also I have yet to get there but people are raving about the fried chicken at Hybird, the fried chicken, dumplings and cupcake joint in Chelsea market from Stephen Starr and Questlove. Sounds like a must-try, no?

So glad the heat has broken, unfortunately as I look outside it is like the sun has gone away too! 😦 Happy weekend!!

istanbul_mosqueJust back from Istanbul, and I have to say that exploring somewhere new is just good for your psyche. Not that this is a newsflash for anyone, but it was a good reminder for me. Just the small act of finding your way around a strange place and showing yourself how self-sufficient and resilient you can be gives us each a lot of faith in ourselves. I liked Turkey and the artifacts were really something to see — we think the rest of Europe is old, but when you are standing below ground in a 3rd century cistern, or turning the corner to see Moses’ staff from the parting of the Red Sea, you begin to have a whole other understanding of antiquities. The plunder from war was very good to the Ottoman Empire — and they have the emeralds and diamonds to show for it!

My son fell in love with this yogurt drink that they guzzle like Coke: Ayran. (I’m happy to report that we found some here in NYC at a Turkish restaurant on 14th Street.) We had lots of kebabs and these huge overstuffed potatoes called kumpir, We stayed in the Beyoglu area and that definitely felt like the place to be — lots of people out til all hours and just a palpable sense of energy, particularly on Istikial Street. Our favorite restaurant there was probably Konak Kebob, and head to Mado for dessert. It really is amazing how many different versions of baklava there are.

On the Bosphorous you definitely want to have a fish sandwich over the Galata Bridge in Eminonu. They catch it in the river. fry it up on a boat and hand it off to you to eat at a little wooden table, lemon juice optional, all for about $3. (And when the young men come around trying to sell you handwipes, buy them! Your hands will smell fishy.) Nearby is the Spice Market, which I liked better than the Grand Bazaar. Definitely worth a walk through if only for the spectacle of the colors and variety of spices. Further up the river is the Assk Cafe, which is a nice spot in a more quiet, exclusive area.

If you head up that way, the Hotel Les Ottomans has one of the nicest spas I’ve ever been to and if you want to experience a Turkish hammam, this is the place to do it in style. Go for the hour-long Citrus Remedy, where you get exfoliated, cleaned, massaged and moisturized, plus you get full use of the facilities, including the meditation room and steam room with salt inhalation. The ice exfoliation was particularly…reviving!

We took a nice boat ride on the river up to the Black Sea and headed over to the Asian side, where we had a tasty lunch of fresh fish kebabs and then took a bus down through a bunch of small towns. We got off in Kanlica to sample the yogurt.

Of course there’s the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and the Aya Sophia, and a little off the beaten path is the Istanbul Modern art museum, which had some interesting pieces and a hip vibe. (If you’re not Turkish, don’t be fooled by the “Free Thursdays” promotion — it’s only for the Turks.)

We finished up our trip with a traditional Turkish breakfast at Namli Gurme Karakoy, sitting outside near the Bosphorous, drinking Turkish tea and sopping up cream and honey with some Turkish bread.

All that’s left to say is “tesekkur ederim,” which means thank you and took us about half of our vacation to master. Someone gave us the tip that it’s like saying “tea sugar and a dream” really quickly, all together, so I pass that on to all of you.

Dry Me

Like most things in life, until you actually try something it’s hard to appreciate or understand it. Add towels to that list. I had heard of pestamels and seen people using them, usually as scarves and usually by people who some would refer to as “earthy.” They are thin towels, usually with tassels on the end, sometimes with stripes woven in. We are familiar with our western ways where bigger is better, and an absorbent towel translates to thick and cozy. But the beauty of a pestamel is that it’s super absorbent but never heavy, and it dries quickly. This makes them perfect for beach towels and as a regular towel in the summer. I was amazed how well it worked on my hair, getting most of the water out in no time flat. Like anything, there’s better quality pestamels. Jennifer’s Hammam in Istanbul carries particularly nice hand woven ones, and you can choose from cotton or bamboo. Definitely worth having a few around for the summer. And yes, in a pinch they can double as scarves, wraps…even a tablecloth!

