Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Jenna: Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?

I've returned to the world of internet dating in an effort to curb my boredom and excessive drinking and channel my pent up energy in a different direction. Plus, I've grown tired of looking at the same people every Saturday night and figure that even the worst case scenario is not so bad. Lately, I've been drawn to the rugged, masculine, woodsman type, but have been finding them in short supply among the New York online dating community. Surprise, surprise. But I have not let this deter me.

I went on two dates a couple of weeks ago with attractive, interesting gentlemen. It wasn't that I had a bad time. It wasn't that I didn't find them engaging. They were both just, in their own unique way...for lack of a better word...dainty. The first was immaculately well dressed and put together, but had a strong, feminine energy that was impossible to ignore. He felt more like the Will to my Grace than the Fred to my Ginger. Lovely to be sure...but kind of like a lady. Behind Door Number Two, was an equally delightful person, very intelligent, with whom I had a very interesting conversation about the world and other important things. He was a slight, bespectacled guy with slender wrists and calves the size of my forearms. My physical self and energy felt so extremely overpowering despite our good banter, that I couldn't help feeling larger than life in comparison. Whilst checking people out on the subway (which I do with embarrassing and borderline creepy frequency), I can't help but notice this epidemic among the men of New York. Sure, you can blame the hipsters, the indie rock scene, or the introduction of skinny jeans...but the fact remains; I think I might be more masculine than 75% of the men in this city. What's happened to the strapping, burly, manly men in this town? Ones with strong arms, broad chests, and deep, sexy voices with a bit of testosterone still coursing through their veins. In other words...where have all the cowboys gone?

I don't need a mountain man or a football player. I am a fiercely independent woman who might certainly threaten such a man. So maybe I'm asking too much. Maybe the pushy broads of the world are better off with mensches (if you don't know what this word means, ask a Jew). But every once in awhile, a sassy girl like me really wants someone to take control, act like a man, and treat me like a woman. Make plans, take responsibility for things, buy dinner, hold the door open, kiss me deeply and passionately, and throw me around in the sack a little. Every once in awhile I like not having to make every single decision. And I'm not too keen on moving to rural America to find my Stetson man. I'd never survive. So...where are you urban cowboys? I'm now accepting applications and have no intention of giving up. If it means a revolution, so be it. Gentlemen of New York, hide your skinny jeans. I'm prepared to destroy them one pair at a time.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Jenna: The Early 30's Divorcee

There's a new phenomenon I've come across lately that implies one of two things. One is that the institution of marriage just ain't what it used to be...or dreaded number 2: that I must be getting old. This phenomenon is the recent appearance in my dating pool of a creature I'd like to refer to as 'The Early 30's divorcee'. I have encountered not one, but several of this species of late...and let me tell you, it's incredibly confusing. They are a wily bunch. At the start, there's something about them that exudes maturity and an energy seemingly focused on you. From past experience, they know how to talk to a woman (and generally, what to do with one in the bedroom), act the gentleman, and how to be on their best behavior. After all, they've already been through one round of training. In an effort to prove to themselves that they've moved on, they may appear completely healthy and non-commitment phobic...on the outside.

But bubbling deep (or not so deep) beneath the surface, lies the beast. Of course, it all depends on how their marriage ended. This series of comments generally excludes arranged marriages, marriages of convenience, or citizenship oriented marriage situations. The young divorcees I've encountered, however, have harbored some pretty serious feelings of anger, jealousy, bitterness, and the urge to drink, strangle things, and wish venereal diseases upon their former loves. Something about the vulnerability of opening themselves to someone new unleashes this flood of emotions within them, ripping the scabs off old wounds and resulting, ultimately, in an emotional nuclear meltdown. Do not be fooled.

And though I seem to have found myself on the wrong end of this situation more than once (is there really a right end of this situation?), I cannot say I blame them. If I blame anyone, it is myself. I knew what I was getting myself into. The facts are these...

These damaged individuals have been through an ordeal I never hope to understand. Entirely unlike myself, they thought they found the person they loved so much that they were done looking. They decided that this person was the one they were going to live and die beside. They were courageous enough to take that information and share it with their partner, friends, and family. They actually went through with it and got married. There was probably a wedding and lots and lots of pictures. Aside from that, lots of firsts, lots of memories, lots of moments shared with this person, in this relationship, that will forever be etched in their mind. Maybe their tradition was to make crepes together on Sundays, or read the New York Times every morning. The details are not important. They built a life and a routine and, at one time, felt certain that this was right and all was well with their little world.

