Friday, April 29, 2016

Dating Diary:1

Happy Friday!

After a mini mental breakdown on Wednesday night I am happy today is Friday and looking forward to the weekend, if even the forecast calls for rain all weekend. Cuddling up with a good book, maybe catching a movie, and doing some returns on are my list for the weekend.

Oh the ventures of dating, how intimidating they can be. After telling friends and family I am ready to get out there and date I took to my online Match profile to do some serious edits of what I want and who I am looking for. I did the same with Tinder. And off I went.........

This week I managed to have two or maybe one date.

Date 1: After having to cancel last Sunday since I woke up with a 24 hour bug and Passover starting at the end of the week, this past Monday worked best. He left the decision making up to me, therefore I decided meeting for coffee at Starbucks in Princeton would be best. I arrived a little early to do some window shopping to calm my nerves, since that always does the trick. We had been speaking for two weeks before meeting so I had an idea of what he would be like. He purchased our drinks, we found some comfortable couches and got straight to talking about everything. HOLY GUACAMOLE was I overwhelmed. For every question he asked I answered and it was more of an interrogation then a conversation. Is this dating? Am I doing this right? Oh I don't know what I am doing. All thoughts running through my head. Yet, two hours later I looked down at my phone and noticed it was later than I expected. We or maybe I called it a night. He walked me halfway to my car ( is that normal) and we shook hands. Again is that the right way to end a date?

Grade: B. 
For my first date in over two years I would give this a B. I am testing the waters I guess. P.S. I haven't heard back from him since Monday.

Date 2: Talking for about a week we decided to meet locally for a drink on Wednesday night. I arrived at the restaurant and waited outside for about 10 minutes before moving inside to the bar. It was getting chilly outside and I was over just standing there looking around. Sent him a text letting him know. ( No Response) Another 10 minutes passed and I figured I was being stood up. Well that was just plain awkward and rude if you ask me. I decided to head home to a glass of wine and some leftover Matzoh Balls. As of today I still have not heard from him and his Match profile has been deleted or I am blocked. Either way it was time to move one. Thanks to my sister and some wonderful girlfriends for letting me vent.

Grade: F
On his part and only his part. It's his loss.

Oh the joys of online dating. I have told friends I am open to blind dates as well. I wonder what my mom would say if she was here and I was sharing my stories. Will continue to share my journey!

XoXo,
Tracy

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Table for 25

Welcome to the week I am unable to eat bread or the holiday known as Passover. For me I enjoy my salads and fish this week and the occasional piece of Matzah and Matzoh Ball soup.

My immediate family is rather small with just over 11 people. When you add in extended family and we always open the door to friends we grow quite a bit. This year both nights we were 24 and 26 people around the table. We try to keep our Seder service to a half hour which is good for about 2 glasses of wine! Everyone reads a passage. We read the 4 questions in Hebrew, English, Yiddish and Italian. We sing them in Hebrew. Next year we will add Russian to the languages read. And the little ones always find the afikoman as soon as the adults sit down for the meal.

The meal includes: Brisket (My Favorite), Matzoh Ball Soup, Salad, Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Potato Pancakes, and Matzah!

Just some of the 100+ Matzoh Balls made


Luke making Potato Pancakes


With so many guests around the table you can imagine 1) the conversation is always about food and sometimes when is the next meal and 2) there are at least 13 different conversations going on at the same time. I wouldn't have it any other way. We are family and holidays are sometimes the only time we can all get together.

Passover Seder

Cousins 

To all those who celebrate Chag Samech!

XoXo,
Tracy

Sunday, April 17, 2016

What a Wonderful Weekend

Well Sunday you sure snuck up on me, but it's been a wonderful weekend filled with good conversations, delicious food, and great friends!

