Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Good Night for a Good Cause!

I was recently invited to attend a cocktail party at the beautiful Tory Burch townhouse on Madison Ave. to benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation.  It was a perfect Thursday night, I walked up there after work with my coworker Abigail who is a "young professional" member of the foundation; an inspiring young woman who is actually doing something to bring awareness to the disease that hits close to home for her. 

The entire store was fittingly decked out in the Tory meets Fox Foundation "orange" hue.  A happy color that truly reflected the spirit of the night.  I met Michael and his wife Tracy (and by coincidence gained apartment decorating tips from Brook Gomez-of recent Bethenny Ever After fame!)  What better way to bring awareness to such a wonderful cause than to shop and sip with a purpose?!?!  

Tory's lacquered orange boutique and the perfect stripe bikini!

Abigail and Michael...we're on a first name basis now!

We finished the night with an amazing dinner and chocolate ganache spoons at Jeffrey's Grocery in the village, a perfect night!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

NYC visitor!

Like I need any excuse to roam the city and try new restaurants, but there really is nothing better than when a friend comes to visit!  It's the perfect opportunity to explore new bits and pieces of my beloved city!

My good friend Nicole from high school came for a visit.  It had been over a year and a half since her last visit, and that weekend was so epic, that surely this would be hard to top!  But we sure tried.

We went to Bushwick and back (finally tried Roberta's for pizza), east village (Big Gay Ice Cream Shop), old standbys in the west village (Alta and Spotted Pig), and found two new pairs of boots (for me) and vintage glasses (for Nicole) at the Brooklyn Flea!  Top it off with late night karaoke at Sing Sing in the East Village and you have the perfect weekend!

We went for the classic margarita with prosciutto and the "Cheeses Christ"

Sadly my current apartment doesn't afford me the room for a bar cart so I had to leave this treasure at the Flea
I wish I wore glasses!
A salty pimp and Bea Arthur on a Saturday afternoon!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter in NYC

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend.  It was a beautiful weekend here in the city; and felt surprisingly long even though I didn't have Friday off.  Friday night I caught up with my cousin over wine and nibbles, Saturday I had brunch at one of my favorites, followed by an unexpected trip to the Met to tour the Steins Collect.  I don't remember the last time I went to the Met (tragic I know) but it was such a nice way to spend the afternoon!  And I would highly recommend the exhibit; it was fascinating and brought me right back to my trip to Paris last year.  

To get in the festive mood I made Easter cupcakes for work on Friday-inspired by this post but made mini and with caramel buttercream!
My favorite type of meal-a little of everything-the perfect Friday night!
A day at the Met-so very Gossip Girl isn't it??
My good friend Blair organized Easter brunch for all the "orphans" that don't have families nearby to go home to.  This year we went to Norma's in the Le Parker Meridien.  I remember going for breakfast over 10 years ago when visiting NY with my mom.  Brunch was good, but probably a little over-rated and definitely over-priced!

Chocolate Decadence French toast-insane!
After brunch I headed out to visit my "other" family-friends in New Jersey.  We spent the afternoon walking in to town, enjoying the sunshine, and finished the day with a beautiful dinner.  

All in all a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pana-mania Part 2-The Islands

The second half of our trip we headed out to the islands of Bocas Del Toro, specifically the Island of Bastimentos.  Getting there was something else all together!  

There are only 2 regional airlines that fly from Panama City to Bocas, and for whatever reason the flight times are either early in the morning, or later in the afternoon.  We wanted to get a full day in, so we opted for the 6:30 am flight, not realizing that we would be leaving the morning after the Gap opening party....needless to say, we skipped that whole sleeping thing (overrated) and went straight to the airport at 5am.  I can honestly say I've never stayed up all night!  But when in Panama......

It was a quick flight, and we were in Bocas Town by 7:30 am.  We had to wait for the boat to leave for our resort around 10:30, so we made our way to Miss Lillie's for breakfast, a beautiful little restaurant right on the water.

After breakfast we took a quick nap (or I did while Cacky frantically typed away work emails on her iPad before losing all service on the island!) and then headed out to Bastimentos Island to the Al Natural Resort.  About halfway through the 45 min boat ride we encountered a torrential downpour with only a few garbage bags to keep us dry.  I thought this was the dry season?!?!  Luckily the rain got it out of its system and we had beautiful weather the rest of our stay.  

I can't say enough good things about this resort!  Open air huts right on the water, we heard the waves crashing at our feet every night!  It was incredible.  

We opted for the all-inclusive package, so each day we went on a different excursion.  Snorkeling, dolphin watching, canoeing through mangroves, and touring the indigenous village of Salt Creek on the island.  We spent the afternoons lounging on the dock, taking the kayaks out, and relaxing with a cocktail in hand!  All meals were eaten together in the main bar, we met the most amazing people, our dinners lasted so long the staff ended up going to bed and letting us help ourselves!

Every night was a 3-course ordeal!
All-inclusive was truly all-inclusive-Javier made sure to stock our cooler for all excursions!
My one and only attempt at bar tending
Passion fruit rum shots for all!
Night Monkeys!  These little guys would show their tails through the roof of the restaurant signaling they were ready for their nightly bananas!
The native Red Frog and our hosts in the Salt Creek Village

We spent 3 nights at Al Natural before heading back to Bocas Town for our last night (had to catch another 7 am flight back to Panama City, seriously who set up these flight times?!?!)  We spent the last night at La Coralina .  It was very nice, and I'm glad we saw something different, but it did not even compare to our stay at Al Natural.  We had a nice dinner at the hotel restaurant and then headed into Bocas Town to experience the nightlife.  We ended up at Barco Hundido and Aqua Lounge, the two hot spots in town.  It was a mix of foreign backpackers and locals, interesting scene, again glad we saw it, but not my favorite part of the trip!

A much needed rum-punch upon arrival at La Coralina
View from the hotel
I found myself in yet another hammock 
Night out in Bocas Town
Scene at Aqua Lodge 

Sunrise at La Coralina before our 7am flight
Our last few moments in Panama were just as good as the rest of the trip.  Due to the kindness of some new friends, a driver was waiting for us at the regional airport to greet us upon arrival from Bocas Del Toro.  Jose (our second of the trip) took us from the airport to an authentic Panamanian diner for brunch, then to the craft market so we could pick up a few last souvenirs before taking us to the international airport for our flight back to the US.  

Our buddy Jose

Authentic Panamanian brunch, perfect for "una resaca"-HANGOVER!

Our flight ended up being 4 hours delayed back to NY.  Yes a bummer, but what can you do?  With the amazing trip we had, where not a single thing went wrong, how could we complain?

We managed to turn the negative into a positive by spending the afternoon in the Copa Lounge, wouldn't expect anything less!


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