Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lights Out!

Snow in October. I don't particularly like snow. But, I wouldn't have minded some snow if we could still have POWER. I am 100% sure I would not have made it as an Ingalls child. Ma and Pa would have either kicked me out or I would've just frozen to death somehow. I just don't see myself chopping trees or churning butter.

I think it would've also been fine if we didn't have a toddler. It's one thing to be unshowered, feel all displaced, and run around with your panties in a bag when you're just you. Or you and a partner. But, when there's a kid involved, it's a ginormous shitshow. No one's fault- it's just like when some people are thrilled for a snow day from work because they can lay in bed, eat take-out or Kraft Mac & Cheese and watch Lifetime all day. With a kid- no so much. It's more- OMFG, how am I going to entertain him/her/them all day?! At least if E was older, we could hand him a shovel.

We were having a fine Saturday afternoon watching movies when, *poof*, off went the power. Now, if I look back to August, I seem to remember that being the same thing I was doing when the power went out during Irene. Watching Annie. This time, I think it was Tangled. Not that it matters since we didn't get to see more than a few minutes.

If we weren't going to be able to hang in the house, we thought we'd go to Garden State Plaza and walk around. Possibly get something to eat. Arrived at the mall to MAJOR traffic trying to get out and half the mall without power. Luckily, the wing with power was the one with Grand Lux Cafe, the movies, etc. Lucky for me- Grand Lux is one of my favorites. AND it was before 5p so we got the lunch special rates! Trust me, small victories during this kind of nightmare are important.

At this point, we were able to see outside from our table and it looked like the snow/sleet wasn't going to stop. B looked up the weather and it was going to keep getting worse for a good eight more hours. We called family but the ones closest lost power too and B's parents live in an area that has tons of tall trees and we didn't want to chance driving there. We called neighbors of ours to check the power status and they said it looked like a war zone all over town- especially by us. Trees were down everywhere- detours, lines down, etc. We started calling hotels like mad. Everywhere was booked up or had no power. Luckily we were able to get a room near the mall. For once, not traveling light came in useful and we had most of what was needed to keep us comfortable for a night. Little did we know it would definitely be more than ONE night.

We also lost power at our store, so that was stressing B out. Home sucks but it's bearable. Work- that's lost money we need. Neither is good but we'd rather lose power at home than work these days. And not to sound stupid, but what about Halloween? I was so glad I'd bought E a Muno costume because at least he got to wear it to the Yo Gabba Gabba Live show! And all that Halloween candy?! Ugh.

What to DO with my child is the next question. I just got the email tonight that there is no school for him tomorrow. At least if he had school that would be four hours I wouldn't have to worry about where we are going go and what we're going to do.  The news is saying it's not really safe to go anywhere because of live wires around and falling branches. A lot of places are closed because of now power still. I may actually lose my mind.

Everyone keeps throwing out the generator talk. A generator is nice, but it's a lot of money and for the possibility of power going out maybe once or twice a year- I don't know. If we had the extra money, I guess, it would be nice, but if we had that kind of "extra money", maybe we'd just rather stay in a hotel and let other people take care of us. I don't know. I'd be saving a lot on all the groceries I now have to throw out- that's for sure. I didn't even have it in me this time to try to save anything with coolers and whatnot. Just too much work. And last time, I tried my hardest but I still had to toss a lot of stuff. It's like- being displaced doesn't suck enough but now I will have to clean out two stinky fridges and freezers. Good times.

So I have nothing of real importance or interest to say aside from just venting. I can look on the bright side- or "bean side" of things. I still have jelly beans left since I wasn't around to eat as many as usual. I got to eat at Grand Lux. We are all together, we're not sick, E has been doing better with the changes than expected and we had no damage to our home or cars. I have friends with flattened cars and holes in the roof due to falling trees and branches.

I had some cupcakes from A la cupcake that I bought on Friday. Usually I buy them one at a time but this time I bought two. Didn't get to eat any on Friday night as planned because we went to S&P. Luckily I remembered to grab them when we left our house. She may bake new ones every day for freshness, but mine held up just fine. Just ate the 2nd one. We also had chocolate from Sugar & Plumm left over but that was gone in five minutes at the hotel. Awesome chocolate. Luckily we were in a hotel that also has a bar. Malibu Bay Breeze has also made this ordeal much more bearable.

