Friday, April 18, 2014

SNEAK PEEK: Lobster de Mayo!

It's not every day I open my email to find an invitation to a lobster and tequila tasting event.

But about a week ago, there it was, a press release and ticket offering moi, Miss Manhattan, to attend the first ever Lobster de Mayo. Put on by New York City lobster wholesaler Homarus and hosted by The Food Network's Katie Lee, the event will be held on Saturday, May 10 at the elegant Capitale in the East Village and will feature chefs from divine restaurants like ABC Kitchen, Gramercy Tavern, Empellon, Jean Georges, and many more (you can purchase tickets to Lobster de Mayo here). Portions of proceeds will go to the charity City Harvest, which helps New Yorkers facing hunger.

I could hardly believe my eyes. As a child, I once made my mother a Mother's Day card saying I loved her more than lobster which she knew was quite a lot. And tequila and I have been great friends for many moons.

I said to SD, "How do you feel about lobster and tequila and enjoying them while wearing cocktail attire?"
"Do you even have to ask?" she said. My sentiments exactly.

Homarus, named for the genus of the American lobster (Homarus americanus), has a 24-hour Maine-to-restaurant delivery process that's revolutionizing the industry. Previously, there was 100+ year old tradition featuring a ton of checkpoints and multiple middle men, but Homarus is in full control of their operation: for example, the company's founders, Jordan Elkin and Brian McGovern, pick up the lobster themselves and deliver it to each restaurant.

The company's logo is the blue lobster, said to be a one in a million find. Or, as the company's website says, "too much awesome." I personally think it's "too much awesome" when people break off on their own and wind up making not only a successful company but changing their industry entirely. I can't wait to see what they have in store at Lobster de Mayo. And with that being said, I had the chance to talk to Jordan Elkin about the upcoming event. Learn more below!

Miss M: What inspired you to come up with the event?
Jordan Elkin: This year will be our five year anniversary of when we started our business and in those five years we just hit I think 300. We were thinking of doing something special including our restaurants and ultimately to include their guests, so we thought about doing a nice big lobster event. It's a whole Cinco de Mayo idea. I don't think anybody really does an event this time of year, right before the summer, so we thought it would be a nice event to get people excited about lobster but also for the summer.

When people arrive at the event, what can they expect? I walk in, I open the door...and then what?
They should expect some great music, some champagne, some tequila cocktails, some tequila shots, and there's gonna be two different lobster dishes prepared by each of the participating restaurants. They can be spicy, mild, hot, cold, there's so many different ways to prepare them so they should be excited for a lot of lobster and a lot of tequila.

I read that you worked in real estate and you worked at Shake Shack. What was the transition like from those jobs to a full-blown lobster wholesale business?
Me and my partner Brian had the idea to open a lobster roll concept and while we were developing that concept, I took some time off [real estate] to work at the Shake Shack. The transition from real estate to the Shake Shack was pretty different [laughs]. No more suit and tie, that's for sure. I don't think I could ever go back to a suit and tie. It's totally different work. It's using your hands and a lot of it is using your head.

I love the lighthearted nature of your website. Do you also translate that into your work, and do you plan on translating that into Lobster de Mayo?
We have some ideas that are still coming together, but the good news is we're relatively young, we're a wholesale seafood business, and a lot of the work we get because we genuinely get along with chefs. We understand their ties in the business. It's so high pressure working in a New York City restaurant that it's more convenient to be good and consistent with what we supply that they really appreciate it. That to us translates into a working relationship and then a friendship. Most of the people we deal with are my age, they're below thirty.

What have been some highlights and some challenges you all have faced when putting Lobster de Mayo together?
The highlights would be that the restaurants we work with want to participate and they go out of their way. The event is going to be taking up their free time, and they have so little of that so giving that to us is very important. It means a lot.

On the challenging side, it's the day before Mother's Day. I think there are going to be a lot of upset mothers with hungover kids for Mother's Day [laughs]. We knew the event was before Mother's Day but we didn't think about mothers being upset. So hopefully sons and daughters will invite their mothers  to the event and that's how we thought it would solve that problem. Everybody can be hungover together!

What made you decide to partner with City Harvest?
I see their trucks always on the road, which means they're busy. Most of my chefs that I work with are on the board and I work with them on other events. We reached out to them and they were very accessible. They replied right back, and then in less than a week we had an agreement. You can buy tickets to our event on their website, on our website. It's not only just a great cause, but a great partner to work with.

What are you going to be doing during the event? Are you going to be running around, or are you going to be enjoying yourself?
I'm probably going to be worrying up until people start coming [laughs]. My biggest hope is that we get nice, sunny weather. Once people start to come in, hopefully I'll be able to enjoy myself like everybody else.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Three Days of Spring?

I'm looking out my window right now and it's a veritable Disneyland of springtime: birds chirping, sun shining...all I need now is some squirrels to help me get dressed and I'll feel like a regular Cinderella. I know it's not just the Florida girl in me who thinks IT TOOK SO LONG FOR SPRING TO GET HERE. New Yorkers have been complaining about it for weeks, as we complain about almost every weather situation that's not spring or fall. What on earth was this miserable cold in the middle of March? What's with all the rain, Mother Nature? But now it's almost like homegirl's done with her mood swings and we get to have a real spring.

It's 70 degrees-ish and sunny today, so beautiful that I am begrudging myself for being inside and writing. The plan today is to walk as much as possible, perhaps the exact opposite of what the last four months have been. Knowing what our "fall" was like this past year--short, just barely leather jacket-y enough to walk around and see those leaves change--I'm worried spring will be the same. But, as Maw Manhattan always says, just because something's around for a short time doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy it!

The speed at which the months have passed by is amazing--imagine, we are already a third of the way through this year. The Tribeca Film Festival is on its way, the Vulture Festival is coming up, as are weekends spent on my rooftop and also at Coney Island, Brighton Beach, and Manhattan Beach. I'm already booking events well into June. All I feel are possibilities, for the first time in weeks. That's such a spring cliche, I know, but after what seems like 5 months of winter, it's nice to see a little sunshine and feel a little warmth, you know?

I'm in for a big change in the next few months: I have to move! I've lived in the same apartment for four years, which I'm told is very unusual in New York, but still. As the warm weather rolls around and I want to roll around in it, it means I also have to start packing up my life and finding a new apartment. New York real estate is, as anyone will tell you, one of the worst things in the history of ever. Though, to be fair, it's probably a lot better than it was in the 1950s, when there was one moving day for the entire city. At least my roommates and I get to do this on (mostly) our own time. I have no doubt I will write about that experience as it happens; I'm sure it'll be one for the books--as moving always is, isn't it?--though of course I hope everything only goes smoothly (famous last words, I hope not).

Today I will walk to the International Center of Photography for their fundraiser photo book sale; I will bum around downtown and take pictures; I will be relaxing in a park or two and read my books; I will have thai food with AS and I will go to Brooklyn for JR's birthday. I'm just glad it's a season where I don't have to trudge through the snow to do all of it. So, on this beautiful spring day, from my warm Manhattan heart to yours, Happy Spring! It took long enough to get here, oy.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Would You Like Some Bacon With Your Bacon?

The evening began with a couple of dirty martinis, as most adventures do. AS and I were stationed at the Hudson Hotel for beverahhhhges amongst other stylish young people wearing androgynous ensembles consisting of black leather jackets and jeans or, not-so-androgynously, bandage dresses and high heels. There was also a proliferation of man buns, swirled masses atop the heads of men who just simply couldn't be bothered with their long tresses that day. I was invited there, to Henry's Liquor Lounge, for a series of jazz-esque performances that evening. We listened, bobbed our heads, admired lush leather couches and bright lights and persian rugs and man buns, and then we had enough and decided to eat some hamburgers instead.

But we got sidetracked. I mean, how could you not get sidetracked by a restaurant called BarBacon?

While I have never considered myself a member of the bacon cult, I have long appreciated it as the candy of meats and, certainly after a dirty martini, I enjoy it quite a bit. AS, my partner in baconry, both stopped in our tracks when we saw the name of the restaurant. Needless to say, we decided to go there instead. It also worked in the restaurant's favor that we didn't feel like walking in the wind and weird-misty-rain-but-not-rain anymore. So inside we went and, as a party of two, were almost instantly seated. Not bad for a Friday night!

The restaurant, which calls itself a gastropub, features dark wood paneling and a definite "bro" vibe, but as soon as our food came I didn't care about the latter. For a starter we had bacon salted tater tots. Upon tasting them, AS and I were both smitten: I don't know what or how bacon salt is, she said, but I need to get some. The tots were crispy and had that perfect smoky, salty, sweet bacon taste. We deliberately crunched and savored each delicious bacon-y bite.

Then the entrees came--mine, Shani's BLT, a BLT with avocado and a sunny-side-up egg; AS's was the BarBacon Grilled Cheese, featuring fontina and gruyere melted with bacon on a salty bread punctuated with golden raisins. My sandwich was melty and smooth, and made me decide I never wanted a normal BLT ever again. AS's was creamy and sweet, the raisins in the bread adding pops of sweetness in every bite. Both of our sandwiches featured thick slices of gorgeously red applewood smoked bacon. Even so, the restaurant was smart: the bacon was not so much the star of each sandwich, but the stupendous supporting actor, enhancing the rest of the sandwich with its sweet and salty crunch.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you wax poetic about bacon. Which is not something I ever really thought I would do.

Even the chips the sandwiches were served with had a smooth bacon flavor--not like a fake, corporate potato chip flavor that leaves your mouth salty no matter what. And the sandwiches also came with a pineapple cole slaw: neither AS or I are fans of cole slaw in general, but this, we found, was an exception we could get behind.

The restaurant offers bacon flights as well, where you can try all of the artisanal bacons they carry: wild boar, applewood smoked, maple bacon, lamb bacon, and peppered bacon. They also feature fine bourbons and craft beers.

The BarBacon website isn't fully functional yet, but they are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and MenuPages if you want to see what other deliciousness they have to offer. Or simply stop in to the restaurant at 836 Ninth Avenue between 54th and 55th streets, which I highly recommend you do.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What Would Sir Harold Do?

"You want to be a journalist? Or you are a journalist?" Sir Harold Evans looks at me with his glassy, cornflower blue eyes before he signs the interior of the book I just purchased. I imagine he asks because the book, My Paper Chase, chronicles his life as a writer and editor in print media.

"I am a journalist," I say, though the assumption that I want to be is a fair one. We are in a lecture space at a local university, Hunter College, and on nights like tonight when I am not wearing makeup I easily look 18. Hearing myself say the words, having just been made aware of the breadth and depth of his career in his lecture, sounds not so much like a lie, but an inadequacy. But then again, at this stage in my career, it is by no means fair to compare myself to the man.

Sir Harold Evans has been working in media for about 70 years. He is the author of twelve books; he is one of the International Press Institute's 50 World Press Freedom Heroes of the past 50 years; he was "knighted by the British Crown for his services to journalism,"; he is the founder of Conde Nast Traveler, a former editor-in-chief at the Atlantic Monthly, a former editorial director of the U.S. News and World Report, a former president and publisher of Random House, and the list goes on and on. Though I like to think I walk around New York with a certain swagger at times (I mean, you have to or you won't survive, right?), I am floored and humbled, as I should be, by the man's presence.

Surprisingly, I was one of the few people in the audience under the age of 30. I would have thought people in the beginning stages of their careers would be quite literally tripping over themselves to hear such a man speak about his life and his work. I have been on a "revisiting academia" kick these days to be fair, but my goodness, being in his presence alone is an education. I felt like I was soaking up inspiration and knowledge just sitting there.

Throughout his lecture, a part of the "Great Thinkers of Our Time" Series held by Hunter's Writing Center, he offers several stories of a bewilderingly amazing life in publishing, including but not limited to stories in which Marlon Brando asked Evans to get on his knees and beg for rights to the actor's book (he of course refused), exposing the lives of the people affected by the now-infamous, disfiguring Thalidomide drug, and publishing Obama's Dreams From My Father. He also shared a few bits of wisdom about writing in general, which at this particular moment I think were things I needed to hear.

"When you struggle as a writer, you learn really good writing."
"Anyone who tells you writing is easy isn't a very good writer."

And most importantly: "The only advice I can give about writing is: write!"

It is that last one that I've been needing to hear more than not these past few weeks. In a city like New York, it is so easy to get "busy." As in, "I can't, I'm too busy," or "I didn't have time, I was too busy." I learned a long time ago that "busy" is an excuse we New Yorkers, and people everywhere really, use to cover up their lack of willingness to make time for any activity at all. The fact of the matter is people will only make time for something or someone they want to make time for. If they don't want to make time, they won't, and that's the end of the story. It's one of the few situations I've found that's purely black and white.

I have not been making enough time for my writing. The essays I aspire to work on, the articles I dream to write. And I will fully admit here that the delay comes from fear. Fear of not living up to my potential, fear of not producing something I'm proud of, fear of becoming one more nameless writer who fades away into nothing in the city that tests any creator on a daily, if not hourly, basis.

Sir Harold Evans looks up at me and asks me how to spell my name. In his British accent he jokes, "It's quite difficult, you know!" I laugh. But underneath my name he writes, "Good luck!" A warm yet fairly trivial greeting, usually, but to me it really means something. While Sir Evans may not directly "believe in me," as it were, I do think he believes in the idea of me: a writer working hard in what may be the hardest of all cities to become..something.

I can do more. I must do more. Harold Evans didn't become Sir Harold Evans by being scared, after all.  And I don't know if I ever will be Sir Harold Evans, but I can absolutely be the best Miss Manhattan possible.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Art, Hell, Burlesque

I've been thinking a lot about something Benbox said to me last week of his beatbox crew:
"This is it, this is the family."

I've always believed that some of the strongest family you will ever have is the family you make yourself. Choosing to be a part of someone's life is, I believe, more powerful than being placed there and having to deal with whatever comes along just because you're related.

I have been able to make a community for myself in New York of my friends and colleagues, certainly,  but I wouldn't say that I have one specific community of interest of which I am a member. My interests are so diverse and I like to focus my energy on many of them at a time, so I don't know if I ever could be. Sometimes I think it would be nice, and other times I think it would be too much. If I spend too much time on one, I may never get to see the others, and so on.

I love glimpses into these worlds, though, and I love seeing how people make their interest communities an active part of their lives. I've had three particular meaningful interactions this week that relate to this idea.


Bushwick Art Crit Group

Bushwick has a strong, rising community of artists dedicated to, well, fostering a community; developing a space where they can positively engage with other artistically minded individuals, possibly learning from them in the process. I was invited to see this development in the works by a friend of mine, photographer Carlos Henriquez, who was showing his work at the Bushwick Art Crit Group on Wednesday night. Founded by artist Christopher Stout, the BACG, as it's known, is tucked in the painted white, back room gallery space of Brooklyn Fire Proof, which you enter through an alleyway on Ingraham Street decorated with white Christmas lights. The BACG allows artists from the community the opportunity to discuss and receive feedback on their work.

I loved hearing about everyone's process and seeing the work of some really incredibly talented artists. The New York art scene is so big that it's impossible to know everyone, let alone know the artists who are making the kind of work that really engages you. But the Bushwick Art Crit allowed me to see work that really resonated with me, be it the bright drag oil paintings of Adam Bohemond, the gender/sexuality and childhood commentary of Miguel Libarnes (nudes made using Legos!!), or the bold, geometric sexuality analyses in the paintings of Beata Chrzanowska.

Manhattan is my jam, but I will fully admit it can be isolating and unfriendly. I was envious of such a community within a neighborhood in another borough. But I did also find that night that there's a similar event on the Lower East Side in my own, so I hope to get involved in that, too. It was an evening of learning and eye-opening, another of the zillion reasons I moved to New York in the first place. So thank you, Mr. Stout, for bringing together some amazing artists and working to establish a rad community of people who help and engage with each other.


Richard Hell at the Strand Bookstore

I've written often about how I've long been a punk nerd. Part of my larger concept of New York is tied up in the scary/wonderful tales of 1970s punks in the East Village, the do-it-yourself attitude coupled with a nothing-to-lose mentality. I know I'm not the only person who openly swoons while listening to a Patti Smith record or who devoured Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain's Please Kill Me: An Uncensored Oral History of Punk more than once, but sometimes it feels like I am. So to go to a place where I'm very clearly not such a person--namely, the Strand Bookstore's third floor rare book room to hear the one and only Richard Hell read from his recently released autobiography I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp and chat with cultural scholar Bryan Waterman, whose 33 1/3 book on Television's album Marquee Moon I finished reading literally less than a week ago--is a very magical feeling. To be in a place where everyone not only knows who Richard Hell is but likes him and his work enough to come hear him speak makes me feel like I am not alone on the island of punk dreams. Though it wasn't so much an interactive community like the one in Bushwick, it felt cool to be in a group of people who have that particular interest in common.

Though Hell is most often associated with his punk persona as the leader of The Voidoids, he has been a writer of both fiction and non-fiction for years. Even so, I don't know if I ever dreamed I would be hearing about his process in the room of a bookstore covered wall-to-wall in priceless first editions. For me personally the two worlds had not yet collided--in my mind, he was still very much the "Blank Generation"-singing, ripped t-shirt wearing punk idol I grew up reading about in Please Kill Me. Hell acknowledges his past with a tousle of his hair, a squint, and a smile, but it's clear he hasn't been that brand of Richard Hell for a while. That is by no means a disappointment, but it interesting to see how people change, and what elements of themselves they choose to keep the same. In many ways separated from his past self, and I enjoy hearing the Richard Hell I didn't know much about discuss his work, his writing process, and the act/idea of growing up.


Exposed by Beth B

The last community I encountered recently was another of my favorites, the burlesque community. As always, it is an education in performance and gender studies. Exposed is a documentary film about the neo-burlesque scene and the performers who push the boundaries in it, male, female, and transgendered. On the screen, I watched a woman lay an egg, another pull dollar bills out of her behind as a commentary on greed, and another draw on herself in lipstick to the tune of Buckcherry's "Crazy Bitch." Certain aspects of the film I enjoyed, especially when burlesque goddess World Famous *BOB* discusses body image. Women often ask her, she says, how to cover up cellulite and she simply smiles, "With glitter and a spotlight." Many parts of the film I found enlightening and inspiring, but others I will fully admit I did not understand.

Burlesque is far more commercial now than it has been in years past, but I would say for the most part people who perform and appreciate burlesque are a progressive crowd. To sit in a theatre with them and learn about this part of culture that we love made me feel like I was a part of a club of some kind, an appreciation society.

--

Something I realized about these three experiences in a larger context, though, is that by attending them I had made New York my classroom. I felt intellectually stimulated in a large group of people, like I had somehow crafted my own syllabus of educational materials, I had made each of these locations the classroom I had missed since graduating college.

People tell you you will learn a lot by living in New York, but what they sometimes forget to say is that there's so much to educate yourself with in the city, maybe enough to get a new education in a particular field. In just the past two days I took courses in Modern Art Appreciation, Memoir, and the aforementioned Gender and Performance Studies. The city never stops giving opportunities like these to learn, either, which is another reason I love it so much. It seems obvious, but I must have been doing it all along.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The American Human Beatbox Festival

"I can beatbox!" SW said. "Boots 'n' cats 'n' boots 'n' cats 'n'..." 

We laughed. We knew full well the people we'd see tonight were far better than the sound the phrase "boots 'n' cats" made when you said it really quickly. In fact, since we were attending the Annual American Human Beatbox Festival, we were anticipating our minds being blown. 


Opening Night Open Mic Beatboxers
A friend of mine, who goes by Benbox (and did a Tedx Talk called "Beatbox as a universal language"! Also, a fun story about Benbox: the night I met him, we went out with a group for Chinese food. While we were waiting for the food, I made some kind of clicking noise with my tongue and apologized to him. He said, "Please, you're talking to someone who makes funny mouth noises for a living!"), invited me to the festival. Curated by beat MC Kid Lucky (who himself has beatboxed for the likes of Panasonic, NBC and MTV), the festival is now in its fourth year and is held at the renowned experimental theatre La MaMa in the East Village. According to the theatre, the goal of the festival is to "bring together legendary and emerging beatboxers and [introduce] La MaMa’s audience to that artistry’s expanding global community." I'm not sure why, but people seem to forget beatboxing is an art form. The mouth is, after all, a musical instrument. 

Why yes, DJ Menyu, the evening was dope!

I had heard people beatbox before, obviously. But it was always sort of in the background. At the festival, however, it is of course at the forefront. SW and I attended the Opening Night Open Mic, where beatboxers from all across America (Rhode Island, California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and the list goes on) performed for three to five minutes each. Microphones tucked close to their faces, some holding a finger tight to their noses, they produced entire scenes of robot takeovers, ping-pong matches, and video games all with their mouths. Clicks and pops and pows and bass drums and hi-hats and snares...it is frankly a little difficult to describe what I saw without using a succession of onomatopoetic words and musical instruments.

But for every single one of the performances, I sat there with my mouth open, utterly astonished at what these people where doing. I gripped my face for dear life, certain that it would melt off from all of the awesome. These performers were, as solitary people, an entire orchestra. And then you put them together? It would be an understatement to say our minds were successfully blown. 

Kaila Mullady, 2013 Beatrhyme Champion
There were so many diverse kinds of beatboxing, too--influences ranging from electronica to hip-hop to blues, and incorporating dance elements like popping and locking and even a harmonica. I didn't really know there were so many ways to beatbox, so many ideas to incorporate into sounds you made with your mouth. As with any art form, though, what makes it great is the way so many different people interpret what it can be.

I really loved seeing this warm, accepting community of beatboxers, too-- as Benbox said as SW and I were leaving, "this is it, this is the family." At one point, all of the beatboxers got on stage to help out a newbie, and two young beatboxers (about 15 years old! Someone in the audience commented, "That's the future right there!") got a rousing bout of applause. Because people want to further the art form, they want to help and encourage each other.

It's often said that the sign of a successful musical is when one leaves the theatre humming or singing a tune from the show. So when one leaves a show valiantly attempting to beatbox, the same must be true. SW and I left La Mama and walked down 4th Street, popping and clicking our mouths, wondering seriously but not too seriously if maybe we could beatbox too?

The American Human Beatbox Festival continues all this weekend at La MaMa, and you should definitely, DEFINITELY check it out. Click here for more information about different American Human Beatbox Festival events. 

video
The Opening Night Open Mic Beatboxers, conducted by Kid Lucky
(that's Benbox starting in the middle)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Fussin' and Concussin'

The speaker was a lot lower than I thought it was. I was climbing onto a stage with my camera to photograph a musician and mid-climb, I felt a thump I wasn't supposed to feel. I hit the top of my head on that speaker, since it was hanging in the air. It hurt for a second, but I couldn't concentrate on that because I had to get the shot! I definitely did, but afterward my head was hurting in an unusual way. I was...concerned, but I took some Advil and put ice on my head, and went to bed.

The next morning I was fine, but about 10 minutes to the end of a meeting my vision went a bit twisted and I felt a little dizzy. I ate breakfast and went to a clinic where I found out I had a mild (mild, mild, mild, mild) concussion and whiplash. I was advised rest and more Advil for the next two days. Thank RuPaul it wasn't any worse.

And those days dragged by. New York is wonderful until you feel you're missing out on all of the amazingness that's happening each day. If you're me, your skin begins to itch and your bones begin to ache and you just want to go outside. Or to a gallery. Or to the park. Or to anywhere that's not curled up on your bed watching the third episode of Elementary in a row eating day-old egg drop soup. That's not what New York is for!! you think to yourself. But none of your complaining will make your whiplash go away, or your head stop aching, or any of that jazz. So what do you do?

You get on with your life. You want to go outside? What's stopping you? I left the apartment and that first gust of cold air was invigorating. I wasn't suddenly better, but I felt like the pain in my neck was only, well, a pain in my neck. I went to the corner and got some Italian food. I bought some nail files and some paper towels and a mango juice and went home.

Sometimes you can't listen to what the doctors say.

My roommate had been on a similar house arrest since Wednesday, having been separated from his wisdom teeth that day. Confined to mashed potatoes, soup, and ice cream, he wasn't having too great a time, either.

I woke up this morning and did some work and I said, "Hey SC, do you want to go get some ice cream?" I didn't think he'd want to sit at home eating more of his Breyer's Coffee pint any more than I wanted to watch another episode of Elementary. I mean, they're both great, but that much in a row for three days can get a little ridiculous. He did, in fact, want to leave the confines of what felt like our self-imposed prison and share a super-healthy (haha) sundae with me.

We headed to Serendipity 3, that famed ice cream parlor I've written about on more than one occasion. We split a Strawberry Fields sundae, which included fresh strawberry ice cream with strawberry topping, homemade whipped cream, and a piece of cheesecake. It was the creamiest, most flavorful strawberry ice cream I've ever tasted. The frozen strawberries tickled my tongue. It is easily the best sundae I've ever had. And we sat at the table where two of the characters sit in the actual Serendipity movie with Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack.

Afterward, we took a brief pilgrimage to Bloomingdale's to poke around. SC had never been to either place before, so it felt good to not only get him (and myself) out of the house, but to share something I enjoyed with him.

Bed rest is important, sure, but taking care of yourself also includes allowing yourself to have fun. If it doesn't feel good, you can stop, but there's no reason to say you can't do it if you feel just fine. New York is too big and too wonderful for clouds of self-pity to hang over us. I often think it's the easy way out, too, but it's nowhere near as productive. As my mother says, pick yourself up by your bootstraps. And eat a damn sundae if you feel like it.