First Time Visiting Vermont

Over Halloween weekend this year, Kevin and I drove to Vermont. I wanted to go somewhere upstate to see the Fall foliage and since I had never been to Vermont, Kevin suggested we drive a little further to a state we’ve never been. We ended up staying at a bed and breakfast in Waterbury that we found on Airbnb which was a convenient five minute drive to the Ben & Jerry’s factory.We only had a little over 24 hours to explore Vermont before we had to drive back to the city, so we jammed in as many activities as possible on Saturday.

We weren’t sure if there would be long lines for the Ben & Jerry’s factory tour, so we woke up fairly early so we could be there right when they opened. The factory tour was pretty cool and it was neat hearing more about the history of Ben & Jerry’s. It makes me like their ice cream even more! After enjoying a little ice cream sample we changed clothes to go on a hike, but we stopped at a nice pizza placein town to get some lunch first. At lunch I had the opportunity to try the acclaimed Heady Topper IPA beer brewed in Waterbury by The Alchemist. It is not widely distributed so I’m glad I got a chance to try it when I was there.

For our hike we chose Stowe Pinnacle trail which was supposed to be easy/moderate in difficulty but it definitely ended up being more challenging than we were anticipating. It was mainly uphill and we were sweating as we climbed to the top. Once we got to the top though we got a nice view of the town below. Unfortunately we went to Waterbury about two weeks too late. It was still pretty but a lot of the trees leaves had already fallen. It was still nice to get some fresh air and exercise though.

After our hike we freshened up and rushed to the local cider mill, Cold Hollow, before they closed. It wasn’t as good as the Michigan cider mills I’ve grown up going to but it was still nice to include as part of our Fally weekend. In the evening we went to a nearby town to see a movie. We saw Burnt the chef movie with Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller at the cute local movie theater in the middle of town.

That was all we were able to fit in on Saturday and on Sunday morning we hit the road back to the city in time for Kevin to catch an evening flight. It was definitely a lot of driving (about 6.5 hours each way) for such a short trip, but I’m glad we got to experience fall in Vermont.

No Strings Attached Tied to Match.com Study Results

Iwasn't really expecting much from No Strings Attached after being disappointedwith thelasttwo romantic comedies Isaw at the theater–Knight & Day with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz and The Killers with Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl. I

figured a movie starring A-list actors would guarantee it be at least decent, but I was definitely wrong with those two. I was pleasantly surprised with No Strings Attached though. Kutcher redeemed himself in my eyes afterthe flopof The Killers. IthinkNo Strings Attachedis hilarious. It was also nice seeing Natalie Portman playing an independent, confident character after her role in Black Swan. I thinkshe and Kutcher have great on-screen chemistry.

I also loved thetheme of the movie about modern day relationships and “”friends with benefits””/casual hookups. I felt like it was a long time coming. What I found interesting is that thefriends with benefits relationship between Emma (Portman) and Adam (Kutcher) in No Strings Attached depicts many of the findingsin a recent study released by Match.com.

I had the opportunity to hear Biological Anthropologist, Dr. Helen Fisher discuss her findings obtained throughsurveys conducted on the online dating site, Match.com in a special Valentine's Day themed “”Singles in America”” segment (booked & produced by the Broadcast PR firm I work for. Cool, I know ; ) It is the largest and most comprehensive nationally-representative study of single men and women ever done to date, and it dispels long-held beliefs about singles in America. There are several findings in the study that are analogous to Adam and Emma's relationship in No Strings Attached.

Below are some of the findings:

  1. Men are quicker to fall in love, more likely to want children
  2. Women want more independence in their relationships than men do
  3. Hook-ups and one night stands can turn into partnerships: 35% have had a one-night stand that turned into a long term partnership.
  4. Fidelity is a must. 69% of singles regard fidelity as a must have; in the case of 46% of the singles, either one or both partners have been unfaithful and 78% of these broke up after the discovery.