Until everything changes. And it ends. Whether it happens quickly, with a painful cataclysmic event, or slowly, wearing away over time...there's still the day they realized it was over. That some things would never be the same again. That they couldn't fight hard enough to make it work...and maybe...they had been wrong. Then there's this whole other process of coming to that decision, and all of the pain, anger, and discomfort of mourning the loss of someone and systematically extricating their lives from one another. Then, there's the healing process. The days they feel okay and the days they don't. Feeling like they're ready to move on one moment, and the overwhelming awareness that they are still an absolute mess, in the next. The fear of repeating past mistakes, or the realization that maybe their instincts can't be trusted.

There's no amount of ego stroking (or stroking anything else for that matter) that can actually heal the wounds of the past. I'm pretty sure that time and therapy are the only things that can do that. Plus, there's absolutely no way that in my life experience (disappointment and heartbreak included) I can ever really understand what this is like. There's no way that I'll ever be in the same emotional place as someone who has been through this. I can empathize with the situation, I can acknowledge and be supportive, but I cannot really understand. I hope I never do. But after much deliberation, I've concluded that in the future, I'd be better served to date people with emotional baggage similar to my own.

Note: It is not my intention to offend any of our readers that may have been through a divorce. My parents are divorced, I have friends who are divorced, and 9 times out of 10, getting out of a bad marriage is a courageous, if difficult decision, that allows people to go on to lead more fulfilling and happier lives. My love for anyone who has been through this difficult situation is boundless...I'm just expressing my frustration with my own romantic attempts to manifest that support into anything more than friendship.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Jenna: How to Sleep With the Bartender (a step-by-step guide)

Sometimes, you're looking for love at first sight. Sometimes, you're seeking your soul mate. Sometimes you just want someone to go out and do cheesy, romantic NY summertime things with. And sometimes you want to sleep with the bartender. There are many webs that we city folk weave and there is justification for all of them. But I'm not here to justify my 'once every so often' desire to sleep with the bartender. I'm here to share my strategies (developed over time) in order to help you, my faithful readers, to achieve your goals. Should those goals include sleeping with the bartender, of course. So...without further ado, I present to you the DO's and DO NOT's of sleeping with the bartender.


*Case the joint. Make friends at bar; appear social and jovial. Good times all around is the way to go.

*Nonchalantly ask the bartender his/her name after they serve your first drink and continue to address them in this personal fashion.

*Tip generously (then add $5)

*Order a specific cocktail. If it's delicious, then comment on how impressed you are with the tender or tendress' execution of said cocktail. If it's lousy, keep your mouth shut.

*Cast lingering (but not creepy) gazes in his/her direction.

*Bring food...and share.

*Drink in moderation. You will need your wits about you.

*Sleep all day and hydrate. You will need to hang out VERY late in order to close the bar. Stamina is key in this situation.

*Engage in conversation topics that can pass between you in short snippets instead of trying to carry on a continuous train of thought while he/she is tending to the rest of the bar.

*If possible, bring a friend for the earlier part of the evening. Engage in sparkling conversation. Laugh a lot. Maintain a carefree attitude.

*Seize any opportunity to step away from the bar when your object of affection does. Cigarette breaks are a good example and opportunity for quality time. If you don't smoke, smoke with aforementioned bartender, anyway. You're on a mission, correct? Sometimes, you have to take a cancer stick for the team. The team, being your sex life.


*Show up at the bar before 2:30am, if you're serious about this. If you've already established a familiarity/flirtation (preferable), make sure that you get there late, if you're realistic about this. You will spend way too much time killing time by drinking otherwise, which leads me to my next point...

*DO NOT GET SLOPPY DRUNK. There is a fine line here. Between drinking all night at the bar, flirting with the bartender, and becoming dishonorably drunk. This happens to be my Achilles Heel. That's right. I said it. I'm disappointed in the fact that sometimes, my mild alcoholism gets in the way of my promiscuity. Everything is wrong with this statement. It's probably a blessing in disguise. But I digress. Monitor your alcohol intake. Get tipsy, not collapse-ey drunk.

*Do not become frustrated or angry at the bartender for not wanting to close the bar early to come home with you.

*Do not get depressed. No matter how drunk you get. Or how sad it makes you that you are alone at the bar at 3 am, surrounded by similarly pathetic strangers (perhaps also trying to sleep with the bartender).

*Do not directly solicit the bartender until the 11th hour. The home stretch. We're talking 4am. Trust me...if things do not go your way, this becomes awkward QUICKLY.

And last, but not least, know when to accept defeat. Know when all of your attempts simply will not work and take your drunk booty home. Perhaps you are slightly worse for the wear...but you'll live. There are lots of cute bartenders in New York City.

