Friday, October 28, 2016

Friday Favorites #7

Happy Halloween weekend, my friends!



Any fun Halloween plans this weekend?

I will be a Dark Angel attending a Halloween party this weekend at my friend's new house! I usually don't celebrate, but this year I will since I don't have to be in work on Sunday until 11:30.

Let's dive into some of my favorites from this week. Remember share what you are loving in the comments!

Give Thanks; I saw this today when I stumbled upon Dearborn Market. I posted the photo already on Instagram but wanted to share it again here.


This book has been all over social media and if you haven't heard about it read this article, now. Incredible women who each offer something unique and inspiring is a page turner and we all owe a huge thank you to Grace Bonney for the amazing interviews.

Have you ever tried to empathize with someone and were not sure what to say or how to act? The team at The Everygirl shared a post about "How to Empathize Without Stealing the Spotlight" and Lauren nailed it.

What do these 3 female CEO's have in common? They talk about the reality of burnout. Levo League as always has great articles and you should totally find yourself reviewing many of their great posts.

I look forward to my next solo adventure and with this article sharing the best international destinations I can't wait to start planning. Where is one place you want to visit?

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

XoXo,
Tracy

Monday, October 24, 2016

How I maintain long distance friendships

Did your childhood neighbor move away?
Did your college friend relocate to another state?
What about your closest friend from sleep-away camp who lives in another state now?


Communication

This past weekend I was lucky enough to drive up to Hoboken to visit my college friend who was in town with her fiance. We met in college. We lived in New Jersey at the same time just in different towns. When I decided to run for Man & Woman of the Year for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society she was right there supporting me 100%. I am from NJ. She is from CT. We met in RI. Now she lives in MA. I am home in NJ and we don't see each other often. That doesn't mean we still aren't the closest of friends. 

Here are my 4 tips for maintaining long distance friendships. 

I am sure you have heard the saying "the phone works both ways" and it is 100% true. Yes, we text here and there, but it's our once a month phone calls that excite me. Whether it's on her drive home from work or my time doing errands we make sure to give each other the same attention so we are caught up on one another lives. 

Planning a trip to see one another. This is harder as funds are limited as she is planning her wedding and I am currently saving by living at home. She met her fiance in NJ; however they moved back to MA before I could meet him. This trip was extra special as I got to see her and meet him. It's not always about getting caught up in the nostalgia. In order for the friendship to grow and remain active we talked about our current lives rather then reminiscing about the past. 

Caitlin & I at the Ainsworth in Hoboken

We also catch up via Instagram as well. Surprisingly, both of us are currently not on Facebook so we know when we talk we have a lot to catch up on. A comment here or there on a picture to let the other one know we are always thinking about them. It's quick and easy but means so much. I get excited when I see a comment from her! 

Finally "snail mail" is my current favorite way to communicate with friends in Boston, Florida, California, and DC. First, I have an obsession with cute stationary and second the joy of writing a letter someone will open really excites me! 


Now it's your turn, how do you maintain long distance friendships?

XoXo,
Tracy 

Friday, October 21, 2016

PSA: Get A Mammography

National Mammography Day is annually on the 3rd Friday in October as part of National #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth. If you are already a reader you know I lost my mom to Breast Cancer back in 2010. If you are new my mother was diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer at 35 and passed away a month shy of her 51st birthday. The cancer had spread to the lungs and then the bone, ultimately taking her life. 



My mother was the life of every party. She was known to many as the "mayor of Marlboro" because she knew everyone and everything about most of their families. She had the biggest heart and cared deeply for others; usually putting them before herself. 

When she was first diagnosed only family and select friends knew about the diagnosis and she kept it that way for many years. Only in the last few years did peers, colleagues, and others find out the battle she was facing. Never once did she want pity, or ask for help. When I think of strong and hero I think of my mother and the woman who she was. I hope to be half as brave and strong as her as I grow up. 

Her doctor made her a promise and my sister and I only found this out right after she passed away; he would get her through two high school and one college graduations and you know what, that is exactly what happened. She missed my sisters college graduation by one year. She will miss our weddings, watching her grandchildren grow up, and all those special occasions in person, but she is always with us and will be there in spirit. 