In No Strings Attached, Adam tells Emma that he loves her first, he wants to take her out on dates, and he wants to be exclusive. Emma is very resistant to this. Before she and Adam even start their sexcapades she makes it clear to him that she's extremely busy with work, often getting home from her hospital shift very late at night and she doesn't want to deal with the drama of a relationship; she wants things to be simple by keeping it purely sexual. But as number three suggests, it's often hard to turn off your emotions during intimate moments, and Adam and Emma eventually become more attached than they'd planned.

Finally, after Emma tells Adam that they're getting too close and “”coupley”” (they had fallen asleep snuggling together with their clothes ON (haha)) she insists that he sleep with another girl. She quickly regretsthis though and rushes back to Adam to make sure he only spends the night with her, thusforeshadowing what's to become of their friends with benefits relationship.If two people can't stand the thought of the other being with someone else, they end up in a monogamous, committed relationship.

I foundmany correlations between the Match.com results and No Strings Attached, making the movie seem not so fictional after all. It very much relates to the relationships anddating dilemmas of today. As women are becoming more and more independent and feel less pressure to marry and have kids, they often place more focus on their careers. Match.com and No Strings Attached bothindicate that it is possible to have a successful career and a healthy relationship.

NoStrings Attached isone of the better romantic comedies I've seen in a long time.Ihighly recommend it to anyone looking for a funny, feel-good movie. It's not overly corny either which is a huge plus in my book. Finally, what I've decidedafter listening to Dr. Fisher is that online dating should no longer be considered taboo, especially in this day and age. She encourages everyone to go out on dates and, since 35% of men and women have fallen in love with someone they were not initially attracted to and71% became smitten after having great conversations or finding shared interests, to actually give people a chance by going ona second date with that someone you're on the fence about.

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Film Review: Burlesque

I saw the movie Burlesque, starring Cher and Christina Aguilera, a few weeks ago. I was mesmerized by the previews which made me desire to see the movie in theaters. Sequins, pearls, fishnet stockings, lace and feathers were the eye grabbing materials for the tantalizing stage costumes for the performers. I was enthralled by the choreographed routines of the sexy, petite dancers with tight bods, and even more by Christina Aguilera’s powerful voice.

Christina Aguilera and Cher both did great. I was actually surprised how well Christina did. The film was a perfect fit for her. She is actually not too bad of an actress (actually much better than my fav, Britney Spears, in Cross Roads. Sorry Brit Brit). And somehow she looked just as young as she did when she first started out in her singing career–as in “”Genie in a Bottle”” young. Her face looked youthful, fresh and flawless, and her naturally thin body looked at its prime.

I wasn’t expecting too much from the plot of the film, but it surprisingly wasn’t too bad either. It was one of those feel good movies that makes you want to get all dolled up and go out dancing. You can never have too much eye candy.

After watching the film, it made me a little curious about what burlesque is all about. According to wikipedia.org,

“”Early theatrical burlesque was a form of musical and theatrical parody in which a serious or romantic opera or piece of classical theatre was adapted in a broad, often risquج© style that ridiculed stage conventions…. In 20th century America the word became associated with a variety show in which striptease is the chief attraction.””

Burlesque the movie mixes some some of the traditional practices and techniques of burlesque with a fresh, modern twist. What I appreciate about the film is that it isn’t raunchy; Despite the fact that the women on stage are hardly wearing any clothes, they are still able to maintain a respectable, unattainable air about themselves. In addition, the movie seems to really embody the essence of burlesque.

Burlesque isn’t simply a stripe tease. Traditional burlesque shows, “”encompass a variety of acts such as dancing girls, chanson singers, comedians, mime artists, and striptease artistes, all satirical and with a saucy edge.”” Burlesque the movie stayed true to this by showing a comedic male mime and having a live band present on the stage.If you’re looking to hear a pretty voice and see some hot, sexy dance routines without having to think about anything too serious or deep, Burlesque is surely the right movie to entertain you.
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NYC Black Tie Event: The Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala

For the past two weekends I have packed a weekend bag and set off to Fire Island. My boyfriend and his friend went in on a house for 10 days in Davis Park, so I took the opportunity to spend the weekend on the beach rather than stay in the concrete jungle.

