Monday, January 31, 2011


It's almost February, and I'm updating my plans for 2011. So far so good, but I want better. As I think about my goals for this new month, I am thankful for the clarity I now have compared to just months ago. Participating in the She Creates Change program has certainly challenged me to dedicate some serious thought to my desires, and I have achieved a whole new sense of clarity as a result.

I remember the summers from when I was younger. Whenever we heard the jingle of the Mister Softee truck, there were those few precious moments to scamper around the house for money (maybe grab some shoes) and run outside before the truck passed the house. I remember one time in particular, my aunt asked if I wanted anything. Unable to decide, I pondered the options available. By the time I decided, the truck had already passed, and I was disappointed because I had finally set my expectations for a chocolate cone with sprinkles.

My mom has always told me that if you don't know what you want, you don't get anything, and this memory reminds me of that. I share this story to encourage you to figure out exactly what it is you want out of life or it will pass you by like the ice cream truck. Don't be the kid on the block with the poo poo face.

I have to add that Gabrielle Bernstein's book Add More ~Ing to Your Life has been instrumental in helping me find this clarity as well. I would definitely recommend checking out the book as well as her lecture.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Massage Deals

To follow up on my last post about massages, here are some good deals I wanted to share:

A friend of mine from (a discount site for moms) shared this with me: Spa Sally offers spa deals for $25 every Tuesday. This week they're having a deal EVERY DAY!

Also, Just1Touch is having their annual "Have You Been Touched" Week Feb 7-13.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fun Friday: 5 Cheap Treats under $5

Who says you have to break your pockets to have fun? I sure don't. Eating is one of my absolute favorite things to do, so I make it a priority and am willing to spend a few extra dollars for a great dining experience (instead of on a new pair of shoes or a weekly manicure, but I digress). However, you don't always have to spend a lot for a tasty treat. I've found some great food deals, all under $5:

2 Bros Pizza (Several locations)
I remember my elementary school days when I would go to the pizza shop after school for a slice that was $1.25. Now, especially in Manhattan, that is not a reality. EXCEPT at 2 Bros Pizza, where a slice is $1 (no tax!) ALL THE TIME. My first time seeing the sign, my thoughts went from "this can't be true!" to "this is a dream come true!" The best part about it is that the pizza is really good. Because of the high volume of traffic they get, they're popping pizzas out like a factory. Chances are that your slice will be hot and fresh. This is where I go for a quick pizza fix.

Gray's Papaya (Several locations)
This is no secret because Gray's Papaya has been around a while and has been featured on shows (like Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations) and even made appearances in movies (like The Back Up Plan). That doesn't make it any less exciting to get the Recession Special: two hot dogs and a drink for less than $5. How can it get any better? It's open 24 hours. That's how!

Croxley's (28 Avenue B; also in Long Island)
Imagine a place where wings are 10 cents and there are over 100 different beers to choose from. This place exists, and it is called Croxley's. I don't even drink beer, but at Croxley's you just have to. Who can resist a beer and wings for under $5?

Agozar Cuban Restaurant (324 Bowery)
Grab a buddy (or a stranger) and get 2 for 1 tapas. From Costillas (ribs) to the Cubaniche (Cuban sandwich), they offer some tasty treats. Happy hour is 5pm-7pm, and drinks are 2 for 1 too!

IHOP (Several locations)
Please forgive me. This is only available for a limited time, and with tax it is more than $5. However, all-you-can-eat pancakes at IHOP for $4.99 is one of my all-time favorite deals. I just had to include it.

There are countless deals throughout the New York City. Please believe that I will continue to share as I discover them.

What cheap treats do you indulge in?

P.S. NYC Restaurant Week is coming up (Jan 24-Feb 6)! It's the perfect opportunity to try a restaurant that may normally be outside of the normal budget at a discounted price.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Straw Bar

I finally did it. I went out in Long Island, and I enjoyed it.

I checked out a fairly new spot in Huntington Village: StrawBar

I tried a White Chocolate Strawberry martini, which I wasn't a huge fan of. It tasted a little bit like medicine. There were a few other ones that piqued my interest that I'll try next time.

Because there was a game on, we got 25 cent wings. You can't go wrong with that.

And the best part...the fried oreos. I also tried the red velvet cupcake, which was okay, but the fried oreos took the cake!

The Game Returns!

The return of The Game has been a hot topic for a few months now. After losing Girlfriends so abruptly, we just couldn't accept another cancellation without a fight. After what we thought was The Game's finale, we were left with so many questions: Will Jason and Kelly get back together? Is Derwin really the father of Janae's baby? Will Tasha and Rick get married? What will happen to Tasha and Kelly's friendship?

Over a year later, The Game returned and millions of fans, old and new, anxiously awaited the season premiere. From the teaser commercials to the cast appearances on various shows, 1.11.11, could not come fast enough. I was so excited I orchestrated a Season Premiere party because I would not have been able to contain all of my excitement if I watched it alone. Because I was such a Game fan/cheerleader in the weeks leading up to the premiere I thought it only right that I share my thoughts of The Game's return.

It's two years later and we're introduced to our favorite characters...amplified. The first thing that comes to mind is that song "Alllll the Way Tuuurned Up." It's the high energy that the show brought from the beginning, turned up a few notches. After the hour long season premier, I have to say that there was a whole lot going on, and I'm not really feeling all of it. I'm not a fan of Kelly's new personality. I'm definitely not feeling this new Brit Brat. I could live without Terrence in the show, but I can deal with it. Something about the show felt a little bit forced. It did not feel quite as genuine as the show we all fell in love with. I loved the friendship trios, and the dynamic has changed a bit, which felt weird.

With that being said, I understand that after such a long hiatus and with such a highly anticipated return, there was a need to bring the show back with a bang, and that is what they did. They delivered the drama. I postponed this post until after the second episode because I wanted to give the show more of a chance to unfold before critiquing too harshly. I am happy to see that the girl trio is back in tact. I'm willing to forgive the corny reconciliation because I'm just happy that they're back. I'm less forgiving of the random boobage scene because I didn't see the point. Also, Jason's singing scene might be the Kim Zolsiac of 2011 (not cool).

Despite the mental notes I took, I'll be tuned in every week because I'm still a fan of the show. And I still have questions: what happened to Camille? and Rick? So I'm hoping to get more answers with each new episode.

Random side note: Even though I didn't think Hosea Chanchez, was exactly like his character Malik, I never really paid much attention to him because I was always so caught up on Pooch. But during this last round of cast appearances, I saw a side of Hosea that was such a pleasant surprise. So yea I'm crushing on him a little bit.

Long story short, I'm happy the show is back and it's a big deal right now. 7.7 MILLION people tuned in for the premiere. I'm happy to see something we really wanted come into fruition the way this did.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mic Check 1 2 1 2: Karaoke NYC

Karaoke is something that has always been on my to do list, but I've only done it twice, maybe three times. For some reason, I can't seem to get a group together to actually do it. However, there are some people who take karaoke very seriously. It wasn't until recently that I discovered just how many karaoke places are in New York City. My most recent discoveries have certainly bumped karaoke up on my to do list.

Radio Star (3 West 35 St.)
From my first impression, I was a fan. The flashing strobe lights that run throughout the bar certainly set the tone for a fun atmosphere. The staff is friendly, which always a plus. Not only is karaoke available in the bar area, but they also have private karaoke rooms for groups as small as 6 people to as many as 40 people. Each room offers control of the special effect lights to set the desired mood. Each room also has a phone that allows guests to call the bar and order drinks and food.

Pulse Karaoke (135 West 41 St.)
I have not yet been to this one, but the website piqued my interest. Right in the heart of Times Square, Pulse seems to be a karaoke hot spot. With private suites and packages that include unlimited drinks as well as food platters, this looks like a great place to have a get-together. It is definitely on my to do list.

Japas 55 (253 West 55 St.)
I've heard good things about this place, but I have to admit that I wasn't immediately excited from my first impression. I suppose some happy hour drinks, a group of friends, and singing a few songs would make it more appealing. I'm still willing to give it a fair shot.

Karaoke Duet 35 (53 West 35 St.)
I wasnt as much of a fan of this place, simply because they only offer private rooms. Although there is a small bar area, the fun doesn't really happen until you and your group enter the private room.

