Wanderlust Wednesday: Unique Food and Wine Pairings

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While traveling every week isn’t practical for most Mod Spinsters’ budgets or schedules, gals with the wanderlust bug won’t be held back. Living in an incredible city like New York makes it easy to have international culinary adventures on a nightly basis.

Whether you are a metropolitan who loves to eat out or a homebody who enjoys preparing dinner parties that guests will rave about for days, you can travel the world through food and beverages anytime you want.

I love wine and finding the perfect pairing for whatever dish I’m enjoying. There are some cuisines that we don’t necessarily associate with wine, but wine knows no borders. Here are some suggestions for harder to pair meals if you want to include some vino:

Chinese Food: When it comes to Americanized Chinese take-out we typically think of enjoying it with a light domestic beer or a fitting import like Tsingtao. However, Prosecco is a nice alternative and still provides the carbonation that for whatever reason pairs so well with egg rolls and moo shu. If bubbles aren’t your thing a light plum wine is a great choice and complements the flavor of the sweet and spicy sauces in your dishes.  

Mexican Food: Another cuisine that we typically think of enjoying with beer. However, it pairs perfectly with a light red such as Pinot Noir especially is you’re enjoying beef or pork tacos. If you are having a chicken, seafood or vegetable based dish, try Sauvignon Blanc. 

Sushi: While Saki is technically a type of wine it isn’t for everyone’s pallet. If you prefer more traditional type bubbly try a light white like a Pinot Gris that won’t fight with the complex flavors and spices you’re enjoying.

What unusual wine and food pairings do you enjoy?

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Wanderlust Wednesday: Zen in the City

*This is another post from the archives that I’ve revived and updated.

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Wave Hill

I love the hustle of living in the city that never sleeps, but even social butterflies with frequent flyer miles need a break from the din now and then. Here are a few of my favorite places for a quick breather in the city:

The Earth Room:  This is one of those only in New York type of places. Among the expensive shops in SoHo there is a loft apartment featuring this art instillation by Walter De Maria. It essentially is a room with a giant box of soil, but I love popping in there when I’m in the hood. Something about the smell of the earth and the quiet of the room makes for a great five minute breather when you need it.  

The Lotus Garden: I live on the Upper West Side and one of the advantages is being nestled between two amazing parks, Central and Riverside. However when I really want some solitude outside I head up to the Lotus Garden. This roof top oasis is community run. It’s open to the public on Sunday afternoons, but for a mere $20 you can purchase a two year subscription to the garden that comes with your own key. The flowers, trees, and goldfish in the pond make for great silent company when you need to tune the world out.  

Paley Park: Midtown East is known for corporate offices and crowds shopping along Fifth and Madison Avenues. It’s not a neighborhood known for peace and quiet. Yet you’ll find just that with this little sliver of a park complete with a waterfall.

Radiance Tea House: It isn’t just the tea that keeps me coming back. This hidden gem of a restaurant and tea house is ironically in the heart of busy Midtown. It is a quiet place to grab a light meal with friends, but it is also the perfect place to take a book and enjoy a pot of tea in silence.

Wave Hill: I recently went to this conservatory in the Bronx for the first time. You’ll really forget that you’re in NYC if you go here. The property isn’t overwhelmingly large, but the trails, gardens, and views over the Hudson will keep you occupied and tranquil all afternoon.

Three Little Things: Part 3

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I’ve talked about getting out of a rut or a funk or whatever you want to call it over the past couple of months. For me, it was three small steps that made a huge difference. The first was to embrace and express gratitude.  The second was to get out of town. This last thing that I’ve done which was by far the most challenging was to show myself a little self-love.  I don’t like to make generalizations, but I do think that women in particular

I don’t like to make generalizations, but I do think that women, in particular, tend to rationalize that self-love is selfish. I know I often make excuses not to do something nice for myself. These range from I don’t have enough time, that costs too much, and when I’m at my lowest I tell myself I don’t deserve something.

