Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fun Friday: Miss Journey vs. Danielle

Although I am not one to participate in the Halloween festivities, I thought this would be a great opportunity to embrace my inner superhero and share my super alter ego.

Cue: theme music

As opposed to Danielle who is the shy and simple only child who would rather be lost in a book and chooses to hide behind her written words, Miss Journey is the fly, focused and fearless businesswoman who does whatever necessary to get the job done.

When she enters the room, each step goes to the beat and her hips switch to the rhythm of her entrance music.

She brings large groups of women together, representing all ages, races and cultures of the world.

She empowers large groups of women with her boldly and passionately spoken words.

She transcends boundaries and walks all the corners of the earth.

She is reminiscent of many familiar faces and invokes the combined strength of all those before her.

Gotta Love NY!

It's moments like these when I'm reminded of why I just LOVE my hometown, New York. In New York, you see the most unexpected things. You quickly learn not to question them but to simply enjoy the entertainment.

A few days ago, as I'm on the Conduit on the way to Brooklyn, I saw a motorcycle show. I must also add this show was right in the middle of the street, among traffic. Motorcycles always tickle my fancy, so of course I was excited to see some spontaneous entertainment. From the Conduit all the way to Atlantic Ave. these riders popped wheelies, stood on one foot on top of their bikes, and, might I add, took pictures of each other, not even concerned with the traffic they were holding up.

Because I was in no rush, I found the whole thing hilarious; And I couldn't resist the opportunity to capture the moment myself. Imagine me weaving through traffic with camera in hand to keep up with the riders that almost escaped me at every light.

Note: I apologize for the quality of the photos. I'm working on improving my action shots. lol.

I thought this was fitting :-)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Queens Restaurant Week: Cavo

Next stop, Cavo Mediterranean Restaurant.

Talk about step out of your comfort zone. Cavo was my first experience with Mediterranean cuisine (that I can recall). However, after stepping into this beautiful restaurant, we were convinced that our experience could only get better. The high ceiling and multi level layout create a breathtaking but welcoming space, which is graced by the natural light pouring in. With the option of the outdoor garden, Cavo is certainly fit for any special occasion. I cannot forget to mention the friendly hostess, caring owners Tommy (our very own Jason Statham, as Tracey referred to him) and Jessie who greeted our table and checked on us and our lovely waiter Nick, all who contributed to our pleasant time at Cavo. Although we didn’t witness it firsthand, I can only imagine how the live music adds to the ambiance.

We started off with the flowered zucchini, which was fried and filled with a zucchini paste. Even though I don’t consider myself a fan of zucchini I enjoyed the appetizer.

I was immediately intrigued by the squid ink linguine. Despite a bit of apprehension, I went for it and enjoyed it. Linguine made black with squid ink served with scallops and capers is certainly something I had never even heard of before but would definitely eat again.

Taking Tommy’s advice, my partner in crime, Abby, ordered the striped bass with pasta and pesto so that we could get a taste of both items we were curious about. Definitely delicious! The fish was slightly crisp on the outside but well flavored and juicy on the inside, and the pesto added its unmistakable flavor to the dish.

Tracey was also pleased with her baby chicken dish (which was later referred to as "chicken fantasy"), which was served with tri-colored cauliflower and mock mashed potatoes that tickled her fancy.

Because I can never resist dessert, I went with the molten cake, which wasn’t unlike others I’ve had but yummy nonetheless.

Compliments to the chef!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Unfair Fight: Hit with the Reality of an Unhealthy Relationship

To further promote Domestic Violence Awareness, let's take a look at Robin Givens' book Grace Will Lead Me Home.

We all know Robin Givens as the beautiful actress who has appeared on The Cosby Show, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, in Boomerang, and the Off-Broadway production of The Vagina Monologues, just to name a few, but in her book Grace Will Lead Me Home, we are introduced to a young and naïve Robin Givens who falls victim to an abusive marriage to boxing champ Mike Tyson.

Givens guides us through her family tree and reveals the curse of domestic abuse that trickled down through the generations, from her grandmother and mother’s battle to her very own fight. Retelling stories that must have passed from generation to generation, Givens vividly depicts events that occurred before she was even born. She recounts her foremothers’ strength for leaving their abusive lovers with admiration and utter respect. As we are introduced to young Robin, amidst the nostalgic childhood memories she recreates with stories of her family, we witness the recurring cycle of an unfulfilling relationship with a father and the false fulfillment of a dysfunctional relationship.

Givens describes her early days with Michael (as she calls him) with the blissful innocence they shared as a young couple. But the tale quickly turns to terror. With the first blow, your heart stops with shock, and with every blow thereafter, your heart sinks as you imagine the heavyweight champion fighting an unfair fight with his petite and unsuspecting opponent. With each page, you feel anxious and dread for what is to come but you also feel a growing discomfort at the familiarity of her deep-seated desire to just enjoy what you know is not completely right. As she walks us through the roller coaster of her relationship, she elegantly constructs the story to convey the competing danger and innocence of each moment she and Michael spent together.

The moments get progressively worse to the point where she goes numb, and we lose Robin, and it is as if someone else is writing the story for her. Through her story, Givens allows us an outside perspective that one cannot see when lost in the situation. We can see, from a spectator’s perspective, how foolish thoughts and choices can be when clouded by the bliss.

We are witness to Givens reliving some of her lowest points in her life, but we also witness her beautiful restoration, in which she finds her spirit strengthened. While it may be difficult to read at times, Robin Givens shares a victory that will undoubtedly help another young woman conquer an abusive relationship.

Domestic abuse remains a very serious issue, and it is important that we educate ourselves on the matter and prevent it in any way we can. According to domestic abuse “occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person [sometimes using] fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and gain complete power over you.”

Be aware of the warning signs.

Bottom line: I’m not implying that all unhappy situations will result in domestic abuse, but if you are unhappy, you need to reevaluate the relationship. Trust your gut.

There are ample resources for information and support:;; National Domestic Violence Hotline (800.799.7233)

This post also appears on the Her Journey Blog.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Queens Restaurant Week: Balu Cafe

First stop, Balu Café in Astoria. Balu transforms casual dining with a cute and swanky environment. I immediately fell in love with the white lounge seating, and the waterfall cascading over plasma and electric fireplace only added to the chic ambiance.

From the prefixed Restaurant Week menu, I chose (I was more than pleased with each choice):

-the lobster cake with chipotle aioli and green beans in balsamic vinaigrette-which had a nice crisp shell, and the chipotle aioli gave it an extra punch of flavor

-steak forestiere-grilled hanger with mushroom and burgundy sauce roasted potato cake and asparagus- all I have to say is “succulent.” I even ate the asparagus, which I usually don’t eat.

-and chocolate pudding-which was so rich, and the fresh strawberry was definitely a bonus

I will certainly be back for weekend brunch. I’m already torn between the baked French toast and the chocolate filled pancakes. However, I’m already anticipating the mimosas.

Next stop, Cavo Mediterranean Restaurant.

There’s still time! Queens Restaurant Week ends tomorrow.

AND from October 12-23, it's Huntington Restaurant Week!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fun Friday: Getting to know Miss Journey

My Guilty pleasures

(inspired by Jade’s post)

-Diddy shows (and a lot of other reality shows including Real Housewives of Atlanta and Real Chance of Love might be added to the list :-/)- even though I know how contrived the drama is and how silly all that nonsense it, I can't help but to tune in and watch every episode and the encores

-YouTube- I can easily spend hours going from video to video of pure nonsense

-gay guys- like our good friend at Ihop (for those of you who know who I'm talking about). Fabulous gay guys are so fascinating!

-eating- knowing I'm not even hungry but just indulging in something ridiculous makes me happy on the inside

-sipping a little drinky drink for no good reason :-)

-giving my number to guys in the club- knowing i don't want half of them to call but there's still a bit of excitement about it

-getting lost/taking the scenic route- it's always so much more fun to explore

-cartoons- it just feels sooo good to sit and think about nothing but the maniacal laughter of Spongebob and all of my other cartoon friends: Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Phineas and Ferb, The Mighty Bee, etc.

Is it sad that I got a bit of satisfaction just thinking about these guilty pleasures? lol :-)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Real Housewives race to "Heel the Soul"

Just in time for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, real housewife Nene hosted Heel the Soul event. For those of you who follow the show, you know that both Nene Leakes and Lisa Wu-Hartwell are survivors of domestic abuse. I am so happy to see that they are active advocates for women in similar situations. In this week's episode, Lisa and Nene had a touching conversation about their experiences and how it affected their self esteem. I certainly encourage you to catch the episode.

Also, Marshalls' Shop 'Til it Stops initiative is a great incentive go shopping while supporting a great cause:
"For every pair of shoes you buy in our stores from October 1st through October 15th, we’ll donate $1* to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which provides crisis intervention and referral to survivors, their family and friends."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Her Journey Magazine Anniversary Issue

I am bursting with excitement to share the Anniversary Issue of Her Journey Magazine!

In This Issue

We’ll take you to:

*Trinidad and Tobago

*Costa Rica


Also visit us at:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Queens Restaurant Week

Cue music: "It's the most wonderful time of the year..."

Today begins Queens Restaurant Week! Having experienced Long Island Restaurant Week, I am almost drooling with excitement to take a stab at some of the Queens restaurants.

From October 5-15, you too can experience a 3-course meal for ONLY $25! You don't want to miss it!

I will definitely be sharing my experiences... :-)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

In the Spring 2009 issue of Her Journey we touched on the issue of domestic violence with the help and wisdom of Sil Lai Abrams, a survivor of domestic violence turned woman empowerment coach. Recent events in the media have shown us that domestic violence is certainly an issue that hits closer to home. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Her Journey has accepted it as part of our responsibility to support this movement.

Domestic abuse is an issue that gets sympathy but remains insignificant until it affects you personally. However, as distant as it may seem, it is important to protect yourself and those around you from it before it has the opportunity to get too close for comfort.

First, knowing exactly how to define domestic abuse can diminish common misconceptions and better prepare you to identify it before falling victim to it.

According to domestic abuse “occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person [sometimes using] fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and gain complete power over you.”


  1. It’s not domestic abuse if he doesn’t hit you.

Abuse comes in many forms, including verbal (name calling), emotional and sexual, all warning signs of what could eventually become physical.

  1. It is only domestic abuse if you are married.

Abusive behavior in any intimate relationship, boyfriend/girlfriend, same-sex, etc., is domestic abuse and should not be tolerated. Domestic abuse can even occur after a relationship has ended.

  1. Only women can be victims of domestic abuse.

Although it is more common and severe for female victims, men, too, can be victims of domestic abuse.

Okay, now we know exactly what it is, but how serious is it?

The National Domestic Violence Hotline website shares several startling statistics:

  • According to CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey 2005, 1 in 4 women in the U.S. are victims of domestic abuse at some point in their lives
  • 1 out of 3 women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.[1]

What struck an even deeper nerve was finding out that:

  • Liz Claiborne Inc. Teen Relationship Abuse Survey 2006 reported that 14% of teens said they would do almost anything to keep a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • 20% of those who have been in a serious relationship have been hit, slapped, or pushed by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • 1 in 5 female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner. Abused girls are significantly more likely to get involved in other risky behaviors. They are 4 to 6 times more likely to get pregnant and 8 to 9 times more likely to have tried to commit suicide.[2]

These statistics could make your heart stop:

  • According to the CDC Adverse Health Conditions and Health Risk Behaviors Associated with Intimate Partner Violence - United States 2005, each year, IPV results in an estimated 1,200 deaths and 2 million injuries among women and nearly 600,000 injuries among men.

An abusive relationship can be a very difficult situation to escape, which is why it is terribly important to prevent it from onset.

  • The simplest rule: if you are unhappy in a relationship, it is not for you. (I’m not implying that all unhappy situations will result in domestic abuse, but if you are unhappy, you need to reevaluate the relationship.
  • Be aware of the warning signs:
    • What kind of relationship did he witness? Many abusers witnessed domestic abuse among their own parents.
    • How does he handle anger? Men are naturally more aggressive than women, but it is important that he know how to handle that anger properly.
    • Persistence and disregard for what you say may seem like insignificant details in the beginning but are signs of someone who will do what they have to to get what they want.

Don’t making excuses for him:

  • “He loves me. He just has a bad temper.” “It’s not his fault. His dad was abusive.” “He needs me. He’s hurting.” His pain is not your problem to mend, especially if he’s hurting you/not at the cost of your own well-being.
  • “He’ll hurt me if I try to leave” But he’ll hurt you if you stay, repeatedly. It may be difficult and intimidating to leave but you can find support that is greater than him.
  • He promised it won’t happen again.” I would only advise considering giving him a second (and only a second, not third) chance after professional help.
  • According to Allstate Foundation National Poll on Domestic Violence 2004, 3 out of 4 (74%) respondents personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.
  • 1 in 3 teens report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, slapped, choked or physically hurt by his/her partner.[3]

If your friend is in an unhealthy situation, you need to snap her out of her blissful fantasy and encourage her to find her own strength to leave.

The relief of leaving the situation will be a victorious feeling like no other, but I do advise seeking professional assistance to help you to love yourself, your friends, loved ones and another again. Now I’m not telling you to write the next Diary of a Mad Black Woman or reenact Jennifer Lopez’s character in Enough, but I strongly encourage self-defense to keep yourself protected.

Read other stories of victory: Juanita Bynum, Robin Givens

There are ample resources for information and support:;; National Domestic Violence Hotline (800.799.7233)

For the entire month of October, Jewish Women International blog will be sharing stories of those who have survived and overcome domestic abuse.