November 1, 2018

Once upon a Thursday night, somewhere between Thompson & Houston and 3 gin and tonics, I got to thinking about the New York City bar scene. Fickle little thing that it is.

You have your Upper East Side brick and leather filled lounges and your Lower East Side hipster places where the only options are $25 cocktails and experimental Hors d’Oeuvre. You’ll find Nightclubs & Rooftops galore in Tribeca, Sports Bars & Themed Spots in Midtown, and beautifully appointed Wine Bars & foodie inspired Pubs in the West Village.

But where does one go when what they really want is a 16 ounce craft IPA in a dimly lit, dingy room filled with all types of people and styles;  from the NYC undergrad to the somewhat incognito movie star? The NYC Dive Bar.


I just adore a good dive bar, actually, I must admit, it can be one of my favorite ways to spend a New York City evening. And, because I can easily recall the days when, as a NYC newbie or visitor, I longed for a relaxed atmosphere to unwind after a busy day of big city hustle and bustle, I want to share my go to dive bars with you.

  1. The Four-Faced Liar • West Village (165 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014) – The Four-Faced liar is one of those no-frills, brick-lined bars where you feel like you are drinking a craft beer in your own living room. The staff is experienced and fast, if a bit gruff at times, but never take themselves too seriously. If you want a true New York City dive bar experience that allows you to rub elbows with NYC regulars and West Village residents, give this spot a try.
  2. Old Rabbit Club • NYU – West Village (124 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012) – This hidden gem serves an array of somewhat pretentious craft beers and wines in an old school, basement storefront. Near to NYU, the tiny bar holds only about 30 people at a time, but if you get there early enough to grab a front row seat at the bar, you won’t be disappointed in the friendly, knowledgeable bartenders, beer and wine options, or the 80’s punk music played at just the right decibel.
  3. The Canal Bar • Gowanus – Brooklyn (270 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215) – Don’t be fooled by the initially small look of this bar from the front door. There is a super cute, string light filled back patio and a pool table toward the back. Also, the popcorn is free.
  4. Spring Lounge • Nolita (48 Spring St, New York, NY 10012) – Nolita, a neighborhood just on the brink of trendy Soho, is where you’ll find this NYC resident favorite. There is nothing special about this bar in terms of aesthetic, but you will get a great beer or cocktail all while doing some pretty awesome people watching. This is my definite pick for a weekend day drinking sesh.
  5. Dive Bar • Lincoln Center • Upper West Side (732 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025) – This is a favorite during Ballet season as it is near enough to Lincoln Center to stop for a pint or glass of wine prior to the rise of the curtain.

If you find your way to New York City, give these wonderful places a quick visit. We hope to see you there!


October 31, 2018

How to Make It

Step 1

Line 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with wax paper; lightly grease and flour wax paper. Set pans aside.

Step 2

Stir together the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Step 3

Crack 3 Large eggs into a large mixing bowl and add the following to the bowl:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2.5 teaspoons vanilla extract

Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the flour mixture and beat at low speed until blended. Fold in the shredded carrot and add the following ingredients:

  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 (3 1/2-ounce) can flaked coconut

Pour batter into previously prepared cake pans.

Step 4

Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Once removed, cool still in the pans on wire racks 15 minutes.

Step 5

After 15 minutes, remove cakes from the pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

Step 6

Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Leave it plain or delicately decorate with walnuts, pistachios,  piped frosting,  or sprinkled nutmeg.


** Looking to add a bit of flair to your cake, no matter the season or weather? Add extra spice, rum, or brown butter during the cold months. During the spring or Summer, don’t be afraid to decorate it with gorgeous floral elements or maybe even hints of seasonal fruit.


August 13, 2018

I HOPE YOU DANCE – No, I really do. In a literal way, not so much in a “life goals” kind of way; although I am 100 percent behind that as well.

A couple of weeks ago, a close friend who I hadn’t seen for a few months (she left NYC for Atlanta shortly after her wedding, so we were having a bit of a catchup sesh) asked me how the different areas of my business were coming along and if I was up to anything new. I filled her in briefly on the new online business courses I was offering as well as the expansion of my speaking and writing engagement services and how I was fitting it all together. After a bit of a rundown on the ins and outs of these services, she said, “so, are you just loving it?”

Honestly, I didn’t know how to answer that question. I LOVED creating the courses, I LOVED interacting with other super awesome creative entrepreneurs, I LOVED telling my story and helping others become the best them that they can be. I was madly in love with every single aspect of providing these courses from start to finish, except for one small thing. I hate public speaking. And, as is frequently the case when it comes to things we fear, that one, small, scary aspect puts an enormous black cloud over the parts that I love. Isn’t that just the pits?