The first weekend we had the house was over 4th of July weekend, and there were about 15 of us who stayed at the house. I was able to bring one of my best girlfriends too. The house had four bedrooms with two twin beds in each room. The remaining people slept on air mattresses in the living room. I kind of felt like I was in college again with a house jam-packed with people and a weekend full of drinking with drinking games (beer pong included of course).

We had great weather on Saturday, but it was rainy all Sunday so we got bored quite fast, and we left on Monday. By the end I was happy to get back to the city and into my daily routine of things and actually feel clean after a long shower without getting all sandy again. By the time the next weekend rolled around though, I was ready for another mini-vacation from the city. This time, it was raining on Friday as we headed to Fire Island, and luckily, the weather was gorgeous while we were there. On Saturday morning my boyfriend and I set off on a 15 mile walk/jog on the beach because I really wanted to see the lighthouse by Kismet. We ended up stopping at mile seven and taking a water taxi back, but it was still a fun little adventure. Let’s just say I now know why Fire Island

is notoriously known as the gay island. There are only certain parts that seem that way, but you’ll definitely know when you are in gayville by all the naked bodies on the beach.

Fire Island was a nice little escape from the city for a few days. I wouldn’t call it paradise, but no one can complain too much about an opportunity to tan on the beach while watching the waves in the ocean. Davis Park is a nice little community too, although I would probably choose to stay on a different part of the island next year, just to try something different. The only real hassle is getting there–two trains, a taxi and a ferry. It can also be a little costly. $11 for a LIR train ticket, $6 for a taxi from the train station to the ferry, and $9 to take the ferry from Long Island to Fire Island. =$26 each way = $52 roundtrip in just transportation. Food is also expensive on the island; it’s double the price of food in NYC which is already expensive. It’s best to bring food over on the ferry with you which will definitely save you money, but it is also a hassle, so you have to weigh your options.

I am already looking forward to going back next year. Thanks for the memories Davis Park! 🙂

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Two Weekends on Fire Island

For the past two weekends I have packed a weekend bag and set off to Fire Island. My boyfriend and his friend went in on a house for 10 days in Davis Park, so I took the opportunity to spend the weekend on the beach rather than stay in the concrete jungle.

The first weekend we had the house was over 4th of July weekend, and there were about 15 of us who stayed at the house. I was able to bring one of my best girlfriends too. The house had four bedrooms with two twin beds in each room. The remaining people slept on air mattresses in the living room. I kind of felt like I was in college again with a house jam-packed with people and a weekend full of drinking with drinking games (beer pong included of course).

We had great weather on Saturday, but it was rainy all Sunday so we got bored quite fast, and we left on Monday. By the end I was happy to get back to the city and into my daily routine of things and actually feel clean after a long shower without getting all sandy again. By the time the next weekend rolled around though, I was ready for another mini-vacation from the city. This time, it was raining on Friday as we headed to Fire Island, and luckily, the weather was gorgeous while we were there. On Saturday morning my boyfriend and I set off on a 15 mile walk/jog on the beach because I really wanted to see the lighthouse by Kismet. We ended up stopping at mile seven and taking a water taxi back, but it was still a fun little adventure. Let’s just say I now know why Fire Island

is notoriously known as the gay island. There are only certain parts that seem that way, but you’ll definitely know when you are in gayville by all the naked bodies on the beach.

Fire Island was a nice little escape from the city for a few days. I wouldn’t call it paradise, but no one can complain too much about an opportunity to tan on the beach while watching the waves in the ocean. Davis Park is a nice little community too, although I would probably choose to stay on a different part of the island next year, just to try something different. The only real hassle is getting there–two trains, a taxi and a ferry. It can also be a little costly. $11 for a LIR train ticket, $6 for a taxi from the train station to the ferry, and $9 to take the ferry from Long Island to Fire Island. =$26 each way = $52 roundtrip in just transportation. Food is also expensive on the island; it’s double the price of food in NYC which is already expensive. It’s best to bring food over on the ferry with you which will definitely save you money, but it is also a hassle, so you have to weigh your options.