So, that's what's been going on. Wanted to write a whole lovey entry about my fabulous weekend in Loveladies (LBI) with my awesome lady friends last weekend but that'll have to wait. I'm going to watch the episodes of One Tree Hill that I missed this past season on my laptop. Praise Amazon instant gratification video streaming. It's fabulous. Between Amazon and Hulu +, I'm good with stuff to watch while I wait this whole mess out.

For anyone that has no power also- I feel ya man. It sucks. Talk about "powerless" having literal meaning and then some. Virtual hugs to all of you hovering around the 50 degree mark in your homes and hoping power is restored within the next few hours. I'm signing off....

***Oh, and I got several emails saying Halloween is moved to Friday November 4, in Glen Rock. No parade, but Trick or Treating.  School is cancelled for Monday, Oct 31- public and I assume the private ones too. The GRJC Nursery School is closed.

***The New Park & Play in Ramsey opens Tuesday for anyone that still doesn't have power and needs to find something to do. I believe they're doing an Open House. You can just go and try it out once to see if you want to join.

Peace out kids. Stay warm!

Friday, October 28, 2011


The forecast is calling for snow. In October. And of course, on Saturday. We have our town Halloween parade on Saturday. It's already cancelled without a drop of rain or snow on the ground. As usual, I've heard the supermarkets have been pillaged and I'm sure there isn't a loaf of bread or gallon of milk to be found. I didn't feel like figuring out something to make with my lack of ingredients and my lack of culinary skill. We usually go out on Saturday night but I wasn't sure whether to believe the weather persons or not. So, I thought we'd have a delicious night out at Sugar & Plumm and worry about snowstorms tomorrow.

I know I've already written about this place but you know how it is with new places- you never know if they're going to get better, stay the same or go down the tubes. I have to say, this time the food was just as fabulous as the first time and the service got even better.

Luckily we got Avery again as our waitress. She's fantastic. I like that she always addresses E, like he's an adult and his opinion matters. The food came much quicker this time. As those who know me in real life know, I'm a creature of habit. For my entree, I ordered the crispy skin salmon. But, I decided to try the spinach salad- it's spinach,sugared pecans, REAL dried raspberries, cheese (I'm not sure what kind- B ate it) with a very light dressing. It was SO good. Everything just tasted really fresh.

B ordered the butternut squash soup and the pizza crepe. Last time, B got the tomato soup. But, their menu changes slightly seasonally, so tomato is out and butternut squash is IN. He thought both soups were phenomenal and he said something about them made them "different". He was right! (But, I'll get back to that). He thought his pizza was also awesome.

Then....Dessert. THIS time, *I* was actually the one to change it up. I saw there are, indeed, cupcakes there. I asked why they aren't on the menu and Avery said that they do change things seasonally and sometimes add or take away some things so instead of changing the hard copy menu, they just display the new stuff. I decided to try the fruity pebble cupcake. The icing already just LOOKED like a kind I'd love. I dug in, and the cupcake seemed kind of "hard", so I was like "uh oh". But, that uh oh turned into a pleasant surprise. It was the most interesting texture of any cupcake I've ever had. It was FILLED with fruity pebbles. FILLED is actually an understatement. The whole thing was something like I've never tasted before. I loved every bite.

B, in a twist of events, got the same thing he got last time- the banana and nutella crepe with chocolate ice cream. Again, he wanted to lick the plate, and again I had to remind him people were sitting next to us.

The best part of the evening was getting to meet and chat with Lamia Jacobs, the owner whose brainchild is this wonderful place. She is so warm, friendly and engaging and she LOVES to talk about her "project"- this store/restaurant. Owning a boutique-type retail establishment, B and I know how personal it is, and Ms. Jacobs is no different. She CARES. She was almost giddy at seeing E eat his sliders. It was actually really endearing. She pretty much spent our entire meal talking to us (and it was NOT an intrusion)- we were asking her how she got into this business, etc, and she was happy to share. Everything is made fresh- even the butter. They make their own. Their own chocolate, their own everything. She tastes everything to make sure it's sweet but not TOO sweet. There was a piece of chocolate on top of my cupcake- it was dark, not usually my thing, but it was printed with ghosts (so cute!) and it was so good. I wasn't sure it was real at first. Anyway, Ms. Jacobs is there a lot. She doesn't live close but she loves to check in on her baby. She's opening another store in NYC and has grand plans to open a few more in key locations around the country. I don't doubt they'll be successful if she finds chefs and staff for those that are as good as the one here!

