Tag Archives: Date Night

Experiencing a citizenM NYC Hotel Stay

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There was just no way that my husband and I were going to take on the new school year without rebooting.

No. Way.

So we did what we always do when we need to get in touch with our more romantic, more fun selves. We left our kids for a night away in New York City.

We chose to escaped to the new citizenM hotel in Times Square, which opened only recently this past April 2014. The hotel may be new to Times Square but it isn’t new overseas, with a strong presence in Europe and with plans to expand around the world.

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Big City Flavors with Small Town Charm (Restaurant Review)

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One of the things I am most enjoying about my life in New Jersey is experiencing what happens when wonderful talents leave the bigger cities across the country and set shop in the smaller towns transforming communities into celebrated food destinations.

Cranford, NJ is a small town about 40 minutes west of Manhattan and named one of the best places to live in 2010, though I don’t know too much else about it. Andrea Carbine, a chef originally from Seattle, and her husband Jim, found this charming town to be a perfect place to pursue their restaurant business ventures and where they could cultivate their belief of making the most out of the ingredients nature provides you.

They have seen much success in their first restaurant, A Toute Heure, a bistro known for its ever-changing menu due to its seasonal focus. It is a local favorite having won multiple awards celebrating both its kitchen garden and executive chef Kara Decker. Entering its 7th year, it remains a must-have dining experience in the area.

Adding to their list of success, the Carbines have now also opened 100 Steps Supper Club and Raw Bar to meet the demands for such a dining experience in the community they serve, which until now meant having to travel to NYC or the coast for.

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Making Memories at Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

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No matter what I do throughout the year, I always make time to be home for the holidays and that’s because this time of the New York City is my absolute favorite. Yes, it’s cold, and yes, it’s crowded, but man oh man, is it festive, fun and awesome.

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The LCL: New Bar & Kitchen at The Westin New York Grand Central

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I am always looking for new places to eat in NYC because it’s fun and because people are always wanting to try something new when they visit here. When those new eateries pop up in parts of town where good eateries are so hard to come by, even better!

The Westin New York Grand Central is pretty new to its East 42nd digs. Walk into the main lobby and you can still see the shine and glitter. Of course, the standard Westin scent welcomes return visitors to the brand, such as myself, making us feel immediately comfortable and familiar no matter what the destination.

But aside from all the things that we love about Westin that we are sure to experience from just walking in, they also have now launched a new eatery and bar, which on the night of my visit wasn’t just a place for tourists to mingle, but also a few New Yorkers looking to grab an after hours drink.

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A New Pair of Kinky Boots Struts Down Broadway

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As a born-and-raised, worn out and jaded New Yorker, the word kinky doesn’t scare me. It doesn’t shock, surprise or faze me—even if it’s in the limelight that is Broadway. Now, if you add some shiny boots and composition from Ms. Unusual herself, Cyndi Lauper, then that’s another story.

Or should I say, Broadway musical.

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A NYC Evening With the Cast of Golden Boy on Broadway

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I have to admit, I’m a sucker for a boxing drama. I have trained in kickboxing, so it appeals from a knowledge of what it’s like to face down another in a direct physical contest, but also because there’s something about boxing that evokes the original American spirit, especially in New York City’s industrial age. So, discovering that playwright Clifford Odets’s 1937 boxing drama Golden Boy has been revived by Lincoln Center Theater and director Bartlett Sher was a moment of great anticipation. Imagine my glee when I was invited to a VIP pre-show party with several of the cast members. (Hint: it was an epic level of glee.)

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Date Night at The National NYC

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This year, I wanted to make sure that I did something really, really special for the man that I adore and my best friend- and so special I did.

Last time I was in NYC celebrating my son’s birthday we stayed at The (fabulous) Benjamin hotel. We had a blast and the kids loved the royal treatment from the Winks Kidzzz Club. I caught my husband eyeing the menu for The National, located right at the lobby level of the hotel and also one of the many highly successful dining destinations by chef Geoffrey Zakarian. This time, we left the kids home and I booked a room again at The Benjamin and made reservations at The National for dinner. I will admit even I was giddy.

