Bachelorette Party: Austin Texas

Hot off my sister’s bachelorette party in Austin Texas.  Austin is the place to have a bachelorette party if you’re looking for no judgement, ratched fun, a variety of things to do, affordable nightlife, and a damn good time.

austin bachelorette party

Ultimate Austin Bachelorette Party

Hotel:  Omni Downtown

We stayed at the Omni downtown.  It was the perfect choice.  Originally, I was scared to choose this location. Many of the reviews talked about their no noise tolerance.  Our group of friends is about as quiet as a rocket launching.  Luckily, we didn’t run into any problems with hotel security.

We took advantage of their rooftop pool with downtown views.  The lunch there was extremely affordable, the drinks – not so much.

The hotel was in a convenient location – walkable to a liquor store and dirty sixth street.  The two most important things for an Austin bachelorette party.

Dinner:

When in Texas with picky eaters, what do you eat?! Tex-Mex! We ate plenty of that.

Hula Hut:  The Hula Hut is about a 15 minute cab from downtown.  It’s Hawaiian themed Mexican food.  The atmosphere is so adorable – it’s on a lake, features a tiki bar, and colorful decor.  The chips are A-Mazing.  I ate like a whole basket on my own. The rest of the food… mediocre.

Iron Cactus:  They don’t take reservations, but arrive before 8 PM and you should be fine.  Our group of 9 had enough time to grab a drink at the bar before we were promptly seated.  The food is much better than Hula Hut.  They make the guacamole tableside, which is always a sign of a good Mexican place.  Iron Cactus is conveniently located on 6th Street, so we ate here and went straight out.  Word on the street is their jalapeno margarita is a must try.

Boat: Lakeway Marina to Party Cove

Prior to heading to the marina for the best day of the bachelorette party, we stopped  at Whole Foods.  We picked up lunch, snacks, and more than enough booze for our party of 9 – (4) 15 Packs of beer, (2) bottles of champs, (2) bottles of vodka, and (1) Liter of wine.  I am sad to say it all went except for a half bottle of vodka and the wine… whoops, but we shared at least!

Anyway it was about a 40 minute uber from downtown.  Once there, they were super sweet.  Angel, the best captain ever, helped us load our coolers, blow up rafts, and get the party started! We took a leisurely 30 minute ride on our pontoon to Party Cove, a lake where boats go just to party.

After a minor heart attack when we nearly capsized as we pulled into the cove, we linked boats with another bachelor party.

We spent the next few hours shotgunning beers, hopping from boat to boat, floating around on noodles, and having the time of our lives.

Nightlife:

Most of Austin’s downtown nightlife is on 6th street.  There’s an East side (dirty sixth) and a west side, which is more late 20s / early 30s.  Additionally, there’s Rainey Street, and the Warehouse District.  Our preference was dirty 6th.

Thursday: We went out around 10 PM.  6th Street was virtually empty so many of the bars lured us in with free drinks for the whole group.  This was typically super sweet drinks.  Eventually we learned to say no to them.  We bar hopped a little and ultimately settled on the roofdeck of Blind Pig. We walked into a live band that swiftly brought our bachelorette on stage for their last song.  A DJ came on shortly after and he rocked.  This was by far the best night of the bachelorette party.  Mainly because we had no expectations.  We started dozens of dance circles, completed plenty of dares, and our bachelorette even had a “Hair-off”.

Friday:  This was supposed to be our big night out.  Although I think people were hesitant to rage knowing we had the boat the next day.  We started off at Kung Foo on West 6th Street.  This bar had giant Jenga and Connect 4, ski ball, and plenty of other arcade games.  I guess it’s an appropriate low-key way to start.  The DJ played some old school hip hop which I enjoyed.

We then went to the Ranch.  I thought this was a good idea since I saw many bachelorette parties there during a prior visit.  However, the place was a total taco fest – which really isn’t that fun for a bachelorette party.  It started to fill up, but we weren’t impressed.  So we ended up at our favorite place once again – The Blind Pig Pub!!!  Shakespeare across the street wasn’t bad either.

