Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Part 2: Love Love Love...

As if the first two days weren’t exciting enough, I still had two days of fun ahead of me. London certainly was measuring up, although not without its distinct differences to my New York. For starters it just has a different feeling in the air. New York gives off a sense of urgency and alertness. I got the feeling London is a bit more laid back, yet slightly standoffish. I enjoyed the fact that London is quieter. I was sleeping in the heart of the city, but had no need for earplugs. Cars don’t honk incessantly and people, in general, keep their voices down (unless present at late afternoon debauchery session). It has more green space, is cleaner and is deviod of dogs dressed up like primadonnas. In short...lots of subtle, yet noticeable differences.

Over the final two days of my stay, my gal pals and I proceeded to do it up:


  • Awoke early to a beautiful sunny morning, a perfect Americano and brioche.
  • Took a stroll over to Westminster and the Houses of Parliament…waiting for the “ah-ha” moment that never came. Big Ben is the Empire State Building of London. Special, yes. Groundbreaking, no.
  • Walked to the South Bank once again to stroll down the Thames. Meeting a crowd of tourists at the London Eye, we quickly breezed through the area…not a fan of crowds.
  • Had a desire to get down to the Tower of London, but my feet quit being ambitious around the Millennium Bridge and Top Shop was calling our names.
  • Headed to Oxford Street (the equivalent of New York’s 34th Street) for a 2-3 hour stint within a 3-block radius. Top Shop was glorious, the crowds were not.
  • Post retail therapy, we strolled off of the main drag into the heart of Soho. We were starving and had our hearts set on some fried food and beer, which we found without much trouble.
  • After some quality people watching (including a flasher and some very bad fashion choices) we dropped our shopping bags back at the flat and got ready for a BBQ over in Mayfair. Post veggie skewers and a Pimms taste-test we rallied for a night out in South Ken.
  • More fabulous drinks and a 2am closing time allowed for lots of boy gazing. Tip: the bartender at Eclipse is HOT and makes the best Pear Mojitos in the universe.
  • Grabbed a taxi home in the wee hours of the evening and crashed.


  • Alas, the last day arrived…of course, with an Americano, croissant and ample amounts of sun.
  • We decided to stroll west and hit up more shopping potential in Knightsbridge. One Harvey Nichols visit and one Harrod’s Food Hall visit later we stumbled upon Laduree – a French patisserie that had just opened a branch at Harrod’s. O.M.G. those macaroons are to die for…especially the rose ones. We decided the scene was too fabulous and quaint not to enjoy it so we sat for a Kir Royale and nibbled on our macaroons. Following our mini-break we proceeded to purchase a few more macaroons for the road…few = many. They are unspeakably good.
  • We strolled out of Harrod’s and realized we had about 45 minutes before our reservations for afternoon tea at The Wolseley. We hopped a bus to Green Park and were there in a jiff.
  • At the Wolseley, we enjoyed a fabulous two-hour session of noshing and relaxing in the sunny room over scones, clotted cream, finger sandwiches and a fabulous array of tea. It was so lovely that we are planning to instate a tea party in our own circles here. We left stuffed to the gills.
  • For the remainder of the afternoon we decided to check out the northwest side of the park, heading over to Paddington and Notting Hill. More walking. More shopping.
  • We finally hit a wall and decided to catch a bus back…seeing the sights from the upper deck of course. I'm a big fan of the bus. Always have been in New York too, however the traffic flows better in London and allows for a pleasant, and relatively speedy ride.
  • We arrived back at the Covent Garden flat exhausted and elated from our jam-packed trip. We decided to order Indian for take away, and enjoy the evening in the comfort of a cushiony couch.
Tuesday morning we awoke early to catch a flight back to New York. Overall, I thought London was fabulous and I hope to return someday soon. It certainly has it’s own charm and old-world feel, something many parts of New York could never claim. The downfalls: the weather and the distance from home, but every adventurous gal can get past those things in the name of a fabulous town…and many cute boys in pinstripes doesn't hurt either ;-)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Part 1: Love Love Love...