OK, now that I shared all that I want to share the main reason of this post. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Today, the 3rd Friday in October is National Mammography Day. If you saw on Instagram or Snapchat a few weeks ago I went for my annual Mammography. I am 29 years old. Aren't I too young? The answer is NO. Because cancer knows no age. 


My family history makes me at high risk for Breast Cancer. Here are a few facts from the American Cancer Society website

  • "Having a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) with breast cancer about doubles a woman's risk. Having 2 first-degree relatives increases her risk about 3-fold"
    • My mother was diagnosed at 35
    • My mother's mother, my maternal grandmother was diagnosed at 75
  • "In the United States, BRCA mutations are more common in Jewish people of Ashkenazi (Eastern Europe) origin than in other racial and ethnic groups, but they can occur in anyone."


Here is a link as well for more information about Breast Cancer screening for women at high risk. 

Do you know your family history? Have you been screened? Both men and women need to talk about it and get screened. 



Mammography

I am happy to say that mine came back clean. I will continue to go every year and give myself self-checks.

XoXo,
Tracy

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Upper E(at)side

This past Friday I met my best friend and her mom for our monthly dinner in New York City and it also just happened to be #NationalDessertDay. Between dinner, dessert and the following morning brunch for #NYCWFF I was completely stuffed for the rest of the weekend.

Friday night I arrived into the city early enough that I could walk from Port Authority to the restaurant, The Bar Room located on E. 60th street between Park & Lex. I had been to the restaurant back in September for her 30th Birthday so I knew I had time to walk past Bryant Park and take some photos! Back in 2010 my office was one block and I would always bring lunch and just eat and people watch in the park, still one of my favorites places and activities to do!

Bryant Park Grill

The New York Public Library

Steps outside the NYPL

The Bar Downstairs 

When I arrived at the restaurant the rest of my party was already seated in the back. I joined them and immediately ordered a glass of wine. 


Our conversations included recaps of the Jewish Holidays that recently ended, career paths, family, and of course what would be next month's location. We may add a Broadway show which is something I cherish as my mother was a huge fan of musicals. 

We started each with a glass of wine and some appetizers for the table. We ordered Bar Room Fries and Spinach & Kale Dip. I rarely eat kale, however it landed up in my main dish as well and let me tell you it was delicious and I didn't even taste it all that much. The house made tortilla chips had the right amount of crunch and minimal salt. As for the fries, I probably could have ate the whole plate for my dinner and that's big for me, since the only way I eat potatoes is if they are fries. 

Bar Room Fries- truffle oil, Parmesan & herbs

Spinach & Kale Dip- aged cheddar, Parmesan, house made tortilla chips

When it came to ordering our main courses I knew immediately I wanted the Tuscan Kale Pesto with shrimp and my friend ordered the exact same thing. Great minds think alike! Her mom went with the Warm Kale Salad which she raved about. Our waiter continued to refill our wine glasses throughout our meal and was wonderful in never truly interrupting our conversation. The pesto had the right amount of cream and the four large shrimp made the dish and the "icing" on the cake was the fresh ricotta. 

Tuscan Kale Pesto

By the time the bill came we had a rather big decision to make, participate in #NationalDessertDay or call it a night. Guess which we did!

The Dessert Menu

Have you ever been to Dylan's Candy Bar? Dylan Lauren, the daughter of Ralph Lauren created the world's largest confectionery emporium and lifestyle brand in 2001. "Like a Child in a Candy Store" comes to mind every time I step into one of there locations.

We headed up to the Candy Cafe in the flagship store on 60th street and 3rd Ave. The cafe serves food, drinks and obviously dessert! We were 100% full from dinner but that did not stop us from over-ordering sweet desserts. One for each of us and we share all three which we probably didn't need but you only live once and it was a treat!

Cookie Butter Pizza

Demolition Cookie Derby 

Breakfast of Champions 
We did #NationalDessertDay the right way! Whoa, just looking at these photos my mouth is watering all over again. Each dessert had the right amount of chocolate, caramel drizzle, and cookie in it!

And the next morning I was back in NYC for the Greenmarket Brunch hosted by Geoffrey Zakarian for the New York City Wine and Food Festival. I ate and drank my weight this weekend and have no regrets!

What did you do this weekend? Did you participate in #NationalDessertDay?

