Venus in Fur

Venus in Fur is…HOT! I had seen previews of the show on TV and I heard that it received great reviews, but it’s not until you see it live that youknow just howgood it is.

When the show first started I

was a little nervous because Vanda, played by Nina Arianda, is really annoying. Her voice is high pitched and whiny, and she’s a ditz, but once she starts the audition for a part in Thomas’ play (played by Hugh Dancy), Venus in Fur only gets better and better. The play

description says it best, “”Vanda’s emotionally charged audition for the gifted but demanding playwright/director becomes an electrifying game of cat and mouse that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality, seduction and power, love and sex”” (Venus in Fur).

Arianda and Dancy perform amazingly well together on stage. They’re both attractive and sexually charged. It was the first show I wished would go on longer. I also left the theater trying to dissect what went on onstage. Who has the power in the end? Vanda or Thomas? I now have a desire to read the book.

Venus in Fur is the perfect mix ofdesire, kinkery andpsychological play with a dash of humor. It has even been compared to the hit S&M trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey. I highly recommend seeing Venus in Fur. As I said before, you’ll continue to think about the show even after it’s over.

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Vegan Shop-Up

Last Sunday I went to a really cool vegan pop-up market in Brooklyn called Vegan Shop-Up. It had everything imaginable–tables with vegan chocolate, brownies, cupcakes, chocolate sauce,pretzels,

hummus, different flavored vegan cheeses, salsa. There was even jewelry nail polish, and handmade catnip mice toys. It’s markets like Vegan Shop-Up that make me love New York so much.

My newest obsession was also there–The Cinnamon Snail. The Cinnamon Snail is a vegan food truck that has a variety of sandwiches, raw pizza, beverages and delicious desserts. I have tried the Chipotle seitan burrito, Smoked portabello mushroom Carpaccio, maple mustard tempeh sandwich, Creole grilled tofu sub, and

the cinnamon snail pastry. My favorite sandwich of the ones I’ve tried is the Creole grilled tofu sub though you really can’t go wrong with any decision. Although I haven’t tried many of their desserts or pastries, the Cinnamon Snail pastry is to die for. It’s soft and sugary, and it kind of tastes like an elephant ear. Part of the fun of eating Cinnamon Snail is that you can only find their location for the day on Twitter or Facebook, and they usually don’t tell you where they’re going to be parked until the morning of.

The Vegan Shop-Up was also hosted at a really cool vegan friendly bar, Pine Box Rock Shop. I didn’t have anything to drink, but I did take a look at their menu and saw some good cocktails. I think

I’ll have to go back again for drinks.

Again, what makes living in the city so exciting besides the Broadway shows, fashion, and fine dining are things like the Brooklyn flea market, Vegan Shop-Up, and delicious food trucks. Thank you New York for never allowing me to be bored and for making it easy to be a vegetarian in the city!

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Godspell

Last week I saw Godspell on Broadway. I didn’t know what it was about going into it, and though I should have had an idea with the title “”Godspell,”” I obliviously did not think it would be all religious….but it was, and I am notvery religious. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it, but it was just a lot of religion. I agreed with my friendwho went with me that the musical is kind of preachy. When I tuned out the fact that it was all about religion and focused on the having good morals and life

advice messages the musical conveys, it

was okay. It helps that they incorporate some humor and make good use of props too.

The structure of the musical is that of a series of parables, based on the Gospel of Matthew (though three of the parables featured are recorded only in the Gospel of Luke). These are then interspersed with a variety of modern music set primarily to lyrics from traditional hymns, with the passion of Christ treated briefly near the end of the performance (Wikipedia).

The show I went to also happened to be the first Godspell performance with Corbin Bleu, who apparently is a Disney star, playing Jesus. Corbin Bleu is in Disney’s High School Musical and Jump In! I’m too old for Disney so I actually did not know who Bleu was, but the other audience members sure did. The squealing girls behind me were excited to see him perform. He is a pretty good looking guy, especially now with his hair cut.

I also liked the theater Godspell is at, Circle in the Square. The circular stage is cool. With the circular stage, there really isn’t a bad seat in the theater, and it provides a sort of intimacy. Godspell isn’t the first musical I’d recommend, but if you can snag cheap tickets, it’s worth seeing.

 

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Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala 2012

This past Friday I attended the second annual Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala at the New York Public Library. I had a blast with my boyfriend at last year’s MCC gala, so we had been anticipating the next one and pounced on ordering tickets as soon as they became available. And good thing we did, because tickets to the opening night gala sold out in a matter of three days I heard.