Friday I spent the wonderful evening in Hoboken visiting my childhood friend Megan, who is also an April baby! We haven't seen each other in a while so we started off with wine at her apartment before heading out for dinner. Speaking of dinner, my Italian meal was seriously one of the best dishes I've ever had. We headed to Margherita's Pizza & Cafe on the corner of 8th street and Washington St. On our walk there we stopped to pick up a bottle of wine as the restaurant is BYOB. With our bottle of white in hand we were seated right away. They start you off with this amazing Bruschetta that I unfortunately didn't snap a photo of. For my main dish I ordered the Rigatoni Pesto with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and added Shrimp. (You will see from this post I am in love with all things Shrimp!) I didn't realize at the time it was one of the most popular dishes. The sauce wasn't too heavy and there were plenty of Shrimp and Sun-Dried Tomatoes. After closing down the restaurant we headed to a local bar to continue catching up, and I took my leftovers with me to our 2nd destination. 

Next stop was Little Town Social. They are known for providing locally sourced and inspired fare in a social setting. If you know about the Real Housewives of NJ you know Caroline Manzo's two sons Albie and Chris are investors in the establishment. It was actually pretty quiet for a Friday night at 11pm when we arrived and we grabbed two seats at the bar. In chatting with the bartender, something I love doing, talk about outgoing, we learned it was under new management. Since it was on the emptier side we were able to enjoy our conversation well into the evening. We chatted life, relationships, careers, etc... It was a great evening! 

Saturday was for seeing my best friend Kristen who I grew up with. Her husband Matt was out of town and they two of them are always raving about The Shrimp Box in Point Pleasant. I figured I could convince her to go with me since it would be my first time and it was a success. I'm sure Matt was just a little jealous but they will have plenty more date nights down there. It opened for the season back in March; however with the amazing weather we knew it would be crowded but we underestimated how crowded. With a 45 minute wait we hit the bar and watched the sun set on the inlet. I've been told you could wait up to three hours in the summer for a table during dinner and close to 2 for lunch. Opened in 1940 and underwent a final renovation in 2012-1013 after Hurricane Sandy it's a local and tourist hot spot. 

We ordered Coconut Shrimp to start and boy were the four shrimp perfectly coated and mouth watering. Next up for my entree I knew I needed more shrimp and at Kristen's recommendation I ordered the Shrimp Scampi, another meal that also came home with me. I am currently adding them to my favorite restaurants on the Jersey Shore. Check out there Instagram account, just not when you are hungry! 


After a weekend full of delicious food I had one more stop on the friends tour. My family/camp friends recently bought their first home in Scotch Plains and have been telling me to come visit. It worked out after visiting the cemetery for my mom they were only 15 minutes away! It is such a cute home with an amazing loving couple and I can't wait to visit again in the summer and to utilize said bar in the basement!! 

Finishing out the weekend with a glass of Moscato, some leftovers, Madame Secretary and Cosmo Magazine! 

How was your weekend?

XoXo,
Tracy 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Flipped A Switch

Last night I was watching the new show Strong airing on NBC. Produced by Sylvester Stallone and hosted by professional volleyball player Gabrielle Reece the show is all about "Transformation." It was like an immediate switch went off in my head by the end of the 2 hour preview. Every persons transformation is different and we are constantly competing with ourselves. A switch went off in my head and whoa I wasn't expecting it. 


Have you ever stopped for a minute to listen to what you really want and see how you can form your own transformation. For me and I am sure I am not the only one, it's not about being skinny but more about being fit and being the best person I can be. We always talk about being the best person we can be yet we still sit there and compare ourselves and compete with others. 

10 women are paired up with 10 of the worlds best trainers, all who have different backgrounds to become the strongest in the competition. At first, I was super excited for the show and to see how each team would be different. The trainers offer there expertise and the women work to become stronger. The trainers also transform and you can witness it in the 2 hour special. It's not just about the women it's about the teams and both parties involved in the transformation. The series will run on Thursdays at 8pm and last night two teams already went home. If you haven't seen the show I recommend you check it out. My favorite pair thus far is team Orange! Let me know which team you are rooting for? 