La-Love Love…London. If that doesn’t say it all…then I’ll spell it out. I had a brilliant time. It was strange actually. I was waiting and waiting for my “ah ha” moment - the point where it hits you that you’re in a massively different place – and oddly enough, it never came. Not when I realized the cars were driving on the wrong side of the street. Not when I heard the accents and shopped with funny money. Not even when I caught my first glimpse of Big Ben. I think it was the city-girl in me that made it all seem normal. From the moment I stepped out of the airport from the moment we stepped back in I felt like…I could ‘do’ London. It’s just like New York…only…London.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the first two days of adventure:

  • Stopped into the London branch of my office for a visit and a peak
  • Hauled ass with my friend to our “apartment” for the weekend…a posh little set up smack in the heart of Covent Garden
  • Celebratory beers at Porterhouse, which, of course, led to many many many more beers in the neighborhood…all at bars that had names resembling one of the following: Pig & Hoof, Claw & Hawk, Punch & Judy…you get the picture
  • Late dinner at an Indian restaurant in the hood…for all you Brits, what ever happened to cushioning the hangover with a little sustenance?!?!
  • Post food, we picked back up on "happy hour," which led to chatting up every nationality of boy known to man...once I met the Germans I knew it was time to call it a night
  • Passed out from a combination of jet lag, beer buzz and food coma…
  • Coffee and croissants du chocolate from around the corner
  • Met up with Downtown and another gal pal at St. Paul’s for a day of modest sightseeing (given it was raining most of the day we decided to keep most of our “outdoor activity” for Sunday and Monday)
  • We proceeded to the Tate Modern for 2 hours of gazing at amazing works of art
  • Following, we took a short walk on the South Bank to the Borough Market where we purchased a variety of cheeses, breads, chutneys, olives and wine for an average “girls night in”
  • Returned to posh CG flat for smorgasbord dinner
  • Got cutsied up and headed over to Annex 3 (thanks for the tip Holly…the cocktails were fab!), where we realized men in suits are entirely to few and far between in the States…must promote pinstripe wearing more often on this side of the pond
So far, London was absolutely fabulous. As an experienced city girl, navigating was easy, walking a ton seemed normal and the accent was growing on me. My only beef…the positively shitty weather, but no matter, I was in London after all, and I have to say…very livable.

The next couple of days would be full of more fun including lots of shopping, afternoon tea, exploring and more frolicking with the little time and so much to do!

More to come as I get back on New York time...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

From New York to London

As if I couldn’t get enough travel packed into my late spring/early summer, in a mere two days I’m heading off to the lovely city of London. Sadly, I’ve never been there before so this’ll be a new experience, however not one without a certain sense of parallelism. You see, I’ve always felt in a similar fashion about London as I’ve felt about New York. I’ll explain…

When I was about 12 years old I came to New York to visit my uncle who was living here at the time. I arrived bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, anxious to see what the “big city” would be like. I had seen it in my favorite movies, and dreamed about it when “uptown girl” played on the radio. In a nutshell, I fell in love with the energy and all that is New York in an instant (and despite the fact that it was New York before Giuliani had his way with it). I loved the sparkling, revolving doors on 5th Avenue and the view of lower Manhattan from the crown of the Statue of Liberty. I even found the watch vendors, selling from decrepit briefcases, engaging. There was just ‘something’ about New York, and I wanted to be part of it. The second time I came back was to interview for jobs during my senior year in college. Fast forward to now and I’m here living my childhood dream and have never looked back. It has been exactly what I wanted it to be.

Since that first trip, I had always been on a beeline to move to New York, yet I had never traveled back or desired to come here on vacation. My reason was that New York was livable and never a place to vacation…that is what the Caribbean is for.

Somewhere in my late teens, I had entertained the thought of living outside of the states, and for some reason, London always had a pull for me. Since I've been in New York, that pull has gotten stronger and not just because it's London, but more importantly because it's closer to the potential to have some amazing adventures in very new places. I’m excited for this weekend's trip because it will be eerily similar to the trip I took as a small child - full of wonder and excitement and the tip of a potential iceberg. The thing is, is that I’m only going to London now because it’s always had that “livable” aura for me, like New York did. I’d never desired to go to London on vacation because that is what Italy and Spain are for.