My friend’s response? Then why are you doing it?

If I am being real with you, this is always my favorite question when it comes to each aspect of my life, especially the ones that include facing my fears head on. Don’t other people do this on the daily? Is this not what it means to be a human? Doesn’t EVERYONE do the things they fear as long as it’s something they think is important to do? Unfortunately, the answer is no in some cases, and I think that has to change.

How do I do the things that absolutely scare me, but that I know are the things that are going to be best for me in the end? I dance it out. Before each and every public speaking engagement, class or workshop, or even just sharing my “close to the heart” creative work, I flip on the Britany or the Marvin Gaye or The Cure (usually The Cure) and I dance. There is no doubt in mind that I look silly, I am the product of a Father who has zero rhythm and fast dances at weddings by wiggling his heel around on the ground while he swings his hips in the opposite direction. There is no possible way that I look awesome when I am dancing, but I do it, because that is how I get out the negative, scary energy and relax my mind enough to push through the fear.

My suggestion isn’t necessarily that you dance it out if that isn’t your thing (or you are in the airport FREAKING OUT over flying); I am simply suggesting that when you are terrified of something that you want to do,  instead of walking away, try doing something that will change your energy and will make your impossible possible.  There is really nothing that feels better in life than doing something you didn’t think you could do. It resets  your power and teaches you that you are unstoppable.

Those are things everyone needs.


July 30, 2018

Doesn’t it always seems that when one thing in your life goes wrong, every other part of your experience seems to follow closely behind? You know what they say, “when it rains, it pours.” I have recently begun to wonder if it is me causing the ball to continue rolling downhill or if it is a natural occurrence that happens in the universe (mercury in retrograde?). Honestly, I think it is me. Here is why: Mindset

Sure, my theory isn’t exactly scientific, however; I think there is something to be said for the energy that you put into the world, and I think that the mind is where that energy originates. Think about it this way: if you could magically adjust your mindset when things are on the downslide, would it make a difference to your lifestyle, business, or relationships? Is it possible that your positive vibes would stop that negativity in its tracks and set you on the path to happier days? I think so.

So, when times are tough and you can’t seem to find a light at the end of the tunnel, how can you make a mindset change that will keep you positive and moving forward?

  1. LISTEN TO YOURSELF – If you have had a series of negative experiences and you’re feeling defeated, listen to yourself and know when to rest. We aren’t big on quitting here at The Art Of, but we do adore a good R & R session now and then, and it seems especially needed when its “pouring.” Instead of flashing a fake smile and trying to push through the situation, give yourself a mental health day. Allow yourself to feel the feelings that you are experiencing, but decide that you are going to wash it away at the end of the day and start fresh. Trying to fight your sadness, anger, or negative feelings will only make it harder to set them aside.
  2. EXPRESS GRATITUDE – If you are feeling any level of gratitude you can’t possibly hang onto anger. By definition gratitude is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” There is nothing negative in having grace for what you already have in your life that makes you happy. If you are feeling gratitude, express it. Tell your husband why he is so incredibly important to you, call your sister and let her know that she has changed your life just by being born, send flowers, comment positively on a social media post, make a list of all of the things that made you smile today. I could go on and on, but the moral of the story is that if you focus on being thankful, it takes a bit of the sting out of the struggle.
  3. BE BRAVE – I have said this numerous times on this blog and elsewhere, and I still believe it wholeheartedly. One of the very best ways to get your mojo back is to do something that you didn’t think you could do. Go ahead, prove yourself wrong and get some of that power and control back in your life. It’s funny how much easier life feels as a whole when you know that you are capable of enormous courage.
  4. INDULGE IN A GUILTY PLEASURE – Mine is really terrible reality TV. When I am having a bad morning, nothing resets my mind like The Bachelor or Teen Mom (1 & 2). I am on the edge of my seat waiting for Bachelor in Paradise to start up in August. Whatever the small,  joy inducing pleasure, give yourself permission to indulge and enjoy it! You’ll feel immediately better, if only superficially, which isn’t a necessarily a negative thing if you are attempting to reverse a bad mood or attitude.
  5. MAKE A DECISION – Sometimes, the simple act of thinking through a problem and making a decision one way or another can alleviate a good amount of stress. Too often we agonize over decisions or “next steps” because we aren’t sure we are doing the right thing or making the right choice. But, if you make it a point to think through the situation as well as the  pro’s and con’s you can start making moves toward a resolution. There is freedom and strength in taking control of the situation and doing something to make it better. Just make the decision and start.

Gorgeous photography courtesy of Julia Trotti. Find her brilliant work here! 

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