XoXo,
Tracy 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

First Ever New York City Wine & Food Festival Experience: Greenmarket Brunch

OMG, I am currently in a food coma as I write this. Earlier today I ventured into NYC with my sister's BF who had extra tickets to the New York City Wine & Food Festival. Seriously, I thought this was a once in a lifetime experience and I took it. I will say though I would 100% volunteer in the years to come.

Eat. Drink. End Hunger. New York City Wine & Food Festival is a charity event which makes it even more exciting for me as I am a bigger believer in giving back. Did you know "1 in 5 children don't get the food they need." "The Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Coca-Cola has raised over $9.5 million dollars to help fight hunger!
100% of the net proceeds benefit the No Kid Hungry campaign and Food Bank For New York City to end childhood hunger in America and the five boroughs of New York City. Every year, NYCWFF raises over $1 million for these charities helping them better provide for those they serve and closing the gap on hunger in our country."

We had general admission tickets to the Greenmarket Brunch, presented by Lifeaway Foods, hosted by Geoffrey Zakarian part of LOCAL presented by Delta Air Lines. Doors opened at 11am so we made sure to arrive early to be at the head of the line. The event was being held at The Standard High Line, Biergarten & Garden Rooms. When we arrived around 10:10 after walking through Chelsea Market, we were pleasantly surprised to see no line other then a few people. By 11am when they allowed you in, we had heard the line was around the corner. It didn't matter the line because there was more then enough food and with an open bar you were all set. Our walk around brunch tasting featured New York's best chefs and the local farmers whose ingredients inspire them. You can check out my Insta- Stories or Snapchat for some great photos as well I will post some here.


+Geoffrey Zakarian 


There were two bars; one serving Modelo and the other serving Sparkling Wine, The St. Germain Cocktail and Voss Water.

We started at the bar; prosecco for me and cocktail for J. Once we had a drink we walked around once and then started to make a plan which eventually fell apart. Everything was delicious and there was not one bite that disappointed.

Sea Urchin with Egg over Rice

Poached Egg with Chorizo

Sweet Dessert 

Pierogies


Beef Cake Doughnut

 ( +Scott Conant )

The St. Germain Cocktail



What an amazing experience to speak with some of the world's greatest chefs. Each one of their stories inspired me to really just get in the kitchen and give cooking a try. One guy started out at 45 and now is 60 and cooking for A List Celebrities. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to attend this wonderful event today.

What are you most excited about this weekend?

XoXo,
Tracy



Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday Favorites #6

In the last two weeks I have found myself in synagogue for both Rosh Hashanah (The Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur ( The Day of Atonement). This year though was different. I felt more connected and at peace as in years past. Since my mother's passing in 2010 the holidays have been hard and I usually disconnect during this time. That was different this year and I am quite happy how I handled them.



With that said, here are some of my favorite things found around the internet. 

Fabiola Bittar De Kroon was tragically killed in the horrific NJ Transit Hoboken train cash last week. Her husband announced this week the funds raised from the GoFundMe page will support orphan homes in Fabiola's home town of Santos, Brazil. 

"As a generation we want to make a difference in our life and our jobs" via Wes Gay. Here he shares two reasons why Millennials are really different. 

After a phone call with a friend in Boston who just started her own Event Planning business, ForniFairytales I realized that it is perfectly normal to embrace your time being single. If you are in the Boston, Maine or CT area you should check her out. 

I love travel. All things related to travel. Solo travel. Group travel. I can be found on Twitter @_Travelist_ and my newest Instragram @_Travelist_. I will be adding some of these too my travel bucket list. 

Any favorite reads this week?

XoXo,
Tracy 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Fall Foliage

Hurricane Matthew has been devastating to watch. Here in New Jersey we had nothing more then your average rain. My prayers go out those who have been affected by the hurricane. 

This afternoon the rain finally subsided and I was able to get out and finally do some shooting. All weekend I was hoping to get to a pumpkin patch, unfortunately that didn't happen. You know what did though, I found beauty in my BACKYARD!!! 




I have been playing with my Canon Digital Rebel XTi. I was gifted this camera a few years ago when I was working in the electronics industry. I took it out here and there, but never really knew much about shooting and I still don't. However, I have been learning more and teaching myself about the features and reading up on the camera. 

These are some of my favorite fall foliage shots from today! 






What did you do this weekend?