Saturday:  We were all drunk from the boat.  In fact the ground was rocking a little.  We grabbed dinner and drinks at BB Reillys then hit up Bat Bar.  They had a fabulous live band.  The kind you’d want playing at your wedding.  The crowd wasn’t our scene so we headed to Library Bar.  This bar is extremely chill.  We busted in like we owned the place quickly starting the limbo with our caution tape, daring people, and participating in a game of shoulders.  Beer was $3 a bottle – seriously can’t beat those prices.  Had a few, then ultimately ended up at our favorite spot The Blind Pig Pub!

And now for a few things I didn’t touch on, but helpful to know…

Boch and Learn – Avoid a Botch-lorette in Austin Texas:

  • Don’t try to re-enter a bar after 2 PM, they don’t let you
  • Uber is cheaper than cabs
  • The restaurant at The Driskill has an AMAZING breakfast
  • Dirty Sixth street shuts down to traffic at 9:30 PM
  • Drink beers – it’s so much cheaper
  • Go shopping on South Congress Street (right over the bridge).  Make sure to check out Texas National Outfitters.  They have a “special” bachelorette party hat, serve free booze, and play live music.  Plus I’m told they sometimes bring in a horse for bachelorette parties.

austin bachelotrette

Wedding Embarassments

Wedding fever has consumed me.  Does that make it sound like I want to get married?  That’s not what I mean.  I mean, I’m at the ripe age of 29 and I have several weddings to attend a year.

As y’all know by now, I am a klutz.  So I managed to do a few things at the last wedding that were slightly embarrassing.  I don’t exactly have a solution for this, other than to be more cautious but none the less, they make for an interesting story.

For starters, all the guests enjoyed specialty cocktails in champagne flutes during the ceremony.  Most people finished and set their glasses down.  Then, at the end of the ceremony we were supposed to throw rose petals as the bride walked up the aisle.  Oh, I got the memo to throw the petals (kudos to me).  But in addition to throwing the petals, my clutch opened up and I threw the contents of my purse (tampons everywhere) and smashed a champagne flute along the way.  Luckily, no one but my immediate friends near me noticed.  But holy you can’t take me anywhere.  At this point, I was sober too…

So I saunter into cocktail hour and I manage not to embarrass myself there (at least I think…)

At some point, I walk into the reception area and completely wipe out on nothing.  Totally blame my 6″ heels for that one.  Who do I think I am?! It didn’t help that I spent most of the time earlier that evening complaining I was going to twist my ankle in those heels.  So definitely put that in the atmosphere.  Next time I’m wearing 3″ heels and having confidence that I’m not going to fall.

Needless to say, I switched into my flip flops.  That didn’t save my reckless self though.  Wiped out again while dancing.  Maybe I need to stop jumping while I dance.  Twisted my ankle that time and decided I had enough dancing for the evening.

So the moral of the story kids.  Think positive thoughts, learn to walk in heels before wearing them in public, actually zipper your clutch and always bring a pair of flip flops to a wedding … although even those can’t save a drunken klutz

fall

How to Throw a Kick A** Bridal Shower

My gorgeous twin sister is getting married in a month!!!!  So, let’s talk about her kick a** Bridal Shower.  I must admit, I was completely worried with how this would turn out. My mother and I asked dozens of people for help and I was concerned it would turn into a hodge podge, chaotic, pot luck that you’d see at a Senior Citizen home…  Luckily, it came together nicely.

The Food

My mother rented out the clubhouse in her development.  At $300 this was a decent chunk of change.  However, with a bridal shower of roughly 60 people, we’d be looking at 10x the cost for food and drink alone if we held it at a restaurant.  She asked all of her friends and family to bring something.  So, you can see why I was concerned.   But the secret to being a fab host is always in the presentation.  We set up catering trays which made it look much more uniform.  Shout out to my aunt too for making the cutest desserts that fit the pink and purple theme.