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A Romantic Weekend Getaway at Mohegan Sun in CT

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My husband and I have been married for nearly 21 years, and are still as madly in love as ever, but we rarely get to indulge in actual romance. We have two teenagers and a 9-year-old, and we both work. Not only that, but he travels constantly—so constantly that he just hit the million-miles-flown mark on United Airlines. I spend a lot of time solo parenting.

So, when Carol asked me if I would be willing to visit the Mohegan Sun with my husband for a romantic weekend, I was all over it. It’s located near Uncasville, CT, which is about a 2.5 to 3-hour drive from New York City, depending on traffic. Our GPS routed us up the Merritt Parkway because of traffic on I-95, and it was a stunning drive along the tree-lined National Scenic Byway.

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An Honest Look into Life’s Tough Questions with the Lady from Dubuque

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As my friends know, I make no effort to hide how much I love Broadway. I love dressing up for the theater, walking up the grand staircases, taking my seat among hundreds of other musical lovers. Some productions I’ve loved enough to see four times, in three different cities and two different countries.

But despite all that grandeur, there’s always a soft spot in my heart for off-Broadway shows, too. There’s something to be said about the intimacy of a small theater (and about the great view that you get no matter how close you are to the last row). The characters become that much more real, their emotions that much more palpable. And, most importantly, talent isn’t only found on the big stage.

I was recently reminded of this fact when I attended one of the first performances of The Lady from Dubuque, a play by Pulitzer winner Edward Albee that first debuted in 1980. This year’s revival is running at the Frank Gehry-designed Signature Theatre, a modern and welcoming space complete with a cafe/bar, bookshop, and sofa-filled lounge area. For drama and architecture buffs, there are even touchscreen displays mounted on the walls to learn more about the venue and its events.

Though I obviously didn’t require the Playtime! childcare service, considering my single status, it’s a brilliant idea for letting parental theater-goers enjoy a classy, grown-up night without having to worry about finding a sitter. Shows aside, this building simply makes a great community space, and I can also see someone in the area coming here to meet friends or get some work done on a typical day.

The show–which I quickly realized is really adults-only–begins with Sam and Jo inviting two other couples over for drinks and games. As the jibes get meaner and banter turns into yelling, the audience finds out that Jo is dying from cancer. Dramatic and often uncomfortable, with no lack of profanities, the play takes a brutally honest look at our relationship with ourselves and others and at dealing with the end of life. When two strangers arrive after the group disbands and one of them insists she is Jo’s mother despite Sam’s protests, the issue of identity becomes paramount.

While I admit some of the show must have gone over my head–I’m sure there’s lots about married life and domestic dynamics that I can’t comprehend as a twenty-something–there’s no denying the talent of the cast. Laila Robins, who tackles the role of Jo, plays out the sustained pain so convincingly that you can’t help but wince, especially against her witty albeit snarky quips. Theater star Jane Alexander and Peter Francis James (the Lady from Dubuqe and Oscar) are poised and steady, unexpectedly injecting dry, laugh-out-loud humor to balance out the bleak nature of the plot. And Tricia Paoluccio, in her sincere and earnest portrayal of the simple, unsophisticated of character of Carol, ended up becoming my favorite out of them all.

Regardless of age, the play poses some great questions that are relevant to any audience: what it means to feel pain, who we are, and how we know who others are. Perhaps on the serious side for a weekend night, The Lady from Dubuque provides lots of food for thought for a profound experience with plenty of dramatic talent to boot.

 

Disclosure: Performance tickets and child care option were provided courtesy of PLAYTIME! for the purpose of  this review. PLAYTIME!, the first ever child enrichment program that provides arts, culture and care for kids while their parents see an Off Broadway show. The views and opinions expressed here are strictly my own. For more information please refer to the disclosure page.

 

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Learning The Art of Sushi Making with Sushi by Simon

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My husband is fascinating with the art of making sushi. He tried it once at home. They were big balls of rice that tasted delicious, but were oddly shaped and not very pretty. He was determined to figure out what he was doing wrong and learn tips to really perfect the technique.

Lucky for me, he thought to combine this need to learn with a fun date night adventure for us. He signed up with Sushi by Simon, a class presented by Chef Simon Feil, a sushi instructor located in NYC.

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