Thursday, May 29, 2014

An Open Letter

To the mouse in my apartment.

Dear mouse that is living in my apartment,

Please go away.

You do not pay rent and I want to evict you.

Why are you so stubborn? For a week I've placed very sticky traps to lure you into submission and you've strategically avoided all of them. You don't even seem to like the tasty poison I've left for you.

Last night, when you sauntered from the fridge towards the bookshelf, paused, and turned back towards the fridge, a part of me sympathized for your nomadic life.

But here's the thing, buddy. I spent a very long time trying to move to my apartment. Yes, I know its a pretty hip NYC neighborhood and many people want to live there, but it is my name on the lease, not yours. You don't live there!  I hear there are plenty of new up-and-coming neighborhoods in Midtown West or Queens -- go to Astoria! Why won't you go there??

You've made my home feel foreign and my meditative relaxation before bed is now filled with anxiety and fear that I'll wake up with you next to me.

So mouse, I won't kill you if I don't have to. Grab some crumbs and go home. I'm sure your family misses you.

The lawful resident of my apartment

Monday, May 26, 2014

New Orleans Restaurant Reviews

Clementines were our appetizer!
Meals from the Heart Cafe
Ordered: Poached Egg and Crab Cake Passion, Cheese Grits, Vegan Power Smoothies.

Some great things about this place:

  • It's located in the French Market and there's plenty of seating either at their counter or in an area with lots of tables/chairs. Because the French Market seems to be a bit of a tourist destination, the crowd is buzzy.  This place, however, gets visits from lots of locals!
  • They give you clementines after you order
  • Everything can be made gluten-free
I had my first crab cake at Meals from the Heart Cafe and I would return again and again for that crab cake.  It was light.  It was tasty.  It came with a sauce/aioli that was finger-lickin' good.  The cheese grits were delicious, but I needed to add hot sauce to bring out the depth in flavor.  The Vegan Power shake was huge and extremely satisfying. Into one smoothies they pack fruit, walnuts, flaxseeds, almond milk, hemp milk, and possible some other vegan delicious things.  I could have just had the shake for breakfast, but when in NOLA...

My first gfree crabcake!

Vegan Power Smoothies
 Lunch @ The Joint
Ordered: BBQ Chicken, Brisket, and Ribs with Sides of Coleslaw and Baked Beans

Outside at The Joint

Cocktails! A Bourbon Lemonade and a Jalapeno Margarita

BBQ Selfie

Oh yeah.  Clockwise: Baked Beans, BBQ Chicken, Coleslaw, BBQ Brisket, Ribs
The baked beans were outrageous.  I usually thing of baked beans as hot, thick, saucy, and extremely filling (and usually very sweet).  These were nothing of the sort.  They oddly tasted healthy.  Very light with a tangyness that complimented the pile of meat.  The chicken was perfectly moist, but without getting a bite of the skin or throwing some BBQ sauce on the meat, it didn't have the BBQ taste one might expect.  I loved the brisket and the ribs.  Hard to pick between the two.  Ribs were messier to eat, brisket was the perfect vehicle for getting in more BBQ sauce. The coleslaw was very good, but nothing to write home about.  Next time I go to The Joint, I'll try the Pulled Pork and be sure to come with a much larger appetite.

GW Fins
Ordered: Smoked Sizzling Oysters, 'Scalibut' with Pea and Lobster Risotto

Smoked Sizzling Oysters


OK.  So these oysters....they're pretty amazing.  The oysters are removed from their shell and marinated in butter (and probably some other things, but mostly butter).  Then, the shell of the oysters are heated to 500 DEGREES and the oyster are places back on the shell and cooked.  The result: creamy, hearty, smooth, delicious oysters that you can chew and that really taste nothing like I think oysters taste like.  But they are really really good.  If you like lobster, I think you will like these.  

Another pretty amazing dish: scalibut.  Scallops + Halibut.  A piece of halibut is covered in thinkly sliced sea scallops that are then seared.  The result: crispy scallops surrounding a perfectly cooked and extremely flavorful piece of halibut.  Not to mention this is served over pea and lobster risotto.  Not a dish for the seafood faint of heart (or someone looking for a really light dinner), but it was expertly executed.  I am glad my mom and I split both these dished because it was plenty of food after a day of eating (see above).

Arnaud's Sunday Jazz Brunch

Mother's Day Mimosas
Order: Four Course Brunch Pre-Fixe -- Shrimp Arnaud (shrimp marinated in the eponymous Creole Remoulade), salad, Eggs Sardou, Flourless Chocolate Cake

If you like a little kick with your shrimp in the morning, go for the Shrimp Arnaud.  Slathered in the Creole Remoulade, these delicious little shrimp pair perfectly with a mimosa or a Bloody Mary.  

Happy Mommy!
The Eggs Sardou -- poached eggs over creamed spinach with artichoke hearts was so good I could have licked the plate.  Even with the creaminess of the spinach, the dish didn't feel heavy.  A great springtime brunch option.

And then there was the fudge. I mean, the flourless chocolate cake.  This was like someone dropped a block of sweet, smooth, luxurious fudge on a plate and said it was cake.  I was happy.  Thank god for the whipped cream because the richness of this cake was extreme.

Arnaud's Flourless Chocoloate Cake

I was happy with ever single dish ordered.  I don't think you can go wrong following this trail of eats.

Bon appétit!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Cake Taste Test

In the past 7 years since I've been gluten free, the market has seen a tremendous increase in the number of gluten-free items on the store shelves.  Cookies, pretzels, cereals, breads, corn dogs, chicken nuggets, muffins, name it!  Carb-y good ness now comes in all different gluten free shapes and sizes.  It seems like every brand -- from King Arthur Flour to Betty Crocker -- is coming up with a gluten free variation.  I've tried a lot of these products, but if you were to ask me for recommendations, I don't feel super passionate about one over the other.  I tend to grab what is available and have not developed a preference one way or the other.  I would feel OK about this indifference if the items were really the same, but they're not.  Everyone has their own take on gluten free and the blend of flours used typically differ.

I made the assumption that the category with the greatest variety in composition and the one where having an opinion probably does matter, is all-purpose flour.  In order to develop my own opinion, I pledge to have a gluten-free flour taste test.

3 different flours.
1 recipe.
In the end, 1 winner.

A classic vanilla "birthday" cake seemed to be the best option for bringing out the true flavor of these flours.  I scoured the web for a cake recipe that did not use cake meal, because I didn't want to introduce another potentially complicated ingredient/gfree substitution.  I landed on The Kitchn's Basic Yellow Butter Cake and proceeded forward.  The three flours I used were, Domata Gluten Free Recipe Ready Flour (with Xanthan gum), Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour, and Pamela's Artisan Flour Blend.  I've used Bob's and Pamela's before, so I was expecting those to produce a great cake.

Prepping with all of the ingredients
The recipe was extremely easy to follow.  The first cake I made was with the Domata flour and I was a bit concerned about the consistency.  The dough what thick and sticky and it made using my handheld electric mixer a bit difficult.

The Bob's Red Mill flour created a much "soupier" dough that was very easily poured into the pan.

Pamela's was the most non-gluten free like dough of the three, but still maintained a thick consistency.

All three cakes needed to be cooked longer than the 25-30 minutes recommended in the recipe.  The pans I used we slightly smaller than the recommended size, so that may be the reason why.  The problem this caused was that the edges of the cakes became more well done and altered the consistency.

For the frosting, I used Food Network's Best Chocolate Frosting Recipe which was really really REALLY good.  Depending on the amount of milk added, you can make this a super fluffy light frosting.

We took samples from the middle to get even cooking consistency

The taste test was double-blind test and I had my friend assign the cakes 1-3 and give all 6 tasters a small piece of each.  It was unanimous that cake #1 was too dense and did not have great flavor.  The votes were split between cake #2 and #3.  I voted for cake #3 because I liked the fluffiness and crumbly cake texture.  I also felt that there was a smidge of a gluten-free aftertaste to #2.  But today, 24 hours after the baking and tasting, they are both delicious.

Cake #1 - Bob's Red Mill
Cake #2 - Domata
Cake #3 - Pamela's

Obviously a different recipe, a different pan, a different day could yield different results.  For now, I will stick to Pamela's and give Domata another try.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

People Watching

My new favorite place to people watch in NYC:

The uptown end of the 1/2/3 train at Times Square on a weekday during rush hour.

Lots of people. Lots of stories. Very fun to make up your own.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

My First Visit to Nawlins

The United States is filled with lots of cool cities that have lots of cool things.  I feel very fortunate to have spent and be spending a large portion of my formative years in New York City where it seems like you can have any type of experience you want at any hour of the day.

I love New York.  And, there are many other cities I have a passion to explore.

One of those cities is New Orleans.

Similar to my obsession with Austin, TX,  my fascination with New Orleans sprang up out of nowhere.  I don't think it has to do with Mardi Gras, but maybe I can attribute it to Jazz Fest?  Whatever it is, New Orleans has been in the Top 5 of my "Places to Visit in the US" for a while now.

Feeling spontaneous one dreary winter afternoon, I started looking up flights (and hotels) for Jazz Fest 2014.  Clearly, I was too late in the game as all the decent places had been booked and flight fares were astronomical.  I spoke to my mom about this and asked her when she had last been in New Orleans, if ever.  Her response was something along the lines of "Gee, it may have been in....I don't know...the Seventies".  It was time for her to return.

In honor of Mother's Day, we decided to book a weekend trip to New Orleans for my first visit to the city, to Louisiana, and to The South (as far as I'm concerned).  In preparation for this trip we spent hours combing through Trip Advisor reviews, blog posts, recommendations from friends etc, to find the best places to eat in the city.  Sites and attractions?  We'd figure that out later.

Our list was huge.  With a weekend trip, unfortunately there are only so many meals that can be had.  We settled on the following:
Saturday Breakfast
Saturday Lunch
Saturday Happy Hour (maybe)
Saturday Dinner
Sunday Brunch
Sunday Snack (maybe)

Arriving late Friday night may have set us back a Friday night dinner, but we have jobs.

There were so many places to choose from -- local recommendations and tourist traps (Cafe du Monde beignets, anyone?) -- but it was really hard to choose.  My next post will give you a closer look at where we ended up eating, what we ordered etc.

Cafe Au Lait.  No Beignets for the Gluten Free!
Once we arrived, we spent the majority of our time in the French Quarter where our Bed & Breakfast, Grenoble House, was located.  Here's a tip for those traveling to NOLA and looking to get the most out of the city in the least amount of time:  stay somewhere convenient and budget-friendly.  The Grenoble House was listed as the top spot in New Orleans according to Trip Advisor.  It was fine.  Our room did feel a bit off the beaten path (it was next to the circuit board and "control panel" for heat, electricity etc) and the large sitting room and kitchen were unnecessary given how little time we spent in the space.  But, the staff was lovely and it was a perfect location for our forays.

On Saturday we walked through the French Quarter and along the Waterfront and admired the clean-up routine taking place on Bourbon Street.  We briefly perused the French Market and commented on how the same junk is sold whether you're in NY, NOLA, or Norway, took the Trolley Car down St. Charles Street and visited the Touro Synagogue (they have a beautiful Sanctuary and a great story), tried lots of Hot Sauce and Pralines, and also managed to pop-into many shops along the way.

A permanent Sukkah in the Courtyard at Touro Synagogue

Ceiling in the Sanctuary
Original Blueprints from Touro Synagogue when it was located in the French Quarter

We also got to witness the famous New Orleans parades complete with dancing in the street and a brass band.  This one was celebrating a wedding and we loved the high energy festivities!

Wedding Parade
Warning: if you buy something in the French Quarter, it will likely be emblazoned with a Fleur de Lis.

After lunch and a much needed nap, we sang along to the Dueling Pianos at Pat O'Briens, observed the spectacle of Bourbon Street complete with people throwing Mardi Gras beads from balconies, scantily clad and oddly clad people roaming from bar to bar, Bachelors, Bachelorettes, and all and everything in between.  Our dinner was delicious and we were stuffed and exhausted and ready for bed by 12:30.

Sunday brought yet another eating extravaganza with a famous Jazz Brunch.  The weather was iffy and sporadic downpours had us grab the trolley and head to the WWII Museum.  Bummed that my sister couldn't join us for the weekend, we got off the trolley a few stops early to take a picture at Julia Street.

Julia Street

The WWII Museum was wonderful.  They have an excellent exhibit about D-Day and pay homage to Andrew Higgins and Higgins Industries, the New Orleans-based company, that designed and manufactured the amphibious boats used for the D-Day operations.  A highlight of the museum was the 40 minute film, narrated by Tom Hanks, that gives the viewer an in-depth (and 4D) experience into how the US was involved in WWII and fought diligently on two fronts -- one in Europe, and one in the Pacific.  Absolutely worth the extra ticket fee.

By the time we were done with all that, it was time to head to the airport and back to New York.  There were many, many places to see and activities to do (SWAMP TOURS!) that we didn't have time for.

As I say about many places after I leave,  I will be back.

And since I loved every meal we had, here are my recommendations:

Saturday Breakfast:  Meals from the Heart Cafe
Saturday Lunch:  The Joint
Saturday Afternoon:  Rather than Happy Hour, at some point Saturday evening head to Pat O'Briens for their Signature Hurricane cocktail and dueling pianos in the Piano Bar
Saturday Dinner:  GW Fins
Sunday Jazz Brunch:  Arnaud's

Stay tuned for an in-depth view of them all!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Glass Half....


I like to see the glass half full.  Optimism vs Pessimism.

This is really hard.  Especially in New York.

Do you love NY?
Source: Wikipedia
A few nights ago I had dinner with two dear friends (at Tortaria on University Place. Great spot!) and as we were saying goodbye I realized we spent most of the night complaining.  Work, our cities, career aspirations, housing, love lives etc.  Nothing seemed to be going "the right way".  I was slightly bothered by the negative tone that the night took on (although we had a great time) and realized that although we had been a bit pessimistic, it was really nice and comforting to have two good people to talk to about these trials and tribulations.

Tacos from our "negative", but really fun, dinner!

I have some friends who pass off every complaint or frustration as "something that happens to everyone".  Maybe that is so, but sometimes I just want to complain about it and bask in the negativity for a little bit.  Don't just pass off my feelings as something that is universal.

Living in NYC, it can feel like everything is working against you.  The subway breaks down, a homeless person spits on you*, paper towels cost $5...the list goes on.  I constantly feel like there is a moment, a turning point, where I can decide to be pessimistic or decide to be optimistic.  Often, choosing the path of optimism is harder and requires more effort to "see the bright side".  I think of it as Cross-Fit for the brain and emotions.  You hate it in the moment, but afterwards you feel much better.

Today, I read a piece about how Love and Ambition cannot coexist in Manhattan.  Upon reading the title, I agreed.  However, when I dove into the piece I was appalled at the overarching negativity.  I don't think that finding love and ambitiously pursuing a career in New York is easy, but it is certainly not impossible.

I wrote a response.

The article.
Why Ambition and Love Can't Live Together in New York

My response.
"As a NY-er (I've lived here independently for 2 years and spent all but my 4 years in college in NYC or the surrounding area), I think it's a bit harsh to say "There’s no time to go to the gym or partake in single’s activities at Central Park. There’s no time for blind dates and yoga classes. There’s no room for kickboxing or pilates during the day. There’s no way to keep my butt tight and my schedule open." 

If you want to do it, you will make time. I go to the gym, I take yoga classes, I have drinks with friends, I work 9-6 (at least) and I also have a few side projects that I am working on/helping out with. I am not "actively" searching for dates and if something comes along, I take it. I sometimes feel like I'm doing too much, but in NY when you're not doing so much it feels like you're doing nothing. I get bored.

Life, whether you're in NYC or in Omaha, is about choices. Ambitiously pursuing a career does not need to be at the expense of dating or finding love and vice versa. Time management. Prioritization.

I'm not saying that juggling all of this is easy and I do think that the dating scene in New York is like no other place on this planet, but there are plenty of people that are ambitious and in great relationships or happily dating (multiple?) people.

Maybe it's time to stop relying on OK Cupid or Tinder or Hinge as the sole way to meet a potential S.O. and take our ambitions and use those to meet people. I once met someone who married a woman he met on the subway. He ambitiously pursued her while climbing the corporate ladder. Now that's love and ambition in NYC."

What does this all mean?  For the most part, we have control over our actions and our disposition.  If more people choose optimism and choose to make things work, will it?  I have to believe that it will, at least to an extent.

Trust me, I know this is easier said than done, but I figure it's worth a try.

*A homeless man did spit on my sister. Truth. On 14th Street between 6th and 7th circa 2009.  We stopped into Red Mango to get napkins to wipe the loogie off her sleeve.

Discovery: Coconut Butter

Coconut Oil is not the same as Coconut Butter.

Coconut Butter is delicious. Really delicious. I've found a new food obsession.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Inspiration from My Dad

Every so often, my Dad emails my sister and me with an article, a quote, or some infographic that really hits home with its "realness" and life lessons.

Yesterday was one of those days.

From my dad*

For reasons too convoluted to describe, I was looking at some of the dialogue from A Thousand Clowns, in which I performed in 1965  as Nick.  The story is around an uncle bringing up his 12-year-old nephew (Nick) and the social workers want to take Nick away.  Murray, a wise soul, protests as follows:

Murray Burns: I just want him to stay with me until I can be sure he won't turn into Norman Nothing. I want to be sure he'll know when he's chickening out on himself. I want him to get to know exactly the special thing he is or else he won't notice it when it starts to go. I want him to stay awake and know who the phonies are, I want him to know how to holler and put up an argument, I want a little guts to show before I can let him go. I want to be sure he sees all the wild possibilities. I want him to know it's worth all the trouble just to give the world a little goosing when you get the chance. And I want him to know the subtle, sneaky, important reason why he was born a human being and not a chair.

Thanks, Dad!  Every day I try and see all the wild possibilities.

*He's the best dad I've ever had...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

America's Best Tacos a la The Daily Meal (via HuffPo)

My blog mission states:


In other words, I am looking for the best taco in the world with a heavy focus on the United States.

When I was tipped off that The Huffington Post had released an article from The Daily Meal entitled "America's Best Tacos", I got really excited.

HuffPo highlights Torchy's Tacos in Austin, TX (that I absolutely LOVED during my time - and Taco Adventure - in Austin) and Los Tacos No. 1 in Chelsea Market in NYC (which I have visited, but did not blog...sorry.) as two top picks from The Daily Meal's list of 50.

I love this.  I had to stop looking through the slideshow because my mouth was watering. Literally.

"Tacos are a food that inspires fierce loyalty."

I know have lots and lots of new additions to my "Tacos to Try" list...and some travels to do!  It seems like various places in Texas and San Diego should be my first stop.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Cleansing: A Reflection

Holy moly.  I cleansed for over 2 week.  15 days of juice, smoothies, and lots of lot of water.

I never thought I'd be able to do it, but was really shocked at how easy it was.  Day 3 and Day 11 and 12 were probably the most challenging.  After Day 10, I started to feel the emotional ramifications of not eating.  However, when I started to get upset over something it was often because I needed my next juice!  I loved the simplicity of my life.  I didn't have to think much about what I wanted to "eat" or about preparing food.  The difficult choices were which juices to buy!  I learned to love some new Juice Press flavors (Gravity, Simple Green, Anti-Aging, The Meal - only sometimes....)
and some of my tried and true favorites were too sweet or lost their charm (Love at First Sight, Doctor Green Juice).  Chia seeds were super helpful in keeping me feel full longer and I was seriously never without a water bottle.  I drank herbal tea some days which was a nice change to water, but I didn't crave caffeine (or coffee!)

I felt alive.  My dad kept telling me I was "glowing".  I definitely could have gone 3 or 4 weeks total.  What's interesting is that in the 2nd week, I became much more sensitive to sugar.  I was less a fan of the green juices that had apple or pineapple or grapefruit and liked the simple "all green" versions (with a little lemon and ginger, of course).  That is also when I began craving more of the hearty juices -- the Black Labels of the world where I got some nut milk and coconut meat and/or oil.  At the end of the day, these really satiated me.

Chia seed filled Glo

Rarely did I feel hungry.  A few times my stomach would grumble, but I came to see that not as a sign of hunger, but just as my body speaking to me in some way or another.  I felt very "full" and there were not 1 day when I finished all 6 juices and wanted more.

One of the most difficult parts of the cleanse was keeping my daily juice menu interesting!  I didn't want to drink the same things over and over again and I wanted to keep it exciting and fresh.  Luckily, Juice Press has such a wide range of juices that, depending on my mood, I could find anything I wanted!  Smoothies were also really really good.  Usually if I had a smoothie, I could stick to 4 juices for the day.

Smoothie in the making!

The Guru.  Love love looooove the Hemp seeds!

Will I do this again? Yes.  Absolutely.

As I transition back into real food I'm already feeling the burden.  This morning I woke up lethargic and tired.  During my cleanse I went to bed because it was late and I wanted to, not because I felt like my body could not stay awake for another minute.  I'm certainly more concious of what I am putting into my body and realize how little I like "eating on the run".  Grabbing a juice is much easier and so much more satisfying.  Eating a meal (or a snack) should be a ritual and something that we appreciate.  If you're lucky, the food before you at a meal is something that was not taken out of a package.  I think it's important that we "honor" that food and try not to just scarf it down.  I believe in eating for nutritional purposes and eating (not over-eating) for pleasure, enjoyment, entertainment, gathering of community.

Breathe.  Look around you.  Be happy.  Eat.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Hashtag Tacos

I posted a question/poll on Twitter.  Do you know anyone that DOESN'T like tacos?

I am expecting an [overwhelming] response of "NO!".  When you break it down, a taco is a tortilla with some stuff in it.  That stuff can be meat, veggies, or a combination.  Heck, if you want to make a fruit taco, go for it!

Tacos are becoming pretty mainstream.  I'd be hard pressed to find a city without some sort of Mexican food/taco outlet.  Not saying that this will be a good place for tacos, but it's bound to exist.

The proliferation of taco photos on social media has grown significantly.  In honor of everyone's tacograms today for Cinco de Mayo, I provide my hashtag taco mashup.


And oh, so many more.

A few of my favorites:

Major kudos to all the Instagramming from:

Since tacos were not on my juice cleanse menu, I celebrated Cinco de Jugo and channelled the Holiday into my juices.  Check out Spicy Citrus, Tomato Gazpacho, and South of the Border!

I really want a taco.

Cleanse: Day 15

Today is Day 15 of my Juice (and smoothie) cleanse.

I still feel amazing.

After many conversation about the process of transitioning out of a detox, I have decided that today will be my last day of only juice.  Tomorrow I will re-incorporate solid foods into my diet.