Etc.

Slowly but surely we are getting over the time difference. Our first few days back we were all up around 5am and then ready to crash by 9pm, always fun…Finally the weather seems to have taken a turn for the better. Let’s hope it stays. I, for one, am sick of wearing socks!

NYC, End of Winter

March 4, 2013

It's usually more crowded than this...

It’s usually more crowded than this…

Well I had wishful thinking that the worst of winter was over, and that I could put my parka away, but no such luck. It’s still cold! (And I love how people say, “Stand in the sun, it’s fine.” No, it’s still cold! I actually threw a cardigan over the dress I’m wearing today, and it doesn’t look great. So when I sacrifice fashion for warmth, you know it’s cold.

Anyway, let’s make the best of it, shall we? This weekend I took my daughter ice skating with a couple of her friends. We were going to head to Chelsea Piers but went to The Standard Hotel instead. It’s a cute little rink and for kids it’s $6 for ice time; $3 to rent skates. (Adults pay $12 for ice time.) You can also get a 30 minute lesson for $25. It gets a little crowded but it’s manageable. They have penguins for the newbies to hold onto as they make their way around the rink. Afterwards you can head towards the tables in the back under the heat lamps for super rich hot chocolate and nutella and strawberry crepes at the Apres Skate Kaffeeklatsch. Be prepared for sticker shock — the hot chocolate is $7 a cup, and it’s so deeply chocolatey that most of the kids don’t like it. (Which leaves it for you to imbibe, so maybe that’s not such a bad thing.) You can also order more real food from a menu and a waiter from inside the hotel — the fries are quite tasty.

Sunday was their last skating day of this season, but put it on your list for next year. Even without the skating, it’s worth taking a walk over there with the High Line, the shops and many restaurants. It’s a nice afternoon spent doing nothing, but something, if you know what I mean.

Another One Bites the Dust

I’m very bummed that Mxyplyzyk has closed, the 20 year institution on Greenwich Ave. I loved that place for gifts and home accessories. Apparently they have a place in Jersey City if any of you are over that way.

Dinner in a Flash

If you’re having one of those nights when take out just won’t do and you haven’t got time to fuss, go the market and buy fresh potato gnocchi, a container of basil pesto and some frozen green peas. Boil the pasta according to the package directions, drain. In the same pot, put the frozen peas and cook a little to thaw. Spoon in the pesto sauce to heat through, Put the cooked gnocchi back in, stir together, serve with a side salad and voila, in less than 20 minutes and for less than $20 you have a tasty, healthy dinner for all. And if there are leftovers, someone can bring them for lunch the next day!

Etc.

I will say it is nice that the days are getting longer. I am headed to Texas this weekend so once again I will escape the chill — and maybe then when I return spring really well be poking its head!

It’s the Holidays…

November 27, 2012

I can’t believe my last post was just as the storm was hitting the east coast — NOT FUN, people, let me tell you. We were hit with loss of power here in downtown NYC and our community by the beach was just rocked, to put it mildly. One day it will all be back in action but it’s going to take a lot of healing, for sure.

Anyway, to escape the doom and gloom I have been focused on the new and shiny. It’s gift season! And I think we all could use a gift right about now, big or small. 2012 has been a doozy…Which is why I think we should all make it easier on ourselves this year with the gift-giving, but no less thoughtful.

Some people say gift cards are impersonal or a cop out, but who wouldn’t want some cash to spend? The trick is to get it for a store that you know the person loves. I don’t want to offend anyone, but someone used to get me a gift card from Best Buy every year. Now, I like a lot of stores, but I had a really hard time finding something to buy at Best Buy, given that we already had all the TVs we wanted. But the gift cards I got from Sephora were all spent easily. Like most things, it’s about knowing your audience. Or what about a gift card from a restaurant? You can frame it as “a night out on me.” Who wouldn’t covet that? Better yet, they just might take you along!

