Category Archives: travel & leisure

Opening Ceremony

Opening Ceremony - NYC

I follow a few other bloggers to find inspiration and stay on top of what’s going on – primarily in NYC, the art world, the restaurant industry, and in fashion. Bloggers can be the best source for honest content and new ideas, but it can be overwhelming and somehow depressing to see how many blogs are out there – all with the same purpose: to share their voice with the world. I decide not to let this discourage me because I use my blog to digest my thoughts and share my world with others – some of whom are my family and my in-laws in Italy – its a way of communicating my life to those I care about and to strangers who may be interested.

Jane Aldridge - Sea of Shoes

One blogger I enjoy is Jane Aldridge from Sea of Shoes – I think she’s adorable and I like her point of view – its like she truly has a love affair with every outfit she puts on. Being a girl from Texas who has gained a voice of authority in fashion is also quite an accomplishment. A few other bloggers I enjoy are: The Sartorialist, Garance Dore jak & jill, the year in pictures…my favorites list changes quite often…just about as often as blogs change…

Scott Schuman - The Sartorialist

One thing I have taken from the blogs this week is that I need to visit Opening Ceremony. I have read about it countless times this week – as many fashion bloggers have been in the city for fashion week – and most of them mentioned stopping in at this store.

10 Corso Como - Milan

Opening Ceremony is a multifaceted environment with retail spaces, a showroom, and a gallery. This brings 10 Corso Como to my mind…which is one of my favorite places to visit in Milan. Opening Ceremony differs from 10 Corso Como in that it focuses on bringing together emerging American talent with both young and established designers and artists from abroad.  Opening Ceremony recreates a shopping excursion based on four different perspectives: established designer, emerging designer, one of a kind vintage pieces and select items from the open-air markets.

It’s on my list  –  thank you bloggers!

Opening Ceremony New York
35 Howard Street
New York, New York 10013

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What’s your Sleep Number???

I have always loved soft, plushy, fluffy beds with every extra bit of softness I could add – feather bed, pillow-top, down comforter, down pillows, body pillow…basically, I like to sleep in the clouds.

my ideal bed...

My husband, however, has lower back problems and grew up in Italy where beds tend to be a bit more board-like or tough…he could sleep on the floor if he wanted to… my nightmare!

my husband's ideal bed...

This causes a slight issue for us because my mattress is WAYYYY too soft for him – I feel awful hearing him suffer with back problems, but I also can’t sleep on anything too stiff. What to do???

We decided it was time for us to do something to fix this problem so that we could both sleep in peace and comfort, so we went to the Sleep Number store on 61st & 3rd Avenue. We had quite the experience of lying down on bed after bed while the salesperson helped us find the perfect mattress and get an idea of what our sleep numbers would be. I tended to float around the 45 area while my husband was closer to 65. The best part is that we can adjust our sides to be whatever number we want every night!

We will no longer suffer with sleepless nights, and we will likely be a lot happier to know that the other person is just as comfortable…how did married couples do it before Sleep Number mattresses?!?!?! 


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Montauk Manor – winter weekend getaway

My husband and I were tossing the idea around of trying to escape for a night or the weekend on Valentine’s Day – we’re still up in the air with what we want to do, but I did some research and found a nice winter weekend getaway…

in Montauk!

I know, I know…Montauk in the winter?! Yep…it’s empty and it’s heavenly: there’s no problem getting a dinner reservation, no one else on the beach and…it’s affordable! Stay at the Montauk Manor, an 80-year-old national landmark, and you’ll feel like you’ve crashed a party in a romance novel set in the 1920s.

Montauk Manor is a brown-and-white English Tudor resort. The lobby looks exactly like it did when it first opened: giant chandeliers dangle from high ceilings, rounded arches frame cozy, couch-filled nooks, and potted palm trees line the slate floor. It is easy to imagine the wealthy couples who indulged in ballroom dancing and lazy games of croquet back in the day.

