Cheers!

Ever had one of those days where absolutely N O T H I N G went right?

A few nights ago when I got in, my sister told me we didn’t have hot water. I was preoccupied on the phone, I didn’t bother to ask for details. I got out of bed late the next morning, courtesy of my dysfunctional relationship with my comfy bed. I wasn’t sleeping, I just tossed and turned, fondling my pillow, and hit the snooze button way too many times. 

I had exactly 23 minutes to leave if I was going to make it to work on time. I headed to the bathroom, brushed my teeth and began to prep for my shower. I hopped in the shower, “AHHHHHHHH”, I shrieked as I hoped back out. The water was F R E E Z I N G! I’d completely forgotten, what my sister told me the night before! I had 13 minutes to leave the house, there was no time to put an outfit together, I grabbed the nearest thing off of “the chair”, (come on you know the chair, we all have one) grabbed my coat and on the way out I remembered, MY HAIR!! 

I’d straightened it the day before but somehow, Carrot Top, Lotte Schwartz and David Kleinfield’s love child managed to land on my head. I quickly grabbed a hat that was hanging on my door. I’m sure it didn’t match with anything I had on, but I didn’t care.  

I made it just in time to catch the 7:28 am train, which guaranteed I’d get to work on time. I got a seat near the door, in a subway car that did not have a homeless person (which usually made me conscious of the things I have to be thankful for), panhandlers, or subway performers. Great, things were looking up. I put my headphones on and tried to enjoy the ride. Surprisingly, the train ride was smooth. No train traffic, sick passengers, stops due to an “earlier incident”or police investigation. 

 I arrived at Lexington avenue/53rd street station at 8:30 am. I happily made my way to the 6 train platform. The 12 minute ride would get me to work just in time. I reached the platform only to be greeted by a crowd that rivaled that of the Macy’s day parade. Ok, I’m exaggerating but geez, what in the world was going on!!  

 Determined to get on the next train, I inched my way to the front of the platform. A few minutes later I heard that dreadful MTA message : “Ladies and Gentlemen, due to an earlier incident we are experiencing heavy delays on our 4/5 and 6 subway lines”. EXPLETIVE, EXPLETIVE, EXPLETIVE!!  After 15 minutes a train finally came. There was no need for me to move my legs to get onto the train because I was involuntary propelled by the swarm of people behind me that were pushing to get on the train. 

I was Sandwiched between a student with horrible taste in music whose headphones were entirely too loud and a very kind man dress in business suit who sweated profusely but apologized every time he leaned, bumped or stepped on me as the train jerked from station to station. I finally reached my stop,  I practically sprinted into work at 9:26 am very prepared to take the walk of shame to my office. 

I got off of the elevator, the receptionist wasn’t there, “that’s weird”, I thought. The floor was empty, “oh shoot, am I missing a meeting?
I nervously poked my head by my boss’ office, armed with an embarrassed “Good morning” prepared to explain my horrific commute but the door was closed and and the garbage can was outside which indicated that he hadn’t arrived yet. 

Wait, Is it a holiday? I settled in and started to go through my emails. I was copied on several emails, apparently almost everyone including my boss were running late due to the train delays from the “earlier incident”. Thank goodness! My day should start looking up from here right? I should be so lucky!

Around 12 pm I realized I’d left my charger at home. Later, My computer shut down as I was updating a report. After that, when I bought my lunch, I forgot to get my change. It was only $2.36, but it was mine! Then, on my way back from lunch I scuffed my favorite boots when I tripped crossing the street. Finally, on top of leaving my change I realized that I’d left my hat and gloves on the counter at the deli.

I had to a doctor’s appointment at 4 pm, so I had to leave the office at 3:30 pm. Feeling pretty bummed about my day I didn’t get much work done. 3:30 pm came quicker than I expected. This was the first time I was seeing this doctor, so I called the office to confirm the address. “Hi, I have an appointment at 4:00 pm, I’d like to confirm the office address”, the receptionist replied, “our office address is 50 East 32nd street”. I thanked her, packed up and headed to my appointment. 

I got out at the Park Avenue station and walked toward East 32nd street. I saw 56, 54, 52 then 50… But 50 was a nameless set of gray metal doors next to Chris Noth’s Restaurant,The Cutting Room. It was clear the gray doors didn’t lead to any commercial office space, it had rows of dumpsters lined up against the wall. I pulled my phone out to call the doctor’s office and realized I left the number on my desk. It was minutes to 4 pm. I had no more energy. I didn’t know what else to do. 