I am already looking forward to going back next year. Thanks for the memories Davis Park! 🙂

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Book Review: Love in the Time of Cholera

Here is the short and sweet of Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garca Mجءrquez.

Is Love in the Time of Cholera one of my new favorite novels? No. Is it good though? Yes, and if you‰غھre looking for a book about love

and romance but not for a cheap romance novel, this is the book for you. It‰غھs about a boy, Florentino Ariza, who falls in love with a girl, Fermina Daza. After being romantic playing the violin and sending dozens of love letters to Fermina Daza, Daza‰غھs father finds out and takes Fermina away for several months in hope that their young love will dissipate. Although the entire time Fermina is away she thinks of Ariza, when she returns as a blossomed young woman and sees him after months apart, she rejects him for his unattractiveness.

She later marries a doctor, Juvenal Urbino, and Garca Mجءrquez describes the highs and lows of their marital relationship. Meanwhile, Florentino Ariza has many sexual affairs but Fermina remains his one true love he is holding out for. After Urbino dies, Ariza seizes the opportunity to confess his love to Fermina once more. Reading about Florentinos ever lasting love for Fermina is heartbreaking yet a representation of true love.

There are several reasons Love in the Time of Cholera is worth reading:

1. There are many sex scenes/entertaining affairs

2. I enjoy the way Garca Mجءrquez seamlessly flows from the narrative of one character to another in the middle of a chapter.

3. Elderly love and relationships are not common literary themes and Garca Mجءrquez describes elderly love in a beautiful way and sheds an optimistic light on old age and the inevitability of death.

4. I appreciate that Garca Mجءrquez didn't position Florentino as a completely sinless man to be pitied for spending his life waiting for Fermina. He had plenty of faults just as Dr. Urbino and Fermina. By creating more realistic characters with individual flaws, Garca Mجءrquez was able to write a more authentic love story.

This novel made me think a lot about time. One might think that Florentino Ariza wasted his life being single holding out for Fermina, but in the end, the 50 or so years of patience and persistence arguably pays off in the end. What I found to be moving was Ariza‰غھs lack of bitterness towards dedicating his life waiting and pursuing Fermina and his appreciation of the little time left they have to spend together in the last few years of their life. I recommend Love in the Time of Cholera and would love to hear others' thoughts. If you don't have time to read it there is a movie too, although, I haven't watched it so I can't say whether or not it's as good as the book.

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Book Review: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Three weeks ago I attended my first meeting in a new book club. I nixed the Chick Lit group I joined because it was…well, too trivial. In place, I joined another group I found on Meetup, Book and Girlfriends (yeah, I don’t know why every book club I join has a stupid name, but whatever). For “”Books and Girlfriends”” we read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. We met at Argos Tea (which is one of my FAV tea spots in the city by the way) and there were about eight of us total, which ended up being the perfect amount in my opinion because we all had a chance to talk and contribute to the conversation without there being any long, awkward pauses. This seemed to help me a lot. I noticed an effect after about 2 weeks of use.

After checking out a book club I decide whether or not I want to become a regular “”member”” after

1. seeing who comes to the meetings and whether I enjoy myself/being in their company/they provide stimulating conversation

and

2. I’m interested in reading the book that will be discussed

Obviously the latter is a big determining factor if I even want to go to one meeting because I usually won’t spend my time reading a book unless I find it interesting or valuable for me to read in some way.

Now, to my opinion of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. It was okay. I respect the fact that Eggers is so imaginative and his style of writing is unique, but in my opinion, he seems too much of a con artist which takes away from the authenticity of his story. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is about Mr. and Mrs. Eggers both passing away, leaving their young twenty-some year old son (Dave) to take care of the youngest

pre-teen Egger son (Toph). Dave Eggers definitely plays up the fact that he is Toph’s primary caretaker and he is annoying with constantly trying to “”subtlety”” play the “”take pity on me”” card. He frequently points to all of the sacrifices he makes to raise Toph. Meanwhile, after basically saying that his older brother and sister helped minimally with raising Toph,

he doesn’t address that he potentially could have had more help from one of his relatives from Chicago…if he didn’t uproot Toph and move from Chicago to San Francisco after his parents died. I understand that things would be very difficult trying to raise a young boy when you yourself are not a stable adult, but at the same time, Dave did not do much to make his situation any easier.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is not a work of genius. Dave Eggers thinks very highly of himself. Everything from his story telling and informing the reader that certain parts of the story are made up, in addition to the red curtain on the cover of the book pointing to the fact that it’s all an act, takes away from the credibility of the story. Am I glad I read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius? Yes. Do I feel moved by it or do I feel like I will ever re-read it? No. Take from that what you will. What I do enjoy about the book is the first person narrative and feeling like you’re inside Dave’s mind through this whole life-changing experience. There are many things you can relate to and to that, certain parts of his story are memorable. Unfortunately, you never know if he is just playing with the reader and trying to shape the perception of him in a more positive, heroic-esque light or if he’s staying true to his/his family’s story.
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What’s My Age Again?

23. I am 23 years old, soon to be 24 come April. Just by saying my age, I'm sure you already have preconceptions about where I am in my life. Some may be true, but some may be way off. This excellent product will last longer in the fridge, but doesn’t require refrigeration so can easily be taken traveling.

I'm a “”mature”” 23-year-old I've been told. I went to a good college, got a job shortly after graduating, and independently moved to the big city. I'm over the party scene and I much prefer a margarita while catching up with a friend and waking up well before noon on weekends as opposed to taking shots, staying out until 3am, and sleeping half the weekend away.

Does that make me mature? Perhaps. But that still doesn't change the number attached to my identity. My age doesn't bother me so much as how others respond to it. Even though I may be more on the same page as a woman in her late 20's/early 30's, someone who is older doesn't want to consider a 23-year-old at the same place in life. Therefore, I find myself at an interesting stage in my life in which I have trouble relating to people my own age, yet older girls don't want to accept me into their circle of friends.

What I also think is interesting about age is how it is used in recognition as well as being used as a defense. Career-wise, one may be considered bright, talented and ambitious as a young professional starting a career and working hard to perform well. “”She's doing so well for her age”” might be said. On the other hand, one's age is often the go-to excuse whenever a mistake occurs. “”She's young. She still has a lot to learn.”” We manipulate age to fit our own conceptions about how one that age should be.

What also baffles me is when someone older than myself makes a big deal out of 6, 4, even a 2-year age difference.

Fact: My boyfriend is si

x years older than me. Was I drawn to him because he looks 29? No, his age wasn't a factor so much as his level of maturity. What frustrates me is how many people judge our relationship based on our age difference. What most people don't realize, or they say they agree but still judge, is that guys and girls mature at different times, and a man 6+ years older might be perfectly compatible with a younger woman.

I shared my frustration with age with someone recently and she was quick to say, “”l prefer older men too. Six years is nothing.”” (My age complex has clearly left me feeling I need to defend why I'm dating an older guy, which is ridiculous in itself.) But then, in our next conversation topic when I started relaying a story about another friend who is our age she looked at me puzzled and clarified, “”Well, I'm 25.”” Really? You're going to pacify me that a six year gap between my bf and I is not big but then quickly point out that we're two years apart in age. That is the exact thing I'd like to confront with people. Why do we have so many double standards, rules and expectations when it comes to age?

Age is a number. After the laid out structure of high school, we all go through life at our own pace and on our own paths we carve out for ourselves. I might have the same work experience as a 27-year-old who simply started college and started working later. Is it right to automatically assume that that person is more wise and mature because they've been on this earth longer? Age doesn't get you a job, set your priorities straight, give you work ethics, or help you find a partner. It's all about experiences and speed of growth.

So, enough about age. You don't ask me mine, and I won't ask you yours.