Montauk Manor hosts condo apartments and hotel rooms ranging from studios to three-bedroom suites. During peak months—August and September—a one-bedroom suite costs more than $300 a night, but from October to March rooms start at $125! That includes Valentine’s Day…

Getting there isn’t difficult either – especially since the LIRR isn’t PACKED on the weekends in the winter. For about $40 round-trip, you can take the train and ask the manor to pick you up!

Couples keen on staying in all weekend have plenty (besides each other) to explore on premises: the apartment-like rooms are decked out with TVs and DVD players (you can pick up free movies at the front desk), and many have full-size kitchens, patios and views of Gardiners Bay. The manor hosts an indoor pool and a hot tub and sauna. Active types can explore the squash and tennis courts or gym; not-so-active types can play shuffleboard or read by one of the fires in the lobby.

Though most restaurants in the Hamptons close for the winter, the hotel has a list of year-round dining options on hand. The simplest thing would be to book a meal at Breakwater Cafe—located on the ground floor of the hotel. You can try a lunch or sunset dinner at the new Inlet Seafood (541 E Lake Dr, 631-668-4272), which has a separate sushi bar.

In town, Deborah Thompson Day Spa, located above Barnacle Books, is decorated like a Moroccan lair, complete with  antique couches and some crazy-looking lamps—though Thompson will also come to the hotel (Swedish massage, $110 for 60 min).

If we decide to leave the city for the weekend for a romantic getaway – whether it be Valentine’s Day or any other weekend before the end of March, I think Montauk will be at the top of our list…


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Jan 30 -31: Weekend Wrapup

Friday evening:

Drinks and Dinner at Chow Bar with my husband – started with a saketini and finished with a romantic toast of sake. I had tuna carpaccio and vegetables while he had calamari and steak – both of us left very happy and content.

We then headed over to Bowlmor Lanes on University and 13th Street to meet our friends for a friendly game of bowling. I, unfortunately, didn’t help my husband at all with our score – I like to blame it on a-a-a-a-al-co-hol and the fact that the only ball that fit my fingers weighed about 50 pounds! I nearly threw myself down the lane every time…


HAIR APPOINTMENT at the Whittemore House Salon! 3.5 hours of grooming and pampering with some of the coolest people I’ve met in awhile. The salon is amazing – from the warm welcome to the amazing massage when washing my hair to the cucumber water – I could have stayed for another 3.5 hours. I was lucky enough to have my color done by Larry, one of the owners, and he used an amazing “painting” technique that he is well-known for. He and his partner travel around the country training other salons in the technique – he’s considered a “hair guru” and I will be happy to only let him touch my locks from now on. Jamie cut my hair, and she added such amazing layers to create a healthier look that frames my face – I even trusted her to give me LONG BANGS and I love them! Very happy, definitely going back!

Dinner at Faustina at the Cooper Union Hotel for Family & Friends night. It’s always an honor to be invited to Scott Conant’s restaurant openings to have a chance to try the food and see the restaurant before the public is allowed. Faustina does not disappoint! The decor of the restaurant is perfect for the hotel. The small plates allow you to try lots of different things while still feeling content yet not stuffed in the end. They’ll be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, which I think is amazing and opens Scott up to a new realm of dining. Faustina feels like it may turn into the next spot to dine for the young, jet-setters – and having the hotel rooms right upstairs makes it even easier!


After a busy and COLD weekend, my husband and I wanted to do something good for our bodies and minds – so we decided to try YOGA for the first time! We went to a yoga and pilates studio on 3rd Avenue between 17th & 18th Streets. The place was great – very zen. We didn’t realize that the class we went to was intermediate level yoga, but the instructor was so patient and sweet with us. I think we did pretty darn well considering we didn’t know any of the poses and the class was an HOUR AND A HALF of fluid movement through the poses. I thought I might die when I found myself standing on one foot with my other foot straight out in front of me holding my big toe with my other arm straight up in the air – forget about the breathing I was supposed to be focusing on! My husband was a whole other story… 🙂 In the end, we were so happy to have survived and the meditative portion at the end brought us down to a calm place we never reach post-running. We’re going to continue with the yoga on Sundays, but today I am feeling that darn pigeon pose!