I stood at the corner of 32nd and Park Avenue, I was so frustrated. I was so angry. I wanted to yell, kick and scream at the top of my lungs, but all I could manage to do was cry. I didn’t care that my mascara was running or that people were probably looking at me. The happenings of the day had defeated me. 

Sulking in my funky mood, I walked to the train station feeling so sorry for myself. A burly man looked at me and said, “wanna hug”, I gave him an icy glare that was equivalent to a swift double ninja kick. 

As I neared the train station my friend Sabrina called, I tearfully explained to her what I’d gone through, and she LAUGHED, I was so upset and she was LAUGHING! The nerve! How insensitive! I decided to give her a piece of my mind. Still laughing and unmoved she invited me for a drink at our favorite Caribbean Restaurant-Bar-Lounge in the West Village, Negril’s. 

 
Negril Village, a hip, soulful and vibrant celebrity hotspot. Addicted to their food, ambiance, drinks and vibe, over the years I became a staple. Negril’s, my New York version of Cheers. Happy, sad, or just releasing the stresses of everyday life. It was my place. My comforting go to. I got there before Sabrina, I ordered our usual drink, their signature rum punch. 

    

 One of the managers spotted me at the bar and kept me company while I waited and I explained my horrid day. I’d cheered up by the time Sabrina arrived (effects of the rum punch). Not satisfied with how much I’d already suffered Sabrina gave her account of my mini break down to the bartenders, restaurant staff, and patrons. We talked, joked and laughed. Negrils was just what the doctor ordered. Because, sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name. 

Cheers!

-Izzie✨💫

**Addendum:

I only had a few drinks that night but here are some pictures of some of the things I’ve had the privilege of enjoying! 

 

         Calypso shrimp and grits 

  

       Codfish Fritters  

 

         White Sangria  
   

  Island herb rosted Lamb chops, whipped sweet potatoes, roasted tomatoes and broccoli ( only served on special occasions: Valentines Day, Mother’s Day, New Years, etc.)  

    Guava wings

  

    Coconut rum punch

  

  Curry shrimp, white rice, cauliflower, and broccoli 

   

  Rum and Mango

 

  Jerk salmon, whipped sweet potato, and broccoli   

   Shrimp and grits 

 

  Jerk Wings 

 

   Jerk steak, broccoli, string beans, and whipped sweet potatoes 

Hello from the other side…

Happy Tuesday my loves! Hopefully, you had a great start to the week.  My week started off pretty good. This weekend, after a long hiatus that lasted several months, I got back on the iron horse and returned to the gym. 

    
   
A few months ago I realized I’d put on some pounds (in the wrong areas) I decided I had to do something to lose the weight. Initially, I joined a gym but after a few short weeks I stopped going. I couldn’t commit. I  didn’t have the discipline for the calorie counting, protein shakes, and everything else that went with the whole gym/fit life. I started “clean eating”, well a combo of the right way and my version of it.

I changed my eating habits drastically. I no longer ate an entire sleeve of Oreos as I stood at the counter collecting my thoughts after a long day, or half of a loaf of pound cake topped with vanilla ice cream as I watched my favorite TV show. I controlled the portions of what I ate and cut a lot of things out of my diet entirely. 

For breakfast, I ate omelettes, fruit and yogurt, cereals like Cinnamon Harvest Kashi, Just Bunches and plain Cheerios as opposed to Pop Tarts or my all time favorite Toasters Strudel. I gave up Martha’s triple layer chocolate mouse cake, Levain’s chocolate chip walnut cookies, Jolie Patisserie’s Orchid’s Bronut (a flaky, multi-layer donut filled with vanilla Moroccan rosewater butter cream made from brioche dough. Trust me it is as yummy as it sounds), and House of Lasagna’s, Lasagna Piemontese.

I traded all that in for home cooked meals with low carbs and lots of veggies. I snacked on fruits, nuts,string cheese, yogurt and low sodium crackers. After doing this for almost 7 months, I’d lost 27 Lbs.
    

Now, my plan is to gain lean muscle mass. I’ll be taking classes like Metcon 3, Power Yoga, Zumba, Pilates a few times a week and training with the mister in between.

I planned months ago to return to the gym in January. I prepared by taking advantage of all the holiday sales at stores like Gap and Athleta and stocked up on shakers (for protein shakes) active wear, Yoga leggings (I am utterly obsessed ), tops, socks, dry shampoo and sneakers. 