If you’re in the mood for something more concrete and don’t have a lot of cash, what service can you offer? Parents would love to receive babysitting, or maybe you can offer your organization skills for a messy garage? If you’re a good cook, offer to make dinner one night — shop, cook and clean, and I guarantee it will be one of the best gifts they get.

If you’ve got money to burn but no time, hit up one of the fancier stores online and they will wrap it and ship it for free. Neiman Marcus and Tiffanys are just two good ideas. Who wouldn’t want to open up a box from either of them? (And if my husband is reading this, I like this ring. But since you don’t have money to burn I am sure you are rolling your eyes right about now.)

Better yet, call a gift truce with your close friends and take the money and spend it on a nice night out together. I have done this with a few different people and the results have been far more rewarding, frankly, than another sweater on the shelf…

Stressed

It’s the holiday season, which means lack of sleep, a little overindulgence, too much makeup — well, so what else is new, really. At the very least, save your skin. I’m into replenishing oils lately. They’ve come a long way and are no longer so heavy and zit-inducing. I really like Tata Harper’s Replenishing Nutrient Complex. It’s like a multivitamin for your skin. A little goes a long way — put it on before bed or under your makeup in the morning, and gives you a little extra glow. For $45, I’ll take it. (You can get it online at tataharperskincare.com.)
Etc.

I hope none of you braved the craziness of Black Friday. Or if you did, that you got some really fantastic deals to make the madness worth it. There was a woman who called in to a show I was watching and said that she took Wednesday off to have Thanksgiving dinner, so that she could go to all the sales on Thursday. Yes, it’s true. It’s enough to make one a little queasy, and not from all the pumpkin pie.

The NoMad Hotel

If you are a foodie — and these days, aren’t we all? — conventional wisdom goes something like this: NEVER order the roast chicken in a high end restaurant. It’s safe, boring and frankly something you should be making at home. I have a friend who actually apologizes to the waiter if he orders the chicken. Fur reals. So imagine my surprise when I started hearing about this new restaurant, NoMad, and everyone said: “You have to order the roast chicken!”

The restaurant itself is in the (relatively) new NoMad hotel, which is on an unfashionable but burgeoning strip of Broadway in the high 20s. The restaurant is run by the team from Eleven Madison Park, and since over there they got rid of the lower-priced $79 four course menu, meaning you can’t get out of there for less than $500 per duo, the NoMad may be the closest any of us get to tasting their fine culinary offerings.
So, as a belated birthday celebration my husband and I headed over, and he was slightly annoyed that I was insistent on ordering the roast chicken, because it’s for 2, so someone at your table has to also get it. We started with a tomato and nectarine salad, with almonds and ricotta salata that was a nice light beginning. Which was good because then the chicken came. They bring it out in its pan in all its roasted glory, with some beautiful herbs peeking out of its tail. Then they take it backstage and carve it. (My husband and I were very skeptical that it wasn’t the same beautiful bird they were bringing out to every table to show off. So we asked our server. He said it is a fresh bird every time, but he did admit that it may not be your exact bird. Scandalous! ha ha)

It comes out as a perfectly placed piece of the juiciest part of the chicken on your plate, with wheatberries and corn and 2 kinds of sauces that are just the tastiest. But the real thing that makes this a must-try is that underneath the skin of the chicken, they put foie gras and black truffles. Yes, that’s right, I said foie gras and truffles. That is the secret to this sublime dish. And in the middle of your table they will put a mixture of all of the dark meat from the chicken and corn and some other tastiness.

For dessert we had the milk and honey, which is essentially ice cream, caramel and all kinds of different flaky and crunchy things, and a coconut plate with some chocolate and other sweet treats. Both good. But really, the evening was all about the chicken. And how often can you say that?

It’s hard to get a res but if you go on the earlier or later side and make it at least a couple of weeks prior, you should get yourself a spot. It’s a cozy (albeit dark) room, and there aren’t too many tables, but the good news is you’ll feel comfortable when you get in.