When I initially embarked on this journey, I was planning to do 20 days.  I'm cutting myself 5 days short because I realized that I can't go back to "normal" after nearly 3 weeks without food.  In order to maintain the benefits of this detox, it is crucial that I make this transition slowly and carefully.

On Friday I head to New Orleans.  I want to be able to eat what I want to eat and not feel sick.  Giving myself a few days for recovery is probably not enough, but I'm making a compromise.  Will I dive immediately into fried foods and meat?  Absolutely not.  And honestly, that's not what I'm craving right now.

I am excited to eat raw foods and continue to feel the benefits of my cleanse why simultaneously chewing.  I have learned to be more aware of the food I want and what I feel like I need.  For example, yesterday I took a spin class and had a smoothie and a green juice afterwards.  Around 9pm, I needed something hearty, creamy, a little sweet.  I grabbed a Black Label.  Without spin, I probably could have just gone for another green juice (maybe something with fruit), but I knew I needed the sustenance of the almonds and coconut oil in Black Label.

Next post I'll detail all my pros/cons/thoughts/musings/diatribes on my cleanse.  Spoiler Alert: I would do this again!!!

Most importantly, Happy Cinco de Mayo!  I hope you enjoy your chips, guacamole, TACOS, and margaritas.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Great things about May

May is off to a great start.

green juice
In honor of May Day, I think it is of utmost importance to highlight some great things about May.

According to Big Daddy's, May is National Burger Month!
Makes sense that the month that welcomes in summer with memorial Day Weekend BBQs should be devoted to the infamous hamburger.

This got me thinking...what else is May?

Memorial Day Weekend

Cinco de Mayo 
(See my previous post for more about my love of this day)

Celiac Awareness Month 
(Yay! Gluten Free!!)

National Bike Month

National Salad Month

Brother's and Sister's day (May 2)
(Hi sis!)

Lost Sock Memorial Day (May 9th)
(I have a lot of these)

Mother's Day 
(no offense to the Fathers out there)

These are hilarious! Want more?

If you are starting to like May as much as I am, why not hedge your bets and try and WIN a trip to MEXICO.  Oh, did I mention it is an 8 day food tour?? Thanks, Blood, Sweat, and Cheers

To top it all off, my May Horoscopes via Refinery 29 said:
"With the radiant sun in this wellness-focused zone through May 20, you're suddenly the first one at CrossFit class or jockeying for juice at the cold-press bar. "
JUICE BAR!  The Zodiacs know.

May is going to be a fantastic month.

May Day!

The first time I visited Argentina, I was wearing my "Maddy" nameplate necklace and someone thought my name was MayDay.  Since then, I am known to many as MayDay.

Today is May 1st.  Official May Day.  I feel like it's my birthday!

I usually do not like celebrating my birthday.  Lots of fuss for just a day and then everything goes back to normal.  I often find them disappointing.  Plus, who wants to get older?  However, I love celebrating other people's birthdays and making them feel super special.  One of my dad's memorable birthdays was a few years back.  We had dinner with his mom and his dear friends from business school (who have daughters the same age as my sister and me!) and we ate at the late Mesa Grill, a Bobby Flay favorite.

Happy Birthday
My dad's birthday "cake"
My dad was so happy and loved the degree to which we celebrated.  Nothing over-the-top.  Good people, good food, happy times.

Admiring our "Happy Birthday" singing ability

A happy Birthday Boy!

So if I celebrate May Day, it's not really my birthday.  It is an excuse to just be happy and to recognize how lucky we are to be alive and well.  (Getting a little abstract here...).  Plus, there are so many other positive connotations with the day!


May Pole.

Cats. And a May Pole. Duh.
Photo Courtesy of

Sunshine (except that today is gloomy and humid in NYC).

A fresh start.

Yada, yada, yada.


Also, Happy International Worker's Day.