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Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort, Puerto Rico

Last Sunday I came back from an amazing trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico. My boyfriend and I left late Wednesday night and had a full four days of fun in the sun until flying back Sunday night. We stayed at the Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort. It was AMAZING. The resort is very nice. It had everything we needed, so we didn’t even have to leave the resort. We had rented a car in Puerto Rico, but once we got to the resort, we realized that we didn’t really need it because we didn’t even want to leave. The inside of the luxury hotel is clean and spacious. It has a casino, several restaurants (in-door and outdoor), a tennis court, golf course, two pools (a quiet poolfor adults anda larger poolfor families), two hot tubs, a tiki bar, and even a slide going into the larger pool.

Because I really wanted to relax and de-stress, Kevin and I lounged at the adult pool because it was quiter and we had a nearly empty pool to ourselves. We spent the majority of our days laying in the sun and jumping in the pool to cool off. Luckily, the weather was perfect while we were there. Deciding to eat was the extent of our daily exertion.

Every day there were a few planned hotel activities such as iguana feeding, pool volleyball, a morning walk, a late night movie, etc. but Kevin and I set out sights on the water aerobics class. Yes, I took a half hour water aerobics class, don’t judge. It was actually a lot of fun bouncing around in the

pool and I was giggling the whole time. Oh, and I did go down the water slide once which was quite fun.

My only negative remarks are that Puerto Rico is not really vegetarian friendly. I ate enough cheese nachos to last me for the

next three months. Additionally, although the pool was nice and clean, the beach was not. The sand was not the soft white kind I like best, and it was pretty littered, especially as we walked away from our resort. I had originally wanted to spend a day on Culebra Island which was recommended to me as one of the nicest beaches in the world, but since I felt so content and lazy at the Wyndham, we didn’t end up going (We would have had to drive to the ferry and then take it to the island which was apparently too much effort for us at the time.). Also, because we were so relaxed, we did not think to plan ahead, so the one night we decided to venture outside of the resort to go kayaking on the Bioluminescent Bay

of Vieques Island, we went to the concierges desk only to find that we had to make reservation further in advance and there were already booked far out.

Even though we didn’t get to do any activities outsdie the resort, the concierges were very helpful. I consuted them several times for directions and to inquire about activities like boating, snorkeling,hikinh in therainforest, etc. and they were always friendly.

Our vacation was so enjoyable that Kevin and I agreed that Puerto Rico may have to become “”our spot”” to vacation at yearly. We were so impressed with the Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort that we would definitely do a repeat stay. It offered everything we wanted in our vacation (minus immediate snorkeling access). Did I mention that the drinks were the best?! They had a great menu full of summer cocktails and daquiris. Drinking a “”Coco Loco”” rum daquiri out of a coconut became my late afternoon treat every day.

I definitely felt relaxed on our vacation, and I had so much fun that I can’t wait to go back already! If you want a relaxing vacation spot that isn’t crawling with partying college kids and can satisfy all of your needs without needing to leave the resort, I recommend staying at the Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort in the beautiful Puerto Rico.

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New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show

For my birthday the end of April, I went to the New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show in the Bronx. It’s the nation’s largest exhibition of orchids.

The vertical gardens of French botanist and artist Patrick Blanc–featuring structures covered in orchids, ferns, exotic plants, and epiphytes freed from the constraints of gravity–transform the historic Enid A. Haupt Conservatory into an exotic spectacle to dazzle the senses in The Orchid Show: Patrick Blancs Vertical Gardens. (http://www.nybg.org/exhibitions/2012/orchid-show/).

I attended “”Orchid Evenings”” which featured a DJ and a Vanilla Ginger Moon cocktail to sip on while strolling through the path of flowers. It was a trek to get there, but

once we were finally in the New York Botanical Garden, it was very enjoyable. I liked feeling temporarily

removed from the city in a garden oasis. I am a big fan of ivy, so naturally I enjoyed Blanc’s vertical garden. The arrangement was intricate, and the orchids provided a gorgeous pop of color. It was like organic art. You can see some of my favorite pictures from The Orchid Show below.

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