I was looking forward to attending the Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala because not only are thousands of bespoke cocktails crafted, but it’s also a chance for me to get all dressed up. In fact, I was anticipating this year’s Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala many months in advance. At last year’s Gala I saw a gentleman wearing a really cool tie–a cravat–so I bought Kevin one for Christmas to wear to this year’s Gala. And for my outfit, I actually wore the dress I wore eight years earlier for my high school Winterfest dance. I was surprised I still fit in it and I was glad to get another wear out of it. I topped it off with bright red lipstick and a little black fascinator top hat. We were a dashing couple if I do say so myself.

As for the rest of the night, it was ehh. Perhaps because I had so much fun last year I was expecting it to be even more fun this year, but I was a little disappointed. The event was from 10pm-1am and Kevin and I got there about 10:30. Luckily this year there wasn’t a long line outside to get in, but there were many lines inside to get drinks. I remember it being as crowded last year but I don’t remember waiting as long to get drinks. There were some rooms I didn’t even get to check out because there were too many people and I was especially bummed that I couldn’t find the photo booth.

Apparently I’m not the only one who felt that way. Daniel Edward Rosen at Velvet Roper wrote,

“”Our pictures from the photo booth were gone, as was our complimentary CD from Mr. Arenella. The rooms were now filled with a swell of partygoers (the headcount jumped from 1,000 people to 3,500 people in just under an hour, we were later told).

There were lines for drinks, even for popsicles. The Gala was no longer a party of abundant drinks and endless whimsy. It was like any other event in New York: it was packed and impossible to get a beverage.””

He even had early entrance into the Gala as a journalist, so he was lucky to have at least an hour before the real madness began.

One thing MCC did do right this year was stepping up its game on the digital side by offering NFC bracelets that digitally recorded the cocktails that were tried and connects the user to his/her social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter) for instant upload, and it even had a partnership going with the mobile app, OnTheBar. Although OnTheBar had a map laying out where the bartenders were stationed throughout the library, it unfortunately did not show where the photo booth or any other goodies were located.

Despite being somewhat disappointed with the actual Gala this year, it still was a fun experience. Half of my excitement was getting ready for the Gala anyway. Additionally, to make the night extra special, Kevin got us a room at The Strand Hotel which is conveniently only a few streets away from the New York Public Library. After standing on my feet wearing heels all night, I was very thankful for the short walk, but even more-so for the amazing view from our 20th floor suite at The Strand Hotel. I had my “”I kind of feel like a princess moment”” getting dressed in a gown to go to a gala and spending

the night in a nice hotel.

This year’s upset won’t deter me from attending next year’s Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala at the New York Public Library, but I will try to be more strategic about getting to all the cocktails I want to try, and I definitely want to make sure Kevin and I attend with another couple.

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E-Reader Vs. Hard Copy Books

I had refused to buy an e-reader when they first came out because I felt too attached to hard copies. When I was a student, the text seemed to became more of my own the more I underlined words, circled passages, and wrote in the margins. But when my go-to bookstore, Borders, shut down, and I was sick of waiting a few days for a

book to be shipped after ordering it online, I decided to suck it up and give the e-reader a try.

After having a Kindle for a few months now and reading several books on it, I feel like I can give it fair judgement. Below are the pros of the Kindle versus the pros of hard copies:

Kindle Pros

  • Convenience/mobility – much easier to transport than a thick novel
  • Speed –

    faster to download book rather than going to the closest bookstore or having it shipped

  • Durable – don’t have to worry about water damaged pages, faded ink, torn pages, or broken spines
  • Access to new material that may not be available in hard copy/easier to get published (may be a con depending on the book)
  • Earth friendly – saves trees
  • Hard Copy Pros

  • Convenience – easier to flip through pages to find the passage you’re looking for
  • Easier to write notes in the margins
  • Sensory experience – enjoying the cover of the book, feeling the individual pages and the smell of paper and ink
  • Sustainable/durable – never runs out of batteries and not worried about getting it a little wet or leaving it in the sun
  • Aesthetics – can be put on display on a bookshelf or used for home decorating purposes
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    While I have come to like my Kindle, I’ve concluded that hard copies are not

    dead for me, and I don’t think they ever will be. There are certain books I want a hard copy to display on a book shelf as a sort of trophy or memory of my enjoyment of the story. For convenience, books that I need immediately, are too big to be totting all over the city or that I’m not sure if I’ll like, I will download to my Kindle. Whichever medium you prefer, at least you can count on the story being the same!