We cooked dinner at home with my brother – we made polpette di zucchini (meatballs stuffed with zucchini). It was my first go at this recipe, so there were some hiccups – brother burning is hand on the pan, husband burning his elbow on another pan, me getting testy when my husband made a comment about my polpette not looking like the ones he’s used to in Italy. hahaha. In the end, we all thoroughly enjoyed the dinner, and I am confident I will only perfect it the next time I try. That’s my method of learning to cook – the first time is a trial and the second time I have it pretty down pat!

Wow – that was a full weekend now that I look at it…I hope you enjoy my weekend updates – I think this is the best way to sum it all up each Monday!

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$60 Massage? done.

Since my last massage – the couple’s massage I gifted my husband for Christmas – I have been longing to return to a spa…

What keeps me from the spa???


Enter…Asia Tui Na Wholeness: Tui na massage – $60 for 60 minutes!

Tui-Na is the traditional Chinese medical form of massage.  It can be done light- or deep-tissue-style.  It utilizes the teachings of Chi-Gong to combine pushing, rubbing, and tapping the body’s muscles, acupressure points and energy meridians. It can treat all manner of bodily ills and sicknesses. As Tui-Na sees it, this is accomplished by restoring the balance between your body’s Yin and Yang energies, which constitute all things.

The space is quiet and clean. The proof, though, is on the table.

37 E 28th St

between Madison and Park Aves

uite 800


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Martinis & Manicures


Ok – this is such a simple yet genius concept…give the ladies (and some gents) what they want…Martinis & Manicures at the same time!

The Beauty Bar on East 14th Street does just that! The Original Beauty Bar served it’s first cocktail in the spring of 1995 at the former “Thomas Beauty Salon”. Patrons now sit under the same chrome-domed hair dryers where blue-haired ladies were groomed and gossiped for decades.

Martinis and Manicures are  available at Beauty Bar everyday from 6pm to 11pm, Monday through Friday and from 7pm to 11pm Saturday and Sunday.

The price for a manicure is $10 and that includes a cocktail of your choice! That’s cheap for just a manicure – not to mention the martini! Talk about a great spot for a bachelorette or birthday party…note to self…


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No Pants Subway Ride 2010

It’s time to go PANTLESS!!! The 9th Annual No Pants Subway Ride will take place this Sunday!


1) Willing to take pants off on subway
2) Able to keep a straight face about it


When: Sunday, January 10 at 3:00 PM, Sharp! (Over by around 5:30)
Where: Six meeting points spread out all over New York City. Details below.
Bring: A backpack and a metro card.
Wear: Normal winter clothes (hat, gloves, etc)
Facebook: You can RSVP to the Facebook Event

There are six meeting points this year. Take your pick.

Astoria: Meet at Hoyt Playground – Google Map
Downtown Brooklyn: Meet at Prospect Park – Google Map
Downtown Manhattan: Meet at Foley Square – Google Map
Queens: Meet at the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Park – Google Map
Uptown Manhattan: Meet at the Great Hill in Central Park – Google Map
Williamsburg / Bushwick: Meet at Bushwick Park – Google Map

I will not be participating, but I will definitely try to ride the subway between 3pm and 5:30pm to witness some of the shocked reactions and hilarious deadpan faces of those with no pants! Gotta LOVE this city…

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Beauty Jewel Spa

My husband will only say he loves a few things in his life…me :), his family, his closest friends…and massages.