Over the past few months, I’ve been experiencing some health issues. I’ve been open about my struggles with weight and my decision to get a lap band six years ago. I’ve been experiencing acid reflux over the past year or so which has progressively got worse. My surgeon did some tests and realized that my band slipped. This can happen and can be repaired through surgery. This would be fine except my insurance company is very restrictive of what hospitals they’ll approve for bariatric surgery. Even though I have a top surgeon from one of the best hospitals in the country, I can’t have him perform this repair.

I’ve been going through the process of appointments and tests threw a surgeon and hospital that are approved. It’s a long and tedious process and my symptoms have gotten worse as a result of having to put this off. Most people associate acid reflux with simply being heartburn and it can be that in it’s mildest form. My symptoms are a bit different and include chronic nausea and a sour taste in my mouth and stomach. I have night cough which is an unpleasant condition where lying down causes the acid in your stomach to bubble up and…well to avoid being overly graphic let’s just say I spend a lot of time with my head over the toilet. My symptoms even produce other symptoms. As a result of regurgitating I’m often dehydrated, have insomnia, and in the mornings I frequently have migraines. You don’t need to throw me a pity party, I’m very good at doing that myself. I’m sharing this because this lack of control of my body makes me feel helpless at times and adds to this fear of not deserving good things.

The hardest part is food affects me. Foods that are typically thought of as being good for you can make my symptoms worse and some days overly processed and sugar laced products are my staples because they are they only things I can tolerate. This has resulted in some weight gain, not crazy weight gain but I’m about 10 pounds more than I’m comfortable with. That might night seem like a lot, but as someone who struggles with body image issues, I sometimes look in the mirror and think I weigh 1000 pounds or something.

This experience has been a reminder to love myself no matter what the scale says. I won’t ever be 1000 pounds and hopefully, this surgery gets approved and results in my feeling better and being able to maintain a weight that I feel comfortable with, but I can’t forget me from seven years ago. That morbidly obese girl should have given herself more love and accepted her beauty because while the exterior may be different I’m still her.

I’ve been trying to give myself a bit more TLC. I carve out time to write, I let myself say no way more than I ever have in the past if I truly can’t take something on, and I put don’t let myself leave the house till I feel good about how I look. That varies every day sometimes it’s as simple as throwing on some lip gloss and other days I might need to change my outfit four times, but the point is I always eventually feel like that person in the mirror is lovely and worth being loved by me and others.

How do you so yourself a little extra love when you need it?

Mindful Monday: Self Care

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Last week was hard for a lot of people. When the term self-care gets thrown around I feel we automatically assume that means taking it easy and not over doing it. That can be part of it for some, but I think self-care is an individual thing. You need to do whatever suits your needs and recharges your batteries.

Here are a few things I did this past week as my needs and mood varied:

Went to a candlelight yoga class

Joined a book club

Binge watched a BBC miniseries

Went to an art gallery

Unplugged from Facebook

Called a friend

Worked on some craft projects

Went for a walk

Made a nice meal

Baked

What do you do when you need a little self-care?

 

This was a hard week…

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This was a hard week for many people. I don’t tend to post about politics or my personal views on certain issues because I hope this site is a space for everyone to feel there is something they can relate to.

No matter what you thought of the election or who you voted for the thing I think that is disturbing to everyone is the increase in reports of racist remarks, bullying, and hate crimes around the country over the past couple days.  I’d like to share what I posted on my personal Facebook account on Wednesday. I keep telling myself this when I feel things are bleak.

“I have refrained from posting this morning because I really didn’t know what to say and was still in shock. Now that I’ve collected my thoughts I need to say this and I’m sorry for the length of this post.

I have a lot of fears and concerns about the outcome last night, but today I need to choose love because I believe that’s what can and well save us. Love is not a feeling…it’s a verb. Verbs are action words and love is an action.

As a woman the past few months have been hard because sexism is more prevalent than I’d like to believe it is in this country and in this century. As a woman I have an obligation to love, support, encourage, and fight for my sisters. There are glass ceilings that still need to be shattered and issues like sexual assault and misogyny that we can’t ignore.