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    London Trip: Part I

    Last week I took a long weekend and flew to London for four days. I had the most incredible time. It was my first time to the UK. My boyfriend and I stayed at The Metropolitan, a fabulous contemporary hotel by Hyde Park. Here’s the short and sweet of what we did during our trip:
    My flight from JFK left Thursday evening, so I didn’t arrive in London until Friday morning. All I could do was sleep for the first few hours I was there, but once I awoke afresh, Kevin and I went to

    Cadocan Hotel for afternoon tea. For us Americans not familiar to British customs, afternoon tea is not just tea, it is tea served with scones, a variety of pastries, and tea sandwiches (like cucumber sandwiches without crust). It was my first afternoon tea in the UK and it was everything I could have hoped for and more.

    “”The Cadogan is the epitome of genteel English luxury. With its prestigious Knightsbridge address, The Cadogan luxury boutique hotel is perfectly located in London amongst famed designer boutiques…Boasting handsome oak wood panelling, original artworks, stained glass windows and comfortable tweed armchairs, the Drawing Room is a peaceful place to relax and enjoy a traditional Cadogan Afternoon Tea in London“” (Cadogan).

    After we digested we went again later to a vegetarian restaurant nearby, Tibits. It was a serve yourself buffet style vegetarian restaurant. Unfortunately, nothing was particularly good, but it was still nice to get out of the hotel and see some of the city.

    On Saturday after a quick cup of tea, Kevin took me to see Les Miserables. It was SO good. I had seen the 1988 movie version of Les Miserables starring Liam Neeson as Jean Valjean, but it was a different experience seeing the play on stage…it was even better in my opinion. Les Miserables isn’t playing in NYC right now either, which made the choice of seeing it in London even more memorable. Additionally, I was glad I got to hear Alexia Khadime, who plays Eponine, sing. She has an amazing voice (comparable to Rachel Potter who plays Wednesday in Addams Family).

    After seeing Les Miserables, Kevin and I stumbled upon a candy shop that I couldn’t refuse checking out. It was an old school candy shop in which the counter girl retrieved each individual jar of the candy you want and scoops pieces into a bag. It’s the little things 🙂

    Then we had dinner at Benares, a Michelin starred Indian restaurant. We both had the set vegetarian menu. I am not a foodie, and I do not do much fine dining, but I was blown away by the different tastes. I even had the best cocktail of my life there. Everything was delicious, and the experience as a whole was fun because of the presentation and because I wasn’t exactly sure what was going to be served next.

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    London Trip: Part II

    For the rest of my adventures, continue on:

    Sunday
    I will write a post on London culture later, but basically, I did not pack fancy enough clothes. Therefore, much to my

    dismay ( 😉 ) Kevin and I had to go shopping. I won’t go into

    our shopping excursion, because living in New York City, I have access to the most of the same stores, but it was still fun putting together an outfit from scratch.

    After getting dressed up, Kevin and I went to the Corinthia hotel for afternoon tea. Whereas the Cadogan’s drawing room where we had tea had darker mahogany tones and felt more enclosed, the lobby lounge area were we had tea at Corinthia was a different, more contemporary experience with more light and exposure with higher ceilings. Both were equally fabulous.

    “”The location of our grand hotel in Whitehall Place could not be more prestigious. Literally a few minutes from 10 Downing Street and close to world-class cultural institutions such as the National Gallery and Royal Opera House, London‰غھs lavish and illustrious past is brought right up to modern luxury standards with 21st century comfort and among the most spacious rooms in the capital….Illuminated by a spectacular Baccarat Chandelier and overlooking a picturesque, maple-lined courtyard, the central position and effortless style of the lobby lounge area makes it the natural heart and soul of our fabulous new building“” (Corinthia).

    After our afternoon tea, Kevin and I took a walk. We saw the London Eye, which is a giant Ferris wheel by the Thames River, Big Ben, the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster, and a quick glimpse of Buckingham Palace.

    We decided to stray away from the typical touristy activities, so instead we hopped on the tube and decided to get off at Notting Hill to explore. We came across a theater playing an independent film that had premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, The Source, so we decided to check it out. I am SO happy that we went wandering without a destination in mind or else we may never have stumbled upon this film.

    “”The Source (French: La Source des femmes) is a 2011 French comedy film directed by Radu Mih€ؤileanu, starring Leجّla Bekhti and Hafsia Herzi. Set in a remote village in North Africa, the story will focus on women who go on a sex strike against having to fetch water from a distant well“” (Wikipedia).