His family tends to treat us to massages whenever we visit them in Italy. One Christmas, we spent an entire day at the Bormio Terme (spa) in Bormio, Italy while we were on a ski holiday. This experience changed my opinion on the necessity of spa treatments. I didn’t grow up going to the spa or getting frequent massages, so I didn’t feel that it was really something I needed. My opinion changed about half-way through the day when I was relaxing in a hot bath while overlooking the Alps in the background with aromas that made my lungs feel like they had never breathed in an ounce of pollution…I was won over…

I don’t spoil myself very often in NYC with pampering, but I did treat my husband and myself to a couple’s massage as one of my gifts to him for Christmas (I could have treated JUST him, but how would that have been fun :)). I booked a couple’s massage at Beauty Jewel Spa on West 4th Street. I had noticed it because it is directly across from my husband’s old apartment, so I knew it looked reasonably clean and nice.

The massage was $180 + gratuity, which seemed expensive to me but I definitely enjoyed it while I was being covered in oils with the sounds of exotic music transporting me from West 4th Street back to Bormio. We layed on beds with our heads close, but we didn’t say a single word to one another until the 60 minutes was up.


My husband’s shoulder and back felt better immediately afterwards and my skin was like velvet…I think we’ll be going back as soon as our Christmas bills have disappeared from our bank account.

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Strand bookstore…carry me away

Yesterday, in the midst of the wind that could freeze your face to the point where you think it may actually fall off, my husband and I went to the Strand bookstore on Broadway & 12th Street.

Although we do both love books, we were on a mission to find some inexpensive, attractive books to add to our growing library in our living room. Of course our intent would be to also read them or look through the ones that are primarily  images, but we really want to stock up in our library more for our interior design interest at the moment.

Strand is the perfect place to accomplish all of our needs: good content, good prices, and attractive cover. We were very excited to see the huge stock of rare books with the kind of cover that I grew up with in my parents’ library. The kind that you can buy in a set by one author…

Pricing at Strand is also very helpful – you can buy used in great condition at a discounted price. Even the new books are less than you would spend online or at Barnes & Noble.

Another fun part of the Strand experience is the atmosphere of the store. All of the patrons love books and you can hear such inspiring conversations about people who have found that they have the same odd interest in a subject. The staff is very helpful and will recommend their favorite books to you. It feels like you’ve walked into a store where time stands still and the written word and images are carrying everyone off to another world for just a little while…we could all use that sometimes…I like to pretend to be Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face


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Back home in NYC…

My husband, younger brother and I drove to Pittsburgh to spend Christmas with my family. It was great – except for the fact that I was wearing a cast on my righthand which severly interrupted my normal activities. We were able to see my parents, maternal grandparents, two sisters, their husbands and their combined 6 children!

Our activities included: shopping at the mall (which has become more like an observance of facinating characters and clothing trends after 7 years in NYC), watching blueray movies on my parents’ huge tv (which feels more like you’re actually inside the film than watching it from a couch that is so comfortable I would like to bring it to NYC to replace my bed), cooking dinner for large groups of family (in a kitchen that can fit my entire NYC kitchen in the center island), going to Starbucks with my mom each morning (our ritual to have some alone time to finally discuss all of the little details of our lives that just can’t be portrayed over the phone), sleeping in (on a king-sized bed that my husband loved because it prevented my ability to hit him with my cast while tossing and turning), grocery shopping at Giant Eagle (which could house an entire NYC grocery store in the produce section), chatting with family (aka – sharing funny old stories that we have shared a million times before), meeting up with old friends (aka – comparing jobs, husbands, clothing styles and drinking in an old bar in town that was “off-limits” when we were in high school), visiting with my grandparents (wishing they could still enjoy themselves as much as they did in their past – if only their bodies were as young as their souls)…

There’s definitely more involved in a visit home, but that pretty much gives a good picture of what I have been up to over the past week!

As my husband, brother (who lives in Tribeca) and I drove into NYC last night, I felt a sigh of relief to finally be back…Pittsburgh will always be special in my heart, but it has had to step down to NYC as my HOME….

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