XoXo,
Tracy 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Friday Favorites #5

This time two years ago I was living in South Florida right where #HurricaneMatthew is currently damaging the east coast of Florida. Everyone I know down there still has seen minimal damage and and are all OK. Prayers to those in Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica who have been affected.

We all feel the need to help and make donations, and yes that is very important but please make sure you do your research to where you money is being donated and how it will be used. We have seen all to much money not being used in the direct need of rebuilding towns, etc after natural disasters. 


It's Friday and I want to share some of my favorites from this week! 

I went to Johnson & Wales University with Ryan and we know each other from campus. He recently wrote an article on why he focused on his career over love in his 20's. What really resonated with me was how young our mother's were when they both passed away from cancer. 

Speaking of cancer, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I had my annual Mammography and the test came back normal. Plenty of brands are creating campaigns to raise awareness and support organizations. #GetTested

Interesting and honest read from the founder of the popular dating app, Hinge. "Not everyone on these apps are looking for relationships, of course, but among those that are, only 18% have found even one relationship,ever." I have heard of success stories from friends, acquaintances, and peers; however I will say I have not had success. 

I am too often wandering through the liquor store with no plan. This post from the amazing team at The EveryGirl was the perfect reading material before heading out to buy wine last night.  I love Danielle & Alaina and the rest of their team!

And I will leave you with this huge source of Inspiration and Motivation from Ashley who participated in Dare to Bare NYC last weekend. "Dare to Bare is the Movemeant Foundation's flagship outdoor charity fitness event and LARGEST body-positive event across the country." I am hoping to participate next year after reading so many recaps about this event. 

What did you enjoy reading, buying or learning this week?

XoXo,
Tracy 



Thursday, October 6, 2016

Pink

On June 4, 2010 my life changed when my mother lost her 17 year battle from Metastatic Breast Cancer. I had always been extremely close with my mom. When in college would speak with her 3-4 times a day. We would spend days in NYC shopping. I could tell her everything and anything. My mother was sick throughout my childhood; however never once did she complain, seek pity, or make an excuse. She was stronger then anyone I ever knew. It's hard for me to think about her last few months because she was so different then. I wanted to remember the old her. The one who was loud, rambunctious, outgoing, and always the life of the party.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the theme is "Pink."



Many brands are creating campaigns to bring awareness and help the cause. For example, Julia shared Land's End is kicking off their Pink Thread Project with this post!

Lokai created a bracelet that they are selling through 10/31/16. Did you know "Every 2 minutes, a woman in the U.S. is diagnosed with breast cancer." The Breast Cancer Research Foundation partnered with Lokai to help find a cure. I am hoping to purchase 2 bracelets one for my sister and I in the next few weeks.

If you watch CBS then you have seen the commercial for Ford Warriors in Pink. 

Alex & Ani, which was started in Rhode Island where I went to college also created a bracelet where proceeds will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Finally, not a brand but an organization close to my heart, The America Cancer Society, holds each year the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. In 2009 after college, I was lucky enough to work as a temp for the MSABC walk in Central Park. In years prior I was always a participant, and that year, the year before my mom passed I was able to work on that walk. I recruited participants, shared stories, created signs and flyers, all while knowing my mom was at the end of her battle. Some would say that it came full circle, I say I was honored to be part of an amazing team and that I made my mom proud.

After she passed I lost myself and it's only recently that I can say I am moving on. I will never forget her, but I do need to live my own life. It's time I moved forward.

Think about supporting a wonderful brand or organization this month. Help make a difference. Be part of something bigger then yourself.

XoXo,
Tracy










Tuesday, October 4, 2016

.....Rosh Hashanah

A prayer for our Country
A prayer for Israel
A prayer or Peace

No matter who you pray too or your religious beliefs I think we can all agree that we want to see peace in the country and world we live in. 

Today as I sat in synagogue for Rosh Hashanah services our Rabbi talked about 3 main topics before we recited the three prayers above. Then he went on to give his sermon, which today covered the topic of technology and "looking up."

1) Politics in America
2) Race Relation 
3) College Campus - Antisemitism

We all have our opinions on the topics mentioned above and this is not meant as a political or racial post. What I do believe and I will keep it short and sweet; if there was peace and we all got along and put aside our own agenda's we would be in a much better place.

I will leave you with this......No matter who you pray to or what you believe just be kind to one another.

XoXo,
Tracy