    
 There were a number of thing I set out to do: 

  • Organize and add training schedule and gym classes to calendar
  • Research quick morning exercises to do at home
  • Create a realistic 3 month goal
  • Grocery shopping 
  • Find protein shake/smoothie recipes
  • Map out meals for weekly meal prep

In theory, I’d wake up in the morning energized and enthused to do some quick exercises before starting my day. However, the truth is, I’m like and old Buick in the morning, it takes me forever to get out of bed and even longer to get energized and join the land of the living. Morning exercises… Yea, sounds great but nahhhh, scratch that off the list.

Next on my list were smoothie recipes; I hated the idea of a powdered drink. I kept imagining how bothersome the granules would be when drinking the shakes, but I promised myself I would keep an open mind. I came across many recipes all of which had bizarre indgredients pairing unlikely things like banana and spinach, or basil and cantaloupe. The idea of these combinations blew my mind. For instance take this recipe I came across: 

* 1 apple, or 1 unsweetened applesauce cup

* 1 cup almond milk

* 1 Tbsp peanut butter

* 2 Tbsp oatmeal

* 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, optional (will help thicken as well)

* 1 tsp vanilla extract

* ½ tsp cinnamon

* 5-6 ice cubes

* Whipped Cream, optional 

Applesauce, peanut butter and oatmeal?!! EGAD brain! It was clear, I needed more than just an open mind. I’d have to brace myself, stretch my imagination and prepare my taste buds for these unique elixirs. 

Saturday afternoon, I went grocery shopping. I strolled down the aisles feeling very positive and enthused. I threw things in my cart like veggies, frozen fruits, peanuts, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, chicken, salmon, whole wheat bread (yuck, that’s going to have to grow on me), almonds, and peanut butter… Then in the blink of an eye, it was test time. I’d turned the corner and there we were face to face. It’d been months since we were alone with each other…  I was in the snack aisle. 
 It looked like almost everything was on sale. There was an assortment of chips on sale, 2 for $3, Chips ahoy, original, chewy,  or chunky 2 for $4, and Oreos, oh my beloved Oreos 2 for $5. I couldn’t look at them, they weren’t part of my plans right now. I walked down the aisle feeling every bit like a traitor. Trying my hardest not to look their way, I picked up a box of Granola Bars, Wheat Thins, Luna White Chocolate Macadamia bars, and a bag of Stacey’s Pita chips.

I’d abandoned my companions. The ones who’d always been there for me during difficult times, stayed up with me when I had insomnia, kept me company on countless rainy days, and on Saturday nights when I’d snuggle on the couch in my onesies and watch movies. 

Guilt started to set in, how could I just leave them? Could Luna and Stacy do the job just as effortlessly as they had for all these years? Would they be as comforting? Was the grass really greener on the other side? I stood in the aisle deep in thought, reminiscing about the times we shared, trying to figure out a way that we could still be together. My thoughts were interrupted by the hysterical laughter of kid who pushed a cart carrying his little brother into the freezer. I quickly reminded myself that this was a much needed temporary split.

I still felt horrible. This was new, we weren’t going home together. It was the first time that we were on opposite sides.  Stamina and will power intact, I took one last short glance, pushed my cart to the checkout line and headed home with my healthy haul in tow.

-Izzie ✨💫

Surprise!!.. Surprised?!

     
2015 was a busy year for my sister. There were many things that called for celebration. In the Fall she landed a new job, less than 4 months after that she found out she was pregnant, and while she was on maternity leave she got promoted to a new position. Talk about a super woman!

So when she told me she planned to do nothing on her birthday, I could not let that happen. With her birthday a few weeks away I planned to throw her a surprise birthday dinner. I mean how hard could it be ? Find a restaurant, make a reservation order a cake, and invite people right? W R O N G!! I quickly found out I was no Preston Bailey.  I heard things like:

• “ To accommodate a party that size you’ll have to book a private room”

• “ Yes we can definitely do that you will need to leave a deposit of…”

• “Sorry we don’t have any reservations available for that day”

•”No, problem I’ll transfer you to our event coordinator, please hold” …

Private room, event coordinator, deposit? It’s a dinner!!! After calling countless restaurants My luck finally changed. I called Buddakan one of the hottest upscale Asian fusion restaurants located in the sleek meatpacking district, known for its limitless, upbeat energy, diversity, fashion, and exclusive night life. They had two reservations left for the day I chose, 6:30pm and we’d have to be out by 9pm and a 10:45pm reservation. 6:30pm sounds great, I’LL TAKE IT!!!

 I sent out evites, which were really instant messages on social media. I made arrangements for my parents to watch the baby, I ordered a Red Velvet cake from Martha’s Bakery (her favorite), I Invited her closest friends. I’d arrange for one of them to devise a story to get her to the restaurant. Great! So, 12 days in advance, my job was done! Take that Preston Bailey! 

The day of, I don’t know why ( ok, fine I do, I’m just not telling you, lol) I was running late, I know, I know, I’m the late girl. What else is new? My cousin offered to get the cake from the bakery and bring it to the restaurant, another friend offered to get the balloons on her way to the restaurant. Talk about a much needed save, YES! YES! YES! There is a God and he’s on my side!

I called the restaurant to let them know the balloons and cake were on their way. They said balloons were not allowed in the restaurant and a $5 per plate charge applied if I brought my own cake. That’s just great!! No balloons?! Fine, and who needs plates, we’re all friends here, just  give us 10 extra forks. K I D D I N G!  To top it off it started to rain.

The reservation was for 6:30pm, and the birthday girl was scheduled to arrive at 7pm. I got on the 6:03pm train headed to Penn Station. Around 6:15pm the text messages started rolling in: Where are you? I reply, “10 minutes away”, Lies, I was on the Long Island Rail road applying my Mascara! I arrived at Penn around 6:25pm and headed to the cab line outside of Madison Square Garden. 

There were about 25 people ahead of me CRAP, CRAP, CRAP!! As I waited in line my phone buzzed continuously with text messages like,  “where are you”, “we’re here”, ” I don’t see you”, “we’re sitting at the bar”, “how far are you”. OMG does this thing have an off button?! Finally it’s my turn, and just my luck I got the crappiest driver on the planet, he didn’t speak much english and didn’t know how to get to the restaurant.
I gave him the address and we drove off. A few minutes later crappy cabby tells me that he passed the restaurant and it was a few blocks away and I could walk.     

E X C U S E M E?! With a firm tone and fiery glare, I kindly (not really) informed him that walking in heels, in the rain was NOT happening. Finally I arrived at the restaurant. 

W H E E E W!! Just in the nick of time!

  I took in all the breathtaking views as we were escorted to our table.  

 Shortly after we were seated, a very surprised, very Happy Birthday girl arrived. The food was A M A Z I N G we had:

 Chili rock shrimp 

 Lobster rice; Sizzling short rib

 Sweet and Crispy Jumbo Shrimp; Wok tossed noodles with prawns

 Broken chili chicken 

 After dinner, the waiter brought out the cake.  

 We sang Happy Birthday to our surprised birthday girl, talked, laughed and made memories as she enjoyed her Happy Birthday.

-Izzie ✨💫

Auld Lang Syne…

  
 It was New Years Eve and I found myself in an episode of Izzie’s race against time. 

It was my own fault I have to admit. I waited until the last minute to get a mani and pedi. I arrived at the salon, which had more people than Walmart during Black Friday. Jenni, my nail tech sadly looked at me and told me that there was a 4-5 hour wait. 4-5 hours?! Good God, that’s how long it takes to cook a perfect thanksgiving turkey! 

 
It’s 5:30, six and a half hours before the New Year and I had a list a mile long of places to be. My night was comprised of 3 major events

  • Celebrating my sisters birthday 
  • Attending a New Years party in Brooklyn 
  • Meeting the mister to bring in the new year

After a few hours of celebrating with my sister it was now time to head to Brooklyn and move on to the next phase of the night. Or so I thought, I called a cab and was told that there were no cars available, wait time is 2-3 hours, and a ride that usually costs $22 would be $53… Wait huh… Is that even legal? 

I also priced the cost to go into Manhattan a whopping $130! W H A T?! Ok now I’m panicking… Luckily for me I was able to get a ride into the city. As we sat in traffic I gave myself a much needed mani and pedi. I polished my nails and touched up the polish on my toes, I prayed that the traffic would clear up and I’d make it to the party before midnight.

The mister and I were invited to a New Years party at a trendy lounge in the West Village. He’d arrived and had been waiting for a few hours by the time I got there. It was 11:15, I had a little trouble at the door but made it in just in the nick of time. After a few drinks and a couple of twirls on the dance floor the countdown began 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
  
We partied and had the best time. Our night finally ended after 8 Drinks, an award winning performance of Aretha Franklin’s Natural woman by yours truly (trust me it was horrible)  countless pictures that I have no recollection of posing for, a puking session during our cab ride home, and memory loss of the last 3 hours of the night.

The first day of 2016, I woke up at 2pm. So much for my fresh start, I didn’t wake up to make pancakes or go for a run, or any of that wonderful New Years resolution stuff. Nope, I woke up with two new friends headache and dehydration and that painful reminder of an epic night– a hangover!! 
Well folks there you have it, see you next time.

-Izzie✨💫