I also realize that I am white, cisgender, straight, and born in this country. I have certain privileges that I know I’m guilty of taking for granted. I owe it to others who don’t benefit from these privileges to join them as an advocate…because BLACK LIVES MATTER, LGBTQI LIVES MATTER! Immigrants built this country and unless you are American Indian your family were immigrants at some point. I also owe it to American Indians to speak louder against the Dakota Pipeline and a multitude of other issues that don’t get as much press.

I grew up in an Interfaith family. Spirituality and religion are something that I continue to explore and struggle with. I’m not a fan of labels but if you really need to give me one I’d say I’m Agnostic with Jewish tendencies and Catholic guilt. Regardless of my personal spiritual beliefs, I was raised to believe that people of all faiths and walks of life should be treated with the same love and respect. I owe it to Muslims to speak out against the prejudice they are currently facing in this country.

As Lin-Manuel Miranda reminded us this June, “Love is love is love is love!” Today I chose love as an action that I need to take.”

Wanderlust Wednesday: Oysters in Montreal

 

img_1479I mentioned that I went to Montreal about a month ago. One of my favorite things to do when exploring a new city is to try some of the local eats. I love seafood so I had fun sampling oysters with my friend Elissa at several different restaurants. They all happen to be in the Plateau-Royal neighbourhood. If you’re ever in Montreal here are three restaurants I’d recommend if you have a hankering for shellfish.

Majestique : Whenever I travel somewhere for the first time I always ask friends and family who’ve been there before where they would recommend to eat. My friend Elissa does the same. This wine bar was recommended to both of us. While in town it was also recommended by every local we asked. So we knew we had to try it. On Friday night of our trip is was packed, but on Saturday we lucked out and sat with no wait. They don’t take reservations so you have to try your luck. The oyster menu changes based on what’s fresh and in season. The menu mostly consists of small plates and they have an impressive wine list to accompany your selection.

Le Filet: This seafood restaurant wins the prize for unique oysters. The half dozen appetizer was served with three oysters in a jalapeno vinegar and three with a maple glaze that was more like a brulee. They were out of this world. The rest of their menu is a mix of cold and hot plates, mostly seafood. I enjoyed one of their signature cocktails, a Camila which consists of aperol, citron, egg white, and vodka.

Maestro SVP: Elissa and I wandered into this Oyster bar for a nightcap. We ended up getting to sample some oysters when the bartenders asked us to join them in some oyster shots. Elissa had a coriander lime oyster shot while I tried the jalapeno vodka and horseradish oyster. While we didn’t have dinner the menu has dozens of oysters to choose from so we’ll definitely return there on our next trip.

 

 

Pinspiration: My Love of Pinterest

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Here is another post from the archives.

There are so many social media outlets today that it can be challenging to keep them all straight. While I do use most mainstream platforms I’m grateful that social media wasn’t a part of my life till after college. Although I have to admit there are some perks to being this connected. Facebook allows me to have a relationship with cousins and distant relatives I’ve yet to meet in person, Twitter keeps me up to date on great events and contests I wouldn’t have known about otherwise, and I do enjoy seeing photos others capture on Instagram.  I downloaded Snapchat when it first came out but quickly gave up on that. It was one platform too many for me. 

My favorite platform by far is Pinterest.  It has become as much a part of my weekend routine as coffee and the Sunday New York Times.  Pinterest is where I find inspiration for ensembles I want to add to my wardrobe, recipes I’m dying to try, and DIY projects for a rainy Saturday.

One of the fun things about this blog has been connecting with subscribers via Pinterest. I love seeing what gems others find and it’s interesting to see what pins of mine others are drawn to.  I mentioned that Pinterest is part of my weekend routine.  Throughout the week I “like” pins that seem interesting to me and on the weekend I organize those pins onto my different boards. I create boards for inspiration when I’m planning out parties. 

Are you an avid pinner? Please share the link to your Pinterest profile in the comments so we can all follow.