Karaoke Top Tunes (303 East 53 St.)
I wanted to like this place. It offers the same as most places: karaoke in the bar area, private rooms, happy hour specials, drink/food packages and all that good stuff. However, my experience there wasn't a great one. Granted, I went with an interesting request: to reserve one of the private rooms to watch The Game Season Premiere, and that is not exactly what they do with their private rooms. However, when I made the extra effort to visit days in advance to ensure that it could be done, and was promised that it could be, only to come on the day of to find several obstacles, I was highly disappointed and annoyed. Not only were the promises not delivered but the disregard from the manager was what was most infuriating. This may not be everyone's experience because they are obviously still in business, but Karaoke Top Tunes is NOT on my to do list.

Sing Sing (81 Avenue A)
Whenever I think of karaoke in NYC, this is the first place I think of, simply because I've heard about it so many times. However, I've still never been, but it is on my todo list.

So who's down for a night of karaoke?

NYC Restaurant Week (Jan 24-Feb 6)


New York City Restaurant Week is approaching, and we all know how excited I am about that. This is the chance to venture out to restaurants that may not be the regular budget for a reduced price. I also think about it as a good excuse to try different types of cuisine.

Who's excited?! Which restaurants are you going to try?
A quick PSA for all the servers who are obligated to participate in this promotion:
Please keep in mind that it is the owner's choice to participate in this. Servers who are used to much higher checks per table must now deal with this discount, which affects their tips. Not that it is your obligation to pay their bill because they are the ones who chose this job. However, please do not go in with attitude that they owe you this deal, and if you can it would be a nice gesture to give them a little more than you usually would. Bottomline: please be kind to your server. Kindness makes everybody's day better :-)
(This was a public service announcement from A Concerned Server)
Are there are servers out there who have experienced Restaurant Week? What was your experience like?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It's Brunch Time

The idea of brunch is so much fun because thoughts of cute outfits and heels and mimosas are what come to mind. Obviously, that is not the definition of brunch, but I certainly think that's part of the appeal. From some reason brunch seems extra special because it's almost like you're breaking the rules. The time in between breakfast and lunch, there's not too much pressure to wake up early and have eggs and toast and not limited to lunch sandwiches. It's the best of both worlds. So to share some of my favorite brunch experiences:

Soul Series Sundays Brunch Mixer at Taj- Although Taj Lounge is Indian-inspired, on Sundays, the Soul Series is hosted by the Social Knights for soul food brunch. My favorite option is the Chicken and Waffles. I love the flavor and crispiness of the chicken, and the waffles are soft and fluffy. My only complaint is that I want more when I'm done.

Serafina- With the choice of a Bellini, Mimosa or Bloody Mary, I savored every bite of my Steak and Fabulous Eggs with Grandma potatoes.

Penthouse 808 Rooftop Lounge at Ravel Hotel -I believe ambiance contributes to brunch, and the rooftop lounge certainly delivers a nice experience, with a great view of the city skyline. Penthouse 808 offers a 2-course brunch year-round with climate control and heat in the winter. I absolutely love the Crispy Vietnamese Spring Rolls with the tasty Mango Chili sauce and was pleasantly surprised by the Pesto, Tomato and Mozzarella Omelette.

230 Fifth- This rooftop garden also delivers a lovely rooftop experience with a beautiful view of the Empire State Building. With heat lamps, they offer rooftop brunch on Saturdays and Sundays all year round. I thoroughly enjoyed the 'Liquored Up' French Toast, which is soaked in Grand Marnier and Bailey's and served with marscapone, carmelized bananas, strawberries and maple syrup. I was also very satisfied by the Hanger Steak and Fries (which I had on a separate occasion).

I look forward to more brunches, and in research for my next pick, I will turn to someone who knows what they're talking about when it comes to brunch: the I Heart Brunch Blog

Vamanos Back to Cabana

My cousin likes Cabana so much that it was his birthday request. This time it was back to the South Street Seaport location. We started off just like last time with the Bocadillos (appetizer sampler), and again the Frituras de Camaron (Shrimp fritters) were my fave.

This time I went for the Jamaican Me Crazy, which was pretty much a rum punch. I don't remember the ingredients, but there was a lot of rum because it was making me tipsy. For dinner, I went with the special, which was a pork chop in a tangerine sauce. It was really tasty.

Next time, I think I'll go back to Paella. I miss it, and I found myself looking over at my uncle's plate with a case of the "I want what he has."