Eat, Then Shop

After you’ve sated yourself at NoMad, check out Maison Kitsune, a French shop in the hotel with all kinds of precious things to look at, and maybe buy if you don’t get sticker shock. They carry a lot of Aesop, which is a beauty line I used to buy at Barneys but haven’t gotten in a while. At the Maison I picked up a large tube of their Geranium Leaf Body Scrub, which smells delicious in a natural, non-cloying way and used once a week keeps your skin soft. ($35)

You Gotta Laugh

Here’s a little something to give you a chuckle in the nasty campaign:

9 Things I Say to My Toddler that I wish I Could Say to Political Candidates

Sales!

This weekend J. Crew will give you 25% off with the code STYLE25…and it’s Friends and Family over at Bloomingdales.com which means 20% off just about everything, and better yet they will give you free shipping on everything til Monday. Just use the code FRIENDS12…and over at The Gap you can get 30% all regular-priced styles with the code GCSTYLE. You’re welcome.

Etc.

A Favs shout out to Bill in Pennsylvania who recently subscribed to our  blog after making and enjoying last post’s baked oatmeal. Welcome!

The air is finally turning more fall-like, even though I keep dressing my kids like it’s still summer. It’s all fun and games til somebody gets sick. I’m having a girls’ weekend with my daughter this weekend and we had a good ‘ol time at Bloomingdale’s today and finished off the evening at The Smith on 3rd Avenue. Always a crowd pleaser — but definitely make a res. It was packed.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Dry Me

August 18, 2012

The winner!

Today let’s talk towels. I never really think about towels, and I bet you don’t either, but when you have a good towel, you can really tell the difference. Here are my requirements for a fab toweling off experience:

It has to be absorbent! Don’t you hate when you have to go over things a few times to really get dry? That’s a sign of bad fibers — probably synthetic. Next, please.

It has to stand up to multiple washings! No one wants faded towels or ones with pulls, and since  you use a towel every dang day, unless you’re Pigpen, that’s a lot of washing machine time.

It has to be soft! Since you do use it daily, and sometimes many times per day, you want it to feel good against your skin. Only cotton will do!!

It needs to come in good colors! It’s 2012 Mr. Manufacturer, and people don’t have bathrooms in the colors that were prevalent in the ’60s and ’70s (avocado green, anyone?)…wake up and smell the shower gel, only modern, muted beautiful shades will do.

I recently threw my dilemma out to my towel guy Tom at Bloomingdale’s, and he told me that the store gives him one of every towel to take home and try out, so that he can give advice to customers like me who clearly overthink these things. (Ha! Those were my words, not Tom’s.) He recommended 2 kinds of towels to me, and I bought both to try, but only one came out the winner…

Runner Up: In second place, I put Calvin Klein towels. I got a bunch for our wedding — which is over 10 years ago already — and I originally picked them just for their colors, which were the most modern at the time. They have held up well.

And the winner is…WATERWORKS! Tom did recommend these, and he did not steer me wrong. They stand up well to all my criteria and they have been a welcome addition to our household. We’ve been using them for the past year and I highly recommend these towels.I’m partial to the Perennial style (pictured) which is 100% Turkish Combed Cotton.

One last word on towels: do not pay full price! Bloomingdale’s and other department stores have home sales at least twice a year, and the towels are usually 40% off, which makes them much more affordable.

Happy drying!

West Village Comfort Food

I recently had a lovely dinner with my friend Kitty here from San Francisco, and her friend Barbara. There’s always a little bit of pressure picking a place because Kitty is a foodie. I had wanted to go to Tremont in the West Village for a while, so I decided to book it for us, and it did not disappoint. It’s the perfect restaurant for the West Village, and just what you want for an adult dinner where you want good food and wine with the ability to layer in good conversation. We had a lovely table by the front window and the scallops were terrific. (We sat next to Annette Bening and her daughter and they seemed incredibly normal and I have to applaud Ms. Bening because I don’t think she’s had a stitch of work done to her face, which seems unheard of in an actress these days.)