    Kevin and I really enjoy watching independent films, so we were thrilled to have come across The Gate theater in Notting Hill, and we were even happier that The Source wasso enjoyable.I highly recommend it.

    Monday
    Unfortunately, Monday was our last day in London. We made our way to Sketch for our final afternoon tea. Sketch was a very fun experience. They have five restaurants with different themed rooms. Kev and I had our lunch and tea in The Parlour, but the staff was very friendly and let me wander through the other rooms (which I of course took pictures of). It is such an ecclectic place. The Parlour room and the Gallery have all mismatched tables, chairs and eating utensils–yet everything seems to fit together perfectly. The details areimmaculate. I could spend hours theregoing from room to room looking at all the fixtures.Additionally, the upstairs bathrooms are in the shape of dinosaur eggs for heaven’s sake! Now how cool is that. Sketch would be the perfect place to have an Alice in Wonderland sequel. Next time I’m in London I will definitely be going back to Sketch.

    To wrap up our journey, we took a nice stroll through Hyde Park before heading to the airport to fly back to NYC.

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    The Intouchables

    This weekend I saw The Intouchables at Paris Theater, and WOW. It is now one of my favorite movies. The Intouchables is about a wealthy French quadriplegic who takes on a man from the projects as his caretaker, forming an unlikely friendship. Although his situation is a little sad, part of the reason Philippe (the quadriplegic) hires Driss as his caretaker is because he doesn’t pity him; he treats him like an actual human being–to the point where he even hands a cell phone to Philippe, forgetting that Philippe can’t move his arms. The Intouchables is beautifully done with the juxtaposition of two men from different social classes living and working together, and I enjoy the positive outlook despite being disabled.

    Philippe and Driss help each other equally. Philippe provides a job, a place to stay, an income, and ultimately, a chance for a better future for Driss, and Driss brings humor and spirit back to Philippe’s life in addition to the standard caretaker duties. They infiltrate each others lives in other ways as well.

    Philippe (in an unsnobbish way), educates Driss on high-brow art and music, and Driss helps instill more confidence in Philippe. Despite their vastly different social classes, they balance each other very well and are quite the comedic duo.

    What is also refreshing about The Intouchables is that Philippe’s disability doesn’t hinder him from continuing doing what he loves. He still goes to art galleries, paragliding (no joke), Driss drives him around in his fast sports car, and Driss even goes as far as setting him up on a date. Yes it is true that life would be much much much more difficult if Philippe were not wealthy, but it is nice to see him able to actually live his life rather than being an immobile, depressed vegetable.

    I am not the only one who loves this film. “”In just nine weeks after its release in France on 2 November 2011 it became the second most successful French film of all time.”” (Wikipedia). And, as if I needed any other reasons to love this film, one additional reason The Intouchables is so touching is because it is based on a true story. Be prepared to laugh throughout the film and leave with a warmed heart and a smile on your face. The Intouchables is a MUST SEE film.

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    London Vs. NYC

    I went to London for my first time a few weeks ago, and I can't stop thinking about going back.

    I absolutely loved it. Having lived in NYC for almost two years, London didn't seem all that overwhelming or intimidating. While we were there, my boyfriend and I were actually more interested in non-traditional touristy things (Read about it here and here). However, I've found myself daydreaming about returning several times, so I've decided to make an unbiased as possible comparison of NYC versus London.

    First of all, this is a given for most girls, but the English accents are just so cute. Their accents make the Brits seem more aristocratic and chipper. Accents aside, the men also dress more refined. It's not like they were all

    walking around in Prada suits or anything, but they seemed more put together. The majority of the men wear dress pants or slacks, and if they do wear jeans , they aren't baggy and don't have holes in them. NYC houses the majority of the same designer stores as London, but for men I noticed more custom-made suit shops. I didn't notice the women as being anymore fashionable than New Yorkers, but again, similar to the men, their casual clothing does not mean hoodies and sweatpants.

    Secondly, I enjoyed the sense of royalty surrounding London….or at least by Buckingham Palace. I suppose you get a feeling of patriotism in DC near the White House, but for some reason, all of London seems more regal. Other observations include the following: the streets are cleaner in London, and this includes the trains and train platforms. BUT, the tube is much smaller than the NYC trains. There is no personal space; you're all like packed in sardines. Also, London's population is 7.8 million and NYC's is about 8.2 million, but London seems much less crowded. It could have also been due to the fact that Kevin and I didn't flock towards the touristy areas though.