Happy hunting.

Don't judge me.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kat: Bacon Challenge

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Foodbuzz announcing their Baconalia recipe challenge. Bacon? The chance to win some cash? More Bacon? Yes, please!

After a few miliseconds of thought, I came up with the perfect bacon sandwich. A B.O.P., if you will. I give you:


(makes two sandwiches)

4 slices BACON (I used some fancy brand the husband picked up for me)
Whole wheat baguette, sliced into sandwich-sized pieces
A few slices of Dubliner cheese
1/4 c. olives, pitted & diced
1 red pepper
handful of parsley

1. Cook the bacon.

2. Roast the pepper (instructions here).

3. Assemble sandwich: Layer cheese, then bacon;


Sliced pepper;

Parsley, then top with the other slice of bread.

This may be my all time favorite sandwich. Seriously, it might just make your day!

p.s. don't forget to visit my new blog: Big Apple, Little Kitchen. All cooking, all the time!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Kat: Ain't isn't a word and I Ain't Gonna Use it

I can't tell you how much I love Christina Pirello's Cooking the Whole Foods Way. Technically, it's a book of macrobiotic cooking, but don't let that scare you off! Every recipe is simple and 10 times even more delicious that it sounds on paper! This is a great book for vegetarians or anyone who needs some simple but delightful vegetable dishes in their life...who doesn't need that?!

This week, I tried out Quinoa and Roasted Veggie Salad.

Couldn't be easier to prepare either. All you do is roast whatever veggies you have laying around:

Saute some carrots, celery, and onions:

Cook your quinoa:

Throw the veggies on a plate:

Cover with quinoa:

And squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top!

The dish is light, but hearty enough to be an entree. Go buy this book! You can thank me later.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Jenna: Fairytales Ain't Just for Princesses

I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you, our faithful readers, a story. A true story. So grab a beer, glass of wine, or one of Kat's yummy smoothies and settle in...

Once upon a time there was a young woman from Brooklyn (Jenna) who was traveling to the far away land of Arizona to watch her best friend (Kat) get married. Kat even asked Jenna to be the person who officiated her wedding ceremony (knowing that she loves to be the star of the show...even if that show is a wedding). Kat also decided that the wedding gang would climb down a giant hole (the Grand Canyon) and camp there for a few nights; so as to test their survival skills and patience to make sure they were good friends and good husband to be...and also to bear witness the beautiful sights.

The four friends began their journey to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and though the road was rocky...they weathered the hardships with gusto and aplomb. On the second day of their journey, upon reaching camp, the weary travelers were welcomed by a tall and brawny park ranger with a nice smile and a sonorous voice. Jenna thought the park ranger charming and handsome...but she was dirty and camping, and laughed about her PG 13 related observations to her friends. As night fell, the hungry travelers were faced with the disturbing fact that they were short on food rations for dinner!

What were the hungry campers to do? The young man among the ladies had a resourceful idea (which young men often do), that one of the ladies should walk up to the ranger station and inquire (in our delicate female way, eyelashes aflutter) as to whether or not there happened to be extra food lying around anywhere. Jenna quickly volunteered and traipsed her way up to the ranger station, tossing her dirty, dirty hair, attempting to look her best. She knocked on the door and the park ranger answered, inviting her in and introducing himself (still adorable, by the way). She relayed the hunger troubles, they chatted about life in the canyon, and discussed the insane snow storm that had hit New York the day prior (of which the hungry campers had no knowledge). In fact, the conversation was easy and the company lovely, and Jenna had no REAL desire to leave the ranger. However, there were people counting on her, Ranger Danger (as we'll affectionately call him) showed her the big box of food outside the cabin, and they said their farewells. Jenna grinned as she rummaged through the box of food gathering items in her arms like a raccoon and thinking about how cute the ranger was, when he suddenly reappeared, offering items from his own cupboard. He liked her. She knew it. She thanked him profusely and made her way back towards the campsite, gushing about the interaction to the others.

The group feasted and joked, energy renewed by their good fortune and full bellies, and at the end of the meal it became obvious that the overzealous Jenna had grabbed a bit too much out of the community bin which would need to be returned. She crept back up to the cabin, intending to quietly put the food back where she found it and scurry away, but the ranger saw her coming and opened wide the front door upon her approach. She thanked him profusely, returned the excess food, and continued to make pleasant conversation. After a few moments had passed, silence fell...there was really not much more for the two to say to one another. Jenna turned to go, then paused and looked at the ranger for a moment before asking 'What are you doing the day after tomorrow?'. What did she expect him to say? He lived in the Grand Canyon for chrissake. But to her surprise he responded,'I have a few days off actually. I'm heading up tomorrow. Why?' To which Jenna, surprised at the words coming out of her mouth, responded 'Would you like to go to a wedding?'. The ranger said yes, phone numbers were exchanged, and Jenna retreated back to camp, giddy with the news.

The next morning (or rather at 4am, just a few hours later) the campers began the trek out of the canyon. As they neared the top, huffing and puffing along, Jenna spotted Ranger Danger just below, quickly walking the same path just a few paces behind. As he caught up with her, Jenna feigned surprise. 'Fancy meeting you here,' she quipped, to which he replied, 'Oh, you know...just the morning commute.' Ha. Ranger humor...right? There were some quick introductions to the gang, and as he took off ahead of them he called back 'I'll call you later...', which made Jenna blush and grin, yet again. Once the hikers finished the long journey up and were enjoying their celebratory drinks, Jenna's cellphone buzzed with a text message from Ranger Danger, asking her out for a cocktail that evening. She agreed to meet him for a drink before family dinner (the wedding was the next day and the guests were set to arrive in the afternoon).

Showered, dressed, and feeling like a new woman, also completely nervous and ridiculous (had she really asked a park ranger out on a date?), Jenna set off to meet her date before dinner. And it was a wonderful date. The two were so completely different, led such opposite lives, that there was no shortage of things to talk about or information to share. They talked about where they came from and what they loved about what they did for a living, what they found most interesting about the others' experiences. And though they were passionate about very different things, there was a very exciting chemistry between them. Time flew by and before they knew it, it was time for Jenna to leave for dinner and the ranger to be on his way stay the night with some friends in a town an hour away from the Canyon. After an incredibly romantic kiss beneath the stars, they went their separate ways, looking forward to reuniting at Kat's wedding. Jenna fell asleep dreaming of the ranger's soft lips and charming smile, filled with excitement about the wedding the next day.

When the wedding party awoke, however, there was a disturbing surprise. A blizzard! In full force, 2 and a half feet of snow on the ground, and coming down hard. A sobbing Kat in her arms, a group of family members worried about the fact that they wouldn't catch a plane that evening, and an impossible plan to wed her best friend at the rim of the canyon...things were looking bleak to Jenna. But the gang banded together, scouted out a new location inside the lodge (along with 34 additional snowed in wedding ceremony witnesses), and pulled off a truly beautiful wedding ceremony. The snowfall was beautiful beyond the windows, Kat couldn't have been a more stunning bride, and there were tears of joy shed all around. Everything was so unexpectedly perfect...except for one thing. The ranger was snowed in an hour away, and Jenna at the Canyon, wishing it weren't so. But alas, the universe works in mysterious ways, and it would seem that a blizzard between them is how this chapter of the story was meant to conclude. Tragic? Maybe a little. But something told Jenna this was not where it would end. She had a feeling that she was meant to know the ranger; that they had come into one another's lives for a reason. And continued phone calls, emails, and daydreams later...this may be a story unfinished.

Perhaps one even just begun. Pretty freaking romantic, huh?

And they all lived happily and hopefully ever after.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Kat: Surprise!

I feel very privileged to know what makes me happy; cooking, food, wine and all things culinary put a smile on my face and a spring in my step. Whenever I have a lousy day at work, or am just feeling blue, I know that I can turn to my kitchen and...Surprise!...I instantly feel better. When I caught myself feeling depressed a few weeks ago, I decided to take it to the kitchen. A couple of months of stressful wedding planning had drained my enthusiasm in the kitchen. I knew the remedy to my blues was to crank up the creativity in the kitchen. The only catch was that I felt like I had forgotten how to cook!

After some thinking, I decided to turn to some old reliable favorite cookbooks! I knew if anyone could help me out, they could. I picked one recipe for each night of the week, went shopping, and jumped into my week of culinary therapy.

I started with the book that was most recently added to my favorites list...Amanda Hesser's brand new masterpiece The Essential New York Times Cookbook.

It's a wonderful book full of readers' favorite recipes from the past 150 years. I picked a couple of recipes that I could make with pantry staples:

Moroccan Chicken Smothered in Olives (page 482)

and Moroccan Carrot Salad (p. 187)

Both were easy and delicious and very simple to make; just a couple of ingredients and plenty of spices in both recipe.

If you're interested in becoming a better cook, I suggest that you invest in this book! There hundreds and hundreds of recipes ranging from very simple to complex. I plan to cook my way through this book and soak up all the techniques that I can!

...more recipes from my cookbook week to come!