So, it was a lovely evening. I can't wait to return there for more delicacies. Thank you to Ms. Jacobs for her time and scintillating conversation.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mish-mash of life

I know, it's been like ten days of eerie quiet from me. I've been trying to get into a groove with everything and October is whizzing by. There were the Jewish High Holy Days, lots of food shopping & cooking, I had to work in my store, Yo Gabba Gabba Live, and even caught a movie. I know where the time went but it just went by faster than I could write about. Plus, none of it was really "informational" for the rest of you. I haven't been anywhere new- I've just been getting settled in the old and new-ish.

So, this is just going to be a mishmash of all things Tara for the past ten days. From TV to live children's shows, supermarkets, movies and more.

First were the holidays- we went to the Rosh Hashana "Apples & Honey" service at the Glen Rock Jewish Center. It's a really nice service for the kids, open to the public (ie, non-members), and it makes services a little more fun. Unfortunately Ethan was not all that interested, was making noise and wanted to climb on chairs so we had to peace out rather quickly. But, for anyone looking for a nice temple, the Rabbi is young and very welcoming, it's a young(er) congregation, and they try to have a lot of activities to keep the kids interested. Hey, 2.5 is a hard age for religious stuff though. We'll try again next year.

I went supermarket crazy because I make a sick brisket and a very fattening noodle kugel for every holiday, Jewish or not. Those two dishes are two things that could always be counted on for any holiday I had growing up so I'm continuing the tradition. BUT- where to find a giant brisket?? I literally need like a 5-6lb brisket and believe it or not, they are not easy to come by. Unless, I guess, if you go to an actual butcher (my parents used a butcher- they had a meat delivery every few months). I've only used a butcher once and it cost me a FORTUNE. So, I try to stick to the supermarket for that. Brisket ain't cheap. Interestingly enough, I've gotten it at the butcher, Kings, Shop Rite and Stop & Shop. And the winner of the best? SHOP RITE. The Kings brisket for whatever reason has always ended up being really fatty. I'd get a 5lb piece and end up with almost nothing because it was all fat. It's not just "any" Shop Rite though. It's Oakland. I've asked them to cut me a giant one and they have done it on the spot. I can never even find someone to ask in Paramus. Usually all any supermarket has out is 2-3.5 lbs.

They shrink for those of you not in the brisket-know-how. AND, I make it ON the stove, in a pot. A pot like you'd use for spaghetti. Imagine how difficult it is to stuff a 6.15 lb brisket into a 5.5 qt pot? Not easy. But, since it shrinks, but the time it's halfway finished, it fits fine.

Anyway, though, I've found a new Shop Rite to love. Ramsey. I never went there because it seemed too far and I didn't know it was re-done. But, I was looking for these Foodles- that E loves. They're flat, plastic, Mickey Mouse heads with cheese in one ear, grapes or pretzels in the other, and apple slices in the middle part. It's PERFECT for a lunch on the go. I pair it with a Horizon milk box and a Jammy Sammy and we're good to go. My friend Jenn told me Ramsey Shop Rite had the Foodles and all the organic stuff I like so I figured I'd go after his dance class. I'm in love. Well, I'm not in love with the bizarre places they have things. There is a real lack of order in there. I found stuff randomly. But, they did have almost everything, including my Pepperidge Farm Carb Style whole wheat bread, which, if you eat that, you know it's pretty much nowhere to be found. Ramsey Shop Rite is HUGE like Oakland, but have WAY more of the puree pouches E eats, and just other random brand stuff I have to have. I'd say the only real edge Oakland has is its impeccable customer service. They will keep your cart so you can bring your car around to load. There is parking underneath and an elevator for when it's raining, and they do the "Shop at Home" pick up service.

That takes care of food. Well, except for the fact that I am now seriously addicted to A la Cupcakes. I've now gotten the vanilla with the strawberry preserves almost every day they're open (no Sundays or Mondays). I think I skipped a few when I saw my favorite Entenmann's Holiday cupcakes in store (Halloween) and bought them. But, truth be told, I only ate four (no, not in one day) and threw the rest away because I needed my special cupcake from A la. I don't care if it sounds like I'm kissing ass to them because I am. But, it's twofold- I'm sure they're doing fine- almost everytime I go in there, Pam or her husband is out on delivery. When I went in one day, my strawberry one wasn't there- so I got red velvet. It was great too, but I LOVE my strawberry one more. AND, I also just want to help insure they'll stay in business there because that cupcake has become like crack to me. B jokes that when I drop E off at my store to go there that I'm going to my "drug dealer". Whatever. And thanks to Pam for dropping off sprinkle cookies for E since they weren't made yet for the day the last time I took him in there.