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    Additionally, London seems slower paced

    than NYC. Kevin, who was there for a week beforehand for work, doesn't think the Brits have the same work ethic as New Yorkers. They don't work as long of hours and his observation is that they don't work quite as hard during work hours either. I'm sure it varies by industry and doesn't ring true for all Brits, but I did notice that even the pace everyone walks seems slower in London. I kind of liked it though! It can be stressful rushing through each day at a high intensity level, so I appreciate the slower pace to stop and smell the flowers so to speak.

    Along with enjoying life and the company you're with, my absolute favorite part about London was having afternoon tea. Tea tastes better in London, especially when you actually have time to sip

    and enjoy it. Afternoon tea for Kevin and I would stretch to two hours. In addition to the tea, we would

    have a selection of pastries and warm scones. The scones there are delectable. I ate more scones in London than any other food. Afternoon tea is the most enjoyable way to spend the afternoon.

    I enjoy London so much I would honestly consider moving there. The only three things preventing me from up and moving across the pond are: 1. Getting a Visa to work in London seems like it would be a complete hassle. 2. My family is in the U.S. 3. It is expensive–even more so than NYC. The exchange rate is horrible. I was only there for four days and it definitely put a dent in my wallet (even more so for Kevin who foot the hotel bill).

    London and NYC are very similar, but they have different appeal. I do love living in NYC, but I enjoy fantasizing about life in London. I guess I will just have to start saving for my next trip to London. Everyone has to have something to look forward to anyway, right?

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    Steve Jobs Biography

    I recently read Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson. I usually read fiction, and I actually don't own or use many Apple products besides my iPhone, but I decided to read it anyway. And I'm very happy I did, because I have a new found appreciation of him. There have been many articles written on Jobs throughout his illustrious career, so I see no need to go into an in-depth analysis on his life. Instead, I want to record what stood out most to me personally while reading his biography.

    In an odd way, I kind of like the fact that Steve Jobs was a mercurial man. He was so brilliant in so many ways–marketing, architecture, technology, his vision of anything he was passionate about–that I think he wouldn't seem as real/human if he was also a kind, gentle leader. In fact, I think many of his flaws can be attributed to his success. As big of a prick as he often was according his employees, many of them did admit that under his leadership, they were able to accomplish things they would have deemed impossible to do or complete under such a tight deadline (aka Jobs' “”reality distortion field””).

    I liked that he wasn't (entirely) driven by money (besides in the very beginning of his career when he wanted to not just sell, but make a profit off the computer he and Steve Wozniak had created against Wozniak's wishes). Once his company became successful, he could have let money drive things, but it says so much more about him that his main goal was to create products to not only change individuals' lives but the whole world. I think most people in his position would have taken a back seat and have been not as involved while the money came pouring in. I love the

    fact that Jobs had his hands in every department from working with Jony Ive on the design of Apple products to working with TBWA with advertising and marketing initiatives (like my personal favorite, the

    Think Different (Campaign for which Jobs even wrote most of the text).

    There are many little things I appreciate or found interesting about Jobs: the fact that he was a vegan and went through weird fasting and fruit only diets; that even though he was adopted, he loved his parents and always considered them his real parents; that he often cried and knew how to play the company politics game quite well; that sometimes he'd have no filter and call people stupid shitheads, yet he also had the ability to lead people to believe that he thought they were great even if he really thought they were stupid and wanted to kick them out of the

    company (like former CEO John Sculley); that he openly talked about his experiences taking LSD and almost endorsed it in a way; that he dropped out of Reed College but still dropped in on courses like yoga/meditation and calligraphy (which actually was the knowledge that influenced the Mac's fonts.)

    If I could take only one thing away from the biography, it would be that it pays off to be a perfectionist and to pay attention to every little detail. I liked Jobs' minimalist approach. His dedication to Apple products lead to the creation of new technology that is appealing, friendly to consumers, and encourages/inspires creativity, yet gives an aura of sophistication. There is no other like Steve Jobs, and I think the world realizes this, and that's part of the reason his bad behavior was mostly tolerated. One might argue that yes, Jobs did take credit for a lot of things he didn't originally think of, but he was an executor and he made sure things got done right. That's part of the reason why, even though there were dozens of key players making Apple into the innovative company it is today, most people think of it only as Steve Job's company.

    Even if you don't own any

    Apple products or consider yourself artistic or an innovator, reading the Steve Jobs biography is inspirational, and I highly recommend giving it a shot. I think there is something everyone can take away from it.

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