Of course, we ended with the Tres Leches Cake. I also tried Banana Zeppoles, but I honestly wasn't a huge fan. I didn't expect the bananas to be such a major part. I did like the banana ice cream though.

Mmmm....another happy experience at Cabana.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

HGTV Aint Got Nothin' on Me

I don't really think that, but I thought it was a fun title.

Actually, I've been very inspired by, maybe even a little addicted to, how those experts can transform spaces. As I've mentioned before, I've taken on a little makeover project myself, and I am very proud of how everything has turned out.

Let's all remember how it started:

And now, the final product (with the newest addition of the ottoman, nightstand and curtains):

I've kept all of my receipts, and the overall cost of this entire project is under $500. And the feeling is priceless.

Monday, January 10, 2011


I'll admit that I got overwhelmed by the holidays, and I am now getting back on track. I fell all the way off with the reverb posts, but I thought about them often. Because I enjoyed doing them so much, I want to catch up on the ones I missed.

December 13 – Action. When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step? (Author: Scott Belsky)
The next step is just that. DOing more. In 2011, Miss Journey will be doing more adventures (and blogging about them, of course), and the Her Journey Girls will be doing more activities together as well.

December 14 – Appreciate. What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? (Author: Victoria Klein)
My car and my new room. Because these are two major things that I worked hard for to secure as my own, they are very special to me and my independence that I continue to develop every day. I'm developing new habits, like making my bed everyday and getting regular car washes to show my appreciation.

December 15 – 5 Minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. (Author: Patti Digh)
  • Going to Chicago
  • Meeting Queen Latifah/Common
  • Falling in love with Abaco
  • Getting my New car
  • Celebrating the Her Journey Anniversary
  • Memphis, Mississippi, Minneapolis
  • Discovering She Creates Change
  • S Factor
  • Thanksgiving (boy girl animal place thing)
  • Bloggers Soiree

December 16 – Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? (Author: Martha Mihalick)

My partner in crime Tonita Morena definitely offers interesting insight into whatever situation I'm dealing with. Sometimes playing the devil's advocate, sometimes getting exactly what I'm thinking, she helps me see various perspectives.

December 17 – Lesson Learned. What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward? (Author: Tara Weaver)
I learned that I often edit, censor and limit myself so that others around me will get me. Going forward, I allow myself to be who I am uncensored, and those who get me are the ones that are on the same page as me.

December 18 – Try. What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it? (Author: Kaileen Elise)
I tried S Factor and I loved it! I want to try so many things! Flying Trapeze is at the top of the list.

December 19 – Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011? (Author: Leonie Allan)
A summer fling healed my heart. It showed me that I could love someone again, and it felt good. Even when it ended unexpectedly, it felt like it served its purpose as a reminder.

December 20 – Beyond Avoidance. What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) (Author: Jake Nickell)
Going to the doctor and dealing with my student loans.

December 21 – Future Self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?) (Author: Jenny Blake)

How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year? (Author: Tara Hunt)

2010: Chicago and Abaco; 2011: Atlanta...we'll see...

December 23 – New Name Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why? (Author: Becca Wilcott)

Bon Qui Qui. Because she says what I wish I could. lol.

December 24 – Everything’s OK What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead? (Author: Kate Inglis)
When my whole family came together as a team at the car dealership. It reminded me of the unit that we are. Moving forward, I will continue to cherish that unit, and contribute to it as best as I can.

December 25 – Photo – a present to yourself. Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you. (Author: Tracey Clark)

December 26 – Soul Food What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul? (Author: Elise Marie Collins)
Chicken in the bag!

December 27 – Ordinary Joy Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year? (Author: BrenĂ© Brown)
Driving. While driving I often find absolute joy from the appreciation of my new car, and from the freedom that the road allows.

December 28 – Achieve What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today. (Author: Tara Sophia Mohr)

Income from Her Journey will certainly make me happy and feel accomplished.

December 29 – Defining Moment Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year. (Author: Kathryn Fitzmaurice)

Becoming a part of the She Creates Change Community has really helped me transform.

December 30 – Gift Prompt: Gift. This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year? (Author: Holly Root)
My car in a way was a collective gift from my family. I'm also really excited about my gift card to Angelo & Maxie's because it is such a perfect gift for me.

December 31 – Core Story What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Author: Molly O’Neill)
Life is like a big ol' chocolate cake, and I want to taste every bite.