Monday, February 28, 2011

March 1: National Pancake Day

Tomorrow is National Pancake Day. It is not just a day for a FREE short stack. That's the bonus. It is really about raising awareness and money for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Their goal this year is $2.3 Million.

P.S. Some IHOPs now have chicken and waffles! What?!! Gotta go get that!

My Love Affair with Five Guys

Five Guys Burgers and Fries that is. What kind of girl do you think I am?

I will say, though, since my first time with Five Guys back in Atlanta, I've been in love with the mouth watering goodness this chain of burger joints offers. My heart flutters whenever I see the sign. So imagine my surprise when I saw a sign that read "Five Guys this way" at LaGuardia Airport. It almost felt like a set up as I followed sign after sign way out of the way from the gate I was supposed to be heading to, but after already making the commitment I couldn't abandon my mission. My mouth was already watering in anticipation. With each sign my craving got stronger and my pace became more urgent until finally there it was, and I swear it was illuminated a little more than the other places in the food court.

Because it has been quite a while since my last time, I have to admit that I was a bit overwhelmed by the topping options like it was my first time all over again. I did manage to order a bacon cheeseburger (which I forgot is actually a double burger) with ketchup, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, just how I like it. The first bite took me to a happy place, where I stayed long after the last bite.

After ordering my burger I noticed that they offered breakfast, which I've never seen before. So it was only right that after my flight back home I revisit to grab a bacon egg and cheeseburger for breakfast. It was everything I wanted and more.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Martini + Mani = $10

Did you know that you can get a martini AND a mani for $10? Yup, at Beauty Bar's happy hour is the perfect opportunity for a girls night out.

This salon turned bar offers beauty treatment that you won't find in any other bar. Only at Beauty Bar can you get a quick mani while enjoying your martini (and for only $10). Although the bar is now the main attraction, they have preserved the decor of the original salon. Complete with vintage beauty products and hairdryers, Beauty Bar certainly invokes a vibe reminiscent of period appropriate movies like Hairspray and Grease.

After a Her Journey Girls Night Out at Beauty Bar, I'd definitely recommend grabbing a group of your girls for a night manis and martinis.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Rosa Mexicano

I haven't always been a huge fan of sangria but the Sangria de Rosa Mexicano (with flavors of apricot and citrus) was one that changed my mind.

I also really enjoyed the guacamole, which was made table-side with fresh ingredients. Maybe I was just really hungry, but it was really good. I could not get enough of it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Call Me Danni Danja!

At last night's She Creates Change gathering, we had the pleasure of having Leigh Van Swall of Duckies in a Row as our guest speaker. The topic of the evening was fear and Leigh encouraged us to think of a time when we were courageous to use as a reminder in the future when fear rears its ugly head. We also had an assignment to create our own superheros.

Some of you have already met my Superwoman alter ego Miss Journey, but she has since grown up and now goes by Danni Danja.

Her theme song of the moment is Katy Perry's Firework.

Reminiscent of Carmen Sandiego (minus the thievery) Danni Danja wears a wide brim hat cocked to the side and a trench coat that doubles as a cape.

Her Super Louboutins allow her to literally hop from one country to the next in a single step. She has the ability to stretch and hold hands with one person from two countries at once, connecting them and bringing the cultures together.

Her telepathy allows her to detect a person's needs and deliver whatever they without any conversation. Her super golden breast plate magnifies and radiates her love as soon as she enters the room.

Danni Danja rides through the New York City streets on a motorcycle like it's a video game and has the power to change her clothes simultaneously when duty calls.

It was a great exercise that left us all feeling empowered. My favorite part was that my superhero is much closer to who I already am than I thought. It was a great reminder that we all do have a little superhero in us, and we have to let her strut her stuff.

P.S. I am constantly amazed by the superwomen I call friends. Allow me to introduce you to my superhero friend Action Jackson who is running the NYC Half Marathon and has vowed to raise $1500 for Housing Works, who is dually dedicated to tackling HIV and homelessness. It would be great if you could support her and her mission. Click here for more information.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

NYC Restaurant Week: Angelo & Maxie's

Determined to not let the snow ruin my plans again, I finally made it out for NYC Restaurant Week. With my gift card to Angelo & Maxie's it was perfect way to share the experience with my Her Journey team member and blogging buddy Desiree!

The mood was set with a Peach Fizz Up (Absolut, Champagne, peach schnapps and orange juice), a fruity and tasty concoction that put me in a relaxed, island state of mind. We got warmed up with the soup of the day: a black bean puree. The main event, the Filet Mignon au Poivre, packed way more punch than I expected. Even though our waitress sizzled it as a spicy dish, crusted in black pepper, my mouth watered in anticipation, but I honestly underestimated it. It was a hefty cut of meat that was full of flavor and spice. Accompanied by creamy mashed potatoes and the biggest stalks of asparagus that I've ever seen, the meal was more than I could handle. I had to throw in the towel prematurely. However, not before topping it all off with black and white cheesecake, which I usually don't eat, but drizzled with raspberry sauce, it was a tasty treat.

After such a satisfying meal, I would highly recommend Angelo & Maxie's, and I will definitely be back. I must go back for the Oreo Ice Cream Sandwich, which they say is for two people but I don't know yet if I plan to share.

The best part is that some of the participating restaurants have chosen to extend the Restaurant Week menu to February 28!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Your Uniqueness

Since starting Her Journey, I've discovered just how many other empowerment efforts are out there. There really is an endless supply of experts, companies, and groups dedicated to empower women. I am often excited about these other efforts, thinking that if we're on the same page to a common goal, we can somehow work together. I have grown to truly understand that "the whole is greater than the sum of it parts." I have seen how collaborating forces can lead to results even greater than each individual party planned.

However, what I have also discovered is that everyone else is not always as excited about these collaborations. Some are more driven by the idea of competition. Please be clear, I understand the idea of building a brand and completely support one wanting to be the best in her given industry. I am not criticizing anyone for that. What I am saying is that I don't find it necessary to slam others in order to build yours. Call me naive if you want, but I believe there is room for more than one of a similar type of business or idea within an industry.

This became clear to me during a conversation on this topic, when my mother asked me "do you go to McDonald's and Burger King and Wendy's?" Some people have a preference and choose to remain loyal to one over the other. I personally love McDonald's chicken biscuits and chicken selects but prefer Wendy's spicy chicken sandwich and could go for a Burger King whopper with cheese every once in a while too, depending on the given day. When it comes to music, I enjoy Alicia Keys and Beyonce and Jill Scott, depending on the mood I'm in. Each offers something unique that satisfies a specific need in a specific moment.

I believe that is what is important when building your personal brand. Maybe I have a similar mission to hundreds of other women. I may even have some of the same ideas as a handful of them. But my experience and what I bring to the table is unique and that will specifically resonate with someone. For example, someone may be able to relate to my experience of feeling like the odd man out because I was always the youngest of my friends. That same person may also be inspired by another woman's experience with overcoming an abusive relationship or disease.

It is my belief that we are each given a unique gift, and there is room for each of them to shine. I encourage you to bring your unique light to whatever it is that you do, and you will stand out among the rest because of it.

This makes me think of Katy Perry's "Firework":
"You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine..."

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