For me, I am off to work on my own personal transformation. For the last few months I fell off the wagon. I'm back and ready to work on me. Take your inspiration, take your motivation and do something wonderful with it! 

XoXo,
Tracy 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

29

In 361 days I will be turning the big 3-0! Good thing I have time for that since I just turned 29 on Thursday. I look at birthdays as a number and a new year. I am not one to celebrate or go crazy. With that said, I was sold on a few celebrations this year. The pictures tell the story of the weekend!

Thursday, April 7th ( My actual Birthday!)

Blowout with my sister for a weekend of celebrating! 

Family Dinner at the Cheesecake Factory!
Friday- I spent the day in NYC visiting with a friend from college for lunch and then seeing my best friend for dinner and drinks! I met Eric at Bryant Park and we walked up to Central Park catching up along the way. We made a stop at Ivy Bar & Grill on 8th Ave and 55th Street. Eric lives in LA and was in for the weekend to celebrate his birthday which fell on Saturday! It was super nice to catch up alone as the following night we were reuniting with friends for his birthday dinner!

Delicious Grilled Flatbread 

Tree-lined 11th Street. One of my favorite areas!


Dinner at Rosemary's NYC 
Rosemary's is a wonderful Italian restaurant in the West Village. They have an open rooftop space opened for everyone so you eat and drink in the restaurant. We went on the earlier side so there were plenty of children enjoying it. Everything from service to food was delicious and I would highly recommend it! I can't wait to go back! Unfortunately I didn't get too many photos as our drinks and conversations were the main part of the evening. Above is the Cavatelli! We also shared the Focaccia Taleggio Tartufi and Gorgonzola Dolce! 


Saturday ( Eric's Bday Dinner and Mini College Reunion)

The northeast was hit with cold rain, some hail and even some snowflakes. What happened to spring? Winter go home we are over you. That wasn't going to stop me from heading back into NYC to Eric and some of our other friends from college. I still can't believe we are out almost 7 years. Luckily I have seen Eric during my trips to Vegas when he was living there and Ashley and Alina are in the NYC area so we catch up even though not as often as I would like, Ashley E and Luisa also joined us as well and it was a great evening reminiscing of our college days! We shared stories of how we each met, what everyone was up to these days and who was married, who had kids, and where other friends were! 

Dinner reservations were at 7:15 at Beauty & Essex on the Lower East Side. The restaurant and lounge is hidden behind a working pawn shop, something I knew as I have been there before. I met Eric and Ashley at his hotel earlier and we took Uber to the restaurant. It was nice to catch up the three of us! When we arrived Eric looked a little confused but once we arrived as you can imagine. We waited for the rest of our party to arrive before being seated. The table would be my only issue as you can see in the picture it was on the small size and not really doable for the sharing of all the plates we ordered. However we made do and had the best time! 



"Trash" Tracy & Ashley (our name from college)

4 of us celebrate April birthday's!
(L-R) Ashley, Luisa, Ashley E, me, Alina,Eric

We shared a bunch of mini plates, Lobster Tacos, Piquillo Pepper, and Grilled Cheese, Smoked Bacon & Tomato Soup Dumpling. Everything was out of the world. I could have easily eaten 4 tacos, but I stuck with just one which was good since my Beauty & Essex Burger was mouth-watering. Hands down the best burger I've had. The goat feta was seriously the best. We ended the night with 4 mini cupcakes to celebrate our birthday's! 

We don't always get to see each other but when we are reunited it's like we saw each other the other day. College provided me with some lifelong friends and I am super grateful we were able to celebrate together!

Before I know it 3-0 will be here. For now I will enjoy 29! 

XoXo,
Tracy 


Monday, April 4, 2016

My own worst critic, and loving myself anyway.....

How often do you celebrate the person you aspire to be? Are you always beating yourself up or focusing on where you failed? I tend to do the latter which I am sure many others out there do as well.