So…I’m heading across the pond for a first look. I don’t know what I’ll find or what I’ll think, however I do know I’m going to have a fabulous time.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Educational Gender Gap

The age-old stereotype that girls aren’t as good at math and science as boys apparently is still plaguing this country, according to a report on CNN. Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings is calling for a review on existing research to determine why girls are not as well represented in the sciences as boys.

This well-known typecast, created by the gender divide and proliferated in pop culture by Barbie herself, causes me to ask why isn’t anyone making a stink about the below-par performance of boys in more social science focused subjects. To boot, is it so horrible that men and women choose certain professional paths based on what they’re good at versus what they were educated best in?

In today’s day and age, you’d think this country’s leaders would take a more double-sided approach to fixing the problems in our education system. Instead, they choose to fan the fire beneath a “problem” that should be stomped out, not relit.

In my high school, the math and science programs were phenomenal, so phenomenal that I entered college not having to take ANY math and maybe one or two classes of science. Yes, I was good at those subjects, but my career choices leaned towards what I’m good at: talking, socializing and analyzing, hence my lovely career in marketing. I’m definitely not saving the universe, but is it so horrible that I didn’t choose to become a biochemist?

I look around and I’d be hard pressed to find even five men that work in my division (even harder to find ones that play for “my team”). From what I can tell, men don’t do the world of communications very well…but I don’t have to tell you this.

We all know there are profound differences in how the male and female brains work. It’s seen every day, displayed in full force in everyone’s social and work lives. So let’s face it, there will never be a time when boys and girls learn in the same way.

Despite girls apparently sucking in math and science, here are a few other things we know:

  • Women now out number men in college enrollees and graduate at higher rates
  • Girls capture more academic honors, outscore boys in reading and writing, and score about as well on math at the fourth, eighth and 12th grade levels
  • Girls out-graduate boys by rate of 72 percent versus 65 percent for boys
Instead of focusing – again - on female shortcomings, I’d suggest to Ms. Spellings that she focus her efforts on figuring out how not to leave every child behind, no matter what their gender.

Perhaps she can start with funding public school programs properly. Perhaps she could work to foster quality teaching and balanced curriculums instead of worrying about standardized testing. Perhaps she could work to correct the public’s myopic view on females in the workplace, where we still make a percentage of the dollar that men do in the same profession. I’d say there are more constructive ways that Ms. Spellings can spend her time...and my tax dollars.

Why do girls lose interest in math and science? (CNN)
UF study explores why boys are falling behind girls in school (UFL News)
Choices at school lead to gender bias in workplace (The Herald, UK)
Boys Are No Match for Girls In Completing High School (NYT)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A Hairy Encounter

This past weekend, my girlfriends and I were causally jaunting down Bowrey, chatting and laughing about our destination du jour. We were about to cross the street, when we looked up only to see three men walking towards us with the biggest, baddest mustaches and beards that we had ever laid eyes on.

I kid you not, their facial hair was twisted, coiffed, braided and looked as if it needed ample amounts of styling product to hold it’s pippi-longstocking-esque form. Their handlebar mustaches were positively horizontal!

Well, I now know why these swashbuckling types have invaded New York: today is the NYC Beard & Mustache Championships.

Who knew?!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Rant: Public Displays of Breast

Ah Mother’s Day. A day of celebration for those women who brought us all into this world. A day of families, children and…boobs. Yes, boobs…please be patient, I’ll explain.

After an utterly fantastic day of shopping and casually jaunting around below 14th street, two girlfriends and I decided to grab an early dinner at our favorite restaurant. I mean, what could be better than wine, cheese and Italian tapas?!

After hanging out bar-side with a bottle of Nero D’Avloa and 3 blocks of cheese, we sat down at our table and ordered up some pasta, more wine and the best olives found on this side of the Hudson. For some reason, we were all so jovial that our food was even better than usual…including the two rounds of olive oil ice cream.

After thoroughly enjoying the food placed in front of us, I looked up and directly in my line of sight was a giant, vein ridden, lactating breast. A boob, along with no-need-to-be-said-child suckling away while the mother picked at her food in front of her. GASP!