I had each of the bridesmaids bring 2 bottles of champagne for the mimosas and my aunt made her famous sangria!  We had a cute mimosa bar which consisted of berries and pink champagne flutes rimmed with purple sugar.  I set up a crate and placed mason jars atop for the sangria.  My mom painted them all with chalk paint and guests wrote their names with a silver paint marker.  They were a huge hit, especially with the purple straws.

Bridal Shower bar

The Decorations

While mom took care of leading the food brigade, I managed the decorations.  I worked with the bridesmaids to make this a smashing success.  I started with a list of tasks that needed to be completed.  Rather than asking all of the bridesmaids for money, I had them sign up for tasks.  We’re all in different financial places so I thought this would let them take on what they could.  None of them disappointed!

We had the most beautiful paper flower centerpieces flanked by pictures of the bride and groom to be.  We hung personalized banners and designed signs.  One of the girls bought the most gorgeous wine container to hold the “stock the bar” items.  She also made tags so people could leave a note.  Lets not forget about the beautiful candy bar too.  I was so impressed with what a few of the bridesmaids pulled together.  They filled candy dishes spelling “love” with purple M&Ms and flanked it with glass jars filled with purple, pink, and gold candy.  They picked good candy too!  None of that tootsie roll dum dum pop BS.  They also found the cutest bags on Etsy!!

bridal shower candy bar

The Flow

As for the flow, we got a lot of great feedback.  We kept this show moving!! Bridal showers can really drag out but we wrapped everything up within two hours.  However, everyone still lingered since were having such a great time!

Here’s the trick.  Once everyone arrived, I kicked it off with a slideshow featuring the bride and groom.  By the time that was over, the food was ready.  We let everyone eat, drink, and chat it up.  Then mom and my sister made a little speech followed by Dana (my sister) opening presents.  DAMN, that girl got a lot of presents. We played gift bingo.  I always feels like that helps with the monotony of opening gifts. We also had a system in place just for opening them!  Half way through we broke it up with the newlywed game.  Then we let her continue opening gifts.  Once that was a wrap, we had dessert.

Yay for a fab bridal shower!!

married

How to Enjoy The Beach

I love staring at a vast ocean and getting tan but the pleasantries of beaching it stop there for me.  The wind whips my hair in every direction and throws sand all over my towel.  That sand then sticks to EVERY piece of my body.  I walk on sand hotter than fire to rinse off.   Then, I get to the ocean and it’s unbearably cold, the seashells cut up my feet, and there’s critters and seaweed floating around.  I return to my sanctuary that is my beach chair to sip my water (or cocktail) and discover it’s piss warm and rendered undrinkable.  I attempt to read my kindle for 10 minutes before it overheats and I sit there bored, hot, sweaty, tired, and looking like a dog attacked me.

BUT, a day at the beach doesn’t need to be that miserable.

how to enjoy the beach

Dos and Don’ts to Actually Enjoy the Beach

botch

Getting brown spots: One bad day at the beach and I’ve got a cluster of brown spots gracing my forehead for eternity.

Walking barefoot down the beach: I hop like a rabbit down the beach screaming “ahhh, I’m walking on fire!”

Leaving hair down:  At the end of the day my hair looks like I brushed it with a grenade and it’s going to take me 3 hours to comb out.

Reading on a Kindle:  I get through 10 minutes of Girl on the Train before it shuts down from over heating or loss of battery.

Sipping out of a water bottle:  It starts boiling after 15 minutes (well almost).  So much for refreshing.

Bringing a towel to sit on:  Within minutes of laying my towel down, it’s covered in sand and curling over.  

Sunglass Tan:  I love my sunnies so my nose always burns and there’s a white border around my eyes.  Can we also talk about that time I lost my Guccis to a battle with the Atlantic. That was a sad day for me #RIPGucci

learn

Wear a hat: Hats are not my thang.  But, I now wear it to the beach every time.  It protects against 2 botches – brown spots & grenade hair.  I got a cute baseball cap from Pacific Sun.

 Move faster: I really have no idea how to avoid that hot sand.  I try to walk in flip flops but that just throws sand all over me.  My advice… RUN.  I guess that’s my cue to get to the gym.

Detangler is your friend:  This serves 2 purposes.  It protects your hair from the sun and also stops that grenade hair.

Read a real book:  This is the only time I buy a paperback.  You could probably borrow from the library too.  #oldfashioned

Wear sunnies with caution: Wear these only when you’re moving around and remove while tanning or frolicking in the ocean.

Look stylish while ensuring no loss of sunnies Buy from Sintillia a sunglass strap that resembles body jewelry as opposed to clunky grandma straps.

Buy a bubba mug:  The bubba mug  promises to keep cold stuff cold for up to 12 hours!  And size does matter here – no need to run across that hot sand for a refill!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAN AM I A DIVA.  I can’t believe I just wrote a whole post about hating the beach.  These tips and tricks make it much more bearable.  Now can someone find me a pool to jump into?

enjoy the beach

Bachelorette Party: Charleston SC

Like all bachelorette parties, we acted a fool in Charleston South Carolina, drank more than necessary and returned home 5-1o pounds heavier – no joke.  Before I continue though, shout out to my sister for planning. I got scolded last time I forgot to mention her in the Vegas Bachelorette Party. She knows how to throw a good one!

charleston bachelorette

Hotel:

Lucky us, there were no hotels available, so we rented a house outside of Charleston in Folly Beach!

It was about a half hour cab ride to downtown.  Drinking heavily and getting in the back of a taxi is extremely nauseating as some of us found out!  But whatever, it was worth it to stay at the beach and still enjoy the Charleston restaurants and bars.  We didn’t make it out until 2AM, because we’re lushes who love to day drink.  But locals warned us, that if you want to make it back to Folly Beach, you need to call a cab by 1:30 AM or they won’t take you.

We loved having a house because we were all together, blasting music and hanging 0ut.  The only draw back was they couldn’t accommodate us for an early check-in.

Lunch & Day Drinking

Lunch @ Rita’s – Take a walk up Center Street in Folly Beach and there’s a row of restaurants. We grabbed lunch at an outdoor cafe, Rita’s.  They had A-mazing macaroni and cheese… and fries.  Did I mention we all gained weight?

Day Drinking @ the house – The benefit of renting a house is you have a giant refrigerator to fill just with booze.  Hello drinking on the beach!

Late Lunch & Drinks @ Loggerheads  – Loggerheads sounded so appealing and promising.  Live music NEAR the beach.  But the music didn’t start until 6 PM, so we missed that.  Gotta say, this is NOT the place to day drink for a bachelorette party.  The Manager told us to put our penis props away, and yelled at us a few more times for our loud obscenities.  It was a total buzzkill. What good is a bachelorette party without them?  We would have stayed there all night probably, but not after that!  My advice, skip it.

Snapper Jacks Rooftop – I LOVED Snapper Jacks and you should definitely go there  for a bachelorette party.  Their happy hour is insane.  We’re talking $2 beers and $3 vodka drinks. Everyone was having a great time.  Some hot guy (he worked there) serenaded the bar with his guitar and singing skills.  They didn’t give us a hard time about drinking from our penis straws or throwing around penis shaped confetti either.  In fact, an older group of women were so amused by them, we gave them the pecker straws as a momento.

Party Bus

We took a party bus out to the boondocks to a winery/firefly distillery.  An event called Winestock was going on.  It was supposed to be like Woodstock with live music etc.  We parked our towels in the grass and sipped some vino, including frozen wine!  We also did a firefly tasting for $6.  OMG I have never done a vodka tasting.  Good thing their stuff is so good.  We tried lemonade vodka, moonshine, and all other types of deliciousness.  Most of them tasted divine.  However, you should have seen our faces after the moonshine, woof.  Needless to say, after that we all felt great.  Our ride home in the party bus was a lot livelier.  We took advantage of the bluetooth speakers, my Spotify booty playlist (yes, I did curate one of those) and pole.

Dinner

Husk – This is one of Charleston’s top restaurants and it’s tough to get a reservation here.  Luckily my sister called months in advance.  Husk is a great place for a girls dinner, but definitely not a sloppy bachelorette one.  They change their menu twice a day.  We all know I’m a picky eater by now, so I kept checking the menu to see what they had, but it wasn’t posted til nearly 6.  But, phew… they had a banging chicken dish.  We arrived to Husk 15 minutes early so they couldn’t accommodate us.  They sent us to the bar around back.  We walk in, and immediately the bartender can tell we’re all feeling good and that we’re from the north.  She told us there’s no jager bombs or flavored vodkas… not that we asked. Then she tried to pass us off to the bar upstairs.  We checked it out, but it was a snoozefest and came back downstairs.  We were greeted with, “did they kick you out up there?” For the record… they did not.   Anyway, we acted a lot better during dinner at Husk.  My chicken dish might have been the best thing I ever ate.  No lie.

Hominy Grill – If you want southern food, you must go to Hominy Grill.  Keep in mind though, they run on southern time.  They didn’t seat us until nearly an hour after our reservation time.  Plus, they only had one bartender to serve the restaurant and the outdoor bar area.  He was SO slow, and the last member of the group got a drink a half hour after the first.  They should have comped us some biscuits…  If you’re going to a bachelorette party in Charleston, wear your patient pants!! Their fried chicken was delicious though.  I didn’t care too much for their mac and cheese which tasted like it had nutmeg on it.

Nightlife

Republic – We went to Republic on a Thursday night, where it was ladies night!  Can you say, $1 BOTTLES of champagne?!?!?!!?! You heard that correctly.  We couldn’t believe it.  Anyway, there was hardly anyone there since it was 10 PM on a Thursday.  The DJ basically catered to us and played all of our requests.  He was AWESOME.  They also had a live band out back in their outdoor patio.  Not as awesome though.  We lasted until midnight.

Trio – Everyone kept telling us great things about Trio, but it honestly didn’t live up to the rave reviews.  Again, we arrived at 10 PM, because we’re old and can’t hang like we used to.  There was no one there.  I mean no one! The DJ didn’t even start up until closer to 11 PM.  So we grabbed drinks and went to the outside area and sat patiently waiting to shake our booties.  The DJ finally came on, he was at least good.  So we started the dance party.  Creepy men quickly encircled us.  We lasted until 12:30 this night.  When we left the bar there was a giant line.  It was kind of funny though because the place was maybe 1/4 fill.  They were defintely trying to make it look like the place was the best time ever.  I think if you go here for a bachelorette party, you need to come a little later.  We did see like 5 other bachelorettes, so it’s got some notoriety for it.

While we had a great bachelorette party in Charleston, there is always an opportunity to botch and learn:

  • If you’re planning a bachelorette party in May, make sure it’s not a college town or plan around graduation!  Hotels were booked or absurdly priced.
  • Charleston is not exactly a walking town so plan to spend a good chunk on cabs
  • Charleston is appreciative of southern manners.  Leave those penis props at home.

bachelorette party penis straw

Bottomless Boozy Brunch in NYC

If you are a 20-something in New York City and say you don’t like brunch, I’m calling your bluff right now.  It’s one of the most magical things about this city.  There’s hundreds of options, and I’m always looking to discover the next best brunch place.  I spend more hours salivating over pictures of french toast and  reading reviews about atmosphere than I do actually brunching.  You see, each of my friend groups like very different things.  Some are stingier than others, some like to rage more, some need a hamburger and fries, and some are like me… picky.  As the picky one, it is always bestowed upon me to pick a place, because they’ll eat everything and “I’m the picky one.”  Yet next thing I know they’re saying, “It needs to be affordable.”  “It needs to be easy to get to.”  “I want a party atmosphere.”  Suddenly there are always new criteria so I’m constantly going back to the drawing board.  To spare you the hours of research here is what I learned.  Consider this the boozy brunch special.

bottomless boozy brunch nyc

Bottomless Brunch

Bottomless brunch most certainly does still exist in NYC.  And there’s a myriad of places to get your fix of bubbly, bloodies, and breakfast… clever, I know.

CROOKED KNIFE  – 29 E 30TH STREET

There’s two locations.  One on 14th, and one in the Murray Hill area.  Make sure you make a reservation.  They certainly don’t take walk-ins after 2 PM (That was a total brunch fail).  For $34 you get unlimited bloodies and mimosas + an entre.  There’s a variety of lunch foods and breakfast so there’s something for everyone.  Expect loud music and a fun atmosphere but don’t expect to hold a conversation with 8 of your closest girlfriends.

CALLE OCHO – 45 W 81ST STREET (INSIDE EXCELSIOR HOTEL)

It’s traditional Cuban food with unlimited sangria!  The sangria packs a strong punch though so beware.  House rules proclaim you can only have one glass at a time.  So no double fisting or ordering before you’re done.  There’s nearly a dozen flavors to try, so you’ll have to come back to try them all.  My favorite sangria – the Havana Banana.  I must say though that their sangria is sweet and headache inducing but so worth it!

POCO – 33 AVENUE B
$30 gets you bottomless sangria, bloody marys, or mimosas for 1.5 hours + an entre.  If you don’t feel like drinking (preggo friends can join), you can pay $17.95.  Like all the other bottomless brunch places, make sure you make a reservation and tell your perpetually late friends to meet you there a half hour earlier (you know who you are!)  Also note, it’s cash only.  Food is great but not worth the wait.  Hey, I rhymed there…

TRIBECA GRAND– 2 SIXTH AVE
This Buffet Brunch will cost you $35 pp and an extra $20 each if you want a bottomless brunch for 2 hours. So yeah, it’s a little pricy.  But hello… look at that buffet picture above.  The brunch buffet has belgian waffles made to order, an omlette station etc. plus there’s a live jazz band.  Also if you’re bringing the kiddies, there’s always a movie for them to watch.

LIPS – E 56th STREET

Enjoy an entertaining drag queen show as you sip on mimosas and consume menu items such as “Legally Blonde” and “Sister Act”  for just $21.95.  For an additional $6 you can consume unlimited mimosas and bloody marys.

bottomless brunch

Carry On Essentials

Carry On Essentials

Tote:

I’ve been eyeing the OG Bag by Lo & Sons.  It’s the perfect woman’s carry on.  There’s hidden pockets everywhere, which will satisfy any organized nut on the go.  There’s a slot for a 13″ laptop, front pockets, and even side pockets. But here’s why it’s really the perfect travel tote – there’s an adjustable sleeve at the back that allows you to attach it to your suitcase’s handle.  Bye bye bag falling off my suitcase and dumping on the floor.

It’s slightly pricy at nearly $300, but I may just treat myself to it, and double it as a gym bag (when I finally get my butt going there again!)

Entertainment:

Airlines are getting stingy.  I can’t tell you the last time there was a movie on during flight, or when the stewardess gave me a free set of headphones.  Delta charges $16 for a 24 hour wifi pass.  So on a 6 hour flight, you’ve got to entertain yourself.  Especially if you can’t take a siesta on a plane (like me).

I always bring a notebook when travelling.  Travel time can be productive brainstorming sessions or just time to get organized.  I find myself making to do lists, to buy lists, and blog post idea lists.  Ummm… so am I type A??

Headphones are mandatory.  I rarely listen to music on flight.  So why do I need headphones?

  1. In case that stingy airline decides to play a free movie
  2. To make it clear to the Chatty Cathy sitting next to me that I’m not interested in engaging in 5 hours of dialect
  3. To reduce the noise of crying babies around me

My iPad is also an essential.  I always purchase an ebook before the flight and download it to my kindle app while I’m still connected to wifi.  Airlines recently changed their policies which allow you to keep the ipad on from take-off to touch-down (provided it’s on airplane mode).  Hello uninterrupted reading… bye bye bulky book. Just finished The Girl on the Train on a flight back from Florida. i highly reccommend it.

So Fresh So Clean:

I don’t know what it is,  but flying makes me feel dirty and dried out.  I have a compulsive need to wash my face.  Meanwhile my face feels tighter than an unopened jar of artichokes. (Did that even make sense?! Totally not Simon Cowell with the analogies).

I’m pretty sure I’m getting ripped off here, but I need my Evian Mineral Water Spray.  A quick mist rehydrates skin and/or refreshes makeup. I just paid $7.50 for 1.5oz of water, so I’ve convinced myself it’s just as powerful as a face shower.  I’d also like to point out that over 10,000 people have given this a Sephora like, so I’m not that crazy.

If you’re really having the urge to wash your face, try a cleansing wipe.  One of my favorites is Simple.  I also use these to wipe down areas around me like my tray table and arm rest.

Hand cream – does that need to be explained?

Germs are rampant on flights.  You’ve got sick people flying (why can’t they just stay home), tiny dirty bathrooms, and sneezing culprits. Use Purel as a precautionary measure so you’re not arriving to paradise with the flu.

There – now you can travel in style, entertain yourself for hours, and ward off dirt and germs making flying more appealing.

Where to Pee in NYC

Where to Pee in NYC

New York City isn’t exactly known for its cleanliness.  Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday piles of garbage grace the city sidewalks and the city air looms with the most unappealing scents, especially in the hot summer months.  Public restrooms also get a bad reputation.  One foot in a Port Authority restroom and it’s easy to understand why.  But finding a clean place to go to the bano in NYC is easier than you think.

By far, the cleanest public restroom in NYC is at Bryant Park.  Even with steady foot traffic all day, this is a reliable NYC lou.  For starters, there’s pretty much always a staffer cleaning that bathroom.  Also, the toilet seats are covered with sanitary plastic which is brand spanking new for each patron.  No more hovering over toilets hoping it goes in rather than contribute to the drops already gracing the seat cover.  This is my tried and true bathroom and worth the wait… cause there’s pretty much always a line.  Any other public restroom… avoid it.

So what do I do when I’m strolling towards Central Park and have a sudden onset of “I’m going to burst”? I use a hotel restroom!!!  With like 50 million people visiting the city every year, there is no shortage of hotels and there’s no way for them to keep track of the hundreds of faces that enter/exit their doors.  So act like you belong and strut directly to the lobby bathroom.  Sometimes these hotels are tricky though, and you’ll have to take the elevator to a different floor for the bathroom.  When in doubt, ask the front desk.

There you have it… my advice for you, always enter a hotel lobby and use their restroom!

 

Farewell Letters When Leaving a Job

I stared at my computer screen for days, wondering what to write to say goodbye to my colleagues after spending a quarter of my life working with them.  The only thing I knew was it was starting with “Hello HBO Friends”, anything else seemed too impersonal.

Prior to having to say goodbye to my coworkers, I had to write a letter to dozens of affiliates.  This was something I never experienced before since I’ve been with the company since college.  I quickly drafted one that was short and to the point.  I sent it to my boss for approval to send out.  Luckily, he had a few words of advice.  After talking with him, I learned to make it more personal, more about the people, and more detailed.  I had to make it clear they knew I was leaving the company, not just switching positions.  Also, make sure you leave information for who they can contact for issues related to work.  The end result was professional yet personal.  If you’re having difficulty drafting a farewell to vendors or affiliates do a quick Google search.  It never fails.

Obviously, writing the farewell email to coworkers was more difficult.  You should send this the last day of employment.  I wanted to draft it earlier, but that didn’t happen.  So the day of, I just sat there and typed whatever came to mind.  I didn’t formulate proper sentences, just a stream of consciousness.  This helped me realize what to write and I banged it out in just a few minutes.

I think in your farewell letter it’s important to establish A.) that you’re leaving – duh, but also let your coworkers know what it meant to work with them.  Then end it with where you’re going (if you’re willing to tell) and leave contact information.  Pretty simple.  You don’t want to burn any bridges so make sure what you say is courteous and from the heart.

Alright, that’s all I got.

farewell1

Improving Health with Technology

I cannot walk out of my New York City apartment, without scents of food bombarding me.  There are too many temptations out there.  I pass a dozen pizza places on my way to work everyday.  There’s a yogurt shop directly across the street from me.  Resisting the urge to indulge can be difficult, but being mindful about what I’m putting into my body makes it less tempting to spring for that slice.  Technology has helped me tame my compulsive food purchases, eat healthier, and clock more steps.  It’s introduced me to healthy communities and support systems.  And most importantly, it’s given me the competitive motivation I need to be my best self.  Here are some technological tools I’ve experimented with in an effort to live a healthier lifestyle.

health and technology

Fitbit

Back in 2009, work offered us $20 Fitbits in an effort to inspire us to get moving and adapt to wearable technology!  Our goal was to do 10,000 steps a day.  It was relatively easy for me since I walked to and from work everyday.  But weekends were harder.  Looking down and seeing 3,000 steps after a Scandal marathon didn’t bode well with me.  The Fitbit got me moving more.  In order to reach my step goal, I walked in place at crosswalks or paced back and forth around my living room during commercial breaks.   While it seems minuscule, they’re steps I wouldn’t have taken normally.

Works Fitbit community motivated me to take more steps.   Seeing a colleague do 30,000 steps a day made me want to do more.  I also had a healthy competition going with my cubicle neighbor.  Additionally, the social component lets you find friends through Facebook.  Once you’re friends with someone on Fitbit, you can see how many steps they logged or when they last signed in.  You can give them a friendly nudge (or shaming) if they’re not doing that great. This helped keep me on track.

While Fitbit is predominantly known as an activity tracker, it does offer other services.  It will tell you what your target calorie intake should be, track your progress towards your weight goals, monitor your sleep, and there’s a portal for you to keep a food diary.  I never used any of that though.  However, I did integrate my Fitbit with My Fitness Pal.

MyFitnessPal (why do all of these things squish together their names?!?!?!)

I used MyFitnessPal  a couple of years ago.  I recently logged back in and a feeling of depression washed over me from seeing how much weight I gained.  That right there… is motivation!

65 million people have created a MyFitnessPal account.  Upon logging back in, they asked me if I wanted to find friends via Facebook.  I skipped this, but they did warn me that users with friends lose 2x more weight!

Essentially, MyFitnessPal is a food journal with all the bells and whistles of the modern age.  Search a vast array of food and restaurant dishes then add them to your diary.  Along with calories, it tracks nutritional values like carbs, fat, protein, sugar, etc.  It gets a little complex, because in addition to hitting a calorie goal, there’s goals for other nutritional values too.

I like that if you stick with their plan, you WILL lose weight.  They’ll tell you exactly how many calories to consume a day and how much weight you’ll lose as a result.  Literally, it told me to eat 1,200 calories a day, and you’ll be 10 pounds lighter by March 28th! I like the latter part, but 1200 calories is essentially a Chipotle meal and that just seems aggressive and not accomplishable.  So I’m knocked down before I even begin.

Weight Watchers Online

There are so many food journals out there that are free.  The reason I pay for this as opposed to using MyFitnessPal is because it’s less complex.  The numbers I’m looking at are less daunting.  While I’m good at math, I don’t want to be subtracting 1200-58-160 etc. to see how many calories I have left to consume.  Also, I feel like it helps me make wiser decisions.  It’s not all about calories.  Something that is 150 calories can be healthier than something else that is the same amount of calories.

Really the world of technology and health are merging.  These are just a few apps that I use to stay on track.  But there’s so much beyond that.  My phone can take my heart rate and keep track of my sleep cycle!  Even new types of health insurance like Oscar are entering the scene in New York and New Jersey.  You can chat with doctors, keep track of your prescriptions and lab work and find affordable doctors all in one spot.  They give all their members a Misfit Band much like the FitBit, which they can set personal goals and earn cash rewards each day they meet them.  Oh, and if you need the shaming to lose weight, my friend told me to check out Carrot, the App has a fit component that gives you calorie shaming, makes jokes about the food you’re eating, and give you amusing feedback about your weight.  Hey, whatever works for you!