Anyway if you want a truly nice night out with friends and family, this is a good spot. It’s not too large, and the staff is friendly, And there are some cozy booths in the back. There is one, I think it’s table #2, that Barbara was already checking out for her next time back. (Tremont is located at 51 Bank Street, NYC)

Etc.

I was able to get to the beach for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon and it was gorgeous. I love when I read and fall asleep, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. The sound of the waves just puts me out. Today there’s some rain but we have friends coming for the weekend with wine so I am sure that will be fun!

 

Summer Book Club

August 5, 2012

Well, it’s happened again. It’s August already and I have a whole long list of books that I wanted to read on the beach. So I’ve got less than a month to make it happen! I did read Joan Didion’s Blue Nights, which was great writing but incredibly depressing and thus all wrong for summer reading (note to self: never select anything about a child’s death over the summer, especially non-fiction). Then my sister got me hooked on the crack that is the 50 Shades trilogy, which is so poorly written and empty and wrong and yet you cannot stop — the literary equivalent of bad potato chips. (Funny story:  I was in Three Lives bookstore in the West Village recently, which if you’re in NYC you must stop by and browse — it’s the most perfect little independent bookstore — and I was teasing them for carrying the 50 Shades books. And the owner said, “That paid all of April’s rent! Once that happened, I was like, ‘I’m on board!'”)

So what’s on my August reading list? I’m all about paperbacks:

I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron — I had read excerpts of this in various magazines, but with her recent passing, I was reminded that I wanted to read the whole book. It’s like sage advice on aging from your mother, if your mother were a famous writer and film director who was married three times and had lots of famous friends and a fabulous life in NYC. Funny women are often overlooked for the male comedians, so I like to read a good funny female book, which brings me to the next entry on the list…

Bossypants by Tina Fey — I was waiting for this to come out in paperback, and now it has. The excerpt I read in The New Yorker about what she wishes she could tell her daughter Alice about the internet was hysterical. As a 30 Rock fan, I am excited to read her other musings.

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan — I need some good fiction too, and this Pulitzer prize winner should do the trick. I’ve heard an awful lot about it, especially the chapter that’s written in Powerpoint, so let’s hope it lives up to the hype. She’s a fellow U Penn grad so we have to support one another!

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak — This one was given to me to read by my mother. I believe technically it’s a Young Adult book, but in the Hunger Games tradition, it’s a story for all ages set in 1939, Nazi Germany.

I also want to read Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, but it is only in hard back so it may have to wait…

That should keep me going til Labor Day.

A Cappuccino and a Laugh

Jerry Seinfeld started a new internet series called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. I had high hopes for it, but after watching the first two installments, I wasn’t bowled over. But there were some gem moments and with each episode being less than 15 minutes, it’s not a major time investment. Check it out at comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com (go figure). I thought the Larry David one was the best so far.

H&M Home

Apparently H&M Home is about to hit stateside, which means you can get some cheap accessories for your home. It’s good for all the extra knick knacks you need to make your room that much more designed.

Lounging Around

We went to a very good restaurant last night, Labrador Lounge. (3581 Route 35 North, Normandy Beach) It’s got an extensive menu and a hippie vibe, and the food is tasty. If you find yourself in Ocean County, NJ, make a reservation (it gets packed) and indulge in dinner. Some standouts were the lobster mac and cheese, the jersey blue salad with grilled peaches and vidalia onions, the tuna, shrimp and mango ceviche served with tortilla chips, grilled corn and the sesame-encrusted tuna. My kids loved the sushi. And for dessert the bread pudding was tasty. There were so many good things on the menu we probably over-ordered, but that’s a good problem to have.

Etc.

The humidity is really starting to get to me, I must say. The air is just oppressive. I wanted to go for a walk this morning but it was too hot so I will wait for the air conditioned gym tomorrow.

I bought lobsters and for the first time I am going to attempt to grill them for dinner. Lobsters, tater tots and zucchini. And probably an Angry Orchard hard cider, which has become our unofficial drink for this summer.

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend!