Saturday, February 27, 2016

Scarlatto

Is there a job where I could review every restaurant in New York City? Instead of writing the reviews I would just video them. It sounds like the perfect job and right up my alley. Going to see if anything is open after righting this post. 

Last night at I found myself at Scarlatto Restaurant & Bar with one of my best friends and her mother for our monthly dinner. Italian with Roman influences is how they described their cuisine and I would agree with that completely. When dining out for Italian I usually don't eat much throughout the day in order to save an appetite and I am glad I did. 

I arrived a few minutes before our 6:30pm reservation and found my party at the bar. Taking the bus in from Central NJ into NYC is always hit or miss. We arrived a few minutes later than what I expected and I walked the 6 blocks to the restaurant. The ladies finished their wine and we were seated immediately by the wonderful hostess. The bartender sent over the drinks we ordered at the bar and the night began with a cheers! I ordered the Moscato Berry Cocktail and let me tell you just two of them made it the perfect drink of the evening!

As you can see from the menu we had many great options. First, we each ordered and appetizer that we all would share. We ordered one Crab Cake, Insalata di Pera e Gorgonzola, and La Polpetta. My choice was the La Polpetta ( Kobe beef meatball, mozzarella, and fresh ricotta). 


Each dish was delicious and I would recommend sharing some appetizers when you go with a party of two or more. What we didn't realize at the time was that we forgot to mention to the waiter we weren't seeing a show, and therefore we were in no rush. The restaurant is located in around the theater and many patrons stop in before. Lesson learned we state that when we are being seated. 

Next up was ordering our entrees. Two of us ordered the same dish, the special of the night, Seafood Ravioli. I forgot to take a picture (horrible blogger over here.) It was covered in a light tomato sauce with tomato chunks. 4 jumbo sized raviolis and I was stuffed. The other dish that also looked yum was the Tagliolini ai Funghi ( mixed mushrooms and white truffle essences). With our stomach full and the conversation flowing we told the waiter to hold off on coffee and dessert so we had time to enjoy each others company. My best friend and I met at sleep away camp close to 15 years ago and her mother is like another mother figure in my life. Full if wisdom and always willing to listen to me I am lucky to have them in my life. I love our monthly dinners and look forward to our next one which is already on the calendar!

If you know me I love chocolate. Borderline obsession, but I do my best to control it. When it came time for desserts and coffee I passed on the coffee. I am not a big coffee drinker other than an ice coffee from Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. Again, you can see the desserts menu here. As always we decided on three options and we would all share. When you share you are able to enjoy small bites and expand your pallet. Our group decided on the following( L-T-B):  Tortino di Cocco, Cappuccino Semifredo, and Banana Split! All I have to say is everything was out of this world. Sweet and perfect to end a wonderful evening with great company. 

I would give Scarlatto a perfect score in my book. As someone who has worked in the hospitality industry I am quick to make judgments right away and that is something I have been working on. The meal, the service and the staff were great. They accommodated any and all requests made and went above and beyond to make sure we were satisfied without going overboard. 

If you ever find yourself in the theater district or by Times Square you should pop in for a drink at the bar or a quick meal before your show. 

XoXo,
Tracy 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

10 Minutes

What can you accomplish in 10 minutes? I recently took a yoga class and the instructor asked us that very question. A million thoughts were running through my head. This was the end of class and I was just thinking the 15+ things I had to get done that afternoon. However, something stopped me dead in my tracks. I am still not sure what, but I listened. The room was silent and one word escaped her lips- Meditation.

What? Is she serious? One girl in the class looked like she was about to burst out in laughter. Another turned and said, I never tried it. In that moment I sat in silence thinking about what the instructor said. After leaving the class I decided to do some more research. Maybe this could really help me in many areas. I am stressed over finding a job. I am in constant limbo. I am working on my anxiety. This could be another tool.

I found myself in the corner of Barnes & Noble reading books on Meditation, reading articles off Twitter, and blog posts on this very topic. Whoa there is so much information out there. I decided to take the instructors advice; however I broke it down. Instead of one 10 minute session I decided to spend 5 minutes first thing when I wake up and 5 minutes right before going to bed to meditate. I started this on January 27th the same day my job ended and I was going to be unemployed. We are a few days shy of one month and let me tell you; I see a difference. One major difference I see is speaking clearer, slower, and quieter. Naturally I am loud, talk with my hands, and ramble. Since adding meditation I have noticed that difference along with my attitude. Sure there are days I am stressing over applications and rejections, then I remember I have 5 minutes of peace coming later that evening.

It only takes 10 minutes. You can do it for less time or more time. Right now I am comfortable where I am. I look forward to growing with this. If I can accept mediation into my life I am sure you can. Have you tried it? What are your thoughts? I would love to hear from you!

XoXo,
Tracy

Monday, February 22, 2016

Monday Musings

Hello, Monday!

This weekend was all about family and alone time for myself.

Friday evening I found myself at synagogue with some family members to remember my dad's uncle. He is gone 15 years. Growing up he was the jokester of the family. Everyone always laughed and smiled when he was around. We would fill in MadLibs, play Uno, and sometimes he would even sneak me a piece of candy when my parents weren't looking. I loved when he would come and visit and share stories of his childhood. I miss him and often wonder what our relationship would be like today. I am lucky that his daughter and I are close. At synagogue it wasn't just about his yahrzeit; but also just being present. I usually go on the high holidays but in more "Me Time" I made a goal to attend services once a month. Our Rabbi's sermon is always current and has such deep meanings. It was a wonderful evening.

Saturday morning I took myself out breakfast, saw my therapist and decided to do some reading at the local Barnes & Noble.
 
After a few hours I headed over to my grandmother's assisted living. My aunt, her daughter was visiting for the weekend since it was her 85th Birthday on Sunday. We chatted for a while before my aunt and I left for the evening. We hit my favorite store, Nordstrom Rack; however our shopping attempts were unsuccessful. It was probably a good thing, since I am going through my room and doing a major de-clutter this week! Sushi dinner and an early night in rounded out the day!
 
 
Sunday Brunch: Salmon Benedict and sorry no picture; but I was in all my glory! My entire, small family of 11 gathered for brunch at the Colonial Diner to celebrate my grandmother's 85th birthday. My sister, dad, his fiancé, both aunt's and cousins were all in attendance. My immediate family is small but we are close. After brunch we made a quick shiva call ( visiting a family in mourning in their home).
 
All the food that was consumed on Sunday called for a workout so after this post I am headed to the gym.
 
I will leave you with this photo I posted earlier to my Instagram.
 
I will continue to work on myself. I think that is the perfect #MondayMotivation quote!
 
XoXo,
Tracy


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Let's Talk......Social Media

Check out this video from  Lucie Fink. She is hysterical and has a video series on Refinery29. In the video she asked "Is Social Media doing more good than bad in the world?"

This question got me thinking about my own experience with Social Media. Every personality test I have taken, and people I have spoken with all call me an extrovert. First, I wonder if you can be both an extrovert and introvert? I believe I have tendencies from both spectrum's. Some would disagree with me; however that is my own personal opinion. Which brings me to my first point on social media.

1) Personal Opinions- They are everywhere. Facebook posts, Instagram comments, Tweets, etc....Lately as I have read more and more tweets and Facebook comments I have seen the attack on personal opinions. We have the right to say what we want, how we feel and shouldn't have to worry that someone will call us out. Yes, it's OK to disagree and state that on a post or tweet, but the name calling and disrespecting each other is not called for. I believe bullying can actually stem from this and we live in an already scary enough world. That's my PERSONAL OPINION.

2) Oversharing - We read blogs, online articles, tweets, Facebook posts, etc.... Some people share the bare minimum of their personal lives and then you have others who share every little thing in their life. Whether you agree with them or not, it is their decision. The only thing I will say; we need to be careful with what we put out there. Not just for recruiters, although it is important to remember they can see what you post.

3) Good or Bad? - Again, thanks to Lucie Fink I have been thinking about what my answer would be to her question. We can connect with loved ones around the world. We get the news in real time. People are sharing ideas. We are constantly learning. The bad, things are blown out of proportion. The negative press, the hatred is strong. And then you have the Comparison Theory. Check out her video to see some of the other answers. And what conclusion she came to.


XoXo,
Tracy

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Let's Talk....Mental illness

Last night I joined @Gen_Twenty for their Twitter Chat.


If you ask my friends and family they will tell you I am a constant source of inspiration. I always have a smile on my face and I am the first to turn a negative situation into something positive. My colleagues from Gap always looked to me for what I call #PowerOfPositiveThinking moments. We would get visits from our DM or high level executives and everyone would scurry around worried, but not me. As a manager or leader I knew the calm presence was all the employees needed to do their job like it was any other day. Again, I was always throwing out positive phrases and the person they would turn to when they were stressed or worried.

What everyone didn't know was at that time and for a while before that I was battling my own inner demons. My anxiety has been high for the last four years. I masked the depression with Happy Hours, excuses as to why I bailed on friends, eating, and just ignoring my family and friends any chance I had.

Did they know? Was I really good at hiding? Did they care? I don't know if they knew and if they did we didn't talk about it. I still don't talk about it that much. This post is extremely out of my comfort zone. I don't know who will read this. I don't know if they will contact me.

What I do know, especially from last nights chat, I am not alone. There is no reason to hide. There is no reason to be ashamed. We have to talk about Mental Illness. We have to share our experiences. We have to be open.

I've seen a therapist in the past. I believe it is time to see one again. I can make the excuse that being out of work I can't afford it. Or my health insurance doesn't cover it. But the only person who will suffer will be me.

I can tell everyone else to stay positive. I can always laugh. I can always smile and act like everything is OK. In reality it isn't and until I really open up I am only hurting myself.

This post was extremely hard to write. I am currently wiping away tears. People in Starbucks are staring at me. It's going to be OK. I have amazing friends and family. I have an amazing support system.

I hope you understand Mental Illness is serious. Please don't judge someone who may be suffering. For all you know they could be suffering alone.

XoXo,
Tracy

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

#BigAppleCircus

This past Saturday, the coldest day of winter my family decided it would be a great idea to see the circus. I remember thinking are you kidding me? Thankfully the tent was heated and it wasn't all that bad. The walk however from the car to the tent, I think I almost blew away twice. 

I was hesitant to attend the circus, but I  so glad I did. The cast was extremely talented. It was fun for all ages. My cousins who are 3 and 6 and my father all had the same smile and amazement on their faces. 

It was the perfect distraction I needed for a weekend of crumminess. Below are some photos. 


XoXo,
Tracy 

Friday, February 12, 2016

This Friday....Let's talk Friends

If you guessed by reading the title this post is going to relate to friendships. I am no expert but I have had some crazy bad and amazing good friendships throughout my 28 years. Friends have come and gone and as we grow up our relationships grow and develop but some friends are lost along the way. That doesn't make you a bad person. ( I'm still learning this).

At 28 I never realized how hard it would be to make friends. My mother grew up with three very close girlfriends. Our families remain super close. We get together during the holidays every year. I missed 2015 and let me tell you it still eating at me. Those 4 women, now 3 have been through so much. My mother's death. A divorce. The death of a spouse. What can we learn from all those tragic experiences is that you don't need 50+ friends. You need a core group that will stick with you through good and bad times. You need a group you can call at 2am to come fall asleep next to you. You need a small group that knows your deepest darkest secrets and will take them to the grave.

In elementary school I was the kid that wasn't that outgoing. I had a core group of friends, thanks for the neighborhood I grew up in. Also I made friends with what back then was known as the "cool kids". What made them cooler than someone else? At age 9 I couldn't answer that. Even today I can't answer that. If you have the answers I would be interested to hear them. I still speak with some of those people. What did happen was I gained about 4 close friends out of that period.

In middle school I didn't know any better. I hung with some of the same girls from elementary school and met some new people but really we weren't "friends" we were more acquaintances. I didn't fit in. I tried. I made jokes. I always smiled. I ate in classes when I shouldn't. I thought people were my friends but really we were all finding our ways.

In high school, my best friend from elementary school went to a catholic high school and I was in uncharted waters. All the girls from elementary school and middle school clung together and I was a fresh fish. I wasn't part of any clique. I was lost. I joined Yearbook. Made some friends but mostly had one or two friends that I hung with. It was a lonely period in my life. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change it. I don't live with regrets.

I had high hopes for college. Some of the greatest friends I have came from my four years at Johnson & Wales. Late night pizza sessions. Road trips from Boston to NYC on a random weekend. Bar fights. Roomie bonding over cooking ( I never cooked) and baking. I held executive positions on 4 on campus organizations. I finally felt like I belonged. I made it. These friends knew me. They understood me. I could be myself. I graduated in 3 1/2 years. I am so thankful for the friendships I made. We are scattered across the world. We don't speak as often as I would like. We have grown up. Some married. Some had babies. Life went on but the friendships formed will live with us forever and I am very thankful for them.

Post graduation I lived in NJ, NYC, FL and back in NJ. My mother past away a year after I graduated college. After that I became a different person. Someone I don't recognize in the mirror. I abused friendships. Ruined relationships. Grew close with some and distanced myself from others. This June it will be 6 years that she is gone. It's time to make amends with the frail friendships. It's time to come clean to myself what I want in friends. Who do I want in my corner. Who can I count on. Yes I am an outgoing person. So I know a lot of people. So did my mother. They called her the "mayor of Marlboro." That doesn't mean she was friends with everyone. That doesn't mean I need to be friends with everyone. I need to work on my core friendships.



I have friends who I can call and who will always be there. I have friends I drop everything for, but will they drop for me?

Everyday we grow. 2016 is my year of commitment. Friendship is high on that list. I look forward to seeing where it goes and how it develops.

XoXo,
Tracy

Monday, February 8, 2016

Negative Talk

"I'll never meet someone."

"I hate that outfit on me."

I can't do that."

Ever find yourself speaking negative comments about yourself? I can't remember the first time I spoke negatively. I can tell you that in the past few years I continue to self sabotage myself with negative comments.

Friends and family are quick to point out negative comments like the ones above. Just the other day my sister, her friend and I were at dinner and they were both talking about their significant others. Without hesitation I stated " I will never get find someone and get married" and my sisters quick response was "their is a lid for every pot."

Why are we so hard one ourselves? What makes our minds consume negative thoughts? Is it just me? Sometimes I can catch myself but often I don't. As the words flow out of my mouth more and more I feel that I start to believe them. That isn't how I want to live. I can be positive with friends, family, colleagues, etc...but with myself it's a whole other ball game. How can I get out of my own head. How can I make the conscious decision to speak positive about myself to myself?

A therapist once told me I should right down 3 positive things I did each day for two full weeks. I never followed through. Maybe that is the start that I need.

I am worth fighting for. I will one day find someone. If I don't try how will I know if I can or can not achieve something?

This quote says it all:

 
 
XoXo,
Tracy 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Step Outside

To say I woke up surprised to see the white outside would be an understatement. I was not expecting to see close to 4 inches by the time I woke up this morning. After clearing off my car I decided to hit the road with my camera. I was feeling inspired by the flakes as they were falling and new I could get some good shots.

Lately I have been uninspired, not motivated and just feeling really down. Closing down our store, coming down with the flu and just being bed ridden had gotten to me. I was finally ready to be out and among the living.

Here are some shots from today. I am no professional photographer but I do enjoy getting out there and being behind the camera sometimes. Hopefully this is the start of a new inspiration project.









XoXo,
Tracy

Thursday, February 4, 2016

#WorldCancerDay

Because there is nothing worse than watching a loved one suffer.

Because there is nothing worse than watching a loved one lose their battle.

Because there is nothing worse than knowing someone you love can be diagnosed with this horrible disease.



Because I watched my mother suffer.

Because my mother lost her battle after 17 years of fighting.

July 7, 1959- June 5, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Four wheels need what?

Let's just say I knew the first few weeks of funemployment were going to be filled with adulthood tasks that I have put off for some time.

What I didn't expect was what came after two hours of sitting waiting for my 1st stop: Oil Change. Thanks to Better Housekeeping and the Wendy Williams show I was occupied most of the time while sitting in Firestone. I know why I avoided daytime talk shows for the one reason....they are useless. Sure she was funny but boy was I glad to be done when they called my name halfway through, or so I thought. The nice mechanic mentioned my battery needed to be replaced ASAP ( he wrote it in all caps on my bill) or it wouldn't start on the next cold day. I guess I could have waited since we are currently having a heat wave in the middle of winter here in NJ. Nope, that wasn't the case, it needed to be replaced and right away.

My next stop was suppose to by the car wash, but to my delightful surprise they were closing the garage just as I pulled in. The power went about 10 minutes before I arrived. Sure I was upset, but the poor workers were even more mad as they were being sent home. (I hope they get paid for a days work, since it isn't there fault the power went out).

Next stop, was Vic, my favorite mechanic. "Will you test my battery?" Sure enough he said replace it right now or pay double when you call triple AAA on that cold morning it doesn't start. Fine, because I just got my final paycheck from Gap, and I can dish out $150 for a new battery. #Adulthood

If this is a joke I am ready for the day to be over. That was just the morning! The afternoon......spent sending out job applications and resumes across the board. Hospitality, Marketing, Fundraising, etc.... Know anyone hiring, let me know!

Here is to see where #Funemployment takes me!

XoXo,
Tracy