I am my own worst critic and I will be the first to admit it. Lately it has been pretty bad. I am trying really hard to work on that, especially since my 29th birthday is this week.



I am sitting here in Starbucks reflecting on the past. I should celebrate what I have accomplished. How can I when all I see is my current status: Unemployed, Broke, Stressed, and Anxious.

So what have I accomplished and what should I celebrate: Living on my own in NYC and Florida. Traveling alone in California. Graduating from Johnson & Wales University. Working hard at all of my jobs. These are all great accomplishments that friends and family tell me to embrace; however I can't see it because I am my OWN WORST CRITIC.

We need to be kinder to ourselves. My wish for my birthday this year, and yes I am sharing it out loud is that I am kinder to myself. I celebrate the good and let the bad just roll off my back. This is my way of holding myself accountable.

I would see such a change in my daily life if I decided that I would only Act, Speak, and Eat like I loved myself- despite the parts I don't always love. We all owe it to ourselves.

Loving yourself isn't something I have mastered and I am the first to admit that. I've done my fair share of telling fibs, OK lies and it pains me now to even write this. But in order to move forward I have to be honest. I am feeling a lot of emotions and at first I wasn't going to post this, but the more I thought deep down, the more I knew I had to. There is still so much soul-searching to do. So much that I can accomplish if I let myself and love myself. I will take it one day at a time. I have this feeling that I will feel lighter, more connected, and overall more enjoyable.

I hope you can be kinder to yourself and also to others. More importantly love yourself and everyday embrace it even the smallest feeling! Baby steps my friends!



 XoXo,
Tracy





Friday, April 1, 2016

Fundraising Friday #2

First, Happy April Fool's Day! The day I don't believe anything anyone tells me or asks me. Friends and family will tell you I am the most gullible person they know. This day would be no exception and therefore I refuse to fall victim every year.

Before I jump into this weeks fundraising campaign I wanted to share an post that really resonated with me this week. I shared the photo below yesterday for Throw Back Thursday and I haven't stopped thinking about it. Kara, wrote about being vulnerable & keeping her blog anonymous, and as someone who is new to blogging I can completely agree. I love this from the post "I'd rather have strangers know everything about me than people who actually know me. Which totally makes sense. (LIES.)"

Not only have I not shared my blog with family and friends, I also wrote a chapter for a "book idea" I had but put it away with my favorite photo of my mom and I and found it actually yesterday. I never believed in signs, but now who knows. It's time to stop hiding and being afraid of what others think.


This photo was in Oct 88. I was 18th months old. 
Now that I have completely rambled lets get into what this post is about. TWO words come to mind whenever I hear of yet another diagnosis; #CANCERSUCKS. That picture above is my favorite photo because I will never have a moment like that again. You see, my mom passed away from Breast, Liver, and Bone cancer in June 2010. She fought the disease for 21 years. I was 23 when she left this earth.

What does that have to do with Fundraising Friday? In 2013 I was nominated to run for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Man & Woman of the Year NYC campaign by some wonderful peers. I met amazing candidates who were just as passionate if not more then me and for 15 weeks we raised money for LLS. We talked with patients, caregivers, physicians and learned so much.  Team "This One's For You" raised closed to $10k and collectively our group surpassed the 1 million mark that year! I was moved by the campaign and it is something I will forever be grateful for.

So much so, that now I am supporting Sarah Cirelli, a Johnson & Wales Alumni who is running for Woman of the Year for LLS in New Jersey! Check out her link and show her your support. I ran for my mother, she is running for her father. It's time we find a cure so no one else has to run for a loved one.  We all know someone who has been affected by cancer. Patients are fighters. Family and Friends are caregivers. Her goal is a $100K and from what I know about her, she is determined. If you are in the New Jersey or Tri-State area she is also hosting some events!

Thank you in advance for your support to Sarah's campaign!

XoXo,
Tracy