Clearly I have a problem with this. I know it was Mother’s Day and all, but that is NO excuse for her not to COVER IT UP! My friends were equally as appalled as I was, and my one friend even said they have a special mommy cover-up for occasions just like this one.

Perhaps my reaction to seeing tit over dinner is surprising considering I have virtually no problem with topless tanning, large doses of silicone and enhancing cleavage on most GNOs (read: girls nights out). Quite the contrary. I need to vent.

To the woman who felt it was ‘no big deal’ to feed her child over dinner, please note the following the next time you decide to whip out your bosoms in a public place:
  • Be considerate, people are eating and don’t want to see your nipples next to slices of pancetta…cover it up!
  • People may be uncomfortable and being in a small, enclosed space makes it difficult to avoid the scene if so desired…cover it up!
  • Breastfeeding is a rather intimate thing, and shouldn’t be shared with the entirety of the Village…cover it up!

Knowing that there will be a next time, may I suggest that you follow these simple steps to avoid upsetting your fellow dining room companions: 1) Pick up the baby blanket next to you 2) throw it over your shoulder. Mother’s Day is no excuse.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Drunk as a Monkey

A recent study published in Methods, has found that monkeys emulate humans on being drunkity-drunk-drunk when under stress – namely, when they’re housed alone or after a long stressful day of animal testing.

As one researcher put it, "It was not unusual to see some of the monkeys stumble and fall, sway, and vomit," He added. "In a few of our heavy drinkers, they would drink until they fell asleep" (feel free to giggle uncontrollably at this notion).

What is particularly interesting about this study is the differences in male and female drinking patterns:

  • Females who were alone more often than not drank more, as opposed to their more “social” counterparts.
    Translation: A depressed Bridget-Jones-like monkey is a drunk monkey.
  • Non-dominant females and most male monkeys tended to out-drink the others in general.
    Translation: Ballsy females may not drink as much if they have to compete over it.
  • In males, researchers saw a general increase in booze consumption immediately after the testing hours ended.
    Translation: Boys are booze-hounds, especially after a rough day.

Sounds like the average happy hour scene at any New York City pub.

No wonder we share so many chromosomes…

Drunk Monkeys Mirror People (Discovery News)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Extreme Dream

About one week out of every month, I have crazy dreams that I always remember with absolute vividness. Not that I never have dreams, it’s just that I never remember them. Only for one week…and this week is that week.

Usually my dreams are a convoluted hodgepodge of random imagery and conversation that only the best psychoanalyst could decipher. On occasion the happenings are strung together with some semblance of coherence, and last night’s dream happened to fall into that category.

I’ll make it a short description and let all of you tell me what the hell it means:

I’m back in a neighborhood that I grew up in as a small child, full of trees and kids on bikes. Only, I’m not a child, I’m completely grown up. As I walk around the neighborhood, the streets morph into the streets of my New York City neighborhood. I’m wandering aimlessly and it’s raining. Suddenly I’m at a doctor’s office where I’m quickly diagnosed with breast cancer. The cancer lump begins as the size of a pea and proceeds to double and grow as I leave the office and walk around in the rain. At one point I stop walking to give myself my own Chemo treatment, which consists of plunging a large syringe full of whatever into myself a la adrenaline-needle-in-pulp-fiction style. I lose my hair right away and start donning Samantha-from-Sex and the City wigs where ever I go. I recall feeling disjointed and depressed, because I have a feeling that I'm going to die. Just as I’m walking down the NYC/childhood memory street I hear a bus horn going off…

…and I wake up to the sound of my alarm going off where I promptly sit up and hit snooze.

Someone please tell me what me getting breast cancer has to do with my current life.
I hope to god I don’t have any powers of foresight.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

What happens in Vegas...

...gets posted on a blog. So, I’ve kicked the shakes and blurred vision, and I believe I’ve regained the ability to type coherently so I’ll divulge a bit more detail on my fabulous trip to Vegas…

I arrived at the Hard Rock on Friday afternoon after a long cross-country flight, but no matter because my ladies were standing at the entrance with a cocktail as I strolled in, which – of course - is a great way to start a reunion weekend.

Over the course of day one, people in our group arrived one by one, when finally dinnertime rolled around and an outing was in order. It was at this time that I was introduced to some friends of friends that came along with one of my guy friends, better known as Gumby (he kept doing this odd kick thing with his leg), The guy who’s name starts with an M (because I could never get it right), Ibok (too long of a story to tell) and Nameless (because he just was).

Over dinner I sat next to M, who was quite the jokester. Funny, sorta cute, but wasn’t really thinking he’d be my conquest for the weekend. After dinner, two of my friends and I strolled over to the Bellagio and grabbed some martinis while getting ogled by a bunch of Brits on holiday for a bachelor party. This of course made for some interesting exploits in the right direction of my mission. The night rolled on and before I knew it, I had been up for over 24 hours and was starting to see spots from my delirium. In order for a throw down the next evening I knew I needed to get some sleep. Enter day two.

Around 9am, we snagged some beach chairs at the pool, which is where I sat with a large bloody mary/pina colada in hand for approximately 6 hours. I had no intention of moving from my spot. To boot, Aviator Man was sitting right next to me, which made for some high quality eye candy and conversation for the brunt of the afternoon. M was also seated nearby, but he hadn’t made it to priority status at that point.

Following the skin cancer session, we ladies headed out for dinner at a place over on the strip, followed by glitzing up and consuming as much Red Bull and vodka as humanly possible. Enter the VIP section at Body English. Four bottles of Grey Goose and a lovely banquette were waiting for our party where we proceeded to lounge and dance the night away.

It is at this point of the trip where my girlfriends and I all decided that M got cuter the longer we knew him. It was true, tall with piercing blue eyes and a nice, strong jaw line...what had I been thinking?! M was now my mission. In a nutshell, the mission turned out to be pretty easy considering half way through the evening, M all out attacked me on the stairs. The stair-scene turned into an all out sucking face session. And yes, I finally did manage to get his name right by the end of the night (unlike some gals I know) ;-)

I woke up the next day with a dull hangover, so you can imagine my delight when I found out Sunday’s at the Hard Rock Pool are called “Rehab.” I was picturing massages and a serene scene, but then I walked in and encountered an event that should have been called “Dehab." Plainly put, it was more drinking, more people making out and a scene that resembled MTV’s “The Grind” in its zenith. I even saw some lewd activity going on in a couple of the poolside cabanas…how spring break like. On one trip to the ladies room, I looked around and realized my weight was likely equal to the amount of silicone in the room…it was about then I realized it was time to say goodbye to “Rehab.”

I left for the airport around 9pm feeling dejected, broke and extremely tired from a long yet, massively fun weekend. All in all, of all my trips to Vegas (count ‘em…1,2,3,4,5,6), this one definitely is up near the top.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Vegas Recap

There are too many ways to describe my time in Vegas. I’ll keep it short for two reasons 1) too many details would incriminate me for any future career in politics and 2) I'm just too damn tired.

So in a nutshell, here are the top reasons why Vegas 2006 was fabulous:

1) The Hard Rock Hotel is THE place to be if your goal is to hang out with good looking people all weekend (The Sunday pool-side "Rehab" event was anything but rehabilitating...on the contrary)

2) I hung out with a rowdy bunch of people, some of which I hadn’t seen in years. We affectionately referred to the weekend as being in a “time warp” since we all easily reverted back to collegiate-like behavior (i.e., table dancing, conversations ridden with profanity and day drinking)

3) I’ve lost my voice entirely

4) I have tan lines

5) I accomplished my mission

As fun as my weekend was, I can honestly say I’m glad to be back in the Big Apple. My own bed is calling my name, and I’m happy not to be surrounded by silicone, blinking lights and hair gel at all times.

It’s time to catch up on sleep…

Friday, May 05, 2006

Mere Hours...

I just arrived home from a friendly New York blogger "Cuatro de Mayo" dinner with Polly, Downtown Chic, Betty, Damn It Anyway, Pookalu and Actor Serf...quite a good time everyone, quite a good time...

But I must brag some this time tomorrow, I will be baking, literally, in the Vegas sun.

As I mentioned, I am going on this trip with a pack of nonsensical crazies (fun crazies of course)...and I got a "shout out" this morning from one of the guys. At the beckoning of Ms. Betty, I will share for pure humor.

Disclaimer: This is a college guy friend of mine. He's slightly thuggish, in a funny and cartoonish manner. Please take with a grain of salt...cuz it's just funny...Also, read the following as if you were a rap super-star...

(I've shortened it up a bit since posting the whole thing would be borderline obscene and probably land Avenue Elle on the XXX list)

Elle's Shout Out:

PULSE CAUSE YOU MIGHT BE DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"STRAP-ON"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WEAR THAT NAME WITH PRIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SHIIIITTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I CAN'T FUCKING WAIT!!!!!!!!!! TIL DEN......DIS IS DA HOTDOG SAYING PEACE DAFUCK OUT, YO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 04, 2006


I love meat. In fact, strike that. I am a carnivore.

Having grown up in the Midwest with a deer-hunting/fishing/duck shooting father, I was pretty much raised on “the hunt.” Breaded and fried perch from the lake out back. Venison chili. Roasted duck. Hickory smoked turkey (out of his very own smoker). And his specialty…grilled steak.

I’ve always said, no matter what restaurant in which my dad has a steak, he will always criticize the cut and the flavor of the meat that is put in front of him...all in comparison to his own talents. Well, I think I found a place that he may be impressed: Sparks Steakhouse on E. 46th St.

Yes, it is the restaurant of the infamous John Gotti mafia plot, and I will say that the clientele was definitely not absent of Vitto-esque characters. We were definitely the only table that was predominantly women, and we felt slightly naked without a large man in a silk suit sitting at our table. But no matter.

As for the ambiance, the scene felt quite dated. The china looked like it belonged in your grandmother’s hutch, the paintings on the wall were cheesy and old-looking, and the carpet looked like it was stripped from a local VFW and pasted to the floor. However despite it all, I think this is what gives the place that certain old New York feel.

Regardless of the scene, I must get back to the meat. The steak was phenomenal. 8 ounces of filet mignon, broiled to perfection. There was not an ounce of fat to slice off, not a portion was overcooked. I tend to like my beef still kicking…not mooing outright and definitely not dead, so it was just the way I like it.

A perfect steak must be paired with perfect wine, and the list we could choose from was a who’s who of wineries featured in Sideways and Wine Spectator.

All in all our meal was spectacular. Sparks is not a place to go for post-work happy hour or even to have a casual steak dinner with friends. It's a place to go with a client, your carnivore father on a special occasion or your friendly, local Mafioso connection.

So go, enjoy it to the hilt, be shocked into cardiac arrest by the bill, and enjoy the rest of your evening knowing you just ate the best slab of meat money can buy.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

T-Minus 2 Days and Counting…

…until I am lounging pool side in the Las Vegas heat.

Yes, my friends, I am venturing Southwest to meet up with a large group of my friends from college, some of which I haven’t seen since I hightailed it East immediately after graduation. I must say I’m quite excited for this trip because partaking in some minx-like behavior in Vegas is just what I need at this juncture in time.

For starters, this particular group of friends from college is debaucherous to the hilt, and is guaranteed to be ridden with large amounts of nonsense. There will be six of us girls and it recently dawned on me that the last time we were all on vacation together was freshman year, spring break. Said trip entailed 56 bottles of booze, a keg-er-ator and saran wrap tube you can imagine the reunion we will be having. To boot, all of the guys that will be in attendance are dirty-minded and hilarious, which will add just a touch of raunchiness to the affair. Based on past exploits in college – the trip is guaranteed to be an absolute riot.

My second reason for needing a trip to Vegas is simple: I’m on a mission to make out. I’ve mentioned the recent state of coupledom most of my girlfriends currently reside in, and it’s about time for little miss Elle to have some fun of her own. You see, women hate dry spells just as much as men do. In fact, I’d be willing to say that it bothers us more. Why? Well…I assume men always want to get a piece of ass. Women can usually go a bit longer in a spell than men, however once we feel the need for a drink of water…oh boy, do we need one. I’m borderline parched, hence my mission.

In a nutshell, I plan to drink, get a smidge of skin cancer, play craps, dance, flirt and be merry.

Viva Las Vegas!