We got to go out two nights in a row after the holidays. We actually found two babysitters- brother and sister, so one came one night and one came the next. I wish we'd found them sooner. We hadn't been to a movie since Sex and The City 2, I think.  I picked the movie based on what time we could have the sitter that night. The only movie short enough and playing at a time we could get there was 50/50. I had heard the writer and Seth Rogan on Stern talking about it- it was the writer's true story of his battle with cancer but LIVING. B hates TV shows or movies about cancer. But, I swear, nothing else was playing that we'd be able to get to in time. So, I glossed over the cancer part when I told him. So, I spent half the movie handing him tissues. I couldn't even let out a good cry myself because I was too busy laughing inside. I just knew I was going to hear it about the cancer after. Hey- it was a good movie. I liked it. Well written, well acted, and it ended on a happy note! I got to eat movie popcorn- I was thrilled.

The next night we went to the Eric Alt NJ Fashion Week "Carnivale" Fashion Show. I'll only say a very few short things about that. One, I got a great dress. Event wasn't worth the money I spent on the dress, but I'm glad to have the dress and will be wearing it to my friend's wedding cocktail reception in a few weeks. Two, Johnny Weir is SUPER pretty in person. I'm not even doing him justice saying "pretty" but I don't know what else to call him. He was also really accommodating- I asked for a photo with him & while it came out blurry, he still said yes. I'd read his book and while it's clear he LOVES his fans, I just didn't know how he'd be with photos. Three, Kim G from RHoNJ looked spectacular in person. They gave her a really long, "I Dream of Jeannie" platinum ponytail and it looked fab. Lastly, I got our money back for the tickets and I am not a grudge holder so I'm not angry anymore that we paid $50 for a babysitter to go to that hot mess of an event.

Moving on....Let's talk TV for a minute. I was LOVING X-Factor. LOVING. Like, so annoyed that baseball has interrupted it twice, I was irrationally upset for hours. Yes, I get that the outside auditions were weird and in a lot of the acts, the autotune or back up tracks were drowning the singers out. That portion of it was WEIRD. And I was loving all the back stories. I think I used half a box of tissues per episode. But, without ruining it for anyone, I have to say, I'm really disappointed in one of the picks in boy category, one in the girl category, and one in the groups. The only section I think they got right was the Over 30 category. I think, one of them, could've gone home for someone else, but I didn't LOVE anyone else that did go home so I'm cool with it. So, I'm disappointed in a few that went home that I was really looking forward to watching go further. I'm going to watch, of course, but some of the acts that went through are really boring to me.

Real Housewives of NJ reunion? OMG. Seriously- I don't even know what to say. I tried to follow twitter and watch at the same time and it was information overload. No one looked good. Teresa looked like she lost her mind and was doing a lot of backtracking but I don't like when someone is ganged up on. I'm always for the underdog so I have to say, I did feel bad for her. Twitter was crazier. I'm the first one to say that I don't miss an episode and I have opinions on it, but it IS, after all, just a show and I'm fully aware that reality and TV are not really one and the same. There are people on twitter who are OBSESSED. I had to unfollow a RHoNJ tweeter because my whole feed was her opinions and re-tweets of Housewives tweets. It sounded insane.

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is crazy too! I actually feel bad for Brandi Glanville. I was ready to hate her before she was even on the show for a second but I'm finding her funny and refreshing. Better than that kiss-ass Dana Wilkey label-whoring her way around town. Game Night was awful and Kim & Kyle were literally like teenage girls. I know Kyle's sort of apologized for her behavior that night- but Kim HIDING Brandi's crutches??? Who DOES that???? I'm also not enjoying Lisa so much this season. I REALLY enjoyed her in the first season but she's become a total bitchy nightmare. Adrienne always keeps herself looking good- the only one that never ends up acting like an ass. Smart woman. The only one to figure out how to keep it classy and mostly out of the drama on a Real Housewives show. She must be the real deal.

"Real" TV- Parenthood. I think it's my favorite show right now. Another box of tissues needed. SO good. I cry AND laugh EVERY. SINGLE. EPISODE. If you're not watching you should be. Every single actor on there gets to shine.

Ok- Yo Gabba Gabba Live- - We went last year too. E was going to be DJ Lance for Halloween so I had him wear the costume to the Live show too. I hate Halloween. Really dislike it, hardcore. I never liked it growing up either- I never wanted to be anyone but me. I could never think of a good costume after like 4th grade and it was a pain. I liked the candy part, but the dressing up just never did it for me. Anyway, E doesn't care what I put him in yet. He loves YGG and when I said he could be Muno this year, he was thrilled. I knew we were going to YGG Live again so I figure he can at least get more than one or two uses out of it. Last year it was at Radio City on Oct 2. I think it was nice enough out last year but Radio City isn't in an awesome spot to walk around in comparison to the Beacon-, where it was this time. I have to say, I was SO happy with the Beacon! It happened to be a beautiful day out. When we'd bought the tickets and I saw it was later in October, I was a little worried it would be cold. It couldn't have been a nicer weather day. We met Tadd and Christine there (my friends who are responsible for the push to write this blog- Second shout out, lol!) with their son Grant. We didn't have seats together because we bought the tickets at different times but we met them for breakfast before the show.

The Beacon is on Broadway between W 74th & 75th streets. That is a VERY cool area to walk around, not to mention SO close to the GW Bridge. It took us only about 30 minutes to get into the city on a Sunday morning from Glen Rock. There is a park very close by- I think it was on Amsterdam & 78th street. It's across the street from Crumbs and Giggle Very nice park, clean, bathrooms open and available, benches to sit, and lots of stuff to climb on for both a toddler and a bit of an older child. It was a gorgeous day and there were definitely people in the park but it wasn't overcrowded at all. The show ended after around an hour and a half so Tadd & Christine had a little time to hang with us at the park. Christine and I were able to catch up while the husbands so graciously watched (and chased after) the boys. Unfortunately, the Beacon garage lot was not as wonderful as the rest of the day. T, C & G left to get their cars about 45 minutes before we did. We went to Crumbs, then for pizza, and then to the car. They were STILL waiting for their car! It was mayhem down there with a LOT of angry people. Luckily by the time we got down there, it was a bit less hairy and I think we got our car in 20 minutes or so.

And that's it. I'm getting to go away for the weekend, down to LBI, with friends, for the first time since E was born. I'm supposed to be packing but like always, I'll be doing that last minute tomorrow morning. Eighteen girls and gay guy in a rented house- so I should have plenty to write about when I get back from that!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Good Eats at Sugar & Plumm

I'd been seeing "Coming Soon" on Sugar and Plumm in Bergen Town Center for awhile and couldn't wait for it to open. I didn't know exactly what it was going to be but it looked like something fun and interesting. I did have a chance to run in when it first opened, but I didn't really understand what it's supposed to be. Now I do.

When I first went in, I saw the candy and the pastries. The pastries are STUNNING. Really beautiful. And I was totally intrigued that they make crepes. There is only one place locally that makes crepes, that I know of, and I really like crepes. I'd never been to the other place because it's just not a place I think of going. There is nothing around it I need or want to go to, so it's out of the way. But, I'm always in one or more of the malls, so this sounded really great.

I have to admit, I'm a little disappointed in Sugar & Plumm's loose candy section though. I happen to be a Jelly Belly junkie and they just don't have enough flavors. I'm very particular about my Jelly Belly flavors and they only have maybe one or two of my favorites. But, if you just want a quick candy fix, it definitely has enough of a variety to satiate you. They also have a cool selection of retro candy and gift stuff. As we were walking out I saw some fun gift baskets and they had Halloween themed items as well. It looks like the kind of place that would be cute to do a small party for a child under nine years old. I don't really know what kids that age are into but nine and under just seems like a good age range to me.

We were in the mall to get a shirt for B and decided on a whim to eat dinner there. I'd heard from my friend Melissa on FB that she and her family had a good experience for dinner there. I hadn't known that they served "real" (adult) dinner there. I'd thought of it more as a dessert place. So, I was anxious to try it out.

We walked in there around 7p. There was a short wait which was fine, especially on a weekend, and my only complaints (and I use that loosely because it wasn't that big of a deal) were that there was no real waiting area- nowhere to sit. If someone had to wait longer than the 10-15 minutes we had to wait they might be irked that they had to just stand there. They have some room to put a few chairs or a bench so hopefully they'll do that in time. Lastly, they have been open about six weeks and they're still really slow on turning tables over. The table I knew we were going to be seated at was empty for too long before it was cleared away. When there are people waiting and a table gets up, there should be a bus-person that immediately comes by and swipes everything off the table and someone else ready to set it up for the next group. It just felt like it took a lot of unnecessary time.

BUT- that is IT for complaints. I love that there is enough room in most table areas to keep your stroller with you vs putting it somewhere else in the eating area. It looks like almost all the tables have extenders to make them bigger, and if all were open, it would be a little tighter. As a whole though, you're not on top of the people dining near you. I hate having to leave the stroller somewhere- I have to take everything out, then I'm worried about someone stealing my stroller and it's a whole scene. Annoying. But, there was plenty of room for me to keep it next to the table.

Our waitress, Avery, was FANTASTIC. Very personable, helpful, friendly, and as quick as she could be. The food seems to take kind of long to make, but it's extremely fresh, plated beautifully, and the portions are perfect. It's not the Cheesecake Factory where you're getting a giant plate and taking enough home to feed you for two more days. It's just a more normal portion where you're not left hungry but you're probably not needing a doggie bag either. I had the crispy skin salmon with mashed potato and green beans. It was perfect. B had a shrimp & avocado crepe and tomato soup. He was thrilled with both. E had the kids meal sliders and he ate both of them. For dessert B and I both had crepes and B said if no one was around he'd have licked the plate. Like I said, I feel like we were there for a really long time- definitely over an hour. The food took long, but for such good food it was worth the wait. I definitely wouldn't have rather been at a diner!

I don't normally get dessert when we go out for dinner but I wanted to try something there because everything looks so amazing. I am surprised that there aren't cupcakes on the menu, but I could've sworn they brought out a cupcake for someone's birthday. I'll have to investigate that further. I'm usually too full to get dessert but they don't serve bread prior to the meal so I was able to fit it in. I might want to come back JUST for dessert also and try more than one thing. All I DO know is that we'll definitely be back as a family and I would go there with a friend to catch up and eat dessert.

The bill was around $70 for the three of us with E getting a kids meal and both of us getting dessert. B had an appetizer and I didn't. It seems a little high. Bensi is usually around $50 for the three of us and we always take food home. Then again, at S&P, B and I both had some kind of seafood which is always more expensive. It wasn't "too" high, but it's not a cheap night out. With the decor, the offerings, and the price, it would seem like more of a fit for Riverside Square over Bergen Mall. Bergen Mall is now known as the "discount/outlet" mall so it's kind of odd to have this place and a burger place (Bobby's Burger Palace) that sells $12 burgers. But, I'm pretty sure if it was in Riverside, it would have a consistent 45 minute wait and that would completely suck with with children. As it is, I love Houstons but I only go when I'm meeting a friend- WITHOUT Ethan.

I definitely recommend giving it a try for either dinner or dessert sometime soon before it really catches on and you do have that really long wait.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Not-so-guilty pleasure

I feel like I don't even want to share this because I'm so in love with this place and while I want them to stay in business, I don't want them to get so busy that I won't be able to get in there when I need it. But, I feel that I need to tell everyone because if they do go out of business I'll be so sad I'll have to take to the bed for days.

What am I talking about? Well, it's a strange little place. For massage. Yes, for massage. It's not a spa. It's not a *wink, wink* massage place. It's a walk-in, lay on a table with your clothes off (although is a little sign in each room that specifically tells you to keep your underwear ON), but get 20 minutes to 60 minutes massage place.

I used to work at Spa Finder. I've been to pretty much every place in the area for a massage. But, in a nice "spa" environment, you have to make an appointment, it's a whole scene with robes and plastic flip flops, a waiting room with cascading water, apples in a bowl, hot tea and...needing a babysitter for like three hours for a one hour massage. Three hours? Yeah, by the time I drive there, do the whole change into the robe thing, sit and wait for my therapist, etc. It's a major time suck that I don't have. I don't have a lot of help with my son, only just found a sitter that isn't a friend or family, and free time comes in unscheduled moments here and there.

My friend Tara sent me a message on Facebook like 6 months ago and asked me if I ever went to "The Healthy Way" in Glen Rock. I said no and asked her what the hell it was. She told me massage. I had no idea where or what she was talking about. I was intrigued.

I NEED massage. Not in the regular, "ooh, I'd love a massage" kind of way. In the way that I've had debilitating tension headaches since I was a child. Under eight years old. I don't remember exactly when it started but it's been my whole life. No doctor could give me anything concrete to stop them. I'd been to biofeedback, chiropractors, neurologists, etc. I've taken OTC pain meds, narcotics, herbal supplements, you name it. The only thing that works is DEEP massage or percocet. And even the percocet only helps for a short time. If it's bad enough, when that wears off, it's excruciating. BUT, massage TOTALLY helps. Any guy, including my husband has gotten sick of the massaging but quick. I need to be paying for my massage. It gets expensive and I don't have the money to be paying "spa" prices.

Yes, I'm aware there is also Massage Envy now on every corner too. But, to me, it's a pain. It isn't a true "walk-in" place because even though they take walk-ins, they rarely have an opening right on the spot. Also, it's a gimmick. I have gift cards there but who knows if I'll ever use them. I did try them out, and it was fine. But I didn't know if I could commit to the one massage a month because of lack of child care and I just didn't want to commit to a year of electronic fund transfer because who knows what they year would be like financially?? That's a big commitment in these economic times. If you don't commit that first time you go, you have to pay a membership fee if you decide to do it. I don't want to pay that fee. Then if you aren't a member, the massage cost is double. In my opinion, they just don't make it easy. Having to decide on the spot if I want to commit for a year is too much pressure for me. And knowing I'm paying double if I don't want to be a member just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Enter- The Healthy Way-  The one closest to me is actually considered Fair Lawn, not Glen Rock. But, it's super close. It seems bizarre- it's next to some kind of Quickie Mart where you can buy Playboy, milk and lottery tickets.  It's small and each "room" is really just a small cubicle separated by a removable partition. You can hear the person in the next cubicle, which, on second thought, is kind of nice because you know there really is no funny business going on in there. I mean, you'd totally hear it and be grossed out. Well, I would be.... Anyway, there is a price list in every room and the most amazing thing- the MORE time you get, the LESS expensive it is. ANYWHERE I've gotten those chair massages- in the malls, in my nail salon- ANYWHERE, the amount they charge is almost ALWAYS more than the minutes they give.  For instance- $12 for 10 minutes, $24 for 20 minutes, and so on. Here, it's $20 for 20, $30 for 30, $40 for 45 and $50 for 60 minutes! It's amazing. And you're not in a chair- you're actually lying on a table and you take off your clothes. You're not hostage to getting a crappy massage because you happened to wear a sweater that day and you're on display at a mall kiosk. It's a "real" massage, with oil, whether you pick twenty minutes or sixty.

The one con- no English. Trying to explain that I don't want my legs touched because I'm ticklish cut into precious time and no one understood me anyway. I've just figured out that I need to just keep my pants on and they get it. Or I learned to pull up Google Translate in Chinese with the phrases I want them to be able to understand.

I guess another con can be that you are in very close quarters with the person getting massaged in the next cubicle. But, for me, I don't care.

It's totally no-frills. If you're looking for a whole experience, this isn't the place for you.  If you're looking for a really good quickie, you're totally in luck. I don't need a waterfall and tiny muffins. I need to be able to just show up when there's someone around to watch my kid, when I have a killer headache, and get in & out.

So, I highly recommend. Apparently they're popping up all over the place, so look out for a Healthy Way by you!

Sunday, October 2, 2011


I didn't know what to title this but "Deathiversary" is as simple as it gets. I haven't really felt like writing for a week or so because I didn't know how to write frivolously without addressing other feelings as well. Today, October 2, marks the two year anniversary of my mom suddenly passing away. Her death was totally out of the blue, a random, unnecessary, shitty-awful occurrence, that totally changed my life. I remember the day like yesterday but I try not to wallow in it. It feels weird to just put it out there on Facebook so I'm putting here where I can try to articulate my thoughts better than in a status update.

I'm not sure what people are supposed to do on a deathiversary. I won't go to the cemetery. I haven't been there since the day she was put in her slot there in the wall. I don't feel like she's there. She was cremated against my wishes (she had nothing written, so it was a decision made by others). I don't feel she's "there". It's certainly not a place she'd choose to hang out, even if cremation was her choice, which I'm told it was. I got some of "her" in a vial, which as I'm typing, sounds pretty gross. I actually didn't know what to do with it. My mom put her sister's ashes in her curio cabinet. B and I bought a glass box from Tiffany, and put it in our curio cabinet because, like I said, what exactly do you do with that? Put it in an urn a kid could knock over? That Jinxy (Meet the Parents) could piss on?

So, we're not cemetery people. Last year was really hard, but I feel like my mom would've wanted us to do something fun with Ethan. We got tickets to Yo Gabba Gabba Live that weekend. We had a nice day. I decided from then on, we'd just keep busy and try to do something really fun. I kept to tradition. B wasn't exactly thrilled to see the day totally jam-packed but he wasn't about to argue either. On deck was tennis class for E, apple picking, nap, audition for E, then B even had a work meeting scheduled.

If there is an afterlife, my mom must have been pulling for us today. Rain was on the menu according to Jeff Smith (ABC 7) last night. We woke up to blue skies and cool, crisp air. Tennis went quickly and we were on the road to Warwick, NY. Thanks to my friend Jenn's recommendation, we go to Pennings Orchard-, which is really nice. You can park right next to the trees, so there is no hay ride to have to deal with. We used to go to Demarest Farms-, forever, but the crowds on the weekend are insufferable. The wait for the hay ride to get up and back to the trees is usually around 3045 minutes! Unfortunately, today, it was Applefest up in the Warwick area and the traffic was atrocious. It took us like an hour and fifteen minutes.

At Pennings, it was too wet to park up by the apples and they were busing people up and back. No way we were waiting on a bus. So, we just bought some apples, some AWESOME doughnuts, went to the petting zoo, and were on our way home. I didn't mind because we still got some good pictures and we didn't have to do any of the work. No mud on our feet, or wet pants. We found a different way back and were home in forty-five minutes. Fabulous. Just in time for a nap...for all of us.

Matthew Settle (Rufus, Gossip Girl)
E and I napped and B tried but he's just not a napper. He went in the basement and did work. We got up at 4p, and ran out of the house to make E's audition in the Times Square area by 5p. We got into the city, with NO traffic, and had 15 minutes to spare. Walked into the audition, there were no other children there, breezed in and out, and were on our way. I think E did okay because we left him in there alone and he didn't even care. The guy said I'd know by tonight The auditions only ended at 8p, so we'll hold some hope he might've gotten the part.

After the audition we decided to eat at PAX-, my favorite "Fast Food" type of place ever. I always get the chicken parm "Pressata".  But, it started to rain as soon as we walked out of the audition building. We got in one of those bike/rickshaw things and were 10 blocks in about 5 minutes. It was great. E was so excited to be in there. It cost $30 but to get there quick, dry, and easier than hailing a cab was totally worth it. When we were done eating, we got to the best portion of the day- A STAR run-in!

As we were walking across the street, I look at this guy. I first thing, wow, he's hot. Then I sputter out to B, was that RUFUS??  Rufus, Matthew Settle-, from Gossip Girl. That's who it was. I have NO shame, and you only live once, so of course, I ran across Broadway and chased him down. I said, "Excuse me, are you on Gossip Girl???". Poor Mr. Settle. He's in a baseball hat, sweats, listening to his music, and I accost him on the street. He couldn't have been nicer. He said, "Yes" and smiled. I told him we're huge fans and asked if we could take a picture. He happily obliged. I was in heaven. Coincidentally, Rita (my mom), was a HUGE Gossip Girl fan. One time I came home while she was watching E and she had Gossip Girl on the tv, on the highest decibel. She would have me keep them on my dvr as to not take up more space on hers, come over Tuesdays, and watch it on mine. Of course, I was just happy to have a star sighting/meeting, since in all the time I've lived right over the bridge, he was my first star-on-the-street-meet-and-greet. B was thinking, as he's taking our photo, that I was replacing him and that was the picture of our new family. Just for the record, that was NOT on my mind.

We just got home a little while ago, and I wanted to get it all out here before I try to bathe and put E to bed. I decided I'm not going to get all weepy and deep about death, how life is short, blah blah blah. I'll just say that the D-K's have decided, the best way to honor Rita is to live life and do the fun things she'd love to do with us, or hear about later. One hundred percent positive, my mom would have been the first I would've called to tell about my Rufus run-in and she would've probably been more excited than me. She would've told me how she never recognizes anyone in person and been so proud that I spotted him AND ran after him. I know she's smiling and so am I at the end of what could have been a really sucky day. I miss her terribly but I hope, wherever she is, she's somehow able to enjoy our fun too.

Now let's hope I go check my email to find out E got that part!